Category Archives: WIP

Be Legend – Ragnarok: An Introduction

Box cover v2

Be Legend – Ragnarok Base Set (Box Cover)

Today I’d like to introduce you to a project I’ve been collaborating on. This is something quite different than anything I’ve worked on previously, but it is a project that’s quite close to my heart because it is, in fact, a board game. Now, I love board games and tabletop gaming for many reasons that I won’t elaborate on here (perhaps in another post). Really, I’m just excited to show it off to you and I should probably stay on topic anyway. So without any further delay, let me present: Be Legend – Ragnarok.

Be Legend is a programming, deductive combat system created by First Legend‘s Lead Game Designer, Mark Laufer. It is based on legends, myths, historical figures, and other various works of fiction, and we’ve come up with an interesting story to tie all these together. Our base set, Ragnarok, is centered on the Norse mythology, and will include some known favorites such as Odin, Loki and of course, Thor. Other Legends in the base set include: Surt, The Fire Giant; Freya, The Enchantress; and Fenrir, The Great Wolf. In all, the Be Legend – Ragnarok Base Set will include a total of 8 customizable characters for you to pit against each other in this unique game of epic conflict and clever deductions.

One thing that really excites me about this game, aside from the intuitive, programming combat system, is how the game manages to capture the feel of each of these individual characters. Each Legend you have to choose from has two unique ability cards which boil down how it feels to be that character in combat. It sounds almost impossible to accomplish such a thing, but let me tell you, it really works and it’s this specific characteristic of the game that, in my opinion, really makes it something special.

In a future post I’ll go into detail about how the game actually plays, what encompasses a typical game round, and of course, how to decimate your opponents and snare ultimate victory, but for now I wanted to give you a quick introduction and show off some of the gorgeous, original artwork by Rafael Domingos. So, let’s have a look, shall we?

[All images made larger by clicking.]

Here’s our Game Board:

Publication1

Sample Player Boards (Works in Progress. Text shown is filler text only.):

odin_player_board_front Surt_player_board_front

A few Unique Ability Cards (Card Text not Finalized):

Disenchant LightningSpear World tree Judgement flaming sword

We’re steamrolling toward our Kickstarter Campaign, expected to launch in June, but if you’d like to give the project an early boost in the mean time, please visit us at gofundme. Any help you can offer is greatly appreciated. And if you aren’t in a position to donate financially, that’s cool, but you can still help by spreading the word. Heck, even telling just one other person would be awesome!

Also, visit the Be Legend Website for more information on the game itself, view more of Rafael’s gorgeous artwork, and sign up for the print and play beta! Also visit and like our Facebook Page for updates and of course, share, share, share!

Thanks for checking out Be Legend! I’ll be back soon with more information!

Cheers!

Advertisements

NaNoWriMo: The 2013 Wrap-up

press-start-fa915ffe8a6fb32bb3eabf7f771620b4

The hardest part about National Novel Writing Month was dragging my lazy ass out of bed. That and, well you know, actually writing.

With another NaNoWriMo looming just around the corner, I thought it was time I posted my 2013 Wrap-up:

The Overview

2013 was my first attempt at participating in this chaotic, month-long writing marathon to churn out a 50,000 word novel in just thirty days. Along the way I learned quite a bit about myself, about my writing, and about my own abilities as a writer. I learned that I can write from an outline (granted, an outline thrown together in the week before the event), and still have the freedom to “pants it,” find surprises, and drift from the script now and again. I learned that I can set a writing goal, and I can achieve it. I learned that I can write (almost) everyday.

While I didn’t actually complete an entire novel, I learned that I have the ability to write a “novel-size” manuscript in just thirty days. And I learned (or rather reminded myself) that large quantities of coffee and energy shots can in fact replace sleep.

Overall, it was a great experience (from what I remember anyway, the entire month is all still very much a blur).While I technically “won” the event by hitting the 50,000 word goal on November 30, I’m certain there are some things I could have done differently, not necessarily better, to make the experience even more rewarding. So let’s take a moment to recap my adventures in NaNoWriMo 2013.

The Plan

I signed up mid-October on a whim, and started throwing together a quick outline from a story concept I’d been harboring for some time. I’d never tried to write “fast” before and had never really tested myself to see how many words I could cram out per hour, but I guessed that if I was typing at a good rate and just letting the stream of consciousness flow, just writing whatever came to mind without second guessing sentence structure or word choice, that I could probably hammer out about a thousand words in an hour.

So I planned to give myself roughly two hours per day to write, in the early morning hours before work and before the family started to stir. I hoped to reach two thousand words per day so that I could take Sundays off and not fall behind on word count.

The Process

My NaNoWriMo 2013 Starter Kit

My NaNoWriMo 2013 Starter Kit

Depending on the day’s work schedule, I would wake up anywhere between 4:30-6 a.m. I’d brew my coffee and take my place on the sofa, working on a T.V. tray set up as a desk with my iPad and a Bluetooth keyboard. I had my music of course, ear-buds plugged in to my phone cranking out Pandora. (For some reason I was listening to a lot of Alt-J, Mumford and Sons, and Dave Matthews Band.)

Most days I found it easy to hit my word count in the given time, and I do believe my estimates proved pretty darn accurate. From what I remember, I was averaging right around 1,000 words/hour. There were a few days that I found time to write in the afternoons and those sessions would put me ahead. Me, being the lazy, procrastinating person that I am–instead of using these moments to really take off and up my word count–found opportunity several mornings to only write for an hour or so and then go back to bed for another hour prior to work.

I planned on blogging the whole experience along the way, but became so engrossed that I only managed to poke my head out once for a Week One Update. After that, there was only writing, coffee, and then darkness…

The Aftermath

2013 WriMo Stats
As you can see from the above image, I stayed on track and hit a total of 50,041 words on November 30. I ended up writing every day except for two days, day #10 and #28. Despite that, I never fell behind in the overall word count goal for any given day. I think this is really a good point to take home for anyone attempting the event this year. It is very important to keep your head above water. If you want to write ahead, write ahead, but don’t skip a day if it’s going to put you behind thinking you will make up for it tomorrow. That is, write for credit; don’t write yourself into debt. While I have read a few other writers post about falling behind and then making up for it in a final, glorious surge near the end, writing from a deficit only makes an already difficult challenge that much more challenging.

The Result

2013 WriMo Stats 2
So, what do I have to show for all this, aside from the satisfaction of knowing that I am now officially a WINNER! (With a t-shirt to prove it! Yippee!) plus all that ooey gooey knowledge and creamy-center-filled confidence I gained? Let me tell you: I am now the proud owner of 50,041 words of a half-finished “zero” draft novel that I haven’t looked at since and can barely even recall writing let alone remember what the hell I actually wrote. It is probably complete orangutan puke, but it is mine. It is mine to finish. It is mine to rewrite, edit, and revise. It is mine to turn into something perhaps worthwhile, something that could even one day be yours as well, and if it wasn’t for NaNoWriMo, it might never have existed.

If you have never done NaNoWriMo before, don’t kid yourself, this is a very difficult challenge. By December 1, I was exhausted, burned out. With family obligations and a full time job, there’s no way I could keep that kind of pace going for much longer than a month. Even only writing a couple or three hours a day, it just wears you down, both physically and mentally, trying to keep pace and consistently make your word count. But if you can hang with it for the whole month, win or lose, it is extremely rewarding. And yes, I will be “competing” again this year. (As I’ll discuss here in a few days, this year I plan on cheating. Shhhh…)

How about any of you? Done NaNoWriMo in previous years? Care to share your experiences, good or bad? Or, if you’ve never done the event but are thinking about it, please feel free to share your thoughts or ask questions in the comments below. While I’m still somewhat of a NaNoWriMoNewbie, I’d be happy to chat about the issue, and perhaps we can pull some real veterans into the discussion along with us.

Thanks for reading, and until next time, Just Write!


A Poem for Brenda: Everything

WIP Disclaimer: Ahem, the following poem is a Work In Progress. It is simple and unedited, just like me. It is likely to change before it ever, if it ever, sees (real) publication. There.

As the title of this post suggests, this one is for my wife, Brenda, but you are all welcome to read it too, I suppose. Honestly, I can't really stop you (since, ya know, it's now on display for the eleventy or so billion people on this here internet). Enjoy!

Everything

I Love her deeply but she doubts me,

challenges me.

If she could see into my heart,

she would never do so again.

If I could just show her my love

like a physical thing,

like an ocean swelling, raging,

full of emotion and madness;

If she could slip her face beyond its surface

to gain but a glimpse

of the unending depths,

she would forever trust me

having witnessed the extent

of all she means to me,

and sleep soundly at night,

knowing beyond doubt,

that she is my everything.

 

 


NaNoWriMo: Post Week One Update

Graph

My journey into this lunatic adventure of National Novel Writing Month is well underway as I’m joining nearly 300,000 other writers (so far) in this grand (insane?) undertaking to write an entire novel in 30 days during the month of November. Now that we’re done with the first quarter (sports term for all you sport-ish people) and boldly going right on into the next, sleep deprived and caffeine juiced, with alienated family and friends, I think it’s time for a quick update to see how things are shaping up.

First, here’s a look at the score card:

Score

 

A quick word on motivation and word output:

The hardest part of this whole adventure thus far has been waking up early. That is, actually opening my eyes, forcing my lazy butt to roll out of bed, and JUST WRITE! I’ve been waking up every morning anywhere between 4:30 and 5:oo a.m., brewing coffee, headphones tuned to Pandora, and then sitting down to write. Nothing else, no distractions. That gives me about two hours before the kids start waking up and then I’m pretty much done for the day. On two days I wrote in the afternoons, once on Saturday while the kids napped and once on Wednesday after work. On each of those days, I cleared over 3,000 words. I’m averaging about 1,000 words an hour. Some hours I get less, but some hours I get more. as far as words go, I guess I’m not doing too bad. (Note: refer to the graph at the top of the post for my daily progress chart.)

But how’s the story shaping up?

That’s a fair question. Allow me to attempt to provide an answer, but since I’m blazing a trail forward and not looking back to see the terrible mess I’m making, I’ll just have to guess. I started with a rough outline that I threw together the week before Nano began. It is basically just a work in progress TOC with the major parts listed and basic details of what’s to happen in each part. I didn’t break it down any further into specific chapters or scenes. In all there are five parts. After nearly 16k words, I’m still floating, rather aimlessly, around in Part I. Clearly I am pantsing it (within the framework of my outline) and I know I’ve written a puke-tastic amount of fluff. I mean, not much has happened yet in terms of plot, and I know that will be an issue ill need to to tackle in the coming drafts, but in the mean time, who cares? I’m fully aware that what I’m creating is a Hot Stinking Mess, but that’s OKAY! At this rate however, I’ll be doing Nano: The Extended Edition until late January before I ever reach the end of that final scene. Oh well, it is what it is. At least I’ll have something to work with once the first (zero?) draft is actually complete. 

And now the summary:

Overall, I’m actually quite amazed that Nano is going this smoothly so far. I honestly felt like it was going to be nearly impossible and that I was completely nuts for even considering it, and now it feels entirely possible. The (seemingly) impossible is now looking quite plausible, perhaps even probable? Now that I’m sensing that accomplishing the goal is actually attainable, my drive and determination are all that much hungrier. All I have to do is keep doing what I’ve been doing and at this pace, I might actually win. Well okay, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. There’s still a long way to go and a lot of novel yet to write, but so far I must say it’s looking quite good for the home team.


NaNoWriMo…Wha? I must be Crazy!

press-start-fa915ffe8a6fb32bb3eabf7f771620b4
 

I’ve always suspected that I might be insane. Now it’s official. Read on, I finally have the proof!

Yesterday, on a whim, without a shred of forewarning from my subconscious, I decided to participate in this year’s National Novel Writing Month.  Why is this so crazy, you might ask? Well in case you are unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo, let me give you a brief rundown. Basically, every November is National Novel Writing Month. Participants sign up (for free) to write one 50,000 word novel in the time span of one month. That’s right, 30 days. One. Entire. Novel.

The goal in itself isn’t crazy, mind you. While I imagine that it might be extremely difficult to write an entire novel in one month, it IS an achievable goal. No, what makes this so crazy for me is that I’m going to attempt this with my current work schedule and home life (which I’m certain is no different than most of the participants). And of course, one thing I simply can not do is neglect my family in order to write. Family first. Writing second. Always, no matter how strong my passions are for writing, that is just the way it must be.

Currently, I’ve been telling myself that I don’t have any time to do any writing whatsoever. I tried the whole, wake-up-an-hour-early thing for a couple of weeks and I think I actually dragged my lazy but outta bed to write a total of…what was it, oh yeah, once. So how am I going to achieve this goal? Well, while it is doubtful that I will actually achieve the goal and “win” NaNoWriMo, (although I will be damned if I’m not going to give it my best shot!) I think staying up later than usual and waking up at oh, say, 4 a.m. is probably a good place to start. So let’s just see if this event will give me the drive. Let’s see if it will give me the kick in the pants I’ve been needing to really make it happen! I figure if I even only meet 10% of the goal, it’s still 10% more of a novel than I started the month with, so hey, what the hell have I got to lose?

In the next twelve days before the writing frenzy begins (twelve? really? is that all?) I’ll be trying to prepare as best as I can by daydreaming plot lines and penning character sketches. I’ll also try to post some information about the actual novel itself such as title, premise, and teasers, but I doubt I’ll have much time to post, if at all, during the month of November. But have no doubt, I will be posting post-NaNoWriMo in the weeks/months after in order to update you on how things went, what I (hopefully) learned during the process, and generally just share my experience.

Ok, now that I’ve gone public with my total insanity, all I need to do is to stock the cupboards with the finest (cheapest, strongest) espresso, a couple of cases of Monster, and a goodly supply of energy shots. Oh, and if I could somehow lose my unquenchable desire for a good nights sleep, that would be helpful as well.

What about you? Participating? Thinking about it? Been there, done that? I’d love to hear from you and any thoughts, advice, or experiences you might like to share! Also, a small smack of encouragement would be great too! 🙂


I’m Not Dead: Balancing the Equation in My Writing Life

image

I’m not dead. Not yet anyway.

That’s pretty much all I wanted to say, but if this is going to become a real post, I’d better make up a few more words. I could always explain things, tell you loyal readers why it’s been so quiet on the writing front these days, but I’m sure no one is really that interested.

Oh what the heck, I’ll just do it anyway. Besides, I need to find more ways to stretch this thing out, haven’t I? So then, what I’d like to do is elaborate on the things in my life which have caused my writing to slow down, and then explain my strategies on how I plan to overcome them. If you are bored with all the personal details, just hang in there and keep reading…I promise there’s a nugget or two in here somewhere.

So here it is, the reasons why productivity has slowed down so drastically in my writing world. It can easily be summed up with this simple mathematical formula: Writing productivity is inversely proportional to the intensity of real life. That is, as one speeds up, the other inherently slows down. So what has been causing the intensity of my life to increase so much? Work of course is the big obvious and boring reason, so we’ll just get that one out of the way. There! That feels much better. Now on to the more important issues.

Buying our first home has been one of the biggest challenges my wife and I have ever faced, from the initial and grueling home search, to obtaining the financing and gathering all the countless documents that go along with it, to a myriad of other hiccups, bumps, and catastrophes along the way which I don’t have the space nor the patience to get into here. We finally closed on our first home just four days before Christmas and orchestrated a complete DIY move over the course of the next week between Christmas and New Years (with a bit of help from our friend, Lisa…thanks Lisa!). Oh, and did I mention that our second child was born just three days after Christmas? So that means I practically moved an entire household by my lonesome while my wife was recovering from childbirth all while helping to care for our newborn baby boy and very active two year old daughter. Whew! Makes me exhausted again just typing it all.

So now what? Well there are still countless things occurring on a daily basis such as work, getting settled into our home, and taking care of the family which can all decrease writing productivity, and I know that this trend will never change. After all, such is life. So how will I manage all this and still remain productive in my writing? How will I bring balance to the equation? Not-so-simply this, I must carry on and try to become more creative when it comes to finding ways to squeeze in the time to write. (A bit like trying to squeeze lemon juice out of the peel, but nonetheless, it CAN be done!) That means analyzing how my time is spent overall and looking for ways to skim a little time off the top of other activities (i.e. sleep, surfing the internet, World of Warcraft), then arranging and compiling that time into blocks, chunks, and snippets which can be reallocated for writing.

I will use this time to update the blog as I can, and conceive of ideas to help generate content and traffic flow in ways that will require less of my time, hence using more of my endless creativity. I will also be behind the scenes organizing and editing two nearly completed chapbooks, slugging away at final edits on my novella, shopping around a few completed short stories and poems to various markets, and starting up another large scale writing project as well.

To summarize all this gibberish, all I can do to rise above the delima of not having the time to write–and bring balance to the equation–is to get extremely creative in my time management. With that, I must make the absolute most of the precious time I do manage to set aside for writing. I heard it said recently that not having enough time is one of the biggest falacies we give ourselves to use as an excuse. And in a way this is true. Everybody, no matter who you are, has exactly the same amount of time each and every day. It is what we choose to do with our time and how we use it that makes the difference in our success. While I agree with this for the most part, I will say that whoever first came up with this idea, certainly did not have children.

What about you? What creative ways have you come up with to find more time to devote to your writing or other projects?


Nightmare Dreamer (working) Cover

Well I’ve been toying around with this for a few months now and I think it’s finally ready to at least share with some folks. The process for creating this image has been quite a learning experience to say the least. Before starting this I had never used Photoshop or any similar program, unless you count Paint, and well, uhm no.

Bear in mind this is still very much a working cover, and so it will likely change a bit before the book is published, and there is even a good chance I might wake up one day with the need to scrap the whole thing and start over. In either case, the book is coming, so one way or another there will be some sort of cover to go along with it.

Also of note, look for a good sampling of the poems from this chapbook in the August issue of The Horror Zine!

And now I leave you with the blurb (Yes, again…) to go along with the book.  Farewell readers!

Nightmare Dreamer is a chapbook of 20 poems inspired by the artwork of Polish painter Zdzislaw Beksinski. Each poem was crafted out of the poet’s response when viewing individual pieces from the artist’s canon. These are not descriptions of Beksinski’s paintings, nor are they interpretations. Rather, each poem attempts to reflect upon the nature of the individual work that inspired it, as witnessed by the poet during those moments of creation. Like Beksinski’s art, the poems contained here are surrealistic and graphic. They are at times horrific, gothic, and apocalyptic. Above all, they attempt to serve as a rare glimpse into the heart of our darkest nightmares.

Contains reprints from publications such as The Horror Zine, Twisted Dreams Magazine, Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine, Indigo Rising Magazine, Death Head Grin, as well as several poems never before published.

Welcome Dreamers, and may your Nightmares be just beginning…


Poem: Dead Flowers

Dead Flowers

 

Dead flowers in the trees

fall from branches

like the blood from broken lips.

 

Dead flowers in the grasses,

petals curling

like the legs of upturned spiders.

 

Dead flowers on the sidewalk,

sun-scorched and bleaching

like the unfortunate wayward slug.

 

Dead flowers in a hand,

anchored with a burden

like the bones of buried loved ones.

 

Dead flowers on a tablet,

the memory of color fading

like the whispers lost in wind.

 


Rage in Glass

During a recent family trip to an amusement park, an incident with a gorilla inspired me to write this piece. As is the case with most of the poetry I publish here, it is a rough draft WIP, but I thought it might be fun to share. Enjoy!

Rage in Glass

 

Daydreaming…

…bamboo snaps,

wicker rustlings,

crystal dew on moist, misty mornings–

 

–peck, peck, peck, rat-a-tat-tap,

breaking concentration.

A slight jolt,

eyes shifting, giving warning.

 

Mid-day in shade,

awake from napping.

Still groggy, stomach growling.

Companions nearby,

silver lining telling them who’s king–

 

–peck, peck, peck, rat-a-tat-tap.

Annoyance boiling to anger.

Another warning.

Human faces staring, gawking.

 

Again dreaming…

…beneath the canopy,

building beds of brush,

breathing abundant greenery.

Remembering cadence,

sweet nectar rains

drumming on banana leaves,

softly, hypnotic–

 

–peck, peck, peck, rat-a-tat-tap.

Rage surmounting.

Too many futile warnings.

Nearly breaching

captivity-eroded threshold–

 

–peck, peck, peck, rat-a-tat–

SLAM!

Double fists against pane,

full strength never breaking.

Human screaming

resonates through glass.

 


A Poem for Earth Day: Skeleton Earth

In the spirit of Earth Day, I’d like to share a WIP poem that fits the theme for the day. It’s still rough around the edges and I’ll likely revise this post to reflect any changes as I work them out. So without wasting any more of your time, here it is:


Skeleton Earth

 

The flesh upon this skeleton earth

is scattered thin and withered clean,

decay brought forth by a dominant thing,

that slurped and fed ’til all were dead.

 

But something yet remains

within its heart so deep.

Like a cosmic sphere of bone

it churns the marrow at its core,

molten rock that sings

with heat and surging steam.

 

New bonds form from littered remains,

and a seed soon feels the need

to stretch its roots and run,

to sprout from out the crust,

at last to know the sun.

 

The wind will blow

like whispers from the grave,

their molecules joined in synthesis,

paving way for dawning day

to embark this grand new genesis.

 


%d bloggers like this: