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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Lords of Kobol Ch-ch-ch-changes!

In this post, I'm going to lay out the future of Lords of Kobol, as well as Colonies of Kobol, my plans for writing it all, my plans for releasing it all, and more.

First off, Lords of Kobol - Book Four - Tales from Ancient Days is dead.  It has been unpublished.  Simply put, I've found it a distraction from the narrative through-line between the trilogy and Book Five.  I never intended to write a Book Five, so having a disconnected, alternate universe Book Four wasn't really an issue six years ago when it was published.  At any rate, it's gone and sequestered to the back of Book Three as Lords of Kobol - Alternate: Tales from Ancient Days.  It's bonus footage, if you will, on the Blu-ray of Book Three.


Also, Book Five is dead.  Long live Prelude.


Since Book Five is a prequel to the trilogy, retitling it Prelude was an obvious decision, plus it mitigates the confusion caused by Book Four.

So, again, if you visit my page on Smashwords, you will no longer find Book Four and you will see that Book Five has been renamed.

Now, on to Colonies of Kobol.

If you haven't been following me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, etc., shame.  Secondly, you may not know that I've been doing a Battlestar Galactica rewatch and reread.  I started with the original series back in the spring, followed by Galactica 1980.  Then, I tackled the BSG-verse in chronological order.  First, I read Lords of Kobol - Prelude, then Book One, Two, and Three.  Then I watched Caprica, followed by Blood & Chrome.  As of this writing, I'm at the beginning of Galactica itself's second season.  As I watch each episode, I take notes and livetweet info about the show, both what's on screen and behind-the-scenes.  I also tweet about connections to my Kobol books.  Just look for the hashtags "#BSG #TotalReWatch."

Obviously, the main purpose behind the rewatch and reread is to get my head into the universe so I can start writing again.  I'm making notes, making outlines, and - believe it or not - I've already started writing some scenes that got into my head because I was afraid they'd leave me if I didn't put cursor to screen, as it were.


Volume One will begin with the end of Earth and the fleeing of the Final Five.  It will be followed by a few other books about different colonies, primarily in the years after the flight from Kobol (beginning with the first settlements on Gemenon).  The Earth part of the book is largely outlined already and I like it.


Volume Two deals with the middle ages, sorta, of the Colonies.  Lots of growing pains as humanity rules itself for the first time in millennia without gods watching over them.  (Fans of the original series may like that logo as it's the symbol for Galactica.  Here, it's the seal of the Virgon Empire.)


Finally, Volume Three will take us up to the Fall of the Colonies, fill in some blanks that surround Caprica and Blood & Chrome, and so forth.  I don't want to spoil anything, but part of what I've already written is in the final pages of this book.

Do I have a timetable on when these will be finished?  Well, no.  If I start in earnest in early 2017, maybe it'll be done and ready to publish in 2018.  I can't be more specific than that.  (Writing the Lords of Kobol trilogy took about six or so months, but the words just flowed, man.  Writing Book Five [Prelude] took a couple of years because I fell into a creative funk for a bit.  Who knows if that'll hit me again.)

Is there anything after Colonies of Kobol?  Well, YES.


I'm calling these the "Marble Editions."  I intend to provide author's commentary on the books by means of a link at the end of each chapter that will take the reader to the back of the book, where there will be details on why I made certain choices, images from the writing process, and more.  (I will probably publish this as one, big-ass book.)

Naturally, after those "Marble Editions" will come these "Marble Editions":


Same deal: author's commentary, images, and more woven throughout via links at the end of each chapter.

OK, now here's the big deadline I've set for myself.

March, 2019.

Why then?  The final episodes of Battlestar Galactica aired in March, 2009.  I figure ten years is enough time for me to write all I'm going to write and close out the universe for good.


Stay tuned for more!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry, "Ernest," and Twenty-Five Years

October 24 marks the passing of Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek.  As of yesterday, it has been 25 years since he died.  What follows isn't my remembrance of that day, but of the day after, and how it crystallized for me the weight of Star Trek in my life.

On October 25, 1991, I was a junior in high school.  My locker was in a building nowhere near where my classes were, so I had to run there first to get my books before first period.  Apparently, my bus was late getting there, because I only recall seeing one other student at a locker nearby.

"I guess you're in mourning," Jamie said.

Obviously, I was known for being a fan of Star Trek.  My father showed episodes of TOS and TAS to me once I was old enough to sit upright.  We went to the movies and we watched TNG, too.

My answer to Jamie was, "Huh?  What for?"

"Gene Roddenberry died."  The look on my face must have stunned him because he immediately said, "Oh, I'm sorry.  I thought you knew."

"No."  I knelt by my bookbag and stared blankly at what was inside.  "I didn't."

I don't remember too much else about that day.  I was wearing gray pants with a distressing excess of pockets, as was the style at the time.  I was also wearing a gray Star Trek shirt.  It had partial wireframe schematic-type images of the Enterprises 1701, 1701-A, and 1701-D.  Pretty cool, but I can't find an image online.

At any rate, I went to my German class that afternoon.  The teacher, Herr Lane, turned to me before the bell rang and said, "I figured you'd be wearing black today."

"Yeah," I said.  "I would have if I'd known."

Since then, I have worn only black, with few exceptions.  I tell people it's because it's easy to coordinate, etc., but the germ of the idea began on October 25, 1991, and is about not being properly attired after the death of Gene Roddenberry.

That day was a Friday and, apparently, my mom promised my brother that we'd go to the movies that evening.  I don't remember how much say -- if any -- I had in choosing the film.  It's possible that I had wanted to see the movie in question at some point in time, but it's safe to say "I wasn't feeling it" that night.

Ernest Scared Stupid.

I recall sitting in a different row from my mom and brother at the Ballou Park theater.  I remember propping my elbow on the armrest and holding my jaw with my hand.  I was a proper morose teenager, but with a fairly decent reason that evening.

The trailers began.  Then ... one trailer in particular played.


I was utterly destroyed.  Watching it again, just now, for the first time in years, I was destroyed anew.  I remember sitting in that theater seat, crying, and trying to stifle myself while other previews were screened.

Ernest played on and he was, presumably, frightened into idiocy.  The whole time, however, I thought about the trailer and Star Trek in general.

That day, I realized that it was no longer just the shows and movies I shared with my father.  No, these were now mine.  These were my friends and adventures.  They meant the world to me.  The stories and the people involved were deeply connected to my very core.  And the man who made it all possible was gone.

Others in the franchise have departed since then.  DeForest, James, Majel, Leonard, Anton, and others, sung and unsung, in front of and behind the camera.  But this is a special goodbye for Gene.  His death laid me emotionally bare, if only because it was then that I realized how important to me it all was.




Sunday, June 12, 2016

My pitch for a trilogy of Galactica films

Fans of Battlestar Galactica likely heard the recent news that Universal has hired a new scribe and director to work on a feature film reboot of the show.  (Lisa Joy, writer-producer of the new Westworld show, and Francis Lawrence, director of a Hunger Games film, are attached.)  All indications are that it will be a variation on the original series and not a reboot of the recent series.

At this stage, I'm somewhat ambivalent because we know next to nothing about the film and how it will be handled.  But I've played in that universe before to some minor acclaim.  My wheels began to spin, and I crafted an outline for a trilogy of films that blend elements of both the original and reimagined series.

Now, I know.  Putting both the '70s and the '00s shows into a plot blender?  I bet it'll end up like this:


I would have said the same.

However, after having written this out, I could enjoy it.  Is it derivative?  Sure, but I think it has the potential to be an action-packed crowd pleaser.

Since there are SPOILERS for a movie that'll never get made, I'll post my pitch after the JUMP.

Friday, May 20, 2016

My son & I review Ray Harryhausen films

Followers of mine know that my son and I like to watch a bunch of movies together.  We review a great many of them over at my Tumblr page.

We started a couple of years ago, watching and reviewing about ninety kaiju-type films in the lead-up to the release of Godzilla (2014).  

Last year, we watched and reviewed about seventy-five Universal & Hammer-style classic monster movies.

Now, at my son’s request, we've watched and reviewed the filmography of the great Ray Harryhausen.

image

I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Harryhausen about a decade ago at an event wherein he discussed his career.  It was a cool event, largely because he screened the then-unreleased completed version of his “Tortoise & Hare” short.  (The only black mark, in my opinion, came when he criticized the recent movie King Kong [2005] for being soulless.  I thoroughly disagree with him on that point.)

Click the links to read our reviews:

Monday, May 2, 2016

"The Art of Death": Real Museum Pieces in the Book

I've made no secret that the real Virginia Museum of Fine Arts heavily influenced the fictitious Richmond Museum of Fine Arts.

See?

After the JUMP, you'll see pics of many things at the VMFA (and elsewhere) that inspired various scenes and such in The Art of Death.

Even if you can't make it to the VMFA, maybe it'll make you want to visit your own nearby art museum.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

"The Art of Death": Monsters

The Art of Death is available now and its big attraction, I think, is the preponderance of monsters.  Lots of monsters.  Maybe too many.

This is going to get spoilery, but I'm going to list all of the monsters and give (in brief) some of their powers and attributes.

Personally, I'd rather you just read the book yourself and discover them all in turn.  But we're an impatient society, I guess.


Find the monsters after the JUMP.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

"The Art of Death": Characters

There are six primary human characters in The Art of Death (download links are HERE).

What follows the JUMP is a semi-spoilery examination of them and their inspirations.  If you want to go into the book virginal, I'd suggest not reading.




Wednesday, April 20, 2016

"The Art of Death": DOWNLOAD NOW!



Dr. Mason Karlow is a distinguished art museum director and curator with decades of experience around the globe. He's entering his twilight years as he prepares to open his latest and greatest facility. He's also quite evil. 

In a bid for eternal life, Karlow has found a Babylonian artifact and must perform an ancient ceremony in the light of a Blood Moon. He needs sacrifices, lots of sacrifices, and he gathers monsters from the world's folklore to do his bidding. 

Follow Karlow's victims as they fight for their lives in one hellish night at the museum. Vampires, werewolves, mummies, and more await you in The Art of Death!


Available at Smashwords HERE for 99¢
Available at Amazon HERE for 99¢
Available at iTunes HERE for 99¢
Available at Barnes & Noble HERE for 99¢
Available at Kobo HERE for 99¢
Available at Inktera HERE for 99¢
Available at Blio HERE for 99¢

Learn more about THE ART OF DEATH: designing an evil art museum, the monsters, the characters, and real museum pieces in the book.

Reviews:

5 stars out of five on Amazon


"The Art of Death is a great book. Thanks for a reason to keep learning about other cultures. It really is a great read."
-- Isabel


"Really had a great time reading this book, trying not to give much of it away I have to say that the many creatures/monsters that it features is very interesting, the author took the time to do his research and this shows in the variety of them, which is not often seen, (gave me plenty of new tales to search for online). It's well written, enough of a back story for the characters that you get why they do what they do, but not too much to distract from the action of what's happening."
-- I Martin

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

"The Art of Death": Deleted Scene and Tone

My initial inspiration for The Art of Death came from the idea of an evil museum curator gathering a bunch of artifacts and raising the classic Universal monsters (Dracula, Frankenstein's monster, Wolf Man, etc.) to do his bidding.  Sounds pretty fun.

I couldn't use trademarked characters, of course, so that sent me looking around the world for "real" monsters of folklore and myth.  I found quite a few really, really cool ones.  Unfortunately, "real" monsters aren't very fun.  They're gruesome.  Parts of this book became a splatter fest thanks to these things.  I mean, I needed to consult thesaurus.com for "entrails" synonyms.

Needless to say, some of the "fun" concepts I had in mind early on seem painfully tone deaf now.  Below, you'll find one such scene.  It's been altered in the final book.


"Wait."  The others stopped in the outer room and looked back at her.  Reed walked toward the portrait that Leigh had been staring at.  "I've heard noises before in here.  Beeping."  She pulled on the frame and it didn't budge.  Then she reached for the right side of the frame and tugged.  The portrait swung out from the wall, revealing an electronic safe.

"Wow," Terry said.

"Good work," Chaney said.  He walked up behind her and saw the keypad.  "Any idea about the combination?"

"No."

Leigh looked at it and said, "How many digits?"

"Looks like four," Lyons said. 

"Are there letters on the buttons?" she asked.

"No.  But what if the safe locks up after three failed attempts or something?"

Millie shook her head.  "I don't even know where to begin."

Griffin took a step back and sat on the arm of that leather chair.  "Well, he's supposed to be evil, right?"  Terry looked at him and the former officer said, "Try six-six-six."

Leigh shook her head and Terry said, "Really?"

Millie tapped the keys and three sixes appeared on the panel in blue light.  Then the safe clicked.

"You've got to be kidding me," Lyons said.

"But that's not even four digits," Leigh said.



One "funny" thing I will be keeping are some of the chapter titles.  I chose many of them depending on the focal monster, but I also chose some because they're over-the-top dramatic (eg, "The Grim Gala").  There are also a few that feature a group of monsters instead of just one.  For those I went with titles derived from Bobby "Boris" Pickett's song "Monster Mash."  Sure, we all know "Monster Mash," but did you know that there were three sequels?  You'll see the names for those in the book.

The Art of Death will go live on Wednesday.

Friday, April 15, 2016

"The Art of Death": Yet Another Chapter!

Just a couple of days away from The Art of Death being published ...

Quick synopsis: evil museum curator uses ancient Babylonian ceremony to sacrifice hundreds for eternal life.  He raises spirits and creatures from artifacts gathered from around the world to do his bidding.

Want even more concise?  Monsters on the loose in a museum.


Read another chapter after the JUMP.


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

"The Art of Death": Another Chapter

Just days away from the release of my horror-action novel, The Art of Death.  Simply put: a museum curator conducts an evil, ancient ceremony to sacrifice the lives of hundreds in exchange for eternal life.  To kill them, he raises spirits and creatures from artifacts gathered from all over the world.


Read another chapter from the book after the JUMP.


Thursday, April 7, 2016

"Lords of Kobol" and "Colonies of Kobol": Big Plans Ahead

I have plans.  That's not to say they will be fulfilled as they are in my head presently, but I do have plans.

"If wishes were horses ..." something, something.  Is there a similar saying for plans?  "If plans could stand, I'd have a mansion."  There.  Just made one up.

Oh.  Right.  "The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry."  Yeah, OK.  Same diff.

At any rate, it's no secret that I plan to get back to the BSG/Kobol-verse in the near future.  I've teased my next series, Colonies of Kobol, for the last couple of years.  Well, now I have a plan.

If you don't mind a few minuscule spoilers, hit the JUMP and I'll fill you in.


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

"The Art of Death": Sample Chapter

My "evil art museum" book is coming along nicely.  I don't think I'm too far away from being finished with it.

As I race toward the finish line, I thought I'd give you a taste of how it will be.  The basic story is this: the curator of a new art museum has brought many creatures and monsters to life in order to sow havoc during a "blood moon" as part of a ritual.  This is the story of just one such creature.  (It hasn't been fully edited, so there may be some typos, poor word choice, etc.)

Read after the JUMP.




Wednesday, March 16, 2016

"Blood Moon Rising" and the New Title

I know it's been a while, but I've been writing rather steadily since New Year's.  And that's good!  We're midway through March and I'm nearing the finish line.  The final chapters have been outlined so now it's just a matter of actually writing them.

In the meantime, let me go ahead and officially announce the title change for the book.  Yes, I announced and stuck by Blood Moon Rising for quite a while, even making multiple versions of the cover for it.  The more I typed, however, the more that other title kept coming to mind.  And it made that much more sense.

Still, I stuck by BMR.  Why?  Well, it's stupid, but in my mind, the movie ends with (SPOILER REDACTED) while a certain Creedence Clearwater Revival song plays.

Like I said, it's stupid.

Still, even with the new title, I guess the movie could end the same way.

So, yeah.  The new title is also the name of the exhibit in my "evil art museum" that leads to the shenanigans:


Stay tuned for more soon!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Challenger's 30th Anniversary

I was almost eleven in 1986 when Challenger was destroyed seventy-three seconds after liftoff.  It affected me deeply.  I sent a letter to NASA asking for a photo and they sent one of the crew, not unlike this:


It hung on my bedroom wall for years and I learned all their names.

Today's the thirtieth anniversary of the accident.  I remember standing in line in the auditorium of Coates Elementary School, waiting to file into the cafeteria, when our teacher, Mrs. Fawcett, came from the teacher's lounge and told us what happened.  (I know many students actually saw it live at school, but we didn't.  Science wasn't a big priority for our school.)

Fast forward to today.  I saw a post on Reddit that discussed how NASA originally intended on sending Big Bird into space in order to spur interest among children, but when they decided it wouldn't work, logistically, they decided to use a teacher, instead.  Then someone suggested that NASA should have sent Santa Claus if they wanted to capture children's imaginations.  After that, someone wondered what that would have been like and said it'd make a good writing prompt.

I took the bait and wrote the below ... click the JUMP: