Bad news, gang.

Well, maybe not bad news. Possibly news that could lead to some good stuff. But sucky, in the short-term, anyway.

I’ve had to decline invitations to or pull out of a bunch of conventions in October.

All of them, to be precise.

This means, I fear, I won’t be at some really cools shows that I’d been asked to attend. Shows like Linucon (Austin, TX), Ubercon (Secaucus, NJ), GenCon UK (Minehead, Devon) and Spiel ’04 (Essen).

The only show I’ll be at in any kind of official capacity between now and December, in fact, will be Dorkstock III (at Rock-Con, Rockford, Il.)

Essentially, I need to get some work done. There are some big projects that I can’t really talk about now. Some of them require a LOT of attention and work.

Now, they may not all turn out, but if any or all of them fail, I don’t want it to be because I couldn’t give them enough time.

I’m looking forward to spending some serious time here at home, being with friends and – of course – the Lovely and Talented Judith.

But it’s been two years since I’ve been to Germany, and I miss the folks over there. Essen ’02 was one of the greatest experiences of my professional career, and a LOT of games I illustrated are going to be released in time for this year’s show. Here’s a little something I did for the game “My Dwarves Fly,” from Pegasus Publishing:

Various Chez Geeks and Munchkin supplements will also be out by Essen. And it sucks that I won’t be able to be there for the fun.

I’ll also miss hanging out with Steve Jackson and Wil Wheaton at Linucon, and drinking LOTS of margaritas at Baby Acapolco’s.

My Dad is doing really, really well, but it also bites that I won’t be able to see my family in London until the holidays at the earliest now. Of course, I’m an incredibly fortunate fellow to be able to see them as much as I do.

I am incredibly lucky to be able to travel to cool places and meet cool people as much as I do, so I’m not in any position to complain, But still, you know, all in all…there’s this TERRIFIC place in Essen that does a tasty Turkey Schnitzel. And there will be a weekend morning when I wake up, aching for a cup of London’s Monmouth Coffee Company coffee and a Borough Market flapjack…

And there will be many, many moments when I’ll miss my family.

It would also be nice to leave the country for a bit, and but soon, as the election over here is becoming increasingly nasty and negative. I blame one side (hail, chief!) more than the other, but it’s all fairly messy and disgusting and disappointing at the moment.

What makes it worse is that British airways keeps taunting me via E-mail with ridiculously low fares to Europe.

But there’s work to be done: important work, and a lot of it. With luck, I may be able to give a hint or two as to what’s going on, as news develops. Because I’m dying to talk about this stuff.

As I’ve noted many times, I’m very, very lucky to be able to make a living doing what I do. Missing these cons isn’t a cosmic catastrophe by any means. I’m excited to put in a good, solid few months on these Very Important Projects (FNORD). I’m also looking forward to a fall filled with biking, and getting back into shape a bit.

But, you know, still…I’ll miss you guys, and stuff!

If you’re going to any of these shows, say “hi” to the organizers from me, and have a beer for me. Unless you’ll be at Essen. Then have some Turkey Schnitzel.

John

PS. As well as a fifth Dork Tower this week, there’s a BONUS “Dork Tower does Ryzom” strip over at the Dork Tower web site. Just FYI, y’know…

PPS: I think we have a VERY secret but VERY cool gift lined up for everyone who makes it to DorkStock III!

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