Thursday, September 27, 2012

Trudi Canavan and Booktopia's Ten Terrifying Questions!

The Traitor Queen
Traitor Spy #3
By Trudi Canavan

The gripping final instalment in Trudi Canavan's latest epic series, the bestselling Traitor Spy trilogy.

Events are building to a climax in Sachaka as Lorkin returns from his exile with the Traitor rebels.

The Traitor Queen has given Lorkin the huge task of brokering an alliance between his people and the Traitors. Lorkin has also had to become a feared black magician in order to harness the power of an entirely new kind of gemstone magic. This knowledge could transform the Guild of Magicians - or make Lorkin an outcast forever.

The Traitor Queen is the triumphant conclusion to the Traitor Spy trilogy, which began with The Ambassador's Mission and continued with The Rogue.

At last! My interview with Trudi Canavan has gone up on the Booktopia Blog :D

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born, raised and schooled in Melbourne, mostly in and around the foot of the Dandenong Ranges.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

Twelve: I wanted to make films, something I had decided after seeing the Empire Strikes Back.

Eighteen: a writer AND something to do with art and design. Writer because of the Lord of the Rings, which I read at fourteen, and something to do with art because I love art and design and I knew that writers didn’t make much money.

Thirty? Still a writer, but I was hoping to be a published one so I could afford to spend more time doing it.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

That I was too shy to ever try, let alone enjoy, public speaking. The thought of it used to repel me, probably thanks to being humiliated during ‘drama’ classes at school, but since being published I’ve gradually done more of it. While I still get nervous before hand, once I get before an audience, if I’m well prepared, I find I relax and have fun.

4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

The original The Little Mermaid. I was aghast that a fairytale could have a tragic ending. But when about twelve or thirteen, when challenged by a librarian to come up with a story on the spot, I made up one about a man who paid a witch to turn him into a merman so he could pursue a mermaid he’d fallen in love with, but when it came to the ending I realised ‘happily ever after’ didn’t cut it as a good ending.

I have quite eclectic tastes in music, and there are too many songs or pieces of music to list that have become soundtracks to stories, or simply motivation to pursue my dreams. The same is true of art and other imagery. I have a pinboard in front of my desk covered in postcards, photos and pages torn from magazines that I find inspiring.

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?

It seemed a large and worthy challenge. I changed my ambition from making films to writing books after reading The Lord of the Rings. It was the fact that Tolkien had invented such a fleshed out world that inspired me. Also, my father used to write down little notes for a book he wanted to write, and it seemed like a mysterious and worthy thing to do. That said, I didn’t think that I would have to choose between all my artistic, creative interests. When you’re young, you think you have all the time in the world.

6. Please tell us about your latest novel …

Traitor Queen is the third and final book in the Traitor Spy Trilogy, which is a sequel to the Black Magician Trilogy (but you don’t have to read the Black Magician Trilogy first). Everyone’s plans are stymied when the Sachakan king imprisons Sonea’s son after Lorkin refuses to agree to a mind read to find out what he knows of the Traitors. Dannyl’s friendship with the Sachakan adviser, Ashaki Achati is tested, Sonea must add negotiating her son’s release to her plans to meet with the Traitors. And Cery, Gol and Anyi have nobody left to call on to hide them from the Rogue Skellin, except Lilia.

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

I hope they have been entertained, moved and perhaps left with something to think about, be it some aspect of the world and the issues people face in it, or wondering what might happen to the characters next. And I hope they like my writing enough to meet the other characters and worlds I write about.

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

I admire anybody with enough motivation and love of writing to finish a novel, because I know how much work is involved. I admire both publishers and people who self publish, for their belief and love for books whether their own or someone else’s. I admire booksellers who stick to selling books despite it being an industry with constant shifting boundaries and new challenges. Of writers I admire most those with the courage to be opinionated and vocal, especially women and writers who experience discrimination and disadvantage.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

To never stop trying to improve my writing. To write more short stories. To find the time for more art and perhaps one day do an illustrated book.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Read a lot. Write a lot. Get a lot of feedback. And most of all, enjoy it!

Trudi, thank you for playing

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Richard Morgan gave us a little sneak peak of the cover that the Gollancz art department has been working on for the next book in his A Land Fit for Heroes series.

I don't believe there is a due date yet - and actually I don't think Morgan is finished writing yet - but it's kinda cool... although I'm not entirely sure I like it (good thing the Gollancz art department doesn't rely on my yay or nay).  Stylistically it matches the first and second book but whereas they had a variation on sword arms as the centre piece this has a skull.

Still I love getting to see covers.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Official Trailer 2

Oh! I haven't seen the first trailer but I found this one today. Now I must admit I amnot a huge fan of Tolkien, or LotR's - but I might go to see this.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Peter V Brett completes Book Three

Yay! Peter V Brett anounced on his blog that he has finished The Daylight War, Book Three of the Demon Cycle.

I am soooooooooooooo excited!

There used to be a time when I was waiitng for the 'next Robert Jordan', it was something always in the back of my mind and had a place holder on my 'To Be Read' list. Unfortunately with Jorddan's passing - and other author's falling to the wayside - that there was void opening in that position.

Then along came Peter V. Brett. Now while he hasn't replaced Robert Jordan for me he has certainly taken a position of being a writer I have to read.

From his blog:

Yesterday, Sept. 17, 2012, I sent my publishers the final draft of The Daylight War.

The book is currently scheduled for worldwide English language launch the week of February 11, 2013 (Monday the 11th in the UK, Tuesday the 12th in the US*). The German translation will likely be the first to follow (probably a month or two later), with others dropping later in the year.

I will be touring the US, UK, Germany, Australia, and possibly some other places in the coming year. More on that later. I will also be doing a panel and some signings next month at NY ComicCon Oct. 11-14, 2012. Come say hi!

*Please note this is an update over the previously stated US launch date of Feb. 4, 2013. This shift means I will be 40 when the book releases, rather than 39. I’ll talk about that another time.

There will still be copyediting, proofreading and cover design that I will need to be involved in and approve before the book comes out, but creatively, the project is finished on my end.

It’s been a long time.

Looking back over my word count spreadsheets and manuscript backups (yes, it is OCD, but I need a way to track progress) I see that there was a file titled “Daylight War” as early as May, 2008, but it looks like I didn’t begin work on the project in earnest until around October 2009, which makes sense since I’d just turned in the final version of Desert Spear that September.

When you work on a single project for three years, though massive ups and downs in your personal life and equally massive ups and downs creatively, it is a strange feeling to be done. There were times I never thought the day would come, hurdles in the story I never thought I would surpass.

And then there was you, dear reader. One of the many advantages to writing in this day and age is that through my website, email, contests, signings and social media, I have had the chance to meet and interact with thousands of readers. It has been an immense honor and joy, not to mention a huge bedrock of support I was not ashamed to lean on at times, but it has brought a degree of pressure as well. I tend to obsess about my work in general, but having more than ten thousand people looking over my shoulder and asking when I will be done has added a new level to it.

Is The Daylight War better than The Warded Man (aka The Painted Man) or The Desert Spear? That is not for me to decide. It is very different in spirit and intent than those other books, intentionally so. I have grown as a writer and changed as a person over the last few years, and the book reflects that. When I start writing the same book over and over, then it’s time to worry.

But if I cannot say it’s better, I can say that it is the best book I could make it. I cut no corners, skipped no hurdles and took no shortcuts. This is clear in some ways from the sheer size of the book: 254,000 words (5% longer than Desert Spear, and close to 3x the size of your average genre book).

But it’s more clear in the content. Daylight War explores the characters of the Demon Cycle in a new light, adding depth to the world and weight to their actions. If Warded Man was a book about fear and Desert Spear was about opposing cultures struggling to find common ground, Daylight War is, as my editor put it, “a book about relationships”.

And some of them, I think, will surprise you.

The next book in the Demon Cycle series is tentatively titled The Skull Throne. There has been a working file for that book for over a year, with the stepsheet currently at 84 pages, spelling out in great detail the 21 key chapters of the book’s story arc. Doubtless more will be added, but I already have a clear skeleton to start from.

Here’s hoping I can do this one a little… I want to say “faster”, but I don’t think “fast” will ever be a word used to describe me and my writing. How about “less slowly”?

Thank you all for your patience and support over the last few years. It has meant the world to me. I hope to meet a lot of you in person over the coming year.

Monday, September 17, 2012

In the Mail

I came home today to find this in the mail!


Thank you Pan Macmillan!

Naturally I am going to start tonight, everything else I am reading just has to go on the back burner - temporarily.

I'm so excited!

And if you have somehow missed me mentioning this book previously you can find entries here and here.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Lost Stars

Tarnished Knight
Lost Stars #1
By Jack Campbell

The authority of the Syndicate Worlds’ government is crumbling. Civil war and rebellion are breaking out in many star systems despite the Syndic government’s brutal attempts to suppress disorder. Midway is one of those star systems, and leaders there must decide whether to remain loyal to the old order or fight for something new.

CEO Artur Drakon has been betrayed. The Syndic government failed to protect its citizens from both the Alliance and the alien enigmas. With a cadre of loyal soldiers under his command, Drakon launches a battle for control of the Midway Star System—assisted by an ally he’s unsure he can trust…

CEO Gwen Iceni was exiled to Midway because she wasn’t ruthless enough in the eyes of her superiors. She’s made them regret their assessment by commandeering some of the warships at Midway and attacking the remaining ships still loyal to the Syndicate empire. Iceni declares independence for the Midway Star System on behalf of the people while staying in charge as “President.” But while she controls the mobile fleet, she has no choice but to rely on “General” Drakon’s ground forces to keep the peace planet-side…

I don't read a lot of Science Fiction - as you might have guessed by know I am much more an epic fantasy kinda guy - however I have read Jack Campbell's Lost Fleet series, And it's good.

A Space-Opera/Military Science Fiction juggernaut the Lost Fleet series is a tale of two star empires who have been warring for so long neither side can recall why the war started. Into this mix is thrust a man, a legendary hero of early battles thought long dead, who's just been found in suspended animation in an escape capsule that (after one hundred years) was just about to run out of power. Not only does he recall the military traditions, tactics and disciplines now forgotten by a naval starfleet that desperately refills their ever depleting ranks with soldiers just out of training, but he becomes responsible for getting the remnants of the last major fleet of his peoples navy back home when it is trapped - surrounded - by enemy forces in the middle of  said enemies homeworld star system.

Campbell offers an exceedingly readable and fast paced story of politics, human emotion, sacrifice and madness, titanic space battles, duty and honour, and a hint of mystery - this six book series starts here and is well worth a read.

This new series is a spin-off series that runs parallel to The Lost Fleets sequel series The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier (which starts here)and while I am woefully behind on this I am looking forward to grabbing a copy of Tarnished Knight asap!

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Harper Voyager Announces Global Digital Publishing Opportunity  for Debut Authors

NEW YORK, NY - September 12, 2012: In this time of accelerated evolution in the field of digital publishing, the editorial leaders of Harper Voyager in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia are delighted to announce an exciting joint venture that will offer talented aspiring writers the chance to join the global science fiction and fantasy imprint.

For the first time in over a decade, Harper Voyager is offering writers the chance to submit full, unagented manuscripts for a limited two-week period. The publisher is seeking new authors with fresh voices, strong storytelling abilities, original ideas and compelling storylines. Harper Voyager is home to some of the biggest names in science fiction and fantasy, including George R. R. Martin, Kim Harrison, Raymond E. Feist, Robin Hobb, Richard Kadrey, Sara Douglass, Peter V. Brett and Kylie Chan, among others.

The submission portal,, will be open from the 1st to the 14th of October 2012. The manuscripts will then be read and those most suited to the global Harper Voyager list will be selected jointly by editors in the USA, UK and Australia.  Accepted submissions will benefit from the full publishing process: accepted manuscripts will be edited; and the finished titles will receive online marketing and sales support in World English markets.

Voyager will be seeking an array of adult and young adult speculative fiction for digital publication, but particularly novels written in the epic fantasy, science fiction, urban fantasy, horror, dystopia and supernatural genres. Submission guidelines and key information can be found at

The submissions and digital publications are a joint, global effort by Harper Voyager, spearheaded by Deputy Publisher Director Emma Coode in the United Kingdom, Associate Publisher Deonie Fiford in Australia, and Executive Editor Diana Gill in the United States.  The three editors note that: “No other publishing company has done a coordinated submission period for unagented authors across three continents, and all of us at Harper Voyager and at HarperCollins Publishers are absolutely thrilled to be launching this huge opportunity. We look forward to discovering and digitally publishing many new exciting voices globally at Harper Voyager.”

For more information about the publisher, please visit:

Now that's exciting! Unfortunately my manuscript is not in a stae I'd call 'finished' and my current word count is problematical given the submission guidelines... oh well. I'll get there.

Fingers crossed they find something amazing!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Mage's Blood

You may recall I posted about this title back in July (it truly doesn't feel that long ago) and it had a different cover.

That cover has been updated.

Mage's Blood
Moontide Quartet #1
By David Hair

The Moontide Bridge is about to open. The world trembles on the brink of cataclysm...

Most of the time the Moontide Bridge lies deep below the sea, but every 12 years the tides sink and the bridge is revealed, its gates open for trade.

The Magi are hell-bent on ruling this new world, and for the last two Moontides they have led armies across the bridge on "crusades" of conquest. Now the third Moontide is almost here and, this time, the people of the East are ready for a fight... but it is three seemingly ordinary people that will decide the fate of the world.

Not bad. I didn't mind the previous cover but thought the orange was a little too similar to Evie Manieri's Blood's Pride. 

Unfortunately I don't have a reading copy to look at so I will have to decide if I actually want to purchase it when it comes out - Pan Macmillan are very difficult to get a hold of. It sounds promising so we shall see.

In the meantime I shall continue with The Red Knight by Miles Cameron. Despite the cover it is awesome!

Oh! And I got my second review up on the Booktopia blog - of course you read it here first but still, it's cool :)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Cloud Atlas

The 2nd trailer.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Rothfuss Plans Ahead

As pointed out by Aidan over on A Dribble of Ink, Patrick Rothfuss has been listed in the September Locus as having sold a new trilogy to DAW.


Quite frankly I never believed he'd complete the tale he began in The Name of The Wind in 3 books - not with all the stuff he wrote about in A Wise Man's Fear and - noticeably  - the things he had to cut. While they only call this  new trilogy I'd be surprised if it was not 'the next part' to the story already in progress.

Sounds good to me. I like Rothfuss' work, and I am very pleased to believe there is more coming.

The Name of the Wind
Kingkiller #1
By Patrick Rothfuss

'I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep. My name is Kvothe. You may have heard of me.'

So begins the tale of Kvothe - currently known as Kote, the unassuming innkeepter - from his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, through his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-riddled city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a difficult and dangerous school of magic. In these pages you will come to know Kvothe the notorious magician, the accomplished thief, the masterful musician, the dragon-slayer, the legend-hunter, the lover, the thief and the infamous assassin.

A Wise Man's Fear
Kingkiller #2
By Patrick Rothfuss

Picking up the tale of Kvothe Kingkiller once again, we follow him into exile, into political intrigue, courtship, adventure, love and magic and further along the path that has turned Kvothe, the mightiest magician of his age, a legend in his own time, into Kote, the unassuming pub landlord.

Packed with as much magic, adventure and home-grown drama as THE NAME OF THE WIND, this is a sequel in every way the equal to its predecessor and a must-read for all fantasy fans. Readable, engaging and gripping THE WISE MAN'S FEAR is the biggest and the best new fantasy novel out there.

Friday, September 7, 2012

End Game

As Raymond E. Feist gets closer to Magician's End and says farewell to Midkemia and Pug et al HarperVoyager are updating the cover of Magician the book that started it all and one of my absolute faves.

Riftwar #1
By Raymond E. Feist

And his back catalogue will at last be available in ebook format. Hopefully that will include the Empire trilogy he wrote with Janny Wurts, I am dying to have that on ebook.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Saga of the Exiles

I cannot tell you how many times I fielded enquiries about these books over the years I was working at Galaxy.

Next January Tor UK are bring them back into print with brand new covers, and into eBook for the first time.

Looks like I might get to give them a go and see what all the fuss is about at last!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Richard Morgan - excerpt

Richard Morgan, not a new writer but a fairly new - and awesome - voice still in epic fantasy has put up an excerpt of his WiP on his blog.

Visitation Rites

He felt the change as soon as he stepped over the threshold of the croft.  It came on like icy water, sprinkling across the nape of his neck and his shoulders.

He tilted his head a little to send the feeling away, traced a warding glyph in the air, like taking down a volume from a library shelf.  Around him, the croft walls grew back to an enclosing height they likely hadn’t seen in decades.  The boiling grey sky blacked out, replaced with damp smelling thatch overhead.  A dull, reddish glow reached out to him from the hearth.  Peat smoke stung his throat.  He heard the hoarse whistle of breathing, the creak of……

A worn oak rocking chair, angled at the fireside, tilting gently back and forth.  From where he stood, Ringil could not tell what was seated there, only that it was wrapped in a dark cloak and cowl.

The ward he’d chosen was burning down around him like some torched peasant’s hut.  He felt the fresh exposure shiver through him.  Reached for something stronger, cracked finger-bones etching it into the air.

“Yes – becoming quite adept at that, aren’t we.”  It was a voice that creaked like the chair.  Wheeze and rustle of seeming age, or maybe just the breathlessness at the end of laughing too hard at something.  “Quite the master of the ikinri ‘ska these days.”

His fresh ward shattered apart, no better than the first – the chill of the Presence rushed in on him.  The rocking chair jerked violently around, from no agency he could see.  The thing it held was a corpse.  The shrunken mounds it made within the wrap of the cloak were unmistakeable, the way it skewed awkwardly in the seat, as if blown there by the wind.  The cowl was tipped forward like the muzzle of some huge dark worm, shrouding the face.  One ivory-pallid hand gripped an armrest, flesh shrunk back from long, curving nails.  The other arm lay in the thing’s lap, was covered by the way the cloak folded there.

Even as the chill blew through him, something about that fact was scratching for attention at the limen of his being.

His hand leapt up, across, closed on the hilt of the Ravensfriend where it jutted over his left shoulder.

“Oh, please,” creaked the voice.  “Put that away, why don’t you.  If I can break your wards like sticks for kindling, how hard do you think it’s going to be for me to break that dinky little sword of yours as well?  You know, for an up-and-coming sorcerer, you show remarkably little breadth of response.”

Ringil let go the Ravensfriend, felt the pommel slip through his hands as the Kiriath-engineered scabbard sucked the handsbreadth of exposed blade back into itself.  He eyed the slumped form before him and held down the repeated urge to shiver.

“Who are you?”

“And still he does not know me.”  Abruptly, the corpse loomed to its feet, out of the chair as if tugged there by puppet’s strings.  Ringil found himself face to face with the worm’s head cowl and the blank darkness it framed.  He made himself stare back, but if there was a face in there, dead or alive, it didn’t show.  The whispering voice seemed to come from everywhere at once, down from the eaves of the thatch, out of the crackle of the hearth, out of the air just behind his ear.  “You did not know me at Trelayne’s Eastern Gate, when your destiny was laid out in terms you could understand; you did not know me at the river when the first of the cold legion gathered to you, and your passage to the dark gate began.  I sent a whole shipload of corpses for you when you were finally ready.  So tell me, Ringil Eskiath – how many times must I look out at you through the eyes of the dead before I am given my due?”

It fell in on him like the thatched roof coming down on his head.  The cloak and cowl, the stylised placement of hands, one raised to the arm of the chair, the other gathered in the lap, holding-


“Oh, well done.”  The corpse turned and shuffled away from him, back towards the hearth.  “Took you long enough, didn’t it?  Wouldn’t have thought it’d be so hard to recognise the Queen of the Dark Court when she comes calling.  We are your ancestral gods, are we not?”

“Not by my choice,” he said starkly.

Read the rest here.

And check out book 2 in ,ass market paperback in October:

The Cold Commands
Land Fit for Heroes #2
By Richard Morgan

Fantasy: harder, faster, bloodier. The king of noir SF takes on Fantasy.

Ringil Eskiath, scarred wielder of the kiriath-forged broadsword Ravensfriend, is a man on the run - from his past and the family who have disowned him, from the slave trade magnates of Trelayne who want him dead and apparently from the dark gods themselves, who are taking an interest but making no more sense than they ever have.

Outlawed and exiled from his ancestral home in the north, Ringil has only one place left to turn - Yhelteth, city heart of the southern Empire, where perhaps he can seek asylum with the kiriath half-breed Archeth, former war comrade and now high-up advisor to the Emperor Jhiral Khimran II. But Archeth has problems of her own to contend with, as does her house guest, bodyguard and one time steppe nomad Egar the Dragonbane. And far from gaining the respite he seeks, Ringil will instead find himself implicated in fresh schemes and doubtful allegiances no safer than those he has left behind.

Old enemies are stirring, the old order is rotted through and crumbling and though no-one yet knows it, the city of Yhelteth is about to explode...

The Hugo Awards

And congratulations goes to:

Best Novel: Among Others by Jo Walton (Tor)

Best Novella: "The Man Who Bridged the Mist" by Kij Johnson (Asimov's, September/October 2011)

Best Novelette: "Six Months, Three Days" by Charlie Jane Anders (

Best Short Story: "The Paper Menagerie" by Ken Liu (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, March/April 2011)

Best Related Work: The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, Third Edition edited by John Clute, David Langford, Peter Nicholls, and Graham Sleight (Gollancz)

Best Graphic Story: Digger by Ursula Vernon (Sofawolf Press)

Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form): Game of Thrones (Season 1) (HBO)

Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form): "The Doctor's Wife" (Doctor Who) (BBC Wales)

Best Editor (Short Form): Sheila Williams

Best Professional Artist: John Picacio

Best Semiprozine: Locus, edited by Liza Groen Trombi, Kirsten Gong-Wong, et al.

Best Fanzine: SF Signal, edited by John DeNardo

Best Fan Writer: Jim C. Hines

Best Fan Artist: Maurine Starkey

Best Fancast: SF Squeecast, Lynne M. Thomas, Seanan McGuire, Paul Cornell, Elizabeth Bear, and Catherynne M. Valente

The John W. Campbell Award for the best new professional science fiction or fantasy writer of 2010 or 2011: E. Lily Yu

And a HUGE congratulations to the woman who has published many of my favorite authors:

Best Editor (Long Form): Betsy Wollheim

Monday, September 3, 2012

Step by step

I spent the weekend going over the last two chapters I had worked on last weekend. It seems I had forgotten a rather large thing I had meant to change (I really must go over my notes before I start writing) - so I had to go back and change it.

I am now facing two or three coming chapters where I need to at last introduce the two characters I removed from the first half of the story. So potentially I will be adding some of the words I had removed back into the draft. Actually there is no 'potentially' about it, I am going to have to.

But I don't think it will be to bad - although writing the new stuff will be a 'joy' - it's not that I can't write it, it's just how many times I am going to have to go over it to make it 'work'.

In the meantime I have received from Gollancz an ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) of Miles Cameron's debt novel The Red Knight - which you may recall I spoke of here.

Well I still stick to my guns about their choice of cover, but on this at least they have worked the blurb to match Orbits, and all of that aside I am really enjoying it.


I love finding new author's who's next book is already going onto my 'To Read' list before I've finished their first one.

I will say however that the comparison to Martin they have on the back (George R. R. Martin) doesn't really work for me. I understand why they use it but to do the book justice you need to be truer to the feel of the narrative and the world building - if I was selling it in store I'd be looking at fans of Mark Lawrence and Joe Abercrombie rather than Martin - although I wouldn't steer them away from it. And maybe a dash of Scott Lynch as well.

More to come when I am finished.

The Red Knight
Traitors Son #1
By Miles Cameron

Twenty eight florins a month is a huge price to pay, for a man to stand between you and the Wild.

Twenty eight florins a month is nowhere near enough when a wyvern's jaws snap shut on your helmet in the hot stink of battle, and the beast starts to rip the head from your shoulders. But if standing and fighting is hard, leading a company of men - or worse, a company of mercenaries - against the smart, deadly creatures of the Wild is even harder.

It takes all the advantages of birth, training, and the luck of the devil to do it.

The Red Knight has all three, he has youth on his side, and he's determined to turn a profit. So when he hires his company out to protect an Abbess and her nunnery, it's just another job. The abby is rich, the nuns are pretty and the monster preying on them is nothing he can't deal with.

Only it's not just a job. It's going to be a war. . .

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Tad Williams and Booktopia's 10 Terrifying Questions

The Dirty Streets of Heaven
Bobby Dollar #1
By Tad Williams


Sure, he takes the occasional trip to Heaven, but his job as an advocate - arguing the fate of the recently deceased - keeps him pretty busy on Earth, and he's more than happy to spend the rest of his time propping up the bar with his fellow immortals. Until the day a soul goes missing, presumed stolen by 'the other side'. A new chapter in the war between heaven and hell is about to open. And Bobby is right in the middle of it, with only a desirable but deadly demon to aid him.

And for my 3rd interview on behalf of Booktopia, I subjected Tad Williams to our 10 Terrifying Questions!

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself - where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I grew up in Palo Alto, California, the college town for Stanford University and one a birthplace of modern technology.  But when I grew up, it was a little slower, less money-oriented, and I grew up with the idea that it was more important to do something I liked with my life than to make money.  (Not that money was bad, just that it was a tool, not an important thing in and of itself.)

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

When I was twelve I was losing interest in being an archaeologist and beginning to think I'd be a comic book artist for Marvel.  By eighteen I had transitioned pretty thoroughly into my "rock star" prep years.  By the time I was thirty, I'd realized that writing was going to be a better long-term plan, especially since you didn't have to work with drummers.  But although I worked in suit-and-tie jobs for years, the idea I might do that as a career was poison.  I grew up in the '60s, remember.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

That when I felt like I was right about something, I WAS right, that I actually had objective memory of things.  And that my personal tastes in music and art were something other than subjective, and that failing to rise to my tastes was an indicator of failure on the part of others.  I'm much less certain of things now, and I like it better.

4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

I was one of those people who fell in love with Tolkien early.  I read THE LORD OF THE RINGS first when I was eleven or so.  I think it was the idea of created worlds and imaginary history that grabbed me.  I was also very influenced by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee's early Marvel comics and by Dickens.  And later, GRAVITY'S RAINBOW knocked my socks off and made me want to be a grown-up writer.

Art, theater and music are a whole different set of influences.  JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS, THE TIN DRUM, and PERFORMANCE all got into my brain, just for instance.

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?

At the time, I was beginning to think about artistic projects I could do on my own, in my own (free) time, since I was working a couple of jobs and scheduling was an issue for things like music and theater.  I was living with cats for the first time, so I took that amusement/astonishment and my interest in worldbuilding and came up with my first novel, TAILCHASER'S SONG.

6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

THE DIRTY STREETS OF HEAVEN is the first of a series of angel noir novels about Doloriel, aka Bobby Dollar, an earthbound angel.  Bobby tells the story first person, and so it combines my love of crazy situations, monsters, complex worlds, and aggressive fictionalizing, and adds lots of (dark) jokes and a faster pace to my usual suspects.

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

My ideal trifecta is: first, entertained; second, surprised; third, ideas and questions creeping up long afterward.  I love genre fiction because I like the tradition and the formality -- if you write a mystery, you'd better solve it in a way that makes sense and that the reader thinks is fair -- but also that you can be as artistic as you want if you also keep the readers' interest.

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

I remain fascinated by Pynchon's fractalism, by Dickens sweep of character and event (and humor), by Hunter S. Thompson and James Thurber and Barbara Tuchman and Michael Moorcock and many others, and the joy that is sharing a smart person's mind for a while.  I've lived thousands of lives by being a reader, and if I can add to that for some others, that's a pretty cool legacy and a pretty good job.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

To get better every book.  To keep challenging myself.  To have people quiver before me and nudge each other and whisper, "He's a writer, you know."  And to spread my evil legacy through many other kinds of stories -- film, television, games, stage plays, and souvenir commemorative plates.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Write and read.  Read and write.  Don't just read the kind of stuff you're writing -- in fact, make that a small percentage of your day-to-day experience.  Read broadly.  Also, write regularly.  Don't waste energy talking about it until it's done.  Be real about the characters and situations you invent.  And finish things.