The Cover Story

Cover for Mig's Rebellion

When I was preparing “Relvan’s Rescue” for reprinting as an e-book, I made the decision to design the cover myself. It was primarily a financial decision, but I did have a couple years of graphic design school in my toolbox, and felt I could produce something adequate. I’m not an illustrator, however, (my strengths lean toward layout and typography) so that meant hunting down some cheap artwork.

I spent many hours browsing Shutterstock, and was fortunate enough to find Read more

Content is King

A sign that reads the end is near

Well, that didn’t last long.

I’ve been blogging for a while now. Almost ten years. After winning the Maiden of Pain open call, I wanted to capture my thoughts and experiences as I wrote my first novel and got it published. Thus was born Pens & Swords, in the tradition of classic blogs whose purpose was to chronicle a specific life event–like fighting cancer, training for a marathon, or playing every single CRPG ever published–and then Read more

Writing With Purpose

Tagxedo Theme Copyright 2013

I tackled the topic of theme early in the school year with my students. It was quite a challenge, as we read through a novel as a class, to get the kids to see past what was happening and get a glimpse of why it was happening. Middle-schoolers are still pretty literal-minded. I frequently found myself prompting them with questions like “what is the author trying to tell you by having this character say or do this?” or “why did the author chose this event to take place in this setting?”. I had them do exercises where we broke down what characters Read more

Grading Late Work

An overdue stamp

When putting together my syllabus at the beginning of the year, one of the decisions I had to make was what to do with late work. Having just come out of the college environment, I had all kinds of examples of late policies from my various professors, and several of my new colleagues shared their take on the subject. As a firm believer that showing proficiency in a skill includes being able to demonstrate by a set deadline, I wanted my policy to include Read more

Stable Fight Scene


This is an excerpt from my third Janner Kohl short story, which features his first adventure as a mercenary for the Brigade. In this scene, Janner and his squad are confronting another group of professional soldiers who were meeting with Sirron, the titular villain of the story. Read more