19 Jun

5 Questions for Choice of Games

Steam LogoIn case you didn’t know, Choice of Games is a company that’s been putting Interactive Fiction back on the map. Their apps are available through nearly every provider, and they represent a new era in the classic Choose Your Own Adventure style but with the added depth that working off of an electronic device can provide. Now, in very big news, two of their IF novels, Heroes Rise: The Prodigy and Heroes Rise: The Hero Project, are now available on Steam! They are also Steam’s very first text adventure games, an impressive milestone indeed.

Choice of Games logoIn the grand tradition of networking, I was introduced to friend-of-a-friend, Jason Stevan Hill of Choice of Games. You see, fellow author Andrew G. Schneider (author of Nothing Left to Wish For and Undercaffeinated and Overexposed) introduced me to Alana Joli Abbott (author of Choice of Games’s Showdown at Willow Creek and Choice of Kung Fu as well as Into the Reach and Departure) who introduced me to Jason. Jason, in turn, graciously provided me with plenty of information and advice about Interactive Fiction. He spared a few minutes for me to answer some questions about Choice of Games adding Steam to their distribution channels. Continue reading

31 Jan

Andrew G. Schneider, 5 Questions for the Author

Undercaffeinated and Overexposed

I had the pleasure of making Andrew G. Schneider’s acquaintance after two of our articles for Dungeons & Dragons Insider contained some overlapping material. (Both adventures were set in the Chaos Scar, but Andrew’s “Scarred for Life” connected nicely with my adventure “Reflections of Ruin” thanks to an exceptional ogre and the Deck of Many Things.) We continued to correspond and commiserate about the joys of freelance and have even managed to get a game or two in on occasion.

Recently, Andrew published not one but two novels so I took a few minutes to lob some questions his way, chat about YA fiction, and see what he has planned now that Nothing Left to Wish For and Undercaffeinated and Overexposed: The Tale of a Coffee Shop Princess are off his desk. Continue reading

12 Feb

Using Kanban to Write

Staying focused is a key piece of writing for me. My thoughts and ideas tend to be scattered, both physically and mentally, and it is easy to work on multiple things at once. Multitasking yields unsteady progress, though. I wanted to be able to maintain a clearer focus on what projects I was working on and know roughly how far they were from completion. More importantly, I wanted more of them to reach that completed stage faster. So I turned to my background in manufacturing for an answer: kanban.

How Not to Do Kanban
Just. No.

Kanban is a means of tracking workflow with a simple visual chart. The system can take a variety of forms: a whiteboard, Post-It notes, or a digital application. The goal is the same, though: present all work that needs to be done, that is currently being worked on, and is completed, in a single glance. Kanban might seem like an odd choice for a writer, but in a career that relies so heavily on self-motivation and self-assessment, kanban (combined another technique we’ll discuss later) is a great tool to keep you honest with yourself. Continue reading

8 Feb

Kickstart the Weekend: Success Stories

Kickstarter LogoI have stayed away from Kickstarter for a little while recently. The avoidance isn’t any kind of “protest against their business model” or a stand against the notion that everyone and their brother has a Kickstarter. No, it’s that I would get too excited about things that I shouldn’t be buying. This surge of ideas and funding in the gaming community (and beyond) make it difficult to hold onto my money. But, as I’ve said before, if I can’t financially support a good idea, I can at least spread that idea around for others to see.

Most recently, Fred Hicks and Evil Hat Productions took my money (and the money of quite a few others). Although, for what I got for my money, I feel like I robbed him in some fashion. You can expect to hear more about my thoughts on the Fate Core System in the future. In the meantime, we have the final novel in Alana Abbott’s fantasy trilogy, some remarkable 28mm miniatures for the Torn World from Center Stage Miniatures, and my thoughts on the developments with Tabletop Forge and Roll20. Continue reading

18 Dec

The Next Big Thing

Mayan's Next Big Thing
All this assumes that the Next Big Thing isn’t just the end of all the things.

Everyone prefaces these sorts of things with “I don’t do chain letters BUT . . .” So consider mine prefaced as well. Jeff LaSala was kind enough to tag me in this chain that I think was begun by Elaine Cunningham. (Chain letters always make me think of the telephone game that starts at one end of the classroom as “I’m finished with our big stone calendar” and ends on the other end as “The calendar has predicted the date humanity is finished!”)

The idea behind the Next Big Thing is to answer 10 questions about a work in progress, and then tag 5 more writers who do the same thing the following week. I like the idea of promoting some good people. And a little self-promotion never hurt anybody, I suppose. My lead project for 2013 is a novel. –gasp– I’m always working on multiple things, but this is receiving the lion’s share of my efforts. Continue reading

16 Nov

Kickstart the Weekend: Shoggoths and Gamebooks

I’ve been exceedingly remiss in tending my blog of late, and even worse about keeping up to date with some really great Kickstarter projects. Now that I’m caught up on some of the work that pays the bills, I can take a moment to point you towards two Kickstarters that caught my eye. One, Maelorum, gives me flashbacks to my youth, and the other, The Littlest Shoggoth, reminds me that I want the next generation of kids to grow up with a whole new set of “children’s stories.” Both are worthy of your attention. Continue reading

6 Oct

David Blaine’s Greatest Trick

David Blaine
David Blaine

David Blaine finally has the opportunity to impress me.

Andrew W.K. to Play One Million-Volt Keyboard Solo Through David Blaine’s Body

So I just opened a brand new pack of cards and drew one at random. If David Blaine is killed during this stunt, the following day I will go to my mailbox and find a package, postmarked the day before I was born. Inside the package: a shovel. And an invitation to dig his grave anywhere in the world. Continue reading