Old Haunts — Vignettes and Visions from the City of Lovat

Old Haunts: PAWN

📍 Peaceable Warren
🏙 Level Five
🕝 Mid-Afternoon

“Been lost since the death of their master, cloakin’ themselves in mourning garments and the like. Not much more than parasites now; cling to whoever would take ‘em. They deal only in shadows and whispers. That ain’t much in the way of currency.”

—Tawil, Gleam Upon the Waves


“Pagan Love Song” by The Columbians (1928)
Other audio and video from original, licensed, and public domain sources.

This is just one of many.

You never know what you’ll discover in the twisted streets, quiet alleys, and busy warrens of Lovat. Enjoy these “Old Haunts”, a series of vignettes and visions presented in Glorious Monochrome® by Waite™ Radio Pictures, Inc.

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An Overdue Hiatus

It’s a little odd to post something like this during a lull in my blogging, but I like to keep my readers informed when I will be away from the internet for a bit (as much as you can realistically be “away” these days.) Anyway, this post is to announce that this blog will be dormant—I mean even more dormant—for the next month or so. Why? Well…

Kari-Lise and I are taking our second trip to Scotland! (Our first visit was in 2017. You can read about our experience here.) This trip is long overdue. It was supposed to be for my 40th birthday, but COVID did its thing, and everything was delayed and then delayed some more. But no more. It’s happening. Finally. We’re planning to visit some favorite places (Edinburgh and Islay) and hit up some new spots (Orkney) and generally get lost in the solitude of the open country. We’re really looking forward to it and it should be a good time.

We will be gone most of April, so my current plan is to resume blogging in May. I expect to be writing quite a bit while in Scotland, so I hope to have lots to share upon our return. While away, I’ll almost certainly post to Instagram, so I recommend following me if you’re interested in my travels. And as always, expect a trip report upon my return.

If you’re looking for something to read or explore in the interim, here are a few suggestions:

For more travel-related photos, previous trips, and trip reports check out:

Mar sin leat, and see y’all when we return!

Want to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information. Sign Up Today →

de Fer Battlefield: A Free 17th Century Brush Set for Fantasy Maps 

Last September, I released the first in a series of sets coming from one individual: Nicolas de Fer. He’s an interesting character, a famous French geographer who eventually became the official geographer to the Spanish and French court. He was a prolific engraver and publisher, stole unabashedly, and while his work isn’t considered historically accurate, he brought a uniqueness with his cartography that helps it stand apart artistically from his contemporaries, making his work the perfect base for fantasy map brush sets.

Why it’s Nick de Fer! Prepared to wow you with his engravings.

Today, I am excited to release de Fer Battlefield. An extensive battlefield brush set based on de Fer’s Le Combat de Leuze ou de la Catoire, a late 17th-century map depicting the fortification of the Belgium city of Leuze-en-Hainaut in 1691, and the Battle of Leuze, a French calvary victory from the Nine Years’ War. It’s full of the sort of stuff that makes these maps fascinating and energetic: charging calvary units, stalwart pike men, soldiers, explosions, battles, villages, and more.

Even in their time, Battlefield maps were a storytelling element as much narrative as informative. But, I know many people don’t understand how to effectively use brush sets based on them. My sample map for this set strives to inspire how these sets can enhance a narrative and help tell a story. There are many opportunities for fantasy maps to employ a similar tactic in their maps, moving away from a static approach of borders and cities that we are familiar with to one that details events in a fresh and exciting way.

A sample of what you’ll find in de Fer Battlefield

The de Fer Battlefield set features over 230 brushes and includes the following:

  • 8 Army Units
  • 2 Marching Army Units
  • 10 Pike Units
  • 12 Organized Lines (Could also work as fields)
  • 10 Organized Units
  • 20 Individual Soldiers
  • 15 Cavalry Units
  • 20 Charging Cavalry Units
  • 5 Marching Cavalry Units
  • 5 Attacking Cavalry Units
  • 25 Individual Cavalry Units
  • 10 Individual Cavalry Units Rearing
  • 6 Mixed Combination Units
  • 7 Battles
  • 10 Bushes
  • 30 Trees
  • 5 Forests
  • 10 Hillsides
  • 12 Towns
  • 4 Explosions
  • 9 Unique Brushes

The button below links to a ZIP file that contains a Photoshop brush set (it’ll also work with GIMP and Affinity Photo) as well as a transparent PNG (3.5Mb) in case you’re using a program that doesn’t support Adobe brush files. They’re black and on a transparent background, so they’ll look broken in some browsers, but trust me, they’re all there.

As with all of my previous brush sets, de Fer Battlefield is free for any use. I distribute my sets with a Creative Common, No Rights Reserved License (CC0), which means you can freely use this and any of my brushes in commercial work and distribute adaptations. (Details on this decision here.) No attribution is required. Easy peasy!

Enjoy de Fer Battlefield? Feel free to show me what you created by emailing me or finding me on Twitter. I love seeing how these brushes get used, and I’d be happy to share your work with my readers. Let me see what you make!

de Fer Battlefield in Use

Want to see how I’ve used this set? I put together a sample map, and you can see the results below. There are three versions, a colored version, one black and white, and a decorated sample. Click on any of the images below to view them larger. Perhaps this will inspire you as you get started on your own projects!

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Supporting this Work

If you like the de Fer Battlefield brush set (or any of my free brushes, really) and want to support my work, consider buying one of my cosmic-horror-soaked dark urban fantasy novels instead of a donation. The first book—The Stars Were Right—is only $2.99 on eBook. I think you’ll dig it. You can find all my books in stores and online. Visit the Bell Forging Cycle hub to learn more about the series. Tell your friends!

The Bell Forging Cycle

Not interested in my books but still want a way to support me? Buy me a coffee.

More Map Brushes

de Fer Battlefield just one of many brush sets I’ve released. You can find it and other free brushes covering a wide variety of historical styles on my Fantasy Map Brushes page. Every set is free, distributed under a CC0 license, and open for personal or commercial use. I’m sure you’ll be able to find something that works for your project. Click the button below to check them out!

Want to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information. Sign Up Today →

New Book Photos!

It’s been a while since I’ve assembled the series so far and taken photos. But with Kari-Lise’s help this weekend, we managed to take a whole slew of photos of the Bell Forging Cycle books and their swag packs. I’m really happy with how they turned out, feel more unified and it’s a nice way to show off their individual swag sets. You can check them out below.

The Stars Were Right

Old Broken Road

Red Litten World

Gleam Upon the Waves

Other Stickers & Swag

Watch “The History of Horror” Now!

On Tuesday this week, I had the honor to participate as a guest on a panel for FanFi Addict’s #TBRCon2022. (You might recall I was also a guest last year.) For the uninitiated TBRCon is a completely free online convention for all manner of speculative fiction—horror to science fiction to fantasy. Once again, I had an absolute blast. I joined the “History of Horror” panel moderated by Mother Horror herself, Sadie Hartmann, featuring a great group of fantastic horror writers, including Adam CesareTim MeyerLaurel Hightower, and Gabino Iglesias. I’ve found that people in the horror community are always excited to welcome and meet fellow writers and fans and this group was no exception. Conversations like this feel like conversations with family and given the chance we could have gone on for hours.

#TBRCon22 – “The History of Horror” w/ Sadie Hartmann, Gabino Iglesias, Laurel Hightower, Adam Cesare, Time Meyer, and me.

Like last year, I’ve embedded the recording above. The whole discussion is a little over an hour, and we delve not just into Horror’s history and origins but also where we think it’s going as a genre in the future. In the end, we all give out a ton of fantastic recommendations of some of our favorite recent or classic horror reads and I’ll link those below.

Big thanks to Sadie for her efforts at wrangling us, and thank you to my fellow panelists for being so welcoming. David Walters of FanFiAddict deserves considerable praise for doing so much of the heavy lifting behind the scenes. Be sure to subscribe to all of FanFi’s social media channels, so you don’t miss out on what he’s up to next.

It ain’t over! #TBRCon2022 continues through Sunday, January 30th! You can find out much more here and tune in for free on YouTubeTwitch, and Facebook. Miss a panel you wanted to see? All recordings of previous discussions are posted on FanFi Addict’s YouTube page. Be sure to go back and check out the panels you might have missed. There are a ton of great content to peruse at your leisure.

“History of Horror” Panel Recommendations

At the end of the panel, we all talked about what we were working on and shared some recommendations. I’ve tried to list them all and include any specific books that were mentioned. Links go to the author’s webpage or blog, and most book links will go to Indiebound.(Support your local bookstore!)

Sadie HartmannNightworms

Tim MeyerMalignant Summer

Adam CesareClown in a Cornfield

Gabino IglesiasThe Devil Takes You Home: A Novel

K. M. Alexander – Gleam Upon the Waves

Laurel HightowerCrossroads

Happy 2022

Hey, thanks for being a reader of this blog. I say it a lot, but I sincerely appreciate you. You made my year last year better than it had any right to be. I hope you have a wonderful 2022. May you find love. May you find peace. May you find kindness. May you find health. May you set outrageous goals and may you smash past them. Happy 2022, dear reader. Thanks for sticking with me.