7.29.2005

Newsflash: Neversfall!
...the upcoming novel by Ed Gentry!

Hurrah!

Get all the dirt at edgentry.com!

Yay, Ed!

7.27.2005

Busy
Busy, busy, busy.

An additional 25k was added to the Campaign Setting, so I shanghaied a couple drunken sailors into my merry pirate band.

Week 3 in New York. It’s good to be closer to the ley line between Cunningham and Salvatore, but I’m starting to really miss my family. Heather, brother, parents and friends. And to demonstrate the principle of melancholy’s love for melodrama, I’ve been playing “Only Living Boy in New York” on repeat.

Heh. What a geek. The thought makes me smile.

It is good to have work.
It is good to have family to miss.

Miss you, love you, see you soon!

//H

7.21.2005

Midnight ...
...again?

More than coffee to keep them awake, writers need something that will let them sleep.

New England Magic
I’m not one for humidity, but it is hard not to fall in love with murky bogs and fireflies hovering amid ancient trees. Life is simply more dense here, and makes for a critical mass that allows magic to seem much more plausible. Life, piled upon life, accreting like layers of soil. Even the darkness seems thicker than in the West, a thing alive.

Faeries?

Absolutely.

Trolls?

Down by the swamp, atop the log with the toadstool.

Mind the children. ;)

“But when the Night had thrown her pall
Upon that spot, as upon all,
And the mystic wind went by
Murmuring in melody-
Then–ah then I would awake
To the terror of the lone lake."

An excerpt from

THE LAKE. TO --
by Edgar Allan Poe,
1827

7.18.2005

Sneak in a quick 30
I was offered the great chance to write a sequel to a classic module, so I’m sneaking in an extra 30,000 words over the next 2 months. I’m finally starting to feel confident with the genre; that’s a nice feeling. It’s also pretty darn fun to type a title with the full knowledge that the work is headed to print. So long as White Wolf doesn’t show up looking for a book about vampires, I shouldn’t have too much trouble turning the projects in ahead of deadline.

In the same vein, Iron Crypt of the Heretics is due out next month, at Gen Con. After seeing the art and production of Legacy, I’m eagerly looking forward to seeing the art to IC. I love seeing what the artists come up with. :)

For Sale, Sold
A pair of authors I know recently had their works altered by their publishers. Nothing terribly damning in either case, but both serve as a good reminder of the foundation of our business. Namely, we are selling our works; as soon as the check hits the bank, the publisher is free to do as he or she will with the work. (There are legal intricacies that I’m ignoring, but you get the idea.)

This reinforces the importance of selling your work to folks you trust. A good relationship won’t prevent every bad experience, but it can go a long way to preventing hard feelings. There is the temptation to sell our writing to anyone willing to scrap together some cash (I still fall into this category), but a little discernment can go a long way.

What’s the Latin for “Let the Seller beware” ?

7.14.2005

What Are You Doing?
A Blog for Kelly

If given the choice between publicly declaring that I’m a writer, or running naked down a busy interstate, you can be sure that I would come back with a sunburn on my bum. Acknowledging that I’m a writer, that I’m actively trying to take up your finite hours with these stories, is tough for me.

For better or worse, I’m currently studying in program that focuses on personal development, with the idea being that if you can understand yourself better, it will be much easier to manage the staff working beneath you.

Fine. No problem there.

The trouble comes in when you spend 18+ hours/day with your fellow students. Writing is a big piece of my life, and it would undermine the process not to acknowledge that piece.

And of course, it doesn’t help that I sit down right after dinner in the group dining room, flip open the lap top and “go to work” every evening. Eventually these highly intelligent people are going to put one and two together and pop the big question.

So, yes, for anyone reading that isn’t familiar with my work, I write fantasy stories and setting material for a couple different role-playing games.

Why this is such a big hurdle me, I’m not sure. In fact, as any of my old friends can attest, it is more of a wall than a hurdle. A sheet wall with loops of razor wire and glass shards sprinkled on the top.

Get over it, already, Harley, you obnoxious, whiny, brat. You get paid to write escapist fiction and love every minute of it. Be done with this piece and move on.

There, see? Was that so hard? Personal development happening right before your eyes.

Whence the Elven Bard?
It looks like ECs blog is down again. As a dedicated reader but occasional poster, I'm going to leave the link up for a bit, just in case.

7.08.2005

Shrink Wrap
My earliest memories of being able to buy my own gaming material was in fourth grade, back when Toys-R-Us still carried the TSR lines. I would save up for weeks to buy modules, and then savor opening the shrink wapped plastic. The sound and smell of crinkly plastic came to signify everything I loved about fantasy worlds --- that brief moment after opening, when the contents of the package (unread) were still perfect in my mind.

Today is my birthday. I picked up mail from the small mountain town post office and found a package from Goodman Games. A check and author copies of Legacy.

And damn if it wasn't shrink wrapped.

Deadline: July 8
Every birthday I make plans to send all my friends presents thanking them for all that they've given me over the years. Every year it gets a little too busy and I miss my deadline/run out of materials/can't find enough clay skulls.

I've managed to miss it again, so please forgive a public thank you. You people are the best.

Maybe next year ...

7.07.2005

SK Etttera
Goodman Games

I'm flogging a dead horse at this point, but let me point out one last time how incredible it is to see Jim Holloway spending finite hours of his life illustrating something I wrote.

I mean, this is the guy that illustrated Rose Estes' Mountain of Mirrors!

There. I've finally burned off any lingering illusions of professional dignity. >:)

Perhaps best of all, this module was as a lark, written as a gift for my dear friend Alex. I didn't have a gaming group at the time, and was living vicariously through his group. (How's that for passivity? Listening to stories about other people pretending to do stuff.) It was written for fun, with no hope of ever being sold.

I'd love to sign off with the moral "Do what you love and eventually it will work out," but that’s more than a little intellectually irresponsible. The truth is I got lucky; many folks (with much more talent than I’ll ever have) suffer their entire lives without being recognized.

But have no fear, gentle reader! Grimbones won’t let you down. Even if I can’t fall back on our culture’s happy-go-lucky cliché, I can promise this much:

If we try, we'll probably fail.

If we don’t try, we will certainly fail.


Me, I’ll try my luck. Choose Death. >:)

7.06.2005

Art from the Legacy of the Savage Kings!


The name "Jim Holloway" may not mean much to most of the world, but those of us that played WAY too much AD&D (or Paranoia, or Oriental Adventures...) all know his name. It is an honor to have a Holloway illustration gracing a module I wrote.

*boggle* This is the best gig a geek could have.

I understand if you don't get it --- if it looks old and cludgey to you. That's cool. You just had to be there.

But for those of you who have been around, you know that Old School never felt so good. I am not worthy.

7.03.2005

Fan Love
Kameron's Maiden of Pain is the focus of this month's book club over at Worlds of D&D. I haven't had a chance to keep up on all of the topics, but a quick scan turned up a few criticisms noting that the novel wasn’t dark enough. Fans want dark fantasy, the posters reasoned, so why won’t authors and editors answer the market demand?

I can understand the complaint, but for better or worse, our Realms novels are all PG-13. Unless you are a parent, you might forget just how young 13 is. (And unless you are 13, you have probably forgotten just how savvy 13-year olds can be, but that is a topic for another post.)

Assaulting the novel because it isn’t dark fantasy is like complaining that it doesn’t have enough Jedi or Ewoks. That’s not the book Kam was hired to write.

I understand that this sort of criticism comes with the territory. When you accept that royalty check you are also accepting a role as a public figure. And I know dozens of writers that would sell pounds of flesh for the chance to write a book and be faulted on-line. Still, it’s hard to see it happen to a friend.

On the Road Again
H is back on the East Coast helping out her family, so I'm on the road for a long weekend of writing and skating. This lifestyle has become something of an addiction: no phone, no obligations, just friends to see, worlds to write and concrete to fall down on. I can't tell you where I'm sleeping, but with a pickup truck and a tent, I'm not too worried about it.

If any of you ever catch me complaining about my life, slap me.*



*As I'm typing this, I'm wondering if that last sentence came off a little too “My life is so cool that you must hate yours.” Just in case my meaning might be misconstrued, let me clarify by simply noting that I’m thankful for all I’ve been given. I’m no more talented or brilliant than the next writer (and my spelling is worse than most). If my finite career is a tribute to anything, it’s a testament to dogged, single-minded persistence. So go forth and write.

I love my life and I hope yours is just as fantastic.


From the "My Life Is Cool ...
Just found out who will be painting the cover to "Into the Wilds." There are handful of TSR artists I idolized as a child. Having one illustrate a work of mine is just plain silly.

....and Yours is Too, Damnit" file
Erik got the green light on this second Realms novel! Cheers!

Now if there rest of us would just hear if we've been bumped. Erin? Collins? Jaliegh? <--- Never mind, good money says she got one. >:)

Why I Think You’re a Rock Star
Our culture makes it really easy to be passive. This isn’t entirely bad --- for instance, it makes it possible for chumps like to me sell to writing --- but it can’t be denied that given the choice between sitting down a watching a movie, or sitting down and writing a screen play, most of us are going to choose to be passive.

Again, this isn’t all bad. It’s not like I’ve recorded any songs for my ipod recently. But it does highlight why you are a rock star: in a culture where passivity is encouraged, the mere act of creation is worthy of praise.

You had the choice and decided to take the difficult route. You’ve chose to risk failure and ridicule. You chose to create.*

The result may not have been a work of genius, but it is yours. And if you keep writing (composing, painting, coding, whatever) eventually you will get good. It’s part of our contract --- despite the universes’ insatiable drive for entropy, humans get better at the things they practice. We build things up.

So despite the universe, our culture, and that Xbox in the living room, you stepped up to the plate and made something happen. That’s pretty impressive.

Now, if you’ll forgive me, I’ve been stalling for too long. Time to write.




*Endnote that I found amusing. I’ve been talking about constructive criticism and the power of creation. Now imagine the sort of complaints God gets (he/she/it, depending on your belief system, or lack thereof). That guy must be so fed up. ;)