Monday, June 29, 2009

Rage of the Behemoth

Rage of the Behemoth is available for the eagerly awaiting public. I am absolutely thrilled to finally see it hit the shelves after being a part of its creation for the past nine months or so. Verily I say unto thee, this is a rock 'em sock 'em collection of bruising, bashing, slamming, and smashing! Bone crunching blows and spine rattling bellows! Blood! Flying body parts! And yet, a tender side. All this and more!!

You need to get a copy. Now.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Vanish by Tom Pawlik

This month's CSFF book is Vanish by Tom Pawlik. It is the first book in a series and the second book, Valley of the Shadow, has just been released. These look like impressive entries into the growing field of Christian suspense, which has the chilling spookiness of good horror without the offensive tendencies.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies II

I actually had time during lunch to stop by B&N and read some of this today. Abso-freakin'-lutely hilarious! Seth Grahame-Smith is a genius when it come to interweaving the new 'ultraviolent zombie content' with the original text. Take these two first lines:

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains."

But that's just to get us started, in the pages that follow are reference upon reference to musket cleaning, dagger sharpening, the warrior code (as when Elizabeth, marginally insulted by the aloof Mr. Darcy, reaches for the dagger under her dress and follows him with intent to open his throat) and ballrooms suddenly aflutter with the calamity of party crashing unmentionables who promptly seized and feasted upon those guests unlucky enough to be too near the windows. And after said party the original text reads:

"The evening altogether passed off pleasantly to the whole family. Mrs. Bennet had seen her eldest daughter much admired by the Netherfield party. Mr. Bingley had danced with her twice..."

Undaunted by the enormity of the balancing act he must perform, Grahame-Smith simply adds to the beginning, "Other than the dreadful attack," Masterful!

(Added bonus: I hear that later on in the book there are ninjas!)

You must read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

River of Bones v3.0

"River of Bones" has received another work through and now stands at 14,400 words. It's still the longest thing I've ever written and the whole collection of connected stories is almost at 40K. I've added a scene and smoothed out some unclear parts and tried to bring the whole thing together. That was one of the problems I was facing with something so long; I could never find the uninterrupted four hours that it takes to read it and make corrections. Without that kind of concentrated effort, I was always forgetting where I had put a certain bit of information or key revelation. That kept screwing up my continuity as I tried to rewrite a scene only to forget what the characters knew at any given time. When you get little bits of writing time, a half hour here, forty-five minutes there, keeping your thoughts straight gets difficult. But I've got it in what I would call the penultimate draft form and it does not need any more work plot-wise. From here on out I'll just be working on fluid sounding prose. Version 4.0 should be the last.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

For the last few years or so I've been increasingly aware of a whole sub-genre of sci-fi/fantasy fiction about our newest demographic minority: Undead-Americans. Of course, that's the way they want it. Regular people must remain clueless about their amazingly high reproductive rate and the coming Zombie Apocalypse for as long as possible. Not only does it guarantee success by creeping past the point of no return while we watch Dancing With The Stars, it sells more books. I mean, who wants to read zombie fiction when you can simply look out your hastily fortified windows at a poorly dressed, unhygienic horde that's just sniffed out your sweet, sweet brains?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Fighting Roars

Son Number Three toddled out to see me off the other morning. I got him a juice cup and laid out a handful of dry cereal on a plastic plate and went about gathering up my stuff. He followed me down to the front door and asked where I was going.

"Well, I'm going to work, little boy."

"You going to work?" he asked. "Why?"

"Because I've got to go to work, little one. The family needs me to."

"Are you fighting roars?"

In our house, monsters and spooky things and everything else that's out to get you and eat you and destroy you are called 'roars.' He looked up at me and took a couple of sips.

I stared down into his innocent eyes and thought about all the future dreams and successes that I pray he'll have. It only took me a second to answer.

"Yes, little boy, that's exactly what I'm doing"

Monday, June 08, 2009

Come With Me If You Want to Live

Terminator: Salvation is a great sci-fi action movie. I'm not sure it's a great Terminator movie but that's not relevant right now. One of the things that has become part of many continuing movie series is great bits of dialogue that show up again and again. Like in T4, John Connor has the "I'll be back" line. Star Wars of course has "May the Force be with you" but it also has "I have a bad feeling about this." In the same way, Star Trek has "Are you out of your Vulcan mind?" These lines are ways to connect the movies in the minds of people who've seen the others.

I'm thinking now of how to do that in the stories I'm writing. Maybe put in some bit that keeps happening or some other continuing inside information. Of course, with my stories the line most likely to be used is "Hulk smash!"

Friday, June 05, 2009

How to Start a Story

Long time readers will know I'm a fan of The Dresden Files, the books about the wizard Harry Dresden by Jim Butcher. These things are quick, fun to read, and have a way of growing on you. Harry is a character who does the right thing no matter what gets in his way and no matter how likely it is that he will not survive. And he grumbles about it the whole time. Anyhow, the books always start right in the middle of the action and the reader just has to catch up. This is something that I've consciously tried to get better at over the last couple of years. I particularly loved the way book 6, Blood Rites, opens with the following first line: The building was on fire and it wasn't my fault. Right away you know that Harry's in the thick of it and he spends the rest of the chapter running from purple flaming monkey demons. That's the way to start a story.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Feorhmaegan Flies

Like an arrow from the mighty Sagittarius, Othren's latest tale of Pecht smashing goodness is on its way to the publishing world. When it resounds with a solid and satisfying thunk into the grey matter of a particular editor I'll let you know. Until then, continue to mill about smartly.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Title Decision II

The title I've finally decided on for Othren's origin story is "The Feorhmaegan." Here's how I arrived at that.

The world Oth lives in is a pseudo Celtic-Gaelic mishmash of non-researched images and notions that I've essentially made up out of whole cloth. The prize he's searching for in the story is the power over life and death. So I start with an Old English online translator and find words for life, death, and power. The coolest sounding word for life was 'feorh'. That was a keeper. Death was a little different, I came up with something like 'leger'. That wasn't nearly as cool. Power gave me a few possibilities like 'miht' (which we get 'might' from), 'weald' (which has all kinds of compound words in Old English), and 'maegan' (which means 'authority'). So here's the brainstorming list that I scratched out, trying to see what I could make of all this. Imagine these words in a cloud like pattern on the top half of a scratch pad. The bottom half has a list of stuff to buy at Costco but that's not relevant right now.


After mulling these over for a while I settled on the Feorhmaegan as the name of the macguffin and also the title. It doesn't quite line up with the other two stories in the series, The Battle of Raven Kill and The Witch of the Westmoors, but I like it. It also sets up the ongoing struggle between good and evil that I think the series will bend towards. But to understand that you'll have to read it.

Which means I've got to start sending it out for publication. On to Ralan!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Physician, Heal Thyself

An interesting thing happened when my writer's group got hold of the newly finished tale of Othren Four-Scars. They pointed out a few places where the language in the story was too modern. This is interesting because that's something I can usually pick up on very quickly when I'm reviewing someone else's work. So I looked back through it and sure enough, I've got a few lines in there that display a certain modern sensibility that would be absent an iron age warrior who routinely clubs his enemies to death.

So now the story is molding itself into second draft form and I can hopefully get it sent out. Of course, before I do that I have to come up with a better title. The working title is currently "The Valley of Eternal Shadow" but, as a friend pointed out, that sounds like every other heroic fantasy piece. I may have to resort to some random Wiki and Google searches to come up with something cool and ancient sounding. It won't be the first time and it won't be the last.