Renderosity members have voted RedPhantom as the November Artist of the Month. RedPhantom was nominated from the Writers Gallery. She has two series going there, both involve Fantasy genre storytelling. She also creates 3D scenes for her stories, which we feature in a video gallery hand-picked by RedPhantom,
As she says in her bio "writing stories, collecting and making miniatures, refinishing furniture, gardening, and playing on my computer. Anything done on a computer is playing to me."
We congratulate RedPhantom for winning the Artist of the Month and thank her for taking the time to chat with us about her life and work. Thanks, RedPhantom!
Be sure to watch the video gallery of 10 of RedPhantom's illustrations for her stories. We also feature a complete chapter from her series "Princess of Mages" (see below). And if you have the time stop by her gallery which features two fantasy series.
Interview with Artist of the Month - RedPhantom
Renderosity: Tell us a bit about your background: how did you get into digital art and writing?
RedPhantom: I’ve always wanted to draw, but I’ve never been able to progress passed simple cartoon style images. When I found Renderosity, I was introduced to 3D graphics and found it was a great way for me to create the images I’ve always wanted to create. Writing is another way for me to create. I create people, lives, and whole worlds. It also is therapy for me. If I’m down, so is one of my characters. If I’m angry, I take it out on someone in a story, hopefully one of the antagonists, but not always. Eventually, I started creating images to go with my stories. It’s a challenge to recreate pictures I have in my head, but seeing them come to life is worth the effort.
In your Renderosity bio you mention you create miniatures; what kind of miniatures do you work on and are they connected to your writing?
RedPhantom: The miniatures I make are for my dollhouses. I buy furniture, but I make accessories, décor or food. They have nothing to do with my stories. It’s a separate hobby for when I need a break from my writing.
You have two series at Renderosity can you give us a background on them and how you developed the ideas for the stories?
RedPhantom: Both series are related and came out of the question of how someone would respond if they suddenly found they were on a different world? I chose to explore both someone from our modern world ending up on a fantasy world and also someone from a fantasy world ending up here.
Who are some writers at Renderosity you admire?
RedPhantom: All of them. Writers pour their heart and soul into their writing, and then they post it online for all the world to see. That can be scary. You never know how people will respond to your work.
Who are some of the fantasy authors/artists that have influenced or inspired you?
RedPhantom: Margaret Weis, Tracey Hickman, and Mercedes Lackey have all inspired and influenced me.
Any advice for those who want to get into writing?
RedPhantom: If you want to write, do it. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. You can. You don’t have to be an expert in language. You only need to put your ideas in print.
Part 85: Everything Changes from RedPhantom's fantasy series "Princess of Mages".
Here's how RedPhantom sets the following scene: Ann had gone into the city of the trolls to retrieve an item of value their queen had stolen. She was discovered and had to flee. In her haste, she miscast the spell she was using to escape and ended up on a different world, Earth.
Jo wondered how Andy was doing. He’d be back late tonight. She thought about stopping for dinner. It had been a long day, and she didn’t feel like cooking. Maybe she’d get a double order and let Andy have the rest. He’d likely be hungry.
There was a bright flash ahead of her. There was no accompanying thunder, and it seemed tinged green. What was it? Then she saw a girl staggering. In the dim light and rain, it looked like the girl might wander into the road. Jo pulled over.
At first, Jo thought she was a child. Jo was only 5’2”. This person was smaller. But when she saw the girl’s face, she was clearly an adult. The second thing she noticed was blood on her shoulder and neck, running down her arm. She was white as a sheet and seemed dazed.
Ann staggered as her eyes cleared. It was dark and cool and wet. Strange noises and smells assaulted her. Her magic was dangerously low. She tried to draw in more but couldn’t. She could feel the presence of eta-vie, more than even in Lerjao, enough so she couldn’t feel any magic. She started to recite spells she had memorized, careful not to cast them. Studying was a way to build up magic too. She had to do something.
Someone grabbed her by the shoulders. She jerked, pulling away. Turning, she saw a woman close to her size with dark hair and eyes that at first made Ann think she was part elf but then realized that was wrong.
“Are you okay?” The woman asked. She had a strange accent.
“I…” She nodded, dazed.
“You’re covered in blood. Did someone hurt you?”
Ann hesitated, not sure how to answer.
“Come, I’ll take to the hospital.” The woman offered.
Ann pulled away. “No.”
Ann glanced at her bloody shoulder. The pain was subsiding. “I’m okay.”
“Who attacked you?”
The woman raised an eyebrow. “That’s just makeup? Isn’t it a bit late for LARPing?”
“What?” Ann was confused. The woman seemed to speak Menthan, but some of the words she used were strange. “It’s blood. It’s mine. But I’m okay.”
“Come on. I’ll help you get cleaned up and bandage your shoulder. In the morning, we’ll see about taking you to the shelter or something,” The woman offered.
At first, Jo thought the woman was stoned by her reactions. Then she realized she was dazed and guessed that perhaps she wasn’t fluent in English. She had a thick accent. Jo also spoke Chinese and Spanish, but her accent didn’t fit either those languages either.
John’s influence was what made her offer to bring the woman home. She couldn’t leave someone in trouble.
“I’m Joanne, everyone calls me Jo.”
“I’m Annlonna. People call me Ann.”
Jo led her to her van. At first, Ann was hesitant to get in but did. Jo helped her buckle her seatbelt. She seemed confused by that and didn’t like it.
“Oh, shades!” Ann cried and gripped the arms of the seat when Jo started to move.
“Have you ever been in a van before?” Jo asked.
“Van?” Ann frowned.
“This.” Jo gestured to the vehicle.
“What about a car, the smaller ones on the road?”
“No. Never.” The pale woman’s eyes darted about furtively. She was visibly shaken when they finally reached the boarding house.
Ann was grateful when the van stopped. She guessed they had been going close to the speed dragons flew but wasn’t sure. There were so many other vehicles and some were coming at them. This was an experience she hoped to never repeat.
She was feeling a little better once they reached their destination, but her magic was still dangerously low. With no source to draw on, she was going to have to be careful.
Joanne led her inside and up a flight of stairs. As she went, she flipped switches, and glass globes started to glow. Ann jumps the first few times.
“Do have a change of clothes?” Joanne asked.
“I’ll show you where the bathroom is and then order a pizza. Is there anything you don’t eat?”
“Horse doesn’t agree with me, but I’m not picky. I’ll eat it if that’s what’s available.”
She could tell Joanne thought she was kidding at first. She wondered if they didn’t eat horse here.
Jo shrugged. “They don’t offer horse. You’re in luck.”
The bathroom looks like a combination privy and bathing room. The tub was smaller than those at the palace, more like what Kith had, in size. It was empty. Ann could fetch her own water, but how would she heat it? She’d had cold baths before. She guessed it didn’t matter.
“Where’s the well?” She asked Jo who was pulling things from a cabinet.
“Well?” Jo frowned. “You’ve never seen indoor plumbing?”
“Plumbing? What’s that?”
“Water runs through pipes in the walls.” Jo turned the handle and water poured out of a spout sticking out of the wall and into the tub.
“How do you heat it?” Ann asked.
“Wait a moment.”
“Now, feel it,” Jo instructed.
Ann put her hand in the water. It was warm and getting warmer.
“This handle’s for hot water. That one’s for cold. Turn them both until the water is the right temperature. The sink is the same.” She gestured to something that looked like a wash basin set in a counter.
“And that’s the privy?” Ann guessed pointing.
“We call it a toilet, but yes.”
“Doesn’t it get filled awfully fast?” There was only a little water inside a bowl.
“Not if you flush after each use. Press the silver lever. And be careful if you’re getting in the shower. It uses the cold water so you might scald yourself.”
“Shower?” Ann frowned.
Jo twisted another spout higher up in the tub to face the wall and pulled a knob. The water started coming out the upper spout, like rain.
“You may want to use that rather than filling the tub with as bloody as you are,” Jo suggested. She turned off the shower. “When you get in, close the curtain before turning it back on. Try not to get the rest of the room wet. And we will run out of hot water eventually so try not to take too long. The blood starting to dry so it might not come off easily.”
“Here’s some soap, shampoo, and a washcloth. Don’t slip.” With that, she left.
Ann shut the door and figured out how to lock it. She undressed and stepped into the tub. She chose to turn the shower back on.
As the water ran over her, she relaxed. The heat reminded her of Kith at the forge. She let it run over her a while.
‘You’re going to scald us. Make it cooler,’ Drepal said.
‘… Wouldn’t want you to hurt yourself. Fix it and get cleaned up.’
‘You don’t miss him?’
‘I never knew him. You shouldn’t have been involved with a dragon anyhow. Wash up and get some food. I’ll try to get to sleep when you do unless you want me awake.’
‘It might confuse people. And we don’t know how far we traveled. If it’s not that far, they may have heard of you.’
‘I’m not that well-known. If I can’t sleep tonight, we’ll find a tavern tomorrow and get drunk.’
‘I have liquid shade. Will that work? Menthanlan gold probably isn’t recognized currency.’
‘I think that’ll do,’ Drepal agreed and settled into the back of her mind.
Ann grabbed the bottle of shampoo and found it was for hair. The smell was odd, but it cleaned well. Then she washed up and dressed. She drank a vial of healing potion to help with the blood loss. She probably should take more than one, but she wanted to conserve them. It might take her a while to get home.
She found Joanne at the end of the hall, near the stairs. Jo helped her bandage her shoulder. She seemed puzzled that there was no wound but the blood came from the eye of her dragon tattoo. She didn’t question her though.
“I really think you should go to the hospital. You’re awfully pale.” Joanne insisted.
“I’m always pale,” Ann assured her. “People think I’m an albino. I’m okay and getting better.”
“If you say so. The pizza’s here. Let’s eat.” Jo led her down to the kitchen.
The pizza was a round flatbread topped with spiced tomato sauce, cheese, and several types of meat and vegetables. Some she recognized, others she didn’t. It was tasty, and she told Jo that. Ann thanked her for it.
“I know the house is big and it may not seem like it, but all the rooms are rented out. The college is on a break right now, so most people are gone. I can let you sleep on the couch in the living room if you don’t mind.”
“I appreciate you helping me. I won’t complain. I have a bedroll. I can use that.” Ann hesitated. “Why are you helping? I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but where I come from, few people would stop and help someone they didn’t know, especially to this extent.”
“Few people do it here too,” Joanne admitted. Then she shrugged. “But we all need help. How much better would the world be if we would all help someone that needed it? I guess I try to do my part. I’ll help those I can and try to find someone who can help them if I can’t.”
“Your attitude reminds me a little of my pledged.”
“The man I was going to marry. He was always helping people. It’s how we met.”
“Was? Did something happen to him?”
“He was killed almost a year ago by the same woman that I just escaped from.”
“Who was she? Should we call the police?”
Ann hesitated. She guessed the police were similar to city guards, but she had no idea where she was. She didn’t know if these people would be sympathetic to Lyra. Even if they weren’t, how could they stand against an immortal? This place had no magic.
She shook her head. “No, thanks. She’s too powerful. I doubt they could help and there’s no proof.”
They finished eating, and Jo showed her where she could sleep. Ann was tired but hesitant to lie down. She was weak and vulnerable, and she was in a strange place. It wasn’t a good time to let her guard down. She knew she needed sleep but resisted.
She heard the door open. A man walked past. “Hi,” he said as he did.
“Hey, I saved you some pizza,” Jo called from the kitchen.
He continued on. She could hear him talk with Jo, but couldn’t hear what was being said.