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Posted in General

Do you even Roleplay, bruh?

Multi-tasking ~ the performance of many jobs at one time.

So, I’ve been doing a bit of multitasking here and there over the past 9 months or so. I wouldn’t consider all of them jobs, though. I’d say about 50% of them are jobs. The other ones would fall into the Hobbies category.

Nevertheless, I’ve been super busy and barely feel like I’ve got time to breathe. But such is life, right? Let’s see if I can keep track of everything I’ve gotten into and these are in no particular order.

Over the past nine months I’ve: 

  • Started a new job at CCBCC as a Delivery Merchandiser driving a Goose Neck Tractor Trailer (Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated for those of you who don’t know.)
  • Became a Father to this handsome little man.

 

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  • Published two short stories with my writing group, the Just-Us League, on Scribophile.
  • And I’ve been Roleplaying.

Right…before your mind goes to weird places, let’s back up for a minute and let me explain.

I like to play video games. It’s one of the many hobbies that take up my spare time. At this point, I’m hooked on a particular game called ARK: Survival Evolved.

It’s a survival game based on a fictional world(s), or maps, that are swarming with prehistoric dinosaurs. You can tame and ride these dinosaurs. You can build houses and civilizations. And you can start and participate in tribal wars.

I play this game, and many others, on my Xbox One console. It’s common to have games that utilize online gameplay to build communities and increase interest in the game itself.

ARK has online servers that are managed by the game developers.

All I’d have to do is join one of the hundreds of available servers and get my game on. But I was looking for something different than a stale old server. I wanted something MORE. 

And I found it on a server called ARKdownunder.com

This is an Australian-based server community managed by Reconic and Foxes Soxes. A played on the server for about a month or two before they decided to start Roleplaying. The game itself is already pretty impressive, but the roleplaying aspect opened up endless possibilities.

I’ve been Roleplaying my game avatar as a half-giant by the name of Allaric Redstone who wound up on the mysterious ARK. My character was born into a society of warriors who test their new soldiers in a place they call the Gauntlet. Allaric believes the ARK is this Gauntlet considering that it has impossible living conditions and predators that ravage the weaker lifeforms on the Island.

I’ve played on ARKdownunder.com during these nine months, and my character has lasted through 3 separate server seasons. But despite that, Allaric and any of the other Survivors on the ARK are trapped and can’t leave until the “The Formers,” or overseers of the ARK allow them to escape.

But this season may be the end of Allaric’s story. I haven’t decided yet.

Yet, Roleplaying as Allaric Redstone hasn’t been the only fun I’ve been having with the ARKdownunder.com community. During this time, I suppose I made a good impression on Foxes Soxes and Reconic, so they decided to give me a shot at a Staff position they needed to fill. From my experience, there’s so much more to managing a server than what’s on the outside.

Primarily, Staff helps maintain the community and keep the Order strict and the chaos in check. New players must apply to the server, so as a Staff member, I must assist in processing and grading the quality of Roleplaying stories that come through. If necessary, we help the Survivors in editing their story to match our standards.

We also use an application called Discord that allows us to communicate with the growing membership that we have on the server. One of the other parts I enjoy is the opportunity to write. I suppose you could all me the Game Writer for ARKdownunder.com. It’s funny to say that out loud–gives it more meaning, I guess. We write what we’ve come to call the server Lore. As a whole, these are the events and circumstances of the server that we explain creatively. Such things as what map we chose, why things are the way they are, and why the Survivors were sent here are several questions we try to address. Writing the server Lore is a great way to unplug from writing short stories and novels.

At first, I joined the server to have fun gaming, but it’s turned into something else entirely.

I’ve come to care for and respect the Hosts, Reconic and Foxes Soxes, as well as the player community in general. At this point, I can’t say where the server is headed or how my role in its management will evolve; I do hope that I find out soon.

If you’d like to check out the server and the community itself, please visit www.arkdownunder.com. If you do visit the site, please read through some of the Lore and let us know what you think!

Thanks for reading everyone, and I hope to post again about Roleplaying soon.

 

 

Posted in Moon Phases

The Moon Phase I – (August 6th-August 12th)

How does Merriam-Webster define the word Progress?

Progress: a forward or onward movement (as to an objective or to a goal). OR gradual betterment; ESPECIALLY the progressive development of humankind. 

Hmm, that doesn’t sound very much like what happened during this first Moon Phase. Let me be VERY honest here.

I procrastinated. (There I said it!)

I procrastinated like it was my job.

I procrastinated like my job depended on it.

I really didn’t get much done in the way of planning this time around, and I am ashamed. But I have an excuse…or several!

(Oh, here we go!)

NO, listen. I promise they are good…ish.

My Valid Excuses:

  • I’ve been helping manage a Private Player Dedicated ARK: Survival Evolved server with a couple of other like-minded individuals from Australia. My contribution has been ongoing since…about March of this year. For anyone familiar with ARK you’ll understand how managing a server can be time-consuming. For anyone who isn’t, if you have a Xbox One console, you should check out the game and its entirety on our server! Come see what we’ve got going on at www.arkdownunder.com.
  • I’ve been studying thoroughly day in and day out for my CDL. For those that don’t know, it’s a Commercial Driver’s License. It’s widely-used in trucking companies. One of the central portions of the test is a Pre-trip inspection and the backing challenges. For me, the backing challenges were the hardest.
  • I spent days at the warehouse, repeatedly challenging myself with these maneuvers. It wasn’t easy for someone like me, who had no previous experience driving Tractor trailers or having to work with trailers in general.
  • I also spent a lot of my extra time studying for the Pre-Inspection portion of the test. Basically, before taking a trip in the Tractor Trailer, you have to inspect many essential parts of the vehicle to make sure it’s safe to operate. Plus, if you know what you’re looking for, it can save you a lot of headaches later on. It might help you avoid blowing a tire out on the road, or having the truck overheat because it’s low on coolant.
  • Another reason, well let’s face it, my son has taken up the rest of my extra time. I just haven’t built a daily routine that allows me to write. (I KNOW IT’S BEEN SEVEN MONTHS, BUT GEEZ IT’S SO DIFFICULT TO DO ANYTHING WITH A BABY AROUND!!) Okay, my rant is over, and you get my point.

~See, I told you my excuses were goodish. Right? I’ve decided to start these Moon Phase posts “officially” once I’ve figured out a schedule that works for our family and allows me the time to write.

~I’m chomping at the bullet though, I’d like to see my work in print and be successful, which is every writer’s dream, but that’s going to take time. That’s why I’ll take my time doing this planning thing. I’m still not a 100% on it, if I’m honest, which may also be contributing to this writing rut. But I’ll get out of it eventually, and everything will be better off for it.

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Posted in The Slush Pile

The Slush Pile: S01: Ep. 01 – “Pilot”

Can anyone tell me why the decision makers of new shows call the first episode “Pilot?” Anyone?

One definition is:

Something that serves as a tentative model for future experiments or developments: a pilot project.” and it is this meaning that applies to a Television series. The “pilot” episode is made on its own to test whether a show might work for viewers. Then the executives at the ‘interested network’ decide if they’re going to “pick up” the show. Often, the “pilot” serves as the first episode, but not all the time.

Game of Thrones is an excellent example of this. 

So, next time you start a new show, check out the title of the first episode and if it’s called Pilot, chances are it made the cut!

Now to the heart of this post!

The Slush Pile is meant to be a story-based effort to de-stress and unwind from planning out my novel. I realize it’s not going to be an easy process and, at times, I’ll want to bang my head against the wall and give up.

But I’m not going to do that. Not this time. I have to admit, I’d previously given up writing The Wolfling because once I realized the amount of work it needed, I ran away.

I suppose ONE of the many reasons why I’ve procrastinated when it comes to The Wolfling, is that I believe something is missing. Whether that missing variable is a character, setting, or part of the plot, I hope that I find what I’m searching for.

My goal is to take the time to plan out the compelling story arc and fill in all details. I want to consider all possible angles with The Wolfling. I know that because this is going to be a lengthy process, I’ll want frequent breaks; and that’s okay. I’ve accepted that. I believe that every writer needs a break from the hard work that goes into planning a novel or short story.

I’m hoping that The Slush Pile provides a way to take a step back and separate from the hard work for a little while. There’s nothing worse than overexerting yourself on a project too early. In my opinion, short stories are a good way to release those other ideas you have bouncing around in your head that aren’t related to your current WIP. I also hope that by recording my progress like this, I can inspire another writer to push themselves to give their writing the chance it deserves. I’m a Pantser, but I’m taking the pants off and walking around without them. It’s scary and unfamiliar, and sometimes downright weird, but I’m rolling with it!

The Current Plan

  • Write, Edit, and Post the First “Official” episode of The Slush Pile.
  • Provide a flexible schedule for posting new episodes.
  • Write posts about the “behind-the-scenes activities of The Slush Pile. (Such as who is helping me, some hints or spoilers, and new story ideas.)
  • Talk with the Volunteer Editors of my short story episodes.
  • Include artwork with each story/and possibly each episode.

That’s all I’ve got for today, but thank you for tuning into this update and I hope you enjoy what’s coming in The Slush Pile.

 

 

Posted in Announcements

The Moon Phase I – Week #1 (June 25-July 1)

Over the past year or two, I’ve been wrestling with the idea for a novel about the supernatural. I thought I had it all figured out; I even wrote the entire book and posted it to Scribophile to get some feedback. The book was written for a Young Adult audience and featured the main character named Peter Langston.

I called it “The Wolfling.”

Peter Langston is a werewolf(a Wolfling), thrown into the world he couldn’t possibly understand. It’s a world filled with complexity and impossibility. A world of werewolves, vampires, and witches.

(THIS ISN’T A BLURB OR SYNOPSIS BY THE WAY. IF IT WERE, IT’S THE WORST ATTEMPT EVER.)

After receiving some feedback and gaining some writing perspective on Scribophile, I figured out that something was missing.

I didn’t plan the book. I didn’t outline any of my ideas. I just wrote down what came to mind.

While that may work for others, it doesn’t work for me. I’ve self-published two short stories with a writing group on Scribophile called the Just-Us League. I planned those stories the way they ought to have been prepared. I took the time to examine what I wanted to write and how I wanted the story to progress.

For once, I dropped the “Pantsing” act and moved onto “Outlining.” 

Essentially, it was a positive experience, one that I would like to repeat.

So, here’s what I’m going to do…

  1. I’m going to act as if I haven’t written anything for “The Wolfling” yet.
  2. I will outline the book using a computer program designed to emulate K.M. Weiland’s Outlining practices called Outlining Your Novel.
  3. I will divide each (phase) of the writing process–as I see them– into 6.5-week increments. I expect this process to take, at most, two years.
  4. I will post at the end of each “phase” and talk about my progress, thoughts, and general direction of the book. 
  5. Once the book reaches an appropriate stage, I will post it on Scribophile and get some feedback.
  6. I will decide, whether the book will be self-published or if I will pursue traditional publishing.
  7. I will determine whether the book will feature artwork related to “The Wolfling.” I’ve always wanted to write a graphic novel. 
  8. I will acquire Beta Readers and ask for their opinions on my work.
  9. If need be, I will adjust the schedule of the “Moon Phase” as needed based on my progress
  10. At this point in time, I’ve decided that this series will be a Trilogy.

I’m sure, as this process is underway, this list will grow. It’s my hope that someone reads these posts and it urges them to take the plunge and dive into their work. I know for a fact that I’ll want to quit planning and get to writing, but I’m going to resist the urge. As writers and creators, we deserve the chance for our work to shine; we owe it to ourselves and our writing.

Why not give your work the best chance it has to succeed?

Thanks for tuning in to “The Moon Phases” and it is my hope that these posts can evolve and become more than just book updates.

Posted in Announcements

Book Release – Between Heroes and Villians

Interesting Questions: How do you define a hero? // How do you define a villain?

I’ll mention my personal thoughts, but I would like for you to consider what it means to you. 

A HERO: Is selfless in their endeavors and considers the well-being of others above their own. If they can help someone right their wrongs–they will do just that. 

A VILLAIN: They are self-centered. They are, ultimately, a destructive force that is incapable of empathy. They believe by doing the wrong thing, they are making the right decision.

I believe these definitions are well-represented in the message that follows and thank you for taking the time to read this.

Today is a day that calls for a celebration!

The first question you may ask is…WHY?

Last week, I mentioned that the Just-Us League were publishing another anthology. Well, the moment of truth is here, and the ebook and paperback copies are now available on Amazon.com!

The experience was just as thrilling, if not more so than the last anthology and I look forward to participating in more books later on.

But that’s not all!!

To celebrate the release of the second JL Anthology, JL writers are hosting an exciting giveaway! Win our Ebook bundle, including copies of both anthologies, along with four other interesting reads, plus a beautiful leather journal.

Between Heroes and Villains

What is the difference between a hero and a villain?

A hero should always use their power for good: a detective devotes his life to chasing gifted villains; a girl uses her frost powers to rescue her father; a weary sidekick faces her childhood nemesis; and a young man must protect his loved ones against a tyrannical authority.

But having unique gifts means facing tough decisions: a doctor must choose between saving his reputation or his patient; a young woman saves a drowning man and finds herself in danger as a result; a student discovers the consequences of choice; and a wannabe hero takes on a supervillain hoping she’ll be invited to the hero’s league.

And the line between good and evil is oftentimes blurred: a self-made hero crosses that line to save the world; a lovesick henchman blindly follows his master’s orders; a mentor attempts to prevent a pupil from being drawn to villainy; a superpowered military team questions their orders despite the inevitable consequences.

Follow these men and women as they set out to save themselves, and the world, from the great evils around them.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please be mindful of these terms and conditions for this giveaway.

This giveaway will run from 16-30 June 2017 GMT+1 and is open worldwide. The prize is six Ebooks and one leather journal, as pictured. We reserve the right to substitute the leather journal for an Amazon voucher of equal value for non-US countries. Entry is via Rafflecopter, gained by following the various social media accounts listed. The winner will be chosen at random and will be informed by email. The winner has 48 hours to respond to the winner notification to claim their prize. The prizes will be delivered by the authors, and also via Etsy in accordance with their standard delivery terms.

I know I speak for the JL writers when I say, we can’t put into words our appreciation for any and all readers who take the time to pick up our book. Through months of hard work and dedication, we published something we can be proud of, and we can’t wait to share it with you. Thank you all very much, and I hope you enjoy this anthology!

Posted in Announcements

Between Heroes and Villains Cover Reveal – Just-Us League Anthology #2

Hello, Wordsmiths!

I know it’s been a while since my last post and I apologize for that. SHAME ON ME!! Bad J.L….okay now that we’ve got the scolding out of the way, let’s get to the heart of this post.

THE JUST-US LEAGUE ARE PUBLISHING ANOTHER ANTHOLOGY!! THE PROOFS FOR THE FINAL COVER HAVE ARRIVED AND HERE’S A SNEAK PEAK!

Between Heroes and Villains 400x625

I would like to thank Louis Rakovich of Indigo Forest Designs for his amazing work and continued professionalism. He’s a delight to work with and his results are astounding. We hope to keep working with him in the future.

Here’s the back cover blurb for your reading pleasure.

What is the difference between a hero and a villain?

A hero should always use their power for good: a detective devotes his life to chasing gifted villains; a girl uses her frost powers to rescue her father; a weary sidekick faces her childhood nemesis; and a young man must protect his loved ones against a tyrannical authority.

But having unique gifts means facing tough decisions: a doctor must choose between saving his reputation or his patient; a young woman saves a drowning man and finds herself in danger as a result; a student discovers the consequences of choice; and a wannabe hero takes on a supervillain hoping she’ll be invited to the hero’s league.

And the line between good and evil is oftentimes blurred: a self-made hero crosses that line to save the world; a lovesick henchman blindly follows his master’s orders; a mentor attempts to prevent a pupil from being drawn to villainy; a superpowered military team questions their orders despite the inevitable consequences.

Follow these men and women as they set out to save themselves, and the world, from the great evils around them.

Are you as excited to see this in print as I am? Personally, I believe our storytelling voices have only gotten better since the first JL Anthology, From the Stories of Old: A Recollection of Fairytale Retellings was published.

With that in mind, I think the improvement is obvious and as you read this, you’ll see it too. I would have to say that this Anthology has been my favorite one to date.

Superheroes and their stories just have a way of sweeping you into another reality that’s so easy to believe, you might think that you’re actually there. 

~ The Just-Us League Thanks any and all for their support and we appreciate you taking the time to read our short stories. My submission, The Outlands, along with all the others will be available in ebook format on Amazon.com on June 17th, 2017. ~

*Another JL Anthology announcement will follow soon so stay tuned!*

Posted in In A Nutshell

In A Nutshell #23 – Temporary

To put it mildly–I’ve been struggling.

These past few years have been a barrage of one misfortune after the other.

At one point, I didn’t believe I would make it past January.

But I know this rut is temporary. 

Just as the good times must end, so shall the insufferable times.

Yet something ugly will always rear its head and remind you that the conflict is just below the surface.

It pines away, waiting for you to fall so that it can drag you back down into the abyss.

It knows that its time is only temporary. 

If you succumb to the dread, the dark and damp, it will always win.

Once you realize you’re doomed, you can move on to acceptance.

Because suffering is only temporary. 

Temporary