July 1, 2024 / 2 Comments

June Newsletter

<<Yeah, normally the newsletter comes out the last Monday of that month, but it just worked out weird this time so you’re getting it the first Monday of the next month. You could avoid this sort of weirdness by just subscribing>>

Okay, sorry this is running a bit late. A bunch of things happening. Which I’ll get to in just a bit.

But first, as usual, some random musings…

Some of you may have seen a few articles floating around the interwebs about how adults are now the biggest audience for toys. I thought overall it was one of those cases where a lot of data got thrown out there, but none of the articles bothered to dig any deeper or actually make any conclusions. Which is a shame, because I think there’s some interesting possibilities in there if, y’know, anyone bothered to look.

Anyway, at one point famous toy enthusiast Dan Larson (interviewed for the article) said that some toy collectors spend up to $400 dollars a month on their collections and I thought, whoa, I’ve got a habit going but at least I’m not one of those guys.

Wait, am I?

I mean just last time I was talking about how I’d kind of given up on Games Workshop, and I’d been pouring a ton of money into that for years. I mean, it wouldn’t shock me to find out there were points in my life when I spent two or three grand a year, easy, on GW stuff, and that’s probably not even counting some of the little bits I’d buy piecemeal on eBay. So now that I’d broken that habit… how much was I spending on toys nowadays?

I started by thinking, hah, I maybe buy one or two action figures a month. Maybe. But then I realized once you start counting preorders, LEGO sets, and a few Kickstarters (I think I may technically be a stockholder in Spero Studios after that Animal Warriors of the Kingdom campaign)…

Yeah, even spreading that out over a year or two, I may not have saved that much money when I gave up Games Workshop.

Anyway… let me give you some updates.

Between StokerCon, by birthday, friends in town, a shingles shot that knocked me on my butt for a day and a half, plus all the other usual stuff I then had to get caught up on after that week, I’m running behind on a lot of stuff. Like this newsletter.

That said… we have a deal for GJD. We still have a few last things to sign before it’s 100% official but, yeah, that’s a thing that’s happening now. Before anyone asks, no we don’t have any dates yet. If I had to guess, we’re probably looking at next spring. Ever so slight chance of it happening before then, but I doubt it. Hopefully next month I’ll have more information about all of that for you.

I just this morning finished polishing a short story for something that could be considered… a childhood dream? Wild fantasy? Definitely a personal milestone if it happens. We’ll see about that.

Tomorrow morning (after all the above stuff) I dive into my first big rewrite of TOS. I think it’s going to go faster than the first draft did but there’s a chance I may have to put it on hold at some point to work on publisher-edits of GJD. We’ll see how the next two months go…

Finally, I had a very interesting phone call last week about a possible film project. Just a casual phone call. Me and one other guy. But still very interesting and a freakin’ amazing name may have come up in connection to said project. And also… just a Hollywood phone call. Not worth talking about more than this for now.

And I think that’s all the big stuff…

What else have I got for you…?

Cool Stuff I’ve Been Watching
For my birthday I watched Godzilla x Kong: the New Empire and Godzilla Minus One back to back. They’re both very good, although in extremely different ways. I’ve convinced my beloved to watch My Hero Academia, so we’ve restarted that from the beginning. The end of Star Trek: Discovery was very nice, even if this last season has felt a bit uneven. As a Doctor Who fan of a certain age, I shrieked when the big bad was revealed this season.

Cool Stuff I’ve Been Reading
DuaneSwierczynski’sCalifornia Bear by was amazing on several levels. About to finish The Art of Saving the World by Corrine Duyvis and really liking it so far. I think I want to dive into some graphic novels/ collections after this.

Cool New Toys
For my birthday I was lucky enough to get several LEGO sets (which carried me through that second shingles shot), plus my beloved gave me the Patch – Joe Fixit two pack, which means I now have multiple Joe Fixits! I also got myself the utterly amazing Four Horsemen Anubis and Bast two pack, but I haven’t opened it yet.

And I think that’s all for now. Thanks, as always, for your interest.

May 27, 2024 / 2 Comments

May Newsletter

<<Just a quick reminder that you could subscribe to the newsletter and get all these brilliant thoughts delivered to you a good two weeks before they show up here. Just sayin’…>>

Sorry this is running a bit late. A bunch of things happening. Which I’ll get to in just a bit.

But first… a ramble.

A while back I made a BlueSky post about not being able to buy something on eBay. Not that I couldn’t find it or afford it. It was right there in front of me. It was the Ogre Mawtribe from Games Workshop. My gaming group and I are pretty much just playing OPR these days, but I’m still using GW models for most of it. I’d seen these particular ones back when they were first announced and thought they’d fit nicely into my existing Ogre army.

(if all that is meaningless to you, congratulations on getting so much vitamin D)

But I just couldn’t pull the trigger for some reason. I’d get ready again and again but just kept hesitating. And I didn’t know why. I stared at the set for maybe a week, and finally bought it but I was left wondering about all that unease. Why’d I been so hesitant? What’d been holding me back?

Right after the last newsletter it finally hit me that, on some level, I knew this was probably the last time I was going to buy a Games Workshop set. I’d played 40K & Fantasy for years (many, many years), but I’d lost interest in the game (twice) and I’d been losing interest in their models for a while. They were making some beautiful things, in a general sense, but they were becoming less and less useful as actual game pieces (also harder to store, less customizable, harder to paint, etc).

And this was a scary realization. Warhammer had been my main hobby for over two decades, crushing out other things I was interested in because it needed so much time and money. And even knowing that, it was a little unnerving to realize… wow, I guess this is it. I’m not done with tabletop wargames, but… yeah, done with that aspect of it.

It can be scary to admit that something you’ve sunk a lot of time and effort and, yeah, money into just isn’t bringing you joy anymore. That it’s not doing what you need it to do. Especially when there’s a big sense of community around said things (and yeah, sometimes a percentage of that “community” is very much a marketing strategy). But it’s also good not to have your life fall into some weird sunk-cost fallacy, where you keep spending money on something that doesn’t make you happy just because you spent money on it when it did make you happy.

We’ve all only got so much time. Don’t waste it on things that just frustrate you. Or, to quote world’s most famous declutterer, things that don’t bring joy.

So there’s your not-so-deep life thought for the month.

Anyway… let me give you some updates.

Speaking of being done with things and bringing joy, the first draft of TOS is complete. It’s on the larger side (just past 130K). Messy in some places, goddamn art in others (if I may say so myself). But it’s a first draft and that’s what first drafts are. I’ve also got about five pages of notes to myself for the next draft—things I need to add, things I ultimately realized I can just lose, a few details and tweaks here and there. I’m hoping to have this in front of a couple readers by mid-July, maybe? Let’s say early August.

Also speaking of things being done… I think we have a deal forming for GJD. It went out to a lot of publishers two weeks ago. Some showed interest. Some didn’t (for a variety of reasons). That’s just the way it goes. But it looks like something might be kinda-sorta in place and that’s a big part of the reason I was holding off writing the newsletter—so I’d have cool news. But hopefully I’ll be able to tell you more next time.

And I think that’s all the big stuff…

Oh, eleven days from now <<four now>> is StokerCon here in San Diego. I’m not officially attending, but I’m probably stopping by once or twice to say hi to friends. If you see some guy in the bar who looks like they might be me… well, it might be me.

What else have I got for you…?

Cool Stuff I’ve Been Watching
Finished Fallout and just… damn, that show seems a little fun on the surface but it is ruthless on so many levels. Also watched Parasyte: The Grey and it was a very nice take on the original books/shows. Dead Boy Detectives was wonderful, creepy fun. Also Doctor Who is back and is simply fantastic.

Cool Stuff I’ve Been Reading
Alas, with all the writing these past weeks I got very little reading done. I’m almost done with The Deep by Alma Katsu and it’s so beautifully creepy. Then I’m diving into California Bear by Duane Swierczynski.

Cool New Toys
Alas, its my birthday month, so I’m not supposed to get myself anything. But I was (through a legal technicality) allowed to get my first in-hand Animal Warrior of the Kingdom, a Horrid Scavenger. He’s very nice and makes me feel even better about that Kickstarter I was shoving in all your faces for a month or so. I’ve also been building a massive Gaiking robot my friends 3D printed for me.

And I think that’s all for now. Thanks, as always, for your interest.

April 29, 2024 / 1 Comment

April Newsletter

I’m hardly the first person to say this…

(brave start, eh? now I’m sure you’re eager to read more…)

…but social media’s become a pretty rough place. It’s like your favorite mug got dropped and broke into a dozen pieces and you’re trying to figure out if you can fix it and if you maybe cut your foot on a shard when it broke and also crap you’re probably going to have to go mug shopping now. And meanwhile that one friend who doesn’t even drink coffee is standing there going “I don’t see what the big deal is. Looks pretty much the same to me.” Which leaves you wondering, wait, am I getting really worked up over a mug? Is this silly?

I could talk a lot about how awful Twitter and Meta have gotten. Honestly, I did. I wrote out a bunch of paragraphs with a ton of recent examples and then said ugh, who wants to read through that? So… deleted. I told you this newsletter would never be spammy, so why go over stuff you already know?

Okay, I will share one bit I was proud of. I think for a lot of folks, posting on Twitter’s essentially become phantom limb syndrome. They’ve lost an arm but don’t want to admit it’s gone and are convinced they can still feel something in it.


Anyway, this is really rough on artistic-types like myself because for the past decade social media’s sort of been our one big marketing tool, and to see it fracture and crumble is… well, it’s scary. I lost about 90% of my followers when Twitter went down the tubes–

(In all fairness, they’re still there, it’s just impossible to reach any of them and I feel dirty being there)

–and it’s just left me wondering if I’m going to be able to tell anyone about anything anymore. I mean, hell, at this point Instagram is my “big” account and even there I’m barely reaching… 5% of my followers?

Anyway… with all of this going on, I just wanted to say thanks for signing up here. At this point the newsletter feels like the only place I can be semi-sure I’m getting information out to folks, so I’m very grateful you signed up. And that you’ve read this far.

So, let me give you some updates on a couple things…

TOS passed 100K words last week and we’ve just hit the “everything goes wild” phase. Lots of action. Lots of death. Some scary reveals. Some (hopefully) Holy #@$% -worthy twists. i think this draft’ll be done next time you get one of these.

All the little tweaks got done on GJD and my agent and I are going to talk about some ideas and strategies for it probably later this week. One big thing is maybe if we want to wait a little bit longer and try to make someone a two-book offer with GJD and TOS. I see pluses and minuses to this but… that’s why we talk about stuff.

And, I’ve been trying to do some work on the comics pitch. It’s still kind of weird to me, but I’m breaking things down and trying to think a lot more visually (which is a bit more like film work) and I’m hoping to have this done before my birthday.

Okay, let me fill you in on some other fun things from the past month.

Cool Stuff I’ve Been Watching
A few years back at DragonCon I spent the night blissfully alone in my hotel room watching a few hours of My Hero Academia and I decided last week to sit down and actually watch the whole thing. I’m almost at the end of season two and loving it. Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur has had a couple amazing episodes. We’re three episodes into Fallout and its fantastic so far.

Cool Stuff I’ve Been Reading
I’ve read… well, a few things I can’t actually talk about yet, but I enjoyed a lot. But I also read Chronicles of the Lazarene by Charles Soule and I alllllllmost think I enjoyed it more than The Endless Vessel, the book it’s spun off from. I also just finished The Grand Dark by Richard Kadrey, which has been sitting in my TBR pile for… jeeez, a year now, and I wish I’d read it sooner because it reminds me so much of old, classic sci-fi, in all the good ways.

Cool New Toys
I stumbled across a classic, X-Men Binary online for a nice price, and I figured she’d go well with my Starjammers. My Cosmic Legions Wal-Torr showed up and it’s just freaking fantastic. I’ve also poured waaaaay too much money into the Animal Warriors of the Kingdom Kickstarter, which—if steampunk/fantasy animal people appeal to you—probably has a few hours left if you opened this right away.

March 25, 2024

March Newsletter

Oh, hey there. Thanks for opening this email from a relative stranger.

So, let me start right off by saying past-me made some mistakes.

You may remember in the last newsletter I mentioned I was going to try rearranging my weekly schedule to get a little more writing time. Combine the day of errands with my usual day off and then that frees up a whole day.

Alas, it didn’t work out like that. I tried it for three weeks and I just felt… edgy. Frustrated. And during the third week it hit me the problem was I really didn’t have a day off anymore—I had an errands day that I tried to squeeze a little hobby stuff into. But it was easy for that time to get eaten up, and I tended to end the day more annoyed than relaxed.

Like I said, this is on me for two reasons. One, I should know better than to do a radical change in the middle of a project. You don’t want to be in the groove and suddenly have to get used to a new keyboard or new software or a new work schedule. That’s just asking to ruin your flow.

The other thing is,well, I’m a big believer that everyone needs a regular day off. Everybody. I think it’s honestly healthy to stop doing that thing that dominates 70-83% of your life and just do something else for a day. Make your body work differently. make your brain work differently. Never taking a day off is like always skipping leg day. It just makes me unbalanced.

And, yeah, I know I’m speaking from a place of privilege here. I know a lot of folks simply can’t take a day off. It’s the sad truth and believe me I lived like that for many, many years. But I really hope most of you can, and hope if you can that you actually do.

(I originally wrote a lot more here but it kept turning into paragraphs about worker’s rights and pay rates and mental health and health in general and all that’s a lot more than you signed up for. TL;DR – I know I’m lucky to get to take a day off every week and I really think this should be a really basic thing everyone gets to do, not just “lucky” people)

In conclusion, once I hit send on this, I’m going to go throw on a movie, paint some little toy soldiers, perhaps have a relaxing adult beverage. Maybe two. Movies and beverages. Hopefully more than two little toy soldiers.


Let me give you a couple updates on things…

TOS is going well. I’ve got some stuff to transcribe out of legal pads but I think I’m around 85K words right now? Deep in the churn of the second act, story-wise. It’s going to be a big book. I’m actually thinking I could have this done… not by the next newsletter, but almost definitely before the May one.

Also heard back from David, my agent, about GJD and… he likes the new draft a lot. Which is always a relief to hear. He had a few last little notes. Some of them are good things he caught. A couple I’m probably going to push back on a bit and say “nah, don’t worry, this is good.” I should be able to rework those in a day or so and then he shows it to editors who also like it a lot. And then champagne falls from the heavens. Doors open. Velvet ropes part.

Shamefully, I haven’t done a damned thing on that comics pitch, which I really need to work on this week. With all the other stuff this past month, it became the easy thing to push to the side. So let’s hope I didn’t slide it so far I pushed it off the table. So to speak.

Okay, let me fill you in on some other fun stuff from the past month.

Cool Stuff I’ve Been Watching– I watched Monster High:The Movie and got the music for that stuck in my head for two weeks. It was harmless fun and positive without being cloying. I admit I got distracted (in a good way) by character and set designs. The Kid Who Would Be King was something I’d heard a ton of people talk about and ended up liking it a lot. It’s great to have The Bad Batch and Resident Alien back.

Cool Stuff I’ve Been Reading
Read my massive new Rom Omnibus, the first twenty-nine issues of the original Marvel run, plus some tie-in stuff he appeared in they couldn’t reprint until now. It’s fun to revisit, on a couple different levels. Read the third Lockwood & Co. book, The Hollow Boy, because I really enjoyed the short-lived Netflix series and wanted to see where it goes from there. I also just got an early book manuscript from one friend and an early screenplay from an acquaintance. And there are still soooooo many things piling up on the new book table in the library…

Cool New Toys – Not that much this month (*gasp*). The Super 7 Hank Scorpio figure I pre-ordered back in 2022 showed up and, in all fairness, is wonderful. Also a Bossfight cowboy skeleton (the Outlaw). I preordered and Kickstarted a bunch of things that we’ll probably be seeing near the end of the summer/early fall, if not sooner.