Long story short (it's more exciting that way): I met Tracy Hickman (co-creator of Castle Ravenloft and DragonLance) at LTUE in February, and Tracy told me about a new book he was writing with his son, The Amazing Curtis. The book is geared at making a good RPG game-master into a great one, and making a great game-master into a small god. It teaches the reader everything from applying the Campbellian Monomyth to contact juggling. The working title? XDM: Xtreme Dungeon Mastery. "God doesn't play dice with the universe. We do." When Tracy explained that his usual publishing contacts were reluctant to take this project, I told him he should self-publish, and I showed him the Schlock books as an example of what was possible. Here's the disconnect: I handed him books saying "This is what is possible for self-publishing, here are price-points, you can do this, I can show you how." He accepted the books and apparently heard "Here is something that Howard and Sandra know how to do, and Howard's illustration style is perfect for the book." Before the end of the convention Tracy and Laura had pulled Sandra and I into a business meeting and pitched the project to us. Two weeks ago (about a month later) we accepted the project. Saturday we signed the contract. That funny-looking Wizard up there? That was what I sent Tracy as an example of the cartoony RPG-related artwork that he'd be getting from me. It's not my favorite piece, and certainly not my favorite from the XDM project now that I've started, but that wizard holds a soft spot in my heart because he got me the job. That was the short version of the story. The extremely short version is this: Sandra and I are publishing and illustrating a Tracy Hickman book, and we have to send files to our printer by April 30th in order to have product in time for Gen Con Indy in August. We're both going to be extremely busy for the next four weeks. This, by the way, is why my buffer is so incredibly important. If you follow my Facebook updates or my Twitter feed you've already started seeing a lot of "XDM illo" blurbs. Now you know what I'm talking about.