Monthly Archives: October 2016

Manhattan Adventures

flatironI’m posting today from Manhattan in a mid-town hotel that’s walking distance from all kinds of cool stuff. Naturally I’m spending a lot of my time here simply writing, but every evening the wife and I go out to one of the swell places to eat that my agent’s recommended (he hasn’t steered us wrong yet!).

My wife’s here for a work conference. I tagged along because, well, how often do I get to go to Manhattan? Yesterday I met in person with my agent Bob Mecoy and editor Pete Wolverton for only the second time, a huge pleasure. And I was briefly in the famed Flatiron building before heading out for lunch.

Second Degree

hajones-bb2Who has two thumbs and a second degree black belt in Shotokan Karate?

A fair number of people, probably, but now that number includes me as well! Still quite excited about that. Here I am moments after the graduation ceremony.

And what do you do after you get a second degree black belt? In my case, celebrate with a dinner at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants… then start training for the third degree black belt. Only four more years…

Gaming Goodies

adv-backpackIt seems like everything’s coming up Kickstarters! No sooner do I announce that one old school role-playing game is getting to release a new edition, that I see another old school role-playing game is releasing an expansion. Yesterday Castles & Crusades announced that they’re going to print a new book with 13 additional classes, some new rules, and a host of new spells, amongst other things. What’s a fellow to do?

And then right around the corner is DVG’s launch of some new solitaire board games, and Lock ‘n Load publishing’s reprinting of Heroes of the Pacific and release of Heroes of North Africa not to mention a new compendium and their solo expansion… I guess I need to sell some more books so I can afford all of this fun stuff!

(Of course then I’d also need to find time to play and read it all….)

Anyway, the Adventurer’s Backpack for Castles & Crusades is available here. I wish there was some detail about what those classes are going to be, but system fan that I am, I’ve already signed up.

Playtesting B-17 Flying Fortress Leader

hornet-leader-2Until recently, Dan Verssen’s “Leader” game line has concentrated on various air war subjects. Given that my shelves are primarily filled with fantasy novels or books about pre 10th century eras I didn’t find them initially intriguing no matter my growing interest in solitaire board games, but Marco Arnaudo’s enthusiastic review of Hornet Leader won me over.

Even after I snagged a copy I didn’t take to Hornet Leader immediately, though. There were so many different armaments and so many different planes that I remarked to my friend Dean Brown that I felt like I was playing “Armament Leader” because I had to spend so much time choosing which kinds of bombs to put on my aircraft. I gather that happens to some players. I decided it wasn’t really for me, but for people who really liked knowing minute details about planes and bombs, and traded it away, but then, talking with Dean, I got to wondering if I’d really given it a fair shot. I decided to trade for a new copy last winter. After I played again and took more time with it I was hooked, and enjoyed several campaigns from December to March. And that left me in good shape to understand what a Leader game was all about, probably a good thing for a playtester for the upcoming B-17 Flying Fortress Leader game…

Sad News

bob-wLast last month Bob Weinberg passed away. Pulp scholar, anthologist, writer, and all-around great guy, Bob has been a fixture in science fiction, fantasy, and pulps for longer than I’ve been alive. My heart goes out to his family and friends.

I didn’t know Bob well, but I had the pleasure to meet with him several times over the years. I was first introduced to him a little before he wrote the introduction to one of the Harold Lamb anthologies I edited (Swords from the West). I got to know him better when I met him at conventions over the years. He was one of the few people I knew at my first World Fantasy Convention, and greeted me warmly. And he was always there at every single pulp convention I attended, smiling, witty, sometimes curmurdgeonly, though in a gentle and teasing way. He was extremely knowledgeable about the fields of fiction I love, and always had a good story to tell about some of my genre heroes.

I liked him, a lot, and falsely assumed that he’d always be a fixture at the conventions. Certainly he seemed to have boundless energy the first few times we interacted. He’d appeared tired the last two times I bumped into him, and I saw on Facebook that he’d had some recent medical issues. I also thought I’d seen that he’d pulled through them. I wish I’d kept closer track.

Locus has a detailed obituary detailing all of this fine man’s accomplishments, including his winning of the Stoker Award. He will be missed.

Setting Course

hulk computerJust when I thought I couldn’t get busier, I got busier. It’s good stuff, though. In addition to working on line edits, I’m now suddenly contemplating cover ideas and even initial cover copy. That’s exciting.

So it looks like the new book really will be titled For the Killing of Kings. It’s projected to be the first of three, and I’m not completely sure what the series will be called. I hope to have some sketches and other news about it to share with you next week, along with a bunch of other cool things. For now, though, I need to get back to line edits and work on some cover copy.

Savage Lincoln

savage-lincolnFor the 5th year in a row my wife and I drove over to Louisville Kentucky this October to wander around the St. James Court Art Fair. There’s lovely artwork, crafts, and jewelry of all types, not to mention delicious food and some fine music — and the beauty of the neighborhood buildings, many of which are turn of the century mansions. One of these years I’m going to take the time to grab a tour that’s offered by a handful of them.

My wife purchased some swell necklaces and earrings. Me, I picked up another great refrigerator magnet.