Saturday, December 6, 2014

Orphan Song

While going through my hard drive, I managed to find this old piece that a friend of mine – Rich Stuart – composed for me. In the past we had worked together on an official soundtrack for another novel of mine, some of which I have uploaded onto the WWW, but today I just feel like sharing an oldie but goodie that is more relevant to the PROJECT SERAPHIM Series.

This song in particular comes up in Chapter Eleven of Seraphim Ascent, and is slightly eluded to several times throughout the series.

Yes, there are lyrics to it, but I’ll have to do some digging to re-find them.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Crowdfunding Campaign #2

So I just started another crowdfunding campaign. My last one wasn’t very successful, and it may be partially due to the way Gofundme works in that you’re practically transparent until you’ve hit a certain milestone of donations.

I don’t like begging. It’s my least favorite thing to do. I’d been raised with the mentality that asking for help is a sign of weakness, and admitting that weakness makes you a lesser person. But the way I see it, I’m not begging for handouts. I’m raising awareness of my creative efforts by rewarding people for their generosity with something in return.

In the indie world, I’ve been told that you don’t really start reeling in a profit until you’ve at least hit your third book. I’m almost done with Seraphim Storm, the second installment of the PROJECT SERAPHIM series. Additionally, I have a prequel novel lined up, as well as other short stories and novellas that I would like to see the light of day sometime in the near future.

No one ever said it was going to be easy, and I had no illusions in my mind that it would be. Despite being a writer, I’m not particularly well-spoken, and I’m only just learning about my new-found confidence in my abilities.

Are there days where I want to just say “fuckit” and throw in the towel? Of course. It’s normal to have those moments of so-called weaknesses. But life is short, and I can’t waste it away with the regret of never following my dreams, doing the thing I love.

That said, if you have any time or money to spare, drop a few dollars into my crowdfunding page on IndieGogo. If you don't cash, then spread the word via Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, or anything in the crazy social media world.

Every little bit helps. :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Why I Decided To Write A Series

As I’ve mentioned before, PROJECT SERAPHIM had originally been planned as a standalone novel. A very gargantuan novel that rivals many tomes. But my stubborn side refused to have it any other way, even when published authors had advised me against it. I had no major reason for it, other than convincing myself that it just was not necessary.

But when did I start to have second thoughts? What made me decide to throw in the proverbial towel and write a series?

It was after I had committed myself to dividing my sci-fi/horror tome into a duology — two books — that reality smacked me in the face.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

RRW's Top 10 Books

Recently I was tagged on Facebook to list my top 10 books that have influenced my life in some way.

Considering I was spending more personal time offline than than on Facebook, I didn't get the chance to tack away. But now I'm able, and since then have decided that the list was important enough to me to put on my blog, with a few additional details that weren't on my original post.

That said, here they are!

1. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
There's something about Vonnegut's style that just jives with me. I also have very fond memories of this book from my days in high school, more specifically my classes with my English teacher. In fact, I still have that gut reaction to think or blurt "So it goes" when something/someone dies.
In which case, so it goes.

2. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
This book made me cry. It made me cry a lot.
I didn't care that much for "journal-styled" novels even back then, but Flowers for Algernon struck a cord in me that I can't ever quite describe. So much so that I wound up naming a character after the titular lab rat, Algernon.

3. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
I know I'm naming a lot of old books that many of us were assigned to read in high school English, and there's a good reason for that: They're just downright damned good books. And I think a lot of kids can benefit reading them and, better yet, learn to enjoy them.
Fahrenheit 451 was different, though - I didn't read it because of a class assignment. I actually read it out of spite over not getting into the advanced English class in my freshman year, though I believed I deserved to. After all, I liked the required reading for the advanced classes better than the standard class that I was assigned to.
I read Fahrenheit 451 not out of necessity because my teacher told me to, but because I wanted to. And it inspired me to seek out more books - by Ray Bradbury included - outside of the classroom. Since then he's become one of my favorite writers.
Rest in peace, Ray.

Monday, September 22, 2014

SERAPHIM ASCENT is Now Available!


SERAPHIM ASCENT: Book One of a new
post-apocalyptic sci-fi/horror series
by R. R. Washburn

PaperbackAmazon ↔ SmashwordsBarnes & Noble ↔ Kobo ↔ Apple


Well, it’s finally here. It’s been several years in the making, has gone through various drafts, edits, and rewrites. But now I’m slapping it up and marching onwards to the completion of Book Two.

Seraphim Ascent has gone through a variety of transformations over the years. It once started off as a very video game-inspired novel back when I first wrote it in high school. In college it shifted from an action/shooter-esque style to a tale of what has become to be about conspiracies, mind control, mutations, plagues, war, and ultimately about identity. Not just for Rey, but for a bunch of characters trying to find their place.

Originally this series was intended to be a standalone novel, with the first two drafts capped at about 360,000 words. I like big books so at the time I didn’t see anything amiss until people pointed out to me just how insane that would be to print for a first novel. By the second and third drafts I’d planned to write a duology, but by the time I was writing what has now become Seraphim Storm, I felt like I was cheating a lot of the characters’ out of their full potential. Storylines I wanted to explore were constrained by the idea that I probably shouldn’t write about 360,000 word novel, which risked a lot of character arcs I wanted to explore.

But I’m the boss. It’s my story, and I can make it go however the hell I want.

So it became a trilogy, and then a series when I started planning out plotlines for a fourth novel.

At this point, I make no such commitments to numbers to say how long this crazy story will go on. It’s a start, and that’s all I care about.

As Rey would put it, “The only certainty is going forward.”

Saturday, September 13, 2014


With the release day of SERAPHIM ASCENT drawing even nearer and nearer and the cover being officially complete, I decided to throw together a little teaser trailer for the upcoming event. It's short and sweet and I wanted to keep it a little vague... But I'm pretty happy with it!

Also, my official website is LIVE, where you can find more updates in regards to releases and upcoming projects and all that other fun writer stuff.

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Beginning is the End is the Beginning

Everyone has their writing weaknesses.  Mine has always been the beginning.

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times SERAPHIM ASCENT in particular has been written, rewritten, and ultimately gutted. Needless to say it’s gone through quite a monstrous transformation over the years, with a rather challenging opening to boot.
Fortunately, I am feeling confident enough to share my prologue over in my author blog in celebration of having the necessary to publish this damn book.
P.S. No you are not going insane. I have, in fact, changed the URL for my blog today, for professional reasons and not just to mess with you and/or ruin all of my links now. Oops!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Good, the Bad, and Their Life Expectancy

Over the years, I’ve come to notice certain character traits that are prevalent in many of our modern stories, be they books, TV shows, movies, or video games. More often than not, they take place in nitty gritty worlds with dystopian elements, be it zombies or war or pandemics. Upon noticing these traits, it’s also come to my attention the flaws and contradictions that tend to accompany them.

Does this mean they’re bad stories? Not at all! In fact, I love things like The Walking Dead, The Last of Us, and A Song of Ice and Fire. But each of these manner of stories share a very common theme that’s been preached throughout, and that’s that the good guys die, and the bad guys survive.

Except that bad guys tend to die, too, and that seems to be something that a lot of stories these days neglect to really explore — or even acknowledge. Unfortunately, we’ve become so obsessed with antiheroes that we fail to really appreciate the goodness in individuals as well. That we’ll all destined to turn on each other if we are to last in a harsh world. Which is ironic because, in a lot of the stories that seem to advocate becoming a bad person, it also shows that being a bad person will just as likely get you killed. Yet they continue to insist that you can’t be a decent person, even though they’ve proven themselves that their own philosophy is wrong.

At this point it’s not even just me complaining about the good guys not always winning, it’s about the message that modern stories seem to be trying to tell us. And that’s not a kind of story that I want to tell, or even relish in.

Monday, May 19, 2014

One for the LGBTeam

Let me tell you something.

I think the whole “scoring points for LGBT” thing I see people say so often these days is stupid. Yes, this is a thing that exists. I’ve seen people use this term quite often, in fact.

By LGBT points I mean: When characters in media are portrayed as gay, lesbian, bi, or trans, it’s obviously just a half-assed attempt of the creator(s) to garner an audience or ratings - or all of the above. That it’s often seen as “unnecessary” for a character to be gay and there’s no way that they’re doing it for any reason than to get attention because that’s totally how the creative process works.

And I hate it when people act like a scorecard is necessary for any of these less-than-often portrayed characters in media, because all the same it discourages creators from portraying these types of characters. Writers shouldn’t feel remiss about including a gay or lesbian character in their story because they’re worried people might accuse them of trying to connect with the LGBT crowd.

All I have to say is: Why does this have to be seen as such a negative thing? When straight characters are portrayed in media, no one accuses the writers of trying to score any points with the “heterosexual crowd”, so why should it be any different for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender? Or any of the minority for that matter. No one should feel pressured to avoid risks or following their creative path simply because people will judge them for “not understanding” what it feels to be that minority, or whatever.

Here’s a secret, and it might come off as a total shock to people, but hear me out.

Friday, April 25, 2014

ENOUGH With The Comedic Relief!

Please... no more...
The other day I finally ripped off the Frozen band-aid, so to speak. I know you’re probably not here to read my opinions on Disney movies, but rest assured this isn’t some kind of review. It’s just that certain things grated my nerves. Something that extends far beyond whatever beef I had with this particular movie. It wasn’t even a matter of trying to pinpoint what it was, because it became blatantly obvious the moment it reared its ugly bucktoothed head into the story.

Since Frozen was out all I kept hearing from friends was how Olaf, this goofy-looking snowman character, was not as “annoying as I thought he’d be”. Once I finally decided to give the film a chance, I wondered “What if I actually wind up liking Olaf?”

Spoilers: It didn’t happen. Here’s why.

Nothing pisses me off more than comedic relief characters. Characters that serve no other purpose other than to bounce around the screen making humorless jokes. Characters that could simply be written out of the script and nothing would change. Throughout the movie I was thinking to myself just how much these scenes would’ve been impacted had Olaf not been written into the script, and here’s the thing – I got nothing. Literally nothing would’ve changed, save for the removal of an obnoxious musical number and maybe a scene towards the end that could’ve been easily altered without his presence.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

What's Up With Villain's Names?

Writers. Friends. We sometimes like having villains in our stories, yes? Or antagonists who are driving forces that propel our plot, stand in the way of our protagonists, and more often than not we wish them to be evil and villainous to justify the actions of our main characters. Yes?

Which begs to question... what’s up with villain names?

No, really. What kind of mother gives birth to her child and says, “Yes, my darling baby will henceforth be named Darko Beelzebub and golly he will grow up to achieve great things!”

Although I find this to be a more common theme with high fantasy novels, something which is a little out of my element. But every now and then I will pick one up and go, “Well, what did they expect?” Like who names their son Galbatorix (Eragon) or Darken-freaking-Rahl (Wizard’s First Rule) and not expect that they’re going to turn out to be nasty people? I’ll at least try to give Lord Voldemort some credit, as maybe he found that the name Tom Riddle wouldn’t exactly strike fear into the hearts of the wizarding community. But still. Can I just say that Tom Riddle is actually a pretty cool name?

It genuinely makes me curious as to what creative process goes through writer’s heads when coming up with names for their antagonists (assuming they have one at all). For me and the horror genre in general, most of the time an antagonist’s name can be anybody’s, and that’s what I love about it. It’s perfectly realistic to imagine a parent naming their child Joe or Sally and not expect them to grow up to become a bloodthirsty psychopath. It’s not like they’re damning them to a life of socipathy. And when they are given really evil names, it’s usually given to them by either themselves or people who decided to call them Belphegor the Butcher.

For me, as far as the Seraphim books are concerned, I like to think that names such as “Gregory” and “Rhea” and “Jonah” are more liable to initially inspire trust and confidence than fear — and that’s how I think a good opposite force should be. Someone who you can think and trust to do good, but have more selfish ulterior motives in mind. Not some moustache-twirling man wearing spikes and a dark cloak, sitting behind his desk, petting his lapdog while trying to assure you that his name is Dark Lord Astaroth of the Shadow Realm, and he is absolutely not a villain.


Huh. Kind of makes me actually want to write a Darko Beelzebub as a protagonist now.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Hush Redux

A few years ago, I wrote a short story. Several years later, I tweaked and rambled about it a little. The other night, I started expanding on it a little bit more. I have posted an excerpt of the short story over here.

Like the other characters from this particular project of mine, Hannah Vallejo's story is one I've been wanting to tell for a long time, as she was created during my late night/early morning drives through dark country roads. To this day she holds a very near and dear place in my heart.

(Also Hannah just happens to be my favorite girl name. When I was a kid and hated my name like most kids usually do, I wanted to change my it to "Hannah" when I was old enough to. Of course my adult sentiments have changed since then. This absolutely has no bearing on the story or the character, other than the fact that I was able to fulfill my childhood wish via my literary child owning my favorite name.)

Anyway, I have other plans for Hush to be part of a potential short story anthology involving two other characters from the same storyline, if my current plans for it fall through. Either way, I have some big things in store for poor Hannah Vallejo.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

David the Dinosaur

Wow, sure has been a few months since I updated.

I wish I had some long-winded subject to talk about, but I really have to kick myself in the butt to get started on the sequel to the first book I'm trying to publish.

To motivate myself, I did a quick little Photoshop of one of the characters from said novel, David the Dinosaur.

You know. For fun. :)

Spoilers: He's not really a dinosaur.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Seraphim in 13 Years

When talking about my first novels, people had asked me, "So are you going to write it as a series?"

So, what did I usually tell them?

"No, it's just a singular novel! I refuse to write a series! Stop asking me that," I exclaimed adamantly upon finishing my second novel ever back in the year 2001.

(I was 15-years-old and knew so little.)

"I will not conform! Let me write my 360k-word manuscript in peace!" I still said while finishing the second draft back in 2005.

"Are you happy now? You convinced me to split this story up into a duology," I finally said during the outlining and writing stages of the third and final rewrite in 2012.

"Fine, why not. Trilogies are the in thing, aren't they?" I threw my hands up when I conformed in 2013.

"I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT I AM DOING ANYMORE!" I scream to the heavens in 2014, while divising that I write a much longer series than initially intended well over a decade ago.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

I Hate Writing Sequels

I really hate writing sequels.

There, I said it.

When I first started writing novels, I'd have rather written a 400k-word tome than to split it up into separate novels, no matter how much more cost-efficient that would have been for me. I'd been told by several people before "You should write a series!" and I was so adamantly against it. No way, no how.


For one thing, it's difficult trying to find an appropriate cutoff point that would contain just enough of a climax that would leave both the writer and reader satisfied, but not too much because you want them to read the next book and learn where the story and characters are going next. And in that case I'm not so much writing a sequel, but a continuation to a really long novel, which was the problem I faced when writing just a singular really long novel - it's just a lot of pages to print, and a lot to read, and ain't nobody got time for that.

Plus, I don't know about you, but holding big books tend to hurt my wrists.

Secondly, how much paraphrasing is necessary without sounding like I'm just awkwardly summing up events from the previous novel? Should I just figure that people have read it and carry on with business as usual, or do I assume that they assume that each book is a standalone? Should I offer a brief description of the previous novel somewhere in the prose, and where? At the beginning? Of course not the beginning, because your readers don't want to read pages upon pages of information before cutting to the action - that's just too much, and there's not a faster guarantee that they'll put the book down than info-dumping them into your world. Then should the information be littered throughout the book instead? How do you do that without confusing new readers?

Now that I think about it - an author that I greatly admire, Tad Williams, had written up a rather lengthy synopsis for each of his installments in his Otherland tetralogy (if you haven't read those books, I totally recommend it to any science fiction/fantasy fan). But I don't think I've honestly seen another writer do something like this before.

Bottom line is that because of this, I have never finished writing a sequel before. I've started writing sequels, but there was always that point where I would stop for whatever reason. It's kind of nonsensical, really, because in the whole noveling process I have always loved rewriting. Don't ask me why, I just love that feeling of seeing "old friends" again, so rewriting is more of a treat to me than a chore. And you'd think that writing sequels would be the same thing, right? But as we speak, I am already rewriting most of the 90k words I had written for the sequel to Seraphim Ascent last year, simply because of the length of the duology-turned-trilogy (and who knows? Maybe I'll be hit by a line drive to the face and there will be even more books than that).

So, not-moral of the story: Have I found a dead set solution to my Sequel Dilemma yet? No. Mostly because, like I said, I have never finished a "sequel" before. I've only started sequels that I never finished. But while I am currently in the process of doing one right now (which is ironic, considering I haven't even published my first novel yet), I am finding myself faced with tracking down that balance of standalone and info-dump, both which I think are bound to happen when writing a continuation one way or another.

Maybe it's time for me to break open some sequels and learn from other people.