Painting with gold leaf, not easy

I’ve been practising applying gold leaf before I tackle the Dark Water Codex. OK, I’m not actually using gold leaf. It’s a very thin metal foil that’s a similar colour and sheen. Finding #1…it isn’t all that easy. Finding #2…’gold’ foil is ridiculously flyaway! Sneeze and you’ll wonder where it’s gone. Finding #3 (and this is the big one)…you need an adhesive that dries slowly and evenly. Like a regular bloke, I ignored the instructions and dabbled with PVA and a multi-purpose adhesive. No good, so I reached for the instructions where I discovered that I should be using varnish! Here’s the result of the latest test…

Third attempt

Third attempt

It would have been great to embed something like this in the book, speaking of which, ‘Dark Water’ now has two 5-star ratings in It’s on the way! Woo-hoo!

Free copies of ‘Dark Water’ – READ THIS

Hi folks, this offer is open to signed up subscribers of this website. I have 3 copies of ‘Dark Water’ to give away. My copies of the book arrive tomorrow. I can’t wait to hold it in my hands and I hope the excitement rubs off on you. Reply to this article and say “I want one!” First three respondents will receive a signed copy in the post.

The Dark Water Codex

I’m working on something inspired by Aztec codices. At the moment, it’s just got the Aztec day symbols around the border but I want to put something in the centre that’s related to Tlaloc, the god of rain and water. I also want to write the words ‘Dark Water’ on it but that would make it look more like a European illustrated manuscript than an authentic native mesoamerican codex. Then again, maybe a fusion of styles isn’t such a bad idea. After all, I’m not setting out to make a forgery. Thoughts?

An early layout for a Dark Water codex.

An early layout for a Dark Water codex.

Honour your deceased loved ones

There are some interesting ways to treasure your dearly departed nowadays. You can have their ashes turned into a diamond to wear in an item of jewellery. You can have the ashes moulded into an acrylic paperweight (see here, actually looks quite nice!).

If you were a roving man-about-The-Andes in ancient times, these options weren’t available to you, so…what to do? It turns out you could stop in at a ‘render while you wait’ mortuary where your loved one’s bones would be de-fleshed in quicklime so you could resume your travels with Dad and Mum, or your spouse, tucked neatly into your kitbag in tidy bundles of bone! Don’t believe me? See here…

The chances are, someone has already thought of your idea, however crazy it may seem.

Cover Art for Dark Water

I’m very excited about the artwork Owen has done for the cover of ‘Dark Water’. It perfectly captures the mood of the novel and gives a taste of one of the key scenes from the story.

Book Cover for Dark Water

This is the current proposed cover for Dark Water, Codex 2 of Aztec Elements.

In other news, proofreading will be complete by the end of the month so the publication of ‘Dark Water’ looks set for April 2015.

Ruined city discovered in Honduras

Archaeologists have discovered the remains of a city, thought to date back to one thousand years ago. The team were searching for a fabled ‘White City’, also referred to as the City of the Monkey God, in an area of pristine jungle. One of the artefacts found in the initial survey is the stone effigy of a were-jaguar. See it, and more stunning images on the National Geographic website.

Aztec Elements, Codex Two

Dear readers,

I can at last share the blurb for ‘Dark Water’ with you.

The young priest Clawfoot discovers that his success has invited only enmity. He does have a powerful ally though. The high priest, Feathered Darkness entrusts his precocious acolyte with a crucial mission to safeguard the priesthood from treacherous political games.

Little Maize begins to despair when she realises that she has lost Clawfoot to his new calling. She dreams of escape from the oppressive workhouse that has been her prison for five years.

The twenty year reign of Moctezuma Ilhuicamina has delivered stability, commerce and a time of plenty, fuelled by an aggressive expansion of the empire. Here too though, success has given rise to jealousy for there is no shortage of family members with a claim to the throne.

Caught again at the centre of unfolding plots, the loyal warrior, Heart of the Jaguar, will find that things are not all they seem and when duty calls, his resourcefulness will be tested to the limit.

Comments and feedback will be greatly appreciated.

In the next post, I will share the current cover design for ‘Dark Water’ that comes hot from my gifted graphic designer friend Owen Benwell of Human Design. It’s jaw-droppingly gorgeous and perfectly captures the mood of ‘Codex Two’.