Time’s Running Out! “If I Only Had No Heart” is Going Away SOON

If I Only had No Heart is Heading to The Vault!

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The 2016 If I Only Had No Heart was written for a National Novel Writing Month and follows one of the most unique ideas I’ve ever had. It’s a bloody sword-and-sorcery fantasy focused on an awakened machine main character. And, what’s more, it’s currently available for free on the blog.

Quick summary to tease them tastebuds:

Spirit, an acolyte of the machine goddess, performs her duties well and still yet absorbs much torment from her superiors. Thought to be a viral creation, the android is banned from speaking with the goddess until, one day, her friend Klavdiya hands her a prayer card. Spirit hopes that the prayer card will bring her peace, but the goddess has other ideas…

However, this book won’t be free for long! Next week, the Free, Downloadable PDF of If I Only Had No Heart is going away for an unspecified amount of time (maybe even forever), so you’ll need to get it NOW if you want to read it.

Why Am I Doing This?

Though I can attest that the story itself is extremely unique and follows an intriguing plot, it hasn’t been edited quite as well as something I would like to have self or traditionally published for money. In an effort to either show only my best work, I’m taking down all serially posted novels on my website. Evolution of the Predator is already a couple months into the removal process, so get into this one while you have the chance!

Don’t Let the Vault Swallow This Quietly!

Go to the If I Only Had No Heart home page and either read each post (removal dates posted on each chapter) or download the PDF while they last.

Are there any online serials you’ve enjoyed reading? Let me know in the comments!

Cheers and happy reading!

Time’s Running Out! “Evolution of the Predator” is Going Away SOON

UPDATE 30 May 2020: This has been updated to account for the takedown of the book.

Evolution of the Predator is Heading to The Vault!

The Evolution of the Predator

The 2015 Evolution of the Predator was written during a National Novel Writing Month and follows an idea I’d had for quite some time. It’s a quaint survival science fiction currently available for free on the blog.

Antoinette crash lands on the planet Osmina, home to a xenophobic species still in an early, tribal phase of development. In order to uphold Earth’s directive to remain as uninvolved as possible with alien life, she tries to remain hidden and survive for the two years before a rescue party will arrive. A curious elder cast out of its nomadic tribe throws a wrench in her plans and efforts, pitting Antoinette’s conscience against her duty.

However, this book won’t be free for long! Next week, the Free, Downloadable PDF of Evolution of the Predator is going away for an unspecified amount of time (maybe even forever), so you’ll need to get it NOW if you want to read it.

Why Am I Doing This?

Though I can attest that the story itself is pretty interesting, especially if you’re into heady, quiet sci-fi, it hasn’t been edited quite as well as something I would like to have self or traditionally published. In an effort to either show only my best work or participate with the community, I’m taking down all serially posted novels on my website, starting with Evolution of the Predator.

Don’t Let the Vault Swallow This Quietly!

Go to the Evolution of the Predator home page and either read each post (removal dates posted on each chapter) or download the PDF while they last.

Have you posted any work serially? Leave a comment below so that I or other readers can check out the story! I understand from experience how hard it is to do a serial because readers who don’t start when you post part one are rarely going to head to the beginning and churn through the rest. How did you keep your serial going?

Cheers and happy reading!

May 2020 Author Newsletter

Hello there, Friends and Stuff! I’m excited to enter a new month and bring you some new and brilliant updates!

Dark Divinations – A Victorian Horror Anthology

DarkDivBanner Dark Divinations Horror Addicts

First, Dark Divinations debuted on May 1st. You can order it now in paperback on Amazon. If you want to get the party pack, you can still get that here! Later this month, I’ll be posting updates about some special videos going up on Facebook… you’ll want to get in on that for sure!

Open Novella Contest

Whaaaat!? I made it through Round 2 of the contest? I couldn’t believe it. My novella, a 25,000-word story about a gay WWII pilot who crashes and washes up on an island reminiscent of Dante’s Inferno, actually had enough score to make it through. You can find the novella here if you’re interested.

Our Lady of Perdition

Do I think it will win? Hell no. It’s the most artsy-fartsy thing I’ve written in my entire life, and it seems like Wattpad is more interested in YA-focused romantic fantasies or something a bit more… commercial. But the fact I’ve made it through round 2 is really pleasing, because it means the story’s well written enough to make it through despite sounding like it was written by a person totally not in Wattpad’s primary audience.

Changes on the Blog

You’ll notice a few (somewhat unfortunate) changes on the blog. Let’s start with the good and move our way to the bad!

Home Page Updates

My home page has been updated – now it’s easier to find the How-To articles by clicking on the Witty Nib Writing Club. There’s also a new blog-roll going where you can access recent posts more easily.

Expect New Graphics in June

I’m preparing for a few big changes that will go up in June and will reflect some of the things associated with the Dark Divinations anthology. If you stick around and watch the video watch party on Facebook, you may be surprised to see an interesting face and hear a terrible voice! To go along with these revelations, my avatar and a few other pieces of the website will be changing.

Witty Nib Writing Club Changes

06092019 Writing Club witty nibSadly, the prompts and attempts at collaboration with the Club didn’t quite turn out. I’m ever grateful to Robbie Cheadle for her response to the research prompt, but I think among the corner of blogs I survey, there’s a plentitude of prompts. As a result, the Witty Nib Writing Club will change from a monthly prompt and informative post to a monthly informative post alone. You can still join in the club using the comments, but I thought it’s time to retire the club. Maybe I’ll start something easier up in the future!

More Professional Foci

Something I’ve realized in the past few months – while I’ve not had a real job – is that blogging, sadly, doesn’t further professional writing credentials. It does help me meet new people who I love to follow, obtain new info about upcoming releases, and fulfill a long-term audience goal, but it takes up so much time. So much. I’ve decided to reduce the time spent on my blog in order to attempt more short story submissions, perhaps consider doing a poetry submission, and finish my newest novel.

Sadly, I’m probably not going to be reading as many blogs or be quite as responsive. I’ll give it my best shot, but that’s all I can promise!

I’ll also be (at least temporarily) closed to beta reading requests, and any book review requests (while still open) will not be completed for quite some time.

Speaking of Novels…

I’ve got several novels up on the blog: American Chimera, If I Only Had No Heart, and Evolution of the Predator. You can click on each of these links to see their representative pages. However, these links aren’t going to work forever. No – I’m going to be taking my novels down, one at a time, starting at the end of the month with Evolution of the Predator. I was pretty torn when making this decision, but ultimately I think it needs to happen.

The reason for this decision is because they’re second drafts, beta read only by my partner, and they’re not representative of my best work. Because I seek to present a higher level of professionalism, I’m taking the oldest work – Evolution of the Predator – down first because it represents that which was written at my least mature point. That will start at the end of this month, May 2020.

It’s Not Too Late to Catch These Novels!

Nope! Until May 30th, all novels will be available for download. You should head to their pages and download the PDF files if you want to save them for later reading.

Evolution of the Predator

On May 23rd, 2020, I’ll have a reminder post telling about the imminent takedown of the novel. On May 30th, 2020, the downloadable PDF of Evolution of the Predator will be taken down from the Evolution of the Predator page. Starting on June 6th, I will take the post containing the first chapter down. Following that, one chapter will be taken down per week (as long as I don’t forget – but I’ll handle it as soon as I can). They’ll be removed in order from first chapter to last with the hopes that potential readers will be able to read one chapter per week without losing access (though I will probably email you chapters if you ask nicely). The page already lists the dates I plan to take down each chapter. The page and entire story will be gone on November 14th, 2020. All links to it on the site will be broken, though I will attempt to remove links by hand as I can.

If I Only Had No Heart

On July 18th, 2020, I will post a reminder that If I Only Had No Heart will be ending soon. On July 25th, 2020, the PDF will be removed from the If I Only Had No Heart page. On August 8th, the first chapter will be removed. One chapter will removed per week after, starting with the first chapter and ending with the last chapter. The page and entire story will be gone on November 14th, 2020. All links to it on the site will be broken, though I will attempt to remove links by hand as I can.

American Chimera

Don’t worry about this baby for now! I’m still posting this one serially, and she won’t be finished posting until December 2020. It’s also a pretty good little book, just needs some editing. However, I will be taking it down sometime in 2021 (not yet planned fully), so catch it while you can!

What About You?

Do you have any cool new things going on in May? Any excellent accomplishments in April? I’d love to hear about them to celebrate and/or commiserate with you! Cheers!

Video Game Review: Disco Elysium

I don’t do many video game reviews, just reviews of games that I think have a great story and might be relevant to a story-writing, book-reading blog.

And this one. This one.

Disco Elysium is a miracle of an indie game produced by ZA/UM.  It’s usually $39.99 on Steam, and it’s worth every single penny. It’s unlikely to go on sale anytime soon, as it came out in 2019 and is racking up award after award.

You don’t need to read further if you don’t want. This game is amazing. But it needs more disco.

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Non-Spoiler Review

Traditional gamers who are into shooters or platformers exclusively probably won’t give a crap about this game. There’s absolutely no mechanics to it that require skill of any sort. The game is almost exclusively dialogue choices, interacting with objects, a lot of running, and feelings.

So what’s this game about? Well, let me show you a screen shot of how it opens.

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You wake up naked in a busted hostel room, still drunk but with a hangover. You have no memories of who you are, where you are, or what you’re doing. There are voices in your head telling you what to do (each of them clearly a part of yourself).

Upon putting on clothes and exiting your room, you quickly find out that you’re a cop who was sent to investigate a lynching in the hotel’s back yard three days ago. Your primary duties were to get the body out of the tree, question important subjects, not lose your gun, and not lose your badge.

You did none of those things.

The game lets you be weird, spontaneous, and political (I went with the full-on-Ayn-Rand boner because it gave you more money).

You’ll laugh. You’ll certainly feel like an existential crisis.

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Hints and Tips

I’m not doing spoilers, per se, because that’s lame crap. This game is too good and new to spoil.

Decide Up Front about Save Scumming

This game is really easy to save scum (which means to save, try an option that is random chance, then re-load if you fail to roll well enough). The game does not punish you too much for failing rolls, so don’t be afraid if you would rather not save scum.

I did some save scumming. If I felt like it was important enough, I would save scum. A lot of people can make it through without cheating, but I had to get what I wanted, and I don’t feel bad about it.

Beg Money off of EVERYONE

You’re poor in this game. Egregiously poor. I suggest asking literally everyone for money.

Use the Phone on the Third Day

On the third day, you get access to a new area. On that new area, you’ll find an active payphone.

disco elysium payphone

Despite it being so hard to get money, USE IT ON THE PHONE. IT IS YOUR ONE TRUEST QUEST DO IT.

Make van Eyck’s Jam Harder Core

First, of course, you need to find the ravers in a tent and do their quest, but then you need to find a magnetic tape in a tree and give it to Egg Head. Just type in “Make van Eyck’s Jam Harder Core walkthrough” into Google and follow a let’s play, honestly. I didn’t, but I got lucky.

Put Some Points in Authority

Trust me, there’s one place in the game where you’ll want authority. It doesn’t need to be your primary stat, but you should have a few – it gets clutch…

Prepare for Existential Crisis

Yes. Prepare.

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Blogger Recognition Award

I would like to thank Colleen Chesebro of Word Craft for nominating me for this award/game. If you’d like to read her very sweet and awesome responses, you can do so here! I really do enjoy these sorts of games, so anyone who wants to tag me in this sort of thing can do so.

If I nominate/tag you and you want to participate in the game, here’s the rules:

  • Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Write a post to show your award.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Select up to fifteen bloggers you want to give this award to. (No response required).
  • Comment (or pingback) on each blog to let them know that you’ve nominated them and provide a link to the post you’ve created.

It won’t hurt my feelings if you don’t want to participate! If you’re here reading, though, it’d be great if you could choose one or two blog posts tagged at the end of this.

How Did I Start My Blog?

I actually started the blog in 2013 with the short story Waiting for Company. It was a Southern Gothic horror based strongly on my grandmother, and it’s so bad. So, so bad. You can read it if you want to know how far I’ve come. I then published several more shorts, then the short novels Evolution of the Predator and If I Only Had No Heart, both of which you can download as a PDF by clicking on the links. All during this time, though, I wasn’t very serious; the blog was mostly a place where I could leave stories, have a link, and email that link to my mom so she could read them.

Then, in January 2018, she told me she’d never clicked on a single link I’d sent. She’d never read a single story and didn’t have plans to, no matter how many I sent.

That was about the time If I Only Had No Heart went up. I was pretty depressed after my mom said that, so I decided to see what blogging was really about and start connecting with other people.

Speaking of Connecting…

My first piece of advice to new bloggers is to connect with other bloggers. You never know who is going to come up with something so creative and helpful that you must love it.

What’s hard about getting into that mode is the time it takes to build these connections. Yes, it will entail reading and commenting on other blogs. Yes, it will mean paying attention to other people. But the payoff in friendship and camaraderie was worth it for me.

Decide What is “Worth It”

So it was worth it for me.

But it might not be worth it for you.

You can only do so much social media before your ability to function explodes. Blogging, while my favorite social media, does take up quite a bit of time. So, if you decide to blog, come up with a goal for it. Is it to have 5,000 followers in a month (lol, good luck)? Is it to sell your books? Is it to meet other people and learn about your craft? It doesn’t matter what you want out of it so much as understanding what is possible and understanding if the effort you need to put in is worth the reward.

If it’s not worth it? Don’t be afraid to quit. Your blog will be here if you want to come back later.

Some Excellent Posts to Read

I’m behind on my reading, but here’s a few posts you’ll want to see by authors you’ll want to follow. Technically, this is the “nomination/tag” section, but once again I’d like to say that no one I’ve tagged has to continue this, no do they have to like or comment or any of that jazz.

  • Kevin Parish’s Daddy – An absolutely heartbreaking poem. I’ve long had a terrible relationship with my dad, and this one got to me because of the goodness and strength of the titular father.
  • Chelsea Owens’s A Starving Writing Muse – A clever piece about writing, recent motherhood, and toilet humor, I enjoyed reading this piece quite a lot. Chelsea’s hilarious and fun to follow.
  • Joanne Fisher’s Gnome Help – Cute as fuck flash fiction that made me feel cozy to read. She often has great poetry and flash, and many of her love stories are lesbian, which can offer you a fresh perspective to read about.
  • Charli Mills’s Carrot Ranch Writing Prompts – In addition to Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday prompts (Colleen nominated me), the Carrot Ranch is a great community to join. Check out the most recent prompt and consider joining yourself!
  • Aak Fictionspawn’s Crystal Clear – Honestly you guys, I need more people to read this and solve the riddle. I think I was close.
  • Crispina Kemp’s Raised Against Us – This was such a poignant story. I thought the twist was really good. As well, check out her Crimson’s Creative Challenge writing prompt!
  • Lorraine Ambers’s Blogging, Social Media, and Marketing Tips – Lorraine is one of those great bloggers who gives out good advice articles. I always look forward to her tips and tricks.
  • Alexander Eliot’s Dragon Series – A long ongoing series with a great Mid-Grade or YA feel. Tackles some more difficult subjects along the way and has great monster building.
  • Violet Lentz’s Stories of the Forgotten – Violet’s stories always have an intensity to them that you just don’t get with other blogs. This one will hit you in the feels like a bus.
  • Ari Meghlen’s Should You Plan Out Your Whole Year? – Ari Meghlen’s blog is great because she makes her life story and brand so exciting. I love watching how she chooses to do things and trying to figure out how she makes it look so cool.
  • Jules’s Gnawing Chills – A great poem about squirrels that I think will give you some good feelings.
  • Hannah Russell’s Reading Games – I love following this blog because it keeps me inspired to read more. I think it’s done more to make me want to read than any other set of reviews.
  • tnkerr’s Midriff Culture – I thought this one was pretty funny, if a bit risque and a wee bit old-school. A great blog to follow for occasional flashes and fun times!
  • D. Wallace Peach’s blog – I can’t pick out a post, but I love Peach’s work. Everything she writes is fantastic, and you should follow her. Also has great indie book reviews. Didn’t link to a post because they’ve probably been nominated.
  • Sue Vincent’s blog – another blog with a ton of great posts. I especially like her Midnight Haiku series. Didn’t link to a post because they’ve probably been nominated before.
  • Roberta Cheadle’s blog – Fantastic reviews and responses to prompts. I know for certain they’ve been tagged in this game, so I didn’t link to a post.

So, there you have it! Please check out some of the suggested content and start conversations with someone new!

Also, sorry for forgetting the title, for those of you who get the email updates… 😦

H.R.R. Gorman’s Author Newsletter – July 2019

I took things a little slower in July. Even so, I got a few things accomplished that I’m really proud of, and I wanted to talk about them here and hint to things coming.

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Short Story Submissions

I hate this part of author life. God knows I do. I did three (maybe four) last month, and my goal was to get three this month. Well, I wrote three stories, but I only got two submitted because I have no idea where to submit the third one. If you know of a place to submit weird alien stories, let me know.

Still no “yes” from anyone. Hopeful about some of the June ones, but not really expecting anything at this point.

Dark Divinations

I submitted a story to Dark Divinations. The prompt was a Victorian era horror about divining the future. Since my cultural background was highly influenced by events in the Victorian era, I took an Appalachian approach to it – and I hope they like it!

Mysterion

This magazine publishes Christian stories in interesting contexts. I decided to try a sci-fi story because I bet they get way more fantasy. I hope to stand out, and perhaps that will give me an edge! I also think religiously inspired sci fi is WAY too rare, so this is right up my alley.

An Unexpected Success!

Last year at about this time, I decided that I needed to discover what people liked about poetry. I needed to know what someone meant when they said a passage was “poetic.” I believed that the understanding of poetry would improve my prose if nothing else, and I looked for ways to learn it.

One of my favorite poetry teachers is Colleen Chesebro. Her weekly micropoetry prompt/contest is chock full of excellent hints, tips, and – most importantly – feedback. Even if she must leave a quiet comment one week, I can still look at who she chose as the winner and try to divine why it was considered the best. I can’t imagine how much work she must do to curate such a fantastic contest.

Anyway, I was stunned to find out I’d been chosen as Poet of the Week on July 22nd! My poem, The Woman at 106, was written for Colleen’s first ever photo prompt. What an honor! I am very pleased that my dedication to learning a new craft is showing fruit.

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Camp NaNoWriMo

This was my first month of Camp, and I… succeeded?

Basically, what I learned was that I should have dedicated a number of hours to writing rather than a number of words written/edited. Because I tend to go backwards on word count when I edit, I could NEVER reach my goal. However, I think I reached my goal in spirit, so I think that counts a lot.

Will I do Camp again? I’m not sure. I didn’t find it all that much different from a normal month, save for an additional obligation and a few extra cheerleaders. I’ll think about it!

Blog Recap

I stayed pretty on par this month with my June month, and for right now this feels more sustainable than my “post every day” schedule. Sadly, there wasn’t a late-July Carrot Ranch prompt, but hopefully y’all didn’t hate that blank spot! I did a lot of prep for later months, though, and I think I’ve come up with some great surprises for the beginning of 2020 (no promises, though! I need to make sure I have enough material to actually do it justice). I’ve also nearly gotten all my 2019 reading done (1.75 books away)!

Here’s a few of my favorite blog posts from the month:

Some Things from Real Life

This month has been full of IRL things. I went on vacation (day trip one weekend to Battleship North Carolina), worked a LOT (good Lord), and had to go help my mom when she came down with gout.

Aaand because of the gout, my mom is now convinced it’s time to retire, and I could be looking at her showing up at my door any day now ready to move in. She doesn’t really plan things out sometimes, so she could come unannounced. I love my mom, and I do think she should come live at our house at least until she sells her own house (which is 3 hours away), but I also don’t really want to share it long-term right yet. Am I selfish? I feel like I am. I’m also worried that she hasn’t saved up enough for retirement, and I’m not old enough to have that much savings built up (I’m not 30 yet – I have old parents, in case you’re wondering about that).

Anyway, I hope I’ve done right by my mom, but I worry I’ve not.

H.R.R. Gorman’s Author Newsletter – June 2019

June was a big month for me.  I wanted to share with y’all a few things that I’ve done and maybe get out some hints as to what’s coming next.

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Short Story Submissions

If you remember back in May, I decided to submit a short story somewhere in order to start feeling better about getting rejections.  I sent a story to a quick turnaround journal and, of course, got rejection #1, just like almost everyone.

This month, I wanted to do a few more submissions, so here’s what I did:giphy-2

Chew On This Anthology*

I submitted a short story to a horror anthology about eating scary things.  It’s southern gothic and all kinds of weird.  I hope the editor for this anthology likes the more psychological, Twilight-Zone style of horror.

*Also, this was submitted in May but I’m not sure if I told everyone here.

Three-Lobed Burning Eye Magazine

A weird looking magazine seeking weird-sounding fiction.  I submitted my short story “Disco Demolition Night” because I think it’s basically gold but, unfortunately, is in a really weird genre.  If you have ideas for what to do with historical fantasy, let me know!  I write too much of it for my own good.

Across the Universe Beatles Spec Fic

Like I said above, I write too much alternate history or historical fantasy for my own good.  This anthology specifically wanted a story about the Beatles, and I had an idea that I hoped they’d like.  Well, it was rejected fairly quickly, so you’ll be seeing it on the blog soon because I genuinely don’t think a Beatles themed fanfic will see much success elsewhere!

Jolly Horror

Jolly Horror is making a horror-comedy anthology about cursed items. I wrote a story  and submitted that.  I really enjoyed the little tale, so we’ll see what the editors think.  It’s still historical fantasy, le sigh.

Blog Recap

This month on the blog, I slowed things down.  This will probably be the pace here for a while, because it’s more manageable.  Hopefully the reduced post-load will give me time to develop more professional outlets like publishing short stories or finishing new long works.

Here’s a few of my most popular posts from the month you can check out!

Some Things from Real Life

Well, I’ve kept writing things other than the blog – and, since I decided to do fewer posts this month, I used my time well!  I finished the novel I’ve had in my wheelhouse for quite some time.  It’s not ready for alpha readers (I want to have a swing at editing it myself first), but hopefully at the end of July I’ll put it out there for people to take a peek at.  It may be the craziest thing I’ve ever written.

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As well, I finished what I believe are the last edits of The Mercury Dimension.  When I feel confident enough and have a short story credit or two to my name, I plan on querying with it.

What are some things you’ve done this month?  Let me know in the comments!  Maybe we can commiserate about the writing life or trade an alpha read! I’ll tell you about the story I finished, American Chimera, if you’re interested.

Changing Things Up for June

Hello everyone!

I’m making some blog changes that I hope you’ll enjoy. If you check any of them out, feel free to tell me what you think!

Better Home Page

I’ve been thinking about my home page.  Sometimes people visit it, but from the stats I gather people don’t think it’s useful.

So look forward to a new home page with better links that will get you into the community quicker.  It should be friendlier to new visitors, and it should give some handy links to experienced users!

New Schedule

I’ve followed my schedule pretty well since January when I invented it.  The blog has also continued to grow since then, and I’m excited to see people joining in the conversation!

However, as more people follow and comment on the blog, I’ve realized it takes more time to respond to comments and seek out other people’s work. In fact, I haven’t found a new blogger (and I mean brand spanking new blogger, not just new to me) in months!  That’s got to be remedied.

In order to better look at other blogs, I’m cutting out my Wednesday ‘Random Prompt’ response.  I’ll continue to do Monday Book Reviews, Tanka Tuesday, Friday Carrot Ranch, and Saturday Weekend Writing Prompt. #CountVlad will show up on some Sundays, and on Thursdays I will do some of the monthly prompts. Hopefully this will cut back on my spam, help me make better articles for you, and leave me more time to focus on community building.

New Branding

One of my favorite looking blog websites is Ari Meghlen’s.  She has consistent logos, branding, and styles.  As I venture out into more professional writing types and styles, I hope to convey that through my blog/website’s appearance.

In order to do this myself, I’ve created my own logo – you’ll be seeing that around!

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(And, one day, I might get a paid blog which won’t have the ads! That will help with ‘branding’ and seeming professional.)

New Theme

I’ve used the Lovecraftian theme on WordPress up to now.  Starting today, I will be moving to the Sela theme.  This will allow me to have a better static front page, show my logo more prominently, and have streamlined posts.

New Widgets

I’m finally at a point on Twitter where I don’t feel like a complete loser (just mostly a loser!).  You’ll see Twitter widgets, revamped community widgets, and a few other interesting do-hickeys!

Look for these whimmijigs:

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Link straight to my prompts page, which I intermittently update.  Jump into a fun corner of the writing community to get started, or find a new way to participate.

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This will link to my writing page, where you can look at short stories, poems, and flash fiction.

20190529 Hone Your Skills

I have tons of writing resources that I think are pretty good, especially that list of helpful websites and software.  As I venture into a more publishing mindset and learn how to navigate that space, I hope to add information and sites that you might find useful.

Thank You!

candy chocolate sweet cake

When I arrive home
Despite work to do,
I’ll sit and write tomes
While thinking of you.

Thank you, blogging friends,
For cheering me on!
I’ve made dividends,
Grown my writing brawn!

So stay tuned, my peeps,
For stuff going down.
I’m so getting heaps
Of thoughts for us clowns.

***

Oooh, what could I be talking about?!  Stay tuned for some cool updates to the blog and writing life.  Thursday’s going to be a big day!

This post is also to commemorate all the relationships and friends I’ve made over a year(ish) of blogging.  My choice to keep the blog real and natural has been hard and involved a lot of time, but I think I really appreciate having better connections than having thousands of followers.  However, I recently hit the 500 follower mark, and 600 isn’t too far away!

If you feel like your blog is flagging, keep going.  I’m rooting you on, just like tons of people helped me get to where I am now.

Photo by Markus Spiske temporausch.com on Pexels.com

Video Game Review: To The Moon

I don’t do many video game reviews, just reviews of games that I think have a great story and might be relevant to a story-writing, book-reading blog.

To The Moon is an indie RPG from Freebird Games.  It’s usually $9.99 on Steam, and that’s not a bad price for it.  However, I’d put it on your wishlist and let Steam email you when it goes on sale; $5 is definitely worth it.  Also keep an eye out for a Humble Bundle including it (this is where my copy came from).

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Non-Spoiler Review

Now, before you get super hype, you video-game lover you, I first must warn you: this is almost exclusively a short story with a tiny bit of video-game and puzzle.  The story is linear, and nothing you do will change it; hell, there’s barely even any score, and any scoring functions you perform are all in your head.

Here’s a pretty good image of what the game will look like:

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You play as a pair of scientists whose job is to alter the memories of dying people so they head off into the wild blue yonder with the belief that they fulfilled all their life’s hopes and dreams.  This means you get to hop through ol’ geezer Johnny’s head and see his past as part of your effort to get him to the moon.  The problem is that he doesn’t – and never has – recalled why he wants to go to the moon in the first place.

There are twists, and I think they’re well done (if a bit sappy).  It reminded me a lot of Citizen Kane (though, I must admit, Citizen Kane is a f*cking masterpiece).

Overall, good game.  Great game?  No.  But definitely worth the time and money I put into it.  It takes about 4-5 hours to play all the way through.

Spoilerific Review

Beware – I will be spoiling both the main twist and the ending before I get through this review.

Anyway, the front end of the game focuses on Johnny and how he had a fulfilling if pretty normal life married to a woman named River.  River is non-neurotypical, and I get the game was going for autistic (though I’m not sure and it never says for sure).  In an atypical fashion, however, you can’t access his earlier childhood memories, and this makes your main characters fail at their objectives… at first.

Then, after some creative thinking, you come up with a way to solve the problem and access his childhood memories in order to instill the desire to go to space into him.  You find out *twist spoiler ahead* that his twin brother died and the resulting ‘blank spots’ in his memory caused him to forget that he promised River to visit the moon.

The twist contained all the elements I like in a twist: 1) I didn’t see it coming and 2) There was evidence for it that you didn’t quite put together before it was told to you.  It was great.

My problem with the twist is that it came with the result that the twin brother, which you didn’t hear about for most of the game, ended up being more important than the wife.  It made her part of the story feel like a red herring, and I was slightly disappointed that she wasn’t part of the problem/solution.

However, the ending did work out well.  It was happy despite some worrying bits in the third act, and you get to see Johnny launch to the Moon with River by his side.

Give the game a try.  It’s a good indie game, after all!