Monthly Archives: July 2017

Book on the Way

hulk thinkMy posts may be a little spare in the coming weeks as I put pedal to the metal and start revision of the first novel of my new trilogy from my editor’s notes. We had the second of several scheduled discussions on the book this morning and I’m going to be pretty busy addressing those probably up to the time I head off for GenCon in mid August. The good thing is that these are great comments and will make the book much stronger. The bad thing is that I’ll have to step away from finishing book 2, which will mean a delay in getting it done.

But I love the sound of having the first one complete to my satisfaction and started on the long treadmill that will see it on bookstore shelves.

I think I’ve decided that I DO want to hold a Corum re-read on the site. I just have to decide how soon, because I’m not sure I’ll have time to pen lengthy analysis of the books while my brain is so tightly focused on one kind of writing.

Links and Sundry

AgricolaThe brief interchange here on the site (and the much longer one on Facebook) about the Michael Moorcock Corum books Wednesday has me thinking about a web site re-read of the series. I’m in the midst of too many projects, as usual, but I thought I’d gauge interest about joining me for a Chronicles of Corum read-along. I already know that there’s some interest on FB — what about from my site visitors?

Remembering Corum

CorumI’ve spent a lot of time talking about how I discovered sword-and-sorcery, and how I went to the local library, then the local bookstore, then the local used bookstore, before I found ANYTHING listed in the famed Appendix N at the back of the DM’s Guide. This was the very early 1980s, when I was still in junior high and riding my bicycle all over the city.

I couldn’t latch onto much of anything from that recommended reading list except, in the library, some Zelazny. Every regular visitor knows about my love for a lot of Zelazny work. The used bookstore had Leiber’s Swords Against Death, for which I am eternally grateful. And they ALSO had three beat up paperbacks by Michael Moorcock.


Adventure coversI wanted to share a treasure unique to my work space. To the left is a frame of three Adventure magazine covers. A few of you may know that I purchased much of my Harold Lamb pulp collection from the widow of Dr. John Drury Clark, some time writer, perhaps best known by some as one of the co-writers of a letter to Robert E. Howard that inspired him to write an overview of Conan’s career.

Like Robert E. Howard, Dr. Clark was a big Harold Lamb fan, and he had carefully preserved a large stack of Harold Lamb stories in a hinged wooden box, each carefully separated from different issues of Adventure magazine. He’d also hand bound a few other tales into small hardback books, and my guess is that he’d planned to bind the rest into additional home built hardcovers but never got around to it. That box was a treasure trove that included perhaps 70 – 80% of all the uncollected Lamb Adventure stories, and without him having preserved those texts, I wouldn’t have been able to scan them and prep them for the Bison Book collections. (Yes, more work was required by myself and other scholars and fans to track down other tales, but THIS was the mother load.)

Site Updates & Assorted Musing

gate in the seaI was thinking it would take just a few minutes to update my site this morning. Boy, was I wrong. Merely getting my GenCon schedule appropriately on the Appearances page took more than an hour! Much cross-indexing was involved, or it would have been faster. Anyway, if you’re planning to go to GenCon you now know where to find me. Mostly. I will probably be at the Paizo booth a little as well, and that’s not on the schedule yet. Of course you’ll also probably find me wandering around the hall of treasures trying not to buy things…

I still need to add Through the Gate in the Sea to the official book slider list at the top of the page. But at least my appearances are up to date. I’ll probably add more later in the year and early next year.

In other news, I’m a little closer to 50 years old now, which is pretty weird. I spent a lot of the last week driving all over Indiana on various errands, but I ate some great food, found some wonderful used books, and generally had a great time with the family (except my daughter, who I didn’t get to spend much time with — she couldn’t travel with us owing to her work schedule). I got less writing accomplished than I usually do over the course of a week, but I managed some anyway in some odd places. Remember, I’m the guy who outlined his last two Pathfinder novels while sitting in The Three Broomsticks restaurant in Harry Potter World or waiting for my daughter to get out of The Tower of Terror.


HJ Sagan TreeWhen we moved here fourteen years ago, we planted some fruit trees on a small back strip just between our horse fence and an abandoned access road to the neighbor’s property. The first few trees didn’t make it, because we didn’t realize how susceptible they were to cedar apple rust. Actually, we’d never heard of it. Bugs killed the first peach tree, and deer gnawed on some other apple trees, and one of our cherry trees. Eventually I had to build tree cages around the trees to protect them for several years, otherwise the deer would eat them, or rub antlers on them, or just wander buy and break them off.

Years and years those trees have been out there, slowly growing. And then, finally, this year we got edible cherries off of one of the two cherry trees. That was nice. I hope we have even more next year. But here’s the grand thing. Our surviving peach tree has been gnawed upon by deers. It was damaged by a guy we hired to mow our lawn. It has an unhealthy looking lean to it. For the last few years it’s been producing tiny little peaches that were hard as rocks.

Used Westerns

Used WesternsUsed to, I had no idea what authors to look for in the western sections at a used book store. These days, I have a much better idea, but the sections are SUBSTANTIALLY smaller than what they used to be. There are fewer people reading westerns, and those used books that are left tend to be pretty beat up.

But I found some treasure. First, two more Marvin Albert novels, which you can see in the lower left of this picture. Second, a slew of Fawcett Gold Medal books by authors I don’t know. Any older Gold Medals, though were probably edited well and will at least be good. Maybe they’ll be great. If you enlarge the picture, you’ll see that some &*&%^! wrote X-P over the front and sides of a number of the books. Nice going, dipwad. Way to ruin a book forever.

Novel Writing and Pulp

ki-gor 3Hocking sent me a link to a site the other day that might be of interest to a lot of my regular visitors — although as I live in a cave, it may be that you’ve already found it yourself. Anyway, PulpRev had an interesting article on writing a novel, quickly, and it had a lot of salient points, most of which I practice myself.

I’ve poked around the rest of the site some and found it of interest. Certainly I’m in sympathy with a lot of their philosophy, as anyone who’s been reading my posts about my lack of pleasure with padded modern books, or my increasing interest in hardboiled detective and western novels. It’s always nice to find like minded scribes gathering ’round the camp fire, as Adventure fans know.

Western Round-Up

4th gunmanI’ve continued to read outside of my usual genres, despite some great fantasy suggestions.

Last year I tracked down and read all of Merle Constiner’s westerns, all of which I liked and some of which I loved, and I’ll have to put a best-of list together. Here’s a write-up of one, although I’m not entirely sure the essayist appreciated it as much as it deserved.

And lately I’ve been reading a lot of Marvin Albert. Except that sometimes Albert wrote as Nick Quarry, and sometimes he wrote as Al Conroy and sometimes he wrote as Ian MacAlister, and sometimes as Tony Rome and sometimes he wrote as, you guessed it, Marvin Albert. And sometimes stuff he wrote under a pseudonym got reprinted under his Albert name. Anyway, I’ve yet to read something by him I didn’t like, and it’s all different. He had six hardboiled private eye novels (with a spicy flare to them, because the dames are always improbably gorgeous) with twisty plots and lots of good action, written as Nick Quarry. I’ve read two and enjoyed them, a lot. He had four series books about a gambler/gun-slick named Clayburn, written under his Al Conroy alias, and I’ve read two and enjoyed those, a lot, — and it’s a different style from his Quarry books. One of the Clayburn novels was made into a movie back in the day.

It’s All About Meeeeeee!

Howard ZebrasNerds On Earth invited me over for an interview the other day. Now’s your chance to learn my secret origin, a few details about the new series I’ve been working on, background info on how I approached writing for Paizo, a thumbnail version of my writing techniques, seven favorite books, and other assorted nerdery! Investigate at your own peril!

Seriously, I had a nice time and I’ve been enjoying poking around their site for the last week or so. You should take a look around. There’s plenty of interesting stuff to see over there.