Welcome, Justin and Kam!
A big deathy welcome to a couple more old hands from the Wizards boards. I'd suggest that maybe the celebs are slumming, but that would just be rude, so instead I'll offer up a 999 monkey shout-out to Kam and insist that we all buy his book when it comes out.

How much freakin' fun is it to be able to say that?!

Buy his book. I've never met him, but he's my friend. I love life.


Welcome, Wallace! (Or "Lock the doors and hide your daughters.")
A big, deathy welcome to Mike Wallace.

No, not that Mike Wallace, this Mike Wallace.

Sooner than you can say "magically delicious," he and his crew of hard rolling game desginers will be publishing their Frontier Fantasy game, and you and I will be wishing we got in early.

I wonder if he's taking submissions from aspiring authors? >:)

Goblin Tails Update, "Has pen, will travel."
Mike Wallace sent in his submission today, and as usual his work is impeccable.

Mike is something like a modern day ronin or wild west gunslinger. He shows up, gets the job done, and then rides off into the sunset (usually with the girl). I don't know how he produces as much material as he does, but it must be the result of having either

a. a driving need to be an author, or
b. a burgeoning addiction to stimulants.

I don't envy many people. I envy Mike.


Quick, is that the sound Wolverine makes, or the Jaberwocky? Depends on your fantasy influences, I suppose.

Or how about option C: the sound of an editor editing.

Things for the anthology are clipping along smoothly, but it's quickly reaching that point where Grims the Cheerleader takes off the skirt, takes up the red pen and becomes Grims the Editor.

I hate this point. I'm not emotionally suited for this sort of work, but I refuse to put anything into the antho that I wouldn't buy myself, and I'm a pretty hard sell. That means sending stories back to authors and asking for re-writes, a dicey proposition when royalties are going to be little and/or none.

My dread of editing is mixed with genuine excitement and anticipation for the product. Spackle will be sending some cover designs back early next week, and I'm excited to see what he cooks up. That boy is a master of design.

If nothing else, it will look damn good. Style over substance, neh?

Kidding. I'm kidding.

Writing:My submission for the antho. See if I can hold myself to the same standards. Hah!
Skating:Not tonight. H & I are going to the movies!
Today's Soundtrack: *Laugh* From the Murphy song. Read this in the context of me being a softy editor:

"I'm not hard
I've got women to handle that.
They say that I'm the man,
but I'm really a Thundercat."

I'd like to be a Thundercat, but I'm not one yet. Soon though. ;)

Who Wants To Build A Sword Cane?
Oh, c'mon. You know you do.

Note to self: see if Alrunic has any hook-ups for cheap rapier blades.


Falling Down on Concrete

All my friends on the East Coast are 16 and younger. I've taken to calling out: "Old man, falling down," whenever I drop in.

You're never too old to Choose Death.

As always, thanks to Melchior for the BW.

Post Script: H just borrowed a fish-eyed lens from a friend. Muhahahahahaha. Broken ankles here I come!

Welcome, TSG!
A big deathy weclome for Tiny Silver Goat (although some of you may know her as "TSChalice"), another MoPer from the Wizards Boards. This is definitely a house party. Goat is the better half of Alrunic S., an ardent writer and poet, and her fantasy fiction will be featured in the upcoming anthology, Goblin Tails. Stop by her page and give it a read.


Hey, Marce
Followed your link to your friend's daughter's memorial. For what it is worth, she did a wonderful job.

How a mother could work through that, I don't know.

For the Record...
Take a moment to scan some of the posts below. You'll find an error or more in every single one. (And they have all been edited!) I am a terrible proof reader, a slow writer, I have almost no understanding of grammar and I'm a sucker for pulpy, fantasy tropes. Taken together, these attributes make me what I am: a terrible writer. Passsionate perhaps, but not skilled. (And can I even use the word trope correctly?)

Let's try this again.

Yesterday, I was a terrible writer.

Today, I am terrible writer who has sold a story to WoTC for publication in an upcoming anthology.

A small triumph, a drop in the ocean of fiction being published, but it has made me the happiest man on the planet. And if I can do it, everyone can. And should. For as far as I can tell, it is a heck of a lot of fun.

And for the record, credit for every story I've ever published doesn't rest on my shoulders. It belongs to the friends and family that gracefully love me, year after trying year, and - depending on your belief system - whatever it is that makes that possible.

So thanks, guys and gals. Thank you.


Welcome, Alrunic!
Another Moper stopped by. This is starting to look like a house party, after all. For those of you who don't know him, Alrunic/Chris McCoy is the next big thing. Mark my words. You can find evidence of his brilliance here.

A Dork Trying To Look Like An Author, Take II
Despite what my friends say, this isn't an Onion ad. Scroll down to the lower left hand corner.


Why I Fell In Love With Her, Reason #421
So I haven't seen a copy of S&T 98 yet. They were shipped to the Wyoming address, where my parents got a hold of them, and they're not letting go anytime soon.

Let me amend that. I hadn't seen a copy until H brought one in to my office. She had seen it in the window of a magazine shop downtown and snatched it up. Turned out it was the last one on the shelves. She was terribly excited, and this is the lady that doesn't read fantasy or sci-fi.

Getting published is great. Making the one you love joyous is even better. Of all the joys in the world, few compare.

Goblin Tails, or what's up with the anthology?
Back when MoP was my big issue, I used to spend a fair part of my days on the Wizards boards. If you spend much time on the boards, you've probably come across the
Once Upon A Time Forums, a place for writers to post their work. A lot of the material isn't great, but that's fine; this is a place for writer's to try out their pen and keyboard and get a little feedback. Hell, let's not cut hairs - the stuff I post is probably some of the worst garbage there, but who's keeping track?

Occasionally though, some brilliant writing shines through the open-post mud. Chuba the Goblin (created by Alrunic S.) is one such gem.

These days I rarely show up on the boards; time spent trolling is time that I really should be writing. But memories of Chuba stay with me, and in honor of Chuba - and those halcyon days of the Mopers - I decided to put together a brief anthology of stories celebrating those wonderfully terrible. Nothing much, just a handful of short stories by old board hands (Wallace, Azzadar, Fredgar, myself, and maybe one guest editor), but with Fredgar doing the art and Spackle (of T.I.N. fame) doing the cover design, it should look pretty slick - laminated stock cover and the whole 4.5 yards. I just need to do some heavy editing removing any WoTC specific material, but after that we should be set to go. This first set of prints will just go to the authors and Alrunic. We'll see where it goes from there.

So yes, it is an anthology, but the current print run is looking somewhere in the realm of 10 or so. Hah!

As for titles, alas if anyone has a better ideas for an anthology of goblin-inspired stories, please let me know. :)


Odelaly, odelaly, golly what a day...

Just checking in, not enough time to cook up a real post. So here is what's going on:

Applying for my first teaching position. Anybody want to hang out in California/PacNW?
Organizing/editing my first anthology. Have the cover artist lined up, the stories coming in, now I just need to hire a graphic designer for the cover...aha, Spackle!
Submitting my first query to a d20 publisher. Is this really how it works?
FINALLY revising Engine Alley Project. Who knows, may publish the damn thing yet....

Meanwhile, life goes on.

What are we really doing as writers? Lately it is amazing me that we can actually get paid to write. Are my thoughts worth any money? Not really. I mean, hell, any monkey with a background in pulp fiction can have the same ideas I do. So what gives? Why are some of us getting paid and others not?

I don't know if it is really just putting in the (X)hours that are required to write the damn thing, but that it what it is looking like. Can that be right?


The Party Is No Longer Jumpin' (Momma Came Home)

So H's b-day went great. Lots of folks showed up and everyone that couldn't make it called in to wish her a happy day, so the fine lady was drowned in birthday wishes. Mission Completed.

A young boy (11 or so...) that H babysits came to the party. His family just moved out here from Utah, so he is the new kid in school. Combine this with his energetic passion for life (some might call it hyperactivity) and a distinct absence of social skills and you have a recipe for disaster.

This is the kid that takes Pokemon cards to school, in the hopes of playing with the cool kids, then has them stolen because he doesn't know enough to pay attention to them.

Did I mention he's just discovered Dungeons and Dragons? Actually I don't think he's got his hands on the game yet, but the collective grade school unconscious has begun to work via osmosis.

So while the party raged around us, he and I sat down before a chalkboard to play tic-tac-toe, but it wasn't long before he started doodling. He drew a little castle and explained that that was where the evil king lived.

Then he handed me the chalk and said that it was my turn.

So I drew in the forested ridge riddled with caves. We passed the chalk back and forth for the next hour, detailing the fantasy world turn by turn until the entire chalk board was used up. People from the party would stop and look on as we worked, but we managed to ignore them pretty well. To the casual onlooker, it no doubt appeared that we were simply drawing, but of course it was much more than that. We were working out a shared storyline, a mutually imagined land with heroes and villains, desolate deserts, dire swamps and isolated mountain ranges.

In a very rudimentary way, we were "playing" Dungeons and Dragons. And for one solid hour, the hyperactive boy was silent and diligent, intensely focused on our labor of world building.

I wish I could predict his future. Roleplaying has contributed enormously to my life, but it still breaks my heart when I see "that kid" sitting alone in the back of a cafeteria, reading the Player's Handbook. Just thinking about it invokes a confusing web of emotions. It is likely that the next 5-10 years of this boy's life are going to be painfully lonely. I came through it as a stronger person, with a clearer sense of my identity and individuality, but can I really endorse years of isolation as a means to those ends?

It worked for me because I was able to take a step back and tell the entire high school experience to bugger off. It worked for me because I spent my lunch hours writing on the computers in the Yearbook room. It worked for me because I knew I wanted to be a writer, and that one day I was going to be able to walk through the bookstore and pick my novels off the shelves.

But what about this boy? What if he doesn't have that desire? What if he is just a lonely kid that finds it easier to daydream than get along with a world peopled by cruel strangers? Can games work for him, or will they only increase the difficulties he already has?

I don't know.

(For the record, the punk side of me has the desire to say "screw it," and give the world the finger. The kid can do what he wants to do and the world is going to be cruel regardless. But again, that just worked (works) for me; as a blueprint for a life it is pretty damn flawed.

And then, in retrospect, what does it mean to live a life that I can't endorse for someone else?)


Hey, Marce!

Have you tried these folks yet? Andromeda Spaceways In-Flight Magazine

I'm guilty of being a sucker for good cover art, but it looks like they pay roughly on the same order as S&T but go to print every 2 months...

The Curse Is Broken!

So how many of you have heard of Aberrations?

How about Curriculum Vitae?

Probably not too many, since both magazine went out of business just after buying stories of mine. Those $25 dollar checks that I cashed must have broken them.

The trend continued with the next couple of sales, and when I sold a story to Space & Time, it looked like the Curse would continue and another fine magazine would vanish from the newstand. Thankfully, the kind (and discerning) Gordon Linzer persevered and kept his magazine alive.

After many years, the Curse has been broken and you can now read a story by your truly in issue #98 of S&T. Whew.

Skating 101

So I write about skating trciks quite a bit, but how to explain them to the uninitiated?

Pictures, of course!

I wasn't able to find a good site with all of them, but here is a start:
Heel Flip
Nose Slide

Skating: Fencing was canceled last night, so in between buying justplainsilly amounts of neuro-toxins I had a chance to do some street skating. It was a beautiful night: the air was cool, the concrete dry and not a cop in sight.

Working at the skate park had allowed me to forget just how much I love street skating. You take something as benign and unextraordinary as a street curb and transform it into something else all together. Last night it was heel flipping onto the sidewalk and then *trying* tricks off.

Nothing dramatic, yet still the best skating I've ever done. Just me, the board and the concrete on some random night in March.

I love it.


The video sequel to "Old Men on Wheels" should be ready by Summer, '04! Got the spots, got the skaters, now I just need a freakin' camera. C'mon Editors, buy a book from me! (I'm supposed to hear about the short story for the anthology in the next two weeks. I'm too exausted to worry ... silver lining to the F/W cloud. :) )

March 8, Heather's Birthday!
or "The Party's Still Jumpin' Cause My Momma Ain't Home"

On this day 26 years ago, H was born and tonight we will celebrate this event in Grand Style! Heather, being the sweet woman that she is, makes friends everywhere she goes, but it is seldom that those groups have the chance to cross-polinate. There are the kids from her high school, the ones from college, the ones from her graduate program and now the ones from work. After a year and a half of traipsing across the NE coast, I've finally grown comfortable hanging out with the diverse groups.

But who do you invite to her b-day party? Hell, you invite them all!

Fortunately, I am not adverse to stealing her little black book and cold calling every name I recognize. So we'll have folks coming in from multiple states tonight, and chances are we'll all be in multiple states before the evening is done.

It is always so much fun to do something fun for the one you love. What a great axiom of life.

So whoever you are, wherever you are, raise a toast tonight, 7 p.m. EST, and we'll return it. To life!


Fall Down 6 Times, Get Up 7

So most of you know this by now, but the latest Wizards try out didn't clear the wall. Turns out they are already working on another book in the same series with a "strangely similar" plot to quote the Editor. Six months too late, it seems.

Fortunately I am blessed with a community of supportive folks, who are around to be cheerful, even when I don't want it. That, and I worship St. Marcey, patron of Dreamers and Fantasy Writers. So, yeah, I'm pissed, angry and bummed, but it is all working itself out in a healthy manner.

Mostly I'm really, really burning to get the next submission out. This one is sci-fi, and let me tell you, brother, it is going to be great. ;)

Much love to everyone that has been so kind, but don't worry about me. This is all part of the job description.

Writing: Sci-fi. And looking for indie house publishing for EAP. Any suggestions?
Skating: Landed a freaking' 180 to nose grind ... on a sloped metal rail ... with my 16 year old friend Eric watching. Fun. Never trust anyone over 16.
Today's Soundtrack: Cackle. I'm determined and solemn, it's raining outside and I'm nursing a hangover. So it has _got_ to be be the one and only Sisters of Mercy:

"Some people get by
with a little understanding;
some people get by
with a whole lot more.
I don't know
why you gotta be so undemanding.
One thing I know:
I want more.
I want more.

I need all the love I can get.
And I need all the love that I can't get, too."