You are browsing the archive for Books.

The Pandorica

October 14, 2012 in Books, Ongoing

Life, it seemed, was not quite through with me yet.

In 2010, my marriage ended, and I separated from Christina while working on this latest volume. I think we managed to part as friends, and I hope she feels the same.

I also hope that when time and distance heals the hurt, she will look back on our time and remember the good with at least as much clarity as the bad, because there was a lot of good.

She will ever remain a dear friend.

As to The Pandorica itself, as you can see, it is currently lacking its clothes. It’s cover.

I’m working on that, but haven’t quite worked out what it should be.

If you have suggestions, feel free to get in touch and let me know what they are!

The story itself is unlike anything I’ve ever written.

I spent more than three months researching Greek mythology and working my plot line relentlessly until I could marry the two, add to the body of lore in sometimes subtle ways, and tell a good story while doing so.

The Pandorica is set in modern times, stars the Goddess Pandora, and is a sexy, romantic thriller involving…you guessed it, a madman.

Any story that involves Greek Goddesses, sex, madness, and frogs…dude, you just know it’s gonna be good, right?

To get your copy today, click the button below!

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

Project completed October 5, 2011, minus cover art

-=Vel=-

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

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!

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

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

-=Vel=-

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.5/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)

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:

Secure Online Payments and Credit Card Processing by Plimus
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!

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

Project completed, July 2007

-=Vel=-

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

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!

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, January 2007

-=Vel=-

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

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=-

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

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!

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

Project Completed, February, 2004

-=Vel=-

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

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!

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

Project completed, June 2003

-=Vel=-

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Guardians

October 13, 2012 in Books, Completed

The SMAX guide was a labor of love, and such fun to put together that it seemed a novel was the next natural step in the progression of things. I’d gone from writing little snippets of poetry and gathering them into something coherent, to writing a pretty fabulous game guide, so…why not? Surely a novel couldn’t be that hard, could it?

Famous last words, of course. “Guardians,” turned out to be a nightmare of a project that took me eighteen agonizing months to complete. When it was finally done, I was so drained by the experience that I vowed never to try anything like that again!

This work is a thriller. A classic “chase novel” where the good guys spend most of their time running for their lives before ultimately getting backed into a corner for the inevitable showdown. I intentionally wrote the ending to be open ended to allow for a sequel if the mood struck. So far it has not, but I do have some ideas for where to take the characters next. In any case, I think it’s a good read. Yes, you can definitely tell it’s my first try, but that’s true of most authors.

For me as an artist, the main things this work accomplished was that it allowed me to prove to my satisfaction that I could “do” this stuff, it gave me the opportunity to experiment, and it did both of those things in a framework that was both interesting and entertaining.

** Author’s note: I’ve been asked repeatedly if there’s a sequel planned for this book. The answer is, yes…eventually. I’ve got the seed of the story in my mind and have had it there for some three years now. It’ll eventually get written, but for now, it is percolating.

Clicking the button below will get you a copy right now…Enjoy!

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

Project completed August, 2002

-=Vel=-

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

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


Here

Project completed mid 2001

-=Vel=-
.
.
.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

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,


HERE

Project Completed Circa 1998

-=Vel=-

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)