Tag Archives: Pathfinder

So I’m thinking of doing a story collection and I want your thoughts. Yes, you!

As I’ve mentioned on the blog here before, I won’t have a new novel out in 2019. I’m working on one now, in point of fact, and the more it challenges me and kicks my ass, the more I love this book. But I’ll be lucky to have it written by summer. So 2019 is likely right out.

That said, I’m used to having a new something out in the world each year, even as I recognize just how privileged I am to even be able to say that. Six novels, one per year, since 2013 represents an immense amount of good fortune. But yes, I’ll really miss having new work out there.

Or will I?

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Where’d you come up with that?

Every story has a beginning — or at least, that’s what Hollywood tells us when they launch the umpteenth superhero reboot. Those aren’t really beginnings, though. They’re rethinkings, sometimes without much thought. The actual beginning of a story is that little flash of inspiration, the mini-epiphany that hits you and you say, “Dude, I could totally write a story about that.”

I’ve gotten into the inspiration behind The Daedalus Incident and it’s sequels more than a few times around the Internet — you can find the story here and here if you’re so inclined. It’s funny, though, because I had basically stuck with that one story idea for almost a decade before it finally got written — and then when it did, I found all these other ideas came to the fore, as if my idea-brain suddenly became unstuck.

Ideas come from anywhere and everywhere. The notion behind MJ-12: Inception is perhaps only a couple years old at the moment, and I can honestly say I don’t remember where it came from. I do remember emailing the incomparable Paul Weimer about it a few years ago, before The Enceladus Crisis came out, asking if there had been other Cold War superpowered spy thrillers out there. (I ask Paul these things because his knowledge of SF/F is truly impressive and comprehensive.) He pointed me to a couple titles, but there was nothing that really mirrored what I wanted to do.

And so here we are; the first MAJESTIC-12 thriller comes out in September.

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For your consideration: Awesome editors!

There’s much ado of late about Hugo Awards and other such things, and while it’d certainly be lovely to have a bit of shine on my mantle — though I would need to purchase a mantle to hold it — I’d rather take this opportunity to talk about some very well deserving individuals for your consideration in the editorial categories.

Yes, these are editors I’ve worked with. Each one of them has contributed both to the quality of my work as well as my ever-ongoing education as a writer. They are also lovely humans, which goes a very long way with me.

Editor, Short Form

I had the distinct pleasure of working with three different editors this year on my short fiction, and I find each one of them deserving of whatever laurels can be bestowed upon them.

Alex Shvartsman, UFO Publishing: I worked with Alex on “Confessions of an Interplanetary Art Fraud” for Unidentified Funny Objects 4. The story was accepted but certainly needed work, and Alex really helped me kick it up a notch or six. He’s a great editor who gets humor, which is a lot harder to write than it may seem.

Ross Lockhart, Word Horde: I remember thinking about submitting to Ross’ Tales of Jack the Ripper a few years ago, but found it hard to “go there” in terms of horror. Cthulhu Fhtagn! was much more up my alley, and my “On a Kansas Plain” was included in the anthology in August. Ross’ anthologies are always among the best in the genre. Give them a read.

Chris Carey, Paizo: “Crisis of Faith” was a bucket-list win for me, having grown up with D&D and owing so much to the multi-sided dice. Chris really helped me capture the nuances of Pathfinder and made the story so much fun to read in the end. I would write about clerics of beer gods any day if Chris was editing.

Editor, Long Form

Cory Allyn, Night Shade Books: This post was actually inspired by a conversation I had yesterday with Cory on MJ-12: Inception. We’ve done three novels together now, and Cory has made each of them far better than they were when I handed them in. He has a great way of pulling me out of the weeds and helping me see the story landscape from on high. Ideas and improvements just flow right out of me when we’re working on stuff. He edited The Venusian Gambit last year, and not only did a great job of it, but was incredibly supportive and encouraging at a time when I really needed it. Plus, he and Jason Katzman have really done a bang-up job reviving Night Shade. Just a great person to work with.

Ross Lockhart, Word Horde: No, I didn’t do a novel with Ross this year, though he was my editor for The Daedalus Incident and taught me so much in the short time we worked together. I’m including him because of his work with Molly Tanzer’s Vermilion, an excellent novel that, like The Daedalus Incident in 2013, was a SF/F Debut of the Month at Library Journal when it came out this year. Word Horde keeps putting out great books under Ross’ leadership and editorial purview. He’s one of the best editors out there, small-press or large.

So there you go. I would encourage you to check out all their books — not just the ones with me in ’em — and give them some consideration for a shiny rocket ship. If they don’t have mantles, we’ll do a Kickstarter or something.


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2015 in review: My year in writing

There are days when I still can’t quite believe that all this good authory stuff is happening. But it is, and apparently I’m not half-bad at it. And as it happened, 2015 was my most authory year yet.

Authory is totally a word. Back off, man…I’m a writer.

The following is a recap of the stuff that got published over the last year, and if there’s something that you haven’t read that piques your interest, by all means I’d encourage you to check it out. I suppose this is also my “awards consideration” post, and if you felt that anything below warranted that sort of recognition, then that’s pretty amazing and awesome. (Note: Don’t put me on a slate, no matter what the slate’s for. Just don’t. Thanks.)

TVG-cover-finalThe Venusian GambitThe Daedalus trilogy wrapped up in May with The Venusian Gambit, which got a starred review from Publishers Weekly and lots of love from lots of people. The reception this trilogy has received has been hugely encouraging to me as I’ve plotted my next steps as a burgeoning author. It’s been nearly a year since I wrote the last words of this series, but I know Weatherby and Jain will be with me for a very long time indeed.

“Crisis of Faith,” Pathfinder TalesMy first published short fiction of the year was the four-part Web series “Crisis of Faith” for the folks at Paizo, publishers of the Pathfinder RPG. Doing a Dungeons & Dragons-style piece was quite a lot of fun, and something of a bucket-list item for me. Plus, the story centers on a priest of the setting’s god of beer. So of course I had to write it. You can check it out for free at the link.

“On a Kansas Plain,” Cthulhu Fhtagn!Another big bucket-list piece, this time for Ross Lockhart’s Lovecraftian anthology for Word Horde. “On a Kansas Plain” is the story of what happens when one delves too deep into the shadowy cults waiting for the day when the Great Old One rises from the depths once more. I think this one is a little less weird than some of Lovecraft’s pulpy fiction, but it was still fun to revisit the Mythos.

“Confessions of an Interplanetary Art Fraud,” Unidentified Funny Objects 4Yep, a horror story and a humor story in one year. This still amuses me to no end. In this one, an Earthling abducted by aliens at an early age grows up to find that his childhood drawings are the toast of the galactic art scene — until his muse ends up in Twinkie rehab and he steals cultural icons from another species to pass off as his own work. Hijinks ensue, as you might imagine.

A lot of people made all this stuff possible: awesome literary agent Sara Megibow, Night Shade Books editors Cory Allyn and Jason Katzman, Word Horde publisher Ross Lockhart, UFO4 publisher Alex Shvartsman, and Paizo editors Chris Carey and James L. Sutter. And then there’s my family, of couse, who continue to support and encourage me in this whole writing thing; none of this would be worth a darn without them.

And ultimately, all the folks who bought, read and enjoyed my work — none of this would be happening without your support. Thank you!

There will be more stuff in 2016, including an exclusive short story for Geeky Giving and the launch of the MAJESTIC-12 series with MJ-12: Inception in September. And…there’s a few other things that I’ll be telling you about in January, so stay tuned!


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New podcast interview: Hanging out with TJ Redig on Scrivener’s Soapbox

Just a quick note: I did a interview recently with author and podcaster TJ Redig, proprietor of the Scrivener’s Soapbox podcast, which is now live and available for your listening pleasure. In it, I discuss the Daedalus trilogy, my short fiction, and the upcoming MAJESTIC-12 series. We also talk about homebrewing, and I am duly chastened for not upgrading my brewery game beyond the basics.

It was a fun interview, and if you’re interested, there’s some new MAJESTIC-12 tidbits in there that haven’t been revealed anywhere else. I also had a cold when I did this one, so I apologize for coughing in your ear from time to time. If memory serves, there’s also an awkward pause where I had to hit mute so I could give my wife some money for our daughter’s lunch for the week.

Real life, man. Raw and unfiltered.

My thanks to TJ for having me on. You can listen to it right here on this site, surf on over to TJ’s site, or head to iTunes and download it.


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The conclusion of the Pathfinder tale “Crisis of Faith” now live!

It’s been a great run. Today, the final chapter of “Crisis of Faith,” my Pathfinder story about Jeddah Cailean, hapless priest of a drunken god, was posted on Paizo’s site. And this fellow to the right featured prominently.

Seriously. Flaming skeletons. Awesome.

I had a great time playing in Pathfinder‘s sandbox. It was a real throwback to my D&D days, which were instrumental in introducing me to the wide world of science fiction and fantasy literature. I very much enjoyed being able to give my take on some of those classic tropes. With beer, of course.

When I think about writing “straight” fantasy — and by that, I mean the traditional sword-and-sorcery stuff — I always want a different take on it. A brewmaster-priest was a great start, and the Pathfinder world has so much more to offer. It’s a neat setting with a lot of potential for unique stories. If you’re an RPGer and you haven’t checked out Pathfinder already…seriously, what’s up with that?

My thanks again to James and Chris for letting me play, and once again to the Twitter crew for making it possible. I hope you enjoyed my tale.


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Chapter 3 of the Pathfinder tale “Crisis of Faith” now live!

I’m really kind of hooked on the whole serial storytelling thing. The third chapter of “Crisis of Faith,” my Web serial set in the Pathfinder universe, is live today, and I’m totally getting how those cliffhangers I wrote work. (I think they work well, of course.)

The events of the last chapter really give this one the crisis at the heart of the story. Jeddah Cailean, priest of the drunk god Cayden Caliean, just isn’t the adventuring type, even though his god is. This whole quest thing hasn’t been working out well for him, and he’s been shaken in his faith. And now, in this chapter, Jed’s facing an even greater challenge….

Surf on over to Paizo and check it out. And as you can see here, we have a great image of Jed — beer-belly and all. He’s actually in better shape in this piece than I imagined him in my head, but Marek Madej did a fantastic job nonetheless.

Next week: The exciting conclusion!


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Chapter 2 of the Pathfinder tale “Crisis of Faith” now live!

As of today, we’re halfway through my first Pathfinder short story, “Crisis of Faith,” featuring Jeddah Cailean, a priest of the drunk god Cayden Cailean. And our hero already managed to get himself into quite a pickle. Click here for the latest!

One of the things that struck me about Cayden as a deity is that his followers include adventurers — not the most predictable of folk — and those who brew ale. The latter are perhaps the most hidebound, painstakingly precise people you’ll meet. Brewing is as much chemistry as art, after all.

And here’s Jed, a precise brewer and, yet, also an adherent of a god of spontaneous adventure and, let’s face it, questionable choices. Obviously, Cayden’s chaotic nature is fine with this dichotomy, but it’s not always going to be easy for his followers to follow suit. Especially a homebody like Jed.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy chapter two — and this fantastic image of Corogan, too!


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Chapter 1 of “Crisis of Faith” Pathfinder story now live!

The first chapter of my new Pathfinder Tales serial, “Crisis of Faith,” went live today. In it, Jeddah Caliean, brewer-priest of the beer-and-adventuring god Cayden Caliean, has a tough decision to make — one at the core of his faith.

Yes, the tenets of Cayden’s faith are few — they’re kept on something called the Placard of Wisdom, usually found hanging above the bar — but hey, even the simplest faith can be challenged. Hence the title. I hope you enjoy the story.

And the art! Pictured here is Silvestrae, a half-elf with a few tricks up her sleeve and a taste for beer, naturally. Marek Madej is doing the art for this series, and it’s a real treat indeed to see characters I’ve written come to life like that.

The four-chapter series will run every Wednesday over at Paizo, so bookmark the story here and come back for more!

Again, my thanks to James L. Sutter and Chris Carey for letting me play in their sandbox. It was a real joy to write the story and go back to my RPG roots. And, of course, thanks to my friends on Twitter for getting me the gig in the first place!

Given that the story is about a brewer, I wonder if this means all my homebrewing gear is now tax-deductible. Hmm.



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The Pathfinder story “Crisis of Faith” is coming next Wednesday

So maybe this week is kind of quiet, but next week will be a whole lot of fun. In addition to the launch of the Audible audiobook of The Venusian Gambit next Tuesday, the good folks at Paizo confirmed that my serial Pathfinder tale, “Crisis of Faith,” will begin it’s run starting Wednesday, June 25, over at Paizo.com.

There’s a couple of neat things that make “Crisis of Faith” really rewarding for me. One, Paizo commissions a piece of art for each installment of the story — which means I’ll get to see the characters I’ve created brought to life visually. That’s a rare treat.

Second, the story is about a cleric. And not just any cleric — a priest of the god Cayden Cailean. Now, if you don’t know your Pathfinder mythos, click here for a good rundown on this particular deity.

Why, yes, the Pathfinder universe has a god of beer. And if you know me at all, you’ll know that including Cayden, or at least his priest, was pretty much a no-brainer. Had to be done.

And that’s all the spoilers you get for now. I’ll be blogging and tweeting links as each part goes live, so stay tuned.


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