Saturday, March 5, 2016

Beginning my PhD, New Projects and More!

It has been a long time in the making, over twenty-five years of research regarding the Celtic-speaking peoples and their lost and fragmented beliefs, or what many consider today 'Druidism', but I have been dedicated in my pursuit since 1991. All of my game designing and Celtic related novels, even film scripts are connected to its basic ideas in some way, and I have been piecing together the vast remains of that era. Just as Tesla could understand the Earth's Magnetics and Electricity, and Einstein Gravity and Relativity, and each made it their own life's work, Stephen Hawking's work with Black Holes, I have really dedicated my own life secretly behind the scenes to unraveling the 'World of the Druids', and their philosophies. Their cryptic designs and fragmented concepts and lore make clear sense to me in the same way that Tesla, Einstein and Hawking (et al.) could understand their various fields.

I wanted to know who and what they were really were. Not what people told me they were. Not the Romans, Greeks, and especially not the wacko New-Age/Neo-Pagan Gurus today who are absolutely a universe away from that world. To better comprehend it all, logically, I had to learn the languages, past and present, and the prevailing theories of Celticity and Prehistoric European religion(s), and philosophies. The matter grew complicated many times over in the decades.

No one has yet figured the ancient beliefs of the Celtic peoples, or the teachings of the Druids, or the extent of where they went in Celtic Europe. All books about the Druids repeat the same information and only give some different angles in places, but generally share the same data without daring to explore anything deeper. This had always puzzled me. The top minds of Celtic Studies would write the same information time and time again essentially, if that, or take a harsher view towards the Druids and view them as barbaric knife-wielding priests bent on murdering innocents with a primitive religion (as Christian and Roman sources tell us). I do not see it this way, as the evidence betrays a very profound and deep philosophical system. 

During my first two degrees I expanded my understanding of the material and Celtic Studies likewise grew into new and profound theories and views regarding who the Celts were and are today. This increased and advanced my own work, even simplified it. Using Einstein's own words, 'If you cannot explain it to a child, then you do not understand it yourself.' Now, after these many years I have it broken down to what could be a new startling and groundbreaking perspective on Druidism, Metempsychosis, which goes hand-in-hand with Celticism in Europe. I am about to start on my PhD in Celtic Studies from the University of Exeter (Studhyansow Geltyon dhyworth an Benskol Keresk) and finally put all of this data, decades' worth, into the thesis. I now hope my dissertation will prove this in a few years....

There is so much that I can expand it into nearly two more studies, lengthy, and will, extrapolating with early Pythaogorean Hellenic sources and other related materials, it will be unlike anything anyone has ever written on the Druids. I see it as a pivot-point in our already changing view on early man's religion from the Late Bronze Age/Early Iron-Age in Britain and Western Europe.

In essence, my interest in the Celtic Otherworld and Faery-folk goes back to the early 80's, and searching for that hidden spark of 'magic' in music and life. So this has been my life's pursuit from the earliest days. It is the core of who I am in the end and the basis of everything I have really ever done and sought, now culminating in my Doctoral work at last. The only difference is that, when I was younger, growing up in a very disjointed, culturally illiterate society in Oklahoma that was ignorant about the 'Celts', I didn't know who they were until the mid-80's. This was thanks to the BBC series, the famous six episode set of shows, and that fact that I was told of my own Irish, Scottish and Welsh ancestry and put the pieces of the puzzle together.

Related projects, are several books dealing with the faery-folk of which I am teaming up with well-known authors Dr. Alan Kent and Kevan Manwarring on one of my books. These faery themed books are a new direction in my own writing and are related to my PhD research, as everyone will later find out.

On the Troll Lord Games front: the Codex Germania is completed, and now the Codex Slavorum is next in line with editing and art, leaving the large and monumental Codex Classicum. Following in the wake of those books will be the supplemental adventures. Smaller but wondrously fun books to immerse yourself into the Germanic and Slavic worlds of gaming.

Separately, the blog of another fellow author, and the head of my English Department in which I teach at, Steven Wedel, has gained a global and viral attention lately. If you haven't kept up with our state's problems, education is being reduced down to its barest level of funding by an uncaring government. They have stripped away our funds, and continue to do so without comment coldly. It is the usual case of thoughtless politicians, never the educated or ones experienced as educators, dictating how education should be managed. I come from a town where a similar dilemma was already underway by an uncaring ego-driven, over zealous, local government hell-bent on ridding the town of its legacy, arts and eventually culture (from what little it possessed to begin with). Now, added to the state-wide nightmare caused by the Governor and her cronies, Oklahoma is really set on destroying teachers and ensuring that children will never be fed, given decent funds for their proper education and emerge as broad (and open) minded individuals, ready to break this pattern of self-inflicted ignorance. 

Ironically, I sit and write at the crux of anti-intellectualism in our country in Oklahoma, and it hurts every minute. The majority find their 'facts' in the media and by Social Media in general, or by their Religious 'Leaders', and disdain academics. They waste time and money battling over placing the Ten Commandments at the State Capital instead of focusing on making our students acquire a better education, THAT is their priority. Ignorance is plenty and it speaks heavy. Phone zombies, as I call them, are everywhere, and yet, having access to the Internet and all of the history, science and information of Mankind, they choose to linger on gossip and other petty nonsense. It is beyond Oklahoma I know, but here it is endemic. Being normally a history teacher since 2002, I remember that other times in history, scholars and teachers that were distrusted and campaigned against by the government: examples of this occurred by groups such as the Nazis, Qin Shi Huang, Stalin and many others who suppressed the spread of knowledge because it might harm their seat of power. When teachers and scholars are shunned by those in power and then the populace, as this State, and country, have done, then we are in dreadful times.

When Creationism and Religious Dogma is mandated as law over scientific and logical education and thinking, then things have begun their downward spiral into oblivion. I do not consider personally a scientist valid, or his or her, methodologies or words so, if they are a Theist and openly profess to a belief system. That would be contrary to the rational approach of Scientific Thinking and at odds. One cannot believe in some invisible Space Daddy on one end, in which you cannot prove through these same methodologies, and then be expected to act the part of scientist as well (especially when lives might be on the line due to your intervention).

This is not meant to give an answer or rant, just a quick observation of the problem. By this August, I have been teaching for fifteen years, in both Higher and Public Education, and the subjects I can teach cover the breadth of over a dozen or so at the moment. After my PhD is finished, this will grow to larger depths and range of over twenty topics I am qualified to teach - if not more. What is sad, is that my home state and home-town, frown upon intellectualism and being unique more than ever. The 'Buddy System' has thrived here forever and poisoned every aspect of life and now completely strangled it until nothing is left. Aside from these religious-minded politicians physicially closing our schools personally, or stepping into our classrooms and censoring what we teach, and they are getting close to that...we do not have much left. The students do not fully realize the danger they are in. My seniors do, and are savvy to the threat, but are powerless to stop it. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Kickstarter of Epic Proportions Has Begun!


Between these three books, you will have over 8 to 9 new character classes deriving from these cultures and myths to include in your games and over four hundred (or more) mythical monsters and beings, not including five hundred or more deities, titans and demi-gods. There is so much in these three books it is difficult to even easily define so quickly, and I wrote them!

Having these three will also complete the European Codex set with the 'Codex Celtarum' and 'Codex Nordica', which will be a total of five hardback volumes to use at the table. Once the Kickstarter link is up I will provide it here and all of the information during the month long progress. It will be an exciting time!

The 'Codex Germania' obviously focuses on the Continental Germanic peoples, their histories, myths, monsters and more in one book, and works as a companion to the 'Codex Nordica' since those peoples are culturally akin to each other. There is even a small starter adventure in the back that links this book with the 'Codex Celtarum' and the beginning of the Anglo-Saxon settlement into Celtic, Post-Roman Britain. New character classes include: Rune Master, Dragonslayer, and Haliruna or 'Witch'.

The 'Codex Slavorum' details the Old Slavs as they swept out of the Steppes north of the Black Sea following the end of the Roman Empire in 475 C.E and flooded Eastern Europe and the Byzantine Empire. There are very unique character classes here including the Shaman, Witch/Vampire-Hunter and more. Quite possibly the largest list of mythological beings as well are given in this book. If you ever wanted to play a 'Bogatyr' from Russian legend, it is now possible!

And finally, the 'Codex Classicum' is about Ancient Greek civilization, both Hellenic, Hellenistic, and even including other Mediterranean cultures nearby that were influenced or influencing them: Etruscan and Roman. One of the new character classes is the eerie but real 'Necromancer' of old, that wandered graveyards and battlefields for the dead, and the Gladiator class in its many varieties, and the Explorer/Adventurer, in the style of the first such as Pythias, who traveled from Magna Grecia to the British Isles and even possibly beyond, or Alexander the Great, who conquered the greatest Empire the world had ever seen! These are not the fantasy classes you are used to! Classical myths and civilization are now possible in this book at last....

Around the corner I will be updating my award winning Codex Celtarum and giving it the original vision I intended after two decades of playtesting and design as well. This means completely fleshing out the sections on the Celtic peoples to include the Gauls, Celtiberians, and Galatians, and their histories, myths and adding LOTS of expanded content including Reincarnation and more Faery-folk. If you thought the book was something before...just wait until you see it again! 

Monday, June 15, 2015

New Publications, Chaosium and More! (It has been a while on here)

Since the publication of my 'The Axis of Shadows' by Damnation Books last February, it appeared online, or at least on here that I went silent in the writing department. That wasn't true fortunately. Due to my teaching High School Freshmen English, which was a very involved job day to day, my writing did slow. Novel three in my Celtic series had abruptly stopped last August in 2014, leaving me hanging with only 20,000 words left! I do plan on finishing that wondrous adventure tale, filled with intrigue and Prince Rhun's first introduction to the Otherworld physically in the saga, and it isn't pleasant. 'A Perilous Pursuit' is my Troll Lord Games module 'A Crimson Pact' brought to life, and trust me, it has been! There is also wild passionate romance within its pages.

On that note, the first two books in the series, 'The Sullen Queen', and 'Within a Dark Mountain' will be re-published soon by Chenault & Grey Publishing officially. New covers and meticulous editing will help bring this Celtic series alive for readers. Once the third book I mentioned above is done, it will be added. The tale of Prince Rhun and his father's own powerful rise to power, King Maelgwn of Gwynedd, in 6th Century Britain, will be unlike any set of books before it. Last year I self-published the first on my own. 'The Sullen Queen' had limited success and it was tough, but I didn't like the uphill struggle that it involved. I wanted the comfort of having access to artists and editors. I edited the novel ten times, paid a moody and random artist to do the art (of which I could have done myself, as I was a professional Celtic artist in the 90's of some renown). I made my money back roughly but it wasn't what I wanted to do, not at the pace that I write. My ambitions are higher and my production skill is greater, so I need the backing of funds and people to support me.

So the opportunity arose and I took it! Self-publishing works for some, but unless you have a million dollar seller, you never make your money back in the end and you are always in the low-end struggling to get noticed, handling advertising and getting paid. It is too much work added to the work of writing already.

Next month my long awaited 'Codex Germania' begins its Kickstarter! Finally! Yes, it is true. You can recreate anything from the ancient Germanic sagas and tales, whether it is Anglo-Saxon, Frankish, Gothic, or name it, you can do so in this newest Mythic tome of gaming goodness. I even added a small starter adventure in the battle that takes place in Celtic Britain as the Saxons are trying to establish a foothold after the Roman Empire left. This sort of bridges the gap between the 'Codex Celtarum' and the 'Codex Germania' books now. This book is also a companion to the 'Codex Nordica' as the cultures are shared and alike, both linguistically, mythically and otherwise, so expect many commonalities.

In addition to this, it appears that later in the Fall my 'Codex Slavorum' will be next in line! That is right. The Slavic Codex, so you get a double shot of Codices so close to each other in this short time and that is amazing. That isn't all. In all of this, it is planned to get the next one (I am assuming), the 'Codex Classicum' for the Winter/Spring. This is the next volume I need to write obviously before that time comes, and includes Greek mythology (with the Roman and Etruscan). So by Spring of 2016, you will have FIVE Codices on your gaming shelf! That will be the entire European set in one swoop amazingly. Then I will plan to write the Asian set, which will be two books. One for the Japanese islands, and the surrounding isles, and another for the mainland. Added to this, I will also write a 2nd Edition for the 'Codex Celtarum' in the manner I intended originally, adding the material that I never included and much more. So it will be a mega time for Mythic Codices and gaming to come!

Now...onto Chaosium. It had long been a goal of mine someday to write and design for them. I had started gaming around the time I discovered both 'Call of Cthulhu' and H.P. Lovecraft in 1984-5. Now, that goal has come true this summer. If you know the recent news, Sandy Peterson and Greg Stafford are back to save the company from peril. I submitted a campaign book idea just barely a month before they returned. By August I will be working on it. It will be a sort of....'Codex Celtarum' meets the Lovecraftian Mythos adventure campaign book. Imagine the classic campaign books 'Shadows of Yog-Shoggoth', 'Masks of Nyarlethotep', etc but with a Celtic theme throughout Celtic Europe and time. It will be compatible with their 'Dark Ages', 'Cthulhu by Gas-Light', 'Green and Pleasant Land' and 'Cthulhu Invictus' books as the Celts occupied nearly all of Europe throughout the last 4,000 years. I have one adventure written already and it takes place in 1920's Ireland. This will be odd and mindblowing tentative name for it is 'Savage Hyperborea: Mythos Terror in Celtic Europe'.

Also, my old scriptwriting venture is brought back to life too, with new Hollywood connections and more. One of these scripts dates back to 1999, and if ever taken by a producer and studio, it would be my 'Codex Celtarum' and the modules/novels associated brought to life on the screen. Major things are happening. So the silence on here is NOT indicative of the reality of the fervent energy going on behind the scenes.


Saturday, January 31, 2015

'The Axis of Shadows' is about to Become the Next Release on Feb. 1st!

Click Book Cover for Link to Damnation Books for Novel!

I wrote this third book in my 'Silent War' Steampunk Horror series many years ago, when my skill at learning how to write a novel (with skill) was still new. My ambition, as it still is, was burning and energetic, but my skill at word-craft was much less than my overall years of experience of story-telling deriving from decades of Gamemastering. That gaming experience is now going on thirty-years. These novels ALL derive from my campaigns actually and a setting that I conceived that was my gritty anti-Steampunk world. While the others were just about to ride on the emerging trend that has since fallen a little, everything in those settings was pretty, oh so Victorian and filled full of fancy. I wanted mine to be dark, gruesome and filled with a Post-18th Century Early Modernistic malaise mixed with Gothic horror and high action, told in First Person. A bit ambitious for a series from an inexperienced novelist but I DID secure a book deal with a Small Press with it all. Not bad. I am planning on writing a campaign world book to accompany these novels, and likely for Troll Lord Games logically, to supplement Jason Vey's Steampunk system soon. 

                                 Click Book Cover for Link to Damnation Books for Novel!

Each book is a chapter sort of in the life of my main character as he finds his way in this secret society of Vampire Hunters, the Shadow Society of Vampire Hunters, across the world in the 19th Century and uncovers a terrible parasitic bond between the vampires and Mankind. Since the Dawn of Man's civilization, and really because of it, the Upiri, or Vampires have been feeding and trying to herd us into their livestock one way or another but we have managed to fight them off due to the secret society's efforts. In these centuries of Silent Warring a little of the Vampires' advanced Atlantian technology leaks out to the world and its civilizations giving us our next marvels and progress along the way. Some of our greatest 'discoveries' were due to these accidental hidden staches of ancient technologies found by Mundane Man instead of being confiscated by Shadow. 

Click Book Cover for Link to Damnation Books for Novel!

It is a long story, and an ancient one. Book four, 'Atlantica' will reveal the Vampires' ultimate goal after their true origins are revealed in this third book 'The Axis of Shadows'. Once this terrible plot of uncovered it is a race against time as they set into motion something that Mankind has been too slow to discover. The war against them then is at its ultimate apex as the Upiri will play their age old plot, one that Mankind is too short visioned to perceive. These Upiri are not just shambling corpses of our own dead bent on feeding and destroying us, they have a larger plan. Mankind must devise a plan to stop them that is even smarter and unexpected, that will catch them and their bizarre intelligence off-guard. If these first four books work out to be a success, then I DO have envisioned from eight to twelve more planned in the series that will span history all the way to World War 2. 


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Prince Rhun ap Maelgwn Gwynedd Returns! But...where did he ever really go you ask?

2015 is turning out to be what might be a superb year and it has barely even begun yet! As the first few weeks began several great things have unfolded, opportunities and long-awaited hopes crystallizing at last!

What I am rambling about is this...even though my still fresh and new Celtic adventure series 'The Island of the Mighty' had only released the first novel 'The Sullen Queen' last summer, I had many delays in getting you the second, 'Within a Dark Mountain', and completing the third 'A Perilous Pursuit' last fall regretfully, but a recent promising turn of events has now appeared! 

This opportunity was always there but I didn't seize it, and now I am fully. What I mean to say is, soon, the series will indeed be re-released, re-edited, with a new look, meaning a brilliant new cover, possibly even interior art, and more! Just to remind my fans of Troll Lord Games these novels are the Celtic adventure modules I have written, in order, put to prose, one by one. There will be a novel for each module, as the adventures of Prince Rhun ap Maelgwn of Gwynedd and his companion (as you will discover in book #2) Llewella, make their way through Post-Roman Britain, Ireland and the Otherworld one tale at a time. Ideally, there will be, as I have posted many times before here, up to thirteen tales in this series, written in a style inspired by Tolkien and Lloyd Alexander.

- 'The Sullen Queen' is my bonus adventure module for the Codex Celtarum 'A Sylvan Gambit'.
- ''Within a Dark Mountain' is 'Goblins of Mount Shadow'
- 'A Perilous Pursuit' is 'The Crimson Pact'

See...I DO have a masterplan with my many projects....

Daroganau Fyrddin - Merlin's Prophecies

"And at a certain time, as the narrative shows, it happened that Gwenddydd saw certain rare dreams on various nights. All these she carefully retained in her memory until she should find a place and time to relate them to Myrddin her brother. Against that time Gwenddydd prepared bread and butter on a herb cake of wheaten bread with various drinks in various vessels, every drink in its grade as its nature demanded, as wine in silver, and mead in a horn, and the beer in sycamore, and the milk in a white jug, and the water in an earthen jug. All these she placed in order besides the bread and butter inside the harbour to which Myrddin was wont to come, when he was in his senses, to take his nourishment."

-Ystoria Myrddin Wyllt

The time may soon come to pass that my Master's research or thesis on Geoffrey of Monmouth's dubious 12th century 'Prophetiae Merlini' (or 'Prophecies of Merlin'), thrown into his rather famous 'Historia Regum Brittaniae' ('History of the Kings of (the) Britain(s) will be published after all! I know this was a wordy paragraph...slightly, but I think I may already have a publisher, a Welsh one at that, and rightfully so!

In the next week I will prepare the required proposal and what they need then wait for their word. Once I know for sure I will announce the publisher and give links and fanfare. This is my first serious non-fiction, academic publication, with hopes of many future ones to follow. I have many...

If I enter into the Celtic Studies Doctoral program as well in the next month then I will be aggressively producing more scholarly work for print and publication in time. With the new theories and thinking emerging in my field, it opens up amazing new possibilities not had before, and I hope that I am the only one to find them!

Aside from my half dozen Arthurian Celtic adventure modules, Codex Celtarum, and my 40+ times teaching the subject in nearly a decade at college level, this is next opportunity I get to put my Masters in Arthurian Studies from the University of Wales Lampeter (Prifysgol Cymru Llanbedr-Pont-Steffan) to good use!

Rex quondam, Rexque futurus!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Just in Time for the Trinox Samonios or the 'Three Nights of Halloween' Comes my Celtic Halloween Adventure Module! The PDF is for only $0.99!

Click on Cover for Link to Troll Lords Shop to Purchase! 

At the end of each year comes the month and holiday of Samonios, Samhain or Nos Galan Gaeaf, or Halloween. This is the time when the worlds are drawn together and monsters, gods and the spirits of ancestors wander between them. It is a dangerous and dark time in which the most holy and sacred of ideas mean more than they ever have before in the previous year. It is a time for the Dead and to honor them.

Events in the last year were steeped in bloody battles, the death of kings and encroaching evil from the Otherworld. The seers and madmen foretell that the omens are in place to bring a wrathful invasion from the Land of Magic. Most nobles and lords scoff at these superstitious words and ridicule them, but the common-folk know that there is truth in those portents and omens.

Families stay close, hold their festivities in honor of their ancestors and the gods, but stay wary of the dangers that might find their way into their darkened homes and lives. But for the young or unwary . . . .

Little Addolgar ap Maelon Gof has wandered into the thick foliage of the Coed Celyddon, lured by the many colored playful lights that he saw dancing and laughing. Now the young dark haired child of ten winters is deep in the mist-shrouded forest soaked in Otherworld energies. A storm is brewing in the dark woods, stirring the trees and causing the limbs and boughs to crack and knock against each other. Owls hoot in their haunting voice and somewhere distant, wolves howl. Addolgar climbs over fallen trees and makes his way in bramble patches trying to get closer to the mysterious lights in the boughs of the trees.

Night of Spirits plunges you into the heart of Nos Galan Gaeaf, bringing your characters face to face with the Otherworld and the true horrors of the holiday! 

Night of Spirits is an adventure for 3-5 characters of around 4th-6th level.