Monthly Archives: August 2013


…I am not at WorldCon 2014 (AKA LoneStarCon 3). In the grand scheme of things it is a tiny disappointment and certainly no tragedy, but I find myself wishing I could be there in San Antonio this weekend with so many of my friends and colleagues meeting readers and interacting with movers and shakers in the industry. I imagine there will be a sizable coterie of Robert E. Howard folks there, and I’d love to raise a glass or two with them. And writer Norman Spinrad is there as well, and he’s someone I’ve always wanted to meet.

I may not be staying up late talking with some of my favorite people, but I can take consolation in the fact that my writing is going very well right now. Things are different for every writer, of course. I’m working on being one of those guys who, when in rough draft phase, dependably gets the same thousands of words done every day. What I’ve found instead is that sometimes, for weeks, the writing crawls. I’ve just come out of one of those phases and now suddenly the narrative is so alive I can barely write fast enough to keep up with it. If I were at a convention that would crash to a halt. Then there’s the insomnia issues I’ve been fighting for the last few weeks. Staying up late for another four nights in a row would probably be a horrible idea.

Dreaming of the Writing Life

When I was a kid, the writing life had a magical luster. I felt as though were I to become a published author, I would have “made it.” But beyond the mountains lay more mountains. I’m a middle-aged man now and there are still mountains further off. I had that first published story, and then I wanted a professional published sale and got that, and then a book deal, and on and on. Now, though, the stars have faded from my eyes. Don’t get me wrong, I still love storytelling more than any other job. But I’m far less concerned with fame and glory than earning enough to make a difference for my family.

Link Day!

Copyright Darian Jones

Link Man returns today to provide safe, interesting, and fast loading links while I’m hard at work on my new series for St. Martin’s (Thomas Dunne Books). Verily, the new book is picking up speed, so I must send you elsewhere into the void in search of entertainment.

First, there’s this great article on The Mummy Returns from Alex Bledsoe. I have to confess that I never made it very far into this movie because I found the first few minutes really bad. I think a lot of people did. But now, in light of Alex’s essay, I may have to revisit it. He found a lot to admire about it, at least in its depiction of a female action hero. Take a look.

GenCon 2013 Part 4

I thought I’d finish my write up of GenCon with a sort of highlights reel of my remaining favorite moments, in no particular order of preference until the final three.

First, while I’m not much involved in Black Gate anymore, I do still occasionally review game products, and it was a pleasure to get handed a few review copies of some great looking books. I’ll be covering them at Black Gate before too long, but I can say right now that I’m most interested by Pete Nash’s Monster Island, a sandbox setting compatible with Runequest, Sarah Newton’s Monsters & Magic, from Mindjammer Press, which is a way to convert old school RPGs for more modern, FATE style play, and Brian England’s The Demolished Ones, a FATE compatible mini mystery campaign  in what looks like Victorian times. I have a handful of others as well, and each will be getting write-ups in the near future.

GenCon 2013 Part 3

Before I write anything more about my trip to GenCon 2013, I thought I’d best take a moment to describe the physical environment. The convention center lies at the very heart of downtown Indianapolis and is surrounded by a great number of hotels, many of which are connected to the convention center via skywalks. As far as I can tell, the entire center is given over to GenCon, which is pretty incredible because you could probably store a fleet of 747s inside.

Nearby hotels roll out the red carpet, issuing keys emblazoned with game-related pictures and renaming menu items to game appropriate choices like “Broiled Halfling” (well, not THAT choice, but you get the idea). The city closes down a side street beside the center and food trucks are brought in to provide an alternative to the fast food served in the convention’s concession areas. Within the hall itself, great banners display images from various games. Even tables are decorated, some of them doubling as game boards.

GenCon 2013 Part 2

Lou Anders and Brad Beaulieu.

Strange things happen over the inter webs. No, I’m not talking about any of that. I’m talking about how friendships can develop in ways different from any in previous generations. Four years ago I briefly met Lou Anders for the first time at DragonCon. We shook hands, said a few words, then, things being busy, went about our lives. Slowly, over the last couple of years, we’ve become close friends. Yet it was all done over the Internet and primarily over Facebook as we’ve commented upon one another’s posts and chatted via IM. We’d never actually been around each other AS friends, so I wondered if it would feel a little odd when I picked him up at the Indianapolis airport Wednesday and drove into town for GenCon.

GenCon 2013 Part 1 — the Wheaton Conundrum

Last Wednesday night I almost met Wil Wheaton.

Let me rephrase that. Last Wednesday night, I almost inflicted myself upon Wil Wheaton. I was standing with Scott Lynch at the Diana Jones Award, held the night before GenCon begins, and not ten feet off was Wil Wheaton, bigger than life. Well, actually, he was appropriately life-sized.

As I saw him and briefly considered introducing myself, several scenarios played through my head.

Scenario 1: Visceral 

Me: I have noticed that you are Wil Wheaton, and I wished to say that it’s really cool that you are, and how nifty it is that you are in the same room with me.

Wheaton: I praise you for your observational skills, for I am Wil Wheaton. And it is, indeed, a nifty room.


Link Man!

The other day I was joking with my sixteen-year-old son that there really ought to be a superhero who could defend Internet users from slow or broken links. (Because that would be ridiculous, of course, and we’re pretty decadent and spoiled to be complaining about slow internet connections when people are dying in the streets in other parts of the world. I thought I should mention that in case any of you actually thought I was serious.)

The next thing I knew he’d drawn up three pics, which I scanned mere moments before my printer/scanner died for the last time. Here, then, is the work of Darian Jones, provided for your amusement. Click to embiggen. Tomorrow I’ll get to some GenCon recapping.

GenCon Photos

Every time I go to a convention I swear to myself I’ll remember to take pictures, and I never do. At GenCon this time I finally had my camera with me, but by the mid-point of the con I’d stopped snapping pics, and I never took that many. Fatigue? My natural absent-mindedness? Whatever the case, I have but a handful of pictures.

I’ve lost a lot of writing days and need to climb back into the saddle this morning, so I’ll provide a longer recap later in the week. For now, though, here are a couple of photos.