Zounds! A Post!

Finally got all the tweaking done. The New Players (Players of the Game Book 3) is finished. It’s very nice to Ed and Xax back in the latest revisions. I’ll be having beta readers give it a gander in its entirety and will continue to workshop bits and pieces of it in NWW.


On to Book 4: The Breakers. Then Book 5: The War for Trojis. Then Book 6: The Irrealm Quests. Then Book 7: End Game. All of that is subject to change. Might end up with 8 books depending how it shakes out for instance. I’m going to do some loose outlining and try some writing of the early chapters, and then put together a tighter outline on Y Writer (a handy free tool btw).


I gotta say it’s nice to be at this point in the story. I’ve spent years on multiple drafts of this thing, and I think I finally have a version that I can call well-crafted. Don’t think it’ll make me much money, but I like writing it. It’s what I do, yo.


And as far as more frequent posts go, I shall quote Bart Simpson: “I can’t say I’ll try. But I’ll try to try.”


Back at it.

Status 8/28/15

I made it to page 306 by 8/24/15.  Shooting for page 311 by 8/31/15.  I’m on 308 right now.  Should hopefully be doable.

In other items of interest:

I got done listening to The Martian on audio book, and it’s one of those books you don’t want to end, because the next book probably won’t be as good.  I very much hope the movie is rated R.  They really need the bad language to convey the book’s desperation and humor.  The first line of the book is “I’m pretty much effed.”

The trailer for the Bill Murray movie “Rock the Casbah” surprised me.  I think I’m might have to watch it.

Fight Club 2 from Dark Horse is just strange in a good way.

That’s all for niz-ow

Wasting Time with Dragons, Astronauts, Robots, and Other Stuff

Ok, so I have been extremely sporadic in productivity lately.  That last blog entry about reaching page 300 by the end of NaNoWriMo 2014.  I just reached page 302 today.  On 8/17/15.  So, yeah.  I’ve been lethargic.  Need to refocus.  Keeping the goals short and sweet.  Need to reach at least page 305 by 8/24/15.  What have I been doing you ask?  Well, all kinds of fun things!

•    I played Dragon Age Inquisition for 150 hours.  I never want to play anything with that game again.  It was fun when I was playing it, but it was also a chore to complete all the sub-quests.  Not sure if I’m going to be as much of a completeist with some of these longer new games.

•    I played Shovel Knight for 13 hours and loved every crazy difficult minute of it.  Awesome levels.  Awesome music.  I will totally get the sequel or anything else.  Prepare to face justice!  Shovel Justice!

•    I also played Battle Block Theater for 19 hours and died something like 2500 times.  Not a typo.  That game was fun because it was silly and the narrator was most humorous.  Nyeah, see!

•    I listened to the Powder Mage trilogy (among other things) on audio book.  Twas an interesting almost steampunk, but not really alternate take on the French revolution.  Basically, what if Napoleon was more like a cranky George Washington and snorted gunpowder like cocaine to get nifty musket gun powers.

•    I read God Hates Astronauts. A crazy hilarious comic book in the same vein as the Tick.  The ongoing saga of the Snopple heiress on the back cover is worth the price of admission alone.

•    I discovered DragonForce (thanks to Andy Summers on that one).  An unapologetic speed metal band that sings about epic fights and over stuff that is totally metal.

•    I also discovered God is an Astronaut.  They’re instrumental and introspective.  Great writing music.

•    I watched Rick and Morty.  Urp!  It’s riggidity WRECKED, SON!

•    I watched It Follows.  Best horror movie I’ve seen in a decade.  Smart and creepy.  Netflix it.

•    Sub in cerebral sci-fi for Ex Machina.  Very good meditation on AI and the danger of projecting humanity on it.

•    Of course, I watched Age of Ultron and Ant-Man.  Like both.  Got exactly what I expected with Ultron, though it wasn’t quite as good as the first one.  Ant-Man surprised me.  I went in with lower expectations and it surpassed them.  A good heist movie without the typical third-act “McGuffin device is going to destroy the world” trope that superhero movies overuse.

I’ll think of others later.  In the meantime, writing shall occur.  Laterness.

NaNoWriMo is like the Stair Master

I’m doing National Novel Writing Month this year.  I’ve been working on the third Players of the Game novel for about a year and a half.  I’ll admit that I’ve meandered a bit in writing it.  There is no realistic way that I’m writing 50,000 words in 30 days.  I wouldn’t say that I write slowly, I write carefully.  Today I wrote 1276 words or about 5 pages.  This was outstanding output for me, but it’s short of the 1670 words needed for 50K.  And that’s ok.  

A quick side story that will segue back to NaNoWriMo (that name is either horribly stupid or inspired, I oscillate between the two).  Anywho, ten years ago this month, I started working out at the gym again for all the usual reasons, wanting to shed fat and get in better shape.  I asked the trainer, Rick, what was the best aerobic machine on which to exercise in terms of time vs. results.  He didn’t hesitate.  The stair master.  “If you can handle it,” he said.  “It’s the best one.”  Or words to that effect.  It’s been ten years people and I’m not Ted Mosby.  So, I jumped on the machine.  And it kicked my ass.  I struggled at level 6 for twenty minutes.  But I didn’t yield.  I even started chanting it to myself toward the 15th minute.  WILL. NOT. YIELD.  Eventually, my endurance improved, and I actually grew to like it.  My wife says I smile on it now, while I’m oscillating between level 7 and level 15.  I think it’s my entertaining podcasts. (Yay Bugle, Freakonomics, This American Life, Radiolab, Loikamania, Planet Money, the Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show, and Word Balloon!)  She says it’s because I’m crazy.

You’ve probably already figured out where I’m going.  Writing 50K words in 30 days is very much like going on the stair master.  It’s exhausting. (Social Network quote.  Woot!)  I shall go on level 6 and see how much I get.  The main goal is to help me in all those other months.  For the record, my goal is to get as many pages written as I can.  After today, I’m on page 218.  I’d love to get to page 300.  That’s 82 pages in 29 days.  2.8 pages or 706 words a day.  That’s doable.  That’s level 6.  Not level 15.  That’s me feeling tired at the end of the inevitable long workday and being lucky to get a few paragraphs in before my eyes get heavy.  I’ll try to tweet / facebook my progress daily.  No I’m not registering at NaNo’s website.  I don’t feel like having yet another opted in organization spamming me.  I’m looking at you Writer’s Digest.

PS- I wrote this at 2 am when it became 1 am on daylight savings fall back day.  This entry has successfully transcended the space-time continuum.

It’s Not Always As Good As You Remember

So recently I’ve been on a nostalgic kick.  I asked for the 1980’s Tron and Robocop movies on DVD for my birthday.  Haven’t gotten around to watching either of them yet, but having seen at least parts of both of them in the last 5-ish years, I’m reasonably certain I’ll still enjoy them on some level.  Oh, yes.  I’m sure I run the risk of eating those words, but I think I’ll still like both of them.

However, not everything I once liked is as lustrous with time’s passage.  The old 1980’s Transformers cartoons are now on Netflix streaming.  Loved ’em as a kid.  So I partook with my wife because she loves me.  I still like these old episodes, but mainly because they trigger the fond memories I had as a kid.  The animation is way more choppy than I remember, the plots are a little clunky, and the characters are a little less complex than they were in my head.  Optimus Prime, however, seems way more chummy with the other Autobots than he is in the newer movies (at least the two that I’ve seen).  He seems like an amalgam of an honorable samurai and John Wayne in a 50’s western.  His behavior in the Kremzeek! episode with the little electricity imp was that of a guy who just wanted the nuttiness of a screwball enemy to stop so he could catch his breath.  I’m reasonably certain his line, “Talk about a bull in a china shop,” will never be uttered in a Michael Bay movie.

Then there’s all the B, C, and D movies I used to rent at local video stores with my friends when we were teenagers in the early 90’s.  Most were direct to video.  Even back then, they were awful, but we watched them anyway, mainly because of me.  Franken Hooker’s “WANT A DATE?” speaking cassette box still sticks out in my head.  I haven’t partaken in that one again.  I did watch Nemesis with my friend, Marty.  It’s not on Netflix.  It’s free on Youtube now.  And it is awful.  Back then, I thought it was cool because of the cyberpunk cyborgs shooting each other with machine guns, and occasional nude shots.  It didn’t take much to please me back then.  I was a male teenager, like I said.  In watching it now, the effects are ok with the gunplay, but laughable with the cyborg body parts and stop motion animation.  The acting.  Not so good.  It is interesting seeing a young Tom Jane as a minor character.  Watch it only if you want a laugh or if you want to see lots of bullets pumped into cyborgs.


Here’s to the dearly departed Dave’s Video in Hastings, NE.  I needed my fix of sci-fi and fantasy.  And you supplied it.  Quantity sometimes trumps quality if you’re bored at 10pm on a summer week night.  In fact it almost always does.

For Tea!

A few items this time around.

  • Still working on the third Players of the Game book.  I’m currently working on a section with an unstable character who wants to be better, but fears she’ll regress to a spree killer as she was in a previous incarnation.  She’s a life force parasite, who gains strength by feeding on others.  Her powers can be unbalancing, so I need to ensure that challenges before her aren’t too easy, and also dial back her powers a bit.  At least while she’s on the side of the protagonists.  Down the road, if she reverts to a maniac, her powers will increase.  Bad guys should always have the upper hand in pretty much any fiction.  It’s boring the other way around.

  • Check out Storium.com if your looking for some cool pen and paper role playing without the pen, paper, and dice.  My cousin Nick pointed me to it recently.  It’s all story with the GM/DM as the “narrator” and the other players as characters.  I’m batting around a side project that I might use on that site.  I’ll post any updates I have on that front.

  • My friend Sam got me into a new PC video game called Bastion.  It’s truly unique.  The game is made much more interesting by the ongoing, smooth drawl of the Stranger who recounts the trials of the Kid.  Give it a try if you’re into that kind of thing.

  • I love the Dinobots.  From the 80’s.  Every kid loved Grimlock, Slag, Sludge, Swoop, and Snarl.  My wife will let me know if they’re cool in the new movie.  They lost me on the second movie with the Devastator testicle “joke”.  I’m glad others enjoy the modern movies.  They could get me back if they inserted a gun-toting raccoon, I suppose.  Any franchise could get me back with that.

  • Still doing the Malazan Book of the Fallen series on Audible.  Almost done with the second book.  Coltaine’s march is most grim, harrowing, and compelling.

That’s all for now.  I recently celebrated a birthday by going out for tea.  A taste sensation that only gets better with age.

Early June Stuff

  • The Repenter Hidden Chapters Free Book is still coming.  I’m kicking the tires before I throw it out there.  I’ll likely go through Create Space for the molecule book with Repenter novel itself once we get a new cover lined up.  I’ll throw out more info as both get closer.

  • I’m still working on the New Players.  Enjoying writing the somewhat brighter characters.  I aim to expand the compendium on many components down the road, so stay tuned for that.

  • I tossed out a few random tweets for any who care to follow them:  https://twitter.com/Stelfire

  • Been reading the Malazan series by Steven Erikson on audiobook.  Most epic.  I like the multiple characters.  And the good guys actually win on occasion, which is a nice change of pace from the Song of Ice and Fire Books.

  • Thief of Thieves continues to be a good crime comic.  Read it if you’re looking for something with a Usual Suspects vibe.

  • And Homestar Runner FINALLY had an update after 3+ years.  The new video is still on the homepage after more than two months.  The site is mostly legacy at this point, and we’ll be lucky to get anything new for likely more than a year or longer.  But I still waste unearthly amounts of time on it.  The latest quote working its way through my brain is “Duck A La Orange” said by Bubs.

Till next time, keep busting rhymes.

Tactics, Outlining, and Babies.

I spent much of the last week obsessed with a tactics game’s Kickstarter status.  It’s called Unsung Story, by many of the same people who made Final Fantasy Tactics back in the late 90’s.  I loved playing that game.  Something about outmaneuvering opponents who invariably hold the tactical advantage on the high ground hit the right notes for me.  I initially saw Unsung Story in January, donated $20 bucks and stopped thinking about it, figuring that they’d make their funding and stretch goals easily.  That wasn’t to be the case.  This past week they were $125k, short of their funding goal.  The thought of not having this game created drove me a bit batty, I’ll admit.  I found myself checking the funding progress, donated a little more cash to the cause, and then looked at the funding goal more.  Thankfully, they made their goal and will move their crowdfunding to Paypal.  So I was happy.  It was very much another life lesson that my tastes are not always necessarily the most popular.  But they’re popular enough by thunder!

I’ve also been dabbling with some outlining software called YWriter that’s actually pretty cool.  I tried Scrivener at Kent Siever’s recommendation, but I found that I didn’t really care for the interface on the PC version.  The Mac version appeared to be superior.  And YWriter is free.  I’ve been outlining more of The New Players latter sections, and I’ve been enjoying it a lot, so that’s always good as well.

Also I’ll be an uncle thrice over as of tomorrow when my brother and sister-in-law have their third child, so that will be a cause for celebration.  Like a birthday or something to that effect.

In the words of Homestar Runner: “Hooway!”

Port You

So my wife and I had an interesting conversation at dinner.  She recently purchased some of those fingerless gloves that have a mitten flap.  She says they look like shark fins when they’re flapped up.  What follows is a truncated transcript:

Steph: I want to fight crime with my shark gloves.  What kind of powers can I have.

Jim: (Befuddled laughter)

Steph:  I know! I can throw portobello mushrooms at evil doers like frisbees that thump on them.  What do they do when they hit people.

Jim: (Smiles)

Steph: I need an author.

Jim: (Continues to smile)

Steph: (Tapping Jim’s arm) I NEED an author.

Jim: Do you want something gruesome or fun?

Steph: FUN!

Jim: (Pausing to think.)  The mushrooms could burst into spore and generate more mushrooms on the evildoer’s body.

Steph: Yeah!  And I would only give them the antidote if they turn over a new leaf.  But I need a battle cry when I throw the mushrooms.  What should I say?

Jim: Port you!

Steph: (High fives Jim).  Yes.  That’s it.

This is one of the many reasons why I love my wife very much.

The Hidden Chapters Cover

Here’s the Hidden Chapters cover, courtesy of my brother, Tony. It’s kinda like a b-side album. Looks more or less the same with a bit of difference. I’m just waiting on the copyright to go through, then I’ll be throwing it out on either Amazon’s Create Space or Smashwords FOR FREE. I’ll definitely letcha know when it’s available. My brother is quite the artiste, yes?