|This is the first G-rated short story I've written since joining the WSS contest on Good Reads.|
Super Mario by Jeff RyanBOOK TITLE: Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered AmericaSuper Mario by Jeff Ryan by Garrison-Kelly
AUTHOR: Jeff Ryan
RELEASE DATE: 2011
SUBGENRE: Videogame Biography
From Nintendo’s early days with the Donkey Kong arcade game to the present day with Super Mario Wii, Jeff Ryan documents the history of the Mario character and how over many decades he became the symbol of excellence for video gaming. This constant promotion of such a simple, let lovable character didn’t come without hardship. Nintendo had to constantly put out games and consoles that rivaled other systems like the Sega Genesis, Sony Play Station, and the Microsoft X-Box to name a few. Sometimes Nintendo won these rivalries, sometimes they were hit hard with a massive loss in revenue. Even today Nintendo struggles to keep Mario relevant in a generation full of new gadgets and principles.
First and foremost, the research Mr. Ryan conducted along with this previous knowledge of videogames shines through for this book. Every d
Rhys JambiPirate culture was something I wasn’t always emotionally invested in. Even after watching two movies from the Pirates of the Caribbean series and watching an anime called One Piece, I couldn’t get behind the culture. What finally changed my mind about it was joining a Good Reads group aptly called Weekly Short Story Contests and Company, which I’m still a proud member of. We posts stories and poems and get awesome feedback whether it’s in the form of praise or critique. But more importantly, this Good Reads group has a pirate motif. It’s not just an internet group; it’s a pirate ship complete with talking mice, roughhousing, and swashbuckling. God, I love the internet!Rhys Jambi by Garrison-Kelly
Which brings me to Rhys Jambi, who would have been lost in the dark recesses of my character archives if it wasn’t for me joining the WSS group and being influenced by piracy. Not much is known about Mr. Jambi except via a crappy drawing I did of him in 2006, a time when the men
“Everybody tells you how hard it is to be an artist. Nobody tells you how hard it is to NOT be an artist.”
This was a meme I saw and shared with my friends on Face Book. As an artist whose genre of choice is writing, I walk this line every day. There comes a time when an artist must ask himself, which means more: money and power or creativity and passion? When the artist makes his decision, he often regrets it no matter which way it goes. It’s an unfortunate double-bladed sword, but in an economy that has no love for creativity, it’s the truth. This decision process begins as early as college when you have to choose a major and a minor.
My brother James and I are two completely different people when it comes to wallets and dreams. When we were school kids, James would try to urge me to major in computer science since people in that field make a lot of money and don’t have to worry about where their next meal comes from. But I wasn’t interested in computer science. I wanted to be a screenwriter. My interest in creativity overrode my interest in money while James took the opposite path.
In his own way, James is also an artist, his genre of choice being playing the drums. His experience as a drummer dates all the way back to the mid-90’s when he was in his middle school band. He too had dreams of making it big in the world with his art. But instead of following his passion, he enrolled at Everest College and got a pharmacy degree. He now works for a shoddy hospital in Bremerton as a pharmacy technician. The money is good, he is financially stable, but he’s far from happy. Today in 2014, he’s 31 years old.
While the genre of writing differed from year to year, I too wanted to make it big with my art. My writing experience dates back to the year 2002 when I wrote a synopsis-style prose for a videogame idea called Final Fantasy Hardcore, where Deus Shadowheart first made his debut. Seeing as how I was young, inexperienced, and disinterested in reading, my writing sucked. Badly. But the dream was still alive, so much so that I opted for an English degree at WWU with a minor in theater. Because I’m currently pursuing a dream where very few are hiring, I live with my financially stable parents and the only reason I make any money at all is because of a genetic accident. Despite this, I’m happy with the fact that I can write stories and read books as much as I want for as long as I want. Today in 2014, I’m 29 years old.
I’m not saying one path is better than the other. I’m saying the path that I chose is one I made with no regrets. There are people on the other side of the argument who are perfectly happy doing what they do. Sometimes it’s better to be rich and guilty than poor and innocent. Sometimes, not all the time. Both sides have pros and cons. Just like with anything where a crucial decision has to be made, it’s best to make that decision with no regrets and with full commitment. Even if your decisions are bad ones, if you spend your life regretting them, you’ve already set yourself up for permanent failure. And yes, failure will happen in one way or another. It’s whether or not we learn from failure and get better from it that will determine success. Dragon Machinegun was a failure and what I learned from it was to recruit a second pair of eyes before publishing. We’ve got ears, say cheers!
I know, I know, I said I was going to review Demolition Man and then introduce Cheryl Glenn to the world. I’m sorry things aren’t moving faster in that department, but I’ve been so committed to finishing reading “Super Mario” by Jeff Ryan that I’ve got tunnel vision. The only reason I’m not done yet is because I’ve recently had a schizophrenic attack. But just like with any attack, I will recover, no fucking question about it.
***WRESTLING JOKE OF THE DAY***
Q: What’s another name for Cody Rhodes’ asshole?
A: Chocolate Stardust.
My novels are available on Smash Words, Sony, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, Page Foundry, Baker & Taylor, txtr, Oyster, Flipkart, and Scribd. American Darkness is available on Amazon and Lulu as well.|
American Darkness (contemporary drama anthology)
Brawl Mart (urban fantasy novel)
Confessions of a Schizophrenic Savage (poetry and song anthology)
Garrison’s Library: garrisonslibrary.blogspot.com/
Sitka: June 19th, 2014 Cat of the Day: catoftheday.com/archive/2014/J…
Q: How do you deal with writer’s block?
A: My favorite way to deal with writer’s block is by imagining the scenes of my stories from beginning to end. Sometimes when I’m alone (or at least when I’m sure I’m alone), I’ll do a back and forth dialogue between characters out loud. If it wasn’t for this method, the characters in my current novel Fireball Nightmare would all be two-dimensional wash-ups. It’s supposed to be a fast-paced bloodbath, but stories and emotions are just as important as the high-octane violence, if not more so.
Q: What’s your advice for aspiring writers?
A: Listen to your heart. Write about things you feel are important to you. Taking advice from others is okay and often recommended, but ultimately, you’re the one who makes the final decision on your writing, not the audience, not the editors, not the admins, just you and you alone. If somebody tells you your writing sucks, put as much distance as possible between yourself and that person. Nobody has the right to bring you down. If you still feel like your writing sucks, then keep working on it until it doesn’t. Never give up hope.
Q: How do you get inspired to write?
A: I draw inspiration from a lot of different sources whether they’re from other books or not. I’m a huge fan of heavy metal music and I often use it to channel aggressive feelings in my writing, especially during scenes of violence. I’m also a fan of professional wrestling as evidenced in my 2014 dark fantasy e-book Brawl-Mart. People like to criticize wrestling for being “fake” and I always tell them that Harry Potter is also fake, yet nobody’s complaining. Yet another source of creative fuel comes from the computer game Diablo II: Lord of Destruction. If it wasn’t for that game, I wouldn’t have such a fascination with barbarians. Deus Shadowheart, the main character of Fireball Nightmare, probably wouldn’t be a barbarian or even in existence if it wasn’t for Diablo II.
Q: Where did you get the idea for your most recent book?
A: When I was a child, I loved playing with Legos and I had a set from the pirate franchise that was a volcano with a swinging skull door in front. I called this set the Volcano of Doom and it has since been the inspiration for the main deity of Fireball Nightmare, Vahd (which is just a respelling of the acronym for Volcano of Doom (VOD)). Realistically, Fireball Nightmare is just an excuse for me to use a favorite barbarian character of mine named Deus Shadowheart and an idea I had for a dark fantasy apocalyptic role-playing game I made up called Valley of the Damned. When two kick-ass things come together, it’s instant magic. The makers of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup know this very well.
Q: Describe your desk.
A: It’s a hand-me-down from my older brother and has been in my possession since 2008. I have to be careful with it because it’s small and shakes easily. The upper tier has my computer screen, pencils, flash drives, and tissues on it. The middle tier holds my fan, house phone, speakers, tape player, keyboard, and sometimes a bottle of Diet Mountain Dew. The bottom tier is where my computer tower, printer, and power strips are located. In addition to writing stories and poetry, my rickety desk has also been used to draw some…interesting pictures.
Q: Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
A: I’ve lived in many places over the course of my childhood, but the one place where reality hit me the hardest was when I was going to high school in Chehalis, Washington. My freshman year was best known for the verbal bullying I have endured and almost committed suicide over. Due to the crippling PTSD (and eventual schizophrenia) I’ve suffered, most of my writing is influenced by dark and disturbing themes such as death, bullying, mental sickness, sex, and violence. I do have lighthearted stories in my archives, but I will always be known as an R-rated author.
Q: When did you first start writing?
A: I’ve been writing all of my life, but the time when I started taking it seriously was January of 2002. My first writing project was a videogame idea called Final Fantasy Hardcore. It had the same magical premise and romantic leanings as the games in the Final Fantasy series, but it was set in a dystopian future and had tons of mature content. My two favorite characters from this series are a charismatic barbarian named Deus Shadowheart and a perverted scientist named Dr. Scott Cain. Ever since scrapping Final Fantasy Hardcore, I’ve been trying to find a story for those two to be a part of. I think I’ve finally nailed it with a dark fantasy novel I’m currently writing called “Fireball Nightmare”.
Q: What’s the story behind your latest book?
A: My most recently published e-book as of now is American Darkness, which isn’t really a novel, but a collection of emotional short stories in a contemporary setting. There are 22 different stories jammed in this anthology, but the pride and joy of this series is one called “Another Brick in the Wall”, which obviously takes its name from the Pink Floyd songs. It is a classic verbal confrontation between a strict US History teacher named Sid McDonnell and a stressed out student named Sam Keith. This is a scenario I have always fantasized about, especially considering I had some rather unsavory teachers in high school and college who deserved a tongue-lashing.
Q: What motivated you to become an indie author?
A: My circumstances were the reason I chose self-publishing over traditional. I live in a town called Port Orchard, where young adult writers don’t have an outlet for their creativity. If I wanted to go somewhere to fulfill that need, it would have to be either Seattle, Bellingham, or Tacoma, all three of which are big cities that are too hard to get to. I don’t have a car or a driver’s license, so I have to depend on others for transportation. The people in my family who have driver’s licenses have schedules of their own and can’t ferry me to the big cities on a daily basis. Instead of stressing myself out by traveling to the big cities, I choose to use the internet to make my presence known. I have a lot of work to do in order to market myself, but I wouldn’t have self-published if I didn’t believe I could do it.
Q: How has Smash Words contributed to your success?
A: I haven’t sold very many e-books yet, but when the money starts rolling in, it will be because I chose Smash Words. Simply having a place where my writing can be immortalized is good enough for me. I write regularly on Deviant Art, Good Reads, Blogger, and Face Book. Smash Words is different from these places because it gives me a platform to organize my writing into a tangible product instead of just bits and pieces. Sometimes people need to see the bigger picture in order to make a decision about whether to be a member of an author’s audience.
Q: What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
A: Exercising my creativity is always a fun part of the business, but my favorite part comes from the feeling of accomplishment I get after I write something. I have taken something from my screwed up psyche and made something beautiful out of it. I liken this to the scene in the musical Pink Floyd the Wall where the main character smashes his hotel room in a fit of rage and afterwards makes a piece of art out of the remains. It’s a creepy way to think of my accomplishments, but then again, lots of creepy things go on in my mind.
Q: What do your fans mean to you?
A: My fans mean everything to me. Every time they give me a compliment or critique on my writing, it helps me become a better writer. Even if it’s a short compliment like “very well-written”, it’s enough to boost my confidence to continue putting myself out there. I’m shy at first, but when I begin to get comfortable with a group of people, we do so much for each other.
Q: What are you working on next?
A: It’s a dark fantasy novel called Fireball Nightmare. The first act, which is known as This Is Violence, deals with a forest-dwelling barbarian named Deus Shadowheart who will go to extreme means to protect his home from city developers. The main reason he does this is because he is a servant of the volcanic mountain god Vahd, who will erupt into apocalyptic fire if his forest is destroyed. The second act is called Valley of the Damned, but I won’t get into it right now because too much of the plot will have been revealed.
Q: Who are your favorite authors?
A: This is going to sound ironic coming from a lifelong writer, but I didn’t actually become a bookworm until 2009 when I picked up a copy of The Cleaner by Brett Battles. The books I read in college were slow-paced and dull while The Cleaner was exciting and quick. It’s because of this drastic change in pace that Brett Battles will always be my favorite author. Others include fellow introvert Susan Cain, Sherman Alexie, Carl Hiaasen, and Stephen Chbosky. Realistically, I’ll give my patronage to any author who can dictate a fast pace with his or her writing. Bonus points to go to any author who can almost bring me to tears. I haven’t cried since 2007, but I came very close to doing so with many of the authors I’ve read books from, particularly Stephen Chbosky.
Q: What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
A: To be honest, I don’t have much of a professional or social life in my small town of Port Orchard, Washington. To put it bluntly, I’m unemployed and have very few friends. I don’t have much of a reason to get out of bed every day, so the closest thing to inspiration I have is walking to the grocery store to get three giant bottles of Diet Mountain Dew. Walking is a fun exercise that helps me clear my mind, but more importantly, it’s an opportunity to rock out to heavy metal music on my MP3 player.