October Patreon Reward – Happy Halloween!

I’ll keep this short, as I am beat! The October Patreon Supporter Award has arrived over on Patreon. And it is awesome.

What is it, you may ask? Why it’s a story! That’s right, a story. For Halloween. An early draft, but about 8.5k words long.

Oh, and it’s the sequel to Monthly Retreat from Unusual Events. And it has some other familiar faces show up as well.

Very much a fun treat piece. Perfect for the season. I had a lot of fun writing this.

Thanks for supporting, guys. You can check out your first look at Adapation, the October Patreon Supporter Reward, right at this link.

The Halloween Sale

In case you missed it, this Halloween weekend is home to all kinds of spooky sales on my work. Through October 31st, you’ll be able to pick up One Drink and Dead Silver for free, as well as find Unusual Events: A “Short” Story Collection for half-price and the stellar Colony for 25% off!

You can head on over to my Books page to preview each one, read a free sample, and then score a copy for yourself!

Hardware, Halloween, and Other Updates

You know the deal, guys! It’s a news post. And there’s a lot of it this week, but I have categorized it, so skim through and see what the updates are!

Hardware Horrors

You might have noticed I’ve been quiet this week.

Like, quieter than normal. And it’s not just here. I’ve been almost 100% silent across all my usual online hangouts. And the reason for that is actually pretty simple. Right now, I’m writing this post through a tethered connection with my cell phone.

No, Google Fiber didn’t go down. My phone’s buzzing through them. The ethernet port on my desktop shorted out. Thankfully, without taking the rest of my motherboard with it.

Yeah, I’m still nervous about that one.

For those who aren’t computer literate, however, the ethernet port is what you plug the internet into if you’re not using wi-fi. Desktops don’t usually come with wi-fi, and I prefer the speeds and latency that a cable offers over a wireless connection (it’s a bit more reliable).

In any case, I’ve ordered an ethernet card for my desktop, but it won’t even ship until the 30th. So … I’m a little disconnected at the moment. Which leads me into my next point here—

Continue reading

Being a Better Writer: Preaching to the Choir

Morning readers! Well, actually afternoon, and that’s my fault. Ever start reading a book late at night? Yeah, that’s something I shouldn’t do, and yet …

Well, anyway, let’s dive right into today’s topic shall we? It’s one that I’ve wanted to write about for a while, since it comes up a lot in the modern reading world, and quite frankly, it really shouldn’t. At least, not if the claims of the authors were remotely accurate.

What am I talking about? Why, I’m talking about preaching to the choir! Which I’m sure you know all about, so let me just skim over things so we can all get to talking about how right we are and how wrong everyon—

Ahem. Apologies, but we won’t be doing that at all. But that last little paragraph does serve to illustrate in a somewhat rough fashion exactly why this topic should be brought up, as it’s an exaggeration example—though not too far off the mark in many cases, sadly—of what preaching to the choir is, and offers a glimpse of why writing something in that fashion can wreck your story’s potential audience.

So without further ado, let’s dive into today’s Being a Better Writer, starting with an answer to the question that I’m sure is on some of your minds (and if not, we’re talking about it anyway to establish a baseline): what is preaching to the choir?

Continue reading

The History of One Drink

Greetings and salutations readers! I’m hard at work trying to wrap up Jungle‘s first draft (it is, if you’ll pardon the pun, a jungle), but that doesn’t mean I can’t keep you guys in the know. And today, I’ll be doing that with a recap of the creation of One Drink!

Yes, this post was a Patreon reward. Supporters got to see this all the way back in May. Now that Halloween is almost upon us, however, I feel that the time is right for a revisiting of One Drink with its ghosts and its necromancers and—of course—its straightforward protagonist. Where it all came from, how the first book came to pass, and naturally, what came next.

If you’ve not read One Drink, then be forewarned that this post contains spoilers. Seriously. For a 99-cent book that’s been out for almost five years now. Nudge nudge, why-haven’t-you-just-read-this-already? There’s a link to it right here!

But yes, spoiler warning.

And now? Let’s take a look at the history of One Drink

Continue reading

Being a Better Writer: Applying Writing Advice and Feedback

Welcome back readers! Another Monday is upon us, and I’m diving right in today. by picking up a request topic from Topic List X!

So, you’ve done it at last and found a like-minded group of people who’ve come together in a pleasantly pleasing—yet still critical—writing group (more on that topic another time). You’ve met, discussed one another’s work, and as expected, they’ve found some areas you can polish with your work. But then, as you sit down the next day to look over what the group had discussed and the fixes you want to make, you come to a sobering realization.

You have no idea how to actually apply the advice they gave you. You know where the problems lie, sure, and what didn’t work. You’ve even got a few suggestions that they gave you. But as to how to put that advice to work in your writing? Suddenly, you’re drawing a blank.

And to be fair, this isn’t easy. Sands, that’s why the question was asked! Getting feedback on what needs to be fixed and then figuring out how? It’s a challenge, especially if it’s your first time having received such. You might even feel a little overwhelmed!

But first step—and this is key—is not to worry. Feeling overwhelmed is often one of the first reactions when faced with the thought of apply writing advice or sticking it into your story. And once you’re overwhelmed, it’s hard not to focus on that feeling.

So first, let’s break things down, shall we?

Continue reading

Hunt: Showdown is like a 1890s Monster Hunter International Game

I’ve been a fan of Crytek’s video game offerings every since they burst onto the scene in 2004 with the ambitious and impressive Far Cry, a game that boasted impressive AI and vast, colorful maps famous for giving the player a wealth of options and choices, as well as a graphical fidelity that pushed modern systems to their limit—both things that would become a staple of their games moving forward. Selling off the Far Cry license to another publisher, Crytek then went on to create 2007’s Crysis, a game that built upon the foundation of designs laid in Far Cry while simultaneously spawning the meme “But will it run Crysis?” due to the game’s incredibly demanding system requirements. But despite those astronomical requirements—so high that computing groups around the world, from NASA to China, began using the game as a benchmark for testing the newest and most powerful computers—Crysis was an impressive game at its core, boasting advanced AI, physics, a draw distance most games couldn’t even match a tenth of, and open gameplay brought about by player abilities that led to a wide range of playstyles and tactics.

Then it all went downhill. Emboldened by the sales of Crysis, Crytek got ahead of itself. Determined to bring their titles to console, the studio slimmed down the sequels to Crysis, creating games that didn’t so much push the envelope as they did constrict it. Dropping the linear maps, advanced AI, and most of the gameplay options led to games that could release on the vastly weaker hardware of consoles … but also that weren’t nearly as fun to play. Crytek, counting on the graphical fidelity of their engine to sell engine licenses as well as games, also woke the sleeping giant of Epic. As Epic’s Unreal Engine began making serious strides to both price itself competitively and catch up with Crytek’s own CryEngine, Crytek found that they’d overreached themselves, and faced cutbacks, closing of projects, and other issues. And, for a time, the studio became fairly silent.

Now, having spent the last few years relatively silent save for market deals and behind-the-scenes operations that really aren’t so exciting to the general public, Crytek is back, and they’re finally letting their new project see the light of day. The dismal, dark, moody light of day that steeps Hunt: Showdown from top to bottom.

Continue reading