I’ve had a few pretty big fanboy moments in my life, and one of them happened just last week. In conjunction with the release of the Red vs. Blue book, I also had the honor of writing a guest post for Chuck Wendig’s blog, Terrible Minds.
My post: Bad Writing Habits I Learned from Video Games (Plus a Few Good Ones, Too)
If you’re wondering who Chuck Wendig is, he just happens to be the best-selling author of the brand new Star Wars novel Aftermath, the first post-Return of the Jedi story in the new order of Star Wars EU. He is also the author of some of my absolute favorite books of all time, the Miriam Black series.
You should do yourself a favor and read those books, by the way. Miriam Black is a woman who can see how you’re going to die, and just happens to get caught up in really dark, twisty, horrifying plots. She’s a total tornado of a woman and one of my favorite main characters ever.
But I’m fanboy-ing again. Just go read those books. After my guest post.
Today was kind of crazy.
Only Nux’s mantra can sum up what it felt like to see Red vs. Blue: The Ultimate Fan Guide finally make its way into the world.
I could round up the many amazing tweets I saw from happy fans. Or how I shed a few tears when I saw the thing in print for the first time today. Or how I could barely sit still while I was at work, wondering what people who were reading it felt about it.
But really, I just want to say that I’m extremely grateful to the Rooster Teeth community for how they’ve responded to the book. Sometimes when you spend a year and a half (!) working on something like this, it’s really easy to lose sight of it. There were long stretches of time where I pored over this book in a vacuum, and there were a few moments where I wondered if it was any good.
Reading it tonight in print for the very first time, I had a thought that doesn’t come often to us perfectionist writers: you know what, maybe I did alright.
I guess all those years of faux journalism on GamerSushi paid off. For the last few weeks, I’ve been writing for Rooster Teeth’s gaming news channel on YouTube, The Know. I’m filling in for a bit while Ashley Jenkins is on a trip that is totally not a big deal.
So far the experience has been a total blast. It’s cool to dip my toes into these waters again, and I actually love seeing this side of the process. Meg and Ashley are total pros, and really know how to add color and energy to a script, especially considering how many bad puns I like to sneak in. It’s also nice to write something and then have an audience see it almost immediately for a change, compared to most of my projects which have to slow cook for months on end.
Anyway, if you’re a fan of video games and want to stay up-to-date on the industry, you should check it out. So far, only one person has called for me to be fired in the comments, so maybe I’m doing alright.
Here are some of my favorites from the last couple of weeks:
Continue reading →
Next Tuesday marks a pretty big day. On November 17, there will be a book in book stores with my name on it. That I wrote! Funny how that works.
For the last year and a half, I’ve worked on Red vs. Blue: The Ultimate Fan Guide, a book brought to you by Dey Street Books (a division of THE Harper Collins) and Rooster Teeth.
I’ve met tight deadlines, watched enough Red vs. Blue to question my sanity, dealt with tons of art to organize, missing assets, deleted Dropbox folders and notes (and more notes) from a variety of sources. But it’s done, and people are finally going to get to read it next week, which has me completely Freaked the Eff Out.
Some of you may not even know what Red vs. Blue is, who Rooster Teeth is, and what the heck this book even is. I get asked about all 3 of those, particularly from friends, family and co-workers. In certain (and quite large) corners of the internet, these questions don’t even need to be asked. Continue reading →
A couple of weeks ago, I decided to start making a video about every day in la casa de Rivas. I’m not really sure what started the idea (probably because we didn’t have power for about 12 hours on a Sunday and I got bored), but I’ve been mostly sticking with it, minus a day here and there.
There’s actually something really fun and challenging about trying to figure out new ways to communicate the same information over and over. The same kind of challenges a writer faces all the time.
Also it’s nice having a record of this time in my daughters’ lives. I think in a few years’ time I’ll be pretty happy that I did this.
Here are some of my favorites:
Continue reading →
A few months ago I put an excerpt of NAT, THE LOST GIRL, in my writing portfolio. It’s a work-in-progress that I hope to get revised by end of year. It’s the first bit of the first chapter, which is more than likely going to change, but I still wanted to have it here because it’s a concept I’m totally in love with.
It’s a tricky one to sum up, but it was born from the idea that if I ever lost my daughter, I’d like to think she would continue to have adventures somewhere without me. In it, a dead girl decides she’s going to see her parents one last time.
Read Chapter 1 of Nat the Lost Girl
7 years ago, which is forever in internet time, my friends and I produced a ridiculously stupid show in Counter-Strike: Source called The Leet World. A show that we’re bringing back, fully animated in Source Filmmaker either late this year or early next year.
I really do say ridiculously stupid in the most affectionate way I can here. In a lot of ways it’s totally immature (especially in the earlier episodes), but I sort of look back fondly on those rough edges, and that we put out content for people to see without over-worrying about how to hone it to perfection. Over time, the show improved in basically every area, and I’m really proud of how the later episodes balanced story and character. It essentially became a Counter-Strike soap opera.
For all its ridiculousness, The Leet World actually managed to tell a decent story (albeit a silly one). At the time, it was one of the more well-watched machinimas, and many content creators have told me it was the reason they started making videos in the first place. And as absurd as it is that we decided to make hours of content using Counter-Strike: Source as the canvas, it actually lead to us doing bigger things and gave me some of the opportunities I’ve had in my career as a copywriter and a writer for Rooster Teeth.
So here are some of my favorite episodes of The Leet World, presented in a completely arbitrary order. Continue reading →
At E3 2015 this year, Sony/Square Enix just announced a remake of Final Fantasy VII, my favorite game of all time. I’ve spoken at length about FFVII on this blog before, but it truly is something that changed my life when I played it.
From a story perspective, I never knew that one tale could successfully weave all the things that I love — a steampunk setting complete with science fiction technology and the mystery of magic. The impressive, awe-inspiring design of Midgar coupled with the wider fantasy world captivated me in a way that’s still hard to describe. It’s the thing that made me want to write and create worlds. I’m still chasing the dragon on it, so to speak, in terms of finding other stories that have a similar effect on me. I can only hope to write something that hits someone in the same way.
I’ve got a few reservations about what the Remake is going to be like, and plan on detailing how I’d shift some of the story/plot points around to make it stronger, but I’ll save that for another time. For now, I’ll just sit here with this stupid grin on my face and maybe a few remaining tears in my eyes.
In the summer, when the humidity is an overcoat sticking to your skin, they say the old killer comes to east Texas. In between the crickets and the cicadas, the deadbeats firing off shotguns in the air at God knows who and God knows what and maybe God himself, you can hear the breath rattling inside an old man’s dusty lungs, sometimes right in your ear.
When that shuffle shuffle step hits your porch, you know it for true: the old killer’s come.
He don’t knock. Don’t want money. Just your years. And he’ll kill you for them. Anything to get a few back for his self.
My dad, says he saw the old killer once. Flash of a gaunt face through a bedroom window, looking back at him as if through death’s moonlit curtain. Blue eyes tinged with red spiderweb veins, barely perched in the old killer’s skull.
Gaze slid across me like a hound’s tongue, trying to decide if it wants to bite, dad says.
What did you do?
Not a damn thing. Went still as a crucifix.
Why didn’t he kill you?
Dad stuffs the tobacco in his mouth like it’s gauze plugging up an old wound. Smacks chapped lips.
Weren’t my youth he came for that night.
I get asked a lot about Krav Maga, both online and off. The short version is that I’ve been training for almost 5 years now, and hope to one day become an instructor. It started as just a way to lose weight, but it’s turned into something more than that for me.
I could go on and on about it, but here’s a demonstration I recently saw of Eyal Yanilov, the head of our organization (and the successor to Krav Maga founder Imi Lichtenfeld).
I’ve had the great pleasure of training with Eyal on several occasions. I have to say, it’s pretty cool that this guy signed my instructor certificate.
It’s not a flashy martial art by any means, which is one of the things I like about it. React and counter attack quickly, using the shortest distance available between any of your weapons and the target. It’s an aggressive practice, wherein you switch into a different mindset to defend yourself and become the attacker.
The two things I really love about Krav Maga: first, I think everyone should know at least a little bit about how to protect themselves. But second, you learn some really interesting things about yourself when you are pushed past what you thought you could handle. Your body and mind are capable of a lot more than you think they are. It’s cool to see both of them develop.