Rogue One Junior Novel Hardcover Out Today

The ebook edition of the Rogue One junior novel I wrote came out on the same day as the film, back in December, but the print edition is finally shipping today! It’s a snazzy little hardcover with eight pages of color photos from the film tipped into the middle of it, and it tells the full story of the film, with additional little tidbits added here and there.

I’m pretty thrilled about this release because while lots of adults read ebooks, most kids still seem to prefer getting their hands on an actual book. This is when they’ll finally be able to find the story in libraries and at book fairs and really dig into it.

I want to thank the folks at Lucasfilm for asking me to write this book, especially Jennifer Heddle, Sammy Holland, and Michael Siglain. They were a true pleasure to work with and gave me every bit of support I needed along the way to make the book the best it could be. I hope every kid who reads it enjoys it as much as I did writing it.

While I have your attention, I’d like to also reveal that I slipped into the book a tribute to my pal Jeff Mackintosh, a brilliant graphic designer who died of brain cancer (glioblastoma multiforme) last fall. With the approval of Jennifer Heddle and the Lucasfilm Story Group (to whom I’m extremely grateful), I named one of the characters Toshma Jefkin in Jeff’s honor, making him forever part of Star Wars canon.

A well-veiled (as in hardly at all) spoiler below.

In the film’s final scene (and page 185 of the book), a rebel hands a data card through a door that’s stuck cracked open. We barely see the unnamed person on the other side, but he carries that card on and delivers it to the captain of that ship, making him a vital link in the stealing of the Death Star’s plans and that station’s eventual destruction. That’s Toshma Jefkin.

May the Force be with him. And, well, with us all.

This Weekend: The UW Writers’ Institute and Gary Con

That’s right, I’m going to hit two different events this weekend, much like a kid in a bad sitcom with two dates in the same night. Annnnd the metaphor breaks down there, so just cue the “Yakkity Sax,” and let’s get to it.

First up, you can find me this Friday at Gary Con IX, in beautiful Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. My first event is “Game Design Metaphors,” at 8 AM with Doug Niles and Skip Williams. Right after that, at 10 AM, I’m talking about my book Dungeonology. Then I’m taking the rest of the day off until the Gen Con 50 reception that night, which is set to kick off the year’s celebrations for the milestone show.

Saturday, I’m teaching at the UW-Madison Writers’ Institute, which has me on a more rigorous schedule.

9:40 AM: Writing Comics and Games and Tie-In Books

11:10 AM: Dream Worlds: Creative World-Building

12:35 PM: Book signing

2 PM: Writing Fast and Well

I’m told that the last one will be live streamed, which means that if you’re not fortunate enough to make it to the Writers’ Institute, you can still check it out. It’ll be one of the very few slots for which that’s happening, though, so don’t think of it as a substitute for attending if you can.

On Sunday, I head back to Gary Con with the kids to actually play some games!

I hope to see you at one or both events. They’re sure to be lots of fun, each in their own ways. I wish they hadn’t been on the same weekend in two different cities, but fortunately the organizers for both were able to work with me so I can attend each. Double the fun!

Gen Con’s Industry Insider Applications Now Open!

Actually, the applications process to become one of the featured speakers for Gen Con’s Industry Insiders slate has been open since Sunday, February 26, and more than twenty people have already applied. The closing date is March 19, though, so if you’re a gaming industry professional, you still have more than two weeks to get your application in.

To apply, just go to the proper part of the Gen Con website. You need to setup an account and login to the site to be able to start digging into the process. For your convenience, I’ve reproduced some of the most pertinent information below.

To sum up, if you’re deeply involved in the games industry and have the time and inclination to share your expertise with others, please apply! And if you’re not, please spread the word!

I’m on the panel of people who select the presenters (along with Ajit George and Nicole Lindroos), and we love having a wide and varied pool of talented applicants to choose from. This is Gen Con 50, so we’re hoping to have some truly special speakers and panels to share with our fellow gamers.


What is the Industry Insider Program?
Gen Con’s Industry Insider program is first and foremost a program based around all things gaming related. It consists of a curated track of events made up of seminars, panels, and workshops that are suggested and hosted by industry insiders themselves, events which are then highlighted by Gen Con. Each year the topics/events differ as the industry insiders’ change, but they always remain based around games.

What Does It Mean to Be a Featured Presenter in the Program?
It means you have a point of view about a subject and are willing and able to share your knowledge with others by sitting on panels discussing topics you are familiar with and/or hosting seminars. Basically having discussions on topics you are know about. It also means you’re interacting with fellow professionals and attendees interested in learning more about the industry and/or shaping its future.

What Do You Look For In a Featured Presenter?
Gen Con strives to bring as much diversity to the Industry Insider program as we can; we want people from all backgrounds and understandings to submit to be a featured presenter. The Advisory Panel makes every effort to reach out to all individuals representing all aspects and different experiences in the industry. We encourage people from all backgrounds and experiences to submit. If you know someone who would make a good fit, please encourage them to submit as well.

What Subject Matter Does Gen Con Look for With Submitted Topics?
The Industry Insider program is made up of topics that are submitted by the featured presenters themselves, along with some suggested topics from the advisory panel and/or Gen Con. Topics are suggested by the presenters, so each year the program is different, but similar!

What is Required of an Industry Insider Featured Presenter?
Industry Insider Featured Presenters must attend Gen Con and are asked to …

  • Participate in 3-5 seminars/panels over the course of all four days of the convention; flexibility is key.
  • Submit topics you are interested in and would like to host at the show. We encourage you to host interactive events such as workshops. The topics you submit will be incorporated into the events being offered under the Industry Insider program. Topics should be broad enough for other featured presenters to participate with you.

What do Industry Insider Featured Presenters Get In Return?Gen Con offers the following to those accepted into the program …

  • A complimentary “Industry Insider” badge (good for all fours days of the show)
  • Highlight, including a picture and bio, on our website and in a dedicated section of the program book
  • A hotel code that allows access to an exclusive block of “self-pay” rooms just for Industry Insider Featured Presenters (you are responsible for acquiring your room and covering the costs)
  • Access to the VIG Lounge located in the Convention Center. The VIG Lounge offers relaxed seating areas, free Wi-Fi, and complementary drinks among other things.
  • Early access to the Exhibit Hall on Thursday morning

How the Process Works …

  • Interested individuals introduce themselves using the online form. (Please note that submitting does not mean you are automatically accepted into the program.)
  • The Industry Insider Advisory Panel reviews the submissions and makes selections (based on the individual and topics submitted)
  • Individuals are notified either way regarding their status
  • The Advisory Panel selects the topics, based on the submissions, which makes up the event programming being offered for the Industry Insider program for the current show. The panel also recommends panelists (from the current Industry Featured Presenter list) who will take part in the discussions.
  • Featured Presenters will have an opportunity to review the topics and fellow panelists they have been selected for.

Join Me at the Author Slam

This Saturday, February 25th, from 4 to 8 PM, the UW Writers’ Institute is hosting an author slam at Mystery to Me, an excellent independent bookstore at 1863 Monroe Street, Madison, Wisconsin. They’re going to have a baker’s dozen of writers doing short readings, with group signings at the end of each hour. I’m the lead-off author, so don’t be late!

2017: The Year of Catching Up

Wow, you can tell how I’m busy I am by how much time goes between updates here. On a personal level, I’m on a new medication (Humira) for the health issues that have plagued me since 2013, and it seems to be helping a lot. I’m taking sharp advantage of that renewed energy to get to work catching up on various projects.

First off, I finished the first draft of Monster Academy: I Will Not Burn Destroy the Kingdom. That’s the third book in that long-delayed trilogy, and with any luck at all, I’ll have it shipped off to my Kickstarter backers this spring. That’s a huge load off my shoulders, and I cannot wait for my backers and then the rest of the world to be able to read it.

On that note, clever readers might notice I haven’t released the second book in that trilogy to the public yet. Once I have book three out to my backers, I’ll launch Monster Academy: I Will Not Burn Down the School too, and then I Will Not Destroy the Kingdom soon after that. School ends with a bit of a cliffhanger, and I didn’t want readers to have to wait too long for Kingdom. Now they won’t.

Next up, I’ve just started working on a novel for Exalted, a tabletop roleplaying game from my pals at the Onyx Path (and White Wolf before that). I wrote a prequel short story for it that appeared in Exalted: Tales From the Age of Sorrows, which debuted about a year back, and I have an approved outline, so hopefully this one will go fast.

After that, I’m getting back to Loot Drop, a modern-day thriller I sold to Tor/Forge ages ago and have been dying to write. The political landscape has changed a bit since I first came up with the idea for the book, and I think that’s going to be reflected in the final manuscript.

Meanwhile, I’m also working on a number of projects which haven’t been announced yet. I’ll post more details on those when I’m able. They include new tie-in novels, a new video game, and some other fun things.

On top of that, I have the rights back to Amortals, Vegas Knights, and Carpathia. I’m looking into ways to re-release those later this year, with new covers. That might involve a Kickstarter to get hardcover copies into your hands, but I’ve vowed not to run any more of those until I get the last of the Monster Academy books in my backers’ hands.

Still, that might be soon.

If you’re looking to catch up with me in person, you can find me at a number of events this year. I post them on my Appearances page as they come up, but in short, bullet-list form:

Anyhow, back to it!

Tales from the Loop Ends Soon

The folks over at Fria Ligan (Swedish for Free Legion, and publishers of Coriolis and Mutant) have a hit on their hands with Tales from the Loop, a new tabletop roleplaying game based on artist Simon Stålenhag‘s stunning creations in the 2015 art book of the same name. As I write this, the Kickstarter drive for the book has raised over $250,000 and still has five days to go.

The game is set in an alternate Sweden in the 1980s in which an particle accelerator (the Loop) has altered things in strange and wonderful (and sometimes dangerous) ways. You play teenagers who get caught up in the troubles around the Loop and investigate.

The thing that really sells it all, of course, is Simon’s amazing artwork. It features an amazing combination of his naturalistic style tinged with brilliant touches of the fantastic.

The Kickstarter drive is knocking down stretch goals left and right. For their fourth stretch goal, they promised to include a US setting in the base game, “written by a seasoned US game writer.” As it turns out, that writer is me.

My portion of the book is a small fraction of the whole, only about 5,000 words, but it promises to be amazing fun. If Tales from the Loop piques your interest, be sure to check out the Kickstarter. That clock’s ticking.

Join Me in Beloit

16decauthormeet

Join me December 3 for the Stateline Author Meet & Greet. This is the author fair at my local, hometown library, right here in beautiful Beloit, Wisconsin. Not only is it a great library, that day it’ll be packed with all sorts of amazing local authors, many of whom will have their books for sale there, just in time for holiday shopping.

I don’t normally bring much with me to sell, since most of my books are released through major publishers, but I’ll have samples of all sorts of my work to show. As always, I’m happy to chat about reading, games, and writing as well as sign anything I worked on. I hope to see you there!

Join Me at Gamehole Con!

ghc4logoThis weekend, I’m one of the guests of honor at Gamehole Con in Madison, Wisconsin. This is my last scheduled public appearance of the year, before I hunker down in my writing den for the winter.

I was a guest last year too, and I had an absolutely wonderful time at the show. If you’re a gamer and you can make it out to Madison this weekend, be sure that you do. For one, there’s an astounding lineup of guests, including Peter Adkison, Jolly Blackburn, Wolfgang Baur, Chris Clark, Monte Cook, Shanna Germain, Jeremy Crawford, Ed Greenwood, Ernie Gygax, Luke Gygax, Allen Hammack, Andy and Kristin Looney, Mike Mearls, Dave Megarry, Frank Mentzer, Marc Miller, Doug Niles, Erol Otus, Jen Page, Merle Rasmussen, Chris Perkins, Paul Peterson, Stefan Pokorny, Steven Schend, Rob Schwalb, Elisa Teague, Jim Ward, Tom Wham, Rob Wieland, and Tom Lommel (a.k.a. Bill Cavalier, the Dungeon Bastard).

On top of that, my friend Jeff Martin is bringing True Dungeon to the show. This is the first convention this amazing, live-action fantasy roleplaying game been available outside of Gen Con, and getting a chance to play in it is worth the price of admission itself. If it’s not sold out, find a way to wedge yourself into a game. It’s stunningly entertaining.

Like the cherry on top of this gaming sundae, my pal John Kovalic (of Apples to Apples and Munchkin fame) has resurrected Dorkstock, his con inside a con, just for Gamehole Con. He has a full slate of events scheduled, all of which are guaranteed fun.

I’m scheduled to run a pair of Shotguns & Sorcery RPG sessions, each of which is already sold out. I’m also going to be on a panel called “A D20 in One Hand and a Laptop in the Other” at 6 PM on Friday, along with Tim Gerritsen, Jason Blair, and Keith Matejka. On top of that, I’m scheduled to be at the autograph area at 10 AM on Saturday and 11 AM on Sunday. While I’m there, I’ll have a stack of bookplates for my latest book, Dungeonology, which you can grab and slap into your book when it arrives. Or, if you’re one of the lucky few who grabbed one early, I can scribble directly inside your book instead.

Either way, I hope to see you there!

Dungeonology Is Here!

dungeonologyMy latest book, Dungeonologyis here! While it was originally slated to be released on November 8 in both the US and the UK, the American publisher (Candlewick Press) decided to bump up the release date to October 21. That was, um, ten days ago, and apparently I was too busy to notice.

Anyhow, it’s already sold out at Amazon (woot!). They should have more in stock “soon,” but you can still order it today through Barnes & Noble or directly from Candlewick.

Oddly Books-A-Million and IndieBound still list it as shipping on November 8. Guess they didn’t get the memo either.

If you can manage to get a copy of it to me at Gamehole Con, I’d be happy to sign yours this weekend. If not, I’ll have a stack of bookplates you can grab and slap into your book when it arrives.

For those who don’t know, this is the latest in the bestselling -Ologies series, which includes books like Dragonology, Alienology, and Spyology. This is the first book in the series based on a license for an existing setting: Dungeons & Dragons. The folks at Templar Publishing set it all up and hired me to write the book, which is set in the most popular D&D world of all, the Forgotten Realms.

img_7637

The amazing pop-out map that comes in the middle of the book.

To get me started, Templar sent me a stack of –Ology books, and Wizards of the Coast sent me a stack of D&D books. My job was to mash both those stacks together into a fun and easy introduction to the original fantasy roleplaying game, which I’d grown up playing. I had a fantastic time with it, and I think it shows in the end.

I need to give a shout-out to several people who helped make this book a reality. At Templar, international sales director (and huge D&D fan) James Tavendale (for whom I wrote More Forbidden Knowledge ages ago) recommended me for the job and pushed the whole thing hard from inside. Creative director Helen Wicks oversaw the entire project and made it happen. Editor Kirsty Walters kept both me and the entire project on track. Every step of the way, they all showed the kind of constant enthusiasm writers dream of working with.

Check out that foil-embossed cover!

Check out that foil-embossed cover!

Over at Wizards of the Coast, licensing manager Hilary Ross made sure I had everything I needed from start to finish. D&D writer Adam Lee ensured the things I wrote accurately resonated with the Forgotten Realms. Both of them proved invaluable resources for all sorts of wild questions I had about the Forgotten Realms and were fantastic about not just pointing out my mistakes but providing solutions that made the book that much better every time.

I also have to give special thanks to Ed Greenwood, the creator of the Forgotten Realms. Not only did Ed not mind me writing a book in the voice of one of the characters he created (Volothamp Geddarm, narrator of many D&D guides), but he also agreed to write a foreword to the book in the voice of his most famous creation, the wizard Elminster. This appears as a letter tucked into an envelope pasted into the inside of the book’s front cover, and it’s absolutely, spot-on hilarious.

Anyway, no matter how and when you manage it, I hope you grab a copy of the book soon. It’s been getting wonderful reviews, and I think you’ll discover it makes the perfect gift for the D&D-curious pal in your life.

a1ti1ikfo7l

An interior spread about some of the most dangerous monsters in the Forgotten Realms.

a16sduczn-l

An interior spread about clerics and the various organizations in the Forgotten Realms.

 

 

Blood Bowl Novels Back in Gorgeous Boxed Set

blprocessed-blood-bowl-collection-1Yesterday, Games Workshop’s books division—the Black Library—announced that it’s bringing my Blood Bowl novels back into print in an exclusive, limited-edition boxed set.

For those who don’t know, Blood Bowl is GW’s game of fantasy football, which is slated for the release of a brand-new edition soon. In this case, the “fantasy” comes from playing the game not with pro athletes but dwarves, elves, vampires, skeletons, trolls, and the like. It’s ludicrously violent, but it’s also funny/punny in a silly way. The players and fans drink Bloodweiser and Killer Genuine Draft, for instance, and the team featured in the books is the Bad Bay Hackers.

The boxed includes all four of my Blood Bowl novels, all of which came out between 2005 and 2007. They include:

These are all available as ebooks now, of course, and you can grab the entire digital collection at once too.

Now, for the first time ever, each book comes in a beautiful hardcover edition, and they look gorgeous, with a fantastic, spot-varnished painting that crosses all four spines. The box itself is even better, with wonderful details embossed into the exterior.

The set is limited to 500 copies, plus the one sitting on my bookshelf right now. (I might need a trophy case for this one! Honestly, it seems like a pity to put it on a shelf where you can’t see the sides.)

They ship out on November 28, so they should arrive in plenty of time to make a great holiday gift for your favorite Blood Bowl fan—which is maybe you!