Monthly Archives: April 2015

Rabbit Holes and Writing Notebooks

Cute White Rabbit leaving burrowMost of us can be defined in part by our obsessions, those things we’ve spent immense amounts of our lives practicing or researching or observing or collecting. The older we get, the more interests we’ve accumulated, or practiced and discarded. Some obsessions we continue to explore, others go by the way side, and some linger on the back burner to be occasionally re-ignited, as my own interest in The Beatles was when  I finally read The Beatles Anthology this winter.

I really threw myself down that particular rabbit hole. I already knew a LOT about The Beatles, but when I climbed back out and wiped the dirt off I knew so much I was a little dismayed. And yet there are people who know EVEN MORE.

Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison, John LennonTake any given topic you love and the odds are that there’s someone out there who knows more about it, probably to a frightening degree. The Internet makes it very easy to search out and discover everything you want to know (probably beyond that) about any subject. And if you’re not careful, you might find you’ve fallen into someone else’s rabbit hole.

My New Book

beyondpoolstarsMy new book, Beyond the Pool of Stars, is now available for pre-order at Amazon, although it won’t be in stores until October. I’ve been in love with the cover art since I saw a sketch of it last summer, but I can’t find mention of the artist’s name — something I’ll correct just as soon as I can this week.

Here’s the current draft of the back cover copy, from Paizo:

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, Mirian has to take over his last job: a dangerous expedition into deep jungle pools, helping a tribe of lizardfolk reclaim the lost treasures of their people. Yet this isn’t any ordinary job, as the same colonial government that looks down on Mirian for her half-native heritage has an interest in the treasure, and the survival of the entire nation may depend on the outcome…

Return to The Desert of Souls

Desert ZeusEvery once in a while nice surprises float up from the ‘net. I just read an enthusiastic new review of The Desert of Souls from a mystery review site, and there’s discussion in the comments page wondering if there are to be more stories about Dabir and Asim.

Well… Sooner or later there probably will be. Certainly my wife would love me to write more, because she likes Dabir and Asim more than any other characters I’ve ever used, even the ones I’m writing about now. At the least, I’ll one day write a third novel and resolve what happens between Dabir and the love of his life, from whom he was separated at the end of the first book. Maybe I’ll launch it as a Kickstarter or something.

Swords And Wizardry Appreciation Day: Heroic Dueling

SW-Appr-Day-LogoTo celebrate the official Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day April 17th I thought I’d share some combat rules I’ve been experimenting with, intended for use with the Swords & Wizardry based game Crypts & Things. If you’re new to the site, welcome. If you’re a regular visitor who’s not a gamer, be warned — your eyes are likely to glaze over if you try to read further.

If you’re a regular visitor who games I hope you’ll follow this link to check out essays about Swords & Wizardry, not to mention some sales and giveaway contests.

Heroic Dueling

These rules are designed for those climatic moments when the hero faces off against the big bad – so long as that villain is more or less human sized and wielding weapons.

Mind Meld and Memories

candleI’m over at SFSignal today with a number of authors, Mind Melding about cities in science fiction and fantasy, and epic road trips. You can probably predict that I mentioned Amber, Lankhmar, and Baghdad.

On a more somber note, I’ve been mourning a childhood friend, dead now for 18 years. We hadn’t stayed in touch very well after high school, but I’m certain we would have reconnected in the years following. God alone knows exactly what artistic career he would have ended up choosing with his in-born talent and drive, but I’m certain he would have prospered. I like to think Jon and I would have joined forces and worked together on some projects.

Good Conduct… and Confusion

kowalMary Robinette Kowal, in her intelligent, well-mannered way, has launched the most even-handed discussion of the recent Hugo debacle that I’ve yet read. Admittedly, I haven’t scoured the web to read EVERY essay or report about the current mess, but I’ve remained up to date. You can find Mary’s essay here, and the remarks in the comments section are worth reading as well, for most of the contributors from both sides of the debate remain respectful.

I use the term “both sides” loosely, because there’s not truly an either/or divide, as much as some would like to believe, or would like others to believe. I appreciate that Mary recognizes this.

Swords Against Death Re-Read: “Thieves’ House”

lankhmar 7Bill 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 third tale in the volume, “Thieves’ House.”

Howard: I see now why I remembered this one so fondly. Consider the following ingredients: a twisting maze in a building so old that even its inhabitants don’t know all of its secrets: trap doors, secret passages, action, mayhem, a beautiful dancing girl, treasure, horror…