Crystal Keeping You

Just because the sky turned black doesn’t mean it was ever grey

Just because it’s time I lack doesn’t mean I cannot stay

Some things are acute
A sort of sudden risk of peace
Another chance to break the crystal
And keep it from eating me

I needed to find a way to you
A way to make us see
A whole entire mess of life
A wicked anthology

And now it stands completed as if it ever was a task

And now I let it feel defeated as if apology we lack

I just wanted to find a way
A solution to see it through
And yet it seems I cannot break
The crystal keeping you

I drum upon it fiercely, hoping it may crack
But crystal is stronger than flesh
Blood bodies on their path

So what is left inside of us and is it something pale?

So why now does hope question time and what does it unveil?

We chase the stories
See them through
And still it’s not enough
To break the crystal keeping you
it still isn’t enough

Coming up with story ideas

I got a question on my Twitter asking how I come up with fantasy story ideas, and felt it merited more than 140 characters to reply. This will primarily focus on fantasy, but is useful for any storytelling. There are two methods that I’ve used to come up with the majority of my story ideas.

Many of my story ideas come from dreams. Dreams sometimes feel like “cheating,” because you didn’t have to wrack your brain coming up with an idea–it’s more like binge watching your favorite science fiction shows, go to sleep, wake up with a new story idea. But you arrived at that idea by the investment in exposing yourself to creative media, and eating well/being healthy to get a nice sleep cycle. When you wake up reflecting on a cool dream you had, write it down immediately. Not only do you have it written down to take a look at later, but it will help improve your dream recall for the future.

But dreams aren’t consistent. That’s where my next favorite method comes in.

I like to try and see fantasy in the mundane. For most things in everyday life, there is a simple, immediate explanation. But letting yourself play pretend with more fun explanations is a great way to prompt a story idea.

Maybe you woke up to see that a tree has fallen in your backyard. Sure, it was probably the storm last night but what if it was a dragon that knocked it over? What was a dragon doing in your back yard?! That’s something that a story could help answer!

But a big creature knocking over a tree is too obvious. Besides, what do dragons have against trees? What if something small was responsible? Who else likes trees? Woodpeckers like trees. Well, they like the bugs in trees. But they have to spend a lot of time and effort to drill the bugs out. What if woodpeckers have started an illegal logging operation in your backyard and are trying to take trees for later bug-extraction? This is a much more original (and thoroughly absurd) story prompt.

Little kids do this all the time. “Magical thinking” is a term to describe the common behavior of children connecting two completely unrelated events as cause-and-effect. For example, when I was very young, I ended up in the hospital with a nearly fatal case of pneumonia the night after visiting the Camp Snoopy theme park at the Mall of America. Here in Minnesota, we have Minnesota-themed things, because we are proud of being Minnesotan. The log flume ride is themed after Paul Bunyan and Babe the Big Blue Ox.

I was terrified of Babe the Big Blue Ox.

The true face of terror

The true face of terror

So, logically, to my very young self, Babe the Big Blue Ox, the most terrifying thing I had ever seen, had made me sick and was responsible for my trip to the hospital. Were this actually the case, it’d be one heck of an interesting story.

Little kids are natural fantasy story tellers. As we get older, we get used to the rules of reality and stop coming up with absurd explanations for things we experience or see. When coming up with story prompts, sometimes it can be helpful to let yourself make up more interesting explanations for the world around you. Depending on how realistic a story you are going for, come up with a more realistic way to connect the cause and effect, but you can more-or-less pick any two things and try and invent a reason that they are cause-and-effect to tell a cool story, from mysteries to fantasy to sci-fi.

I like Urban Fantasy because it invites exactly this. On your morning commute, try looking at the places you pass through and thinking about what kinds of stories could be told there. Interesting architecture and fire escapes are easy, but what about the lonesome street corner? The office building that you’ve gone by a hundred times and never seen anyone actually go in or out of? What stories can be told, and what explanations can you make up?

Coming up with story prompts is practicing the skill of imagination.


A square of light in a dark room
Time glued on the wall
An open vent but dusty flume
And never did time fall

Then harvest came
And with it new
And places we would go
Down by the sea and twists of trees
For never did we crawl

Because while laying down is easy
And standing up is hard
It doesn’t change that I still stand
So I’ll have to take it on

Then flowers grew
And with them me, me you.
Mechanic springs as sprigs of wings
To see ranges off radar.
While tulips would stick in the glass
They’d only burn a silent scar
Continue reading

Za’nar: Impossibility!

You can get my new novel, Za’nar: Impossibility, from my new website! Check out to video below to learn everything you need to know about the novel in 3 minutes, and then get it on Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, Barnes and Nobles or IN PAPERBACK from! I’m extremely excited to finally be sharing this story with you! With that said, Projection On Paper isn’t going anywhere. Though I’ve been busy and updates here have slowed, I’d like to ensure that content continues to be posted here, including poems, short stories, blog posts and more. In the future, will serve as the hub for all of my novels, and also have a blog/news feed there. Projection On Paper will continue to be a part of who I am as a writer, and serve as the same mix of creative writing, photography and random thoughts that it’s always been.

If you’ve been a fan of the things I’ve shared here in the past or present (or of me on King of the Nerds, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or Twitch!), I’d like to thank you. This isn’t the end of Projection On Paper (and to prove it, I just posted a new poem), but having this space to share things with the world was a major confidence booster for me, as was the relative popularity of the site from it’s very inception. Even it it’s earliest days, I recorded ~100 different people a day who stayed on the site and clicked around and into posts. Today, those numbers are much higher. Thank you so much for your support.


Half Full, Full Spilled

Tumble towards the suffering twice had
under the yielding shadows of deep noon
Till the seeking has it’s vehement comeuppance
And the cup can spill half full


Author’s Note: I realized I hadn’t written anything here in a while. I’d like to fix that! I’m also going to spruce this place up a bit to feature and my new fantasy Za’nar.


With time to write more tangents I define the way behind
A traffic jam before the rail house where the rejects hide
A sole reminder of the past, a broken coffee mug
Over the rails a solemn remainder, refrainer steps
and searches through the wreckage of the
wake, and takes a path anew, to head onto
new surfaces to cling upon like a reptile on a screen
leaching through the glass for a glimpse of something warm



Author’s Note: Was in the mood to jot down a poem, so I did as much! I think I’m going to make an effort to write poems more frequently and post them here–if you’ve enjoyed poems I’ve written, I hope you check back to see new ones!

Battle Gems Review

Despite my passion for and connections with Artix Entertainment (I’ve been a character in two of their MMO games now!) I’ll try to be as unbiased as possible–although I have to say that Battle Gems on the Apple App Market and Google Play Store is one of the best puzzle games that’s been made in a long time. I’m going to take things category by category and break this thing down! If you don’t know what Battle Gems is at all, I’m about to tell you, but here’s a link to their official website. You can download it for free on the Android Store or Apple App Market right now. The game uses an “energy” structure to limit battles per a time limit, with a $10 one time upgrade available for unlimited energy.

Gameplay (10/10):
The basic gameplay is similar to other Match 3 styled things you may have seen, with the core distinction that this one has considerably more depth. The first thing to note is that while this is classified as a puzzle game, it ends up as more of a turned-based game than anything else. On your turn, you draw a line through as few as three matching gems to have your hero launch a spell, use potions to fight or aid themselves, attack with their weapon or tell their pet to fight for them. After your move, your opponent immediately retaliates, and the game continues with it your turn once more. Enemies will not attack until you do. This is a good thing. While I’m the type who loves a game that challenges me to move extremely quickly, I don’t mind one where things can slow down and allow thought to be involved.



When you clear blocks, they disappear and everything drops down a level, with new blocks spawning from above. You won’t know what those new blocks are, but there’s still room for planning ahead or setting up better combos with what you can see. It’s also a great strategy to save blocks of potions to restore your health when it gets low.

However, combat brings with it a certain level of randomness. You’ll learn many special skills and abilities as you play, but you have relatively limited control over what you’ll actually use when you line up blocks. It’ll come from the category of blocks broken of course (Pet, Potion, Magic and Attack) but will pick a skill at relative random. Certain abilities, such as those that restore health, will always be prioritized when your health is low–but it’s trickier to do things like, say, start off by applying a poison damage over time effect, find that your enemy is hitting too strong and reduce it’s attack, then buff your own attack and go in for the kill. I think one thing the game would benefit from would be if you could choose to disable certain skills and spells from being used in combat. Continue reading

Henry IV Act 3 Scene 2 as Predatory Business Practices

A Projection On Paper Short Story / Shakespeare Adaptation

The CEO of King Enterprises, Henry, had been discussing the ongoing crisis all day from his office. There was a knock at the door. “Gentlemen, if you will, wait outside for a moment,” Henry said. “I need to have a private conversation with our would-be air.” The men shuffled out, and Hal entered. Henry waited to speak again until the door closed and his employees were out of earshot.  “Sit down, Hal.” Hal sat. “I swear, I don’t know what sin I committed to deserve you, but clearly God means to punish me with the course of your life. You chase after gluttonous pleasure and are lewd and do such despicable things with those friends of yours. They’re thieves and thugs and now they are calling themselves equals with someone born of upper-class like you?”

Hal shrugged. “Well, I admit I’ve done some of the things you say in the past, but not all of that or now. Every great man gets into the National Inquirer. Look, if I can convince you that I’m not guilty of the things people are gossiping about me then at least forgive me for the things I did do in the past.”

“God’s the one you should be asking for forgiveness. You act nothing like your ancestors. Your behavior cost you your job here and I had to give it to your brother! In the eyes of the other employees here you’ve become a laughing stock. There was hope for you—a lot of hope, the promise that you showed with your business know-how could do a lot for you—but now it’s past and all anyone can see is your downfall. Just look at me. If I’d been so public and hung out with the common folk like you the news media would have stayed on Richard’s side. I’d never have gotten the company from him. Instead, when I did give an interview or appear in public, people wanted to hear about it and see me. I stayed just loud enough to be heard, and soon I had the spotlight without any bad press. But Richard, he sought out the same kinds of crowds that you’re spending time with now–the lower class. So he became so common place that it was like seeing the sun rise or a cuckoo in June. He was heard but no one listened. He lost his status by affiliating with them. And that’s what is going to happen to you, Hal, unless you clean up your act.”

His father’s lecture resonated with him. “I promise I’ll start behaving more like myself.”

“There is, of course, the reason I called you here. Percy’s new business chain could drive us into the red so he can buy us out.” Henry shook his head. “Honestly, I feel like he deserves this business more than you do. Just look at him. He’s managed to build a bit of an empire and employ countless men. He’s no older than you, and he already has so many people under his command. He doesn’t even have the benefit of your class. But why am I praising him? Hal, I swear, I’d half expect you to let him buy us out if you had any power here just to prove what a thug you are.”

“I’d do nothing of the sort. Look, I’ll beat him out for you. And when I do, you’ll be able to be proud of me. It’ll be the day when we buy him out with my command over the company. You know I have the skills to do it. He’ll have to fork over every last cent that he owns. And if God allows me to do all this then I hope my debts are repaid to you for my bad behavior.”

Henry scratched his chin. “A hundred thousand employees will be laid off by the time you’re done with them, I know this. I’ll give you significant control over the business. I trust your judgment to get us back in the black and take Percy down.”

Continue reading

Fremitus Resistance

I’ve been getting requests lately to tell more about the story I wrote for the LARP challenge on King of the Nerds, so I’m going to do that!

First off though, I wrote the majority of the story/did the world building, but Jack, Nicole and MK had significant impacts on their own characters of course. With that said, and the acknowledgement that I might get some of the minor details about other people’s characters wrong, I’d love to share about the world I came up with! Also, if I got any of the Latin correct, I’d be shocked–I don’t speak it, but as Brandon said on season 1, Latin sounds cool.

Based on the classes we had to LARP, it set itself up for a world with musical undercurrents. We spent some time brainstorming, decided on some kind of dystopian and I started spit balling the ideas that became the actual story. Jack decided someone needed to die and I was cool with that. Nicole came up with the idea of her character actually being the real villain, which was cool and we all loved.

Sound became the theme, both literal (Spell Singers, Bards and my rather loud and aggressive warrior) and less literally by means of rebellion. Let’s start with the cast!


Magnus a Warrior of the Fremitus Resistance, played by Zack/Myself
A member of the untouchable Clamore, he lost his father to the Eodem Sono and joined the Fremitus to fight for freedom and individuality in Melodia. Improving his skill with the sword, he worked his way up through the ranks of the Fremitus to become one of their top fighters and will stop at nothing to see Melodia restored and the Eodem Sono destroyed. In protest to the “One Sound” government he aims to disestablish, he always speaks strong and loud.

Lady Aria a dubious Bard with a tragic past, played by Nicole
She grew up in a horrible situation and learned she could control people with her song. She thought that everything would be better were everyone the same–less violence, more understanding. She took control over the Sacre Monje and joined the Fremitus as a double-agent, using her knowledge to keep them a non-threat and ultimately aiming to plot their complete destruction.

Kahlan a Spell Singer of the Cantio, played by Mary Kate
An incredible fighter and master of Spell Singing, Kahlan works with the Fremitus as one of their top fighters. Like Magnus, she wishes to see her world returned to one of many sounds so that she may continue to sing her spells as she likes.

Sacre Monje the leader of the oppressive Eodem Sono, played by Jack
A previously calm, well measured man twisted by Lady Aria. During the Tympanum, he plays steady beats on a drum to remind the populous of his control and their unification under the Eodem Sono.

_________________________The Story and World________________________
(this all comes from a document that I typed up prior to the Nerd War and then distributed to the rest of Midas Touch Attack–This is what I came up with when Nicole asked me to make the story.

The Fremitus Resistance (What you saw in the Nerd War)
Magnus, Lady Aria and Kahlan are members of a resistance fighting against a fantasy dystopian government which has suppressed the individuality and innovation (the very same drive that makes nerds nerds!) in an attempt to maintain control over it’s populous. They call themselves the Fremitus, and aim to overthrow the Eodem Sono. While there are many members of this rebellious movement, three are sent on a mission to try and dispatch the Sacre Monje, the leader of the Eodem Sono. Little do they know that Lady Aria’s Bard spell has put her in control of the Sacre Monje–and now that she has a chance to take on Magnus and Kahlan, two of the most powerful members of the Fremitus, with the help of the Sacre Monje, she aims to quiet the Fremitus once and for all.

Click more for lots and lots more! I don’t want to flood the homepage.

Continue reading

Stompy Story

I wanted to post this because, yes, there was an actual short story (children’s story) in that picture I posted on Facebook. It was written in about two and a half minutes, but I still wanted there to be SOMETHING on the page. I put too much work into these pics…stompywrite

A Projection On Paper Story by Stompy the Triceratops

Once upon a time there were a bunch of dinosaurs running through the Dark Valley in search of the delicious fruit tree. One dinosaur, a triceratops named Stompy, went on ahead to scope out the path. He passed by a tall tree which was in front of a craggy cave. Although it was off the path, Stompy loved adventure, so he took a peek inside the cave’s mouth. Inside, he saw nothing because it was dark. So he left and went back to Toothless the t-rex and the Spike the stegosaurus who he was traveling the Dark Valley with and told them that the way ahead looked safe. Then they went along the path through the valley and found that it widened until they reached the bank of a river. They could see the delicious fruit tree on just the other side! The river was deep and the rapids were fast, and they had no way to cross! Not knowing how to go forward, Spike suggested they just turn back and go home. Toothless agreed that there was no way to cross, but Stompy told them to wait. In the sky, Stompy caught sight of a pterodactyl! He rawred, and the pterodactyl swooped down to meet his new friends. Stompy informed the pterodactyl of their predicament, and he agreed to help by carrying them across to the other side! When they got there, Toothless smashed his tail into the tree and down came the delicious fruit! Stompy shared the fruit with his new pterodactyl friend, and they flew back across the river with his help and went home. But Stompy knew that his next adventure would be to explore that cave…