Any authors/aspiring authors?

Wow. It’s a small world.

Yeah, I came in with 3rd Edition (the one with the hideous Phil Foglio cover) after the Nick Pollotta novels came out, which led me to the game (which I ended up tweaking significantly on my own to play more like the books). Richard Tucholka was actually the mentor for my senior project in high school… that afore mentioned RPG I got part of the way though and never finished.

I submitted all sorts of stuff for those spiral bound quarterly supplements of random game material that came out in the mid-90’s, only about 1/4 of which ever got used. Mainly consisting of mission prompts, some new enemy groups and artifacts, and whatever system I came up with for incorporating the ‘mages short circuit technology’ mechanic, staff usage (essentially big indestructible batteries that the mages had to spend time recharging between missions), and a couple of other things tenuously linked to the novels. I sometimes wonder if any of the more book-related stuff I submitted that got passed over eventually made it into the 5th edition of the game that Richard and Nick collaborated on a decade or so later.


Basically, I love writing and stories! As a professional storyteller in Scotland, I have been writing for some years as I rewrite my own versions of mainly British myths. In the last couple of years I have had my first little bits of writing published - first a small piece with an alternative take on a Lowland Scottish tale in Dark Mountain 13 (publications showcasing new voices around climate change).

And in 2019 I had my first short story published in Haunted Voices: An Anthology of Gothic Storytelling. The tale is a slice of urban gothic, involving the haunting of a Scottish council estate by spirits of ancient Britain - and there is also an audiobook version with authors reading their tales (including me!)

I have also been getting into writing poetry again in the last couple of years after a long hiatus - and have had some gaming inspired poems recently in a zine for an indie gaming group I’m part of in Edinburgh Indie Gamers. I also run poetry story-making workshops of many types (outdoors and indoors), and write and present talks on many types of myths, stories and the gothic.


Lucky you on your HS project – Rich was always a great guy, and even after I fell away from gaming I always made a point of swinging by his table at any convention he was at.

I always wondered at the renaming of the game, but never did get around to asking Rich. Personally, I liked the original Stalking… title better than Bureau 13.

Honestly, I haven’t played an RPG of any flavor in 25 years; closest I get anymore is RP on a supers mush, where fortunately I’ve found a good group that understands we’re doing what amounts to realtime improv collaborative storytelling, not playing “Hey, I’m the awesomest!!” Even there I probably only spend a tenth of as much time in RP as I do just chatting with friends. I just kind of lost the feel for it, probably because it didn’t scratch as many creative itches as writing does for me. When I’m writing, I get to not only be the players, but also the NPCs, the GM, the rule book, the universe and the dice. :wink:


Hey! I’ve been dabbling in writing for some time and I have finally got my act together to write The Novel. It is so far, okay, I think, despite being not quite finished. (Yes I know a lockdown novel is a cliche but I Yam Wat I Yam)

So I am looking forward to rejection letters in the new year maybe?


Love how many writers there are in here! I was aspiring until last year when I decided to give the indie route a try. It’s honestly been way more fun/successful than I expected. Granted, I went in with pretty low expectations–I made a goal that if I sold 100 copies then this would be a success. I’m about 200 copies in now.

The novel is a middle-grade speculative fiction novel called Mariana the Moon Girl. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea (it’s on the weirder side of middle-grade), but I’m proud of it. I actually just got back some feedback from beta readers for the sequel last night and I’m pretty jazzed about how it’s going. So hopefully book two should be coming out in a few months!

Edit: Forgot to mention that the villain in this book (Miss Murphy) is named after Kevin Murphy, haha. There might even be a few other MST/Rifftrax references in there. Can’t remember.


The Book of Unlife looks amazing! I’d heard of The Fantasy Trip, but never played it – though Steve Jackson Games was a huge part of my years as a kid, tinkering with RPGs


Thanks! I used to run a lot of RPGs back in high school (in the 1980s), and The Fantasy Trip was the favorite of our group. It’s a real thrill to be officially part of it now!


I’m a writer. I’ve got a few novels, short stories, games and such linked from my site.

Really cool to see how many other writers are here as well – thanks for starting the thread, @Brina – always happy to talk about writing craft & storytelling!

(Edited to properly credit Brina for starting the thread. @mistersteel you’re still awesome, but I screwed up the user names! :slight_smile: )


@escapekey Really cool! I just discovered Twine recently, and I’m having so much fun playing around with non-linear narrative. It’s like exercising a totally different set of muscles – a really fun form of storytelling!

@erikburnham That is an amazing list of tie-in works-- It’s like you’re hitting all the greatest hits in my personal pantheon!


Not at all! I’d never even clocked that as a known thing.

Just a few hours ago I was playing pool with an acquaintance and we were complaining about how filthy are apartments were and I lamented the missed opportunity many expressed about how much cleaning they did during the Great Pandemic.

You’re way ahead of the game: you did something far more creative.

Yeah, maybe you will get nineteen rejections per twenty submissions, but I don’t understand the modern, present-day stigma against self-publishing. Small presses in poetry have been perhaps the driving force in 20th C poetry, and even one or two centuries back, that was really the way it was done. Certainly for anything interesting or possibly subversive.

I wish you much satisfaction, and your ongoing project makes me happy. Carry on!


Tons of technical stuff. Even a “…for Dummies” book. (Don’t ask.)

Shopped a lot of “high concept” around Hollywood back in the day but had the (self-admitted) worst agent ever, otherwise you might be mocking one of my crappy movies even today… (Well, let’s be honest: A writer generally has damn little to do with any movie that comes out.)

When 372 Pages We’ll Never Get Back covered Lair of the White Worm, I (for some reason) got it in my head to re-write it. I blogged about some of the challenges at and am closing in on finishing it. I’ve got an artist commissioned to do some era-appropriate drawings, too.

What I’ll do with it, I have no freakin’ idea. :rofl:


I gots to know.

If you don’t want to reveal the specific title, that’s certainly understandable — I wouldn’t, either — but I have wondered in the past about the (I presume) agents who represent young scrubs writing for series like the Head First series and some of the O’Reilly books (I know that the O’Reilly corpus has quite a range of authors in its stable, from seasoned veterans with decades of experience to FOT(college)B, and it seems very much the same with the Dummies series).

I still look at the Dummies series in a spare moment: very often they are free of errors and conveniently packaged according to their unique format.


Um, I’m the one who started the thread, yanno. :yum:


OH, MAN!! I am so sorry, @Brina!! :flushed:

I don’t know how I screwed that up – I apologize, and redirect my thread-starting-thanks your way.

I really do love threads like this, so thank you very much… even if it did take me two tries to get it right!!


I did not have an agent for my technical work. One of my editors, I think, recommended me for it.

But, honestly, when I say “technical”, I mean techincal. Like, it’s on the level of “Resoldering Your Sinclair Cambridge Programmable Calculator For Bovine Astrology For Dummies”: Archaic as hell and esoteric and oxymoronic even at the time.

However, it was one of the better processes writing wise. Everyone was respectful, talented, careful and serious about getting a good product which is not at ALL the case today.


Yeah, I follow. I’m getting a lot of hits from LinkedIn for technical writing, and as a friend of mine has said, it can be extremely boring work.

Fortunately for me, I happen to like tedious work, and have the formal background to read pin-outs from ICs and so forth. (/* edit, not that it takes more than common sense and a good eye to follow a schematic and work from the datasheet */)

I hear you about the state of documentation, especially in software, these days (and perhaps always): but, not enough for me to do anything on spec, although I still stand by the dinosaur FOSS+GPL ways.

It’s almost as though the ancient prophecy from the days of the 1990s MST3K were fulfilled: “they just didn’t care!” (The Attack of The The Eye Creatures?? Maybe.)

It’s an odd intersection, between, on the one hand, adept hardware and software engineers, and on the other hand, those who prize linguistic and conceptual clarity.


You know, I was kind of surprised by how much getting a rejection notice didn’t hurt? I had rather expected it anyway, the magazines I had submitted to are fiendish to get into, but you don’t get in if you don’t submit. And the rejection I had from Unidentified Funny Objects was the most encouraging one I ever had, basically ‘we can’t use this story but we like the style, can you submit something funnier before the deadline?’ (I did, it got rejected too… alas – it wasn’t as good as the first story, though, even I knew that when I sent it)


I was once so naïve that I fervently believed the future was technical writing because you have all these things that are so complex and interlock in so many ways that you could do amazing things in a little time if only you could understand how they worked!

If anything, things have gotten more complex, but shockingly, they’ve also gotten incredibly disposable. “Hey, Thing X was great, except for this one minor issue, so I bring you Thing Y! It serves the same purpose as Thing X but it’s completely different on the inside and also introduces a bunch of new issues but that one minor issue is (mostly) handled.”

Six months later: “You’re still doing Thing Y? Thing Z is the hotness!”

I swear pre-teen girls change heartthrobs less.



Yeah. I’ve just given up on following Kotlin and most things related to mobile development: I stay current on C++ and the STL, and everything else that’s useful cross-platform, just because I like it and understand it, but unless I’m getting directly paid to train on the job, they can just deal with it.

Hey, Pee Wee found a good buddy hopping the freight trains, eating beans and singing folk songs, so that might be me some day, when my body gives out doing manual labor or running catn cable.


I change with the times but, man, I gotta stick with something long enough to get good at it. So many people writin’ boilerplate they don’t even understand.

Cat cable? Why aren’t you on DOG yet?[/hackyjoke]