LTUE Day Three Report!

Hello readers! If you’ve been following the two days before this, well … you can probably guess how tired I am, stacking onto the two days prior. Thankfully, I wasn’t the only one in the green room this morning waiting to wake up. Cons are a marathon, and LTUE is no exception!

So, as I am currently only a few bare steps away from pure exhaustion (and my voice is almost gone from talking so much), let’s simply get down to business with the report!


The first panel I attended, at 9 AM, was “Paying the Reaper: Financing a War.” This is a panel I’ve attended before, but that’s because it’s a classic. And a golden panel for anyone who wishes to write about a military. Because it asks a very important question: Who is paying for all these soldiers, and with what?

That’s the whole point of this thread. To consider camp followers, the cost of a military, the cost of the logistics. This time around, the focus shifted toward modern militaries, and how the cost of maintaining them has increased tremendously alongside their force multiplication—something the panel wanted the audience to remember. Armies today are smaller than they were before, but far deadlier, while costing a lot more per person or bit of hardware compared to older times.


I then missed the next set of panels. I ended up caught in a conversation about 18th century sailing ships and the differences/similarities to modern vessels. One shocker that came out of this conversation, with the woman who had given the presentation I mentioned yesterday, was that the full operating crew compliment for a 112-foot sailing ship was … 12 people.

That dumbfounded me at first, but made sense. Today there are engines and mechanics to keep tabs on them, electrical equipment, etc, and they run 24-7 on some ships so you have crew rotations. A coast guard cutter twice as long, for example, has a standard crew compliment nine times as large.

Interesting, no?

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LTUE Day Two Report!

For all the typos yesterday, today may see even more. I am absolutely wrung out. Ever seen a taffy pull? That taffy is how my brain feels. And if I’ve lost my voice tomorrow morning due to speaking so much today, well …

Worth. It.

So, let’s recap, shall we?


9 AM I went to How to Ursurp a Kingdom. Yes, it was as awesome as it sounds. The panel talked about how to take over, assassinate, play political games, the works. I enjoyed it immensely.

Two works were suggested as primers during this panels. Machiavelli’s The Prince and a two-part CCPGrey video I’ll embed below.


10 AM was a panel on Oaths and Honor in societies. This panel covered a variety of topics, from how a character’s honor (or a challenge against it) can make them much more intriguing, or how characters from societies that honor different things can play off of one another (or even coexist).

More about characters with honor and how that’s a character tool than cultures steeped in honor, but nonetheless interesting.

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LTUE Day One Report!

Hey readers! This will be a short one, as I am bushed, but the first day of LTUE (Life, The Universe, and Everything) was today! So, naturally, I’m here to give you the session reports. Though it may be a little tricky as I was on a number of panels this time, rather than listening from the audience. Plus there was this book launch …

Yeah, if there’s typos here I apologize, but I am exhausted. This day was awesome, but it did wear me out by the end. 10+ hours of con will do that to someone.


So, let’s start with 9 AM and the first panel I attended, or rather, gave! That’s right, I was one of the panelists for it! The topic was on using weather properly in fiction, not just as a backdrop, but as something that could influence the plot and characters! And it was a lot of fun, though early lol. We discussed how different forms of weather can completely change a scene (such as an escape from a prison camp in sunlight, hazy rain, or fog), how to set up weather in advance so that it doesn’t come out of nowhere, and even ways you can learn about weather or help establish the mood for your writing. A fun panel that definitely got a lot of audience members thinking.


At 10 AM, I attended a panel on lost technology. You know, stuff like Damascus Steel or Greek Fire. However, I was pleased when the panelists subverted what I (and I expect many others) predicted would be the focus, instead focusing on lost modern technologies that we still have record of, but no longer have the ability to create, such as Saturn V rockets, or mechanical calculators. Both of which, the panel pointed out, we don’t have a need for (which is why they’re gone), but they’ve gone so hard that we have the blueprints to create them (mostly), but not the expertise or machinery.

An interesting approach, and one that left me thinking on progress.


At 11 AM was the keynote for the day, a presentation of Fantasy in art through the ages. Interesting, and with some fun art.

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The LTUE Report: Day Three and Finale!

Oh man readers, I am bushed. Stuffed. Sapped. Exhausted. Wrung out. Conventions can take it out of you.

But it was so worth it.

Still, I’m just flat-out bedraggled. So there may be some typos in this post? Probably? I’m riding a bit of a sugar buzz at the moment, but I am also really tired. Like I-can-feel-this-pressing-at-the-back-of-my-eyes tired.

But the report must be done! While the memories are freshest! That said, by the end of the last day you could tell it was the end of the con. I wasn’t the only one in the audience that was clearly pushing the limit. But we all soldiered on, because it’s LTUE!

So, hit the jump for the last day report. Panels await!

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The LTUE Report: Day Two!

Whew! If I thought I was tired after day one of LTUE (by the way, after I finished yesterday’s report, I fell asleep on the floor of my living room), day two has seen me even more tired.

But what a day! And as tired as I am, there’s no way I’m not putting up the day two report, letting those of you who couldn’t make it what was going on and what it was like.

A Dragon and Her Girl - Cover

Oh, by the way, do you like the featured image? That is the cover art for A Dragon and Her Girl, the second LTUE benefit anthology coming out in February 2020, which A Game of Stakes will feature in! Looks great, doesn’t it?

So, what adventures did day two of LTUE bring? Well, let’s dive right in. Day two for me kicked off with a panel that was the counterpart of the first one I attended on day one. Naturally, this meant that rather than being on the evolution of Science-Fiction, it was on the evolution of  … Fantasy!

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The LTUE 2019 Report: Day One!

Good evening readers! Welcome to the LTUE Report for Day One!

First things first: For the last few weeks, I’ve been keeping something secret. Something that, after the official book launch for Trace the Stars, LTUE’s first benefit anthology of short stories, I can finally talk about, since it was announced at the launch.

Remember a few months back when I was excited about a short story I’d written called A Game of Stakes? One that I submitted to an anthology collection? Well, that anthology collection was next year’s LTUE anthology, titled A Dragon and Her Girl, and my story?

It’s going to be in it. That’s right: A Game of Stakes will be published in A Dragon and Her Girl, launching at 2020’s LTUE.

And I’m pumped. I mean, look at the names of some of the folks published in these collections. Kevin J. Anderson. David Farland. Brad R. Torgerson.

That’s pretty cool. I’m geeking out a little here to be included in a collection set that has names like that under its belt.

Trace the StarsBut speaking of the collection, you can take a look at the first release, Trace the Stars here on Amazon and order a copy if you can’t make it to the convention to grab it. It’s a benefit anthology, which means that no one gets any profit from your purchase. Instead, the money supports the LTUE convention, specifically the $5 ticket price for all students.

That’s right, attending LTUE is $5 if you’re a student, and sales of this book help fund the convention to keep it that way. That’s an absolute bargain for students of grade schools and colleges alike, and LTUE would love to keep it that way!

So yeah, check out Trace the Stars, then get ready for next year’s A Dragon and Her Girl! I’m in it!

Yeah, still happy about this. And relieved to finally be able to tell everyone!

Okay, I’m gonna stop geeking now. As awesome as that was, it wasn’t all that happened at LTUE. We’ve still got a recap of the day’s events (as seen through my eyes) and panels! Hit the jump!

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The Gears of War Tabletop Report: Finale

So, you guys may have forgotten about this, but once upon a time on this site I did a small series talking about my experiences running a custom ruleset tabletop game for, of all things, a game based off of Microsoft’s Gears of War. Ultimately I stopped doing the session reports because they were digging into my time a little too much (I needed to be writing more important things, like the next book and whatnot), but the sessions themselves didn’t stop.

Until this last Tuesday, that is. Tuesday evening was the final session of the campaign. I won’t say it was a great one, because it was my first time being a DM, and it was a completely custom system that I built and had to do on-the-fly adjustments to … but there were definite fun moments and our team did have some good times.

So how did it end? Well, the players managed to prevent a surviving faction of UIR soldiers from setting off an experimental heavy-metal bomb (atomics, something the Gears universe isn’t very familiar with) in the middle of the COG defensive line on the Jacinto Plateau. Basically, they almost died, but saved the day, and in the end, were rewarded with a ship—something they’d been looking for all campaign. Sure, they had to fight for it, but with a gratuitous selection of high-powered weaponry, the players were able to find it, defend it, and then lay waste to everything that approached while loading it up.

The best campaign ever? Not by a long shot. But … they did have fun. And I did too.

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