Tag: Jim Butcher

Hugo Nominations are up! (Part 1 of 3)

by on Apr.25, 2011, under Articles, Books, News, Novels, Podcasts, Short Stories, Writing

The Hugo Award Nominations are available

Man, do we have some great nominations this year. The Hugo Award is the leading award for excellence in the field of science fiction and fantasy. The Hugos are awarded each year by the World Science Fiction Society, at the World Science Fiction Convention. Let me go over some of the ones I am excited about.

Best Novel

FEED is nominated!!

This actually came as light surprise to me. I am not used to having already read one of the year’s Hugo Award nominees for Best Novel. I’ve written about how the book is awesome.  FEED is by Mira Grant, the alter ego of Seanan McGuire and it has a sequel coming out, DEADLINE, on May 31st, a book I am anticipating as much as Ghost Stories by Jim Butcher. So congratulations  Ms. McGuire!

I haven’t read any of the other novels nominated but I do recognize one of the other authors nominated, Lois McMaster Bujold for her book Cryoburn.

Best Short Story

I have not read any of the short stories nominated, however I will be looking forward to Escape Pod in the coming weeks, as they typically make a point of releasing all five Hugo Nominated short stories on as podcasts.

Best Related Work

Speaking of podcasts, Writing Excuses: Season 4, has been nominated for Best Related Work. Created and staring , Brandon Sanderson, Howard Tayler, and Dan Wells, the podcast focuses on various topics related to writing and becoming an author while keeping any particular topic under fifteen minuets because, as they say: “Fifteen minutes long, because you’re in a hurry, and we’re not that smart.” Obviously you’re smart enough to get nominated for a Hugo. Congrats guys!

Part 2 and Part 3 of the Hugo Nominees will be posted in just a little bit!

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Fate & Dresden Files RPG, Part 1 – Intro

by on Jan.07, 2011, under Articles, Gaming, Roleplaying Games

So I talked a little bit about roleplaying games in my last post which you can find here. I briefly talked about what they are, what I’ve been playing, what I’ve wanted to play, and why it’s been hard to play what I want to play.

One game that I’ve been wainting to play is the Dresden Files RPG.

Fuego!The Dresden Files RPG is based off a series of books known as The Dresden Files (a shocker I know) by Jim Butcher. It is produced by Evil Hat Productions. If you’ve never heard of The Dresden Files or have but haven’t gotten around to reading the books, let me highly and emphatically suggest them right now. They are an excellent read and by the fourth book you will most certainty be hooked. Let me warn some of the books can easily robe entires nights of sleep from you by their sheer awesomeness.

But I want to talk about The Dresden Files RPG, not the series.

The Dresden Files RPG is based off a roleplaying game system called Fate. Fate is a free RPG system, meaning that you can use it, download it, print it, as much as you like because it is released under the Open Gaming License, which is like the Creative Commons License but for games. The Fate used in Dresden Files is actually one of the first versions of the 3rd edition of the Fate system, modified slightly to better create Dresden Files like stories.

As soon as I started reading about the Fate system I found it an incredibly interesting from a mechanics standpoint. Roleplaying games grew out of miniature war games and as such, tend to have a focus on being a simulation of real life (even if real life in this case contains fantastical elements such as magic spells and dragons), and have a focus on combat. There are exceptions but even those exceptions have mathematical rules which are not very supportive in terms of story creation.

(continue reading…)

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Gifting: Part 1, Wish Lists and eBooks

by on Nov.10, 2010, under Articles, Computers, Novels, Opinions, Roleplaying Games

So it is the time of year where I start to think about gifts. I like gift giving, especially if I can think of a good gift for someone. The end of the year is about the only time I can give a gift without people giving me a weird expression. Plus I have this awesome scheme where I get one of my best friends to wrap them all for me. It’s sweet.

And since it is that gifting time of year, This means that I usually need to make a gift list since my friends and family also want to give me gifts. I know, it’s strange.

Wish lists

A few years back I tried an independent website called Wishlist that worked alright, except half my friends couldn’t figure out how to mark something bought. But what is the holiday without a few returns, right?

Lately I’ve been using Amazon’s built in wish list. Since it can support non-amazon things. I’m not sure I like using amazon, but it’s interface is streamlined enough that I don’t have to worry about people getting confused.  Although the amazon wishlist puts a lot of emphasis on the product, and a lot of screen time on the notes the user adds to the product.


Which leads me to the topic of e-books in a very round about manner. I’ve recently started collecting  eBooks, or iBooks, or whatever. Electronic files which contain the written word, and sometimes images, usually to present a story or information. You see I have an iPad, and I am a gamer, in the more traditional pen and paper type as well as lots of board games. The iPad has actually proven a decent way for me to carry my gaming library around and read the games whenever I like although I’ll admit I still prefer to have the physical books for reference. For board games, it is awesome to have more than one copy of the rule book at the table.

I’ve also tentatively tip toed into actual eBook novels, with Jim Butcher’s Side Jobs, which was amazingly priced in hard back when it released, that I was able to afford the iTunes eBook version so I could read it immediately while I waited for the physical version to arrive int he mail. The eBook version proved to have somewhat more poorly formatting than I was hoping from a commercial eBook file but I digress.

The reason why I bring up eBooks is because I think I would like to continue receiving eBooks. With the holidays approaching, I have two questions; How do I communicate this to the people wanting to purchase books for me and are there methods for them to actually do so in an electronic form?

How do I communicate to the people wanting to purchase books for me what particular eBook vendor or file format to use and are there methods for them to actually gifting these books?

Continued in Part 2. Stay tuned!

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Novel Writing, Jim Butcher’s LJ

by on Oct.29, 2010, under Writing, Writing Updates

So I’ve been reading Jim Butcher’s Live Journal. He posted a series of articles explaining how to start writing using techniques that will help you write even when your utterly uninspired. Which is awesome if they work.

And so far each technique has made me think “Wow, that makes a lot of sense.” from the perspective of beginning to write. I’m a newbie. I’ve never written anything longer than a short, short story, and a few really long outlines, and a lot of first and third person roleplaying. Some of this will translate to novel writing, a fair amount of it won’t, because I’ve never had to structure a story before. And that is what some of the techniques are teaching me.

But what caught my attention, something I didn’t know, was a side statement made while discussing point-of-view.

“I wrote SEVEN BOOKS in the third person and they were universally lame. When I finally took Debbie’s advice and wrote my first novel in the first person, I produced Storm Front.” – Jim Butcher

That kinda blows my mind. Jim Butcher, one of my favorite story writers, wrote seven novels before he finally wrote one that would eventually be published. Is it ironic that I find this inspiring more than disheartening?

“Writing. Because we have to.” – Me (One of my new mottos to help explain why real writing seems so very masochistic).

Here is another great piece of advice from his article I felt like sharing.

“But when writing third person, the sheer flexibility of the choices available to you can make it tough to pick who will be the POV character in any given scene.

But there is a simple rule of thumb to help you decide that. Viewpoints belong to the characters who are the most deeply, emotionally involved in whatever is at stake in the scene. When you’re wondering which character should have the viewpoint in any given scene, all you have to do is to pick the character who has the most to lose. THAT person is the one who is going to have the strongest goal, and his pursuit of the goal will be fertile ground for the best conflict.” – Jim Butcher

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