The conflict of solitude

Has it really been that long since I’ve posted? TimeĀ  has certainly flown! It’s not been down to a lack of commitment or loss of momentum; more the opposite in fact. The demands of my undertaking have been pretty relentless to be fair. I wouldn’t like to be misunderstood here as I’m not bemoaning my circumstance or seeking pity. I’ve made a choice to change my life and I’m working hard to make it a reality, but there certainly is a lot to juggle. That said, I’d like to start this post by again thanking my wonderful, understanding, supportive and insightful partner in both life and love. My enthusiasm sometimes loses you, yet you always try your best to follow my thoughts. Big kudos also for the unremitting support Mr J has provided, including some wonderful contributions to my efforts. I’m working hard to see them in print for you. Again, also a big thank you to Chris Birch for his continued help in many aspects, despite being extremely busy himself on many of his own projects.


Working on this project has left little time for other pursuits I’m afraid, which means I’ve had no time to continue the story of Shaemus over on wattpad or even to produce the review of Fate Core that I’ve been promising. I have had a chance to read through the system though and I must say, I’m immensely impressed. So much so that I intend on making use of Fate Core in my project, though more on that later. Now, you may be asking yourself why such an established and polished system as Fate Core could possibly need another review. You’re probably right in thinking that it doesn’t, but I’d ask you to bear with me on this one please: think of it more as a learning process and chance for me to practice my reviewing skills. Which leads me neatly in to the title for my post. If you manage to find some time for some research I would highly recommend foraging for other people’s writing experiences. By that I mean how many different methods writers employ to allow their creativity to flow to you, the reader. I don’t just mean the methods they employ, which is clearly an important part of the process, but the whole experience: surroundings, mood, research, musical influence, et al. I’m of the opinion that there is no right or wrong answer, it is very much down to the individual. I prefer to write in solitude, sometimes in complete silence, other times with music which suits the mood for the piece I’m writing. My current employment will also sometimes see me complete an entire shift without having spoken to another living being. Although this respite from human contact is occasionally welcome, writing can sometimes be a lonely experience. Where am I going with this? Let me cut to the chase – please feel free to leave a comment, just so I know you’re out there and interested in what I have to say. You’re support in any small way through critique, suggestion or positive reinforcement makes this whole process more than the mere ramblings of an as yet unpublished writer and will let me know that I can overcome my enforced solitude by reaching out to you through the power of the written word.


On the gaming front it’s been a case of our group getting together to plan ahead and look at a date for a fresh start. I like to run games for my group which have sprung from my own creativity but unfortunately my undertakings have left me with no time in that area either, so we’ve taken the collective decision to run more pick up and play type games for the time being. To that end I’ll be rebooting the Carrion Crown Adventure Path from the third module, after having stopped near the end of the second some time ago – perfectly in time for Halloween. I’m very much looking forward to this as I enjoy a sense of horror and tension in my games. I’m sure you’ll hear about this in future posts! We did manage to squeeze in a play-test of the Mutant Chronicles 3rd Edition beta rules, using the short adventure and pre-gen characters provided with the RPGNow download. Chris Birch, founder of the Achtung! Cthulu and Mutant Chronicles publisher Modiphius, kindly sent through some updated character sheets for us to use, so we’re looking to further play-test Mutant Chronicles in a mass combat situation very soon. More to come on that also in future posts, particularly as the much anticipated finished product will be with us in November.


Lastly, I’d like to talk about the all-consuming project. It’s still very much progressing, though it will soon be taking a very different direction – self publishing through the power of Kickstarter! Before I continue in more depth on that, I’d like to tell you that the Paizo license submission was finished and submitted. Massive thanks to Toma Feizo Gas and the Vulcan Design Forge, Arthur Tanga and his creations and our map artist for all of the hard work to see that finalised! If I’m able to at some point, I will post it here for your comments as we were quite proud of the finished piece. I’ve had a tentative email response from Paizo and am awaiting further events, though I haven’t sat still. My intention has always been to take a step into the world of self publishing and, having had several conversations with experts in various fields, this will soon be a reality. Our team is hard at work on various iterations of the overall idea and product. We will very soon be releasing a small, free PDF which will introduce you to a kingdom building campaign employing the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Ultimate Campaign and Mythic Adventure rules; that’s right, a kingdom building campaign of epic proportions! Set on my home-brew campaign world of Tanrisal, this will be the first of a series of campaign arcs introducing players and GM’s to this rich setting. There will be seperate posts, pages and updates for this as we progress so please add, like or follow to receive your updates and pass the word around. As mentioned earlier, you can also expect Fate Core variants of this in the future! We are all massively enthused by this project and are very much looking forward to unveiling it to you as we progress. I don’t want to say too much more, as it will be the subject of future posts, but I’d like to leave you with a concept image produced by Toma for the central character from one of my stories over on wattpad, who will also be making an appearance in the forthcoming adventure series : Kyra Red. Bearing in mind that this is a concept sketch and not the finished piece, I think you’ll agree it’s a stunning piece and certainly does her justice.

Kyra Red concept sketch

I’d like to sign off with a challenge. I challenge one of my friends or followers to leave a comment on anything related to this post, be it your own writing experiences, thoughts on my self-publishing quest or the concept of Kyra. I shall look forward to replying!

On the teachings of Confucius

I quite often quote the great Chinese philosopher Confucius and his statement referring to finding happiness at work: “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.”


This is a statement I very much believe in, but not something I have yet managed to achieve. I wouldn’t want to be misconstrued here as I enjoyed my time in Her Majesty’s employ: It was a career I chose, I gave it my all, made some lifelong friends and I have no regrets. However, I don’t think I was ever truly happy there. I’m also grateful to be employed in the position I currently hold. I’m in well payed employment which bears a commensurate amount of responsibility and I effectively take care of myself (if you exclude the passengers travelling on the trains that I try to keep running to time). Despite all of that, I can’t say I’m in the job I imagined I would be doing while at secondary school, where – had you have known me then – you would have met a naive daydreamer who chose to spend an inordinate amount of time surfing, roleplaying and chasing conquests.


I still smile to myself when I think of the picture of baffled amazement I must have presented to the recruiting Sergeant on my second visit to the Army Careers office (I’d been told I was too old for Junior Leaders on my first visit). The Sergeant had just finished extolling the virtues of different corps and regiments to me and rather than sit back and ask questions, I proceeded with some panache to display my profound lack of knowledge on all matters military and replied, “But I’m just here to join the Army?” With a rather bemused expression, he checked my grades and showed me pictures of helicopters and tanks, at which point I was sold and my career in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers – REME for short – began.


However, life and experience have taught me a lot of lessons since then and slowly but surely I am beginning to take my first tentative steps toward changing my career, with the aim of finally achieving the fulfilment at work that Confucius alludes to in his statement. In fact, it will be life-changing for team KPLangers also; I will be able to work from home at healthier hours of the day, which means I will be where I need to be to support my amazing partner and our wonderful family. I keep reiterating the point, but my friends, family and loved ones support in this is invaluable and I really can’t thank you enough. I’d particularly like to take the time to thank Mr and Mrs J for their editing work and Chris Birch, founder of Modiphius, for the excellent advice and insight he has provided as I find my feet.


Plans are rapidly gaining pace, although I still can’t share too much here yet. There’s lots to be done and the learning curve is just as steep as ever, but my diligence, passion and belief have already paid off as I now have two fantastic digital artists, Arthur Tanga and Toma Feizo Gas, working with me to see my plan through to fruition. Please take the time to check out their work at Arthur Tanga Creations and Vulcan Deisgn Forge. To say that I’m excited to have them on board is an understatement and I think you’ll agree their work is first rate; I’m really looking forward to seeing my concepts come to life under their artful expertise.


Next steps for me are finalising a video submission to the prestigious publisher of roleplaying products, Paizo Publishing, before then working furiously to finish the work I’ve undertaken in readiness to approach a second publisher for licensing. The video presentation will be submitted shortly and I promise to keep you apace of developments.


“Wait a minute,” I hear you cry, “What of your other submissions?” Still no news on either I’m afraid, although my current project will supersede one of them. Rest assured, as soon as I hear more I will be sure to update you; if you haven’t already done so, please head over to my facebook page to follow me for more regular posts. I’ve also promised you a review of the Fate Core rules system, published by Evil Hat Productions, which I will ensure I deliver. Having had several conversations about this system with some close friends I’m very much looking forward to taking an in-depth look at it.


If you do stop over at my facebook page, it may well be worth taking some time to read the article that I have linked from James L. Sutter, managing editor for Paizo Publishing. It is an informed and well constructed argument concerning the unwritten contract between author and fans of their work, written in response to the furore that arose over Neil Gaiman’s 2009 blog entry, in which he stated to a fan that “George R. R. Martin is not your bitch.” As an aspiring author and publisher it certainly gave me pause for thought and plenty to consider.


Do you have any thoughts on Confucius’ statement, or another quote of his that you find pertinent? Perhaps you are one of the people that Confucius refers to, having found the fulfilment in your working life that means you no longer view your job as a necessary evil. Or maybe you have your own story to tell of youthful naivety? I’d love to hear your thoughts, stories or comments on this please.