shannon_a: (Default)
Exile. Last week started to get uncomfortably hot for the first time in quite a few months, so I engaged in the annual (or semi-annual) running of the computers. Hauled my Mac downstairs and worked out of the dining room for a while. The heat didn't last very long, but the change of environ was increasing my efficacy, so I stayed there until last night.

Now the annual (or semi-annual) running of the computers has been reversed.



Meow. We do indeed have a sick cat. Cobweb's ultrasound showed that she had a problem with her intestines. The vet is hopeful that it's kitty-cat IBS, and we're treating Cobweb for that with two pills a day. Fortunately she loves treats, and so the pill-pouch-treat thingies work well for her. Once or twice she's spat the pill open after chewing on the pill pouch, then immediately gobbled it back up.

We're supposed to bring her in in about 3 weeks to get weighed. Hopefully her weight will be up.

Because, if it isn't IBS, the next guess is the big C.



Urgh. Tension headache is back today. It's been pretty good most of the time since my doc gave me meds a few months ago, but today it's been worsening throughout the day. Don't know if it was staring closely at cards, to get them readable at a size of 100 pixels tall, or the different quality of light in my office, but I'd guess one or the other. Or both.



Scribble. Many writing tasks have gathered on my freelance desk in the last week or two.

I've started writing Traveller articles for Mongoose, so now I'm swapping back and forth between Traveller and RQ for them. I'm enjoying the Traveller more, I must say, but it's still new and exciting. Currently, I've got a red-elf article in progress, but my (second) Traveller article is already planned out.

And, simultaneously, two of the Glorantha mags are getting ready to publish: Tradetalk and Hearts in Glorantha. They each have an article of mine that's part of a series, so I'm due to write the next one for them now. For HiG, "The Poisonthorn Forest" is being published, which means I need to write "The Hellwood". For TT, "The Vale of Flowers" is being published (which I had started writing for a different venue 3 or 4 years ago), which means I need to write "The Redwood".

Yes, it's all elf forests, all the time.
shannon_a: (rpg glorantha)
In case you're interested, but haven't been keeping up on what I'm writing, here's notes some of my recent pieces:

BoardGameNews. I continue with my biweekly column over at BoardGameNews about, well, board games. My most recent column, published this Thursday, was on real-life auctions, and how they can correspond to game systems.

RPGnet Reviews. Every Wednesday I publish one (or sometimes two) board game reviews on RPGnet. My most recent couple were reviews of Gem Dealer, Sutter's Mill, High Society, For Sale, and Money (most of those drawn from a new series by Gryphon Games that I wrote about here).

TT&T Game Design. This is my game design column that I write to several times a year nowadays. The auction article could have gone here with a little bit of a different focus. My most recent article, just a few weeks' old, instead looked at the storytelling side of game design: Testing Characters, with a Look at Battlestar Galactica.

iPhone Articles. Christopher and I have set up an iPhone programming blog to complement our recently published book, iPhone in Action. My most recent article, from this week, was on iPhone user interfaces.

Xenagia Commentary. We've recently been joined by content editor, Stace Dumoski, at Xenagia, and so we're kicking off columns to really get the science-fiction, fantasy, and horror site rolling. I'll be writing some editorials called "Rants from the Future", though I'm just getting started on the first one now.

Gloranthan Writing. I've been doing a scattering of writings for Gloranthan things. Since the start of the year I've written "RuneQuest Elf Monsters" and "Plunder of the Ducks" for Signs & Portents, and I'll be starting on "Plunder of the Dwarfs" soon. These will appear online, but haven't been published yet. My most recent work for Tradetalk was a revision of my "Vale of Flowers" article and I'll be getting to an article on "The Redwood Forest" next month. My immediate next article should be on Dorastan elves for Hearts in Glorantha, which I expect to start on tonight or Sunday.
shannon_a: (rpg glorantha)
A few new Gloranthan articles that I wrote late last year have already been published.

Hearts in Glorantha #2 contains my "ElfPak Designer Notes", which is my look back at how my elf writings came to be, as well as a listing of those elf articles, which was comprehensive at the time it was written, but already doesn't include my article in ...

Signs & Portents #63, which contains "Plunder of the Elfs", the first of several very crunchy articles articles that I've written for Mongoose's RQ4. I'd guess the next will be in S&P #65; it's "RuneQuest Elf Monsters" and is a very comprehensive bestiary of what you might meet in elf lands.

(I think I'm going to be doing some duck & dwarf plunder articles next, and plan to read those Mongoose books while on airplanes over the next couple of weeks.)
shannon_a: (rpg glorantha)
Cultural articles describing What My Father Told Me have been a part of Glorantha for a long time. I wrote the elf article (PDF) in the current version of HeroQuest Voices, but it's a bit generic since it covers Aldryami as a whole. It's be nice to write a whole series, one per elf species.

(Also on my list of potential Glorantha articles: The Redwood for HQ, the Stinking Forest for HQ, Dorastan elf lands, and additional plunder articles for RQ4.)
shannon_a: (rpg glorantha)
I successfully finished another Gloranthan article over the holiday weekend, and another nice meaty one that should have real-game use.

It's "Plunder of the Aldryami", and I'd guess it'll be published in the January Signs & Portents. It includes several new Aldryami plunder items for RuneQuest 4, and I also got permission to revise and reprint the Aldryami items from the original Plunder.

The article took me a bit more energy than I thought it would. I guess some of my creativity is still tied up with the iPhone book after all. But I'm really almost done there ... 2 more chapters to work with the copy editor on, 4 more to work with the proof reader on, and 9 more to look at in layout.

As for RuneQuest stuff, I've got two more things that I want to play with: a HQ article on the Redwood and a RQ4 article full of "Aldryami Monsters" (e.g., nasty stuff you find in their woods). The first is for some indeterminate time in the future while the second is for the next S&P.
shannon_a: (rpg glorantha)
With the iPhone in Action book off my back*, I've got some of my creative energy back, and that's gotten me more enthusiastic about writing RPG-related stuff. I finished up my long-delayed Vale of Flowers article for Tradetalk and I've now moved on to some articles for Signs & Portents.

Writing for Signs & Portents is nice because it uses the RuneQuest system, which I prefer. So, I'm quite happy to be doing it again.

This time my inspiration came from Stephen Martin, who had nice little Monsters & Treasures sections at the ends of his Books of Drastic Resolution. They were great crunchy bits that also had good background and were very usable in games. So, I've proposed a Elf Plunder article and an Elf Monsters article for S&P and the editor has expressed interest.

I hope they'll end up publishing in January & February, but I don't know what the lead time is exactly, since it's been a year since I wrote over there.

If you missed my previous four S&P elf articles, they're all listed here and freely downloadable from Mongoose Publishing.


* Technically it's not, as I've still got 6 or 7 chapters that I need to OK with the copy editors, 12 or 13 chapters that I need to do a final read on and OK with the proof readers, and 16 chapters that I need to OK with the layout artists. However, I've now finished the original writing, and that frees up the creative part of my brain.
shannon_a: (rpg glorantha)
I saw that the new issue of Tradetalk magazine (#16) has been printed. This makes me happy, as I wrote the article for it so long ago that I no longer really remember it. It was while I was working on the elf books--February, 2007 according to my Gmail. When the mag arrives in my mailbox, it'll thus be all new to me.

This has got me off my butt about working on my next article, on The Vale of Flowers, which is either for #17 or #18. I'd been working on it earlier in October, but then I hit a roadblock when I discovered a source (The Book of Drastic Resolutions: Darkness) that contradicted some of what I'd written. Always a problem when you're writing for a game with scores of references available.

Anyway, I got back on the horse tonight and started revising my work per this last source. Once I can get all that done, including some additions, I should be in the home stretch.

This is going to be the longest Gloranthan thing I've written for a magazine. It's about 8000 words now, and will surely be 10000 by the time I'm done.
shannon_a: (rpg glorantha)
I sent off a new gaming article tonight, the first such "extra" thing I've had the energy to write since I got sick*. It's a set of "ElfPak Designer Notes" for the second issue of a new Glorantha fanzine called Hearts in Glorantha**.

This one took a bit more revision than usual. I had to stop a few times to take out some of my personal reminiscences and replace them with a more factual description of the concepts that went into the two elf books. But, I'm pleased with the results. It's also got a bibliography of all the elf stuff I've written; in the process of writing it, I found a few things that had never been published!

Next up I need to figure out something to write for Board Game News on Thursday and then I can get back to the "Vale of Flowers" article for Tradetalk that I was writing before I got sick.



* Still sick. Whether I relapsed from exercising too much yesterday or whether it was just a bad day in this on-again, off-again sickness, I dunno, but I was mussy-headed again today and a little headachy. This drives me crazy.

** Ironically, I still haven't seen the first issue. I'm waiting to have the free cash to order an actual hard copy from Lulu.
shannon_a: (Default)
I think it's pretty funny that when you search for my name on Amazon you get the following two entries:



Elves and iPhones. Hmm. And separated by precisely one year.



The iPhone book continues. It's a lot of work. It's the most concentrated tech writing that I've done since I worked at Sun in 1997-1998 when I wrote and edited a whole series of technical documents for the network division of the solutions center.

This work has been stressful, because the technology is changing week by week. We're also on a short deadline, balancing new writing and response to current reviews. I think we're going to get a good book out of it, but I'm looking forward to things being easier next month when this book is at least completely drafted.

Our publisher is having a pre-order sale for anyone who picks up the book before the release of the iPhone 3G next week.
shannon_a: (marrach skotos)
There's been lots of writing lately.

The iPhone Book. Chris & I hit our third milestone for the iPhone book on Friday, which was the two-third content milestone. To date we've delivered 167 pages of iPhone programming goodness, plus or minus. I took a few days off after that, as iPhone from dawn to dusk makes an Appelcline weary, but I started back in on the editing yesterday afternoon and back in on the writing today.

We're well into the SDK side of things now, with probably four chapters to go, or about 80 pages. I'm currently writing about view controllers. My current pattern is to start writing first thing in the morning. On a good day, I can get my quota for the day written by lunch, but if I'm working on a new topic (or otherwise distracted), it can run well into the afternoon. At the worst I tend to finish at 3 or 4, which usually leaves me with a little bit of time for other work-related stuff.

Except when I hit the occasional bug in the SDK. That can leave me tearing my hair out all day.

Tradetalk. I've heard from the folks at Tradetalk magazine recently*. I last wrote them a couple of articles very early last year, and it seems that the last of those should be coming out soon. So after hearing their schedule I committed to articles for the next three issues. Last night I wrote about half of an article on what other people think of the Thanatari, which I'll finish up over the weekend, then I'm going to unearth an old piece on the Vale of Flowers which I started for another publication that never came about (and is only about halfway done in any case).

* Funny story. I heard from them because one of the editors reads my LJ here, and noted one of my recent journal entries stating that I was ready to start writing stuff other than the iPhone book. Ah, the power of the information age.

The History Book. It's nearing the one-year anniversary of my book getting unceremoniously canceled, and thus I'm getting to point where I have enough distance that I can probably deal with the book again without the false assumptions I had in place because I thought I had a publisher who would do the book as I conceived it right.

Does that mean I'll be getting back to it soon? I'm not sure. I recently put out a proposal for a totally different book that would take up my free time if it were accepted. But, if that new thing falls through, I'll be looking at the history book again soon.

It's amazing to me how much the industry has changed since I last worked on the book. I mean there's big stuff, like D&D 4E, which will deserve a whole section discussing how it was rolled out over the last several years. But, there are numerous other changes. Paizo has totally reinvented itself. Palladium has apparently staved off bankruptcy. Chaosium has returned to its BRP roots. A multitude of companies have begun to branch D&D 3.5E. And of course a few notables in the industry have died, among them industry founder Gary Gygax and Judges Guild founder Robert Bledsaw.

I find it eerie that I have emails sitting around from Bob commenting on the book. I never requested comments from Gary, because I had so many interviews with him, and I also saw how his answers changed from year to year, leaving me to doubt the accuracy of more recent pieces. But I wish he could have seen the book and the huge lump of history that he ultimately created.

Miscellanea

Jun. 1st, 2008 11:19 pm
shannon_a: (Default)
Writing. The folks over at Tradetalk just asked for some new articles. I haven't written for them in about a year. I gave them a couple of new articles right after I finished the (unpublished) HeroQuest book on elfs, and they're just getting to publish the second. In any case, I'm glad the mag's still going, and I need to get back into the sync of writing in my off-time (though probably not until at least next week, as things are pretty busy through Saturday). I should make sure to spend some time on these next Sunday-ish.

I've also got a neat proposal out to a publisher for a new book; I'm hoping to get a positive response soon. For now, I just know that they're taking it seriously.

Familia. My dad and sister were by today. We watched the season finale of Lost, which was good (after a generally good season 4). They usually watch the show together, but my dad was up in Oregon this last Thursday, making a visit to one of his Aunts before he retires to Hawaii, so they'd agreed to come see the show with us today. He and Mary are coming back on Tuesday to have lunch with us, then they are leaving on a jetplane this Thursday.

They've been talking about retiring to Hawaii for so long, and my dad loves the islands so much, that I'm really happy for them, even though I'll see them less.

Descent. My Saturday RPG group started a Descent: The Road to Legend campaign on Saturday. We're planning to run it for a couple of hours after D&D every other week or so. By the time counts I've seen on BGG that'll probably carry us into 2009, which will surely be the longest board game I've ever played. I'm hoping to get a good article out of it for BGN in a few weeks too.

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