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Trip is nearly two-thirds done

And who would have guessed that Amtrak would turn 45 on the day of our big train vacation? That happened yesterday. Here’s an article from Vox on why Amtrak sucks so hard.

I don’t think it sucks. I do think it has problems, and that (like any huge organization) some of its employees do not do it credit. For example, the bathrooms are routinely awful, and on the last leg of our trip, there was no running water in our car. We had to go to the car behind us to wash our hands or whatever.

Anyway, we put sunscreen on yesterday, but for whatever reason still burned the hell out of ourselves. Can’t go on the beach again without feeling like we’re on fire, so I’m in this Starbucks working on my book.

As always, there are pics on our Twitter feed. I’ve never seen ocean so green, but the city itself is sorta unpleasant. Sorry, Miami.

Mirrored from Harry Connolly. You can comment here but not there.

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Brief trip update

As I write this, I’m sitting in a Starbucks in Chicago. Last Wed, the 13th, my family boarded a morning train and arrived in Sacramento about 6am the next morning. We ate a (too-) big breakfast at a place nearby, then caught the California Zephyr to Denver.

We took a lot of amazing pics from the train (check my Twitter account for them) and arrived in Denver just in time for a spring snowfall of about eight inches. Things were so overcast that we didn’t get to see the mountains. We stayed at the home of a friend of mine, a guy I’ve known for more than 30 years, and spent most of our time hanging out and talking.

It was great. Also, the weird food reactions I get were much reduced there, which helped convince my wife that many of our nagging but minor health problems were related to our apartment/the city of Seattle.

Now we’re in Chicago. We ate German food and had an Italian beef sandwich–exactly as good as we’d heard. Now we’re resting before we catch a night train to Boston.

No lie, it’s been more difficult to get the sleep I need on the train than expected, and this is only the first week. Luckily, after Boston we have several days of very short trips. Maybe we can catch up.

Otherwise, it’s been great.

Mirrored from Harry Connolly. You can comment here but not there.

And away we go! Off on our train trip

I scheduled this to post at about the time of our departure, so when you read this, I will have said goodbye to the relative who’ll be watching our apartment, ridden the bus to the King St. Station, boarded a train, and begun my 30-day family tour of the country.

I don’t know how much connectivity I’ll have so I don’t know how often I’ll be able to check my LJ friends page, Twitter, Facebook, etc. If I don’t note some important event in your life, it’s not that I don’t care. It could be that I’m in the middle of the Rockies with no connectivity.

Also, I have an iPhone (borrowed–thanks, Jeff!) so I hope to tweet pictures of our adventures. Give me a follow if you want to see.

In the meantime…

Wish us luck!

Mirrored from Harry Connolly. You can comment here but not there.

Today, I’ll be at ECCC (my first time there) signing books at the UW Bookstore booth (space 5100) at noon. The bookstore will be bringing the Del Rey novels but I’ll be packing in the books from my Kickstarter: copies of The Way into Chaos/Magic/Darkness, copies of A Key, an Egg, an Unfortunate Remark, and copies of Twenty Palaces, the prequel to the Del Rey books.

I’ll also have a few (rare) copies of King Khan, the game tie-in novel I wrote about the gorilla who’s an Oxford professor and his pitched battle against an intelligent fart from space.

(Spoiler)

Stop by! Visit! You don’t have to buy something and I promise not to make sad pathetic expressions if you don’t. Nor will I touch the covers of my book and sigh loudly. In fact, depending on the level of ambient noise, I’m more likely to squint at you and shout: “I’m sorry, did you say you wanted me to climb a hook?”

The more stuff I sell, the more space I’ll have in my back to pack stuff home, and I sorta promised my kid a t-shirt. But no pressure! Just drop by!

Mirrored from Harry Connolly. You can comment here but not there.

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This is why I could never be a film director. I’m just not this visual.

I find this stuff super-interesting, though.

Mirrored from Harry Connolly. You can comment here but not there.

For writers, the huge projects that we put hours of toil and sweat and heartache into typically end when something goes on sale. That happened today.

The Fate Core supplement, titled The Way into Fate, that covers The Great Way and A Key, an Egg, an Unfortunate Remark has been sent to backers and is now available for sale on Drive Through RPG. It’s over 53K words (far more than intended) and is basically a world-building document expressed in Fate’s (deeply intuitive) game system.

Plus, there’s a 50-page adventure covering a historical incident briefly alluded to in the books. The Key/Egg section of the game covers Marley’s Farce Magic, and both sections include many story seeds for possible campaigns/adventures.

It also means my Kickstarter campaign is officially over.

The campaign that I launched in Oct, 2013 to fund books that were released one year ago, has now, with the publication of this game supplement, ended. To say this is a load off my shoulders is understating things significantly. If you’re a backer and I owe you books, check your Kickstarter messages. If you don’t have a working link, message me through Kickstarter.

And, to bury the lede, check out that final Kickstarter update for a big Twenty Palaces update.

In the meantime, if you like games and fun, pick up your copy of the game supplement here.

Mirrored from Harry Connolly. You can comment here but not there.

They say ideas aren’t worth much…

and “they” are correct!

Long time readers know that I give away story ideas on my blog (the ones I’m never going to write, I mean) under the tag “seeds”. And you might remember last year when I mentioned that writer Stephen Kotowych took one of those ideas, wrote it up, and sold it to an anthology called Caped.

Well, now that story has made the short list for the Prix Aurora Awards under Best English Short Fiction.

First of all, congratulations to Stephen; the idea of superpowers that spread virally through punching is a fun one, if I say so myself, but it’s worthless on its own. Execution is everything.

Second, I have no idea how the Prix Aurora works, but if you (yes, you, the person reading this) have a vote, why not vote for Stephen’s story, “Super Frenemies”.

Third, it’s an interesting world, and getting more interesting all the time.

Mirrored from Harry Connolly. You can comment here but not there.

The Long Train Trip

Today I picked up the USA Rail Passes for my family and myself. The short description, for those who have not clicked that link: With a pass, you get to travel for a set number of days to anywhere in the US. We have a 30-day pass, which means we get 12 “segments.” Get on the train, get off the train, that’s one segment. We get 12 of them to use in 30 days to go anywhere we like.

It’s my birthday present, delayed from last summer because I wan’t sure how much money we’d have after Uncle Same came around for his share of last years book sales.

Can I take a moment to say “Thank you,” to everyone who bought a copy of my books, and “Thank you very much” to everyone who helped spread the word? We wouldn’t be doing this without you.

Anyway, we have a set list of cities to visit, mainly to see family and friends. Denver, Chicago, Boston, NY, Philly, Washington DC, Miami, New Orleans. I think that’s the list.

Most of our time in these places will be catching up with old friends, hanging w/ family, or being tourists. I won’t be meeting online friends or readers on this trip, because there just won’t be time. We’ll be spending, like, a day in each of these places. Maybe two. Philly gets three because that’s where my family is and I haven’t seen any of them in a dozen years. My son was a toddler the last time we visited; now he’s a teenager.

Did I mention that this is a birthday present for me? We’re spending 30 days together, and if you add together all of the segments (none of which will be longer than 30 hours, I think, until the leg home) they come to about 10 days out of the 30.

That’s a lot of time to spend on trains. If we were flying, we would probably spend 4 days tops, including TSA checkins. We’d have more time in the cities, seeing folks, maybe even visiting a few bookstores. So why the trains?

Well, for me, the time spent on the train is the whole point. We’re together, without TVs, or internet. We can’t retreat to various bedrooms, have no chores to spend our time on. All we can do is hang out together, talking, playing card games, reading, or just being family.

As I mentioned above, my son is a teenager now. He turned 14 last winter, and he’s almost too old to go jaunting around the country with his dorky parents. Not quite too old, because we mostly get along pretty well, but he’s starting to suffer from the stormy teenage temperament, and he can be a bit of a pill.

Still, we have a good relationship. I’m pleased to be hanging with him, and I’m always pleased to spend time with my wife.

Plus, we’ll get to see the Rocky Mountains, travel through the southwest, and Florida, and the eastern seaboard, and we’ll visit the National Mall and Freedom Tower, eat po’ boys, walk on Boston Commons, snorkle, and who knows what else.

Maybe I’ll even get to finish this damn book.

Anyway, on Sunday I’ll be at ECCC signing books, and the following Wednesday I’ll be hopping the Coast Starlight for some intense family time. If I won’t get to see you on the trip, I’m sorry. Hopefully, I’ll sell a shit ton more books and we’ll get to do it again soon.

Mirrored from Harry Connolly. You can comment here but not there.

Randomness for 3/28

1) The weird physiological trait that suggests a young person is prone to violence.

2) The influential and well-established psychological theory of Ego Depletion may be bunk, and scientists should be worried.

3) Volleyball or fire extinguisher?

4) An oral history of the Justice League.

5) Classical art, now available gluten-free.

6) How Alfred Hitchcock blocks a scene. Video. I’m really loving this genre of short documentaries about filmmaking techniques.

7) “The Worst Game I’ve Every Played.” Video. Bought off of Steam, this game is amazingly shoddy work.

Mirrored from Harry Connolly. You can comment here but not there.

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