Tuesday, December 23, 2008

'Tis the Season ...

Those scoundrels at Rogue Blades have published an e-interview with yours truly in conjunction with the re-release of The Return of the Sword. It has fewer calories than a fruitcake and can be found HERE.

I wish everyone a joyful and restful holiday season and a productive new year. May we get every good thing we desire ... and give more than we get.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Light and rain

A gorgeous, strangely warm November day. In the evening, the reddened leaves above our neighborhood wove an illusion of lavender light. Two items of note. First, the manuscript of "Love & Winter," returned with a form rejection from a major magazine (disappointing, as it's a tale that I thought deserved some positive comment, even in rejection). But second, a surprise via UPS at dinnertime: a contributor's copy of the full, 4-volume edition of Books and Beyond: The Greenwood Encyclopedia of New American Reading, which includes the essay on sword-and-sorcery with which Howard Andrew Jones generously asked me to assist so many months ago.

One will simply have to imagine the expression on my face when I discovered the set retails for $400.

I'm reminded that people, a group that includes most writers, need both success and failure to grow and to empathize with others, just as simply as plants need both sunlight and rain. Some days, it seems, bring both ...

Friday, October 31, 2008

The hardest part ...

... is indeed rejection. I learned last night that "Love & Winter" is not one of the winning entries in The Writers of the Future Contest. I'd been trying, though, to prepare myself for that outcome during the last six weeks and am (very nearly) at peace with it. The Contest will continue to hold the story, in case the anthology has space for one or more non-winning finalists (who are still invited to the workshop in L.A., so this chapter is not entirely closed).

The sun is shining beautifully today, Halloween festivities are on for tonight, and I have countless other things for which to be thankful. And this story will see the light of day eventually, in the best possible place, for the ideal reader(s). All is well. Now, in the glorious turning of the seasons, I need to turn my attention to other works ...

Monday, September 15, 2008

The waiting is almost the hardest part ...

... second only to rejection. Be that as it may, however, I'm thrilled to announce that my tale "Love & Winter" is one of eight finalists for the current quarter of the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest. The eight stories will be forwarded to four authors/judges, who will select the top three ...

And wait till they see my swimsuit!

Wonderful news after a grueling day of court.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

What can one do with a S&S degree ...?

In the fall of 2006, Howard Andrew Jones graciously invited me to assist him in completing an article--perhaps the article--on the history of sword-and-sorcery for a literary encyclopedia. We worked hard to complete the article by February of 2007, and I'm pleased to announce it will be published this October.

The article, "The Sword in the Mirror: A Century of Sword & Sorcery," will appear in the mammoth Greenwood Encyclopedia of New American Reading. I'd like to thank Howard for the experience, as at least 90% of the word count is his, and can now say that I'm officially a gentleman and a scholar, even if the latter is in as esoteric a field as S&S. (Esoteric ... but undoubtedly fun.)

Monday, July 28, 2008

"Creative Sentences" at Shared Worlds

This morning, I had a great time giving my presentation on speculative fiction legal systems at the inaugural session of the Shared Worlds creative writing/world-building camp at Wofford College. The students were intelligent and inquisitive, posing questions on everything from immigration to capital punishment to 'victimless' crimes, and I hope the exercises I planned will enable them to hone the governmental structures of their worlds.

The camp looks fantastic, and I'm sure it'll only get better from year to year. I look forward to being a part of it, and if you know any teenagers who might enjoy it, please do let them know about it.

As for me, I must sadly return from the camp to a terribly busy week of court ...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Back to school

It indeed appears that I'll give a presentation at the inaugural session of the Shared Worlds creative writing camp at Wofford College. The tentative title is "Creative Sentences: Designing Speculative Fiction Legal Systems" (which I hope is an example of res ipsa loquitor), and the tentative date is July 30th. I have no intention of lecturing for a full hour, so in the coming days, I'll devise a lesson plan that will likely involve the students drafting laws in their spec-fic settings, making accusations against each other, and finding defenses and loopholes. If all goes well, mayhem will ensue ...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Blade Runner

I finally watched Blade Runner (the final cut version), and ... wow. Dark and disturbing and, definitely, a masterpiece of sci-fi film-making (in details ranging from the not-quite-human behaviors of the replicants to the score). Then this dark jewel from Rutger Hauer at the climax:

"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain ..."

Two thumbs up.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Food for thought

I came across these lines in the story "Gift from a Spring" by Delia Sherman (Realms of Fantasy, April 2008):

"Isn't that what art is?" I asked .... "Making things up?"

"No," she said. "That's what commerce is about--identifying a market and satisfying it. Art is about seeing the truth and revealing it, as beautifully and forcefully and honestly as you are able."


Monday, June 2, 2008

One more, with feeling ...

The Return of the Sword has garnered one more excellent review, and the reviewer named "To Be A Man" one of his favorite stories in the anthology. Pura vida.

In other news, the dominoes appear to be falling in the right pattern for me to participate, likely as a guest lecturer, in the exciting Shared Worlds Camp, the inaugural session of which begins in July. I'll know more soon.

In more or less random thoughts, Tori Amos's Little Earthquakes strikes me more and more as a work of genius each time I listen to it. I aspire to such emotional power in my own work ... and likely have much more aspiring to do. ;)

Saturday, May 3, 2008

"Well-crafted writing" in "To Be A Man"

The Fix has posted another positive review of The Return of the Sword and "To Be A Man." Good times.

As a sidebar, I've now read every tale in the anthology and can honestly say it's one of the strongest collections of speculative fiction I've seen. Not one bad apple in a barrel of crisp, fantastical bravado. (Please scroll down for the gorgeous cover and a purchasing link.)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Review of "To Be A Man"

Bryan Hitchcock, an author who makes his debut in the Lords of Justice anthology, has some fine, insightful comments on "To Be A Man":

Bryan Hitchcock's review of "To Be A Man"

A rewarding highlight for me: "This story has a moral core that caught me off guard and lifts it from the realm of pure entertainment. It's sexy and mature, and that is part of the artfulness of the tale."

Please scroll down to see the gorgeous cover and a purchasing link for The Return of the Sword.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

On Tour - The Return of the Sword

Welcome to those visiting as part of the web-tour for The Return of the Sword. Please look below for the book's gorgeous cover and a purchasing link. And to whet your appetite for adventure, here's an excerpt from Bill Ward's "The Wyrd of War":

* * *

It was the autumn of the world. On the hard earth of Toth, where the bones of twice ten thousand lay broken and scattered upon the plain, great hosts marched to war. From the north came proud armies beneath banners of rust red and red-gold and the stark white of wasteland snow. Assembled from fenland and mountain dale, city, town, and freehold, the able few of all tribes and nations stood within its ranks. They were the last of their kind upon the lands, the last to stand against the Animus – the living shadow at world’s end.

It had waxed strong, this unseen power, sweeping armies from the field and devouring whole kingdoms in its wars. It had spread across the lands, a blight, enslaving those it did not destroy. Now on this, the last day, the Animus brought forth its force of beasts and bestial men upon the parched earth of the ancient battle-plain, and there made war for the fate of all ...

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Posted on StoryCrafters - 10 Guidelines

As part of a gracious promotion of The Return of the Sword, StoryCrafters has published my list of ten things I'd like to have known by rote when first setting out, as a fresh-faced rogue, from the Sign of the Undaunted Quill. Read them here:

Rob's 10 Guidelines for Aspiring Speculative Fiction Authors

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Return of the Sword - now available

This gorgeous anthology features 20 sword-and-sorcery and heroic fantasy tales by some of the most exciting authors in the genres and includes a thorough article on writing by E.E. Knight and a classic tale by Harold Lamb. Highly recommended for readers of high school age and beyond. To order it, click the button above--strike now!--or visit amazon.com.

Of course, I'm delighted that my story "To Be A Man" is featured in it. A few words about it: the thief Vasili has enjoyed a rich and ribald life with his partner, the notorious Titania Brashnova. But when Titania finally goes too far, Vasili must attempt his greatest con yet: ending their partnership ... without ending himself.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Why am I here?

At long last, I've done it. I've broken down and started a web-log.

I confess this isn't something I've wanted to do. I believe it was Guy Gavriel Kay--a fantasy author I admire greatly--who had no web-based presence for a long time because (to paraphrase) he was inclined to take after a Roman emperor and let people wonder why there was not a website (or statue) dedicated to him, as opposed to wondering why there was. (Since then, fans have developed an excellent site, brightweavings.com.)

In the spirit of that sentiment, and the simple fact that I'm all but unknown as a writer, let me be clear that starting a blog isn't a testament to my greatness, but rather a means of (I hope) forming friendships and becoming part of a community of people who believe that words and stories-- especially those that value goodness, beauty, and truth--can still enlighten, entertain, and encourage. (And what better day for a beginning than this glorious Easter Sunday?)

Thank you for walking with me on my writer's journey. Cheers, Rob