Ep. 227: I Thought This Was Inexcusable Until I Tried It

How’s it going? Today’s podcast day.

Let’s get to it.

This week’s episode is about the time I did something I plan never to do again, if I can avoid it.

Here you go:


Until next time,


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Be Sure to Skip the Boring Parts

How’s it going? With all the listening I did last week, I thought I’d tell you about something I thought a lot about.


Let’s get to it.

In fiction, talking is “dialogue.” Not sure why, Latin and Greek aren’t my thing. Also if characters know a thing, that’s fine, but you can use something other than dialogue to get the idea across. If Ron and Carol both know Sarah went to the store, you don’t need:

“Well, Ron, you know Sarah went to the store.”

Just so that readers will know.

Unless of course Sarah lied about where she was going for some reason…

You can also skip all the um’s, ah’s, and awkward silences real conversations have.

The pointola?

It helps to watch what other people do or say to figure out which things are the boring parts.

If you fall asleep, though, you have been warned.

Tomorrow is podcast day. Be sure to stop by.

Until next time (and month),


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I May Have Forgotten, Otherwise I Didn’t Know

How was your weekend?

Let’s get to it.

So last week, I went to my uncle’s funeral. If anyone told me beforehand or over the years, I forgot, but…

He got a military burial, which was cool.

Apparently he was drafted to go to Vietnam way back when, back issues cropped up, and after a year in, they let him go.

By the time he was 21 he was out.

He met my aunt, they got married when he was 25, and had 46 super years together.

The pointola?

Depending on how close you are to someone, you may know different things about them. If you’re writing fiction, you’ll be simulating that depending on how you write your character.

Someone who’s not a close friend will know different things than others who are extended family or close family, and so on.

It really depends.

Until next time,


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Triple F: Snowballs

How’s your week been? This will be a short one. I’ll be leaving shortly to travel to my uncle’s funeral service.

Let’s get to it.

Friday is Triple F and a prompt for you.

This week’s prompt is:

Your character is hit with a snowball.

We could have:

“Oof.” Kara tasted snow. Ugh.


“Hey.” Joe wiped snow off his jacket and ran after the brats.

That’s enough to get the mental snowball rolling down the hill.

January 2023 is winding down, and February will be pulling in to say hi soon enough.

I opted for a bit of normalcy amid some chaos and I’m glad you could be part of it.

Thank you.

Make it a great weekend with good memories, all right?

Until next time,


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So the Old Woman Checked Her Notes

How’s it going? We had another session for Curse of Strahd last night.

Let’s get to it.

So we arrived at the Vestani camp, and they welcomed us. We had another dude with us, Grog, who was playing a character too, so we all introduced ourselves to him. I think he’s some kind of cleric or other race, and he’s a bull or what-have-ya, named Ezekiel.

The Vestani people treated us to a story and some fortune card stuff. I didn’t know the significance of most of it, but we have:

Merc: Dead mountain and gold coins

Guild Member: Powerful force for good/holy symbol of great hope

Hooded One: Sword of Sunlight, winding road deep in the mountains

Dark Lord: I forgot, lol

Mists: Saint Marhovia. A Vestana looks for her master.

It was about here that my brother got so ticked off trying to get things in order, the fortune lady Madam Ava broke the fourth wall and consulted a pile of notes telling us what to do next. As we decided what to do, I accidentally insulted the old woman fortune lady, and the campers weren’t too tickled. I apologized and we were pretty much on our way after that.

At the crossroads, Barovia was to our east, the old lady told us to get help there first. After some targeted dilly-dallying that netted us a dire wolf corpse, Derro sauntered us into the tavern, where he mentioned he was investigating on behalf of the burgomeister.

Turns out he told this to the burgo’s son Ismark, and his dad was dead. He needed help though, with getting his sister to another town, as well as burying his dad. We agreed to help, and he took us there. Strahd arrived shortly after, in his (legit) horse-less magic carriage, and asked the sister to marry him… again.

Dude couldn’t take no for an answer. He’s constantly coming around. And the sister Ireena refused…again.

In another twist of humor, Derro didn’t give Strahd his name when he asked him. He was figuring out what to do next, and he said “buh buh buh” a little bit. So Strahd addressed him as “Mr. Buh-buh-buh.” My brother’s really good with rolling with that stuff, and so is Derro’s player, Stephen.

Derro also Hunter Sensed Strahd with his rangerliness. Strahd is resistant to necrotic damage and attacks from non-magical weapons.

With all of that done up, Zeke and Smashy lugged the coffin with the siblings’ dad to the church, where the priest Donavich, buried him once it was light. We asked the priest if we could help with anything else, and after some prodding and hinting, we discovered his son is a vampire. Derro left it up to Ismark what to do about it, and he said to take care of it.

The priest resisted, and we tied him up. We ended the session there. Looks like we’ll be fighting a vampire in the next session.

The pointola?

Most of life is going to be interacting with situations and people. Some of it you’ll like, some of it you won’t. Most of it you’ll be uncertain about.

D&D and life exemplify that well enough. So does fiction, and a lot of times, so does sales copy, especially if it’s driven by a problem a prospect is experiencing now that they need a solution for.

Even better if you can lead them to a solution by giving it to them or guiding them in the right direction.

Tomorrow is Triple F. Be sure to stop by.

Until next time,


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Ep. 226: The Strangest Most Frightening Email I Ever Got

How’s it going? Today’s podcast day.

Let’s get to it.

This episode is about the time my manager told me about a strange email I supposedly sent him.

Here you go:


Until next time,


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Like a Hyperactive Child, but Inside

How’s it going?

Let’s get to it.

Sometimes when I see a lot of something at once or one big deadline, I get jumpy inside. And if I decide to take stock after a deep breath (sometimes I don’t), I usually get a no to one or more of these questions:

Have I had enough water today?

Have I gone outside for a bit today?

Have I exercised a bit or more today?

And to that point I don’t do strenuous exercise.

You may have a different list of questions you can ask yourself if you get rid of stress some other way. And if it is cold outside, if I do need to get outdoors, it’s less than five minutes.

The pointola?

Sometimes something as simple as getting outside can help. Since humans react to things in the moment, they may not do what’s best for them.

It sounds weird, but it can be comfortable being stuck. Part of undoing that is knowing you want to do something else.

Tomorrow is podcast day. Be sure to stop by.

Until next time,


For those of you who didn’t catch, I penned a little something for the Manuscripts blog about connecting ideas here:


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This May Be a Bit Late, but For a Good Reason

How was your weekend? I knew it would go live today, but not what time.

But I knew I had to tell you.

Let’s get to it.

In this post here, I mentioned thinking about my writerly inspirations and a rabbit hole. That’s because I was working on something else. I’d been asked to contribute to another blog and was trying to wrack my brain about stuff.

I realized it was simple though. I’d go back to where things started.

Making connections.

I do that on the blog here as a foundational thing, but not in the same way every time. A lot of disciplines borrow from one another, and creative work is no exception.

So I focused on that.

The pointola?

Sometimes a piece of knowledge becomes a part of you and you don’t know how or why.

But it makes a lot more sense once you have to explain it. And explain it I did.

Here you go:


Until next time,


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Triple F: Lost and Found…

How’s your week been? We’ve got a bit left.

Let’s get to it.

Today’s Friday, which means Triple F and a writing prompt.

Because I’ve thought about mine so much, your prompt for this week’s Fabulous Fiction Friday is:

Your character misplaces their favorite sweatshirt.

All right, now we fiction (yes I use that thing word as an action word). You’ve got creative control here, including the location of the sweatshirt, what it looks like, and what-have-ya.

Maybe a start like this:

Kate whirled around. Where was it? She picked up her pillow. Nope. Under the bed? No. The sweatshirt had to be somewhere.

And then the mews started.

Oh, no.

The kitten portal got switched on.

Or this:


Brad hoisted himself off the couch. Forgot about that. He grabbed the tattered sweatshirt bundle propping up a week-long pile of dishes on the floor.

That’s enough to get the mental snowball rolling down the hill.

January’s over half over, and it’s been a wild one for me so far. I hope you’re enjoying or coping with the weather as much as you can, as the case may be.

Make it a great weekend with good memories, all right?

Until next time (and week),


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I Was Relaxing When I Didn’t Want to Be

How’s it going? We’re got up to our third game of D&D last night for Curse of Strahd, which I’ll be dispensing with numbering eventually because I’ll lose track.

But I didn’t lose track of the action in this one.

Let’s get to it.

After we rested, the chanting is still getting louder somehow. In the next room, we found thirteen little alcoves filled with stuff, and brother rattled off the list. There was a knife, and a lot of other things that I wasn’t sure about taking or not. Smashy took the bone knife and Tabz took the rat dagger.

The next hallway ended in a portcullis, which was down. I assisted Smashy to get an 18 Athletics check and he tried to lift it up.


Thinking it was a puzzle involved with the objects, people put the stuff back they took. Tabz rolled a 23 on Intelligence. Nope the stuff had nothing to do with it.

Smashy rolled 20 on another Athletics check and that got us in. A creepy dais with dried blood was in the middle of the room, which had two feet of water on the floor to boot. Smashy stepped up to the dais to look around. Thirteen apparitions hounded us in the next room, demanding a sacrifice. Smashy left the dais in the center, and the voices said something about Logarth the Decayer.

The pile of garbage in the far end of the room rumbled to life. Derro did a nature check on it. 19. It’s a Shambling Mound.

He booked it out of the room.

It’s a large creature, ten feet by ten feet, and it’s now annoyed. Smashy ran out of the room. The thing lumbered up to me, tried to hit me and failed once, succeeded once. Then Tabz ran out of the room.

Then it happened.

I tried to run. I was at 7 hitpoints, and it hit me for a 20.


It swallowed me. I’m unconscious, blinded, and restrained as long as I’m inside. To make matters worse, I’m suffocating as well. With 14 Constitution I have a +2 modifier, so I could hold my breath for 2 minutes, or 20 rounds of combat.

So that’s what I did.

The mound flowed into the stairway to chase my friends, and I couldn’t do anything about it. Derro, Tabz, and Smashy are all running up the stairs, away from the creepy basement. Tabz took potshots at the thing as often as he could.

As they ran from floor to floor, the mound oozed into the halls, chasing them. For some reason, Smashy decided to jump from the third floor, down to the first in one leap. That was something like 17 fall damage, it’s one d6 for every 10 feet you fall in-game.

The doors in the house lock on the first floor, the fire started going haywire, and the room filled with smoke. Tabz tried to get out by the balcony and with a 19 Dex save, missed getting cut up by a pair scythe blades.

Smashy got cut up by a scythe as he smashed through a door to make it outside.

Derro took 8 damage from the smoke inside the room, which was actually poison. After a few knocks from a scythe, he went down. Smashy put an uncorked healing potion in his mouth (yes he specifically said he did not pour it in there), so Derro got some hitpoints back.

The mound is on the first floor too now, and I’m still stuck in it. Everyone makes it outside, and the mound follows them out.

Where it disintegrates, leaving my unconscious but studly bod on the ground. Smashy grabbed a leg and dragged me away to safety.

I saw a shiny pile of stuff and didn’t approach it.

Turns out it was our gear that got stolen when we first started. There was a letter among the stuff. Someone’s daughter got bit by a vampire.

A covered wagon approached us, asking if we needed help. We said we did, and they offered us a ride to their camp, and we accepted.

We survived Death House.

We’re all level 3 now.

The pointola?

My brother had mentioned to me before we were supposed to be level 3 based on other playthroughs he’d read, but boy I had no idea how we’d get there.

Not at all.

Sometimes in fiction and in life it’s difficult to know what choice to make. Sometimes you are put on the sidelines by circumstances or what-have-ya.

That makes getting in there when and where you can all the more important.

And you do your best, no matter what that looks like now. You can improve.

Tomorrow is Triple F. Be sure to stop by.

Until next time,


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