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Saturday, October 28, 2017

Next Story: It's a Trap!

28 OCT 17
So I have decided on my next project. It's a story I wrote a while ago, called "It's a Trap!" I pulled it down from Wattpad, where it's been for a while, and I'm going to rewrite it, with an aim for more imagery and maybe a little more background integration. The story has some grammar issues with it that I've never fixed, and that is the first thing for me to change. I'm also going to throw in a small sketch or two. 

If you've already read the story on Wattpad, you'll be able to see the growth and progression of the story from it's first draft to its final version. The story started out as sort of a western, hopefully that feel comes across at the beginning. I may try to return it to that original western feel.

Here's a piece from the story now, no clue on what the final version will look like though, so don't fall in love with it yet! 

"You bastard!" Black Char snarled as he got up off the ground. He staggered back from the trio and prepared to fight. Jagged Edge still had that horrid knife in his hand. Black Char could see the rough, serrated edge of the blade, covered with his blood. Well, Jagged Edge indeed, he thought. The blade had an oily sheen to it as well. Must be something magical about it. Char had to be careful with this bunch. They were trickier than he thought. He put his hand to his lower back and felt the tear in his clothes.

Murg smirked. "Bastard. Yeah, I'll give you that one. But mind your tongue and remember who is in charge. Now let's go get a sword or two."

Besides writing, I've also been practicing some of my photography skills. I am not good at low light photos, so I decided to see what I could about that. I went to a haunted house and was allowed to go through it and take pictures. 

Here is one I am happy with for the post picture:

Some techniques I worked with to get around the lack of auto-focus (it doesn't work in low light) were using lit objects (like the exit sign at the end of the hall) to manually adjust focus, also using a monopod to try and maintain a steady image, and trying to use occasional lighting (strobes, flickering lights, a door opening such as with the picture above) when possible to set a dark picture. 

Although a bit early, I'd like to wish everyone a Happy Halloween and other 'dark' celebrations. I've read about different traditions from around the world, such as All Saint's Day, Dia de Los Muertos, etc... It's amazing to me the many ways that people have for dealing with the shortening of the days and the lengthening of the nights. 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

What's Next?

22 OCT 17

So I'm done with the Ice Pirates story, it's released out into the wild. And we'll see how sales go. I hope it does well. I'm concerned about the cover a little bit. Should I have gone with something different? Something more professional? I do like supporting artists. In fact, I have another cover being completed, one that my daughter and a friend of hers created. I may go with that. I also have plans to do small interior illustrations for all of my stories. 

So what's next? Well, for starters, I went running again and came up with another great story idea. I really need to keep up this running inspiration thing! It's an idea (about the name and properties) regarding the ocean between the Old World and the New Lands.

Once I process this new idea, I'm going to go back to sketching out some other ideas, and maybe do some actual sketching as well. I have another story that is ready for release as well. Will probably happen by the end of the year. 

Other author things done today. I got messages from a fan of Pirates & Demons! She said it was really good and was waiting for more to come. Amazing to hear from someone who liked my work. I also updated my Goodreads author page, checked for messages, created a post for this blog, and created an author Facebook page.

Well, that's all for now. Picture for today is one I shot a while ago, Halloween-themed. May your days be long and good upon this earth.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Glitter Zombie Apocalypse & Other Stuff

13 OCT 17
Happy Friday the 13th! 

If you're looking for adventure and danger, go and buy my new short story, Pirates & Demons. It's less than a dollar and you will have a great fantasy read. Here's the link:

Pirates & Demons: Eye of Dog

It's even a great story for Halloween! Has enough of a spooky element to get you in the mood for trick-or-treating!

Okay, now that I've mentioned my new short story (and feel free to order any anthology that has stories of mine in it) let's talk about other things, like the Glitter Zombie Apocalypse Ball at Artscape in Downtown Shreveport I went to. It was a lot of fun! Here are some pictures from the event. I would have more to show, but I am a little picky about which ones I end up using. On the plus side, I have other pictures from the same night to share as well.

 Love this picture! It screams Halloween to me. 

Now these crack me up. I call them the Three Stooge Hecklers. "Hey, you live guy down there! Yeah you! Can you toss my leg back up here before the dog goes and buries it?"
 This is a nice night cityscape picture from downtown Shreveport. I like this one a lot, reminds me a bit of some of the city scenes from Blade Runner. I'm going to see if I can play with this one and get some more color in it. 

Here are some more from the Artscape party. 

  These last two purple pictures are from the Confederate Memorial in Downtown Shreveport. The color is intentional. I think it is supposed to be pink for Breast Cancer Awareness, but it was a pretty solid purple color. Anyways, just to make sure no one gets the wrong idea, I am not endorsing the Confederate States of America or anything. Just wanted to get some cool color-filled photos of the monument before anything happens to them. I see both sides of the argument and think that while the statues should not be destroyed, they should be moved to a place of lesser prominence. The grounds of a museum perhaps.

I love how the lighter shade on the busts and statue makes it look like they are ghosts or some other spectral creature. Perfect for Halloween.

DON'T forget to purchase my short story! It's also free to read on Kindles right now I think.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Pirates & Demons!

12 OCT 17
I just hit submit and uploaded the cover and document files to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) for the Ice Pirates story, now titled

Pirates & Demons: Eye of Dog

Amazon says it may take up to 72 hours before it hits the market and boy am I already going stir crazy waiting for it to drop!!!!!

The short story features a cover drawn by Felicity Swan: 

The cover depicts a key moment in the story when the captain and crew face off against one of their own, who has been possessed by a demon from legend! Felicity read a portion of the story and captured it well. Easy to work with, she produced the artwork by the deadline and created great areas for the title and my name at the bottom! Thanks Felicity! If you look closely, you can see her signature at the bottom right corner. 

The whole process of KDP was pretty easy. From start to finish it took only a few hours to complete the whole process, and that includes going back in and creating chapters and chapter titles.

Pirates & Demons fits into my fantasy world at a time when the New Lands are being settled and explored. Sort of like the wild frontier days in the United States before, during and after the thirteen colonies as various countries explored the New World. Desperate people are making the hazardous ocean voyage hoping to start fresh in the New Lands. But there are dangers everywhere, even on the trip to get there! The story will appeal to lovers of fantasy, sea stories and exploration. Here is the description: 

Pulp Fiction for the Fantasy crowd!

A quiet day during a long ocean voyage turns into a deadly chase as pirate ships appear on the horizon. Passengers and crew band together in a desperate attempt to save their ship from the dreaded Ice Pirates. But all is not as it seems as pirates aren’t the only danger on the high seas, and one of the passengers hides a dangerous secret. 

I am so excited to finally have a short story released directly to the public. Who doesn't like pirates and demons? I have sold several short stories to various anthologies and ready to move on to bigger and better things. I have been working on and off on a long trilogy, but I love short stories and I have many more short stories in me before those book length tales gets published. In fact, I am currently waiting on a fall story to be republished, a collection to be released that will contain five stories of mine as well as other authors' stories, including several by my wife, AND another story is still out there sitting with a publisher waiting to be released. 

Picture for today: My sketch of what I pictured for the cover. It's not complete, but it is supposed to show a lightning strike on the deck of the ship, with crew and passengers nearby. One day I may get someone to finish this. 

Well, that's all for today. Feeling pretty accomplished! 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

The Walking Dead, Halloween, and Running Inspiration

01 OCT 17 What would Halloween be like in a world full of death and desperation like The Walking Dead? Would people still want to celebrate? Would the traditions of Halloween mean more or less if loved ones could come back, albeit as brainless flesh-eating monsters? What would the costumes look like? These are the types of questions that keep authors up at night. 

My personal take on it, which I may work into a story sometime in the future, is that, much like Halloween today is an amalgam of superstitions and traditions from around the world, the future in a post-apocalyptic world with real dead walking around would see a mixing of old traditions and new. Sort of like El Dia De Los Muertos with a side of 'let's do things that keep them rested and in the ground'. Maybe a group of people figure out a way to keep restless spirits 'resting' and these practices spread around the world as an annual holiday tradition with some purpose. I could see dressing as outlandish dead, putting some sort of gifts on graves, to bribe the bodies to stay underground. Maybe too when people die, teeth are automatically removed when possible. That way there is no worry about getting bit. Who knows. Still have much to think on this idea. Some of the stories I plan on telling will be set in a world where death is not absolute.

I had a great idea while I was running today (which means I'm limping now lol)! Those endorphins 'jogged' something loose in my brain. Can't really reveal the idea though, it's still in its infancy, but it has to do with one of my main characters, his relationship to the dwarves, and dwarven culture in general. It will help define both the dwarves and my main character quite a bit, making them more unique in my world. Looking forward to writing again. I have to go running more often, see what other ideas spring forth!  

Three pictures for today. Two of them are mine, one is from the mighty Internet. The first is a black and white pic, a root that looks like a 3. I like taking the occasional black and white. Some things just look better like that. The other one that is mine is a Dia de Los Muertos gato (or Halloween Day of the Dead Cat, as my daughter said)! Bought it and it will go on the Christmas tree this year. The last pic, not mine, is a cat with a hat!