Followers of Stage Clear,

Yes, I’m still alive out here and Stage Clear is still in existence. Since the end of the Video Game Contest I’ve been letting the story lay fallow for a little bit. This has allowed me to do a little more world building and plot planning. Right now I’m trying to decide what the best avenue is for the story. It really feels like something that would work well in a serialized format (so if anyone has advice on a reputable avenue for serial distribution please let me know).

I’ll be working on some short story additions once other projects are taken care of. NanoWriMo is getting ready to start and I’m sorry to say that Stage Clear will not be the project I’ll be working on. However, I’m excited to finally get the project I will be writing started.

In the meantime, if you are looking for some good nostalgic reading might I recommend "Armada" by Ernest Cline. While the plot line is different (thank goodness) it does have some of the same classic video game elements you’ll find in Stage Clear. Enjoy.


First, I apologize if you are getting this update twice.

I’ve been out of touch with Inkshares for a few days and thought I’d give my followers an update. A week ago I ran a Spartan Sprint. The heat index was over 100 and the event was held on a ski resort. It was…challenging (?). Character building. An experience I can draw on for future stories and obstacles. Ok, it was just hard. Although on the plus side most of the places on my legs I tore skin off are healing.

The next day I left for the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) conference. There are always things there that inspire me and remind me why I do my full time job. The main plenary speaker was Lisa Jackson, Apple VP of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives, and former Administrator of the EPA. The takeaway from that was helping students find ways to be engineers without having to sacrifice who they are.

And I suppose I should mention the conference was in New Orleans, a very cool place to get inspired for new story ideas. The French Quarter, St. Louis Cemetery #1, Lafayette Cemetery, the Garden District (yes, walked past the Anne Rice house). Also spent some time with my wife looking at local artists’ work and stopping through some galleries. Some very interesting work by both street and gallery artists.

And while none of this seems to directly relate to the science fiction worlds of Fortunes of the Space Sloth or Stage Clear I believe all experiences are valuable. We’ll just have to see where these end up taking me. Now…back to the stars. 

Greetings Squad!

As one of the top ten in the Video Game contest I was asked to answer two questions for the Inkshares/Nerdist blog. I’ve been waiting to send out this update until that posted because I wanted to talk a little bit more about it.

The questions were “What was the first video game whose narrative captured your imagination?” and “How has the introduction of literary elements…improved video gaming?”.  You can find my answers in the requested 200 words or less on the blog at http://blog.inkshares.com/

If you’ll indulge me what I want to do here is use a few more words to talk about the games that came before “narrative”. I put that word in quotes because I think there are different types of narrative. There is the story in the game and there is the story OF the game. I think the narrative of the early games was actually behind the scenes, in the making of the games.

When I started writing “Stage Clear” my inspiration was the limited storylines (i.e. Invaders from Space!) and the mechanics of the gameplay. What I’ve ended up with is something much more though. I realized that more than anything my story has been shaped by the people, the technology, and changes in the video game industry during its first two decades. While the book is science fiction its plot elements are inspired by video game history. And I think that’s kind of cool.

I’m not sure what sub-genre that would be though. It doesn’t match the Goodreads definition of historical science fiction. Historically inspired science fiction? Recent history inspired plot science fiction? RHIPSF? Hmm, gonna have to work on that…


2600 Squad Mates,

Check out Episode 24 of the WriteBrain podcast. Stage Clear was mentioned! I’m smiling.

If you didn’t have a chance over the weekend don’t forget to have a look at the new trailer explanation of the book. It uses Venn diagrams. If you have questions please let me know. If something looks interesting please let EVERYONE know!.


Stage Clear Squad,

My daughter helped me film a video explaining the Stage Clear book. It is now up on the Inkshares website. I know some of the text is small to read but there is a certain tongue in cheek aspect to the video anyway.

Have a look! Share with your friends! Suggest they Pre-Order the book!

Thanks for following.

Update from Star Command:

In my response to the Inkshares blog question (how have video games affected the science fiction genre) I mentioned a picture. That may have confused some of you so I thought I would explain.

In their original request Inkshares asked for a photo or picture to be submitted that represents something about our answer. Since they didn’t include that I’m sharing it below. This member of our squad is my daughter flying a space ship simulator at the EMP Museum in Seattle. Now that I’m working on Stage Clear she is training to be a Galaga pilot! Let’s just call it research for the story :)

Welcome to the weekend Squad,

Would you like the good news or the bad news first? Good? Ok...

Stage Clear was featured as one of the top ten books in the Video Game contest on a recent Inkshares blog. The topic was how video games have affected the science fiction genre. In 250 words or less with a response in less than 24 hours. I admit that was a challenge. I mean that’s like a dissertation level topic. Just like Stage Clear my answer focused on the experience though. You can see my response at:


Ok, the bad news. Stage Clear has now dropped out of the top ten. So...uhm, I need a favor. If you haven’t Pre-Ordered could you please consider doing so now? If you haven’t told your friends about the book...maybe you could mention it to a couple?

Regardless, thank you for your great support so far. I’m looking forward to the rest of the contest and following all of the books in it.


Happy Monday Squad! 

Stage Clear is inspired by classic video games. Fittingly the first chapter is motivated by Spacewar! the granddaddy of all video arcade games. Originally written for some of the very first computers the game eventually made its way into some of the first coin operated arcade games. In fact, I still remember playing the game at skating parties growing up (I wasn’t good at skating, I did enjoy video games though). 

For those readers too young to remember these early games I give you this link to an emulation of the original game played on a DEC computer. 

Play Spacewar now!

And hey, I’d really appreciate any Pre-Orders and Recommendations you might want to make. Thanks for the support everyone. 


Welcome Squad! 

The Video Game Contest is on and I’m overjoyed to have you on my team. This story is a fun, nostalgic, labor of love. I challenge you to search through each chapter to find all of the references to classic video games and the history behind them. The story is more than that though. It’s my attempt to bring together all the best video games of the past in one coherent story. A story with characters you can believe in who have real challenges. 

I really hope you enjoy it. And I REALLY would appreciate it if you could make a Pre-Order and spread the word. We are in a contest and every order helps. 

The first chapter you might have recognized as based on Spacewars. The second chapter just went live on Inkshares (I know, isn’t that great?). This chapter gives some background into the nature of the 2600 and sets the stage for our next classic video game…but you’ll have to read it to find out which one that is.