Tag Archives: Books

Writing Stuff

It’s been a busy week:

The Eastern Factor is off to the editors, and I just finished with the re-edit of The Order of the Wolf and it is now live on Amazon.  You can also get a free copy if you sign up for my brandy new Author Newsletter.  I will be sending it out monthly to begin with, at least until my next book is released in January.  After that, we’ll see, but it’ll be quarterly at a minimum.

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Click on my smiling friend to get your free ebook.

 

I also just found out that I won the Charlotte Geeks flash fiction contest with my story “Geekzilla Saves the Gala”.  It was featured on their Guardians of the Geekery podcast.  I also received some cool prizes.  You can find the podcast here (the story starts at 07:30).

 

 

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Filed under Books, Free, Short Story, Writing

Goodreads Giveaway Finished

My Goodreads giveaway completed on September 30th.  I gave away 5 signed copies of The Order of the Wolf to promote the coming release of book 3 The Eastern Factor.

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 I had 604 people sign up for the giveaway.  I’m considering this a success, because 604 more people have heard of me and my books than before.  Whether those that didn’t win go out and buy a copy is another matter.  You can buy Order of the Wolf and Stenson Blues on Amazon or Kobo.  They are available as an ebook or paperback.

If you didn’t win, there will be more chances.  More giveaways and sales coming up until The Eastern Factor is released in January.  Stay tuned.

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Filed under Books, Fantasy, Marketing, Reading, Writing

Politeness is a Virtue

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I just finished reading The Way of the Samurai by Inazo Nitobe.  Nitobe was of the samurai class in Japan but was western educated.  He wrote The Way of the Samurai in English in 1900 around the time Japan was westernizing.  Nitobe does a good job of explaining the philosophy of the samurai as it relates to western civilization.  Specifically, he compares the ways of the samurai warrior to that of medieval knights in Europe, and compares Japanese culture and philosophy to the christian west.

Not surprising, he describes the Japanese as being more culturally focused, whereas westerners are more individually focused.  He does this without judgement.

The bulk of the book is taken up with explanations of the virtues to which the samurai adhered.  These virtues are: Rectitude, Courage, Benevolence, Politeness, Veracity, Sincerity, Honor, and the Duty of Loyalty.  As I read this book, the virtue that resonated with me the most was Politeness.

If you watch Japanese anime, news from Japan, Japanese shows, or know someone Japanese, politeness is probably one of the first things you notice.  The Japanese are polite, and it is a sharp contrast to American culture.  It could be argued that politeness is disappearing from American culture.

According to Nitobe, “Politeness is a poor virtue, if it is actuated only by a fear of offending good taste, whereas it should be the outward manifestation of a sympathetic regard for the feeling of others. . . In its highest form, politeness almost approaches love.”

So it seems that the samurai virtue of politeness is not much different than the Golden Rule that we were all taught as children.  You know, the ole mind your manners and love your neighbor shtick that seems to be going out of style.

For a true samurai, using his sword was the last resort, not the first instinct.  Virtues, such as politeness, came first.  Hmm, maybe we could try that for a change.

 

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Filed under Books, Culture, Philosophy, Society

Must Read Fantasy

George R.R. Martin is on everyone’s lips because of Game of Thrones.  Many people have seen the HBO series, but I’m sure many fewer have read the books.  In addition to Martin, Tolkien and J K Rowling are also household names, known way beyond the fantasy genre.  These are the mass media darlings, but are they the heart and soul of the fantasy genre.  I say no.

The genre has changed over the years.  It seems like YA fantasy is very popular, but wasn’t it always that way?  Fantasy is one of those literary genres that has always been accessible to readers of all ages.  It cracks me up to see the YA fantasy section in the bookstore.  It’s just marketing because of the success of Harry Potter.

So if you’ve already read Harry Potter, the Lord of the Rings, and are waiting for Martin to finish writing Game of Thrones, what should you read? Well since I’m an old dude, I’m going to give you my recommendations for the best fantasy series of the last several decades.  (I’m sure there are others, but these are the ones I have read and can recommend)

  • Glen Cook – The Chronicles of the Black Company; The Dread Empire.
  • Roger Zelazny – The Amber Chronicles.
  • Mickey Zucker Reighert – The Renshai Chronicles.
  • Michael Moorcook – The Elric Saga.
  • Steven Brust – Vlad Taltos Series.
  • Dave Duncan – A Man of His Word; A Handful of Men.
  • Katherine Kurtz – The Chronicles of the Deryni.
  • Terry Pratchett – Discworld Novels.
  • Tad Williams – Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn
  • Janny Wurts – The Cycle of Fire; Daughter of Empire.
  • C. S. Friedman – Cold Fire Trilogy.
  • Harry Turtledove – The Videssos Cycle.
  • Jennifer Roberson – Chronicles of the Cheysuli; Sword Dancer.
  • Raymond E. Feist – The Riftwar Saga.
  • Louise Cooper – Time Master Trilogy; Books of Indigo.
  • Eric Van Lustbader – The Sunset Warrior Trilogy.
  • Patricia A. Mckillip – The Riddle-Master of Hed trilogy.
  • Lawrence Watt-Evens – The Obsidian Chronicles.
  • Angus Wells – The Books of the Kingdom; The God War.
  • David Farland – The Runelords.
  • L.E. Modesitt Jr. – The Saga of Recluse.
  • Steve Bein – The Fated Blades.
  • Patrick Ruthfuss – The Kingkiller Chronicle.
  • Jim Butcher – The Dresden Files.

I almost feel bad about leaving Wheel of Time off this list because it started out so good, but I couldn’t keep reading it much like Game of Thrones – They both grew into this huge web of story arcs that lost my interest.  Anyway, this is my list.  I do prefer my fantasy a bit dark and gritty, but they don’t all fit in that category.  Many of these books are a bit older, but hey, so am I.  Try a couple of these if you haven’t read them already.

 

 

 

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Filed under Books, Fantasy, Reading

But it’s Cozy in Here!

Marketing is for the birds!

At least that is what I want to say.  I should be able to stay in my warm cozy little writing cocoon and not worry about such things.  Well, to stick with the bird analogy, maybe I’ll stay right here in my protective shell instead.

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The temptation is strong.  I like to write much more than I like to spend time on Facebook or update my website.  I don’t think it’s just me either.  Writers tend to be a solitary bunch.  If you go to any writing convention, you will see plenty of twittering finches, maybe a strutting cockatoo (or two), and probably at least one pair of lovebirds huddled in the corner.  You’ll also see plenty of eggs.  If they’re at a writing event, they’ve at least started to peck away at their shell and are peeking out to see if it’s safe.

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They’re hoping to see something like this:

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  But are worried they’ll be met with this instead:

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So right now, I’m working on the marketing plan for my series and peeking out at the online marketing world.  Wow, it’s a big scary World Wide Web out there.  Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Website creation, SEO, blurbs, blog tours, reviews, book this and book that.  Whew, my head is spinning, or maybe it’s the vultures circling overhead.

I’m tempted to repair that crack in the shell and maybe add a nice wine fridge in the corner.  Unfortunately, every egg has it’s shelf life.  So, it’s either get on with the hatching, or get tossed out with the garbage.

It looks a little chilly out there.  Wonder if I need a coat?

Feel free to share any words of wisdom on book marketing with me, and I’ll be updating my progress as I figure out my strategy.

 

 

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Filed under Books, Conventions, Marketing, Writing

Finally!

I finally finished the last revision of The Eastern Factor.  Maybe I should call it the latest revision.  This is the one where I made much-needed cuts based upon feedback from readers.  It is the last revision before going to the editor.  Which means it isn’t really the last revision.  Wow, I talked myself down from that exciting moment way too quickly.  Let me try that again.

Last revision!  Last revision!  Last revision!  For Now.  (No, I am not dancing around, but I did spin my chair around a couple of times.)

Wow, that felt better. (Still a little dizzy though.)

I’m talking to the editor and will have a bit of a break before it comes back to me.  This gives me some time to work on something else.  I’m looking forward to writing something new for a change.  I actually have a couple of short story ideas that I want to pursue.

Speaking of short stories, my story Granny May Saves the Day will be coming out soon in Issue 4 of Broadswords and Blasters.  Look for it in January.

 

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Filed under Books, Reading, Science Fiction, Writing

Want a Free Book?

The Eastern Factor, book 3 of my Kingdom of Haven series is coming soon.  Just to get things rolling a bit, I am giving away 5 copies The Order of the Wolf, the first book in the series, over at Goodreads.  

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So head on over to sign up for the book giveaway.  While you’re there, go ahead and friend me, or ask me a question on my author page, or leave a book review.

The giveaway is going until September 30th.

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