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Sorry for the radio silence -- the hurricane had us off the air here for a few days, and I've been busy catching up from the lack of power. It's amazing how just a few days can set back your schedule!

With that out of the way, it's time for me to join the voices raised in celebration of the geek community. Writer/editor Monica Valentinelli posted over at Flames Rising about how the negative stereotypes of geekdom are continually perpetuated by the media. As Josh Jasper reported over at Genreville last year, the New York Times is one of the guilty outlets. So Monica suggested that we geeks unite a bit and share how proud we are of our various geeky hobbies.

My dear readers, you know a lot of the geek hobbies in which I indulge, just from reading bits and bobbins here at the blog. Here's a list of these things, in descending order from commonly known to possibly previously unknown online. If you partake -- or have partaken -- in any of these lesser known hobbies, I'd be glad to celebrate our mutual geekdom!


  • Not only do I play RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons, I'm a game writer. This makes me a professional geek in this sphere of geekdom.

  • For a long time, I was also a card-carrying member of the RPGA. I really kept the card in my wallet.

  • The same that went for RPGs goes for comics. I admit that I came to comics late in life -- after graduating college -- but I fell for them hard. And now I get to write and *review* comics! Best job ever.

  • If geeks are pop culture related and nerds are academic (one of the breakdowns I've heard recently and have begun to use), I am both a geek and a nerd in general. I went to college after 10th grade and graduated at 20.

  • More specifically, I'm a myth and history nerd. I have been known to geek out -- or even squee -- about archaeology news.

  • I am not a serious videogamer, but I do drive a mean MarioKart. I grew up with a hand-me-down Nintendo (not even a Nintendo 64) and played computer games on our old Commedore 64. Currently, we have an Xbox at the Abbott house. Plants vs. Zombies lives on my desktop.

  • I am completely tempted to play The Old Republic, not because I love Star Wars (even though I do), and not because I love MMORPGs (MMOs have the potential to eat my life), but because I am a huge BioWare fan. Love those guys!

  • Speaking of Star Wars, I did used to read all the Extended Universe books. Being a lit major in college totally made me fall behind, but I do pick up a novel now and again if the continuity isn't too confusing. I also own several volumes of the Star Wars: Legacy comic.

  • Clearly, you already knew I was a Browncoat. I also dig Star Trek and Eureka. I was super excited to find Earth2 and SeaQuest on Netflix.

  • Before I was a gamer geek and a comic geek, I was a band and choir geek. I was in marching band and swing choir. After graduating college, I took my music geek self and performed with a semi-professional choir at Renaissance festivals across the state of Michigan. I have an awesome Italian Renaissance era costume which is, sadly, not as accurate as a member of the SCA would make it.

  • Speaking of getting dressed up in costumes, I have LARPed and enjoyed it, and I have worked in True Dungeon at GenCon, playing a drow.



The list goes on, but while my geek side would love to put me back on a night-owl schedule, my mom side knows that Bug is going to be up at six, so I'd better get some rest between now and then. In the mean time, celebrate your geek! Check out the posts at Flames Rising and elsewhere around the internet, including Max Gladstone's over here. Join us on facebook or tweet whenever you see a geek post with the #speakgeek hash tag. Unite!

Quitting

Jan. 13th, 2011 10:24 pm
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There's that old adage: "winners never quit and quitters never win." Here's the thing, though: sometimes, it's okay to quit. Sometimes, in fact, it's the right decision.

I was going through a lot of old e-mail trying to reduce my gmail load (I'm using 70% capacity! How did that happen?). I figured the quickest way to free up some space was to delete old attachment-laden messages, and so I ended up rediscovering a lot of old Living Kingdoms of Kalamar e-mails that are of no use to anyone any more. I had some really good times volunteering on that campaign, and later, running the campaign staff. But eventually, my passion for it was gone. The hours I was putting into the campaign were no longer a labor of love, they were a labor of duty, and I did them in a disgruntled fashion.

The time came when I needed to quit. It was the only way I could preserve my love for the campaign and the game -- and my sanity. And once my passion was gone, well, it was probably best for the campaign that I not be running it. (I mean, look what happened to Batman when someone who hated the character got a hold of it -- it became a campy, cheesy comic that inspired the Adam West TV series, rather than the dark, serious comic it had been, and has become again.)

This is also true of reading books. There are far, far too many books I want to read to force myself to finish a book I'm not enjoying. I recently started a novel (okay, I've recently started five novels; I'm doing one of those read-several-at-once stints again) that grabbed me in the first two pages and I was sure I was going to love it. But by about thirty pages in, it was starting to lose me. (Actually, the instant that I realized it was set on a post-apocalyptic, futuristic earth instead of a fantasy world was where it started going downhill. I like p-a books as much as the next person, but I like them better when I know that's what I'm opening.) At sixty-odd pages in, I made the decision: too much else to read. This one can go back to the library.

Sometimes, quitting really is the best option!
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Perhaps not so grand, but here I am, none the less!

It has been a busy four months or so, and though I'm not at a break between projects (I have plenty left to do on the adventure for Serenity Adventures, as well as some work for Rick Hershey on the Steampunk Musha RPG he has in the works), I am at a break between have-it-in-by-now-or-it's-late deadlines. The next "official" deadline (in red pen on my calendar) I have is in late May (when I will be away in Greece and Turkey, so I will certainly have it done early). It is such a nice feeling to be able to give myself permission to *not* work for one day. Then it's back with my nose to the grindstone the next!

I realize I didn't blog about DDXP and my experiences with 4th Edition, and this is in part because I am a bad blogger. It is more, however, due to my participation in the conversational reviews we're doing in an ongoing fashion on the current issue of Secret Identity Podcast. Max Saltonstall, Brian LeTendre, and I are better together as reviewers than we are apart (well, in my case, anyway), and if you don't mind listening to the audio version in 15 minute increments (that's the length of our segment, "Action Point Counter Point"), that's far better as far as gaming goes than what you'll see here on my blog.

In short: Read more... )

But there's more news here than just convention catch up. I should have posted this at the beginning of the month, since we're almost at the midway point: for the month of March, my story "The Valley" is being published/hosted on The Edge of Propinquity Web zine. (You may know them as [livejournal.com profile] t_e_o_p.) Mine is the guest story for the month: the rest of the zine is serial fiction from four dedicated authors who grow their worlds with each installment. It's a site well worth checking out--and of course, I'll be delighted to hear responses to the story.

Those seem like the major updates since I last posted. I expect to get back on track now that I'm back (and that the deadlines aren't hovering so closely around my neck as usual). I may even finally get to work on the novel I was supposed to have finished by... when did I commit to on this blog? The end of March? Heh, self-imposed deadlines don't have nearly the motivation factor they need....
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So, the most difficult thing about Dungeons and Dragons has nothing to do with learning the rules. It doesn't deal with rolling dice, and it doesn't even take into account a variety of improvisational skill levels. No, it has *everything* to do with finding a time when six or seven people who all like hanging out with each other can manage to put aside their busy schedules and get together!

It's been a busy gaming weekend (Living Kingdoms of Kalamar), and plans are already in preparation for next week (Xen'drik Expeditions). Funny story of the weekend: I remembered to pack the gaming bag, but not the bag with the clothes, so we ended up at Target (where apparently they only sell shirts for anorexic women with very long arms--who knew?) getting sundry supplies to make it through to the next day. I found a sweatshirt that worked, but waited to buy a t-shirt until the next day, because we were gaming at Pandemonium, where they sell shirts to support the store. I now have a cool new goblin shaman shirt in bright yellow. So it all turned out for the best!

Now, for the fun links.

The first is courtesy [livejournal.com profile] tltrent in regards to the Cassie Edwards debacle. Paul Tolme, one of the plagiarized authors, wrote a great article for Newsweek about the whole experience, and also gave a plea for the Blackfooted Ferret. It's an extremely funny read, and I very much admire Tolme's spirit.

In WGA strike news, PW ran an article about how authors are now having to decide whether or not to cross picket lines to appear on shows that haven't negotiated fair deals with their writers (The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are both mentioned) in order to promote their books.

But for the win of the day, a book that I reviewed for School Library Journal, Good Masters, Sweet Ladies, won the Newbery! (My review is at the bottom of that page, so you can see what I thought.) It is so incredibly exciting to have a tangential connection to the winner (my coworkers at the library are convinced that my review had something to do with the book's success, which makes me giggle). Having read and loved it, it's still a surprise win to me: it's a brilliant book, and completely non-typical for a Newbery win: it's interrelated monologues rather than straight prose, and it begs to be performed. There's a great article about Schlitz from the Baltimore Sun.

That wraps it up for today! I'm trying to follow up with the people I invited to guest blog so I can start putting a schedule together, but since I didn't form an actual *list* when I started, actually documenting this whole guest posting thing is ending up being a bigger challenge than I initially thought. :) Curse my lack of foresight!
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I'd love to say that the reason I've not been posting here this week is because I'm getting such a tremendous amount of writing done on that novel I said I was starting. Unfortunately, no. I'm getting other exciting work done, though! I've just finished ten short scenes for an upcoming art book that Empty Room Studios is putting together. Andrew Schneider and I are serving right now as the two main writers for ERS, so the two of us have been writing a bunch of quick scenes from different genres, using first or third person, past or present tense. I even wrote one in the style of a Norse saga today, which was a real kick. The project will be in development for awhile, but I think it'll be great fun when it's out. (Andrew also worked on Allies and Adversaries on a bunch of the Chronicles of Ramlar characters.)

I've also got a couple of reference assignments and a gig writing a modular adventure for a campaign that isn't Living Kingdoms of Kalamar--which is a first for me. (This assignment also gives me the great pleasure of working with Shawn Merwin again, which is always a treat.) I submitted "Nomi's Wish" one last time to a competition in the UK, and we'll see how that goes. That's one piece I really just want to exist somewhere outside of me, so each time I send it out somewhere, I hope that's the place that becomes its new home.

Other than that, we've been watching a bunch of Star Wars around here; we picked up Star Wars awhile ago, then watched both Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi this week. Youtube has completely ruined moments in these movies for me (courtesy of, I believe, [livejournal.com profile] coffeeem), and if you don't want to have giggle moments at Vader's expense, don't watch this one, and certainly not this one. Really.

I'm also working on drumming up a few more interview opportunities for Cowboys and Aliens: Worlds at War on the net. If you'd like to promote us, let me know! We'll be announcing a contest on Monday, I believe, so check back both here and on the W@W site for more details!
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A good weekend was had here, with lunch on the beach, a trip up to Boston, and some good D&D time. I got to have Brian LeTendre from Secret Identity Podcast at one of my Living Kalamar tables, which was too fun.

The big news from this weekend, however, is that (despite its being Labor Day and therefore a day of rest), Julia Bauder, my web designer finished my page. You can visit it at http://www.virgilandbeatrice.com (although those of you who read my livejournal will find the front page remarkably similar to this blog). Information about all my projects is displayed on the links. It's been working a bit better in non-IE web browsers, but we're working on that (as well as possibly adding banners of friends somewhere on the site; not yet sure where that'll happen).

So, come visit!

Happy 4th!

Jul. 4th, 2007 07:50 pm
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Tight schedule this week due to deadlines, so I won't be writing much. Quick notes:

* Cowboys and Aliens, volume 1 (the first team) went up to number 1 on the DrunkDuck.com comics site after it was announced that there's a movie deal in the makings. I don't know much more about it than that, but it bodes well for our sequel when we start posting!

* Common Shiner got interviewed. New CD comes out on August 10th!

* I visited the shoreline off of Tuxis Island, which was supposedly created by the mud that fell from the giant Tuxis's feet as he ran out into the sea. Connecticut used to be the land of giants. I think *that* needs to be what the Hobbomock story deals with, instead of trying to integrate the Tuatha de Danan. We'll see.

* The Living Kingdoms of Kalamar staff (sans me--I retired on June 1) is making their way out to Origins this weekend. I edited one of the premieres, so I'm psyched to hear how it goes. (I also co-wrote one of the GenCon premieres, but I'll have to wait to hear how that one goes.)

* Helpful people told me I need to change my theme in order to get the nifty tag clouds, so that's a project for once my deadlines are behind me. Another couple of people left me links in my comments that I haven't had the chance to follow up on--but I'm very eager to do so! If only I would remember to schedule holidays when I'm planning my work load.

That's it for today! I'll be back next week at the latest!
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"We complete each other nicely. She likes to draw motorcycles crashing through windows. I like to write people talking quietly about their feelings."

Brian K. Vaughan, on defying gender stereotypes in his work with artist Pia Guerra

--

Sorry for the lack of posting. I'm about three weeks behind on life right now, and slowly catching up. I've turned in an assignment (only a few days late, and with an approved extension), caught up on the Tangled Muse message boards (new home of the forums for Baeg Tobar and Empty Room Studios), and have watched two of the three episodes of Heroes that I missed. I've read the industry news that had been building up in my box, submitted an adventure to the RPGA for Living Kalamar, and sent another to one of our new copyeditors. I've read two of the three books I have for School Library Journal (but not yet written the reviews).

So I'm making progress on my to-do list--but blogging hasn't made it to the top of the pile. I'll be back to my semi-regular schedule soon.

New Icons!

Dec. 4th, 2006 07:40 pm
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My good friend (and Living Kalamar cohort, in the not-a-henchman sense of the word) Troy Daniels did me the huge favor of creating some icons from Lindsay Archer's fabulous Into the Reach art work. Hurrah!

We're counting down the days to Anonycon here, which I'll be at the 16th and 17th of this month. It's a game convention in Stamford, CT, and I'll be running a Living Kalamar premiere, as well as a Chronicles of Ramlar demo. I've just ordered in some more copies of the novel, so that will be there along with the game titles, kindly sold through The Game Castle (thanks Lisa!).

Yay icons!
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All of you who are reading this are probably already aware of my book, out there in the ether, and how it's not on Amazon (as I know I probably grumble about that more than I ought). Due to some hacker issues on the White Silver Publishing Web site, it's not currently self-evidently available there. This means, at the moment, it is near impossible for someone to get my book (unless they're ordering it through their local game store).

Should you happen to be doing viral marketing for me, please pass on this Web site: www.whitesilverpublishing.com/fiction/. From there, it's pretty easy to find the Online Store link (which has a very strange Web address that no one will remember off the top of their heads), despite the weird looking reconstruction going on with the site.

Of course, you can also always direct folks here to the live journal as well. :)

Despite these set-backs, I'm getting excited about Departure, for which I'll be getting the edit back from my editor any time now, and Regaining Home, which I just started last week. It's going much more slowly than I'd like, which isn't surprising since I don't really seem to hit my stride until I'm about half-way into the story. I also resolved a lot of the actual issues in the second book (not all of them!), and was expecting this one to be more action oriented. But I'm not sure how it will work yet, and as much as I know it's fine for fiction writers who write in an RPG world to break the rules (see R. A. Salvatore), there's stuff I want to do that I'm just not sure I can get away with and keep the spirit of the way magic works in the game... We'll see.

Thanks to the folks who responded about Hero, by the way. I didn't have a chance to reply to comments last week (for a host of reasons, most of them dealing with how I'm behind schedule on a number of projects, which is never fun), but I was glad to stir the conversation. I think what it boils down to, which I wasn't really accepting, is that you can't separate the story from its context, and considering all the human rights violations roughly sponsored by the Chinese government, the value of the state above the individual is worrysome in Chinese film. Taken as a story out of context (my favorite way to read, watch movies, and etc., which is why I was never very good at lit analysis), it's not worrysome--but it's dangerous to treat stories in that fashion when there are real world issues involved. (That doesn't stop it from being a great freakin' movie, of course.)

Now I'm off to organize my head for another week, and listen to my husband read Wintersmith, by Terry Pratchett, which I just finished an hour ago so he could have his shot at it. (I say listen because I giggled out loud through the book, and he's already laughed several times. Good fun stuff.)

Currently Reading: Not sure. I think I'll pick up Taltos, the next book in the Stephen Brust "Vlad Taltos" series, since I've really been enjoying those. I may also start either Jeff Duntemann's The Cunning Blood or Julie Kenner's California Demon, which is due back at the library next week.
Currently Playing: Living Kingdoms of Kalamar, but sort of in the editorial capacity... :)
Recently Watched: Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which has some of the best DVD extras I've ever seen.
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As I'm currently working on an assignment for a new sourcebook for White Silver, I've returned to an old question of mine about character design in RPGs. If you're a member of a fantasy world's City Watch, what are the odds that somewhere along the line, you've had to take a level of rogue (or similar class, dependent on the RPG)? It seems that most of the investigative skills you need in order to solve crimes come right along with the more criminal-oriented classes. Do you go ahead and take the levels but either ignore the less lawful elements of those classes (or simply not invest in those skills)? Or do you buy skills that you need at a higher rate because you're not taking the other class?

The Kenzer Crew just designed a new class that has elements of an urban-style ranger in their new Kalamar Players Guide to the Sovereign Lands: the Watchman. It certainly has some really nifty elements for a d20 class that work well for lawmen (additional damage against criminals, the ability to use gather information to track), and has a high skill point ratio that makes it a good fit. Eberron Campaign Setting has the Master Inquisitive as a prestige class, which seems to come pretty naturally from a rogue or ranger background. Wizards of the Coast's Complete Warrior has the Justicar prestige class, which seems to come the most naturally from the fighter background. So I'm looking at those and trying to determine what elements they have that make for a good private investigator/constable/city watch sort of character. Then I'll have to see what kind of special abilities I can use from the Chronicles of Ramlar A/B system to make up a good city guard.

I imagine that part of this train of thought comes from having just finished the first of the Dresden Files, Storm Front, by Jim Butcher. The wizard-as-private-eye thing is great fantasy noir. It's right up there in my mind with other successful mixed-noir novels like Kiln People by David Brin. Excellent reading.

*

In other news, Amazon has yet to make Into the Reach available. Also, you can only find it by typing in my name, or typing the title into Amazon's search box in quotes ("Into the Reach"). I am still working on this, but it's getting to the point where I'm tempted to recommend that people just buy it straight from the publisher's Web site. As soon as there's more news, I'll post it.

*

Speaking of Into the Reach, I want to apologize to folks who watched the movie Hero before they read my novel. I just watched Hero for the first time this week, and toward the end, the subtitles are nearly an exact match for one of the things one of my characters says a couple of times. This completely spoiled a dramatic moment for my husband and me as we watched it, as I closed my eyes and shook my head, hoping that people wouldn't think I'd deliberately stolen from the movie.

So you heard it here first. I wrote all of Into the Reach and its sequel before watching the movie Hero. Any similarities are completely unintentional, although I thought the movie was quite good, and wouldn't mind being compared to it at all. I'm a sucker for wire-fu movies, particularly when they evoke wuxia literary tradition.

Currently Reading: Queen of the Amazons by Judith Tarr
Just finished: Sorcerers and Secretaries vol 1 (again), Once upon Stilettos by Shanna Swendson (again), and Storm Front by Jim Butcher
Currently Replaying: Knights of the Old Republic II, because I'm hoping to use their mechanic for a play-by-e-mail with a good friend.
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Sorry for the delay in getting all of this posted. I've been struggling against the flu, which I believe I caught somewhere among all the hand shaking. This is comforting, as it means that some of the illness that I thought I was giving myself for being nervous was actually a physical ailment. I'm going to take comfort in that!

Full GenCon Report )
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This is the first chance I've had where I actually had time to sit down and write about what's been going on with GenCon. What makes this unfortunate is that it means I'll abridge and inevitably miss some really cool stuff that happened, but this is the way of things. Since I was only semi-coherent on Wednesday anyway, there are probably things I'd miss regardless.

Wednesday: Left at 3:45 a.m. for the airport. Slept a little on the plane to Detroit, but couldn't sleep from Detroit to Indianapolis. I planned out my Eberron: Xen'drik Expeditions character, instead (which I still haven't had a chance to play).

The convention registration opened at 5 p.m., so most of the early day was spent by exhibitors putting together their booths. The folks from White Silver picked me up at the airport, dropped me off at the hotel (where I couldn't check in yet), and then took me over to the convention center. Nominally, I was to help set up the booth, but as the guys from White Silver told me, they're from the South, which means I wasn't allowed to lift very much. (Someone is always offering to take heavy things from me, which shames my internal bookseller, but makes my arms quite happy.) I unraveled some wires that had tangled up in transit, which was quite productive, then let them handle most of the rest while I went to training for True Dungeon.

If you've never been through the True Dungeon before, it is a must see event. As it runs over $20 for an 1 1/2 event, it's a little outside the price range of some gamers. This didn't stop the event from filling up entirely in the first two hours that the event tickets went on sale at the convention. I imagine that traversing the dungeon (which is similar to a haunted house, except with puzzles, riddles, and mock combat) is well worth the price. The other great way to experience True Dungeon is as a volunteer, and they need plenty of them to keep the place running. I picked up my make up and wig and chatted with folks to find out how it worked (and got a new copy of my script, which I'd left somewhere in Connecticut), then headed back down to the exhibit hall.

Because of the loading and unloading through the docks outside the hall, the convention staff said the air wouldn't be turned on until Thursday morning, making it quite a warm place to set up. Despite the heat, banners rose into the air on fork lifts, buildings were built (the Wizards of the Coast booth has an entire small library with furniture to create a cozy environment for author signings), and books made their way onto display. I wandered over to the Kenzer and Company booth and helped them with the set-up, doing my best to use my Barnes and Noble bookseller training to create an attractive display. (Pyramid displays really *do* look better than other arrangements!)

By the time I returned to the White Silver booth, huge banners were rising from the booth, displaying prominently the cover image from Into the Reach and the cover image for the Chronicles of Ramlar Core Rulebook. There wasn't a whole lot for me to help with other than shifting boxes and starting to arrange displays, which didn't entirely work as it's hard to maneuver around a booth with seven people trying to help. Mostly, I stood with editor Tony Lee and we pretended to supervise.

I headed back up for the rest of my True Dungeon training and realized I hadn't had nearly enough to eat, so I headed down to the Champions Bar at the Mariott (where the True Dungeon was being held) and ran into Jolly Blackburn, creator and writer for Knights of the Dinner Table. We chatted while I waited for my food, then I headed back up to True Dungeon to watch the walk through for the VIP attendees, in order to get an idea of how the show worked.

Sadly, this was not to be, as my body decided to shut down around 7 p.m. I said farewell to the True Dungeon staff, headed over to the convention center to tell the White Silver folks I was headed home (and said a very sleepy hello to Lindsay Archer, the artist who did the cover and interiors for Into the Reach. Then I headed back to the hotel, where I slept for about an hour at a shot; tired as I was, I had a severe case of nerves. I don't know if it's easier to just know your book's release date and mark it silently or if it's easier to be right there in the thick of the action and knowing exactly how well your book is selling in those first few days. I imagine the first might be just as nerve wracking as the second, and the second is pretty darn nerve wracking!

More when I have another chance to write. I'm back over to the convention center to start another day of carnival barking and book selling.
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Here's the schedule and all the exciting things going on with White Silver at GenCon. (My name is about half-way into the list of people scheduled at the booth.) If you're going to be at GenCon, please stop by.

When I'm not at the White Silver booth, I expect to spend some time at the Kenzer and Company booth helping promote Living Kalamar. We are actually having four slots at GenCon, despite not being listed as "Living Kalamar." It's a new adaptation of a printed module, and should be much fun from what I've heard rumored. (I notably have not read it yet.) We may also be offering modules at the RPGA's "Midnight Madness" pick up games, if players are interested. More details to follow.

But now, the press release found in it's original form at White Silver Publishing's news page:

Read more... )
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Ah, Origins. Game convention of adventure and excitement. This was my third year as an Origins attendee, and again, it was a productive experience.

For some background:

At Origins of 2004, I met James Lowder, who presented at a panel on shared world fiction. (The panel also featured Michael A. Stackpole of Star Wars novels fame.) Mr. Lowder was kind enough to speak with me after the panel and give me some advice on how to get into the industry. Though I no longer remember most of the details of the conversation, I remember that moment being the one where I decided that this was something I could really do.

At Origins of 2005, I passed off my business card to John Prescott at White Silver, who is, in August, publishing my first novel. (I've contributed to both of the other sourcebooks they have coming out at GenCon, where I will be signing my novel. It's been great fun to work with them.)

So Origins of 2006 rolled around, and I came armed with business cards and the pre-print of my novel to show around. Because I consider going to Origins a business trip, I attended several writing workshops. Having arrived an hour early for the workshop on how to present your portfolio to publishers, I decided to attend another seminar happening in the next room. To my delight and surprise, there was James Lowder on the panel! (The panel, which was on the nature of the secret identity in super hero fiction and games, included Sean Patrick Fannon ([livejournal.com profile] seanpatfannon), the events coordinator for Origins as well as a writer for the Champions RPG; Michael Miller, the creator of With Great Power; Steve Kenson, designer of Mutants and Masterminds; and active audience member Steve Long of Hero Games.) The panel was excellent, both because it was informative and because it was the creators on the panel and the audience talking about our favorite comic book heroes. It doesn't get much better than that.

(Incidentally, the theory was espoused that neither Clark Kent, reporter, or Superman are the real identity of America's favorite super hero. Instead, Clark Kent, farmboy, at home with his parents, is the true identity of Superman. Both of the others are just aspects of his personality. I have been converted to this way of thinking.)

After the panel, I showed James Lowder my pre-print copy of Into the Reach and told him that he'd literally changed my life, which he took extremely well for coming out of the blue. I hope that it pleased him to know he gave me such confidence!

I quickly hurried over to my scheduled panel on showing your portfolio, which featured Keith Baker of Eberron fame; Rich Burlew, creator of Order of the Stick; Ken Hite, who was offering an exclusive Origins release first printing of his new book Dubious Shards (and who may or may not be [livejournal.com profile] princeofcairo, but I rather suspect he is); and an artist whose name I sadly neglected to write down. These presenters were excellent, and what was perhaps most exciting about the panel was learning how much I've been doing right in marketing myself. It's extremely nice to be assured by people who are successful in the industry.

Keith Baker and Rich Burlew were both around and available for conversations during the rest of the convention, and I had a wonderful time chatting with them. It makes me extremely pleased to know that my money that has gone into buying their books has been well spent, not only because they both do such great work, but because they're really awesome people as well.

Most of the rest of my convention was spent working with the Living Kingdoms of Kalamar staff. The show was extremely good for them, largely due to the successes of the other staff members (despite the credit folks have been kind enough to attribute to me). Our Conventions Director did an amazing job, as did the rest of the crew, who judged when they weren't scheduled, printed out new certs that had been forgotten, and quickly solved all manner of other crises.

Alas, I did not get a chance to play in the new Xen'drik Expeditions campaign, but I hope to be able to catch an evening slot of that at GenCon. Otherwise, the convention was a roaring success, and I got to show off my pre-print to assorted people in the industry who are far better known than me (including Jamie and Renae Chambers of Margaret Weis Productions, who have promised to set aside a copy of the new Serenity RPG adventure for me at their booth at Gen Con). Many of these folks even offered to come stop by the White Silver Publishing booth at GenCon. I hope that their fans will say, "Well, if Keith Baker thinks she's worth reading, I ought to buy a copy of her book, too!" I'll post my schedule for when I'll be at the booth at GenCon as soon as I get it, so if you're coming, you can stop by, too.

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Alana Joli Abbott

July 2017

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