The Gothic Rainbow: Beginning Volume of the Vampire Noctuaries
My first novel was published 18 years ago, in 1997, and took about 3 years for me to complete. The story began as a project for an invitation-only Honors English course I took in the summer of 1991 at Cuyahoga Community College in Parma, Ohio.
The Gothic Rainbow is a 190,000 word story set in a dark, faeriepunk version of the 20th Century underground nightclub scene. With a bit of surreal embellishment to enrich the tale, this novel was inspired by the parties, the places, the people and the atmosphere encompassing my exposure to several years of the gothic/industrial counterculture.
Written in first-person, the tale is focused upon dreary chasms of the human condition and tells the journey of a young male vampire and his relationship with a teenage mortal girl, Helle. Thinking he is only a spirit that communicates with her in dreams and rituals, Helle slowly comes to discover that he is very real and will change everything in her life forever. The sequel is Annwn's Maelstrom Festival.
Annwn's Maelstrom Festival: Concluding Volume of the Vampire Noctuaries
My first novel finally gained a sequel in the 104,000 words of Annwn's Maelstrom Festival which was finished in January of 2013, exactly 17 years after I wrote the precursor.
With the release of this novel, it can be purchased as a paperback, hardcover, or eBook. Not only did I do all of the graphic design for the cover and the promotional images, but I did the layout and formatting as well. I also constructed the .EPUB file from scratch for the eBook version, programming all of the XHTML and CSS by hand.
How You Can Get a Job at Walt Disney Studios Without a College Degree
I have called this book my "vocational autobiography" as it is a 140,000 word story covering every single job I've ever had.
Intended to be an inspirational story and guidelines for career moves, How You Can Get a Job at Walt Disney Studios Without a College Degree tells every detail of how I moved from Ohio and began working at Walt Disney Studios. Unlike a lot of "career books" I made a very stern effort to include every last detail. I omitted nothing. That way, readers can understand my accomplishments without "glossing over" any important details.
Like all of my projects, I did everything on this - from writing, to editing, to designing the cover, to formatting the text, to taking the photographs and self-portraits. There is also an eBook edition available, which I programmed myself from scratch.
Grandpa Steiner Saves the World (from Illegal Aliens (from Space))
Began writing this one 2 years ago, in the spring of 2013 and published it in 2015 as a group of three books. This novel was designed as a comedic (yet deliberately polarizing) social commentary. The story is about a politically incorrect old codger who writes an offensive blog which unwittingly becomes the only deterrent against an impending alien annihilation. Weird and quirky with social messages. Howard Beale meets Douglas Adams. Archie Bunker by way of Terry Gilliam. Frank, from the Bobcat Goldthwait movie God Bless America, ends up in the Roland Emmerich movie Independence Day. All in the Family meets Buckaroo Banzai.
I designed the cover to be reminiscent of the film Invasion of the Saucer Men and the gentleman on the cover is an old photo of my late grandfather. While he wasn't the inspiration for the personality of Grandpa Steiner, he definitely has the right look.
Learn To Ride A Skateboard
Learn To Ride A Skateboard is a DVD video project I created 8 years ago, in the summer of 2007.
Inspired by the lack of quality skateboarding instructional videos on the market, I decided to create one of my own.
After researching what was available, so I could improve what was out there, I enlisted the assistance of Holly Lyons, who was ranked the Top Female Bowl Skater in the World at the time we shot the video. The video also features Madylin, Sawyer and Sullivan Sweeten, the real-life siblings who played siblings on the Everybody Loves Raymond television show. Added together, my various skateboard videos have over 4 million views on YouTube.
Voodoo & Loveshadow
Having written a number of novels, I started to create this story 2 years ago, in the spring of 2013 and published it in 2015 as a group of three books. Voodoo & Loveshadow is about a bachelor nearing his 40th birthday who meets ghosts of his unborn twin daughters. They try to help him find their mother, lest they never be born. The tale is a romantic comedy with dramatic underpinnings of relationship-lessons. The Bridge Across Forever by Richard Bach rewritten as a paranormal romance from Ray Bradbury.
Renea Mazzotta is the cover model and I shot the photo at her house, in a stairwell. Once I got the image into the computer, I used Photoshop to alter her eye with a starfield, so it reflected the magical traits of the girls in the story.
California Girls Skateboards
These are skateboards I began to design 6 years ago, in the spring of 2009, which use photographs of bikini models as graphics. After creating a custom graphic which I had laser-etched into a hardwood longboard, I was inspired to blend my love for photography with skateboarding.
As with all of my projects, I single-handed did all the work on this endeavor myself. Every model was hired and photographed by me. The entire website was completely designed and programmed on my own in PHP. I conceived and engineered the MySQL database which contains all the information for the individual boards. All of the graphic design and layout for the website was created by me in Photoshop.
The Page of Wands
Another of the three novels I started 2 years ago, in the spring of 2013, I released this book in 2015. Inspiration for this novel came from the classic short story "Button, Button" by Richard Matheson. A magical staff, which must be bequeathed to an anonymous stranger every 3 days, wreaks havoc on modern day Los Angeles as it passes hands. Whimsical and magical and lighthearted fun. It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World meets Jumanji.
Using the timer on my camera, I shot the book cover myself at my property in the desert. I play the role of the cowboy while my friend Amanda is the girl in the tanktop.
Disney Online 3D Floorplan
Earning a living as a web developer since 1997, I have 18 years of experience, including 6 years of building sites for Disney. As a programmer and web developer for Walt Disney Studios, one of the cooler experimental projects I did was created 6 years ago, in 2009. Designed as a contest among our developers, to expand our knowledge of HTML5, we could build anything we desired. I reconstructed the layout of the Disney offices, detailing the entire floorplan of our North Hollywood location.
The page uses a fun interactive map allowing Guests to navigate to anywhere on the fourth floor of our building. Among a dozen developers in the contest, my map tied for the win.
This code was all done by hand and uses no libraries or frameworks, but was based upon an open source project which you can see by viewing the source code.
Luthorville is an educational videos series, inspiring kids and adults to become excited about innovations in science and technology, by documenting the design and construction of a Mojave desert homestead called Galatea Meridian.
Witness my crazy story of how, as an unemployed computer geek and struggling novelist, I risk homelessness by spending most of my life savings to build an off-grid dreamhouse in the middle of nowhere. Having purchased vast acres of the Old West, can I find a stable job and create my home, before my money runs out?
Take a journey where fortitude and a pioneering spirit continue to forge the American Dream on the romantic landscape of the American Frontier.
As with all of these projects, I designed and programmed the website, plus I also wrote, directed, edited, and produced all of the video content as well.
Schooling Your Boss To Not Suck
This is a business/human resources book I wrote in the winter of 2011.
The book is very short (only about 22,000 words) but it gave me the opportunity to learn new self-publishing technology on Amazon and Lulu. I also took the time to create an eBook format. I learned how to program an .EPUB file by hand using XHTML and CSS. The resulting .EPUB file was then quadruple-validated against FlightCrew 0.7.1, Sigil, epubcheck 1.2 and epubpreflight 0.1.0 to check for errors.
After that .EPUB file was created, I used KindleGen 1.2 to covert it into a .MOBI version to be used on Amazon as a Kindle book.
So, beyond being a fun writing project, the whole Schooling Your Boss To Not Suck endeavor really gave me my first chance to learn the cutting edge of electronic publishing.
The Unseelie Court
When I directed and edited The Unseelie Court about 13 years ago, in the spring of 2002, the film was never meant to be released. As I wrote the script, it was intended to be a test for a much larger project. The larger project never happened.
The body of the film was shot over 3 nights from 7pm to 7am at a bar in Downtown Cleveland. Exteriors were shot one night at another location in Columbus. The daytime woods images were taken at two different parks in Ohio and the snow-covered lake in the opening shot was actually done right along the side of a highway.
Running about 30 minutes long, The Unseelie Court is a short film with an odd and unusual plot, very much in the tradition of an old Twilight Zone episode. The story takes place all in one evening, during a thunderstorm, at a mysterious pub called Storytellers Tavern where patrons come to hear strange and unusual tales. Vivian, a young woman in her twenties, and a regular at Storytellers, comes in and the place is so deserted, Vivian imagines she has no chance of hearing a good tale tonight. But, there may be an interesting story awaiting in the shadows after all...
Tales From The Dark Tower
The short story Born Of the Night was my first to be published in an anthology, entitled Tales From The Dark Tower.
Based upon artwork by Joseph Vargo, all the writers created stories around a central character named Brom and his experiences in an ancient haunted castle, known simply as the Dark Tower.
The story I wrote was based upon my favorite Vargo painting, also called Born Of the Night. I was very honored that Joe asked me to write and participate in his project, but I was even more excited when I discovered that none of the other authors had yet chosen the Born Of the Night image as the basis for their story. It was really fun to write a tale based upon artwork I liked so much.
The book is available on Amazon but you can click the image above to read my short story.
My first official blog as an author is called InkShard and is intended to showcase articles about writing and my published works. InkShard also represents my very first installation of WordPress. Unhappy with all of the free and commercially available "themes" offered in WordPress, I decided to start with the original layout and redesign it myself. Beginning with the default "twentytwelve" theme included in the official download, I customized the CSS and PHP to make the site entirely unique. I also added a lot of under-the-hood functionality which most WordPress blogs lack - such as dynamic metadata which pulls from random PHP strings, and of course I maintained the responsive design facet of image resizing on the fly.
Consequently, the InkShard project not only showcases writing as a traditional blog, but is also another shining example of my design and programming in a real-world, practical application. Please note all of the PHP and related files were edited using a plain text editor and FTP. The entire project was done by hand, without the assistance of "libraries" or "frameworks" beyond those which are included in the default WordPress download.
Around 6 years ago, in December of 2009, I was contacted by Weekly Reader magazine regarding my Learn To Ride A Skateboard DVD. They were doing an article on skateboarding and wanted my input. Having grown up with Weekly Reader in gradeschool, I was thrilled to be asked to contribute to such a publication!
Knowing a bit about publishing and editing, I deliberately gave very long answers to their questions, so they could edit them down into something shorter (doesn't matter if you are editing videos or magazine articles, it's always better to have more material than you need instead of too little). Since my responses to their questions had to be shortened for space, I figured I'd share my full answers with folks, in addition to the articles. Clicking the link will show you my Weekly Reader questions and answers on skateboarding, in addition to the finished articles.
After making my Learn To Ride A Skateboard project, there were skateboarding topics I wanted to cover which didn't fall into the "educational" category. Skateboarding California was born from the desire to make skate videos regarding topics above and beyond teaching basic skills.
As a person who has skateboarded all my life, and been involved in professional film and video production, I found myself very disillusioned with the way skateboarding videos were being created.
During the spring of 2010, I wanted to create something that captures skateboarding as it really feels, and therefore, I was determined to make all my videos the exact opposite of what is popular. Long takes, no fast edits. Wide angles, no fish eye lenses. And absolutely no cliche background music. Those are the three guiding principals behind the "look" of the show.
Skateboarding California is my first project shot entirely on high-definition video at full 1080p. Again, all the work is mine. I come up with the ideas for the episodes, I shoot every episode, I edit them all, I designed all the graphics and images, I built the website. Everything. Added together, my various skateboard videos have over 4 million views on YouTube.
When I was first promoting my novel The Gothic Rainbow, I contacted a number of underground music magazines, since my story was so heavily entwined in that scene.
I am very flattered to say that Outburn Magazine wasn't interested in my book at all until they read it. Speaking to the editor, Octavia, she informed me that as a music magazine, a novel didn't really fit with their theme and wasn't appropriate for their publication. She didn't want to offer any coverage of my book at all.
After reading The Gothic Rainbow, Octavia not only began to distribute copies of my book via their monthly mail order catalog, but Outburn Magazine also did a 2-page feature interview on me and the book. Clicking the link above will take you to a reprint of that interview.
Forever Loving You
This book is a joke. It's not intended to be taken seriously.
Most of it was written back in 1992 to 1996 and really awful poetry I wrote at the time. Over 18 years ago, I wanted to publish it, because I thought it was good.
Looking back on it, I decided to publish it now, because it's awful. It's laughably bad.
The cover photograph was taken in 1992 when a friend mocked me and said it looked like I was posing for an album of rock ballads called Forever Loving You. I thought that was hilarious. So, it has become the cover of a book of pretentious poetry.
Relive those horrible times of young adulthood, when you thought of yourself as a hopeless romantic, when in fact, you were just a selfish jerk looking for someone else to validate your happiness, and then became hurt and resentful when they broke your pathetic little heart.
Strangely enough, my interest in filmmaking came before my interest in photography. However, back in 1996, when I was preparing to promote my first novel, The Gothic Rainbow, I developed an interest in photography, so I could create interesting fliers to market the book. Being a vampire story, the fliers consisted mostly of surreal collages of my friends from the goth/punk underground nightclub scene. As word got around about my book, I had more and more people approaching me, telling me that my fliers were "amazing artwork". At first, I laughed, because I didn't consider them to be "art" at all. They were just fliers.
Nevertheless, people really liked them. While promoting my book at one convention, a boy came up to me and asked for extras, so he could hang them in his room. After that, a local artist, Joseph Vargo, invited me to show my work at his art gallery. That was when I began to think, "Maybe I should take photography more seriously."
Dreamdancer Motion Pictures
Dreamdancer Motion Pictures is the name I use for many of my film and video projects. With my Dreamdancer Motion Pictures endeavors, I have done everything from creating music videos to editing feature-length films. Most of the projects I wrote, edited, directed and produced.
My first productions began 21 years ago in 1994, when I was still doing linear video editing on Hi8 using a Commodore Amiga Video Toaster and creating music videos for local bands in Cleveland, Ohio.
In time, I evolved into a Video Flyer and eventually, 14 years ago, my editing projects all began to be cut using Final Cut Pro on a Macintosh system.
Dark Realms Magazine
The second issue of Dark Realms Magazine, published in the Spring of 2001, featured an article on my photography.
Mainly, it showcased images used in my novel The Gothic Rainbow, but there were a few other images featured as well. I created all of these images as more artistic works, with a lot of digital manipulation and blending of imagery and textures.
Gothic Beauty Magazine
In the fall of 2003, the tenth issue of Gothic Beauty Magazine, featured an article on my photography.
The images were all shot around Los Angeles at various locations including a public park, a private residence and a parking garage. Unlike previous publications of my work, these images featured minimal digital manipulation and were very straightforward fashion shots.
The Skateboarder's Journal
The short story Origins was my second to be published in an anthology, entitled The Skateboarder's Journal - Lives on Board.
Compiled by Jack Smith with an introduction by Stacy Peralta, the stories are real-life experiences of skateboarders from all over the world. The concept behind the 325-page project was to create a history of skateboarding from the point of view of average people, instead of professional skaters or the skateboarding industry.
The story I wrote was based upon my first experiences with skating and what aspects of skateboarding had the most profound influence upon me.
The book is available on Amazon and Lulu but you can click the image above to read my contribution to the tome.
While this .ZIP file doesn't contain samples of code I have done at places like Disney and American Idol, it does show off the code structures for other sites I've built over the past 18 years. Also included are files used for an eBook tutorial I created, showing how to hand-code eBooks from scratch with a text editor.
My professional résumé/curriculum vitaé is extensive enough to require a webpage dedicated to it. People often categorize and label people into singular career paths, unable to imagine them having any other skillset. As is evident from my portfolio, that type of "pigeonhole" simply isn't possible with me.
As a result of the diversification I've developed, the most logical way to showcase all of my capabilities was to construct separate and specialized résumés for the multiple fields I've found myself thriving in. Designed to expand the perceptions of what I am capable of, my curriculum vitaé page helps to educate people on my achievements and the depth of my potential.