As many of you are no doubt aware, the Monster Hunter International team (read: Larry Correia) is kicking some minting. I haven't plunked my money down yet, but I'm totally on board for some sweet MHI challenge coins. Yes, my collection is currently dominated by IP-related coins rather than precious tokens of exceeded expectations earned during military service, but that's because I almost never, ever put myself in places where people are using lethal force to exert their will.
Which brings me to my next point. As part of the Schlock Mercenary Challenge Coin Kickstarter, Sandra and I promised to collect, edit, compile, and spot-illustrate The Anecdotal Unofficial History of Challenge Coins, a documentation of the tradition as told by you, the people carrying it forward. Many of you have put yourselves in dangerous places and have been awarded challenge coins for that service. We've collected some of your stories for this project. You deserve to know where that project stands. Here's the update.
We're behind schedule, because we put something in front of it. I'm not proud of that, and it's not what we agreed to do, but it's what happened.
Specifically, Sandra and I took part in the Jay Wake event (a pre-mortem outpouring of friendship for our friend and fellow fictioneer Jay Lake,) realized it needed to be documented, and that this had to be done soon while our friend was still in good enough health to enjoy the anthology. Sandra spent much of the summer collecting and collating essays, anecdotes, photos, and other materials from Jay's friends, and is creating The Jay Wake Book. It's a project not unlike the challenge coin book, so it drank deeply and completely from the same wellspring of time and energy the other project needed to move forward.
It's time for us to get back on task. The next two things on our publication plate are The Anecdotal Unofficial History of Challenge Coins, as written by many of you, and "The Schlock Mercenary 2014 Monthly Calendar." We'll be running these in parallel. The calendar will probably be finished first because it's only 24 pages long.
The Anecdotal Unofficial History of Challenge Coins (TAUHoCC isn't a bad acronym...) will be a free ebook when it's complete, and the call for papers is here. If you haven't yet submitted something, it's not too late.
One final note: before the end of this year, Sandra and I will be letting you look under the hood a bit with regard to that Kickstarter. Your generosity and enthusiasm funded our entire year, created a new line of merchandise for us, and helped us pay for some projects that were not part of the Kickstarter, but which you'll get to enjoy nonetheless. We'll be documenting all of this for you. Part of the appeal of Kickstarter is its transparency. We feel pretty strongly that you deserve to have this information, and that by sharing it we'll maintain enough of your trust that you'll feel enthusiastic about supporting us the next time we need a good kicking.