Reading Research 2017

In preparation for the Scythian Saga, I’m doing a reading research resolution for 2017.  Plus, my Kindle list isn’t getting any smaller and these books look rad.

Military Science Fiction

W.C. Bauers

22238182 26114218

Ian Douglas

22678320 22838825 22998490 23176515 23290683 23430874 26800777 26001236

Chris Hechtl

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Marko Kloos

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 David Simpson

15830541 7105194 11321230 17607586 20879372

Daniel H. Wilson (Re-read)

18209312 18490786 22247025

John Scalzi   Evan Currie

239399 12753230

Space Opera

30118314 30298012 30338514 30745955 30381453 31245755 31824625 32708533

Lindsay Buroker

Anthologies

9619 24991202 27866399 22820066

Artificial Intelligence

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Writing

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Update: Charles Phipps, Part 2

Welcome back! Here is part two of my update with author Charles Phipps.

Since we last chatted, Ragnarok Publications has released Esoterrorism. How has your readership responded to the genre hop from superheroes to spy thriller?

Whenever an author starts a new series, some readers will go with them to see if it’s any good and others will stay because they’re only interested in one. Also, an entirely new band of readers will come to a series who weren’t a part of the original group’s fandom. Those readers who came from The Rules of Supervillainy to Esoterrorism have so far been really entertained by my two snarky fun protagonists–albeit one is a criminal and the other the law.

Will we see the sequel, Eldritch Ops, in the near future?

Ayup. We’ll be releasing ELDRITCH OPS next spring to (hopefully) considerable fanfare. Ragnarok Publications signed a great deal with the Independent Publishing Group, which will bring Derek and his adventures to brick and mortar stores. I’m very excited about that and I think readers will enjoy the middle part of the Red Room Trilogy.

I can’t wait to see your books in my local Barnes and Noble! Maybe you could have fans take a picture with your novels at the bookstore and post them on Facebook. Hint, hint!

Now, without spoiling the story, can you reveal at any new terrors that await Derek in the next book?

Derek is now a member of the Committee and supposedly one of the most powerful people on Earth. However, he’s been given nothing but busy work for the past year and is going bored out of his skull. He’s also suspicious that he’s just holding this position until they can groom someone to murder and replace him. Things all change when Derek’s undead ex-partner, Christopher, comes to him with a warning that there’s a “House within the House” trying to start a war with the only other group capable of challenging it–the vampires. Now Derek must decide whether he is on the side of humanity, peace, or his power-hungry associates. We also get to meet Derek’s demon godmother.

Hehe.

Conniving associates. A war with the vampires. And a demon godmother. Sounds like Derek is juggling burning coals. Good luck, buddy!

Ragnarok is going to release your dark epic fantasy novel, Wraith Knight, on November 8, 2016. Mark your calendars, my friends. Aside from The Lord of the Rings, what other influences went into the creation of your new dark hero, Jacob Riverson?

wraith-knight-finalWraith Knight is basically my rebuttal to a large portion of fantasy literature. As much as I love the genre, there’s still a lot of D&Disms. There’s Always Chaotic Evil races and the good guys are easily identified as people in black. Admittedly, George R.R. Martin has broken down most of those barriers, but I wanted to do a traditional fantasy world where the “rules” were known but they were just the prejudices and biases of the people who benefited from them.

I was influenced by The Black Company novels by Glenn Cook, Stephen Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant books, and even Rhianna Pratchett’s Overlord games. There’s even a little of Warcraft 3 in there.

Nice! I’ve made it a tradition to listen to Glen Cook’s The Black Company novels on Audible every year. I’m looking forward to seeing how you’ll mesh Cook’s and the rest of these inspirations into your work. 

You mentioned the sequel last year, Wraith Lord. How far into production are you with this novel?

Completely done.

Befo51abcimowalre we go, I have a confession to make. When I read the title of your new book, Straight Out of Fangton, I laughed so hard my dog, Brulee, bolted from the room. Right then, I knew you were onto something great. In a single line, what can you tell me about this novel.

Fangton is awesome.

I have no doubt. And there you have it, folks. Thank you to Charles Phipps once again for taking the time to stop by for an update. As always, I encourage you to check out Charles’ books on Amazon.

You can keep up with Charles on:

The United Federation of Charles: http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/

Twitter: @Willowhugger

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/charles.phipps.946

Mornings With Bradbury

There’s no dew sprinkled meadow or snowy mountain stream outside my back door. Nope, there’s a dusty barbecue with a propane tank squatting on the patio, a contorted chicken-wire fence that keeps the dogs close, and several newly planted fruit trees surrounded by desert soil I pray won’t stifle them. In short, track housing at its finest. Hence the need for literary escape.

With ample creamer in my coffee, I sit under my heated throw and open Bradbury Stories, 100 of His Most Celebrated Tales. My small dogs, Latte and Brûlée, snooze beside me as I find today’s selection, “Banshee”.

2016-09-13-12-58-00“Banshee” is a supernatural tale where screenwriter, John Hampton, meets a friend, director Douglas Rogers, at his house on a blustery night in Dublin, Ireland. Rogers enjoys playing pranks, telling ghost stories, and bragging about scores of women he’s cast aside over the years. After reading Hampton’s newest script, Doug claims it is John’s best work, but rather than basting on the praise, Doug decides to spank his friend’s ego. He shares an unfavorable review of John’s stories in the Times. Through the charade, the men note the unnerving weather. Doug taunts that the country-side is visited by banshees, “ghosts of old women who haunt the roads an hour before someone dies” (P. 138). Tired of his friend’s joke, John confronts the storm alone, meets an apparition seeking revenge against a cruel lover who abandoned her, but is unable to convince her that the philandering Doug is not the man who used her. John returns to the house, describes the beautiful woman waiting outside, and Doug’s mini director calls for action. The banshee wins.

It’s clever, entertaining, and spooky. A perfect story to get you ready for October.

Figurative language is Bradbury’s forte. So many of his phrases burst across the mind, a full color spectrum of imagery conveyed through his artistically crafted words. Because I appreciate genius, I’ve noted several descriptions from “Banshee” below:

  1. 136: “It was a night for strange encounters at empty crossroads with great filaments of ghost spiderweb and no spider in a hundred miles.” Metaphor.
  2. 138: “This time, outside the great old house, there was the merest thread of sound, like someone running a fingernail over the paint, or someone sliding down out of the dry reach of a tree.” Sound, simile.
  3. 142: “Clouds sailed over an almost full moon, and ran islands of dark to cover me.” Metaphor.
  4. 143: “Not the same man, no, but all dark twins, and this lost girl on the road, with snow in her arms for love, and frost in her heart for comfort, and nothing to do but whisper and croon and mourn and sob until the sound of her weeping stilled at sunrise but to start again with the rising of the moon.” A cumulative sentence where beauty infuses each phrase.
  5. 145: I rammed the door, slammed into the house, fell across the hall, my heart a bombardment, my image in the great hall mirror a shock of colorless lightning.” Movement and metaphor.
  6. 145: “The croon was outside the house again, the merest fingernail of mourn, as the moon scraped down the roof.” Personification. Note the repetition of “merest”, “croon”, and “fingernail” as seen in the other quotes.
  7. 146: “The wind moved around the house. The windows stirred and whispered.” Personification.

As any writer will tell you, the craft of writing takes practice. Write daily, write consistently, and with a bit of shaping, perhaps phrases like those above will flow from your fingers too. We can all hope!

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If you don’t own a copy of Bradbury’s short stories, I encourage you to add this book to your library. As always, I enjoy hearing from you and would love to know what you found inspiring about Bradbury’s work. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

As we head into the fall months, I leave you with one more Bradburyism: “And the summer walks away in her flesh, never to return” (p. 142).


For more information, including how this story grew from Bradbury’s collaboration with John Hudson on their film Moby Dick, check out this wiki link.

 

Update: Charles Phipps, Part 1

 

Author PicIt’s been a little over a year since I last blogged about the release of Charles Phipps’ first novel Esoterrorism. Since then, Amber Cove (Jim Bernheimer’s publishing company) has published three novels in the Supervillainy series (The Rules of Supervillainy, The Games of Supervillainy, and The Secrets of Supervillainy). Charles has also published two more books with Crossroad Press (Straight Outta Fangton and Cthulhu Armageddon) and has more on the way.

 

Way to go, Charles!51SRt1aLE9L51U99j9Zu5L

Look at these covers. I’m drooling! Raffaele Marinetti’s work is stunning.

 

And I applaud you, Charles! You’ve had an incredibly productive year.

 

However, before we get into the grit of the interview, please take a moment to share what it’s like to go from struggling author to successful publishing machine.

It’s a tough struggle keeping up with all of your books as they’re all my children. I’m very pleased with the response The Rules of Supervillainy has received from the public. I’ve managed to sell over ten thousand copies of it and that opened quite a few new doors as publishers started wanting to talk with me rather than the other way around. Other books have a more niche audience while some of my books are just starting out. I think a lot of authors expect their first book or series to explode when it’s really a better case to cast a wide net and see what picks up.

Casting a wide net is a smart approach. It’s definitely working for you!

When I interviewed Charles in June 2015, we were buzzing about the debut release of The Rules of Supervillainy. Now, the Supervillainy Saga has grown with the addition of The Games of Supervillainy and The Secrets of Supervillainy. My husband, a super hero fanatic, can’t get enough of this universe. How many books do you expect to publish in the series?

My present plans for The Supervillainy Saga are to continue the series with The Science of Supervillainy and a big finale to the first “arc” with The Supremacy of Supervillainy. I originally envisioned the story as a long-running series of short adventures, but I wanted to enjoy building up to a fairly epic series of events.

I wanted to cover the various types of comic book ideas ranging from time-travel, to space-exploration, to ghost stories, and bank robberies. If fans are still interested, I may knock poor Gary down a peg and establish a series of standalones until I get bored with him—which may take a while given how much he occupies my headspace.

Topics like these could keep you going on the series for a long while. When I think about J.B Robb’s “In Death” series, I’m in awe. She’s up to book forty-three now! It might be a challenge, but I can see Gary going the distance, give or take a few resurrections.

Can you share any themes or developments you’ll be exploring in the saga over the next installments?

The Science of Supervillainy is the second part of the story started in The Secrets of Supervillainy. Gary has finally bitten off more than he could chew by ticking off the time-traveling dictator, President Omega, and Gary’s alternate universe doppleganger Other Gary. This leads poor Gary on a time-travelling journey across several universes (each representing a different genre and period of comics) until he finds himself confronting the most heinous threat of all: self-discovery. Will Gary decide to remain a supervillain in name only or become one in truth? Find out!

Oh and we’ll finally get a resolution of the Mandy/Gary/Cindy love triangle. #TeamCindy #TeamMandy #TeamGabrielle #TeamCthulhu.

Time traveling into a multi-verse with Gary and the gang sounds epic. I am envious of your world building and ability to organize this cross-genre exploration.

Also, I know who which team I’m rooting for.  Come on, Team Mandy!

Another fascination for me is audiobooks. I’ve been a member of Audible since 2004, and am thrilled to have your books in audio format. I tend to buy both print and audio from my favorite authors. Can you tell us about audio sales versus print sales? Do you see a difference or do they generally go hand in hand?

I fully attribute The Supervillainy Saga’s success to Audible and releasing the books in audio format. Different formats are different markets and if you can afford it, independent authors should definitely try to get themselves represented in both audio, ebook, and paper formats. Honestly, I sell many more copies of my audiobooks than my ebooks and the latter actually took a big jump because of the promotion of my audio fans.

With long commutes and busy schedules these days, Audible is a godsend. I’m glad you are reaping the benefits of this format.

You have the incredible, exquisitely talented narrator Jeffrey Kafer (Swoon!) voicing Esoterrorism and your Supervillainy Saga. How much do you collaborate with Mr. Kafer on a project?

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Jeffrey is awesome. If there’s any single figure who is responsible for the majority of my success, I’d say it was me but after that it’s Jeffrey, Jim, and a few others. LOL. No, seriously, he’s a great guy and when Jim Bernheimer brought him onboard for THE RULES OF SUPERVILLAINY, he was a true professional from beginning to end. He’s also very thorough in making sure pronunciation is right and the work flows smoothly. I can’t think of anyone I’d rather work with.

That’s all we have time for today. Be sure to check back soon for part two of my update with author Charles Phipps.

In the meantime, please check out Charles’ author page on Amazon.