Mysteries are one of my favorite things in tabletops. It’s like a big puzzle to solve, but with talking to people and assessing their motives. Sometimes there’s even a little larceny involved. I have to admit, I’m a fan. Then again, I have to be, I write mystery novels.
In D&D, mysteries can be really difficult to run with spells in the game like “Detect Thoughts” and “Zone of Truth.” The thing is, the characters have to know whose mind to read before they can be effective with either of these things, and even the highest level wizard can only do it so many times a day.
Writers of history
A while back I was in an online forum filled with fellow writers. The majority of writers and authors on the site were thriller and romance writers … the “acceptable” genres.
While there I noticed a posting about historical fiction, asking what are some favorite historical novels and short stories. I started salivating because I could think of tons of historical fiction books and tales I love. Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove comes to mind, as does Colleen McCullough’s Masters of Rome series. James Clavell’s Shogun is also a favorite, as are Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind and Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth. I also thought of Steven Pressfield’s Gates of Fire novel and Louis L’Amour’s The Walking Drum. Just about anything written by Alexandre Dumas springs to my mind as a favorite.
Once upon a time, just about anyone could be an explorer. Little more than a hundred years ago, there were still places on this Earth which had not been reached, or had been reached by very few. In those days, just about any man or woman could set out to trek off into unknown territories. True, major expeditions were funded by governments or business interests, as they are today, but the average person could still sign up with such groups or with a minimum of money set out on their own.
You know what I don’t like about superhero movies? The “big bad” is always getting whacked. I mean, how do you kill Doctor Doom or the Red Skull? The cool thing is that, just like in the comics, they can always come back.
A brief look at fantasy
During the last century, numerous authors and editors and fantasy fiction fans have pondered the different sub-genres of fantasy literature. Today the numerous sub-genres come in many shades, but there was a time not so long ago when the majority of fantasy literature was less diverse.
It’s not just an awesome Queen song. It’s about wanting to play more than one character in your life, or giving meaning to the life of your character.
Hey, guys, Professor Bill here, and I want to talk about one of my favorite parts of role playing … choosing my own death. It doesn’t have to be emo, there are many reasons why you would want your character to die. Maybe you want to play a different character. With me, I figure that a character can only be known for but so many accomplishments. I mean, sure you’ve slain that ancient red dragon, but lots of people in many games around the world have, too.
Have you read plenty of fantasy literature over the years? Do you think you know your stuff? If so, take the quiz below to find out just how much you really know or don’t know. And don’t worry, as you can find the quiz answers here.
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For the original quiz, check out this link.
- A ring
- The Gray Mouser
- The Sword of Shannara
- Author Ursula K. Le Guin
- Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger
- A butterfly
- The Knights of Solamnia, or The Solomnic Knights
- A giant turtle named Great A’Tuin
- Kahlan Amnell
- Technically seven, though there are more lands than the Seven Kingdoms within Westeros
- The Creator
- Dark elf Drizzt Do’Urden
- Wednesday’s glass eye
- Azoth, eventually known as Kylar Stern
- The Golden Compass
- The Oath of Peace
- Tad Williams
- Fuchsia Groan
- Lirazel, the King of Elfland’s daughter
- Urban fantasy
As a fiction writer, I tend to mostly work in the fields of fantasy and horror. I don't consider my fantasy works especially dark, nor do I consider most of my horror to be overly gory. But readers as individuals have different tastes and wants in...
Saga (written by Brian K. Vaughan with artwork by Fiona Staples) is just one of those comics you need to read. The perfect combination of action, romance, drama and inappropriateness is definitely what makes this a story to indulge in. It’s basically like an epic space odyssey of a couple, Alana and Marko, two separate alien races (both super hot, horned, winged aliens with attitude, peoples) escaping the life they lived as military personnel to two opposing racial forces in a war between the planet Landfall (Alana’s home) and its satellite wreath (Marko’s native moon). In order to start anew with their newly-birthed (from forbidden love) child, Hazel, they are forced to flee in secret and hopefully escape the never-ending war between their two races, which they want nothing to do with. This world, mind you, is full of magic and strange scientific advancements similar to recent Star Wars movies, so you see a lot of creepy and strange characters which makes it intriguing and makes you want to keep reading!
Nerdarchy at Balticon 2016 – Panel Synopsis – How To Give and Receive Writing Critiques for Science Fiction and Fantasy
Panel Date – May 29, 2016
Attendance – Approximately 40 Science Fiction Writers and Readers
Balticon is a large annual Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers convention that occurs in Baltimore in late spring each year. Balticon 2016 featured George R.R. Martin as it lead guest writer. The Balticon 2016 Panel “How To Give and Receive Writing Critiques for Science Fiction and Fantasy” presented a range of advice from professional science fiction and fantasy writers on critiquing in the formats of Class, Group and Online.
Connie Willis – If one critiquer is telling you to do something in your writing, think about – if 20 critiquers are telling you to do something, do it You critique others work until you are ready to critique your own and make it better It is hard to hear negative critique on own work Don’t slap dash critique others while you are waiting for your own critique – be emotionally involved There were times when Willis said to herself that other critiquers of her work were idiots and then made all of their suggested changes three days later Zero Sum critiquers can kill a Writing Group (Willis witnessed two writer groups destroyed by a zero sum critiquer) Listen to everyone except zero sum critiquers Prioritize changes that can immediately be done Be aware of who is critiquing, someone who only likes Military Science Fiction is unlikely to be useful at critiquing your Urban Fantasy Romance story Lucius Shepard has a lush descriptive style that has grown to be his staple and workshops he participated in his early career told him to abandon this style (Willis was told to do more physical description in her work in early workshops) General critiques of the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop is that it turns out B writers, but no geniuses Make sure you preserve your genius, if you are unique – to hell with all of your detractors Pitch shops (workshops with the structure of $500 for one weekend and 5 minutes to pitch an editor or agent) are a very bad idea – avoid these Don’t fool yourself – know what your writers group is – a critique group or a support group? Recommends attending the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="326" class="zemanta-img"] The Incredible Hulk #1 (May 1962). Cover art by Jack Kirby and Paul Reinman. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)[/caption] I don’t normally do a shout-out for a solitary YouTube channel, especially one that is fairly new, but the channel called Comic Book University...
[caption id="attachment_11297" align="aligncenter" width="563"] They're looking a little rough around the edges, but I've had these Marvel Comics Pocket Books nearly 40 years.[/caption] Long before Civil Wars, Spider-Man clones, Infinity Gauntlets, Secret Wars and movie franchises, Marvel Comics drew in readers with what today would be...
As some of you might know, after 20 years as a newspaper journalist, nowadays I make my living as a fiction writer, mostly in fantasy and horror though I occasionally dip into other genres. Over the last decade or so some of my short stories have become available to read on one website or another, and a number of my shorter e-books are currently free to read. For those who might be interested, I thought I would provide a brief guide along with links to the stories or e-books.
Concerning the e-books, where available I will provide a link to the Amazon page for those of you with a Kindle or who use a Kindle app, but I will also provide a link to a site called Smashwords where you can download the free e-book in whatever format you desire.
Let’s get going.
Free e-books from Ty Johnston
Mage Hunter: Episode 1: Blooded Snow
A hunt for raiding barbarians turns upon the hunters. But far worse is to come for the sleepy villages of northern Ursia and the soldiers who protect the villagers. The Dartague barbarians have had enough of the Ursians encroaching upon their mountainous borders, and the raids are but a feint to draw out soldiers while a much larger attack is in the works. His squad mates slain, Sergeant Guthrie Hackett finds himself alone in the winter wilderness on the border between his homeland and the nation of barbarians. He discovers the Dartague have a new leader, a wyrd woman who is behind the border assault. Worse yet for the sergeant, he has fallen under the attention of an ice witch, an inhuman creature with secret goals of her own. Seeking to survive, Hackett tries to make it back to his own countrymen, only to find there is relatively little safety for him anywhere in the northern regions.
This e-book is serial fiction, the first in a five-part series that tells the tale of Guthrie Hackett and how he comes to learn a few things about himself while trying to survive an approaching war with outlanders.