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Candle’Bre, The Reckoning: Book I – Darkness Falls, MultiMedia Presentation

October 22, 2012 in Completed, Featured, Freebie, Other


Hello and thank you for taking the time.

I’ll not keep you from the story for long, but I wanted to put a short note here for those who may have landed in this place by accident or happenstance.

Candle’Bre is a unique fantasy world, built from the ground up. In the original vision, the world was designed and developed for a computer game, but in pursuing that project, we discovered that we needed a static frame of reference to build the game around. A “Game Bible,” if you will, so I started writing one.

Ultimately, that side project took on a life of its own, and a four book series grew out of the original idea.

This is the first of the four, and I’m making it available here, free, but for a tweet, for one simple reason.

Taking a chance on an author you’ve never heard of is fraught with risk. Making this entire first volume available to you for naught but a Tweet removes all the risk from the equation. By the time you reach the end of book one, and probably a good deal before that, you’ll know if you like the work or not.

That said, I’ll get out of the way and let you dive right in! To get started, just click on the image of the book’s title, or click play on the video below for a brief introduction. Enjoy.

PS: I’ve closed comments on the story blog itself, but if you’d like to comment on it, please head back this way and do so!

If you’d like to begin your journey now, you can either watch a short preview video (below), or click this button to begin!

**Note that this website merges audio and video elements into the story text to create a unified, multimedia experience. Just so it doesn’t catch you off guard! This presentation has been optimized for Google Chrome. It utilizes sound files in *.ogg format, for maximum compression.

Credits

Producer & Director:
Christopher D. Hartpence (Velociryx)

Artists:
David Sobotka
Christina Stone

Technical Support:
Daniels Umanovskis (Solver)

Music and Sound Effects:
Levan Iordanishvili @ Vel9 Studios
Ian Hughes
Kevin McLeod and Incomptech
Free SFX
Intro Vid Track: “The Ephors,” from “300″

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Everything

October 21, 2012 in Completed, Featured, Other

…And the Kitchen Sink, too!

So…if you love a good read, but can’t decide which of the books here to get, then boy, does [the] DeVel have a deal for you! Get the whole set, right here, right now, and the Candle’Bre soundtrack too, to give you something to listen to while you read!

**All the works of fiction are included: Guardians, Five Days in May, Candle’Bre, The Reckoning I – IV, Candle’Bre, Tapestry, This Side of Madness, The Pandorica, The Poetry Collection, and the Candle’Bre 6-Song Soundtrack – Best deal on the site!

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Five In One

October 20, 2012 in Completed, Featured, Other

If you’re intrigued by the Candle’Bre project and story line, and just want to jump in with both feet, there’s no need to buy each book separately. Instead, you can get all four volumes here, along with the soundtrack to the game, and wind up saving a bit of money to boot.

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Just click the button below and we’ll get you hooked up.

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Get your digital copy right here, for just $6.95!

-=Vel=-
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This Side of Madness

October 14, 2012 in Books, Completed, Featured

As you can see by looking at the project completion dates, there was an enormous gap in productivity in the 2007-2010 period.

Lots of reasons for that.

By the time the curtain closed on the fourth volume of the epic Candle’Bre story (2007), the curtain was also closing on the game (bearing the same name) as well.

Our team had shrunk from more than thirty, at its peak, down to just three, and soon, it would shrink to just Solver and I.

People still liked the game and wished us well, but the project proved to be much larger, and much more time consuming than volunteers were willing to stick it out for.

We’d often go months with no visible signs of progress, and that took its toll (this was one of the most valuable takeaways from the experience in terms of doing another, by the way…progress should be steady and visible!).

Real life was intruding on the party, and as it did, the party inevitably waned.

I got married.

Had a heart attack, and two other near death experiences besides (and this, in addition to a host of other “colorful life experiences” earlier on).

During the latter stages of the most active portion of the Candle’Bre project (when we began producing playable builds) and my divorce, some four years later…it was a season of madness, and I mean that more literally than you perhaps know.

Most of all though, I was tired and worn thin.

The game and the four book series had taken their toll. The deaths and physical ailments took another sort of toll.

Then came the Great Recession, like a giant, sour cake topper.

Splat!

Overnight, my comfy life got hit by a wrecking ball, and anything even remotely creative got put on the back burner, as we went from worrying about what to write next to such things as, how to raise fifty bucks for food for another week, and how to keep the house warm during the winter.

Creativity?

There was no time for it.

We were in full on survival mode.

In time, of course, we figured it out. Explored our entrepreneurial sides and learned how to live, not off of whatever pittance the corporations deigned to hand down to their serfs, but by our own pluck, talent, and skills.

Early on, there were lots of “Ramin Noodle Nights,” I can tell you, but it’s funny.

When you start relying on yourself for your success, and stop thinking about that next paycheck you’re shackled to, it opens you up to a whole new world of possibilities.

Before long, we had things firing on all cylindars again, and even better, I was beginning to feel…dare I say…creative?

Yes!

I thought I’d lost it, but it was back!

Sure, sure, while it was away, I had convinced myself that I was okay with its long absence. That I had a decent body of work behind me, and I’d be content if there was to be no more, but that’s the funny thing about a season of madness.

It has a way (for all its pain and destructive tendencies) of reigniting fires you thought may have gone out for good, and that’s what happened in this case.

This story, “Madness,” as we call it shorthand, it a direct outgrowth of this period, and distills much of my life into book form.

It’s about twenty percent fiction, and eighty percent autobiographical.

To this day, I can’t go back and re-read it.

It’s too raw. Too visceral for me, but everyone who has read it calls it my best work.

It’s elemental. Raw. Chilling.

A psychological thriller, with bits of romance and horror tossed in for grins.

Add a little “Madness” to your life today by clicking just below!

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Project completed, September 2010, on my birthday, the 22nd

-=Vel=-

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Here There Be Dragons

October 13, 2012 in Completed, Games


The first board game I ever designed was in college…a cult classic called “Beer Run,” where you started in your dorm room with $1.83 (the amount of cash I had on me on the night I put the prototype together)–the game board was modeled after the game, “Life”–, and had to make your way to the gas station across the street, buy some alcohol, and return without getting caught. Along the way, you had to try to secure more money and a fake id (which improved your chances of success once you got to the station).

I like to think I’ve come a long way in terms of my design abilities, and in 2009, I had a chance to enter a local design competition with a title called “Here There Be Dragons.”

The hook here is that you play AS the dragon, trying to secure treasure and a lair site.

At game start, each player draws a card that defines a starting ability (all dragons have the basic flight, some magic, and breathing fire, but each player also gets a little something extra, as defined by the cards).

As you move around the board, you fight fantastical creatures, capture human towns, get hunted by angry humans, secure a lair site, stock it with guardians (monsters you control), and gain other powers, spells, and abilities.

The first dragon to secure ten gem stones for his horde, wins!

I took second, losing to a WWII tactical game, but I didn’t mind. All the judges got together every weekend to play exactly those kinds of games, so I was not surprised.

Still…second’s a pretty cozy place to be. :)

Ostensibly, the competition was the reason for designing the game, but if you’ve been following the little timeline, you’ll note that this was right in the middle of the “Dead Broke Cos of The Recession” period, so the main reason was…Christina had a thing for dragons.

Anyway, to my knowledge, only three copies of the game exist. Dave Sobotka has one (he did all the artwork), my ex wife has one (it was her birthday present that year), and I’ve got the third.

It’s not for sale, but this list would not be complete without giving it a mention.

Somewhere on my hard drive, one of the Candle’Bre volunteers (Dale!) made a little computer game version of it which is quite fun! (thanks Dale!)

Awesome stuff.

Project completed, September 2009

-=Vel=–

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Candle’Bre, Tapestry, Volume I: Collected Threads

October 13, 2012 in Books, Completed


I promised myself that I’d take a much needed break after the more than six years it took to write the three Candle’Bre volumes that made up the main story, but there was more yet to say.

In the intervening years, as we’d begun releasing early game builds, I’d often amuse the team by writing shorter pieces that illuminated odd bits of Candle’Bre’s history during the two centuries leading up to the time that the game (and the trilogy proper) is set in, and over that span of years, I came to have quite a number of them.

Many, I’d written myself, but some…some had been written by team members and fans of the game.

Fan fiction.

We actually had fan fiction.

How cool was that?

So I gathered them all up, and set about editing them and tying the various threads together to make a fourth volume for our world.

In under a year, it was done.

Sadly, it is at this point that (if you’re reading these chronologically) our narrative begins to take a darker tone, and “Collected Threads” would be the last work of fiction created purely for the joy of creating, for quite some time.

We did not know it at the time, but the Great Recession was about to hit, and when it did, it would bring with it all sorts of other calamities. Health issues, heart attacks, and, depending on your point of view, it probably also planted the seeds for the eventual dissolution of my marriage.

Anyway, “Collected Threads” is to the Candle’Bre trilogy what “The Hobbit” is to the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Although it came last, its actually a prequel to the story proper, and I just love it.

Some great stories in that collection, and just as important, some stories that shed yet more light on some of the seldom trod corridors of Candle’Bre’s history.

Get your copy today by clicking the button just below:

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Get your digital copy right here, for just $1.95!

If you’re interested in the Candle’Bre storyline, don’t buy them separately…get them in bulk here and save money! You get all four books (fully illustrated PDF’s), and the 6-Song Soundtrack from the game. All your Candle’Goodness in one place!

 

Or…
Get the Full Set!

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Get your digital copy right here, for just $6.95!

Project completed, July 2007

-=Vel=-

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Book III, The Reckoning: Sins of the Father

October 13, 2012 in Books, Completed


Everyone on the project knew the basic lore and framework of the Candle’Bre universe long before the books were completed, but also, there was an air of excitement with each new chapter’s completion.

I had never before experienced writing as anything but a solitary occupation, but this was something wholly different. This too, was collaborative. If I turned in a chapter that left key questions unanswered, or did not give full treatment to essential plot points, I got taken to task for it, and was sent back to the drawing board to try again. These guys were tough, and I loved it!

I loved it because they loved it. Their criticisms weren’t made out of a sense of malice, but rather, out of a deep love and respect for the universe we were building one rock, one tree, and one painful chapter at a time, and it made the story better than it otherwise would have been.

Originally, I had planned to end the book with a cliffhanger…the main villain presents himself, gives our heroes an awful choice, then departs, giving them an hour to think it over, vowing to return and either accept their unconditional surrender or rip them to shreds.

The thinking here was that the books would end, and the computer game would pick up from that point.

The players would create their own ending.

But my readers howled at this, and insisted that it was a cheat.

After living and bleeding with our heroes over the course of three books, they (the characters), and the series itself, deserved a proper ending, and so…I was sent back to the drawing board to create one.

It nearly doubled the length of the third book, but they got their promised ending, and I have to admit…they were right.

It took the series to the next level, making it fantastic, instead of just decent.

I can’t thank them enough!

To get your copy today, just click the button below!

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Get your digital copy right here, for just $1.95!

 

Or…
Get the Full Set!

Secure Online Payments and Credit Card Processing by Plimus
Get your digital copy right here, for just $6.95!

Project completed, January 2007

-=Vel=-

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The Reckoning, Book II: Birthright

October 13, 2012 in Books, Completed


By the time I started writing the second volume of the series, I was pretty sure it’d be a trilogy (I was actually off by one…there wound up being four volumes in the set!). It felt like a big story, and I knew I had a monster on the line…I just had no idea it’d take me the better part of seven years to complete the tale!

Nonetheless, by this point, the whole book writing process was beginning to be well trod, familiar ground. I knew how to do it, and big story or no, I knew I could get it across the finish line.

So…that’s how the next span of months, bleeding into years, went. Working with a big group of talented, creative people on four continents on the game, and writing in the times in-between.

Grab your copy today by clicking the button below:

Secure Online Payments and Credit Card Processing by Plimus
Get your digital copy right here, for just $1.95!

 

Or…
Get the Full Set!

Secure Online Payments and Credit Card Processing by Plimus
Get your digital copy right here, for just $6.95!

Project completed, October 2005

-=Vel=-

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The Reckoning, Book I: Darkness Falls

October 13, 2012 in Books, Completed, Freebie


Given that I’d taken the lead on a computer game project and had a) no coding skills, b) no artistic skills, and c) no musical skills, I decided pretty quickly to focus on the stuff I could do. Namely, telling good stories, organizing, and designing, so…that became my role.

Over the course of the first weeks and months, I tried to get my feet wet in all the major areas of the project. Learned to become a crude-but-effective graphic artist, learned enough about the whole coding thing to hold down my end of a conversation with the folks who had probably forgotten more about their craft than I knew, to that point, and learned the basics of musical composition.

Still, my heart was with the stories, and that’s what I focused on.

Pretty early on, I saw two things as being important. One…I wanted the story framework to matter and be an integral part of the game, and two, I wanted it to be woven into the fabric of the game itself, and not, like so many games I’ve played, feel “bolted on” at the last minute so it could be shipped out the door.

To accomplish those goals, we needed a “bible.” A completely fleshed out document that described and defined the game world, and that’s how the first Candle’Bre stories were born.

From there, the writing project sorta took on a life of its own, and became something of a project-within-a-project.

I also decided pretty early on that the first book in the series (and even then, I knew it’d be a series of books, and not just a single volume) should be free, in order to get people interested in the story.

This one’s free for the taking. Get your copy:

 HERE.

 

Or…
Get the Full Set and don’t miss a thing!

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Project Completed, February, 2004

-=Vel=-

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Five Days in May

October 13, 2012 in Books, Completed

There’s a game I like to play when I’m driving, especially when I’m driving alone.

I call it “the map game,” specifically because no maps are involved.

Basically, what you do is, drive till you don’t know where you are.

Use a coin toss to determine whether you go left or right when you come to an intersection.

Spend one day getting completely lost, then spend the rest of the weekend trying to find your way home and exploring the place you find yourself in.

Fun game, and it led me to the little town of Saluda, North Carolina.

From there, a bit of driving took me up past Hendersonville, and into the environs where “Five Days” is set.

I’ve actually been to Pond Mountain and spent a considerable amount of time in that haunting place.

The story was an outgrowth of my happenstance discovery of the place, and the strange feeling that it left me with.

When I came home, I started writing.

Twenty-two days later, the story was done.

One draft, very minor editing.

It was as though someone (or some thing) had planted the seed in my brain and insisted that it be born.

Unsettling, but it still stands as among my favorites.

This was the first time I attempted to mess with art programs…the cover’s mine, and though I’ve had offers from real artists to do it justice, my friends have convinced me to leave it as it. I think I’m satisfied with that.

It’s a ghost story, set in the mountains of North Carolina and has an authentic feel to it, because of the time I spent in the region. I also researched Cherokee language and lore before jumping in.

It may not be completely accurate, but I think the time I spent learning about the subject also made the story better.

At any rate, clicking on the button below will get you a copy if you’re itching to dive in!

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Project completed, June 2003

-=Vel=-

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