Focus Like a Jedi

September 3, 2017

Having hobbies is a great thing. If not for hobbies, what would we do with our spare time? Clean the house?!

Way back when I was 13, my brother and I got a game called Hero Quest for Christmas. It wasn’t your average board game. It had a campaign feature, lots of interactivity, and an ever-changing game board. Neat!

That love of gaming carried over into my freshman year when not only did I get into this new thing called collectible card games, but a few friends introduced me to role-playing games. I mean, I knew what they were, but didn’t have anyone to enjoy them with.

I never looked back, despite a few years of not doing much.

So for the past few years, I’d been out of gaming pretty big time. I wanted something new that I could play, not waste a lot of money on, and actually enjoy with a community of others. Last October, I found my game.

Star Wars Destiny, a new collectible card game from Fantasy Flight Games. My relationship with FFG is long and varied, but I can always count on them to make quality games. This was no exception.

I’ve been into the game pretty hardcore since it came out. Due to a lack of funds and time, I haven’t been able to go to any of the big, major tournaments, but that should change next year. What’s cool is, there’s a new set coming out in two weeks!

It’s been killing me. Specifically, my writing.

Okay, not that much. But I recently made my master list, and I’ve been following it pretty good. Editing, mostly, but things are getting done. I’m happy! It’s a lot better than sitting around and not doing it.

The worst thing is, I’ve been paying a lot of attention to the new cards from the upcoming Star Wars set. More than I should be.

It’s okay, though. This excitement lasts a few days, then dies down, and I’m back to the grind. In fact, as I write this, it’s a three-day weekend for me. What time I have to myself (which is most of it), I can do pretty much anything I want, which again is mostly editing.

However, I did come up with a new story idea the other day. Why?! I’m trying to finish a novel here!

I just need to promise myself to keep working on this. Star Wars is awesome, and I’m super excited about it! But it’s killing me to have to wait. That’s good, though—it isn’t going anywhere.

And neither am I. But the chance to get my writing back on track and have things where they need to be is. Time to keep it moving. Time to put the cards aside for the weekend, and focus. Like a Jedi.

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Expanding the Universe

May 22, 2017

Like many fine people on this varied planet of ours, I love Star Wars. In fact, being born in 1980, I’ve been a fan for pretty much my entire life. I got a little burned out in the mid-late 90’s, but things have redeemed themselves, and I’m happy with what’s available.

There are many games available, including a collectible card game from FFG—Star Wars Destiny. A great game! I love it and am always coming up with new decks and itching to play.

Also available? Stories. Right now, comic books are hot, and it’s good to see that the hobby and art form are doing so well. Marvel has a great series going with the Star Wars comics, and they’re telling stories for some of the best characters—a Lando Calrissian series is set to debut later this year, and there will be a Captain Phasma limited series as well. Poe Dameron, my personal favorite, has his own ongoing series too.

But they aren’t doing fiction like they used to. There is of course Star Wars Insider, and sure, there are novels coming out, and thankfully they aren’t going into the ridiculous areas that the old Expanded Universe book did in the 90’s. (It’s funny because I used to love those trilogies, but looking back now I can’t understand why I was so into them—they’re terrible!) One thing they used to have was the Star Wars Adventure Journal, a great inclusion in the meta.

Geared more towards the role-playing game by West End Games, it contained new campaign ideas and characters for the table-top game, but also had short fiction. One of my first attempts at getting published was with this book, released every few months like a magazine (but man, that thing was thicker than most novels!).

Some of the fiction was great. Stories of random characters not in the movies, people that did dirty work or had crazy things happen to them, all within the realms of Star Wars. In fact, Rogue One seemed like a story that could have come from there, whether or not it was so closely attached to the first movie.

The stories behind the stories.

Why aren’t they doing anything like this anymore? Or am I just missing it?

Not just because I want to write Star Wars stories (well, I could, but I don’t do fan fiction, and I’d love to have these get out there somehow), but I’d love to read some as well. Narrative vignettes of random people, somehow doing something involved in what you see in the movies, or a far-off backwater world with smugglers getting in a shoot-out with Stormtroopers…tons of things that could happen.

What do you say? Would anyone else want to see something like this? Do you know of something like this right now?

At the very least, maybe I could contact Disney/Lucasfilm themselves and start begging. We could even do a petition for it. I hope you’d sign in.

I’m serious.

Rogue One

January 16, 2017

I wrote this a few weeks ago, but it goes beyond simply talking about the plot and fun stuff of the latest Star Wars movie, and more into writerly motivations and musings, but still, please stop reading if you don’t want spoilers. That’s right: SPOILER ALERT!

I’ve always loved Star Wars. In fact, it’s what inspired me to become a writer. Back in 1994 I was reading Kevin J. Anderson’s Jedi Academy trilogy, and loved every minute of it. I know a lot of people have given some horrid reviews of the 90’s era Star Wars novels, and I’m sure if I went back after 20+ years and reread them, I’d agree. But hey, I was 14 and thirsty for anything Star Wars related.

I loved the role playing game by West End Games and drove my friends insane begging them to play it with me. We had fun, but it was no AD&D Second Edition. One of the coolest parts of that game was the digest with new scenarios and characters and fiction. One night while flipping through, I saw at the front of the book submission information…and decided I’d write a story.

It lasted all of one page and I gave up after a week.

Regardless, I will always and forever love Star Wars.

So it’s no surprise that I loved Rogue One!

What a great, gritty story. Hopeful, but intense as hell at the same time. And from a writer’s point of view, incredible characters.

I felt like I knew enough about all of them to care. They had their motivations, their strengths and weaknesses, and their own story arcs. Sadly enough, they all died, but not surprisingly. Some went out in a blaze of glory, and others had the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Which brings me to my only complaint about the movie: Baze Malbus.

Going into this film, I loved the look of this guy. Big, heavy weapons, a gritty appearance, and the faithful companion to his oldest friend. I was not disappointed in the movie at all, as they did an excellent job with his character. Except for his death…

They could have done a better job giving him a reason for it. His friend died, and ran out into an active firefight to check on him, took out a few enemy troops, and then died in an explosion. It really accomplished nothing. Like I said, I know that in real life, these things happen, but why did he have to be so mindless about it?

As a writer, I’m taught that things need to happen for a reason. There needs to be a motive, a purpose, something that makes a man do what he’s doing. So why couldn’t they have him just get enraged and charge the battlefield, taking out as many guys as he could along the way? Why not have him jump onto a troop transport swarming with enemy troops and pull a grenade, taking out himself and everyone else, thus securing a safe passage for the other characters?

It bugged me, and still does. I know it can’t change, but it makes me realize that when I write something, I’ll need to follow these rules or guidelines so that no one is scratching their heads.

However, at the end of the movie, everything was redeemed. The last five minutes were more amazing than anything I think I’ve ever seen in a movie.

Darth Vader, mowing down an entire platoon of Rebel troops like it was nothing? Fuck yeah! Lightsaber in one hand and the Dark Side in his other (seriously, it showed him waving his hand and fist to fight these guys), he plowed down that corridor and tore through those men. I know he’s the bad guy and all, but shit…I wanted to see him win just out of general principle.

I will study that scene. I will write my own version of it. It will become my go-to for any and all action scenes I write, now and forever more.

Well, maybe not all of them. But most of them. And nothing will be as awesome as that.

So close I can taste it

December 17, 2016

As we (here in Ohio, at least) delve into colder temperatures and stupid snow all over the place, I suddenly have a lot of free time. My day job is centered around selling building supplies to contractors (and the occasional clueless homeowner…seriously, are there any homeowners out there that actually know how to fix their house without making it worse?!), we are experiencing a lack of business.

This has been beneficial for me personally, because I can get a lot of stuff done that otherwise I’d have to squeeze in somehow–especially with Rogue One this weekend! I hate to plan my life around movies, but c’mon, Star Wars!!!

Ahem. Anyway…

I’ve talked about my novel, In the Pale Moonlight, several times over the years. It’s been a long time coming, specifically because I’ve taken a long, long time with it. Mostly, it was laziness. I’d write a lot, put it aside for “a week or two” and several months later I’d get back to it. Even after it was done, I putted around with editing it, but ultimately, got it all done.

So my attempts to get it accepted by an agent were met with either stock rejections or silence. It won’t keep me down, however, and I declared loud and clear that I was going to self-publish it. There’s so many free programs online that hey, this can’t be that hard, right?

Wrong! It’s so much work that other people would typically do for me had this been accepted by an actual publisher. It’s okay, I’ve learned a lot about it, and also about myself.

For starters, I really make a lot of typos. I mean, not as many as some people I know (every other word, like seriously!), but I’ll gloss over a word or two here and there. Not to mention, there’s a lot of sloppy writing in there. So I decided to go through the book just to make sure there weren’t any major issues, figuring it would take a day or two.

Two weeks later, I came out with a new draft of the book. Typos fixed, grammatical errors taken care of, and awkward sentences rewritten, it’s got a fresh sheen on it that no one can take away from me.

As far as I’m concerned, the book is good to go!

All I need to do is format it (well, finish formatting it, I’m almost done) for Smashwords and Amazon and whatever programs I plan on putting it on. I also have to finalize cover art, which is much more difficult than you’d think. I know, I know, you have a program or website or this and that and I need to check it out right now! I’ve seen all of them, tried them all, etc. I have something in mind and it isn’t as easy as you want it to be.

Finally, I need a release date. Do I plan it a month in advance, so I can promote it? Two weeks? Two months? Six months? I don’t know…and I’m worried that I won’t give myself enough time to prepare. Not to mention, I’ve got to start worrying about marketing and promotions for it…

Ugh. It will (hopefully!) pay off in the end. Not that I’m looking for a huge payday–I’d love to be able to pay off my car, my credit cards, my student loans, or anything else, but let’s be honest: am I going to be a millionaire from this?

Nope. But my book will be published and available for one and all. In the end, that’s all I can hope for.

Wish me luck–I’m oh so close!

It’s the life

October 12, 2015

There is so much going on right now. In fact, I probably shouldn’t be writing this blog, but how else would you know what is going on in the wide world of Myke Edwards?

Books! I’ve been reading lately, more than I have been. It feels good to lay back every night before bed and read for an hour or so. Mostly to unwind and prepare myself to ease into bed and sleep, but also because hey, reading is what I do. For some reason I didn’t read as much as I should have this summer, but it’s okay. We’ve all been there.

“Transhuman” by Ben Bova was a random selection. I went to the library to drop off something and decided to check out the sci-fi section because, why not? Ben’s name caught my eye and I checked out the book…not bad. An interesting story, definitely, but I’ve got to say that Ben breaks a lot of “rules” in writing. As someone who has had it drilled into him and every orifice you can imagine on how to properly craft a sentence, it is disarming to say the least when you read a book (published by an actual publisher, no less) that has a lot of these “sloppy mistakes” in it.

But I digress. It’s the story we should be concerned with, hmm? I didn’t want to put it down at times. Ben created characters and a plot I actually gave a shit about, and wanted to read. I stayed up a bit late some nights while reading, but it was worth it. Definitely check it out. While some characters and small events within the story are cliché as hell and rather predictable, it’s still great.

Interesting thing, about me. I’d never read anything by Ben Bova. His name was one that I’d known since high school (way back in the 1990’s!), and someone I’d always planned on reading. His book “Mars” was high up on my list, but for some reason, I never read it. It’s back on my list now, so hopefully I get around to it. I guess I was so enamored with Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy that I had enough Mars for one person. Whatever the case, I’m looking forward to it.

These past few weeks I’ve been reading some of the new Star Wars books. Again, the writing is sloppy but the stories are…okay. I can’t argue because some of them are for little kids, and I guess the thought is that kids will eat up anything with the Star Wars logo on it. They’re supposed to have clues leading into the new Force Awakens movie, but I can’t imagine what they are. Maybe characters, maybe a mention, or maybe nothing! Maybe they just said that so you buy it!

Well, I didn’t. Thank Glob for the library.

Lately, I’ve been dying to read some Conan stories. Naturally, I want to read the ones I don’t have at the moment…

Ugh. Anyway…

Other stuff! So I mentioned that my editor was done with “In the Pale Moonlight” and I’ve finally got my novel back! I went through it and cleaned it up a little, and poof! As far as I’m concerned, it’s done. Now I just need to get off my ass and get it sent out to agents! Then, hopefully, the good stuff.

That will let me get “The Third Tower” finished, as well as all the other books I plan to write. In fact, just the other day I got an idea for a new novel that’s making my eyes water. I’m sure you’ll all love it.

Also, there’s a contest story I need to get around to writing soon! It’s due in a few weeks, so what am I yapping away on here about?

Not to mention all the stories I need to edit and workshop and submit and everything else…

Sigh. Too much to do. Would I have it any other way? It’s the life!