Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Year in Review

I can't believe it's gone, 2017, so full full of hopes and dreams and yet there were plenty of people ready to kick it in the balls like a mule, just for existing. Plenty of bad news and yet, it was pretty good for. Its been my most successful year yet as far as writing goes, beginning with great success for SCAVENGERS, the sequel CRAZY HORSES and then my first pen name novel BRUTAL which surpassed the other books easily. Audio-books (both Scavengers and Brutal - should be out withing a month or so) are coming early in the new year and I'm very excited for that, and I had quite a few short stories out this year too - always a good sign, there no money in them to speak of, but shorts have a dear place in my heart.

Things have been great with the family and I have had a blast with my writing friends at the cons and such. I am planning on really kicking things into gear in the new year - I know I always say that, but this time I mean it. I feel like I now know enough about marketing and such to crank up the success meter with writing and all I've got to do is produce, produce, produce = write, write, write!

So for the rest of Year in Review, I'll talk about things I liked.

Favorite movie? Hell if I know, I'm trying to think of anything I saw, worth a damn. I probably enjoyed the Marvel movies most.

Favorite food? I had a lot of steak this year, the more expensive cuts I get used to the more I need to keep having them and not worrying about price- ah the joys of success.

Favorite trip/travel this year? I did have a good Christmas vacation to see my folks with the kids but the best trip this year was definitely my wife and I's getaway to Maui - it was awesome, beautiful, romantic and I even got quite a bit of writing in too.

Favorite Music? New/Current music is getting harder and harder for me to enjoy, though I do like Sir Sly, Portugal the Man, and Atlas Genius. Instead I've been listening to a lot of old school funk because my 2 year old loves it so much, I'm talking Earth, Wind and Fire, Kool and the Gang, Ric James, The Commodores, Sly Stone, Parliament Funkadelic, Chic, Marvin Gaye etc etc

Oh and I have been enjoying the instrumental score work of Daniel Pemberton from King Arthur Legend of the Sword and The Man from Uncle. Good writing mood music.

Now the real reason you're here Books:

I can't narrow it down to any one but I can talk about the ones that really grabbed me.

Kings of the Wyld, by Nicolaus Eames
Bear in mind that this book is actin movie fun, its adventure, ts monsters, its funny and so on, never mind that this fantasy world couldn't really exist geopolitically and there are numerous anachronisms in there - its still a very enjoyable read with great characters and dialogue. I might have said it would be better if it was a little more realistic? serius? but then it wouldn't be Kings of the Wyld.

Blackwing, by Ed McDonald
This is where you complain that there is no pleasing me. I loved Blackwing, wonderful sorcerous grit  and surprises, but what do I think would have made it even better? - If it had just a little more humor it could have been a classic. So there, too much in Kings, not enough in Blackwing, maybe if Eames and McDonald collaborated??? Again, this is all just a reflection on me and my eclectic tastes.

The Burning Isle, by Will Panzo
It has a premise similar to mine in Brutal, stranger comes to town and starts tearing it up - playing the bad guys against each other = Yojimbo, Fistful of Dollars, Red Harvest etc etc
This is a little different in that it is magic duels instead of samurai or gunfights, but still, great characters and motivations, there were some good surprises and one thing I just loved - there is a character that its totally Karl Edward Wagner's KANE. I mean its not Kane, nobody ever calls him Kane but between you and me = ITS KANE! I even asked Will on twitter about it and he pretty much confirmed.

Witchy Eye, by Dave Butler
Dave has been my friend for a long time and I knew this book was coming like five years ago! = Traditional publishing schedules people - anyhow, it is a dense fantasy world in what might have been America. I don't know of anyone else working today with as many layered nuances begging for continual rereads to catch all the depth as Butler, I'm going to have to dive in again before the sequel comes out.

There are quite a few other books I'm forgetting in the moment and several from friends I meant to get to and haven't yet, - BUT I WILL.

So, in closing, I hope you all have a great New Years and I'll see you on the other side.

p.s. Some shots of things to come

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Fantasy Noir or The Maltese Falcon with Monster Girls

I've always been a fan of noir, and the older I get the more I think I appreciate the grim attitude and sense of corruption bleeding around the edges of smoke filled back alleys and luxurious parties. It just makes good fiction. Among my favorite works are classics by Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, and of course my introduction to them was through film and the amazing Humphrey Bogart first, I didn't read the books until quite a bit later.

So when my friend Jason King asked a few of his author pals if we would be interested in writing stories set in his world of Valcoria, I thought sure - IF - I can still do it my way.

As luck would have it, Jason was actually kind of hoping that we would take his premise and run with it and help him flesh it out a bit, as it turned out he was very happy with how we did things and especially with my novella - because my story kept growing - he changed up a bit for the next book he has coming. So this isn't just a bunch of screenshots of stories set in his world, these are integral points in the ongoing series, so I'm excited for that. Especially since I went all fantasy detective noir with my story - Jia  For Luck.

In the world of Valcoria, Jia is another name for magical power, people have a Jia of Strength, Intelligence, Power, Magic's etc etc
My world weary protagonist, Tam Zphinx, isn't so blessed with anything except perhaps an amazing amount of luck considering all the trouble he gets into, throw in some gorgeous dames and monstrous killers and you've got a winning combination.

Here is the Table of contents
Ice Witch, James Wymore
Vaekra Take Me, D.J. Butler
A Dream of Clouds, Mathew Cox
Interlude 1
Tremors Within The Storm, Daniel Swenson
Thought Power, Sarah E. Seeley
By Blade & Blood, C.J. Workman
Interlude 11
Just Breathe, Holli Anderson
Jia For Luck, David J. West

Oh and just like I used Jia from Jason's stories my good friend Dave Butler used Vaekra Take Me as his title, that being one of the swears, Jason incorporated into the books, funny thing is, I actually thought about using that as my title, until realizing Butler already did!

Anyhow, check it out if you're so inclined, this 22K novella is my last release for 2017!
Available here

and if I had to do a one sentence description of my story, I think I'd go with
The Maltese Falcon with Monster Girls.