Thursday, May 21, 2015

Updates and decisions

I know I had a story going for a few, but I haven't been able to keep up with it because of other workings. I want to make my game available for general purchase soon for those who are ready to get themselves a copy. While doing that, I'm going to order a copy myself each month that will go out to someone for playing or consideration of publishing further.

I really want to get to the convention circuit, but we have to have starting capital to get that going. Right now, we just don't have it. I was considering trying Kickstarter again, but it seems like that's frowned on somehow in the kickstarter community. So I'm really not sure what to do about that other than starting to sell proto-types. Or at least passing them out a few places.

If picked up for publishing, the company that does that will redo all the artwork as is. So I don't think I'm going to be redoing a ton of artwork right now. I will be making some special things for people anyhow and pressing on with current development. After all, I do have another book to release and more of my own artwork.

That being said, I'm working on learning new tricks for my graphic art skills. Regardless of what I'm still capable of doing, I can still try to improve. A new trick here or there may be all I really need.

I may get back to the choose your own adventure story. Unfortunately, just not enough people were involved (though the folks who were, did awesome). But game development and stories for publication are pretty time demanding. I know I need to get more audience for it.

As for my books, I keep having people tell me they don't have a kindle device. The cool thing is that you don't need one. You can get the Kindle APP for any device for free. Then my books are only 99 cents. Hey, cheap reads! I'm going to keep my prices nice and easy like that for as long as I can, so take advantage while you can!

That be our update for now! More to come as I get work done.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Open Challenge to Graphic Artists or...

In the past week, I've been hit with enough unhelpful negativity to dig ten graves. Allow me to explain while simultaneously issuing a serious challenge.

I've been trying to follow the advice of the gurus and blogs by going to certain web pages (Facebook and elsewhere) to get feedback and more advice on moving forward with making Galaxy Zento the Boardgame. What I got, I was in no way prepared for. On two pages that I will not name, I was immediately told that my work:

"will fail"
"looks like a child did it"
"is awful"
"sucks"

And several more fine gems of pure "your work is so bad you should get someone else do it".  Should I? Well, here's a little clue for you. If you are going to talk to me like that, it won't be you.

Yes, I've admitted I can't pay anyone, but you didn't know that before my explanation. For all you know, I could be up for a small business loan tomorrow. I'm looking for people who can uplift, not put down.

I was told to go to these pages for advice. I didn't get that. No one tried to suggest formats I could learn. No one tried to explain WHY a layout didn't work. Only that it's awful. Sorry, that's not helpful by any means. It also does not fit my situation. I was talked to like I should already know all about graphic art. But if that were true, why would I be there asking advice in the first place? Try to figure that one out.

NOW> If you can read through all that, check your ego at the door and still give me two cents of your time, this is what I actually need and what my actual situation is.

Important note: I do not expect to be the sole artist of  my project. I'm losing my abilities to Multiple Sclerosis. As painful as that is, I know I can't be the one and only and I know it hurts my artwork. I don't need reminders of it.

But I have a universe of serious opportunity for the right person or team. I have a cast of amazing characters and I'm about to release my second novel (third book total). I have plans for a series of customizable and interlinked board games. Play testing has been overwhelmingly successful at three venues. There are plans here for more than even just that.

I need someone or a team to take up the job with me, hand in hand to take GZ to the next level. If you think you can do that, then we need to talk. But first, go to my page and get to know my universe. I'll send you my books OR you can get them for kindle for just 99 cents. We can skype or talk on the phone and get to know each other.

Now there's one more thing. I want GZ to help kids. I want to inspire kids with disabilities like autism to never give up. Think you can get on board with that?

By the way, my awesome wife is my business manager and we are a geek gamer family. I'm actually easy to work with and willing to take all your design ideas into consideration. I'm not a tyrant. I want your talent to shine with GZ. You lift me and I'll lift you.

You need to be serious and ready to roll up your sleeves. You need to be ready to be a part of the grand design. Think  you can handle it?

Other places to go with GZ: Card games, graphic novels, and apps. I have the idea building blocks for them all.

If I can't find anyone I have no choice but to go forward myself, win, lose, or fall. I'm not getting any younger. So if you don't want to be on board, but still want to lend your advice, fine, but I don't need to hear how I'm going to fail. So save the negativity if you please.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Choose the ending: The Mastodon's Heart Pt 3

Welcome to the third installment of a story you guide. You read and you decide.

You are a renowned paleontologist and archaeologist. You are on a site that shouldn't exist, about to enter an open tunnel. You have special powers that you've kept secret so far. You have moderate super strength, telekinesis, and you get random visions. So far you've had one vision that showed the death of Professor Sigmund with Amikam stooped over him with bloody hands.

With the opening of the tunnel, you've decided you don't want to leave Professor Sigmund alone with anyone.

"I'm going in with you, Professor. I want ropes and harnesses and I'd like Jessica to stay up here and watch over the equipment." You feel far more confident in being able to protect the Professor with your abilities if needs be if you are close to him.

Jessica rushes away to gather the equipment you asked for.

"I will remain here as well." Amikam says. "I do not fit so well in tight spaces."

The tall Arabic man is right. His height could be problematic in a low tunnel. You feel fine with having both Jessica and Amikam out of the way. You put on your harness carefully while Jessica helps Sigmund with his.

"Let me just check things over." You mutter so that only the Professor hears you as Jessica walks away.  You find that, not only are his straps not tight enough, but one of them is torn halfway through. You say nothing, but rearrange the straps so there's no strain on the torn one. You personally check the anchoring on both ropes before picking up your flashlight. "Ready, Professor?"

"I am indeed, young lady."

The two of you enter the tunnel with your lamps on bright. The slope isn't as steep as it looked, so both of you find it easy to walk down. The dusty stale air makes you both feel right at home. You're further glad that Amikam didn't come in. He would have been stooping to walk. The tunnel has been carved meticulously to near smooth walls in places. It slowly begins a descent deeper into the Earth.

"How is everything?" Jessica's voice crackles on the small walkie you carry.

"So far, so good. We're in about 40 yards. There's something ahead of us."

"What is this?" Sigmund asks as his light plays across the circular stone blocking your path.

There is a defined edge around the stone, making it look like it could be a giant round door. There is a hole at the floor that's just big enough to crawl through on your stomach. You shine your light through the hole and see that it's about ten feet in a perfect cylinder shape. There are no visible levers or handles on your side.

"I think we're going to have to crawl through that hole." Professor Sigmund says.

You have a vision. It's dark, there's a loud rumbling sound and something tightens around your throat.

As you shake off the vision, unnoticed by the Professor, you wonder what you should do.

Do you crawl through the hole? Have the Professor crawl through? Or is it time to call for outside help? Think about it, and post your comment below!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Choose the Ending! "The Mastodon's Heart" Pt2

Image By Rembrandt Peale
Hello reader! Welcome to part two of our story where you will guide what happens next. You are a Paleontologist/Archaeologist. You are a top person in your field. You have special abilities that no one knows about just yet. You have moderate super strength, telekinesis and random visions. You have been called to Siberia to investigate fossilized remains that shouldn't be there. You already found a strange stone arrangement in the fossilized ribs of the mastodon and you've had a vision of death and blood.  Catch part 1 HERE.

 You decide to take a closer look at the huge stone with the ribs embedded in it. You know better than to take your visions too literally. You will have to take some time to get to know what's going on before you react. The tool marks are confusing because they seem too elaborate for the time of the Mastodons. Unfortunately, the equipment for carbon dating is extremely large and samples would have to be sent away. You simply don't have that kind of time.

"So this is old, but how old is it really?" You murmur to yourself.

"We've already sent samples out for carbon dating." Jessica piped in.

"I'm not about to wait for that. How much more of this stone can we uncover? It was obviously put this way on purpose. Look how it holds these ribs far out from the angle of the others." You make your way to where the stone meets dirt and rock. "And where does anyone find a chunk of obsidian this size? It must weigh over a ton."

"Oh, I agree. It's definitely out of place." Jessica doesn't realize you aren't talking for her benefit, rather your own process of thought.

You reach into you bag and bring out your father's hand pick. There's a hollowed out shape where the stone appears to edge with the dugout wall. The dirt and rocks fall away easily from the black stone to reveal a rectangular hole. It's big enough to put your hand in. You shine a small flashlight into the opening. At a distance that would be all of your forearm is a lever. You already knew this wasn't a natural arrangement, but now it's confirmed.

"Jessica, I need some twine." You say. "And get the Professor back here right away."

Minutes feel like years before Jessica returns with your request. She's followed by Amikam and Professor Sigmund. They watch with interest as you make a loop out of one end of the twine. You reach the loop in and slip it over the end of the lever. Your father taught you not to learn from the movies. Never put an appendage into and opening to pull levers if you don't have to. Use another tool to protect your hands. Once the twine is attached, you stand back a couple of feet and give it a firm pull. The lever has some resistance from age, but grinds into movement.

The ground under your feet rumbles as the stone lowers itself, revealing a tunnel.

"Incredible!" Sigmund exclaims. "We must get some lights and go in there."

"Whew!" Jessica waves a hand in front of  her face. "We should let it air out for a minute or two first."

You shine a flashlight into the maw of the tunnel. The ground slopes downward and away from your field of vision.

"It goes deeper underground from here." You say. "Better get some safety equipment together."

"I'm sure we can walk in a little way." Sigmund says, clearly excited by the find.

You remember your vision of the red stone and seeing the Professor's dead body. You wonder if you shouldn't suggest that he wait outside for his own safety. Still, you shouldn't enter alone.

So what do you do now? Do you suggest the Professor let you and someone else take a look first? If so, who do you take with you? Jessica or Amikam?

Monday, April 27, 2015

Chose the ending! "The Mastodon's Heart" Pt 1

Hello, reader! You are about to choose your own adventure. You read and then comment on what YOU, the character, are going to do next. The best answers will be chosen for the next part of the story in a few days.

YOU are an archaeologist/paleontologist with a few special powers. You have moderate super strength, telekinesis and you sometimes get visions. No one knows about your powers yet. Following in the steps of your late Father, you seek relics of the past in many ways. You are about to embark on a dangerous journey. In your satchel bag, you have an array of tools common to your trade along with your father's knife and .38 revolver. You keep a few snack items and a bottle of fresh water as well.

The helicopter pilot smiles at you, and you wish he wouldn't. His teeth are yellow. He shouts over the engine; something about how hard it is to get to this location. You could care less. You've been to more remote locations than he's ever thought about. This spot in Siberia will be no different.

"Shouldn't you have a coat or something?" The pilot asks.

"I'm a tough girl. I can handle it." You respond, wishing you could just jump out now.

He says something about liking his girls that way as he brings the chopper to the ground. You can hardly wait to get out. You ignore the pilot as you throw the door open and hop out. There are two men waiting for you. One is a short and wearing wire rim glasses. He's old enough to be your grandfather. The other is a tall regal looking Arabic man. His long black hair is tied back in a pony and his suit is far too clean for a fossil site.

"You must be Professor Sigmund." You hold out your hand to the smaller man who gently shakes it.

"Yes and this is Amikam. He works for the investors. I'm so glad you could make it on such short notice."

You shake Amikam's hand. He doesn't say a word.

"Not a problem. Where is the find?"

"You want to go right to it? I could understand if you need a rest after all that travel."

"I prefer to get right to work. From what you said, this sounds exciting."

"Oh it is and quite puzzling." The Professor leads you to a wide dug pit where you can see a arrangement of fossilized ribs jutting from the side wall of the dig. All three of you walk down a dirt ramp. There are four other people moving dirt and digging. You quickly stride over to the ribs. After a cursory observation you turn to Sigmund. "What is this? It's not a mammoth."

"No. It's not. It appears to be an American Mastodon."

"In Siberia? How is that possible?"

"I was hoping you could tell us. I'm going to get us some tea. Would you like some?"

There's a young woman standing by the remains. She's eager and perky, two things you don't care for.

"Professor, I can get that for you." She offers.

"No, no, Jessica, you assist our friend here."

You pass on the tea and take a closer look at the ribs. The center ribs are embedded in a black stone unlike any of the rest of the remains. You take a closer look at it. There are tool marks that don't match anything being used today. From what you can tell, the stone is just as old as the remains. That means they were embedded in the rock intentionally. You reach out and touch the stone. Your mind is flooded with a vision. You see a glowing red stone as large as a football. Then the scene shifts to the body of Professor Sigmund with Amikam leaning over. There is blood on Amikam's hands. You jolt back to reality as Jessica's perky voice sounds in your ears.

"So, what do you think?"

Well? What DO you think? What do you do next? Put your answer in the comments!

Some possible actions include:

1: Run and warn the Professor
2: Run and confront Amikam
3: Inspect the big rock with the ribs embedded in it.
Or come up with your own idea.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

You're going to fail!

When I was a kid, I wanted to write books and I wanted to be a detective. Yeah, I'm always a mixture of things.

"You'll never be worth anything." Those were the words of my abusive stepmother. I won't go into the things she did because I'm not looking to shock or trigger you. Suffice to say I left home at age 14 to escape the abuse. I showed my determination by trying to travel from Utah to Florida. I started by hiking over the Wasatch mountain front. I was caught and sent home but left again and made it from Kaysville to the Colorado state line.

In my fleeing home I was made a ward of the State of Utah and the social worker assigned to me didn't seem to like kids much. "You'll never be a detective. You'll never be anything." She said it in such a matter of fact tone that I didn't say anything back. But my determination only grew.

I was told to give up on writing because I would never publish. But I proved them wrong on all counts. I joined the army and the 186th Military Police. I became professional security, a bodyguard, and eventually, I became a sort of detective. I became an animal cop and investigated things like animal cruelty and animal fighting. I send dozens of cases to court every year. I wrote official tickets with official fines. So I didn't become Sherlock Holmes, but I still achieved a great deal.

Then MS came along. It wasn't first, but it's here now. So I did the next thing that they said I wouldn't do. I published two books. I'm about release the third. Are they perfect? No, but who is? The fact I carried through to the end in my condition should tell you volumes. But to some people it still doesn't. I must just have a look about me that says "don't take this guy seriously". Yet, my track record continues to prove them wrong. And I'm not done.

Here is the thing. Critics will always look down their nose at everything you do. You can show them that your Facebook page has over 750 likes, but they'll go through and count the likes on independent posts and tell you your page isn't worth it. They'll look at your artwork and say that you should give up and go to paying someone else to do it (never mind that there's way simpler art out there that's making millions, just see Cartoon Network ;) ).

I could have listened to them a long time ago and maybe went to some mundane, who knows what, dead end life (I don't know). But I didn't. I didn't listen to them. Look where that got me. I'm here and I've done more than a few things they said I couldn't do. So if there's anything that my project could teach you, it's that you never give up because they say you're going to fail. You may restart, you may reposition, but you don't give up.

So, it's time to show people what you're made of. Show them that you can do it. I'm certainly not done. Why should you be?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

GZ character stat cards!

Some may have noticed that I'm doing my characters from A-Z with some special info. I've hinted at future use for these cards and I wasn't bluffing. These are the first GZ character stat cards. They are based on the formula I use for the role playing game. Yes, I said "role playing game". It's a ways of in the distance yet, but in the meanwhile, you can enjoy the amazing stats and info of these characters.

So what do the numbers mean? In the five stats STRength, ENDurance, SPEed, AGiLity, and MeNTality, you will note a number from 1-10. 1 is the level of a very average human being. 10 is godlike. So, the higher then number you see, the more powerful they are in that stat.

Above that, you see the minimum character level they would start at, their sex/race if applicable, and their alignment from good- evil with personality scale if applicable.

You can clearly read what powers they have and then see any equipment they carry. Don't worry to much about the numbers you see with the equipment. Suffice to say that a number with a + sign is for dealing damage and a number with a minus (-) sign is for reducing damage.

The info section gives you a little bit of insight to the character. There will be a lot of info from stories, so be sure to catch up on the stories of GZ if you haven't already.

Right now, I'm working on this in between other projects What's my current schedule, you ask?

This is my tentative schedule:

Kickstarter for board game (coming very very soon)
Chaos Rising (novel)
GZ Tales 2 (short stories)
GZ Tales game expansion cards
Chessmen 2 (novel)
GZ New York (game expansion with new board)
Wicked Ways (novel to follow Chaos Rising)
GZ Tales 3

That doesn't include the fact that I plan on being at Geekonomicon in December and then Southern Geek Fest next year.

I know you see a lot of reused artwork, but I assure you, I am working on new artwork too! There are definitely exciting days to come. I can hardly wait!