Judging by the numbers, I’m getting a big influx of new visitors. My blog’s been running for a number of years at this point, and it might be a challenge to get the lay of the land without a whole lot of poking around. Even frequent visitors might not have dug deep enough to find some of my favorite posts.
There’s always the About the Author page of course. But that’s more about what I’ve done and, if I remember to update it, where I’ll be going over the course of the year, convention wise.
This page is a kind of primer on the things that interest me and a sample of the sorts of posts you’ll find if you dig around a little.
If you’re a writer, I’m pretty honest about my own struggles with the craft and how I work to overcome them. Mixed in with news about what I’m working on are a whole lot of essays about various tips and tricks I’ve picked up over the years. Here’s a page link to all my posts that had something to do with the art of writing. Or the struggle of writing, or… you get the picture. If you don’t want to read them ALL then you can poke around on this page, where I’ve got the topics loosely organized — the caveat being that if I’ve gotten busy I may have forgotten to add a more recent post to that second page.
In my late twenties I decided that if I was serious about writing fantasy I’d better start reading what had come before. I dove deep and came away with a knowledge of many old fantasy and science fiction writers, along with a liking for some and a love of a few. Mostly what I realized was that of all fantasy genres the one I love best is sword-and-sorcery. In the years since, through several editorial positions, I’ve had to refine how I define the term, which I discuss here. There seems an undue amount of confusion about what is and isn’t sword-and-sorcery, and this, at least, is how I think about it.
Before even THAT exploration, though, I’d used Appendix N as a doorway to fantasy, and you can find out about that here.
I spent years getting Harold Lamb’s great historical fiction into print, and I think everyone who loves a great fantasy adventure should try him out. Here’s why.
Here I talked about how much I love the work of Fritz Leiber, and here’s why I love the fiction of Roger Zelazny, and Leigh Brackett. I’d think it was a given that I loved the work of Robert E. Howard, but here’s several posts on him as well. (Under the Hood with Robert E. Howard, Howard and the Role of Women, the perfect Robert E. Howard collection.)
Bill Ward and I spent almost a year re-reading every single Robert E. Howard Conan story. Our discussion starts here, and the whole list of Conan re-reads can be found here, starting on page 5 of the Conan re-read Archive.
Bill and I also looked at the incomparable Leigh Brackett’s The Moon that Vanished.
Prior to re-reading Conan, Bill and I re-read some Lankhmar stories of Fritz Leiber, and you can find our discussion here, on the second page of the Lankhmar Archive.
But Bill and I started our re-read with C.S.E. Cooney, looking at some of Lord Dunsany’s great short stories. You can find those discussions here.
Here is where I talk about reading outside the genres we know and love, and how I found new ideas and energy when I did so.
Only in the last few years have I discovered my love of hard boiled detective stories. Here’s the lead-in to a discussion about some of them.
Even more recently I’ve discovered some great western fiction. You can find my discussions about that here and here. And don’t forget Marvin Albert, who seemed to excel regardless if he was writing detective, western, or thriller. Speaking of westerns, Ben Haas was a master writer. And here’s where to find his work more easily than I ever did.
You want something completely different? One of the ways I kept sane through grad school was by reading the jungle tales of Ki-Gor from the old pulp Jungle Stories. Here’s why.
Here’s one of my favorite posts on a great non-fiction text better than many a fantasy novel, an ancient Arabian Memoir.
This particular post, about The War of Art and a prayer to the muses, seems especially popular.
Here’s a fairly recent post of about my game closet and game space. I’m a tabletop roleplaying gamer from way back, although it’s been a few years since I played regularly. Lately I’ve been playing some wonderful solitaire wargames, like Ambush! and Lock ‘n Load Tactical and B-17 Leader.
Lastly, from the age of 4 on I grew up watching re-runs of the original Star Trek. It was a gateway to adventure, not to mention part of my moral education, and it had a deep impact upon how I think about story and character, even though I’m almost never writing science fiction. If you want to dive deep into Star Trek nerdery and a discussion of the characters of the original show, you can start here.