Shameless Self-promotion

Since it’s the weekend and many of the Facebook writer’s groups I’m in only allow links and promo posts on weekends, I thought I’d pack as much as I could into one article!

First, there’s this blog in which I write about whatever I feel like writing about. It could be about something actually happening in my life. It might be about a new geeky product, game, movie/tv or book that’s gotten me excited. It could be an article about the writing process itself. Or it could be an idea I’ve had for a story that I’m not currently working on.

These general articles can all be found under the ‘Blog of Indefinite Purpose‘ tab, and are categorised and tagged to make them easier to browse through. Everything except ‘secret stash’ articles are also shared to my author page on Facebook, Antony M Copeland.

Space_station

Then there’s the book I’m currently working on. Hermes925. I’m writing it a bit at a time, as if they were journal entries written by the protagonist, Jaime. Here’s what I have so far:

Hermes925 also has it’s own Facebook Page.

Dragon attacking City

Then there’s also City of Gate, a long running fantasy rp group on Facebook. Basically, I update the group every Sunday to tell the group members what’s happening. If they’ve created a character, they then have until the following Saturday to add a comment describing what their character is doing in response to the situation. It’s fun, and it keeps me on my toes, often having to come up with new layers for the narrative based on what the player controlled characters are doing.

Over the years I’ve written quite a bit of non-player character backstory. You can read this in the City of Gate group under files. I’ve played with the idea of making this into a book, filling in the gaps between character-written accounts with a more traditional narrative based on the events that have already taken place in the game. The project is on pause while I focus on finishing Hermes925. If you’re curious though, you can check out the City of Gate: Chronicles tab or the City of Gate: Chronicles Facebook page.

Boom! One link filled article that would do the job of a timeline full! I look forward to any and all feedback, I can take it! Have great day 🙂

Watch out for Dragons!

Yesterday’s article received some flak from some of my buddies. I also got some very supportive messages too. Today I’m going to avoid controversy by talking about something I like to do every Sunday.

The City of Gate.

Not the City of Gate: Chronicles, but the Facebook group that started it all. I have done one article on this already, but it’s my blog and I can write what I want! 😛

For those that haven’t read the previous article on the subject, “The City of Gate” is a game. A turn based narrative role-playing game. An interactive story. As the storyteller, I post a new update every Sunday telling the players what happens next. Then each player has until the following Saturday to tell me how their character reacts. Currently we have one group member playing a dragon, flying above the ruins of the city. There’s some humans in the city trying to help two different factions rebuild. A couple of vampire characters are trying to avoid the city. 3 other players are walking around far to the North. There are even a couple of players far beneath the city.

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The story is often led by the decisions made by player controlled characters. Sometimes it can get quite difficult to remember what is supposed to happening in the story I already set in motion as the potential heroes all go off on their own little agendas. For example, I wrote a backstory for one of the non-player characters called Myche (pronounced Mike, but with a softer ‘k’). His story is still unfolding as the game continues, despite the fact that he’s now a vampire due to the actions of the players. Every so often I write in little clues that refer back to earlier parts of the story, and bring in a relevant non-player character.

I do this mostly for myself. I doubt the players consciously notice the layers and details I add, but I’d like to think that it still feels like the story has depth and complexity. Whether the players spot these easter eggs or not. H’vannah is one of my favourite non-player characters in the game. By now I’m sure most of the players know that H’vannah is, or was, a man rather than just a place. I’m not sure they really know who or what he was, or what he’s doing behind that fortified gate. So far no player character has passed through the gate and returned to tell about it.

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The players themselves are from all over. Some are based in the UK, some in the States, and we may have a few members from more exotic locations. The game actually has a lot more members that are just there to read the posts and comments than active players. You’re more than welcome to join, either as a passive member or an active player. You don’t have to have any experience with role-playing games. In fact, if you’re a veteran of D&D or Pathfinder, you may find yourself so concerned with stats and dice rolls that you’ll get confused by a narrative driven game. There are no stats. There are no dice. We don’t even really worry too much about alignment. We’re just telling a story and having fun making it up (more or less) as we go.

The City of Gate: Chronicles started out as a collection of short background stories for the non-player characters posted on the Facebook group under ‘files‘. They’re still there. My hope is to pad out these fluff pieces with rewritten parts of the game, and a little bit of original writing, to tie it all together in one cohesive narrative. Eventually. For now though I’d rather focus on the current timeframe. The one we’re currently playing in. Maybe I’ll come back to the Chronicles once I have Hermes925 finished.

If you’d like to join the City of Gate group, you can follow this link. If you prefer you can post a comment here with a link to your Facebook page, then I’ll send you an invite to the group, and our out-of-character chat in Facebook messenger. The messenger chat itself is a lot of fun and allows the players to get to know each other and talk about whatever they want, as well as discussing the game itself.

Cernunnos

As I mentioned earlier, you don’t have to be involved in the story, you can just read the posts and enjoy them. However, it’s a lot of fun to play. You can be anything you want. A fairy, a witch, a time-travelling cyborg, a half-troll-half-mermaid, anything! Hope to see you there.

In the meantime, click every link in this blog to find some treasures! Articles written by me and some of my favourite bloggers. Follow any that you don’t already! Happy reading and have a great day.

Gods Dammit Dad!

I had another great day with my Dad. We had to go back to Kidwelly to get some measurements we missed last time we went to (what will soon be) my parents new home. We decided to come through Carmarthen on the way back to see if I could grab an unlocked phone from a good price from their Game store. We reasoned that it would have a bigger store and a better selection, since it’s a bigger city.

The Kidwelly mission went well, in fact it went much better than we expected. Stuart from Extreme Tree Services was already at the house cutting back the overgrown vegetation. Dad got a chance to go over some of what they wanted done, which was lucky because we had no idea that they were going to be there! The house is getting fixed up for us by the Church in Wales, since Dad is moving to Kidwelly to minister at St. Mary’s (and I think he’ll be in charge of a few others also). They arranged for Stuart to come this week. It was just luck or divine providence that had us show up while they were there. We even found out that, hidden among the overgrown trees was a plastic playhouse for the kids!

We popped into Burn’s Farm Shop on the way out of town. Dad needed his coffee levels restored. You may recall me describing their amazing playground and cafe in a previous article. Follow the ‘last time’ link above if you don’t. 🙂 As I waiting for Dad to order his coffee. A waitress looked up at me and smiled. She did so again later when she came to our table with Dad’s order. She’s a cute little redhead. Dad noticed the smile.

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I’m 36 and living with my parents. I have no job, and no money until my writing career takes off. To make my writing career take off I need to spend time, everyday, working on my writing and developing my stories. In the short term I need to start writing short stories and getting them out to magazines that will pay me for them. I don’t have time, or even have anything to offer, for a romantic relationship right now.

If Dad had said nothing, I might have been able to forget that smile, that giggle in response to a throwaway line that wasn’t really funny. When Dad hints, he doesn’t just make one subtle comment. He stacks them up. Layer upon layer of subtle comments until he’s sure you get it, and then adds a couple more to be sure. Dammit Dad! It was a really cute smile though. I know we didn’t see her there last time. I don’t know her name. I need to stop thinking about her.

The rest of the day went well. I got myself a handset for the sim Mum is going to order. It’s an LG G4 Stylus. Still had all the factory stickers on it. Once I get the sim card I’ll have an awesome and fully functioning phone! I also got a new pair of clippers to replace the American ones that went pop when I last tried to use them.

Space Marine
Dakka-dakka!

We even visited the local Games Workshop store where Mike (or is it Mark? Sorry!) and I had a good little talk about the possibility of rebuilding my Golden Sons Space Marine army. I had to sell them off to buy my plane ticket home. He even suggested I write for the Black Library (Games Workshop’s publishing house), which would be freaking awesome!

I’m really looking forward to the move to Kidwelly. I’ll be just a short train ride from Carmarthen so that I can mix it up with my fellow Warhammer geeks, perhaps get a few of them to follow my blog! We’ll be just around the corner from the Farm Shop though too. Trying to find the cute waitress again would be a terrible idea. I’ll just have to avoid the place to prevent myself from doing anything foolish. Especially since I won’t be there that long.

Dad wants to watch a movie together, and then I have to get working on a short story. Should I do the War on Magic? Throw some of my City of Gate chronicles together? Or should I write out the hold-up scene for The Lord Highwayman as a stand-alone short story? I could even do something Church of Daemonism related. What do you think?

If you make any comments regarding the redhead, please just tell me she has a boyfriend so I can drop it and move on. I have writing to do!

 

Fourth Day in Wales

I actually have no idea what I’m going to write about. That’s why I don’t have a better title.

It feels like I spent most of yesterday copying and updating notes. I still have more to go through. I managed to get a new page added under the City of Gate: Chronicles tab, about the characters Al and Simonides. Unlike some of the other Chronicles I’ve posted here, these characters were originally devised by friends who were playing The City of Gate with me. The things that the dwarf and the half-orc do were choices that the players actually made in the game.

If you like the fantasy world of City of Gate, you can keep up with new entries by following this blog and the dedicated Facebook page, or actively participate in the story by joining in the game on Facebook. Pick a link.

You may have noticed that I tend to include links in all my posts. I do this partly to try and increase traffic to my own pages, but also to show appreciation to those that have followed me. I also link back to pages, stories and articles I like, or to provide a deeper explanation of something I mention in passing. If you would like me to include a link in a future post to your own blog, project, product, service or charity, just contact me.

I was also considering an update for the page header. I mentioned this on Facebook. Here’s a few of the pictures that I’m considering using for the backdrop of my logo, now that I’m no longer living in the US. I’d love to hear your opinion.

There’s something oppressive in the atmosphere today. Everyone’s feeling it. Even the kids are feeling unusually tired. Are you feeling it too? It could be just local air pressure I suppose. Either way, I’m not looking forward to working on my stories today. Looking at the pile of notes, some of which I haven’t read through yet, makes me want to play a video game or sleep instead!

On the other hand, I’m wondering if some of the stories I don’t remember, like ‘Mr Johns‘, are hidden somewhere in the books and loose papers I have yet to look through. I may do more reading today, and work on Hermes tomorrow. I’ve already found an older version in which the protagonist is an engineer by trade, hired by one of his repeat clients to work on Hermes as maintenance crew, instead of janitorial. It was called ‘the Far-reach project’ in this version, and Psi-mon wasn’t just another janitor with a knack for programming, he was hired as a software engineer. I may try incorporating these ideas back into the narrative. There was no N•Viron in the older version, but it shouldn’t be too difficult.

If I can regain my focus, and shake this odd fuggy feeling, I may even be able to get started today. I’m tempted to do what I already did for this article. Sit down, start typing, and see where it gets me. Sometimes it’s good to go back over old articles and notes, to remind yourself what you set out to accomplish in the first place. Then setting out in the right direction even though you’re not certain where it will lead. We’ll see.

Have a great day everyone! I look forward to reading your comments.

First Day in the UK

I had originally planned to go back and ‘fix’ the last two articles so that they both contained links and pretty pictures. I kind of like them as they are though, the lack of polish reflecting my lack of resources. Since they won’t be getting the usual traffic, and you may not have seen them, here are the links: The Journey Begins & The Journey Continues.

I probably need to change my header image, since I’m no longer a Brit living in the US. I’m just another Brit in Britain! How am I going to be unique and interesting now? Oh wait, nevermind. I’m still me! The hint of an American accent will probably be conversation starter enough for a while. Since I’m currently in Wales, perhaps I should do something featuring the Welsh Dragon?

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One of the coolest flags on the planet!

I’m still tired, and my back still aches. I’m hoping the latter is due to the travelling, and not because of the futon I slept on in my parents dining room last night. It’s just a little too short, resulting in at least one foot dangling over the edge all night. Despite all that, I feel ridiculously happy being back in the UK with my family.

I was fighting sleep as I finished writing the last entry. I was a little worried that I would miss Carmarthen altogether. I managed to keep myself awake though, and drag my giant suitcase (stuffed with my notebooks and probably not enough clothes) off the train at the right place. Within moments I was treated to the sight of my Dad, Sister and Nieces all running toward me grinning.I wish I had a picture of that, but I’m also glad I didn’t try to take one.

I do need to get a good camera though. The village of Pontgarreg is beautiful and the cameras built into my tablet and cheap US phone will not do it justice. I’ve also been asked to keep my Instagram account updated. It would be good to have original images to go along with my articles along with those I find online. When I go looking for a new phone, perhaps I’ll try to find one with a decent camera.

Today will be my first full day in the UK, and I have no idea what I’m going to do with it. The girls and I had a bit of a mini dance party to a classic rock ballads CD this morning, and now they’re watching Big Hero 6. Which is a great movie. Dad is working on his computer in the office, and Mum is writing out anniversary cards having already got laundry started. My Sister has just finished a “Muddy Run” for charity, and the dog, Abs, is slumped in the hallway, halfway off his bed.

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I may pull my notes out of my suitcase and see if I can find a story I want to work on, or perhaps I’ll poke at Hermes or City of Gate a bit. Right now though a nap sounds good, or maybe just reading the Captain Britain book Dad got me. I may even login into my Xbox Live account on my Dad’s Xbox. I haven’t decided yet. A walk around the village sounds nice. Perhaps. I don’t have to make myself do everything at once. There’s plenty of time.

 

Modern Wizard

The War on Magic

While watching Stardust today, I wondered to myself “If people live in a world of magic, why doesn’t everyone do it?”. It occurred to me that maybe people just don’t feel inclined to learn. What if magic just fell out of fashion, and no-one wanted to do it anymore? They just chose a different path.

What if that is the real world? Magic does exist, but a long time ago we just stopped practising it. Old power replaced my mechanisms and tools designed to make the job easier. There might even be a small group of surviving students of magic, trying to keep the practise alive, with limited actual knowledge. The surviving texts are old but still written long after true magic left. They may have even encouraged the world to forget about them, in order to protect what’s left from the ‘wrong hands’ or from destruction.

Perhaps that’s the basis for an idea I’d put on the backburner called “The War on Magic”? It was inspired by the Facebook meme I added below. My first instinct was that America would declare it a terrorist attack and declare a war on magic.

What do you do?
I was partly inspired by this Facebook meme.

So what if a legendary half-elven wizard, let’s call him Mann, makes arrangements to divide the world in two. One for people like him that are at least part human, and one for the true fae. Perhaps the wizard makes a separate world for himself and fellow part-humans, the children of Mann.

It might even have been a circle of wizards. Mann, Jaeh, Dzeut, Woldein and Ossrus. The new world. Each of the five responsible for their own group of humans and part-humans, and taking their own approach to taking care of them. Primitive humans were ape-like beasts. Monsters. Animals as far as the Elves and Faeries are concerned. They can use tools and weapons though, so the Fae use them as a labor force.

There are some modern wizards that disagree with this theory, preferring to think that neither of the factions was ‘pure’. However, they’ve lost so much over the centuries and can only have old documents and the vaguest summoned ghostly apparitions of the magical world to refer too. Some believe that this is the real world and that magical realm is a literal product of our imagination, brought into being by our faith in it, and that the ancient wizards are just twisted parodies of the world’s gods.

But one modern day wizard has been studying a branch of summoning magic similar to quantum physics, manages to break through the barrier separating our world from the world of the fae. The immediate result is the dragon bursting through into our reality. Magic itself leaks through also, corrupting the laws that stabilize our world.

Dragon attacking City

The wizard closes the original rift, ending the spell and sealing the tear in reality with magical bonds. Of course trying to keep magic at bay with magic could be problematic, and the damage has already been done. Magic has entered our reality and those with traces of fae dna become noticeably more Fae. The coworkers that look sort of like an ogre, or a pixie, become more so, and get some of the racial benefits.

The dragon’s appearance results in citywide destruction. Mostly this is because the dragon itself suddenly finds itself in our world, and it’s confused. The dragon is killed and removed. People are understandably scared by this series of events, and many of them respond aggressively. Perhaps another ancient organisation relying on old lore that been restudied, rewritten and reinterpreted many times, and merged with modern religious beliefs. These people would be calling for those with magical traits to be rounded up and imprisoned or destroyed.

Modern Wizard

Extremists suggest everything from terrorism to armageddon. Some of them refer to the dragon in the biblical Revelations sense. The Beast. The Devil. People with Faun or Forest Elf dna, who might have cloven hooves and horns, are some of the first victims of the zealots taking matters into their own hands. This ostracism leads to some of the fae-blooded coming together and fighting against the zealots. Escalation leads to several world governments deciding to declare war against Magic, and Fae-blooded with any influence working to undermine their efforts. A new arms race to be the first to reopen the way to the world of the Fae ensues. Some looking to leave this world, hoping they’ll receive better treatment from the Fae, and others seeking to end the war with an attack on the magical realm so devastating that they’ll never send anything against us again!

 

The war between the Humans and the Fae has been delayed for eons. A war that had been imminent before the worlds had been divided. It had started long before when the fae had begun using the primitive humans as slaves, pets, expendable troops and test-subjects. For many reasons, including rape in either direction and magical experimentation, half-breeds emerged. While breeding occurred between the fae races also, they were still Fae, whilst anyone who was born to at least one partly human parent was seen as a vile aberration.

War on Magic

Of course they were still far more acceptable house-slaves and concubines than their full-blooded cousins. Cross-breeding became an amusing pastime to encourage certain genetic traits, and certain pedigrees became very popular. Even centuries later, when part-humans have become a greater part of society, with positions in industry and politics, those who consider themselves pure Fae still look down on them and treat them as second-class citizens.

The conflict comes to a head when it is suggested that, if the humans aren’t happy with the world, they should make their own. Both sides take offense to it and accuse the other of suggesting it. Despite this the idea gains popularity once the five half-breed wizards, Mann, Jaeh, Dzeut, Woldein and Ossrus, come up with a plan that might work. Many of the part-humans remain behind, too proud to give in. It’s assumed they were wiped out. There was no-one alive now in this world that remembered, until the dragon came through. Now the people of this world think they need a preemptive strike against the Fae so that they’ll leave us alone.

What do you think of this idea? Should I leave on the backburner for now, or does “The War on Magic” need it’s own page?

D&D & Me

My friends and I play D&D. It’s quite fun. I love any opportunity to tell a story, and my friends get to be in the story, which is even better. It reminds me of the campfire story game, where everyone in the circle tells a part of the story, attempting to outdo the last and stump the next. It also reminds me of the stories my Dad would tell me and my sister, about me and my sister. He would make up a bedtime story, starring us, and featuring characters that resembled the other people we knew. We would go to a fantasy realm with wizards and unicorns, and meet people who looked like our aunts and uncles, our grandparents, and even my Dad’s friends and honorary Uncles, Ged, Ted and Andy.

I loved those stories. He would tell a new part of the story each time. Sadly the stories stopped when a tale set in a circus featuring a dodgy clown and were-panthers gave my little sister nightmares. The attempt to recreate that feeling I had when Dad told us those stories has been a great inspiration to me. Thanks Dad. I love you.

Brawl

That’s why I started ‘The City of Gate‘, and that’s why my friends and I play D&D. So consider this the first of a series of articles bearing the D&D tag in which I talk about some of the places, characters and history of the world my friends get to play in every other friday. We’re not using any of the preset worlds, and I’m a little loosey goosey with the rules. I’ve played rules heavy games, and they interrupt a good story with encounters, premature character death, and way too many dice rolls. My friend Bumble is a master of character sheets, so he does that.

It’s occurred to me more than once that people might like to hire Bumble and the Brit as professional DMs. Perhaps once we’ve gained experience, levelled up a little. At the moment it’s just fun. Last game had 10 people squeezed into 1 small apartment living room. It might be time to either split the group up and fill the empty fridays with half of them, or move the games to a larger venue. Of course, if I do become a professional DM, I’d probably just use the client’s location. What do you think of this idea? What do you think a good DM could charge for his services?