White Wolf Fiction Contest

White Wolf Update
The second round winners of the White Wolf Novel Contest will be announced on October 31. Fitting and fun. As an added bonus, Halloween has always been a favorite holiday, especially since Jeff and Marissa's wedding. :)

The contest schedule has been backed up a bit, and allows six months for the completion of the book. Since I'm drowning in work and fighting to find time for my own writing, this is great news. If --- on a long shot --- I made the second cut, it would be a bummer to have to pass. As it stands things are pretty tight until March, but I'm sure that, given the chance, I could squeeze a book in there.

I mean, you would, wouldn't you?

To be clear, I'm a long shot. But that is what this industry is about. We're all long shots. The plan is to keep shooting until something eventually dies...

More on this later. I hope you are all doing well, writing well, and taking the time to fall down on concrete (or an appropriately inappropriate activity). Till then!


Six String Samurai Headmaster

Little time to post, but let it be known that after a lightning strike to the school, a teacher and a bus driver quitting over the summer, malfunctioning fire alarms triggered by a second lightning strike …

The Six String Samurai looks like I feel.

If you haven’t checked out the movie, do so!

Thank goodness for writing weekends!


Harley’s Guide to Celebrity Stalking
or … Mr. Little meets Mr. Big

Pic of D. Arneson

Photo courtesy of Jeff LaSalla

GenCon Log: 4:30, Saturday afternoon.

I’m sitting at my booth like a good writing-monkey, happily making small talk with the folks passing by the Goodman Games booth. Like promised here, no lines.

Enter Dave “the Man” Arneson. Tired from a late night of live action gaming and from signing autographs on the floor, he was looking for a place to rest his feet, and the Blackmoor booth (home to Dave’s campaign setting, the longest running D&D campaign world) was as good as any other.

So, in an instant it changes from a quiet signing, to sitting with one of the pioneers of the genre. I had my old Blackmoor pamphlet book and the newer Blackmoor setting book in my bag, ready for signatures, just like any proper fanboy should. But in that split second I saw that Dave was literally exhausted, so – like any good Legend of the Five Rings geek – I made my decision in seven breaths.

I left my Blackmoor gaming material in the bag, and treated Dave with the respect due any other human being, albeit a very tired human being. Instead of hitting him with a thousand and one questions, we sat quietly and had a chat. Jaleigh Johnson stopped by, Alex Anderegg checked in, and we all had a cordial, very amusing conversation with the co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons.

A signature versus a human relationship. Easy choice, really.

Before you start to worry about Harley turning in his fanboy club card, it should be noted that the minute my signing was finished and I was released from the table, I sprinted over to Jeff to see if he got a picture.

It’s good to keep everything in perspective. :)

By the way, if you are looking for the quintessential GenCon photo, go no further than Jeff’s splash page.


GenCon, Indy

I should preface this by noting that I’ve never been to GenCon before. Boarding the plane and flying out from Denver, I was a little worried that I had become too jaded of an adult to enjoy a convention; that by having not attended as a child, I had squandered the real magic of the event. I drank my coffee, marveled at a thunderstorm outside the plane window, and wondered if the awestruck child in Harley could ever be recaptured.

Foolish, foolish, boy.

This year Wizards/Hasbro is pushing the latest edition of Axis and Allies. The first thing you see when you walk into the showroom was a battlefield complete with tanks, jeeps, an army bunker and the ruins of a three-story bombed out church, smack in the center of the arena.

Impressed with the replicas, I reached beneath one jeep and … peeled off some rust.

It wasn’t a diorama. Wizards had brought in actual tanks and jeeps and bunkers to the city center of Indianapolis.

For a game.

It only got bigger from there.

Entire ballrooms dedicated to war gaming. 24-hour anime rooms. Easley, Elmore and all the new 3.5 artists chatting with fans and selling original artwork. Shaking hands with Phil Athans at the Salvatore signing (and Phil sneaking us out some freebies!). Sitting with Dave Arneson at my signing (photos coming). And seeing the hundreds of cutting-edge games being demo’d on every side.

I’d love to say that I walked in and owned the place. After all, I'm a "published" game designer right? I was the one doing the signing.

The naked truth was that I walked in and was awed into a gibbering idiot. In Northern America it just doesn’t get any bigger than this.

Ignore all the hype. GenCon is bigger than any hype.

If you ever plan on coming, come for weekend. Even if you are only an incidental gamer, there is too much to see to do it all in a day. Otherwise, you just won’t sleep. (Maybe you won’t sleep either way, but it is worth giving yourself the chance.) I spent 16+ hours in the con, didn't see a single seminar, barely hung out with Ed, Lara, Jeff or Marisa, and still didn't have the time to see everything.

Personal Highlights
-Meeting Jaleigh Johnson, up and coming Wizards novelist, at my “signing.” (I still owe you one. Just when you least expect it …)

-Seeing people actually buying something I’ve written. Boggle.

-Seeing Ed spend the first bit of his Wizards advance on his fiancé.

-Spending time with the Goodman Games crew. They treated me (and my friends) like VIPs even though we were nobodies. That’s pretty darn impressive.

-Chatting with Dave “I co-authored Dungeons and Dragons” Arneson.

-The mysterious El Presidente.

-Seeing the reprint of my Zeitgeist Games fiction!

-Riding through downtown Indianapolis hidden in the bed of a home-brewed pickup truck.

-Cheering every time Goodman Games was mentioned during the The Gamers: Dorkness Rising preview.

-Hanging out with Ruth and Jess from the Rich Burlew (a.k.a. Order of the Stick) booth.

Big Deathy shoutouts are due to whole casts of folks, but the music is already playing, so I’ll try to keep it short. Big Deaths to Goodman Games & Zeitgeist Games, Ed, Lara, Jeff, Marisa, Phil, Dave, Jaleigh, and anyone who bought a module or source book. Thank you!

The biggest, Deathiest shoutout goes to Alex Anderegg, who acted as my personal guide, chauffer, bodyguard and all around “Did you just see that?!” man. He also was extremely tolerant of the mysterious El Presidente. You can’t ask much more of a friend.

Alex dropped me off at the airport on Sunday, but my plane had been overbooked. Like a castle falling from the sky, my weekend was about to get real ugly.

I dashed down to the gate only to find I had been bumped up to first class. As we jetted out of Indy, I toasted the city's skyline with my free wine and marveled at the magic of this life.

Was it worth dropping writing for a 36 hour, no sleep, geek frenzy weekend?

I'm already booking my flight for next year, and I hope to see you there.

Wizards Cabal
Wizards Cabal

On a much, much lesser note, Zeitgeist Games released some of my fiction in their first source book. You’ve probably read it already, but it is always nice to see it in print.


Goodman Games

I'll be doing a signing at the Goodman Games booth on Saturday, from 4:00 p.m. to whenever. If you're there, drop on in --- I'd love to put faces to all the names. :)

Unprofessional Aside
Prior to my signing will be Dave Arneson.

Maybe you’ve heard of him.

Let’s examine this, because it is just plain silly:
1. Harley gets to go to Gen Con?!
2. Harley gets to do a signing?!
3. Harley gets to sit in the same seat as Dave Arneson?!

Just plain silly.

Good thing I’m going on several hours after Dave --- it could get a little painful to watch the stream of his dedicated fans trickle down to just my friends hanging out around the booth. Have no fear, I fully understand my place in the food chain.

So ... bring some coffee and come to hang out! I promise there won’t be a line. :)


Iron Crypt of the Heretics
Goodman Games

Thanks to Jeff to pointing this one out! You'd think the writer would know when his own product is being previewed. Sheesh. (Those are Mordenkainen's Hip Boots of Warming, by the way. ;) )

A big playtesting thank you is owed to both Alex and Lara, and their respective gaming troupes. The Iron Crypt went through several development cycles and owes much of its polish to their playtesting critiques. Worse, Lara's group found certain portions extremely frustrating --- thank you for your patience, Ms. Gose!

...and meanwhile
I was just sent the cover image for Into the Wilds, painted by one of the classic TSR artists.

Man, I love my night job.

The Howling Delve!
... an upcoming Realms novel by up-and-coming WotC novelist, Jaleigh Johnson! Many well deserved congrats!

Make nice now, and maybe she'll sign our copies a few years from now. ;)

The Other Living Boy in New York
As an aside, I had the chance to spend some time with Jeff a couple of weeks ago, and he is a fantastic human being. Once again I find myself blessed with the company of friends that force me to rise to a higher standard.


Only Living Boy in New York ...

Internet dead-zone for the next 5 days. See you all in Colorado!