IT’S HERE – A Strange Signal (and Patreon) Debuts today!

I’m going to make things weird.

Well, I’ve been quiet for a while. And it’s not been because I was incapacitated, kidnapped, or had nothing creative going. I’ve been quiet for many reasons, but chief among them was a brand new thing that has been a long time coming. I’ll let you have a look at what it all means, but in short, it’s a brand new project: A Strange Signal.

In short, it was an art project inspired by a tabletop game plot-creating technique: Go out; take pictures of things that strike you as weird, odd, or out of place; come up with ideas behind them for your game. After a sixteen-hundred-plus picture trip to San Francisco, it soon became apparent to me that this was not going to go into a game. Not because it wouldn’t work, but because there was so much content that I’d never get to use most of it due to the time it takes to get a game up and running, let alone to play it. Soon I had characters, nascent plots, and all manner of great stuff to get out of my skull and onto my computers. The ‘new project’ was born.

It was the kind of thing that just kept building up steam. I remember thinking that maybe this was just a phase. Let it run out. I couldn’t possibly keep this up. I went from making one or two a day to making four or five. They started piling up around me. Even when I hit snags and had to come up with better ways to make each piece – which I individually refer to as a ‘Signal’ – I just came up with faster ways to make better Signals. I’m fast approaching a hundred of them.

And people liked them. I’ve found that most people who viewed my past visual work never really had strong opinions on it. I’ll admit that it stung – I don’t think there was an artist born who didn’t basically want people to look at their work and feel not just something, but something that stirs you from the center of your being. We like that kind of attention. At least to the work if not ourselves (let’s be honest – it’s usually both).  And when I started posting them on my personal Facebook page, I got exactly that.

This was the first project I think I’ve ever done where people started talking about the work. Asking me when the next one would come out. Questioning about what they meant and where it was all going. If it would be collected as a book. How they could buy it.

That last one? That has never happened to me before this. I’ve worked spec for commissions, sure. But this was different. This was something, unasked for, that people seemed to want more of once they saw it.

Between the interest and my own compulsion, I can’t just leave these Signals be. They wake me up in the middle of the night some time to be made. I’ve pulled over to the side of the road to get source images. I tweak each one that comes through until I can find the right way to make it as unique and quaintly unsettling as I can. The crazed idea beast is at work now. And I cannot shut it down.

So, now I’m here. I have started a Patreon for my new endeavor, and soon, I’ll be adding an Etsy store (TBA soon). It’s terrifying. I’ve never put myself out like this before, never felt I had an idea good enough or marketable enough to put my name and a price tag on. But, that was yesterday And this is today. And today is full of Magic. And it’s also got you, here. Reading this.

So, Head on over. See what it’s all about. Dive deep into a weird otherworld where dogs are our masters, you should legitimately fear the ocean (more), and where doors can’t be trusted. I think you’re going to like it.

Just never trust a magician. They’ll only break your heart. Or other things you can’t get back.


Creative Dispatch – June 28, 2017

So, I’m back in the saddle and working toward a few goals. One of which is being accomplished right now, as promised. Consider this the first of two blog posts I owe you, dear reader.

But, to the matter at hand. I consider this to be the first of a new category of posts: creative dispatches. These will be where I go about describing progress, discussing process, asking my audience what they like and don’t like, and also to posit what should be reprioritized (within reason, woe betide those who stand in the creative squirrel’s way).

creative dispatch judgesquirrel
He’s a pushy bastard to be sure.

Another thing I’d like to note is you might have seen here that it’s a bastard of a process to get posting privileges here. Right now, take all your comments, criticisms, concerns, accolades, and other mercurial threats to the book of faces. Chances are, Facebook is how you got here, but just in case you couldn’t find it, come at me here:

I’ll be working on getting a sign in system here for more direct feedback. I had to disable the comments feature long, long ago on account of Russian spambots and penis enlargement database injection attempts (at least they’re aptly named). There’s better ways to go about it these days, like Disqus or other platforms. Not sure when it’s coming, but hopefully soon.

Now, as for the progress of my craft:

  • Ossua writing was briefly halted due to preparations for (and the actual act of) matrimony. This was followed by a vacation (much needed) for my wife while her family was still in town. Vacation ends tomorrow, so I should be back to schedule by the end of the week.
  • I’ve got a minor visual project to bang out by the end of next week. I’d like to have it completed within a week so I can post it here by Friday.
  • A short fiction piece was completed just before the wedding. It involves a thief connected to the element of air, stealing a holy tome from an abbey full of werewolves. Looking back on the first pass, there’s a lot to fix. More on that as it develops. Tangentially, it may even connect to one of my earlier stories, Blackhand.
  • I have submitted a short story from my 2015 writing challenge. After polishing it for some time, it seems it has paid off. The story is under consideration by a publisher for one of their upcoming titles. I don’t really want to say anything more than that as I don’t know what I’ll be able to say or not say. When I know more, you’ll know more. My wife and I are super excited!
  • I have resorted my kanban board to prioritize editing and submission work. Right now, I’ll be editing my serial killer short story, as well as my Halloween-themed tale of what happens to trick or treaters who can’t follow directions.

This is all I have for now – but keep an ear to the blog (is that even a thing – now it’s a thing). I’ll bring more news as I get it.


Worldbuilding – From the Land Comes the Story

I recently had a discussion between three of my friends. Part of this conversation drew out one of the reasons I write. I love to create things. New things. When given a blank piece of paper, I enjoy that what gets put on it is something that perhaps only I could have created. Sure, I could draw a picture of a flower. Lots of people have drawn flowers. But this flower could be wholly imaginary. The flower can become my flower.

I don’t have to stop with the visual. The flower, in addition to looking unique, could have properties purely fantastical for use in any narrative. It’s pollen could induce blind hysteria. Eating it’s seeds could let you see extraplanar beings that aren’t phased in with our reality.

The possibilities are limitless. With the tool of imagination, I can make anyone, anyplace, or anything I choose.

Worldbuilding is usually where I start though.

Start with the clouds first. ‘Cause clouds are cool.

I guess I’m big on the nurture side of the nature/nurture environment. Where you live and how that place treats its people you is going to tell you a lot about any people and cultures that come from those places. So when I want to tell a story, I usually need to know where it is. So, last night, I started to work out the world in which the characters in the new collaborative project I’m working on are going to come from.

I had a loose story – one of revenge – only loosely planned out. The characters weren’t coming to me though beyond my two protagonists. I needed something to help me bring more lives out, so I started with their environment and worked my way out. Before I knew it, I had a city in mind, as well as the non-human entities that lived there.  I started to imagine what life there would be like. It would easily kill any but the most cautious of humans, but the spiritual, non-human residents were attuned to it. They’d be similar to us in a lot of ways though.

I pushed further. Who were their neighbors? How did they interact? What was the rhyme and reason for their cosmology? How do they feel about humans and their strange home called Earth? How did they interact? And after asking these questions, I felt the supporting cast crop up like seeds planted in good earth. Now I had a mentor for my two protagonists. Soon I had an enemy. Then others who would make life interesting for friend and foe alike. And before I knew it, the story was starting to find itself.

If only it wrote itself – that’d be a trick!

But this is a part of the process for me. Sometimes to work out the little details I have to start big and not be afraid to step into that large world I’ve just created.

So I’m making the world as big as I want. The more the merrier.

A Little Taste – The V8 Ifrit Hell Raiser

Part of the idea I had for the webcomic involves a car. This is that car’s (very) rough sketch, complete with misplaced headlights:

Cowcatcher and horns come standard.

Ifrit V8 Hell Raiser is native to the elemental plane of fire, and is the chosen car of the comic’s protagonists. Other car models may show up in the series, though the cars aren’t the focus. I just wanted to draw it because it was cool. Mea culpa.

More roughs as things progress.

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