Saturday, April 16, 2011

In Which We Move Along

I only use Blogger for keeping tabs on other Bloggers' sites. My blog, career updates, writing excerpts and the like can all be found consolidated at my website:

Monday, March 19, 2007

LunaCon Friday Gossip Session

Once we made it to the hotel and got checked in, the weekend was a lot less tense. Friday night's buffet dinner at the restaurant was overpriced ($22 per person, including Autumn) and under-quality. The food was lukewarm in many dishes, and the selection was (for a buffet) poor. But, we were on an adventure, so we vowed to order pizza into the hotel room the next night and not let the poor start influence our weekend.
Friday night I had two panels scheduled, an Introduction to Live Action Role Play (that costumed improv-theater game I have played for the last 10 years or so) and a White Wolf Gossip Session.

We cancelled the Intro to LARP panel about 10 minutes into the one hour time slot, when it became obvious that everyone there was associated with the panelists and thus already knew more than enough about LARP. So that freed us up to wander the hotel a little, which we did. We went to the Dealer's Room (a big room full of tables where folks were selling everything from books to jewelry to swords to costuming to artwork to t-shirts). Folks were still setting up, many having been delayed by the weather as well.
We discovered, after we left the vendors and wandered some more, that the hotel was layed out very strangely! The first through fourth floors were on one side of the hotel, and the fifth through eighth were on the other side (not over the top of 1-4!) Add in some strange interconnecting hallways and a weird multi-level lay out, and we were calling it the Escher hotel all weekend.
My second panel Friday night was a Gossip Session, where I was supposed to meet up with folks and feed them little tidbits about what is new and "coming soon" from White Wolf. Unfortunately, because of the weather, the only folks who showed up were one of the people from the LARP panel and a friend of his. But we had a good time chatting about White Wolf, so while the crowd was small, it was enthusiastic.

I hate having my picture taken. A lot.

Look, Mom and Dad! There's 7 of the books I've written or written part of on that table! :)

After the Gossip session, we wandered a while longer, just visiting with people. Autumn had a great time. We gave her one of our cell phones and she was allowed to explore the hotel on her own. (After appropriate safety conversation, of course: No leaving the public areas, check in any time she was leaving one of the main areas for another, etc.) It's hard to give her freedom like that, I'm so used to her being under constant supervision, but she's 12 now... Time to give her some room to grow.

Around 10:30, Pat and Autumn toddled off to sleep, and I spent more time visiting with colleagues and peers. I went to a couple of the on-site concerts they had there, including S.J. Tucker and Boogie Knights, a silly band which includes a friend of mine, Keith DeCandido. After that, I hit a couple of late night panels and then went to bed, around 2:30am, since I had to be up and ready to do my first panel on Saturday by 10am.

LunaCon Road Trip

This weekend, as a family, we went to LunaCon ( I was scheduled to speak there, and do a reading of my work and an autograph session.
We almost didn't end up going, because the weather forecast was for snow and ice. It didn't look too bad Friday morning, though, so we got up and got on our merry way.

The weather, however, soon took a turn for the worse, slowing traffic on the way to Rye, NY (which is just north of New York City).

We went slowly, and were fortunate to have no problems.

Other folks, like the little red car on the opposite side of our guardrail, were not so fortunate. He'd spun about 150 degrees and was heading the wrong direction.

This one did a full 180 and hit something on the side of the road, I think. He was pointed back the way he'd come from when we passed him on the side of the road.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Quick Update

Quick update, since it's been so long.
(Mom, warning, rat pictures below, don't scroll down!)
We lost a family member last week - Annana, one of Autumn's rats had to be put down due to inoperable tumors. We're taking Kyrie, one of the others who had surgery last year to remove a tumor, back into the vet this afternoon, hoping the lump she's developed is operable.

Other than that, mostly all is well. We're going out to LunaCon, a convention in Rye, NY this weekend, to be on some panels, do a reading and a signing, etc. Should be fun. In April, I've got conventions 4 out of the 5 weekends, including one the con is flying me to Buffalo for. Talk about whirlwind.

Love you all!

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

My name, up in lights...

Just wanted to share... I'm being featured on the front page of White Wolf's main site right now...


Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Christmas Eve 2006

One of the hardest things about being out here is spending the holidays without our extended family. We miss you guys all so much.

Topher, who works for Pat, and his wife, Lisa, and their girls invited us to spend Christmas Eve with them... little did we know what an adventure it would be!

It seems that they get together with a whole circle of extended family and friends (some of whom Topher and Lisa didn't even know) so we didn't end up feeling out of place at all.

One of the neat things they had set up was a table with a whole bunch of craft projects for the kids to tinker with. It really gave them not only something to do, but something to visit with each other about and break the ice, which was very nice.

Autumn is a bit older than Topher and Lisa's girls. Marissa is 9, Anne Marie is 7ish and Lily must be around 5.

This is Lilly, Autumn and Anne Marie.

The girls hard at work crafting... something.

Autumn as a Christmas cat

I kept trying to catch Autumn unaware, as her clown nature comes out as soon as she realizes the camera is on her. Proof below...

Before she notices the camera.

Oooh, there's the camera!


Lisa and I commiserated about our girls' hair issues. Marissa's is longer and more wavy than Autumn's but they both have that very very thick hair that makes brushing a hassle, and both want to wear it long.

I took a lot of pictures... I mean... a lot... I think this was well into the evening, and Topher was incredulous that I was /still/ shooting pictures.

It was a really fun afternoon/evening. We laughed a lot. Especially Pat.

Along with her own three girls, Lisa babysits James, who is just adorable.

Lisa and James say "Are you /still/ taking pictures?"

I don't know why, but inevitably when we are somewhere with a group of people with silverware, spoons must be hung on noses.

I think Pat starts it.

Skye, a friend of Topher and Lisa's is a very good nose-spoon hanger.

We may very well be a bad influence on James...

Did I mention the food was incredible? Topher's brother is a chef down in Hartford. We had brisket to die for, two kinds of stuffing, turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes... and way more stuff that I can't even remember. It was amazing.

Topher's Mom brought out her laptop so that the kids could track Santa's progress across the night sky on Santa Radar.

We had a Yankee Gift Exchange (which is apparently like a Chinese Gift Exchange except... New Englandish.)

Note in the background how Shana is contemplating bonking Topher on the head and stealing his gift...

I'd seen one of these at the store last summer and thought it was really cool. I traded something for it (movies, cocoa and popcorn, I think...)

It's a head massager!

It was a big hit with folks at the party.

Topher watches as his best friend, Jenn, tries it out.

All in all, it was a really nice Christmas eve!

Wish y'all would have been there!

Career News for Me

Well, I got some exciting stuff in the mail yesterday... My first contract as a freelance developer for White Wolf.

Which, of course, means absolutely nothing to anyone who'd be reading this post. :)

Let me explain. :)

Basically, the process for creating a new game book for White Wolf is this. Someone (could be virtually anyone along the hierarchy, from gamer to owner of the company) has an idea for a book. If it is a Good Idea, and if they write up a proposal for it, it may get approved to be made into a book. At this point, someone (sometimes the person who proposed it, sometimes the person who will be in charge of developing it from Good Idea to Book) writes up an outline. This contains things like what will be in the book, and how long it will be, and a rough idea of how the chapters might be organized.

Once the outline is done up, they figure out which developer it should be given to. There are a number of in-house developers. Some are in charge of a particular game line like Werewolf or Mage and are called line developers. While they may not personally develop every game in that line on their own, they are the person ultimately responsible for it.

Since a line developer can't give each book in their line the individual attention it requires (especially since sometimes there are 4-5 books in a line being worked on at the same time), they use other developers. Some are there in Atlanta where the main office is, and may be on staff (salary/hourly wage) with the company. Others, like my friend Matt in Ohio and Joseph in Portland (and now me!) are "freelance developers". We're folks who've proven our reliability as freelance writers, and are now given the chance to be the developer of a book that the line developers don't have time to handle themselves.

The developer then fleshes out the outline into a real working outline that the writers will base their material on. He (or she, although as far as I know I'm the only female developer White Wolf is using right now) then hires the writers, assigns them sections of the book, fills out their contracts, and supervises the rough draft of the book being created. When the authors are done with the rough draft, the developer edits it (a process called "redlining").

Redlines can be as simple as "fix these spelling/grammar errors" or as complicated as "you're going in the wrong direction with this, try to give it more of this kind of a feel" or "this violates what the other writer wrote about this same topic, change it to be like this." With a good team, redlines are just fine tuning - making sure the final draft is as good a product as possible.

Redlines go back to the writers, who then make the requested changes and send their final copy back to the developer. At this point, the writers' job is pretty much done, and it's all in the hands of the developer. They combine all the bits and pieces from each writer into one complete document and then give it another edit to make sure that not only is the information in it accurate, well written and doesn't contradict itself, but also that it's formatted correctly and that there are no spelling, grammar, punctuation errors, etc.

Then the developer sends it off to the editor, who (ideally) has nothing to do (but that never happens...) The editor is the last set of eyes to see the work before it goes to lay out (the people who determine how it will look on the page, adding text and art, etc. I think the developer gets to see it one more time, post-lay out, but by then making changes is a big pain in the neck, so it's vital that any errors get fixed earlier in the process.

In the case of Reliquary, I pitched the idea to the folks at the main office a few months ago. They not only thought it was a good idea, they were already working on a very similar concept, and so I was assured I'd be called in to work on the book as a writer. (They even ended up using the name, Reliquary, from my proposal, as it was cooler than the one they'd been using for the similar project.)

I found out, in December, that they'd approached my friend, Joseph, wanting him to be the developer for it. Joe was too busy, however, so when I heard he had turned them down, I went insane and decided to write and ask to be hired as the developer for it. And... to my shock and delight... they agreed.

So, at this point, I've constructed a team of writers for the book, revised the outline and am ready to send it out to them, and then I'll basically just be in supervisor mode for the next month while they write the rough drafts. After that, it gets hard. :)

I'm very excited, and wanted to share a little insight into what my current job duties are like... I'm still writing as well (I've got about 11K of word count in Reliquary, plus two other books I'm writing on between now and March) but it's neat to be spreading my wings a little into a new direction as well.