Nov
9

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Great Western Reads Part 1

Everyone’s heard of Louis L’Amour. It seems like most “best western” conversations begin and end with him, although you might hear a mention of Max Brand or Riders of the Purple Sage. But there are scads of additional western writers, and there’s lots of great stuff out there hidden amongst the dreck. The trick is finding a guide to it.

A good place to start might be the new book by Scott Harris and Paul Bishop, 52 Weeks 52 Western Novels: Old Favorites and New Discoveries. In it, Harris and Bishop and a handful of other contributors discuss overlooked westerns of excellence. They don’t waste your time by giving a two-page spread to stuff you know about, like Lonesome Dove. They do dig deep into the L’Amour catalog to point out a couple of strong ones, but mostly they present things you probably aren’t aware of. It’s the kind of list Chris Hocking and I have been looking for.

 

Nov
6

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Manic Monday

Whew. Well, as of about 20 minutes ago, the revised version of For the Killing of Kings is with my editor, or at least his in-box. I would liked to have read it straight through a couple of more times, but as I strive to be a man of his word I delivered the manuscript on the first day of the first full week of November. This draft would not have been possible without the editorial aid of a wicked and beautiful enchantress whom I have surely mentioned before.

In celebration, I’m wearing one of my favorite t-shirts, which, alas, is beginning to show its wear.

Today I’m going to spend some time putting the house back together after about a week of neglect, and that will include some last minute pre-winter garden work. Maybe this evening we’ll start watching the second season of Stranger Things.

I need to get back to work on issue 2 of Tales From the Magician’s Skull. And, partly because I’m a madman, but mostly because it took longer than I expected to address all the changes to book 1, by the first week of December I need to turn over the first draft of book 2. I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me. Read More

Nov
1

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The Pledge of the Sword

Today, on the final day of the Kickstarter for Tales From the Magician’s Skull, I poured my heart out to tell you just why I love sword-and-sorcery and why I’m determined to bring the best of it your way.

I hope you enjoy the essay; I hope, also, that you’ll join forces with us and pledge for the magazine, and if you’ve already done THAT then I’ll prevail upon you to help me spread the word one last time!

 

Oct
30

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The Grand Finale

Usually when my wife heads off to one of her work conferences I get a lot of work done in the hotel room but I also explore a bit. This time, while she was in Washington, I was only a few minutes walk from a Metro line, but I did hardly any exploring at all. Comes of being under deadline. I saw an awful lot of my hotel room walls and occasional glimpses of the lobby.

I did get my first ever in-person look at various Washington D.C. monuments, but only from a distance as we strolled along the capital mall on our last evening before we left, prior to going out to an awesome Peruvian/Chinese fusion restaurant.

We’re nearing the end of the Kickstarter, so if you’re wanting to see some great new sword-and-sorcery stories I hope you’ve already signed on.

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Oct
26

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You Can’t Live Forever

I’m still on assignment, writing today from a lounge in a fabulous haunted mansion. The Beatles once stayed in this very location, and it’s easy to imagine them striding confidently down the main stairs to my left, wisecracking all the way. If I hadn’t accidentally left my time dilator in Albuquerque I’d jot back and watch their entrance and listen in on the Liverpudlian humor.

In case you missed it, John O’Neill at Black Gate held an interview with me and Joseph Goodman and the Magician’s Skull himself.

You might not have seen this, though. Nerdy Jobs invited me over for a chat about my writing, the new magazine, and gaming. If you want to hear me nattering on about all those things and a few more, now’s your chance. (My wife hears me nattering on about that stuff all the time and probably won’t bother.)

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Writing

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This being the first full week of National Novel Writing Month, I thought I’d start posting some of my hard learned writing lessons. One of these years I…

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I was sending some advice along to a young writer friend last night, and I thought (I hope) that it might be of use to other writers, so…

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Writing Mistakes 3

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As regular visitors know, I keep a regular list of writing tips in the front of my notebook. Or, as I more often think of them, my writing…