Meandering Mission Statement

rightSometimes I feel a generation removed from the important things that are happening in social media, and then I realize that there are plenty of people my age who ARE engaged in the arguments and concerns raging across Twitter or writer/publisher blogs. It’s just me, not my generation. I always learn about controversies and rumors weeks, months, or years later and have to explain to people I live in a hole. As much as I tell myself, “Och laddie, ye’ve got to change” (without using a terrible Scottish accent) my efforts to alter this aspect of my social behavior continue to fail.

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I Leveled Up

…Or maybe I beamed up. In any case, I finished the rough draft of my seventh book yesterday. (In D&D terms does that make me a seventh level writer?)

So what did I do afterwards? I treated myself to a big ‘ol cheeseburger, owing to the fact that a far more delicious vietnamese dish is, alas, a 30 minute drive away. After that I sat down to start outlining book number eight. That’s what you do when you’re trying to make a living at this business. I did allow myself a little sense of satisfaction, however, because I stayed on target. I began the 90k manuscript on June 30, and I finished it in just under two months. That’s my fastest rough draft yet, undertaken with a solid outline, a firm knowledge of my characters, and steady effort.

I’ll leave the current manuscript to cool on the window sill for a few days before I start revising. It’s nice to completely switch gears and work on something else.

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Character Death

Most people reading popular modern fantasy are used to seeing characters die, maybe even popular characters. On the other side of the text it can be hard to pull the trigger even if the plot demands it. You grow attached to those characters.

Sometimes, though, it’s harder than usual. Yesterday as I was writing some of the final scene of my newest book I suddenly realized the scene would be heightened if one of the characters died.

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Blog Hop: My Writing Process & 3 Writers You Want to Meet

howard confusion 2014Many thanks to my old friend Lillian Duggan for inviting me to take part in the “My Writing Process” Blog Hop. I’ve known Lillian since we were proofreaders and then editors at Macmillan Computer Publishing some twenty years ago when we were barely in our twenties ourselves. We’ve kept in touch through the years, and she’s developed a passion for writing and all things Spanish, especially Spain. In recent years she’s honed her español skills and begun translating from Spanish to English. Over the years she’s been paid to write and/or edit textbooks, news articles, financial articles, and computer books, and had her short story, The Orchid, published online in August of 2013. You can find her online here.

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Sailing with Sabatini

I returned from GenCon with a whole host of goodies I’ll slowly be working through, and I still mean to dedicate an entire post to the work of the talented Kevin Crawford. Briefly, though, I want to talk Sabatini.

You may know Sabatini from Captain Blood, or Scaramouche, or, possibly, The Sea Hawk. The odds are fair that you know those titles more through Errol Flynn movies than through prose.

I’ve had mixed luck with Rafael Sabatini. Knowing that he was a giant in the historical fiction field which, naturally, has a huge influence upon fantasy adventure stories, I first tried out his work some twenty years ago. I remember enjoying Captain Blood but bouncing off of Scaramouche because the opening didn’t grip me. Read More

Ancient Arabia

Music to Write of Arabia

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I’ve held various career plans over the years, beginning with my ambition to be a double-nought spy, a starship captain, or another Beatle. I also wanted to be…

The Map

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Last week I announced I was busy behind the scenes with the writing of book 3 and promotion of book 2, and that remains the case. But I…

Canals of Baghdad

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

If you ever think about ancient Baghdad you’re likely to picture a sand-blasted landscape and a city growing alongside the river in a narrow band where the ground…

On Historical Research

Friday, August 3, 2012

I received a note from a German writer/reader the other week asking me about how I research my historical fiction. These days I’m pretty methodical about it, but…

The Real Caliph

Friday, July 20, 2012

When I decided to set the Dabir and Asim stories in historical Arabia, I likewise decided that while I would emulate the real world, I’d also pay homage…