Category Archives: Books

I read a lot and as of recently, I’m now a writer. As a result this is where I’m going to share what I wrote and what I’m reading. Please enjoy.

gametitlescreen

Building a Visual Novel in 3d to Teach Basic SEO: Status Update

Almost a year and a half ago, I started learning 3d animation, rendering etc. Recently, I uploaded a virtual reality demo on the hookupJS blog; since this one gets more traffic, I figured I’d add news about the visual novel here. All screenshots from the Mac Desktop version of the game.

There will be a map, multiple scenes and a story line that takes place over seven days. The game has SEO quizzes in it that help you boost your SEO score throughout the week. If you don’t uplevel your SEO there will be parts of the story that aren’t available to you, so if you haven’t read Google’s guide to basic SEO previously, now would be a good time.

volleyballscene

Inside the game, I will be adding basic SEO guide which will have the answers, references etc for the questions inside the game. That way people who just want to enjoy a quirky visual novel in 3d only have to learn a minimum amount of knowledge to consume all the content, scenes and renders.

Here’s a screenshot of combat, and how to regain energy after. There will be some combat in the game, as well as relationship building with non player characters.

jackwarehousefight

Shown below is the main character’s place (Jack Nickel).

jacklayingdown

Basic features of the game and overall flow:

  • Start game with title screen
  • Read through various dialogue boxes (as above).
  • Answer SEO questions to unlock various parts of the map
  • See if you can finish the game with a high enough score that your boss approves.

fjboss

The platform I’m targeting for the first release when it’s ready is the iOS App Store, as I think this game fits in the whole, “Entertain me while I’m waiting for 5 minutes to do something else,” time of day. There is the possibility of releases for Android, Mac desktop, Windows 7+ Desktop and Linux Desktop, but I can’t test across all of those platforms, only Windows / Mac.

If the iOS release goes well, I’m definitely going to spend time on porting it to work on as many of the other platforms as I can.

The Gray Thief Continued (Fiction)

“Remind me,” Rock asked, crouched low with the manse still far away. “Again, why we’re out here, in the middle of the night, instead of at home, enjoying what we already have?”

Grimacing, Gray’s eyes flashed in the night, green sparks almost filling his face. “Why, again?” Anger crept into his voice, “That bastard stole what’s mine.”

Rock shook his head, still confused.

“My reputation,” Gray snarled. “My journals.” He bit off the last, practically spitting out the words. “My very existence, that bastard stole from me.”

Looking out into the night, he stroked the hilt of his dagger, something akin to lust filling his voice. “I’m getting my journal back, and if any arrogant ass ever so much as dreams of taking credit for our works again,” his voice dropped, a threadbare whisper. “Ever.”

Echoing into the night, a sound so soft yet so crisp floated over the plants, the distance torchlight. Caressing his ears with the threat of violence so profound he felt goosebumps, Rock shivered in the night. He did not feel cold, but the calculating, angry and cold tone of the Thief took him by surprise. They had pulled stunts before, tweaked the noses of the nobility and peasant alike. However, they had never, ever faced off against a wizard before. Magic was rare in the kingdom, and the powers were unknown.

Hearing the promise in his friend’s voice, Rock could do nothing but follow the smaller man, as he crept ever more quietly into the dark night. Into the distance, a mere dozen yards ahead, was the first wall. Due to the mist, visibility was less than a dozen steps in any of the directions, up down or sideways. Feeling nearly invisible, Rock saw with apprehension that the Thief had unsheathed his blade.

Bloodlust signing in his veins, Gray could only twitch inside his cloak, the mist crowding out nearly ever sensation. All that he could feel was the singsong clarion call to arms, the lust for blood filling his veins. The wizard had powers, at least, it seemed he did.

However, Gray cared naught. His reputation was a thing he built, brick by prick, piled until it was the thing of legends in three kingdoms. A few put a price on his head, and now, with his goals accomplished, he had been busy writing his memoirs. Telling the stories he hoped that, if he had children of his own, perhaps might make it down into the family books. Something real, something meaningful.

Not that crap about magic, mayhem or death. The real reason Gray went on all those missions, again and again risked life, limb and torture. He had suffered, multiple times, and finished his mission with nothing so much as a glance from his government. Frustrated, he started to amass his own fortune, as the government grew more wary of his involvement, with too man successes, they had made it clear. Retire. Early. Have fun, drink and be merry.

Whatever he should do, one thing was clear. That chapter was done, the espionage, the secrets. The double life. Rock had trouble keeping it straight, which is why Gray managed the accounts with their various contacts. It was a large, complex web they traversed, with some players working in concert on one project, while bitterly struggling for advantage in another.

Thoughts?

To be continued….

The Gray Thief (Continued) – Fiction

The other day, when I wrapped the intro, showed it to somebody who matters the world to me, I got one single, solitary piece of feedback. “That’s it?” She asked, looking disappointed.

“For now,” I said, happy that she asked for more. Normally, when I mess up, I get pretty good feedback – and fast. See, I’m pretty good at figuring out my own stuff, but, when I screw up, it’s *fantastic* to get somebody I trust to review my work. Re-writing is *not* my thing at all; I enjoy a first draft far, far more.

This post isn’t the normal kind of fiction I share, then again, most of my writing doesn’t have my name on it. I’m very, very good with that. There are ups – and downs – that come with getting attention.

I wanted to share about some the duo’s I’ve read, and my thoughts. Sometimes, it’s hard to understand, to know, what’s right, what’s wrong, without a sounding board. My brother’s been doing that for me, for a long time (Adam) :) I don’t always appreciate it, but, we have a lot of shared experience. So naturally, I look up to him.

He is *also* 2 inches taller 😉 lol.

(Before you read more about The Gray Thief, take a look at the prologue, here.)

Why is a Vampire, Sci Fi, Marketing, Business, Fantasy, etc writer penning a new tale?

Well, I don’t know how far it’s going to go – to be honest, it’s more a way of dealing with writing now, sober, and with my thoughts on the task – instead of waking up the next morning, reading my notes and wondering what, exactly, was I thinking.

Why would a thief steal time?

I didn’t introduce the characters much in the prologue, but, to me the answer is obvious. Why does anybody, ever, want time?

Goals. Milestones. Stuff. If you like something – anything – generally, you want more of it. However, I have a penchant for continuing, even when I have some, I usually want, “More.” So, the gray thief is kind of like me, in a way. Then again, so is Jay Williams, the Vampire hunting Ninja.

There’s a bit of advice I heard a long while ago about writing. Worst. Advice. Ever. You know what it was?

“Write something. Get feedback. Then, when you know you can’t write, go life life. After you’ve gone around the block a few times, you have a feel for things, *then* write something.”

Bad idea. If you like writing – skip the waiting. Write now. Don’t wait.

timethief

The Thief Who Stole Time Itself – the gray cloaked wonder (fiction)

My first fiction (under my own name) in a few years; a short piece, the title is, “The Thief Who Stole Time Itself,” by Jeremy Goodrich. Also, am going to be writing more fiction in the future – to ensure people do not confuse my science, my math proofs with fantasy.

License is whatever you wish – including derivatives, copies and more. Share, enjoy and marinate if you choose. :) Thanks in advance for reading.

Legend has it, in the rolling hills of Jefferson, there was a wind born in the South. This was not the first time a Southern wind rolled into the small, eco-centric village. However, this wind blew with a hint of change. The summer solstice was nine days ago, the third child of an old family arrived into town.

Growing up, due to his small size, he was picked on. The locals all hated outsiders, even displaying contraband flags all across their locale, in defiance of the laws of the land. A trickster had taken the mayor hostage, feeding off his magic powers for decades.

How to break the spell?

The Thief grew up crafty, for he learned to know when violence approached. Likewise, he grew up stealthy, adopting the gray cloak of mist, shrouded comfortably in the fog that wrapped the sleepy little town.

Finally, learned music, because for every point, there is a counter point. The guitarist may lead, but, without the drummer to set the tempo, there is no pattern. Through music, the Thief unlocked many other wondrous skills over time.

That fateful night, armed with these three truths, the Thief contemplated his next move against the wizard. Crafty, the old man was, and steeped in his own lore. The magic was real, even though the villagers still did not believe.

“Ready?”

Green eyes flashing, the thief crouched lower, gesticulating wildly to the red haired giant standing next to him. The larger, stronger man was a credible threat. Rock, the man’s name was, and a rock he was.

Being small, the Thief had learned sometimes growing up, conflict was unavoidable. Even worse, despite his craftiness, he learned in a fight, somebody always cheats. Otherwise, things would never degenerate into a physical conflict at all. So, given that his blade, when it came to brute force, was a yard short of menacing the Thief pulled a clever trick to avoid conflict.

Rock would simply approach the target and smile, showing two open, empty hands at waist level. His light brown eyes would crinkle in a small smile, his breaded chin twitch. If the adversary was crafty themselves, they would see the two open hands as a threat, and defend themselves.

That’s usually the time when the Thief liked to strike home with his dagger, into the neck artery. Silent, swift and done carefully, it provided the easiest, swiftest way to neutralize an opponent. Neither Rock nor Thief enjoyed physical conflict, but, when necessary, violence was savage, epic and instant.

“I’m ready,” the Thief replied, giving a quick nod. Every idiot villager knew about the wizard’s lair, filled with gold, treasure and art from the whole world.

However, only the Thief knew the secret. The real treasure inside the wizard’s lair, the real power of magic, was the key to time itself.

Grinning, the Thief turned to his partner, and smiled fiercely.

“Let’s go.”

Rock nodded, and they crept out into the mist shrouded night.

Stories matter, especially the ones that star you

I think I have pretty awesome stories. But, when I think about it, the most interesting stories I’ve read, I’ve shared or have heard are from other people. Sure, I can say a bunch of stuff that might surprise, delight or even inspire. However, all of us can, right?

Back in elementary school, the dreaded first creative writing assignment was, “Tell the class what you did over the summer.” Too many times, I wrote my story and then after hearing a classmate realized that they had a cooler, more awesome or funnier story than I did.

What fatherhood and life experience taught me was that everybody’s got an awesome story. Even the best story will eventually be surpassed by an even better one, because time and place matter. Context matters.

Personalization is a big deal in marketing. The most important, personally relevant story is always going to be the one that stars me, that I tell in my own head. When we learn how to tell stories that allow the community to feel the same surprise and delight as the protagonist – it’s that moment when the message becomes something bigger.

While honing my craft and learning to tell better stories, I’m always on the hunt to hear new, better and different stories from other people. If we haven’t talked in a while, drop me a note. I’d love to catch up on your story.

The best time to write a novel; a year ago. Second best? Right now.

For a bit this summer, I was more working on writing a novel than anything else. As a result, I finished up in the top twenty on Amazon for a category, which was thrilling, and had one amazing day where I moved over fifty copies. It was short lived and sales have come back down to more stable level.

However, at the time – wow. One of the things I learned was via Smashwords, that the best time to write a novel was a year ago. They have some eye opening stats about what sells, what doesn’t and what a few characteristics of best sellers are, at least from their vantage point. They have data from every major etailer, aside from Google, so it’s worth considering when Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, shares something – well, it’s like the a trusted friend telling you how to make an epic burger. Even if you have a tried and true recipe, you’ll at least consider the ideas. Right? The second best time to write a novel is now.

Of course. I know great ideas are all around us, and none of us has a monopoly on good ideas. When exposed to good ideas, I like to think about them, consider them and if I have time, act on them. My novel, like the others I wrote, was too short. A simple story, in many ways, with very little in terms of subplot, side story, etc. However, I enjoyed the telling and the reviews were entertaining. A dozen or more people shared that they were delighted with the book and yes, would consider buying a sequel.

Blogging here, instead of elsewhere, is a reminder to me that writing only takes a minute. Perhaps ten, or twenty but it’s not an activity that has to consume you, that pushes aside the rest of life. With a few minutes and a keyboard, anybody can tell a story.

I’m a picky reader. If I could do one thing in the literary world, it would be to encourage more people to write, to share their stories. Why? Am I begging for competition, for lowered sales? Nope. I want more good books. I’m not convinced, like ideas, a great book can only come from a certain place, person or entity. Anybody can tell a good story.

“If there’s a good book you want to read, but nobody wrote it, then you must write it.” – Toni Morrison.

Now available: Sick Jokes: Part I on Amazon, a Jay Williams Short

It’s been more than two years since I first wrote a story and published it on Amazon. A lot in my life has changed and for the bulk of this year, I wasn’t writing fiction. Under an alias, under my name…at all. Distracted and wasting time, I finally made a friend who put their well meaning foot where it needed to go.

A little history: Jay Williams is the star of, “The Vampire Hangover,” which probably needs editing and a new title at some point. There are a few authors I have really enjoyed reading and once finished, Sick Jokes, I hope, would gladly find it’s way into the hearts and minds of the fanbase of those guys. Yes, I’m being vague but I’d rather not influence overmuch what you think of my work. If you find it similar to others, I’m curious who. If you find it bad, good or indifferent, I’d like to know.

When I have time, I’m already at work on Sick Jokes, Part II. Over the weekend, I’m going to setup a mailing list so anybody who wants can get the second installment, free, as an early release. It’s my way of saying, “Thanks,” for having faith in me and enjoying the first episode. It is a whole novel I’m writing, I just wanted to release it in chunks, both to entertain people who are impatient and to give myself an easier target to hit than waiting two months before releasing anything.

Perhaps I’m the only impatient reader out there, but, I think buying a short for $2.99, then getting the rest of the novel, as it gets published, for free would be a pretty awesome deal…and there are a list of authors who I’d LOVE to buy from if they tried out this method.

It’s available here, Sick Jokes Part I.

Playing spot the possible spy in an airport

People who know me understand that I have a very active imagination. Those that know me really well know that while I’m a bestselling author, it’s not my vampire book that’s selling. At present, I’m working on the first of a new trilogy series that I still haven’t decided if I want to publish under my own name or use a new alias. The premise is fun and people I’ve shared the basic story arc with were impressed (or just being very nice). Any author will tell you that inspiration comes in all forms, shapes, sizes and mediums. I’m a fan of reading, learning, traveling, using my own experiences and dreams.

At the airport today in Seoul, I wandered around a bit after having some yuck breakfast. It was cheaper than the buffet at the transit hotel but my stomach did not appreciate the distinction. While wandering here, I noticed that Caucasian people are a small minority of the travelers passing through. A few white guys traveling together, a few couples, some older, larger folk and a single, solitary man who could pass for a carbon cut out of an agency operative on Nikita or Covert Affairs (TV shows, btw).

Let me run down the characteristics of the stereotypical agency guy on those shows:

  • Tall – has to be over 5’10 inches (average height for an American man is 5’9 from what I’ve read)
  • Built – he’s got to be in shape enough to sprint, to run distance, to perform hand to hand combat, etc
  • Black leather or suit jacket – for some reason, this tends to be the default move for so many spy movies and TV shows…I’d bet lunch that the CIA actually has a rule against wearing this 😉
  • Travels with multiple bags, one of which clearly has his high tech computer – see, if he’s a spy, he’s got one bag for his computer, one for his emergency clothes and ultra high tech gadgets, which of course break down into smaller components and probably masquerade as parts of children’s toys for his non-existent kids
  • Aware, curious and alert – most people I walked past were laser focused, had tunnel vision and were not paying any attention to the other people walking by. This guy, like any good spy, was on high alert and aware of his surroundings. Just because it’s a secure airport doesn’t mean there is zero chance he’ll have to go all Jackie Chan on somebody.
  • Hardened, unforgiving and perhaps sardonic expression – this comes from seeing too much of the world, knowing the breadth and depth of humanity. Since any decent spy in those shows will have experience, it’s hard in an unguarded moment to truly wipe the cynicism or hyper-alert state from your face.
  • No glasses – ever see one of the good or bad guys get into a serious brawl with glasses on? I don’t care if they are plastic lenses, the odds are tremendous that your face would take damage, not to mention that once lost, you’d be at a serious disadvantage.
  • Posture is straight and carries himself unlike a computer toting office worker – ever notice how almost every guy you meet over 35 who works in an office has a perma-hunch? It’s not all of them, just most.

Of course, people that know me really well know that I have some seriously crazy stories about my own life. My goal is my next book, like my vampire one, is actually crazier than my life. I think the ingredients I have together so far will ensure that’s the case.

The reason I’m writing this here is because for some reason, my blog blew up yesterday. I know why but I’m not going to repeat it here. It’s flattering to get attention and I appreciate it. In case the people who aren’t my target audience, like the other day, are still reading, here’s what I’m up to…starting some consulting work, interviewing for some awesome job opportunities and as of this week, writing again.

I took a few months off of writing, even though I had the same ideas as I do now but after chatting with my kids and hanging out with them I remembered something. In encouraging them to follow their dreams, I can’t neglect my own. I have business goals and my writing is both a hobby and a possible, future state where I become a bestselling author. In the airport, under, “English books,” I saw many authors I recognize and have read. Rothfuss, Riordan Martin and others that I have heard of including Brown, Patterson and more.

While the first goal of my writing is to start selling a story that connects with people, that changes lives…the second goal I’ve decided is I want to become, “Airport famous.” Alongside brands including Rolodex, Ferragamo, Gucci and others, I think for any writer, that would be a clear signal of seriously massive sales.

Do you have a dream? If so, you should pursue it. Do you want to know what my dream is? I want to tell stories that improve people’s lives.

Right idea, right time, right follow through – those are the keys

A year before Adsense, Ericson and I invented it – was called, “AdRevenue.” When Adsense launched, same product, we knew that the second teir JavaScript delivered CPC ads were not going to be able to compete. Right idea, right time, wrong follow through. This was the kind of idea that had Goto, Overture, Yahoo Search Marketing (the final brand for their PPC) had implemented before the Google launch, history would be different.

The smarter thing to do in 2003 would have been to pitch Yahoo on this as backfill for their display ads. Now, they’ve signed up with Google to run Adsense on their properties. Ironic, eh? Some ideas are so big you have to have big follow through in an equally big way. Raise money, build out a board of directors with the kind of deep relationships and connections that are mandatory to get the right eyeballs on the strategic implications of what you’re doing.

How do you determine at what scale the idea operates at?

Prioritization is the only way to go. Niche ad networks have been working well before and after Adsense, in many flavors. Several of these are lifestyle businesses that provide a small advertising sales team a healthy income and publishers a healthy paycheck as well. With some of the ideas I have worked on, the scale was so out of whack with our ability to execute, we’d have been infinitely better off without the pie in the sky part. Focus, prioritize on smaller markets, then move up-stream. Classic disruption strategy at work in this sense which has played out in many industries, online and off.

Steve Johnston of the History of Innovation had this idea of the adjacent possible with inventions. One invention enables others, because that new innovation becomes one part of the foundation for others. It’s easy to see the parallel in this concept and, “API Culture,” in Silicon Valley.