Ramblings from the Gryphon Rose

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Swash that buckle! Come on, swash it!

My latest RPG book, The Free Musketeers is now out and available for sale:

This is the first of many books I’m doing for Talisman, and it was a lot of fun to write. I mean, come on! Musketeers? Sweet!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I am Transformed! Again!

Hey, check it out! My My second Transformers Animated book is now out and available for sale:

It was fun to write, so I hope it’s fun to read. And it has pretty pictures!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Blink blink

This is so weird.

I got new glasses yesterday. Well, I got new lenses, anyway—I had them put in one of my spare frames, so yes, I still look like me. But new lenses. And they’re messing with me.

Jendaby had been after me for a while to get my eyes checked and my prescription updated—ever since she found out that I hadn’t gotten them checked since a few months before I went to Scotland.

In early 1991.

Yes, it’s been almost eighteen years since my last eye exam.

I know, I know. Things just kept getting in the way. For a while—from the time we moved to NY to when I started full-time at this job, in fact—I didn’t have insurance. And before that I just didn’t have time.

But a few weeks ago we had to go to the eye doctor anyway, to get our daughter’s eyes checked—yes, she needed glasses before starting kindergarten—and to get jendaby’s prescription updated so she could order new contacts. So I finally got mine checked as well.

The eye doctor was not amused when she heard how long it had been. Shocked would be closer.

And yet—my eyes had barely changed at all. My left prescription when up a quarter step. My right actually went down a notch, because they had apparently overpowered it slightly to compensate for my astigmatism there. So now we dropped it back down to where it should be but upped the astigmatism correction.

So ha ha. Jendaby was rather nonplussed to learn that her eyes had changed as much or more in one year as mine had in eighteen. And other than those minor corrections my eyes are in great shape.

But now I have new lenses. In a pair of frames I haven’t worn in at least six years. So the fit is just a little different on the nose and behind the ears. And the lenses! The eye doctor warned that the right would seem a little distorted at first, and it does. I keep feeling like I’m using a camera and tightening the focus—every time I switch eyes or depths of field it takes a fraction of a second for my eye to adjust. It’s very odd, and more than a little disorienting. It should pass in a few days, though.

Meanwhile, my daughter has her new glasses! At first she refused to even put them on, but once she did we could tell they made a difference (though she refused to admit it until we left the eye doctor’s). Buying her a snazzy SpongeBob case and cleaning kit helped as well. And she has a week to get used to them before school starts. Aahhhh!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Shore Leave report

Well, we made it back from Shore Leave in one piece. It was a good time, if a little frustrating because of the wee ones.

We headed out Friday shortly after noon, and made good time on the drive—both kids were asleep for at least part of the trip down, so jendaby and I were able to talk and laugh and sing songs.

Got to the hotel without any difficulty, checked in, went and registered and picked up our badges, and then just bummed around for a bit. Nobody else we knew was around and up for dinner at the time so we wound up just eating at the hotel restaurant, which was eh but convenient.

Took the kids back to the room after that and got them ready for bed, then I stayed with them so jendaby could go wander a bit. That didn’t work out too well. The kids were sharing a double bed for the first time, and were so excited they were bouncing off the walls—literally. jendaby returned in time for me to head out to the 10pm Pro Party (the con’s en masse author signing) and the kids were still wide awake.

I had a good time at the signing—I was stationed at the far end of the corridor with Dave Mack, Dayton Ward, and Kevin Dilmore, and spent the time in between autographs chatting with them and the charming berkanna (who alarmed me when I introduced myself by announcing that she’d heard all about me already). The signing ran until midnight, after which we all adjourned to the bar until it closed at 2. Then I headed back to bed.

Saturday the kids woke us up early, as is their wont, but it took a while to get everyone dressed and ready. We wandered around a bit, checked out the art show and the dealer’s room, etc. We tried going to see the Boogie Knights perform but the kids didn’t want to listen to music so we had to turn around and head right back out rather than disturb everyone else. We’re conscientious that way. We left the hotel for lunch, finding a nice quiet restaurant (Greystone Grill) a few blocks away and enjoying a nice meal—we had a great waitress, which helped, and the kids were both showing off for her the whole time. Then we came back and I went to do my first panel.

It was called Writing and Managing a Day Job, about how having a day job could both benefit and hinder your writing. But it was close enough. My buddies Glenn Hauman, Bob Greenberger, Dave Mack, and Michael Jan Friedman joined me, and we had a good time talking about our day jobs, how they added to and conflicted with our writing, and how to make it all work together.

After that I headed back up, reaching the room scant moments before my youngest sister arrived with her fiancée. We all repaired to the hotel pool and had a lot of fun—this was the first time either of my kids had been in a pool and they both had a blast. Afterward we dried off, changed, and met up with Glenn to have dinner at a really cool BBQ place not far away. We got back—with a slight detour because the Wegman’s nearby had mini-kegs of Virgil’s Root Beer and neither my soon-to-be-brother-in-law nor I could resist—only a little late for the Masquerade, but my daughter said she was tired. So I took her back up and got her in bed while jendaby kept my son and went to watch the show. He didn’t last long, though, and they joined us less than an hour later. My daughter was still wide awake, of course.

With both kids in bed if not asleep, I headed back down to the bar, where all the other writers had gathered. justcomeinalone and xlillybelle had just arrived, so we hung out with Hildy, berkanna, ineti, Dave, Glenn, and many many others. Yet again we shut the bar down at 2. I hung around for a little more conversation—including a very amusing discussion about klingonguy and his work with nuns (“Nope, can’t use this one—she’s got a . . .”)—before calling it quits.

Sunday we got up and went down to have breakfast with some of the other writers. Then we went back to the room, packed up, and got ready. I had my Time and Business Management for Writers panel, which Glenn joined me on (though he was, ironically, late), and that went well. After that we checked out of the room. Next I went to the SCE panel. We paused afterward to chat with Dayton, Drew, and Jim before saying good-bye, heading to the car, and getting back on the road.

The drive back home took considerably longer than the drive there, in large part because several accidents caused traffic jams along the way. But we finally made it home around 7, ordered pizza, ate, and got the kids ready for bed. Then around 10 jendaby and I both lay down, ostensibly just to rest for a bit—and didn’t wake up until our son started screaming a little after 3. He was having some issues—we think from spider or mosquito bites—and we were up with him until after six. Which meant I got to close my eyes again for less than an hour before getting up for work.


It was a good trip, though. Chasing after the kids was a hassle, of course, and their refusal to sleep was difficult, but the panels were good, we saw a lot of good friends, made several new friends, and generally had fun. We’re definitely planning to attend again next year, though I intend to line up a few more panels and also make better arrangements for the kids next time around.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Shore Leave details

For anyone attending Shore Leave this weekend, here’s my current schedule:

Meet the Pros
Hunt-Valley Corridor

Heroes: Claire and Present Danger
1-2 pm
Salon A

Writing and Managing a Day Job
3-4 pm
Salon E

Time and Business Management For Writers
Derby Room

I’ll be wandering around the rest of the time, of course, and there are a few other panels (SCE, Morality in the Whoinverse) I might sit in on. Jendaby and the kids will be with me. Look for us if you're there!

Monday, July 07, 2008

New Release!

And, because I forgot in all the July Fourth madness:

Look, another one of my books came out!

My second World of WarCraft novel Beyond the Dark Portalis now officially available:

I got my author copies last month, and it looks great. Apparently it's currently ranked #3321 at Amazon—I have no idea what that means, but it sounds good to me!

Do they make baby gates out of salt?

Because that might be the only barrier the demonspawn masquerading as my children would actually respect.

Last night after we put them in bed I went into the office to do some work (reading back over a project I finished Friday and was sending in this morning). A few minutes later I heard all sorts of loud thumping—and giggling. Going into their room, I discovered that our daughter had pushed her child-sized wooden chair up against our son’s crib and set a toy bin lid across its arms to fashion steps for him so he could get out. Very sweet, yes, but not exactly safe and certainly not conducive to sleep. I took the chair away and put him back in.

Five minutes later, he was out again. I don’t know how. She claimed he managed it on his own “with his legs.” I have no idea what that means.

After two or three more returns to his crib, I stepped into their room and caught him mid-act—hanging on the side of his crib by his fingers and toes. It was like one of those action movie scenes where the guy has to duck out of an office window and is clinging to the ledge. Swell. Obviously our son can escape his crib at will now. So I got my tools and the necessary parts and converted his crib to a youth bed—took the front rail off and replaced it with two short guards on the sides to keep him from rolling out of bed in his sleep. Now at least he won’t break his neck escaping his bed.

Unfortunately, this also meant he and his sister now have unfettered access to both beds and to the entire room. They spent the next THREE HOURS racing around. Literally. They didn’t fall asleep until some time between eleven and midnight.

And this morning, shortly after six, they were both in our room. And the bathroom. And the office.


I don’t know how we’ll ever keep them contained again.

In other news, I had a really good weekend. Got off work early Thursday, which is always nice. Friday we went to a friend’s party out in NJ, all four of us, and had a great time—excellent company, good food, volleyball, wine, some other kids for our daughter to play with (and jendaby and I trade off chasing after our son the Destroyer of Worlds). Much fun. We had to leave earlier than we might have liked in order to get the kids home—we put them in PJs before we left and carried them up to bed sound asleep—but we still managed to stay and socialize for a while.

Saturday slothshaman and I went to another friend’s party—really three friends’ party, because one was hosting but another was grillmaster and a third was chief bottlewasher. This one was out in Long Beach and we had a blast—AMAZING food, excellent company, nice walk on the beach. Very cool. I got back around 1:30 but jendaby and I still stayed up to watch the Dr. Who season finale. I enjoyed some of it but large parts were just fanfic and I HATED much of the end.

Yesterday was just chilling at home, except for a short run to the grocery store.

And now it’s back to a regular work week. And hoping there’s still a house—and a wife!—left when I get back home this evening.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Okay, this is cool

I just got an email informing me that I was one of the featured profiles on NextCat. Neat!