May
31

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Doomsday Music

So here’s a cool thing. If you’re a musician, or music scholar, and happen also to be a fan of the original Star Trek, boy, do I have a link for you.

I’ve long said that the original Star Trek had some of the finest, most memorable music for any television series, ever. I’ve sometimes wondered if it’s so hummable just because I’m used to it, having seen the shows so many times, but I don’t think that’s the real story. There truly was gripping background music tracked through the first two seasons, and among the finest was the music originally composed for my favorite episode, “The Doomsday Machine,” and used in numerous episodes thereafter. Read More

May
30

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Mighty Warriors Arrive

My brand new copy of The Mighty Warriors turned up in the post yesterday. I can’t remember when I had a NEW anthology chock full of sword-and-sorcery. I mean, I’ve had old anthologies that were new to me, but not one that was hot off the presses.

I’ve been friends with two of the authors for years, Charles Rutledge and Paul McNamee. Charles is the fellow who spoke so highly of Shotokan karate and therefore helped me choose which school to attend many years back (and I’m STILL there). I’ve known Paul since I used to edit the old Flashing Swords e-zine. He helped manage the related web site for a while when I was busy with grad school. Yet I’ve never read any of their work! Now I have the chance, because they both have a story in the volume, along with one of my favorite writers, Charles Saunders, my friend David C. Smith. There’s also work by friendly acquaintances and industry standard bearers. I’ve been hearing good things about Adrian Cole’s Elak pastiches for a while, so I’m particularly interested to see what he’s cooked up.

Anyway, I’m pleased to have a copy and eager to get to reading. Your own copies can be found here.

May
28

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Novel Lessons 2: Plague of Shadows

Maybe I should label this novel as “2.5” because I’d started my second Dabir and Asim novel, The Bones of the Old Ones, before I set to work on Plague of Shadows. But I set Bones aside and gave this one my attention all through the summer.

I didn’t write it as I’d written my first novel, in part because as a work-for-hire, I had to present an extremely detailed outline and get it approved before I started working. That meant I had a pretty solid blueprint, even though that blueprint ended up changing a lot as I went. It was a little harder than my first novel, but not so hard as the next one would be, probably because of that outline, one that a talented editor had provided me with feedback for.

Why was it a little more difficult? Well, the characters and their relationships were all brand new to me, so it took a little writing and rewriting to get used to them and how they’d react, something I hadn’t had to do much with The Desert of Souls.

The most obvious lesson in writing Plague was to be flexible. Somehow I managed to roll with the punches on this one far faster than I’d roll with challenges in later books. I was about a third of the way into the draft, about 30 thousand words, when I heard from James Sutter. James, by the way, is a great editor — and a talented writer as well — and this wasn’t at all his typical way of communicating. But the Paizo Pathfinder novel line was new, and they were still working on marketing. He said that they had realized that novels with dragons on the cover sold better and asked if I could work some dragons into the plot. I said sure, I already had one, but he wondered if I could have a big fight with a dragon. So I said sure, why not? And I found a way, and I think it ended up strengthening the book.

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May
25

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Updates

You may have noticed from the increased activity that I’m rethinking how I use my web site. I’ve got some more novel writing posts ready to go, and that will be a regular feature on Mondays for the next several weeks. I’ve also started exchanging notes with Tales From the Magician’s Skull contributors for the opening salvo in a new Friday feature I’m tentatively calling “Creatives Corner.” The plan is to post interviews or occasional guest posts on many Fridays, and I’m starting with some of the people who’ve worked with the mighty Skull.

The object is to point visitors to neat sites, good writers, editors, and fans. If you have ideas about questions you’d like me to ask, guests you’d like me to invite, or even subjects you’d like to cover, please let me know.

Likewise, if you have questions about writing or publishing, keep them coming. I’m still working on answers to a few that were asked last time I mentioned this, and I’m eager for more ideas.

I hope to hear from you. So does The Gorn.

May
24

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Interview Tonight

Tonight I’ll be dropping by Night Moves Radio to chat with hosts Josh and Ariana about sword-and-sorcery, its authors and its tales, and the writing and editing of the same. I hope you’ll drop in for a listen!

The show starts at 7:00 Central time and it’s going to be held live! I’ve been on plenty of podcasts before, but never a live one, so this should be different!

You can find Night Moves here.

Writing

Agent Aid

Friday, January 12, 2018

Sometimes writing can be a real slog. You know what needs to be done because you have the outline, but you’re feeling your way along or think there’s…

For The Killing of Kings

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

So here’s the official cover copy being used to promote the new book on B&N and Amazon and numerous other places. I have several months yet and can…

Victory!

Monday, December 4, 2017

I did it. I got to the end of the first draft of the second novel of my new series. Approximately half of it is in near final…

Deadlines

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

I heard from Joseph Hoopman yesterday that there was an essay that mentioned The Desert of Souls over on Tor.com, and lo and behold, there was. It pleased…

The Grand Finale

Monday, October 30, 2017

Usually when my wife heads off to one of her work conferences I get a lot of work done in the hotel room but I also explore a…