20 Minutes with Myke Cole

Myke Cole
Myke Cole

Myke Cole is a remarkable gentleman. He’s incredibly well read and knowledgeable on a vast array of topics from nerd culture to the foundations of speculative fiction to military theory and practice (after three tours in Iraq, that last bit comes as no surprise). But it goes beyond that. If you’ve ever heard his interviews or seen him at a con, you cannot help but be swept up in the energy and passion he infuses with every word. We were delighted to have Myke join us at the Roundtable and share some of that fire with us. (and you’ll definitely want to check out Myke’s Workshop Episode)

PROMO: The Way of the Buffalo Podcast (http://wayofthebuffalopodcast.blogspot.com/)

Showcase Episode: 20 Minutes with Myke Cole

[caution: mature language – listener discretion is advised]

Listen to this episode on iTunes

Episode Breakdown

01:00 – Mykes’s Awesomeness

02:50 – How did you incorporate your own experience with ShadowOps?

  • 03:40 – Benefit of Urban Fantasy
  • 03:45 – Cassie Alexander – Night Shifted, Diana Rowland – Mark of the Demon
  • 04:20 – Taking the veneer of the real world and painting fantasy over it
  • 04:45 – Magic in the military was an easy step for me
  • 05:05 – Surprised how little contemporary “military fanatasy” there is out there
  • 05:15 – Military as changed from state-based to counter-insurgency warfare
  • 05:50 – Exotic new format seemed a natural opportunity for introducing magic
  • 06:55 – Huge Bureocracy ends up placing “process” over “people”
  • 07:55 – If military had a department of magic, they’d suck the magic out of magic


09:05 – It’s a great relief to discover you can be a badass and a game nerd at the same time


09:50 – Did you use your game experience to expand your storytelling

  • 10:15 – Hell yeah… all games define taxonomy and classes
  • 10:50 – Control Points magic system is 100% like that
  • 11:05 – My notes for the ShadowOps series are essentially an RPG sourcebook
  • 11:35 – Joshua AC Newman (made a giant robot game – Mobile Frame Zero – based on LEGO) understands how to make systems work
  • 12:35 – Those are the skills you need to make a good game


12:45 – PROMO: The Way of the Buffalo Podcast


13:20 – This isn’t your first book, right?


14:30 – What do you wish someone had told you BEFORE you wrote Control Point?

  • 15:00 – Peter V Brett The Warded Man, The Desert Spear, sprawling epic fantasies
  • 16:15 – When going to college with Peter, I thought it was all who you know, and networking
  • 16:50 – It’s hogwash, craft is what matters above everything else
  • 18:10 – When Peter’s book was such a success it was a wake up call
  • 18:50 – Make a great work of art, and the publishing will be incidental
  • 20:05 – Yes networking is important, but craft is SO much more important


20:45 – What are you working on in your craft?

  • 22:05 – Better, clearer character motivation
  • 23:30 – I’m being patient, paying attention to who these people are
  • 24:35 – Each character has a full origin story (someday maybe release an origin story collection)


25:05 – Have you tried acting?

  • 24:20 – Good characters come from developing strong empathy
  • 25:45 – Being judgemental blocks empathy
  • 25:55 – Take George R. R. Martin, for example

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Comments (2)

I especially enjoyed your advice, Myke, about focusing primarily on craft. Dave and I had a brief chat about podcast numbers and I must admit I fall victim to over thinking the growth rate of my blog, especially since I don’t have anything sold yet. Sometimes it’s an okay diversion to give a break from writing, but it really shouldn’t be a concern. I’m glad to hear of your success. I’m looking forward to the next episode.

“If military had a department of magic, they’d suck the magic out of magic”
I love this guy! What a wonderful imagination! Keep up the good work guys. And congratulations on the Parsec nomination! JT

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