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Happy New Year from Mindjammer Central!

December 31, 2012

Wow! What a year. I don’t think I’m the only one looking back at 2012 with a sense of vertigo and dizziness – that was as turbulent a twelvemonth as I think I’ve had since the late 20th century! It’s seen some pretty seismic changes over here at Mindjammer Central – changes which this time last year weren’t even on the horizon. That’ll teach me for making plans. 😉 I guess it’s possible to predict anything except unpredictability.

The Brown Dirt Cowboy and I have been enjoying the past couple of weeks, the first proper holiday we’ve had all year, and a chance to batten down the hatches and really recharge some depleted batteries. It’s been a grand Christmas and New Year, relaxing, happy, well-fed, and thoroughly entertained, and we’re both looking forwards to 2013 as a year which is looking like it’s going to be very busy, very enjoyable, and hopefully productive too!

I’m going to gloss over the beginning of 2012 with a melodramatic cough and a lot of waving of arms. “This way! Come to May! Nothing to see there in those first few months!” That’s right – last year unfortunately began in a welter of ill health and job turmoil, both of which took until late spring to settle, and are remarkably uninteresting in retrospect. 😉 My final written piece for Cubicle 7, the Legends of Anglerre Companion, hit the shelves in January, which was nice, followed later in the year by my huge editing, translating, and rewriting job, Yggdrasil, both of which I’d spent a large chunk of the second half of 2011 working on. Out of the subsequent mayhem there developed a sudden hiatus in the first half of 2012 while I wrote furiously and repurposed myself to a full freelance existence again, finally releasing Achtung! Cthulhu – Three Kings in May, and my first novel, the transhuman space opera Mindjammer, in August. In the meantime I’d been fortunate enough to be able to write a Gloranthan scenario for Jeff Richard, for Moon Design Publication’s upcoming Big Rubble supplement, which was a dream come true (writing for Glorantha! Woo! :-D), as well as three short stories, for the World War Cthulhu anthology (edited by Jon Oliver, Solaris, for Cubicle 7 Fiction), The Lion and the Aardvark (Stone Skin Press, ed. Robin D. Laws) and Have Blaster, Will Travel (Galileo Games), and begun work on the first Chronicles of Future Earth novel, The Worm Within – a whirlwind of readjustment, which began finally to settle into something like normalcy in early summer. I say summer – it was 2012, right? I mean the slightly warmer bit of the endless rainy season we’ve had since March… 😉

Two of the nice things about going completely freelance again were the opportunity to focus on writing, and to be able to accept some of the lovely opportunities which came along. I got to know Lavie Tidhar (of Osama fame, amongst many other excellent works) in March, being lucky enough to step in as fiction editor of his World SF Blog. That’s been awesome fun and a great experience, delicately editing other writers’ work. At the same time I got to know the writer / editor J.R.Blackwell, producing two short stories for her anthologies, and also got my first opportunity to write a Steampunk RPG campaign, with the Great Game campaign for Triple Ace Games’ awesome Leagues of Adventure RPG. Thanks Rob and Wiggy for the opportunity! By mid-June, things had more or less settled into a busy full time writing schedule, which was awesome.

164w_MJ_coverThe big event mid-year was finally setting up Mindjammer Press. The BDC and I had been discussing it for a while – we needed a stable environment in which to efficiently and quickly produce gaming and fiction books and, looking round, we rapidly realised we had everything we needed already in house – software, skill sets, experience – to do it ourselves. I’d been a project manager in a previous life, and run my own business department, and hadn’t anticipated doing it again – but there you go, sometimes things just make sense, and you grab the opportunity with both hands. We set up Mindjammer Press as a company formally in September, having released the Mindjammer novel as part of the new imprint in August. Almost immediately we took The Worm Within and Chronicles of Future Earth in house, as well as the full Mindjammer property, and our release schedule for the next few years looks set to keep us busy! Thanks to everyone who offered their best wishes, goodwill, and support, and also to everyone who has bought the Mindjammer novel – it’s been a humbling and wonderful time for us both. Mindjammer has received some splendid coverage and reviews – notably from the British Fantasy Society, Pablo Cheesecake’s The Eloquent Page, Paco Jaen’s G*M*S Magazine, awesome author and friend Howard Andrew Jones (The Desert of Souls), John O’Neill at the marvellous Black Gate Magazine, Steve Cotterill’s Shores of Night, and many more. To cap it all, Mindjammer was mentioned in Andrew Girdwood’s (Geek Native) Best of the Year 2012 at the Forbidden Planet website. When you’ve worked months and perhaps years on a novel – especially a first novel – and finally release it into the wild, you’re full of insecurity and self-doubt, and hearing from people who’ve read and enjoyed it is just about the best damn reward you can get. Thanks to all of you for reading Mindjammer, and taking the time to tell the world about it! I hope you’ll like the next one! 🙂

In 2013, I’m going to keep my hand in freelancing, as well as writing for Mindjammer Press, both on the fiction and RPG fronts. Going to FantasyCon in Brighton in September – my second FantasyCon – was a brilliant and stimulating reminder that there’s so much to write, and so many wonderful people to write it with. I have a few fingers in a few pies as a result of that – hopefully 2013 will show some of the fruits. Likewise writing for Achtung! Cthulhu for Chris Birch’s Modiphius and Angus Abranson’s Chronicle City has been excellent – the third part of the Zero Point campaign is now underway, and I’m looking forwards to seeing both Modiphius and Chronicle City go from strength to strength. Again, some wonderful reviews and great feedback from fellow gamers who’ve bought and played the first two parts of the campaign has been brilliant, and a wonderful stimulus to keep writing more!

For me-as-gamer, personally, the big event of the second half of 2012 has been the arrival of the new edition of the Fate RPG system from Evil Hat Productions. I’d been working on the new edition of the Mindjammer setting since 2011, but that had been derailed by several scheduling logjams at C7; in retrospect that turned out to be a blessing in disguise, and has now allowed Mindjammer to become a full RPG in its own right, and one using the new 4th edition of the Fate rules, the awesome Fate Core. I’m bowled over by the opportunity to be writing a Fate Core RPG so early in the 4th edition’s life cycle, and especially chuffed to bits to have been asked by Fred to contribute to the Fate Core Kickstarter with my Burn Shift post-apocalyptic setting as one of the project’s stretch goals. If you haven’t checked out the new rules and the Kickstarter yet, please drop by and do so – there’s some awesome stuff there. Thanks, Fred!

After Dragonmeet in early December, which was our first convention as Mindjammer Press, we now have a solid schedule of Mindjammer Press products, as well as a healthy freelance schedule for 2013 and beyond. It’s going to be a busy year into 2013, but Mindjammer Press has weathered its first 6 months, and is looking healthy as we head into the final surge on the Mindjammer 2nd edition RPG, for release in the spring. We should see The Worm Within, the first Chronicles of Future Earth novel, appearing roughly the same time, followed by two Mindjammer adventure supplements and the second Mindjammer novel in 2013, and hopefully one other very exciting project which is currently under negotiation. On the freelance side, I’m looking forwards to seeing parts 3-6 of the Zero Point campaign for Achtung! Cthulhu see the light of day throughout 2013, as well as parts 3-4 of the Great Game campaign for Leagues of Adventure early in the year, and my First Contact series pitch for Robin D Laws’ DramaSystem RPG from Pelgrane Press. Looking further afield, there’s also another extremely exciting freelance project in the offing, which may or may not involve tentacles…

None of the above could have come about without some awesome friends, whose support just when it was needed has been absolutely priceless. Thanks to all of you – to Rob Elliot and Wiggy at Triple Ace, Paco Jaen at G*M*S Magazine, Simon Rogers, Robin D Laws, and Ken Hite at Pelgrane Press and Stone Skin, Brennan Taylor and JR Blackwell at Galileo Games, Cav Scott and Guy Adams at the BFS, Jon Oliver at Solaris, Chris Birch at Modiphius, Angus Abranson at Chronicle City, Jeff Richard at Moon Design, Fred Hicks, Rob Donohue, and Lenny Balsera at Evil Hat Productions, and many, many more: it’s been wonderful working with you and for you this year! And, to those of you out there who have bought Mindjammer, Achtung! Cthulhu, the Great Game, Leagues of Adventure, the Legends of Anglerre Companion, or if you’re about to dip into DramaSystem, Fate Core, The Worm Within, the World War Cthulhu anthology, The Lion and the Aardvark, Have Blaster Will Travel, The Lost, or the new Mindjammer 2nd edition RPG, I thank you! It’s an absolute privilege to be a RPG and genre fiction writer working with such awesome readers, writers, gamers, and publishers, and I’m looking forwards to doing it all over again in 2013!

Happy New Year!

Sarah
Mindjammer Central, Normandy, December 31st 2012

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