9.30.2004

"This is Harley, may I take your order?"

To all the folks sending emails requesting copies of GT, thank you! The next shipment will be in the next 2-3 weeks, and I'll mail them off promptly.

"But I got betta'!"

So the cool thing about getting sick is that it really makes one appreciate being healthy. I've found that when I'm getting sick, the worst part the anticipation; once I actually hit rock bottom, it usually isn't all that bad.

Anyhow, pass the tissues. :)

9.27.2004

Magic Open Call
When the Eberron open call came out and some folks abstained, I didn't quite understand why. Now I think I might. Wizards is looking for a novel for Magic: the Gathering, but I don't know the first thing about the game, world or the books.

Let me take that back. Any open call that cites Six String Samurai is worth a shot in my book. ;)

GT PDF back up
So the pdf version is back up on RPGNow, but we'll need to update our links. This is the proper one:

http://www.rpgnow.com/product_info.php?products_id=3336

I need to correct the web page, but I might not be able to get to it until this afternoon.

9.24.2004

Brief Reality Check
Chuba's creator received copies of the book and is delighted with the end product.

Despite all the other nagging problems, that's a worthy accomplishment.

So to Chris, you're welcome. Glad you like it.

9.23.2004

Oh and...
A Big Deathy Welcome to Rache, who has put up with my odd sense of humor for years now.

Despite this failing, she has a number of virtues, too.

2005 Antho
Goblin Tails was (and continues to be) one long, messy learning experience, not unlike Chuba's life. Slowly, and with a lot of help from some seminal folks, I'm figuring all this out.

Ambitious plans are in the works for the 2005 antho, and we have some hard working folks dedicated to making it happen. Primarily we're looking for better production and distribution, taking us one step closer to making this chaotic flurry of good intentions into an actual publishing house.

Or at least a publishing hovel.

One of the things brought to our attention is that distributing profits via shares isn't a realistic or enticing reward. One of the promises I made to myself was that authors would always receive payment, but with the inevitable production delays and uncertain sales, there is the risk of not paying an author anything, and that just ain't cool.

With the exception of the two deals already in place, we're considering going to the more traditional cents/word arrangement, a flat fee paid on publication, an arrangement you'll find in most professional magazines. A step below Wizards' advance + royalties arrangement, but until we're bankrolled by Hasbro it is the best we can do.

Q. But what if the 2005 antho takes off and you sell a billion copies and all I see is this measly flat fee?!

A. First, it isn't likely it will take off.

But let's say it did. The solution turns out to be very elegant for all parties involved. Even if I could sell 500,000 copies of the 2005 Antho, I don't have the capital to pull it off. If the demand was so great to as suggest a really large printing, we would need to have a another investor (e.g. a large publishing house) to run the antho, which would require new contracts for second printing rights. So sell us first North American rights and rest easy in the knowledge that we'll work out the rest when we get there.

Which we won't.

Cause were not going to make any money off of this. ;)

Q. So what the heck is the title?
A. Well, that's up to you.

We're going to take the strongest story and use that as the "title track." So if you submit a killer story entitled "One Hundred and One Uses for a Skinned Dragon," the title of the antho will likely be "One Hundred and One Uses for a Skinned Dragon, and Other Stories," or something along those lines. You get the idea. So write that killer story and name our antho.

Q. "Cents/word" is a little vague. Just how many?
A. We're still working that out. Regardless of where we are at now, it will be highlighted on your contract. :)

Time for love, Doctor Jones!
Mrs. Stroh is flying into Boston at midnight tonight for a long weekend! Hold my calls and tell the publishers I've sold everything!

9.22.2004

No time for love, Doctor Jones!
or, "Where the devil have you been, Grim?!"
One aspect of my job is that is it can go from zero to sixty in an instant. One minute I'll be happily daydreaming about a post for my friends on Choose Death and the next I'll be drowning beneath a wave of students, faculty and parents.

I wear a lot of hats for my school and one of them is school nurse. But those lines blur quite a bit when you realize that in the eyes of the student, I'm not "school nurse" but "that guy who makes wrong things right." (This especially true of the younger grades.) Forgot your lunch? Ask Mr. Stroh. Have a tummy ache because one of your parents is out of town? Ask Mr. Stroh. Your parents forgot we have early dismissal on Fridays and forgot to pick you up? You get the idea.

Early last week I heard running in the halls and the voices of children calling my name.

"Someone fell off the roof!"

Our building is three stories tall, plus change.

Zero, meet sixty.

I make it outside, and it turns out that it wasn't our building, but one of the houses next door. A house was getting having roofing work done, and the workers weren't wearing harnesses. We stabilize the man who fell, call in an ambulance, and get all the kids back inside. As I sat with the man, waiting for the ambulance, I was struck by an awareness of just how little I could really accomplish in this situation. The children had seen something terribly wrong take place in the universe, and they needed me to correct it, but I'm just Harley Stroh, average guy numero 6,394,250,575. They needed me to tell them that J, who had fallen two stories onto concrete, would be okay, but that was out of my hands.

I went to the hospital on my lunch break to see if I could find out J's condition. Of course the staff wouldn't tell me anything, but I was able to puzzle out who his relatives were, and met them in the waiting room. I offered my condolences, but things didn't look so good. I checked in with the remaining roofers the next morning, and it was more of the same. Of course, they were all wearing harnesses then.

So if you've been wondering where I've been, there's the answer. Special apologies to Wallace, Noise and Alrunic, who have been trying to run a PBP game in my absence.

Now back to your regularly scheduled blog.

And if you're going up someplace high, damnit, wear your safety gear.

Goblin Tails, in stores now!
Just when you thought I was a chronic liar, Goblin Tails is here! Or at least, it was here. I sent out copies sent out to all the trusting folks that pre-ordered, stocked the local bookstores, and sent the remainder off to Chris and Christina so they'll have copies for NECRO. I didn't even keep a copy for myself. I've put in another print order, and made sure I reserved enough for the authors and artists.

What's up with RPGNow?
The hard working folks at RPGNow are fluent in English, and are very kind. I'm fluent in English most of the time, play poorly with others and am easily frustrated. So why we're having trouble getting the GT listings straight is a complete mystery to me. But I'm working on it.

GT Release Party, NYC...
...was a complete blast. Think dark dance club, lots of shiny, black clothing and all the Red Bull and vodka you can drink. In one of life's perfect ironies, the club was non-smoking (?!), but they had a smoke machine running all night long. Heh.

I'm such an old geek; the Sisters of Mercy get me onto the dance floor every time.

Certain subway exits were shut down due to 9/11, so getting home was a lesson in jumping turnstiles. We were left trying to puzzle out subways maps at 4 in the morning, making it clear that all those vodka and Red Bulls might not have been such a great idea after all.

Eberron
I had my first Eberron dream last night, from the point of view of Peter Archer. I (Peter) was going through the submissions and decided to buy Kam's. I'm not sure if this qualifies as a nightmare, but I remember waking up and being pretty bummed out until I figured out it was only a dream. ;)

9.10.2004

A big, Deathy Welcome to Joshua Wentz!
...soon to be a household name. Check out his
page*, which is officially cooler than anything you'll find here.

*While you're there, sign in and ask him to send you some music. ;)

Goblin Tails Release Party - NYC
GT (ver. Dead Trees) should be in the mail, headed my direction (cross my heart and hope to die). I don't know if it will get here by Saturday, but I'm throwing a party regardless.

It's a faith thing.

So for anyone who doesn't mind fumbling through dark clubs looking for people they've never met*, this is a standing invitation for this Saturday night. We'll be meeting at the
AlbionBatcave for a little angst dancing, with plans for coffee and what not afterwards. This will also be your chance to push your editors into an alley and rough them up a bit before discussing future works.

*You'll be looking for one tall person wearing a scowl, and one short person wearing a beard.

9.03.2004

Week 1
Alrunic asked how the first day of school went. In a word, it was magical*.

Our school philosophy emphasizes a child's joy of discovery, and our program tries to maintain that sense of "magic" for as long as possible. Our days are filled with storytelling, and a strong emphasis on "the arts." On the surface it can appear that we are soft on "academics," but that's really a trick of the eye. The curriculum is integrated in such a way that all those stories teach math skills, language, science, history, and all the usual subjects found in traditional schools --- it just looks like we're playing (especially in the lower grades).

It's not the right education for every kid, and I wish we didn't have to charge tuition. Still, if you're ever in New Hampshire, drop in to check out the results.

*In my excitement to write about the school, I forgot to mention that our sewer blew out on day 1. Last year it was the fire alarm. Nice way to impress the new first grade parents: "Sorry, our adult restroom is out of order. You'll have to use the little kids' room."

Meanwhile, Back in the Kobolds' Kitchen
I lucked out with a d20 proposal and was commissioned by an indie company to write a 20,000-40,000 word module.

Yep. Last night I was paid for squinting over blue lined graph paper and flipping through the Monster Manual.

My experience with indie d20 (1 submission, 1 sale) is UNDOUBTEDLY a clerical error, or at least a freak accident, but for anyone interested in writing gaming material, I encourage you to send out some queries. They pay really well, and heck, this is what we do in our free time anyway! :)