More reviews of The Bones of the Old Ones are rolling in. I was just alerted to a wonderful one over at Book Page, where I was declared to have maintained the magic of my debut (The Desert of the Souls). No sophomore slump for me in this reviewers eyes. There was other high praise, and were I a truly modest man, I wouldn’t quote it. But I’m not, so I will. Michael Burgin writes:
If you happen to be in the neighborhood of the Evanville, Indiana Barnes & Noble bookstore on December 15th at 2:00, I hope you’ll swing by my book signing. I’ll be reading from The Bones of the Old Ones and signing any copies of the book you happen to purchase for Christmas, Kwanza, Hanukhah, Robonica, or just because.
I’ll be heading to Terre Haute in early January for a similar event, and am looking to schedule a few other readings/signings in nearby areas. I’ll keep you posted.
Meanwhile, I hope all of my American friends had a Happy Thanksgiving! Ours was relatively low-key but pretty delicious. I still haven’t managed to get out and catch Skyfall. Hopefully soon. We caught part of a James Bond marathon over the weekend at the in-laws Thanksgiving extravaganza and happened to wander in during some real series low points.
We ended up switching over to The Mummy, because nothing says Thanksgiving like ancient Egyptian horror and mayhem. I have a soft spot for the first Brendan Fraser mummy movie, which I enjoy almost as much as Raiders of the Lost Ark, and for pretty similar reasons. Both movies are fun adventure romps with snappy scripts, great pacing and action scenes, and both know just how seriously they should take themselves. Both succeed wonderfully at exactly what they set out to do. And both are followed by sequels I’m not that fond of. There sure are an awful lot of native casualties, though. I’d like to see a big budget action movie with Arabian protagonists some day…
A few early reviews of The Bones of the Old Ones and words of praise from fellow authors have come in, and it dawned on me the other night that I hadn’t posted them all in one place. First, the final, official cover copy:
As a snowfall blankets 8th century Mosul, a Persian noblewoman arrives at the home of the scholar Dabir and his friend the swordsman Captain Asim. Najya has escaped from a dangerous cabal that has ensorcelled her to track down ancient magical tools of tremendous power, the bones of the old ones.
To stop the cabal and save Najya, Dabir and Asim venture into the worst winter in human memory, hunted by a shape-changing assassin. The stalwart Asim is drawn irresistibly toward the beautiful Persian even as Dabir realizes she may be far more dangerous a threat than anyone who pursues them, for her enchantment worsens with the winter. As their opposition grows, Dabir and Asim have no choice but to ally with their deadliest enemy, the treacherous Greek necromancer, Lydia. But even if they can trust one another long enough to escape their foes, it may be too late for Najya, whose soul is bound up with a vengeful spirit intent on sheathing the world in ice for a thousand years…
And now, some praise. Look, I’m blushing a bit!
Goodreads is hosting a giveaway of The Bones of the Old Ones. You can go to The Bones of the Old Ones Goodreads page to enter. Three lucky winners will receive a signed copy of the hardback of Bones AND it’s standalone predecessor, The Desert of Souls. Contest winners will be announced on December 19th.
There will be additional contests as the publication date gets closer and closer. Stay tuned, and please spread the word!
I keep checking the mail with the eagerness of a kid looking for the arrival of birthday party guests. Some day very soon I’ll receive my hardback copies of The Bones of the Old Ones. They’re already on their way to reviewers, which would probably make me more nervous if I were better rested.
In the coming days I will be announcing several The Bones of the Old Ones giveaways and linking to various guest articles I’ve been busy writing over the weekend. Today I can point you toward a post I took live over on the Black Gate site about the adventures of Alexander the Great in Persia, as told by the great Persian poet Absoalasem Ferdowsi in the Shahnameh.
Behind-the-scenes I’ve been working on a whole series of promotional essays, working through some character motivation issues in my next Paizo Pathfinder book, and developing a new opening for the third Dabir and Asim novel.
A number of you have sent me nice notes asking about my mom’s health, which is very kind of you. She is home with us and on the mend, and I am trying to get used to not having a dedicated office (it’s now her bedroom).
I had hoped to sneak out this weekend to watch Skyfall, but time didn’t work out. My wife and son and I did catch Wreck-it Ralph last weekend and found it surprisingly good. Andrew Zimmerman Jones’ over at Black Gate does a great job summing up the movie’s strengths without giving much of the plot away (and let’s you know when he’s about to reveal some minor spoilers, so you can turn your head if you wish). I recommend it highly as a family film that really can be enjoyed by adults and kids.
I am pleased to announce that the Chronicles of Sword and Sand, aka the adventures of Dabir and Asim, now has a British publisher. The books will be available overseas, beginning in April of 2013, courtesy of Head of Zeus.
Head of Zeus is new on the scene, with an exciting looking line-up of books and talented and experienced in-house staffers. And sure, you might think I’d naturally say that because I’m thrilled to have a British publisher, but there are a number of cool looking series that they already have on board, and they’ve been a delight to work with so far.
I hope to have more exciting news to update you about soon, including some giveaway contests. Watch this space!
Also… The Bones of the Old Ones will be released on December 11. Did I mention the book got a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly? I did? Whoops. I hope you won’t mind if I’ve repeated myself a bit there…
Two events stand out as the scariest book moments I ever experienced. I wish I could tell you the works that frightened me were by famous horror writers, but one of them was a children’s book. The other was a history text, and the scare was unintended.
Runner-up for the scariest moment I ever experienced while reading a book comes from grade school, when I was fascinated with ancient Egypt. I was sitting down with a big 8″ by 11″ tome. I turned the page and suddenly discovered a life-sized image of the shriveled-up face of Ramses the Great.
I recoiled in fear and dropped the book. It was a helluva creepy thing to come upon. I know, I know, you’re probably thinking ancient Egypt is sure to have pictures of mummies, right? Well, maybe, but I’d never seen a picture of one unwrapped before, and I wasn’t even reading about mummies. I was reading about the conquests of Ramses the Great. One minute I was thinking about chariot battles, then, suddenly I was eye to empty eye socket with his long-dead face.
My friend Nathan Long has a new book out, Swords of Waar, a real blast of a sword-and-planet romp. I got to read it and its predecessor in rough draft, and they were a helluva lot of fun, and hard to put down. But I’d expect nothing less from Nathan, who’s responsible for some excellent, excellent heroic fiction in the Warhammer universe. His Blackhearts omnibus really ought to be required reading for anyone who intends to write sword-and-sorcery, and I’m looking forward to reading his next two Ulrika books, because the first one knocked me out.
Swords of Waar is the second of Nathan’s take on Barsoomian style action adventure, with a tough biker chick cast in the role usually reserved for John Carter rip-offs. To celebrate its release, Nathan came up with a rock-and-roll playlist on his web site.
And that list was so inspiring, a couple of my other sword-and-sorcery writer friends came up with playlists of their own, for their own work. Here’s a list from John Fultz, creator of Seven Princes and fellow Black Gate author. And here’s a soundtrack for some of the works of Alex Bledsoe, best known for his Eddie LaCrosse books. Speaking of Alex Bledsoe, he’s got a new short story up at Apex magazine, so if you’ve been curious about his work, you can try a sample of it for free right here.
And, hey, as long as I’m providing links to free reading stuff, let me follow up on a link to a preview of a new Martha Wells novel coming out next year, the steam punkish Emilie and the Hollow World.
There’s a little less than 30 days between now and the release of The Bones of the Old Ones! I’ll be talking a lot more about that in the next few weeks, in all kinds of places. I suppose I should think about a playlist for my own work…
It sounds like a win/win to me, especially if you’re a fantasy book lover who doesn’t like to see people’s lives disrupted or devastated by hurricanes. And if you’re already a fan of writer Martha Wells, then count yourself lucky indeed.
Swing by Martha’s site for the FULL rules, but here they are in a nutshell, stolen from her web site. I personally think this is a great idea, and if I had author copies of my next one yet, I would be jumping on the bandwagon. Anyway, take it away, Martha:
In discussion of my influences I always mention the writer Harold Lamb, but it’s a sad truth that he’s still little known today. That wasn’t always true. A few generations ago he was one of the most popular writers in one of the best (and most respected) of all pulp magazines, Adventure. Later in life his biographies and histories were award winning and well-regarded, and he was considered such an expert on the Middle-East that the state department sometimes consulted with him.
Once I discovered just how consistently excellent Lamb’s adventure fiction was it was my dream that it would be brought properly into print, and I am extremely proud to have been intimately involved in making that happen through the Bison Books imprint of the University of Nebraska Press.
There are several things that drew me to Lamb’s fiction. When I was young it was the headlong pace and the exotic settings, so exotic, as L. Sprague de Camp once wrote, Lamb might as well have been writing of Burroughs’ Mars. But Lamb wasn’t inventing his setting, he was enmeshed in a great deal of research at a time when detailed research meant mastering other languages and journeying to distant lands and libraries.