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Dusting off the blog

I hear from reliable sources (to wit, some guys on the internet) that blogging is dead.  Once the sort of thing every gran with a knitting fixation did (judging by Janet’s favorites list), it’s now being taken over by social media like Facebook.  And I get that, I really do.  Looking at this blog, which I’m told I ought to be keeping up for professional reasons (see earlier “reliable sources), I haven’t posted a blessed thing since Leviathans came out.  I’ve done a bunch of stuff since then, both writing wise and in my other lives, but haven’t seen fit to blabble about it here.  I chatter away on social media, though, as any of you who haven’t blocked my on Facebook are all too acutely aware of.

So what’s the deal?  Two fold, I think.  Social media feels a lot more like a conversation to me, whereas this blog is more of a stage.  I’m sitting here tapping the microphone nervously whilst the imagined eyes of thousands (well, four or five, but tell that to my subconcious) are upon me, waiting for me to say something vaguely interesting.  To wit, performance anxiety.

Point two, I’ve thought of this a bit too much as my “professional space”, I think.  And that ends up with a bit too much “pushing the product”.  Since I hate being on both the giving and receiving end of that sort of thing, I end up just not posting stuff.  Oh, I figure that many of you do in fact want to hear about some of the upcoming stuff (if so:  go read the latest 1889 stories!  They’re like, really good and stuff.  I helped on the editing!  Whee!!!)(See, told you I’m terrible at ad-blogging).  But if for nothing else than my own personal gratification, I’m going to prate about other stuff here.  I’ll try to be good about tagging so visitors can find stuff they actually care about.  All seven of you, that is.

Speaking of tags, that is probably point two and a half:  God, but I find this interface clunky.  Social media has a point and shoot quality to it that WordPress and other blogging platforms I’ve looked at don’t.  On the other hand, it’s probably more flexible in the end.  Practice makes perfect, I guess–  here goes me trying to put a picture up.  

Up here in Spokane on a thirty hour overnight on Christmas.  Yep, that’s “snow” on the ground.  But managed a riverwalk without slipping.  Too badly.


Leviathans in the Clouds

It’s out! Fly, float or flap your way over to the Untreed Reads store to pick up your copy of steamy steampunk goodness. Also available via Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

My review of the first Tropes vs Women in Videogames video is up at Bag of Games.  It was something I tried to approach with caution.  The series creator, Anita Sarkeesian, had to deal with over the top harassment for the crime of being a woman with something to say that was somewhat critical of the industry status quo.  But I have to be honest and say that so far the series isn’t a particular deep analysis of the very real issues about gender portrayal in videogames.  That said, she deserves credit for at being willing to endure the slings and arrows of outrageous dweebdom in order to bring the subject to the discussion table.

Visual Novel


So, I’m putting my keyboard where my mouth is on the whole art game thing.  So I downloaded the Ren’Py engine and got to work.  Lethe is a bit of an experiment–  a full playthrough is about fifteen minutes, tops, and that includes going back and redoing sections.  But I want to keep it simple for now, as I’m exploring how narrative translates into an interactive environment.

I’m quickly finding that you can’t just write a short story and plug it into game format.  There’s a greater feeling of immediacy in a game, even a visual novel game.  The delivery of lines is almost like blank verse–  each phrase is restricted in length but simultaneously more focused in impact.  That’s the idea, at least.  And the perception of time is different.  It’s less a story being told than something being experienced.  I decided to shift to present tense, for example.  And there’s less room for introspection:  that gets left to the player.

Lethe follows a the ghost of a dead man called back from beyond by a woman worried about her husband she hasn’t heard from.  Obviously, it’s not a super upbeat theme, but at the same time I’m trying to keep it from being all emo morose.  I’m using a track from Apparatus, the experimental CD Janet made with the late Harry Castle.  So if nothing else, it’s got some kick butt music!


And artwork–  my friend Dawn Lyons is on that.  Here’s some of her concept art for one of the characters:

Call it “Betty Boop goes to a seance.”  As I said, yes, it deals with themes of death and loss (what have I written lately that doesn’t?).  But that doesn’t mean you have to lose all sense of whimsy and humor!


Proteus Review

Yep, been busy over at Bag of Games  Hey, gives me an excuse to wind down with a videogame in the evening.  This week’s entree was a fun little indie game with retro graphics that has you exploring an island as it morphs through the seasons.  The part I liked was how its minimalist sound track would pick up themes depending on where and what you were exploring.  I couldn’t help but be reminded of “In C” by Terry Riley, with its score added to and changed at the player’s whim–  a sort of composer driven form of improvisation.  Janet and I actually made a videogame based on In C, but it’s in Director so I’m not really sure how to put it online.
Anyway, Proteus is worth a look

I Remember the Rain review

A review of a little art game about a fellow whose wife dies.  Yes, I was able to get through it.  Ambitious with some lovely music and art, but the narrative itself uses a bit too much cliche for my liking (wife lives on in his memories, all that).  Still, free and definitely worth a look.

I Remember The Rain

Toybox Racer review

Quick little review of a quick little game.  A bit no frills but amusing.


Dragon Assault

Thrilled to death to be working on this– along with several fellow WotF’ers like Paula Stiles, Nick Tchan, David Carani and our illustrious editor Jordan Ellinger!

August 5th

Symbiant Studios is proud to announce that we’ve brought three more award winning writers on board. @David Parish-Whittaker, Paula R. Stiles, and Nick Tchan will be writing novelettes set in the Dragon Assault universe, which will be available to purchase in-game and through online outlets like Amazon and Barnes & Noble .

1889 Season Pass

From Andy Frankham-Allen, editor for the Space 1889 series:

We’ve noticed a few people asking if we’d be doing a season-pass for the second series of Space: 1889 & Beyond. Originally the answer was ‘no’, due to the initial behind-the-scenes chaos with getting the series together. However, we’ve found a way to change that. And so, we’re very pleased to announce that ‘yes!’ we are now doing a season-pass. But there is a catch!

It’s a good one, mind.

The season-pass is only available until August 15th – so if you fancy saving £3.20 ($5) off the entire second series, then run along now and pick up the season-pass for only £10.87 ($17). Yes, that’s just over a tenner for six books! Who can pass up such a deal? But hurry, this only lasts for two weeks.

Available at the Untreed Reads store here

Everything H.G. Wells could have written.

Everything Arthur Conan Doyle thought of,

but never published – because it was too fantastic!

Space 1889 Series Two is here!