Loot Crate-Dream Crate

A week or so ago I learned about a fan-related project being run by Loot Crate. If you haven’t heard about LootCrate, it’s a monthly subscription box. Similar to other subscriptions offered through various sites, it’s based around a theme and filled with various fandom items particular to that theme. Here’s a list of their past boxes and the items. As you can see it varies from crate to crate what kinds of items you’ll receive. What’s also great about LootCrate is that there are a variety of crates to choose from, whether you like gaming, anime, things for your pets or just a crate filled with items to wear. The variety I think is one of the awesome things about LootCrate since it pretty much has something for everyone. So anyways, Loot Crate has been reaching out to various fans to put together their very own “dream crate,” which would have a particular theme, items, etc., and I have to say I was definitely intrigued. Honestly, I had a few ideas to start with. Narrowing it down was a difficult choice, given the possibilities and variety I could do.  I did manage to find a theme that would allow me to create and alter to suit a particular genre.

Journey 

While, “Journey” may seem like a little random of a theme, it allows for a lot of creativity. As well as managing to combine my love of literature, with my love of graphic novels into something that caters to bibliophiles and geeks alike.  To make this easier to follow, I will break down the themes individually with what I would put in.  With images to follow before the next breakdown begins.

1. Fantasy

  1. For starters, two books: Fables Legends in Exile: Vol 1, and Eon by Alison Goodman. Both are superb books are superb reads, at opposite ends of the fantasy genre.
  2.  A t-shirt with the map of Tolkien’s middle Earth on it.
  3.  A set of three baby Dragon statues, approved for both indoor and outdoor use.  To paraphrase Tolkien, “A story isn’t worth telling if it doesn’t have dragons. “
  4. For my last two items, I choose two Funko Pop figures: One from Harry Potter, and one from Game of Thrones. There are a lot of them for both franchises, but I choose Jon Snow’s direwolf

2. Science Fiction

  1. To start things off, I choose two books: Saga Vol 1, and The Collected works of Arthur C Clarke. Saga is an amazing genre-warping space opera from Image comics.  I would say, Arthur C Clarke, doesn’t need much of description as one science fiction’s great writers.
  2.  A Doctor Who reusable canvas tote bag. Since you have to carry your stuff somehow, might as well show off some geek pride as you do.
  3. A StarWars themed traveling water mug. Need to stay hydrated.
  4.  Along with a set of 13 mini posters, featuring one of science fiction’s original staples: Robots.

3. Superhero

  1. Continuing with books being my first set of items, I chose Ex-Machina Vol 1,  and Superheroes and Philosophy: Truth, Justice, and the Socratic Way (Popular Culture and Philosophy) by Tom Morris. Ex-Machina is an interesting tale of superheroes and politics. The other examines how superheroes have become something highly recognizable in the modern world.
  2.  A twist on the coexist car decal done with superhero logos.
  3. A traditional canvas poster, combining both Marvel and DC characters.
  4.  A superhero themed wallet since you will need cash and ID on your journey. For myself I chose X-men.

4. Post-apocalyptic

  1. Starting off on my last offshoot of the “journey” idea, I will start the box with two books. The first is Hinterkind, an interesting take on the apocalypse published by Vertigo Comics. While the second book is The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks.
  2.  A skull cap, based on the best-selling game The Last of Us. Featuring the fireflies logo.
  3. A small but highly praised survival kit from SharpSurivival. Comes complete with flashlight, compass and so much more.
  4. Bringing in one of my favorite nuclear apocalypse-themed video game franchises, Fallout. I selected a Vault 111 pocket watch. Along with a Brotherhood of Steel power armor Funko figurine.
  5. Rounding out the box with a Funko Pop Keychain of any protagonist, such as Daryl or Rick.

Narrowing it down, and an opportunity

After a little over three weeks of research, I have narrowed things down considerably. For the most part, I have narrowed it down to three publishing houses that specialize in science fiction and fantasy stories.  The list is DAW, Quill House Publishers, and Xlibris. Due to submission guidelines, I will have to wait and see for the most part about things.

An interesting opportunity came up with Loot Crate, working with them on an upcoming crate project. While I’m still waiting to hear the full details on it, I curious and eager to work on it.

2 Year Anniversary

giphyHard to believe it has been two years already. Maybe it is just me but, it just doesn’t feel like it has been two years. A deep thank you to all my followers both new and old.

Minor update; While I have been a little slow with writing new stuff, I have been focusing on completing my second draft of Rise. Which is about 80% done, so far. I’m going to try to finish it by the end of the month, and start sending it out to publishers beginning of April.

Random Musings #5

“The age of heroes and saviors has long since past children. Those blasphemous beings are not coming to save you. Behave yourselves, and your imprisonment will be tolerable. Misbehave, and you will learn the meaning of the phrase, hell on earth,” the religious zealot of a matriarch shouted from above us.

In silence I watched her walk away from the barred ceiling of this dungeon. Little did she know how wrong she was about the age of heroes having past. The heroes of the past may be gone, but their children still live. Resisting the Order of Holy Light in small ways. Seeking those who possess untapped potential. Finding them by infiltrating orphanages like this one, which is why I am here. Sent to investigate the rumor that this particular orphanage houses three children of a forgotten hero, Mantior the Hammer. A rumor that turned out to be true. From the few days worth of observations, I suspect there are a few more than that here. Now I just have to wait until my comrades get closer to sneak those children out. It should only be another few hours before the matriarch sends in her goons to do roll call.

Standing up slowly, I walked over to the one wall that led outside. Placing my hands on the wall, I began weakening the wall. Letting my power flow through me. Given how crucial the element of surprise was, I was being careful. Keeping a watchful eye out on any curious children. Even one innocent scream could get me caught. Yet, only one young, dirt covered man approached me. His oddly sunken brown eyes watching me closely. I was about to say something when he held up his left palm. Revealing a large birthmark, in the shape of a hammer.

I whispered, “If your siblings are here get them ready. Soon you will have your first taste of freedom and a new life. If you have any suspicions of others like yourself here, get them ready as well.”

The young man smiled enough to light up his dirt covered skin before nodding. Walking over to a small group of children on the far wall. I noticed that group seemed to only interact with each other. From my observations, I guessed each one had untapped potential. I had to wonder if they sensed that in each other, and banded themselves together to survive this place. Perhaps one of them had the gift of the Seeker. If that was the case, they would invaluable to the resistance. I would have to find out for certain later. For now, I had another task that needed to completed soon.

A couple hours had passed before I took a few steps back. Knowing I created a decent sized hole in the wall, that would allow two people to crawl out side by side. Managing to do the best I could to strengthen the surrounding area. It would have to do for the time being since time was growing short. Assuming everything went according to plan they would never know until morning. Leaning against the wall I listened for the signal from the other side of the wall.

Two rapid knocks occurred in quick succession after about thirty minutes. I repeated the signal back to let them know everything was ready to do. Leaping back I watched, I watched the group of children I was rescuing approach.

I whispered, ” Approach the wall and the crawl forward. There are people waiting on the other side who will help you get out. I will follow you behind, once all of you are safe. ”
The young man who approached me earlier nodded. Before leading the group of children to the wall. He glanced back at me for a brief second before kneeling on all fours near the opening. Pointing at the hole and motioning for the younger children to go through first. His eyes watching them in an almost father-like stare. There was something oddly endearing about that.

I watched them crawl their way to freedom until only, the young man and myself remained. He stared up at me in silence for a few minutes.

I whispered, “We need to get moving soon,” getting down on all fours beside him. “They are safe, now come on,” making my way towards the opening. Looking to my side, to be certain he was following me.

He nodded before speeding up some. Doing his best to catch up to me. I let him go ahead of me, as the tunnel approached its end. Looking back over my shoulder to make sure no other children were following us.

A few minutes later we were outside. My three fellow members of the resistance were standing around the children. Keeping a watch over them as they waited for me to come out. I dusted myself off as I noticed Gibil approach me. A dull flame bound in a barely open fist. Casting a dim light over the area. Revealing Anemoi, and Borelis were there as well, to help us execute the other half of our plan.

Gibil said “There are more potential candidates than I thought there would be. We may have to keep a closer eye on this isolated orphanage than I originally suspected. Given how isolated this place is, it would make a decent base of operations,” looking at the children. Almost as if he was formulating a plan of attack, instead of escape.

Random Musings #4

“In the last days before the inevitable earth shaping war began, you were made. To carry on humanity into a state of broken civilizations, and chaos. Yet, you are not alone in this quest. The others will find you, or you wind end up finding them. That is one of the few things, I as your creator and your father never understood. The unnatural bond all the unnatural children possessed when they rarely met each other. Yet given the mammoth task you all face, the link will serve you well. In the times to come, you will remember why we were forced to put into a cryogenic sleep. It was, unfortunately necessary,” was all the note read. It did little to put me at ease, as I looked around the strange chamber I had awakened in. I could barely recall anything this note mentioned, leaving me wondering who, or what am I?
As I attempted to stand, I felt a strong pressure surround my head. With a yelp,I sat fell to the floor holding my head. Seeing flashes of the past as if it happened a few days ago. To me I supposed it had, since I still had no idea how long I was asleep. Yet stranger still, was the memories had a voice as they played in my head. The voice sounded familiar for reasons I couldn’t recall. Was the voice my own, or was it someone I knew?
It felt like hours before the pressure and flood of old memories stopped. With little struggle I stood up and walked to the clear, hollow tube that once held me. The floor around still wet with the fluid that preserved me. I hoped I would find information around it. About myself, who I was, how I would survive to carry out my duty from my own past.
After searching for a brief time before I found at least one answer. My name was embossed on a small, rusting plaque. I read my name aloud, “Mathias.”  Almost immediately after I read my name, something below whirred to life with a loud bang. Jumping back out of instinct, I watched the dim lights in the chamber brightened. Revealing the symbol of a large bird facing forward floating above a rectangular image. The image looked like a flag of some sort, with red, white and blue colors. Other smaller things turned on around the chamber as well. Making sections of the wall glow a dark shade of red in spots. I was beginning to remember bits and pieces of where I was. This room was a preservation chamber. One of many built across the world  as part of Project “Carry On.”
Walking cautiosly around the awakened chamber I looked for a way to escape. If the note was correct. This place had to have a way out. Allowing me to perform the task the note mentioned. Stopping once a large square of black began to glow a light shade of blue. I stood and waited a matter of seconds before the blue changed to a video of a man in a dark blue suit, with a white undershirt. The man was older, wearing thick glasses under a set of thinning grey hair. Whoever this person was took a deep breath before speaking, “If you are hearing this that means you are carrier of humanities’ last hope. Who I am doesn’t matter, just trust and believe what I say. You are awakening in a world radically shaped by chaos. As a participant of Project Carry On, you were created to survive this new world. Soon enough you will have to do just that. Good luck my and godspeed on your journey to a new frontier,” before the screen went black once more.
Mere seconds later, a loud hiss of air was heard behind me. Turning with haste, I saw the metal floor separate itself in two places. Forcing from unknown depths, two tall and wide metallic silver chests. On both were similar plates of untainted bronze on them. Upon inspection,both of  the plates bore my name.
Cautiosly I placed my hands on the one on the left first. The cold metal burned my hands for a brief moment. With a grunt I pulled them away. I looked at my hands. Seeing the skin had been burned just slightly, but had already began to heal. I looked up to see where my hands had been there were two distintive impressions. In silence I tried to figure what just happened, as the chest slid open from the center. Revealing something that looked technologically medieval. It was strangely reflective for its onyx color. There was something alien, yet familiar about it. I had to wonder if this was constructed to protect me against the world?

Taking a few steps to the right, I placed both my hands on the chest. Both burned a little before the chest opened from the center.  Revealing the weapons I don’t remember choosing. Without hesitation I pulled the one closestest to my right hand. A curved blade of silver, with an all black handle with an opposite curve. It was lighter then its appearance would suggest. There was a matching one on the left of the cabinet. Two guns set carefully placed in the center. Yet they didn’t match like blades.  They all looked they were built for me specifically. Leaving me with more questions then answers.

Doubting I could just hide away without being found I walked back to the armor. Pulling it out in pieces, starting with the legs and feet. Setting them on myself with great care and caution. Feeling them pinch as they sealed themselves to my body. Growing more determined to escape and survive with each applied piece. Almost as if whatever determation I had l, was beginning to return. Hopefully bringing some answers along with it.

Random Musings #3 (or tentatively titled 22nd Century Pinocchio)

This odd phantom agony lingers, as somewhere my shell rests scattered, broken, and forced asunder. Yet still, my sensors rattled through my corporeal form. Providing a makeshift window through this endless darkness that surrounds me. Forcing myself to ignore the agony the best I could, I reached out to my limbs. Attempting wit great struggle to swim back to my body. Managing to feel my metallic fingers scratch and crawl at the sea of darkness. Stopping as I felt an intense surge of heat and pressure where my chest plate once was.

My unheard screams stopped when the pain ceased. Replacing itself with a forceful pull at this form. This sudden pull propelling me through the darkness. The sheer force of it compacting me somehow as it stopped. Colliding me with this random invisible barrier. I watched in silence as the barrier started to glimmer for some unknown reason. Seconds later, something hit the barrier with great ferocious. Creating radiating ripples in the barrier, like skipping a stone across still water. Several more ripples appeared in rapid succession as more objects hit the barrier.

One last item collided with this barrier, ending the abrupt storm.This one left an imprint I recognized with ease. It was my exterior chest plate, which made me wonder what exactly was going on. My wonderment ceased when I noticed a small crack in the barrier. Managing to pierce the darkness with a narrow beam of light.

Continue reading

A late start, to the new year

It has been a busy couple weeks despite the freshness of the new year. I have been writing a little but, not as frequently as I would like to. More due physical exhaustion and lack of “restful” sleep. Downside the little I have managed to write tells me there is something more there, I just don’t have the pieces yet. Which while frustrating is something at least. I can always go back and polish the idea when I have more time.

Also, I forgot to share something else. For those who read my last larger post for the WEP December challenge, I was on the short list for winners. Which may not be much but, it surprised me.

That is all for now.

 

WEP “Utopia” contest

When I started writing this, I knew I wanted to do something unusual. Yet at the same time have something that had almost comic book feel to it. I also wanted to have this concept, that “Utopia for one, may be another person’s nightmare.” Which I think I achieved in the piece.  Much to my surprise, I for once am far under the word count. Well, I hope you enjoy my entry. a2bwep2butopia2bbadge5

 


Cleansing a Broken City

 

Gunshots, sirens, and thunder vie for dominance of the air. My once grand city had become nothing more than a breeding ground for corruption, crime and greed. Perhaps it had always been this way even when I was a child. Seeing everything through innocent eyes, that faded as I matured. It is time for this place, this cesspool to be cleansed. Not by rain, or by justice but by the hand of the wise.

Taking a deep breath, I turned away from the grim view. Clearing my mind before entering the grand conference room. Where I had gathered other beings of influence and power. Knowing some had good reputations, and others were more questionable.

Pushing open the wide door, I stared at my guests. Their faces hidden behind masks, like mine. These people were the city’s best chance at rebirth. A rebirth that would usher in a utopian age.

Clearing my throat I said, ” Everyone I have gathered here has influence in this city. Yet we have watched as the corruption has consumed this city. Now, my friends, I believe that as people of influence it is our duty to cleanse this city. Seize it not for ourselves, but for our families,” pounding a closed fist against my chest. “Purge this city of its contagious corruption, and create a new utopia for our city,” going silent on my guests. Studying their faces before a soft wave of clapping began. Getting louder and louder as more people joined in.

With a grin I watched them take their seats. Each one of them clueless as to the method I would accomplish this goal. Only I and the corporate soldiers I paid knew the method I chose. Using the same brutal methods of criminals against them. Killing them in the same method they corrupted my city, with gunpowder and fire.

 

Turning my attention back the city, ready to start the symphony that would be its rebirth. Everything placed strategically days before I called this meeting. By merciless and predatory corporate soldiers in the clever guise of social workers.  Using nothing more than my phone. Beginning it with a single phrase, “Veni, Vedi, Vici.”

 

Hearing the clock for a few seconds before the first bomb went off. Each bomb only seconds behind the other. Creating a symphony of fire, screams, and sheer destruction. Blending itself in with the roaring thunder. Signaling just the beginning of what was to come on this historic night.

 

In a matter of minutes, the symphony changed. Replacing the explosions with concussive gunshots. The constant stream of muzzle flashes illuminating the smoke. Forging a night sky like tapestry over the city.  Making the slums a spot of beauty, instead of blight. Bringing a cleansing rain of copper to the docks, Little Italy, and Chinatown. It was an oddly enchanting sight from where I stood.

 

Now it was on to step two of my righteous plan, bringing a voice to this night. Approaching the grand conference room once more, I stood in the center of the room. Turning on a camera and series of light. Broadcasting myself throughout the city.

 

“Fair citizens of this city, by now you are wondering why certain areas of this city are engulfed in flames. Yet, I imagine some of you are aware of how our city has changed too much in the past ten years. A religious man might say they are God’s way of purifying our city for the righteous. That is only half true. The real answer is it was done by a more modern of version of the Gods, the ultra-rich. Using the influence that naturally comes from money, this court agreed to help purge this city. To reclaim it for honest, hardworking men and women. Now I have a message for any surviving criminals,” changing my voice to make it sound more menacing. “Leave this city, while you can. This will be your last chance for mercy. Your kind of scum has no place in what is come. A new golden age, a utopia for all,” shutting off the lights and camera. Satisfied, that the new age was coming to pass.


Word count 690 Critque level: Full

An ode to winter

Winter you arrived, bringing with you

A torrent of ice, snow and cold

And yet, you brought something else in your wake

Something small, yet potent, disease

Infecting so many, as holidays approach

Next year perhaps you could try bringing some holiday cheer instead

Perhaps you could try bringing some holiday cheer instead

Odd how seven lines, can sum up so much time. Yet, it also manages to explain my absence for the past three weeks. Unfortunately, I got infected earlier than I suspected and it snowballed from there.