Friday, February 2, 2018

Making the Cover Art

After the cover art was finally finished, my wife came to me and said, "Now I know why the cover art was so important. It makes you want to read the book." That's exactly true. The primary reason why I hadn't published the book after receiving it back from the editor for over 18 months was due to not having any art.

I had one artist who said he was interested, but he never sent me the first draft and never replied to my messages. There was another guy who sounded like he might have been interested, but I also never heard back from him. Then one guy came up and asked about the project. I told him and he said he wanted to do it and he even agreed to do a trial piece.

That trial piece was important as I looked at his deviantArt profile and couldn't find anything that resembled what I was looking for. Some time before, I had decided the best cover art for this book needed to be a tapestry that showcased modern elements. I eventually settled on the fight between Cyonex and Crawn as it was the best for showing the fantasy elements and the time. However, no art on the artist's profile page matched this feel, but the trial piece would give me faith.

Since this was a trial piece, I didn't want him to use Neostriker for the basis. Instead, I needed him to use another series that had modern elements and see if he could transcribe them to a tapestry art. The result was Star Wars. While I could see room for improvement, the trial piece was good and I gave him the task of making the cover art.

The first draft he gave is what I would describe as a comic book cover. It was good. He implemented part of my design for the hero, which was to my liking, but I thought it was too realistic. I wanted the cover art to allow freedom of imagination to the readers. It also wasn't the format I was expecting after the trial piece. Part of the issue is that it wouldn't work with the cover template I had found to be the best of the options available.

The second draft was closer to expectations and also very promising. It was still a bit dynamic, but I liked the design of Crawn he came up with. I didn't care much for the background as I felt like it took away from the location of the fight. However, the biggest objection I had was that Craw's sword wasn't pointed at Cyonex. It was a good piece of art, but it didn't look right for a cover piece. It looked like Crawn was lecturing Cyonex which would completely change the first impression readers would have. While the book certainly has a bit of philosophy, I felt like it gave the wrong impression as it made Cyonex look like the aggressor. Had this been inside art, then that would be okay, but not good for the cover.
The third draft was fantastic. Even though I personally liked the designs of the warriors in the previous drafts better, this one felt like it could have been made in medieval times. It also allowed the imaginations of the readers to flourish. In addition, adding the jetpack helped conveyed that it was a modern story. As a result, we proceed to color this one and fine tune it. The result is the final art piece we have today.

I hope you enjoyed that look into the process of creating the cover art. David is an aspiring young artist. His hobbies include Star Wars, comics, drawing, cosplay, and sword-sparring. If you want to hire him, you can reach him through his DeviantArt profile, Omnipotrent

J. D. Nyle

Neostriker: Shining is now available for purchase from Amazon in US, Canada, UK, and Europe

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The New Stories

Now that Shining has finally been printed, it could be said that it's time for me to move on to new stories. However, you might be aware I've been slow on working on them. Part of that was due to the decision to actually publish Shining in print, but it's also a combination of time and inspiration.

Neostriker is certainly a hobby, but it's one of many. While pretty much everything I do ends up contributing to Neostriker in some way, I can only write when I have free time and if I feel like it. While I would like Neostriker to be my career, the only funding I currently have is by working full time. In addition, I do have a family to take care of so the chances that I'll complete a new story in the near future is fairly low, unless I do serialized stories instead.

Now for years, I've had planned I want to do at least 12 different stories, but which ones I develop keep changing. Most of the time, it's the "Origin" novel that focuses on the first Nellenion King. However, I've also had periods of high inspiration for other stories along the timeline as well as sequels to Shining. To give an idea about the diversity, here is what I've been planning (names not final):

Main timeline

  1. Origin: Adventure novel on the first Neostrikers and the first Nellenion King. Feel would be like chapters 15-18 of Shining. The first chapter, which I wrote before deciding to rewrite Shining can be read here
  2. Legends: Serialized stories taking place in the same period as Origin. A few of them can be read on this blog.
  3. Twilight: Epic novel highly inspired by Twilight Princess. Takes place quite some time after Origin and focuses on the princess and a hero with the heart of a child. Many of the ideas here are a result of some dreams that I've had.  
  4. Fall of the Nellenion Kingdom: Covers the war that leads to the defeat of the Nellenion Kingdom which was partially described in Shining.
  5. Rebellion: Story of rebellion against the occupying forces taking place in a steampunk world. Inspiration varies from Zorro and The Last Story. Possibly serialized
  6. Wings of Freedom: Norse-inspired story that follows the descendants of the exiled prince.
Expanded universe
  1. Rising Sun: Japanese-inspired story. Possibly serialized.
  2. Eagle-heart: Native North American-inspired story
  3. Heart of the Ocean: story of a fisherman and his "mermaid" love (not actually half-fish).
Shining Universe
  1. Story focusing on the children of David and Jenny. Best if visual media like a movie
  2. Serialized stories following the events of aforementioned sequel. Best if a TV series
  3. Climax

I originally intended to focus on Origin, but I made a change of plans when I decided I wanted to practice my writing skills first with Shining. As a result, the core concept of the world has been established already, making me feel like I can actually write in any order like Brian Jacques did with Redwall. Of course, there is also the desire to make a Neostriker video game, which would take a very long time to do. Then again, if Shining sells really well, then maybe there is hope I can focus on these ambitions sooner.

Dream On,
J. D. Nyle

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Shining's publication!

The time is finally here! More than eight years after the first draft was completed, Shining is finally being published in print. Though since marketing plays a huge role in book sales, and I have none, I don't expect this to sell well, but if it can make some people happy, that would be great. Sure I would love to get a book/movie/game deal out of this, but that is certainly a dream that probably won't come true.

The book is finalized at 286 pages in a 6 by 9 inch book, with a little more story content, grammatical and plot corrections, improved flow, more character insights, and 2 appendices.

Pricing

In the US, it is $12 and is available on Amazon, qualifying for Prime free shipping.
https://smile.amazon.com/Neostriker-Shining-J-D-Nyle/dp/1530392748

In the UK, it is £10.01. I see that if the book was more than £10, then it could grant free UK distribution. If £9.50 is better for consumers though, I'm willing to lower the price
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Neostriker-Shining-J-D-Nyle/dp/1530392748

In the rest of Europe, it is EUR 10,70. I don't know if Europe has free shipping options. If it does, please let me know
https://www.amazon.de/Neostriker-Shining-J-D-Nyle/dp/1530392748

For now, I'm going to hold off making the kindle edition as I keep running into new complications and issues. Sorry to anyone who was hoping to buy that version.

The Differences

Now you are most likely aware if you are reading this that an earlier draft of the novel is posted right here on this blog. Most of the content is the same, especially the plot, so you might wonder what makes the print version different. So let me explain.
  1. Editing: I paid for an editing service to help polish up the story. In addition to that service, I also found a few of my own grammatical, spelling, and plot-related errors and fixed them up. 
  2. Plot holes and weak links: In the earlier draft, it made no sense for the father to trust David after being lied to. The lie itself was not in the original draft and it's reason for existence did not hold up, so I removed it. The explanation for why Neocyx survives the first battle also didn't hold up well, so I added extra dialog. I polished stuff like this across the book so things should be more consistent and the reactions make more sense.
  3. New sub-chapter: I added a chapter 10b to help cover a period of time and provide some added context.
  4. Two appendices: There is one appendix with 18 pages of notes on each chapter (including some ideas about what happens to the cast afterwards). The is also another one describing neocards David uses. I figured this would be helpful for readers who might forget what a neocard does.

In addition, I've made some decisions that I feel might help the reader even though it may be against convention.
  1. The neocards appendix is the last section. This helps because it allows readers to easily find it and read through it without many spoilers. From what I've read, the chapter notes should be the last section, but I figured this was better for the reader.
  2. Names of enemies are bold in the first mention if mentioned mentioned multiple times. This happens normally by the description or provides a hint where the description is to be found so if someone needs to refresh his imagination, it will be easy to do so.
  3. In the header, I go with chapter-title on the left-hand page and book title on the right-hand page. I found that having  the same chapter title appearing twice in a spread to be annoying, and for it to be beneficial to mark the chapter title when the last page of a chapter falls on the left-hand page.
Now whether you think all of these changes and improvements is worth spending $12 is up to you. I found it incredibly easier to read the book in print rather than on a screen. I personally would also like the support in growing the fanbase for the series. I would really like to be able to spend more time on Neostriker, but unless I can sell the books, I need to do other work in order to provide for my family and Neostriker would continue to be a side-project.

Again, you might wonder if there will be a sequel. The plan is I would like to write one, but my plan is that it would focus on the children of the current cast. Neostriker: Shining is a complete story and I have nothing more to add that is worthy of writing a new book with the current generation. Now if there are adaptations, I certainly have ideas for new material, but nothing solid for taking place immediately after the events of the book. If you are curious what happens to the cast in my current outline of the sequel, you can find some details in the episode notes.

Thanks for reading all of this, and I really hope you enjoy the book.
Dream on,
J. D. Nyle


Friday, December 15, 2017

Prologue and Episode 1: Dream into Reality (from Final draft)

Now that the release is near, I figure it's a good time to share a preview of what to expect in the finished product. I hope that by sharing the more polished prologue and first chapter, you may be drawn in to purchase the full book. If you are still uncertain, you can read through the earlier draft I posted earlier to get a feel for the plot.

Enjoy,
J. D. Nyle

Prologue

Long ago, there was an island somewhere in the Atlantic. On the island were two kingdoms: a good one and a bad one. These two kingdoms were at war a good deal of time and because of this, technology advanced leagues faster than in Europe.
In the good kingdom, there was a young boy of around fifteen with a mortal illness. He decided to give himself up to science to test a new theory that had arisen. The scientists had created a new technology that would make a mortal man into a great warrior. The youth had his arms and legs amputated, and they were fitted with mechanical replacements. The torso was equipped with a metallic armor that was made to fuse with the body to give life support, provide protection, and generate energy.
The operation was a success, and the concept actually made the youth potentially immortal as the armor was stronger than anything in the known world and capable of generating a barrier. The legs also provided boosters that permitted the youth to fly as well as run at great speeds. The arm could shift into a handless cannon that could fire destructive energy blasts. The youth was able to adapt to many environments and even use attacks based on the different elements. Flexibility was added, providing the skill to be able to do flips and other movements flawlessly. A sword of a great power and energy was granted to the test subject, and he could generate other weapons such as spears and explosives.
The young boy was given a helmet that attached to his head, allowing him to control these abilities with his thoughts. The researchers saw that the potential of this warrior and his abilities that were beyond man’s limits and gave him the name “Xagem.” The scientists rejoiced at the success their project produced. However, they decided it would be better if they could make the armor without needing to amputate and forever mutate a body, and so they began research on a wearable version.
Unfortunately, a fire emerged and destroyed most of the research and plans, and killed the main geniuses working on the project, leaving the remaining researchers close to square one. To make matters worse, there was a researcher with malicious intent. He somehow was able to produce most of the data and attach a black copy of the armor to himself, making himself almost equal of Xagem. The bad scientist then mass-produced his findings with the addition of hollow forms. These forms came in many shapes but there was nothing except the dark substance inside. The wicked scientist provided all of this to the evil kingdom, and the war ensued.
Xagem was a hero for the good kingdom; he was even more powerful than the treacherous researcher. Unfortunately, because of the mass-produced forms, the enemy had a greater number of troops and more power to spread. The youth saw that he could not protect everyone everywhere, and the good king was considering surrender.
However, Xagem realized that his harnessed energy could provide the scientists what they needed to produce more forms. He split his power and contained it in objects such as stones and cards. His elemental powers were segregated into eight clear hexagonal rocks that were distinguished by things such as a flame inside. These rocks were known as “elite stones.” His weapon abilities were harnessed into cards called “neocards.” The rest of his energy and powers was then used to provide the stimulus to make new forms based on his design. These forms were not as powerful as Xagem, but they were stronger than those in the opposing army, only fewer in number. Xagem also gave a vast amount of his power to the king, who already had great power. When the king’s power was mixed with Xagem’s, a strong energy was made that was able to eliminate the dark substance.
The evil scientist, seeing that his defeat was at hand, also decided to split his power into five orbs, and with them sources of the dark substance. He had them spread out to far distances so that his evil might spread and corrupt the rest of the world and thus defeat the good kingdom. The good king took his strongest warriors, and they fought a brave and long battle against the opposing kingdom. At one point, the evil scientist sneakily reached the king and was about to slay him, but the youth intervened. With the last of his energy, Xagem fought to the death and greatly weakened the evil warrior. The king, with the chance he had, used his powers to seal the evil warrior away, and the virtuous army won the battle. The king did what he could and sealed what was left of Xagem’s power so that it might be used again if ever needed to fight the evil scientist.
At least this is what was in the mind of young David.
In a time so close yet so distant, there was a junior in high school named David. He loved to play sports, especially soccer and tennis. It was winter and soccer season was in. The team so far had lost every game, and the student saw that the team just did not care. In school, the students broke the rules and took advantage of their privileges and thus lost them for everyone in the end. Now, some of us would look at it all and say that this was just small stuff. But the part that made it all hell for David was the death of his beloved grandfather. Since then, David’s world had been upside down, and any problem became a big deal.



Episode 1: Dream into Reality

As the sun rose one day, David was in his room playing around before school, living out a dream in his head. In this action, cannons were being fired amid a close combat duel.
“I shall destroy you, guardian.”
“No you won’t. As long as I have my friends, I will never give up! I won’t lose. Falcon’s blast!”
“Noooooooo.”
After such movements, David finally landed on his bed, gazing up as if he could see through the ceiling to envision the sky. He fell into reverie. “Man, how I wish Neostriker really existed. Then I could use that power for good and make a difference in this place. Or at least get away far from here. That would just be awesome. Then again, I hope it wouldn’t be as cliché as I just made it out to be.”
Such were the thoughts of the young David Reese Gallaback, a high school junior, a dreamer. With the sound of the bell, this dreamer went to classes for another miserable day. On the way, David encountered a big upperclassman abusing some freshmen and decided to intervene. Now this upperclassman was big in every aspect, especially around the waist. He and David always were at each other’s necks. Personally, David never hated the guy. He just couldn’t stand all the things he would do such as cheat or hide his books or make things difficult at soccer practice.
“Dude, l-leave them alone.”
“Why should I?” replied the bully. “In fact, why should I listen to a guy who cries in class when given a paper?”
“You know very well I wasn’t crying, just upset.”
“You cried, stutterer.”
“Whatever, Nero. By the way, why don’t you lose some weight, slowpoke?”
This comment struck a nerve in the round bully, who instantly threw a punch, but David easily evaded it. This benefit he was grateful for. He was much faster than his adversary, and so he ran off to class as he heard Nero yell the all-too-common threatening words, “You better watch your back, crybaby! I know where you sleep!”
Throughout the day, David encountered more and more troubles, and while a normal teen would just dismiss them eventually, they never seemed to disappear from David’s mind. And so how it remained for the rest of the year. One night, however, young Gallaback had a dream. In this particular dream, the junior envisioned an angel calling his name.
“David, David.”
“What is it?”
“The Divine Maker has heard your wish. He is willing to grant it to you for Neostriker to exist. Do you want that to happen?”
“Hah! This must be a dream or something. There is no such thing as a Divine Maker.”
“David, whether you believe in him is your choice. But either way, he has chosen to bless you with Neostriker. Do you wish this?”
“Of course,” the youth heartily responded. “It would definitely be better than this life.”
The angel smiled as if he knew the results of such a choice. “You shall see if you truly do think so. It shall be confined to the limits of California, and your wish shall be granted, but when the time comes, you will be given a choice concerning its fate, whether you are dead or alive.”
“What do you mean?” David asked, confused.
“You will know.” Those were the last words of the angel before he departed, and David awoke, shaking his head. Noting the time to be three in the morning, he simply concluded it was just a dream, as much as he hoped that it was true.
A few months later, summer vacation started, and David returned to his home in Kelinor. He could not really recall the past few months. It could have been that there was nothing worth remembering. Either way, as he entered his home, his sister was watching the news about a discovery in the Sahara that sparked his interest.
“This is an amazing find,” began the reporter on the TV. “An excavation here has struck archeological gold, artifacts from an ancient civilization. However, the one that has received the most attention is a scroll. On the scroll are paintings along with the text. And here to talk with us more on the subject is the professor leading the excavation, Professor Lokaf. Professor, tell us about the scroll.”
The camera moved to show a scraggy middle-aged man in an archeology outfit discussing something with a member of his party. After the reporter obtained his attention, he simply responded with a polite yes, but it was obvious from his face that he knew what the reporter was to ask him, as if they had practiced this many a time.
“What do you think about this find? Have you been able to translate the text on the scroll?”
“The scroll? Ah yes, the scroll. The scroll was most likely written in the Middle Ages, maybe the Dark Ages at that. The text itself I will want to look at more carefully to be sure. A great deal of the writing is missing because of age. What we have noticed, though, is that the text appears to be in some form of Latin. What we have been able to translate on the spot mentions an island presumably in the Atlantic.”
The reporter’s eyes glistened with excitement. “So this could very well be the mythical Atlantis?” she asked, seeking the professor’s confirmation.
“That is the popular theory at the moment. Anyway, there are a couple of interesting words here: ‘Nellenion’ and ‘Daelian.’ It appeared this island was subject to wars that lasted generations and these were the primary combatants. With what we have been able to gather, we can assume this scroll was written by a Nellenion, who perhaps fled to escape the war. Unfortunately, with most of the text eroded, we won’t be able to study it much more than we already have.”
“Professor, it is my understanding that these artifacts will be going on display in the near future.”
“Ah yes. The main sponsor of this excavation was Mr. Cower of the Cower’s Museum in Kelinor. As part of the deal, these artifacts will be on display there. After that, I believe it’ll be…”
David did not stay to hear what the professor had to say next. He went up to his room with his mind swirling. After closing his door and lying on his bed, the student began to ask himself about what was happening. “Nellenion? Daelian? Is this really happening? Those are the two kingdoms of Neostriker. Nellenion is the good kingdom, and Daelian is the enemy. Man, I need to get to that scroll and see if it’s true.”
Shortly after, his sister knocked and came in. “Was there something weird about that?”
“You have no idea, sis.”
“Well, it is interesting to think that this may be proof that something like Atlantis existed.”
“How about we go check it out?”
“I’m for it, but I don’t think it’ll be at the museum for at least a week.”
“All right, then I’m going to take a nap. It’s been a rough day.”
“Uh… sure. Talk to you later, then.”
With that, David’s sister left, and David’s mind continued to go wild over the whole affair. When the day finally approached, David had no hesitation in getting his family to the museum so that he might see if it was really what he thought it was. However, when they finally got to the exhibit, fighting their way to see the scroll, David’s eyes caught a glimpse of something else that interested him: a pretty teenage girl around his age with beautiful, long hair and a small fringe on the right side of her face. The teenage boy could not help but think about all of the possible scenarios to talk to her.
“Whoa! She’s pretty cute. Hmm. I wonder if I can take a picture with my phone? Then again, I’m probably never going to see her again, so why bother? Wait! If I go up to her and ask, then maybe I can get her number and then…But then what would I say when I got up to her? She probably would consider me a dope and leave. She probably already has a boyfriend—if not many—lined up.” With that thought racing through his head, the young boy let out a sigh.
However, the boy decided to at least try to snap a picture while pretending to really take it of the scroll. Nevertheless, just as he focused the camera, moving while doing so, he tripped over a cable. The phone flew into the scroll and dropped to the floor. If he hadn’t known before, David sure learned how fast security could move.
Embarrassed, David quickly retrieved his phone and raced to the bathroom to be alone. Inside, the splash of water was still not enough to relieve his embarrassment, and he proceeded to yell at his foolishness. “Great job, David! Now there is no chance at all to get to know her. She must definitely think me a dope. Argh! I didn’t even get a picture.” With that, he flipped open his phone and noticed something strange streaming down the screen—binary code. “Great” the clumsy teenager sarcastically thought. “Just another problem to add to my list—a broken phone. I wonder if Dad can fix this.” He then slapped himself saying, “I must be having some kind of nightmare.”
“I don’t think so,” said a voice from nowhere.
“Who’s there?” The startled junior looked around.
“Here, in your phone,” was the reply David got. When he checked, he saw the figure of a man. It was not an ordinary man, but a knight. He had on a green tunic, but chain mail could be seen beneath it. He had on a brown belt with matching boots and gloves. His hair was golden blond, and he possessed aquamarine eyes.
“The name is Zel. I am an asen, a Neostriker warrior.”
“Did you say a ‘Neostriker’?” inquired the seventeen-year-old.
“Yes, I did. Do you have a problem with that?”
“Uh, no…” replied David, but in his mind he added, “Maybe it’s a dream instead of a nightmare. Wait. I’d probably better not indicate that I know what a Neostriker is.” And so, he commented, “How should I know? I don’t know what a Neostriker is, even though it sounds kinda cool if not cliché.”
“A Neostriker,” said the mysterious figure, “is a warrior with great power, able to generate certain weapons at will and use them to fight. In the Neostriker realm there are two forces. There are those who use the power for good, the Nellenions, and those who use it for evil intent, the Daelians.”
“Why are you telling me this?”
“I am in search of someone who can fight for the Nellenions.”
“Why, might I ask?”
“I am what you might call a highly advanced program, but my nature is spirit. I am not able to fight Daelians who materialize. However, I can serve as an operator and aid someone deemed worthy,” explained the asen.
“So me…” the boy realized. “Why me?”
“Because there is potential in you.”
“This is sounding suspicious.”
“It is certainly your call whether or not you accept this offer. The powers that come from this are great, from the ability to fly to withstanding projectiles.”
“Flying, eh? So all I need is to be willing to fight for the Nellenion kingdom? And they are the good guys, so why not?” decided the dreamer.
A smirk came across Zel’s face as he proceeded with this warning. “Heh. Take note that the tide of war is approaching. If you want though, the powers can be taken away from you anytime. So if you want to give up, just say so, or if you do evil with them then they will be taken away with no problem.”
“That’s fine. I’ll just have to be responsible.”
“Very well then. Your phone has been given a new program and thus made into a neot. This will permit you to transform into a great warrior. All you need to do is bring up the program, press the send button, and say ‘Neoformation.’” Just as he finished, though, Zel’s composure changed, as if he had sensed something. “You may be put to your first test right now. I think the Daelians are here. So transform and I’ll inform you with more details.”
David performed the required steps. He said, “Neoformation,” and the phone emitted a bright light that enveloped David. A dark-blue breastplate was put on and then heavily shaded gray arms, legs, and a helmet with a black visor. On the back, a blue jetpack attached. Then a dark-brown cloak wrapped around the neck. All of this in the frame of two seconds.
“Wow. Is this really happening?” said the excited teenager. Just then, though, a thought came up and he asked Zel, “Wait! What about the cameras?” to which the asen replied simply, “Who puts cameras in the restroom? Perverts? That’s just plain wrong.”
“That’s true…. Then I guess I don’t have to worry,” the boy replied, though growing curious about the way Zel spoke.
“I can also disable cameras for a temporary time. Anyway, this form has been made custom for you.”
“Form?”
“Neostriker armor made for humans. Its name is—”
Neocyx,” blurted the excited boy, forgetting about his situation and only to remember it when Zel asked, “How did you know?” Thinking fast, David said, “Since it was made for me, I should be able to give it a name.”
Zel shrugged off this answer and merely continued saying that in forms, David was to be known as Neocyx the shadow fox, which David liked. After this, Zel ordered, “Now, go! The Daelians are here. I’ll instruct you on how to use this form.”
“But it wouldn’t it seem strange for people to hear your voice from me?” asked the new warrior.
“Only you can hear me in forms. Also, if you think to me instead of talking, you can keep it so other people won’t hear you. That way, the conversation is private. Got it?”
“Yeah,.” the teen responded as he sprinted through the museum toward the scroll display. Along the way, Zel informed David that forms allowed him to move in ways he wouldn’t have been able to before. All that was needed was to think of what he wanted. If he had it, it would come or be done, with limits, of course. This included flight for about five seconds, but Zel also told David that as he grew more powerful, he would be able to fly longer. Meanwhile, at the exhibit, three purple-armored “men” had broken in.
“All right. Stay calm and nobody gets hurt. All we want is the scroll,” said a Daelian soldier.
“You’re robbing the museum? Who are you? A new gang?” said David’s father. He was always quick to voice his opinion whenever he felt he was on the right side.
“We are Neostrikers. And this pertains to us. Any more questions?”
Not taking the hint, David’s father continued. “I don’t know who you are, but you are probably just some poor kids. Just stop this nonsense and—”
“You’re trying my patience, old man. Die! Neo-sword!”
At that instant, the Daelian’s hand transformed into an energy blade, and it dashed toward Mr. Gallaback. Just as he was about to swing, however, Neocyx jumped in the way with blades of his own and pushed the robber back.
“Sorry, but you aren’t doing anything here. You’re not taking the scroll, and you are especially not going to kill anyone!”
“Who are you?”
“Neocyx’s the name, and it will be the last thing you remember.”
Neocyx charged the Daelian and slashed him up, causing the robber to vanish in a puff of purple smoke. Zel would later reveal this process to be called “neofication,” in which the forms were said to be neofied. Then the other Daelians attacked Neocyx, but he jumped in the air and escaped the onslaught. After that, with the words “neo-gun,” one of his swords became a hand-cannon and the shadow fox used it to fire at the Daelians.
Zel rebuked David, “Be careful! You might hit someone!”
“You’re right. Let’s limit ourselves to sword combat at the moment,” said the shamed youth. He was risking the people he was trying to defend.
Neocyx switched back to dual blades and took out the Daelians while only taking a few hits himself. Just as he finished, though, the glass roof broke, and the shadow fox just barely escaped. However, the blazing blast that followed found its target. From the roof, an anthropomorphic dragon-like figure with tough red-and-orange armor, wings on his back, and a head with two horns sticking out the back, descended.
“Neocyx, eh?” said the dragon form. “That’s interesting. I am Drafom, a sergeant in the Daelian army. I believe you could rise through the ranks if you joined us.”
“Sorry, but I think I will decline at the moment,” replied the young hero in a rebellious tone.
The Daelian sergeant laughed. “Ha! You certainly have some spunk in you. However, I will now take the scroll.”
“I won’t let you!”
“Do you have a choice?” he asked while preparing a blast. “I only need to target these fools that didn’t escape when they had the chance.”
Realizing the situation and how helpless he was, Neocyx stood down. Drafom grabbed the scroll and laughed, “Now that I have this, I see no reason in keeping you alive.”
Neocyx responded quickly and brought out his neo-gun again, aiming at the Daelian and saying, “You don’t? How about I destroy that scroll with a blast? I’m sure your boss would be fine with that seeing that he sent you to retrieve it.”
The Daelian lowered his hand, thought for a second and replied, “Hmmm. You are a bit clever after all. Very well then. You can live now, but I will certainly crush you next time you oppose me.”
With that, the dragon form escaped. Heeding Zel’s advice, David scrambled out and used de-formation when he finally reached solitude. At that moment, Zel informed him that the forms he fought were “hollow forms” created by the Dark Power and they were not as powerful as those with a human host. As a result, when defeated, they vanished. He also explained how those with a human host acted a little different. In that case, neofication just forced the process of de-formation.

Returning to the exhibit, David’s father explained what just happened and how glad he was that David had just missed it due to his mishap. He even went further, saying, to the dismay of his son, that it must have been a divine intervention. From there they went home, and along the way, David contemplated his impending future as a Neostriker.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

November 2017 update

I got my proof in the mail the other day and have been looking over it. It's really interesting to finally have a copy of the book in your hands. I've also found that when it comes to reviewing it, this is very important. By not having the computer screen, it makes it easier to read. In addition, I can judge the actual size of the book and font.


Here are my impressions so far:

The cover looks fairly good. I was a bit worried about how the colors would turn out but it turned out fine. Likewise, I was given a warning about the resolution of the photo, but it also turned out fine. So if I don't get a good cover art by my deadline, then this will likely be the final design for the first edition. My main complaint, though this is the nature of paperbacks, is that the cover doesn't close after opening it a few times. There isn't much that can be done about that, but it does make me consider pursuing a hardcover edition sometime in the future

My theory about the book being easier to read in print has been vindicated. In addition to making things easier to read, it made it easier for me to catch mistakes, both grammatical errors and plotholes. Due to the extensive editing beforehand, I found that things that used to make sense no longer did so I added more content to help bridge the gaps.

Update on cover art:

The artist has sent me a few drafts. They looked pretty good, but I think they didn't work well with the book so he is working on another one. However, each draft gets better so I have faith he can do a good job.

That's all I have for now. So far I still hope to release by December 1st.

J. D. Nyle

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Timeline update

First off, about Twitter:

I did just create a twitter account to help promote Neostriker. I don't really have any plans to use it much more than the facebook page, but I figure it is easier to do some promotions and make some contacts. Don't hesitate to follow at @JDNyle

Second, Publication Plan:

I'm going to order a proof for Neostriker: Shining. A proof is sort of like a pre-published copy. This is so I can see how the book appears in physical form. If this goes well, then I'll technically be ready for publication.

There are still two things that I do need to figure out before publication. First is which copyright date to put on the book. I'm trying to get a hold of the copyright office to take care of that. Second is trademark. I want to make sure no one can prevent me from using the Neostriker brand later on, but I also don't want my identity to be public information. So I'm trying to contact the US Patent and Trademark office about what my options are.

As for cover art, I gave my artist a timeline. He thinks he can make it. I did a cover draft using the trial piece he gave me and I think it worked. So I have hope that whatever he makes will work. If he cannot produce anything good, I have a backup plan to use a photograph. I was originally thinking about using something else, but when I found the photo, I figured that it actually was fairly appropriate. I'll see how it looks when the proof arrives.

Expected release date is now December 1st, 2017! Yay! I hope for everything to go well so that I can make this date.

Pricing: $12.

I tried for $10 but the publisher wouldn't let me. Apparently this is because I want to have the book available for libraries and schools as well. However, maybe I can still get it to $10 for the kindle version. I'll have to wait until I'm closer to actually publishing before I find out.

The book itself is estimated at 284 pages. Over 20 pages is new content (1 tiny, bonus "episode" and 2 appendices). It has also been edited and reviewed by a professional so it should be higher quality than the draft posted on this blog (to be fair, it was only 1 session so don't get your hopes up too high). I hope you will all buy a copy, enjoy it, and tell your friends. I'm so excited that it's almost time. I can't wait to finally hold a copy in my hands.

Dream on,
J. D. Nyle

P. S. about the game thing I mentioned before. I bought a course about how to create a games. It's over 48 hours of material so I'm not sure how long it will take me to actually go through it. I will definitely need the support of my wife before starting this project.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

October 2017 update

Something I realized is that it is not too important to have cover art. I wanted the cover art to help sell the book, but this has resulted in waiting for well over a year with no one providing even a draft for me to view. As a result, I'm thinking I will just publish the book without art. If I can get good art, then I can republish later, but the main purpose of the book is so that it's easier to read and so that the physical book exists. Whether it has art or not, I'll be extremely happy to be finally holding one.

In the other areas, I'm contemplating shifting focus for a short time. Something I've always wanted to do, and the reason why Neostriker exists in the first place, is to make a video game. Since I do not have all of the various skills and resources, I keep putting it off. I tried to make a demo in Unity last year, but had trouble getting the turn based system to work. However, my head started swarming with ideas again and I figure that I can do some faux coding where I plan out the classes, gameplay, and progression. That way when I find an engine, I can more quickly write the code. Of course now I just need to find the time.

J. D. Nyle