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Margaret Edith Weis (1948-) Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Member, Writings, Adaptations, Work in Progress, Sidelights

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(Margaret Baldwin)

Personal

Born 1948, in Independence, MO; Education: University of Missouri, B.A. (creative writing), 1970. Politics: "Independent."

Addresses

Office—P.O. Box 1106, Williams Bay, WI 53191. Agent—c/o Jonathon Lazear, Lazear Agency, 430 First Ave. N., Ste. 416, Minneapolis, MN 55401.

Career

Author and editor. Herald Publishing House, Independence, MO, advertising director, 1972–81, director of Independence Press trade division, 1981–83; TSR Hobbies, Inc., Lake Geneva, WI, editor of juvenile romances and other special product lines, 1983–86; freelance writer, 1987–. Former president and owner of Mag Force 7, Inc. (producer of trading card games), creator of games, including Star of the Guardians and Wing Commander; Sovereign Press (games publisher), founder and director.

Member

Great Alkali Plainsmen (Kansas City, MO).

Writings

Fortune-Telling (nonfiction), Messner (New York, NY), 1984.

My First Book of Robots (nonfiction), Franklin Watts (New York, NY), 1984.

My First Book of Computer Graphics (nonfiction), Franklin Watts (New York, NY), 1984.

The Endless Catacombs (fantasy), illustrated by Jeff Easley, TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1984.

(Editor) The Art of the Dungeons and Dragons Fantasy Game, TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1985.

(With Janet Pack) Lost Childhood: Children of World War II (nonfiction), Messner (New York, NY), 1986.

(Editor with Tracy Hickman) Leaves from the Inn of the Last Home: The Complete Krynn Source Book, TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1987.

(Editor with Tracy Hickman) Love and War, TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1987.

(With Tracy Hickman) DragonLance Adventures (game source book), TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1987.

(Editor) A Dragon-Lover 's Treasury of the Fantastic, Warner (New York, NY), 1994.

(With Tracy Hickman) The Second Generation, poetry by Michael Williams, illustrated by Ned Dameron, TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1994.

(Editor and author of introduction) Fantastic Alice (short stories; loosely based on Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland), Ace Books (New York, NY), 1995.

(Editor with Tracy Hickman) The History of DragonLance: Being the Notes, Journals, and Memorabilia of Krynn, compiled by Maryls Heeszel, TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1995.

(With husband, Don Perrin) Knights of the Black Earth (novel; "Mag Force Seven" series), ROC (New York, NY), 1995.

(With David Baldwin) Testament of the Dragon (graphic novel), HarperPrism (New York, NY), 1997.

(With Tracy Hickman) Legacy of the Darksword, Bantam (New York, NY), 1997.

(Editor with Tracy Hickman) Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman Present Treasures of Fantasy, HarperPrism (New York, NY), 1997.

(Editor) A Magic Lover's Treasury of the Fantastic, Warner (New York, NY), 1998.

(With David Baldwin) Dark Heart, HarperPrism (New York, NY), 1998.

(With Tracy Hickman) Realms of Magic: The Worlds of Weis and Hickman, edited by Denise Little, HarperPrism (New York, NY), 1999.

(Editor with Tracy Hickman) Heroes and Fools: Tales of the Fifth Age, TSR (Renton, WA), 1999.

(Editor, with others) Earth, Air, Fire, Water, DAW (New York, NY), 1999.

(Editor with Tracy Hickman) Rebels and Tyrants: Tales of the Fifth Age, TSR (Renton, WA), 2000.

(Editor) New Amazons, DAW (New York, NY), 2000.

(With Tracy Hickman) More Leaves from the Inn of the Last Home, Wizards of the Coast (Renton, WA), 2000.

(Editor with Tracy Hickman) The Best of Tales, Volume 1, Wizards of the Coast (Renton, WA), 2000.

The Second Generation, illustrated by Ned Dameron, Wizards of the Coast (Renton, WA), 2001.

(With others) Bertram the Aesthetic, Wizards of the Coast (Renton, WA), 2001.

(Editor) A Quest-Lover's Treasury of the Fantastic, Warner (New York, NY), 2002.

(Author of introduction) Masters of Dragonlance Art, Wizards of the Coast (Renton, WA), 2002.

The Best of Tales, Volume 2, Wizards of the Coast (Renton, WA), 2001.

(Editor with Tracy Hickman) Tales from the Worlds of Krynn, Wizards of the Coast (Renton, WA), 2003.

The Search for Power: Dragons of the War of Souls, Wizards of the Coast (Renton, WA), 2004.

Also author of Lasers, Franklin Watts; coauthor, with Gary Pack, of Computer Graphics and Robots and Robotics, both Franklin Watts. Author of graphic novels A Fable of the Serra Angel, Acclaim Comics.

Weis's books have been translated into many languages, including French, Spanish, Japanese, German, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Czech, Rumanian, Hebrew, Danish, and Finnish.

"DRAGONLANCE CHRONICLES"; WITH TRACY HICKMAN

Dragons of Autumn Twilight (also see below), illustrated by Denis Beauvais, poetry by Michael Williams, TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1984, reprinted, Wizards of the Coast (Renton, WA), 2000.

Dragons of Winter Night (also see below), poetry by Michael Williams, TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1984, reprinted, Wizards of the Coast (Renton, WA), 2000.

Dragons of Spring Dawning (also see below), illustrated by Jeffrey Butler, poetry by Michael Williams, TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1984, reprinted, Wizards of the Coast (Renton, WA), 2000.

The Annotated Chronicles, edited by Jean Blashfield Black, TSR (Renton, WA) 1999.

A Rumor of Dragons (juvenile; part 1 of adaptation of Dragons of Autumn Twilight), Wizards of the Coast (Renton, WA), 2003.

Night of the Dragons (juvenile; part 2 of adaptation of Dragons of Autumn Twilight), illustrated by Vinod Rams, Wizards of the Coast (Renton, WA), 2003.

The Nightmare Lands (juvenile; part 1 of adaptation of Dragons of Winter Night), Wizards of the Coast (Renton, WA), 2003.

To the Gates of Palanthas (juvenile; part 2 of adaptation of Dragons of Winter Night), Wizards of the Coast (Renton, WA), 2003.

Hope's Flame (juvenile; part 1 of adaptation of Dragons of Spring Dawning), Wizards of the Coast (Renton, WA), 2004.

"DRAGONLANCE LEGENDS" FANTASY SERIES; WITH TRACY HICKMAN; POETRY BY MICHAEL WILLIAMS

Time of the Twins, TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1986, reprinted, Wizards of the Coast (Renton, WA), 2000.

War of the Twins, TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1986, reprinted, Wizards of the Coast (Renton, WA), 2000.

Test of the Twins, TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1986, reprinted, Wizards of the Coast (Renton, WA), 2000.

The Annotated Legends, edited by Mark Sehestedt, Wizards of the Coast (Renton, WA), 2003.

"DRAGONLANCE SAGA"

(With Tracy Hickman) Dragons of Summer Flame, illustrated by Larry Elmore, TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1995.

(With Don Perrin) The Doom Brigade, TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1996.

The Soulforge ("Raistlin Chronicles"), TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1998.

(With Don Perrin) Brothers in Arms, TSR (Renton, WA), 1999.

"DRAGONVAALD" TRILOGY

Mistress of Dragons, Tor (New York, NY), 2003.

The Dragon's Son, Tor (New York, NY), 2004.

Master of Dragons, Tor (New York, NY), 2005.

"DARKSWORD TRILOGY"; WITH TRACY HICKMAN

Forging the Darksword, Bantam (New York, NY), 1988.

Doom of the Darksword, Bantam (New York, NY), 1988.

Triumph of the Darksword, Bantam (New York, NY), 1988.

"THE ROSE OF THE PROPHET TRILOGY"; WITH TRACY HICKMAN

The Will of the Wanderer, Bantam (New York, NY), 1989.

The Paladin of the Night, Bantam (New York, NY), 1989.

The Prophet of Akran, Bantam (New York, NY), 1989.

"STAR OF THE GUARDIAN" SCIENCE-FICTION SERIES

The Lost King, Bantam (New York, NY), 1990.

King's Test, Bantam (New York, NY), 1990.

King's Sacrifice, Bantam (New York, NY), 1991.

Ghost Legion, Bantam (New York, NY), 1993.

"DEATH'S GATE CYCLE" FANTASY SERIES; WITH TRACY HICKMAN

Dragon Wing, Bantam (New York, NY), 1990.

Elven Star, Bantam (New York, NY), 1990.

Fire Sea, Bantam (New York, NY), 1990.

Serpent Mage, Bantam (New York, NY), 1990.

The Hand of Chaos, Bantam (New York, NY), 1990.

Into the Labyrinth, Bantam (New York, NY), 1993.

The Seventh Gate, Bantam (New York, NY), 1994.

"STARSHIELD" SCIENCE-FICTION SERIES; WITH TRACY HICKMAN

Star Shield, Del Rey (New York, NY), 1996.

Starshield Sentinels, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1996.

Nightsword, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1998.

"WAR OF SOULS" SERIES; WITH TRACY HICKMAN

Dragons of a Fallen Star, TSR (Renton, WA), 1999, published as Dragons of a Fallen Sun, Wizards of the Coast (Renton, WA), 2003.

Dragons of a Lost Star, Wizards of the Coast (Renton, WA), 2001.

The Search for Magic: Tales from the War of Souls, Wizards of the Coast (Renton, WA), 2001.

Dragons of a Vanished Moon, Wizards of the Coast (Renton, WA), 2002.

"SOVEREIGN STONE" TRILOGY; WITH TRACY HICKMAN

Well of Darkness, EOS (New York, NY), 2000.

Guardians of the Lost, Eos (New York, NY), 2001.

Journey into the Void, Eos (New York, NY), 2003.

"DARK DISCIPLE" SERIES

Amber and Ashes, Wizards of the Coast (Renton, WA), 2004.

Amber and Iron, Wizards of the Coast (Renton, WA), 2006.

NONFICTION; AS MARGARET BALDWIN

The Boy Who Saved the Children, (remedial reader; for young adults; based on autobiography Growing up in the Holocaust by Ben Edelbaum), Messner (New York, NY), 1981.

(With Pat O'Brien) Wanted! Frank and Jesse James: The Real Story (young-adult biography), Messner (New York, NY), 1981.

Kisses of Death: A Great Escape Story of World War II (remedial reader; for young adults), illustrated by Norma Welliver, Messner (New York, NY), 1983.

My First Book: Thanksgiving, Franklin Watts (New York, NY), 1983.

Adaptations

Several of Weis's works have been adapted as audio-books, including Elven Star, Bantam Audio, 1991; and Mistress of Dragons, p. 50.

Work in Progress

The Soul Forge, for TSR; Murder at the Exile Café, a mystery set in the "Star of the Guardians" universe; Robot Blues, a Mag Force 7 action-adventure science fiction novel with Don Perrin; two anthologies of stories, Dragons of War and Dragons of Chaos; editing the anthology, The New Amazons, for ROC.

Sidelights

Dubbed "a legend in the world of fantasy fiction" by Publishers Weekly contributor John-Michael Maas, popular and prolific writer Margaret Weis is best known as the coauthor, with Tracy Hickman, of the many "DragonLance" fantasy adventures set in the imaginary world of Krynn. The "Dragonlance Chronicles" series, inspired by a popular role-playing game and comprising the novels Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Dragons of Winter Night, and Dragons of Spring Dawning, serves as a first step into fantasy for many teen readers. While more recent books, such as the best-selling "War of Weis introduces her "Dragonvaald" series with this 2004 novel, which pits the Parliament of Dragons against a human woman who has discovered the secrets of dragon magic and harbors designs on the kingdom of Seth. (Cover illustration by Stephen Youll.)Souls Trilogy," have continued to attract both teen and adult readers, Weis and Hickman have also adapted their first three "Dragonlance" books into a six-part series directed specifically to a teen readership. In addition, she creates new role-playing games, such as Serenity, for her company Margaret Weis Productions, while the Dragonlance games are now produced by Weis's own Sovereign Press, based in Wisconsin.

Weis was known as a story teller from the time she was a girl, growing up in 1950s Missouri. As she once commented: "I have always enjoyed writing—mainly, I believe, because I enjoy reading. But I did not seriously consider writing as a vocation during school; I wanted to be an artist. Several incidents caused me to change my mind, and they point out, I believe, how strong an effect good teachers can have on our lives. First, my high school English teacher, D. R. Smith, taught me how to write. Mr. Smith began by tossing out the curriculum intended for high school juniors. (He was forever in trouble with the school administrators. Aside from teaching me to write, the most important thing he taught me was to be my own person and stand up for my ideals.) Our class spent the first semester writing sentences. That's all. Just one sentence every day.

"We started out with simple sentences—a subject and verb. Then we were allowed to add an adjective. I remember the thrill, weeks later, when we could proudly put in an adverb. After sixteen weeks, Mr. Smith decided we were ready to move on. We wrote paragraphs—five sentences each. We did that for the next sixteen weeks. I came to respect words in his class. I came to realize how critical every word—no matter how insignificant—is in writing. I saw how sentences joined together to form paragraphs. When we read books, in his class, we studied not only the literary content but how the writer created the effect he wanted by use of words and sentence structure. Mr. Smith showed me the door, but it still remained closed.

"I went to college, intending to make art my career. One day, however, my teacher for freshman English—a student teacher; I can't even remember her name—kept me after class, took me to the student union, and asked if I had considered studying writing. She told me about the University of Missouri's English program. (The university was one of the few in the 1960s to offer a creative writing program separate from journalism.) I have often thought this young woman should have been an army recruiter. If she had, I would no doubt have joined on the spot. I investigated the writing program, liked it, and switched my major. She gave me the key to the door.

"Finally, I met Dr. Donald Drummond, poet and professor. He showed me how the key opened the door. I entered and knew that I had come home. We wrote poetry in Dr. Drummond's class. They were grueling class sessions. The poet was required to read his work aloud, while his fellow poets sat, knives out, waiting to draw
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blood. Classes met at night, often for several hours. We came out battle-scarred, but we could write. Dr. Drummond was another unusual teacher. He began by giving us a long list of subjects we were under no circumstances to write about. These included: Love (with a capital 'L'), truth, beauty, death, and the Vietnam War. 'And,' he growled, 'if I get one poem about a daffodil you will flunk the semester!' Needless to say, I never have, and I never will, write about a daffodil."

With this education behind her after graduation, Weiss worked in advertising for several years, then moved to the book division of TSR, the company know for the Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game, in the early 1980s. As she recalled to Melissa Mia Hall in Publishers Weekly regarding her first years with the Wisconsin-based company, as one of TSR's first book editors: "It was like nothing I'd done before. I was getting to spend my entire day having fun, being part of a creative team. And we knee we had something really, really cool with Dragonlance," At TSR she worked with Hickman, designer of the Dragonlance game, and a fruitful collabo-ration was born. Within a few years, Weis and Hickman both left TRW to pursue their writing collaboration, and were encouraged by the company to continue publishing books set in the "Dragonlance" world. The pairs' books have since become even more popular with spinoff products like art books, trading cards, and additional role-playing games; their collaboration continued for over two decades.

Weis's books are combined in a number of series, some set in the world of Krynn and others taking place in other fantasy settings; among her many series are "War of Souls," "Darksword," "Sovereign Stone," "Dragonvaald," "Death's Gate Cycle," and "Dark Disciple." Praising Mistress of Dragons, the first installment in the "Dragonvaald" series, Sally Estes noted in Booklist that the novel—a solo effort by Weis—is a story "full of intrigue, magic, and violence" in which the author "brilliantly conceive[s] … a world viable for both dragons and humans."

The "Death's Gate" series focuses on two godlike races, the Sartan and the Patryns, which have, through mutual enmity, caused the world to divide into four distinctive worlds separated by a magical labyrinth. The first four books in the series—Dragon Wing, Elven Star, Fire Sea, and Serpent Mage—describe the four different worlds. Evil serpents have come to threaten the existence of all four realms; by the last installment, The Seventh Gate, it becomes clear that the only way to defeat this threat is for the Sartan and Patryns to set aside their differences, cooperate, and combine their magic against a common enemy. In his Booklist review of the final volume, Roland Green noted that Weis and Hickman have demonstrated "complete mastery of the art of turning classic fantasy elements into equally classic well-told tales."

The "Sovereign Stone" trilogy begins with Well of Darkness, and focuses on the rivalry between princely half-brothers Helmos and Dagnarus. Dagnarus, the ambitious younger brother, soon allies himself with newly taught mage Gareth, and together the two harness the deadly magic of the Void to disrupt the fragile peace established by the boys' father, King Tamaros, among humans, dwarves, elves, and orken that inhabit New Vinnegael. As the saga unfolds through the books Guardians of the Lost and Journey into the Void, Dagnarus, through his lust for power, becomes immortal. Ultimately, he is drawn into a battle with a host of fantasy characters who hope to aid the four races in restoring the kingdom's balance by reuniting each of four portions of the Sovereign Stone.

While Booklist critic Roland Green echoed the opinion of several reviewers in noting of Guardians of the Lost that the authors' "prose … lacks eloquence," the critic added that Weis and Hickman's ability to create complex, realistic characters makes the "Sovereign Stone" trilogy among "their best work." Praising the second volume of the series in Library Journal, Jackie Cassada Within the world of Dragonlance, Weis spins a story that finds two unlikely heroes banding together to fight a female warrior who has unleashed an evil power now infecting the realm. (Cover illustration by Matt Stawicki.)wrote that Hickman and Weis "again demonstrate their uncanny ability to create meticulously detailed imaginary worlds." Cassada noted in another review that Journey into the Void demonstrates the coauthors' "strong storytelling and unique world-building elements," and added that each volume in the series benefits from the fact that it can be read independently of the series. Noting the authors' debt to J. R. R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and George Lucas's Star Wars film saga, a Kirkus Reviews contributor concluded of the series that the "Sovereign Stone" "rises above the rest by giving its characters … a spirited dignity," while Green praised the series' concluding volume, writing that "loyal readers may consider this the best of the duo's high fantasies to date."

Although her collaboration with Hickman ended in the early 2000s, Weis has continued to mine the rich fantasy of "Dragonlance," both in games and fiction. In addition to longer works, she also has produced a number of edited collections, including A Quest-Lover's Trea-sury of the Fantastic, which "shows the range of the quest theme and the proficiency of Weis as an editor," according to Booklist reviewer Green. The anthology contains works by such highly lauded writers as Orson Scott Card, Neil Gaiman, Michael Moorcock, and C. J. Cherryh, resulting a "first-rate collection that's perfect teen fare," according to Green in Booklist. Of course, dragons figure prominently.

In a discussion with Hall for Publishers Weekly, Weis addressed the reason for her books' popularity, describing the "Dragonlance" books as "fantasy with a kind of common touch." Speaking of her collaboration with Hickman, she added: "we deliberately tried to make the characters … ordinary people dealing with larger-than-life issues and trying to cope not only with saving the world but with their own inner turmoil…. So people can see themselves in these characters."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, September 1, 1990, p. 32; November 1, 1993, p. 505; April 15, 1995, p. 1484; August, 1994, Roland Green, review of The Seventh Gate, p. 2030; September 15, 2000, Roland Green, review of Well of Darkness, p. 222; September 15, 2001, Roland Green, review of Guardians of the Lost, p. 201; May 15, 2002, Roland Green, review of A Quest-Lover's Treasury of the Fantastic, p. 1583; April 15, 2003, Sally Estes, review of Mistress of Dragons, p. 1459; June 1, 2003, Roland Green, review of Journey into the Void, p. 1755; July, 2004, Sally Estes, review of The Dragon's Son, p. 1830.

Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 1993, p. 30; October 1, 1993, p. 1234; June 15, 1994, p. 812; March 15, 1995, p. 530; August 15, 2001, review of Guardians of the Lost, p. 1176; May 1, 2003, review of Mistress of Dragons, p. 650; June 1, 2003, review of Journey into the Void, p. 784.

Library Journal, February 15, 1993, p. 196; April 15, 1995, p. 119; September 15, 2000, Jackie Cassada, review of Well of Darkness, p. 118; November 15, 2001, Jackie Cassada, review of Guardians of the Lost, p. 100; April 15, 2003, Jackie Cassada, review of Journey into the Void, p. 129; July, 2004, Jackie Cassada, review of The Dragon's Son, p. 75.

Publishers Weekly, October 18, 1993, p. 67; January 17, 1994, p. 420; July 25, 1994, p. 38; April 24, 1995, p. 64; November 6, 1995, p. 88; February 28, 2000, review of Dragons of a Fallen Sun, p. 68; September 4, 2000, review of Well of Darkness, p. 91; September 17, 2001, review of Guardians of the Lost, p. 59; May 13, 2002, review of Dragons of a Vanished Moon, p. 56; April 28, 2003, review of Mistress of Dragons, p. 54; June 2, 2003, review of Journey into the Void, p. 242; April 19, 2004, John-Michael Maas, "Rival Fantasy Publishers Rally around Star Author," p. 20; June 7, 2004, Melissa Mia Hall, "Dragon Lady Keeps Flying," p. 23.

Voice of Youth Advocates, December, 1993, Jennifer A. Fakolt, review of Ghost Legion, p. 315; February, 1995, review of The Seventh Gate, p. 352; April, 1999, review of Dark Heart, p. 16; December, 2000, review of Earth, Air, Fire, Water, p. 359; April, 2001, review of Well of Darkness, p. 58; April, 2002, review of Guardians of the Lost, p. 54; October, 2004, review of The Dragon's Son, p. 321.

ONLINE

BookReporter.com, http://www.bookreporter.com/ (April 7, 2000), interview with Weis.

Margaret Weis Home Page, http://www.margaretweis.com (September 17, 2005).

Sci.Fi.com, http://www.scifi.com/ (September 17, 2005), Jean Marie Ward, interview with Weis.

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