Monday, January 12, 2004


Part of the reason for this entry is reassure the other members of my writer's group that I have navigated safely home from Redmond after three margaritas and way too many diet cokes. But its also a chance to let the rest of the world know about the Alliterates, or rather the West Coast Alliterates.

The first Alliterates writer's group was founded by Robert J. King in the Lake Geneva, Wisconsin area, and is still a going concern. Its always been eight members, meeting at a local house or just as often a local bar, such as the Jury Room in Elkhorn. The web site, updated about once every two months or so, is here, and all those who have been midwestern members are listed at that site.

Almost all the Allits were TSR authors, designers, or editors, and the common experience continues to this day. But we do grow up and move on, and a number of us are no longer in the Wisconsin area. Thomas Reid is now in Texas, and Steve Winter, myself, and Dave Gross ( also known as Frabjous Dave) are in the Seattle area. After much goofing around, the three of us (with Dave as the driving force) chose to form a West Coast Branch of the team and continue the tradition.

The West Coast gang numbers seven - the Three Former Wisconsin Allits, plus Wolf "The Monkey King" Baur, Stan! "The Stannex" Brown, Magic author Jess LeBow and former Paizo honcho Johnny Wilson. We get together once a month, though unlike the Midwestern branch, we have yet to find a regular meeting place - candidates to date have included such diverse places as the Whistle Stop, The Giant's Causeway, the Conor Byrne Pub, and the Rendezvous. Last night it was Big Time Pizza in Redmond, a nice place with good food across the street from a Half-Price Bookstore. Johnny didn't make this one and Steve was late due to a family commitment, but everyone else was there.

What happens there? We drink, eat, and talk. We used to smoke cigars, but there are former smokers and allergic folk in both teams, so that practice has fallen by the wayside. We talk about a number of things - industry gossip, movies (Dave is a bug for foreign and indy films), job opportunities, our lives, and our work. In particularly our work. On a good month, one or two of the gang will bring something in and the rest of the guys will draw their long knives and critique it.

This particular evening was a bumper crop. Stan!, Wolf, and I all have short stories due for an upcoming anthology (More on that as we go forward). Dave had the opening chapters of his next Forgotten Realms novel for WotC. A lot of the gang come from a editing background, so line edits are in their blood. It was a really productive evening - I got a lot of good stuff for my revision, Wolf and Stan have solid entries, and Dave has probably one of the best prologues for an FR book I've read in several years (which does the task of foreshadowing and bringing the reader up to speed while at the same time providing a wonderful little vignette of the Realms). No blood was spilled, though a lot of red ink dripped from the pages by the end of the evening.

All in all a very productive night, though I am exhausted. And so to bed.

More later,