Friday, July 22, 2016

Some Reads of Late

I'm awful behind in posting reviews (so I'll limit this to 5 or so) and such, but I have been reading quite a lot this summer - mostly on my kindle and at the day job. . . shhhhhh

Ego is the Enemy and The Obstacle is the Way, by Ryan Holiday

I was bookshopping for my birthday at B&N and saw Ego is the Enemy and glancing it over, noticed the Steven Pressfield blurb and then once inside - the author (Holiday) is namedropping Marcus Arelius left and right - always a good sign so I was intrigued enough to read further on and see just what he was trying to say.

I ended up with the audible version and then noticed that my wife, Melissa already had Holiday's previous book The Obstacle is the Way. Each represents positive attitudes in overcoming our daily problems with self mastery and humble yet determined drive.

I don't normally go in for books like these but have to say I really enjoyed them because of how much Holiday uses historical examples as the benchmark of being an outstanding person - so while Holiday is an impressive person in his own right, these really aren't about him so much as other great examples we could all strive to be similar to. And I love reading a mix of historical examples that I know and don't know further reaching into the noble of human character. We need more that this wretched political season.

That Way Lies Madness, by James R. Tuck

I really enjoyed the title story of this two tale collection. The mixture of space and Lovecraft is one I am especially fond of. While it started just a little slow for me, I was soon captured, racing through the pages to see what happened next. That Way Lies Madness is an edge of your seat, nail biting thrill ride for anyone who loves Alien, Outland, The Thing, Space Eldritch or other Lovecraftian type monstrosities in the isolation of space. Bravo Mr. Tuck!

The Life Eaters, by David Brin and Scott Hampton

I've got mixed feelings about this one. It is the first Brin I have ever read and I have heard great things from a few of my online friends. I LOVE the concept of alternate history with Norse Gods being involved with the Nazi's and finding out the real reasoning behind the mass genocide to satiate the gods need for blood and sacrifice and with Loki in the mix thwarting plans of course. All of that is genius and it is a concept that I have thought about many times myself- so I am absolutely on board, being a number one target audience member. But as the story wound on, I found myself disinterested in its execution.  The framing device protagonist didn't grab my interest and a nuke as an answer for dealing with bad guys is kinda blase. Most of the side characters and gods didn't really have any punch to me either.  I found myself very underwhelmed overall. Hampton's art however is great and atmospheric. I think the most damning thing is now that its been a little while since I read it, I'm having a hard time remembering it.

The Curse of Lono, by Hunter S. Thomson

I'm a big fan of Thompson, having read his Hells Angel's before I had any idea he was cult favorite. That reading predated the Depp/Gilliam film too! I've since enjoyed quite a lot of his work and this was the latest I have indulged in.
I imagine that like so much of his other work this is a slightly fictionalized memoir of himself and it bounces all over the place dealing with his trip to Hawaii, fishing and making an ass of himself.
But IF you enjoy Thompson you'll enjoy the dark absurd humor herein - if you don't like Thompson (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) I don't imagine you'll like this one either. It is rather open ended as life goes on etc, but still it a fun trip.

The Wendigo, by Algernon Blackwood

I've been meaning to get to this one for some time and while it is slow and brooding, it is enjoyable in that old school atmospheric (there I 'm using that word again) mood. In a lot of ways it seemed to me this could have been shorter - even though its really not that long - maybe its our modern day attention span - but even with setting the mood etc it seemed rather drawn out - but when it gets downn to it - the mystery, the horror, the terror was wnderful. As someone who has camped far out n the wilderness many times, it was easy to feel myself lost n that situation, to feel the claustrobic lonliness and confusion of someone going missing and the lack of answers. Recomended.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Six Gun Serenade in Hangmen & Bullets

I wrote Six-Gun Serenade in a white heat this last February for the Hangmen & Bullets antho I heard about (it was a last minute thing).

Seems they wanted western noir no weird so I wrote my first complete Porter Rockwell short story without any supernatural happenings.
It was a little different as I usually employ something strange and this time around I kinda skirted that issue by having characters involved that believed weird things - namely the antagonist is a mesemerist and has "visions" by which he lords over his men.

I did base it loosley on real events that happened in Utah a very long time ago so it was fun to play with that aspect of it too.

I only heard about the release last week and neglected to update the blog here - apologies.

From the Amazon description:

We a warning you all right now. These ain't your grandpappy's western stories told in gentler terms. No sirree. We here at Dead Guns Press don't believe in no such thing.

Kick back with a bottle of rotgut, cut off a chunk of chaw and enjoy these dark western tales. We guarantee that these stories kick harder than an old gunslinger’s Colt .45 in a July 4th shootout in a whorehouse!

Contributors include:

Teel James Glenn
Ross Baxter
Ben Fine
Christopher Davis
David J. West
Bill Baber
Calvin Demmer
Dusty Wallace
Bruce Harris

So check out the collection here!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Interview on Story Hack!

I was interviewed on Monday at my palatial estate - well my house in my office/library by new friend  Bryce Beatty. I'm the first author of a new writer podcast he is doing called Story Hack.
Check it out here

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Kidnap Plot: Book Review

The Kidnap Plot (the Extraordinary Journeys of Clockwork Charlie) by Dave Butler

If Pinocchio went steam-punk fantasy! It would be awesome right? It is!

This is a madcap steam-punk adventure. Set in Victorian London, we meet Charlie Pondicherry a young lad helping out his gifted father. His father, (his Bap) produces all kinds of wonderful inventions and for all kinds of clientele. We meet the denizens of this Victorian era and  it's a bit more interesting than you might expect.

The fey folk are regulars around these parts, including Trolls, Faires, Kobolds, Changelings, Dwarves and Brownies. Butler's inclusion is seamless and helped along with each chapter by a short section of the Almanac about these magical creatures that Charlie is reading.

While life is tough, Charlie can always count on his loving father -- until disaster strikes and a sinister man kidnaps his Bap and steals his inventions. The farther we travel on with Charlie the more dire the predicament becomes.

Without anywhere else to turn, Charlie ends up recruiting some of his fathers eclectic customers to help him rescue his father. From here on out its a roller coaster of a ride as they become entangled with their own troubles and side adventures. Charlie too, has to find and come to grips with who he is.

Butler uses familiar creatures/characters but gives them delightful personalities and relationships. He sets some typical expectations on their ear and we are the better for it. The villains are proper villains and the heroes and friends are true friends -- even if they don't know it yet.

This is a middle grade book but the world building is dense and fun. I anxiously await the next installment because this isn't over by a long shot.

In conclusion, while Dave Butler is a most benevolent and gifted friend of mine and I did receive a net galley copy, I also bought an amazon copy for my kids. I know they'll love it!

Grab yourself one here!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Summer Plans and News

I'm trying out a few things to boost SEO for the sake of marketing and just being more well known for the sake of books coming down the pike. Grabbing the url for KING David J. West was the best domain available.

Anyhow on the some actual news at hand. I have had a couple short story acceptances and hope to have release dates to share soon.


I'm gunning to get an anthology of weird westerns out in time for my birthday = that's the end of this month - the beauty is they're already written I just have to format and such.
And of course I'm still plugging along on a few other works - my long awaited sequel BLOOD OF OUR FATHERS is in the homestretch of getting it to my publisher (this is has been a terrible long time coming) - I'm well into a WIP that I'm not gonna release the title of yet, and I'm also hip deep in a Sword and Sorcery project that I want to release for fun by the end of the summer - Sowing Dragon Teeth.

So hopefully my changing the url didn't make it so none of my regular readers/commentators could find this. Please give me a holler so I know you did see this.
Thanks and hopefully better news soon.

In the meantime I will share a couple of forthcoming covers!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Sharp Ends: Book Review

Sharp Ends, by Joe Abercrombie

I am a huge fan of Abercrombie, and short of getting a new novel set in the world of the First Law, this was a very welcome appetizer. With over a dozen short stories, you get a taste of the bloody action and wry humor and wonderful twists Abercrombie is so adept at.

The tales splash all over the timeline of the First Law world, from the imagery of what Glokta is doing right before his fateful attack on the Ghurkish to how Logen "The Bloody Nine" ended up at odds with Bethod King of the North. While I do think anyone picking up the book could enjoy the hell of out of them - you would definitely be enriched by already being familiar with the world and characters. I'm not saying its an absolute must for enjoyment but it would help.

I think my favorite tale was "Tough Times All Over" relating how an item is being transported/stolen etc all over the city one night. The dar humor is what gets me and what I think Abercrombie s such a master at - along with his surprises.

I highly recomend this for the sake of quick witty tales set in a fantasy world I get such a kick out of. And if you haven't read the previous books, there is still a lot to enjoy here - the impact is simply greater if you have read at least some of them.

And as I always do for Joe's books, I have opted to show the superior UK cover instead of the US cover which is always lame by comparison.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Treat Yourself

I had a friend recently ask on Facebook for some advice on feeling stuck with his current WIP. I also know he has a lot on his plate and has as many struggles as anyone - I know what that feels like when you're trying to work - 2013 was the year of being a single full time Dad - but when it comes persevering with the work, I did have a few things to say.

Looking back this is a good a reminder for me as it hopefully is for him.

(And these are pic's of me writing in paradise last weekend - made a lot of progress on a noir-fantasy novella)

This is a paraphrased response I gave him.

I go through ups and downs just like ANY writer/creator/artist out there. It comes with the territory. But ultimately I have to write/create, it must come out, it must be made and finally shared.

Sometimes it really sucks when it doesn't feel like you're getting the recognition - whether it be sales, reviews, awards or spoken appreciation, but I do think a lot of that is just how you feel - I know there are people out there who appreciate my work that I have never heard from and that I don't know even exist. Its like that for everyone. 

What I'm really getting at though, is the number one person you have to please is yourself, you have to have the self-satisfaction with what you have done regardless.
You have to have that as a writer.

I'm also a believer in that it takes ten years to be an overnight success = meaning it takes a lot of work (not luck) that almost nobody else ever realizes was happening behind the scenes.

Other people will appreciate and love your work - BUT you have to first.

 If you're not feeling like writing, reexamine what gave you a passion for the piece in the first place, regain that passion --- or drop it and move on to something that does excite you.

I also try and stop at a place where I know what happens next. ;) 
I got that from Hemingway.