On Arisia

Crystal Huff, a friend of mine, just posted this.

It’s long, and it doesn’t make for very fun reading, as it’s the story of how — after more than a decade of close involvement with Arisia, not just as an attendee but as staff — she has ceased to be involved, because the con has twice now elected Noel Rosenberg as their president, despite knowing that he raped her.

I’m not going to recount the whole story here, because Crystal has done that herself, and you should be reading her words instead of mine. But I do want to say this:

I went to college in Boston. At the time I didn’t really attend cons, so I never went to Arisia, but I heard about it, and the things I heard were good enough that it’s long been on my list of “I should think about trying to go there some year.” Unsurprisingly, this is no longer true. Not only because Rosenberg is in a position of authority, but because — as you will see, when you read Crystal’s post — Arisia’s leadership as a whole has done an abominable job of handling the entire problem. They have not followed anything resembling best practices for addressing such reports, up to and including publicly disclosing Crystal’s name without her permission.

This is not a con I can trust with my safety, or that of anybody I know. So while I did not have any existing plans to attend Arisia — just a vague “ooh, I should do that someday!” intention — I now have very firm plans not to attend. Not this year, not next year, not any year until and unless this is made better. And if you’re an Arisia attendee, I encourage you to rethink that plan.

Apparently we can’t stop this kind of crap from being swept under the rug at the level of the Supreme Court. But we can still make a change on the ground, and we should.

Nighty Knights!

Many of you may recall that I’ve written several times for the TinyD6 RPG line (Tiny Frontiers, Tiny Dungeon, Tiny Wastelands, etc). That’s all been through Gallant Knight Games, but now I’m parterning with a different company, WunderWerks, for a Tiny D6-based game called Nighty Knights!

In this one you play stuffed animals defending sleeping children from monsters and nightmares. Like all TinyD6 games, the rules are very minimalist; it’s designed to be the kind of thing you can easily pick up and play with a minimum of prep. My contribution this time around will be setting material for Underbed and the Dreamlands, detailing the realms your stuffed animal PCs can adventure through.

The Kickstarter campaign has only been running for a few days, but it’s already up to 200% of its goal, with stretch goals falling like ninepins! If this sounds like your cup of tea, get in on the action now, with lots of cool rewards.

Lady Trent fan art!

For ages now I’ve been meaning to post about a lovely piece of fan art a reader sent me some time ago. Then, while I was failing to scan that and make the post, somebody else showed up online with a different lovely piece of fan art. And then, while I was drowning in finishing a book draft and still not making the post, yet a third reader made fan jewelry . . . and gave it to me as a present when I went to Borderlands Books for the LitCrawl.

Friends, three things make a post. So here, have fan art!

First up is from Chelsea Younglove:

"Dragon," by Chelsea Younglove
“Dragon,” by Chelsea Younglove

Second comes from Craig Houghton, via Twitter:

"Lady Trent" by Craig Houghton
“Lady Trent” by Craig Houghton

And the third is a necklace made by H. Emiko Ogasawara, based on Todd Lockwood’s sparkling sketch in A Natural History of Dragons:

"Sparkling" (necklace), by H. Emiko Ogasawara
“Sparkling” (necklace), by H. Emiko Ogasawara

This kind of thing is awesome enough (and now numerous enough) that I’ve made a Lady Trent fan art page on my website. If you have a piece of fan art you’d be willing to let me showcase there, just let me know!

Sekrit Projekt R&R, Chapter 24: Finit

113 days after we started writing — and one year and twenty-four days after we said, “hey, what do you think of this idea for a novel we could write together?” — the book is done.

Not 100% finished and ready to go, of course. We’ve both done a lot of revision along the way, but there are still things we need to expand on or add in (D—‘s dog appears out of nowhere halfway through the draft), and there are a lot of brackets marking things we need to name: people, districts of the city, cards in the divinatory pattern deck, etc. But you could read it through from beginning to end and there would be no holes, and I don’t expect there to be any major changes to the shape or feel of the story between now and when it does go out. We’ll be refining what we’re doing, not replacing parts of it with something else entirely.

For now, though, we rest. 113 days — not writing every single day, but more days than not, and averaging 1826 words per day across that span, i.e. more than that much on the days we actually wrote. My normal drafting pace is 1000 a day, so I guess this kind of works out to “normal,” just doubled because it’s two people? Except I don’t think that’s how the math works.

Yeah. ima go fall over now.

Word count: 206,347
Authorial sadism: When you pride yourself on your skill as a player, it hurts to realize you’ve been played.
Authorial amusement: It’s a bit like Volkswagon preferring to confess to fraud than be thought incompetent.
BLR quotient: When the blood is over with, rhetoric is there with a mop.

Sekrit Projekt R&R, Chapter 23

We budgeted two days to write the penultimate, climactic chapter.

We did it in one.

Word count: ~199,000
Authorial sadism: Turning V— into a chew toy.
Authorial amusement: Turning V— into a housemaid. Also, making people step repeatedly on the magical third rail.
BLR quotient: So very much blood. But if it weren’t for love, this all would have gone down in flames.

“The Faces of Halloweentown”

Back in 2013 I wrote a small treat for the Yuletide fanfic exchange called “The Faces of Halloweentown,”, about the nature of the place Jack Skellington rules in The Nightmare Before Christmas. That movie always hovers on a knife-edge for me — do I want to watch it around Christmas? Or around Halloween? The story I wrote falls firmly on the latter side of that question, so I thought I might link to it now, in celebration of the season.

Sekrit Projekt R&R, Chapter 22

Ooof.

One down, two to go.

Which is to say: after making our absurd plan to finish the book even more fasterer than we had originally planned (I say “originally” — that was, like, the third or fourth plan after the original original plan), we successfully finished Chapter 22. In which there is more humor than I had necessarily expected for the chapter in which the characters realize just how screwed they are, before they’re in a position to actually fix it. But we had one character high as a kite and getting distracted from telling people what they need to know, and Alyc continues to be good at thinking up vile language for a twelve-year-old to use, and man, you wouldn’t like T— when she’s angry and armed with a knitting needle.

Sunday and Monday, we write the climax. Before then, we need to patch two small holes earlier in the narrative — one a scene that needs to be rewritten to match the later story; the other a small interaction that’s getting added to an existing scene — because Alyc and I share the tic of needing to feel like there aren’t any holes in the draft before we write the end.

And tomorrow we get to take off and play a fun tabletop game, because oy vey do our brains need a break.

But it’s close.

So close.

Word count: ~192,000
Authorial sadism: M— has always been a terrible person, but one of the scenes here is where all masks and gloves come off and you see just how deep that goes.
Authorial amusement: Seriously, O— is the worst. minion. ever.
BLR quotient: Blood’s on top, but really, at this point in the story, the three are all pulling in harness together.

Sekrit Projekt R&R, Chapter 21

I put my cursor into the window to start typing this post, and my mental jukebox cued up “The Final Countdown.”

. . . which is pretty apt. We have three chapters left, but it doesn’t feel like it, because the avalanche has begun. Shit Went Down in this chapter, and while we have one more to go before the big confrontation, that’s all basically the overture, rather than something separate from the throwdown.

We had a nice, sensible plan for how we were going to approach that. Chapter 21 this week; Chapter 22 next week; Chapter 23 over the weekend (when neither of us have anything else scheduled and could give it two days of our unbroken attention); Ch 24 denouement the week after that, finishing up by the 26th. But, well, you’re getting this post on a Wednesday, because we finished Chapter 21 on Tuesday. And while we have something scheduled for this Saturday, Alyc declared that they could take a day off work. Like, say, Monday.

New plan, much less sensible. Chapter 21 and 22 this week; Chapter 23 Sunday-Monday; denouement next week. Done by the 19th.

We have no sense of self-preservation.

And neither do our characters, because they’re charging headfirst into danger. Allons-y!

Word count: ~182,000
Authorial sadism: Cities are easy to save. Broken hearts? Much harder to deal with. (Also, and much less seriously, making a Big Scary Character sit through a chiding, knowing that the random dude rowing the boat is listening to the whole thing.)
Authorial amusement: G— doing his not-so-subtle best to bail out of a Very Awkward Conversation. (Also, making the Big Scary Character sit through the aforementioned chiding.)
BLR quotient: It’s more or less blood from here on out.