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.

I’ve finally gotten around to watching Deadwood and have started on the second season now. I find it riveting, clever, and exceedingly well acted, although the constant cursing gets on my nerves. Perhaps that sounds stodgy, but I tend to be old fashioned about some things. I’ve also begun watching The Haunting of Hill House with my daughter, and she in turn has begun watching Justified with me. Both shows are out of our respective wheelhouses, but so far each is happy with the other’s favorite. (And my God, Justified is holding up very well to a second viewing. What a well written, well acted show. It would have to be, because I have so little interest in the subject material.)

One of the gifts I got for my wife LAST Christmas was a little videogame titled World to the West, for Xb0x, which sees you wandering about exploring a world with four cartoony steampunk(ish) characters fighting enemies and collecting treasure. She and my son have finally been playing that every night while my daughter and I watch videos. They’re big Zelda fans, and this is close in flavor to some of the older Zelda games, and doesn’t require an investment in a new game platform.

I’ve also been doing some reading for fun, and very little writing. I have been, as Robert E. Howard used to say, filling the well — doing other things before coming back to writing, so that I’m fresh and energized upon my return. I’ve noticed that I’m already beginning to miss it. I’ve set up another boardgame to learn but my mind is beginning to wander as I study the rules, as I think about plotlines and characters and things.

We had such weirdly pleasant weather on Christmas that after we had a family sing along (our son and daughter are both accomplished musicians) I went outside to repair the horse fence and only had to wear a light jacket. As regular visitors know, our biggest horse likes to lean against the top fence rail to eat the grass on the other side, which is apparently more delicious than ANY of the grass in all three fenced acres of the property. Oddly enough, I didn’t mind the job, because I couldn’t help thinking that it would be terrible to have to fix the rail in the dead of winter in the freezing cold.


9 Comments on “Holiday Update

  1. I mostly got mysteries this season. I got The Big Book of the Continental Op which includes every story (including novels) that Dashiell Hammett wrote about the detective. I also got two volumes of the mystery/adventure manga Master Keaton. The one speculative fiction work I had asked for actually got its publication moved back to January. This was Whiskey Tales by Jean Ray who was considered the Belgian equivalent to Poe or Lovecraft.

    • That sounds pretty cool, Matthew. I hadn’t heard of Jean Ray. When you get a chance to read his work, write me. I’d love to hear what you think.

      I’ve got that complete op book on my wish list as well. I have most of the stories in three separate collections, but this has everything plus a little extra, so it’s a must have. Maybe one of the kids will get it for me for Father’s Day.

      • I will. Two of Jean Ray’s stories: The Mainz Psalter and The Shadowy Street were collected in The Weird by Jeff and Anne Vandemeer. There really good and worth checking out. There’s also his novel Malpertuis which has been translated into English though you may have to pay an absurd amount of money for it online.

        Yeah, I have two collections: The Big Knockover and The Continental Op, but I still wanted this collection.

        • I have three op collections and a couple of Hammet collections and somehow I STILL don’t have all the stories. If no one gets it for me as a present I’ll probably pick it up for myself. Quite a reasonable price on that one!

  2. I had a good 5 days off. Most of my reading nowadays is mostly comic books. My library just got the first volume of Prince Valiant for me.

    But I actually sat down and read some S&S over the weekend. I grabbed the first printed volume of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly and randomly picked a story, The Sea Wasp. I really enjoyed it! It has me wanting more, so hopefully i’ll start to go through my backlog of short story collections. I have most of both of the Tales of the Magicians Skull to go through and several others.

  3. Not to mention Black Gate is starting a reading group of selected Conan stories. So I plan on reading those each week as we go along.

  4. Things have really been looking up for sword-and-sorcery lately. I think you’ll enjoy exploring the modern markets. I try to get different flavors of S and S into every single issue, so that if you don’t like one story quite as much, you’ll find that the next one isn’t THAT similar in tone.

    Let us know about any stories or authors whose work really delights you. I’m always looking for more writers for The Skull and would love thoughts on current authors you like who haven’t yet appeared in our magazine pages.

  5. I know I’ve said it here before but I’ll say i again. Any volume that contains a James Enge story (especially a Morlock one) is a must buy for me. I need to make a list of authors I like in these collections. I always end up forgetting their names.

  6. I agree with the cursing in Deadwood. I can cuss enough to make a sailor blush, but the overuse of it in Deadwood was just silly. I watched one episode and was done. No thanks.

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