Thinge I learned at GenCon 50

1. I’m getting older but I can still stay up drinking and talking about totally random stuff until midnight every night. Because GenCon.

2. Even when I think I’m not networking, I am. People want to hire me for things. Just last night, I ran SotDL with some friends, which turned into a couple Sentinels of the Multiverse games, which turned into a good little chat with my oldish friend Christopher Baddell, the creator of the game, who may or may not need some design for his forthcoming Sentinels RPG. (Can neither confirm nor deny.) I have a bunch of threads there, and if you’d like some work, hit me up. I’m always open to chat and I rarely say no, because I love writing.

3. The Writer’s Symposium continues to be one of the best things about GenCon every year. This year we sold 10k tickets (yes–ten thousand!) and had all kinds of huge names and crowded events. If you haven’t checked it out, I highly recommend it.

4. Elaine Cunningham is as cool as I expected, and it was excellent to meet her in person (finally) this year. Also read the book “How to be a Tudor” on her recommendation.

5. If you want to make a splash on the con floor, run a manually operated (as in people inside it) vending machine as your storefront, ala the Exploding Kittens people. See the video (on twitter until I can get it embedded here).


6. My perpetual roomie Brian Cortijo is one of the nicest, hardest working guys in the industry and the Forgotten Realms community, and he always takes good care of me. Highly recommended as a friend. (Does Facebook do reviews?) Also, we should all be rooting for him to win the powerball because of reasons.

7. I was a writer panelist at one of Zombie Orpheus’s Gamers Live events, and it was fantastic. Must contact Chris and Sarah to do that again.

8. Larry Dixon and Mercedes Lackey are just as cool as the last time we hung out 10ish years ago. Larry remembered me and my work, too!

9. It never becomes less awesome to meet a stranger who has heard of you or likes your work. I’ll never get over that feeling.

10. If you want to push artists over the edge from “breaking even” to “turning a profit,” buy their stuff! That’s what I did with Claudio Pozas, whose work I will be displaying on my office wall shortly.

11. Food: Marriott breakfast is a bit better than the Westin’s, primarily because you can order a fresh omelette. Didn’t eat at Palomino’s this year–must make that a priority. Keep Sunday lunch at Granite City and Monday breakfast at Patachou’s an annual tradition.

12. Demo more games! It’s fun and energizing. And you never know what cool things you’ll discover. It’s so worth it.


Norwescon 2017

Here is my schedule for Norwescon 2017!

Easily downloadable version here!


Make A Villain – Fantasy Edition – 9:00pm – 10:00pm @ Cascade 3&4
G.R. Theron (M), Crystal Connor, Erik Scott de Bie, Esther Jones, Frog Jones
Join our panelists as they work with the audience to create a relatable, compelling antagonist.



Let’s Build a Dungeon – 5:00pm – 6:00pm @ Cascade 9
Ogre Whiteside (M), Dylan Templar, Erik Scott de Bie, Ann Shilling
A dungeon? Of course! Where else are we going to put all the fiendish monsters and devious traps? I don’t have anywhere else to put all these chests and this huge family of mimics that looks like chests, do you? Join the panelists and other audience members in what’s sure to be the creation of one of the most bizarre dungeons of all time. It takes a committee to really make a monstrosity, right?



Toxic Masculinity as Villain – 2 to 3 pm @ Cascade 11
Joseph Brassey (M), Erik Scott de Bie, Elliott Kay, Marta Murvosh
Masculine tropes are commonly used in the depiction of heroes, but toxic masculinity is increasingly being explored as well. What is toxic masculinity, and how does it lend itself to the writing of villainy and evil?

SF/Fantasy Battle Royale! – 3 to 4 pm @ Evergreen 3-4
Matt Youngmark (M), Erik Scott de Bie, K.M. Alexander, Jason Bourget
Who would win in a fight? A fast-paced, bracket-style, breathtakingly unscientific showdown to determine this year’s Ultimate Fictional Champion. Ready… Fight!

Comic RPG Smackdown – 5:00pm – 6:00pm @ Cascade 5&6
Spencer Ellsworth (M), Erik Scott de Bie, Matt Youngmark, Adia
Bring your favorite comic characters in mind, and our crack team of comic know-it-alls will develop stats for them to battle it out in an RPG Comics Smackdown to End All Smackdowns!

Why Do Villains Look Like That? – 6:00pm – 7:00pm @ Cascade 5&6
Julie McGalliard (M), Jeremy Zimmerman, Jaym Gates, Erik Scott de Bie
Is there a reason that, when they become bad guys, characters like Loki and the Riddler seem to be drawn smaller, more slender, and dare I say, more fey? Why do we use stereotypically feminine traits to code for villainy in comics?

Reading: Erik Scott de Bie – 9:30pm – 10:00pm @ Cascade 2
Erik Scott de Bie (M)
I’ll be reading from MASK OF THE BLOOD QUEEN and/or my forthcoming Stormtalons novel!



Genre TV is Everywhere! – 11:00am – 12:00pm @ Cascade 10
David Fooden (M), Ogre Whiteside, Donna Prior, Erik Scott de Bie
With so many shows on TV and streaming networks, what should you be watching? Let’s discuss what’s currently on your TV, computer or portable device.

Tabletop RPGs: What’s a Story Game? – 3:00pm – 4:00pm @ Cascade 7&8
Ogre Whiteside (M), Jeremy Zimmerman, Scott Hamilton, Erik Scott de Bie
Just like what it sounds like! We’re talking about games long on story, shorter on mechanics.


Fall 2016 Update

So what’s going on with your favorite overworked author? Well.

1) Currently writing a Stormtalons novel for Onder Librum (The Ed Greenwood Group)

For those who’ve not yet pierced the mists that obscure these realms (absolutely the ones you’re looking for, btw), the STORMTALONS setting is a medieval-esque fantasy setting hatched from the brain of Ed Greenwood, creator of the Forgotten Realms, and forged and tempered with the pens of many extremely talented authors. (His first novel, Words of Unbinding, is launching within days, and preorders for the special collector’s hardcover edition are on!)

I am writing a novel that will come out sometime next year, I think, in the setting, telling a tale I’ve waited 20+ years to tell. My very first D&D character was a mysterious warrior, highly skilled in woodlore and the ways of the wild, called the Lone Knight (though he was technically a ranger in 2e terms). His boon companion? James the Wanderer, a fighter played by my friend Jim Campbell, a polearm expert from a distant land who wore the Jaguar for his totem. We’re talking some old-school STRANGER THINGS era gaming, where we were constantly on the run from epic monsters and thought a fireball could take out the Demogorgon. Anyway, those ideas have been kicking around in my head for decades, and now they’ve grown into a really awesome story. Much as I love all my writing, I haven’t felt quite this way about a fantasy novel since I wrote Ghostwalker. It’ll be amazing.

2) Mask of the Blood Queen to be released soon!

That’s right. Sometime (I hope before the end of this year), Mask of the Blood Queen–third in the WORLD OF RUIN series–will be released. I have just got edits back and am assured they will be a quick turn-around. I’m hoping it’ll hit in November, maybe even October. Just in time for Halloween would be excellent, what with a very scary MASK being on the cover… (Cover reveal soon!)

3) Extra-Life 2016 game September 16!

I’m raising money again this year for Seattle Children’s Hospital through the Extra-Life network. I don’t wanna take up too much of your time with the particulars, but you can help kids, get tax-writeoffs, power up my character to fight giants, get me to say something on our prime-time game livecast, and enter for a chance to win one of my books, all at the same time. Donate!

Here’s the link:

4) Can*Con in a couple weeks

On September 8-11, I’ll be up in Ottawa at Can*Con, a literary convention in Canada, at which a lot of TEGG stuff will be going on. If you’re in the area, let’s hang out!

5) Anthology releases! Women in Practical Armor and Shadowed Souls!

For those who supported this anthology (or those who are intrigued by the name), this is a fantasy/scifi anthology out from Evil Girlfriend Media that stars female warriors in (as you guessed) armor. Functional, practical, useful, non-cheesecake armor (with one very pointed exception). My story is about Ovelia, heroine of my WORLD OF RUIN series and cover star of the second novel, Shield of the Summer Prince.

This is Ovelia. Practical armor like a boss.

This is Ovelia. Practical armor like a boss.

Books have started showing up! I’ve also written and sent my four MARK OF THE BLOOD QUEEN award stories, for backers who kicked in extra to have a special story commissioned just for them.

I am also a contributing author to the Shadowed Souls anthology, edited by the great Kerrie L. Hughes and a man who needs no introduction, Jim Butcher. It is perhaps my highest profile anthology for which I’ve ever had the honor to write.

My story? Stars Lady Vengeance.

I like to think that's Lady Vengeance on the cover. :)

I like to think that’s Lady Vengeance on the cover. 🙂

6) Everyday life

Otherwise, I’m just working at my day job like a madman and occasionally kickboxing when I get a chance. And occasionally playing video games when I’m worn out of energy otherwise! I’m also playing in a few tabletop games, though it’s tough to schedule blocks of time when you’re an adult, you know? Things are stable, if really busy. 🙂

Happy reading!



Norwescon 2016 Highlights

So Norwescon 2016 is over, and I’ve taken a break from sleeping it off to share a couple highlights for those who weren’t there, and memories for those who were!

Thursday Afternoon: Mass Effect RPG

Surprising no one, there weren’t many people who signed up to play in my Mass Effect game on Thursday afternoon at 4-6pm, but I was fortunate to have my good friend and editrix Gabrielle Harbowy (playing Mordin), a grizzled veteran of gaming (playing Garrus), and a spritely, energetic 11-year-old girl (playing Liara) who knew nothing about the setting but picked it up like a pro. (And if you ever want to subject your playtest to a thorough test, recruit an 11-year-old!) It went really well and ended with a bang–literally: a mass effect explosion.

Thursday Night: Women in Practical Armor party

This was pretty fun. I showed up fashionably late along with my wife (being a very good sport and putting up with a truly epic travel on public transit to get there). I hung out with a few old friends, reconnected with some young writers with a huge amount of potential, and finally put a few faces to names. To all who supported the anthology, thank you–you’ve done a great thing for the industry. 🙂

Friday: Carol Corps, Represent!

I went to numerous panels on Friday, all of them memorable and fun, but the Carol Corps panel was especially great. (And I’m gonna fanboy for a bit here.) The panel was about the arrival of the CC and what it means for the comics industry, and in the words of Torrey Stenmark (dressed as Ms. Marvel, btw) “it means the industry has a future,” helping to evolve the marketing decisions of the powers that be to understand an audience with a wide range of perspectives. Truer words.

It’s always great to see my friend, G. Willow Wilson, who is extremely talented and classy in how she deals with her well-deserved fame. It was at this panel I floated the question of Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel vs. Billy Batson aka Shazam as Captain Marvel, which would come up the next day (no spoilers, see below). The consensus was that Carol had that fight easy.

Friday Evening: World of Ruin Reading

It’s tradition for me to read late in the evening on either Friday or Saturday, and this year was no exception. I got the 10pm – 10:30pm slot, with no one after me, and that was good because I spent about an hour, first reading from the forthcoming MASK OF THE BLOOD QUEEN (third novel in the series, look for it this winter!), then answering a gaggle of questions about the setting, the magic system, my inspirations, etc. It was great.

Saturday: All the Panels!!

So Saturday was my big working day at the Con. I was on at least six panels and/or critiques, and then I was set to run a game Saturday night 9-11pm. Literally busy from noon until 11.

It all went really well. Interesting, compelling things were said by all. I had the honor to be on a panel about character/plot-driven story techniques with Writing Guest of Honor Tanya Huff (who is fantastic) and moderated a panel on Scene Structure and Variation, which produced some very thoughtful stuff.

My favorite panel of Saturday–and of the con entirely–was the SF/Fantasy Battle Royale panel, moderated by the very funny Matt Youngmark, in which we pitted popular scifi/fantasy characters against each other in a single elimination death match style tournament. I might do a whole post about it to go over the ins and outs, but sample battles included:

  • Han Solo vs. Indiana Jones on an old timey rope bridge.
  • Rey from Force Awakens vs. Rocket Raccoon on the Forest Moon of Endor.
  • Samus from Metroid vs. Lara Croft on that really hard Super Mario Brothers level with the bendy mushroom platforms.
  • The Hulk vs. the Hulk’s Weight in Bees, fought on the Bee Planet in the Bee Nebula where bees have a hivemind and each bee has the strength of 10 normal bees.

Battles like that. I will say I was a major supporter of Rey and (obviously) Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel, who had to vanquish Shazam on the surface of the moon in the qualifier. Shenanigans were had, and it helped to have Captain Marvel IN THE ROOM WITH US, no less. But anyway, the panel deserves its own write-up.

Saturday Evening: Fate or Coincidence?

After some miscommunications and cross-pollution up in the tower at Norwescon, I realized too late that my Mass Effect game was set to be played down near the panels, and when I arrived, twenty minutes late, no one was there to play. So instead of hitting another party, I decided to retire for the evening to get some more sleep. By sheer coincidence (or fate!), I happened to be walking back to my car next to two of the players of the game, who only recognized that I had been the one running it when two entirely unrelated people recognized me and said something loudly about how I was supposed to be running a game. After a brief discussion, we decided to try and play the following afternoon, Sunday.

Sunday: Mass Effect redux!

After I encountered the same people I just mentioned (the Mass Effect folks) in the morning and confirming the game was on, I spent the first part of the day hanging out with friends and doing a couple writing workshop critiques. I love offering feedback and assistance to fellow writers through that program, though I suspect I should limit myself to two manuscripts rather than three, so I can devote more attention to each one. 🙂

After that, I did indeed meet up with a group of hardcore Mass Effect fans (two of whom I’d met that previous night) and ran them through an incursion on a geth-controlled space station. It was Tali commanding Thane, Grunt, and Legion. The tensions were high and the battles were epic. A great time was had by all. Afterward, I told them all kinds of secrets about my ongoing Mass Effect campaign, which is complicated and dramatic and awesome. I should really hold a session of that again sometime soon . . . After I do some more writing, I suppose.

All in all, it was a great Norwescon, and I was very happy to be a part of it.