Wednesday, November 19, 2014

New video: Discussion/overview on "Game Over"

Just uploaded a video in which I talk about Game Over.

And a quick reminder -- if Game Over is published, those who nominated it will receive a free copy.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

And so it begins

The Kindle Scout campaign for Game Over has launched! It's open for voting over the next thirty days, and if it gets enough votes, it'll be published -- and those who voted for it will get a free copy.

It'll be interesting to see how this pans out over the next month, and what happens if it actually gets published.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Update on the Kindle Scout thing

Got an email a short while ago notifying me that Game Over has been approved and the campaign will begin at midnight on November 14. I'll post a link to the campaign page once it goes live.

Hell yeah! :D

Character Profile: Spectre Operative Valeria Terakkis

Valeria Terakkis
Story/Novel/Series: Freelancers
Species: turian
Homeworld: Palaven
Affiliation: Special Tactics and Reconnaissance 

Physical appearance: Slightly above average height for a turian – a little under seven feet tall, in human terms. Has a dark carapace with bright red facial tattoos. (No image currently available, but this or this would be a close approximation.)

Notable quote: "I've already put the word out – any assassin or merc who so much as glances in Natalie Kurakova's general direction will end up strapped to a table in a vivisectionist's lab, and I will attend to each and every one of them personally."

Bio: Like any other turian, Valeria began a public-service career at age fifteen. Having chosen a military career path, she began as a soldier before eventually moving on to a series of black-ops jobs including wetwork assignments. After proving herself exceptionally talented at combat and lone-wolf operations, she was inducted into the Spectres.

She's among the best there are at fighting and killing people. How unfortunate that she hates it, and hates the kind of person it turns her into–cold, calculating, and often brutal. One of her greatest fears is the thought of becoming a remorseless killer – or worse, one who actually enjoys taking life. She did find herself slipping toward that path a few times, and it terrified her. She's afraid there's a monster inside her, and if she lets it take over, she may not be able to contain it again.

She began having misgivings about the Spectres after hearing of some of the actions taken by operatives such as Saren Arterius and Tela Vasir – and after some of the things she herself did to complete a mission. The breaking point came when Saren went rogue and led an assault on the Citadel in 2183.

Valeria resigned and spent a few months drifting from one port to another, doing whatever odd jobs were available, attempting to find herself and figure out what to do with her life. One day on Illium, she crossed paths with a Fornax talent scout and something about her caught his eye. He offered her a part in a series of porn vids, and she accepted it because she needed the money and it was a chance to do something that didn't involve hurting or killing people and being shot at.

She was paired with a human named Irving Kostmeyer, and the two of them just clicked. They continued making vids together, began seeing each other outside of work, and married soon after. Valeria found something incredibly life-affirming about the vids and photo shoots they did together, and the audience picked up on their passion and tenderness, making them one of Fornax's most popular acts, much to the dismay of her parents and any turian still holding a grudge over the First Contact War. She'd never seen eye to eye with her family over the way the war started, having always sided with the humans who were fired upon, which put enough of a strain on their relationship. When she began making porn vids with a human, then dating and finally marrying him, it was too much for many of her extended family, who simply refused to acknowledge her existence any longer.

Even so, Valeria wouldn't have changed anything. She felt her true self reemerging over the next two years–gentle, kind-hearted, easygoing, fun-loving…the exact opposite of her mentality while she was a black-ops specialist and then a Spectre. She was happy for the first time in far too many years.

Then, in late 2185, she was pulled back into the organization she'd left behind. Irving's grandmother witnessed a murder and had a bounty placed on her head. To protect her grandmother-in-law and legally take down the man responsible, she asked to be temporarily reinstated – but the Citadel Council refused to let her resume her job and then walk away whenever she wanted. They offered her a choice: rejoin the Spectres permanently, or not at all – and be subject to prosecution for any injuries or fatalities resulting from her actions. Valeria made the only choice she could, and set about the business of protecting her family.

Now a full-time Spectre again, Valeria is every bit as badass as she was previously, though she goes out of her way to avoid using lethal force unless pushed to extremes. She's determined not to let the job change her, but can she actually avoid it?

Time will tell.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Most Dangerous Alien Game

A friend recently gave me a heads-up on a new program Amazon was about to kick off, Kindle Scout. I looked into it, weighed the pros and cons, and decided to give it a try if I had a book finished by the time it launched. I was thinking it was far off enough for me to write the Kolya Mason book I mentioned a while back, but then the Scout program launched a week or two ago and I decided to see if I could get in before it's flooded with thousands of submissions.

Since I'd run into a writer's block on Reactivated, and was reaching the home stretch on Game Over, I decided to try to finish the latter and submit it to Scout. I finished the rough draft (also on Wattpad) a few days ago, went through it again and fixed stuff that didn't work, added a couple pages of new content, and so on. Finished it today and submitted it to Kindle Scout about an hour ago. Should get an answer from them in one to two days.

If it's accepted, there'll be a thirty-day voting period, and if it gets enough votes, it'll be published by Kindle Press and I'll get a $1,500 advance in addition to royalties. The advance is the part that really caught my attention. To me, that's a huge chunk of money.

So, now I'm just waiting to find out if it's accepted or not. If so, I'll be doing whatever I can think of to get the word out.

For now, here's the cover image and the synopsis.

Dylan Engstrom awakens in a strange place, surrounded by aliens. Before he can begin to understand what happened, he and a few others are forced to fight in a series of combat scenarios. They must figure out what's happening and escape before they're all killed...again...and again...and again....

Monday, October 13, 2014

New cover image for "Fifteen Minutes"

Got my next free stock image this month, and used it for the new cover of my second novel, Fifteen Minutes. I'm not completely happy with the way this one turned out--the white text just doesn't look right, but every other color I tried either looked crappy or couldn't be seen clearly against the background. Still, it's a hell of a lot better than the old cover.

Like the previous book, Fifteen Minutes is available from Kindle Direct, Smashwords, and Kobo.

Also, I've recently stumbled onto another site where I can post sample chapters, my fanfiction, and other free content. So far, I've posted the first chapter of Fifteen Minutes, the first five chapters of Load, as well as Game-Changer, the first chapter of Rematch (with the rest coming soon), and nine chapters (and counting) of Freelancers. I've also been doing some light rewriting on the last three, fixing typos and tweaking bits here and there. I'm also updating the same works at and will do so on Archive or Our Own, FanStory, and so on, as time permits. The site I just discovered is called Wattpad, and I'm posting there under the username FeelBoss. (Which I completely forgot to mention, and had to edit the post to add it in. O_o)

I already have an image to use for the cover of Game Over, so I'll be able to put that together as soon as I have the final draft finished. The priority right now, though, is to finish Reactivated as soon as possible so I can submit it to Kindle Worlds and see if it's accepted.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Progress on "Chaser"

Things are moving forward with Chaser. I recently received a cover mock-up which had some good points but also some bits I didn't like. I'm waiting to see what the artist comes up with. I'm only obstinate about a few things, mainly my desire for the image of the protagonist to be suitably badass. I'm sure I'll be okay with the cover image as long as Boiler ends up looking imposing or dangerous. It's perfectly fine if she's attractive or sexy, but I just feel that shouldn't be where the emphasis is. I think a random person's first-glance impression of her should be along the lines of, "She looks like she can punch hard enough to crack open a cue ball."

I first created the character a long time ago, adding her into a series of stories separate from the novel's setting. I came up with her father (Jack Hammer, the main protagonist of my first two novels) the same way, and gradually figured out who they were. I made a few changes here and there when I decided to use them in my novels, but they remained basically the same.

Back then, one of my friends drew several sketches of Boiler. Here's one that should give a pretty clear idea of her physicality and personality.

So, I'm not looking for an exact match of this in the final version of the cover, but I'm hoping it'll capture the general look of the character.

I received an interesting request from the artist a few days ago. The artist wanted to know if I had any favorite artists I wanted him/her to try to emulate. There are many artists whose work I really like--Boris Vallejo, Bob Eggleton, numerous others including a ton of people posting their work on DeviantArt and other sites.

But oddly, when I think about the setting of this novel and my previous two, what comes to mind immediately is the last couple of Saints Row games. The areas of Neon City where the primary characters live are outside of the sleek, gleaming, high-tech places where the people with all the money spend their time. The images I have in my head of the places Jack, Corona, Taura, Boiler, and the others live and work in are partly inspired by sections of Steelport such as the industrial area that ends up overrun by zombies in The Third.

Granted, a subplot in Fifteen Minutes has Jack and the girls moving into a house in a fairly wealthy neighborhood, but they're not exactly at home in that sort of environment.

Anyway. One of the things I particularly like about those games is the lighting and shadows in some scenes, so I sent a few screenshots to give the artist a general idea of what I meant.

As a side-note, it took a while for me to get my player character to look the way I wanted. There were always little details that weren't quite right that I kept tweaking, some of which involved using mods created by fans of the games. Finally got her to look right in Saints Row: The Third...then Saints Row IV came along and I had to import a non-modded version of her. The mod I needed was updated, and then it took quite a bit of adjusting various settings, and I think I finally got it right shortly after the How the Saints Saved Christmas DLC was released.

And now I'm drifting off-topic, heh. So, anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing the Chaser cover image, and things are progressing. Hoping the book will be assigned an editor soon, which will take it another step closer to actual publication.