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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.


Producer & Director:
Christopher D. Hartpence (Velociryx)

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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Bad Company – Illyriad Fan Fiction

October 14, 2012 in Freebie, Ongoing, Other

Okay, I admit it. I’m an Illyriad junkie.

I don’t spend a lot of time playing games any more. To my way of thinking, if I’m playing games, then I’m not designing or writing, or creating.

Of course, a little downtime does a body good, so I do allow myself some indulgences now and again, and Illy is one of them.

Totally addicting, highly recommended game. Join me!

Project ongoing since February 2012


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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:



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

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

Project Completed, February, 2004


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The Courts of Candle’Bre

October 13, 2012 in Freebie, Games, Ongoing

I have to admit that after the success with “Five Days,” I felt pretty invincible.

I was active in the gaming community, and a conversation came up about who would be the “dream team” in terms of creating Civ 4.

To my surprise, my name came up on that list, and I was honored by it.

That got me thinking…hey, I’d written a few books to this point, and while hard, if I could do that, I could do a game, right?

So I jumped in with both feet and…

Oh. My. God.

Up to this point, the books were the hardest thing I’d ever attempted.

The computer game was harder.

Waaay harder.

Probably harder than all of them combined, and then a bit extra for good measure.

Jesus Christ…I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

I intuited it fairly quickly though, and also learned that I had exactly NONE of the skills I’d need to make the project succeed.

That’s when I started casting about for help, and that’s when the Workshop became populated by more folks than just me.

I have learned so much thanks to this project (and am learning still…every single day I discover something new, either about the game, the process, or myself) that it boggles the mind.

One of the most important lessons learned though, is how much more enjoyable creating is, when you do it collaboratively.

Writing books is all well and good, but the real magic comes when you get a group of people in a room (virtual or otherwise) and start up a creative jam session.

From the first such “jam session,” I was hooked, and I haven’t looked back since.

Candle’Bre as a game will never be “done,” and I don’t care. There will always be something new to add, and I’ll enjoy every second of it.

Clicking on the website image on this post will take you to the site, if you’re curious to see what we ultimately created. It’s a turn based strategy game, set in a 100% original fantasy world, and beyond that, I will say no more, leaving it for you to explore.

Pssst! And guess what? The game’s free too!

** Solver and I talked about it, and we’ve learned so much from our first attempt, but we also feel that the game would be better served by starting on Candle’Bre 2.0. To that end, we’re calling this project done, so we can start with the re-imagined game, taking into account all that we’ve learned, keeping what works, and ditching what doesn’t.

Stay tuned for details!

Project begun 2002, formally ended October, 2012


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Vel’s SMAX Guide

October 13, 2012 in Books, Completed, Freebie

My first actual book was a strategy guide for a computer game. Specifically, for Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri. Over the four editions of the work, it received high praise from the gaming community, being heralded as the definitive guide to the game, actually being recommended over the “official” guide on more than one occasion.

Once the game fell off the RADAR, I released the text into the public domain, so this too, is freely available.

You can access it by clicking


Project completed mid 2001


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CandleLight & ShadowMagic / Gypsy Rain

October 13, 2012 in Books, Completed, Freebie

This was my first organized project. I used to write a fair bit of poetry, and although much of it was destroyed by vengeful women and time in general, some portion survives. The stuff that did, became these two collections.

I’ve been told it’s fairly good, but to be honest, I’ve not written anything poetic in decades, and am not really in a position to judge either way.

In any case, years ago, I made the decision to gather them up and release them into the wild, so they’re freely available to anyone who’s interested.

I hope you enjoy. Get your copy, free,


Project Completed Circa 1998


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