Back in the day—the “day” being the 1970s and ’80s—I emulated my two muses, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert E. Howard, with a spate of novels in genres such as Lost Worlds, Sword & Sorcery, and—of course—Sword & Planet. My five-book Reglathium series—which has long since evolved into my four-book Maldrinium series—was typical of the latter. But surprise, I wrote another Sword & Planet novel back then that went unpublished—at least, not in its original form.
A WANDERER ON PERSUS
Despite a bad turn with a dubious publisher back then, I totally enjoyed writing the Dannus (Reglathium) series. I decided to begin a new series with a novel that I titled, A Wanderer on Persus. Standard S & P fare: a guy on Earth, being chased by law enforcement for a crime he didn’t commit, is zapped up to a distant world called Persus. He encounters primitive people, frightening monsters, savage beasts, and an all-powerful, evil dude. And of course he meets and falls in love with the most amazing woman on two worlds, eventually losing her to the evil guy, who flees with her into the dark and terrible land from whence he came, setting up a sequel in which our hero enters that land to track them down.
I’m pretty sure that I shopped the manuscript back then, but without success. So into the drawer it went, and it remained there for quite a long time, while I transitioned into other genres, including four Horror novels, a Thriller, an Historical, and a comedy/sci-fi series that began with Bicycling Through Space and Time and its goofy hero, Jack Miller.
WHAT TO DO WITH A DUSTY MANUSCRIPT
After the first three Jack Miller novels I put my writing on hold to concentrate on my primary business as an editor and writing coach for many writers, including some successful authors. You do have to pay the bills, you know. But at some point, I “rediscovered” A Wanderer on Persus gathering dust in an old file cabinet. Good story, I thought, but probably not marketable at the time. Hey, what about rewriting it from start to finish and making it funny? I loved writing the Jack Miller books—I wrote a fourth book in the series during the pandemic, and I’m doing book five as we “speak”—so why not turn Wanderer into a Sword & Planet spoof?
And so I did, and The Wizard From Harrmel was born. I tweaked the ending to make it a stand-alone book, but the basic story remained intact. Then, I tweaked it further on the off chance that I might decide to write a sequel—which, in fact, I did! The Horrors of Harrmel, published over a year ago, became my second Sword & Planet spoof.
So here I am, in my dotage, writing “funny,” and yes, I’m having an absolute ball! Not sure I can go back to anything serious, especially Horror—which I once claimed was my favorite genre. You can get enough of that watching any newscast these days, am I right? If you read any of my literary gems, let me know what you think.