Saturday, March 31, 2007

My ancient breed

So as not to be outdone by Mr. vonDarkmoor ...

You scored as Dragon. You are a dragon. You very, VERY easily angered and are extremely protective. Take a chill pill and stop running around breathing fire on people. Chances are they're only trying to help you...

What ancient breed are you?
created with

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

No. 9 - Start Your Own Personal Concierge Service

by Entrepreneur Press and Lisa Addison

Started: March 27
Finished: April 8

Notes: Since I own a concierge business, I thought it was high time I got around to reading a book on the industry. Actually, I did plenty of research online, over the phone and in person before starting the business, but it always helps to read a little more.

Mini review: A bit simple. A bit basic. For the most part, nothing you couldn't figure out on your own. However, this book did have a few tips here and there from professional concierges. Those tips I found more helpful than anything.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

My other secret online life

There are a couple of virtual worlds on the Net that I frequent from time to time. I have never mentioned this here on this blog, and I have never told anyone about this ... and I mean anyone. Honestly, I don't have anything to hide, nor was I ashamed or anything. It just didn't occur to me until right now that I should mention this here. It just didn't dawn on me that others might be interested in joining me in these other worlds from time to time. Here's the gist of things:

Rubies of Eventide

Rubies of Eventide is sort of an ongoing 3D role-playing, fantasy combat game, but it's also a relatively small virtual world. You build experience and powers much like you do in an rpg, and there are scores of classes to pick during character creation.

Basically, you just wander around killing monsters and accumulating experience points to increase your abilities and stats. You can fight on alone, or you can team up with others to join a party and take on bad guys together. You can even join or create a guild, a regular party of adventurers that get together when they want. Also, there is a little more than just killing monsters, though that's arguably the task most players take part in. There are also mini-adventures, given to you by NPCs, that can bring you money, experience or magic items. Also, there is the thrill of discovery; Eventide is kind of a small virtual world, but there always seem to be new places to discover, some of them quite dangerous.

The best part about Rubies of Eventide? It's free. Yes, I said free. They do take donations, and for a price you can get a few extra perks, but for the cost of nothing you can pretty much do everything there is to do in the game.

Currently, I'm an 18th level Warrior named Belgad. Yes, you can stop laughing. If you decide to give the game a try, go to the Web site listed above, download their free software, then take to the wilds of Eventide. Look around for my character, Belgad; there is a chat system, so I shouldn't be that hard to find.

Second Life

Second Life is the other 3D virtual world I visit every once in a while. I'm not there nearly as much as I am over at Eventide, but I try to drop in for a visit at least once a week.

Second Life is a huge, nearly unending virtual world, and within it can be found almost anything. Second Life is not a game, though you can create or take part in games within it. Second Life is sort of another existence, literally a "second life." You can teleport around, or fly around, to discover all the things and places other people have created.

Again, Second Life is free. You can pay more money for an account upgrade, and you can pay money to be able to own land and build things on it, but the basic account is free of charge. Just like Rubies of Eventide, you can go to the Second Life site I listed above, join and download their free software.

You can find me in Second Life under the name Galvin Smalls.

A word of warning about Second Life: As I said, anything can be found there. This means there are adult areas, though these are marked. So, just a warning if you sign on while the kids are watching mom or dad on the computer. In fact, casinos and sex joints seem to be very popular on Second Life. Not that I would know. I ... uh ... I usually frequent the bookstores and places like that. Uh, yeah.

Also about Second Life, you can make real money there. No, you won't get rich, but there are online jobs within the virtual world that can supply you with what are known as Linden dollars. And Linden dollars can be traded for real money (I don't know how all this works, and what little I do understand has me believe the transfer of funds is complicated, but technically you can make real money in Second Life).

If you are concerned about learning the rules and commands of these virtual, don't worry. There are introduction sections within once you start. But there's always more to learn. It shouldn't take you more than 2 or 3 sessions to feel like you're beginning to know what you're doing.

Also, if you're worried about computer glitches, don't be. I've had software for both these virtual worlds on my PC for several months now and I've never had any major problems, just the occasional software crash (and that's usually because of the game servers). Sorry, if you're a Mac-only user (like I used to be) because to my knowledge neither of these worlds is supported on Macs.

I look forward to seeing some of you in my secret lives.

Friday, March 23, 2007

The scary mind of writers

Okay, I admit, I'm getting impatient.

Getting? Oh, wait, I've always been impatient.

But this is getting worse.

Baen has had my novel for more than nine months. And I know they received it because an editor told me so a few months back.

But ... but ... the impatient part is this: Every time I talk to an editor or someone at Baen, they tell me they are usually 9 to 12 months back in their slush pile. That means I should be reaching one of their readers any time now.

That's got me excited. That's got me impatient.

That's got me hoping, hoping, hoping they will accept it for publishing.

Then comes the big checks, the trips to the Oprah show, the Hollywood lifestyle, and all the other stuff that comes with it. Yes, indeedy, my novel will put Harry Potter and that DaVinci guy to shame. I'll sell more copies of "City of Rogues" than the Bible. I'll be bigger than the Beatles. I'll ... I'll ...

Oh crap. I just woke up. No e-mail from Baen.


Thursday, March 22, 2007


Just because a certain person thinks I'm enjoying this, here's another nation from my trilogy:


Traditionally Kobalos was a kingdom with a line of royals going back nearly a thousand years. However, approximately two hundred years ago a certain Lord Verkain used a mixture of political conniving, assassination and powerful magics to take over the land's throne. Since that time an individual has ruled as king of Kobalos under the name of Lord Verkain; some historians believe this is a single person, a powerful mage who has discovered magics of long or eternal life, while others believe there has been a string of individuals, all with the title of Lord Verkain.

The Kobalans are a strong, dark-haired people, descended from the same mountain folk who gave birth to the Jorsicans and Dartague. The Kobalans are also the most stoic of the northern peoples, and some would call them dark, if not downright brutal. However, most of this reputation is from the last couple of hundred years since Verkain has ruled. Before that the Kobalans were considered stoic but affable.

Technically, everyone who lives within Kobalos is a slave to Lord Verkain, and all property is owned by Lord Verkain. Some few classes, military and some artisans and merchants, are allowed much more freedom than the average serf. Also, there are a few old noble families remaining in Kobalos, but rumor is Verkain has only allowed them to survive because they have been helpful to him financially or militarily over the years.

All foreign religions in Kobalos have been outlawed. Officially, the only religion allowed is worship of Verkain himself as a living god, and all old churches or temples in the nation have been converted to temples honoring Verkain himself. However, Verkain tends to look the other way to private religious gatherings and worship services, at least as long as they pose no threat whatsoever to him or the kingdom.

The major export from Kobalos is gems dug up from the nation's mountains, through fishing and wool are also decently selling exports.

In recent history, about 60 years earlier Lord Verkain invaded Ursia during that nation's civil war. His forces were driven back by a united East and West Ursian army, and in the treaty that ended the war Verkain had to give up a large valley in the south of Kobalos. That valley became the Prisonlands.

More recently, about five years ago there began to spread rumors that Verkain was systimatically killing off all members of his family. He had many children and several wives, and no one knows why Verkain would do such an awful thing. To add to this rumor, about three years ago several of his adult children forged an alliance to rebel against their father. The children, some of them wizards and some military leaders, had only begun to put together their own army when Verkain and a cohort of his best troops swooped into their campsite in the middle of the night and wiped out all opposition. Rumors continued to surface for some while that one of the younger sons had survived, but he has not been seen nor heard from. Most likely, if alive, he is hiding in a hole somewhere.

Despite the darkness of Verkain, and the recent bloody history of Kobalas, all is stable within the nation's borders. Most of the populace is too afraid to even think to raise a hand against Verkain or his minions.

Kobalos is surrounded by two arms of The Needles mountain range to its east, west and south. To the north lies the Northern Sea. To the east is Dartague. To the west is Jorsica. Directly south is the Prisonlands.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Yep, another post about another country in my trilogy:


Jorsica is a northern nation, with most of its borders being taken up by a shoreline against the northern sea. Of its landed borders, Kobalos is to the east and Caballerus is to the south and west.

Jorsicans are descended from the same breed of hardy, northern stock that produced the Dartague and Kobalans. Jorsicans tend to be big with blonde hair and light features. They are the best tempered of the northerners, having a great sense of humor. However, they are also fine seamen and warriors. They are known as pirates and mercenaries, so a traveler in their nation would do well to not let the fine Jorsican sense of humor fool them into complacency. But despite their adeptness in piracy and war, Jorsicans are not a bloodthirsty people; they usually don't kill during pirate raids except in self defense, and have been known to show kindness to wounded enemies on the battlefield.

The Jorsicans, much like the Dartague, tend to worship their ancestors, though they sometimes will offer prayers to one of the nearly forgotten gods from their past. The word of Ashal has spread to Jorsica, as it has to most of the world, but few Jorsicans have taken up the call to join the True Church.

A king rules Jorsica, but again, much like in Dartague, his main power is in gathering military forces during a time of crisis or need. The kind also takes part in collecting taxes, but local chieftains control their regions.

Jorsicans are probably the most modern of the northern peoples, their few cities offering many modern conveniences that Kobalan and Dartague cities do not enjoy. Jorsicans use their own minted coin, but they are not above using that of other nations.

Jorsicans are also known as great wanderers and adventurers. Jorsicans can be found in any major city of the world, and are more than willing to tell tall tales of how they came to be there.

In recent history, Jorsica has been a peaceful nation. Unlike the Dartague, Jorsican clans have no history of fighting against one another, and there is very little trouble along the Jorsican borders. Piracy is about the worst crime that can be layed at the feet of the Jorsicans, but even in that line of work they are not bloodthirsty, so much has been overlooked by other nations.

Gems, animal furs and wool are common exports from Jorsica.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


About another nation from the world in my trilogy:


Dartague is the nation farthest north and east on the continent of Ursia. It's northern section is one long arm of The Needles mountain range, while in the south there are forests and fields. North of the mountain range is the Northern Sea, to the east is ocean, to the south East Ursia and to the west are Kobalos and the Prisonlands.

There is only once city in Dartague, and it too is named Dartague. There are a few small towns and villages, but the people of Dartague have a long history of being fairly nomadic within their nation's boundaries, moving south in winter then back north in summer. They are ruled by an Overchieftain, but he has little true power other than to gather military forces in times of need. Those with real control in Dartague are the various chieftains of the various clans, and there are hundreds. Historically, the clans often fought against one another, but things have settled down much in the last hundred or so years; outside threats, or the possibilities of outside threats, have made the clans work together more often, so a period of relative peace has been known in Dartague, especially the last 65 years.

For most of both nations' histories, there have been continual border clashes between Dartague and East Ursia (formerly Ursia). None of this clashes have turned into major battles, but there is some slight enmity between the two countries. The Dartague often do their share of looting and pillaging of their richer East Ursian neighbors, while the East Ursians are all about spreading the word of Ashal by the use of the sword.

The people of Dartague are your typical big, burly barbarians. Most are fair-haired and light-eyed. Though considered simple, if not downright stupid, by those of other nations, the Dartague actually are quite clever, especially in trade, hunting and combat. Though Dartague rarely leave their homeland, there have been known to be units of Dartague mercenaries that have sold out to the highest bidder ... and the price has always proved worthwhile.

Dartague is a cold nation most months of the year with harsh winters and short summers. Because of this, the people of Dartague are adept at surviving harsh weather conditiona, and are experts at creating warm clothing from animal skins.

The economy in Dartague is mostly one of bartering, with animal skins and gems being the most common exports. The Overchieftain does have coin minted, but they are rare among his countryfolk. Most minted gold or silver found in Dartague has been looted from East Ursia.

Traditionally the Dartague have had a simple religion of ancestor worship, but there are tales of ancient, long-forgotten gods who were once called upon by the Dartague ancestors. In the last half century, a growing number of Dartague have joined the Eastern Church of Ashal; whether this is by choice or because a sword was literally hanging over their necks is up to debate.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

East Ursia and West Ursia

Someone was talking to me recently about my trilogy and wanted to know a little about the various nations that make up the world I've created, so I thought I'd post a little about some places here. All of this is background material, and most of it does not come up in my novels, so I shouldn't be giving anything away.

East Ursia and West Ursia

The nation of Ursia was a strong theocracy for a thousand years, ruled by a series of popes. The pope, an official elected by a vote of bishops, was the overall lord of the land, in charge of the political and spiritual lives of those under his domain. Each region, or state, within Ursia was ruled over locally by a bishop and by a duke. Dukes and lesser nobility were the remnants of a monarchial system that had not existed since the before the birth of the nation; this remaining nobility had one major purpose, to keep the military up and running, though they also helped with policing and tax collection. Regardless, the Ursian nobility always had to answer to the bishops and the pope.

The religion of Ursia was based upon the belief in Ashal, the god who walked among men. Ashal apparently lived about two thousand years ago, roughly a thousand years before the beginnings of Ursia, and his story and wisdoms are layed out in the Book of Ashal. Put simply, Ashal was the first known person to exhibit magic-like powers and has been considered a god ever since. Ashal was eventually betrayed by his own father and put to death, though prophets tell that Ashal will one day return.

Now, despite the fact that Ashal was the first to display use of magic, the True Church of Ursia (later to be called the Eastern Church) outlawed magic in all forms. Officially the church did not believe Ashal was a human magic user, but a god come to earth to help others through divine miracles. The Book of Ashal even backs the church up on this to some extent, telling that Ashal called for the punishment of wizards and witches, but scholars often debate the truth of this texts. Either way, the church doesn't like magic, especially humans who use magic because that is considered evil.

For a thousand years the church ruled the nation of Ursia, the central and largest nation on the continent of Ursia. Then about 65 years ago a major plague threatened the land, killing hundreds of thousands. There was no cure to this plague other than through magic, and the few wizards there were were scared to reveal their talents because of the church.

After the deaths of nearly a million across the nation, a group of twelve powerful wizards banded together in hopes of saving as many people as they could. Realizing their own executions were quite possible, they forged ahead by using their magic to help heal the masses. Thousands upon thousands of people were saved, mostly middle and lower classes because the priests and gentry refused to go to wizards for aid.

Through the aid of the twelve wizards, and natural progression, the plague eventually died out after a few years. At that point, the church decided it was time to round up these wizards and put them to the torch. The general population would have none of it. After the wizards had saved so many lives, there was no way the civilian population was just going to sit back and watch their heroes be killed for no other crime than using magic to help save lives.

A period of civil war began that lasted for a few years. The pope had a mighty army, but the twelve wizards had their own powerful skills and the backing of the populace. Civilians gathered in militias and worked with the wizards to fight back against the pope.

The fighting could have continued for a good long time, but a northern neighber, the nation of Kobalos, got involved. Seeing the country of Ursia split apart politically and socially, Lord Verkain of Kobalos deemed it a good time to invade Ursia in hopes of making it his own (he had other hidden agendas, but I won't go into that here).

Verkain was a powerful weilder of magic himself, and he had a relatively small but well trained military of strong soldiers. While not likely powerful enough to take on a strong Ursia, Verkain was more than strong enough to tackle a split Ursia and to cause plenty of trouble. The pope's armies were split, thus they could not deal with Kobalos on their own. The twelve wizards were powerful enough together to face Verkain on their own, put they did not have the military might to go up against the Kobalan armies.

A truce was quickly thrown together between the pope and the twelve wizards. They came together long enough to drive Verkain back, and to free the Ursians from the Kobalan lord. A major part of this truce was to split Ursia in two nations, East Ursia and West Ursia, the countries split by a natural barrier of mountains known as The Needles.

East Ursia is pretty much the Ursian government, run by the pope with the help of bishops and nobility. Magic is outlawed in the East, even to execution.

West Ursia is technically a free society, run by a governing council and its chief councilor, officials elected by popular vote very few years. The twelve wizards, known as The Twelve, worked with the populace to set up this government in hopes of freeing all peoples within their domain. Many people had originally wanted The Twelve to take over leadership, but they had refused, saying it would only create another East Ursia by having only wizards rule. Magic is allowed within West Ursia, though there are some restrictions of powerful magics being used in some regions. Wizards are still not a common sight in rural regions, but they easily can be found in the major cities of the West.

The civil war ended about 60 years before the beginning of the first book of my trilogy, so about a generation has passed. There have been several popes since then in the East, as well as many Chief Councilors in the West. The Twelve no longer exists as a group, all of the members but one having passed away since the war.

Okay, that's more than enough for now. I'll write more on other nations at some point.

Friday, March 16, 2007


It's amazing to me how I can look at some text I wrote six months ago, and some of it is godawful, but some of it isn't too bad.

I've been doing only editing lately, the first big edit, on the third book of my trilogy. This first edit I do on paper, because I think it enables my eyes to catch more. It's funny how some chapters I breeze through with only a little tweaking here and there, while other chapters ... let's just say the pages look as if they're bleeding. A vampire could grow hungry.

Anyway, I'm on chapter 12 of this third book. Only twenty more chapters to go in the whole trilogy, but I expect some of those to need the most rewriting of anything I've ever written. Just have to wait and see how some of those words appear to my eyes six months later.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Two years later

As many who have kept up with this blog are aware, the last few months my life has been crazy. New job, starting my own business, moving (STILL not done), etc., etc.

And I have to admit I have not been able to do much writing, other than the beginning of a few short stories which I trashed after about 500 words because I didn't like where they were going.

But still, through all of the mess, I have managed in miniscule amounts to push ahead with my writing as a potential career. I've not managed much, but every night I do accomplish editing on at least a few pages of the third book of my trilogy.

Yes, at the rate I've been working lately it would take me another two years to finish this third book, but that doesn't matter.

What matters is that I am still pushing ahead with the dream.

As of the beginning of this month, I have been working on my trilogy for two years. It has been a long road, but I have managed much. I have gone through four drafts of the first book, and I think I am pretty much finished with it (unless a publisher wants changes). I have gone through two drafts of the second book, and am waiting to hear from some readers before making further changes. I am currently editing the second draft of the third book. And I've shown the first book around to two publishers, with some promising words from my favorite publisher. That first book has been in the hands of another publisher for 9 months, so I'm hoping to hear from them relatively soon.

So, I've accomplished much. I've lived through much with my characters, and honestly ... some day in the future, I look forward to living through more with them.

But that has to wait for the second trilogy.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

I don't think this is a surprise

I got this action hero personality quiz from Howard vonDarkmoor's Web site. Thanks, Howard!

You scored as Batman, the Dark Knight. As the Dark Knight of Gotham, Batman is a vigilante who deals out his own brand of justice to the criminals and corrupt of the city. He follows his own code and is often misunderstood. He has few friends or allies, but finds comfort in his cause.

Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
created with

Blast from the past

Yesterday I was back on my university campus for the first time in 16 years, and a wave of nostalgia rolled over me. I found myself smiling, thinking about lots of things ... good times, old flames, even classes I had enjoyed.

I spent some time thinking about this (hey, I'm an American, all we do is overthink our own emotions) while walking and driving around campus, and I found I missed that feeling of "your whole life is ahead of you," the optimism of that. Thinking about it some more, I realized I also missed ... I don't know, it's hard to describe ... the beauty of the chance of falling in love, especially for the first time.

Don't get me wrong. It's not that I don't love my other half, nor that I would want someone else. It wasn't anything like that. It wasn't anything sexual. It was that feeling of ... opportunity? Of knowing that not only is your whole life, your career and more, ahead of you, but so is that one special person.

That feeling, whatever it could be called, is gone from my life. I think that's natural. I think it's part of growing up and growing older. I'm a far cry from the young twentysomething I was back in the early '90s. But still, it was fun to remember that.

And, related, it was fun to relive ... another hard one to describe ... the beauty of vibrant, young women. Stop laughing! Again, I'm not talking about anything sexual (at least not conciously), but there's a purity, a beauty, to young, bright members of the opposite sex that I very, very rarely see in young men. I don't know if a woman can appreciate this (I don't mean to be sexist, I'm literally saying "because I am a man and can't experience things as a woman ... I don't know"), but I think men generally can, at least some of them. Hell, listen to a few Counting Crows songs if you don't know what I'm talking about, especially "Long December." But sometimes there's a certain look, or a tilt of a young woman's head, or a shake of her hair ... and I'm 21 all over again, remembering the anxiety of trying to work up the courage just to speak to her, let alone ask her out.

Then I smile. And I hope young people today still have those experiences, because it's a crazy, scary world.

When I left campus, I got back in my Explorer and turned on the radio. Pearl Jam was belting out "Alive." What fitting end to my day.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Just so ya know ...

... one reason of late I've not been posting on others' blogs is because I'm having technical difficulties. My own stuff seems to be working okay, but I get an error message whenever I try to leave messages on other people's blogs at

Not sure why this is happening, but just wanted to folks to know I'm not being rude.

Monday, March 05, 2007


While rummaging through boxes full of books, I ran across my old paperback version of "The Count of Monte Cristo." Since I bought a newer paperback version a while back and I'm currently re-reading the book for the first time in something like 20 years, I thought I'd flip through my old paperback copy.

And I discovered a tragedy. My older version is an abridged version. I immediately noted something was wrong when the older copy was only about 500 pages, and my more recent version is about 1,100 pages.

That explains why there are plot elements and whole characters I had forgotten. It also came as a shock to me to realize I have never read the full version of a book by one of my favorite classical authors.

I felt cheated.

I'll come right out and say it: DAMN abridged versions of ANY book. If you don't have the time or interest to read a book entire, then don't read the DAMN thing. If you're a disinterested student being forced to read something you don't like by a teacher, then just go buy the Cliff Notes; yes teachers often frown on them, but Cliff Notes get the job done as far as taking tests.

Read for fun! Read for pure enjoyment!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Three gems

So, I went to my nearest used book store today looking for something by Dumas or Sabbatini that I had not read before. I didn't find anything. One would think Dumas had only written "The Three Musketeers" and "The Count of Monte Cristo."

On the plus side, I found three old paperbacks by some older, but great authors:

1.) The King of Elfland's Daughter, by Lord Dunsany
I hate to admit this, but I've never read this book. In fact, I've not read any Dunsany in 25 years.

2.) Conjure Wife, by Fritz Leiber
It's Fritz. It has to be good. Looks like a horror fantasy set in the modern day.

3.) The Iron Lords, by Andrew J. Offutt
Offutt is one of my favorite Sword and Sorcery authors, though I've not read a ton of his stuff. But then, there isn't a ton of his stuff easily available other than maybe the Thieves' World stories.

My total expenditure: $3.18

Including tax.

You couldn't beat that with a broom.

Blog stats

Funny. Some days I have 10 to 12 people looking at my blog. Other days only 1 or 2, or even none. I'm averageing from 4 to 6 usually.

Not great statistics, but interesting to me. I also seem to get a lot of Google hits for D&D stuff, the word "misanthropy" and Tor/Forge.

Things that make you go hmmmmmmm ...

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Reading phases

Anyone who has spent much of their life reading will have gone through at least a few "reading phases," periods where they focused on a particular genre or subject matter.

A few of mine:

A.) In the early 1980s, in junior high school, I went through a major fantasy phase. I lapped up the Thieves' World anthologies, Michael Moorcock, the original Dragonlance series of books, Terry Brooks' early stuff, Fafhrd and the Mouser, Anne McAffrey, and yes, I re-read The Hobbit and Rings. I read a lot of fantasy at that time, but since then I've realized I missed some great authors too. Don't worry, I'm always reading and looking to make up for that.

B.) In the late 80s I wanted to be a horror writer, so I read everything I could find by these folks: Stephen King, John Saul, Peter Straub, Robert McCammon, Dean Koontz, Anne Rice, and a handful of others. I started my first serious novel, a horror novel called "The Storm," about this time, and 20 years later I've yet to finish it (of course I haven't worked on it in 16 years, and I'm not necessarily planning to, though my notes and handwritten manuscript are in a box around here someplace).

C.) In the early 90s, I still wanted to be a horror novelist, so I brushed up on horror-related non-fiction. I scoured through tons and tons of material on serial killers, the occult, mysterious stories and odd history. I still get some strange looks from friends seeing these books on my shelves.

D.) In the mid-90s I went through a spiritual phase. No, I didn't go out searching for Jesus, but I have always had an interest in history and religion and it grew stronger about this time. I perused scores of books with subjects like "the history of Lucifer," "how God changes throughout the Old Testament," "the story of Pilate," etc. I also didn't stick with just Christianity, and I also studied some of the new age stuff (which I was slightly familiar with from my earlier occult readings). I first read the Koran during this time, and I read Robert A. Monroe's three books on out-of-body experiences. Some of my favorite reading at this point were the many books by Dr. Scott Peck, he of "The Road Less Traveled" fame.

E.) In the late 90s I went through a wild west/old west period. I've got tons of books on building log cabins, the history of newspapers in the old west, the history of saloons and prostitution in the old west, and several encyclopedic books about gunfights and gunfighters (Hollywood has almost ALL of it wrong, with a very few exceptions). I also learned a lot about historical firearms during this period, and I also read multiple books on the history of dueling (the old west gunfights were sort of considered duels, though dueling was dying out in the world at that time and most of those old west gunfights were usually more like ambushes and murders than they were true duels).

Okay, that's enough of my ramblings for now. G'night.