Saturday, July 31, 2010


I have to remind myself (or have my wife do it) that I am published and to STOP getting bugged that my book isn't out there on the best-seller lists.

I always told friends that I would write EVEN IF I knew it would never be published-well, LO and Behold I did get published and even have a contract for multiple volumes in the series...SO I am beyond what some doubtful friends said-"Oh there isn't a market for what you do."

Guess what?

There IS.

There is a market for what I do and for what near anyone does-there is varying degrees and certainly the marketing/advertising helps but if I stop and think about it I should be damn grateful.
I have accomplished what I set out to do.
I started writing these particular adventure stories for fun back in early 2004-about six years later they are available for anyone who wants to get them.

I used to imagine if they were an underground hit I would be very pleased-veritable modern day pulps-hey I'm awesome. I haven't sold a million copies yet-BUT-if 99% of all the feedback I am getting back is positive--people like what I do. And they aren't even reading it with a flashlight under the covers like I first envisioned.

I have also been reminded by a friend to remind all of you to nominate HEROES OF THE FALLEN, for the Whitney Awards, I am eligible for 2010
Whitney nominations here. Thanks

I just discovered Heroes of the Fallen is now an e-book for the kindle too (for those so technologically inclined) get it here.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fantastic Young Art

My 5 year old son draws an lot lately-says he would like to do comic books of his own. I encourage his muse and present to you a few of his fantasy based offerings. I'm bugged I couldn't find his version of Tower of the Elephant-I'll find it and post it soon.

He wanted to do my book cover after I told him I would love it if he did a book cover for me someday. I like the smile on the Nephites face and the frown on the Lamanites face.
A spidery lil Cthulhu
An image from one of his favorite movies (though not mine so much) 9
The Kraken from the old Clash of the Titans, nice touch with Andromeda against the cliff walls.
Just a giant squid attacking a vampire in a boat-it could happen.
Medusa-inspired a little more from the older Clash of the the Titans
A scene from the latest Clash of the Titans movie-Perseus vs. Giant Scorpions
Halloween is his favorite holiday. This might be Nightmare before Christmas inspired.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Consider the Sword

I just got back from a vacation that was a wee bit longer than I planned on. It was pretty good, nice & cool in the mountains. I signed books for a number of people in my hometown and felt invigorated to show the old librarian I amounted to...something.

So I am about to throw myself back into that maddening crimson universe I call my mind (because I didn't during vacation) and pull out story, type it and present it to you and in so doing I will always consider the sword.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Silver-Lined Review

I am still out of town--turns out I will be away from the office a full week longer than I planned and thus hardly ever online-but I want to mention checking out a review of Heroes of the Fallen by Brian Murphy of the Silver Key blog.

It is one of my personal favorite blogs and well worth checking out.

Thank you very much for the review Brian, though I have to wonder at how many of my long time friends will chuckle at "devout Mormon."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Congrats to my Bro & News

My brother Steve is getting married in Montana this weekend so I'll be running up there today, be good to hang with family I haven't seen in awhile and I'll even drop by one of my old haunts (Chapter One Books and leave a couple signed copies)

Its nice to take a break every now and again, let the well refill and pick up something new for a future project.

Just submitted a short scary piece to Papercut Books for a Call of Lovecraft anthology-I'll let you know if they bite. And I am very nearly done with my new extra scenes for Blood of Our Fathers to turn over to my editor.

I have also begun work on a collaborative project that is pretty exciting, can't wait to dive into some of these new characters I have come up with=John Ten-Bears, I am basing him on Will Sampson and Shyla Kane, who while a modern day character--I have named her in tribute to Solomon Kane. I need to keep the rest of the details close to the vest for a little longer, but this is gonna be good.

Yes this makes for likely 5 or 6 current working projects-I need to prioritize and organize better.

So its a pretty good first half of July for me.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Strange Sights This Week

J.R.R. Tolkien aged 2.

Vote Cthulhu.

Spider problem?

From Russia With Love.


It's all about the timing.

Russian Spies? Where?

Here's Cookie!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Characters: Who Should Die?

Adding another log to the fire of my blazing (well smoldering) glory, Berin Stephens (Dragon War Relic)reviewed Heroes of the Fallen here and I wanted to pass that on.

Considering the feedback I have received from a lot of reviews I am pondering the sheer number of characters.
When I wrote the first short stories-which will come into play in Book 3, I intended to only have a few key characters-Amaron and Zelph. My thinking at the time had been comparing what I really loved-Robert E. Howard and JRR Tolkien to what I merely liked-Robert Jordan, George RR Martin. I wanted to bridge the two because I do like the epic scope that the latter bring but I always thought they had too many characters that took away momentum from who I wanted to hear stories about~the Heroes.

But to fully envelope the beginning of the end (as I see it) for my full tale, it took a lot of characters initiating events that would manipulate the prime characters lives-and not a single person has accused me of wasting time or being (heaven forbid) dull.

So in answer to a lot of commotion I have read-guess what? A lot of people die in Blood of Our Fathers. The theme of the book is sacrifice and the herd will be thinned dramatically. I took a count some months ago and 50% of the characters won't make it to book 3. This was always the plan it's just getting initiated later than perhaps expected. It used to be one book after all.

Who will or won't? Hopefully someone you care about.

If you have read the book let me know who should die-and if you haven't throw someone off the tower anyway.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Just Released

I have finally placed a couple sample chapters up for you to read if you so desire as well as a review snippets page just because. And yes I did resist the temptation to post a piece of everything anyone has written about the book because that would have easily doubled my workload and you get the general idea.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Books Read This Last Week...or so

Pirates and the Lost Templar Fleet, by David Hatcher Childress
As far as I am concerned Childress writes about the most entertaining historical non-fiction out there. Why? Because he has an entertaining flair, he HAS been there done that and is never afraid to throw in wild speculation.
This is a boon for historical fiction writers, a gold mine of what-if's.
I have read several of his books now and also heartily recommend his magazine World Explorer for a little bit of everything that a modern day Indian Jones might need - or at least inspiration needs.
Pirates & Lost Templar Fleet relates largely to the whole circumference of sailing and Masonry. Stuff I find fascinating, stuff I read so much about already that DaVinci Code seemed like old hat to me.
And for me the new nuggets to be gleaned here are far more interesting than things Brown ever touched on anyway-while there is speculation, there is enough in the book that is verifiable historical fact it boggles the mind.
Childress brings together the whole of "the Craft" and presents a wondrous book.

I kinda got on a Monster/Supernatural kick here.

Memoirs of a Monster Hunter, by Nick Redfern
Redfern has been on a number of weird TV programs so I was vaguely aware of him and a couple weeks ago he was on another episode of History Channels Monster Quest and I remembered I found this at the thrift store awhile back. I have always been fascinated with Monsters so I gave it a whirl.
He does have some interesting 3rd hand stories from other people-good stuff-but a lot of the book dragged for me and I wasn't as captured as I was by guys like John Keel or Loren Coleman. I would say it made me interested in reading some of his other books though because I did find myself agreeing with most all of his conclusions about mysterious creatures.

Extra-Terrestrial Friends and Foes, by George C. Andrews
This is the second time I read this (its been 12 years) because I wanted to recap a few things about Templar knights after reading Childress, but I got sucked in and reread the whole thing in a day and a half because it is full of weirdly goodness. I get interested in the tying together of alien invaders and Nazi's and all other manner of high strangeness-as I have mentioned earlier-veritable gold mine for fiction writers. Andrews tackles so much it blazes all together in a fury (there really isn't much about Templar's) still its an entertaining read if you're not worried about the Grey's being allied with the NWO.

Hunt for the Skinwalker, by Colm A. Kelleher & George Knapp
This is honestly one of the creepiest books I have ever read late at night. I kept looking at the window, half expecting something to be there.
It is the (supposed) true account of a place relatively close to me out near Fort Duschene Utah.
They changed the names in the book referring to it as the Gorman ranch.
(shhh...really the Sherman ranch)
These folks buy a ranch for a good price out in north-eastern Utah, next to the Rez, and weird stuff starts happening. Strange lights, UFO's, cattle mutilations, poltergeist activity, giant wolves attack their cattle and then can't be killed by regular guns! and strange hairy beings.
Local Indians say the ranch is located in the path of the Skinwalker-we are talking bad ju-ju.
I am making light of it now but I am dead serious this book creeped me out about as bad as reading the Necronomicon (book of dead names as transcribed by Dr. John Dee) late at night 10 years ago.
Back at the ranch.
A millionaire who wanted to investigate UFO's ended up buying the ranch and trying to do a whole lot of research there-it essentially amounted to bunk as far as proving anything for certain but still mucho weirdness.
I know I'll read it again someday.

Skinwalkers, by Tony Hillerman
And now the only labeled fiction mention of the week. A mystery involving tribal police down near the four corners area. I had no trouble visualizing things in the book because I lived very near the places mentioned for about 8 months in 2006, right next to the Rez.
Basically it seems witchcraft is causing some murders and its up to Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn to sort it out. Classic mismatched buddy cop scenario and while Hillerman is a restrained clean writer (no sex, no gore, no foul language) his style also lacked a certain punch I like.
I did feel pulled along because I'm interested in the witchcraft aspect (as mentioned above) and Hillerman writes his characters very well but I couldn't say this was as good as I hoped for. I probably will give another of his novels a chance though.

Next week an eclectic collection that has nothing to do with any of these.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Razored Review at Elder Signs Press

Just got a review for Heroes of the Fallen posted at Elder Signs Press. Written by Charles Gramlich, this meant a lot to me because I'd been hoping for some of that writerly validation from someone I'd like to consider a Heroic Fantasy peer.

Thanks Charles.

Ages Undreamed Of vol.7 Towers of Death

In a remote valley in northern New Mexico an entire people were murdered and the usual explanations don't fit.

A people known today as the Gallina (because we don't know what they called themselves) lived in the Gallina River valley. They built homes of wood-and great squared towers of stone from 25 to 35 feet high. Over 500 of these towers have been found in the valley-most crumbling now to ruin. These towers look like medieval fortifications, they are squared and each tower had a parapet with a hatch-being the only way with which to enter the towers. While grain was stored in some of them the kicker is they are full of dead people who were brutally murdered as they sought shelter wherever they could.

IF a skeleton of one of the Gallina is found it is almost certainly embedded with arrowheads or barring that a viciously broken neck or crushed skull. Cut marks on the bones denote the blows of an ax. Some skeletons have been found in a crouching position of supplication or surrender...and with broken necks, the aggressor stood above and smote them hard enough that skulls were knocked backward between the shoulder blades cracking vertebrae-brutal indeed. (Alma: 24?)

In one of the collapsed towers the broken body of a woman warrior was discovered - 16 obsidian arrowheads in her mummified body. The attackers not only smashed a portion of the tower crushing those inside with her, they also set what timbers were there aflame, charring the arrow shafts protruding from her body.
A warrior to the end, this woman's bow was still clutched in her left hand. If this doesn't inspire further tales for my Heroes of the Fallen series I don't know what will.

Another unusual aspect is a number of the skulls were flattened from birth-as in these were a people that performed skull deformation from birth-perhaps further signifying a distinction from the tribes of Native Americans associated with the region. From what I have read the Gallina are absolutely not claimed by local tribes.

And according to the Odious and Peculiar Blog these tunnels pictured (a good 25 feet straight back) are curiously blocked off by large stones. What mystery
waits silently walled behind them? What secrets brood with the ghosts of ages past?

So what is the reason for the genocide? Scientists today investigating the area always trot out the tired explanation of drought for the disappearance of nearly all the fantastic cultures of the southwest but the Gallina absolutely defy any attempt at a migrational answer.

Someone wanted them all dead.
The first archaeologist to investigate the valley a Frank C. Hibben called it "vengefullness without any quarter".
These were crimes of passion-hate against an entire race.

So who were the Gallina? According to Hibben their tools and pottery denote a people from the Mississippi region-not the southwest!!! This fits nicely with my writing. So now you know what grim events the future has in store.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Farewell to Friberg

Arnold Friberg died yesterday, he was 96. One of my absolute favorite artists it pained me that the last few years I had seen his work disparaged so much online, the heroic figures of his works are absolute icons and he did not deserve to be nitpicked. He was the only American to ever be made an honorary member of the RCMP (Canadian Mounties) His creations have set the bar in regards to religious paintings.
Along with Frank Frazetta, Friberg was the artist I dreamt of one day painting a book cover for me.
RIP Brother Friberg, painter of Heroes.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

RIVERS: Ancient Highways

I have taken longer than I meant for a variety of reasons I'm not going to get into but the sequel for HEROES OF THE FALLEN, BLOOD OF OUR FATHERS is very nearly finished. It was already written but I had to add in some new scenes and adjust a few things on behalf of the new material added to HEROES.

Looking back, I am surprised at how much happens on the water but should I be? The ancients used rivers as highways, they weren't obstacles they were opportunities, it was a great road you could sit on (going downstream). So in my attempt at writing adventuresome, yet realistic ancient peoples of course I ended up with a lot of things happening on the rivers/sea's.

Good thing I have a little bit of experience with this-rafting the Bitteroot/Clark Fork river, it's where I grew up in Montana - of "A River Runs Through It" fame. Rafting white water rapids on the Snake and Selway and innumerable creeks, even a little bit of laziness on the Mississippi. I have swam in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, with Hawaii being the most fun--even if that is a far cry from what I'm presenting in the novel.

Quite a few times on these wilder western rivers we have been dumped and almost drowned. I recall on the Bitteroot tipping the raft over when we hit a submerged fallen tree and "Liz" (who had a life vest on) got caught on a branch. It held her fast underwater and she gripped me around the neck in a calm collective way of asking for help. It was a inspiring struggle to be strangled while fighting the current-her vest strap looped on a branch and had to be pulled up against the force of the rushing water to free her.
In her panic I don't think she ever realized how much she strangled me.
Once I got her loose, we had to drift downriver aways to retrieve the raft, and I (who did not have a vest on), got hit with some undertow-that was worse than Liz. Good thing the other guys were able to catch the raft.

So expect some water with your "Blood of our Fathers"

What places have you taken for your own in your writings?