Friday, August 31, 2012


Earlier today, Paragon Studios announced they were shutting down, and taking their massively-multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) "City of Heroes" with them.  This will be done before the end of the year.

This announcement has had a big effect on me.

In a previous interview, I stated that I counted video games among my influences on writing.  The main video game that has helped my creative process since I began writing my own adventures was "City of Heroes".  The game allowed players to create their own characters, design their costumes, designate their powers, etc., then turns them loose in a shared "world" with other players with its own enemies, ongoing storylines, etc.

The game was a lot of fun, but more than that it helped me to create.  I began playing the game shortly after I began writing "The Isle of Blood", way back in 2008 (maybe even 2007?), and it helped me to crystalize the look of my characters, as well as design quite a few that haven't turned up yet but will hopefully do so in the future.  Beyond that, it helped me brainstorm on other projects.  Finally, it let me "step into the shoes" of my heroes and play as them, which was a very cool feeling.

Beyond these reasons, there were others that made my time playing "City of Heroes" important to me: I frequently played the game alongside my friends Manny and Gabriel, and it's a neat feeling leading your hero into combat next to your friends.  My wife started playing the game for a while too, and that was a terrific experience as the two of us had a good time creating characters and beating down the bad guys together.  We were playing CoH the night my father passed away from cancer, and after the initial crying had died down, we played for a while longer.  It was a great comfort that night, especially knowing the true shock would lay into me when I woke up the next day.

I know it's just a game, but nonetheless it's a game that was a big part of my life, and Challenger Storm wouldn't be what it is without the influence of "City of Heroes".  I will miss it and all the fun and enjoyment that came from it.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Blowing the Dust Off...

Things have been rather quiet for me here lately since the announcement regarding "The Curse of Poseidon".  I'm currently making preparations to work on a short story for a forthcoming anthology, but I don't think I can discuss it too much right now.  It's going to be interesting to write about characters that aren't my own, though.  I'll keep you posted about that.

Meanwhile, I've also begun work on the third Challenger Storm novel.  As I've mentioned before, the title is "White Hell".  Basically, this story could also be called "Storm at the Mountains of Madness", so that should clue you in on what's going down in that tale.  The details are being ironed out, but I have a feeling once it starts, this thing is gonna snowball (pardon the pun).  It should be epic, and a blast to write.  After that, I have some ideas where Storm will be headed in the future: Egypt, some adventuring at home in Miami, off to the mysterious (and fictional) country of Altaveria... I have a list of story ideas that just keeps growing.  And then of course there's a few other projects that I want to get off the ground too...

In the meantime, I've been considering what I could do to keep this blog active as I continue to plod along at my snails-pace while writing.  I mentioned this on Facebook and got some suggestions back from a few friends:

-Behind-the-scenes details on Challenger Storm's gear, gadgets, tools, etc.

-A look at the MARDL compound: one friend even suggested a cut-away illustration of the compound's buildings, etc.  This would be great, but I don't think I could drum up the art for this.

-A file-type post dedicated to each member of the MARDL troubleshooters.

-I considered doing a few short-story type of entries showing how Storm met each member of his adventuring crew.

Finding the time to do stuff like this can be tricky, but dangit: I need something to give this place life.  I'd post every day if I could, but unfortunately I don't think I've got it in me.  And so, fans, friends, and casual readers: what do you think I could do to liven this place up a little bit?  I'm open to suggestions, and actually encourage them... this place gets a little dusty sometimes and it's nice to blow the dust off and do something with the ol' blog, y'know?