Monday, January 30, 2012

I Launched A New Weekly Series!

Talk about the best of all possible worlds!

This past Saturday, I merged my love of writing, comic books AND gaming into one glorious project for Comic Booked. It's been a long time coming, to be honest. I knew right from the first month working with the Comic Booked staff that I wanted to carve out my own corner of the site with some original content, likely a series of articles that would let me geek out on my favorite topics, comics and gaming. I wasn't sure what sort of format I wanted to use for that, though. Do I do it all as editorial pontification? How would I mix the two topics without it being a horribly mismatched explosion of geekitude in text?

The answer came to me, of course, through my Tuesday night gaming group. We were all bringing different games to the table that we could each run: D&D, Cyberpunk, World of Darkness. I tossed DC Adventures into the arena, and declared my intention of putting the players' superheroic adventures onto Comic Booked as a weekly series. It would definitely be original content, and it'd explore previously uncharted geek territory on the site in terms of gaming. The players were all on board, so I started planning for our game.

Once we wrapped our in-progress games, we got to work on DC Adventures. It was a shaky start, to be sure, because it was a new roleplaying game for all of us. We were still learning the character creation system (even well into our second game session), and combat is still a work in progress in our fifth session. Still, we put the focus on the story and let the rules complement the adventure instead of getting in its way.

Meanwhile, I presented my idea to the staff. They loved it, and while we didn't have a solid category for it at the time, a tabletop gaming division was born from the discussion. Sure, it was an idea that was already simmering in the company's developmental pot, but I'd like to think that the energy and enthusiasm that rose up from the discussion of my idea helped to fast track its implementation.

The end result? Well, see for yourself! Read all about the roleplaying game I run for my group in Story Mode: Justice League Alternates, Part One at Comic Booked!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Down With SOPA/PIPA!

And in another deviation from the norm on my blog, today's post is in honor of the internet blackouts happening on some key cornerstones of the web. While putting my site in a blackout wouldn't make much of a difference except to my small but loyal followers, I can use this space to post a very important link:

As someone who spends a lot of time generating content for the online community, this is a very important issue to me, and one that may very well change how the internet operates in the future. Please, take a few moments and click on the link above to find out more about the Protect IP Act (PIPA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and what you can do to make sure these horrible bills do not become law.

Protect your internet, or lose the wealth of creativity and information that it presents forever!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Greatest Batman Game You'll Never See

In addition to finishing the rewrites for Book One of my trilogy, I'm still creating new content for Comic Booked. Why, in just a few hours, I'll be meeting with some of my fellow writers through Skype about a new division of the site that I'll be contributing to, one in line with a passion of mine that I discovered back in high school. More on that, however, when plans are firmed up and I can give solid information on it.

One of the things I love about writing for Comic Booked is getting all of the comic book related news as it happens. Sometimes this is as simple as finding out if a book is cancelled or switching creative teams, but sometimes it means getting a first look at something that the rest of the public won't see for another couple weeks yet. And not just comic books but the products spawned from them: TV shows, movies... and video games.

Artwork surfaced just a couple days ago about an allegedly rejected pitch for a video game that would introduce the world to a whole new way of looking at Batman. It's based off of an excellent and highly recommended comic book story created over 20 years ago, and while the video game developers passed on it, I eagerly volunteered to snatch it up and give it some excellent publicity.

Read all about why I think this is The Greatest Batman Game You'll Never See at Comic Booked!

Friday, January 6, 2012


"As a writer I live, not from logic, but from imagination. From a profound belief in the power of the impossible."
J.M. DeMatteis, Writer, Brooklyn Dreams

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Between the Lines - The Cell Phones

Here it is, the last "behind the scenes" look at my Everyday Divinities short stories! If you haven't read it yet, stop reading this and pick it up on either Kindle or Nook right this second! It's only $2, and you'll get to read some neat little fiction pieces that take place in the setting I've been building for my trilogy. Plus, the rest of this blog post will make much more sense after you've read it.

Ready? Here we go!

The Cell Phones

First off, I should say that this is my favorite of all of the short stories in Everyday Divinities. It's certainly the one I'm most proud of in the collection, which makes me wonder why I put it in the back of the collection instead of up front. I suppose I was trying to order them chronologically so new readers would experience them much like my blog readers have, only faster. Or maybe I just wanted to save the best for last. Yeah, I'll go with that.

The inspiration for this story came from a dear friend of mine, Natalie, who posted on Facebook one day that she'd destroyed yet another phone. Naturally, I made an off-handed comment about how her cell phone body count should be one of my next short stories. Barely a week later, and it was so. The horrible history of her cell phone abuse is now immortalized in a short story, going back to her first phone and all the way up to that latest tragedy. And yes, I asked her for a history of each cell phone and why it had to be replaced, which she was more than happy to supply.

Character-wise, Sal got his name from a bastardization of the "cell" in "cellular phone." I know, it sounds like I ripped it straight out of a mafia movie, but I promise you that's not the case. B.B. Tana got her first initials from Blackberry, the brand of phone that Natalie ended up getting to replace her latest victim, and "Tana" came from... Huh. I'm not sure where Tana came from, actually. Probably a name I'd heard before and thought it'd fit nicely into a story. Sometimes it's not any deeper than that, really. The personalities were easy enough to nail down, with Sal as the grudgingly accommodating god of cell phones and Tana as the employee who's not afraid to call foul when the system doesn't work.

Speaking of which, this is the first time a god refuses to do his or her job in any of my stories. All of the others feature gods who dutifully do what they're told, even if their job stinks, but this one focuses on a goddess who not only refuses to do her job as the embodiment of an object, she threatens to unmake herself in the Great Void if she's forced to go along with it. The Great Void is a concept that took form in this story as the ultimate expression of destruction, the bane of any being who embodies something that was created in our world, and it quickly found its way into my trilogy since then as a fate worse than simply having a god's domain destroyed. Objects can be rebuilt, after all, and a god whose object was destroyed is essentially unemployed until a new object/job is assigned. But if a god is unmade, then both the object and the entity that embodies it is toast. Gone. Eradicated.

Understandably, a force that can kill an immortal is something of great dramatic use to me as a writer, especially in this setting.

We also get our first teasing glimpse of the other powers that operate in this setting. The gods of inanimate objects, or Inanimates, are the focus of these stories and my trilogy, but they're not the only pantheon around. The Animates who embody all living things are the other side of that divine coin, though their interaction with the Inanimates is limited. As for the Ephemerals, their power is much greater and much broader than either of the other pantheons. If the Inanimates and Animates are divine companies set up to administer every facet of the modern world, living or not, the Ephemerals are the parent company that owns and operates the other two.

Will we see these other pantheons in stories? That certainly would make a fine way to follow up a trilogy about the Inanimates, wouldn't it?

Finally, major props once again to Karuna Tanahashi for giving this story a little editorial TLC. She made some excellent suggestions, some of which were integrated into the finished product, and some of which were not. I choose my battles wisely when it comes to keeping certain elements in, and I think it paid off.

Got a question you'd like to ask about The Cell Phones story? Feel free to post it in the comments section below, and I'll answer it right on this very page!