"It is pointless to ask from the gods what one is fully able to supply for oneself."
--from The Vatican Collection of Epicurean Sayings
"Author: A Writer with connections in the publishing industry"
--Rick Bayan, The Cynic's Dictionary
Greetings! I am a gamer, a writer, and a long-time fan of the fantasy genre. This site was originally created on Earthlink in the mid 1990s, when I was a graduate student with far too little time on my hands but with a lot of creative energy that I needed to work off in some fashion. The site includes a variety of my original fiction, fanfiction, and gaming materials. I am active on several gaming community sites under the name "Lazybones".
The following material is all of my own creation, and I present it freely with no stipulations save that no part be used or redistributed for personal profit.
Thanks for dropping by!
Ken "Lazybones" McDonald
Section 1: Fantasy Fiction
Over the years I've written a number of fantasy novels. In 2010 I started self-publishing some of my newer work on the Smashwords Web site. You can visit my profile page at Smashwords here. My books are also available at Amazon's Kindle Store.
The Labyrinth: This fantasy novella (19,000 words) tells the story of a young wizard who participates in a magical contest that goes fundamentally wrong, pitting him and his fellow competitors against a deadly maze in a desperate struggle for survival. Student mage Keric Olwyhn is reluctant to enter the annual Labyrinth competition, but is ultimately convinced to represent his order of magic in front of the teachers and students of the University of Sacreth. What he and his other competitors do not know is that there is another interested party this year, one that would like to see all four of the student mages suffer gruesome public deaths. The novella is a prequel to the full-length novel Of Spells and Demons. The novella is available for free download at Smashwords and the Kindle Store.
Of Spells and Demons: Something dark is stirring on the edges of the mage-kingdom of Sacreth. The ruling Mage Council, complacent and divided, is stirred to action by the attack of a rampaging demon on one of the valley’s outlying settlements. The young but talented wizard Keric Olwyn is sent to investigate, along with a hand-picked team of elite Border Wardens, and a somewhat reluctant mountain guide. Armed with some of the most powerful magic that Sacreth’s mages can provide, Keric and the Wardens must confront and overcome not only demons, but magic and treachery in their efforts to protect the people of Sacreth from the threat posed by the wizards of the mysterious Academy. The novel is available at Smashwords and the Kindle Store for $2.00.
Wizard's Shield: Sovereign is a magical shield that gains awareness in a wizard’s laboratory, imbued with consciousness but without any knowledge of who or what it is. Given to a warlord seeking power over the chaotic northern lands, the shield struggles to come to grips with its existence, tormented by scraps of memory from what feels like a past life. Sovereign becomes a tool in the struggles for power between the northern warbands, but that struggle draws the attention of the powerful lords of the south, who send their best—the notorious mercenary band, Valen’s Wolves—to investigate. With warlords, mercenaries, and wizards all interested in the fate of the shield, will anyone finally uncover its secret? Available at Smashwords and the Kindle Store for just $0.99.
Paths of the Chosen: The head of one of the world's great religions. An imprisoned thief. A humble healer, sworn to nonviolence. These men are among those chosen by the gods, tasked to seek out an enemy that could ultimately threaten all existence. But that enemy has chosen its own mortal soldiers, and battle lines are being drawn in a war that could ultimately claim both gods and men. Book 1 of The Godswar trilogy. The novel is available for free at Smashwords and the Kindle Store.
Choice of the Fallen: In Book 2 of The Godswar trilogy, the Compact that separates mortal reality from the realm of the gods is weakening. The gods’ chosen agents are scattered and vulnerable, and even as they begin to unravel the details of the evil god Hailidel’s plans, his forces are already moving to strike. Clouds of war gather over the Rorean continent, and while the western nations dither, civil war spreads in Roron, and an invasion of barbarian kobalos has already begun in the east. Dannil Leyden, Robert Small, and Ahlen Corander must each fight their own battles in the war between the gods. Available for $2.99 at Smashwords and on the Amazon Kindle Store.
Fall of Creation: In the final book of The Godswar trilogy, the mad god Hailidel is nearing the fruition of his plan to undo the work of the Creator and seize the greatest power of the universe for himself. But even as Hailidel moves his mortal pawns into position for the final push, the other gods’ Chosen are rallying their own forces to stop him. As the armies of the western nations march to war, Izandra Colton, Robert Small, Ahlen Corander, and the other Chosen must fight their own battles against an enemy that will stop at nothing to gain his ends—even the destruction of the world itself. Available for $2.99 at Smashwords and on the Amazon Kindle Store.
Heart of a Hero: Circumstances beyond his control force Daran to become a fugitive. He joins a small group of priests who have been sent to investigate odd happenings on the wild northern frontier of Evros. Gifted, or cursed, with a unique ability to cheat death, Daran must aid the priests with their own quest, while he fights both to stay alive and find out what is happening to him. The novel is available in a variety of eBook formats, for free on Smashwords and Amazon. Book 1 of the series Daran's Journey.
Soul of a Coward: Gifted—or cursed—with a unique ability to cheat death, Daran’s life has followed a tumultuous course since he was forced to flee the village of his birth. In this sequel to Heart of a Hero,” Daran is living under the protection of the Khel’arun, working as a servant at the monastery of Edeberon. But darker events are stirring beyond the wall of Daran’s sanctuary. War is brewing between the baronies of Evros and Aldrem. While the Arunite priests Arla and Jaros each try to forestall the coming conflict in their own way, Daran’s bad luck and bad choices continue to lead him into danger. Sought by men who would kill for his secret, Daran learns that staying alive is more complicated than just avoiding death. Book 2 of the series Daran's Journey. Available for $2.99 at Smashwords and on the Amazon Kindle Store.
Will of a Warrior: In the third volume of Daran’s Journey, the rival baronies of Evros and Aldrem continue their headlong rush toward war. Drafted into the army of Evros, Daran finds himself trapped in the role of reluctant warrior on the front lines of that brewing conflict. Against him and his fellow soldiers stand the rising power of Aldrem and the enigmatic Lord Harzan, who like Daran has a dark secret. Daran’s few friends are scattered and unable to offer him help. The Arunite priestess Arla finds herself an outcast among the Evrosians, while her colleague Jaros is held prisoner by the Aldremish. And the wizard Albrizar has joined forces with Harzan, in pursuit of his own dreams of power and revenge. As the war begins, each of those unlikely heroes must find within themselves the will to survive, and to fight against an enemy that wants more than their lives, their very souls. Available for $2.99 at Smashwords and on the Amazon Kindle Store.
Courage of a Champion: The finale of the "Daran's Journey" series. The armies of the barony of Aldrem, augmented by dark magic, have invaded deep into the lands of its rival Evros. But behind the front lines of the war a far more serious threat is gathering. Daran's immortality has been exposed, but his ability to return from death may not be enough to save him as he accompanies the Arunite priestess Arla and a small company of young recruits on a mission into the heart of the enemy's lands. Their goal is to rescue Jaros, who has fallen into the hands of the demon that truly rules Aldrem. But the demon is waiting for them, and he too has learned the secret of Daran's power, a secret that can spell the end of both baronies. Old friends return as enemies, and enemies become friends as humans and demons both gather their forces for a fight in which far more than one priest's soul is at stake. Available for $2.99 at Smashwords and on the Amazon Kindle Store.
Grimm's War: Eldwen Grimm and Miranda Hael come from different worlds. He a newly-trained Border Warden, she a Shield Mage of the Order, they share a common bond in service to the mage-kingdom of Sacreth. This unlikely pair is thrown together on a mission beyond Sacreth’s borders to a mining outpost within the mysterious and dangerous Forever Wood. The forest has never been a welcoming place to outsiders, but the arrival of the young soldier and mage comes as a dark power is stirring within the Wood, one that is eager to destroy both them and everything they stand for. “Grimm’s War” is a new novel in the Mages of Sacreth series (“The Labyrinth,” “Of Spells and Demons”), and is set decades before the events in those prior works. It is the first installment in a new trilogy about the life of Eldwen Grimm, Border Warden of Sacreth. Available for free at Smashwords and various other e-book retailers.
Grimm's Loss: For generations, an uneasy peace has persisted between the mage-kingdom of Sacreth and the Sokhal Empire. For Border Warden Eldwen Grimm, "peace" has been a relative term. Having spent his adult life protecting the people of Sacreth, he wants nothing more than to enjoy a quiet future with his family. But Grimm's new assignment will prove to be more than the sleepy posting he'd hoped for. “Grimm’s Loss” is the second book in a trilogy that covers both the adventures and misfortunes of a hero that wants little to do with magic yet who finds himself surrounded by it. The book is part of the Mages of Sacreth series ("The Labyrinth," "Of Spells and Demons," "Grimm's War"). It takes place approximately ten years after “Grimm’s War” and fifteen years before “The Labyrinth.” Available for $2.99 at Smashwords and on the Amazon Kindle Store.
Grimm's Love: Retired Border Warden Eldwen Grimm lives a quiet life, alone with his regrets. He has spent a long career in service to Sacreth and the Order of Mages that rules it, but his own life has been a story of personal disaster. First he lost his consort, assassinated by Sokhali war mages during the Danalb Incursion. Then his daughter vanished without trace in the final running of the Labyrinth competition at the University of Sacreth. Grimm has put up his sword, but his retirement is interrupted when a student mage comes to him with a wild theory and a dangerous hope. Grimm must confront the magic he has long feared on a desperate rescue mission into the Labyrinth. What’s at stake, he learns, is more than just one life. The book takes place approximately twenty years after “The Labyrinth.” Available for $2.99 at Smashwords and on the Amazon Kindle Store.
Black Shadows Gather: Hauflin farmer Jaron Feldergrass has had enough of the world outside his village, a world dominated by the violent humans and populated with monsters. But when his brother Jayse is murdered by bandits, Jaron must take up his bow and knife and leave Fairhollow again for that wider world. Accompanied by his unstable cousin Beetle, a human swordswoman, and an old man with a minor magical talent, Jaron travels to the human town of Whiteridge to learn that his brother’s death was only part of a broader conspiracy that may end up threatening all of the residents of the Cinder Valley. The first book of the series "The Colors of Fate." Available for free at Smashwords and various other e-book retailers.
Green Hearts Weep: After clashing with a band of vicious bandits near Whiteridge, hauflin scout Jaron Feldergrass returns home to his village of Fairhollow to find that the raiders bear grudges. Jaron and his off-kilter cousin Beetle join with a company of human soldiers in pursuit of the slavers who have taken his people hostage. The trail leads them across the Cinder Valley to the raucous mining town of Mulstone. There they find the foes they seek, but also threads of a plot that threatens the future of the entire valley. The second book in the series "The Colors of Fate." Just $0.99 at Smashwords, Amazon, and other e-book retailers.
Red Vengeance Rising: Jaron Feldergrass has found the humans who have captured his people, but is too late to stop the kidnappers. While the general-turned-mercenary K’rol Vhael leads his strike team deeper into the mountains, Jaron and his cousin Beetle must find their own way and their own allies. Against them stands a Red priest and his unnatural minions, and a mad plot that threatens the entire Cinder Valley. The third book in the series "The Colors of Fate." Just $0.99 at Smashwords, Amazon, and other e-book retailers.
Faded Yellow Dreams: Jaron Feldergrass has returned home after the defeat of the humans who enslaved his people. But life in the hauflin village of Fairhollow has lost some of its appeal, and when some old companions arrive with an offer of adventure he once again leaves his home behind. But neither Jaron nor his human friends are aware that their expedition is heading right into the heart of a brewing war. The fourth book in the series "The Colors of Fate." Available for $2.99 at Smashwords, Amazon, and other e-book retailers.
Blazing White Stars: Caught in the middle of an orc invasion, Carzen Zelos and Mara Lendoran are drawn into a mission that might be the only hope for the coastal kingdom of Albestin. Accompanied by the Feldergrass cousins and a White priestess, Carzen and Mara must confront the raw power of the Tainted and corrupted magic before they can face the sinister power behind the rising orcs. The fifth book in the series "The Colors of Fate." Available for $2.99 at Smashwords, Amazon, and other e-book retailers.
Shiny Golden Schemes: The Orc War is over and Albestin is safe, but Carzen Zelos and his friends find that settling back into their normal lives isn’t as easy as they thought. Carzen’s past will not leave him alone, while the warrior Mara must learn that having only half a hand doesn’t make her half a person. Meanwhile, the hauflin Feldergrass cousins are finding out the hard way that a human city plays by different rules than their quiet village. When Beetle runs afoul of the local thieves’ guild, Jaron must join with an unexpected ally to win his cousin’s freedom. But both the human heroes and the two hauflin are being drawn into even more danger as they learn of a conspiracy that threatens to throw the staggered city back into chaos. The companions will need to defeat their own demons in order to save their adopted city from disaster. The sixth book in the series "The Colors of Fate." Available for $2.99 at Smashwords, Amazon, and other e-book retailers.
The Ogre at the Crossroads: Three priests of Khel and their acolytes meet on the road to an isolated shrine. Mutually suspicious and even hostile, the followers of the different sects must learn to work together when they learn that the holy site has been claimed by a new pilgrim – a ferocious ogre. This fantasy novella (21,000 words) is set in the world of the “Daran’s Journey” novels, but its story is not directly related to the plot of those books.
Powerless: Captain Kevan "Mac" McDougal chose a solitary life by choice, running freight across the vast empty reaches of interstellar space. But his self-imposed isolation from the rest of the galaxy goes an unexpected step further when his ship runs into an anomaly in a distant star system. Mac’s ship crashes, and he finds himself trapped on a planet where no powered systems function. Caught between rival factions formed from the survivors of past wrecks, Mac must learn to survive on a harsh world locked in a permanent winter, while trying to decipher the mystery of who or what is behind the dampening field that holds him and the other survivors hostage. Available for $3.99 at Smashwords, Amazon, and other e-book retailers.
Soul of the Sword: Dalevan Wolvren leads an interesting life. He gave up the power and wealth of a noble title to serve as the mercenary leader of one of the north’s most famed free companies, Dale’s Wolves. Having just completed the capture of a notorious bandit chief from a nigh-impenetrable mountain stronghold, Lord Wolf decides it’s time for a rest for him and his men. But a clash with his sponsor ends badly and soon the hunters find themselves the hunted. The Wolves must find a way to escape the wrath of one of the most powerful lords of the north while at the same time trying to solve the mystery of a deadly magical weapon that can turn allies into enemies. “Soul of the Sword” is a prequel to the 2011 novel “Wizard’s Shield.” Available for $1.99 at Smashwords, Amazon, and other e-book retailers.
Wizard's Stone: Valen Wolvren has done well for himself. At twenty-five he has everything he wants: wealth, love, and the fame of leading his own mercenary company. That fame is likely to grow as Valen’s Wolves return from the North having defeated a notorious warlord and the wizard behind his bid for power. But Valen is about to find out that magic can remain deadly and strike out from beyond the grave. "Wizard's Stone is the sequel to "Wizard's Shield." Available for $1.99 at Smashwords, Amazon, and other e-book retailers.
Tales of the Soul Weapons: “Tales of the Soul Weapons” is a collection of novella-length stories about a mercenary company tasked with tracking down a deadly collection of quasi-intelligent magical artifacts. Valen’s Wolves must rely upon their skill at arms, wits, and magic to overcome weapons that have the power to turn allies into enemies and friend into foe. Available for $2.99 at Smashwords, Amazon, and other e-book retailers.
Overpowered: In the sequel to Powerless, Spacer Kevan “Mac” McDougal has spent the last two years stranded on the frozen planet Crucible. The AI that held Mac and the other survivors of past crashes captive is gone, but when a League ship finally arrives, it brings news of a new threat rather than rescue. Mac must lead the survivors of the colony in a desperate fight against an insectoid alien race with its own plans for Crucible. Available for $2.99 at Smashwords, Amazon, and other e-book retailers.
Balance of Power: In this thrilling conclusion to the “Refugees of the Crucible” trilogy, planetary exploration and space battles combine in a deadly race against time to stop a nearly invincible intruder from another galaxy. For centuries, the descendants of a lost human colony ship lived on the icy world Crucible, the unwitting subjects of an alien AI’s research project. Led by spacer Kevan “Mac” McDougal, the colonists finally managed to defeat first the AI and then a spawnship of the insectoid K’rakk interested in stealing its technology. With their connection to the greater universe restored, Mac and Lessa McDougal have left their former prison behind them and relocated to Epsilon Station. But when a massive alien ship equipped with the same power-dampening technology enters the galaxy and starts destroying the fleets and colonies of the League of Allied Systems, the McDougals must join a desperate effort to uncover the secrets left hidden on Crucible before it is too late. Available for $2.99 at Smashwords, Amazon, and other e-book retailers.
The Dwarf on the Mountain: Violetta Usken has decided that something must be done to stop the bandits who come to her village every year. But when the girl finds no one willing to listen, she turns to the solitary dwarf living on the mountain. Her people’s stories say that the old man has magic powers, but he also holds secrets that include a danger far greater than the problems of one troubled village. Available for $2.99 at Smashwords, Amazon, and other e-book retailers.
Of Blood and Magic: Two years have passed since scroll mage Keric Olwyhn and Border Warden Coran Vasey defeated the demon-summoning sorcerers of the Academy. The two men have been sent to different frontiers of Sacreth, one as a diplomat, the other as a soldier. But Keric and Coran find themselves facing a new threat with an old pedigree, an enemy willing to use forbidden magic to achieve its goals. This book is the latest in my "Mages of Sacreth" series, and is a direct sequel to Of Spells and Demons, my first novel. Available for $2.99 at Smashwords, Amazon, and other e-book retailers.
Of Steel and Sorcery: Keric Olwyhn has survived demons, evil sorcerers, and the deadly perils of the Labyrinth. But in this final installment of the “Mages of Sacreth” series, Keric must confront a threat more dangerous than any he’s faced before. The plot of the Sokhali blood mages has been uncovered, and clues found in Kal Tiroth have led Keric to the borders of Fara, a mysterious land where a hierarchy of bane mages work to keep unwelcome strangers out. But Keric doesn’t know that the leader of the blood mages has already set his plans in motion, or that his friend Bale Unwin has unwittingly placed herself in the middle of a brewing war. Keric and his fellow mages join forces with Coran Vasey and his Border Wardens for one more mission into a hostile land, where even the powerful magic of Sacreth may not be enough for them to defeat an ancient enemy and escape alive. Available for $2.99 at Smashwords, Amazon, and other e-book retailers.
The Graves Crew and the Restless Dead: Graves has served in the Duke’s army for over a decade. His job is to put people in the ground, but only after someone else has done the hard work of killing them first. His crew of misfits and rejects is used to laboring without the prospect of wealth or glory, but in the aftermath of one particularly costly battle they find themselves facing more than they bargained for when the dead decide that they don’t want to stay in the ground. Graves and his diggers have to quickly discover new skills they didn’t know they had just to survive. This novella-length story is available for $0.99 at Smashwords, Amazon, and other e-book retailers.
The Graves Crew and the Damned Dam: After surviving a night when the dead rose from their graves to attack the living, building a dam shouldn’t have been much of a challenge. But Graves and his crew of misfits and rejects quickly learn that their new assignment is anything but simple. Between natural hazards, saboteurs, and a mysterious threat from the river itself, the gang of men from the dregs of the Duke’s army once again find themselves on the front lines of a desperate fight for survival. The second installment in the "Graves Crew" series is available for $0.99 at Smashwords, Amazon, and other e-book retailers.
The Graves Crew and the Firestar Amulet: The war between the Duke and the Baron grinds on. Graves and his crew of misfits and ne'er-do-wells has been assigned the task of building a fortress overlooking the town of Raviston, just captured by the army of the Duke. The local population is cowed and the Baron's army is hiding far away in the mountains. It's just another job for the labor crews on the bottom rung of the Duke's forces, but Graves and his men have learned the hard way that there's no such thing as an easy job in this war. Draconian officers, criminal conspiracies, and hidden spies are the least of the troubles the notorious crew must confront on this latest project. For an ancient and malign magic slumbers in Raviston, and when it wakes Graves and his men are caught between great powers in another desperate struggle for survival. Only this time surviving isn't enough, as a representative of the all-powerful White Order has also come to Raviston, and there are secrets in the Graves crew that they would find very interesting indeed. Just $0.99 at Smashwords, Amazon, and other e-book retailers.
The Graves Crew and the Road of Doom: The Graves Crew has split up. Without their leader, the men of the crew face what might be their toughest challenge yet: building a road up an almost sheer mountain. The job is hard enough, but something else waits for them atop the mountain, something that doesn’t want the road to make it through. Meanwhile Graves, alone with Keev in the Duke’s capital of Kalvanis, finds that danger also lurks in the heart of the White Order’s power, a hidden enemy that wants to use him to advance its own agenda. This novella-length story is available for $0.99 at Smashwords, Amazon, and other e-book retailers.
Section 2: Fanfiction
This section includesis D&D stories hosted on the ENWorld Message Boards.
Travels through the Wild West: this is a story set in the Forgotten Realms that I wrote from 2002-03. The story is posted in four threads at ENWorld: Books I-II, Book III (the Isle of Dread), Book IV, and Books V-VIII.
The complete Travels through the Wild West, in PDF format. A million thanks to reader Padril from ENWorld, who formatted the document for me. Zipped for ease of download.
The Shackled City: this story is based on the eleven modules contained in the original Dungeon magazine Adventure Path. It was written from July 2003 through July 2006. The story consists of twelve books that total 734,000 words.
The Doomed Bastards in the Dungeon of Graves: this story is based on the boxed set Rappan Athuk Revisited by Necromancer Games. The story is divided into six books and totals 632,000 words. It was written from August 2006 through August 2008.
X-COM: this story is based on a Neverwinter Nights campaign that I ran at Neverwinter Connections in 2008. It is based on the 1993 Microprose game and uses the d20 Modern total conversion for Neverwinter Nights. The module itself is available at Neverwinter Vault.
Forgotten Lore: a new story that I began posting in March of 2017. It is based on the 5th edition D&D rules and features an unusual group of companions that are drawn together during a goblinoid invasion of the Kingdom of Arresh.
Section 3: Neverwinter Nights User-created Content
I've trimmed this section down for space reasons. All of the modules I've created are available on Neverwinter Vault, so I deleted most of those that were in this space. Just search for "Lazybones".
The Neverwinter Connections Community Guide to Dungeon Mastering This 75-page document is a comprehensive guide to the practice of DMing a game of Neverwinter Nights. Includes hints, suggestions, discussion of major issues, and contributions from a number of leading DMs and builders at NWC.
Section 4: D&D 3rd Edition modules/adventure settings
If you have any comments or questions about this page, please feel free to drop me a line!
Last Update: 5/28/2018
All of the original material on this site is copyright © 1997-2018 by Kenneth McDonald. Dungeons & Dragons, the Forgotten Realms, and the d20 System are trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro Corp.