Monday, December 14, 2009

So another year is almost over and this is the part where we reflect on where things are at as well as where things are headed.

First of all, the big news from me this year at year end is that I have finished all coursework for my undergraduate degree. This is a pretty big deal for me, considering that I opted not to finish at the university my first time through, and I actually did pretty well for myself in the workforce for about a decade after making that decision. That said, I did hit a bit of a glass ceiling due to the lack of a degree, so I finished up only to find that I really enjoy school. In fact, I enjoy it so much that I'm applying for grad school. So much for the glass ceiling, if this happens, it will be a complete change of direction into something that will allow me to do more meaningful work.

The next big news for me is that the grim reaper almost paid me a visit. I'm sure everyone reading this has heard of the swine flu, or the H1N1 virus. Yeah, I had that and it led to pneumonia. The problem was that I didn't know that I had pneumonia and the two times I went into the clinic, they gave me some weak antibiotics and sent me on my way. After this had gone on for a couple weeks and I was still feeling like crap, I went to the emergency room and found out that I had a pretty severe case of pneumonia. My second night there didn't go so well, as my blood O2 levels crashed. Luckily I was in a hospital and they were prepared for that, but had I continued to stay home, it could have been bad. All told, I spent a week in the hospital, another week at home after that recovering, and then there were the two weeks before that, so I missed a grand total of a month worth of school. Most people were suggesting that I take a medical withdrawal and then try again next semester, but I really didn't want to postpone graduation and there were classes I was taking that wouldn't be offered next semester, so I picked myself up by my bootstraps and got myself back to class. The fact that I succeeded says as much about how cool my professors are as it does about my drive to catcht up. It wasn't the easiest thing in the world, and some of my other projects suffered as a result.

Speaking of other projects, I'm currently in the middle of writing the eighth Oathbound book, which will be called Eclipse. What's cool about this project is that Oathbound is really one of those key projects I was involved with very early in my RPG design career, and I really didn't expect that I would get the chance to return to it. When Bastion Press went down, the Oathbound property went to one of its original creators, Greg Dent, and given the state of the RPG industry at that time, it didn't look like it was worth continuing. Things are looking up in the industry this year, however, and he decided to move forward with it again, and with as many of the original crew as possible. As it turns out, the returning crew includes all of three of us: Todd Morasche, myself, and of course Greg Dent, plus we've brought on a newcomer to the field, Clinton J. Boomer, who is a fellow Werecabbage and a hell of a great writer/designer. I should be finished with my part of this project fairly soon, which means that I'll be on to the next thing....

So, on to the next thing! You know those nifty devices that have been coming out for the last few years? Amazon makes one called the Kindle, Sony makes one simply called an E-reader, and there are a few more out there? It struck me that the existence of these devices really blows the doors open for those of us who know we can write novels well, have a desire to do so, but can't seem to get out of the slush pile. Incidentally, it's a fairly common occurrence for RPG authors to have difficulties breaking into novels. In my case, there have been a few near misses, such as the Babylon 5 novel I was to write for Mongoose Publishing, right before their license fell through.... So, tired of near successes, I've decided to take things into my own hands, in typical Darrin Drader fashion, and start up a novel publishing company.

I know what you're thinking: how is this any different than any other self publishing scheme? The answer is that I'm not just going to be publishing myself, but I'll also be publishing other writers. If someone comes to me with an outstanding manuscript, I'll publish their book, but what I'm specifically looking for are game designers and even game studios who want their novels to see the light of day and their game world translated into fiction. I'll be doing the copyediting and layout, providing covers and advertising, and I'll also be making these novels available in multiple formats, so you'll be able to buy them and read them on whatever gadget you prefer, including the PC. Plus, if you're the type who just has to have a dead tree format book, I'll make our books available through one of the print on demand outfits as well.

Right now I'd love to give specifics about what this new venture is going to entail, but I can't do that just yet. What I can say is that I will in fact be publishing a novel of my own, which I'll start writing as soon as I'm done writing this Oathbound book. I can also say that there will be two new shared world settings that I'll be handling, which other authors can get in on. I've picked out a name for the company, which I can't share just yet due to the fact that it remains unregistered as a business, although the web domain has been reserved. I'll make an announcement when we start accepting submissions as soon as things come together.

One little tidbit I can share about my own personal novel project is that it's in one of the shared worlds I mentioned and it takes on traditional fantasy, but frames it differently than I've seen done before and I'm pretty excited about the creative direction it's taking.

So that's it for now. I'll try to blog more often now that I'm finished with school... for now anyway.

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