Monthly Archives: November 2013

Loss of a Beloved Pet


This post is sure to be a bummer, as it’s about losing a pet. Feel free to skip it. It’s going to be pretty disjointed, anyway.

One of the things I have talked about on and off for months was the failing health of my last cat, Cortez. Sadly he had a clear, sudden, obviously irreversible turn for the worse overnight, and we had to have the vet end things for him today.

I had Cortez for around 15 years, longer than any other pet I’ve had. We had three cats as little as a few years ago, but over the past couple of years lost the other two. Now with Cortez gone, for the first time ever in this house, I am totally alone. There is no living thing sharing this space with me, until my wife gets home tonight.

Cortez was a very special pet for me. He had a mixed reputation among my friends – some were actually afraid of him, some actively (but respectfully) disliked him, and some thought he was wonderful. Only four of all the people who have entered my house besides myself and Lj could consistently and safely pet Cortex, and much more than triple that number had been attacked by him with enough force to shed blood. To most of my social circle, he was a grumpy enigma.

Cortez absolutely was grumpy. He was also the very first cat to leave the box his litter was born in (his mother’s owner named him after an explorer as a result – he was Cortez before we got him, and we first met him at two weeks though he didn’t come home with us until later). He was also viciously loyal to his brother, vaguely tolerant of the elder cat we eventually added to our home, and surprisingly vocal about his defense of our doors and windows against outside animals.

Cortez was an explorer – first one to walk the perimeter of any new place we took him, but also agoraphobic. He *wanted* to go outside, but always froze as soon as he realized the was NO CEILING. We kept him and his compatriots as indoor-only cats for their own sake, but I’m pretty sure he’d have been a magnificent alley cat… if he’d been born outside. As it was he was fat, and soft, and much more wailer than warrior.

He also loved me in a way I have never seen any other cat love. While he was as randomly cuddly or stand-offish as any cat under normal circumstances, if I was sad or sick or hurt, he *always* came to me. And if he was stepped on he rushed to me for protection… even if I was the one who stepped on him.

He’d given us some scares over the years, and at least three times the vet told us he likely wouldn’t last more than a few more weeks. The last of those proclamations was over a year ago. Cortez was too stubborn to get sick and die on any schedule but his own. When we last thought his time might be up, the vet ran tests and concluded that while his body was riddled with cancer, all his organs were functioning normally. He put him on long-term pain control, and he was fine again for three months.

Yesterday, that ended. We made all efforts to find another way to give him more time, or perhaps to give more time with him, but his strength was clearly and swiftly gone. I will do all I can to heal and preserve a sick cat, right until that causes the pet distress or pain. His time was up, and he was kind enough to let me know.

I spent most of the night holding him, and called the vet as soon as they opened. Lj got a chance to say goodbye, but he was already barely with us. He has always hated car rides, but made only a single weak complaint as I took him to get some rest at last.

When Cortez had to stay overnight at a vet’s office some years ago, he was so violently aggravated he ended up in a larger dog cage with a sign that said “Warning, will strike!” He has always hated other animals. And yet, as he sat in the waiting room while I was at the counter, when a kitten got lose from its owner and rushed up to Cortez’s carrier, my grumpy, vicious, violent cat just pushed his nose through the grill, and nuzzled the young striped tabby, who promptly nuzzled back, then went off to play.

Cortez got the last laugh, and was an enigma to the end.

At the end, he was nuzzling me, because I was crying. It was the fasted and most peaceful I have ever had to let a pet go.

If loving your pets was enough to keep them with us, Cortexz would have lived forever.

I wrote this during what feels like the tail end of what I have called “The eye my hurricane of my grief.” I expect to be intermittent at best for a day or two at least. If I don’t respond to something, please don’t take it personally. I’m not sure yet how I am going to process this loss. Other, obviously, than writing about it.

Wizard, Genius, Ronin… ROGUE!

Heya Folks,

So as of today I am no longer a member of Super Genius Games. The company and I had ceased to be a good fit, so we can to a mutually satisfactory agreement that has me no longer being a member of the Super Genius Entertainment LLC, and no longer the lead developer of Super Genius Games. I sincerely wish SGG good fortune in all its future endeavors, and I am very proud of the work I did while part of it.

A lot of that work is going to come with me in my new venture, Rogue Genius Games, which I am in the process of spinning up. I have also brought Warlords of the Apocalypse with me, and thus those of you with preorders are now my customers rather than SGG’s.

To be clear this has nothing to do with my joining Green Ronin (though the timing is a heck of a coincidence), and I have every intention of continuing my work on things like the Godlings, Time Thief, and Talented product lines. Though it’s going to take a little time to get my feet back under me.

I am sure more questions will come as we move forward, and I’ll have a lot more to talk about when the ink is a little dryer.

NaNoWri I

There are dates that make me look back at my actions over the past year, or 5, or 15, and ask; “Have I done enough to be the person I want to be?” That question has evolved over time, of course. It used to be “Have I done enough to achieve my goals,” and then “Have I done enough to be happy?” and briefly “Have I done enough to meet my maker in confidence?” I’m not saying those are bad versions of the question, either. They just aren’t the ones that resonate the most with me right now.

So have I done enough? No, not by a long shot. Okay, that naturally leads to; “What should I do that I’m not, or stop doing that I’m habitual about?” Which quickly segue to “When?” and “How?”

In recent years, Nov 1st has been one of those anniversaries because of NaNoWriMo. As friends and patrons talk about making a run at 50k words of fiction written in 30 days I think about the stories I have always meant to write. The stories I want to write. The fiction I somehow never have time to write.

Oddly, my job as a writer seems to get in the way of writing. Because I usually can’t afford to turn down a paid game-writing job to make time to write fiction I have no sure sale for, and at 60-80 hour weeks spent on sure-money-writing it’s hard to fit in more on top of what I am doing. Heck, I am almost guaranteed to NOT sell my first few complete long stories. And even if they do sell, 50k is not a novel and not a length with a lot of popular sales venues. So even if I decided that 60-hour weeks of game writing was not enough, that all the new business things I need to tackle were not enough, that being the new Pathfinder developer at Green Ronin was not enough and I *really* wanted to write 50k words in November, come Dec 1st I would not be done.
So every year, I sit at my desk on November 1st, and decide I’m not doing it. It’s not practical. It wouldn’t be useful. This is not the when. This is not the how. And each time, a year later, I wonder if that was the right call.
Failure, of course, is part of the process of success. And a failure to try is sometimes the smart call. But if you always do what you have always done, you’ll always have what you’ve always gotten. And I am tired of the answers I am giving my own questions.

So this year, I am going to fail differently. I am going to start writing. I have done 0 work on planning this out. I have no plan, no outline, and to be honest no expectation I can manage to write fiction every day, or get 50k words done in 30 days. Not with my commitments. Not with this workload. I expect I’ll fail.

But this year, I plan to fail differently.

Progress: 0 of 50,000 words.