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... we are at *almost* 4/5 of the way there. Please, if you can, share this link as widely as possible. As I note in the GFM campaign, I really need even more than I'm asking for, I just couldn't bring myself to do so, so those last 2k are still really important.

And many, many, many thanks to all who have contributed so far.

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... I have submitted my superhero novel Legend to Ring of Fire Press! 
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We're 3/5ths of the way there! Thank you everyone for your support on my family's GoFundMe! It really is helping! 
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... the first, currently titled Castaway Resolve, to Baen, and the second, Demons of the Past: RETRIBUTION, to Eric Flint's Ring of Fire press! 
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 Many thanks to those who have contributed to my GoFundMe thus far! Please share this link anywhere you think it might help
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... but I have put up a GoFundMe for my family

Even if you can't contribute, please spread the word.

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So, as I mentioned elsewhere, Netflix is messing up Saint Seiya. The known SPECIFIC way they're doing this is by changing Andromeda Shun from a boy to a girl.

Now the question is "Why does this matter?", and there's more than one answer to that.

The general answer is: because Andromeda Shun's POINT was that he was able to be a man while having many standard feminine traits (being willing to show emotions other than anger or triumph, being very pretty, having a delicate face and figure, etc.), and who was even specifically representing a constellation which is female in its very imagery (Andromeda, chained to the rock). Shun was, in fact, one of, if not the very first, Bishonen Heroes, as far as I can tell (there were earlier bishonen, and earlier heroes, but I can't recall an earlier anime hero who was specifically a bishonen). Changing Shun to a girl eradicates the very point of his portrayal; he goes from a character who is genderqueer to a fairly traditional female who just happens to also be on a combat team.

Some people have pointed out that they did the same thing with Pidge in Voltron and THAT didn't cause problems, but that's because (based on discussion with old Voltron fans) Pidge didn't have the counter-gender imagery as a core part of their identity; much of the confusion about Pidge's gender was due at least in part to the American VA. For Shun, it's a complete negation of what made him one of the most popular characters in Saint Seiya.

If they wanted more diversity, and specifically female representation, they could have changed LITERALLY ANY OTHER CHARACTER to female -- Seiya himself, Shiryu, Hyoga, Ikki -- and there'd been far less griping about it. Or they could choose to bring some of the EXISTING female characters -- Saori, Shaina, Marin -- forward and give them more screen time and agency. Instead, they chose the worst possible way to do it.

The more specific answer for ME is that Saint Seiya itself is a very, very important influence. I had moved on from WATCHING it a while back, because in terms of the "god-warrior" show subgenre there were other shows that did it better (because Kurumada himself seemed pretty much stuck in a single rut when it comes to plotline and character portrayal).

But when I first encountered it, Saint Seiya was *eye-opening*. It was one of the first anime that my then-girlfriend, later-wife, Kathleen showed me, and its serious and sometimes agonizing portrayal of the superhero concept, mixed with mangled Greco-Roman imagery and Japanese sensibilities, hit me like a freight train. At the time, Kathy was also heavily into Saint Seiya, and it became one of our strongly-shared fandoms, connected of course to our beginning romance, and we started running (sometimes extremely intense) games set in the world of the Saints (which we eventually expanded to include the Samurai Troopers and at the end DB/DBZ as well).

This led to us writing a HUGE volume of Saint Seiya fanfic, all set in that same universe, all connected into a single gigantic narrative. We never FINISHED it all, but the UNfinished pieces totaled well over a million words.

This wasn't just important *personally*, as part of the formative time of our relationship, however. It was CRITICAL to my professional (in terms of being a writer) development. Working with Kathleen taught me pretty much everything I KNOW about writing characters. If anyone likes any of my characters AS PEOPLE, well, credit Kathleen and Saint Seiya. It was during the writing of one of those fics that I finally figured out what my villain Virigar truly was, and clarified my entire multiverse. There are numerous influences by Saint Seiya, directly or indirectly, through my writing; originally I had a very direct one, in that the warriors of Myrionar were not originally called "Justiciars" but "Saints", and Kyri then would have been The Phoenix Saint (which is Ikki's position in Saint Seiya). My current work, "Godswar" is a salute to Saint Seiya and the god-warrior subgenre as a whole in the same way that Grand Central Arena was a salute to Doc Smith and the space opera genre as a whole.

Therefore, messing up Saint Seiya has a PERSONAL impact that is, honestly, well out of proportion to how *good* the original show was. It was ... okay for its time, but plenty of other shows have done what it did better, sometimes FAR better. But none of them had, or COULD have, the same personal MEANING to me that Saint Seiya does, and thus tampering with some of the key elements of the show -- most especially Andromeda Shun -- is something that will REALLY bother me. After all, I spent quite a few years in the company of the Saints. Don't mess with my friends!

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Stan "The Man" Lee is dead at 95.

If you'd asked me in the 1990s how influential Stan Lee was, I might have waffled. I mean, he was one of the creators and promoters of some of the greatest comic-book heroes, but comics were on the decline, and hey, movie attempts to do comic books had mostly fallen flat or worse than flat (1990 Captain America movie, dear god).

But today? Stan became the face of one of the most powerful media forces on the planet, and he and Marvel did something NEW -- create a full cinematic universe across multiple titles that were still interconnected. It had never been done, never been TRIED. And they succeeded, and their competition is still floundering, trying to figure out how to bottle the same lightning.

Stan and his Bullpen created some of the most iconic characters the world has yet seen, and some which directly spoke to me many times -- Thor, Spider-Man, and Captain America most often.

And he had a sense of timing and humor that showed through in the many cameos for the Marvel films -- themselves a fascinating and very amusing innovation in the film world. (not that cameos hadn't been done before, but the number of them across all those films, connecting them by that specific voice and face, that hadn't been; closest might have been Hitchcock's appearances in his own movies, but these weren't all Stan's movies; they were simply movies that had some of Stan in them.)


A salute and EXCELSIOR! to The Man.

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... and maybe people will be amused to hear it.

Both games I'm currently in are being run by my son Christopher. Yes, some of you remember he was a baby not all that long ag... holy crap he's like 22??? So yeah, he's the GM for several games, and I'm in two of them.

Both are set in his own unique world which is a postapocalyptic world with magic. One might describe it as "Fallout meets D&D" without being too far off. Although the apocalypse in this one was partly an alien invasion by bunny people from the Moon (well, Mars, and before then farther away) and partly the disastrous return of magical powers to the world. It's now a few centuries after, and the ruins of New York have become the center of a new metropolis called Robertsville, and San Deigo is a smaller but still fairly large settlement called Seijin Deigo. But these are islands of technology (and magic, and technomancy, and clerical powers...) in what is still a mostly wild and unsettled world. Magic is so widespread and unpredictable that not only has it caused large numbers of magical creatures to appear and even the land to be transformed, but also things can sometimes spontaneously gain life, and even intelligence -- up to and including simple objects like paperclips.

The longer-running campaign is set mostly around Seijin Deigo. My character is Kalama Lightfingers, once a street urchin in Robertsville, brought home and adopted by Lenneth, a magician who gave her adopted daughter a safe and happy childhood -- leading to Kalama deciding to be Just Like Mom and become a mage. Well, not QUITE like mom, because Kalama also became obsessed with ancient tales of heroes ("Ancient" meaning "stuff that was widespread enough to survive the apocalypse, so all the best media, like Marvel's movies...") and identifies with (and sometimes quotes) heroes like Doctor Strange and Spider-Man and Princess-Senator-General Organa and Conan and...

Kalama was therefore excited by her mother's history of "helping out" in some of the difficulties in the last 20 years, and was determined to become a hero-adventurer. Seeing she couldn't be dissuaded from that, her mother arranged for her to take a journey to Coyote's Well, a smaller town some distance from Seijin, where an acquaintance of her mother might be able to give her a taste of that life without, maybe, killing her.

Kalama found the adventurer's life both more terrifying and more exhilarating than she'd imagined, and gained two strong companions: Rockie, an intelligent tortoise who is essentially a ki-using monk (following the Way of the Dandelion, though we suspect she prefers ANOTHER kind of weed), and Ignatius, a warrior who is not as human as he appears. A couple other characters have also been part of the party at different points.

At this point, Kalama and her friends have found that a lot of the bad things that have been going on for the past fifteen or twenty years are all connected to the machinations of two demons, named Tenebreous and Infernum, and their allies, and they've finally gotten to the point that these two baddies have started to take the party very seriously (they've recently achieved 13th-14th level). During their adventures, Kalama's developed her own magical signatures, including anime-themed detonation spells and corgi-themed summons (she's summoned a Celestial Dire Corgi, a Corgi Archon, a Corgi Air Elemental, and an Ankylocorgi, and plans one day to summon Corgberus, Guardian of the Gates of HFIL).


The other game started on Martha's Vineyard and just recently moved to the mainland (around Yarmouth on the cape). My character? Conan. Yes, the actual one, from Cimmeria. He doesn't know how he got there, and his memories are kind of wonky; he sometimes remembers things that imply he had a career decades long, other times feels like he just left Cimmeria itself a year or so ago. Still, despite his skills appearing to be more consistent with the latter evaluation, he's a formidable force, and is now partnered with two strange companions: Rakor, a "mystic" who has a talent for illusions and some particularly powerful magics against the dead that walk, and "B4", a strange child -- perhaps 12 or so -- who recently escaped some kind of imprisonment. (she is actually one of the results of a program to develop living psionic/mystical weapons, and she has some formidable psionic abilities).


Conan is somewhat ill-at-ease in this world, as he's increasingly discovering it's very, VERY different from anything he knew or had heard of, but he is, at least, comforted to know that no matter how odd the world may be, there's still a place for a very large man with a large axe and the skill to use it...

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I went through my "circle" and to my discomfiture there were quite a few people that I wasn't subscribed to or that had access, even though they'd subscribed -- and while some of these were "huh, I don't know who that is", a bunch of them were people I'd assumed had access all along. Sorry to all of you. 

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Yesterday I brought in my car to have an exhaust problem (possibly a split manifold) fixed.

Once the mechanics got a good look at it, it turned out there was a host of problems including major structural rot. To fix the CURRENT problems would be between 6 and 7 thousand dollars. And the mechanics were of the opinion that it wouldn't be worth doing. 
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... I'm taking a hiatus from Facebook for now, because of a family crisis (my son's been hospitalized for behavioral issues again) and so maybe I should start using DW again. FB was too frenetic anyway. I was on there primarily because there were so many business contacts on it, but there's also so much stuff I just don't want to deal with right now.  
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... that I get all the responses I can (pro and con and meh) on the Arenaverse RPG survey. I'm trying to get a good idea as to the PROPORTION of my readership that plays RPGs and thus might be interested in such a thing.

The overall SIZE of the response may also affect whether I do a Kickstarter for a new Arenaverse NOVEL.

Please share this survey anywhere you think there might be some of my readers. Here's the link for easy cut and paste: 
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... since Patreon's "public" surveys apparently are still limited to people logged in on Patreon, I've made a new REALLY public survey on SurveyMonkey to ask the question "Are you interested in an Arenaverse Roleplaying Game?" 
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... Varan arrives for a fateful meeting on the R'Thann homeworld of Thann'Ta, in Chapter 21
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... a change in herself, and sees Varan's gambit begin, in Chapter 19 of Demons of the Past: REVOLUTION
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