Friday, August 5, 2011

CHANGE ALL THE THINGS (Retroactive Continuity)

Retroactive continuity (or Retcon) is, as Wikipedia so eloquently states, the alteration of previously established facts in a fictional work. This can be something added, subtracted, or as the definition states, altered. For reasons that I will go into sooner rather than later, I've been thinking a lot about retroactive continuity the last few days.

To give the first example that comes to mind: Blizzard Entertainment is altering the back story of their Diablo universe with the forthcoming sequel, Diablo III, a series which I'm sure might ring a few bells regardless of your video game prowess.

I'll admit I'm not that familiar with the intricacies of the Diablo story, and I had to do some mild research to write this. I've never felt that Blizzard were at the forefront of video game storytelling. That’s not to say I don’t love the heck out of their games; I just don’t love them for their narrative.

What they’re changing, to put it simply, is that one of the characters you’re able to play in the first game is now the son of an enemy. Nerdy further exposition will follow, so if you’re allergic to such things, best skip ahead a paragraph or two. At the end of Diablo I (1996), this character kills Diablo, and then the Lord of Terror is forced back into his soul stone. The player character then shoves this stone in his forehead to keep the beast at bay, and to induce permanent brain damage. This is what Diablo wanted all along! This nameless character will be a better host to his evilness than his previous embodiment ever was. Now, when Diablo comes back for seconds in Diablo II (2000), this is actually the Dark Wanderer, or the warrior from the first game, who has been fully possessed by Diablo, the Lord of Terror.

Recently, Blizzard announced that this Dark Wanderer is actually the son of King Leroic (some random skeleton boss you kill in the first game), who’s back for revenge in Diablo III! And for some reason establishing that the Dark Wanderer/Warrior is this skeleton’s son is important. Why? Knowing Blizzard, probably no reason what-so-ever. It should be mentioned that this is one of those addition retconning, and not an alteration. I don’t think any of the back story ever stated that this Dark Wanderer was not his son. Now, we just know for sure that he is.

Point being, they're changing little things about the Diablo Universe in order to better accommodate what they're trying to do with this forthcoming sequel. Many people are bothered by the fact changing, like the Diablo lore is some sacred untouchable manuscript. At the end of the day, it’s Blizzard’s intellectual property, which means they can do whatever they want to it. Ultimately, I don't really care. For starters, I really only played the Diablo series to kill stuff and to gather pretty pixels of loot like a crazy raccoon. Secondly, if Blizzard thinks that altering facts will somehow create a better narrative, then more power to them.

But retcon isn't specific to video games. It happens in movies, TV, and of course books. A few decades ago, when the industry was still primarily print based, the direct altercation of a published work was tricky, since older editions are still out there. Now, in the digital age, retconning is as simple as editing a text document and uploading the new version to Amazon, Smashwords, or wherever.
I unabashedly admit that I've done this… a few times.

After finishing my second book, I went back and did a revision of the first, and I found myself changing little things here and there to better connect it with the sequel’s story.

When I first started Not Everything Brainless is Dead, I fully intended for it to be part of a franchise, the first book of many, and I still stand firm to those goals. In twenty years, I want to have one of the most extensive superhero comedy series in existence--and it'll probably be the only one.

The wonderful thing about ebooks is that when I'm finished with each installment of The Absurd Misadventures of Captain Rescue, I am freely able to go back and revise previous books and change things around at will. I will say, however, that I’m conscious of maintaining whatever narrative integrity I have going for me. So I’m going to avoid doing anything overly major. I’ll just try to make the books better.

After finishing the third (which is moving along splendidly, I must say!), I'll probably go back and give the first two books another coat of paint and change things around as I see fit, which is something that would have never been possible in the print day and age. Obviously, this makes getting them proofread and edited a little tricky, but that's a concern for another time. I'm also hesitant to get print versions made through Createspace for similar reasons. It would be annoying having to update the hard copy every time I go on one of my retconning adventures.

Anyway, the point of this is to say that Retroactive Continuity is fun, and I look forward to exploiting it further.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Smashword's Summer Sale is On, on a related Note, so is Steam's

From now until the end of the month, Smashwords is having a huge encompassing sale of awesomeness. I went ahead and made "Not Everything Brainless is Dead" free. I also made the sequel, "Past, Future, & Present Danger" 25% off. To top all of that off, I released a Captain Rescue short story for free. It's got a catchy title, so you know it must be great: "A Mind Not Worth Controlling". I also put the short story on Amazon in the hopes that they price match it to 0.00 sometime before the end of the year.

There are also tons of other books for free and for sale at Smashwords, so stock up ye munchkins.

Work on a still, as of yet, untitled Book 3 in The Absurd Misadventures of Captain Rescue is underway.

Now that I'm finished feeling guilty about promoting my novels in my own blog, let's talk STEAM!

Steam, if don't know, is a digital platform for buying and downloading video games, and Steam likes to have sales. Big, huge, wallet raping sales. Right now their summer sale is underway. And if that wasn't bad enough, Steam is giving 100 people the top 10 games on their wishlist, which could equate to about $500 worth of games (50x10! Math!)

All of this, for some reason, gave me the idea that it would sure be nice if you could sell books on Steam! As absolutely crazy as that sounds, I know that my target audience is are gamers, and that a lot of gamers are also readers. So, I really think there'd be a market for it. BOOKS4GAMERS or something not quite so lame.

Anyway, that's all the nonsensical  rambling I have for you today. Back to working on Book 3, maybe I'll figure out a title for it.

Oh, just for funzies, here is the cover I threw together for that short story I mentioned. Note the cyan coloring instead of the purple of the novels. It's like I color coded the covers! Neat, huh?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Past, Future, & Present Danger is Now Available, so here's an excerpt!

Click me! Do it, you know you want to.

After a lot of hard work, and frankly enjoyment, Book 2 of The Absurd Misadventures of Captain Rescue is now available.

When Captain Rescue discovers that tyrannical apes are capturing forest-goers, he jumps into action in a valiant attempt to stop them, more or less.

As the hilarious adventure goes everything but according to plan, the hero finds himself transported into the future, where the apes have gone a bit beyond mere abductions. The shock sets in, and Captain Rescue and his time-displaced friends conclude that the only way to prevent a future that has already happened is to go back in time and rewrite it.
Will Captain Rescue somehow be able to set things right, or will these apes make a monkey out of him? 
"Past, Future, & Present Danger" is the hilarious continuation of Captain Rescue’s absurd misadventures, and the sequel to “Not Everything Brainless is Dead”.
Here's the prologue as a means of whetting your whistle! But wait! There's more! Since I know a lot of people still haven't read the first book (Not Everything Brainless is Dead), it's now only 99 cents. But wait! There's EVEN MORE! If you head on over to SMASHWORDS and use the coupon YR36H, you can get it for free!

So, without further ado, the excerpt:

Friday, June 17, 2011

Oh Look at Me, Coming Up for Air

If starting this blog has taught me anything, it's that I'm pretty bad at blogging. I just don't find myself having that much to blog about, but I am a bit more active on Facebook and Twitter, so there you have it. Head over in that direction if you find my nonsensical ramblings entertaining and are rather disappointing that I haven't posted in well over a month. Maybe once I start going outside on a regular basis, I'll have more to blog about, but until that day (probably never happens), life goes on.

But that's not why I decided to post; I decided to post because I am just about done with my 2nd novel. It's been a pretty fun ride, and after copious amounts of polish and editing, I think it's rather sexy

So, here's the cover and below that you will find the blurb, which may still change before I get it published, but it'll definitely be something along those lines.

Any who, without further ado, enjoy:

When Captain Rescue discovers that tyrannical apes are capturing forest-goers, he jumps into action in a valiant attempt to put a stop to it, more or less.

As the hilarious adventure does everything but go according to plan, the hero finds himself transported into the future, where the apes’ have gone a bit beyond mere abduction. To prevent a future that has already happened, Captain Rescue and his time-displaced friends must scramble to find a way back to their own time.

Will Captain Rescue somehow be able to set things right, or will these apes make a monkey out of him?

"Past, Future, & Present Danger" is the hilarious continuation of Captain Rescue’s absurd misadventures, and the sequel to “Not Everything Brainless is Dead”.

74,000 words, or over 300 pages.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

I Think I May Be Just a Little Insane

I haven't posted in a few weeks, but that doesn't mean I haven't been hard at work! Writing, gaming, writing, gaming, writing, gaming, music, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc. The revising/proofing of book two is going smoothly, and I'll probably release it sometime this month, June at the latest, but that's not why I've come to you today.

Simply put, I already have the next two books planned out in my mind, and an idea for the fifth. I haven't written anything down yet, so it's all liable to change at my very fickle will. Without spoiling anything, books three and four will tell separate stories over the course of the same time period. Three will involve Dr. Malevolent and an attempt to take over the world, while four will tell a Captain Rescue story. 

The Dr. Malevolent book will probably be similar to the first two books in style, only it will be sans a certain hero while he is off on his own adventure. That's really all I'll say about book two, since I don't want to give anything away. 

I kind of want to do something a little different for book four, but not too different. I still want it to feel like it fits in the universe. That said, it's going to be a hardboiled/noir parody in which Captain Rescue will be flying (mostly) solo, trying to solve a series of kidnappings to the best of his ability. 

Since I plan for the two books to take place during the same time period, there will be little references to each other and fun little nods. At first I was tempted to co-release them as two "book threes", but I think that might just confuse readers, and, for reasons I will not state here (!), I think it's better if the Dr. Malevolent story is book three and the Captain Rescue one is book four. 

Anyway, the fruition of that multi book dream is probably a ways away. For the time being, I'm going to continue focusing on polishing Past, Future, & Present Danger for release sometime soon. Keep your ears and eyes peeled!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What's up in MY NECK OF THE WOODS!

This will be one of those, "OMG I haven't posted a blog in over a week, I'm such a terrible human being" kind of posts. Just the other night, I finished the first major revision to my 2nd book, and I am quite proud of how it turned out. Although I'm a little confused as to how a 36,000 word story can magically become 74,000 words without any major plot additions. I guess I'm just that awesome.  I'll start proofing and editing the draft tomorrow probably , but last night (I'm that kind of owl) I spent working on a cover, and here is the end result:

I would hope that this gives some kind of time-travel vibe. But, I guess if it gives a lollipop vibe, I can understand that too. I'll probably tweak it a few more times before I publish the book, to maybe give it a better time-vortex-portaly feeling. Sorry to get all scientific, but sometimes it's necessary.

As for the book itself, I'm super proud of it. I don't really want to hint at anything, spoil anything, or give anything away, but I think it builds nicely on plots that were hinted at in its predecessor.

Any who, that about sums it up for now. I'm not all that busy outside of writing, but I'll probably have a few words to say about Portal 2 once I play it next week, or later this week if all these ARG rumors are true, that Valve might release it early on steam. Either way, I expect to love it.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Irritated Deer

This is an excerpt from my forthcoming novel that I think works well as its own little flash fiction/short story. I truncated some extraneous bits that would have only confused readers.


Captain Rescue spun around and there it was, waiting for him. It must have tracked him; it must have been following him. His face went white. He thought he was safe, that he had lost it, but there it stood, trembling close to the ground, legs spread—the irritated deer. He took a step back and the small deer advanced, it could not have been much older than a fawn, but its belligerence knew no quarter. Frothing from the mouth, growling, and with a psychotic look in its eyes, the deer had decided that it would be the end of Captain Rescue, and he had never seen anything so frightening.

He tried his luck waving at the fawn, hoping to curb its rabid heart. It just barked at him, something he felt rather certain normal deer did not do. He took a step back and then another, for every step the hero too, the fawn took three, taunting him—playing with its food.

“Please little guy, I don’t want to have to hurt you,” Captain Rescue begged of the fawn.

The fawn just continued stepping towards the hero, trembling while foam fell from its mouth in globs. Captain Rescue threw up his dukes, expecting to have to do this the hard way. The deer accepted his challenge and began to sprint for the hero, leaving a contrail of frothing saliva hovering in the air. It launched itself into the air; its thin tiny legs spread wide, head shaking intensely with its tongue hanging out of its mouth. Just as the fawn was about to crash head first into Captain Rescue, he dropped to his knees, hands covering his head while screaming like a baby. The small fawn flew through the air, right over him, hit the tree with the force airborne deer, and then just dropped like a rock to the ground.

Captain Rescue gradually uncovered his hands from his head and then looked at the deer motionless upon the ground. He immediately felt deep pity for the creature as the frothing brew in its mouth leaked onto the ground. He crawled over to it and placed his hand gently upon its neck, caressing it softly. The hand traveled upwards and he patted its forehead, looking down at its closed eyes.

“I’m so sorry!” He cried out, tears welling in his eyes, as he pulled the unsanitary creature close to him and embraced it. Captain Rescue rocked back and forth, squeezing the tiny deer. Soon, he could feel a faint pulse within its fragile body. Alleviation filled the hero’s heart with the realization that he had not killed the fawn. His head fell and Captain Rescue noticed the creature’s eyes staring up at him. They interlocked gazes and the deer opened its mouth and almost immediately lunged for the hero’s throat. With his right hand, he shoved the snout to the side and then curled that hand into a fist and proceeded to relentlessly punch the fawn, hoping to render it unconscious, or dead, or anything. He really didn't care, his survival instincts had taken over.

Captain Rescue released the deer and it fell to the ground, motionless. He rose to his feet and headed into the trees, refusing to look back at the deer as it lay there. It was finally over; the beast would trouble him no longer. He could finally be free, but if he had bothered looking back, just once, he would have noticed its eyes staring intently back at him from afar.  It had only begun.