December Update, Three Cool Things

Since I’ve finished up my retrospective on my older novels, I find myself looking for a new theme for this blog. Thinking up the next big series of things to talk about sounds kind of hard, though, so I believe I’ll just offer a few quick updates on what I’m doing these days, then move on to Three Cool Things: a few words about things I like that you might like too.

Sikander North: Restless Lightning, Book Two of my Breaker of Empires series, came out in trade paperback in October. If you’re into military sci-fi, I encourage you to check out the sample chapters for Restless Lightning or Valiant Dust (Book One, now available in mass-market paperback); I’m pretty proud of them. I’ve finished my revisions to Book Three, Scornful Stars, and I’ve just seen the cover image for the book—it’s fantastic! I’ve got some big ideas about where the series might go next, so let’s hope that the readers out there like Sikander as much as I do.

Alternity: I’ve been working hard on assembling the Protostar Mission Guide, the first of the sourcebooks that follow the Core Rulebook. The Protostar book is really more of an adventure anthology than a campaign setting, but I think that most GMs out there are happy to get their hands on content they can use today rather than inspiration for things they *might* do with a setting (although there’s plenty of setting to explore, if you’ve got an itch to tell cool stories in a technothriller-ish hard-SF game universe). We’ve got authors contracted for all the remaining parts of the Protostar outline, and I expect to get the book into layout early in 2019. I’m hoping to move on to the Xenologist’s Guide after the holidays.

Secret Projects: I’m 55,000 words into a new project that I’m not ready to say much about. It’s another fantasy/SF idea that I’m pretty excited about, and I’m hoping to finish a first draft within the next couple of months. After that, I have *another* secret project that I’m reading up on to educate myself on a world I’ve never before written for; I expect to be full-speed ahead on that one later this winter. More on these as soon as I can say something about them!

Three Cool Things

As I promised, here are three things that I’m enjoying these days.

Century: Spice Road is a board game I picked up at Gen Con this year, and didn’t get around to playing until September. It’s actually a couple of years old (I am not an early adopter of anything, really), but it’s rapidly become a favorite of the Baker household. It’s fast, engaging, mechanically simple, and highly tactile; Plan B Games did a nice job with this one. Some board games really make you work too hard to enjoy them, but Century: Spice Road is one your casual board-gamer friends and family will like almost as much as you do.

Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey is, of course, the newest installment in the Assassin’s Creed RPG console franchise. I’ve been on board since Black Flag, so I’ve explored the Caribbean, revolutionary France, Victorian England, Cleopatra’s Egypt, and now the Peloponnesian War as a righteous killer of bad guys. Odyssey introduces some new branching dialogue and reputation systems to reward (or not) choices you make in the storyline. Oh, and ancient Greece is just beautiful. I’ve only just started playing, but I like what I’ve seen so far.

Hot stove baseball is heating up! I’m a big Phillies fan, so I’m checking the rumors sites every day to see what the Phils are up to this off-season. Today’s news is a big deal with the Mariners: The Phils traded Carlos Santana and JP Crawford to the M’s for Jean Segura and a couple of good bullpen arms. I like the deal because Rhys Hoskins gets to move back to his natural position (first base), and Jean Segura is a guy who collects a lot of hits. It’s tough to say goodbye to JP Crawford, but it’s hard to project Crawford as a shortstop who would be equal to or better than Segura in the next couple of years. I wish that more of the Phillies plan revolved around a core of home-grown superstars like the Rollins-Utley-Howard powerhouse ten years back; you can’t really count on buying a championship. But I think there might be a group taking shape in Nola- Hoskins-Alfaro-Kingery  (hey, the Phillies must have seen something in the kid to pay him so early!) that at least has a chance to re-create that magic. Now . . . who’s going to play left field, I wonder?

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