Tag Archives: 2015

My Reading List for 2015

My Reading List for 2015

As is now a yearly tradition, I share my reading list for the year. Last year I surpassed my goal of thirty books with thirty-seven. This year I had a goal for thirty-five and ended up with exactly that. (I’m not the fastest of readers.)

Since this list is so long, I tend not to fill it with reviews, but you’re welcome to follow me on Goodreads where I do review books I read from time to time. At the end of the list, I will call out some of my favorite books of the year. As before, all links will go to Amazon as a default, but if one of these books sound interesting to you then I would encourage you to visit your local independent bookstore and purchase through them.


Novels:

  1. The Mirror Empire (Worldbreaker Saga #1)
    by Kameron Hurley
  2. Blightborn (The Heartland Trilogy #2)
    by Chuck Wendig
  3. Dune (Dune Chronicles #1)
    by Frank Herbert
  4. The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America
    by Erik Larson
  5. The Hour of the Oxrun Dead (Oxrun Station)
    by Charles L. Grant
  6. The Martian
    by Andy Weir
  7. The Slow Regard of Silent Things (The Kingkiller Chronicle #2.5)
    by Patrick Rothfuss
  8. The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard #1)
    by Scott Lynch
  9. Something Wicked This Way Comes
    by Ray Bradbury
  10. Annihilation: A Novel (Southern Reach #1)
    by Jeff VanderMeer
  11. NOS4A2
    by Joe Hill
  12. The City of Ember (Book of Ember #1)
    by Jeanne DuPrau
  13. Changeless (Parasol Protectorate #2)
    by Gail Carriger
  14. The Wind Through the Keyhole (The Dark Tower #4.5)
    by Stephen King
  15. The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2)
    by Brandon Sanderson
  16. Karen Memory
    by Elizabeth Bear
  17. The Flight of the Silvers (Silvers #1)
    by Daniel Price
  18. Southern Gods
    by John Hornor Jacobs
  19. Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances
    by Neil Gaiman
  20. Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2)
    by Brandon Sanderson
  21. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland #1)
    by Catherynne M. Valente
  22. Black Chalk
    by Christopher J. Yates
  23. Redwall (Redwall #1)
    by Brian Jacques
  24. Chapelwood (The Borden Dispatches #2)
    by Cherie Priest
  25. The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4)
    by Brandon Sanderson
  26. The Tombs of Atuan (Earthsea Cycle #2)
    by Ursula K. Le Guin
  27. The Dunwich Horror
    by H.P. Lovecraft
  28. The Harvest (The Heartland Trilogy #3)
    by Chuck Wendig
  29. A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic #1)
    by V.E. Schwab
  30. The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3)
    by Brandon Sanderson
  31. Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking
    by David Bayles, Ted Orland
  32. The Spirit Machine
    by Robert Hazelton
  33. A Witch’s Feast (The Memento Mori Series #2)
    by C.N. Crawford
  34. The Gap Into Conflict: The Real Story (Gap #1)
    by Stephen R. Donaldson
  35. The Deep
    by Nick Cutter

If there is one takeaway I have, it’s that I read way to much Sanderson. He’s on the list four times. While I’m not discounting him as a writer (his books are a lot of fun), that’s way too much for me. So next year I vow to be Sanderson free (even if the next Stormlight book comes out.)


Favorite Novel of 2015:

Flight of the Silvers by Daniel Price

The Flight of the Silvers (Silvers #1)
by Daniel Price

It would have been easy for me to select Dune or Something Wicked, both classics and both books I love. However, I wanted to pick something that was a new favorite, something that stuck with me after I put it down. Flight of the Silvers was that book. Daniel Price wrote an amazing world with incredible characters all struggling together and against one another. A fresh new sci-fi series and I cannot wait for the sequel.

Favorite Novel Runners-up of 2015:

Chapelwood by Cherie Priest

Chapelwood (The Borden Dispatches #2)
by Cherie Priest

The sequel to last year’s runner-up, Maplecroft. This book exceeded its predecessor and was easily one of the best books I read all year. Priest’s take on new mythos is both fresh and familiar, it’s dark but is still heartfelt and incredibly engaging. I loved every minute of it.

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard #1)
by Scott Lynch

I didn’t know what to expect when I sat down to read this book and even a few chapters in I was dubious. I’m glad I stuck with it. I loved this book. The world is familiar but feels fresh and fully realized, its characters are well-crafted and real, and the plot was amazingly complex. I found it impossible to anticipate and quite difficult to put down.


Graphic Novels:

Unlike last year, in 2015 I read a whole swath of great graphic novels and a handful of some pretty terrible ones. As with the previous list, at the end I’ll pick my favorite graphic novel from 2015. (I’m not going to pick Saga… I’m not going to pick Saga… I’m not going to pick Saga.)

  1. The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 1: The Faust Act
    by Kieron Gillen (Author), Jamie McKelvie (Author, Illustrator)
  2. Prophet, Vol. 1: Remission
    by Simon Roy (Author), Farel Dalrymple (Author), Giannis Milogiannis (Author), Brandon Graham (Author, Illustrator)
  3. East of West Volume 1: The Promise
    by Jonathan Hickman (Author), Nick Dragotta (Illustrator)
  4. Moon Knight Volume 1: From the Dead
    by Warren Ellis (Author), Declan Shalvey (Illustrator)
  5. Southern Bastards Volume 1: Here Was a Man
    by Jason Aaron (Author), Jason LaTour (Illustrator)
  6. Trees, Vol. 1: In Shadows
    by Warren Ellis (Author), Jason Howard (Author, Illustrator)
  7. Saga, Vol. 5
    by Brian K. Vaughan (Author), Fiona Staples (Illustrator)
  8. Catbeard the Pirate, Book 1: Keelhauling & Kitty Litter
    by Matt Nelson (Author & Illustrator)
  9. Sex Criminals, Vol. 2: Two Worlds, One Cop
    by Matt Fraction (Author), Chip Zdarsky (Illustrator)
  10. The Manhattan Projects, Vol. 1: Science Bad
    by Jonathan Hickman (Author), Nick Pitarra (Artist)
  11. Neonomicon
    by Alan Moore (Author), Jacen Burrows (Artist)

Favorite Graphic Novel of 2015:

Prophet, Vol. 1: Remission
by Simon Roy (Author), Farel Dalrymple (Author), Giannis Milogiannis (Author), Brandon Graham (Author, Illustrator)

I didn’t pick Saga! But seriously, there was something so engaging about this reboot of Prophet (a former, and awful, Image character from the 90s) that I loved. It’s Conan in space, the artwork is beautiful, the stories bizarre. Prophet, Vol. 2: Brothers is already on my list for next year.

Favorite Graphic Novel Runners-up of 2015:

Catbeard The Pirate Book One: Keelhauling & Kitty LitterCatbeard the Pirate, Book 1: Keelhauling & Kitty Litter
by Matt Nelson (Author & Illustrator)

As you can tell from my list, when it comes to comics, I usually am not drawn to comedy. However after a recommendation from a friend, I picked up Matt Nelson’s fantastic book. Catbeard is charming, witty, and was a delight to read. What else would you expect from a book with cat-beard voodoo curses, dinosaur riding heroes, and strange pirate adventures? It was the perfect respite between some of the darker graphic novels I was reading. Ready for the next one.

Trees

Trees, Vol. 1: In Shadows
by Warren Ellis (Author), Jason Howard (Author, Illustrator)

Trees is one of those books I wish I thought of, the setting is simple, but the ramifications of its simplicity are complex. What would society do if strange and enormous aliens arrived on Earth? Ten years after that event, Trees seeks to explore that idea, with what appears to be terrible ramifications, I can’t wait for more.


So that’s my list for 2015. A lot of really great stuff, and I’m looking forward to new books in 2016. I was also given a new challenge! If you recall, in 2014, I was challenged to read more women authors, and I ended up doing just that. Well, my friend Steve Toutonghi, author of the upcoming sci-fi novel Join, challenged me to read more classics in 2016. So that’s my plan. First on my plate (after I read my advanced reader copy of Join) is to dive into Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges and then it’ll move onto Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain.

How about you? How does your reading list compare this year? Did anything stick out? Did you find a new favorite book or favorite author? What are your plans for 2016? Is there any new book you’re excited to read? Are there any classics I should visit in my 2016? Leave a comment and let me know!

Friday Link Pack - Christmas

Friday Link Pack – Christmas

It’s Friday, and it’s Christmas! Merry Christmas! Hopefully, you’re done opening presents and full of delicious Christmas Dinner and ready to curl up with the Friday Link Pack, my weekly post covering topics such as writing, art, current events, and random weirdness. Some of these links I mentioned on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! This will be the last official Friday Link Pack for some time [Details here]. Next week we’ll finish up with a big year-end review. Let’s get to it.


WRITING:

Creating Fictional Holidays
One way to increase the believability of your fictional world is to pepper it with invented but engaging holidays. In this article Robert A. Sloan offers some advice on creating holidays unique to your world.

Worldbuilding: Creating Holidays
Sensing a theme here? Since today is Christmas, I thought it’d be fun to explore different aspects of holidays as it pertains to writing. In this article, author Elizabeth Briggs breaks down our holidays into five unique categories. (She also links the next link that I’ll embed below.)

Life Day!
The crew of Writing Excuses and author Dave Farland discusses holidays in this video taken at Superstars Writing Seminar 2011 in Salt Lake City. Click the link to watch it on YouTube or use the player below.

What Did Kindle Unlimited Pay for Pages Read in November, 2015?
Author Chris McMullen crunches the numbers from last month on the per-page payouts for Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program.

Boost Your Writing: 3 Things To Do Now To Start 2016 Off Right
The new year is right around the corner, and Angela Ackerman of Bookshelf Muse and Writers Helping Writers has some helpful housekeeping ideas to kickstart the upcoming New Year.


ART:

Krampus, The Yule Lord
In his new book, author and artist Brom has illustrated some of the characters surrounding the legend of Krampus. From Mrs. Clause to Krampus himself. Wonderfully creepy and as always amazingly imaginative. Today’s Featured Image is a detailed version of Brom’s Santa, make sure you check out the full version in the link. You can buy, Krampus, The Yule Lord at Amazon.

Constructual by Juana Gomez
Faded photographs of humans printed on fabric are embroidered with the internal anatomy, neural pathways, muscle structure, even the circulatory system. A unique and lovely look into the human body and the systems housed inside.

Paintings of Haphazardly Wrapped Gifts by Yrjö Edelmann
I stared at these images for a long time and just found myself shaking my head. Edelmann’s skill is undeniable, and it’s amazing to think these are simple oil paintings on canvas.


RANDOM:

2015: The Best Year in History for the Average Human Being
If you listen to the 24-hour news cycle, you’d think we’re spiraling down into a maelstrom of doom and gloom. However, that isn’t the case at all. Things are looking pretty awesome for humanity, despite what Fox News will tell you. (Spoiler: next years looking even better.)

Cthulhumas Wreath Creature
Next year, if you want to terrify your friends and neighbors, consider crafting this wonderful (and festive) Cthulhu-esque wreath.

Should We Keep A Low Profile In Space?
We have been so eager to discover intelligent life outside our planet, the New York Times questions whether or not that is a good idea. Some doors might best be left closed.

Cthulelf!
Artist Kate Leth created this adorable little Cthulhu for you to cut out and hang around your house. An easy (and terrifying) way to decorate your home or workspace for the holidays.

Time Travel Map
This map from 1914 has been making the rounds lately. The isochronic map shows the time it would take to travel from Europe to the far-flung edges of the world.


WEIRD WIKIPEDIA:

Caganer
“A Caganer is a figurine depicted in the act of defecation appearing in nativity scenes in Catalonia and neighbouring areas with Catalan culture such as Andorra, Valencia and Northern Catalonia (in southern France). It is most popular and widespread in these areas, but can also be found in other areas of Spain (Murcia), Portugal and southern Italy (Naples).

The name “El Caganer” literally means “the crapper” or “the shitter”. Traditionally, the figurine is depicted as a peasant, wearing the traditional Catalan red cap (the “barretina”) and with his trousers down, showing a bare backside, and defecating.”


H.P. LOVECRAFT STORY OF THE WEEK:

Christmas
Did you know Lovecraft wrote a super sappy Christmas poem? (Well, honestly, he wrote a bunch.) Last year I featured the poem Christmas on I Make Stories, and if you’re feeling jolly you should check it out.


GIF OF THE WEEK:

End on a high note

Happy Christmas

I’m spending time with my family today, but I wanted to make a quick post wishing each of you a wonderful and happy holiday. Thanks for reading this blog and my books, thanks for the support, and thank you for making my 2015 so incredible. You’re all amazing people, and I could not do any of this without you. Have a very merry Christmas and happy holidays.

Cthulhu Santa by Scott Brundage

This amazing Cthulhu Santa comes from illustrator Scott Brundage. You can check out more of his work on his website. See how this piece was created over on his blog, and if you want to terrify your family next year you can buy this as a Christmas card. Perfect!

2015 in Ten Awesome Photos

2015 in Ten Awesome Photos

Last year, I published a post summing up my 2014 In Ten Awesome Photos. It was a fun challenge because a lot of stuff happened and it was a good way for me to reflect on the year. Going forward, I want to make this post a regular thing, I like the idea of a yearly recap of the ups and downs of my year condensed into ten pictures.

Going back through these photos has made my 2015 seem so much longer. Since I have made the decision to focus on my writing in my free time, I’ve noticed that time for me has slowed down. It feels like ages since I launched The Stars Were Right, but the reality is that it has only been three years. Losing myself to the creative process has forced me to enjoy the moment so much more, as Ze Frank says in An Invocation for Beginnings, “life isn’t just a sequence of waiting for things to be done.” For me, the journey has become as engaging as the destination.

So let’s take a look at ten stops in my 2015 together…


2015_01Like every year, Kari-Lise, myself, and some friends started the year off with a hike. This photo was taken on Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound at a National Historic Reserved named Ebey’s Landing. It’s also a great place to see incredible views of both the Olympic Mountains and Mt. Baker. The first hike of the year has become a right of passage for Kari-Lise and me, and it’s a good way to start the year out right. I wonder where we’ll end up in 2016.

2015_02In February, I put The Stars Were Right on sale for 99¢ and promoted it through BookBub. The result was astounding, I sold hundreds and hundreds of copies, and the book was propelled to the top of the Amazon Bestseller List for a day. I wrote a whole post about it.

The Stars Were Right hanging next to Hugh Howey's Wool

There’s always a bit of nervous excitement when this happens, but overall I was excited to see how many new readers loved the story and continued on to Old Broken Road.


2015_03Kari-Lise and I went down to San Diego for the opening of her show Inflorescence. The show was fantastic, and we were able to spend some time exploring the city and its environs. While there we made the trip out to Joshua Tree National Park. I haven’t visited this stretch of desert in over a decade, and the return was purifying in a way you can only experience in a desert.


2015_04In March, I went to Norwescon 38. It was incredible. I sold out of books. I met a lot of amazing people, and I was threatened by Rorschach! I had so much fun that I’m doing it again in 2016. Norwescon 39 here I come!


2015_05After Norwescon, I hit up CthulhuCon in Portland, Oregon. It was great to gather together with so many fellow mythos fans. There was short films, tons of books, great panels, amazing art, and so much more. The show was a big success, and I was able to not only participate in a reading of The Stars Were Right, but I also sat on the “Creating a Mythos” panel moderated by Ross Lockheart. Like Norwescon, I met some great people along the way, and I’m hoping to return this year.


2015_07In the summer, I was asked to be a best man at the wedding of Steve and Sarah, easily two of the best people I know. The weekend was centered around a group camp and held at Dash Point State Park here in Washington. It was a fun weekend, and that’s coming from a guy who isn’t generally much of a camper. The wedding was incredible, and it was touching to see Steve and Sarah share their love in front of a whole bunch of pretty amazing friends and family. I was so glad I attended and honored to be a small part of it.


Remembering JakeSadly, this summer my friend Jake Rogers lost his battle with cystic fibrosis. Jake was one of the kindest, caring, and supportive people I’ve known. He has been an inspiration to me and many others, and he is and will always be missed. (I didn’t take this photo, but I needed to include Jake in this list.)


2015_08At the end of the summer, Kari-Lise and I went to Iceland. It was a quick trip (only a week) but we saw a lot of the country and we’re plotting a return. Getting out into the world with Kari-Lise has had a fundamental impact on both our lives and my writing. I’m glad that we’re able to do it together. Travel doesn’t have to be expensive, and there are many ways to explore this beautiful world. Do it. You’ll thank me later.


2015_09In September, we traveled to San Francisco for the opening of Kari-Lise’s second solo show of the year, A Lovelorn Theft. The opening was terrific and like her previous show, it did really well. It was great to see so many fans coming out to support her and check out the work in person.


Red Litten WorldIn October, we returned to Lovat when I launched The Bell Forging Cycle, Book III: Red Litten World. It was my largest book launch yet, and the book continues to do well. People seem to really enjoy Waldo Bell’s latest adventure that makes me happy. With its release The Bell Forging Cycle has become a trilogy!  You can buy it right now!


Behold my 2015! There’s a lot in those ten photos, but there is so much I left out: Mariners games, Seahawk games, Kari-Lise’s documentary, book research, I finished another manuscript, I took more pictures of Iceland, I spent more time in the mountains, I went to other conventions, I took pictures of my dogs, I explored my city, and so much more. I gleaned a lot of these images from my Instagram account which I like to keep as a running record of my life (and I’ll occasionally talk about my books.)

As before, why not keep this ten awesome photos thing going? Post ten awesome photos of your own on your blog and leave a link in the comments below so others can see what happened in your year. I’ll even update this post to include links to your ten photos!