Holiday Freebies 2015

Hey everyone!

So, this past Thursday I received the official list of winners from my Goodreads giveaway of The Four Stars. Thank you to everyone who entered, and congratulations to Mike O’Neil, Madalin Kocian, Jennifer Marie, and Shannan Lucckesi for winning the giveaway! I plan on having your signed copies of The Four Stars in the mail by Monday afternoon.

For those of you who didn’t get the chance to enter the giveaway, or for those of you who entered and didn’t win, here’s another opportunity for you to get your hands on a copy of one (or both) of my books (and leave reviews, of course, right? >.<)

In the spirit of the holidays, I will be offering free digital giveaways for both Prism World and The Four Stars. The dates will be as follows:

Prism World: Nov. 23 – 24

The Four Stars: Dec. 20-21

This is a great time to get some free gifts for all of your reading friends out there. Here’s to hoping you all have a wonderful holiday season. Happy reading!


NaNoWriMo 2015 – Week 3 in Review

Currently listening to –> Nothing 😦 Sadly, I am at work right now and have to keep the noise to a minimum…

So…week 3 of NaNoWriMo didn’t go so well…

Between a stubborn muse, work drama, and studying for and taking the GRE (a test required to get into graduate school), creative endeavors ended up pretty low on my list of priorities. At this point I am roughly 6,000 words behind my goal for today, which could be worse, but still…

On the upside, I did still finish two whole chapters this week, so I’ll have some things to share. Also, I got an email yesterday saying that I was receiving a royalty payment! All $4.20 of it! I could buy another cup and a half of coffee!! (Lol. You know you’re an indie publisher when…)

At this point, I really don’t know if I’m going to manage the 50,000 words, since Thanksgiving is coming up and I’ll probably be pretty busy. But hey, I’ve still got 20,000 words more than I’ve gotten for the past 4 NaNoWriMos, so maybe we’re making progress.

I’m off to work again, now. (15-hour shift, here I come; actually, I’m already here…). In the mean time, I hope you enjoy the snippets from this last week’s work. Also, I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving. Happy reading!


Alex the Fisherman (from Chapter 7):

“That does remind me, though,” Yoshitsune mused, looking over at Alex. “We’re right next to a river, and since he’s a level 50 fisherman class…”

“Congratulations,” Searos said suddenly, clapping one hand on Alex’s shoulder and causing the young man to jump visibly. “You just got promoted to dinner-catcher.”

“I got promoted to what?” the rich boy inquired warily.

“Open up your inventory.”

“How would I do that?”

“Like this.”

The Dwarf swiped his fingers through the air to open up his inventory. Alex followed suit, jumping slightly when the dialogue box popped up in front of him.

“O-Okay. I think I got it.”

“Now look for something labeled ‘Fishing Rod’.”

The rich boy frowned as he scruitinized his list, then he mused, “I have one called Ino’s Rod…”

“That’s it,” Searos nodded, looking slightly impressed. “That’s just the name of a really high level fishing rod. Click on the name, then reach into your satchel and pull it out.”

Alex gave the Dwarf a “have you gone crazy?” look, then sighed and did as he was instructed. Instantly he gasped when he pulled an exquisitely carved fishing pole out of his bag.

“T-That’s incredible!” the young man mused, carefully examining the rod in his hands. “How do you fit something this big in a bag this small?”

“It’s called a game, sweetheart,” Tara answered sarcastically. “It’s not meant to be 100% realistic.”

“Good,” Yoshitsune nodded. “Now that you have your fishing pole out, go catch us something to eat.”

“Excuse me?” Alex answered indignantly. “I am Alexander Roth the-”

Instantly Wraith slid her sword out from its sheathe with her thumb and the rich boy jumped.

“F-Fine! I’m going! So…how do you do this?”

“Don’t worry,” Vigil answered. “You’re a level 50 fisherman by default. I’m sure the system will just take over once you cast your rod.”

Alex gave her a doubtful look, then headed to the bank. He eyed the rod warily for a moment, then awkwardly brought it back behind him and swung out. Immediately a fine, silky thread whirred through the air, the hook at the end landing with a plop in the water. Alex cast a questioning gaze over at the others who stood watching him, but no sooner had he done that, however, then there came a tug at the end of the line. Then, all of a sudden, there came a jolt, bending the rod almost completely in half as the rich boy jumped in surprise, nearly falling into the water in the process.

“Hey, Alex, I think you’ve got something on the end of your line,” Wraith called out to him as he struggled to keep from falling or losing his grip on his fishing rod.

“No kidding!” Alex yelled back. “Someone do something!”

“You can handle it,” Yoshitsune answered, completely unperturbed.

Vigil watched as the rich boy’s feet began to slide toward the edge of the embankment.

“Guys! Help me!” the young man exclaimed, his eyes wide as saucers as he leaned back in an attempt to keep from falling face-first into the water.

“Do you think we should help him?” Vigil inquired, looking over at Yoshitsune who stood with his arms crossed over his chest.

“Nope,” the samurai answered placidly. “I think he’s doing just fine.”

“Put your back into it,” Searos said, leaning on his staff slightly as though he were watching some sort of everyday sport.

“What does my back have to do with this?!”

Instantly the fish at the end of the line darted to one side, and Alex yelped as he nearly did the splits in an attempt to keep from being pulled over.

“Very artistically done,” Tara called out sarcastically. “Have you ever thought of taking up ballet?”

“I hate you all!” Alex yelled back. “Why can’t I let go of this thing?!”

“It probably has something to do with your fishing skill level,” Yoshitsune answered. “Your form is bad since you’re in control of the NPC body, but your skill level keeps you from losing the catch. I’m sure the fishing pole you’re using has something to do with it, too.”

For a moment, Alex strained against the pull of the fish. Then, all of a sudden, he shouted, “I am Alexander Roth III! I will not be defeated by a fish!”

Instantly the young man regained his footing and pulled hard. Then, a moment later, the line popped out of the water, a 2-foot long fish with silvery scales at the end.

Alex’s jaw dropped as he stared at the creature flopping violently at the end of his rod. Then, all of a sudden, a look of victory crossed the young man’s face, and he turned to look at his comrades, a look of pride in his eyes.

“I caught it!” he exclaimed triumphantly.

“Good job,” Vigil smiled.

“He actually caught something,” Searos mused, a hint of surprise in his voice.

“Yeah, he might actually be useful after all,” Tara nodded in response.

At this, Wraith huffed and crossed her arms over her chest.

“Well that was boring. He didn’t even fall in.”

“Well, this means we should have plenty to eat, right?” Raine mused.

“Actually,” Yoshitsune said, stepping toward where Alex stood. “Alex is a level 50 vendor-class NPC, meaning we really didn’t need him to go fishing right now. His inventory should be full of fish at the moment.”

Instantly Alex’s jaw dropped in surprise. This was followed shortly by a look of rage.

“You made me go through that even though you already knew we didn’t need any fish right now?!”

“You learned how to catch something, didn’t you?” Yoshitsune replied, plopping a hand on top of the young man’s head. “Congratulations. You can put it back now.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me! And quit treating me like some little kid!”

“Well, either way, you can’t just leave it on the hook. Go ahead and take it off. If you have room in your inventory, you can store it there until we need it.”

Instantly Alex’s face paled at this.

“You want me to do what?”

“Take the fish off the hook.”

The young man glanced first at Yoshitsune, then at the fish, then at Yoshitsune, then back at the fish. He gulped before hesitantly reaching out toward the creature at the end of his rod. Instantly the fish began to flop back and forth wildly, and the young man jerked his hand back with a slight yelp.

“Why would anyone want to eat something like this?” he gasped, eyeing the fish warily.

“Do you not eat fish, Alex?” Vigil inquired, raising a curious eyebrow at the young man in front of her.

“Well…I do…but the stuff I eat doesn’t look anything like this.”

“What does it look like, exactly?” Raine questioned.

“Like meat.”

A sigh escaped Yoshitsune’s lips at this.

“And where do you think that meat comes from?”

Alex gave the samurai a hesitant and slightly confused look at this.

“Um…from the supermarket?”


Tara and the Squirrel (from Chapter 8):

“What chance do you give this party actually succeeding?” Raine pondered, glancing over at Searos.

The Dwarf shook his head.

“1 in 10.”

“You’re so generous,” Tara responded. “We’ll be lucky if no one kills each other before the day is out.”

“Luckily for Alex, he’s technically an immortal object,” Vigil responded. “Not that I don’t also feel like smacking him from time to time, but still…”

“Yeah, well if I didn’t have so much self-control, I’d have used a spell or two on him by now already,” Tara huffed.

At this, Searos gave his wife a quirky grin.

“Aw, honey, I’m so proud of you. You’re learning self-control.”

“Shut up.”

Vigil chuckled at the pair’s little dialogue. She didn’t know either of them much at all, but from what she had seen, Tara seemed like such a calm and cheerful person, if a little on the funny side. Whether Searos was just being facetious or whether there was some measure of truth to his words, Vigil didn’t know, but she didn’t even have time to ask before a distant snarl followed by a frightened squeak split through the still afternoon air. Instantly Yoshitsune ground to a halt, his right hand flying to the hilt of his sword, his left arm flung out to bar his companions from moving forward.

“What is that?” the samurai questioned cautiously, his sharp blue eyes scanning the flower-bedecked hills surrounding them.

“I don’t know,” Vigil responded, moving over to the man’s side. “But whatever it was, it sounded like it came from just over this hill.”

For a moment, Yoshitsune worked his jaw, as though deep in thought. Then he turned to the others, his expression serious, “Everyone, be ready for battle. We’re nearing the foothills of Mt. Olympus, which means the magic and monsters will be stronger here. Be on your guard. And Alex?”

“What?” the rich boy questioned warily.

Yoshitsune narrowed his eyes at him.

“Be sure to not get in our way, understood?”

“Excuse me, but who do you-?”


Alex looked slightly taken aback at the threatening tone in the other man’s voice. Then he crossed his arms over his chest and looked away with a huff.


“Good,” Yoshitsune said, turning back to the hill. “Let’s go.”

Quickly Vigil and her companions hurried up the hill before them, coming to a stop just atop the hill’s crest.

“What on earth is that?!” Alex gasped, hiding behind Vigil when he spotted the source of all the commotion.

Vigil frowned. There before her, chasing a fluffy silver and red squirrel in haphazard circles, was a large black canine with two slavering heads and a body the size of a small horse.

“That’s a level 50 sub-boss, an Orthrian Hound,” Yoshitsune answered. “They’re not as bad as regular bosses, but it’s still difficult to solo them. We’ll need to be careful. If we attract its attention, it’ll be a challenge to keep from taking damage.”

“Okay, Bait,” Wraith said, grabbing Alex by the shoulder and tugging. “You’re up.”

“Not on your life!” the rich boy exclaimed, latching on to Vigil.

“Children,” the elf sighed.

Just then Tara gasped.

“No! Run little squirrel! You can make it!”

The whole group turned to look at the Faerie questioningly, and Vigil blinked at her when she saw that the other woman was hugging her staff to her chest, a look of genuine concern on her face as she watched the Orthrian Hound chase the squirrel down below.


Again, Tara gasped as the little silver and red squirrel just barely managed to escape the Hound’s jaws, and instantly the Faerie pulled her staff into her hands.

“Don’t worry little guy!” she exclaimed. “I’ll save you!”

“Tara-” Yoshitsune began, reaching out to stop the Mage from doing anything hasty.

But it was too late.

“Hey, you ugly monster!” Tara shouted, slamming the end of her staff into the ground. “Leave that squirrel alone!”

“Here we go…” Searos sighed, crossing his arms over his chest as a violet-hued magic circle appeared beneath the Faerie’s feet, violet archs of electricity dancing around her body.

“Hey! Elf man!” Alex exclaimed, still peeking out from behind Vigil. “Get control of your wife before she kills us all!”

In seemingly one swift motion, Wraith pried the rich boy off her friend before hitting him hard enough to make him land on his backside.

“She’s not his pet,” the Berserker growled. “And anyway, quit hanging off of Vigil. What kind of man are you, hiding behind a girl?”

Alex looked like he might respond to this when, all of a sudden, Tara shouted, “Thundrous Retribution!”

Instantly a column of sizzling violet lightning pelted from the clear sky down to the Orthrian Hound below, striking the monster and eliciting a high-pitched yelp from both heads at once. The squirrel skittered out of the way as the monster turned two pairs of glowing crimson eyes on the warriors at the top of the hill.

“H-Hey! Why’s it looking at us?” Alex squeaked, scooting across the ground several paces backward.

“Wouldn’t you look at us two if you just got hit by 2000 HP worth of lightning?” Yoshitsune sighed, drawing his sword. “I guess we have no choice now.”

“Hold on,” Searos interrupted.

The others looked over at the Dwarf questioningly, but before they could say anything, they heard Tara shout, “Rending Vortex!”

Vigil then turned to see a drill-like vortex of wind collide with the Orthrian Hound that had been darting up the hill toward them. The Hound yelped on impact, stumbled, then tried again to run up the hill, but before it could go more than a pace, Tara pointed the gem at the top of her staff toward it, shouting, “Enervation!”

The Hound stumbled, slowing dramatically.

“Daunting Aura!”

A chill breeze encompassed the monster’s body, causing it to hunch down, trembling and snarling.

“Wrath of Set!”

A dark cloud of black sand joined with the chill breeze, scratching hundreds of tiny lesions into the Orthrian Hound’s dark hide.

“Hyperion’s Judgement!”

12 beams of blinding light shot out from the sky, piercing the Hound from all sides. Then, with a few more attacks, the monster growled one more time and collapsed to the ground, disappearing into a cloud of sparkling ash and leaving in its place a pile of various items.

For a moment, everyone stood in stunned silence, staring at the spot where the Orthrian Hound had just been. Then Alex slowly looked over at Yoshitsune.

“What was this you were saying about that monster being hard to fight?”

The samurai cleared his throat and looked away slightly at this.

“Well, they’re still not…easy…to defeat.”

“Okay!” Wraith exclaimed, holding out one fist in challenge. “I’m taking on the next Hound. There’s no way I’m gonna be out-done by a Mage!”

Vigil rolled her eyes at her friend, then turned back to Tara, but already the Faerie had rushed down the hill to where the squirrel huddled, staring at her with a mixture of fear and curiousity.

“Hey, little guy. You’re safe now,” she said, kneeling down in front of the squirrel and reaching her hand out toward it.

The little creature backed away slightly, chittering a warning as its tail bristled.

“Aww,” Tara pouted. “Don’t be afraid of me.”

Quietly Vigil made her way down the hill, kneeling beside the Faerie and looking over at the squirrel.

“It’s an untamed animal,” the elf said, glancing over at Tara. “It’s not going to let you touch it no matter how hard you try.”

“Sad day,” the Faerie pouted. “But I like the squirrel. Squirrel, why don’t you love me?”

For a moment, Vigil blinked over at the other woman. Then she chuckled slightly and held her hand out, palm flat and facing toward the sky.

“Gelio,” she called softly. She then blew softly over her palm, causing a light breeze to stir the squirrel’s fluffy silver and red fur.

Instantly the squirrel’s ears perked forward and its body relaxed visibly. With a friendly chir, the little creature hopped forward, cautiously approaching the elf and flicking its tail back and forth. With a gentle smile, Vigil held out her right index finger, touching it softly to the squirrel’s nose. She watched as a silvery light shimmered across the squirrel’s body. When at last the light had faded, the little creature sat back on its haunches, and Vigil scooped it up in her hands, holding it out toward Tara.

The Faerie gave the Elf an interested, if slightly confused, look, then carefully scooped the squirrel into her own hands.

“Um…what did you do?”

“I tamed it,” Vigil answered, swiping her fingers through the air and opening up a dialogue box. She then slid the box over to Tara. “I’m giving it to you as a pet, if you want it.”

Instantly Tara’s eyes lit up as a little squeal of delight escaped her lips.



“Thank you!”

Quickly the Faerie accepted the transaction, then grinned as she leaned forward to look the squirrel in the eyes.

“You’ll be my friend from now on, okay?”

The little creature twitched its nose and tail as it cocked its head to one side.

“Ohhh, you’re so cute!”

“Great…” Alex grumbled, propping one elbow on his crossed knees and dropping his chin into his hand. “You could have tamed a fighting animal and instead you tame a squirrel…”

“I don’t even know anymore,” Yoshitsune sighed. “Okay, now that you’ve saved your squirrel, let’s keep moving. We’ll be lucky if we reach the Sacred Gates before nightfall.”


Alfred the Squirrel (from Chapter 8):

“Wait. We’re doing what?” Alex questioned incredulously as he watched the others begin setting up camp.

Already Yoshitsune had taken firewood from his inventory, while Wraith leaned over his shoulder and Searos, Raine, and Vigil began to set up tents in a circle in front of the arch.

“We’re camping,” Tara sighed in response as her little silver and red squirrel pet hopped from one shoulder to the other, chittering at the rich boy as though scolding him. “Alfred says to just be quiet and stop asking questions.”

At this, everyone paused to turn and look at the Faerie, eyebrows raised.

“Who?” Alex inquired, narrowing his eyebrows in confusion.

“Alfred,” Tara replied, petting the squirrel on the head. “My squirrel friend.”

“What made you name your squirrel Alfred?” Yoshitsune inquired, a strange look on his face.

“I don’t know,” the Faerie mused, looking over at the little creature on her shoulder, her lips pursed in thought. “I guess because the name Alfred makes me think of a butler, and if my squirrel could talk, I imagine that he’d be a very refined squirrel.”

“Well, that’s stupid,” Alex grumbled in reply. “How on earth could you think a dumb little rat like that could be refined? If anybody around here is refined, it would be me.”

Tara cast a furious glare at the rich boy, raising her staff threateningly, but before she could say anything, Wraith drew one sword, setting the blade on fire.

“I’ll show you refined,” the Berserker growled, also glaring at Alex.

Raine chuckled at this, but instantly Yoshitsune grabbed the woman by the wrist, pulling her flaming sword over to the firepit he had made and using it to set the firewood alight.

“There,” the samurai grunted, standing to his feet. “We’ve got a fire going. Now put that sword away before you hurt somebody.”

“Did you just use me as a match?!”

“Put the sword away.”

“Fine,” Wraith pouted, sheathing her sword and crossing her arms over her chest. “You’re as bossy as Vigil.”


Butterfly Woman (from Chapter 8):

“Actually, Mt. Olympus is a party-specific zone,” Yoshitsune answered as everyone else gathered around the fire. “I’ve never made it all the way up there before, but I’ve talked to others who say that the monsters operate in mobs.”

“That’s going to be fun,” Vigil sighed. “Are they more magic-oriented or melee-oriented?”

“From what I’ve gathered, the monsters here seem to be more magic-oriented, which means that we’ll be at a disadvantage with our unbalanced ratio of melee to magic party members.”

“I don’t know why you’re so concerned,” Alex grumbled. “The butterfly woman seemed to have no trouble with that monster earlier today.”

Instantly Tara reached out, bringing her staff down hard on top of the rich boy’s head, the “Immortal Object” sign glowing in the dark atmosphere above him.

“You, too?!” the young man yelped, rubbing his sore head as he glared over at the Faerie.

“I’m a Faerie, not a butterfly,” Tara huffed.

“Children,” Vigil sighed.

The Elf glanced over at Wraith who sat with a smirk on her face.

“I’m proud of you, Tara,” the Berserker chuckled lowly.

The Faerie gave the other woman a thumbs up, causing Alex to bristle visibly.

“Would you guys quit encouraging violence?!”

“This is going to be a long trip,” Yoshitsune sighed, standing to his feet. “All right, everyone. Let’s finish setting up camp and get to bed early. We’ll want to be at full strength for tomorrow’s journey.”

NaNoWriMo 2015 – Week 2 in Review

Currently listening to –> A Narrow Escape from the Sword Art Online OST

Well, I have officially finished Week 2 of NaNoWriMo 2015, and I am actually keeping up!

Week 2As of yesterday, I had 21,308 words. I finally got caught up today, finishing off the day with over 25k.

At this point, I’m not even concerned with whether or not I’m making sense or putting in too much explanation. My inner editor has been successfully gagged for the moment, although she still manages to cause some minor trouble from time to time. And I have officially decided that my muse gets lost more than Wrongway Feldman (and unless you have watched Gilligan’s Island, you are not going to get that reference).

So far, I’m really loving my characters, though I would like to delve more into them in the rewrite. Hopefully by the time I finish this project I’ll be familiar enough with them to write them properly for the rewrite.

It’s been a bit rough at times, but I have already written more this year than I have the other 4 NaNoWriMos combined, so I’d say I’m doing pretty good. I’ve actually managed to stay pretty much on track (when I’m not getting sidetracked by writing poems in Dovahzul, translating verses from the Hebrew Bible, playing Virtual Families 2, and trying to finish this knitting project I started a couple weeks ago).

Anyway, now that my muse is lying practically lifeless on the ground thanks to my marathon sprint (and demanding that I put her to bed immediately), I think I’ll end this post with a few of my favorite parts from Week 2. Please excuse the errors I’m sure you’ll find. Other than that, best of luck for the next to weeks, and happy reading!


Alex and Yoshitsune (from Chapter 3):

Wraith looked like she was about to say something in response when, all of a sudden, a bloodcurdling wail split through the still afternoon air, and instantly all four turned in the direction of the sound.

“You think a monster got someone?” Wraith mused, glancing over at Vigil.

The elf frowned, then clenched her fists together.

“Guess we’ll find out.”

And then with that they set off at top speed in the direction the wail had come from.

A moment later, Vigil spotted a figure curled up at the edge of the riverbank. An NPC? Was this some sort of event?

Quickly the elf hurried up to the figure, kneeling down next to him and placing her left hand gently on his back. He might have been an NPC, but that had never stopped Vigil from treating them like real people before.

“Are you all right?” she inquired gently.

The man, who looked like he was a fisherman NPC, was holding the sides of his head in his hands as he stared wide-eyed at his reflection in the water not more than a few centimeters from his face. He looked to be young, maybe in his mid twenties, with sandy brown hair and brown eyes. His gear was definitely fisherman’s gear, but of a higher quality than most wore. If Vigil had to guess, she would suspect he was a level 50 or 55 fisherman. This might be a new quest…

“Please, sir, can we help you?” Vigil prodded, trying to break the fisherman from his daze.

“My face…” the fisherman’s voice suddenly squeaked.

Vigil paused at this, blinking as she stared down at the man crumpled up in front of her.

“There something wrong with his face?” Wraith inquired, leaning over the elf’s shoulder in curiosity.

“I don’t…think so…” Vigil responded, her brow wrinkling in confusion.

“My face…” the fisherman repeated again. “My beautiful face. What has happened to my beautiful face?”

At this the elf leaned back, exchanging wondering glances with Wraith before glancing over at Searos and Tara, who looked equally confused.

“Who is this guy supposed to be? Narcissus?” Wraith inquired, standing up straight and crossing her arms over her chest.

“That would make sense…” Vigil responded, removing her hand from the man’s back and resting both hands on her thighs. “This is Occidio, the island with Greco-Roman mythology. Still, though…Narcissus fell in love with his image and drowned in Greek mythology. This guy…doesn’t look like he’s in love with his image.”

All of a sudden, however, the fisherman sat bolt upright, turning to Vigil and grabbing her by the front of her robes.

“Oi!” the elf yelped, leaning back as the fisherman nearly shoved his face into hers.

She could hear a sizzling sound behind her as Wraith lit one of her swords on fire.

“Hey,” the Berserker growled. “What do you think you’re doing?”

“Where am I?!” the man suddenly wailed.

He then let go of Vigil, sitting back and grabbing his head again.

“Where is this place?! Who am I?! What happened to me?! My face! What happened to my beautiful face?!”

Searos snorted at this, Tara rolled her eyes with a groan, and both Wraith and Vigil let out exasperated sighs.

“Then again…” Vigil shrugged. “Maybe this is just a new twist on the Narcissus story.”

“Come to think of it,” Tara mused, “the whole story surrounding the world of Infinite is that the inhabitants of the 6 continents surrounding the central continent of Aeternum can’t remember anything before the Emergence, right?”

“That’s true,” Vigil nodded. “And since the Hermes expansion is relatively new, it would make sense that there would be a new quest about this lore arc.”

By now the fisherman had calmed down some and was glowering at the four warriors from where he sat.

“What in the world are you people talking about?” he asked sourly. “And what kind of stupid getup are you wearing? I swear, if that stupid portal dropped me in the middle of a cosplay convention…”

At this, Vigil’s jaw dropped slightly, and even Wraith had gone perfectly silent by now.

“Hold on,” Wraith suddenly said, pointing an index finger at the fisherman in front of them. “How do you know about portals and cosplay conventions?”

Now it was the man’s jaw that dropped, and he sucked in a quick breath, as though highly insulted by the woman’s words.

“You dare insult my intelligence?” he fumed, bounding to his feet. “Do you have any idea who-”

He didn’t get any further than this before he tripped over his own feet, and both Vigil and Wraith sidestepped out of the way, allowing him to fall face-first on the ground.

“Ouch…” the man groaned, pushing himself up onto his hands and knees. “I have never been this humiliated in my life. First that stupid portal does something to my beautiful face and now I can’t even walk right. It’s like I’m not even in my own body anymore.”

“Hey,” Searos said suddenly, crouching down next to the man. “Who exactly are you?”

The fisherman frowned at this, then tottered hesitantly onto his feet again and puffed out his chest.

“You have the pleasure of speaking to none other than Alexander Roth III, son of the greatest inventor of this age. Now you had best tell me where I am immediately or I will have you all arrested for kidnapping.”

Vigil glanced over at her companions who were looking just as annoyed and confused as she felt.

“I swear, if the developers thought this would be a funny quest, they’ve lost their touch,” Wraith sighed. Then turning to Vigil, she questioned, “Hey, Vigil. I know he’s an NPC, but you think he might be one of those rare killable types?”

The fisherman’s face went white as a sheet at the woman’s words.

“Are you a demon?!” he gasped in horror. “W-Why are your eyes glowing red?”

“You’re really slow on the uptake, aren’t you?” Tara snorted. “You’ve been staring straight at her the whole time. But you know,” she glanced over at Searos who was standing off to the side with his arms crossed over his chest, looking completely unamused, “he does seem to be more dynamic than the other NPCs we’ve come across.”

“NPC?” the fisherman inquired warily. “You keep using that term. Is that some sort of cultic jargon?”

Vigil blinked over at him for a minute, then, all of a sudden, began to laugh.

“NPC. Non-Player Character. It’s a character run by an AI instead of a human inside the game.” Then, with a more serious face, she added, “That’s what you are. I wonder…are you a sentient AI?”

A look of pure offence crossed the man’s face at this.

“How dare you demean me? I am a human, thank you very much. Of the highest breeding and education, I’ll have you know. Now show me where the nearest portal station is. I have an appointment in London, and if I’m late-”

“Hold up,” Wraith interrupted, a hint of shock in her voice. “London?!”

She paused, then glanced over at Vigil.

“There’s no London in any sort of mythology, is there?”

“Not that I know of,” the elf answered, a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach.

Something did not feel right about all of this. Then, turning to the fisherman, she inquired, “Mr. Roth, are you…actually…a player? I mean are you a person living in the year 2250?”

“Well…” the man mused, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. “I suppose there are some people who have called me a player. I just say that I enjoy life, though.”

“You can’t be serious…” Wraith groaned. “He’s probably so stupid he thought he was using a portal when he was really just using a gaming semi-portal.”

“How dare you call me stupid!” the man fumed. “I was just at the Los Angeles International Portal Station, using a certified portal conduit. You don’t seriously think you’re going to trick me into thinking that I’ve somehow been warped into some stupid game.”

“Hey! Infinite isn’t a stupid game!” Wraith growled. “I know. Maybe if I kill you it’ll delete you from the system and send you back where you came from, you pompous little rich brat.”

“You’re going to do what?!”

Vigil was just about to intervene when a deep voice cut through the tense atmosphere.

“I know that voice,” someone said from behind.

Quickly the group turned to see who was speaking, and Vigil felt like her breath had gotten stuck in her throat when she saw him.

He was a tall man, clad in a black samurai kimono and pants, an S-class katana and short sword strapped to his hip. His eyes were a bright sapphire blue, and his long, jet-black hair had been pulled up into a high ponytail, a red strip of cloth tied around his head.

Breath, Vigil, the woman scolded herself mentally. It’s just an avatar. Just an avatar.

“Who are you?” the fisherman inquired warily. “How do you know me? I don’t recognize you.”

“You wouldn’t even if I was in my real body,” the samurai answered. “I just so happen to be the man you pushed away from the portal this morning. I thought something strange was up when I ended up in my game avatar instead of the Tokyo portal station, but if you’re here, too, something is definitely up.”

“What do you mean?” Vigil inquired, glancing between the supposed NPC and the samurai in black.

“Have you tried logging out?” the samurai inquired.

“Well…no, not yet. I wouldn’t want to leave my avatar out here in the open like this.”

“Try it.”

Vigil, Wraith, Searos, and Tara all exchanged wondering glances, then did as they were bade.

“Um…why can’t I log out?” Tara inquired, her eyebrows knitting in concern.

Vigil glanced up at her companion, then clicked on the “Log Out” icon in front of her.


Again she clicked.

Still nothing.

“It’s not letting me log out either,” she frowned, swallowing down a feeling of panic. “What does…this mean?”

The samurai frowned, then glanced off toward the eastern horizon.

“I have my suspicions, but I won’t be able to check until I can get to town.”

“What kind of suspicions?”

The samurai glanced at her briefly, then headed in the direction he had been looking.

“You’ll find out,” he responded bluntly. “Though I don’t think you’re going to like it when you do.”


Yoshitsune the Hacker (from Chapter 5):

Without a word, the samurai held his hand up slightly, palm flat, and swiped horizontally through the air in front of the statue’s base. Instantly a holographic screen and keyboard appeared in front of him, a series of algorithms and codes floating through the air.

“Wow, is that the access point you were talking about?”

Yoshitsune nodded as he reached out and began messing with the keyboard and holographic screens.

“How did you find it so easily?”

“As I said before, I already know where all the access points are on Aeternum. That garden over there is an Oracle location, so I knew the access point had to be close.” He nodded with his head back toward the nearly-hidden garden gate across the road from where he stood. “These things usually have some sort of identifier. The statue of a god is not an uncommon one.”

“So now what are you doing?” Wraith inquired. “If this contraption can gain access to the system, isn’t it going to be password protected or something?”

“Of course,” the samurai responded non-chalantly.

“So…how do you plan on getting in?”

“I’m going to hack it, obviously.”

For a moment the whole group fell silent, and Alex’s jaw dropped visibly. Then, all of a sudden, a wicked grin crossed Wraith’s face.

“It’s official. You’re awesome.”

“Y-You can’t do that!” Alex suddenly exclaimed, pointing an accusing finger at the samurai in front of him. “Hacking is a crime, punishable by law! I can’t believe my father supports a system full of criminals and sadists. If you hack into this system, I am bound by law to turn you in.”

Instantly Yoshitsune snapped an icy glare over his shoulder at the rich boy.

“I’ll make sure you stay stuck in here then.”

The other man’s face paled at this.

“You can’t do that!”

“I’m hacking into the system to try and get us out of this game. But if you’re threatening me, I’ll be sure to leave you in.”

“That’s called blackmail!”

“That’s called common sense, you moron. Now shut up. You’re distracting me.”

“How dare-”

Alex couldn’t even finish his sentence before Wraith reached out, bringing her fist down hard on top of the rich boy’s head and knocking his feet out from under him. The young man landed on his backside with a yelp as the words “Immortal Object” appeared above his head in ethereal lettering.

“Ouch! That hurt! What was that for?!”

“See, Wraith. You couldn’t kill him if you tried,” Vigil chuckled.

The Berserker frowned at this for a moment before grinning again.

“That means I can hit him whenever I want, right?”

“Excuse me?!” Alex exclaimed, looking between the two women with a horrified expression on his face.

“Wraith, tone down the violence,” Vigil grinned sarcastically. “We have children with us.”

The rich boy, who still sat on the ground, gave the elf a look of indignation at this.

“I hope you’re not implying what I think you’re implying.”

“Oh, I’m probably implying more than you think I’m implying.”

Then, turning away from the baffled rich boy on the ground, she said, “So, Yoshitsune, exactly how do you know how to hack into a computer system anyway? You’re not a professional hacker, are you?”

“What kind of a question is that?” the samurai answered, not looking away from what he was working on. “What kind of professional hacker would tell you he was one when you already know his in-game information?”

“Oh. I suppose you have a point.”

For a moment, both fell silent as Yoshitsune carefully navigated through the system coding. Vigil wanted to ask more, but something felt awkward about the thought, so she kept her mouth firmly shut. And it wasn’t like it was proper etiquette to ask about another player’s real life anyway.

“Actually, I’m a surgeon IRL,” Yoshitsune said suddenly. “Hacking is just a passtime.”

“What kind of weird passtime is that?” Alex grumbled, tottering to his feet and putting a fair amount of space between himself and Wraith who eyed him sharply. “How can you possibly view criminal activity as a passtime.”

“It’s not like I steal anything,” the samurai sighed in irritation. “It’s just fun breaking codes. I’ve got nothing better to do with my time between surgeries.”

All of a sudden a light flashed across the screen, and with a satisfied smirk, Yoshitsune stood up straight.

“And I’m in.”

“That was really fast,” Tara mused, leaning over to take a look at the holographic screens. Her face screwed up in a look of confusion, then she stepped back and added, “Not that I can understand anything, though.”

“That’s impressive,” Vigil nodded in agreement. “You’re really good at hacking, aren’t you?”

At this comment, the samurai flashed the elf a sadistic grin.

“I’m as good at taking apart a computer system as I am at taking apart bodies.”

“Uh…huh,” Vigil responded. “Somehow I feel like that comment was meant for someone else.”

She glanced over her shoulder at Alex who gave them both a disgusted look.

“I was right. You people really are the devil,” the young man grumbled.


Night Raine (from Chapter 5):

“So…if we’re inside the system…what does that mean for when someone dies in-game?” Tara questioned at length.

Vigil sucked in a quick breath at this. Right. Hadn’t that girl in the city square said something about that?

“After everything that we’ve seen and heard, I would think that the answer would be obvious,” Yoshitsune replied evenly.

“That means…”

The thought of Wraith’s risky stunt from earlier, right around the time of the surge, crossed Vigil’s mind then, and she clenched her fists as she turned to look at her friend with a stern gaze.

“That means that if you had died after that stupid stunt…” the Cleric said, her voice low and warning.

Wraith jumped at this and held up her hands in surrender.

“Hey! How was I supposed to know the game system was going to go psychopathic and turn everyone into atomic dust?”

“Atomic dust?” came a voice from nearby.

All six pairs of eyes turned to look at the speaker, and they paused when they saw him. He was a tall Human man, broadshouldered, with wavy blond hair pulled back into a short ponytail and sharp blue eyes. He was clad in a black shirt and trenchcoat, black trousers, knee-high leather boots, and black gloves cut off at the middle of his fingers, and he had an S-class hand-and-a-half sword slung across his back. He was currently holding a mug in his right hand, but he looked down at the group with a curious and slightly worried gaze.

“Sorry for eavesdropping, but…” The man sat down in the empty seat between Alex and Wraith. “What was this about the game going psychopathic and turning everyone into atomic dust?”

“Uh…” Tara responded nervously, glancing around at the others, “how should we put this…?”

“There’s no sense in beating around the bush,” Yoshitsune sighed, leaning back in his seat. “There’s going to be panic whether we tell everyone the truth or not. And honestly, it might be good to tell them. At least everyone should know to be more careful now.”

“I’m guessing this has something to do with no one being able to log out?” the blond inquired.

“Yeah,” Vigil nodded. “Simply put, it looks like everyone connected to a portal has been dematerialized and stored in the Network.”

“Demat…Is that even possible? I mean, shouldn’t we all have lost consciousness if that happened?”

“Not with the new Hermes System,” Yoshitsune answered. “The Hermes System has the ability to preserve a person’s matter down to the neuroelectrical function of the brain atoms. We’re actually lucky that Infinite has such a complex system. Judging by the data I saw earlier, I don’t think there are any other system hubs that are equipped to handle matter data for long periods of time.”

“Yeah, well, it’s probably this stupid game that caused it all to begin with,” Alex interrupted with a huff, crossing his arms over his chest. “There’s no way the Hermes System would crash without a good reason, and this game is so weird that-”

Instantly Wraith brought her fist down hard on the table, sending a dozen cracks spiderwebbing through its wooden surface.

“Quit mouthing off about the one thing that’s keeping you alive right now, you snot-nosed brat,” the woman growled.

“Oh? How are you going to stop me? I’m immortal, remember?”

Instantly the blond swordsman stood to his feet, and for a moment Vigil thought that perhaps he had decided to leave. Then, all of a sudden, however, the man picked Alex up by the back of his tunic and practically tossed him over his shoulder as he hauled the young man toward the front door of the inn. Without so much as blinking, the swordsman opened the door, tossing the rich boy out the door and slamming it shut. He then propped a chair up under the door handle before returning to the table where the others sat.

Even from that distance, Vigil could hear Alex banging on the door, his muffled voice only barely echoing above the nervous din of the inn’s occupants as he shouted, “Hey, you can’t do this to me! I am Alexander Roth III, I’ll have you know! You’re going to regret manhandling me like that! Hey! Are you even listening to me! Let me in! I order you to let me in right this second!”

“Where did you find that guy?” the blond inquired, rotating his arm as though he was merely returning from a workout.

“Thank the elf,” Yoshitsune sighed. “She decided the compassionate thing to do would be to let him tag along. I guess that’s to be expected from a Cleric, though.”

“Says the doctor,” Vigil frowned in response.

“The people I help are pretty quiet.”

“That’s because they’re unconscious.”

“I’d help that guy, too, if he was unconscious.”

“I can fix that,” Wraith offered with a mischievous grin, making as though to stand.

“Down, Wraith,” Vigil ordered, pointing back toward the other woman’s seat. “And he’s an immortal object, remember? I’m not sure there is anything that would work on him.”

“A gag should,” Searos offered. “That doesn’t count as attacking.”

At this, Vigil let out an exhasporated sigh.

“Anyway, all joking aside, we really need to decide what to do from here on out. You don’t think there is any way for someone on the outside to rescue us, do you, Yoshitsune?”

The samurai shook his head in response.

“Not as of the moment,” the man replied. “The system is completely locked down. It could be a week before they get it back up and running, and there’s no guarantee they’ll be able to immediately figure out what’s happened to us once they get it working again. And then there’s always the question of how long the Infinite servers can maintain our matter data. There are a lot of things we don’t know at present.”

“But one thing we do know is that death here in the game is death for real now, right?” Tara said, leaning her elbows against the table. “That means that soloing just became a whole lot more dangerous.”

For a minute, the whole group fell silent, each lost in their own thoughts. Then, after a while, Yoshitsune shifted in his seat and looked back at the others.

“I don’t do a lot of team playing,” the samurai mused slowly. “I’m more of a lone wolf sort of player. However, every scenario I’ve run in my head comes out the same. Our best chance of survival is to live as a team for the time being, at least until we figure out how this is going to work with us being stuck in Infinite.”

“I agree,” Vigil nodded in response. “Working as a team is our best bet. It will allow us to share resources and benefit from each other’s skills. And since we don’t know what we’re going to face, the more allies the better.”

“In that case, would you mind if I joined you guys?” the blond swordsman asked then, leaning forward slightly. “I know you don’t know me, and honestly I’m not sure if I understand what’s going on, but from what I do understand, soloing isn’t a good idea right now.”

Yoshitsune glanced at Vigil and the elf woman nodded in response. Then with that she opened up the UI. Party…Targeted Invite…

Instantly a little orb of white light appeared in front of her and she placed her finger on it, directing it over to where the blond swordsman sat and releasing it in front of him. A dialogue box popped up then, and the blond accepted the request immediately.

“Thanks,” he grinned, sitting back in his seat. “I guess I should introduce myself then, huh? I’m Night Raine, but you can just call me Raine. I’m a level 40 Human Skirmisher.”

“Nice to meet you Raine,” Vigil nodded in greeting. “I’m the party leader for the time being. Level 50 Elf Cleric Vigil. This is Wraith, level 50 Human Berserker; Tara, level 50 Faerie Mage; Searos, Level 50 Dwarf Skirmisher; and Yoshitsune, level 51 Human Knight.”

“Woah…all level 50 and above, huh?” Raine mused in surprise. Then he grinned, relaxing visibly. “I’m glad I ran into you guys. I just got here shortly before everything happened, so I’m glad to know my teammates are actually at the right level for this continent.”

Just then the sound of Alex’s voice caught Vigil’s ear again.

“Guuuuyyyyssss,” the rich boy whined. “Let me iiiinnnn!”


It could have been her imagination, but it almost sounded like the fisherman had flopped his full body against the door.

The whole group turned to look in the direction of the sound, then Raine glanced back over at Vigil.

“Is he part of the party, too?”

The other five sighed in unison at the question.

“Thanks to Vigil, yes,” Yoshitsune responded.

“No kidding,” Wraith huffed in reply. “At least he’s in an NPC body, so I can hit him as many times as I want.”

“Wraith,” Vigil warned.

The crimson-eyed woman pouted, then dropped her chin into the palm of one hand with another huff.

“Anyway, shouldn’t we let him in now?” Vigil sighed, glancing over at the door again.

For a moment, the rest of the group remained silent. Then Yoshitsune leaned back in his chair, crossing his arms behind his head as though he was ready to take a nap.

“Nope,” the samurai said in response. “I think he’s just fine right where he is.”


An Official Party (from Chapter 6):

“Anyway,” Yoshitsune interrupted, completely ignoring the rich boy, “I’ve pinpointed the access points I need, but it’s too dangerous for me to go alone. So I have a proposition to make.”

“What’s that?” Searos inquired.

For a moment, the samurai thought deeply. Then he responded, “Make this party official. If you guys come with me, I should be able to access the system at these key points and send us all back home. I’m not going to lie to you. It will be a bit risky, especially in the higher level zones, but no matter whether we go or not, we’re facing danger.”

“That’s right,” Vigil mused. “Didn’t you say that the autorenew function has stopped working?”

“What does that mean?” Alex inquired, glancing between the elf and the samurai.

“The autorenew function in the system is what controls a player’s ability to revive after dying in battle, as well as the availability of renewable resources such as NPC vendor stock, monsters, and wild crops. With that system down, resources will become much more difficult to find, too.”

“Then I guess we have no choice,” Searos frowned. “We’ve got to try this. Who knows how long it would be before the people on the outside figured out what was going on otherwise?”

“Exactly,” Yoshitsune nodded in response. “So do we have a deal?”

Quietly Vigil drew in a deep breath, then put her hand out toward the middle of the table.

“Deal,” she said, looking straight at the samurai.

There was no lying about the fact that she was afraid. But if she only had the option between dying an inglorious death and going out like a hero, she would go out like a hero.

For a moment, there was a pause as the others stared at the woman’s outstretched hand. Then, slowly, Yoshitsune put one hand on top of hers and nodded. With a sigh, Wraith shrugged, then also put her hand out.

“Deal,” she replied, flashing Vigil a quirky grin. “I’m not gonna let you have all the fun without me.”

“I’m in, also,” Raine said, putting his hand on top of the others’. “It’s worth the risk, I think.”

“Me, too,” Tara nodded.

“Likewise,” Searos added.

The others then turned to glance at Alex, and the young man’s face paled.

“W-Why are you looking at me?”

“Deal or no?” Yoshitsune asked evenly.

“Why on earth would I risk my life to help a bunch of psychopaths like you?”

“Then I’ll make sure to leave you in here.”

“Fine! Fine! D…deal…”

With a huff, Alex added his hand to the pile, and then the others nodded to each other.

“All right,” Vigil grinned. “Let’s make sure that no matter what happens, Infinite will never forget us.”

NaNoWriMo 2015 – Week 1 in Review

Currently listening to –> The First Town from the Sword Art Online OST

Hey everyone!

So, this post really should have been done yesterday but…I was too busy working on my project to remember that fact…

Well, week 1 of NaNoWriMo 2015 is down, and I’d say I’m doing comparatively well so far (if one takes into consideration all the other years I’ve totally failed this challenge). I’m still behind in my word count goal, but it’s not as bad as it could be. As of Saturday night, I ended my first week of NaNoWriMo with 7,639 words out of the goal of 11,666. I’m aiming to get caught up this week, but we’ll see how that goes.

week 1

So far, what I’ve found to be the most difficult in my NaNoWriMo project is the fact that I am starting almost entirely from scratch. Yes, I knew what the characters would look like in advance, but I really didn’t know them, nor was I particularly familiar with the technology and rules of the world(s) in which they live.

Probably the most intimidating part of starting this project, though, was the prologue. The prologue is the one section of the book that occurs entirely in the real world, containing all of the technology of the year 2250. I’m a fantasy writer by nature, so delving into the realm of sci-fi was a bit intimidating. (After all, I only barely scored “college ready” in the science section of my ACT test back in high school). Still, though, researching all the scientific theories and experimental technology has been so much fun, so I think the challenge was worth it.

There are other challenges about this story, though, too. I always dreamed of designing my own video game, so Infinite really is a dream come true in its own way. On the flipside, though, I really have to give props to those who actually create these sorts of games in real life. There are so many details that I need to know to make the story (and, subsequently, the game) work the way it should. I have to figure in stats, skills, game mechanics, the whole nine yards. And somewhere in all of that, I’ve got to remember to describe the graphics, bring the characters to life, and ensure that dialogue is natural and entertaining. Overall, I think this may be one of the most difficult stories I’ve written so far (aside from Willy’s Covenant, but that’s a whole other issue).

While I’m already convinced that I will probably end up taking a chainsaw to this story once NaNoWriMo is over (I’ve lost track of the number of cliches, inaccuracies, and typos I’ve discovered in reading back over what I’ve written), I can, at least, say that I adore my characters as much as I thought I would.

As of the end of Week 1, I had officially introduced the characters of Vigil, Wraith, Searos, and Tara. I introduced Alex and Yoshitsune last night, and I’ll be introducing Raine before too long, so more on them in next week’s post.

Vigil and Wraith have turned out to be exceptionally interesting characters. I based the two of them off of myself and my childhood best friend, meaning that the inspirations for Vigil and Wraith come from the same people who inspired Razi and Rayne in The Four Stars. I was a bit concerned at first, wondering if maybe Vigil and Wraith would end up being nothing more than mimics of Razi and Rayne, but as I write, I find my fears are subsiding quite a bit.

Vigil is, by far, one of the sassiest characters I’ve ever written. She actually reminds me more of my fanfiction character, Adaria, than she does Razi. Her relationship with Wraith is also quite unique. Though they are certainly friends, this doesn’t seem to stop them from picking on each other. In fact, I’d say it’s possible they act more like sisters. (Wraith would be the annoying little sister in that case).

I will say that Wraith does have similarities to Rayne, though that has mostly to do with impulsiveness and adrenaline addiction. If anything, I’d say Wraith is a mixture of Rayne and Eryn, containing the impulsiveness and love of fighting that characterizes Rayne while simultaneously displaying the ego and immaturity that characterizes Eryn. Yet despite all this, she does seem to be a likable character.

I’m still getting to know Searos and Tara. At the moment, they don’t seem to be stand-out characters, but then again, they haven’t been in the story long, so it’s hard to say. Searos is an unassuming personality, calm, quiet, but I feel like he’s actually a powerhouse in disguise. Tara seems to be a bit more of a straightforward character. I was afraid at first that she would end up being really ditzy, but so far it hasn’t been too bad. She does have no sense of direction, though.

Anyway, that’s where I’m at with my Week 1 update. I’m excited to see where the story goes here in Week 2. (I also can’t wait to introduce you to Yoshitsune since – yes, confession – I’ve already fallen in love with him!).

With that being said, here are some excerpts from my Week 1 writing spree. Hope you enjoy! Happy reading!



The light hum of the hovercar echoed like mere static as a young man in business casual attire idly flipped through the document hologram that glowed in front of him. The sound of a news reporter in the background worked to drown out a good deal of the hovercar’s hum, but he was only half listening as the reporter spoke.

“Since the launch of the Hermes System in February, statistics show that more people are travelling between countries than ever before,” the reporter was saying, her voice containing a slightly irritating scratch to it as she spoke. “The World Commission authorities released a statement last night announcing that international business is booming and that investments are expected to increase by over 120% in the next 5 years. But some people are saying that even the Hermes System, the pinnacle of teleportation technology and the highlight of 2250, is still not enough. Proponents of a more effective, less dangerous means of rapid transit are already pushing for an even more sophisticated system by the year 2260. Let’s move to David at the London International Portal Station for more details.”

The man in the business attire huffed slightly as a man’s voice came over the speakers. Then with a wave of his hand, the hologram in front of him disappeared, the voices went silent, and the hovercar settled down in an empty spot outside a massive chrome structure.

“People are just never satisfied,” the man muttered under his breath, grabbing a crisp white jacket from the storage compartment of the hovercraft and rushing off toward the building in front of him.

“Command initiate,” he said as he jogged through the crowds of people, pausing to check his appearance in a nearby glass wall as he came through the first set of automatic doors. “Time.”

“Pacific Standard Time, 06:00 hours,” an AI voice echoed through the earpiece in the man’s ear, her tone far too placid for as late as he knew he was.

“Portal transit to Tokyo.”

“Portal congestion is listed as green. Estimated time of arrival, 06:16 hours.”

Good. He would only get to work a minute late today if he was lucky.

Quickly the man skimmed his thumb over the fingerprint reader at the terminal, hardly even waiting for the gates to swing out of his way as he passed through them. He could hear another news reel going as he headed toward a glowing white capsul set up on a platform not far off.

“Since the popular VRMMO, Infinite, launched its Hermes System compatible software last week, competitors of the industry have been rushing to catch up with the game’s sensory immersion capabilities. The CEO of the popular game company…”

“Keep dreaming,” the man muttered, hurrying up to the portal capsul nearest to him. “It will take them years to catch up with Infinite.”

He was just reaching for the control screen when he felt someone shove him out of the way, and he looked up quickly to see a younger man in expensive clothes reach for the portal controls.

“You’re in the way,” the younger man grunted, glaring at him over his shoulder.

The man in the business attire clenched his free fist, then turned and rushed for another portal that stood open nearby. On a normal day, he might have said something. If he didn’t hurry now, though, he’d be more than just a minute late to work, and he’d hear about it for sure if he was.

Now feeling even more pressured for time, the man swiped his hand through the air to summon the holographic portal controls. Los Angeles, Terminal A, Portal LA6579. Destination: Tokyo, Terminal B. ETA: 06:17.

The man quickly selected his destination and half threw himself into the capsule, the door sliding around behind him with a light snap. A whirring sound then caught the man’s ears as the white light of the portal began to spin.

“Initiating atomic sequence now,” an AI voice echoed through the compartment. “Please remain still.”

The man resisted the urge to check the time again as he stood waiting for the moment that he would be zapped from one location to another. The light grew, spinning, spinning, spinning. And then…


And all went dark.

Effort starts with E (from Chapter 1):

The sound of birds chirping echoed through the tree branches as Vigil and Wraith left the Elysian Plains and headed into the Hesperian Forest beyond.

“So…what’s our strategy?” Vigil inquired as she followed after Wraith, who was doing as much tromping as a herd of elephants as far as she was concerned.

“Simple,” Wraith replied, grinning over her shoulder. “I kill the monster, you keep me alive while I do it.”

“Brilliant plan,” the elf sighed sarcastically. “I give you an F for effort.”

“Effort starts with an E,” the human girl laughed back.

Vigil couldn’t help but grin at this, then settled back to a gentle pace as she observed the forest around her.


Regulus the Basilisk King (from Chapter 1):

The pair fell silent as they entered into a long, darkened corridor that lead out into a flat, circular open space beyond. Here the rising earth ringed the circular space in sheer, jagged stone walls. The putrid fog hung even heavier here, making visibility not much more than 2 meters at best. The only sound was that of the two girls’ footsteps as they walked further away from the corridor’s opening.

“Now where is it…?” Wraith muttered moving out in front of Vigil and glaring at the fog. There was a pause, then the woman let out a frustrated growl. “Aww, come out and fight already! Quit hiding in this fog like a coward!”

“Keep yelling and he’ll come out alright,” Vigil sighed. “Give me a minute and I’ll see if I can detect it.”

Leaning down toward the ground, the elf gently placed one hand against the hardpacked earth and activated her Detection skill. For a moment, there was nothing but the faintest of a presence aura around her. Probably, the young woman mused, the putrid fog was meant to do more than just accost her nose. Most likely it was also acting as a debuff, something that would interfere with her comparatively low-leveled Detection skill.

Then, all of a sudden, however, a slight blip of green caught her eye, and the elf almost didn’t have time to gasp before she shouted, “Wraith! Dodge left!”

Dropping the Detection skill, Vigil darted backward as Wraith followed her command. Both had only barely gotten clear of where they stood before a massive form the height of a giraffe swooped in, landing on the ground with an earth-shaking thud.

“Hey!” Wraith shouted, shaking one sword at the monster that stood before them. “What’s the big idea? Ambushing us like that. Fight fair!”

“It’s a monster, Wraith,” Vigil groaned, moving around behind the monster. “It doesn’t care. Now hurry up before it has time to use its attacks.”

“Right!” the Berserker replied. “Stun it for me.”

Putting her fingers together, the elf prepared to use her Purification spell as she had done with the other basilisks, but before she could use it, the creature lashed out at her with its snake-like tail, turning its chicken-like head toward her and opening its mouth filled with razor-sharp teeth. Already Vigil could see a massive diamond on the center of the creature’s forehead lighting up as it prepared for an attack. Her dodging ability was low. There was no way she would be able to avoid it.

Quickly Vigil put her right hand out by her side, preparing for a healing spell, but right when the monster was about to release a breath attack, Wraith appeared from the side, launching a flaming kick at the basilisk’s head with a roar and sending the monster tumbling to the ground. She landed nimbly on her feet on the opposite side of the clearing and was still skidding across the ground as she channeled the fire up from her boots and into her swords.

“Hey! Bird brain!” the woman shouted. “Over here!”

With a roar, the basilisk stood up again, turning its glowing amber eyes on the warrior nearby. Taking advantage of the situation, Vigil ran around behind a boulder located along one edge of the circular zone they fought in, then put her left hand out in front of her, palm vertical, and swiped her hand through the air.

“God Vision,” she said.

Instantly a bright light swirled up around her, forming a series of charts and bars in the air on her lefthand side.

God Vision. It was a universal spell, meaning anyone could learn it regardless of class or race. It was a level 35 quest reward and was meant to be used by a party field operator, allowing the caster to see all the stats for both party members and their targets. Currently, despite the heavy fire kick that the current target, Regulus the Basilisk King, had taken from Wraith earlier, there was no damage to his HP. This was, indeed, a tough monster.

With a roar, Wraith went in for another attack, flaming swords glowing brightly in the ochre fog, but with a roar to answer her, Regulus lashed out its snake-like tail again, striking the Berserker in the ribs and sending her catapulting backwards against the stone wall beyond. Her back struck the stone and with a groan she sank down to the ground, tottering to her feet again.

Vigil swallowed hard. The hit from Regulus’s tail alone had been enough to deplete a quarter of Wraith’s health. Quickly she raised her right hand skyward, shouting, “Healing Aura!”

Instantly a bright light cascaded down from the sky, engulfing Wraith and speeding up her healing process significantly. The Berserker nodded briefly in thanks, then turned back to Regulus.

“Chronos Steps!” the woman shouted, charging in toward the basilisk again. Instantly Wraith disappeared in a flash, reappearing at Regulus’s side a split second later.

“Hades Blade!”

A roaring explosion engulfed both warrior and monster as Wraith launched a quick 3-strike attack. Vigil glanced at the statistics chart next to her. Regulus’s health was down by 5%, but…

With a ear-splitting shriek, Regulus launched itself in the air, slashing its talons across Wraith’s body seven times before landing on the ground again.

Wraith’s HP was already down 75%.

“Brigid’s Blessing!” Vigil shouted, crossing her two index fingers out in front of her. Swirling green light flowed from her body, entwining itself around Wraith and instantly mending all the wounds on her body, bringing her HP back up to 75%.

At that, the Berserker pushed herself to her feet again, going in for another round.

In and out they went. Sometimes Regulus would use its tail, talons, or wings to inflict massive amounts of damage. Sometimes it would soar up into the air, coming back down and body-slamming the earth with enough impact to knock both Wraith and Vigil off their feet and inflict residual damage and disorientation debuffs.

It was only about 5 minutes into the fight, but already Vigil was panting as she pulled herself to her feet for a second time. Her HP was down about 20%, but it was only that good because the Basilisk King was so focused on Wraith who would have died 100 times by now if not for all her heals. Briefly the elf glanced at the stats again. She wasn’t sure how much longer she could keep this up. Her Will was down to below 50% already, and both she and Wraith were losing energy quickly. It would be bad enough if they ran out of will before this was over, but to run out of energy would mean the death of the both of them. And there was no time to use any potions. Maybe if they had a tank in their party, but not just with the two of them. And Regulus wasn’t even down to 50% health yet.

Just then, the basilisk reared its head back, sucking in massive amounts of the putrid air. Vigil watched as the ochre fog began to swirl into the monster’s fanged mouth and a chill ran down her spine. So far they had seen the physical attacks that the monster wielded, but this…

With a roar, Wraith bounded toward the basilisk again, but she stumbled and nearly tripped as the fog swirled around her. A poison debuff!

Quickly Vigil placed her fingers together in a triangle.


The purifying light encompassed Wraith, curing the poison. A split second later, however, the debuff returned.

“I can’t move!” Wraith exclaimed, using one sword to prop herself up. Already her flames had gone out as she struggled to breath. Her health was depleting quickly, too. There was only one thing left.

Standing up straight, Vigil held her right arm out straight in front of her, pointing toward Wraith with her index finger.

“Wraith!” she shouted. “I’m going to use my immunity skill on you. Use it to get clear of the poisonous fog before Regulus uses its breath attack!”

She could see the muscles in the Berserker’s jaw flex, but then the human woman nodded.

“Do it!” Wraith shouted back.


“Golden Fates!” Vigil exclaimed, swiping her finger through the air in three lines.

The three lines formed into golden strings which wove themselves around Wraith’s body. Instantly her HP bar turned gold, clearing the poison debuff and momentarily filling her HP to full.

Golden Fates. It was a last resort skill particular to Clerics. Few people used it because it was a short-lived spell that cost way too much Will, but it did allow the recipient 10 seconds of full immunity, a good thing to have if one needed to escape a particularly nasty fate. It was only 10 seconds, but it should buy Wraith enough time to get out of the way of the basilisk’s breath attack.

Vigil watched as the golden threads wrapped themselves around her friend, but her heart sank when she saw a mischievous glint come to the woman’s crimson eyes.

Oh, no…


“Oh yeah!” the Berserker shouted, summoning her fire again and darting toward the monster before her. “10 seconds of immortality! I’ll destroy you, you ugly chicken-head!”

“Wraith, don’t!”

The woman ignored her as she jumped high in the air, using fire in her boots as an added force and shouted, “Bloodrage! Excalibur Edge!”

Instantly Wraith went into a fury, striking Regulus at a speed only a Berserker could achieve.

“Idiot! It’s not going to work!” Vigil shouted.

She cast a glance at the stats next to her. It was true, Wraith was now doing a good amount of damage, but the monster’s HP was depleting at about the same pace as its attack was summoning. It would be a toss-up as to whether or not Wraith would make it.

Meeting Searos and Tara (from Chapter 2):

For a moment, the pair fell silent. Then, all of a sudden, the sound of rustling underbrush caught Vigil’s ears, and both she and Wraith instantly froze where they stood.

“That’s the mount you called, right?” the human girl questioned, glancing at the elf out of the corner of her eye.

“Nope,” Vigil answered. “And this is a level 50 to 55 region. I hope you’re ready for another fight.”


Both women had already readied themselves for a fight when, all of a sudden, two figures stumbled out of the thick brush. Instantly both paused, staring at Vigil and Wraith with about as much shock as Vigil felt.

The first one was a Faerie woman, clad in a black medieval dress with black and silver wings that shimmered from her back. An exquisite cherrywood staff with a black gem on the top rested in the woman’s right hand. Judging by that, Vigil assumed she must be a Mage-class player. Next to her stood a shorter man with pointed ears, long white hair, and steel-grey eyes. In the man’s right hand rested what looked to be an S-class spear, on on his left arm he carried an ebony shield. A Dwarf Skirmisher, maybe?

“Um…” Wraith mused, breaking the awkward silence. “Hi?”

“H-Hi,” the Faerie chuckled sheepishly. “Sorry, I was just surprised to run into you guys. I didn’t think there were a lot of players out here in the Hesperian Forest. Are you guys coming from Arcadia?”

Vigil and Wraith glanced between each other, then back at the Faerie.

“Actually…Arcadia is that way…” Vigil responded, pointing in the direction the two strangers had just come from.

The Faerie’s jaw dropped slightly as she spun to look in the direction the Elf was pointing.

“Seriously?!” she fumed. “Seriously, I got turned around again?!”

The Dwarf next to her sighed, crossing his arms over his chest and leaning his back against a nearby tree.

“I’d tell you ‘I told you so,’ but I don’t want to sleep on the couch tonight, so…”

The Faerie turned to pout at the Dwarf next to her, and Vigil glanced between them curiously.

“Are you two…?”

The Faerie perked up at this.

“Oh, right!” she grinned, holding up her free hand in greeting. “I’m Taralana, level 50 Faerie Mage. You can just call me Tara, though. And this is my husband IRL, Searos.”

The Dwarf nodded his own greeting toward the other two women.

“Nice to meet you,” Vigil smiled. “I’m Vigil, an Elf Cleric. And this is my friend, Shadowraith.”

“Just Wraith,” the Berserker interjected. “So what brings you two all the way out to the edge of the Desert of Agon? I hope you’re not looking for Regulus the Basilisk King, ‘cause we just beat him.”

“Have some manners,” Vigil sighed, smacking her friend lightly across the back of the head.

“Actually…” Tara began, as though searching for the right words. “We’re sort of…”

“Lost,” Searos finished. “She’s saying she’s lost.”


NaNoWriMo 2015! – Welcome to the World of Infinite

It’s that time of year again! 2015 marks my 5th go at National Novel Writing Month. So far, I haven’t managed the 50,000 word mark in 1 month, but this year I’m really hoping to finally break that trend.

In the past 4 years, I’ve tried out 4 different stories, all of which had already at least been started by the time November rolled around (yes, yes, that’s technically cheating, but if it makes you feel any better, I still didn’t hit 50,000 words in a month…). Of those 4, two have actually been finished and published: Prism World (2012 project) and The Four Stars (2014 project). A third one, Willy’s Covenant (2013 project), is still in the works but is on hold due to the large amount of research required for it. This year, however, I’m trying out something new: a story that doesn’t even have an outline yet.

The overview is this:

The entire world is connected through an intricate system of “portals,” teleportation devices that dematerialize a person at a portal station in one location and rematerialize them at their desired destination. The “portals” are linked to a vast network that spans the globe, the fastest and most complex network in history. It not only maintains the matter of the person dematerialized in the portal, containing all information necessary to rebuild the body in its exact state, but also serves as a conduit for all other complex software.

The year is 2250 A.D. As a means of improving transport rates, the world government installs the newest version of The Network, called the Hermes System. Everything goes fine for the first week, but then something happens. A solar flare of unprecedented proportion causes a massive surge in the Hermes System, subsequently resulting in an instantaneous system shut-down. Anyone utilizing The Network at the exact moment of the surge is absorbed, disappears, and is presumed dead.

Along with anyone dematerializing in the “portals” at the time of the surge, the victims also include anyone using “semi-portals,” machines operating in a similar nature to conduct player information into virtual worlds. Because of the newness of the Hermes System, only one virtual world, an MMORPG called “Infinite,” is firmly established and listed as completely operational. Thus, the dematerialized individuals are stored in the “Infinite” data system: characters in their avatars and non-players in the “shells” of NPCs. With The Network on emergency lock-down, no one in the outside world can access the system, leaving those trapped inside at the mercy of the virtual world itself. With resources that no longer auto-renew, no admins to execute discipline and, they soon discover, a death that is permanent, life will never be the same.”

The story was inspired probably over a year ago now, and was developed around the idea that teleportation could actually be achieved by taking a person apart at the atomic level and rebuilding them at their desired location. (Check out this link if you’re interested in reading the basics of the theory and real-life teleportation research.) The idea was coupled with inspiration from two of my favorite animes of all time: SAO: Sword Art Online and Log Horizon. In both stories, people from the real world are, somehow or other, trapped inside an MMORPG (Massively-Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game). Being an MMO player myself (from Runescape to Perfect World to Lord of the Rings Online to Defiance to Archeage), the whole concept of living in another dimension sort of fascinated me. While watching Log Horizon with one of my best friends (who is also a gamer and a fan of SAO), the discussion turned to this: What if we got trapped in a video game?

I’m not sure that we ever really came to a final decision on that one. If anything, I’m pretty sure we decided I’d be the first to die since I am the world’s worst PvPer (Player vs. Player). However, this discussion led to an idea, and that idea is my NaNoWriMo project for 2015: a story about a virtual reality world called Infinite.

As far as planning goes, I think this is going to be a one-point-of-view story, though the number of major characters who keep introducing themselves to me tells me it might change more into an ensemble like The Legend of the Stars. Either way, at present, I’m looking at the story being told primarily from the perspective of the character named Vigil, one of the players of Infinite who gets trapped inside the game when the Surge occurs. She is a Cleric (healer) class elf archer/beastmaster and the only reason that her best friend, Shadowraith, a.k.a. Wraith, manages to survive. (Wraith is notoriously brash and reckless). Along the way, they are joined by a multitude of interesting characters, including the Knight-class, slightly sadistic doctor/hacker, Yoshitsune; the snotty, self-absorbed rich boy, Alex Roth; the cool-headed Dwarf Skirmisher, Searos; Searos’s hot-tempered yet slightly ditzy Faerie Mage wife, Taralana “Tara”; and the jovial yet justice-driven brewmaster, Night Raine “Raine.”

Together, these characters learn how to survive in a world they once considered to be a game, a world with permanent death and the danger of a growing evil force that seems nearly unstoppable.

Hopefully this story doesn’t turn out to be too cliche. We’ll see how it goes from here. In the meantime, Happy NaNoWriMo! I can’t wait to see what all November holds for the written world!