Saturday, December 29, 2007

Merry Christmas

Okay, I really was going to post more often than this. I guess this will end up fairly long then. First, the work side of things...

I do have some website updates that I still haven't uploaded. This is because they include links to the forums that I set up. I haven't been ready to set all of the various sub-forums or monitor the forums so I haven't uploaded the links yet. I don't really expect the forums to take off right away, but that is okay. In any case, I need to be able to stop by them myself to monitor them.

I really hoped to have products out by now, but that simply hasn't happened. Early last October I decided to go with color cover art that would go for the entire City Streets line. I contracted with an artist to have that work done. He crapped out on me. I was spectacularly disappointed as I was paying pretty well and the contract promised to pay On Delivery. At the same time I contracted with a graphic layout specialist to create some easy-to-use templates for the City Streets line (and another possible line). I was paying toward the high end for the layout templates because these were going to be re-used. Again, I contracted to pay "on delivery." Well, nothing got delivered and this really, really threw me. I emailed several times and allowed an extra month. Still nothing. I had to send messages "rescinding" the contract due to non-delivery. I can't contract with someone else and then have someone deliver something late and demand payment. This brought me right up to the holidays so I made the difficult decision to go ahead and delay releases for as long as necessary to get things done. I have several locations written but I still need art and cartography.

Cartography is one of my other difficult areas. I have someone that was planning to do at least one map for me, possibly more. I'll be in touch with him again after the holidays are over (ie. next week).
It is "interesting" to be on the publishing side now. As a freelancer I have people that owe me literally thousands of dollars (I believe the total is about $5K US now), now I see why publishers would complain about people having work turned in late, etc.
It looks like the strongest luck I have is with writing, several people are working on short manuscripts now. I am hoping the delays due to art constraints won't frustrate those writers. I want to have 4 solid products already finished before I release the promotional freebie. I guess this means 5 products finished and ready, and I am not there yet.

Okay, brighter times, fun and family.
We have had a wonderful Christmas here. My parents spent some time with us before Christmas, then we had a relaxing Christmas with just our family before heading off to Houston to spend time with my wife's family. Christmas morning the kids actually let us sleep late. The baby woke up fairly early, but fell back to sleep and my wife let he and I stay in bed until around 9 AM. That is total decadence for us. The children loved their gifts, although our 8 month old was content to play with the paper and boxes for a while before moving onto his toys.
I have heard stories about horribly stressful Christmas Days for some, I guess we are lucky. We spend a lot of time reminding the children of the "reason for the season" and teaching them to be thankful for what they have. I can't say there wasn't some stress before the holiday while getting ready, but really, that has always been pretty minor.
The weather here in San Antonio has been wonderful so the kids have had a lot of time outside, along with plenty of time inside on their new video games. We have been able to simply relax and enjoy ourselves a bit. My wife just got back from taking the kids off to the Library (and a little shopping) so I suppose I better finish this up.

I guess the next thing we have coming up is New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. We don't even have plans right now. We are just letting things happen and it is amazingly stress-free. I don't really do "resolutions" for New Year's. I do make lists of goals though. I will probably list those here in a few days so I have a nice reminder next year at this time of what I did, and did not, get done.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Okay, I just noticed that some of the website updates for G.U.P. weren't uploaded. That is okay though, I am in the midst of doing some more. Taking a bit more time on things now and trying to be more patient. The holidays have slowed everything down for me. Strangely, my boys still have soccer and basketball practices, yeah, yeah, I know, they should have a break from that too.

In any case, the cover art I contracted for the City Streets line never materialized and the person I contracted with to create layout templates for the CS line and another unannounced line never sent anything back either. These two items I was paying pretty well for but I guess the exchange rate made that pay pretty poor too. I guess I believed that when people signed and returned contracts the work would get done. November 15 is long gone now and these two crucial pieces of work simply haven't appeared. If anyone knows some people interested in this, let me know. I think I am going back to the original black and white cover idea I first had. The color cover isn't going to work out. I don't think a new artist will be back to me quickly enough with a color cover to my specs. We'll see.

The most painful decision is the massive delay in releasing anything. I don't want to release promotional products until I have a line-up of products to promote. While several locations are written, more work is to be done, and I want to have 4 products FINISHED and ready to go before putting up a promotional product.

I have a few sketches that I will be using, I will probably post those up on the website sometime soon. My 12-year old did a sketch for me too, it came out pretty well. I will scan that soon as well. Hmmm, maybe I need to get him to stretch his artistic skills this holiday break and do a few more character sketches for me, possibly some buildings too.

My parents are visiting this coming week. This means I will either a) get a lot done as they help by playing with the baby or b) get practically nothing done as we wander around San Antonio looking at the sights and my folks go and look at houses (they are thinking about moving here eventually). I am guessing if the weather is nice it will be (b) otherwise, maybe (a).

Oh, Mike and Todd, thanks for the suggestions, nice to know that maybe 5-6 people actually read this ;).

Saturday, December 8, 2007


Well, I hate to say it, but I am 42 today. This pretty much means it was my "day off" from most things. I got to stay in bed while my lovely wife got up and made breakfast and the kids stayed quiet and let me sleep in. I didn't get up until almost 8:00. Last night we went out to eat at my favorite Mexican restaurant, which, in San Antonio, means something. Today we had a number of family things to do, but my wife and kids gave me plenty of free time to just relax. This means that tomorrow I still need to put up the outside Christmas decorations.

One of the things I did today was create a forum for Generic Universe Publishing. I need to get a logo finalized and pop that up, I also need to take care of the website a bit. I hope to have some of those things done sometime tomorrow. That might get hurt a bit by a basketball game in the middle of the afternoon. No, not NBA, 9 and under CYO ;). If I don't get things up tomorrow, I SHOULD be able to get them up on Tuesday. Monday is shot so it won't happen then.

'til later...

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Getting on a roll ...

Okay, it has been a busy day, but for a while today I was really on a roll and getting some writing done, a bit of sketching done, and some other more boring things done. Then a lot of other things popped up screaming to be taken care of. Maybe I can get back up to speed later tonight. We need to head out for a school event tonight. Come to think of it, I should be calling the kids inside to make sure they are read to go. I THOUGHT I had time to post, oh well.

Friday, November 30, 2007

On a roll

Well, I have been getting things done for G.U.P., just not the things that I probably need to do first. I am disappointed at the moment because I have several locations written up, but I am held up by a few things. First, I am working on getting a new cartographer. Originally, I had someone ready and primed to go, but at the beginning of the month he learned he was going to Afghanistan. Now I am looking at working with a cartographer in the UK. He sent me some nice samples, I am just worried that I can't pay him what he is worth. Then again, I really can't pay anyone what they are worth, such is the RPG industry. The exchange rate and low US dollar really hurt though. I actually talked (via email) to an artist that is also in England. Apparently, he has decided not to work with US companies any more. I guess he gets enough work in Europe and the exchange rate kills whatever he gets from US companies.

Well, time to get a few other quick things done.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sunday, Sunday

Okay, Sunday, a day of rest. This means that I set up the Christmas tree, helped the kids put the ornaments on it, cleaned up a bit, did some paperwork to change our health insurance plan, did paperwork for one of the kids, and lined up the bills that need to be paid tomorrow. Strangely, this actually was a fairly relaxing day. I suppose that says a lot about what most days are like.
I thought I was going to have the free sample .pdf ready by the end of this month (should have been earlier) but it looks like if I do get it done by the 30th, I will be squeaking into the finish line. Losing my cartographer to Afghanistan hurt some of my scheduling. Looks like I might have to step up and neaten up my own maps for a bit. I do have a promising cartographer that has contacted me and I have responded to him. It isn't fair to try to dump maps on someone and expect a short turn-around though. Pay in this business is, well, crap. I do have an idea that might help me pay him a bit more, if that works out then maybe we can get some products back on schedule.

It is time to make the list of things to do for tomorrow. I am afraid the list is going to be very long. I guess that is just the way things go.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Well, I made some comments about Dragon and Dungeon online in a post at ENWorld including the fact that I felt the writing was "poor." I feel that some of the Dragon articles simply aren't up to the level of Paizo's and made a generic comment that unfortunately included things written by some people in the industry that I really, truly like. Including Ari Marmell, and C.A. Suleiman, who I worked with on the Tome of Artifacts for Lion's Den Press and Necromancer Games. Basically, by making a general comment to avoid insulting specific people (because I don't think it is their fault) I went ahead and put a smack down on people I definitely didn't want to insult.
In my follow up post, you know, the one where I tried desperately to pull my foot out of my mouth so I could stop gagging on my knee, I include the following tidbit:
"I guess the big thing for me is that I don't think that WotC is showing anything that makes me excited and interested in the "Digital Initiative" or in Dragon/Dungeon online and the people I know that would normally be drooling over this, well, they simply aren't. I am pretty much an easy sell, I spend a lot of money on gaming materials, and when you include how much I get in comps, well, you get the idea. WotC just hasn't sold me on this. If they haven't convinced ME to buy it, then there are a lot of people on the fence right now. If they want to get those people off the fence and getting ready to sign up, they need to set a firm release schedule, hold to it, and match Paizo's quality.
In my opinion (take it for what it is worth), the managers at WotC should have KNOWN they didn't have the manpower to do this full strength and they should have hired the people required to get it done. This way people actually working like mad to get 4e out don't have to be distracted writing articles for Dragon."
Well, that pretty much says it. I just don't think that WotC is doing the job required to get people ready to sign up for Dragon and Dungeon online and the Digitial Initiative.
Then again, I am not getting enough work done for G.U.P. either, so I guess that is they way it goes. Speaking of which, I have to go ...

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Grumble ...

Well, sick children and chaotic schedules are slowing me down. I am clearly more focused on getting some of the background work done than on posting to the blog ;).
I have several good submissions for the City Streets line, and I have some good writers lined up too. I am very excited about that. What I am NOT excited about is the friend that was going to do building exterior illustrations and some cartography for me. No, he didn't do anything bad, he just happens to be going to Afghanistan in a few weeks so he has to focus on that (stay focused buddy). So, if you are one of the, oh, 3-4 people reading this and know a cartographer--let me qualify that, inexpensive cartographer--please send them my way.
I am working on a special logo for all of the planned generic RPG lines. Yes, it is still a secret, yes, I have more than just City Streets planned. We'll see how it all goes.
WotC and 4th edition.
Wow, what to say? Sounds like they have completely blown off a d20 trademark license. I know that Scott Rouse is dedicated to the OGL but I also know that WotC wanted to create a new (different) d20 logo to go with 4th edition and they wanted it to have "value" to distributors and retailers. When I talked to him at GenCon he admitted that WotC was really torn about it. Basically, the distributors want it to indicate WotC approval, WotC simply can't review material from other publishers while still worrying about their own work. They dicussed ideas of charging to use the license, and/or giving it to only certain proven publishers. Based on posts to ENWorld and elsewhere, it sounds like WotC simply decided that making a d20 logo mean something again would cost them to much time, money and effort for the return they would get (um, none, really). 4th edition will still be OGL, or at least part of it, I wonder what part?
Meanwhile, once upon a time WotC told some publishers that they would have access to the new edition rules probably by early November. Nobody has them yet.
I don't know, the more I hear and see about the coming edition of DnD, the more I wonder if it is DnD anymore. Lately, those small moments I have time to play something, I end up playing with my boys (12 and 8) and we use Castles and Crusades, no pesky skill points to keep track of, no feats to worry about, etc. I love DnD, and I think 3.5 is a great, well-designed game. I just wonder what WotC is really up to. Let's face it, I will be buying those first 3 books, hell, possibly more than that. I will also write material for it, the real question is, will this be good enough that I feel like signing up for the "Digital Initiative" and/or Dungeon/Dragon online? So far I am not impressed with either Dungeon or Dragon online and, hell, I use a Mac so the Digital Initiative is sounding dead in the water to me too.
Well, that is the gaming news I suppose. I took my oldest son to the Trinity University men's DIII NCAA championship tournament game tonight as a reward for his stellar grades. The 8-year old would have gone too, but he got himself a "mandatory study" (after school detention) for neglecting to do his homework (he basically has all A's too). My boys love soccer and Trinity is the topped ranked DIII team right now. They are fantastic to watch and won VERY convincingly tonight. Well, the Spurs game is over (Go Spurs!) so it is time to close this and get a bit more work done.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Moving Along

Well, I am getting things done. Exterior of the house has been repainted, new front door installed, you know, things that are important but that don't really get a business up and running. Despite having a handy laptop that I use quite a bit, I still write out a lot of ideas in notebooks and/or edit on paper. It makes it easier to work outside in the wonderful weather while keeping an eye on the kids. This means I have quite a bit of material that I need to actually type into the computer. I might get time to do a bit of that tomorrow, but the kids have the day off from school so I am guessing we'll be filling some of that time with other activities.

I have had a few submissions and some questions for my open call. I updated the open call page ( with some questions/answers and a comment. Of the two more completed submissions I have so far one guy is a good writer and certainly has some ideas and material that I want. I have already corresponded with him several times and he is already adjusting things for me. The other one is from someone new to writing (at least for RPGs). He sent something that falls into a "new" genre apparently called "Horror-Porn." Wow, really, really NOT my thing. Not sure who decided to combine Horror and Porn, but, well, I just don't see how this would be part of any type of RPG that people would sit around a table and actually play. It was well-written though (at least what I read), just not something I would be interested in publishing. I told the author that the writing is good and I am interested in seeing something else (PG13), but that the material he sent isn't something I can publish. We'll see how he responds.

I have now upped the Open Call announcements to include several message boards. Before it was pretty much the people that came by the website and/or noticed the small line in the announcement(s) I posted. I also got some nice word-of-mouth on the Open Call from Vicki Potter who told some of the writers she has worked with and Bret Boyd who pointed to it from his Blog. The questions I have received show that several more people are at least considering creating a submission.

I will probably post announcements looking for artists fairly soon but I know I won't have time to look at portfolios until late next week so I see no need to do that now.

Okay, back to work.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Time Roars By

Well, I did get the announcements out last Thursday and posted Open Call information on the website. I'll post Open Call info at and ENWorld in a few days.

Bret Boyd and Vicki Potter have both helped by letting people know about the Open Call. Thanks to both of them! Bret's company, Tricky Owlbear Publishing now has a product out called "Lotsa Blocks" which, strangely, is a perfect counterpart to some of the generic products I have planned.

The weekend was both hectic and sad. Went to the Memorial visit for a friend that died after a long battle with cancer. Her 15-year old son lost his father to cancer 3 years ago and now he's lost his mother. It has taken quite a toll on him. I spent some time talking with him and with the uncle he is living with now. It is a tight family and they are doing their best to help him, and he is definitely playing like he is "strong" and dealing with it okay but I have known him for a number of years and I can tell that he is hurting pretty badly.

Strangely, they canceled soccer practice(s) this evening. I don't know if we'll know what to do with ourselves. It isn't really raining but I am guessing the fields are still wet and they want to protect them. The boys were REALLY looking forward to a practice where they'd end up covered with mud.

I suppose we might go out for dinner (don't get the chance that often, and let's be honest, neither my wife nor I want to cook this evening). Tonight I want to finish some more website updates and I am probably going to set up some forums using a free forum service. I don't expect a lot of traffic there yet but I want to get some things set up and ready when I do start getting some products going. I also need to respond to some of the emails that came in over the weekend. Let's see how much gets done...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Well, I probably could post announcements and update the website but I am not completely happy with a few things and a friend of mine has been trying to convince me that it is best to announce on a Friday. I might still have things ready to go tonight, then I'll have to decide what to do. Might just get the website uploaded anyway. We'll see.

I have about 5 logos that came in from one of Casey's art classes. His students do some nice work. I have decided to put some of them up for a vote and see what people think about them. Not sure how to go about it though.

Well, I have a crying baby sitting in my lap so I guess I better go.

Monday, October 15, 2007


Well, I was going to do some public announcements of the new company, website, etc. today but that is at least delayed tomorrow. Possibly Wednesday.

Well, one friend called with some bad news.

Then later that afternoon another. (different bad news)

Finally, get the kids home from school and I get another phone call with more bad news. Bad enough I have a funeral/memorial service to attend this weekend.

After that, well, an active decision to simply take the older boys to their soccer practice and then come home and have a stiff drink. Not sure if I need another or not.

On the G.U.P. front I actually have some fun, interesting news, and even some web site updates I haven't uploaded yet, but today just isn't a day for me to post about them or be excited. They say bad news comes in threes, well, that's three, I think we save announcing a new business for another day.

Saturday, October 6, 2007


Okay, I have been back from vacation for a few days and still haven't posted to the blog.

I am playing with a number of different cover ideas and trying to narrow my list of "product lines" that I want to start with. It is also clear that I am going to need to tag some other writers to help cover some of these products. I am taking on far more duties than I actually intend to in the long-term, but I want to know everything involved, art, layout, etc. on my own. That experience will help me let others know what I want them to do when I hire them and give me a good idea of how long each step should take.

I am going to try to get some Halloween T-shirts up on Cafe Press this weekend. I don't know if that will get done with the soccer games and birthday parties that are scheduled today. Tomorrow should be fairly free though.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Okay, heading out for a nice 6-day vacation. I hope to be going on a number of things after returning. I have some freelance work that needs to get finished (no, I won't be doing it on vacation, sorry) and more work on the G.U.P. website and future products. Rumor has it someone has an entire class working on a nicer logo for the company. I can't wait to see how that turns out.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Erm, Whoops!

Okay, that was odd, started trying to post and it gave me a message that I already did. I wonder what I said?

Well, I have told a few more people about the website and the plan to go public soon. I have also gotten enough of the freelance work that I have been working on done to post again this evening. Of course, with the kids off from school (long story), soccer practice(s) this evening, and actually getting some writing done, I am pretty fried.

I did make some changes to the website, including an embarassing editing correction (I have to be more careful when I cut stuff out, really that was it, honest) but I haven't uploaded the changes because I tried something else that I, well, don't like. Doesn't fit the "generic" theme well. I will need to make certain I "unchanged" that on all of the pages before I upload.

I'm on a writing roll right now so that will just have to wait ...

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Rough day with a lot going on so not much time to post. Didn't really get much done for G.U.P. today, busy with other things, including a project for Troll Lord Games. Made a few changes to the website that should be completely in the background and thus, unnoticed as nobody noticed the bugs yet. Ah, the benefits of not announcing a site early.
I think the broken buttons should be fixed now too.

Tomorrow should be "interesting." It is parent-teacher conference time; I have back to back to back (etc.) conferences tomorrow afternoon. I hope to get a bunch of work done in the morning but most of it is probably for TLG too. I have some ideas buzzing around my brain aching to get out so I am getting back to some writing before they lose their way.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Quick Post

Well, things are moving along nicely. Uploaded a number of changes to the website. A quick test showed that one button is "broken" on a few pages so I guess I'll write that down and fix it tomorrow. Not really a surprise as the webpage changes were done throughout the day in between errands and taking care of a very fussy, teething baby. I guess I'll take care of the various emails I should be replying to tomorrow morning. I might be moving to a different Blog site, we'll have to see. Thanks go to Vicki Potter for the wonderful suggestions (and editing).

Okay, off to ponder a few notes and ideas and then to sleep ...


Well, I had a long list of things to do yesterday and I was able to plow through most of them. Posting here was toward the end of the list, but, well, the wireless router needed to be reset so I wasn't able to post from the laptop while in bed watching Jay Leno. Yes, it would have been trivial to come downstairs and reset the router, but, well, I didn't.

Last night I felt great. My Mother and Father-in-law have been in town for a few days helping with the baby so I have had the opportunity to get a lot of work done. In addition to more tinkering with the website, working on contracts for writers and artists, and writing preliminary material for GUP, I got a big chunk of writing done for something I am working on for Troll Lord Games. The fact that yesterday was the only day of the week we didn't have a soccer practice helped a great deal. Well, time to pack some kids off to school.

I am hoping to get as much done today as I did yesterday. If I can do that, this will turn out to be a very productive week.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Moving Right Along ...

Okay, I finally have the initial pages for Generic Universe Publishing up and live. You can find them at I am pleased with the results so far. I was going for a plain, "generic" design that was easy to work with. I was also going for black and white (um, mostly) to go with the generic theme.
The funny thing is, a friend volunteered to create the page for me when I was first discussing the idea. I almost took him up on it, but in the end, I decided that I would learn a lot more creating the pages myself. Strangely, I found this more difficult than some of the pages I have created in the past. I guess when you don't use the software for a long time, the "bells and whistles" can get confusing and even get in the way. I am using Adobe GoLive for the webpages right now.
I am excited about the new company and I have tons of ideas that I need to sort through right now. Starting this up has energized me for some of the other freelance work I have been doing. Why is that sometimes adding to your workload allows you to accomplish more? I suppose it is looking at the list of things to do and realizing that you have to be REALLY organized if you want to push through to the end.
Well, the day has been full, 3 soccer games, finishing up the webpages, and working on a few other things makes it margarita time.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Just a small beginning.

Well, it is finally time to announce the beginning of a new business and a new Blog to go with it. As a "stay-at-home" dad, freelance writer/editor/developer of RPG material and now the new owner of a publishing company, even I don't know what path this will take. My thoughts on this Blog will include plenty about starting a new business, probably almost as much about my wife and children, and almost certainly random thoughts about the state of the world. Stay tuned, Generic Universe Publishing will go live sometime soon.