Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

may the new year bring you nothing but joy, prosperity and good health! Oh, and lots of good books to read.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Les Edwards/Edward Miller

Les Edwards is an illustrator, one of my favorites, in fact, He's actually illustrated a total of three covers fro  me, including what is, hads down, my all time favorite cover, the piece he did for BLOOD HARVEST (The Earthling Publications Edition).

Les also does work as Edward Miller. Because he's really amazing, and because I happen to adore his work I thought I'd share the news that he revamped his site to make it even more user friendly.

Want to see some really, pretty stuff? Go check out his site: Les Edwards. Now, how to convince my publishers to use this man as my artist more often....

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Joe Abercrombie

Now and then I just like the idea of talking about other writers' works. So, today, because I’m on my fourth book by the same author, I thought I’d mention Joe Abercrombie. I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting the man, but if I do I’ll likely shake his hand. His writing is some damned fine work.

Not all that long ago I was talking with Charles R. Rutledge about fantasy and the fact that I hadn’t read it in a very long time. Mostly because I kept running cross the same bloody story and not much of anything else.  Basic premise I saw far too often came down to something like this: a boy who dreams of being a famous warrior lives in a peaceful land and longs for adventure. In the standard issue twist of fate, he gets his wish the hard way when an Ancient Evil (it could be a single sorcerer or an evil warlord, but inevitably there would be minions of that Ancient Evil) would come back from the distant past and start destroying the peaceful kingdom of Nothing-Exciting-Ever-Happens-Here. That boy would then experience a coming of age that likely involved the destruction of his peaceful little town (and possibly the enslavement of all his friends and family, plus that cute girl he just knows he’s destined to be with) and said boy would run away and happen across the inevitable magic item that was foretold to save the world from the return of the Ancient Evil. Along the way he’d likely meet a bitter nobleman, a wizard or two, a few archers and a thief. They would all be an important part of his coming of age experience and would all prove to be the best allies a young man could ever have. Also, there would either be another girl, even feistier than the one he left behind, or the one he left behind would show up and they would end up together in the end. Oh, and some sort of critter that would endearingly be like the team mascot and save the day a few times.

Now, to be fair, I probably only ran across five or six variations of that theme, most of them involving elves, dwarves, dragons and the occasional wizard. But it was enough to turn me away from the fantasy genre for a long, long time.

Charles told me he had the cure for that. And the nest time we got together, he brought me a few books to read. At the top of that stack was a trilogy of books by Joe Abercrombie, THE FIRST LAW Trilogy, comprised of THE BLADE ITSELF, BEFORE THEY ARE HANGED and THE LAST ARGUMENT OF KINGS. For lack of a better way to put it, Abercrombie apparently looked at all the same books I did when I was younger and used them as a perfect example of what not to do.

The FIRST LAW trilogy weaves the tales of multiple main characters—I hesitate to call them heroes, when some of them are really not very nice people—and spins them together into a tapestry of political intrigue, warfare and sorcery and, gasp, realism. The story is about a world in the process of upheaval. Things are changing, though for better or worse is anyone’s guess. But there are players involved in making things happen, there’s a barbarian, there’s a swordsman, and there’s a torturer. Oh, and there’s a wizard. Maybe. He could just be bluffing, really. He’s behind a lot of machinations, but he’s also the last one to tell anyone at all what he’s up to.
The characters are fleshed out, living, breathing figures, some of them brave, some of them cowardly, some of them heroic some of them damned near demonic, and very few of them at all what I expected. I, who had sworn off of reading fantasy ever again, could not put the damned books down. I, who read at a snail’s pace these days (listen I work a fulltime job, and I write full time and there are only so many hours in the day) burned through the books at four to five times my normal reading speed and hungered for more.

I thanked Charles, of course. And he in turn showed up with more books, but we’ll get to those later. Right now I’m still going on about Abercrombie’s works. Well, actually, I have my own writing to get back to, so I’ll only say a little more. Recently Charles suggested BEST SERVED COLD to me. It’s a book that takes place in the same world. I’m just over halfway through the story and once again I find I’m reading more than I really should, and gleefully giving up sleep to make up the difference. It has been a very long time since I willingly sacrificed sleep for a novel, but BEST SERVED COLD is well worth the sacrifice. Once again the characters are delightfully human, and sometimes brutally flawed.

About two weeks ago Abercrombie’s latest in the same world, RED COUNTRY, came out in hardback. I’ll be buying it. And I’ll be buying it soon. Mister Abercrombie has pretty much gotten a fan for life in me. Unless he suddenly starts writing about elves and long lost rings, that is.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Next Big Thing Redux

So I was asked by another author to do another NExt Big Thing. Last time it was Charles R. Rutledge and this time around it's G N Braun and, by golly, I'm doing it again. Last time around it was SEVEN FORGES. This time around it's CONGREGATIONS OF THE DEAD, which, ironically, is the sequel to the book that Charles wrote about on his Next Big Thing Meme. BLIND SHADOWS (See Charles' Next Big Thing) just came out and already sold out and will soon be released in e-book format and as a trade paperback from DarkFuse Books. Time will tell about CONGREGATIONS OF THE DEAD. 

Apparently I'm supposed to ask several people to follow after me on this endeavor and I'm doing it wrong. Consider this an open challenge: I have done two in a month,because I have two projects recently finished or still being worked on. What are YOU writing? Let us know....

What is the working title of your book?


Where did the idea for the book come from?

Well, I did a novel with Charles R. Rutledge called BLIND SHADOWS and we liked the characters so much that we wanted to do another. Charles came up with a quote from the Bible that we both thought was interesting and the two of us kicked around a few ideas and started writing.

What genre does your book fall under?

Hmm, One part crime novel, one part horror novel, one part southern gothic with a twist of weird. Shake well and serve chilled.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie version.

That’s genuinely hard to say. The two main characters aren’t exactly the usual leading man material. They’re a couple of big bruisers. I could sort of see Josh Brolin in a part, or Joe Don Baker, Or Ryan Hurst, Taylor Kitsch, Thomas Hayden Church…a lot of variables and most of them not quite in the same age bracket, so, you know, it’s not easy to come up with the two guys who would play the leads.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of the book?

   A private investigator and a local southern sheriff work on separate missing children cases that lead into a dark conflagration of troubles.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Though nothing is written in ink at this time, we’ve got an eye towards using the same publisher as we did for BLIND SHADOWS, Arcane Wisdom for the limited edition and Dark Fuse for the trade paperback and e-version and I hope that’ll work out as I always enjoy working with that team.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

About 6 weeks. Maybe 8, but I think 6. We’re sort of prolific along those lines. He writes a scene, I write a scene and we bounce it back and forth that way.

What other books would you compare this story with in your genre?

I’m going to give the same answer that Charles gave in a similar series of questions: The best comparison I can think of is the Joe R. Lansdale “Hap & Leonard” books, only with monsters.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I have a love of crime novels and a love of horror stories. The same could fairly be said about my co-author. We just wanted to have a bit of fun fusing the two together. The influences are numerous, to be kind. Weird fiction and crime fiction rolled into one.

What else about your book might pique the interest of readers?

There’s a solid mystery going on here, and there’s a lot of action sequences. We both of us have a love of the old pulps and that’s the sort of feel we were going for.

   So there you go. Be sure and swing by Geoff Brown’s site and check out the other writers involved.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

James A. Moore, Word Whore

Yep. I'm going to be a regular on the Word Whores blog. You can expect a new article from me every Monday, right here. Been a while since I've been a regular contributor, but what the heck. Besides, I've been a word whore for a long time, but never been a part of a word brothel!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Seven Forges meets Angry Robot

Well, that pretty much sums it up, really. Angry Robot Books is going to publish SEVEN FORGES and the rest of the series. The contracts are being worked out, the ink will be signed soon, and there's a tentative release for sometime next summer.

That puts me in some mighty fine company. How fine? Check them out. I have. My buddy Charles R; Rutledge suggested them to me as a publisher and suggested several books by them as examples of the sort of work they do. The front page shows several books and gives links to many, many fine authors.

I am extremely pleased to make the announcement.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Next Big Thing Blog Meme

So, as is often the case with this sort of thing, I was told about this by my friend and co-author Charles R. Rutledge. You can find his version of this here.  The idea is to talk about something you've been working on recently. The "Next Big Thing" you have coming out. Charles was told about this and invited in by his friend Howard Andrew Jones. You can check out Howard's answers right here. See the links? I like links. You get to explore so much more that way, you know?

Anyhow, here's my answers to this particular meme. Charles invited me in and I asked him if I should report on BLIND SHADOWS, the sequel to the same, CONGREGATIONS OF THE DEAD, or my new fantasy novel SEVEN FORGES. He said to go with SEVEN FORGES, because he covers BLIND SHADOWS pretty well in his answers. On the off chance that you've forgotten, BLIND SHADOWS is out collaborative effort that has just been released. 

What is the working title of your book?

SEVEN FORGES, which is also the name of the trilogy it belongs to.

Where did the idea for the book come from?

I love fantasy novels. Well, I love the idea of fantasy novels. When I was younger I read a lot of them. Most of them seemed to me to be the same story after a while and I became disillusioned. I moved on and found other genres. But I still have an abiding love of the genre and I wanted to explore a few ideas that didn’t really fit with horror as well. In this case, we’re talking culture clashes, religious differences, radically different lifestyles and, of course, revenge.

What genre does your book fall under?

Decidedly fantasy. In particular, I’d call it sword and sorcery.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie version.

We’re talking a very large cast. Gerard Butler, Vin Diesel, Scarlet Johansson, Molly C. Quinn, Andrew Garfield and at least a dozen more.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of the book?

   A thousand years after a world war ends with a cataclysm, the victors run across the survivors they thought couldn’t possibly exist.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Barring a catastrophic failure in negotiations, SEVEN FORGES will come out from a major publishing house. I really can’t say who yet, as the ink has not yet been placed on the contracts.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

   I spent about a year kicking around ideas, wrote the first part of the novel over the span of a month or so, and then when a publisher said they wanted to see the rest of the novel, I kicked into high gear and finished in around another month, so actual writing time was about seven weeks.

What other books would you compare this story with in your genre?

Honestly, and I’m sure there are a few, I don’t know of any to compare to it, because I’ve been out of the genre for a very long time. I can say that Robert E. Howard was very influential in my approach, and so were Fritz Leiber and Michael Moorcock.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I had a few discussions with Charles R. Rutledge, and we chatted about what we liked and what we didn’t like about most modern fantasy. I think as much as anything else those conversations started me thinking seriously about tackling the idea that until then had just been a notion on the back burner.

What else about your book might pique the interest of readers?

   Carnage, violence, a side of romance, a dash of horror and, hopefully, a few tricks no one has seen in the genre before.

   So there you go. Be sure and swing by Charles and Howard's sites and check out the other writers involved.