As I make final choices for the contents of the third issue of Tales From the Magician’s Skull I took a couple of weeks off novel writing and have been working furiously on some short stories. Between books is about the only time I have anymore to draft short fiction. I’d thought I might get three or four, but one of them proved a really tough not to crack, and took me down multiple dead ends and many false starts. But yesterday I finally finished a draft of the third (chronologically) Hanuvar story. I’m nearly done revising a fourth, although there’s a rough of a fifth on my computer as well. Those last two don’t fall into the same chronological sequence.
I’d hoped to finish a new Dabir and Asim story that’s about two thirds complete, but it may have to wait for another break. It’s time to get to work outlining the third novel of my new trilogy, and it’s just about time to start gearing up for the big promotional push on book 1. Ugh. Promotions.
Today, though, I take a rare day off. Seems like every day lately, even weekends, I’ve had lots of work. Not that I mind the work. I just haven’t been able to game. In just a few minutes my friend Dean Brown, all around great guy and talented game designer (B-17 Leader is his) is coming by for a visit. Seems like I’ve known him for years now, but we’ve never met in person. We’re going to take a day and just wargame. Should be a grand time!
First, having just re-read “Queen of the Black Coast,” I recently revisited observations Bill Ward and I had about an earlier re-read. Bill knocked this one out of the park.
Second, Bill and I looked at a great Brackett story, “The Moon That Vanished.” We’d meant to analyze more, but we’ve both gotten pretty busy.
Lastly, here’s a post I penned back in 2013 discussing and contrasting the way Jack Vance and Robert E. Howard depicted women in their fiction. I don’t want to spoil the post, but I have to say that after binge reading a huge amount of Vancian fiction I hold even more strongly to my conclusions, and came away with some rather icky observations about some plot preferences Vance liked to return to again and again. And I don’t think they were employed, like some Robert E. Howard features, because he knew it would get him a cover. (If you’re not in the know, REH figured out that if he wanted a cover illustration for Weird Tales, the editor would be highly inclined to give him one if he put a whipping scene in the story. I can’t say for sure whether that actually meant more sales, or if it’s something that editor really enjoyed.) For all that I love Vance’s amazing world and culture building, he repeatedly has young women, just barely mature, being raped. Sometimes it’s depicted as “lighthearted” and one time it preceded the woman’s death.
But my copy of Corsair Leader, courtesy of a Kickstarter campaign I joined, is finally here. It’s been a blast looking through all the pieces and starting my rules skim. While cleaning various parts of the house I’ve listened to some reviews and half-watched some playthroughs. I hope to be able to try it out soon.
I also stumbled onto some really nice video overviews of solitaire wargames courtesy of The Player’s Aid. Here’s a link to their discussion of simpler solitaire wargames, and here’s a link to more complex ones. They discuss a lot of games I like, own, or have owned, or am interested in owning.
They don’t discuss my three favorites, Ambush!, B-17 Leader, and Lock ‘n Load Tactical. But there are SO many solitaire games available these days that they couldn’t possibly cover them all (and Ambush! is long out of print anyway). We’re really in a boardgame renaissance right now, and that includes solitaire games.
At long last the official web page of the new book imprint I work for has launched, although it’s more of a starter page. There are ambitious plans afoot for what the web site will contain. You can see the beginnings of it here, and if you click around you’ll find a brilliant essay by the brilliant Bill Ward. He’s written a number of essays for the site, and so has the equally brilliant Ryan Harvey, but in its primal form the web site is only showing a few pieces. Nor does it permit comments on the article page, but it will eventually.
You can also see an excerpt from John Chris Hocking’s second Conan novel, Conan and the Living Plague.
While many with the imprint are in Frankfurt this week, I’m editing some more Conan work. And I’m also revisiting some Conan pastiche. I’d never read Conan and the Grim Grey God by Sean Moore all the way through, and you know what, it’s pretty good. I don’t think he quite got some of the feel right, but he comes really, really close. This one of his is definitely going on my best of pastiche list. If the poor fellow hadn’t died so young I’d definitely be pushing to reach out to him for more work.
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