Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Goodreads Choice Awards: The Fantasy Finalists

Well, we didn't make it to the finals, but I meant it when I said it was an honor to be nominated in the first round. So who has advanced on? Here's the group of 10.

There's a lot of great things to note in this list.
  • Like the US midterms, women are really kicking butt and taking names.  7 of the ten titles are written by women, just two by men, and one by a man/woman pair. That's so great to see!
  • A debut novel made the list (R.F. Kuang's The Poppy War). This is an amazing achievement, and my congratulations and good wishes go to her for continued success.
  • None of the write-ins advanced, but that's usually the case given they miss an entire round of voting. Still, they each should be proud to make the semi-finals. So good for them!
Here are links (and updated status) to aid you in the final round of voting.

TitleAuthorSeries Rating  # Ratings  Shelved by 
Beneath the Sugared Sky Seanan McGuire Wayward Children #34.099,65627,215
Burn Bright Patricia Briggs Alpha & Omega #54.2912,33230,141
Circe Madeline Miller N/A4.3550,02065,001
Grey Sister Mark Lawrence Book of the Ancestor #24.478,04122,980
High Voltage Karen Marie Moning Fever #104.337,83830,595
Iron and Magic Ilona Andrews Iron Covenant #14.4510,78427,373
The Poppy War R.F. Kuang Poppy War #14.097,63348,826
The Shape of Water Guillermo del Toro & Daniel Kraus N/A3.996,92430,805
Spinning Silver Naomi Novik N/A4.3117,54976,478
Year One Nora Roberts Chronicles of The One #14.0730,17176,499

Voting is open for the final round and it ends November 26th, so cast your ballot now!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

A 7th GoodReads Choice Award Nomination

It's that time a year again! No, I'm not talking about the approaching holiday shopping season (although I've already seen Early Black Friday sales online, and television commercials featuring Santa).  What I'm referring to is the Goodreads Choice Award Voting.

I'm sorry for the lateness regarding this announcement. Robin and I have been in Italy at the Lucca Convention, and while we could see that Age of War was nominated (on our phones and tablets), we didn't have access to computers to do an official blog post on the subject. Well, we're back, and the second round of voting is underway.

Fifteen books were picked by the Goodreads staff in the opening round, including the following titles.

Here are links to the books in case you want to check them out, along with some data from Goodreads.

TitleAuthorSeries Rating  # Ratings  Shelved by 
Age of War Michael J. Sullivan Legends of the First Empire #34.474,13419,844
Beneath the Sugared Sky Seanan McGuire Wayward Children #34.099,54626,715
The Book of M Peng Shepherd N/A3.753,90929,834
Burn Bright Patricia Briggs Alpha & Omega #54.2812,24729,652
Circe Madeline Miller N/A4.3548,95062,146
Grey Sister Mark Lawrence Book of the Ancestor #24.477,92522,430
High Voltage Karen Marie Moning Fever #104.337,76930,269
Iron and Magic Ilona Andrews Iron Covenant #14.4510,62226,616
The Land: Predators Aleron Kong Chaos Seeds #74.604,4918,737
The Poppy War R.F. Kuang Poppy War #14.097,63348,826
Senlin Ascends Josiah Bancroft Books of Babel #14.255,95831,157
The Shape of Water Guillermo del Toro & Daniel Kraus N/A3.986,81929,941
Spinning Silver Naomi Novik N/A4.3117,13875,254
Wrath of Empire Brian McClellan Gods of Blood and Powder #24.563,0489,900
Year One Nora Roberts Chronicles of The One #14.0729,93675,242

During the first round, five books were added by write-in ballots from Goodreads readers, increasing the total list for the semi-finals to twenty titles.  The added books included the following:

And here are their Goodreads links and data.

TitleAuthorSeries Rating  # Ratings  Shelved by 
Bloody Rose Nicholas Eames Band #24.362,2159,544
Foundryside Robert Jackson Bennett Founders #14.352,85222,703
The Girl in the Tower Katherine Arden Winternight Trilogy #24.4218,02754,670
Magic Triumphs Ilona Andrews Kate Daniels #104.6110,12229,310
Time's Convert Deborah Harkness All Souls Trilogy #43.966,73338,704

Current voting will narrow the field down to ten finalists. Although I've had seven nominations, I'm pretty sure none of my books have made it to the final round (which is fine, truly it's an honor just to be nominated). So, as always, I'm asking you to vote for the book you want to win the most, and if that happens to turn out to be Age of War, that'd be even better!  Voting in the semi-final round ends November 11th so cast your ballot now!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

I'm one of #BrandonsBuddies, hopefully you will be, too

F*CK CANCER! Yeah, I don't usually use such language as that, but in this case, I'll make an exception. I lost my father and my sister to this dreaded disease, I've trained and rode in a fund-raising campaign when my old and feeble body was barely up to the task, I've donated stories for Shawn Speakman's Unfettered books to help end his medical debt (and reduce the debts of other fellow authors), and now I'm joining with hundreds of fantasy authors to support one of our own.

Brandon Barr is dying. Nothing can be done to stop that fact, but hopefully, we in the fantasy community can help bring a little peace of mind to him, by providing some financial support to the wife and three boys who he leaves behind. So, I've become one of #BrandonsBuddies, and I hope you will, too. How do you do so?

  • Why not pick up one (or several) of Brandon's books, Rise of the Seer has just been released at an introductory price of $0.99.
  • You can join me in donating to Brandon's GoFundMe Campaign it's already raised more than 1/3 of it's $100,000 goal.
  • You can help spread the word about Brandon, his work, and the horrific situation he finds himself in on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites. Please use the hashtag #BrandonsBuddies. 

I've never read any of Brandon's books, but a lot of people have. Brandon is a USA Today Bestselling author, and here's what some people are saying about his stories:

"I’ve read a few books by Brandon, and he never disappoints. His books take you into a new world, but you get pulled in so deeply that you swear you are there. Looking forward to the next release." -- BellaT (Amazon Reviewer)

"Like all of the books by this author this series is captivating, the reader is sucked right into the epic adventures of the heroines. I loved it and highly recommend this book." -- Astrid Rudloff (Amazon Reviewer)

"I couldn't put it down. Love the characters and world that have been created. It's full of great twists and turns. Readers will be drawn into the story from the very first page. Readers who love sci-fi and fantasy will want to add this one to their TBR list." -- Diane (Goodreads Reviewer)

So if you're looking for some great epic fantasy, and want to do some good at the same time, please get yourself a copy of one (or several) of Brandon's books. Not only will you get a great story but you'll be helping one of fantasy's own whos voice will be silenced way too soon.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Assassin Author Roundtable - Today at 2:00 Eastern, 1:00 Central, 11:00 Pacific)

Hey all, I've been invited by the Angel Hayes at Indie Fantasy Addicts to be part of an online event today at 2:00. If you can't attend, I believe it's being recorded so you should be able to see all the happenings at a time of your convenience, and I'll update this post once the video is live.

I'll be joining a number of fellow fantasy authors including Andy Peloquin, JT Williams, Lindsay Buroker, D.W. Hawkins, and Steve Collier. Not entirely sure what all we'll be discussing, but I'm sure it's going to be a lot of fun. So, if you're free, stop on by, and if you're not. Check out the video whenever you get a chance.

Here is a link to the recorded session.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Honored to make the short list

A few weeks ago I posted about the Booknests' Fantasy Award, and how Age of War was picked by a panel to be one of the 50 titles submitted for consideration. The judges included nine popular fantasy blogs (Bookworm Blues, Fantasy Book Critic, Fantasy Book Review, Fantasy-Faction, Grimdark Magazine, The Fantasy Hive, The Fantasy Inn, The Grim Tidings Podcast, and The Weatherwax Report), three big fantasy imprints (Gollancz, Harper Voyager, and Orbit), and two well-respected agents (John Jarrold and Joshua Bilmes of JABberwocky Literary Agency).

What an amazing list with some incredible books, and I was pleased to be included. What I didn't expect was to make the short list. After all,  forty books had to go, and I expected mine would be one of them. But out of some miracle (and thank you to everyone who voted), the book made it to the shortlist.

Once again, I'm including some data from Goodreads (which I've updated from my last post). The odds-on favorite would be Children of Blood and Bone although I won't count out how much people enjoy Brandon Sanderson's work.

 # Ratings  
 # shelved 
A Time of Dread
John Gwynne
Age of War
Michael J. Sullivan
Bloody Rose
Nicholas Eames
 Children of Blood and Bone 
Tomi Adeyemi
Iron Gold
Pierce Brown
Master Assassins
Robert V.S. Redick
 Brandon Sanderson 
Spinning Silver
Naomi Novik
The Fall of Gondolin
J.R.R. Tolkien
The Girl In The Tower
Katherine Arden

Voting is open for the next round, and again don't feel obligated to vote for Age of War (you'll just be throwing your vote away, but by all means, vote for whichever book you want to see win.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Lucca Comics and Games Convention Schedule

In general, I don't do many conventions. It's not that I don't enjoy them, but travel can be trying (Robin has had two back surgeries and being on a plane for any extended period of time is painful, and I don't like going anywhere she doesn't come). Plus, unless the publisher is footing the bill, it can be pretty expensive. Don't get me wrong, I love to see fans, but if it's going to cost me several days of writing time and a few thousand dollars...well, you can see why I don't go to many conventions.

But when an opportunity arose to go to the Lucca Comics and Games Convention in Italy...with all expenses paid by my Italian publisher and the convention organizers, how could I say no? Especially when they offered to pay for all of Robin's travel as well.

If you don't know anything about the Lucca festival (I didn't until I was invited), here is a great video that gives you a good idea what we're going to be doing from October 31 - November 4th.

The convention has been described as "the western world's biggest geek meet." It's huge! Over 500 events, concerts, parades, and activities are held in historical buildings and on the streets, taking over the entire city. In 2017 the festival celebrated its 51th anniversary, with more than 50 international guests and about 245,000 attendees. To put that into perspective, Dragoncon (held in Atlanta each year) has about 80,000 attendees, and New York Comic Con has about 130,000. Those conventions are dwarfed when compared to Lucca.

Below is my convention schedule. If you are going to be at Lucca, please drop by and see me at any of these times.

  • Wed 10/31 11:00 - 12:00 Signing at the Armenia Booth
  • Thur 11/01 11:00 - 12:00 Signing at the Armenia Booth
  • Thur 11/01 12:00 - 14:00 Presentation on publishing (self and traditional) at Villa Gioiosa
  • Thur 11/01 19:30 - 21:30 Ceremony Night and Gala Dinner at the Giglio Opera House
  • Fri    11/02 11:00 - 12:00 Signing at the Armenia Booth
  • Sat    11/03 11:00 - 12:00 Signing at the Armenia Booth
  • Sat   11/03  16:00 - 17:00 Q&A Public Meeting at Ingelis Hall
If you won't be attending the Lucca Festival, we can still meet up.  I'll be in Florence on 10/30, 11/4, and 11/5 and a little bit on 11/6, and in the town of Lucca starting early on 10/31 and for a little bit on 11/4. Just drop me an email and let me know where and how you want to meet and we'll do the best we can to accommodate you.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

We did it--take that price gougers!

If you follow this blog you may be aware of a little mission Robin and I set out on. You see, recently Del Rey put the hardcover edition of Age of Swords out of print, and the third-party resellers on Amazon had a field day, taking the $28 hardcover and jacking up the price to astronomical levels. For instance, on 9/22 the prices for a new copy ran between $100.92 - $191.06.

Now, for the people who had put off buying their copies of Age of Swords, this would mean a hole in their collections, and I didn't want to have that.  So, Robin went to work to rectify the situation.
  • Step 1 was getting our hands on as many copies of Age of Swords as we could, which would cut off the supply chain from the price-gougers.  We could do it, but it'd be expensive...nearly $9,000.  But we had to try.
  • Step 2 was to run a crowdfunding campaign to raise the cash.  We sold the first three books of the series at a 20% discount and provided people with bonus perks like bookmarks, screensavers, and a new Legends of the First Empire Short Story.  The campaign raised more than $32,000 (more than enough to cover the buying, shipping, and storing of the books. Plus we sold more than 950 books in the process. Woohoo!
  • Step 3 was to get the books on Amazon at $28.  We turned to Shawn Speakman at Grim Oak Press (a great guy who've we worked with before on anthologies such as Unfettered, Unfettered II, and Unbound). Shawn already had an Amazon Marketplace account, so we shipped him a bunch of books at $10 a piece giving he a nice profit margin to earn well when people buy the books at the original list price of $28.

And there you have it!  The book is back to $28, readers won't have a hole in their Legends of the First Empire hardcover collection, Shawn will make some cash, we'll make some cash, everyone wins!  Well, except for those poor, poor, price gougers who aren't going to be able to sell their books at those outrageous prices!

My thanks to Del Rey, Shawn Speakman, Robin, and most important to you, dear readers, for helping to get this problem solved. We make a pretty good team!