Jul
25

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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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Jul
22

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Point of View Arcs

HJ Sagan TreeAfter my first three published novels I’ve begun to play more and more with multiple point of view. I still miss writing from the restricted first person narrative of the Dabir and Asim novels (and I still hope to write some more of those) but I’m getting more and more used to writing with multiple third person point of view.

I played a little with it in my first Pathfinder novel, then experimented even further with the second, switching point of view every chapter, being careful to give each character something interesting to do as the camera changed to their perception at the same time the plot advanced. Because the characters were all together rather than split off on separate quests, it was necessary to write the events chronologically.

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Jul
20

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48

Howard ZebrasOwning to his presence at an out-of-town summer camp the last few years during the week of my birthday, my son hasn’t been around to celebrate with me on that one day for a long while. He was here this time, though, and, marred only by the absence of my daughter at a summer camp of her own, this 48th birthday has been my favorite in recent memory.

heroes normandyI woke up after having dreamed I was a Beatle hanging out with Paul and John and some other Beatle named Phil at some time in ’65, judging by our hair, answering press questions and being fab together. That was pretty gear.

I wrote until about noon, then did some calisthenics with the first born, had lunch with him, then played a couple of war board games of Lock ‘n Load Tactical: Heroes of Normandy. Following on that, we traded off playing piano and guitar and hashed out a couple of songs together.

By then it was supper time, so we drove downtown and met my wife for a swank dinner (I had duck!). Upon our return home the first born dialed up a college friend via Skype then ran a science role-playing game for her, my wife, and me.

A grand time was had by all. I got to write, game, eat great food, play music, and hang out with (most) of my immediate family. It doesn’t get much better.

Jul
18

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Elkins Again or At Last

hulk computerAs I was logging on to the interwebs this morning I received four notifications of new posts on the ‘ol web site. Traffic here hasn’t been as heavy lately — probably because I haven’t been on the site as often — so I was pleased. Except that all the posts were from trendily mis-spelled names, replies to old posts, and each was a single line of word salad encouragement rife with typos.

In short, it was spam, all from an IP in St. Petersburg. I still am awaiting some kind of explanation about how that nonsense helps anyone. Do these people get PAID to create spam? They must. And what does anyone get out of it? The mind boggles.

Right. So here’s what I MEANT to say today. Two interesting things are happening that have nothing to do with any of the problems and dilemmas we’re currently riding out in our republic. Read More

Jul
15

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Ki-Gor Volume 3

ki-gor 3Just saw that the third volume of Ki-Gor stories from Altus Press is coming out. And guess who wrote the intro? Yep. You’re reading his blog.

Who’s Ki-gor? Funny you should ask. Here’s a link.

Writing