Tuesday, October 11, 2011, 1:37 PM
We're back! For various reasons, editor Fleetwood Robbins and I have had to go radio silent for the last year or so. But we're planning to come back to the online community in the very near future.
As we gear up for our return, we want to hear from you. What kinds of topics related to our novels publishing program would you like to know more about? We can share about aspects of the publishing process, writing advice, D&D lore.... whatever interests you. What things have we done in the past that you've liked and would like to see more of?
Please add a comment below with your suggestions or message me directly with your thoughts.
Monday, October 10, 2011, 6:12 AM
Crossing paths with a mastermind villain is like being caught in a deadly chess game in which you can only see your own pieces. If you survive, it will feel like it’s just the mastermind toying with you. And despite working as hard as you can, what limited successes you achieve will feel like they are due only to the amusement of your opponent. Even in losing, a mastermind often achieves their esoteric goal.
They are the best and the brightest, the geniuses among geniuses—and yet somehow, they always turn out so evil. We have to wonder: Is it because they see too much to identify with others, leading them to detach from the world and its petty problems? Or are they simply subject to greater temptations, having greater resources?
Because of their mind-numbing intelligence, writing masterminds is incredibly challenging. Luckily, Richard Lee Byers, best-known as the author of Dissolution, the first book in The New York Times best-selling series R.A. Salvatore Presents the War of the Spider Queen, was able to lend me a hand. Richard Lee Byers’s work with villains is always extraordinary, giving them a depth and a raw emotional realism usually reserved for heroes. But it was his vision of the manipulative genius Szass Tam in The Haunted Lands put him at the top of my list for experts on mastermind villains.
1. How would you describe mastermind villains?
The archetypal mastermind villain is a brilliant, patient schemer pursuing an intricate strategy intended to achieve some nefarious end. He has underlings to carry out his plans, and his goals appear grandiose if not impossible. For example, he’s not content simply to steal a valuable painting from a private collector. He’d rather steal the Mona Lisa, or better still, every piece of artwork in the Louvre.
But a character doesn’t have to conform to the archetype in every detail to qualify as a mastermind. Much of the time, the Joker doesn’t look like he has a long-range plan or any patience. He looks crazy and impulsive, and the audience has to infer the genius working beneath the facade. Hannibal Lecter’s ambitions are really no grander than those of a real-life serial killer. He just wants to murder and eat his victims while evading the law. Yet both these characters are clearly mastermind villains.
Read the rest here!
Monday, September 26, 2011, 8:19 AM
Excerpt from Omnivoracious Blog:
Like that tall, dark, and handsome someone in the back of the bar, antiheroes command our attention and demand we try to understand them. They're deep, man, and though they have more baggage than a circus, their inner battles are riveting--fierce enough to rival their battles on the outside.
The antihero is the answer to today's complicated world. When good and evil are not so easy to separate, and every protagonist has their share of damning secrets, the golden hero of yesterday--in his innocence and good will--is unrelatable. The modern audience demands moral complexity--heroes who face the same challenges, temptations, and questions we do. Writing antiheroes is as complex and challenging as the antiheroes themselves--and so I knew I was going to need an expert. Someone who has delved into the heart of the antihero and shown, time after time, that they can capture an audience with their antiheroes, and not drive us away with the hero's darker tendencies. Someone like Paul S. Kemp.
Best-known as The New York Times best-selling author and creator of Erevis Cale, who transformed from a cold-hearted killer into an antihero who would die for his friends, Paul S. Kemp has captivated readers with his dark but relatable characters for over a decade. And there's a reason he boasts such a fiercely loyal readership: his characters have a depth and a darkness to them that hooks right into your soul and pulls you under, into a story you'll be hard-pressed to put down.
1. What draws you to antiheroes?
I’m drawn to the anti-hero’s constant flirtation with redemption, the possibility that this horribly flawed person might, in the end, find meaning, and maybe even peace, despite the tribulations of the world and the questionable choices (s)he’s made. I love that. It’s symbolic of the tension between temptation and grace, the world and the afterlife (if you believe in that sort of thing), between surrendering to regret or finding inner peace. In that sense, the anti-hero embodies the kind of struggle and questions we all sometimes lay awake at night and ask ourselves.
Read the Rest Here!
Monday, September 19, 2011, 5:06 PM
September 27 sees the first ever Twitter Duel between Kalen "Shadowbane" Dren, Vigilante Paladin, Champion of a Fallen God, and the dwarf assassin Arrath "Rath" Vir, his nemesis from Downshadow (2009), in the rough-and-tumble city of NEVERWINTER.
The guards trembled before the barred door to the strongest, darkest prison cell beneath Castle Waterdeep. Cold water dripped through cracks in the stone, making the walls around them seem to swell and radiate a chill like that of the grave.
The dim torchlight reflected from a dusky, handsome face, pure but for a dusting of beard the owner could not shave. His eyes were closed and his relaxed posture indifferent.
Shieldlar Tholm growled in impatience. “Hurry, you fools. I would be about this business ‘ere the sun rises.”
They nodded. Hand shaking, one unlocked the door, and they both stepped back, hands on their swords. The Shieldlar sighed and stepped through. “Arrath Vir—monk, assassin, enemy of the state. Today’s the day Tymora smiles upon you. Lord Neverember has a task for you, and the reward will be plentiful. Including, but not limited to, your freedom.”
The dwarf made no reply, and the force of his silence was deafening. If the guards had been nervous before, now they seemed to stand on the verge of flight.
“An uprising is brewing in Neverwinter, under the leadership of a supposed true heir of the city’s crown,” said Tholm. “Lord Neverember would like it dealt with as quickly and quietly as possible. Kill this Lost Heir, and—”
That took Tholm aback. “But . . . the coffers of Waterdeep are full. Name your price.”
“I’ll not kill this man for coin.” Rath’s eyes opened. “I want him.”
The dwarf blurred across the room and blew the life from one of the guardsmen with a single punch. The man’s neck shattered against the stone wall. The second guard was drawing a sword, but Rath caught his wrist and dragged the blade across the man’s chest. He staggered back, and Rath turned the blade to stab it through the man. As he did so, he relieved the guard of his dagger. Tholm could hardly think, much less fight back.
Rath paced toward him casually. In the light, he had turned his face, and Tholm could see the horrific scar that mangled his features. It was shaped not unlike a pair of lips.
“You’ve already freed me,” Rath said, his voice nothing but calm. “I need only one thing more, and that you do not have.”
As he stepped over the men choking out their lifeblood on the stones, the dwarf assassin called Rath spoke a single word: “Shadowbane.”
The actual fight will take place on Twitter (@erikscottdebie), but a full transcript will be generated within 24 hours or so on Facebook.
Come cheer Kalen on, direct message me with a few suggested twists, or simply bear witness to the first ever online Forgotten Realms fight, based on my novels Downshadow (2009) and Shadowbane (due out this month)! The fight also ties into the current D&D Encounters season, "The Lost Crown of Neverwinter," as Rath is ostensibly going after the focus of the campaign: The Lost Heir!
Also, the voting is now open on Kalen's personal facebook page as to his next deadly nemesis. Stop by, cast your vote, or suggest a new challenger! www.facebook.com/pages/Kalen-Shadowbane-Dren/111656375596059
Caveat: These battles are not necessarily meant to be interpreted as canonical and are conducted with permission from Wizards of the Coast and the author of any signature character featured. The battle conforms to a "hard PG-13" rating in terms of violence and adult content.
Downshadow on Kindle: www.amazon.com/Downshadow-Greenwood-Presents-Waterdeep-ebook/dp/B001NLL64O/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1309674888&sr=8-2
Shadowbane (pre-order) on Kindle: www.amazon.com/Shadowbane-Forgotten-Realms-Novel-ebook/dp/B004ZZKRLS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1309812287&sr=1-1
Friday, September 2, 2011, 11:48 AM
A bunch of stuff is up for my new novel Shadowbane, including:
Expanded Content Listing: It's seriously more like a mini-sourcebook than a mere novel!
WotC Product Page: This is where WotC will be posting everything about Shadowbane, as well as several links to free sample chapters (choose your format!)
There will be more appearing soon, so keep your eyes peeled!