It's been a while since I made any sort of progress post here, and frankly, the reason behind that is simply that I haven't made much progress. Time has been something of a premium, a luxury commodity not afforded to me; in particular, school has been consuming an inordinate amount of the stuff, between An Introduction to Research and Scientific Communication (Part 1, of which Part 2 I completed over the spring semester), Atomic and Nuclear Physics, and Astrophysics III: Plasma Physics. On the plus side, I'm on my way to my undergraduate degree by the end of next year! (At which point I hope the school accepts me into its graduate program; I'm giving a talk about some research I'm doing here in two weeks, so, hopefully I shine.)

When my time isn't being consumed by that, the month of November is National Novel Writing Month. For those of you who don't know, the event, also known by its abbreviation "NaNoWriMo", is a month dedicated to the art of novel-writing; the idea is, you attempt to finish writing a total of 50,000 words within 30 days. I'm... WAY behind, only at a little over 2,000 words after two weeks, but the point is, I'm trying; I'm using the month as an excuse to push myself, to get anything at all written down so my books can progress.

Yes, in addition to being a game designer, I'm also an author; my first book, Journey to Fire's Keep, is presently available wherever books are sold, and the sequel, currently titled Fall, is what I'm presently working on. I don't want to get too into the nitty-gritty for fear of spoilers for the first book, sufficed to say it's a high fantasy story taking place in a world where magic is understood as a science, where many what we might consider modern amenities coexist with more medieval themes thanks to said sciences.

I've been doing the bulk of my writing in the same place I tend to do a lot of my writing, a little restaurant in Socorro, New Mexico, called El Camino. It's a 24-hour diner, a popular hangout spot for other students at New Mexico Tech; their food is decent, but really I go to get in the zone, to settle into the mindset of writing. It's almost meditative. In Socorro, during NaNoWriMo, it's a popular spot, and in fact a friend of mine has been hosting little write-ins there for that same purpose.

This week, I worked towards finishing Chapter 10: Haunt; in it, a number of characters spiral downward in their various conditions and vices, as support structures that had been in place wither away and the threat of new conflict looms ever-larger on the horizon. It's kind of a downer chapter to be honest, but as a result it's pretty fun to write!

That's not to say I haven't been doing anything related to CORAX studios; far from it. In fact, Wednesday, my first "day off" in quite some time, was spent writing several individuals on the subject of Werewolf Spy's direction, including a particular artist for whom I would love to design and illustrate the "cover" for the game. I also finally began mapping out the specific setting, giving the game someplace "real" in which to take place; Arcady goes to hang out with his friend Isaac in the Valley Peak Mall, and it is in this place that the events of the game unfold.

I essentially grew up in malls. There were three big ones when I was growing up in Cincinnati: Tri-County Mall, Forest Fair Mall, and Kenwood Towne Centre. When I was born, my mother was working at the former, at a small specialty clothing store, and continued to work there until I was about three or four years old; as my dad was an ironworker and other members of my family were often also working, it was not terribly uncommon for mom to take me with her to work. It was in this place that I learned to sew, as the store had their own tailor on-site; it also served as an early primer of what malls are like for employees of such establishments. After my dad broke his back, my mom took a different job at a relatively-new store in the relatively-new Forest Fair Mall; once again, I was often in tow, learning the ins and outs of a big anchor store in such an establishment. Finally, in my high school years, while she did not work in the mall proper, she held a job in a store across the street from the Kenwood Towne Centre, filling out my experience with the totality of the malls in the area. (There was also the Florence Mall, but that was in Kentucky.)

So, as a result of this, I've been drawing on my own experiences in building this new setting for this game of mine. I have no doubt it will come out amazing, but I hope that you folks find it fun to hang out in a virtual mall as well. And hey, good luck out there, those of you participating in NaNoWriMo!