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.

Monday, May 2, 2016

World Horror Con 2016

World Horror Con 2016 in Provo Utah. It would be fair to call it an intimate con as writers present almost equaled the attendee's. Some of our panels - well pretty much all of them were sparsely attended but that's not always a bad thing. We definitely had more opportunity to have more personal conversations with fans - everyone's questions on panels could be addressed and we all got to spend a lot of time getting to know each other.

It was great to see so many writers and have a chance to chat with them. Very pleased that my friend Michael Collings was given his award. He has such an amazing body of work and deserved some recognition. When he gave me a positive review of Whispers Out of the Dust I was tickled pink.

I got to make some great new friends (like Linda Addison here) and I still sold a few books. I autographed even more because of some of the shared anthologies, like Redneck Eldritch, I think about half of the contributors were present at the Con.

There was a massive book signing Friday night and it was great to interact with everyone and chat while sgning books, here you can see Michael Arnzen juggling Sarah Seeley's brains. I also got some books signed by the likes of Darren Shan, Sanford Allen, Joe McKinney and artist Keith Thompson.

Friday night while Craig Nybo and the Freestyle Gargoyle band was setting up, I noticed a few people who got locked out of the hotel and came to their aid - Jack Ketchum, Michael Arnzen and Linda Addison - so that was cool.

The Freestyle Gargoyles jam was awesome, 7 authors gave creepy new spoken word pieces - Steve Diamond, Scott Tarbet, Nathan Shumate, Jason King, Holli Anderson, Dave Butler and me.

I gotta say thank you to Craig Nybo and the bad they were magnificent.

I was the finale and everyone said I rocked the house - I'm sure it will be available soon (Youtube, iTunes)  and I'll gladly share that.

I did pitch a project to an agent (it went very well)  and I'll definitely keep you all informed on that progress as it escalates. Hell, Dan Well's NYTimes bestselling author, told me he wants to read it and I said, I'd hold him to that for the sake of a blurb.

Saturday, my fire was dimmed when it was a No Show event for my reading, but I resolved to remind myself that writers gotta have thick skins and just keepin' on.

Later we did a Space Balrogs game, the attendance was sparse but the laughs were huge - much thanks to Callie Stoker for filling in she was hilarious - and then out of 9 audience members we had a three way tie! 3 people for all three panelists = unprecedented.  I don't think I could have pulled that off if Darren Shan hadn't been rooting for me.

Sunday I did a Western Horror panel that was awesome and afterward I moderated Why We Love Lovecraft panel - there were six panelists and seven audience members at first - it grew a little as it went on but among all the esteemed panelists, I had to incorporate audience member Keith Thompson who has done pre-production design work for Guillermo Del Toro and the ill fated "At the Mountains of Madness" movie - we all had to soak in his expertise and experience and the heartbreak for that not happening - so glad he came to listen and we could take advantage of that - he's a helluva nice guy and it was wonderful to talk with him.

Keith also did the monster in an hour panel with my buddy Carter Reid, I shoulda got a pic of Keith's creepy surreal art but I did get one of Carter's magnificent specimens.

Oh, and since Redneck Eldritch released during the con I was doing some online promotion and signing books there and I did keep tabs on the amazon rankings, the highest I saw was #11 in Horror anthologies so that makes me feel good! Thanks to everyone who bought a copy.

So all in all it was a great weekend made new friends, new contacts and hopefully reached a good handful of new fans.
Sanford Allen and me and the great Darren Shan.
the Lovecraft panel.