Tag Archives: fantasy

It's done!

Another Finished Manuscript

Big news today! I just finished the rough draft for my new fantasy project: Our Dust Echoes! Whew. Finishing something like this is a weird mix of emotions. I’m glad to have reached this point, but it’s always hard to feel finished. But it is finished. The tale is told. As I mentioned on Instagram, Twitter, and pretty much everywhere else I had intended that this would be a series of small novellas… the, er… story grew in the telling.
Our Dust Echoes - Final Rough ManuscriptI’m going to let it rest for a bit, then I will be diving into my first pass of edits. Expect a lot more to come on this particular project, an official announcement will be really soon. Dust is very different from The Bell Forging Cycle in a lot of interesting ways. I think you’ll dig it.

The Beauty of the Standalone

The Beauty In The Standalone

I watched Whiplash the other day and I absolutely loved it. In my opinion, it should have won best picture. Miles Teller and J. K. Simmons are fantastic and Damien Chazelle’s storytelling is superb. In many ways, it’s a fantastic example of the perfect story. It didn’t have thirty minutes of slow character introduction and back story like so many of the superhero movies leading the box office these days. It didn’t have a long drawn out ending that wrapped everything up in a nice little package. It was succinct. It was sharp. It was alive. It left a lot to the imagination. It was beautiful.

Whiplash is a great example for what I am about to dive into. You see, several times at recent conventions, during discussions of favorite books, I have had people tell me that they only read books in a series. That is unfortunate. There are a lot of great books out there, and many of them are standalone novels. But I’ve heard this sentiment many times, and I think this kind of thinking tends to prevail within the speculative fiction market. Many novels get thrust into a series when they would have been better off remaining a single work. Sci-fi and fantasy publishers tend to be looks for writers who want to work on a series, especially in the YA market. Take a look at this list of the purported “Top 25 Fantasy Novels” only three are stand alone books (Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, Robert Jackson Bennet’s City Of Stairs, and Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.)

Some of this is a reaction to the marketplace. Publishers want to sell a bunch of books and people clearly love supporting a series. They love the long story. They enjoy following characters from one book to the next. The odds are high that someone who loves the first book will come back to the second. As a reader, author, and a publisher, I completely understand. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against the series as a concept. I love reading them. Hell, I’m writing one. But, I think as fans of speculative fiction we need to be willing to embrace the standalone novel as quickly as we embrace the series. Not every sci-fi and fantasy story should be three, six, or twelve novels long to catch our interest. Like Whiplash we should have vibrant stories that are told in one succinct volume. We should allow for stories that leave us wondering and send our imagination spinning. We should be eager to support those books as quickly as we support a series. Think back to some of the classics speculative fiction authors: Isaac Asimov, Octavia Butler, Philip K. Dick, and the likes of Alfred Bester. Some of their best work was standalone novels. There’s a beauty in the standalone. And as fans of sci-fi and fantasy, it’s important to remember that.

How about you? What is your favorite standalone sci-fi or fantasy novel? Why not leave a reply and let us know in the comments!

Red Litten World Cover Reveal

Red Litten World Cover Reveal Is Coming June 4th

The date has been set, the stars have aligned, and it is time. The cover reveal for Red Litten World, book three of The Bell Forging Cycle, is coming June 4th, 2015. One again the incredibly talented Jon Contino is back with some beautiful hand lettering. After seeing his incredible work for the covers of The Stars Were Right and Old Broken Road, you’ve probably detected a theme beginning to form for the series. I’d wager you can sorta guess what this cover will look like… or can you. [Cue dramatic music.]

“…legend said that it had come from a mysterious inner realm beneath the red-litten world—a black realm of peculiar-sensed beings which had no light at all, but which had great civilisations and mighty gods…”

H. P. Lovecraft & Zealia Bishop, The Mound

As with all big announcements and cover reveals, folks who subscribe to my newsletter will be the first people who get a glimpse at the new cover. Why not join those brave and noble few and… sign up today →.

Yep, that's a gorilla drinking a martini. Thanks Hollywood.

Friday Link Pack 03/13/2015

Hooray! It’s Friday the 13th! AGAIN! Twice in one year! That means… er, it’s time to share a few links I’ve found over the last few days. (Weeks, in this case.) Some of these I mention on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! Have a link I should feature in the upcoming link pack? Click here to email me and let me know! (Include a website so I can link to you as well.) Let’s get to it…

Terry Pratchett:

Sir Terry Pratchett, Renowned Fantasy Author, Dies Aged 66
Yesterday we lost one of the greats, and I am sad to see him go. This BBC article has a good recap of his life and accomplishments. As I mention in my post from yesterday, the tweets about meeting Death towards the end… I ain’t going to lie, I got a little teary.

Neil Gaiman: ‘Terry Pratchett Isn’t Jolly. He’s Angry’
Great piece from one of Pratchett’s friends. Gaiman goes into details about the real Pratchett. The one he knew. Very much worth a read.

Help Fight Alzheimer’s & Dementia
Pratchett was a patron and supporter of Alzheimer’s Research UK and I’d highly recommend other fans consider donating to help fight this terrible disease. A little help can go a long way.

Writing:

The Writers’ Room Is Always Available For Writers To Work
Incubators are spaces in the tech world where small teams are able to work on projects. For the last several decades The Writers’ Room of Boston has been doing the same thing for writers. I absolutely love this idea. Would love to get something like this going in Seattle.

Free Novel or Series Outline Template Inspired By J.K. Rowling
I have mentioned Rowling’s outlines in the past. Well, writer Cindy Grigg has put together a handy template inspired by the detailed grid and has made it available for free. [Thanks to Drew Gerken for sharing this.]

“Are They Going To Say This Is Fantasy?”
One of my favorite writers, Ursula K. Le Guin muses on the resistance for some writers (in this case Kazuo Ishiguro) to admit they’re writing fantasy. Fantastic and poignant piece.

A Psychological Perspective On Writing Talent
My friend and fellow speculative fiction author Christine Crawford (of the infamous YA writing duo C. N. Crawford) is also a psychologist. In the wake of the now infamous Ryan Boudinot article from a few weeks ago she explores the idea of writing talent from a psychological perspective.

Random:

Mars Has Lost An Arctic Ocean’s Worth Of Water
A red and blue planet? Is such a thing even possible? Yes it is.

Archaeologists Find Two ‘Lost Cities’ Deep In Honduras Jungle
It’s like a headline from Indiana Jones. Two sister cities, one which could be the lost city of the monkey god, found in a deep jungle inhabited by monkeys that don’t like humans very much. Wait… wasn’t this the plot of Congo?

No One Could See The Color Blue Until Modern Times
What color is the dress? Well, if you asked someone a few hundred years ago you’d get a much different response than you would today.

StalaraCraft
If you’re a nerd (and you’re reading my blog, so you probably are) who likes crafts and food and other randomly awesome nerdy things then I recommend checking out this YouTube channel. Weekly the ever-bubbly Stalara presents a new geektastic DIY. Lot of fun.

Random Wikipedia Article of the Week:

Wherein I got to Wikipedia and hit Random Article until I find something good/weird/offensive/hilarious/interesting/etc. This weeks entry:

Toilet Paper Orientation
The pros and cons that revolve around the orientation of toilet paper. Are you an over orientation supporter or do you throw your vote for the ever powerful under orientation consortium?

Lovecraft Story of the Week:

Psychopompos: A Tale in Rhyme

“I am He who howls in the night;
I am He who moans in the snow;
I am He who hath never seen light;
I am He who mounts from below.”

Gif of the Week:

I'm the sheep.

Friday Link Pack 02/20/2015

It’s Friday! That means it’s time to share a few links I’ve found over the last few days. Some of these I mention on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! Have a link I should feature in the upcoming link pack? Click here to email me and let me know! (Include a website so I can link to you as well.) Away we gooooo…

Writing:

Save Little Free Libraries From Uncultured Killjoys
Little Free Libraries are basically the best, they promote community and reading, what could be better!? Yet, some folks (for reasons I can’t comprehend) don’t like them. Sarah Skwire brings the smackdown.

Fault In Our Stars Author: Oops, I Didn’t Write That Quote
Whether you love or loathe his books, I think we can all agree that John Green is a pretty swell guy. Here’s his video on the incorrectly attributed quote.

Navigating NPR’s Top 100 Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books
Here’s a handy flowchart from SF Signal helping you find the next speculative fiction book from NPR’s Top 100 list. For whatever reason The Stars Were Right and Old Broken Road aren’t on that list. What gives, NPR?

I’m On Seattle Geekly
Make sure you check out my appearance on Seattle Geekly‘s latest podcast. I had a blast hanging out with Shannon and Matt and I’m honored to be one of their last guests. They’re also giving away copies of Old Broken Road to their Twitter followers. Just tweet #KMAbook before 3PM PST and you’ll be entered to win a copy.

Art:

Audio Landscape
My internet-friend Dan created this awesome music visualizer. Let your music create a beautiful landscape, a volcanic hellscape, or strange seapunk world.

The Photography of Peter Zeglis
I love these simple photos from greek photographer Peter Zeglis. There’s something open and intimate in the way Zeglis captures his subject, be it a majestic mountain, a city, a street corner, or a lava field. Beautiful.

Random:

New Map Shows America’s Quietest Places
Need to get some work done? Now you know where to go.

A Guy Complained No One Had Wished Him Happy Birthday On Twitter And Things Got Weird
The internet is a wonderful and magical place and I love it a lot. Have a happy birthday Daniel Barker, please. [Thanks to Josh for sending this one in.]

46 Rare Historical Photos
I’m intentionally not attaching the stupid link bait title assigned to this post, but this collections of historical photos is real good and shouldn’t be missed. What’s your favorite?

If all U.S. Presidents, at the age they were elected, were told to fight each other to the death, who would win?
These are the sort of questions that demand well though out answers. I am glad there are people working on figuring this out. (You can probably guess the winner.)

[NEW!] Random Wikipedia Article of the Week:

Wherein I got to Wikipedia and hit Random Article until I find something good/weird/offensive/hilarious/interesting/etc. This weeks entry:

List of number-one singles in 1995 (New Zealand)
It’s good to know that TLC’s Waterfalls, Coolio’s Gangster’s Paradise, and Rednex Cotton Eyed Joe had that global reach in 1995. Man, you know, the 90s were pretty damn great.

Lovecraft Story of the Week:

The Diary of Alonzo Typer
“I am conscious of several presences in this house. One in particular is decidedly hostile toward me—a malevolent will which is seeking to break down my own and overcome me. I must not countenance this for an instant, but must use all my forces to resist it. It is appallingly evil, and definitely non-human.”

Gif of the Week:

I can't get enough GIFs of robot struggling to play soccer/football.

Win a copy of both The Stars Were Right and Old Broken Road, sign up for Sci-Fi Fantasy Freak Today!

Deals Of The Day & Another Chance To Win

I’ve been saying that there would be a bunch more contests and giveaways and as promised here’s the latest! For the next three months I’ve partnered with book deal of the day site Sci-Fi Fantasy Freak to give away signed sets of The Stars Were Right and Old Broken Road. All you have to do to be entered to win is sign up. It’s that simple!

If you’re a voracious reader like I am I’d highly encourage you to visit their site and sign up to receive their daily newsletter. (I’m a subscriber myself.) Every day you’ll get notified with the latest book releases and book deals. It’s a handy way to keep your eReader full of new books and not go broke in the process.

Sign Up & Enter Today →

Not a Sci-Fi or Fantasy fan? Betty and the team have other lists coming later this summer: Mystery Freak, Romance Freak, and Historical Fiction Freak. So there will be more ways to find the books you love.