Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sam Bowring and Booktopia's Ten Terrifying Questions

The Legacy of Lord Regret
Strange Threads #1
By Sam Bowring
BUY IT


Book One of the STRANGE THREADS duology. Centuries have passed since the Wardens slew the tyrant Lord Regret, but while the Wound that he ripped in the sky remains open, the earth trembles and the sun vanishes without warning.

The great warrior Rostigan wanders Aorn, weary of battle and unwanted renown. With him travels his lover, the minstrel Tarzi, who hopes she may soon witness further deeds from him worthy of song and tale. Despite Rostigan s reluctance to re-enter the world, she may get what she wishes for . . .

When they travel to the once magnificent city of Silverstone they discover it has been wrenched out of existence. Journeying onwards, they come to learn the disturbing truth. The land has descended into chaos for the Wardens, now craving destruction, have returned from their ancient graves and Lord Regret s malicious legacy grows ever stronger, corrupting the very nature of reality.
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And now for my second interview for Booktopia - Sam Bowring!



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

I was born in Sydney, raised in Glebe, and I went to Fort St High back when uniforms weren’t compulsory. Looking back on some of my fashion choices, I kinda wish they had been.


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

Perhaps uninterestingly for any sense of progression, the answer to all of them is ‘a writer’. If we went back to six, I could say ‘the owner of a reptile farm as well as a writer’. As for why, I suppose world-building has always appealed to me – it’s about as close as I can get to being a god or a wizard in real life. I also very much like the flexible hours, and the ability to entertain without actually having to be there.


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

That getting a hair cut is not important.


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?

1) The Hobbit – my first fantasy book, read to me by my dad when I was small.
2) The Labyrinth – a great movie, stands up easily to all the CGI stuff these days, with such an inspiring and colourful host of characters.
3) Warhammer (the game) – I have never played it, but looking at all the inventive miniatures set up on a table never fails to make me think up characters or stories.


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

I guess I feel it’s my native talent. I tend to think in long-form stories, and have a hard time writing anything short unless it’s for kids. I have dabbled in plenty of other stuff though. For example, I also work as a stand-up comic, and you can easily find clips of me on youtube if you’re interested. Stand-up is great because the feedback is immediate, and also you get to drink on the job.


6. Please tell us about your latest novel 'The Legacy of Lord Regret'…

In this story the ‘dark lord’, Lord Regret, has been dead for three hundred years, but the damage he caused the world is ongoing, and the fabric of reality is coming undone. Those who slew him (a group of powerful threaders called the Wardens) were changed by the experience, emerging from it corrupted and with strange special powers. The story pretty much started with ideas about these characters – for example the main villain Forger is like a fantasy land serial killer, who literally feeds on pain, growing stronger the more he causes, or the more he takes away. And if taking someone’s pain away sounds like a nice thing to do, imagine the heartless, empty person you leave behind when you rob them of the ability to fear or empathise.


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

I like to write completed stories with definite endings, as opposed to series that never finish – I find this much more fulfilling and I hope that readers do to. I also hope to give them some weird-arse dreams.


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

I read Robin Hobb quite religiously. She achieves a great balance between the fantastical and human drama. The Farseer Trilogy is especially a favourite.


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

There is a large Federation house in Glebe (the suburb where I grew up) that has a big garden and turrets, which I imagine would be excellent to write in. So my goal is to become successful enough that I can one day knock on the door and say:

Me: How much will it take for you to sell me this house?
Them: I’m afraid the house is not for sale – it’s been in our family for generations, and we love it here.
Me: I’m sorry, I think you misunderstood me – how much will it take for you to sell me this house?

After I move into the place, it goes without saying that I will immediately set up a laser tag/mirror maze in the basement.


10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Write it first without getting bogged down in re-reading too much. It is much easier to go back and edit once a work is completed, than to try and get it exactly right the first time. Also, keep an ear out for what publishers are specifically looking for. My first children’s book was written to the specifications of a series for which I knew a publisher was looking for titles. A good start these days is checking websites, since most publishers have submission guidelines and what they are currently interested in.




Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Iron Wyrm Affair - A Review

The Iron Wyrm Affair
Bannon & Clare #1
By Lilith Saintcrow
BUY IT


For Queen, for country, for staying alive . . . 

The game is afoot!

London's geniuses are being picked off by a vicious killer, and Emma Bannon, a sorceress in the service of the Empire, must protect the next target, Archibald Clare. Unfortunately he's more interested in solving the mystery of the murders than staying alive . . .

In a world where illogical magic has turned the Industrial Revolution on its head, Bannon and Clare will face dark sorcery, cannon fire, high treason and the vexing problem of reliably finding hansom cabs in the city.
_______________________________________________________



The Iron Wyrm Affair is a brilliant alternate history, told in such a way that it reads like one of Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes movies dropped into the middle of a steampunk fantasy with a side of science fiction. Saintcrow opens with the uneasy introduction of Archibald Clare and Emma Bannon (they are the Bannon & Clare of the series name) and then proceeds to throw the reader head first in a magnificent romp of a detective story and with aspirations of epic fantasy  – aspirations it lives up to.

I was hesitant at first as I am not a big fan of Victorian era settings, but Saintcrow does a masterful job of taking the best parts of Victoriana and melding them in a pot of great world building that firmly shifts this tale into its own dimension (we’re not in Kansas anymore Toto). A world where Sorcerers rank above the aristocracy, mentaths are registered servants of the crown and so much back story is hinted at - and approached in a sideways manner - that it had me bursting at the seams for more.

Saintcrow is another one of these authors who seems to have mastered a more ‘economic’ approach to the telling of brilliant fantasy tales in a market that is known for its door-stop sized epics. This is good and bad. You get to the meat of the story faster, and Saintcrow’s writing is smart. She gives you enough without falling into the trap of info-dumping; but what she hints at is what I want more of. I want to know more about the Dragons and the Age of Flame, I want to know more about the sentient and deadly Gryphon’s that serve Britannia - which is both the name of the Empire and an ancient Spirit who inhabits the mortal coil of her avatar (the King or Queen – in the case of this book Queen Victrix [get it?]).

Saintcrow also does a superb job of bringing the city of London to life with her clockwork Altereds, the Black Warks ruled by Mehitabel and the Tower, haunted by the Shadow to name a few.Then she brings it all together in Technicolor with characters that burst from the page.  Emma Bannon, Sorceress Prime, has an intriguing back story and behaves in a most unlady-like fashion to fulfill her duty as a servant to the crown; while Archibald Clare,  a cross between Sherlock Holmes and Encyclopedia Brown, has more knowledge than sense and over powering curiosity to know which get him in all sorts of bother.

Lilith Saintcrow’s jaunt into steampunk thrusts the reader into a Hatter’s vision of Victorian England flooded with magic and mayhem; where clockwork horses draw hansom’s along cobbled streets, the very presence of a Dragon can twist the fabric of reality, and sorcery and deductive reasoning (of a brain with intel like processing power) are all that stands between a deadly conspiracy and the survival of the Empire.

I can’t wait to see what Bannon & Clare tackle next.





Monday, August 27, 2012

Forging Ahead

I spent the better part of the weekend writing and am now at 51% through the 3rd draft of The Epic.

I'll finish it one day.

I also got my eyes tested and its official - I pick up my glasses this coming weekend (at least I hope I do as the computer screen at work is getting harder and harder to see... and being an aspiring writer it kinda helps if you can see what you're writing).

I have just embarked on reading:

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


BOBBY DOLLAR ISN'T YOUR AVERAGE ANGEL.

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

Trinity Rising
The Wild Hunt #2
By Elspeth Cooper
BUY IT


Gair's battle has only just begun and yet his heart has already been lost. As he struggles with a crippling grief, still outwardly functional but inwardly torn into pieces, he sleepwalks into a situation that's greater and more deadly than he or Alderan ever anticipated. A storm of unrest is spreading across the land and they are going to be caught up in it - at a moment when Gair's hold on his magic, his greatest defence and most valuable tool, is starting to slip...

He is not alone in noticing the growing unrest and sensing something darker looming behind it. Beyond the mountains, in the bitterly cold north, Teia has seen the signs as well. After hundreds of years of peace her people are talking of a risky invasion to reclaim their ancestral lands her Speaker claims the gods are on their side, but Teia fears another, hidden hand of stirring her people up. Whatever the truth, all she can see in her future is blood, battle and death. If she could only see a way to avert that fate.

But how can men be convinced to fight, when they have no idea they are part of a war.
____________________________________________________________

Although who I think I am kinding by reading 'two books at once' is beyond me.  In any case these are the days of my life.

Oh! And I'll be posting 10 Terrifying Questions I had Tad answer for Booktopia soon.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Country Will Run Red



I know at least one person who'll be excited about this. Although he is reading the manuscript so maybe not...

I am still one book behind. Sigh. More catching up to do...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Blood and Bone

Blood and Bone
Malazan Empire #5
By Ian C. Esslemont


In the western sky the bright emerald banner of the Visitor descends like a portent of annihilation. On the continent of Jacuruku, the Thaumaturgs have mounted yet another expedition to tame the neighboring wild jungle. Yet this is no normal wilderness. It is called Himatan, and it is said to be half of the spirit-realm and half of the earth. And it is said to be ruled by a powerful entity whom some name the Queen of Witches, and some a goddess: the ancient Ardata. Saeng grew up knowing only the rule of the magus Thaumaturgs -- but it was the voices out of that land's forgotten past that she listened to. And when her rulers mount an invasion of the neighboring jungle, those voices send her and her brother on a desperate mission.

To the south, the desert tribes are united by the arrival of a foreign warleader, a veteran commander in battered ashen mail whom his men call, the Grey Ghost. This warleader takes the tribes on a raid like none other, deep into the heart of Thaumaturg lands. While word comes to K'azz, and mercenary company the Crimson Guard, of a contract in Jacuruku. And their employer... none other than Ardata herself.
_____________________________________________________

There are two new covers speeding there way around the blogsphere today. One is getting a lot of attention and I am not sure why. It doesn't interest me at all - not that that is any reason to dismiss it but it is a book 2 and I don't even recall the first one let alone that it might have made a splash.

The other cover is this one.

A new Malazan Empire tale. Due December.

Squeeeeeeeee!

Man, I really have some catching up to do.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Duncan Lay and Booktopia's Ten Terrifying Questions

Bridge of Swords
Empire of Bones #1
By Duncan Lay
BUY IT


A tale of history and legend, myth and belief, truth and lies ...but at its heart is a story of fathers and children and what is passed from one generation to another.

Long ago, a group of men became the Elfarans, altered by magic to resemble the elves of the great sagas. An internal dispute caused a number of Elfarans to leave their home on Dragonara Isle and found a new homeland on a new continent. Their descendants have come to believe they are real elves and superior to mere humans who have no magic abilities and they have sealed themselves away from any contact with anyone else.

But one of these elves fails his magic test and is banished to live in the human world, starting a chain of events that will change lives and nations.
______________________________________________________________

Taking advantage of my new position at Booktopia I am doing my best to get more genre author's exposure to over there. Not that they ignore genre authors. Not at all. But - I live and breathe it so...

Anyway I hit up Duncan Lay to answer our Ten Terrifying Questions:



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

I was born in London, England and raised in East Sussex (home of David Gemmell) before moving here with my family when I was 16 and have lived in Sydney or the Central Coast ever since.


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

I wanted to be a writer when I was eight, when I was 12, 18 and 30. For as long as I can remember I have loved stories, writing them, creating and telling them. It has always been part of me and I dreamed of doing nothing else.


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

At 18 I believed all I had to do was scribble down my thoughts on paper and publishers would fall all over themselves to put it into print and hail my genius. It took me nearly another 20 years to become published and I learned many lessons about writing along the way. I now know it is a craft that must be worked at and books do not just spring from my mind, via the fingers, into pages but must be carved, created and nurtured to grow to their full life.


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?

In chronoiogical order:

Star Wars was the first movie I ever saw at the cinema and literally blew my mind. At age seven, I can honestly say it got my imagination working and it has not stopped since.

Legend, by David Gemmell, showed me fantasy does not have to be all singing elves and dancing dwarves and good and evil defined in black and white but can be endless shades of grey.

It’s relatively unknown but The Reason, by Hoobastank, had a set of lyrics that really spoke to me, particularly when I was writing my first book, The Wounded Guardian. Now I have a variety of playlists that I listen to as I write, depending on the scenes I am working on. The likes of Coldplay for more thoughtful scenes – something like AC/DC’s Thunderstruck for a battle.




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

If you had ever heard me sing, you’d know why! I used to do some amateur theatre and once had a part requiring me to sing. After a month of training, I was improving as my teacher was only using cotton wool in the ear closest to me. Sadly I cannot carry a tune in a bucket and that script was quickly changed.


6) Please tell us about your latest novel…What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

The Dragon Sword Histories was, at its heart, about a man in a dark place, coming back from that through the love of a small child. One of the themes it explored was how children can alter our view of the world and how their innocence can change the loss and regret adults carry.

For the Empire Of Bones, I wanted to explore this from the other side – how fathers can affect children and how so many of us seek to either live up to or grow away from the way we were raised.

It starts with a warrior on the run. Sendatsu has unwittingly uncovered the answer to a 300-year-old mystery and is being hunted by his own people while frantically trying to get back to his children. Just when he thinks things cannot get any worse, he runs into a pair of fellow fugitives who want to use him as their hero in their land’s fight for freedom: a young bard called Huw, who has abandoned every principle he once held dear but along the way has learned a terrible secret about an evil King and a young dancer called Rhiannon, who only ever wanted to perform but has a hidden power that is going to change everything …


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

I hope people have been entertained by reading Bridge Of Swords, first and foremost. If they find something in there that makes them think about themselves, their place in the world and their relationships with their parents and their children, then that is even better.


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

I admire Terry Pratchett for the way he takes modern situations and dilemmas and turns it into stunning fantasy novels. I also love the way he combines comedy, truth and tragedy to great effect. As a writer and journalist his book The Truth combines brilliant plot, comedy and realism in a fantasy setting. I don’t think anyone could do better.


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

I would like to become a full-time writer. For an Australian fantasy author with a family and a hungry bank mortgage to support, that is a lofty dream. But The Radiant Child was an Australian bestseller, so if my new series, beginning with Bridge Of Swords, builds on that then who knows …?


10) What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Write. Write some more and then write again. Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 Hour Rule states you need to do something for 10,000 hours before you become an expert. I’ve lost count of the number of hours I spent writing but I definitely agree that the more you write, the better you become. I’ve written a number of books that were unpublishable but each one took me closer to my eventual goal. There are those like Christopher Paolini who become bestsellers as teenagers but they are the exception, not the rule. Writing is a craft. Work at it.





Monday, August 20, 2012

What's George Doing?

Some people would think hope think the he'd be working on The Winds of Winter, the next book in The Song of Ice and Fire.... well while I am sure he is doing that... he's also do this:

From 'Not a Blog'


These worldbook "sidebars" are all threatening to turn into novellas.
Sure hope you guys and gals like fake history.

...

Just keep writing George.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Next in the Dresden Files - and blurb full of Spoilers

Cold Days
The Dresden Files #14
By Jim Butcher
(Due January 2013)

After being murdered by a mystery assailant, navigating his way through the realm between life and death, and being brought back to the mortal world, Harry realizes that maybe death wasn’t all that bad. Because he is no longer Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard.

He is now Harry Dresden, Winter Knight to Mab, the Queen of Air and Darkness. After Harry had no choice but to swear his fealty, Mab wasn’t about to let something as petty as death steal away the prize she had sought for so long. And now, her word is his command, no matter what she wants him to do, no matter where she wants him to go, and no matter who she wants him to kill.

Guess which Mab wants first?

Of course, it won’t be an ordinary, everyday assassination. Mab wants her newest minion to pull off the impossible: kill an immortal. No problem there, right? And to make matters worse, there exists a growing threat to an unfathomable source of magic that could land Harry in the sort of trouble that will make death look like a holiday.

Beset by enemies new and old, Harry must gather his friends and allies, prevent the annihilation of countless innocents, and find a way out of his eternal subservience before his newfound powers claim the only thing he has left to call his own…

His soul.
________________________________________________________

I found this over on Mad Hatter - man I really gotta pay more attention to things!

I am freaking excited about the next book coming from Butcher, he does great stuff. And, also from Mad Hatter, he's got his Steampunk series The Cinder Spires happening with the first book The Aeronaut's Windlass looking to be done by the end of the year.

Squee!

Here's hoping we start to get two books a year from him again!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Welcome to Level 1313



This preview has just been aired at Gamescom.

It's only a game, but it looks good. I'd watch this if they made it a TV show. I'm pretty sure I won't be playing...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

RIP

Harry Harrison 1925 -2012

I never read any of Harry's work but I can tell you he was an enormously popular author and I have had countless requests about his Stainless Steel Rat series (amongst others).

Rest easy Harry, and thanks for all the stories.



Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Land Fit for Heroes



Have you read Richard Morgan's fantasy series yet? You should. It's awesome and book two is now out in paperback.

Gritty and in your face, Morgan deftly sidesteps the more traditional aspects of epic fantasy to bring an earthiness and 'real world' feel to this exciting tale of magic, mystery, war and politics, that stretches across the ages - and across worlds. Morgan's work holds an edge that cuts through the glitter of epic fantasy (of which I am a fan) to wade through it s less glamorous underbelly and has him rubbing shoulders with the likes of Joe Abercrombie and Mark Lawrence.

This is a brilliant work, and as with any really good fantasy, I want more. Lots more!


The Steel Remains
A Land Fit for Heroes #1
By Richard Morgan
BUY IT


Ringil, the hero of the bloody slaughter at Gallows Gap is a legend to all who don't know him and a twisted degenerate to those that do. A veteren of the wars against the lizards he makes a living from telling credulous travellers of his exploits. Until one day he is pulled away from his life and into the depths of the Empire's slave trade. Where he will discover a secret infinitely more frightening than the trade in lives.

Archeth - pragmatist, cynic and engineer, the last of her race - is called from her work at the whim of the most powerful man in the Empire and sent to its farthest reaches to investigate a demonic incursion against the Empire's borders.

Egar Dragonbane, steppe-nomad, one-time fighter for the Empire finds himself entangled in a small-town battle between common sense and religious fervour.

But out in the wider world there is something on the move far more alien than any of his tribe's petty gods.

Anti-social, anti-heroic, and decidedly irritated, all three of them are about to be sent unwillingly forth into a vicious, vigorous and thoroughly unsuspecting fantasy world. Called upon by an Empire that owes them everything and gave them nothing.

Richard Morgan brings his trademark visceral writing style, turbo-driven plotting and thought provoking characterisation to the fantasy genre and produces a landmark work with his first foray.




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


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 Indamaninarmal, former war comrade and now high-up advisor to the Emperor Jhiral Khimran II.

But Archeth Indamaninarmal 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 is 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 ...

Monday, August 13, 2012

Expanding the Possibilities

Sacrifice of the First Sheason
By Peter Orullian
READ IT



Sheason (SHAY-son): Members of this Order possess the ability to renderer the Will—influence Forda I’Forza. When the First Ones abandoned their work in Aeshau, they conferred the authority to direct the Will in the interest of men to a select few. The right and privilege to render has since been passed down only after vigorous training. Though their order was conceived on the principle of service and sacrifice, they are often disliked for their sometimes secretive nature and their propensity to allow apparently dangerous or inappropriate actions to occur in the interest of what is deemed ‘best.’ The Sheason are also sometimes known also a “three ring” for the emblem that signifies their order: Three rings inside of each other, and all meeting at one point. From the Language of the Covenant, meaning “servant.”


Sacrifice of the First Sheason is a short story written by Peter Orullian, author of The Unremembered, Book One of The Vault of Heaven. I read it because I'd recently heard Peter talking on a podcast about having handed in Book Two to his editor at Tor.

I liked The Unremembered well enough that I was interested to hear Book Two was moving ahead, so I figured I'd go and read this story I'd seen online just before The Unremembered had come out.

I really wish I had read this first.

I've been reading fantasy for a long time, and I still have blinkers on in regards to what I like and what I think is 'good'. So when jumping into the world of the the Vault of Heaven all I saw was the similarities to other works - well one in particular - rather than the what Peter was doing in his story.

Now it could be argued that it is the writers job to make it clear what is going on in the world in which he is writing - and I don't think it takes from the mystery of things to come or the slow reveal because what I am talking about is the set-up. The stage.

Anyway.

I read Sacrifice of the First Sheason. It's really good. And it goes a long way to opening up just what is happening in the world of The Unremembered, it answers questions about 'how do they know that' etc. It fills in gaps that I really feel should have been filled in in the book. But it is a big book and I dare say as a frst time author he was constrained by the word count his publisher was willing to allow him. And if that wasn't the case well... well we can only hope that given the opportunity Peter's story telling skills will get stronger.

If you have any interest in The Unremembered and you haven't read it, go here now and do so. It opens up everything. Now I am going to have to go back and re-read The Unremembered with fresh eyes.... when I have the time.



The Unremembered
The Vault of Heaven Book One
By Peter Orullian
BUY IT


The gods, makers of worlds, seek to create balance - between matter and energy; and between mortals who strive toward the transcendent, and the natural perils they must tame or overcome. But one of the gods fashions a world filled with hellish creatures far too powerful to allow balance; he is condemned to live for eternity with his most hateful creations in that world's distant Bourne, restrained by a magical veil kept vital by the power of song.

Millennia pass, awareness of the hidden danger fades to legend, and both song and veil weaken. And the most remote cities are laid waste by fell, nightmarish troops escaped from the Bourne. Some people dismiss the attacks as mere rumour. Instead of standing against the real threat, they persecute those with the knowledge, magic and power to fight these abominations, denying the inevitability of war and annihilation. And the evil from the Bourne swells...

The troubles of the world seem far from the Hollows where Tahn Junell struggles to remember his lost childhood and to understand words he feels compelled to utter each time he draws his bow. Trouble arrives when two strangers - an enigmatic man wearing the sigil of the feared Order of Sheason and a beautiful woman of the legendary Far - come, to take Tahn, his sister and his two best friends on a dangerous, secret journey. Tahn knows neither why nor where they will go. He knows only that terrible forces have been unleashed upon mankind and he has been called to stand up and face that which most daunts him - his own forgotten secrets and the darkness that would destroy him and his world.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

1 Whole Year

A Dance with Dragons
A Song of Ice and Fire #5
By George R R Martin
BUY IT


____________________________________________________________

This title needs no introduction truly.

However as GRRM has posted on his blog ADWD has been on the NYT Bestseller list for 12 months today.

Wow.

Of course the book has been out longer than that but it's been on the list for 12 months,

Not only is that a huge a achievement but I can't believe it's been over 12 months since our hardback copies arrived in the store! I still remember the Managing Director (and yes, I use that term lightly) of the bookshop almost needing oxygen when I said I'd ordered 300 copies for my initial order.

Of course we went on to sell over 450 copies so... maybe I knew what I was doing?

In any case. Wow. 12 months on the NYT Bestsellers list. That's a lot more than 450 copies...

Congratulations George!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Caught My Eye

The Dead of Winter
By Lee Collins


Cora and her husband hunt things - things that shouldn't exist.

When the marshal of Leadville, Colorado, comes across a pair of mysterious deaths, he turns to Cora to find the creature responsible, but if Cora is to overcome the unnatural tide threatening to consume the small town, she must first confront her own tragic past as well as her present.

_______________________________________________________

Going through my Google reader this afternoon I came a cross a post about this book.

The cover caught my eye enough to stop and read the blurb.

Hmmm. Could be interesting.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

What's in a Cover? And Blurb....

Coming this year from Gollancz in the UK, and Orbit in the US (imprints owned by Hachette) is a new novel by Miles Cameron, The Red Knight.

Both publishers are taking very different paths in planning how to best sell this book to their markets.

Gollancz (due November 2012):

The Red Knight
Traitor Son #1
By Mile Cameron

A violent, fast-paced and compelling debut fantasy novel, in a world where heroes and monsters are not quite as they seem...

This is a world dominated by The Wild.

Man lives in pockets of civilisation claimed from The Wild. Within men's walls life is civilised, the peace punctuated by tournaments, politicking, courtly love and canny business. Beyond those walls men are prey - vulnerable to the exceptionally powerful and dangerous creatures which populate the land and even more vulnerable to those creatures schemes.

So when one of those creatures breaks out of The Wild and begins preying on people in their homes, it takes a specialist to hunt it down or drive it out...and even then, it's a long, difficult and extremely dangerous job.

The Black Captain and his men are one such group of specialists. They have no idea what they're about to face...

Forget George and the Dragon. Forget Sir Lancelot and tales of Knightly exploits. This is dirty, bloody work. This is violent, visceral action. This is a mercenary knight as you've never seen one before.


Okay....and here's Orbit (due December 2012):

The Red Knight
Traitor 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. . .




So. Which would you buy?

Personally I think Orbit's approach works much better than Gollancz's - and that's not because  I favour one publisher over another, they both do stellar jobs. But given my tastes I wouldn't even look at the back of the UK edition, where I would definitely pick up the US...

What do you think?


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Looking Ahead

Taken
Alex Verus #3
By Benedict Jaka
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Third book in a compelling new urban fantasy series set in Camden, featuring Alex Verus.

Welcome to Fountain Reach. Ancient seat of the Aubuchon dynasty. Majestic setting of the White Stone tournament.

Alex Verus' (not necessarily reliable) reputation attracts all sorts. Most are plain bonkers. Yet there's one invitation he just can't refuse.

At Fountain Reach, Alex is perfectly placed among the noted and notorious to figure out why apprentices have been vanishing. But the tournament is a minefield of ancient grudges and new threats and Alex can't afford to miss a trick as his elusive adversary stays one step ahead in this most dangerous of games.

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Allow me a moment please...

Squeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Ok. Thank you.

Due on the 28th of August the third installment of Jaka's awesome urban fantasy series following the adventures of Alex Verus, magic shop proprietor and mage.

If you haven't read my rave of the Fated check it out here. Jaka is carving for himself a great place in the urban fantasy market, standing along side Jim Butcher - indeed these books are a welcome and satisfying distraction while we wait impatiently for the next Dresden Files novel - and blazing his own trail in the northern hemisphere.

I can't wait to get my hands on it!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Progress Report (or the lack thereof)

I was very slack this past weekend. No writing was done.

Maybe I needed a rest, but I really want to get this finished. So when I do take time off I feel... guilty. Now I am not being 'to hard on myself' - hello, Procrastination by thy name - but it just feels like I've been doing this forever.

But as much as I want it done, I was want it to be as good as I can make it so... I'll let myself write as I write.

However. I have put together a new writing schedule (and yes, I realise that the trick with schedule's is to stick with them) and I am hoping that this will push the progress a little faster. Of course this schedule (which includes weeknights) will only last until the new World of Warcraft expansion Mists of Pandaria comes out on Tuesday the 25th of September. Then... well. it will be back to Saturday and Sunday only, and maybe five pages a night on the week nights.



The biggest thing for me at the moment is getting past feeling like everything I've written is rubbish. The more I look at it the more I see needs to be done. And I am meant to be cutting words, but these things I am seeing require I add more.

It's driving me crazy!

The internal Critic is evil - yet I also hope he's a necessary evil and that by pushing myself harder - in an effort to shut him up - I might actually finish a novel I will be proud of.


Looking At

Blood's Pride
Shattered Kingdom's #1
By Evie Manieri
BUY IT


A generation has passed since the Norlanders' great ships bore down on Shadar, and the Dead Ones slashed and burned the city into submission, enslaving the Shadari people.

Now the Norlander governor is dying and, as his three alienated children struggle against the crushing isolation of their lives, the Shadari rebels spot their opening and summon the Mongrel, a mysterious mercenary warrior who has never yet lost a battle.

But her terms are unsettling: she will name her price only after the Norlanders have been defeated.

A single question is left for the Shadari: is there any price too high for freedom?
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I must admit I like the look of this debut. And I've been reading some favorable reviews about it too. Alas my contacts over at Pan Macmillan have gone silent since since I left Galaxy. (Maybe I should say former contacts?) That may be co-incidence... but then again maybe not.

It's not like I am no-longer working for a book-seller.

In any case Blood's Pride does look good. I'll think more about buying it for review at a later date. Jo Fletcher is certainly grabbing some great books - not that that is at all surprising given her background. I will be keeping a much closer eye on her list, and making a list of my own lol.




Saturday, August 4, 2012

Republic of Thieves Update


For those of you who are waiting - like me - for the next installment is Lynch's awesome series.

It's getting closer but looks like we're going to have a little wait still.

From Lynch Industries:

Q: What the hell is going on with The Republic of Thieves?
A: My current necessary edit to TRoT has been shot all to hell by that lovely anxiety I’ve mentioned. I haven’t talked much about it because I hate talking about it. I can be usefully open about my depression in a way I can’t about my anxiety attacks. Sorry. Suffice to say: They are the reason we can’t have nice things. I have a very good feeling at the moment, however, because I know something you do not. When I can say more, I will not be shy.


Well I've said it before and I've say it again - I don't mind waiting for good fantasy books (not too much anyway).





Seven Princes: A Review

Seven Princes
Books of the Sharpers #1
By John R. Fultz
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The magnificent story of an age of legends - where the children of giants do battle with ancient sorcerers, and no less is at stake than the fate of the world.

An ancient necromancer slaughters the king and his court in front of the unbelieving eyes of crown prince D'zan. From that moment, his life is consumed by one thought - to regain his throne. Others will join him, some will oppose him. In a world where men and giants fight side by side against ancient monsters and new powers, only one thing is sure - war is coming. Blood will run and princes will clash. Seven princes. Seven destinies. All will be legend.




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The debut novel from John R. Fultz is an action packed tale of a man fighting to avenge his fathers murder and reclaim his birthright.

The tag line on the cover advertises 'an age of legends' and it is certainly filled with them, maybe a ltittle too many of them but that could just be a personal preference. Fultz is certainly inventive and has a good grasp of mythology and how the actions of men can be seen by others as larger than life, coupled with sorcery it can make them seem godlike. Legends, living and dead stride through the pages of this epic tome with vigor and it almost seems as though the progeny will never be able to live up to their father's deeds.

Seven Princes is rife with sorcery and heroism and in many respects I'd like to compare the story telling to classic David and Leigh Eddings, however Fultz ramps this style up by washing his pages with very adult scenes of blood and violence, dark sorcery and fratricide and clearly ups the rating of this book from Eddings PG to a definite Adult rating.

The story is also filled with colour. The age of legends and the heroic deeds of the Kings preceding the princes has lead to a time of peace and prosperity in  the Kingdoms and jewel tones pepper the pages in technicolor - when they are not covered in blood.

Seven Princes is a solid, classic tale that blurs the lines between Sword and Sorcery and Epic Fantasy and I am interested to see where Fultz takes his story next as the Seven Princes become the Seven Kings.

Friday, August 3, 2012

In Other News

My first blog post has gone up over on Booktopia's blog here.

It's just the start. I have a lot more books and author's to talk about yet - the genre push is on! I'll be doing reviews and interviews - I've got one happening already.

And f I can't get them all up there, then I'll get them up here.




The Wild Road

The Wild Road
Karavans #3
By Jennifer Roberson
BUY IT


Alisanos, the deepwood, is more than just a forest...

...it is sentient, and predatory. Home to demons and worse, its mercurial boundaries can suddenly shift miles in any direction to encompass previously safe human lands - and those taken by the deepwood are forever changed.

Audrun, a human woman trapped within the forest, is reunited with her four children, only to learn that each has been marked by the deepwood's wild magic. And her newly born fifth child, captured by a winged demon, is still missing.  Audrun has sworn to find the infant, but can a mere human possibly hope to outwit the monstrous inhabitants of Alisanos...and the nightmarish deepwood itself?

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At last, at last! It's (almost) here at last!

I have been waiting for this book for a couple of years now. If you haven't tried Jennifer Roberson Karavan's series you are missing out. Originally it was planned to be a series of stand-alone books but these 3 really do need to be read sequentially.

They are bold, compelling book written by a master who doesn't waste words and weaves an amazing world without pages of info-dump... not that info-dump is bad, but Roberson amazes me who much of a world she can paint with just at the odd description of character or the things around them.

I can't wait!

Karavans
Karavans #1
By Jennifer Roberson
BUY IT











Deepwood
Karavans #2
By Jennifer Roberson
BUY IT

Cover Art: Kingmaker, Kingbreaker

Kingmaker, Kingbreaker
Omnibus
By Karen Miller
BUY IT



Being a fisherman like his father isn’t a bad life, but it’s not the one that Asher wants. Despite his humble roots, Asher has grand dreams. And they call him to Dorana, home of princes, beggars, and the warrior mages who have protected the kingdom for generations.

Little does Asher know, however, that his arrival in the city is being closely watched by members of the Circle, people dedicated to preserving an ancient magic.

Asher might have come to the city to make his fortune, but he will find his destiny.

Pick up the omnibus edition of this bestselling series which includes THE INNOCENT MAGE and THE AWAKENED MAGE.
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How awesome is this cover? It's simple but I think it's very evocative.

Karen is a good friend, and great writer and the Kingmaker, Kingbreaker duology is a rip roaring yarn of magic and high adventure.

You can read my review on The Innocent Mage here.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Wheel of Time is now Completed

Brandon Sanderson has posted on his blog here that he's finished the final draft of A Memory of Light and handed it over to 'Team Jordan' to do copy edit and proof reading.

"And then, today, I did not have a Wheel of Time book to work on."

In January the book will be released and that will be it.

I was very sad when Jordan dies, not just because WoT was unfinished but for all the other stories he'd left unwritten. And while Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickmman's Dragonlance Chronicles where what focused my desire to write fantasy fiction, Jordan's Wheel of Time showed me what it could be like when up ramped the scale up.

Sanderson now turns to Stormlight Archives 2 - which is great. I really liked The Way of Kings and do wnat more of that series.

I now looked forward to January with excitement... and sadness.