Free Short Story for SJ Tucker

Set in a near future, this story depends on the idea of “affiliances,” a transhumanist concept that encompasses both family, shared interest and common bonds, as introduced by Vernor Vinge in “Rainbow’s End.” This story was originally written for “Ravens in the Library,” an anthology supporting a musician, S.J. Tucker and her medical bills.

The conceit of the story is taken from one Tucker’s songs, called “Valkyrie Daughter,” in which a soldier petitions the Goddess Hel to allow his fallen daughter’s spirit to be sent to the Valkyrie at the expense of his own hero’s guarantee to Valhalla. The song touched my heart so deeply, and I wanted so much to have a part in giving back to this real life bard whose music I dearly love.

Another kind of child custody is brought up in this story: between two women who were once married, and who together had a child. In the near future recombinant pregnancy should be possible – the genetic material of two individuals – any two genetically compatible individuals – should be enough to combine and make a child that is a legacy of both parents.

This is a science fiction story in that the plot revolves around that bit of science, and requires a much more vigorous and wide-reaching Internet than we have now; one where the heavy virtual reality goggles are now just glasses you wear.

It also postulates Utah as a legally seceded state designated as a “religious freedom zone” in the same way that there have been reprehensible “religious freedom” laws created in my home state of Georgia to protect businesses from discriminating against gay folk. It’s a gentle but intentional irony that Dianic wiccan fundamentalists (Sally and her community) were accepted and can thrive there!

So, science fiction, but! The augmented / virtual reality game (Sun Moon Star) that Jill participates in, however, is now not terribly far from reality, as people playing Pokemon Go have already begun causing a stir among the mundane folks of the world through their own version of augmented reality.

In a world where such an all-encompassing game exists, is it not possible that people would quit their lives to play 24/7, wandering the landscape on procedurally generated instances, speaking like characters from a fantasy story, singing beautiful songs like S.J. Tucker writes and performs.

It’s not too far from possibility now today, given all the love people have for their Teams Valor, Mystic, and Instinct, they are proto-affiliances in their way. In the story, in Sun Moon Star, real life proficiency is just as required as it is necessary for Pokemon Go players to walk.

This story was rejected for the anthology, but I keep coming back to it and keep wanting to let it fly in the world. It was written all in one afternoon, all in one great pulse, and I think it’s a shame to not release it somehow.

If you like the story, go and buy one of S.J. Tucker’s albums online, or visit her at Dragon Con and put money in her tip jar. She’s the one who deserves the credit and the reward for this one.


Dragon Con 2016

This year is the 30th anniversary of Dragon Con!

Sam Chupp Media will be running games there:

Friday 9/2/2016 at 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM: The Hunt for Pale Lupine

Saturday 9/3/2016 at 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM: Psi Kids

Saturday 9/3/2016 at 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM: The Talisar Sheers: an Encryptopedia Adventure

Saturday 9/3/2016 at 10:00 PM – 2 AM Sunday: For Love or For Honor

Sunday 9/4/2016 at 1:00 PM – to 5:00 PM: For Honor Among the Stars

Sunday 9/4/2016 at 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM: The Tears of the Sun

We are in the America’s Mart gaming area next to the Westin Peachtree – enter by the Westin bridge.

A Package Deal!

Special thanks to for the Creative Commons licensed picture

DriveThruRPG is offering a Bundle sale. What is a Bundle? It is a collection of books. If you haven’t bought any of the books, you pay for the Bundle and get it. If you have bought some, you get a discount based on those books you have bought.

This is a great way for people round out their collection of Encryptopedia books!

Click here to take a look!

More is Merrier: House of Bards

Another entry in the burgeoning Fantasy Espionage sub-genre!

Evil Hat has released, “Pay What you Want”, the following supplement for Fate Core:–A-World-of-Adventure-for-Fate-Core

House of Bards focuses on the political side of intrigue and espionage. If you are interested in focusing on the shadowy world of Espionage in your House of Bards campaign, Encryptopedia will be an excellent supplement for House of Bards.

A New Poll: What book shall be next?

Thanks to for the CC photo
Thanks to for the CC photo
















I have a history of responding to my audience. I like to talk back and to listen to what they have to say. If you are interested in helping influence the next work that I put together, please head over to my Google+ poll, or if you would rather vote here, or on my Facebook page, or over Twitter, feel free to do so!

Facebook Page:



Inclusivity? You’re soaking in it…

A leaf soaking in the rain
Special thanks to for the pretty picture











My books are inclusive. I take some extra effort to make them so. Are they perfect? No. Are they going to hit you over the head with how inclusive they are? No. But they are.

Take for example, the characters in the latest book “The Forever Diamonds,” which came out yesterday. Of the 15 characters, 7 are female, 7 male, 1 is non-gendered. 9 are People of Color, 5 are White, and 1 is a reptile (very pretty color reptile though). Two of the men are lovers. A woman has a crush on her supervising officer, who is also a woman. There’s at least two asexual people. There are differing body styles – not everybody is “Body beautiful.” One of the men is disabled and has to wear a prosthetic arm and legs (I wish everyone could have magical limbs!).

But is it a big deal? No. I only bring it up as a point of interest.

I don’t need a medal. I don’t expect any cheers, or to be carried on the shoulders of the downtrodden. I am just this writer and I have written this book. That’s all.

I bring all of this up because it wasn’t hard to do. Didn’t take any extra time. So I encourage my other game designer and writer colleagues to pay attention. Next time, if you have a chance, try the inclusive way. It just makes sense.

Privilege is the Invisible Ink

A quill pen and ink well
Special thanks to for the use of the photo

It strikes me that privilege is an invisible thing to those who have it. I personally am not an expert in detecting it but I at least have a clue that it does exist and it does inform my thoughts and perceptions. And that I have to be careful lest it lead me astray. Having said that, I feel it is important to talk about my thoughts concerning certain recent changes on DriveThruRPG.

Lately this website where I sell my books have come under criticism for their handling of some unacceptable material they were selling for a publisher. There are those who think they should not be censored, that such material should be available to anyone who wants it.

I really don’t like censorship in general. I think that the censor’s baton is a bully’s weapon. In a Libertarian-ideal world, we wouldn’t need to worry about such things as censorship. But I don’t know where that world is, if it will ever exist. And I’m not sure I want to even live there. And, frankly, the fantasy of living in a situation such as that is just that – fantasy, and it is fantasy born out of privilege.

There are things I don’t want to see and rape is one of them. I have a life partner, I have children. I have friends and loves who have been targeted for sexual assault and abuse. To me, material that glorifies rape is unacceptable. I don’t want to see it. I won’t go looking for it. If I find it on a bookshelf in front of me, I steer clear of it, and that should not be difficult for me to do.

One of the biggest problems of censorship is deciding what needs to be censored and what does not. Deciding who gets censored and who does not. Another problem is that those who wish to pursue a campaign against a specific person or publisher can use censorial tools to do that.

Currently, Drive Thru RPG is saying that they will deal with works that are reported to them as needing review, and that in the end what it all boils down to is that they’ll know unacceptable when they see it. That CEO Steve Wieck will be the final arbiter. (I do not envy him this task.)

I hope that this works out, but I am leery of such things *because privilege exists* and *because privilege is invisible* and *because there are people who do not look at things from outside of that box of privilege.*

I signed a contract with DTRPG for 1 year of exclusivity, and that year is not up yet. Once that year is up, I have to wait 6 months to get out of the exclusivity agreement once the decision is made to do so. As a result, right now the books that I have been writing and releasing on DTRPG are going to stay in place. I keep my agreements.

As of now I am in a waiting mode. I believe that my contract comes up for renewal in January, so next July could see me splitting off and going my own way. If works that glorify rape remain. If the censorship program becomes a weapon in culture wars or other kinds of infighting. If the process isn’t clear and concise and specific and on the up and up. If consistency is not applied. If tone policing continues.

We’ll see. I am watching, waiting, taking notes. I’m listening to what others have to say. And I am getting back to the business of writing.

I have deadlines to make – and so does DTRPG.

A new day, a new year of life!

Special thanks to for use of the image
Special thanks to for use of the image

Today is the day I was born. Not a lot of people know this about me, but I was premature by several months. Had to stay in the hospital until September. I believe on some cellular level this taught me to really enjoy every moment of life as much as possible. I try to live in the moment, in the present, as much as possible.

People ask me: don’t you feel old? 48 years is a long time, but I really prefer it to the alternative!

I am very happy to receive the birthday wishes of folks on Facebook and beyond. If you would like to send me a present, just buy one of my books (I promise Forever Diamonds is nearing completion, should have it done before Dragon*Con.)* If have already bought one of my books, go over to DriveThruRPG and leave a review.

I want to personally thank my partner Tabitha for her support throughout the year, and the people in my life who have supported my writing: Skye, Melissa, Alan, CynKitty, Shelia, Robin, Caoimhe, Dave, and many others. Thank you very much! I can’t do this without you.

* Originally I said GenCon, but I meant Dragon*Con. GenCon is in 9 days!