Monthly Archives: March 2013

Elyana Rides Again

If it’s been quiet here, that’s because you couldn’t hear the sound of my laptop keys clicking away.

I’ve just turned my second Paizo Pathfinder novel over to, you guessed it, Paizo, and I believe it to be a better adventure than the first. That should please those of you who liked the first one (and perhaps, who knows, interest those who were less kindly disposed). Drelm and Elyana’s second adventure is now in the hands of James Sutter. I’m not sure when it will be released — that will depend in part upon how much editing the text requires and what’s in the queue ahead of it.

I’ve been running at deadlines for the better part of a year and a half now, and it’s taken a real toll on my family. So, for the next week, I’m just going to be doing some fun things WITH that family. The kids are getting older. So am I. Going forward I’m going to try to arrange things so that I’m not constantly frantic about some looming deadline.

Links and Elyana Sadrastis

Keeping with ancient tradition (established last Thursday) I have more Links of Interest. PLUS a few updates on my Paizo book, now vacuuming up all of my time.

First, related to my own musings about epic fantasy in the last week or so, John Fultz took a post live earlier in the week that’s brought in some interesting comments from some of my own favorite authors, and it’s probably worth a look. You can find it here.

Second, my friend and fellow author Alex Bledsoe is looking for some footage of the Smokies. For the whys and the specifics and the reward for assistance, visit here.

Third, I dropped by Fictional Frontiers with Sohaib and discussed The Bones of the Old Ones at length. I always have a good time on Fictional Frontiers! The podcast can be found here.

Pedal to the Paizo

I have lots of cool things on my radar, but my blog is apt to be quiet for a bit. There are only a few weeks left before I’m to turn over my second Paizo Pathfinder novel. The rough (in some spots, very rough — like, still needing sanding and primer paint) draft is through and now I’m tightening things up, heightening some description, improving some character moments, etc. I’m liable to be working night and day until that’s all over, which means I won’t have time to play around online.

I know a lot of authors prefer the rough draft process, but, maybe because of all my years as an editor, it’s the outlining stage and the editing stage I actually like the best. Once everything is on the page and the arcs and motivations are in place I can better see exactly what needs to be done.

The tentative title is now Stalking the Beast. I’ve been brainstorming some cover concepts with Paizo’s James Sutter; the new book will probably have a picture of Elyana Sadrastis wailing away on some kind of beastie, because she’s pretty good at that. No dragon this time, though.

Right. Now to breakfast, then to feed horses, then writing/revising.

Link Day

Writing advice is plentiful and so cheap it’s, well, free. But every now and then I stumble upon some well-written counsel. I found some the other day and thought I’d pass it along.

I know little about Teresa Frohock other than what can be found on her About page, but I was much impressed by the words of wisdom she offered to debut author Zachary Jernigan. Follow this link to read ten fine points for new and aspiring writers.

Apparently Thursdays are Link days, because I stumbled on two other interesting articles I wanted to pass along. The first is all about how brainless slime molds navigate mazes. Let me restate that. These are things that don’t have brains, yet they are making decisions. It’s a quick and interesting read.

The Perfect REH Collection

If you’re not a Robert E. Howard fan, then there’s probably not much point in reading this post any further, unless you’re simply curious. If you’ve found that you don’t like REH’s work, though, there’s nothing to see here, so move along. Shoo.

Alright, so now I’m probably mostly sharing this with fans of the stylings of REH, so you probably know that there is, finally, a wealth of material by the man to choose from in print today. For a guy who died so young he was incredibly prolific. I’ve read most of his work several times, and there’s some of it I’ll keep re-reading. Others of it, though, I won’t. For instance, Almuric. Or “The God in the Bowl.” Read it. No second helping required.

I have a long shelf of REH, including a bunch of beat up old paperbacks, all those lovely Del Reys (including the two volume best of), and Conan’s Brethren, which is sort of a “best of” featuring a whole bunch of non-Conan adventure stories. Yet as I look up at that shelf from time to time I think about which stories I would include in my very own Best Of collection.

For starters, I’d want it in one volume. And much as I enjoy and appreciate some of the stories in other genres Howard wrote for, it’s his adventure stories that really tick my clock. I don’t read and re-read “Pigeons From Hell” every few years but I darned well pull down Howard’s historicals with some frequency, or his James Allison tales, or “The Gray God Passes.” And a lot of Conan. You get the idea.

Step One

I had been writing fantasy and science fiction for years before it finally dawned on me that if I was really serious about it I really ought to understand its roots. This was some time in my late 20s, right before the birth of my first child. For many years I threw myself into an exploration of great or influential (occasionally both) and frequently obscure fantasy fiction from the mothers and fathers of fantasy. I dove deep, and by the time I came up for air I had learned an awful lot. I do recommend understanding the ground on which we stand so that writers can better understand how to move forward.

However, I recently realized that while I was reading all that old stuff– some of which was cool, a little of which I loved so much I moved it to my favorites list, and a lot of which was turgid or simply not my cuppa — I was NOT reading a whole generation of literature that had a tremendous influence on a lot of my peers writing today. For instance, I missed out on the whole Robert Jordan thing. By the time I was through with my scholarly investigations, word was out that Jordan had begun to stretch those middle volumes, so I never dipped in.It might be that I would have gotten hooked enough that I’d be frantically reading the Sanderson/Jordan volumes like many of the rest of you.