My Gen Con 2015 schedule!

Gen Con starts for me tomorrow, I’m super excited about going back, I decided not to go last year and the lapse has made the excitement hardly bearable. This year I’ll be going with a local crew, the first time this has ever happened. There are around 5 of us locally going but one of those are meeting up with some other friends, so we could have somewhere between 8 and 10 people total. Those are great numbers for spinning off pick up games in the lobbies and hotel rooms.
Although I’d be just as happy putting up a post about how excited I am (I’m very excited, if you haven’t heard), I’m also using this to round up some of the events that I’ll be attending and some of the other things I look forward to… basically it’s a guide for myself to Gen Con. If you’re not a 1) total nerd and 2) Gen Con attendee, you can probably skip this post. This is more for those who might have an interest in seeing how other people organize their convention schedules. Hopefully it’ll be of some use to those of you who are still here, especially if you like the Writer’s Symposium events that occur at the con.


Wednesday I’ll get in around 10:45am with three others from my area on the same flight. The fifth comes in about half an hour later when we’ll hopefully be able to grab an Uber to take us downtown. I used to grab a shared ride limo with a company called Carey Indiana, but they shut down that program for some reason. Worst case scenario, we’ll have to take the Go Shuttle into town.
Wednesdays are unofficial days each year at the con, when I used to take part in the Gen Con Forums I would go to The Stink, which was a celebration for people who were forumites. Since I haven’t logged on in a couple years, I’ll probably skip it. The last one that I was at was okay, it’s always in the really cool Grand Hall of Union Station, beautiful to check out at the least. Grand Hall at Union Station
For me, Wednesday will be a prep day and an anxiously awaiting the opening of the con. I’ll get some basic groceries from the new Marsh Supermarket that’s a short walk from where I’ll be staying at the JW Marriott. I usually get some fruit and some healthier snacks so that I don’t make myself sick eating bad food the whole time. There will be bad food, and plenty of beer, never fear, but you really do need to offset it with some better options. Also, water, ibuprofen, hand sanitizer and Emergen-C. Being in close proximity to so many people, it’s imperative to take the couple of precautions that will help prevent you from getting sick.
I’ll probably walk around just to see who I can run into, and of course, there will be games aplenty.


The first day of the con! I’ve only watched the opening ceremonies once before, but since my first event doesn’t happen until 10, I may watch from the balcony. If memory serves, they usually have some stuff going on around 9:45, right before they open the doors to the Dealer’s Hall.
At 10 I’ll head over to my first session with the Writer’s Symposium, a discussion that’s about 3 steps ahead of where I currently am: The Business of Writing: How to Talk About Your Book (SEM1577109). I still, three years later, need to figure out how to edit my book and feel good about the process. But, I figure it will happen at some point, and I’ll need to be armed with the tools to discuss it. The scenario has already popped on numerous occasions where I’ve not been able to explain what my book is about without getting into the nitty gritty details.
At 11, I’ll hook up with Brad Beaulieu, one of my favorite regulars at the Symposium for a discussion about The Structure of Scenes (WKS1578864). Brad is a really down to earth, practical dude that can talk succinctly about the nuts and bolts of writing. For that reason, I’m taking numerous workshops with him.
And at noon, I move on to my first game of the con, Civilization’s End 01: Welcome to the Jungle (RPG1576600). This is a 5th edition D&D jungle adventure. Not too much more info beyond that.
I’m free from 4–6, when I’ll probably be starving, so it’s off to the Ram to fill up on my fried food quota for the day and down a couple of high octane beers.
After that, it’s off to the last scheduled game of the night, The Cuban Missile Crisis Game: At the Brink: Havana Paranoia (RPG1575275) where we’ll get to see who flinches first in this historical recreation.


Friday starts early for me with a boardgame, Smash Up (BGM1570158), where from 9 to 11 I’ll be playing as a vampire, cyborg, dinosaur, pirate, robot and many other possible monster combos to defeat my opponents.
From 11 to 1 it’s more Writer’s Symposium, first with Rewrites and Second Drafts (SEM1577073), which as I said earlier, I desperately need the advice and probably a lot more than a simple pep talk on. It’s followed by another Brad Beaulieu workshop, Connective Tissue in Writing (WKS1578874), he’s talking about the things that tie a story together and make it feel more, well, connected. Foreshadowing, parallel threads, theme tone, etc.
Due to some issues where games I wanted to check out sold out more quickly than I was hoping, I’ve got a big gaping hole in my schedule from 1pm until 7pm. I’m actually happy to have this because it affords me the opportunity to wander aimlessly through the Dealer’s Hall and play some demo games to see what I might like to take home. If you want to play something during this time, hit me up on Twitter. At 7pm, I’m checking out the insane Two Rooms and a Boom (ZED1571283), where two roomfuls of people try to sneak a (no NSA, not real, it’s a game) bomb into their competitor’s room. This is a massive game with something like 90 people are involved. This is probably the event that I’m most looking forward to and really captures the ‘only at Gen Con’ spirit.
There’s a final game at 10pm that I’m a little iffy on, if I’m not already out and partying somewhere, I’ll make it but Camel Up (BGM1576203) was nominated for a bunch of awards and actually won the 2014 Spiel des Jahres Game of the Year.


Saturday is another big Writer’s Symposium day for me, I’m taking another business of writing workshop, Self-Publishing– Why it Works, Why it Doesn’t (SEM1578853). I’m always iffy on the self publishing thing and I feel like most of the noise around self pub is fairly positive spin, so it might be nice to hear a more balanced perspective. At 11am I’m going to Letters, Pitches & Synopsis (SEM1578854) to work on my chops when it comes to finally submitting that manuscript (some day).
From 1–2:30 I’ll be doing another 5th ed run, this time with Baldman Games, Harried in Hillsfar (RPGA1580252) with a bunch of the people that I came to the con with. Some of the guys brought their spouses, who are only marginally interested in gaming, so I thought this might be a good taste of what D&D is like for them.
From 3 – 5 I’m going way out in left field and learning how to create a Leather Hardbound Book (SPA1573121), because it seemed interesting and I was wondering how much work goes into making them. Voila, I’m going through the events catalogue and there it was!
Finally, my last event of the con is one more with Brad Beaulieu, The Big Idea (WKS1578857), which in one hour, he promises will be a crash course in generating and presenting ideas that have the highest likelihood of hooking an agent or editor. I can’t wait.

Other stuff

There’s always too much to do every time I go, and with attendance growing every year, it gets harder to even kind of keep track of what’s even available. I’ve heard that Chuck Wendig will be there, I’ll probably sit in for a while on the auction to see what relics from my childhood are going for nowadays. If I have the opportunity, I might even go over to Scotty’s, but the proximity of the Ram makes it an easier venture. Oh! And Georgia Street beer garden with Sun King and all of the food trucks!
Well wishes to all who are going and safe travels, see you in Indy!!!

Morning Cuppa – 05/15/13 – Classic D&D modules! Agent red flags!


  • I haven’t stopped by Geek Dad in a while, so I was happy to see them post a link in their Twitter feed this morning highlighting the 10 best classic D&D modules, this one is S2: White Plume Mountain. Reading through the description of this old module makes me unbelievably nostalgic. I’d love to pick up a copy of OSRIC or better yet, Dungeon Crawl Classics and run through a couple of these some time… 
  • Author Dahlia Adler writes on her blog about red flags to watch for when you’re pitching agents. By far the most helpful to me:
    • If the agent’s selling something. Remember YOG’s Law: money flows towards the author. Not away. If an agent says your work needs editing and then conveniently has a company that they frequently work with, you should question their motivations.
    • If the way they speak to you is unprofessional in other words, rude, and you’re for some reason willing to put up with that from anyone, consider for a moment how they must talk to publishers. Sometimes it can be hard to know where to draw the line, especially if you’re trying to get in the door. But if someone doesn’t respect you from the start then why would they after you’ve already shown them that you’ll put up with their bad behavior?

Morning Cuppa – 05/10/13 – I need an editor! Tobias Buckell freelanciversary! D&D the movie!


  • Lately I’ve been thinking I need some professional help. ALL RIGHT, SETTLE DOWN YOU JOKERS! Like I was saying– DAMMIT ROGER SIT DOWN AND STOP MAKING FART SOUNDS WITH YOUR ARMPIT. Thank you.
    Like I was saying, help in order to get a professional editor to take a look at my work and give me some structural feedback. And hell, maybe even a line editor. I’ve been struggling with edits on this book for a while and I’m not even sure if what I’m doing is helping. So interwebs, help me out. I need an editor, what I’m looking for: someone with years of relevant experience. Please. I’ve seen a lot of folks who actually advertise that they’re recent college grads with an English degree. That’s great, but I need someone with experience looking at manuscripts. Reading manuscripts. Fixing manuscripts. I’ve looked around a lot online but I don’t even know how to vet people and the last thing I want is to pay someone and be unhappy with what I get back.
    If there’s a resource, or a freelancer, who you would recommend please leave a comment here, message me on twitter or through the contact button on this page. Thanks!
  • Congrats to Tobias Buckell who says, “I’m so. Fucking. Lucky,” on his 7th year of being a freelancer/fiction writer full time without the need for a full time job to buoy himself. It’s great as a writer to see other writers succeeding at making their dreams come true.
  • With the talk yesterday about a potential new Dungeons & Dragons movie, that got Tor blogger Mordicai Knode thinking about what it would take to make an actual good one. The past attempts have been less than stellar (Jeremy Irons, I’m looking at you). My vote goes for either a Ravenloft or Planescape movie. Naturally, either of those are rife for embarrassing and cliched elements without a halfway decent budget.
  • And now, for your Friday amusement, a video of kids tasting different foods for the first time, in slow motion:

Morning Cuppa – 05/07/13 – D&D! YOG’s Law! Book reviews!

The toothache saga continued last night. Half mad with pain, half drunk on scotch to kill it, I jumped right into watching Twin Peaks. Naturally, there are some things that feel really dated, but overall, it really holds up. David Lynch’s style has been a significant influence on my story telling.

  • Speaking of the fantastical, Peter Bebergal writes on Boing Boing about the late resurgence of old school rules D&D. He asks, is this renaissance, which has persisted for the last several years plus now, just a sort of zealous fundamentalism for a bygone era? Or does it originate from a desire to shed the rules that some argue have bogged down the game and made it feel little more than a video game with treasure dumps? For my part, I keep trying to push my gaming group towards more rules-light gaming with mixed results. They’re younger than I am and mostly grew up with 3.5 as their first gaming experience so I think it feels odd when I try to explain the fewer rules are better concept. 
  • Over on Neil Gaiman’s tumblr, he was asked:

    My most recent experience with the publishing world was with a small publishing house who claimed they liked my work but wouldn’t publish it unless I covered the expenses. I refused to since I couldn’t afford it, and I was surprised (and disappointed) to find out that most publishing houses do the same for new writers. Have you ever encountered this situation? What are your views on the matter?

    His response? YOG’s Law which is, to paraphrase, ‘money flows to the writer’. Not the other way around. I like that.

  • Tobias Buckell writes a thoughtful piece about book bloggers and reviewers and how by being reviewers, they change their experience of reading and are no longer quite the same thing as the less critical reader. The quote that was going around on Twitter yesterday was:

    A novel doesn’t excite readers because you took all the bad stuff out of it, it excites them because of all the good stuff that’s in it, regardless of the bad.

    It’s a good read, and he outlines the reasons that I’ve kept my distance from book reviews thus far.

Morning Cuppa – 04/23/13 – World Book Night! Scapple! Demons at the dinner table!

Thanks everyone for the birthday wishes yesterday!

  • Today, or tonight, or both is World Book Night. Every April 23rd rogue readers go about sharing their favorite books FOR FREE with complete strangers. Why? To promote the simple pleasure of reading in our society.
  • Scapple is the newest project by the Literature and Latte folks (they who made the best writing app ever created, Scrivener). It’s mind mapping software, available for free to test, $14.99 to buy. Sort of like those brainstorming sheets from middle school, it allows you to quickly jot down notes and create connections between ideas.
  • Ethan Gilsdorf shares a video clip on Geek Dad of the 700 Club that was NOT filmed in 1986 but in 2013 where Pat Robertson resurrects the demonic specter of Dungeons & Dragons. I originally went on a long rant about the horrors of how growing up when people like him were considered culturally relevant sucked, ie, the 80’s. But no, instead I’ll just say, thank god, gods, universe, or complete nothingness, whatever your predilection, that most people now consider dear old Pat to be a giant wang and nothing more.