Grace Under Fire

It's been eight months. Sorry about that.

I had thought quite a bit about posting this, for some time now. In case you all hadn't noticed, I'm pretty awful about maintaining this blog. Tonight, however, I'm hot off the heels of sending out five guest blog posts I wrote for the Council of Tymenthia release blog tour. I've also got an hours-old cup of black coffee next to me, and I have the entire Ramones discography on shuffle right now, in celebration of the 40th anniversary of their titular debut album's release, so I suppose I'm in just the right mood.

I read once that adulthood, while often referenced as being an unending series of crises, one after the other, is in fact more like a ceaseless dog pile of crises, each one compounding the last. While I think that assessment might be a bit dire for my tastes, I definitely agree that sometimes life just loves to sling all the things at you at once.

My brother is getting married in just under two months. This past fall my sister got an adorable Tasmanian devil of a puppy. My parents have opted to downsize homes in light of much of our family undergoing so many life transitions. Amid all of this, I have been working diligently to assure that my third novel made it into Realmwalker Publishing Group with ample time to accommodate not only the May 3rd release date, but also to ensure I had author copies for the launch party being hosted by Ad Astra.

One month ago today, I got word that Realmwalker was closing its doors. It was a heck of a way to celebrate my 30th birthday (I also read Dragon in the Doghouse to Deanna's grade 1&2 class that day, too, and that was awesome). Just like that, I found myself one month away from a book release and a major convention without a publisher, leaving me scrambling to get back into the folds of self-publishing.

Now, naturally, when RPG dropped the bomb on its authors, people were upset. I'd be lying if I didn't say that I was upset. In truth, I was probably just as upset with myself as with RPG.  There had historically been problems, issues that I and other writers had to deal with that were, frankly, all very relevant red flags that the company was doomed. There were a handful of us who were with Realmwalker nearly from the company's outset, a merry band of pirates in search of the hidden treasures of genre authorship.

Problem was, we had a captain who eventually took on too big a crew, and who wasn't totally sure how to read the treasure map. When our little ship began to spring holes, however, our captain assured us she was still a seaworthy vessel. Some of the crew left at the next port, but several of us stayed on, despite the fact that the holes were so prominent that we could feel our shoes filling with water. I can't speak for anyone else, but I know that for me a slowly sinking ship still felt more reliable than the idea of the ramshackle rowboat I had been manning before.

Fast forward to March, when the crew is finally ordered to abandon ship. I've been expecting this, and I promptly gather my belongings and make for my lifeboat. Some of the other crew, however, opt for outright mutiny. I'm going to drop the nautical references now.

There was angry retribution - jilted authors who wanted blood. A part of me understood the frustration of feeling like you had been sold a false bill of goods, like the golden ticket you saw was just torn up in front of your eyes. What I saw over the following couple of weeks, however, was puerile, vitriolic. People were, and to a degree some still are, acting less like professional authors and more like petulant children. I know that for me it soured my opinion of a lot of people, and has made me more cautious of who I associate with professionally than the initial fall of RPG did.

It's a little ironic, really. Contemporary genre writers are so enamoured with the idea of moral greys, but the speed with which some people were ready to point and cry "villain" in this instance was staggering.

Ultimately, a lot of people were hurt by this, on both sides of the fence, and all I can do is hope that everyone can manage to find peace, and get their sea legs back. After all, being marooned on land does not a happy pirate make.

Okay, I'm done with the nautical references for real this time.


Hey everybody, time for another episode of "Inane Ramblings to Garner Website Traffic!"

In this episode, our hero embarks on a quest of self-discovery with far-reaching implications, questions the nature of humanity and its place in the universe, and waxes existential whilst enjoying a cup of herbal tea with a special guest (whom you may not expect)!

Just kidding... although that does sound like a really fun idea for a piece of short fiction...

Actually, I'm going to start off with the usual on this blog, that is to say I'm going to rifle off some news from the world of independently-published authorship, maybe talk a little bit about the non-authorial goings-on in my life, and end up on some tangential rant about this, that, or the other. Those of you who have read my editorial stuff (see the other sites posted on the "About" page) should have a good eye for this kind of formula by now. That being said, here's Brandon with the News!

My interview on "The Speculative Soapbox" went live about a week and a half ago. It was a lot of fun, the host, TJ Redig is a really affable guy, and I think that allowed me to act really natural during the interview. Truth be told, this was my first time ever being on the subject end of an interview (I did a couple of interview pieces with some pro skaters back on Between Two Junkyards that garnered mild attention), but from the feedback I've received people seem to think that I did well, which I think bodes well for another interview I have coming up next month, to which I'll post more information when I can.

This year, as in years passed, I'll be attending Anime North in Toronto, which is taking place May 23-25. Had I known when Deanna and I had bought our tickets that I would be in the position I'm currently in, I would have planned ahead and got a table, but hindsight is 20/20, so I'll only be attending as a regular conventioneer. It will be strange, though, in that I'm not going to see the con through such a lens. Rather, I'm probably going to spend more time trying to network with people, try and get my name and the book out there a little bit more. I'll have a load of business cards that I'm going to have on hand, and I know it sounds corny, but if on the off-chance you'll be attending, and you've bought a copy of the book, I wouldn't turn down a request to make it a signed copy. All my hobnobbery aside, though, there are still a number of "regular con-goer" things that I'm looking forward to, and are probably the best chances you'll have to track me down.

- Friday afternoon's Evil Laughter contest. I have a notoriously nefarious-sounding chuckle, so this seemed like a no-brainer.

- Anime Hell Friday night. Even in years when I didn't attend North for the full weekend, I made it out to this, because the only thing better than watching surreal and awful videos from across the globe is watching them in a convention hall with three-hundred other people and a delightfully droll narrator.

- Board Game tournaments all weekend. I figure I might as well try my hand at some competitive King of Tokyo or Takenoko. Last year I ran an impromptu pick-up 4e DnD game that drew in a bigger crowd than I thought, but I'm already planning on running my Neverwinter campaign that Sunday night, and lugging around enough supplies for two sessions would have been more trouble than I was willing to put in.

- Drinking Quest Punk-Rock Business, Saturday afternoon. Jason Anarchy is a friend of mine and Deanna's, a game designer, Deanna's occasional employer, and an all-around good guy. If you see his table in the dealer's room, buy a copy of his game. I imagine this panel is going to be informative and entertaining in equal measure, and I encourage people to check it out as well.

- Totally Lame Anime After Dark, Saturday night. Run by the same guy as Anime Hell, and admittedly with some bleed-over, this is equally as entertaining, if more anime-centric.

- The Mega Man panel, Sunday morning. I love Mega Man. So much. I missed this panel last year out of con fatigue and am not planning on making the same mistake this year.

There are plenty more events, but they simply aren't coming to me right now. End of the day, if you spot a guy looking like Wil Wheaton (beard, button-down short-sleeve shirt, and d20 fez), that's me, so come say hi! I'll probably end up giving you a business card, if only because I'm super proud of them, and because I think Deanna did an awesome job on them.

I was planning on going on a bit more about a few things, the audiobook of Erin M. Evans' Brimstone Angels, my budding Neverwinter campaign, how I'd die if I ever got the chance to write a Forgotten Realms novel, and why I feel like there aren't enough fantasy works with traditional fantasy races in them, but I feel like this post is getting pretty bogged down as it is, so take this little outro for what it is, and don't think that I won't probably end up expanding on these topics in later posts.