Monday, July 28, 2014

Preparing for Gencon Indy 2014

Gencon is a destination I've been going to for years. It's the largest gaming focused convention in the Midwest. Every year I go and report for, and this year is no different. I usually only do a post show article, but I thought I might start this year a little different by telling you what I'd like to do at Gencon, and share some the cool things that will be going on. There are 11,000 scheduled events during the show, so let me know if there is something specific you want me to report on while I'm there.

2014 Exhibit Hall Map of Gencon
The first priority for me is to hit the exhibit hall  or show floor, and check out the booths for all the companies. Last year I discovered some unexpected surprises, and some familiar ones too. I plan to keep to the same strategy and try to discover new things while checking in on my favorites.

Framed Minotaur print, the snake was added by my daughter.
One of my favorite places to go is the art show section. There is a world class Fantasy artist every 4 feet in this area. I am always amazed at the beautiful art there. I usually try to stop and say hello to Emily Fiegenschuh. I did an interview with Emily a few years ago for FanLit, and I've been a fan ever since. I even bought a print from her that is now one of my most favorite things.

Author Ally is another great place that I like to cruise through. This year's Author Guest of Honor is actually my favorite author, Jim Butcher. While I would love to get a few minutes of Jim's time, the GoH is very busy, and Jim is a rock star of the Fantasy genre. Getting a chance at a hello and a handshake will be nigh impossible. I am also quite awkward when meeting individuals I am fan of. I never know quite what to say, or I'm really afraid that I might be bothering them if approached outside of a sanctioned time. I find myself trying to unsuccessfully pretend like I have no idea who they are or that maybe make like I see really awesome people I adore everyday. I tend to make it a rule of not approaching anyone who isn't "on the clock". On the occasions that I do gather the nerve to approach someone I'm a fan of, I fumble around and say something not impressive. Like asking "How's business?" to Pat Rothfuss author of two NYT Best Selling Fantasy books, whose business is very likely quite good. Pat just made another blog post asking fans to please "not touch his kids" if they spot him with them at a convention. The fact that he even has to say this to his fans makes me sad. It also makes me not want to be associated as a "fan", because they are obviously crazy.

There will be tons of game companies to visit, and I have a couple I wish to go out of my way to see. I recently reviewed Achtung! Cthulhu for Modiphius games, and would love to swing by their booth and see what they have to show. There will be others I seek out, but many more that I will just stumble upon. The vendor booths are endless, and full of surprises.

My recently painted Ashlynn D'elyse for Warmachine.
The best part about Gencon is obviously the games. Massive rooms filled with tables where every board game you can possibly imagine is being played. My focus in this area is Warmachine by Privateer Press. It's the only game I regularly play and have invested in a lot of time in. Gencon is the only time of year I actually get to play it. I'm looking forward to getting in a few rounds between explorations into the convention events.

That's all for now, if I find out about anything worth noting I'll post it up before I leave. My post convention report will go up on like always. Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Writing Prompt Post - Introduction to the Concept

This is the first of what I hope to be many writing prompt exercises. I will post a writing prompt and if it's not my own I will post a link to it. This will be way more fun and informative if others join and post their own responses, but it isn't necessary. At worst its a chance for me to put some small bits of material out there. Keep in mind these prompts will mostly be very short pieces. Exploring an idea generated by the prompt. It can be just a single scene or even just a couple sentences that explore the prompt's concepts. If something longer ends up coming out of it, save it. You never know what might turn into a marketable work. Anything of in-depth substance is best kept off the public consumption unless you just want to give it away, which is ok too.

The first prompt I have is this:

"Overwhelming anger leads to serious consequences"

That's it. That simple prompt lead me to the scene below: Critiques are welcome so long as they are constructive and keep in mind these are created fast with the emphasis on the exploration of creativity rather than mechanics.


     Her bloodied corpse lay twisted and lifeless in the dirt at his feet, and her killer stood not more than a swords length away.

 “There’s your bitch Din. I done’er up nice for ya. Delivered her in one piece as I promised “ Jek said with sneer. 

 He spat near her body and emphasized his disregard for her life. 

Din didn't respond at first, but not out of fear, but from anger. By the gods he was angry. A heated rage filled his mind. The heat came first to his face, and then pulsed behind his eyes. He started to tremble, and Jek took a nervous step back away from Din and the body. Din gritted his teeth with a growl that crawled up his throat, and then it bubbled out and burst forth into a hate filled scream. It was an animal scream. born of pain, of guilt, and of pure rage.

 He leaped forward with sword in hand and was upon Jek before the bigger man could do anything, knocking him to the ground. Jek through up his hands in a feeble attempt to stave off Din's attack. It was a futile effort as Din began to bash at Jek's forehead with the pommel of his sword in fitful flurry of strikes. Again, and again, and again Din pounded while he still screamed. The stunned crowd just gaped in response, not sure if they should flee or watch. The steady thumps of Din's hilt took on a wet tone. The blood flecked across Din's face as he continued his onslaught onto Jek's misshapen skull.

 Din's manic pounding slowed. The wet smacks stopped, and Jek's twitching body stilled. The crowd was silent, and for a few moments only Din's heavy breathing was heard. Someone screamed, and the silence was shattered. The crowd fled shouting about a monster, about a killer, about Din.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Back to Blogging, Toddler Facts, and Writing Tools

     I'm firing up the post engine again, stop laughing. I am trying to get back into the habit of regular writing. I have aspirations of doing this on a more professional basis, but if history is any indicator I could fail. Many things have happen since my last round of posts, mostly poverty. There has however been other things, and they're good things too.
My daughter is approaching 3 years old and provides me endless entertainment in the form of what I call Toddler Facts.What are Toddler Facts? Well they are tidbits of information provided to you by a toddler. They can sometimes be legit factual information, such as "Princesses live in castles" or "Poop smells yucky.". These gems of information are usually delivered at unexpected moments such as bed time, or while your on the phone. There are special times when Toddler Facts are actually Toddler Lies. Since their tiny brains are still working on developing the sections that gauge human emotions like murder, it renders them quite capable of some very respectable yarns. As an example, my daughter toddled into the kitchen while I was eating cereal and calmly advised me to not to enter the bedroom. Now, as a parent several unpleasant things occurred to me at that moment. Mental panic set in and horrible thoughts of property damage entered my mind. I quelled this first response and then squashed the images of broken electronic devices and of unsolicited poo art from my mind. I then asked her calmly, "Why should I not go into the bedroom?". She said "because there is a T-Rex in there", and then sort of  waved a dismissive hand in the general direction of the bedroom. I was relieved. Imaginary T-Rex's are easy to handle, and inexpensive to deal with...poo art is not.

     Now back to me being serious about writing again. It would be super cool to not do IT work anymore and spend my days in a quiet room sharing fantastic tales to my adoring fans for truck loads of cash. Cause we all know aspiring writers always make truck loads of cash. Planning on how to handle my fortune and fame is only part of some of things I've done lately to try and get a little more serious about writing. I've found some helpful online tools to organize my thoughts and work. I use Evernote to quickly jot down any ideas that come to mind, or to take note of things that might inspire me later.

     I've also grown fond of Draft. I was a heavy Google Docs user until I was no longer able to access it from work. This forced me to find some other method of text editing in my free time. Google Docs is not very secure for a company that doesn't like the idea of employees being able to upload files from a workstation. Draft doesn't have the same goals as Google Docs and is designed to be a writer's site. The interface is simple and clean, and you can get to the business of writing very quickly. Edits are tracked in revisions, and things are easily organized by folder. Draft also has a lot of collaborative features that I have yet to use. Draft is priced at the reasonable rate of free, but it so good that I feel guilty not donating. I have moved almost all of my work over to draft and once I get it all over there I will gladly donate as it will be permanent home for writing.

     I discovered how helpful writing prompts are. /r/writingprompts has provided me with some great ideas to exercise my brain with. It's also led me to challenge myself with creating my own prompts. As a part of my new push to add to the blog I will share some of the things I come up with based on various prompts. There is a high probably that anything I scratch out from a prompt will be quirky, incomplete, and not very good. However, I'll have had fun writing it. I encourage you to write your own piece based off the prompt. You can share here in the comments, keep it to yourself or send it me at geeksonfireblog (*at*) gmail . If you give permission I may even share it in a future post.

     One more thing before I go. I've been getting back into the loop on the Fantasy Fiction and Fantasy Gaming world. I will be attending Gencon Indy again this year and plan to give any readers of Geeksonfire a few fun tidbits of news, and maybe a contest or two. That's all the news for now.

A new post based off a writing prompt will be up in a day or two.