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Links, Competitions and 'Stuff' / Interviewed at Worldbuilding
« on: December 02, 2018, 08:58:53 PM »
My interview with Worldbuilding Magazine has appeared. The magazine is in PDF format.
My interview starts on p.4.

They do a really good job with layout and content both. The mag is worth a look on its own merits.

Fantasy Resources / History for Fantasy Writers
« on: October 31, 2018, 12:02:23 AM »
My latest article is now live over at Mythic Scribes. This one is on mills and millers. It's got pictures, he said enticingly.


Fantasy Resources / Medieval History
« on: October 10, 2018, 08:08:36 PM »
This link takes you to my account of the events of the First Crusade. This is as part of my ongoing series of essays on medieval history. These essays provide more depth than most online resources, and will always include a list of supplemental reading for those who wish to dig deeper.


In coming months I'll be covering all the main crusades plus a number of related topics, in addition to other medieval subjects.

Small Press & Self-Published / Medieval History
« on: September 26, 2018, 09:46:50 PM »
I have begun publishing a series of online articles on medieval history. While it may not quite be wie ist eigentlich gewesen, it is certainly not fantasy. These articles are the result of my five decades of historical research, writing, and teaching. They will cover a wide range of topics, from Carolingians to plague, daily life to papal history, the Crusades to the Reformation.

The first article is on the Black Death - http://europeanmiddleages.info/plague/. I thought I'd pick something fun to start.  :P

I'll be publishing every other Wednesday and have somewhere above sixty in the queue, though so far I'm scheduled only through the middle of next February. The schedule is here

Small Press & Self-Published / A new tale from Altearth
« on: June 01, 2018, 04:52:09 PM »
My new novel, A Child of Great Promise, is now available at Amazon. It's the story of a girl who can fly. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DFVGX49/

Half-elf, half-human, when Talysse learns that she is neither, she embarks on a quest to discover the truth about her past so she can create her own future. With wizards, monsters, elf chevaliers, troubadors, and French cowboys, A Child of Great Promise is a fun and exciting Altearth adventure tale.

My new novel, A Child of Great Promise, will be released on Friday, June 1. It's the story of a girl who can fly.

Half-elf, half-human, when Talysse learns that she is neither, she embarks on a quest to discover the truth about her past so she can create her own future. With wizards, monsters, elf chevaliers, troubadors, and French cowboys, A Child of Great Promise is a fun and exciting Altearth adventure tale.

For five days only, May 20-24, my alternate history fantasy novel, Goblins at the Gates, will be on sale. As in free! If you have not already got your copy of this story of how magic came to Altearth, now is your chance.

A quarter million goblins invade the Roman Empire. Civilization's best hope lies with a barbarian princess exiled as a magician, and a spoiled Roman aristocrat who hates the army but finds himself in command of a lone frontier legion. Also, a girl and her war dog.

Writers' Corner / Great Books
« on: April 18, 2018, 02:11:43 AM »
Someone asked in another place what are your five favorite books? I started a list but quickly gave it up. I've read thousands of books in my life; to extract five from that was impossible. But it got me thinking.

I have a list of books. I started it for my kids, a sort of TBR for them, but it grew to be an inventory of all the books I physically owned, then the electronic ones, then also books that I intended to read. So it really is massive.

I went through that file in the wake of the Five Books exercise with this criterion: was this book important to me in some way? It didn't have to be great, it just had to be important to me.

I came up with fifty-nine of them. Most are fiction but some are history books that were important in my career as a historian. I had expected most would be from my youth, in the way that most of my favorite bands date to a span from about age fifteen to twenty-five. To my surprise, a good many date from more recent decades. That made me feel good, for reasons not entirely clear to me.

It was an interesting exercise. Some were important, as I said, because they shaped my precepts and understandings as a historian. Some were important because they introduced me to other types of literature (e.g., The Brothers Karamazov showed me there was more to the world besides SF). Some simply resonated with me and continue to do so. Taken all together, they form a kind of narrative of my life.

I recommend it to any and all. It's easy to start a spreadsheet and just list what is ready to hand. You can add your TBR books to it. One use I've put it to is for gifts. I extract from it the books I have yet to read--not my whole TBR, but the "great books" that I really do intend to read--and share that with my kids. If they want to know what to get me for a birthday or whatever, I tell them to pick a book. I also do this other thing with books as gifts: my kids know they can buy a book for me that *they* have read. A physical book. Inscribe it. Those books sit on their own shelf at my house. It's an eclectic set, but it does provide a kind of view into where my kids' heads were at a given time.

Anyway, like I said, I recommend starting your book list.

Fantasy Resources / History for Fantasy Writers
« on: November 20, 2017, 03:56:48 AM »
I have a new article over at Mythic Scribes. This one is about craft guilds and how guilds are used in fantasy writing.


Here's hoping folks find it useful.

I have more articles that will appear in the coming months--on marriage, childhood, popular religion, customs, various specific trades, transportation, banking, metallurgy--mostly social and economic history. I'll just update on this thread when they appear.

Fantasy Resources / History for Fantasy Writers, 2
« on: October 23, 2017, 12:55:42 AM »
The second in my series, "History for Fantasy Writers" just went up over at Mythic Scribes. It's entitled "How Old Was Old." I invite any and all to have a look and leave a comment.


I realize this is sort of self-promotion, but I genuinely think historical fantasy fans will enjoy reading it.

Find out what happens when a quarter million goblins invade the Roman Empire.

Upcoming Conventions & Book Releases / Virtual Fantasy Con
« on: August 29, 2017, 03:34:41 AM »
Has anyone here attended either of the previous two of these?

I've signed up (it's free), but I'd love to hear from any previous participants.

Writers' Corner / The archeology of magic
« on: August 27, 2017, 07:48:39 PM »
I want to invent a word, or at least use a good one invented by someone else. In my world, magic has been around a long time, and naturally things change over time, so there will eventually be people who study the history of magic, even before there were written records.

That's the archeology of magic. The terms I've cobbled together are awfully clunky

I found this one from a book title, "materia magica" which is more elegant, but which does not quite imply "study of." Ideally, the word could change gracefully, the way archeology can become archeologist.

All ideas welcome!

Self Publishing Discussion / Selling books in person
« on: February 26, 2015, 03:48:14 PM »
I just came across this article, which I found both well-written and detailed. For anyone who has a book in hand and is looking for ways to sell, here is a guide to one aspect of self-marketing. I've archived it for the day when I do this for my own book.


Writers' Corner / Is this the kissing part?
« on: February 13, 2015, 06:39:04 PM »

I've got male and female leads in my WIP--two males, one female. I have good reasons, both plot- and character-driven, why she has an interest both, and why they have an interest in her. I'm pretty comfortable with how all that fits together and how it plays out through the book.

I'm not at all comfortable, though, in showing that relationship develop in specific scenes. Oh, I can outline them well enough. I know when she likes A and dislikes B, when she has conflicting emotions, when she likes B but loves A. I can outline it in satisfying detail, but when it comes to the actual writing, I'm no good.

I can tell, because I've been avoiding those scenes. I've been writing all kinds of other scenes, some of them with high drama and emotion, but when it comes to my main characters in love, I just freeze up. My explanations for this range from inexperience to incompetence to a fear that I'll botch the job and my characters don't deserve that. In addition, I'm not at all sure how much space these relationships merit. This isn't a romance novel, after all, it's epic fantasy. I've toyed with abandoning the love side altogether, except that adds a satisfying aspect to the denounement.

So, no real specific question here, just angsty rambling. Have others stumbled over the kissing parts (Princess Bride reference, not a reference specifically to kissing)?

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