It’s funny how an author’s love and inspiration come and go. Here’s the deal: I’m 80% in on the rough draft of a story about the Old West and zombies, a story that I was in love with from the jump, and now I absolute hate the story. I don’t hate that it’s poorly written (it’s a rough draft) or the characters so much, but rather the story itself. Sometimes you sit down to write and the story tells itself and the author has the pleasure of experiencing it as it unfolds. In this case, I feel like I’m getting a root canal.
I stepped away from it for a few weeks hoping that I could return, finish the final 20%, and wash my hands of it – no such luck. When I sat down to finish the story I realized I just need a divorce from this thing, a clean break. I would rather shell out alimony payments than wake up to this thing a single day longer. What to do? I have no problem leaving the story to die on a hard drive, a fitting death indeed. What to write next?
Gunship, the story that I cannot seem to get away from, visits me in my dreams like a whiskey-fueled lover. Seriously, each night for the past week or so, characters from this universe have shown up while I’m asleep and demanded that their stories be told. What would the star system look like a hundred years after the conclusion of the last story? What if the vampires and orcs united?
“Imagine you’re out at the furthest location that you frequent and every thing goes dark… actually go out there and get outa the car. Now, how will I get home and what will I need ? What will I encounter along the way? how many bad actors will I be faced with? Where’s my resupply locations that are least likely to have marauders waiting for me and am I capable of handling that situation?”
*Scenario submitted by Chad on Patreon. These are photos of his actual 100 Mile Out kit.
Look, a blog post! I know, I know, I’ve been slacking. In fact, that’s what this blog post is about. Having a creative mind brings both a freedom that cannot be explained and a sense of being imprisoned. You see, there are plenty of projects that I want to begin working on but there is only so much time.
Indeed, time has become my enemy. A part of me wants to cover history extensively on YouTube or perhaps even write a history book. Another part of me is ready to churn out some zombie fiction. I’m also passionate about retro gaming, which I realize sounds ridiculous. A grown man consumed by old video games? Well, for me it’s the memories attached to the games and I would give anything to go back. Of course there’s the obligation to keep prepping, especially as we inch closer to World War 3.
I have all of these ideas because I’m cursed with a creative mind. Folks, it is a curse indeed. I’m now forced to consider time constraints, bills, basically lots of stuff that kills the creativity, and that imprisons me. Alright, I ain’t over here eating jail house food or lifting weights in a prison yard, but mentally it has started to take its toll on me.
Perhaps it’s time for a prison break.
As the host of Prepper Nation on YouTube, John began prepping in 2012 after a tornado ransacked his hometown. It was a wake-up call finding himself with a wife, small children, and no access to electricity, water, or even food. He spent the following year reading up on doomsday prepping and began putting the knowledge to work via trial and error in 2013.
Having been in love with camping since his first trip in high school (thanks Adam!), John, his family, and a few close friends have camped extensively since 2001. He often refers to “Outlaw Prepper” and “Caveman James” on his podcast, both of whom have camped with him since the beginning.
Unlike many “YouTubers”, what you see on Prepper Nation is what you get in real life. John admits that there are areas he needs to improve on, and instead focuses on a community environment where everyone can help one another grow, learn, and prep the gear, mind, and soul.
“I make my living writing but I also make sure that I never find myself unable to provide for my family again. For whatever reason, people have just taken to my rambling on YouTube and I believe Divine intervention has a lot to do with it.”
So, in starting up the Sleepy Writer Podcast, I’ve really found the passion to write again. It’s not that I ever really “lost” the passion, but life is life, things get busy and before you know it there are a million other things you need to do first. I’m still super busy (who isn’t), there no doubt about that, but I need to find time to write – I need to make time to write.
As of right now I’m stuck between two worlds that I created through writing and love very much: The post-apocalyptic world of Zombie Cowboys and the Hollow Earth world. Both are amazing (to me) and they’re original enough to matter. As some of you know, we’ve greenlit the creation of our own tabletop roleplaying game, which is a mammoth project, but it will also include a slew of novels and short stories.
Building something like this from the ground up is both a huge undertaking and very rewarding. It appeals to the creative side of me, even if there’s a ton of work involved. This is the part where I say “goodbye” to the stories and characters that I’ve created and fallen in love with along the way…yes, even Gunship, which is like an ex-wife. There will always be feelings for that one but stop calling me, Gunship, it’s time to go our separate ways. It’s time to create something brand new and stick with it until I’m old and frail.
Therefore, on to the next!
1/1/2021 – It’s officially a go. Preliminary work has started on a collaborative tabletop RPG and it has an official name: Earthworld. There’s no official art as of yet and we’ve made it as far as brainstorming onto stacks of notebook paper. It’s a process, folks. What I can tell you is that we plan to incorporate cool things (settings and locations, weaponry, possibly even heroes) from all of my previous work into this project. If nothing else, this should be one heck of a ride!
10/27/2021 – I’m currently communicating back and forth with several people in the tabletop gaming industry. The consensus is that, if we move forward with building a tabletop RPG from the ground up, it would be based on a brand new universe, not something I’ve already created. This “core” hardcover would be followed up by several modules and even a few paperback novels that exist in the same universe.
Look, a post! Yes folks, I know it’s long overdue and many of you believe I have moved on to greener pastures – the whole YouTube deal. Well, though YouTube is great and I truly love hosting Prepper Nation, at the end of the day I’m still a writer. That will never change.
Let’s talk about wokeness and opportunity, shall we? A dear friend of mine is furious because, according to him, Dungeons & Dragons has went “woke”. They have apparently deemed certain fictional races offensive to the members of said race that, again, don’t actually exist. Therefore the company that owns D&D, Wizards of the Coast, is now on a mission to scrub past entries from the series and make the current stuff more inclusive.
Not only is my friend upset, he’s hellbent on spearheading a brand new tabletop RPG and he’s asked for my help. I know the ins and outs of the publishing industry and yes, assuming we work on this mammoth undertaking together, I have the ability to publish it into the same hardback format that the D&D crowd is used to. But we are talking a massive amount of time, a good bit of funding (out of our own pockets), and a deep dive into the brand new world (see what I did there?) of tabletop RPG gaming.
This is both a little scary and very exiting to me. Yes, I could absolutely write (yet another) novel about spaceships or zombies and it would probably do just fine. However, creating a tabletop roleplaying game from the ground up is challenging and that’s what’s most appealing to me. I’m giving this serious consideration, folks. Phone conversations and email chats are happening with a lot of heavy lifters in the RPG community. Will I look back two years from now and have a playable hardback book in my hands?
See folks, I didn’t forget about this website/blog! I wanted to ramble for a few minutes on a couple of developments here at The Ponderosa. First, I am now working with Arkhaven Comics in an official capacity. For those who aren’t familiar, they’re a smaller comics imprint comprised of writers that’ve broken away from DC and Marvel because of the political wokeness that the two major imprints are now pumping into their comic books. The folks at Arkhaven simply want to tell stories without worrying about the current social nonsense of 2021.
Second, I have really missed writing. It’s strange because you can shut the laptop and decide to take a break from writing, but the stories never stop. I fully expect to be working on something writing related very soon, and it’ll probably involve zombies. I don’t have an official title, cover art, or street date, but that will all come with time. Right now I am committed to writing and the rest will work itself out, it always does.
Yes everyone, YouTube has formally banned me from posting on Prepper Nation for the week and my release date is nearing. My crime? When talking about the vaccine I said “do your own research” – nothing more. After being hit with the YouTube strike I thought I would appeal this nonsense but nope, my “lawyers” were unsuccessful and they brought the gavel down on me anyway. One week in the slammer for you, sir.
I ask, what kind of society are we living in where group think is not only encouraged but to speak out against group think is a crime? Did I ask people to avoid the vaccine? No. I simply asked them to do their own research, rather than placing their faith in science on a system of proven federal liars that have a track record of abusing the general public.
This week in YouTube prison was meant as a way to shut me up, to teach me a lesson. Sit in your Internet prison cell, John, and think about what you have done. Well, I’ve done just that. And, in hindsight, I would do it all over again. My stance hasn’t changed one bit. If you want to take the vaccine, take it. By all means, do what is best for you, but come to the conclusion yourself. Don’t be swayed by a billboard with Kamala Harris smiling, don’t be shamed, intimidated, or bullied into group think.
I am formally released from “prison” on Sunday morning but will be in the woods camping. Monday morning, the Prison Break Special will air on Prepper Nation and it will be can’t-miss. Without free speech we have nothing. Not hate speech, mind you, but free speech – the ability to think logically and speak freely based on the collection of our thoughts. It is time to hold the line!
Well folks, it has been a very strange month. I finally earned my degree, which is awesome (except the part where I have to pay for it now), and I thought it would free up ample time to write. It hasn’t. Honestly, I have plenty of stories in my head and will continue to write as I can, but I’ve also come to realize how much the YouTube and podcast have been neglected. Therefore this website (blog, whatever) will be subject to some major changes.
Outside of faith and family, reading and writing are my true loves. There’s no way an author just “hangs it up”, I don’t care what anyone says – it doesn’t work that way. But I also need to be a realist. There’s just no way to handle all of the other business and then churn out four or five novels a year, zero chance. Instead, I’ll be taking my editor’s advice (thanks Hammer) and writing as I can.
It’s crazy in a way, because I have two amazing kids and two amazing platforms in writing and podcasting. I already know that my daughter is the heir apparent when it comes to the writing, she was born to do it, and my son is brilliant when it comes to YouTube and other forms of social media. He’ll likely be sitting in the Prepper Nation host’s chair one day. Until then, I have to build both platforms as I can and give the proper attention where it is needed. When the next story does release it will blow you away – promise.
I am officially finished with college! Done! Finito! It feels strange blogging here on the writing blog (that I haven’t blogged on forever) because it has been such a whirlwind handful of years. I mean, I’m officially a historian, we saw the Covid-19 rear its nasty head, and my once ragamuffin YouTube channel has exploded – the people at Prepper Nation are awesome!
Here’s the thing…in some strange way this all reminds me of Michael’s journey during NBC’s The Office. I mean, I spend years writing and chopping away at YouTube and for years the books took off but the YouTube didn’t. I basically left the profession of writing (which I didn’t plan on doing) to attend college. As I type this I feel like Michael standing at the wedding finale. I look a little different, a little older – I’m a little wiser and a little more accomplished. Yet it feels good to be back.
The writing community is my Zen. I know deep in my heart that this is what I was meant to do. Those of you that write for a living know the struggle: Some months you are eating steak and other months you are eating mayonnaise sandwiches without the bread. Yet I have always found inner peace here. Writing is the one place that I can go where rules don’t exist and creativity is encouraged. It has always been an outlet for my creativity and I’m happy to be back.
Next up? Dracula and a host of other novels based on very old and forgotten horror stories. As of right now we are trying to get this website/blog up to speed and I’m spending time at Prepper Nation while also gearing up to re-launch the audio only version of the Book Commander Podcast. I’m very proud of this moment I’ve reached and I’m very excited for the future.