Link Roundup For 12 September 2009

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More Of My Euphonious Voice

Another story I read for PodCastle, Marie Brennan's "A Heretic By Degrees," is up. I struggled with this one, as it demanded that all four of major characters be distinct and real. (Some of that may be due to the character work I'd done just the week before in Barbara Scott's workshop at the VIC.) I hope they come across as clearly to everyone as they did to me.

For reference, here are the seven stories I've read for PodCastle and Escape Pod:

I love doing these, and I hope to do more (and perhaps other voice work) in the future.

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Link Roundup For 21 August 2009

Originally published at

Making Introductions

This past weekend, I met Jess Hartley. I've been aware of her for years, but until now our social circles have only touched and never completely overlapped. Meeting cool new people is one of the reasons that I go to conventions, so I was happy this worked out.

Jess just started a series of articles about geek etiquette, a project she's calling One Geek To Another. The first post deals with introductions, and Jess is right on in pointing out the value of introductions and how rarely they happen well. Connecting people with each other is something I do a lot of, so I wanted to share a few of my techniques for getting introductions right.

If I'm part of a group that someone who I do know comes up to, I'll make introductions unless I'm sure the people have already been introduced. (Watching body language is a good way to figure out if people know each other). My introduction in this case will run something like, "I'm sorry, I don't remember if you've met. Eric, do you know Steve? Steve's the author of X, Eric's the art director at Y." The key is I make it my problem, not the problem of the person who doesn't know everyone else.

If I'm part of a group that someone who I don't know comes up to, I'll wait for a minute for someone else to introduce them. If that doesn't happen (and it often doesn't), I'll take the initiative: "Hi, I don't think we've met. I'm Paul." This a technique I'd like to see more of, as it's not as widespread as the one above.

If I'm the new guy to the group, I'll treat it much like the second situation. If no one is actively engaging me in conversation, I'll wait until there's a break and then introduce myself. This is hard, and it feels awkward, but it's a lot less awkward than not doing it.

The key to all three of these is timing. The more time that goes by without an introduction, the more difficult things get. If a good conversational opening doesn't present itself, I'll jump in with "I'm sorry to interrupt, but..."

This is pretty basic stuff, but as Jess points out, it does a lot to make those awkward social situations less awkward.

Originally published at

Support Me For The ENnie Awards

I'm up for an award, and I need your help. Two minutes is all it takes.

The Voice of the Revolution, a gaming podcast I co-host with Brennan Taylor and that's produced by Ryan Macklin, has been nominated for the ENnie Award for Best Podcast. The results are based on an online vote, and voting is open to everyone. (It's limited to one vote per person, and restricted by computer/IP address.)

To support Ryan, Brennan, and me, follow these steps:

  1. Go to

  2. Scroll down to where it says "17. Best Podcast"

  3. In the drop-down box next to "The Voice of the Revolution" select "1"If you want to vote for other categories, please consider my friends at Atomic Sock Monkey / Evil Hat, One Bad Egg, Box Ninja, Contested Ground Studios, Green Ronin Publishing, Catalyst Game Labs, and Kunoichi/Archaia.

  4. Click the "Submit my votes" button at the bottom of the page.

Voting closes on August 1st. Please forward this to anyone you think can help us out.


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A Penny For My Thoughts

Today, the story-telling game I've been working (slowly) on for the last two years is shipping from the warehouse to customers. My comp copies arrived last week, and I'm amazed at how an idea that started as some notes scribbled in the back of a bus has turned into a tangible thing. I'm a little overwhelmed by the whole process, so I'm not really sure what else to say. You can read more about it, check out the promotional website, or order a copy.

Also: Woot!

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Listen To The Cookie

I have a weakness for mediocre Chinese buffets. While there are downsides to this failing, the advantage is that I get to enjoy fortune cookie fortunes often. I suspect I'm not alone in being unable to read a fortune without mentally adding the words " bed." (For any Green Hills Software engineers, current or alums, who happen to be reading, I also occasionally amuse myself by adding "...while using the Service Router.") With this in mind, the fortunes that have accumulated on my bedside table recently range from the slightly funny ("Don't worry about the stock market. Invest in family.") to the fairly amusing ("You will receive an unexpected gift from an acquaintance.") to the absurd ("You would prosper in the field of wacky inventions.").

Sometimes, though, the cookies are on to something. On Thursday, I was in the middle of pushing forward on some of my plans for the project I'm managing at work. I was meeting with some resistance, so I decided to get out of the office for a bit and grab an early lunch by myself. I was worked up and nervous, and I had hard time concentrating. I spent most of lunch working through my reasons and questioning whether or not this was the right thing do. At the end of the meal, just as I was getting ready to head back to work, I opened up my cookie and read the fortune inside.

"Assert yourself, your ideas are worthwhile at this time."

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Read Down The Wind

Every so often I have the honor (and pleasure) of narrating a story for PodCastle (or their big sister, Escape Pod). This week they released The Dreaming Wind by Jeffrey Ford, which I recorded for them back in December. I almost forgotten about it, and it turns out I wasn't the only one. Due to an editorial mixup, they ended up getting two recordings of the story, one by myself and one by Rajan Khanna, and they posted them both. Whichever of the two versions you prefer, I'm glad I was able to read another story for them, and I hope I get the chance to do another one soon.

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Lacking Sleep, But Ok

Last night, as the Jesusita Fire burned rapidly to the west, Gwen, the cats, and I left our house to go stay with our friends Roy and Michelle. They eventually ordered an evacuation for our house, but we were long gone by then. So far as we know, the first hasn't gotten anywhere near our house yet. The fire was very unpredictable yesterday, so they were very aggressive about ordering evacuations. Hopefully we'll find out more about what's going on today, but the bottom line is that we're safe.