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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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    Beyond the Pool of Stars

    Monday, June 25, 1066

    Mirian Raas comes from a long line of salvagers, adventurers who use magic to dive for sunken ships off the coast of tropical Sargava. When her father dies,…

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Sep
20

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Farm Life

Big RedOne evening this spring while I was finishing up some yard work I spotted a fox slinking through our pasture. If you don’t keep chickens you might not know that foxes love chickens. When we first got started raising chickens we lost a number to clever foxes, who are in on the secret that chickens are delicious. Our birds are free range, but we keep a dog in part to protect the chickens, and we keep the birds inside a coop in the barn except when it’s full daylight.

As it happened, though, dusk was on the way and I hadn’t yet done anything with the chickens because I’d been trying to finish some work on the fence. The dog was inside because she hadn’t been keeping far enough away from the mower. My wife ran to get the dog and I sprinted to find the chickens, only to discover that our rooster was already rounding them up and herding them into the barn.

Roosters really only have one job, and that’s to watch over the chickens. Most roosters don’t manage even that. They just stand around crowing, constantly, and just as constantly mating with the hens. Big Red, though, actually took pride in his job. In my experience there’s not a whole lot of personality difference between chickens, and I haven’t really formed many attachments with them. Big Red was far and away my favorite. You can’t help but respect someone who’s good at their job, even if he’s a chicken. I saw him herd the chickens several times when stray dogs wandered onto our property. Read More

Sep
18

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Writing Tests

Jake Parker "A Fireside Story"

Jake Parker “A Fireside Story”

A while back I talked about one of the questions I ask myself to make sure I’m on the right track, and that’s the Doctor McCoy test. 

Sometimes I think about another one, though, and that’s the “Grandparent at the Fireside” test. The idea is that the grandparent is at the fireside telling a story. As he or she is telling the story, there will be questions from young listeners. Sometimes, of course, young listeners have an agenda or want to take over the story, so for the sake of the test I pretend that the questions are coming from an intelligent listener.  Read More

Sep
15

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Linking to Brackett

Matthew, this is a Gorn. Note opposable thumbs.

Matthew, this is a Gorn. Note opposable thumbs.

Hocking pointed me towards something of a celebration of Leigh Brackett the other day on a site titled Glorious Trash. Seems like it’s a pretty cool site to poke around at, too. Joe Kennedy sat down to read both versions of “The Secret of Sinharat,” which is something I always meant to do, and then compared them in an essay, which is something I always meant to do. And he loved them, which is something I’ve always done.

Even if you haven’t fallen in love with the work of Leigh Brackett, you can get a sense of what a great writer she was if you swing by for a visit. And poke around a while there, because there’s other cool stuff to be found as well.

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Sep
13

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Catching Up

sleestakBehind the scenes work on the first issue of Tales From the Magician’s Skull continues, and continues to please me. I can hardly wait for the Kickstarter to launch, but there are a few pieces still sliding into place. I’ll keep you posted.

Work continues on the book, and I’ve seen the initial draft of the cover, and boy am I mightily pleased. It’s so good I will one day change my site header.

Bill Ward and I are finally starting work on our Corum re-read, so if any of you regular visitors want to get in on the read with us, I hope you’ve found your copies of Michael Moorcock’s first Corum trilogy. As busy as things are here I’m still not sure when we’ll start that read through, but it will be soon.

Also, watch out for sleestaks. Lately they’ve been sighted on the edge of my property. Sometimes they send spam offering to write articles for my site that will link back to theirs, but who wants to be involved with that, right? In the end they’ll just want my pylon crystals, or maybe they want to devour human flesh. I was never entirely clear on that.

And now, I must away. Those words aren’t going to write or edit themselves.

Sep
11

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Revisiting Universe R

cosmos alexandriaMany moons ago, back when I blogged as BG_Editor (that’s Black Gate editor), I took a little trip to Universe R. I talked about that trip in an article I wrote for Steven Silver, but I’ve never mentioned it on this blog, and I thought it time.

When it comes to the parallel universes we visit in speculative fiction, some of my personal favorites are the ones where Rome never fell, the one where Spock has a goatee, and Universe R.

I imagine a lot of you have thought about it. It’s that place where great artistic works were never lost. It’s the land where overlooked, forgotten, or under appreciated poets, playwrights, authors, and artists were encouraged and celebrated and lived on to craft more work. I don’t mean the egoverse where you’re the top of the charts or have written a chain of bestsellers – this universe is for the artists you wish had gotten a better deal. Universe R can’t be completely logical, of course. For instance, I’ve been lamenting the destruction of the Library of Alexandria since I first learned of it – and especially after I saw Carl Sagan walking through it in Cosmos – but if the Library of Alexandria had survived, we’d probably be further along with a lot of developments and some of the later artists who prospered in Universe R might not ever have been born. You can’t worry about Universe R making that kind of logical sense or the whole thing falls apart. Read More

Writing

Writing Tests

Monday, September 18, 2017

A while back I talked about one of the questions I ask myself to make sure I’m on the right track, and that’s the Doctor McCoy test.  Sometimes…

Appendix N and Fantasy Exploration

Friday, August 25, 2017

While I’d been introduced to fantasy fiction when my mom read me The Hobbit, it was Dungeons & Dragons that sent me exploring for more of it. Appendix…

Previews

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Yesterday I got to see some thumbnail sketches of covers for my upcoming novel, and I have to tell you, that was pretty cool. This book is starting…

Book on the Way

Monday, July 31, 2017

My posts may be a little spare in the coming weeks as I put pedal to the metal and start revision of the first novel of my new trilogy…

Novel Writing and Pulp

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Hocking sent me a link to a site the other day that might be of interest to a lot of my regular visitors — although as I live…