Players of the Game Creature Spotlight: Ulli

It’s time for another look at one of the monstrous adversaries who confront the Players of the Game throughout the series.

The fly-like Ulli demons are quick, like their insect cousins, but they are far harder to swat.  They are among Sufrinzon’s airborne troops that fill the dingy, orange-brown skies.

They can spit acid, but more often will use high-tech beam weapons or magnet guns.

The buzz of their wings never portends anything good.

James McGowan Reader Group- So Why Am I Doing This?


Confession time.  I am reasonably sure I will continue to write my novels without making enough income to transition to doing it full time.  As often happens with artistic pursuits with a day job, as you become more successful with the day job, as that day job becomes *gasp* a career, and if you’re lucky enough to have a career that you enjoy, the viability of just ditching that job to slug it out as a full-time artiste regresses like a mirage on the horizon.

So why am I doing this?

Because I love doing it.

Because writing this science fantasy magnum opus scratches an itch that nothing else can scratch.

Because indie publishing and these reader-group newsletters are vastly more fulfilling than pitching to overworked and probably underpaid agents, only to get rejected.  Even if I were to get traditionally published, I’d still have to do all the promotion and settle for some boring samey cover instead of one that looks cool.

And the AI tidal wave of prompt-press a button to write a story-publish books?  As I said a few months back, come on in. 

I’m still going to write this using some tools like ProWritingAid and Chat GPT “give me ten different ways to say this” prompts, but the great majority will be the mental elbow grease of coming up with ideas and clickity-clacking them on the laptop.

It’s fulfilling.  It’s fun.

Great reasons to do anything.
Players of the Game Works in Progress
I’m inching closer to the end of The Game War’s first draft.  I’m at the end of the climax, and it’s turning out well.  Just need to keep on pace and I’ll be done with it in the summer.  Woot!

This month’s stats land at 754 pages with 214,100 words.  Last month clocked in with 716 pages with 202,900 words.  A bit less with the productivity, but progress is progress.

I can see the end.  I can taste it on the air.

Work in Progress Out of Context Quote of the Month:

Ashe glanced over to Celsis who looked at him with lustful amazement, her red hair still ruffling in the rippling after effect of the vented etherea. “Ready?”

The horned goddess’s crimson, jagged-edged curved sword rematerialized in her free hand. Her green eyes gleamed with anticipation. “For about sixteen centuries.”
Recommendation Corner
The Air War by Adrian Tchaikovsky

This is Book 8 in the Shadows of the Apt series.  I’ve recommended a few of the early entries in the series, and the middle entries have all been more-or-less pretty good, but I didn’t feel like they merited specific call outs.

This one does. 

A bombing campaign from the Wasps besets the Beetles’ home city.  And a steampunk Battle of Britain ensues above the city while the lands of the peninsula leading to their urban center endures a blitzkrieg of multi-legged sentinels (tank analogues).

Tchaikovsky does a good job of humanizing some of the POV characters on the Wasps side, though like their insect counterparts, they are largely @$$holes.

The need for good counter intelligence finally dawns on Stenwold, one of the main POV characters.  It only took him about 30 years and 8 novels to figure it out.

Joking aside, it’s a fraught read with lots of high stakes aerial combat and ground combat scenes that are fraught and compelling.

Good stuff.

Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

This was a thoroughly fun flick.  It accurately shows just how useful a bard actually is in a fight (which is not at all), but Chris Pine plays him with buckets of charisma.  Michelle Rodriguez’s barbarian character was a great partner for him.  Her subtle fetish for halflings was also most amusing.

Hugh Grant’s conman was also a stand out perfomance, especially with a hilarious exchange with his long-suffering and sinister ally involving overly hot tea.

I loved that it also took place in the Forgotten Realms setting, so the Harpers and the Red Wizards played large rolls in the plot.  As did a trip into the Underdark, though regrettably no Drow Elves showed up.  But a pudgy dragon did, so that was something.

Plus it had Displacer Beasts.

And Gelatinous Blobs.

And some background characters dressed up like the kids from the old 80’s Dungeons and Dragons cartoon.

It is awesome.  Give it a watch.
Check Out the Players of the Game Series on Kindle and Paperback
That’s all for this time.

Stay smart.  Stay safe.


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