19 Dec 2013, 12:10pm
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Best Gingerbread Houses Ever, An Annual Post

Yesterday, I took my wife out for our Giftmas trip through downtown Seattle. Our son is almost 12 and old enough to stay home, so we did without him rather than drag him along while he complained. Sadly, without the kid our time turned more toward shopping for him than anything else.

We started with a really nice lunch at the Michou Deli in the Market, followed by a tiny egg nog cheescake on a stick from The Confectionary. We hit Kitchen Basics for stocking stuffers, the walked up to the Sheraton to see the Gingerbread houses.

Everything there is edible. And it rocked back and forth!

The cow jumped over the moon, via a motor.

You can see them all (including close-ups of some sections, video of the moving parts, and a candy version of our downtown library) at the set. A few are a bit blurry; my one-shot camera seems to be on its last legs viewfinder.

Then we dropped by Pacific Place to listen to a church group of male singers muddle through some Christmas songs and enjoy the indoor snowfall. There was much fun to be had, but my wife is still recovering from an injury so we cut things short.

It was a nice time, but I wish we could have brought the kid (and he would have been cool about it).

Randomness for 10/10

1) Another drive-through prank, skeleton edition. Video. This one is funny and Halloween is coming up, so… (h/t Nick Kaufmann)

2) Banksy kicks off an art institute on the streets of New York.

3) What your style of beer says about you.

4) Hyperbole and a Half explains power, identity, and changing yourself with costumes.

5) 44 of the Best Scared Bros at Haunted House (2013 pictures). I will confess to enjoying these pictures of absolute terror to an unhealthy degree. Oh, and the body language is instructive for any writer, I guess.

6) Test your color IQ with an online test. My wife, who took the analog version of this test in art school, scored a 26, which is pretty good. Then my son took it and scored a perfect zero. I haven’t tried it myself.

7) The internet is full of “life hacks” but how many of them actually work? 30 Common Life Hacks Debunked. Video.

So. Many. Things. To. Do.

Lots going on here. I’m going to do a brief recap to share news and try to catch up.

1) If you’ve been waiting for my rpg game tie-in novel to be released, the publisher is selling it on their website right now. KING KHAN. If you buy the paper version, you get the digital version gratis.

2) Not an hour ago I put my wife on a bus to the airport. She’s spending three weeks back east to attend a family wedding, make some tough decisions about her late father’s artwork, and generally get some time with her siblings. There was a lot to do to get her ready and out the door, but now I’m a single parent again, so things family/house obligations are not exactly going to shrink.

3) If you missed the announcement yesterday, my Kickstarter passed the $30,000/ 300% of goal. Which is a lot of whoa and thank you and I hardly know what to do with myself.

4) If you haven’t backed but are thinking about it, one of the stretch goals is based on new backers that show up starting this week. I’ve been talking about growing my audience for a long time, so new readers are welcome

5) As a followup to number 4, my son has made some pixel art to demonstrate the progress of the stretch goals, but I need to fix it up and post it before we actually reach the goals. Time is flying by

6) I owe a ton of responses to emails and things. I’m sorry. I’ll catch up as quickly as possible.

Now, back to working on my stuff.

This week sucks

It was just Monday that I blogged about how grateful I am that folks are supporting me in the Clarion West writeathon and that I was taking those pledges seriously and hoping to get a lot done.

Then, later that day, I broke a tooth in a big way.

Tuesday, I discovered that I could not get in with my dentist that day.

Wednesday, I learned that I will probably need a root canal that I can’t afford.

Today, my wife found out that a very old friend of hers passed away. She’s processing it as best she can and I’m trying to stay close in case she needs support.

Guys, this week sucks. As soon as we can put this one in our rear-view mirror, lets.

On top of that, I realized too late that progress on the book had grown sluggish because my subconscious was telling me that I’d made a structural mistake. The book felt flat and I couldn’t keep pushing through it any more. This realization felt almost Strossian.

So, it’s late in the day but I’m going to go back and redo those pages in the proper way, and hopefully they will help to build the climax the way it’s meant to be done.

Week’s not over! It’s possible that tomorrow will be non-shitty. Let’s hope so.

16 Apr 2013, 6:32am
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Finally got to play Race to Adventure last night

Now that season one of Veronica Mars is over, the family finally had a chance to play RACE TO ADVENTURE, which I backed as a Kickstarter.

Here’s the layout near the start of the game. Of course I played Prof. Khan.

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You can see I’ve collected the passports for the USA and Switzerland, while to the right my son has collected USA and GB. However! I am about to collect Nepal in that very turn, while my son was hoarding clues at the Library of Congress.

Yeah, that’s my kid giving the thumbs up.

My wife… I’m not sure what she was doing. Let’s just say she had a busy day and wasn’t concentrating too well.

Here we are at the end of the game, when I had returned to the Century Club, said (house rule: no shouting) “I have returned!” and won the game.

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The others also collected all of their passports (and rescued the prisoner from Atlantis) but, having saved Egypt for last, they were still cursed. They were also way behind. Mwah-ah-ah-ah!

As for the game, it was terrific. I think I’d like to play it once or twice more on the tan side of the tiles before flipping them to the more advanced “shadow” game. We stumbled a little bit with the rules at first, like we do with every game, but by the end the turns were flying by. This might be the first game ever that says it takes 30 minutes to play and really means it.

The nice thing is that there’s no luck involved (no blowing your plans because of a lousy roll of the die) and the strategy elements were light but still effective. It’ll be a good fast game when we just want to play something fun without a ton of calculation.

On a day when the news was filled with blood, horror, and people coming together to help each other in dire need, it was good to sit with my family and play a game.

23 Feb 2013, 6:10pm
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EMP followup

Remember last week when I mentioned that I had taken my family to an EMP event to see a specific panel and the room was so packed we missed it? No? Well, you better click on that link then.

I never did get an email back, but I did get a phone call. The dude was quite apologetic and very nice. Unfortunately, there was no recording of the event; apparently the companies many of the presenters work for had a bug up their butt about what could be recorded and what art they were going to show. Understandable, really, except that the panel we wanted was two local educators, so I suspect they would have been cool with a camcorder or two, but never mind. It’s done.

On the plus side, EMP intends to refund the cost of the tickets.

That’s very nice of them. While they might have made an error in planning their event, their customer service was pretty great.

16 Feb 2013, 5:20pm
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Experience Music Project Fail (or Let me share my pain with you)

Last night I took my wife and son to the Experience Music Project for the opening night of their “Game Nite” exhibit, which is their new video game project, I guess. Let’s start by saying it didn’t go well.

My wife has zero interest in video games at all, and I really enjoy them but try to keep my distance. I can be a little obsessive about things, and video games sometimes take over my whole life. However, my son loves them and has been making noises about creating some. Unsurprisingly, we want to support that.

The main feature of opening night was a series of talks given by game professionals and educators who teach game-making. That page is gone from EMP’s website but you can see the Google cache while it lasts. We were especially interested in this one:

So You Want to Make a Video Game?
Raymond Yan, Senior Executive at DigiPen Institute of Technology
Jason Pace, Executive Director at University of Washington Center for Serious Play

Now, I know there are resources online for creating games. I’ve looked. We were especially interested here because it was two guys who were local to us and because they would have a chance to bounce ideas off each other. I wanted to see a contrast between them. I also wanted to ask questions.

To that end, we skipped the tour of the actual games and got in line early for the keynote speech. We even got ourselves some good seats. The keynote was fine if not life-changing.

Unfortunately, because there was a line of people waiting to get in to the theater, they make the audience exit the room and get back at the end of the line. Because we had good seats we were one of the last out. The line went around two corners and up a flight of stairs.

We did not get into the one panel we most wanted to see.

Much of our time was spent standing beside game stations waiting to play one of the DigiPen games on offer. All the games were made as student projects and they are all hand-coded–no engines at all. You can play any of the games in their gallery for free. Most of the kids were playing a driving game I didn’t learn the name of, but “Solace” and “Nous” were other good ones.

My son did get to play some and so did I. My wife was interested in eavesdropping on some of the sound designs but nothing more beyond that. However, the largest portion of our time was spent playing a board game in the lounge. Pandemic. Damn, that’s a great game.

Anyway, I sent an email to EMP pointing out how frustrating it is to drop $35 on an event and then be barred from the think you most wanted to do. With luck they’ll post video of the event and someone will have asked the questions I wanted to ask.

2012

I’m going to keep this short.

The most popular entry on this blog is the one where I dissect the reasons why my series was cancelled. I’m not what you’d call excited about that, but the fact remains. With luck, I’ll have a post in the new year that will finally draw more attention.

The year itself has been tough. I’d hoped to sell A Key, An Egg, An Unfortunate Remark but my agent was reluctant to send it out and I took her advice. Thank god. Last fall I took another look at the manuscript and realized I’d blown it. The novel needs major revisions and christ but the moment for it has pretty much passed. I’ll still finish it, eventually, but that leaves a big hole in my schedule. I put out no new work in 2012.

As for 2013, the only novel I expect to put out is King Khan, the tie-in novel for Spirit of the Century. If Epic Fantasy With No Dull Parts sells, it’ll probably be scheduled for 2014. In any event, life is short. I am working constantly. I don’t have a lot to show for it right now.

On a personal level, my family life has only been getting better. I am a very, very lucky ugly fat man.

And that’s it. I don’t do New Years’ resolutions, because they carry the cultural baggage that no one keeps them, and I never wait until Jan first to make the changes in my life I think I need. But I’m going back to work now, and I’m going to keep working on a sequel to a book that hasn’t even sold yet and which probably won’t come out until 2015.

I don’t even know what to say about this except that I can muddle through it.

30 Dec 2012, 12:19pm
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Giftmas report

Let’s start by saying this was a Card Kingdom Giftmas. Between the three of us, we must have dropped almost $600 there for card and board games, plus the never-ending Pokemon purchases.[1] Curious what we got? Here’s a pic.

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Except that’s not everything. We forgot to include HIVE, which is a two-player game best described as “nature chess” except with fewer pieces and no board. The other game we forgot is FRIDAY, a solo deck-building game about a Pacific Islander who finds himself saddled with a hapless European shipwrecked on the island. You have to teach him how to survive and defeat pirates (by building the deck) in order to rid yourself of him. [2]

Also, the pic does not include the Pokemon stuff we go, including an entire booster box which went over… well, see footnote 1.

We haven’t played all the games yet, but there isn’t a dud among them. Some of the new Dominion cards are brutal, Munchkin Apocalypse is just as funny as the base game, and Guillotine is a surprise favorite.

Dixit is great but will play better with four players. 7 Wonders promises to be great fun but we shouldn’t have tried to play it when we were so exhausted. And even though Gloom promises to be great fun, I would have never bought it if I’d known the cards smelled like perfume. It’s a sunny day today, maybe I’ll air them out outside.

We finally replaced our ailing 19″ CRT television with a 32″ flatscreen; that’s not as large as most families have, but to us it’s a huge treat. Naturally, the first thing we watched on the big screen was the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy (I received the extended editions last year)[3]

After that, we hooked up the Wii. My son got DJ Hero 2 and I got Lego LOTR. Yes, we’re hardcore gamers over here.

The two best-received gifts were (first) the Sensu iPad paint brush we bought for my wife. Theoretically, the art programs on her tablet should let her make art anywhere and anytime, but she hated using her finger because she couldn’t see the mark she was making. With the brush, that’s all changed. It will be a challenge for her to work on such a small surface, but that’s a challenge she’s willing to face.

The second gift was the laptop my son received for his birthday. He was born on Boxing Day, and we do our best to carefully separate the two celebrations. Anyway, his new computer is better than either of mine and he’s already pushing for Call of Duty or Skyrim for it.[4] In it’s way, this is also a gift for me, since he won’t have to do his schoolwork on my desktop all damn day.

So that’s why this blog has been dormant lately: holidays and birthday. Plus I’ve been working hard on EPIC SEQUEL WITH NO DULL PARTS. Sorry if I’m not around as much as I normally am but there’s work to do and fun to be had.

[1] Or is there an end? The boy is taking a break from Pokemon; he’s bored with his deck and bored with the game. As much as he likes the kids he plays against, it’s just not doing it for him the way it used to. We’ll see if he’s permanently moved on or if he just needs some time off.

[2] I’m convinced there’s another game that we left out, but for the life of me I can’t figure out what it would be.

[3] I’ve decided I prefer the extended editions. There’s more room for nuance in them. Boromir is not just this desperate, untrustworthy character, he’s also the hero who offers words of kindness to Frodo when their needed. And he has scenes with Aragorn, a ridiculous omission from the theatrical releases. However, I could have done without the avalanche of skulls bit and the orcs who use grapple attacks in the middle of a battle.

[4] As if his mom would let an 11yo sit in his room playing first person shooters. As if.

29 Nov 2012, 8:50pm
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Random catching up

1) My wife is okay. Her bicycle accident (mentioned in the last post) is going to cost north of 200 bucks to fix, but she’s recovering nicely. In fact, she was planning to loiter around the bike shop while they worked on it so she could ride home. She really, really loves to ride her bike.

2) My son is okay, too. He slept all morning yesterday and woke with a smile. At first, he credited me with magical healing powers, then he immediately started being annoying. He’s still not 100%, but he’s getting better.

3) Will he be well enough by tomorrow evening to try my newest recipe, the reuben salad? Time will tell.

4) I have a tumblr now, but there’s nothing on it. Yet. It’s here.

5) I’m just going to go ahead and say it: this has been a stressful week. I may take tomorrow off from writing.

6) My wife asked for this, so it’s not exactly going to be a surprise, but she’s getting it for Giftmas.

28 Nov 2012, 9:26am
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May you live in uninteresting times

I’m typing this on my wife’s iPad, so forgive any weird autocorrect or capitalization issues.

Yesterday, about 20 minutes after sending my wife off to work her evening shift, I got the call I’ve been dreading for 19 years: she’d had an accident on her bicycle.

Luckily it happened on the bike trail (all hail civilized cities and their off-road trails) so there were no cars involved, but she was still banged up pretty badly. The accident happened because the bolt holding her seat to her seat stem sheared off and she fell backwards onto the rack. One of her pedals gouged her knee pretty badly and she struck her cheekbone on her handlebar. There will be other lingering aches and pains, but those were the worst.

So, no head injuries, no broken bones, no hospital visits. We’re very fortunate.

I convinced her to skip work to stay home and ice, elevate her leg and go to bed early. She was already nursing a cold, so there’s no reason for her to exhaust herself.

Then, after dinner, my son began to complain of stomach pain. We figured it was just gas but at around 10pm the vomiting began.

There’s always that hopeful moment after the first barfing that makes you hope everything’s all cleared up. Nope. He was sick on and off throughout the night.

My wife, who had gone to bed around 8:30, woke naturally around midnight. She took over for me a little before one then woke me around 5:30. The poor guy had been waking every half hour with pain and vomiting and couldn’t even keep water down.

Finally just before 7 I told him that h was still in the worst of it, that he needed to sleep so he could recover enough to hydrate himself.

He crashed out as though he was implementing a plan and has been sleeping for nearly 2.5 hours, with only minimal moaning and stirring.

Have I ever mentioned that he found me passed out on the bathroom floor once due to flu-related dehydration? He couldn’t have been older than four.

Have I also mentioned that, when my wife and I were first together in the nineties, I used to get up a 4am every day for my crapy job, but would be unable to sleep at night because I would be worrying about her nighttime bike commute? I used to lie in bed, staring at the ceiling while I imagined terrible accidents. Then I would hear the distinctive sound of her brakes out front and I’d drop right off.

So, yeah. A couple of mildly stressful days, especially since I’ve started falling behind on EPIC SEQUEL WITH NO DULL PARTS.

Anyway, I’m going to sneak out of his room and make myself more coffee. I hope autocorrect hasn’t done anything embarrassing to this post.

18 Nov 2012, 10:33am
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Today is my 11th anniversary

But we celebrated yesterday. While my son was at a friend’s birthday party, my wife and I did some pre-Giftmas gadget-scouting, then had great Thai food at Jai Thai in Fremont. We didn’t spend the whole time talking about our son, only 75%, which is a good percentage for us. And we told jokes, planned our future, and indulged in actual adult conversation.

Did you know that the appropriate gift for the 11th anniversary is steel? That worked out pretty well for us; I bought my wife two screwdriver sets that had very organized ways to store the switchable heads. She liked them so much she cried a little, for serious.

Anyway, adult time officially ended when I pulled up a chair in Card Kingdom for yet another Pokemon tournament for my son. I’ll be stuck here all day, trying to write today’s goal (about 1300 words) and goofing around on Twitter.

I hope your Sunday is a good one.

12 Aug 2012, 8:44am
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Pathfinder Beginner Box

So, my 10yo wanted to play some fantasy rpg, and after looking around a bit, I found this video

Looks pretty terrific, if you asked me. Best of all, it has an introductory adventure using simplified rules and pre-generated characters to teach you the game. This is a good thing, because we can not be coming to this cold. My wife has zero interest in rpgs and will only play as a family activity. My son is still learning the rules, and I just don’t have time to read through a huge game rulebook. I wanted something quick and fun.

So we open the box, the materials are beautiful, we pass out character sheets, and we start the introductory campaign.

And it’s a fucking dungeon crawl.

Okay, it’s a cave crawl, where you go from one chamber to the next, fight goblins here, defuse a trap there, fight this fight that. Sure, each room has something a little different: the spider shows how to do poisons and saving throws. The “goblin king” and the cliff you’re supposed to climb do skill rolls.

But there’s no story. No hook. Four generic characters on a generic crawl. You start by reading the situation aloud from the book (as is traditional) and then they drop you right at the entrance to the cavern.

Now, look, if this was 1981, that shit would be fine. No one expected better. But at this point, when you’re trying to reach new players, you need to pique their interest. You need a little narrative.

Why not start the adventure in the town? Role-play a neighbor complaining about some lost sheep, and a crowd bullying the mayor into arranging a tournament. Use a bit of the contest to teach the game. Maybe the PCs win, or maybe someone else wins and they go off in the wrong direction looking for the Big Bad.

How about establishing the stakes? What if the fighter (described on his sheet as having a liking for pretty women) is trying to impress a farmer’s daughter, the most beautiful milk maid in the valley? What if the cleric is frustrated that none of the locals come to his teacher’s temple, and decides to make a big show to draw in worshippers? What if the rogue needs to get some information from the local goblin bandits but they just drive her away? Give each character something to do besides kick down doors and fight random crap.

What if the local crowds blame a disreputable family at the lower end of the valley, and the heroes are sent there first. Yeah, they’re all bad guys, but their innocent of this particular crime. If the PCs drive them out, they end up killed in the dragon’s cave. If they spare them, they anger the locals who sent them there.

What if the quest is not to find the monster, but to find the sword that will destroy the monster? Then, mid-way through the adventure, something goes wrong and they discover they’ve been in the dragon’s lair the whole time.

What if? It’s the most important part of the game. Do you want to hook new players? Give them actual dilemmas to deal with, not just monsters to stab.

Look, it’s not as though I need yet another creative endeavor to fill up my days. DM-ing for my wife and son would be exhausting, and might even slow down my new book. But this was armor classes, dragons, magic missiles, the whole deal! It could have been fun as hell.

Instead, it’s just going to be another box on the shelf. Disappointing.

Trying to get back into the swing

As I mentioned in my post last night, the last few weeks have been devoted to dealing with a death in the family.

Today, for the first time in weeks, I dug back into my new novel. I really wanted to do over 2K words but that wasn’t happening. Too much time away from the project, too much thinking about how long it was going to be and how much detail I should include. In fact, too much thinking about everything except character and story.

No wonder it was like pulling teeth. Tomorrow is Pokemon League, so I will have more time to do my thing. At least I surpassed my goal.

Lots of bills to pay, paperwork to handle, packages to put away, and art to store. Just because I’m back in Seattle and squeezing time for my writing doesn’t mean that the work is behind me. In fact, it’s going to be harder now, because all these tasks will have to be piled on top of what we already have to do, and my wife is going to be feeling pretty fragile about this for a long time.

On top of that, I put all my calorie tracking and such on hold while I was in Rochester. more »

25 Feb 2012, 12:39am
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Everything is temporary

It’s late and I ought to be in bed, but I’m not.

There’s a lot I want to write about, but I’ve spent all day playing catch up and I’m just going to let this come out however and go to sleep without looking at it again for typos, word echoes, and stray commas or whatever, because I don’t think I can.

See, back on January 30th, my son and I boarded a train and headed east to Rochester, NY, for what’s likely to be the last time. My father-in-law had just passed away and we needed to be there for the funeral and to do some good for my wife.

He was a good man and a good father. He was upbeat and hopeful, full of ideas for projects and constantly brainstorming ways to help his kids get ahead. He worked in advertising–he worked for years on all those white and red Marlboro ads most people remember so well (the ones with all the cowboys and other he-men) but he also designed the Sandy Strong character for the Strong Memorial Hospital, gratis.

But he’d reached 80 and his health had been troubled for a long time. My wife and I first met back in 1993, and she was concerned she might lose him even then. That he held on so long is a testament to his good cheer, his will, and the sustaining power of having projects to work on.

He’d done a great deal of fine art in his life, and he’d always wanted to be a cartoonist. For many years, he would draw all sorts of single-panel or three-panel comics, trying to break into the newspapers. It never really happened for him; while his art was superb, he couldn’t really do funny. His comics were always sweet and somewhat harmless–his work made The Family Circus seem like a Jim Thompson novel. But his line art was always extraordinarily expressive and his paintings were bright and lovely.

When his body finally gave out, and he decided he’d had enough, he let himself die. Which meant that his three kids were left with his house and all of the art he’d made in his life.

None of them have houses of their own, and none of them have much space in their apartments. What’s more, not only did they want to save his work, they wanted to save their own; a father who spent his life doing projects would have kids who did the same, and the house was full of their old works–not high school or grade school art (well, not much) but art school projects, and post-college work: pictures of gallery shows, illustrated childrens books, canvas after canvas, and my wife’s “wearable art” which she did in the mid-eighties until she kicked the New York scene all together.

So that’s what I’ve spent the last few weeks doing: helping my wife and her siblings safely wrap up her father’s work and moving it into storage, then going through their own work and deciding what they could save and what would have to be photographed and abandoned to the dumpster.

I almost wish I hadn’t found any time over those weeks to go online at all. Yeah I managed a few happy moments touching base with people online, but I also went to Twitter during a particularly dark moment and complained that the modern American grieving process had become much less about the memory of the person you loved and lost and much more about a frantic scramble to deal with their possessions.

Which is totally fucking unfair of me and I wish I hadn’t. It’s true that we spent too much time going through boxes and not enough sharing old stories over glasses of wine, but what I didn’t understand then was that it wasn’t just my father-in-law who had passed. The family home had passed away with him.

The bank will be taking it within a few weeks or months (and the details thereof are not for me to share). There won’t be any more Christmases celebrated around that giant table with the annoying wooden benches, no more hiking a few dozen feet through a snowy wood to avoid a half-mile hike along the road, no more wandering the rooms–including the basement and garage–marveling that they held so many books. (They were avid collectors, and their taste and mine barely overlapped at all.) No more complaining that someone closed the perpetually-locked door on the upstairs bathroom, no more halubki out of the oven, no more sausage out of the freezer, no more walking around the room with a glass in your hand looking for a bare horizontal space to set it down.

No more gatherings there.

Everything is temporary. Even the time the family got to spend around that big table, laughing and telling stories, their voices rising from delight as the evening went on–sometimes becoming so boisterous that I had to go into the other room because it was too intense for me–even that had to end. But it’s a sturdy house with bad gutters and good floors in a really nice neighborhood; someone new will move in and fix it up. I can only hope that they’ll love each other as much. That, if they have kids, they will teach them how to work. Shit, anyone can learn “the value of hard work.” That’s a tedious, pedestrian lesson to learn. I hope the new family learns enthusiasm for the work they were meant to do, and the joy of working together, and perseverance in the face of every obstacle.

My wife wept when her mom died last year, and she wept hard tears again these past few weeks. She didn’t just lose her parents; they were her friends as well. She was incredibly lucky in the parents she had and she knew it, so this has hit her pretty hard. I’ve never heard her voice sound like it does when her grief is too strong to hold in. Standing at her parents’ dual grave just before we drove to the airport, the strength of her sorrow frightened me a little and made me stand very close.

But she had also cried a few minutes before as we drove away from her childhood home for the last time. The people and the places we love are all temporary, and we don’t get nearly enough time with them.

I don’t hate Valentine’s Day

I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it, either. Even before I got together with my wife, I didn’t begrudge a holiday for love, lovers, and people with strong romantic feelings.

Still, for me it’s as private as most every other part of my marriage. And I know there are lots of folks out there who hate the day with a passion.

In that spirit, let me offer my sorta-annual pitch for the Twenty Palaces books: The male and female leads do not romance each other, and do not fall in love (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Magic! Violence! Problematic work relationships!

They’re in the little-recognized genre of Paranormal Unromance.

I assume most of the people reading this post will have either read them or decided they’re not interested, but if you know someone looking for some Anti-Valentine’s reading…

Five Things on a Friday

1) I have a number of things to take care of in the upcoming week, so I will be offline for much of that time. I have some posts that are scheduled to go up, but I’m going to be focusing on family and my WIP.

2) Often times, when I’m online, I don’t have access to all my online “stuff.” Sometimes I’m on Twitter but not email. Sometimes I’m online but not ready to reply to a comment on my LJ. Don’t ride me about that, please. Everyone controls their online time in the ways they think are best.

3) I like asparagus with my breakfast. I also need to create a new map for my WIP. These things are not related in any way.

4) I have figured out the “ending” of my book, and my word counts are going to start piling up again. Hopefully the time coming up this week will allow me to finish by the end of next month.

5) My son wanted to play Neverwinter Nights, so we started it up. (I “received” the anthology for Getmas, which means I bought it for myself and thanked my family for their thoughtfulness.) He played it for his entire computer time, and he really enjoyed it. Watching the LOTR movies has given him a love of dwarven fighters. After he finished, he asked me to take a turn. And omg, I really like it and want to be playing it again right now. I recognize this feeling and I fear it. Computer games can make me obsessive, so I’m hopeful that I can keep this thing at arm’s length.

26 Jan 2012, 6:01am
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19 Jan 2012, 12:58pm
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Video evidence that my wife is awesome

After warnings from the weather folk of snowfalls up to ten inches deep (which actually fell in surrounding areas), yesterday we received about three inches of snow.

I know, I know: Where you are, three inches of snow is called “Wednesday.” But here in Seattle we have lots of very steep hills and no infrastructure to deal with snowfalls. Last winter, we didn’t even get one sleddable accumulation (yes, that’s a word). So three inches here can be a big deal.

Did I mention steep hills? Because Seattle folk don’t run off to the park to do their sledding, not when so many of our streets are near 18% grade. Instead we head out to blocked-off streets. And yesterday, I gave my wife our little point and click digital camera and asked her to video herself tobogganing down the street.

A toboggan ride, 1/18/12 from Harry Connolly on Vimeo.

At the end of the video, she says “two blocks,” but it was actually three. She claims the last wasn’t steep enough to count. Also, this is the sort of thing I Can Not Watch. I imagine too many awful things, so I hide indoors while they have this sort of fun.

Edited because I forgot to mention: It started snowing yesterday before dawn. It started snowing again this morning. You might think that the most Seattle thing I saw on my walk would be stranded cars or traffic accidents, but no. The most Seattle thing was that no one, at all, had made even a token effort to shovel their walk. Including me.

Ten Days

I’ve just put Lord of Reavers up for sale on B&N and Amazon. It’ll be a while before it’s cleared for sale there, but in the meantime you can still buy it directly from me.

Also, my wife and son are out of town for ten days to visit her family. I’m at home, and I’ve borrowed a number of DVDs from the library; they aren’t great movies, but they’re for grownups, and if you have an account on LiveJournal (they’re free), you can vote for which ones I’ll watch.

In the meantime, here’s my plan for the next week and a half:

1- To bed every night before midnight. Before 11 would be better but lets be realistic.

2- Vegetables every day.

3- Get back on the Livestrong calorie counting, which I set aside during the holiday.

4- A helluva lot of walking

5- Personal hygiene, apartment hygiene.

6- Set Freedom for six hours every night before bed.

7- 2500 words a day at least.

It will take focus, but this is going to be a productive holiday season.

  • The prequel to Child of Fire: see here for more details

  • Starred review from Publishers Weekly

  • Starred review from Publishers Weekly

  • Named to Publishers Weekly's "Best 100 Books of 2009" list. Get the audiobook here.

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