Thursday 31 July 2008

Sherrilyn Kenyon is coming to Toronto

That's right, the author of the Dark-hunter novels, the latest installment of which, Acheron, comes out on August 5th, will be in town for ONE BOOK SIGNING ONLY, at the World's Biggest Bookstore! So come out on August 20th at 7pm and meet Sherrilyn Kenyon.

Friday 25 July 2008

Brown Girl in the Ring - Nalo Hopkinson

Imagine a run down Toronto 'ruled' by the equivalent of a mob boss living in the C.N. Tower. Imagine a young mother trying to distance herself from the buff (drug) using father of her child. Now imagine a grandmother who's deep into voodoo. And you'll have some idea of what to expect in this 2008 Canada Reads pick.

Don't let the dialect of the main characters stop you from enjoying the book. You quickly get used to the not quite english they use. And pay close attention, because the passages you think only serve to show character development or scenic description will come back later as having significantly more meaning the further you read. This book is fun, surprising and thought provoking.

Saturday 19 July 2008

Chris Evans - Author Interview

A Darkness Forged in Fire


Pitch your novel

> A Darkness Forged in Fire is an epic adventure story inspired in part by the works of Rudyard Kipling, George MacDonald Fraser and Bernard Cornwell, melding traditional fantasy of elves, dwarves and magic with one of muskets and cannon in a time period that has a definite Napoleonic feel to it.

What are your favourite three books?

> Quartered Safe Out Here by George MacDonald Fraser – This is one of the greatest memoirs of war ever written.

The entire Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.

At the risk of revealing my nerdiness – the dictionary.

> If you could, would you change places with any of your characters?

The cool thing about being a writer is that you do get to change places with your characters – not literally, but nonetheless in a very real sense. As fun as it is to write about adventure and mayhem and magic I enjoy my deity-like position as writer too much to ever really want to change places and become a pawn in someone else’s world.

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 What was the first novel (published or unpublished) that you wrote and how long did it take to write it?

A fantasy set in a time period similar to the Second World War. It took me about a year and a half to write it. It hasn’t been published and it would need a total revision before I even considered trying.

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

As this is my first book it’s been more along the lines of “Who are you and why are you sitting by that stack of books looking hopeful?”

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

I work full-time as a book editor in New York City, editing military history and current affairs and conflicts books.

> What is your university degree in?

My Masters is in History, and I have two undergrads – one in English/History and one in Political Science. They all come in handy.

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

Here’s the thing, anyone can write anything. Whether they write it well is a completely different story. I don’t view writing as easy or hard, more in terms of how interesting the subject matter is. The more interesting, the more energized I become, no matter how technical or emotional it might be.

> When and where do you write?

I get up around 6am, go for a run in Central Park, then come back home shower, have breakfast and write for an hour or so before work. When I’m out and about I often make notes, but most of the writing is done at home.

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

It’s a solitary endeavor.

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

That’s a tough one because being an editor for eight years I’m deep in the belly of the beast. Still, being a writer for the first time has helped me better understand some of the concerns and anxieties of my authors (especially when I find myself voicing the same concerns to my editor).

> Do you have any advice for hopeful authors?

Accept that you were born with a genetic defect that makes you want to write in the first place. Accept that you don’t want them to find a cure for your affliction. Accept that no matter how brilliant you know you are, some mouth-breathing basement-dweller is going to think your writing is terrible. Accept that and then get back to writing. Read. Read a lot, and read a variety of genres, especially nonfiction. Write. Write every day. Not just blogs and email and book reviews, but actual pages in your story. The only thing that adds pages to your book is the physical act of writing pages in your book (it’s the tautological approach – do it, and it will get done). Everything else is rationalized avoidance. When you finish your book, start writing the next one. Don’t fall into the trap of revising and re-revising the same book.

> Any tips against writers block?

Try to avoid it, I hear it’s really frustrating. Seriously though, I’ve come to accept the school of thought that there really is no such thing. If you’re a writer, you write. If you’re not, you talk about it over coffee while listening to music from a country you’ll never visit. So I suppose the tip is don’t give in, don’t wait for the stars to align and the muse to whisper in your ear – just write. The first page or two might be dreck, but then it’s out of your system. You delete it then start writing the good stuff.

Thursday 17 July 2008

A Darkness Forged in Fire

by Chris Evans

After being disbanded in disgrace the Iron Elves, elite troupe of the Empire, is being reformed. The catch: the only elf being recalled is Major Kanowa, the person who caused it to be disbanded in the first place. The mission: find the fallen 'mythical' red star and claim it for the Empire. The problem: they aren't the only ones looking for the star, and myths are becoming a lot more real wherever they march.

The battle scenes, using guns and cannons, bayonettes and fists, draw you into an era of history not generally utilized in fantasy, adding a sense of freshness to the traditional elements employed. And the misfits making up the Iron Elves quickly start grow on you.

Chris Evans has the ability to paint a fully realized desctiption in a single sentence. You don't read A Darkness Forged in Fire, you watch it in your mind. My only complaint in reading this book was that I was forced to take too many 'commercial breaks', disrupting the flow of the writing and lessening the impact of the conclusion. So do yourself a favour and read this on a quiet weekend when you'll have time to really let the story take you away.

Sunday 13 July 2008

New Author Reading List

As summer is here (finally) I thought I'd post a list of books by newer authors (by which I mean authors who have only one or two books in print). Naturally this is not a complete list, just a sampling of some newer fantasy and SF authors. The authors are listed alphabetically within their respective categories.

Science Fiction
Taylor Anderson - Destroyermen: Into the Storm
Ann Aguirre - Grimspace
Tobias Buckell - Crystal Rain, Ragamuffin
Jeff Carlson - Plague Year
Paul Chafe - Genesis
Brenda Cooper - The Silver Ship and the Sea
David Gunn - Death’s Head, Maximum Offense
Graham Sharp Paul - The Battle at the Moons of Hell
Mark L. Van Name - One Jump Ahead, Slanted Jack
David Williams - Mirrored Heavens

Steam Punk
Dru Pagliasotti - Clockwork Heart
S. M. Peters - Whitechapel Gods

Daniel Abraham - A Shadow in Summer, A Betrayal in Winter
Toby Bishop - Airs Beneath the Moon, Airs and Graces
Alan Campbell - Scar Night, Iron Angel
Chris Evans - A Darkness Forged in Fire
P.R. Frost - Hounding the Moon, Moon in the Mirror
Emily Gee - Thief With no Shadow
David Hillsborough - The Wanderer’s Tale, A Fire in the North
Jaida Jones & Danielle Bennett - Havemercy
Violette Malan - Mirror Prince, Sleeping God
Gail Martin - Summoner, Blood King
Jenna Rhodes - The Four Forges, The Dark Ferryman
Patrick Rothfuss - The Name of the Wind
Lisa Shearin - Magic Lost, Trouble Found; Armed and Magical
C.L. Wilson - Lord of the Fading Lands, Lady of Light and Shadows

Urban Fantasy
Ilona Andrews - Magic Bites, Magic Burns
Jes Battis - Night Child
Mark Del Franco - Unshapely Things, Unquiet Dreams
Caitlin Kittredge - Night Life
T.A. Pratt - Blood Engines, Poison Sleep
Anton Strout - Dead To Me

Sunday 6 July 2008

Kevin J. Anderson - Author Interview


Too many to list here, so I'll only mention a few.

Ashes of Worlds
Metal Swarm
Of Fire and Night
Scattered Suns
Horizon Storms
A Forest of Stars
Hidden Empire

Last Days of Krypton



> Pitch your latest novel.

The Saga of Seven Suns is my big SF epic, pulling together all the things that I have loved about science fiction all my life -- galactic empires, alien races, horrific monsters, space battles, ominous robots, politics, religion, exotic worlds. It's the biggest thing I've ever written, one story covering many volumes. I've worked eight years on this series, and THE ASHES OF WORLDS is the grand finale.

> If you could live in your fantasy/sf world, would you?

Oh, I don't think so. I love the worlds I create, and I live in them figuratively during the entire creative process...but in order to make an interesting story, the world has to be in turmoil, and I put my characters through some very difficult situations. I don't think I would like to live in that universe when the whole world (or several of them) is going to

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

I've wanted to be a writer since I was 5 years old, but I waited until I was 8 years old before I wrote a "novel" -- it was three pages long, typed on pink paper in my dad's study using an old manual typewriter. Called THE INJECTION, it was about a scientist who invents a serum that can bring things to life...but when his colleagues don't believe him, he breaks into a wax museum and brings all the wax monsters to life, and they go out to get his revenge. It's, uh, never been published (thankfully).

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

My editor on the Dune books, Pat LoBrutto, and I were invited as guests to a conference in Mexico City. A college sponsored it, and we had a local guide who took us all around the city and the district, to the archaeological sites, Teotihuacan, the church of the Virgin of Guadalupe, and all the wonderful off-the-beaten path restaurants. We had a terrific time.

> If you still have one, what's your day job? And if you don't, how long did it take before you could support yourself only on your writing?

I've been a full-time writer for almost 15 years, but it wasn't easy (and sometimes it still isn't). I made sure I had a year's worth of expenses in the bank before I quit my day job -- and in the US we have to pay for our own benefits, our health care, our retirement. So there are a lot of expenses, and publishers don't always pay on time (in fact months and months can go by without a penny showing up). I used to be a technical writer for a research lab, and I'd write my novels in the evenings and on weekends. I had seven bestsellers published before I became a full-time writer.

> When and where do you write?

I love hiking, and I love writing -- I combine the two. I take a hand-held tape recorder with me as I hit the trails or climb mountains. I tell the story in my head as I walk for miles. I find the outdoor scenery to be very inspirational, and I can walk for hours on an isolated trail without being interrupted. Then, my typist transcribes the files, and I edit them into final form.

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

The best thing is that I get to make up my own characters, my own stories, my own universes -- and get paid for it. "I lie for a living." The worst part is the uncertainty. You never know what will be popular and what might not find an audience. Contracts departments often take longer to print up a standard contract for a book deal than it takes me to write the whole novel, and then the paycheck drags out for months and months after that. So, always make sure you have plenty of things in the pipeline.

> Do you have any advice for hopeful authors?

Be persistent. It's very tough to break in, and you have to practice, practice, practice. Think of getting a novel published in the same terms as trying out for an Olympic sports team. You have to work and work to perfect your game, hone your skills, get better and better -- and there are a lot of people out there at least as good as you are.

> Any tips against writers block?

I never have writer's block -- I avoid it by working on several different projects at once. If I hit a creative snag on one book, I can work on a different one that feels fresh. That way I never find myself unable to continue.

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

I submitted my first story when I was 12 years old, and it was rejected. I submitted it again and again, and I wrote more stories and submitted them. I eventually collected 80 rejection slips before a single thing got published. To date, I have more than 800 rejections -- in fact I have a trophy in my office that calls me "the writer with no future" because I could produce more rejections by weight than any other author at an entire
writing conference. But I never gave up -- and that's the important part.

Thursday 3 July 2008

The Author's Guide to Building an Online Platform

By: Stephanie Chandler

This is a great book for anyone who wants to learn how to promote their book using the internet. The book begins by explaining what a platform is and why having one - several months before your book comes out - is important. It is filled with lots of good advice from maximizing your hits on Amazon to planning a virtual book tour and has a large listing of online resources. Designed to answer questions both for self-published authors and those who have found a home at a publishing house, Stephanie Chandler includes author interviews to show how various techniques have succeeded or failed for others. She also includes templates to follow in creating your media press release and other important documents.

You can visit her website at:

Tuesday 1 July 2008

Science fiction and Fantasy Books Coming In August

Tamarisk - Lou Aronica
City at the End of Time - Greg Bear
Mars Life - Ben Bova
The Gypsy Morph - Terry Brooks
The World of Shannara - Terry Brooks
Sly Mongoose - Tobias Buckell
The Last Theorem - Arthur Clarke
I’ll Met in the Arena - Dave Duncan
Dark Vengeance - Ed Greenwood
Marsbound - Joe Haldeman
Hespira - Matthew Hughes
And Their Memory was a Bitter Tree - Robert Howard
Exile & Glory - Jerry Pournelle
Stalking the Vampire - Mike Resnick
Underground - Kat Richardson
The Last Centurion - John Ringo
Zoe’s Tale - John Scalzi
Pirate Sun - Karl Schroeder
The Divine Talisman - Eldon Thompson
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed - Sean Williams

Trade Paperback:
Digital Magic - Philippa Ballantine
Hell & Earth - Elizabeth Bear
A Fortress in Shadow - Glen Cook
Time Machines Repaired While-U-Wait - K. A. Bedford
Star Trek: Myraid Universes: Echoes & Refractions - Keith R. A. DeCandido
Fatal Revenant - Stephen Donaldson
To the Hounds - Steven Erikson
The Wall & Other Stories - Nick Faragher
Principles of Angels - Jaine Fenn
Pandemonium - Daryl Gregory
Bloody Bones - Laurell K. Hamilton
Between Planets - Robert Heinlein
The Savage Humanists - Fiona Kelleghan
Judgement at John’s Hollow - Lionel Lavergne
Worlds Apart - Alexander - Levitsky
Worlds of Their Own - James Lowder
Star Wars: Dark Lord Trilogy - James Luceno (3 in 1 reprint)
Cowboy Angel - Paul McAuley
The Case of the Pitcher’s Pendant - Tee Morris
Ghosts of the Old West - Earl Murray
Age of the Conglomerates - Thomas Nevins
Ketos - Philip Palmer
Ravens of Avalon - Diana Paxson
The Darker Mask - Gary Phillips & Christopher Chambers
Bitten to Death - Jennifer Rardin
Stalking the Unicorn - Mike Resnick
Necking - Chris Salvatore
Orson Scott Card’s Integalactic Medicine Show - Edmond Schubert & Orson Scott Card
Larion Senators - Robert Scott & Jay Gordon
Empire in Black & Gold - Adrian Tchaikovsky

Mass Market Paperback:
Wanderlust - Ann Aguirre
Eberron: The Doom of Kings - Don Bassingthwaite
Warrior - Marie Brennan (reprint of Doppelganger)
Witch - Marie Brennan (reprint of Warrior & Witch)
Gale Force - Rachel Caine
The Black Star Passes - John Campbell Jr.
Nights of Sin - Matthew Cook
Forged By Fire - Janine Cross
When All Seems Lost - William Dietz
Other Than Peace - David Drake
The War With the Mein - David Anthony Durham
Aliens: No Exit - B. K. Evenson
The Ten Thousand - Paul Kearney
Path of Revenge - Russell Kirkpatrick
The Phoenix Unchained - Mercedes Lackey
The Long Twilight & Other Stories - Keith Laumer
War Hammer 40K: Nagash the Sorcerer - Mike Lee
Enchantment Place - Denise Little, Ed.
Sleeping God - Violette Malan
Star Trek: Enterprise: Kobayashi Maru - Michael Martin & Andy Mangels
A Nameless Witch - A. Lee Martinez
Emissary - Fiona McIntosh
Fleet of Worlds - Larry Niven & Edward Lerner
The Battle of the Hammer Worlds - Graham Sharp Paul
Dragon Lance: Death March - Jean Rabe
Star Wars: Street of Shadows - Michael Reeves
War Hammer: Empire In Chaos - Anthony Reynolds
Yellow Eyes - John Ringo & Tom Kratman
Set the Seas on Fire - Chris Roberson
Deepwood - Jennifer Roberson
We the Underpeople - Cordwainer Smith
Legacy - Jeanne Stein
War Hammer 40K: Red Fury - James Swallow
Predator: South China Sea - Jeff Vandermeer
Omega Games - S. L. Viehl
Standard of Honor - Jack Whyte

Note: Due to the sources I'm using, books published after August 26th are not included in this list.