Thursday, March 31, 2016

Strike It Up...

...for Autism Acceptance! Autism Empowerment is holding its first annual Bowl-A-Thon fundraiser, and everyone is invited!
It will be held on Sunday, April 24th, from 12pm-5pm at Husted's Hazel Dell Lanes here in Vancouver. To ensure that we reserve enough lanes, we ask that you please register in advance, which you can do at this link. Simply click on the big ol' green "Get Tickets" button, and the rest will be self-explanatory! There will be prizes, awards, and a whole lot of fun. So what are you waiting for? Go to the registration page now!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Major Book Three Status Update

Last week I promised you a "major Book Three status update," so here it is: it's done!
Well, the first draft of it is, anyway (insert disappointed cat face here). Seems that as I was pursuing my strategy of full-speed-ahead writing-without-stopping, I ended up breezing through big sections of the story without really fleshing them out, and as a result, I found myself at the end of my outline at around 50,000 words. There are some presently hilarious parts in Acts II and III where Joel and company find themselves in a huge jam one moment, and then - presto! - they're bailed out of it faster than you can say "deus ex machina."

The good news, though, is that completing this step represents major progress. No, really, it does! Because this draft, as incomplete as it is, has now made certain things clear enough that I've been able to go back and expand my original outline into full-blown detailed chapter summaries - a lot of which sounds much better than what I've already written. So now, armed with that, I can go back and (deep breath) start the joyous process of rewriting and revision. Still on track for a 2017 release...

Stay tuned for more updates!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

READCON Recap, SPS In The Studio, And More!

READCON was epic! I had a really great time. Torin wore his Joel Suzuki costume, Melody wore her Toriel costume (which she won 3rd place in the costume contest with!), and everything was so much fun.
The 12th Doctor (or 13th?) meets Joel Suzuki
I was especially happy and honored to meet Peter, who reportedly had read both Book One and Book Two in just a few days. Peter also reads physics textbooks for fun! Such an awesome dude. I tried my best to keep up with him in a conversation about the recent confirmation of Einstein's theory about gravitational waves, but he was just too smart for me.
Me and Peter
Super big mahalos go out to Paul Warner, Shahala Middle School, Autism Empowerment, and my friends Davetta Price and Stacey Stein for setting this all up. Not to mention everyone who came out and supported some really great causes (namely, the Shahala Middle School library and the aforementioned Autism Empowerment.) I really hope I get a chance to do this again. If you want to see more pictures from the event, check out the Spectraland Saga's Facebook page here!

This weekend, my band Second Player Score will be returning to the studio to record three more songs. Can't wait! We've been boot-camping really hard, so we feel pretty ready to lay these tracks down. The songs that we'll be doing are "Origin Story," "Head Of Sin," and "Drink The Poison." Along with the five others that we've recorded already, and the three more that we'll be doing this summer, these songs will make up our second album, tentatively titled Nobody's Hero, which is slated for release in the fall.

It's been a while since I've done a video game update, so just to let you know what's up...I'm still grinding away at Xenoblade Chronicles X. I got to the end of the story part of the game (spoilers ahead, turn back now) and realized that I'm nowhere near the level of strength I need to be at to properly finish it off, so I've gone back into grind mode - completing missions, leveling up, etc. I figure that I need to have level 50 skells to beat the final boss (I've glimpsed a few sites that say that maybe even that's not enough, but seriously, I don't want to know), so it's gonna be a while. In the meantime, Twilight Princess for the Wii U came out, so yikes! Naturally, that game has gone straight into rotation, so it may be even longer before I actually "finish" (I don't know if anybody ever really "finishes") Xenoblade.

Just a quick note about Gravity Falls: from an emotional fanboy standpoint, I'm sad that it's over, but from a practical writer's standpoint, I'm glad that they decided to go out on a high note when the show was really reaching its peak. Kind of like The Police. The show was - and is - a major source of bonding for me and my daughter (we still quote lines from it to each other all the time), and for that, it'll always have a special place in...whoa, sappiness alert! Yeah, um, so, if you haven't seen it yet, be sure to check it out! (I'm sure they'll be releasing the whole series on DVD/Blu-Ray soon).

Coming next week - a major Book Three status update!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

READCON is Tonight!

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I'm going to be the special guest author at READCON, Shahala Middle School's annual sci-fi/fantasy family night for the whole community. And it's tonight, from 6-8pm! Here's a short video to help get you pumped up for it:

It's free to attend, and there will be a ton of fun stuff going on, like prizes, giveaways, contests, a book fair, crafts, the Portland Superheroes Coalition, the Star Wars 501st Legion, and more. Whew!

Costumes are optional, but wear 'em if you got 'em! I'll be rocking the 12th Doctor ensemble that I wore for Book 2's launch party at the TARDIS Room (hey, I gotta get my money's worth), and my daughter is planning to go as Toriel from the game Undertale. I'm hoping I can talk my son into going as Joel Suzuki...

Sales from the book fair and donations will go to help out the Shahala library as well as Autism Empowerment, and if you eat dinner at the nearby Wendy's between 4-8pm, a portion of your sales will also go to help those two awesome causes.

Shahala Middle School is located at 601 SE 192nd Ave., Vancouver WA 98683, so if you're in the area, be sure to come and check it out!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Movie Roundup, Speed Run Edition

I've been doing a pretty good job of catching up with my movie-watching lately, if I do say so myself. For me, watching movies is not only fun, but it gives me inspiration for my writing as well, so I consider it part entertainment, part work/research (although, unfortunately, I don't think I can write off my ticket and rental expenses as tax deductions).

Here are my thoughts about some of the ones I've seen since I saw The Force Awakens (four times!) last December. Disclaimer: these are not really reviews, they're just my bullet point observations and reactions. Also, there will be spoilers (you'll notice that I talk about the endings a lot)!

Really enjoyed this one. It was pretty much what I was expecting. Yeah, the plot was mostly vanilla-stock, but it was dressed up in vintage Deadpool-style bloody syrup and bullet sprinkles, which gave it its own flavor. I'm pretty sure that's what the writers and director were going for. Wished it could have gone on a little longer. Ryan Reynolds was born to play this character. Although, I must say that I kind of like the version of Deadpool in the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon just a little bit better, with how he alternates between the high crazy voice and the low menacing one. Oh, and since this is a family-friendly blog, I will add that this movie is obviously not family-friendly.

Kung Fu Panda 3
Now here's a family-friendly one for ya. It wasn't quite as good as the first two installments of the KFP series, but it was pretty close. Lots of fun, solid story, awesome visuals. The ending was epic, which made me wonder how they're going to top that in the fourth installment.

Inside Out
Okay, so I saw Deadpool and KFP3 in the theater. Now we're moving on to the "I'm finally getting around to watching these" portion of the post. This was another kid-friendly one that I had heard a lot of good things about, so one day I just rented it at home. And it didn't disappoint. I especially liked the ending, where they showed what was going on inside of a cat's head. So very much on point. But yeah, bravo, Pixar.

Ender's Game
I actually liked this movie version better than the book, except for the ending, which I thought could have been played for a little more drama. The Battle Room looked pretty much exactly like how I had envisioned it, which was cool.

You know, I don't remember much about this one. Some great scenery, lots of action...I miss Judi Dench as M. The ending sure seemed like they were giving Daniel Craig a happy, ride-into-the-sunset sendoff, which made me think that the rumors of him retiring from the role may be true. If he does, I wonder who the next Bond will be? And where will they go with the franchise now that the supposed overall-umbrella-evil-organization-that-was-controlling-everything-mwuahahaha has been defeated?

Coming up in the next roundup, probably: Captain America: Civil War, X-Men: Apocalypse, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (what's with all the colons?), and more!