It's been a heavy work week with little time for blogging, but I finally managed to catch up fairly well last night. Teaching can be a feast or famine sort of existence. You'll have a week or two of short days and then suddenly a week of hell. This week was the latter, and it's during the "shorter" days that I tend to get fiction written. So, not much new writing here lately. I am reading a couple of books that are much better than the last two I read, although I haven't gotten to the endings yet.
Book 1, Blood & Thunder by Mark Finn. This is a biography of Robert E. Howard, who I've mentioned here many times. It's the first full-length biography of Howard in the last 30 or so years. Mark's approach is almost conversational, but he provides a lot of interesting material and is clear to lable speculation as what it is. He's obviously done his research and knows what he knows and what he doesn't. Since I'm rather intimately tied in with Howard scholarship I would have read this even if it wasn't well written. But it is. I'm not only getting good information, I'm enjoying it as a reading experience. I know Mark personally as a friend, but if I didn't like his book I just wouldn't even mention it here. If you're interested in Howard this is a great work to pick up.
Book 2, Winter Warriors by David Gemmell. Since I'm considering writing a big heroic fantasy novel myself, I'm doing some studying of Gemmell to see how he achieves his effects. So far, (about a third of the way into it) I'm enjoying this book very much. Gemmell seems unable to write a bad book, but my favorites of his have typically been stories of the "Drenai." This is one such. If you've never read Gemmell, I'd suggest some of his earlier Drenai books, particularly the ones featuring "Druss the Legend." This will set you up with the background, although any of Gemmell's books can stand on its own.