Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The First Empire Series is Done!

I was shooting for April or May and got it in under the wire in March.  Well, that's not entirely true, I still have to take another pass before my alpha reader (Robin) can put eyes on it, but her birthday is April 8th and I'm shooting for that.  But I've "wrapped" the series and now know how it all ends. I'm really happy with how it's come out, and I hope others will be as well.

Writing an entire series before publishing any books is a lot of work, but I really think it paid off.  I have a few changes to make to the first book one that came up in the last few pages!  Now we just have to get the first book released - but it's Del Rey that has the remaining lifting for that book. Still, can't help but be excited about being done.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Tools for Authors: Chicago Manual of Style - online

I have a confession to make.  I'm a complete idiot. Well, maybe that's not news to readers of this site, but I'll explain what I'm referring to in today's post. When I first hired a freelance editor to help me with my self-published books, the first question potential candidates asked me was, "What style guide do you want me to use?"

My response, "Style guide? I'll do the book formatting. Why does an editor care about the style guide?" 

You see, I came from marketing, and in that world, a style guide lays out rules for using logos or spacing and size of fonts. Design style guides cover things like how much white space should appear  between the brand mark and other elements on the page, permitted colors, and how to scale the logo elements.  I didn't understand what a style guide was in relation to editing.

If you are also clueless, let me shed a little light. A style guide is a set of rules governing things such as spelling, italics, punctuation, hyphenation and many other things. Generally, they are the "rule book" writers conform to ensure consistency. Likewise, copy editors enforce the code. They lay out rules that may be "flexible" from organization to organization. Style guides exist so readers will have a consistent experience even if many people produce the work. Some of the most well-known style guides include:

  • AP Style Guide - for journalism
  • Chicago Manual of Style - for general publishing and readership
  • APA Style Guide and ASA Style Guide - for social sciences
  • AMA Style Guide for medicine
Ever hear people debating the use of the Oxford comma? You know, that's the comma which is sometimes added or omitted before the conjunction in a list of items. For years, the AP Style Guide said omit them while the Chicago Manual of Style said to include them.

For novels, most editors will use the Chicago Manual of Style, sometimes abbreviated as CMoS.

It's a massive volume. The 15th edition comes in at 984 pages, and the 16th edition topped the thousand-page mark by coming in at 1,024 pages.  It's also not all that cheap. List price for the print edition is $65.00 (although Amazon has it discounted to $40 and change).  

But it's not the price that bothers me about CMoS. The issue is it can take a long time for me to find what I'm after, especially if I don't know exactly what I'm looking for.  For instance, when writing my first published novel, I was debating which was correct:  "your majesty" or "Your Majesty." It could take me a lot of time to find the answer in the printed version. It's in section 8.32, which explains how to capitalize honorifics, by the way.  And hence today's post.  There is an online version!

If you go to this link, you'll find both the 15th edition and the 16th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style in all its searchable glory.  And yes, they offer a free trial month so you can see for yourself if it is something worth spending money on.  If you do want to have it long term, then the cost is just $35 a year ($30 per year if you sign up for two years).  Yes, that's just slightly cheaper than the book, but the time you'll save is well worth it.  

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Today I'm doing an AMA (Ask me Anything) on reddit's Fantasy Forum

I love AMA's, and I'm doing another one today!  If you aren't familiar with the concept, it stands for "Ask Me Anything" and while they occur all over reddit, the mods at /r/Fantasy do an amazing job organizing them.

This isn't the first time I've done one, not even the second, but a lot has changed since the last time. There's a lot to talk about:

  • The success of the Riyria Revelations books.
  • Why I did the prequel series, The Riyria Chronicles?
  • Why I'm writing science fiction, and what's different about Hollow World?
  • Why I signed my new series with Random House?
  • What is the new series about, and when will it come out?
  • How has publishing changed, and is continuing to change, and what does that mean for writers?

I do hope people will stop by and ask a question or just say hello.  Anyone who does post will be entered to win one of the limited edition early, early advanced copies of Rhune. Only a handful of people will have this opportunity (basically the beta readers and a few winners). Everyone else will have to wait until the summer of 2016. So that is reason enough to stop by.  Here's the link.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Author's Workspaces

Recently, someone asked me post a picture of my workspace -- the place where I write my novels. I've have seen other people asking this of authors in the past, and I must say it is interesting to see the diversity in various workspaces.  Awhile ago, I changed my picture on my author Facebook page to focus on that glorious place where the "magic happens. And here it is:

A few things about this picture:

  • Yes, it is always that clean. I abhor mess, especially where I work so if I bring out a book or something for reference, I use it and put it back (what this picture doesn't show is the bookcases on the wall behind me.
  • Yes, the clocks don't match. I love the look of the wall-clock (given to me as a gift) so I display it proudly on the wall...but it "ticks" loudly and when I write I want complete silence.
  • The dagger is my "Stabby" from reddit's Fantasy sub. It's an engraved award given out at the end of year. Mine was a community achievement award for best overall redditor.
  • The coffee mug is always by my side. I'm fueled by coffee, especially since I do most of my writing in the morning.
  • My computer is a Mac - which I love dearly. It's clean and beautifully designed. The fact I have no wires for my keyboard and touchpad  (preferred over mouse) is something I appreciate to no end.  Robin accuses me of loving my Mac more than her...that's not true, but I must confess I spend more time with the Mac then with her....hmmmm.
  • The microphone and earphones are used for podcasting. I also sometimes use earphones...for instance if Robin is on the phone, as any noise is distracting.
  • The lamp on the left is new -  a big splurge from a recent royalty check.
My feet are up on the bedpost - yes, my office is in my bedroom - REALLY short commute.  Robin is in the process of getting me a "writing cabana" - a separate building where I can isolate myself. The building is actually "done" and will be delivered to some land we bought in the mountains as soon as the ground has dried out and can accept a truck with a heavy payload.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Authors Helping Authors: Thierry Sagnier's Thirst

I have a local writing critique group that I don't go to very often. It occurs on the same night that I head out to the pub, and sometimes authors I'm friends with come meet me at the bar before or after. When someone I know has a piece up for critique, I do go and help them out with my feedback (most of which I share privately because I'm a very picky reader). My goal in critiquing is to help the author be better, not to stroke their ego and I'm a harsh critical reader.

At a few meetings I've come across some submissions by Thierry Sagnier.  I don't really know him, but his work was always well received by the group. One thing led to another and we (my wife and I) ended up meeting him for lunch to talk about various things.

Robin has a way of volunteering me for things, and I knew after a short while she was going to ask me to "whip up a cover." Luckily, I had already read the book and really enjoyed it, providing a bit of help on restructuring of the start.

For her part, Robin volunteered to do the book's layout and create a new ebook file (formatting in the old version was jacked up for reasons none of us understood).  She also was willing to help him get the book posted on various sites and making the paperback available for sale.

Thierry hired a copy editor to go through the book from top to bottom and it has now been released and is live on goodreads and Amazon.

As I said, I really enjoyed the book, and Thierry is an accomplished author. He was a Pushcart Prize Nominee and has been writing since the 1970's including works for The Washington Post. Thirst is a hard-boiled suspense thriller set in Washington DC.  Here's a bit about the book:

A fortune in drugs is missing. Finding them starts with finding her. 
Colin isn’t a cop. Joe is, but isn’t up for this. Mamadou was an excellent police officer back in Senegal, but in Washington DC he drives a limo. Josie’s just a girl—a recovering crack addict fed up with her parents and with Herbie, her boyfriend. She’s planning on giving him a piece of her mind. Trouble is, Herbie stole a shipment of drugs, and now he’s dead.  And let’s not forget Mollie Catfish…

Now the Zulu wants his drugs, Mamadou wants revenge, Joe just wants to do his job for once, and Colin wants to save his girlfriend’s daughter. All Josie wants is to remember what Herbie might have told her, what the Zulu insists she knows. If she doesn’t—she’s dead too.

Mollie? She wants it all.

Behind the polished marble of Washington DC, lies dark alleys where everyone thirsts for something.

I should note that I rarely give blurbs for books, although I'm asked to all the time. Remember how I started this post about being a "picky reader"? Well I have no reservation about providing one for Thierry's book so here goes:

"Sagnier builds characters as solid, gritty, and as broken as a DC street, with prose that
lights up like monuments on a starry night." — Michael J. Sullivan,
best-selling author of The Riyria Revelations

So if you happen to read suspense thrillers, please take a look at the sample of Thirst or check out Theirry's goodreads page and it to your "to be read pile."  If you do give the book a try, please let me know what you think.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Tools for Authors: Grammarly

Sorry, I missed this post last week. Things got pretty crazy here, and I couldn't get it written in time. I'm trying to use Saturdays for Tools for Authors.  And previously spoke about Natural Reader. Today I want to talk about Grammarly.

What is Grammarly?

According tot their site it is:
Grammarly is the world's leading writing enhancement app. It checks for more than 250 types of spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors, enhances vocabulary usage, and suggests citations. 
Widely used, they have more than 4 million registered users, including myself.

Here's an example of Grammarly in action.

One of the features I find particularly nice is that you can classify they "type" of the writing.  In other words, something more formal (like a research paper) will have slightly different analysis criteria than say a creative writing piece like a novel.

Now it should go without saying that Grammarly is not a replacement for a good editor, but it does do a good job pointing out some common problems and alerting you to something that might be an issue. The little "x" on the right can be used to ignore something that you know is correct. If you are not sure what it's trying to say, then the down arrow will give you more information.

How much does it cost?

Well like most programs it has a free trial.  It also offers several different payment plans:
  • $29.95 if you get a month-by-month subscription
  • $19.98 if you get it for a quarter (3 months) at a time
  • $11.66 if you commit to a full year (which is what I did)

Additional Resources

Grammarly also has a Handbook, which you can use to learn the rules of grammar with topics such as how to use commas or hyphens. 

I've found Grammarly to be well worth the money. Check it out, and maybe you'll agree.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Great Eight under a buck

The GrimDark Alliance posted a list of Eight Great Short Stories under $0.99.  And I thought I would share it. Here is a link.

Here's the full list and where to get them:

Thursday, March 19, 2015

2014 Reddit Best Novel List

In 2014 /r/fantasy had more than 50,000 members and p0x0rz created a poll resulting in "the big list" to find the top series recommended by members of the board.  When all the voting was in (511 votes) a list of 105 series were compiled.

Here's the complete list:

  1. A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin  
  2. The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien  
  3. The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss 
  4. The Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson  
  5. The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan  
  6. The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson  
  7. The Gentleman Bastards by Scott Lynch  
  8. Discworld by Terry Pratchett  
  9. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher  
  10. Harry Potter by JK Rowling  
  11. The First Law by Joe Abercrombie  
  12. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson  
  13. The Dark Tower by Stephen King  
  14. The Broken Empire by Mark Lawrence  
  15. The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb  
  16. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien  
  17. The Black Company by Glen Cook  
  18. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman  
  19. Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K Leguin  
  20. American Gods by Neil Gaiman  
  21. The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis  
  22. The Drenai Saga by David Gemmell  
  23. Watership Down by Richard Adams  
  24. The Riyria Revelations by Michael J Sullivan  
  25. Prince of Nothing by R Scott Bakker  
  26. The Belgariad by David Eddings  
  27. Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay  
  28. Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolf  
  29. The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny  
  30. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke  
  31. Raven's Shadow by Anthony Ryan  
  32. The Riftwar Saga by Raymond Feist  
  33. The Demon Cycle by Peter V Brett  
  34. The Last Unicorn by Peter S Beagle  
  35. Lightbringer by Brent Weeks  
  36. Codex Alera by Jim Butcher  
  37. The Coldfire Trilogy by CS Friedman 
  38. Dragonlance Novels by Various Authors (linked the first one listed on Goodreads)  
  39. The Sarantine Mosaic by Guy Gavriel Kay  
  40. The Liveship Traders by Robin Hobb  
  41. The Sandman by Neil Gaiman  
  42. The Silmarillion by JRR Tolkien  
  43. Lions of AlRassan by Guy Gavriel Kay  
  44. The Magicians by Lev Grossman  
  45. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman  
  46. The Princess Bride by William Goldman  
  47. The Tawny Man Trilogy by Robin Hobb  
  48. The Witcher by Andrzej Sapkowski  
  49. Acts of Caine by Matthew Woodring Stover  
  50. Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie  
  51. The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephend R Donaldson  
  52. The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper  
  53. The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie  
  54. Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn by Tad Williams  
  55. Abhorsen by Garth Nix  
  56. Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman  
  57. The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon  
  58. The Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel kay  
  59. The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks  
  60. The Powder Mage by Brian McClellan 
  61. A Song for Arbonne by Guy Gavriel Kay
  62. Vlad Taltos by Steven Brust  
  63. The BasLag Cycle by China Mieville  
  64. The Black Jewels by Anne Bishop  
  65. Conan the Cimmerian by Robert E Howard  
  66. Dune Chronicles by Frank Herbert  
  67. The Dying Earth by Jack Vance  
  68. Elric by Michael Moorcock  
  69. The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson  
  70. The Empire Trilogy by Ramond Feist and Janny Wurts  
  71. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman  
  72. Kushiel's Legacy by Jacqueline Carey  
  73. The Long Price Quartet by Daniel Abraham  
  74. Night Watch and Day Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko  
  75. The Once and Future King by TH White  
  76. A Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde  
  77. Red Country by Joe Abercrombie  
  78. The Saga of Recluse by LE Modesitt Jr  
  79. Stardust by Neil Gaiman 
  80. The Sun Sword by Michelle West  
  81. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle 
  82. Alices Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll  
  83. Bartimaeus by Jonathon Stroud  
  84. Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold  
  85. The Dagger and the Coin by Daniel Abraham  
  86. Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey  
  87. Elantris by Brandon Sanderson  
  88. Exiles by Melanie Rawn  
  89. Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake  
  90. Guardian of the Flame by Joel Rosenberg  
  91. The Inheritence Cycle by Christopher Paolini  
  92. The Iron Dragon's Daughter by Michael Swanwick
  93. Last Call by Tim Powers 
  94. The Legend of Eli Monpress by Rachel Aaron  
  95. Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny  
  96. The Low Town Trilogy by Daniel Polanksy  
  97. Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock  
  98. The Old Kingdom Trilogy by Garth Nix  
  99. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster  
  100. The Redemption of Althalus by David and Leigh Eddings  
  101. RiddleMaster by Patricia A McKillip  
  102. River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay  
  103. Song for the Basilisk by Patricia A McKillip  
  104. The Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind  
  105. War for the Oaks by Emma Bull  
For 2015 there were more than 73,000 members and the "voting list" was determining authors rather than series. The results aren't yet in (the thread has more than 800 posts), but you can see the votes here.

There is another poll going on related to series. You can vote for it here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

It's St. Patty's day - which means Robin and I will dine alone

Every year is the same. St. Pattys means I'm going to whip up my FAMOUS mustard creme sauce and laddle it over a big plate of corned beef, cabbage, and boiled potatoes.

Robin and I look forward to this meal all year long, and even tried having it on non March 17th days as well. The problem is it's the sure-fired way for our kids to scatter.  How can the fruit of my loins turn their backs on a timed-honored Irish tradition?  Sacrilege!

Oh well, more for me and I'll lift a Guinness and sigh in ecstasy as I dig in.  Hope your day is as good as mine will be ;-)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Authors helping authors: Underrated and Underread Fantasy

If you love fantasy and haven't been to the reddit Fantasy sub you really should check it out. It's an amazing group for a number of reasons including:
  • A lot of authors hang out there and are very open to interactions.
  • A fabulous set of moderators that keep the group growing by leaps and bounds by fostering an incredibly friendly and respectful online presence.
  • Really great contributing members who have great posts and comments.

As is the nature of such forums, a lot of names come up time and time again in recommendations: Patrick Rothfuss, Brandom Sanderson, Joe Abercrombie, even myself - for which I'm very grateful. But there are a ton of quality authors that just don't get the mentions that they should. 

From time to time some of the members hold polls and I thought one of the best was a poll to highlight those authors that aren't often mentioned, but should be. Running these polls can take a lot of work and I'm grateful for p0x0rz for putting it together. You can find the full list here. But I'm reproducing it here sorted alphabetically by author's first name.

So, if you find yourself looking for something new, I suggest you check out some of these books. You just might find your next favorite read.

Book or Series
Adrian Faulkner
Four Realms, the
Adrian Tchaikovsky
Shadows of the Apt
AE Marling
Brood of Bones
Alex Bledsoe
Eddie LaCrosse series
Andre Norton
Witch World
Anne Lyle
Night Masque series
Anthony Horowitz
Gatekeepers, the
Ari Marmell
Goblin Corps, the
Barbara Hambly
Those Who Hunt the Night | Darwarth Trilogy
Barry Hughart
Bridge of Birds
Ben S Dobson
Blake Charlton
Bradley Beaulieu
Lays of Anuskaya
Brian D Anderson
Godling Chronicles
Brian Ruckley
Godless World
Brian Staveley
Emperor's Blades, the
Caitlin R. Kiernan
Drowning Girl, the
Carol Berg
Lighthouse Duet | Rai Kirah trilogy | Song of the Beast
Carrie Vaughn
Discord's Apple
Catherynne M Valente
Orphan's Tales, the
Chris Claremont and George Lucas
Chronicles of the Shadow War
Chris Kellen
Sorcerer's Code series
Chris Wooding
Tales of the Ketty Jay series
Christopher Buehlman
Between Two Fires
Christopher Kellen
Arbiter Codex, the/ Elements of Sorcery | Kane Series
CJ Cherryh
Fortress series
Courtney Schafer
Whitefire Crossing
D. B. Jackson
Daniel Abraham
Dagger and Coin Series | Long Price Quartet, the
Daniel Polansky
Low Town
David Dalglish
Shadowdance series
David Gemmell
Hawk Queen duology | Troy series
David Hair
Moontide Quartet
Dawn Cook
Decoy Princess, the
Diana Wynne Jones
Fire and Hemlock
Django Wexler
John Golden: Freelance Debugger | Thousand Names, the
Donna Boyd
Devancroix Dynasty
Douglas Hulick
Tale of the Kin, A series
EE Knight
Age of Fire series
Eliezer Yudkowsky
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality
Elizabeth Bear
Eternal Sky
Ellen Kushner
Riverside series, the
Emma Bull
Eve Forward
Villains by Necessity
Felix Gilman
Half Made World
Francis Pauli
Kingdoms Gone series
Fritz Leiber
Lankhmar series
Gene Wolfe
Latro in the Mist
Genevieve Valentine
Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti
George Macdonald
At the Back of the North Wind
Glen Cook
Dread Empire | Garrett P.I.
Glenda Larke
Havenstar | Watergivers trilogy
Greg Keyes
Kingdom of Thorn and Bone
Gregory S Close
In Siege of Daylight
Ha Il-Kwon
Harry Harrison
Hammer and the Cross series
Helen Lowe
Wall of Night series
Holly Lisle
Korre series, the
Hope Mirrlees
Howard Andrew Jones
Chronicles of Sword and Sand
Ian Tregillis
Milkweed Triptych
Irene Radford
Dragon Nimbus, the
Isobelle Carmody
Green Monkey Dreams
J. V. Jones
Barbed Coil, the
J.D. Hallowell
War of Blades
J.M.M. McDermott
Dogsland trilogy
J.S. Morin
Twinborn series
Jack Vance
Lyonesse | Dying Earth series
Jacqueline Carey
Sundering, the
Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennet
James Clemens
Banned and the Banished series
James Sutter
Death's Heretic
Janny Wurts
War of Light and Shadow
Jeff Salyards
Bloodsounder's Arc
Jeff VanderMeer
Jennifer Fallon
Tide Lords
Jim Grimsley
Kirith Kirin
JJ Abrams and Doug Dorst
JL Doty
Gods Within series
John Brown
Servant of a Dark God
John Gwynne
Faithful and the Fallen series, the
John Marco
Tyrants and Kings and Lukien
John Morressy
Iron Angel series
Jon Sprunk
Shadow Saga
Judith Tarr
Julian May
Saga of Pliocene Exile series
JV Jones
Sword of Shadows, a
Kage Baker
Anvil of the World | House of Stag
Kameron Hurley
Bel Dame Apocrypha
Karen Rae Levine
Sister Raven
Kate Elliot
Spiritwalker series | Crossroads Trilogy
Katherine Kurtz
Kay Kenyon
Entire and the Rose series
Ken Scholes
Psalms of Isaak series
KJ Bishop
Etched City
KJ Parker
Folding Knife | Purple and Black | Sharps
Laini Taylor
Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy
Lavie Tidhar
Violent Century
Lindsay Buroker
Emperor's Edge, the
Lord Dunsany
King of Elfland's Daughter
Louise Cooper
Time Master Trilogy
Lyndon Hardy
Master of Five Magics
Lynn Flewelling
Luck in the Shadows | The Tamir Triad
M. Todd Gallowglas
Tears of Rage series | Halloween Jack series
Marie Brennan
Memoir by Lady Trent series
Mark Charan Newton
Legend of the Red Sun, the | Drakenfeld
Mark Frost
List of Seven
Mark T Barnes
Echoes of Empire
Markus Heitz
Martha Wells
Cloud Roads, the | Death of the Necromancer
Mary Gentle
Ash: A Secret History
Maryna Dyachenko
Scar, the
Mat Nastos
Wier Codex
Matthew Stover
Acts of Caine
Max Gladstone
Three Parts Dead
Mazarkis Williams
Emperor's Knife
Melina Marchetta
Finnikin of the Rock
Mercedes Yardley
Bone Angel Trilogy, the
Mervyn Peake
Michael Montoure
Still Life
Michael Scott Rohan
Winter of the World series
Michael Stackpole
Once a Hero
Michael Swanwick
Iron Dragon's Daughter, the
Michelle West
Sun Sword | House War
Mike Carey
Felix Castor
Mike Shevdon
Courts of the Feyre
Miles Cameron
Traitor Son Cycle
Mitchell Hogan
Sorcery Ascendant Sequence
Moses Siregar
Black God's War
Multiple Authors
Sundering D&D series
Myke Cole
Shadow Ops series
N.K. Jemisin
Dreamblood Duology | Inheritence Trilogy
Nick Harkaway
Gone Away World, the
Nnedi Okorafor
Who Fears Death
P. C. Hodgell
Pamela Dean
Tam Lin
Patrica A McKillip
Riddle Master trilogy | Alphabet of Thorn | In the Forests of Serre | Od Magic
Patricia Bray
Sword of Change, the
Paul Kearney
Monarchies of God | Macht Trilogy
Paul S Kemp
Egil and Nix series, the
Paula Volsky
Peter Orullian
Unremembered, the
Peter Stenson
Poul Anderson
Broken Sword
Rachel Aaron
Legend of Eli Monpress, the
Raymond Feist and Janny Wurts
Empire Series
Richard Adams
Rob J Hayes
Ties That Bind series
Robert Asprin and Lynn Abbey
Thieves' World series edited
Robert E Howard
Savage Tales of Solomon Kane
Robert Evert
Riddle in the Stone series
Robert Holdstock
Mythago Woods
Robert Jackson Bennett
Troupe, the | American Elsewhere
Robert Silverberg
Lord Valentine's Castle
Robert VS Redick
Chathrand Voyage
Robin Lythgoe
As the Crow Flies
Rosemary Kirstein
Rowena Cory Daniells
King Rolen's Kin
Russel Kirkpatrick
Fire of Heaven series
S M Wheeler
Sea Change
Saladin Ahmed
Throne of the Cresent Moon
Sam Bowring
Strange Threads Duology
Sam Sykes
Aeon's Gate series
Sarah Monette
Bone Key, the
Sean Williams
Books of the Cataclysm
Sebastien de Castell
Greatcoats series, the
Sherwood Smith
Simon Brown
Chronicles of Kydan
Simon R Green
Blue Moon Rising
Snorri Kristjansson
Valhalla Saga, the
Stella Gemmell
City, the
Stephen R Lawhead
Dragon King Trilogy | King Raven Trilogy
Steven Brust
Vlad Taltos series
Tad Williams
Bobby Dollar series | Shadowmarch Series | Otherland series
TC McCarthy
Ted Chiang
Stories of Your Life and Others
Ted Dekker
Circle, the series
Teresa Frohock
Miserere: An Autumn Tale
Terry Brooks
Genesis of Shannara, the
Tim Powers
Drawing of the Dark, the
Tom Lloyd
Twilight Reign | Empire of a Hundred Houses series, the
Wesley Chu
Lives of Tao, the
Wil Wight
Traveler's Gate
William Horwood
Hyddenworld Quartet
William King
Gotrek and Felix series
William Nicholson
Noble Warrior Trilogy
Wu Ch-Eng-En
Ysabeu S Wilce
Flora Segunda Series, the
Zachary Jernigan
No Return

Thursday, March 12, 2015

I'm out of questions!

Well, that's not entirely true, I always have questions because I'm a curious guy. But my queue for the Goodreads "Ask the Author" has run dry.

To date I've answered more than 100 questions (108 to be precise), and it's one of my favorite things to do. So, if you have questions about me, my writing, or publishing, please toss me a question. You can do so at this link.  Or ask one here, and I'll post it on your behalf.  

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Discover the truth in myths and the lies of legends

That's a tagline I've recently come up with to concisely explain my new First Empire series to existing Riyria readers. For those who have read those books, I "might" have been "less than truthful" about certain events in Elan's past.  Specifically, the legend of Novron/Nyphron and how he saved mankind from extinction and formed the First Empire.

While there is no Royce, Hadrian, Arista, or Esrahaddon, there will be some familiar names including Nyphron, his beloved Persephone, and Mawyndulë. Don't remember these people, or how they fit into Elan's past?  No worries, you'll figure it out as reading, and besides, this series is designed to be read by those who haven't read any of the prior Riyria books. That being said, I do like to reward loyal readers, so for those who HAVE read Revelations, you'll get the added benefit of seeing the events in a whole new light. After all, they say,  "History is written by the victorious," and I think that is very true. Exposing the truths that only I know about  is part of what has made writing these books so enjoyable for me.

As to how the project is going...it's doing quite well.  I'm about a month ahead of schedule with regards to finishing the last book. The first book has had two solid beta reads, and the additional changes to it are minor. Robin has a nicely prioritized list, so that should go quickly. And she is going to New York to meet with some of the people at Del Rey to discuss "business."

I can't begin to express how helpful that last part is to me. Just "thinking" about the business side of writing saps me of all creativity and puts me on edge. Not being involved makes me blissfully oblivious and keeps the words flowing, which is good for everyone involved.

On other fronts, I've been using my "afternoon downtime" to work on the plot for the third Riyria Chronicle. It's starting to take shape, and I'm looking forward to diving into it. Given who long I've been in Elan's distant past, it will be nice seeing old friends again.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Authors Helping Authors - Mark Lawrence's Self-published Blogger Challenge

Well, if you snooze you loose, and so this event is already closed, but I think it is worth talking about anyway. Mark sent me an email about this last Sunday, but I already had an "Authors Helping Authors" post for that day, and when I went to write this post, it had already closed. Doh!

So what is/was it?  Well Mark was helping to get some publicity for well-deserved self-published authors by utilizing the fantasy book blogging community. Here's how it works:
  • He assembled a team of 10 bloggers
  • Accepted 250 (actually 275 before it closed) self-published books
  • Assigned each blogger 25 books at random
  • Asked the bloggers to act as "agents" in that they wouldn't read all the books but would pick one to move to the "next round."
  • After six months, the bloggers (who are free to review any books they  were assigned) deliver their verdict.
  • The pooled books from round 2 will be looked at by the bloggers who will rate them on a scale from 1 - 10
  • Totally the scores will give a single winner which be read and reviewed by the bloggers 

You can read all about the "process" in Mark's post here.

The list of bloggers that Mark compiled are:
  1. Sarah Chorn of Bookworm Blues
  2. Steve Diamond &co at the Hugo-winning Elitist Book Reviews
  3. Mark Aplin &co of the award winning Fantasy Faction
  4. Mihir Wanchoo of Fantasy Book Critic
  5. Lynn Williams of Lynn's Books
  6. Milo of The Fictional Hangout
  7. Bob Milne of Beauty in Ruins
  8. Ria of Bibliotropic
  9. Tyson Mauermann of The Speculative Book Review 
  10. The guys at Fantasy Book Review
So, why still post about this if the event is closed?  Well, a few reasons. First, I want to give a shout out to Mark and all the bloggers for their generosity of spirit. I believe what goes around comes around and hopefully you, fine readers, will support Mark by buying one of his amazing books (See a list of them here). As to the bloggers, they are all excellent and if you are a fantasy fan and not already following them, please do. I'm sure if you check out their reviews and interviews, you'll find some great new books to explore.

The other reason why I'm posting this, as I'd like to follow this process as it goes along. I'm always looking for new indie authors to read, so I'm excited to see what is recommended.  I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Tools for Authors: Natural Reader

Like my Sunday "Authors Helping Authors" post, I'd like to try to use Saturdays to focus on tools for authors. Today I'd like to talk about NaturalReader.

You've probably heard that when proofing your book it's best to read it aloud. I think this is excellent advice.  In the "old days," Robin and I would do the proofing of my books by taking turns reading aloud to one another.  Why did we do it as a team?  Well, because we often don't read what's on the page, we read what we "think" is on the page, which means we insert missing words or remove duplicated ones. Having both of us would usually catch the error because one person was following along and seeing where the other "auto-corrected."

When my wife got her first Kindle, it had text-to-speech built into the device.  Then Robin started doing the proofing herself because the computerized voice doesn't skip or "auto add" words. It says EXACTLY what is on the page, and she can find those errors quickly and easily.  Robin's Kindle is battered and beaten, and the headphone jacks no longer work.  Plus, she can't plug her Kindle into the car radio and listen to the book while driving. Another solution was needed.  Enter NaturalReader.

What is NaturalReader?  I'll take a quote from their website:
"NaturalReader is a Text to Speech software with natural sounding voices. This easy to use software can convert any written text such as MS Word, Webpage, PDF files, and Emails into spoken words. NaturalReader can also convert any written text into audio files such as MP3 or WAV for your CD player or iPod."
Now Robin imports the book's doc file, converts them to .mp3 files, and puts them onto her iphone so she has them wherever she is and can even listen while driving.

Natural Reader has a few different pricing levels, including free.

We use the "Personal Edition" and it has worked very well for us. The great thing about Natural Reader is you can choose from a number of voices, which sound much more realistic than the standard "Steven Hawking" version used by most text-to-speech software. Plus the ability to turn them into mp3 means we can listen to them from virtually any device.

Given its low cost, I think it's well worth the investment. Give the free copy a try, and if it works out for you think of upgrading. I'm sure you'll find it pays for itself in the mistakes it finds.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Star Trek Continues

Really sorry I missed BOTH of these Kickstarters:

But I'll definitely be on the look out for more.  If you haven't seen the episodes produced from this yet, I HIGHLY recommend you do.  They are exceptionally well done and very nostalgic.

Here's a link to watch the first three episodes:

Oh, and check out the Kickstarter videos as well. Also very entertaining!  (First Kickstarter | Second Kickstarter)

Oh, and after checking it out, if you like what you see as much as I do, then donate such awesomeness is worth paying for.  I did!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Unbound Anthology Line-up and Pre-ordering!

Did you love Unfettered?  Or were you bummed because you missed out on the signed and numbered copies?  Well, don't fret, here comes Unbound and pre-ordering is up now!

Of course, the cover above is just for mock-up purposes but, like Unfettered, it features an amazing line up:

  •  Terry Brooks (intro)
  •  Kristen Britain
  •  Jim Butcher
  •  Rachel Caine
  •  Harry Connolly
  •  Delilah S. Dawson
  •  David Anthony Durham    
  •  Jason M. Hough
  •  Mary Robinette Kowal
  •  Mark Lawrence
  •  John Marco
  •  Tim Marquitz
  • Seanan McGuire
  •  Peter Orullian
  •  Kat Richardson
  •  Anthony Ryan
  •  Shawn Speakman
  •  Brian Staveley
  •  Michael J. Sullivan
  •  Sam Sykes
  •  Mazarkis Williams
There are several ways to buy:
  • $30 - Hardcover Editions
  • $50 - Advanced Reading Copy Hardcovers (limited press run)
  • $125 - Signed and numbered Hardcovers (also limited press run)
Like Unfettered, this is expected to be one of the most anticipated anthologies of this year, so ensure your copy now by pre-ordering!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Authors Helping Authors: Kameron Hurley

Last week I told you about Courtney Schafer and her The Labyrinth of Flame Kickstarter. It's fully funded by the way, and heading for some nice stretch goals. If you haven't checked it out, please do. Today, I want to tell you about another author that I think is worth taking a look at.  It's Kameron Hurley, who has two series:

  • Bel Dame Apocrypha - A completed trilogy that finished up in April 2014 
  • The World Breaker Saga - A new series that started in August 2014
Now for the record, I've not yet read any of Kameron's books...although I've bought all four of them to support her. So, why am I recommending her work and asking you to "check it out"?

Well, first off Kameron has a TON of accolades.  Authors such as Kate Elliott and Lauren Beukes have sung her praises. Then there are the awards:
  • Winner: Sydney J. Bounds Award for Best Newcomer
  • Winner: Kitschy Award for Best Debut Novel
  • Nominated: Arthur C. Clarke Award
  • Nominated: Hugo Award
  • Nominated: Nebula Award
  • Nominated: Locus Award 
  • Nominated: BSFA Award for Best Novel. 
  • Honor List: Tiptree Award
She also has short stories curated by some of the biggest magazines in genre fiction including Lightspeed, EscapePod, and Strange Horizons. 

All that tells me she's an amazing writer that really cares about her craft. But, that's not the reason I'm singling her out for one of my Authors Helping Author's Post.  No, my reason is simple...she's doing everything right, and yet still struggling.  Kameron is no stranger to self-promotion, and has launched monumental efforts each time her books release.  Plus, she is writing and releasing frequently. She reminds me a lot of Robin who took a "failure is not an option" attitude when starting my own career. 

I have no doubt Kameron will be more well known in the future, and anything I can do to help get the word out about her I'm happy to. I'm not one to say "BUY THIS BOOK" but I do want to let people know Kameron and work exists.  Go checkout some sample chapters. Read her blog. And if it looks like something you might be interested in, then by all means plunk down some money. This business isn't easy, but when someone like Kameron is doing it all right, that's worth supporting.  I hope you find one of her books right up your alley.