A Very Wrackwell Hallowe’en

Crikey. It’s been a minute, hasn’t it?

Truth be told I have only myself to blame. I’m the sort of critter who creates work for himself when left unattended, and the academic semester makes that prospect temptingly simple. At one level I’m glad for it: when I take more time to put together lesson plans, for example, there’s generally more consistency, continuity, and utility. Most of the stuff I’m cobbling together for class right now is stuff I’ll be able to use again. There are some natural drawbacks involved–the fact that my lesson plans and assignment sheets are clearer and tighter doesn’t in any way seem to diminish the amount of time I spend answering emails and fielding questions–but I feel good about the effort, which is a reasonable reward in its own right.

I’ve got plenty of irons in the fire on the professional and paraprofessional fronts as well. I’m pleased to report new work (one of my favorite stories, happily) will soon appear in Bourbon Penn, and in just a few months I’ll appear in Hidden Realms, to be published stateside in March by Flame Tree Publishing. (They’re the folks responsible for Ramsey Campbell’s latest, the folks who have issued books by a gaggle of Stoker Award winners.) I’ve been making progress in establishing my footing as a virtual hypnotist as well, which is no small feat. As it turns out my home recording situation was lousier than I knew, but a few changes have improved the sound quality significantly, so much so that I’m going to be able to res-record a few files and launch a proper SoundCloud site before long. Not bad for a shut-in.

In relatedly unrelated news I’ve taken on a few committee obligations, the most pleasurable of which involves work on our university’s game-based learning program. The committee is a new one, which means that there’s less procedural mapping an a lot more freedom. The CLGS (Center for Learning through Games and Simulations) is kind of killing it, and the connected press is currently in the home stretch of successfully fundraising for another game–Rising Waters, which you can find over here–that chances are good they’ll launch another project over the holidays.

And I’m writing, of course. Hooboy, am I writing. This Friday I’ll be running a game, Legends of Lost Lake, which is pretty polished as far as 1980s-set slasher simulations go. (The trick, as it turns out, is devising ways to build suspense over one session so that everyone can die or survive in the second half of the second.) I decided to tuck into a novella, and that’s unfolding in unexpected ways. Most of the time I build around an event or a fairly fleshed-out character, but this one feels more like exhuming a voice, a rather different thing. Right now I’ve got four stories and four poems half-concocted on my desktop, too, which should keep me busy enough when only one or two cylinders are firing.

With some luck I’ll be able to keep all the necessary plates, pins, and rings in the air, at least for the rest of the semester. But if you can’t get enough random bald man, you can always read a good book between now and my next post.

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