New YouTube Channel Feature – Anime Club!

In even more YouTube Channel related news, this video is announcing my new Anime Club!

I’m adopting the format of the read along book club format, but doing a view along format for anime. Watch the video and subscribe to the channel if this sounds like fun!

New YouTube Channel Format – Announcing the Read Along Book Club

Hello Everyone,

As you may be aware, I’ve had a YouTube channel since November 2011. During that time I’ve been posting book reviews and some other odd & ends to the channel. The content has been very infrequent. It’s been four months since I last posted a video, and I’ve been thinking of how I could rejuvenate the channel and post regular content. All the details are in the video below. I hope you’ll give it a watch and join in the fun!

New ways (Places) to Interract

Hey Everyone!

Not a long post today, but wanted to let you know about an exciting development for readers over at the website Goodreads, and the discovery of another site I’m having fun with.

Ask the Author

Goodreads has launched a new feature called Ask the Author. It allows you to visit an author’s profile page and, if they’ve enabled the feature, ask questions. I’ve activated the feature on my profile and would love to answer any questions you might have! You can find my Goodreads Profile via this link.

Hummingbird

On the fun side of things, I discovered a website where I can keep track of all the anime I’ve watched over the years. The site is called Hummingbird and you can visit my profile at this link.

The site has a clean and easy to navigate design. It also has a cool feature where it displays the total amount of time you’ve spent watching anime. At the time of this article I have watched 1 month, 23 days, 23 hours and 37 minutes worth of anime!

Please visit both of these sites and add me to your friends lists. And ask me a question over on Goodreads. I’m usually on the site daily, so you won’t have to wait long for an answer.

All the best,

JR

PS Resonance is doing well. Hoping to give some more concrete answers on release date soon!

Today Gave My Faith in Humanity a Boost

When you spend your working hours listening to misery, being sworn at, and hearing tales of abuse, domestic assault, etc, it becomes very easy to be cynical about humanity.

Thankfully, today has given a gentle nudge to my opinion of my fellow world inhabitants.

It started this morning with the realization someone had cut our front lawn. Now, it wasn’t a neighborhood eyesore or anything, but it was in need of a trim. I hate yard work but had prepared myself to doing it. Well, I didn’t have to, because a very nice person did it for me (I’m guessing my neighbor, as we share a lawn).

Then, my eldest son was supposed to be going to a sports day. He’s autistic and in a developmental skills class. Once a year, all the DS classes in the region come to a local high school and participate in sports which have been tailored for their athletic abilities. Apparently, something happened at the host high school and they had to cancel.

Now, a disappointed autistic child, especially the type who can have sudden and violent outbursts, is frightening. But, there was a silver lining.

My son participates in the recycling club at school. He loves feeling like he contributes. There was a big workshop today at the school board offices that he was going to miss because of the sports day. Well, since it was canceled, a number of teachers and educational assistants worked together to see that he could go. This made him very happy.

Finally, I went through a drive thru to get some lunch for my wife and I. As I pulled up to the window to pay, I realized I’d left my wallet at home. I was very embarrassed and apologetic and told the staff at the window to cancel the order as I couldn’t pay.

A very friendly older lady was working at the window and she told me to “just stay there.” She came back with my food and said to consider it an early Father’s Day gift.

Right now I’m practically glowing. It really is the little bits of kindness people show that make this world wonderful.

Thank you to all. Those involved will probably never read this, but let the universe know I appreciated your actions and it made a difference.

All the best to you,

JR

Songs for a Bleeding World

Have you ever read a novel and wondered, “What music did the author listen to while writing this book/series?” Or have you read a story and recognized one of your favorite game/anime/movie moments and wished you could ask the author if they’d seen that same thing?

I often wonder those things while I read a novel, particularly a novel I enjoy.

In my desire to bring different things to this blog, I thought I’d pull back the curtain and show you some of the things that went into the creation of The Bleeding Worlds. They’ll be a series of posts about the music I’ve listened to while writing, the anime that provided inspiration both thematically and visually, and the myths which formed the backbone of the story.

Depending on my mood, I might even give you a glimpse of the stories that could have been. I’ve mentioned before how both Harbinger and Suture had large chunks of material deleted. I might just let you see what those things were and why I chose to change them. I only say might because a small part of me is afraid you’ll like those ideas better and wish I had kept the material 😐 (Maybe I could do an alternate reality telling like anime/manga often do!)

Songs for a Bleeding World

Today I focus on a song that has been around since early on in the process.

Song: My Dearest

Artist: Koeda, Supercell

From the anime Guilty Crown

The first thing that struck me about the anime Guilty Crown was the visuals. The second, was the music. My Dearest was the opening to the show and there was something both fun, hopeful, and epic about it. The driving beat behind the chorus, surging up and forward, combined with the visual of the main character drawing a powerful sword and soaring through the air amongst missiles, still inspires me.

To be honest, the entire soundtrack has been a constant companion through the first two, and now the third, books. There’s beautiful depth and breadth to the emotions the various songs evoke. But it all comes back to My Dearest, which was the track that hooked me on the show, and the music, from the start.

The song is by a group called Supercell, who first shot to fame using a Vocaloid as their lead singer.

As an aside, if you’re not familiar with Vocaloids, they are computer programs that are pitched with different voices. A musician can input words and then assign pitches to each syllable. The program then “sings” the words.

Here’s a video from Supercell’s earlier days using the Vocaloid Hatsune Miku

It’s not horrible, but you can tell there’s something a little…off with the singer. Then again, with all the auto tune in North American pop music nowadays, this doesn’t sound too crazy.

Anyhow, about the time Supercell did My Dearest, they had taken the band in a new direction and were using living, breathing, human, singers. The results never tire me.

Here’s the official music video for My Dearest so you can hear the song in its entirety.

So there’s post one. I hope it was at least a little entertaining. The next will be on an anime that helped inspire The Bleeding Worlds!

 

Monthly Update on the Progress of The Bleeding Worlds Book 3, Resonance

When I worked on Suture, I remained pretty quiet on the blog. So much so, a discussion topic popped up on Amazon asking about the release date. I thought, since I seem to be updating here a little more regularly, that I’d do at least a monthly post on the progress of The Bleeding Worlds Book Three, Resonance.

So far, my word count sits around 25,000 words. That’s approximately a third of Harbinger’s total word count. Not too shabby, right?

Ugh.

I love what I’ve written. Well, maybe love is too strong a word. I’m pleased with what I’ve written. This is definitely on the right track.

So why the Ugh?

I have a third of the words of Harbinger, but not a third of the story. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve only scratched the first ten percent.

This book will be the longest I’ve written.

Which I suppose is a good thing. Go out on a high note and all that, right?

So there’s quite a lot of writing left to do. I’ve set a pace for myself I’ve been meeting or surpassing every day, so steady progress is being made.

I refuse to rush this. I won’t let the end of my series fall flat on its face. I owe it, and you, more than that.

So there’s my update. If there’s any major breakthroughs in the next couple of weeks, I’ll let you know. Otherwise, I’ll see you in June 🙂

Anime I’m Currently Watching – Log Horizon

Since MMORPGs (Massive Multi-Player Online Role Playing Games) became a thing, anime has had series asking the question, What happens when the game becomes far more than a game?

_hackSIGNAn older series to pose this question was the multimedia project .Hack//Sign, which incorporated an anime, manga, and video game series all at the same time. In the anime, a single character finds they are unable to log off. The story revolves around this mysterious player and the deeper mysteries surrounding the game’s origin and purpose.

5fe886f3daa6485efecf1ea6dc5207931343265548_fullMore recently, a series to have huge success, was Sword Art Online. In this series, players interacted with the game via a virtual reality helmet. The creator of the game goes a bit batsh!t crazy and traps all the players inside the game. If they die in the game, they die in real life. If someone disconnects them from the game in real life, they will also die. The only way to escape is to win the game by defeating the ninety-nine floors of the main dungeon.

I really enjoyed Sword Art. So when I heard a similar series had been released, called Log Horizon, I had to check it out.

log-horizon

Initially my impression was that Log Horizon was just another Sword Art clone. In the anime, players of a MMORPG called Ender’s Tale find themselves waking up in the game world. This occurs just after a new update is added to the game.

Several episodes in, I realized though Log Horizon started from a similar place, it had something much different to say.

In Sword Art, the players have a goal, right from day one. They know why they are stuck, they know the basic rules of how they are stuck, and they know what they must do to escape. The series focuses on the characters as they level up, find allies, and face off against challenging odds to win the game.

In Log Horizon, the situation is very different.

The players have no idea how they ended up in the game world. In fact, unlike Sword Art where players played the game at all times as they though were truly “living” it, Elder’s Tale was a more traditional game where players sat at their computer and manipulated a character on screen.

So the players waking up “living” in the game world is far stranger and more disorienting.

Log Horizon also deals with the hopelessness and despondency people face when their life has no goal or purpose. Unlike Sword Art, even if you die in Log Horizon, you revive just as normal. So even death lacks a consequence or meaning.

Log Horizon is much more about politics, morals, and how to build a new society with order and rules when you’re starting point is pure chaos.

I’m a little halfway through the series and loving it! Though the character designs are a little drab and/or cliche, the actual characters themselves are cool and the story is engaging. I especially appreciate how they keep comparing how things worked in the game, compared to how they operate now it’s a living world. There’s a lot of thought given to the mechanics and back story of Elder’s Tale and it gives added depth to the series. I almost wish Elder’s Tale was a real game!

So if you dig the whole genre of characters trapped in an RPG, check out Log Horizon and share your thoughts.

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