[Pre-Order] The Gorramn Shiniest Dictionary in the ‘Verse

Gorramn Dictionary

I am pleased to announce that, this Spring, a new addition to the Firefly ‘Verse will be hitting store shelves. It’s called The Gorramn Shiniest Language Guide and Dictionary in the ‘Verse, and pre-orders are now available.

The process and the approvals for this project was much different than what I’ve done previously for Firefly. All of my effort was strongly focused on writing the text, which is different from being a developer on a multi-book project where I get to see the text, layout, and most of the art ahead of time. Here, I spent a lot of time analyzing the show scripts, reviewing the language, and focusing on the individual words–some of which had alternate spellings! Plus, there’s a special interview in here with Jenny Lynn, the show’s translator as well, and I got the chance to hear some great stories.

I’m hoping that fans like you will be amazed to get a new, inside look at what it’s like to be involved with Firefly from a language perspective, and fall in love with the ‘Verse all over again. Thanks to my editors at Titan–I had a blast on this project!

Round-Up of My Freelancing Articles

It’s been almost a year since I’ve been writing about freelancing for Geek’s Dream Girl, so I thought I’d grab the links for you to read with a short excerpt from each article.

  • Calling all Freelancers! Adventure to Dice Castle: Before we head out on our quest to Dice Castle, there are a couple of things we need to figure out. First? We’re going to take a look at your character sheet to see what’s already there. Oh, and for those of you who decide to min/max this process? There will be some opportunities for that, too. You’re a Commoner at the moment, but with any luck you’ll be a Freelancer in no time. So sayeth the GM, so shall it be done.
  • Tools and Equipment: Adventure to Dice Castle: To become a professional freelancer, there are a few tools you’ll need (and some I suggest) that you’ll benefit from having. If you followed along last time, the hard part of building your character sheet is over. Today, all you have to do is run through this list and assess what you need, how much you’ll have to spend, and what equipment you already have on hand.
  • The Village of No-No: Adventure to Dice Castle: You adjust your shoulder bag and stroll into a village nestled in a lush valley. The first thing you see is a man and a woman arguing at the top of their lungs. From what you can make out, they’re pissed off about coin. The woman turns to you and says: “Don’t work for that guy, he’ll never pay you.” The man, who happens to be wearing a jerkin with an embroidered logo on the back, rolls his eyes and drones: “Don’t hire that freelancer, she’ll never hand anything in on time and it’s full of typos, too.”
  • Wizard’s Guidance: Adventure to Dice Castle: A commenter on the article correctly pointed out that our hero’s biggest problem was that he didn’t do any research on Lances-For-Hire, LLC. before he asked Tom for work. There are other issues with what our freelancer encountered, which is why the wizard decided to step in. He has taken you back to his modest hovel far away from the prying eyes of nosy villagers.
  • Where to Find New Jobs: Adventure to Dice Castle: I talked about how important it is to research the companies you want to work for. I also provided an allegory that (hopefully) highlights how employers view you. As a freelancer, you are essentially operating your own business. Self-employment — even if it’s part-time — is a real job. Freelancing for the hobby games industry just happens to be more creative than doing someone’s taxes or making copies all day.
  • Introductory E-Mail Doesn’t Have to LOL: Adventure to Dice Castle: When you’re a freelancer, you will need to communicate with people who don’t live in your area. That means you’re going to chat with them online or via e-mail. Unfortunately, e-mail doesn’t always work well to convey emotions. Sure, it’d be easier if we’d take a page from Dork Tower and color-code our text, but the reality is that when you e-mail? All anyone has is your words to go on. Having good communication is crucial to building a good relationship with someone. But what should that look like?
  • The Perils of Edition Wars: Adventure to Dice Castle: Hobby game edition wars exist because tribes form up around systems and settings. No matter how hard you may try, there is no possible way to convince someone who loves their twenty-year old system that it sucks. Companies know and understand that edition wars take place. Some turn a blind eye; others embrace them. However, companies have legitimate reasons why they want to update a game that has nothing to do with intentionally hurting fans. Maybe they want to modernize a setting. Maybe they’re hoping to engage existing players in crowdsourcing, like what White Wolf Publishing did for the twentieth edition of Vampire: the Masquerade. Or maybe? They want to attract new players.
  • To Speculate, or Not To Speculate. (Trap?) Adventure to Dice Castle: When you see a rumor or something you’re dying to know, take it up privately with your contact at the company. Tell them that you want to know if this is true because you were hoping to write more for them. Then, when they respond? Ask them if you can share that information as a quote. Trust me when I say that in some cases you do not want to ask forgiveness. Permission and manners will get you a lot further especially if you’re dealing with companies that have licenses and products slated for the next year or so.
  • Let’s Talk about Gold (I Mean Money): Adventure to Dice Castle: The terms of payment in a contract will say something like: “Payment after 30 days of publication” or “Payment upon receipt.” Payment after 30 days of publication means that you get paid after the project is available for customers to buy. If you’ve written a submission, that means the project still has to go through the line development process, playtesting, editing, and layout before the book sees the light of day. It is not uncommon for a project to get delayed, too, especially if licensing is involved. So, what that clause can mean, is that you may not get paid for six months, a year, or more.

[New Release] My Essay in Apex Magazine Issue 24

Apex Magazine Issue 24 May 2011Calling all science fiction and fantasy fans! Wanted to pop in today and mention I have a new, non-fiction essay published in Apex Magazine Issue 24. My essay is an up-close-and-personal one; I dive into my experiences and share them to ask: Are you having fun at conventions? Why or why not?

Here is what you’ll find in this edition of Apex Magazine, championed by award-winning author and editor Cat Valente:

Our May issue is sure to delight as the stories happen to swing back toward dark SF. Jeremy R. Butler channels the adventure and dangers of deep space mining with his “Recipe Collecting in the Asteroid Belt.” Annalee Newitz explores love and particle physics in “Twilight of the Eco-Terrorist.”
Our classic reprint is Will Ludwigsen’s chilling “In Search Of” where the answers to all your questions are better left unknown.

Apex presents two poetry selections this month. The first is “Black, Red, White” by Rachel Swirsky. The second is Elizabeth McClellan’s “The Walking Man Goes Looking for the Sons of John: Six Cantos.”

Finally, Monica Valentinelli gives fans and writers some important tips on how to enjoy the world of literary fan conventions with “Grab Your Badge. Ready, Set, Meet!” — SOURCE: Apex Magazine Issue 24

If you’re interested in my work or these excellent stories and poems, you can either subscribe to Apex Magazine for a full year’s worth of imaginative goodness or buy Apex Magazine Issue 24 as a stand-alone product. Visit the Apex Magazine stand for a variety of options.

Free Horror Movies and My Articles at Crackle.com

Crackle.com Halloween CollectionThis month, I had the pleasure of writing for free movie website Crackle.com. Not only did I get to pick whatever horror movies I wanted to write about, I got the chance to watch them for free on their new site.

Movies are available for free either online or through your PS3. If you don’t like these films, be sure to check out Crackle.com’s Halloween movie collection for some other scary movie options.

Here’s a preview of my series entitled, “A Fan’s Guide to Scary Movies.”

  • A Fan’s Guide to Scary Movies: 13 Ghosts – The opening credits for 13 Ghosts really grabbed me. There’s groaning, there’s moaning, and there were thirteen ghosts rolling right down the screen. Immediately after the credits, William Castle popped up with a message to the audience about a “ghost viewer.” At different points in this primarily black-and-white film, the audience was encouraged to use a pair of glasses to either see or avoid the ghosts by looking through red or blue lenses.
  • A Fan’s Guide to Scary Movies: The Blob (1988)The Blob portrayed is pretty interesting to me. It’s more than just pink goo that slithers its way across town. It’s an amoeba that can ooze, twist, digest and grow. Sometimes it’s fast and other times it’s slow. Since this life-form has the properties of a thick liquid, it can get beneath you by worming its way through the sewers or drain pipes, too. The thing that I thought was pretty cool was that it can also spontaneously generate. Separate a piece of The Blob from the rest of its mass, and you have micro-blob!
  • A Fan’s Guide to Scary Movies: Mary ReillyMary Reilly is the type of horror movie that takes you by the hand and draws you into the bleak time period from the very beginning. Since this movie was based on a familiar story, the film’s perspective is told from a servant who lives in Dr. Jekyll’s house. This technique really worked for me. I felt like I was standing on the top of a long, winding stairwell and every minute that went by brought me closer to the bottom of a dungeon. The suspense here resonates through the oppressive lifestyle of the master-slave relationship; the wealthy doctor’s staff has a big impact on the plot. In a way, every servant in that house gives the doctor whatever he needs by handing him his desires through an invisible wall.
  • A Fan’s Guide to Scary Movies: Tsui Hark’s Vampire HuntersTsui Hark’s Vampire Hunters is what I would describe as a “mosaic” movie that’s driven by fast-paced, ass-kicking action. Set in seventeenth century rural China, there are several different characters and plots that keep the fight scenes fresh. The main storyline is about four, suave martial artists with over-the-top names like “Thunder.” Together, they and their wise master hunt down a king vampire. Only problem is, their trusty vampire compass leads them to an estate where nothing is as it seems. Things quickly slide downhill from there.

My New Series of Horror Movie Articles on Crackle.com

Crackle.com | Free Movies and TelevisionWhile every day is Halloween for me, this time of year brings out the best in a lot of free television and movie websites like Crackle.com.

This week, I delivered a series of articles about horror movies for Crackle.com from a fan’s perspective. Today, you can read about the classic horror film 13 Ghosts, which was produced by William Castle. For those of you who have seen the modern remake starring Tony Shaloub, I highly recommend you check out the original in black-and-white.

If you’re interested in a sneak peek, be sure to check out this paragraph. Here, I’m talking about the very first time I saw the Zorba’s new house in 13 Ghosts:

The first time I saw their new house, I remembered what I love about black-and-white horror movies. To me, haunted houses give a filmmaker the opportunity to really emphasize its towering windows, hidden passageways and heavy draperies using shades of black-and-white. Of course, the somber housekeeper really added to the mood, too. The second I saw Elaine Zacharides, I thought, “That has to be the Wicked Witch of the West.” And, it was! Played by Margaret Hamilton, Buck even accused her character of being a witch when he first saw her. — SOURCE: A Fan’s Guide to Scary Movies: 13 Ghosts

If you’re a horror movie fan, I would like to invite you to check out A Fan’s Guide to Scary Movies: 13 Ghosts.

What’s new for next week? Stay tuned and find out!

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