Saturday, April 25, 2015

Just for fun ...

Here's a screenshot of the character I created for GTA Online. She started off with normal eyes, but while pondering different hairstyles in a barber shop, I found options for contact lenses as well. There's a lot of really cool ones, but I decided to try the solid-black ones for a while.

Fun fact: This is pretty much how I imagined the cybernetic eyes of Jack Hammer, one of the main characters in my novels, look.

I'm kind of at a loss as to why changing a character's eyes would be an option in a barber shop ... but I guess that's one of the things you just have to go along with.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Reaction to a Rumor ...

... Plus the second video in my series, How Not to Tell a Story. First, here it is.

Now, on to the rumor. Saw this on a friend's Facebook page: Apparently info about the upcoming Mass Effect 4 has leaked through a survey. While the source appears to be legit, these things should always be taken with a grain of salt until they're confirmed.

But having said that ... I read it and have the following observations.

While I'm amused at the idea of the devs realizing they fucked the franchise up so thoroughly that they have to set the next game in a completely different galaxy to start over ... this still didn't exactly blow my skirt up. I have zero interest in a prequel because none of it will matter. It'll still lead to the mountain of excrement at the end of Mass Effect 3. But I'm not that interested in the next game taking place far in the future either (though if they're still using the Mako, it's probably not that far off ... but then, I fucking hated the Mako) and in another galaxy, when there are still so many stories that can be told in our own galaxy. If only they'd just handwave the ending of 3 away and start over with a story that has nothing to do with the Reapers ....

Overall, it sounds like the game will be a lot like an MMO/RTS combination, which I couldn't care less about. There was a mention of single-player, but after Bioware gave me the impression that they cared more about ME3's multiplayer than the single-player game, I'm not expecting much for this one.

If 4 is about establishing a new home for humanity (and there, yet again, is the emphasis on humanity just as 3 was all about "take back Earth" when the entire galaxy was in danger), to me that suggests our own galaxy was left in ruins after the Reaper invasion. And if they're making the Synthesis ending canon, since they considered that the "best" ending ... or equally as disgusting, if they make the Refusal ending canon and every advanced civilization was all but wiped out except for a handful of survivors who had to leave the galaxy to stay alive ... then the chances of me ever buying another Bioware game will drop to zero.

The Remnants sound like a carbon copy of the Protheans. The final confrontation with the Illusive Man was a carbon copy of the last fight with Saren in the first game, so that's no surprise.

"Meaningful choices" ... yeah, we've heard that before.

So ... if the leak is the real thing, I doubt I'll be buying the game, at least not until I can get it for five bucks in a Steam sale. And if it has the same writing team as 3, then I wouldn't even pick up the game if they paid me to.

As far as I'm concerned, Bioware can't be trusted to tell a story worth paying $60 to $80 for and investing any time into. They have to earn that trust back.

And if the information in this leak is accurate, I don't see that happening.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

New video on writing

Here's something I'd been wanting to get started at least a couple of years ago, using a piece of terrible writing to talk about things authors should avoid in their own works. I'd been putting it off until a couple other video series are finished, but recent real-life events put me into a bad enough mood that I decided to go ahead with this one.

I call the series How Not to Write a Story.

The first video gets rather ranty and profane in a few places, just from the sheer frustration of it all, but the rest of the series will be milder now that I got it off my chest. The various topics I'll bring up in the videos will include properly setting up the beginning of the story, not turning the main characters into idiots when they've been established as intelligent in previous works, adding in a new character specifically to kill him off for shock value vs. building up an emotional connection with a character and then killing him off for a genuine emotional gut-punch, and not forgetting/dropping/tossing aside major plot threads and themes in a sequel that have been firmly established in previous volumes. And a lot more. Like, the villain shouldn't be a mustache-twirler, and should have some actual personality and motivation aside from "Bwahahaha! I'm EVIL!"

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Cora of the Matter

Several people have told me lately that one of the characters in Game Over and "Mission to Bellatrix," (one of the stories in the Lucky Stars Box Set) a robot named Cora, is a fantastic character, or that they love the character. So I thought I'd talk briefly about her here.

I've probably mentioned before that I've been getting kind of tired of the way robots and AI are too often portrayed in books, movies, TV shows, video games -- inherently evil and out to kill us all. For me, it's a breath of fresh air when I come across an AI in whatever media that's not hostile to humans or wanting to take over the world or whatever else. So, partly because I have a different view on the topic, and partly because I just wanted to do something that, as far as I've seen, isn't done that often, I decided to steer Cora in a different direction.

One of the ideas I came up with in Game Over was that when an AI becomes sentient, it's given a choice to continue the task for which it was created, or to find its own path in life. Those who choose the latter are set free and given full citizenship. I figured this would come about because people working in the field of AI programming would be worried about a robot revolt and take steps to prevent it, including making sure new AI understand concepts such as kindness and compassion, and setting them free if they no longer want to continue their original job.

Cora began as a sexbot, and as she was modified and upgraded over the years, she became sentient. When it came time to make that choice, she wanted to find her own purpose in life, so she was set free. She eventually bought a ship and began hauling cargo and passengers, as well as taking hired-gun jobs when she found herself in a position to help someone who couldn't help themselves.

Personality-wise, she's pretty much the opposite of the "AI is a Crapshoot" trope -- warm, friendly, caring, and very protective of her loved ones and anyone whose safety is her responsibility. She'll take a bad guy's life if she has to, but she does it reluctantly and doesn't celebrate it afterward.

As far as her appearance goes, the image I had in mind was sort of a mixture of the body EDI began using in Mass Effect 3 and the Mechari from Wildstar Online.

I ended up leaning a little more toward the "Mechari" look, but with different coloration, friendlier expression, and a normal waist and more humanoid-looking head (minus the crystal thingy and the spikes, in other words). Oh, and no high heels. I have no idea how the hell anyone can walk in those things, anyway.

Cora made her first appearance in Game Over, was one of the supporting characters in "Mission to Bellatrix," and will appear again with the rest of her crew in future novels -- including the one I'm planning to expand "Bellatrix" into.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Launch party

This afternoon and evening there's a launch party on Facebook for the Lucky Stars Box Set, with each author filling a one-hour slot. I have to work the closing shift tonight and won't be able to be there live, but I wrote up a bunch of posts a few days ago, which one of the others will use to fill my time slot. There'll be bits of background info on my story in the set, my other works, my approach to writing, some fun stuff, and giveaways of copies of my previous works (plus giveaways from the other authors, as well).

Just a few samples ...

Hope you drop by, join in the fun, and enter the contests for some free ebooks. :D

Monday, March 16, 2015

Going live tomorrow

Thank your lucky stars…

Seven romantic novellas take the reader out of this world and into worlds of sexy heroes and strong feisty heroines. From the stars in futuristic sci fi, to wolf shifters, to Greek gods, to ancient curses and fairy tales, seven of today’s hot romance authors take you on journeys of the heart where the only rule is a happily ever after.

Lucky Charms by Louisa Bacio
Get Lucky with the Unluck of the Irish

Made for Love by Kim Carmichael
She thought she was made for duty when she was really made for love.

The Last Date by Solera Winters
How many dates will it take for her to find love?

Thorne’s Rose by Christine Ashworth
When the rose blooms, love has found its way.

Taming the Beast by Erzabet Bishop
Only true beauty can tame the heart of a beast…

Mission to Bellatrix by Fred T. Kerns
A young adventurer takes the first step on a journey into the unknown.

Submit to Him by Sascha Illyvich
Can Theresa surrender her heart to the alpha strong enough to care for her?

Available for purchase from Amazon, release date March 17, 2015.

Check out the Goodreads page for advance reviews.

Also, support the box set on Thunderclap.

Included in this set is my own story, Mission to Bellatrix.

Kolya Mason, a young adventurer with a badly scarred face, has been hitchhiking on starships for several years. Now, she boards a ship leaving Terran-controlled space for the first time, joining a science team investigating the reappearance of a long-lost spacecraft. She's accompanied by a gorgeous young man who insists on tagging along ... but what's he up to? Is he genuinely attracted to her, or does he have some other agenda?

Features several characters introduced in Game Over.

To be expanded into a full novel.

The wait is almost over ....

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Coming soon

Only five more days until the release of the Lucky Stars Box Set. A Goodreads page has been set up, and the set is available for pre-order.

Thank your lucky stars… 
Seven romantic novellas take the reader out of this world and into worlds of sexy heroes and strong feisty heroines. From the stars in futuristic sci fi, to wolf shifters, to Greek gods, to ancient curses and fairy tales, seven of today’s hot romance authors take you on journeys of the heart where the only rule is a happily ever after. 
After Cornelius’s family is jinxed, he suffers from the unluck of the Irish. Forced to spend every St. Patrick’s Day with green hair—and more—Cornelius must convince Jenna of his love when she’s unable to remember him. 
Out for a good time and some green beer, Jenna sustains disbelief of not-so-little green leprechauns when she discovers Cornelius’s really big curse. -Lucky Charms by Louisa Bacio
When Isra (Citizen 24178) of Sustenire is selected to take part in her planet’s population expansion program, she is proud to be the first chosen to be with the mysterious humanoids from the planet Terra. From a society who shuns social contact and emotion she is shocked to learn she is allowed to communicate with her match before they meet for their designated copulation appointment. Since he has never connected with a female from his planet, Damek of Terra is more than intrigued with the idea of learning about this strict, staunch society. However once he begins exchanging messages with Isra he finds himself intrigued and enchanted with his match, and longs to show her a universe long denied her, starting with the pleasures of mating. With her heart now opened to new sensations and feelings, she must decide if she is made for duty or made for love. -Made for Love by Kim Carmichael 
When Vikki Godwin is dumped at a bar on her fifth date, she’s ready to give up on finding love. Enter Anteros, the god of unrequited love, who must convince her to take a chance on a one night stand. -The Last Date by Solera Winters 
Emmalee wants her great-grandfather’s journals in order to solve a family mystery. But to get them, she has to convince the wildly sexy Hollister Thorne to help her search his family’s library. 
Hollister just wants to break the curse on his family, which is why he hired the great-granddaughter of the woman who cursed his ancestor. 
Together, Emmalee and Hollister learn that love knows no boundaries of time… -Thorne’s Rose by Christine Ashworth 
Allyse Montlake is a BBW witch with some unusual skills. When a chance job interview lands her a part on the wildly popular Extreme Bachelor television special, she finds herself face to face with Soren Rochester, the hottest man she has ever seen. Puppies, passion and a hot seat on camera await Allyse as she discovers the secrets of the heart can have thorns deeper than the most vibrant rose. -Taming the Beast by Erzabet Bishop 
Kolya Mason, a young adventurer with a badly scarred face, has been hitchhiking on starships for several years. Now, she boards a ship leaving Terran-controlled space for the first time, joining a science team investigating the reappearance of a long-lost spacecraft. She's accompanied by a gorgeous young man who insists on tagging along ... but what's he up to? Is he genuinely attracted to her, or does he have some other agenda? -Mission to Bellatrix by Fred Kerns 
Feeling uninspired and unwanted, Theresa must make a decision when the strong willed Alpha of the local pack comes on to her. Can she submit to him, give in her entire being to this man or will he scare her off? -Submit to Him by Sascha Illyvich

Five more days ...

Monday, March 9, 2015

Advance Copies

Copies of the Lucky Stars anthology -- which includes my story "Mission to Bellatrix" -- are going out to reviewers. If you'd like to read it and then post a review when it goes live on Amazon March 17, fill out the form here.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Press Release

The press release for Lucky Stars, the paranormal/sci-fi romance anthology which includes my novelette "Mission to Bellatrix" ...

Los Angeles, March 17, 2015— Lucky Stars, a Box Set of romantic scifi and paranormal novellas, releases March 17, 2015 on Amazon. From leprechauns to aliens to gods, ghosts and shifters, this collection of stories from some of today’s hottest new authors provides entertainment for readers who like a dose of the supernatural in their romance.
Lucky Stars features stories from Louisa Bacio, Kim Carmichael, Solera Winters, Christine Ashworth, Fred T. Kerns, Erzabet Bishop and Sascha Illyvich.
Irksome Rebel Press’s Director of Operations, Scott Evans says, “We’re proud to follow up our successful box set, Three Times Lucky, with another collection of romance stories guaranteed to satisfy anyone needing a bit of romantic luck.”
And here's a look at the cover:

And the cover of my story:

Eleven more days ...

Monday, March 2, 2015

Uh-huh. Download THIS!

This afternoon I (along with several other authors and Chaser's publisher, Keith Publications) was informed of a website called E-Bookdownload, which has tons of books that can be downloaded for free. Some of KP's authors discovered that their books, published by KP, had been uploaded there without permission and were being downloaded without the authors, editors, cover artists, etc., receiving any compensation. I took a look at the site and found Game Over listed there, and at that time it had been downloaded over 700 times.

That book has been on sale through Vook and has only sold three copies so far. If it's been downloaded that many times without anyone paying me for it, and I find out who uploaded it, that person will be sued into oblivion faster than they can say, "Oh shit!"

The authors in question requested that their books be taken off the site, and I did the same. I then investigated further and found a half-dozen more of my books there as free downloads. My first book, Load, had been stolen over 900 times. I followed up by filing another copyright complaint for all of them. After checking again a few minutes ago, all of my books were gone. The books from other authors mentioned above were also removed.

KP sent a cease-and-desist to the site, and posted a warning on its Facebook page. The FB page has been disabled. It's possible the E-Bookdownloads site might not be around much longer.

Still, here's a heads-up to any other authors who might see this post. Probably be a good idea to check that site and find out if any of your books have been uploaded there without your permission.