Jul
21

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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.

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Jul
17

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Peaches

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.

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Jul
14

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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.

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Jul
12

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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. Read More

Jul
10

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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. Read More

Writing

Sword & Sorcery Musings

Monday, March 30, 2015

It seems that all I do with my writing anymore these days is revise. Back when I was writing in my teens and twenties I used to just…

On Conan and Writing

Monday, March 16, 2015

Following on a great post by Fletcher Vredenburgh about Karl Edward Wagner’s Bran Mak Morn novel (over at Black Gate), I decided to update my own post on Conan pastiche….

Writing Updates

Monday, February 16, 2015

I’m still learning, and that’s good. It means I’m not dead. Yes, my new outlining method has really helped speed my writing process along, but I’ve still ended…

Parallel Stories

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

I first experimented with parallel story structure when I wrote Plague of Shadows for Paizo’s Pathfinder series. In that book, I’d occasionally flash back in time fifteen years…

Re-Learning Mistakes

Monday, January 12, 2015

So far I think I’m doing a great job with my New Year’s resolutions, but I’ve let one of my habits slip, which is to review my Writing…