Monday, October 10, 2016

Research Record 9/16/16-10/10/16

Hi records.

Story in Progress - Turesia, Book 1

Googled -
Translate Volks
Horseshoe Crab - Their shells would make great armor for boots or pauldrons
Limpet images - Their shells would make great armor for scale mail
Warhound - This term is too closely tied to something else for me to use

Wikipedia'd -
Entropy (Arrow of Time) 
Ultimate fate of the universe
Fossil Trackway

Books Referenced -

(these are the same as last time and probably will be as long as I'm writing within Ausgan.)

"Plants in Hawaiian Culture" Beatrice Krauss
"Garden Ethnobotanical Guide to Native Hawaiian Plants" Amy Greenwell
"Hawai'i's Birds and their Habitats" H. Douglas Pratt
"Reef Fish Hawai'i" John P. Hoover

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Research Record 9/9/16 - 9/15/16

Hello, records. Here's what my writing led me to research lately.

Story in progress - Turesia, Book 1

Googled -

Define Rhythm - Was really searching for synonyms, to describe the dance of lehua setuars.
"Pyromollusk" - Awesome! It's not a thing yet! But maybe I shouldn't post it here...
Rain forest mammals - Specifically looking for the kind you can throw spears at.
Giant river otter
Define Resignations
Acacia Resin
Cast lots - Drawing straws is what I was going for. Casting lots is more about divination / cleromancy. Not sure how I confused the two.

Wikipedia'd -

Peccary - Rain forest mammals brought me here.
Gum arabic - Searching Acacia Resin brought me here. Not what I was looking for.

Books Referenced -

(these are the same as last time and probably will be as long as I'm writing within Ausgan.)

"Plants in Hawaiian Culture" Beatrice Krauss
"Garden Ethnobotanical Guide to Native Hawaiian Plants" Amy Greenwell
"Hawai'i's Birds and their Habitats" H. Douglas Pratt
"Reef Fish Hawai'i" John P. Hoover

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Research Record 9/2/16 - 9/8/16

I remember reading a Michael Crichton novel when I was younger and thinking, "These details seem really specific and accurate. How the hell does he know all this stuff?"

Later in life I learned that authors who want any sort of authenticity in their writing have to do a shit-ton of research. Later still, I experienced it myself.

the dream team
When I wrote A Sawmill's Hope, it was largely about subjects with which I'm familiar, hiking, rivers, ruins, camping, etc. The monsters I wrote were based on years of unintentional research, then some intentional research. For the alchemy in the book, mostly contained to the chapters involving Seltys, I stopped writing for months, while I journeyed to the corners of the internet to study alchemy (see this particularly useful hub).

**Actually, I just remembered a disturbing path my research took during ASH. Darke needed to know the best way to kill prey with a projectile weapon. My most useful resource was here- Mechanics of Terminal Ballistics. I'm pretty sure all the research I did on this subject boiled down to two lines of text on the second page of the book.**

So, here and now.

I want a way to keep up with what I research, and when I researched it, and why. Maybe it'll be interesting to more than just me. If it catches on, I'm going to make semi-regular posts, maybe weekly. I'm filtering out all researched topics that aren't writing related. If I'm able to make this regular, I'll probably come up with a better format. Til then -

Research Record 9/2/16 - 9/8/16

Googled - 

"Bin Laden Quotes" - Because I'm writing a character who zealously believes in mass murder as an acceptable course of action.
"Define Eulogy"
"Squid with a Shell"
"Giant endoceras"
"Drop bears" - This is a hilarious concept. Check it out.
"Define Litany"
"Ancient Hawaii"

Wikipedia'd - 

Cameroceraus - "Squid with a shell", and "Giant endoceras" led me here.
Moonshine - The tribes of Ausgan (a nation in Turesia) make their own whiskey.

Books Referenced -

"Plants in Hawaiian Culture" Beatrice Krauss
"Garden Ethnobotanical Guide to Native Hawaiian Plants" Amy Greenwell
"Hawai'i's Birds and their Habitats" H. Douglas Pratt
"Reef Fish Hawai'i" John P. Hoover

I'd be interested to know your research habits, be it for writing or not! 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

What do you want?

I'll die eventually. But until then I maintain a firm list of things I want to own or to accomplish. As it stands, my list includes (but is not limited to) -

Get this!
- A waterproof backpack
- A better coffee maker
- Bow and Arrows
- A boat
- Weed eater
- 4-wheeler
- Acoustic bass guitar
- Laser surgery for eyes
- Rock grinding kit
- twould be cool to be able to fly
- A cruising catamaran and the ability to drive it
- Self-employment by 2020
- Evie's memorial to $10k

I also have a list for my future home -

- Triple sink in kitchen
- Enough land for a mead hall
- Stone pizza oven
- Pool
- Clawfoot tub in master bath
- Soundproof music studio (with every kind of instrument)
- Mancave with fixtures to hang hammocks everywhere
- Voice command lights
- Speakers in the walls

(I'm just giving you an overview here. No reason for you to know I want hooks installed in every room's ceiling to hang a sex swing. That's just not your business)

I also have a list for "things to do," "games to play," "books to read," and "soundtracks to collect."

I think you should make some lists, too. I think your list should include everything you want. Everything you've ever wanted. Everything you could ever dream you might want. Whether it's material or immaterial, list it. This list should be free of all realistic limitations. Don't say, "Well I want this, but..." No! Just put it on there. Accept your desires, don't deny them!

When I talk about this idea, some people's initial reaction suggests I'm being selfish. Why am I focusing so much on me, me, me, me, me? It's not like that. I'm not saying obsess over these things. Don't neglect people in your life, or anyone you're in a position to help, to achieve your wishlist at all costs.
What I'm suggesting is putting a theory into practice that's probably been pounded into your head since time immemorial. If I change the terminology, you'll see what I mean. It's not a wishlist. These aren't wishes. They're goals.
Perhaps I won't achieve them all in my lifetime, but setting goals is how I've accomplished some significant things so far, which brings me to another list:

- New monitor
- Lawn mower
- Better glasses
- Martin backpacker guitar
- Face hair groomer thing
- GoPro
- Camera and mic for video recording
- Wii U
- Published novel
- My own publishing business

I started doing this to free up my memory. To remember the simple things I can grab pretty easily, just not at the moment, or things I can't necessarily go out and get without extensive planning. Without this list I'd have to remember more things, and I save my memory space for more vital endeavors like zipping my pants, picking up my keys, charging my tech, saving my document, etc.

There are several lessons I've learned in this process.

1. If I put something on that list, I'll figure out how to obtain it, even if it seems ridiculous and impossible. It might require a series of steps and a lot of time and money (like the mead hall I will one day build) but once it's on my list, my mind is formulating a plan, whether I realize it or not.

2. If I'm ever not on the top of my game--doubting myself or just downhearted in general--these lists are a welcome respite. Looking at the goals reminds me why I'm doing what I'm doing. Why I persevere. Looking at that Obtained! list reminds me of goals I've met. It reminds me that if I put my mind to a task, I can achieve it.

3. I'm learning about myself in this process. In fiction writing, when you're creating a character, there are several traits that help quickly identify a person. One of those is Desires. When I look at my lists as a whole, it speaks to who I am as a person, at least to some extent. And self-awareness is a gift you shouldn't squander.

The most vital first step in preventing yourself from dying with an unfulfilled bucket list is to create a bucket list. Set your goals. If you think you're being selfish by focusing so much on you, then offset that by giving your money, time, advice, or help to someone who needs it. If you don't know what to give or how to start, throw some love toward Evie's Memorial. Whether you can drop $s directly or just spread awareness by sharing the page, all is welcome.

After that shameless plug, what better way to end this post than some good ol' hardcore rock?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Writing Resources - Brandon Sanderson's Creative Writing Class, 2016.

Every week Goodreads shoots me an email--borderline spam--with blog posts of authors I follow.
It's typically GRRM talking about sports or his theater. A Stephen King blog post, written by someone besides Stephen King himself because he's too GD special to communicate w us directly. Pat Rothfuss complaining that older literature doesn't comply with modern PC agendas. Brandon Sanderson on how many new books he released this week (Eighty. He released eighty books this week). Joe Abercrombie talking about how awesome he is. Hugh Howey with his head in the clouds. Etc. etc.
I'm keeding, I love you guys!

Today one of Brandon Sanderson's posts was a link to a playlist of Youtube videos of his 2016 creative writing class, at Brigham Young University, deep in the heart of Utah.


There are four videos as of today and, as I understand, one is added to the playlist weekly. Each is about an hour long and they are freaking full of great advice! Watch just one and you'll realize you have an entire Creative Writing class worth of lectures from a highly successful author available to you for free!

Why am I shouting about it? Because these videos are facking brilliant!!!

This isn't the first time his classes have been recorded and posted online. Four years and seventeen days ago I wrote a post about Brandon Sanderson's writing classes. (Here's that post) I watched every video, despite that they were lower quality and you couldn't always hear the dialogue. I took extensive notes and applied them to my writing.

Brandon's words were focused, energetic, and inspiring, and the same holds true for this batch of videos!

If you are serious about writing, you'd be a foal not to take free advice from a successful author and experienced teacher! You're getting for free what students are paying out the ass to hear, I might add.

Regardless of where you are in your career as a writer, I bet you'll learn something.

That is all.

Happy Wednesday.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

STREAMING FOR CHARITY this Saturday, starts at 12pm EST!

(tl;dr: Scroll to the bottom of this post for links to the event! Or check out the event's page on

:::UPDATE, 5/24 - We raised $240! Thanks to all you visiters and chatters and donators!:::

You into video games?

What about live streams?
*Oh hack yah!*

What about SIDS?

Um. Let's start over.

This Saturday I'm live streaming a 100% playthrough of one of my favorite video games of all time.
1992 Enix
My friend Drew is joining me and his Twitch channel, Legendary Fail Games, is hosting it. We're playing to rally up some donations for, through my baby girl Evie's memorial page.

Donations will go directly to the CJ Foundation for SIDS. We won't get a dime of it. You can post donations directly to the charity literally whenever, or to Drew's channel during the stream.

WAIT WAIT, WHAT WHAT? I'm pretty stupid. What is happening exactly? 

This Saturday, starting at 12 pm EST and lasting until... late, I'm sure, YOU can go to Twitch or Legendary Fail, where you'll find me playing through a video game that released 24 years ago on the Super Nintendo.
It'll be kind of like watching TV, except it's live, it's nothing you'd normally watch, and you can login and chat with me and Drew in real time. In fact, we encourage that.

There will be links for you to follow (I'm also listing them at the bottom of this post) and donate your hard-earned money to the CJ Foundation for SIDS. Here's a link to their financial statement for 2014, in case you're wondering how they spend donations.
The majority of the cash flow goes toward Family Support. In other words, the next time a parent is riding in an ambulance to the emergency room to hear from expensive professionals that their baby is truly gone, maybe your donation will make the accompanying medical bills less of a kick in the nuts.

Hold on. You're raising money for a charity... by playing a video game?

Short answer - Yes.

Long answer - I'm raising money for this charity by doing whatever the hell I can. Check the link. We've got a good head start already.

Streaming game footage for charity is not a new concept. That's why Mark Svetik made this website to begin with. That's how Markiplier raised $80k for Depression and Bipolar Support Aliance. That's how Awesome Games Done Quick has raised over $6m to this date.

I don't think I'm special or I deserve your attention.
But if one person donates one dollar on Saturday, that's a win.

Ok jeez. Get defensive, why don't you.

I'm sorry. Still a touchy subject. Probably always will be.
If you log on during the stream on Saturday, and come chat with me and Drew, I'll answer any questions you have. Literally any questions, with no repercussions. I mean, I exercise my right to give stupid questions stupids answers. But you can ask me about my experience with SIDS, self-publishing fiction, amateur music composition, gamer stuff, wishful game-designer stuff, whatever.

I think I got it. Wrap it up with some useful links for me to click.

Here they are, all in blue so as not to enrage you!

Evie's Memorial Page (Again, donations to this site ALL go to and you can donate to this at any time, before, during, or after the stream)
Legendary Fail Games' official Twitch channel
Legendary Fail Games' website
Event page on
Legendary Fail's Twitter
My Twitter
My Facebook

If you ARE into Let's Play videos... I am, too.
Check out my Youtube channel!

See you Saturday


Thursday, February 25, 2016

MagFest is Rucking Fadical!

If you're a fan of video games (and/or board games, live-action games, card games, etc) or video game music, MagFest (Music And Gaming Festival, noob) is for you.

Oh, is Washington DC too far a trip for you?
I drove for 10 hours.
I'd drive for 20! ... well, maybe not.

This year was my second year attending.
The first was in 2014 and I spent a lot of time manning the Default Dan booth. It paid off because I met Ross from Game Grumps / Steam Train and convinced him to play Default Dan on their YouTube channel (links to the YouTube video which has 1.3 million views and is NOT safe for work.) Once that video aired, the Default Dan Kickstarter blew past its goal!
Yes, I take partial credit for that!

Dan + Ross
This year I was accompanied by Firstborn, Drew, Lauren, Stephen, Jeremy, Kelly and Britt. We stayed in a suite a block from the majestic Gaylord National Resort  (a structure so vast it could house my entire hometown) where the Fest takes place.
I packed a heavy jug of Vitamin C pills and several travel-sized hand-sanitizers bottles. I've gotten Con-funk before and would rather not again.

We spent the extended weekend gaming and rocking and such. Some of the group went to DC to look at important things that exist in the really real world. I did not.

Let the images commence!

fair warning: I had a magical time from arrival to departure. But I'm no photographer. I just don't care much for it. Usually when I'm in a photo-worthy scenario, I prefer to ingest it and enjoy it, not play with electronics. That said, I think I managed to catch some images and vids worth reliving.

On the way up north we found piles of dirty snow and derp faces

this guy was lying in the sand down from our hotel

not sure what the chubby fellow is saying.
but if I were the turtle, I'd probably say something that rhymes with
"Get your nuts off me."
The shops had tons of oddities. Unfortunately I only took two pictures...

The little clicky things from Princess Mononoke! 

Playing JS Joust!
wtf is that, you ask?
link get!

The World is Square
They cover tracks from Squaresoft and Square Enix games.
When they played the intro of Chrono Cross, I knew I had to buy their CD.

Tupperware Remix Party
I'd never heard them until MagFest. But they played with NSP so I could not miss it.
Their bassist freaking shreds.
The frontman went to spin his keytaur and the strap broke, sending his instrument spiraling into the air.
It broke. But the show went on.

TWRP + NSP (not yet on stage)
There were 5,000 people in the room for this show.
It. was. nuts.

Firstborn and I ran upon some cosplayers in full Kingdom Hearts attire. 

They graciously agreed to pose.
(yes, I know, Sora is not in this scene)
too perfect a shot

Biggs Darklighter saying farewell
before storming the Death Star.

Photoshoot with Mileena, Kitana, and Jade
from Mortal Kombat

Front view of Gaylord, complete with brightly colored roamers

Majora's Mask

...and he's coming right at me!!

David, Firstborn, Britt, Kelly, Lauren, Drew
in the crowd for the Bitt Brigade show

Bitt Brigade plays Ninja Gaiden

Shopkeeper from Resident Evil 4, also an author of books
I've met this guy thrice now. First was at MagFest 2014
Second was at DragonCon 2015
Third was MagFest 2016
How many times will our paths randomly cross?
also, Photobomb by Phirstborn

My favorite kind of photograph catches unlikely people in an ordinary place or vice versa

The console arcade was about half the size of a Walmart.
And I only got one picture :( 

Firstborn met the Living Tombstone,
a DJ he's a fan of.
I have no idea what dude is looking at
View of the Gaylord's lawn and the Potomac river on our last day
Until next time, MagFest.