Just a quick update while I have a few minutes.
- For those that missed it, I was approached by OWbN Girls to do an interview elaborating on my blog post “What I Learned from OWbN Girls.” You can hear the hour-long interview over at Soundcloud.
- There’s been some idle talk about doing a feature over at that podcast, covering all kinds of topics about LARP culture, game theory, and the like. I’ll keep you posted.
- I’ve also been approached about doing a piece with the Flagons and Dragons podcast about horror gaming. Again, I’ll keep you posted on that.
- I sent off the final draft of “I Knew Him” for the The Play’s The Thing fiction anthology. The editor was really pleased with the rewrite, as was I — I think it’s much better now. I should be getting a proof to review soon-ish, and then hopefully you’ll have another chance to buy my stuff.
- I’ve also been approached to contribute to two more anthologies. Right now, it’s still at the hush hush stage, but once I know more I’ll pass that along.
- I’ve finished off my contribution to Werewolf: the Apocalypse – 20th Anniversary Edition, and Ethan is now diligently doing redlines for many, many writers.
- With everything going on, I haven’t had a chance to even touch Watson is Not an Idiot (my “Tour de Holmes” essays). Maybe April? I do want to get that done, but paying work right now trumps personal projects.
- I’ve been idly talking with a publisher about taking the fantasy RPG I’ve been working on (Bloodmourne) and doing something with it. That’s a much longer scale project, if it even happens, but it’s something else bouncing in the back of my head. Don’t worry — it’ll have vampires in it.
- I do plan to do some more “What I Learned” posts — just haven’t had much time to sit down and put my thoughts in order.
Starting on Friday, I have 11 days of vacation set up. Of course, I’ll still be doing a little White Wolf work during that time (because “vacation” really means “a chance to catch up on work”), but I really do want to try and relax. So, the first announcement is that I’m planning to be less available on the Internet during that time. I have vacation responders set up for both of my email accounts, I won’t be on social networks as much, I won’t be updating this blog, and so on. I’m not going to be completely off the grid, but I do need some time away and live in my own head for a bit.
Part of the reason I’m doing that is that I want to finish off my Hamlet short story, and then roll right into revising and expanding my book of Tour de Holmes essays. Aside from comments on each of the stories, I also have in mind a discussion of Smart Watson vs. Dumb Watson, the popularity of Moriarty over the other (and sometimes more visible) villains in the canon, Holmes’ cocaine use, Watson’s wives, and (if I hate myself enough) the chronology of the cases.
So, faithful audience, what topics of the Sherlock Holmes canon would you like me to discuss/rant about in such a manuscript?
I've been busy
While I’ve been hammering away at Vampire: The Masquerade — 20th Anniversary Edition, a few other things have fallen into place recently in my non-vampiric life.
Recently, Gareth Skarka announced that I’ve been signed up to work on his fiction anthology, Tales of the Far West. We’re still sorting out details, which I’ll share once I have them.
Further, I’m in the process of getting paperwork and signing documents with a publisher for another project of mine. I’m hoping I’ll have information relatively soon on that front.
I’m getting close to wrapping up the Tour de Holmes (which will get a proper title, I swear). After the last essay, I’ll compile and expand the essays into a full manuscript. At least two publishers have expressed interest in that as well, but worse comes to worse, I’ll probably self-publish it (possibly using a Kickstarter campaign to raise the starting capital for an editor and artist).
Finally, I’ve got a couple of RPG remix designs I’m kicking around. I may be able to get one into a state to be playtested stage in a few months.
Since I’ve got a lot of balls in the air, I decided to go ahead and create a page of all of the products I’ve worked on as a writer and/or designer and host it on this website. Right now, none of these funnel money back to me, but buying them would support companies that give me money (or have given me money in the past). I’ll try to keep it up to date as well.
For a while now this blog has been largely on auto-pilot, with only my Tour de Holmes posts offering any sort of steady churn of posts. A lot of it has been due to my change of position combined with heavy crunch on Vampire: The Masquerade – 20th Anniversary Edition. I’m going to try to swing back into more insightful posts – I have some more “What I’ve Learned” game posts lined up, and a couple of things that I want to touch on that have come out of the Vampire process (not necessarily about the book per se, but rather things I’ve learned about myself and the creative process through that). But, to ease my way back into this, I’m going to do some personal updates.
- Since May 5, I’ve lost 13 pounds. That’s less than two pounds a week, which was my original goal, but given that I had a week of vacation in there and I’ve been in serious crunch for most of it, that’s honestly pretty good. The past two Saturdays I’ve done some cardio work, and I’m going to buy a gym membership shortly so I can go more often. But more importantly, I haven’t been sick in several months, which is awesome.
- Even though I’ve been slammed recently, I have a couple of new writing projects I’m working on. Since Tour de Holmes is wrapping up (I have one and a half books left to go), I’m starting to think about compiling all the posts into a manuscript, rewriting it, and then shopping it around. I’m also working on another compilation of fiction and essays I’ve written over the past ten years – I got edits back for that last week, and now I’m rewriting and adding material to it. I’m working with three of my friends on it, which is a lot of fun. After those two get sorted out, I have a few backlogged fiction projects, including finally finishing up Whitechapel and starting the rewrite process to turn that into a proper novella. I also have notes on a Sherlock Holmes pastiche (naturally), and a couple of reboot ideas I’ve been kicking around.
- I’ve also been toying with a few personal RPG designs. Nothing that’s far enough along to share, but I’ve been playing with some different old-school but lightweight designs.
- I’m going to be at GenCon this year. I may even be sober for some of it. We shall see.
When I started writing the “Tour de Holmes” back in July, I intentionally waited until I had about twenty essays written before I started posting, to create a couple of months of backlog in case things got busy. Over the past seven or eight months, that backlog has been completely eaten up, and I’m not sure I’ll have time to crank out two essays every week (let alone more than that to give me more backlog).
So, for a while, “Tour de Holmes” is moving to a weekly schedule, updating every Wednesday. This will continue until I finish writing the essays. Once they’re all done, I’ll move back to twice a week to finish posting them. This does mean that, unless I move back to biweekly, it’ll take me close to a year to post the Tour from start to finish. I’m hoping that I can get some time here and there to catch up and crank these out more quickly, but the reality is that the amount of time I spend on close reading, note taking, and research before I even start the first draft is pretty extensive. It’s ultimately all good work, as once these essays are done I’m going to compile them into a manuscript for publication consideration, but it does mean that I have to slow down the pace of posts for a while.
The beta for Scrivener for Windows is available now. I picked it up on Monday, and I spent some time learning it and using my Tour de Holmes essays as a project to test it out with. I hadn’t used Scrivener before, but my Mac friends have consistently raved about it, and this seemed like a perfect chance to see what they were raving about.
And I get it now.
On the surface, it’s not too much different from a lot of other novel-writing software. But as I dug in, I realized that the designer has created a package that doesn’t actually force the user into any particular way of using it. Sure, there are some template decisions you have to make at the start, but beyond that it’s all open. The tutorial repeatedly shows you functionality and then tells you different ways to do the same thing, or admits that you might not use it. Scrivener is also very good and hiding things you aren’t using in a simple and understandable way. Within an hour, I was seeing the power of it.
Martin Livings did a mini-review of “Close Encounters of the Urban Kind,” including a nice nod for “Gloomy Sunday.” (Thanks, Martin!)
[T]he best compliment I can pay this one is that it ended too soon. I could see a novel growing out of this tale of genetically-implanted musical melancholy.
And since I’m on the topic of my writing, I’m working on a series of essays about the original Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes canon tentatively entitled “Tour de Holmes.” It’s going to be slow going, and there are going to be a lot of them, so for now let’s just see how it goes.