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My 2017 SPFBO Bracket Selection

Inspiration comes from weird places. I myself never cared for sports; basketball in particular, and have taken part in exactly one March Madness brackets extravaganza. Because supposing you can pick the winning teams out of so many permutations is stupid. Like statistically so. As such, I have no idea why I thought it would be a good idea to do pretty much the same thing for this year’s SPFBO with its 300+ participants. Probably because I’m taking part in it and therefore obsessively went through all the entries in my heat to find the ones to beat. Then I went through my arguing partner and fellow fantasy author D. E. Olsen’s heat, and then it just sort of spiraled out of control. Thus was b

Ode to Rifts

The Grim Tidings Podcast recently wrote an article lauding D&D as an inspiration for many of their grimdark guests (which I hope to join the ranks of some day). And while I played me some D&D (usually as a mage/ thief, because I was obviously not popular in high school), the great RPG influencer in my sordid life story is the Palladium system RIFTS. If you weren’t a 90s nerd, Rifts is a post apocalypse Earth where 90% of the population died, the psychic deluge of their deaths opening the eponymous rifts through space and time and ushering magic and monsters into the world in equal amounts. What Rifts was (is?) was an intentional mish-mash/ mixtape of every genre out there, combining cyberpun

Charred Chumbawamba

One of the more esoteric fantasy beasts is the chumbawamba, an odd little animal with a wide mouth and purple hue that masqueraded as a popular British band decades back. They are surprisingly hearty, with a 30 year lifespan, penchant for political positions, and affections for this beast are distinctly mixed, with some claiming it to be the best band in the world, while others reduced to the fetal position by the mere mention of the name. As children of the 90s who spent some formative years in England, we at Bugbear BBQ have more familiarity with the chumbawamba than most, and will emphatically state that cooking one is quite a challenge. But we love challenges almost as much as smoked mea

You Can't Have a Love Triangle Without Homosexuality

I don't know why exactly, but the misuse of math terms drives me up the wall, as anyone who's heard me complain about the phrase "one-dimensional characters" can attest. The most recent term to attract my ire is the ol' love triangle, which seldom is ever a true triangle. Most people think of a love triangle as being between three people where one individual has to choose between two others of the opposite gender. There are three people, so that's where the triangle comes into play since we all know a triangle has three points and three sides. By way of example, we have this here Twilight thing that I hear was popular many moons ago where below stone-faced girl must choose between the pale

The Woven Ring Fantasy Playlist

Novel Playlists from Fantasy Novelists treats each fantasy novel like a feature film and encourages the author to put together their own dream soundtrack. So fire up the ol’ Spotify and give this playlist a gander as I lead you on an inaugural aural adventure through my debut novel The Woven Ring: In exile since the civil war that tore the nation of Newfield apart, former spy and turncoat Marta Childress wants nothing more than to quietly live out her remaining days in the West. But then her manipulative brother arrives with one final mission: Transport the daughter of a hated inventor deep into the East. Forced to decide between safely delivering the girl and assassinating the inventor, Mar

The Three Types of Conflict (and an Orgy!)

As anyone who has ever planned either a successful story or orgy can attest, there’s a lot of things going in to making it enjoyable for everyone involved; usually taking place behind the scenes. You obviously need a good setting, a great theme, plenty of logistical outlining, and an awesome cast of characters. But where the parallels break down is in terms of conflict. As in an orgy should ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible, while a good story lives and dies by its Conflict. Conflict, boiled down to its quintessence, is basically the opposition your protagonist(s) must face while trying to reach his/ her/ their established goal. This is where the tension of your story comes from

First Scavenger Hunt! (Cthulhu)

I’m sure we all can agree that pirates are the best thing ever in the whole wide world, in no small part due to their treasure maps. So based upon my love of all things pirates, scavenger hunts and escape rooms, I’m hosting a virtual scavenger hunt here on my site. And, as with all good treasure hunts, there will be prizes: The first three people to solve all the clues will receive a $10 Amazon gift card, and the first ten PRIME numbered people to complete it will receive a kindle copy of my novel The Woven Ring. All of the clues are here on mdpresley.com, but access to email will be required to finish the game. There are some riddles, red herrings, vocabulary words, codes and a few things h

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