Fear the Google
Hey RotDIIs ("Rotdewies"?) ....

We're all listed on O-Love's Realms site. I've admired Olaf's work for a while, so its kinda fun to be a minor part of it. :)


There's Always Tomorrow
Up late, working on the first 4k for the WoD novel contest.

There are times when you can't sleep because you accomplished nothing in the course of the day.

Then the are times when you can't sleep because whatever you are working on is just plain fun. This is one of those times.

As a teen I worked as an actor in the Colorado Ren Fest. Our faire ran for 7 weekends --- 14 short days --- and I remember recognizing that they were finite, and that I had to try to make them last.

That's how I feel tonight. I know it's finite, I know it won't always be this good, but right now it is great. I know you can all identify with this feeling, and the recognition that it is fleeting. What a shame we have to wake up the next morning and go on with life.

Here is to all of you. May you one day be able wake up and start doing what you love where you left it off the night before.

Hmm. With syntax like that, it might be time for bed. :)

Bow to the Knights
A big Deathy Shout Out to the Knights of the Patio for their patented speed playtesting. They managed a one night (?!) turnaround of my longest module to date, and they managed to proof it twice.

So thank you, Chris, Chrissy, and Company. I remain in your debt.


Present: Tense

The rumors proved true, and it turns out that there is not another Harley Stroh struggling to make a career writing shared world fiction. Due to some clerical error, I made the Round 1 cut in the World of Darkness fiction contest. Chapter 1 is due June 30th.

As per the suggestions laid out in the WWECD? Guide to Success in Shared World Publishing, I’ve been reading all the World of Darkness material I can get my grubby hands on. Presently I’m reading A Hunger Like Fire, by Greg Stolze, the first novel in the new WoD line. This is the flagship book, against which all others will be measured and judged.

A guess what?

It was written in present tense.

Like a lot of other fledgling writers, I’ve always harbored a guilty affection for ol’ PT. I’m sure you're familiar with all the arguments for and against its use. I won’t list them here, but if you have any thoughts of your own, I welcome them.

In my own experience as a reader, the question is largely moot. By the time you get to page 50, your brain has adapted, and the prose no longer seems any more “immediate” nor “awkward,”* which raises another question: if the reader’s brain is going to adapt anyway, why bother using it?

But, thankfully, better minds than mine will sort this out. I’ve been given the freedom, for better or for worse, to write a novel (or, at least the first chapter of a novel) in present tense.


*Immediate and awkward. Sounds like my sort of gig. ;)


I don't deserve ...
You guys (and gals). For a bunch of people --- most of whom I've never "met" --- you guys are amazing. Thank you so much for your friendship, it means the world to me.

Vampire: The Time to Sit Down and Crank Out a Chapter. Pronto!
Heh. For the record, it is a little silly to click on to your own blog, read everybody else's posts, and find out about open calls, but there you have it.

I'm on the road, headed home for good, and you guys bring me the news. It doesn't get much more fun than that. Thank you very much. :)

Deadline for Chap 1: June 30th (?). Slow kid better sit down and hustle. Fortunately, a wise woman in Rhode Island once counseled me to recycle old work ... A few years ago I wrote the best 1/2 page of my life, but had nowhere to put it. (The rest of the aborted "book" quickly melted down.) Now it has home!

Hope you all are doing well. 5 hours and 3 mountain passes and I'm home!


"I'd hammer in the morning, all over this land."
I'm off for one last week of construction. Twelve hour days so I'll likely be absent until next weekend, when I'll be back to stay.

Hopefully, on the drive up, I'll be able to buy that book everyone has been talking about. ;)

Till, then, keep on submitting!


Four Hours to Midnight
Up against a word count tonight (again). It’s amazing how quickly 30k can vanish when you’re working on gaming material. I hope to have the module finished by midnight --- much later and my output drops, and my writing goes from merely bad to really bad.

Once again the Knights of the Patio have stepped up to the challenge and agreed to be test patients. Hopefully this module goes over better than the last one.

Off to work for me! I hope you are all doing well. Some Big Deathy celebrities have been dropping by … track down Erik’s blog at


...and check out his cover. Fun stuff, and encouraging to all of us standing on the side lines!



A friend once told me, "Be careful what you write because publishing is forever." For better or worse, WoTC agreed to publish the webstory written by the authors featured in Realms of the Dragons II ...

...which means a big Deathy prize to whoever can pick out my hundred words, give or take. We'll let you know when the story shows up on the Wizards website.

The Road Home, Pt. II

I tried to get at this last night, but missed. Take two:

Back when Wizards hosted discussion forums for novels, Elaine offered sage advice to the hordes of hopefuls: submit and move on. She argued that waiting on a publisher was wasting time, time that could be better spent writing.

Great advice, though difficult to accept. At the time I thought it was directed at those of us that didn’t make the cut, but in the year since “The Road Home” was accepted, I’ve come to realize that her wisdom applies equally to writers on either sides of the equation.

To the point:

Situation: Didn’t make the big sale.
Result: Keep on writing and submitting.

Situation: Made the big sale.
Result: Keep on writing and submitting.

This isn’t just another optimistic pitch. The result really is the same. The only difference is how you choose to feel and behave in the interim.

None of the RotDII authors are made men (or women). We’re all still punching keys, still using those same 26 letters, still trying to tell (and sell) a good story, and ---more often than not--- still failing.

That’s liberating for me. Like a Zen fable, it’s full circle back to zero, obscurity and the good ol’ slush pile. The slush pile is a place I’m comfortable with. I can sharpen a shank from a toothbrush as well as the next.

Submit and keep on writing. Good advice then, great advice now.