Tuesday, October 28, 2014

No Surprises?

I told myself I'd post a blog every week. I thought I'd stick to it. Well...the previous week our Internet and telephone went out. Gone. Dead. Static. Just got fixed yesterday, hence I'm typing this. I'm amused at the problem behind our outage. Frontier hired some new people, and one of said new people hit some keys on a computer and apparently disconnected a few folks in my area. It was peaceful. No phone ringing for days. No posting inane comments and wonderful dog pictures to Facebook. I think I'll detach from the world every once in a while from now on. It felt good.

This past weekend I attended a small game convention in Bloomington, IL. I like small conventions, friendly, relaxed, you can walk from one end of the hall to the other without feeling like a sardine inching along on a conveyor belt. I played Pathfinder. I love roleplaying games. I've been playing them since college. And I actually tried my first session of D&D in the con suite of the very first WindyCon. Yes, that was a LONG WHILE ago. I went on to work for TSR for more than seven years and ran a chunk of Gen Con. Games are in my blood, I guess.

So this convention was fun, but I played a game in which one individual took over the action. For better than an hour, I sat quietly while his character went ahead to "check out" the dungeon. My character tried to edge forward, but he scolded me, saying he wanted to stay at least two rooms ahead of everyone else.

I was bored.

To tears.

But worse than that, his reason for "scouting ahead" was to keep the rest of the party safe. He rolled a "43" on his hide check. If you're a gamer, you know that's darn impressive to impossible for a mere 7th level character. He said he wanted to discover all the threats and to make sure there were no surprises, and by hiding and moving ahead he could do that.

No surprises?

No shock at a monster jumping out from around the corner?

No sense of fear or dread when you trip that trap that unleashes a flamestrike?

What fun is that?

I want a game--and a world for that matter--that surprises me, that astonishes me. I want the books I read to catch me off guard. I want my movies to provide a plot twist I didn't see coming. I don't want the surprises taken away. Take my breath away instead!

Don't ever take away the surprises.

Y'all have a good week. My fantasy football team won...that pleasantly surprised me.



Friday, October 10, 2014

And so it begins . . .

Friends have urged me for quite some time to do a blog. URGH. I'm not terribly savvy at this sort of stuff, nor do I like to take time away from writing. BUT I understand this is important to help draw folks to my books, so here goes:

I've got some neat stuff happening that I want to write about but that I can't write about until I sign contracts ... don't want to jinx myself, ya know.

So I'll write about breakfast instead.

I have the pleasure of breakfasting at least once a month with the glorious Gene Wolfe (who does not blog...smart man). We meet at Cracker Barrel and argue over who is picking up the check. He inspires me, makes me laugh, and I count myself fortunate to have him for a friend. I got to breakfast with him yesterday, before stopping at the ORCHARD for HONEY CRISP APPLES and going to the post office.

And I'll write about mail.

AND SO IT BEGINS. Some years ago I used to send editors and publishers I'd worked with boxes of nuts or candy at Christmas to thank them for the various projects they'd included me on throughout the year. I've worked with SOOOOOO many editors and publishers now that I can't keep the practice up, just too expensive. I send them cards and notes instead.

BUT because I'd ordered STUFF and continue to order goodies for an old uncle and my husband's aunt, I get CATALOGS CATALOGS CATALOGS and from places I'd never ever ordered or knew existed ... because they share mailing lists. NOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooo. I've tossed more than a dozen in for recycling already. Swiss Colony, Figis, fruit companies (4 of these with juicy-looking oranges on the covers went out yesterday), Popcorn Factory, Wine Country (which by the way if you're ordering goodies has the best assortment for the price and often with free shipping). Toss Toss Toss. I've asked to be removed from mailing lists. That seems to generate even more catalogs.

I only order three or four things out of these catalogs each fall. It is costing them much more money to solicit from me than they are making from me. 

And yet, it's not all bad ... I have been inspired to write a short piece of fiction regarding this holiday mail volley.

So I suppose the junk mail has been useful.

Have a great weekend. I'll do this again next week...hopefully with something more interesting or enlightening.