Wednesday, April 16, 2014

My Thoughts on Mass Effect, Part 2

Finally getting back to stuff recent events have prevented me from keeping up with. Here's the second of my video blogs on Mass Effect, covering the arrival at the Citadel and the exploration and learning about the setting players begin from that point. And of course, me being, well, me, I start the whole thing off by forgetting to position the microphone where it'll pick up my voice, and have to start over. Cranial flatulence strikes again. O_o

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

It's Hookerrific!

Finally getting back to posting videos. This one's another in my series of delivery stories, On the Road:

Friday, April 4, 2014

Quick progress report on "Reactivated"

Finished the first chapter yesterday. Took only two days to write it, which is unusual, given how long it's been taking me to get chapters done, lately, thanks to various real-life things keeping me distracted. I really hope I'm getting to a point where I can keep up that kind of pace on all my other books and stories, as well.

Got started on the second chapter yesterday before I had to go to work. Just wrote a few more paragraphs a few minutes ago, but will have to head off to the job soon.

And here's a snippet from the second scene of chapter one, which introduces two more characters:

The other two opened fire on Belmont and Schofield. A hail of bullets pierced Schofield's synthetic skin and bounced off her alloy endoskeleton before they dived into their van.
"Crap," Schofield grumbled. "Diamondback just fixed a bunch of bullet holes, like, two days ago. She's gonna be pissed."
"Only if we live through this." Belmont stuck her head out the door and yelled, "Hey! What the hell's going on?"
"What are you, cops or something?" The dude behind the truck popped up long enough to squeeze off a few shots before dropping back under cover.
"No! Not cops!" File us under 'or something.' "We're just here to buy what you're selling! That's all! I don't know what--"
Another spray of bullets cut her off and she crouched on the floor and sighed.
"Backup would be nice right about now."
"Yeah. Where's our backup?"
Belmont dug her earpiece out of her pocket, put it in, and activated it. "Guys? Where the hell are you?"
Another burst of gunfire peppered the van and both women flinched.
"Guys? You copy? Guys?" She glanced at Schofield and shrugged. "Nothing. The channel's open, but nobody's answering."

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The first scene from "Reactivated"

Just a rough draft, but here's how it all starts.

Ugh. I need coffee. Lydia Castillo turned off the shower, stepped out onto the linoleum, and yawned. The aroma of the pot brewing reached her and she smiled and inhaled deeply. She often forgot to set the timer the previous night, and wasn't awake enough to brew any until much later in the morning. But at least this time there was a fresh pot waiting for her.
She toweled off, yawned again, and debated with herself whether to put on her robe first or grab some coffee first. Since she lived alone and hadn't opened any curtains yet, there was no one to see her, so the coffee won almost instantly. She walked into the kitchen, poured a cup, added a bit of sugar and cinnamon creamer, and took a sip.
Mmm. Two weeks away from the base, nothing urgent to do all day, and a whole pot of wake-up juice all to myself. Perfection.
The floor behind her creaked.
She snapped her eyes open just in time to catch a glimpse of a thin metal wire whipping down past her face. The garrote closed around her neck and dug into her skin.
Her training kicked in before panic could take hold. She braced her feet against the fridge door and shoved herself into her assailant. He staggered back through the kitchen door and into the front room, but regained his balance instantly and continued bearing down on her neck.
She slipped her left leg behind his, but he whipped his around and immobilized hers without loosening his grip. She flicked her cup over her shoulder, shooting hot coffee into his face. He burst out a quick scream and the garrote slipped ever so slightly.
Castillo braced her feet on the edges of the doorway and pushed again, crashing the guy into the wall. A quick elbow to his gut made him release his grip. She spun around and backhanded him with her coffee mug. She caught a glimpse of a dark blue jumpsuit and helmet as he stumbled away, then she backed up against the wall and gasped for breath.
The garrote slipped from the guy's left hand.
Castillo grabbed it, whipped it around his neck, and turned her back to him. She lunged forward, bent at the waist, and hoisted his feet off the floor, supporting his whole body on her back. His arms and legs thrashed as she pulled the wire tighter.
She gave it one more solid wrench and--
His body turned ragdoll. Castillo let go of the garrote and straightened up. The body tumbled to the floor.
She sucked in a few more ragged breaths and rushed through the front room to check the door. She found it locked, which meant the guy had come in through a window. Castillo checked the kitchen window--locked. That left the bedroom.
Where she kept her guns.
And more intruders could be waiting in there.
She returned to the body, searched it, and found a pistol, a submachine gun, and several knives. No ID, unsurprisingly.
She held the SMG in her right hand, sneered, and gave the corpse the finger. Wait until the first day of my first vacation in years, and then you try to kill me?
She picked up the handgun and charged into the bedroom. Empty.
A breeze fluttered the curtain on the window to her left.
Ah. That's how he got in. She peeked into the closet, closed and locked the window, and turned back to the front room. Let's see if I can figure out who you are.
She took a closer look at the man's jumpsuit. Very dark blue, almost black, with no markings on...
Oh, hold on. Castillo dragged the body into the pool of sunlight streaming in through the kitchen window, and was able to make out a dark red, stylized snake emblem on the suit's left shoulder.
"Huh. Now there's a blast from the past." She returned to the kitchen window and gave the street a quick visual sweep before heading back into the front room. She picked up her phone and found the tiny message light flashing. She woke the phone up and found a barrage of texts and voicemails, all from the same number.
Her boss, General Farnsworth.
She redialed without bothering to play back the messages. The general picked up his phone before the first ring finished.
"Colonel, it's about time! A retrieval team is on its way to you. You need to come in immediately. There's a chance someone may try to assassinate you."
Castillo raised an eyebrow, rubbed her throat, and turned to stare at the body of the would-be assassin.
"I kinda got that impression, yeah."

Opportunity potentially knocking, here

Well, here's an interesting little development. A while back, Amazon started doing this thing called Kindle Worlds, which is basically fanfiction that's been licensed for sale. I looked into it when I first heard about it, and didn't care for the way it's set up--if I'm not misunderstanding this, characters and plots you create become the property of the rights holders, who can use them without compensating you beyond the royalties you get from each story sale. While I wouldn't want that happening with Chula or other characters I've created, I figure if I go into it with this in mind, I'll be okay with it if it means bringing in a little extra money.
The whole time, there weren't any "worlds" that I was at all interested in writing for...until now. Just a few days ago, they added ​GI Joe to their list. O_o ​I remember loving the show when I was a kid, but I recently tried to watch it,, it was terrible. Couldn't even sit through an entire episode. Today I hit Netflix and tried again, just to refresh my memory...and it was still fucking awful. However, I decided to give GI Joe: Renegades a try, and it's actually not bad at all. It's watchable, at least. That, and the Resolute movie a few years ago, written by Warren Ellis, are right up my alley.
So I figured I'd give it a shot. Sounds like fun, and it might be a chance to bring in a few extra dollars, which I need now that I have a job that pays only $5/hour for most of each shift.
I did a little brainstorming this afternoon, and came up with a few characters and a basic premise. Since the guidelines encourage authors to explore various genres, I thought I'd go for a futuristic kind of thing with cyberpunk/postcyberpunk elements. AI, cyborgs, bioengineering, that kind of stuff. It's set in the near future, so most of the characters from the show will be retired, nearing retirement, or have shuffled off. Cobra was finally stopped and is long-forgotten by this point, and the Joe team moved on to other things a long time ago. This story will focus on a sort of "lower decks" team--people who were at the bottom of the ranks, having joined just before the team disbanded, and weren't particularly notable. But now, a new threat is arising, the old team's highest-ranking personnel have been taken out or have simply disappeared, and only a few newbies are left to take up the fight.
I thought it might be fun to see what might happen with a team that's not necessarily the "best of the best," but are just the best of what's left, and see them grow into their new roles.
For the characters, I came up with some basics....
Team leader--Colonel Lydia Castillo (Codename "Boss"...more of a nickname, really--I'll see if I can think up something less lame ;) ... highest-ranking former Joe still at large.
Veronika Schofield ("Gunslinger") ... weapons and combat specialist.
Jasmine Miyoko ("Diamondback") ... engineer/tech expert. Genetic experiment produced in Cobra lab; 20-foot-long snake-anthro with four arms (similar to a couple other characters I created for other stories...heh, I just think it's a cool character design, so I'm getting some mileage out of the idea XD)
Shenna Vangelos ("Captain Cleavage") ... infiltration expert/procurement specialist. Has a talent for distracting people with her "assets" and ending up exactly where she needs to be.
Avril Belmont ("Deltoid") ... heavy hitter with huge muscles. Doesn't like to use weapons, but that doesn't mean she's not any good at it.
Monty Bancroft ("Shadow Ninja") ... hacker ... awkward teenager with some minor cybernetic enhancements, who just kind of gets caught up in things.
Some details may change as I flesh this thing out, and a lot of it I'll be working out as I write. But this is the general idea for now. Might end up becoming a series.
Working title--"Reactivated"...
So, yay, now I have one more thing to juggle. But at least there's a chance I can make some money with this, if it's accepted.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

My Thoughts on...

Just added a new page to my site for a series of video blogs offering my opinions and observations on various works of fiction. First up is part one of a multipart series on Mass Effect:

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Trying another experiment

So, things haven't exactly been working out on YouTube lately. I decided to try something I heard about just yesterday, which YouTuber Archengeia mentioned in one of his newest videos. I checked it out and it looked promising, so I set up a page of my own on Patreon. Videos are currently being imported from my YouTube channel.

I don't want to get my hopes up, since most of the things I try lead nowhere...but you never know. It's worth a shot, at least.

And now for some stuff I've done recently, after an extended real-life crisis-conga finally began to ease up enough for me to get back to writing and other projects....

Finally broke through a really massive case of writer's block, and finished the newest chapter of Project: Phoenix.

Also, a new chapter of Elsewhere.

And a new chapter of Freelancers. (Also available here and here.)

Currently working on the latest chapter of Harbinger, and will post as soon as it's ready. Planning to continue work on Phoenix and Elsewhere, as well, before I get derailed by life again.

And now a few videos I uploaded recently:

Discussing Babylon 5 episode 103...

And episode 104...

Adventures in pizza delivery...

Looking back on the past year and the two best decisions I've ever made...

A promo video on my first novel, Load...

And stuff I'm planning for my Patreon account....