Orctober Begins

It is October 1st. While the ghouls and ghosts rise from their graves to haunt the night, as the werewolves descend to share their cursed bite with swarms of bats swirling overhead, something else marches to join them. Something big, sometimes green, sometimes not. Something that looks right at home among the denizens of Halloween.

The orcs have arrived. It’s time for

orctober

For those who are new to Orctober, you can find a primer over on Fantasy Faction today, where Laura Hughes gave me a guest spot. For those returning and/or already familiar, welcome, friends.

Before we get into this year’s festivities, I’d like to take the opportunity to inform everyone that the kickstarter for the third Grimluk book, The Demons Within, is officially live! Get those early bird slots before they disappear!

Last year’s Orctober was a fairly successful event, in my estimation. Between having plenty to talk about, I had also just released Demon Haunted, and this year has a similar bend. I decided to go with a more cohesive theme for this year: Dungeons & Dragons. Partially to help me focus on content to post, partially because I’ve been playing my first full campaign this year after playing for the first time last summer and just digging into it with glee. On top of that, while I’m not releasing the third Grimluk book, I am running the Kickstarter campaign for it.

So let’s talk about what’s in store for the month.

First up, I’ll go over the current lore of the Orcs (including Half-Orcs) in Fifth Edition D&D. That will set up a couple of things for later revolving around tweaking the Orcs, for stats and lore. I’ll also be doing a big write-up on Gruumsh and evaluating his place as a Chaotic Evil deity.

Secondly, several of the creators form last year will be back this year with their own guest posts. Not everyone will be discussing D&D related topics but that’s hardly a problem. On top of that, we’ll be doing a one-shot D&D game which I’ll be recording and will be released towards the end of the month in mp3.

Thirdly, I’ll be doing some “Grimluk in D&D” type stuff, which will include a character sheet for our big hero. I’ll be doing two types of character sheets; one for D&D as written, and one for the changed rules I’ll be posting.

Somewhat related, while all this is going on, over on r/Fantasy, the Reading Resident Authors club will be reading Demon Haunted (which is currently still on sale for Kindle through Saturday night). If you’re interested and haven’t read it yet, that’s a pretty good excuse. There will be two discussion threads, the first on the 14th and the last on the 29th. And, once again, I’ll be doing a r/Fantasy Writer of the Day AMA on the 30th, where folks can come and hang out and ask questions and scream about Stranger Things season 2 with me. I’ve said it before, I know reddit can be a toxic place but, for the most part, r/Fantasy is a wonderful and chill place, so don’t be afraid to make an account and pop in.

Should be a good month. So brush your tusks, practice your war cries, and get ready.

An Ashe Update

A few quick updates today.

  1. There’s a new post up on Patreon about my experience with a tweet I made going viral a few weeks back.
  2. I’ve started work on Grimluk 4 and the second draft of book 3, The Demons Within. Keeping my word goal lower on book 4 at the moment, shooting for a 500 minimum daily goal. For Demons Within, I’m basically shooting for a chapter a day but that all depends on how much work needs to be done when I get to it.
  3. If anyone has any requests for Orctober, now is the time to make them. This year’s theme is going to be D&D related.
  4. This is your friendly reminder that the Kickstarter for The Demons Within will launch on October first! Had to change some plans on a reward tier but the new plan works pretty well, I think.

That’s all for now!

New Story And New Projects

First up, there’s a new story up on Patreon starring Gwen from the Grimluk series. It’s set a few weeks after the end of Demon Haunted.

Secondly, I’ve completed my plot summary for Grimluk 4 and will either be starting it soon or working on the second draft for Grimluk 3, The Demons Within. I haven’t decided yet. I’m still inclined to draft book 4 but I worry about having enough time to do the second draft of The Demons Within if the kickstarter is successful come November. I’ll figure it out soon.

I’ve also done a summary for a D&D module to work on along with basic ideas for a three-part module later on. This first one was me thinking a proper session 0 adventure would be good for newbies and would be a good way to introduce folks to the mechanics. The second will be a Curse of Strahd like campaign. I know Ravenloft stuff is generally pretty dark from what I’ve heard, but I love a good horror adventure so I thought maybe I’d do up a big story arc. Leaning towards doing it in three parts for all 20 levels of gameplay but we’ll see. I know planning for gameplay past like level 10 can get tricky because players are getting to be so powerful (especially magic-users).

Finally, as a side thing, I’ve started learning how to use the Unreal Engine and planning a video game project. Unreal is free to use and has a surprisingly simple UI. You don’t even have to know how to do any coding because it uses a visual system with nodes in place of handwriting C++ code. The ultimate goal will be to build either a 2D or 2.5D Metroidvania style game that’s heavier on the Vania. I’ve been wanting to try my hand at designing one for a year now and once I looked into what it would take to build one, I discovered a huge list of free programs to use and a huge community with tons of tutorials (especially for Unity). With Unreal, you only pay a fee for the program on release of your game and that’s that.

Who knows, maybe down the line I’ll make a Grimluk game. In any case, I’m picking at learning Unreal slowly. It’ll be a weekend thing. Making a game is a year’s long process, especially when you’re by yourself. We’ll see what happens.

And in other news, still getting things planned for Orctober but one item of note: Five of us will be playing a one-shot D&D game centered around orc protagonists (duh) and I’ll be recording it. Should be a fun time.

That’s all for now. Stay weird and be excellent to each other.

June News

It’s time for some news!

First up, there’s a new Patreon post up on dealing with creating art and Spoon Theory. It’s a bit rambly, and I’ll probably post it here as well next week, but there ya go.

Next up is less of a news item and more of a reminder. I’m still running a fundraiser to get a new car and medical stuff taken care of. I took my van in to have it looked at recently and the official diagnosis is that it does indeed need transmission work. I took it to a transmission specialist and the guy told me that I had two choices. The first was have them work on it, where they’d take it apart, fix it up as best they could, and basically hope for the best. That’s the cheap option. The second choice is they send my transmission out to be refabricated and it gets parts replaced and remachined back to factory specs. He also noted that I should do that if I want to keep the car for the next 3 to 5 years. On top of that, my battery contacts are extremely corroded and probably need to be replaced. So, along with all the other repairs and maintenance it needs, I’m looking at somewhere between $4-5000. And that’s provided they don’t get in there and find anything else majorly wrong.

What does that mean for the fundraiser? I don’t know. I’m honestly leaning heavily towards something newer still. I’ve already had to put a new engine in this thing once already and we had no idea on the mileage of said engine. I’m not hopeful that sinking thousands of dollars into it will keep it going until I can afford an actual car payment. That said, either way, I still need to raise thousands of dollars for medical stuff as well, so I guess we’ll just see where I can get to. If you don’t feel like donating, then considering becoming one of my patrons or gifting my books to people you’d think would enjoy them. Or yourself if you haven’t already read them.

For the final set of news, it’s a bit of a twofer. I’ll be doing some site maintenance soon, reworking a few areas, revamping others, and generally trying to make things look and work better. On top of that, it’s time to finally share the title of Grimluk 3!

The Demons Within

A little info about it: It will be a new adventure, set towards the end of the year after the first two books. Gwen will not be making an appearance, but there will be a host of new characters. This time around, Grimluk will be facing something he’s never seen before. A…thing from outer space. We’ll also be introduced to a new villain who will be recurring through the series. I’m fairly happy with most of the first draft but I made a lot of notes to improve things in the second.

I’ll be running a Kickstarter for the book in October. There will be a few less reward tiers this year, as I’ll only be offering this book but, if I can get it figured out, one of the tiers should prove pretty interesting and it’ll be a limited thing. I’m also looking at quotes for a couple of stretch goals in the event that they’re needed. And unlike last year, I won’t be taking to Indiegogo should the campaign fail. Tim Marquitz was nice enough to HEAVILY discount my editing fees as a friendly favor which allowed me to make use of the flex fund campaign on Indiegogo so this time it’s either full funding or I try again a few months down the line.

That’s all for now. Take care of yourselves.

News Things

In the immediate, there’s a new post concerning some worldbuilding concepts for the Grimluk series over on Patreon today. Mostly it’s just a few things I thought were interesting enough to share but haven’t been used yet or are still forming. Check it out, only costs a buck to read everything.

As I mentioned in my healthcare post Monday, I started a fundraiser for medical costs and to help afford a new car. Between Nici and I, we need some heavy stuff taken care and I really need a newer car so I can have reliable transportation and not have to worry about major repairs for a few years. We are pretty desperate and anything you can afford will help. Along with the general state of the US, this is a pretty huge source of anxiety right now.

In more pleasant news, Grimluk 3 is chugging along, gaining momentum toward finishing the first draft. I’m nearing the 56,000 word mark as of last night. The final goal for release next year will be a 75,000 word minimum, like with Demon Haunted. The first draft goal is looking to be 65-70,000 as I know I’ll be able to fill out in the second draft. There’s plenty of stuff I’ll be rewriting and expanding as well as certain areas that I’ll just be flat out finishing (mostly just little transition sections and bits of dialogue that were bogging my progress down).

I’ll probably take a month off after that, aside from Patreon, take a week to bang out the Gwen short story I started after (and set after) Demon Haunted, get some Kickstarter planning for October, as well as some Orctober planning, and then start on Grimluk 4. If all goes to plan, and no major distractions happen, I’m hoping I can finish Grimluk 4’s draft by December.

Before I end this, just want to say that however bleak things are looking right now, find a loved one and hug them and remember that there’s still good in the world.

Stay weird, be kind.

Expectations for Grimluk

I figured I’d take the opportunity to say a little about where Grimluk is going because I’ve had it asked a few times if the books were going to be a trilogy. I know I’ve said in other posts that I’m hoping to write books 3 and 4 this year, so I’ll say it again for anyone who’s missed it.

I am going to write the Grimluk series for as long as I have ideas for his stories. And I have a lot of ideas. The current plan is to get through book 5 and then do another project, probably a space opera. But what to expect from Grimluk as we go along?

I haven’t exactly made a secret of including Lovecraftian influences (if you’ve read Demon Haunted, you’ll have seen an incantation to Shub Niggurath, for instance), and that will continue on in books 3 and 4, though probably not in completely expected ways. Book 3 will see the fearsome shoggoth introduced. Book 4 will touch more on cults which will bleed in a little for book 5, which will star a take on a combo of the Jersey Devil and Springheeled Jack.

I’ve often said that Grimluk is basically everything I love smushed together. So outside of those details, I could go on about ideas for later books. I have an idea I might do for book 6 that would introduce aliens, via a Tall Gray. I would definitely love to figure out a way to twist the Four Horsemen into Grimluk’s world at some point. I’m a sucker for the Horsemen.

I figure I can get out fifteen Grimluk books at the least, if not more. Probably more. And I figure as I go on writing, and if my life settles down, I’ll get more efficient and be able to write more books, maybe I’ll be able to do other projects along with Grimluk. Can’t say for sure on that though.

So yeah, this is a series and it’s gonna go for as long as I have interesting stories to tell. Probably never going to have Grimluk Save The World™ but who knows. And I’ll do my best to make each book self-contained to boot. I guess I’d kind of like to make the series kind of a high fantasy, weird west Dresden Files, mysteries only occasional though.

Anywho, just wanted to put these things out there, make it clear. I’m sure folks will still miss it but that’s okay. I’m still thrilled folks are enjoying my work so far. Take care.

Looking Back and Going Forward

The Hell year that has been 2016 is coming to its end and 2017 looms ominously in the wings. With that in mind, I thought I might give a bit of retrospection on the year and think about what’s to come in the new year.

Personally, the year started off in a harsh note. I don’t exactly make it a secret that my family life is less than stellar, even if I don’t post much about it here on the Dot Com. Not a lot of that has changed. In a lot of ways it feels like it’s much worse. My partner and I are trying to move back to Tulsa and in with her mom. It’s not going very quickly due to a host of factors. So, if you want to help, buy my books, leave reviews, and spread the word about Grimluk.

Professionally, though, I think I’ve had a pretty great year. And a busy one up until October. February saw the Kickstarter campaign for Demon Haunted, which ultimately failed, topping out at $1600 of my $2000 goal. Which was cool. I backtracked and switched over to Indiegogo, making use of their flexible funding option for March. Thanks to some flexibility on Tim Marquitz’s part as my editor, the $900 I managed did the job. Even the self-publishing world benefits from good contacts. And hey, Tim‘s an author, too, and having a rough time with some health stuff, you should go buy a few of his books.

The summer was spent busting my ass on editing and finishing up the map of Ornesea and a few other image products for Grimluk, especially for the Indiegogo backers. In August, I managed to get a basic plot down for Grimluk 3 and started it. Unfortunately, by the time October rolled around, I was exhausted, so it’s sitting around 15,000 words and waiting on me to get back to it. But, ya know, hey, that’s an accomplishment in and of itself.

October also saw my first Orctober and it turned out pretty damn well and was pretty popular. I’ve also been selling pretty well. October saw me make $50 in sales, which is a definite milestone and one I’m stoked about. November and December have been great as well. December especially when compared to last year when I only sold one book for Christmas.

So, what’s in store for 2017? Well, first up, hopefully the move will get done and out of the way as quickly as possible but that’s not looking hopeful. So, beyond that, I give more hope to my mental health issues calming back down and letting me get back to work. I won’t be ready to crowdfund Grimluk 3 by Spring unless I get a sudden round of supercharging. So the plan is to work hard to finish the first draft of 3, start work on book 4, and run a campaign in October and tie it into Orctober and then shoot for another October release in 2018. I’m batting around the idea of doing a massive campaign for books 3 AND 4, but I’ll probably wait and run the campaign for book 4 in October 2018 as well.

Beyond that, we’ll see what else happens. I’m also debating getting some issues with Audible worked out so I can potentially do audiobooks as well. Depending on when I get moved, I might also attempt to start working on a comic with a buddy of mine, though that will depend on several other factors as well. I’ve also contemplated starting a Patreon again for short stories, mostly for a certain side character of Grimluk’s. I’ve also considered doing heavy metal album reviews. I’d consider trying to do Twitch streams but I don’t currently have the hardware to do that.

So, that’s all the news and forecasts I have to offer. I figure I can do some more posts here or there like my Why Orcs post. Was pretty amazed at how popular that turned out. I hope you had a good year, my friends and I hope 2017 meets you better than 2016 did. Remember:

Be excellent to each other!