Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Where has the time gone?

Hello, everybody!

I'm just gonna come clean: I'm a bad webmaster and I know it. No posts nor updates since December? For shame!

But it's not as if I haven't been busy! Work on the cartoon came to an unforseen hiatus when suddenly some important files for my animation program apparently disappeared. However, I downloaded a new version of that program and am excited to get back to work. In addition, my band, Proudest Angel, tracked an album that is nearly done being mixed for our release show on July 30th. The engineer of said endeavor? Yours truly! It's a labor of love, but still very much a LABOR!

Something else that got put on the back burner (aside from the Pirate sequel) is the editing of an older novel of mine, Rise On Wings of Fire. I'm considering splitting into two books, but that would mean beefing up the section that would thus be the end of the first book.

So what all this means is that there are a lot of irons in the fire and you can expect an avalanche of content starting with the release of a lyric video for Proudest Angel's forthcoming single, Civilly Feral.

All I really want to say is that I'm grateful for your support and patience. Thank you for all the love, my tens of fans!


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Feeling nostalgic

Recently, I mentioned to a friend of mine that I've been feeling nostalgic, and he told me that he avoids nostalgia on principle. His reasoning was that nostalgia literally means "the pain of going home", and though my quick Googling showed slight alterations to that definition, I think it's fitting (for what it's worth, I saw a Wikipedia entry referencing a meaning of "homecoming" and several different web pages that cited it as translating to "the pain of an open wound". I think we can agree that my buddy was close if not, in fact, accurate with his interpretation).

Nostalgia comes with a sense of heartache, a longing that is difficult to put into words. Sometimes it's tinged with regret, other times it's simply a yearning for that thing from the past, for that moment that you can't get back. So instead we live in the memory, dwell in it for a bit of  time too long to be any good for us. Still, we go back, if not in person then at least in our mind, and the memories wash over us in a way that seems indescribable. But I fancy myself a writer, so I should be able to put a few words together, right?

To be quite honest, I don't want to. I don't want to limit the experience to a few paragraphs of fanciful prose. Nostalgia is different for all of us, and if I'm being as truthful as possible, I'm a little selfish with my feelings in those moments where I feel the pain of going home. It feels like having a fully immersive dream, and if I stop to really describe it to you, I'm going to wake up, and it will be gone. So instead, I would rather linger a bit too long, take in one last deep breath of the smells, stare longingly into the distance, and hope against hope that for just a glimmer of an instant I might actually feel the memory. To say anymore about it would take my attention to far away from the beautifully painful open wound, and in the space of time where I'm standing surrounded by a memory, I want that pain. I want to feel the sharpness tingling in my heart, because in that burning is the connection that is so important to making nostalgia what it is: a living memory that leaves us forever changed.

My friend seems to find it to be an unhealthy venture, but I could not disagree more. Our pasts are nothing more than stories of memories that impacted us and those around us, and I don't want to lose any of that. Maybe I'm a bit unwilling to fulling dive into the why and how of nostalgia's hold on me, but I will revel in the stories of days gone by to no end!

Reflection is a great thing, and it can give you a fresh view on the steps ahead. Enjoy the nostalgia, my friends!


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Movember, Mo Problems

Hello, there! Do you know what month it is?


Yes, you read that right: Movember. It's like November, but with an M. Why? Because, several years ago, on a small island paradise called Oz, the inhabitants referred to the bush of hair on a man's upper lip as a mo, and a small but concerned group grew out their mos to raise awareness. Awareness for what? Men's health. As their cause grew, it began to encompass both prostate and testicular cancer, and would forever set out to Change the Face of Men's Health.

I have participated in this grand event every Movember since 2009. Some years have been better than others, but even at my peak, I failed to raise $1,000 in donations; I'm hoping you can help me with this!

"How does a mustache do anything for cancer?" you might be asking, and it's a legit question. The main way it does this is through conversation and increased awareness. Sure, not every hipster with the skinny jeans / messenger bag / summer scarf / mustache combo is out championing the fight against cancer, but during the 11th month of the year, a lot of people are. Personally, I have the world's creepiest mustache -- a "get in my van and have some candy" mustache; a "the gym teacher likes to give out back rubs" kind of lip fuzz; a "please don't make direct eye contact with me" variety of facial hair -- and it is this subnasal coif that get's the conversation going. It stands out, and for that reason, it attracts comments -- typically mean, harassing cutdowns, but comments none the less!

When somebody asks me about my poor face accessory and my decision to become a social pariah, I get to respond with, "I'm growing this creep beast to raise money to fight prostate and testicular cancer. Do you know that 1 in 6 men over the age of 25 get cancer? And most men don't even start getting annual checkups until well past the age of 40!"

This conversation does one of two things: it opens the door to ask for donations which are important in funding research and medical care to fight these diseases, and it also gets the ball rolling on awareness and action. We have to be pro-active in our health, and Movember gets the necessary conversation going.

So, without further adieu, here is my list of demands:

  1. If you haven't already had your annual check-up, schedule it now. Man or woman, it does not matter; your health is important.
  2. Donate money to Movember. Even a single dollar can make a difference. If everybody I knew gave just $1, that would amount to a fairly significant donation. Head over to http://mobro.co/chilaska to give your dollar!
  3. Create your own MoSpace and raise a few bucks! Again, man or woman, it doesn't matter; Mo Bros and Mo Sistas combine to raise money every year! 

Thank you for reading this, and thank you for participating! Your donations and promotions go a long way!


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

NaNoWriMo is nearly upon us!

Here it is, friends, the mother of all writing challenges: National Novel Writing Month! We've come to that time of year where we writers all realize that we are days away from Day 1 and have not come up with a single idea! Hooray, the pressure is on!
Well, let's all take a breath, shall we? 30 days to write 50,000 words is really not an insurmountable challenge. That amounts to roughly 1600 words a day, or two double-spaced pages! Who can't ramble on for two pages everyday? Even if you take breaks, fourteen pages a week is really not so bad. Remember, you're making the whole thing up! It's not a book report or research paper; we're talking about a work of fiction here! 

This is probably the right time to answer the question that several people have asked me: 
"Where did the idea for your book come from?"

Well, I'll tell you: it came to me on a walk. Ready for the full confession? I was supposed to be passing out flyers for a job, but instead disappeared for a few [several] hours and just wandered around the neighborhood. Alone with my thoughts on a beautiful summer day, I let my imagination wander, and I envisioned this scene that I feel must have been inspired by some Hitler satire I saw somewhere once. Anyway, here's the scene:

A bunch of noble-types are sitting around this table, getting chewed out by Duke Calus Grey, who simply cannot understand how it is so impossible to capture a simple pirate -- a pirate that, as my tens of fans already know, is operating in a country devoid of a sea border. The Grey Callus of Castletop was originally envisioned as this short-fused, bumbling royal strongman desperate to get any respect from those above him. The story was supposed to be a ridiculous farce, but instead became the humorous character-driven adventure that it is now. If you haven't gotten that far in the book yet, I won't spoil it, but I will say this: Calus Grey became a very competent, lethal, ruthless force of a man, and possibly one of the best villains I've ever created. Quite the turn from that original idea, huh?

Why am I sharing all of this, and what does any of it have to do with NaNoWriMo? Well, aside from finally getting around to answering that burning question about my inspiration for Pirate in Theory, I wanted to point out that the seeds of an idea likely won't match the final product. The important thing is that you start writing, because without writing, a slapstick pirate comedy will never become a rollicking fantasy adventure filled with magic and intrigue! Oh yeah, that's right: there was never going to be magic in the PiT universe. I'm glad I changed my mind on that!

So, clear your mind, pour your favorite beverage, get comfortable, and just. Start. Writing. It can be nonsensical rambling or heavy introspection; the important thing is that you start putting down some words. Fingers to keys, pen to paper, stylus to monitor, it doesn't matter; what matters is that you write! Make mistakes. Hell, riddle the page with grammatical errors! As any of the poor bastards that have been my beta readers can attest, I'm nothing if not a consistent abuser of homonyms. They're, their, there, stair, stare, its, it's, where, wear, were... I swap all of them all the time. Editing is a nightmare, but that does not matter, because the goal of NaNoWriNo isn't to complete your final draft in 30 days; it's to complete your story. And if you truly go for the long form, then it's not even about finishing that: get to 50,000 words! You can do this if you just make a little time and do it.

I'm planning on it. Right now my biggest decision is whether to complete something I've started or dive into something brand new. I think I'm going to uphold the spirit of the challenge and write something new, but the excitement to finish one of these waiting projects is too great to ignore. The point is that come December 1st, I want to look back and say, "Yesterday, I wrote my fifty-thousandth word. Today, I might as well jot down fifty-thousand-and-one!"

Who's with me?


Interested? Click here for more info on NaNoWriMo!

Small correction: my "700 words a page" calculation actually came from a single-spaced document. Still, no big deal! You can hammer out 4 pages a day! If I keep this footnote's font size small, you might not even notice the error until it's too late. Mwahahahaha.....

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Promotions, eh?

For those of you that know me, you know I used to essentially act as Ambassador for my former band, Sutured Psyche, going out into the world to mingle in the music scene as well as promote as shamelessly as possible (I'm also starting to do that for my new outfit, Proudest Angel... ooh! Is that a link?). Well, I'm sort of putting that hat back on, though now it's for A Deep Dark Pit of Despair.

What does that entail? I'm not really sure, to be honest. I've been reaching out to various reviewers on the internet, hoping a few of them might want to check out my little book. I'm hitting the snail mail trail later this week, aiming to knock on the doors of a couple publications with fingers crossed. There is also another avenue I'll be taking as soon as the project I'm working on is finished. Have I mentioned it yet? I'm not sure. It may or may not involve video. Who knows these things really?

I was just talking with the guys in PA today, saying the age old phrase, "If I knew then what I know now!" This was in regards to promoting music. Some of those lessons are applicable here, but it's really a different animal. I feel like I need to go on a quest to find a mystical guru to help me reach my goals.

One thing is for sure: when the next book is set to come out, I'll put together a 3-5 month marketing campaign. So, if you like A Deep Dark Pit, then the good news is that there will definitely be a sequel! I'm about a quarter through the first draft. The bad news? When it's ready, you'll be told something along the lines of, "Out of the Pit, Into the Fire is finished, and will be ready... in five-ish months! Get excited!"

The not-so-bad-news is that when that happens, I'll probably do something to make a few advanced copies available. Gotta keep my tens of fans happy!


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Internetting is hard

So, the blog utility I was using (provided by Serif) had its pros and cons.
  • PRO: it built itself nicely into my website
  • CON: I could only access it through Serif Web Plus, the program I use to design my website
  • PRO: did I mention that it fit really nice within my website?
To increase my ease of access to my blog, I decided to go with Blogger/Blogspot/Google Blogsplosion. The problem here is that I'm really html illiterate, so embedding this blog into my website is about as easy as building a rocket ship. 
  • PRO: really easy to write blog posts on a whim
  • CON: requires linking away from my website
  • CON: really easy to write blog posts on a whim
In the grand scheme of things, it's not really a huge deal, though I really did like how my blog was organically part of Ry Of All Trades, but such in no longer the case. (I will say it was nice that I could import the old posts with their original time stamps!) Maybe I'll go back to the old way, maybe I'll learn how to code... 

Oh, and if you are a fan of typos and homonyms, follow the trail to my previous attempt at using Blogger: the Pirate in Theory blog, featuring the first 10 chapters of A Deep Dark Pit of Despair!

Who loves ya, baby?

Friday, September 18, 2015

I swear I meant to write an entry sooner!

Hello there! So much has been going on in the world of Pirate in Theorylately that I'm not even sure where to start!
Originally, I intended my second blog post to explain where my ideas for the book came from, but instead, I got caught in a whirlwind of pirate-y goodness. First off, let me just admit, editing sucks! When I decided to put A Deep Dark Pit of Despair out into the world, I submitted the third draft for printing. THE THIRD DRAFT! You would think that by that point, every mistake would have been found and destroyed. Then I was reviewing a proof of the printed copy and saw a ton of mistakes glaring back at me. Then, after resubmitting and receiving the next proof, I ran out of post-it tabs marking all the mistakes! HOW DID THIS EVEN HAPPEN? (here's a little secret between you and me: there are a handful of mistakes still in the book. I'm considering holding a treasure hunting contest for intrepid readers...)
What else has been going on? Let me tell you, DIY eBook formatting is no walk in the park! I feel at this point that I've become an expert in Open Office and might start offering my services to fellow writers.
On the less technical and far more fun (though equally nerve-racking) side, I've employed some talented actors I know to perform the dialogue for a cartoon based on the first chapter of Deep Dark Pit. The original intention was to launch this little snippet before presale came to a close, but this project is definitely bigger than I originally foresaw it being. The cartoon is on the way, and may or may not feature cameos from characters from RyTV and Spookington Sights & Sounds' illustrious history.
All that said, let me really take this time to say thank you! The support that has been pouring out from friends, family, and friends & family of friends & family has been beyond amazing! You all have made me feel like I might actually be doing the right thing here. If all goes well, I might just have to release another book!
So, thank you! Thank you for your support, encouragement, and pre-orders! It's fairly amazing having tens of fans!