Saturday, June 28, 2014

Episode 11 "The Stranger" plus two interviews

I just got back from a good vacation in the mountains. While we were traveling, episode 11, "The Stranger," was released. I've talked before about status quo episodes and change episodes. This is definitely a change episode, as are the rest of the remaining episodes for season 1. In the middle of a snowstorm, a stranger sits outside the Weave, raving. Is he merely drunk? Feverish with the plague? Mad? regardless, his presence brings them the one thing they want to avoid, notice.

Also while we were traveling, I had two interviews I'd done earlier posted. The first interview was with Lydia Kurnia, who coordinated the artwork for the anthology Unburied Treasures. Always a pleasure to work with Lydia. The interview covers not just the story in the anthology, but Spire City, CLASH! Dawn of Steam, short fiction in general...and drugged out jellyfish. Of course.

The second interview appeared on the Musa blog. These were three questions I'd answered a while back to be filler for whenever Sloane Taylor needed a last-minute post. It gives a good feel for how I came up with the setting for the Spire City stories and how the characters developed as I wrote them. As one commenter responded there, it can be hard to kill off characters...and yet sometimes a writer must be ruthless...

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

CLASH! Dawn of Steam returns!

This game returns for a new Kickstarter campaign with a scaled back launch of only a single 2-played box set instead of two (and some other tweaks and changes to bring down the goal). Still looks like a very fun game, and some of the tiers include the full 80-page world book, which includes all my stories for the game as well as concept art and other cool things. So give it a look. The art is great, and the gameplay looks like a good balance of easy to learn but with a lot of potential for more advanced strategizing.

After just a single day, it's already closing in on $4k and 100 backers. So hopefully this time it can maintain that momentum and get full funding.

Speaking of my stories, the final one, which never came out during the last campaign, is online now: Braetak Xao is an Edenite, a sort of half-lion, half-human being who has recently inherited the throne of his island home. He leads an army against the dwarves who are stealing his people's trees and destroying their land in the process.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

My favorite dad memory for Fathers Day

My dad is not a runner. He was always (and continues to be) active. He would go swimming every week and take long walks and the occasional bike ride, but running always seemed somehow too undignified for him. It wasn't that he imposed this view on others--two of my brothers and I all did some sort of running for high school sports (and college for two of us), and he never acted as if there was anything wrong with that, but it wasn't for him.

There were two times I can remember him running. One was to cross a busy Washington DC street when we were there on vacation (notably the only vacation I can recall when we went to a large city rather than a national park or other outdoorsy, scenic beauty sort of place). The other was when I was about 10 or 11 years old.

My grade school every year had a running club where we'd keep track of how many miles we ran in the spring and try to reach either 25 or 50 miles, depending on which club we joined. I decided one day to knock off three miles, the longest run I'd attempted at the time. We'd figured out the exact places on our county roads to turn around for different distances, and I was just doing the one-mile route three times in a run. That meant running down to the highway, jogging in place until I could cross, and running up the gradual hill to a particularly large clump of bushes next to a field. Then I'd run back, past our house and the neighboring cemetery, and turn around at the far side of the next neighbor's property, ending back at my driveway.

On the second time through, two boys were walking along the road where I turned around, and they asked me some questions. What was I doing? Was I tired? How many times was I going to be doing this? Where did I live? Why? Did I often run that far? One was about my age, maybe a bit younger. The other was older by a couple years.

My parents were out walking at the time, and as I passed the house to begin my third mile, they were just coming back. I must have said, "Hi," but I don't really remember.

When I came back up the hill for the third time, I passed the two kids, turned around at the bush, and saw them standing in the middle of the country road, cutting me off. The older one grabbed the hood of my sweatshirt when I tried to run past. "I'm going to let my little brother punch you."

Even growing up in a family of four boys, I was not a fighter. I'd certainly never been in a fistfight, so I had no idea what to do. They tried to egg me into throwing the first punch, but I wouldn't. No one was around. No cars were out to make us get off the road. No one was out in the yard sof any of the few houses on that stretch. When I told them (begged them, probably) to let me by, they said, "Yeah, who's going to make us?"

At that moment I looked up and saw someone else on the road. Running toward us. I didn't recognize him at first, in my fear, but I simply pointed and said, "Him." They took one look, and ran the other way. It was only when I got closer that I realized it was my dad. He made sure I was OK, and then as I continued home he chased the kids on up the road to figure out who they were. They ended up losing him when they went ran off into the property of an old abandoned house that we always said ought to be haunted.

When I tried to figure out what made him realize I was in trouble, all he'd say is that I'd seemed worried when I passed them earlier. I don't remember feeling worried yet then, but it was the only explanation I ever had. That image of looking up and seeing him running toward me to rescue me is one that I'll never forget.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Spire City episode 10 released

A couple days late here (kids' summer slowing down pretty much anything I might like to get done at the computer...), but episode 10 "Lady Janshi's Treasure" was released last Friday. In this one Chels and friends discover strange things, both beneath the city and in the church of their friend Priestess Chemille. One of those discovers could well solve many of the Weave's money difficulties, if they stoop to stealing from a friend. Available directly from Musa as well as from all the usual online bookstores.