Saturday, July 23, 2011

Scribe Awards

The Scribe Awards from the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers were presented last night. Ghosts of Ascalon did not win (alas), but congratulations to the winners:

Best Novel, General Fiction: Saving Grace: Tough Love, by Nancy Holder
Best Novel, Speculative Fiction: Warhammer: Bloodborn: Ulrika the Vampire, by Nathan Long
Best Adaptation/Novelization: The Wolfman, by Jonathan Maberry
Best Novel, Original or Adapted, Young Adult: Dungeons and Dragons: Aldwyns Academy: Nathan Meyer.

Here's the press release:
The winners of the Scribe Awards, honoring excellence in media tie-in writing, were awarded Friday at a ceremony at Comic-Con in San Diego by the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers   Author Peter David was honored as this year's Grandmaster, and engaged in a lively discussion about his career, and tie-in writing, at the ceremony, which was hosted by Max Allan Colins and drew a packed house. 
Nancy Holder won the award for best original novel in the general fiction category for Saving Grace: Tough Love.  The honors for best original novel in speculative fiction went to Nathan Long for Warhammer: Bloodborn: Ulrika the Vampire. This is the second time Long has won a Scribe for his work in the Warhammer franchise. 
The Wolfman by Jonathan Maberry snagged the Best Adaptation/Novelization award while  Nathan Meyer won for Best Novel, Original or Adapted, in the Young Adult category with Dungeons and Dragons: Aldwyns Academy.

More later,

Thursday, July 21, 2011

And Furthermore ...

Kobold Quarterly is presenting the top ten finalists for the Relics of Power contest that I helped pick out. Didn't expect it to go live so soon.

More later,

Monday, July 18, 2011

What I've Been Up To

Things have been fairly quiet up on Grubb Street, but mostly because I've been busy with a number of other things. But I do want to call out a few items of public interest involving Guild Wars:

Ghosts of Ascalon, by Matt Forbeck and myself, has been nominated for a Scribe Award from the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers (IAMTW) in the Best Speculative Original Work category. I mentioned it here before, but the awards will be presented at the San Diego Comics Con this Friday. In addition, there's a round-table discussion from all the nominees here.

Second, the gang ArenaNet has moved into new digs, and brought in some of the press for a tour. Here's the one from The MMO Report which features yours truly and Colin Johanson talking about the game. WARNING: The Lovely Bride watched this, and made the comment "White is not a forgiving color for you."

Also in the Guild Wars department, our head honcho Mike O'Brien got a major writeup in this morning's Seattle Times business section, talking about working for a larger organization like NCSoft.

And finally, this has been bouncing around for a while, but I have hesitated from sharing it. Two years ago, at Cologne, there was a great photo of Randy Price, Chris Lye, Martin Kerstein, Daniel Dociu and myself. Someone took the characters from that shot and converted them into ... into .... well, you'll just have to watch it.

I find it ... mesmerizing.

More later,

Saturday, July 02, 2011

The Bubble, Revisited

Last time out I mentioned the Travel Bubble, this hermetically sealed chain of events which moves you through a series of intricate processes to deliver Traveler A to Place B with a minimum of impact on either the traveler or the outside world. And indeed the service industry at the far end of the portal seeks to sustain that process, such that our travelers, whether they be in Hamburg or Seattle, are operating is a swaddled wrapping and kept apart from the rest of the population.

However, you still are in another place, far from home, and things are different there.

We hit this on the Hamburg trip. There were some of us who had never been abroad, or never been the Germany before. And I had a number of "ah-hah" moments when I encountered something that I found out on one of my previous trips, and had forgotten to tell the others. So since we are sending a large swath of the company to Cologne for GamesCom in a few weeks, I thought it best to note a few of them here.

- First thing no one tells you - you turn the lights in your room with your room key. There's a slot above the light switch that the key fits into. You can put any card in there, but I find it is easier to use your room card. This is the first thing that many American travelers, weary from a 10 hour flight, trip over. As one of our group admitted later "My room is smarter than I am".

 - Tying the lights to your room card saves electricity, but the TV will be on when you come in. Go figure.

- Yes, you're going to be confused by the taps in the shower. Don't worry, it happens to everyone. No, there's no universal methodology. 

- Oh yeah, the first floor of a building is the Ground Floor. What Americans call the second floor is the First Floor. No, they didn't move the lobby in the time that it took you to go up to your room and back.

- And when traveling 9 time zones away from your home, don't do the math to figure out what time it is back home. Just don't. It will depress the hell out of you and just make you more tired.

- Germans find the American fascination with refrigeration amusing and a little bit creepy. If you want ice with your coke, you need to ask for it, and they might bring you a bowl, much like sugar. Want iced tea? Good luck with that. One of our number succeeded in his quest only by hitting a Starbucks, ordering a hot tea, and cooling it down with ice (provided in a separate cup).

- The German Hotel breakfast is a thing of beauty. Whereas American Continental Breakfasts are a table with coffee and donuts, on the REAL Continent it is a spread of hot sausages, eggs, cold meats, cheeses, breads, rolls, and other sundries. I have yet to find a hotel breakfast in Germany that did not have smoked salmon. For a business traveler, always have a good breakfast, because you don't know when lunch and dinner are going to happen.

- Germany also has great bread - heavy, stoneground bread. Bakeries are important features.

- Try to get some street food. Curry wurst is a big thing - a grilled sausage, chopped up, with a thick, mildly spicy curry sauce. Imagine pork and beans without the beans. Also worth hunting down: doner kebab - the Turkish version of the Greek gyro in the states.

- Yes, that's mayo that comes with your fries. Just deal with it, OK?

- And then there is dinner. Make time for it. The Germans have a reputation for efficiency, and that efficiency exists so you can get to dinner and spend four hours at it. Socialize.

- Finally, the Delta Airlines cabin may be cashless, but in general the Germans don't do credit or debit cards to the extent the Americans do. Bring Euros for the small meals, taxis, and sundries.

More later,