Tag Archives: Final Fantasy XII

Final Fantasy XV and Unremembered Things

225px-Ff12castI’m just going to come out and say it–I play console-based RPG video games, and I love it. I am still playing Final Fantasy XII, and finding new things to love about it.

I’m not a huge fan of first-person-shooter games, because I prefer swords and magic,  although I do like a good story-line with well-developed characters. That’s why I am a true Final Fantasy Fanatic–the stories are intricate and compelling, and the characters are multifaceted and strike a chord in the player’s psyche.

So I am quite intrigued by the upcoming release of Final Fantasy XV. Off the top, it looks a bit reminiscent of Final Fantasy VIII in that there are many elements of the first-person shooter in it, and the characters appear to be more real-world.

One of the things that interests me about this upcoming game is the dynamic weather system, with transient effects such as rain affecting things such as the characters’ clothing. In Final Fantasy XII, the  changing weather is an integral part of the game, and the type of creatures encountered changes when the weather does.

FF_XV_screenshotAnother element that intrigues me is Time: a day-and-night time system will affect the appearance of monsters on the world map. One in-game day equates to one hour real-time, and characters who do not sleep have decreased combat ability. Just like in the watershed RPG Final Fantasy VI, camping during the night is necessary for characters to maintain combat performance and level up. The cool thing here is that experience points earned in battle during the day are converted into new levels during camping periods. Camps form a safe haven during exploration, and cooking in them using ingredients from both towns and the wilds grants character bonuses. I expect that no time will be wasted by actually cooking, but I like the notion that the characters must adhere to real-world constraints, or become sickly.

The gamers’ website, VG24-7 released some screen-shots of the action on their  Monday, Jan . 26, 2015 blogpost , and I like the look of this thing. It will be released for PlayStation 4, which I currently do not own, and it may push me to get one.

5squallAs you can imagine, I normally go more for sword and sorcery games, but I adored Final Fantasy VIII, in which the main character, Squall Leonhart, used a gun-sword, and the characters were set in a more real-world type of society. You have to admit, that is an awesome concept for a weapon. Even I would never have thought that one up!

>>>—<<<

Since we are talking about new releases, and my other passion is books, Rachel Tsoumbakos has a new book that will be coming out soon, and it looks as awesome as her previous books. It’s called Unremembered Things, and I must admit that title has me quite intrigued. For an excerpt and a chance to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway of some pretty awesome prizes, check out  Carlie M.A. Cullen‘s blog today! But wow! What a cover:

unremembered_things_cover_for_kindle

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Filed under Adventure, Battles, Books, Fantasy, Games, Humor, Literature, Publishing, Self Publishing, writer, writing

Finding demographics is not finding Nemo

My New Year’s resolution this year is to identify who I am writing for, and tailor my marketing strategy to that segment of the population.

I should have picked something simple, like losing weight, or bringing about world peace.

I would be lying if I said I write for one particular type of person–although Huw the Bard falls into the not-for-children category. I like to think my books can be enjoyed by both men and women.

Who are youIt’s just that I write whatever I’m in the mood to read, and I read everything, Fantasy first, sci-fi second, then mystery, historical, paranormal, books of political intrigue, books filled with naughty vampires. Romance, YA, hard sci-fi, epic fantasy–I read it all. This makes it difficult to categorize myself .

Looking in the mirror doesn’t help.

At IHop, I am a 55+, getting discounts and a special old people’s menu. I am a senior, according to AARP, and am entitled certain discounts when I produce that all-important AARP card.

These things tell me I am an older person, as does the mirror.

However, these visible signs don’t show the woman with mad kick-ball-skills, who plays Lego Star Wars until the grandchild says she’s had enough games for one day, and he’d like to play outside now. They don’t shed any light on me. the person who will read and reread a book until it is nothing but shreds–if I fell in love with it. The gray hair, the slightly less-than-svelte physique–these clues don’t offer a hint about my obsession with Final Fantasy XII.

And that is the problem.

I write for me, and I don’t know who I am.

The Creative Penn offers 5 tips to assist me in this process:

1. First we must isolate what types and/or groups of people the content of the book would interest.

Well-that is just the problem, isn’t it…but they do give an idea on how to approach that:

 "Diego Delso, Wikimedia Commons, License CC-BY-SA 3.0

“Diego Delso, Wikimedia Commons, License CC-BY-SA 3.0

“Example: If your book is about an archaeologist who uses Stone Henge to travel into the future, your book would probably interest history buffs as well as fans of speculative fiction/sci-fi.  If that hero happens to be a former Marine, your book might also interest military personnel and/or the families.” (It’s a direct quote, so I am ignoring the terrible itch to edit out the misspelling of Stonehenge.)

Okay–I think I can do this. My book details the adventures of a bard who is forced to  flee his comfortable existence and who finds himself running from one disaster to another with death-defying regularity.

2. Second, we must: identify other books that are comparable to your book and look at the profiles of those books’ main buyers/readers.

They also explain that concept a little further “The target audience isn’t always who the book was written for, but rather, who it ends up appealing to.  Twilight draws in tween and teenage girls with its premise involving a normal, everyday girl falling into a romance with an young, attractive male (the bread and butter of many young girls’ dreams), but it’s appeal stretched to the cross-section of middle-age female readers who love romance and enjoyed Anne Rice in her heyday.”  

Alrighty then–I was heavily drawn, as a reader, to David Eddings, Anne McCaffrey, Tad Williams, J.R.R. Tolkien, P.D. James, Carl Sagan, Agatha Christie, Piers Anthony, and Fritz Lieber–so I suppose my books reflects a certain amount of their (rather jumbled) influence.

Oh, and don’t forget Roger Zelazney. And Mercedes Lackey.

Well that has narrowed it down quite a bit! (Sarcasm–I know, it’s a nasty habit.) I could have included Tolstoy, James Joyce, Horace Walpole, and Louisa May Alcott, but I didn’t have time.

330px-Pin-artsy3. You are next encouraged to pinpoint what is special about your book.

Again, the Creative Penn offers us some insights on how to go about this: “If you tell someone you’re writing a book about a witch who uses her power of communing with animals to rescue a lost dog from an evil dog-napper, then A. Wow, you have an interesting imagination!  B. You may or may not have taken in 101 Dalmatians too much as a child and C. With such a premise, chances are, your story is more light-hearted than scary, so your target readers to which the mystery aspect of your story will entice are more cozy-type mystery consumers.” So what are the few key words, the hook I can use to sell Huw the Bard? How do I boil the plot down to a few key words? This could take a while, but I’m sure I can do it.

Honest.

4. Now we need to determine some demographics.

That’s the problem–I am the demographic, and I don’t know who I am. Mature Audiences, definitely. There is some graphic sex, although it doesn’t devolve into a porn-fest, There is violence, a witnessed rape, and murder. These are all there because they are watershed moments in Huw’s life, things that change his view of the world. There are also a haunted village and a bisexual knight who talks to his horse, so there is humor midst the misery.

chekhov's gun5. Finally, the Creative Penn suggests we feed the previous four tips into each other to gain even more insight and narrow down who our target audience/s is/are.

Just give me Chekhov’s gunnow. I need to shoot something.

Several times.

Seriously–the article I’ve drawn these suggestions from is a good article, and it goes on to discuss how to use your target audience, which I did find somewhat illuminating.

At this point, if I can get even ONE concrete idea that works, I am feeling good about it. After all, it’s January! I’ve got a whole year to get this down, before I have to admit that this New Year’s resolution has gone the way of my weight-loss dreams and visions of world peace.

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Filed under Adventure, Battles, Books, Fantasy, Humor, Literature, Publishing, Self Publishing, Uncategorized, writer, writing

The Eye of the Beholder

finalfantasy12_ps2box_usa_org_000boxart_160wSigh. I read a lot of indie books. I’ve said this before, but I read or at least crack open around 6 books a week. It never fails–just when I am really enjoying reading a book, something comes along to yank me out of it. Like an asteroid landing in the backyard or squirrels taunting the dog–it’s always some darned thing.

Unfortunate phrasings that yank me out of a book:

“She lay there staring with her creamy blue eyes, water pooling in the corners.”

“Her eyes were the same color as the deep purple velvet drapes.”

VAYNE final-fantasy-xii_305674Meh.  Enough about their eyes already. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be told what to think when I am reading a book. The fact is, what I consider beauty is not necessarily beautiful to someone else.   So how do you describe a character in such a way that the reader will find them as attractive as you want them to be?

I think a loose, general description will solve the problem, and give the reader the framework to build their mental image around.  In my TOWER OF BONES series, the men in Edwin’s family have this sort of cachet that makes them irresistible to all women. It is the Goddess Aeos’s way of ensuring that the girl she has selected for them  falls in love with them, and their bloodline is continued.

final-fantasy-guys-xii-basch_255851But what do they look like?  Well, they are blond, blue-eyed, and  well-built, muscular from working on their farm. To men they seem rather average, nothing spectacular. They aren’t the best looking man in town, so what is this charisma they seem to have?

To women, they are an irresistible banquet of masculine  pheromones.  This creates many opportunities for mayhem, and I have had a lot of fun with that  particular plot-line, especially in my current work in progress,  Mountains of the Moon.

For my other characters in various books–Christoph Berryman is dark, with short black hair and elfin features. Julian Lackland is blond, handsome, the image of the knight in shining armor. Huw the Bard is dark, blue-eyed with black curling hair. Friedr Freysson is tall, with long curling red hair and a beard. Aeolyn is small, with dark hair worn in plaits that she coils around her head like a crown.

Final-Fantasy-XII-Balthier-final-fantasy-12-3118596-540-1200This is as descriptive as I get, because I want the reader to imagine the characters’ beauty and magnetism in the way that is most appealing to them.

Because I am a romantic at heart, ALL my characters are exceedingly good-looking in their own different ways. I just don’t want to beat the reader over the head with my personal vision, other than the general description to cement them in place.

In many ways, my mental images of my characters are drawn from the many wonderful characters in the epic Final Fantasy series of games, which these images are also from. I love the fabulous art work that Square-Enix, the makers of these games put into their characters, making them a blend of the best of all we are as humans.  Since a great deal of my time has been spent playing these games, It stands to reason a certain amount of that kind of storytelling will creep into my work.

And this is the way it is for every author–your vision is definitely not what your readers see, and to force them to see what you do ruins the flow of the tale. A good general description, with hints or comments about their beauty or lack thereof is all that is needed. The reader’s mind will supply the rest.

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Filed under Books, Fantasy, Final Fantasy, Humor, Literature, Publishing, Romance, Uncategorized, writer, writing

Telling the Tale

tales from teh dreamtime - proofsI am so excited–Tales from the Dreamtime has made it into print, and is halfway through the process for being made into an Audible Book through Amazon’s ACX services.  We should have a finished product before the end of February. The narrator is a wonderful reader, Craig Allen, and the way he reads my work is perfect–he instinctively understood what I was thinking when I wrote it.

There is a sense of having “made the grade” in hearing your work read as an Audible book, and a feeling of wonder. Did I really write that? Wow! It’s actually kind of good! 

James_Jefferys_-_Self-Portrait_-_Google_Art_Project Public DomainI’m quite pleased with how well the novella translates to being read aloud. My reader has had very few questions, and that is entirely due to it’s having been professionally edited. Irene Roth Luvaul was the editor on that book, and she is awesome, as are all the gals at Eagle Eye Editors. I actually have three manuscripts in editing with them right now–Tower of Bones is finally getting the Eagle Eye Treatment, which it should have had in the beginning. This is how you learn.

The original editing on Tower of Bones was a labor of love by my friends. It is a great example of a typical indie production, and while it’s not unreadable in its current state, it has too many words. The story has potential for greatness, and Maria Johnson at Eagle Eye is bringing that out. I have developed a leaner style of writing since that book was written, and Maria is cutting the fluff.

Also at Eagle Eye, Huw the Bard has been under the knife–the fabulous Carlie Cullen, who edited Forbidden Road is putting the polish on Huw. With this kind of continuity, I will be able to develop my author name into real brand, with as good a product as I can possibly offer.

Found on FaceBookWhen the good ladies at Eagle Eye are done with me, all my books will be as high quality as any published by a large publisher. This is what I have been working toward, getting my work as professional as is possible. Sometime being an indie means you were flung into the deep end of the pool, but eventually you do learn a few things.

My raw manuscripts are not really very literate.  Oh, I do the best I can, but like all authors I tend to use certain phrases too often, adore clichés, and of course, there are those pesky typos that require correction. Also, in the course of my writing frenzy I stick a comma in anywhere I pause, apparently. (snorfle.)

150px-250px-FFX-2_boxBUT the real story today–grandma is gonna kick back and play her game, all day, and no, I don’t need any fresh air , thank you. The most awesome thing ever–Square Enix  re-released Final Fantasy X, this time for the PS3, and it has been remastered. Not only that, they have created a sequel to it, Final Fantasy X-2, and released them together in a package that has been getting rave reviews.The direct sequel to Final Fantasy X, the game’s story follows the character Yuna from Final Fantasy X as she seeks to resolve political conflicts in the fictional world of Spira before it leads to war. This will be the next purchase from Amazon, since Grandma LOVES gaming as much as she loves reading.

But right now, Grandma is replaying Final Fantasy XII, so she has to go now. I will never stop playing this game–I love the characters so much. The story line is deep and rich, and the personalities of the characters are multidimensional.

Don’t touch that controller, that’s mine.

225px-Ff12cast

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Filed under Adventure, Battles, Books, Fantasy, Final Fantasy, Humor, Literature, Uncategorized, writer, writing