Saturday, December 30, 2023

Lost Saturday Nights

Welcome to both the weekend and the end of 2023! Hard to believe it's finally over, but you made it through. Took long enough, I'd say. This has been a long one.

For this last post of the year, I wanted to take you through a real blast to the past all the way from 1997. Several people online have been kind of enough to upload entire TV blocks from the last time television was worth watching, and one of them includes the Snick (Saturday Nickelodeon) block from the 1990s. It includes their entire block, commercials and all, from a time when there was still cohesiveness left in the overall culture. You will get quite the culture shock watching this today, because it really does feel like it comes from another planet.

Clear one of your lighter weekends aside, and spend the Saturday night doing what so many millions did decades ago when they all watched the same thing. It's quite a trip seeing such a thing today.

So why did I choose to share this, never mind do so as the final post of the year? What relevance does it have now?

Truth be told, I wanted to highlight what it was Gen Y was watching back in the day and why they still pine for a time that is long gone and not coming back. and make no mistake, it was all primarily Gen Y kids who were watching this back then. Millennials were rug rats or toddlers in the late '90s and Gen X were already out in the world for years at this point, so none of what you see here is aimed at them. It is aimed at a specific demographic deliberately lost to time (though one that you can rediscover for yourself right now.) What you will also see here is the last wave of television programs with actual effort put behind them, because this is the last time anyone would think they should have to work to gather audience attention instead of coast of brand worship for over two decades. This is a peek into a strange window of a time that only existed for the briefest flicker of the past century, yet it has somehow lived rent free in a generation's head ever since.

I'm not sure it'll ever fully go away until Generation Y themselves are gone. This era simply impacted them too deeply.

Now, much of this could be just nostalgia worship, not unheard of for a member of Generation Y, as there is no shortage of such a thing rearing its head these days, but one viewing of even a segment of the above block will show you that it is more than that. There you will see the only thing Gen Y kids had for themselves: their entertainment.

Nickelodeon in the 1990s was a beast, as we've discussed before, and their success was no fluke or misplaced memory of how things were: there was a lot of effort behind the scenes to get things running. The commercials were the same. Effort was put across everywhere to make things come across so effortless. Though these are commercials, one can see by the energetic camera sweeps and angles, the dynamic music, and even various mediums from live action, animation, and even Claymation, on top of many other forms, that they meant business. Now if you look at a commercial it is the same rehashed State Farm one from twenty years ago only with quirky Millennial dialogue and winking humor that was tired back in the '00s. They truly don't make them like this anymore. To be honest, it's probably because they can't. A lot of this seemingly simple stuff is not being passed on and is falling into obscurity. Eventually we're going to have to reinvent the wheel, yet again.

But I digress.

You could be cynical about this old era and say such things were created purely for monetary gain and contained no artistry in them, and that would be fair to an extent, but that's underselling how much work was put into this stuff. They still had to use attractive aesthetics and elbow grease to get this stuff off the ground, and you can find no shortage of behind the scenes footage now that will blow you away with the amount of effort put in. Modern programming, but contrast, might as well be made by AI (and, honestly, probably already is) due to how lazy and predictable it has become. None of it carries over anything made back then.

What I'm saying is that I'm not just sharing this for nostalgic reasons. Though Nickelodeon would, in a few short years after this, fall off a cliff into mediocrity after handing the reins to weird perverts and suits that truly didn't care at all about anything but rehashes for an endless money pipeline, there is a reason its life up until the end of the 1990s engendered much respect from its audience. No one celebrates the Nickelodeon of today, not even they do, it is always the '90s that is remembered. Their entire image today is built upon your memories of the 1990s, for instance. That is how much they know they have little to offer otherwise.

Unfortunately, after being bought by Viacom in the mid-90s, the network slowly devolved to the point where it became a walking corpse of mediocrity and stale product. That is where it remained for around two decades, but it says a lot that those early years still are fondly remembered long after everyone stopped watching the network.

And long after kids stopped watching TV at all.

So what this post is meant to do is give you one last look at a time currently fading away into the past as we also move into a new era. We're about to leave the early 2020s for the mid-20s, closing in on 30 years from Cultural Ground Zero and wrapping up the epilogue of modernity. In a sense this is meant to put this rapidly disappearing era into context of where we are today.

Though I do believe there are clear examples of us finally moving out of this dead state, there is still much work to be done. Only by looking into and remembering that which worked in the past can we even hope to build something better to begin with. As mentioned above, I think we're on the road to doing just that now. It's only by recognizing where we've gone wrong that we can find the right point to build from again and start from there.

You might wonder why something as frivolous as children's television blocks and restaurants that had their peak a quarter of a century ago matter today, and I can tell you the simple reason why--everything matters. Not everything is the equivalent of the Berlin Wall falling or the Iraq War in how it affected world events going forward, but events that affect those on a personal level also affects how they will act in the future and who they will eventually become. Though their past was weaponized against the same generation in order to save Brand Names and corporations run by those who had nothing to do with any of said products' success in the first place, it doesn't change the fact that they were able to do this at all for a good reason.

Even more than aging Gen Y kids, it is the corporations that cannot risk having their customers forget the past. It is all they have left after spending two decades dismantling everything that built them up. They need these Pizza Hut Classics now because they have no future without them as all else melts into a generic grey goo nothingness. And even the more oblivious and out of touch executives have to know this by now.

That Gen Y still remembers so much of the entertainment they grew up with when most every other generation doesn't, is partially because theirs was made by craftsmen at the peak of their game using everything that came before them to make something fresh. It wasn't just one area of the world, either. Remember that the 1980s through 1990s was also the peak popularity period of Japanese anime which also cracked the market overseas for the first time before their bubble burst, not to mention this was when video games also broke out big in a way no one expected. It was also the last period the record industry had any relevance outside of psyop'd urbanite teenage girls (and wannabe urbanite teenage girls) and the last time the blockbuster movie could guarantee a huge return due to the ubiquitous nature of rentals as well cable airings pumped into their coffers, despite the clear overall drop-off in quality from the decade before. In other words, Gen Y still remembers what it was like, even when they were told they are remembering it wrong by those who should know better, and don't. They grew up in the best toybox the world has ever seen, and it's hard to put that aside now that the toybox is long since broken and left empty.

But, as has been pointed out before, we are at the end of the irony age, where Gen Y is now making the decision to finally be sincere for once or face the growing suicide rate that they currently lead in. This has been a long process of decay that's finally hit rock bottom. Remember also that Gen Y spent the 2010s destroying themselves. Now they are either waking up, or choosing to do the worst to themselves to avoid facing the truth of the situation. The toybox is not only gone, but it's all they have left. The only solution, therefore, is to build something better.

The 2020s, in other words, has to be the period in which Gen Y finally becomes the generation we need them to be. This is their last chance, and I think they all know it. It is truly do or die time. No longer can we afford to be the butt of a long-lasting joke by people who hate us. We need to put them aside and start building our own future.

My generation grew up with the greatest toys of all time, but we also grew up with the worst personal and spiritual life up to that point in modernity. We didn't know how to fill the void we were left with when the material world dumped us around the time 9/11 showed us that there was no promised Utopia of endless progress coming. This might be why so many Millennials might not realize just why the '00s was hated as much as they were. They weren't around to see the overnight switch from a hopeful future into a misery mire of poisonous vitriol that clung to our souls for the past two decades. So many of them think it was always this way, because it's all they've ever known, but it's not. We have to do more than just expect misery as the baseline.

Nonetheless, it continued like this for a long time. The future looked as bleak as the present was, and with the ever-common zipper blues and the growing destruction of cohesive communities through legalized vice and mix-and match replaceable population, you are left with no one to trust or believe in as the ceiling caves in on you. Where else was a Gen Y kid supposed to go in this bizarre wrong timeline they could never have possibly seen coming? So they hid in the corner with their toys. And that's where they've been holed up ever since.

But screaming about how you want to be left alone with your old toys is not going to save you from the people who abandoned you in the first place. And with the current meltdown of just about every entertainment industry, as less and less people partake in it, it appears that we are finally learning this truth. Those days are gone, and they're not coming back. We need to create better ones, ones built on more than the mistakes of the past.

Though there are still some signs we are trapped in a prison of our own making. Some of us simply do not want to leave the 20th century behind, and it shows.

There was a recent blowup on social media about a poorly made pinup calendar that was ferociously defended on the grounds that late '90s sexual morals is actually wholesome and pure and that anyone against it must be a prude who hates sex, or whatever lazy outdated cliché you can think of. They simply wanted to excuse vice through bad craftsmanship because they want to continue playing in that broken toybox. They cannot let it go.

The truth is that these Gen Y kids weren't just defending the poorly made calendar itself, they were defending their dead ideals and hopes of keeping performative Man Show parody masculinity alive, because it's all they know. They don't want to build a better future, they want to preserve the trotted parts of the past with everything else. Even now, so many of us live off dead stereotypes of the 20th century and think there is a future here. 

There isn't.

If you want to live in a healthy society, if you want to grow, and, most of all, if you finally want to move on from the ever-present ghost of the 20th century, you have to put the past where it belongs. This means building off what worked, discarding what didn't, and remembering what ideals and chosen paths lead to which end result. Those defending an awful calendar aren't doing that, they just want to be left alone with their old broken toys. Woe to those who call a spade a spade.

But if we're looking at the 20th century objectively, and where the populace is now. How they live off of sugar, alcohol, pills, and porn, in a world of alienation and atomization, then we can safely conclude this path led to where we are now and is a failure. Therefore, that is not what we should be looking to preserve from that time period. It is that simple. There is no argument here.

When you look at something like an old Nickelodeon block from ages ago, you do it to see what was there back then that isn't anymore. What was lost along the way, what can be salvaged, and what can be left to the mists of times. You do not mindlessly rehash it wholesale or throw it all away in the trash, because that is not how anything is built. The past is more than a freezer of dead memories to be thawed out and refrozen whenever you desire, and it is more than a skinsuit to be worn to manipulate others. It is a buried treasure chest that contains just as much gold as it does rusted pieces that didn't survive through the ages. That's just how it goes. It is up to us to parse through it.

Humanity is built on traditions carried forward just as much as it is on ideas tempered with over time. We do this to cast off what doesn't work while keeping what does. That is how we grow at all. The 20th century was defined by Doing The Opposite, and as a consequence, ended up being a failure overall. I'm pretty confident that we are now far enough removed from the era to finally reassess it as such. If we want to salvage that time as more than just a mistake worth burning to the ground then we are going to have to preserve the things that matter, and not continue on with old mistakes. A lot will have to be ejected before we can build right again.

We've long since passed the point where we can afford to keep traveling that dead end path. It's time to take from the past and build in the present for a brighter future. It is time for better ways.

As we head into 2024, and reach the mid-20s, let us finally make our mark on the present and build for the future. This time we'll do it right. I know we can.

Have a Happy New Years, and I'll see you in 2024!

Keep your chin up. Good things are on the way!

Thursday, December 28, 2023

2023 Year End Review

Where most of my effort was put towards

Well, we did it. 2023 is just about over. We somehow got through another year. It's a bit hard to believe, because 2023 felt rather long to me.

Though the blog was surprisingly active this year, it didn't actually take up a lot of my time. As mentioned above, most of my focus was on both my successful Kickstarter campaign which tied into releasing four books to readers, as well as fulfilling reward tiers. I am proud to say now that as 2023 wraps up, every backer has been fulfilled and the campaign has been completed. I also sent out quite a lot of books, which was nice. If you missed it, you can still get the eBook versions of the Gemini Man series on amazon, as well as a physical omnibus version of all four in one package. Writer Ben Espen even wrote an excellent review of the third book recently that you can check out here. He plans on covering all four eventually, but they are all worth reading.

Speaking of the Gemini Man series, I should remind readers that Book 4 will no longer be $0.99 when January rolls around. Its price will return to matching the other books in the series. So you better jump on it now!

But there are other things to discuss.

What I wanted to do today was look back at the previous year and see if any of my hopes or predictions came true. Unlike some of the previous years, however, I wanted to look at the scene more generally. Going point by point would not only be boring but very repetitive. So let's go back to January and see my very first post of the year and give it the once over. What ended up coming true, and what ended up never happening?

Well, right off the bat I can say that our Cannon Cruisers podcast did not end like I predicted, but it is still ending . . . kind of.

You see, since 2017, we've done Cannon Cruisers almost weekly on a pretty tight schedule. For over half a decade we recorded 300 episodes and covered about as many movies, both Cannon Films and not, but also mostly centered on that specific time period when they were around. In my opinion, we successfully captured and analyzed an entire era unlike any other in the film world. Once we finish our final run this month, the fifth episode of five is due out this New Years Eve, we will then continue into January and February with our big blowout final episodes as we finally hit episode 300 between our Cannon and Non-Cannon episodes. Then the original series will come to an end.

The reason for this is that being mainly about Cannon Films, we've more or less run out of movies to cover on a consistent basis. At the same time, there are other types of similar films we want to go over, so after our 300th episode, we will combine our two subseries and episode counts into one and start over with episode 1 instead of episode 301. This way we can cover just about anything we want to and take the series at a more leisurely pace. That said, we will still focus more on older films and probably still from around the same era. Neither of us really watches much that is new anymore, so our interests won't stray too afield of what we are doing now. Regardless, Cannon Cruisers is ending, but it also isn't. Please enjoy our last batch of normal episodes coming soon. They're all already recorded and in the queue.

As far as writing, I'm sure everyone reading this knows that what I publish is rarely ever my most recent writings. This year I wrote a good bit of stories, some of which will hopefully be published in 2024. If not, then hopefully sooner than later. In fact, as I'm writing this, last night I lost my internet for about an hour and spent the time writing a short story. When I finished, the internet returned. Needless to say, I've got quite a lot of material still left to publish.

Six of my books in Pocket Paperback format!

One of the big things coming in 2024 is going to be Cirsova publishing my next book, Star Wanderers. This is a collection of stories, some of which you might have read, but most definitely not all. You'll learn more about it as the year goes on. I'm really proud of this one. I think these are some of the best stories I've written so far.

Speaking of Cirsova, I also have another story coming in issue #20 of the magazine. It is called "Mirage Carousal", and is a wild one. This will be my second appearance in the magazine, which is very exciting to me. I also have other stories ready to submit to other publications, but nothing is open for submissions right now so they will have to wait.

Since January is usually incredibly slow, that is when I tend to spend the time writing a project that I wouldn't have the opportunity to in the busier times of the year. I have just the sort of project in mind ready to so. Once that one is done, it is time to finally move on into my next proper series. It's been a while, and I really want to get to it. Problem is, the muse is telling me other things must be done first. I can't just ignore that.

For those who don't know, before Silver Empire went under and handed me back Gemini Man, I had already began the work on my next series. I had even written the first book. However, after putting out the entire previous project via crowdfunding, I am now a year older and wiser and now have solidified more things about it that I was unsure about before. The vision for the series is clear, and I am excited to finally get to it.

Therefore, I will go on to write the second book and then return to the first for appropriate rewrites. Luckily enough, the changes do not really affect the first book very much, just the rest going forward. Like Gemini Man, this series will also be four books long. Unlike Gemini Man, however, it is being planned that way from the beginning.

If all goes according to plan, Book One of this new series should hopefully be ready before the end of 2024. As long as nothing else goes wrong, that is! I can't say I expected to have to put out an entire series over the course of 2023, after all.

Now, returning to my first post from 2023, there were some premonitions made that are quite interesting reading them over again today. Let's go over them right now.

"The mainstream's obsession with reboots and subversive relaunches has more or less run out of gas. Trying to pretend the newest Ferngully remake is going to have any sort of cultural impact today when it didn't over a decade ago is a cope to the fact that the old era is already over. The wider culture has moved past that era, even if those in charge want to continue to pretend it hasn't. We are in the position to build something new, and a lot of us are doing just that, but the overall energy is shifting. I can't say if it'll be this year, if 2023 is finally going to be the year it starts, but I feel like we are on the cusp of something really breaking out big to shake up the status quo. A lot of things were put to bed in 2022, the 25th anniversary of Cultural Ground Zero, and new avenues are opening up ahead of us. There is an excitement building, pointing us in new directions."

Boy, was this right on the money. The Ferngully remake made money, yes, but it had, again, absolutely no cultural impact and disappeared as quickly as it came. In video games, the same thing happened with the newest Bethesda game. You will have a cadre of consumers and paid shills try to rile up discussion and insist the newest corpo slop is actually Great and Important, but every single time it falls to the wayside and is forgotten within a month.

Thankfully it seems that most people realized what the Geek Culture Consumer Crowd hasn't, and that's that this stuff is ultimately empty.

2023 was also the year Hollywood utterly collapsed. No new hits, no cultural shakeups, and no trends. Just bomb after tired bomb. That's not even putting into account the strike itself that was never really resolved, just put off like everyone said it would be. Next year they will have even less as a result of this.

It turns out that my prediction was right--25 years after Cultural Ground Zero appears to be the limit we can sustain ourselves on the fumes. The old spell no longer enchants, and the so-called rubes see how the trick is played.

And they don't like it.

However, there has been signs of positive change recently.

"For too long we've put up with and excused blandness and emptiness because wanting more is considered novelty or childish, but that has never been true no matter how much it has been asserted or pushed in the media that has long since turned against us. It isn't silly to want a chain restaurant to look good because it's a corporate product, everything should look its best, especially when customers are involved. Why should you put up with less just because a corporation made it? That is silly. We should want to live in a society where trying to be good needs several qualifiers and asterisks beside them, not one that excuses decay."

This ended up being prescient, especially as my own local Pizza Hut did this exact thing, using the pandemic (of course) as an excuse. Now almost every restaurant in my area is like this, a characterless brutalist box that ships product to consumers, usually with increasingly worse delivery drivers. The human experience was stripped, and now it is little more than a product beltline with none of the charm or flavor that used to exist.

It is much the same with stores like Walmart which used the turbulent times as an excuse to push forth automatic cashes . . . which is now backfiring on them years later.

What happened in 3 years that turned them around so fast?

Needless to say, this change was more of a hope than an expectation, but it appears as though the customers themselves have realized this, too. People aren't as dumb as the nihilists think they are, even if they can't always express their displeasure. Sometimes certain people just happen to notice shifts before they happen.

That is pretty much the case here. This is a change that was more necessary than you might think, even amid a culture that worships dead corporations from yesteryear.

As I went on here:

"I suppose I should expand on the above example. You've probably seen more than a few jokes centered around how anyone thinking that chain restaurants like Pizza Hut or McDonalds should look good are silly or something, but that misses the point of the complaint. Why shouldn't they look their best? Why shouldn't everything? The fact is that if things can be better than they are, then they should be better. Why should you, why should anyone, be trained into wanting less? Why should you be made to expect less because it is easier for a corporation to not bother? It isn't about the things themselves, but about the lack of any ambition at all."

I have to admit I didn't think there would be any turnaround on this one for years. Thankfully, however, my estimation was wrong. More people have noticed this decline than you'd think.

If you're on social media then you might have seen the following news making the rounds recently. Believe it or not, this is a bigger deal than you might believe, because this is the first time any of these companies have even attempted an about-face on a bad decision.

The archive is here

Can't say anyone would have expected this a year ago when I wrote my post. It really did feel like this sort of simple thing was gone forever.

Of course one can be cynical about this, but remember what I said a year ago. Everyone knew how sterile and corporate things have been getting over the last few years. This has been a complaint for a long time and yet nothing about it had changed or even had an attempt at improvement. Aesthetics getting uglier, spiteful anti-corporate people gleefully welcoming the pro-corporate changes to own the chuds, prices only going up as quality went down, and the same miserable anti-social atmosphere in all of these establishments.

This isn't to say the above picture is a sign of victory, but it is a sign that there has been an attitude shift since I wrote the original above paragraph. Such a thing was unthinkable then. One can even read the original twitter thread to see that there is a lot more to this than originally thought. They aren't doing this test for no reason.

So what does this mean going forward? Maybe not much, but it does show that not only is the problem real--but more people know it exists than we were led to believe.

As I said a year ago:

"And it feels as if most people understand this by now. The bare minimum of effort is not only not respectful to yourself or others, but it's also boring. The biggest problem to come from Cultural Ground Zero was how everything melted into a pile of bland goo and no one appeared to care if they even noticed in the first place. You can look at photos from 2006 and then from 2018 and you won't find much different between them, even though you'll also never find anyone who thinks what was produced during that time being ideal either. Now, however? It's not enough anymore. People have decided they deserve more, even as those in charge decided they should have nothing instead. We are hitting a low, even as we are beginning to aim high."

Even in 2022, it was obvious that people were reaching their limit with this sort of unambitious laziness we've allowed to foster since the 1990s. Especially after about three years of a global pandemic and the disastrous fallout from said event, we are realizing we can't let the realization of how far things have crumbled get in our way forever. We can't lay down in bed depressed forever. We're eventually going to have to get up again.

As a reminder, Coronavirus started at the tail end of 2019, but it became a worldwide issue as early as January 2020. We are only now leaving 2023. This effectively means the '20s has been molded and shaped by the pandemic and the reaction to it. We've still yet to fully shake it off, and it seems like many want more than mere status quo from a few years ago to return. But at the same time, the '10s were awful, and everyone knows it. People want more than the sterile pit of dead ends that was the 2010s, and to get it we're going to have to start aiming higher again.

We're going to have to stop accepting the bare minimum in everything. Eventually there won't even be a bare minimum to accept--we'll just be accepting whatever is shoveled out to us. That's not going to lead to better things.

Thankfully, as noted above, there are signs that a better direction is being sought out. But is that going to be enough to pull us out of the post-pandemic rut?

As I went on:

"So what exactly will the legacy of the 2020s be? From what we've seen so far, it appears to be a transitional era between the death of modernity, Cultural Ground Zero, and the first step towards something grander to come later. We are on the precipice of change, but what that change will be is still up in the air. Where it'll all end up is anyone's guess, but those paying attention have seen attitudes shift, especially over the last three years, desiring more than the bare minimum and reaching out to higher places. Ambition is what they want to see again. I think we all do."

I still hold this to be true. Cultural Ground Zero is fading away with the death of modernity. It's going to take some time and some effort, but there are plenty of signs that where we were going is no longer the road we want to go down. The 2020s, in my mind, is an era of changing course. We can't sustain ourselves on our current trajectory, we all know that, so it is time to finally make the big decisions on where to head next.

That's pretty much what 2023 was composed of: a lot of boiling off and a slow change finally beginning to show itself on the fringes of western cultural as a whole. Does this mean 2024 will be more of the same, or will we backslide? All we can do is wait and hope, and build.

And that's where we'll leave this year in review off.

2023 was a weird time. I managed to release 5 books this year, far more than I expected to, and also am ready to start off next year with motivation to spare. I didn't slow down for 2023, so here's hoping I don't need to do so for 2024. I've got plenty of things yet to do. I'm also putting my books up in pocket paperback format over on Lulu. There's something for everyone!

There are also plenty of surprises ahead, so be sure to keep your head up. You never know just what might happen next.

Either way, I hope 2023 was fruitful for you and yours, and that the next year is even more so. We're finally entering an era of real change. Let us all turn this ship around together.

Because slowly and surely, it is beginning to do just that.

Two adventures of high action and creeping terror for only a dollar!

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

New Release ~ Two Adventures Across Eternity + An End of Year Surprise!

Find it Here!

Today is the day! I promised one last treat for readers before 2024 hits, and here it is. Today, for only a dollar you can get yourself not just one, but two, entire stories! Not only that, but you can get them in multiple formats.

Two Adventures Across Eternity is available as an eBook on amazon, as well as a special pocket paperback edition on Lulu! That's right, there is physical version of this one. This is also the first time I've ever offered such a thing, so be sure to check it out for yourself and pick the format you prefer the most.

The description:


The past and the future are at different ends of the spectrum of existence. But what about that which lies underneath it all? Some things do not age, no matter the era.

Here are two stories where eternity lies just out of sight.

In Duel on Dalpha, the future of another world lies in uncertainty. Sheriff Simon Gareth answers a distress call in the wilds. There he finds a rogue military force in search of an ancient artifact and, despite his failing health, he is their only opposition. But what will he do when his very blood is the key to it all?

The Demon Eye scours the Black Lands in Three Gifts of the White Wolf. There in the Nameless Kingdom lies the exile Sagest, a man as dulled out as his axe. As he lies dying he is visited by a white wolf who directs him deeper into the darkness. Can he rescue lost innocents, or are they all doomed to be consumed like all else in this evil land?

*This collection contains two stories: Duel on Dalpha and Three Gifts of the White Wolf!*

You can find Two Adventures Across Eternity here!

Remember, it's only one buck for two great adventures from across the boundaries of eternity itself. In this package you get both the futuristic and the mythic, along with plenty of wonder and adventure. Check it out today!

At the same time, as mentioned above, Two Adventures Across Eternity is being made available in a special pocket paperback edition available only on the Lulu store. This will be the only place these stories will be available in print for the foreseeable future.

As a reminder, you can find the pocket paperback edition here! I've made sure that this edition is definitely one you can carry around in your back pocket and hand out to anyone you wish. What else are adventures stories for if not sharing the fun?

However, that is not all.

On top of Two Adventures Across Eternity, I have created pocket paperback versions of Grey Cat Blues, Brutal Dreams, Y Signal, Knights of the End, and The Pulp Mindset, all available on Lulu! That's right, you can now buy six of my books in the pocket paperback format!

Some of the covers are even tweaked

It's hard to believe it myself, but you can now also get yourself physical versions of my books in the author's preferred physical format. They may cost a bit more than on amazon, but the print quality is improved and it is also far more portable and easy to pass on to others!

You can see the entire listing of available pocket paperback editions here. I am more than pleased to finally offer these to readers just before the end of the year.

Are these the only books coming to the more compact format? Well, despite some of the books being a bit longer I have looked into it. Let's just say there will be an update as we cross into 2024 concerning The Last Fanatics, Someone is Aiming for You & Other Adventures, and the Gemini Man series. We're not done yet.

For now, enjoy around half of my books being released in the author's preferred physical format, finally! Now you can finally see for yourself why I prefer such a form and why it is the best one for adventures stories.

I hope you consider that a big note to end 2023 on as far as publishing goes. Exporting half of my catalog into a new format on a new store as well as giving readers one last book feels like a fine way to end the year, especially one as crazy as this one was.

That's all for now! I will see you next time. I'm just glad that I was able to bow out  of this year in style with a gift to you all.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Christmas, Imagination, and Wonder

Art by Boris Vallejo, taken from Ben Espen's blog

Merry Christmas!

I don't have much to share this weekend since it is the dead center of one of the most festive times of the year, but there are a few things I wanted to mention. The first is the above image and how it perfectly encapsulates what adventure writers are trying to do. It also shows exactly who we are and what we strive to become.

There is more to life than the hamster wheel. Don't let anyone tell you and different. The only ones who don't want the prisoners dreaming of the outside world are the prison guards, after all. That said, it isn't always escapism to dream of such things. Sometimes it is just longing for the supernatural end of the natural world we were given. It is longing for what we can already know is out there but just have little idea of how to reach with our own power. Human beings both over and underestimate ourselves to strange degrees. It is what the comedy and tragedy genres are both about, after all. Sometimes we get lost in our own ambitions or vices.

Escapism can be a bad word. When being confronted by the harsher elements of reality, one can use it to avoid their problems to a harmful degree. Think drugs, alcohol, or addictions. All of those things that can be used in healthy moderation can in turn be made a vice if put on a pedestal above other things. One can really do this with anything to the point of obscuring what is important. They might even need to outright neglect of important things, in the end.

That said, the above image by Boris Vallejo perfectly encapsulates the importance of both imagination and the core mission of writers such as myself. It is to remind readers that there is more to life than this. there is more than you see on a daily basis. That is not to say there is nothing valuable in everyday life and that it all must be escaped, but to show that you as an individual are a valuable thread in the tapestry of our society and that it all connects together as one whole in ways we can't even imagine. Everything matters, and there is more to it than what you can see. Though you might think your everyday slog is worthless and a waste of time, it is not and neither are you. And just like the above barbarian, you are also secretly a strong warrior capable of much more than you or others think. It's not so much escapism, but a reminder of who you really are.

Wonder stories exist to present this key truth in the mystery of existence in ways the audience might not expect. Though we might not always see it, and those leaders in charge might forget it themselves, you do matter and you have much to offer. The job of writers is to show that there is meaning in everything, even what might seem mundane is secretly much more than that. The land of the faerie exists around every corner, behind every tree, and down every strange alley, just out of sight. Wonder tales are reminders of greater things that await in the smallest things.

Christmas does this, too. In a manger in some lowly country off in the middle of nowhere, covered in dirt and surrounded by animals, there is a Baby most would never even know was there, and that Baby is the Greatest of us all. Where you least expect it is the most valuable discovery you will ever find. This is true wonder.

So this holiday season, please remember that one truth, no matter who you are and no matter where you are in your life. We may think that we're alone or that we're fighting an endless battle, but we're really not. In fact, we've already won the most important one, and we didn't even have to do anything. In comparison, our everyday squabbles and troubles, regardless of how big they might seem to us right now, aren't quite so bad. This will all eventually pass. Besides, we're fierce warriors, aren't we? We're capable of so much more than we believe we are.

Let us, hopefully, never forget that.

Have yourself a Merry Christmas, and I will see you very soon.

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Some Kinda Fun

Some day you'll remember me
And picture my face
Some day you may smile at me
And I'll walk away
~"Picture My Face", Teenage Head

Anyone who has read anything I've written for any length of time knows that I am a big fan of Rock n' Roll music. It's no secret, and I make no apologies. The genre itself is wide encompassing, a sped up version of the Blues tied with the heart of Country music makes it, in my clearly expert opinion, the greatest of the "genres" in regards to music. While you might pick and parse after that as to which subgenre of the genre you prefer (hey, it happens with writing all the time!), if you are a male you probably like at least some Rock music. It is, after all, the music meant for guys.

However, much like everything else over the course of the 20th century, it was torn apart by hedonists and subversives until all that remained of it were local covers bands and quietly monitored pages on Bandcamp and YouTube. After half a century in the sun, Rock has more or less died and been left in music purgatory aside Jazz and Classical. That's probably where it will stay for a long time before some distant generation attempts a revival divorced from our modern concerns of trends and empty gimmicks.

All that is to say that part of the reason the genre died is because it detached from its roots. Let's be honest, by the end of the '00s, what was actually left to listen to? No new bands were coming up and the old ones were either quietly quitting or running out of steam. Meanwhile subgenre specific ones basically left to their own scenes and kept to themselves, shrinking their own appeal in the process. No more would Rock dare to darken the door or the mainstream or attempt to reach people. It was time for retirement and then the grave.

But where did it truly all go wrong? That's a loaded question and not really one I can go into here. Suffice to say, it took decades of bad decisions to lead it to this place. But I would posit that it didn't just make a bad turn. It deliberately fractured itself long ago and now we are finally seeing the results of the choice to do just that.

You can argue all you want about where Rock went after the 1950s, it's still a controversial subject all these years later, after all, but one thing that can't be denied is as soon as the 1960s hit there was a division set down that split the genre. Much of this was caused by advertising campaigns that stretched all the way until the 1990s, determined to divide the genre up and create fanatics that would forever buy the Good Genre's products. This ridiculous red vs blue team war went on as far as the '00s internet on old message boards. Your band sucks, your genre sucks, buy Geffen's new Nirvana best of and rub it in the face of those hair metal losers!

All of that first began in the 1960s. The record companies learned much from Elvis and all wanted their own cash cow artist. What better way to do that then create entire ecosystems around them? You can even name a movement after these groups and label anything outside of it uncool and unworthy to be listened to. And you want to be cool don't you? Being rebellious is cool, just ask our spokesman before he tells you to give us your money. Just ask the Beach Boys how tough such a climate was to navigate in back then. Many garage bands that would have hit in the 1950s, as a result, never had a chance. Many never left the garage.

Regardless, that is where much of the division in the industry originated.

Not long after that era, all these manmade subgenre icebergs would slowly drift away from each other on their own paths, never to reunite again. What this meant was that these newly formed subgenres could only iterate on themselves to diminishing returns until . . . well, until we have the dead genre we have today. There isn't much else to see if you only want to look at yourself in the mirror. And that's what Rock became. That's what just about all the genres became.

I maintain that the only way Rock will ever return is when the subgenres are finally destroyed and bands are free to meld their sound with whatever they want and bring back the freedom that defined the sound to begin with. These small exclusive clubs of hipsters with outdated dress are not what music was made for. This won't happen as long as stodgy scene kids (adults now) sneer at the wrong song structures and fashion choices. It really shows how weird and outdated this is when modern kids will listen to anything regardless of lame scene kid crap from the past, but I digress. Nothing will change until they are in charge of this and impose their own rules.

All that is to say that Rock music started as party music, first and foremost. You might think that odd if you look at the likes of Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly at the start versus Kurt Cobain and Jack White and where the genre ended, but it's not as odd as you think. This is still the same genre, and that is because all four of them are writing about the same things from different perspectives in different ways. This is how wide and versatile the genre once was. In order to explain what that means, we have to define just what Rock is and isn't.

Despite the record company astroturfing, Rock n' Roll is not about rebellion, trends, saving the world, Satan, nihilism, politics, or hedonism. As I've said before, if your lyrics can be changed to being about bananas and the song remains the same otherwise then the lyrical content is meaningless. A lyric as a weapon is bad art, because Rock music is not about demonizing enemies--deliberately making enemies implies the opposite of connection and, therefore, art. It is about the opposite of what advertising conglomerates of have sold you for decades. Rock n' Roll is about suffering, and suffering starts with the self and moves outward both for release and connection.

So what does all this nonsense have to do with party music? I am glad you asked that, because this is the key to understanding Rock n' Roll that many missed back in the day when trying to ban it. The entire purpose of Rock music as a man's genre is to mock your problems as nothing and dance the night away like they don't matter, because you will get beyond them. Not only can you get beyond them, but so can your listeners.

It is an extension on both Country and Blues, genres focusing on expelling the inner turmoil and pain by transforming it into a passionate piece of art, showing just how strong the human spirit can be even under the crushing inner pain of suffering. Rock music instead translates that into active energy, like going for a run at the end of a long and stressful day. Dancing is meant to be the social release, and how better to do that then among a community? There is nothing evil here.

This is where the genre begins, and what defines it from all the others:

All of this is to put into context the subject I wish to talk about today. In the mid-70s, there was a group of high school kids in Hamilton, Ontario, who loved music. One day they formed a band, not just any band, but one that wanted to go back to that energy and spirit of those early days of Rock before it became the mess it was by the early 1970s. So they decided to follow after their heroes the New York Dolls and formed a Rock n' Roll band, They called themselves Teenage Head, after the classic Flamin' Groovies song and album, and the rest is history.

Of course, "history" is relative. The chances you have heard of this obscure Canadian bands, never even mind heard their music, is probably thin. They never became world famous, and I'm fairly certain they never even toured overseas. Nonetheless, they were a very influential band for a lot of people despite the fact they never broke out big, even in their home country. They were just another garage band played by the record companies trying to set trends.

That said, the exemplify today's topic.

The above video at the top of this post, Picture My Face, is a documentary about the band, how they started, how they almost broke out, how misfortune knocked them aside, and how they struggled on for over forty years afterwards despite little more than their local community and nearby areas keeping them afloat. Despite it all, they survived.

As strange as it is to say, this is probably where most bands should stay to get themselves grounded and focused on the entertainer aspect of their job. On the other hand, the 1970s and 1980s were Rock music's commercial peak, so it was probably not on their minds at the time. Just think of how many bands you never heard because a stodgy record exec decided you shouldn't. I'm sure there are countless numbers of them.

I'm a monster
Got a revved-up teenage head
Teenage monster
California born and bred
Half a boy and half a man
I'm half at sea and half on land, oh my
~ "Teenage Head", the Flamin' Groovies

The classic lineup from L to R: Nick, Gord, Stephen, and Frankie

A large part of the documentary centers on guitarist Gord Lewis' long-lasting depression over the death of his best friend and their singer, Frankie "Venom" Kerr, back in 2008. This was filmed almost a decade after that, and the feeling of loss punctuates the entire affair. It is difficult to play party music when there is nothing to celebrate, isn't it? Well, that is the thesis statement of the documentary. What exactly do Rock bands exist to do?

Rock bands, believe it or not, rely on brotherhood bonds to get by. It is that undefinable chemistry between them that creates the art they make and it defines their relationship with the audience. There is a reason when I focus on bands that I focus on lineups first and foremost, because each member of the band is indispensable for it sounding as it does. It is that combination of personalities that come together as a whole that transcends themselves.

Perhaps this is how Rock music mistakenly became a religion for so many throughout the 1960s into the '80s before bottoming out in nihilism in the 1990s and irony in the '00s. So much of this chemistry and mastery over the form gave the wrong impression about how these were golden gods not to be trifled with ("Clapton is god" being a very famous example) instead of a group of normal guys making art because it is how they can connect with their audience to reach higher things. At some point, the genre became a false idol instead of what it was.

And that sort of mentality never ends well. In fact, it is what eventually ended up killing the genre, in the end. They all bought into the record company hype instead of the reality.

Regardless, fraternity and brotherhood is the main appeal of a band, not superstardom, drugs, or women. Teenage Head seems to have had to learn that themselves through experience, hardship, and, yes, suffering.

There is a very striking scene where Gord Lewis' brother is interviewed, him a Roman Catholic priest, and his insight is very keen on both the genre and his brother. Though they chose different paths, in many ways they are two sides of the same coin. Rock n' Roll is suffering, embracing it, overcoming it, and looking forward to what comes next. We're going to make it, bros. Always remember that you can get up again.

Rock is about showing how deep your darkness is and how trivial it still is in the end because there is always a way out. You might be infected, but there is a cure. You just have to keep striving for it.

It is no coincidence that the genre came out of Christianity, just like its parents Blues and Country did, because at the end of the day Rock is a celebration of life and joy over the inevitable defeat of darkness. We need levity and introspection to get by, but we need them both. This is what critics on each side of the old debate over the genre miss entirely. It's not about cliques or fashions, and it never really was. To quote a hoary old line, it actually is about the music, man.

Unfortunately, the story of Teenage Head contains more tragedy. Since the documentary was filmed, Gord Lewis was murdered in his home, leaving only one member of the original band left standing. They fought long and hard, and the band is still going on with friends that have been there for ages, which is a credit to their resilience even to this day. I would hope the name lives on as a message of triumph--the core point of the entire genre in the first place.

On the flip side, thanks to the internet and much easier visibility for music away from the payola practices of radio, the band has been slowly rediscovered over the years. Now that people can hear what they're missing, a lot of older groups have had a bit of second wind in this new climate. Rediscovery of the band's first two albums in particular show a group destined for great things and, though they never got there in this life, there is hope that they will in the one to come. It's hard to listen to them and not crack a smile that they can see something we hope to see ourselves. Regardless, their sound is timeless in a way it wasn't at the time because they strove to connect to a tradition older than they were before anything else. And they succeeded.

While I can recommend the band to any fans of the genre, the documentary too, the wider point today was to discuss just what the genre itself is capable of and why it exists in the first place. Without that levity, without that joy, without that reminder of lightheartedness, we would be left stranded in the dark with no bearings to even begin to look for a way out. There is more to strive for than just the next paycheck or a bit more fame. At the end of the day, that doesn't really matter much at all.

There is a lot more beyond all of this, and what makes humans great is that we implicitly know that there is. That is what keeps us going.

It is why we will always keep getting back up.

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Two Adventures Across Eternity!

Today I want to announce a new small project getting released soon. That's right, it's a new book, albeit a small one. Two Adventures Across Eternity will include two novelettes I've written and decided to bundle together in one package.

This is a bit of a surprise announcement, I know, but it also comes as a shock to me. A little while back, I was just sitting there looking at at my stories and what I had and hadn't put out and realized that despite being in between projects and at the end of the year that I had not one, but two stories that could be delivered to readers that wouldn't otherwise fit any other upcoming project. Therefore, I decided to bundle them together to give you more bang for your buck.

And I mean that literally, because this will be put up on Amazon for a dollar. As for a release date, well, that will be soon, hopefully before the end of the year. I'm still in the process of editing the second story, and this being the time of year that it is might make that difficult to finish off before the fireworks go off. Nonetheless, it won't take that long to release despite that.

So what exactly is included in this package? Let's go into that. First up is a story that newsletter subscribers might remember from a few years ago. That would be "Duel on Dalpha"! I'm finally going to put it out again, this time for everyone.

Here is the description:

In Duel on Dalpha, the future of another world lies in uncertainty. Sheriff Simon Gareth answers a distress call in the wilds. There he finds a rogue military force in search of an ancient artifact and, despite his failing health, he is their only opposition. But what will he do when his very blood is the key to it all?

Those who remember this one know it gets a bit crazy as it goes. Check this one out if you like gunfights and mecha. I had a blast writing this one.

The second story is different in that it has never been released at all before. "Three Gifts of the White Wolf" is a tale I wrote a while back, but it ended up being too long for any magazine or anthology to take. Therefore it sat in the archives without any way to get it out. This one is also a bit different from most of my other stories, making it a hard sell to editors.

Here is the description:

The Demon Eye scours the Black Lands in Three Gifts of the White Wolf. There in the Nameless Kingdom lies the exile Sagest, a man as dulled out as his axe. As he lies dying he is visited by a white wolf who directs him deeper into the darkness. Can he rescue lost innocents, or are they all doomed to be consumed like all else in this evil land?

You might recognize some of that terminology. That's because it is related to one of my early published short stories, "Inside the Demon's Eye", which was published in StoryHack #3 way back in 2018. This isn't a sequel or a rewrite of that one, however. It's a whole new adventure set in the Nameless Kingdom from that story. In this one you will learn a whole lot more about what this place actually is and why so many seem trapped in the so-called Black Lands under the Demon's Eye sun.

The two stories included in this package aren't directly related except that there was no simpler way to get them out to readers. What's a story if no one can read it, after all? I also didn't think one of them alone would be enough story to satiate, nor would it be enough to full a pocket paperback.

What I mean by that statement is that I am planning to release Two Adventures Across Eternity in pocket paperback, exclusive to Lulu. This is the perfect opportunity to finally put out a book in that form, perhaps the first of many, on the only store where it would work. This also means it is small enough that a physical would be exclusive to that form and that store, at least for the time being.

So yes, this is one final gift for readers as we wrap up the long year that has been 2023. I put out four books (bundled in an omnibus) so lets try to go for five! Why not? You can always have more fun stories to read. There's no limit on wonder.

That aside, there isn't much else to report. I've got several things in the oven for next year, and I literally just randomly wrote a new short story a few days ago in the midst of all this, but otherwise it is mostly going to be quiet on that front until the new year. I put out quite a lot in 2023, and I can't imagine releasing that much material in a single year again.

That said, like I mentioned, it's not quite over yet! So please look forward to Two Adventures Across Eternity as we wrap up 2023 in style.

It's been a strange year, but at least it's been exciting.

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Weekend Lounge ~ The Era of Shift

Welcome to the weekend! Let us look at a bizarre subject today, and one of been wanting to put my two cents in on for awhile--a sort of change that almost happened but never did.

The 32-bit console generation of gaming nowadays is usually seen as transitional if not seen as a pale imitation of the one to come right after it. Rarely is it ever considered one of the best these days unless someone grew up with it. There is a reason for that. However, it does contain my personal favorite Sony console, and you will soon see why.

Considered the Fifth Console Generation (though it would be the First Generation if EA had its way), this era has become increasingly controversial over the passage of time, though for many reasons, both valid and not. These days it is rarely anyone's favorite.

One area that was undisputedly a step down from what came before was in sheer performance of the systems themselves. No gen is quite as dated as this one has, and its mostly due to its own short-sighted choices. This is probably what has aged the fifth generation worse than any other before it, and makes it difficult to return to. As far as games that are hard to go back to, this is probably the gen with the most offenders, and it isn't even close.

Before this console generation every single game was expected to be 60fps, unless it had consistent slowdown problems due to mediocre programming or planning. These frames per second helped define gaming as fast-paced and smooth, allowing a feel that perfectly accentuated the arcade roots of the medium even at home.

For the fifth generation, all of that took a hit because everyone wanted shiny 3D graphics before anything else. As a consequence, you would be lucky to have a lot of the games even reach 30 frames per second consistently, never mind 60. This dramatically changed how video games were expected to play because to this day, 60fps has been warped into an unachievable prospect for selfish gamers who are never satiated. In other words, it was excused away so they could see you less for more.

At the same time, the basic technical issues of these consoles were all over the place. PlayStation 1 games were full of texture warping and low res graphics, N64 games were covered in fog and blur, and Saturn games that couldn't even handle transparencies. On top of it, all of them suffered from early 3D problems of camera issues, unsure controls, and games made more as vague sandbox ideas than any idea of traditional arcade play. In just about every way, this is the generation that led us to where we are. For both good and ill, though the good would decay a good bit with the usual entropy and diminishing returns this path was built on.

But there is a hidden part to that transitional era that's been lost amidst the rush for higher tech and even more shiny bells and whistles plastered on top over the years. Even with the change in focus that happened during this time period, there were many who did use the opportunity to use the new tech for the gameplay. You don't hear about these so much because the era was more focused on the graphical arms race that reach a fever pitch (and an incredible low) in the first HD generation two gens later. This was the period where focus on gameplay became lost, leading us to the pit we're in where we are now basically in Gen 7, part 3 . . . or Gen 5, part 5.

What used to define a console generation wasn't just a new system with new bells and whistles, but by the new gameplay styles that were impossible on older tech. Not just in regards to more polygons and enemies on screen, but in the new experiences that could be delved into.

This is the reason why the comedy behind the old "$599 US Dollars" meme in regards to the PlayStation 3 has been lost over time--the system wasn't actually offering anything new at the time when the meme was made. you were just expected to jump in because it was Sony, and the graphics were prettier. That's it.

Now it's just expected new systems will not offer anything except bells and whistles, and you will fork over that $599 US Dollars for a system that gives diminishing returns in exchange for pushing more shiny graphics and nothing else. The industry became the meme and you are expected to consume only a beltline of warmed over and stale seventh gen console games forever. The consoles no longer having creative or unique names should have been the tip off to that.

However, the video at the top of the page is different from all of this. In it, we can see the sparks of an era we could have had instead. There you see a smattering of 60fps PlayStation games, but beyond that almost every single one of them offers gameplay of the like that was not only new at the time, but has never been expanded on in the decades that followed them. This was the path a truly new console generation could have brought us and a path we could have gone down.

It is funny to think of what the industry might be like had the Sega Saturn focused primarily on being a 2D powerhouse, the PS1 on these sorts of new 3D experiences, and Nintendo a balance of both, instead of what they actually did do. The industry would be in a totally different place. Not only that, but the systems all would have aged much better, because it would have been the gameplay that carried them, not the soon-to-be-outdated tech. Everyone could have got what they wanted.

Alas, it wasn't to be!

Regardless, there are plenty of indie and middle market developers now creating their own games and forging their own paths. Perhaps this was all inevitable, but it might have happened much sooner had we not all been suckered in by bells and whistles over what mattered--new gameplay experiences. We should demand more, because ambition should be rewarded over complacency. But that era is over, and now it's up to the smaller guys to lead the way forward.

We need less of whatever tired 2006 rehash with a new coat of paint that nu-Naughty Dog is pumping out and more of this:

That is what I'm talking about! Things are looking up again, and it's about time.

Traverse unfamiliar worlds, fight uncompromising villains, and face magic of the like no one has yet seen before. Full series omnibus now available!

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Weekend Lounge ~ Believe in Getter!

Welcome to December! Not long left to go in the year. Not only that, it's Advent season and then we go into Christmas, and that's it for 2023! We're in for some good times ahead.

For some updates from my last update post, as I informed Kickstarter backers, the final books have been shipped out and the campaign has now been fulfilled. If you are a backer you can see the details for yourself in the most recent update. For everyone else, the reason I state this is because the paperback omnibus version of the Gemini Man series is now available on Amazon via KDP here! I know some of you were waiting for it, here's your chance.

Today's subject is a bit of a wild one. Recently, mecha series have had a bit of resurgence, especially in the prose arena, with projects like Combat Frame XSeed and Collateral Damage, among many others, have shown there is still much life left here.

What you might not know is one of the most unique, and influential, franchises that have been here since Japan themselves embraced the concept back in the 1970s. I am of course, speaking of the great, yet massively underrated in the West, Getter Robo.

One of the most common ways to describe Getter Robo is Lovecraft with mecha, but that description might be lost on people today because "Lovecraft" has been turned into a synonym for undercooked political thought and rehashed tentacle monsters. That isn't what Getter Robo is. What Getter Robo does is take the cosmic horror aspect and turn it on its head, keeping both the mystery and the horror while also managing to turn the madness into a weapon for the heroic.

Though its origins came from a simple place (legendary creator Go Nagai needed a concept for a new series with three transforming robots and Ken Ishikawa created the franchise under him), it soon transformed into what is one of Japan's best entries in the form, up there with Tetsujin-28/Gigantor, Giant Robo, Mazinger Z, Patlabor, Gundam, and VOTOMs, and it also maintained a surprisingly high level of quality throughout the decades and up to Ken Ishikawa's unfortunate early death.

If you are unaware of Getter Robo, I highly recommend the above video as an introductory crash course, especially if you enjoy giant robots. It is long, but you can put it on 1.5-2 times speed of you want. You will not miss out on much. Regardless, the first three parts alone are invaluable to see above all else. I can definitely say it has influenced a lot of what I do, and many others over the years. Learn exactly why it retains its popularity and influence even to this day. There is nothing quite like Getter Robo.

That's all for this week! Have a happy beginning of December and I will see you next time!

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

A Short 2023 Update

It's been a bit hectic around here recently, so I wanted to pause a bit on what's actually been going on behind the scenes. It's time for an update on some behind the scenes stuff!

As you can see above, I was recently on the Iron Age Marketing channel on YouTube talking about recent projects. The information a bit old since I was still crowdfunding at the time, but still is quite the discussion on just about everything story-related that I can remember. I don't get the chance to talk about this stuff that much so feel free to watch the episode for yourself! Nicky was quite the courteous host.

Speaking of stories, aside from the entire Gemini Man series being released this year (which are available on sale for only one more day!), you might not know what else I've been working on. That's mostly because I haven't had the chance to share it with you. Thanks to real world business and the online world really trying to implode on itself this year, it's been quite the time just trying to produce the work I've wanted to.

Though this year I have put out four books, the most I've ever released in a year before, I've also been working on other stories in the background as always. Let me talk about a few today, because it will probably be a while before I can do so again! I prefer waiting until stories are completed to discuss them in full, so I'll just briefly touch on them as projects in the pipeline. If you know me, you know I always find a way to give readers my stories. These will release, one way or another!

One of these tales, called "Mirage Carousal" will be in Cirsova magazine next year in issue #20. This has all the hallmarks you know from my stories, but it's bit weirder than the norm and, like "City Eater" from Sidearm & Sorcery Volume Two, more modern in its setting and apocalyptic in its concerns. That said, as always, expect the action packed and the bizarre in one place!

Another project is a story I'm currently polishing up for submission to another publication. This is happening at the very moment you are reading this, assuming you're not from the future. This one continues a recent theme I've been writing about, which you will probably guess by the time the above Cirsova story releases. That said, it's becoming surprisingly long . . .

After that is a sort of novella trilogy I want to begin writing this winter that is completely unlike anything I've done before. This won't be like Y Signal and it's interstitials, which were deliberately spaced and cover a year in time, or as loosely interconnected as Someone is Aiming for You, which forms its own narrative upon completion. This story is more or less a complete three part serial that goes right from one part to the next as if it ran in Weird Tales back in the day. This one will probably take me a while, and might even have to go on the backburner for a bit, but it's a project I am very excited to dive into. Prayers that I can do so!

I'm also working on another surprise, currently in personal editing, but first I want to polish the above short story and get it finished first. This will be my next release, if all things work out. Regardless, I am still not done for the year.

For those who missed the campaign, the paperback version of the Gemini Man series will be on Amazon shortly, I am just juggling many projects at once and KDP is slow to release things. That said, I will put out a proper announcement for it next week.

Those are my writing plans for the rest of 2023. But what about next year?

The first confirmed project to mention is that I am releasing a collection with Cirsova called Star Wanderers. I do not want to go into any details before they are ready to share them, except to say that I am very proud of this one, and it's not quite what you might be expecting. It's a perfect project to crossover with Cirsova.

Now that Gemini Man is finally wrapped up, you might remember that I mentioned a new series I was working on back in 2022 that I had to put on the backburner to get this one out. I don't know if I mentioned it since, but I even finished the first book and was ready to send it to an editor before I got hit with the Gemini Man series to be put out first. Thanks to the crowdfund backers (seriously, many thanks! It could not have been done with you!) I was able to put this one together all nice and tight and get the entire series assembled in a shiny package, as well as the stretch goal novellas compiled into Book 4, which allowed me to complete it as best as I could manage to. All of that, however, allowed me time to reconsider a bit of the new series.

I can let slip a few details, the first being that it will be four books long, much like the Gemini Man series. Unlike the Gemini Man, however, this series is not going to be very standard. I have different plans with each entry that will lead up to the finale in the final book. That said, the project is still on the backburner and will come off of it when I finally finish the above 2023 projects and can give it the focus it needs. I have a lot I want to do with this one, so it's going to take a little longer to finally focus on what I want to do.

Meanwhile I have a lot of things in the pipeline beyond that, but there's no point going into those until they are much further along. Needless to say, more Galactic Enforcer and Night Rhythm stories are still on the docket and are in production, as well as others beyond that. I've even updated my Neocities page to more accurately reflect the works I've put out thus far which should maybe give you an idea of what I want to do next. I'm working to fill that out a bit more next year.

2024 will also be the 10th year anniversary of Wasteland & Sky! I have to admit, I didn't think it would last as long as it has back when I started, but it's been quite a ride. Hard to believe its been so long since I decided on a whim to make this place, but we're still here! I'm not really certain what I can do as a celebration, but I'll see if I can think of something fun. If you have any suggestions of what you'd like to see, let me know.

That's about all I have to say for today. I wanted to thank you for all the support you've given me and I hope to continue writing as best as I can for as long as I can. I truly couldn't have done any of this without the readers. As a consequence you also deserve the best stories I can conjure up, and I plan to keep taking it to the next level with every project.

2023 isn't over yet though, so keep out for a few more surprises before the calendar changes over. We're not quite done, and we've got much more to see!