Monthly Archives: March 2017

Favorite Book

hulk thinkOn a podcast interview the other day I mentioned my favorite of my own books. Rather, I MEANT to mention the title of my favorite of the books I’ve written. I think I instead said “my favorite book,” as though I am even more egotistical than you might suspect. I assure you that while I have a healthy dose of self-respect, I don’t think my favorite book is one that I wrote.

But that got me thinking — among all of those I’ve read over many years, do I still have a favorite book? It was much easier to choose when I was a kid. Certainly I can point to ones that used to be favorites, like Swords Against Death or (perhaps unfairly because it’s actually a series, albeit one about the size of single modern doorstop fantasy novel) the first Chronicles of Amber, narrated by Corwin. But do I re-read those anymore? Not for a long while. So then perhaps the favorite is Hour of the Dragon, or some Robert E. Howard collection, or maybe a Leigh Brackett collection of short stories, or maybe a collection of Harold Lamb tales, or James Stoddard’s The High House, or something by Wade Miller or Ben Haas or Raymond Chandler or one of the Parker novels by Donald Westlake/Richard Stark.

The truth is, I don’t know anymore. I have various favorite writers, and favorite books, but I’m not sure I have ONE favorite to rule them all. There’s no single text that I refer to again and again above all others that’s my end-all and be-all perfect example of the way writing ought to be. I suppose it would be cool if there was.

What about you folks? Is there a favorite, or are you more in my camp where there’s a range of favorites?

Link Day

Copyright Darian Jones

Linkman! Copyright Darian Jones

Week 2 of my Spring Cleaning tour continues. I’ve repaired all the horse fence. I’ve still got to get all the weeds and weed trees and vines from off of the back horse fence, clean out the barn, organize the basement, clean a bunch of tile grout, and other mundane things that Asim would never bother telling you about.

I have just a handful of links to share. First, Dark City Games keeps developing their nifty little solo adventure games, and there’s a newish one in their science fiction one available now. It’s been years since I reviewed one (back when Black Gate was a print magazine) but I find them a lot of fun.

Second, over on James Reasoner’s site there was a lengthy discussion of Ki-Gor and Harold Lamb and all sorts of pulp goodness you might find of interest. As a matter of fact, Reasoner’s site is almost always of interest and I myself need to visit more often.

Speaking of interesting sites, my third link is to Frontier Partisans, run by Jim Cornelius, where he celebrated Ben Haas, aka John Benteen, and much discussion of the excellence of Fargo and Sundance commenced. Regular visitors to my own site should know just how much I like the work of Ben Haas.

Right, time to finish breakfast and do daring deeds!


hulk computerI promised myself that I’d do a better job keeping up the blog, but there’s really not much to report. I turned over the “new” novel — new to everyone else, but not me, since I’ve been working on the thing for years — and have taken most of this week to play catch-up on all kinds of house and farm stuff. There’s a bunch of vegetation that’s grown up through the horse fence that I have to cut back or chop down, not to mention the fence itself. And don’t even get me started on all the work I have to do inside, or (sigh) the taxes.

Horses really DO think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, and one of ours routinely leans with his not inconsiderable weight against the upper board. Eventually the board breaks, and then I have to cut a new one to size and replace it, a process that takes 45 minutes ONLY if everything works perfectly. Usually it’s more like an hour and 15 minutes. I spent most of Monday repairing everything currently busted and cast a sad eye on the other boards that are ready to go if he decides to lean on them a few more times…


You always hear about people who win contests, but they don’t seem like real people. Sometimes it feels like they were invented just for the camera, because you rarely meet them in person.

But the other day I picked up some Special K for the wife with a “you can win an XB0x One” ad on the cover. And lo and behold, there was a magic sticker on the inside. We read it and re-read it, making sure it didn’t ACTUALLY say that we were eligible to win, or that we’d won second place or something… but no, we actually had won a new XBox One, which was unexpected and kind of cool. Kellogg’s mailed it to us just yesterday.

So, thanks Kellogg’s! That’s a pretty cool thing. I’ll open it soon and see if it came with any games.

Manuscripts and Tales

skelos 2

Including a new Dabir and Asim story!

I’ve been going through a lot of… stuff lately, so I haven’t had time to update the site.

The good news is that I’ve turned over the final draft of the long-suffering project to my editor and agent. Here’s hoping that book 1 will be appearing next year or maybe even late this year, although we’re running short on time for that. I need to get to revising the second book, although I have to take a couple of weeks and assault the honey-do list.

The other good news is that there’s a new Dabir and Asim story available in the new issue of Skelos, available here. There’s also a whole bunch of other cool looking stuff in the issue that I look forward to reading just as soon as I finish outrunning this boulder.

Of Gates and Sherlock

gate in the seaHere’s a sample chapter for my new Pathfinder book, Through the Gate in the Sea. You want underwater adventure with a daring salvager and her lizard man friend, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve been writing some promo spots for the book in the last few days, the first of which will be going up at Paizo soon. I’ll post a link when it’s ready.

In other news, I finally tried out the Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective game. If you’re not in the know, it has a venerable history. Decades old, it was a co-op game long before those were in vogue, sort of a cross between a choose-your-own adventure book and a, well, I don’t know what else, because it’s pretty unique. At this point it’s gone through a number of editions, complete with hard-to-find expansions and one-offs that drive completists like me crazy (although not as crazy as my pal John O’Neill, because he sometimes finds games in shrink wrap and then won’t dare open them… so has to buy another, the madman).

Secret Projects and the Wish for Style

HJ Sagan TreeMonday I briefly touched upon some secret projects and sparked some speculation. Rather than answering thedarkman’s question on that older post, I thought I’d open by touching upon it today. Yes, one of those secret projects is rich with old school sword-and-sorcery. So much so that your socks are going to be blown off when you get it in your hands. I am grinning with delight every time I think about the quality of the work involved, and the art I’ve seen, and other components, and when the time comes I’ll shout about project x from the rooftops and hope that you’ll help me spread the word about it so it can reach as wide an audience as possible. With a little luck and hard work more and similar things will come to fruition.

Of Gates and Parachutes

parachuteToday’s the day my new Pathfinder book, Through the Gate in the Sea, gets released! Kind of a strange feeling. I wrote it in 2015 and made a final pass through it last summer, so it’s been off my radar for a long while. Now I’ll have to see if I recall how to add books to my book slider on my home page!

I’ve been doing a lot of WWII reading in the last few weeks, as I think I’ve mentioned. One of the true standouts is Parachute Infantry, by David Kenyon Webster. If you watched Band of Brothers, he’s the central character of one of the later episodes. He wrote his memoirs of his time in Easy company after the war but never found a publisher.

Long after Webster’s death Stephen Ambrose read the book and championed its publication. It has a wonderfully engaging, descriptive tone. An immediacy stemming both from emotional honesty and crystal clear prose. That guy could WRITE. The people from the company that he interacts with live again through his words. Don’t believe me? Check out the glowing reviews of the book, because they’re not hyperbole. Highly, highly recommended.

It’s a crime that no one wanted to publish the book in his lifetime.