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Nerdarchy > Reading List (Page 6)

DMing a Killer Mystery Arc in D&D

mystery mysteries

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

Fantasy writers deserve not to be pigeonholed

The Pillars of the Earth writers

The Pillars of the Earth (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

Is fiction writing the last unexplored frontier?

writingOnce 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.

Who Wants to Live Forever?

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.

Fantasy Literature Quiz Answers

[amazon_link asins=’0345538374,B01N38T45A,0545162076′ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’nerdarchy-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’091316e7-f81b-11e6-8974-a1c24e629885′]

For the original quiz, check out this link.

  1. A ring
  2. The Gray Mouser
  3. 1923
  4. The Sword of Shannara
  5. Author Ursula K. Le Guin
  6. Seven
  7. Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger
  8. Cimmeria
  9. A butterfly
  10. The Knights of Solamnia, or The Solomnic Knights
  11. A giant turtle named Great A’Tuin
  12. Kahlan Amnell
  13. Florida
  14. Technically seven, though there are more lands than the Seven Kingdoms within Westeros
  15. The Creator
  16. Dark elf Drizzt Do’Urden
  17. Wednesday’s glass eye
  18. Azoth, eventually known as Kylar Stern
  19. The Golden Compass
  20. Twelve
  21. Assassin
  22. The Oath of Peace
  23. Tad Williams
  24. Magician
  25. Garion
  26. Stormbringer
  27. Fuchsia Groan
  28. Lirazel, the King of Elfland’s daughter
  29. Urban fantasy
  30. Mercury

Comic report: Saga, Volume One



Saga: Marko and Alana

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

Presenters Connie Willis Scott Edelman Alex Shvartsman Sarah Pinsker K.M. SzparaBalticon science fiction 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.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE PANEL (Synopsis of the Content the Presenter Covered)Balticon science fiction fantasy

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

Comic Book University: YouTube for the super hero in all of us

[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...

Free fiction from Ty Johnston

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

Mage HunterA 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.

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