East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Faster than the speed of night

… is, in fact, a song by Jim Steinman that was recorded by Bonnie Tyler in 1983, and it also gave the title to her most popular album, that I dutifully have on vinyl because I was young and reckless once, or something.
But that’s not what I want to talk about.

The thing started with a movie featuring Michael Caine – an actor I like very much – and called Pulp. You can imagine I was interested in catching it (and I think I reviewed it in the past – I’m sure WordPress will put a link in the footer of this post if I did).
While the movie is not very good, it has a beautiful BlueRay case illustration, and it’s always good watching Caine playing a suave anti-hero.

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Roman soldiers in Egypt

And so I said, what the heck, it’s Saturday afternoon, I’ve worked all the morning, I’ll take a break, eat some ice cream and forget about the rest for 36 hours.
But then the usual fear comes – what if I waste my time and miss my deadlines…
I forced myself to take it easy – it won’t be a day that will make that much of a difference, and I can use this downtime to do some minor research.

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This writing thing is getting out of hand

I spent the whole day writing, clocking about 8000 words. It was not even that hard – the one true problem was the heat (we are again over 30°C with swimming-pool grade humidity and not a breath of air).
I also found the time to take a little walk after sunset, and I submitted two stories. One already came back with a list of required changes.

But yesterday night it was fun – we went out and met a writer friend, and spent the evening sitting out of a bar, drinking cool lemonade and talking shop.
The Doobie Brothers were wrong. It’s not hiding your heart. It’s these breaks, when you spend an evening rambling about everything with an intelligent person, staying away from the PC, internet and your current WIP(s), that keep you running,

But there are some drawbacks.
For instance, I came home last night well convinced I’ll write a mystery novel this coming winter. I’ll do it the way Stephen King does: six pages a day. Work two solid months, you get 360 pages.
The trick, I guess, is to have a solid outline, and extensive notes when you set out on this journey.
I will do it.


Throwing tanks at Nazi supermen: Godlike RPG

This is a sort of “request post” – I have been asked a short review of Godlike, the superhero game designed by Dennis Detwiller and Greg Stolze, currently published by Arc Dream Publishing. I like the game very much, and so it is no great sacrifice writing a review.
I still own and play the first edition of the handbook – the second is gorgeous, but I only have the PDF, and I prefer to have a hardcopy book at my table.

So, it’s the 1930s, clouds of war are gathering on the horizon, and as a surprise move, the Nazi have developed a superman – a guy with a swastika on the chest, that actually flies. He opens Berlin’s Olimpics with a fly-by, and everything changes.
Only it doesn’t.

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4 Against Darkness: Island of (something or other)

And the second novella in the 4 Against Darkness series is done, all 18.000 words of it. Now I’ll let it rest briefly, prune it of the useless bits, and then after dinner I’ll send it along to Ganesha Games for revision, editing, and the addition of art and a meaty gaming appendix.
The only thing still missing is the title.

Originally I pitched it as Rock Island (like the Jethro Tull song, in keeping with my habit of naming my gaming books from songs I like). But Rock Island for this baby is lame.
Then I thought about Island of Thieves, which is not bad, does not give away any detail about what actually happens in the book, but it’s intriguing, and it’s actually a thing that’s said in the story.
But I would really like to call it Island of the Screaming Statues, that is sort of an homage to Elric, and fits the story to a T.
And I really think I’ll go for it.

All in all I have built a fine sword & sorcery caper, with a few neat monsters, a twist I’m sure the readers will like when it hits them – maybe two twists, actually – and a few other nice bits and pieces.
The first story, Heart of the Lizard, was a success and is still selling steadily, and I can’t wait to give to the fans a second serving of the adventures of Haq, Kil, Gress and Varda.

But now, I need a short break because my hands hurt.