Ink-stained Pages and Button Mashing


Wow. Two months to the day since I’ve blogged.  I do apologize for my absence.  It’s the same old same old. Work, work, work.  Plus we are trying to decide if it’s time for my son to go to Kindergarten next year or do another round of Pre-K.  He’s really bright, as his teacher called him “out of the box” smart, but he lack certain social skills that would make all day Kindergarten hard for him.  Mix that and playtime and spouse time into the few hours I get each day and it life still remains a struggle.

But that’s not what is important.  What is important is that I’m trying again.

I have two stories out to an acquaintance who is beta reading them for me, in order to give me some constructive feedback (I still don’t plan on doing anything with them right now) and I recently picked up a copy of “Read. Set. Novel!” by the folks at NaNoWriMo! I’m looking forward to finding some free time to try to utilize the book to help me better plan and outline the novel that sings from my soul and cries from the prison of my mind.

Not much admittedly and I could try harder, but my head might literally explode from never slowing down.  But there is one more thing I’m trying to get better at, though I still remain rather unsuccessful. Video games.

If you’ve read in the past, you know that I have a video game problem.  I find it too easy to get swept up in the stories of the many video games I own, and it keeps me from writing my own.  This would be fine if my first idea for writing had panned out.  I had wanted to write for Forgotten Realms or a video game publisher so that I could mix the two interests, but when I actually started a novel back then, Dungeons and Dragons stopped taking unsolicited submissions, and the latter requires a college degree which I foresee no time  to obtain.

So, instead, I’m trying to remain vigilant.  Every time I think of playing a game, I challenge myself to write instead.  Most of the time I fail, but I’m still trying.

It’s what I’ve got for now, so I’ll have to make it do.

What about you guys?  What vices do you have that keep you from writing?  Or what suggestions do you have for me to become stronger and more self-confident in my writing so that I give it more time?  Leave me a comment or just take the time to hit the like button to let me know your support!



Life is full of distractions. Deal with it.


I recently read an article on Yahoo News about a new gaming console that is coming out (WOOHOO!).  With any of these such articles I love to read the comments section, to see the general public’s feelings on such things.  They usually involve a whole lot of snide remarks from people that think their words are worth hearing, much like this blog!  The comments in this article did not fail to impress.

I won’t quote any such comments, one because I don’t like to quote sources without their approval, and two I’m really lazy, however their was one that like all other articles had to link the this particular article to politics.  Basically the one that struck a chord with me said something about video games were just a a distraction to keep the public’s eyes off of our countries real problems.

This is the single stupidest thing I’ve read this morning, mostly because I only woke up thirty minutes ago, but it is stupid to me none the less.  Of course, it is a distractions, but what is life if not just one giant pool of distractions intended to keep us semi-unaware of the reality of life.  It sucks.  But the distractions are what makes life worth living.  If there was only one problem after another, with nothing in between, then what would be the point of living.  There you have it, my own personal thoughts on the meaning of life.

Another reason that this is stupid is simply, that every individual does not need to worry themselves over every single cotton-picking problem that this country or world faces.  We don’t need that burden, and most of us don’t want it.  It’s not my job to worry about this countries financial problems, I have a hard enough dealing with my own financial problems.  I pay taxes that ensure that someone else that has been appointed by my votes to take care of my city’s, state’s and country’s problems.  “But what if they aren’t doing a good enough job dealing with our issues, Justin?  Shouldn’t you be worried about your money or choices?”  No!  Regardless of most actions that I take in life, this country’s problems will continue on, despite my care or despite who is in office.

Thirdly, I am certainly glad that there are distractions in this world.  As a writer, I’d hate to think that my content would be only white noise on peoples hearts.  What we do as writers and entertainers is intended to build layers upon the human soul, helping them filter the world through another layer to dampen the pain that is life’s plight.

Lastly, on a note that is very much a tangent, I must point out, that people really only get worried about a problem when it involves money or guns.  The public will tell you that problems like freedom of speech or other such “little” things are of little concern.  But when they feel their money or guns are threatened they question why you care about a video game console.

I repeat, life is full of distractions, so deal with it, and accept that I am allowed to not care about every god damned problem in the world.  Thank you.

Now I’m going back to bed, because I’m still tired from work and that article and this blog post now have me a bit too riled up to be polite to the rest of the world.

Fucking cheers!

Obsessed much?


Anybody that has been following me on Twitter lately, has seen my obsession with Scott Pilgrim flare up like a soiled pair of underwear in a bonfire.  The level that I gush on Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim series is one of many parts.  But before we get into the why’s of my obsession, allow me to take you back to where it all began.

Love this pic of Scott, but I’m pretty sure it’s not Bryan’s!

First, let me start by saying that comic books/graphic novels are indeed literature, despite certain parent’s popular opinion.  I remember one time when I worked at Border’s (RIP), and I overheard a mother tell her son, “No comic books.  You’re going to read a real book!”  While I understand the need to encourage our children to further increase their reading skills, blocking them from reading something that they truly love, only diminishes their willingness to do so.  Alas, I am now veering too far off course from the real topic, though I may come back to this at a later date.

So, the book the kid wanted was none other than Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life.  Granted that I had only ever read Manga before this point, I looked at the book with a sense of, Yeah like this would be any good anyways.  Never the less, I had seen the books on the shelf for months and finally decided to give them a shot.  Oh boy was I screwed.

I took the first book home that night, and bam one hour later the book lay finished on my coffee table and my hands and mind shook in longing of obtaining the next volume.  Needless to say, the remaining five volumes found themselves in my possession the very next day.

At this point you may be asking yourself, “What the hell is wrong with this guy?”  That’s where the why comes in.  Anybody that has read the books or watched the movie can tell you that the brilliance of the music that Scott and his fellow band member’s make, whether you are reading the songs in the book or listening to them on the movie or it’s counterpart soundtrack (I own all of them!) coupled with the fantastic story line including fantastic video game action and Scott’s ability to earn experience and money from the enemies he defeats makes this story an instant hit.

But my love for this series goes even deeper than just the context on the face of the story.  Most people know the series only as a cool tale about a guy trying to defeat the enemies who seek to prevent his love for his girlfriend, Ramona Flowers, Brian makes the story go even deeper!  The story ends up really being about the relationships that Scott develops and and struggles to understand with his friends, girlfriend, ex-girlfriends and most importantly himself.

If you’ve only ever watched the movie, do yourself a favor and read the books.  The emotional struggles that each character has to overcome clenches my heart and refuses to let go.  When I still worked at Border’s I read the series twice in a row.  This makes my third read through of the series and I still can’t help but laugh along with every ridiculous joke and vainly fight to not tear up as Scott fights for his love.

My emotional response to a fictional story is ridiculous to say the least, but I’m proud of it.  I’ve recently considered trying to shift projects to a new one that is inspired by Bryan’s brilliance, but every idea I come up with is lackluster in comparison.  Who knows, if I can come up with some good ideas, maybe I’ll do some short story fan fiction for Scott sometime.

I feel the need to also say that while Scott’s tale inspires me, Bryan’s tale also inspires me.  To see a man bring a creation to such a level of existence that he can ensnare a person in the way he has me, only further inspires me to write the best that I can.

During my initial Scott Pilgrim obsession stages, I found myself so overcome by Bryan’s excellent storytelling that I also took the time to read his other graphic novel, Lost at Sea.  It lacks Scott Pilgrim’s humor, action and video game visuals, but it’s story is no less emotionally inspiring.  I definitely suggest you take the time to read it!

Lastly, if you guys have any doubts to my claims of obsession check out my Twitter account where my avi is Scott himself and where I have a Twitter list dedicated to stalking Bryan’s account @radiomaru!


P.S. Bryan if you read this I’m not really creepy!!!

One of those days


You ever stop and say to yourself, “I’m gonna get some shit done today.”  I do.  Hell, today started out as one of those days.  I thought to myself, I’m going to talk to my landlord about the pot smell in my apartment, I’m going to take my kids to a bunch of fun stuff and I’m going to write at least a thousand words today.  And yet, here I am with only a partially completed list.  Sure, the day is young, but I guarantee you that the things I wanted to do are now going to be in complete contention with the list of crap that I have to do.

Oh, Hermione, where are you now with your wonderful little time turner?  (Side note, one of my friends from work has the hugest crush on Emma Watson!)  How are we supposed to deal with this?  Am I supposed to go without sleep like the bad guy who never slept in Die Another Day?  Hardly a positive looking answer.

So, I’m now implementing the Get Your Ass Moving Protocol for each of my days off.

1.  Wake up each morning by 8 AM.  (If my kids let me sleep that late.)

2.  Make them breakfast.

3.  Collaborate with wife to plan day out.

4.  Set aside time to do some exercise.

5.  Make kids lunch.

6.  Collaborate with wife again to find time to work on writing while my daughter naps.

Then devote the rest of my day to taking the kids to fun things or to helping to pick up the house.  This shall be incredibly difficult for me honestly, considering that I’m a video game junkie.  I just have so many great games with exceptional stories!  Like hunting dragons in Skyrim or pwning noobs on Modern Warfare 3… Where’s my video game controller again!  NO!  Bad Justin!

*shakes his head*  So, there you have it.  There’s my plan.  I invite you guys to give me any advice you have as to how you manage your time.  Feel free to drop a comment!


Apocalypses, vacations and Skyrim


I’m back!  For those of you that didn’t know it, I’ve been on a trip of being a lazy bastard.  I’ve neglected my Twitter followers, and you, my blog followers.  And yet, I must still thank you to everybody that has followed me recently.  Despite no new content, nobody disavowed me.  I must be doing something right.

Anywho… I have been busy, despite my lack of blogging and Tweeting.  I’ve been hammering away at my keyboard with two different tasks.  First, and foremost, I’ve been working on my story for the Grim5Next project.  I’m working on story with Jinn Nelson and Goran Zidar.  I wrote it and they are playing the part of harsh editors and critics. 😉

The story is going along swimmingly, it’s just me that’s taking longer with it.  Real life, work and exhaustion have taken their toll on me and made it very hard to stay on one task for too long.  I thank goodness for this staycation that I took from work, because the stress was starting to give me a giant migraine, seriously.

The time off has been nice.  I’m about halfway through my staycation, and I’ve been really lazy with it, just playing with the kids and goofing around with Skyrim.  I plan on finishing up my story in the next couple of days though.

And then there is my own novels that have been patiently waiting in the wings. I haven’t touched any of them in some time now, but I have been thinking about them.  In fact, once again I must pay homage to Skyrim for this.

I have recently joined a website called The Skyrim Blog.  It has been fantastic!  They have a discussion group called Character Building, and while they are all characters to be played in Skyrim, the experience has been fantastic.  A lot of the characters I am coming up with I plan to utilize in my own writing.  The ideas are actually giving me the opportunity I have been looking for to overhaul my project and put a bit more realism in them.

You guys should definitely check the website out if you love character building, or Skyrim, as much as I do.  They also have another group that is just about background stories.  It is fantastic!

My main character will be getting a different background story, though his main goal and the critical problem he will face shall remain the same.  But he has gone from a warrior skilled with a sword and a forgotten past, to a young man who as a child he lost his family to a horrific act and was adopted by the leader of a group bent on destroying the evil that plagues their world.  His choice of weapon is also going to change, but I’m going to keep that one a secret for now! 😀

And that is what I’ve been up to, in a nutshell.  I promise I’ll try to get back into a regular blogging routine again, and, hopefully, come up with some great new content on here for you guys to check out!


Deus Ex and Hawthorne Heights meet my brain


So, you guys know I haven’t been writing, at least those of you that frequent my humble little daydreams on here, know.  Right now, my writing files are locked away on hard drives that are not compatible with my new computers hardware.  So, I am waiting for the necessary cables to hook them up and transfer them over, and I am certifiably hesitant to start any new writing endeavors, as my progress on the other pieces was actually going smashingly.

So, in the meantime, I have been playing video games and listening to music though!  Again, this may seem completely lackadaisical, but I’m not being completely lazy.  In all things that I watch, play and read, I find modicums of inspiration.

I know, I know!  You are asking yourselves, “Didn’t he just do a post on a video game?”.  The answer is, yes, yes I did.  However, I have found a sudden inspiration from Deus Ex:  Human Revolution.  I picked this title up a few days ago, when my neighbors payed me forty dollars to help move their stuff out of their apartment.

It’s funny because it’s like Robocop meets Ghost in the Shell, where the protagonist, Adam Jensen, is nearly killed in an attack, and then is brought back, through the use of human augmentations, in a world divided between people who are pro-augmentation and those that feel they defile human existence.  The intriguing theme, combined with the dark setting of the grim future, make me feel a disconnected need to play Adam Jensen as a man who can accept his grim future with an unbiased attitude.  He is a man who accepts that he had no control over what happened to him, but seeks to use the results of his new life to seek vengeance.

I felt a strong kinship between my work-in-progress novel The Oblivion Soul and Deus Ex, along with a deeper connection between Jensen and my main character, Grehem Leon.

Whenever I feel the sensation this kind of connection sparks, I feel overwhelming inspiration.  Even though no new ideas actually come to mind, I can’t help but feel that the words draw closer to the surface, waiting to be released.

That’s when the music takes over.

Just today, I picked out the Underworld: Evolution soundtrack (no joke) from my music collection.  Track three on the cd is “Where Do I Stab Myself in the Ears” by Hawthorne Heights.  Now, I am not, by any means, a big fan of the band, but this song is catchy.  But today, the line from the song’s lyrics, “The signal’s fading fast and the ink is running out.”, kindled the spark that had already been flitting around my muse.

I had been trying to decide how best to start the novel that would follow the events of my short story “The Prisoner of Death”.  This fact, along with my uncertainty as to whether to write it in the first person narrative (something I have wanted to do for a long time), or not.  Therefore, once I got the pot stirring in my brain, I hashed out the tentative first couple of sentences that would kick start this novel, which I give to you now.

I have far too much to record for so little ink and even less time, but I shall recount the events that have lead to my inevitable destruction.  Even now, I hear their claws scratching at the rocks and feel the echo of their howls on the back of my neck.  

Tentative at best, to be sure, but, “Never shirk in the face of your muse and the inspiration she draws to  you.”  So, let me know what you guys think, or drop me a line if you’ve played DXHR and have any good pointers!


Skyrim and video game inspiration


At least that is how I’m going to rationalize the ridiculous amount of time it has been since I last blogged.  Admittedly, my deviation from writing did begin when my computer went and fried itself (don’t worry my works in progress are okay, I think), but since then my life has become absorbed by the world of the Tamriel, more specifically by the nation of SKYRIM!!!

Holy crap, this game is amazing!  Best game in the series, if not possibly (though I often say it is) the best video game ever!!!  The in depth story lines (that’s right lines, not line), the stunning visual elements and DRAGONS!!! I’ve never played a game where killing dragons actually made you feel like a bad ass.  But every time I drop one of those winged bastards, I’m like “YEAH! WHAT’S UP NOW, SUCKA! DRAGONBORN WHAT!”

Ahem, sorry ’bout that… So, I seriously have to say that out of all of The Elder Scrolls games, Skyrim has finally found a main plot that makes me want to play it as much as the side quests, something that Morrowind touched on and Oblivion totally ignored.  If you haven’t tried it check out the game, it is so worth the sixty bones I dropped on it, and then another seventeen when I bought the strategy guide.  Or just check out the free trailer for the game here.

Okay, now is when I drop my real geekitude on you and tell about how I’ve made easily ten to fifteen different characters.  Coincidentally, this is where the inspiration part comes in.  The vast amount of character options is so impressive, that I can’t help but come up with new characters to try out, which in turn gives me more ideas for characters for writing.  I’ve made a dragonslayer, who wades into the thick of combat with his sword and shield, a thief who sneaks up on his enemies with a bow and walks through locked doors as if they were smoke.  Right now my favorite character is my assassin that summons mystical swords before dual impaling his victims from behind.

So, while I feel inclined to admit that I have written a word in almost a month, I haven’t shut my brain off to writing, I’ve just been giving it a much needed break, while I try to get the rest of my life organized, the real one, not the Skyrim lives! 😉  I promise that as soon as  I’ve gotten some writing progress under my belt you will be the first to know it!  In the mean time, feel free to drop me a line if, like me, you have partaken the beautiful pleasures of Skyrim, if you need ideas for a fun character for the game or writing or if you just want to geek out!