Monday, April 30, 2018

Old School Evil is LIVE

Today's the day - Old School Evil is available to purchase on Amazon for Kindle or print.  You can click the link here or you can click on the add on the right side of the page.  This book has been the last four years of my life, and I am extremely excited and anxious for you all to see it.  I still have a hard time believing I've actually finished such a massive undertaking as writing a book, going through over ten drafts, making a cover, building a whole world for it, and publishing it with my own imprint.

Enough gushing.  I really hope those of you who are interested in reading it will enjoy it.  Thank you all for the support over the last four years as I worked on the book and posted here at Old School Evil.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Bad Guy Beatdown Round 12 Results

Mumm-Ra stood over his scrying pool and held his hands aloft.  “Spirits of Evil, I sense a great power coming. Show me that which I seek!”
At his command, the cauldron bubbled and swirled, purplish steam filling the air.  The water’s tumultuous surface melted away and deep in the pool a vision formed – a knight adorned in green armor with a glowing snail on his chest, lost in a forest calling out for his companions.
“A Darkling Lord on Third Earth?” Mumm-Ra mused.
“What is a Darling Lord?” Monkeyman asked, peering into the pool.
“Darkling, you idiot,” Slythe said.
“Silence!” Mumm-Ra shouted, causing the mutants in the room to flinch.  “This knight has great powers given to him by the wizard Merklynn.”
Jackal snickered. “And how do you know this stranger?”
“Even though he is not evil, Merklynn’s magic is well-known to the Spirits of Evil.  He has imbued is power to a number of people on his planet of Prysmos, and this Darkstorm was given some of the strongest.”
“But why isss he here?” Slythe asked.  
“It does not matter.” Mumm-Ra flexed his arms and began to chant, “Spirits of Evil transform this decayed form to Mumm-Ra, the Ever-Living!”  In a spinning storm of frayed bandages, the decrepit mummy transformed into a giant monster, blue skinned except for the double-headed snake emblem on his chest.  “As soon as I steal his power,” Mumm-Ra shouted, “I will be powerful enough to defeat Lion-O and claim the Sword of Omens as mine!”

Darkstorm slashed his way through the thick tangles of vegetation.  His axe wasn’t meant for cutting vines and branches and it was exhausting work for the knight.  He wished he could use his totem power to turn this jungle to dust, but refused to use its limited power when he wasn’t sure what dangers this planet offered.
Damn Merklynn for sending him on this quest.  When the wizard requested him go on a mission to retrieve a sword, Darkstorm assumed it would at least still be on Prysmos.  Without his minions, it would be difficult to triumph, but on an unknown world? This would be a challenge, and the reword had better be great.
He reached the edge of the jungle and could finally see the planet’s terrain as it stretched out before him.  In the distance was a castle with a great black cat’s head atop it. Merklynn had told him he would be fighting a group of people called the Thundercats, but Darkstorm couldn’t believe they had modeled their home after a cat.  It was as stupid as if his own castle was shaped like a snail after his spirit animal. He trekked towards the castle, preparing his lost warrior needing help ploy.
Before he could reach the plane at the castle’s base, a gale wind blew into his face, forming a tornado that threatened to blow Darkstorm away.  In the eye of the whirlwind, a figure appeared and when the winds cleared, the Darkling Lord was face-to-face with a floating blue monster wearing a red cape.
“Who are you?” Darkstorm said, holding his totem staff toward the figure.
“I am Mumm-Ra, the Ever-Living!  And I would have your power!”
Darkstorm pulled his totem back.  “My power will stay that mine, foul creature!”
Forming a ball of lightning in his bare hand, Mumm-Ra says, “You have no say in the matter, knight.”  He fired the blast at Darkstorm, deep red bolts of lightning coursing toward the ground.
Darkstorm attempted to deflect the strike with his axe, catching the bolt at the tip and shocking him hard enough to send him flying back.  He screamed as he tumbled to the ground, his armor smoking. He struggled to get to his feet just in time to see Mumm-Ra prepare another blast.  “I hope your shell is strong enough!” he said as the snail on his armor lit up and emerged from his chest. Darkstorm’s physical body disappeared into the shimmering mollusk, barely avoiding another blast.
“You think a slug can save you from me?” Mumm-Ra shouted.  He dropped to the ground and took a mighty swing of his claws at the mollusk’s shell.  His hand bounced off the glowing body leaving no sign of damage to it. Enraged, Mumm-Ra leapt back into the air and blasted lightning from both hands, striking the mollusk directly in the center of its shell.  
The attack didn’t destroy the spirit animal, as Mumm-Ra expected, but the snail reverted to Darkstorm’s human form.  “You thought a spirit slug could save your powers from me?”
“Perhaps not,” Darkstorm says, still disheveled from his transformation.  “Perhaps Decay will do better. By what creeps, what crawls, by what does not; let all that grows recede and rot!”  The dog-faced, winged creature on Darkstorm’s totem escaped from the crest, flying behind Mumm-Ra and latching on to his shoulder.  Decay’s wings wrap around Mumm-Ra and glows bright in green light before disappearing. When revealed, Mumm-Ra’s body was shriveled and tiny, wrapped tight in bandages and draped with the red cape he wore.
Forcibly reverted to his decrepit form, Mumm-Ra staggered and cried out.  “My powers, you’ve drained them,” he wheezed. “I must return to the Black Pyramid to recharge!”  Mumm-Ra levitated into the air, but was struck down with a swing of Darkstorm’s now powerless staff. Crawling back from the Darkling Lord, Mumm-Ra attempts another bolt of lightning, but his waning powers fizzle out.
With a single swing of his axe, Darkstorm plunges the blade deep into Mumm-Ra’s heart.  The mummy’s body turns to dust and scatters to the wind, leaving behind only a whisper. “Where evil exists, Mumm-Ra lives!”
Click here for Mumm-Ra's respect post. Click here for Darkstorm's respect post. 

I can hear all the Thundercats fan boys crying out!  I know Mumm-ra was the favored one here, but he's got the same weakness as Darkstorm - limited powers.  Both Mumm-Ra and Darkstorm have limits to how long or often they can use their powers - Darkstorm's might be a little more by the numbers than Mumm-Ra's, but they both can only summon their powers for a certain amount of time or uses.  The only problem is that once Mumm-Ra's powers are used up, he's a frail mummy, while Darkstorm is still in his prime.

The Winner

To see who Darkstorm will be facing off against in the next tier, click here.  To see the rest of Bad Guy Beatdown's fighters, click here.  

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Bad Guy Beatdown Round 12 - Darkstorm

Today's fighter is leader of the Darkling Lords from the Visionaries - Darkstorm!  It's interesting to me that so many of the characters from the cartoon, all of them but Darkstorm, actually, had names that sound like Arthurian legends or Lord of the Rings.  Instead, he gets a name that sounds like it should be in the Transformers.

On to the analysis.  Given magical powers by Merklynn, Darkstorm is imbued with totemic abilities, but before we look at them, we need to look at what the man can do to see why he received his specific powers.  When Merklynn invites the Spectral Knights and Darkling Lords to come to his temple with the promise of powers, the 14 warriors went in without any real leadership.  It wasn't until entering the shrine and discovering it was full of traps did Darkstorm show his talents.  After falling into a pit, he is able to stop the descent and climb back out, and upon finding the rest of the Darkling lords hanging from a ceiling in a different room, he forced them to swear loyalty to him before he released them.  Oh yeah, and he uses a stupid Y-shaped axe thing.  It's not even worth a picture since he doesn't do anything with it.  In fact, I don't think he has any fighting ability to speak of.

Merklynn praises both acts, "For your incomparable climbing skill and overall sliminess," and grants him the powers of the Mollusk.  Having survived the travels while using a staff, he's given the totem power of Decay.  Both of these are incredibly powerful tools, but unfortunately for the tournament, they're not used very often.  Let's take a look at each of these totems.

First, the Mollusk, which is his spirit animal.  Each of the Visionaries has their animal on their chest and when summoning them, the spirit shoots out from their armor, taking the place of the knight.  Darkstorm, of course, works the same way, and he turns into a giant snail with a spiked shell and spindly little arms that do nothing. I just realized it looks like it's wearing a witch's hat.  Anyway, the Mollusk isn't really befitting of the leading villain until you see that it has one of the only powers of all the spirit animals - it shoots acid.  There's no real demonstration of how strong the acid is since all it does is smoke the few times he uses it, but I'd probably compare it to Miles Mayhem's Viper mask.  the Mollusk can also climb practically any surface up to a 90'degree angle, and its shell was impervious to other Visionaries' attacks.

Second is his totem, Decay.  The Visionaries with staves were given an extra power that they could call upon, which would summon a creature to fight for them.  Unlike the spirit animals, these creatures did not take the place of their knight but would follow their orders.  Each of them would have a specific magical ability and would need to be summoned through a rhyming incantation, which was all awesome to hear.  They could only be used once before needing to be recharged by Merklynn.  Darkstorm's totem creature was a weird winged creature, summoned by "By what creeps and crawls and by what does not let all that grows recede and rot!"

It only had to touch another creature to wither it, turning a young man into a geriatric.  Darkstorm was able to return the victim's youth with a second incantation, "Power of rot obscuring truth, what once was old, restore to youth."  Just like the other totem creatures, the Decay-beast was only able to use its power once per appearance, which usually allowed it to turn something old, then revert it (touching the target for both parts).  Once, it was able to touch three giant plants in a row, withering each of them, before being struck and disappearing - which meant it wouldn't have been able to return their youth.

That's actually a common limitation to the spirit animals and totem creatures - one hit from just about anything would either return the knight to their human body or banish them.  Even the biggest one - the Destroyer, a giant beast with a blazing sword - would disappear after one strike.  There doesn't seem to be a time limit to the shape-changing power though.

So let's go over his abilities again:
1. Mollusk spirit animal lets him spit acid, climb any surface, and has an impervious shell, it's just not fast.
2. Decay summon can age something with a touch, and can revert it, but is a one-shot ability.
3. Has a stupid axe.  Seriously, it's so dumb looking.

To see Darkstorm's opponent Mumm-Ra, click here. If you want to see the rest of the fighters so far, click here.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Wednesday Wrap-Up - 4/11/18

Man, I am so stoked that I finally have a date for my book release. I know it's about 2.5 months late and still a few weeks away, but I picked April 30th because it's far away enough to get everything done, but it's close enough that I can't forget about it. 

So on my list if stuff to do before then:

  1. Make final edits to the book based off my editor's notes. Should only take a few hours since most of them are grammatical. Also adding something to the end of the book to the it in with the character changes.
  2. Format the manuscript to ebook and pdf versions. Scrivener does both of these pretty well, so it shouldn't take more than a day to figure out. This includes picking fonts and editing two insignias to look good in the book. 
  3. Extend the cover to include the back for print versions, which will be similar to the front with a little blurb.
  4. Figure out how to upload both versions to Amazon and Createspace, which in going to get a lesson in tomorrow from an experienced independent author in my critique group (which I'm also submitting a chapter to for Old School Evil 2).

That seems to be the gist of everything on my plate, in addition to the normal Bad Guy Beatdown and semi-regular list posts. Stressing of that, my Truth about Bionic Six post from the other well is my highest viewed post ever! As for Bad Guy Beatdown goes, the lastest fight, Mumm-Ra vs. Darkstorm, will be posted the Monday before launch, but will go on hiatus for a few weeks as I focus on that, but it will continue in May.

Anyway, I gotta get back into figuring out Createspace, but I'll be back next week.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Old School Evil - Coming April 30, 2018

I am so glad to finally be making this announcement - I finally have a date when Old School Evil's first novel will be going live.  Over the next 20 days, I'll be busting my ass to get everything ready - making the last few corrections, formatting the book for Kindle and paperback, tweaking the insignia that will be displayed, and making up the back cover of the book.  I've also updated the blog, my personal and professional Facebook page, and Twitter feed with the dates and cover mock-ups.

Along the way, I'll be posting a lot more updates as I work on it, along with little teasers from the book, just like this one.

I can't think of a better way to introduce the main character of the book than just throwing this out there.  Jayce was just like me as a kid, just like many of the readers I hope to attract to the book.  He loved cartoons and toys, and he could not wait to sit in a theater and see them fighting on the bog screen.  Was he ever able to?  Was it the life-changing event he thought it would be?  

Guess you'll have to find out at the end of the month.

Bad Guy Beatdown Round 12 - Mumm-Ra

I've been waiting to get this this big bruiser for weeks; it's Mumm-Ra, the Ever-Living!  The 1000-year-old mummy has come to the arena, but what all can Mumm-Ra actually do?  One thing we need to figure out is what powers are his to command, and what does he depend on the Spirits of Evil to do for him.  Who are the Spirits of Evil, you ask?  Are they anything like the Specters of Darkness from Wildfire?  I mean, pretty much, except they're not stuck in an urn. 

The Spirits of Evil are what Mumm-Ra calls upon to change from his decrepit form to that big bruiser.  Mumm-Ra can call on them to do some other stuff, like seeing visions in his scrying pool, but those powers are mostly limited to his Black Pyramid.  Luckily, his transformation isn't limited to just the pyramid, as he can change forms anywhere he wants, as long as he can speak the incantation "Ancient Spirits of Evil, transform this decayed form to Mumm-Ra, the Ever-Living!"  He's also shown to change into other forms, including a fake Thundercat name Pumm-ra (how did Lion-o and his friends not see through that?) and a beautiful maiden.  So, we can see that Mumm-Ra can change shape, but what else can he do?

In either form, Mumm-Ra is able to fly, teleport (usually to escape), and shoot lightning or energy beams from his hands.  In his larger form, he's incredibly strong and fast, able to hold his own against Lion-o.  In his first fight against Lion-o (played without any music for some reason which made it kinda boring), a tree fell on him and he blocked it with his forearm, even if the tree hit hard enough to break in half.  He threw half of the tree at Lion-o and blasted another tree in half with his energy beams.

Unfortunately, this is the best example of Mumm-Ra's powers.  He's one of the unlucky villains in this tournament that don't appear in all thirteen permitted episodes - in fact, he's only in five of them!  There's a three episode stretch where he didn't show up at all, even though the Mutants do. 

But that's okay, because he does show a few other abilities.  In two episodes he summons insectoid allies, and since one of them is outside of the Black Pyramid, I'll allow them.  The first time he summons a swarm of locusts, and in the second, he calls upon a giant moth.  I mean, it doesn't really do much besides fly around and chase Panthro, but it's scary enough, and it shows what the Spirits of Evil are capable of. 

Mumm-Ra does have a few weaknesses, though.  As a decrepit, 1000-year-old mummy, his stores of energy are low - he can only use so much power or stay in the ever-living form for so longer before he needs to return to his sarcophagus to recharge.  He's also shown once to be terrified of his reflection, forced to return to his withered form and seek refuge in the pyramid again.  I thought maybe this was a one time thing, since the reflection only shows up in Lion-o's glove and it later is shown to reflect lasers, but it's a documented weakness, so I'll keep it.

I forgot about this in the last few respect posts, but I'm going to list his abilities and weaknesses again for clarity.
Strengths: flight, teleportation, energy and lightning blasts, an enhanced form with superhuman strength, and can assume other forms of disguise
Weaknesses: limited time and energy before he needs to recharge, afraid of his reflection, some powers are only available to him within the Black Pyramid.