Not much new to report here. I’m head down over a new manuscript but super busy with home stuff at the same time. I’ve been reading a lot of great RPG supplements I’ll tell you about when I get to catch my breath, and I remain super excited about some board games I’ve been perusing/playing. Alas, covering all of these things in the detail they deserve takes more time than I currently have. So I’ll simply leave you with this:
A few months ago I pulled down my old Conan paperbacks to re-read what I’d remembered as a pretty decent pastiche, de Camp’s “Halls of the Dead.” The bones of the story were pretty good, most likely because they were from a very detailed outline Robert E. Howard himself had set down (now popularly known as “the Nestor fragment”). But man, was the execution terrible.
And in the past few months I’ve been exposed to more de Camp pastiche than ever as I worked through various Savage Sword of Conan volumes. On the whole, they’re just not very good, even in outline form.
The only exception I suppose I have is when de Camp changed names and settings in one El Borak story and turned it into a Conan tale. Even that isn’t entirely successful — until it makes its way into comic form in a Savage Sword story, at which point, in the hands of Buscema and Thomas “Sons of the White Wolf” kicks an awful lot of sword-and-sorcery butt.
Do any of you enjoy the de Camp and Carter pastiches? If so, which ones?
Well, my energy’s approaching normal again, but I remain super busy. So while I have a moment to think about the web site, I still don’t have time to tackle a couple of cool subjects I’ve been planning.
Instead, here’s some Friday links, courtesy of Link Man!
First, here’s an interview I held with the talented Peadar O’Guilin about his new novel, The Call.
Second, here’s a link to an upcoming sword-and-sorcery audio book that looks pretty cool.
Third, I received a copy of the first issue of Skelos magazine and can hardly wait to get started reading it. If you’ve been living under a rock, you may not have heard that there’s a new fantasy/horror/sword-and-sorcery mag out there. Here, go read more.
First, I’m proud to announce that after years of practice, I’ve finally qualified for my second degree black belt. Hopefully this level of fitness will help delay the ravages of middle age!
Second, I’ve just had an article published in REH: Two-Gun Raconteur on one of my favorite, and under-appreciated, Robert E. Howard stories. You can check it out, along with a bevy of great articles, at the link.
Third, the sleep issues seem finally to be settling down. Fingers crossed that it’s finally under control!
Here’s the highlights reel from the last few days:
1. Finally saw “Stranger Things,” and found it almost as good as I’d been promised it would be. Those actors were fantastic, and the pacing and script were excellent. Highly recommended — unless you work with traumatized kids, in which case maybe not. I deliberately had kept from learning anything about the plot, so wasn’t able to forewarn my wife, who was having some tough times by the end of episode three.
I’m happy to announce that with some medicinal aid I’ve managed to get three decent nights of sleep in a row. Not great, but decent, and even that feels amazing. I don’t want to become dependent on sleep-aids, so after a week I’m going to taper off and see if I have “reset” into some kind of normalcy.
I knew the sleep dep was having an effect on my writing, but I didn’t quite realize how severe it was. I made some changes to a chapter last week, and when my wife was looking it over Sunday night she was flabbergasted. Almost ever change had made things worse. Sometimes I had actually added two or three instances of word echo to a paragraph rather than, you know, eliminating them. It was sort of like allowing Jethro Bodine to perform brain surgery.
Anyway, on to cheerier things. I hope to announce soon that I’ve signed a contract for a new series. It’s taken a long time for the contract to move through the system. Even though I’m 98% certain everything will go through, I don’t want to prematurely announce what I expect to happen.
I know I’ve mentioned before that I sometimes suffer from sleep issues, but boy, have they been kicking my butt for almost half the year. Currently it’s easy for me to GET to sleep at least, so I’ve solved ONE problem, but staying that way is an entirely different issue. Right now I’m waking up three or four times every night for no discernible reason. Thankfully I don’t have much trouble getting back to sleep, but it still means I’m not exactly feeling refreshed every morning. Every time I think I’m on the mend I have another series of lousy nights.
Probably what I need to do is take some over the counter meds that will knock me out and see if that gets me back into the habit of a full night’s sleep. The newest trick, going to bed earlier, has helped, but hasn’t solved the issue.
The result of prolonged sleep deprivation means more struggle with finding the right word when writing, less inspiration, a shorter fuse, and less energy. I fade quickly come evening time, and mornings are dreadful. I’ve had to let down some friends. I’d promised to help them with projects and either delivered late or simply had to bail out because I’ve had no extra energy to give. Regular site visitors might note the lack of blog entries, which is another symptom. When I have so little energy, even a couple of quick notes can feel like a challenge.
The darnedest thing is that I’m otherwise in pretty good health for a man my age. I mean, in two weeks I’m testing for my second degree black belt
Anyway, if you happen to see Morpheus, tell him to go easier on me, will you?
File this one under “things you never expect.” I received an alert the other day that my first novel, The Desert of Souls, had been mentioned somewhere out there on the interwebs, and lo and behold my name was invoked in a positive way with Salman Rushdie. My friend Saladin Ahmed was mentioned in the very same sentence — the three of us and a few others were singled out as the “best such works published since 2011” in reference to adult fantasy with Middle-Eastern roots.
So, that was cool, and I’m grateful for the mention by writer Samuel Montgomery-Blinn. I’m delighted to hear that somewhere out there folks are still enjoying The Desert of Souls. I hope some day to write more books about my Arabian heroes (beyond The Bones of the Old Ones, I mean). First, though, I have to finish the books I’m currently writing and revising…
Mornings around here have changed. I’ve continued to suffer from sleep issues, which means I drag, and so I’ve been adopting new patterns to try and help. For instance, rather than sitting down and slowly notwriting while I eat breakfast and surf for way more news than even interests me, as soon as my wife leaves I go clean the horse stalls in the morning, then eat breakfast. It gets the blood moving and wakes me up, but it means I’m not plunked in front of the laptop until 10:15 or 10:30, by which time I don’t feel like I’ve got enough time for any kind of lengthy blog post.
I’m allegedly reading War and Peace in the evenings, but I’ve only managed 40 pages. What with the sleep issues, I’m pretty zonked by 8:00 in the evening or so, and a story from The Savage Sword of Conan omnibus collection I own feels much more like my speed.