Sunday, February 14, 2016

Valentine's Goodreads Giveaway: Free Book, LOVE HURTS


The good people at Meerkat Press have a Goodreads giveaway running through March 10th.  You can win 1 of 10 paperback copies of this 26-story collection.  All you do is click a little button and WHAM-O, you're all signed up.  Winners will be determined randomly by Goodreads after March 10.


I finally got mine via extra-slow express (I think it was strapped to a sea turtle's back getting from the States to Japan), and I have dived right in.

What I like best about this collection is that you can pick up the book with just 20 minutes or so to kill and get a complete, entertaining spec-fic story.  No long-term commitment.  I have a hard time keeping up with a novel these days, just because it may be several days between chapters for me.  But with these shorts, I get the satisfaction of a complete tale every time.

And the variety on the theme is always fun to see.  They are all about some aspect of the pain of love, but experienced through a kaleidoscopic lens of sci-fi, fantasy, steam punk, magical realism, and more.  One theme with 26 different ways to play it.  And all great fun!

If you're a Goodreads member already, you're all set.  No risk, all win  If you're not, sign up.  Its free!


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Working on the Chain Gang


Finishing out a 60 hour work week and rolling right into a brief (too brief) vacation tomorrow.  About time!  As anyone who got my Conspiracy Newsletter may have read, I've been working a lot of hours in 2016, and not many of them on writing, reading, or hobby projects.  Almost none, in fact.

Speaking of the Conspiracy Newsletter, did you hear that anyone signed up by Leap Year (Feb 29th) is automatically in the running for a free audiobook...?

Despite the harsh chain gang life, I have managed to write the first 3 chapters of Deus Ex Machina, the sequel to Hungry Gods and chock full o' Spitball's next adventure (and misadventure).

I've marked off a few more side projects and updates off my to-do list as well, but still have a ways to go.  One of which is making a new website for Brink's Chaos Theory.  (I'll obviously let you know when that happens.)

Another is to get involved in the Brains to Book Cyber Convention on Goodreads in April.  There'll be a lot of authors and readers participating, so be sure to check that out for freebies, deals, activities, and Q&A sessions online with writers you know and more you're about to discover.

Well, the Taskmaster is cracking his whip. Better get back to work...

Friday, January 22, 2016

40K Queen of the Damned, Resurrected

I recently rediscovered this rediscovered blog post sitting in my drafts box…

***

I was thinking of models that I'd like to use as a Herald of Slaanesh and remembered this cool vampire countess.  I also remembered one of the first blog enteries I made, which was making up a 40K character for this model.  So I thought I would revisit Decembra and revise her for 6th edition...   

Decembra, Queen of the Damned

A countess of the nobility of an Imperial world, her orgies and human sacrifices drove her further and further into the clawed hands of the Chaos Powers. She eventually became as close to the mythical vampires as any of their fallen servants.




WS
BS
S
T
W
I
A
Ld
Sv
Pts
5
4
4
4
3
8
3
 8
--/5++
160?

HQ model, Independent Character (infantry), Daemon
Love’s Cold Touch – This is the name she’s given to her sword, a dreaded weapon that drains the blood and soul from its victims.  Her close combat attacks are AP3, unless she rolls a 6 to-wound: these wounds are AP2 and inflicts Instant Death no matter the victim's toughness.
The Deepest Eyes: Decembra’s gaze goes beyond enchanting. Her beautiful dark eyes become endless wells that swallow the mind of anyone who gets lost in them. Units wishing to fire Overwatch against her charge must pass a Leadership test to do so.  Decembra also causes Fear, thus robbing the competence of those who face her, and suffers no initiative penalties for charging through cover (as with offensive grenades). 
Shadow Walk: Appearing from the darkness itself, Decembra may Infiltrate and she and her unit have the Shrouded special rule.  When alone she moves as a shadow, ignoring Difficult Terrain and Impassable Terrain. She may also start the game in reserve and Deepstrike, bringing any unit she’s joined with her whether they normally Deepstrike or not.
Bloodlust: She has the Fleet and Rampage special rules.
Immortal: Having absorbed hundreds of souls over the millennia, she has become an eternal evil.  Decembra counts as a Daemon (fearless and invlun save) and if killed, she may make a Leadership test.  If she passes place Decembra back into reserve with 1 wound remaining.  She may then reenter by outflanking (per Infiltrate), deepstriking (per Shadow Walk), or entering from her own board edge.
Queen of the Damned: So alluring are her wicked charms that souls not strong enough to resist are forced to follow her beyond the grave.   Whenever Decembra kills a non-vehicle, non-monstrous creature in close combat, place those models aside--there is a chance they'll rise as one of her Suitors.  At the end of the Combat Phase, roll a die for each.  Those models whose Leadership is equal to or greater than her own (so Ld 8, 9, or 10) return on a 6.  Those with a lower Leadership return on a 5 or 6.  At the end of the turn place the appropriate number of Suitor models (undead something-or-others) either in coherancy with her (as they join her unit) or with each other within 6" of her (as they form their own unit--minimum of 3 to make their own--or join another existing Suitor unit).   

Suitors: Those who have given their lives for her embrace go on in undeath as her Suitors.  Any army that includes her may also include Suitors as a Troops choice.  Decembra may also have one unit as a retinue of Suitors--these count as an HQ choice that does not take up a Force Org slot.  This retinue may Infiltrate or Deepstrike with her and count as Shrouded while joined by her. 

WS
BS
S
T
W
I
A
Ld
Sv
Pts
3
3
3
3
1
3
1
5
--
 5

Unit: Infantry, 5-20 per unit.
War Gear: Cold clammy hands with gnarly fingernails (CC wpn)
Undead: The Suitors are soulless slaves who are Fearless and Feel No Pain.

***

So what do you think?  I tried to make a fun vampiress who is somewhat well-balanced.  Yes, she has a lot of special rules, might never be truly killed, and can convert enemy units into friendly ones. BUT her stats aren't that great, neither are her Suitors, and she's pretty vulnerable to shooting attacks.  She'd be fun to play!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Lightning Strikes: New Superhero Novel Started


I have been struggling with Twilight of the Gods, a prequel to Hungry Gods starring the Phen Five.  It's going to be pretty long and jumps around with a lot of characters.  What I have so far is actually a lot of fun, but the further I've gotten, the more it's felt like pulling teeth.  Part of the problem is I don't know exactly what's going to happen.  I generally know what's going to happen with some characters, but it's like a "fog of war" video game situation, where I see certain events on the map but how we get to them is hidden from me.

For the record, I don't outline.  Not really.  I generally know the gist of the story and only "outline" a few chapters ahead from where I'm at at a time.  But with this story, it's just so big that it intimidates me. And it's been a bummer trying to force myself to sit down and work on it.  Once I'm into what I'm doing, it flows nicely.  I have some great material so far.  About 21,000 words of it.  But I'm just not feeling it.  I'm not excited.  It feels like work.  That's the best way I can describe it: it feels like work.

So I sat down today with a coffee in a Japanese coffee shop and started browsing through my huge list of projects waiting in the wings.  Fix up this old novel?  Revise that?  Go ahead and write the D&D-like adventure fantasy I've been jonesing to do?  But that would mean starting ANOTHER series before moving forward into one of the ones I have already.

I stared out the window.  This was the second story, seated at a nice little wooden table all my own, looking out the front of the building into the city intersection below.  Crosswalks.  Traffic lights.  Glass-fronted convenience stores.  People and cars and busses coming and going.

And I thought, This is my opening scene.  Right here.

And there's a 15-foot tall slime monster raging around right there in the intersection where people are crossing.

I opened a new, blank document and started to type.

And I wrote nearly the entire first chapter in one sitting, powered by raw inspiration, a little bit of desperation, and a jolt of caffeine.

I'm therefore 2300 words into Deus Ex Machina, the sequel to Hungry Gods, starring everyone's favorite smart-ass speedster, Spitball.   This book will go way faster than Twilight would.  And I do want to write that one before moving into Book Three of Spitball's adventures, because a lot of background will come from it.  But for now, I'm finally jazzed again about writing instead of afraid of the huge task of it.  Someday will be the right day for writing Twilight, but today just isn't it.

In fact…  Get this.

I started reading a book about the I Ching today, getting back to my Taoist roots I've forgotten about for 10 or 12 years.  (Also doing it in preparation for reworking a story 14 years old.)  I was reading on a picnic table in the park and suddenly noticed a dime was lying there right in front of my book.  Didn't see it when I sat down, didn't see it for the first several pages.  But there it was, just as I was thinking I could use a coin to flip in order to use the I Ching like an oracle right about then.  Just for fun.  But here was this cosmic coin from nowhere.

So I flipped it 6 times, for six lines of yin or yang, forming the Gua of Mountain above, Heaven below, which equated to Firm Restraint in the text.  (See you get two symbols based on 3 lines each of yin/yang.  Ever noticed those lines on Snake-eyes's shoulder?  That's what that is.)

It's kind of like a fortune cookie kind of thing.  Two of the lines for Firm Restraint read like this: "When your efforts to proceed are strongly thwarted, wait.  Remain calm and collected until the way is clear."  Then, "There should not be the slightest doubt that your way is completely blocked.  Do not even contemplate moving ahead."

Well damn.  That sure seemed fitting, considering my constant conflict about writing Twilight of the Gods.

But not really cheerful or what I wanted to hear.  Maybe I'll flip out a new one, I thought.

I flipped the coin with my thumb for the first line and launched it clear over the edge of the picnic table.  It landed silently in the grass, and when I looked for it, it was gone.

There would be no second fortune.  This was it, my one and only.  The cosmic coin had done its work and had then disappeared as mysteriously as it had come.

Not kidding.  Really happened.

Therefore, I'm going with DXM!  Twilight, you'll have to wait (probably until next year).

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Leap into 2016: Free Audiobook Giveaway



Happy New Year! 

Here we are halfway through January already and I have barely even noticed!  Been super busy with the day job, making it villainously hard to get any more superhero writing done. 

(In fact, not to complain but…  I figured out my total hours at work so far amount to an average of 8 hours a day for every day of 2016.  I have had days off, but the total hours more than make up for those few days off.  No wonder I’m not getting any writing done!) 

I have realized that this becomes a problem, not only I don’t have time to write, but that when I only get to work on a story or novel once a week or less, it’s very difficult to stay motivated on that piece.  I have the same issue trying to read books.  It’s hard to stay interested when you only read a chapter every other week.  Eventually I end up quitting books because of that.  And the same issue plagues me with writing.  I have so many ideas, it’s hard to stay focused on whatever is in-progress because all momentum and excitement gets lost when I can’t get to it but once in a while. 

Depressing.  And annoying.  But the alternative, I suppose, is to give up, and that’s just not an option so...  We must fight on!

I have both a prequel and a sequel for Hungry Gods in mind, and I need to write at least one of those in 2016, if not both.  I also have several other shorter, fun works in mind.  These range from heroic fantasy, to Asian- myth-flavored urban fantasy, to gritty horror stories.

Again, my ambition outruns my actual time to write by about a light-year and a half.  But what can you do?  I’ll just keep plugging along, slow and steady.  Just call me Tortuga.  (That means tortoise.  I think.)

Now, did somebody say something about a free audiobook giveaway???

I figure we need to celebrate the Leap Year somehow.  It only comes around every 76 years, right?  (Or maybe that’s Haley’s Comet…?)  So on February 29th, anyone who is signed up for my “Conspiracy Newsletter” will automatically be in the running for one of three free audiobooks.  I’ll pick 3 subscribers at random (probably by rolling some multi-sided nerd dice).  Winners can choose from the fantasy adventure Tarnish or the superheroes vs zombie book Hungry Gods.  Both are narrated by voice talent Todd Menesses

So if you’re not signed up to receive my writer’s newsletter, do so now!  Click here, or just find the gadget on the upper-left side of my blog. 

And if you are already signed up, don’t be afraid to hookup your friends! 

(And don’t worry, so far I’ve only sent out three newsletters over a year’s time.  Definitely not spamming the crap out of anyone.)

Sign up by February 29th.  Celebrate the Leap Year.  Win a free audiobook adventure.  It’s that easy!