Colonial Africa

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Colonial Africa

I have always been fascinated by African Colonial history. My interest was piqued at a young age by my Dad, who had an intense interest in the subject as well. There is a bookcase in my parents home that is almost nothing but books on the subject, a number of which I have read and enjoyed. Growing up one of my favorite movies was Zulu, a dramatic film staring a young Michael Caine, and telling the events of the battle of Rorke’s Drift (which I partly attribute to my unending love of sieges).

As I have grown older, I have come to realize the horrific effect colonial life had on Africa, and the problems with glorification of that era. It is something I myself have struggled with. The men of Rorke’s Drift were my heroes growing up. I was an adult though before I understood that the war in which they fought was under false pretenses, and instigated by the British in order to take control of the Zulu lands.

My steampunk world features an area that is intentionally similar to Colonial South Africa, and I have to date written a pair of stories set there (Up River, and Radavan Station), featuring a drunken mage named Roymond. I also have a character loosely based on the concept of a “Great White Hunter,” Colonel Gurthwait. As I write these stories though, I have tried to be aware of the issues of colonization, and to not senselessly glorify it. I hope I have done at least a passable job.

My next large project is going to be a 25 thousand word novella set in this area, staring both Gurthwait and Roymond, in a loose retelling of a pivotal event from African Colonial history. As I write it, I hope to try to address some of these issues, showing the darker side of colonization. We will see how I do!

What is an area of history that has influenced your writing? Or that you find interesting that not many people might?

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Iron and Blood, First Session

Iron and Blood, First Session

So Saturday I fired up the new dungeons and dragons campaign, Iron and Blood. This is my second go at running a 5e group. I currently have four players:

Clanless Song, a dragonborn monk

P.J. Panache, a human monk

Suffer, a tiefling rogue

Akronus the Fireborn, a tiefling sorcerer

It was established that the party are all leading members of a street gang, the Thom’s Way Hellcats. The monks handled collections, Suffer ran the bordello, and Akronus was in charge of the gang’s gambling den. We also went into each’s backstory, explaining how they came to be in Ravensburg and what ties them to the city. It was established that the two tieflings may be half-brothers, but being bastards have no real idea, and also that on old key, Suffer’s only memento of his mother, was stolen from him. Also it was gone into how Song had ties to the Fau Tong that have moved into the city, have left the group in his past, something they object to. Akronus and Suffer have strong ties to Black Tom, the lead crime boss of the area, second only to the River King in the River Rats organization.

The campaign opened with one of the local street kids running in to say that Remmy, the boss of the Hellcats, was lying dead in an alley. The party investigated and found the calling card of a rival gang, the Silver Serpents. Going to Black Tom, who had to ok the hit, they found out that he allowed it because Remmy was running the gang into the ground. If the party can’t whip the gang back into shape, and get the money flowing better, the Silver Serpents will be given the ok to wipe them out.

The party returned to their lair and plotted. They established that they will run the gang as a council in secret, but PJ will be the boss in public. When this was announced to the gang at large, one tried to fight PJ for the leadership. PJ knocked him out before the guy could even connect with a punch.

The group decided to up the collection rates a small amount as the first order of business. They are also making moves to muscle in on a neighboring block, as well as start an underground fighting arena.

Before they could start said plans, one of PJ’s group of collectors came limping back. He reported that a tenement inhabited by Kenku had risen up and refused to pay their protection. They beat him up and still had his partner.

The party got there just in time for the Kenku to launch the partner off the roof, throwing him to his death. The party then proceeded to kill them all with extreme prejudice, double their protection, and kidnap one for information. The session ended with them sending the captured Kenku back to the tenement to get their money. The party is talking of trying to recruit from them now to add to their numbers perhaps.

Quotes:

“We could do a minstrel show.” –Suffer

“Menstrual?” – PJ

“I don’t think I want to be a part of this anymore.” – Song

“You do run the bordello…” – PJ

I had a need for an unexpected dnumber of npc’s of which I had no names. So everyone became Jim. For example, the collector who got beaten up was Bruised Jim. When it came time to name the Kenku they had captured:

“His name is Jim Crow.” – Akronus

Notes:

Next session I plan to have a list of names ready should I need to create npcs on the fly again.

Also, Kenku are CR ¼. I am used to 3.5, where a CR ¼ would have like…2 hit points. These had 13! With AC 13, and damage roughly equivalent to what the party could put out (except for chromatic orb….geez). So note to self, 5e monsters are a lot more badass.

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Hallowed Sample

A sample from a recently completed piece, Hallowed, set in my fantasy world, the Konislund:

They ate in relative silence, for which Valko was grateful as he hungrily devoured his portion. The warm stew hit his stomach and the heat of it seemed to radiate outward, thawing him out. The others ate a bit slower, but no less purposefully, and soon the stew pot was empty and the other man, who Valko had learned was named Hreve, was running a finger around the lip of the vessel to get the last bits.

Valko, having eased off the block onto the ground and was now leaning against it, content to bask in the warm glow of the fire. “Thank you. You’ve done me a service, I won’t forget it. Pity that good folks such as you have to linger here on the edge of the village, instead of being invited in to share their roofs.”

Gerrick had pulled out a long pipe from his pack and a small pouch of tobacco and was just beginning to pack it when Valko said his peace. The man paused to laugh. Winking over to Hreve and Vella he kept chucking. “The hospitality around here does seem a bit lacking, don’t you think.”

Hreve guffawed, and even grim faced Vella smiled a bit. She turned to Valko shaking her head. “Ignore that old idiot. It’s not their fault. They are all too busy being dead to invite us in.”

Valko froze, eyeing the trio over. Glancing to the village it dawned on him that there was no smoke coming from any of the huts, and the lack of people he had seen, which he had just attributed to the foul weather, suddenly became very unsettling. He inched his hand towards the blade at his side.

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The Year Looking Forward

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The year got off to a horrific start. Horrific. I can’t really envisage a worse way to start a year in fact.

But the year goes on. And I can either let the opening month define the rest of the year, or let how I overcome that opening month define it. I am trying to choose the later. Now we will see how it goes.

There are two broad thrusts for the year that I have planned. First is moving. By the middle of the year I will be out of Montgomery and out into the country. It is almost ridiculous how excited I am about this. This has been my plan for a few years now, and though it’s happening for the worst reasons, it is happening. I feel like it’s a chance to start over to a large degree, something that at this point I feel I need.

Second is my writing career. The past four years have been spent writing hundreds of thousands of words. Now, it is time to get them out there for the world to read. To that end I hope to be releasing a number of ebooks, and perhaps even one print book over the coming months. If all goes to plan, I could have ten or so ebooks on Amazon by Christmas. Hint hint.

So that is what I have planned for the year, in the broad strokes. How about you?

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Fiverr Update!

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Fiverr Update

As some of you may know, I run a Fiverr. If you do not know what that is, Fiverr is a website where you agree to perform a given task for 5 dollars. My gig is that for 5 dollars I will write you 500 words of pretty much whatever you can come up with. I have had a ton of fun doing it, writing everything from a list of magical items to star trek roleplaying posts, a gritty noir crime story staring a cat to several horror stories. All in all it has been a blast.

Well Fiverr has a 4 tier system to rate folks like me. You initially start out unleveled. After a while, if you maintain a good rating and complete a certain number of gigs you get Level 1 status. I have had this for some time now. The exciting news is yesterday I got upgraded to Level 2! For it you have to do a ton of gigs while maintaining a very high rating. It grants me a few minor tweaks to my account, but in the most part it is a huge boost to my ego (which I certainly did not need).

Anyway, go check out my Fiverr here:

Have a Fiverr of your own? Post it in the comments, I don’t mind!

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Bob’s Quest to a Better Him Update

To be honest, it has been a rough go of it here lately. From a Bob’s Quest perspective if anything I have regressed over the past few months, in some cases rather dramatically. Now though as the dust begins to settle, I am finally back on track, and seeking to undo the damage of the past few months.

Health

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Here is far and away my biggest regression. Since ending things with my ex back in May I have put on about 30 pounds. I am a stress eater, and after a break up I tend to be filled with a ton of fuck-it-all. So with the fallout of that I packed on about ten pounds. Then came the holiday season, in which I tied on about ten more in a rather ridiculous amount of holiday gorging. Then with my dad being sick, and everyone being so kind and bringing by tons of great food I packed on ten more.

To be frank, I am disgusted with myself. My clothes are fitting poorly, I don’t feel like I am running at my best, the works. So screw that, I am back on low carb and have begun working out some once more. I am also being far more careful about the quality of what I eat (I have almost completely cut out processed meat). I also have tracked down a tractor tire finally, so soon it will really be game on.

Mental:

I was not really back to 100% (or as 100% as I get) from the lingering afterglow of a couple of breakups when I got the news about Dad. And then three and half weeks later he died. All things considered, I am doing…ok. Not great, but not terrible.

A ton of my friends rallied around me and made the whole process much easier. It feels good to know you are loved. There was only one fly in that ointment, someone who abandoned me, but I am trying to let it go. It’s a work in process. Forgiveness is hard sometimes.

Spiritual:

My faith, such as it is, was strengthened by the events of the past couple of months. Maybe later it will rate a blog post of its own. For now though I will leave it at that.

Professional:

I wrote nothing more or less for two months. I just could not get words on paper. It wasn’t writers block, it was just an overwhelming morose apathy. That storm has passed though thank God, and now I am back to writing. I also hope to finally get some sort of regular posting schedule on here. Fingers crossed.

So how about you? How is your quest to a better you going?

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Have this dashing chap come speak to you!

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Doesn’t that look like the sort of man you would love to come have speak to your writing group or class? I would love the opportunity to do so! I can speak at length on the craft and business of writing, and will do so for free (maybe cover my gas if it’s more than an hour from Montgomery Alabama). Just shoot me an email at bob@talesbybob.com if you are interested!

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Oooo, books for sale.

For those interested, I definitely still have books for sale! For my ebook just follow the link:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B013J8UT82

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I also have physical copies of the following two books for sale! I keep them in my car, so just ask!

 

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Bob’s Cause

So for a year or so now I have been idly looking around, trying to find a cause where I feel that I can really make a difference. And after some thought, I have settled on helping my Alma Mater, Highland Home High School’s library. They are in dire need of more, better books, better shelves, and better media centers. So, now I shall start working to see how I can help get them all that. The books are the easy part, now I just need to start raising a bit of money!

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Frequency

EXCITING NEWS!!!

So as a very few of you may be aware, I got hired to write the story for an app called Frequency. Its a cool text based adventure set in a post apocalyptic wasteland! And as of today it has been released for iPhone!! So go check it out!

“Someone from the future desperately needs your help. Will you guide them to safety? Or will you send them into the dangers of a world with no rules?

Frequency is a text-based adventure game that puts you side by side with one of the only sane survivors left on a post-apocalyptic Earth. You are equipped with a Tachyon Communicator that sends messages through random time warp fields- and that’s it. Do you have the what it takes to lead this lost soul to salvation?

Immerse yourself in a survival story told through unique gameplay features- Frequency allows you to send messages through the app AND through notifications giving access to the game no matter what you may be doing!

Those with Apple Watches are equipped with extra communication capabilities that aid in helping you get the future-dweller out of (or into) trouble.

What are you waiting for? Boot up your Tachyon Communicator today and save tomorrow!”

 

 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id1012492584

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