Yearly Archives: 2012

Scary Book Moments

Ramses the Great alive. I can’t bring myself to post a pic of his dead face…

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.

Music to Waar By

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…

Hurricane Relief, Chance to Win Free Book

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:

Harold Lamb’s Adventure Fiction

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.

The Queen of Thorns

First today I wanted to point everyone to Queen of Thorns, the new book from the pen of the talented Dave Gross.

If you’re already a Pathfinder Tales fan then Dave needs no introduction, because he is the real mainstay of the Paizo Pathfinder Tales novel line. That’s because Dave isn’t just a good writer who hits his deadlines, he also has a gift for bringing characters to life and providing atmospheric spark to every corner of the Pathfinder world (Golarion) where he shines his light.

Media tie-in fiction gets a bad rap from some people, but here and at Black Gate I’ve long said that some tie-in writers will defy your expectations. One of those is Dave Gross            .

The Queen of Thorns is the third novel length adventure of his characters Radovan and Jeggare, although, as with the others, it stands alone. Don’t take my word on the quality of Dave’s writing. Right now you can check out every one of the first four chapter. I’m going to rip the rest of this information right from Dave’s site            :

Counting Down

In the next few weeks I’ll be receiving my copies of The Bones of the Old Ones. It’s one thing to hold the advanced reader’s copy. It’s another completely to be holding the actual book with the final cover, the corrected text, the corrected cover copy with blurbs and a few reviews that came in immediately before the book went to press, and I’m looking forward to that.

I wish that the covers didn’t head off for printing quite so early, because it would have been nice to have the starred review from Publisher’s Weekly on the cover, but if I could make things come true by snapping my fingers I guess that would be a little further down the list than, say, world peace or honest politicians.

Music to Write of Arabia

I’ve held various career plans over the years, beginning with my ambition to be a double-nought spy, a starship captain, or another Beatle. I also wanted to be a writer from an early age, a goal that seemed just about as superheroically awesome as the others.

By the time I was in college I was still gigging around in local rock bands and writing, and I had it in my head I might be able to make a go of it as a composer. There’s only so much time in every day, and every life, though, and eventually writing won out over music, just as getting a film degree won out over a degree in music theory. These days I only sit down at the piano occasionally to amuse myself, but I do keep my hand in composing by drafting themes for my characters.Sometimes I sit down and play a character theme song before I start my writing day.

I’ve thought about subjecting the wider world to a recording of the Dabir and Asim theme song, but I think it would sound a lot better with all the orchestration I hear in my head rather than just having me pound it out on the piano, and besides, I’m busy, so it’s never been recorded.

But enough about me! Today I wanted to share the CD I listen to while driving around town and thinking about the ancient Middle-East.

Manly Movie Week, Part 2

Last week, while my wife and daughter were out of town for seven days, my son and I sat down with a pile of movies I was pretty sure my wife would never be interested in. I already reported on the greatest number of them. After the weekend, our viewing slowed down quite a lot due to my son’s homework load. We just didn’t have time to watch all of those on my list, let alone all of those I managed to find at the library or via Netflix or Amazon Prime.

By the end of Friday night we’d managed five more, and some of them were very impressive.

Writing Sword and Sorcery

I spent so much time writing that gargantuan overanalysis yesterday of what manly movies I’d been watching with my son I’m going to keep things really short this morning so I can get back to writing books. But I logged on to point everyone to a pretty cool post over at my writer friend Violette Malan’s site. She spends some time thinking about why she writes sword-and-sorcery. I particularly enjoyed the strengths she finds in the genre, her discussion of how it’s one of the only places you can present heroism without irony, and her discussion of models she found in some of the work by genre founders.

Later in the week I’ll finally post about that great Arabianesque music I thought I’d lost, and, if I didn’t put everyone to sleep with my manly movie post, I’ll catch people up on the rest of our views and our reactions.

Right, back to work now.