Consolidating Efforts?

War Game stuff.

That’s where I’ve been the last 2+ years; playing with toy soldiers.

Four tabletop rule sets, six supplements, numerous one-shots. Add to that the current slate of WIP: another stand-alone game for Osprey Wargames, two new five-part adventures, and a full-length second edition/variation of an existing game.

I run both weekly and monthly war game/RPG sessions these days, and now have a hobby-related FB Group with roughly 1.8K people from a dozen or so countries.

I’ve even managed to hammer out a novella at some point: Soul Cache. Which is included in the print collection of short stories, Fits and Orisons. Currently on my office computer is third Exclusion Zone short story, the first draft of a dungeon crawl novella, as well as the mountain of notes, drafts, and research for the four-part post-apocalyptic fantasy series , Shattered Worlds. (link to part 1, Broken Moon) And let’s not talk about all the other, previous projects languishing in digital limbo.

So yeah, I’ve doing word stuff the last three years. Just not here. *

By this point however, it’s glaringly obvious my war game/RPG work draws several orders of magnitude more attention than my fiction ever did. (oh well…) Which brings me to the question of merging HSSJ with Stalker7. Seems to me what I need is a central hub, a single site that highlights both my games and my stories. I need to not only work smarter, but respect the support I’ve received over the years by offering consistent content and engagement to anyone interested in either facet.

That said, in the coming weeks I’ll investigate the procedure, time, and expense required to merge the sites without losing connections and content. For now though, both HSSJ and S7 will stay as is. Updates as the situation develops.

Thank you. Have an excellent day.

  • there was a legal FUBAR in there too – a spurious shakedown for cash by a B-List SF writer and his gaggle of out-of-state lawyers over the use of the word ‘hardwired’. TL:DR – I got had, trapped on a technicality. I was reliably informed by attorneys that I would have won any case brought against me, but would have had to underwrite the time and expense of defending myself from 2/3rd of the way across the country. Cheaper to take the hit and pay them off. Live and learn. My brush-pass with the big time, I guess.

Coming Soon: ZONA ALFA

Salvage and Survival in the Exclusion Zone

More hobby related news this morning.

I received an advance copy of ZONA ALFA from Osprey Publishing yesterday. I understood in my head it was happening but taking the actual copy out of the envelope was pretty epic. An Osprey Wargames ‘Blue Book’, ZA is done in their standard format 64 pages with original art and color photographs. Sam Lamont did an outstanding job capturing that STALKER, decayed Soviet post-apoc feel, and Lead Adventure was gracious enough to supply some great shots of their eminently suitable miniatures. Chris C and the team at Osprey wrangled with my scribbles and lists, transmogrifying them into a presentable set of war game rules. Alchemy with words.

My fiction projects have been on the back burner for the last year or so as I’ve been involved in a series of large commissions and restoration projects in my full time work, as well as bringing Hardwired, and the Tsim Sha Tsui Expansion to market, plus getting Zona Alfa ready for release.

Example of recent glass commission. Two lead and zinc construction Arts and Crafts door panels. For a private residence in Harwichport MA.

Writing for the war game industry has been a different sort of challenge, both oddly familiar and strangely difficult, making sure I translate what I’m assured of in my head into concise, understandable language. (Communication. Always useful) Not unlike writing a story but a bit more technical.

Speaking of fiction though, the first quarter of the new year is traditionally slow, so I plan on using Jan and Feb 2020 to bring the first portion of the Shattered Worlds storyline to completion. God willing, part 1, Beneath the Broken Moon, will be ready for release early next year. More on that as the story develops.

Work calls so that’s it for now. Art hard and have an excellent day.

Now Available: HARDWIRED


HARDWIRED – a table top war game set during the Corporate Wars of 2069 in the mega-city of New Kowloon. Miniatures agnostic. 1 – 6 Players, Co-op or Solo Mode. Made for 15mm – 28mm miniatures. Grab your friends, create a team of elite Agents, and select a mission. It’s time to put all those cool, random sci fi miniatures to work.


For those of you who don’t know, I’m a long-time table top war gamer. (4 + decades) HARDWIRED is a set of simple, war game rules that allows players to reenact the desperate missions and frantic firefights from their favorite cyberpunk books, games, graphic novels, and movies. Select a mission, create your team of Agents, and gear up for a run-n-gun.

Also available in print:

Thanks and enjoy.

I see lead people…

Not a post on indie-publishing or faith in fiction or any such. This time, it’s personal.



An odd, analog hobby for a digital age. Forget WoW – gimme 28mm lead tin alloy.

H.G. Wells was the one to popularize and codify it for us English types way back in 1913. Wiki up here You can insist it’s ‘table top military re-enactments’ or ‘miniature tactical simulation’ all you want, but you’re really playing with toy soldiers. After all these years, I still have to resist making “pew, pew, pew! ratatatatatat! aaargh…” sound effects as the game unfolds.

based on the awesomely brooding PC game STALKER

Some background: A car accident at the age of 7 left me less than athletic, and much of my childhood was spent trying to but never quite fitting in to normal kid-activities. I was self-conscious, an outsider, pretty confused and unhappy, actually. Spent a lot of time in my mind. And reading. I owe a debt of gratitude to Lloyd Alexander for his Chronicles of Prydain series.

IIRC, I was 13 when my stepfather, trying to find something that interested me, give me some hobby to focus on, took me to a toy soldier factory in White Plains, New York. We got the tour: melting pots for lead/tin, round rubber molds, big spin-casting machines, rows and rows of numbered boxes filled with English Civil War Roundhead pikemen, Pirates, French Hussars, Prussian mercenaries, Green Mountain Boys, Napoleonic 9-pounder horse artillery… They were all there, thousand of them, shiny, tiny and new.

The thing I remember most was how happy the owner/guide was. I recall having the distinct impression when I was younger that I didn’t know a single adult who seemed truly happy. But this guy was. His face lit up as he recounted how he and his friends rented out a local high-school gymnasium for a week during the summer and re-enacted the battle of Waterloo in miniature. The whole thing to scale. He was genuine. He really enjoyed what he did for work. He seemed content. I remember him slipping in a couple extra figs with our purchase that day, saying I was welcome to come back any time. Sit in on a game, even.

American War of Independence. Those were my first figs. Blame ‘Johnny Tremaine’, ‘My brother Sam is Dead’, and ‘Drums along the Mohawk’. No Lobsterback or Hessian mercenary was going to run off my patriotic militia and Continental army regulars. Don’t tread on me, dude.

I had a game room in the basement, a hobby desk and a table made from an old door on cinderblocks. I spent hours painting the uniforms, facings, and muskets, flocking model railroad trees, building fences out of matchsticks, and making barns and farm houses out of cereal boxes and construction paper. One evening, I re-created a British raid on an innocent American town; I shut the door, set up my Redcoats and minutemen, turned out the light, then used stolen matches to set fire to all the little houses. I got down eye level and watched the story unfold as it all burned up. (Yes, I got in a lot of trouble. But it was worth it.)

Flash forward a couple decades, past detours into girls, drugs, friends doing B & Es on liquor stores, college, conversion, ministry, foreign field missionary work … to my eldest son coming home one day with a plea from his Middle School for After-School Enrichment Program teachers. “Anything… Hobby, craft, sport – anything at all.” it said. “Please. We’ll pay you.”

Filled out the paper confident of a ‘thanks but no thanks’ response, (esoteric, masculine, war toys, *gasp* …) and ended up with a “Military Miniatures and Table Top Gaming” program in two local middle schools for the next four years. (Getting paid to play with kids and toy soldiers. I love this country.) Response was so overwhelming, I rented out the empty shop next to my glass studio and ran a game room on the weekend.

Thirty-six years later, I’m mostly into Sci Fi, near-future stuff now, with a smattering of Western Europe – Saving Private Ryan – WW II, and some 6mm Modern Micro-armor.

Yes, I’m a collector. I really do find painting with those tiny brushes relaxing. I get a kick out of scratch-building an abandoned warehouse or some Post-apoc industrial center. I like strategy, tactics, the coolness-quotient of new figs, the interactive, moving diorama as the mission unfolds.

But what I thrive on is the friendship, the human interaction over the gaming table. It’s a brief intermission when the only conflict in your world is in miniature on a table top and the only threats are 28mm scale. It’s the banter, laughing at the fleeing hero, mocking the point-blank miss, incredulous at the impossible hit, cackling over the lucky save… It’s the look on someone’s face when they win. Or even lose a hard-fought battle.

I like that look because it’s the same one that guy had all those years ago in White Plains.

Hobby Blog: STALKER7