Bad Habits

PANICYep, that’s about right (credit Allie Bosh/Hyperbole and a Half)

So, in last week’s missive I talked about developing some really bad work habits last year, habits born of “hubris, aggressive indolence, a sad tendency toward procrastination, and my well honed ability to justify anything led me into all manner of poor work and bad decisions”. This is a situation that, I believe, most if not all freelancers fall into from time to time. The cry of, “I’ve got plenty of time before this is due!” has rung from many a home-office or co-working space, typically right before Facebook is opened for the eightieth time in two hours, or the newest DLC for Borderlands 2 is launched. So you upload some pictures of cats, like some pictures of somebody elses’ lunch, and kill a few Drifters, when suddenly it’s three days before your deadline and you’ve got maybe seventy words of a thirty-thousand word assignment written. And you have no idea what you’re writing about, because you’ve been busy with cat pictures and Drifters. And it’s not your only deadline. And you’ve got other, non-work responsibilities to take care of. And…and…and… And, well, it becomes a vicious cycle like in that picture up there. Now, there are some guys, like Scalzi and Chuck Wendig and Matt Forbeck who don’t suffer from this affliction, but I’m convinced that those dudes are robots or aliens or alien robots. I, however, am neither a robot nor an alien more’s the pity, and let me assure you children that I suffer from this affliction in spades.

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Reentry

Coming in for a soft landing

Hey, friends! Well, I’m back from spa…I mean…Orlando. It was a whirlwind trip wherein I brained a lot, drank a lot of coffee, pretended to be a ten year old aboard the ISS, wore funny hats, played with Lego, drove a small Italian car at very high speeds on the 408 around Orlando, and made some pretty great contacts. There was more to it, of course. Would you like to know more? Of course you would!

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In the Town that Walt Built…

Pretty as an airport.

Never in the history of mankind has anyone described something as “Pretty as an airport”, and with good reason.

(Note: I did, in fact, write this in the air. Sadly, I couldn’t actually figure out how to post it from there, so you get it from my comfy room in downtown Orlando. Enjoy.)

Well hey there, friends! So, here I am, somewhere around 25,000 feet over Ohio in a cramped, oversold 757 speeding south to Orlando. Now, truth be told, I don’t care much for Florida. In fact, my opinion on the whole state can pretty much be summed up by Bugs Bunny and his giant saw. Having said that, I’d suffer all kinds of indignities for this trip, including sitting behind an incredibly obese, red-faced, middle-aged meathead with his seat back aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall the way reclined, encroaching on what little space is available to me for work. But I digress. Anyway, here I am on my way to the Sunshine State to talk about space. Yep, tomorrow is the day join some of the greatest minds of our generation to talk about what to do with the International Space Station. Crazy, right? I mean, seriously, it’s like a reverse of the “not my job” segment on Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. You know, where a bunch of radio dorks invite someone super important and accomplished onto their show to ask them ridiculous questions about the history of astrology or butts or whatever strikes their fancy. In Orlando, it’s going to be all this brain power, all these eminent scientists and engineers and rocket surgeons and thinkers….and me. A dude who writes about spaceships and giant robots for a living. I’m not going to complain, though. Because, seriously, I’m super stoked about it. Honestly, this is as close to being an astronaut as I’ll probably ever get, and being an astronaut was the end-game of my whole life plan when I was in fifth grade. That was a good plan too, man. Waaaaaaaaaaaaay better than the Cylon’s plan. Good grades, Air Force Academy, flight school, F-16 pilot (I’ve always had a soft spot for the Viper, but now I’d probably rather be an A-10 driver), major by the age of 36, then bam!, astronaut time. But then reality set it, it turned out I was terrible at maths, then what with the distractions from girls and RPGs and model airplanes and books about dragons and obsessively reading about aircraft and all I got kind of sidetracked and here I am. I guess I don’t have any complaints, though. Hell, in hindsight, I’d have made a terrible military man what with my low tolerance for bullshit and even lower tolerance for authority. Anyway, so, yeah. Gonna talk about Space. I’ll write more about it tomorrow night after the conference, give you guys a taste of what went on, then probably do a larger post about it next week sometime in between writing about Orks, SPEHS MARINES, and future-past wild west demon apocalypses. So, stay tuned. This should be pretty good. You know, if I don’t just break down and start babbling about space like the Space Core.

The Big Announcement and Other GenCon 2012 Ephemera

Let’s just cut straight to the point, shall we? GenCon 2012 was a riot. It was also very, very good for me. I’ll admit, before the show I was kind of reticent about going. You see, and I’m not gonna lie to you kids, I’ve been feeling both burned out and discouraged these past few months. GenCon fixed that problem for me, and quite handily. So, what all did I do at GenCon? What games did I play? Did I run anything? What’s the big announcement? Well, I’m glad you asked!

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This Just In from HQ!

So, just a quick shout to talk about some upcoming projects/products from Amalgamated Fiction. I’m currently working on a sample to send to Shane and Clint at Pinnacle Entertainment to show them that Amalgamated Fiction – Detroit is worthy of using Savage Worlds as an officially licensed SW company. If the sample is good enough and they agree to let me use the license, I’m going to dive straight into bringing AEGIS vs. SPIDER to market. What’s AEGIS vs. SPIDER? I’m glad you asked! AvS is a setting I’ve been dicking around with for years. Taking place square in the middle of the Cold War in the 60s, the players are super-powered espionage agents working for the American Espionage Group for International Security, a super-secret organization put together in the wake of World War 2 to deal with a perceived “Super Gap” with the Soviet Union. Their primary antagonists are their opposite agents within the SPDR, a shadowy Soviet espionage group not officially part of the Politburo whose motives are unknown to nearly everyone, including the leaders of the Soviet Union itself.

The world in which AvS takes place is mostly our own. Technology is slightly more advanced, but there aren’t any laser rifles or space stations or teleporters…at least not that you know about.Supers in AvS are relatively low-powered. No cosmic entanglements, no alternate timelines, no aliens, no gods. It’s more Batman than Superman if you will. It’s a bit James Bond, a bit Secret Six, and a whole lot of Cold War cloak and dagger skulduggery. It’ll be full of exotic locales, devious and dangerous opponents, double and triple crosses, and tough looking Slavs in trench coats and fedoras demanding to know where you’ve hidden the microfilm.

I’m shooting to get my first product, a pack of playable AEGIS agents, out by the beginning of July through DriveThruRPG. If those sell well then I’ll do some SPDR agents, a canned adventure or two, hell, maybe even a full setting book. So, yeah. Keep your eyes peeled.

 

A World of (Internal) Darkness

What's a tortoise?

Describe in single words, only the good things that come into your mind about your mother…

In the years that I’ve been in the semi-public eye as a game writer, I’ve never made any bones about the fact that I’m in therapy. In fact, I credit my therapy for being in the industry at all. Without my shrink and her withering eye and her sphinx-like demeanor and her habit of giving me just enough rope with which to hang myself, I would not be here today. Sometimes it’s hard, sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s like every joke you’ve ever seen about laying on the couch and talking about your feelings, and sometimes it’s like the goddamned Voight-Kampff Test. Today, I had a pretty harrowing session wherein I talked about writing and about how what a writer writes says a lot about said writer, including many things he may not know or would prefer to keep hidden. So that’s what we’re gonna talk about. (Note: This post is going to take some personal and, perhaps, dark turns. If you’re not interested, and I can’t blame you, please allow me to draw your attention to this hard-hitting expose of Wesley Crusher which is, without a shadow of a doubt, completely unsafe for work.)

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Hahahahahahahaha, Welp….

The best laid plans...

All ideas are good ideas at first…

As my tens of readers know, I’m the king of harebrained schemes. My latest involves all those Dragon Magazines I was talking about yesterday. Know how I said I was going to start reviewing them Tomorrow? Well, funny thing about that, I don’t know shit about reviewing product. So, before I get started and make an ass out of myself (or a bigger ass than normal) and make a bunch of crappy posts that don’t really get to the meat of the thing, in this case how awesome and hilariously bad Dragon and the golden age of gaming are/were, we’re going to shelve this for now. I’m going to talk so some friends of mine who are actual journalists and do product reviews for a living, get some pointers, and make it look like I know what I’m doing. Instead, you guys are going to get a rather personal post tomorrow about me and writing and telling things about a writer by what he writes. Exciting, neh?