One third of the way through NaNoWriMo and I’ve come to a revelation about myself: I don’t like editing.
It’s a whole different world from writing, and trying to pick apart a story you’ve written already and piece it back together in a way that works better is a phenomenally headache-inducing process. It’s necessary, and the results of the process will speak for themselves in the end, but gosh is it exhausting.
I wish I could say I’ve made a lot of progress on Tantalus Depths already, but it’s been very slow going. Most of the editing I’ve done so far has been in the form of outlining rewrites on problem scenes and trying to boil the entire story down to specific thematic elements so I can increase the consistency in theme and tone throughout. It’s slow but crucial work, and hopefully it’ll make the remainder of the process move much more smoothly.
To keep myself creatively inspired while working through the frustrating and tiresome work of editing, I’ve been doing a decent amount of work writing Proteus as well. Since the beginning of NaNoWriMo, I’ve managed to work through about a bit over a dozen pages in Proteus, and about two full chapters. I’m definitely not up to the recommended word count for NaNoWriMo, but since I’m dividing my attention between writing and editing, I feel like it’s a fair bit of progress.
My plan is to try and get the first half of Tantalus Depths edited by the 20th of the month, finishing it by the end of November. Somewhere in there I’d like to knock out another half-dozen chapters of Proteus if possible, but that remains a secondary priority.
Hopefully my next update will be an encouraging one. Back to work I go!
I forgot!! How could I…?!
A little over a month ago, I was featured on the Geek Questioner Podcast, Episode #66: Joseph Asphahani & The Replicant Vampire. (You simply CANNOT get a better title for a podcast, if you ask me.) I had a blast geeking out with host Charlie Hoover, covering my latest obsessions like getting to play Dungeons & Dragons after a decade-long hiatus, making ill-advised cosplay-like purchases of Blade Runner 2049 trenchcoats, and the glory that is the animated Castlevania series on Netflix. (Click here for a link to subscribe on their iTunes page.)
And of course, we discuss The Animal in Man a whole lot! Tune in for a teaser about how the story starts in what seems a typical Fantasy world, makes a hissing-grinding stop at Steampunk along the way, and ultimately rockets to the edge of the stratosphere as Sci-Fi.
I have a tendency to disappear sometimes. Actually, to escape. And at times escape so thoroughly that it’s like I can feel the whole Earth turning beneath me, forgetting it’s left me behind. ...but then I snap out of it, and I realize it’s really just my fault. I’ve been quiet a little too long. This reader update is long, long overdue.
As of this writing, The Animal in Man has sold 495 copies. As of months and months ago, that number was practically the same. I realized today I would very much like to see 500, and I’m asking all of those who have followed the novel recently to make a pre-order and help me achieve that goal. Of course, I’ve also been working on my sales pitch:
The Animal in Man is like Lord of the Flies, but instead of asking whether young men beguiled by the beast inside can ever be human again, the story asks if there’s something human already in every beast. Instead of stumbling, terrified, through a jungle of fear, they are born in a world of constant violence, perhaps designed that way by its creator. Are we so very different, I wonder.
The original description I typed years ago when I first launched the inkshares page are still true, perhaps more than ever before: The Animal in Man “is our story. The story of mankind." But if words alone aren’t enough to earn your pre-order, then consider these images.
When you read The Animal in Man, what you’ll see first is this:
But it’s really all about this:
It’s about why anyone would ever think violence could be the answer. It’s about my belief that all of us at some point in our life have heard that whisper inside our hearts that says this it might just be.
Baby Freya is now 2 months old! Jeez! The past few months has been a whirlwind of love, excitement, family, and sleep deprivation!
Despite the newfound groggy-eyed joys of fatherhood, I have still been hard at work not only on RUNE’s sequel (Oath of the Apprentice), but also on an exciting new Indie Video Game project called Shadow of the Moon (which takes place chronologically between The Rune Chronicles books 1 and 2). I’m so excited to tell you about this game I’m shaking... Or is that the coffee which is currently keeping me awake?! The world may never know...
Many of you might remember Shadow of the Moon from the collaborative Inkshares video game anthology I was a part of called Too Many Controllers. Yes, that same book which "won" the Nerdist and Inkshares Video Game Publishing Contest. (And yes, thanks for asking, I am still sore about the book being canned.) Well, some friends and I were talking about how TMC being canceled shouldn’t be the death of such a great story. We were sad, however, because Shadow of the Moon was written with video game mechanics at its core, and therefore, did not really read well (make sense) as a stand alone literary work.
I kept on trying to figure out a way around this because Shadow of the Moon’s female protagonist, Zera, is featured heavily as a main character in The Rune Chronicles Book 2: Oath of the Apprentice. I could not get over how cool Zera’s background and unique motivations were and desperately wanted readers to have a chance, if they were interested, to know more about her and why she was such a bad ass. Sadly, try as I might, I could not find a good fix to the logistical story problems and was stumped for months!
Well, during the days following Freya’s birth I came to the crazy conclusion that if I could not "write" a solution for the story dilemma, the only "logical" course of action was to actually turn Shadow of the Moon into a full fledged indie video game! GG EZ Fix!
I must have been profoundly sleep deprived because changing mediums would add a huge, exponential multiplier to the amount of work required. Like, There are no words which can adequately describe how much more effort making a video game, even an indie, will be. But I have been working on this project for two months now, and trust me folks, Zera’s story is, hot damn, well worth it! Truly.
Seen above is Zera, the protagonist of Shadow of the Moon, and I have so much more I’m dying to share with you all! We have art, game design mechanics, real to life martial arts, and even code for our custom SDL game engine (which should run a playable demo soon.) Its crazy awesome how much cool shit will be in this game! And the story, oh how the story has grown and evolved!
All of this is thanks to our amazingly talented team. Despite my sleepless nights, I have been able to gather a super dedicated group over at Apotheosis Studios to help me transform my novella into a Rogue-like Action-Adventure, 2D Top Down, RPG Video Game of epic, pixelated proportions! (Think Hyper Light Drifter meets Darkest Dungeon meets Bastion. Yes, you heard me right--we are not fucking around. This game is the real deal.)
I am leading this fearless indie dev team as Creative Director/Writer and so far we have 2 other writers/designers, 1 programmer, 1 editor/marketer, 2 "interns", a wolf, and a viking baby! What could possibly go wrong?!?! If you want to join our ranks, hit me up at @StoneJamison (Currently we are looking for a pixel and/or sprite artist, and music composer, btw!)
I’m also super excited to say that I will documenting our game progress on my blog HERE with an Apotheosis Studios Indie Game Dev Blog Series! I have so much more to share (and some really killer art) but will save those additional details about the game for the "official" blog series, so stay tuned! And yes, I will be doing all of this with a new baby. Many believe I have lost my mind, which if true, should make this game and RUNE’s sequel pretty freaking awesome, haha!
All jokes aside, buckle up Masters and Apprentices and get ready for many more blog posts to come. I am so excited to not only share developments and updates on Shadow of the Moon game development, but also how my wife and I raise our Viking Ninja baby girl.
And in case you are wondering how one raises a little Viking Ninja baby girl in 2017... Well, I’m not really sure, but I figure age and gender appropriate toys (swords, obviously!); good role models (bad ass active duty Army musician mommy and Zera of Shadow of the Moon!); and a loving, strong, and supportive daddy (I’m still growing out my "Ragnar Viking haircut") is a good place to start!
Stay tuned via my news letter HERE and I’ll let you know how it all goes!
Oh, and P.S. if you have not yet posted a review for Rune of the Apprentice on Amazon Dear god, please do so! We currently have 66 reviews, but need 100+! It really helps! Seriously! Thank you!
Just a quick update to let you know that things are moving behind the scenes on Terminus. After some great conversations with the Inkshares staff, a lot of reading about craft, and digging in on story beats and character profiles, I’ve turned in my treatment for the rewrite. Without getting too deep into any spoilery details, we’re focusing in on the origin of the technology that allows the living to communicate with the dead. In the initial manuscript, the Terminus was already up and running, but the new take will follow the team that created it and the interpersonal drama as they come face-to-face with the literal ghosts of their past. I’ve been able to explore many of the same themes and questions, only within the microcosm of a smaller group of individuals, which makes it feel like a much more personal (and hopefully relatable) story.
My editor, the wonderful Matt Harry, has been sending me feedback that has my brain all a’tingle. We’re currently focusing in on the science and on ratcheting up the stakes. It really does feel like tuning an instrument. Too flat… tighten a bit more… just so. You can’t play until you have your foundation solidly in place.
This does mean that it’ll be a little longer before the book is in your hands. Those of you who’ve already preordered made enough noise to give me the opportunity – not just to put out a book - but to do so with the help of the pros and get this story in a position to be even better than I could have dreamed. There’s a lot of work ahead and I can’t wait to be fully unleashed on the rewrites!
But first… adventure! I have an unique opportunity to relocate to the West Coast and continue my job remotely while focusing on editorial for Terminus. You all have given me this shot and I’m ready to give it everything I’ve got! The move has also been a long time coming. My mother and sister live on the West Coast, along with some of my best friends, and it’s been years since I’ve seen them. We’ll finally be able to do holidays together! Plus, gorgeous Oregon scenery, freedom from Cubicle World and the chance to chase my dreams! Holy crap.
If a week of cross-country driving with three confused dogs sounds like fun, I’ll be blogging the experience over on my website. Plus, that’s 55 hours to immerse myself in Cosmos and podcasts. Researching and power-driving! I do love to multi-task.
I just wanted to say thanks one more time before embarking on this crazy voyage. “To infinity and beyond!”