January 5th, 2009

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A Sale, A Project, and MUSICAL MAAAAADNEEEEEESSS

What's a nice way to start a New Year? Well, for a writer it's getting an acceptance. Though it did not come in on the first, I received an acceptance notice that my story "Hunter's Rite" (my second fiction sale, actually), will be reprinted in an upcoming issue of Fear and Trembling magazine.

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Currently, I am revising an entry for the Dark Heresy roleplaying game adventure contest. Basically, the contest is a call for writers to assemble a full adventure in under 10,000 words. My first draft was 12,000; I have been paring it down steadily and it should be just about right when completed.

Will I win? It'd certainly be nice. Nevertheless, I've been having a ball immersing my imagination in the baroque sf worlds of Warhammer 40,000, as well as further exploring the Game Design side of writing.

I never fully delved into W40k prior to the Dark Heresy release. Sure I've long loved the artwork (and the board game Space Hulk will ALWAYS hold a special place in my heart), but miniature gaming was always too expensive a hobby (though my best friends from high school were regular players, with a ping pong table converted to generic battle field and more).

The RPG centers around the doings of the fanatical Inquisition. The players assume the roles of Acolytes to this organization, dedicated to weeding out heresy, mutation, aliens and daemonic plots. The game is decidedly gloomy (go figure, with such catch phrases as "Purge the Unclean!" and "Let the Galaxy Burn," and "In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war."), with trust and hope to be found in small quantities. The trick as I see it, since I have been weaned from all-encompassing-darkness for all-encompassing-darkness' sake by T's need for whimsy, is to provide a few outlets of hope to keep the Players playing while offering up a plot that both satisfies, while avoiding railroading Players into a linear progression (never easy, establishing and maintaining the illusion of free will in a sequence of what are essentially predetermined events). It's a tricky juggling task, and it's been exercising writing muscles that I have not used in a while.

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New Feature:
iPod Wonkiness!!!! (Yes, there are four exclamation points after that. Your eyes do not deceive you.)

So, one of the gifts I got this December season was an iPod classic. Humorously, I was already starting to rip all my CDs to my computer prior to the holidays (started when I was putting together a mix CD for T, and I just decided to keep the momentum going; humorous aside, I currently have over 370 hours of soundtracks, and I've a couple of loaned CDs I still need to rip... Wow.). Well, after much iTunes trouble (I ripped via Windows Media Player, and so had to convert from Microsoft format to iTunes format), this morning I listen to all my CDs on shuffle.

So far, I heard the Marilyn Manson Intro to the Portrait of an American Family album (wherein he recites the Willy Wonka boat monologue, with eeriness amped as high as it will go and set against bizarre audio damage soundscapes), followed by a Phantom of the Opera track (I kid you not, the first line is: "No more talk of darkness"), followed by one of Jerry Goldsmith's blood pumping tracks from the excellent L.A. Confidential score (a heart pounding, perched on the edge of madness piece called, "Bloody Christmas"), followed by a Three Days Grace Track followed by a very infective goth band cover of "Passion of Lovers", followed by an eerie ambient track from Midnight Syndicate's The Dead Matter CD. It's a gloomy, romantic day!


An aside about iPods:
Once upon a time, I poo-pooed these devices (well the idea of using one, personally). I did end up buying T one (two actually, a full sized U2 edition and a smaller clip sized one) since she's up and on her feet all day around the lab. Well, then I found the joy of jogging to music. Needless to say, I am converted. It also amuses the hell out of me that this little device has more memory than both of my laptops combined (discounting my external hard drive, of course).

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This year, I hope to get some more comics related materials on this blog. I also intend to be a more regular blogger, too. We shall see what happens, huh?
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Another New Feature for Dan's Blog... What Books Have I Bought?

So, this year in addition to keeping a list of what I've read, maybe I'll see just how bad a book-aholic I am and keep a running list of books acquired this year. Using negative numbers, I can then compare the two lists and see if I end up with more books finished or purchased. Does this make me odd? Yeah, it does. I won't be keeping track of individual issue comic book purchases, because that way lies madness. (However, Trades and whatnot? Sure!) Likewise, I won't keep track of gift buys for other folks because that way lies present spoilers.

So, Saturday, I made a couple of purchases (for me, me, me):

-1) A Garden of Earthly Delights by Joyce Carol Oates. First book of her Wonderland Quartet. Read chapter one and I was captivated (but not quite so much as by the other purchased book).

-2) Expensive People by Joyce Carol Oates. Second book of Oates' Wonderland Quartet. Read the first line and was abso-freaking-lutely blown away. I then read the first chapter with open mouthed JEALOUSY (I long to write half so well). Had to restrain myself from reading more, until my current "I'm in the middle of a book" stack is reduced (and, I tell myself, until after reading the first book in the quartet; probably not necessary as it's an informal quartet, thematically linked, but I'm odd enough to want to read it in the order of publication).

Yes, I adore Joyce Carol Oates' work (though I have not read even a majority of it, as yet). Her short fiction offered revelations aplenty about the power and workings of language, when I started paying attention to such things. "Where are You Going, Where Have You Been?" "Do You Ever Slip on Red Blood?" and more... From these, I ventured into her delightful novellas and wonderful novels. I look forward to reading these lovely books, though they'll undoubtedly whack me upside the head about my own lack of talent. Apparently, I am a masochist when it comes to such blows. I like reading great books.