Archives: News

Hardback Copy

The update is nearly complete, and the new face on the web site is working smoothly, thanks to MeanThemes, who supplied this great new look and helped me get it up and running.

I’ll write more about them soon, but for now I wanted to share the brand new copy of For the Killing of Kings. I’ve been showing the paperback advanced reader copy around, but this is the first actual hardback I’ve had in my own possession, and it is a nice thing to have. Here’s hoping many other people think so as well!

Here’s a new review that came in last week, as well.

Behind-the-scenes, much prep work is underway for the book’s debut on February 19th. Revisions are afoot on its sequel, and I’m making copious notes on a brand new idea I had the other day that might turn into a follow-up series of books. Once I finish revising book 2 and writing book 3, I mean.

Horror

I’m not entirely sure I “get” the purpose of a pure horror story. I usually feel like my enjoyment of it is one level removed. Oh, sure, there are some great horror stories I really like — a handful of Lovecraft’s, and maybe a dozen by other writers (like Bierce’s “The Damned Thing”), but I always feel like I’m not quite the target audience.

The odd thing is that I love some horrifying monsters and dreadful, dire spells and have them in the tales I write. They frequently turn up in the stories I most enjoy. But in sword-and-sorcery and heroic fiction the characters can fight back, or, at the least, flee.

I mention all this because I’ve been watching Hill House with my daughter. We just finished watching the 6th episode last night. Let me share some spoiler-free observations.

State of the Tower

Things go well here in the Tower by the Sea of Monsters. Before I get into my “state of the union” round-up I thought I’d point you to some links.

First, here’s a great review of Roy Thomas’s new remembrance of his years writing Conan, penned by my friend Charles Rutledge. Sounds like I may need to add this to my wish list. Too bad my birthday and Father’s Day are both so far off!

Second, check out this detailed digital reconstruction of the palace of Tiberius!

Third, sad news. Brian Garfield passed away a few weeks ago. I’ve read a number of enjoyable novels by the man in just the last two years, all written in the late 60s. He’s probably most famous for Deathwish, which became a Charles Bronson movie that took some liberties with Garfield’s intentions. I know him for his westerns, which are always quite good. At least one, The Night it Rained Bullets, is great. I expect to find more that are as I explore deeper into his catalog. Here’s where you can find a copy of your own.

For those of you who are interested in such things, I have an Ask Me Anything coming up over at Reddit Fantasy on February 19th. I am likely to give a way a few book copies on or around that same time, so watch this space for more details.

Holiday Update

I hope all my visitors have been having a good holiday weekend. It’s been (mostly) relaxing here.

First though, here are two links you might find of interest. Andrea over at Little Red Reviewer was kind enough to interview me about my upcoming books, and you can find the link right here. And if you’re unfamiliar with her site, you ought to look around because it’s loaded with interesting, entertaining content.

Second, here’s a link to The Skull’s holiday card.

Here in our tower by The Sea of Monsters all of our minions returned in time for holidays, and they were celebrated with great abandon. First this required a great deal of cleaning, and then my enchantress concocted some delicious food.

For ourselves, our biggest present this year was the basement. As I think I mentioned, with the basement finished, I can now leave my games set up for long stretches. So while I did receive two new boardgames, with the basement what I really received was an entire cabinet full of games, for I can finally play all those that I own. I must have played seven games of Falling Sky in the last week, and I’ve finally got a handle on the rules. It’s much more fun to conquer Gaul this way than I’m sure it was in real life.

The Skull Will Return

You probably already knew that, but I’ll reiterate the fact that a new Kickstarter will launch early next year for the next two issues. Contents for issue 3 are already set and heading into layout. Man, I love working for the Skull. I’d really like to take the magazine quarterly, but I still haven’t seen much feedback on the second issue, so I’m starting to believe if people haven’t had time to read TWO sword-and-sorcery issues in a year that four might be a real glut. It’s a shame, because I know we could keep readers supplied with some great stuff. There’d be even more authors, and more continuing characters.

In other news, I’ve finally wrestled the outline of the third book of the new trilogy into decent enough shape that I’ve begun drafting. So far it’s just a few pages long, but it will grow from there. My goal was to get all of the major plot arcs figured out before my editor got back to me about book 2. Perhaps you know what it’s like to step away from a really complicated project for a long while — it can be really hard to remember what you were planning to do.

Right now all of the big points are worked out. The book’s divided roughly into three acts. Act I is the most solid, and I know how I write well enough at this point to not sweat the little stuff in Act II yet. Act I is likely to change on me as I work through it, and it would have a ripple effect if I had everything in Act II set in stone. I think I really am growing more efficient with this whole book drafting process…

First Reviews

As the book promotion gets fully under way more and more blurbs are coming in, along with the first major review. Publisher’s Weekly just awarded For the Killing of Kings one of it’s highly desirable stars! This is great news and I hope it’s a sign of good things to come.

I had the opportunity to read from the book at the World Fantasy Convention in Baltimore last month and I was pleased by its reception. I had HOPED that Kyrkenall’s little one-liners were funny, and judging by the lively crowd, he came off pretty well.

World Fantasy Con itself was a blast. It had been most of a year since I’d hung out with my good friend John O’Neill, Black Gate mastermind, and eight long years since I’d been in the same place with the talented Bill Ward, frequent blog guest here.The first night I was invited to dinner with Arin Komins, Rich Warren, L.E. Modessit, John O’Neill, Doug Ellis and his wife Deborah, among others. Soon after, I met Tales From the Magician’s Skull alumnus Setsu Uzume, and made many new friends, like Lancelot Schaubert, Jennifer Brinn, Marie Bilodeau, and Clarence Young, who I joined for an expedition for Baltimore seafood only to discover a Trekker cut from the same cloth as myself. I got to reconnect with talented friends I only ever see at conventions, like Al Bogdan and Ilana C. Myer and Tom Doyle and Chris Cevasco and Patty Templeton and Claire Cooney, and finally met brilliant Claire’s brilliant husband Carlos Hernandez. I met up with Ilana and a number of her friends for a tasty dinner outside the convention then spent most of that meal nerding out about The Beatles with Michael Damian Thomas.

Remodeling for the Future

While my long planned site remodel is still delayed (owing to the influx of work stuff) the actual physical space of our home has changed over the last few months.

Here’s a pic of what our basement has looked like for the last sixteen years or so. Concrete floor. Waterproofed walls. A bunch of junk — although here it is looking a little more organized because we were setting up for a high school graduation party.

Months later, the same space looks much, much nicer. And this next photo was taken before the carpet went in!

Speeding Along

As I make final choices for the contents of the third issue of Tales From the Magician’s Skull I took a couple of weeks off novel writing and have been working furiously on some short stories. Between books is about the only time I have anymore to draft short fiction. I’d thought I might get three or four, but one of them proved a really tough not to crack, and took me down multiple dead ends and many false starts. But yesterday I finally finished a draft of the third (chronologically) Hanuvar story. I’m nearly done revising a fourth, although there’s a rough of a fifth on my computer as well. Those last two don’t fall into the same chronological sequence.

I’d hoped to finish a new Dabir and Asim story that’s about two thirds complete, but it may have to wait for another break. It’s time to get to work outlining the third novel of my new trilogy, and it’s just about time to start gearing up for the big promotional push on book 1. Ugh. Promotions.

Today, though, I take a rare day off. Seems like every day lately, even weekends, I’ve had lots of work. Not that I mind the work. I just haven’t been able to game. In just a few minutes my friend Dean Brown, all around great guy and talented game designer (B-17 Leader is his) is coming by for a visit. Seems like I’ve known him for years now, but we’ve never met in person. We’re going to take a day and just wargame. Should be a grand time!

Heroes of Normandy

At some point late last year I’m sure I mentioned another secret project I was working on. At long last I can unveil it.

Regular visitors are no doubt aware that the Lock ‘n Load Tactical series of games is among my favorites. Well, I was contacted by Lock ‘n Load Director of Operations David Heath early last year about the feasibility of writing some stories utilizing some of the characters from the game.

I had never, ever, contemplated writing stories set in World War II, but David was persistent, and a super nice guy, and the publisher of one of my absolute favorite games, so I decided to try. And I had a blast. Things were made a little simpler for me, research wise, because I’d been on a huge WWII reading kick. The timing couldn’t have been better because scores of facts were still fresh in my mind. Who knew that by reading for pleasure I’d actually been laying a lot of ground work for future fiction?

For the Killing of Kings

Look what turned up on my porch the other day!

I now have 20, count them, 20, Advanced Reader Copies of my new book, coming to stores near you in February of 2019!

Advanced Reader Copies are a finite resource I use to seek out blurbs and reviews. If you are a reviewer, or know anyone with powerful review mojo, please drop me a line, because I need to start spreading word about the new book!