May
14

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Tales From the Magician’s Skull Issue 2

Just this weekend I double-checked all the final changes for the stories intended for issue 2, and now it’s getting close to release ready. The art’s in place, the stories are in place, the ads are all there… it’s just a grand looking product. Some of the authors I’d hope to include didn’t have time to finish a story or didn’t have time to draft a heroic fiction tale, but I hope that they’ll all be in the magazine eventually, and I’m mightily pleased with the writers we do have.

I’ve been contemplating some changes to the web site, at least in the way I present it. I intend to start discussing editing and writing more frequently, along with publishing tips, and I hope to start inviting some guests by with a lot more frequency. I may also get around to changing the banner up at the top, as it’s based on The Bones of the Old Ones. I happen to be very proud of that particular book, and while I’d still like more people to read it, I think it’s time to start promoting the next one.

Likewise I’ll check up on my links, updating to get rid of ones that don’t work, and adding links to some other web sites I visit with regularity. It’s time for a spring cleaning, so to speak. I’ve been spending a lot of time on the yard, and on the inside of the house, so I might as well take that clean-up process to the web site.

Are there any topics that you wish me to discuss more regularly?

 

 

 

 

May
11

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The Liberation: An Interview with Ian Tregillis

Last year I sat down with Ian Tregillis over at Black Gate to discuss his new book. Tregillis is one of the few modern writers I go out of my way to read, and I think my regular readers would really enjoy him.

Here’s a reprint of that discussion:

As John O’Neill wrote in November of 2016, the last book in Ian Tregillis’ new trilogy comes out this month (December 2016). I’m a big fan of Tregillis, and was fortunate enough to read The Liberation in manuscript. It was a blast, and you should buy it it. Seriously. Go buy the trilogy, and if you already have the first two, go buy the third.

Alright. Now that you’ve done that, Ian and I kicked back last and talked about his trilogy. Here’s what he had to say:

Howard: You’re on an elevator with your new book when Ringo Starr enters, sees the cover and says how fab it looks. He wants to know what the book’s about – what do you tell him?

Ian: OK. First of all, I’d probably be hard pressed not to lose my composure the moment he stepped into the elevator. I mean, there I’d be sharing an the-liberation-ian-tregillis-smallelevator with A BEATLE. I discovered their albums at just the right age, and I swear I listened to that music practically nonstop during high school. So keeping it cool would be a challenge, *especially* if Ringo asked about the book.

But assuming I could recover my composure enough to speak coherently without babbling, and assuming he wanted the long version, I’d tell him it’s an adventure story about a clockpunk Terminator apocalypse in a world where the industrial revolution never happened, disguised as a story about slave rebellion and Free Will.

If he wanted the short version, I’d tell him it’s basically Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots but with more swearing and stabbing.

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May
9

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Lankhmar

I wrote a Lankhmar book for the Savage Worlds game system, and the Kickstarter for it went live last week.. It’s probably as close as I’ll ever get to writing a story starring Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser.

I had a blast writing the thing, but my favorite parts were designing adventures — which I did my very best to make feel Leiberish — and designing the adventure generator, which seems to create Leiber-like stories well enough that I used it to generate two of the adventures I wrote up for the book.

Check it out — The Savage Seas of Nehwon!

May
6

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Horse Adventures

I’ve mentioned before that one of my horses likes to lean against the top fence rail to get the grass on the other side. Unfortunately, it’s the largest horse that does this, and his weight frequently breaks the rail, which ends up in a lot of fence repair every spring. It’s among my least favorite things to do. Fixing each rail takes about 45 minutes. So far this year he’d already busted about five of them. But wait…

This Saturday my wife and I were walking around the barn to get to some yardwork only to discover that one of our horses was calmly standing outside the fence, doing what horses are usually doing, eating grass. A little further downslope was the big horse, also munching grass. Nearby we saw how they’d gotten out — Trigger, the large horse, must have leaned against the top rail to get to some juicy grass on the other side, and then leaned against the middle rail, and then stepped over the bottom rail once both were destroyed. The other horse had followed.

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Apr
30

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Chainsaw and Corris

So this weekend I fired up a chainsaw and wielded it for the first time. I have the power! Also, I had protective chaps and gloves and helmet and face shield.

I have been binge reading the Australian mystery writer Peter Corris. He and Lawrence Block are among  the closest modern writers I know to hardboiled. I’ve loved Block’s Matthew Scudder’s detective novels, and I’ve discovered I love the different landscape and atmosphere of the Corris novels, which are all set in Australia.

There are about 40 books, and some of them are short story collections, and I’ve probably read 10 of them now, although not all in the last few days. The mysteries are strong and he’s great with characters. So far I’ve just been reading the ones he wrote in the ‘80s rather than the ones he’s written most recently, so maybe they drop in quality. Or maybe they get even better.

The other morning I finished The Marvelous Boy and I saved this bit of prose for you as our hero Cliff Hardy is walking into a weight lifting club to seek information: Read More

Writing

Writing Flurries

Friday, May 27, 2016

I finished the rough draft of a new novel, the second in the sequence of three I’m developing. I used the same process I used to write the…

Writing Away

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Once again, you’d be right in thinking that lack of posts means that I’m nose to the grind stone. I’m hoping to get a rough draft of the…

Skelos Magazine

Thursday, May 12, 2016

So here’s a cool thing: a kickstarter for a brand new sword-and-sorcery e-zine from some real sword-and-sorcery experts. The mag’s going to be called Skelos, and it’s masterminded…

More Drafting Thoughts

Friday, April 22, 2016

In writing about rough drafts the other day I realized that I breezed over an important step — outlining. I’ve discussed outlining on the site before (just search through my Writing…

Rough Drafts

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

I’ve continued to experiment with rough draft methods. The goal is, naturally, to get the rough draft close so that you make as few passes as possible between rough and…