Fan Fiction: My Unsolicited Thoughts

Not that anybody was asking (hence the unsolicited part), but previously I wrote about fantasy fiction. It’s no secret that I’m pretty lazy, and while I was writing that, I got annoyed with how long it took to type the phrase fantasy fiction. So today, out of sheer laziness, I’m going to shorten it to fan fiction. Luckily for me, that’s a whole new genre, and a completely different topic to write about. Plus it’s shorter to type, so that’s a double bonus!

Having said all of that, I decided this week that I am going to put all of my current projects on hold and focus on a new pet project that I will never be able to do anything with. (Yeah, I’m well aware how ridiculous that sounds.) I’ve never done any fan fiction before. I like the concept: people like something so much that they create and expand on the source material. That’s awesome! I would be so flattered if somebody ever wanted to do that with anything I wrote. I just don’t think I’ve ever been into anything enough to think that I could do something worthwhile that would contribute to what’s already there. Plus I feel weird about using somebody else’s creation to play around with.

Until now anyway. I have gone down a rabbit hole and have tunnel vision for this story that a friend gave me ideas for. We had an amazing exchange, brainstorming session, and then that was it. As far as I was concerned it was over. Just a fun concept. Or so I thought. The idea stayed in the back of my mind though. I saw that friend a couple weeks ago, and the conversation came back up. It’s too good to let it go. So I’m not. Continue reading

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Book Review: Hallowed Grounds

My love fest for Patrick J. O’Brian has been long and well documented. Well believe it or not, I still have more books of his to read and review. Hallowed Grounds is another one that I recently finished so let’s check it out!

The plot of the story centers around a protagonist, Jeff Lancaster, who comes to own and develop a theme park in southern Indiana, but before he’s able to enjoy his new duties of running the park, his previous life as a police detective drags him into a couple gruesome and brutal murders. As he investigates those murders, connections are made to the property that his shiny new amusement park sits on, complete with a sinister and ghostly past. Those two worlds collide, and Lancaster is left chasing down murderers and legends from his town’s past, trying to make connections in order to tie it all together, save lives, and put an end to the killings.

Hallowed Grounds starts off as a pretty straight-forward murder mystery. That is, until just before halfway into the story anyway; that’s when things take a potential supernatural detour. I won’t dive into spoiler territory, so I won’t reveal the source of the murders in my review. They could be the circumstance of an unhappy spirit, or they could be the result of a bitter rival. You’ll have to check it out for yourself and see! Continue reading

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Childlike Inspiration Meets Fantasy Fiction

Let me put this out there right up front: I’ve never been a fan of fantasy fiction. No offense to my friends who write fantasy, or anybody that likes reading it. There’s nothing wrong with the genre (unlike romance), it’s just not my thing. Dragons, sorcerers, mages (are those the same thing??), knights, castles, and whatever other standard fantasy elements just don’t really speak to me.

Now let me be clear. I am not bashing the fantasy genre. (And I’m not trying to inadvertently shoehorn it into medieval period pieces either…that statement above just shows my ignorance.) I’m more than willing to admit that this is a me problem. Harry Potter? Never read them. Lord of the Rings? I’m not sure I could tell you who Gollum is. The only thing I know about Game of Thrones is that there’s some dude named after a mountain and the book series will probably never be finished. Those series are beloved by millions around the world. Obviously they are quality, classic pieces of literature, which means that the stories aren’t the problem. That leaves me as the problem. (No surprise there, amiright??) I think the biggest hurdle for me is my lack of imagination. I have a hard time grasping concepts that I can’t see in real life.  Sorcery, portals to alternate planes of existence – I just struggle to get into. Continue reading

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The CKFiction Dictionary: Down-Home Sayings

 

It’s no secret that I’m from a cornfield in southern Indiana.  What most people who are unaccustomed with the state are unaware of though, is that Indiana is basically split into two subcultures: the bottom third of the state and the northern two-thirds.  The southern part of the state fits in more with Kentucky and Tennessee in regard to lifestyle, accents, politics, and whatever else you can think of, while the northern chunk is more relatable to Michigan.  (I’m not talking about the upper-peninsula of Michigan.  That’s basically just Canada’s basement.)  With that being said, I was raised around some pretty phenomenal turns of phrases, or southern sayings, if you will.  I’d love to share some of my favorites with you, so that’s what I’m gonna do!  Readysetgo.

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Work in Progress

Today I’d like to share a little bit about what I’m currently working on. I have some great news, and some other news.

First, the great news: I was recently accepted to contribute to an upcoming short story anthology! This project will be the first time any of my fiction work will be published somewhere other than something I’ve organized, and I’m super pumped about this opportunity. With as long as I’ve been writing, it’s kind of embarrassing to admit that this is the first time I’ll be included in somebody else’s project. Honestly though, I’ve only ever submitted a very few stories for consideration. See, writers are notorious for having rock-bottom self-confidence levels. I very much fit into that mold, so I’m typically not too eager to open the door for that level of critique and rejection. And because every experience until now has led to rejection, it’s only solidified that lack of self-confidence. Now, I wanted to share a little about my backstory, but I don’t want this to turn into a pity party, so let’s keep it moving. Continue reading

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Kings of Chaos Behind the Scenes: the Clubs

With Crossover being out for awhile now, let’s take a look behind the scenes at the MCs from the series.

***SPOILER ALERT***

***Do not proceed if you haven’t read the series***

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Book Review: Alcatraz #1259

As a criminal justice professional, I sometimes get the opportunity to attend national criminal justice conferences. These trips offer a wealth of knowledge and help me learn about national trends throughout the justice system. They also give me some great opportunities to explore some really cool places.

Last year, one of the conferences was in San Francisco, California. I’ve been there before, but only for a day, so I was excited to spend a little more time in the city. My top priority was getting a tour of Alcatraz. It was a bit of an ordeal, but eventually, I was fortunate enough to make it to the island. Once the boat docked, an announcement was made that there was a book signing taking place that afternoon in the gift shop. One of the last living Alcatraz inmates had authored a book, and he was present to sign as many copies as people wanted to buy. I’m a sucker for a signed book, and the fact that it pertained to a federal prison, while I was in town for a criminal justice convention just made it that much better.

I soaked up the sights and sounds of the audio tour while I wandered through the cell house, but my mind was pushing me toward the gift shop the whole time.  I entered the gift shop and navigated through two or three different rooms and there was no sight of a book signing anywhere.  Then I turned another corner, and there sat William G. Baker, flanked by stacks of his books.  He sat peacefully at his table, signing books and answering questions as tourists from around the world approached him.  I’m sure he’s probably heard any and every question hundreds of times already, but he remained cordial and patient with every visitor, myself included. Continue reading

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Literary Locations: New Orleans Edition

Recently, I was fortunate enough to get to visit New Orleans.  NOLA.  The Big Easy.  The Crescent City.  Call it what you want, just be sure to recognize the incredible history and culture the area harbors.  It was a short trip, but there were a few things I HAD to do while I was in town.  No, I’m not talking about bar hopping down Bourban Street.  If you know anything about me, then you already know that’s not my scene.  (Although, I may have ended up bar hopping down Bourban Street a little bit anyway though.  Hey, when in Rome, ya know??)  Actually, the places I had on my must-see list were almost all National Literary Landmarks.  And they most certainly did NOT disappoint. Continue reading

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Bookish Gaming, Part 2: Mobile Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Style

The last time I reviewed mobile games I commented about how the choose-your-own-adventure concept hasn’t successfully adapted to newer technologies outside of print books.  I did offer a great graphic novel type zombie title called Survivor Z, and disqualified probably the most well-known title, Choices, because, well…romance.  Blech.  Well, since then, I ended up going down a rabbit hole of the available apps that fit this bill.  It seems there are two primary developers (Hosted Games LLC, and Choice of Games LLC) that have built catalogs of subject matters for whoever might be looking.  I’ve already noted in the past that I’m a sucker for anything zombie related, so most of the titles I chose to review, (surprise, surprise) were zombie related – or at least zombie adjacent.  The apps from these developers are almost identical with the product being completely text based with no graphics or sound effects.

Really, my reviews should be based on the two developers, as each title would be based on each reader’s preference, and the structure would all remain the same throughout the different titles, so I’ll do a side-by-side comparison at the end.  First, I’ll review the titles that I took a shot with.  Since they all have unique writers who are independent from the software developers, the story lines and quality of writing should offer a range.  In theory, at least, right? Continue reading

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National Poetry Month: The Daily Struggle

It turns out that April is National Poetry Month.  Who knew?  I’ve been sitting on this gem for awhile now, undecided about if or when I should share it.  With everything going on in the world, now seems like a pretty logical time.  I wrote this when I was in a particularly dark place.  Not much has changed, and it never really seems to.  Some may see this as a cry for help, which I’m not entirely convinced that it is.  Mostly, this is just to serve as an outlet.  A lot of it reflects my own personal thought processes and ideas, sure.  But some of it is for artistic value.  I won’t break it down any more than that right now, but I hope you enjoy this poem for what it is: a glimpse into my broken psyche, and what I think is a pretty decent, fairly powerful poem about mental health and the struggles that people face with it.

Mental Health.

A current fad.

So many causes:

Work, kids, bills, health, genetics, weather.

So few solutions:

Counseling, medication, self care.

But who has time? Who has money?

Gym memberships. More money. More time.

Therapy, prescriptions. More money. More time.

More stress.

What’s the reason?

What’s the purpose?

Sleep, the only reprieve.

Temporary, but consistent.

Sleep, please come quickly.

Depression.

Anxiety.

Sadness.

Loneliness.

Taught to bottle it up and keep it inside;

Where it festers, eats you up, and rots you from the core.

Your mind works against you.

Share your feelings they say, let it out.

But why? What changes?

Pity? Become a punchline?

What’s the point?

Stress is all consuming.

Sleep will come eventually.

Perpetually.

Eventually.

Sleep.

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