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Professional Status Renewed!

From Publishers Marketplace: Tone Milazzo’s THE FAITH MACHINE, to Lisa Diane Kastner at Running Wild Press, in a nice deal, in an exclusive submission, for publication in fall of 2020.

Dr Ken Park, a Korean-American spy with a PhD in psychology finds himself in over his head when his team of agents with psychic powers is sent to Africa to recover the Faith Machine, a Soviet psychotronic device that turns prayers into suffering.

I’ve been working with Running Wild Press since they included my story, The Ginger Jar, in the Running Wild Anthology of Stories, Volume 2. mostly, by hosting and producing their podcast.

While I’m working with the editor, I’m building an audience for The Faith Machine and the ESPionage RPG for Fate Core. I filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the CIA for their files on Project Stargate and received a DVD with over 12,000 TIF files.

Some of these documents are hundreds of pages long.

That’ll keep me busy.

I intend to start scouring through these documents for interesting bits that I can serialize in blog posts, a podcast, or on YouTube. Maybe all three.

ConDor Con Schedule, Feb 22-24

When I’m not attending our table in the dealer’s room with Melissa Milazzo and J Dianne Dotson, I’ll probably be off somewhere eating snacks.

On the rare moment that I’m not filling my face with cookies, I’ll be on the following panels with the following people:

Friday the 22nd

2:00pm: How Many Characters is Too Many?: Do we need to know what every son of Westros is doing? Are we just confusing readers? Garden II (J.L. Doty, Tone Milazzo, H. Paul Honsinger, Janet Tait)

8:00pm: Role Play in RPGs: What ways can players make the characters come alive in Table Top RPGs. From accents, pantomime, to detailed character histories. Garden II (Tone Milazzo, Jordan Munn, Marc Biagi)

Saturday the 23nd

2:00pm: I Feel Like Talking: Podcasts are a way to express yourself, but how do you get started, how do you distribute and how do you listen? Is this a possible new way to spread your writing to the world? And is there a financial model that can get the writer paid? Garden I (Daniel Cortopassi, Matt Pallamary, Tone Milazzo, Sherri Rabinowitz, Cynthia Ward)

4:00pm: Drawing from Non-European Folklore and Myth: Fantasy draws mainly from the traditions of Northern Europe and the British Isles. What other cultures might we take inspiration from? Garden I (Jean Graham, Henry Herz, Tone Milazzo, Henry Lien, Cynthia Ward, Deborah Flores)

Stop by the table and say, “Hi!” I hope to see you there!

NaNoFailMo

I tried and failed at NaNoWriMo last month. That’s fine, most experiments fail. I went in hoping for a kick start on the third novel, Alejandro’s Ocean a post time travel story about feeling unappreciated. 3100 words in and the problems were pretty clear:

  1. The backstory was more interesting than the story itself.
  2. The supporting cast was a collection of stick figures.
  3. What little I had, was written toward a theme.

The consequences of rejecting the outlining process and of putting theme before character and plot. Lesson learned. It’s outlines from here on out, and actions will make the message. This book isn’t for me to write. On to the next one.

Russian Espionage Agencies Have Terribly Boring Names

With The Faith Machine and the ESPionage property I draw a lot from the weird history of Cold War parapsychology. US agencies like Stargate Project, MKUltra, and the First Earth Battalion are the backbone of the setting and inspired my own creations; Project Dead Blind, MKIntra, and Task Force 21.
And then there’s Russia; the land of literal and uninspired nomenclature. According to Parapsychology in the USSR, released by the CIA in 2000, there was The Russian Society for Experimental Psychology in 1870, the Institute for Brain Research in 1921, and the Special Laboratory for Parapsychology founded under the Soviets in 1961. Yawn.
There’s an unposted appendix of 27 other Soviet institutes conducting paranormal research. I filed a Freedom of Information Act request for this list, but I don’t have high hopes that there’s any flair on that list. The only cool espionage name the Soviets ever came up with was SMERCH which stands for ‘Death to Spies.’

John Husler, Co-owner Lestat’s Coffee Houses

John Husler and his partner Jamie have been in the coffee shop business for over twenty years. First with the store in the Normal Heights neighborhood of San Diego. Now with two other shops through up town. Find out how they started, how he hires, and how he’s adapted to technology though the decades.

Lestat’s / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

John Husler, Co-owner Lestat’s Coffee Houses
Big Talk/Small Business

 
 

00:00 / 19:15
 

1X

Gabriel Valentin and Gallie, Digital Lizards of Doom

Digital Lizards of Doom is an electronic/alternative rock band/brand from San Diego, CA. The duo consists of Gabriel Valentin (guitar, strings, vocals,) and Gallie (mandolin, keys, vocals,) both singer-songwriters, producers, performers, and composers signed to Noize Cartel Records. They are best known for their worldwide collaborations with other artists, producers and DJs in the electronic and rock music genres, and for their brand’s rising presence in pop culture. Digital Lizards of Doom is releasing a graphic novel at the end of 2018, and their full-length album, Lizards and Labyrinths,debuts September 14.

Digital Lizards of Doom / Spotify / iTunes / Google Play / Beatport / Facebook / YouTube / Instagram

Gabriel Valentin and Gallie, Digital Lizards of Doom
Big Talk/Small Business

 
 

00:00 / 51:52
 

1X

Maryelizabeth Yturralde, Event Coordinator at Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore

Maryelizabeth Yturralde is co-owner of San Diego’s premier genre bookstore. Hear how the retail book selling business has evolved over almost three decades and the store’s relationship with Comic Con.

Mysterious Galaxy Books / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Maryelizabeth Yturralde, Event Coordinator at Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore
Big Talk/Small Business

 
 

00:00 / 23:33
 

1X

Susan McCormick, Financial Educator and Vice President at Five Rings Financial

Susan wants you to be better with money. After working many years in Wall Street she moved to the West Coast and set out to teach people how to accumulate wealth.

Five Rings Financial / Tipclub

Susan McCormick, Financial Educator and Vice President at Five Rings Financial
Big Talk/Small Business

 
 

00:00 / 15:17
 

1X

ESPionage – The Faith Machine Role-Playing Game

I’ve been busy working on a world book for the Fate Core role-playing game system. It’s turned into an interesting exercise in world-building. In the process, I accidentally created a series bible.

ESPionage is based on The Faith Machine, my psychic espionage thriller. This body of work consists of a novel, two novel outlines, half a dozen short stories in various stages of completion, and a comic book pitch, not to mention a notebook full of incomplete ideas. I had a lot to draw on. Spilling it out on the page was easy. Organizing and filling that information’s given me a new perspective in the material.

For example; early on I based the spy lingo for psychic phenomena on poker and card expressions. But I hadn’t got further than ‘Card’ means psychic. The glossary of a game book can’t stop at one word. That’s not even a sidebar. So then…a team of Cards, that’s a Hand, clearly. And an agency that operates multiple teams, that’s a Table. Many nations will have more than one Table, like a casino or House. Then the entire psychic espionage community at large, that’s the Strip.

Organization’s the bomb, yo.

And not just details. This goes for themes too. I received a piece of advice at the Writers’ Coffeehouse; At the beginning of a novel make a list of six things the story is, and six things it’s not. This isn’t for the audience. It’s for the author. But it made a good introduction for the game book:

  • ESPionage is stale beer with martini moments, more Jason Borne than James Bond. It takes its queues from John le Carré with an occasional nod to Ian Flemming. A secret world that’s less about good guys verses bad, and more about getting the job done whatever the cost.
  • ESPionage Cards are the most powerful individuals who ever lived, but still have to watch their backs. A bullet to the skull doesn’t care how powerful the brain inside was.
  • ESPionage is about characters with mental disorders living their lives and doing their jobs, without being defined by their conditions.
  • ESPionage is about characters getting their hands dirty in the field. It’s not about rooms full of servers crunching data.
  • ESPionage is about teamwork. A small group of talented agents who depend on each other to accomplish the mission and look out for each other. It’s not about calling Homeland Security for help with a threat. Sometimes, Homeland Security is the threat.
  • ESPionage is about a secret war with many sides. Nations, terrorists, gods, and ghosts pushing forward with their agendas at the cost of anyone who gets in their way. It’s not about safety or working toward retirement. Once you’ve played on the Strip you’re in the game for good.

I’m closing in on a first draft. If everything goes right, I’ll run it online and make a YouTube channel out of it.