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    The Desert of Souls

    Monday, August 13, 1066

    In 8th century Baghdad, a stranger pleads with the vizier to safeguard the bejeweled tablet he carries, but he is murdered before he can explain. Charged with solving…

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    The Bones of the Old Ones

    Monday, August 13, 1066

    As a snowfall blankets 8th century Mosul, a Persian noblewoman arrives at the home of the scholar Dabir and his friend the swordsman Captain Asim. Najya has escaped…

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    The Waters of Eternity

    Monday, August 13, 1066

    Venture into the time of the Arabian Nights with stalwart Captain Asim and the brilliant Dabir as they hunt an unseen killer that craves only the eyes of…

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    Plague of Shadows

    Monday, August 13, 1066

    In the third official novel in Paizo’s Pathfinder Tales line, the race is on to free Lord Stelan from the grip of a wasting curse, and only Elyana,…

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    Stalking the Beast

    Monday, August 13, 1066

      When a mysterious monster carves a path of destruction across the southern River Kingdoms, desperate townsfolk look to the famed elven ranger Elyana and her half-orc companion…

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Mar
30

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Sword & Sorcery Musings

cryptsIt seems that all I do with my writing anymore these days is revise. Back when I was writing in my teens and twenties I used to just keep picking away at the first three or four chapters of a work and never advance. Recently it seems like I get the first three or four chapters working pretty well but then take too long getting to the good stuff. No more. Just as I prefer streamlined role-playing game systems I’ve decided to strip away any sense of the padding I hate and get to the good bits right up front.

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Mar
27

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Swords Against Death Re-Read: “The Jewels in the Tower”

lankhmar 5Bill Ward and I  are re-reading a book from Fritz Leiber’s famous Lankhmar series, Swords Against Death. We hope you’ll pick up a copy and join us. This week we tackled the second tale in the volume, “The Jewels in the Forest.”

Howard: Coming upon “The Jewels in the Forest” for the first time in a quarter century was like sitting down at a warm campfire to hear a favorite tale. I recalled the gist of the events, but it didn’t keep me from enjoying the story all the way through. I was soon swept up into the adventure. It didn’t matter that I recalled the bones of the plot; the mystery beguiled me.  Read More

Mar
20

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Swords Against Death Re-Read: “The Circle Curse”

lankhmar 3In the coming weeks Bill Ward and I  are re-reading a book from Fritz Leiber’s famous Lankhmar stories, Swords Against Death. We hope you’ll pick up a copy and join us. This week we tackled the first tale in the volume. “The Circle Curse” is really more of a prologue than a proper story.

Howard: When I first read “The Circle Curse” I was 14 or 15 years old and it left me wanting. So wanting that I probably would have stopped reading the book if the story hadn’t been so short. I had opened Swords Against Death expecting to be transported into adventure, and what I got in “The Circle Curse” was more the summary of several adventures, a whole lot of wandering, and a little moping. I loved the rest of the book and re-read it multiple times, but I have never, ever revisited this first story until now.

If you’re not already familiar with Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser this is a cold start. It doesn’t really tell a proper story, it just fills in the gaps between what happened between “Ill Met in Lankhmar” and the collection of tales here. And that’s perfectly fine, I suppose, if you’re reading them in sequence. Maybe readers need something to tell them what happened between adventures. I would have preferred a few more tales to tell me rather than this summary, but even creative geniuses don’t always give you what you want. Read More

Mar
16

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On Conan and Writing

Conan_and_the_Emerald_LotusFollowing on a great post by Fletcher Vredenburgh about Karl Edward Wagner’s Bran Mak Morn novel (over at Black Gate), I decided to update my own post on Conan pastiche. I’ve read, or tried to read, a lot more imitation Conan since I wrote the document and thought it high time to update the thing.

My own writing proceeds apace. Onward and upward. It looks like final changes are finished on my next Pathfinder novel, coming this fall (through Tor!).

I’m not sure when For the Killing of Kings will be released through Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s, but it’s looking more and more like it will be this coming winter. First, though, I have to finish this revision. I’m shooting to have that draft complete by the end of April. On a long trip recently I started reworking the outline for the second book and am so excited with it I’m having to restrain myself from jumping into work on it right now.

Mar
13

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Swords Against Death Re-Read: Introduction

lankhmar 3In the coming weeks Bill Ward and I  are going to re-read a book from Fritz Leiber’s famous Lankhmar stories, Swords Against Death. We hope you’ll pick up a copy and join us. This week, so that you’ll have a little time to get on board, we’re just providing an overview.

Howard: Mid-way through junior high I’d read a whole lot of science fiction but very few fantasy books and no sword-and-sorcery. I’d been playing a whole lot of Dungeons & Dragons, though, and one day I read the famed Appendix R and decided to explore its recommended fantasy reading.

Unfortunately, when I went to the library it proved woefully empty of nearly everything on the list. The used bookstore ended up being my salvation, although, owing to chance, all they had that first day was one Fritz Leiber book, which meant I didn’t actually read Robert E. Howard — sword-and-sorcery’s originator — until I was well into my twenties.

Bill: This closely parallels my own experience, and it was D&D that introduced me to Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser long before I ever read any of their stories. Books were just hard to find, even if you knew what you were looking for. I didn’t get to Conan until I was thirty, and Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser sometime after that! My luck was to find Elric in my late teens and early twenties, probably because they were all being reprinted and the old Daws also seemed easy to find at the only used bookstore I knew about at the time. Read More

Hardboiled Monday

Hard Boiled Monday: You Play the Black and the Red Comes Up

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

As with preceding Hardboiled Mondays, Chris Hocking and I are working our way down the master list in alphabetical order. Details and the list are here. And earlier discussions are here….

Hardboiled Monday: Mike Dime and Stickman

Monday, December 15, 2014

As with preceding Hardboiled Mondays, Chris Hocking and I are working our way down the master list in alphabetical order. Details and the list are here. And earlier discussions are here….

Hardboiled Monday: The Mouse in the Mountain

Monday, December 1, 2014

As with preceding Hardboiled Mondays, Chris Hocking and I are working our way down the master list in alphabetical order. Details and the list are here. And earlier discussions are here….

Hardboiled Monday: The Last Good Kiss

Monday, November 17, 2014

As with preceding Hardboiled Mondays, Chris Hocking and I are working our way down the master list in alphabetical order. Details and the list are here. And earlier discussions are here….

Hardboiled Monday: Quarry

Monday, November 3, 2014

As with preceding Hardboiled Mondays, Chris Hocking and I are working our way down the master list in alphabetical order. Details and the list are here. And earlier discussions are here….