Glimmer, A Behind the scenes.

My new novelGlimmer, A Throne of Souls is out now and for those of you paying attention I thought I would talk about how this book came to be.

First there are a lot of people to thank… Aleron for taking the time to sending me his books and introducing me to LitRPG, Taran for introducing me to the fb groups and recommending some great novels, Everyone on the LitRPG forum, Gamelit society, and Gamelit horror pages. Angel and all the other gamers that have been supportive. Scott Lynn for working with me on the artwork. My beta readers and wattpad and inkitt fans (50k reads!!!!). Hugh (RIP) for always believing in me…. this one was for you and of course Tori and her niece and nephews for helping inspire the monsters, maps, and quests!

Glimmer began when I wanted to read a gamer driven story that combined my love of sci-fi and fantasy. A year of filling notebooks with outlines, drafts, ideas as well as notes for how weapons, powers, and skill trees would work some of which made it into the final book I began writing Glimmer, A Throne of Souls during NaNoWriMo. Writing 2-5k words daily and editing as I went. During the weekends when Tori’s niece and nephews came over to hang out we would brainstorm new monsters and trust me when I say there is nothing more awesome than the imagination of an 11 year old.

Darkness Beyond, the open world fantasy science fiction game inside Glimmer. Darkness Beyond is a full dive survival game.

A side by side comparison of one of our rough drawings and maps made for the inside pages. The Valley of Decay is a treacherous area that is filled with high level monsters, abandoned settlements, and of course the Troll kingdom.

Maps, dungeons, monsters.

The Nanook, In Inuit religion, Nanook (Inuktitut: ,naˈnuq ,lit. “polar bear”) was the master of bears, meaning he decided if hunters deserved success in finding and hunting bears and punished violations of taboos. One of the first ‘boss’ monsters Adam encounters (and loses several lives too in the process).

The final world map actually came out very close to the same.

For the sci-fi elements in Glimmer I pulled a few elements from my other series Deep Darkness such as this variation of the Erebus. Both books use the idea of seed ships and I planted several Easter eggs in both projects.

Loki at work. Adding details to a creature we made up.

Glimmer is a book of many monsters. Somewhere around thirty types with variations of decay.

Fleshling, a cross between a cyclops, a bat, a snake, a dragonfly, and spider. Very poisonous. This is one of the first creatures Adam encounters in Glimmer.

—//—

Adventures in the studio. It wasn’t all just writing and drawing.

The realms of Eda are based on Norse mythology though there are creatures and characters of all religions that play important roles in the world-building.

And of course there were other inspiring elements.

I’ve been a gamer my whole life and still own both my original Super Nintendo and N64 as well as newer consoles. Writing gamelit came just as natural as writing sci-fi and I can’t wait to explore new worlds with you guys and expand my writing on future projects. Look forward to an update on Convergence Book 2 Devour, Moon Fire soon.

Glimmer, A Throne of Souls is available on Amazon. Feel free to reach out to me for signed copies, trades, or review copies.

An audiobook of Glimmer is currently in production by Roberto Sian, an aspiring filmmaker and friend.

Cheers,

– Panda

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The Julia Barbara Foundation

While at Fanboy Expo we met with Josh Turner (TKO from the walking dead) and besides being an awesome guy surrounded by an awesome group of people he told us about The Julia Barbara Foundation. Their goal is fighting to cure DIPG (brain stem tumors) so that in the future DIPG children will not lose their smiles and families will no longer watch their children die a horrible death. DIPG (diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma) normally occurs in children, is non hereditary, fast growing and currently incurable. Further, brain tumors are now the leading cause of cancer related deaths in children ages 1-19. If you would like to donate please join our fight to save children!

http://www.juliabarbaradipg.org

Thank you,

– Panda

#savescifi #fanboyexpo #walkingdead #walkingdeadfans #dipgawareness #juliabarbarafoundation #scifi

Happy Indie Author Pride Day!

I published Pull almost two years ago. From editing to passing my book off to celebrities and trading with other amazing authors this journey has made me feel complete. Thank you everyone that has provided me with support, bought my books, traded, or otherwise just been there. Fanboy Expo was a blast!

Apparently he started reading Sleepers in the characters voice! So awesome. Tori was able to meet some of her heroes!

PS… if you google Stephen Landry you can now find several of my books available via Barnes and Noble and Books A Million.

Cheers!

– Panda

Fanboy Expo 2018

A crazy week.

Three nights in downtown Nashville and another three in Knoxville.

First time at the country music hall of fame.

First time at the Johnny Cash museum.

And a really cool VR cafe called PLATFORMS.

Fanboy Expo has been a blast. I may be in pain but I made it out. I’ve met so many artists and people I admire I am in awe.

Including Dave Dorman who was supportive of my work. I feel so humbled to have someone who had such an impact of my childhood to speak to me like a peer. Along with Sam De La Rosa whose work introduced me to Venom when I was younger and gave us some info on the upcoming movie 🙂

Looking forward to sharing some exciting news in the future.

Thank you for reading. Be well, be kind.

Cheers,

– Panda

Been a awhile…

Sorry I haven’t updated in a few months. Real life has been a ride. 2 months ago I strained my back at work IRL and toughed it out for awhile. I took a few days off work to recover and for the most part I felt fine living with the pain thinking “oh I’m ok I’ve just been working really hard” but just recently I found out I had dislocated my Sacroiliac joint. So my hip is rotating backwards and all this is causing the lower part of my spine to twist (which is also causing the muscles in my lower back to stretch). I’ve now been to the chiropractor 3x and have to continue to go 2x a week till the problem is fixed. Moral of the story… when it comes to your body always make your health a priority. That’s the bad.

The good news… actually, the great news is that I have two new wonderful fur babies! A 6 year old German Shepherd TT

and an 8 year old blind Rottweiler named Sadie.

I’ve also released a new book titled Glimmer, A Throne of Souls and I have 3 audiobooks in production.

Glimmer, A Throne of Souls the first official book in my Convergence series is available on amazon and kindle unlimited.

Glimmer is also dedicated to my mentor and friend Hugh Shelton whom recently passed. He was a teacher of mine in college and quickly became a mentor and someone I aspire to be like. He believed anything was possible and loved his friends, family, students… he was also a talented artist and I have no doubt his work alone will inspire generations with or without them knowing.

For those that have read Sleepers (Convergence book 0) I believe you will love the way Glimmer connects… and for those that haven’t read Sleepers but want more chaotic action and sci-fi horror you will want to check it out!

Thank you Scott Lynn for the amazing artwork it’s been awesome working with you again.

I’m currently gearing up to be a guest at Fanboy Expo next weekend and look forward to meeting and making new fans. I have a few other projects in the works that I’m really excited about including the third and final book in my Deep Darkness series titled Wound, the follow up to Glimmer called Devour, Moon Fire along with a several short stories I will be publishing this summer including a prequel to Trigger called Elegy.

I’m so happy to be supporting science fiction and gamelit right now as well as blending both together with survival horror in ways that I hope inspire and engage fans.

I’m looking forward to updating this blog more as I recover and work to be the best version of me.

Thank you,

– Panda

Glimmer, A Throne of Souls

Cover Reveal

Description –

The year is 2070.

Darkness Beyond transports players to an alien world called Eda rich with natural resources and dangerous lifeforms. Exciting first-person shooter gameplay combines with resource collection and building mechanics for a truly unique MMO gaming experience.

Players must scavenge for resources to craft tools, weapons, gems to protect themselves from the vicious alien fauna. Quests and crafting mechanics encourage players to brave the dangers of Darkness Beyond to gain experience to create more powerful items. Crafted gear and implants enhance players’ abilities, but teamwork is key.

The alpha phase of Darkness Beyond runs on a dedicated server hosting up to 5000 players in a full virtual world. New developments in nerve technology let you feel, smell, and taste the world around you in a totally immersive environment. Beware of danger though because even the pain feels real with death resorting in a level reset to 1.

Future releases will support even more players per server with various expansions combining elements from your favorite fantasy, action, and sci-fi games.

The future is now.

The future is Darkness Beyond.

Available on Amazon.

If anyone would like a ARC copy or signed copy feel free to email me sxcore87@gmail.com

Variant cover

Artwork by Scott Lynn

Thank you for your support!

– Panda

Tips for Viral Marketing

As a graphic designer I have been making flyers, posters, artwork and more for hundreds of clients for what feels like forever. It is the goal of every designer to have their work seen by people, to be admired whether for the subtle way you changed a font to make that text pop or that amazing illustration you spent hours working on in your free time. Everyone wants their fifteen minutes of fame, everyone wants their projects to explode and to feel like an instaSUCCESS. Kudos to those that have tried and failed. Only a handful of times have I seen my work go viral and for the most part it wasn’t because it was graphic design. The work I have had go viral (which I will not share here because that is not what this is about) were images I created on the fly with no real goal in mind, they were created for the purpose of doing something for myself or for a good laugh with friends.

Ideas float in the air like webs. We all have good ideas (we also all have bad ideas and there is nothing wrong with that) but what do we need to do to make our ideas explode?

The following are some ideas and things that I have seen help others as well as some things I have done myself. I am also going to list some things NOT to do in the following paragraphs so please pay close attention. Please think of this as a shorthand guide, I’m sure there are dozens of books out there that are a great read on the subject and who knows maybe one day I will write one but for now this is your five minute breakdown on what it takes to go viral.

1. EMOTIONAL APPEAL. – No one likes a bad apple. If you are going to make something and you want it to go viral remember that one of the most important aspects of marketing and design is that it appeals to your viewer on an emotional level. This is one of the reasons animals have had such amazing luck going viral as well as laughter (everyone loves to laugh) and ads that make people feel good about themselves. Check your feed, I bet you have half a dozen images right now with kittens, sloths, puppies each written with a message or as a funny meme all because they make you FEEL. Emotions can range from happy to sad (though sad images usually are not as viral they can create a call to action such as ‘Invisible Children’). Focus on Curiosity, Amazement, Interest, Astonishment, Admiration, Uncertainty, Humor, and you are almost always guaranteed to get great feedback. Make your reader question themselves. People share emotionally charged content because it relates to them, it helps them make sense of their experiences and deepens that social bond that they have to the world (even if it is all digital).

2. DON’T BE GENERIC. – You can take a picture of your dog or cat and post it online if you want and yes there is always a chance that it will stand out among the hundreds of thousand other dog and cat pictures out there but your pet will not be the next ‘Grumpy Cat’ (You should still post pictures of your pet though because people WILL love them). If you want your images to go viral they need to be UNIQUE, they need to lead the crowd and be worthy of being shared. Make something that others wouldn’t expect to see.

3. TRIGGERS – Make something that is memorable. Something that you find interesting that is at the top of your mind and the tip of your tongue, something others might not expect. This kind of goes back to number 1 but it is worth mentioning again. People react and share when something appeals to them emotionally.

4. SOCIAL / PUBLIC AWARENESS – Did you just make something awesome? Does it have a call to action and feel emotionally appealing. Share it with your friends, tag them in the image ask them to share it and do the same with their friends. Social media is one massive network and we there is only six degrees of separation between all of us. People are more likely to share something when they see others are sharing it as well. As a designer I am always trying to go against the crowd and make something new but it is important to remember that we are social creatures each of us wants to look good and feel like we belong even if that means following the crowd and social trends.

– Your message should also provide INSTANT GRATIFICATION.

5. NARRATIVE – People love stories. If you wrap your image in a short story or a narrative that reads from left to right (or right to left depending on where you are) then people will be more willing to listen. Talk about your brand as a part of a larger calling. What does your brand, your message do for the world? If it makes us laugh that’s great but if it does more then that if it makes people feel like they are making a difference that they are sharing something important that others need to know then you are more likely to go viral.

6. BAD TIMING – This is one of those things that corporations pay marketers and social media partners for. Time of year, day of week, time of day (time zones), events, these are all things that can make or break your message. This is something you have to think about for yourself, who is your audience, what is happening in the world right now, will others pay attention to your message while this and that are happening. Timing is everything.

7. DESIGN – This of course is my favorite part. Please remember though just because something is sexy doesn’t mean it will go viral (then again sex does sell and if you want to go that road you can but most people will ignore your message simply for the images). Location of elements in an image will determine how likely a user will be able to see it. If your image is being displayed in certain social media platforms the image may become cropped or someone may not be able to make out what the image is at all if it is too large or too small. Good designers can usually play with these fields of vision and make it so a user will want to click through an image to see the entire thing (think about narrative and having to click through to see the second part). Guide the users eye. Use effects and contrast only a subtle amount to make text or images pop. Bold text and colors tell users where to look. Big items draw users attention more then small items.

Use color to your advantage.

Red – Energy, Danger, Love

Orange – Enthusiasm, Fascination, Creativity

Yellow – Happiness, Intellect, Energy

Green – Nature, Money, Healing

Blue – Stability, Trust, Loyalty

Purple – Power, Nobility, Luxury

Black – Power, Elegance, Formality

White – Light, Goodness, Innocence

8. DON’T GIVE UP – If you make the most awesome image and it doesn’t go viral don’t give up. Maybe you released it at the wrong time or something happened the next day or someone else was given the spotlight before you were. Don’t give up. Some images take years to go viral, videos especially. Many of the most popular videos today were created years ago or thought of years ago and only now have they found new life. Your ideas may just need time to grow. Many messages start out with a grassroots campaign before ever coming into mainstream or even tapping on the glass that is public awareness. The more people share your image over time the more popular you will become. Success is not guaranteed overnight. If you are truly feeling desperate though facebook, twitter, and many other social media sites have ways that you can pay money to promote your posts and visibility to more people. Unsurprisingly many YouTube stations and videos, Kickstarters, IndieGoGo campaigns, and even small businesses use this kind of advertising to increase their popularity.

Utilizing all of these tools and this guide I know you can make the most awesome image, message possible and find success online. A great thing to remember though is that success is what you make it. It doesn’t matter if your message is seen by a hundred people or a hundred thousand as long as you are happy with what you are putting into the world and you are making a difference then that is what makes you awesome. Remember to keep your content and your designs fresh and never give up on your art.

Cheers,

Stephen Landry