Why I Do It

Allow me to give a brief explanation of who I am and what I do.

I am a creator. And creators create.

I have a myriad of reasons why I create. It’s how I release tension. It’s how I articulate ideas, opinions and concepts that I would normally have a hard time explaining. It allows me some modicum of control in a world where quite a bit is out of my control. It’s a great sense of pride to look at a finished product and know that it is my creation and the product of my work. I can dive into the creative process and forget about the crap I deal with in the real world for a bit. And I love it when someone else takes a liking to one of my creations, because it validates my idea as a good one.

I create in a variety of different ways. I write novels, I make music, I draw. I invent card games and board games.

I like to share my creations. I want people to read my books, play my games and listen to my music. Yes, there are monetary reasons for that – it’s awesome when someone likes your creation enough to want to pay for it. But it’s much more than just that. I like the things I create enough to want to share them with the world. I believe in my creations enough to think that somebody somewhere will enjoy what I have concocted. It could be one person. It could be one million people. It doesn’t really matter.

Would it be cool if one of my songs was a hit? Yes, it would be, and I put my music out because a song can’t become a hit if I’m the only one that knows it exists. Would I like to be a best-selling author? Yes, I would, and I actually believe I’m capable of that. But if neither of those things ever happens, I’m okay with that, too. I will still continue to create. And I will still strive to make my next creation bigger and better than my last one.

You can think that what I do is a waste of time. You can call my pursuit of greatness “chasing a pipe dream” it’s par for the course for people that don’t understand the creative process to critizise or not see the value in it.

So let’s talk about that. If you think my pursuits won’t be successful, then let me ask how you define success. If your only definition is me quitting my job because my ventures are bringing in money hand over fist, then I’ll concede that I haven’t hit that mark,…yet. Doesn’t mean I should give up striving for that though. After all, every profitable entrepreneurial venture started off as a farfetched idea.

But let me introduce this perspective. Many people have said they were going to write a book someday. Now how many of those people, realistically, would you say actually wrote one? Not a very high percentage, I’d wager. I wrote not one book, but seven, and number 8 is almost finished. I would say that in itself is a success story. And of those books that people in general say they’re going to write, how many of those actually see print? Out of the 7 finished books I have to my credit, four of them have been published, people bought three of them, and they are still buying one of them and have frequently asked me when I am going to start writing a sequel. The webcomic I maintained for four years had more than paid for itself in ad revenue, and believe it or not, a few people actually enjoy my music enough to pay for it. Considering that many creators don’t make a dime off of their creations, I consider these to be successes. I of course aim for bigger and better, but I appreciate the progress I’ve made so far.

And I feel no shame in having confidence in my projects. I will always believe my next book will be a best seller, and my next song will be a viral sensation, and my next game will become a gaming staple. If I’ve succeeded at one level, then why can’t I succeed at the next? If 50 people bought Godmode, then why can’t 500 people buy Queen of Hearts (that’s my literary novel that I will be self-publishing soon)? Why can’t 5,000 people buy Needle of the Southside (that’s my urban fantasy thriller that I’m almost finished with)? Why can’t 5 million people buy Return of the Tyrant (my high fantasy epic that I’m about 2/3 finished writing)? I don’t put limits on what I’m capable of. Never have, never will.

And it’s not like I create to the detriment of my normal life. I still work two jobs. I still do freelance graphic and web design. I still mow the lawn every Saturday and do chores around the house that my wife asks of me. I still bring 20 cases of bottled water into the house every week because we live in Flint and the water situation is far from resolved. If something in the house breaks, I will still try to fix it. The bills will still get paid regardless of how much (if any) I make from my creations. I still spend quality time with my wife and loved ones. I’ll still even take time to unwind by playing video games or playing the occasional game of Magic the Gathering with my brother (although I wish I could do that last one more often).

But despite all of that, I still create. It’s what I do, and it’s who I am.
That’s all.

GODMODE is NOT Demonic!!!

Okay, I just heard some news today that really has my blood boiling. I tried to let this go, but I can’t. Somebody made a VERY false statement about my sci-fi horror novel GodMode (that person called it Demonic) and I need to get some thoughts about this off of my chest.

I take a lot of pride in what I do creatively. I put a lot of thought, work and effort into my novels, music, games and other creations, and I only ask for people to give my creations a chance. If you like my isht, wonderful. If you’re not feeling it, I can live with that. Even if something I created isn’t your cup of tea, I can respect that, too.
But what pissed me off is when people make false assumptions about my work without even taking the time to see what the deal really is. If you don’t like science fiction or horror, then that’s okay. But don’t run around claiming my novel GodMode is “Demonic” when you haven’t even read the book to know what’s so allegedly demonic about it. That’s a slap in the face to me as a creator.
Let me make this clear: THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING DEMONIC IN GODMODE. This book is about science, not religion. Do I make reference to Greek Mythology? Yes. Do I make reference to HP Lovecraft’s Cosmic monsters (called the elder gods)? Yes. But I will attest that the person who called my book demonic doesn’t even know who HP Lovecraft is, let alone the concept of cosmic horrors. But dig this: I also have a righteous, upstanding, bible-quoting Christian in the story as one of the prominent characters, and actually is the moral center of the book. What is so demonic about that?
My story deals with eldritch horrors and grotesque, deadly monsters. All of these creatures are MAN-MADE. The story deals with biotech, and what happens when science is abused and man tries to play God. That is the crux of Godmode, and that is part of the reason for the title. And if you don’t think mankind is capable of creating the stuff I depicted in my story, then you are horribly naïve. In fact, mankind is ALREADY creating stuff along the lines of what I write about. An entire country just got banned from the Olympics because of performance enhancing drugs, which is the tip of the iceberg of what the villains in my story creates. There are no satanic rituals, no Ouija boards, no human sacrifice – well, not literally, and, I repeat, NO DEMONS OR OCCULT IN THIS BOOK WHATSOEVER. I defy whoever said that about my book to show me ONE INSTANCE where something even remotely resembling devil worship, occult or anything of the sort happens in my book. Since I’m the one that wrote said book, I can assure you it’s not there.
And you would know that if you bothered to actually read the effing book.

But you didn’t read it, did you?

You looked at the scary cover, looked at the weird title, and decided that “oh this book must be demonic.” WRONG. Do you know what book has more demons in it than Godmode? “Left Behind,” Probably the most popular series of Christian novels this side of Narnia.
Do you know what other book has more demons and witchcraft in it than Godmode? The Bible. You wouldn’t dare say that book is demonic, would you?
And that speaks to a totally different point I want to make, and I really need to make this clear. Having something in your story that could be considered occult does not necessarily make it demonic. You read a story about police investigating a ritualistic occult murder. Does that make the detective show demonic? You watch a movie about a catholic priest performing an exorcism. Is that movie demonic because they showed someone posessed? How about a story where your demons and practitioners of the occult are the bad guys that get defeated at the end of the story?
Or are you the type who thinks that ANYTHING involving the supernatural is automatically demonic? Well, that’s good for Godmode because there is NOTHING supernatural that happens in that story. It’s all science and stuff made by human hands. But I need to warn you now: my next two manuscripts have magic in them. And lots of it. They also make mention of systems of belief that aren’t Christian. So when these books are published, I’ll save you a complaint and not give you an autographed copy.

And finally, how can you accuse ME, of all people, of creating something demonic? Did I EVER say or do anything to imply that I’m not a firm follower of Christ? Especially in my stories? Sure, I write about evil in many different forms. When you’re writing fiction, good fiction involves conflict, and the easiest conflict to write is good vs. evil. So yeah, my stories delve into some dark stuff. I’ve written about rape, domestic abuse, deadbeat parents, corporate sabotage, murder, genocide, corruption, robberies and crime sprees, prostitution, extortion, infidelity, and getting eaten alive by giant freaking monsters. But in my writings, the good guys with the good Christian values always win out in the end. My stories might discuss things that run contrary to my beliefs, but they don’t PROMOTE anything that runs contrary to my beliefs. And to insinuate otherwise means you don’t know me as well as you think you do…which means I don’t know YOU as well as I thought I did, also.

To everyone else, forgive me if I sound a bit pissy. Like I said, I take my creations very seriously, and when people come out and say ig’nant stuff like that – especially when I gifted said people with an autographed, limited edition hardcover of my book (we only printed 50 hardcovers and were selling them for 30 bucks apiece), I consider that a slap in the face and a HUGE sign of disrespect to my craft and the talents that God gave me. So yeah, I’m going to have something to say. I was told to take the high road with this. I believe I AM taking the high road, because I didn’t name names. I know who you are, and the fact that you said that about my stuff without knowing anything really disappoints me. But in the future, before you make assumptions about somebody else’s work (because I’m not giving you any more of mine for free), do your effing homework.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

State of The Quan

Okay. I’ve had a number of things happen that have dictated a change in direction for this blog, and this site, and the Bahamut Ali brand in general. So let’s do a “State of the Quan address” for 1st quarter 2016.

  1. The indefinite sabbatical of “The Seizure” has turned into a full-out shelving. I posted my last page on theseizure.com recently, along with my farewell blog post. In a nutshell, I have four more chapters written, but absolutely zero motivation to do the artwork or update the site. Also, I’m letting that site die. All is has been since I foolishly got my google account canceled was a showcase of my wordpress design ability, and I have better examples of that on other sites. If/when I repost all of my Seizure comics, it will be on a free webcomic host.
  2. In the meantime, I still have my MUCH easier to update spinoff webcomic, “Weekend Heroes” available! I just started posting the next story in that webcomic, and I have at least one more planned before that story is finished. Check it out here.
  3. I recently fond out that Red Rose Publishing, the company that published my e-novel Double Entry, is out of business, and has been for the last year. I’ll always appreciate Wendi Felter for giving my book a chance, but I think ti was kind of foul that she didn’t let a bruh know. But I still want my book to be available, so I did the next logical thing: I published the book myself. And now, unlike then, it’s availalbe in print as well as on Kindle. If you haven’t scooped your copy yet, go to this link and do so now!
  4. Development on the new album has slowed down to a crawl. Getting the time to really focus on getting a final mix I like has been the main obstacle, as well as finding the time to do the last couple of illustrations for the chapbook. I can say, though, that the “official score” is ready for upload. I just need to find the time to do it. And is it appropo to make the instrumentals available before the actual album? I don’t know.
  5. I am still creating, though. I’m currently 40,000 words apiece deep into not one, but TWO novels I am writing. They are both high fantasy, but with distinctly different twists. One is “Return of the Tyrant” which is a traditional high fantasy story about a hero having to join forces with his archnemesis to defeat a larger foe. it’s supposed to be the first book in a series. The other novel is “NEEDLE,” which is a high fantasy quest story, set in the Southside of Chicago. I’m having a lot of fun writing both, and I alternate between them: I write a chapter for one, then switch to the other.
  6. I am still looking for proofreaders for my literary manuscript “Queen of Hearts, King of Spades.” I think once I get a draft I like, I’m going to go the self=publishing route with that story, too. If you’re interested in reading a love story about two college sweethearts dealing with the harsh realities of post-grad life, get at me.
  7. Now for the BIG announcement: I am overhauling this website. I created this version as a showcase of my understanding of HTML5. But things and times have changed. I usually unveil a new site every few years, and with some of my links going haywire, now is as good a time as any to unveil a new one. Besides, the old site is not responsive at all, and that’s important. So the next time you see a post from this blog, it will be on a shiny new site design. Thanks for your patience guys. It shall be rewarded.

What will be Quan’s Next Big Project?

For those of you who really know me, you know that I can’t go very long without creating something new. I get bombarded by new ideas on a daily basis, and I have to at least try to bring some of them to life. When I say have to, I mean HAVE TO: there’s some cool stuff (if I do say so myself) I’ve thought up and I don’t want my ideas to go to waste.

So I try to work on at least one large-scale creative project per year. Whether it’s a new album I’m recording, or a new book I’m writing, or whatever. My free time is very limited and will be getting even MORE limited in the future, so I don’t have the time I really need to tackle all of the projects I want to develop.

I expect to be done with this year’s Big Project (my You Only Die Once nerdcore album and illustrated chapbook), and now it’s time to figure out what’s on tap for next year. So I’m going to need your help in choosing which stuff I’ll be working on in 2016. I’ve narrowed it down to 8 options:

  1. I’ve got 30,000 words written on a new novel called NEEDLE. It’s an urban high fantasy thriller about a guy searching for a magical artifact hidden in the southside of Chicago. I’m kinda planning it as the first in a series.
  2. If you’ve read my old webcomic SEIZURE2, you know that I took a hiatus from the story at the halfway point. I’ve got scripts for the next 4 chapters written and they just need art. Should I go ahead and finish the story?
  3. another old webcomic I never finished is my humor strip UNBEATABLE HEROES. I’ve got scripts for another month’s worth of strips, but no art. And plus, the majority of you have never seen the original strips the first time I posted them.
  4. I’ve got two music projects I’m mulling over. One’s an EP, so I can actually knock out both at once. The EP is called SUPERGODS and is full of motivational and inspirational rap songs. The full length project is another concept album called A MAN WITH A GUN, this time based on macho 1980’s action movies. The twist is that I want to recruit my nerdcore buddies to contribute all of the lyrics over my production. This might be the most complicated project on the list because it depends so much on others’ contributions.
  5. I’d like to release my mafia-themed collectible card game SYNDICATE as a mobile-compatible video game, and start developing a prohibition-themed expansion for it. Or better yet, develop my other educational card game RULE THE SCHOOL! As a mobile game.
  6. Speaking of adapting stuff for video games, I want to do a Zelda-styled action-adventure game based on my latest novel, called GODMODE: ESCAPE FROM BAAL.
  7. and finally, I have a completely original idea for a shoot’em up game in the style of either Contra or Operation: Wolf called ZERO SEED. In this game, you lead a crack antiterrorist crew to shoot up a ruthless terrorist anarchist organization.

    so, let’s assume I’ll only have time to work on ONE of these projects next year. If you were in my shoes, which one would you choose? Drop an email or a comment and let me know. Thanks in advance.