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Heaven or Hell: The Afterlife in Grimdark Fantasy

“Dearly beloved, we’re gathered here today to get through this thing called life.” In the words of Prince, I think that’s why we read. Or write or do anything that sparks joy because at the heart of it, life sucks ass. The world can be a cruel, dark place. Grimdark offers us a catharsis forContinue reading “Heaven or Hell: The Afterlife in Grimdark Fantasy”

Beyond Lovable Rogues: Making Evil Characters Likable

It’s delicious as hell to root for a wicked character. That’s why the lovable rogue archetype lives on in literature and pop culture, from Han Solo to Aladdin. It’s fun to break the rules once and a while. Add a tyrannical force making the rules to the mix, and you can find yourself cheering forContinue reading “Beyond Lovable Rogues: Making Evil Characters Likable”

Lovers in the Grimdark

Every fucking book, grimdark or not, has some love plot. Of course, people fall in love often enough that we have a day to celebrate it! 90% of pop songs? Talkin’ bout love. 99% of stories you read? Same. There’s something sickly-sweet and enticing about whether a couple will or won’t. What obstacles will ourContinue reading “Lovers in the Grimdark”

Diversity in the Grimdark

The denizens of my fantasy realm are essentially color and genderblind. I don’t think having a society where this is possible is a further stretch than magic. Nor is having a diverse cast. Think about this: the potato was introduced to Europe in the Age of Exploration, about a century or two after the MiddleContinue reading “Diversity in the Grimdark”

Six Magical & Monstrous Winter Movies to Watch

That fuzzy Omen Punxsutawney Phil has declared we’ve got six more weeks of winter ahead. Whether you believe in groundhog shadow magic or not, February can be a little… blah. So let’s escape together with a movie marathon in the Grimdark. 😈🎬 Note: I’m not including The Thing or The Shining in this lineup, becauseContinue reading “Six Magical & Monstrous Winter Movies to Watch”

Ravens: Portents of Evil, And So Much More

In celebration of my new release Raven Queen, Arise, and Edgar Allan Poe’s 213th birthday week, here are some fun facts about the often-misunderstood raven. Intelligence Ravens are very, very smart. Scientists guess that ravens are some of the smartest animals in the kingdom, next to dolphins and primates. Ravens can remember thousands of locations for stashedContinue reading “Ravens: Portents of Evil, And So Much More”

Violence: The Antihero’s First Resort

I was watching a new movie the other day, and since I don’t want to spoil anything, I’m leaving the movie nameless. The point isn’t the movie anyway, it’s about the hero’s tactics. Or rather, their ultimate goal. You see, these heroes’ goals don’t involve killing the dangerous, maniacal villains that threaten their world anymore.Continue reading “Violence: The Antihero’s First Resort”

Betrayal: Just Another Weapon in the Antihero’s Arsenal

“So many vows…they make you swear and swear. Defend the king. Obey the king. Keep his secrets. Do his bidding. Your life for his. But obey your father. Love your sister. Protect the innocent. Defend the weak. Respect the gods. Obey the laws. It’s too much. No matter what you do, you’re forsaking one vowContinue reading “Betrayal: Just Another Weapon in the Antihero’s Arsenal”

Trauma as Power: A Dark Epic Fantasy Trope

Stark Contrast If I had to pick one and only one defining difference between vanilla high fantasy and dark [chocolate—sorry!] high fantasy, it’s in the core modus operandi of the protagonist. Heroes in vanilla fantasy grow to overcome their trauma, or at least succeed despite their inner wounds. Not so in dark fantasy: antiheroes embraceContinue reading “Trauma as Power: A Dark Epic Fantasy Trope”

“I Bought It Because of the Cover”

You’ve all been there. That trip to the bookstore where you wander the stacks, no definite book in mind, but you know you’re in the mood for something…different. Something that doesn’t pull its punches. Something that will live up to everything it promises. Where the gore is gory and the sex is sexy and theContinue reading ““I Bought It Because of the Cover””