dis iz srs bzns gaiz

I don't know about you, but I actually cringed while writing that title.

But before I get into that—digression! Because first off, I wanted to thank everyone, especially Frea and the rest of the CIA, for all of the birthday wishes. I kept telling Frea not to do anything, it wasn't a big deal, turning 20 wasn't special, blah blah blah...she ignored me, of course. I'm not surprised, since I did the exact same thing when it was her birthday. Yep, it's a vicious, never-ending cycle. Regardless, I really appreciated it, and I wanted to express that here. So, thank you! You guys helped make my day quite awesome. :)

Anywho. I know that I haven't been around much at all lately; in fact, I'm sure most of you figured I got lost in a cave for the past two months or so. The blame mostly lies in college, but also partly because I'm kind of A.D.D. and, like Frea, tend to get distracted by shiny things and whatnot. (I wish I had the decidedly more effective Frea-like ability to crank out epic chapters and stories every single week, but alas, 'tis not so.) Either way, I've decided that I'm going to try and make more of an effort to at least contribute to the blog a bit more, which in turn will hopefully motivate me to kick myself into gear and get some more Kill Bryce written for you guys. Which sort of brings me to the topic I'd like to discuss now: writing. Or, more specifically, the direction writing seems to be going nowadays. Fair warning, this post may get a bit vent-ish, so if you think you're someone who's easily offended, then now's the time to click that back button or a link to somewhere else.

Still here? Cool. Let's get started, then, shall we?


You Like Me, You Really, Really Like Me!

So there are a lot of great Chuck websites out there: ChuckThis, provider of optimism and cheer every episode (we provide the sarcastic flipside to their commentary, I think, and it works out well for both of us),   the Google Group (Hi, Bill!), some fanfiction blogs and Liz James's fun Articulate Shnook.  I got my start reading on ChuckTV.net, which led me to Fedak and Schwartz defending Mask to Sepinwall, which led me to a link to JMG's fanfiction, which led me to writing Fates.  If you followed that flow chart well, you may need to get your head checked, but even so, all of that is why I'm super-stoked that Fates is the focus of an article on ChuckTV.net.

No, seriously, it is!



So you may have noticed some changes over the blog lately if you had time to visit during your holiday (if not, we totally understand; I'm still sacked out from the peppermint bark and Dr. Pepper myself), and now we're all colorful and stuff.  There's not really a story involved except that Frea likes Photoshop a whole heck of a lot and thinks it may just be the niftiest thing on the planet.

But there IS a story today of the new-ish layout and that story is the tale of one crystal.elements, who is the CIA-voted cutest author on staff here at Castle Inanity.  No, really, you can ask any one of us, "Who's the cutest author on staff?" and not a single one of us will hesitate in replying, "Crystal."  And then we might offer you a glass of "Duh" to go with your "Obvious Cookies."  The only one who might reply differently is mxpw, and that's because I may or may not have told him Yvonne might post here once in awhile as a way to not have to spend money on his Christmas present this year.  The hope is enough.

Before I got sidetracked, I was talking about Crystal, so I'll get back to that.  Crystal, you are awesome.  And I don't mean that in my normal everyday use of the word "Awesome" (which is sarcastic, more often than not).  You are so awesome that Captain Awesome could take lessons from you.  I met you a looooong time ago, it feels like (I know it's been less than a year, it just feels like years because you're so awesome), and I am so glad I did.  Not many people could saturate us with the adorableness of Closet Gleek and then turn around and slam the desperation of Kill Bryce into us, but you did, and you made it look so easy.  If I didn't think you were so great, I'd probably fear you a little bit.  Your enthusiasm and outlook and freakish intelligence (seriously, just walking around the Stanford campus with you made me feel smarter...and then I couldn't work the camera on my phone) are all a huge inspiration, and I'm so glad to know you.

I hope you have a happy birthday, and that your next year is just as amazing as you are.

Also, you should probably know that there are now plans in motion for the CIA to take you to Vegas and get you drunk for your 21st birthday.  Just, you know, so you know.



PS - Everybody, Crystal drew the header herself and then I stole it.  She had no idea I was going to use it.  Isn't it awesome????


Fanfic From Liam! -- "Peace on Earth"

Hello, my little ferrets. Daddy Liam is back with a new ChuckFic! It's been since February since I've posted a story. But two days ago inspiration struck for this one. Forgive me for any mistakes and the like. I rushed through this, trying to bring it to order and completion.

As you might imagine, my take on Christmas time events isn't as jovial as other. I'm not a particular fan of the season, but respect those who are. As such, I present this gift. To all those who've read my fics, responded, and given kind words, I wish to express my love and gratitude to you all. Doubley so to all those wonderful people who work on Castle Inanity. You guys are my heroes.

-- J

Rod Serling Would Have Approved


All Quiet on the Castle Blog: Fates 46!

So it's been rather quiet on the blog lately, which is my fault, as I've been busy photoshopping and with family and the holidays and the like. We've got some posts in store for you, I think. I've bugged Chris about another Why We Write and mxpw and I are going to put our heads together for a book recommendations post to get you through the long, cold hiatus (unless you're in the southern hemisphere, then it's the long, hot hiatus). But in the meantime, how about a sneak peek of the next chapter of What Fates Impose, hitting shelves January 2, 2011?


2011. I'm sorry, hold on, I have to go run my head under the faucet and process that. In the meantime, you can read this hilarious little sneak peek.


The Complete TRON Collection (So Far)

Pictures are after the break. Most of these aren't wallpaper-sized yet. It'll happen eventually, I'm sure.


Administrative Note (And a Free Wallpaper)

Given that I've now added crazy fun wallpapers to the site, I've killed two turkeys with one boulder and made the ebooks page a "Downloads" page.

And here's the shiny new wallpaper.  It's the same as the other one, only orange instead of blue.


Okay, maybe not CHON. CHON sounds kind of silly. But anyway, with the new TRON movie finally, finally, finally hitting theaters yesterday, there's been an upsurge in really cool lighting/TRON-like Photoshop tutorials. Last night, I was talking to mxpw and looking at some gorgeous fan-made posters, one thing led to another, and then this happened:

And then I thought, this would make a great wallpaper, soooooo....


mxpw vs. Frea - Chuck vs. the Wookie

Chuck vs. the Wookie
Season 1, Episode 4, air-date 15 October 2007

A rival agent shows up; she needs assistance stealing a gem from a drug lord. Chuck's agents are reluctant to help due to past dealings.

Carina Hansen Miller.  She's been present in two episodes total of this series, but you wouldn't know it looking at the archives over at fanfiction.net. mxpw and Frea are even among the guilty who have written entire stories about this DEA agent they like to call "Loki in a Skirt" (one more so than the other!).  So when the opportunity to review her debut episode came up, they might have jumped at the chance.

And look, there's even a new mxpw vs. Frea graphic to, er, commemorate it.  Yeah, that's our story and we're sticking to it.  (Frea's note: Many, many, many, many apologies to Yvonne Strahovski).


Some Stuff

First off, you've probably gotten the email or seen the Tweet or whatever by now, but there's a new chapter of What Fates Impose up.  Chuck like you've never seen him before!

Second off, we're going to be a day late with the next mxpw vs. Frea.  We'll be watching Chuck vs. the Wookie for this one, so if you want to follow along or prepare, I'd recommend turning to those DVDs you hopefully purchased and reveling in the goodness that is Yvonne Strahovski, Zachary Levi, and Mini Anden in the same scene (funny story: when I went to see The Tourist in the theater the other day, there was a movie trailer with Jason Statham.  I kept my eyes peeled for Yvonne, thinking it might be for The Killer Elite, and therefore was sad that I didn't see more than a split-second flash of anything that could be her, until the title popped up at the end and proved it was actually a trailer for The Mechanic.  And the split-second flash that I thought might have been Yvonne?  It was Mini Anden.  No joke).

Thirdly, remember those comic book covers I did?  Sarah - Wrath of the Giant Blonde Shemale?


Sneak Preview: Fates 45

So random fact: I don't know if it was the script writer or the editor (I don't think it was the editor) or the props department, but somebody on Chuck can't spell "Seville."  And now that that little note is out of the way, how about a preview of What Fates Impose, Chapter 45?  Yeah, yeah, I know All the Roads That Lead to You Are Winding did it first, but damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead anyway!

Man, I'm so excited for the rest of Fates 45.  I may post another snippet later on because I get to do something absolutely new with Chuck.  I've done it to Casey (not in Fates), and now it's Chuck's turn.  I can't wait until Sarah has her go at it.

Also, quick note: new ebook on the page.  Chuck vs. Fulcrum!  ne71 was awesome and emailed me the original file, which meant a really fast conversion.  Boo-yah!  After the break, a nice preview of What Fates Impose, Chapter 45: Red Day Dawning.



I've been a bit at war with myself lately and I need to come clean.  I've promised time and again on this blog that What Fates Impose is going to go all the way to the Intersect 2.0, but I've been thinking about it and talking it over with Maximus, and I've come to a decision.  What Fates Impose will end a lot sooner than that.  I have a lot of reasons for this, some of which are personal, some having to do with the plot.

The reasons I can give you:

I want to write other things.   Fates is a gargantuan task taking up several hours a week.  I recently took a week off of writing and the breather felt amazing.  I love writing Fates.  I love writing for you guys.  But I've been writing the same thing for 300k words, and it's beginning to take a toll.

The new ending place I've picked is actually a better ending that my original.  One of the key components to writing is to know when to end a book and when to start one, and my original ending has sat badly with me since the beginning.

I know people are going to be disappointed with the ending, knowing that there was potentially story after that, but there's not much I can do about that.  This isn't an apology for anything, even though I regret that I just can't tell the whole story.  All good things come to an end, and so will Fates.

But don't worry, we've still got quite the ride to get to the new ending spot.



I Learned a New Trick

So one of the things I've been teaching myself is how to do things in Photoshop.  It's partially fascination and partially practicality, but sometimes, I have to wonder.  Anyways, a few days ago, Nathan Fillion tweeted a fan-made Castle comic book cover that looked really great and retro and I thought, "Ooh, that's neat!"  And I instantly wanted to know how to do that myself, so I spent some time studying the picture.

And then it occurred to me.  You know what else would make a great comic book cover?


Frequently Asked Questions

Good news, everybody!

So the other day, somebody asked for what seemed to be the millionth time, what SWP means. Perfectly understandable, mind you, as what is more important than SWP? I can't really think of anything. But it got Frea and myself to thinking (always a dangerous thing). As enjoyable as it is to proselytize to our readers about the glories of SWP, it is terribly inefficient. I mean, wouldn't it be better to just have an explanation everybody can look at whenever they want for what SWP stands for, than to have to explain it every time somebody asks?

The answer is yes, yes it would be better.


Happy Birthday, Chris!

So a few months ago, this story popped up on fanfiction.net that made me go, "Waaaaaaait a minute."  I mean, it was so well-written and kind of brilliant, but...at the time, it was like a prequel to What Fates Impose, which, let me tell you, really got my dander up.   So I went out and bought a shotgun and some rock salt and I did me some huntin'.  I searched the entire Midwest up and down for this upstart writer who had the audacity to steal my idea and make it even better, I tell you.  And then I took the poor son of a gun out back behind the shed and put him out of his misery, which is why that story hasn't been updated in months.

Actually, that's not what happened at all.  I fell so much in love with the story Chuck vs. the Simple Twist of Fate that when I saw a request by the author for a beta reader, I jumped all over the opportunity.  And to this day, I am so, so grateful that I did because otherwise, I would never have gotten to meet the wonderful I Am Not Amused aka Musey aka Chris.  And that, my friends, would be a very sad existence indeed.  In the months that I have known him, I have come to esteem Chris as one of the coolest people I know.  He's an awesome writer, his taste in music and his love for music are both astounding and kind of mind-blowing, and he's just a really great dude.

So thank you, Chris, for being my friend and enriching my life and my music collection.  Happy Birthday to the real life Bryce Larkin (but way cooler).

Now, everybody, as a birthday present to Chris, go read Storms in Encino and review it!




mxpw vs. Frea - Chuck vs. the Intersect / Pilot

Chuck vs. the Intersect / Pilot
Season 1, Episode 1, air-date September 24, 2007

Chuck is a computer geek who gets a computer full of information zapped into his brain...information that contains secrets that the federal government desperately needs to keep in Chuck's head...and keep Chuck, himself, intact.  Chuck meets a woman who agrees to go on a date with him, but she's one of the government agents who's interested more in his head than his body.

So in the first "Retro Version" of mxpw vs. Frea, the two commentators attempt to battle the boredom of hiatus with an episode that regularly shows up on favorite lists of Chuck bloggers everywhere.  Last week, there was no optimist.  This week, there is no pessimist.  Amazing how that balances out.

Unfortunately, the monkey minions chained to the keyboard were unable to capture the first part of the conversation between our esteemed episode critics (or it was about Fates/Fortune and contained spoilers), so we now take you to your regularly scheduled mxpw vs. Frea, already in session:


mxpw vs. Frea: Back to the Future

Good news, everybody!

Like the line up above says, I have good news! Frea, in all her infinite wisdom, floated to me a most excellent idea: What would the world be like if mxpw and Frea took a crack at reviewing the episodes of a simpler, happier time? I can tell you, I don't know for sure, but I am excited to find out what this Brave New World has in store for us.

So without further delay or pomp or circumstance or diversion, I present you Castle Inanity's plan to help you deal with a severe lack of SWP in your life.


Yellow Paper Snippet

Today saw a massive overhaul of The Masterfully Decorated Evil Lair of One Frea O'Scanlin, which usually turns up interesting artifacts (case in point: favorite hat!  second case in point: shrunken head of enemy from second grade) and today was no exception.  For indeed, I found a piece of yellow legal paper that seems to contain the original draft of part of Chapter 14: At the End of the Day.

Because I'm nice (and have nothing else to post today), I'll share it here (warning, some swearing!):


A Treat!

So with massive help from nneghandi, Course Jester, and the Ardent Aardvark, yesterday I learned how to do something very important:

That's right, I learned how to put a Table of Contents into an epub ebook.

Which means if you head over to that ebooks page now, you can get new versions of What Fates Impose I-III, What Fates Impose IV (including up to chapter 44), To Resist Both Wind and Tide, and the complete Adorable Psycho, now including the newest chapter of 9 Months and The 405 Gets Plowed, of course.

Also, there's a new ebook up on the page.  I combined all six of the Fatesverse one-shots and put them up there in PDF, ePub, and Kindle formats for everybody.  As far as the other stories without TOCs, I'll get those formatted as time allows, and add new stories to the queue.

Happy Sunday, everybody!


PS - I am not neglecting Fates to do this, even though the progress bar hasn't moved.  I've taken a week off of writing.


A Special Holiday Message

Happy Channukah, everybody!




Quick Note

Just wanted to let everybody know I added a new ebook to the page up there at the top -- ninjaVanish's Chuck and Sarah vs. the Bunker.  I'll of course add Themselves when he finishes it.  Any requests for finished stories?