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New short story in Midgard Preview from Kobold Press

26 Oct

Midgard Preview coverMy very short story “At the Sign of the World Serpent” is one of two pieces of fiction in Midgard Preview, which you can download free from Kobold Press. DriveThruRPG named Midgard Preview the Free Product of the Week in the current issue of its e-newsletter.

The other piece of fiction in the book  is by best-selling author and award-winning game designer Jeff Grubb. The credits also include Ben McFarland, who just won a gold ENnie award at Gen Con, and Wolfgang Baur who is…well, he’s Wolfgang Baur. It’s an honor to be included, is what I’m saying.

It also makes me think that “Grubb and Rockett” would be a great name for a business in a steampunk story. Maybe they’d make rocket packs.

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New blog post: Interview with Paizo’s Erik Mona

28 Dec

My Q&A with Paizo’s Erik Mona is up at the Weber Shandwick Seattle blog. While chatting with Erik at Gen Con in 2010, I discovered that he worked for my current PR agency when he was just out of college. So we met up recently in Redmond where I asked him about his start in PR, his move to the roleplaying game industry, and the upcoming Pathfinder Online MMO.

We had lunch at an Asian restaurant called Spicy Talk, and I was sorely tempted to call the blog post “Spicy Talk with Erik Mona”. It might have attracted a lot of hits, but would otherwise be mystifying. Alas.

Twitter tip: Count your characters, think about it, then count again.

4 Jun

Sure, go ahead, laugh. Writing what’s essentially a status message  seems like it would be the easiest thing in the world. But as anyone who writes headlines will tell you, it can be very challenging if you’re trying to convey information and meaning within a very small space. And Twitter, with its 140-character limit, is one of the smallest spaces around.

Count Floyd

You will be so dope at counting characters, they will call you Count Floyd.

If you’re drafting a Tweet that’s important to you — an announcement, for example — you’ll want to take into account some factors that can really put the squeeze on your prose.

Spaces count
Remember that the spaces in your message count as characters.

Retweets (may) count
Do you want others to retweet you? Consider cutting your Tweet by 16 characters to allow for an @ sign and a username. (The retweet button on Twitter creates a message that doesn’t shoehorn the original Twitterer’s username into the message, but not everyone likes to use that feature.)

Links count
Will your Tweet contain a link? Check the length of the URLs that the service you’re using creates (bit.ly, ow.ly, Posterous, Tumblr, YouTube, etc.) and make room in your message for it. If you’re drafting a Tweet before whatever you’re linking to exists, leave a placeholder for the URL — ideally one of equal length.

A little Birdhouse in your soul
If you use an iPod Touch or iPhone, you might want to check out a Tweet-drafting app called Birdhouse. I haven’t yet used it myself, but I have it on good authority that it’s a handy way to draft, review, revise, rate, save, backup, publish and unpublish Tweets.

Of course, counting characters is only the beginning. There’s also the small matter of writing well in such a confined space. That’s another post.

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