Showing posts with label announcements. Show all posts
Showing posts with label announcements. Show all posts

Top Secret Project is No Longer Secret

Let me tell you a story about a little boy and his dreams. This boy (we'll call him Adam) wanted to make video games since he was 11 years old and Nintendo Power ran a contest to design your own game.* Back then (the late 80's), the only career paths to video games were computer programming and art. Believing he was no good at the latter, he studied computers for the next twelve years.

But Adam wrote too. Oh, God, he wrote -- and designed, because for him it was always about creating the games. Programming was just a means to an end.

In early 1999, Adam got his wish. Feargus Urquhart, head of Black Isle Studios, took a chance on a rookie programmer not quite out of college, and Adam became a scripter on one of the greatest RPGs ever made. And he impressed some people. So much so that when he told them he wanted to be a designer on the next project, rather than a programmer, they happily obliged.

But it didn't last. Oh he loved the job, but the hours were many, and he was commuting 2.5+ hours a day on top of it. When Adam got married, he decided a less demanding (and possibly better paying) job would help ensure the longevity of his new family.

And then he went crazy and left it all for Thailand.

It was all good, though. He'd found a new creative outlet in his novels, and being a full-time dad actually gave him opportunity to write. Of course he missed game design, just like he missed steak houses and the ocean; it was just one of many sacrifices he'd made for the greater good.

But Adam, like so many of us, underestimated the power of the internet and social networking.

Now, this is happening. My old friend, Colin McComb, asked me to be one of the primary designers on a successor to our beloved Planescape: Torment. We're working with Monte Cook (one of the creators of my favorite edition of D&D) and other equally cool people that I can't even mention yet.

We're still in pre-production, and there's always a chance the game won't even happen: big publishers don't want this thing, so we have to go directly to the people who do (BTW, if you're one of those people, we'll talk later).

But just the fact that there's a chance I can do game design again is kind of blowing my mind. We're living in the future, guys. Next stop: teleporters and flying cars.

* Before 11, I wanted to be a jet fighter pilot. I blame Iron Eagle.

Buy a Book, Save a Baby

My friend Natalie Bahm is releasing her first book on September 28, but this isn't your normal debut.

I mean, it is a little -- bank robbers, secret tunnels, 12-year-old crushes -- but Natalie isn't selling this book for herself. All the profits are going to help Baby Jayden.

Just watch the trailer.

Jayden has been ill since birth. His parents have almost lost him at least a dozen times, and now they're struggling with a massive debt. This little guy is fighting to survive, and doing a heck of a good job with it. How much would it suck if he lost because of something stupid like money?

Plus you get a book out of it. You can pre-order it at Amazon or iTunes. Help Jayden's parents sleep better tonight (God, wouldn't that be great?).

INCARNATE Giveaway and Gushing

You guys know Jodi Meadows, right? I don't see how you could not. She's the most awesome person that ever awesomed (even before she became an Air Pirates fan).

And she wrote a book. It's called INCARNATE about a world where everyone is reincarnated and remembers their past lives and builds on their past lives . . . except for one girl. Ana's new, and nobody knows why, and worse, they don't know what happened to the person who was supposed to be reincarnated in her place.

UPDATE: Read an excerpt here.

So yeah, it's a tough life for Ana, but an awesome book for you! And it comes out tomorrow! And I'm giving a copy away to one of you lucky people!

Good day, yeah?

Even more, 45 bloggers are participating in a treasure hunt with clues, activities, and lots of prizes including signed books and handknit fingerless mitts. Simply by participating in MY contest, you automatically gain entries for Jodi's BIG drawing to win some of that stuff. Then you can head to the next activity for more INCARNATE fun! There are 19 INCARNATE activities around (I linked a few below). The more you do, the better your chances of winning the grand prize.

For more information on the INCARNATE Theater Treasure Hunt, check out Jodi's post here.

Now, to win a copy of the book from me, and also get entries to the grand prize drawing, all you have to do is come up with a caption for this (NOTE: the knitted critters are characters from INCARNATE, though your caption does not have to reference the book):


To be eligible for both contests, you MUST fill out this form:

All captions will be entered for Jodi's grand prize drawing. Additionally, I will choose my favorites and post them here on Wednesday. Then you will vote for a winner and that way no one can get mad at me that person will get a copy of INCARNATE from me (unsigned, but I will send it internationally).

UPDATE: The finalists for my contest have already been chosen, BUT any caption entered on this form will still get entries for Jodi's grand prize drawing, until Monday, Feb 6th, 11:59 pm EST.

If you have any questions, post them in the comments.

Improve your chances to win the INCARNATE grand prize giveaway by checking out some of these blogs (who in turn link to more; it's a big wicked circle):


Three and a half years ago, I started this blog just so I could type this sentence:


I am now represented by Tricia Lawrence of Erin Murphy Literary Agency. She's a new agent with a great agency, and she is very excited about Air Pirates. I can't wait to start working on this thing again.

I'm aware, of course, that this doesn't change the game. I've beaten a boss, but there are more levels to come, and the princess is in another castle. But a new level comes with new abilities. I've added a new member to my party, with strengths to match my weaknesses, and . . . some other gaming analogy that I'll think of later.

I'll give you the story and the statistics later (of course, the statistics). If there's something specific you want to know, please ask in the comments so I can be sure to address it.

Until then: DANCE OF JOY!

A Contest for My Tiny Little Cash Cow

Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Winter 2011
So it's not really a cash cow, but while Air Pirates fights its way through the query trenches, "Pawn's Gambit" is still over there making money.
That's right, you guys. Those selfish requests I made? You totally stepped up. Thanks entirely to you, my first-and-only pro sale is going to be printed in Beneath Ceaseless Skies' Best of Year Two Anthology. And I'm going to pay you back the only way I know how: with a contest.

Leave a comment, and one of you will randomly win your choice of the following:
  1. $5 for Amazon or Barnes and Noble (enough to buy, say, the anthology when it comes out in the fall...if you wanted).
  2. A critique of a query letter and/or the first 10 pages of a novel.
  3. A sketch of anything you like.
The winner will be announced Friday morning, July 29th.

I feel a little silly celebrating every little dollar this one story makes, but when you're in the query trenches, you gotta take what you can get, aye?

And anyway, as long as I'm going to have a patron, I'm glad it's Beneath Ceaseless Skies. The art, the stories, the editor...that magazine is a class act all the way. If you haven't already, go check it out (besides, it's free).


Those of you who follow me via other means may know we recently added to our family. That is, we added FOUR KIDS to our family.

Being as fatherhood is my primary job, and as these kids are far more important than writing, blogging, or even (dare I say it?) reading your blogs, I'm going to focus on them for a couple of weeks. So the blog will definitely be quiet. I probably won't be commenting on your blogs (though I'll try to read them when I can, honest), and my Twitter/Facebook updates will be focused on letting people know that I and the kids are still alive (so remember that a comment about Nathan eating trash bags means we're well and in good spirits).

Two weeks. I plan to be back on August 23rd, if only to say, "Hey, guys, I need another two weeks to love on these kids."

If you want to know how the kids are doing, what they look like, or how long it takes for five little boys to turn the rest of my hair gray, you can follow my other blog, Facebook, or Twitter (depending on your surfing preferences). I'll still be checking my e-mail too.

Otherwise I'll see you all in a couple of weeks.

I've Never Been This Excited About 4,400 Words

First off, a HUGE thanks to agented author and writer of ninja fiction (among other things) Natalie Whipple for the revamped blog header you see above. She has an amazing knack for matching people to fonts. She's like the eHarmony of graphic design. Anyway, the header was the last tweak this blog needed.'s PERFECT.

Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen it.


You also may recall somebody bought a short story of mine set in the Air Pirates' world. Well the date has been set, and on April 22nd you'll all be able to read "Pawn's Gambit" at Beneath Ceaseless Skies (yes, all of you -- it's free).

That's less than two weeks. I am disproportionately (though understandably) excited about this. It blows my mind that somebody liked something I wrote so much that they paid me money for it. I'm still unconvinced that anyone else will enjoy it, so I'm planning a contest to swindle all of you into reading it. Nothing big -- I'm not arm wrestling my sister or anything -- but I am going to give away a free book, so you should pay attention.

Until then, you can get a taste of the story here at the BCS website. Or you can check out the poor man's book trailer: the wordle!

Honestly, if you get anything out of this, I will be both shocked and awed.

Are you excited yet?!!?!


My New Distraction

You may notice I missed a post yesterday. That's the first post I've missed since I decided to have a schedule, but I have a really good reason:

Also without the crying:

Her name is Anica Joy Heine, and she's going to ensure I never get anything productive done again.

And actually, I'm okay with that.

Seriously though, this space will be quiet until Friday, when I will attempt to present the appearance of normality once more. I'll be online, I just won't be writing anything new or witty. Which I guess is the same as always, but...

You know what? Whatever. I have a baby girl!

What If?

What if it's not ready?
What if this is my last chance
to have my favorite agent
give it more than just a glance?

What if, just like last go,
I'm rejected forty ways?
Am I forever doomed to
tired prose and dead cliches?

What if something's wrong with me,
and I'm not meant to write more
than the newsletters and blogs
I've been doing since '04?

If that's the case I'm sure
to be more than just depressed.
I'll have wasted seven years
on a hobby no one gets.

Writing asks more time than
I can possibly commit.
I probably should quit, but then...
what if this is it?

Only one way to find out.

Query Letter Upgrade

Querying agents is hard. It's even harder for those of us whose credential paragraphs don't actually have any credentials. Like this:

Azrael's Curse is an 86,000-word science fantasy novel, available on request. Thank you for your time.

Now, I know agents pick up complete unknowns all the time. It's all about the story, right? Even so, I'll feel better changing that paragraph to read something like this:

Azrael's Curse is an 86,000-word science fantasy novel, available on request. My short story, "Pawn's Gambit," is due to be published in a future issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Thank you for your time.

Wait, what?

My short story, "Pawn's Gambit" -- set in the same world as Azrael's Curse even -- is due to be published in Beneath freaking Ceaseless Skies!

I'm not normally an excitable person but... Holy crap, this is cool!


Beneath Ceaseless Skies is an online, pro-rate (i.e. 5+ cents/word) magazine dedicated to publishing "the best in literary adventure fantasy." Also, their cover art is AMAZING.

Wanted: Beta Readers for Air Pirates

Chapters: All of them
Scenes: All of them
Words murdered: All of... I mean, 6016 (6%)

Time I said I'd be editing: 5 weeks
Time I actually spent editing: 12 weeks
Time I spent on this novel so far: 22 months
Time before I send it out: Withholding judgment until I hear what the betas think


It's time! The (1st) Editing Phase of Air Pirates is over. Now to the Beta Phase, for which I need some of you. If you want to be part of my team of Beta Readers, now is your chance.

As a Beta Reader, your task will be to read a 94,000 word manuscript (that's longer than Harry Potter 2, but shorter than Harry Potter 3) and tell me what you think of it within a reasonable amount of time.

Telling me what you think means telling me what's working or not working in the story - whatever you notice and whatever I don't notice because I'm too close to it.

It doesn't mean saying "I love it!" or "This sucks!" It will mean being specific and (preferably) being nice.

It also doesn't mean you have to be an editor or even a writer. If you like to read, then your opinion matters.

A reasonable amount of time, in this case, is about 6 weeks. That's just what I'm asking for. If you miss it, the worst that might happen is I'll move on without your input.

If this sounds like something you want to do, e-mail me: adamheine at Gmail. If you have questions, I'll answer them in the comments.

Almost forgot. For those of you unfamiliar with Air Pirates, here's the current (albeit outdated and kinda rough) blurb:

No one's ever cared about Hagai's birthday, least of all Hagai. So on his 21st he's surprised to receive a stone that gives chance visions of the future. He has no idea why his mother sent it to him - or how, since she was killed eighteen years ago. Though Hagai's never done anything braver than put peppers in his stew, he sets out to find her hoping she's alive. Unfortunately, he's now the target of sky sailors and air pirates who want the stone for themselves. If the sky'lers get it, he'll have no way to find his mother. But to keep it, Hagai faces being crushed by an airship, being beaten to death by pirates, and having his throat slit by a wanted sky'ler named Sam Draper - and that's only the first day.

When Sam nicks the stone, Hagai tracks him down and demands it back - politely, of course, because Sam still has the knife. Sam refuses, but Hagai surprises them both by asking to fly with him. Unable to make the stone work himself, Sam agrees. Now Hagai, who grew up wanting nothing to do with sky'lers, is crew to one and fugitive from both pirates and police. Harrowed by visions of his own death, Hagai is nonetheless determined to change the future and find his mother, if she's still alive.

Two Important Announcements

First announcement: As of this moment, I am officially a published author. Thaumatrope has published all 22 words of a science-fiction Easter story I wrote for them. You can read it here.

I have a second story due to be published on August 17, this year. You don't have to remember that date. I'll link to it here when it happens. Also, Thaumatrope is open for submissions again, including serials. If that sounds interesting, there's more information here.

Second announcement: The first draft of Air Pirates is finished, after 19 months. That's a long time, but... well, I'll give you a breakdown of that whole process one of these days. With graphs and everything. It'll be great.

You'd think the hard part is over, but it's just beginning. Brainstorming, outlining, plotting, writing... these are the fun bits, when the story's fresh and exciting in my mind, and nobody else is telling me the truth (i.e. that it's not fresh or exciting). So let's take a look at the next couple of months:
  1. Ending: Fix the resolution to meet the standards of my Beloved Alpha Reader and myself. This is currently the best ending I've written so far, but it is still merely mediocre - not as satisfying as it could be. Cindy's helping me make it better. ETC: 1-2 writing days.
  2. Continuity: Go through the revision notes I made while writing and repair the novel's continuity (I broke it a little during the later chapters because the way I'd planned things wasn't working). ETC: 1 writing day.
  3. Polish: Read through the whole novel, fixing everything I see. ETC: 1-4 weeks? I'm not really sure.
  4. Beginning: Go back one last time and give the opening special attention. ETC: 2-3 writing days.
  5. Beta Phase: Send the novel out to beta readers and await their response. ETC: 2-6 weeks.
  6. Freak Out: Getting feedback is the best and worst part of this process. I love hearing what people liked (especially when it's some scene taken the way I meant it). I hate hearing about things I need to fix.* ETC: Ongoing.
I'll talk more about the beta phase when I get there. For now, I need to work up the nerve to revise, and I need to figure out what daily stats mean for me in the revision phase. I think that's part of what this list is for; it's a means for me to track my progress and help me feel better about myself.

I have to admit, I'm kind of rabbit-in-the-headlights right now. I'm scared to take a break, and I'm scared not to. I'm afraid to touch it, but I know I can't leave it. I just need to sit down in front of it and make something happen, I guess.

* This is the part where I'm not thinking like a pro yet. I get critiques and think, "Crap, you mean it isn't finished yet?" Hopefully I'll be able to get over this attitude with some practice.

Travelers on Hold; Air Pirates Nearly Drafted

If you look at the status of my works in progress on the sidebar, you'll notice two things.

First, I have changed Travelers' status from "Querying agents" to "On hold". In truth, I haven't really done anything for Travelers for two or three months now. There are still a few agents who haven't gotten back to me, but given the overwhelming number of negative responses, I'm not optimistic. Some statistics...

Queried: 60 agents
Form rejections: 39
No response: 19
Personalized rejections: 2 (thank you, Ms. Gendell and Ms. Meadows!)
Partial requests: 0
Full requests: 0

From the personalized rejections, I've gathered that (1) my current query letter doesn't suck, (2) neither does my voice or writing style, but (3) the characters in the early parts of the novel are not characterized very well and/or the agents didn't feel as connected to the characters as they wanted to (Arad and Garrett were mentioned, in particular).

I'm leaving the first chapter online for now. I may consider a rewrite later, but I'm not going to think about that until I'm farther along in the query process of Air Pirates and am thinking of my next project.

Which brings me to the second thing. I'm writing the final chapter of Air Pirates (Whee!). It's taken me 1.5 years to write the whole draft. That's a lot slower than some people, but it's about 3x faster than the last novel I wrote (so that means the sequel will be done in 6 months, right? Right?).

I'm excited (obviously, since I'm posting about it before I've actually done it), and I'm ready. I have the query letter all set. I've got a 4-5 month timeline for the beta/revision phase of the project. I even have a first draft of "instructions" for my beta readers. That's right, I'm that neurotic.

I guess that's all I have to say. I'm excited. When the draft is finished, you'll hear it here. When I need beta readers (I have 2, but I think I want a few more this time around), you'll hear it here. Maybe I should give you guys some excerpts or something. I'm just so excited!

Okay, I need to outline the chapter before I have to eat all my words. Words are gross!

Published on Thaumatrope

I just got a story accepted on Thaumatrope, to be published April 12th. Yeah, Easter. I'm pretty excited about that, and I got paid a whole $1.20 for it. You can subscribe to the e-zine here.

So does this make me a professional writer now?