A Quick announcement and reveal of the cover of my book.
It has been a long time coming and I can finally reveal the cover for my book, The Monsters Within. The cover design was by Rebeccacovers who I met through Fiverr.
The full cover follows, along with the back cover blurb.
The world has recovered from a plague that decimated the global population thanks to the efforts of the United Global Coalition (UGC). Now acting as the government, the UGC has set up isolated metros around the world. One of the largest metros is Capital Metro. It is the center of the North American Region.
Brett Hardin is a citizen of that metro. He lives his life dedicated to two ideals, supporting the UGC and protecting his family. When those ideals collide, what path will he choose?
Jenna Parks is an operative for a group of rebels that inhabit the Wildlands, the open areas between the metros. She is in the city to meet with her superiors for an important mission. She is about to find out that her mission is about to become personal and reveal horrors that she couldn’t fathom.
Back Cover Blurb – The Monsters Within
As of right now, I have intentions of launching my book around mid-December. That may be delayed to between January and March of next year. Look for that announcement in the coming weeks, along with preorder information.
Also, I am announcing that I will be taking part in NaNoWriMo this year. I am working on the story for that (I don’t have much time left until it starts).
A cartoon dog named Bandit is a dad’s best friend.
My youngest daughter will be 1 year old tomorrow (as of the time of writing this). Over the past few months, I have become acquainted with a family of dogs that seem to be taking the world by storm. At first, I hardly gave the show, Bluey, any thought. It was another cartoon show for kids. Between Peppa Pig, Paw Patrol, Doc McStuffins, and a slew of other cartoons and programs, I was getting used to these shows and they became good background noise for my daughter as she was in her early development.
In the earlier months, once my daughter was starting to sit up, I would put her in her playpen with some toys and the TV on. I’d put on a show either on cable or through streaming. Some of my favorites were Wallykazam and Shimmer and Shine. This would allow me to go about taking care of business (doing the dishes, folding laundry, etc.). One of the shows her mother put on was Bluey.
I found that she seemed to enjoy that show. Especially the opening music. The first few notes of that little jam would start playing and she would look at the TV and get a big smile. It was adorable. Then something happened.
I would sit with her and watch it while giving her a bottle or feeding her breakfast or lunch. And I started paying attention to the show. I quickly found a fondness for the dad of the family, Bandit. I loved how he interacted with his kids (and his family in general). It was heartwarming. They came up with all sorts of imaginative games to play and it was wonderful. Often, the episodes ended with a scene that just reaches in and grabs you by the soul. Some of the episodes go as far as to deal with issues such as death and loss.
I never expected a cartoon character to become a role model of a dad. I am far from a perfect dad. My schedule makes it hard to get the best moments. I work overnight, take care of my youngest in the morning while my oldest goes off to school, then I sleep during the afternoon and evening. Sometimes it can leave me exhausted and short tempered. My oldest barely sees me (outside of me walking her to school in the morning).
When I watch this show, I see something special. A dad that makes it work. If I can achieve even a fraction of what this cartoon dog does in connecting with his children, I know that I will have a solid relationship with my girls for a long time.
Finally, after a small delay, my Kickstarter is ready to launch.
This is a quick announcement that I am launching my Kickstarter for my book, The Monsters Within. Check it out and if you can, any support would be appreciated.
Set about 150 years in the future, it is a world that has been taken over by a global government. A plague sent people into urban areas and as a result, society has transformed. The United Global Coalition (UGC) now works to protect its citizens and keep any threats outside of the city boundaries. As cells of resistance to the UGC grow, a new threat emerges that could spell trouble for all sides.
Through the book, we follow Brett Hardin, a citizen in Capital City Metro, who performs his job loyally and does his best for his family. When those two interests come into conflict, Brett begins to question his place in society and does what he can to protect his family.
Blog update and pending announcements on the horizon.
Well, the past couple of months have been a roller coaster. It has been a roller coaster with some highs and lows. Now, however, things are coming into alignment. There are some speed bumps along the way, but, if all goes well, the next month or two should reveal some major updates and events.
In the meantime, I will try to resume my regular blogs (to some capacity) in the following weeks. First of which should be my review of Cobra Kai Season 4. I know it has been over two months since the show released. I started working on the review a while ago. Just different factors prevented me from completing it in a timely manner and led me to hold it on a slow burner for a time. I should have it out within a week (and maybe within a day or two). Unlike my Wheel of Time episode reviews, this is going to encompass the entire season with predictions regarding season 5.
Over the past couple of months, I have had a lot of reflection on The Wheel of Time TV show. Some of them have been good… some not so good. To be honest, it has been a struggle for me, being a big fan of the series. I knew there were going to be changes from the source material. However, while some I was fine with, other aspects I was not too keen on. But I will get into that when it comes. Expect that review in the next few weeks.
Along with those big posts, I may have some others coming. There have been a couple games that I have gotten into recently (including the Pixel Remaster of Final Fantasy VI and Dragon Quest Builders 2). There are some movies that I am looking forward to or interested in seeing. Not to mention the whole The Legend of Vox Machina. I may even do a blog on Dungeons and Dragons and other Role-Playing Games. Those should come over the next couple months in between the big stuff.
So, what is the big stuff? Well, to start, I finally pulled the trigger on starting my publishing company. If all goes well, I should have the official announcement by the end of the month. The paperwork is being filed. Although, I have hit a couple snags (that just came to my attention) that have to be worked out. Still, I hope the snags will be resolved quickly and I can begin to move forward and share the news soon.
Along with that, I am beginning the final stages of my novella. I am working out the tentative schedule, but as of right now, I should be looking to release it by the end of June. Details such as cover art, preorders, and a free chapter or two should be coming over the next month or two (not necessarily in that order). I can’t wait to get it out and into the hands of hungry readers.
And that brings us to the follow ups. I have several projects in the works. They are still in the early stages. I’m not quite Brandon Sanderson and I don’t have 5 books ready to drop all at once. Hopefully I will get there soon. Nonetheless, as the weeks go on, I will beging the process of outlining, detailing, and writing the first one. With luck, I think I can get another novella ready by the end of the year. With a lot of luck, I might be able to release maybe two or three more next year and give BrandoSando a run for his money. I guess I’ll have to check out Kickstarter to help fund me along.
So, to sum up, the next few months should be really busy for me. That is not including the personal matters like health and family. Still, I look forward to the road ahead, no matter how bumpy and scary it looks. I know that the end will be worth the ride. I hope that you are all willing to share it with me.
It’s been a while… here is an update on what’s going on with me.
Life has been busy. It has been over a month since my last post. Since then, I have been spending time with my family (especially my newborn and older daughter), working on getting my novella ready for publishing, and being overwhelmed with excitement for the upcoming The Wheel of Time TV series, as well as the Ghostbusters: Afterlife movie premiering the same day. So, without further ado, let’s dive into it…
It has been a little over a month since my second daughter was born, and we brought her home from the NICU. While it is a wonderful event, I have to say… It has been an adjustment. Afterall, it has been 6 years since the last time we had a newborn in the house. She has been adjusting well, despite developing a little cold a couple weeks ago. Her sister, Savannah, adores her. Still, it has clearly been an adjustment for her as well dealing with a crying baby all the time. We have been doing our best to check in on her feelings and to ensure her that we love her too, despite all the attention baby Sophia is getting. That has been the greatest challenge, perhaps. But I feel that things should be settling down by the holidays as Sophia begins to get more control and moves out of the newborn stage.
THE WHEEL OF TIME
Another excitement that has been sweeping over me. The onslaught of marketing for Amazon’s The Wheel of Time has been making me giddy. The trailers, clips, posters, spotlights, and more that has been pouring out is a constant reminder that the days are ticking closer until the release. When news that they were hosting premiers on the 15th in select theaters around the states, I took a shot at the closest to me… Silver Spring, MD. Alas, I was too late as the registry was already filled by the time I got signed in (about a half hour after the announcement).
So, I suppose Monday evening, I will be following Dragonmount, The Dusty Wheel, Daniel Greene, and the other lucky content creators who are heading to London for the world premiere. Still, with just more than a week away until the official release, I will be checking in as soon as I am able to. I do plan to do a review of sorts here on my blog. I haven’t decided whether I will do one entry per episode (there are three episodes dropping on the 19th) or react to all of them. Whatever the case, I will likely record my thoughts after each episode and before starting the next one. Maybe I’ll do a spoiler-free look at all three with a spoiler free deep dive into each episode (perhaps released a day or so later).
Also, look for a review of Ghostbusters: Afterlife that weekend too. I am planning on taking my daughter on Friday. I have been very excited to see this movie and I am hyped by the reception that it has already received. I also feel that it might help Savannah feel a bit special to have a daddy/daughter date after she gets out of school that day.
MY BOOK STATUS
And finally, the status of my book is that it is coming along. It has been in a “beta-read” status since I completed the first draft at the end of August. I have made several revisions already thanks to the feedback that I have received from several beta readers including Glenda C, Robbie Seal, Robert Young, Norma Garcia, and Shannon Casey. They have provided a lot of great feedback regarding the grammar, structure, and content of the book. I have also been pleased by the responses, so far, to the story itself.
I was planning on ending the beta stage at the end of October. However, I am extending it as I go through the story for continuity. I have been working these past couple of weeks (and I am still in the process) of extracting information from the book for my worldbuilding “bible.” For this, I am utilizing several programs and outlets, including MS Excel (for quick lists), Campfire Write (formerly Campfire Blaze), and World Anvil. I am also looking into a couple other tools. Look for reviews on how these tools work for me as I hope to do a worldbuilder feature blog soon.
Other aspects of the book are still a work in progress. I have reached out to an artist for the cover art, though I know she has a lot on her plate at this time. Also, the business aspect of founding a publishing company is in the works and I hope to have the foundations laid out by sometime in January. With all of that, I anticipate (and plan for) officially releasing my novella in early Spring. Look for more details of it after the New Year. I would like to do a cover reveal, preorder, and at least a sample chapter.
It has been a busy month and the months ahead are loaded with trials and challenges. But I look forward to them all. Happy Veterans Day to all my fellow veterans.
While I’ve been working hard at getting my book ready for publishing, an exciting event occurred… the arrival of my second daughter.
The last few weeks have been busy. At the end of August, I finished writing the first draft of my novella. That is exciting enough as it is, but more on that later. The biggest news is what happened over this past weekend. My second daughter was born.
Yes, that’s right. On October 2nd, just before midnight, Sophia Marie, was born via C-section birth. She measured at 21 ¾ in length and weighed in at 8 lbs. even. She was a little early, with her mother only being about 37 and a half weeks into her pregnancy. The past few days have been surreal, and I have barely gotten any sleep. Mother and baby are doing well, despite Sophia having to stay in the NICU.
The Birthing Story
Her mom, Lexy, had been having Braxton-Hicks contractions for a few weeks now. She had mentioned that it wasn’t painful, but there was just a lot of pressure that would go away. On Saturday, however, she was complaining that she was having pains. I had just got home from my work and was helping. Lexy’s mom and sister was coming down and they were planning on spending the day together. By noontime, her mother had arrived, and I was heading to bed to get some sleep as I had to go to work that night.
At about 5, I woke up when they returned to the house. I went out to use the bathroom and Lexy was complaining that the pain had gotten worse… much worse. So I got myself ready and took her to the hospital. We went in and they processed her and got her into a triage room while I parked the van. When I caught up, they had her hooked up to the monitors for the contractions and the baby’s heartbeat. An exam showed that her cervix was still closed and that she was NOT in labor. The pains, however, were taking a toll on Lexy.
Lexy was about to surrender. If she wasn’t in labor, she wanted to go home. Finally, a doctor came in and began asking her questions. Of particular interest was her blood pressure, which was elevated. Of course, the elevation could be attributed to the pains, but they decided that it was enough of a reason to go ahead and take her early for the C-section birth.
We were excited. We began making calls to family and informing them what was happening. It was reported that my daughter, Savannah, began crying when she heard that her sister was arriving soon. The doctors and nurses came in to prep Lexy. Finally, they had me gown up, took us to the delivery room and had me wait in the hall while they gave her the final preparations.
While standing in the hall, I could hear Lexy scream as they gave her the spinal tap anesthesia. After an excruciating wait, they finally called me into the delivery room. I sat by her arm, camera at the ready, as they started their work. I could see them working this scissors and clamps as they operated. I didn’t have a direct view, but it was enough. The anticipation was high for both me and Lexy. She kept asking me what was going on. After an unknown amount of time past, I watched the table get flooded as they broke the amniotic sac and released the fluid. Then, they began to pull my daughter free.
It was unreal… I was watching her leave her mother’s body. Almost immediately after getting her out, she began crying. They held her up and I was able to snap a picture. They then took her over to the warming table while the doctors began closing Lexy up. They cleaned her up and suctioned her out, hooking her up to the monitors attached to the table. They called me over and I welcomed Sophia to the world. When they offered me the opportunity to cut the cord, I took it immediately. I didn’t get that chance with my first daughter. With little sleep and the rush of excitement, I was on cloud 9.
I was then taken to recovery and Lexy soon followed once they finished stitching her up. They brought Sophia in briefly for us to see, but they had to take her up to the NICU as her Oxygen Saturation was not at good levels. They took her up and said that I would be able to go up there in about an hour. Being that I hadn’t eaten anything besides a sandwich 12 hours before, I went out on a quest for food. The café was closed at this time, so I had to settle on Cheese-its and a soda from the vending machine.
After my snack, I went up to visit my daughter in the NICU. She was all clean and sleeping well. This was the first of many visits over the next few days. I bounced around during those days between the NICU, Post-Partum with her mom, and home with our first daughter. Taking her to school in the morning and picking her up in the afternoon. I look forward to their official introduction.
I was running on little sleep. I gave my family and friends updates as I could, video chatting some while in the NICU with Sophia. Lexy was finally able to come up and visit her later Sunday afternoon. As Lexy recovered from her surgery, I spent the most time in the NICU, changing her diapers, feeding her, holding her, singing to her, and even reading to her.
On Monday, the took her off the oxygen and we were so excited. Unfortunately, when Lexy and I went up to see her, they had to put Sophia back on the oxygen as her desaturation levels were dipping. This was a blow to my excitement and had me upset. Everybody kept assuring me that it was fine and common. But I felt so powerless. I just wanted her with us. So that night, after a visit home and spending some time with Savannah, I returned and stayed most of the night in the NICU. Thanks to my father and Lexy’s sister, Ashley, for aiding me with Savannah.
Tuesday faired much better as they took her off oxygen at 11 am and she was now holding strong. Despite my worries, I cherish the bonding time that I had with Sophia during her stay there. I continued my visits, changing and feeding her. Her mom was even able to get up there a few more times and take her turns. We dressed her in some of the outfits we brought along (the doctors and nurses got a kick out of her “Storm Pooper” onesie). Steadily, she has been improving.
Lexy was released on Wednesday afternoon, and we went home. Sophia must be off oxygen for 48 hours before they will release her. The nurse suggested that we come home, get some rest, and do last minute preps at home for her homecoming. That’s what we did. Now, as of the time that I am writing this, we are preparing for her release today. The nurses and doctors have been pleased with all her other checks (just a bit of jaundice is the only other issue) and she is on track for being released by this afternoon.
In other news, the progress on my book is going well. Thanks to BetaBooks.co, I have been receiving great feedback. Many helpful grammar corrections, insights, and reactions. If anybody would like to assist, let me know.
The Road Ahead
I plan on stopping the beta read phase at the end of this month then moving forward with the process. The next steps after that would be to find an editor (if I even decide to go that route at this time, the beta reads have been helpful and I am considering skipping that step this time… we will see), work on starting my publishing company, and maybe secure an audio narrator (or two… hint, hint Michael Kramer and Kate Reading). I have already commissioned the cover art from a very talented artist.
It has been an exciting week and the next few months look to be even more exciting. With a new baby in the house AND a new book in the works, I have a lot to look forward to. Many thanks to those who have supported me with both Sophia and the book. A special thanks to Lexy for all that you went through. The payoff is well worth it. I love you and look forward to spending our time together, watching our daughters grow.
Regarding the above video, the book I was reading to Sophia is called Spiders in my House by A. M. Horst. I know her better as my sister. It is a lovely children’s book focused on counting and the theme is perfect for this time of year. Check it out if you get a chance:
A quick update on my status, what I’m currently working on, and my future projects.
I wanted to check in and give an update on my status. I know it has been a while since my last post. The past month has been pretty crazy. After dealing with my diabetes diagnosis, of which I am managing quite well, several other elements have kept me away.
The first, dealing with my diabetes, is that my vision has been out of whack for a bit. While I have been near-sighted for most of my life, the past month has seen a flip-flop of my vision as I have been working to get my blood-sugar under control. It seems to be settling back to normal (mostly), but it made it difficult to focus (no pun intended) on my writing.
At the end of May, I had family come to town for my niece’s graduation. It was a great time and I really enjoyed seeing my mother, sister, and her children and to have my entire family together for the first time in a few years. Especially when we all got together for Maria’s pizza. For those of you familiar with the Baltimore area, that is the Maria’s on Taylor Avenue. We grew up with that pizza and it has become a tradition within our family.
Anyway, some of my freetime has been taken up with getting back into certain games. That started while I was recovering from my hospital visit and my daughter wanted somebody to build her a house in Minecraft. So I did and now I have been sucked back into that game. The recent update adding copper didn’t help. Between that and Miitopia, I have had some needed bonding time with my daughter.
That brings me to my current project. My main computer had problems and I had to reinstall Windows. During the process, I was reinstalling my programs and tools. One of those tools, RPG Maker MV – a program that allows users to make games similar to classic Japanese Role Playing Games like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, has also sucked me in. I’ve dabbled with it before but have never completed making a game.
With my daughter’s recent interest and enjoyment of games like Minecraft and Miitopia, and to celebrate her rapid advancement in reading, I started working on a game for her that I hope to have done by her 6th birthday in September. I’m still in the planning phase, writing the story outline and gathering together my resources.
It is an exciting endeavor as it is helping to activate my creative juices and start them flowing. It can be overwhelming to think that her birthday is only a few months away and I am working alone on this project. Even if I only get a single “Act” completed in time, that would be satisfying.
I will try to post updates. And hopefully, I will be able to transition into getting back into my book and finishing that. It may be the encouragement I need to do so. To help, I may ask for assistance in testing, but I am still a way off for that.
This week saw several “first experiences” for me. It definitely threw me for a loop.
For about a week or so before this past Sunday, I had been having odd experiences. My site had become blurry more than usual to the point that I would think that I wasn’t even wearing my glasses. On top of that, I became twice as thirsty as usual. But I went about my business, hoping that things would improve. Since I work overnight, and began using an eye mask while I slept during the day. I read that if it is too tight, it can lead to blurry vision. So I stopped using it.
On Sunday, I got home from work and went about my day as normal. I spoke to my mother that morning, wishing her a happy mother’s day, and had plans to go with my fiancée to Texas Roadhouse that evening to celebrate her. So I went to sleep around 10 am. I woke up around noon and went to refill my drink. I was super thirsty. My fiancée asked my father to check my blood sugar.
He pulled out his meter and tested my blood. It read 600+. “That can’t be right” he said. He pulled out another meter and tested again… sure enough 600+ was the result. Needless to say, shortly after, I was on my way to the hospital. When I got there, I had the fastest experience going from walking in the door to being in a bed in the ER than I ever had before. Thus came my first “first.” They admitted me to stay overnight.
Up to this point in my life, I had never been admitted for an overnight stay. In fact, the only time that I had stayed in a hospital overnight was when my daughter was born. (That is another story altogether.)
During the stay (which turned out to be two nights), my blood sugar was brought down significantly. My vision was still blurry, however, so the doctor ordered first a CT scan and, when that came up clear, an MRI. Both of those were firsts for me. Having worked as a Patient Transport, I had taken many people to the CT scan and watched the machine do its work. So I was prepared for that, though I found it interesting actually being on the table this time.
I was a bit nervous for the MRI. I had heard plenty of stories about how it can effect people with claustrophobia. And I have that to a degree. But when I got down there (my nurse gave me some medicine to help relax me before going down), I found it wasn’t all that bad.
Of course, now being officially diabetic, I had a few other firsts as well.. checking my own sugar and giving myself an injection. I still flinch at the finger pricks and the needles are hit and miss as to whether I feel them. But I am managing.
All in all, I am getting through this sudden change. I have long had a sweet tooth and I am a picky eater, so that is an adjustment. I’ve even been going through a bit of depression. Still, I have a good support system around me. My father has been managing diabetes for 20+ years. My fiancée is doing her best to help me with my diet. My daughter has been giving me lots of love. My extended support is very helpful and I have been feeling lots of love from my friends and family.
Thank you to all of those who have lent me their support. Hopefully, as I get this managed, I will once again have the focus to get my writing going full steam ahead. In the meantime, I will focus on getting my health in order. Afterall, I have my daughter and another one on the way to think about.
The love between a father and daughter can be a strong one. When you share a joy, it only makes it that much better.
Among the greatest joys in my life is raising my daughter. From the moment she was born, by bond with her was forged and has continued to grow. As she has gotten older, she has developed quite the personality. She is now five years old (she’ll be six in September), and despite some frustrations, I can’t love her any more.
One of the greatest bonds that we have is our love of many things that fall in the “geek” domain. She has turned into quite the gamer already. She’s even beaten me a couple times at Mario Kart 8. Her last birthday was even Super Mario themed. Heck, she wanted me to build a “Super Mario World” (complete with Question Mark Blocks that we could jump up and hit and flag poles we could slide down) in our backyard, but that was a bit out of my budget (and expertise).
When she was younger, I often put her to bed saying “sweet dreams of unicorns, butterflies, and rainbows.” She loves unicorns now. She is my princess (I don’t care if that is cliché). She’s no delicate princess. She is a tomboy through and through. She’ll wear a princess dress and swing a sword around with a snarl on her face that would put Rocky Balboa to shame.
Going forward, I hope to encourage her further (while I still have some influence). From Harry Potter to Willow, The Lord of the Rings to The Wheel of Time, and The Legend of Zelda to Dungeons & Dragons, I look forward to many adventures with her. Maybe one day her path may veer away from the world of Geeks and, if it does, I am OK with that. But perhaps the bonds that we share now will carry on her love and enjoyment and be more of a legacy than any book I may publish.
Worse comes to worse, maybe I can get her future brother/sister to take up the mantle.
A little introduction of myself and what my goals are with this blog.
Hello! Thanks for coming. To start, my name is Salvatore Serio (Sal for short). I am a writer, a father, a former sailor, a history lover, a geek. Of course, if you have explored my site, you may have gathered that much already.
So, what am I about? Why am I doing this? Well, first off, I feel it is high time that I make myself public. After all, I want to be a writer, and I’m gonna need a presence to establish myself. So, here we go.
So, what will I talk about here? Well, as an author, I try to see the world from many perspectives, not just my own. I also have a lot of interests that I love to talk about. Sometimes, finding like-minded people can be a challenge (at least, in my circle).
Here are some topics I may discus over time:
Personal stories and experiences
Posts about my own writing and projects
Posts about World Building
Entertainment posts (reviews, previews, or general thoughts)
Gaming posts (video games, role-playing, even old fashioned table-top games like Monopoly might make a showing)
Pretty much anything else that I may feel compelled to blog about.
On the topic of Role Playing Games, I recently started a campaign with my daughter utilizing the game system Amazing Tales (which is designed for young readers). I will be posting a series of blogs chronicling our adventures.
One thing I should note, I am trying to avoid anything political or ideological. Don’t get me wrong, I have my passions and if something really begs me to express my feelings about it, I will. But I try to avoid anything divisive. The reason for this is, I feel, that there is enough of that in this world at this moment. If I DO post something that can have a divisive response, I ask that we agree to disagree and focus more on the things that we enjoy together.
I’d rather help bring people together through what we love, be they games, movies, books, or whatever.
That said, if you tell me that a favorite character of mine, from a movie, book, or video game, sucks, we WILL fight!
Anyway, that about sums up my intentions here. Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you think. I love discussions and look forward to many as I establish my online presence and get to know a lot of you.