A few notes before I bury myself

I have set some ambitious deadlines for myself and this may become one of the many other things in my life that gets neglected in those pursuits. Which will disappoint maybe six people. But to you brave six, my apologies.

Looming first is Crit Hit 4, where I have 3 scheduled episodes of Go Action Fun Time, one of which is actually written. Yes, you will need a badge to the con to attend any of these games.

The scheduled Episodes are:

FRIDAY 5 JULY @ 7PM Sparkle and Bleed

In a small town in 1958 Nebraska, your teen-age time-traveling super-heroes have been given a task that will chill them to their very marrows: find a date to the Homecoming Dance. Also of interest: murder, mayhem, the living dead and the town’s unsteady relationship with time and space.

SATURDAY 6 JULY 2019 @ 10AM  Fear and Loathing in the City of Gold

A Rescue the Hostage adventure drawn from actual things in Mayan Mythology. Which, so you know, is really messed up. Really. You will not believe…

SUNDAY 6 JULY 2019 @ 10AM The Whole They Crawled Out Of

The village is surrounded by mutant zombies. You are here to help. Of course it’s worse than that. Because the only thing more terrifying than constant war with your neighbors is being forced to agree with them about every little thing. A cross-over adventure with Sage and Sand.

The other quest is that I have dared myself to finish Taliesin’s Last Apprentice by the end of the month. That would require 2 chapters a week – no exceptions, as opposed to the current pace of a chapter a week unless I don’t.

So it’s on.

When I come up for air I have a few things to reflect upon, a few adventures to brag about, a few lessons to share. Until then, if it’s not on fire, or actual paying work, it drops below these foolish deadlines.

I am determined to be the single biggest problem in my life. This is how you do it.

See you on the other side.

 

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Notes found while cleaning my desk

A near tragedy forced a rare occurrence: I lost a check and cleaned my desk trying to find it.  Before we get to the collection of strange notes that unearthed, i’d be remiss if I did not get some self-serving marketing out of the way:

Go Action Fun Time has a Facebook Page. 

GAFT cover image

This is from the “Pilot Episode”

 

While making it, I discovered that Facebook is very helpful – nay pushy about tips to increase traffic to your page.  The punchline for most of those tips is how you should spend money on ads, which should not have surprised me.

I also discovered Facebook provides more immediate and accessible metrics than any web-page I have used, including the WordPress back-end for this one.

“Being an immortal, indestructible calico cat does not make you a good storyteller.”

Wisdom from Matthew Howard, author of the Meteor Mags series, in which Patches, the above referenced cat,  is a regular character.

I have a note about minds.com which seems to be a curated version of Google Plus.

On that same card I found ” Phoenix Publishing & Book Promotion” with no context. (The link came up with a Google search). Its is “A blog by authors for authors (and would-be authors)”. Which the internet needs like another porn site, but good for them trying.

They are, I should note, an arm of the Meet-up of the same name, which I think I have joined, but I have never attended a meeting.

Another note reads Hiding places of God, which I assume to refer to The Hiding Places of God by John Cornwell, as it is the only search item for this phrase that is not scripture commentary, clearly insane or clearly insane scripture commentary.

Siddhartha also appears on that card. Let’s say it refers to the novel of the same name by Herman Hesse. Both novels deal with a search for the spiritual by the initially skeptical, and both books have also in common that I have not read either of them.

And now I can recycle those cards.

A search for octopus+toilet yields mostly toilet paper holders shaped like octopi.

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I am here because I am JPG.

Marketing tip for sellers of books and octopus toilet accessories: If you want random bloggers to repost your cover or product images (and you do) you have to present them as JPG’s – which should not be hard.

 

One more note: avocado pits are surprisingly bouncy.

Well, they are.

BTW: I found the check.

Now we know.

Pantsing a post

I’m really kinda alarmed at how much of a pantser I actually am. Ok, let me back that up for the non-writers. I’m really surprised at how much I make up as I go along.

Before we get to all that, a few quick plugs for things we learned on other topics:

Over at Curious Continuity, we have concluded our survey of FTL methods.

And at Fantastical History we recap some things we learned (including the pantsing thing) at Leprecon 45 last weekend. 

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Some people make and use plans.

In truth, I like to know what I’m going to write before I sit down, but the realities of time and life mean that sometimes I just have to sit down and tap away and see what happens. My problem is that I’m good enough at spouting out nonsense off the top of my skull that I charge into the void with unwarranted optimism.

And a lot of typos.

And then I tie myself up in a not when I actually have to pull the plot together.

My whole life goes like that. I have a bit of a plan, it fall apart from errant assumptions, I make a new plan? – no I just make stuff up until I’m out of it all somehow.

I abandoned a carefully researched plan to buy a car to snap up a car I assumed to be beyond my reach. (Ruby Vroom). I seem to be getting away with that.

Not really related, but something I learned: open both side of the dead swamp cooler before deciding to replace it. Sometimes the previous tenant had just disassembled the belt for some reason. Put it back together and – cool-ish swamp air until late July.

Back to things I make up as I go along – WORD COUNT:

I wrote 1000 new words on Taliesin’s New Apprentice (the working title for the sequel to Beanstalk and Beyond), and transcribed 1500 into the thinking machine. Add the writer’s group I read it for critique in, and that’s 3000 words.

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As I hinted at a bit in my last post, I edited and ran two episodes of Go Action Fun Time at Leprecon 45. That’s a thousand word worth each.

So At the Monday cut-off I made my 5000. And at the end of this blog, I’m already at 3000. But I got more to transcribe for Jack to read in 22 hours.

So now we know.

Go Action Fun Time at Leprecon 45

This weekend!

I will be running two episodes of Go Action Fun time at the local ASF/F convention.

Leprcon 45 – Double-tree Metrocenter. Bottle-brush conference room – 2nd floor.

10220 N Metro Parkway E, Phoenix, AZ 85051. It’s by the Metrocenter Mall off I-17 at Peoria Ave.

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Dice Monster will also be in attendance

9:00 am Saturday [April 20]

Ravenna’s Tower

Rescue Snow White’s daughter from the dragon  whether she wants you to, or not.

1:00pm Sunday [April 21]

We Are All Sam

Confronting the terrible secret beneath a besieged a city full of clones

 

Does this all seem thrown together at the last minute? That’s kinda the theme of the whole con. Come play if you are inclined.

Go Action Fun Time is designed as a drop-in role playing game. You do not need to have participated in any of the previous episodes to be included in the next. I will have pre-generated characters available.

 

Faith in finance brings me Ruby Vroom

If you missed the last entry, we learned that my Kia Soul did not survive  a collision, and that was the end of that. (And I’m fine, because we also learned that’s the first question you’ll ask).

I have a new vehicle: a 2015 Subaru Forester.

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It has just under 50k miles, and represents a couple notches of improvement im bith size and over-all quality from the vehicle it replaces.

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Even so, my payments are about the same. How is that possible?

Turns out I had gap insurance after all.

At least, that is the theory. There are a list of people, office professionals, who were going to contact me and confirm the details, and none of them have done so. Even the down payment check has taken nearly a week to clear.

But, as far as I know, I bought a car for the same money that I owed on the previous one.

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I named her Ruby Vroom – refering to the Soul Coughing Album, her color, and her tendency to go faster than you expect. A more complet review coming in a few weeks.

Assuming I still have her, of course.

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WORD COUNT:

1000 words of new Taliesin’s Last Apprentice content.

1500 of 2nd draft TLA content

500 words for Thursday Night writer’s group.

500 words for editing Go Action Fun Time material and

1000 words for playtesting Go Action Fun Tie at my house last Sunday. This could become a regular thing.

Missed it by 500 words.

I will live with myself.

Now we know.

 

A jumbled history that never was

That’s how I describe Steampunk. I spent the last weekend at WildWestCon 8 at Old Tucson Studios. Yeah- I should’ve publicized it more, but it’s basically a costume convention with just a dash of literature and almost no gaming. I moderated some panels to earn my keep.

I’ve never been much for wearing costumes at cons. The few times I’ve tried it, years ago,  they were all thrown together last minute, and consequently more troublesome than impressive. I wear loud tropical shirts and tell people I’m a time traveler – but one that’s completely burned out.

Then I started dating the costumer I met at a Con.

Before we get to that, though, I have an announcement. You might want to stand back a bit there….

Go Action Fun Time is LIVE at Drive-Thru RPG!!!

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/268196/Go-Action-Fun-Time-Basic-Rules

GAFT basic rules cover

Go Action Fun Time is an open-ended, rules-lite role-playing game invoking action/adventure cartoons. You can play basically any character you want and have them run amok through any setting. Adventures can be played in one session. Characters can pop in and out without affecting continuity. And sometimes … dinosaurs.

Teen-age superheroes from the past, present or future – real or imagined – have been thrown together to compete (as a team) (in theory) in a reality game show produced by chaotic and perhaps insane gods called the Executive Producers. These heroes now travel randomly through time, pursuing the strange and crazy challenges given to them by the Producers, and perhaps righting wrongs along the way.

It’s just $4.99 – because I want people to have a copy of the rules. These are very basic: no fancy typeset or watermarks, a few illustrations, all by my hand, some just pencil over graph paper. But this is all you need to start playing.

Where and when were we?

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Crank Hazard and friend.

I discovered recently – with some coaching, that I can put together a reasonable cowboy outfit out of means at hand. Not totally period ( I cannot abide actual cowboy boots) but it doesn’t have to be. Steampunk is forgiving like that.

I found myself inventing Crank Hazard, a cowboy, of sorts, who repairs time machines by way of trade. That’s fun and all, I can blather on command about the imaginary machinations of time travel, but Crank’s name is not on the cover of any of the books I am trying to promote at these events.

So I’m still trying to find that line.

More on the Steampunk genre here:

The term “Steampunk” originated in the late 1980s with a cheeky letter to Locus Magazine from science fiction author K. W. Jeter. Jeter was trying to find an accurate description of works by himself (Morlock Night), Tim Powers (The Anubis Gates), and James Blaylock (Homunculus). While Jeter coined the word, it was William Gibson and Bruce Sterling that brought the genre attention with the book The Difference Engine (1992). Best known for their offerings in cyberpunk, Gibson and Sterling took their intimate integration of man and machine back to 1885. In this alternative Industrial Revolution, Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine is not merely a curiosity but the norm, and now his Analytical Engine comes to fruition. The book centres around the struggle between the working class Luddites (who fear technology) and the upper-class “enhanced” elite.

Moderating panels, I learned:

  • Steampunk actually began with the dime novels of the day, where authors, desperate for new angles, would occasionally insert fantastic and rarely scientific elements.
  • BUT the TV show Wild Wild West was the first recognizable entry into the genre to gain any popular traction. And it predated the term “Steampunk” by several decades.
  • Technology does not let you make costumes and props any better necessarily, but it does let you make them faster.
  • The resource triangle: Good, Cheap, Fast. Pick 2.

 

Over at Curious Continuity, we talk about Warped Drives.

That’s all I have for word-count.

Non-linear time does not enable productivity.

Now we know.

Things I have done so you don’t have to

As usual, I have been busy: travelling, making things, dramatically reducing the amount of vegetation surrounding my house. Since this is supposedly an author blog, let me lead with that news.

I have uploaded Go Action Fun Time to Drive-thru RPG  and now await their approval.

GAFT basic rules cover

Yes – my artwork. If you think you can do better, contact me. 

It is only a PDF for now. That was enough of a maze without trying to reformat for e-pub or mobi.  I now know there are six different formats of PDF. And PDF/A is bad. Well, it’s fine, but the security features will lock up the bots at Drive-Thru. Also, compressed or linked JPEGs and transparencies are bad because Apple is i-fussy. I’m not clear what any of that is, so I don’t have to worry?

You, loyal reader, do not have to wait for Drive-Thru’s blessing to get this product. Contact me directly, and I will hook you up. With a commitment to playtest it for me, it would be free.

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Bongo at a river-side park in BHC.

I journeyed to Bullhead City on RC Lurie business, so you don’t have to. Bullhead City is a cluster of hills on the banks of the Colorado River, across from Laughlin Nevada – where all the money comes from. On top of each hill is a 55+ trailer park. The exception is along AZ95, the main drag, which is an extended strip mall. You might infer how much I enjoyed my stay.

I’ve actually been there twice. The first stint I stayed at a $40/night motel, where nothing was open after 11pm (I arrived at 10:30pm) and my door didn’t quite lock. They had a fridge and microwave but no coffee. I found coffee in the lobby in the morning, and I survived.

On my return trip, the client put me up in a casino.

Casinos are crappy places to stay when on business. The Avi Casino, south of Laughlin proper,  gave me a room with no fridge, microwave or coffee. It’s like they don’t want you spending time in your room at all.

In fairness, the casino cafe (Feathers – I think) is open 24/7 and I was able to get a decent breakfast and out the door in half an hour.

I had a better time in Las Vegas, as you might imagine. I don’t gamble to speak of, but I drink, and prefer to drink with nerds. For that, Vegas features the Millenium Fandom.

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Yes – I have a girlfriend.

True confession: I have never been much for cosplay. Cheryl (my girlfriend)

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Cheryl 

 is an actual costumer, though, and views these events as marketing among other things. I now own a pirate shirt, and several other items of clothing I would not otherwise possess.

I’ve done worse things for romance.

 

Closer to home:

I have finally bottled the mead I tossed last summer. It is sweet and fruity and bubbly – like magic unicorn sweet and fruity. I’m mildly disturbed. It’s called Wildflower, and she be recovering from bottle-shock by late April, early May.

 

The internet promised me that replacing my two exterior doors would cost about $800. I’ve had bids from $1800 to $3600. So … that’s a little more. Curiously, the two estimators who quoted me around $1800 took the most measurements and asked the better questions.

It likely come down who provides the better actual door.

There is a 4-6 lead time with door installation.

The tool of choice for removing dandelions from gravel is a pick-ax. A 30 gallon garbage bag stuffed full of decapitated dandelions weighs the better part of 50 lbs. I filled 9 bags.

My arms still hurt.

Now you know.