So, let’s take this whole thing back a few weeks, to a time before I started this blog, and give you a better idea of what I do, what I’ve done, and what I plan on doing. Something to lend credence to my claims that I’m some kind of Wordslinger or another. Think of it more of a “longhand resume”, and less of a biography, because, if we’re being honest, I’m trying to get you on my side here, not scare you off. You may be thinking this will be some kind of portfolio. Nope. If you really have to call it something, I suggest a “litany of sins”.
Let’s get started!
SHORT STORIES ARE A GATEWAY DRUG
Nobody comes into this world a writer. This is something I find to become more and more true as time goes by. But I do believe that there comes a point in almost everyone’s life when they put a pencil to paper and have to produce fiction. Maybe it’s an elementary school assignment that sparks that fire, or maybe you were on of those weirdos who decided to do it for “fun”. In that moment, no matter the motivation, one chooses to become a writer.
That’s what I hear, anyway. My moment of epiphany came much later, and it’s all pen and paper roleplaying games’ fault.
Dungeons & Dragons, Vampire: The Masquerade, Star Wars (D20), and a whole lot of others became worlds for me to explore, with so many twists on characters to make. In doing just that, these games became less and less about the mechanic or gameplay, and more about creation for me. There was a period where you either find me incredibly high and surrounded by stacks of D&D books, wrangling anywhere from 2 to 12 people pretending to be vampires inside a coffee shop, or commandeering someone’s living room floor to wage epic pirate battles using tiny, cardboard ships. It was the stuff dorks are made of!
Then, I got tired of watching these stories I would write for people to play in crash and burn. Fuck that! I would just write all these stories into fiction instead! Fuck entertaining half a dozen weirdos, when I could shoot to entertain thousands of weirdos! Namely, you!
My mind went into full-auto/self-driving/chemically-enhanced mode. I sold assets. I quit jobs. I did a lot of really impulsive, stupid shit, but somewhere in that whirlwind of “I have no fucking clue”, I hit a groove. When I came to, I had some pieces published online, as well as material to being putting together what would end up being my first short story collection, “Collected Shadows”. Once that came out, I knew it had gone too far. There was no safe way to get back to the standard 9-to-5, prepackaged life-like substitute.
Haven’t bothered to try since.
DO YOU KNOW WHY YOU RUN HEADLONG INTO DEATH?
“Bolt & Wing” was the first, so it started everything. It was my first full-length novel, and writing it kicked my ass. Soon after, “Sickle & Spear”, “The Suction Cups”, and “Fall” followed, three novellas that expanded on the world I created in “Bolt & Wing”. These books, both individually and as a whole represent something to me, but I think you’re going to be disappointed when I tell you that something is “mediocrity”.I saw my finished products, in all their glory, was…meh.
But other people enjoyed them.
“Bolt & Wing” was my first creative burnout; “Sickle & Spear” is strong, but could be much tighter; “The Suction Cups” is, for lack of a better term, kind of flavorless; “Fall” could be infinitely more suspenseful than it is, but it simply won’t.
However, there they were: Six books. Out there for the world to see, and my name running up the spine of each. I was focused. Inspired. Passionate.
This is where I tanked all that.
THE RISE AND FALL OF AMBER LANCE STUDIOS
The next two major decisions I made would change the course I had charted drastically. First, I got married. Later, I started a company. The first had less paperwork.
It was tough, not to mention exhausting. Long nights turned into tension-filled days as I scrambled to learn new skills and gain knowledge applicable to what I was doing. In the end, it didn’t matter. It was damn near a war zone, and when the dust finally settled, I’m still married.
Then came the company.
In its time, Amber Lance Studios produced a pair of compilation comics known as “Amber Lance Presents…” which brought together artists and writers that wouldn’t normally work together to make something fresh and intriguing. We also pumped out a multitude of webcomic pages, worked on some really cool design jobs, and were planning for the future.
All of this blinded us to the point where, when we hit a “lull”, nobody recognized it as the gears of our infernal machine grinding to an irreversible halt. It wasn’t anyone’s fault, and working with my business partners (Sean Iredale, Roselyn Badowicz, and Dave Branch) taught me so much. The same goes for all the artists that came together under “Amber Lance Presents…”. In the end, though, we could all see the comic script on the wall.
Wiser, but still a bit raw, we are currently shutting down the whole works.
WRITE HERE, RIGHT NOW
So now, I have this pile of short stories, novel ideas, incomplete novellas, serialized fiction pieces, experimental storytelling projects, and oh so many comic scripts piling high. What am I going to do with all of that, you ask? I’m going to finish it and put it all out. Duh.
If left to my own devices, I’ll run with all of it way too far. Trust me, I’ve seen it happen before. I’ll start mapping out plot for a flowing, real-time narrative being told through over-saturated social networks. I’ll write a summary for a space detective noir podcast, with it’s own band recording an releasing tracks each episode. I’ll start a novel on a typewriter that follows 250 individual characters through one party in a three hour span! Imagine it!
No…wait! Don’t imagine it! That brain baby is mine, and if you hurt it, I swear, I’ll cut…
I have strange ideas, lofty goals, and probably way too much ambition for my own good, but at the end of the day, I have to give all of these potential projects a fair shake.If I start backing down from that because things are challenging, and I let these plans become pipe dreams, I’ll just keep slipping along like that.
So, what exactly do I do?
I see these ideas like balloons. I fill these balloons up, and they either float, or they blow up in my face.
I’m a Wordslinger. Pray for me.