Writers: Conviction Vs Experience

I found this amusing.

Mostly because it is true of many writers I have met, especially young writers. Most of them I find give up at Steps 3 or 4.

Writing: Info Dumps Vs Mysteries

I was thinking about this recently with respect to a short story idea I had.

Having an info dump at the beginning of a story is used sometimes as a way to pass give the reader a lot of the background info the writer wants the reader to know. Even Tolkien, JKR and GRRM sometimes do this, even though it is generally frowned upon by other writers.

However the idea I have been working on is the concept of leaving breadcrumbs and clues for the reader via other characters being secretive and there being a mystery around certain things important to the plot. Thus the mystery about why it is a secret or taboo topic becomes a subplot.


"Spirit Warriors?" asked Belita. "What is a Spirit Warrior?"

The grey wizened elf looked away, his eyes staring into the fireplace. "An obsolete type of fighting. Don't concern yourself about it. Hasn't been a Spirit Warrior in these parts in centuries. They're almost a myth these days. We should concern ourselves with the task at hand."

And there you go. No big info dump. Just a few tantalizing clues and rare knowledge.

More clues later. Then more. Eventually the reader has the full picture of what Spirit Warriors are. Just the name "Spirit Warrior" gives you a clue that their powers are somehow mystical.

Ambiguity to me can be a blessing, like mysteries and secrets. Characters with secret motivations to me are invaluable. You don't reveal their true goals until near the end of the book, and only then does their actions make sense.

For example there is a character in particular I am thinking of in my novel "The Demon's Sacrifice" which falls into this category.

The eBook is $7.99 CDN and the paperback in Canada is $9.99. International prices may vary.

The Demon's Sacrifice, Paperback

The Demon's Pawn on Sale

January 5th 2020.

Starting today / January 5th and ending January 12th my book "The Demon's Pawn" is on sale on Amazon Kindle.

I published it under the pseudonym "Frederic King", but later in 2020 I will be dropping the pseudonym in favour of using my own name.

Sometime in 2020 I will be updating the book with the new cover, shown further below, and releasing the Second Edition version of the book. (And releasing a paperback of the Second Edition version.)

But for those people who want to read the First Edition version the book is on sale starting Jan. 5th until Jan 12th 2020.

Young Katya Yerovik has been raised in an elven monastery almost as long as she can remember... and her memories before then haunt her as nightmares about her father and herself being chased by a red-eyed horse with fiery hooves. When she reaches adulthood she sets out traveling west towards the Holy City of Kost to try and find her father. Armed with a bow, a sword and some rusty splintmail she faces the dangers of the road.

But unknown to Katya she has been a pawn in a game of chess from since before she was born, and the player is none other than the demon prince Varaziak who has set his sights on the Holy City of Kost...

A Hound Named Hunter FREE

Greetings Fans!

My short story "A Hound Named Hunter", which is a story of time traveling wolfhound, will be free on Amazon Kindle every Saturday in January 2020 + Saturday February 1st.

I love a good time paradox, but I also grew up reading stories about collies - Lassie books, and also the collie books of Albert Payson Terhune. Small surprise, I grew up and wrote a story about a time traveling dog.

As dog breeds go the "Korovian Wolfhound" is most similar to the Korean Chindo Kae, which shares similarities with border collies, except they are often white. They are often smaller, but when I lived in South Korea I once saw one that was as big as a German Shepherd.

A mysterious wolfhound is found on the banks of the Dangarn River, north of the tiny village of Dangarn. The dog's injuries are profound, but he makes a rapid recovery and his incredible intelligence belies a mystery surrounding his origins. Wild beasts and orc raiders roam the woods to the north, underlying the fears of the villagers that something more sinister lurks in the woods to the north...

Marketing Fantasy Books via Facebook or YouTube

So this is admittedly a post about marketing and advertising, from the perspective of a self-published author who promotes their fantasy books usually via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, my website ( and other websites (like this one).

But one of the things I have been meaning to do for years now is to create a YouTube channel where I can promote my writing (and to a lesser extent my paintings).

Well, I finally did it.

I created my first youtube video for my fantasy writing youtube channel.

And because it was both fun and easy, I decided to make an "unboxing video" for two Afro-Fantasy books I got for Christmas.

So why did I finally make a YouTube channel for my writing?

Honestly, I think it is partially because I am disliking the whole "advertise your book on Facebook" business model. It is a very spammy system, which I dislike, because there are tonnes of different fantasy writing facebook groups which either have a strict no spam policy or is just people spamming their books.

And there is no point promoting your books in either of the two.

I even administer two such groups:

Fantasy Writing (which admittedly I don't allow spam on and it is more geared towards fantasy writers talking to other fantasy writers)


Fantasy Authors and Marketing (which also doesn't allow spam, but is for fantasy writers to share their marketing techniques).

And then I have memberships in at least 30 other facebook groups for fantasy writers.

But asides from talking to other fantasy writers about writing craft, they aren't useful for marketing.

Same goes with having a "Facebook Author Page", which in my case is It doesn't really work that well for marketing purposes. Sure, it is there. But people visiting the page are already fans. The page is not converting people into new fans of my writing (or painting). It is there just for existing fans.

This is why I think YouTube has more potential to engage new readers to my writing.

On youtube I can potentially post a variety of videos on various topics:
  • Excerpts from my books, read by myself. Effectively a short audiobook sample.
  • Book Reviews of other people's books.
  • Unboxing videos of other people's books (or possibly my books, but usually it will be other people's books as currently only 3 of my books are available as paperbacks).
  • Painting videos (I have begun a new policy of painting my own book covers).
  • Details about the fantasy kingdom of Korovia, the world in which most of my books are set in.
  • Audio versions of fables, myths and legends from Korovia.
  • Video of book signings.
  • Interviews with other fantasy writers.
  • Videos about my writing process, Q and A videos, where I get my inspiration from, etc.
There is a lot of options there and I am sure I will think of more over time.

The real trick is finding time to make the videos AND not getting chewed by mosquitoes. (Last year I tried making a book review video when I was outdoors in the wilderness... and the mosquitoes were attacking me... It was a disaster. I deleted all of the footage from that failed endeavour.)

So yes, really this is a matter of time and commitment to spending that time making videos.

However if I spend half the time I usually spend on Facebook and use that time making videos for YouTube instead, I should be able to make multiple new videos each week. And I could really use a break from Facebook. Earlier this week I was tempted to remove the FB app from my phone.

So far there is only just the 1 video on YouTube, but in the meantime if you are anxious to learn more about my fantasy writing just browse over to and check out my writing that way.

Happy Reading!

When does Conan the Barbarian become public domain?

Today is January 1st 2020.

The creator of Conan the Barbarian Robert E. Howard died on June 11th 1936.

The first Conan the Barbarian story appeared in weird tales in 1932. At the time of that publication the copyright duration for works that complied with all of the requirements had a rather lengthy copyright, and thus could enjoy 95 years of copyright before they become public domain. So he becomes public domain on January 1st 2028.

However this topic is disputed. Depending on who you talk to, which copyright law they are quoting, and which country, the public domain for Robert E. Howard's work varies wildly.

For example:

"Within the United Kingdom, as in many other countries, the works written by an author fall into the public domain 70 years after their death. Since Robert E. Howard died in 1937, all his original works, including those featuring Conan the Barbarian, will be in the public domain from 1st January 2007."

Source -

Note that the above source couldn't even get the year of his death/suicide correct. They have him dying in 1937 when he actually died in June 1936.

It also follows U.K. law, which in turn follows the date of the author's death. However since the character first appears in Weird Tales in 1932, and was published in the USA, why should U.K. law even matter? The copyright should be following the laws of the country it was first published in.

Furthermore the companies that now own the rights to Conan the Barbarian (and other works by Robert E. Howard) are jealously protecting their ownership of the copyright. Namely by suing anyone who tries to publish new Conan works.

However there are holes in the copyright...

If a work is published in Europe, for example, they can ignore American copyright laws. But they cannot sell anything they make in the USA.

Which means that if someone wants to publish something on Amazon Kindle or similar locations the companies who own the American copyright can sue anyone who is violating their copyright.

That is until January 1st 2028.

Thus a countdown is on. You can expect a slew of writers to be released new Conan books and short stories on January 1st 2028. Exactly 8 years from today.

However there are other ways to write barbarian stories about characters who are similar to Conan or nearly identical.

#1. Simply don't use the Conan name.

Myself I have 3 characters who are similar to Conan, but each have their own names and personalities, and they exist in a fictional world of my creation. So I own all the copyrights for it.

  1. Wrathgar, Son of Wulfric
  2. Wulfric the Wanderer
  3. Brutus
Of those three characters the one who bears the most similarities to Conan the Barbarian is Wulfric the Wanderer, who appears in the following book: "Black Monoliths of Al-Kazar".

Wrathgar, Son of Wulfric meanwhile is a more archery and wilderness focused character. His stories focus more on a realistic use of woodsman skills, hunting, tracking, and stories that follow the barbarian's skill set. Wrathgar currently appears in two books on Amazon Kindle, one paperback, and has a new book coming out on March 1st 2020.

Brutus is the real oddball character of the three. His stories are best described as "Sword and Sorcery Erotica" or "Romance Sword and Sorcery". As a character he has similarities to both Wrathgar and Wulfric, but he is much more lusty and greedy when it comes to his romantic conquests. So far he only appears in one book: "Brutus and Avianna", which I market as an erotic sword and sorcery love story.

#2. Change the Name only Slightly. eg. "Konan"

I think this is a lame idea myself, hence why I never went in this direction.

Simply calling the character Konan to me is a silly idea. Or Conann. Or Conen. Or whatever spelling you want to use.

It just feels wrong to change his name like that.

Presumably authors would also need to change the world he is in too, as the world of Conan the Barbarian is also copyrighted.

#3. Use the Conan name, but your story is a Parody

Conan the Librarian for example. Parody.

Any time a character is used in a parody it bypasses copyright law as it makes fun of the original character. By being a parody the character is also changed somewhat and becomes comical.

#4. Use the Conan name, but don't sell them for a profit.

If the books or stories are free, then people can read them for free, share them, etc. If for example someone wrote a free web series of books people could access the books for free. They could, in theory, even have a Patreon account for donations from patrons that go towards supporting the writer to create more stories, but does not directly result in sales of the copyrighted character.

I have thought about doing the Patreon thing and writing a web series, but I would be doing it for characters of my own creation. I would not bother doing it for Conan or other characters who are soon to become public domain.

No... My preference is to wait.

Wait the 8 years and then if I am still interested in doing so I could publish Conan stories like the many other authors who might all be doing it at the same time.

Honestly I think my best option is to focus on method #1. Write my own characters, set in my own world, and I own all the copyrights.

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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