Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Ode To Booksellers - Mary Ann Hoberman

Ode To Booksellers

Here's to the booksellers,
Heirs to the ages,
Lords of the language,
Purveyors of pages!
Fearmongers among us
Predict print's demise.
What folly! As long as
We humans have eyes,
The lure of a book
(That most perfect invention)
Will capture its victims
(As is its intention).
May those folks who cater
To literates' lust
Both prosper and flourish
And never go bust!

- Mary Ann Hoberman,
Children's Poet Laureate

Monday, 29 June 2009

Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog Catalogue

Looking for more blogs/sites talking about science fiction and fantasy? John Ottinger, over at Grasping for the Wind, has set up quite a listing. Check it out here:


Friday, 26 June 2009

Soulstice: The Devouring Book 2, Book Review

Simon Holt's sequel to The Devouring comes out this September and is a worthy successor. Rather than just entering one fearscape in this novel, she enters several - thus becoming (in her mind at least) a weapon against the vours.

Soulstice takes up exactly 6 months after the previous novel, with Henry not remembering anything from his time in the fearscape or what his possessed body did in his 'absence'. Reggie tries to help him while at the same time undercovering a plot of the vours to find a way to enter humans on days other than the winter solstice, a plot she unwittingly plays a crucial part in. And more is revealed about those who hunt vours.

Be prepared for chills, intrigue, back-stabbing and a cliffhanger ending.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Words of Wisdom from the Once and Future King

Though published in 1958, The Once and Future King by T.H. White, has a lot of wisdom to impart to those of us living now. Parts of the novel are obvious commentaries on the second world war, but war is impartial and the observations he makes are equally valid now. These quotes are just a small sample.

"...It has to be admitted that starving nations never seem to be quite so starving that they cannot afford to have far more expensive armaments than anybody else..."

"There is no excuse for war, none whatever, and whatever the wrong which your nation might be doing to mine - short of war - my nation would be in the wrong if it started a war so as to redress it. A murderer, for instance, is not allowed to plead that his victim was rich and oppressing him - so why should a nation be allowed to? Wrongs have to be redressed by reason, not by force."

"We cannot build the future by avenging the past."

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

The Devouring Book Review

The Devouring: Sorry Night, by Simon Holt is a teen horror novel. The story revolves around a demonic race called the Vours (rhymes with 'sour' rather than 'moor') who once a year, on the night of the winter solstice (or 'sorry night') can use the fears of humans to steal their souls and take over their bodies.

Reggie Halloway loves horror stories, so when an old journal that appears to be an unpublished horror novel arrives at the used bookshop where she works, she borrows it without telling the owner. She reads a few chapters to her younger brother as a bedtime story, unwittingly fueling his fears and making him a prime target for the Vours.

This is a novel calculated to creap out both children and adults. It's recommended for 12 and up, and given some of the nightmare images found at the end of the book kids younger than this may want to give it a pass. The novel shows the importance of acknowledging and facing fears - of all kinds - without being at all preachy about it.

Good writing, realistic teens, a tight plot and enough scares to make it a fun, quick read.

The sequel, Soulstice comes out September, 2009.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Authors to Watch For Reading List

Starting with this post, I'm planning on doing quarterly (or thereabouts) updates for new authors in SF/Fantasy.

What this list IS: authors who have recently published their first book in the sci-fi/fantasy field.

What this list is NOT: my personal endorsement of these authors and/or their books (though I'm sure there are gems here or I wouldn't be posting this). Several of these are books I have on my 'to read' list and feel that the authors could use some publicity. It's a tough industry and with so many good books to choose from, new authors are often overlooked. This is NOT a comprehensive listing, though I hope as I do each successive post I'll catch more and more of the new authors. Feel free to comment if you know a book/new author I've missed who's published in the past 3-4 months or if one of these authors shouldn't be on this list (mistakes happen).

As usual, there's no reasoning behind the order of the books.

Science Fiction
Singularity's Ring - Paul Melko
New Dawn's Rising - Scott Gamboe
Peacekeeper - Laura Reeve
Close Encounters - Katherine Allred [has a strong romance slant]
Long Journey to Rneadal - Sharon Dreyer

Blood of Ambrose - James Enge
Ice Song - Kirsten Imani Kasai
Midwinter - Matthew Sturges
The Warded Man - Peter Brett
Dragon in Chains - Daniel Fox
The Adamantine Palace - Stephen Deas
Darkborn - Alison Sinclair
Betrayal - Pati Nagle
Living with Ghosts - Kari Sperring

Urban Fantasy
Pandemonium - Daryl Gregory
Mark of the Demon - Diana Rowland
Death's Daughter - Amber Benson
Sins and Shadows - Lyn Benedict
Good Ghoul's Guide to Getting Even - Julie Kenner [Kenner has several books out. I mention her here because her other books are shelved by my bookstore chain in mystery, so she may be new to a lot of urban fantasy readers.]

Friday, 19 June 2009

Fantasy Artists X3

It's amazing how many great fantasy artists there are. And when I go to their site, knowing only one or two book covers they've done it's fun to see how many OTHER covers they've done that I know.

Take Matt Stawicki as an example. I knew he'd done more of Carol Berg's covers, but I didn't realize he did Karen Lowachee's or a lot of the newer (and much better looking) Dragon Lance covers.

Cris Ortega is a Spanish artist who I discovered through her own book of stories and artwork, Forgotten. It's haunting but beautiful.

An artist whose covers (at least on Solaris titles) almost force people to pick up the books, Michael Komarck. When Summoner first came to the store I knew it would be a hit. With cover art that good, how could the book possibly be bad? (I know judging books by covers doesn't always work, but sometimes, as with Summoner, it does.)

Finally, an artist whose covers I remember from my teens, Keith Parkinson. He did the original covers for the Death Gate Cycle (Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman), and writers like Terry Brooks, David Eddings, Terry Goodkind and more.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Fantasy Artists X2

Here are some more fantasy artists to be aware of.

Luis Royo does some incredible fantasy and SF covers. He has a way of portraying movement in stationary subjects. Please be aware that his site has a lot of adult content.

An old favourite, who still brings out fantastic artwork is Jody Lee (perhaps best known for her work on Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar books).

An artist I only became aware of recently, with his cover for Brandon Sanderson's Warbreaker, Dan Dos Santos is currently on the ballet for the 2009 Chelsea Awards for best cover illustration: paperback book, for Patricia Briggs's Cry Wolf.

And finally for today, Chris McGrath, who did Rob Thurman's Nightlife, Butcher's Dresden books and more. Here's the cover for Matt Sturges's Midwinter.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Fantasy Artists

I've always found fantasy art to be very inspiring when coming up with ideas. Ok, it can be construed as stealing someone else's idea in a way, but if you're explaining WHY the fairy has butterfly wings and is holding a glass rose in its hand then it's merely a creative writing exercise. And if it gets your own imagination flowing, where's the harm?

Here are a few of my favourite fantasy artists:
Kagaya: http://www.kagayastudio.com/starry/index.html
The page is in Japanese - but worth the effort of trying various links (I've linked to one of the subpages showing off his 'starry tales' paintings).

Todd Lockwood (I've bought copies of a few of his works to inspire me in my office at home.) He's done the new covers for R.A. Salvatore's Drizzt novels (Forgotten Realms) among many, many others.
Check out his works here: http://www.toddlockwood.com/

Josephine Wall (I cut up a calendar of hers, putting the paintings all over my apartment. Her works are ones you can stare at for hours, missing details each time. They draw you in and force you to imagine what might have happened to the people in the paintings to bring them to this point.)

Anne Stokes (I was made aware of her artwork through one of the 'best in fantasy art' books that comes out periodically. This wasn't the Spectrum collection, so it was by luck that I happened upon it. Since then I've seen her art in many places.)

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

What do you use for inspiration?

There are many ways to inspire yourself when it comes to art. Have objects around you can look at, nice pictures, nature, videos, the list is endless. In the hopes of expanding some horizons then, and perhaps, inspiring someone, I'm posting the following link.

Sand Fantasy. Telling a story through the use of sand paintings. I'd never heard of this before last month, though (given the number of youtube videos) it seems to be popular among certain circles.


"You've got a friend" is quite beautiful as an introduction to what sand art can do.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Beowulf boring???

I remember reading the Author's Notes for Michael Crichton's Eaters of the Dead several years ago. In it, he explained why he felt the need to rewrite Beowulf. Simply put, he believed Beowulf was very boring and - on a dare - set out to write a more exciting story using the plot elements of Beowulf (though he changed quite a number of things in the retelling). His novel became the basis for the film The Thirteenth Warrior, which is how I heard of it.

Now, I studied Beowulf in school. It was the first thing (after the Bible) in my Old English class. We only did a small sample as a translation exercise because the language went through a lot of changes after Beowulf was written so learning all the vocabulary necessary to translate the poem was deemed unnecessary. We read the poem in translation. Yes there's a lot of genealogy and repetition but it's a POEM. And what critics tend to forget is that this poem was never meant to be READ. It was meant to be PERFORMED.

So it's with great pleasure that I discovered this video at SF Signal (s0rry about the redirection. I couldn't figure out how to get the video here - downloading & uploading it didn't work). A British gentlemen, Benjamin Bagby, has recorded Beowulf the way it was meant to be appreciated. As a performance - poetry mixed with music. Poetry was to the past what television (or the internet) is to us now. It was not dry words on a page or bored recitation. It was recited with passion, playing on the emotion of the audience. It was many things. Boring was never one of them.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

The Edge of the World - Kevin J. Anderson

Check out Orbit's website for Kevin J. Anderson's new book. You can read the first three chapters, listen to music inspired by the book (lyrics by Anderson and his wife), watch a video teaser and more.


Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Borders has Blog

Borders, one of the bookstore conglomerates has started up a science fiction blog, run by their SF buyer. It has guest bloggers (currently Brandon Sanderson) and aims to generate discussions in the genre. Recent posts concern the usefulness of elves in fantasy, and whether it's time for that genre to evolve.

I've always loved elves. Yes, they're often done the same way - though that may be changing. People seem to forget that with fantasy the sky's the limit. Authors are sometimes afraid to reach that high (meaning there's no reason to have 'traditional' elves beyond the fact that readers like traditional elves (which is where the discussion comes in - because if readers DON'T like traditional elves then it's time to change them).

Anyway, check out 'Babel Clash' if you're interested (http://scifi.bordersblog.com/). If you enjoy YA fiction and graphic novels they also have a 'Borders Ink' Facebook page.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Brandon Sanderson - Author Interview


Hero Of Ages
Well of Ascension


website: www.brandonsanderson.com

> Pitch your latest novel.

My latest novel, coming out June 9th, is called Warbreaker. I'm a big fan of the stand alone epic form for fantasy--some of my favorite fantasy novels were of this style. (Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly comes to mind.)

My first novel, Elantris, was a stand alone, and I have always planned to return to the form on occasion. A stand alone can give things that a series can't. I'm particularly pleased to be releasing Warbreaker now, with a lot of attention on me for the Wheel of Time, as it will give people a chance to try out my work and see what kind of writer I am without them having to invest themselves into a large series.

Warbreaker is the story of an impending war between two kingdoms: Hallandren--a large, powerful land ruled by living gods known as The Returned--and Idris--a smaller kingdom in the nearby highlands, founded by the old royal family of Hallandren when they were forced to flee the kingdom. Idris doesn't have the influence or military of Hallandren, but it does contain the true royal line of the Hallandren people.

War is looming. Hallendren is tired of this smaller, rebel country controlling the highland passes and claiming the true right of rule. In a desperate attempt to stop an invasion, the king of Idris sends his daughter to marry the God King of the Hallandren people. And yet, there are clandestine forces within both kingdoms who are still pushing for war. Warbreaker is the story of the Returned gods, a princess from Idris in over her head, and a mysterious man with a sentient sword, tied to the magic of the Returned and the original division that shattered the two kingdoms in the first place.

> What are your favorite three books?

Hum... Dragonsbane, mentioned above, certainly has to be one. I'd also list The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan and Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.

> In the books you’ve written, who is you favourite character and why?

Boy. That's a tough one to answer. I could probably pick a favorite per book, but a favorite overall? Let's limit the question just to Warbreaker for now.

Lightsong is my favorite in the book. He's one of the Returned gods--once an ordinary man, he died in a heroic way (or so he is told) and was sent back to live again, his corpse awakening and growing to deific proportions and gaining divine beauty and grace. He doesn't remember his old life, and is worshipped by the Hallandren people. They believe that his dreams are prophecies of the future.

The thing is, he doesn't buy it. In a way, he's a god who doesn't believe in his own religion. Witty, flippant, and far less divine than everyone else thinks he should be, his plot revolves around an unusual plot hook--the divinity who challenges the culture of his own religious society. He was extremely fun to write.

> What was the first novel (published or unpublished) that you wrote and how long did it take to write it?

It was called White Sand, an epic fantasy novel. It took about three years to write, and it will never, NEVER be published. (Though maybe I'll use the ideas and write a new book.)

> What was the hardest scene for you to write?

First chapter of Mistborn Two [Well of Ascension]. I'd never written a sequel before at that point--and it was a new experience to me. I'd done thirteen stand-alones or first novels during the days I was trying to break in. But never a sequel.

I had a real challenge figuring out what to repeat from the last book, how to balance reminders with the pacing of this book, and how to set up plots and concepts for the middle book of a trilogy.

Struggle is good. These are things I needed to learn. But man, was it hard.

> What is the strangest question you have ever been asked by a fan?

I once had a fan ask me, when signing their book, if I would mind drawing on the title page a picture of Snoopy (the comic character) holding a sword.

I did it, terribly. I STILL have no idea why they wanted that picture. ;) (I have also had requests to sign body parts, which is kind of odd. I've turned those down, I'm afraid.)

> What was the most fun book signing, convention, etc. you’ve attended and why?

I would say World Fantasy in Montreal back in 2001 or so. I went with several good friends, and it was the convention where--finally--I made a book pitch to an editor that finally worked. It was 2:00 am at a hotel room party. Stuffy, crowded, exhausting. One of my friends had begun speaking with an editor at Tor, and brought me into the conversation. We had a blast, and I connected with the editor--Moshe Feder--quite well. I sent him a book the moment I got home.

He didn't get to it for eighteen months. But when he finally DID, he bought it immediately. Worldcon is in Montreal this year, and we're all planning a reunion.

> If you still have one, what’s your day job?

I'm one of the lucky ones who doesn't have a day job. I quit that the day I got my first advance check. (Which wasn't that much--but I was a single guy living in a friend's basement at the time, so it was enough.) Through the next few years, I picked up the occasional teaching job at the university to help pay the bills. (A class here and there.) I really consider myself going 'full time' in 2005, the year Elantris was released.

> What is your university degree in?

English, with a Master's in English: Creative writing emphasis.

> Do you think it is easier to write fantasy or science fiction?

Depends on your talents and skills. Good sf can take a lot more research and study, but if you're fond of that, it can be a lot of fun. Fantasy still requires research, but the research tends to be more broad-based, from what I've seen. You want to know a little about a lot of things to do proper worldbuiling and society building.

But in the long run, it's all about character, plot, and use of language. If you don't have these fundamentals, than you're going to struggle with any story. So in that way, I'd say they're equally difficult.

> When and where do you write?

I like to move around a lot. Different rooms of the house, depending on the day. So long as I have a comfy chair, couch, or bed, I'm fine. (I do have to have my laptop, though. I compose and think best on a laptop, I've found.)

> What’s the best/worst thing about writing?

Best thing: Getting paid for telling these stories. Like many authors, I spent years breaking in. I wrote books all of those years, and loved it--even though not a one got published. I'd still be writing them if I had never gotten published.

But it is extremely rewarding to be able to do this for a living, and know that people out there are reading my books and finding something in them that entertains, inspires, or makes them think.

Worst thing: Self-employment Tax and paying your own health insurance. Yuck.

> What is something you didn’t know about the publishing industry before you had your fist book published?

I didn't realize how little say authors would have in their covers--and rightly so. The cover is not an illustration of the book, it's a marketing tool. There are people whose entire job is to match cover artists with books so that the right people are attracted to that cover and pick up the novel.

Writers have a lot of thoughts about book covers, but we don't tend to look at it with the right marketing eye. We're more interested in making sure the characters are accurate--which isn't always as important as it feels to us.

> Do you have any advice for hopeful authors?

Sure. A couple of things:

1) Learn to turn off your internal editor. You can always rewrite later. When you start into writing, the most important thing I think is to learn that you don't start off perfect. Let yourself make mistakes, and don't worry. Just keep writing and practicing.

2) Don't try to write too many viewpoints at first.

3) Try to blend familiar ideas with those that are original. In other words, don't try to do everything new--but also don't just retread old ground. The best stories have identifiable characters facing identifiable conflicts, but in different ways and different places.

4) Focus on CONCRETE details. Don't just describe how things look--add in occasional scents, sounds, and textures.

5) Finally, don't give up! It can take time to learn to write. Don't feel bad if your first book doesn't turn out like you want it--and even if it does, realize it may take years to get it published.

> Any tips against writers block?

Write. Don't make excuses, write. Yes, you're blocked--but unless that 'block' comes from broken fingers, you can still write. So do it. Then throw it away if it's crap and do it again. Then throw that away, if you must, and try again.

The only way to work through a problem, many times, is to write it wrong first--then go back and write it right. Don't let yourself get 'blocked' to the point that you just don't write anything. Doctors don't get Doctor's block, and carpenters don't get carpenter's block. Yes, writing is a creative, artistic field--but if you want to learn to be a professional, then you have to learn to work when you don't want to. That's just the way the world works.

You'll figure it out eventually, so long as you are writing--even if that writing is terrible. It's okay. Push through it, then fix it.

> How many rejection letters did you get for your fist novel or story?

I honestly didn't keep track. I should have. I can tell you this: I spent eight years being rejected and was working on my thirteenth book when I finally sold one. (The one I sold was my sixth.)

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Fantasy Novel Inspired

Back in the late 80s when I first started reading fantasy I never conceived of a time when it would be possible to interact with a fantasy writer through the computer in the form of email, blog comments or any other means. The fact that I can now go to the website of an author like Brandon Sanderson and read excepts from his novels that didn't make the final book, side stories he wrote in his worlds using the characters, about the book he's currently working on or posts about the writing life is still astonishing. So much so that I'm often overwhelmed by what's all out there.

Did you know that you can buy jewelry based on the Aon - the magic system he invented for his novel Elantris?

Or that there are fantasy miniatures for his Mistborn characters? You can buy them in finished pewter, hand painted or ready to be painted by you.

You can watch book trailers for novels (upcoming or otherwise). Like this one for Mistborn.

Interested in art? You can watch the artist for Sanderson's newest novel, Warbreaker, do an oil painting of the cover - sped up, of course.

Truly remarkable.

Friday, 5 June 2009

News From Orbit

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Science Fiction and Fantasy Books Coming in July 2009

Hard Cover:

The Price of Spring – Daniel Abraham
Enigma – C. Bentley
The Light of Burning Shadows – Chris Evans
The Gods of Amyrantha – Jennifer Fallon
High Bloods – John Farris
Zadayi Red – Caleb Fox
Death's Head: Day of the Damned – David Gunn
Shadow Magic – Jaida Jones & Danielle Bennett
Sandman Slim - Richard Kadrey
Winter Duty – E. E. Knight
The Affinity Bridge – George Mann
The Stars Blue Yonder – Sandra McDonald
Wildfire – Sarah Mickelm
Eye of the Storm – John Ringo
Treason's Shore – Sherwood Smith
By Heresies Distressed – David Weber

Trade Paperback:

War Hammer 40K: Ravenor the Omnibus – Dan Abnett
A Fire in the North – David Bilsborough
The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume 2 – Ben Bova, Ed.
Bone Dance – Emma Bull
Countdown – Greg Cox
Empire of the Sun: The Cerulean Storm – Troy Denning
Consorts of Heaven – Jaine Fenn
Dragons Prefer Blondes – Candace Havens
Speaker's Bane – P. C. Hedgell
The Dwarves – Markus Heitz
The Calling – David Mack
Desolation Road – Ian McDonald
The Ship of Ishtar – A. Meritt
Cardinals Blades – Pierre Pevel
The Lords of the Sands of Time – Issui Ogawa
Magic the Gathering: the Purifying Fire – Laura Resnick
Gears of War: Jacinto's Remnant – Karen Traviss

Mass Market Paperback:

Afterblight Chronicles: Operation Motherland – Scott Andrews
Generation 18 – Kerri Arthur
Dark Time - Dakota Banks
Conqueror – Stephen Baxter
Speak of the Devil – Jenna Black
Gypsy Morph – Terry Brooks
Lord of Silence – Mark Chadbourn
Monster Hunter International – Larry Correia
Riders of the Storm – Julie Czerneda
Bloody Right – Georgia Evans
Skin Deep – Mark Del Franco
Gamer Fantastic – Martin Greenberg, Ed.
Marsbound – Joe Haldeman
Unclean Spirits – M. L. N. Hanover
Skinwalker – Faith Hunter
Havemercy – Jaida Jones & Danielle Bennett
Afterblight Chronicles: Arrowhead – Paul Kane
Demon Inside – Stacia Kane
Good Ghouls Do – Julie Kenner
Fall With Honor – E. E. Knight
And Less Than Kind – Mercedes Lackey & Roberta Gellis
The Dark Reaches – Kristin Landon
Star Trek: TNG: Losing the Peace – William Leisner
Age of Ra – James Lovegroe
Thorn Queen – Rachelle Mead
Witches Incorporated – K. E. Mills
The Spider: City of Doom – Norvell Page
Once Bitten, Twice Shy – Jennifer Rardin
Forgotten Realms: The Crystal Mountain – Thomas Reid
Poltergeist – Kat Richardson
Vicious Circle - Linda Robertson
Forgotten Realms: The Pirate King – R. A. Salvatore
Killswitch – Joel Shepherd
King's Shield – Sherwood Smith
War Hammer: Grey Seer – C. L. Werner
War Hammer 40K: Emperor's Mercy – Henry Zou

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Book Expo America Part 3

As promised, Saturday and Sunday's rundown of BEA.

First came the Sci-Fi author discussion. Periodically through the day various authors and publishers gave presentations or had discussions. The SF panel was small (considering there were other SF authors attending the conference) but very interesting. The panelists were: John Ringo (Eye of the Storm), China Mieville (The City and the City), Chris Schluep (editor at Del Rey), and Kelly Link (short story writer and anthology editor). The conversation mostly centered on what the authors considered science fiction (or speculative fiction), whether it would ever become mainstream and what writers influenced their own writing.

For signings, I met:
Brandon Sanderson - who's novel Warbreaker comes out this month. Look for an interview with him posted soon. The real buzz around Sanderson is the fact that he's been contracted to complete the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. Looks like Jordan fans are lucky, Sanderson's not only a fan of the series, he's also put in a lot of background work (timelines, book mapping) to make sure his conclusion wraps everything up.

George Mann - An editor for BL Publishing, he also has time to edit anthologies for it's impring Solaris and write independent novels for other publishers. Here he is signing The Affinity Bridge from Tor, a steampunk which, it is reported, involves zombies.

Rhodi Hawk - Another debut author, whose book, A Twisted Ladder, is described as a Southern Gothic psychological thriller.

And last but not least, David Drake, who was at Toronto's SF conference Ad Astra as a Guest of Honour this year. He signed his upcoming book In the Stormy Red Sky.

There were more authors and books, of course, but unfortunately you can't mention everyone. :)

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Book Expo Cont'd - SF Publisher Booths

This post is to showcase some of the amazing booths that were set up. I didn't photograph the major players (Random House, Penguin, etc.) as they didn't have their genre imprints in evidence. Instead you'll see some of the smaller presses that specialize in Sci-Fi and Fantasy. If you've never heard of them, then check out the links at the side of this blog and pay them a visit.

BL Publishing - publishes mostly War Hammer and other gaming related books. They're currently selling their Solaris imprint so they can focus on thier other lines. Let's hope the new owner of Solaris does as good a job as BL has done with it. (Solaris publishes such authors as Gail Z. Martin, Emily Gee and Eric Brown.)

Orbit is the 2 year old SF imprint of Hachette Book Group. They've come out of the gates with a truly remarkable line-up, which just keeps getting better. (Some of their authors: Brent Weeks, Brian Ruckley and Jeff Somers.)

Paizo books has been publishing a lot of pulp SF classics under their Planet Stories imprint. They've decided to put a more pulp look on their covers for future releases.

PYR, an imprint of Promethius Books, was showing off their first mass market: Joel Shepherd's Crossover. They've consistently published high quality books in the SF & F field.

A few publishers that were not represented this year: Dorchester books (C.L. Wilson); Abaddon Books (a UK publisher that does series fiction: Afterblight Chronicles, Pax Britannia, Tomes of the Dead); Juno; Prime; Chaosium...

It's been a difficult year for publishing. Let's hope these smaller presses weather the times to bring us good reads in the future.

Book Expo America 2009

I had the privilege of attending North America's premiere book industry event, BEA, in New York City. It consisted of one day of conference sessions followed by three days of hectic author signings, talking to publishing reps, getting new ideas and onto advance reading copy lists so that this blog can have more pre-publication buzz for upcoming books and authors.

There are definitely some great books to look out for. Now that my life has settled down a bit, I'll be reviewing more books again and paying more attention to this blog than I've been able to in the past few months.

Some of the people I had the pleasure of meeting on Friday (there are a lot, so I'll do a second post with Saturday and Sunday events):

China Mieville - promoting The City and the City

Maria V. Snyder - Storm Glass, a book in the same world as her Study books, but following a new character.

Chris Claremont - the writer who got me combing every comic shop I could find for back issues of X-Men in high school and university. He signed copies of the "not for resale" promotional comic X-Men Forever. It consists of X-Men 1-3, first printed in 1991, when X-Factor and the X-Men joined forces to become the Blue and Gold teams. They was also the last 3 comics Claremont wrote for Marvel before moving on to other projects. He's going to be writing for them again, taking up directly where he left off, with this new joining of teams, and I for one and very excited about what this means for my favourtie comic book series.

Neil Gaiman - a surprise addition to the show's excellent line-up (he himself drew quite the line-up. I heard it went into the 500s, though getting there 45 minutes early made me #46.)

Brad Meltzer - signed copies of his new book, The Book of Lies. I still remember the first book of his I read, Dead Even. With it's husband and wife lawyer team working on opposite sides of the same case and both being blackmailed to win, it remains an easy hand sell and one of my favourite thrillers. He's written numerous DC comics as well, including the laudible Identity Crisis (the scene where Batman comforts Robin after a traumatic event is beautiful).

And last but not least, Gail Carriger was promoting her debut steampunk novel, Soulless with tea and cookies. This is a novel you'll be hearing more about. I'm only a quarter way through it but it's already one of the best books I've read this year.

From Hard Covers to Paperback

Chris Evans's first book, A Darkness Forged in Fire recently came out in mass market paperback. If you've been waiting for the more portable version, now's your chance to get this well-written debut about Elves with guns. Read my review of the book here, and the interview I did with him here. His new novel, The Light of Burning Shadows will be out in July.

Another author who did an interview with me, whose book Genesis is now in mass market, is Paul Chafe. For those of you who are waiting, his new book, Exodus: the Ark, will be out in November.

And PYR will be publishing their first mass market paperback in June, Crossover, by Joel Shepherd. His new book, the fantasy novel Sasha, will be out in October.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Change is Coming

I just spent an amazing 4 days at Book Expo America in New York City. I've brought back a lot of new ideas, books to review and the desire to start blogging much more frequently.

The first change is that I want to start getting more comments on my posts, which means posts will become much more varied in the future. I plan to start adding links to fantasy and science fiction sites I come across in my rambles, SF & F artwork, include more about book selling and get more book reviews up.

To help me out, I have a question for you. Since this blog began as an instore newsletter at the World's Biggest Bookstore, where having a month's notice about upcoming books was useful, I've been posting my upcoming books a month early (the June books went up at the beginning of May). Would you like me to continue this or start posting the July books at the beginning of July?

Also, is there anything about this site you don't like, would like to see changed or like added? I can't guarantee I'll follow every suggestion, but I will take them all into consideration.

Thanks for reading!