If one is looking for Literature, you don't need to go far on deviantART. There is a large community of writers and a plethora of work to peruse. Featuring genres such as fantasy, mystery, horror, and romance, one would be hard-pressed to find an area not covered. However, due to the nature of the site, shorter works tend to get more focus. It's easier to quickly read a poem or a short story, and thus many of the feature articles on dA showcase those works. However, there are many novelists and serial writers among the mix, oftentimes fighting an uphill battle to have their works seen and appreciated.
With that in mind, I have started an article to spotlight some of those artists and their literary-worlds. The works covered in this feature will exclusively be long-form fiction such as novels, trilogies, etc., or fiction serials.
Current Stop - Caelum Lex
Our first stop on our Literary journey is the "rustbucket" the Dionysian, part of the created by Haley (~khronosabre) and Jenn and featured in the online novel "Caelum Lex."
What better way to find out what a book is about than reading the back cover. Grab the virtual paperback and flip it over to see what Caelum Lex is about...
"Leta Adler is a young, well-bred Vescentian doctor who suddenly gets plucked off of her home planet by the unregistered criminal rustbucket, the Dionysian. The rustbucket she finds herself on belongs to the notorious weapons-dealing, smuggling and recklessly mad mercenary , Fiearius Soliveré and his younger brother, acclaimed engineering genius and unappreciated mechanic, Cyrus, both exiles from their home planet of Satieri and ever on the run from its spreading empirical government.
Though initially apprehensive, Leta finds an unlikely ally against a common enemy in the pair and their rabble of a misfit crew. With her own goals in mind and in the uniquely qualified hands of the Dionysian’s captain, she joins up and, over time, finds that the ship becomes more of a home than she could ever imagine.."
“It's hard to imagine you even having a childhood. In my head you've always just been a science experiment. One gone badly wrong. Like if a chemist mixed cheap gin and low-grade explosives, it'd end up as you." ~ Leta, to Fiearius
Of course, the best way to learn about a Literary World is to visit it yourself. Here are some excerpts from Caelum Lex to help whet your appetite.
Caelum Lex Chapter 1: Medical Attention
Cyrus had never cared much for hospitals. At least the clinic he'd managed to find on this foreign planet - or rather, the clinic he'd thrown himself into like a madman - was hardly the image of mild terror one might expect. The clear glass medical building appeared pleasant, clean and quiet this evening. All was well. Until he burst in, out of breath, and all eyes turned onto him.
Ignoring the startled looks of a dozen waiting patrons, he advanced toward the main desk, immediately meeting the eyes of the curious receptionist.
"Hi, I need help," he began, short of breath. "The captain of my ship was wounded and it got infected. Badly infect
Caelum Lex Chapter 2: The Dionysian
Welcome aboard the Dionysian.
It was very quickly after he'd said the words to the doctor, their newest kidnapped crew member, that Cyrus realized he was leaving her with more questions than answers. The shocked look on her face told him that much. But just as he was backing out of the alcove, the young woman found her voice and demanded, "The Dionysian? Am I supposed to have heard of that?" And then, hastily, "Listen - we won't be able to take-off from here, security won't allow it, this won't be a clean exit - "
At that, Cyrus groaned in agreement and muttered, "I don't think anyone expects a clean exit." But there was no time to explain,
Caelum Lex Art
Literary Universes are worlds created out of words on pages, but many authors now expand beyond that. Creating or commissioning art of their characters and settings is a way to help enrich the reading experience for their fans, as well as help inspire the creators themselves. We asked the creators to pick out three of their favorite pieces and tell us why they are so special to them.
1.This one doesn’t actually depict a specific scene so much as it depicts basically all of the interactions between the captain and the doctor. It just really sums up their relationship in that Fiearius, in all his bravado and cockiness, still has to defend himself to the classy alpha planet girl that thinks he’s ridiculous.
2. I just like this one because it makes me laugh. Cyrus and Leta are the unofficial Dionysian science team, although their sciences are very very different. He may not be able to appreciate the intricacies of the human body, but hey, he at least appreciates her enthusiasm.
3. This last one is an actual illustration from one of the chapters. It’s right after Leta’s come on board and Fiearius has realized that they’re on a planet that could get the ship in a lot of trouble so they’re taking off knowing full well that it’s not going to be an easy task. Fortunately, he is, as always, overly confident and unconcerned about the six smaller fighter ships coming after them as they escape. Meanwhile, Corra is knowingly impressed and Leta mildly horrified. Don’t worry, she gets used to it.
“He’s...he’s an ass, but I truly believe that in the heart of it, he’s a good person. He wants to be a good person anyway. And he cares more than he lets on. Everything he does, he does for this ship, for all of us. And I know that he would likely die for any one of us because that’s just the way he is. He does a lot of stupid shit, but he does it so the rest of us don’t have to.” ~ Corra
The second-best way to learn about a literary work is to talk to the creators. Haley and Jenn were nice enough to sit down for a Q&A about the novel and their other works.
Please introduce yourself.
Jenn: My name is Jenn, I'm 22 and I live in in the amazing city of Chicago. I work a dayjob as a technical writer for an online company. By night, I work on "Caelum Lex"!
Hayley: I’m Hayley. I’m 23, based out of Los Angeles, California and I’m an animator, illustrator and designer by profession. Animator, illustrator, designer and writer by hobby.
How long have you been writing?
Jenn: Pretty much as long as I can remember. I wrote stories on my mom's typewriter when I was 4 or 5.
Hayley: Someone, probably my mother, taught me to write when I was 3 or 4 before I started school. She failed, however, to teach me about spaces. I have a notebook with a story about a puppy and a pony that are best friends. It’s written enthusiastically in pink marker and the entire thing is one word. After that, I guess I never stopped. But I did learn how to separate words. Thanks, school.
Tell us a little about your novel/series?
Jenn: "Caelum Lex" is large-scale science fiction story, featuring a rowdy, gun-slinging criminal crew and all of their misadventures. They get into (and create) a lot of trouble. Sometimes the story is light-hearted and sometimes it's really pretty dark. And, IT IS ILLUSTRATED! Hayley does all the amazing artwork that accompany the chapters. It's like a long-form comic. We post a chapter every Friday.
It's a futuristic setting, but the story itself is very much grounded in realism. It's very character-driven. And I'm going to brag and say it has a little of everything: adventure, darkness, drama, and of course, epic romance.
When/How did you come up with the idea of your novel/series?
Hayley: Fiearius and Cyrus Soliveré popped up around 2005 or maybe 2006 when I was in a phase of just designing characters non-stop. At the time, they were nothing more complicated than ‘brothers that were totally different but still loved each other’, but over time they gained personalities and occupations and histories all leading up to the space pirates they are today. I’ve always been a huge sci-fi fan and since their creation, I was always looking out for inspiration to write the big space epic I’ve always dreamed of, but it was troubling. I had the starting point but not the destination. So I reached out for help.
Jenn: About a year ago, Hayley and I started talking via creative writing message board and just for fun we started to write a story back and forth involving those two characters. The story expanded WAY more than either of us thought -- we kept brainstorming and coming up with more awesome ideas and characters and it never stopped being fun. This past fall we said, "we should just publish this."
Who are your two favorite characters and why? (Yes, I know picking only two is hard.)
Jenn: I really love them all for different reasons. And we have about 20 characters total, so this is definitely an impossible question. But if I HAD to pick, my absolute favorites would be two main protagonists: Leta, for her strength and growth and confidence even when she's scared, and Fiearius, for his instability and badassness and how intensely he cares about the people he loves.
Hayley: It pains me to choose, but I suppose I’m obligated to pick Fiearius and Cyrus. They’re some of my oldest characters, so they’ve got that on their side, but also, I love the foundation of their relationship. Both struggle so much with their own identities, but also with each other’s. There’s a rivalry and a need for approval and a complete inability to understand some things about one another, but underneath all that, there’s such love and respect and even similarity. They’ve got a wide range. I love exploring them.
What’s one of the best compliments you’ve gotten on the novel/series?
Jenn: My favorite thing is when readers say they can't wait for the next chapter. It's so motivating! I also love that Fiearius, the male lead, has a few fangirls. That is hilarious to me. I don't know that anyone should ACTUALLY date someone like him …
Hayley: What she said. And also, when we get comments that speculate about the characters themselves and what their motivations might be or how they’ll react or even who they’ll end up with romantically. We put so much of our own time into developing these guys that when other people care enough to be thinking about them like that? It’s mind-bogglingly awesome.
What would you estimate the readership of the work has been/is?
Hayley: We love our readers, all of them, but we’re missing the most important reader of all: you. I regret nothing.
Jenn: It's been so amazing and gratifying seeing a base of readers grow and show real interest in the story. But it's still not enough to our liking. More! More! Tell everyone about our story! Tell your mom! Tell your mailman!
Just for fun, if you could pick an actor or actress to pay the lead protagonist and antagonist, who would you choose?
Jenn: We have TOTALLY talked about this before. It's so fun to imagine. I think Anna Friel (from "Pushing Daisies") would make a great Leta, though she is a little old to be cast as her (Leta is 23 when the story begins).
Hayley: I am terrible with actors. Sometimes I think the nice gentleman who plays Samuel Anders in Battlestar Galactica could maybe play Fiearius. I’m not convinced he could pull off the red hair though.
Aside from this novel/series, what are some of the other works you’ve done (if any)?
Jenn: I graduated with a journalism degree in May, so I've written a ton for my university paper and other publications. Now I'm a technical writer for an online company. "Caelum Lex" is definitely the biggest creative writing project I've undertaken and it's by FAR the most fun to write.
Hayley: I’m an animator and designer primarily. All my writing works are more low-key ‘for fun’ sorts of things. Caelum Lex is the biggest and best I’ve done. I have a motion portfolio though?
What’s your favorite part of the writing process?
Jenn: I love when you surprise yourself when you're in the middle of writing. A few of the major twists in our story have taken ME by surprise, like I had no idea the story would turn in such a way, but it was just meant to.
Hayley: The best thing about writing Caelum Lex is the collaboration part of it. It’s fun, I suppose, to know, for yourself, where everything is going and what’s going to happen. But it’s so much better when you’re writing with someone else and you think it’s going one way and then your partner just throws something out of left field and you go OH MY GOD and have to react. It’s fantastic. It makes it so much more fluid and real and also just more fun. We both like to keep secret plans from one another. The underlying competition in Caelum Lex is who can surprise the other more. Jenn’s winning. I’m terrible at not spoiling things.
What are your goals for the series/novel?
Jenn: Short-term, gain more readers. Long-term, gain even MORE readers. Longer-term, get a ship like the one in our story and jet into space.
Hayley: Write the most epic space story ever. What? I dream big.
Hayley: Read it. I am guaranteeing that you’ll enjoy it. If you read it and you do not like it, I will give you a free art commission. I’m not even kidding. Either way, you can’t lose here. Just read it. Satisfaction guaranteed.
Jenn: Check it out! [link] We post a chapter every Friday. We also post extra fun content on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Haley says: "Caelum Lex lives mainly on it’s own site, but we upload chapters simultaneously here on DA. Though a word to the wise, if you’re reading on DA, you’re missing out on all the pretty illustrations and that’s not fun. We upload a new chapter every Friday across the board and, on the site only, extra content that fills in some of the story and builds up the world on Mondays and Wednesdays. For extra art, sketches, wips and general cool things, we also have a tumblr at [link] . Finally, if you have any questions, comments, feedback, requests or demands, you can contact us through any of the aforementioned media or at our email firstname.lastname@example.org"
You can view past editions of the series here ---> [link]
If you would like to recommend a novel or series to be considered for Literary Compass, please drop me a note. A series or novel must have a deviantART base , be fairly established, have supporting art, and offer some 2-3 excerpts/literary pieces for reading. You MAY self-suggest your own work.
Guidelines and FAQ for the series can be found here ---> [link]
Commissioned journal CSS and map background created by `GillianIvy
Coding modified and formatted by `Ravenswd
Art featured in article courtesy of ~Bri-Cx
If you would like to recommend a novel or series to be considered for Literary Compass, please drop me a note. A series or novel must have a deviantART base , be fairly established, have supporting art, and offer some 2-3 excerpts for reading.