Monthly Archives: February 2013

Golden Juicebox

I just learned the other day that I’d been awarded a Juicebox from Staffer’s Book Review, specifically for the best book Justin Landon had read in 2012 that wasn’t FROM 2012. Among other things, Landon wrote this about The Desert of Souls:

By embracing that past, infused with Arabian Nights and early 20th century fantasy, Jones captures what is best about outmoded forms of fiction without any of the of negative trappings. Many will call Howard Andrew Jones a writer of historical adventure fantasy. It’s an accurate description, but one that sells him woefully short. Desert of Souls is a masterful novel that resonates on a meta-fictional level that’s rarely equaled.  I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Pathfinder at Work

Right now I’m still cooking away at my newest Paizo novel. I was nearing the conclusion when I decided my time would better be spent shoring up all that came before, and after a week of this I’m getting more and more happy with the result. I’m pretty sure that anyone who enjoyed the first one, Plague of Shadows, will like this one even more.

It being crunch time for this book, I’m not working on much else, although I haven’t been able to resist spending a little time on proposals for some pretty exciting secondary world fantasy novels. Some of you may not want to hear this, but thinking about settings that won’t require a whole slew of research (either via history books or gaming books) to bring to life is starting to feel quite liberating. Instead of worrying that I’ll have missed some key point of ancient Middle-Eastern culture or left out some important Baghdad landmark, I might just be able to make something up.

You might be wondering why I have another pic of Ten Bears on my blog. Merely because the conversation between Ten Bears and Josey Wales is one of my very favorite moments on film.

Right, well, that’s about all I’ve got. I’ve been re-exploring some of my favorite Robert E. Howard stories, and I’ll have some notes about those in the next week.


Two More Things

I’m deep in draft mode these days, but I wanted to swing in with a couple of recommendations.

First, I wanted to point everyone over to a new book trailer from the talented Alex Ross, something from his new fantasy series, coming in June from Tor. Take a look by clicking here.

Second, the gifted Jon Sprunk is running a book giveaway over at Goodreads through the end of March. If you’ve been curious about his work, now’s your chance to try it out… or at least to try for a chance to try it out. Follow this link to enter.

In the next couple of days I’ll post a link to some great sword-and-sorcery stories. For now, though, I must away!


Invocation of the Muses

Thalia Took’s Sketch of 9 Greek Muses

One of Steven Pressfield’s main topics of focus in The War of Art is the fight against what he calls Resistance — the unrelenting struggle a writer faces to NOT write. Every day a writer has to push forward and make the writing happen. You just can’t wait for inspiration, at least not if you’re going to write professionally.

I’ve found that The War of Art is one of the most useful writing books I’ve ever read because of its description of and advice about  waging the battle against Resistance (note the capital R — you must respect the enemy). To help me do battle, one of my tactics is to recognize that when you sit down to write you’re entering a different kind of mental state. I tell writing students that just as a professional athlete would not simply arrive at the track field and start sprinting, a writer will be poorly served to jump into the seat and immediately start typing.

It’s my thought that you have to acknowledge that change, that transition from one mental state (where you’re worrying about groceries and laundry or that news article) to another where the story is all, in order to do good work.

On the first page of The War of Art, Pressfield describes what he does each day to prepare to write so that he can be in the proper frame. Amongst several other personal rituals, Pressfield says a prayer. His is the Invocation of the Muse from Homer’s Odyssey, translated by T.E. Lawrence (that’s Lawrence of Arabia, incidentally).

I’ve never been much of a praying man myself, but I liked the sound of this, so I looked up the prayer, which I had read as a school boy and probably blipped over:

Plague of Titles

I thought I’d pen a quick note just so everyone knew I was still alive. There’s a lot of activity here at Jones central, and some of it is related to the fact I have a looming deadline.

The final stages of the official The Bones of The Old Ones launch campaign are wrapping up. In just a little while I’ll be promoting The Desert of Soul’s official paperback UK release, but in between now and then I’m working away on my next Paizo Pathfinder book. I’m on the final stages of the first draft of whatever the sequel to Plague of Shadows is going to be called.

The fact that I don’t have a title yet bugs me. Usually the title is one of the first things to reach me. For instance, I knew that The Bones of the Old Ones would be titled that after the first few chapters were written, no matter that the entire text was heavily revised several times. The Desert of Souls had a title almost from the first line. But so far a title for Elyana’s next adventure eludes me. All I know for sure is that it really can’t have anything to do with Plague or Shadows and probably shouldn’t have an “of” construction because A.) I’ve been doing that a lot and B.) Paizo has a lot of “of” titles.

Hopefully something will occur to me as I finish and go back through!

I’ve been revisiting Pressfield’s The War of Art and have a few observations about it I mean to share, but I’ve got to get to some writing.




Dabir and Asim in England

Prehistoric Groundhog

Whew! What a busy January that was.

I’m hoping February will be a little more… forgiving.

I’m just about to head out and look for groundhogs this morning, but I wanted to share something I thought was pretty cool. Head of Zeus, my British publisher, is putting finishing touches on their 2013 catalog, and I absolutely love their write-up of The Chronicles of Sword & Sand (aka the adventures of Dabir and Asim) so I thought I’d reproduce it here for your viewing pleasure.