Thursday, January 30, 2014

2013 Life - Kevin James Breaux

I had to break up my end of the year post into writing life and gaming life.... but I forgot to add life life.
Here's the rest of 2013….

What a weird year. It was a good year and a bad year. I really wish I could label it one way or the other. There was just so much chaos combined with winning and losing. So strange…

I worked harder than I ever have, but it’s nearly impossible to show it. I edited two books three times. THREE TIMES!!! There were weeks that I worked six or seven days and ten hours a day(or more).

Editing. Editing. Editing….

I also wrote a MG book and edited that one a few times too.
Looking back, most of the year is now a blur. A blur of back pain, editing, heartbreak and having tons of fun re-watching ALIAS and Battlestar Galactica(new).  

You know, I have learned to embrace editing. It’s a pain, but a necessary one. I kinda like it now. But I would prefer to be writing. Or at least a better balance of writing and editing. :)

Oh…we can't forget this. Much of 2013, I was busy keeping the outside negative forces from coming in.

COBRA? The Decepticons? V.E.N.O.M? The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants? 

No. No. No. No.
You artists know what I mean by negative forces, all those detractors, stressors, takers, etc. Man, it can be tough fighting off all of those. You put up your wall and you say, STAY OUT! But those things have +5 claws of wall climbing. lol... cry...

So what else happened in 2013….life wise? Well…I took a IQ test early in the year. I’ve taken them before in the past few years, but I wanted a legit one. A for reals one. I waited for a testing day, went to a school, and took two tests.  Surprise! I scored big! I managed to score in the top 2% with a score of 132-134. Take that MENSA!

But Kevin, you got bad grades in school and college. Yeah, because I was bored and not properly motivated. I always had a feeling that if I could squeeze by with the least amount of work possible, and still pass, that was fine by me. Good grades never excited me. Not until my last two years of college which I pulled my GPA up into the 3.4-3.5 range and did have one perfect 4.0 semester.

I'll never forget when I was at BCCC and I took a trip to Princeton University. I came home that night and said to my dad, “Umm, you should've told me places like that existed when I was in middle school. I might have tried harder.” He laughed.

I had my tenth wedding anniversary in 2013…yay!!! But, I learned that most of my family does not care or think it's worth celebrating a 10th. (but wait until my one cousin hits her 10th, I know there will be a party then…gah!)

Other 2013 events include the death of my dog Amelia. Which hit hard. She was almost 13 and had been with my wife and I since we first moved in together. She had lived with us in all three of our houses and had been a good protector and a big pain in the ass. But we loved her. It happened so sudden. Middle of the night in mid August. I still miss her.

It was a tough year of migraines too. I decided to start tracking them on Jan.1 2013. I wanted to see if I could figure out the cause. I had 59 migraines in 2013. A few of them I managed to overcome,  but more than half of them knocked me out for a day. Lost days….oh how I hate lost days…

I started working out again this year, and started following a better diet. That has helped a lot. But has not changed the migraines. :(

I made two big purchases in 2013, and I have to thank my father for teaching me how to do so. All those years I paid such close attention to my father’s negotiation skills…I'm so glad I did.

All that being said…I feel, in many ways, I spent 2013 getting better…faster…stronger…more skilled at writing. I faced my trial by fire and now, in 2014, I am ready to reemerge. Reborn. POW! I might need theme music.  


Oh, like I said above, I re-watched ALIAS, StarBlazers and the 2004 Battlestar Galactica in 2013. Actually, I am about 4 eps from finishing BSG. Re-watching my favorite shows helps me shut my brain off and actually relax. Conversely, it also fires me up creatively.  I find it to be a great catharsis and I'm thankful I can spend some spare time doing so. I will do a post about BSG later. I really love that show. It is in my top 3.

Right now, I am weighting my options of what to watch again. I am thinking of doing Mutant-X and Pirates of Dark Water. But I would also like to watch Twin Peaks, Legend of the Seeker, LOST and Forever Knight again. Hmm….

Anyway, I have big plans for 2014 and I'm ready to go. Ready to get things moving and get things done! I'm all heart and soul, baby. Good karma out. Positive energy out.

Write Makes Might!
Kevin James Breaux

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

2013 a year in Video Games - Kevin James Breaux

I had to break up my end of the year, 2013 post, into writing life and gaming life. Here's the gaming side of my 2013.

This is the first time, in as long as I can remember, that a new system came out…and I am not lusting for it. I mean, I recall wanting a Sega Genesis from the moment I first read about it. I wanted that thing BAD. And I got one pretty soon after it was released. I think my parents bought it for me for X-Mas or my birthday and I bugged them for it until they gave it to me early. I probably used my best friend Andy as part of my reasoning for wanting/needing the gift early.

              “But, if you give it to me now, Andy and I can play it all weekend, and then Christmas Eve…”


Man, a bunch of years later, I hunted down a Sega CD system on its release day. Yep, I took a day off from College for that one. I remember getting it at Toys R Us near the Montgomery Mall. I was so proud of myself… literally no lines or nothing, I was thrilled to get it. Next day in class, I told my friend and he was surprised that THAT was the reason I skipped school. He also thought it was cool I did so. :)

I purchased a Sega Saturn during its first month out. Meh. I only played maybe 4-5 games on that system before trading it for a PSX.

Later, I pre-ordered my systems, and got them on release week. Like XBox and PS2. But my Dad did try and get me an XBox at Walmart on release day morning. He made a valiant effort. He saw the madness.

When the XBOX 360 was released, I went out at 2am in search of one. That was insanity and I will never do that again. I saw fights, mobs, angry parents, women with children in the dead of night-cold. But I did score one. AND…get this…I made it to work!!! (OK, I was like an hour late, but no one noticed.)

So you would think I would, at the very least, preorder a new Xbox One or PS4… NOPE.

I am waiting.

Is it because this lifetime(lifer) gamer has matured? Have I grown up in 2013???? Can’t be. I still have almost all my systems: Atari 2600, Nintendo (original and top loader), Genesis, Sega CD, Sega Nomad, 3D0 (yes, I bought that one), PSONE, XBOX, PS2, XBOX 360…. The only ones I did not keep were my Super NES, NEO GEO, and Sega Saturn. I am a serious gamer, yo! So why am I not excited about the new gen systems?

I did buy a Neo Geo X this year. Some people, even IGN, call it the best system to come out in 2013. Funny, right? I even bought a super cheap Xbox 360 bundle on Black Friday. $99!!! and it came with 4 games. It is the newest version of the Xbox 360. Smaller, better cooling, different input…etc. I bought one because the price was right and I wanted to upgrade my original release day Xbox.

Side note: I did have one XBOX 360 die on me. It was my second one, I used it in my media room, and it overheated and died. So now I always sit my systems on chill pads. Funny progression from the days I always used ULTIMA cloth maps to cover my systems and keep them dust free.

BUT yeah, still no new gen love in my heart. Maybe by the end of 2014… when the next Dragon Age game comes out. That will be some good motive for me. OR a new Star Wars Battlefront… oh…

So what did I play in 2013? I was still playing Skyrim. I must be 300+ hours in. I have played it off and on since it came out. I finished the main game and all its DLC. I just love going back and playing more and more. I still have quests. I can still find things to do. That’ the sign of a great game. I really love Skyrim. It may be my favorite game for 360.

In 2013, I also played Saint’s Row 4. And loved every second of it. I mean, I loved Saints Row the Third… but man 4 is even better. And the X-Mas DLC is priceless. It made my holidays to play and I played it literary over the 22nd-25th of Dec. I can see myself going back and playing that game a second time soon.

Of course, I played a metric butt ton of Halo 4 multiplayer with my Killtastic teammate BeerPope. We played nearly every weekend and still do.

Other games I played in 2013: Enslaved, Tomb Raider, Duck Tales Re-mastered and XCOM. I really loved the turn based strategy of XCOM. I would get caught up in missions until the late hours of the night… Good times.

What am I playing in 2014? I downloaded Fallout3 for a few bucks. I am really enjoying that. I will be playing Diablo 3 soon too.

I will probably return to Skyrim and Saints 4 at some point. But I am hoping to get some retro gaming in this year. Like I did in 2009-2011. I always want to return to NES and Genesis games. I was thinking about playing all the Streets of Rage games again soon. And Masters of Monsters.

Games I am looking forward too? Titanfall. Destiny. Dragon Age 3. I would love another turn based strategy game too. Something huge and epic, like Final Fantasy Tactics.

Write Makes Might!

Kevin James Breaux

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Kevin James Breaux Writing - 2013 Year

How do I sum up 2013?
Well, I guess I have to break it into 2 parts: Writing Life and Gaming Life.
Writing life first. 

Day off. Hop Farm. Nuff said.

It was a strange year for me as an author. Since 2009, when I decided to "go pro", I have done certain things each year. I guess you could call it my list of goals: write and sell several short stories, enter short stories in competitions (like the Bram Stoker Awards), write one or two books, and edit, edit, edit.
This year, while having the most financially successful year, I did not follow my normal pattern of goals. This year, well, from last September(2012) to this September(2013) I did only one thing really… I grew as an author.

I have always had good luck reaching out to agents, and in return them asking for partials and fulls. BUT in the last year or so, I have had even better luck. I have had several agents offer me advice and tutor me. Basically, I have submitted work to agents who were willing to give me some of their limited time to help advance my career. Three agents in particular offered me insight to what I was "doing wrong" in my novels. Oddly enough, my issues were not something readers would always pick up on. So while I was getting good reviews from readers... the industry professionals: agents and publishers, were spotting mistakes and rejecting my work. I was being held back by mistakes I was not even aware of until about 12-15 months ago.
It was like having cold water thrown into my face while I was sleeping—dreaming of good times. I was like… OH SHIT! NO! I NEED TO FIX EVERYTHING!!! And I did. Twice. Actually… Three times.

One agent in particular has really invested a lot of time with me this last year. She has worked to help improve me as an author and I honestly feel like a totally different person now. I really feel like I have learned a ton this year. And learning and growing is extremely important to me.
So in past years, where I was focused on writing and getting things published and out there, this year I worked to polish my two unpublished novels. I edited both novels twice. Start to finish. And then actually just completed a third full edit on the one. That third pass consisted of three waves. Soften dialogue and characters, add to plot and description, and clean up some pesky typos!
I invested an entire year to fixing my two unpublished novels and while I do feel bad that I did not get to write a lot of short stories, I feel I have grown tenfold as an author. (lucky for me the one anthology editor ho asked me to write for his new book, pushed back the deadline too.)

If you follow this blog, or my Facebook, you know me. You know I am capable of writing two or three books a year. I am able to reach very high word counts… So even with all the intensive editing, all the learning, reading and re-reading… I did complete one book (and edited it three times). :)

The book I wrote this year was a Middle Grade Boys Horror. I was challenged to write it by my original mentor, Jonathan Maberry. He knows that YA and MG are not my style, but he wanted me to challenge myself, and I always enjoy a good writing challenge. So I did it. I wrote about 40,000 words, cutting it down to 30,000 during the first edit.  Now it sits around 35,000 words.

I spent many hours researching and working with this novel to make it right. And a few weeks ago I finished it and sent it to my early test readers. So far, I have heard back from three of my most trusted reviewers and they all loved it. All three said they could not put it down once they started reading it.

Good sign! I can't wait to hear what the other two readers say. Then, I will do another edit and send it off to some agents who I know would love it read it. One agent has already shown interest and is waiting. :)
So, while I do not feel as accomplished as I normally do at the end of the year… I feel… I feel better? More hopeful? I feel like I am truly ready for the big leagues.

It is kind of difficult to describe. You see, I am a perfectionist. One who during art school, threw out at least 80% of their work. I would draw for hours, and then crumple up the paper and throw it to the floor. It was tough to break out of that pattern when I shifted from artist to author, but I found the transition easier because writing was clearly my true passion.
However, I am still hard on myself. I want the best. I enjoy hard work, and take great pleasure in a day well spent. I also believe that hard work MUST pay off. Otherwise dreams would die. Can you imagine climbing Mt. Everest only to find out there is no top? It just keeps going and going….

2014 is going to be a big year. I have manuscripts in the hands of agents. I have short stories to write for anthologies. I am also getting the Soul Born novels back from the publisher to re-work and re-publish. I will be writing several books this year, and I hope... more than anything... that I will finally be teaming up professionally with an agent. The time is now.

Happy New Year! Happy 2014!!!


Kevin James Breaux