Wednesday, August 30, 2017

THE LAST SACRIFICE





“Gripping, horrific, and unique, James Moore continues to be a winner, whatever genre he’s writing in. Well worth your time.”
– Seanan McGuire, New York Times bestselling author of the InCryptid and Toby Daye series

“James A Moore is the new prince of grimdark fantasy. His work is full of dark philosophy and savage violence, desperate warriors and capricious gods. This is fantasy for people who like to wander nighttime forests and scream at the moon. Exhilarating as hell.”
– Christopher Golden, New York times bestselling author of Snowblind

“With The Last Sacrifice, James A. Moore has triumphed yet again, delivering a modern sword and sorcery tale to delight old and new fans of the genre.  With its intriguing premise, stellar cast of characters, and flavorful horror elements, this is damn good stuff.”
– Bookwraiths
“This was a very good read.”
– Purple Owl Reviews
“Epic fantasy at its best.”
– Amanda J Spedding
“Grimdark as fuck!  So in a word “’GREAT’”.
– The Blogin’ Hobgoblin
“I liked The Last Sacrifice a great deal.  I’ve always enjoyed Moore’s work and don’t see that changing anytime soon.  He just keeps getting better.  Check this one out and see.”
– Adventures Fantastic
“What’s Moore to say? People fighting Gods? Bring it! This is a great addition to James A. Moore’s line up.”
– The Book Plank
“I love it. This is a story that turns the genre story arc on its head, mixes up the motives of heroes and villains, and muddies the waters of divine intervention. A fantastic, surprising start to a major new series.”
– Beauty in Ruins
The Last Sacrifice is a solid start to the sordid grim-dark tale documenting the end of a bleak violent world.”
– Smorgasbord Fantasia
“I found The Last Sacrifice to be highly engaging, magical with a distinct grimdark feel and the world herein is richly imagined and cleverly wrought and brought to life. I can’t wait to read the sequel and I am now also eager to check out the other works by this author. I highly recommend this book to all lovers of fantasy.”
– Cover 2 Cover
“I’d recommend this and I’ll be keeping an eye out for the next one. More evil Grakhul/He-Kisshi action please Mr Moore!”
– Ribaldry’s Books
“I was just turning pages as fast as my eyes could devour the words.”
– On A Dark Stormy Review
“Moore has laid the groundwork for a trilogy that promises to be loaded with terrifically grim fantasy storytelling. I might even call it epic. There is a lot of swift, merciless violence in this book, mingled with an undercurrent of very welcome, if very dark, humor. All of it together takes me back to what made me giddy about epic fantasy way back when. I’d say I’m happy to be back, but I’m not sure that’s quite the right word for a book packed with this much violent incident. Let’s say instead that I’m bloody satisfied.”
– Rich Rosell for the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog
“Fast-paced fantasy that you simply can’t put down. Great action adventure.”
– Morpheus Tales
The Last Sacrifice is an enthralling fast-paced book with ass-kicking characters who could only grow stronger as the series progresses.”
– Zirev
“James A Moore throws in elements of horror, dark fantasy, low magic and some amazing world-building into this boiling mix that somehow seems to work. Spinning off the staid old genre story-lines into a new direction with this epic take on God versus Man, The Last Sacrifice is a solid start to the sordid grim-dark tale documenting the end of a bleak violent world.”
– Fantasy Smorgasbord
The Last Sacrifice will tickle the fancy of any fans of grimdark fantasy, with its large cast of characters and earth-shattering consequences.”
– The Warbler Books

“Fantasy lovers will enjoy this book, and while an emphasis on gritty storytelling and horror elements elevates this from more standard magical creatures or hocus-pocus, it is still an absolute page-turner.”
– LeftLion
The Last Sacrifice is dark and violent with no punches pulled. The worldbuilding is epic in scope but focuses on a select few individuals to flesh out the story.” 4.5/5 stars
– San Franciso Book Review

Monday, August 28, 2017

Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival



And here's a list of the scheduled panels for this free event:

Those of you thinking you might show up for only part of the day for The 3rd Annual Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival...think again. Here's the panel schedule for the day.
10:30 -- The Dark Border: Fantasy, Folklore, Fairy Tales and Horror – Why it’s magic when they meet.
-----Craig Shaw Gardner, Kat Howard, Hillary Monahan, James A. Moore, Cat Scully (M), Laurie Faria Stolarz
11:30 -- The New England Mystery Tradition -- Spooky autumn helps horror, but how much are New England mystery authors inspired by the region and its atmosphere?
-----Dana Cameron, Christopher Irvin (M), Leigh Perry, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Sarah Smith, Thomas E. Sniegoski
12:30 – Horror in Comics -- What makes the medium so well-suited for the weird and supernatural, and what do our panelists think is required reading from then and now?
-----Stephen R. Bissette, Jason Ciaramella (M), Rachel Autumn Deering, Brian Keene, Errick Nunnally, Fred Van Lente
1:30 -- Joe Hill: A Season of Strange Weather – Interviewed by Christopher Golden
2:30 – Far North Frights: Horror from above the 42nd parallel Why do so many scary writers love northern New England, from Acadia to the Northern Kingdom?
-----Joseph A. Citro, Tom Deady, Kristin Dearborn, John M. McIlveen, Holly Newstein-Hautala, Douglas Wynne (M)
3:30 – Our Haunted World: Why Do We Need and Read Horror in Scary Times?
-------Nicholas Kaufmann, John Langan, Bracken MacLeod, Mary Sangiovanni, Paul Tremblay, Rio Youers (M)

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Sympathy for the Devil

Sympathy For The Devil: The Villain Protagonist

I’m going to start this off with two quotes from Frank Herbert, who was one of the greats.

“The person who experiences greatness must have a feeling for the myth he is in. He must reflect what is projected upon him. And he must have a strong sense of the sardonic. This is what uncouples him from belief in his own pretensions. The sardonic is all that permits him to move within himself. Without this quality, even occasional greatness will destroy a man.”

“Absolute power does not corrupt absolutely, absolute power attracts the corruptible.”

So I can’t guarantee that I’m the one that came up with the subject, but it certainly is one of my favorites. Believe me, on this one I know of what I speak.

As I have said before (And very possibly here) one of my personal favorites anecdotes involves the editor who got annoyed with me because he asked me to write the story of the bad guy in an anthology based on a role playing game (Mage: The Ascension if you must know) and it really irked him that he wound up not only liking the heavy of the book but also understanding why he had done the things he’d done.

To me that’s just plain flattering.

Here’s the thing. I know that we often deal with the stuff of legends. I mean mythic tales and fantastic creatures. That does not to me at least, mean that we should be writing in black and white. I tend to believe that part of what makes dealing with the stories of legendary creatures more palatable to the average is the fact that the world they are found in is believable. Dudley Do-Right and Snidely Whiplash work just fine in five minute cartoons, but if you try to go that black and white in most stories, I genuinely think you miss out on a lot of the fun. For me it’s vibrant Technicolor for the special effects, and it is definitely shades of gray for motivations.

Again and with feeling: Darth Vader’s a bad dude. According to George Lucas STAR WARS was never about Luke Skywalker. It’s about his father, Anakin, who eventually becomes Darth Vader. He’s got the chops, he’s got the attitude and he’s capable of mayhem on a very large scale. But even he has his reasons for acting like he does. Same is true of the guy who was his inspiration (George Lucas even admitted that much) my pal, my favorite comic book villain, Doctor Doom. I’m not saying either of these guys should be invited over for dinner or allowed access to your cache of passwords, but they have motives for all that they do.

All of the best villains do.

Frank Herbert’s THE WHITE PLAGUE starts off with John Roe O’Neill, a scientist specializing in microbiology and vacationing in Ireland when his wife and children are killed in a random bombing by the IRA. The randomness of the violence and the scientist’s sense of loss and moral outrage break him in that moment. His actions lead to him creating and releasing the plague that is the source of the novel’s title. A plague that leaves men alone but kills women and threatens to kill ALL of the women on the planet. His revenge is definitely a case of overkill, but my, he’s an interesting villain.

Harry Harrison’s THE STAINLESS STEEL RAT is the story of a bank robber and grifter in an era when crime has basically been eliminated. James Bolivar “Slippery Jim” DiGriz, is a criminal who always justifies his actions and abhors killing. As the story progresses he becomes a proper anti-hero when he tries to stop another criminal in the future, one who kills without hesitation and who, again, has good reasons for her actions.

Once upon a time a young writer named Anne Rice decided to do a story from the vampire’s perspective. You might have heard of the tale, a little ditty called INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE. The tale of Louis is intriguing and well told. And by the time it’s done if you haven’t figured out how to have a little sympathy for that particular neck biter you might have to question your own empathy.  His is a tale of tragedy and hubris and suffering and even the most jaded can feel a few pangs for his losses through the centuries. Another writer who did that with a different vampire, by the way, is Fred Saberhagen whose THE DRACULA TAPES did a great job of showing the story of Bram Stoker’s Dracula from a decidedly different perspective. They might sound like similar stories, but they are not. Saberhagen most decidedly did not make Vlad Tepes (Dracula) a sensitive man. Instead he went to the source materials and considered the rather violent and tragic history of the real life man. He was dark, he was brutal and he, too, had his reasons. I recommend both books, by the way.

So what is the appeal of the anti-hero? What makes the villain so damned much fun? That’s simple. They do what we WANT to do.  They do what we THINK about doing and would never let ourselves get away with. They give in to their Id and sometimes (not always) tell their consciences to sit in the corner and wait this dance out.


One of the most popular characters I’ve personally created is a guy named Jonathan Crowley. (Yes, I know there’s a writer by that name. It’s just a coincidence.) Jonathan Crowley is NOT a hero. He’ll be the very first to tell you that. Instead he’s judge, jury and executioner for anything supernatural that he decides has to go away. He’s also, to be kind, not a very nice man. He can be, but that’s the exception and not the rule. He doesn’t like people: he doesn’t like dealing with them, talking to them or treating them with the least bit of common decency. He is exactly and precisely the sort of mean bastard most people would do well to stay away from. He will threaten all kinds of bodily injury on his enemies and he will, by God, follow through on it.

It’s always interesting to examine the ideas of what we would do if our moral compasses were just a little off kilter. In the novella LITTLE BOY BLUE, I have Jonathan Crowley hunt down and torment a man who offended him on the road. The man nearly caused not one but two accidents involving Crowley because he could not wait long enough to get off the road before making a call on his cell phone. Crowley stalks the man to a public restroom and steals his phone. He throws the battery in one trashcan and the phone in another after terrorizing the man and then plays a complete innocent when the police pull him over in an effort to find the phone he has been accused of stealing. Trust me on this: I’ve been tempted a few times. I’ve never actually done it, but I’ve come close. Crowley is willing to do the things I only dream about.

And you want to know the part that still makes me scratch my head? Damned if I haven’t had a substantial number of female readers tell me he’s sexy as hell. I’ve described him a dozen times as plain as the day is long and meaner than he should be and the ladies seem to think that’s just delicious.

Now he’s technically a good guy. He actually does save people, however begrudgingly. But he does what he has to do whether he wants to or not. On the other end of the spectrum is Rufo the Clown. Rufo has hunted down and killed a lot of people. Sometimes he has his reasons. To be fair he’s also a raving lunatic so the very thinnest possible excuse will do for him. He doesn’t mind flaying a person; beheadings are just a good way to pass the time. He has been soaked head to toe in other people’s blood. He has killed children, infants and lots and lots of innocent bystanders in several books. He has also, because it’s in his character, gone out of his way to help a few people at random. In all cases, however, there actually is a motivation behind his actions.

And it delights me to know that several readers found themselves cheering him on and then felt bad about it. Because even dead, psychotic clowns should have reasons for what they do. They need motivations and reasons for what they have become and the lengths they are willing to go to in order to get what they want. And my job as the writer is to make the reader understand those motivations.

There are a lot of heavies in SUBJECT SEVEN, but one of the worst of the lot is the main character himself, Joe Bronx, AKA Subject Seven. For the first ten years of his life he is considered nothing but a lab rat. He is tortured daily and then examined as his body heals itself and his mind begins to scheme. And then one day he escapes from the lab where he is regularly vivisectionized. Being of relatively sound mind and being superhumanly strong, he makes his way in the criminal underworld, learning skills that will eventually be useful to him and slowly, methodically learning all he can about the people who held him and used him as research. He works out careful plans for how to help out the others like him that were left behind. His reasons are not altruistic.  He wants others like himself, yes, but he has every intention of using them to his advantage. He has his reasons for being a sociopath, but he is still not a nice guy. That said, he is still the hero of his own story. No one ever came along to help him when he was being tortured regularly and in fact a few of his early victims were people he had a grudge against.

I’m not saying that every villain should be sympathetic. They are, after all, villains, but I am saying that they should have reasons for what they do and if those reasons are intriguing enough, they can justify their actions, at least in their own twisted minds. Seriously as I have said before and I very likely will many more times, no one gets up in the morning, chortles to him or herself and says “Today I will be the bad guy!” or if they do, they should immediately seek professional help. There should be a method to the madness. There should be a driving force that spurs on the devil. The reasons may not always make sense to rational people, but they should be there because without them the villains (or anti-heroes) in your works are shallow and ring false. That’s my take on it at least.


Just as heroes who don’t have a reason for fighting against the villains come across as two-dimensional, villains who don’t have a reason for either opposing the hero, wanting to rule the world or wanting to destroy it hardly seem interesting.


Art by Alan M. Clarke

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

MERRIMACK VALLEY HALLOWEEN BOOK FESTIVAL

The MERRIMACK VALLEY HALLOWEEN BOOK FESTIVAL 2017 will be held on Saturday, October 21st, 2017, from 10am till 4:30pm. Once again, the event will be held at the Haverhill Public Library (Haverhill, MA) and is FREE and open to the public. Sponsored by River City Writers, Andover Bookstore, Haverhill House Publishing, and--of course--Haverhill Public Library.
So…who’s going to be there? We’re expanding a bit this year, adding a number of writers primarily known for their mystery and thriller novels, and our total number of attending authors and artists has passed FIFTY. Among them, we’re thrilled to welcome back Joe Hill. Joe’s new book, Strange Weather, debuts around the country on October 24th…but we’ve made special arrangements with Joe’s publisher and our friends at Andover Bookstore to have Strange Weather make its official debut three days early, at the Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival. Joe will be on hand to sign them, of course.
But I know you want the full list of attendees, so here you go.
MERRIMACK VALLEY HALLOWEEN BOOK FESTIVAL 2017
Joe Hill
Hank Phillippi Ryan
Sarah Smith
Gregory Bastianelli
Matt Bechtel
Stephen Bissette
Daniel Braum
Dana Cameron
Glenn Chadbourne
Jason Ciaramella
Joseph Citro
Tom Deady
Kristin Dearborn
Rachel Autumn Deering
Barry Lee Dejasu
Amber Fallon
Dan Foley
Craig Shaw Gardner
Christopher Golden
Scott Goudsward
Catherine Grant
Kat Howard
Christopher Irvin
Nicholas Kaufmann
Brian Keene
Toni L.P. Kelner
John Langan
Fred Van Lente
Livia Llewellyn
Bracken MacLeod
John M. McIlveen
Hillary Monahan
James A. Moore
Holly Newstein
Errick Nunnally
Jason Parent
Philip Perron
Leigh Perry
David Price
Mary SanGiovanni
Rob Smales
Thomas Sniegoski
Paul Tremblay
Tony Tremblay
Kenneth Vaughn
Trisha Wooldridge
Douglas Wynne
Rio Youers
I hope to see you all there!
Saturday, October 21st, 2017!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

New Review: CONGREGATIONS OF THE DEAD



So Cohesion Press has released a new version of CONGREGATIONS OF TRHE DEAD, by yours truly and Charles R. Rutledge. They will also be rereleasing BLIND SHADOWS soon and more importantly will be debuting A HELL WITHIN fairly soon. All of wehich is delightful.

Know what else is delightful? New, favorable, reviews. :)

Like THIS ONE.

More news coming soon!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

WICKED HAUNTED

So the New England Horror Writers did a call for stories for their new anthology WICKED HAUNTED. In the tradition of WICKED WITCHES. I submitted and made the grade!

here's the table of contents:


Bracken MacLeod Lost Boy
James A. Moore Pulped
Remy Flagg Murmur
Doungjai Gam We're all Haunted Here
Emma Gibbon Ghost Maker
Kenneth Vaughan And They Too Want to be Remembered
Peter Dudar The Thing With No Face
GD Dearborn Triumph of the Spirit
Nick Manzolillo My Work is Not yet Completed
Paul McNamee East Boston Relief Station
Trisha Wooldridge Ghosts in their eyes
Curtis M. Lawson Everything Smells like Smoke Again
Renee Mulhare Stranding Off Schroodic Point
Tom Deady Turn Up the Old Victrola (a.k.a The Road Part Deux)
Dan Szczesny Boy on the Red Tricycle
Dan Foley They Come With the Storm
Barry Lee Dejasu Tripping the Ghost
Rob Smales Road to Gallway
Paul McMahon The Pick Apart
Morgan Sylvia The Thin Place
Matt Bechtel Walking Man
Larissa Glasser The Mouse
Patricia Gomes Scrying Through Torn Screens















There's no cover yet, but just to let you know how I feel....

SEVEN FORGES-FELLEIN

Okay, so while I've been a writer for a long time, I have not been a FANTASY writer for all that long, relatively speaking. Want to know what I did wrong? NO MAP of Fellein in the SEVEN FORGES books.
Let's rectify that, courtesy of illustrator Cat Scully.

Open and enlarge the files to see the incredible detail work she used. 



Tuesday, August 1, 2017

TIDES OF WAR REVIEWS


Review

“Gripping, horrific, and unique, James Moore continues to be a winner, whatever genre he’s writing in. Well worth your time.”
– Seanan McGuire, New York Times bestselling author of the InCryptid and Toby Daye series

“James A Moore is the new prince of grimdark fantasy. His work is full of dark philosophy and savage violence, desperate warriors and capricious gods. This is fantasy for people who like to wander nighttime forests and scream at the moon. Exhilarating as hell.”
– Christopher Golden, New York times bestselling author of Snowblind

“With The Last Sacrifice, James A. Moore has triumphed yet again, delivering a modern sword and sorcery tale to delight old and new fans of the genre.  With its intriguing premise, stellar cast of characters, and flavorful horror elements, this is damn good stuff.”
– Bookwraiths
“This was a very good read.”
– Purple Owl Reviews
“Epic fantasy at its best.”
– Amanda J Spedding
“Grimdark as fuck!  So in a word “’GREAT’”.
– The Blogin’ Hobgoblin
“I liked The Last Sacrifice a great deal.  I’ve always enjoyed Moore’s work and don’t see that changing anytime soon.  He just keeps getting better.  Check this one out and see.”
– Adventures Fantastic
“What’s Moore to say? People fighting Gods? Bring it! This is a great addition to James A. Moore’s line up.”
– The Book Plank
“I love it. This is a story that turns the genre story arc on its head, mixes up the motives of heroes and villains, and muddies the waters of divine intervention. A fantastic, surprising start to a major new series.”
– Beauty in Ruins
The Last Sacrifice is a solid start to the sordid grim-dark tale documenting the end of a bleak violent world.”
– Smorgasbord Fantasia
“I found The Last Sacrifice to be highly engaging, magical with a distinct grimdark feel and the world herein is richly imagined and cleverly wrought and brought to life. I can’t wait to read the sequel and I am now also eager to check out the other works by this author. I highly recommend this book to all lovers of fantasy.”
– Cover 2 Cover
“I’d recommend this and I’ll be keeping an eye out for the next one. More evil Grakhul/He-Kisshi action please Mr Moore!”
– Ribaldry’s Books
“I was just turning pages as fast as my eyes could devour the words.”
– On A Dark Stormy Review
“Moore has laid the groundwork for a trilogy that promises to be loaded with terrifically grim fantasy storytelling. I might even call it epic. There is a lot of swift, merciless violence in this book, mingled with an undercurrent of very welcome, if very dark, humor. All of it together takes me back to what made me giddy about epic fantasy way back when. I’d say I’m happy to be back, but I’m not sure that’s quite the right word for a book packed with this much violent incident. Let’s say instead that I’m bloody satisfied.”
– Rich Rosell for the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog
“Fast-paced fantasy that you simply can’t put down. Great action adventure.”
– Morpheus Tales
The Last Sacrifice is an enthralling fast-paced book with ass-kicking characters who could only grow stronger as the series progresses.”
– Zirev
“James A Moore throws in elements of horror, dark fantasy, low magic and some amazing world-building into this boiling mix that somehow seems to work. Spinning off the staid old genre story-lines into a new direction with this epic take on God versus Man, The Last Sacrifice is a solid start to the sordid grim-dark tale documenting the end of a bleak violent world.”
– Fantasy Smorgasbord
The Last Sacrifice will tickle the fancy of any fans of grimdark fantasy, with its large cast of characters and earth-shattering consequences.”
– The Warbler Books

“Fantasy lovers will enjoy this book, and while an emphasis on gritty storytelling and horror elements elevates this from more standard magical creatures or hocus-pocus, it is still an absolute page-turner.”
– LeftLion