Thursday, July 27, 2023

Volume Seven Launch Party Recap (Where Do We Go From Here?)

The launch party and book signing for Joel Suzuki, Volume Seven: Vision of the Virtuoso rocked!
Big thanks to Leah and the staff at Kazoodles Toy Store for hosting us, and to everyone who came out.

So now that Volume Seven is officially out in the world, what is next for Joel and company? I know I've talked about Volume Eight in this post from January and potential Volumes Nine through Eleven in this post from 2017, but are those books really going to be written?

Honestly, I'm still not sure.

Part of me feels like (mild spoiler alert) Joel and Felicity's story came to such a perfect conclusion (what that conclusion entails, you'll have to read the books to find out) that there just isn't anywhere else to go.

But then again, maybe there is.

Like I said in January, I have notes for what I think could be potential ideas for Volumes Eight through Eleven, and right now it's looking like the frontrunners are to make Volumes Eight (the "infrared book") and Nine (the "ultraviolet book") short story anthologies containing "bonus fan material" that would fill in some of the gaps in the main series, with some of the stories from Joel's point of view (after all, his name would still be in the title), while others would be from others' POV (nothing new, the main series has already done that a lot). Then Volume Ten (the "black book") and Eleven (the "white book") would be a duology telling a new, original story set some time in the future. But we shall see!

In the meantime, I'll be turning my attention to other projects, some of which you already know about, like Second Player Score's new album 4-D and the film project Hold My Beer, and others that are still in the gestation stage. As always, stay tuned for updates!

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Talking Baseball With April And Lydia

Editor's note: this interview took place on Thursday, July 13th, the last day of Major League Baseball's All-Star break. So if anything significant with regards to the Seattle Mariners or baseball in general has happened since then - like the Mariners trading for Shohei Ohtani or going on a big winning or losing streak - it will not be reflected here.
B: I'd like to welcome back to the blog our in-house baseball experts and die-hard Seattle Mariners fans April Hayashi and Lydia Sanchez. Welcome, ladies.
L: Hey.
A: Hello.
B: First of all, I'd like to apologize for not having you on back in March for our usual season preview.
A: No worries.
L: Eh, whatever.
B: Anyway, how was the All-Star break for you two? Having the game and the draft and everything in Seattle must have been great.
A: Oh, it was amazing.
L: It was cool, except downtown was soooo crowded.
B: Were you able to attend the game?
A: Unfortunately, no.
L: We watched it on our couch.
B: Oh, well. What did you think of the crowd chanting "Come to Seattle" to Ohtani?
L: That was awesome.
A: And the fact that he said some nice things about the city and that he actually lived here for a while was good to hear.
B: Do you think he might actually sign with the M's?
A: As much as I would love that, no.
L: Hey, what happened to hope?
A: Well, I'm not completely giving up on the idea, but the Dodgers just make too much sense as a fit.
B: How so?
A: They're consistently in contention, and he's said that winning is the most important consideration. Then if you add to that the fact that they can afford to outbid just about everyone else, and that he would be able to stay in L.A., it just makes the most sense.
B: I guess also not to mention that he would avoid the awkwardness of going to a division rival, as well as having the opportunity to be only the second player ever to win league MVP in both the AL and NL.
L: And maybe the first to win multiple MVPs, depending on what happens this year.
B: Ah, true.
A: Yeah, so I'll say 80% he signs with the Dodgers, 10% he resigns with the Angels, and 3.33% each for the Giants, Mariners, and Padres.
L: I'm gonna think positive and say he comes here. I mean, can you imagine having him, Castillo, Kirby, Logan Gilbert, and Ray in the same rotation? With Marco, Miller and Woo as depth?
B: That brings me to my next question. What do you think the M's are going to do before the trade deadline? I've heard lots of discussion about them trading from their pitching depth to shore up the offense.
A: I'm actually not so sure about that.
B: Really? Why?
A: I don't think the pitching is as deep as it seems. Robbie Ray will be out until probably the middle of next year. They'll have to shut down Woo early at some point. And who knows when Marco is coming back. So the team might find themselves come late August with just four starters. If anything, I think they'll actually try to trade for a rental starter, someone who can eat up some innings with at least an average level of performance.
L: All the more reason they should sell out for Ohtani in the offseason. Come on, Stanton, do it!
B: Don't they need more offense, though?
A: The next couple of weeks should determine that. We'll see if Mike Ford can keep up what he's doing at DH.
L: And I mean, besides, if they bring in a new position player, someone will have to go to the bench or get cut. And if Ford is still holding his own - the dude has the highest OPS of anyone on the team - who else would you displace? The Caballero/Wong platoon? Maybe, but good luck finding a big bat second baseman on the trade market.
B: Fair enough. On another subject, what did you folks think about the M's draft?
A: I liked it.
L: Me too. Some high-upside young hitters backed up by a bunch of college pitchers that the development people should be able to turn into serviceable arms.
B: I guess that about covers it. Thanks for coming in. Any early Word Series predictions at this point?
A: To say Tampa versus Atlanta might be too obvious at this point, so I'll go... Baltimore versus Cincinnati.
B: Hmm, interesting. Lydia?
L: Mariners over whoever, baby! Wooo! Go M's!

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Volume Seven Sneak Peek

In case you haven't heard, Joel Suzuki, Volume Seven: Vision of the Virtuoso is coming out next Monday!
And so, I figured I'd give readers a short sneak peek (WARNING: spoilers for Volumes Six and Seven to follow). 

If you've been following along, then you know that at the end of Volume Six, Joel and Marshall simultaneously attained omnipotence, a state that - because of the paradoxical nature of having two all-powerful beings at once - essentially broke reality. And so, the beginning of Volume Seven features Joel and Marshall wandering through weird scenarios that don't seem related to anything else (although some plot points are established that will be important later). My intention was not only to show the effect of reality breaking down, but also to have the first few chapters read almost like a mini-anthology of surreal short stories - in fact, the first three chapters are homages to three of my favorite surreal fiction authors/books. If you can figure out who and which ones they are, let me know and I'll send you a prize!

Anyway, here's the sneak peek:

Chapter One

Joel awoke feeling like he'd just had the scariest nightmare ever but wasn't able to remember any of it. The room - his room - was dark, with only the faintest slivers of sunlight filtering between his window curtains. Lying in bed on his back, he glanced over at the digital alarm clock on his nightstand. 8:42 a.m., it read.
   Oh no! I'm going to be late for school!
   He shot up - or tried to, anyway. His body was much heavier than he remembered. The effort to sit bolt upright resulted only in his head raising off his pillow. From this vantage point, he saw that his body, not covered by any blankets, was that of a scaly reptilian humanoid with three arms and three legs. His face had an elongated snout, like that of an alligator.
   What the heck?
   Starting to panic, he squeezed his eyes shut.
   This is a dream, he told himself. It has to be. A continuation of whatever nightmare I was having. Any moment now, I'll wake up for real, open my eyes, and everything will be normal.
   He counted to three, then opened his eyes. He looked down at himself. Nothing had changed. He was still a reptile.
   He glanced around his room. Everything looked normal enough, with his black Gibson Les Paul guitar on its stand near his bed and his computer on the desk across from him. One thing caught his attention, however: the calendar on his wall ("Sixteen Months of Star Trek") was set to July 2023. This was significant to him for two reasons: (1) it was summer, apparently, so he wasn't going to be late for school after all, and (2) he distinctly remembered the year as being 2013, not 2023.
   Okay, something really weird has happened.

And there you have it! Hope to see you at the launch party!

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Secret Recording Project!

Fresh off Second Player Score's first show at Dante's, we went into the studio - the new digs of our pal Chris Hahn from Zomie Media and Old Cross, to be specific - to work on a special recording project unrelated to our upcoming release, 4-D.
What kind of special recording project, you ask? Well, like the title of the blog post says, it's a secret! You'll just have to wait until it debuts next month, at time and place to be announced. In the meantime, enjoy these photos:
(Editor's note: enterprising readers might be able to make educated guesses about the nature of the project by examining these pictures closely)