A kindred site.

Posts from March 2008

This is, like, the best thing ever. Mind flayers, troglodytes, trolls, and gelatinous cubes...

Today is April Fool's Day, and while none of my vague ideas for today came to fruition, at least Wizards of the Coast had some fun ideas. And so did Blizzard, the company behind World of Warcraft.

Also, today is the deadline for The Darkwood Mask contest. If you read the book, why not give it a go? You don't need all the answers, just as many as you can get. Trust me, not much competition out there...

posted on 03.31.2008

Today has been a little slice of madness. Many systems gone awry, projects hijacked, tasks multiplied, bytes breaking to bits. Are the stars misaligned? Is some malevolent force of Great Evil hurtling towards our planet like a giant black fireball that only the combined might of five elements can stop? Is there a disturbance in the Force?

Wait, no! It's only March 28th: My brother John's birthday. He came into this world thirty-four years ago. Now you're 3 years older than me again, John. Happy Birthday, Bro.

I wish I wasn't as sick and harried as I am right now. I'd do more for you. You deserve it.

posted on 03.27.2008

If months had epithets or slogans, March could be "The month of turbulence." For me, this is certainly true. Nothing severe or life-changing as yet, but change nonetheless. Among other things:

  • My day job office is relocating from one part of Manhattan to another. I'll probably talk about that again later, just for kicks.
  • My wife and I are just beginning to educate ourselves about bank loans and mortgages, with a view towards relocating ourselves. This has been a long time coming, but I understand it's a slow process. Unlike some people (Ed & Lara!).
  • Sidedown, this website's kindred spirit, is revamping and relaunching. The dot-com side of it has already had a face lift. Check it out. You will probably not find another website both honest and simplistic in its core vision. And it's aggressive about it. If you like random and creative, go there. There's stuff you can buy, but there's also plenty of free content: blogs, podcasts, various projects.

So, check this out: Wizards of the Coast created, as they do for most books, a little flashy animation ad for my book. Go here to see the real thing. You might have to wait for it.

Another thing: this website is just over a year old now! All the props go to Josh Wentz and Pete Akins for making it a real website. So now I'm wondering: who are you that you're sitting there reading this? A glance at my web statistics tells me that I get a decent number of lurkers out there stopping in. Any chance you'd be willing to tell me who you are? Post!

Even if not, thanks for visiting.

One of the things site statistics keep track of are what search strings led people from search engines to to my site. I've had some amusing ones for Ashlock.org. I'll share some of my favorites with you. Some of these make perfect sense, and others——less so. People are crazy!

brownies and boggarts
drow fantasy art
ren faire wallpaper
figgy pudding derivation
children verse that refers to colly birds
jack sparrow theologically
amazonian indians wallpaper
the little mermaid wall
the silmarillion risk
girls with long hair
don lasala new york
what does the name ashlock mean
gnome adventure
proud navy wife
bicycle accident through a stone
candy and her brother jeff. game
colobus monkeys
how to make a warforged halloween costume
accident reading while walking
dark ages vampire
rushian men
mystery murder novels
crossbow grapple
cosmic girl
appliance repair filet
legacy of wolves review
the inquisitives book list eberron
harley stroh tournament
older human cleric
brian ashlock and wife
capuchin monkeys
halfling monk
elves suck dnd
cosmic enforcers rpg

I should note that "colobus monkey" and "capuchin monkey" have come up time and again. What the heck?? I have to think that some of the people who found my site with those search strings were pretty disappointed.

posted on 03.23.2008

Thanks, Marisa. You're the best. Just what I wanted.

Happy Early Easter, folks!

posted on 03.22.2008

Wizards of the Coast has posted up an interview with me for The Darkwood Mask. Check it out here!

Vampire-me courtesy of Jw.

There are three reviews up on Amazon right now, if you're interested in hear what people think of the book.

Right, right, the weather. It's nice out today and all that. This week, a high of 55°. Chance of rain tomorrow, 40%. Blah blah blah.

Anyway, hey! That interview involved gargoyles! There seriously does need to be more gargoyle literature out there. But I do hear that one of my kind does appear in a small role in this Darkwood Mask nonsense. I guess that's something.

posted on 03.19.2008

It's St. Patrick's Day. In lieu of drinking green beer, why not just have a bowl of Lucky Charms? Use Irish Spring soap or pick yourself up some Irish cream coffee. Chase a rainbow! Find a pot o' gold! Catch yourself a leprechaun.

Me? The In the Name of the Father soundtrack'll do to celebrate the day. Or some Clannad or Máire Brennan (who I met once——a very nice lady). Maybe tonight I'll make shepherd's pie.

Aren't archetypes wonderful?

Ye dirty wee rat.

posted on 03.16.2008

Don't worry. At some point I'll shut about my book, but it's still very new and various events keep springing up over it. So I'm going to keep it going for a little while longer. So...

My wife is awesome. She threw a second surprise party for me over the weekend, this one with the help of Kate Baldwin and my brother and with a bunch of attendees: both my parents (drove 5 hours from upstate NY), Chris Torgersen, Chris Rumore, Darren Sussman and his wife Ali and their daughter Cindi, and Ruth and Jess of The Five Wits.

Thanks, all of you. For keeping a secret from me (I missed every clue) and for coming all the way down (or up?) to celebrate and to make me feel silly and on the spot.

This one involved a lot of confetti (which was still turning up two days later), a book signing (yes, half of the party I was actually sequestered in a room working), a cake with TDM's cover on it (you don't know weird until you've eaten a piece of your book), and a great deal of food.

As for the book itself, it's out there. People are reading it now. I can't tell you how awesomely strange it is for me to hear other people referring to Tallis, Soneste, Lord Charoth, or any of the other characters who spent many months only in my head.

Josh Wentz, who I mention in the Acknowledgments, was one of the first to snag a copy on its day of release. As you can see here:

There's already some discussion going on over at the Worlds of DnD book club. Feel free to join in. Just don't read the spoilers!

posted on 03.12.2008

Josh wrote another album of music, which he's entitled GMOVJ. What does it stand for? You tell him (via downcast@sidedown.com) by this Wednesday and if he picks yours, you get a free copy of said album sent to you. Creative and rewarding. You should totally do it. Personally, I think GMOVJ stands for Going Medieval On Valetudinarian Juggernauts. Or quite possibly Give My Octopus Vanilla Jello.

Even if you don't win, you can go to INDISTR and buy the album of any price you want. Yup.

Tomorrow (or soon): another TDM-related surprise I received over the weekend.

posted on 03.10.2008

My wife threw me a surprise B-Day (bookday) party yesterday when I got home. Some family and friends and a great deal of food (which includes empanadas, Argentine's best export). And she also gave me a pretty sweet necklace: a sterling silver dog tag with my book cover on it. How unique is that? Evidently all the people at the jewelry shop flipped out over the notion: they seemed to want to think the book was a romance and that the characters on the cover were me and my wife.

We got a good laugh at that.

But dang, this thing looks way better in real life than you can see it here.

posted on 03.05.2008

Today's the day. My first novel, The Darkwood Mask (TDM), is out in bookstores everywhere (or at least orderable in most places) and it's a pretty freaky (and giddy) feeling. Anyway, here's a few things I wanted to mention here to mark the occasion:

  • I am holding a TDM contest. Read about it here. The winner of this contest will get a package of known and unknown goodies as a prize.
  • I've curated the Darkwood 'Cast, a podcast hosted by Sidedown. It's 50+ minutes of music that inspired, shares themes with, or otherwise goes well with my book. It's dark and moody stuff, and it even includes a very haunting piece written by my brother specifically inspired by one of my protagonists: Tallis of Rekkenmark. The piece is entitled "Rebel, Patriot, Malefactor (excerpt)" and it's the last track in the mix. Check it out! You can subscribe to Sidedown's Downcast (an assortment of music) or download this particular episode right here. Enjoy!
  • DragonReader over at the Worlds of DnD boards has set up TDM threads in the Book Club section for the month of March. If you're going to read TDM, stop in sometime! Just beware of spoilers! (It's a murder mystery, of sorts, after all.) Only open those threads for chapters you've already read.
  • You can also download a sample chapter (Chapter 1) here.

Edit: On a sour note, it's just been announced that Gary Gygax, one of the founders of the D&D game, died today. How different would I be, or almost everyone I know, were it not for this man? More than a game, he helped set us off down a path where fantasy was more than just something you could read about in a book. No less influential than J.R.R. Tolkien himself, I'd say. Tolkien showed us an amazing world, and Gygax (along with Dave Arneson) helped us to envision worlds of our own and gave us some rudimentary tools to fashion them with.

Rest in peace, indeed....though most likely he's got a hold of some kick-ass epic dice now! Game on!

posted on 03.04.2008