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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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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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




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




It’s All About Meeeeeee!

Howard ZebrasNerds On Earth invited me over for an interview the other day. Now’s your chance to learn my secret origin, a few details about the new series I’ve been working on, background info on how I approached writing for Paizo, a thumbnail version of my writing techniques, seven favorite books, and other assorted nerdery! Investigate at your own peril!

Seriously, I had a nice time and I’ve been enjoying poking around their site for the last week or so. You should take a look around. There’s plenty of interesting stuff to see over there.


Vance, Robert E. Howard, and the Role of Women

Monday, October 21, 2013

I’m  having trouble sleeping again, but this morning at least I’m putting it to use and am up early writing. I’ve got a lot of work to do…

Mind Meld!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I was invited to join the Mind Meld this week at SF Signal, and along with some fine folks, I discourse at length about how speculative fiction changed…

Writer at Work

Monday, October 14, 2013

Hulk  still wanting to smash story, so Hulk just post link today. Hulk hear good thing about Lone Wolf adventure books. Many free now, on the web, and…

Out of the Mud

Friday, October 4, 2013

Wow, what a busy week. I was working on my truck until 9:00 Wednesday night and spent part of Thursday morning tinkering some more until I finally gave…

Writer’s Desk

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Here at Jones central I spent a long weekend putting my study into complete order. It had been converted into my mother’s convalescent room while she was staying…