Renfest Book Signing this October!

Hi everyone,

It’s been a busy time here in the Ottalini household, but I’m excited for things to settle down a bit with the school year starting, and even more pleased to announce my return to the Maryland Renaissance Festival this October 2nd, 2022! Thanks to the kind generosity of Page after Page, the preeminent (and only!) Bookstore at the festival, I’ll be signing copies of my novels and anthology, which you can pick up there in person!

Also feel free to chat with me about all the great Dungeons and Dragons modules I’ve been putting out this last year.

See me last year in my author get-up. I’ll hopefully have a few additional pieces of gear to wear this year! Make your reservations to visit the faire here, and come out and support me and my books (and have a cracking good time at one of the best events in the Mid Atlantic!)

If you can’t wait to get your copies, you can always order them in advance here!

Modern Papyrus 2021 – A Year In Review for Author Daniel Ottalini

Goodbye 2021, may ye stay in the past where you belong. Welcome 2022! Today I want to briefly review some of the awesome successes I’ve had this year, and share some plans for the year ahead. I have a Writing New Years Resolution to accomplish this year!

This year saw me transition somewhat from writing full length novels and novellas to adventure modules for role playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons. Part of this was to allow me to complete more writing projects faster, and part of it reflected a shift in my interests and a connection between work I was already doing, and an effort to capitalize off it. It also lets me expand my writing styles, explore new characters and concepts, and improve my story design skills.

But let’s get down to business. What exactly did I write this year?

Reflections of Brass, my paperback anthology of my three ebook novellas, was released in November through Amazon Print On Demand Services. I’m excited as every part of the Steam Empire Chronicles now has a paperback version available for people to read!

I also published seven (!) different Dungeons and Dragons / Role Playing Adventures through DMs Guild. I had been working on several of these projects in 2020, and finally took the plunge to publish them, and I’m really glad I did! Here’s a summary of the work! (Over 100,000 words worth of work, and 250+ pages of awesome things!)

  1. Lost Temple of the Thunder Bringers (See the Announcement Post Here) – A Jungle Campaign module featuring a 12 room jungle temple with treasure, enemies, traps, and much more! Plus a hidden village with four custom NPCs, four awesome magical items, and four bonus battle maps and encounters!
  2. Along the Triboar – Additional Adventures in Phandalin (See the Announcement Post Here) – An expanded module to support Level 5 Characters in the Phandelver Valley with two of my old settings updated and combined! This PDF includes a module and setting for Clearing Lomewood Castle, as well as an additional campaign setting for Fort Lomewood. Inside are detailed maps of the interior and exterior of both Lomewood Castle and Fort Lomewood, as well as detailed descriptions of unique and individual NPCs, as well as links to existing NPCs from the Lost Mines of Phandelver.
  3. Siege Rules & the Invasion of the Phandelver Valley (See the Announcement Post Here) – substantial upgrades are finished on my IotPV module, including custom battle maps, stats for different siege engines, defensive buildings, a sample play through and a campaign linked to the Lost Mines of Phandelver beginning missions!
  4. Wyvern Tor Revisited (See Announcement Post Here) – This is an upgraded and reorganized version of my old free version of Wyvern Tor & the Temple of Zumash dungeon exploration. Featuring new maps, player props, and even magical item stats, this 18 page module is great for the beginner Lost Mines of Phandelver Pact setting, or any setting where you need a subterranean temple.
  5. Kohtumine: The Great Gathering of the Ships (See Announcement Post Here) – The folk of the sea – pirates, traders, priests, merchants and warriors – all gather to elect the next Lord or Lady of the Oceans. Join the politicking free-for-all with three all new factions, seven encounter maps, ship stats lines, unique ship upgrades, and mission hooks for parties of all levels. This nearly 50 page adventure setting module is setting neutral. Have ocean, will travel (to the Kohtumine!)
  6. A Field Guide to Temerrit – (See Announcement Post Here) In this guidebook you will find a map for each town, featuring points of interest, as well as a handful of NPC contacts for PCs to visit. Additionally, plot hooks and storylines are provided for each town, as well as an overarching storyline for DMs wishing to utilize the entire province, or just a single settlement!
  7. Tales from Temerrit: The Fall of Palrom the Usurper – (See Announcement Post Here) Prepare yourselves and your characters to take on the infamous Usurper, Vincent Palrom. The Oathbreaker Paladin has torn Temerrit apart, and the province stands on a precipice. Will you join the resistance and fight back against the man seeking apotheosis, or does the call to power beckon you forward, crushing the scattered forces of good. Plot hooks, new maps, unique character backgrounds, an in-depth story and an all new introductory campaign make The Fall of Palrom the best adventure setting available yet!

I’ve had a lot of fun making these, and I’m excited to share more with you in the future! Which brings us to my writing goals for 2022.

  • Write and publish something for at least six months this year (so publish six (6) new things this year!)

That’s it! That’s my goal. I’d love to try and push myself to do a full dozen, but I also want to be able to focus on completing commissions for my terrain side hustle, as well as eventually work on a new installment for the Steam Empire Chronicles. I’m also planning to eventually combine all the Temerrit Tales into one massive print creation that I can bring together and get bound and printed.

Thoughts? Ideas? Recommendations? Let me know!

Happy Holidays and Good Riddance to 2020

My Holiday Message

Greetings all! While I’ve been pretty silent on the blogging front, I wanted to share my holiday message with you all.

May 2021 be a better year than 2020. Here are my New Year’s Wishes and Hopes.

  • May we rediscover the wonders of being together, safely, with loved ones near and far.
  • May we remember how to be patient.
  • May we return to respecting our institutions, leaders, and organizations.
  • May we make changes to help all people, and ensure that we have methods in place to prevent future pandemics.
  • May we find the joy in not using the latest technology, but rather in enjoying the latest gathering of friends and family.
  • May you find peace and happiness in this new year.

From my family to yours, please take care of yourselves and others. Lots of Love,


The Work White People Must Do

The Work White People Must Do.

It is not anothers' responsibility to tell us whether
or not
we are acting, perceiving, being, racist. 
It is ours. It has always been ours. 
We hide
blame others.
If only...
But he...
Why didn't she just...
Yet We, the White Folk, don't even follow these rules
We are the rioters. 
We are the betrayers. 
The Police, and the Criminals. 
We cannot ask
that our Black 
Brown fellow citizens 
teach us how to not be racist. 
We must change. 
One day, one moment, one interaction at a time.

I will also add this. A book club will not fix this problem. Posting a black square on your Instagram will not fix this. This problem – the systematic influence of racism on our institutions and society in the United States and around the world – is bigger than you or I. But we can push for changes to the system.

The challenge is avoiding the ‘false success’ idea. Making one thing change, isn’t actually change. To maintain the political will for change, we – White allies – must use our voices to press for change. Change that makes a difference, not simply ‘let’s establish a commission.” There are many places to learn more, and the process of education and training yourself in the manner of anti-racist teaching/learning/acting is ongoing.


On Frustration in the time of Injustice and Covid

Hi there,

Normally, on a Sunday, I’d be doing a Year of Accountability post, but seeing as it’s been a rough week for a lot of people, it just didn’t sit right with me.

As a white male, I have privilege. Privilege I cannot always recognize and see. As a graduate of the McDaniel Equity in Excellence program, I expanded my ability to recognize my privilege and the spaces where it flexes its muscles – both literally and figuratively. I cannot sit here and simply say “I understand what my fellow black and brown citizens of the United States are going through”.

Because I can’t. I can witness it. I can empathize. I can feel frustration for them and anger at the system that willfully allows such actions to occur, time and time again. My own frustration comes from the feeling of being limited in how to respond. I am not in a place to go out and protest, and while talking and sharing facts and support online is something, it doesn’t always feel like something. It is hard to be an ally when you feel like you cannot do anything to help.

Normally, I would bring up these issues in my school’s social justice program – our Student Diversity Leadership Team – but with distance learning coming to a close, this limits my ability to work with my students in this regard. 2020 has been a solid 1-2-3 series of blows to our communities and families, to our sense of ‘normalcy.’

But if it is normal for African American men and women to be murdered in their own neighborhoods, their own cars, their own homes, by police, in situations where their white neighbors would not, is normalcy what we want?

We can either push forward, or fall back. I’m honest in saying that I don’t have answers, just some half formed ideas. I’m not an expert in community organizing or reforming the police department, but I have some thoughts that may, or may not, be useful. Starting with this one simple idea.

  • Stop letting police officers fired for misconduct get jobs in neighboring precincts.

As a teacher, if I get fired for misconduct, my teaching certificate gets yanked. No more teaching. I have to jump through hoops to get it again. I can’t roll into the county next door and get a job. Why can these officers? If places in our country continue to operate in a ‘three strikes you’re out’ – shouldn’t we hold police to a higher standard? One strike – you’re out, and obviously not fit to be a police officer.

I have other ideas. None of which will solve the problem – there’s no ‘solving’ this. There is mitigating and reducing and building community relationships.

  • Require officers to live in the jurisdiction they work in.
  • Require “walk alongs” with members of the community for all officers. Monthly.
  • Remove long-rifled and shotgun weapons from cruisers.
  • Promote foot patrols rather than armored cruisers.
  • Rotate officers through schools, neighborhoods, community centers, ERs.

Most importantly of all, I think the best idea is to listen to what others, with better ideas, have to say. Listen, follow through, listen again.

Stay safe out there, wear your mask.


Teacher Appreciation Week during Quarantine / Stay At Home Orders

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

At school, teacher appreciation week can be one of the best weeks. Perhaps you get a breakfast or lunch (or both! On two different days! That’s the best!), or a small gift in your mailbox (Please let it be candy!). You can tell the students who made their gift themselves – I save those – and the students whose parents give them something large and unknown early in the morning.

“I don’t know what this is, but I was told to give it to you.”

My favorite gifts are from the parents’ who give the Visa gift card and say “I can’t bring alcohol into the building for you, so get some yourself.”

My current daily view, all day long.

Continue reading “Teacher Appreciation Week during Quarantine / Stay At Home Orders”

Bookstores I love: Malaprops in Asheville, NC

Who We Are/Our History/Our Name | Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe

Want to support a local bookstore, but don’t have one anywhere near you? Check out Malaprops in Asheville, North Carolina.

Many of you may know that I consider Asheville to be a second home – my extended family is from the city, and I’ve been traveling there ever since I was a newborn several times a year. So why Malaprops? Malaprops is one of my favorite places in downtown. Relaxed, with a good selection curated by excellent staff members, including ‘mystery reads’ that are wrapped in brown paper. I always enjoy finding different things there then I can find anywhere else.

They also own the nearby Downtown Books and News, which provides a heaping boatload of used books, but also maps, magazines, and other periodicals.

Used, Rare, and Out-of-Print Books | Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe

So why am I sharing this now? Well, with the current economic climate shuttering so many small businesses for the foreseeable future, if we want the local bookstores to survive, we have to purchase from them!

I’ve been ordering books for my cousins (who happen to live in the city) and using Malaprop’s $2 delivery within the city. But I’ve also been fortunate enough to keep my job. Not everyone can support their local book store in this manner. But if you can afford to, and want to, check out Indie Bound Local Bookstore Community or BookShop. Both places support different local bookstores. The best way to support a bookstore is to go through its own webpage.

If you don’t need more books(!?) you can also donate to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation. This organization is working closely with independent booksellers nationwide to support, uplift, and protect jobs and people during this challenging time.

So I guess what I’m saying is – if you can help out, help! If all you can do is post and share local bookstore links on social media, do it. Take care!

*Note – No payment/reward for this post, just me being happy with service & hard work*

The Myth of Being a Productive writer during Stay at Home Orders

stay at home on a smartphome screen display
Photo by ready made on

Today’s post looks at one of the fallacies of our current environment: The Myth of being a Productive Writer during these Stay-At-Home Orders.

Continue reading “The Myth of Being a Productive writer during Stay at Home Orders”

Year Of Accountability – Happy Easter! 4/12-4/19

Hi all,

This week has been a busy week for me, even safe at home during this social distancing and Stay-At-Home orders. If you haven’t heard already, The Last Gladiator is now available on Pre-Order!

A clash of tradition versus invention drives Daniel Ottalini’s latest work – The Last Gladiator, a prequel novella in the Steam Empire Chronicles.

Lucia Rhodanus Fortem is an endangered species – one of the last graduates of the ludi, gladiator academies renowned throughout the Empire. When the Emperor orders a demonstration of his new mechanical toys – Mechagladiators – he knows just whom to fight. Fans of Gladiator and Pacific Rim alike will enjoy this prequel to the Steam Empire Chronicles – The Last Gladiator.

The Last Gladiator is due to be released May 2, 2020. Available on Kindle, Nook, and for all other e-readers through Smashwords!

I’m super pumped to share this with you all! Help out your small author pals (like me!) and pre order your copy today. Remember that my first novel – Brass Legionnaire – is still available FOR FREE on Smashwords!

Continue reading “Year Of Accountability – Happy Easter! 4/12-4/19”

Author Blog Record Month & A Free Book!

Here’s a picture of our temporary companion enjoying his belly rubs.

Thanks to you, I’ve hit nearly 900 views this month alone! You guys are the best!

As usual, my slightly humorous, now very useful, 50 Ways to Kill a Character and his partner, 50 Ways to Kill a Character Part II drive a lot of traffic to the blog, but I’m pleasantly surprised and happy to see more people visiting for Dungeon and Dragons and the Steam Empire Chronicles resources that I’ve been creating and writing about.

But really, thanks so much! If you want to thank me more, go and download my first novel – Brass Legionnaire – for FREE from Smashwords during the Give Back Sale! Also remember, if you like it, rate it and leave a review! It means the world to authors when you share what you like!

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