A Memorial

Posted: July 8, 2020 in Uncategorized

I just spent two hours watching people that play video games for a living (and for fun) have a memorial in-game for a lost friend.

I follow some Twitch streamers that play Grand Theft Auto Online (roleplaying) on a server called NoPixel. I started watching them regularly back in February or so, at a time when I myself was having some pretty difficult mental issues. Dealing with the death of my mother, the sudden and terrifying pandemic, the beginning of the collapse of my country via a horrible President. Just, you know, a lot of shit all at once and I found solace in the late night and early morning hours watching this band of weirdos play a video game with each other.

The server kinda blew up on the Twitch radar of popularity about a year and a half ago. This occurred, as this sort of thing often does, because a “Streamer Celebrity” joined the server. That celebrity joined mainly because a friend of his, another streamer going by the handle “Blue622” talked him into it, and the resulting explosion of watchers and subscribers basically made the careers of many of the players and streamers on the server, allowing them to literally make a good living just by doing something they loved. Blue622 was well known and liked on the server because of his kind and humorous demeanor and welcoming attitude.

On July 4th, Blue622 passed away unexpectedly.

The community, as you can expect, was devastated.

Tonight Blue622’s main character, Boe Jangles, was immortalized on the server with a permanent location including his house, car, and character model, animated by Boe perpetually smoking a joint – a nod to his character and the streamer himself. When the change went live at 3:00 am CST, the community gathered together to talk, to share, and to grieve.

And as I watched, along with a few thousand other people who were viewing live streams of the event, I realized that of all the strange and wonderful and sometimes horrible things this Internet has brought us, this community of less than a hundred gamers plus their extended community of thousands of fans, all coming together to share their feelings of loss for a man most of them had never met in person, is maybe one of the most precious.

And it was not my first rodeo, of course.

I’ve been gaming online for over thirty years. As one of the first beta testers for the legendary MMO City of Heroes, I was in a Supergroup with a hero named Coyote, a young man who passed away during the beta, and who is now immortalized as a trainer in the game’s tutorial. If you click on his character and ask for more information you get the story. We talked about it in game chat, shared stories, tried to process the thing. I stood at attention with hundreds of others in the same game a few years later when Christopher Reeve died, as tribute to the best of Supermen. Many other persistent worlds have such ideas built into them as well, see also World of Warcraft memorials among others.

It is so strange that we as humans in a crazy over-connected world find this way of sharing our burdens in these digital worlds that don’t really exist. Happiness and sadness, the triumphs and tragedies, good and bad. We pull together, we laugh and we cry, we hug and we get mad and we yell and we share and overshare and we tell complete strangers, separated from each other by the entire length and breadth of the world and age and culture and race and religion, “I love you.”

All over a handful of pixels and a shared life.

I watched the people I’ve been watching and listening to for these most difficult last few months, people literally from all over the world, people who have brought me laughter and happiness, and I heard the pain in their voices as they broke and the joy as they shared their stories. They used animated emotes to hug each other, sharing that basic human need for contact, even here in this place that only exists in pixels and imaginations and computer memories all so fragile. People in the chat room expressed their love for their favorite streamers and shared their own experiences with loss and grief. Heart emojis everywhere.

It brought me tears.

It was beautiful.

It was magnificently strange and modern and something that could not exist if not for a decision to create a distributed computer network that could survive a nuclear war, back in the 60’s.

Damn we humans are a weird bunch, right?

The most amazing invention of the 21st century is the Internet, and we mostly use it to share everything about ourselves. The good times and bad, breakdowns and build-ups, lives and deaths. We use it to play games and have arguments and grieve and show people pictures of pets and babies. Because we are the social animals we are and we need that contact, especially in times of crisis and danger. Like right now when we as a people are at risk of losing so much of everything and we’re watching the seeming collapse of our world in real time.

We need it.

I never met Blue622, but by all accounts he was a good dude who brought joy to many and changed all those he touched for the better. I know that now, and so do the many, many others who watched a small group of gamers come together in their grief.

I’m just grateful, is all.

Thank you, NoPixel. For sharing.

And goodnight Boe Jangles, see you on the other side.

~V.

Weekly Digest Update

Posted: August 5, 2018 in Uncategorized

Being a collection of writings, posted every Sunday (hopefully)…

Reviewed some beer: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bl8lDIYnSjm/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Posted some pictures here and there: https://liesandlibations.tumblr.com/post/176523530690/from-a-local-joint-good-advice

And some foods: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10155884980016553&set=a.253201441552.144789.548126552&type=3&theater

Sold a book or two at the bar, and started a new blog that should be interesting: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/strippedonthestrip

Not as much actual writing as I like, but that is coming. Please stand by, and thank you for your support.

 

~VDL

ShadowCon XXI, January 5th-6th

Posted: December 28, 2017 in Uncategorized

IT’S OLD ENOUGH TO DRINK.

Very happy to announce I’m starting the year off right by attending ShadowCon 21 at the Clarion Hotel and Convention Center as a dealer and roaming ne’er do well. Been going to this con since the early days, it’s a bit smaller but good people and a good time.

This will be my first time setting up as a dealer at a convention with my own books and whatnot, I’ll have copies of Zombie Strippers and Alien Hookers, as well as some freebies for the kids (do NOT give my poetry to the kids) and some flyers to preview the new things I’m working on in 2018. Should be fun, and hopefully this will kick off a new year of promoting my work more vigorously across the convention scene.

There will also be a return of “Get Your Picture Drawn Badly By A Writer For Free!”

Hope to see you there!

~V.

SHADOWCON-XX-web

Updates and Whatnots

Posted: October 19, 2017 in Uncategorized

Greetings, friendly creatures!

It’s been a minute since I’ve updated this silly thing so I figured I’d best blow the dust off as I have many a new project in the works. If this is your first time here, WELCOME and thank you for responding to a business card or sticker hastily shoved in your hands by a probably drunken me. I am a writer as you may have heard, and I have books and some other things which can easily be found via Amazon link here: https://www.amazon.com/Victor-Lorthos/e/B00E47VX0Q

That out of the way, here’s a list of the NEW STUFF happening soon(ish):

  • Vampire Lawyers and Other Strange Words: work continues feverishly on this latest addition to the Other Words trilogy. I set a deadline for myself of publishing by October 31st, so as to make the publishing deadline for inclusion in the Darrell Awards at next MidSouthCon. Will I make it? Fucked if I know, but I am working on it and/or having panic attacks about it every day, so stay tuned.
  • Stripped on the Strip: Stories of Life on Highland Avenue: this will probably start soon after VLAOSW as a blog. Will be posting stories of life on the Highland Strip in Memphis TN, a depraved hive of drugs and villainy and also college students and social change and love and life and everything else. A weird microcosm of fluctuation and experimentation for over 50 years, it holds a unique place in Memphis culture and underground influence. The general plan here is to amass enough words and pictures to eventually turn into a book. Should be a fun time, keep checking this blog for more information.
  • The Amardian Wars: the next Really Big project, a three-book series centered about the nation of Amardia and its fight for independence from the Orlaininan Empire. Steampunk fantasy at its finest, my friends. Daring tales of derring-do, heroes and villains, fantastical inventions, subtle notes of intrigue, just good damn times all around. More information and possibly a unique website to come.
  • The Ongoing Attempt to be a Big-Time Writer-Person: so this is less of a book and more of a series of changes as to how I write stuff and publish. I’m looking at starting a monthly newsletter and possibly a Patreon account. Trying to give folks a way to help me keep writing and give them neat stuff in return. As a result, some of the things I regularly post and write, at least the poems and stories, will be going exclusively to my Patreon supporters via newsletter, along with notes about the writing process and possibly special neat stuff. I have a lot to learn about how all this works, once I get VLAOSW published, it will be coming down the pipe.

And now you know what’s up. Thank you all for your support, for your love of the words, and of course, for your money which I promise I only spend on bills and orphans and not on beer and strippers.

Yours,

Victor D Lorthos

Things you can do what are good.

Airship Ambassador

steampunk-hands3-2017-xpk

Ask most people about 2016 and, instead of giving you a nuanced selection of highlights and amusing anecdotes, they will be sick into a bucket. That is because, by pretty much anybody’s standards, 2016 has been, on the whole, horrible. If it wasn’t the Tories trying privatise air or bring back gollywogs, it was Donald Trump groping his way to the top, like an angry toddler in a wig.

Unless you are a paid up member of the KKK, mad person or recently fed dog, it’s very hard to justify 2016 as anything but an enormous and unexpected delivery of donkey poop arriving on your doorstep, first thing on Christmas morning.

Never fear gentle reader, for I have the solution- over the past 12 months I have been working on a cure for 2016. Steampunk medicine if you will, but without having to swallow any painful cogs along the way…

View original post 1,074 more words

Convention Wrapup

Posted: March 20, 2016 in Uncategorized

Home now in the cool dark and quiet. I love cons but they can be especially draining sometimes, lots of people, lots of interaction. It’s good but exhausting, and having a severe sinus flareup all weekend did not help.

Didn’t win the Darrell Award this time around but I’m still happy and honored to be a finalist, especially considering they get easily over a hundred nominations for short stories. And I was sitting at the table with the runner-up and the winner, and they were very cool people who were so excited to win. I was happy for them. Good times all around.

Didn’t sell a lot of books, which is a bit disappointing but I think mostly my fault. I need to work on my marketing and of course there is the fact that collections of stories and poems don’t exactly fly off the shelves. No worries though, I have some plans to get some into local stores and the hands of the people. More on that later.

To the people newly checking out this blog, HELLO THERE. Nice to meet you and I hope you are enjoying the stickers I handed out liberally at the thing. I’m working on the next project, a steampunk/fantasy series and website, most of which was supposed to be ready to show off at the convention but due to my own tardiness with everything, will have to wait about a week.

So please, check back soon! More cool stuff and things on the way, lots of fun times to be had, plenty of words to read. Enjoy!

~V

So, It looks like I will be in the Darrell Awards Panel at MidSouthCon around 3pm Saturday the 19th. And also at the Darrell Awards Banquet at 6pm that night, which will preclude my participation in the “Jocks, and Nerds, and Goths, Oh My!” panel, so some changes have been made to the thing.

The new thing now appears thusly:

MidSouthCon 34 Schedule

  • Friday 9:00 PM
    Humor, Gore, & So Much More
    Ridgelake

    Panelists will discuss writing horror novels; when it’s okay to add humor, how much gore is too much, and which is better gore or suspense?

  • Friday 10:00 PM
    Dystopias, Zombies, and Apocolypses
    Ridgelake

    Panelists will discuss this new trend in story telling and what type they think rules over the others.

  • Saturday 11:00 am
    Pro Row

    I’m selling books and stickers and fun and OMG I may have to lie down because of the hangover I’m sure to have from Friday night.

  • Saturday 3:00 pm
    Darrell Awards Panel
    Ballrooms D&E

    “It’s just a chance for the readers to get to know some of “our” authors and for you to get to know some of your readers or potential readers.” Also probably high shenanigans.

  • Saturday 6:00 pm
    Darrell Awards Banquet

    Presentation of the Darrell Awards. Awkward eating of food in front of strangers. That sort of thing.

  • Sunday 11:00 AM
    Writing Real Events
    Ridgelake

    Panelists will discuss how to write real events in a story, whether non-fiction or retelling it to make it a part of the story. Real events, like hangovers, you know.

That’s all for now, I’ll let you know if anything changes.

~V

Brain Not Brain

Posted: March 5, 2016 in Uncategorized

Me: Hey I’m awake at o’dark-thirty in the morning, feeling good, I should write.
Brain: NOPE
Me: Uh, what?
Brain: WANNA LISTEN TO MUSIC AND SURF THE WEB FOR CAT PICS AND STEAMPUNK GOGGLES.
Me: Dammit…

And so here we are, however, I now have some pretty badass steampunk glasses on the way, and I found this desktop background which may be the greatest ever, so I guess we’ll call it a win-win. Sometimes you gotta work with your problems, not against…

 

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MidSouthCon34 Schedule

Posted: March 2, 2016 in Uncategorized

Let there be panels!

This is the current panel schedule for my Con experience, which may or may not change before the actual convention. YMMV. Those 11am joints are gonna be hell on my hangover, but worth it. They’re all in the same room at least, so I will be able to find them on time, probably.

The Pro Row event will have me riding a table somewhere downstairs with books and merchandise and snarky anecdotes. Come buy my crap! I need money to pay for booze and all the weird stuff I’ll probably buy from the dealer room. I’ll even sign stuff for free. I’ll sign my books, other people’s books, whatever you got. I’LL SIGN YOU RIGHT IN THE FACE.

The rest of the time you will find me roaming the halls of the Con in various states of sobriety and inebriation. Looking forward to this one, it’s gonna be a good time.

There will be some other events here and there, at least one kick-ass room party, and I think I know the band. More information on cool stuff to come as I get it.

Thanks!

~V

MidSouthCon 34 Schedule

  • Friday 9:00 PM
    Humor, Gore, & So Much More
    Ridgelake 

    Panelists will discuss writing horror novels; when it’s okay to add humor, how much gore is too much, and which is better gore or suspense? 

  • Friday 10:00 PM
    Dystopias, Zombies, and Apocolypses
    Ridgelake 

    Panelists will discuss this new trend in story telling and what type they think rules over the others. 

  • Saturday 11:00 am
    Pro Row
    Rook’s Corner 
  • Saturday 6:00 pm
    Jocks, and Nerds, and Goths, Oh My!
    Ridgelake

    Panelists will discuss stereotypes and when is it okay or not to use them.

  • Sunday 11:00 AM
    Writing Real Events
    Ridgelake

    Panelists will discuss how to write real events in a story, whether non-fiction or retelling it to make it a part of the story

 

I am filled with enjoyment this morning.

My short story, Zedhead, from “Alien Hookers and Other Strange Words” has been announced as a Finalist for a Darrell Award at this year’s MidSouthCon. This is the third time I’ve been a Finalist for a Darrell Award and it is still a huge thrill to make the cut. I will be doing various panels at the Con (more on that in a separate post) and attending the Awards Banquet on Saturday to find out which of the four short story finalists has won. I wish everybody the best of luck, and am truly honored to be here.

The Darrell Awards were begun in 1995 to support and recognize Midsouth sci-fi, fantasy, and horror literature. I cannot say enough good things about these folks. I  have been fortunate to win two awards for short stories previously and it is an enormous help to my motivation. Artists need encouragement!

I am also glad that Zedhead was the story chosen to be a finalist. A kind of dark and serious look at PTSD through the lens of a zombie apocalypse survivor, it is a story that really resonated with me and was particularly difficult to create. I kept working on it and getting overwhelmed and coming back to it and re-writing it and editing and I think it took around a year to get the whole thing finished. As someone who has issues very similar to the main character, I wanted to portray the struggle as best I could and at the end I think I got it about right.

The fact that several people who have read it really picked up on that, and that the Darrell Awards has recognized it, makes all that work worthwhile.

Thank you.

More info to come!

~V

Source: 2016 Darrell Awards Finalists — And Two Winners – Announced