Without Fear

Ryan K Lindsay – Writer

Lords Help Me, I’ve Discovered Journaling RPGs

Okay, I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole, and I don’t ever want to come out. It started with this, and I wrote it for the ‘Perhaps You’d Care To Sample’ section of my newsletter:

LOST IN THE DEEP – is a solo rpg game/booklet where you write your diary of the final dwarf lost in some mines and unable to get out. But it’s also still a game with a block tower, and 52 playing cards, and a table of events. It looks like such a cool way to lose a week. It’s got me absolutely dying to try and write a solo writing/rpg.”

But between that paragraph a few days ago, and now, I’ve fallen down a deep rabbit hole of solo, and specifically journaling/writing, role playing games.

I’ve long loved solo games. I grew up on Fighting Fantasy books, I used to read the cards out of Trivial Pursuit on my own, making a little column graph out of how many correct answers I could get out of 6, I recently fell in love with the DEEP SPACE D-6 solo board game.

Realistically, I don’t know how I’ve not fallen into this before. Considering I got into D&D over the past few years, but I acknowledge that finding time to sync up with mates and energy to get out can make it difficult, this looks like the perfect blend of a lot of these things, plus it’s just creative writing superfuel.

Okay, to explain, for those who might not know…

A solo RPG game is one where you have a little scenario and a rule set and some prompts and then you craft an adventure on your own. I like the ones where it’s specifically built for you to journal.

It’ll give you a character – like the last dwarf in a dungeon, or a trucker on a long haul ride in 1983, whatever – and then you craft their adventure, sometimes over hours or even months, using prompts found in the resource.

It’s usually like a small zine, or pdf, and you roll a die on different tables, or sometimes even draw from a 52 deck of cards, and then you write out what happens in those situations. The result is this written artefact that sounds amazing. There are also map making ones, and you can also sometimes just play them verbally, with a group even, and make it up on the fly.

But I like the writing ones, because you can really take your time, you get into your character’s head. You make something beautiful.

Naturally, I want more time so I can “play” all of them. But I also want to use them in class, so I’m thinking ahead for educational benefits. The ability to get students writing amazing prose pieces, or finding other ways to structure such stories: evidence boxes, image blended slidedecks, Flipgrid diary videos.

Some of my favourite ones I’ve found include the following scenarios: building the history of a weapon, exploring different planets on your space ship, inheriting a haunted house, living with your retired mech technology.

And, really, the sky is the limit for situations you could concoct, and ways you could explore them. To go through some of them sounds fun, to make my own sounds awesome, to take students through some sounds inspiring, to get students making their own sounds like the future.

All I can think of is taking a small notebook and dedicating it to one of these RPGs and then just building a library, or a class resource.

I need more notebooks.

Bought Two Books: An Important Update of Importance

Waiting on my kids so I went for a wander to the local thrift shop and walked away with these two books:

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One’s a series of small essays about weird science – I’m sure the internet is packed with this kind of thing, but who wants to keep staring at a damn screen anymore?

The other one, though, DARKWORLD DETECTIVE, was just the kind of mash up to catch my attention. It was available for a single coin, so beyond anything else, it’s a tax write off and a donation to a good charity, so I walked away with it, and looking at the opening line, I think I’m really glad I did. Or maybe this is shame I’m feeling…you decide.

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There’s a beauty and a science to the world, and I believe both are sometimes in harmony.

EVERFROST #1 Launches Today

Okay, this is a big day.

Everfrost has been so long in the making, I’m now wildly excited to see it finally hit the shelves, and there are all kinds of emotions coming to the surface. The usual excitement mingled with fear is natural. Relief, pride, maybe even contentment. I’m really proud of this book, and it coming out heralds another new complete story I’ll have put into the world.

Getting the chance to tell a story is no small feat. I don’t want to brush over this, I never want to brush past this. Creating a full world, populating it, and finding some moments worth a damn that you want to share – that’s the alchemy of writing.

I really hope you like Everfrost, but honestly, I hope any of you get a chance to love it as much as I do.

Comic shops will have their copies this week – whatever day you head in, I hope you find a copy on the shelf [or you wisely preordered so they’d put one aside for you and you have no risk of missing out]. Buy it with a smile, tell your comic shop retail magus how excited you are to read it – I bet they love hearing that kind of thing. Comic shop peeps aren’t in it for the millions of dollars, either, they just love seeing stories connect from one human to another.

This sci fi heartbreak is full of passion and creativity and hope and lived experience and desire and energy and I could not have asked for a better team than Sami Kivela, Lauren Affe, Jim Campbell, Dan Hill, and Matt Pizzolo at Black Mask Studios to help bring it to the page.

Thus begins our 4 issue miniseries, each issue packed with fun back matter pages, and our whole walking hearts. Keep your eyes out for this cover, and if you get a chance let us know what you think.

Where My Thinking Efforts Lie

I do a lot of thinking. I recently got to thinking about where I let these efforts lie, because I think it’s mostly on twitter, and in my newsletter.

If you don’t follow either, you might consider me without thoughts. If you know me better, you’d know that thoughtless is probably more accurate.

I leave my thoughts in those two locations because those are the two places I like to get them from other people. I sub to twitter/newsletters of everyone I admire. But it made me think – when you put your work into platforms you don’t own, then they can disappear. I am the generation that lost every midi-file haunted MySpace page of hard, curated work.

So what happens if twitter eventually shuts down? It sounds like a silly thought, as if it could ever happy, but not every titan stays on top. Cycles come and go, and things get spat out all the time. You stick around long enough, you see it all, and while Geocities or Snapchat or Tumblr or Bing or Ello or Mastodon feel like the future living in the now, everything passes.

I started blogging years ago as a form to feed my writing addiction. It gave my writing a home otuside of my head, and a possible audience of peers and enemies who might enjoy it. It was fun, and it still is – though I do it less frequently. With comics to write, a twitter presence to maintain, a newsletter to launch evey week, a class to teach, a family to be in the moment with, I have found this site lacking.

Now, this isn’t a post where I make a claim to start blogging daily/weekly/regularly. It’s just a thought out loud – why not use this resource as the public housing of my brain that it is? Instead of A+ High Quality Thoughts farting into the wind of social media, why not give them a home here, too? Why not own a little of what I’ve done – well, I’ll share ownership with WordPress, I guess. But at least things can be exported from here easily [right?].

As such, I just need to rethink my longterm strategy – and make my work discoverable, and searchable, and everlong – by housing some on this site. I don’t have the energy, or the charming intellect, to make it frequent or enjoyable. But I can make it not transient. I think/hope.

As such, I’ll try to sometimes send stuff here like that warehouse in Raiders. Maybe I’ll leave something pretty, ricvh, or rare here. Maybe you’ll open a post and your face will melt off [metaphorically speaking]. Maybe.

For now, enjoy my notebooks in progress, this is the other place where my thoughts live, and they are not public – and won’t be until the stories get told. May I be buried with these monstrosities one day.

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BLACK BEACON launches in Heavy Metal #306

Today is the day, race to your comic shop right now to get your hands on my latest sci fi masterpiece with Sebastian Piriz – BLACK BEACON!

Just nab a copy of HEAVY METAL #306 – with two separate covers, I dig that B cover!

JAN211381 - HEAVY METAL #306 CVR A LURK (MR) - Previews World
the A Cover
Heavy Metal #306 (cover B - Carpenter) - Westfield Comics
the B Cover

Why?

Well, Seb and I have the first chapter of our latest collaboration contained within the filthy hallowed halls of the world’s most awesome sci fi and fantasy magazine! BLACK BEACON is a huge sci fi story that’s playing with two lead characters on the largest scope we could possibly conceive of. There’s an intergalactic space station out there bigger than our solar system where someone wants everyone to come along and meet up. The beacon made it sound like a utopia, but what Niko finds upon her arrival is a lawless expanse where everyone is out for themselves and she’s so late she doesn’t even have a seat at the table. A story of survival, truth, and experience lies in front of Niko if she can figure out who to trust and what to do before the secret of her journey catches up with her.

I like to say – what if CONTACT led us to SAGA?

And we go big with that thought. We open on Niko crash landing on the sphere, and things going sideways instantly. From there, we try to find her a home, some safety, but the worlds that have combined to make this central meeting ground are clashing, and it’s all in a pretty depreaved and iniquitous state.

I gotta tell you, though, Sebastian Piriz has gone HUGE for this book. His alien designs, his technology, his emotion – all are on display in a masterclass of art meets discovery meets creation, meets epic.

I am incredibly in love with what he’s brough to this world, and every issue he seems to level up. Page layouts and beats within scenes and character thoughts all shine in just the right sequence. This book is The Piriz Showcase, and don’t you forget.

I’ve loved writing this story/world for the past year, and I’m hugely looking forward to showing people what we’ve got in the full 6 chapter plot. But it all starts here, finally, and I hope you dig how we kick things off. It’s going to be a wild ride, but hopefully we strap you in tight enough to stick around, but maybe also tight enough so you gotta work for each breath.

HEAVY METAL #306 is in stores from May 12 – pick up your copy now for the launch of BLACK BEACON, the new wild frontier of sci fi.

A sneaky peek at Page 1 – enjoy.

It’s time you had a chat with your LCS this week.

This week has two very important things going down straight outta RKL HQ:

EVERFROST #1 – FOC is Monday!

The Final Order Cutoff is the date where retailers lock in any tweaks to their orders, so you still have a chance of securing your copy for June 02, when we land on shelves.

Please tell your comic shop you want this comic preordered and waiting for you because then you are guaranteed it, and won’t be subject to possible sell outs on the day. Retailers tend to order less indie comics than they do the latest X-Event [I know, insane business model] and every preorder tells the shop it’s a winner, so they’re more likely to order an extra 1-2 for the shelf. Every preorder actively helps to move our initial sales much higher than just your 1 order. Here’s what you can say, or email:

“Hey [INSERT SHOP NAME, or employee name if you’re really something special], can I please preorder a comic, it looks amazing. It’s called EVERFROST, from Black Mask Studios, the order code is APR211533 – I’d like all 4 issues set aside, please.”

Yes, in fact, tell your shop you want all 4 issues, because this is a 4 issue mini, and you don’t wanna get started and then get shorted on future installments of this, trust me. Here’s a look at the first 2 covers from Sami Kivela:

And also…

BLACK BEACON is in Heavy Metal #306 – THIS WEEK!

I have a shelf debut this week, my sci fi collaboration with Sebastian Piriz lands this week in the pages of Heavy Metal Magazine – pick up #306 when it lands from Wednesday and find the opening 22 page chapter of BLACK BEACON!

This is a huuuuuge sci fi story, and we’ll be in the next 5 issues of the magazine. Here’s a look at the first page:

You can pick up a copy this week, or tell your LCS to put it aside for you while you are talking to them about EVERFROST :] The cover looks like this:

Or, if you really wanna commit: BLACK BEACON is also getting a single issue release later in the year, and the first issue is up for preorder, so you can tell your comic shop to preorder BLACK BEACON #1 for you, it’s from Heavy Metal, with order code MAY211491 – here’s the cover:

It’s a lot to remember – maybe keep this newsletter open while you have the chat, if you need the support. I am, if nothing else, always here for you.

To summarise, here’s the date list rundown:

Here’s the rundown, because the list is bigger now:

May 12 – HEAVY METAL #306 – sees the start of BLACK BEACON with me and Sebastian Piriz

June 02 – EVERFROST #1 lands – this miniseries starts here from me and Sami Kivela

June – HEAVY METAL #307 – the second chapter of BLACK BEACON lands in this issue, I assume, at this date

July 14 – EVERFROST #2 lands

July [insert number here] – BLACK BEACON starts to get a solo single issue release here, so if you missed the magazine, you can get our first chapter, with some back matter, right here.

EVERFROST runs for 4 months, BLACK BEACON will run for 6. Really excited about both of these, so hope you find your copies, set aside time to read, and know that I appreciate your support an insane amount.

BLACK BEACON #1 in Previews for Preorder

BLACK BEACON is a huge sci fi story I’m telling with Sebastian Piriz at Heavy Metal – they love the story so much we’re in the magazine starting with #306 in May, but we are also getting a single issue release in July – you can preorder it now with your LCS with these details.

Here is the awesome cover layout:

The official solicit material says:

There’s an intergalactic space station out there bigger than our solar system where a message wants everyone to come along and meet up. The beacon made it sound like a utopia, but what Niko finds upon her arrival is a lawless expanse where everyone is out for themselves and she’s so late she doesn’t even have a seat at the table.

A story of survival, truth, and experience lies in front of Niko if she can figure out who to trust and what to do before the secret of her journey catches up with her.

This story is wild and mammoth and Seb is doing career-best work on every page. I’m really proud of the immense amount of world-building and heart we’ve fit into these pages. It’s a whole miniseries and it all starts here, so speak with your LCS about preordering this book – here are a few reasons:

  • BLACK BEACON is huge sci fi in every scale we know
  • Each issue is $2.99 and packed with some back matter at the end
  • Independent stories with new characters are important
  • Sebastian and I are swinging for the bleachers with this one!

EVERFROST #2 Cover Reveal – Preorder Now!

EVERFROST #2 is up on Previews – click here for the details!

You can preorder this issue with your LCS – or just ask them to set aside all 4 issues as they come in – and I guarantee after everything we lay out in the first issue, you are going to be dying to come back to see where Van and Eight go off to.

Here’s the cover from Sami Kivela!

So. Gorgeous.

I could make comics in the snow with Sami all day long.

Here’s the official solicit info, just to wet your whistle – at this stage, I’m just having fun writing these things.

Van and Eight have stepped back into the bustle of the Precinct to discover her son is still alive, there’s an epic war between the Bloom and the Warlords bubbling over, and time has become a little fluid since she went out to live on the ice. She needs a whole mess of answers, so she goes to the one person she thinks might be able to help…her mother.

Join us for a tale of echoes through time we could only call ‘Bootleg Fidelity’ as two key characters meet untimely deaths!  

Ryan K Lindsay, award-winning writer of ETERNAL and NEGATIVE SPACE, teams again with Sami Kivelä, the artistic juggernaut behind ABBOTT and UNDONE BY BLOOD, alongside Lauren Affe, the colourist of THE WITCHER, STRANGER THINGS, and FIVE GHOSTS, as they drop an absolute bomb of sci fi insanity and heartbreaking emotion in the grandest Black Mask tradition.

EVERFROST #2 hits shelves July 14 – you know what to do.

EVERFROST #1 – 5 Page Preview on The Beat

We have an exclusive 5 page preview of EVERFROST #1 up on The Beat

CLICK HERE TO SEE HOW WE OPEN OUR ISSUE AND INTRODUCE OUR STAGE AND THE PLAYERS UPON IT

The start of an issue is the Opening Contract and it establishes everything the creative team is about to attempt across and throughout the story. We give character, the world, the tone, the style – it’s an indication of the ride you are in for, the way we wish to connect with you.

In these 5 pages, you will find awesome page layouts from Sami Kivela, beautiful world building colours from Lauren Affe, the balanced and thoughtful placement of lettering items from Jim Campbell, and a flow of prose and ideas from my writing.

If you dig what you read, then you’ll need the subsequent 21 pages when issue #1 lands on June 02 – talk to your comic shop about securing your preorder, they will finalise their orders on May 10.

For now, enjoy the free taste, have a great day, and we’ll see you on June 02 for more :]

Here’s the second page because I love it so much – Sami nails it, natch. The angle, the moon, this is Van Louise. Lauren Affe gives us this haunted feeling of cold and isolation. And look at those captions from Jim Campbell. Utterly perfect in alignment with the art and the tone.

CREEPER 002 – Magazine on Kickstarter Now

The CREEPER magazine is something that I really love.

It’s a newly formed mag about weird stuff in the world around [and within] us and the first issue was AAA+ – it’s got essays, weird fiction, and superb layout/design. I love a good magazine and this is beautiful *and* it showcases a trove of unique ideas from really great writers.

So – imagine my delight at being able to pitch them on something, and having it selected. Yes, I’m in CREEPER 002, and I’m really excited about people reading my article – yes, it involves comics.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER YOUR COPY OF CREEPER 002 ON KICKSTARTER NOW!

My article is called ‘THE LOCKED BOOK’ and it’s about the bandes dessinées comic CLAUS & SIMON – which I found in a small comic shop in Spain, and despite me not being able to read Spanish I bought the comic and have thoroughly loved it many times. Look how my article is presented inside the magazine:

Seeing your work all laid out in this delicious design is enough to make a man weep with joy. I think I wrote something really awesome about this story of escape artists, and my engagement with it as someone locked out of the story through language, but also brought in through the magical elements of visual storytelling that comics does so very very well.

I think you’ll dig my article, and most likely then go on to dig the magazine as a whole. Head on over to the Kickstarter, have a scroll through what’s available [those stickers and shirts look ace], and I hope you dig it.

LET’S GO ORDER OUR COPIES OF CREEPER 002, WITHOUT DELAY!

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