So we’re now past the third week of me being laid off. I’ve received my severance check, but if I get rehired by the same company within 60 days, I have to pay 75% of it back. Since my best lead right now is a job that opened up there the same day I was laid off, I have to be VERY careful with money.

So updates: Carolyn told me I didn’t have to pay her for the recording stuff I’ve already done, considering my situation, and she’s not charging for the Jake Black Benefit Story. But I can’t pay her for anything else, obviously. In addition, now that I don’t work there, I have to pay for this hosting. In the meanwhile, I’ve been hitting my daily deadlines for prepping ahead on the fiction. Right now I’m working on what I THINK is going to be the first novel after all the Echoes short stories (probably starting about 4 months into the schedule after I start releasing again.) It’s one of my earlier works, and I thought about rewriting it from scratch, but I think it might be funner to analyze it a bit as I put it out, for all the other writers out there. Let me know if you think that would be something you’d find entertaining. Either way, Josh passed it off as not too embarrassing to release. :)

As for cancer and chemo, this Thursday is my mother’s last chemo infusion. It will almost certainly be the worst, and I’ve cleared my weekend for it, but after Sunday, every day should be better than the last. Hopefully, forever.



So, I was laid off last week. Just now getting my head above water and thinking about it. Anyway, this has some implications on anything that requires me laying out cash (paying artists for new art and sound techs, for instance), but I’m hoping to get rehired by the same company right away. They offered me a tech I position (or told me I’d be welcome to one, if I applied), but I don’t know if I can make my mortgage at Tech I pay. Plus, if I get hired back too soon I have to pay back 75% of my severance. So I applied for another position at the company that is approximately the same pay as the one I just lost. I’m cautiously optimistic. I’d be great at that job.

What am I doing with my free time? Twitter (Among other things, of course . . . Twttter is probably ten minutes of my day). You can find me at @robertjdefendi. I’ll try to tweet things like how recording is going and where we are in the various Echoes playtests. Jump on and follow me if you tweet.

Doesn’t mean that I won’t be updating here as well. I just know I’ll tweet more often, so I thought I’d let you all know about it.



This is my schedule for LTUE this weekend:

10:00 AM
– Fantasy without Magic
(Paul Genesse, Brandon Sanderson, Robert J Defendi, Lary Correis, James Brown)

2:00 PM
– The Howard and Bob Show. What do you get when you get two prolific writers together on a panel? Come and find out!
(Howard Tayer, Robert J Defendi)

10:00 AM
– Soft-science SF-Can “hard” SF be about the “soft” sciences — psychology, sociology, etc? Who’s writing the best in the field?
(Helge Moulding, Roger White, James Dashner, Robert J Defendi, LarryCorreia,

6:00 PM
– How to write a good short story. You have to be concise, clear, articulate, and still keep the reader’s interest. What does a short story writer need to know/do to write a great short story?
(Robert J Defendi, Suzanne Vincent, Eric James Stone, Kathleen Dalton-Woodbury, Brad R. Torgensen)


My mother had a double mastectomy about two and a half weeks ago. She’s recovering nicely and the although they found cancer in a lymph node during the surgery, the pathology came back with no cancer beyond that (this report came last week, and it’s the first “good” news we’ve had.) The total size of the tumors was 9 ML, which is below the mandatory threshold for radiation and chemo. I suspect they will still want to do chemo, but I’m hoping they recommend a light course.

Also, I have LTUE next week, Thur, Fri, and Sat. Life the Universe and Everything is a sf symposium at BYU. Click here for more details. I look forward to speaking on my panels. I’ll post my schedule tomorrow.

Finally, I want everyone to know that isn’t current. The reason is I’m moving the data here (you might have noticed the Spacemaster page appearing on the right . . . the credits page is pretty darn annoying, so I haven’t gotten to it yet). Anyway, I retitled this site to include my name a while back because I intend to point here when I get all the data moved. I know my updates have been sporadic, but this is where I intend to make them.

Caroline and I were talking about how to record the Jake Black story just this week. Now we’re working logistics.

Thanks for your patience.


Hi. I was planning on posting an update on status this week. However today I discovered that a lump my mother found in her breast doesn’t look good to the doctors. They’ve drawn the biopsy, but they aren’t expecting good news.

I might be a little out of it the next day or two. I’d appreciate any prayers, meditation, or general well wishes you might throw our way. Her name is Patricia Christine Adams.

I still intend to do a Jake Black fund raising podcast. I’ll keep you posted on other matters.



Jake Black


Jake Black is a local comic book writer.  He is a dear man and I love him deeply.  I don’t follow his blog (bad me!) so I just discovered that he has cancer.  Our FLGS, Dragon’s Keep, is holding a fundraiser to help pay for treatment on Saturday the 12th.  You can find more info here.

I’ve volunteered for this, and I’m sure I’ll be doing something, even if it’s fetching and carrying for the comic book people who are participating and throwing all my available cash at their donated product.  But I’d like to do something more, and I need your help.

I’ve talked to Carolyn.  We’re going to do a Jake Black Fundraising podcast audio story (to release end-of-Octoberish).  It will be my short story The Great Midwestern Squirrel Conspiracy of 2010.  I’ve been saving this one for a special occasion, and this is it.

So here’s how it’s going to work:

I don’t have the technical bits in line yet (let’s assume I have to set it at a hard minimum price), but Carolyn is in a master class until the middle of October, so we have a little time.  It won’t hurt to have a run-up period for people to check in on the site again.  Let’s start the buzz on this one.

You’ll donate money.  You’ll get the story somehow.  Jake gets everything paypal doesn’t take.  What I don’t know yet is how much I should set as the minimum donation.  I want it low enough for everyone to get in on it, but paypal starts with a pretty big chunk, so the more we pay per story, the lower the percentage they take off the top.

I haven’t read the story aloud in a while.  I believe it’s about an hour long.

If this works, I’ll be releasing my other comedy stories the same way.  This might mean I have a lack of comedy material for free, but I think we can all agree that this is a good cause, and I’d like to be able to say that thousands of people banded together in laughter to help pay the medical bills of a good man in need.  (Did you hear that?  Thousands.  That means that I don’t want to settle for the standard small percentage of of sell-throughs.  You all want to be a part of this.  I know you do.  Let’s all step up and do something special.)

So what do you think we should charge?  I want to really try to get as many people donating as possible.  Chemo and radiation are expensive, and insurance doesn’t cover it all.  WEKM suggested $5 at Dragon’s Keep tonight, but I want to hear the rest of you as well.  Be honest.  I don’t want to set the price and find out everyone is well-meaning but practically, they don’t get around to paying the price point.

Comment.  Let me know.  It’s for a good cause.




You must go to  You must read up on the delightful product XDM.   You must buy it.

If you’re going to GenCon, buy it anyway (if you ship it priority I bet you’ll get it before you go).  When you get there, buy another.  If you hand Howard both, I bet he’d doodle something special for you.  Tell him I said he would.  :)  But you have to buy one now.  And one there.

Actually, you love your family, don’t you?  They each need one.  Oh, I understand.  No, no.  No need to explain why you don’t love your family.  I get it.  I won’t tell them.  I mean, I will probably never see them, right?  This will likely never come back to haunt you.  I’ll just go weep for your cold, stony, heart.

I need to go rethink my view on humanity.

Or DO I?


I think I have good news coming.  Watch this space.


So I discovered yesterday I couldn’t download Dan’s version of the file until it I got home and by then it was today.  So here it is, our first movie podcast.  It ain’t pretty technically, but they will get prettier as we hammer out the problems.



Okay, I just listened to it.  It’s pretty bad, sound wise.  That’s why we made it episode 0.  :)  Anyway, we promise to work to improve it.

Here are some Liner notes:

Dragon’s Keep in Provo, UT

JERMS (John English’s Random Movie Stuff)

Dragon Tears

Dan Willis’s Page



My good friend Dan Willis, Dragonlance Author, has been bugging me to start a movie podcast with him for a while now.  This won’t have any effect on the audiobook podcasts (after all we’re just going to the movies like we always do and then talking about them, as we always do . . . we’re just recording the conversation), and I can’t see any reason we shouldn’t post them here as well.

Deconstructing Hollywood is a movie podcast.  We’ll spend the first five to ten minutes in the podcast reviewing the movie, as spoiler free as possible, and then the rest analyzing the film, the writing, the structure, etc.  For those of you that just want the review, you can listen to the begining.  For those who enjoy breaking a movie down, you’ll have the rest.

Anyway expect the first episode to go up in a day or two.  We’re still working on equipment, this one was recorded on his laptop’s built in mic in the basement of Dragons Keep in Provo, UT.  But we’ve decided to let you see all our bumps along the way, for those of you who are interested in the podcasting element of the podcasting.

Anyway.  Keep looking here.  I expect it will go up tomorrow or in the middle of the night tonight.

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