The Great Greystone Valley Preorder Giveaway!

Conquest of Greystone Valley

Have you preordered your copy of Conquest of Greystone Valley yet? If not, here’s an extra reason to do so. Anybody who preorders a copy of the novel through Grey Gecko Press before its release on October 31st gets a chance to win some free swag!

One random person will be selected to receive $25 and a signed hardcover copy of Conquest of Greystone Valley. A second person will receive a signed copy of the paperback version of the novel.

To get a chance to win, all you need to do is preorder a copy of the novel in any format through Grey Gecko Press. If you’ve already preordered, you’re already entered!

Stay tuned for more Conquest of Greystone Valley updates in the coming weeks!

Does Our Society Even Know What Consent is Anymore?


I know it’s been a slow election cycle with very few surprises, but hear me out: something in the news caught my attention recently. No, it’s not a U.S. presidential nominee joking about committing sexual assault – sadly, that’s more common than we’d like to believe. Rather, it’s the reaction to it.

Taken by itself, the words used could be classified as disgusting and idiotic but an isolated incident overall. Looking at our society as a whole, though, I really wonder if Americans fully understand what consent is. And if there’s confusion now, preventing stuff like this from happening again becomes more difficult.

The best metaphor I’ve heard regarding sexual consent correlates it to tea. You can offer someone tea, but if they don’t want it, or if they take a sip and then decide it’s not for them, or they change their mind while you’re making it, you don’t force them to drink it.

You’d think that consent would be universally understandable, but even when the behavior goes beyond words and becomes a crime, some folks still don’t get it. You’ve got things like the Brock Turner case, where some peopleblamed the victim. You’ve got Cee-Lo Green’s statement that it’s not rape if they’re unconscious.

Maybe part of the problem comes down to media exposure. What gets portrayed as okay in media is darned creepy in reality. Edward from Twilight isn’t romantic for stalking Bella – he’s a criminal. Lewis from Revenge of the Nerds wasn’t a lovable scamp for having sex with Betty under false pretenses – he was a rapist.

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D&D and Pathfinder: What’s the Difference?

Pathfinder DragonOriginally published on

I tend to use Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder interchangeably. In a lot of ways, they’re the same game – after all, Pathfinder is directly derived from the 3rd edition D&D rules. At the same time, both games have evolved in different directions and provide a distinctly different feel at this point. If you’re looking to start a game using one of these systems, which do you choose?

There are endless arguments online about which fantasy RPG is better than the other, and the unfortunate habit that gamers has is the tendency to promote one game by tearing the other one down. That’s silly, because there is no clear-cut answer as to which game is better – they’re both excellent options, and there’s no reason you can’t play and enjoy both. But if you’re trying to pick one or the other for a specific campaign, which game suits your chosen style better? That’s what I aim to discuss here.

Read more at the Screamsheet!

Weird Magic Items I Wish I’d Used


Originally posted on

Thanks to whatever weirdness inhabited the heads of Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax, fantasy gaming has some really bizarre stuff baked into its history. I’ve gamed long enough to use a lot of that weirdness (including my personal favorite, the deck of many things), but there’s still so much more out there. Here’s a quick list of some of the fun items in Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder that I’ve always wanted to slip into an adventure but have never quite been able to make fit.

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6 Reasons a Library Card is More Useful Than You Think

Public Library

September is Library Card Sign-up Month, which targets the 40-50% of modern Americans who don’t currently have library cards. In the day and age of the Internet and easy access to information from virtually any device, one might wonder what role libraries still play. Can your local public library still enrich your kid’s life?

Well, this would be an awfully short blog entry if the answer was “No.” Although libraries have more technology and better computers than they did when I was a kid, they still play about the same role – they’re a great way for kids to direct their own reading, do research, and build social skills.

Why should your kid have a library card in a world where and Wikipedia are accessible with a moment’s notice? Here’s a few of the advantages that libraries still offer even in a world of easy Internet access.

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Sorry, but I’m Perfectly Happy if my Daughter is a Girly Girl

Princess Crown

“Don’t let your daughter be a girly girl.”

This is something that multiple people have told me. I’ve been warned not to let my daughter dress in pink, not to show her Disney Princess movies, and to generally shelter her from the things that modern society associates with femininity. And while I can see good intentions behind that thinking, I disagree with it.

I recently wrote a novel called Conquest of Greystone Valley, which is targeted toward young adult girls. It’s a sequel to my previous novel, Greystone Valley, which I wrote before I started giving any thought toward gender politics in fiction. This time around, I started thinking about the girly girl conundrum, so to speak.

I hadn’t written Greystone Valley with gender in mind, but I was happy in retrospect that it had several strong role-models for girls. As an author, that’s a good thing – I’ve written stories that don’t pass basics like the Bechdel Test, and it’s kind of a lousy feeling to have that be your blind spot.

However, one thing I did notice about my story is that the protagonist, Sarah, was very much a tomboy. And actually, the most common way that writers make a “strong” female character is to make her more masculine. A good example in Disney films would be Merida and Mulan.

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The Awesome Silliness of Fantasy RPGs

Flumph GoblinsOriginally posted on

If you’re a fan of role-playing games, you probably got introduced to the game through a little thing called Dungeons & Dragons. It may have come by a different name back then, such as Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, but the general gist remains the same. In my unscientific study, about 99% of gamers were found to have come into the hobby via some iteration of D&D.

I’ve hopped around a lot in the RPG hobby, and while I got off the D&Dtrain, my current game of choice, Pathfinder, is an extremely close cousin of the world’s first role-playing game. While there are a lot of reasons I tend to stick close to the D&D tradition, one of the major ones is the oddball humor that the game’s history is steeped in.

I like a good beer and pretzels game, where the play is fairly casual and the jokes are frequent. And when it comes to D&D-style fantasy, the jokes have been baked into the game for decades now.

Read more at the Screamsheet!