Wednesday, June 9, 2021

And Then There Were Five

  1.  Scarlet and the Keepers of Light
  2. Scarlet and the Dragon's Burden
  3. Scarlet and the Queen of the New World
  4. Scarlet and the Barrier's Fall 

—and 5.  It has been almost two weeks since Scarlet and the Shattered Throne was released and thus far it seems to be hit.  Good reviews, some happy fans (one young lady had some very particular complaints regarding dragons), and great in person feedback.  A QUICK NOTE, IF YOU LIKE A BOOK, REVIEW IT.  IT REALLY HELPS.  I want to thank everyone who is continuing to make Scarlet a success.  It's been a long ride, but well worth it.  There are still some great things to come regarding Scarlet.  The paper and hardback copies will be on the way soon and there might even be some audiobooks read by yours truly—although the later is a great deal of time and work, so, we'll see.  A lot of that is out of my hand though so...Amazon Prime are you listening.  I'm definitely ready to strike a deal...

I am currently working on a new Young Adult project.  The first book will be titled Pillaging the Sun.  My publisher and I have been toying with the idea of adding it to Amazon's new Kindle Vella before publishing the full book later on.  A bit like going back to the era of magazine serialization with a new technological twist.  So keep a look out.  Of course I will be shouting it from the rooftops once dates get reasonably close.  

I've also begun sharing my new D&D hobby with everyone.  The second installment is out and available to read on my new website https://www.westdnd.com.  Click over to continue the story or start from scratch if you missed the first episode.

As always, I'm happy to hear from you all and look forward to discussing Scarlet and D&D, or books in general.  

Till next time,

Brandon



Sunday, May 30, 2021

Wringing out a Goblin

 1a.

 

Cricket Stonespur's goal had been the shores of Karrnath, where the marshal culture of discipline and stoic strength seemed an obvious choice to begin this journey of discovery and diplomacy.  After all, although an age apart from the Goblinoids who once ruled Khorvaire as the mighty Dhakaani Empire, the Goblins of Stonespur Island are still a warrior race.  In the ages that passed from the fall of the empire, they lived apart, marooned at first, but then blessed in their isolation.  They developed a civilization founded on honor, discipline, and respect; cornerstones of a great society they believe those on the mainland of Khorvaire lack.  Violent without purpose, emotional without cause, and fickle without good humor, the rest of the continent  is populated by barbarians.  Every two hundred years, an emissary is sent to engage in trade and diplomatic relations with the mainland.  None has ever returned.  What more evidence would the Goblins of Stonespur need?  Yet, still they try.  

 

Karrnath had been Cricket's goal, but Karrnath was not to be.  The great currents running through Death's Finger Channel joined forces with a storm from the Lhazaar Sea.  Cricket's small vessel was carried by the will of wind and sea, leaving him helpless to navigate its direction.  What should have been a week at sea became two. Weary from lack of food, water, and exposure, Cricket catch's sight of land on the fifteenth day.  The sea foams around the tiny vessel as the waves thrash him from bow to stern.  With one final crashing wave, he is thrown from his vessel and is encompassed by the cold waters of the bay.  The world is going black.  This is the end.  

 

No…he is a monk of the Hundred Stones.  He has been given a sacred mission by the High Muckmuck, Gargis the Wise.  He will not fail before it has even begun.  

 

He kicks and fights.  The waves batter his small frame to and fro—water fills his lungs, burning his chest.  His toes brush something soft, something solid.  They find purchase and with ten merciful steps, he flops onto dry land, coughing the salt water from his lungs.       

 

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Book 5 and Some D&D

 On the 27th, the final book in Scarlet's adventure will be released.  Scarlet and the Shattered Throne marks the conclusion of her adventure, but not mine.  I have a new young adult series in the works and a series geared more toward adults (both fantasy) on the horizon. Of Course, hopefully there's still much fun and talk to be had surrounding Scarlet.  I can't wait to hear what you all think.  Additionally, even though Book five will be out on kindle the 27th, there is still the newly designed, hold in your hand, and put on you shelf set coming out in the next several months.

The Morning After Battle
To celebrate all of this and to provide something more interesting than reading me babble on this blog, twitter, and facebook, I've decided to serialize my D&D campaign on the blog.  I began playing last year (I  never played as a kid) and caught the bug.  I started DMing a campaign for my daughters, my brother, and my best friend earlier this year and it has been a blast.  This also give me an opportunity to explore some styles I might not have otherwise written in without the seriousness of a finished product.  I'll be posting the episodes to Patreon to keep costs low and offer some benefits beyond just the episodes.  It's supposed to be fun—for me at least—so while I welcome input and will correct as I go if people catch things...well, you get the idea.  

I'll be breaking up the chapters in bite sized pieces.  Starting with a little 3rd person limited perspective, present tense (for all you word nerds).  I usually write 3rd person multiple perspective in the past tense. 

I hope you enjoy.  Feel free to share and follow me wherever you prefer.  


Please keep in mind, that while the story is original, Dungeons and Dragons was created by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.  The rights are currently owned by Wizards of the Coast.  The world I am using for this campaign is Eberron as presented in Eberron: Rising from the Last War. 

The majority of my referenced D&D collection is from my account and purchased material with D&D Beyond.  Including: 

Keith Baker, Jeremy Crawford, & James Wyatt. (2019). Eberron : rising from the last war.Wizards Of The Coast.

Mearls, M., & Crawford, J. (2014). Dungeons & dragons player’s handbook. Wizards Of The Coast.

Mearls, M., & Crawford, J. (2014). Dungeon master’s guide. Wizards Of The Coast.

Mearls, M., Crawford, J., Schwalb, R. J., Sernett, M., Townshend, S., & Wyatt, J. (2014). Dungeons & dragons. Monster manual. Wizards Of The Coast.

Wizards Of The Coast, Inc. (2020). Tasha’s cauldron of everything. Wizards Of The Coast Llc.

Crawford, J., Mearls, M., & Wizards Of The Coast, Inc. (2017). Xanathar’s guide to everything. Wizards Of The Coast.


Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Poseidon Guards the Moon

 Poseidon Guards the Moon



I often watch—

from below, as you wax and wane,

As you hide and show.

How potent—

from above, well beyond my reach 

As you push and shove.


I swell and shrink

I rise and fall

I surge and ebb,

I rage and lull.


Deepest passions find peace

Beneath your silver sway,

Or apathy churns to threaten far shores,

While you play coy with clouds of grey.

But I don’t mind 

Being a vassal under your reign,

Let your reflection be my shrine to you,

Happiest at your mercy, I am swain.


Sunday, February 14, 2021

30 Day Health Experiment (w/ before and after photos)





 Last month I hurt my knee, or it hurt it self, the exact cause is still a mystery, but regardless I was forced to stop running and gain as much holiday weight as possible.  It was obligatory.  Now that the holidays are over, and unfortunately my knee is still weird, I have had to find a new way to get into shape and attempt to see my abs.

For thirty days I took our puppy for a 2.5 mile daily walk and every hour, for 12 hours a day, I did 20 pushups.  I did this while recommitting to a plant based whole food diet.  What were the results at the end of that thirty days?...

As you can see by the pictures below, there was a remarkable increase in muscle mass and overall vigor.  What most surprised me, however, was the increase in height.  One does not expect, over the age of forty, to get any taller, but as you can see, there is clearly 4 inches gain in height.

In conclusion, I highly recommend those looking for a more humane, healthy way of eating, to give WFPB a try and get to walking.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

The Dwayne Johnson Rule

 I would like to enact the Dwayne Johnson rule.

It's really quite simple and I hope will bring some much needed peace and tranquility to our world.  But before I explain this glorious tool for future communication in the digital world, first let me briefly explain why we need such a rule. 

The internet, and social media in particular, has become a license for us to be our worst selves.  Not unlike when you are in you car, alone, and the idiot two lanes over cuts you off without a turn signal.  You proceed to curse and yell, informing this hapless driver of all the imaginative things you think of him as a person, only to realize you are going to the same place.  You then awkwardly and politely walk by as you pass him on the way into the supermarket.  On social media, this same effect of semi anonymity allows us to feel safe to rant and rave, to spew hate filled tirades, and to splinter into factions fueled by falsehoods and conspiracy theories.  Although road rage has its own not so innocent consequences in some cases, most of the time these rants in your car go unheard.  Perhaps chalked up to simple cathartic expression.  This is not so with social media.  People are listening.  Your voice is going beyond the metaphorical car and out into the world.  And as recent events have clearly shown, there are consequences.

So, the Dwayne Johnson rule...  

If you are going to voice something on social media, whatever it might be, personal opinion, political position, your stance on race relations, how much you hate tofu, whatever it is, stop and imagine yourself saying it to the Rock's face.  Actually picture yourself, no doubt for most of us, looking up into his face and saying "Mr. Johnson, I think, I feel, I believe _____"  If you think that you would not have a problem doing that, then by all means, carry on with your post.  If not, keep it to yourself.  Perhaps seek some therapy or snuggle with something warm and fuzzy instead.  I suggest a labradoodle.  

Now, I love the Rock, but it doesn't have to be him.  You can alter the rule to make it a better fit for you.  You could imagine John "the Bones" Jones, or perhaps a friend of a friend who happens to be a navy seal. Think outside the box.  You could imagine voicing your opinion in a crowded barber shop or in front of a platoon of marines. Just be sure, when applying the rule, you are alone.  It doesn't count if you are picturing yourself with your fellow Nazi buddies or your local Stalin MMA club.  Group think, as social psychology tells us and mobs and riots show us, can be just as bad.

Now go out there and post with confidence knowing that with the simple application of the Dwayne Johnson rule, you are no longer contributing to the downfall of our society.