Friday, February 24, 2017

I'm somebody now!


Yep, that is what it feels like.  Or it will once I actually get a physical copy and not just PDFs ( it is kind of amazing how many proof versions these things go through - this one had at least 8).

What am I talking about?  Why Nick Williams new book that is officially released today.

Excellent book, highly recommended
No, I'm not Nick.  I haven't ever met Nick yet.  That doesn't mean I don't have great respect for him. I just don't know him beyond Facebook, forum, IM and a few emails. So why do I care?  Well not just because my name is in it.  It is actually in the Uncharted Empires book as a play tester.

It is a little more than that.

First on page one
Clash of Kings, pg 1
That isn't play testing credit, or kickstarter credit.  No, this is content.  Words.  Like actually published writing stuff.  With an editor, and printed and sold and everything.  So while I don't think this would be enough for me to be listed - well anywhere I guess - it is still being published - meaning that as of today I have gone from a fringe blogger to an actual published writer.

Ok, I'm a little proud of myself.  Sure, I've had some poetry published - first in high school when I was selected to be in the "World's Greatest Contemporary Poems" or some similar title.  It was a contest that you sent your stuff in, and then (from what I can figure) pretty much everyone that submitted ANYTHING got at least one piece in the book - which they then sold to all the people who got their stuff in it for like $50 a copy.  Pretty much a scam to get people to purchase these books because they had something in them.

I did have some more poetry published in my college literary magazine - this actually had editors and they actually rejected most of what people submitted (including my submission freshman year) - I think I had 5 poems in there over three years.  And I have never written a single poem after my senior year - I got that all worked out of my system.

But apparently there is some part of me that is a writer - because I do find that, one way or another, I keep writing.  I've done some journals (I probably need to burn the first journal I wrote in - nothing that is out of the ordinary from any other teenage boy in there - but it has a LOT of crap from a teenage boy, and no one EVER needs to be subjected to it).

I remember my creative writing teacher in college (yes, I took the course four times (3 times for no credit, I got an A the first time through) used to say that the difference between a writer and someone who writes, is a writer HAS to write.  They have no choice.  There is no judgement on quality here - simply that they have to write.  Not all writers are good.  Not all writers have anything original to say. Not all writers are worth reading.  But ALL writers write.

My wife has had an idea for a novel since before I met her over twenty years ago.  She has taken a couple of seminars, and read some books on writing.  But she is not a writer, because she does not write.  Her notes still sit in her notebook, and once in a while she looks at them, but she hasn't written any part of it yet.

She is also the one to blame for some of this, after encouraging me each year to write our annual Christmas letter that, apparently, receives lots of praise from her friends and relatives (yeah, I feedback from MY relatives on the other hand is deafening in its silence (queue crickets chirping)). Honestly my Dad's friend and former colleague writes a much funnier one, and doesn't limit himself to just two pages (this years was four, and had my wife and I laughing throughout).

I have been putting up posts in bulletin boards (most have been copied to this blog if anyone actually cares (I barely do - it is that completest in me that wants them all in one place) for over ten years, and now scribbling out this twice a week for over two years.  So published or not, I guess the fact that I keep writing makes me a writer.

But now I'm published!  No not much.  I don't know if I will ever have anything else published.  I don't know that I have enough to say to attract more than the few hundred views I usually get on a post.  I'm not sure if anyone will ever be able to find any type of publishing credit for me - but there it is, my name in print for articles I have written.

While he won't see this, I hope my father will be able to understand and be proud of me.  I have always been very proud to be his son, and the fact that he has published several books makes me even more proud.  Being a professor of History and Government meant that his books were never going to hit a best seller list. From the "Colonels of Politics" - about Colorado county commissioners to "Pike in Colorado" - about the travels of Zebulon Montgomery Pike (yes, the one Pike's Peak in Colorado is named after) and beyond, they were never destined for glory.  But they are fantastic to me.

Pike in Colorado, by Dr. Carrol Joe Carter - my dad
Ok, give me a  minute here.  I'm feeling a bit emotional - because for the first time I have found links to this book, and places where you can actually buy it.  (The dust jacket on my hardback copy is torn).  I don't know - the reasonably priced copies may be gone soon - I think my kids should have copies of this, and even though (as I write this) he is in a nursing home - it would be cool to bring him a copy of it as well when I go to visit him the next time.

Enough of that rambling.  Time to talk about me again.  So how did I come to actually have something in print?

Nick Williams, the credited author of the book, founding member of the Kings of War rules committee and Kings of War player since before the game ever came out, actually asked me to help write a bit.  I didn't think to ask for when he needed it, and started some, but wasn't finished when he asked for it.

A few days later, Matt Gilbert, Mantic COO, gamer, and former member of the Rules Committee asked me to write up a bit about my experiences running events.
Would you be interested in writing a piece for me for the KoW tournament book? 750-1000 words on your experiences as a TO, how to run an event and what pitfalls to look out for and what advice you can offer?  Specifically, if you have any experience of running leagues for KoW that would be great to hear about.
I said sure, and this time made sure to ask when he needed it.  (“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”― Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt)

So I wrote a first cut.  Then threw it out because it was complete and utter garbage (no comments from the peanut gallery about the quality of this blog (yes, I know I just lobbed an easy one out to you (and as I like to tell my wife, she married me, I can't help that I was born this way.  I just wrote this, you are the ones choosing to actually read it))).  So I started over.  And I found a groove - and just got writing, and when I finally was done cranking it out - well it was over 2200 words and kind of missed the point about leagues that he asked me about.  I liked this however, so kept it, and started over a third time.

Third time is the charm, correct?  I submitted this to him, the correct length and much more on topic. And it is the one page article on pg 25 of the book.
Clash of Kings, pg 25
Yep, there is my name.  I wrote this.

But I had this other piece. So I figured what the hell, I'd give it to him as well, and if they could use it, then great.  If not - well I could always turn it into a blog post here after all (the editor is a pushover - he will put up almost anything I write after all).

Then about two months ago, I received a PDF of the book to help proof read.  Awesome I thought - I downloaded it and started going through it.  My name in the credits for additional content - cool. Nice two page introduction after the table of contents.  Then page 4.  BOOM.  Yes, that was my mind - blown.  There was my longer article - and it was the first real content in the book.

Clash of Kings, pg 4
Yeah, I was a bit excited about it, and still am.  I proof read the copy, only finding 24 things that I felt needed corrected (and most of them were, with only a couple that I found in the final pre-press version that should still have time to be fixed.  (so I am taking credit for you not getting "Nimble" as a legendary upgrade for War Engines on pg 27.  You are welcome).

So I have five (and maybe some more - I don't know if Nick was able to use any of what I gave him at all) pages out of 48 in the new book.  I'm pretty happy with myself.

I did have a discussion with my wife as well - because I do want to brag and share this a bit.  I know that only my oldest son would actually want the book for the content regardless of who wrote it (hey, I would buy a copy even if I hadn't written a word of it).  I had talked to my kids, and they all wanted copies.  I'm getting a copy to give to my Dad because he got me writing.  (Ok, another story.  When I was really young - like 3 or 4, I don't remember exactly) my Dad was working on his PhD - specifically writing his dissertation.  Well I had this old three ring notebook - it had a green cloth cover that someone had drawn a frog on.  I would fill it with paper and sit in my room with a pencil and meticulously draw squiggly lines over all the pages.  These were regular lined 3 ring binder paper - so plenty of lines to fill in.  Front and back.  Page after page of these.  When it got full, I would get more.  When anyone asked me what I was doing, I would simply say that "I'm working on my dissertation.  Just like my daddy".  (My wife would tell you that my penmanship has not improved at all since then)).  I wanted a copy for me to keep, a copy to actually use (what a concept), maybe copies for my sisters (I don't think I need to go as far as my niece and nephew, that is pushing it). Meaning that when the book comes out I may end up buying 10 copies of the thing.

So I guess I'm back where I started after all - writing up some stuff to get it published just to get me to buy copies of it.  I see what you did there Mantic.  Well played sir, well played.

They did send me a complimentary copy though - a week before it actually is released - just in time to rub everyone's nose in it.
Yes, I posted a picture of me holding my CoK on Facebook.  Of course everyone smiles when they have their CoK in their hand.
Because it is all fun and games . . .

4 comments:

  1. Can't wait to get this. Ordered a copy for myself and 1 for each of my two KoW mates.

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  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  3. Good for you.
    Congratulations.
    America need people that can use actual words and sentences
    in these times. ; )

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  4. Fantastic effort by the rules committee to actually get the book written by the very people who will use it.

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