Friday, May 26, 2023

New Project (Phase 1) Complete

 All right, the first story in my fanfic series set in the Realms of Eldara is finished.  All revisions are complete and there's no more fiddling with it.  That's a good thing because I'm almost done with the first draft of the second story.  (Phase 2, if you must know.)

  The story ended up being called "Stones Like Rain" and it's part of what I'm calling "The Larenfall Cycle".  It follows an adventure with four classic D&D characters; a fighter, magic-user, cleric, and a thief.  (Yes, when I get to their backstory I'll figure out how to have them meet in a tavern.)  That is the most stereotypical party of adventurers imaginable so I went straight at it.  Interesting side note: as I was writing I found out again how balanced a party with those four classes is.  Stereotypes exist for a reason, folks.

  It has a compelling villain since I've talked many times about how important the villain of a story is.  It has high stakes with a threat to an entire city if they fail.  It also has relationships that are tested and reinforced.  And it has at least one decapitation.  You know, all the good stuff.

  Right now I'm hosting it on my Google Drive and working on how to release it.  More on that later.  I'm also working on hosting all of my previously sold pieces there as well for free reading.

  One of the really fun things about this new group of stories is that I'm also going to release a version with the game mechanics running down a side column.  When the heroes enter into combat you can read the standard thrilling prose of the main story and also see what the attack and damage rolls were.  There was no other way to present a story based on a D&D 5E ruleset.  Also, another version is going to have the story with embedded author's commentary just like your favorite movie on DVD.

  And of course: D&D character sheets for the band of heroes.  You'll get to see all their stats and abilities and spells and such.  That way you can have great fun second guessing the author and saying in your bestest, most condescending voice: "Well, anyone who knows the rules would have cast Lightning Bolt instead of Fireball there.  This guy's an idiot."

Thursday, January 26, 2023

New Projects

 That last story was finished in time for the holidays and I immediately started working on another.  This project is a little different.  I wrote a story grounded in D&D rules and based in a world created by an excellent Twitch streamer, Evan Blair.  (EvanBlairArt - Twitch

His world is called Tellaria and it's one of the realms of Eldara.  All his own creations.  The story I wrote is essentially a fanfic and isn't saleable anywhere but I had great fun with it.  There were two things that created the most difficulty fun.  First was trying to fit the tone of Evan's shared world idea.  I had to take his lore and the various Known Things in Eldara and adapt those into a story that both honored his creations and also was a separate creation of my own.  I've loved writing in shared worlds before and I'm happy to have a chance to do it again.  (Ed.- 'shared world' is a very ephemeral title, as nothing is really released publicly that would be considered 'shared' and this is all pre-debut.)  Second, I found it challenging to write a story that had to follow specific game rules.  It's not as easy as you might think.  Games and fiction are two different mediums and they have different goals for the type of user experience they deliver.  Hacking away at monsters is perfectly good fun when playing D&D.  It's not that great to read about.  Similarly, a story arc in fiction has elements of tension and resolution that are just not present in a game system.  There also has to be a balance in the action beats that don't always happen in D&D.

But, like I said, it was great fun.  More stuff like this to follow.

Wednesday, November 09, 2022

The New Story

My current writing project is an excellent example of an idea in search of a story.  I finished a story that flowed quickly and felt easy.  Then I had an idea for another story and started in on it.  Then I realized that the idea didn't have the sticking power in my mind and it drifted for a month or so with no progress.

The issue is that an idea doesn't always mean you're ready to start.  I should have recognized that I didn't have defined characters, didn't have a plot beyond "get to the top of the tower and fight", and I didn't have a resolution or even a hook that needed resolving.  Therefore, it should be no surprise that the momentum faltered.

But now things are starting to gel and I have a vision for the characters, their relationship to each other, and how to bring this to a satisfying conclusion.  Of course, the first sections are going to need complete revision but that's all part of the deal.  This one should be done before the end of the year.

Thursday, October 27, 2022


 OK, it looks like I need to update this site a bit because I've gotten back into writing.  First thing I needed to do is remember my password here.  Failed.  Updated password and regained control of the blog.  Second thing I need to do is come up with a witty post to mark this memorable occasion.  Failing.  Review options for success.  Few.  Abandon post?  Yes.

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Every Villain Needs a Hero

Villains drive the story.  Without them our heroes would just walk in and get the treasure.  Or they'd keep their day jobs and never leave the farm, never run off with Obi-Wan, never enter the ADAA Regional Dodgeball Qualifying match, etc. etc.  However, a villain alone cannot complete a story.  You cannot have Yin without Yang.

So I needed a hero.  My heroes in just about all my previous stories were rather serious types.  This time I wanted something different.  I wanted a trickster hero who was part Brer Rabbit and part Punisher.  I wanted someone younger and more of a smart alec.  But I also needed someone driven by something dark and powerful in their past.  I needed someone set on a bloody goal who could not be persuaded to remain on the farm.  I came up with Conradus de Enghien.

Enghien was (and probably still is) a village in the old County of Hainault in what is now Belgium/Luxembourg.  The First Crusade came largely from French lands and Enghien sounded sort of German even though it was sort of French. I wanted a hero who could possibly be multi-cultural with some exposure to a wider world.

Conradus is a name I found in a list of medieval names in that area and at that time.  It's likely a holdover from Latin and it can easily be shortened to Conrad and that's a familiar sound to modern ears and so that was that.  Name and home town from 'reality', everything else from 'imagination.'  He would be young but haunted by a violent past.  He would be quick with a quip or sly comment but ready to go dark and commit murder in the next breath.  The best heroes are the ones where you're not exactly sure what they're going to do next.

The story I envisaged was a personal struggle between Conrad and Baldwin as they each went after the MacGuffin.  Personal struggles make the best heroic conflicts, by the way.  Darth Vader is just a guy making a bad fashion statement until we find out he's Luke's father.  Therefore, Baldwin had to do something bad to Conrad and what better bad thing than to destroy his family.  This was the connection.  This was the powerful darkness in Conrad's past that would inevitably force the two of them together, locked in conflict that can only be resolved by blood.

And that's how you write a good story.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

The Star Shine, The Blood Rains

The very awesome people at Rogue Blades Entertainment have released Crossbones & Crosses which contains my story "The Stars Shine, The Blood Rains."  Everyone should digitally run out and buy a copy as fast as their fingers can fly.

As always, here are the behind the scenes details.  I took up this challenge on short notice and had to figure out if I could even really do it.  Even though I hadn't written in several years, I was at a point in my life where I was thinking about picking it back up.  So when this opportunity came along I was already leaning towards it.

First thing I had to do was find a story.  Since the subject matter was constrained to either pirates or crusaders, that helped provide focus.  Enter Wikipedia.  Choose 'First Crusade'.  Then start hunting around for the people and events that made up that period of history.  Within five minutes I ran across the part where an obscure, unknown monk finds the Holy Lance (the spearhead that the Roman soldier used to pierce the side of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ while He hung on the cross) but under what are politely called 'suspicious circumstances.'

Like a bolt of lightning from on high, I had a MacGuffin.

Next came characters.  The monk who found the Lance was burned alive shortly after the events of my story and he seemed like a weasley sort anyhow so I needed someone else to center the story on.  None of the historical nobles who fought the First Crusade seemed like good candidates but I did run across the tale of how Baldwin II of what is now the Netherlands and Belgium was installed as Count by impolite means and was otherwise generally an ass.

Now I had a villain.

Every villain needs a hero.  And that guy I'll have to tell you about tomorrow.

Friday, March 01, 2019

This is Happening

Okay, it's been a few years since I've written anything for publication.  I got caught up in life, got mobilized and sent to Africa for a year, came back and followed a job to the Midwest.  So then some time passed.

Now I've written a story set in the First Crusade.  It uses the Siege of Antioch as the backdrop for a simple tale of murder, theft, and revenge.  It's going to be published by the good people at Rogue Blades Entertainment at some point in the near future.

Honestly, it was tough to write.  I had lost a lot of muscle memory and getting back into a writing habit was tricky.  But perseverance and inspiration combined at the right times and I came up with something I like quite a bit.  More details will follow shortly.

Monday, August 08, 2011

While the Morning Stars Sing

Some of you may remember my talking about the story I wrote, "Such Great Faith", about the biblical tale of the centurion's servant who was healed by Jesus. Written from the centurion's point of view and having Jesus with a small speaking role, it was a bit daring and I think it turned out well.

The tough part was coming up with a place to sell it. It wasn't really the type of speculative fiction I normally write as it was more of a straight historical piece. After several attempts it finally found a good home in an anthology from Residential Aliens. I'm pleased to announce that While the Morning Stars Sing is now published and available for purchase. I hope you all enjoy.

Friday, April 15, 2011

What's Up With Lima?

Even with no updates in months, this blog gets about 2-5 hits a day based on various searches and links around the internets. However, for some bizarre reason, in the past two days I've gotten about 35 hits all from Lima, Peru. Not sure what I did to attract such attention but it's an interesting oddity.

In other news, since I'm here, I'm still waiting on the publication of three stories that were originally scheduled to see print last year. Times are tough in the publishing industry.

Also, for the last several months while in Africa, I've written nothing. I've been pretty busy and with that has come plenty of intellectual stimulation that leaves me wanting to do nothing but vegetate when I get back to my room at night. I will say that in the last couple of weeks I've been thinking more about all the research I did to expand "Love and Revolution" into a full length novel so there may be some creativity lurking just around the corner. We will see what we will see.

Friday, September 03, 2010

The Times, They Are a Changing Again

Some of you may know, and some of you may not, that my life is in an evolutionary process right now. I was effectively laid off back in March and I've been making a living by going to as many Marine Corps exercises as I can. Now it's time to take the plunge and go back on active duty. I'm getting one year orders to Djibouti, Africa. Unaccompanied. Should be fun.

The activity on this blog will decrease. Partly because of the shift in life focus and partly because I'm just not writing very much at this time. I've started up a new blog called Going Afar. (Bonus points for anyone who can figure out the significance of the title.) The main reason for the blog is that I was having a hard time finding any current information on the deployment process and military life in Djbouti. So it's planned as a resource of sorts. Also in my thinking was that this part of my life doesn't really fit into the theme of this blog.

Scriptorius Rex will continue to be updated. I have the three stories which are coming out in the next few months and I'll provide info on them as well as the surrounding processes. Those interested are enthusiastically invited to follow my other blog. It's undiscovered territory for me, albeit thoroughly populated by others, and I'm looking forward to the journey.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Don't Say It's Over

But it is. I'm back in the US of A and Korea is in the rear view mirror. I had a great time and got to see a lot of the same officers from back in March. There was Maj Shin, who was my main counterpart and who I worked with the most, and Maj Baek, who I had the previously described conversation about 'fairy dust' with. We were more comfortable with each other this time around. (One great bit came when I was trying to teach a group of them how to pronounce the word 'collaborative'. It was a hopeless cause from the outset but we all had a good laugh.) The translators were better this time. One of them grew up in California and probably knew more Spanish than Korean. The one from Philly was hilarious to listen to during the briefs and another one studied at Oxford and sounded a bit like John Lennon. The final victory party was a shorter version of the last one, sans karaoke, but it was a better time in general.

It was a bit sad to leave knowing that I'll likely never go back again but then, that's how most things go in our lives isn't it? Now, with that behind me, I'm turning all focus on my upcoming deployment to Djibouti, Africa. I'm learning the history, studying the role of the US military there, and j'apprends le francais.

Life is like a giant book and it's time to turn to the next chapter.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Rules

Rule No. 1: Never post when you're drunk.

Rule No. 2: Never break rule number one unless you've just spent two hours with the ROK Marine Corps, who, by the way, are professional drinkers (like the Russians but without the bitterness), and have thoroughly enjoyed the duck and pork and host of dipping sauces and garlic and peppers and kimchee and beer and soju and a really good whiskey.

This Is the Life

This is where I've been living for the past couple of weeks. The room fits seven but we usually only have a few of us at any one time. The showers are open bay style and they're down the hall. Toilet facilities, sinks, and a big rec room/chow hall at the other end of the building.

It beats a tent.