alanajoli: (mini me)
I've been saving up links to post here and just realized I'm getting overwhelmed, so I'd better post em here!

Big news: Tales of Rosuto Shima, the short story collection from the Steampunk Musha kickstarter, was just released in its first edition to the Kickstarter backers -- and it's also up on DriveThruRPG. My story, "The Gamelan Device," will be added to it soon, Update: is already included!, and excerpts from the comic Riddle in Red that we worked on in the setting are included. If you buy it now, you'll get a message when the newest version is uploaded in place of the current, original version. So, go forth and buy!



Other links of interest:
    • The Oglala Sioux and the federal government are teaming up to open the first tribal national park. Katie Gustafson wrote about it earlier this month for the World Wildlife Federation. I think it's a really cool initiative, and I'm excited to see it happening!

      Donald T. Williams, who I know from the Mythopoeic Society, blogged recently on that same topic that's been coming up in my life lately: how the stories we read/watch impact our own life story. His entry has a Christian bent, but includes quest narratives like Odysseus and Dante as recommendations.

      My new friend and writing buddy Elisabeth Adams had her story Subversion published on Escape Pod. Congrats Elisabeth!

      And this news is long-belated: Shanna Swendson ([livejournal.com profile] shanna_s) has had the last three books in her Enchanted Inc. series picked up and published! The fifth book was published last August, but I just found out the good news today. Go Shanna! Yay for more Katie Chandler adventures!


  • And the final bit for today: I got a direct message on twitter from an aspiring author I conversed with about publishing back in 2010. He's soon to have a novella released on amazon, and he gave me credit for helping inspire him. I'm going to carry this feel-good moment with me for awhile!

    What's the good news do you have to share?
    alanajoli: (Default)
    Apologies for the long blog absence without warning! I was off on a family vacation that involved not one but two family weddings in beautiful Michigan. We had a lovely time, and when I returned home I jumped right into finishing up the last round of autobiographical essays, which included an original piece by Tananarive Due. Due and her husband, Steven Barnes, who has also written an autobiography for the autobio project, ought to be considered one of the power couples of the SFF world (if they're not already). They're both amazing. If you've not read either of them, you're missing out. (Luckily, their books are pretty widely available, so it's a loss that can be rectified pretty easily at your local library.)

    So the last round of autobio has wrapped up, I got to do a cool secret project for Wizards of the Coast, and a computer crash didn't stop me from completing an assignment of obituaries. All in all, things are good on the work front, and I'm looking ahead to the assignments that come next! The Steampunk Musha Kickstarter's success means I'll be doing some adventure writing with Rick Hershey and maybe a short story or two coming up!

    I'm also catching up on Eureka. Since my writer-buddy Margaret Dunlap worked on that show, I ponied up and bought a season pass on Amazon so I can watch it on the television. I just finished watching episode 4, which involves a scene where two characters start a D&D game, basically functioning as a step toward helping one of them cope with grief. I thought it was an incredibly touching moment and a wonderful way to celebrate the power of shared storytelling.

    Speaking of writer friends, several writer friends of mine are already on to the next project, and here's their news:

    • Since in writer-time, Eureka wrapped ages ago, Margaret's been keeping busy working on a new project, the web show The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. It's a modernized Pride and Prejudice, and it sounds right up my alley. More when I've had a chance to catch up on the already-existing episodes!

    • Fellow Substrater Max Gladstone just announced his fantastic news that he's sold an additional two books to Tor. This comes on top of his first two book contract -- his debut novel releases this October and is available for preorder now.

    • I can't remember if I linked back to Francesca Forrest's "Tilia Songbird," which was published in Gigantosaurus at the beginning of May. If not, here it is! If I did, and you didn't read it the first time, I hope this inspires you to go check it out.

    • And for a celebration of meta-text, John "jaQ" Andrews just had his e-book guide to Castle come out! (It's a book about a show about a guy who writes books -- it gets awesomely circular, and I can't think of a better person to write about it than John.) Check out Quicklet on Castle Season 3, in which John has promised to explain the conspiracy behind the death of Beckett's mother.


    I love good news like this!
    alanajoli: (Default)
    As part of the Kickstarter project for the new Steampunk Musha RPG, the gang at Fat Goblin Games has released The Steampunk Musha Explorer's Guide for free over at RPG Now. It's text I recognize very well from the original edition of the game -- some city descriptions, some mythology, and the Tale of Yu that I posted here just the other day! Best yet, it's free. So if you've been at all interested in Steampunk Musha, this is your chance to check it out. It's got some great art in it, as well!



    The Kickstarter campaign has passed the first incentive mark and is on its way toward the next one. My favorite incentive (before getting to the part where I'd be writing more fiction!) is at the $6000 mark: the Juunishi-p'o race unlock. These guys were my favorite back in the original game, and I hope they can be included in the new version! You can find out more (and help launch the project) at Kickstarter!

    And don't forget to enter yesterday's drawing to win Jennifer Estep's new novel!
    alanajoli: (Default)
    The Steampunk Musha RPG kickstarter has funded! Hurrah! It still has more than two weeks left and is within $200 of making the next goal. You can still become a backer here.

    As promised, here's some flavor text from the original game. I hope you enjoy this excerpt!




    --

    The Tale of Yu

    All these things took place in a time before time was measured, before the gods knew their own names. The great Celestial Dragons, whose names man may not speak, existed in a place that had no form, a place so shapeless that no thoughts could contain it, and not even the Dragons considered its existence. It is said they went on for uncountable moments in their way, knowing things that the Dragons know, doing things that the Dragons do. Perhaps eons passed, but the truth of this is lost to men. What is known is this: the great Celestial Dragons decided that the formless place should have some form, that its lifelessness should be filled with breath. So they breathed in the shapeless place and breathed out the one called Yu.

    The Celestial Dragons spoke their thoughts to Yu, and Yu acquiesced to their requests, taking upon himself the task of giving shape to that which had none, breathing life where there had been no breath. But as he watched the universe form, watched the stars begin to swirl, watched his patterns grow and begin to follow his own will without being restrained, he grew selfish. Why should he share the universe he had created? All the Celestial Dragons had given him was breath; he had given the universe his thoughts, given it the shape he would never himself have. And so, having no form himself, he surrounded the universe and hid it from the Celestial Dragons. He watched it grow and change, taking joy from the life that started inside of him, allowing it to shape him as he shaped it.

    The Celestial Dragons remembered the task they had given Yu, and though perhaps ages passed before they thought of him, they eventually returned to ask him where he had placed the universe. As Yu watched the Celestial Dragons and watched the universe inside of him, he realized he had done something dishonorable by keeping it a secret. He confessed his horrible act, and the Celestial Dragons explained that in order to regain his honor, he would have to cut the universe out of himself. Yu quickly sliced himself in half and the universe burst from him, and the Celestial Dragons were amazed at what he had created.

    But Yu felt he had not done enough to regain his honor and continued to cut himself into pieces. As he cut, his pieces were given form. Where the universe had been now became his bowels, which he spilled onto a small world. His innards poured into an ocean, and his flesh covered them to create an island. His arms and legs became the island’s mountains, and his hair became trees and grass. As he watched his form become part of one of his worlds, he cried with joy, and these tears became the rivers which led to the sea. But the pain was great, and Yu could not hold back a scream of pain, and this scream, too, took form, and from it came the seven thunder gods who still mimic his cry. And after he screamed, he retched blood, expelling the greed and dishonor that had made him hide the universe, and this became the oni. On his back came fleas and lice, which became our ancestors, and from his last thoughts, the gods were formed to rule over the land. With Yu’s last breath, the four great winds began to blow.

    The Celestial Dragons were pleased with Yu’s sacrifice, and so they sent other spirits to experience the land, to which they gave the name Rosuto-Shima. They took Yu’s eyes and set them above the world, so that Yu might watch over what he had made. In this way, they explained, he would be able to prevent his children from committing the dishonor that Yu himself had committed. And so it remains; the first eye, the sun, watches over the joy and happiness of mankind, seeing only the bright hours of celebration. The second eye, the moon, only sees the darkness of men, and is witness to the greed and selfishness that caused Yu such great dishonor. But though Yu’s second eye only sees darkness, it shines, hoping that its light will guide men toward lives of honor and away from his previous actions, the corruption of Rosuto-Shima.

    And that is how all these things came to be.
    –Collected Writings of Quan Hong
    alanajoli: (Steampunk Musha)
    Some of the projects that I've worked on seem to vanish. A couple of anthology short stories I've written seem to have vanished; Ransom was only on contract to be sold for a year before all rights reverted to the authors. New copies of my novels are nearly impossible to find (though used copies usually turn up at the usual online suspects). For a long time, it looked like Steampunk Musha was another one of those great projects that was lost to time.

    Happily, Rick Hershey of Empty Room Studios is in the process of bringing Steampunk Musha back into the world in the Pathfinder rules system with the help of Fat Goblin Games. They've started a Kickstarter to bring us back Rosuto Shima back into the world, and I'm really hopeful that this means there will be more Steampunk for everyone! You can read the thread here at Enworld, or just check out the Kickstarter page yourself.

    Edit: I cannot for the life of me get the widget to embed. Advice from lj users with expertise would be appreciated!

    The fundraiser is going until the end of May, and between now and then, as the drive picks up speed, I'll be posting some notes from the character design I did for the setting -- and the comic Rick and I were working on, for which he did some gorgeous art no longer to be found on my hard-drive, sadly -- so you can get a peek into the world Rick created and the characters I designed. Stay tuned!
    alanajoli: (Default)
    I've had several thoughts for blog entries lately, but it's not always easy to find the time to sit down and write. Luckily, I have a netbook, which makes it possible for me to type this right now with a sleeping Bug on my arm. Another reason I've been putting off blogging, as I mentioned earlier, is that I don't like to post when I owe [livejournal.com profile] lyster a chapter of Blood and Tumult. If I can sit down to write a blog entry, I think, shouldn't I be writing 1500 to 3000 words of a chapter instead?

    Cowriting Blood and Tumult has been a lot of fun thus far. I love playing in Baeg Tobar, as the setting has so much potential. And the way that Max and I are writing -- trading off chapters -- makes the fact that we have an outline less of a detriment to my creative process. Usually, knowing what's coming next doesn't work well for me. Once I write it down, it's no longer the surprise that keeps me excited about the story. But since I'm only writing half of the chapters, the excitement becomes wondering how Max will tell that next part of the story, how he'll flesh out the details, because I probably would have chosen a different way if left to my own devices. That then feeds into what I'll write next, since his interpretation of the outline naturally impacts how I'll see the next part of the story.

    (Speaking of Baeg Tobar, did I mention that my second short story, "She's Never Hard to Find," is up? The first story featuring the same characters is "No Matter How You Hide Her.")

    It's not quite the same as working on a comic script, but it does share similar qualities. The best part, for me, of working in comics is seeing how the artist interprets the words I've put down on the page. Even when I give a panel by panel script, which is how I tend to write comics, there's a lot of room to interpret every detail. Seeing how the art turns out is a huge adventure!

    Speaking of which, Steampunk Musha -- for which I was the co-writer on the original RPG, the editor for the d20 version (which never came out on its own; it's currently being converted to the Pathfinder system, but it will be released eventually!), and the writer for a couple of comic scripts that have yet to become full comics -- is now a Kickstarter project! I'm tremendously excited, as funding will enable creator Rick Hershey to develop a lot of projects that have been sadly languishing in the pipeline, waiting for funds to make them possible. The goal is quite modest ($5000), but will go a long way toward making fiction, games, and comics in the setting a reality. He's also offering up art, products, and even becoming a character in the setting as donation incentives.



    If you're interested in seeing more Musha (or you're just interested in seeing me back in comics, which I'd love), please consider a small donation. Or just spread the word! We appreciate it.
    alanajoli: (steampunk musha)
    First item of business, Steampunk Musha RPG, the Iron Gauntlets version, got a review! It's been out for awhile now, so I'm pleased to see that people are still finding it--and even more pleased that people are enjoying it when they do. The d20 version is still planned to be out there some time, and hopefully more folks will find it then, as well. (And heck, maybe we'll get back to the comic eventually, and I'll get to tell Hiroko's story...)

    In other news, I've been doing pretty well with my new commitment to spend time each day working on writing projects that aren't specifically freelance work. I've spent more time on "Rodeo at Area 51," and I think I'm probably only two scenes from the end, but they're pivotal scenes, and I'm not sure how well they'll gel together. I haven't worked on the Blackstone Academy novel since Friday, but I think that'll be on my plate again next week, as well as getting started on the vampire story, since that's what Arielle and I agreed I'd send to her for our next "deadline." I also got the final edits back on "Head above Water," the Living Forgotten Realms module that I wrote earlier this fall, and I after seeing the last set of edits, I really think it's a good strong adventure. (I hope the players agree!)

    I also got started on a fun, ongoing freelance project that just came back to me. (The last time I worked on it was in 2004.) It's always been a fun project, and if I can get permission to mention it here, I'll talk a bit more about it. It's on the editorial side of the creative writing road, and being back on that side of the process renews my perspective. I don't think it's good to try to be my own editor when I'm writing drafts, but I think it's good to remember what the editorial process is, so that when I'm working with other editors, I can see more clearly from their point of view.

    --

    Quick note: Lora Innes's The Dreamer is out in print today! Ask your Friendly Local Comic Shop for issue #1. You may remember Lora from a guest blog entry she did back in April. Check her out!
    alanajoli: (wistful - autumn)
    One small piece of advice: after declaring Apollo as a patron, do not then state that you haven't worn sunscreen since July, and therefore have no need of it at the end of August. This is foolish. And also a recipe for sunburn and/or sunstroke. Because the gods are spiteful. That's sort of their thing.

    At any rate, it was a fun three-day-weekend of gaming and beaching and aloe, during which some nifty things happened:

    1) Amazon and BN.com both have Ransom: The Anthology listed and available for purchase! My comp copy should be in the mail shortly, and I'm so excited to read it. A google search reveals no reviews as yet, but I'll keep looking, as given that it includes stories by [livejournal.com profile] eyezofwolf/Dylan Birtolo and Lydia Laurenson, who I know write good stuff, I think there's probably a lot of good things to be said!

    2) Amazon and BN.com have both also made available [livejournal.com profile] nalini_singh's newest book, Hostage to Pleasure. Happy book birthday! In honor of that publication, Nalini is hosting a contest asking for descriptions of fictional characters you'd like to take hostage or be taken hostage by. Given that I've just been featured in an anthology on ransom... it seemed like a good match!

    So, what fictional character would I like to hold hostage? For grins and giggles, I think I'd kidnap Bea from The Dreamer, which should be coming out in print as well as online sometime this month. Why? Honestly, because that would give either heroes Alan or Nathan the mission of rescuing her, and while I hate to be the bad guy, watching another rescue in action by that pair would just be too much fun to pass up!

    What fictional character could I imagine holding me hostage (and still having it be fun)? After a brief discussion with my husband about unrepentant rogues in fiction we both read, we came up with Vlad Taltos from [livejournal.com profile] skzbrust's series. It could really go either way with him--either something really interesting would happen (as it so often does around him) or the whole thing would go disastrously for me. But there might at least be a trip to Valabar's restaurant, which might even impress a non-foodie like me with its exquisite menu.

    If I were going to be held hostage in a fictional setting, I think I'd imagine the fun there being had either by the X-men (because the shenanigans that would ensue would also be fun to watch, and they're the good guys, so it would all get sorted out eventually), or by one of the fairy courts from [livejournal.com profile] melissa_writing's Wicked Lovely and accompanying books. Probably the summer court, as that at least involves dancing and fun--the dark court would certainly not be a place I'd like to visit, let alone have to stay for any length of time.

    But right now, I should be being held hostage by my own work. I've got several projects up in the air, so you'll be seeing a number of titles circulating through my end tag/signature/footer/thingy over the next while until I actually start finishing some of them.




    Reading
    Souls in Silicon, by Jeff Duntemann
    Lulu
      Writing
    "Steampunk Musha: Riddle in Red" (comic issue #1; page count)


     
    alanajoli: (Default)
    Nearly all of my B&N preorders have shipped and should be arriving on my porch in the next few days. So I'd like to take this moment to wish a happy Book Birthday (in some cases, belated from earlier this week) to:

    Welcome to the world, books!

    --

    Quick notes on why I've gone missing lately (and a further demonstration that I am actually learning html coding--the more that I use it, I figure the less I'll have to look it up every time I want to bullet a list). Since last Friday I:

    • Read the first chapter of The Lightning Thief aloud at a storyreading night.

    • Ran three Xen'drik Expeditions D&D games.

    • Committed my very first TPK as a DM.

    • Finished going over the edits for the d20 Steampunk Musha Player's Guide.

    • Signed a copy of Into the Reach for a facebook friend who managed to find one used and mailed it to me.

    • Wrote a review for Flames Rising.

    • Wrote a biographical essay about Marc Aronson (which was incredibly fun--he's a great representative for nonfiction for younger readers, and when John Scieszka's term as National Ambassador for Children's Literature ends, Aronson should be a serious candidate).

    • Read Nalini Singh's award winning paranormal romance Caressed by Ice, which I ended up very much enjoying, despite its having two themes that normally make me put a book down (a serial killer/stalker as a major threat and one of the characters having been raped--the former which really doesn't ever sit well with me, but worked out, and the latter of which Singh handled in such a way that the healing process was compelling rather than distressing).

    • Watched The Sting with my husband.


    Huh, it felt like so much more before I wrote the list. At any rate, it's been very busy around here, and I'm trying to catch up on my blog reading while not falling behind on my schedule of assignments. We'll see how that goes.
    alanajoli: (Default)
    I had really, really intended to do something to celebrate Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Wretch day, but honestly, I never marked it on my calendar. All the work that I have out of the submission circuit is older, and therefore doesn't really reflect me as a writer now (as much as I like some of it, I acknowledge that it's from an earlier stage in my apprenticeship), so I'm not sure I want to post it in honor of the day. I may post it later as sort of an archive for people who are interested. We'll see.

    So, here's a cheer for those Wretches who did celebrate the day, including [livejournal.com profile] mistborn. There's a list available of the participants here. Also [livejournal.com profile] sartorias has, in honor of Shakespeare's birthday, also posted a list of non-traditional publishing formats, self publishers, and small press folks who don't get the recognition they deserve. I think that sort of effort ties right in to the PSTW movement.

    --

    In other news, preorders are up at the ERS store for the Steampunk Musha Player's Guide. Hurrah!
    alanajoli: (Default)
    I went to my very first Gilbert and Sullivan performance tonight. I'd sung parts of The Pirates of Penzance before. Heck, I've been to Penzance, England. But I'd never seen the show. The awesome Junius (who may or may not have an lj identity--I haven't internet-stalked him *g*) invited us to go, and so we went. The orchestra was awesome, the performers were quite excellent, and I learned something I'd long suspected. Gilbert and Sullivan are right up my alley as far as humor goes. The whole show is very, very silly--and that's what's excellent about it.

    Now, I really want start singing again. I don't think that I really should ever have sung Mabel (I trained as a soprano in college, despite being rather more an alto naturally speaking, though my range was good enough to sing Handel arias and such). My voice remembers quite a bit more of the "O Wandering One" than I would have suspected, though, and it felt good to sing just a little bit when we got home. One of these days, I'll have to get myself back into good training. I fear that my instrumental training may be too far gone at this point to recover, but the singing, I should be able to get back.

    (We discussed at one point this evening how stereotypes are associated with different instruments to those who have been instrumentalists, and I always wonder what people suspect I've played. Most people probably wouldn't peg me, I suspect--but I'd be entirely amused if they knew right off!)

    On a completely different note, I just discovered that Lindsay Archer has a whole bunch of LJ icons available on her website, so you'll be seeing several new pieces of art by Lindsay in this blog. (I've also added a number of icons from Cowboys and Aliens and Steampunk Musha recently just to spice things up a bit.)

    More Musha

    Apr. 16th, 2008 02:08 pm
    alanajoli: (hiroko)
    I posted too soon! As it turns out, today Rick put a preview up at the ERS store, complete with the cover:



    You can get the first 11 pages here, right from the front page. It sounds like the full book will be available for download in the next few days!
    alanajoli: (Default)
    Every so often, Rick Hershey slips me a little sample art work so I can see what's going on with our Steampunk Musha projects. We've just finished up the text for the d20 version of the player's book, so that'll be out and available in the near future (I don't have an exact release date, but I expect that "any day now" is probably about right--it'll be available through the Empty Room Studios store). At any rate, I got permission to share a little bit of the teaser art with you guys, so here it is:



    This is one of our Shangti Cowboys--gunslingers who tend toward being private eyes and bounty hunters. They're our most noir characters, I think--so, of course, I love them. In fact, the first comic script I did was the introduction of Amura Hiroko, a female Shangti Cowboy, to her side-kick, a rooster Juunishi-p'o (small creatures that share human features with the features of animals from the Chinese zodiac) named Del. I'd forgotten that my script is actually up on my Empty Room Studios profile page, if you're interested in seeing how I go about scripting a comic. Remember though that this was my *very first* script and it still hasn't been turned into actual serial art yet. I'm still looking forward to that!

    This is one of Rick's concept drawings of Hiroko.



    Real quick news on the progress of DocuPen. I made the OCR software work today and think I am picking up some good technique with it that will enable me to finally make some progress on my scanning project. Actual pictures and description later!
    alanajoli: (Default)
    So, today I finished going over the Steampunk Musha d20 RPG. Because of the Open Game License, we had the chance to use some really good Asian-flavor content that needed to be adapted to the setting, so over the past two weeks, I've been adding details, flavor text, and generally converting mechanics to the Rosuto-Shima setting. Being back in that world has been a lot of fun, and I hope that the d20 crowd will like it when it comes out as an e-book. It's nice that some companies, like Paizo, are committed to sticking around in 3.5, as it keeps the market open for those of us who started working on a major d20 product before 4e was announced.

    From what I understand from Rick Hershey (the brains behind this operation), the Player Guide will be coming out as an e-book, followed by the GM's guide, which will have more pclasses and more detailed setting information. We also worked on a bestiary at one point, so I'm sure that will be incorporated somewhere. It's exciting to see this content, which was on-again, off-again when we heard the 4e announcement, *finally* coming together as an actual game. Once I've got some release information, I'll definitely pass it on, but for now, it's going to the actual *game* editor--rather than the pseudo-editor/main-writer who's patching up the content to make it all feel Rostuo-Shiman. ;)

    That's pretty much what I did with my weekend (although I did catch the local high school production of Fiddler on the Roof and finish Vicki Lewis Thompson's first paranormal romance novel, so it wasn't all work). Now I've got a short story outline to write, an adventure that was just recently requested with a fast turn around, and maybe some actual work on that novel I keep talking about...

    Links!

    Mar. 17th, 2008 09:58 pm
    alanajoli: (scc-writers-strike)
    Several fun/interesting links today.

    First, Jennifer Estep, who is the author of Karma Girl (which I blogged about) and Hot Mama (a semi-sequel), is having a contest on her blog to give away copies of the books and t-shirts. She's also now on [livejournal.com profile] fangs_fur_fey, and will shortly be taking over the world. Just in case you wanted to prep for that.

    PW blogger Rose Fox wrote an interesting post today about the weakening divide between YA and adult fiction, particularly in SF/F. She also quotes [livejournal.com profile] janni's recent rant about adult authors who are shocked by YA topics. If you've been following that conversation (or [livejournal.com profile] sartorias's recent blog on the same, which was also quite good), it's definitely worth the read.

    I don't know that the boundaries are shrinking so much as that they were a little artificial to begin with. Many of the books that were shelved in the YA section I grew up with (which I loved and was very lucky to have) were probably originally marketed to adults, and many books about teens are shelved in adult fiction. I don't know that the distinction between the two needs to be bolder--but I think adults should make the realization that a lot of YA fiction might also appeal to them, which might make them less shocked at the content (or might help them understand modern teens a little better)...

    Courtesy of Neil Gaiman's blog, we have a report from The Onion about the Novelists Guild of America strike, which has apparently affected no one. (It's a bit scathing in its satire, but funny none the less.)

    Lastly, Stacia Kane posted a wonderful conversation with her six year old daughter that is just about the epitome of geek parenting on League of Reluctant Adults.

    As for me, I got done with this round of editing my Serenity adventure for Margaret Weis (whose changes were all dead on--I only disagreed about one, she countered with reasons why it wouldn't work, one of which was roughly "Joss is boss," and I was convinced). Tomorrow, on to some Steampunk Musha work I've been putting aside for months (I'm still working on it Rick!) and some overdue reviews that I've been meaning to turn in. But for now, I'm going to go finish By Venom's Sweet Sting.
    alanajoli: (Default)
    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....
    alanajoli: (Default)
    I got this over at [livejournal.com profile] tltrent's and realized she probably didn't want it completed in her comments section.

    1. Unpublished completed works:
    Novels:
    Safari Scarab - This is the first novel I ever wrote (finished in high school), and I think I'd like to do a full rewrite, giving it an entirely different setting, but leaving the plot and character motivations largely the same.

    Short Stories:
    I've given up counting the number of times my short stories have been rejected. Note: I've submitted them all to Glimmer Train, but none have been accepted there. The ones currently making the rounds are:
    "Autumn Leaves" -- a story about identity, family, and the power of myth, sort of
    "Moving Back to Europe" -- a story about conflict avoidance and learning how to actually face problems instead of turning away
    "Rocks" -- a true fable about a boy, a rock, a shaman, and a journey
    "Nomi's Wish" -- my very favorite of my pieces, about two sisters traveling on the Isle of Man, trying to get close to the storyteller they both loved as children
    "The Valley" -- a near-horror story, out with [livejournal.com profile] t_e_o_p right now, so I can hope it'll change categories soon!
    "Leaving Moscow" -- I need to scan this in, since the electronic copy is gone; it's based on a Chekov play, The Three Sisters, which may be such an obscure reference that it never really comes through

    2. Unpublished Incomplete Works
    Novel: Children of Gods - Tentative title, as it's not done, and I don't actually want to *write* the synopsis, though apparently I can tell the whole story in person, which I did this weekend. I'm not sure if this is a good sign or a bad sign.

    3. Solicited Unfinished Works
    Nonfiction-
    A solicited but not yet begun interview with a local environmentalist for CTGreenScene, where I hope to become a regular contributor; reviews of Ilona Andrew's Magic Bites, Patricia McKillip's Solstice Wood, Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely, and assorted books on mythology for School Library Journal.

    4. Published Works:
    Novels: Into the Reach and Departure for White Silver. Regaining Home is somewhere in the ether between unpublished and published.
    Comics: Cowboys and Aliens 2 for Platinum. Worlds at War, which is now its own seperate comic, is on its way. Maybe December or January.
    RPG stuff: Gallia, Steampunk Musha RPG, and various contributions to other books

    So, I changed the meme around a bit to sort of encompass what it is I'm actually working on. But the easiest thing to notice here is that while I've been published through solicitation, the stuff I've actually had to shop around has been hard to place with the right home. Which should be encouraging to folks who are shopping stuff around--I think that's really the hardest part of the whole process.
    alanajoli: (Default)
    Hello faithful readers,

    I've been out of the blogosphere for longer than intended after a little bit of soul searching about what I'm going to do with my writing business and the distraction of having Sherwood Smith ([livejournal.com profile] sartorias)'s newest novel, The Fox, here in the house. I should probably also blame Morrowind, even though I've had it for awhile now; it's a seemingly never-ending game, far more broad of scope than most of the CRPGs I've played, which means it's a complete time-suck. (It's a very *fun* time-suck, mind you, but I'm still spending hours on the X-box, which I haven't really done since I finished Jade Empire for the third time awhile back.)

    Soul-searching, you ask? Indeed. Some of you know that I had a bit of writer burn-out back in December, which has made it difficult to get back into a regular writing habit since. (Yes, I did write Regaining Home after the burn-out; my writing schedule for that was anything but regular, and I fully admit to being a little tormented. Thank goodness for Shawn Merwin, turning my writerly suffering into a real novel! I hope that you all will be able to read it sooner rather than later, but I've still not heard from the publishers when that might happen.)

    At any rate, now that I'm down to the Steampunk Musha d20 conversion (which we are still doing, despite the announcement of D&D 4th Edition, as we expect it will be easier to convert a 3.5 pdf to 4e than it will be to convert the Iron Gauntlets rules) and Cowboys and Aliens: Worlds at War, which is going swimmingly, I've had a little time to breathe and really consider what projects I want to be doing in the future. I submitted some old short stories to magazines; most of the stories had a really regional draw to them, so I actually came up with the idea of submitting them to lit mags in the areas where they're set. We'll see if this strategy works.

    My favorite short story, of all the ones I've written, is called "Nomi's Wish." Unfortunately, it's really long--nearly 10,000 words. Most lit mags won't even touch something that long. I submitted it to Fantasy and Science Fiction, a magazine I very much admire, but it was a no-go. On the up side, they sent the rejection notice right away, which gave me time to get it to a zine with no word-count limit while they're still having an open reading period. We'll see how it goes. Hopefully, the new gang will love it, and the story will actually see the light of day. If not... well, perhaps I'll actually get that website set up and I'll post it there to be read.

    "Nomi's Wish" is particularly special to me because it's the only short story I've written in full since I graduated from college. I got back from working at the bookstore one day and wrote the first draft all in an evening. It's changed quite a bit since then; a friend of mine (the fabulous editor Abigail Greshik) used it for an anthology she had to put together to finish her publishing degree, and it grew to about twice its original size. I think it's stronger for the expansion, a more complete piece. I hope there's a market out there that will agree!

    One of the other bits of soul searching I did was about this blog, and how to better use it. I used to write articles for an online newsletter called Literature Community News. I got to choose the topics about which I was writing, do research, and get paid, all for writing about stuff I was actually interested in. A friend (Jeff Duntemann/[livejournal.com profile] jeff_duntemann) suggested a similar technique for my blog. Pick a topic I'm interested in. Write about it. Find a niche. There are a couple of directions I'm thinking about heading with that (one of which fellow Browncoat and writer Karen Hayes encouraged me in last week, but it may be awhile before my thoughts congeal into actual words), so stay tuned.

    Anyway, that's where I've been. No good excuses particularly for being away. I'll try to avoid such lags in the foreseeable future.
    alanajoli: (Default)
    Oi, Comcast and wireless routers! I think we've mostly got our problems fixed at this point, but the last two weeks have been a struggle through aggravation as our internet connection decided to kick on and off when it feels like it. This is, in large part, the reason for my absence--when I've been online, I've been posting work to <a href="http://www.tangledmuse.com/>the Tangled Muse forums,</a> where all of our development work on <i>Cowboys and Aliens</i> and <i>Steampunk Musha d20</i> is secreted away. Things are moving right along, and I'll be able to announce the day <i>C&A</i> is premiering on Drunk Duck quite soon! We'll be updating the comic Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, with bonus content on Wednesday and Saturday. The Wednesday pages of bonus content are still a little behind--which is mostly my fault--but I hope to get those in today or tomorrow so we'll soon have the first two weeks worth of content ready to go! My other goal with <i>C&A</i> is to get as far ahead of what we're posting as I possibly can, so that in case of emergency, I don't have to worry about what'll happen with the comic! So yes, keeping busy, trying to stay cool, and spending time at the beach. It's been a pretty good week.
    alanajoli: (Default)
    We're finally close to finished with the Rosuto-Shima Bestiary (tentative title) to accompany Steampunk Musha RPG. Rick Hershey has been producing some great illustrations (along with choosing the major content, then handing synopses over to me to expand). We've been working on this project on and off since October, I think, and it's nice to see it finally coming together (with the help of a couple additional contributors, including Peter C. Spahn, who is much better versed in the Iron Gauntlets rules than I am, given the number of books he's written for PIGames).

    I also, in my procrastination, watched Shrek again. After having read several volumes of Fables in trade paperback last week, it's amusing to see the fairytale spin in a completely different (and more family friendly) fashion. Reading Fables again after having read "The Sisters Grimm: Fairytale Detectives" series made me wonder if Michael Buckley had read the comics before being inspired to write his novels. Some of the characters end up being very similar (some, of course, not similar at all). It would never have occurred to me, for example, to include Little Miss Muffett as the wife of the Spider--but she appears that way in both the comics and in the children's series.

    If anyone has particularly good recommendations in the "fractured fairy-tales" genre (for lack of a non-Bullwinkle term), I'd love to hear them. That whole concept never gets old in my reading life.

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    Alana Joli Abbott

    July 2017

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