From Pastiche to Original

Author Scott Oden reveals how his Conan pastiche writing influences his original character stories, and what sets the two apart from each other.

The Thread Between Conan and Grimnir (Tip o’ the hat to Stan Wagenaar, for inadvertently suggesting this topic) I consciously imitate Robert E. Howard in my original fiction, and I have done so since at least the late 1980s.  Some call it riding the coat-tails; others might think it a mark of depressed creativity — […]

From Pastiche to Original

Anatomy of a Pastiche, Part Three

The next post in Scott Oden’s series on writing Robert E. Howard pastiche using his iconic character, Conan of Cimmeria. Please subscribe to his blog, it’s interesting and informative. And buy his books! They are excellent reading.

Read Part One here. Read Part Two here. “I hadn’t yet seen my fifteenth winter when I sacked my first city, part of a horde that came howling out of the north. Venarium, it was called. Aye, I’ve drawn blood in cattle raids, tribal feuds, rebellions, wars between barons, and on the road of kings.” […]

Anatomy of a Pastiche, Part Three
Published in: on July 26, 2020 at 10:20 am  Leave a Comment  
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Anatomy of a Pastiche, Part Two

Part 2 in author Scott Oden’s series of posts about writing Robert E. Howard pastiche stories.

Read Part One here. This is a long post, so grab a frosty beverage and buckle in. So, we’re skipping ahead a few pages from the opening of “Conan Unconquered”. After the establishing scene of Conan receiving the hill-men, I laid out the frame story — soldiers on the night before battle, drinking ale and […]

Anatomy of a Pastiche, Part Two
Published in: on July 22, 2020 at 8:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Anatomy of a Pastiche, Part One

I’m sharing another of Scott Oden’s posts in his continuing series on how to write Robert E. Howard pastiche with his most iconic  character, Conan of Cimmeria. Here Scott pulls back the veil to reveal his processes and techniques.

After my post on the Art of Pastiche, the other day, I had a discussion with Matt John, freelance author and contributor to Monolith’s Conan board game, about pastiche writing and the flavor text in games.  He had a snippet he wanted me to read over, if I had the time, to see if he’d […]

Anatomy of a Pastiche, Part One

Published in: on July 17, 2020 at 10:35 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Art of Pastiche

I’m sharing this post from friend and fellow author Scott Oden’s blog on writing in the style of Robert E. Howard. Please subscribe to Scott’s blog and buy his books. He writes some excellent tales.

They beheld a giant of a man clad in steel plate, a scarlet cloak draped carelessly about his broad shoulders.  One scarred hand rested lightly on the long hilt of a sheathed broadsword as, from beneath a square-cut black mane, smoldering blue eyes appraised the hillmen as a lion appraises its prey.  For all that […]

The Art of Pastiche

FrogCon 2020

I will be a guest author panelist at the first ever FrogCon at TCU in Fort Worth, TX this Saturday, February 22nd. FrogCon is a popular culture convention hosted by the TCU Library focusing on “geek” interests such as speculative fiction media, literature, arts/crafts, performances, music, tabletop and video games, and academic interests and future careers in same. It’s free for the public to attend and will take place from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM with panels starting at 10:00 AM. Here’s a link to the official website:

Check out the website for all the details. It should be a really fun convention and if it does well it will be back next year and hopefully for many more years to come so come out and help make it a success. Here are the discussion panels that I will be on:

10:00 to 10:50 room #3181 or 3182 World Building – Creating in-depth universes to play hosts to your characters, in fiction and gaming. What are some pitfalls we have all faced, and how do we get around them?

11:00 to 11:50 room# 3181 or 3182 The Bit I Remember. – What do we remember from books and comics read, and movies and TV seen, long ago, and why? What makes these glowing moments stick in our heads? And conversely, what falls away only to startle us when we return to the narrative years later?

12:00 to 12:50 Conference Room #1208 Insecurity, Imposter Syndrome, and other Creative Pitfalls – Being a creator is hard. You put your stuff out there and hope for the best. But there’s often that feeling of not measuring up, that your stuff isn’t good enough, that nobody cares.

Check the schedule on the site for more awesome panel topics. This may end up being the only convention that I will be a guest panelist at this year and I’m really looking forward to it. I hope to see you there.

Published in: on February 22, 2020 at 1:09 am  Leave a Comment  

The Shadow of Vengeance, or A Dream Fulfilled

My friend and fellow author, Scott Oden has a story published in the back of the new Savage Sword of Conan issue #1 comic book, out now in stores. Check out his blog post about how he made a life long dream of publishing a Conan story come true. He is an excellent writer, and I’ve been fortunate to get to know him as a person and through his novels and short stories.

Scott Oden

Today, some of you will make the journey to your Friendly Local Comic Shop to purchase this week’s new offerings.  For some of you, that will include issue #1 of the new Savage Sword of Conan series from Marvel Comics.  You might buy it for the art, for the writing, for the hint of nostalgia . . . whatever your reasons, I thank you.  Not that I had anything at all to do with the primary story, the art, the production.  None at all.  No, my contribution fill three pages at the back of the issue (and the next eleven besides): a prose novella called “The Shadow of Vengeance.”

SSoC #!

The story is a sequel to Robert E. Howard’s own “The Devil in Iron”, from the August 1934 issue of Weird Tales.  If you’re familiar with Conan canon, then you’ll recognize a few characters besides the stalwart Cimmerian.  I used…

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Published in: on February 13, 2019 at 9:31 am  Leave a Comment  

The Final ConDFW

This will be the last year that ConDFW will be held. It makes me quite sad to think about that fact. ConDFW was my first ever fan convention for science fiction, fantasy, and horror that I ever attended. It was also the first convention in Texas where I was a guest author and on discussion panels. It has been my local fan convention since 2011. But has been so much more than just a convention. It is an annual gathering of many of my friends who are also authors, as well as fans of science fiction, fantasy and horror, artists, editors, and owners of small publishing companies.

I only see these people at conventions typically and this one has always been that kind of small convention where you can really hang out and get to know your peers in a very relaxed and down to earth setting. Writers really are only understood by other writers or artists. Creative people are a kind of breed all their own. A sort of esoteric tribe, if you will. The Tribe of Scribes.

I invite all of you who can make it this weekend, to come to ConDFW whether it’s your first time or if you are a con veteran. I guarantee you will have fun and have many interesting conversations with the authors, artists, and fans there.

Here’s my schedule for my panels, reading, and book signing for ConDFW for this weekend:
Programming 2, 3 PM – New Tropes For Old
Panelists: Mel White (M), Larry Atchley Jr., Julia S. Mandala, Patricia Burroughs
We all know the Hero’s Journey. The Hero must find the Magic MacGuffin™ that will save the world, but
only after he/she finds his/her scrappy companions who compass every nationality in the area… It is

easy to dismiss a trope. But these masters take the trope and make it look fresh again. Our panelists
talk about authors and methods to take the trope and make it fresh and new again.

Autographs, 5 PM – Larry Atchley Jr., Seth Skorkowsky

Programming 2, 6 PM – Dystopian Utopia
Panelists: William C. Seigler (M), Larry Atchley Jr., Jimmy Misfit, Ethan Nahté, John DeLaughter
An interesting description of Dystopia versus Utopia is this: Utopia portrays the setting that agrees with
the author’s ethos, but Dystopia portrays the setting that complete disagrees with the author’s ethos.
Note that neither dystopia nor utopia have any basis in fact or moral code – an author can portray
current society as a dystopia, but others who LIKE that society would portray it as utopia. Both can be
correct. Our panelists debate this and other topics.

Reading, 1 PM – Barbara Ann Wright, Larry Atchley Jr., Chris Donahue

Programming 3, 3 PM –
Ia, Ia! Cthulhu Mythos Retrospective
Panelists: Larry Atchley Jr.(M), David Doub, Michelle Muenzler, S. Boyd Taylor
There are some creatures Man was not meant to know about. But H.P. Lovecraft came up with a lot of
them, and created an entire subculture around Elder Gods with his stories of the weird. Our
Lovecraftian experts go into the madness of Cthulhu and try to guide you to sanity. Fthagn!

Programming 2, 4 PM –
Fairy Tales Coming to Life!
Panelists: Melanie Fletcher (M), Ethan Nahté, Larry Atchley Jr., Bret McCormick
One of the recent Hollywood trends of the past couple of years is to take animated movies of yore and
redo them with live action versions. Beauty & the Beast, Cinderella and now Aladdin have been or are
being made into live action, with more to come. Our movie enthusiasts explore this trend and the
reasons for it.

Programming 2, 6 PM –
Apocalypse Soon: Practical World Building
Panelists: Chris Donahue (M), Larry Atchley Jr., Paul Black, Jimmy Misfit, William C. Seigler
Yes, yes, we’ve all heard it. The end of the world is nigh! Again. But what dies first? Who will turn the
lights off when the world goes dark? Are utilities the first thing to go, or the last? We look at practical
considerations for bringing destruction to a society as the world goes mad.

Programming 4, 8 PM –
Fun Ways to Present Your Poetry
Panelists: Stephen Sanders (M), Michelle Muenzler, Larry Atchley Jr., Patricia Ferguson
Bring instruments! Bring an open mind! Bring whatever you think might be fun and strange, because
this is an experimental idea with people committing poetry in whatever fashion that might be eye-
catching or funny.

Programming 3, 1 PM –
Creating Heroes From Reality
Panelists: Ethan Nahté (M), Trakena Prevost, Ava Morgan, Larry Atchley Jr.
We don’t need superpowers to be a hero, and history has plenty of examples of every day heroes that
we can use. From Martin Luther King Jr. to Mahatma Gandhi, stories can be written if only we know
where to look. Our panelists give examples of heroes to use in your stories that don’t need to be
fictionalized to be amazing.

Main Programming, 3 PM –
Blending Steampunk
Panelists: Tex Thompson (M), Larry Atchley Jr., Gloria Oliver
Using two or more genres together can make something really pop in the imagination. Whether it’s
combining with Japanese culture in Jay Kristoff’s Lotus War series or combining with WWI era noir with
Larry Correia’s Grimnoir series, blending steampunk with another genre can be very effective. Our
panelists debate this and other topics.

Published in: on February 11, 2019 at 9:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

ConDFW Schedule This Weekend

I will be a guest author at ConDFW in Fort Worth, Texas this weekend of February 16th-18th, 2018. This is my seventh year as a guest panelist, and it is also notable for being the first literary fan convention that I attended as a patron back in February 2011 before my first short story was published later that Summer. I have a lot of fond memories of past years attending this convention. This is a much smaller, more relaxed event than say ComicCon, or DragonCon. It’s always great to talk to my fellow author friends who I see only once a year, and meet new ones. I enjoy doing discussion panels, hearing others views on all kinds of topics. The readings and book signings are fun too. I’m fortunate that my wife Alison is also an author as well as being an artist , and enjoys attending the convention with me. We have had some good times there in years past. Below is my schedule for the convention. I hope to see you there.
Friday, 6pm: Echoes From Other Worlds: Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry
Panelists: Patricia Ferguson (M), Michelle Hartman, Stephen Sanders, Michelle Muenzler, Larry Atchley, Jr.
Poetry is an artform of the mind and can be channeled into any and every genre. Some of the greatest poems ever written are tales
of adventure and daring-do. Does anyone remember The Highwayman, by Alfred Noyes? Or The Homecoming of Solomon Kane, by
Robert E, Howard. Come hear from poets who write regularly about living on Mars, Steampunk adventures, pirate raids, alternate
history, and ensorcelled swords. They’ll talk about the various markets where they’ve found success and challenge you to write your
own fanciful poem in one of these genres.
Saturday, 1pm: Ekphrastic Poetry: What is it and will it hurt?
Panelists: Susan Maxwell Campbell (M), Stephen Sanders, S. Boyd Taylor, Michelle Muenzler, Larry Atchley Jr.
Ekphrastic (from the Greek for “speak out”) poetry is poetry inspired or stimulated by a work of art, usually a painting or
sculpture. This form of poetry has been practiced since the time of Homer and still flourishes today – a well-known example is
Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, by William Carlos Williams. In the first half of the panel the panelists will discuss the genre and
answer questions about their own works. The convention will call upon several of the artists featured at this year’s convention to
create original art to inspire poems. These pieces will be shown during the panel and, during the second half of the panel, attendees
will be able to ask the artists questions about their works. Attendees will then write original ekphrastic poems, based on the
artwork, and these will be featured at our late night open mic!
Saturday, 2pm: Martha Wells, Larry Atchley Jr., Bradley H. Sinor
Saturday, 4pm: E. Gaston Huckabay, Larry Atchley Jr.
Saturday, 5pm: Robert E. Howard: A Retrospective
Panelists: Ethan Nahté (M), Larry Atchley Jr., Adrian Simmons, Stephen Sanders
Many will know of Robert E. Howard’s work through Conan the Barbarian or Solomon Kane. But he wrote in many other genres,
including Western and Poetry! Our Howard Scholars talk about his work in the Fantasy genre as well as others.
Saturday, 7pm: Celebrity Artemis – Session 1
Panelists: Stephen Sanders (M), Melanie Fletcher, David Doub, Larry Atchley Jr., Seth Skorkowsky, William Ledbetter
The popular co-operative bridge simulator returns again to ConDFW! Six panelists at a time take the Starship Artemis through the
void, insulting every alien species possible. Let’s see what happens!
Sunday, 12pm: The Third Annual ConDFW Adventure Poetry Slam
Judges: Stephen Sanders (M), Michelle Muenzler, Larry Atchley, Jr.
No Entry Fee. First Prize: $50, Second Prize: Convention T-shirt, Third Prize: Blackbead Books Merchandise
All you must do is write an original adventure poem, any form, which you can recite in three minutes or less. Then, perform it in
front of our audience and judges. Our three judges will score each poem and the three highest scoring poets will win our
prizes! What more do you need to know?
Sunday, 2pm: The Elemental Steampunk: Gadgets and Gizmos
Panelists: Larry Atchley Jr. (M), Julie Barrett, Charlayne Elizabeth Denney, Gloria Oliver
Steampunk is famous for its airships and for its steam-powered gadgets. We’ve looked at airships in the past, so it’s time to look at
the gadgets. Our steampunk experts go over typical widgets used in steampunk so you can recognize them at a distance.
Sunday, 3pm: Fantasy Engineering: Building Mordor
Panelists: Tex Thompson (M), Larry Atchley Jr., Teresa Patterson, Gloria Oliver
Ever wonder how Mordor was made? Or Minas Tirith? Pick your epic fantasy of choice, and there will always be towns, castles,
buildings with grandeur. Building those places takes engineering: planning rooms where events take place, escape tunnels and even
secret hiding places for when the forces of darkness overwhelm you. But how detailed do you need to get? Our authors debate this and other topics.

Published in: on February 15, 2018 at 11:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

Bring the Thunder/Writers Helping Writers

One thing I like about the business of writing is that authors don’t really consider themselves in competition with each other for readers.  We generally want all of us to be successful at our craft, especially the lesser known or even mid list selling authors in my opinion. I’ve even participated in discussion panels at literary fan conventions in which I’ve encouraged new and struggling writers to become published authors. 

And when someone who I respect and admire as an author has something new released I do my best to help spread the word on their behalf. This June there are a couple of releases that I feel are noteworthy and that I wish will do very well. 

First, below is the link to my friend Scott Oden’s Thunderclap campaign to promote his latest novel A GATHERING of RAVENS, which is coming out later this month. Thunderclap is a way to magnify exponentially the number of people who will see your social media post by having at least a hundred people agree to broadcast a scheduled post on all of their social media sites. Scott is a very talented writer and I enjoy reading his stories and books. He’ s also a really nice guy both online and in person. Here is the link to the Thunderclap site:

Also Scott is having a book release event on Facebook that you can participate in too. Here’s the link:

Also just released in ebook and soon to be printed in trade paperback edition is the author’s cut version of TEMPUS UNBOUND by Janet Morris  & Chris Morris which has been out of print for years  and is now available once again for a new generation of fantasy action readers. I’ve had a copy of the original book for years. The stories of Tempus, known as “The Riddler” who is Commander of The Sacred Band , are some of my all time favorites. Janet and Chris  Morris are masterful crafters of tales and I am glad to see yet another Sacred Band book being released with new material added and in the form that the authors intended. 

So I hope you will help support these worthy and talented authors, by buying their books or at least telling your friends about them. 

Published in: on June 12, 2017 at 10:41 pm  Comments (2)