The Near Horizon: September 2018

Not a whole lot to say.

Things are kind of settling down, so that's nice. I finally managed to get some more done on The DOOM Chronicles. I actually intended to have at least one more chapter up before the end of August, and I got halfway through the next chapter, but I guess it just wasn't in the cards. Should be up next week. I'm also about halfway through the next chapter of And There Was Another.

So, my plans?

Well, I plan on finishing The DOOM Chronicles: Episode Two [WattPad | FFN] before this year is over with. Then I will put it on hold until, at the very least, DOOM: Eternal has come out and I've had time to play it. So, sometime in late 2019 probably. Then begins the ultra-mega epic Episode Three: HELL ON EARTH. (Actually really looking forward to that one.)

Next, I plan on pressing forward with And There Was Another [WattPad | FFN]. I'm not sure when I'll finish that one up, but I'm still feeling pretty good about it. I'd say I'm about halfway through Dantooine right now, then I've got three more planets to write about.

Now, I've come to a kind of realization about how my fan fiction is probably going to look: several different ridiculously long stories or series going on at the same time, in various states of completion, some on hiatus, some not. I really just need to face this reality instead of holding onto the idea of having no more than two stories going on at the same time, because it's going to take me fucking years to finish The DOOM Chronicles, and I've got other stories I want to be writing.

So my immediate plan is to begin working on another big project. I've got it narrowed down to three choices.

  • HALO. As I've alluded to before, I've got way too many ideas for a Halo Universe. I already kicked it off with Gathering Darkness. I need to figure out which one is next. Either the sequel to Gathering Darkness, which I'm still figuring out; ODST 2, which is, obviously, my own idea for a sequel to Halo 3: ODST, (no, it has no connection to The Rookie Chronicles at all); or Nerves of Steele, which is the primary series and starts out during the original Halo game, set on the original Halo, Installation Zero Four.
  • HλLF-LIFE. I still really want to write an epic series in this universe. If I choose this one, I'll dive into the full rewrite of Bishop's War. Gonna be WAY better than the original.
  • STARFOX. This one is going to be different, a really big throwback to one of the first fan fictions I ever wrote in my life that one has read. I'm sure I've mentioned it before. It will be called A Shadow Over Lylat and will be an immediate sequel to StarFox 64. It will feature an original protagonist and be an action-horror story. Generally, it'll be a darker story than I usually write.

So yeah, gotta figure out which one of those I want to do next. It's a tough choice. What I'm going to try and do is, once I make the decision, begin working on the story in the background and try to get some of it written while I continue working on the other two. And then, once I finally cap off Episode Two of The DOOM Chronicles, I'll have a store of chapters built up for the next project and can get it going.

That's about all I got for now.

The Near Horizon: August 2018

Well, July was better than June, at least. But this is going to be an unhappy update.

Let's see, where to start? I guess with that situation I mentioned last update that either could be nothing or could be a big problem? Well...I still don't know. I've visited my doctor and he doesn't seem to think it's that big a deal, and I'm still basically as functional as I was before I started noticing the problem, so I'm calmer about it now. Still a problem, though.

Overall, I'd say that my anxiety and depression levels have gone down. I'm now trying to just kind of get back into a routine. I can at least say that I'm doing noticeably better than in June and for most of this year so far.

First, I want to get writing updates out of the way, and then I'll get onto the bulk of this update and why it's a mixed bag and why you probably won't like it.

First of all, Dead Winter is done. It's been posted in full. Thank you to everyone who read, voted, and/or commented. Obviously I've set up for a sequel. When will I write one? Uh...I'll address in the last section of this update.

I finally updated The DOOM Chronicles. I'm sorry about that nearly two month gap. I am actually working on it again regularly. I'm really going to try and pick up the slack this month.

The only other thing I'm working on right now, And There Was Another, is being updated much more regularly. I'm feeling this one right now, so it's coming a lot easier. I'm actually in the middle of writing the first climax of the story, or the end of the first planet, since my story's parts can be measured in planets, much like KOTOR. I'm looking forward to pressing on with this one.

Now, for the big part.

I'm frustrated, and bitter, and, more than anything, kind of just exhausted.

WattPad, I feel, has failed me. And not just me, but many authors.

Now, most of this I covered in my AFTERWORD for Dead Winter.

One big problem that emerged as, I think, a side-effect of lots of stress and anxiety and depression in June is that I really started kind of obsessing over the fact that hardly anyone seems to give a shit about me on WattPad. Like, seriously, it's ridiculous. The amount of work I put into writing a 15 novel franchise to where I'm at right now is pathetic. Back in June, it was a much more emotional response to being ignored by the majority, but now I'm at a more...academic viewpoint, I guess. More logical than emotional.

I'm tired of WattPad.

I did some digging into the seemingly obviously simple question of: Why can a person put in a great deal of consistent, legitimate work on a website that exists, fucking literally exists, as a place to write and get read, but then get passed over by middle schoolers shitting out error-riddled garbage about YouTubers and boybands?

It seemed to me that something had gone wrong here.

And don't get me wrong, I don't think I should be getting millions of views or anything, but I do feel like I should at least have a fair shot at getting viewed. It seems to me that a website that exists for people to write stories and then get read should promote people who, um, write. Not people who fucking obsess over message boards bullshitting about nothing.

Because that is what EVERYONE has told me. Fucking EVERYONE keeps telling me, and everyone else who has my problem, the same thing: you need to be socially active on the Clubs to get noticed.

Well, here's the thing. WattPad is not a social media website. It is a writing/reading website. Getting noticed as a writer should NOT, for any reason, be FORCIBLY tied to being social and active on Clubs.

Something has gone wrong.

I still want to write and obviously, I still need to. It's my job. But I really have to face the fact that WattPad is dragging me down. When I look at WattPad, now all I really see is a black hole, a time suck that effectively gives next to nothing in return for hard work.

Many people seem to be of the opinion that WattPad is now populated almost entirely by teenage girls, and apparently not even ONE teenage girl likes horror? Obviously hyperbolic, but it does present a problem for me. Why should I continue to agonize over a website that has subtly, over the course of the past few years, been manipulated and guided away from helping people like me to actually harming people like me in that the algorithms that guide the site now apparently actively guide people AWAY from me?

Dead Winter has a decent cover, was consistently updated twice a week, with decently-edited, consistent-length chapters, and has barely broken 1,000 Reads. I could understand if it was the first book posted under this account, but this account is now over 1 year old and has over THIRTY titles published under it. I should be firmly embedded in the WattPad algorithms by now. The fact that I'm not means that either the WattPad algorithm is broken, or is intentionally ignoring me.

Neither option is a good one.

Okay, so, obviously I'm not entirely devoid of emotions with regard to this. Then again, why wouldn't this still piss me off?

I spent a long time, I mean a long time, espousing the crucial importance of perseverance, of endurance. But I have wondered, how long before the fight's just kicked out of you? And what's the point of perseverance when you become certain that it won't lead you anywhere? Not out of emotional hopelessness, but out of a logical assessment of the situation. Which is where I'm roughly at right now.

I feel that these problems WattPad has are just going to get worse, and that by setting up the website the way they have, WattPad has made it clear that they no longer truly care about giving people a fair shot at getting noticed, (if they ever did), and instead will just promote stuff that's already popular with all the teenagers. I.e. nothing but romance? They'll go the route of basically every other fucking corporation and cater the lowest possible common denominator and the broadest possible audience, sacrificing every possible thing they can on the alter of visibility and cash.

I got a message in November 2017 on my profile that said "Hey man don't disappear like so many others." I tried to be reassuring, but now I'm not so sure myself. Why shouldn't I disappear? It isn't that it's hard to get a serious viewership, it's that it's either functionally impossible for someone like me, or the work versus reward is so insanely disproportionate that it makes no sense to pursue it.

If I thought I had an actual fair shot at gaining a genuine, real readership on this site, I would be happy to put in the work. I mean, I think I proved that when I wrote 15 fucking novels over the course of 3 years. I felt like I was actually *getting* somewhere back then. I think, collectively, I've maybe broken 20,000 Reads on all my titles so far.

I could get 20,000 fucking Reads on a SINGLE novel within a month or two back in 2014.

I don't feel like I'm actually progressing at all any longer. I feel like I'm shouting into a void. It's absurdly difficult to get views, it's next to impossible to get people to actually SAY something about what they're reading. (For the record, if you do comment on my works, I DO appreciate that genuinely. You have my thanks.)

So where, precisely, does this leave me?

Well, I'm not quitting writing, obviously. And I'm not necessarily quitting WattPad. But I do think that I'm no longer making it a priority. Or rather, I think that I haven't made it a priority for awhile now, and I'm finally just admitting that to myself.

I still want to write more Shadow Wars, and intend to post those here for those who want to read them. And I still intend to write and post fan fiction, because that's fun. But I think I need to shift my main priority to another project that can actually advance my career as a writer, instead of wasting time pouring resources and energy into writing for a website that does not give even one shit about me.

I can't remember precisely when and where I read it, but I recall coming across a post somewhere in the Clubs lamenting that another author was leaving WattPad, that WattPad was doing this to yet another writer, who felt as though their creative spark and joy was crushed out of them by the uncaring masses of the site, who seem to exist only to feed pointless, mindless, poorly-written garbage instead of stories written by people who actually care.

But this is the monster that has been created. This is our fault. As readers, we all apparently told WattPad that we'd rather read some garbage about a YouTuber or fucking One Direction (is that even a thing anymore?) instead of a genuine story written by someone who cares.

Well, that's about the size of it. I told you you weren't going to like it. I sure don't like it.

So what does this actually mean for the future?

Well, as I said, I'm going to press on with The DOOM Chronicles and And There Was Another. I'll wrap up Episode Two of DOOM and then put it back to sleep for awhile. I intend to keep going with And There Was Another until it's done, but that will probably be awhile. I've got five planets to cover in that story and I'm only just now wrapping up the first one.

Admittedly, I haven't managed to get any real work done on either Kane's War or my Halo fan fiction for a little while now. I keep meaning to get back to them, especially Kane's War, but I always seem to find a reason to put it off for just a little longer. I still do intend to work on them, mainly on Kane's War now since I'm kind of tied up on the fan fiction front, but I can't realistically promise any kind of start date any longer.

The main reason for that is because I am going to start working on my next big project, which will be under a completely new pen name, with completely new material. Awhile back, I believe I mentioned that I was writing Dead Winter to be published under a new pen name, by a new publisher. For some probably convoluted reasons, I ultimately decided against that. Now my plan is self-publish under this new name instead, but take my time doing it. I want to get actual professional editing, and actual professional cover art, and put together a real marketing campaign, and have at least a few novels worth of materials ready to go before I even begin publishing.

Obviously, this is going to take some time, and will be done basically in isolation. All I'll really say about it is that it's kind of a spiritual successor to The Shadow Wars, and it's a Sci-Fi/Horror shared universe.

So again, I'm sorry if this isn't what you want to hear. This is really just me facing reality. I hope you at least enjoy the stuff that I still will be putting up.

And I appreciate those that still do support me.

The Near Horizon: July 2018


June was a pretty bad month.

Obviously, there really haven't been many updates beyond just Dead Winter, which was already written, so it's pretty easy to put it up regularly.

I normally try to be transparent, but I'm going to be vague right now, mainly just because I don't have enough information. Basically, I'm having a situation where it could be nothing, or it could be something really bad. It's *probably* nothing, though. Not knowing is *really* fucking stressful, and as a result, I've been dealing with some pretty bad anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

A side effect of this is that I'm having a genuinely hard time being interested in like...anything. And I really want to be interested. I want to want to do things. I'm even having a hard time, for example, finding a video game to play. Which sounds like a really fucking stupid problem to be having, but when you're having difficulty with something so basic, it kind of infects other areas as well. I feel like I need to just turn my brain off and relax for even just a few hours, but I can't even do that.

So basically I'm dealing with some shit and it's going to take some time to sort out and I don't really know how long. Hopefully by the end of July, but I don't know.

On the writing front, progress is being made, it's just very slow and sporadic. Unfortunately, I'm still in early pre-production of both Kane's War and my Halo story. I haven't made much in the way of progress on them. I'm going to try and get back into making regular progress this month, but my current situation is kind of unpredictable.

Basically same for The DOOM Chronicles. For some reason it's been REALLY hard to write for it since coming back and I don't really know why. I think it might be because Episode Two, in some ways, feels like a retread of Episode One, which I already wrote, extensively, so it's hard to press on with it. I'm going to keep going with that, though.

The only real piece of news I have is that I began working on a rewrite of a very, very old fan fiction that I never finished. Here's the cover art.

And There Was Another.png

It's a Knights of the Old Republic fan fiction. I've already written and posted six chapters over on Here's the link, if you want to get started reading it right away. It takes place alongside the original KOTOR, featuring another survivor from the Endar Spire. It chronicles his time on Taris, spent mostly in the Undercity fighting rakghouls, and then goes on to a KOTOR-like story (though not nearly as epic) spanning several planets, including Dantooine, Hoth, and Dxun. (Technically that's a moon, but whatever.)

It's called an Obsidian Classic because it's a rewrite of an old story. Now, technically, there exists a few of those already. The Thing 2: Infection is a rewrite of an old story, but it is not an Obsidian Classic. I'll try to differentiate between them as best I can. Probably the simplest way I can explain it is non-Classics are intended to be modernized, optimized stories that are written with newer sensibilities in mind. Classics, on the other hand, are written more for fun than anything else.

I don't want to make it sound like I'm being lazy with Obsidian Classics, but basically I try not to sweat the small stuff when I write them. I just...write them. I also am trying to sort of recapture some of the ideas and feelings I was going for back then.

It's hard to explain, even in my own head, but there it is.

If you want, you can ignore all that and just read it without a problem.

I'm going to start posting it over on WattPad very soon, on my Obsidian Productions profile. I hope you enjoy it. I started writing it about a week ago because I wanted to write something...simpler. Something less stressful. Something that wasn't planned to be a gigantic epic spanning hundreds of thousands of words. And There Was Another will probably be pretty long, but it's pretty low-stress writing wise, so that's what I've been doing, and probably what I'll be doing.

Sorry I don't have more good news, but this just hasn't been my year so far, and June was pretty bad. I'm really hoping July is when things start to get better.

The Near Horizon: June 2018

Hey everyone.

I'm in kind of a weird place right now. Kinda good. Kinda bad.

I had kind of a like...I don't know, breakdown sounds way too dramatic. Let's just say that I was in a pretty awful mood earlier this week and began really considering the fact that I might actually be really bad at writing.

My problem is that I'm fucking tired of being ignored by most of the world. People who do read my work tell me how awesome it is, but I'm so unpopular that it's kind of makes me despair. I keep seeing all these stories on WattPad that get a million reads that are poorly written copies of other stories that are about YouTubers or boy bands or whatever and wondering what exactly it is I'm doing wrong.

I guess I kind of figure, if I was good, I'd be popular, right?

Unfortunately, that's an easy conclusion to come to. The reality of the situation is tons of people languish in obscurity. Some their entire life. Regardless of their quality.

I still don't know if I suck or not, but I know I need to stop worrying about it. I'm always trying to improve and I'm open to constructive criticism, but the thing is, I am as good as I am, however good or bad that is. The only real answer is to keep writing as best I can.

So with that in mind, I've decided to refocus my efforts.

It just seems like everything I've been trying to do this year has failed so far. Not necessarily failed to be noticed, but more failed to be a good idea on my part. The conclusion I've drawn is that it's probably time to stop diverting my attention and just get to work on the follow-up to The Shadow Wars.

As such, I've got a few cancellations to announce.

I've taken down Unknown. I've had to admit to myself that it just isn't working. Trying to write it was honestly dragging me down, because I realized that I just didn't know how to write it, and this was a case where persevering wasn't a good idea. So it's gone. I'm sorry if you were reading it.

The other titles that I've announced, IT'S DARK HERE, DAWN'S WAR, DESOLATION DREAMING, THE VOID, & PURGATORY, are not necessarily canceled, but they are at least put back on the shelf. I'm not sure when I'll pull them back down. I'm hoping the fact that I'm going to start working on my next big novel, and the other big piece of news I'm dropping, will make up for this fact.

I also have been alluding to an idea for a few months now about a side-series to The Shadow Wars. I actually went so far as make and release a cover for it on Facebook. I'm canceling this officially. Again, sorry. I shouldn't have bothered with the cover, but it was done in an act of desperation when I was having my difficulties. I have been working on it behind the scenes for a few weeks now, and after having to rework the first story more than once, I finally admitted that it was a bad idea and I was wasting my time. And if I were to write it, I think I'd be wasting your time, too.

Now, the big announcement. Remember that Post-Apocalyptic Survival/Horror novel I kept mentioning over 2017 and earlier this year? Well, it's done, and basically ready to go. The plans I had for it kind of fell through, so I'm sitting here with a complete novel that I think might actually be really good.

I'm releasing it.

It's called DEAD WINTER. It takes place decades after a pair of apocalypse level events ripped the world apart: a virus turned most of humanity and many of the animals into ravenous beasts hungry for live flesh, and an attempt to control the weather spun wildly out of control and pushed the planet into a state of permanent winter. When James Pierce, a low-ranking recruit in the Sentinels, the military force that protects what remains of humanity, is thrown into a squad responding to a distress call from an isolated and important communications outpost, he has high hopes for his first real mission.

But when his helicopter crashes and it becomes immediately obvious that something has gone catastrophically wrong, he begins hunting for survivors and trying to salvage the situation. As he struggles for survival, he learns that something far worse than the typical horrors he's used to might be lurking in the area...


Read the book HERE on WattPad.

So yeah. This is the longest novel I've ever written. I'll be updating Mondays and Thursdays until it is complete. Let me know what you think. If people actually care about it, I'd definitely be open to continuing the story.

In the meantime, I'll be working on the first book in the new Shadow Wars series and I'll try to post it in June, but it might end up waiting until July, depending on how long pre-production goes on for. I'll drop some new information on it right here.

The series is called KANE'S WAR, as is the first novel. It picks up ten years after the end of Saturate and introduces a brand new protagonist, Ethan Kane. He is a Special Operations soldier with a lot of personal problems. He ends up getting caught in the middle of a massive, insane situation and is forced to fight harder than he has ever fought in his entire life in order to survive and save others around him. In doing so, he gets the attention of Anomalous Operations.

Kane's War is basically a lead-in to the rest of the seven book series. This series is going to be a bit more character driven. The over-arching plot will be following Kane's own personal journey, with each individual book being about, you guessed it, people killing monsters with guns in outer space. I think I've managed to collect some good ideas here, and I especially love the first book. It's going to be a lot of fun.

In other news, I'm going to push ahead with The DOOM Chronicles: Episode Two. Sorry that's taking so long. I'm also going to start working on my Halo epic. It's still in pre-production right now, as I'm not putting a lot of effort into it, as I know I need to focus more on getting DOOM written before starting something new. Basically, what I'm looking at is getting Episode Two halfway finished before I start actually writing the Halo story. Then I'll work on both of them simultaneously.

And that's where I'm at. Currently trying to wrap up other real life things, trying to get my head back in the right place and not succumb to absolute fucking despair.

It's not easy.

Wish me luck. And let me know what you think of Dead Winter.

The Near Horizon: May 2018

I finally have some good news!

Although I admittedly did not get very much done for April, (just one chapter for The DOOM Chronicles and two for Unknown), progress in my real life has been made! That big problem that occurred near the end of January has finally been rectified and in a way that makes it seem fairly certain that it will not crop up again for hopefully a really long time. So that's out of the way!

The other big problem I've been having since about December, my general lazy lethargy and stress problems, (frequently at odds with each other), is finally beginning to dissipate. I'm back on my medication, and even on the lowest possible dosage, I'm definitely feeling just a lot clearer, focused, and motivated.

It's this kind of thing that really helps kind of emphasize psych meds for me. I've always been a proponent of medications, although for my own reasons, most of them vague and unfounded, I kind of resisted the idea of me personally getting on them. Although in reality what kept me from doing so was a lack of healthcare insurance. I know there's a lot of stigma even still around any kind of mental illness or psychological imbalances, which still strikes me was fucking ridiculous.

Someone is diabetic, no one questions that they take insulin.

Someone has a psychological imbalance? They should just 'get over it' and 'man up' and 'stop being sad'.

Both of these are documentable, objectively proven realities, both of them are physical problems, and yet one is basically just straight-up disrespected. It's stupid as hell.

I think part of the problem is that people don't understand psych meds in general. Besides the fact that there's more than just anti-depression meds, medication doesn't make you happy. It makes you more capable of being happy. And it's also a bit of trial and error. A medical that can help one person a hell of a lot might actually make another person worse. I took an anti-anxiety medication in late 2016 and early 2017 that actually increased my anxiety.

Anyway, I could go on about this for awhile. So I'm back on my medication, and it's helping, and that's a good thing.

Now, that being said, my life is kind of busy right now. The short of it is that one of my roommates is moving out. So I'm taking the opportunity to kind of rearrange the house, and to give the whole house kind of a deep clean. This is going to be a bit of a process and isn't something I can just do and get done in a day or two. So it's going to be ongoing throughout May. I've got other background annoying real-life things to deal with too. Basically, my life is busy right now.

So, onto the actual story related news. I don't have much, but I'll give you what I've got.

Basically, I'm going to try and get to a point where I'm more regularly updating The DOOM Chronicles and Unknown. My primary focus for now, and I imagine for the next few months, is wrapping up those two things. Once Episode Two is done, I'm going to put The DOOM Chronicles back to sleep for a bit.


I fired up DOOM 3 to help kind of get me in the right head space to keep going with The DOOM Chronicles.

As for what I want to do after my two current projects are done? Instead of Desolation Dreaming, I'm going to go ahead and write Dawn's War, since I think it's about high time for another Shadow Wars related title.

And after The DOOM Chronicles goes back on the shelf, I think what I'm going to do is finally get started on my Classic Halo Universe. Honestly, I feel like if I don't get started on it, I'm going to lose my fucking mind. I might not even wait until The DOOM Chronicles: Episode Two is finished before I start, but I do want to make sure that I make some significant progress on that story before I really dig into Halo.

I'm also still giving consideration to a long-running side-series to The Shadow Wars that I think people would really like. So, that's still floating around near the forefront of my thoughts.

On a smaller note, I ended up disassembling my Obsidian Thirteen profile mainly because I realized that I was lying to myself. There's realistically no way I'm going to have time to tend to it for at least a year, if not two or longer. So I took it down and instead rolled some of the ideas into Obsidian Productions. I plan to release them as Obsidian Classics further on down the line. More on that when I have time.

And now the big, probably annoying announcement, although I'm not sure how many people were really following this. Over the past year I've been talking about this Post-Apocalyptic Survival/Horror I've been working on. I'm basically going to take it and put it up on the shelf. I don't want to get too much into why I'm doing this. I can say that it's not because I doubt its quality. I mean, you know me, I don't think I'm amazing, but I've gotten a little bit better at being able to determine if what I'm writing sucks. So it's not a quality issue.

The primary reason is that, well, I have a kind of vision, a really, really big idea, in which this novel is one small piece. It's a huge writing related idea, and it's something that's going to take time, like, a lot of time, for pre-production. A few years at least. It's separate from what I'm doing with my S. A. Lusher stuff, wholly its own thing. I'm going to be quietly working on it in the background for a long time and I'm pretty much going to stop talking about it.

Which means the majority of my focus is going to S. A. Lusher and Obsidian Productions. So yay!

Like I said before, I want 2018 to kind of be a catch-up year where I write a few of the projects that I've had rattling around in my brain for several years now. I want to clear the table for future development of The Shadow Wars universe, as I have a lot of ideas.

And that's about it for now. May will also be quiet, but I'm hoping it will be the least quiet month of 2018 so far. Wish me luck!