Tag Archives: horror
I swear, I look down, get back to writing, look back up… and it’s almost been a month since an update.
How does time do this to me?
Well, this week I had not one but TWO cover reveals occur. The first one is the one that everybody has been waiting for, and HOLY CRAP it is beautiful! Here is Deathlords, Book 3 of the Kin Wars Saga.
Nice, isn’t it? Bonus quiz: can you identify the planet from the series that the suit is protecting?
Then, on Thursday another publisher released the final cover of Sha’Daa: Toys, the (from what I hear) final anthology in the Sha’Daa universe. This one will actually be out in a few weeks, but the cover is downright creepy.
They both are great, and shows once more while I will continue to support small press publishers. Both teams I work with are amazing people who put all their efforts into producing quality workmanship. I can’t ask for better people to write for.
The inaugural Dragon Awards (hosted by Dragoncon, the biggest party for nerds in the entire southeastern U.S.) went off smashingly. I can’t wait for them to release the results numbers so we can see just how many people actually voted. I’m going to throw out a number and say… hmm… 10,000. While that may seem like a high number, I’m guestimating and lowballing the potential voters by comparing them to the Hugo Awards and Worldcon 2016.
Worldcon had 7,338 members (supporting and attending) and 2,903 voters for the Hugo Awards in 2016. That’s roughly 39.56% of members voting.
Dragoncon had 75,000+ attendees this 2016, but I seriously doubt the voter turnout was equivalent to the Worldcon voting participation. I dropped about 20% of the prospective votes due to general apathy to awards on a whole by Dragoncon attendees, guessing that the amount of Dragon Award voters was about a measly 17%. That would make the vote total about… uhh… math sucks… I write books not equations… 11,250. This number is probably high, but still… that’s a hell of a lot of votes.
I’ll be honest. I did not nominate anyone for the Dragon Award. Not because I didn’t feel any books weren’t deserving, but because I’d read about 450+ books so far this year, so I felt limited in what I could nominate because my options were too numerous. So I decided to wait and see who the nominees were and then vote.
So what I’ll do is post my pick in italics, and the winner in bold.
- Best Science Fiction Novel:
my pick — Raising Caine, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)
winner — Somewhither: A Tale of the Unwithering Realm, John C. Wright (Castalia House)
Thoughts: This was a tough category, because I thought both books had solid merits. I went with Charles as my winner due to past experiences working with him in Eric Flint’s 1632 universe. Still, Wright’s work is top-notch and there is no shame in losing out to him.
- Best Fantasy Novel:
my pick — Son of the Black Sword, Larry Correia (Baen)
winner — Son of the Black Sword, Larry Correia (Baen)
Thoughts: I had pegged this book back when it first came out as Larry’s best work to date. I never really imagined him as a high fantasy author, and this book blew any preconceived notions of Larry being a “monsters and guns” guy away. This is one of the rare fantasy books I’ve reread multiple times where the authors name on the cover isn’t Weis or Hickman. Plus, while I love Butcher, I just didn’t feel the same about this new steampunk series as I did his Codex Alera one.
- Best YA/ Middle School Novel
my pick — Changeling’s Island, Dave Freer (Baen)
winner — The Shepard’s Crown, Terry Pratchett (Harper)
Thoughts: no shame here. Pratchett is the greatest, and even though I secretly hoped that Freer could pull off the upset, I knew deep down that Pratchett had this one locked up. If Freer hadn’t been nominated, my vote would have gone to Alethea Kontis’ “Trix and Faerie Queen”. I don’t do YA/teen romance normally but Kontis is a terrific writer who makes “the kissy parts” not too over the top. 😛
- Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel
my pick — Hell’s Foundations Quiver, David Weber (Tor)
winner — Hell’s Foundations Quiver, David Weber (Tor)
Thoughts: Not a huge surprise here, though Django Wexler’s “The Price of Valor” was pretty good. Matched up against Weber’s SF/Fantasy mashup, though, it pales in comparison. This series is better than Weber’s Honor Harrington one.
- Best Alternate History Novel
my pick — Germanica, Robert Conroy (Baen)
winner — League of Dragons, Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
Thoughts: For a voter, this category sucked. I had to choose between Novik, two separate 1632 novels, and Robert Conroy’s “Germanica”. There was no way I could put one above the other, so I pretty much dismissed the 1632 novels out of hand due to what I termed in my head a “vote split”, leaving “League of Dragons” and “Germanica”. I then pretty much flipped a coin 13 times (superstitious) and “Germanica” came out on top, 8-5.
Voting in this category, as previously stated, sucked. I hate when the decision is damn near impossible.
- Best Apocalyptic Novel
my pick — A Time to Die, Mark Wandrey (Henchman)
winner — Ctrl Alt Revolt!, Nick Cole (Castalia House)
Thoughts: I have a vested interest in seeing a good friend win, so I picked Wandrey over Cole, even though I enjoyed both books equally. Considering how little press or push there was behind Wandrey’s latest, I was proud of how well he did to even make the short list. Cole’s novel was a tremendous piece of work and I’m glad that it was picked up.
- Best Horror Novel
my pick — Honor at Stake, Declan Finn (Caliburn)
winner — Souldancer, Brian Niemeier (self-published)
Thoughts: This is the only category where I disagree with the process, primarily because I felt that “Souldancer” should have been in the Best Fantasy list. Still though, Niemeier’s “Souldancer” was an amazing (if slow-paced) work. I felt that “Honor at Stake” should have won, but I can’t fault them for sticking Souldancer in this category. It’s a weird freaking book!
- Best Comic Book
my pick — Daredevil
winner — Ms Marvel
Thoughts: I don’t really have an opinion on this one, because the most recent Daredevil is the only comic I’d read of those on the short list. Can’t vote for something I hadn’t read.
- Best Graphic Novel
my pick — The Sandman: Overture, Neil Gaiman (Vertigo)
winner — The Sandman: Overture, Neil Gaiman (Vertigo)
Thoughts: This one was a no brainer. An excellent book that is part of an excellent universe. I only wish that Gaiman wrote faster.
- Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series
my pick — The Flash (CW)
winner — Game of Thrones (HBO)
Thought: Penis! Floppy Penis! God damn you, Trey Parker! I can NEVER get that South Park song out of my head whenever I hear the GoT theme song come on and it’s ALL YOUR FAULT!
In all seriousness, Dragoncon was made for something like Game of Thrones. I love The Flash, though, and with the series setting up the FlashPoint universe, the writing and series is going to be headed in a new and exciting direction. Unlike Game of Thrones, where it seems to be a long and predictable chess game where it’s Daenerys/Snow vs the White Walkers for control of the Seven Kingdoms.
- Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie
my pick — Deadpool
winner — The Martian
Thoughts: I knew The Martian was going to win, so my Deadpool vote was a defiant vote in the face of conformity or some crap. I would have LOVED to see the hundreds of Deadpools at Dragoncon race up there to accept “their” award. Alas, it was not meant to be. A terrific movie beat out a hilariously fun one.
I don’t remember any of the games I voted for, which is a bad sign. I might have missed them.
So thoughts? How did your vote compare to the winners? Any surprises?
Isn’t it pretty? It’s so pretty!
For this cover I managed to land the freakishly talented J. F. Posthumus to do the cover of the upcoming historical zombie story, The Dead of Babylon. It will be released on December 18th, just in time to satisfy your holiday horrorific cravings (even though it’s set about 3000 years ago and sometime in fall, and has nothing to do with Christmas whatsoever, but don’t bother me with details right now…).
Edit: I should probably add that despite my initial “It’s gonna be free!” statement, I was reminded that I am paying a mortgage now and really need to make more money as a writer. So it’ll be available for $0.99. Huzzah.
Sha’Daa: Tales of the Apocalypse was re-released this weekend. My short story, Crouching Seal, Sleeping Dragon, is in this one now (it started off in Sha’Daa: Pawns, remember? Paragon Idol, another short story I wrote in that universe, is replacing it).
Cool cover. You might like it. I did.
It’s been a busy week or so. Con this coming weekend. Meet me there.
Part of the writing process often involves sitting back, looking over what you’ve done, feeling pleased and accomplished with yourself, and then ruthlessly cutting most of it during the edits.
My writer–brain screams in pain every time I do this. My editor–brain chuckles evilly.
One of the things I’ve seen over the years is that many people are afraid of cutting things. They have no problem going back and editing stuff but, when it comes to absolutely deleting entire paragraphs (or, oftentimes, chapters), they cramp up. Get skeered, as it were (I’ve lived in the South long enough that I get to say that). Minor spelling corrections, adding more descriptions… writers don’t have any problem doing this. But deleting a lot? Nuking an entire chapter or minor story arc because it fails to drive anything (or anywhere)? Well, that is where a writer often draws the line.
Hey, I’m guilty of this, too.
So how does one go about shutting down that creative side and focus on the stern taskmaster? Do you use two different computers? Have split personalities? Have first readers who double as editors? If you have the last one, by the way, you are one lucky individual.
Just some quick thoughts today. I’m working on Collectibles while trying to figure out how and why my resume didn’t upload to Google docs. Sometimes .docs is the best thing in the world; other times, I wish I could kill it with fire.
Also, in case you were living under a rock (or, most likely, didn’t hear) my buddy Stephen Zimmer has a short story in this new anthology called Thunder on the Battlefield: Swords, which was released on Tuesday. You should pick up a copy. Also, keep an eye out for Peter Clines’ newest, Ex-Purgatory, which is a continuation of his superheroes vs zombies novel series. It’s coming out in January 2014.
Ah, Libertycon… where sleep goes to die.
As usual, I had a blast at the convention and would like to thank Brandy and Derek Spraker, as well as the rest of the Libertycon staff, for putting on one hell of a con. The food was good (except I forgot to mention my onion allergy, which almost caused a trip to the hospital), the staff was friendly and the atmosphere was mostly fun and friendly.
I rolled into town Thursday around noon and was exhausted. I had worked the night before and, in order to be on a daytime rotation for the weekend, had to stay awake all day Thursday so I could be semi-functioning during the con. For those of you who thought I was angry or distant, I’m sorry. I was just exhausted. I really can’t wait to go back to days so my sleep schedule can be what everyone else’s is. So yeah, Thursday… my room wasn’t ready at noon (not surprised) so I ran into Peggey, who introduced me to her friend Johnny-minion (that’s what the name tag said; don’t judge me), who was tasked with keeping me company while I wandered the hotel grounds like a zombie. He (mostly) kept me out of trouble, and we did lunch at the Brewery next door to the “world famous” Chattanooga Choo Choo.
Note: it’s not so much “world famous” as it is a “Southern thing”. If I’m dropping that much money on a hotel, my room had better not smell like ass.
Anywho, Johnny-minion kept me out of trouble and passed me off to my handler when she arrived with Scott. I stumbled around, I think I ate dinner (I was beyond reasoning at this point) then was served alcohol in Grill Sergeant’s not-quite-a-party room party, where I ran into The Amazing Writing Hoyt’s (Sarah, Robert and Dan– not sure where Marshall was), Michael Z. Williamson, Evil Penguin, and Speaker to Lab Animals (to be known as S2LA from here on out… that’s too much to type). Tried some of Grill Sergeant’s BBQ, which helped clear up that sinus problem (and woke me right the hell up). Ran into Chris (one of my fellow reviewers at Shiny Book Review as well as aspiring author) and generally had a good time. I think I crashed around 10PM, since I wanted to be up early the next morning for my first ever Range Day.
I’ve been coming to Libertycon since 2006 and I have never managed to make it to a Range Day, which is something of a Baen Barfly tradition at LC. Usually it’s because I oversleep but, with my sleep schedule already out of whack, I was wide awake at 7am. Got some breakfast and caught a ride to the range with Chris and Doc, who is going to be a character in a future book (Doc is a combat medic in the Army, much like my little brother Nick). He’s a really cool guy who also happened to be on a panel with me later that night.
So we do Range Day, shoot a lot of pictures of Zombie Shane, watch Tripp blast away with an AR15 (he pulled the trigger so fast that it sounded like a fully automatic…. and then the kid giggled. That was some scary crap right there), managed to get the nickname “LT” as I, the one with the map, kind of got us lost as we went hunting for food, and finally made it back to the Choo Choo in time to do registration.
I got into the wrong line (naturally) and then proceeded to confuse the hell out of everyone as they tried to figure out who I was. I mean, they “knew” me, but I think the registration people were expecting someone a little… older? Possibly. I still look “youngish” enough to confuse people. Got it all straightened out, grabbed my schedule, and went back to ConSuite to see who else had arrived.
Which was just about everybody.
Too many people to list, but I was especially happy to run into Vonnage and SubDude, who is no longer in the Navy. This means our Havoc Lords series will finally get written. Yes, I’m writing another series. But this one has SCIENCE in it. REAL SCIENCE!
So my first panel was Opening Ceremonies, which is just a basic introduction of the main Guests of Honor. Larry Correia MC’d and did a pretty good job of it. Right after that was my first “real” panel of the weekend, Dreams of Steam: Gadgets and Gizmos.
One of the first things I learned on this panel is that I really don’t “know” steampunk. Oh, I can write about airships (primarily because I treat them as navy vessels that fly), but outside of that, I really never gave much thought to the whole “technology” side of things. To me, it doesn’t matter if it’s steampunk, splatterpunk, cyberpunk, dieselpunk… so long as the story is character driven, it’ll sell. I tried to get this across but I don’t think I did a good job communicating it. Hey, I was out of practice — cut me some slack.
I spent the next 45 minutes signing books. Lots and lots of books. Over 100, I think. It seemed like everyone had a copy of Lawyers in Hell, What Scares the Boogeyman?, Dreamers in Hell or Sha’Daa: Pawns for me to sign. This was fun, and I plopped my butt on the ground so I could sign without being in the way. I’m glad I have an easy signature. That could have been painful.
I had a few hours to kill after that so I went back to ConSuite and BarFly Central, where one unfortunate individual told me that the food at BFC was for Bar Flies only. He was corrected of this (honest mistake, since I didn’t have a BarFly ribbon) and I got some food, and ran into Larry Correia for the first time.
I did not fanboy. You should be proud.
Also of note: Larry isn’t kidding when he says he’s a big guy. My neck hurt looking up at him, and then his wife is my height, so it was as though I were in the Land of the Giants. He’s a really cool guy, though, and had to run as he had wayyy more panels than I did. I lounged around some, talked with MadMike about some ways to kill zombies (because that was our next panel), and then it was off to my best attended panel of the weekend: Messiest Ways to Kill a Zombie.
I had thought, coming in, that my chemical reaction/explosion would be the winner. Nope. John Ringo wrote about how a tank spun out across a road slicked down with zombie guts. However, I will admit that I liked S2LA’s idea about the pathogens and how to really make things “messy”. The crowd was pretty good and Larry kept everyone in check (even John) and it was probably the most fun I had on a panel all weekend.
Didn’t party much Friday night (was tired) and crashed. Good first day to the con.
Saturday wasn’t as much fun, though, and that was mostly my fault.
BarFly Breakfast was hosted by Quilly Mammoth and his wife Christine, with the donations going to Operation Baen Bulk and Wendi’s Toof Fund. Good food, but I was a bit cranky because I was still tired and managed to find myself over at the Dreamers in Hell Roundtable, which had… zero attendees.
Seriously. Crickets, man. It was a kick in my ego’s nuts. Thankfully, I don’t have much of an ego to start with.
The roundtable turned into business planning meeting as the authors talked about their next story ideas. I mentioned a few ideas I had for Ponce de Leon and talked about Of Woe and Sloth. Other than that, I kept quiet mostly and let them handle the meeting (which is what I suspected I would be doing anyway). Afterwards we did a group photo of the Hellions authors (Susie took some pics, I hope I get to see them soon) and I was off to do my Autograph Session at the Perseid Press table.
Signed a few more books (seriously, where the hell did all these books come from?) and mostly talked to Tom Barczak about how well-behaved his three boys were. Saturdays, for some reason, are usually something I don’t remember afterwards. It’s not because I was trashed (I wasn’t) but mainly because there’s just so much going on that it’s hard to keep track. After my signing I was invited to the first ever Christening at a Libertycon.
Took some amazing pictures (that baby is going to be a linebacker) and got to watch something I’d never seen before. Sitting here now, typing this out, and I realized I’d never seen a Christening before. I didn’t think about it at the time it was occurring (I was taking pictures) but now… wow. To be invited to such an event makes me feel amazing. Honored, even. I’m thankful that the Vanner’s invited me to watch and attend.
After this I needed food. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much time before my next panel, Sha’Daa: Pawns and Sha’Daa: Tales of the Apocalypse re-release. Two people showed up for this one, and I didn’t really get to talk much about my Sea Dragon vs Navy SEALs fight. I was starting to get a bad feeling about my panel attendance and a noticeable pattern was starting to form. Ugh. Well, at least I have other stuff I can talk about, right?
With that in mind, my next panel, The World of Steampunk Roundtable almost kicked off a fight because, as I admitted earlier, I don’t really know steampunk. I held my tongue as I listened to someone who self-describes himself as a “dick” bitch about how society is horrible and lacks manners and class, which is why he does steampunk. That made little sense at the time and now, two days later, makes no sense at all. I think what he wanted to say (and was afraid of not being “PC”) was that he desired the stronger distinction in classes like there was in the Victorian Era. I may be wrong, but that was my impression.
He also called me “one of those writers” when I admitted that I call my steampunk story “steampunk” because it rolls off the tongue better than “alternate history with varying technologies” or something. *shrug* And? I’ll take my check and cash it either way, TYVM. 🙂
I was extremely grumpy at this point and needed some food, so it was back to the ConSuite for me. I got to drinking (it’s a CON, people… if you don’t drink, you’re either a recovering alcoholic or underage, or found religion) and managed to miss my next panel completely. Uh, oops?
Worst part was? The ConStaff were presenting me with an amazingly kind gift and had a big “roast” planned, and everyone was in on it.
Why didn’t someone tell me to make sure I was AT THAT PANEL?!?! ARGH!
To those of you who planned the party: I am really, really sorry. I don’t think I can express enough just how sorry I am.
Book release party for Dreamers in Hell was next, and the announcement that Iron Clad Press will be publishing my first Tobias Fox novel, Unholy Vengeance, was made. I spent the next five hours hanging out with John Ringo, Miriam, Mel, Grill Sergeant, and various others at poolside. Funny story there…
John (talking to Melanie): Jason’s given you one of my books to read, right?
John: Okay, good.
Melanie: Yeah, he had me read Ghost.
John (horrified expression on his face): I am SO sorry! (glares at me)
Me: …I thought it would be funny…
I really did. So did everyone else. Ah well. Afterwards I crashed because, well, I was still tired and the con was starting to kick my butt.
Up early, packed, checked out. Found some food in BFC and prepared for my last three panels of the weekend. What’s New in Horror moderated by Larry Correia, and I had a lot of fun on this panel. Talked about the various projects we were working on as well as the stuff in horror we all liked, including I Am Not A Serial Killer. Good conversation and the time really flew here.
Bought some shirts, saw Melanie and Scott off, and got to hang around for a few more hours with Larry at the Dead Dog Party. Shared my story about how I accidentally insulted Niven and Pournelle (long story) and got to share the SEAL mission from hell with a few friends (SubDude was extremely helpful, since his memory is better than mine and the story will be showing up in one of the Havok Lords books later). Talked a bit with Robert Hoyt (creator of Ninja Nun, of which I am a HUGE fan) and caught up with a few other people.
I will admit, the drive home last night was scary. I had to stop somewhere in southern Kentucky because I was too tired to drive and managed a nap. Got home around 4 AM and promptly crashed.
Overall, the con was a blast as always. I can’t wait until next year and I hope I can go.
I didn’t meet my writing goal the other day, so I didn’t get to paint. Came close, though. But close doesn’t cut it when you have deadlines.
Trust me. Editors hate when you start an email off with “So I was trying to work out some of the plot details and…”. You may as well be admitting “I was on Reddit and next thing I know I’m watching cat videos at 4 in the morning.” Editors — so damn particular, right?
I was looking over the Horror Writers Association guidelines the other day and realized that half of their referring links were either dead or completely worthless. Now, I’m not a member of the HWA (yet), but one would think that their website would have relevant information, like, for example, which publishers qualify. I mean, people dog on the SFWA at times, but at least they have a comprehensive list about what publishers make a writer eligible for membership, what publishers are on probation, which ones are blacklisted due to a variety of reasons (which they list).
It makes me wonder if the HWA is in a position much like the one the SFWA was during S/He Who Shalt Not Be Named* was the president.
Of course, making things easier would be difficult, due to the absolute flood of information that is on the internet right now. There are so many websites and various random bits of info that piecing together a comprehensive list of magazines and publishers who might be eligible is a nightmarish task I would only wish upon my high school geometry teacher. Yes, yes, I’m complaining. But since I feel that my opinion is relevant (hey, I’m delusional that way… I know I don’t hit the pop culture relevancy status until I start a flame war on a YouTube video comment section), I get to whine and complain to my heart’s content.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I like the concepts behind the organizations like the SFWA and HWA. Writers have a hard enough time researching material for their own books (what, you think all of us can pull random quantum physics out of our asses? Even Travis S. Taylor has to research once in a while, and he’s a freaking rocket scientist!), much less time to make certain that a book they’re writing is eligible for such-and-such market or award. There’s a lot of information that should be available to writers, like resources for what to do if your work has been plagiarized, or how to protect yourself against unreasonable or predatory publishers and agents (yes, they do exist).
I’m not going into the things that the organizations do that piss me off, however. That’s not my mission, and quite a number of them are deeply personal more so than professional (though there are a few things that affect me on a professional level as well).
By the way, I’m still claiming to be a SF writer, despite selling more horror stories than anything else. It’s my delusion, damn it.
*Openly vague so that your personal least favorite SFWA president can be added.