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V & A Shipping – The Backstory!


Starting tomorrow I will be blogging V&A Shipping in its entirety. Yes, the entire book! If you’ve bought a copy, don’t worry, I’m not dumping the entire text in one day. Instead it’ll be serialized similarly as the podcast was serialized. In order to keep you filled with content until my next book drops, I will blog the book because I know not everyone will purchase a copy of the book. Not everyone can. So this is my way of giving back.

Unfortunately, if you’re planning on reading this day by day, you’ll only get one or two chapters per day a couple days (sometimes 3). That means it’ll take you a full 62 days to complete the book from start to finish. Sorry, I’m not going to data dump, I’m not going to consolidate, I’m not going to localize the posts. I did all the work of setting up the posts and if you’d like to read it for free, the rest of the work will be up to you for reading them all in order.

If you get frustrated by this, fear not, you can do one of two things. 1) Download and listen to the podcast. 2) purchase a copy of the book. However you want your content, I’m doing my best to accommodate, but a writer needs his time to write. I will still be giving copies away, so tell your friends, tell your family, tell the strange lady down the street with too many cats, tell everyone! The more I can sell the faster I’ll be able to get more content out.

Okay, enough preamble, you want to know where this story came from, right? Well, let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

It was a dark and stormy night. We were playing a lot of D&D, we started playing Marvel Superheroes along with some other board/role-playing games. One of our mix decided to create his own game. It would be somewhat based on several games and the rules were pretty vague as were the races, weapons, ships, aliens, etc. Yes, that day a game call BULLDOGS! was invented. Wait, you’ve heard of this game? Well, go grab a copy! It’s right here!

This was in the 80s. We were the outcasts. The ones that dealt more with our minds rather than out brawn. Color me surprised when I saw that this game was for sale. I mean, REALLY surprised. I, of course, did some research and found out that Nathan Crowder, a man from our little group, had a hand in its creation. I was overjoyed that this small part of my high-school experience came to life! It’s such a small world.

One character from that main group made it into the book. Yes, I took a character from one of our gaming sessions. I didn’t write about our exploits or about how our party met or anything like that. Please don’t think this is “I wrote a book about our D&D adventures” because that’s not what V&A Shipping is about. Yes I drew inspiration for the ship and a couple characters, but that’s where the similarities stop. I do recommend the game, #justsaying.

Dexter was the creation of my best friend from high school, Sean McCoy. He and I and a couple others started our own game of Bulldogs, but it’s hard to create something really big when you’re deal with a small group. The larger parties were always more raucous and entertaining and we fed on each others imagination.

From the game that Sean and I played we came up with Vic (a Han Solo rip off if ever there was one) and Argmon (a big dog-like creature with four arms). Of course there’s the ship, the SS Acid Rat. Sean probably still has the layout of the ship saved away somewhere (he was always a pack rat). If ever anything from those days comes to life, I will be sure to scan and share them. There was much bad art drawn and plenty of ship schematics, and the like.

Like I said, other than Vic, Argmon, Dexter, and the SS Acid Rat, that’s where the game and the book part company. Well, okay, not so much. One aspect of the game we played was making deliveries. And there is where things stop when it comes to the game and the book. In fact I don’t even think the BULLDOGS! RPG has much in common with what we played way back when. We just had a great time.

Now I had a few characters and a basic plot in mind. I knew I was doing something very Star-Warsesque. I wanted to have more fun with the story than that. I had to have a character that would provide as much comedic interludes as possible. Oddly enough, I had to bring in Buford T. Justice. I love Smokey and the Bandit and knew that this overweight, overbearing, loud-mouth officer had to be part of my book.

So what did I do? I mashed up Star Wars and Smokey and the Bandit. That’s what I did! I made an Intergalatic Beer Run! How could this NOT be fun? I mean, seriously. I was laughing just at the absurdity of the concept. So that’s what I did. I started plotting and began V&A Shipping (okay, I got the name from our gaming sessions as well) and during NaNoWriMo 2005 I wrote a majority of V&A Shipping finishing it off in December 2005.

Okay, now I understand what you’re thinking here. This is 1) based on characters we played in high school 2) It’s based on two different movies, and 3) It’s a NaNoWriMo novel. I understand your apprehension.

This story has gone through much modification. The characters only served for inspiration to their personalities. The movie provided only one plot device. NaNoWriMo was just an excuse to actually start writing something after not writing for a good long time.

This is NOT a D&D adventure. This is NOT a 50,000 word pile of dung. This is NOT fan-fic.

I just want to make sure that’s off the table. This is a story with a lot of personal elements, character insight and growth, action, death, space travel, police chases, black holes, crashes, beer, nervous robots, strange, sentient goo, and so much more. I did my best to write a story that I would enjoy reading and in getting this book ready to print I read it three times in the past couple of months. If I didn’t like the story, I would have just said “Bah, release it and hope”. I didn’t do that. I got a great cover, I got editing, I read through the book, made sure the formatting looked good, and put out what I feel is a quality product that you will enjoy.

If you’ve read this far, thank you. I hope you enjoy V&A Shipping no matter if you want to listen to the podcast, read it on the blog, or buy yourself a copy. I would prefer the last method, but as I said at the start, not everyone can or will. I understand that. If you do enjoy the story, find a place to leave some feedback. On this site. Over at goodreads, amazon, smashwords, BN, Kobo, whereever! Just help me spread the word that V&A Shipping has hit the shelves and is ready for the world!

Tomorrow, Chapter 1 drops! Are you ready? Are you excited? I know I am!

Until Tomorrow!