Archive for the Sword & Sorcery Category

“…the lamps expire.”

Posted in Archive, Sword & Sorcery, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags on June 11, 2017 by Occult Detective

Robert E Howard81 years ago, Robert E. Howard left this world, leaving behind a legacy of visceral and kinetic prose that has inspired millions.

Howard has been my favorite author since I was ten years old. Living in rural Indiana, with a clear running stream, fields, and woodlands as my backyard, it was Howard’s tales that fired my imagination.

When I took up a stick (or hammock pole) and it transformed into a broad sword, I became Conan of Cimmeria, fighting for survival in the Pictish wilderness.

To this day, I am still overwhelmed by Howard’s words. They still speak to me in much the same way they did more than forty years ago on the edge of that small farm I called home.

Robert E. Howard was larger than life. He single-handedly created the sword & sorcery genre and left an enduring mark on fiction.

As his mother slipped into a coma she would never wake from, Howard, in the early morning hours of June 11, 1936, chose to proceed her in death, but it was his life and the yarns he spun that we celebrate.

Robert E. Howard is immortal, his words destined to be read, studied, and enjoyed for as long as there are humans to do so.

The last words he wrote — “”All fled, all done, so lift me on the pyre; The feast is over and the lamps expire.” — are sad and mournful, but reflect the eternal fire lit, heralding his place in the pantheon of literary legends.

That burning pyre became a shining beacon to all those who would follow in his footsteps.

Rest In Peace, Two-Gun.

Happy Birthday, Robert E. Howard

Posted in Sword & Sorcery on January 22, 2017 by Occult Detective

Robert E Howard

Robert E Howard signature

111 years ago today, in Peaster, Texas, Robert E. Howard was born. You could take every author away and leave me Howard alone, and I would be well served until my final hour.

Robert E. Howard wrote with a passion unmatched and he created some of the most visceral and dynamic characters to ever grace the page.

Not convinced? Try this on for size —

“I have known many gods. He who denies them is as blind as he who trusts them too deeply. I seek not beyond death. It may be the blackness averred by the Nemedian skeptics, or Crom’s realm of ice and cloud, or the snowy plains and vaulted halls of the Nordheimer’s Valhalla. I know not, nor do I care. Let me live deep while I live; let me know the rich juices of red meat and stinging wine on my palate, the hot embrace of white arms, the mad exultation of battle when the blue blades flame and crimson, and I am content. Let teachers and philosophers brood over questions of reality and illusion. I know this: if life is illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content.”  ― Robert E. Howard, Queen of the Black Coast

He is, without question, my favorite author and today I shall honour his memory by spinning a yarn in the genre he spawned — sword & sorcery.

Happy Birthday, Two Gun, and thanks for the decades of inspiration you’ve given me. You thought yourself a failure. You were so very wrong…


I seen me no hobbitses

Posted in Liber et Audax, Magick by Trial & Error, Occult Detectives, Sword & Sorcery, Writing in Theory & Practice on October 8, 2016 by Occult Detective

Happy Erik the Red Day!

Kim, Connor, and I spent an absolutely marvelous morning on the banks of the Mississinewa, in a spot of woods we locals call Hobbitland, for the largest War of 1812 living history event in the United States —Mississinewa 1812.


We didn’t pick up much, but we really enjoyed ‘window shopping’ at all the vendor tents. Conn snagged a fox totem stone, Kim picked up some scissors, dried apples, and bought me a can of haggis, and I snatched up a little 15mm scale tin axeman.

The atmosphere was amazing but, even though the temperature barely cracked 50°, I was way too warm. I managed, however, and my spirits were doubly lifted by kilted drummers and pipers kicking up some dust through the crowd.

Few things stir the heart like the mournful wail of bagpipes.

Alba Gu Brath!

On the way out, we ran into Kim’s youngest sister with her new boyfriend and his children in tow. It was great to finally meet Tony and the boys. They looked happy together and that means a lot to me. Cassie lived with us for a number of years after her and Kim’s mom passed 13 years back. She’ll always feel like a daughter to me, so I’m thrilled to see a ray of sunshine in her life.

We hit a few rummages on the way home and snagged an antique wooden folding chair for a buck. Crafted in Ft. Wayne no less.

20161008_103544As we settle in for the afternoon, I have a lot on my mind. Conn and I have some work to put in on Occult Detective: The Roleplaying Game and I was invited to write up a book proposal for something really special that, for now, I’ll have to keep in the vault.

I’d also really like to put something together for Tor’s Open Submission Call for a non-European influenced sword & sorcery novella.

Lot to do. Not a lot of room for error on any of it.

It’s also Connor’s last day as a pre-teen.

Tomorrow, October 9, Leif Eriksson Day here in the US, will be Conn’s 13th Birthday. Time has flown and my spirit has joined it.

He’s always been a special kid. Tomorrow, he’ll be a special young man.


Posted in Horror, Sword & Sorcery on May 6, 2016 by Occult Detective




May 5, 2016 – Skelos Press is proud to announce the launch of its new flagship journal with a Kickstarter campaign that will begin on Tuesday May 10th. The first issue of SKELOS: THE JOURNAL OF WEIRD FICTION AND DARK FANTASY will feature a never-before-published fantasy piece by Robert E. Howard (Conan, Kull, Solomon Kane) illustrated by the legendary Mark Schultz (Xenozoic Tales, Coming of Conan, Prince Valiant). Also featured is a new sword and sorcery novelette by Keith Taylor (Bard series, Cormac Mac Art), a long-awaited sequel to his classic tale “Men from the Plain of Lir” originally published in WEIRD TALES. This story will be illustrated by the fantastic Tomás Giorello (Dark Horse King Conan). Another highlight of the issue will be a tale of dark fantasy from World Fantasy Award nominee and John W. Campbell Award nominee Scott A. Cupp.

SKELOS is edited by Mark Finn, author of the World Fantasy Award-nominated BLOOD AND THUNDER; Chris Gruber, editor of Robert E. Howard’s BOXING STORIES from the University of Nebraska Press; and Jeffrey Shanks, co-editor of the Bram Stoker Award-nominated UNIQUE LEGACY OF WEIRD TALES.

Editor Mark Finn stated, “I’m excited to be part of the editorial staff for this journal. We are finding and publishing material that we love to read, and read about. There’s a long-standing tradition to weird fiction, and we think we can contribute something new and exciting to it.”

The first issue will contain short fiction from such talented writers as Charles Gramlich, Dave Hardy, Jason Ray Carney, Ethan Nahte, Matt Sullivan, and Scott Hannan; a fully illustrated adaptation of Grettir and the Draugr from the Icelandic sagas by Samuel Dillon; weird verse by Frank Coffman, Pat Calhoun, Kenneth Bykerk, and Jason Hardy; Insightful essays by Nicole Emmelhainz, Karen Kohoutek, and Jeffrey Shanks; reviews by Charles Hoffman, Bobby Derie, Keith West, Todd Vick, Paul McNamee, Brian Murphy, Deuce Richardson, and Josh Adkins; and with illustrations by Mark Schultz, Tomás Giorello, Samuel Dillon, and David Cullen.

The Kickstarter campaign will run until June 10 and the issue will begin shipping in late June with an ebook version available at the same time. More information can found at the Skelos Press Facebook page – – or you can follow the project on Twitter @SkelosPress.

Happy Birthday #RobertEHoward

Posted in Archive, Sword & Sorcery, Writing in Theory & Practice on January 22, 2016 by Occult Detective



Today we celebrate the 110th Birthday of the man who is indisputably my favorite author —Robert E. Howard.

Born on January 22, 1906 in Texas, Howard was raised in the  small town of Cross Plains. From the bedroom of his parents’ house he hammered out some of the finest adventure yarns ever conceived, each filled with fiery and passionate prose the likes of which few have ever been able to duplicate.

From Howard’s Underwood No. 5 sprang the likes of Conan of Cimmeria, Kull of Atlantis, Solomon Kane, Occult Detective Steve Harrison, and so many others.

He is the irrefutable creator of the sword and sorcery genre and has influenced countless writers in the decades since his death.

Robert E. Howard was a prolific author and his tales dominated Depression-era pulp fiction magazines such as Weird Tales and Fight Stories. He was a member of H.P. Lovecraft’s Circle and their correspondences are as much required reading as any of their published works.

Howard took his own life on June 11, 1936 at the age of 30 and the world is lesser for it.

One can scarcely imagine what wonders he might have shared had he chosen to stay with us a little longer.

Happy Birthday, Two-Gun… and thanks for the stories you left us.


Wise to resolve, and patient to perform.

Posted in Horror, Liber et Audax, Magick by Trial & Error, Occult Detectives, Sword & Sorcery, Writing in Theory & Practice on January 1, 2016 by Occult Detective

Robert E Howard original Underwood

New Year’s Day is a time for resolutions.

I’ve never been too fond of them myself, feeling they’re often just a set up for failure.

Few of us have the sense of self to really know what makes us tick. In point of fact, few of us are honest with ourselves at all.

We fumble about making promises we just can’t keep, more often than not because we lack the fortitude to hold ourselves to a higher standard.

All that being said, I do have a few resolutions for 2016.

Let’s see just how well I know myself and how well I can tame the wanton spirit. It’s simply a matter of invoking that divine spark that resides in all of us and harnessing its energies to fulfill what is certainly my true will

Let’s to it then.

1.) Write a minimum of 730,000 words this year.
2.) Prepare First Born for publication.
3.) Finish Shadow of the Wolf and Born Again for publication.
4.) Write and submit more Landon Connors short fiction.
5.) Write a sword & sorcery/occult detective novella series.
6.) Increase my presence in the gaming community.
7.) Read more and write more reviews.
8.) Write more about spiritual and metaphysical matters.
9.) Be true to myself and actualize my potential.
0.) Make Magick. Every day.

Keepers of the Dead for Christmas

Posted in Horror, Sword & Sorcery, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags , , on December 18, 2015 by Occult Detective

cm2kotd02Just in time for your Yuletide celebrations, a print edition of Keepers of the Dead, follow-up novel to Shadows Over Somerset, is available for your reading pleasure.

This is the perfect time to settle in somewhere warm and comfortable, a tall Scotch at the ready, and loose yourself in a tale of werewolves, vampires, zombies, witches, and more…

Don’t believe me? Here’s a sneak peek of what’s waiting inside:


Chapter One

“One strong wolf cannot defeat a pack of dogs,
nor can one strong arm defeat many fists.”
Chinese Proverb

A dark wolf, large and powerful, raced through the thick blanket of December snow that covered the grounds surrounding Cairnwood Manor. In and out, over and around the old and leaning tombstones the wolf danced, taking long strides as it pursued its smaller prey. The dark wolf was on the verge of complete and utter rage as the white-coated wolf managed to stay ahead of the frothing beast.

The white wolf leapt two stones in quick succession and then bounded over an above ground vault. The dark wolf faltered in its pursuit, failing to make the leap over the larger structure. It hit the ground and rolled up, sprinting around the concrete obstacle. The white wolf had stretched its lead by some thirty feet as it leapt over a rectangular monument that stood four feet in height and was nearly that wide. The dark wolf could sense that it was gaining and flung itself headlong into the chase.

As the mottled beast became a blur of browns and blacks, it failed to see its white prey slide to a stop and turn to face it. Suddenly from behind the wide monument rose the figure of a man. Clad in fringed buckskin, the man, a Native American by birth, raised his rifle to his shoulder and took careful aim. A thunderous roar rang out as the rifle released three silver slugs in quick synchronicity. The dark wolf crumbled to the ground and slid headlong into the monument with a bone-crunching thud.

The Indian hopped the stone and removed a ceremonial knife from the sheath at his waist and slit the animal’s throat. He held the beast tightly by the scruff of its neck until the creature’s life force left it. In his grasp, what had once been a great and feral beast began to convulse and contort until what lay before him was a naked man, white, but dark skinned from years spent beneath an unrelenting sun. The crooked smile of his slit throat gleamed crimson against the stark white of the deep snow.

Did that leave you hungry for more? Head on over to amazon and order yourself a copy today.


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