As part of my author guest blog series I am proud to present another guest blog spot.

Author William C Tracy  has been kind enough to write a guest blog post for Mighty Thor JRS today. I am very excited and I would like to thank William for the opportunity to host this Guest Blog.

Would you like to be a part of my author guest blog series? Please contact me! mightythorjrs@gmail.com

Now without further adieu here is William’s awesome guest blog.

And don’t forget to check out his Kickstarter and books:

The Seeds of Dissolution, which has a Kickstarter project (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/spacewizard/1323793723?token=4d44a63f)

Tuning the Symphony

Merchants and Maji

 

 

 


 

 

Physics, SFF, and martial arts: Left brain, right brain, and body

by William C. Tracy

 

As I’ve gotten farther into the writing community, I’ve found a strange correlation. If a writer knows some science, there’s an increased likelihood they’re an engineer. And if you get both at once, there’s a good chance they also practice martial arts…

 

Hello everyone! I’m William C. Tracy, engineer, writer, and martial artist. What a coincidence.

 

In my day job, I’m a mechanical engineer working at a large construction company, doing performance engineering. Three days a week, I also teach karate. I’ve studied Wado-Ryu Karate since college, and now teach a group of about 16-18 students.

 

I’ve also been writing since I was a youngster. My first story was in third grade, where Mario, Link, and Zelda had to stop an evil wizard. Sadly, I never finished it.

 

All the elements of my life influence each other. For example, I teach a stretching class at work, to help people sitting at a desk all day. I also try to craft my presentations and email such that they are very clear, even when talking about complicated engineering systems. My knowledge of physics interacts with my martial arts, and a lot of what I teach focuses on body mechanics and structure.

 

In writing, I like to let bits of my physics knowledge peek through, especially when crafting complex magic or science fiction events. I also love writing fight and movement scenes, where I can describe the sort of dance that goes on when two competent people physically interact.

 

In my spare time I play video and board games. I like those games that tell a story, and provide a cool puzzle to solve. My wife and I also cosplay at a few cons each year, and also force our pets to cosplay for the annual Christmas card. I like to find cosplay outfits that I can move and do martial arts in–my favorite was cosplaying Tenzin from Legend of Korra. Designing costume elements also uses my engineering skills creatively.

 

So what does all this have to do with writing?

As I’ve gotten older and more experienced (or at least just lived through more stuff), telling these stories has become more important to me. I get to use left brain and right brain skills—writing vs. math or physics. I also get to use my body to act out tricky blocking and figure out where everyone is.

 

In my latest book, The Seeds of Dissolution, which has a Kickstarter project (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/spacewizard/1323793723?token=4d44a63f) going on now, I’ve tried to blend all three aspects.

The magic is music based, which gives me an opportunity to be creative when describing how changing notes changes reality. But music is also math. It’s the accumulation of vibrations, sorted by their frequency. Everything in the universe vibrates, so my magic is technically based on science. The hard part is hearing all those vibrations, but…that’s where the magic comes in. Here’s one of my favorite descriptions of the magic:

 

The chord was still there, like the thrum of several deep reed instruments, just on the edge of hearing.

 

Then the reeds multiplied, chords overlapping each other. Sam inhaled at the complexity, the beauty. Don’t lose it.

 

The chords split again, like competing harmonious symphonies, all in the same low register. The clocks were lost in the background. Like a fractal spiral, the melodies split off until Sam thought the sounds would fill his entire head. His breathing came in short gasps, though he could somehow keep track of each thread of music. Slow, fast, loud and quiet, he could hear each symphony, each one more complicated than the last. The pure sound was beautiful—it was primal and right.

 

Seeds of Dissolution Cover

 

 

The symphony contained a multitude of information, not only dealing with communication, but with air and pressure difference, with the way signals interacted, with speech patterns.

 

The quick, quiet trill was air leaking in through cracks around the window frame. He could tell it would rain in the Imperium the next day by a far-off rumble of bass, a horse at full gallop. A fluttering tremolo gave him the path of a group of birds passing by the window. The brightly colored creatures shared with each other locations of fruits growing in the gardens of the Spire. The almost martial beat of another symphony outlined the path insects made on his floor, communicating locations of crumbs. Even far away, he felt the paths of speech in a chaotic, discordant chorus as aliens spoke far below on the ground of the Nether.

 

There’s also a lot of conflict in the Dissolutionverse. It’s a society of ten planets connected by magic instead of space flight. Merchants step from one planet to another to sell their goods. Alien cultures and languages spill from one world to another. Members of all ten species gather inside the Nether, the center of the society, to debate trade, law, and the economy of the Great Assembly. But only the maji can make the portals that link the planets together, and so the maji are central to keeping the economy going. Some regular folks don’t like that they are so enmeshed in the governing bodies.

 

Which all basically means I get to write fight scenes, and mix my martial arts knowledge with magic:

 

The figure raised its head enough for Rilan to catch a flash of light on predatory teeth.

 

“I look forward to dancing against you,” the figure said, sibilant. “This, I have long been waiting for, to show the Nether maji their weakness.”

 

Rilan flicked her eyes once more to Vethis, and then all her attention was on the newcomer. “So be it, Snake,” she said, trying to goad the Sathssn.

It didn’t work. She feinted forward with a wrist strike to the cloaked head, intending to follow up with a reverse punch augmented by her song. Neither strike landed. Arcs of sapphire blue and a dark, bruised purple, swirled with the Sathssn’s feet and he was out of her range. She moved again and he was behind her, slipping past in a waltz-step. A strike to her kidney staggered her and she grunted.

 

 

Rilan whirled, barely catching Nakan’s arm with her fingers before he could slip away. Shiv’s dagger, he’s fast. She added notes to the melody of her fingers, turning major chords to minor, fixing her fingers in claws, dragging herself along with the Sathssn.

 

He moved a step, then spun, tilting her off balance. She felt a knee buckle when he kicked, and turned piano to forte, strengthening the tendons.

 

There you have it. Martial arts, math, and physics (in the form of music) together in my writing. This combination of engineering, body kinesthetics, and writing gives me the best of several disciplines. I can bounce from one to another during the day and let the parts of my brain that get worn out practicing the other two recuperate. It also means I have a lot of different interests and my ideas come from all over the place.

 

So take a look at your favorite SFF writer’s bio. See if they’re using their left brain, right brain, and body in their work. Or try it out for yourself: learn an instrument, or take some martial arts or yoga training, or a physics or math class. It will stretch your mind a different way and let you see the world in another light.

 

You can see some other examples of music-based magic and martial arts fights scenes in my two novellas, Tuning the Symphony (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01CYJFOFA) and Merchants and Maji (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01KWCSIWM), both in the same universe as Seeds of Dissolution.

 

And of course, take a look at my Kickstarter project (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/spacewizard/1323793723?token=4d44a63f), running in August and September of 2017. There are some cool extras to the backers, like a new short story, wallpapers, buttons, maps, and even original artwork.

 

Thanks to James for having me here!

 

Links:

Tuning the Symphony: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01CYJFOFA

Merchants and Maji: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01KWCSIWM

You can also buy them directly on my website: http://williamctracy.com/
Blog: http://williamctracy.com/blog-page/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/williamctracyswsf/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/wctracy

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/60627.William_C_Tracy
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/William-C-Tracy/e/B01D1Z2MD8
 


 

 

William C. Tracy is a North Carolina native and a lifelong fan of science fiction and fantasy. He has two self-published novellas available: Tuning the Symphony, and Merchants and Maji, both set in his Dissolutionverse. The Kickstarter for the first novel, The Seeds of Dissolution, will run in August/September 2017.

 

He also has a masters in mechanical engineering, and has both designed and operated heavy construction machinery. He has trained in Wado-Ryu karate since 2003, and runs his own dojo in Raleigh. He is an avid video and board gamer, a reader, and of course, a writer. He and his wife also cosplay, and he has appeared as Tenzin, Jafar, and in several steampunk outfits.

 

In his spare time, he wrangles three cats and a bald guinea pig, and his wife wrangles him (not an easy task). They both enjoy putting their pets in cute little costumes and making them cosplay for the annual Christmas card.

 

 


 

 

Seeds of Dissolution Cover

The Seeds of Dissolution, which has a Kickstarter project (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/spacewizard/1323793723?token=4d44a63f)

On a bright August day, the sun disappears.

Sam van Oen barely escapes freezing to death in his house, as his watch stops and fire ceases to burn. He is pulled into the Nether—a nexus between ten alien cultures—where he meets Rilan and Origon, two maji who can control the musical foundation of the universe. While coping with anxiety attacks prompted by his new surroundings, Sam must learn to hear and change the Symphony, and thus reality, in order to discover what happened to his home.

But more freezing voids like the one that started his journey are appearing, and Sam’s chances of getting back are fading. The Assembly of Species is threatening to dissolve and the maji are being attacked by those they protect, while rumors grow of an ancient, shape-changing species of assassins, returning to wage war.

The Dissolution is coming.

 

 

51Qotl5uD0L._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_Tuning the Symphony

Change one note and the universe changes with the Symphony.

One apprentice will become a full majus today. The other will wait months for another suitable challenger. Rilan Ayama is skilled in using her song to change the Grand Symphony of the universe, but her opponent, Vethis, is crafty, and not above a little simple bribery. Though Rilan is counting on the support of her closest friend Origon, he remains absent. She has only a cryptic note saying important matters of his family take precedence, and he needs her help. The mystery pulls Rilan’s attention away from the most important test of her life.

Maji create portals between the far flung planets of the Great Assembly of Species, but many places still remain out of easy reach. A search for Origon’s brother leads Rilan and her friend across the wilds of one of the ten homeworlds. There, Rilan’s fledgling skills are pushed to their limits as they investigate a secret that could bring down all six houses of the maji.

 

 

51tVf689VpL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_Merchants and Maji

An old war machine and a revolutionary space capsule will change relations among the ten species forever.

Last Delivery:

Prot, Amra, and crew sell goods across the ten homeworlds in a refitted war transport, saving up to buy a shop. But after fees to travel between worlds, their profits always fall short. Their newest customers are the xenophobic Sureriaj. But when a protest over offworlder trading shuts down all business, the crew’s only hope is to leave the planet delivering emergency medical supplies. The contract is for too much money, the seller is using a false name, and the cargo is magically sealed. Nothing could go wrong.

The First Majus in Space:

The ten species are in awe of the first space capsule. But when the majus piloting it is assassinated, Origon Cyrysi is the only one able to complete the mission. Too late, he finds the spacecraft may cost him his abilities. And even if Origon returns from space, the escaped assassin might still trigger an interstellar war. Either way, the fuel is burning.
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