Back in Black

So first off, if was only a flesh wound.

Secondly? I got betta.

This post of Choose Death is coming to you from 9,000 feet above sea level, deep within the Colorado Rocky Mountains. I don't expect many folks are still reading after my absence, but for anyone still hanging around, this one's for you.

So what happened? For about 4 weeks I had a nasty lung condition. For 4 long weeks I had wet corn flakes coming out of my lungs. No joke. No fun.

That month bled into Christmas, about the same time that H decided she had had enough of being alone in Colorado. THIS also coincided with deadlines for two projects that came to a total of around 30,000 words.

It was time to get busy. So, busy I got.

Unfortunately, it also meant dropping out of netspace. Every word I've typed in the last two months has gone to one of these two projects.

Christmas came and went with H's family and we hit the open road.

H and I put up 4'x8' plywood sheets on either side of my truck bed, filled the bed with everything we owned and headed west. Those of you that have ridden in the Reverend know just how small my truck is. That size translates to a very narrow wheel base, which, when combined with plywood "wings" made for a very tipsy drive West.

Things were passable until we reached Wyoming. Radio static gave way to dire warnings of "gusts up to 70 miles per hour," and "danger for high-profile vehicles." We weren't really ALL that high profile --- no more than 7' tall --- but that's relative to wheel base.

The wind picked up and progress slowed to 35 mph. I'm not sure driving slow would have prevented a roll-over if a real gust had come along, but at least it would have lessened the chance of dying in the wreck.

H and I pulled into my parent's ranch and literally had to park behind a barn to keep the truck from rolling over in the wind. In the morning we pulled off the plywood and ditched half our load for a later return trip.

H and I hopped back in the truck and made the push over the Great Divide. We rolled into Our Little Mountain Town and finally set up shop as husband and wife.

OLMTs can be tricky places to live. Usually they are ski towns, or are very close to ski towns. The demographic breakdowns are incredibly dramatic. One third of the population lives in mansions. One third of the population lives in mobile home trailers. And the last third lives in very tight condos.

That's where we're at right now, sharing a 2 bedroom with a second-grade teacher and her daughter. But that's not too shabby, since my last "apartment" was a refurnished wood-shed.

Finding work can be tricky as well. I showed up at an advertised call for prep cooks and dishwashers, and was thirtieth in line. Of the 300+ applicants, me and 29 of my best friends made the cut --- that masters degree might have made all the difference. :)

But don't forget that this is a OLMT near Aspen. I'm a scrub, sure, but a scrub for the X-Games. :)

Fortunately, I've got bigger plans. H's school needs a administrator, and the interview process has been going well. From scrub to headmaster --- almost a Cinderella Story, but you and I both know better. We're all shooting for that .1% that makes a living telling stories about elves and dragons.

So where are the elves and dragons these days? It's been a busy year, and a retrospective is in order:

Realms of the Dragons II is coming out this summer.

Ed "Arm Breaker" Gentry knocked heads until he, Kam, some other notaries (and little ol' me) finally got an article into
Dragon Magazine. Don't know the publishing date, but it will probably fall near Realms.

Goodman Games is publishing two modules before this year's Gen Con : Legacy of the Savage Lords, and Iron Crypt of the Heretic. They also commissioned (just last night) two more works for an anthology of low-level adventures. Thanks again to Alunic, Chrissy, and the Knights for their work as play testers, and now Lara (and perhaps Ed!) for play testing the latest dungeon crawls.

And finally,
Zeitgeist Games bought an 18k behemoth that will be used as a freebie on their website. The first of 3 parts is going up on the 19th. PLEASE feel free to drop in on the "Blackmoor Serial forums" and tell Dustin Clingman how much you loved/hated it.

As of today I'm committed to another 14k, with another potential 60k+ looming on the horizon. Really - at this point - I can't afford to win Eberron.

But it's not all sunshine and dancing elves. Let's recap a few of my more dramatic failures:

Goblin Tales:
Somewhere out in RPG land are 30+ copies of the book. I've asked sent multiple demands asking for them, along with the proceeds from the online sales. I even went up the chain of command and finally got an apology and a promise.

But still, no copies of GT and no check to hand out to the writers. I'm still working on it, but the change of address will only serve to royally complicate matters. "Yes, still please send them. No, my address is now ...."

2005 Antho:
Scrubs don't make enough to fund printers --- yet. The big mother of all fantasy anthos is on hold until I can scrape together the $5,000 necessary to do a real printing and distribution. It will happen, but it is on hold for now.

Whew. So there we go. Some triumphs, some failures, pretty much just like everything else.

The best part, to me, is this: while a stranger might mistake me for Sorta Cool, you all know better. Each and every person that reads this can write better than I can. I know this. I've read your works. Your ideas, your prose, makes me look like a fumbling newbie (which isn't too far off the mark). You've forgiven my typos. You've corrected my use of the - and the ---. You've read this blog and never pointed out my errors.

You know, or at least SHOULD know, in your heart of hearts, that I'm Nothing Special.

In the end, it just breaks down to something as simple as persistence. Over the last 15+ years I've scored a 100% rejection rate, followed by 1 year of marginal success.

For me, that's the real lesson. I might not sell another word for the next 15 years, but if I choose not to try for 16, or 17, or 18, I might as well stop typing right now.


Not a great ratio by any means. Certainly not an indicator of future performance. A rational person could reasonably choose to find a different avocation. A rational person could choose to dedicate their to anything that doesn't result in scathing rejection letters on a regular basis. A rational person could choose any number of meaningful other ways to spend their finite hours on this planet.


I'll Choose Death.

Okay. So that was more than a little cheesy. Sorry, but it's in the blood. Just ask my Saurus with his 100+ B Movie collection. But if you're still reading, let me just give a final thank you to Marce. Mother, Wife, Author, she was also the first person to read this blog. I don't knoww how she's doing in Arizona, but I hope she's doing well.

Thanks, Marce.


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