Dec 162014
 

Marvel 2014 CoverBelieve it or not, The Marvel Encyclopedia hit the New York Times Best Sellers list this week! It squeaked in at the absolute bottom of the Games and Activities list, right there at #20.

Not bad for a book that came out in March. This is my first ever time on the list with any of my books, though, and I’ll take it! Thanks again to all my collaborators and editors, as well as to the entire team at Marvel for making stories that are such fun to write about.

As I wrote a couple weeks back, the book made a fantastic run up the charts at Amazon.com, peaking at #5 in all books—before it sold out. That was two weeks ago, and Amazon still hasn’t been able to restock. It’s also showing shipping delays at Barnes & Noble, where it went as high as #14. (It may have gone higher, but BN.com doesn’t have the same kind of tracking tools as Amazon.)

During that time, my Author Rank at Amazon rocketed up to #32 at one point, which is all sorts of insane. It’s lowered down to far more reasonable levels now, and I suspect once the Christmas sales window is over, the glow will fade along with it.

Right now, though, I’m still kind of stunned, not only from the New York Times listing but also by the fact so many people are going to get to open this book up on Christmas morning. I hope they (and you!) all enjoy every bit of it.

At this point, the book seems to have sold out in many places (Books-A-Million claims to have them though!), but be sure to check with your local bookseller. That’s probably your best chance to find a copy to put under a tree or have for your own—at least until the restocks come charging in.

Thanks to you all for your support!

Dec 162014
 

SNSMockupOver at Kickstarter, the Shotguns & Sorcery roleplaying game drive has been kicking all kinds of starts. It hit its main goal in under a week, and it’s been rolling right past the stretch goals Outland Entertainment set up, one by one.

So far, the backers have unlocked three stretch goals, which adds another twenty pages of full-color art to the main book, plus a rules conversion for the bestselling Pathfinder RPG as well. In another $150 or so, they’ll unlock a Players Guide for the game as well. After that, we’re looking at printable player cards and even a 64-page monster folio.

The drive it wraps up late on January 1, 2015. While that might seem like a whole year away, it’s actually only 16 days. So stop on by the Kickstarter drive and check it out, before the year passes you by!

Dec 012014
 

Marvel 2014 CoverI’ve been stunned watching the sales rank for The Marvel Encyclopedia climbing on Amazon for the past month. The book came out in the spring, of course, but it’s the kind of thing that makes the perfect holiday gift.

At first I was thrilled when it cracked the top 500 back on November 17. I don’t think any book I’ve written had managed that before. But then it kept going. Lifehacker recommended it on Black Friday in combination with an Amazon coupon that knocked 30% off all printed books, and the sales went nuts.

On the 28th, it slipped into the top 200, and it was one of the top selling books in both the Reference and Graphic Novels categories. Yesterday, it smashed its way into the Top 100 Books on Amazon, and you could have knocked me over with a sharp, “Ho, ho, ho!”

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 9.25.16 AM

This morning, it skyrocketed even farther up the charts. As I write this, it stands as the #1 book in Comics & Graphic Novels, #1 in Reference, and #5 in Books.

All. Books.

That’s just insane!

Thanks to every one of you who bought the book. Thanks also to Alastair Dougall (my editor) and Rob Perry (the layout artist), who worked closely with me on the book and fashioned it into the fantastic and beautiful treasure it is. Thanks as well to Mike Deodato, Jr., whose incredible artwork graces the cover. I should also thank the folks who wrote the original edition back in 2006. I updated the book heavily for both the 2009 and 2014 editions, but it stands on the shoulders of their work. They include Tom DeFalco, Peter Sanderson, Tom Brevoort, Michael Teitelbaum, Daniel Wallace, and Andrew Darling. Thanks also to Ralph Macchio for his fantastic foreword and, of course, especially to Stan Lee for his introduction—as well as for creating much of what we know as the Marvel universe.

To be clear, I’m not bragging (well, not much) about the book’s success. It’s clearly riding the cape of Marvel’s incredible triumphs, both in comic shops and in movie theaters, and the amazing stories the writers and artists there have told over the past 75 years. My job here was to not screw it all up, and I’m happy to see it so entirely unscrewed.

Also, the runaway success of the book won’t make me rich. While I’m thrilled about it, I wrote the book as work-for-hire without a royalty, as often happens with such volumes. I was paid well and have no complaints about the deal. I’d get a little bit if you purchase it through this affiliate link, but no pressure at all. I’m just tickled to see the book getting into so many readers’ hands.

Of course, it doesn’t end here. If you think it might look good under your tree, or in the hands of someone else who might love it, please go check out The Marvel EncyclopediaYou’ll put a smile on their face—and mine too.

 

Nov 302014
 

14DecAuthorBanner-web

This Saturday, December 6, I’ll be part of the lineup of local authors gathered at the Beloit Public Library from 11 AM to 3 PM. All sorts of other writers will be there as well, including the illustrious Jerry Peterson. If we’re lucky, local creatives like Aaron Wilson, Jessica Fox-Wilson, Tom Warren, and Kimberly Vogel will join us, along with a few other surprises.

I don’t normally haul stock of books with me to things like this, but if you have something in particular you want from me, let me know and I’ll see if I can dig up a spare copy to bring along. Either way, I’ll be there for a good chunk of the day, so come on down and keep me company and bask in the bounty of books.

Nov 242014
 


As I mentioned last week, Outland Entertainment launched a Kickstarter drive for a tabletop roleplaying game based upon my Shotguns & Sorcery stories. It got off to a fantastic start, and as I write this, it’s over 90% funded.

First off, thanks to everyone who went over and backed the drive already. Kickstarters can live or die based on their momentum, and one that stumbles out the gate often never manages to fully fund. Because of you fine people, though, this drive exploded in its first day, and it’s been steadily growing ever since.

When Jeremy Mohler (Outland’s CEO and the project’s excellent artist) and I were discussing the Kickstarter, we spent a lot of time going back and forth about whether he should hedge his bets and start out with a black-and-white, print-on-demand version of the game or not. That would have allowed him to set the goal for the drive a lot lower, making it much more likely it would fund, but it also would have made it harder to switch to a traditional print run if the drive demanded it.

In the end, Jeremy decided to go with his gut and try for the higher goal so he could bring backers the book he really wanted to make: a full-color, high-quality, hardcover book printed on excellent paper. I’m thrilled that he did because the gamble has already paid off, and now all of the drive’s backers will benefit from that foresight.

Now that we’ve almost met the funding goal, stay tuned for upcoming news about stretch goals we can go for to make this book—and the entire game line—even better. Outland has some exciting ideas to put into play, and I think you’ll enjoy them all. And if you haven’t already checked out the drive, you’ll want to give it another look too.

 

Nov 172014
 

SNSMockup

Earlier this year, the folks at Outland Entertainment licensed my Shotguns & Sorcery™ setting from me for use as a tabletop roleplaying game. They’ve been hard at work since then, getting everything ready for a Kickstarter drive to fund the game’s publication. That Kickstarter launches tomorrow, November 18, at noon Central Time.

You can see a mockup of the cover here, of course, but better yet, you can go preview the Kickstarter right now. When you do, there’s a “Remind Me” button in the upper left. Click on that, and you’ll get a reminder email from Kickstarter the moment the drive launches.

Over there, you might notice that this standalone game will use the Cypher System™ engine from Monte Cook Games. Monte and his team developed this system for use with the best-selling, award-winning games Numenera and The Strange. It’s a great system, perfect for use with the Shotguns & Sorcery setting.

On top of that wonderful news, Outland lined up superstar designer Robert Schwalb to handle the crunchy bits of the game conversion while I concentrate on the background material. Add in the phenomenal artwork of Jeremy Mohler—Outland’s founder and CEO—and that’s one bang-up team.

So go check it out and let the Outlanders know what you think. And please help spread the word far and wide. I’m hoping for big things from this game, and I’m thrilled to have you along for the ride.

Nov 062014
 

wkheaderWhen I don’t update the blog here for a while, it’s because everything’s gone sideways, and I’m too busy to manage it. I just realized I haven’t written anything here since September, and that’s possibly a record since I launched this site back in 2003.

Much of that’s due to notable health issues in my family that I can’t discuss here. (Well, I could and maybe will at some time, but not quite yet.) But it’s also because of an overwhelming number of secret projects that I’ll be trumpeting from a mountaintop near you as soon as the time is right. Or at least from this blog. And Twitter and Facebook and all the usual suspects. Stay tuned.

One thing I’ve not announced here yet, though—and should have—is that I’ll be a guest of honor this weekend at What-Khan, down in Rockford, Illinois. It’s a brand-new gaming convention rising from the ashes of the classic show Rock-Con, which was held there for decades. Barring any disasters, I should be around on Saturday afternoon at least, playing D&D with my kids and enjoying the show. Stop by and join me if you can!

If you’re in Madison, Wisconsin, rather than Rockford, Illinois, you should also check out Gamehole Con, a great new show sponsored by many of the local gaming stores, including my pals at I’m Board! Games and Family Fun. They have a lot of great guests, including my pals Ed Greenwood, Doug Niles, Lester Smith, Frank Mentzer, Chris Perkins, Jolly Blackburn, Chris Clark, and Tom Lommel (the Dungeon Bastard).

I was hoping to get there myself on Friday, but I was called out of town until then. (I’m writing this from a hotel room in beautiful downtown Rochester, Minnesota.) Either way, it’s already on my schedule for next year.

tl;dr: More news soon. Play games this weekend!

 

 

Sep 152014
 

GrandConDudeThis weekend, September 19–21, I’ll be a guest of honor at GrandCon, a gaming and comics convention held in Grand Rapids, Michigan. They have a slew of other great guests joining me, including Jeff Dee, Dave Dorman, Ed Greenwood, Jeff Grubb, Richard Launius, Brad McDevitt, Mark McKenna, Pop Mhan, Mark Nelson, Paul Peterson, Keith Pollard, Boyan Radakovich, Stan!, Ryan Stegman, and hometown heroes Erik Bauer and Steven Schend.

My schedule, I’m told, includes:

Friday, September 19

  • 1 PM: World Building Seminar, Basic Concepts Pt. 1: You want to build a world for a campaign or a story. Where do you start? Hear how the masters of the Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, and myriad other settings create their worlds and swap stories from the dawn of gaming. With Ed Greenwood, Steven Schend, Jeff Grubb, and Stan!

Saturday, September 20

  • 10 AM: World Building Seminar, Basic Concepts Pt. 1: Okay, you have your basic fantasy (or not-so-fantasy) universe. What now? The Elder Gods of the Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, and other great fantasy universes talk about what happens next and how worlds and campaign settings evolve. With Ed Greenwood, Steven Schend, Jeff Grubb, and Stan!
  • 1 PM: Shared Worlds: Let’s take a look at the strengths & strains of working on a shared intellectual property from a fiction writing perspective. Are shared worlds stronger for stories or just bigger tapestries? Find out from several best selling authors and writers what they really think about writing in shared worlds. Come ask anything you need to know about shared worlds and writing. With Ed Greenwood, Steven Schend, Jeff Grubb, and Stan!

Sunday, September 21

  • 10:30 AM: Writers’ Feedback: Writing’s a solitary thing, but we all need other opinions for feedback & clarity. Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to critique well. Learn how to make sure you get what you need (and learn what to ignore). This panel can help answer questions on the best (and worst) feedback and critique. Many of our panelists are in a long-time writer’s group spread coast to coast called the Alliterates. All of them have also been both authors and editors at various stages across their careers. With Ed Greenwood, Steven Schend, Jeff Grubb, and Stan!

The rest of the time, I’ll either be wandering around and playing games, catching up with friends, or hiding in my hotel room and racing impending deadlines. This looks to be my last convention of the year, so if you can get out to the western side of Michigan this weekend, I hope to see you there!

Sep 122014
 

1882742-1403026693249My pal John Kovalic does many great things. He illustrates games like Apples to Apples and Munchkin. He draws the Dork Tower comic strip. He even plays a mean game of Fiasco. He dotes on his terribly dotable wife and daughter. And he does his best to help those in need.

Case in point, John’s riding his bike for 60 miles on Sunday to help get farm-fresh food to needy families around Madison. He did the same thing last year and raised $4,000. This time around, he set his goal at $5,000, and he blew straight past it. He’s now well over $11,000, and the drive doesn’t end until Sunday.

As an act of gratitude, John assembled a package of ebooks to give to those who back the drive. It features a stack of wonderful comics by him and his regular co-conspirators, and he’s giving away Munchkin artwork to some of the backers as well. On top of that, he asked some of his friends to help him show his appreciation to all those chipping in—and John has amazing friends.

I’m tossing in a free ebook of Dangerous Games: How to Play for everyone who donates, plus John asked me to write him a limerick. (Nothing like leaning on my Irish heritage for a good cause!) But he also lined up several other heavyweight authors to write limericks too, including:

Better yet, John (and possibly some of his artist friends) are going to illustrate each of the limericks. And to top it all off, the Doubleclicks have vowed to set Pat’s limerick to music!

So, head on over to John’s blog and check out the full roundup of glorious, fun things you can get. (He’s adding new things often, so the list may grow.) Then check out his Bike the Barns pledge page and give what you can. And make John bike like the wind!

Sep 102014
 

IMG_5132Yesterday, Magic: The Gathering: The Complete Collection came out from IDW. This collects all of the Magic: The Gathering comics published by IDW over the past few years, including twelve I wrote and another five by Jason Ciaramella. Artist Martin Cóccolo did a fantastic job with the the bulk of the pencils and inks for the entire run, and J. Edwin Stevens breathed life into my issues with his amazing colors.

The book also features the original, stunning covers by some of the top artists in the industry, including Alex Horley, Dan Scott, Aleksi Briclot, Carl Kopinski, Christopher Moeler, Chris Rahn, and Ryan Pancoast. It also shows many of the variant covers by artists like Tyler Walpole and Menton3.

It’s a heavy book, weighing in at 3.5 pounds. It’s taller and wider than the original comics, and it’s printed on top-quality paper that shows off every bit of the excellent art. The cover features a gold-foil logo and embossed icons from the game. It’s a thing of true beauty that would grace any shelf.

I hear the writing’s not too bad either.

Go grab it from your local comic shop or your favorite bookseller, and enjoy the Magic.