Monthly Archives: May 2013

Link Day

My writer friend Jon Sprunk just posted something of interest for Heroic Fantasy fans. Drop by and take a look here.

And don’t forget The Bear Necessities. This is the version I listened to in the 70s, and it’s a real trip. I actually like it better than the movie version. You have to imagine that Baloo the Bear is touring in Vegas. I’d say that it’s so bad that it’s good, which is kind of true — except that the guy on the Hammond B3 is really kicking butt, and I love the guitar licks. Cheesy fun.


A Meal to Remember

I was so busy last week that I completely forgot to mention my guest post over at Lawrence M. Schoen’s site, for his Eating Authors column.

It is not, as you might suppose, a column for cannibals, but a place for authors to talk about their favorite foods or meals. I regaled readers with a story of Persian chicken and hallucinating deer, if you want to take a look. There are any number of other tales from numerous authors, so poke around a little when you drop by.

Jousting in Tennessee

No, I didn’t go jousting, but the family and I, along with family friend Bruce Wesley, drove down to Murfreesboro south of Nashville and wandered about the Renaissance Festival. It was a little more crowded than we’d seen in previous years, which made it more like the Line Fair than the Renaissance Fair, but hopefully that means it will just expand and host more merchants next year.

We toured Castle Gwynn (yes, a real castle, hand built since the 1970s by a hard working man with a dream), got to pick up a Crusader sword found on the field of Acre (for real, and it was astonishing how light it was). And I met an Ent!

Me and an Ent.

Fields of Glory

This last week I’ve remained hard at work on my secret project, and when not writing I’ve been hard at work playing a computer game titled Fields of Glory.

I used to have almost no willpower when it came to computer games. If it was on my computer, then I played it. That’s why until just this week I’ve stayed away from them for years. Instead, in my downtime, what I did was read reviews of great looking tactical board games, and buy them, and ask for them as presents, and then accumulate them in my closet… and never play them. It was sort of pitiful and ridiculous, really.

I was so far removed from the field of computer gaming I had no idea how excellent tactical ancient games had become. Now that I know, I think I’m giving all of that boardgame accumulation up, and selling most of it off.

Field Commander: Napoleon

I REALLY like this game. The last few evenings, rather than reading, I’ve been conquering various parts of Europe or North Africa in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century.

Field Commander: Napoleon is a solo war game from Dan Verssen Games. I traded an earlier copy of it away, thinking it wouldn’t be tactical enough for me to enjoy. But I ended up regretting the exchange and traded for another. I’m glad I did. The game simulates both strategy and tactics during the age of Napoleon… which, oddly enough, has never especially interested me. It’s ancient history that I truly enjoy. Yet this game is an awful lot of fun.

There are a lot of adventure novels out there with complex battle scenes that aren’t very well described,or thought out (or simply devolve to a siege — although I should say that there also are  some great novels about sieges). I’ve spent a lot of time over the years reading about ancient campaigns, but reading is one thing. Actually testing out the strategies and moving armies and units around in a system that simulates a battle or a campaign is a pretty nifty way to get an even better grasp of what a story might require, or how a general might marshal troops.

I still mean to write some thoughts about the Dickens novels I read; and soon I’ll probably go into more detail about why, in particular, I enjoy this game. For the next few evenings, though, I”m likely to be busy playing the game rather than writing about it.

Some more details about Field Commander: Napoleon, as well as some reviews (including at least one video review) can be found over at its official Boardgamegeek page.

Finding Balance

If you’re a regular site visitor it might seem that I suddenly dropped off the Earth. I know I’m always curious when a site I like stops having regular updates. Has the person running it moved on to other things? Is the person alright?

In my case, I’m just trying to find  a little more balance in my life. For the last few years I’ve spent a lot of time running from deadline to deadline. I’m trying, now, not to be writing morning, noon, and night, and the weird thing is that I’m still getting quite a lot of good work done.

Over the last few weeks I’ve written about 25 thousand words on a new secret project. I’ve finally gotten around to reading David Copperfield, which I liked well enough that I read a second Dickens novel, Bleak House. Now I’m reading Mary Robinette Kowal’s Glamour in Glass (up for a number of awards) and my old friend Joe McCullough’s Dragonslayers. And over the weekend I finally sat down to try my hand at the solo wargame Field Commander: Napoleon. It’s even more fun than I had hoped (although I haven’t figured out how to beat the Egyptian campaign yet!)

That’s not all, though. I’m also spending more time with my wife and children– playing music with them and playing games and watching movies as a family. I am enjoying life, and it is good.

That pic up at page top is the cover image for my upcoming Paizo Pathfinder novel, Stalking the Beast. I don’t yet have the information on the artist, or I’d post it, and will do so as soon as I am able. If you click on it, you can see a larger version.