Celebrate Halloween with Vampires!

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Have you picked up your copy of Endless Ages yet? If not, today’s post gives you a little bit of insight into my inspiration behind “Redder Than Red”. Happy Halloween!

What Motivated Me to Write Redder Than Red

When I was working on Dread Names: Red List, Matt (McElroy) and I would speculate which Anathema would be the first to get caught in the modern era and why. Often, Ayisha Jocastian’s name would pop up because she represents a direct threat to the Masquerade. As an Anathema, Ayisha is unique in the sense that she believes that the consciousness of the vampires she has consumed are directing her actions, but she is also a political threat because her zeal to reproduce and distribute the Book of Nod. Though Ayisha was already condemned to the Red List and could never be removed, she is an active threat who will not stop committing diablerie, nor will she stop sharing vampiric secrets with mortals.

My story, which is titled “Redder Than Red”, is written from the perspective of a Malkavian named Rebecca Fleischer whose childe was diablerized by Ayisha. Rebecca suffers from a form of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder called Arithmomania, which means she has a fundamental need to count. I felt this would be a good mental illness to help illustrate what Rebecca is feeling and seeing, and gets away from the stereotypes that plague members of Clan Malkavian and undermine their potential in a story.

Together with Ventrue Alastor Stephan Ashworth, the two Kindred drive to a warehouse to confront Ayisha Jocastian once and for all. Stephan adds some setting heft to the story, as both Alastors and Anathema are part of the rich lore associated with the Red List, but he also offers a dynamic to show this fight isn’t between two vampires. For Rebecca, however, her desire to take down Ayisha is personal; losing her childe is a powerful motivator for vengeance.

I hope your thirst for vampire fiction will draw you to “Redder Than Red”. This story was a lot of fun to write, and I enjoyed taking on this aspect of Vampire: The Masquerade for the modern era.

[New Release] Endless Ages Vampire: The Masquerade Anthology

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Twenty-five years of Vampire: The Masquerade

Twenty-five years of storytelling, adventure, and exploration. In celebration, we bring you eighteen authors that explore the evolution and development of the world of Vampire. From tales of wanton diablerie to the fulfilling of centuries-old religious vows, lover’s sacrifices, and searches for truth. Peel apart the layers and discover the endless ages of beauty and betrayal.

Today, I’m pleased to announce the release of a collection of stories for Vampire: The Masquerade. Edited by Jaym Gates, Endless Ages features several stories from wonderful authors covering all eras of the setting. My story is titled “Redder Than Red”, features the hunt for the Anathema, Ayisha Jocastian, and is set in the modern era. Watch for story excerpts all this week leading up to Halloween on the Onyx Path Publishing website.

Get your copy of Endless Ages today! I hope you enjoy this Vampire: The Masquerade anthology, and it allows you to fall in love with Vampire all over again. Happy 25th anniversary! And, more importantly… Happy Halloween!

A Starry Update on Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling

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Hello dear readers! I’m happy to report that Jason and I are in the process of delivering the eBooks and fulfilling digital rewards to our Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling Kickstarter backers as we speak. The street date for the anthology is December, and we are doing everything we can to put our backers first and make sure that their rewards are taken care of in a timely fashion.

As part of the process for putting together an anthology, we sent out ARCs (Advance Reading Copy) in anticipation of our launch in the book trade. I am pleased to report that Publisher’s Weekly has given the anthology a starred review! I wish to extend a hearty congratulations to my co-editor, Jaym Gates, our publisher Jason Sizemore and his staff, and all of our contributors. And a huge THANK YOU to PW for the shout-out; it is greatly appreciated.

Habit Tracking through Bullet Journaling

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If you’ve heard me speak at conventions, you might have picked up on how important I feel basic discipline is to forming good habits for writing. To expand on this a little further, I tend to think of being a writer holistically, because even when I’m not writing (which makes me miserable), I’m still thinking about writing (which can cause more harm than good). But, I’m not “just” a writer. I’m a human being, planet Earth. And as a human, I have to remember to maintain the biological container a bit, as transhumanism is barely a twinkle in the eyes of scientists right now.

Translation: I may wander off with wild hair and no makeup and mismatched clothes and mac-and-cheese and whatever else is in the cupboard while in the thick of it, but that’s not necessarily healthy on an ongoing basis. That bit is the fun part. The “I’m not worrying about a f-bomb’ing thing, other than this project right now.” is absolutely fantastic, but reality often sets in. Where did that extra pound come from? Why has a tornado hit my pad? That sort of thing.

Ergo? Habit tracking. Hilariously, when I heard about bullet journaling (or bujo as the cooler-than-I kids call it), I didn’t see the point at first. It sounded like an overly complicated way of setting up a planner that wasn’t pre-printed. But, it was also an excuse to buy a new notebook (Yay!) and use my set of colored Stabilo pens (which are a-w-e-s-o-m-e, by the way). So, I thought I’d give it a whirl. Here’s a picture of the habit tracker I modified for myself, and a link to the full list of habit trackers with accredited sources:

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Source: Bohoberry

Here’s where it gets interesting. So, the habit tracking method that works for me is to color in each column as its own day, which means I don’t have to do an extra layer of analysis or spend additional time putting together a graph. I get a picture, after a week or two, of what’s actually going on. For me, I caught the fact that my SAD kicked in right away–which is great!

More than this, it’s helpful to look at trends for short periods of time to figure out certain habits. Individual data points… Man, so easy to beat yourself up if you don’t reach a goal on a particular day, or for a specific reason. But, part of my discipline is to track simple habits that build the foundation to my overall lifestyle. My lifestyle by itself requires a desk and a chair, which means that if I procrastinate (which does happen) I sit longer (which is not good) and that takes a toll on my body.

My categories are:

  • Out of bed at 6 a.m.
  • Clean 15 min. a day
  • Cat boxes
  • Make bed
  • Vitamins
  • Laundry
  • Workout
  • No Take-Out
  • No spending
  • Hydrate (64 oz.)
  • Floss
  • Read before bed

I also added a temporary mood tracker and a, um… bad habits tracker. Combined, I quickly figured out my limit for caffeine and how withdrawal was impacting my mood. Next month, I want to fine tune a few habit trackers (e.g. fitness and finances) to ensure I’ve got consistency there. I’m not tracking my mood as well as I’d like, but it’s there in case I need it. After that foundation is laid, then I want to use it for goal setting and see what else I could devise for writing that is a) simple to set up and b) takes less than five minutes to maintain.

The to-do lists for me in bullet journaling don’t work as well as my planner, as well as the reinforcing I do every week via other to-do lists. I rely on those anchors so I can lose myself in the work, and right now they’re a great tool since I’m still waiting on balls to drop that may never come down. My method doesn’t work for everyone, but I try to simplify everything as much as possible knowing how intense I can get. The other thing this bit does, is it keeps the shorter projects top of mind–which is what happens when a longer-term project falls apart or gets delayed.

Latest Artistic Project: Now dreaming about an Etsy store.
Latest Fiction/Comic Release: Gods, Memes, and Monsters, Tales of the Dark Eras, and Firefly: The Gorramn Shiniest Language Guide and Dictionary in the ‘Verse.
Latest Game Release: Ghouls & Revenants for Vampire: The Masquerade and Court of Shadows for Shadowrun.
Current State of Projects: Read my latest project update.



It’s Inktober (Photos)

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It’s Inktober! Opted to post some of the pieces I’ve been drawing for fun. I’m having a blast playing around with different types of inks and markers when I can. I’d really like to get into Copics, but the Prismacolors work great, too. Crayola markers are warping the paper a little too much. Love the pigment, don’t like the effects on paper they have. Feels great to get back in the habit of drawing again, and I’m having fun with it. <3 vampire-skull

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