“Those cultists are another thing, I tell you. More likely to burn each other with those weird symbols of those. Some people like the smell of bacon in the morning. I think they prefer the smell of another meat instead….” – Maud the Mauler, after an encounter with the Searing Torchbearers in Pier’s Landing.
As you round a turn in the road, the signs of civilization fading behind you, you spy a dark stone mansion rising in the distance. Getting closer, the remnants of several wooden outbuildings appear, flanked by the foreboding dark woods of the surrounding forest. The burbling of a creek comes from your left. A window shutter bangs closed in the wind from an abandoned building. The manor looms before you, two large wings to either side of a balcony – covered entryway.This is the infamous Drav’eka Manor.
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!)
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!)
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!
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.
The announcement post for Tales From Temerrit – the Fall of Palrom the Usurper – Now available!
Happy Holidays, and Merry Christmas! I hope everyone’s holidays have been warm and bright. My latest adventure module was recently released on DM’s guild, and I realized I never actually published this post! It’s a follow up to my popular “Introduction to Temerrit” Adventure setting. You can check out a preview view posting about this module here (around the two hour mark!)
This module is designed to provide the skilled GM with everything they need to run a political intrigue style campaign based in the wild and fantastical province of Temerrit during the time of the rise, and fall, of Vincent Palrom, an oathbreaker paladin determined to achieve apotheosis. Whether the party seeks to unite the fractious members of the Northern Alliance, find common ground with the justifiably wary and war-weary indigenous Wildling tribes, or throw in their lot with the Usurper himself, choices are key to this immersive story.
This module includes three new character backgrounds, four mercenary companies with rosters of enemies, strategies and tactics, 17 maps (including some battle maps gridded & non-gridded), adventure hooks for every city and town, plus an introductory campaign designed to introduce players to the wonderful world of Temerrit.
Within this adventure setting you’ll also find a brief historical description of the time of Palrom, with an in-depth look at his plans, mercenary allies & NPC lieutenants. Many of these mercenary units use monsters from Volo’s Guide to Monsters (VGtM), but you can substitute with appropriate rosters from the Monster Manual as needed. While players can use any background & class type within Temerrit, there are three unique character backgrounds from within this setting that add extra flavor and story hooks.
Finally, the starting adventure, Smyall Worries, creates opportunities for character progression from levels one to four, while introducing players to the current political situation and a few key NPCs within the province itself. Assuming a party of four or five players, the introductory arc has PCs defending a refugee camp, fighting off Palromian saboteurs, investigating enemy spies and following them back to their hilltop base. Several potential storylines can branch from this initial story at the GM’s discretion and player’s interest, although there are many potential story hooks within each city.
Players who enjoy political intrigue, strategic planning, or simply a large amount of combat will enjoy this campaign. Players will need to consider how best to reduce the Usurper’s power and position. Ideally, this campaign is flexible enough to take characters from levels 1 to 20, but for a shorter campaign, look to go from levels one to ten, using the Oathbreaker Paladin stats later in this module along with lair actions and allies as your final encounter. Crafting a story where the PCs feel like they are actually righting wrongs and making a difference in their world is the hallmark of many great Dungeons and Dragons stories, no more so than in the Fall of Palrom the Usurper.
For more ideas about adventures, challenges, and interactions within Temerrit, check out A Field Guide to Temerrit, an adventure setting module that looks at Temerrit after the Fall of Palrom, with additional cities, NPCs, and the ever reverberating aftershocks of Palrom’s disappearance. After all, until you see the body, you never really can prove that someone is dead. And even then, check twice.
While you can purchase this module on it’s own, I’m also offering a Temerrit bundle for my lucky fans! For about 15% off, you can get both The Introduction to Temerrit and the Fall of Palrom the Usurper. That’s more than a hundred pages of background, maps, NPCs, monsters and campaign goodness for just $15 (!)
Get your copy today, and be sure to leave a review and let me know what you think!
Finally, back into the swing of things. I promised myself I’d get going by March. Well, it’s March! My post today isn’t too long, but it focuses on one of the biggest challenges facing a new author – one without prior book sales or a person who (like me) sees bumps from new books but not earth shattering sales numbers.
So how do you budget for a new book? If you’ve published books previously, you’ll already have your guidelines. For me, an average ‘budget’ for a new book looks something like this…
Formatting/Cover Art/Illustrations ~$750*
Publishing/Proofreading/Copyright Fees, etc ~$100
Advertisements, Giveaways, Shipping ~$150
So as you can see, nearly $3,000. Definitely a long term haul. Obviously, your experiences may vary based on editor, cover art/illustrators (or lack thereof), and how much advertisements/giveaways, etc that you do.
Editing – Your costs for editing can vary based on how much of a book you have, and how good of a writer you are. Most editors will be nice, and lower their price slightly (in my experience) the better the initial writing is. The less work they have to do, the faster they can do it in, and the more jobs they can complete, so they’re happy too.
I wouldn’t suggest skimping on editing, but you could easily save yourself some money through extensive use of beta-readers and friends/family who have skills (Also, it helps to bake brownies).
Formatting/Cover Art/Illustrations – All this can easily be trimmed in most aspects. Formatting – you can learn this, especially considering that most of the big companies use only a handful of formats – The catch is if you get it wrong, your work will look super unprofessional.
Cover Art – Shop around! You can check out a variety of people and places – look up some books whose covers your like and email the authors to ask where they got theirs done. Unless you’re a really good artist, I recommend you not do them yourself – Online, people really DO judge a book by it’s cover.
Illustrations/Maps – Perhaps the easiest one – If you don’t need them, you don’t have to pay for them!
Advertisements – Here, your own readers and social media accounts can really help you. Although, it can be hard to cut through the chaff and find the perfect groove. Networking, like this recent Facebook group I’ve joined, can really help here. You don’t have to pay for readers/likes, etc. I’ve already shared how I felt Facebook advertising, but both Amazon, Google, Goodreads, and others have more targeted (and, personally speaking, more useful) advertisement abilities).
Publishing Fees – Especially if you’re publishing a print book, you can’t really get around theses. But be smart – make sure to check the physical proof copies before buying a big order, otherwise you could be out some serious money for books with errors that are glaring! Also, there’s something to be said for getting that sweet, sweet Copyright letter from the Library of Congress!
Hope that helps everyone! Whew – this post turned out to be longer than I thought! Let me know – what other ways do you have to trim costs?
The second part of my NaNoWriMo series, detailing my favorite parts of the program and how it can help you!
So I’ve recently written about NaNoWriMo and what it is, so now let me get to what I like about it. There’s a variety of things, but it really boils down to two parts. Accountability and community. Read more past the break!
50 Ways to Kill a Character Part II – With even more awesome ways for your characters (or NPCs, for that matter) to bite the dust.
So in case you missed it, my first 50 Ways to Kill a Character was the most successful blog post I’ve ever written (and to be honest, I wrote it half as a joke for my own sanity.) Now that I have 5 books and counting under my belt, I decided it was time to make a part II. Read on, brave writers, and make sure you subscribe to my blog for more writer tips and support like this list! Continue reading “50 Ways to Kill a Character Part II”