Harry Potter and the Cauldron of Expectations

When the first Harry Potter books were published I didn’t bother to read them.  I saw the films, but they didn’t strike me as especially significant.  Yes, they were full of magic and wonder.  But I failed to perceive anything of lasting substance. I dismissed Harry Potter as a fad. Yet as the series progressed, … Read more

Are Magic Systems a Distraction?

A fellow writer shared his dilemma with me.  He and his partner were starting a new project, and had invested much time in developing a magic system.  He had shared it with me before, and I was intrigued by their original spin on magic and spell-casting. But then something happened.  While flipping through the channels, … Read more

How to Design Your Diabolical Cult

In the summer of 1982 I had a life changing experience.  Although I was underage, I accompanied my father to see the new epic fantasy Conan the Barbarian, starring Mr. Universe Arnold Schwarzenegger.  While the film itself was amazing (especially the score), I was particularly impressed by its charismatic villain, Thulsa Doom. As portrayed by … Read more

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