Category Archives: Writing

What’s Next for The Dream Box Series?

I’m excited that The Wolf of Descarta, the first novel in my new series, has earned some accolades from reviewers:

“A remarkably descriptive dystopian sci-fi adventure.”

“A backdrop of psychic/machine-world-melded/phantasmagoria impels the coolest of stories with ease.”

“Pike shows an ability to blend good solid science fiction with today’s RPG craze.”

“A rollercoaster ride, filled with hard turns and twists, unpredictable and thrilling.”

“Wonderful and terrifying.”

“It wasn’t what I expected and I found it uniquely interesting.”

“The pace is moderate with good grounding and the world building is amazing.”

“Each chapter, like a game level, reveals surprising new information about the world and character abilities, creating greater engagement for the reader.”

“So if you are a sci-fi aficionado, and love original concepts mixed with ax-wielding badassery and sexy vixens, this book is for you!”

I’ve also learned some things about my readers’ expectations that I’m incorporating into the sequel to TWoD, which is scheduled for release during the fourth quarter of 2014.

Take, for instance, which characters are currently considered popular and which ones readers are curious to learn more about. My universe is much larger than I could hope to introduce in a single book, and receiving feedback about which aspects of it should be brought into the foreground is helping to guide my hand as well.

So, what can readers expect from a sequel to TWoD?

Jaren Reese (and Balmus) will obviously return, as will the love triangle between Kara Faldern (Petra) and Brea Morgen. Readers can expect to see a lot more of Renton Hayes and Isaac Zephyr, as both of these characters have their own arcs in the expanding universe that will become just as important as Reese’s story. Victoria will struggle with becoming “human” in a universe where biological beings are breaking down yet machines have no personal rights. Miyoko Hirigashi will struggle with a decision she and her comrades could regret for the foreseeable future. Janus Almani’s backstory and the Asenti Convention will be further explained through neurological meddling (that I don’t intend to spoil at this juncture). How the Ravers, as an organization, fit into the Shadow Government’s post-postmodern model of society will become clearer, and, of course, a new enemy will emerge that will make the showdown at the end of TWoD look like the video game equivalent of a turn-based battle with a mid-boss.

As for fully explaining what the aliens are up to and why the Dream Box exists? Leave me something for the third installment. I can promise to tease you a little, at least.

Betrayal at Phobos will probably fit more easily into the genre of Science Fiction than the first book, which has caused some reviewers to refer to me as a “Fantasy author”. Because much of the action of the book takes place in our solar system, I’ve had to do some research into things like the moons of Mars and speculate quite a bit about how the human race would logically expand throughout space. (As a small spoiler, the blue collars and red collars that signify castes within The Dream Box series originally designated residents of Earth and Mars respectfully.) There will be space combat this time around, more political intrigue, more plot twists, more mind hacking, more simulation, more wild Fantasy battles in Cyberspace, and, as the title implies, no small amount of betrayal.

Yes, chivalry will still be a theme despite the futuristic setting. Balmus’s characterization demands it, and I wouldn’t dream of writing a story without some representation of knighthood. I’m pretty sure it would unmake me to do so.

If you haven’t gotten your hands on The Wolf of Descarta and are interested, click on “Order My Books” for more information. Please feel free to leave me a review on Amazon. I believe that storytelling should be a dialogue between the writer and his or her readers, not a lecture.

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Filed under Fantasy, My Writing, Publishing, Reading, Science Fiction, Writing

My Interview with The Florence Reminder & Blade Tribune

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Click here to read the interview. Then hit up the comments section and let me know if I put my foot in my mouth.

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Filed under Education, Fantasy, My Writing, Publishing, Rants, Reading, Science Fiction, Writing

Mascot Time! (The Wolf of Descarta Art Contest)

Right, I know. I already have Balmus all over this site, and thanks to Caelicorn, he looks absolutely amazing!

Given my comic book/anime/video game influences, most of the characters in The Wolf of Descarta are designed to be pretty slick looking–all except for one.

The dreaded Coquil.

There’s no sense in keeping the Coquil a secret any longer. My novel’s excerpt on Amazon.com nearly concludes the chapter in which Balmus and his notorious guild of player killers, The Order of the Blood Moon, knuckle down with this bizarre creature in Bladescape (who just happens to be guarding a legendary weapon). If you’ve read 7 Fantasy Cliches That Need to Disappear (For the Good of All), you already know that I’m easily irritated by the cutesy, overpowered helpers that infest the Fantasy genre.

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Phoooooo!!!

So I decided to throw in a cutesy, overpowered monster that hulks out and nearly murders all my heroes just four short chapters into the novel.

My inspiration for the Coquil came from an MMORPG called Dark Age of Camelot (and probably my not-so-secret desire to take a battle ax to an Ewok).

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Now this game was old school. You didn’t start off with a nifty armor set and bearing a majestic sword and a shield–more like sporting a loin cloth and armed with a rock and a stick.

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To be honest, you didn’t feel very hard core at the beginning of DAoC. Most of the time you’d be grinding and get waylaid by things like bunnies in the woods. Winning at PVP was easier than walking through the friggin’ forest or through a farmstead! I distinctly remember finally getting my chainmail and an imposing greatsword, strapping on a crimson cape signifying my guild, and feeling so very accomplished–maybe about 40 seconds before I was ruthlessly mauled to death by a homicidal badger just chillin’ on the hillside.

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Mushroom, mushroom!

You heard right. A stupid badger.

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Mushroom MUSH-room!

And yes, someone already did this:

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Argh! We’ve got a Snake!

While I’m at it, does anybody remember those stupid, overpowered rabbits in Final Fantasy VII with carrots for swords? Urrgh! Screw them too!

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WTF?! Cloud’s dead?!

So the Coquil–in all its a pink, fluffy evilness–is product of pure rage at the comedic irony of being beaten down by seemingly helpless woodland creatures that should have been laying chocolate eggs for Easter and clucking like a chicken or some damned thing.

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What? You steppin’ to me, hero? You’d best beware–I cluck, and it don’t make a damn bit of sense! Neither does the beat down imma give you!

Now, in my infinite wisdom, I think the Coquil should be the mascot for the blog. The trouble is that I can’t draw to save my life. This is where you come in.

For the next two weeks (ending December 6), I will be accepting fanart submissions of the Coquil at blackknightofbladescape at gmail dot com. The winner of the contest will receive free, autographed copies of both The Wolf of Descarta and RealLies (hopefully in time for the holidays) and a permanent link on this blog to his or her artist page.

No purchase is necessary to participate. Just head over to Amazon and read the free excerpt. Once you’ve got a good idea of what this ruthless, quadrupedal abomination looks like, sharpen your pencils–or fire up your software–and get cracking. The top three entries will be posted on Monday, December 9 and receive what accolades I can bestow upon you in the form of written praise. 🙂

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Filed under Fantasy, My Writing, Rants, Science Fiction, Writing