Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Objects vs. Sentiment

Storage unit treasure?

How was your Labor Day, if you celebrated it? 

Here, the extra day off gave Batgirl and me enough mental headspace to decide it was the weekend to finally deal with our storage space. We've maintained it for the last decade. Along with the crawl space under the house, we call it "where sentiment goes to die." It's out of sight, out of mind, which allows the sentiment to drain out of otherwise inanimate objects. Plus, hey, we've been paying rent on all that slowly draining sentiment!

So we grabbed the few things that still tugged at the heartstrings despite where we stored them, and are making plans for how we can get rid of everything else. Lots of completely useful stuff in there, so we hope we can ask the storage facility to help us auction it off like they would for a tenant that simply abandoned their unit. 

Hopefully, the specimens we collected from those alternate dimensions that one time won't escape and ruin the sale.

Wednesday, May 3, 2023


Hey everyone,

I must admit that I've done precious little writing over the last week on my Patreon novel. That's because our kitty Unmei's situation reached a critical point in the middle of last week, culminating in a stressful weekend and a tearful goodbye to Unmei on Monday.

I only knew Unmei for the last 11 of her 18 years, but in that time she became as dear to me as any pet can. 

One of my favorite stories about her is the "Song of the Sock" (as Batgirl named it). A few times a week, we would hear Unmei meowing with some fervor upstairs, until we came up to see what it was. Unmei would be found innocently standing about three feet away from a lone sock (as pictured here). In all the years she did this, never once did we see Unmei actually carrying a sock. Or even near it. A few times I'd try to sneak up, and still failed to catch her in the act.

It doesn't take a genius to realize what was actually happening: Sock gremlins. And Unmei was keeping them at bay. 

For this, and for all the other reasons, we're going to miss this little cat.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Genghis Redemption

In just two days, I'll be heading to Genghis Con in Denver, CO, USA. I'm excited to attend the very first gaming convention I ever attended for a second time. The first time was about 30 years ago, before I was part of the gaming industry. (Well, I may have had a couple of Iron Crown freelancer publications to my credit, actually.) So if you're in the Denver area, I hope you'll come by and say Hi. 

As it happens, I went to college in Colorado and then lived and worked there for several more years in the biopharmaceutical company (NeXagen, which became NeXstar, finally purchased by Gilead) before I left for a job at TSR. Many of my college friends still live in the area, and I'm looking forward to catching up with them once the convention is concluded. Should be interesting!

Until I leave (and when I get back), I'll continue working on the post-apocalyptic title Rust and Redemption, one of the new genre books MCG is crowdfunding. The campaign is active as I write this, but it'll wrap up in a couple of days as well. If you're looking for some post-apocalyptic inspiration, check it out!

[ART: Photo by Ramez E. Nassif on Unsplash]

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Snow, Holidays, and Pigs in the Nightland

It's the last day of November 2022 and it's snowing like crazy here in my part of the PNW. I won't lie, it puts me in a bit of the holiday spirit. This weekend, I just might put up the holiday glitz after all! (Every year, I consider giving the decorations a pass; every year, I usually end up blowing the holiday hose all over the house.)

A holiday tradition I used to have and don't do too often anymore is making oyster stew. I don't do it much anymore because everyone in my life these days detests it; if I make it, I end up eating all of it myself, like a pig in a candy shop.

Speaking of pigs eating candy... well, speaking of a pig plushie and a cupcake cafe visited in the land of dreams, my last novel scene posted Patreon just minutes ago follows the Dreamrider, who's trying find out about those outlaw lucids who so rudely ejected him from the Nightland the previous evening!

[Art by Dall-E "toy pig plushie eating a strawberry cupcake"]

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Monsters under the Rock

I've spent the last week in Madison, Wisconsin. I attended, along with many other MCGers, a convention known as Gamehole Con. If you follow any of my other social media, you'll see that I have posted many pictures from this fabulous time. Alex, the guy behind this whole convention is a gracious, wonderful host. The con is laid back, game focused, and so positive that I can't wait to come again next year.

After the con, we took an extra day to travel about an hour to someplace called House on the Rock. I knew nothing about this place before hand. I actually thought it would probably be something like when I visited Frank Lloyd Wright's house in Chicago. "Something like" is not quite correct. If you have never gone before, I don't want to ruin the surprise. Much. All I will reveal is this crazy tableau I found somewhere on the premises. If you think this looks big, you're probably underestimating its true size by about 10-fold.

Anyway, today is a travel day. Tomorrow I should be back in my home office, working on Weird MCG stuff. And of course, Deamrider in the Nightland.

Monday, September 5, 2022

Solarians, Unite!

Hello, Earthlings!

One day I'm hoping humans become multi-planetary. If that happens, "Earthling" won't work as an inclusive greeting any longer. We'll need a new one. How about "Solarian?" Sounds like the name of an alien from a 1950s-era radio play. But what else would you call people inhabiting worlds and space habitats around a star called Sol? 

Exactly. Please consider yourself a Solarian from now on.

This weekend and last I've spent several hours doing yard improvement. I won't lie; things had gotten a little out of control. I  always have these aspirations, "in the future, I will do some yard work." But it turns out that for me, nebulous plans like that rarely come to fruition. So starting a couple of weeks ago, I've dedicated myself to spending the first couple of hours each weekend morning on yard improvement. So far, so good. Next weekend, in addition to more weeding and trimming, maybe some ground cover seeding. Batgirl and I are fans of clover and periwinkle.

P.S. Patreon plug follows hereafter.

Speaking of doing physical work in the real world, Baz Preston (who you may know as the Dreamrider from my current Patreon novel) returned to the Wake in Chapter 2, scene 1. And now he's ready to head out on his day job. He's still all about helping people, but his position is less elevated than in the Nightland. 

[Photo by Sam Loyd on Unsplash]

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Graduation Gift

Greetings from the unending rain-drenched Pacific Northwest.

Batgirl's youngest is graduating high school. Last night, she was awarded a couple of awards for a high grade point average, and for another thing that I sadly can't recall and am unable to find in the moment. Let's say it was for saving puppies! Here she is going up to accept her award.

The actual graduation ceremony is Saturday. She's attending UW and even has a small scholarship for the business school. 

When I graduated high school, one of my relatives got me a $50 dollar savings bond. I'd like to continue that tradition, but these days, it's difficult to get paper bonds except under specific circumstances. Much easier to get electronic bonds. But you can only do that if you set yourself up with an electronic account, and I can't do that for her. So I've decided to give her a check for sweet cash instead. Free and clear, BUT if she uses that to open and fund a Roth IRA (which I'll offer to walk her through), I'll match the size of the first check, doubling the amount, all to go into a no-load S&P 500 index fund, of course. I'm hoping that she's going to business school, she'll be open to experimenting herself with how the magic of compound interest grows wealth over the years. 

But if not, she'll have some extra money :).

Friday, May 6, 2022

Dreamrider in the Nightland, scene 1

Hello Earthlings! 

Guess what? It's Bruce Day! On this day some number of decades ago, Sharon Mack gave birth to her firstborn. Thank you, Mom.

To celebrate, I'm posting the first scene from the first chapter of my first new novel (...since the last one I finished). I'm super excited to be making daily, if gradual, progress on the new hotness:

A patron-only post featuring an excerpt from Dreamrider in the Nightland.

[Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash]

Thursday, April 21, 2022

The New Scheme

Is this real or the Nightland?

Hello friends, family, and all you aliens listening in from the dark energy network. 

Guess what? I've just made a design turnover of draft 1 of The Planar Bestiary to the managing editor (Teri Litorco) at MCG. You know, my day job. The bestiary is a trove of monsters gathered from across the planes of existence. Hear that pleasant birdsong outside the window at the inn? Maybe it’s a warbler. But maybe it’s an abolisher of sorrow, a songbird out of the Feywild whose pleasant faerie melodies erase character memories so pleasantly they don’t realize they’re dying.

Anyhow, I'm going to take a few days away from the MCG campus to relax. Although you know what I'm also going to do? Spend the not inconsiderable time necessary to find, prep, and send out The Ark of Broken Dreams to three new prospective agents.

But as importantly, and a lot more fun, I'm going to keep working on my next novel, Dreamrider in the Nightland.

All of which is to say, I'm going to start up my Patreon again in May, posting first draft scenes from the novel as I finish them there. If you're game, I'd very much appreciate your support there. If you've already supported me, or are still supporting me, thank you so much!

[Photo by Duncan Adler on Unsplash]

Friday, November 12, 2021

This Week Is Almost Over

It's been a week for me. Starting with interrupted travel when Sun Country decided it didn't want to fly a half-empty jet back to Seattle on Sunday (following our attendance of my brother's wedding reception). So we spent a night in Minneapolis we hadn't planned for. Thankfully, all's well that ends well, and we made it home Monday evening, as did our dog Tesla, who stayed an extra night in the nearby doggie lodge in our absence.

On Wednesday evening, I ran a Planebreaker demo for the wonderful folks at Cypher Unlimited and MCG community manager LaTia Bryant. It was great fun, as you can see here:

Then on Thursday evening (last night), I participated in an online seminar focussed on WORLDBUILDING, hosted by the folks who've long run Gen Con's Writer's Symposium track. Elizabeth Vaughan moderated, and participants included me, Marc Tassin, Melanie Meadors, and Marty and Matt Forbeck. It was also great fun, as you can see here:

However, the week definitely took it out of me. So I'm looking forward to a peaceful Friday where all I have to do is sit at my desk and write.

Anyway, enjoy this amazing art for the Plenbreaker by Dan Watson called the Tomb of Tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Planebreaker Arrives on the WebDM Show

Yo, people of the multiverse!

The kind folks at WebDM were gracious enough to have me on their show to talk about the Planebreaker!

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Following the Path of the Planebreaker

Greetings people of Earth!

It's been a busy few weeks for me as MCG prepares for our upcoming Planebreaker crowdfunding campaign. (It's "go time" at the end of next week!)

Since I have the honor of being the lead on the design, I've been putting daily thought into all things extradimensional from a 5E perspective. In addition to brainstorming all sorts of interesting player character options—like the Chaos Blade subclass that draws weapons from the Elemental Chaos—I've also of course been generating seeds for interesting planar locations. Places like Ethergaurd, a city that prowls the Border Ethereal. And the Planebreaker itself, a "moon" fleeing a disaster that predates the multiverse...