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As a second child I can attest to the fact that the the runner up doesn’t get nearly the love. For example, I was home visiting the family last month and stumbled across my brother’s baby book. The arrival of Mike’s first tooth, first hair cut, first smile (still waiting for that one– oh, snap, Mike!) all documented. Gee, I would love to know what I was wearing when I first learned to roll over or what my favorite flavor of Gerber’s happened to be. But I will never know that information because no one ever documented it.


There’s barely any pictures of me as a baby and the ones that do exist are usually of me accidentally crawling in the background of a picture of Mike. Oh wells. I’m over it. Really. I swear. The ironic thing is that Mike hates having his picture taken now-a-days and I… well… don’t. So there.

My point is, I have a “second child” so-to-speak and she’s not getting half the love as her older sister. Even when I was writing it I did so all secretly and covertly. Half my friends didn’t even know I was writing a second book.

“Why are you always in coffee shops on weekends?” they’d ask. “Do you have a crush on a barrista? Does Bart know?”

He knew, (not about the barrista. NO ONE knows about the barrista) because I drove him crazy with my months of procrastination and subsequent rush, rush, rush to finish the first draft.

“Wow, Buddy,” he’d say. “You cranked that book out in 3 months!”

Right. Even though I had at least 11. Whatevs.

I don’t know why it was harder to write or why I failed to shout from the rooftops that I was writing a second book. I thought I told everyone. Or at least assumed my mom would have. I suspect the reason is because it’s absolutely terrifying. Yep. Paralyzing. Like fingers-immobilized-over-keyboard-scary. Why? I’m guessing because there’s at least a little bit of expectations after having written a first book. We’ve all heard about the sophomore slump. And holy moly, that first book was so easy to write that I had expectations. I feel bad saying that, like “oh look at me! I crank books out during the commercial breaks of my favorite reality TV shows!”

That’s not even close to being true. My reality TV watching drops dramatically when I have a deadline. That’s the real travesty here. Beside TV watching, I had a lot of free time. I wasn’t writing the Dragon column yet. I was all fresh-faced and chockfull of that newbie enthusiasm. And most of all,  I was terrified of missing a deadline and disappointing Chris Perkins. Oh, I also had a really good outline. I guess my 11th grade writing teacher was right. They are kind of important.

We are officially less than 24 hours away from it’s official release date and yes I’m sure people will probably still be surprised to see a Facebook post from me announcing the birth of my second book.

The thing is, it is a big deal! It’s a book baby! And it’s in bookstores! There’s even an eBook version! It comes out tomorrow! Tomorrow! And I should be taking pictures of it sitting there on shelves next to the Neverwinter Campaign Setting and Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Emporium (the only book with a title that rivals mine for length and complexity) and getting postcards printed and mailed to all my friends and family.

Should you see it on a bookshelf near you by all means, judge this book by its cover. It’s pretty fantastic looking. A lot of people put in a lot of work to make it look that good. (Thanks, Matt and Nina!)

So without further ado, and hopefully making up for some of the fanfare this book baby has been missing, weighing in at 7.7 ounces and measuring 8.3 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches, I proudly announce the arrival of Everything I Need to Know I Learned From Dungeons & Dragons! In stores September, 6th, 2011

Welcome book baby! Now please excuse me while I work on your scrapbook.

Shelly Mazzanoble

4 Replies to “My Secret Second Child”

  1. Shelly,
    So proud of you! I got to see the “ultrasound pictures” you kept stashed in your purse at GenCon. Picking up my copy tomorrow. Thanks for all of your hard work and coffee consumption.

    Super Shelly Fan #3,

  2. Dear Shelly,

    I think you are worrying needlessly. By now, I think you have a fan base and a few hordes of admiring readers. You know I check for your blog and column daily, and I am sure many others do as well. Isn’t that kind of the point of it being the second book? You’re Shelly-freakin’-Mazzanoble. There shouldn’t need to be as much fanfare because you are/should be a D&D household name by now. Anyone who read your first book should be buying the second one and telling all their geek and non-geek friends about it.
    Also, I can say from experience that writing your second novel goes faster. Your probably didn’t need the same time to produce the same quality. You’ve done it once already. It should go faster. In theory. Since I’m pontificating slightly, I will agree to disagree with your 11th grade teacher. This is about my 10th year teaching English, and the writing process is different for everyone. Some people work better in consolidated time frames (procrastinaters?), some people need outline (I couldn’t even proceed with referring back to my chapter outline), and some people can write without knowing where their going and end up in well-written, great places (young adult much?). Either way, I am giddy about reading your new book, and I will cut anyone who tries to snatch it first. I will also cut anyone who doesn’t show your book proper props or respect. Pretty much I’d just like to cut someone. Maybe its the teaching… Good luck!

  3. Waiting for it from my local bookstore. Now you understand since you are in the whole fantasy genre that you have to finish the trilogy. Though I think you could pull off a whole campaign setting if you gave it a shot. That would be a fun read and cool to see your name on one of the big hardbound 4th books….

    Can’t wait to read past the first chapter, read that online already!

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