Tag Archives: Merchandise

Force Multiplication is in The House

Sandra and Keliana ushered a couple of pallets of books into the Hypernode Warehouse late last week. This is the first time we’ve taken delivery of books when I haven’t been there to crack open the first box and huff the concentrated scent of new books.

Keliana Tayler, with stacks of boxes full of thousands of books
Keliana Tayler, with stacks of boxes full of thousands of books

The warehouse isn’t particularly exciting, and is downright deficient in terms of how photogenic it is. These aren’t the reasons why I do book sketching at home, but they certainly add weight to the argument.

On Friday, Sandra and Keliana hauled a big stack of boxes into our front room (which is now a bit larger with the absence of a 117-year-old piano¹) and set up my signing and sketching station.

Our front room, classed up with a raggedy folding table and stacks of boxes.
Our front room, classed up with a raggedy folding table and stacks of boxes. And a popcorn bucket.

I haven’t gotten started on that part of the project yet. I’ve got about three months of outline to nail down, and then three weeks of comics to script, and then I’m allowed to start work on signing and sketching.

That probably means Tuesday².

We’ve said that your pre-orders for Force Multiplication will ship by July 25th. The odds are pretty good that we’ll beat that date. I like having the wiggle room, though. It lets me pace myself, and my hand, which seems to wear out faster with every book release. Slow and steady may not actually win the race, aphorism notwithstanding, but it does ensure a healthy finish, and I’m quite happy to settle for that.


¹I should blog about that. It’s a poignant story, and worth more than a footnote.

²Most of the work on the outline is already done, furiously hand-written in my sketch book. I need to transfer it to a nice CTRL-C/CTRL-V medium so I can make sure all the bits are in the right order.

 

Pre-Orders Open on Monday

Pre-orders for Force Multiplication, Schlock Mercenary Book 12, will open on Monday, May 23rd at 8am Mountain time. 

FMCover-w-spine

We’re quite pleased with how this book turned out. The stone circuit cover design defines the style we’ll be using for books 12 through 17, and the stuff inside the cover is at least as cool as all that. I love the bonus story that Sandra wrote, and Natalie Barahona’s art is perfect for it. I’m also pleased with the way the Force Multiplication story reads when reading it in one sitting. It’s pretty tight, if I do say so myself.

Force Multiplication is $20.00 + shipping.

Numbered sketch editions are $10 more, and only about 600 of those will be available. If you want one, you need to place your order quickly.

Monday, May 23rd, 8am Mountain time. Maybe mark your calendar?


Other Announcements

As long as you’ve got your calendar open, there are a couple more things to maybe pencil into it.

June 3rd: Planet Mercenary Backerkit Lockdown

PM-LockDown1If you backed Planet Mercenary, on June 3rd you will no longer be able to change your order. Credit card processing will begin then, so now might  be a good time to make sure the card (especially the expiration date) is still valid.

You WILL still be able to change your shipping address after June 3rd.  Details are over here on the Kickstarter Page.

Note: We cannot combine Planet Mercenary Kickstarter shipping and Force Multiplication pre-order shipping. Sorry!

July 1st: Registration closes for the Out of Excuses 2016 Writing Workshop and Retreat.

WX-Logo-2016BluesIn a nutshell, this event is a Caribbean cruise for writers and students of writing. It’s hosted by the Writing Excuses team, and it will the second time we’ve held the event in the Caribbean.

If you’re interested, don’t delay registering because you might not have until July 1st. We’re limited to 150 attendees, and when we reach the attendance cap, registration closes.

 

A Week of Feeling Famous

On Monday my friend Rodney posted “Hiding from the Mariachi” to the web. I linked to it, but neglected to mention that it was the first of a five-part series of blog posts that were kind of sort of all about me (except for the one which was all about Sandra, and which says a thing which indisputably the most important thing said during the entire series.)

Here are the links to the full set:

Take care with the Photo Essay: It has spoilers. The new maxims aren’t spoilers, so you can dive right into that post, no worries. It probably can’t compete with The Force Awakens for folks’ attention, but at least you can tell your friends about the maxims without making anybody angry.

I like this series of interviews and essays because yeah, they’re about me, and my ego doesn’t really get tired of that, but also because Rodney’s essays are always insightful, and having that insight aimed my direction is cool. I encourage you to read the stuff he’s written that is NOT about me, because frankly, that’s where he really shines.RodneyMBliss.com has all of it.

The “Handbrain” Game Chief Screen

One of the things Alan, Sandra, and I discussed building as part of the Planet Mercenary Kickstarter was a Game Chief screen that would take drop-in sheets of paper, and which would be styled to look like a handbrain or display unit from the comic strip.

We decided against doing this as part of the Kickstarter because we didn’t have enough information, and committing to something like this would put the project at risk. When the project overfunded to $300k, we committed to an R&D budget for unspecified stuff. This screen was some of that stuff. We contracted with a designer to build a proper prototype for possible mass-production.

The prototype arrived, and I love it.

ScreenBrainPrototype-01The prototype is a high-res 3D print, so the plastic is translucent instead of opaque. It’s designed to take half-sheets of US Letter sized paper. A full sheet of US Letter, printed with some game map stuff, is shown in the picture above.

ScreenBrainPrototype-02After folding that sheet in half, it drops into the screen quite cleanly.

The stand upon which the screen sits is angled so that the drop-in is visible whether you’re standing or sitting, but it’s not angled so steeply that players will be able to see what’s printed on it, nor will they be able to see dice you roll against it.

ScreenBrainPrototype-03Here’s a better look at the angle. For scale you can see a challenge coin, a couple of poker chips, some playing cards, and a pair of AMD CPU fans, stuck back-to-back because they look cooler that way (they were not cool enough when mounted in the PCs, and have been replaced with off-the-shelf liquid cooling rigs, making our game room much, much quieter, but I digress…)

The half-sheet size makes this much easier to see over than conventional game screens. We don’t want Game Chiefs unable to make eye contact with their players.

NOTE: There is a Game Chief screen shipping with the game. That screen will be made of card stock, and will be printed on one side with ship art, and on the other with useful tables and rules reminders. It, too, will have a low-profile format. Game Chiefs do not get to hide behind fortresses of stats and artwork.

ScreenBrainPrototype-07 Here it is from the back. The fiddly-bit sticking out of the corner is a yellow map pin from the local office supply place. Note that the final product will not be translucent enough for anything to be visible through the back.

ScreenBrainPrototype-06Obviously it needs to store flat, so the stand detaches quite nicely. As an added bonus, this means you can put a note, or other mission-specific information into it, and pass it to the players, just like the characters in the comic do with their their handbrains.

ScreenBrainPrototype-04Sliding things into and out of it is quite easy. If your game is anything like the ones I’ve played, this is a critical feature.

These aren’t for sale yet, and no, we’re not going to Kickstart them. We still have to grind a bit on the prototype to make sure everything is just right. The eventual plan is to mass-produce these and sell them in sets of three.