Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Get Caught Up on MO STACHE!

In 2014, the final chapter of the epic adventure that is Mo Stache will hurtle toward its conclusion. Are you ready?

What began in 2010 as a man waking up with an alien on his face has turned into a fight for survival, featuring mustachioed robots, alien invaders and Sasquatch-like, mind-controlled beasts wreaking havoc throughout the city!

If you haven’t checked out Mo Stache yet, now is the perfect time to jump on. If you’ve fallen behind--catch up! Because from here on out, it’s only going to get crazier.

Oh yeah, did I mention you can read the entire story so far FOR FREE just by CLICKING HERE?

What are you waiting for, for crying out loud? Do it!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Bucket List--Writing an RPG

I think every writer has a list of projects they would like to work on at some point. I’m not talking about the kind of stuff they normally write, but things that are a bit of a departure for them.

For me, one of the projects I’ve always wanted to complete is writing and designing a roleplaying game. As a kid who grew up playing Dungeons & Dragons and still loves RPGs to this day, I have entire bookcases filled with different roleplaying games from the past 30-plus years. So, it's not really surprising that after spending hundreds of hours with them over the years, I want to make a game of my own.

I’ve dabbled in game writing in the past, but none of what I’ve done has really seen the light of day. I wrote a one-off adventure as a playtest tool for the Chronicles of Ramlar RPG, based on my pal Alana Abbott’s Redemption trilogy characters. I also wrote a module for the Living Kingdoms of Kalamar campaign, but the approval and distribution process kind of stalled.

I’ve actually been working on designing an RPG from the ground up for the better part of five years now, chipping away at it in between other projects, putting it away for long stretches and then tinkering with it again. If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you may even remember me posting about the project almost three years ago, when I was thinking it would be my main project moving forward. Turns out it wasn’t, but that has not dulled my desire to bring this game to fruition.

Since I last put the project on the shelf, I have published two horror novels (Courting the King in Yellow, Lovecraft’s Curse) and a short story (Private Showing) set in the same world. It’s a world I would like to flesh out more, and one that I think it would be cool for others to explore as well.

So, I’ve pulled out the draft I was working on, dusted it off, and I’m working on it again. My goal is to create an RPG rules system that can be used for any world, but also provide a companion setting based on the world of my books.

From time to time, I may post about how that process is going. It’s probably going to be slow, as I’ll be working on it as I continue to write the proper books and stories. But, it’s a fun side project that allows me to tap into another passion of mine--gaming.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

See Brian Write--Episode #14--Voss Foster and Writing Goals for 2014

In the fourteenth episode of See Brian Write writer Voss Foster joins me to talk about his new book Zirkua Fantastic. I also talk about one of my favorite podcasts called Stuff Said in the Writer’s Toolbox.
You can listen to the entire episode right here in the player below, or head over to to download the MP3. You can subscribe to the podcast with these feeds:

Getting my self-discipline back after the holidays

Voss Foster

Zirkua Fantastic

Writer’s Toolbox
Podcast Recommendation: Stuff Said with Greg Shigiel
Episode 36--Mark Waid (Digital Comics, Working with Editors)
Episode 24--Dan Slott (Spider-Man)

NOTE: If you are a writer and want to be on the podcast, either email me (, or DM me on twitter: I am now scheduling new interviews!

Monday, January 20, 2014

2014: Be Healthy, Write More

Back in late December, I wrote about how I had a ton of writing momentum after a great NaNoWriMo, and then sort of derailed when Christmas rolled around. Well, it wasn’t just my writing that suffered a post-NaNo hangover, it was my self-discipline altogether. My writing lagged, exercising went out the window, and my eating habits turned to garbage, a trend that has continued through New Year’s and most of January. It didn’t help that over the past weekend my relatives from out of town came in to celebrate Christmas (since we couldn’t get together in December). But with a house full of people, pizza and food that is awful for you, I finally hit rock bottom.

This complete lack of self-discipline was a little scary for me, as I have been a very disciplined person around my eating and exercising for over a decade now. See, back around 2001 or so, I weighed 265 pounds. I was going to the gym three times a week, but I was eating a carb-filled, enormously portioned diet, and my exercising couldn’t put a dent in the amount of food I was taking in daily. My blood pressure was so high I was put on medication. My cholesterol was terrible and despite the exercise, I felt like crap.

Then, one day, everything changed (I know it sounds cheesy, but it's true). I ran into someone at work that had lost over 40 pounds on the Atkins diet. He lent me the books and the videotapes, and I checked them out. Like everyone else, I was very skeptical about the diet and its benefits, but what I knew for sure was that the Atkins diet was the exact opposite of how I was eating at the time, and for that reason alone, I had to try it.

Over the next few years, I went from 265 pounds to about 220, and completely changed the way I ate. I was careful not to go down the “all meat all the time” road that can make Atkins very unhealthy, working in lots of salads and other healthier choices with the increased protein the diet builds itself around. After plateauing at 220 for a while with a more liberal approach to the diet, I buckled down again a couple years ago and got down to 185, my lowest weight since my high school football days. It was the best I’ve ever felt, and not only was my weight down, but my blood pressure and cholesterol were at all-time lows.

There is no doubt that low-carb diets work when you do them correctly, and the effects can be long-lasting. But much like going vegetarian, quitting smoking or making any other life change, it’s kind of an "all-or-nothing" thing. Once you start cheating here and there, you find yourself on that slippery slope to a full relapse, which is basically what the past couple months have been for me. To make matters worse, my exercising has been inconsistent over the past year after an injury halted my four-to-five days a week routine. When I should have been more careful about my eating habits to balance for my lack of exercise, I went the other direction instead.

So what does this have to do with writing? Everything. Writing is hard work, and something you have to constantly put effort into. So my breakdown in self-discipline has affected all aspects of my life.

For me to be physically, mentally and creatively healthy, I need to be eating right, exercising and writing at least 500 words a day. When I am doing that, I am a happier, more productive husband, father and human being.

So, starting today, I am challenging myself to get back to my low-carb lifestyle, increase my exercise, and write every day. My current weight is 200 pounds (give or take a pound), and I have several writing projects that need to be finished, as well as three blogs to write for.

The Plan
For starters, I need to reset my system by taking in less than 20 carbohydrates per day for at least two weeks (probably three). I need to exercise for 45 minutes at least four days a week, and I need to write 500 words a day. Of course, I’d like to write at least 2000 words a day, and some days I will, but this challenge is about writing every single day for me, not so much the word count.

As far as the low-carb eating, once I reset, I will be increasing the carbs until I eventually hit the number that I can take in daily without gaining weight. When I was maintaining over the past few years, I think that daily number was around 50, but I wasn't even really counting, as my eating habits kept that number in check.

I’ve created a spreadsheet to help me keep track, and I will be blogging about how things are going. I’ll also be tweeting about this challenge under the hashtag #BeHealthyWriteMore2014.

If you want to participate, feel free to use the same hashtag, set up your own challenge based on your lifestyle and writing goals, and let’s get started!

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Writing Playlist--Sister Sin: Switchblade Serenades

I’m always on the lookout for new music, and the holidays are a great time to catch some sales on albums I might have missed in the past. Amazon had a great $5 album sale and I discovered a band I don’t know how I hadn't heard--Sister Sin. This Swedish metal band has been around since 2002 and they are fantastic.

The band’s debut album Switchblade Serenades was released in 2008, but might as well have come out in 1988. Unlike a lot of recent bands that try to capture the feel of 80’s metal, Sister Sin nails the sound and feel of that era without it feeling forced. The songs are filled with big riffs, cheesy lyrics and chanted choruses that are reminiscent of the stadium rock days of old. Lead singer Liv Jagrell combines equal parts Blackie Lawless (W.A.S.P.) and Doro Pesch (Warlock), and guitarist Jimmy Hitula provides the big riffs and blazing solos that 80’s metal required.

What I love most about this band though is the energy they bring to each song. There was something wildly unapologetic about 80’s metal that I think Sister Sin has in spades. It just feels like they’re having a blast playing good old-fashioned heavy metal.

As far as a writing soundtrack, Switchblade Serenades is great for writing action scenes or any scene that has a lot of energy. It’s actually helping me get through the end of my current manuscript, which involves a pretty big fight scene.

I picked up all three of Sister Sin’s albums during the Amazon sale, and I’m sure I’ll write about all of them. But Switchblade Serenades is one you need to pick up if you're an old school metal fan.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

See Brian Write--Episode #13--Lydia Laurenson and Tugboat Yards

In the thirteenth episode of See Brian Write, Lydia Laurenson joins me to talk about game design, short stories and Tugboat Yards, a new marketplace for creatives.
You can listen to the entire episode right here in the player below, or head over to to download the MP3. 

You can subscribe to the podcast with these feeds:

Read over 110 pages of Mo Stache for free right now at!

Lydia Laurenson

Dancer and Gladiator

Tugboat Yards

Scratch Magazine Preview

NOTE: If you are a writer and want to be on the podcast, either email me (, or DM me on twitter: I am now scheduling new interviews!