Tag Archives: indie games

Friday Update #12: The Tale of an Entrepreneur: The Beginning

So, here’s the first Friday Update in four months. Are you surprised? Let’s just say news often happens in chunks, not spurts. You can watch the real news to see that that’s true. But you didn’t come here for real news, did you?

With that in mind, let’s begin our semi-occasional Friday Update for this week.

Book Review Blitz

In my previous post, about two months ago (sorry!), I said I was doing a review blitz on books I’ve read in the recent past, and I had planned to launch it soon. Well, I do have reviews queued up, and I think they’re pretty ready for public reading, but I don’t have nearly as many as I’d like for the blitz, so that’s still in progress. Much of the delay is due to distraction mainly, but also to quality of life. I do things based on whether I can do them well, and whether they’ll be worth my time and yours. Even as I write about the books I’ve read, I have to wonder how many of these books you would want to read, and whether the statements I might say about them would resonate in some profound way. When I review something, I want to give more than just my opinion. I want to give feedback, in case the author should ever stumble across my site. So, I’m checking for quality, of course, but I’m also checking for impact. I want to make sure I’m not wasting my time or the time of my readers. So, it’s been going slowly.

Therefore, I want to revise my previous title, “Book Review Blitz Coming” to a new title, “Book Review Blitz Coming Sometime.” Take note.

The Avengers: Infinity War

The new Avengers movie comes out today. I want to see it. I won’t likely get to go today. Probably not tomorrow, either. But, I want to see it. So, don’t spoil it. Seriously, hush on the spoilers, people. The Internet won’t break if you hold your “aw, dang!” tongues for a little while. That is all.

Oh, and if you liked The Avengers: Infinity War, don’t forget that I still have two massive Game of Thrones sized volumes of superhero fiction available at Barnes & Noble for $6.99 each. (I won’t be putting them on Amazon until I rewrite them as individual novels.) They’re also available on Apple iBooks and Kobo.

The first is Cannonball City: A Modern-day Fantasy, Year One.

The second is Superheroes Anonymous: A Modern-day Fantasy, Year Two.

The third, Alpha Red: A Modern-day Fantasy, Year Three, won’t be released as an annual unless the first two get enough readers to justify me releasing it. So far, I’m nowhere near the readership that would make that decision reasonable. But that can change! It’s up to you to make that happen.

To be clear, these are e-books only. If you buy them, make sure you have a device you can read them on. Smashwords provides multiple formats if you aren’t sure what will work for you.

Gone from the Happy Place

I’ve resumed production on Gone from the Happy Place by adding a new first chapter, and I’ll keep adding new chapters until I’m satisfied with the story I want to tell. I don’t want to spoil anything at this time, but in the new version, we’ll get to spend more time with Anston and Alice in their respective elements before the explosive moment that their lives converge, giving us more time to appreciate them as individuals, and more time to dread what may follow. If you’re a thriller reader, this should sound like a positive. To all you romance readers who somehow found my site, well, people still kiss, so…

I have no ETA on when the book will be ready for the public, but I will likely release it in this order:

  • E-book (Amazon only)
  • Drinking Café Latte at 1pm (serial)
  • Ebook (Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo)
  • Paperback (through CreateSpace and Ingram Spark)
  • Audiobook (if sales on the other formats are significant enough to warrant it)

Normally I’d want to release the title on all formats at the same time. And, in a future time when I have lots and lots of money to roll around in like Scrooge McDuck, I will. But, in my efforts to rebrand myself with an actual brand, I need to lay some new tracks to give myself the opportunity to have better launches and better IPs, so until I can claim all of the resources I need to do this right, I’ll be staggering the release through specific channels that won’t complicate things for me or the book down the road.

The thing about Amazon’s e-books is that they don’t require an ISBN, so I can upload it without compromising my brand. Later, when I have the packaging the way I want (the cover I release with, shown below, will likely be temporary until I can afford a legit cover artist), I’ll rerelease it, and I’ll do so with the other formats. By that point, I should be able to afford my own ISBNs and not have to rely on the freebies that tie my book to the identity of the distributor rather than me. I want them related to me and my company.

gone from the happy place concept 3

Once I have the means to produce the other elements properly, I’ll do so. When this happens depends on how much and how quickly the money comes in. Again, readers can help speed up this process by voting with their wallets.

Regarding the Drinking Café Latte at 1pm serial, I’ve wanted to try releasing at least one of my books as a weekly serial, to see if I can get new readers, and this will be the book I do that for.

For those who haven’t been keeping up, Gone from the Happy Place is the book that will replace The Computer Nerd as the story I want to tell about a marriage gone wacky, not the story I did tell. When I wrote and released The Computer Nerd in 2015, I was racing a self-imposed deadline, and trying to maintain a book-a-month release cycle, which really isn’t my style, and one I’d ditched by mid-2016. I’d broken rules that I generally keep for myself in order to get it to the public in a timely manner, and even though it was fine, that’s all it was. When my first review came back with one star, I knew I’d made a mistake racing it out the gate. Sometimes you do want to take your time with a project before offering it to the world, which is what I usually do with my projects. It’s the reason you haven’t seen a new release out of me since 2016 and only three updates to stories I’d released back in 2015. All indie artists should take note that patience is worth it, as long as that patience produces results.

Entrepreneur: The Beginning

Okay, so that’s not the only reason you haven’t seen a new release out of me since 2016. As some of you may know, I also have a computer game I’ve been working on, on the side, called Entrepreneur: The Beginning, and I’ve been putting a lot of work into it this past year. I may post a separate article about it soon, but the scope of my work since about this time last year has been to rewrite the handcrafted code I’d been using since 2009 to use templates and machine-thinking instead.

I’ve wanted to make my own games since I was a kid, but because I’d never learned programming properly, I had to find premade engines to help me along. The engine I use for this game, OHRRPGCE, is made by one developer, maintained by two, and in a constant state of catching up with other engines built by larger teams. I use it because the language is simple, and it is something that I, as a writer, can easily understand. However, because it’s written for accessibility, to simplify the coding process for non-programmers like me, much of the scripting language is built from the ground up and doesn’t yet include many of the conventions that proper programmers would use in their programs. This means that some of the shortcuts I’d need to build this game quickly aren’t there, and even if they were, I’d have to learn about them because I’m not a programmer, and good programming practice is something I hadn’t learned until about a year ago, eight years after I’d started the game.

So, I’ve been spending the last year trying to practice good programming etiquette, and that means rewriting all of the mess I’d made in the years before. It’s the programming equivalent of cleaning out or cleaning up a junkyard all by yourself. It takes time, patience, and a little bit of strategy. In a future article, I may talk more about the experience and how it relates to art, writing, etc., and how such practices could be adopted for all elements in life. We’ll see how that goes.

If you want to read more about this game and keep up with its progress, you can check out the series of posts I make about it here at “Entrepreneur Central.” One of these days I’ll give it a proper website with a proper online version of the journal I keep about it. Unlike this blog, I keep up with the journal, writing in it every day that I work on the game.

The Celebration of Johnny’s Yellow Rubber Ducky

The novel-sized update for The Celebration of Johnny’s Yellow Rubber Ducky is coming along well. The new opening sequence that takes place during Johnny’s childhood is nearly finished (or, at least the first draft is). I still have a few scenes to write for his teenage years, but I expect to have the new first act finished soon. In this section, we learn how Johnny gets the duck and why he’s so attached to it. We also get to spend time with his semi-dysfunctional family, and who doesn’t want that?

I’ll be keeping the original novelette online indefinitely, but for those who want the complete story of what happens to Johnny before and after the events in the current version, the novel should satisfy that itch.

I may post a clip from the rewrite soon. Stay tuned.

Snow in Miami

Yep, Snow in Miami is still under construction, four months after Christmas and eight months before next Christmas. It’s nearly finished though. I still expect to have it done and released by September. Did you forget I was writing it?

So, that should cover the latest updates on upcoming events and current delays. I’ll come back soon with more information as it develops. Keep reading, folks. Or start reading. Do whatever’s more relevant.

Please subscribe to my blog if you want to keep hearing stories like these. You might even learn something.

Chronicles of a Second Wind

Originally posted to MySpace on:

April 10, 2007:

How does a man driven by creativity get his brain to stop nagging him? A pressing question to a philosopher, maybe, but not to me. “Finish what you started” seems like a worthier battle cry for such an occasion—stop leaving the past unresolved—don’t go to sleep on an empty stomach (okay, the last one might be overkill). The message, it seems at its most rudimentary state, is to complete a project that the creator thinks is worth his attention in the first place. If it’s not valuable, it won’t nag him. Simple philosophy…in theory.

I caught the game creation bug back in the ‘80s, found a creation engine, and thus the means to see my computer game ideas come to life in the first half of 2000, and went to work on a project (of organized chaos) called The Adventures of Powerstick Man. It starred the hero of a mock comic I had made in the early ‘90s about a tennis player turned spandex wearing crime-fighter who threw deodorant as his superpower. His story began with his birth as a superhero and ended after a short spelunking quest that earned him the coveted “Cove Ruby,” an item that didn’t really help him any because the game was over. There was so much more planned for the game, with several new towns, a deeper story line involving the kidnapping of mayors, and a slew of pop culture parodies that would make the writers of Scary Movie groan. It was my gaming opus, and my ticket into an underground world of RPG making geeks, where popularity depended on the quantity of message board posts and the clever use of “elite speak,” where “e’s” became “3’s” and “t’s” became…something. And, like so many who fell victim to the black hole of message boards, I had lost my steam after the first release. It was a fate I thought I could avoid. I was wrong.

I never learned “elite speak,” by the way, or cared to. My geekiness was intended to live in theory, not in reality. Anyway…

I tried to assimilate my identity into this indie-gaming world through various forms of writing, mainly through reviews of other people’s games. I spent nearly a year of my life critiquing these amateur projects, trying to wow readers with big ways to say little things. And I gained attention. Through my reviews, I became a valuable resource to the independent gaming community. I wrote articles on character development, fought for the appropriate use of dialogue, both in action and in presentation, and even submitted the occasional fanfic in the form of documentary radio scripts. It was a golden age for me in this secret world; I was like Roger Ebert, but younger and skinnier. And I couldn’t get back to my project.

The fire of participation died by 2002, and with it, several false starts on other games. The Adventures of Powerstick Man lingered in limbo, waiting for the day that its story would be completed. But that day never came. I tried to revive it a year later with a new presentation, calling it “Version 2,” but again the fire died as soon as it had flickered. My passion for game-making hit a dead end, as did my creativity in all forms. I searched for other methods to keep myself plugged in with the fans (the few that called themselves fans), but my taste for the subculture faltered. Nothing ever got done with this group. Nothing ever got done on my hard drive. With personal crises taking over, I had nothing left to give to my creations. I burned out.

Several projects ate space on my hard drive by 2003, most of them with nothing more than a title screen and a couple of graphics. I still dabbled with my perpetually labored project called Tightfloss Maiden, which to this day remains close to release, as it was in 2001, but not close enough to actually unveil it. In the end, unfortunately, my desire to work on anything creative subsided in favor of personal misery. The golden age became a rusted age, and I couldn’t take it.

By the end of 2003, however, something remarkable happened: I went back to school. I was refreshed. And with the refreshed journey, I went back to my writing. I started revamping my old collections of short stories, releasing two self-published books by early 2005. In the last quarter of 2005, I wrote the first draft of my novel. Throughout all of 2006, I wrote and released my third collection of short stories to the public. And now, as I write this, I’m back to the editing stage of my novel, with a second novel in the drafting stage. Add these to the screenplay floating around various agencies for the Scriptapalooza contest, and it seems I pulled out of a major dive. But alas, something still lingers.

During a brief creative spell in 2005, I decided to return to the original version of Powerstick Man and add some features for an Extended Edition. My intention was to re-release the game as it used to be, but with more options for the player. It was a means to draw its fans back to the character and back to the charm that made it a cult classic (and also to spur interest in the graphically enhanced Version 2 that I had hoped to also release someday). But again, after a slight addition to the character roster, I went on to something else—my novel. And there it sat untouched for another year.

And throughout that year, the unfinished project nagged at me. Six years had passed without a fair attempt to finish it, or even to progress it, and it haunted me. I couldn’t stand it. But I kept putting it off, favoring the work on my prose over it. It was the annoying guest that refused to leave. It spilled over into my other unfinished gaming projects. One project became nine, all of them waiting for their turn to see the light of day. It was madness.

Finally, I reached the point that I couldn’t take it anymore. After spending a weekend dabbling with another creation engine that specializes in point-and-click adventures, I thought, “I could do this again.”

I’m writing this journal, in March of 2007, because the second wind is blowing, and I’m curious to see what becomes of it. Certainly, it could be a short breeze, destined to die in two weeks’ time. Or it could be a strong gale, lasting until the project sees an end. Either could happen, and I’m curious to see which becomes reality. My novel still demands my attention, as does my economic freedom—both of which are threatened by the idea of revisiting these old projects. But that marks the creator’s heart. A creator without passion isn’t a creator but a do-boy. He has to give his attention to these things anyway.

Having said this, I’ve put The Adventures of Powerstick Man on a new train, and I’ll record its journey in some form as it unfolds.