Monday, June 30, 2014

Update- 7.1.2014

Welcome to month number two.

Thanks for those that are coming back. As this is the first week of the month, I will be sharing with you some of the developments that I've had and progress on some of my works in progress (WIP). For the details of all of my current projects, you can click here to read my initial month one update. That should give you all the info you need to be up to date on my stuff.

To Tread the Narrow Path:
This has consumed the majority of my focus, as I am pushing to get the installments out in a timely manner. For details on this WIP, you can refer to my Published Works page or to my update post from last month. Within the next week, the last installment of Book II will be live in the Amazon Marketplace. I am finishing the Tale of the Jade Cat. The Jade Cat or Aelura is coming to the end of her story. Book II's scope has woven in and out of the events of Book I, and now at the end, the two narratives are coming together again. I am excited to close out this portion of the novella. Book III, The Tale of the Boy Who Would be Emperor, will focus on the character of Akana and will weave its narrative with the first two books. So far, the word count for Book II is up to 14000, which brings To Tread the Narrow Path as a whole up to 20000. After the final two installments, the novella should clock in between 30000-50000 words, making it a quick short read. Once all four parts are out, I will be pursuing a print run. I believe a final page count will be somewhere around 100-150 pages. Currently the novella is available on Amazon with all of the installments up to date for only $0.99. If it sounds like something you'd be interested in, check it out.

Desolation:
I've come to the end of Desolation and concluded the first story arc of the comic. I am going to let that story sit for a bit before I go back and edit it some more. I've written it as a narrative and now need to convert it to a script. Once all edits are completed, I may start shopping this around to see if I can find any takers for it.

New Haven:
I've also been able to get a couple more scenes into New Haven. Still very much in their infancy and in much need of beta reading and editing.

Lighthouse on the Edge of Forever:
As I've mentioned previously, this is my project about which I am most excited. This is a planned first novel in a trilogy that will be named after the first book. As far as progress, I have completely outlined the plot for this book and the sequel as well (tentatively titled The Spire of Eternity, but I'm still playing around with it). I have also made progress in the actual draft of the first book as well (currently about 1/3 of my goal for the novel). The next few weeks, I will be working on outlining the third book (still untitled) as well as adding scenes and chapters to Lighthouse.

And finally, as if I don't have enough works in progress right now, I have started a new WIP, which is still untitled. Currently, I have a handful of scenes written and a core cast of main characters. I'm building a world in which society has fallen, but it is so long past, that history has forgotten what we were like. Think, almost like Planet of the Apes, in which the apes had no record or knowledge of humanity being a superior race. In this untitled story, there are relics of the past that are traded for currency. Cities act as city-states, there is no great unifying government. One of the key themes I want to explore through this is the concept and relation of technology and magic. A quote that I want to keep in mind while writing this one is from Arthur C Clark, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." I want to examine the question, at what point removed from civilization, would our future descendants believe the relics of our time to be magical? As I said, this is purely in the conjectural, worldbuilding phase right now, and I do not foresee this being something I finish soon, but I wanted to share with everyone.

Thanks for reading. If you have any questions or thoughts about anything I'm working on feel free to drop me a comment here or on the fan page, or you can always message me on another means of contact.

Thanks for reading, please join me next week while I talk a little about the publishing process that I am using for To Tread the Narrow Path.

If you've enjoyed this please like, share, +1, follow, etc…

-Anthony-


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Your turn now

This being the fourth week of the month, I offer up a post brought to you from the randomness that I call my thoughts.

I've been reading a lot in the past few months about how Hollywood is running out of ideas and that the creative well is running dry. What with all of the talks of retcons and reboots and such.

Well, I'm here to tell you that it isn't new. Those of us that have been comic book readers for any extended period of time are used to having the set rules and history of the fictional universe ripped from us. Especially, Spider-Man readers.

Oh yes, especially, Spider-Man readers, but that'll have to wait.

Before I get to the universe of sequential art, I'd like to talk film for a bit. A lot of vitriol recently has been hurled at some of the more recent cinema remakes/reimagining of classic movies.

One of my favorite novels is The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Consequentially, I enjoyed the 1974 film with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow, whom I believe to embody the very soul of Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan. The most recent version, in which Leonardo DiCaprio played the eponymous Gatsby, received some criticism that they were attempting to redo a classic novel that had already been done by arguably superior actors.

But, do you realize that before the 1974 film, there had already been not one, but three versions of Gatsby?

Also, after the 1974 version, and before the 2013, there were two productions of Gatsby?

Wow, that's a lot of remakes. Let's move on.

Who doesn't love the Wizard of Oz? A yearly tradition, I remember fondly, before the rise of the VCR and home video, is my family gathered around the TV on the one night a year that network television broadcast the classic 1939 film. This film is considered one of the classics of American cinema.

But, (and I truly hope I'm not about to dash anyone's childhood here), there are three incarnations of the Wizard of Oz on film before the '39 film. They were produced in 1910, 1925, and 1933. The version everyone loves was basically a reboot done a mere six years after the previous incarnation. You may have thought that kind of turnover was just reserved for Sony Pictures and their Spider-Man films, but apparently not.

Speaking of Spider-Man, let's move away from film and into the comic book universes. As more and more films are adopting this process of either a full on reboot (e.g. Batman Begins) or a retcon (e.g. X-Men: Days of Future Past), the average viewer is left wondering why Hollywood has run out of ideas and why do they keep rehashing the old ideas?

Well, here's my short answer:

It's your turn now.

For years, comic book fans have been subjected to various retcons and reboots in attempts to refresh the books for a younger generation.

For a while, DC made a habit of every five to ten years holding a universe spanning event, referred to as a "crisis," that allowed them to rewrite their history. The purpose originally, with the classic Crisis on Infinite Earths story, was to make sense of the Golden Age of comic and the silliness that permeated some of the stories with the more serious tone that the books were taking. At that point, they rewrote the history of DC comics to fit into a timeline that allowed the heroes to be younger and do away with some of the more troublesome continuity points from the past few decades. This worked so well for DC that they did it again with the Zero Hour: Crisis in Time crossover in the 90's. And again with Infinite Crisis in the early 2000's. Oh and again with Flashpoint a few years ago. It is their way of keeping the storylines fresh and new, despite the endless frustration of fans like me.

Marvel, on the other hand does less of the universe wide retcons and leaves that to the individual books. If you are a Spider-Man fan, you know what I am talking about here. Those of us that have followed Peter Parker through the years have witnessed him struggle with a horrendous clone plot, turning into a giant spider and giving birth to himself (don't ask), having elements of his history essentially erased from the collective memories of the world by the devil (again, don't ask), and so much more. Spider-Man fans are gluttons for punishment. Marvel knows we will keep reading, so they keep pulling the same crap over, and over. This happens in other book as well, with just as much frustration.

The point I'm trying to make is that when you see a favorite childhood cartoon being remade by someone who can only communicate with loud noises and explosions. Hold off on all the hate. Those of us that have been reading comics for a while are used to this now. I'm just trying to tell you that, you may as well get used to it. Because, one, Hollywood has been doing it for much longer than you realize, and two, the comics they are getting ideas from have been doing it just as long.

To quote from the reimagined BSG-
"All this has happened before, and all of it will happen again."

I've learned to roll with the punches when it comes to a remake, reboot, sequel, prequel, reimagining, or otherwise overhaul of a franchise that I love, because if I hate this iteration of it, I just need to wait a little longer for the next version to come out.

Thanks for reading.

If you've enjoyed this please like, share, +1, follow, etc…

Until next time,

-Anthony



Monday, June 16, 2014

Excerpt- 6.17.2014

As promised, this is the excerpt post for this month.

Today's excerpt comes from my serial novella currently available on Amazon. It is split into four books:

One- The Tale of the Little Bird
Two- The Tale of the Jade Cat
Three- The Tale of the Boy Who Would be Emperor
Four- The Tale of the Bird Who Would be King
 
Each book is then divided into four sections that mirror each other in concepts and flow:
Part I: The Oath
Part II: The Path Behind
Part III: The Path Ahead
Part IV: The Narrowest Path

Each book focuses on a particular character and each part focuses on the same thematic elements for that character. For example, in each book, The Oath details how each character has taken a vow that drives them and brings them all closer to the endgame. I won't go too much into the gritty parts of the story because I wasn't you to discover for yourself.

With that said, I present to you, The Tale of the Little Bird: Part I: The Oath:

His death began late in the day as the sun dropped below angry clouds. As night fell, he still walked the path of death, but he sent many along the narrow path ahead of him. Through all the twilight hours and into the dark, they set swordsmen against him. Like waves crashing against the rocky shore, they threw themselves at his blade. With each wave, he took another step towards death. Oh, but it was a tiny step and he did not walk it alone.

That day, my world turned red. The death of my master set me upon a path towards vengeance, towards retribution. He knew his journey down the narrow path would not be long. In his wisdom, he ensured that he traveled that path alone. He spared me. He sent me away so that I would survive. So that I could carry on our quest, our vow.

Earlier that day, before my world upheaved, I tended to our nets in the river far from our sanctuary. I spent the greater portion of the day and previous night lying in our salmon nets to prepare for the coming winter. As I stood waist deep in the water securing the nets and poles I felt the river steal my warmth. The cold fingers crept into my depths and I feel as though I should have taken it as an omen of the darkness to come. Pushing through, I finished the task at hand and started a fire to bring warmth back into my body.

Reaching into the folds of my tunic, I pulled the last of my bread out to eat. Knowing that I would return soon, I supped on the remainder of the bread and washed it down with a swallow of water. As I laid back to relax and enjoy my break from my lessons, I found an uneasiness creep into my mind. No matter what technique I tried, I could not bring myself to a clearness of mind. It almost felt as though I left an important task undone, but I could not place it exactly. Finally, abandoning my reverie, I began the journey home. The sun had just begun its downward journey as I set my feet towards our hidden sanctuary. I did not know what awaited me upon my return.

I came to the fork in the path; one road led to my home, the other to the nearby village. I noticed markings that hinted others had passed by headed in the direction of the sanctuary. While this normally would not alarm me, I saw the telltale signs that these travelers attempted to hide their passage. To the untrained eye, there would be no sign of any persons headed in the direction of the sanctuary. I took the path toward home, with an anxious heart.

As I ran up the long hill to our home, a loud crack of thunder rose to meet me. At that moment, I knew fear. Not for myself, but for my master. I knew that unknown warriors set themselves against him, and I knew that they could not bring him low with blades so they turned to powder and shot, ghost weapons. Cowards’ weapons. Yet still, in spite of their weapons, he fought valiantly, against all odds, against all men, but in the end, they were too many for him. Finally, his long journey to the shadows neared its end, but his murderers still did not know victory. In the end, their courage failed them. When I found him, he lay at the edge of the narrow path, and I saw his attackers fleeing into the night. They feared his spirit might arise and slay them. Cowards all, leaving their bloody work undone, for my master still breathed. They had no honor.
Leaning over him, I held back the tears for a Nightwatch does not cry. I lifted the mask off his face and looked over his battered and broken form. The mask stuck to the blood that quickly caked on his face. His eyes, set deep within bruises now, peered into mine.

“Master…,” I whispered.

“Do not speak,” he began, his speech surprisingly clear, “I have much to speak of and little time. I know not who has slain me; they bore no mark I know. If they are my enemy then they threaten our Lord… My death would only serve my master’s enemy… the warlord…
“You must foil their schemes, whatever they may be… You must protect Lord Akana… You alone can do this.”

I replied, “Master, I cannot. I am not a full Nightwatch. My training is incomplete…” He silenced me with his cold dark eyes and continued.

“Listen, my young bird, your path is hard but it is not the path to vengeance… Harden your heart… Swear to me that you will not kill in my name… That you will not avenge me…” His grip on my arm became as iron and he continued, “Swear that you will spill no blood for me… that you will think only of the safety of our Lord. Your loyalty is to him alone.”

“I swear.” I felt like a millstone had been tied to my neck and I was cast into high tide. The weight of my vow tugged at my soul.

My master took one last breath and whispered, “There is a scroll. I have sealed and hidden it with the Wolf's Blade. Take the scroll to our Lord…” and with those words he slipped away to his ancestors and damned me to walk the dark and narrow path.

End of part one.

I hope you enjoyed. Currently, the novella is still in serialization, and as I have mentioned previously, I am almost to the half way point of the novella. I am in the editing phase of The Jade Cat Part IV and it should be posted soon.

If you enjoyed the above excerpt, please consider purchasing the novella for $0.99. Once the purchase is made all future updates to the novella will be free.

Thanks for reading. Please like and share.

Until next time,

-Anthony-

If you have any questions about copyright information or reproduction of this excerpt please check out my copyright page.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

You wouldn't like me when I'm angry

I'd like to talk a little today about process.
Specifically, my writing process and its evolution throughout the years. To start I'd like to share a poem. It's actually the first poem i ever wrote. I've attached an image of it from when it was published in my high school lit mag. Take a moment to read it. I'll wait, I promise.
This was my approach to writing. I likened it very much to the Incredible Hulk. For those unfamiliar (though I'm not really sure who wouldn't know this story by now), the Hulk persona would overtake Bruce Banner and completely consume him. He had no control over the transformation into the Hulk. He could only let it happen. That's how I approached my writing. I would sit myself at my computer, eyes closed, fingers poised over the keyboard, eagerly awaiting the lightning bolt of inspiration to strike.
For the longest time this was the only way I could write. I would spend sleepless nights banging out anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000 words. Finishing whole short stories or multiple chapters in one go. Unfortunately, this method is not sustainable for long term, or even for the goal of publication. I find myself running into writer's block whenever I couldn't find the spark of inspiration or when I didn't have hours to spend at my computer waiting for the stories to rush thorough me.
I learned that I would have to retrain my mind. Teach myself new tricks if I wanted to grow as a writer. So that's what I did. I started carrying around a notebook, jotting down notes, dialogue, snippets, whatever struck me in the moment. I also began to force myself to start actively participate in the worldbuilding aspect of my writing. Before, I would let the world form as I wrote, but now I've started to construct the world ahead of the story.
I've been creating timelines, outlines, family trees, myths, mores, and getting into the grit of my fictional worlds. All this was successful in breaking my habit of falling into a block whenever I couldn't allow myself to complete my "transformation." This isn't to say that I don't still freewrite, but that isn't the only weapon in my arsenal anymore.
Just by adopting new practices, I've been able to retrain myself to avoid my past pitfalls. If any writer or aspiring writer is teasing this, my advice would be don't just sit in a rut. It doesn't have to be that way. If your old methods aren't producing results, try some new ones. Find some new tools for your toolbox. 
Actually, I think that advice may have broader implications beyond writers and our struggles, but I'll let you ponder on that on your own.
If you enjoyed please give some love on social media. Like and share.
Thanks for reading.
-Anthony-

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Update- 6.4.2014

As promised, here is my first installment on this blog (well not including the intro page). This monthly update will serve as a starting point for everyone so that I can bring everyone up to date on what I'm working on.

To Tread the Narrow Path- fantasy- My serial novella that is currently being published in installments in the Amazon Kindle Marketplace. At the time of this writing it is almost at the halfway point. The end is nigh and there is a light at the end of the tunnel for this project.

Desolation- gothic western- This is a comic book that I've scripted that I've been shopping around. It focuses on a mysterious traveler that comes to the town of Desolation, Nevada in search of retribution, while he struggles with demons that may or may not be figments of his imagination.

The Shore of the Cosmic Ocean- hard science fiction- This novel is very much in it's infancy right now, but the core story surrounds the near future when a young boy develops the ability to bend space-time.

New Haven- hard science fiction- This novel is based on a short story I had published in high school. Currently I'm about 1/4 complete. It is set in a post apocalyptic dystopia. The main characters are forced to flee their hometown into the wilderness but try and make their way to the east coast where they hear life has returned to normal.

Lighthouse at the Edge of Forever- horror/modern fantasy- This novel is currently about 1/8 through the first draft, and is probably the project I am most excited about currently. This story follows a young teenager, Allison Aisling, as her and her brother discover a realm of humanity's shared consciousness that inspires all of mankind's dreams and stories. While there, they discover a darkness that threatens to consume them and Allie must fight to save them from this realm and to bring them home. I currently have this complete story outlined but not completely written.
This is what I've got currently in the oven. Once Narrow Path has been completed, I'm going to begin finishing up on Lighthouse and push to have that be my first full length novel.

Thanks for reading. If you have any questions or thoughts about anything I'm working on feel free to drop me a comment here or on the fan page, or you can always message me on a social media outlet.

Please like and share.

Thanks for reading.

-Anthony-

Sunday, June 1, 2014

All the cool kids...

First, welcome and thanks for taking the time to read the first post. Hopefully, if you are here reading this you are a fan of my two publications currently available. My short story, Entertaining Angels (a modern Christian parable set against a supernatural backdrop) and my serial novella, To Tread the Narrow Path (a quick fantasy read set during the civil war of the last age of a once glorious empire) are both available from Amazon. If you are interested, I also infrequently blog about being a dad over at my other blog, Dad's Eye View. If you're not familiar with either, well, you're still welcome here.

Recently, I've been getting involved with online writing communities and I'm noticing a lot of my fellow writers have webpages and blogs among other forms of social media to use as promotional fronts for their writing. So never to be one that's behind the curve, I decided to throw my hat in to the world of writers' blogs just like all the cool kids.

Another reason I want to do this is to have a bit if accountability with you; my fans and readers. I want to keep updating on this blog about my current projects and where I'm at. No need to worry, I'll still be upsetting people over at my other blog with my ideas about parenting, but I'm going to do my best to keep this one to a schedule. Although, I make no promises.

So far this is what I've got for a schedule (subject to change at a moment's notice):
Week 1 of every month is going to be an update/progress post about what I've worked on during the past month.
Week 2 will be inspirations, anecdotes, and thoughts on writing. Either my stuff or writing in general.
Week 3 will be an excerpt week. I'll share stuff from what I'm working on, either fiction or poetry.
Week 4 is going to be a random week. I'll take this week to share just whatever happens to cross my mind.
On the odd months that we see a fifth week, I'll probably share another excerpt or something like that. All post should be posted by Wednesday of the week unless I've got something else going on.

So with that said, I hope you enjoy and that I don't disappoint.

Please take the time to check me out on social media at the following:

If you enjoy, I ask that you like, share, follow, etc...
Thanks for taking the time to read. Until next time.

-Anthony-