It’s terribly easy to go through life feeling jealous and resentful of the things others have that you yourself do not. Instead, I want to take a few moments to call out some of the great things and wonderful people in my life who help me — sometimes daily — to get through the tough times.
Matt McElroy and Monica Valentinelli
One of Gaming’s top power couples, Matt has actively recruited me to work on a number of projects with him, as has Monica. As well as having me on to write for Firefly: Smuggler’s Guide to the Rim, Monica invited me to contribute a story “A Quiet House In The Country” to her anthology Haunted, which was my first professional fiction sale. I owe them a lot for the fact that I still even have a career in gaming, and their friendship has been a great pillar of support in my life. Monica’s and my ‘suhsi therapy’ sessions are among my favorite memories.
This stupid game has helped get me out of the house every day to walk around for 30-60 minutes since early July, and is responsible for me losing about 20 pounds because of all the walking. It’s been a fun activity whether alone or with friends, and my addiction to it is also something I can blame on Matt McElroy (‘Try this, Bill; it’s fun and it’s free…’)
Sarah published my short story “In The Shadow of His Glory” in her anthology Sidekicks!, and so far it’s the thing I’m most proud of having written (and it having been published.) Since then, we’ve become friends, and she’s been a great source of encouragement to me. Even though I know she has her own problems to deal with, after talking with her I feel like I actually CAN do the thing, which resulted in that story being written in the first place. It should be a lesson I keep in mind always, but every once in a while I seem to need Sarah to remind me of it, which she does gently and without hesitation.
I have two siblings, Mike and Tom, and while I love them both dearly, Mike and I have more interests in common. Mike encouraged me to read very early on, and brought me a seemingly endless supply of books during my teen and pre-teen years, nearly all of which I devoured. I learned years ago to trust Mike’s recommendations on books and film, and we trade our ‘new likes’ list every time we talk. Mike lives on the west coast of Canada now, and 2,000 miles separate us these days so we don’t get together in person very much, but I think of him often.
My favorite game store for nearly 40 years, Pegasus has also been a source of employment for me at various times across four decades. The Boss Lady, Lory, has also been my friend for all that time, and introduced me to more games than I can count, as well as helping me get involved in the Society for Creative Anachronism back in the day. I owe Lory and Pegasus a lot, and while there are a ton of good game store sin the US, Pegasus will always be my favorite, bar none.
Steampunk has been a wonderful pastime for me over the last eight years. We may be nearing the end of the road together, as the community seems dramatically more clique-ish these days. I don’t feel part of that community so much any more, which means it’s probably time to find a different expensive and time-consuming hobby to engage with. Still, I had a lovely time at the five events I attended last year, and I wouldn’t trade my time spent at Steampunk gatherings for anything.
John and I have known each other since the 80s, and have been friends now for many years. I don’t get to hang out with John and his family as often as I’d like, but because of that the times we do get together seem more special. John honored me by making me a recurring character in his Dork Tower comic strip, which is still going strong today after something like 30 years.
Dungeons & Dragons
The game that started it all and captivated my imagination. I owe Dungeons & Dragons — or more appropriately, Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, its creators — a great deal for giving me a hobby I loved, and one that turned into an interesting and highly varied career for the better part of these past 30-some years. Honorable mentions go to both Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu, and to White Wolf’s World of Darkness line, of which Vampire: the Masquerade is part.
My wife Tracy is the reason I’m a writer. She encourages me endlessly, and has supported me, both emotionally and economically, for many years. Getting married to her was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and while our relationship isn’t perfect, I have difficulty imagining finding someone else with whom I am so compatible on so many levels. Thanks, Tracy!
At the risk of beating a dead horse, I’d like to remind my readers to please subscribe to this list: there is an easy link to do so, either on the right — for tablets and computers — or at the bottom for iPhones and Android phones. Most of my traffic comes from Facebook, and Facebook’s algorithm is remarkably unreliable at keeping people in touch with each other over the long term. Please subscribe, and get an email alert every week when I put up a new post!
While I’m at it, I’d also like to point out the format change to my blog. It was pointed out to me that my blog was not easy to read over phones, so I switched to give my readers more flexibility and a better overall experience. I’m sad that my books crawl at the top is not part of the new format: I’m exploring options to include the list of books I authored or contributed to, perhaps on a separate, linked page. Stay tuned!
Finally, I’d like to point out this year’s convention schedule, which can be viewed HERE. It will be updated as the year goes on, but it is the best information I have at this time.