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And…. DONE!

I’m FINISHED!

That’s it. I’m done with book one, Steel Soul. I don’t think I’ve ever written a book this fast before. I started it at the end of April, and now it’s June 12th. That’s two months! And granted, it’s a short book, but it is a complete book with a beginning middle and end.

What’s next? Well, I need to go through with a final edit on my side to make sure everyone has the same eye color, there is a little more detail, and adjust some statistics in the book. The hardest thing I’ve found about writing a LitRPG is getting the stats right with each level the chars make.

My final edit should only take a day or two since it’s short, and then I need to get it edited by an actual editor. While that is happening I hope to get the second book finished. It is already a quarter of the way finished after all.

I also got my swatches of the new fabric I designed and it is AWESOME! I love it. The sheep are adorable, and the citrus slices work better than I thought they would. I also added a few more designs to my redbubble.

I have also been streaming more on twitch so if you’re interesting in hanging out, chatting about writing, art, or video games, I’ll be there off and on. I’m trying to get a schedule but I haven’t been able to yet.

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Posted by on June 13, 2018 in On Writing

 

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Steel Soul – Chapter 1

Chapter 1

I couldn’t get over the smell of it. The world seemed slightly stale to me, almost like a gym locker.

I definitely was not in a gym locker. In fact it looked like an old village you might find in Holland, pre cars,, complete with tulips in every yard. The stones clicked away beneath my feet as I walked around the little clearing, and the grass at the side of the path squished a bit when I strayed from the path, just like back in the real world.

With everything looking and feeling so beautiful it seemed odd that the flowery area smelled like a gross gym locker. Shouldn’t it smell like a spring day? Maybe the head set I had couldn’t produce the correct olfactory signal. I’d have to get it checked.

On my third pass around the area another figure materialize, their back to me. The faint glow of immunity shimmered over them as it did with anyone just entering the game in a safe zone.

I squinted just over their head and saw the blue letters hovering there.

Cassidaya Briefoot
Level 1 rogue 20/20 HP

She was not what I expected.

“Cas!” I called.

Startled, she turned around, and jumped back another foot. Definitely a rogue with that move.
“Who goes there?” she asked, blades ready.

“Really? I’m right here in front of you,” I snarled, shifting from one side to another. The armor was lighter than I thought it would be, and the spiked shoulders only impinged on my vision a little. “Cas, it’s me.”

“Freddy?” Carla asked.

“No, my names Jupiter here, remember? And you’re Cas. Who else would it be? We spawned in together.”

“How would I know? This place is huge! Someone else could have spawned in at the same time.”

“With the same name?”

She shifted from foot to foot, the dusky skin of her avatar shimmering in the sunlight. Her face actually blushed. Bloody hell, but the graphics were good.

“I didn’t think to look at your avatar name,” she said, sheepishly.

“Ah,well just focus just above my head a bit. You’ll see it there.”

Her eyes moved to the spot above my head and unfocused for a moment. She would see my own stats and health, also level one, but as a fighter I had almost twice as many hit points.

“Now stop fooling around,” I said, giving her another smile. “We’re in spawn, we can’t hurt each other here anyway.”

She relaxed, and I took a moment to look over her avatar. Willowy, with long black hair streaked with blue dye. Her chocolate colored skin fairly gleamed in the sunlight, and she wore a triangular mask that covered her mouth and nose, but left her cheeks visible for blushing. There were stylized shark teeth emblazoned across the mask.

“I thought for sure you’d be an elf or something,” I said.

“Humans get more perks available at higher levels.”

“Already min maxing? I should have known.”

“Well I’m not surprised you took dwarf. You and your obsession with beards.”

“It is pretty glorious, isn’t it?” I said, stroking the beard in question. Through my haptic gloves I could feel the rough bristly beard, and the thick braids on either side of my mouth. I couldn’t grow a beard offline, just a tiny little scraggly stubble that looked more like a rabid bear rug than a beard, thanks to my mixed genetics. But here I could be anything, so of course I went with the beard.
“What are those?” she asked, pointing at my spiked shoulder pieces.

I turned from side to side, showing off the evil looking shoulder spikes.

“Like them? They’re Dadron’s Blessed Shoulders, a pre-order perk. It doesn’t look like much, and it has crap for armor, but it levels with you so you never have to get another pair of shoulders again. Might save me in the long run.”

“You pre-ordered?” Her avatars eyes grew wide, her mask clad chin dropping a bit in a good illusion of shock.
“The first mmorpg on an Octo-Nerve VR system? You bet your sweet blades I did.”

She rolled her eyes, turning her back on me.
“Alright, alright, I guess I can’t fault you that much,” she said. “Come on, genius, let’s go find a quest.”

Steel Soul, like any other mmorpg of the age, made it simple to find the first quest. There was an npc right next to the spawn point clad in the shiniest armor, rendered in exquisite detail, just walking back and forth on the cobblestone.

“Should we group before we go in?” Cas asked.

“Maybe,” I said, “ I’m not quite sure how this all works, I just jumped in.”

“You call up the menu with a cupped hand moving from the left, like you’re pulling something,” she said, miming the action.

I tried it and a floating menu appeared. My name, Jupiter08, was written in neat blue script at the top. Right underneath it read “Level 1 fighter, 32/32 HP”. Beneath that were several menus. Inventory, skills, friends, options, and a few others. There was a soft ring in my ear, and an orange marker appeared next to friends. I tapped it and saw a request from Cas at the top.

“You’ve got this all figured out already?” I asked, as I tapped the accept button.

“Only the basic controls. I read a few things, watched a let’s play last night, and got the gist of it all.”
“You read all that, but couldn’t look up how to read avatar names?”

“It didn’t come up.”

“Well, you’re elected group leader then, oh wise one. I’ll follow your lead.”

She rolled her eyes at me again. Oddly it felt just like we were back on the college campus. She held the same simmering disdain for my witty humor.

“Who goes there?” asked the npc as we walked up to him. Cas gave me a look as if to say ‘see, he gets it’ before answering.

“Cassidaya Briefoot,” she said with a half bow.

“Jupiter Rocklore,” I said.

“And why are you here?” he asked.

I blinked at this. It was an NPC, a computer algorithm searching for keywords. We just had to say the right keywords to get it to give us the quest. But it wasn’t giving us much to go on. Most algorithms mentioned a word, or phrase, to further the conversation. What would this NPC react to? Greed? Altruism? An NPC of little words made finding the quest a little tougher.

“We’re adventurers seeking fame and fortune,” I said with a smile.

“Adventurers? Pah!” he said, spitting on the ground.

Well, greed was out.

“You lot are the reason the town is in ruins!” the NPC said.

I squinted above his head, looking for more information and saw his name light up in soft blue text.

Captain Thanas Lightbringer
Level 30 1000/1000 hp
Captain of the once glorious elven village, Trelisa, now one of the sole survivors tasked with restoration.

Rebuilding a ravaged city didn’t seem like much of a quest. Probably fetching supplies, but at level one I couldn’t be that picky.

“Adventurers like us?” Cas asked. “What happened?”

Captain Thanas looked back over his shoulder at a tall building at the end of the plaza. It was the only three story building in the village, and there was foul green smoke coming out of all the windows.

“I’m sure you can smell it,” he said, and spat in our direction again before walking away from the plaza.

“Well, I think we know where to go,” I said.

Immediately a card popped up in front of me.

Quest Granted: Noxious Smells. Find out what caused the green fog in the Trelisa mayor’s office.

“The mayor’s office, huh?” Cas said. “I was wondering why it smelled like gym socks around here.”

“I thought I had a broken olfactory device.”

“Doesn’t look like it. Shall we go?”

I tightened my grip on my hand ax, the only weapon I had at the moment, and nodded.

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2018 in On Writing

 

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My thoughts on Roseanne

Today a lot of people lost their job. Not just one person who made a terrible tweet, but a whole cast of actors and actresses. Stage hands, sound men, camera men, and more. Because of one tweet.

Oh, it was a bad tweet, to be sure. It should never have been said. I understand why they canceled the show, but I also see something else….

The new Roseanne show was the most progressive show for conservatives out there. It was a bridge linking the older generation to the newer generation. They had gay characters, a boy who wears dresses, single parents, and far more. And it was all set in middle america where people are worried about the rising cost of housing and medicine, and don’t have jobs to pay for it.

It sets the stage from the very first episode.

“Why did you vote for that horrible man?”
“Because he was talking about jobs.”

Not because of gender politics, or race relationships. They cared about jobs. Surviving. Raising their family.

Then you had the daughter and her two children that lived with them. One of them was a boy, about ten, who liked to wear dresses and be pretty, but knew he was a boy. The older generation struggled with his dresses, but they supported him in his decision while also cautioning him in the reality that not everyone was going to stand with him. “You’re going to have to fight for this if you really want it” they told him, and he did.

In another episode they dealt with their mother, a woman who has been abusive and manipulative throughout the entire series. An older woman who lost all she had, and now has nowhere to go. Something that many older Americans are dealing with right now as their parents are too aged to care for themselves, and don’t have any money for proper care.

In another episode we see Darlene and David get back together. They realize they love each other, and their children, and want to be together…but ultimately they realize they shouldn’t be together because they have a volatile relationship, and it isn’t good for their children. This is something far more progressive. Even when I was young you didn’t divorce, you stayed together for the children.

This was a fantastic show geared to an audience that is still put off by the more progressive stuff. Conservative, but accepting. Moving forward while still understanding the realities of middle America.

Now it’s gone, with nothing to take its place. I have yet to see another show that reflects my world. Everything else is so shiny and polished. The women are beautiful, and the men are muscular. They all have college degrees, and work in offices, or they live in a loft and are artist (but not starving artists.)

I haven’t watched modern TV shows in years because very few of them have anything to do with my world. But this one…This one looked more real, felt like my life. And it opened the door for differences without shoving them down your throat.

And the worst part of all of this is…they probably won’t make anything else like this.

In the 90’s Roseanne was something different. Something unusual. It stood out among all the other sitcoms. And this reboot does too. You won’t see anything like it on TV, and that’s a shame. You can’t bash people over the head and call them sexist to make them change. But this could have encouraged more people to see something different.

I hope I’m wrong. I hope someone somewhere makes a show like this with a conservative family and a touch of progressiveness. We need it.

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2018 in News

 

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What have I been doing? ALL THE THINGS!

It’s been a long month. What have I been doing? Let’s see….

So far this month I’ve written 12,000 words, more than I’ve written in one month in a while (other than NaNoWriMo of course.) Most of that writing, and the writing for the end of April, was on my new book, Steel Soul. I only have to finish the final battle scene for this book and it will be done. The second book in this series (Steel Heart? Forge? IDK yet) already has a big chunk of writing done too.

Yes, I know I was trying to finish the next book in my Half Blood Sorceress book, and I actually have it about 2/3rds done. I ran into a large problem with the plot (mainly that five chapters weren’t working as written) so I have to go back through and fix it. This was proving difficult, and I had a great idea for a litRPG (Steel Soul) so I went with it and almost wrote a finished book in a month.

I also worked on THIS design for my spoonflower patterns. That took longer than I thought it would. I had the idea and sketched it out the other day, but when I started working on it I kept adding little details to make it better and better. I can’t wait to get my piece so I can proof it and put it up for sale.

I wrote a few more reviews for my gaming blog. I don’t do these often, I usually do a bunch of them at once then schedule them for a few months at a time. But I really do enjoy games, so of course I want to share that with others. They will start coming out twice a week again.

I’m also working on a podcast idea. I want to finalize it and get it up and running. If I do it right it will be something I record once a week, post to my blog and a few other places, and sometimes interview people at cons or other places. More on that later.

The last thing I’ve been doing this month: Leather! With only a few minutes here and there I’ve been making bracelets, and coin pouches. I’ve learned a lot about leather, and I’m really enjoying it. It’s a great creative outlet when my allergies are really bad and I can’t think, but I really want to do something. I am streaming over on twitch, usually twice a week, with leather, or some sort of creative thing. If you like that sort of thing, or you’d like to come in and say hi, please follow me.

The only other thing I’ve been doing is going to doctors, getting blood tests, and getting prescribed more meds. They upgraded me to severe asthma and allergies. Yay. They put me on some medication to try and control it, but it takes a while to kick in. In the mean time I will keep avoiding people who smoke or wear any sort of perfumed anything. Not easy to do at a call center, but I don’t have a lot of choice. I still have to work the day job, so I just have to do what I can to make do.

Anyway, sorry for the long absence, and the really long update all at once. I look forward to putting out Steel Soul, I hope soon. I think it’s one of the funnest things I’ve written in a while, but I love litRPG.

 
 

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There is something to be said for fun

I’ve been working on my second novel for The Half Blood Sorceress series for a while, and pushing through the knots I made in the plot, trying to unravel everything. It was getting to the point I just didn’t want to look at it anymore.

So I set it aside for a week and wrote something different. Here we have a graph showing my word count per week since the beginning of this year. This week I set aside my usual work and I wrote a litRPG. I’m currently about half way done with it, and loving it. I love that the words came so easily, even though I didn’t really have a plot at the beginning. But the plot really took a hold, and after talking to Bjorn about it a bit he asked a couple questions and that made the plot so much better. It became a full story instead of just a little snippet of an adventure.

So far I have written at least twice as much each day on this new story. Something about it is just fun to write. And that fun keeps me coming back to it, writing more.

I think the Half Blood Sorceress became work instead of fun once the plot got so out of hand that I was actually considering rewriting ten chapters instead of just editing it. I’m still considering rewriting, or dropping a few of the chapters, and that doesn’t seem like much fun, so of course I have put it off some more. But don’t worry, I won’t be doing that forever, just for this week.

You know that saying “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”? It isn’t entirely true. Bjorn works a lot, and he loves what he does. But even when you love what you do there are some days when it isn’t as fun, and he has to slog through a bit to try and get it complete. He keeps going because eventually the work will be done and he can get back to the fun part. There is something he loves just waiting for him to complete the slog so he can get back to the good part.

It’s the same with any skill, really. Learning a language? You have to practice. Learning an instrument? Repatition isn’t fun, but you learn faster that way. Writing? Sometimes you just have to push through and get it done. Throw away, cut, rewrite, and continue.

And sometimes you need to set it aside for a bit and have some fun. Knowing when to do that is the trick. Knowing what the best course of action, and what you can finish, makes a huge difference.

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2018 in Updates, Writers Block

 

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Review: Lost in Space

I didn’t watch the original Lost in Space TV series, but I did watch the movie that came out a few years ago, and I remember liking it enough. It was a little space adventure movie with some interesting twists and turns in it. I don’t know how much it stuck with the original tv series, but the movie was okay.

So this week we watched the new series on Netflix. Same family; mom, dad and three kids. Same premise of being lost at space. There’s a robot that says “Danger, Will Robinson,” some aliens, and some danger for the family to get out of. But all the details are brand new.

First I’ll give you my over all reaction, no spoilers.

I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy it at all, but I can’t say that I liked it. There were some good scenes.  loved the robot. Beautiful design, nice practical effects mixed in with some CGI (yes, that’s a guy in a suit, that’s why the neck is weird.) The locations (mostly CGI) are beautiful, with wonderful alien atmosphere to them. Each of the main Robinson family, and a couple of the other colonists, have a story arch with some character growth. Some were more profound than others, but at least each of them grew as people.

The science was bad, even for a tv series. I can overlook this most of the time, it is a TV series, after all, but some of the science was really bad. Everything was done for dramatic effect; what can go wrong here? Oh this! And it get’s thrown at the characters for them to survive, even if it doesn’t really make sense. Most of the situations they found themselves in would have been solved early on if people had just been honest with each other. That fact alone was enough to make this series feel like a teen drama (like Pretty Little Liars) which only has tension because of all the secrets and lies the characters have.

And for the biggest problem I had with the entire series; for a family of geniuses they sure do some stupid things. While the youngest has a reason since he has had an overly protective mother since birth, the rest of them, especially the mother, have fewer reasons for their bad actions. This disappointed me because I have come to really love Netflix original content, and this show felt like it fell short of the mark. The writing just wasn’t as good.

On the plus side they did show the problem with the “strong, independent, woman” trope. She kept pushing aside her husband, ignoring his advise (a trained Naval seal who had been in many dangerous places) and undermining him to his children. It wasn’t long before one of the children pointed this out, and she started trying to work with him instead of proving she didn’t need him. When there are difficult situations like war, natural disasters, or being lost in the middle of no where, it takes a team effort to get through things. I thought that part was rather nice. Until she started working with him I kind of hated her as a character.

Overall if you go in not expecting much more than a drama in space then you’ll be fine. But it isn’t hard science, and it isn’t a comedy (though there were a few moments I laughed out loud.) It’s more of a teen drama that follows Murphy’s law on a planet far far away. Still not bad to watch….as long as you know what you’re getting into.

Now for some spoilers beyond the cut:

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2018 in On Writing

 

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Progress

I’ve been working on the next Half Blood Sorceress novel, and I’m definitely more than half way through now. Today I finished another chapter and reorganized a number of chapters trying to get everything to work right. There are a couple of subplots going on in this novel, so pacing and getting the order right for some of the scenes is important.

All of the yellow chapters are done. That’s the first draft, of course. The rest have to be finished, and put in the proper order.

The trouble today came in a plot error. I realized I had a few chapters that were in the wrong spot and made no sense where they were. I ended up moving a few chapters around, and combining a couple others. I also am considering scrapping two entirely, or using parts of it for another chapter. At the moment it doesn’t quite make sense where it is.

And that’s the trouble with story telling. Sometimes the pieces get all jumbled up and you have to sort the threads out before you can get anywhere.

As for my other goals… I’ve been practicing Japanese more, learning new words and starting to learn some sentences. I’ve also been working on the health issues, which isn’t easy since it’s the height of allergy season and it’s sometimes not easy to breath, let alone exercise. I’ve decided right now I have to do the other half of it and cut my intake as much as possible. Lots of high protein low cal food.

Word Count: 600

Duolingo: a lot of modules.

Steps: not achieved.

Art: This cute little fairy

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2018 in On Writing