A kindred site.

Posts from September 2008

Well, it looks like Joseph Goodman let the dragoncat out of the bag. He's announced this, wherein Harley Stroh, Aeryn Rudel, and I put together a book that details our take on the new 4th Edition race of dragonborn. Even my brother John had a hand in some of it. More about that another day when more is revealed.

At first, the dragonborn seemed a little silly. From The Player's Handbook:

But the truth is, they're actually pretty cool. And I had a lot of fun developing three of the dragonborn clans detailed in the book. The material is fairly setting-neutral but with a leaning towards their placement on the world of Áereth (the default setting for the Dungeon Crawl Classics).

So there we are. The book should be out....errr....soon?

And it's also come to my attention that they've also just announced the book In Search of Adventure, a collection of 1st-level 4E adventures, some of which were written by Mike Ferguson and Ruth Lampi. Awesome, guys. And damn, that's some slick cover art!

posted on 09.22.2008

I like gargoyles. From the gargoyles of Mons in Belgium, where my family lived in '81, to the corner-jutting gargoyles of the academic buildings of West Point, where we lived for a number of years, I've always been a fan. I incinerated them with fireballs in the old Macintosh game Dark Castle, I wrote about them in my earliest stories, and I included one in my first published novel. I also submitted one for the upcoming Halloween countdown of monsters over at Flames Rising, a website for Horror and Dark Fantasy.

I'm just sayin', I like 'em. And I will always find a way to incorporate them into things I do.

Speaking of my book and gargoyles, I just came across a book review of The Darkwood Mask on a German website. How awesome is that? Anyone out there who can read German and tell me what it says? I filtered it through Babel Fish but the translation leaves a lot to be desired. It seems to be a positive review, with a few criticisms. Perfect.

You knew I was going to say something in this post, right? Dude, it was 52 degrees this morning. Fifty-two! In September. That's just grand! Some of these New Yorkers strolling across the pavement far below my perch are complaining about this. "It's freezing!" they shriek. I actually heard one woman remark, "Well, it's the beginning of the end," in regards to the weather. Because summer is ending. What a depressing thing to say.

Yes, we gargoyles are not a big fan of the summer. See, our stony skin can weather the dry cold of January, the rime of snow, and even the ice-locked embrace of midwinter. And both fall and spring are pretty fun times; there's a lot to look at, that's for sure. I'll grant you, winter is a pretty bleak-looking colorless time, especially for us. Perched on buildings, they all start to look the same under a leaden sky, with no splash of leafy colors to draw the eye. But it feels good. I can't emphasize that enough. Although I look forward to the winter, I'm equally as excited about autumn.

So while you all squabble about politics and economies, I'll just be enjoying the view. None of those jerks running for President have been appealing to the gargoyle demographic. Yeah, we're a minority among minorities, I know. But I bet you didn't realize that we're allowed to vote. We are. I may have come from overseas, but most of your ancestors did, too. I'm a citizen, damn it.

Until there's a spokesgargoyle somewhere on one of those campaign trails, I'll remain a bit aloof from the political climate. Oh, and speaking of climate: hurricanes. They're no joke. I take those seriously. And I hope everyone who's reading this is okay. I'm thinking about you. You people in Indiana and Texas and even Arizona. Wherever you are...take care, eh?

posted on 09.17.2008

2008 only has a few months left. It's been a bizarre year for me, full of surprises. Some things have just been popping into existence out of the aether, while other, up-and-coming things have shriveled away. All in all, this time of my life is promising to be full of strange hodgepodge of exciting, depressing, or otherwise unexpected events. I guess it's a crossroads sort of age. I'm 31, I have a wife, no kids yet, dealing with stresses of the dayjob, hoping it'll endure, while turning my eye on the next big step: finding a new place to live. There's a hell of a lot hurdles to go through, beyond what the usual married couple has to go through.

Meanwhile, after a several week span of virtually nothing going on in the project world, I'm suddenly hit with an explosion of opportunities. I sort of knew that was coming, though; I just didn't know what form they would take. Now I do. I'll give specifics on these things when I'm allowed to. But, in conclusion, 2009 will have my name stamped on it a few times. It's not another novel, not yet, but it's already promising to keep me busy for the first half of the year. So far.

Well, we drove up to my parents' place this last weekend. It's a five-hour drive but it's always worth it. I miss them. But here are some other things that this weekend brought:

  • HEY Quarterly's latest issue, HEY Jerk!, just came out, and I got my copy. Check out the jerkiness and help some animals out by picking it up.

  • I got to play the Macintosh-only game Return to Dark Castle, because my dad just bought a Mac. I loved the original, as noted here. But this game had everything the original games (Dark Castle and Beyond Dark Castle) had, plus full color, some new sound effects and music, and a ton of new boards. You play a guy running around with bags of rocks (which you can turn into fireballs later), collecting keys, weapons, and magic orbs so that you can confront and defeat the Black Knight. And there are helicopter packs and little wick-lighted bombs. There are guards, snakes, rats, mutants, monsters, burning eyes, wriggling maggots, boars, henchmen, magic brooms....really, what's not the like?

  • Meanwhile my brother got to play his new game, Spore, which he did reluctantly as he tries to avoid addictive things (such as fun computer games). Which some of you may have heard about it. It's really, really fun, and I can absolutely see myself getitng into it as well someday. Basically, you create and evolve your own species. In a cartoonish sort of world.

  • I got my family to play Gloom, the Edward Gorey-inspired card game of misery and misfortuned. I love the flavor of this game. This is the description off the back:

Gloom: The Game of Inauspicious Incidents and Grave Consequences

The world of Gloom is a sad and benighted place. The sky is gray, the tea is cold, and a new tragedy lies around every corner. Debt, disease, heartache, and packs of rabid flesh-eating mice -- just when it seems like things can't get any worse, they do. But some say that one's reward in the afterlife is based on the misery endured in life. If so, there may yet be hope -- if not in this world, then in the peace that lies beyond.

In the Gloom card game, you assume control of the fate of an eccentric family of misfits and misanthropes. The goal of the game is sad, but simple: you want your characters to suffer the greatest tragedies possible before passing on to the well-deserved respite of death. You'll play horrible mishaps like Pursued by Poodles or Mocked by Midgets on your own characters to lower their Self-Worth scores, while trying to cheer your opponents' characters with marriages and other happy occasions that pile on positive points. The player with the lowest total Family Value wins.

posted on 09.15.2008

I needed an update. Too much swirling around right now to pin down what's going on. So instead I'll offer some bits of random flak.

  • I've actually been watching some of the more prominant campaign speeches lately and taking greater interest in the upcoming election than I ever have before. I won't dare post my thoughts on the subject anywhere online, as I've got good friends—and family—on both sides of the political fence...and most of them are just too testy about it. Rather than choosing a side and slandering the other well in advance, as many of them do, I really like to give each side a listen first. I generally hold a skeptical opinion of politicians anyway; they're more about persuasion and charm than about solid plans for change. And already I've said enough.
  • This Saturday comedian Brian Regan (one of the best, if you ask me) will be premiering his new show Epitome of Hyperbole on the Comedy Channel this Saturday at 10pm EDT. And if y ou miss it, again on Sunday at the same time. If you've never seen Brian Regan before, I recommend him highly. So if you're not around to watch this show, TiVo it or whatever it is you people do these days with your fancy television sets. At minimum, type in "Brian Regan" on Youtube and have fun.
  • On the writing front, I haven't much to say yet. I have a handful of projects simmering below the surface, trying to decide which will rise first and which I should make rise first.
  • I know I stand alone in saying this, but I'm very glad the summer is on its decline. I need cooler air to get me outside. I'm contemplating a lot of things right now, and one of them is forcing myself (possibly even by paying money) into an exercise routine. My day job has me in front of a computer and my writing job has me in front of a computer. That's much too much sitting around. All in all I need to learn to unplug more.
  • GenCon has left a lingering desire in me to do some more gaming. Goodman Games East, a squadron of Goodman Games fellow authors and editors who live in and around the New York and New Jersey area, have been meeting on and off recently for some one-session games, like Gamma World. My weekends are already mostly booked for the coming months, but I keep eyeing the calendar and wondering if there's a way I can make one of these games.

So...how fares the rest of the world?

posted on 09.04.2008