The Near Horizon: April 2019

Well, I had some setbacks in March. I don’t want to get too much into it, but basically it was one of those ‘when it rains it goddamned pours’ situations, and several totally independent bad things happened very close together. I’m still dealing with some of them to varying degrees, but it’s more manageable now, and ideally will be wrapped up soonish.

So where does that leave me with stories?

Well, first off, I did manage to finish HALF-LIFE: Bishop’s War last month! It’s done! It turned out…about as well as I could have hoped for, I guess. Some part of me wishes I could do even more with the original Half-Life universe (i.e. HL1, Opposing Force, Blue Shift), but a bigger part of me is saying no, just leave it, just move on. So now that it’s done, that series is going to sleep for right now. I think, ideally, I’d like to resurrect it this year and get started on Bishop’s Lament, but several things would have to happen first. I mean, I’d definitely have to finish And There Was Another, The Will To Live, and Containment Breach before I’d consider that, and I’m not even sure I’ll manage to do all these things in 2019. So for now, consider my Half-Life stories asleep.

Now, And There Was Another. I managed to get a single chapter up, then the shit hit the fan, so I had to put it back to sleep. But the good news is that I plan on making this my main focus. As soon as I finish Part One of The Will To Live, which is close, I’ll be going all in and wrapping up And There Was Another as fast as I can. We’ve got two more planets to get through.

So, with The Will To Live. Part One is extremely close to being finished. Just a few more chapters. Once Part One is wrapped up, it’s going on hiatus. And after I finish up And There Was Another, which I might be able to do this month (fingers crossed), then I will promptly get to work on Nerves of Steele. To be honest, I want to clear the table for this. I want to be able to set aside like one whole day where I do nothing but begin production of this story, and then also have nothing on my mind fan fiction-wise while I get this off the ground.

Ideally, this is what the rest of 2019 will look like from where I’m standing right now:

  • Finish up The Will To Live Part One.

  • Finish up And There Was Another.

  • Thoroughly plan the first book of Nerves of Steele, and write the first several chapters.

  • Recommence The Will To Live and write Parts Two & Three while continuing to write Nerves of Steele, then put it back on hold once Part Three is finished.

  • Plan, write, and finish True Terror 2: Containment Breach while continuing to write Nerves of Steele.

  • Recommence and finish The Will To Live, and finish Nerves of Steele - Book One.

I have no idea how long that’s going to take, and I have my doubts I’ll even be able to get it all done. Then again, I managed to do The Shadow Wars, so maybe I can do this. 2018 was pretty rough and definitely slowed me down a lot and I’m still recovering from it. And time seems to just be slipping away from me. Like, damn, three months ago I had twelve whole months, and now all of a sudden I’ve only got nine. Pretty soon it’ll just be six.

However, if I somehow managed to get everything but Nerves of Steele wrapped up and there’s still an appreciable amount of time left, there’s a good chance I’ll begin writing Bishop’s Lament. Although man, looking at how poorly the transition from 2018 to 2019 went, maybe I should take any extra time I get to get to work on The DOOM Chronicles and pre-load several chapters so that once 01.01.2020 hits, I’ll be ready to go! I gotta admit, I am missing writing about DOOM, especially knowing that DOOM II is up next, and I’m really looking forward to that one. I had so much fun with the last time I tried to novelize that game.

And that’s not even considering the other stuff I want to write! I still really want to get started on writing a dark action-horror series for StarFox 64, and I still kind of want to novelize Unreal II, and my Rock Raiders adaptation, all the Obsidian Classics I want to write, and the fact that I kind of want to revisit and fully flesh out The Thing and State of Decay. Man, I actually have a LOT of ideas for an EPIC State of Decay shared world, but that would take YEARS!

Well, whatever the case, if you’re still reading, then thanks! If you’re leaving reviews or comments, then extra double thanks! I’ll try to keep it up.

Oh yeah, one more thing. I finally posted a few more Game Talks. I’m going to try and get some more of those out, in case anyone cares.

The Near Horizon: March 2019

I actually managed to get stuff done in February!

Although I wasn’t exactly stunning in my output, I feel like I did a lot more than normal.

I’m almost finished with Bishop’s War. There’s just a few chapters left to go. As soon as it gets wrapped up, I’ve decided I’m definitely putting my Half-Life series on the back burner for the moment. I’m admittedly not sure when I’ll get back to it, consider 2019 is the year of Halo and 2020 is going to be the year of DOOM. Maybe 2021 will be the year of Half-Life? Man, that’s a long time to wait. I will probably at some point start writing the sequel, on the side, but it’ll be awhile. Admittedly, writing this story has gotten me a little depressed. It seems like no one gives a shit. But I know at least SOME people are reading it, and hopefully fans of the original Half-Life game are reading it and enjoying it. Ultimately I think that’d make it worth it. That and I really wanted to write this one, so it’ll be nice to get it out of my system once and for all.

Next, The Will To Live. I had intended to finish Part One in February, but I knew from the beginning that that was a really lofty goal. The good news is that the end is within sight. Not super close, but on the horizon. Once I wrap up Part One, I’ll put it on a temporary hiatus.

Pretty much nothing new with And There Was Another. Once I wrap up Bishop’s War, I’ll immediately resume production on it. I’d like to get the next planet written before putting it to sleep once again.

And as for my big giant project, Nerves of Steele. To go over everything once more, when Bishop’s War is done, The Will To Live Part One is done, and the next planet of And There Was Another are all done, I’ll put everything on hold and begin working on Nerves of Steele. This is going to be my big one. To be honest, looking at my overall plans for it, and just the sheer amount of content, I’m going to say now that I think I might be able to have the longest Halo story ever written. Or, at least, the longest one on FFNet. The current top contender is that story The Life, which sits at over 1.6M words.

I think I can do it.

It’ll take years, obviously, maybe even a decade, but I’m okay with that.

But anyway, if I keep going at the pace I’ve been going, I might be able to begin production on it by the end of the month. We shall see. This one will require a little more planning than usual. I want to read some Halo books for inspiration, play Combat Evolved on my original Xbox, and figure out exactly how I want this all to go. And that’ll take some time.

Games That Deserve A Proper Sequel

So, I was sitting here at my desk, writing the next chapter for The Will To Live, and I began thinking about all those games that got left in the dust. First, I was sad. Then I got mad, because I started thinking about all the games that either got unnecessary sequels or got terrible sequels. I figured, why not just make a list of games that deserve proper sequels? In no particular order…

  • THE SUFFERING 2: TIES THAT BIND. The pair of Suffering games were fantastic. Created back in the heyday of the original Xbox, they were kind of like if Silent Hill had a much more action-oriented focus. (And much less subtlety.) The Suffering featured lots of horrific monsters, it had a solid aesthetic. It was just a great third (or first) person shooter with a lot of creepy ambience and a lot of fun. When they made a sequel, I was thrilled, but also curious. How could they do a sequel, let alone a good one? I think Ties That Bind was pretty solid, but evidently, the numbers just weren’t there. Although the creator is interested in making another one, given the shit state of the gaming industry and the hatred most big studios have for horror, I doubt we’ll ever get The Suffering 3.

  • COLD FEAR. This one was dead on arrival. Released alongside Resident Evil 4, it apparently resembled it in a lot of ways, namely the play-style, plus the fact that you fought zombies. I seem to be unique in that I never played RE4, nor did I care, but I did play Cold Fear, and thought it was awesome. Looking back on it now, it has problems, but it is definitely franchise material.

  • THE THING. Almost no one has played this game, I swear! It’s an excellent third person survival-horror follow up to John Carpenter’s 1982 masterpiece by the same name. Although it’s pretty bare bones in terms of story, it absolutely nailed the atmosphere of derelict, bloody Antarctic bases, and some of the monster designs they came up with for the amorphous Thing creatures were truly inspired. There was actually a sequel a little ways into development, but it was scrapped when the company that owned the company making it reached too far, too fast and basically bankrupted themselves. Given the complexity that modern games are capable of, a contemporary The Thing game could be AMAZING.

  • STAR WARS: BATTLEFRONT II. Come on, do I even need to explain this one? In short: Fuck EA.

  • KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC II: THE SITH LORDS. I mean, same deal here. KOTOR 1 + 2 are two of the greatest games ever made, and KOTOR II was setting up some absolutely fascinating and epic concepts. Obsidian was actually about a year into production on KOTOR 3 when they were shut down by LucasArts. Instead of making a QUALITY game and a logical sequel, they decided they’d rather shift focus and get some of that sweet MMO money, so they forced BioWare to make The Old Republic, which was touted as KOTOR 3, even though it CLEARLY wasn’t. I’m not bitter or anything. I’d say, if I could choose only ONE game on this entire list to get made, it’d be KOTOR III above all others. No question. And by that, I mean Obsidian’s original vision for KOTOR III.

  • ALAN WAKE. Obviously. I love Alan Wake, and I loved the two DLCs. American Nightmare? Eh…not so much. I appreciate what they were trying to go for, but it just didn’t work. Not to mention, no Alan Wake 2! I don’t really blame the devs for this. Sam Lake even explained at one point why it hasn’t happened yet, nor why it won’t for awhile. Ultimately, it comes down to: funding. And it sucks, because they want to make it, we want it made, but the people with the money don’t care. Maybe someday…

  • CONDEMNED: CRIMINAL ORIGINS. So, for the record, I do not recognize Condemned 2: Bloodshot. I played it, I beat it. I thought there were some cool ideas, but ultimately it was a terrible game. One of the devs even admitted it was a bad game and wants to just remake it. Which I think is a great idea.

  • THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK: ASSAULT ON DARK ATHENA. So, when Butcher Bay came out for Xbox back in 2004, it blew everyone’s minds. It was amazing. Still is. When the remaster, paired with the kind of, sort of sequel Assault On Dark Athena came out for the 360 in 2008, it was still pretty damned impressive. Unfortunately, we never got another game! I feel like this could’ve been a franchise. Maybe someday Vin Diesel will pick up the reigns one more time and get back to it.

  • DEAD SPACE 2. As with Condemned 2, I do not recognize Dead Space 3. The thing is, I actually really like the story, setting, and atmosphere of Dead Space 3. I HATE its execution, primarily its gameplay. The gameplay was absolutely awful and completely ruined the horror element. There are a few articles out there about how basically EA forced Visceral Games to shift focus to action over horror. And stuff the game with unnecessary microtransactions. To be honest, I would’ve been fine with the MTX if it meant the gameplay was just like DS2. DS1 + 2 were absolute Sci-Fi/Horror masterpieces, and it’s a genuine sin that EA murdered the franchise for literally no reason beyond greed. (Or do they actually get off on intentionally ruining things that millions of people love. For awhile, it could’ve been written off as a side effect of greed, but with the sheer number of studios/game franchises that they have intentionally murdered…I’m beginning to think whoever’s at the top can’t get it up unless he’s fucking over millions of people.)

  • F.E.A.R. FILES. Here’s a recurring theme: I don’t recognize the official sequels of F.E.A.R. 2 & 3. Especially considering they dropped the cool direction the F.E.A.R. Files expansion packs were going in. F.E.A.R. 2 was actually kind of decent, but F.E.A.R. 3 was shockingly bad. Like, embarrassingly bad. I couldn’t believe how bad it was. We just need a fresh start where 2 & 3 are ignored.

  • HALO 3. You know, I was hyped for Halo 4. I was looking forward to 343i taking the helm. And then they made Halo 4, and it was awful. The multiplayer was actually fantastic, but the story was fucking awful. And then they genuinely ran the series, one of the biggest video game franchises of all time, into the fucking ground, and pissed on its shallow, unmarked grave with the travesty that was Halo 5. I know they’re trying to make up for it with Halo: Infinite and promising split-screen, but you know what? No, it’s too late. They fucked up. Microsoft needs to burn that team to the ground, start over from scratch, gather as many of the OG Halo developers are they can (WHO ARE NOT FRANK O’CONNOR NOR ANYONE ASSOCIATED WITH 343i), and just go back and make another Halo 4.

  • HALF LIFE 2: EPISODE 2. Again, do I even need to say anything? Valve needs to get off their lazy fucking asses and sell the goddamned IP, or hire someone to make Episode 3. I don’t give a flying fuck if it ‘will never live up to the hype’. I’d rather just have a solid Episode 3 than literally fucking nothing. It genuinely pisses me off that Valve, especially Gabe Newell, are such fucking cowards and won’t fucking commit to something. Either say you’ll make it, or say you won’t. FUCKING. COMMIT. Why is this so hard?

  • PORTAL 2. Ditto. I mean, Portal and Portal 2 definitely stand alone a lot better, but I’d like to see a Portal 3 if they have a good idea.

  • QUAKE 4. I know a lot of people bitched about Quake 4, but I loved it. I thought it was awesome. And obviously there was an open ending for a sequel. Why not just do a new series based off of that? Remake Quake 2 and 4 as the first two games, or something like that, and make a series of Sci-Fi Action/Horror FPSs around the Strogg and fighting them. It’d be fucking awesome.

  • RED FACTION 4: ARMAGEDDON or RED FACTION 3: GUERRILLA. I liked both of these, and I’d honestly accept a sequel to either one. I wouldn’t mind another open-world sandbox like RF3, or another corridor shooter like RF1 or RF4. There’s a lot of room.

  • CALL OF DUTY: INFINITE WARFARE. We might be getting this during 2019, or we might not. If we are gonna get it, now’s the time. I’m really wishing this will happen, but I somehow don’t have much hope. Infinite Warfare has become my favorite CoD. I don’t know why everyone hated on it, it was fucking fantastic and absolutely needs not only a sequel, but to be a franchise. I want to see CoD where the main enemies are alien invaders, and Infinite Warfare is the best way to do this, I think.

  • SLENDER: THE ARRIVAL. Why aren’t there more Slender games!? There’s a LOT of potential there.

  • PERFECT DARK. I absolutely do not recognize PD: Zero at all. That game was fucking awful. We need a genuine sequel to Perfect Dark, especially after we got that kickass remaster.

  • LEGO ROCK RAIDERS. At the VERY least, this needs to be released through like GoG or something. A way to purchase the digital download (optimized for modern operating systems) would be a fantastic first step. But I think we also need a remaster similar to the one StarCraft got, and some sequels and/or expansions! I fucking LOVED this game.

  • THE WOLF AMONG US. Fuck Telltale Games. That is all. (I mean specifically the money-grubbing shitheads at the top who actually allowed The Wolf Among Us 2 to get announced even though THEY FUCKING KNEW they were going to intentionally run the company into the fucking ground way before production could even get started.)

  • PREY. No, not the original one, the new one. (Sorry original Prey fans.) Things are looking better than they were before, given that we got some DLC for the game in 2018, but I’m still dubious about getting a Prey 2.

  • PRIMAL. Anyone remember that PS2 game? It was an awesome little action-adventure title with a lot of interesting mythology. Apparently they were in the early stages of talking about a sequel, but then they got ordered to make a game based off of fucking 24 and Primal 2 died, just like that. We need a remake and then a full on sequel. There’s a LOT of potential here.

  • SILENT HILL. Silent Hills, okay? Just make fucking Silent Hills after Death Stranding is done. Sell the rights to Silent Hill to someone who fucking gives a shit and won’t turn it into a fucking pachinko machine. Seriously, #FuckKonami.

  • PSI-OPS/SECOND SIGHT. So both of these games had huge problems. Second Sight had a much better story and world, but Psi-Ops had way better controls. (Holy shit, I didn’t realize how bad Second Sight’s controls were until I went back to it a few years ago. They. Are. GARBAGE. Excellent story and some fantastic ideas though.) These two games are anomalies in gaming. They both came out independently of each other at around the same time, and both had to do with conspiracies and mental powers. Why didn’t this become its own sub-genre in gaming? Mind Power Games. That’d be fucking awesome. So we need something done in the vein of these games. Only, you know, better.

  • STAR WARS: REPUBLIC COMMANDO. No, Order 66 doesn’t count. Just make a fucking sequel already. Or, no wait, DON’T make a sequel, not until EA loses the rights to the fucking Star Wars IP.

  • STARFOX 64. Yeah, yeah, I know there were like four games after this game. Adventures sucked. Assault was actually okay. Command I never bothered with because fucking goddamn mobile gaming bullshit. (I’m still bitter about all the cool series that got new entries FUCKING EXCLUSIVELY for the DS or Vita or anything else, which I was always way too broke to afford. Plus, they felt severely compromised by being forced to be on a mobile device.) And I was actually fucking amped for StarFox Zero. But then I learned that they shoved yet ANOTHER fucking goddamned bullshit unnecessary gimmick into the game, FORCING you to use the goddamned gamepad to play the game. What the fuck happened to just using a goddamned controller? The first genuine StarFox game in over a decade, and they fucked it up. Also, I know they finally released StarFox 2, which was a sequel to StarFox SNES, which StarFox 64 was a remake of, which is awesome and everything…but I want a sequel to StarFox 64, using only that game for canon, in that style, that just uses a regular fucking controller, no gimmicks, no bullshit, just a straightforward fucking game.

  • OBLIVION. No, I do totally recognize Skyrim. It was great. This is more of an honorable mention. I want a damned remaster already. An official one. Released on consoles. Because I don’t really fuck with PC gaming.

  • GOLDENEYE. Another honorable mention. I’d love a genuine sequel, but I doubt we’ll ever get that. To be honest, I’d be absolutely thrilled and 100% satisfied if they just did to Goldeneye what they did with Perfect Dark. A perfect remaster. What’s taking so long? Why is this such a difficult concept? I know they were practically there in like 2010, and then…someone fucked it up? I don’t know who, but fuck them.

I know there are probably about a thousand other games out there that were dropped or abandoned or even outright murdered, but these were the ones on my own personal radar.

The Near Horizon: February 2019

January went better than I thought it would, worse than I’d hoped it would.

I had hoped to get more done with Bishop’s War, but obviously I didn’t. I was kind of hitting a wall and realized that now was a great time for a break with Part Two coming to a close. So I wrapped it up and put it on hiatus so that I could focus on And There Was Another. I’m going to resume production of Bishop’s War soon and I’m going to TRY to finish it this month. I severely doubt I’ll be able to, as there’s still a decent amount left to go, but that’s my goal. Unless something goes really wrong, I should have it done by March for sure.

Now, as for And There Was Another. I picked this one back up and finally made some actual progress, though not as much as I’d have liked. There is just one more chapter to go before Hoth comes to a close. Once that’s written, I’m going to put this back on a short hiatus, both to focus on Bishop’s War and to give myself a little bit of time and space to come up with a plan for the fourth planet. Once Bishop’s War is finished, I’ll resume production of And There Was Another.

The Will To Live. I thought I made okay progress on it. Seven chapters is pretty okay for a month, especially with two other fan fictions going on. I’m hoping to ramp up production throughout February. My current goal is to get Bishop’s War wrapped up, get to the home stretch of And There Was Another, and get Part One of The Will To Live complete before launching my main project this year: Nerves of Steele. I’d say we’re about a third of the way through Part One of The Will To Live, so obviously I have a lot of work to do.

That’s about all I got, really. I have to say, I’m genuinely excited to begin work on Nerves of Steele. I’ve got a lot of ideas and I’m eager to see how people will react to it. Mainly, I’m just happy to be able to write some Halo: Combat Evolved fan fiction. It’s been FOREVER since I’ve done that.

The Near Horizon: January 2019

Well, December didn’t go as I’d hoped it would.

It wasn’t terrible, more it was just busy. Really busy. Stuff kept coming up. That sentence seems to describe 2018. I hope less stuff comes up this year. Or I get better at managing it.

Unfortunately, my plans got derailed big-time last month. Right now, I kind of feel like shit, because it was a long and stressful night last night, so I won’t linger.

I really did intend to get a lot more written for Bishop’s War, but about a week into December, I hit a hard wall in terms of writing and realized that I needed at least a small break from it, because the quality of writing was definitely going to slip if I kept pushing. That’s why it got derailed. I’m going to pick this back up now, although not at the same pace it was originally going for because now the Year of Halo has commenced. Once I get done with this story, I’m going to put the series as a whole on hold for a little while before pressing on with Bishop’s Lament and the Half-Life 2 era.

Basically the same thing happened with And There Was Another, although this was largely more due to my being busy than uninspired. Going to try and keep this one going too, although it will have the lowest priority on the fan fiction totem pole. Once I get done with it, I actually do have ideas for at least two sequels, but I’ll likely put it in stasis as well.

Now the big one: my Halo survival-horror snowbound story. Originally I was going to call it Into the Gray, but that title just didn’t sit well with me so instead I went with The Will To Live. It seems a bit more fitting. I’m going to begin writing it this month. I’m going to try and keep a schedule for this one but we’ll see how the month goes. Juggling three fan fictions and other stuff isn’t easy.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I hope you have a good 2019.

The Near Horizon: December 2018

So I actually have a little bit of news!

After thinking about it and talking with some people who were, for some reason, deeply interested in the subject, I finally decided that I admittedly don’t have a very compelling reason to take down my S. A. Lusher WattPad profile. While on the other hand, I do actually have at least one compelling reason to keep it up. Namely, people are still reading my work. Some have been at it for quite awhile, judging by the dates on the Votes, and I’d feel like an asshole if I just ripped everything down in the middle of that.

So, it’s not coming down. It is still going to sleep though. As I said, I still do wish to start working on my other pen name and ideas.

And that, admittedly, is all I have to say about my original works.

The rest is all fan fiction news.

So, let’s talk about my goals this month before moving onto the big news.

Originally, I intended to finish up Bishop’s War by the end of 2018. And then I looked at how many chapters I have planned, and how many Mondays & Thursdays there are left in the year, and saw that that wouldn’t work. My only realistic option was to put out even more chapters, but to be honest, I’m having a hard time actually keeping this two a week schedule, let alone something else. So it should be wrapped up in January. And we just got to the end of Part One in that story. Part Two is going to be exciting.

And There Was Another. Sorry I put this to sleep. I needed time to focus on Bishop’s War and to generate some ideas. Well, it’s happened. The ideas were generated, I’ve got a solid idea for the team’s time spent on Hoth. I don’t think that each of the rest of the parts are going to be as long as the previous two, but I can’t be sure, honestly. We’ll have to see how it goes. I will begin writing this again very soon, then I’ll probably take another (briefer) hiatus to generate ideas for the fourth world.

Also, minor side note: I’ve decided to just go ahead and say that The DOOM Chronicles is on hiatus until 2020.

Now, let’s get to the big enchilada.

Halo.

You all know (I hope) my love for Halo. It’s one of my favorite games, one of my favorite series. I’ve been dying to write Halo fan fiction for years now. And so I finally realized that that’s never going to happen unless I very intentionally set some time aside for it.

So, you know what I decided?

2019 will be the Year of Halo.

I have three Halo fan fictions I intend to write.

The first is called Into the Gray. It’s a survival type story with horror-action elements, heavily inspired by the film The Gray, and the game The Long Dark. Basically, cross over The Long Dark with Halo and throw in the Flood. I’m going to start it in January because that seems very appropriate. This one will be more experimental and long-winded, so I don’t know if I’ll actually finish it during 2019.

The next one I want to write is, finally, Nerves of Steele. I’ve hinted at this one for about two or three years now. It will be the launch title for my biggest, most ambitious series of fan fictions in my entire life. I will also not at all be finishing this one during 2019, however, I will be finishing the first book in it at least, possibly the first two. I’ll explain the structure when we get closer to it, but it’s kind of like The DOOM Chronicles with its episodes.

The third I want to write is the sequel to Gathering Darkness. Given how big the other ones are going to be, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to find time for it, but I intend to try. It’s going to be called Containment Breach. You can probably guess what it’s a (semi) crossover with.

And that’s it. Wish me luck.

The Near Horizon: November 2018

Hey, so...

I've got one of those good news/bad news kind of posts. Let's start off with the good news.

First, Episode Two of The DOOM Chronicles is done early! It's going back to sleep for at least a year. I'll pick it back up after DOOM: Eternal comes out and I've had time to play it. Also, my mystery fan fiction I've been working on in the background will come out within the next few hours! It's Half-Life: Bishop's War, the rewrite. I feel good about it, I've written five chapters so far, and I'm looking forward to diving back into the Half-Life universe. Also, I'm going to be continuing with And There Was Another. Got a little sidetracked getting The DOOM Chronicles written.

So what's the bad news?

Well, I've come to a decision: for the foreseeable future, I'm setting aside S. A. Lusher. I'm also deleting my secondary WattPad account. Obsidian Productions will remain, but S. A. Lusher is going to be deleted on 01.01.2019.

Why? A number of reasons, but two main ones. The first is that I don't really feel like WattPad is ever going to go anywhere for me. In a way, I kind of don't feel welcome on the platform anymore. I went into that feeling a lot more in my big rant in the Afterword of Dead Winter and my August 2018 update. Nothing new there.

The second, and by far more important reason, is that I really need to shift focus to my secondary pen name, the one that I have a lot of plans for with the legit cover art and social media presence and marketability and commercial viability. You know, all the stuff that seems to separate the failures from the actually successful creative types.

It's going to take a lot of time. In the meantime, I still will be working on fan fiction, cause it's what I do to keep myself sane, and I still take a lot of pleasure in creating it.

On a more personal note, I wanted to say that 2018 was just a shit year for me. To give you a rough idea of events...

I got as sick as I've been in easily the past decade, and probably one of the sickest times in my life, in December 2017. Then my wife left for a two week vacation with her family. I basically go to pieces when I'm away from my wife for any real length of time, which I did, which was compounded by the fact that winter came and my SAD hit.

January pretty much sucked, then February hit. I decided to step down off my meds near the beginning of the year to see if they were actually doing anything for me. (Hint: They were.) On top of that, I don't want to get too much into it, but my wife and I were very abruptly hit with some serious financial stress. This continued on through March and April.

When May rolled around, things began to look up. The financial crisis was resolved and I got back on my meds. Then in June I kept having to deal with emotional problems that sucked, and on top of that, I started having vague yet concerning medical concerns. To this very day nothing has actually really come of it, and I'm still basically in the same health as I was before it began.

Because I'm a paranoid at heart and I always see the worst in everything, I did spend some time genuinely wondering if I was dying. That is not a good thing to wonder.

This general state of unhappiness has persisted since then. To make matters worse, my grandmother passed away in September, which was extremely depressing. And then, just a few weeks later, my family dog, which we got way back in 2001, also passed away. So I've been dealing with all that as best I can.

Now I'm staring down the barrel of winter again. I'm doing better than I have been for most of the year, although I still feel like I'm trying to find my feet and get some genuine stability, to find my emotional center again.

Basically what I'm hoping is that I'll be able to finish resolving these problems I'm having over the next few months, and when Spring 2019 comes, I'll be feeling a lot better.

Here's hoping.