Sep
18

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Writing Tests

Jake Parker "A Fireside Story"

Jake Parker “A Fireside Story”

A while back I talked about one of the questions I ask myself to make sure I’m on the right track, and that’s the Doctor McCoy test. 

Sometimes I think about another one, though, and that’s the “Grandparent at the Fireside” test. The idea is that the grandparent is at the fireside telling a story. As he or she is telling the story, there will be questions from young listeners. Sometimes, of course, young listeners have an agenda or want to take over the story, so for the sake of the test I pretend that the questions are coming from an intelligent listener.  Read More

Sep
15

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Linking to Brackett

Matthew, this is a Gorn. Note opposable thumbs.

Matthew, this is a Gorn. Note opposable thumbs.

Hocking pointed me towards something of a celebration of Leigh Brackett the other day on a site titled Glorious Trash. Seems like it’s a pretty cool site to poke around at, too. Joe Kennedy sat down to read both versions of “The Secret of Sinharat,” which is something I always meant to do, and then compared them in an essay, which is something I always meant to do. And he loved them, which is something I’ve always done.

Even if you haven’t fallen in love with the work of Leigh Brackett, you can get a sense of what a great writer she was if you swing by for a visit. And poke around a while there, because there’s other cool stuff to be found as well.

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Sep
13

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Catching Up

sleestakBehind the scenes work on the first issue of Tales From the Magician’s Skull continues, and continues to please me. I can hardly wait for the Kickstarter to launch, but there are a few pieces still sliding into place. I’ll keep you posted.

Work continues on the book, and I’ve seen the initial draft of the cover, and boy am I mightily pleased. It’s so good I will one day change my site header.

Bill Ward and I are finally starting work on our Corum re-read, so if any of you regular visitors want to get in on the read with us, I hope you’ve found your copies of Michael Moorcock’s first Corum trilogy. As busy as things are here I’m still not sure when we’ll start that read through, but it will be soon.

Also, watch out for sleestaks. Lately they’ve been sighted on the edge of my property. Sometimes they send spam offering to write articles for my site that will link back to theirs, but who wants to be involved with that, right? In the end they’ll just want my pylon crystals, or maybe they want to devour human flesh. I was never entirely clear on that.

And now, I must away. Those words aren’t going to write or edit themselves.

Sep
11

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Revisiting Universe R

cosmos alexandriaMany moons ago, back when I blogged as BG_Editor (that’s Black Gate editor), I took a little trip to Universe R. I talked about that trip in an article I wrote for Steven Silver, but I’ve never mentioned it on this blog, and I thought it time.

When it comes to the parallel universes we visit in speculative fiction, some of my personal favorites are the ones where Rome never fell, the one where Spock has a goatee, and Universe R.

I imagine a lot of you have thought about it. It’s that place where great artistic works were never lost. It’s the land where overlooked, forgotten, or under appreciated poets, playwrights, authors, and artists were encouraged and celebrated and lived on to craft more work. I don’t mean the egoverse where you’re the top of the charts or have written a chain of bestsellers – this universe is for the artists you wish had gotten a better deal. Universe R can’t be completely logical, of course. For instance, I’ve been lamenting the destruction of the Library of Alexandria since I first learned of it – and especially after I saw Carl Sagan walking through it in Cosmos – but if the Library of Alexandria had survived, we’d probably be further along with a lot of developments and some of the later artists who prospered in Universe R might not ever have been born. You can’t worry about Universe R making that kind of logical sense or the whole thing falls apart. Read More

Sep
6

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Anthologies vs. Novels vs. Magazines

hulk thinkLast week, at the bottom of a post announcing a Kickstarter (which you should totally back if you like sword-and-sorcery and especially if you dig my stories)  a number of us started chatting about the strange problem with short stories vs. novels in today’s market place.

Novels simply sell better. Anthologies, even if they’re all about a popular character from, say, a series of novels (like Harry Dresden) don’t sell as well. I’ve often thought that strange; busy as we are these days, with so many distractions, it seems counterintuitive that people aren’t more interested in sitting down with a short story right before bed.

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Writing

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