Calling All Freelance Designers!
This info is from Kam's Blog, which means you've probably already read it since everyone who reads Choose Death reads Pens and Swords. (Of course, the reverse is NOT true.)

Regardless, Wizards is hosting a rolling open call for short d20 adventures. No deadline + short word count = great chance to get published by the big guys.

I'm overbooked at the present, but I heartily encourage anyone with a little spare time to design a quick adventure. You could do it this weekend and submit it on Monday.

The original posting is here:


Start the Presses!
FFP Core Book

The campaign setting formerly known as the Frontier Fantasy Setting has been submitted for publication. This is a big deal because, had you been hanging out on Wizards boards back when MoP was still up for grabs, you would have seen a wild-eyed Canadian dreaming up his own setting.

Of course, you would have seen about one hundred other writers trying to do the same thing.

But one of them stuck with it. And found some friends to help him out. And wrote waaaaay too much, was rejected, then accepted, then black balled from the internet, came back under an alias, was deported from the country, and forced to move to a small, dung-hut, in a third world neighborhood in a first world country, and ...

If you recognize the above writing style, then you know I'm talking about the one and only Mike Wallace. Love him or hate him, the underdog is on top, and his work is headed to print.

So, once and for all:

A Big Deathy Shout out to Mike, Chris and Chrissy!

500 Words and Climbing
One of the nice things about having a BIG project is that it forces me to write every day, no exceptions. I began with a goal of 500 words per night, triple that on the weekdays.

No big accomplishment there. If you’ve ever held yourself to a writing schedule, you know that this isn’t all that ambitious. Most the pros you know crank out a thousand plus in a sitting, and before this post is finished it will be near 300 words. But with workdays consistently stretching to 12+ hours (did a 6:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. stretch on Tuesday), and filial responsibilities at home, getting in a few hours to write can be a major accomplishment.

Surprisingly – and this is a testament to my ignorance of that wonderful machine, the human being – it has become really easy to break 500 words. What used to take 2 hours, fell to an hour and a half, and then an hour. On a good evening I can kiss H good night and then get another thousand words done before crashing.

Caveat: some nights are better than others. Last night I fell asleep sitting upright at the computer.

Anyhow, the real benefit of this process has been discipline. All through college I considered myself a writer, but I was lucky to write just on the weekends. By contrast, averaging 6ish thousand a week puts me at 15 weeks or 4 months to complete a rough draft of a 90k word project.

The fun part is, anyone can do it. A-n-y-o-n-e. Sit down for a couple hours every night, do it for 5 months and viola, you’ve written a novel!

I’m still trying to reconcile the math in my own mind, but the every morning there's the proof: another 700 words. Let’s hope some of them are good ones.

P.S. I'm interested in hearing how the pros do it. Ed, Erik, Jaleigh, Kam, E.C.? Any anecdotes to share?

P.P.S. *laugh* I forgot the original intent of my post. This weekend H is going rafting with the girls from work. For me that equates to 48 straight hours of eating meat, falling down on concrete and writing! Woot!


Son of Flame, Son of Hak
Blackmoor Core Book

The short story Son of Flame, Son of Hak*, will be included in the Blackmoor softcover corebook. The first half of the story was released as a free download on the Zeitgeist Games website ; this will be the first time that the entire story is available in print.

It's also the first time my fiction has appeared in a book with an Elmore cover. Milestone, that one.

I'm expecting a rejection to come down the pike this week or the next. It was a closed call for a novel, so it will hurt a little more than the generic rejections I get all the time.

Whatever. Rejections build character. They're part of the unwritten contract we all agreed to when we decided to be writers.

The important part is to dispell any notion that Harley is a made man. It's easy for me to post a bunch of covers and pretend like the rejections don't keep coming, but that would be a disservice to the community. The fewer illusions the better.

For the record: I'm still a peon, I'm still a hack, I'm still crunching away, just like you.

And I'm loving it. :)

*This is officially my best title yet. I'm ping-bombing anyone who mentions ***** Chrome. >:)


Forgotten Realms

Okay. So you all know about Kameron Franklin, celebrated author of Maiden of Pain.

But have you checked out Jaliegh Johnson, Ed Gentry, and Erik Scott de Bie?

All three are working on new Wizards novels, books that will deepen and broaden the scope of the Forgotten Realms. A good sleuth could pick up quite a bit hanging out around their sites.

The Cavalry Arrives
A big, Deathy Thanks is due once again to the Knights of the Patio: Chris, Chrissy and Co. They just finished play testing another module, completing it in record time. I realized yesterday that – aside from seeing the actual work in print – reading their comments and getting feedback on the adventure is my favorite part of the process.

EC brought up the importance of community many moons ago, and my own experience has born out her thesis. I’m flat out bad about keeping up with friends. That needs to change. We’ll see.

But enough of the mopey melancholy. Thank you, Chris, Chrissy and Co. for a job well done! See you at GenCon, 2006!