Stone of Remembrance

June 7, 2012

June 7 Update

Filed under: Commentary, Newsletter — admin @ 12:40

This is my weekly (insert highly amused snort here!) post to bring you up to date on my world. I hope you find it interesting, informative, and/or entertaining. It’s been an insane four weeks, but they’ve been very productive. I traveled to Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, and am back home with lots of catching up to do.

Writing Projects

1632 Novel

I am particularly occupied with a novel set in the 1632 Universe, for Baen Books. This is under contract and will likely be a 2013 release. It is set in 1636, and takes place mostly in the New World; this is a venue hitherto scarcely touched in the milieu, and I am pleased to have the opportunity to work with Eric Flint on this novel. Update: I am working on updates and changes suggested by Eric, and will have more to say in a few weeks.

Elements of Mind

Two plus years ago I wrote a novel at lightning speed, set in the middle 19th century and dealing with the great pseudoscience, mesmerism. This novel has been well received by those reading it (or hearing excerpts at conventions). It is in an editor’s hands, and I hope to have good news on the subject in the next few months. (I expect some news very shortly.)

E-Books

A Song In Stone is available in e-book form from Adams Media.

You can get it from Amazon.com, or from the Apple iBookstore.

My Dark Wing series will be appearing in e-book form in the Baen library later this year. Contracts for this effort have been signed; I will provide links when the e-books are available. No new news this week.

King and Country

The alternate-history novel (some of you may know it as the “Ben Franklin” novel) is on hold until the 1632 book is out the door. I want to get back to it later this year.

Other Writing

I contributed a short piece to Ring of Fire III, a collection of stories set in the 1632 universe. It’s only my second published short story. Torg say, short fiction HARD.

My most recent article in TROWEL Magazine is about the ”Proceedings”. My next article in the fall will be about Grand Master John T. Heard.

Other Projects

Rails of New England was published last spring by Rio Grande Games and is getting good reviews from strategy gamers. Be sure to get the revised rules.

I was at Origins at the end of May, working for Rio Grande. I believe we made a few converts. There are revised rules available on Boardgamegeek.

Current Reading

This week’s reading material is Robert Wuthnow’s Red State Religion: Faith and Politics in America’s Heartland, an account of political movements in Kansas. I’ve also recently read Edmund Stump’s book on the mountains of Antarctica (yes, you Lovecraft fans, they actually exist!), The Roof at the Bottom of the World, which has some terrific photographs.

I’m getting lots of book recommendations by listening to The John Batchelor Show, mostly as a podcast. John is conservative, but extremely literate and articulate. He’s seemingly the anti-O’Reilly: He has informed guests on his show, asks good questions, and lets them talk. He’s not Hannity or Limbaugh by a long stretch.

Facebook Updates

May 9: Here’s a bit of astronomical perspective.

May 9: My Uncle Albert Bell passed away and was laid to rest on the following Saturday. I joined cousins and friends in spreading his ashes at the longitude and latitude where we spread his wife’s ashes fifteen years earlier.

May 9: An interesting article on handedness, and the biology that brings it about.

May 9: A picture of a previous amendment to the North Carolina constitution. Oops.

May 9: An infuriating article on veteran charities.

May 10: A quote from Archbishop Tutu. Some interesting commentary on my wall about his possibly anti-Semitic attitudes; I’m not completely convinced.

May 11: An article about a sports team that won its championship because its opponent had a girl on its team. Absurd. Also linked to this article on May 23.

May 11: An interesting article on U.S. states that never were.

May 12: Thebacon. Bacon, The.

May 13: Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. Still miss you.

May 13: The Nine Circles of Hell, done in Legos. Too much free time.

May 19: Spooky Van Gogh retouch. Also this one.

May 19: Masonic Heritage Family Day at Sturbridge. An excellent event I was glad to be a part of.

May 22: The SpaceX launch. Big thumbs up for commercial space exploration. It was a stunning success. Also, goodbye to James Doohan, who has returned to star-stuff.

May 24: Are the 2012 Yankees the 1965 Yankees redux?. Could be.

May 24: Googly balls. Kids love ‘em.

May 28: My kind of superhero.

May 28: Geek horoscope. Beats the Chinese placemat.

May 29: Wise words from Darths and Droids: ‎”I could just choke *all* the incompetents *half* to death.” If you’re not already doing so, read this site. It’s hilarious.

May 29: Photo album from Natick #28 IORG Installation, with my daughter as Worthy Advisor.

May 29: Photo album from Gettysburg Tour. Here’s another gallery.

May 29: Kohl’s does what?

May 31: Richard Borg’s new Samurai Battles, which I bought because I like Commands and Colors. But the figures had teeny tiny bits that broke easily. But we finished putting them together – glad I have a clever daughter to help.

May 31: Michael Ventrella’s Balticon Album, which has some pictures of me at Eye of Argon.

June 2: An appalling story about a teacher who was suspended for insisting on standards.

June 3: Various pictures, including some from Origins.

June 5: Steampunk Trek. Great stuff.

June 6: The death of the great Ray Bradbury, at age 91. I cannot express my sadness sufficiently. But read this, which must be close to his very last work.

June 6: Why yes, it’s the Transit of Venus. Ho ho.

Upcoming Conventions and Appearances

June 30, 2012: I will be the guest speaker at Glenwood Lodge #65 in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Looking forward to visiting the brethren there again.

August 30-September 3, 2012: I will be an attending author at Chicago Worldcon, the 70th Worldcon.

October 12-14, 2012: I am likely to attend Capclave in Rockville, Maryland.

We are already signed up to attend San Antonio Worldcon on Labor Day Weekend 2013, and have presupported London in 2014. We are watching bids for the 2015 Worldcon but have not supported any bid yet.

Parting Words

I continue to appreciate the support and encouragement I receive from family and friends. The loss of a long time and close friend last fall reminds me as always how slender a reed life is, and how much I feel compelled (as the Masonic lecture says) to “contribute to the common stock of knowledge and understanding.” I try to say what I mean, to convey my affection rather than withhold it, and to be truthful and honest to those I meet as well as to myself.

Thank you for reading.

April 30, 2012

April 30 Update

Filed under: Games, Newsletter, Travel, Writing — admin @ 17:40

This is my weekly post to bring you up to date on my world. I hope you find it interesting, informative, and/or entertaining. Last week I was recovering from a week at the Gathering of Friends (more below) and didn’t get to post the update; I’m back on track this week.

Writing Projects

1632 Novel

I am particularly occupied with a novel set in the 1632 Universe, for Baen Books. This is under contract and will likely be a 2013 release. It is set in 1636, and takes place mostly in the New World; this is a venue hitherto scarcely touched in the milieu, and I am pleased to have the opportunity to work with Eric Flint on this novel. Update: Eric and I are currently consulting on the book, and I hope to have news on this soon.

Elements of Mind

Two plus years ago I wrote a novel at lightning speed, set in the middle 19th century and dealing with the great pseudoscience, mesmerism. This novel has been well received by those reading it (or hearing excerpts at conventions). It is in an editor’s hands, and I hope to have good news on the subject in the next few months.

E-Books

A Song In Stone is available in e-book form from Adams Media.

You can get it from Amazon.com, or from the Apple iBookstore.

My Dark Wing series will be appearing in e-book form in the Baen library later this year. Contracts for this effort have been signed; I will provide links when the e-books are available. Update: I have recently answered a few questions from a copy editor, who seems to be near the end of the third book, so I hope to have more news soon.

King and Country

The alternate-history novel (some of you may know it as the “Ben Franklin” novel) is on hold until the 1632 book is out the door. I want to get back to it later this year.

Other Writing

I contributed a short piece to Ring of Fire III, a collection of stories set in the 1632 universe. It’s only my second published short story. Torg say, short fiction HARD.

My most recent article in TROWEL Magazine is about Past Grand Master George M. Randall, and is entitled Apostle in the Wilderness. I will have an article in the summer issue on the ”Proceedings”.

Other Projects

Rails of New England was published last spring by Rio Grande Games and is getting good reviews from strategy gamers. Be sure to get the revised rules.

I will be at Origins at the end of May, working for Rio Grande, so if you’ll be there and the game interests you, come to our demo room.

Current Reading

I am still reading Gordon Wood’s history of the Early Republic, Empire of Liberty. It’s excellent, but will probably be the current book on the nighttable for the next few weeks. Update: Still working on it.

Gathering of Friends

I had a great time at the Gathering, and played a few games that I’d like to own. Here are a few capsule reviews. I added two albums to Facebook:

There are a number of excellent photo sets, far better than mine, that are also on Facebook.

Games

Note: All pictures are from Boardgamegeek and credit goes to the original posters.

Africana

A set-collection, network-connection, card play game involving Africa, sort of. Someone compared it to Valdora, a game I’ve not played, but which shares the little wooden ‘books’ that hold cards you can buy.

Like most Schacht designs, it’s light and colorful. But I didn’t feel that there was a lot of game there. So we’ll likely Pass.

The City

A little Tom Lehmann card game. Simple, clever and fast. Our first game at the Gathering, and probably one I’d pick up. Buy.

Hawaii

Greg Daigle’s first published design. A good, well-designed resource manipulation game. It has three currencies: shells, fruit and . . . feet. Yep, feet. You use your feet to get to places where you can spend your shells. Fruit can take the place of either.

My first play felt fairly mediocre – another Euro. But I played it a second time and liked it better. We haven’t decided whether it’s one we’ll add to the collection, but it is clever and thematic and appears to have multiple paths to victory. Undecided.

Helvetia

Another game from Matthias Cramer, who brought us the tile-laying game Glen More in 2010 and the combat/competition game Lancaster in 2011.

There are some unusual elements here. Each player’s village is stocked with men and women, who must marry into other villages (no gettin’ down with your cousin in the cantons). Players therefore benefit from a sort of predatory cooperation. Once on a tile by placement or marriage, the meeple can be used to operate the tile – to produce or convert resources, or to do various other things. Players allocate actions up to the number of their deployed meeples on a number of characters, allowing building, waking up (did I mention that work puts you to sleep?), carrying goods to market, marrying, and midwifery (one child per season per married couple; they go off to school, and school graduates immediately enter the work force).

It’s quirky, and nowhere near as dark as Village; it has some interesting game to it, though I think it would be better with 4 than 3 – more choices, more paths. And, hey, look – Expansion Austrians offer yet another alternative! Who could ask for more? Undecided.

Kingdom Builder

A modular placement game by The Donald, about 20 minutes in length. I had somehow avoided playing this game; L. played it a couple of times and found it interesting; I played it once and while I would not object to playing it – it’s moderately clever, inoffensive, and obviously different each play – it’s game popcorn, and not very exciting.

The problem is that while Dominion is a diamond, this game is a cubic zirconia. It’s attractive, it’s very marketable, it’s accessible to a wide range of people – but it’s a cubic zirconia. Pass.

Last Will

Another Czech game, which was a near-final prototype last year. This game is based on the idea that players are trying to spend a certain amount of money in order to win a vast inheritance. The more dissipated you are, the better.

It’s very attractive and remarkably fun: given that it goes fairly quickly, I think it would fit with various game groups. L. and I both really liked it. Buy.

Mayan Age

Czech Games Edition has created some pretty damn innovative games, including the classic Through the Ages. Their new game, scheduled for a 2012 Essen release, is a Mayan-themed worker placement resource allocation game, with all of the usual tropes: victory point locations (temples), production (buildings), harvests to feed dudes, and the gathering of different kinds of stuff to build. The hook here is that the places where workers go are locations on interlocking gears, which all spin each round. It’s not just where you place your guys – it’s when they jump off the wheel. Buy.. We want this one.

Nefarious

The Donald’s other new game, produced by Scott Tepper’s Ascora Games. Players are mad scientists, trying to conquer the world (i.e., achieve a certain number of victory points); each turn a player chooses a role, allowing the increase of resources (hunchback minions, who have cute hunchmeeples; cards; or cash) or the addition of fiendish inventions that have all sorts of effects. In a sort of Vaccarino hallmark, each game is made different by the selection of two cards that provide rules for that game.

The art is charming; the hunchmeeples are amusing. The gameplay? Well . . . it’s important not to take a game like this too seriously. The game is a race, but falls short of our favorite race. L. liked the game more than I did, so we’re presently Undecided about this game.

Octopus Garden

It won a Canadian award. Yeah, baby. A simple placement game with a nautical theme. A little cleverness in selecting the right row or column – when there’s the right stuff there, and you have the right place to put it, and you have enough income in pearls to buy it . . . four game cynics playing the game at high speed didn’t give any of us a particularly warm feeling. Pass.

Sunrise City

A game I backed on Kickstarter that turned out to be a bigger part of my Gathering than I’d expected. The guys at Clever Mojo Games sent me an advance copy, and I taught it quite a bit during the week. It was generally received very well – the components are very pretty: thick building tiles, nice wood markers. While I wouldn’t rate it a 10, it’ll have a place on my game shelf for a while. We own it.

Trajan

Most of my experience with Stefan Feld games has been dismal. I’m not fond of most of his games, with the singular exception of Castles of Burgundy.

This year I had a chance to play Trajan, a complex interlocking worker/resource game with an interesting selection mechanic – mancala, played on your little player board. Pick up the little blocks and drop one on each spot, and wherever you stop – that’s what you do. Figuring out what everything is seems to be the first step (there are a lot of somethings). Planning your action is the second. But the real key is to think two turns ahead. There’s a lot of thinking, and thus the game is long – especially for AP-prone players.

I think there’s a lot of game there, though. So call this a Buy. Maybe.

Village

Your family members want to get born, live well, and leave a good corpse – in the chronicles and not in an unmarked grave. A little sociopathic. No, actually a lot sociopathic. The trick is not to get the stuff you want: it’s to make sure your dudes die at the right time. Don’t let them cling to life; arrange their little meeple deaths.

Not sure what to make of it, except that while it was clever, I’m not sure I found it that compelling. Probably a Pass.

Waka Waka

I am a big fan of Jambo, a 2-player game notionally based on African trading. It’s somewhat like a CCG, in that you get stuff into play and do things with it until one side or the other achieves a victory condition. But there’s no collectability; everything is already in the box. I had hoped that this game, visually similar to Jambo, would be a multiplayer implementation of one of our favorite 2-player games.

Not so much. It’s light and short, it’s got beautiful art (by Michael Menzel), it has Jambo’s parts: the resources, the gold, the cards – but it’s got more luck and less strategy. Regrettably, Pass.

Würfel Bohnanza

The bean game, as a dice game. I mean, ffs, does every game have to have a dice implementation? Apparently so. I hadn’t realized that the base game needed to be simplified or speeded up, but this version does make it a little faster. Dice are rolled, and each player can take advantage of dice choices to advance themselves along a development card, cashing out when the time is right.

It is reasonably good, though, and it has a small form factor. It’s probably a Buy, adding to our incomplete collection of All Things Bohnanza.

Facebook Updates

April 18: Watch the gears on Mayan Age, the new CGE release. (See above.)

April 23: Redshirt zombies. “He’s undead, Jim.”

April 24: Zen GPS. “If you aim for it, you are turning away from it.”

April 24: A strange little article on “gay to straight conversion”. Most interesting to me: the article indicates that facilitators ask clients if there’s any Freemasonry in the family; because, you know, that promotes homosexuality. Apparently.

April 25: An article about the TSA suggests a certain amount of Charlie Foxtrot inside the agency. Though written by a security pro, apparently some readers were unimpressed. I thought it was fairly compelling.

April 25: Dante’s Internet. Nailed.

April 26: An article about the New York City photo archive, of 870,000 recently released photos. The site wasn’t ready for social media to perform an inadvertent DOS attack, so it was down when I went to look, but it may be up now.

April 26: I found my parents in the 1940 census.

April 27: My friend and publisher Ian Strock gives his account of the flight of the Enterprise over New York City. Later on, the shuttle gets caught in his hair like a piece of dandruff.

April 27: The talking stone head is explained.

April 30: Smart phone versatility is enumerated.

Upcoming Conventions and Appearances

May 25-28, 2012: I will be an attending author at Balticon 2012 in Hunt Valley, Maryland. I have not yet received a schedule.

May 30-June 3, 2012: I will be at Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio. I’ll be working for Rio Grande Games.

June 30, 2012: I will be the guest speaker at Glenwood Lodge #65 in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Looking forward to visiting the brethren there again.

August 30-September 3, 2012: I will be an attending author at Chicago Worldcon, the 70th Worldcon.

I have not made a commitment for a convention in the fall, but we are already signed up to attend San Antonio Worldcon on Labor Day Weekend 2013, and have presupported London in 2014.

Parting Words

I continue to appreciate the support and encouragement I receive from family and friends. The loss of a long time and close friend last fall reminds me as always how slender a reed life is, and how much I feel compelled (as the Masonic lecture says) to “contribute to the common stock of knowledge and understanding.” I try to say what I mean, to convey my affection rather than withhold it, and to be truthful and honest to those I meet as well as to myself.

Thank you for reading.

January 6, 2011

Walter Hunt Author Newsletter Volume 8, Issue 1

Filed under: Newsletter, Writing — admin @ 15:50

January, 2011

Welcome to the first issue of my mailing list newsletter for 2011, intended to provide you with information about my work, my website www.walterhunt.com, and my activities and appearances. There hasn’t been much in the way of news for more than a year, for various reasons. I have resolved to remedy that with more frequent posts to the blog. Thank you for your patience if you’re still here.

The Dark Wing Universe

The Dark Wing series is out of print in English. I am working toward getting the books into e-book format.

The Dark Wing is available in Russian at Ozon and Books.ru.

The series is available in German from Random House / Heyne, available from amazon.de:

  • Die Dunkle Schwinge
  • Der Dunkle Pfad
  • Der Dunkle Stern
  • Der Dunkle Kreuzzug

A Song In Stone

A Song In Stone is back in print from Fantastic Books and can be ordered from Amazon.com. It is in a nice trade paperback edition, with a handful of corrections to the original. Please help support the book in its new edition.

I thank the reference librarians both at my public library and my college library for their generous assistance in research. I have placed a copy of an extensive glossary on my web site to enhance your reading pleasure.

King & Country

I have set this project aside for now, though I still have hopes of getting it finished and into publication. Last summer, while in North Carolina, I visited the place where the final scenes will take place.

Elements of Mind

During the summer and fall of 2009 I began working on a story set in the middle 19th century and dealing with the world of mesmerism. This book turned out to be Elements of Mind, which is completed and is now under consideration by a publisher. I hope to have more news about that by spring. If it is successfully sold, there is more than enough plot to extend beyond that first book to others. More news when I get it – but something that came out so quickly and smoothly gives me the impression that it’s worthy of being sold.

1636: Drums Along the Mohawk

When I attended NASFiC last summer, I was hoping to interest an editor or publisher in Elements of Mind or King and Country – but I really had less than high hopes about whether the trip to North Carolina was even worth it. But occasionally serendipity bounces my way.

I had the opportunity to sit with Eric Flint, and came away from NASFiC with a handshake that has led to a contract to write a novel in the very successful 1632 book series – with the preliminary title as given above. It is set in the New World, an area that is largely unexplored in the 1632verse, and I’ve been heavily researching this fall (see reading notes below). I’m very excited to be working with Eric and with Baen on this project and will be at it most of this year.

Other Projects

I am pleased to announce that after more than twenty years of evolution and development, the New England railroad/business game I developed with a long-time close friend has been sold to Rio Grande Games for publication in 2011. Many, many people have playtested this game over its many years of life, and I hope to include all of their names in the rule book. Rio Grande is an outstanding company that sets a very high standard in production quality, and it will be an honor to have a game with our names and Rio Grande’s name on the box.

Upcoming Appearances

We will be in attendance at Arisia 2011 in Boston, January 14-17, 2011, at which I was the Guest of Honor two years ago.

I have been selected to be the guest speaker at the Louisiana Lodge of Research on Friday, February 11, 2011, in Monroe, Louisiana, where I will be speaking about Rosslyn Chapel.

I will be at Boskone 48 in Boston, February 18-20, 2011.

We will be at the Renovation Worldcon in Reno, Nevada, August 17-21, 2011.

Worldcon Bids

Chicago has won the bid for the 2012 Worldcon. I have not been in Chicago for some time and I’m looking forward to showing my family around in that great city.

We have presupported the 2013 San Antonio Worldcon bid, and the 2014 London Worldcon bid.

What I’m Reading

I read the Economist, a weekly news magazine. You should too.

I’m reading David Hackett Fisher’s Champlain’s Dream, as research for the new 1632verse novel. Over the last eighteen months I’ve read a large number of books, and if I summarized all of them for you I’d never get this newsletter out.

Final Thoughts

Thanks to everyone for their continued encouragement and support. Having a chance to write professionally means I get to do what I truly love, and I hope you will always feel that your confidence in me is well-placed. A bit over a year ago, when I was somewhat despondent about my writing, my wife told me (in not so many words) to shut up and write. I’ve been doing that, and hope for a very good 2011.

Keep reading, and keep in touch.

Feel free to forward this to anyone who might be interested.

Content © 2011, Walter H. Hunt.

August 3, 2009

Walter Hunt Author Newsletter, Volume 6, Issue 3

Filed under: A Song In Stone, Commentary, Newsletter, Writing — admin @ 12:09

August, 2009

Welcome to the third issue of my mailing list newsletter for 2009, intended to provide you with information about my work, my website www.walterhunt.com, and my activities and appearances. I am currently posting this newsletter from Toronto, where we’re having a short visit prior to Montréal Worldcon.

Books Update

The Dark Wing Universe

The Dark Wing series is mostly out of print.

The Dark Wing is available in Russian at Ozon and Books.ru.

The series is available in German from Random House / Heyne, available from amazon.de:

A Song In Stone

A Song In Stone has been placed out of print by Wizards of the Coast, but it can be ordered from amazon.com. No paperback edition is planned, but it has been exceptionally well received despite a lack of publicity.

As the rights are back in my hands, I am actively pursuing a new edition and trying to place the sequel (which is 40,000 words along).

I am considering the idea of making it into a podcast book. To that end, I am looking for a partnership with someone who possesses the necessary expertise to make it a product that meets or exceeds my audience’s expectations – and not just a recording of me reading my own work. It deserves better than that, and so do you.

I thank the reference librarians both at my public library and my college library for their generous assistance in research. I have placed a copy of an extensive glossary to enhance your reading pleasure.

King & Country

As reported previously I’ve been working on some short(er) material set in the King & Country alternate history timeline. The short(er) work has a good chance of appearing in print soon; more news as I have it. More information on the background on the main site. The novel is now about 40% complete. I was recently told by a historian (of whom I’m a great fan, and who gave me a few minutes of his time when he visited Newport, RI to give a talk): “you know the history well enough: time to write the story.” So I’m doing just that. You will like this book, I hope.

The book has currently advanced to approximately 45,000 words, and I have written three shorter pieces – set in 1815, 1833 and 1843 – that I would like to sell. Alternate history is a tough subject and I hold such work (including my own) to high standards – see my article in the August 2009 Crossed Genres magazine. Tip o’ the hat to Bud Sparhawk, who helped me out at a recent convention with tips on writing short fiction.

Mesmerism Project

Sometimes you can’t write anything you can stand to reread; sometimes you write like your pants are on fire. My trousers have been flammable like you would not believe during the last three or four weeks: I have written nearly 18,000 words on a book set in the middle 19th century that deals with the mesmerism phenomenon. Early readings have received extremely positive feedback. There’s an outline, and I expect to submit it shortly for consideration. I hope to have more news on that soon.

In the meanwhile – I’m doing what I always suggest to young writers: feeding the muse.

Other Projects

I am pleased to announce that after more than twenty years of evolution and development, the New England railroad/business game I developed with a long-time close friend has been sold to Rio Grande Games for publication in 2010. Many, many people have playtested this game over its many years of life, and I hope to include all of their names in the rule book. Rio Grande is an outstanding company that sets a very high standard in production quality, and it will be an honor to have a game with our names and Rio Grande’s name on the box.

I recently wrote an article entitled Here Our Story Begins about writing (and judging) Alternate History work. I hope to do more of this sort of thing, and I hope you enjoy it and support the magazine. It will be available at Worldcon in dead-tree edition.

Upcoming Appearances

2009

We will be in attendance at Montréal Worldcon August 6-10. My schedule is as follows:

Thursday, August 6

1900, D-2806: Card & Board Gaming. Teen programming.

Saturday, August 8

1200, P-510C: First Contact: The Meeting
With: Gay Haldeman (moderator), Chuck Cady, Duncan McGregor, Gay Haldeman, Gregory A. Wilson, Sherwood Smith
“What would happen if aliens came to Earth? What would you say? What do you do? Offer lunch? What would governments do? How would the world react?”

Sunday, August 9

11:00, P-516AB The Singularity: O RLY?
With: Peter Watts (moderator), Gregory A. Wilson, Jody Lynn Nye, Paul Chafe
Vernor Vinge first proposed the idea of the Singularity in 1988: more than two decades on, are we measurably closer to it happening? Have the intervening years provided any evidence for or against its likelihood?

15:30, P-522A Author Reading
I will read from one or another ongoing project. Hope to see you there.

I am intending to be at one of the middle state conventions – either Capclave or Philcon – later in the year.

2010

I will be at both Boston conventions in January and February. I have been invited to RavenCon in Virginia in April.

We will not be at Australia Worldcon. I’m expecting that we will attend Raleigh NASFiC in early August.

Worldcon Bids

The 2011 Seattle Worldcon bid has been withdrawn, which is unfortunate. The only standing bid is for Reno, which we have presupported.

There is only one bid announced for 2012, Chicago (as I reported on my blog several months ago.) There is a Texas bid for 2013 that will be having a bid party at Montréal Worldcon.

What I’m Reading

I read the Economist, a weekly news magazine. You should too.

I recently read The Exchange Artist, a book about the first bank failure in United States history – engineered by Andrew Dexter, Jr., a sort of early 19th century Bernie Madoff. It’s a little known chapter in history, and I found it fascinating.

I would also like to put in a another plug for my good friend Lawrence Schoen’s first novel Buffalito Destiny, which I had a chance to read and blurb. His work in short fiction should whet your appetite for this entertaining longer effort. BIG CLOCK! (If you don’t know what that means, count yourself fortunate.)

I also have Erfworld in my RSS list. It’s another webcomic that’s hard to explain: you have to read it, and read it carefully, in order to get what Rob Balder and Jamie Noguchi are doing. I’ve met Rob (but not Jamie); what is it about webcomic authors being great guys? I don’t know. If I could draw I could be one of them :)

Final Thoughts

Thanks to everyone for their continued encouragement and support. Having a chance to write professionally means I get to do what I truly love, and I hope you will always feel that your confidence in me is well-placed. Keep reading, and keep in touch.

Feel free to forward this to anyone who might be interested.

Content © 2009, Walter H. Hunt.

June 23, 2009

Walter Hunt Author Newsletter, Volume 6, Issue 2

Filed under: A Song In Stone, Commentary, Games, Newsletter, Travel, Writing — admin @ 14:58

June, 2009

Welcome to the second issue of my mailing list newsletter for 2009, intended to provide you with information about my work, my website www.walterhunt.com, and my activities and appearances. It has been a terribly long time since the last one; I apologize for that, but it has been hectic, confusing, and busy. Things are still hectic, but there is at least some new news to report.

Books Update

The Dark Wing Universe

The Dark Wing series is mostly out of print.

The Dark Wing is available in Russian at Ozon and Books.ru.

The series is available in German from Random House / Heyne, available from amazon.de:

A Song In Stone

A Song In Stone has been placed out of print by Wizards of the Coast, but it can be ordered from amazon.com. No paperback edition is planned, but it has been exceptionally well received despite a lack of publicity.

I am considering the idea of making it into a podcast book. To that end, I am looking for a partnership with someone who possesses the necessary expertise to make it a product that meets or exceeds my audience’s expectations – and not just a recording of me reading my own work. It deserves better than that, and so do you.

I am doing all I can to promote the book by personal appearances. I have received a number of invitations from Masonic organizations to give a talk on Rosslyn and on A Song In Stone; when I appear, I have copies of the book with me to sell. I have already redirected some portion of receipts to Masonic charities such as the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, in part due to the efforts of my friend and brother Bob Winterhalter. To my Masonic friends: if you know a Masonic body such as a Lodge of Instruction that would like to have a speaker, and would permit me to sell books, please contact me and let me know. The same goes for educational institutions such as colleges; I’m more than willing to put miles on the car.

What it means to my other readers: if I could send a copy to the many people who have taken an interest in my writing over the last several years, I would – but it’s neither practical nor profitable. If you can’t afford to buy a hardcover, or prefer not to purchase books in that format, I understand. But your local public or college library might. In the acknowledgements to A Song In Stone, I thank the reference librarians both at my public library and my college library for their generous assistance in research. I have placed a copy of an extensive glossary to enhance your reading pleasure.

King & Country

As reported previously I’ve been working on some short(er) material set in the King & Country alternate history timeline. The short(er) work has a good chance of appearing in print soon; more news as I have it. More information on the background on the main site. The novel is now about 40% complete. I was recently told by a historian (of whom I’m a great fan, and who gave me a few minutes of his time when he visited Newport, RI to give a talk): “you know the history well enough: time to write the story.” So I’m doing just that. You will like this book, I hope.

Other Writing

I have been developing a proposal for a book set in the nineteenth century that deals with the mesmeric movement. It’s got an outline but isn’t quite a proposal yet.

Other Projects

I am pleased to announce that after more than twenty years of evolution and development, the New England railroad/business game I developed with a long-time close friend has been sold to Rio Grande Games for publication in 2010. Many, many people have playtested this game over its many years of life, and I hope to include all of their names in the rule book. Rio Grande is an outstanding company that sets a very high standard in production quality, and it will be an honor to have a game with our names and Rio Grande’s name on the box.

Upcoming Appearances

2009

I will be at Readercon in Burlington, Massachusetts, July 10-12 as a participant. This literary convention is one of the best events on the speculative fiction calendar, and the Saturday night entertainment is not to be missed.

I will be at Confluence in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, July 24-26. I was recently asked to be a judge in the PARSEC short story contest, and I was asked to be present when we give the awards for the best stories.

We will be in attendance at Montréal Worldcon August 6-10.

I am intending to be at one of the middle state conventions – either Capclave or Philcon – later in the year.

2010

I will be at both Boston conventions in January and February. I have been invited to RavenCon in Virginia in April.

We will not be at Australia Worldcon. I’m expecting that we will attend Raleigh NASFiC in early August.

Worldcon Bids

The 2011 Seattle Worldcon bid has been withdrawn, which is unfortunate. The only standing bid is for Reno, which we have presupported.

There is only one bid announced for 2012, Chicago (as I reported on my blog several months ago.) There is a Texas bid for 2013 that will be having a bid party at Montréal Worldcon.

What I’m Reading

I read the Economist, a weekly news magazine. You should too.

During our visit to Amsterdam I bought Anne Frank Remembered by Miep Gies, one of the group that helped conceal eight Dutch Jews for two years during the Nazi occupation – until they were sold out for thirty pieces of silver. This book was not a literary masterpiece but was compelling and moving; I cannot speak too highly of it, or in praise of the woman who wrote it. She’s still alive as of this writing, having turned 100 this year. It is a personal account of a terrible time and a monument to indomitable spirit that fascism and hatred could not crush.

I have just finished reading The Lunar Men, an account of the “Lunar Society” – a group of five polymaths and natural philosophers (Erasmus Darwin, Joseph Priestley, James Watt, and others) whose interaction sparked a generation of inventors and thinkers. It’s a great read.

I would also like to put in a plug for my good friend Lawrence Schoen’s first novel Buffalito Destiny, which I had a chance to read and blurb. His work in short fiction should whet your appetite for this entertaining longer effort. BIG CLOCK! (If you don’t know what that means, count yourself fortunate.)

On a much lighter note, my daughter read The Lightning Thief in sixth grade, and it was a great romp. (She chides me that I never read fiction anymore.) There are other books in the series, and an author website with a study guide and everything. Despite all of that it’s an enjoyable read.

I recently received the newest book in the Schlock Mercenary dead-tree editions, The Scrapyard of Insufferable Arrogance. The cover features a worried toaster on a counter in front of a group of heavily armed individuals. I met the author of this brilliant webcomic, Howard Tayler, at Denver Worldcon last year, and we talked writing and plot late into the night. He’s a terrific guy and has even given me props in his blog. I have it on RSS feed.

I also have Erfworld in my RSS list. It’s another webcomic that’s hard to explain: you have to read it, and read it carefully, in order to get what Rob Balder and Jamie Noguchi are doing. I’ve met Rob (but not Jamie); what is it about webcomic authors being great guys? I don’t know. If I could draw I could be one of them :)

Final Thoughts

Thanks to everyone for their continued encouragement and support. Having a chance to write professionally means I get to do what I truly love, and I hope you will always feel that your confidence in me is well-placed. Keep reading, and keep in touch.

Feel free to forward this to anyone who might be interested.

Content © 2009, Walter H. Hunt.

November 21, 2008

Walter Hunt Author Newsletter, Volume 5, Issue 4

Filed under: A Song In Stone, Commentary, Freemasonry, Newsletter, Writing — admin @ 07:48

November, 2008

Welcome to the fourth issue of my mailing list newsletter for 2008, intended to provide you with information about my work, my website www.walterhunt.com, and my activities and appearances.

Books Update

The Dark Wing is now in its fourth printing in paperback.

The Dark Wing is out of print from Tor Books at present.

It has also appeared in Russian language and is available at Ozon and Books.ru. Thanks to vorchun for passing this information on to me.

The Dark Wing is now out in Taschenbuch-Format (paperback) in Germany under the title “Die Dunkle Schwinge”, and can be ordered from amazon.de.

The Dark Path is now in its second printing in paperback.

The Dark Path is now out in Taschenbuch-Format (paperback) in Germany under the title “Der Dunkle Pfad”, and can be ordered from amazon.de.

The Dark Ascent is out in mass-market paperback.

The Dark Ascent is now out in Taschenbuch-Format (paperback) in Germany under the title “Der Dunkle Stern”, and can be ordered from amazon.de.

The Dark Crusade is out in mass-market paperback.

The Dark Crusade is now out in Taschenbuch-Format (paperback) in Germany under the title “Der Dunkle Kreuzzug”. It can be ordered from amazon.de.

A Song In Stone is out in hardcover.


A Song In Stone can be ordered from amazon.com.

Madness In Harmony has been postponed indefinitely. It remains on the shelf at Wizards of the Coast.

The Website

walterhunt.com has received a major facelift. In addition to reviews and a revised bookstore and reading list, there’s some new content that may interest you. Still no guest book: it got so heavily spammed that we haven’t been able to bring one back online. But please take a look at the new stuff. There’ll be more on the way.

What’s Been Happening

It’s been a busy autumn around here.

A Song In Stone

The arrival of A Song In Stone is the end of three years of waiting, and I hope you like the book. Its premise that was suggested by the guide who showed me Rosslyn Chapel. This structure, a confection of sculpture and artistry, is an unfinished part of a larger church originally built in the fifteenth century. It has fascinated historians and mystics for centuries; it is even the final location in “The DaVinci Code”. When my guide showed it to me, he pointed to a part of the interior and told me that the sculpture there was a complex, undecoded piece of music. The light went on . . . and now it’s a novel. The majority of the book is set in Middle Ages France and Spain, and (among other things) reveals the linkage between Gothic architecture and polyphonic music. I believe that it is a significant piece of writing for me, worthy of my readers.

It’s not getting much support or promotion and I don’t expect that to change. At the moment, there are no plans for the book to appear in any edition other than the hardcover (which is very attractive, but is priced as a hardcover – I can’t really do much about that.) I’m disappointed at this decision but must accept it. As always, the work must ultimately speak for itself.

As a result, I am doing all I can to promote the book by personal appearances. I have received a number of invitations from Masonic organizations to give a talk on Rosslyn and on A Song In Stone; when I appear, I have copies of the book with me to sell. Going forward, I intend to redirect some portion of receipts to Masonic charities such as the Knights Templar Eye Foundation. To my Masonic friends: if you know a Masonic body such as a Lodge of Instruction that would like to have a speaker, and would permit me to sell books, please contact me and let me know. The same goes for educational institutions such as colleges; I’m more than willing to put miles on the car.

What it means to my other readers: if I could send a copy to the many people who have taken an interest in my writing over the last several years, I would – but it’s neither practical nor profitable. If you can’t afford to buy a hardcover, or prefer not to purchase books in that format, I understand. But your local public or college library might. In the acknowledgements to A Song In Stone, I thank the reference librarians both at my public library and my college library for their generous assistance in research. In the near future I will put my research notes on the website for your edification.

Hour of the Wolf

I was on Hour of the Wolf on Pacifica Radio in New York City on November 8. It was a great opportunity to sit down with Jim Freund to do this program and I believe it went very well. Check this blog entry for details.

Other Stuff

As reported previously I’ve been working on some short(er) material set in the King & Country alternate history timeline, as well as some touch ups to the first section of the novel, which is currently being shown to editors. The short(er) work has a good chance of appearing in print soon; more news as I have it. More information on the background on the main site.

My blog also shows the current top ten games in my Boardgamegeek collection; I’ve gone through the process of entering it into the Geek – it’s fairly accurate now and in excess of 600 games. We have been playing Race For The Galaxy a lot as well as Agricola. I’m awaiting a copy of Le Havre from the same designer, but it’s somewhere between Germany and here at present.

Projects in the Dark Wing Universe

We’re still on hiatus, and my creative energies have been focused elsewhere. Still, I appreciate the mail I receive – especially when folks say, “where’s the next book?” I have to answer that it’s in the hands of Tor Books to decide, but that I’ve not abandoned it. Thank you for all of your support and input. I’ve added some of those comments – without attributions – on the main web site. Thank you all for your support.

I’m looking into the possibility of releasing a podcast version of Sword and Sun, but that project is in a preliminary stage. I’ll keep you informed of progress through the newsletter and on the blog.

Upcoming Appearances

2008

I will be at Philcon at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, November 21-23, 2008. (I proposed to my wife in Cherry Hill in July 1981, on the morning we found out our rental car had been stolen. Fond memories indeed.)

2009

I will be the Author Guest of Honor at Arisia in January 2009. I’m already up on the 2009 Arisia website – I’m really looking forward to it.

I will be the International Guest of Honor at Dortcon in Dortmund, Germany in March 2009. This invitation was something of a surprise, but since my books are out in German (and I speak the language), it should be a good con for me. Hope some of my German fans (which I do seem to have!) will come.

Montréal won the 2009 bid during the Worldcon in Yokahama. We will be in attendance, as we presupported the bid.

2010

I need to sell a lot of books to be able to attend the Australia Worldcon in 2010, but would really like to go. This bid will be stepping it up at regional conventions, and I expect that there’ll be some competition on planet. We’ll see.

Worldcon Bids

According to Chaz Baden’s page there are two announced bids for 2011 – Seattle, which announced some time ago, and Reno (which was announced at BayCon.) We have presupported both bids.

There is only one bid announced for 2012, Chicago (as I reported on my blog several months ago.) There is a bid in the works for somewhere in Texas in 2013, but it doesn’t have a web site yet. At LA Con I recall seeing a table for a Worldcon bid for Washington, DC for 2010 or later, but can’t find any information on it.

Yahoo Mailing List

Some local fans have set up a Yahoo mailing list for my writing. As I say at public appearances – you can ask any question you like (just be prepared for me to answer as I please.) I hope you’ll join the list and be a part of an interactive discussion.

What I’m Reading

I read the Economist, a weekly news magazine. You should too.

As reported earlier, I’ve been serving on the jury for the Philip K. Dick Award, which makes me a Dick Judge. I’ve read a variety of books that never would have crossed my path had I not been so engaged. At least a few are very much worth your while to read, but it would be improper to list my favorites before the jury work is final.

My daughter has recently become very interested in Brian Jacques’ Redwall series and I’m trying to stay with her; at times it seems that this is more a franchise than a universe, but the best of the work is compelling – and unlike much “children’s fiction”, the villains are fully realized, the violence and cruelty is believable and consistent, and characters actually die – readers my daughter’s age are engaged, which is a good thing. Bravo.

In expository fiction I recently read The Turk, a book about the famous eighteenth-century chess playing automoton; it’s fascinating and very well written.

Final Thoughts

Thanks to everyone for their continued encouragement and support. Having a chance to write professionally means I get to do what I truly love, and I hope you will always feel that your confidence in me is well-placed. Keep reading, and keep in touch.

Feel free to forward this to anyone who might be interested.

Content © 2008, Walter H. Hunt.

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