a garden in riotous bloom
Beautiful. Damn hard. Increasingly useful.
other gardeners 
pantryslut: (Default)
Still reading "The Lost Time Accidents." We have moved past WWI and into WWII, and yes, thank you, the resonances with our current political climate are present, if mostly backgrounded. The more obvious SF jokes/references (writer "Orson Card Tolliver," the "Church of Synchronology") are a little distracting, and bound to be more so as we head toward more contemporary times, but so far it's at a tolerable level.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
My gaming group is starting a new campaign using Mage. I had been thinking of a martial artist but someone else wants to play a wuxia character. Now I am thinking of maybe going in a Doctor Thirteen direction: a parapsychologist who has never investigated a claim of magic where it wasn't a fraud, even back in the days when it was him, his three friends and the talking dog tooling around in a crappy van.

I am thinking the two schools of magic he can do are Prime (specifically dispel magic) and Life (with a major in talking to animals).

If he was a teen in 1969, he's in his sixties now? But I see him as unusually well-preserved. All that running from "monsters" is excellent cardio.
24 March 2017 17:02 - More 2017 Audie Awards Finalists

Posted by admin

The Audio Publishers Association has announced finalists for the 2017 Audie Awards, recognizing excellence in audiobooks and spoken word entertainment.

These are in addition to the finalists announced in February.

Audie finalists of genre interest include:

Audiobook of the Year

The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead, read by Bahni Turpin (Penguin Random House)

Excellence in Design

  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain, design by David Drummond, read by Nick Offerman (Audible)
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll, design by Levente Szabo, read by Scarlett Johansson (Audible)
  • Alien: Out of the Shadows, Tim Lebbon & Dirk Maggs, design by James Jackson, read by Rutger Hauer, Corey Johnson, Matthew Lewis, Kathryn Drysdale, Laurel Lefkow, Andrea Deck & Mac McDonald (Audible)
  • Geek Feminist Revolution, Kameron Hurley, design by Jessica Daigle, read by C.S.E. Cooney (HighBridge/Recorded Books)
  • Grimm’s Fairy Tales, the Brothers Grimm, design by Divya Srinivasan, read by Jim Dale, Katherine Kellgren, Alfred Molina and Janis Ian (Listening Library)

Excellence in Marketing

  • Alien: Out of the Shadows, Tim Lebbon & Dirk Maggs, read by Rutger Hauer, Corey Johnson, Matthew Lewis, Kathryn Drysdale, Laurel Lefkow, Andrea Deck & Mac McDonald (Audible)
  • Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000, L. Ron Hubbard, read by Josh Clark, Scott Menville, Jim Meskimen, Phil Proctor, Stefan Rudnicki, Fred Tatasciore, and a full cast (Galaxy)
  • The Dispatcher, John Scalzi, read by Zachary Quinto (Audible)

Excellence in Production

  • Alien: Out of the Shadows, Tim Lebbon & Dirk Maggs, read by Rutger Hauer, Corey Johnson, Matthew Lewis, Kathryn Drysdale, Laurel Lefkow, Andrea Deck & Mac McDonald (Audible)
  • Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000, L. Ron Hubbard, read by Josh Clark, Scott Menville, Jim Meskimen, Phil Proctor, Stefan Rudnicki, Fred Tatasciore, and a full cast (Galaxy)
  • Beric the Briton, G.A. Henty, read by Brian Blessed, Brian Cox, Tom Baker, Honeysuckle Weeks, John Rhys-Davies, and a full cast, including the author (Heirloom)
  • The Oedipus Plays: An Audible Original Drama, Sophocles (Ian Johnston trans.), read by Jamie Glover, Hayley Atwell, Michael Maloney, Samantha Bond, Julian Glover and David Horovitch (Audible)
  • A Wild Swan, Michael Cunningham, read by Lili Taylor & Billy Hough (Macmillan)

Winners will be revealed at the Audies Gala on June 1, 2017, at the French Institute Alliance Francaise in New York.

24 March 2017 11:41 - Cool Stuff Friday
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)

…and then the Fridays began.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

brightknightie: Screed, Bourbon, Urs and Vachon in the 19th-century saloon (Trio Vachon's Crew)
FKFicFest 2017 banner with 3 season cast photos

FKFicFest AO3 Collection | How to sign up | Where to sign up

Have you been waiting for the last minute to sign up? It's tonight (11:59 PM Pacific, Friday, March 24)! Come play with us?

24 March 2017 00:01 - Kneading

Posted by Fonder

A lawsuit waiting to happen.

This comic brought to you courtesy of my amazing patrons. Special thanks to:
Karen Carpenter, Gary Cooper, Dan Cunningham, Colin Dellow, ‘Giz’, Reece Hall, Erica Holcombe, Yuliya Levina, Dawn Lim Yun Hui, Jonna Märijärvi, Coté Nicholas, ‘Scott’

24 March 2017 06:00 - Pinch Hits #9 - #10!
chocolateboxmod: (Default)
We have two new pinch hits! If you are able to pick them up, please comment to this post with your AO3 name and which one you are after. All comments are screened!

Hetalia, Star Wars Original Trilogy, Dollhouse, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Original Work )

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Legends of Tomorrow, Stargate Atlantis, Dark Angel, Crossover Fandom, Teen Wolf, Sanctuary )
yhlee: Alto clef and whole note (middle C). (alto clef)
I am going to LISTEN TO THINGS and FIGURE OUT PERCUSSION if it kills me. Thank you so much, iTunes Shuffle!

ObDisclaimer: Just my opinions, I have no music degree, this is me analyzing music for my own benefit and I don't claim this will make sense to anyone else, comments/criticisms welcome.

Read more... )
23 March 2017 16:05 - "Ninefox March" working notes
yhlee: Alto clef and whole note (middle C). (alto clef)
I'm putting this behind a cut because I'm guessing composing/MIDI sequencing working notes will bore most of y'all. ;) OTOH, this is an easy way to keep track of what I'm doing!

BTW, I will never get tired of the rainbow the LEDs on the Komplete Kontrol S88 makes when you turn it on. I am easily distracted?

Read more... )
sovay: (Rotwang)
Last night I dreamed that I dropped by the library to return a book and found [livejournal.com profile] ashlyme and their presumably fictitious writing group hanging out around a table near the science fiction section; I talked plot with people, read some scenes of stories (the young man with Gullah heritage was writing a kind of supernatural mystery inspired by the life of his grandmother the root doctor, please tell me this exists somewhere), and then left the library to meet up with my parents for dinner, at which point I discovered that I had lost an entire day. Twenty-four hours to the minute had passed between my entering and leaving the library. My internal clock thought about an hour, two hours tops. Nothing worse seemed to have happened to me than lost time, but no one remembered seeing me or the writing group, even when I could point to the very table which was now empty of writers, laptops, backpacks, and sodas, but otherwise unremarkable-looking. The only evidence of my presence was the no longer overdue book, which could have been dropped through the return slot after hours. I had neither eaten nor drunk anything during my time in the library and I remember very seriously establishing this fact with my parents, because it seemed likely to be the only reason that I had been able to leave. "Were they in a circle?" [livejournal.com profile] derspatchel asked after I related the dream to him. "It was a round table," I had to agree. Congratulations, Ashlyme! My brain interprets your mere presence as shorthand for Faerie.

Some things—

1. I am reading William Lindsay Gresham's Nightmare Alley (1946). I didn't realize until I saw the dedication "To Joy Davidman" that I knew him by reputation—and not as a writer—the part of Davidman's story that she left behind when she moved to England to live near C.S. Lewis in 1953. In which case he really was as much of a personal disaster area as the foreword by Nick Tosches suggests, but he could write. The epigraphs are taken from Eliot's The Waste Land (1922) and Petronius' Satyricon. The table of contents is a Tarot reading, each chapter a card of the Major Arcana introducing a particular character or signaling a significant event: "The Fool who walks in motley, with his eyes closed, over a precipice at the end of the world . . . The High Priestess. Queen of borrowed light who guards a shrine between the pillars Night and Day . . . The World. Within a circling garland a girl dances; the beasts of the Apocalypse look on." Tosches credits Gresham with introducing a number of carny terms into popular culture, including "geek," "cold reading," and "spook racket." I want to get my OED out of storage and double-check all of these assertions, but it is true that the novel's initial setting of a traveling ten-in-one show feels like a worthy successor to Tod Browning's Freaks (1932) and forerunner of Theodore Sturgeon's The Dreaming Jewels (1950), evocative, sympathetic, and unsentimental in its details of carny life. It gets all the slang right that I can see: talker, spiel, gaffed, "Hey, Rube!" I'm aware the whole thing will eventually turn to horror—the 1947 film adaptation starring Tyrone Power and Joan Blondell is supposed to rank among the sleaziest and bleakest of the first-generation noirs—but at the moment we are still getting passages like this:

Evansburg, Morristown, Linklater, Cooley Mills, Ocheketawney, Bale City, Boeotia, Sanders Falls, Newbridge.

Coming: Ackerman-Zorbaugh Monster Shows. Auspices Tall Cedars of Zion, Caldwell Community Chest, Pioneer Daughters of Clay County, Kallakie Volunteer Fire Department, Loyal Order of Bison.

Dust when it was dry. Mud when it was rainy. Swearing, steaming, sweating, scheming, bribing, bellowing, cheating, the carny went its way. It came like a pillar of fire by night, bringing excitement and new things into the drowsy towns—lights and noise and the chance to win an Indian blanket, to ride on the ferris wheel, to see the wild man who fondles those rep-tiles as a mother would fondle her babes. Then it vanished in the night, leaving the trodden grass of the field and the debris of popcorn boxes and rusting tin ice-cream spoons to show where it had been.

Among its descendants, then, perhaps include also Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes (1962).

2. Somehow despite falling in love (like most of the internet) with Miike Snow and Ninian Doff's "Genghis Khan" (2016) last spring, I had failed to realize that the same cast and crew had reunited later in the year for a second video: "My Trigger." Like its predecessor, it has a terrific poster. I am very fond of its disclaimer.

3. Please enjoy Emily Sernaker's "Lawrence Ferlinghetti Is Alive!" I had no idea that was true and this poem was a nice way to find out.
24 March 2017 10:15 - Jukebox Exchange
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
Nominations for Jukebox are ongoing and will end at 23:59pm EDT on March 25 (a little over 2 days from now).

Poster for the Jukebox exchange, including a picture of a jukebox and URLs for the challenge. Links to AO3 collection

AO3 | LJ | DW

Nominations are open now.
Sign-ups run from March 28 to April 5.
Works are due on May 27.

If you offered, requested, wrote, or read fic about songs or music videos for Yuletide, consider checking out Jukebox. Jukebox is in its 5th year.

Is that a riding crop in your pocket or are you just happy to see me? 

Support Kimchi Cuddles by becoming a patron! Thank you SO MUCH for your support!! <3 https://www.patreon.com/kimchicuddles

Posted by Lou Doench

Two children look up to the clouds on a summers day. They gasp in surprise as a face appears to be looking down on them! Is it real? It certainly seems so… How can we tell?  Thus begins our second visit with J.R. Becker and illustrator Max Rambaldi’s precocious and curious kids, Annabelle and Aiden in “Oh the Things We Believed” , a children’s book on critical thinking. Like last years “The Story of Life”  (reviewed by our own Deek,) this Kickstarter project follows Annabelle and Aiden as they explore a complicated subject with the guidance of a helpful animal companion, this time the colorful and befeathered dinosaur Skeptisaurus.

The book uses the common pareidolia of finding shapes in clouds to explore how our senses and feelings can fool us. One thing I really appreciated is how Becker acknowledges the fallibility of our feelings whilst still respecting them. There isn’t any faux Vulcan hyperskepticism here, no dismissal of a young kids feelings but rather an encouragement to understand those feelings. It’s really interesting emotional intelligence work for a book aimed at preschoolers.

“Before accepting your guess just based on how you feel,
lets admit we just don’t know and discover if it’s real. ”

“But discovery takes work and time!
Why search when we just could
accept the answers we made up
like feelings say we should?”

“Feelings are important
they add beauty to our life.
But for telling us what’s real outside
they can cause lots of strife.”

And from there Skeptisaurus lays out the simple evolutionary basis for why we evolved to feel and see things that might not be there. With helpful sidebars and wonderful illustrations the book explains how our ancestors who were hyper aware of strange noises were less likely to become someone else’s dinner, how babies who recognized faces smiled back at their parents more often and thus thrived, and how our ancient pre-scientific forbears might have mistook comets for omens of doom or diseases for demonic possession. It even explains the myth of why storks bring babies!

Aiden is resistant at first, which is understandable. As the author shows, we are almost literally hardwired for a certain amount of magical thinking, and magical thinking can be especially comforting to youngsters. There is a scary bit of the story where Aiden retreats from the new knowledge he is encountering and literally falls into the “Gap of Knowledge” and has to be rescued by learning about how science lights the way to true understanding of the world around us.

“And Aiden saw how mystery
can drive us to explore,
and search beyond our guesses that
woo us with thin allure.

“I no longer need to fear
monsters under my bed,
or learning what is real and what
is only in my head”

“Real learning changes the world
Feelings often fool.
Real answers may not be magic,
but they’re always magical. 

As someone who has been reading to little ones for 12 years now, I really enjoyed this book. It’s wonderfully illustrated, packed with quotes and information, yet easy enough for a kid to follow. It really feels like something you could read to a toddler and then again to a seven or eight year old and find both experiences  rewarding. If you found Carl Sagan’s A Demon Haunted World helpful to learning skepticism as an adult, I think you can consider Oh, the Things We Believed to be an excellent guide to skepticism for kids. My only minor quibble with this book is that Annabelle doesn’t appear to do much more than watch Aiden as he blunders through his journey to reason. I hope she get’s to take a more active role in their next adventure.

You can find Annabelle and Aiden’s stories at Amazon or follow them on Facebook, I can’t wait to see where they go next.

P.S. I also wanted to bring forward Deek’s excellent advice for reading to young children…

Some suggestions for reading with very young children

  • Read it in chunks. While the book works as a long narrative, it also does nicely as single stanzas or pages that are friendlier to toddler attention spans.
  • Allow for tangents. Instead of reading it straight through, pause for discussion and exploration when the child’s attention is caught by an idea, word, or image.
  • Take time to enjoy the illustrations with your child. Encourage them to “read” the pictures, and talk about what they see.
  • Hunt for words and numbers in the pictures. The slips of facts tucked into the illustrations are fun places for pre-readers to search for letters they know and even piece together words.


23 March 2017 12:52 - two last icons!
swan_tower: (Default)

I realized recently that not only do I not have an icon for Within the Sanctuary of Wings, I don’t have one for In the Labyrinth of Drakes, either.

So! I have two ARCs of Sanctuary to offer in exchange for people making me pretty icons out of the cover art for those books. You can find the full images for Labyrinth here and Sanctuary here. The icons need to be 100×100 pixels and contain the titles of the books; beyond that, arrange ’em however you like. I’ll pick two recips out of everyone who sends me an icon — so if you want the book early, fire up your mouse!

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)

Shadowshaper Cover ArtI continue to snag books out of my son’s Scholastic book order forms. One of the latest was Shadowshaper [Amazon | B&N | IndieBound], by Daniel José Older. It’s an enjoyable, relatively quick read. Here’s the summary:

Sierra Santiago planned to have an easy summer of making art and hanging out with her friends. But then a corpse crashes the first party of the season. Her stroke-ridden grandfather starts apologizing over and over. And when the murals in her neighborhood begin to weep real tears… Well, something more sinister than the usual Brooklyn ruckus is going on.

With the help of a mysterious fellow artist named Robbie, Sierra discovers shadowshaping, a thrilling magic that infuses ancestral spirits into paintings, music, and stories. But someone is killing the shadowshapers one by one — and the killer believes Sierra is hiding their greatest secret. Now she must unravel her family’s past, take down the killer in the present, and save the future of shadowshaping for herself and generations to come.

The “About the Author” section notes that Older lives in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, which is where the book takes place, and it shows. Sierra’s world feels real and fully developed, populated with interesting people and places. It’s a far cry from some of the generic pseudo-New York settings you sometimes get.

I love the concept of shadowshaping, the way the magic works as a collaboration between spirits and shadowshaper, and the possibilities of that power. One of my favorite scenes was watching Sierra discovering what she could do with a simple piece of chalk.

Sierra and the rest of the cast are great, all with their own personalities and flaws and conflicts. They feel like real people…it’s just that some of them can bring their artwork to life.

My only complaint is that the villain felt a bit flat and obvious. But the ideas behind that villain, the theme of the privileged cultural outsider barging in and making a mess of things, are totally valid and powerful. I wouldn’t want that to change; I just would have liked to see a little more depth to them.

And kudos for the awesome librarian.

I’ve seen a number of reviews praising the diversity in the book. On the one hand, I do think that’s worth recognizing, and I definitely appreciated it. On the other… I don’t know. I wish we could reach a point where we don’t have to praise authors for showing the world the way it is, and could instead just note when authors fail to portray a realistically diverse world. Does that make sense? I dunno…probably something that needs a longer blog post to unpack.

Anyway, to wrap this up, the ending was lovely and made me eager to read Shadowhouse Fall, which comes out in September of this year.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Posted by Editor

by Monica Valentinelli

For my series about game writing, I’ve touched upon the similarities and differences between working on video games, tabletop RPGs, and novels. This interview with twice-nominated BAFTA writer Lucien Soulban, who works for Ubisoft Montreal, dives into all three. Lucien started writing in the stone age of games, lending his talents to tabletop RPGs and properties like Vampire: The Masquerade and Dungeons & Dragons. Additionally, he’s also written novels for Warhammer 40K and Dragonlance, as well as short stories for various horror anthologies that include Blood Lite 1, 2, & 3.

In the last decade, Lucien’s portfolio has expanded to include video games such as: Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Rainbow Six: Vegas, Far Cry 3Far Cry 3 – Blood Dragon, Far Cry 4, and Watch Dogs 2 as writer and lead writer. He is currently working on an as-yet-to-be named project at Ubisoft Montreal.

After reading my interview with Lucien Soulban, if you’d like to learn more about him you can find out more by visiting his brand new Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/lsoulban

1.) What was your first writing assignment? Can you tell us about that experience?

I never expected to be a writer, to be honest. I wrote for myself and English was my best subject in school, but I had my eyes set on art and drawing. (While I wasn’t great, I was getting better slowly.) When I started writing articles for my friend’s APA (Amateur Press Association), he thought I had chops and asked me to edit roleplaying books for a company called Ianus Publications back in 1993. From there, I was given a shot at writing for the Night’s Edge RPG, a system that mixed the supernatural with Cyberpunk.

It was terrifying and exciting, because I wasn’t just writing a story: I was adding puzzle pieces to a much larger picture. It dovetailed nicely into my art, where everything I drew had a story and universe behind it. Unfortunately, the art fell to the wayside after that, which I’m not terribly proud of, and I focused more on writing. I had more finesse with words than I did with the pencil.

2.) You’ve also done some development work in RPGs. What was the first game you developed? Was that more challenging than writing for the game?

I started helping develop games for Guardians Of Order (the ‘Of’ is capitalized in their name, oddly enough), an RPG company that initially specialized in anime. At the time, their new lines included Hong Kong Action Theatre and Heaven & Earth. I inherited the development of those titles, as I did for White Wolf’s Kindred of the East, both times following the roads on a map laid out by someone else. It wasn’t until White Wolf hired me to create a new game based on Wraith: The Oblivion that I fully developed a limited-series RPG called Orpheus.

I learned a lot from that process, including the fact that I had much to learn as an editor. I wasn’t very good as one, because I made the rookie mistake of tailoring the edits to my own preferences rather than allowing the writer their artistic choices. It was a revealing process, though, because it helped cement my own checklist of do’s and don’ts, and I think helped sharpen my skills as a writer and creator. I came to realize that originality didn’t come from the novelty of the idea itself, but from the development and refining of those ideas.

3.) Do you feel that game developers need to be good writers, too? Why or why not?

I think game developers, both in tabletop and in videogames, don’t necessarily need to be good writers, but they do have to be good storytellers. At the very least, an emphasis on storytelling creates a common language. Developers need to understand how a story comes together, and how to work in partnership with the writer, to craft something cohesive and meaningful. Leave the language to the writer; that’s their fingerprint on the project. Let the writer interject their take on the material, because they’ll see new ways of representing the subject matter in a way that best works with their voice.

Conversely, writers need to trust the developers in keeping them from wandering off the path, and in trimming the fat when necessary. That’s not to say there isn’t this level of cooperation already with certain companies, or that game developers haven’t come from writing backgrounds. In fact, it helps when a developer is a writer because they understand what goes into crafting something. But is it a must? I think storytelling and critical thinking is a must for developers first and foremost.

4.) What are some of the pros/cons between working on a corebook vs. a gaming supplement?

I’ll stick with the pros because I’m a fan of both, and while corebooks seem like where the glory lies, I think my strongest work has been in the gaming supplements I wrote for Mutants & Masterminds. A corebook is something of a discovery, charting paths through a new land and trying to predict where people want to settle. You have to figure out why people will want to spend years playing your game and what you can offer them to bring and keep them together, all while creating versatility and a variety of experiences. You’re creating mythology and structure and, with a corebook, the sky’s the limit so long as you still make it accessible to your audience. I love corebooks, because it’s the flagship title of a game and the intoxicating make-it or break-it thrill of writing.

With a gaming supplement, all that heavy lifting is already done and you’re adding the finer details of the world. You go from a bird’s eye view of the terrain right down into the dirt. You can take the parts of a game that interest you and flesh them out. You’re a part of the collective who loves the world enough to add your touch while respecting the source material. Sourcebooks that add to a world have less riding on their shoulders, but still have the impulse to get it right. In both cases, though, it’s all about providing the players and game masters with enough hooks to keep them inspired.

5.) In addition to working on games, you’ve also written short stories and novels. How has working on games helped (or hindered) your fiction?

That’s an interesting question. Writing for games tends to require certain technical skills, not the least of which is a gift for straightforward exposition. That’s the one that can bite you on the ass the most. When swapping to fiction, your brain is in a different gear. It tries to make facts entertaining and to inform the reader. You can’t be coy in game writing, not unless you want niche appeal. Fictionalizing the text can obscure vital information or make weeding through the pages highly frustrating. When switching over to fiction, you can’t present the text in that way. You want to engage the reader, and not provide data like they’re speaking points. So sometimes I find myself rewriting fiction because I’m worried it reads like gaming text. The advantage, though, is that you tend to think of stories as part of a larger mythology, and each story ends up becoming a chapter in a much wider cosmology. You tend to think about how the world is structured; sometimes that can be good and sometimes it can bog you down in unnecessary detail.

6.) Are you still writing for tabletop RPGs? If so, can you talk about your latest project?

I do on occasion, mostly for Onyx Path Publishing or Green Ronin’s Mutants & Masterminds RPG. I am working on something on my own, a horror RPG, and so far it’s taking me in interesting directions. It started off as a horror novel but, after I wrote it, I realized it wasn’t living up to the potential of the idea itself. So I started working on the bible for it, and 14K words later I have the beginning of a universe with plenty of promise and plenty more to do. I might even have a nibble of interest from an unexpected corner, so that’s always good. Regardless, it’s a passion project.

7.) Your latest release for Ubisoft was Watch Dogs 2. Can you walk us through your role on the project?

I was the Senior Writer on the project with a team of seven writers in total. I was involved with helping flesh out the world stories, around which the spine of the missions were built, and with delegating the work of writing to everyone. Normally, the lead writer handles the lion’s share of the main storyline, but I wanted to make sure all the writers felt invested in the process. So everyone got a shot at writing two or more world stories, and everyone had to pitch in on the grunt work of writing lines we call barks (AI reactions to in-game stims) and the in-world conversations. I coordinated with various departments like Level Design, or asked others to coordinate with AI and programming. When all was said and done, the team wrote and we recorded over 1,200,000 words in the span of about a year and a half. This included attending motion-capture sessions for a couple of months, and traveling to San Francisco and Toronto over several weeks to record dialogs.

8.) What are some of the essential skills video game script writers need to have?

Let’s assume that knowing how to write and that having an ear for dialogs and characterization are a given. Beyond that, the writers need to be able to collaborate with a team, and have to learn how to be seen as the troubleshooter. Those are the critical skills. Writers need to understand that they aren’t the only shareholders of the vision and that the rest of the team doesn’t fall in service to “their vision.” It might be that way at a couple of companies in the industry, but for the most part, writers work at the behest of the core creative team (Creative, Art, Game, & Level Design Directors). They have to respect (or come to terms with) the artistic vision of the Art Director, with the environments of Level Design, with the flow and pillars of Game Design. It’s a shared universe, and by collaborating with the team and providing them with solutions that help you and them, you’ll come to be seen as a troubleshooter who has the answers. It’s not about shouting to be heard. It’s about giving your voice value when you do speak.

9.) What is your opinion regarding the new SFWA qualifications for game writers?

I’m grateful that the SFWA expanded its criteria to include games, though I think their criteria of $.06 a word is a touch steep since the RPG industry doesn’t pay to the scale of either the publishing or electronic industries. But, it’s not insurmountable, either, and it’s a huge step in the right direction. The new realities of being a writer should rightly allow for the creation of mythologies and for world building as their own form of a global narrative. Whether a writer contributes to fiction or an actual script, the reality is that game writers produce a ton of content that never sees print, but still helps guide their team in the creation of a living and breathing world. I’ve seen online articles focus exclusively on the humor found in written item entries for a game’s menu, for example. It goes to prove that when it comes to game writing, any and all words you write can have a market and an audience.

10.) If you had one piece of advice for writers hoping to break into video games, what would you tell them?

Let’s spare you the “play play play” version of “read read read.” Join the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) and attend their functions if you’re lucky enough to have them in your city. It’s a good way to meet the game developers in your area and to talk to producers and recruiters and find out who is looking for talent. Attend the growing number of conventions with strong narrative tracks, like the Games Developers Conference (GDC) and the East Coast Games Conference (ECGC). Start following the writers you respect and get involved in the various conversations happening on various websites. Don’t just look to the ones talking about the development of games themselves, but also to the ones discussing games from a social point of view. And finally, look at the companies crafting your favorite games and either check on their jobs available page for openings or send a quick query to them. I will say this, though. Ubisoft frequently has openings pop up on its website, but this is almost always for in-house talent, meaning if you want to work for Ubi, you’ll have to commit to the prospect of moving for the job.


Monica Valentinelli writes stories, games, essays, and comics for media/tie-in properties and her original works from her studio in the Midwest. She’s a former musician of 20+ years and a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Creative Writing program who now writes full-time. Best known for her work in games, Monica is currently the developer for Hunter: the Vigil Second Edition, and was the lead developer/writer for the Firefly RPG line based on the Firefly TV show by Joss Whedon. Her new book The Gorramn Shiniest Dictionary and Language Guide in the ’Verse recently debuted from Titan Books. Her co-edited anthology Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling debuted from Apex Book Company in December 2016.

23 March 2017 09:00 - Bitter Tears
ceciliatan: (darons guitar)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

The only light in the apartment came from the streelights and the bluish glow of the numbers on the VCR. I could see no colors at all.

A few feet away, Ziggy slept in the grand centerpiece bed, under a snow white duvet, his closed, lined eyes and tousled dark hair like slashes of urgent calligraphy.

I didn’t want to wake him. But I knew I shouldn’t just stand there at the window having a downward spiral, either.

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23 March 2017 12:07 - Red Lentil Tortilla Soup

Posted by Richa

Easy Tortilla Soup with Red lentils. 1 Pot 30 Minutes! Add veggies of choice, garnish with tortilla chips or avocado. Vegan Gluten-free Soy-free Nut-free Recipe. 

Easy Tortilla Soup with Red lentils. 1 Pot 30 minutes! Add veggies of choice, garnish with tortilla chips or avocado. Vegan Gluten-free Soy-free Nut-free Recipe Vegetarian Tortilla Soup | VeganRicha.comEasy Tortilla Soup with Red lentils. 1 Pot 30 minutes! Add veggies of choice, garnish with tortilla chips or avocado. Vegan Gluten-free Soy-free Nut-free Recipe Vegetarian Tortilla Soup | VeganRicha.com

This easy 1 pot tortilla soup has red lentils, peppers, tomato, veggies that you want and a few spices. Put everything in a saucepan and simmer until done. I like red lentils in this soup as they cook quicker and make for a lighter dinner. Beans can be an issue for some for dinner, and this works out perfectly. You can also add in some uncooked washed quinoa while simmering. Add veggies of choice and serve with garnishes of choice. 

Few ingredients, 1 pot, filling and quick. whats your favorite addition to tortilla soups?

Continue reading: Red Lentil Tortilla Soup

The post Red Lentil Tortilla Soup appeared first on Vegan Richa.

sovay: (Sydney Carton)
This is the second day in a row I have slept between eight and twelve hours and I am desperately trying not to jinx it. I'm not thrilled about the part where I am having nothing but very obvious nightmares and where actually sleeping seems to leave me without much time for anything but work, but I still figure it's healthy for me. Tonight [livejournal.com profile] derspatchel and I had plans to see Oliver Hirschbiegel's Downfall (Der Untergang, 2004) at the Somerville Theatre, but instead we made Slightly More Authentic Chicken Saag and headed into Harvard Square to pick up some books I had ordered from the Harvard Book Store during last week's snow day, in the course of which I managed two acquire two more used pulp novels and we did not freeze to death despite the wind's best efforts. I came home to discover that Felled (formerly Moss of Moonlight) have just released their debut EP Bonefire Grit. I am glad that everyone I know in London seems to be all right. I feel like I have lost the ability to write about anything, but I think mostly what I've lost is time and rest. I'm trying to make up the latter. Admittedly I have been trying to make up the latter for decades now, but that doesn't mean it's not worth the effort.
swan_tower: (natural history)

It isn’t nice to taunt . . . and you still have nearly five weeks to wait before the novel itself can be in your hands. But if you need your appetite whetted just that little bit more, Tor has posted the first chapter of Within the Sanctuary of Wings.

April 25th. If you think you’re chewing your fingernails off, know that mine went away months ago!

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

22 March 2017 21:08 - SFPA Changes Name

Posted by LocusHQ

The Science Fiction Poetry Association (SFPA) announced on March 21, 2017 that they “will henceforth and forevermore (at least until the next member vote) be known as: The Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association.” The decision was made through a vote of 134 members of the organization, who also elected to retain the original SFPA acronym.

For more information, including a complete breakdown of the votes, see the SFPA’s official SpecPo blog.

22 March 2017 14:41 - [ObMeme] icon conversation
yhlee: Yuri on Ice: Victor (animated) (YoI: Victor)
How it works: Have a conversation (or several) by using your icons.

Animated Victor will start us off!

(Hi in real life I'm working on Revenant Gun revisions I swear)
22 March 2017 11:40 - PSA
yhlee: M31 galaxy (M31)
I'll be on Reddit's r/Fantasy on March 30 for an AMA (Ask Me Anything). You’ll need a Reddit account to participate. There’s a guide to the process here. I'm in CST but the format should accommodate multiple time zones. I'd love it if some of y'all showed up. ^_^

(I'll post a reminder on the day itself.)

There are examples of past AMAs with a staggering variety of sf/f authors, which make for some fun reading if you need a time-killer. =)

Okay, back to final revisions on Revenant Gun!
22 March 2017 11:24 - Check my math
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
Behind a cut, because student suicide is an upsetting topic for some people.

Read more... )
sovay: (Morell: quizzical)
Overheard tonight on the bus to Davis Square, two teenagers giggling behind me:

"Little mushrooms growing out of your skull . . . Eat a huge meal and then just go up on the roof and die."

Until I get evidence otherwise, I'm holding Caitlín R. Kiernan responsible.

(And if you're in the Boston area and missed her appearance at Porter Square Books on Monday, you can come to Pandemonium Books & Games on Thursday and find out why.)

Posted by LocusHQ

The shortlists for the 2016 Australian Shadows Awards were announced March 16, 2017. The award is given by the Australian Horror Writers Association (AHWA) and “celebrates the finest in horror and dark fiction published by an Australian or New Zealander.”

Best Short Fiction

  • “D Is for Death”, Pete Aldin (C is for Chimera)
  • “Midnight in the Graffiti Tunnel”, Terry Dowling (Dreaming in the Dark)
  • “Protege”, Anthony Ferguson (Monsters Among Us)
  • “No Other Men in Mitchell”, Rose Hartley (Nightmare 2/16)
  • “Selfie”, Lee Murray (SQ Mag 5/16)
  • “What the Sea Wants”, Deb Sheldon (SQ Mag 2/16)
  • “Uncontainable”, Helen Stubbs (Apex 12/16)
  • “All Roll Over”, Kaaron Warren (In Your Face)
  • “Fade to Grey”, Janeen Webb (Dreaming in the Dark)

Best Collected Works

Best Edited Work

Best Novel

Paul Haines Award for Long Fiction

There were no nominees in the Comics/Graphic Novels or Rocky Wood Award for Non-Fiction and Criticism categories this year.

For more information, see the AHWA website.

21 March 2017 18:29 - Fiscus Wins SFWA Award

Posted by LocusHQ

Jim Fiscus has been awarded the 2017 Kevin O’Donnell, Jr. Service to SFWA Award for “his outstanding work on behalf of the organization.” Fiscus has been involved with the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America since he began volunteering in 1990.

The award will be presented during SFWA’s 51st Annual Nebula Conference, May 18-21, 2017 at the Pittsburgh Marriott City Center in Pittsburgh PA.

For more information, see the SFWA website.

wcg: (Default)
I've been reading The Skimm for about a month now. It's a nice "first look" at the day's news, and it catches some things that I don't get in my Early Bird updates. If that's something that looks interesting to you, give it a try.

21 March 2017 07:54

Posted by yasmine


I have a new book out, and it's second in the My Pet Human series. It's called My Pet Human Takes Center Stage

Here's the synopsis:
"Freckles is new at her elementary school, and Oliver wants to be sure she finds her niche. So when she joins the pet club and gets roped into putting on a talent show to raise money for the local animal shelter, Oliver has no choice but to help out. What he doesn't bargain for is that Freckles takes in a foster kitten! Turns out, while Oliver values his independence, he's not so eager to give up being center stage."

The book is available at the following booksellers:
Book Depository (free shipping worldwide)

The first of the series, My Pet Human, can be found in Amazon as well.

Thanks a bunch!


*Working on the next comic and your commissions :)
21 March 2017 09:00 - The Dream Is Still Alive
ceciliatan: (darons guitar)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

By the time Linn was done, every member of the band and all the dancers had some electric blue in their hair. So did Mickey, the stage manager.

Mickey was one of those guys who was going both bald and gray but that didn’t stop him from putting his hair in a pony tail. One time back at the office I’d heard his response to the suggestion that he cut it: “What, I should look like some old guy?”

Read the rest of this entry » )

Posted by LocusHQ

Winners of the This Is Horror Awards 2016 were announced March 20, 2017. Winners were chosen by open vote through the This Is Horror website.

Novel of the Year

Novella of the Year

Short Story Collection of the Year

Anthology of the Year

  • Winner: Autumn Cthulhu, Mike Davis, ed. (Lovecraft eZine)
  • Runner-up: Gutted, Doug Murano & D. Alexander Ward, eds. (Crystal Lake)

Fiction Magazine of the Year

  • Winner: The Lovecraft eZine
  • Runner-up: Nightmare Magazine
  • Apex Magazine
  • Black Static
  • The Dark Magazine
  • Strange Aeons

Publisher of the Year

  • Winner: Word Horde
  • Runner-up: Crystal Lake
  • Dark Regions
  • Grey Matter
  • Journalstone
  • Perpetual Motion Machine

Fiction Podcast of the Year

  • Winner: Pseudopod
  • Runner-up: The Other Stories
  • The Black Tapes
  • Small Town Horror
  • Tanis
  • Welcome To Night Vale

Nonfiction Podcast of the Year

  • Winner: The Lovecraft eZine Podcast
  • Runner-up: The Know Fear Cast
  • Booked.
  • The Faculty of Horror
  • The Grim Tidings Podcast
  • The Horror Show with Brian Keene
20 March 2017 04:01 - Dry Spell

Posted by Robot Hugs

New comic!

Still working on getting back on my feet. My sketchbook is pretty sad right now.


lagilman: coffee or die (Default)

2 parts vanilla almond milk to 1 part coconut milk, brought to just-under-hot temperatures, and blended with 2 teaspoons Dutch-processed cocoa and 1 teaspoon sugar.

Creamy, nutty bittersweet-cocoa goodness with no upset stomach.

I should add, since I've discovered that some people don't know this, that when you make hot cocoa, you don't just pour the liquid into the cocoa (or stir the cocoa into the liquid). That gives you a lumpy mess.

Take a spoonful or three of the liquid, and mix it with the cocoa in your mug or pot until you get a thick paste. THEN you add the rest of the liquid!

20 March 2017 19:07 - 2017 Baen Memorial Contest Winner

Posted by LocusHQ

Baen Books has announced the winner of the 2017 Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award:

  • Grand Prize: “Feldspar”, Philip A. Kramer
  • First runner-up: “Bullet Catch”, Stephen Lawson
  • Second runner-up: “An Economy of Air”, M.T. Reiten

Other finalists include:

  • Stewart C. Baker
  • S.B. Divya
  • Susan Forest
  • C. Stuart Hardwick
  • Bart Kemper
  • Harry Lang
  • Angus McIntyre

The winning story will be featured on the Baen website. The author will be given a trophy, paid a professional rate, and receive free admission into the 2017 International Space Development Conference and a year’s membership in the National Space Society, as well as an assortment of Baen Books and National Space Society merchandise. Awards will be presented on May 26, 2017 during the International Space Development Conference, held at the Union Station Hotel in St. Louis MO.

For more information, including the lists of past winners, see the official award webpage.

jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)

The Book Smugglers are hosting the cover reveal for my next book, Terminal Alliance. While you’re admiring Dan Dos Santos‘ artwork, you can also enter to win an autographed copy of one of my published books!

I’m really happy with this one. I think it captures the feel of the book, and Dos Santos had a marvelous take on the ship’s computer tech Gromgimsidalgak (Grom) — that’s the yellow alien on the right.

The book comes out on November 7. But, of course, you can preorder any time you like! 😉

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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