“Welcome to Moreytown” is out

May 5, 2017

IMG_1758The game is out and you can get it here. For a limited time you can get it at a discount, only $2.99.

Claw your way to the top of Moreytown, a furry slum for human-animal hybrids. Will you take down the gangs who rule the town, or take them over instead?

CoG Interview

May 3, 2017

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My game is almost here. It will be released this Friday, May 5th. Mark your calendars.

I will post links when it goes live, but to whet your appetite in the meantime, here’s the interview I did about Welcome to Moreytown for the Choice of Games’ blog.

Beta Testers Needed

March 29, 2017

If you’ve been interested in the saga of my game development, good news! You can be part of the saga! Choice of Games needs beta testers for “Welcome to Moreytown.” All you need to do to become one is click on this link and follow the instructions.  The beta window will not be open for long, so if you’re interested, sign up today!

Concoction

March 9, 2017

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I’m going to be at the Cleveland Concoction convention this coming weekend from March 10th through the 12th.  If you’re in the area, directions are here.

You can find the overall schedule here, as for what I’m doing:

  • Fri. 11pm – Fantasy and Rule 34
  • Sat. 12pm – Vampires, Werewolves, and Gods—Rewriting Legends
  • Sat. 2pm – Author Showcase (Session 3) [Wherein I will read a bit]
  • Sat. 3pm – Autographing (Session 3) – Author Alley
  • Sat. 9pm – Why Villains Matter
  • Sat. 11pm – Inter-Species “Relations”
  • Sun. 1pm – There are no Saints in Fiction

Looking forward to seeing some of my fans there.

And Speaking of Worldbuilding…

March 6, 2017

Since I was talking about world-building earlier, thought I’d follow up with something a little different. Here’s a few ongoing webcomics that I really like that have created truly impressive universes to play in:

1) Girl Genius

ggGirl Genius has been going on since 2002, so if you’re new to it, bank some time to catch up. (Or buy the print copies.) Phil & Kaja Foglio’s “Gaslamp Fantasy” series has been going continuously from the start, with only a few filler strips here and there during it’s run. The world is correspondingly epic, with a vaguely Victorian Europe overrun by mad scientists and their creations. A lot of it is intentionally goofy and amusing, but as Terry Prachett once said, “Funny is not the opposite of Serious.”

2) Gunnerkrigg Court

gcA special child is enrolled in a strange boarding school that seems to exist in its own separate universe. You’d be forgiven if you think of Hogwarts. But if this is Hogwarts, it is Hogwarts filtered through Terry Gilliam and Neil Gaiman. The eponymous Court is a school, but also a city filled with ghosts and automatons, adjacent to a forest where the old spirits live. Including a particular Coyote.

3) Stand Still. Stay Silent

ssssHow many post-apocalyptic stories come with a hefty dose of Scandinavian magic and folklore? One that I know of. All the fantastic elements tie back into the setting, as do the characters. This is one of those stories that could not be removed from its locale. It’s a slow burn, but when the monstrosities start showing up, they are absolutely horrifying. (Though a trigger warning for those who have issues with violence to cats and dogs.)

4) Kill Six Billion Demons

ksbdIf any webcomic ever had the potential to found its own religion, this is it. The world is deep and strange and somehow vaguely familiar all at the same time. The art is stunning and hallucinatory. It’s a story of gods and angels and devils and a heaven/hell that’s suffering severe infrastructure problems due to neglect.

World-building is what you make it. . .

February 15, 2017


cryptonomicon reamde

I’ve been reading some Neal Stephenson lately and I’ve been reminded of a point that I often try to make when I do my world-building talks. The point being that the skills used for world-building in science fiction and fantasy are not genre specific. I see writers who assume that if they’re not building the universe from the ground up, the whole world-building toolkit is irrelevant. They fail to realize that every writer has to build a world in the reader’s mind, and even if the facts behind the pages are not the author’s invention, those facts still need to inform the story and make it into the reader’s head. The world of Cryptonomicon is no less full and complex and richly detailed as Snow Crash, despite the former being less science fiction than the average Tom Clancy novel.

I’m currently reading (listening to) Reamde. And I’m reminded a lot of a triptych of John Brunner novels; Stand on Zanzibar, The Sheep Look Up, and The Shockwave Rider. Like those three rightly classic novels, Stephenson juggles multiple viewpoints to illuminate an incredibly detailed and complex world— even when that world is much more congruent to the one we live in than Brunner’s.


shockwave zanzibar sheep

Still working, still here. . .

February 13, 2017

Just a little update to let you know I’m still alive, still busy doing game things like revising my final draft for my editor.  Now that’s done, we’re on to continuity and beta testing. In the meantime I had to come up with some additional “assets” for the game. One such “asset” is some descriptions of the game.

Fair enough.

No more than 50 characters, suitable for the Subject: line of an email.

Okay, I can do that.

We recommend coming up with 20 of them.

*THUD*

You think that sounds bad? It’s really worse.  Especially because, well, I’m a novelist. Pithy ain’t really my thing. When your publisher’s documentation of their needs actually uses the word “grueling,” you know you’re in for a good time.  It’s especially grueling because this is no trivial bit of work. One of those 20 lines may be the first glimpse someone has of this game, so it’s kind of important.

No pressure.

PS: I was going to put up a political post instead of this, and then I looked around and told myself, “Yeah, that’s what the Internet needs right now— MORE POLITICS!

 

CoG Update

January 11, 2017

fireworks-1759_960_720The first draft of Welcome to Moreytown is done!

Yay!

After a few more run-throughs I should be handing it off to Choice Of Games by the end of the week. The bad news, for those of you itching to play this thing, is that we still have rounds of editorial comment to go through. Then, unlike my other fiction, there will be the beta testing and more comments. So don’t expect this to be available on iTunes for another six to eight months, at least.

As I mentioned in my last update, writing this thing resulted in a cascade of complexity at the end, resulting in a distinct 28(!) separate paths into the Epilogue. And that may be understating things because there are a few end states that overlap into the same entry point.

The Second Best Star Wars Movie…

December 29, 2016

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The worst thing about the movie is this poster

Finally saw it, and I have to say Rogue One is pretty much the best Star Wars movie to hit the screen since the credits rolled on Empire Strikes Back.  It manages to prove that it is possible to do several things that have evaded the film franchise since the introduction of ewoks:

  • Apparently you can make a Star Wars prequel that doesn’t suck or introduce gaping plot holes.
  • You can do homage to the 1977 Star Wars without cannibalizing the plot.
  • The protagonist doesn’t have to be a superhero in training.
  • The Jedi don’t have to be all that.
  • You can write a Star Wars film for adults.
  • Aliens don’t have to be CGI Muppets.

So, good film, go see it. However, it does continue another Star Wars tradition. Just as in the prior films, Rogue One carries its own weight of questionable politics. From an article by Ilya Somin:

But while we see what the rebels are fighting against, we have almost no sense what they are fighting for. What kind of regime does the Rebel Alliance intend to establish if it wins? […] It is almost as if the rebels simply assume that, if the Empire is bad, virtually any alternative government is likely to be better. Such thinking has often proven dangerous in the real world. The Russian, Chinese, Cuban, and Iranian revolutions are among the many revolts against oppressive governments that ended up installing regimes even worse than those they supplanted.

Realistic, but troubling. Perhaps more troubling:

Droids are at least as intelligent as humans, and clearly feel emotions, such as hope, fear, and pain. K-2, the main droid character in Rogue One, has personality, free will, and a mind of his own to an even greater extent than C-3PO and R2-D2. Yet neither rebels nor imperials see anything wrong with treating sentient droids as essentially the slaves of biological beings.

Much like many of the American Founding Fathers, the rebels are simultaneously freedom fighters and slave owners. Unlike George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, the rebels don’t even seem to realize that there is a contradiction between these two roles.

Not The Greatest Path to a Book Deal…

December 21, 2016

So, less than a month before the election, a group called “Pantsuit Nation” appeared on Facebook. It was a Mecca for Hillary supporters, who were invited to join the “private” group en masse until, by the time the Washington Post was printing glowing reviews of the pro-Clinton site, it had nearly two million members. The Post contrasted its uplifting message with Trump supporters more acerbic and “in your face” social media presence. The coverage did not hurt the numbers either, as the site continued to grow after Clinton’s loss becoming something of a “safe-space” for online feminists to sit shiva and tell their stories.

Well, apparently this was all a scam.

The group’s founder, Libby Chamberlain, made a surprise announcement that “Pantsuit Nation,” after less than two months of existence, is going to become a book. This has come as a bit of a shock to the online membership. Who aren’t happy about it.

As mentioned on the Huffington Post:

And now, of course, there is a book deal, announced with no transparency as to where the profits from the book are going, whether the contributors whose posts Chamberlain is presumably selecting for this book will get paid, and without any consideration for breach of privacy laws were someone’s intellectual property and personal experience suddenly able to sit on your coffee table. Pantsuit Nation reportedly is working to become a 501(c)(3) and 501 (c)(4) charity, which raises more questions about profit allocation and distribution. Chamberlain is the only person credited on the book pre-order page, which also is troubling given that the book supposedly has no content, theme, or profit sharing structure and is already available for $17.99 on Barnes and Noble’s website.

As a writer and user of social media myself, I find this very disturbing, and very sketchy. It has all the earmarks of a scam, up to and including the accelerated timeline. It almost looks as if the site was founded with the intent to scrape free content for publication.