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Favorite Memories

Today, I take a detour from the gaming/novel-writing/hotel world that I live in and take a moment to reflect on times gone by and times to come. That’s the true essence of New Years, not just out with the old, in with the new. We can always look forward, but those of us who look to and learn from the past are far better equipped to confront the challenges that lay before us. I find the sweetness of happy memories can help through even the worst of times.

Like when I think of my Papa… I have a multitude of memories that come to mind, but of the most prominent there are two. They are both from when I was quite young. I remember that my grandpa was stubborn and set in his ways since I was little. That was a good thing too, because every day at 5 am we’d go to the Golden Chick and he’d buy coffee with his buddies. I remember that, because every day he’d buy me a biscuit to eat and he’d dab a dollop of honey onto the biscuit for me. I wasn’t helpless, but any time I caught him not looking, I’d have that bear bottle of honey and be getting every last drop of honey I could (until I got caught, that is). That old man learned to watch me like a hawk, though some mornings he just didn’t care.

The other memory happens to be the first (and last) time I had my name signed on his paddle. We were playing hide and seek and I was looking for him. Well, I checked behind trees. I checked behind bushes. I even checked in his wood shop. That old man was nowhere to be found. Well, I’m standing there in the doorway to his wood shop and I say “Damn it, PaPa where are you at?” It just so happens that that old man was far more nimble than anyone gave him credit for, because right after uttering those words, here he came… descending from the rafters of that shop as if from on high to deliver judgement. Of course, I quickly knew I was in for it. We laughed and laughed about it years later, but I remember being more bewildered than frightened at the time.

I have a ton of good memories, ranging from singing along with Dwight Yoakum with Dad as a kid to spending many an hour bonding over a broken truck. We all have those good memories that will help pull us through. What about you, do you have any funny memories that stand out above the rest?

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The Awakening – Sample Chapter Excerpt Idea

Will looked around. The magic was singing within and around him. The street thugs were still looking through the alley for him, having not located his hiding spot yet. Ironic that he could probably level most of the state of Nevada with the power of his mind, but these thugs were still unwounded after chasing him. If it weren’t for the new Techno-nets installed on the outskirts of the city, he could have used mystical bonds to imprison the thugs without harming them.

The Techno-nets were a brilliant idea, created by Caleb*. Caleb had the idea that N-waves might be an answer to the odd M-waves that appeared on recording devices after the Awakening. The effects were somewhat similar to radio interference… powerful magicians could still get ‘signal’ but their power cut in and out continuously. Will found himself waiting for the humming of the magic within to match the power singing around him, desperate for the pulse to end before the thugs found him.

Too late. At that moment, a thug with a knife scar below his left ear wearing blue jeans, a KISS t-shirt and black vest yelled, “Hey, there’s the witch! We’ll get the $5,000 from him, certain.” With a wicked grin, the Scar growled “They only said alive… they didn’t say anything else about the condition. Be careful not to kill him guys.” With a sinking feeling, Will realized the group of ‘thugs’ that had been chasing him had the look of professionals. As the first fist fell, Will began to hopelessly defend himself. Will was no small guy, nor was he unskilled in fist fighting, what having to stick up for himself being a nerd all those years. It didn’t matter how skilled he was though. Unless he was Chuck Norris, there was no way he was going to stop 5 guys from roughing him up and tagging him, especially since one was bringing a taser to bear.

As the beating continued, Shocker pushed his way forward and let the volts flow through the bleeding wizard. The fleshy smack of flesh striking flesh repeatedly filled the alley-way. If anyone saw, they quickly realized that this was a “Not My Problem” situation and quickly proceeded forgetting it ever happened. The rise and fall of fists slowed and stopped altogether when Scar yelled out “McKinnely, get over here with the detector! We need him alive, and I don’t want him coming around before we tag ‘im!” The ragged form of Will rose and fell with labored breathing as a mouse of a man stepped into the alley. He was 5’0″ if he was an inch and the little glasses he wore didn’t help the image of a rodent. He extracted a gun-like object with a long metal syringe and began traversing the alley toward the beaten mage.

Four of the thugs each grabbed an arm or leg and Scar roughly grabbed the limp form by the head and jerked back on the hair, exposing the throat. Ian McKinnely moved foward and inserted the metallic tag into the syringe gun. As McKinnely touched the needle to Will’s skin, the T-net pulse ended.

With a surge of mental effort, Will stopped playing opossum (though it wouldn’t have been hard to truly sink into the velvet embrace of unconsciousness) and created an electric shield covering his entire body. The five thugs in direct contact with Will quickly fell slack from losing consciousness. Will had had enough presence of mind to avoid a voltage high enough to force the thugs to hold on even tighter.

As the electricity coursed from his body, Will prevented it from reaching McKinnely since he didn’t want an errant convulsion to cause the syringe to pierce his skin. With his fading resolve being bombarded by the bruises and hurts caused him, Will reached out and crushed the syringe gun. There was unfortunate collateral damage, since McKinnely’s hand was still gripping the gun. With a wounded yelp, McKinnely passed out. Will quickly scrambled up and started limping his way towards the end of the alley.

Beaten, bruised, and exhausted, Will slowed and turned back where he had just come from. “I’m not the same as them. I’m not careless. Damn it, but I don’t want to do this,” Will thought to himself. After quickly dragging the thugs into a pile, Will drew a quick shield circle to keep them in. He turned to the crumpled form of Ian McKinnely and pulled magic from the diffuse power all around him, coalescing it to fit his will. With a slight glow as the power bent to his command, the bones that had been crushed by his magic began to fall back into place, whole and healthy once more.

The healing drained both the healer and the patient. Will had pulled life from himself and his patient to give new health to the injured limb. Will sagged visibly and McKinnely turned an ashen shade of grey, while remaining unconscious.

Wanting to hurry and leave before another T-pulse activated or any more government goons came chasing after him, Will fled the scene. “Fled” might have been a slight exaggeration… Will drunkenly stumbled from the scene, gathering many a questioning look at the fresh blood and bruises that covered every visible part of him. His hair was sticking up wildly from where Scar had laced his hands through it to jerk back Will’s chin. “All in all,” Will considered “it’s been a good day.”

*Caleb was Will’s best friend prior to the Awakening. Jealous of Will’s new power, Caleb stopped hanging around Will. After the mystical rampages immoral dictators let loose, Caleb honestly felt it was his duty to aid in any way he could. His actions and beliefs are pure, though the seed for them may have been planted in his initial jealousy.

I’d like any positive or negative feedback on this if you feel like it. This will be an excerpt from a later chapter in the book. The government has put out a contract on mages and Will has been put in the cross-hairs.

 

After reading a chapter excerpt from the novel I’m working on, would you be interested in reading this book?

(polls)


			

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Enter: Risk Legacy

Passing through my local Hastings (think B. Daltons + Blockbuster, only better and from Texas), my eyes passed along the shelves of PC games and skittered across the board games. As a gaming enthusiast, it was love at first sight – Risk Legacy. I don’t know which caught and held me more: The official briefcase looking box, the poignantly provocative sticker sealing the box boldly stating “What is done can not be undone”, or the fact that the back of the box described shudder-inducing actions – writing directly on the game board with permanent marker AND ripping up cards after using them.

This is taboo to me. I just CAN’T rip up cards. I just CAN’T permanently scar my game board. But what if I could? Wouldn’t it be deliciously naughty to play this game. It goes against all my gaming instincts. And they set the hook with a back story and campaign type setting, appealing to both the author and the D&D player in me. There was no way I could resist. The hefty price tag of $60 for a game I’d be destroying as I went along only dented my resolve, because damn it, I WANTED that game.

And when I had a spectacularly unexpected Christmas donation from my wonderful girlfriend’s father, I went and bought the object of my desire. It felt SOOOO good to get that game. I haven’t wanted a material object this badly since I was 6 and the TMNT Turtle Van and Techno-Drome were both out that Christmas. That obsessive. And now, I’m exiting line from Hastings and my girlfriend states “Now we’ll wrap it up and make you wait 5 days until Christmas to open it up.”

The world became grey, food turned to ash in my mouth and water to dust. Truly, this… this is how the world ends.

After much harried haranguing and pitiful pleading, I managed to convince her to let me open it (though she had only been teasing me all along). I now reverently opened this treasure chest and saw all the goodies inside. Not only was the box sealed with the tantalizing sticker, on the inside there are pockets with things inside them that can only be opened when certain milestones happen in your game. Not all are guaranteed to happen either.

Now I have this wonderful new… game doesn’t describe it… obsession called Risk: Legacy, and the world again became grey, food turned to ash in my mouth and water to dust once more. There was only myself and my girlfriend. Sure 2 would play it, but I didn’t want to do it like that. I wanted to build my own history with the recommended group of 5 players. I wanted rivalries to form, bitter betrayals to happen, alliances to be made. 2 people just wouldn’t cut it.

I began my quest for a campaign group the day before I actually bought the game. I have a coworker who para-role plays, and I knew if I dangled a tantalizing piece of this game in front of her, she would rip my arm off for a chance of more. Turns out I was mostly right… though I do still have an arm. She was in from the word… hell, she was in as soon as I started describing it. She shared my same fervor and obsession for this immediately. Before even owning the game, we were discussing how we could write stories about the games. Chronicle our world’s history, as it were.

(We did decide to write out stories as we go along, with each game being a generation in the world.)

We were now up to 3 players. I must find more.

After turning to Facebook, I managed to find a tug on the line: An ex-coworker’s husband seemed to be an avid Risk fanatic, though he’d heard nothing of Legacy. A tentative agreement to meet was set up, and now we were 4.

I recalled, on the day of the game that I had an old D&D buddy (who I had previously texted) who never responded. Frantic attempt after frantic attempt to contact him failed time and again. Then I realized, he switched numbers and I, like a dummy, never changed it. After shooting a text his way at his new number, he seemed at least a bit interested, and so we had our fifth.

Then disaster struck… my girlfriend got sick. This was merely a set back. We were not going to allow sickness derail the train of awesomeness that was so close to pulling into station and take us on a new adventure. So, seems like the Saharan Republic (my significant other’s chosen faction) was late to the battle for this cloned Earth. The world will not be as pristine and untouched when her people arrive, but we HAD to play. The need burned in me like any other wild man’s crazy obsession.

I won’t reveal details of the game or what was revealed when (sadly) I was eliminated in the first game of my game, but I will say this: We will be playing the 15 game campaign and the Enclave of the Bear will return next generation, more powerful and seeking blood to sate the thirst for vengeance of the wrongs done to them by the Imperials and Khans. A hero of Die Mecaniker did arise when his people were most in need. The pristine metropolis of Vaes Dathrak was raised, the first testament to humanity’s lasting mark on this new Earth. The lesser cities were raised as well, both Alamo and Jaynestown have made a mark in the wilds of what once was Asia, though on this world remains unnamed.

And so, changes made in Game 1 will resonate all the way to Game 15 and beyond. The box did not lie. Alliances were made. Betrayals were rampant. What has been done can not be undone. Woe to those who come.

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A Novel Idea

I’m working on a novel and I feel this is a good place for me to begin getting the ideas out there and drumming up some assistance if anyone wants to participate. If I end up getting published, anyone who makes a small contribution (that I end up using) will get a specific mention and anyone who makes a contribution I end up changing a bit will get a group nod.

I can’t promise any kind of payment, nor will I: I’m in my 20’s and closer to broke than rich (for one), and 2… I have no clue how this thing’s going to go. If someone ends up making a large contribution to this effort, I will discuss a co-authorship. Aside from that, just know that if you help me out here, it’s on the assumption that it’s pro bono. (I have to put this here to cover my own rear… if for some reason this story DOES take off and I make some money off of it, I really don’t want to have any lawsuits or anything) 😦

All that aside, here’s what I’m thinking on my plot.

The world is much as it is today… In fact, this is no mystical setting. The protagonist catches a bus to work every day. He’s not even some kind of super hero… He works as an IT Specialist at a corporate help desk. He’s your average, ordinary work-a-day joe. Until the Awakening happens.

The Awakening, as it will become to be called is when magic resurfaces in our world. When it happens, the world becomes a place of chaos. Some places, the Awakening leads to new wars and devastation while in others it brings a new golden age. These initial moments, from the full scale slaughter seen in various third world countries to the miraculous healing seen within moments of the Awakening.

The driving force I have in this story will be political: Things affect William (Will’s our main character) slowly. After the Awakening, he becomes aware of the magical energy that infuses the world around him. He can feel the ley lines pulling at his attention. He can feel the magic, as if he can just reach out and manipulate that thread to create his imagination’s desire (which, in fact, he can). Though some without morals but heavy in magic are immediately willing to use their new found power as a weapon, Will is somewhat hesitant to use this magic. The U.S. government is quick to condone the actions of the terrorists, and a McCarthy-esque “witch-hunt” begins. Legislation will be entered into Congress that is the equivalent of gun control laws, despite the fact that the “guns” are living, breathing people.

As the story progresses and evolves, Will will begin a coalition of Mages. He will lead the opposition to the “Security Counsel Against Re-emergent Entities” (anti-magic being) movement and as one of the most powerful mages in North America, he will help combat rampant magic abuse occurring across America.

I know, I know… this sounds a lot like X-men. X-men was not the premise for this idea, but rather a heated gun control debate that I watched in a government class I attended years ago. I felt that you mix several controversial issues together with a magical re-emergence and you’d find a great story.

I should also mention, it’s not just mage’s magic that re-emerges. As the series progresses (and you’ll see hints in the first book), gods have awoken from their technologically induced slumber (you’ll hear news reports of rumors from India that gods are walking among the population and claims that North American Indians are pushing for their land to be returned “because [their] gods have tasked them to reclaim the lost land.” Magical beings are also making a come-back… a dragon savaged a town in the Appalachian Mountains, though there are claims that a family killed the dragon and are currently having it mounted. (Of course, people will not believe these claims at first, but time will give them proof).

Ultimately, this story boils down to Magic vs. Technology. It’s not good vs. evil. There will be mages that are evil as sin or as good as saints. Will is just a normal guy… he’s going to have his shades of grey. This story WANTS to be told, and it won’t be just another X-men with magic instead of mutant powers.

Let me know what you think. Have any ideas on how I might spice it up or change it around? Tell me! I may heed them or disregard them, but I want your opinions. If you want to take a slice of the story and write an example chapter, message me! If you want to write a side story of tales during/after the Awakening, awesome! I’m making this available to grow. Run with it!

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