If taking a college fencing class, eating from the trash can, and smelling like an animal were qualifications for becoming a sword-swinging barbarian, J. D. Brink might be Conan’s protégé. But since that career path seemed less than promising, he has instead been a sailor, spy, nurse, and officer in the U.S. Navy, as well as a gravedigger, insurance adjuster, and school teacher in civilian life. Today (summer, 2014) he and his family live in south Texas, where the heat makes smelling like an animal a natural part of life. In his writing, as in life, Mr. Brink enjoys dabbling in multiple genres.