Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Last Chance to Get Some Xchyler Anthologies…

Posted by Rampant Coyote on March 28, 2018

My first published short story (as an adult, at least) was “Dots, Dashes, and Deceit,” found in the Terra Mechanica steampunk anthology. The way Xchyler handled things, I had a lot of editorial assistance on that story, and learned a lot. My fellow author Scott Tarbet and I frequently joked that getting published in a Xchyler anthology was kind of like attending a master class on short story writing, only they paid you.

Not that they paid a lot, mind you. Long tail notwithstanding, Xchyler really didn’t make money on most of their anthologies. That is why we’re now in an interesting predicament. Due to the nature of the contracts, Terra Mechanica and Beyond the Wail (the paranormal anthology I am in) are being taken off the market at the end of the month (yes, in three days) unless all involved authors can sign a new agreement at the eleventh hour… which is possible, but not very likely.

Mechanized Masterpieces 2, containing my story “The Van Tassel Legacy,” will remain available in eBook and paperback for the time being.

If this had happened two years ago (and it nearly did), it would have been a bigger issue for me. I’ve been kind of busy since then on the fiction front, and I’m sure I can find a new home for the story–and I have tentative plans of my own for it. I don’t have plans yet for “Cold Spot,” my story from Beyond the Wail, but I doubt it will disappear forever. My interest in the original anthology is mostly driven by nostalgia. Well, that, and my digital-age bias that believes nothing should go out-of-print! Ever!

On the assumption that the eleventh-hour saves won’t happen, I wanted to make sure you were aware that the books are going off the market at the end of the week. If you are interested in Terra Mechanica or Beyond the Wail, this is probably your last chance to grab them. If you buy the eBooks, they’ll remain available to you. The files will remain available to owners, it’s just that they won’t be sold anymore.

Terra Mechanica: A Steampunk Anthology at Amazon

Beyond the Wail: 12 Grave Stories of Love and Loss at Amazon

The books are also currently available from other locations too. Terra Mechanica is also at Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, etc., although I am not sure of the availability of paperback versions from B&N. Other Xchyler anthologies will also probably go out-of-print over the weekend, too, in case you really wanted to make sure you have ’em.  The only ones that I know for sure that are sticking around for a little while longer are the two Mechanized Masterpieces volumes.

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Cool VR Things Happening

Posted by Rampant Coyote on March 21, 2018

This is the gaming world I wanted back in college in the early 1990s. Better late than never.

SKYRIM VR FOR PC IS COMING in just a few days!!!

I know there were plenty of issues with the PSVR version of this game. I hope the team made some improvements for the PC version.  In good news for Oculus owners, it is launching with full Oculus Rift support. Kind of interesting considering that history.

I’m hoping it will be awesome. I’m still pretty happy with Fallout 4 VR, although I haven’t had the chance to play it nearly as much as I’d hoped. As you have no doubt seen if you are a regular to the blog, I’ve been a bit busy the last couple of months. It’s been long enough since I played Skyrim – it feels like ages – so hopefully it will all feel new to me again. But as much as I enjoy the Fallout series, my heart is still much more in the straight-up fantasy worlds.

Sadly, I’ll be out of town the day it releases (but on a badly-needed vacation, so it’s not really that sad), and then I’ll be out of town on business the week after. But hey, that’s a week of awesome in-between, right? VR was made for fighting dragons, right?

The other big recent news is the pricing and earlier-than-expected (for me) release of the VIVE Pro. 75% more pixels. Two cameras. And the headset alone costs as much as the entire VIVE kit (with controllers & lighthouse boxes) on initial release. So it’s not cheap. NVidia still hasn’t officially announced its newest video cards yet, and thanks to cryptocurrency mining and inflating RAM prices, even the older stuff is hard to find and selling at highly inflated prices.

So… while in theory the VIVE Pro is shipping almost in time for me to play Skyrim VR on it, I’ll probably be another year before I upgrade. While my 1070 is proving more than adequate for the task of even games like Fallout 4 VR on my VIVE, I suspect the VIVE Pro might test it. That, and my budget right now for more powerful gaming hardware is not up to the task. At least we should have a couple of ’em in the office at the day job so I can try it out.

In more bits of good news, the original HTC Vive is enjoying another price drop. It’s still not cheap, at $500 for the entire kit-and-caboodle, but that’s more than a third less than its launch price. Nowadays, I have a tough time recommending it without the Deluxe Audio Strap, which is another $100 and totally worth it for the comfort it adds.

Anyway – I suppose that’s the cost of being an early adopter. Still, it’s been worth it. 🙂

In other news… HTC announced that the formerly China-only VIVE Focus will be going international later this year. It’s a stand-alone headset that still enjoys 6 degrees of freedom with its tracking… without need for Lighthouse base stations or anything. This is the wave of the future, I think. However, the stand-alone device is nowhere near as powerful as the console and PC-based solutions. There’s no word on pricing, yet, but if you don’t have a PC or PS4 that is VR-capable right now, it might prove a decent solution for lower-end experiences.

Of course, it has to compete with the upcoming Oculus Go, which has a price point of only $200!

On the tools front, Unity and Unreal will be packaging built-in support for Magic Leap AR, whenever that hardware actually ships to consumers (supposedly later this year). Also, Microsoft and NVidia have announced support for real-time ray-tracing, which is one of those incredible things we’ve talked about for decades. I expect the capabilities will be pretty limited for the next few years, but it looks like that technology, like VR, may finally be arriving in the near future.

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A Week in Blood Creek

Posted by Rampant Coyote on March 20, 2018

Last week was pretty focused on the Blood Creek Witch release. This has been quite the milestone for me, and the initial feedback I have received has been really positive.  So… yay! Hopefully those of you who were interested are enjoying the book. If you haven’t had a chance to pick it up yet… HEY, that’s easy to solve!

Blood Creek Witch on Amazon

Blood Creek Witch at Barnes & Noble

The ship times from Amazon on the paperback seem a little… weird. I’m getting reports that its actually shipping out within a couple of days (here in the U.S.), but I’m not privy to what’s really going on there. Even my publisher is a little mystified, and has contacted the printer to find out if anything was amiss (answer: no, everything’s normal on their end). So… it’s just a little weird. But books are shipping.

If you have read it and feel the urge to review it, please do. Amazon’s algorithms run on two things: Purchases, and reviews. Crossing magic thresholds in their algorithms means a LOT. Just sayin’. 🙂

Anyway, it has been a wild, wonderful week. Thanks to everyone for bearing with me. I assume it will get easier in the future. I will say that compared to an indie game release, it’s a lot less stressful. Some of that may be because I’ve had the support of my publisher.

And the fun is far from over. I understand the contracts are signed and the work on the audio book has now begun. I imagine I will start getting chapters back to listen to and review pretty soon. This feels more than a little surreal to me. I mean, I’ve read it to myself aloud (parts of it several times), but it’ll be something else hearing the very talented Janel Valentine reading it.

I’ve got two local signings scheduled. I’ll have more information on these dates and locations shortly. I’ve also been hard at work on revising the next Blood Creek book. So… while it’s amazing to have Blood Creek Witch finally out and in the wild, I’m still living there right now, and will be for a while. I’m not complaining.

Oh, yeah, and I’m going to keep putting up reminders… if you are interested in the new, relaunching mailing list, you can sign up here:

Jay Barnson’s Tales Mailing List

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Another New Release! Planetary Anthology: Mars is out!

Posted by Rampant Coyote on March 16, 2018

This was kind of unexpected. This is still the week I’m pushing my brand-new novel, Blood Creek Witch. Seriously. It’s awesome, in my totally biased opinion. I’m hearing comments from people (including those I don’t know) about how much they are enjoying it, and I’m deliriously happy. At least it’s finding some of its audience, and it is resonating with them. If you haven’t seen it yet, and you are in the mood for a fantasy story about magic and monsters set in modern-era Appalachia, check it out at Amazon.

So… really, that’s still my focus. Novel! Blood Creek Witch! Check it out! The first few chapters are available as a free preview on Amazon, so you can “try before you buy.”

But wait… there’s more! (Oh, man, I can’t even write that without hearing Ron Popeil’s voice saying it…) An anthology I wrote for months ago just came out as well. And it’s also really, really cool. I’m thrilled to be a part of it. Planetary: Mars is a collection of speculative fiction thematically related to Mars… the planet, the god, or elements related to the god’s domain in mythology. So pretty much war, battle, etc. Science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, you name it.

Planetary: Mars (eBook)

Planetary: Mars (Paperback)

(The two versions aren’t linked as of right now, but they will be)

It includes stories by legendary writer Kevin J. Anderson (Holy crap, I’m in an anthology with Kevin J. Anderson), Chuck Dixon (who wrote for Marvel and DC, best known for his work on The Punisher, Batman, Nightwing, and Robin), veteran award-winning authors Louis Antonelli, Julie Frost, and Declan Finn,  #PulpRev powerhouses Kai Wai (Ben) Cheah and Jon Mollison, and many more. It’s a fantastic mix of authors!

My story is called “The Martian Princess,” about the ghost ship of a luxury spaceliner by that name. It also involves pirates and a space monster. I had a lot of fun writing this one. I hope you find it as fun to read as I did to write.

Cool stuff all around.

BTW, I’m relaunching my mailing list. This one is primarily for books, not the game-related stuff. There’ll be some perks to being on the list in the not-too-distant future. If you are interested in signing up, you can do that here:

Jay Barnson’s Tales Mailing List

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Blood Creek Witches, Queens of Shadows, and Dieselpunk Strategy for PI Day

Posted by Rampant Coyote on March 14, 2018

Okay, so today is “PI day” (3/14), which coincides with some neat things I’ll be doing today. BUT… here are some neat things for you.

First of all, I guess I’m not supposed to dilute my message. In case you missed the last couple of blog posts – my novel, Blood Creek Witch, is out now!  Just barely out, and while it sounds like it’s doing doing well, it can of course use all the help it can get. If you are interested, the eBook is only $3.99. The printed version costs a bit more, but definitely worth it in my completely biased opinion totally worth it.  🙂 It’s a story of magic, monsters, and mayhem in a tiny community in the backwoods of West Virginia, inspired by old folk tales and ghost stories. However, it’s adventure story, not a horror, even though there are horror elements.

Get Blood Creek Witch at Amazon

Also, if you have had a chance to read it and feel so inclined to leave a review, that really helps things substantially.

Okay… something else literary for your enjoyment…

Cirsova is a pulp-style magazine of “heroic science fiction and fantasy.” It’s pretty awesome. There are some great up-and-coming as well as a few old pros writing for the magazine. For what it’s worth, it was also a Hugo nominee. I had a story in the Hugo reader packet, which is about as close as I’ll probably ever get to being a Hugo winner.

Cirsova #5 is the “pre-historic human civilization meets Lovecraft” dedicated issue. I have a story in that one called “The Queen of Shadows”. It’s a good ol’ sword-and-sorcery Conan-esque tale involving Lovecraft-inspired ghouls and the buried ruins of a city of the Great Ones before they disappeared. I hope you find it fun, heroic, pulpy, and most importantly, entertaining.

The cool thing is that as two of these stories (not mine) are up for awards right now, and the editor has temporarily made the digital issue free. It’s for this week only, and the week is half over, so jump on it now and get the book added to your account right now, so you can read it at your leisure! As with all short story collections, not all of them may be to your taste, but at the price of $FREE, its definitely worth it.

Cirsova #5 Temporarily Free on Amazon

And finally – something I have absolutely nothing to do with but I thought was really cool…

I discovered Jakub Rozalski’s incredible dieselpunk-ish art online a couple of years ago. He called it the “World of 1920+,” and it’s like Eastern Europe if World War I had gone another several years and included giant mechas and flying steel airships and stuff. It’s amazing, awe-inspiring art. (His fantasy / werewolf paintings are pretty cool too…)

Apparently I wasn’t the only one inspired by this artwork. KING Art games, a veteran German game development studio, has adopted it as their basis for a real-time strategy game, called Iron Harvest. Of course, they have a lot of cool ideas of their own for how an RTS ought to be, and they are no strangers to crowdfunding video games. I like what they said, so I took the gamble and backed the project. It’s very nearly funded after barely only 24 hours. Their start goal is just shy of a half-million dollars, but I think they are really seeking funding for over a million (so that they can remain independent of a publisher).

The game will be available on PC, XBox One, and Playstation 4. They promise that each version will have its own completely custom interface, so don’t worry about ports from console to PC or vice-versa. If you are interested, you can back Iron Harvest on Kickstarter, or you can do so directly from their website. The former makes sure they get full funding with their all-or-nothing format (but there’s little fear of that being a problem right now), and the latter probably means a larger chunk of the money goes directly to them. Either way, it’s always a gamble… Crowdfunding is never guaranteed (ask those of us who backed Star Citizen so many years ago…), but keep an eye on it anyway for when it is (hopefully) released if you are interested in Dieselpunk / RTS games.

Okay, well, that’s a lot for one day. I’ll let you get back to your regularly-scheduled web-surfing. As always, have fun!



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Blood Creek Witch: It’s Out!

Posted by Rampant Coyote on March 13, 2018

Who is that guy, and why is he smiling? Oh, well, you can probably trust the guy in the Commodore 64 t-shirt.

Oh, yeah. It’s release day!

Blood Creek Witch is now available in print and e-book format for your entertainment. Contemporary fantasy set in the mountains of West Virginia, there’s magic, monsters, and mayhem. I’m super-pleased with the work my publisher, Immortal Works, has put into this to make a quality book. It was fun to write, occasionally fun to edit, and extremely fun to hold in my hands.

I hope it’s even more fun for you to read.

You can order it right now, for immediate delivery on the kindle, or in the good ol’ fashioned paper version (still my preference, as much as I love eBooks):

Blood Creek Witch at Amazon


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Appalachian Folk Tales, Ghost Stories, and Blood Creek

Posted by Rampant Coyote on March 12, 2018

The first fantasy stories I can remember were stories told to me by my father, Jim Murphy, when I was living in West Virginia. I don’t talk about him much, because he and my mom split up when I was only five years old, and I rarely saw him after that. But one week, he decided to tell me bedtime stories, and he repeated what I later discovered to be old folk tales.

The stories he told me were about a guy named Jack. He wove them into a single narrative, although they were originally completely separate stories. But in my mind, he was Jack Seven-in-a-Whack. Jack Seven-in-a-Whack took on bandits, giants, and witches who could turn into cats and poison a stew by sopping their paw in it. I loved those stories, even though my father only told them to me once. It’s strange how little I remember of that time period in my life – just flashes – but I remember loving those stories that I heard once.

Fast forward many years later: I married and was living in Utah, the home of the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival. The two evening events they did at the time were “Ghost Stories” and “Laughin’ Night.” My wife and I loved the ghost stories night, although very few of the professional storytellers they brought in felt confident telling spooky stories. But there were a few who were just amazing, and told some great folk tales from all over the world… including stories from Appalachia, Louisiana, and the Ozarks that at least felt somewhat familiar to me.

The genesis of the whole idea that became Blood Creek coming from a discussion in the car on the way home from a particularly powerful Ghost Stories night. I was thinking about the Jack tales from my childhood, and the great stories that had presented that night, some of the urban legends my wife had been researching (since she’s also a storyteller), and some recent TV shows. Things began to gel in my head.

I did some more research on the Jack tales, and discovered a lot of new ones, learning that many of them originated in Europe, but had changed when they came to North America. One of the few ones people remember is “Jack and the Beanstalk.” But Jack (in all his incarnations) had quite the number of adventures here in the U.S., particularly in the southeast through the 1700s and 1800s. He once captured Death in a bag. He went to magical kingdoms through magic portals (sometimes hidden under a bed). He battled giants, wild boars, evil dwarves, witches, and even a unicorn. Sometimes he married a princess. Sometimes he was a good-hearted idiot who only knew enough to follow the advice of old crones or the king’s daughter. Sometimes he was pretty clever on his own. But he always had gumption.

Then there were other regional tales, lacking Jack but still full of fascinating monsters, legends, and creepy stuff. There’s an incredible (if disjoint) mythology that fused stories the colonists brought with them from their own cultures, the native American tales, and many new legends and cryptids that appeared on their own. It’s a seriously ripe setting for story!

Blood Creek Witch takes place in a tiny little community not unlike the one from my childhood, deep in the hills and hollers of West Virginia. Like the old Jack tales, there are elements of coming-of-age adventures. And of course, there’s got to be plenty of fantasy… magic, monsters, mayhem, much of it inspired by classic ghost stories and Jack tales. Of course, I write lots of pulpy adventure stories, so that’s an unavoidable but happy part of the mix.

The book comes out tomorrow – you can find it at Amazon and other sites, in both eBook and paperback versions. I hope you find it unique yet familiar, and most of all fun to read!

Blood Creek Witch at Amazon

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Blood Creek Witch: First Review (that I know of)

Posted by Rampant Coyote on March 9, 2018

This came out a couple of weeks ago, from Guildmaster Gaming:

Blood Creek Witch Book Review

Of COURSE you want to read the whole thing, but here’s an excerpt:

“The style is light, even in covering darker subjects and provides a point of distance to the events which allows the story to be told without being overly detailed. Barnson uses his knowledge of the area to great effect to create a setting that is believable, with enough fantastical element to bring the story off the page and into the imagination. As a reader I was brought along with the characters and not just reading/watching what they were going through.”

Blood Creek Witch releases on Tuesday, March 13th!

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Lessons learned as a pro writer (or any indie…)

Posted by Rampant Coyote on March 8, 2018

This was a series of tweets by Alexander J. A. Cortes, unrolled into a single post. There is some fantastic advice here. It’s geared towards independent writers, but most of it applies equally well to art, game development, music, etc.

The Lessons of Making $$ from Writing

It’s a pretty solid list, all told.

If I were to try and sum it up and generalize it (maybe not the best idea, but I think about these things), it comes down to this:

  1. Master your craft. You’ll probably suck when you start out, and you’ll definitely suck way more than you think.
  2. Master your trade. This is the business side of things. Marketing, sales, management.
  3. Be passionate about it. If you don’t love it, why do you expect anyone else to love it?
  4. Be prolific. It’s important both for practice, and for getting yourself out there.
  5. Be visible. Do all kinds of things to get noticed *that provide value to others.*

Gee, that’s it? Every one of those could be a full-time, life-long proposition all by itself. Well, maybe #3 can come naturally. But you have to do ’em all at once. There’s a reason so few succeed, or even try.

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A Week with Happy Fun Cold.

Posted by Rampant Coyote on March 5, 2018

Day 0: Hmm, I’m tired. I’m sneezing a bit. I hope I don’t have a cold. Probably just allergies.

Day 1: Not allergies. My nose is running. Not fun. I guess I’m contagious and I should stay home! I’m still feeling generally okay so I can get a lot of things done!

Day 1, part 2: Bleah. I slept how long? Definitely not getting a lot of things done.

Day 2: *cough* *cough* I guess there’s still hope that this can be a mild cold…

Day 3: *Hack* *Sneeze* *Gronk* So much for that idea.

Day 4: Technically feeling better from yesterday. In the way that the bloodiest part of the battle might be over and it looks like my side is winning. I’m probably not super-contagious now, and I must get work done. If I can quit staring at the screen and zoning out. Is it safe to counter the effects of the medication with caffeine?

Day 5: Why did I even bother with yesterday? Yesterday was a bad idea. Today might be better. *Zone at the screen* *cough* *wheeze* *sneeze*

Day 6: Okay, I still don’t feel human, but I think I can see a light at the end of the tunnel…


It varies, but right now I’m on day 4.

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Build an RPG in a Week! Mini-RPG Game Jam

Posted by Rampant Coyote on March 1, 2018

It can be done, and it should be done.

A Computer RPG week-long game jam…

It starts tomorrow evening, and goes for one week. Make an RPG. It is a competition, but I don’t think there are any prizes except bragging rights. You probably won’t be making the game of your dreams in a single week, but you’ll hopefully have something COOL.


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Blood Creek Witch Releases in Two Weeks

Posted by Rampant Coyote on February 27, 2018

Blood Creek Witch, my new novel from Immortal Works Press, is releasing in two weeks, on March 13. I’m naturally pretty excited. One day, perhaps, I will be jaded to having a new book release, but today is not that day. And my enthusiasm will only grow between now and March 13th.

Cooler still, the Kindle eBook is available NOW for pre-order on Amazon!

Blood Creek Witch by Jay Barnson

Deep in the Appalachian Mountains, a monstrous evil rises, and the only one who can stand against it is a teen-aged witch who doesn’t believe in magic.

Grieving and lost after the deaths of her parents, Jenny Morgan comes to Maple Bend, West Virginia, to live with an aunt she has never met. Once there, Jenny is confronted with an unbelievable family heritage of witchcraft and magic – which she at first dismisses as old-fashioned superstitions. However, once her new home is threatened by horrors of myth and folklore, her aunt’s stories become impossible to ignore.

Now Jenny and three companions–each with dark secrets of their own–may be the only ones capable of stopping the growing evil, but only if Jenny will embrace her arcane heritage. But by wielding her power, she may attract the attention of something very sinister–the immortal entity her parents died protecting her from.

I hope you enjoy the new novel.

You can also check out my author page on Amazon:

Jay Barnson’s Author Page


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What’s up with “VR Experiences?”

Posted by Rampant Coyote on February 23, 2018

I’m a gamer. I’ve been a gamer for a long time. I had a career making video games. When I first started getting interested in Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality (two elements of “cyberpunk” that actually sounded desirable), it was the early 1990s, and there was very little of either technology to be found outside of university labs. Being a gamer, the obvious and most important application for this technology (whenever it would arrive… which I optimistically expected within just a few years) was gaming. I wanted to play VR games. The upcoming crop of 3D games (without hardware acceleration, back in those days…) would be so improved with faster computers and VR.

Now we’re here. Gaming is still important to me. But I’m still finding, even now that I’m getting a tiny bit jaded, that what I want out of the technology isn’t just gaming. It’s experiences. Gaming is a category of experience. I’ve noticed that it doesn’t just seem to be me. I’ve noticed the word “experiences” being slung around a lot in relation to VR. Me from a few years ago sneers at the term, but the me who uses VR almost daily has come to embrace it.

The thing is, VR is so immersive that many gaming conventions actually break it. There were only half-joking comments among the developers about how Skyrim VR would take players twice as long to play because it is just so cool to stand around and look at things. It really is a thing. What’s up with that?

There’s a theory  that “fun” is the brain’s reward for learning or mastering survival techniques, a hardwired reaction. Now, the deep lizard brain in charge of this stuff is still pretty primitive, but adaptable. What excites it and makes it believe we’re improving our chances of survival is a little fuzzy, and is a little different for all of us. In general, however, the closer we get to to basic survival in the physical world, the more likely it is to release a chemical hit of fun. Memorizing our multiplication tables in elementary school is probably a bit further removed from that basic experience to give most of us much of a thrill. Hitting things with other things in a first-person shooter, or identifying patterns and “gathering” or removing pieces from a board in video game, match real-life analogs of primitive survival skills for hunting and gathering, and more easily feel like “fun.”

VR is exponentially more convincing and “real” to that primitive part of the brain, which doesn’t listen to well when the cognitive and reasoning part of the brain tries to tell it, “Hey, this is just an illusion.” I have learned the hard way that it can be dangerous to try out a brand new VR experience right before bed. If I do, I may be tossing and turning for a couple of hours, even if I went to bed dog-tired. That deep part of my brain is too busy trying to process what I just experienced, convinced that it just went to a new place, and is frantically trying to come to grips with what to do and how to adapt.

But that just makes the VR “experiences” so much more compelling for me. Something like Apollo 11 VR – which would be mildly interesting to boring played on even a big-screen monitor – becomes something magical and epic. The attention to detail paid off in spades, and I couldn’t help but spend time just exploring the tiny, cramped cabins and looking over the dizzying array of instruments on the consoles. More than anything else, I came out of that one with a renewed appreciation of what an in incredible feat the moon landing had been.

My friends laugh when I say that sometimes I just like to sit in a virtual theater in BigScreen Beta and watch a show on Netflix. What’s the point? I have a big monitor with much better picture quality than I get in my Vive headset.  I’ve confirmed with other regular VR users that it’s not just me. The experience feels like a much bigger mental “break” than just watching the show by itself on my computer. Maybe it’s the novelty factor. Granted, going upstairs and watching something with my family on our very nice HD flat-screen from the comfort of the couch is even better, so everything is relative. Real reality still trumps virtual reality. I’m more than okay with that. 🙂

Unfortunately, some developers (especially indies) have taken this as a cue to produce pretty low-content “experiences” that aren’t worth the $0.99 they sell these things for.  They are just phoning it in and trying to cash in. That sucks. Usually. There are a couple of surprise gems in there, but a crap experience is just crap.

As a gamer, I still want my games in VR, but they aren’t just an evolutionary step in gaming technology stretching back to the old arcade systems. Virtual Reality is really kind of its own thing, now, along with its cousin, Augmented Reality. We’re barely exploring the surface of the potential of the technology. I’m pretty excited to be able to (finally) do that.

Bring on the cool experiences.


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The Book of Secrets by Melissa McShane

Posted by Rampant Coyote on February 21, 2018

Melissa McShane has a new urban fantasy series coming out, “The Last Oracle,” starting with this brand new release from Curiosity Quills, The Book of Secrets.

The teaser (short version):

“Helena Davies just wants a job that will get her out of her parents’ basement. Abernathy’s Bookstore is disorganized, out of the way, and smells funny, but it pays well and promises to at least be interesting. She has no idea how interesting her life will become. By the end of the first day, Helena has a dead boss in the basement, an unexpected promotion, and the news that she is now a part of an endless war against creatures from another reality.”

Nope, I haven’t read it yet. I’m reading another of McShane’s books right now (Which is a lot of fun). But I will, soon.

You can get the digital version of The Book of Secrets at this link. The paper version should be available soon.

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LTUE 2018 Report

Posted by Rampant Coyote on February 20, 2018

Okay, it’s been a little crazy ’round these parts. Mostly crazy in a good way. That’s my introduction and apology for being slow on the blogging front.

Of course, the novel is moving forward. The Advance Reader Copies have gone out, and we’re releasing Blood Creek Witch on March 13th. I’ll have a couple of launch events thereafter.

The day job is awesome, but it’s taking a lot out of me. While the stuff I’m working on is not strictly VR-related, the VR side of things is heating up. I love it, but it does mean I end up spending long hours in the office. It’s definitely cool stuff.

I did get to take a couple of days off and go to Life, the Universe, and Everything 2018. I got to be a panelist on a couple of panels – one focused on Virtual Reality – and a moderator for another. Fun stuff. As an attendee, I hit as many subject-matter panels as I did professional writing / game development panels. The panels discussed topics like powered armor, the history and development of combat aircraft, and what makes a space ship spaceworthy. Some were more down-to-earth like how black and gray markets develop. While there wasn’t much new information, I thoroughly enjoyed a class on the Ultima, Wizardry, and Might & Magic game series.

I got to meet authors Sarah Hoyt and Todd McCaffrey on a panel I moderated, which was kind of awesome.  I also made and renewed quite a few connections locally. I received lots of reminders of what I should be doing. Sometimes we need that. I also picked up a few old classic books and some new ones by new authors.

Anyway – it was exhausting, but good. Lots of fun.

Filed Under: Events, Virtual Reality, Writing - Comments: Comments are off for this article

Bound for Life, The Universe, and Everything 2018!

Posted by Rampant Coyote on February 9, 2018

This time next week, I’ll be at LTUE in Provo, Utah – “Life, the Universe, and Everything.” It’s a symposium for writers, artists, filmmakers, game designers, academics, and students all about science fiction and fantasy. The panels and discussions range from nuts-and-bolts craft and technique to specialty subjects like logistics of how you keep an army supplied and fed, or presentation of papers like “Dead Dad, Bad Dad, No Dad, Real Sad: Perpetuation of ‘Mother-Madonna, Father-Devil’ in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2.”

I will be on three panels this time around. On Friday the 16th at Noon, I’ll be on a gaming panel on “Emergent Narrative.” I’ll definitely be approaching it from a video game perspective, but it’s bound to be a fun discussion on how you structure a game to interactively develop a story with the players (or encourage players to come up with their own narrative). FUN!   At 5:00 Friday evening, I’ll be on “The Future of Virtual Reality” which should be a very lively discussion about a technology near and dear to my heart, which I now get to play with professionally. 🙂  The following hour, I’ll be moderating the “SF/F – Were they ever the same?” panel. I’m really excited about this one. It will include Scott Tarbet, Sarah Hoyt, and Todd McCaffrey. I’m assuming the answer will not be an unqualified “no” from each of them, or it’ll be a really short panel.

Following that, there’ll be a mass book-signing which I’ll be participating in, along with a whole lot of others. It’ll be fun. Two years ago I participated and mainly signed copies of Sibyl’s Scriptorium. Last year I just bummed around and talked to other authors. My novel isn’t out yet, but I’ll have copies of at least StoryHack #1, Mirages & Speculations, and whatever other anthologies / magazines I can scrounge up.

During the rest of the symposium, I’ll be around: Usually in panels and classes, but also at the Xchyler / Local Utah Authors table in the dealer’s room, hanging with my daughter–artist Rowan North, or just talking to people in the halls. Come and say hi if you are there!

Filed Under: Books, Computer RPGs, Events, Writing - Comments: Comments are off for this article

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