Tag Archive | friday journals

Troy Wednesdays 23.8.17 Christopher R. Rice Interview

Focus on the Author: Christopher R. Rice Interview

Full disclosure: Christopher is a friend whom I’ve known for years and has done a lot of great writing and GMing for our gaming campaigns. So this interview, conducted by email correspondence, will be the first installment of this series of posts. I’ll include many other writers in it as well. Enjoy!

Troy: So, Chris, tell us about your magazine articles and any books you’re working on or
had published.
Christopher: I’ve written quite a bit of gaming material for Steve Jackson Games (at last count 47 articles, a book, and numerous supplemental material appearing in books I didn’t write). I’m currently proposing another (gaming-related) project, working for a nascent publishing company as an indexer, starting the beginning of a series of urban fantasy fiction novels, and another project I can’t talk about at all.

Over the years, I’ve written a lot of ghost content for various magazines, blogs, and gaming engines. Odd, because I got my start as a poet (I won something like $11,000 dollars from age 10 to age 16 for my poetry in various publications).

Troy: What was the turning point that led you to become a writer?
Christopher: I almost died. No, seriously. In early October 2011, I almost died due to complications of severe septicemia and diabetic ketoacidosis. The first was from a systemic infection in my right leg by MRSA and the second was due to the infection triggering my latent Diabetes (I’m a type 1 and thus dependent on insulin). I only wanted four things while I was languishing in the ICU: 1) to live and get out of there; 2) to get healthy and exercise more; 3) to become a writer; 4) to drink Orange Crush until I peed pumpkin. I did 1, 3, and 4 – still working on 2.

I actually started writing seriously because my family needed the money at the time. Imagine my shock when it kind of became a career. That’s when I started taking it seriously. I started my blog soon after and then began to work on the skills I’d need to continue in my chosen profession.

Troy: What were your major influences, and who and what are your top 5 inspirations?
Christopher: Wow. There is so much. I’m going to break this down to personal inspirations and popular culture inspirations.

1) My other half. Seriously. She’s amazing. I don’t think I could write without her.

2) A man named Donald Johnston – my “foster” dad. I remember asking him what he thought about me being a writer about 7 years before I started doing it seriously (only 2 years later he died). He replied with this gem: “Is it a passion? Does the idea of being a writer fill you with fire? If so, follow the burn.” Simple. But moving. That was him all over.

3) My mother. My mother would have liked for me to be a scientist or something else, but she saw in me a talent for writing and observing the fantastic and urged me to continue writing.

4) My friends. I don’t have many, but they are supportive and never ever let me feel less than up to the challenge. I’m lucky like that.

5) My fans (what few I have) and pretty much for the same reasons. They really keep me going.

Troy: What are your thoughts on the writing process, and your favorite things and pet peeves on it?
Christopher: I’m kind of weird when it comes to writing. I just kind of decide to do something and then it gets done. The “process” is different for each writer and I won’t give any advice on it other than just never give up.

I’m terrible about the editing process. I’m better than I was six years ago, but nowhere I need to be. I continue to try to better myself, but even being an autodidact there is so much to learn about the English language. I have a mentor/teacher/friend (Elizabeth McCoy) who helps me so that’s also a bonus.

My favorite part of writing is taking the thoughts from my head (ephemeral electrical impulses) and putting them into something real, solid, and concrete. Something others can see. That’s just magic to me.

Troy: If you weren’t a writer, what would you have been, what pursuit or profession?
Christopher: When I was a boy I wanted to be a scientist (probably a geologist or chemist, I’ve a penchant for both fields). I’ve got what you might call “guardian” tendencies so I might have ended up in security, law enforcement, etc. No matter what I would have done I would have done it to the fullest extent of my ability. Duty to one’s profession is something of a code I live by.

Troy: You like to cook, often yummy Indian food, but without precluding any nationality, what’s your favorite dish to eat, and your favorite to cook?
Christopher: Hmmm. Favorite food to cook, gosh. That’s hard. I like complex recipes that take time, skill, and effort to prepare because cooking is sort of Zen for me. There’s this list of instructions and following it requires little in the way of brainpower. It lets me think about other things (often stumbling blocks within my work). I’d have to say the most complex thing I’ve cooked to date is beef bourguignon served with a spinach and gruyere cheese soufflé.

What do I like to eat? It’s a toss up between my mother’s homemade fried chicken and my other half’s beef stew. I could eat my weight in both.

Troy: What are some of your favorite places, and what would be your dream
destination? Why?
Christopher: I don’t get out much now, but I used to be a fairly avid hiker, rock climber, and outdoor enthusiast. This is something I’d like to change in the coming years if I can.
I like being outside. I also like to be in places where I can be fully alone; I tend to prefer being alone sans the company of a few individuals in my life.

I’d be at peace in the mountains, by the sea, or forest in the middle of no where – as long as I had access to the internet.

Dream destination would probably be the Maldives, Rocky Mountains, or in general somewhere up north. I like the cold and I like just being by myself so all that fits for me.
Besides gaming, and GMing GURPS campaigns, what hobbies and pastimes do you enjoy when not working on something?

I read. A lot. Usually between 1.5 to 2.5 books per day. I love to carve and whittle, but it’s been a while for both. I also consume a lot of popular culture like TV, movies, etc.
mostly because I have issues sleeping. I’d probably have gone mad by now without the advent of On Demand technology. I love to cook as it relaxes me and gives me something to do at the same time. I also enjoy writing poetry on occasion, but it’s mostly for myself. Therapeutic in a way. I tend to get philosophic around 3am (no idea why) and that leads me to questioning, well, everything. I do enjoy thought exercises and I’ve been known to just stare off for hours thinking.

Troy: How do you deal with life’s difficulties? What life lessons have you learned from your experiences, or survival tips to pass on to the readers?
Christopher: I try to take things a day at a time (sometimes an hour at a time if everything is on fire like it seems to be lately). I concentrate on the things I can fix and do my best to be aware of, but ignore everything else.

I’m bi-polar so this is really hard, but I’ve literally spent 13 years using various practices, meditative techniques, and breathing exercises to allow me to keep my emotional state.
Combined with my medications I function almost normally (as long as I can get breaks – another perk of being a freelance writer).

TL;DR Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s all small stuff.

Troy: What’s your current favorite quotation, and overall favorite quotable person, real or fictional?
Christopher: There is a series of books by David Wong – the first being “John Dies at the End” –which are quite excellent. Don Coscarelli directed a movie version in 2012 with a quote I rather like about insanity and perception of reality.

“Dave: What do you think it’s like, Father?
Father Shellnut: What’s what like?
Dave: Being crazy, mentally ill.
Father Shellnut: Well, they never know they’re ill, do they? I mean, you can’t diagnose yourself with the same organ that has the disease, just like you can’t see your own eyeball. I suppose you just feel regular, and the rest of the world seems to go crazy around you.”

– John Dies at the End (2012)
I remember being a quite bitter and angry youth and asking my foster dad a question which he took the time to answer: “Nothing I do matters so what’s the point?”

“If nothing you do matters then the only thing that matters is what you do. You have a choice, you can choose to be angry, bitter, and full of hatred and self-loathing and tear down everything around you or you can use your pain to build everything up around you.”

That really stuck with me. I mean really stuck with me. I’m remind of those words every day of my life and I try to live by them.

Troy: If you were to strike it filthy rich virtually in a night, verging on being a trillionaire, what would you do with the money?
Christopher: Too much. It boils down to making sure my countrymen have healthcare, fixing some of our social intuitions, etc. I’d provide for all my friends and loved ones in some many and generally invest in the future of the planet. I know that makes me sound like some hippy-dippy do-gooder, but that’s what I’d do. There’s only so much money you need.

Troy: So, I’d like to establish a precedent for these interviews, attributing its origin to Cara Santa Maria of the Talk Nerdy podcast, to wrap up with a double question, so, What current trends and events most tempt you toward pessimism of things to be?
Christopher: “A pessimist is an optimist with a sense of history.”

The apathy of man and the general lack of critical thinking and asking the big questions among the populous. I cannot personally stand the willfully ignorant in any capacity and it tends to angry up my blood when I see someone who fits the bill. Ask questions!

(Respectfully) defy authority! Hold others accountable! Be personally responsible. The lack of personal responsibility is something that deeply disturbs me.

Troy: …and on a much lighter note, what gives you the most hope toward what the future holds?
Christopher: Not much. But I still hold hope. It’s a foolish, optimistic hope. The best kind. I believe that in the end people will do the right thing – and not just for them.

I remember something my grandfather told me once: “A man goes out into the storm and he has a lantern. The rain is pelting him in the face and he’s sheltering the lantern with his body when he comes across another man who stands shivering in the dark and cursing his fortune. He asks the man what’s he’s doing. The man replies ‘I am lost and my lantern has gone out.’ So the man with the lit lantern pulls the candle from it and lights the other man’s candle knowing full well that the rain could extinguish it and leave them both in the dark. But by some miracle the fire is shared and the lost man is helped home. Was the man foolish for risking his own candle? Brave for facing the storm?

Something else? To put it another way: Is it better to curse the darkness or to light another’s candle?”

Troy David Loy is an eternal student, a writer, and blogger owned by two cats, Ricky and Eccles. He is co-author with Miss Sharmishtha Basu of two published books, and solo author of three books on Amazon for Kindle, with a fourth book on the way.

He lives with his family and values his friends, family, and the flourishing and the well-being of his species in dangerous times.

He seeks one overarching goal: to help make the world a better place in his own tiny, drop-in the- ocean way, one piece of fractal artwork, essay, or story at a time. He battles the Forces of Darkness™ from his secret volcano lair in Virginia as Troythulu while his eldritch tentacled servitors from beyond time and space keep the lab in good condition.

He may be found online at:
https://kestalusrealm.wordpress.com
https://troythulu.blogspot.com
on Tumblr at https://troythulu.tumblr.com
and on Twitter, @Troythulu
His Amazon author page is at: https://www.amazon.com/author/troyloy

Troy Wednesdays 16.8.17 Chadameer

Chadameer

This post is for a version of the Chadameer species existing in the Gods of Terra setting. I’m also using them in a book collaboration with the prolific Sharmishtha Basu, which will be announced in detail once the book goes live online. Enjoy.

phonetic pronunciation: chhadəˈmēr
General Description:
A species of capriform humanoids, also known as “Fauns” to humanity, conquered and enslaved by the Dalazinnu Sodality as their chief scientists, engineers, technicians and emissaries to other species. Chadameer are bipedal, bimanual, and have an endothermic metabolism with a closed circulatory system and 2 two-chambered hearts. Chadameer are longlived, having almost twice the lifespan of a human, but mature slowly and have a low birthrate, restricting their numbers and under the present set of circumstances, a factor endangering their survival as a species. The beings are unimpressive, standing an average of 1.45 meters tall and massing less than 40 kilograms. The head is vaguely goatish, though with a large cranium and in both genders adorned with four horns and a short beard. The digitigrade legs end in four-toed hooves and are quite nimble. The arms end in hands with two fingers and two opposable thumbs. The body is covered with short fur ranging from whitish to almost black, generally in neutral tones, and the tail is thin and whiplike, used primarily for communicating emotional states. Chadameer have good hearing, exceptional depth-perception, and an excellent kinesthetic sense useful for climbing and balancing on uneven mountainous terrain. The species has eight lungs, several stomachs, and a unique geodesic rib structure that makes the torso more resistant to injury caused by blunt trauma.

Some Chadameer are telepathically gifted, and these are often genetically “tagged” with black and grey striped coats and silver beards, but are also frequently prone to recessive genetic traits.

Faun young are born sexless, but upon maturity assume either a male or female gender, apparently by choice, which they retain throughout their lives.

Chadameer typically wear robes, tabards, equipment harnesses, or nothing, and use hearing aids tuned to ultrasonic registers to permit them to hear everything their Dalazinnu masters say to them, question or command, to reduce the likelihood of beatings that come when orders are not heard by those spoken to.

Psychology:
Chadameer have eliminated aggressive traits from their psychology by altering their genome, rendering themselves incapable of intentional violence toward intelligent beings. The species has a paralyzing horror of space-flight because of a vague and ancient legend of “death from the stars,” of something that lives “out there, in the void between worlds.” This horror has never been named or otherwise specified, though all Chadameer legends refer to it in tales of those foolish enough to venture beyond the solid ground and skies of their homeworld. Terror of this “death” has been more than sufficient to keep the Fauns on their homeworld, reluctant enough to leave it as to cause them to go into a state of shock when forcibly removed by spacecraft. A few of the Fauns, in particular, those with unusual mental powers, are not afraid of space travel and indeed, are often addicted to the effects of Maelstrom travel, to the point of eagerly volunteering for off-world assignments at the behest of their masters. Such Chadameer are considered insane by their fellows and closely watched for signs of mental aberration. Many of them cannot properly care for themselves, but are still considered useful by the Dalazinnu, as they are frequently employed as interrogators, messengers and diplomatic agents when their masters deem it necessary to question or parley with aliens.

Society:
The Chadameer are children of a dying world, and themselves a dying race, due to their low birthrate, their abuse at the hands of the Dalazinnu, and the poisoning of the ecology by rampant industrialization and their masters’ initial bombardment of the planet before its conquest. The Dalazinnu consider the Fauns to be a disposable commodity, and are even now looking for another technically advanced, militarily vulnerable species to replace them when they become extinct.

An underground movement has arisen among the Fauns that seeks to reverse this trend, freeing their race from the yoke of their masters by genetically sabotaging the races they have uplifted for them, subtly altering them to turn on the Dalazinnu. This has already begun with such behavioral flaws in slave races as the killing rage of the Maktathuun when losses are taken, the tendency of the Tenebruuta for recklessness when bored, and even attempts to reengineer the genes for aggression back into their genome. So far, the Dalazinnu haven’t caught on just yet, but some of the brighter ones may become suspicious of their servants if the subversives play their hand too soon, which they just might as time for their species grows ever shorter.

Chadameer History:
The Chadameer removed their capacity for violent aggression and lowered their birthrate as a means of making them less likely to commit racial suicide by war or overpopulation. They also lost all desire to explore space, and technology with which to do it in the event that led to the legends of “death from the stars.” At some distant point in the past, they began to explore their home star system, and missions were sent to the other planets and moons. One such mission, however, brought back a strain of lethal microbial life to the homeworld that somehow survived the decontamination protocols, and a deadly plague swept across the planet, nearly destroying the Fauns until an antibiotic was developed to stop it. The social backlash was severe, resulting in a ban on space exploration, and the destruction of the remaining such technology, leading to the legends, and the “fear.” This was reenforced yet again, when their first sentient alien contact, the Dalazinnu, bombarded the planet, and took the Chadameer as a slave race, using them to create more slaves by cloning and uplift, and new weapons technologies to conquer still more territory.

Chadameer Telepaths:
These unusual individuals are considered to be both useful and dangerous. They are afflicted with a rare psychiatric disorder which is genetically cross-linked with such recessive traits as their distinctive grey and black striped coats. The psychotropic drugs used to treat their mental symptoms also serve as the catalyst that triggers and maintains their latent talents, especially telepathic ability, which makes them an asset to their Dalazinnu masters, who use them as gobetweens with aliens, whom the Dalazinnu are psychologically unable to relate to as anything but slaves or enemies in direct personal contact. These Chadameer are the first, and usually the only, Fauns met by most aliens, and are often led by a Dalazinnu master with an unusual gift for self-restraint. Without their drugs, these rare Chadameer are also without their powers as well as subject to rapid swings between fits of aggression and depression.

The Dalazinnu use them as their primary interspecies diplomats, when dealing with aliens in a nonviolent manner is absolutely necessary.

Troy David Loy is an eternal student, a writer, and blogger owned by two cats, Ricky and Eccles. He is co-author with Miss Sharmishtha Basu of two published books, and solo author of three books on Amazon for Kindle, with a fourth book on the way.

He lives with his family and values his friends, family, and the flourishing and the well-being of his species in dangerous times.

He seeks one overarching goal: to help make the world a better place in his own tiny, drop-in the- ocean way, one piece of fractal artwork, essay, or story at a time. He battles the Forces of Darkness™ from his secret volcano lair in Virginia as Troythulu while his eldritch tentacled servitors from beyond time and space keep the lab in good condition.

He may be found online at:
https://kestalusrealm.wordpress.com
https://troythulu.blogspot.com
on Tumblr at https://troythulu.tumblr.com
and on Twitter, @Troythulu
His Amazon author page is at: https://www.amazon.com/author/troyloy

Meet Troy David Loy Guest Author of Agnishatdal and Indie Adda!

Troy David Loy is an eternal student, a writer, and blogger owned by two cats, Ricky and Eccles. He is co-author with Miss Sharmishtha Basu of two published books, and solo author of three books on Amazon for Kindle, with a fourth book on the way.

He lives with his family and values his friends, family, and the flourishing and the well-being of his species in dangerous times.

He seeks one overarching goal: to help make the world a better place in his own tiny, drop-in the- ocean way, one piece of fractal artwork, essay, or story at a time. He battles the Forces of Darkness™ from his secret volcano lair in Virginia as Troythulu while his eldritch tentacled servitors from beyond time and space keep the lab in good condition.

He may be found online at:
https://kestalusrealm.wordpress.com
https://troythulu.blogspot.com
on Tumblr at https://troythulu.tumblr.com
and on Twitter, @Troythulu
His Amazon author page is at: https://www.amazon.com/author/troyloy

Troy Wednesdays 9.8.17 Lyapunov’s Children Hope


Lyapunov’s Children | Hope

I was there when the end came, seeing the carnage firsthand as a soldier on the battlefield when my squad met its fate, and only I survived to tell of it.

As terrible as things were, I was lucky, so perhaps I’ll make it through the month with enough food to wait out the arrival of the rescue drones, as long as I conserve my rations and avoid the Corporation’s mechadacoits that this planet is crawling with.

I’ll also need to evade their cyber-hounds, but there’s a good chance of succeeding in that with the proper scent masking. I’ve the right vegetation to do it with, and plenty of time. I’ll stink like hell, but I’ll get through this in one piece.

At least that’s the plan, so I can make this work.

Here’s hoping the rescue drones find me soon.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: TROY DAVID LOY is a dreamer, student who dreams about distant worlds and captures them with pixels and words. He is an artist and a writer of great talent, he is also cherished editor of Agnishatdal and Agnijaat. You can start checking out his works here https://www.amazon.com/author/troyloy and https://kestalusrealm.wordpress.com