Bretwalda and Other Adventures

bretwaldaFor the first time in the last half dozen years I missed GenCon. Between the excellence of the Writer’s Symposium — which is growing at a phenomenal rate — the friends and fans to meet or reconnect with, and the sheer size of the game room stuffed full of wonderful things to see, it has become one of my must stops. Especially since it’s the only large convention that’s only a few hours away.

Alas, a perfect storm of events crowned by a family wedding made it impossible for me to attend this year. I did swing through Indianapolis the weekend of GenCon on the way to that wedding, but didn’t get anywhere close to downtown.

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The Long Ships

long shipsHere’s another grand adventure novel that any lover of such really ought to read, or keep on the shelf to read again. My own copy’s so frayed I’ll probably pick up another, because it’s one I intend to revisit.

You can find a lot of praise about just how fine The Long Ships is, and I could throw in my own weight and say, yeah, it’s a great adventure novel and thereafter provide detail, but I have books to write and a house to clean, and besides, here’s Michael Chabon. Check out what he has to say.

A movie was made in 1964 based upon the first third of the book, starring Sydney Poitier and Richard Widmark. I seem to recall it was both pretty good and fairly faithful. The book, though, is where you ought to go first.




Character Design, Part 3: Character Voice

hulk thinkThe other day my friend Mick swung by the site and asked if I had any advice about character design. Specifically, he was curious about how I: “find a character’s voice to begin with? Just feel it out? Or focused, prescribed exercises?”

I’ve offered advice about character creation before (here, where I discuss character design, here, where I added an addendum, and here, where I talk about loving your character.) But looking over all of that I see that I’ve never really discussed how I find a character voice. Everything I’ve written about is advice to use AFTER that point.

So I gave the matter some thought. I’m not sure how other writers do it, or what works for them, but I can tell you what works for me. Read More



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B-17 Leader

b17From time to time I talk about solitaire gaming here on the blog, as any frequent visitors know, and recently I mentioned I’ve been testing a game.

Yesterday evening that game went live on Kickstarter, and I sat down with both that game’s designer and the company’s owner, the award winning game designer Dan Verssen, to chat about both B-17 Leader and gaming in general. You can find my interview with Dean Brown over at Black Gate, and you can find the newly launched B-17 Kickstarter here. Read More




Gray Maiden

graymaidenI had a longer post in mind, but I need to get to some yard work before it heats back up today. So here’s a great old short story series that any heroic fiction appreciator ought to snag.

I remember when it was only possible to get some of the Gray Maiden stories. Now you can snag them all in a single book.

Gray Maiden is a series of short stories originally published in that great old pulp, Adventure, about a sword that’s handed down through the ages. There are minor notes of the supernatural in most of the stories (very minor, but still notable given Adventure being reality based) but what’s most appealing is just the slam bang action of the tales.

I’ve written about Gray Maiden before (and Black Gate‘s Matthew David Surridge has written about one earlier collection here). Some of the stories are pulpy, some are dry, but at least half are top notch action pieces. The one set in Viking times, for instance, is one of the best Viking stories I’ve ever read, and then there’s the one about the Carthaginians trapped behind in Italy after Hannibal evacuates, and their desperate effort to escape…

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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…