My Book is here

My book is officially published. You can order it on http://www.blackrosewriting.com/sci-fifantasy/chasedbyflame. If you’re the ebook type, then the book will be released on digital platforms in one week. So excited!

My Book Is Coming

My book, Sefiros Eishi: Chased By Flame, is available for pre-orders starting today. Go to this address to reserve your copy:http://www.blackrosewriting.com/sci-fifantasy/chasedbyflame
If you reserve the book before the July 14th publication date, you can use the promo code PREORDER2016 on the Black Rose Writing website to receive a 10% discount.

I’m asking everyone I know to step up and pre-order my book. The book is literally my white whale. I’ve worked my blood, sweat, and tears into this thing and made a lot of sacrifices to get to this point. This sale will shape the rest of my life. So please pre-order the book. I promise you it’s well worth it.

Moving

I’m moving all the posts about my upcoming book — Sefiros Eishi: Chased By Flame — to sefiroseishi.wordpress.com. For those of you who read the last few posts on worldwalkerblogdotcom.wordpress.com, please be patient as I will be writing new posts as time allows. Thank you and have a nice day.

Shayna Kae and Christina Lansplex

My character’s love interest was Shayna Kae. But she wasn’t always so.

The early drafts of the book had the love interest as Amazon Knight Christina Lansplex (based on a high school crush). She was, as most characters in the drafts were, rather one-dimensional. Her introduction has her decked in a full suit of armor walking down the stairs. At the time I thought it was cool, but looking back on that time now gives me shivers. Watching your prom date descend the stairs is not the same when aforementioned girl is armed to the teeth.

The end of that crush meant Lansplex was in for a rehaul, and thus a complete role reversal (more on that later). But me, like an idiot, soon found a new crush on which Shayna was based. This being a time travel novel, it seemed a good idea to play a little game on main character Mykel.

From his perspective, Mykel meets Shayna for the first time during a stint at the Red Boar Inn when she delivers a meal to him. But then she keeps rattling off facts and events that haven’t happened to the librarian yet. She even knows about Caryl, a hooker that Mykel frequents. It’s then that Shayna realizes Mykel has no idea who she is, and has “forgotten” al about the — supposedly — intimate moments they shared. She throws the food at his face and quickly runs off crying. The first thirty pages, and Mykel gets food in the face by the girl. Things are not looking good for him.

John Stromgald

It’s no secret that the characters in my books are based off my friends from high school. Of those characters, none have been through the wringer like John Stromgald. First he was a John Connor character, a cyborg general in a futuristic war against the War Master, an all-powerful tyrant. But soon I realized that, like the book itself, was too much of a child’s fantasy. You think like a child, you get treated as a child. I needed characters that were men. And so I re-designed the whole story.

Stroimgald and his team of rangers was in part inspired by Dungeons and Dragons and partly from the characters Geddoe and his mercenary team from Suikoden III. Geddoe and his team were a close-knit group, but something about them seemed cold. There was the constant professionalism that kept them from being a real family. I decided to soften them up a bit to be more humane.

And of course there was the fact that Mykel met John in his own timeline a decade before he was John Stromgald. In Mykel’s own timeline, John Stromgald was John Jekai, an angry, zealotic mage-hunter who for some unknown reason targeted Mykel on a persona vendetta. I had to be careful spacing out the plot details of how John Stromgald became John Jekai. In fact I didn’t really know how John would change until I got to the very end of the book. One of the story’s most important characters, and I was flying off the seat of my pants until the very last second.

And I’m still not done with John Stromgald. My inspiration for future versions allows me to come full circle with the earliest incarnation of the character. I’m sorry if this sounds vague, but I have to get you to pre-order the book somehow. Thanks for reading.

The First Sefiros

The hero that wqould eventually be named Sefiros didn’t start out as Sefiros. The first version was Terraxdemon, an armored warrior able to wield all elemental magic. The entire story was about this warrior who never took off his mask. Even when he was with other people he refused to get out of the armor. He would constantly slip away to eat in order to protect his identity. He didn’t have a civilian form because at the time I related more with the Supermen — not the Clark Kents — of the comic book world. But then I realized that the civilian identity was just as important as the superhero. I realized that a normal guy like me could be defined with heroic qualaities. Like Peter Parker, the civilian identity was how Spider Man was the key to the “Everyman” hero archetype he represents.

So I began the process of sculpting the civilian identity. I drew inspiration from Robert Jordan and Terry Goodkind, mixed in with a little Spider Man and Kevin Sorbo’s Hercules character. I wondered what life I would have had if born in the Middle Ages, and I finally came up with the librarian angle.

The librarian occupation was the perfect conduit. Since I read a lot, I could give the civilian hero access to all of my present-day knowledge. Of course there weren’t any time travel stories in the Middle Ages, but since all fiction are stories anyway, I just posit the story into the book’s world and had the civilian read the work as part of his education. Naturally I had to tweak a few things, but I had a character basis

They say “write what you know.” I know what’s like to have a physical handicap because I was born with cerebral palsy. Making the protagonist crippled was another conduit between me and the readers. I could tell my story through the librarian — what things he’s gotten used to, the social awkwardness, the accepting of not being able to do certain things (my mother still cuts up my steak for me), and so on. The librarian made the armored warrior humane. There’s a face under that mask, and the librarian helped me to convey that person’s personal growth.

Thanks for reading.

I Did It

Mark your calenders. Sefiros Eishi: Chased By Flame is officially going into print on July 14th. Pre-orders are unavailable as are now, but I’ll respond when they do become available.

I grew up fascinated by superheroes and video games (most of my early works involved instruction manuals) but as I got older, I wanted to present the fantasy themes in an adult way. I wanted to make my favorite genre appliable to all people. I took many different versions and finally found the exact way to complete my goal (thanks to fantasy authors like Robert Jordan and Terry Goodkind). I’ve created a monsterous beast, and now I’m happy to say that my vision is finally coming true. There’s more than meets the eye with Mykel LeKym and his friends, and over the next few weeks I’ll be discussing how they came to be. For now, thanks for liking my blog and I hope that my book will be in your hands by July.

Exciting times we live in, aren’t they?

Darth Sidious – Sith’s Biggest Hypocrite

Darth Sidious – The Galaxy’s Biggest Hypocrite

Spoiler: This article delves into information that has been disavowed by Disney following their purchase of Lucasfilms. This back-story has no role in the official Star Wars canon.

The Rule of Two. The law set down by the ancient Sith Lord Darth Bane. There can only be two Sith: one to embody the power of the Dark Side; the other, to covet it. The Rule of Two was implemented by Bane after the destruction of the Brotherhood of Darkness, the era’s strongest Sith organization. Since the Sith turned on each other in the pursuit of greater power, the Rule effectively halted the Sith’s self-destructive cycle (their greatest weakness). Palpatine’s – aka Darth Sidious – success in crushing the Jedi and creating an Empire from the ashes of the Republic is not entirely his own: he is simply standing on the shoulders of the Sith Lords that came before. Palpatine owes everything to the Rule of Two. In the midst of double-crosses, sadism, sacrifices and manipulations, the Rule of Two is the Sith Lord’s sole inviolable tenet.
Yet Sidious breaks the rule every chance he gets.

It happens all the time in the merchandise juggernaut that is Star Wars. In 1991 Timothy Zahn created Mara Jade. Initially a smuggler, Mara was ultimately a high-ranking servant known as the Emperor’s Hand. The Hand was Palpatine’s confidante, closer than even Darth Vader. In fact, Vader knew nothing about the Hands. But then, Palpatine isn’t exactly known for his sharing skills.
1993 introduced the Prophets of the Dark Side, a cult of Darksiders specializing in Force visions and prophecy. Created by the ancient Darth Millennia, these Darksiders escaped the Jedi scourge by hiding upon the planet of Dromoud Kass. But they could not hide forever. The Sith Lord should have destroyed the lot immediately. Instead, he broke the Rule by turning the Prophets to his side, where they aided Palpatine by using their visions to detect Force-sensitive beings.
And now, in 2016, we have the Inquisitors, introduced in the canonical Star Wars: Rebels animated series. In the comics and other entertainment media, Darth Vader made his bones by hunting down every Jedi that survived Order 66, cementing his place as the symbolic terror of the Dark Side. But now, it seems, Vader has his own minions to do his work for him. For audiences who have grown up with Vader being the scourge of the Jedi, to have other strangers under his command, it kind of undercuts his authority. Vader is no less dangerous than he was, no question. But not having Vader as the galaxy’s sole Jedi hunter does pull the rug right out from under him.

The Rule of Two was created to halt the in-fighting that ultimately led to the Sith’s downfall throughout the centuries. It created the foundation of the Sith’s legacy: each Sith Lord was a stepping stone towards the ultimate goal of galactic conquest. And it worked. Palpatine embodied two millennia of secretive, ambitious planning. Palpatine owed much to the Rule, but like many others who court ultimate power, Palpatine grew restless with the limitations that tradition placed on him. No doubt he believed that he controlled Darksiders with the same ruthless strength he lorded over the Empire, but knowingly or not, he betrayed the Rule that gave him his destiny. It was the pursuit of power that blinded him to his own ruin. In the end, he’s just one giant hypocrite.

Thanks for reading. Now go see Force Awakens. It rocks.

Tales of Legendia

Tales Of Legendia: Something Classic, Something New

Cover_Legendia

The Tales series of videogames has proven itself a contender in the RPG (Role Playing Game) market because of one simple gimmick. Players can assign specific attacks to the controller’s directional pad; very similar to combat systems found in Street Fighter and other fighting games). All Tales games have adopted this tactic, and though there have been many imitators over the years, the Tales series still stands on top for injecting new vigor into a classic RPG formula. Today’s focus is the Tales of Legendia game, the seventh installment of the Tales series. Does it break the mold? Read on and find out.

While previous Tales games have had their own variations to the combat system, Tales of Legendia returns to the classic form. Everything’s there: characters on a two-dimensional plane, able to walk and run in a straight line, initiating combat through manipulation of the controller’s directional pad. Except now Legendia boasts three-dimensional avatars of its battle parties (whereas previous installments had two-dimensional, “picture-esque” sprites). Just another innovation for a game series that prides itself on innovating itself.

Now we get to the meat of the game: the fighting. The special attacks characters use are divided into two categories: The “iron eres” – attacks involving physical attacks via bladed weaponry – and the “crystal eres” (magic spells). Iron eres are simple enough. You get to a certain level, you gain the new attack. Use said attack fifty times, and you are able to learn an “arcane eres,” (essentially the combination of two ere techniques). Classic Tales traditions.

It’s the crystal eres (magic spells) that are complicated. Every time an enemy is defeated in combat, there’s a random chance they will drop a “sculpture piece.” Gain a predetermined number of said sculptures, and characters learn the eres. Unfortunately, certain sculpture pieces can only be gained by enemies available in locations the players have yet to visit. Oftentimes this means walking into a dungeon without the spells enemies are vulnerable to, which gives the party a devastating disadvantage.

Furthermore, there’s a certain amount of unbalance to combat. Of the four characters able to wield crystal eres, only three of them have healing spells. Of those three, only one character (Norma Betty) has a spell that heals the whole party. RPGs are supposed to give the player to mix and max the combat party however they like. Legendia effectively forces the player to keep Norma in the active party at all times. Legendia comes off as giving the player options, while in reality those options aren’t practical.

However, Legendia does offer ground-breaking strides in regards to its characters. While they are mainly stock characters, the game dedicates it second half to tying up loose ends: Senel Coolidge grows out of his “loner” complex; Will Raynard reconciles with his estranged daughter Harriet; Moses Sandor is forced to release his pet gaet (tiger/wolf hybrid) Giet back into the wild; so on and so forth. Such care for characters comes maybe once a generation; certainly I haven’t found it anywhere else in the nine years since its American release.

The Tales series has managed to stand toe-to-toe with RPG giants such as Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest because of its innovation on simple formulas. Legendia is no different, but it does tend to stumble in its efforts to honor its predecessors’ innovation. But don’t take my word for it. The elements I found lacking may be something incredible to you. Play the game yourself. Make your own decision. That’s the best advice I can give you.

As always, have fun.