Free Comic Book Day 2018!

We’re just 5 days away from my favorite day of the year — FREE COMIC BOOK DAY!

I urge all of you to visit your local comic shop(s) on Saturday, May 5 to pick up some free comics from some of the best publishers in the business. Remember, they’ve paid some steep cash to bring you these free comics, so be sure to say thanks and help keep the lights on by dropping some cash on that one graphic novel you’ve had your eye on.

I’ll be celebrating the day at Comics, Cards & Collectables in Canton, OH! I’ll be there from 10 am until my feet just can’t take it anymore.

While my comics aren’t free, they are cheap!

I’ll be selling and signing my graphic novels Unit 44 and The Undoubtables for $15 each, as well as the one-shots Edison, Maintenance, and the always-popular Hipsters Vs. Rednecks for $4 a pop. Also on hand will be dozens of comics from the Alterna Comics newsprint line available for just $1.50 each!

Saturday, May 5 2018
Comics, Cards, & Collectables
724 Cleveland Ave SW
Canton, OH 44702
10 am – ???

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Free game!

Sometimes when I’m not writing video games for other people, I take some time out to write something that allows me to exercise ideas that might be on my mind, or game elements that may not be present in current projects.

Last year, I created a short piece of interactive fiction called The Freelancer’s Survival Guide.

It was based on my own experiences from my first year of freelance writing, therefore, it’s pretty ridiculous. Click the link below to play through the narrative that reacts to the choices you make along the way (sort of like those awesome Choose Your Own Adventure Books that were popular when I was in grade school).

The game uses persistent variables to track your choices, ultimately offering you a good or bad ending. It takes about 10 minutes to play.

While it was originally written in the interactive software Inkle, I’ve since converted it to the Twine Harlowe format. I hope you’ll check it out. It’s FREE!

Click here to check out The Freelancer’s Survival Guide.

I thought I should read more. So I did.

Sometimes when I looked in the mirror in the morning, I didn’t even recognize myself.

Not because my face was older, or appeared wiser, or because I suffered some sort of major face trauma. Everything pretty much looked the same. My eyelashes were still super long, my nose remained huge, and I still couldn’t grow a beard to save my life.

What’s different was that I wasn’t seeing the reader I once was. Instead, I was only seeing the writer.

While over the past few years I’ve spent a good 70 percent of each day writing, I was no longer reading. And man—let me tell you—I used to consume books like nobody’s business. In fact, for much of my life, it was hard for me to even perform basic life functions because I had my a book in front of my face.

I traveled with a book anytime my parents dragged me out of the house. I smuggled a book in my backpack to every day of high school. Any bowel movement was an opportune time to consume a chapter.

The bookshelf in my current apartment (along with the bookshelf in my childhood bedroom and nearby closet) contain the artifacts of proof, but the to-do stack that sits haphazardly next to my desk continued to grow at an alarming rate.

Soon I realized that it had literally been years since I’d read a novel. While I consumed comic books like they were M&Ms, getting me to read prose felt like a job I where I was being paid in “exposure.” I didn’t want any part of it.

I’m not sure why I felt that way. It’s not like somewhere along the like a book had killed my parents, made my browsing history public, or stole my identity. The animosity I had toward the medium was completely unfounded.

Maybe it was an age thing.

Yeah, let’s say it was an age thing.

I was too busy to dedicate myself to a novel. I’d probably forget what happened a week after reading. So why bother?

Then, as sometimes happens as we get older, I became incontinent.

I’m kidding. Hopefully I’m still a few years away from that.

What happened, is that I became interested in writing a novel of my own. I don’t know why. After years of writing comics and video games, which work in tandem with strong visual elements, why in the world would I want to go it solo into a world where I had no art to hide behind? What good could possibly come out of a document containing nothing but my (weird) thoughts, (weirder) ideas, and (super weird) dialogue?

It sounded like madness to me.

Not only did I want to write a novel, I even had the story… you know, one of those ideas that would be perfect for the medium. Except—I was terrified of being a poseur.

I’d always looked down my nose at those filmmakers who couldn’t get their movies made, so instead they adapted their scripts into comic books. Worse, many of these film folks had never read comics, so their attempts at invading the medium I hold closest to my heart felt invasive and fake.

I didn’t want to be that person who runs around the block once and proclaims himself a jogger, the person who helps out on a student film and suddenly proclaims himself an actor, or the person who samples other people’s music under bad rap verses and proclaims himself a musician.

Despite never being a horse person, I had to get back on the horse. I had to read again. I had to find the joy.

How could I write a book if you didn’t read them? Despite the thousand I’d read in my lifetime, what business did I have writing something for the current market, if I had no idea what that market is?

Hypocrisy is the worst.

Over 2017’s 365 days (give or take a few?) I really enjoyed the following books and the journeys their respective authors took me on. I didn’t set out to read novels, I just set out to read books, letting one text guide me to the next and the next. The mix of novels and non-fiction was a ton of fun. I learned, I laughed, I felt. If we’re keeping it real, I read most of these on the toilet.

Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
Heart Shaped Box – Joe Hill
Significant Zero – Walt Williams
Boss Fight Books presents: Spelunky – Derek Yu
Boss Fight Books presents: Final Fantasy V – Chris Kohler 
Boss Fight Books presents: Bible Adventures – Gabe Durham
Boss Fight Books presents: World of Warcraft – Daniel lisi 
Boss Fight Books presents: Metal Gear Solid – Ashley and Anthony Burch
Boss Fight Books presents: Earthbound – Ken Baumann 
Extra Lives – Tom Bissell 
Blood, Sweat, & Pixels – Jason Shreier 
The Art of Immersion – Frank Rose
What in God’s Name – Simon Rich
Bird by Bird – Anne Lamott 
Best. State. Ever. – Dave Barry 
Dave Barry Does Japan – Dave Barry

Hey authors of the above books… if you’re reading this, your book was awesome. Thank you for writing it.

Finding inspiration in all of these titles, I set about writing my novel simultaneously. By December 2017 I’d completed a 67,000-word first draft.

I asked several people to read it. They did. They made notes. The manuscript is covered in red pen marks. I’m that revising it now. But that’s a story for another time.

In 2018 I can look in the mirror and see a reader and a writer.

I still can’t grow a beard.

 

Upcoming Appearances – October/November 2017

Occasionally I like to get out of my office and intermingle with other bipeds of the human variety. Occasionally.

I have two signings coming up, so if you’re in the Northeastern Ohio part of the world, you can come and see me face-to-face. We can high five, or create a secret handshake, or whatever.

You can also buy some comics, including, but not limited to, the Unit 44 graphic novel, out now from Alterna Comics!

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2017
Comics, Cards and Collectables
724 Cleveland Ave SW, Canton, OH 44702
Halloween ComicFest 2K17!
Tons of in-store sales, free comics, and local creators.
Starts at 10 a.m.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2017
Barnes & Noble (Fairlawn)
4015 Medina Rd, Akron, OH 44333
Local author event!
7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Hope to see you there!

Edison #1 available NOW!

The first issue of my new comic book series EDISON is available NOW!

One part James Bond, one part MacGyver, inventor Thomas Alva Edison uses his ingenuity and creativity to combat the scientific threats of the late 1880s.

Grab it digitally from ComiXology for just $0.99 or in print from my web store for $4!

This book is the culmination of one of my silliest ideas… what if we took the greatest scientific minds of the late 1800s (when most of the world’s technology was taking a significant leap forward) and clash them together as action heroes and villains in an alternate history setting?

They’re not superheroes, but rather the kind that use their minds, intelligence, and higher-than-average intellect to fight for science supremacy!

The first issue was drawn by the wonderful Giovanni Capurro with interior colors by Andrew Pate and we’re jumpstarting the series with a full 24 science-fueled pages! Get to know Thomas Edison, his bumbling assistant William Joseph Hammer, as well as the villainous Nikola Tesla!

Moving forward, each 12-page issue will have a different artist to help chronicle Edison’s adventures as he faces new adversaries, all of whom want to steal the title of “world’s smartest man (or woman!)”

Come for the action, stay for the jokes. I’d like to think that if Thomas Edison were still alive, he’d totally love this comic book. I hope you do, too.

Click here to pick up Edison #1 digitally at comixology.com for $0.99!
Click here to pick up Edison #1 in print from the web store for $4!