And here we are again! A few weeks ago I sat down The POPRIKA Podcast to discuss my two recent releases, The Gem of Acitus and REEFER SNAKES!, with Darryl Seed Mansel, as well as other goings on within the pop culture world!
As always, stay safe and I'll see you soon!
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Thursday, July 16, 2015
Holy double-exclamations! A few posts ago I revealed the cover for my upcoming Grind Pulp Press release, REEFER SNAKES!
I am happy to announce that it is available today!
Get it at Amazon!
I am happy to announce that it is available today!
Get it at Amazon!
Friday, July 10, 2015
It's very rare that I enjoy a sequel as much as I enjoy the first part. Sequels usually rest on the laurels of the first work, expecting the audience to follow along without any help given to shore up some of the more confusing points of a narrative. You see this in comic books, video games, and novels all the time, so it was with real pleasure I finished Nightborn by Lou Anders, a stunning addition to what had been an auspicious debut of his Middle Grade Fantasy hit, Frostborn (which I reviewed here). Safe to say, he followed through.
|Art by Justin Gerard|
Reintroducing us to the half-giantess, Thianna, and a barbarian gamer named Karn, Nightborn picks up right where the first book picked up as well, with the two friend being swept up into an unexpected adventure that introduces us to new lands, new thrills, and most importantly, new characters that grab the reader from page one.
World-building plays a huge part into Anders' writing style, often making up a good chunk of his narrative. There is a loving amount of detail injected into Nightborn, and for a second novel, it opens the world of Norrengod to places beyond its Viking-trappings. I was delighted by the multiplicity of cultures, creatures, and settings this one book held. The Uskirians, for example, take tried and true tropes of D&D orcs and really does something wonderful with them, making them flamboyant in a way I had not imagined. Whether it was a Flittermouse, a Chimera, or Anders' brilliantly classical interpretation of dragons, there is so much to digest, even for the most jaded adult reader.
With his world broadened beyond Karn and Thianna's original borders, Anders ups the thrills from last time as well, with new games, properly balanced riddles, and exciting action that you can only find this side a MANTICORE race! Whether it's swooping wyverns, climactic sword fights, or the well-place chase, the real wonder of Nightborn isn't in its action, but in the presentation of its action. Save for a few snafus here and there, where the text is sometimes a little murky, there is a true mindfulness to the madness. This reader never felt that Karn and Thianna were in dire threat, but the weight of what was going on was real enough to keep me turning pages. In a genre filled with carefully choreographed sequences that often flop, sometimes it was just fun to sit back and enjoy the ride!
Yet the real gem of Nightborn is Desstra, a spunky dark elf who Anders weaves into his series as if she had been there all along. As many of you may know, I have a certain affinity for dark elf characters, but she completely caught me off guard. Both sweet and able, she adds so much to the Karn-Thianna dynamic that I was bursting with joy when I finally reached the end. "A half-giant, a barbarian, and a devious little elf" stole the show together. I love stories where friendship, trust, and empathy take the forefront of fantasy, and Nightborn gives me a trio I want to read more of in the future.
Heavy on the Lloyd Alexander when sharpened with Rowling, Lou Anders has hit his follow-up to Frostborn right out of the park. With a new games, challenges, and adventures, Thianna and Karn have returned for a rollicking good time in Nightborn!
Friday, July 3, 2015
Back again, and this time I am quite happy to present the cover for my upcoming July release from Mocha Memoirs Press, The Gem of Acitus!
This short stars Manwe the Panther, a thief and freedom fighter, as he tries to rescue his lover from the dangerous clutches of a corrupt nobleman! Set in the dusty savannah of Juut, a land of wealth and woe, he must ply darkened alleys, dread depths, and rich mansions in a thrilling tale of love, loss, and revolution if he is to win the day. Treasures abound, rumors fly, and blood will run.
I'd like to thank Mocha Memoirs for giving me a shot. Being with a small press has always been a dream of mine, and with a quality publisher like them, I'm beyond pleased with the experience. I would also like to thank Darin Kennedy, Matthew Saunders, and Caryn Sutorus for all the help they provided beta-reading for me. I also need to thank Eden Royce for being a kick ass editor through and through. These people are the original Charlotte Crew. And of course, all my love and respect goes to Margo, my fiance. She has always been there to support this story, and I couldn't do a lot of what I do without her.
And finally, I want to thank you, the people who keep visiting this site. Please continue to support the blog and my work by clicking on that "G+1" to the left. That lets me know that you like what I produce.
Thursday, July 2, 2015
I would like to present the cover for my upcoming July release, courtesy of Grind Pulp Press.
REEFER SNAKES! is a "novelization" of a "grindhouse film" based on a short story I wrote starring a recurring character of mine, Jishnu the Srijati. I wrote this because a bunch of different things fell together at the right time, which speaks to the serendipity we sometimes feel discover in The Craft, and it all started because of two disparate documentaries.
Documentaries hold a special place in my heart. In many ways, humanity only understands something when it is transmitted in a relational story that is easy to follow, and documentaries serve a unique purpose in their ability to take large amounts of information, condense them into an understandable message, and present themselves in a compelling narrative that forces you to think. Whether you buy the message or not is up to you, but I believe being made to think because of a story is the ultimate method of developing our culture. We do this with sports, novels, TV shows, movies, music, politics, and the list goes on and on. When I saw The Union: The Business Behind Getting High, the compelling narrative within the documentary changed a lot of my views on prohibition, The War on Drugs, governmental policy, and helped me develop some of the more revolutionary aspects I employ in my style of writing. Growing up a D.A.R.E kid, finding an alternative take on the issue required that I looked deeply into the views outside of the material presented in the classroom, which I have found advocates prohibition based on perceptions, not actual facts.
|"Okay, weed is bad. But why do we have to wear pants? Daren the Lion isn't wearing pants."|
- Little Jay Requard, Age 9
Nancy Reagan hates lions, by the way. Or she does for the sake of this post. (No hate towards Nancy Reagan. A very classy lady.)
What really led to the creation of the story, however, has been my fascination with India. To me, it is a country where human culture finds itself split between the new and innovative and the ancient and wise. From its spiritual practices to the food (oh, the food), to the history and the originations of eastern thought, this land has always held my imagination as a fertile ground for stories that capture me in a way that Western European/Medieval Fantasy settings can't muster anymore. I also wanted to follow up on "Stout", another Jishnu story that focused itself on beer, but this time I wanted it to be set in Sutia, which is my Iron Age India.
What really helped me formulize the setting and theme, believe it or not, was another documentary I discovered while researching some world-building aspects for this story. Strain Hunters: The India Expedition is a fascinating examination behind the people in the business of recreational cannabis, the exploration (and, I could argue, exploitation) of native Indian cultures, and how prohibition interacts with class, religion, and politics.
|A Shaivite Sadhu smoking charas, a form of cannabis hash often used in meditative practice and for medicinal purposes|
More than anything, I wanted to write a fun story that was beyond the pale of what is currently out there. I love stoner humor, be it Cheech & Chong or Half Baked, and I love Glen Cook's The Black Company. Reefer Snakes is a marriage of the two, full of thrilling action you come to expect from Sword & Sorcery, paired up with some goofy puns and red-eyed joy. I hope you laugh your ass off and have fun.
Before I go, I want to thank Grind Pulp Press for giving me a shot. I need to thank my fiance, Margo. For all her eye-rolling at the stupid shit I wrote, she is always there to help me make my work better. And finally, I need to thank all of you. You keep coming back, you keep supporting, and that's pretty damned cool.
Please share and support this if you like reading the stuff you see here at Sit.Write.Bleed. Clicking on the G+1 at the left always helps get this blog placed higher (HA!) in Google Searches, and that helps promote the myself, the people I interview, and hopefully Heroic Fantasy and Sword & Sorcery.
Love you all!