Aug
31

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The Battle of Castle Itter

itterHey, remember that time when a bunch of high ranking French prisoners of war allied with their friend, the SS officer, and asked for help from a Wehrmacht officer in command of a handful of men and the local Austrian Resistance? They knew THEY didn’t have enough manpower to hold off a couple hundred Waffen-SS troops, so they joined forces with 14 American GIs, and holed up in an old castle to keep the prisoners safe.

It’s the damnedest thing. And it actually happened. I can’t believe no one’s turned it into a film. Even the little details make for great reading, like the French tennis star who sneaked through enemy lines to get word to the Americans.

If you’ve never heard of it, you should check it out. And even if you HAVE heard of it, short of a book on the battle, this is the most in-depth account of it I’ve seen. You should read it.

I like tales about heroes, and this is a good one.

Aug
29

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Sword-and-Sorcery Kickstarter

hulk computerSo here’s a cool thing. This probably isn’t the Kickstarter you expected me to announce (that one’s still a couple of weeks out) but it’s good news nonetheless. Earlier in the year I was asked if I wanted to write a story for a new sword-and-sorcery anthology from Zombies Need Brains. I said yes, and now the Kickstarter is live, which means sooner or later my story will be in print along with those written by some other fine folks. You can find all the details in the official press release below. And here’s the link.

Begin hereafter the press release:

The latest Kickstarter from Zombies Need Brains is now live! We have three new anthologies–THE RAZOR’S EDGE, GUILDS & GLAIVES, and SECOND ROUND: A RETURN TO THE UR-BAR–with some stunning anchor authors, special reward level, stellar early backer and high backer incentives, and a bunch of stretch goals that we’d really like to reach ASAP. Keep in mind that as soon as the Kickstarter funds, we’ll do an open call for submissions to all three of the anthologies for all of you writers out there! Check it out, choose a reward level that works for you, and then BACK THE PROJECT! Featuring Troy BucherSC ButlerPatricia BrayGerald BrandtWilliam C. DietzDb JacksonChris KennedyKay KenyonSharon LeeSteve MillerSteve PerrySeanan McGuire, L.E. Modesitt, Jr., Jacey BedfordGini KochJuliet E McKenna, C.E. Murphy, Kristine SmithKari SperringDavid FarlandDavid B. CoeJames EngeEsther Friesnerr, Howard Andrew Jones, and Violette Malan.

 

Aug
28

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Editorial Sneak Peek

Tales 1 smallerToday I thought I’d provide a sneak peek at the editorial I’m drafting for the first issue of Tales From The Magician’s Skull, which is a behind-the-scenes look at how it came together and what it’s all about.

First, though, is a video of all the cool stuff Joseph Goodman had at the Goodman Games GenCon booth. There were treasures galore, and not just for gamers. You should have seen all those old fantasy paperbacks! Joseph’s love for Appendix N fiction was behind Dungeon Crawl Classics from the start, and he’s trying to get that fiction much easier to find for all interested parties… and, as this magazine shows, devoted to trying to get more fiction in print inspired by similar sources.

Now, the editorial.

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Aug
25

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Appendix N and Fantasy Exploration

DungeonMasterGuide4CoverWhile I’d been introduced to fantasy fiction when my mom read me The Hobbit, it was Dungeons & Dragons that sent me exploring for more of it. Appendix N lay at the very back of The Dungeon Master’s Guide, and there were treasures within. The problem was that the library didn’t HAVE most of those treasures. I’ve sometimes wondered how my writing and reading life would have differed if the library had actually held any Robert E. Howard books, not to mention a whole bunch of other things Appendix N said were must reads. The library DID have the Amber series, but the first few books were checked out for months.

Fortunately there were used bookstores in town. And even more fortunately I found a great copy of Swords Against Death by some guy that Appendix N recommended highly, Fritz Leiber. The first story wasn’t much of a thing, kind of an intro. But from there… wow. I knew I’d found something really good. It remains one of the finest sword-and-sorcery collections I’ve ever read, and my favorite of all the Lankhmar books. Sure, there are other great Lankhmar stories, but I don’t think any other Lankhmar book is as consistently excellent.

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Writing

More on Character Strengths and Weaknesses

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

As long as we’re on the subject of reading outside the genre, I want to point once more to an excellent, excellent essay about the structure of adventure…

Reading Outside the Genre

Monday, November 18, 2013

I used to get advice about how I needed to read outside my genre, and I didn’t. I used to get advice about studying other writers for technique,…

Character Design, Part 2

Friday, November 15, 2013

My friend Mick wrote in the other day on the site and told me he’d “love to hear more theory about how you pick weaknesses and flaws and…

Link Day

Thursday, November 14, 2013

My absence this week has all been due to keeping up the homestead and working away on writing deadlines. I have a lot more writing pointers to discuss,…

Character Design, Part 1

Friday, November 8, 2013

I had the privilege of sitting down with Patrick Rothfuss at Detroit’s ConFusion last January, and he was kind enough to discuss some of the methods he uses…