What makes a Great Villain Name?

By Charles Moffat, Fantasy Author, Creator of Korovia.

I am currently working on a new series of short stories and I have reached a point in the creative process where I am fine tuning what the villain will be - which in this case is a genius master manipulator / planner, similar to Moriarty from Sherlock Holmes.

But my villain needs a name. A name so amazing and perfect readers will find him fascinating just at the sound of his name.

So in the effort of researching the topic of what makes a great name for a villain, I ended up compiling the following list of villains who have rather unusual names from a variety of sources, both films and literary. For obvious reasons I have avoided boring sounding names like "Norman Bates", because the name Norman doesn't really sound scary. It sounds normal. Same goes with "Agent Smith" from the Matrix series, that name is deliberately boring. I am also skipping any characters who don't really have a name, like "Bruce The Shark from Jaws" or "The Predator" or "The Wicked Witch of the West" or "the T-1000 Terminator" because those are really more titles than actual names. I also ignoring any name that is more of a code name or alias, like Magneto or Bane, or robot names like HAL-9000.

Because my villain is male I am mostly really interested in male names, but if I include a few female names it is because they are truly unusual names. eg. Cersei.

In Alphabetical order, they are:

Amon Goeth
Angmar (aka the Witch King Angmar)
Augustus Melmotte
Barbossa (aka Captain Barbossa)
Bolivar Trask
Cersei Lannister
Commodus (aka Emperor Commodus)
Darth Vader
Dracula (aka Count Dracula)
Ernst Stavro Blofeld
Gregor Clegane
Hannibal Lector
Hans Landa (aka Colonel Hans Landa)
Hans Gruber
Hook (aka Captain Hook)
Hyde (aka Mr Hyde)
Ivan Drago
Joffrey Baratheon
Khan Noonien Singh
Lex Luthor
Long John Silver
Orlok (aka Count Orlok)
Otto Octavius
Ramsay Snow
R'as Al Ghul
Severus Snape (but is he truly a villain or an anti-hero?)
Shere Khan
Smeagol (aka Gollum)
Soth (aka Lord Soth)
Thulsa Doom
Utuk'ku Gardenborn
Zod (aka General Zod)

What are you seeing up above is that a lot of fantasy villains end up having unusual names, often using consonants like H K L R S T and sometimes V X or Z.

Hockler Stovex for example would be a rather exotic sounding name, and uses quite a few rarely used letters. However does it truly sound like a villain's name, or does it just sound made up?

Thus it almost makes sense to make a villain name that uses some combination of rarely used letters, kind of like using the more valuable letters from Scrabble.

The valuable letters in Scrabble are:

F, H, V, W and Y are worth 4 points.
K is worth 5 points.
J and X are worth 8 points.
Q and Z are worth 10 points.

However using Scrabble as a methodology to make up villain names would result in names like:

Quz Joxfever


Zuqix Kefhavwammer

And other nonsense. Trying to put too many Zs and Qs into a name just makes the villain's name sound ridiculous. And childish. Might as well call the villain "Zoopy the Vunderqid". Nope, not doing that.

Some of the names from the above list were also fond of using Alliteration. Alliteration is when you have two words that start with the same sound, like in names like Micky Mouse, Pink Panther, Otto Octavius, Green Goblin, Lex Luthor, Severus Snape, etc. If you are seeing a trend here it is because Alliteration is commonly used for children's books, comic books and cartoon characters - mostly because the name is easier to remember if it has Alliteration. Stand aside Bilbo Baggins, you're a character designed for kids!

Author J. K. Rowling was very conscious of all the villain names in the Harry Potter series, which is part of the reason why Severus Snape is such a classic pseudo-villain. The other reasons is because he is the evil teacher, the classic nemesis who seems to hate the hero right from the beginning, and so forth. And because Rowling was aiming the books at children it made perfect sense to use Alliteration to make Severus Snape sound more snake like as per House Slitherin.

However I am loath to use a name that deliberately uses Basic Alliteration. But that doesn't mean I am opposed to using a more complex forms of Alliteration, wherein it isn't necessarily the first sound of the word that is meant to draw your attention and help you to remember the name.

eg. I once used Marque Draque (pronounced Mark Drake) as the name of a character. The use of K sounds in both first and last names, while using "que" to create two alternate pronunciations, thus making the name Marque Draque a fascinating one.

Thus another way to have fun with a name is to make similar Alliterations but different spelling.

eg. Sian Vextion. Sian said quickly sounds like Sean, where as Vextion sounds like Veksean. So the name ends up sounding like Sean Veksean. Which sounds a bit like Jean Valjean, the character from Les Misérables.

Another complex form of alliteration is to simply repeat the same sound multiple times.

eg. Cersei Lannister, basically has three S sounds in there thanks to the soft C at the beginning. Kersei would still sound like an evil name, but Sersei Lannister sounds more snake like. George R. R. Martin may be super slow at writing, but he chose a name that reeks of sinister-ism.

Thus using evil sounding letters is good, as is using a complex form of Alliteration.

But what other common themes does a good villain's name have?

Well I would argue that a good name in general should be 3 to 4 syllables.

Darth Vader, 3 syllables.
Voldermort, 3 syllables.
Donald Trump, 3 syllables.

You would really only use longer names when you want the villain to sound ostentatious - like Ernst Stavro Blofeld (5 syllables) or Khan Noonien Singh (5 syllables) or Joffrey Baratheon (6 syllables), in which case pride is certainly a factor, in which case the name should still roll off the tongue and be easy to remember.

Lastly, a good villain's name should be easy to pronounce. It should not be ridiculously complex and hard to know what the proper pronunciation is. The above three ostentatious names still manage to be easy to pronounce, despite their complexity.

I already know what my villain's name will be - if you want to find out leave a comment below and I will post a link later with the name of the new book when it is available.

In the mean time if you are looking for something to read check out my newest short story "A Hound Named Hunter" on Amazon Kindle, which introduces two heroes named Soljargon and Knox Miloslav and serves as a promotional prequel for my upcoming Chronomancer Series.

Below, for your amusement is a list of 10 Things Every Villain Should Avoid.

Game of Thrones Season 6 Prediction

Game of Thrones Season 6 Prediction

$5 says Tyrion gets breathed on by dragonfire and doesn't burn, at which point he will realize Tywin was never his father.

Hero Forge Custom Miniature + Painting Miniatures

By Charles Moffat.

So I asked my girlfriend for a Hero Forge Custom Miniature for xmas. It arrived early and I am fortunate to live in a household where we celebrate xmas the whole month, so gift giving can happen any day. Hence why I received my gift on December 3rd - the day it arrived in the mail. It was not a surprise, I did design the miniature after all and ask for it.

Hero Forge makes miniatures using a 3D printer - and can make transparent plastic, strong plastic (which apparently only comes in white), and metal - and you can order the figurines in a variety of sizes, so you are not limited to the normal 1 inch base figurine.

Behold what I saw upon first opening the package.

And wow. That is a lot of packaging for one tiny miniature. (Note, you save on shipping costs if you buy multiple miniatures.)

Even the cat agrees that it is a lot of packaging, as she gleefully bites and plays with the box and bubble wrap. (I am going to be posting a video of her attacking the packaging later today on Victoria has Claws, our cat's youtube channel.)

Below, the front view of the miniature out of the packaging. His name is "Wrathgar", a character I designed circa 2003 and have been using, playing in Dungeons and Dragons, writing about for roughly 12 years now. eg. You can read one of Wrathgar's adventures / origin story in the book "The Adventures of Wrathgar: The Assassin's Trail". The character is Conan-esque, but Wrathgar favours the bow over sword and axe. His choice of clothing is also more unique, as not many people wear antlers on their helmet - which means it was also a challenge to find a company that has an antler helmet on their list of options.

And the back view of Wrathgar.

So I immediately had to begin the painting process. I got my box of paints, my roll of paintbrushes from studying painting for 5 years in university, lots of water to drink, something to watch while I paint, and a clean painting surface, and more water to wash paintbrushes in.

Before painting I washed the miniature in hot water to make sure there wasn't any residue leftover from the painting process. The manufacturer recommends washing the miniature before painting.

Below, the base coat of the miniature. Wrathgar is a very nature-loving character and tends to wear lots of brown, so "burnt umber" made a good base coat.

Additional layers saw me add black shading, titanium white for the antlers, and vandyke brown. For the face I used a mixture of jaune brilliant and naples yellow.

And here I used phthalo green blue shade for his arrow fletching.

The miniature is not done with the painting process. I still want to go back and do the following.

  • Fine tune details on his face.
  • Add white and blue for his eyes.
  • Ivory colouration for the antlers, which should not be completely white.
  • More shading around his armour.
  • Gold hilt for his dagger.
  • And other details I can think of later.

I was very pleased with Hero Forge and what I saw on their website - and yes their prices are pretty expensive, but it was totally worth. I have seen Wrathgar come to life before me in a miniature.

Note - If readers and their friends want to save on costs, I recommend ordering as a group in order to save on shipping costs.

Prior to this I was using a Dark Sun "Half Giant Psychic Warrior" as the miniature for Wrathgar, which was a good representation of Wrathgar's physique, but failed to point out that Wrathgar spends much of his time using his bow. So now I can use the half giant when he is using his sword, and my new miniature when he is using his bow - which is his preferred weapon of choice.

And for those people who are curious, Wrathgar is normally a ranger when I play pen + paper D&D. In DDO (Dungeons and Dragons Online) however Wrathgar has been both a ranger and a barbarian, operating on the DDO Argonnessen server under the names Wraethgar and Wrathggar,because apparently, somehow, Wrathgar was taken. Go figure.

For more information about my writing or the world of Korovia in which Wrathgar exists, check out either http://www.korovia.com/ or http://fiction.charlesmoffat.com/.

Happy gaming!

Star Wars fans need to exercise more

Sadly many Star Wars fans are out of shape losers. They might occasionally practice swinging a lightsaber, but they don't really exercise much. Below are five reasons why you should exercise more.

Dungeons and Dragons Online Oddities

One of the kewl things about DDO (Dungeons and Dragons Online) is that gamers will sometimes gather to do weird stuff just for fun.

Like the dancing bears photo shoot below, which I organized just moments ago. It didn't take much effort either. Gamers love doing weird stuff like this.

Note - I took 25 screen shots. The two below are two samples of the collection of screen shots I took of the "dancing bears". The images below are unedited, but I shall be editing them tomorrow.

If you have ideas for weird things people could do on DDO, please post your ideas in the comments below.

Shadow Dragon - Vs Copyright Issues on the Internet

I found the above graphic of a Shadow Dragon on Pinterest about a week ago, which I intended to use as a graphic for a Facebook event for myself and friends.

However Pinterest, when accessed via my phone, does two things:

1. They are really annoying about trying to get you to download their stupid app. Which I hate and I encourage others to NOT use the stupid Pinterest app.

2. They disable people's ability to save images to their phone and then use them for whatever purpose (educational, memes, fan clubs for Game of Thrones, it doesn't matter).

The 2nd issue really comes down to Pinterest trying to protect their users copyright - which is really impossible, because this is the internet. Where there is a will, there is always a way in which a person can copy/paste/save/reuse an image if they really want to.

Take for example a program I use regularly: "Capiche". Basically it works like taking a screen shot, but it only makes a copy of whatever area of the screen you select. That means it doesn't matter how much coding a company tries to use to prevent people from copy/pasting or saving/reusing images, Capiche don't care. It copies the image anyway in the same way a screen shot would.

Beyond this is the issue that it is on the INTERNET. It is the genie out of the bottle. You can't get it back in. Once it is on the internet anyone can use it if they see fit. Trying to get rid of something on the internet is absolutely pointless, because it can be shared on Facebook, on Twitter, on blogs, social media - they could be thousands of copies of something within hours if the image or video is particularly interest.

eg. Video of white police tasering a handcuffed black man to death. That will go viral so fast it isn't funny - and it isn't funny, because I am describing a real video that happened recently. Google the name "Linwood Lambert". His family are suing the police dept. for $25 million.

The whole thing about copyright is suppose to protect the owners of original art pieces and writing from people copying their stuff and then making money off of it. Making a meme, using it for educational purposes, making a parody of it, and so forth - those things don't make a profit off the art piece, and thus are exempt from copyright.

So thank you Pinterest for annoying me. If it wasn't for you the meme below never would have been made to prove a point.

Bacon Toys for Nerds

I saw the above shelf while out shopping with a nerdy friend of mine. They had:

Bacon Mints
Bacon dice game
Bacon frosting


More Nerd Foods


230 lb giant Reece peanut butter cup.

Spaghetti Zombie Heads

Bacon wrapped pineapple with ham.

Clearly new heights of nerd foods are available to be reached.

The Proper Pronunciation of Drow

It is a debate that waged for years amongst Dungeons and Dragons players - What is the proper pronunciation of Drow?

The debate is about whether Drow, a race of dark elves, is pronounced "drow" like grow or is pronounced "drouw" like the word cow.

Well I am finally going to put this debate to rest.

Years ago I read a Dragon magazine article about Old English mythological monsters. One of them was the "dtrow", a dark elf creature that lives in caves and under bridges and attacks travellers and other surface dwellers, usually at night because it avoids sunlight. The "dtrow" is the basis for the Dungeons and Dragons dark elf race known as drow - but it is also the same root word for troll.

Dtrow is pronounced with a soft DT sound and pronounced like grow. Therefore the proper pronunciation of Drow is like the bow in crossbow, grow, mow the lawn, etc.

Anyone who is using the pronunciation "drouw" like cow, take a bow, ow that hurt, etc is saying it wrong due to ignorance of the word's origins.

Webster's Unabridged Dictionary (1970) states:

"Drow, n., [scot.]." The word is a variant of the Scots term "trow", which itself derives from the Scandinavian word "troll". The original Scottish Gaelic word is pronounced "dtrow" with a soft "dt" sound, and the original pronunciation sounds similar to "troll." The word is also found in Cornish and Welsh, with slight pronunciation differences. The race itself seems based on another dark elf, specifically the Dökkálfar of Norse mythology.

The word dtrow is also found in Old English, suggesting it was an universal word for dark elves on the British Isles.

Anyone who is pronouncing the word wrong, well shame on you! You are mangling the word. The Dtrow or Dökkálfar would be very upset to learn humans are mispronouncing their name so often due to sheer ignorance.

Priceless Price List for Graphic Design

If you are one of those creative nerds you spend a lot of time on a computer designing things for clients, the topic of client meddling will certainly have come up at least once in your brain or in conversation with a client or colleagues. You may not have called it "client meddling" but you might have used some expletives to describe the sheer annoyance of having to redo things again and again to make a picky client happy.

"I don't like this grey. It is too grey. Can you show me a different grey?"

"I changed my mind. I don't like the background. Can you redo it in blue and change everything so it matches the new blue?"

"Looks nice but can you go back and redesign everything from scratch so the layout is horizontal instead?"

And so on... it makes you want to throttle the client. The trick to getting around this is to explain to the client the amount of work that goes into every change - and that if they make repeated changes due to being picky then the designer should be charging an hourly rate and tracking the amount of time spent on every single change.

The price list below is a REAL price list posted by a graphic designer in the USA, partially serious and partially to illustrate to clients that client meddling = more time and more time = more money.

Found R2 Unit - Nerd Gag

In my latest Nerd Gag I have decided to go for a Star Wars theme. This time I didn't even bother to post an image of the item in question in hopes that people would get the reference. Posting a photo after all would be too obvious.

Found R2 Unit (E T Seton Park)
Somebody left their R2 unit at E T Seton Park this past weekend.

I took it home and while I was cleaning it I found it contained a scrambled message which I believe is for the owner.

If anyone knows someone called Obiwan Kenobi please contact me so can I return their R2 unit to them.

I mean, com'on, if you don't know what a R2 unit is then it pretty obvious you missed on a large chunk of 20th century pop culture.

Lost Jackalope - HUGE REWARD

As my third Nerd Gag I have decided to post in the Lost and Found section on Craigslist regarding a Lost Jackalope and offering a huge reward of $25,000.

The beauty of jackalopes is that some people might actually think they are a real animal as opposed to a mythical creature that people have been faking using taxidermy and photoshop. Photos of jackalopes do look pretty real after all so anyone seeing the photo might think it is a real animal.

I am very curious to see how many people respond thinking jackalopes are real animals.

Their responses will be posted below.

"Seriously???? J
Too funny"

-Sandy V.

"nice try dick head"


Evidently this Nerd Gag was too obvious of a prank.

One last one, from October 8th.

"Hi I think I found Freddy - we connected and he is very special - I won't take your reward just please get back to me 



Dark Lord Cthulhu - Free to a Good Home

Following up my recent gag Craigslist post: "Time Traveling Editor Wanted" I have decided to make another gag Craigslist posting. So here you go. A homage to the Dark Lord Cthulhu.

I am curious to see what kind of people respond to this one... Should be worth a laugh. See the responses I got from the "Time Traveling Editor Wanted" post in the meantime.

The first response is already in. The post was only up for 2 minutes and here is the first response.

"You can send email to York University - Animal Behavior Psychology Professor who loves octopus and she always talk about them how intelligent they are.  Call them and they give you her name and email."

-Krystyna S.

I am almost tempted to do as she suggests, just as an extension of the gag.

2nd response:

"hey there ill take it i need something to eat up dem christans anyways do you have an orb to keep em in???"

-Christopher P.
 That level of insane spelling and lack of grammar should fit the Dark Lord nicely.


I am true interested in providing a home for this beast.  I have been looking for an octopus for years.  Please let me know if your still looking to find a new companion for this little monster.  I love scary movies,  catching snake and feed creatures of this sort other little tasty critters.

Feel free to contact me any time.

Best regards,
Derrick J."
"is he spayed?"

-Jim E.

"so, does it fit into a cooking pot? piece by piece;   the say it does taste great; the bigger>the better!!!  
pls let us know asap!!!"

-Mike K.
Have you considered universities? The biology/marine/limnology/

aquatic deparTmentS would be more equipped to handle it."
-Alex L.
"Do you still have this?"

-Bruce C.

 Apparently some people think I have an actual giant octupus that I am giving away. Some people apparently did not get all Dark Lord Cthulhu references as a joke.

The post was flagged and removed 7:54 AM today so I am going to spend today daydreaming of a new Nerd Gag to post.

Thank you to all who responded!

Time Traveler Wanted - The Berenstein / Berenstain Bears

Yesterday I posted the above ad on Craigslist (see http://toronto.craigslist.ca/tor/wrg/5197527611.html ) as a gag, just for fun. It is a reference to the time travel theory that history has been changed and the spelling of "The Berenstein Bears" has been changed to "Berenstain" for some unknown reason.

So far I have received the following replies via email:

I laughed! Thank you, I needed that.

Now, back to looking for video editing gigs. 

If only it were a video editor you needed. Unless you'd like someone to go back and change the spelling in the TV series. I could do that. But I'm not sure about the gold. Just pay me in exposure. Expose me more and more, so that in the new timeline, I could become a stripper and have a much better income than a video editor could ever possibly have. 

Anyway, good luck with this whole escapade. I'd offer you my time machine, but it can't decide whether it's a Delorean or a police box. So for now, it's turned itself into a refrigerator. It works okay, but it's a bit chilly and you always have to be near an outlet. However, it does offer protection against nuclear blasts. 

-Maria K.

My Tardis is in the shop.  Perhaps we can handle the gold part right away, and I can let you know when they return my Tardis.

-David L.

If I get more responses to the ad I will add them to the list below. :)

Alternate Compensation for Time Traveling Editor 
You could also do the thing where you go back to 1825 and put one penny into a bank account...

et voila!

I'm down for this.

Okay here is a bizarre one.

A lawyer sent me their resume and a sample of past editing work they had done. Why is a lawyer doing editing work? That seems very strange. Keep reading...

Also they apparently didn't even read the post. They are just spamming out emails to everyone, not even bothering to read the job description. I am of the opinion this person is too stupid to be a proper lawyer and that is why they are sending out their resume instead trying to get editor jobs. Too dumb to be a lawyer, apparently smart enough to be an editor, but too freaking stupid to read who they are spamming emails to.

I therefore immediately concluded that this person needs to be shamed so I was tempted to post their entire resume. Shame on them for spamming. Shame on them for taking editing jobs when they apparently have a law degree and passed the bar exam in 1996. Freaking 1996! They have been a lawyer for 19 years and they are now taking editing jobs? WTF. Something is weird with that person.

Plus I really hate spammers. All spammers should choke on a fish bone and die in my opinion and the world would be free from useless emails clogging up our inboxes and wasting the time of people who have honest jobs and get those jobs without resorting to spamming people.

When I read the resume closely however I notice that they prosecuted child abuse and neglect cases from 1996 to 2000. Wow. That kind of job would burn someone out real quick. They switched careers in 2001 because evidently they were burnt out and obviously couldn't handle the stress of their job any more.

In my opinion this person should go back to law school, get a job in copyright law, and that would still allow them to work in the publishing industry. And to be fair, copyright law is a much happier place to be than prosecuting neglect / abuse.

So in conclusion I have decided I am not going to post their resume after all, but I still think they should stop spamming people. It is rude, wrong, unethical, annoying and I hope they realize the error of their ways before they choke on a fish bone and die.

If I get more responses to the ad I will continue to post the results below...

Update - Unfortunately that did not happen.

The Craigslist posting was flagged and removed yesterday at 2:14 PM, apparently because someone didn't have a sense of humour.

Tyrion and the Blood of the Dragon

Tyrion in the Song of Ice and Fire series (aka "Game of Thrones") is believed to be one of the three heads of the dragon, as per the prophecy of Azor Ahai / etc.

Evidence in support of this is the facts/rumours that:

#1. Tyrion is actually the son of the Mad King Aerys, who supposedly slept with Tyrion's mother approx. 9-10 months prior to Tyrion's birth.

#2. Tyrion has very little fear of fire - as shown during the Battle of the Blackwater.

#3. Tyrion has never been burnt by fire or scalded by hot water. Instead he prefers to be hot/warm all the time. Nor is he bothered by the cold, as shown by his visit to the wall.

#4. Tyrion admits to having childhood dreams about dragons and flying. During the book Dance of Dragons he has one such dream as he gets closer to his destination, suggesting that his dragon dreams are increasing as he gets closer to the dragons.

#5. Tyrion has the golden hair of a Targaryon, who historically have silver or gold hair - although this is not a guarantee as sometimes Targaryons have been born with black hair.

#6. From a literary perspective the story does tend to focus on Jon Snow, Tyrion and Danaerys - this suggests these three characters are of more importance than others, ergo, the Three Heads of the Dragon.

What I find interesting however is that Tyrion has spent a significant amount of time whoring his way across Westeros, which implies there could be multiple bastards out there who have the Blood of the Dragon in their veins thanks to being sired by Tyrion. So there could be spare "heirs" to the title of being Blood of the Dragon.

Sort of like how King Robert sired lots of bastards and they are floating around out there.

Podrick Paine, Hot Pie and Gendry are probably all bastards of King Robert. They are literally a dime a dozen. Gendry and Podrick may be the more warrior-like of the two bastards, but Hot Pie is the one who most resembles the king.

Thus given the considerable time Tyrion also spent whoring, certainly he has sired quite a few bastards too right?

Food for thought. All Men Must Pie.

Epic Fantasy - The Crimson Companions Trilogy

By Charles Moffat - May 2015.  Updated September 2019.

Epic Fantasy is a genre where huge battles and massive armies decide the outcomes of the plot. Or is it?

Well, yes, but not all of the time.

Epic Fantasy is really about stature.

Game of Thrones (the TV show and the book series ASOIAF) contains a lot of large epic battles, so it has several elements of epic fantasy, but truth be told you aren't shown a lot of those battles in the TV show, and the battles are often covered in the books as subtext. Most of the battles are unseen. Indeed most of the books are just people squabbling over things with rare bits of combat / magic / dragons doing cool stuff.

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings could also be classified as Epic Fantasy, as there are similar large battles, but most of the books are the characters traveling from place to place. It is mostly about the epic journey.

So the battles are only part of it. Does epic fantasy have to contain huge battles? No, I don't think it does.

How we define epic fantasy is also a matter of debate. See the two images below which represent the two schools of thought on the topic.

Speaking for myself I prefer the top definition.

Does it describe Epic Fantasy by referring to the word epic twice in its own definition? Yes. But I don't care. The second definition in the image below is wholly wrong in my opinion.

Using the second definition a fantasy book would count as epic even if it is just 300,000 words of a group of talking anthropomorphic puppies rescuing people on a tiny island with a town called Adventure Bay. There you go, I just described the plot of "Paw Patrol". Could someone write 300,000 words on that topic? Yes. Would it be fantasy? Yes, because it has anthropomorphic talking dogs which ignore the laws of physics. Is it epic fantasy? Definitely not.

Let us ignore the definition and talk about an author who is well known for his Epic Fantasy books.

David Eddings.

I used to read a lot of David Eddings books back in the 1990s. In his books knights rode on horseback and fought demons, dragon-like creatures, evil armies, and even killed a few evil gods. And the knights do this across multiple continents.

The characters spent half of their time solving problems and planning things, and the other half actually doing the epic things they discussed (often with something unexpected happening).

And his books were amazingly enjoyable to read. Some day I must go back and re-read them. (Same goes for Dave Duncan. He also does Epic Fantasy quite well.)

Epic fantasy is about scale and power. The setting is massive, often spanning kingdoms and continents. The characters are heroic in stature. The plot is about life on a massive scale.

Let us compare two examples.

  1. A tiny village is having a festival that brings in many visitors and a dragon kills one of the villagers a week ahead of the festival. The villagers go out and kill a tiny dog sized dragon and bring back its corpse. Meanwhile the real threat, a massive dragon, is lurking in the mountains... and the villagers just killed her hatchling.
  2. A kingdom is invaded by an army of dragonriders and in order to fight back they send a tiny group of griffon riders on a long journey to find a legendary wizard known as Dathek the Dragonslayer and bring him back. But when they get there Dathek is too old to barely move, but he agrees to help anyway. They journey back and it is unclear if Dathek will even survive the dangerous journey.

Now which of these two plots sounds more epic? The first one is basically the plot from the film Jaws, but replaces the 1 large shark with 1 large dragon. The second plot has a whole army of dragons, a long perilous journey, and a powerful wizard with failing health. Certainly the 2nd one with the higher stakes, large dragon army and a dying wizard is more epic, right?

And 99% of the time, yes, it would be.

But it is possible that the first plot could end up being more epic as a storytelling if it is told properly... and if the dragon is properly huge. Like 10 times bigger than Smaug.

So it really depends on who the writer is.

When you read the taglines and loglines for books it should give you an idea of what the book is about, and also just how epic the story is.

Let us use the loglines from my book trilogy The Crimson Companions as examples and I shall highlight in red any words that give the reader clues that what they are about to read is epic fantasy.

Paladin Assassin
(Part One of "The Crimson Companions")

The Minotaur Emperor has been assassinated and the continent is on the brink of an epic war between minotaurs and humans. Wynic Doxon, the Arthian Royal Assassin, is asked to track down the assassin who killed the emperor and help prevent a war that would destroy the ancient city of Athex.

Ice War
(Part Two of "The Crimson Companions")

An evil army has set up camp in the northern reaches of the continent and plots are afoot. The heroes from "The Paladin Assassin" are ordered north to confront this new danger and to seek out the legendary Spear of Destiny.

King Culprit
(Part Three of "The Crimson Companions")

The epic finale to the Crimson Companions Trilogy! Waytorn, the king of the crime underworld has decided to retire and it creates a power vacuum as mafia kingpins converge on the ancient city of Athex to scheme and fight to the death as to who should carry on his criminal empire. Meanwhile Rades and the other members of the Crimson Companions struggle to survive as chaos unfolds and a new force threatens global domination.


Now just judging by the amount of red, I should probably go back and modify the old description for Ice War so that there is more words of an epic nature in the description. Or not. Just leave it be. I like it the way it is.

So this is my point about Epic Fantasy. Its very nature is about scale. Size. Continents. Empires. Global. Far reaching qualities and quantities.

To use a gun analogy a .45 Colt is a nice old gun. Looks nice in a gun collection. But a nuclear war is epic by its very nature of being both massive in the size of the explosions and the far reaching impacts of nuclear radiation on people, on politics, and on the environment will be felt through generations.

"Not all wars are epic, but 
all nuclear wars are definitely epic."

If you are curious about my books they are *currently available* on both Kindle and Kobo.

* This may change in the future. I have been thinking about dropping Kobo and becoming Kindle Exclusive for all future books.

  1. Paladin Assassin is now $2.99.
  2. Ice War is now $5.99.
  3. King Culprit is now $5.99.

Or you can buy all 3 in The Crimson Companions Trilogy for $9.99.

Scientific Cookie Testing

Want to make really good cookies using SCIENCE?

Start by making 8 different cookie recipes, using different variations to experiment with the quality of the cookies - and have kids / adults do taste tests to determine which cookies they think taste best.

Continue your research, periodically changing the recipe and comparing which cookies people respond best to in terms of taste, texture, etc.

HBO deliberately leaked 4 episodes of Game of Thrones

Hey there Game of Thrones fans!

You may have already heard that 4 episodes of Game of Thrones (season 5) were leaked a few days before the airing of the first episode of season 5, but did you know the episodes were deliberately leaked?

HBO deliberately leaked the first 4 episodes of Game of Thrones Season 5 in an effort to do the following:

1. Create buzz around the show by utilizing news media for free advertising.

2. So they could create free buzz for HBO's newest service "HBO Now", a new streaming service.

3. So HBO could track illegal downloaders in the USA for potential lawsuits - which is technically entrapment.

HBO claims the episodes were leaked via people in the media who had received screener copies of episodes for them to review and post reviews in newspapers, magazines, TV shows, etc - however that seems more like a cover story - a scapegoat - when their real intent was to deliberately create buzz for both the show and HBO Now, while simultaneously giving them an excuse to entrap Americans who download the show before the release of the first episode.

Fascinating don't you think?

And best of all nobody can prove who really released the first 4 episodes. Without proof it is basically a Schrödinger's Cat situation.

Hinterland's Who's Who - The Ewok

The following video is a Star Wars parody of the Hinterland's Who's Who commercials made by the Canadian government during the 1960s and 1970s.

For more parodies of Star Wars' Ewoks, why not visit the website YouTube and type in ewok parody.

For fun here is an extra Ewok parody:
The Empire Got Defeated by the Ewoks (Ewok Parody)

Game of Thrones Season 5 Trailer

Winter is coming.


Season 5 of Game of Thrones will soon be here.

The 10 episodes will be airing between April 12th and June 21st 2015.

But in the mean time watch the trailer for season 5 so you can get all excited and wait with bated breath for the new season.

And if you get bored of waiting, go watch The Walking Dead instead.

Kevin Smith talks about Jon Peters and Superman Lives

In the clip below Kevin Smith talks about his role in the failed making of Superman Lives and the idiot movie producer Jon Peters.

Sean Connery is a ham actor 2

If you have any doubts that Sean Connery is a ham actor, then please watch the trailer for the 1974 film "Zardoz". See the trailer further below.

It is undoubtedly Connery's worst film ever.

If you are still not convinced, read Sean Connery is a ham actor.

Eventually after seeing enough bad Sean Connery roles in movies you will realize that he really only showed up, said his lines, and wasn't actually that good at putting any emotion into his acting roles.

Now I understand some people get really upset when I say "Sean Connery is a ham actor", but honestly, I am not saying this to hurt your feelings. I am saying in an effort to teach people the difference between good acting and bad acting. Watch the trailer for Zardoz and you will realize Sean Connery really has almost no acting skill and is really just hired for his looks and accent.

Nerdovore.com, New Domain Name

Yesterday we registered Nerdovore.com - I figured it was past time I registered a domain name for this website.

We recently surpassed 230,000 hits and I figured we should have a proper domain name before we reach the big 250,000 - which will likely happen sometime during the release of the new season of Game of Thrones, as Nerdovore always sees a spike in visitors during the new seasons of Game of Thrones.

The popularity of Nerdovore.com for Game of Thrones fans is apparently due to our Fantasy Maps section, which includes quite a few maps of Westeros and other locations from the world created by George R. R. Martin.

Publishing a fantasy book? Make sure you get a professional fantasy book editor.

Study Archery in Toronto

So you want to study archery, but you are having difficulty finding an archery instructor who is local. However there is a solution. If you are willing to travel you can take a crash course in archery in Toronto, Canada. 10 lessons over a two week period will take you from archery novice to an experienced and capable archer.

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