Aug
6

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GenCon 2018

I’m back from GenCon with some amazing memories, some fine stories, and some gaming treasure, and I’ll probably be talking about some of it in the coming days. For now, let me just say that it was certainly the most enjoyable experience I’ve ever had at a convention.

Maybe you’ve met someone you’ve really admired, or reconnected with an old friend, or made a new one, or grown closer with a friendly acquaintance through shared experience. Maybe you’ve heard an inspiring lecture, or gotten some great career advice, or seen some amazing products you’d like to own, or played a great game session, or made important business contacts. If you’ve experienced any of these things, it might be the highlight of the day, or week, or month, or year. At a convention, those things can all happen over the course of a few days. What would normally be the best moment of an entire month or maybe even year can happen the next hour after another similarly memorable event.

That’s what happened to me this year.

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Aug
1

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New Developments

I’m heading off to GenCon in just a few hours for a whirlwind of activity, but before I go I wanted to thank Troy and Dale and Mick for alerting me to the pre-order cancellation issue with my new book. Because you told me so swiftly, my publisher was able to get to the problem in a timely manner. For the Killing of Kings should be available for pre-order again by the end of the week.

I also had some exciting news to share. I’m now the Executive Editor of the Perilous Worlds imprint for Cabinet Entertainment. There’s an article here discussing the imprint itself. I’m very impressed with the team and their plans and thrilled to be a part of what they’re building. When I return from GenCon, one of my first duties will be to begin editing John Chris Hocking’s second Conan novel, Conan and the Living Plague. Any of you regular visitors know that I’ve been championing this book for years, and I am pleased and honored to be involved in seeing it finally reach the audience it deserves. Read More

Jul
25

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News

Every day, most of this week, I’m sitting down with the manuscript of For the Killing of Kings and slowly reading it aloud. I’m addressing any copyeditor questions and suggestions, and also making some minor tweaks. This is the next to last chance for me to make any changes, and the last real chance to make any substantive changes — adding entire lines and paragraphs and the like. I’ll have a final shot to correct typos, but this is about it. So it’s kind of important.

GenCon is taking place next week, and I’m looking forward to that. I’ve been leafing through some cool game stuff I traded away for on my birthday. One of my favorite acquisitions is a compilation of the first four issues of Fight On! magazine. I’m late to the party, for I think at this point the magazine is defunct. If the first four issues are anything to go by, it’s a wonderful resource for creative old school gaming, with inventive adventures and hex crawls and dungeons, suggestions for alternate rules and classes, and various other goods that are quite inspiring. It really is a treasure trove. Read More

Jul
24

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Calamityware

If you’ve ever thought to yourself, well, fine china is cool, but it needs more sasquatches, giant robots, and sea monsters, have I got a site for you.

Why settle for the ordinary when you’re hosting a fancy dinner party?

Seriously, these things are cool. My friend Nick pointed these out to me a few weeks ago and I thought it high time I share them. Visit the Calamityware site and look around!

I am nose to the grindstone for the next week, so my posts are apt to be a little less frequent. Bear with me — I’m getting important writing work done.

Jul
20

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Tabletop Gaming: Hexcrawls, Campaign Settings, & Adventures

In my last entry in this four-part series, intended to be of use to fellow gamers when they pop by RPGNow in the upcoming Christmas in July sale, I’m discussing some more of my favorite game mastering tools. And I’m going to cheat.

I get a lot of my adventure advice from the review columns written by Bryce Lynch over at Ten Foot Pole. Bryce ruthlessly looks at every adventure he can lay his hands on, and mostly he finds things he doesn’t like. When he DOES enjoy an adventure, though, it’s almost always for the same reasons I like a pre-packaged adventure — cool places to visit, neat things to interact with, great characters to meet, a compelling hook, prose that’s engaging and organized, treasures beyond the ordinary, and so on. And like me, he despises the Tomb of Horrors and similarly styled player killer adventures. He also shares my love of strange faerie elements and bits from folklore.

I differ with his preferences only a little in that A.) I’m not as big a fan of mixing in weird science fiction elements into my fantasy settings, aka “gonzo” material (but Bryce always indicates whether the adventure includes those) and B.) I’ve yet to run a megadungeon that my players care for. The latter places me in the minority of game players, I guess. It seems like every other game master I meet has his players in a megadungeon.

With that preamble out of the way, allow me to point you towards the best adventures listed on Bryce Lynch’s Ten Foot Pole site. And then permit me to point you towards his “no regerts” category (yes, that’s spelled that way on purpose) where he lists the runner-up adventures, some of which I’ve found just as good as those on his best-of list. Look closely, because some of those on both lists are actually FREE. That’s right, wonderful, top-rated free adventures, like the one in the picture there. Bryce’s thumbnails don’t always indicate if they’re free, so look around.

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Writing

Novel Lessons 1: The Desert of Souls

Friday, May 18, 2018

I’d like to think that I learn a little more about writing with every book, and I thought that it might be useful to my fellow writers if…

Writing Observations: Backstory

Thursday, May 17, 2018

I finished reading a slim, hardboiled novel the other day of 142 pages and marveled again about how much story these good writers from the ’50s could cram…

Celebration

Monday, January 22, 2018

I’ve written of the power of Robert E. Howard’s prose any number of times, and I’m sure that there’s more that could be said, and that will be…

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…