Wednesday, December 27, 2017

You do a thing, people want more of the thing

It seems that if you write a lot of RPG and scifi stuff, people will want more of it.

At least enough of it that they'll put up with you and your pet alpaca herd*.

It's official.

I'm now part of the Alligator Alley Entertainment! That said, you probably wonder what my job title is.

As you know,  you get to wear all sorts of hats in a small company. Sometimes you wear all the hats and other times you share one hat with the other guys and hope everyone shampooed in the morning.

Right now that giant shared hat is Esper Genesis, until we can get the Core Rules PDF out to our backers and then get the print version on the shelves.

So the closest title I can probably nail down right now is game writer, though that's pretty vague and it's not all of the skill sets I'm bringing to the table.

The Cool Stuff I do:
I'll be tweaking a rule here and there and making quite a few monsters soon, but I'll also be adding my  world building to the mix, along with some of my signature fiction.

The "Boring" Stuff I do:
Decades of marketing, layout, and editing expertise.

The Fascinating Stuff I do:
Reflecting on a lifetime of analyzing genre fiction and running RPGs has become more handy than I expected.

i.e. Answers to questions like: What do scifi gamers expect out of a game vs fantasy gamers? What are the underlying expectations to those experiences?  How do you design a new setting to work with a rule set already in place.

Even more fascinating is the stuff I'm learning from my teammates. We are pretty much your textbook little company of part-timers, as are a lot of business in this industry.

So when you find yourself wearing a job hat that you haven't had before, you find yourself back in padawan mode.

Which if there is one tidbit I can pass along to others, no matter the challenge, it is enjoy and embrace the opportunities to learn. I suspect that most of the jedi you know or revere have end up becoming students many times over in their lives and be better for it.

*No alpaca were harmed in the making of this post. I don't even own an alpaca. I'm just trying to get a bigger place so I can have dog. Though a cat in a bigger place may not be that bad either. Goats are right out. Have you seen their eyes, those are like creepy Exorcist eyes.

Yep. No goats.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

You asked for it, you got it

I went out on the G+ Cypher group and had a poll for the next Cypher book and while it was a very tight race for new adventures for a while, the final winner was SciFi.

I've been batting around a fun idea for a space opera setting that will be optional. Not quite a "Small Lights in the Wilderness" vague setting, but also not a overly detailed "We're Banking On Making Bank (TM) franchise" either.

Cruel Stars is a fun setting where humanity is behind the eight-ball in interstellar politics, up to the point that we don't mind playing dirty tricks with what few advantages we have:

  • A few colony planets that have alien relics that we claim as our technology -- including our FTL (Surprise! This is where cyphers and artifacts come from).
  • Earth is the heaviest gravity planet where intelligent life comes from. Off-planet, every PC can be a literal superhero
  • And agents of the top secret Bureau 66 can access powers beyond even what a normal Bearer can do. 
  • All Terrans (Humanity has been joined by K-9, Chumps, Octopod and Androids) are fiercely loyal to each other and their friends.
All of this makes Terrans the lovable, "drunk" uncle at the fancy dinner party of the Confederation. But when things need to get done and no one cares how, Terrans are there to save the day -- and cause some property damage. 

Make some space knig -- I mean Bureau Agents or a rag-tag group of mercs looking for their next meal ticket. It's all good up here in the black. 

Check it out today!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Wow. Feeling the love and maybe punch drunk.

This is a bad ass cover.

And lot of you guys evidently agree.
I did manage to get a five-star review for the content, which is also super nice. Mortal Fantasy was officially my best seller right out of the gates. The market was hungry either for a more generic GotF book or more in-depth Fantasy supplement.

After feeling like a lot of effort goes into making very little progress, this is amazeballs. If I had started out with sort of support, I would have been super spoiled.

I found a few mistakes and learned some new layout tricks so I updated the file. Feel free to go get your update today!

Thanks again my fellow Cypher phans! I am now going to eat a lot of chocolate and watch some Marvel Netflix  and chill with myself.

Someone just told me what that means.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Gnawing off my arm -- growing pains

Dude, learning is hard.

I have been trying to bring up my layout skills for my next project, Mortal Fantasy, since I am hoping it will reflect a new level of skill and design on all fronts.

The thing is that it feel like it's taking forever to learn from my mistakes, tear things down, and then build them back up. It's not quite like rebuilding your house every time you find out that you just put a exterior door in your shower stall, but it feels like it.

Mortal Fantasy is going to be a blended book, part Gods of the Fall, part D&D style fantasy. Serving two audiences, and two masters, at once. If this gamble pays off, then hopefully we can get the ball rolling on other ideas and projects.

Crossing fingers.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Rolling out the RPGs goodness: Update

So I've made the jump to seeing if my talents in world building, genre love and writing can find a home in the land of table top RPGS.*

While I still have some novels floating around, it seems that either:

  • My craft is not up to snuff yet. 
  • My stories are too much of genre mismashs to be marketable in a industry that is taking less risks everyday
  • I haven't found the right combination of editor and zeitgeist to lift my ship on a rising tide
  • All or some of the above
My self-published shorts have done okay with the amount of marketing they get, but I think we've established that the days of putting a decent short story on Amazon and getting outsized results are gone. The Wild West territories of ebooks continues to shrink every day.

Perhaps the biggest challenge in RPG writing is that there is even more time taken up learning new skills and technologies. For a guy who impatiently just wants to be writing and world building all day, it's frustrating.

But in the meantime, check out my growing library of work at Drive Thru RPG through the Cypher Community Content Creator Program. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Time flies and evidently "Nerdstravaganza" is a curse word.

As some of you may know, I now do quite a bit of my writing for the Nerdstravaganza Podcast website, their content king if you will.

But I blinked and realized how sparse my on blog was looking lately. I got a wake up call, well more like a snooze bar when there a recent server blip over at the Ganza site.

It reminded me that most of that content is ONLY on the 'Ganza site. If it goes down, then a lot of my work is so much evaporated bits and bytes. That made me nervous.

Then, funny enough, my co-host Brian and I were playing No-Man's sky and discovered that both Nerdstravaganza and Ganza tripped the game profanity filters. That possibly explains why some of my lunch-time readers have complained that they can't access my free Clockwork River chapters at the Ganza site while they brown bag it at their workplace.

So that was the "last straw," and I'm going to make a concerted effort in the next few weeks to update the blog with my NG-P content, not only as a back up, but also because not every fan of Clockwork River, Zombie Bloom or the Tarnished Sun is also a 'Ganza fan.

So if you've been waiting for updates, thanks for your patience. I've just kicked out whole slew of chapters of Clockwork River for your enjoyment as an apology. Enjoy!

Rapids Ahead: Chapter Six of Clockwork River

Now Fen and Awrin have to use every skill and trick that posses to escape the Shan Kingdom capital as it burns all around them.
Clockwork River
By Christopher Robin Negelein

The wharf was worse than the streets but also added bobbing, unmoored boats and panicked people pushing and shoving with the unlucky ones already swimming in the river. Each place is worse than the last. Fen thought. We go from the kitchen, to the pot, right into the fire tonight.

The soldiers were here too. They had shoved all foreigners onto slave barges, olive, ebony and chalk-skinned people shoulder to shoulder with imperial bureaucrats, merchants and mercenaries who were chained together. Then one of the caravan survivors, Lord Vita, already in leg irons, looked in their direction. Please don't see us, Fen thought. The urge to step further back in the shadows was strong, but the sudden movement would be more a tip-off than standing still. There was a moment when his gaze went from resigned to hatred before a guard pushed him onto the boat, his leg irons rattling.

The stare was long enough. A leader pointed in their direction and young red rebels raced down the wharf. The siblings bolted, but they couldn't outrun the cry and alarm. Despite her exhaustion, Fen drew her sword and her trick scabbard while putting Arwin behind her.
The plan was for that to get him out of harm's way for as long as possible while he watched her back. That plan was the first casualty.

"We have company, Heron," Arwin said.

Why must he always state the obvious? She grunted, but kept the thought to herself. Time was better spent weighing her options, trying to find -- no make -- an escape route. She had been reacting to the whole night, no plan and no strategy. No, they were backed in a literal corner with no way out.

She spun to face her pursuers. "Go look for a boat, have dad tell you how to say 'we can protect your boat with magic."

Arwin raised an eyebrow. "Indeed. While you dance with your new suitors? I think not."
Fen blew a ginger strand out of her face. "I don't care how you get the boat, but get one. I'm holding them off." She reached out with her long arms and toppled some crates in front of her. If they tried to climb over, she would skewer them. "Go. Now." She heard his footfalls faded into the chaos all around them.

Two young rebels raced down the wharf to be the first to try her, smirking. While she weighed more than the shortest young assailant and had reach on them, all the boys could see was long hair and her chest. Sadly, they didn't see what happened to their friends. She smirked and tilted her head down. But I never tire of teaching this lesson, and these boys I could teach all day.

The young men clumsily wiggled around the crates while the others hung back. The chargers' grins faded as she bellowed like a true clan warrior and stomped up to them as loudly as she could.

She straight-armed her sword as she barreled forward. Metal scabbard at the ready. Her focus and fury narrowed her gaze into tunnel vision. So she saw the archers only at the last second.

With an, "Oh, shit," she dove for a crate. This is what those boys were grinning about. I lost my perspective. Arwin screamed something unintelligible behind her. Like a deer putting trees between her and a predator, she zigzagged towards him while keeping the crates between her and the flying arrows.

She dodged left as she heard an arrow dive in at the right. It bounced off a crate and clattered onto the wharf. They never stick in the wood like they do in the stories.
Fen then slid around a corner and found Arwin already climbing onto a river boat. She never slowed down. Taking a running leap while keeping her blades high to avoid cutting any passengers, she hit the crowded deck hard. Fen tried to stop rolling forward and getting tangled with the rest of the refugees. Her left shoulder banged into something. In the dark she wasn't sure what it was but it hurt. There was no time to wallow in the pain.

She stood straight up and strode up to the starboard side of the deck trying, to hide her hurt by letting her left arm limply hold the scabbard. "Arwin. Now would be a good time."
"No need to say it." He sighed." But it will be tricky to aim it without the red ball."


"Yes, I'm sorry."

Arrows, lit by the burning rags wrapped around them, arced beautifully towards the boat. She raced along the edge duckling around those leaning away from the projectiles. Putting herself in the way of the largest grouping of projectiles. People yelled at her.

She had no doubt that some refugees were screaming how insane she was. One fellow tried to grab her but she danced out of his reach as he pleaded with her. Even if they spoke the same language, he couldn't have changed her mind. But he snagged her bad arm
Which sent shooting pains into her shoulder. Fen didn't have time to gasp while she fought back the tears and bellowed at him. The man's sense of self-preservation kicked in and he's backed into the others.

Arrows descended on her like a rain of spikes. I only get one chance at this. Fen breathed out and inhaled slowly as the arrows crossed the water. One graceful swing with a flourish and five arrows bounced off her blade. The vibrations sent tingles up her good arm. Three other arrows skidded across decks to quickly be stomped out. One fell short as another sailed past and landed in the river with a "pfft."

"Duck!” Arwin yelled.

She obliged.

From behind her, a gleaming streak shot over her and across the water. Diving towards the archers, Arwin's haw buzzed the whole archer line. In their rush to avoid the razor-tipped avian, men ducked and screamed with one dropping his bow into the water. They were joined by the wharf rope that had been cut loose from the boat.

Enchanted smoke trailing from every vent and joint, the clockwork bird made another pass.