Konjo Oni


Whenever I turn in a manuscript to an editor or publisher, and the project is basically complete from my end, I do a final clean-up of my research links and material. Lately I’ve been thinking that people might be interested in seeing a bit more of my process, and how I do brainstorming and free association to generate ideas for characters, settings and themes.

This, for example, is Konjo Oni, a character I recently created for P U P P E T L A N D™, a storytelling game with strings in a grim world of make-believe. Konjo Oni is a warrior marionette from Japan, and this real world puppet was my visual reference for the character. The real puppet is a theater-quality puppet from the Meiji Period, 1868-1912. It was put up for auction by the Zacke Gallerie, and comes from a Viennese private collection.


In the scenario I created for Puppetland, Konjo Oni is known as “The Flower Demon”. The back of his head looks significantly different than the real puppet seen here. But I’ll let that be a surprise.

The upshot of this post is simply that I take great joy in writing, and one of the things I love most about my writing is the inspiration and pleasure that comes from my research. I find the real world around me endlessly fascinating and magical. And I try to share that feeling with my readers.



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“Destiny”, by Fabien Weibel

Time travel often makes things unnecessarily…complicated.

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Kerb Stomp #6 – Kaiju-A-Gogo



Time for Kerb Stomp #6! All About Kaiju-A-Gogo this time.

We’re also going to talk about the way that games can evolve post-release in the modern age, and all sorts of other cool stuff.

Give it a listen.

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The Thrill Is Gone

We lost B.B. King, age 89.

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Just posting a few links to reviews of my latest game!

The Good:

Amongst Geeks: “Great city-crunching action!”

eXplorminate: “Kerberos Productions presents a real gem in the form of Kaiju-A-GoGo, an action-strategy title with a heavy dose of monster trope.”

Rock, Paper, Shotgun: “Oh No, There Goes Tokyo!”

The Bad:

Trainwreck Gaming: “I really wanted to like this game a lot. And to be fair, I did for the most part.”

The Ugly:

Total Biscuit: “WTF is Kaiju-A-Gogo?”


The reviews that really mean the most to me personally are from the actual players. And the reviews of Kaiju-A-Gogo are “Mostly Positive” on Steam as of today, with many gamers saying in their own words how FUN the game is.

The Real McCoy is always the user feedback from people who buy a game and play it. And there are some words here which really warm the cockles of my icy iron heart.

“To summarize: Get this game if you want a casual, yet deep strategy experience that you can easily play in small bites or marathon sessions. It’s strangely addicting. Just don’t cackle in glee with your friends or family around. They…probably won’t understand… Anyway, just get this game. You won’t regret it.”

“A wonderfully insane game. When I first saw it, I presumed it was just a facebook port, given the art style. Man, was I wrong. This is a great little casual game to mess around with. Plus you get to conquer New Zealand. 10 out of 10″


“Set Cost Rica on fire. Came close to melting my own robot dinosaur in the fire. YOU SHALL BOW BEFORE ME YET COSTA RICA! IF THIS SHALL END IN FIRE WE SHALL ALL BURN TOGETHER! 100/10″

“F*** Yeah.”


Let’s just say I’m very happy with the feedback.

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A Motown Tribute to Nickelback

More user reviews of Kaiju-A-Gogo keep appearing on Steam, and when I watch people streaming the game on Youtube I tend to feel like the tambourine player in this video.


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Norwescon 38 – Aliens and Outsiders


I honestly haven’t had much time to breathe this month, between the pre-release of Kaiju-A-Gogo, the Colloquium that I hosted at Simon Fraser University, and the volunteer workshops that I’ve been teaching once or twice a month since last summer.

That said, the month of April began with a really awesome experience at Norwescon, where I had a wonderful chance to attend and participate in fantastic panels, meet some very cool writers, artists and editors, and see crazy things.

Two of the best panels I had this year were about writing characters with unusual perspectives–Aliens and Outsiders.

“Writing the Other” was a fantastic panel, and it really was fun to join such an incredibly diverse group of writers. G. Willow Wilson, best known for her exemplary work on Ms. Marvel in recent years, turned out to be a great panelist as well. Luna Lindsey and Mir Plemmons were also really interesting, as they had incredibly different perspectives on what it means to be “Other”, both in fiction and in life.

“Giving Good Alien” was another great panel, as the focus was really heavily biological and science-oriented. Just about everyone on stage had a science background: Pat MacEwen had a career in forensic anthropology before she turned to writing genre fiction, Luna Lindsey has a strong focus on non-neurotypical perspectives, we had a career biologist contributing semi-anonymously as “Dr. Ricky”, and then of course there was Sar Surmick, who is a practicing psych professional, and little ol’ me.

It’s always difficult to summarize a discussion which ranges freely over many topics and examples, but having the chance to sit down with such a wide variety of speakers and dig deeply into what words like “Other” mean, and what makes a good, believable, and interesting alien in fiction…was a really satisfying and worthwhile exercise.

This was my first Norwescon in many years, but it was a fantastic experience. I sincerely hope to be invited back.

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The team at Kerberos Productions released Kaiju-A-Gogo on Thursday last week, and the responses from players and reviewers world-wide is already pouring in. It’s more than I can keep up with, but this is one of the happiest releases of a game that I’ve ever had. Watching the Let’s Play videos makes me laugh like an evil, evil schoolgirl.

The one from No Gimmick Gaming is particularly fun.

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Kerb Stomp Episode 5 – Who Are You And What Have You Done With Arinn?


Latest Episode of Kerb Stomp does not feature me! John Yakimow takes my place at the mike while I am at Norwescon.

Personal note: I love John. Not only is John a Straight Man comedian so Straight that he makes me look like John Belushi dressed as bee–he is an incredibly brilliant creator who runs with my ideas faster and farther than any artist I’ve ever met, and brings a hell of a lot of game of his own.

Glad you guys get the chance to meet him, because he is the character designer behind many great moments in Kerberos games.

John Yakimow quotes:

“The stupid ugly idiot candle burns most brightly just before it dies.”

“The candle is also smelly.”

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Kerb Stomp Episode Four – Crunch Crunch Crunch


I’m in this episode of the Kerberos podcast, which is largely about the crunch time working on Kaiju-A-Gogo, eye beams, and our sense of loss at the death of Terry Pratchett,

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