Sunday, January 19, 2014

It's a brand new world ... over there.

My new author blog on Blogspot is over at

My primary blog&website is
Twitter: @bhbranham

You may purchase my books at as a signed paperback or hard cover.
It's also available at Amazon and Barnes&Noble in paperback or e-book, and at Kobo as an e-book.
Just search on "it really is rocket science".

I am currently watching the anime series "Golden Time" and "Seitokai Yakuindomo". Basically, unless it's a sketch comedy format or a college/workplace setting I'm done - too much recycling of plot and character types in a tight economy.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Time to reboot this.

I'm going to create a new blog on blogspot that reflects my author branding and focus on that. I'm going to actually shut this one down. I don't spend enough time on anime or gaming to warrant it and frankly, not many people look at it anyway so no loss.

Thanks to anyone who stopped by. I'll post the new blog here for a while before I delete this page once I set it up.

Monday, December 9, 2013

I keep forgetting I *have* this blog. I'm going to convert it to synchronize it with my wordpress site over at

I should clean up my Google+ account, too as well. There's really no point anymore in compartmentalizing my "Vexx" life from my "Brad" life. More people know me as Vexx than as Brad but with all the forced transparency of the various social media coupled with my "I don't care if you know my hobbies" attitude - so it goes ;)

"It Really IS Rocket Science" adventure series news:
Volume One is percolating along on the shelves. Everyone likes the cover with Elisanth. I plan to use her on the third volume again. She evokes a pretty decent version of Glycerin, the lead guitarist.
Volume Two is in final edits. I'm hoping to use "Mamiko" for the cover of this volume. She has the appearance of a real-life version of the character Tsika, the bass guitar player, in the story.

Volume Three rough drafts are almost complete.

The marketing takes up quite a bit of time, 50% or better of available. Most of that is 'start up' and figuring out what actually matters - which social media, which channels, etc.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Several author moments
1) Attended an author festival, met with several indie publishers, traded notes with several published authors. Picked up useful data on self-marketing, etc.
2) Went to a seminar hosted by the Northwest Writers and Publishers Association on e-publishing and leveraging social media tools. Tricks and tips of handling the various channels a writer has access to these days. Got a chance to pitch my book, was happy at the response (I seem to be hitting a niche in story content without much competition currently - and not because it isn't liked, just no one seems to have thought of it.)

About halfway through volume 3 rough drafting ... I'm rollercoasting a little bit. Very funny and very dark ... but I feel like that's really how it goes sometimes.  I did pull back and separate out a few events because it was turning into a perfect storm of oblivion and doom.

Part of me wishes I could put some of this earlier in the storyline but it just doesn't fit there. The feedback I've gotten on volume 1 is really good but the problems will require some careful tweaking. Probably the biggest epiphany is that I had written the story too much from an Eastern literature perspective for the average Western reader. Readers familiar with anime and manga were having no problems whereas non-anime types were "Oh my god, this is drowning in pathos and why are these people so needy?" I was taking tropes of the culture and playing around with them - satire, inversion, subversion, etc. but I forgot to tune it for Western sensibility. I think I can balance it out, but yeah, some dialog changes at the least.

I don't want to drive people away before they finish the first volume. The second volume seems to be really cool to most people so I want them to get there ;)

The third volume rough draft is very cool as well but I think it needs more upbeat moments to balance some seriously downer events and epiphanies. Things to do.

And ... I'm still no where on illustrations. I feel really strongly I need at least internal illustrations, more than just book jacket pics. Looking at DAZ still but that's a black hole of nickel and diming if one isn't careful.

Lots to do this month and it is already half over. Yipes.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Volume three of the light novel series is underway now, several chapters into it.

My rewrite of volume one is getting good feedback - planning to publish this for sure now. Still not finding an artist so I've started looking at DAZ and other 3d char gen tools. I still flip back and forth between a cartoony/anime style versus a realistic style for the illustrations.

As for the literature, the more I write the better I get. The main obstacle I encounter now is starting new story arcs, the old blank page problem. I have an outline but coming up with original "daily life inbetween" stuff can require a lot of brainstorming. I'll pick up ideas in the oddest places (shopping, restaurants, etc).

On the gaming front, I'm just done with MMOs for a while -- a new project called Wildstar has my attention mostly because of the humor and the cartoony art style. Seems to be a nice collection of 'best practices'.

Also, purchased Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas on a Steam sale. I'm more a high fantasy RPG fan but this is proving quite entertaining with all the sci-fi/horror/fantasy cultural references, puns, and gags.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cranking through a light novel series at 1-2 chapters a week

Looks like I'm good for a quarterly update at best.

I'm lurching into volume two of my light novel series. I've gotten enough good feedback about volume one that I'm going to reformat it, fix a bunch of squirrel bits, and digitally publish it. Talking to a couple of artists about having them do some original illustrations to slip into the text. I like writing the story. I do wonder if this is a one-shot wonder or if I can write other stories. I just really like *these* characters though and I'd like to give them a world and a life to be in.

I'm currently not playing any MMOs. Secret World was a lot of fun but the company just appears to have dropped the ball ... or there's just not a lot of interest from the vast horde of gamers in quest lines that actually require one to think. Whichever, the world is very truncated. Tera just got boring. It was severely broken in the roleplay tools (when even an ancient game like EQ2 runs circles around it - not a good sign) and the grindfest that infects most Korean MMOs was only thinly veiled. Might give the lates final fantasy a twirl but otherwise I'm still playing Skyrim. With all the PC mods available, it can still be a 'new game' every time I roll a new character.

Currently, the holidays have permitted both my sons to be home so between them and she-who-is-cute-and-must-be-obeyed have been getting a lot of tabletop gaming in.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Writing a Light Novel

Been a busy summer, not necessarily profitable, but busy.

I've been percolating a concept for a light novel series.  For those not familiar, light novels are popular in Japan.  They're like written novel versions of manga, running 10-20 volumes of about a 100 pages a volume.  I had finished an anime series about a high school pop music club and some friends and I were lamenting that anime almost never moved into college or professional life.

So I started storyboarding a series concept about a 20-something rock band, their adventures, lucky breaks, romances, and roller coaster ride to fame.  The more I messed with it, the more compelled I got to keep going.  I had used Rock Band 3 for character design (my art sucks) and programming their play and watching avatar behavior gave me ideas for their personalities.

Any way, the target audience is young adults - though I think anyone might find it readable.  I've been publishing it in a forum but the material may be edging past the PG-13 point in some moments.  I'm going to start publishing it in parallel.  I may test it here and see whether the blog format handles it or not.

Sometimes, "It Really IS Rocket Science"