Bookwright, game designer, gamer, collector of too much stuff. Want to discuss a project, idea or send hate mail just email me!!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Week in Review 4/29/13


As I am sure you are aware the Kickstarter for The Awakened is in full swing, while it is doing well we can always use more pledges, ans shares, so please spread it around.  I am trying to get the cover and some excerpts from the book for people-that is a current work in progress.
I am also working on a little surprise for backers (and then the public), it may be done today but I want to hold off to a milestone, 100 backers, $3k in sales, something.


Boardgame #1: Logo is almost complete, once we finish it we will start slowly releasing more information on it.

Boardgame #2: Still working on rules.

Sam the Hanukkah Dragon: Got the first sketch of Sam from Jeff, and all I can say is "Holy crap is he talented."

Playtested some boardgames this weekend from an old friend, I liked them, had fun.  Was asked to help on one of the two said projects, so it looks like I will be involved somewhat with it.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Publishing vs. Freelancing

I started with publishing and am now also freelancing and it is different and I learn a little more about myself as a freelancer.

I am not a control freak, but I like to be in control.  It is hard to give up your baby and let someone else edit, add a cover and art to it and you hope it ends up good.  that is the toughest so far, being out of the loop or just not knowing anything.  Release dates are for the weak!

Also I have noticed my style is more intense, I will email you all day long about everything to make sure it is done as good as it can be, and then I tend to get a "OK" email retuned, I am thinking that I needed a more passionate response!  I need to relax a bit.

I do like the freedom of not having to worry about print runs, costs etc, so that is a nice advantage.  I do not like knowing if anything else will be picked up or by whom.

We have a few projects we have in the closer to done pile but never know if we should talk to a publisher or wait.

I enjoy both but for different reasons, Dark Quest Books was awesome enough to let me design my own cover for The Awakened Anthology now on Kickstarter-Click Here- but I LOVE the cover for the Bluffside for C&C that Troll Lords created and I had nothing to do with that one.

So self publishing vs. freelancing are very different birds and depending on your level of control that you like to have, your discretionary funds and your ability to get a whole team together to produce something you may want to try one first and see how it goes, and then mix it up or slip into the other.  there is no right or wrong, just what fits better for how you like to work on projects.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Awakened--Now on Kickstarter!

'The Awakened,' an Epic Fantasy Anthology, now on Kickstarter!

Artists Greg Opalinski (Paizo) and Tony Szczudlo (Birthrights, Greyhawk) bring to life a story of epic proportions, written by some of the literary world’s veterans and best up and comers. Come see the vision of Hal Greenberg’s ‘Awakened’ setting, and read the fantastic stories weaved by the likes of: Eric Scott die Bie, Clinton Boomer, Steve Creech, Torah Cottrill, Darrin Drader, Hal Greenberg, Ed Greenwood, Doug Herring, Jaleigh Johnson, Rosemary Jones, Ty Johnston, Kevin Kulp, Colin McComb, Darren W Pearce, Richard Redman and Rai Smith.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What D&D Character Are You?

Found this thanks to Ty

Neutral Good Human Sorcerer (5th Level)

Ability Scores:
Strength- 11
Dexterity- 11
Constitution- 11
Intelligence- 15
Wisdom- 15
Charisma- 16

Neutral Good- A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them. Neutral good is the best alignment you can be because it means doing what is good without bias for or against order. However, neutral good can be a dangerous alignment when it advances mediocrity by limiting the actions of the truly capable.

Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.

Sorcerers- Sorcerers are arcane spellcasters who manipulate magic energy with imagination and talent rather than studious discipline. They have no books, no mentors, no theories just raw power that they direct at will. Sorcerers know fewer spells than wizards do and acquire them more slowly, but they can cast individual spells more often and have no need to prepare their incantations ahead of time. Also unlike wizards, sorcerers cannot specialize in a school of magic. Since sorcerers gain their powers without undergoing the years of rigorous study that wizards go through, they have more time to learn fighting skills and are proficient with simple weapons. Charisma is very important for sorcerers; the higher their value in this ability, the higher the spell level they can cast.

 Here is the link: CLICK HERE

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Kickstarter Coming Soon

Ideas, Huh, What are they good for? Absolutley Everything!

That was my creative twist on the song "War".

Ideas, I love them, sometimes they flow into something bigger, better or at least different.

The Awakened, started as a short about my main characters Tangris, Vigi and Fritien and as I evolved the world in my head I realized that it would be that much cooler to see if from a lot of points of view, so I hired Tom to make a map, I always had the double moon concept so I started working on logo's for it, started the basics of world building and then spoke to Dark Quest Books about publishing an anthology.  Everything fell into place and a bunch of talented writers said "yes" to me when I asked if they would be part of the world with me.

I love these stories, the characters, the feel of the setting, and I can not wait for you to be able to experience it with me.

I am hoping tomorrow will be the launch of The Awakened Kickstarter and you can see what one little idea blossomed into.

Friday, April 19, 2013

What Ever Happened to Mystic Eye Games?

I get this question a lot, and recently Nicole from Green Ronin talked a little about this so I thought maybe it was time to talk more about this.

We were doing well, that was the toughest part to swallow when we stepped away from publishing.
Within the first year of publishing during the d20  craze we were being noted as one of the breakaway companies, it was a great feeling to be honest.  I loved this job, loved the community and even with the issues listed below it was one of the most enjoyable times in my life.
I truly believe publishing saved me from being depressed,  I was going through a divorce with two infants (I can breed, amazing isn't it), had a very stressful job and my getaway was to write, order art for Mystic Eye Games.

We were rolling along doing well when distributor number one suddenly stopped paying, we saw sales records but no money, we finally got word that they shut down and went out of business, we did get our remaining stock from them but we lost around $50, 000.

It hurt, bad I will not lie, we had good product and good reviews so we charged everything we could charge.  Gen Con, GAMA, printing and so on.  We found another distributor quite quickly, thanks to Green Ronin and Bastion Press.

We started slowly climbing out of the hole, we could never pay us, but we could pay everyone else...oh that reminds me, here is how getting paid in publishing works...

Publisher gets writers, layout, art, editing etc.... pays for art and writing on a delayed schedule to offset what is about to happen.  Printing, you pay for printing up front, then you send it to a distributor, then they send it to retailers, distributors pay you around 40% MSRP and usually up to 90 days from when they "buy" if from you.  So a $20 retail book brings in the publisher around $8 to pay for all the expenses AND you do not see that money for 90 days.

OK, back to the death of MEG...
So we are basically not paying any of the lost money back but not losing money when we produce The Deep, The Deep is an underwater sourcebook for d20 that honestly was brilliant.  It was so big we did it in hardcover, our first hardcover.  This was the break out book along with our new post apocalyptic setting Fall of Man.  We were about to change the world.

Well, that was until distributor number two played fuzzy math, and the "order a lot and return it after our commission is guaranteed game" so we print a lot, sell a lot and get a lot of returns, but only after the agreed upon time where the distributor did not have to return his percentage.  So for a few months we OWED them money, and then money just stopped...again.

We were out around $30k from this distributor, had around $30k of debt on our credit cards and realized we could not afford to be in the business, so we stopped producing books, shut down the shop and got away from publishing.

Besides taking years and years to pay off the debt, it put a bad taste in my mouth for gaming, forums and all of that, that is what probably made it so painful, it took what I loved and made me turn away from it.

 I started gaming again and playing MMO's but never went back to publishing or writing.

So years later, I am still friends with publishers, and fellow designers and I decide it is time to crawl back out and try some more, I can say that MEG is now Samurai Sheepdog and Doug and I got the band back together again.  We are freelancing and we are doing some projects on Kickstarter.
We are writing again and branching out to fiction, boardgames and children's books.

We are back, but no thanks to distributors!*

* I should note that neither of the above distributors are in business anymore so there is no malice against any current distributors.

This is (was) the cover art for Fall of Man.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Hanukkah-Rules of the Road

I have been thinking about Hanukkah a lot since we started working on the book Sam the Hanukkah Dragon.
Here is some advice on gift giving for this holiday to parents:
Number your gifts, it sucks when you get one gift and you open up a game for a console that you do not own yet because it is somewhere in the pile.
Batteries are not a gift, add those to the item, nothing stinks more than getting something and having to wait till you get batteries for said new item.
Eight days of gifts, kids understand some will be duds or filler, kids are usually OK with that, saying that underwear or socks are not filler items.  Those are necessities.
Make sure it is fun opening the gifts.
Understand that when Hanukkah is late, that kids may get frustrated because on Christmas kids get the gifts all at once, we have to be patient and then we get socks on day 1—BLECH!!!!
Lastly, make sure you look for Sam the Hanukkah Dragon on Kickstarter around November, 2013!  Save your shekels and buy one for each and every family member!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Week in Review 4/17/13--Quiet for Boston on Monday

I wanted to wait a few days since the tragedy in Boston for the review.

The Awakened-We are very close to launching the Kickstarter, it is looking good, when looing at the bio's from all the authors I am very happy and excited to be working with such a great team.
Lots of neat goals and add-ons I really hope it does well so we can bring you more stories.
Look for it before May.

Boardgame #1-I am expecting the logo very soon, once we get it we will reveal more information about it.

Boardgame #2- Slow few weeks.

Sam the Hanukkah Dragon- This has been's Sam's week, the announcement of the book, and the great Jeff Easley as the illustrator, I am very excited about this project.

Other stuff: Have a bunch, working on something about towns/villages, I always seem to go back to them.

Bluffside: The Troll Lords are working on it and when I know more so shall you!

My thoughts are with all the people affected by the tragedy in Boston, stay strong.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Children's Book-Sam the Hanukkah Dragon

Sam the Hanukkah Dragon is coming to town….

From the mind of Hal Greenberg and the brush of Jeff Easley comes a new icon for the winter holidays, we have Santa, Rudolph, Frosty and now, Sam.

Sam the Hanukkah Dragon is the story of a young dragon in a medieval village who is upset that there are no Hanukkah representatives.   By trying to help his family he himself becomes that icon. This children’s book in the vein of Dr. Suess and fully illustrated by Jeff Easley will be a Kickstarter project in October 2013 and if funded will be released late 2014-early 2015.

About Jeff: Jeff Easley was born in Nicholasville, Kentucky in 1954. He had an early interest in art, especially when it had a fantastic element. To say he is a huge Frank Frazetta fan is an understatement. He graduated from Murray State University in 1977. He had a brief fling at freelancing that resulted in a few projects with Warren Publishing and Marvel comics. In 1982 he had the opportunity to join the art staff at TSR Inc. which was starting to hit their stride with their Dungeons and Dragons role playing game. It is said that the amazing artwork of Jeff Easley, Larry Elmore, Keith Parkinson and Clyde Caldwell helped propel Advanced Dungeons and Dragons to new heights in the 1980's and early 1990's. During his 20+ year tenure at TSR/WOTC Jeff did many rulebook, boxed set, and module covers for all of TSR's gaming worlds including the iconic 1st Edition AD&D hard covers and then all of the 2nd Edition core hard cover rule books. In addition, Jeff was responsible for many famous Dragonlance and Drizzt paintings. Afer parting ways with WOTC in 2003, Jeff found himself freelancing once again,and is currently producing art for various companies and individuals. And of course, picking up PUG POO...

About Hal: Hal Greenberg is a five-time ENnie nominated game designer who recently started a new company, Samurai Sheepdog, with his previous business partner Doug Herring.
Hal has been a guest speaker at Necronomicon and GenCon and has been honored to work with many of today’s leading writers and designers, including but not limited to: Monte Cook, Todd Lockwood, and Ed Greenwood. This year Hal will have Bluffside: City on the Edge for Castles and Crusades published by Troll Lord Games and a new fantasy anthology called The Awakened, whose setting and design was created by Hal, released. He also has a few other projects still in the developmental stage (read: secret). To keep up with him and find out about more of his upcoming projects go to

Sam the Hanukkah Dragon is © and ™ Hal Greenberg 2013

Friday, April 12, 2013

Prepping for The Awakened Kickstarter

Setting it up, getting ducks in a row, checking costs, getting tiers, gathering add-ons...
That and so much more!

We are looking at a late April launch, I hope you are ready, because we are!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Children's Book Update

Will be less cryptic very soon but lets say this:
Story and concept by me
Illustrated by the Jeff Easley!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Children's Book Update

Contract was sent to said famous artist, once I know it is signed I will officially announce it.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Week in Review 4/7/13

The Awakened: Kickstarter meeting done, getting it all ready, just did my audio speech for the video for it.  Should be out before the end of April.
We have some exciting tiers and add-ons, can not wait to let you in on this project.

Boardgame #1-Getting roughs and some feedback, love it.
Boardgame #2-Getting it moving, slowly but always moving ahead.

Children's Book: Title is done (laid out), and contract is almost ready for the illustrator, really excited to announce this soon!

New side project, not due for a bit but want to do a little a day so it is done early.

Bluffside for C&C and more stuff for C&C arriving soon.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Week and a Half in Review 4/4/13 Edition

Well, this has been a very productive few days away from reality, lets jump right in:

The Awakened-All stories have been edited and sent to authors and came back, we are almost done, Kickstarter meeting Friday night and I hope to see it up mid April.  We have some nice goals and tiers and add-ons, so I REALLY  hope it does well, part of the goal is to guarantee to see up to 3 more books in this setting 2 of them with the fantasy one!

Boardgame #1-We have some rough images from the artists, looking real good, really starting to feel that dark and gritty feel

Boardgame #2- Had a great meeting with my co-writer, all is moving forward and we think we will have a downloadable pdf soon (ish), if you love quick, fun boardgames, drop me an email and we can see about having you playtest it.  Logo is done as well.

Children's book- I am really happy to say that the artist has agreed and we are sending contracts out soon, and I am really excited (for a few reasons) about this project.  I will be able to release more info soon, I promise!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Neat idea, seems legit, if you have a bbook and want to have it handled, check out the submission forms.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Quick update 4/1/13

First: Nothing in this post is a joke, seriously.

Smaill update since I am able to do some work over the next few days on projects I will post my normal update Wed PM/Thursday AM

Received all but one story back from the editor for The Awakened, hope to have that one back very soon and all the ones I have received have gone back to the authors for final review.