Saturday, December 31, 2011

Introducing ... Me ... (Part 2 of 3)

I was pretty adamant when I started, that Rudy would not be doing any love scenes.  In fact, I even had a note on my page that said basically, if that was what you were looking for, better look elsewhere.  But it didn’t take long to get over that hurdle, as the character was kind of yelling at me to follow that natural progression with the writing partner I was working with at the time.  And so yet another discovery, I could write that stuff, and it was actually palatable.  Well, maybe a little better than that.

Patricia was the second person I met online, that I didn’t already know personally.  She had been in the group for a few months, and we did hit it off immediately as friends, even though she wasn’t my first writing partner.  We became writing partners when the group was planning an alternate future story.  At the time, Rudy was single, and so I started thinking where would he be in this alternate future?  And I decided it would be fun to surprise the group and not tell anyone what that future would be, and approached Patricia and said basically, “Hey wouldn’t it be cool if our characters were married in this future?”  She jumped on board and we planned everything in secret, and I got to do the kickoff thread of the storyline and we did the big reveal, and the reaction was tremendous.  That all-group storyline which was supposed to last just about a month ended up lasting SIX MONTHS to tell the entire story we ended up wanting to tell, involving more than 60 characters, and it was voted Storyline of the Year amongst all the Dark Hunter role play groups we were associated with.  That’s when I knew we could write some damn good stuff together, and during that we decided, let’s make that alternate future happen and simultaneously wrote the story of how they got together in the present day.

That was the second incarnation of Rudy and the genesis of Rudy and Trish in two different times.  Just as an aside, during this time I picked up other characters as well, and widened my ability to write different types of characters … heroes, villains, both comical and dramatic.

In role play, a vast majority of players select a model or actor to use as an avatar for their character.  I had decided early on to use Adam Baldwin (Firefly, Chuck) as an avatar for Rudy, because I saw Rudy as an ex-soldier type with a sarcastic sense of humor.  When Trish and Rudy finally got together, Patricia switched her avatar for Trish to Yvonne Strahovski (Chuck) because she fit the description of the character, and there are of course lots of action shots of them together, like this one from Chuck (NBC).  It is hard for me now to watch an episode of the show without having in the back of my mind, "wow there's a shot I can use" ... LOL :)

So ok, this was all well and good.  I can write.  We have a following.  It’s for fun, for us and the fans.  Still don’t have the bridge to the publication right?  Well, hold on, if you’ve made it this far, we’re getting there.

One of our brilliant writers, who I’ll call Drake cause that’s the character he plays, came up with an idea to do something a little different, and created a special “Pirates” page, and challenged us to write stories in the Golden Age of Pirates.  We could use the same profiles, but no special powers, make the characters different, etc.  Well Patricia LOVES pirates, and mermaids, and we jumped all over it, completely rebooting the characters for this storyline and having them meet and fall in love all over again, through an entirely different type of adventure.  It was tons of fun to rediscover the characters again, and we were really developing a good story.

This was the third incarnation of Rudy and Trish.

The Pirates story required a different feel ... one of our great fans is also a fan of the old pirate movies and suggested we use Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland (Captain Blood) as avatars for that story.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Introducing ... Me ... (Part 1 of 3)

I am an engineer, a father, a husband, a poker player, a fantasy footballer, a former comic book collector, a movie buff.

So how the hell did I end up involved in ANY publishing company’s best seller list?  Especially with a paranormal romance short story set in the 18th century Caribbean?

These are not easy questions to answer, but when the Bloggin Mamma originally asked Patricia Laffoon and I to do a guest blog on her site, what I really wanted to do was tell that story.  I’ve decided to make that story my first series of blog posts on this, my own blog.

I hadn’t really done any creative writing at all since high school, and without explicitly giving away my age, that had been about twenty years.  I’ve always been told I was a good writer, but that was pretty much limited to letters and technical documents where I work.  I’d never even considered the possibility of writing for an audience (although that’s certainly easier than getting up and talking for an audience, but I digress).

So around April 2010, I notice my wife staying online late … a lot.  Turns out she had met and become friends with someone who was involved in a role playing group.  Role playing?  Seriously?  I never thought she would get into what I thought of as role playing, which is sitting around a table with a Dungeon Master’s book, reams of paper, and various dice doing battle with orcs and dragons and the like.  And this was a role play group centered around a series of romance novels?  (It is a Sherrilyn Kenyon Dark Hunters RP.)  Wow ... I just thought wow.  It made me chuckle.

So then, she asked me to read some of what she had written and give my opinion.  I was floored.  The way she wrote with her writing partner was just intense … full of emotion and depth and angst and action and … well everything.  (Side note: We are hoping she will get published soon too, yay!)  It was obvious that there was a lot more to this than I thought there was.

I found myself really rooting for the characters and keeping up with them.  Turns out my wife and her partner write absolutely incredible emotional argument and subsequent makeup scenes.  So you are always wondering “holy crap, is this going to be it?”  I started to get why people wrote and why other people (fans) followed it.

One day they asked me to help them with a little experiment, since they knew I played poker avidly, and help them see if they could RP a poker game, so I took over an abandoned profile just for that purpose and helped them try it out.  Even though the experiment was a failure (I think we ended up playing a total of two hands in about ninety minutes), it gave me a little taste of what writing and interacting at that level was like, because I had to describe the action that was going on in enough detail so people could follow and visualize it.

Ok, so I was hooked.  Although I hadn’t read book one of SK’s series, I blitzed through the Dark Hunter Companion cover-to-cover so I wouldn’t be completely lost, and picked the name of an incredibly minor character that worked at the Sanctuary bar, figuring that was a good way to get involved.

What happened next came out of absolutely nowhere, as an entire backstory including a family tree with some of the other characters formed in my head in about a week.  I couldn’t wait to get it down on paper.  It was almost a short story in itself.  And the key to it was that, the character didn’t know the backstory, so I was able to write it and let the other players and fans discover the backstory at the same time as my character did.

That was the first incarnation of Rudy.

Ok, this is me, on vacation in San Diego, and this is probably the only pic you'll ever see of me LOL