Thursday, April 30, 2009

Small Press Idol & Faction - Why it's cool

You know, I love the competition this year... Not only do we have some serious talent in the pool this time around (seriously, a TON), but a lot of us are becoming friends and even talking about working on projects together at some point. It sounds cheesy, I know, because if you watch things like American Idol, you hear the people on the show talking about being such great friends and you think to yourself, "God they're so fake!" I believe them now, though. There are always going to be competitors who are there for the "game", don't want to mess with the other contestants, etc, but it doesn't always seem to be the case. Take this year, for example, on American Idol... The contestants all really seem chummy.

Small Press Idol is like that this year. Everyone wants to win, of course, why wouldn't they, but no one is consumed with it to the point that they can't say "hi", give someone a pat on the back for a job well done, be a sounding board, or whatever. I like that! Maybe I read something wrong, but it seemed like half the point of the competition besides making a great book and marketing the hell out of it IS to network, mingle, and make friends. Long term, these are all people who could end up in the industry. Why not make friends with them now? Remy, from WhereMonstersDwell.ca, made a comment to me last week after I was on their show when I asked him if they "adopted" me or something (joking of course). He said (paraphrasing) basically that it's easier to make connections with someone before their boat has left the dock, right? Exactly! You never know if the person on the other side of that email, PM, IM, etc is going to be your next writer, artist, editor, or "in" to another great opportunity. As it is, I'm trying to help out those I think I can if opportunities come up (a couple have already)...

So, what spawned this ramble? Well, last night Michael Nelson AKA the artist for the Associate, another SPI entry, posted the below picture in the Faction Round 2 forum with a comment, "And a lil' piece of fan art I whipped up to symbolize the team spirit we all have here in this competition! Everybody here has been super cool and Erik and KT are kicking some serious butt with getting out the vote! That's great for them, but also brings tons of traffic here to see all of our other projects as well. Thanks to Team Faction, and all the other competitors; you've all made this competition a whole lot of fun!"



If that doesn't encompass what I'm talking about, I don't know what does... Kick ass image, though, isn't it?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Script - Just a Cup of Coffee

I was asked the other day for a script submission for an anthology from Jim Main (Main Enterprises), so I wrote this one up... Idea popped in my head on Sunday night and I wrote it on Monday. It got the stamp of approval, but not for the originally intended anthology. This is too, um... vulgar for the original intended anthology. Oops! It should appear at some point in the SATYR Anthology. Roger Wilbanks might be doing the art on this one... If he says yes anyway. :P

Enjoy and be warned... there are cuss words... Oh my GOD!

PAGE ONE (Three Panels)

Panel 1. Group of six guys sitting around a poker table. Scattered around beneath their cards and chips are bottles of various sorts (hard liquor) and cans of cheep beer plus blue prints for a bank of some sort with areas circled in red marker, such as the vault, paths to the vault, spots where a security guard stands, etc… All of the men look like they need a shower and a shave and are a couple of drinks past being able to stumble home effectively. Our protagonist, Jamie, is facing us, cards held up so no one can see them, looking across at the dealer with a poker face, at least as great a poker face as someone as drunk as he is can manage. He’s in his mid-thirties, mousy brown hair, scruffy growth of beard that would look fine if he had bothered to shave the scruff beneath his neck, too. He’s wearing layers of clothes to protect himself from the chill of the room, a flannel shirt buttoned up, wind breaker over that, and a thick worker coat over that (looks similar to a flannel shirt, but thicker and has padding beneath). The others are dressed similarly, but each looks a different shade of desperation. Pauly is to Jamie’s right and Kent is to his left on the panel. Of the others, we only see their hands and cards. Across from Jaime, the hands are holding a full house.

Caption:
You ever have one of those days? Last night was no biggie, hangin’ out with the boys, playin’ cards, an’ shootin’ the breeze. Just like a ton of other times.

Panel 2. Angled shot so we see Jamie’s face from the side, proud of himself as he puts two pair down on the table, confident he’s won the hand. Around the table, except for Carlos, sitting across from him, everyone is ticked, and throwing their hands down on the table. Carlos, on the other hand, looks proud of himself.

JAMIE:
Read ‘em and weep, fellas!

Caption:
Me an’ the boys, we had this bright idea. Let’s help plan the perfect heist. Got the blue prints, cased the joint, yadda yadda yadda. Perfect in every way, so we decided to celebrate.

Panel 3. Carlos, smirk on his face, slams down his full house and we see Jamie’s face, cursing at the loss.

CARLOS:
Not so fast, Jamie-boy. Pony up!

JAMIE:
You a card shark in your last life, Carlos?

CARLOS:
No, I just got the touch, man.

JAMIE:
Uh huh…

CARLOS:
Who gives a shit, man, we’ll be rollin’ in it tomorrow, anyway.

CAPTION:
Actually, none of us gave a shit, but goin’ home broke wasn’t the best way to end the night.

PAGE TWO (Five Panels)

Panel 1. Jamie stumbling down the street, walking with Pauly and Kent, all in the same state, laughing and holding cans of beer.

KENT (singing):
If I was a rich man, rich man, very very rich…

CAPTION:
Pauly, Kent, an’ me, we went way back. Well, we used to kick the crap outta Kent, but when he gave Pauly a shiner one day, we decided he was all right.

Panel 2. The three of them further down the street, Jamie facing a wall, peeing, blocked by Pauly and Kent, who are facing us, watching for cops.

CAPTION:
We watched out for each other. When Pauly got wind of this gig, he told that douche-bag Carlos to bring us in.

Panel 3. Jamie walking towards us, peace sign held up towards his friends, who are trailing behind him.

JAMIE:
Later boys!

PAULY:
2 o’clock, Jamie, don’t forget.

JAMIE:
You’re gonna call me three times before then, Pauly, how can I forget?

CAPTION:
When was it, 2, 3 in the morning? Hell, I didn’t care, Candie was probably dead to the world anyway.

Panel 4. Jamie walking away from us, stumbling one way.

CAPTION:
Man, I was piss drunk.

Panel 5. Jamie walking away from us, stumbling another way.

CAPTION:
I was real pissed. Shoulda stopped a six pack ago. Heh, didn’t care, though… usually didn’t.

PAGE THREE (Five Panels)

Panel 1. Jamie, whistling, messing with the key to his front door, view from the side. House doesn’t look too bad from this angle, just a bit small. Above and beyond him, we see a metro track of some sort, nothing running at the moment.

Panel 2. Jamie stumbling towards us, door closed now. He’s fumbling in the dark with his jacket, dropping it on the ground.

Panel 3. View from the corner of the bed, Candie’s side, looking towards the door as Jamie comes in the room. He’s wearing just his boxers and socks, large polka dots on his white boxers. He has a couple of prison tattoos, one on his upper arm, a serpent of some sort and one on his right pec, a skull with a knife through it. Candie’s face is visible turned towards us (not visible to him), eyes open, face looking enraged. She’s pretty despite the rage.

CAPTION:
Seein’ Candie layin’ there had me thinkin’ maybe I could do right by her for once. Maybe this would be the score.

Panel 4. View from the opposite corner of the bed looking towards Candie and Jamie. Jamie is getting into bed, a slight grin on his face, reaching towards his wife.

CANDIE:
Don’t even think about it, you drunk prick.

JAMIE:
I wasn’t gonna do nothin’.

CANDIE:
Uh huh… Well, you keep your friend to yourself, James, get your ass to sleep and sober up.

CAPTION:
Always hated it when she called me that. Next time, I figured I’d be quieter, stealth-like.

Panel 5. Jamie on his back, hands under his head looking up at us, eyes open, the grin still on his face.

CAPTION:
As I went to sleep last night, I had dollar signs goin’ through my head. Dollar signs an’ the look on Candie’s face when I brought it home.

Panel 6. Similar view, but Jamie turned slightly, drool coming out of his face, sheets messed up, looking like he’s been sleeping for hours. Light is coming in through the blinds slightly.

CAPTION:
Oh the dreams last night… Always loved my wife and, you know, had lots of good dreams about her. She was a stripper once, ya know? Used to tips. Well, I got a big one comin’, Candie, I thought.

PAGE FOUR (Six Panels)

Panel 1. View of the metro tracks close to the house, everything vibrating from the noise as the train pounds over the tracks.

SFX:
CHOOMCHOOMCHOOMCHOOM!!!

CAPTION:
You ever get one of those headaches when you wake up a little hung over an’ don’t need nothin’ but a cut of coffee?

Panel 2. View of Jamie’s face, lying against the bed looking towards us. Beyond him we can see light from outside the window shining in. His eyes are bloodshot, his face needs a shave, he most definitely has a hangover.

JAMIE:
Shit.

CAPTION:
God, this is one of those days if Candie was here she’d let me have it.

Panel 3. Jamie getting out of bed. The opposite side has been straightened and Candie is long gone.

CAPTION:
Why did you have to buy the damned house by the tracks? Fifty fuckin’ k, Candie, that’s why!

Panel 4. Jamie, wearing clothes similar to the day before, but a sweat jacket with a hood somewhere in the layers, too, stumbling down the cramped hallway, lit cigarette in one hand, wadded up empty wrapper from some generic cigarettes dropping from his other hand onto the ground.

CAPTION:
All I could think of was just how much I wanted a damn cup of coffee.

Panel 5. Jamie walking into the small kitchen. We see a coffee pot in the center of the counter with a pale yellow post it note on it, writing too small to see from here. Immediately to the left of Jamie is a small table with a pile of bills on it, “PAST DUE”, “FINAL NOTICE”, etc…

CAPTION:
Don’t need no frapawhatsitsfuck, just black. Throw in some grains, I don’t care, just gimme the damned coffee.

Panel 6. Hand lifting up the empty coffee pot with a post it on it that reads in pretty woman’s writing, “Get more coffee if you can get off your lazy ass long enough to do it.”

JAMIE (OP):
Shit again…

CAPTION:
She had a talent, you know, for writin’ stuff in that pretty scrawl that was just plain fuckin’ mean... So much for that.

PAGE FIVE (Five Panels)

Panel 1. Jamie walking towards us down the sidewalk tossing the last of his cigarette on the ground nonchalantly. His hood is up and smoke is coming out of his mouth from the cigarette and the cold.

CAPTION:
Figured I’d just head to the store, grab some cigs, some coffee, and a candy bar. That’ll do me, I thought.

Panel 2. Jamie standing at the counter in a 7-11 type store. A short Hispanic man is helping him but handing his credit card back to him. A pile of candy bars, pack of generic cigarettes and a steaming cup of coffee are sitting in front of him on the counter. Jamie looks disgusted and the Hispanic man looks apologetic.

CLERK:
Sorry man, your card was declined.

JAMIE:
Hold on a sec, I’ve got some --

CAPTION:
Then I remembered the night before.

Panel 3. View from Jamie’s POV looking across the poker table at Carlos as he hoards his winnings from their final hand last night.

CAPTION:
God damned Carlos, that snake.

Panel 4. Clerk pulling the goods towards him like Carlos pulled the money towards him in the previous panel.

CLERK:
Sorry, sir, I’m going to have to ask you to leave.

CAPTION:
What was he gonna do, stop me from taking a fuckin’ cup of coffee?

Panel 5. View from behind Jamie, his hand in the back of his pants pulling out a pistol, yelling at the clerk and pointing with his other hand.

JAMIE (yelling):
You’re sorry! I just want a fuckin’ cup of coffee! You’re gonna be--

PAGE SIX (Five Panels)

Panel 1. View from the clerk’s POV looking towards the door. Jamie, standing in front of him, is still pointing, but he’s glancing over his shoulder towards the door. Kent is sticking his head in, calling to Jamie.

KENT:
Come on, man, Carlos’s here.

CAPTION:
That clerk was one lucky son of a bitch. I was gonna do it!

Panel 2. View from outside the convenience store. A late 70’s model car, built like a tank and big enough to hold six with room in back is sitting out front. We’re looking towards the store as Jamie walks out to join the guys. Kent and Pauly are outside the car waiting, while Carlos and the other two guys are in the car. Carlos is in the passengers side up front glancing out at Jamie.

JAMIE:
I was gettin’ a cup of coffee, man.

KENT:
Plenty of time for coffee later, Jamie.

CAPTION:
That headache, though, uhhhh… they just didn’t get it.

Panel 3. Guys in the car all talking. Jamie is in the back, crunches between two other guys. View from the back looking forward. Carlos, in the passenger seat, turned back looking at everyone, hand holding a ski mask. Several other ski masks are laying around, too, as well are a couple of pistols, a submachine gun, and an assault rifle.

CARLOS:
You got your parts down?

KENT:
Yeah, how hard can it be? Get in, pull guns, take money.

CARLOS:
Shit like that gets you killed, man. Be serious.

KENT:
I’m serious.

CARLOS:
Whatever.

CAPTION:
Once we got in the car it was all business. We were all mouthy ass-holes, but no fuckin’ around with a gun, you know?

Panel 4. View from the front hood looking in. The guys in the back are pulling on ski masks. Carlos is facing forward, ski mask already on, checking the bolt on his submachine gun. Jamie has his ski mask half way over his head and is mouthing something off.

JAMIE:
And you sure he’s not gonna show?

SFX:
CLICK-CLACK!

CARLOS:
Nah man, I heard on the street Dedicator was after him.

JAMIE:
What kinda stupid name is dedicator? He gonna give ‘im a valentine?

CAPTION:
Ski mask, check, piece, check, pissin’ my pants, check.

Panel 5. Kent looking back at Jamie, smart-assed look on his face.

KENT:
Heard he slit Augustine’s throat last month. I wouldn’t wanna fuck with him.

JAMIE (small):
Still a stupid fuckin’ name.

CAPTION:
No matter what they tell you, don’t believe ‘em. They say those stupid fuckin’ heroes ain’t gonna show up, they’re full of shit.

PAGE SEVEN (Six Panels)

Panel 1. The bank robbers, masks on, guns in hand, bursting into the bank double doors, view from in the bank a little ways. Security, old, frail looking guy is clutching his chest, already starting to pitch over.

CAPTION:
Didn’t even have the first gun pointed an’ the security guard was keelin’ over, heart attack. What kind of security is that?

Panel 2. Closer view of Carlos from the waist up, brandishing his sub-machine gun, dirty look visible barely beneath the ski mask, hard look in his eyes.

CARLOS (yelling):
YOU KNOW THE DRILL, GET ON THE FUCKIN’ GROUND AND DON’T DO NOTHIN’ STUPID!

CAPTION:
Carlos spent eight years upstate for his last heist. What’s the first thing he does when he gets outta the pen? Plans his next, of course!

Panel 3. Guys in ski masks, getting set up, covering different clusters of people. Carlos and Jamie, Jamie holding his pistol, moving towards the front counter.

CAPTION:
Me, I was already countin’ the money. I was gonna go to the store, and get a pack of cigs.

Panel 4. Jamie facing a teller, gun pointed in her face. She has a panicked look on her face, jaw quivering and tears starting to pool on the corners of her eyes. She has a pleading look on her face.

JAMIE:
Come on, girl, they train you for this shit, get with it.

SFX:
BOOOOOOOOMMMM!!!!

CAPTION:
Not that generic shit, either. I was gonna buy the good stuff, red fuckin’ box. I was gonna get a six pack of beer. I could already taste the shit.

Panel 5. View from behind the teller looking towards Jamie. She’s fumbling with the money and he’s glancing the wrong direction over his shoulder. Over the opposite shoulder one of the crooks is getting knocked out of the way by a blue and red blur of motion about 6’6” tall.

SFX:
BOOOOOOOOMMMM!!!!

JAMIE:
Wha?

CAPTION:
And some coffee so black you gotta use a spoon to get it outta the bottom of the cup. Oh God, and that fuckin’ house. I was gonna burn it to the ground.

Panel 6. View from behind Jamie. He’s grabbing a bag from the teller and swinging towards us.

JAMIE:
Gimme that!

CAPTION:
All of those eager thoughts popped outta my head, though, in a blur of red and blue.

PAGE EIGHT (Five Panels)

Panel 1. View from behind Jamie as he looks up into the eyes of Aeronaut in his red and blue costume, looking intimidating and disapprovingly down upon poor Jamie. You can almost see the “gulp” on his face. Aeronaut wears a stereotypical costume of red and blue with an A integrated into the design, chiseled features, and a mask that covers his head and upper face. No cape, however.

JAMIE (small):
Oh…

AERONAUT:
Uh huh.

CAPTION:
I saw this GOD in front of me, honest to god. Never seen one of ‘em so close before. I knew before he did anything I was fuckin’ toast, man.

Panel 2. Aeronaut grabbing the wrist Jamie is using to hold the loot in his hands. Jamie’s face is too shocked to realize he should be screaming in pain.

Panel 3. Aeronaut picking up Jamie quickly into the air by his wrist, the bag dropping to the ground.

Panel 4. Aeronaut swinging Jamie to the ground hard,

SFX:
BOOOOOOOMMMMMM!!!!

CAPTION:
Somewhere between surprise an’ oblivion I had this thought. Maybe these guys don’t realize we’re not built like them.

Panel 5. Aeronaut pulling Jamie back into the air. It’s obvious several of his bones are already broken and he’s about unconscious. Not easy to tell given how jacked up his face is.

CAPTION:
Then I thought about it again… Maybe they just don’t give a shit.

PAGE NINE (Seven Panels)

Panel 1. Aeronaut chucking Jamie towards the far wall, Jamie’s body limp like its strings were cut.

Panel 2. Jamie smashing into a wall deeper than a human body should be able to, bones and body giving out. It doesn’t kill him, but… he should wish he’s dead.

SFX:
SPLAT!

Panel 3. Black…

CAPTION:
Couldn’t guess how long I was out. Coulda been at the pearly gates for all I knew. Bet they had to shock me. Clear! Clear! Heh heh…

Panel 4. Looking at Jamie in a hospital bed, hooked up to an IV, covered head to toe in bandages, both arms immobilized, one hand’s fingers splayed to keep them separated and healing, attached to wires. One leg is in the air, dangling from a set of wires hanging above the bed. His eyes are closed and the only indication he’s alive is the monitor to his left blipping and showing his stats, a steady pulse.

SFX:
BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!

Panel 5. Close up of Jamie’s face, eyes open, capillary burst in his right eye and bruising visible around the edges. He looks fierce.

CAPTION:
Fuck coffee, I want revenge.

CAPTION:
END

Faction - The Prophesy of Seven

Time to be cryptic...

The Prophesy of Seven

And in the Age of Discovery, the Prophesy will see that the direction of man will be interrupted. Forces contained will be loosed. Evil, good, and that in between will come anew to draw on man’s fears and claim what was taken before. Seven sources of power will come, calling upon man to destroy, to create, to serve, to watch, to think, to dominate, to consume – all to change.

Horror Mini - Summary of Progress

I haven't given any updates on the horror mini in a while, so I thought I'd go ahead and post the current status of the project. The book was something that from day one I targeted at four issues, plotted it out, brainstormed the heck out of it, created characters, the "world" so to speak (95% takes place at a house), etc, and started scripting. I can say in all honestly that it is my best script to date. I've written a lot since, but my mind still goes back to it. Issue four, the last of it, popped out of my head back in February, so overall I think I was only scripting for about a month or so on this one amongst all of my other projects. Total amongst the four issues, it clocks in a little over 90 pages of intense, character driven, psychological horror. I still need to do a little bit of editing on issues 3 and 4, but both Denman and I believe this is one of those books that when the public gets their hands on it, well... let's just say it will grab their attention. I'm not a hack and slash horror writer, I'd prefer to grab people on a visceral level and put them through something that, I hope, will make them feel when they've finished reading it like they went through the story with the characters, feel for them etc... Here's hoping!

This book was originally what I was going to bring to Small Press Idol with Denman Rooke (the artist), but after discussing it, the nature of the competition would have given away too much of the story before a sequential page was even drawn up, which seemed to defeat the purpose of a book that really needs to be breathed in slowly, not snorted (that sounds sick, doesn't it... hope that made sense). The point stands, though! I think the competition is PERFECT for Faction, but this book would have lost a bit of its punch by giving too much away too soon. So, Denman has been fitting in this book as much as he can given his busy schedule. He's a full time artist, doing everything from web design to commissions AND he's in demand (a good thing and testament to his skills), but, as a result, we haven't gotten quite as far as we'd like by this point. We're still shooting to have a submission package ready by SDCC or before, though!

Anyway, so here's a summary of what we've done so far without giving away plot points.

CHARACTERS










PAGES... Well, I don't think this gives anything away, so I'll go ahead and actually share something! Just ignore the background, but check out the pencils Denman has put out for this puppy... wow! THIS is why I'm working with him.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Faction - Original sketch of Abigail Latton

Here was the first sketch KT threw my way of Abigail Latton.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Faction - Writer on the Radio @ wheremonstersdwell.ca

I know I mentioned it, but I was on the radio last Wednesday evening on a Canadian pop culture show called Where Monsters Dwell, which covers the North East US and South East Canada. Mike and Remy asked me to come on the show to discuss comics, my writing history, Small Press Idol, and my entry, Faction.

The show is now up as a podcast on their Web Site, http://www.wheremonstersdwell.ca, just go over to the right hand side and scroll down, looking for Episode 53. It's a very entertaining show and worth a listen, so pop over and download it.

To make things easier, here's the direct link to the podcast:
http://www.shorestreet.com/~brew/MikeRemy/podcast/Show-53-April-22-2009.mp3

Faction - Early Bio of Gabriel Hartmann

Another installment in FF (Faction Facts)...

I wanted to share another image KT did for me back when we first started discussing Faction together. In fact, there is a very good possibility that KT didn't even know that book would be called Faction or details of the story at this point. I have a history (albeit short) of putting artists through a little bit of a trial before I give them details on the story. It protects my ideas and why tell a bunch of people about your ideas who might not work out? Once I saw KT's sketches, though, based on my words I was floored. There is something very organic about his style that I love. If you haven't already done so, you should check out his blog ~ http://ktgravattortfolio.blogspot.com/

Now, keep in mind that there's a bit more to his character, but I thought I'd go ahead and share that original bio I sent to him... Also, this is from before we considered joining in SPI! This image I received from him on Jan 23rd... It was on Feb 6th when we started talking about working on SPI together. I had, however, considered another book as an entry a few weeks prior, but it didn't work out with that one (book didn't mesh well with the contest criteria and would have given away too much of the plot).

GABRIEL HARTMANN - Gabriel Hartmann – African (as in from Africa), shaved head and clean shaven. 32 Years old, 6'7" tall, 300 lbs of solid muscle. Blocky but handsome face (wider than Acker). He has one pale scar on the left side of his neck where someone tried to slit his throat a handful of years earlier. In his youth he was in the front lines in his country defending his people in a smalle village deep in Nigeria. He has a kindness in his eyes despite his history, but he is unyielding in his wrath if incurred. He is a master of dozens of weapons, hand to hand, ranged weapons, etc, and is an amazing tactician. He tends to wear loose fitting clothes, white linen pants and simple t-shirts or open necked long sleeve shirts (henleys). When he can get away with it, he has a few weapons within easy reach whether it be a gun or two, throwing knives, or a longer blade.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Faction - Original Sketch of Acker Kinney

Today, Acker gets the spotlight again, but this time it's KT's turn to show us something. Below is the original sketch KT did based on my description of Acker. Notice that he has an arm! What's with that? Well, he wasn't going to be missing the arm initially, but after the events that occur in the zero issue, I couldn't justify keeping him intact. You'll see what I mean. Until then, check out the beauty of his sketch!

Small Press Idol - Current Standings

This seemed to work well yesterday, so I'm trying it again today. :) Check the standings of the competition below and head over and vote for your favorites over at dimestoreproductions.com!

Some big changes going on in the SPI landscape here... The Machine just geared its way past Hometown Heroes. The Unground has unearthed a huge number of votes, joining the White Rose in slipping past haXX0r. Steel Rising, swinging its vorpal sword wildly, pushes past Varsity Squad while Dogman and Lester, inconspicuous in their, well, nothing inconspicuous about a big dog and a guy in a bunny suit, but they got past Project Mercury. Mr. Man, Diary of a Teenage Heroine, Earthman, and Dead Duck are secure in their spots, but projects with more per day votes are climbing the ranks. The Doorknob Society has opened the door to new votes, bringing in an impressive 7 new voters and 29 votes, jumping past Thread of Valor. Quick Draw dashed past Boulder Colorado just to be gobbled up by Dinos, getting votes in the distant past that somehow count now (hmm... ok that was bad). At the lower end of the board, a few projects are determined to not let the line stop them and are bringing in a few new voters per day. Keep at it, guys!

1.) 820 Votes (+44) - 98 Voters ( +2) Faction - Judges Vote: 3 Yes.
2.) 481 Votes (+38) - 111 Voters ( +3) Maddie Scientist - Judges Vote: 2 Yes.
3.) 370 Votes (+31) - 55 Voters ( +7) The Machine - Judges Vote: 2 Yes.
4.) 352 Votes (+18) - 65 Voters ( NC) Hometown Heroes - Judges Vote: 3 Yes.
5.) 331 Votes (+14) - 58 Voters ( +1) The Associate - Judges Vote: 3 Yes.
6.) 329 Votes (+63) - 96 Voters ( NC) The Underground - Judges Vote: 3 Yes.
7.) 274 Votes (+54) - 92 Voters ( +7) The White Rose - Judges Vote: 3 Yes.
8.) 254 Votes (+19) - 58 Voters ( +2) Haxxor - Judges Vote: 3 Yes.
9.) 232 Votes (+34) - 72 Voters ( +7) Steel Rising - Judges Vote: 3 Yes.
10.) 206 Votes (+20) - 49 Voters (2NC) Varsity Squad - Judges Vote: 3 Yes.
11.) 170 Votes (+14) - 36 Voters ( +3) Dogman and Lester - Judges Vote: 2 No.
12.) 162 Votes ( +6) - 29 Voters ( +1) Project Mercury - Judges Vote: 3 Yes.
13.) 159 Votes ( +8) - 45 Voters ( +1) Mr. Man - Judges Vote: 2 Yes.
14.) 126 Votes (+19) - 39 Voters ( +3) Diary of a Teenage Heroine - Judges Vote: 3 Yes.
15.) 116 Votes (+15) - 39 Voters ( +4) Earthman - Judges Vote: 3 Yes.
16.) 91 Votes ( +8) - 27 Voters ( NC) Dead Duck - Judges Vote: 3 Yes.
17.) 84 Votes (+29) - 45 Voters ( +7) The Doorknob Society - Judges Vote: 3 Yes.
18.) 62 Votes (+11) - 21 Voters ( +5) Thread of Valor - Judges Vote: 2 Yes.
19.) 50 Votes (+16) - 28 Voters ( +6) Monsters of Love - Judges Vote: 3 Yes.
20.) 31 Votes (+14) - 17 Voters ( +5) Dinos - Judges Vote: 2 Yes.
*************** *******The Dreaded Line**************** ************
21.) 31 Votes ( +8) - 16 Voters ( +1) Quick Draw - Judges Vote: 2 Yes.
22.) 29 Votes ( +7) - 19 Voters ( +4) Boulder Colorado - Judges Vote: 2 Yes.
23.) 24 Votes (+12) - 17 Voters ( +9) Chaoskind - Judges Vote: 2 No.
24.) 21 Votes ( +7) - 15 Voters ( +4) EAST - Judges Vote: 3 Yes.
25.) 20 Votes ( +7) - 10 Voters ( +1) Nevil Von Dunst - Judges Vote: 2 Yes.
26.) 11 Votes ( +2) - 7 Voters ( NC) APOC: Hel's Kitchen - Judges Vote: 3 Yes
27.) Parahero Will be a Back Up Feature in Mysterious Visions Anthology.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Small Press Idol - Current Standings

I’ve been posting random commentary around in different forums, so I thought I’d go ahead and post it here, too… might as well so you can see how everyone is doing in the competition. Do I want Faction to win? Of course I do! There are a lot of great books in the competition, though, so people should check ‘em out and vote for ones they like… and Faction. (shameless, I know)

Well, if you’ve seen the DimeStore site today, you probably already noticed how things are going with the voting and such. A lot of people are getting in and voting, so go throw your own weight around and vote for your favorites. Faction is still in the top spot, but there are a lot of voters out there determined to have their say! The Machine slipped past Hometown Heroes and the Associate to take the #3 spot. The Underground made another power play and slipped past haXX0r to take the #6. Steel Rising swung their sword and overtook Varsity Squad, bringing in an impressive 39 votes, their highest numbers so far I believe. Dogman and Lester are proving they’re in it for the long haul and slipped like mercury, passing Project Mercury based on their higher number of voters. Of the newest entries in the competition, The Doorknob Society is starting their gradual climb, taking the 17th slot from Thread of Valor and Quick Draw has just rolled by Boulder Colorado. At the bottom of the leader board, it’s still anyone’s game, so get some votes out there to support your favorites so they don’t get cut out of the competition! As you can see by the line, votes make a big difference and are important daily…

1.) 776 Votes (+54) - 96 Voters ( +2) Faction - Judges Vote: 3 Yes.
2.) 443 Votes (+30) - 108 Voters ( +4) Maddie Scientist - Judges Vote: 2 Yes.
3.) 339 Votes (+23) - 48 Voters ( +4) The Machine - Judges Vote: 2 Yes.
4.) 334 Votes (+16) - 65 Voters ( +2) Hometown Heroes - Judges Vote: 3 Yes.
5.) 317 Votes (+20) - 57 Voters ( +1) The Associate - Judges Vote: 3 Yes.
6.) 266 Votes (+63) - 96 Voters ( +9) The Underground - Judges Vote: 3 Yes.
7.) 235 Votes (+20) - 56 Voters ( +1) Haxxor - Judges Vote: 3 Yes.
8.) 220 Votes (+47) - 85 Voters (+12) The White Rose - Judges Vote: 3 Yes.
9.) 198 Votes (+39) - 65 Voters ( +8) Steel Rising - Judges Vote: 3 Yes.
10.) 186 Votes (+21) - 49 Voters ( NC) Varsity Squad - Judges Vote: 3 Yes.
11.) 156 Votes (+16) - 33 Voters ( +1) Dogman and Lester - Judges Vote: 2 No.
12.) 156 Votes (+13) - 28 Voters ( +1) Project Mercury - Judges Vote: 3 Yes.
13.) 151 Votes (+14) - 44 Voters ( +3) Mr. Man - Judges Vote: 2 Yes.
14.) 107 Votes (+16) - 36 Voters ( +4) Diary of a Teenage Heroine - Judges Vote: 3 Yes.
15.) 101 Votes (+14) - 35 Voters ( +1) Earthman - Judges Vote: 3 Yes.
16.) 83 Votes (+10) - 27 Voters ( +1) Dead Duck - Judges Vote: 3 Yes.
17.) 55 Votes (+28) - 38 Voters (+12) The Doorknob Society - Judges Vote: 3 Yes.
18.) 51 Votes ( +7) - 16 Voters ( +1) Thread of Valor - Judges Vote: 2 Yes.
19.) 34 Votes (+19) - 22 Voters ( +9) Monsters of Love - Judges Vote: 3 Yes.
20.) 23 Votes (+12) - 15 Voters ( +6) Quick Draw - Judges Vote: 2 Yes.
************The Dreaded Line (will move between 20+21 when the rest of these projects are getting votes) ************
21.) 22 Votes (+11) - 15 Voters ( +5) Boulder Colorado - Judges Vote: 2 Yes.
22.) 17 Votes ( +9) - 12 Voters ( +6) Dinos - Judges Vote: 2 Yes.
23.) 14 Votes (+12) - 11 Voters ( +6) EAST - Judges Vote: 3 Yes.
24.) 13 Votes (+11) - 9 Voters ( +4) Nevil Von Dunst - Judges Vote: 2 Yes.
25.) 12 Votes ( +6) - 8 Voters ( +3) Chaoskind - Judges Vote: 2 No.
26.) 9 Votes ( +2) - 7 Voters ( +1) APOC: Hel's Kitchen - Judges Vote: 3 Yes
27.) Parahero Will be a Back Up Feature in Mysterious Visions Anthology.

Idol Implications and Radio follow up...

So, as you guys know, yesterday I was on Where Monsters Dwell, a pop culture radio show in Canada. It was an awesome experience and actually my first non-work related international call (as in not my day job). The main hosts, Mike and Remy, are hilarious and they seem to get my geekish humor, so it worked out really well. I was on there talking about Faction, Small Press Idol in general, and the implications of the competition. After the show, I ended up getting into a lengthy conversation with Remy about the contest, implications, etc yet again, getting into some amount of detail on my thoughts regarding the competition.

On the air, they made a good point when I was on my soapbox about “win or lose” on Idol. Take American Idol, for example… You have 10.2 million people try out for the competition, and in the end you only have one winner. Along the way, though, a lot of people get camera time, we hear about their hopes, dreams, and struggles and, of course, their voices. How many of those people get record deals? When you get down to the top twelve, typically all of them get something going on with a label. Some may go on the Idol tour and never be seen again, but a lot keep at it and make a living doing so. Small Press Idol is no different. Literally tens of thousands of people hit the DimeStoreProductions web site in the duration of the competition. How many of those people are industry professionals shopping around for talent? I’ve read on their site that a handful of creators have managed to land their books and ideas at other small presses. With the quality of entries this year, I wouldn’t be surprised if several do that and even land deals at other publishers for these entries or other ideas they have. Personally, given the quality itself, it would be a shame to take all of the talent out of the DimeStore pool. I bet several of us feel the same way (ok, I know some others feel the same way). Keep in mind that Troy Boyle had Pinnacle in SPI a couple of years ago and that got picked up by DimeStore even though it wasn’t the winner. The reason that happened is because his zero issue appeared in Mysterious Visions and there was a great response to it, so voila, limited series. What about Sam Johnson’s Geek Girl? Sam also wasn’t the winner of SPI, but his entry was strong enough that he landed a limited series at DimeStore.

Bottom line… Whether you win or lose you could land a deal at DimeStore or elsewhere. You may get offers for freelance work (I have already), meet a bunch of talented creators from fans, members of the DimeStore/SmallPress community, and competitors (stands to reason if you’re in the competition and not lost in your own little world, you’ve been interacting with other competitors and finding out who you could make a “dream team” from), etc… For me, I told Mike and Remy last night I don’t know if Faction is going to win. I’m hoping to get to Round 4 so I can get my zero issue published by itself and into the fans hands, but you never know what’s going to happen. With Round 2, it would be very difficult for us NOT to get to Round 3 since we have both a solid number of votes already and enough repeat voters. In Round 3, however, everything starts over again, from judges votes through fan votes. We’ll still need the support of our fans and, well, their “YES” posts in the Round 3 forum when it’s available.

On to other related thoughts… why support other competitors in any way? I was asked last night why it is that I’m supportive of my fellow competitors. I always have a PC answer ready and sometimes they sound clich√©, but I mean what I say. I think that every book in the competition this year has merit, but there are some I vote for daily and others I may from time to time and there’s a reason for it. I feel that if someone puts their best foot forward, presents a solid entry, and are present and interactive in the community, they should be rewarded for it. If it means they end up beating me in the end, it will be because they deserve it. Most of the people who are getting solid votes are out there begging the masses for them and networking the hell out of the book. When it’s published, it will be the same situation. You have people who will spot and buy the comics, but if you can sell yourself, your book, and are approachable and present, I think you’ll do better. So, I quoted that I voted for 14 projects yesterday. Today I may vote for more or I may vote for less. A few no matter what I put a vote in for.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Faction on the radio and easy voting links/instructions

Since I'm going to be on Where Monsters Dwell tonight (http://WhereMonsters.ca), I thought it might be a good idea to drop some info so people can find my blog and figure out how to do things easily. Anything else on Faction is around on my blog here, so enjoy!


SMALL PRESS IDOL / FACTION ON THE RADIO...
***********************************************
TUNE IN ~ 95.7 CKTP or http://www.wheremonstersdwell.ca
DATE ~ Wednesday April 22nd
TIME ~ 7-9pm ATL / 6-8 EST / 3-5 PST <-- I should be on like 40 minutes into the show. *********************************************** If you're interested, join the Faction FaceBook Group - http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/group.php?gid=55926073990

Short “how to” on signing up.

1. Go to http://www.dimestoreproductions.com/signup.php
2. Verify you are over 13.
3. Fill out personal details (scrolling down). Don’t worry, this is just to verify you are a real person.
4. Click on “Register” button at the bottom of the screen.
5. You will be sent an email to the account you signed up with.
6. Find the activation mail and click on the link inside to activate your account.

Note: if you don’t get the activation email (a common issue), email ian@dimestoreproductions.com and he will activate you.

Short “how to” on voting.

1. Go to http://www.dimestoreproductions.com/.
2. Sign in using your logon information in the top left corner of the screen.
3. Click on the “Idol” button.
4. Click on the “Round 2” button. This will take you to the list of projects.
5. Click on the link that says “Click here to vote for project” to the right of the project(s) you would like to vote for.
6. In the top right of the forum, you will see a button that says “Post Reply”. Click that.
7. A new screen will come up with a window. Type “YES” in the window and click the button “Reply to Thread” beneath that. Note: if you get an error that says “Duplicate Post”, go back and try “YES!!!!!” or put “YES” and a comment. It should work then.
8. Repeat this process for as many projects as you would like to vote for. You can vote ONCE PER DAY PER PROJECT.

Note: Any log on issues, please email ian@dimestoreproductions.com

Here's a run down of the projects up on the competition as well... All of these projects can be voted on once per day (so you can vote up to 26 times per day if you're voting for all of the projects). I want Faction to win, of course, but there are a lot of great books! Remember that to vote you must A) Have an account, B) be signed in, and C) post a YES in their round 2 forum. Choose wisely because only 20 projects make it to round 3!

Small Press Idol 2009 Round 2 Alumni

APOC: Hel's Kitchen - http://www.dimestoreproductions.com/forum-t38369.html
The Associate - http://www.dimestoreproductions.com/forum-t34281.html
Boulder Colorado - http://www.dimestoreproductions.com/forum-t38371.html
Chaoskind - http://www.dimestoreproductions.com/forum-t38682.html
Dead Duck - http://www.dimestoreproductions.com/forum-t36009.html
Diary of a Teenage Heroine - http://www.dimestoreproductions.com/forum-t36293.html
Dinos - http://www.dimestoreproductions.com/forum-t38372.html
Dogman and Lester - http://www.dimestoreproductions.com/forum-t34284.html
The Doorknob Society - http://www.dimestoreproductions.com/forum-t38402.html
Earthman - http://www.dimestoreproductions.com/forum-t36014.html
EAST - http://www.dimestoreproductions.com/forum-t38377.html
Faction - http://www.dimestoreproductions.com/forum-t33806.html
Haxxor - http://www.dimestoreproductions.com/forum-t35101.html
Hometown Heroes - http://www.dimestoreproductions.com/forum-t34019.html
The Machine - http://www.dimestoreproductions.com/forum-t33812.html
Maddie Scientist - http://www.dimestoreproductions.com/forum-t34289.html
Monsters of Love - http://www.dimestoreproductions.com/forum-t38383.html
Mr. Man - http://www.dimestoreproductions.com/forum-t34874.html
Nevil Von Dunst - http://www.dimestoreproductions.com/forum-t38385.html
Project Mercury - http://www.dimestoreproductions.com/forum-t34294.html
Quick Draw - http://www.dimestoreproductions.com/forum-t38391.html
Steel Rising - http://www.dimestoreproductions.com/forum-t36286.html
Thread of Valor - http://www.dimestoreproductions.com/forum-t36280.html
The Underground - http://www.dimestoreproductions.com/forum-t36675.html
Varsity Squad - http://www.dimestoreproductions.com/forum-t36016.html
The White Rose - http://www.dimestoreproductions.com/forum-t36664.html

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

FACTION - Early bio of Acker Kinney - Epilogue

Oh I lied!!! Well, it's Wednesday in part of the world and Tuesday in others... I'm going to call this my Tues/Wed post....

I found another little bit of Acker's history, a reflection of the world's landscape post 9/11/21. If you haven't already guessed it, I've put a lot of development into how the world operates in 2025. I don't think for a minute the real world will look like I've written it, this IS fiction, but I digress.

FACTION - EARLY BIO OF ACKER KINNEY - EPILOGUE

I wasn’t around for the aftermath to the attacks, hell I wasn’t even around to bury my parents, but the world had changed. The UN passed mandates over the known world, military presence became a fact of life, as did required enlistment in the military for adults eighteen and over. You could call it a draft, but when something becomes indoctrinated into all major cultures throughout the world, there’s no border jumping that will save you from it and no sense in fighting it. Kids could delay the service if they were in college, but that just meant OCS after college. If 9/11/01 made a nation of patriots, 9/11/21 made a world of people determined to force peace. Problem is that a lot of nations had a different idea of what made for successful peace. Capitalism, our favorite, isn’t palatable to a lot of countries in the world, so socialism spread in come parts of the world while in others the presidents became monarchs, emperors, and permanent peace keepers “until the threats are gone”. We’ve all read the history books, so we knew how much of a crock that was.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Faction - Bio of Ruger Branwen, Emissary for the Skratta

A little late in the day, but hopefully you'll all forgive me... One more installment of FF (Faction Facts until I come up with something more clever). Now, if you're paying attention, I'm actually releasing the name of yet another Faction... What to do, what to do... I guess we'll see!

NAME: Ruger Branwen
FACTION: The Skratta
CODE NAME: N/A

AGE: 47
HEIGHT: 5'3”
WEIGHT: 200 lbs
DISTINGUISHING FEATURES: Deep tan, scarred and pock-marked skin, and thick beard

BIOGRAPHY: Emissary for the Skratta King, Rurger is a cast-off from society. Where once he was a homeless man, addicted to drugs, alcohol, and chocolate, now he lives in a luxurious cave, still with the same addictions. Ruger is large, smelly, scarred, blemished, and crass man, capable of levels of indecency once reserved for Hollywood celebrities. His title as emissary affords him a certain amount of luxury; he is permitted to bathe when visiting enemy factions. He was the worst the London streets could offer, and now he works for a King. His clothes would be nice if they fit and were washed... even once.

Small Press Idol - Updated Sign up and Voting

After some feedback from contestants and voters (and help from another contestant), here's the updated how to sign up and vote. Have fun!

Short “how to” on signing up.

1. Go to http://www.dimestoreproductions.com/signup.php
2. Verify you are over 13.
3. Fill out personal details (scrolling down). Don’t worry, this is just to verify you are a real person.
4. Click on “Register” button at the bottom of the screen.
5. You will be sent an email to the account you signed up with.
6. Find the activation mail and click on the link inside to activate your account. Note: if you don’t get the activation email (a common issue), email ian@dimestoreproductions.com and he will activate you.

Short “how to” on voting.
1. Go to http://www.dimestoreproductions.com.
2. Sign in using your logon information in the top left corner of the screen.
3. Click on the “Idol” button.
4. Click on the “Round 2” button. This will take you to the list of projects.
5. Click on the link that says “Click here to vote for project” to the right of the project(s) you would like to vote for.
6. In the top right of the forum, you will see a button that says “Post Reply”. Click that.
7. A new screen will come up with a window. Type “YES” in the window and click the button “Reply to Thread” beneath that. Note: if you get an error that says “Duplicate Post”, go back and try “YES!!!!!” or put “YES” and a comment. It should work then.
8. Repeat this process for as many projects as you would like to vote for. You can vote ONCE PER DAY PER PROJECT.

Note: Any log on issues, please email ian@dimestoreproductions.com

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Faction - Early Bio of Acker Kinney - Part 4 of 4

Ok Faction Fans, time for more Faction Facts... In this case it's the last in the early bio of Acker Kinney... To learn more about what happens after this point, you'll have to pick up Faction 0 in whatever form it may appear. ;) If the starts align and your votes keep up with your enthusiasm for the project, we may just make it to Round 4 yet! Please keep voting and get prepared for some awesome sequentials in Round 3.

EARLY BIO OF ACKER KINNEY Part 4 of 4!

At 37, I told my CO I wanted to be back out in the field. They PT’d me, gave me a clean bill of health, and within a week I was on a plane bound for Tel Aviv. The faces around me on the plane were a mixture of fresh faces and tired devil dogs like me, angry and wanting to hit something. For four years, we fought bands of terrorists, the children of those killed back when we first captured Saddam Hussein and went after Bin Laden and those new to the cause, emboldened by Al-Munajj’s major offensive, humbling the planet. These terrorists were worse than the generation before. Someone was funding them, giving them weapons, armor, and vehicles they had no right to have in their possession in the middle of the desert. Our tech was better, but they knew the terrain. We couldn’t say our training was better because they had years to prepare. It was a slaughter on both sides. Thousands died on both sides, allies from all parts of the globe died together, their blood spilling into the dry sand. On Friday June 13, 2025, everything changed…

THE STORY OF ACKER KINNEY WILL BE CONTINUED IN FACTION 0...

Rambling as only I can… history, comics, getting published, SPI, and what it all means… (repost)

I’ve talked with several friends over the last few months about this mysterious comic book world I’m trying to crack into, so I thought I’d share some insight as to what’s going on in my head…

Back when I a little kid, around six years old, I was introduced to books like the Chronicles of Narnia, the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings series, Lloyd Alexander’s books, etc… Thought I did read the typical books of kids that age as well, the fantasy stories my mother purchased for me really struck a chord in me. I can remember back in elementary school, probably 3rd or 4th grade, having some school project that I ended up making a book out of, drawing pictures of dragons and heroes fighting them. I’m not sure of the details because I don’t have that kind of memory, but I know I won some sort of competition and the school asked to put my “book” in their library. I really wish I had that now so I could see what I did back then.

Anyway, fast-forward a few years… When I was a child, I did everything from read voracious amounts of science fiction and fantasy (hundreds and hundreds of novels) to comic books to watch anything my parents would let me get away with (and often things they wouldn’t). Add to that my mother and her ever-evolving list of new age, occult, spiritual, etc studies she picked up along the way and showed me and also a healthy dose of the life only a military brat can bring and I was quickly developing into, well, an odd kid. At an early age I was also exposed to D&D, which along with those other experiences, definitely helped to pave the way for the prolific creativity which I’m plagued by now (don’t mean to make it sound like a bad thing, because it’s not).

In high school, my creativity hit a new stride. My best friend at the time and I were really into music, wrote tons of songs, and had aspirations to start a band. Unfortunately, neither of us could play guitar and I was terrified to sing around anyone but him when we were goofing around. Now there was a dream easily side-tracked. Also in high school, I hooked up with a group of friends who were already playing Star Frontiers (old TSR game) and after discussing, we ended up delving into the realm of D&D together. We bounced around various campaign settings but seemed to like Spelljammer the most because you could go literally anywhere and we did. Dan, THE ultimate DM ~ by far the best I’ve ever known, created vast worlds, unique creatures, and let us run through and mess it all up. During that time I started to really get a good grasp on character development. The trick is to find something within yourself, no matter how small, to put into the character and run with it. We all have light and dark sides, normal and strange, extremely intelligent and downright stupid, etc, so you find the grain, flush it out, and everyone, when it comes down to it, is an aspect of you ~ even the whackos! Same applies now when I create characters… I have a couple of villains that I think “Where did that come from?” but I’m sure it’s somewhere in my psyche.

Along the way I delved into DM’ing campaigns myself, filling notebooks with details of the worlds, characters, spells, classes, etc, striving to make the “perfect” world for the characters to run around in, planning for every scenario. In the end, I was annoyed because the PC’s, instead of doing something logical, decided that it would be more fun to kill everything. I can imagine video game developers must be annoyed when they roll such a nice plot into a game like Fallout 3 and people decide that rather than talking to people and, even if it goes poorly, go through the dialogue, they skip the dialogue and put a bullet in their head. That was more or less what happened. Worlds of intrigue were reduced to bloodbaths and my notebooks filled with notes ended up collecting dust in a box somewhere. The skill I picked up during this time, however, is world building. Despite the fact that PC’s tend to do the unexpected, when you create a world and characters meant for that world, they tend to go along a path or one of the paths you created for them (where else are they going to go?). It was quite a while before I assimilated that knowledge into my writing, but it was in there.

During the years that I played D&D, but after high school, I was working at a book store, reading tons and tons of books (I rode the bus so I had time). I decided it was time to create my own. Using my own methodology, I created the world, created the characters, came up with situations, and dropped the characters in. My early attempts to write said book, I can look back on now and laugh at, but the foundation is still there in the fantasy novel I’m writing now. I filled notebooks with ideas, characters, bits of plot, etc… When I switched to a corporate job, my time to write shrank ~ I had a car, so no bus time to write, I had responsibilities, so no time to daydream, etc… Eventually, I stopped writing on my book and another set of notebooks ended up collecting dust in a box someplace. I switched over to guitar and writing songs since I had some work friends in bands. After a while of fumbling with that, everything stopped except writing poetry and songs. Relationships from the time provided perfect fodder for both the bad (previous relationships) and good (meeting my wife, falling in love, and getting married) writing.

Career changed, priorities changed, and suddenly I found time to write again, though it take me a while to take advantage of it. I commute on the train a couple of hours per day, leaving me dedicated time in my own little world. First thing I started doing was re-writing the novel I had started and stopped years prior. I couldn’t find my old notebooks at the time, so all I had to go on were a handful of old computer files with character information and some gods. Lucky for me! I started writing like mad, quickly tallying up over 200 pages of straight text ~ hand written, of course, because that’s how I was the most comfortable at the time. As the pages were cranking out, however, other ideas started popping in my head that wouldn’t go away, so I started jotting down notes on them, setting them aside, and eventually putting them in files on a pen drive. I didn’t know what I was going to do with them, but there they were. Inspiration struck when one particular idea really seemed like a good idea for a comic book. I had been reading comics for almost 25 years seriously, so it just kind of made sense. As soon as I started to dabble in script writing, I realized my style translated very well to script writing. This was confirmed as soon as the first artist I worked with got ahold of my scripts and was able to create about exactly what I had in my head on paper. I was onto something, I realized!

Soon, my novel was set aside for a time and I started pouring all of my spare moments into writing my opus, a detective story based on a character I had created as a joke at work years before, cranking out a TON of script pages before I even stopped to catch my breath. I was passionate about it, and decided this is what I HAD to be doing, even if only freelance ~ I wanted to be published, I wanted to be able to say, “I’m a writer” without it being a hobby. My creative mind and my professional mind talked, came to an agreement, and I started to push forward, unscathed, undeterred by the horror stories of people trying to get published. Soon, I had around 16 ideas on my pen drive, hundreds of pages of scripts, multiple artists working on various projects and then I landed in Small Press Idol. Feedback from my peers in the small press world confirmed that I’m not just “trying” to write, I’m actually doing it and doing it well.

Milestones – not in order of importance…
- Finishing my first mini-series… The project I’m working with Denman Rooke on I finished writing about two months ago and can’t wait to get it out there. It was an amazing feeling, though, going from original concept to getting it completed in the four issues (my target number).
- Writing over 180 pages (as of today) of my detective story and being close to having a submission package ready to ship out. Sachin Nagar, the artist I’m working with on the project has amazed me with his ability to take what’s in my head and on paper and translate it perfectly.
- Making it through Small Press Idol Round 1… We may win, we may not win. I’ll tell you this, though, we DO have a good shot. Obviously I can’t share details, but my story is amazing, my characters breathe, and KT’s art is organic and beautiful. Round 2 will show that, but take my word for it, this series can literally go on forever without becoming a clich√©.
- Red Handed Studios… The fact that Cary has a good idea of what I can do based on what he’s seen and a few conversations leading him to offer me a spot on his team for Dynagirl is awesome. He’s a great writer and has created a world with some solid heroes and plenty of room to go to town, so I look forward to digging in.
- Small Press Community… From Doc to Ian to the judges at Small Press Idol to the countless others who frequent the DimeStoreProductions site, I have come to value their input, their banter, and their insight into a world I didn’t understand or really know about before starting this comic book journey.

Whether the comics I write will lead me to the “big leagues” or not is anyone’s guess and it doesn’t bother me. Success, as I’ve defined it in previous posts, is what you determine. As far as I’m concerned, I’ve almost achieved it, so anything above that is just icing on the cake. “Big League” publishers ~ I’m here, prolific, and have a billion ideas. I’m not going to forget, though, who has helped me over the last few months no matter where I end up.

Anyway, that’s it for now… I just thought I might try to organize some of the chaos in my brain to share with people… By the way, I DID eventually find those old dusty notebooks taped in boxes… My writing when I first started my book? Not so good. Ha ha ha…

P.S. – Dan, my old DM and best friend… we still need to co-write something together. I’m not letting you off the hook yet.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Faction - Early Bio of Acker Kinney - Part 3 of ?

And for a little bit of Faction Facts (better than a snippet, I don't know)...

Here's another bit of Acker's Bio pre-issue 0...

On Sept 11, 2021, twenty years after the devastating attacks on the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, Al-Munajj’s new al-Qaeda struck again, the largest coordinated attack in history. Bombs went off worldwide, planes collided with buildings, trains crashed, busses flipped, key politicians were assassinated, and chaos ensued on 12:01 am GMT Sept 11, 2021. For every attempt that was thwarted, ten were successful. There was not the manpower or intelligence available to prevent everything that happened. When the attacks struck, I was a “young” master sergeant training the next generation of Special Forces medics in Kansas. I didn’t find out until that night that my parents died when a bus exploded in London where they were on vacation. I wasn’t married, I didn’t have kids, I didn’t even have a serious relationship besides friends in the service. Suddenly the military was the only family I had left.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Faction - Early Bio of Acker Kinney Part 1 of ? (re-post)

Just to keep the bio's together I thought I would go ahead and re-post part one of Acker's Bio...

----------------------
So, I was thinking this morning it might be fun to show some of what inspired the story of Faction. Several months ago, while I was working on a novel an idea popped in my head. I won't mention my working title for the time becasue it will conjure images that don't completely apply to Faction, but when the idea came, I had to write it down right away. This was an early bio of one Acker Kinney, covering his early adulthood. Enjoy!

Acker Kinney – I once thought that life was so complex; the things I did in life were never easy. I enlisted in the Marines the day of my 18th birthday… It was a present from me to me. I could have gone onto college and tried to become an officer, but with what was going on in the Middle East, I just couldn’t wait to go and do something with myself. The recruiter promised me I could be whatever I wanted to be in the Marines, so I said I wanted to be infantry. Boot camp wasn’t a breeze, but I did better in there than a lot of the grunts to my left and right.

Shortly after boot camp, we trained in the “deserts” of Camp Pendleton. We had classes on tactics, hand-to-hand combat, rifles, pistols, and pretty much anything we could get our hands on. We learned to identify ballistics by the sounds they made from over the hill or miles away. I’m betting I lost some of my hearing during that time, but of course it could have been when the boys and I headed out all over Southern California when we were given our limited time off. Some of the guys partied hard, tattooed anything not visible outside of their greens, and damn the torpedoes. People like me? Well, I won’t say I didn’t party, but it wasn’t quite as hard. I didn’t drink much, though I can remember, errr partially remember a few crazy nights. I don’t smoke, and God help anyone who tried to do anything else if they got caught.

In those days, we all knew that we could end up shipped to a small base in Kansas or in the middle of the action in Iraq, Afghanistan, or someplace we haven’t even heard of to defend out freedom. In all of our training, some of the officers noticed I excelled in first aid. Suddenly I found that fewer and fewer of my classes were with the guys I had spent the past weeks and months training with. While my friends were crawling through trenches and shooting tracer bullets into the night, I was practicing field dressing, crawling through smoke filled sand-traps to find an “injured” soldier. They had me diving into pools to “rescue” drowning soldiers in full gear, running miles carrying the normal field gear plus basic medical equipment, and praying every day that things would get easier.

A couple of years and ranks later, I found myself in Ft. Bragg. In a 22 week program, the Marine Corps taught me to be a Special Operations Medic. I didn’t realize while I was there but later learned that I was, at 21, the youngest person to ever get through the training. You don’t get in the media for breaking Special Ops records in the military, but the service was proud, so I was proud.

Faction - Early Bio of Acker Kinney Part 2 of ?

Welcome back comic fans! I was debating what to put in as a snippet for Faction today and decided to put in a little more of Acker's bio, which actually ties with the history of the world in 2025. So, take a read and let me know what you think. This impacts the world they live in, but not the plot at first, so I figure it's safe to share.

EARLY BIO OF ACKER KINNEY PART TWO (of ???)

The following years brought one constant – conflict. The war in the Middle East extended over various countries the longer the conflict went on. Eventually, the “official” conflict ended, but we were still out there fighting the good fight. After Bin Laden was killed, Aamir Al-Munajj took his place and named the entire world as devils and vowed to destroy us all. Then it got quiet… We looked throughout the middle east for Al-Munajj’s location. He goaded us with videos proclaiming the end was near for their enemies, but nothing came.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Faction - Who can do what and how well?

Couple of things today... Another new project in the works it looks like, this time sci-fi, so that's pretty exciting. As usual, no details I'm spilling, but I'm still pretty jazzed about it. If you know me well, you may know what I'm talking about. If not, I'm sorry for continually teasing you, but that's my lot in life... Tease you with some images, little hints, and innuendos and then someday they will or won't get released. ;)

Another thing, If you're reading my blog or watch my blog (you should, it's all the rage), you HAVE To know I'm in Small Press Idol over at DimeStoreProductions.com... I'm not going to plug the "this is how you vote" thing right now, 'cause it's just a few posts down from here, but I will say that you should go over there, join up, and wander around the site. OF COURSE I want you to vote for Faction while you're there, but.... go check out some other stuff, see what DimeStore is all about, etc... I've been around a bit on the web and the people I've met there have been really great. Everyone is super-supportive and, importantly, honest with their criticism if they have any. It's kind of an important thing, you know? Who wants to either get trashed without anything constructive or just have smoke blown up your... well, you know... So, go, vote, and wander. Join in some of the conversations, etc... You may notice some questions, too, popping up in the contestants Round 2 forums. J (haXX0r) and I posted some in our forums today, so if you have a chance, throw your answers in there, too.

As for the Faction "snippet" today, here we go!

Sepulcher wrote....
Bard, thanks for the magica info. So like science, does that mean anyone has the "potential" to use one magic or another, or is it a got it/don't got it gift like eye color?

My response....
Another good question, actually.

Technically, anyone “can” learn just about anything in my world, it’s just how easily it will come to them. If you have an astrophysicist, for example, they might have a tough time wrapping their mind around the concept of magic (to geek out for a second, if you read some issues of Fantastic Four last year or the year before, you may have seen Reed Richards learn magic by applying a scientific approach to it… Not in my world). This is just like you wouldn’t expect someone with a fourth grade education to pick up some wires, a battery, and scrap metal to design a plasma rifle (no, soldiers aren’t running around with those). So, basically, some people can dabble in just about anything, but a “natural” could surpass them easily. Notice my name on here has “Bard” in it, so I like the idea of people being able to dabble in what they want. Each of the Knights has certain natural talents that carry over from life to life, but depending on what they’ve done this time around, they may have learned other things. Now one disclaimer… Average Joe from the suburbs isn’t going to “learn” how to do things that, say, a vampire does. ;)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Faction - Philosophy, Powers, and Cybernetics Versus Regeneration

Another question/comment from the DimeStore Faction Round 2 forum... As usual, if anyone has any questions about the project, please send them over and I'll do my best to answer without giving the story away (then why would you want to read it?).

Sepulcher wrote ...
So Bard, I was curious. Do you have any plan on how to handle the whole Science versus Fantasy issue in Faction? Some comics I've seen just figure you can have magic and science side by side - others try to explain it away that magic is just a form of science. I've even seen some where the belief in magic or science is what allows that to work within the comic world. From the looks of Faction we have cybernetics but also devine as well as what appears to be demonic magic (the claws baby, the claws).

And that brings up the example in point - why not simply regenerate Acker's arm? Is it more than just coolness factor? (I honestly don't know).

My Response...
Thanks again for the question… As far as pinning down Science versus Fantasy, in the world of Faction they are not directly related. Magic is not another form of science. Though there may be overlapping from time to time, we have the following types of abilities in Faction ~ Science/Technology, Magic/Supernatural, Divine/Demonic, and Mind (Mind magic). If you’ll notice, I have some of them lumped together; this is merely to point out that there’s a spectrum to it and different uses. Obviously Science and Technology can be anything from a theory to a cybernetic arm design. Magic/Supernatural can be a spell cast or the abilities of creatures such as vampires, lycanthropes, zombies, etc, as mentioned in the Blood Lord bio. Divine/Demonic may make you think that I’m merely talking about God and demons, but I’m not. Will I explain more? Not yet… With “mind magic”, depending on your own beliefs and research, you could consider it science or something else (paranormal for example). Personally, I’m keeping it separated.

As far as Acker getting a cybernetic arm versus regeneration/healing or something like that… when you have so many options, how do you choose? Personal philosophy, your own abilities, your faction? The answer for Acker is…not going to be in issue zero, it will be in issue 1 of the comic.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Faction - consolidated Round 1, 2, updates, and Questions...

Faction Pitch (Updated from Round 1):
The year is 2025 and the worlds’ governments are focused on eradicating the escalating terrorist threat in the Middle East secretly supported by the demonic Den Malignity. This effort has left Master Sergeant Acker Kinney, a Special Ops Medic, scarred and short an arm, forever changed.

When Acker is attacked by a demonic minion while recovering from his wounds in a military hospital, he is saved by Knights from the Society of the Enlightened. Soon he will be one of them; men and women blessed by God with countless lifetimes of knowledge and rediscovered powers.

The Society and the Den Malignity, enemies in an eternal struggle, must react when other factions, long thought banished or destroyed, rise to reclaim what was theirs. The Society and its knights must determine in this changed landscape who their allies and enemies are as factions vie for a stake in the world’s destiny.

The schemes of gods, the desires of demons, the powers of nature, myth, and the supernatural – all set forth to control a world the Society has sworn to protect. This is Faction.

Original Rough Cover:



Updated Rough Cover:




















Round 2 Info:

Round 2 is up! Above is the logo, of course... Below are some of the characters who will appear in the comic. Acker, Abigail, and Gabriel, who are Knights from the Society of the Enlightened; Emlin, ahuman minion of the Den Malignity, and The Blood Lord, who is actually a faction himself (lots of people under him).

Acker

















Abigail



Gabriel



Emlin


The Blood Lord



Response to judges' comments and other questions:
I figure as we move forward I’ll try to assemble a lot of the comments and my responses (if applicable) to Faction from the DimeStoreProductions.com site… I won’t put a bunch of postings stating “I love it”, etc, just logical questions and answers or anything I find interesting. Yesterday was the first day of public voting, and I appreciate everyone who took the time to log on and cast your vote.

We (KT, the artist, and I) did get three “Yes” votes from the Idol judges, but there were some valid criticisms of what we put forward. As far as the writing goes, one of the main “oops” points for me was a missing word in Acker’s bio. I have since fixed it and posted an updated one in the forum (the Acker bio on my blog here is already corrected, so I won’t go into that).

By the way, since I’m not the artist, I won’t attempt to respond to, justify, explain, or whatever any comments related to the artwork unless I feel passionately about the subject. There were some artistic interpretations of the characters that I respect and most of the comments in regards to KT’s work were related to minor issues on rotations, proportions between “shots”, etc… I’m still working to train my eyes to see those kinds of things.

Judges comments:

TOMM:
I LIKE THE LOGO,working the figure into things was a nice touch,being an atheist, i'm not bothered by the figure's pose, or the placement of the "t" beneath it. loldecent figures, though it looks like the colorist did more work on each of the second sets of poses,the first set of each is a bit more plain, almost animation style, (g.i. joe flavor)the bio's give us a little more info,the story seems to be coming along from the first round,it is keeping my interest.you may want to study a few samples from comic inkers out there,vary a few line weights, add a touch of shadow here or there,you would be surprised at how much depth it can add to your stuff.overalli think things are looking good with "FACTION"YES

Roger (summarized taking out things I addressed with my later update and a lot of the art comments):
LOGO:While the silhouetted character representing the letter 'T' is a little bit perplexing, I'm not putting a lot of thought into that as I really like the look and feel of this graphic. This reads well in both large AND small formats, as we can see by their size comparisons. If you can read this effectively as a business-card sized image, then you have a good logo. Design-wise I'm satisfied by what I see. This creator might receive commentaries suggesting blocking, background, border, or other support details to add to this but I think it's fine as is.CHARACTER BIOS AND VISUALS:I like the use of the old typewriter-style font. It's not overly creative as we've seen this before but it works here; legible text, easy to read. The presentation of the bios here is given added strength in design appeal with the faded depiction of the characters' images that are being introduced behind the text, cementing both text and visuals as one.

Abigail Latton: I like her characteristics as related here to us. Some sort've divine-like powers seem to give her real promise and purpose, as well as importance, within the proposal.

Gabriel Hartmann: He can...ummm..."topple buildings"? A bit of a 'Samson', is he? Overall this bio reads well. Characteristics are interesting enough. I'm okay with this.

Emlin Gundula: Obviously a "secondary" character, I have no issue or questions about any aspect of this. She simply sounds nasty and interesting.

The Blood Lord: No name? Come on! He needs a cool name! Something foreboding, sinister...sheer evil! At 458 lbs, he must have some seriously heavy muscle under all those clothes. I'm generally okay with this bio. The description lends some fascinating suspense to read more about this character within the story.

FINAL THOUGHTS:I know my observations and opinions stated above will seem quite wordy to some, but in THIS round, it's critical for us to accept what we consider the best of the best, submissions that are real decision-makers or breakers within our screening. There is a lot at stake and a lot of details that are expected in this round, proof that some of our Round 1 contestants need to show us-- beyond just the sheer potential that they may have been graded in ascension to this level. For me, if a creator and his/her team goes through all this work in bringing us these proposals in any given round, then I just think it's equally my duty to provide as much criticism as possible with a comprehensive breakdown as I've shown above that these teams can or should consider as they further develop these properties. I've touched on some observations and opinions, and I'm sure others will have more to add. This project, despite my findings in terms of any short-comings, definitely has way more positivity going for it than negativity. I like the presentation, the art, the bios, on an above-average grade. But please, to the members of this team-- stick to the rules!!Do I have confidence in this project?YES!

Sam:
Terrific presentation, one of the best-looking Round 2 entries I've ever seen, and a cool logo.Nice character pics: no real problems here, though Emlin looks best with the more obviously feminine form of her first shot and the others would benefit from being brought into line with that.Ian's quote from me on this was, "I'm looking for specifics on the relationships that will exist in this world in Round 2," and there's not enough of that here.Acker and Abigail's 'relationships in past lives were a bit more... complicated.' More clarification on this is sentence needed--and as Acker's the chosen emissary in the conflict with 'various factions,' there's also not enough evidence of what those factions are. And does Emlin work for the Blood Lord or is she part of a separate faction? We're not told.Btw, with the Blood Lord having the ability to kill people with just a stare if he chooses, you're setting his power level very high and you'll have to be skillful in how you play that one. Though the dead rising up and becoming his zombie army as he passes them is a cool one. As well as the aforementioned weaknesses in this Round's material, I'm still not entirely sold--or enthralled--by the story you're presenting here--but it's good enough for me to give it a YES.

My comments back:
To all of the judges, thank you for both the positive words and the detailed criticism of what didn’t work in our entry. As usual, we’re always trying to improve upon this process since both KT and I are relatively new to the medium.As for the bio’s, it seems that Acker’s received the most attention for both lacking a couple of details and some grammar issues. I goofed on the grammar and forgot to copy and paste my “final” draft onto the image. No excuses, though, because if this were a “published” book, getting printed with the errors would be unacceptable. Thus, I feel like a dope.

I’m attaching an updated bio sheet for Acker, adding a few minor details based on judges’ feedback to help look at the bio by itself, not in relation to the pitch or other characters. I’m still leaving out details of Acker’s and Abigail’s history together, but to clarify (too much to stick in a short bio), they have been “together” for many of their past lives together. The age difference between the two makes things a little hard for Acker, which will become evident in the story when it hits print (evolves out of the zero issue).



Oh, to clarify on Emlin and the Blood Lord, they’re two different classifications. Emlin is a minion in the Den Malignity. The Blood Lord is, well, the Blood Lord, head of his own faction, in charge of several types of supernatural creatures including vampires, lycanthropes, and zombies. What the Blood Lord looks like is intended to make you wonder what other factions he’s tied to. Is he or was he Den Malignity, who does he know, what is his real name, etc.

As for who the other factions are out there… you’ll just have to wait and see, it’s what the story is all about, tracking them down, determining who falls on what side of the “line”, and dealing with the results. To give you a little hint, there are the Society, the Den, The Blood Lord (big and bad enough not to need to “name” his faction), and five others AND more could join in the fray at any time. Intrigue, action, and drama ~ my favorite kinds of books. Did I mention action? Ha ha…

To all ~ believe me, Faction is not a story to be missed. Between the various files on my computer and hand written notebooks, I’ve got enough story ideas, twists, turns, and face pounding action to make you cross eyed. Hopefully the original rough cover, updated rough cover, and these round 2 bios and images will give you a bit of an idea of where we’re heading.

Comment from Andrew Nixon – “contributor”

Now that I've voted... I really think that this project has improved by leaps and bounds since its first cover rough. With the Round 2 stuff, I really liked the action poses, the most. The character designs are pretty good, but the good guys all look a little generic. Tomm was right in his GI Joe comment; Gabriel is wearing BABY BLUE PANTS??? In the published book, it will be gray, anyway, but that is an odd color choice... Also, I was surprised that Acker is 43. I suppose that he COULD look 43, but I think he should appear a bit bulkier. And I'm not thrilled about his love interest being 19 (even if said 19 year old dresses like a 43 year old woman...). I guess I don't mind the age difference so much as I do the blunt hitting us over the head with how intertwined their fates are. I think I'd really like to see (in the long run) some actual character/ relationship buildup between them before they just decide in issue one that they "love" each other... Remember: No romantic tension = boring! Otherwise, I like the look of the bionic arm, and the Blood Lord reminds me of a Buffy the Vampire Slayer villain (in a good way). And I assume, as LastBard's later post indicated, that there are still many unseen characters for this series... I guess Roger would really have his work cut out for him if there were 20 characters introduced, this round...Good Luck!

My Response:
contributor wrote ...I guess I don't mind the age difference so much as I do the blunt hitting us over the head with how intertwined their fates are. I think I'd really like to see (in the long run) some actual character/ relationship buildup between them before they just decide in issue one that they "love" each other... Remember: No romantic tension = boring!

Andrew, there's definitely going to be some build up... There's something to the fact that Acker is 43 and Abigail is 19... why the large age gap? He will not suddenly say "Oh, Abigail, I've missed you" or anything corny like that. I'm planning to let that relationship breathe for a while before a decision is made one way or the other (together or get out of my face).

contributor wrote ...I guess Roger would really have his work cut out for him if there were 20 characters introduced, this round...

I was originally wanting to do a representation from EVERY Faction, but it would have had KT busy for months! ha ha... More will be revealed, though.Thanks for the good comments and questions! Oh, by the way, if there are no objections from Ian or the judges, I'd be happy to reveal a little more info on some of the factions and characters. Plenty of mystery left even if I share some details. All in the name of sharing my passion for this project.

Sepulcher commented:
Yes.I like what I see this entry becoming, seems to me that perhaps the different relationships between factions and characters is so vast the writer got a little startled - not knowing what details to bring out in this round. Still, very good effort and very promising, I hope you guys make it through so I can see what you'll become.Lastly, a question: Who is that supposed to be on the "T" in faction? A generic society member or something specific? Guess I'll need to read the comic to find out.

My response:
Sepulcher wrote ...Lastly, a question: Who is that supposed to be on the "T" in faction? A generic society member or something specific? Guess I'll need to read the comic to find out.

Actually, the image in the center of the logo is the "money" portion of the rough cover we submitted after Round 1 begain... I'll post it below so you can see. As to why Acker (the guy in the center) is in that position and what it all means, you need to read A) the zero issue and the first few pages of issue 1.It definitely is not supposed to be Acker on the cross or anything.



ArchetypeOne AKA Wade:
Yes.And first-time voter, too!

My Comment – Not posted, but I’m just happy to be Wade’s first vote!

Cary AKA Writer of Fallen Justic, Dynagirl, and owner/operator/all around good guy at RedHandedStudios.com
oh my lord Wade voted! that's just...historic! you guys don't know how rare that is! to be his first vote...wow.lol and i have to admit tho i've seen all this in various forms and tweaks, it still looks fresh and exciting. Faction gets a big YES from me! looks like they have the media machine in high gear!

More questions:
Another little bit of Faction Facts care of the DimeStoreProductions.com forums...
From Sepulcher:
Hey Bard, thanks for the clarification on the "T". So now since you've proven you're willing to talk to the little folk, I have a second question: The Den-Malignity and the BloodLord are different factions? I know you'll save the differences between them and allegiances and such until the comics, but it's starting to look like 1 good team (society) against lots of bad teams. Was that your purpose? Maybe it is just me but I would think things would be more complicated (in a good way) if both good and bad had to sometimes interact and work together for a common cause. IMO.
And my response:
Sepulcher, thanks for the question!When the lines are drawn as to what faction is on which side of the battle, it’s going to come down to interests, not good or evil. If one side represents chaos and destruction while the other side represents status quo, where would you fall? An evil faction with roots deeply embedded in society would NOT want changes while a good faction which has determined that the world is corrupt, “dirty”, etc, may decide that chaos and destruction is the best course of action.
Bottom line is that I could say “Oh, one of the factions is the Keebler Elves” and you may think, “oh, they’re good, they’ll side with the Society”. Why is that? What purpose would some little elves living in trees have supporting a society that might come and cut down their trees for paper to print comic books? These are the dynamics that are going to be covered in the “political” side of the battle between the factions. Notice how Acker is referred to as an emissary? Every faction is going to have some sort of representation in the ongoing series at different times. Each will represent their faction’s interests, but may have their own personal agenda as well (as in, just because they’re an emissary doesn’t mean they won’t kill you for kicks). On a sad note, since I’m not nice enough to spill the beans on everything, you will not be introduced to a single emissary outside of Acker until Issue 1 of the ongoing series. I’ve already written the issue and the introduction of said emissary has serious implications to the plot.
To comment on your sort of question about the relationship between the Den-Malignity and the Blood Lord. The Blood Lord is not a vampire, lycanthrope, or zombie, but what is he and who is he tied to? I’ll tell you this, he has ties to two factions, one being the Den-Malignity. Why he is not part of that faction, though, is the question…. The Den are a loose group of demons (as “grouped’ as you can consider demons) and their minions. The Blood Lord is not one of those demons and also is not one of their minions. Do I raise more questions than answers? Yep, that’s the point. Ha ha.Here are the factions that have been revealed so far…
1. The Society of the Enlightened – The Knights aren’t the only branch of the Society, just a small part of the overall entity.
2. The Den-Malignity – The powerful demons and minions, such as Emlin and Adam (referred to in Emlin’s bio), are not the only creatures that make up the Den.
3. The Blood Lord – The Blood Lord himself, vampires, werewolves, and zombies all fall under his control as well as other supernatural oddities.
4. ???
5. ???
6. ???
7. ?? ?
8. ???
9. More??? Maybe…
So… thanks for the question and keep asking them if you have more. I’ll answer what I can.Also, please keep in mind that I’m trying to compile these kinds of questions and responses on my blog daily (end of the day or early the next morning). That way everything is all in one place for people to read through.

Another snippet:


As promised, I'm attaching the first of many little snippets into the world of Faction. Some of the questions I've answered in the forums are intended to flush things out, but I'm also planning to continue sticking in little clues as to who the factions are, who's a part of them, etc, while still keeping people scratching their heads.

Today's entry is one Lora Styrene from another faction...



If you're keeping track, this means the below are the factions you know about so far...
1. The Society of the Enlightened
2. The Den-Malignity
3. The Blood Lord
4. The Mind
5. ?
6. ?
7. ?
8. ?
9. More???? Maybe...

More info:

Another question of sorts from the dimestoreproductions.com forums... another answer...

Sepulcher wrote
...A new faction, the mind... I guess at some point we'll understand what all these factions want out of life? I suppose I'm assuming, but the Society, the Den-Malignity, and the Bloodlord all seem to be straight forward, but I'm not quite sure what a faction like the mind would stand for. Interesting stuff... keep it coming Bard.

My Response
Another question, another answer... of sorts...

So, a faction is a group of people who may gather for different reasons, at different capacities, and have different agendas. Now what brings people together and how do you define that group? A political affiliation is only as strong as you want it to be. You have a box you check on one end and you're running for office and/or trying to make policy on the other. Another group could just be a gathering around a table once a month to say, what's going on with so and so... We will call these groups factions because they are assembled enough in some way to be considered a power strong enough to change things for better or worse. How they go about doing it is what the story is all about. One may pick up a gun (or axe) while another might persuade others to act a certain way (yes, I know... vague).

If you look at the Society, there's actually a lot of organization which will be shown in the limited series (4 issues). The Den, however, are a loose organized group of powerful demons. If they did manage to organize, their ongoing battle with the Society would already be over. How do they communicate, who's in control, what branches are there (if any), etc...

The story of the factions in my series stretches back thousands of years. You don't join into the story until Acker does, so there are a lot of things that will be a mystery from the far and even recent past. What happened so long ago to all but the Society and the Den? Who is coming back, why are they coming back, are they all from the past or are some new... All questions that deserve and will eventually get explanations.

As we get closer to the release of the zero issue in whatever form (anthology, solo issue, etc), I'm planning to fill everyone in one some things such as what changed in the world between 2009 and 2025. Also, I'm going to give away a little bit of some of the other factions or the players in those factions.

More info....

Another day, another update... Here's another member of the Society, Zephan Zoben. I may need to come back and make this a little prettier, but here you go!

NAME: Zephan Zoben
FACTION: Society of the Enlightened
CODE NAME: Cephas - Rock

AGE: 26
HEIGHT: 5' 9"
WEIGHT: 150 lbs.
DISTINGUISHING FEATURES: N/A

BIOGRAPHY: The Protector for the Society of the Enlightened, Zephan is a 26-year-old Israeli, born and raised. Zephan watched all of this friends die when a bomb tore apart his dorm while in college and has never gotten past that day. At the end of the day, Zephan just wants to help people, mostly those who can’t protect themselves. As a Knight, he is one of the groups main spell-weavers, having spent lifetimes practicing the mystical arts in various forms, though in this life he mainly focuses those spells on protecting his friends, innocent bystanders, and lastly himself. He typically doesn’t carry weapons, primarily relying on spells, but he does carry a backpack on him for easy access to any number of “trinkets”.

There you go! When I have a chance, I'll probably put this with an image like I did with Lora from the Mind faction.Until next time...

And... more info!

Update from the lastest assembled numbers a la Ian... 125 votes for Faction! Still in the number 1 slot, but the pace others are keeping may challenge the lead, so keep on voting everyone! Thanks!

Now for a snippet based off of a question from the Faction Forums at DimeStore.

So, this one I had to think about a little bit before responding, mainly to keep from giving away too much and trying to keep my rep as a “cryptic old sage”. Ha ha…

First off, I want to respond to your comment about fighting in the shadows versus open warfare. Unlike a lot of stories that have been done over the years involving genre blending, this is happening from the early stages of the re-discovery of several factions. We can assume that the 2009 in the characters’ past is what we are living right now. In 2025, events have occurred which shaped how society developed, but it’s still the “real” world. When the factions start popping up, they are not obvious, they don’t pop up on the news and say, “hi, I’m the Blood Lord and I approve this message.” The struggle between the Society and the Den started and remains in the shadows. As more join in the fray, they can only stay in those shadows so long…

Factions vary in size, organization, power, and ambition. Where the powerful demons in the Den-Malignity together are extremely powerful, they lack the organization to truly dominate the playing field. The Society has a lot of numbers between Knights, normal people, and “other”, but they aren’t trying to take over the world, nor do they have the individual power to, say, kill all of the Den-Malignity effectively. Of course, getting at the demons is a little more challenging than fighting their minions. The Blood Lord individually has a lot of power and has a lot of numbers between the vampires, lycanthropes, and zombies following him, but would they follow him blindly into combat should he decide to make a run for control, probably not. Each has their own weaknesses, too (his minions, not the Blood Lord himself), which make them ineffective in long term campaigns. The Mind is something a little bit different. They “could” do some significant damage, but again would they want to. As for the rest, you just have to wait and see… There is a reason emissaries come into play; what point would there be for them without some intrigue in the mix?

I will tell you this, however. Once the story gets running and all players ARE on the field, they come out about equal between numbers, powers, and weaknesses, etc… Now the scary part… one of the factions is merely comprised of two creatures. What kind of power scale would we be talking about there?

Oh, in regards to the Blood Lord having millions following him through central Europe, that would assume knowing the exact details of what leads to the dead rising and what keeps them animated. He DOES have significant numbers, but not millions, no.

EARLY BIO OF ACKER:

So, I was thinking this morning it might be fun to show some of what inspired the story of Faction. Several months ago, while I was working on a novel an idea popped in my head. I won't mention my working title for the time becasue it will conjure images that don't completely apply to Faction, but when the idea came, I had to write it down right away. This was an early bio of one Acker Kinney, covering his early adulthood. Enjoy!

Acker Kinney – I once thought that life was so complex; the things I did in life were never easy. I enlisted in the Marines the day of my 18th birthday… It was a present from me to me. I could have gone onto college and tried to become an officer, but with what was going on in the Middle East, I just couldn’t wait to go and do something with myself. The recruiter promised me I could be whatever I wanted to be in the Marines, so I said I wanted to be infantry. Boot camp wasn’t a breeze, but I did better in there than a lot of the grunts to my left and right.

Shortly after boot camp, we trained in the “deserts” of Camp Pendleton. We had classes on tactics, hand-to-hand combat, rifles, pistols, and pretty much anything we could get our hands on. We learned to identify ballistics by the sounds they made from over the hill or miles away. I’m betting I lost some of my hearing during that time, but of course it could have been when the boys and I headed out all over Southern California when we were given our limited time off. Some of the guys partied hard, tattooed anything not visible outside of their greens, and damn the torpedoes. People like me? Well, I won’t say I didn’t party, but it wasn’t quite as hard. I didn’t drink much, though I can remember, errr partially remember a few crazy nights. I don’t smoke, and God help anyone who tried to do anything else if they got caught.

In those days, we all knew that we could end up shipped to a small base in Kansas or in the middle of the action in Iraq, Afghanistan, or someplace we haven’t even heard of to defend out freedom. In all of our training, some of the officers noticed I excelled in first aid. Suddenly I found that fewer and fewer of my classes were with the guys I had spent the past weeks and months training with. While my friends were crawling through trenches and shooting tracer bullets into the night, I was practicing field dressing, crawling through smoke filled sand-traps to find an “injured” soldier. They had me diving into pools to “rescue” drowning soldiers in full gear, running miles carrying the normal field gear plus basic medical equipment, and praying every day that things would get easier.

A couple of years and ranks later, I found myself in Ft. Bragg. In a 22 week program, the Marine Corps taught me to be a Special Operations Medic. I didn’t realize while I was there but later learned that I was, at 21, the youngest person to ever get through the training. You don’t get in the media for breaking Special Ops records in the military, but the service was proud, so I was proud.



More questions and answers:
I received a much appreciated question about Faction yesterday I had to take some time to think about... Below are parts of the posting intermingled with my answers... Enjoy! If you have any questions about Faction, please hop over to DimeStoreProductions.com and post them in the Faction Round 2 Forum so I can address them there (they'll end up here afterwards).

darlinikki wrote ...
Definitely interested in knowing the history and complexit - especially between Acker and Abigail.

My response...
As I think I posted about before, there’s a lot of drama surrounding those two. It’s not going to be a cut and dry reunion between these two regardless of their history.

darlinikki wrote ...
Good vs evil is the theme - but there is only one character that you make reference to God. Interested to see how religion or spirituality come into play here. Awakening/rebirth/ transformation of the characters will be a point of interest for me as a reader.

My response...
In the pitch, buried in the “Retired Idol 2009 Threads”, I make mention of the fact that all of the Knights are “Blessed by God with countless lifetimes of knowledge and rediscovered powers.” As far as how the whole Awakening/rebirth/ transformation thing works, you’ll need to read on because a lot of it won’t be revealed until the book comes out. It’s not simple reincarnation, I’ll tell you that.

Each of the Knights has a certain “aptitude” that crosses from life to life, which ties to their names such as Asa, Abimael, Gabriel, Cephas, etc… In this life, Acker is a Special Forces Medic. In the last he could have done acupuncture, for example, or holistic medicine.

darlinikki wrote ...
Just one point on illustration - Abigail is very properly dressed, wears a crucifix, father is God, but she uses a gun or weapons? I wasn't clear on that.

My response...
Abigail is actually tied to the Church. Her normal day to day attire is very conservative. When she goes into battle, perhaps things will be a little different, but given her primary means of offense and defense, it may not be necessary.

darlinikki wrote ...
The 400+lbs weight on some of the characters is a little disturbing. They are candidates for heart attacks. The demon creature is 6'9" and would be twice the size of Shaq!!! I don't know if you want to reconsider the weight. I just thought it was odd.

I wonder if the Blood Lord guy has a flaw - like poor eyesight or something to "weaken" him...

My response...
The Blood Lord isn’t human, I’ll tell you that much. Issues such as heart attacks would not apply to him. As far as a weakness goes, again, you’ll have to wait and see. No one is all powerful and as I explain in another one of my posts, there power level between different factions balance out in various ways. I’m not sure what page of the posts it’s on, but if you read through my blog (link in my signature), I’ve got a compiled list of my Faction “snippets” from the forum here. They go from here to there.

darlinikki wrote ...
Emlin looks like a seductress - that should be her distinguishing feature - not necessarily a scar or some other discernable physical attribute. Her attitude or her mannerism would be.

My response...
The way I interpret a distinguishing feature is something that stands out regardless of what they are wearing. It’s something that can’t easily be covered up physically. Tattoos, piercings, scars, horns, teeth, abnormal skin pigmentation, etc… mannerisms and way of dress could be dependent on situations. But you do make a good point!

Thanks for the questions and if anyone has others, please let me know! I’ll answer what I can… In fact, I think some of these questions brought about some fairly direct answers from me. Now that’s abnormal!

Also, thank you again to everyone who has been voting for Faction, I’m humbled by the turnout, honestly.

ORIGINS AND SCOPE:
Another good question from the DimeStore site and my response... A few people are really curious! :)

Sepulcher wrote ...
Bard, anything you can tell us about where most of this story takes place? I mean, is it a globe trotting affair like a big budget movie where you'll hit Rome, New York, etc - or will things center mostly around the middle east, or Europe, or what not? Looking at the Society, Acker is American but all the names the Society has (Asa, etc) sound more like Greek or Latin to me... Just curious.

My response...
To answer your question, the story is globe-trotting, yes. It starts in the Middle East (Acker go boom), moves to Germany, and then around depending on where the various factions might be hiding themselves. The first arc of the story (four issues) will cover primarily Europe, though. As for the names such as "Asa", "Abimael", etc. they're Hebrew, tying back to their names from biblical times.To give you an idea of their origins, take a look below.Acker - AmericanAbigail - FrenchGabriel - AfricanZephan - IsraeliEmlin - GermanLora - EnglishBlood Lord - Most recently? Elsewhere

ANOTHER BIO:
Another day, another little glimpse into the world of Faction... Today we're going to take a look at yet another Knight, this time Dayton! It's technically not Sunday yet here in California, but I'm counting this as my Sunday post since I'm still awake and it's after midnight SPI time.

NAME: Dayton Keoni
FACTION: Society of the Enlightened
CODE NAME: Dathan - Fountain

AGE: 19
HEIGHT: 5'4"
WEIGHT: 120 lbs
DISTINGUISHING FEATURES: Long, dark, semi-coarse brown hair and goatee.

BIOGRAPHY: The Thinker for the Society of the Enlightened, Dayton is a 29-year-old half-Polynesian, half-Japanese man from Hawaii. He always seems to be at peace, having thought of dozens of possibilities fo what could happen next and tends to be prepared for all of them. His father was a Buddhist monk who left Kyoto and the order to go to Hawaii, seeking peace from his own inner turmoil. There, Dayton’s father found both a wife and life. His son was born with the same turmoil, which was finally quenched when he was Awoken as a Knight. He is trained in Shaolin Kung-Fu and Wushu, better with a gun than a blade, better with his hands than both. His abilities as a Knight include countless lifetimes of knowledge, but also a variety of skills from medicine to Philosophy, and various physical feats, though not quite classified as magic, are incredibly impressive.