In November of 1988, my mom took me to the theaters to see the Don Bluth animated classic, The Land Before Time. It was there that three-year-old me watched a ferocious cartoon Tyrannosaurus Rex chase down the hero, a young friendly Brontosaurus. To which I responded as any sensible young lad would: I literally stood up in my seat and yelled "RUN, LITTLEFOOT! RUN!" as loud as I could.
This would mark the beginning of my lifelong love affair with movies.
Correction: My love of storytelling. Granted, film kicked things into motion, creating the most visceral experience for my active young mind. The sights, the sounds, the swelling musical score. All the elements coalescing into a lush narrative symphony that pulled at my heartstrings, tickled my funny bone, and got my blood pumping.
This was also combined with a healthy dose of warped humor. I believe my parents realized this when I recited Chevy Chase's entire curse-filled monologue from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation to my 2nd grade classmates. Needless to say, my teacher didn't appreciate it as much as the rest of the class.
Over the years I found assorted outlets in which to pursue my passion. Acting in my high school theater troupe (I still wake up with Guys And Dolls songs in my head on occasion), playing guitar at local coffee shops, and attempting to plan low-budget internet skits with friends.
As the story goes, full-time jobs and other commitments inevitably took priority, but the storytelling fire only grew stronger. Just ask my wife, who thankfully shares my passions and doesn't mind a wall dedicated to DVDs, another dedicated to books and comics, and an entertainment center overflowing with video games.
But as much as consuming stories continues to warm my nerdy heart, I knew I had to start creating some of my own. Enter Dax.
On March 30th, 2014, I completed the first draft of Dax Harrison, a full-length sci-fi adventure screenplay. I was delighted, and then I was panicked. About a year went by of random edits, submitting to script contests, and letting my story collect virtual dust on my laptop. With no idea how to sell a scipt and no Hollywood contacts to speak of, I feared Dax's story would never see the light of day.
Then a friend suggested the obvious: "Why not turn it into a book?"
"Oh yeah," I said in foolish revelation. "I guess I could do that."
And here we are. Dax is currently funding on Inkshares.com until December 27th. I suppose I should get around to convincing you to order a copy, huh?
What's it about?
Commander Dax Harrison is a reluctant hero who is essentially one-part Ash Williams (Evil Dead) and one-part Zapp Brannigan (Futurama). He's known as a legendary soldier who defeated an invading alien force in all-out war which ended a decade ago. But not everyone believes the tales. Furthermore, the legends surrounding Dax have grown in the public eye due to movies, pulp novels and other media embellishing his exploits. Ten years after the war, we catch up with Dax as he coasts toward retirement and lives not-so-humbly off his fame. But a dangerous shadow from the past emerges, and he is finally forced to live up to his name, whether he likes it or not.
What does it read like?
Firefly/Serenity, Guardians of the Galaxy, Galaxy Quest
Why are you listing movies and not books?
As I mentioned before, Dax was originally drafted as a screenplay. While its novel form is more fleshed out, the same cinematic, fast-paced, swashbuckling spirit lives on. This is rebellious high adventure sci-fi fare, full of alien worlds, fist-fights, space battles and more.
But why should I care about this story?
Good question! At the heart of this wild ride, Dax is a small story about an average Joe, owning up to his past and finding purpose in his life. I don't know about you, but bombastic action doesn't mean much to me without characters that I care about. After all, would we have fallen in love with E.T. if little Elliot didn't make us cry our eyes out? Would Iron Man be a memorable superhero without caring about the personal struggles of Tony Stark? (I've got a million of these examples, so you should probably cut me off)
Ok, ok wise guy. Give me the link to your book already.
Watch the ridiculous pitch video, read a few sample chapters, and pre-order at Inkshares HERE. (Before December 27th please!)
Also, a massive thanks to Jamison Stone for the opportunity to spread the word of Dax. If you haven't already, be sure to check out this gentleman and scholar's own terrific project, Rune of the Apprentice, currently in production at Inkshares!
Short bio: Tony Valdez is a huge nerd, a podcaster, occasional actor, musician, writer, and full-time maker of funny faces in the bathroom mirror. He is also a lover of great stories found in books, comics, film, TV, music, videogames, and so on. He was born and raised in San Diego, CA and currently resides a couple hours north in Orange County. It's not as fun, but Disneyland is nice.