7/9/19 - PLEASE PARDON OUR DUST AS WE RE-MODEL
It's been a while since this site had a face lift, so over the next week or two the entire thing will be undergoing something of a re-vamping. The last one was about 8 1/2 years ago, so I suppose it was overdue. Plus, I was recently fortunate enough to have some interaction with the famous Query Shark, who told me that my old format of white on black was "a little hard on the old peepers." Since I happen to hold her opinions in rather high esteem, and it's already been far too long, this site is getting a makeover.
So please have patience. Some of these posts will not be "switched over" for a while I endeavor to get to all of them. But once it's all done, this should be a streamlined, easy to read, one stop shop for all things related to my work.
6/26/19 -- Quick Programming Note .... no, seriously.
This isn't book related, at least not directly. I just want to mention that my new favorite TV show "Blood & Treasure" has been renewed for a second season at CBS. It's not Shakespeare, and that's perfectly fine. It's not even Game of Thrones, although GoT wasn't even GoT those last few seasons. This is much more fun.
If you haven't seen it, catch up On Demand or pick it up week by week. It airs Tuesdays. The show is basically a TV version of a paperback thriller you might pick up at the airport to kill time on a long flight. The show follows two leads, one a former FBI agent, one a "master thief" (who may also be the most beautiful woman on television, Sofia Pernas). Together they gleefully gallivant across Europe, Africa (and apparently America, next week). From Rome to Casablanca they run around chasing an ancient macguffin that has .... ok, you get the idea. In the finest Indiana Jones tribute, there are Nazi flashbacks, there are mobsters, secret societies, international conspiracies, etc.
Great summer fun.
6/7/19 -- CHECK EVERYTHING...SERIOUSLY, EVERY. THING.
I discovered something yesterday, which made me both sad and annoyed. But there's a lesson in it.
I got an email from Ravenswood Publications, who put out my only true fantasy novel "Eye of the Storm" a few years ago. They're re-structuring (more on that in a future post...probably) and it caused me to take a look at the book for the first time in years. That's when I found it.
The acknowledgements section had been tampered with.
When I was researching the book, which involves some steppe warrior tribes in a fantasy setting, I visited Mongolia. While there I took a two week "tour" with some other intrepid travelers. I put "tour" in quotes because it wasn't a typical tourist excursion. Basically we all piled in to a pair of surplus Soviet-era leftover vans (UAZs) and rambled around the countryside with a guide. We slept in yurts, showering wherever we could. Sometimes not for days. There was no cell service or internet. Sometimes we just pitched a tent in the grass. It was glorious.
Anyway, spending time in such close proximity tends to breed some camaraderie. We swapped stories and entertained ourselves since there was often nothing but empty terrain for days on end. One of those fellow travelers was a young lady named Kitt. That wasn't her given name, but it was what she went by and what we all called her. When Kitt found out I was researching a book, she insisted that I tell everyone the story to fill the time, which I did.
The experience actually helped improve the story, since telling it outloud exposed some plotholes I might not have noticed otherwise. All in all, I felt I owed Kitt a debt for prodding me to tell the story.
I never saw Kitt again, we all went our separate ways after the trip. When I sat down to write the dedication at the front of the book a few years later though, I felt it was only right to mention her. I wrote a little snippet thanking her by name and in case she ever stumbled across it, a mention of how she got me to tell the story in an old Russian UAZ--a detail I assumed most everyone else would not get.
Now here's the wrinkle: the woman who runs Ravenswood Pub is named KITTY. I also thanked her in the acknowledgements, again very specifically. Then I never gave either dedication a second thought.
Yesterday though, leafing through the book again, I discovered that my dedication did NOT contain a note to Kitty for giving my book a home, and then a note to Kitt for listening to my story in a Russian UAZ. Instead, both notes were made out to Kitty.
Hmmm. How did that happen????
So I went and dug out the original doc file I had sent to Kitty at Ravenswood. Then I checked the epub file she had created to turn the document into a formatted text for publishing. Sure enough, my original was inscribed to Kitt. The epub file was changed to Kitty.
I can only draw one conclusion--Kitty, it seems, assumed BOTH dedications were to her (despite the fact that I never met her and never spent any time in a Russian UAZ traveling the Mongolian steppe with her). And she must have taken it upon herself to amend the second dedication, adding a "y" to Kitt's name that didn't belong there.
It effectively ruined that one sentimental line.
Beyond that, here is an example of someone at a publisher altering the most personal section of a manuscript without so much as a mention.
Never once did Kitty ever ask, for example: "hey, I see in the acknowledgements that you mention me and then a "Kitt" -- I appreciate the nod, but was that second one supposed to be to me too? I mean, I don't even know what a Russian UAZ is"
Nope, not a peep. Not even after she presumably changed it, did she think to maybe shoot an email, which would have been misguided and late at best:
"Ummm, I just wanted to let you know, I took the liberty of fixing the obvious typo in your dedication. I think it's great that you thanked
me twice in the same note, I just wish I knew what you meant by a Russian UAZ. I mean, we've never even met face to face .... hang on, now that I'm giving it more than a moment of self-centered
consideration I'm realizing that I might have made a terrible error .... oh my god, is Kitt a whole different person? Did I totally ruin your dedication by making it all about me and never
thinking to mention it to you as I was altering the single most personal section of your manuscript????"
As I said, I've never seen Kitt again, and I don't expect I ever will. The dedication was meant to be a gesture for my satisfaction, and nothing more. That was ruined by a thoughtless editor who altered my words for their own misplaced glorification without any permission to do so, and went on about her merry way.
So the lesson here--check every goddamn thing when a publisher sends you back a proof. Including the acknowledgements. You just never know when someone will tamper with something.
5/13/19 -- Twenty-Eight.
That's the result of my "experiment" in facebook-based marketing. As noted last week, I was getting inexplicable traffic on my facebook fan page, so I decided to post something there to see what kind of engagement it would get.
Well, five days later and that post has been viewed by a whopping 28 people. There are literally hundreds of people who have followed the page, so the fact that the post only popped up on 28 feeds seems to confirm what I had suspected all along -- the algorithms they use to curate what goes into a feed, screen out a lot of the promotional stuff. In essence, this would seem to render a facebook author fan page kind of useless.
Now the questions become, do I delete it? Is is better to not have a page at all?
5/8/19 -- Facebook Consternation Syndrome
About a year and a half ago, I more or less stopped using Facebook. Not out of some kind of outrage or frustration, but because it felt like it had reached a point of diminishing returns, at least from an author-promoting-books perspective.
Here's what I mean. Around that time, there was some news floating around that Facebook had tweaked the way they curate the information that went into people's feeds. There had been a lot of annoyed people out there complaining about the clutter littering their daily timeline. One way Facebook decided to combat (or so I heard) this was to limit the number of posts from sponsored/business pages making it into the feeds.
This had the effect of de-cluttering timelines and restoring some of the feeling of the old Facebook--posts from friends and family, etc. However, for people like me trying to keep my work in the public eye, specifically in the view of those who had chosen to "follow" my page, it was a death knell. Keeping those posts out meant that the potential "reach" of anything you put out there was minimal. Thus, it seemed to make little sense to keep posting stuff, since few people (if anyone) were ever likely to see it.
So why do I care about this now?
Because, weirdly, I'm starting to get a lot more notifications lately about people "viewing" my Facebook fan page. Which is odd because I haven't put out any new material lately, and I'm not doing anything to actively push that platform.
In any event, I'm going to try a little experiment. For the next few days/weeks, I'm going to make an effort to put some things up there. Same content as twitter really, but we'll see if it gets any engagement.
If you happen to be one of these people, and you stumbled across this spot as well, please feel free to leave me a note.
11/29/18 -- The End of an Era. Sort of.
I received a letter recently. It was a from a federal bankruptcy court. I wasn't in any financial trouble, but evidently someone I'd done business with was, and the court was sending notice to all potential creditors. Fortunately, they don't owe me any money, because it looks like they aren't paying anyone. The filing party? It was my first publisher, Medallion Press.
For me at least, this represents a kind of closure. The final word on the first chapter of my professional publishing career. Medallion was the first place to ever hand me money for my words. Not a ton of it, but when you've never sold a single thing ever, any money for your writing feels like a big deal.
I didn't have a great relationship with Medallion. I suppose it's finally okay to say that now, at the end. Maybe these things have a trajectory, a typical arc. I don't know. Here's what I can say: they gave me my first break, and I'm always going to be grateful for that. They sent me to BookExpo America in DC back in 2006, all expenses paid. They sent me to a festival in Toronto the next year to do more promotion, although by then they didn't foot the bill. They bought ads for my weird little book---for a while.
The thing that soured me was that Medallion, at the outset was a partnership. Two writers got together to build a publisher, an author-centric company founded on their experience. One of them had the capital, the other had a lot of ideas. I won't use any names.
The one without the money was the one who discovered my manuscript. She backed it, and pushed it hard. I loved her for it. Still do. Then something happened, I was never told exactly what.
All I ever found out was that right around the time my book was set to be released, the very month in fact, my big booster got fired. Apparently a partnership in which one party puts up all the cash isn't really a true partnership. That left the company in a state of chaos for a few months. The website went stale. Promotion died entirely. The place was regrouping.
Instead of the big release I was expecting, I got crickets. After months of pre-release build up, my book came out quietly and with no fanfare. The person who championed it was gone, and no one left seemed to want to have anything to do with her "babies". My book was effectively orphaned.
My naive thought at the time was that once things got back up and running, they would "pick up" anything that had fallen into the abyss of their temporary lapse. But that never happened. A few months later, when things started humming again, my book was largely forgotten and a whole new slate of titles got the release buzz mine never saw.
After that experience, I was pretty down on the company. Contractually they had the right of first refusal on my next book. But I didn't want them and it felt like they didn't really want me. So I sent them essentially a work in progress, which I knew wasn't ready. They passed, as expected and I moved on. That book, massively re-worked, later found a home with Necro as RITES OF AZATHOTH, which is by far my most successful book to date. Happy endings.
In any event, over the years that followed, things got better, for me and for Medallion. I found several new publishers, in the UK and in the US. They appeared to have some success of their own under their restructured management. I even considered sending them a later manuscript, which never came to pass.
Now it appears the days of Medallion Press have come to an end. There will be no new books. No new ads or promotions. Their website has gone belly up, as expected. I'm going to leave the banner for them on my Links page though, just for sentimental reasons. It's my tiny little monument to the place that gave me my first shot. The relationship wasn't always great, but that's life and that's publishing. I can't say I loved them, but I'm glad we worked together, and that's something.
5/7/18 -- Twitter -- Good for connecting/Not Good for sales?
I've been a little more active on twitter lately. More than I have been for about six months or so. As a result, I've connected with a bunch of people over the last two weeks. Some have been fellow fans of the Karate Kid revival Cobra Kai (which, if you haven't seen it -- go watch it now!). Others have been fellow writers.
Among the writers, we all did the seemingly standard twitter intro: they follow me, I follow back. They like and re-tweet my pinned post (a permanent amazon link for my most recent book) and I do the same for them. Most often, their pinned post is much the same as mine, a promo with a link for their current project.
I did this maybe a dozen times recently. Checking the "impressions" of my frequently-re-tweeted amazon post, it's been seen by several thousand people, many of them just over the last few weeks. Sounds great, right? Viral marketing. I push your book to my followers, you do the same for me, everyone gets more exposure.
But here's the thing: exposure is great, it just doesn't mean much divorced from the reason you want it. Exposure is supposed to get people interested in your work. And that is supposed to convince at least some of them to take a flier and buy it.
According to amazon though, that didn't happen. Not even once. For all the re-tweets and pinned posts and other writers liking my post, none of it actually translated into a single amazon sale. I'm not complaining. The book is over a year old. It had its day in the sun last year, got reviews and moved some units. I'm long past checking the sales numbers at this point. I'm not expecting to sell many books now. What I'm wondering however is this---is the whole writers-on-twitter thing a big sham? I tweet you, you tweet me, and the only people who ever see it are other writers who are looking for the same elusive sales you are, but none of you are actually consumers?
I'm beginning to wonder if twitter is a big writers echo chamber. Great for random thoughts, not effective at all for actual sales.
However, it is still fantastic for connecting with other fans of Cobra Kai.
4/30/18 -- Book Covers Day 7
An endless cycle of drinking, hangovers and the routine hell of working a pointless, dead-end job. Bukowski imbues this vaguely sad, pathetic life with insight and dark humor at every turn. He writes with a spare, direct style that draws you into his world, so deep and so fast that you can almost smell the odor of sweat and stale booze on every page.
This book is all character and all dysfunction. There's barely any real story, aside from the chronicle of a life that you wouldn’t want to lead, but told in a way that makes you feel like you did.
4/29/18 -- Book Covers Day 6
High Fidelity seems to be the book that Nick Hornby gets mentioned for most often, and that's a good one too, but I enjoyed this even more.
Once again, they did make a movie version, and unlike some of the others on my list, it's actually pretty good.
The book stands on its own though. When I stray from the world of sci-fi and fantasy, this is the kind of thing I enjoy. The characters here aren't on some grand adventure, or a path to Hell, they're just mildly wounded souls, damaged in the mundane, almost incidental ways that everyday life can hurt you.
There's humor and there's heart, but it's not sappy. Here it's the simple connections between people, especially the unlikely ones, that all the real happiness in life comes from.
4/28/18 -- Book Covers Day 5
Neil Gaiman took me for my first spin around the block in horror-fantasy, but Clive Barker hit the gas and blew the doors off.
This is the book that is best known for spawning the Hellraiser franchise. Sure it's cliche, but it genuinely is a far better book than a film. Here's why: Hellraiser turned this story into a low budget, schlocky monster-fest with Pinhead as the Freddy/Jason/Michael Meyers boogeyman. That's not what the book is, and it's why this is a seminal modern horror novel (ok...novella).
For one, in the book Pinhead barely appears, and isn't named (he isn't even a he.) The story is about the people. No one in this book is damned because they were unlucky enough to fiddle with a cursed puzzle box. These characters are doomed by their own desires. It's the darkness of the human heart, the selfish pursuit of pleasure at the expense of others that leads them down a very dark path.
This book is (in my opinion) Barker at his very best. It's profane and haunting, gross and beautiful, blending sex and violence and written with a lyrical, evocative prose that is much more "literary" than you find in most genre fiction. This is the standard by which I measure all dark fiction.
4/27/18 -- Book Covers Day 4
For a long while I read a steady diet of straight-up sci-fi & fantasy. That includes the three books I've posted already along with Tolkien, Moorcock, Wagner, Lieber, Asimov, Clarke and many others. Gaiman introduced me to something I thought I didn't like: modernist, urban horror/fantasy. Simultaneously dark and whimsical, scary and funny, insightful and irreverent. It also showed me that character is king. Frodo doesn't change much during his journey, he starts off pure of heart and stays that way. Conan is clever and resourceful, but other than growing world-weary over time, he is always who he is. Neverwhere is not about a great hero, it's the story of a regular, boring guy who goes on a fantastic adventure. But the journey that he takes, encountering monsters and warriors and angels, is ultimately more important for what it changes in him, rather than anything it accomplishes in the larger world. That makes it just as relatable as it is fantastical.
4/26/18 -- Book Covers Day 3
This one is a sentimental favorite for me (which is why I own two copies). I had heard about it for years before I picked it up. Eddison is mostly forgotten today, and not without reason. His prose is dense and deliberately archaic, often dwelling for long stretches on the minutia of decor or weapons, but his work is absolutely fascinating nonetheless. A scholar of the Norse sagas and an admirer of Homer, it draws in equal parts from the greatest of ancient literature and from his own childhood imagination.
That's no exaggeration or hyperbole, Eddison's childhood drawings in sketchbooks from the 1890s still exist, preserved at the Bodleian Library in England. Amazingly, they depict many of the same characters that later appeared in this book--as conceived by a 10 year old.
This is a deeply flawed but beloved masterpiece. The scope and the themes are epic on a Tolkien-like scale, but it's all done with absurdly childish names that the adult Eddison, upon sitting down to write his tale as an author, apparently couldn't bring himself to change. The heroes hail from "Demonland" and the villains from "Witchland" although neither are demons or witches. Lords Juss and Spitfire fight alongside Brandoch Daha and Goldry Bluszco. Unlike Tolkien (who this book predates by decades) there is no consistent nomenclature, nor even an attempt at invented languages or history. There is a peculiar "framing device" that begins the book and is never re-visited, weirdly setting the entire story on Mercury, but having no relationship to the actual planet.
Despite all of that, or maybe because of it, this novel is uniquely confounding and unlike any other work of fantasy, before or since.
4/25/18 -- Book Covers Day 2
I bought this for a nickel in the clearance bin of my local public library when I was in middle school. It quickly became one of my favorite books, and Robert E. Howard retains a special place in my pantheon of favorite writers.
The only full-length Conan novel he ever wrote (originally titled Hour of the Dragon, for no good reason) it follows the famous barbarian after he has secured the throne of Aquilonia. Forced to defend his crown against a coup backed by the undead wizard Xaltotun, he goes off on a quest to obtain the one item that can defeat the black sorcerer. It is classic pulp.
Howard was not a technically great writer, but his work has a way of drawing you in despite his flaws. As someone once wrote about him, in his prose you get the feeling he really believed every word of what he was writing. Every stroke of the hammer, every clang of sword on shield. And he makes you believe it too.
4/24/18 -- I'm doing a series of posts, here and on facebook with the covers from some of the books I love the most.
Day One is one of the all-time sci-fi classics.
I read this in high school expecting some kind of literary Star Wars. It was so much more. This completely changed the way I viewed "genre fiction" forever after.
In the years since I've picked it back up repeatedly (which is why the cover is in that condition), and it always has more to offer. Touching on themes of ecology, religion, politics and economics, it is essentially a timeless story that will live for generations.
The two movie adaptations so far have both been spectacular failures, in my opinion. But they are supposedly working on a third.
It'll never be as good.
4/18/18 -- I'm back. Sort of.
If you follow this space at all (or have followed over the past few years) then this pattern won't be a huge shock. I tend to "go dormant" for stretches when I'm working on a project. Typically, there isn't much to report while I'm actually writing, during that wonderfully quiet space between promoting books when there isn't much to do except to just write.
I know there is a school of thought out there that writers need to stay engaged, on social media and the web in general, and I try -- but only when I've got something interesting to talk about. What I will not do, and I've said this over and over, is post #amwriting status updates while I'm in the middle of a manuscript. I won't post half-done excerpts and pretend they're "teasers." I won't solicit advice about whether I should go in one direction or another with a character. Anyone who does these things is, in my opinion, more interested in looking like a writer than in actually writing.
Second update. Facebook. We all know Zuckerberg's creation has gotten some bad press lately, most of it deserved, I think. That's not really my issue though. I maintain a facebook author page, which is linked on this site. There isn't a ton of new content there, and quite frankly, there probably won't be much coming. The reason: during my recent Cthulhu-like like dormant slumber, they changed their algorithms with respect to newsfeeds, drastically reducing the promotion of posts from professional pages, as opposed to the stuff we all do want to see, like your high school classmate's vacation pics or your former co-worker's latest 3000 baby photos. A number of pages I follow complained about this when it was announced, and I kept my eyes open for the result. Sure enough, I get hardly any posts from their pages now.
In light of that, I'm focusing less on facebook. At least as far as fan pages. I'll still post vacation pictures. Also, I'm still on twitter -- full disclosure though -- my twitter feed isn't all Mythos and literary stuff. Expect to see a fair amount of hockey posts while the NHL playoffs are going on.
You can take the boy out of Jersey....
12/12/17 -- I'm very pleased to report that RITES OF AZATHOTH was named one of "The Best Indie Sci-Fi & Horror" reads of 2017 today. The listing can be found at the Sci-Fi and Scary site.
They've been a big supporter of this book all year long, naming it to a few of their Top Ten Tuesday lists over the last several months. Big thanks to Gracie and Lilyn for this honor. I'm thrilled to have one of my books make the cut.
Click on the pic to view the whole list.
10/30/17 -- I just spent a fantastic weekend at the Spooky Empire convention down in Orlando. It was a great time. They invited me to speak on several panels and I signed some books with the crew from Necro Publications.
I owe a big thanks to those same Necro folks for "hosting" me this year, as well as to Alisha, Connie, Boston Chuck and everyone else associated with the Author section of the con. You were all tremendous.
I was able to participate in a number of spirited, fascinating discussions ranging from:
"Please delete my browser history" - a talk about all the weird and strange things you come across researching material as a horror writer
"Story Craft" a wide ranging discussion on taking a book from an idea to an actual published piece of work, and
"Fear & Belief" which really got the conversation going in a broad talk on religion, violence and the ever-present fear of the "other"
All in all, a super weekend.
9/6/17 -- The site went dark for the last month or so while I was traveling to close out the summer. I had a fantastic trip through northern India and Nepal, which has been on my list for a long time. Highly recommended.
Now that I'm back in the states, I'll be turning my attention more fully to the run up to Spooky Empire next month, the weekend before Halloween. We're finalizing the speaker slots right now. What I can announce so far is that I'm scheduled at the Signing Table for 5pm on Friday evening. If everything goes to plan, I should be signing copies of both of my Necro/Bedlam titles: THE HAND OF OSIRIS & RITES OF AZATHOTH. Necro has been kind enough to "sponsor" my appearance at Spooky Empire and I'm grateful to Dave and the boys for that.
Obviously, if you happen to have a copy of one of my books with another publisher and you'd like to get it signed, bring it along and I'll be happy to do it.
There will be some panel discussions at the convention as well, and I'll probably get in on one per day over the weekend. As soon as those slots are finalized, I'll post them here and on facebook & twitter. Stay tuned.
8/10/17 -- They just announced the line up for the "Creators Track" at this fall's Spooky Empire. I'm very pleased to be included with some absolutely great authors.
It's really shaping up to be a fantastic convention. I've linked the full roster page to the pic, so click on over and check out all the scary, creepy goodness they've got waiting for you down there.
It sounds like they aren't done either, so check this space again as the season gets closer. I'm hearing they may add some more great names to this already "killer" list.
8/9/17 -- I know it's still the summer-time, and we're right smack in the midst of the old "dog days" of August. I'm never one to try to rush through this part of the year, so please -- everyone enjoy your summer to the fullest.
However, in case anyone is interested in looking at long range plans (OK, maybe medium range?) I'll be appearing this fall at the Spooky Empire Convention in Orlando. As you would expect from the top horror convention in America, it takes place right around Halloween. If you're going to be in town or you're interested in attending, the pic is linked to the main site for the convention where you can find all the pertinent details.
This will be my first year there, and my first convention in 10 years. My last one was at the "Festival of Fear" in Toronto in 2007, promoting THE LUCIFER MESSIAH. I'm really looking forward to getting back out there. I'll be "sponsored" by my publisher Necro Publications/Bedlam Press and so will be singing copies of my two novels with them: RITES OF AZATHOTH and THE HAND OF OSIRIS. Hope to see you there!
8/4/17 -- Another day, another fantastic new review for RITES OF AZATHOTH.
Today we've got one from Kirsty White at "For the Love of Books." It's a dynamite write-up. Click on the pic to read the full review. She says: "It's a cracking pace, a mix of view points from all the key players and a plot that is just completely bonkers. It mixes murder mystery, police procedure and the esoteric so well with plenty of WTF moments. It's just so much fun to read and I haven't felt that in a book for a long time. Absolutely loved it."
Happy to hear it, Kirsty. Glad you liked it.
8/1/17 -- I've been on a little summer hiatus for the last few weeks, but a new review of RITES OF AZATHOTH brings me back to the blog today. This one comes from the Gin Book Club, and it's actually a "double review" with two of their readers (Vicky and Josie) taking a gander at it. I'm very pleased to report that they both liked it, giving it a nice write up.
As always, a couple of quick quotes with the full review linked to the picture. Vicky says: "an excellent crime thriller with plenty of occult mystery thrown in for good measure."
Josie says: "put a thoroughly modern twist on an old concept. The story is grittier than you would expect from the title, and gorier than Lovecraft would have dared, but still retains so much of the atmosphere his stories evoke that it never disappointed."
7/12/17 -- This one escaped my attention a few weeks ago, but is definitely worth a post. The folks at Sci Fi & Scary put together a list of their 10 best Science Fiction and Horror books of the year (so far) a few weeks ago.
RITES OF AZATHOTH made the list, ranking at #3 on GracieCat's chart. Check out the full list by clicking on the pic.
This is actually the second time the nice people at Sci Fi & Scary have featured RITES OF AZATHOTH on their Top 10 Tuesday list.
Back in May, they put together a list of Top 10 books that would make great summer blockbuster movies. They were kind enough to put "ROA" on the list, and I'd like to thank Gracie and Lilyn for the support they've given my little book this year. Click on the second pic (same graphic as above, I know) to view their proposed movie list.
Now if only someone in Hollywood would pick up this thread... :)
7/5/17 -- Over the holiday weekend, Open Book Post ran an interview I did with them recently. It's linked to the pic. We touched on some of my favorite topics: writing, travel and Lovecraft, among other things.
They gave RITES OF AZATHOTH a very nice write up a few weeks ago, which is linked on this page a few posts under this one. So I was more than happy to sit down for a little follow-up discussion. Enjoy!
6/26/17 -- I missed this one a few days ago, so this post represents a little bit of "catch up" work.
A new review of RITES OF AZATHOTH came out recently from the "Girl Who Reads" site, and once again it's a good one. She says: "This book is definitely going to be a treat for fans of HP Lovecraft, and the Cthulhu Mythos. It's woven into the story and explained in a way that non-Lovecraft fans can understand." Plenty more where that came from, so click on the link to read the rest of her review, and her description of the "insanity-inducing eldritch horrors" within.
6/19/17 -- We have a new review today for EYE OF THE STORM, from book blogger Svetlana Libenson.
She gives it 4 stars, and provides a nice breakdown of the elements of the novel. It's linked to the pic, so click and read!
6/12/17 -- Today brings a new review for RITES OF AZATHOTH, this time from Debra Cohen at OpenBookPost.
She calls it a "...wonderfully bloody, interesting, creepy, well written descent into the occult." Check out the full review by clicking on the link embedded in the pic.
6/11/17 -- I sat down for a nice weekend interview Sunday with "Momma Cat" of the "Cat After Dark" review blog. She had some fantastic, unusual questions that prompted a fun little discussion. Check out the link via the pic here.
6/1/17 -- We start off the month of June, and the unofficial start of summer, with a new review of last summer's release, EYE OF THE STORM.
This one comes to us from Lilly's Book World, and she had some great things to say about the novel. The link is set to the pic, as always. I usually include a snippet, and for this one I'm going to rest on one line, because it's just so cool. She says of the book: "it's mind-blowing."
Can't really top that.
5/31/17 -- The folks at The Book Connection are hosting me for an interview today. Technically this is to promote THE EYE OF THE STORM, but we mention RITES OF AZATHOTH as well. Two books, one interview. Check it out, linked to the pic.
5/30/17 -- Another solid review came in over the weekend for RITES OF AZATHOTH, this one from "Crystal's Many Reviewers" who gave it a Four Star write up.
Among their comments: "the mystery, supernatural elements and horror were chilling ... will appeal to those who enjoy a twisted mystery thriller." The full review is linked to the pic.
5/22/17 -- I am very happy to report that the latest review of RITES OF AZATHOTH may be the best one yet. It comes in from Dave Gammon at HorrorNews.net, and as always the full review is linked to the pic here.
He gave the book a really stellar write-up, and a few of the comments are worthy of highlight. Among the best -- "Cavallo presents as a certifiable virtuoso in terror ... creepy as hell ... many a skin-crawling moment ... readers may be prompted to double check the door locks at night or sleep with the lights on for a spell ... you'll be hooked from chapter one."
Check out the whole review. There's plenty more where that came from.
5/19/17 -- Today I have a guest post featured on the "Raving Reads" site.
The topic is an odd one, but something I've been kicking around for quite some time. The article is linked to the pic right here, but a little preview is this: several years ago I was on a bit of a trek, spending a few weeks rambling around the Central Asian steppe with a small group of like-minded travelers. When they learned I was a writer, they asked me to give them a summary of one of my projects. With hours of empty country ahead of us, and nothing to keep us busy but our own words, I did something I had never done before--I told the entire story of a novel out loud. To my great surprise, it was hugely helpful in fixing some nagging issues with the manuscript and it seemed to go over well with everyone else. A real win-win. Anyway, check it out!
5/17/17 -- The latest review for RITES OF AZATHOTH comes in today from Urban Book Reviews, who gives it 4.5 stars.
Among their kind words: "A fast-paced plot with an edge ... suspenseful with every page ... a wicked novel full of twisted scenes." As usual, click on the pic to link to the full review on their site.
5/15/17 -- A review came in today for my previous book, EYE OF THE STORM. This one is from SFReader and I'm very happy to see that they gave it a great recommendation.
The link is embedded with the pic. As ever, a little excerpt before you jump in: "solid characters, solid story, solid writing. It all comes together in a long but engrossing story." They go on to compare the book to two of my personal favorites, Michael Moorcock's "Runestaff" books and Karl Edward Wagner's "Dark Crusade." Those are two of the major influences I had with this book, two of the masters of true dark fantasy. I couldn't imagine better company to be in.
5/2/17 -- I have a new interview out this week, with Mellany Smith at ABOOKTROPOLIS. Mellany wrote a nice review of EYE OF THE STORM a while back, and now that I have a new book out, she sat down with me for a little chat about both of them.
We covered some ground in this one, touching on influences, the writing process and delving into some background, among other things.
Click on the pic for a link to the piece.
4/28/17 -- Today I'm listing links to two active promotions, both offering a chance to win a free copy of RITES OF AZATHOTH. The first is linked to the "Rafflecopter" pic and will run for the next 5 days.
The second is a giveaway listed on Goodreads, which is also running for several days. Just click on the link to go to the homepage and you're on your way to entering.
4/27/17 -- Another new review for RITES OF AZATHOTH came out today, and this one is dynamite too.
It comes from Dave Dubrow at The Slaughtered Bird. His full review is linked to the pic, and it's a great one.
He says "...high intrigue, ancient rituals, disgusting villains, and mind-ripping horrors...catnip for Lovecraft fans. Frank Cavallo delivers the scares."
Also this week, I have a new guest post appearing on the "Long and Short Reviews" site. This is my second appearance on there (and I thank them for inviting me back).
This one discusses some of my influences and some of my favorite lesser-known fantasy writers from years gone by. In addition, they're currently running a promotional giveaway in connection with the post, so click on the pic, read the column and enter to win!
4/23/17 -- They're coming in bunches now!
A day after picking up a stellar write-up from Shane Douglas Keene at The Horror Review, we've got a great new Five Star review of RITES OF AZATHOTH from Mallory Heart at The Haunted Reading Room. As always, the full review is linked to the pic, and in keeping with tradition, I'll drop a little excerpt on you here.
She calls the book "an exceptional and outstanding horror/mystery/thriller which can proudly take its place in the Lovecraftian Mythos. Riveting, intriguing and terrifying."
4/22/17 -- Today we have two updates. The first is a tremendous new review of RITES OF AZATHOTH from Shane Douglas Keene at The Horror Review. The full review is linked to the pic, and is well worth a read.
He says some fantastic things about what he calls a "chilling book," among them: "...undertones of Lovecraft, mixed with Barker and just a splash of Thomas Harris, Rites of Azathoth is a thrill ride of a novel." He also notes: "Cavallo is a master of the mental image...he takes your brain and makes it his canvas."
This book has now been compared to the work of Stephen King, Clive Barker and Thomas Harris (Silence of the Lambs.) I couldn't be happier with that kind of company.
The second update is a new interview, this time with "My Life, My Books, My Escape" who was kind enough enough to feature my previous book EYE OF THE STORM on their site last fall. This time I'm back with a full interview, talking about RITES OF AZATHOTH, Lovecraft and writing in general.
In addition, they're running a rafflecopter promotion on the site, giving away one free copy of the new book, so check out the link by clicking on the pic, read the interview and enter the drawing!
4/7/17 -- A new review came in today for RITES OF AZATHOTH, this time from Donovan's Bookshelf. The full review is linked to the pic. As usual, I like to included a quote here, and this one is no exception.
They say it's " a horror story of madness, the occult and psychological warfare...Its ability to toe the line between a horror and an investigative thriller piece sets (it) apart...and makes it a special recommendation for readers of horror and detective fiction who want vivid reads that straddle the line between both genres."
4/4/17 -- I have a guest post today appearing on the "Scary Reviews" site entitled "Grappling with Lovecraft." It's a brief discussion of why I think we can comfortably move forward with carrying on the Mythos of Lovecraft's creation without endorsing any of his, quite frankly offensive, personal beliefs. I'm obviously a big fan of his work, so maybe I'm biased. But I do think there are a few good reasons why his material is still relevant, even though his opinions were among the worst imaginable, in many respects.
3/24/17 -- Sci Fi and Scary gives us the newest review of RITES OF AZATHOTH, linked to the pic.
As always, let me offer a few snippets for you:
"Oh Cthulhu there was so much about this book that I loved .... Frank Cavallo has an amazing talent for setting a scene vividly and clearly ... I really enjoyed it. I would recommend it ... I could see the battle. And it was glorious."
Also, a quick note about another recent interview. I had the chance to sit down with Jonuel Negron recently, who posted the interview on his site last week (I happened to be out of town, so I'm just updating now.)
It's a brief discussion, but worth a look, if you click on the pic.
3/7/17 -- The latest review for RITES OF AZATHOTH went up last night. This one is from the Best Thrillers site.
Full review is linked to the pic, as always.
They had some very nice things to say about the book, calling it "A masterful blend of crime and horror ... readers will find themselves in the midst of dark rituals and a world of horror and fear."
In other words, exactly as advertised.
To recap, the first four reviews all had great things to say. Among the highlights so far:
"...reminiscent of Stephen King"
-- Red City Review
"...R-rated crime fiction that takes a sudden, jarring turn into the otherworldly ... makes the supernatural stuff stand out in an explosive, stunning way."
"A masterful blend of crime and horror."
"...a special recommendation .... readers will find more than enough to keep them awake at night."
--Midwest Book Review
2/21/17 -- A few reviews have come in for RITES OF AZATHOTH over the last few days. All of them have been great, including one from a Lovecraft "superfan" who really enjoyed the book as well as from Joe Crowe at Revolution Sci-fi who said he'd like to see 12 more books like this one. I'll post some links in the days to come.
The one linked to this post though, from Red City Review is the one I'd like to highlight.
The whole review is embedded with the pic, but this one quote stands out from the entire thing: they said: "Rites of Azathoth is reminiscent of Stephen King..."
If you happen to be keeping track, this is the second time in the last few months that one of my books has been compared to the "King of Castle Rock." Recently, the review site "Best Thrillers" said EYE OF THE STORM stacked up well with his novel "11/22/63". So don't take my word for it. Two different reviewers just read my books and thought of Stephen King. You want to see if they're right? Go out and buy one, then judge for yourself.
Also today, we've got a new review of "Eye of the Storm" from the GIN BOOK CLUB, linked to the photo of the book cover (because I couldn't manage to screen grab their logo...sorry)
In any event, they seemed to like it.
A sample of their comments: "This story had so much going on and shifted your expectations all the time. It blends sci-fi and fantasy beautifully with magic, technology, time travel, cyborgs and aliens all rubbing shoulders in a complex universe."
Their bottom line: "a joyride of a read."
2/17/17 -- Nice feature today on Decay Mag, an online horror and dark fiction magazine, promoting RITES OF AZATHOTH. They gave it a good little plug, plus the spot has a built in link to the trailer, which is a cool bit of multimedia linkage. Click on the link to check it out, and big thanks to Stacy Cox for the write-up.
2/13/17 -- The Goodreads giveaway for RITES OF AZATHOTH closed this weekend, after drawing over 500 entries. Five winners were taken from that pool. To those folks I say: Congratulations, and feel free to hit me up with your comments when you read it. Posting a review on Amazon or Goodreads is one of the best ways to help boost the profile of an indie author, so if you happen to like what one of us is doing, taking a few minutes to memorialize that goes a long way to keeping guys like me afloat in this business.
To those who entered but did not win, two things: first, keep your eyes peeled for more promotions in the days and weeks to come. Second, if you were interested enough to enter the giveaway, but your number didn't come up, it's only $3.99 on kindle. Plunk down a few bucks and give it a shot. And don't take my word for it, the first customer review on amazon just came in. It was from "Lovecraft superfan" Vulpine of Innsmouth (who runs a mythos-themed blog, in case you wanted to check his bona fides.) He gave it a solid recommendation. What better endorsement for a Cthulhu mythos thriller could there be than one from a fan who lives and breathes the stuff?
Lastly for today, I want to give a shout out to my fans in South Africa. A few hundred of you swarmed my facebook page over the weekend, and I'm so pleased to hear from all of you. I was in the RSA on safari about 18 months ago and I loved it. Great people, great wine and some of the most beautiful countryside anywhere on Earth. The sales numbers for "Azathoth" spiked over the last few days too, so I know some of you put your Rand down to get a copy of the novel. Just want to say "thanks" and I love to hear from you folks!
2/1/17 -- The first day of February brings a really cool interview with "That Bookshelf Bitch." Don't let the name fool you, she asked a bunch of interesting, insightful questions that got me talking. We covered everything from old time pulp fiction to multiverse theories in cosmology, and how the two can intersect in fiction. As always, click on the pic for the link. It's a fun spot.
1/30/17 -- I've got a guest column today on the "LONG AND SHORT REVIEWS" site. It's a short advice post of sorts, suggesting that it's worthwhile to read a little bad fiction along with the good stuff -- to see my reasons for that, click on the pic to go directly to the link.
1/27/17 -- Today is the day!
RITES OF AZATHOTH hits stores now.
Click on the link to go directly to Amazon to order your copy.
400 pages of Murderous Mythos Madness!!
Check back here over the coming days and weeks and be sure to visit me on Facebook and Twitter for some giveaways and contests as we roll out this new occult thriller.
1/20/17 -- Today I'm being interviewed on the "Pulp and Mystery Shelf" as a part of their regular feature, the Friday Sci-Fi and Fantasy spotlight.
It's a quick read, a light conversation that touches on influences, genre fiction in general and for readers new to my stuff, a little bit of background on some of my other material.
1/10/17 -- There's a lot going on today, on two fronts. First, we've got two new reviews on EYE OF THE STORM.
The first is from "Crystal's Many Reviewers" and is linked to the pic. They said "This was right up my alley! The action and adventure, new world, and a unique set of circumstances that kept me on my toes.
"The second one comes from "Books, Vertigo and Tea" which is also linked to its own pic here. They say "to be honest, it was simply downright fun! Throw this on the big screen and hand me some popcorn please!"
Our third piece of news today is on the new book RITES OF AZATHOTH.
That's slated for release at the very end of this month, but if you're an iTunes user, you don't have to wait quite that long. You can download a HUGE free preview right now.
You can literally get the first 100 pages of this book absolutely free right now. It's linked to the pic, so go ahead. Get reading!
1/4/17 -- The latest review of EYE OF THE STORM comes from BOOKTICA, a book review blog out of India, run by Kalyan Panja.
I'm not going to gush, but I'll just say he really liked it. You can read the review for yourself by clicking on the pic.
He says: "Eye of the Storm by Frank Cavallo is a story with a breathtaking pace that takes the reader through a fascinating, hypnotic and quite original storyline. The novel is not without twists and mysterious events that keep the suspense high until the end, and is gorgeous with an unexpected ending. This is a timeless classic for all ages."
1/3/17 -- Happy New Year!
Yesterday I was happy to be featured for the 4th time on LocGlin's site "Books and Banter" -- this time for a full interview.
The topics ranged far and wide, from coffee and power walking to future projects and handling writer's block. The link is embedded in the
pic so just click to read.
12/21/16 -- I'm very happy to post this one today. "Eye of the Storm" picked up a dynamite review yesterday from "Best Thrillers." It's linked to the pic.
For me, the coolest part of it is that they mention my book in the same breath as Stephen King's time travel novel "11/22/63." If you write horror or fantasy, getting a nod in that direction is the thing you always hope will happen.
By the way, they also gave it a Five Star rating.
12/16/16 -- Had a really fun interview today with Lilyn at the "SCI FI & SCARY" site. She featured me on her "Indie Zone" spotlight for a wide-ranging conversation about writing fantasy, HP Lovecraft, dreams, you name it.
She gave me one of the best sets of questions I've seen since I've been doing this. Really insightful and probing. She also knew a thing or two about my previous books. I can tell you, from an author's perspective, that means so much when you're sitting down with someone for an interview. It shows they care about what they're doing, as well as what you're doing. I'd like to thank her for taking the time and for giving me a great interview.
12/14/16 -- I want to thank the guys at the ESO Network AKA "Earth Station One" for hosting me on their podcast this week. I spent about a half hour fielding questions from them, including a stint on the "Geek Seat" answering a series of queries meant to test my Geek Quotient -- all off the cuff, by the way. I did not see the questions in advance. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed the interview.
If you'd like to give it a listen, click on the pic for a link to the podcast. My interview segment starts at about the 22 minute mark.
12/9/16 -- I missed this yesterday, but better late than never...
LocGlin is hosting me for the second time with a guest spot on her blog "Books and Banter" a discussion site for genre fiction of all types.
Today's spot is a re-post of an earlier column, in which I outline some of the unusual steps I took to get as close as
possible in the real world to the feeling of being lost in a primeval land of monster-haunted deserts, dinosaurs and fierce mounted warriors.
(Hint: it's a very long plane ride to Mongolia)
As always, click on the pic for the link.
12/8/16 -- Today we've got the full cover reveal for next year's "Rites of Azathoth" -- 400 pages of "murderous mythos mayhem" as it's been called.
It's available for pre-order now, exclusively on the Necro site. Click on the cover pic to go directly to the order page.
I'll be posting some excerpts and other teasers in the days and weeks to come. Until then, enjoy Erik Wilson's killer artwork and Dave Barnett's super cool layout. Great job by the both of them.
12/4/16 -- Today I have an article featured on the "Mythic Scribes" site, a spot for discussion of all things related to fantasy writing.
My contribution goes back to my days writing for the Warhammer people, running through the pros and the cons of doing what's called "work for hire" -- in other words, writing material for a game universe or some pre-existing property like Star Trek or Star Wars. Click on the pic to view the link.
11/10/16 -- The title sheets for the limited edition hardcovers of RITES OF AZATHOTH are in and ready for signing.
11/10/16 (II) -- I put this on my facebook feed, but I didn't get a chance to post it here yesterday. EYE OF THE STORM was featured along with a guest post on "Books and Banter" yesterday, the second of four appearances I'm making on that site this fall/winter.
The link is embedded in the pic, so click on it and away you go....
11/7/16 (II) -- I also want to thank the folks over at Fantasia Reviews, whose very cool review of "Eye of the Storm" was posted recently. They were kind enough to add me to their "Writer's We Love" group on Twitter the other day, and that's the kind of thing that just makes a writer feel great. So thank you to Fantasia Reviews!
11/7/16 -- Today's review comes in from Donovan's Literary, which has "Eye of the Storm" featured on their "Recommended Reading List" for November 2016.
As always, click on the pic for the link.
A highlight: "This
alternate universe is satisfyingly different from most fantasy creations, blending paranormal and fantasy worlds with a deft attention to creating an action-packed story that is hard to predict
and replete with fresh, original scenarios. "
11/3/16 -- Another new review came in today, this time from Fantasia Reviews. As always, the full review is accessible by clicking on the link embedded in the pic...in this case of the magical volume springing open.
I have to say, I loved this review. Big thanks to Fantasia for their thoughts. They got the basic thrust of the thing, which I've been discussing here for the last few days, but they also added a note that I just have to show here.
"To say Mister Cavallo’s story is original may be an understatement....He has built a vibrant world, full of mystery and wonder, with things both familiar and foreign and created something that is fun to read. Because of this, the story takes some unexpected twists and turns, which left us impressed and yearning for more."
That first part is the thing that really made me happy. With the volume of material out there these days, and the saturation from movies, TV, books, video games etc, it's so hard to pull off something that people will truly find original. I was trying to walk a fine line with "Eye of the Storm" -- attempting to tell a fun adventure tale, without being weighed down by too much serious baggage, while at the same time still doing my best not to just repeat what everyone else had already done, to build a world that was unique enough to stand out. I'm very pleased that the folks at Fantasia Reviews think that I succeeded.
11/3/16 -- Promotional spot today featured on Writers and Authors site. Click on the pic to take you to the link!
11/2/16 -- Today I'd like to thank Bob Milne at "Beauty in Ruins" for giving a quick nod to "Eye of the Storm" on his site. If you'd like to check out his page, click on the link embedded with the pic. I don't usually do this, but because it is a brief review, I've added the entire text here. Still worth taking a gander at the full site, as it has plenty of links and reviews to lots of great books.
Just as a note on this one, I want to take a moment to hit two points Bob makes. The first is that I love when a reader (especially a reviewer, of course) "gets it." What I mean by that is, it's a great feeling as an author to put something out there and have it received in exactly the spirit with which it was offered. In this case, that's an attempt to take a reader away on a fun-filled, action-packed adventure through an old time pulp fiction setting--and nothing more. Fantasy fiction used to be all about this, but it seems to me that it rarely is anymore. These days you're much more likely to find writers making every effort to tackle important issues or desperate to be taken seriously even when working in the fantasy genre. "Eye of the Storm" isn't about that. It's a romp. It's a throwback. It's intended to be faced-paced and fun.
I'll say this now, because the book has been out a few months and reviews are beginning to come to a decent consensus on this point (happily so.) The book is really not meant to be anything more than what Bob takes it for below. From a PR perspective, or a publisher's marketing strategy, I realize no one is likely to go out and say "hey, don't take this thing too seriously" but that actually is the point. I did my best in the release materials to hit every code word for this I could, likening it to Edgar Rice Burroughs, or Karl Edward Wagner's work. All that was really meant to convey was that this book is trying to do nothing much more than entertain you, the way old pulp fiction used to, the way I was taken on a fun ride with Moorcock's Elric series or Wagner's Kane books. As a kid I loved nothing more than disappearing for a few minutes on a Saturday morning into the world of Thundarr or Flash Gordon or Blackstar, worlds where magic and "super science" blended into one and swords & dragons ruled the day.
I mostly write dark, often gory, horror and dark fantasy--sometimes with a fairly serious bent. "Eye of the Storm" isn't that. It's not my usual book. It's my 400 page love letter to the work I grew up watching and reading and loving. That's the spirit in which it is offered, and I love it when it's taken in exactly that way. Hence, Bob's review:
Damn, but this was a whole lot of pulp, sci-fi, adventure fun. The premise sounds silly, I know, but stick with me on this. Basically, you have a
scientist and a solider transported to a prehistoric world full of prehistoric wizards and warrior queens, with a leper slave their only guide, who must quest for the legendary treasure that will
take them home.
It's a fast pace adventure with just enough cheese to keep it fun, and even though we know dinosaurs and Neanderthals didn't coexist, we damn well wish they did.
My last point (I said there would be two) -- is just a point of clarification, because this is my site and I get the last word here. I'm as well aware as anyone that dinosaurs and Neanderthals are separated by some 65 million years. I actually worked very hard to infuse a fair amount of legitimate science-fact into the book in order to plausibly set the stage for the imaginary leaps I'm taking. Without giving too much away, the premise of the book is that someone with enormously advanced technology, that enabled them to travel through time and to manipulate portals between multiple universes, has created a pocket dimension where they've gathered up creatures from every era of Earth's history (as well as other worlds) and deposited them all in one place, like some cosmic menagerie. So I damn well wish dinos and cavemen co-existed myself, and that's why I constructed a logically consistent, sensible, story-based explanation for how they could. If you're reading this and you haven't done so already, hopefully you'll take the same leap Bob did and dive into that world for a little fantastical, un-Earthly adventure of your own.
11/1/16 (part II) -- Regrettably, I missed this when it was first posted, so I'm making amends here today. My Life, My Books, My Escape featured me and "Eye of the Storm" in their Author Spotlight in October. Click on the winking pic to get a link to their page.
11/1/16 -- The Goodreads giveaway for EYE OF THE STORM ended at midnight on Halloween. I'd like to thank the roughly 400 people who entered and I'd also like to congratulate the winners, Ramona Cole and Barbara Karl. Your books will be on the way by the end of the week. Happy reading to you both, and thank you for entering!
10/31/16 -- A very Happy Halloween to all!
Today, as promised, I'm dropping a sneak peak at the cover art for my upcoming occult-noir RITES OF AZATHOTH. The book's not out until next year, but there will be plenty of previews to come, including some excerpts and possibly a few free copies raffled off ahead of the February 2017 release date. Until then, feast your eyes on the artistic brilliance of Erik Wilson, whose talented hand brought forth this blood-red vision of darkness and madness.
EYE OF THE STORM book giveaway is live on Goodreads. If you don't have a copy, now is a great opportunity to enter for a chance to win. Click on the widget below and you're on your way.
10/24/16 -- Brief announcement: one week from today, on Halloween, I will be debuting a sneak peak at the cover art for my upcoming horror-thriller RITES OF AZATHOTH which will be released next year (February 2017) from Necro Publications. Stay tuned!
10/23/16 -- Today my post is being featured on SFFWorld, one of the best sites for Science fiction, Fantasy and Horror. As I mentioned last week, this one is a love letter to the old, neglected Sword & Planet genre, as well as a little bit of a light-hearted challenge to other authors out there to embrace this mostly-forgotten kind of story. As always, click on the pic to open the link.
10/21/16 -- This is a few days late, because it's been a busier week than usual. But here, as promised, is the link to my guest column on Dark Matter Zine from earlier this week. It's called "Don't be Afraid of Tropes" which is my little gripe about the snarky obsession among pop culture lovers to point out every recurring theme in fiction. I think that labeling every common thread and therefore branding them as somehow "tired and trite" does a disservice to fiction as a whole. Writers bend over backwards in a fanatical effort to avoid or subvert these things, when it might be preferable to simply embrace them--treat them as the scaffolding around which you build stories about compelling characters, rather than as narrative cliches to be avoided at all costs. For example, if you're going to write an epic fantasy there's probably going to be a wizard, and that wizard is probably going to be wise and either kind or kooky, and have a) a long beard b) a long robe and/or c) some kind of staff. Instead of spending half of your time trying to figure out a way to re-invent all of that, just live with it. Don't go crazy trying to change the superficial elements, work on writing a wizard with depth and humanity that readers will connect with and care about. Then no one, not even the snarky hipsters who run trope-counting websites, will care that he also has a long beard.
10/15/16 -- A good weekend to all. Just a few notes today about some upcoming appearances.
On Monday 10/17 I've got a column/guest post being featured on DARK MATTER ZINE, a cool site focused on the shadowy side of speculative fiction. I'll be discussing why I've soured on the notion of subverting or avoiding tropes in fiction, and why embracing them might be the better approach.
Then, the following week, on Sunday 10/23, another column of mine will be appearing on SFFWorld (which is short for Sci-Fi Fantasy World, if you're not familiar.) That one is a bit of a love letter to one of my favorite genres, Sword & Planet, which has been cast aside in the last few years/decades. In my humble opinion, the time may be right for a revival. Putting my money where my mouth is--my most recent book EYE OF THE STORM is an attempt to do just that, but on SFFWorld, I'll be reaching out to my fellow authors and readers alike to join me in giving this long-neglected genre a fresh look.
Finally, in slightly longer range plans, I'll be doing a triple-guest appearance on Books and Banter over the coming months. EYE OF THE STORM was featured there earlier this week, and they've asked me to make some follow up visits, which I'm more than happy to do. The first spot appears Wednesday, November 9th and the second on Thursday December 8th. Then, to ring in the New Year, they'll be interviewing me on January 2nd. They've got some great questions, and a few out-of-the-box topics will be covered. Should be lots of fun.
10/12/16 -- Today the good folks at THE SCARY REVIEW have been kind enough to host me for a guest post and a day-long feature for EYE OF THE STORM.
It includes an excerpt from the book, so if you haven't checked it out yet, here's your chance to get a sneak peak. Click on the pic for a
9/22/16 -- A new review came out today, this one from "Beavis the Bookhead." That's his pic there on the left, click on it to link to the review.
As always, a few highlights:
"The pacing is great, with barely a moment's breath between scenes ... The story motors along towards an epic conclusion between good and evil and for quite a big book, the pages fly by. ‘Eye of the Storm’ doesn’t suffer the same fate as many other fantasy reads by getting swamped in political chit chat. It is a good old fashioned quest style fantasy tale with enough blood and guts to satisfy horror fans too. Good fun!"
9/21/16 -- Another review came in today, this one from Red City Review. As always, click on the pic to get the link.
A few highlights:
"Cavallo spins a fast paced tale in his latest read...with a unique cast and setting...a flurry of twists and turns...quite a page turner, Eye of the Storm is bound to be a favorite among fantasy enthusiasts."
9/18/16 -- A few new updates since August.
First order of business is to give a shout out and a thanks to Anne Barwell over at Drops of Ink for hosting me on her Live Journal this past week, to promote "Eye of the Storm."
Click on the link to view the post
Second, I'm happy to report the first official review of the new book is in, and its a Five Star job.
If you've followed my writing at all, you might recall my slight aversion to the current trend of calling customer opinions "reviews." This is a long-standing issue of mine, and one that I'm fairly certain I'm going to end up on the losing end of one day. To recap briefly (because it's relevant to the post) -- there used to be a clear, distinct difference between readers' reviews and professional reviews. The former were held to no standard whatsoever, being merely an expression of a single reader's opinion, the later were published by places of some repute, employing reviewers with some qualifications.
Why does that matter? Because anyone can pick up a book, scan through it and decide whether they like it or not, based on anything whatsoever. That makes it an opinion, not a review, even if it purports to be one. A true review was, and remains, one in which attention is given to the dictates and conventions of a particular genre, in which the reviewer has either training or experience enough to understand narrative and character, to appreciate risks taken by writers and to be able to give some sense of an accurate measure of quality, taken as a work of art and in context with other works in a similar vein.
So when I say that "Eye of the Storm" got its first official review, I'm talking about a review from a reputable site, in this case Reader's
Favorite, which as I mentioned, gave it Five Stars.
Click on the pic for the review.
8/26/16 -- An Apology and a Promise
I screwed up. I want to get that out of the way right off the top.
It's embarrassing and I wish it hadn't happened, but the only thing worse than making a huge mistake is not owning up to it. From there, the only thing you can do is to try to make amends. Here's the scoop: the copies of "Eye of the Storm" that went out over the last 9 days were wrong. Seriously wrong.
What I mean by that is, they were riddled with errors, typos, misspelled or missing words, etc. That's my fault. 100% mine.
The short explanation is this: in the digital age everything is done electronically, and that includes the process of reviewing and approving the editor's "galleys" before printing. If you don't know what a galley is, no worries, it's just a publisher's term for the manuscript in its proposed form, all formatted and set up to go the printer. These days that's nothing more than a .pdf file with artwork. Those are now typically emailed back and forth, and like all electronic files, you name them, save them and then email them back. For "Eye" I received several galleys during the editing process, going back and forth to iron out the final edit. Then I messed up--royally.
At the very end of the process, I got my files mixed up and I sent back the non-edited version, instead of the correct one, which then went to the printer. I only realized it myself when I got my author copies delivered a few days ago, and while browsing the pages, discovered to my horror that they were full of editing mistakes.
So if you bought or received a review copy in the last week or two, and you looked at it and said "hey, this thing is sloppy and full of mistakes!" you probably weren't alone, and you certainly weren't wrong. Please allow me to apologize to you for that. The correct version has now been re-submitted and processed, which is the upside of the digital age, I suppose. Mistakes are much easier to make, but also easier to fix. All copies printed or downloaded as ebooks from here on out (as of last night, actually) are now in the correct form.
Finally, here is my attempt to make amends. If you got one of these early release "bad" copies, I will replace it with a new one, entirely at my own expense. All you have to do is drop it in the mail with a return address and I will send you a new copy, plus I'll reimburse you the cost of the postage to send back your old one.
Email me at email@example.com and I will send you my snail mail address. Then, just bundle up the old one and mail it, I'll send you a new one along with a check for the shipping costs, and I'll pay for the shipping on the new one too, of course. It won't cost you a thing, in the end.
This goes for anyone who got a bad copy. If you're a reviewer and my PR people sent you one--send it back to me. If you won a copy on amazon (and you're coming here to check out the schmuck who wrote this error-filled book you got) -- send it back to me. And by all means, if you paid for one and you got a bad one, please--send it back to me and tell me.
If you bought it via kindle, email me and let me know. I'll figure out a way to get you a new ebook at no cost.
If you're wondering, there is a surefire way to tell if you got a first run, "bad" copy. Every chapter heading and section heading is done in Old English script, just like the title page. The corrected version still uses Old English font for the title, but not for anything else. So chapter headings are all in a standard Arial font in the good copies. If everything is in Old English, then you got a book full of typos. Let me send you a good one. Like I said, it was my bad, and all I can do now is apologize and try to make amends.
8/16/16 -- Today's post is a bit of a remedial measure. I neglected to include this link with the weekend's list of "appearances" on the Virtual Book Tour, so here it is, stop # 3 on the tour as we continue to take "Eye of the Storm" on the virtual road.
8/15/16 -- Today the virtual book tour continues with a stop at "Sapphyria's Book Review" where I talk a little about how I wrote "Eye of the Storm" -- where I went, who I met there and why I did it. I touch on the importance (for me anyway) of getting out there, of seeing and feeling and touching the world you're writing about--of experiencing things firsthand and why that means so much to the writing process.
Just a hint: where do you go when you're trying to write a fantasy novel about barbarian warriors galloping across vast deserts and rolling steppes? For me the answer was obvious: you go to Mongolia, and that's what today's blog post is all about. Check it out, as always, click the pic for a link.
8/12/16 -- As the roll-out of "Eye of the Storm" gets into full swing, there are a few things going on today. First off, my first stop on the "Virtual Book Tour" lands me as the featured guest on "The Antrim Cycle" a book blog focused on fantasy and romance fiction (three guesses which one I'm there for.) Click on the pic for a link to my feature.
Next up, as promised, the trade paperback for the new book went on sale yesterday. It's a larger one than my previous novels, weighing in at just over 400 pages, but if you're anything like me there's nothing quite the same as the feel of an actual book in your hands. Nothing against Kindles or e-books of course, whatever you're comfortable with is fine by me. But for anyone who still has the same old school preferences as me, the paperback is out and ready to land on your doorstep. Free shipping for Amazon Prime members. Just click on the pic for a link.
Finally, I'm very happy to announce that the first promotional giveaway for this title (run through Amazon) went great. To those of you who won a free copy--Congratulations again--and to anyone who entered and didn't win this time, keep on the watch, because there will be another one soon.
We put up 5 books with a cap of 50 entrants, just looking to build some buzz and get early copies into people's hands quickly. Well, it went quickly indeed. I'm happy to say we reached the maximum number of entrants in less than 12 hours. Pretty cool for a little indie author trying to make some noise.
So thanks to everyone that entered, I really appreciate the interest!
8/10/16 -- Today marks the first step of the roll out for my latest novel "Eye of the Storm" from Ravenswood Publishing. I say the first step because today it's going on sale in Kindle version. Over the next week, it will be released in trade paperback. Click on the pic for a link to amazon where the e-book is available as
Eye of the Storm is my foray into the "lost world" tales of old, inspired by works like the Barsoom and Pellucidar books by Burroughs and Mike Grell's Warlord series.
It tells the story of two adventurers from our world who find themselves hurled through a rift in space-time, marooning them on another planet. They must fight to survive in this savage place, populated by men and beasts from every age of history--and from other, alien worlds. Their only chance to return home lies in tracking down a legendary treasure, said to be able to open a gateway between dimensions. But to get it, they'll have to battle their way across a land of warring kingdoms, where black magic is real and nothing is quite as it seems.
5/9/16 - Even though my last novel was released in 2013, it's still garnering reviews. Today it was the featured selection on Cover2Cover, a great review site for fantasy and thrillers. I'd like to thank them for their kind words, which you can read in their entirety by clicking on the pic to the right.
A quick sample: "If you like Weird West tales with a supernatural twist, anti-heroes and a story that turns out to be more than you expected, you're going to love The Hand of Osiris."
7/21/15 -- I am pleased to announce that my next novel "The Eye of the Storm" will be released by Ravenswood
Publishing. There is no official date yet, but it will be slated for 2016.
Ravenswood is a great example of an Indie house that seeks to find and promote unusual or eccentric works in a
variety of genres. If you want to check out their site, you can click on the pic to the left to link to their page (which of course has some of my information there as well.)
I will be posting more info about the new book as the process of development rolls on.
7/8/15 - Hard to believe an entire year has gone by without any updates. That doesn't mean nothing has happened, it
just means I don't always get back to blogging as often as I should.
As the summer stretches on however, I do expect that there will be some news shortly. So keep your eye on this space,
things will be happening again soon!
5/30/14 -- As promised yesterday, the summer 2014 GoodReads giveaway for "The Hand of Osiris" went live this morning. This time I'm keeping the entry "widget" at the top of the News & Updates Screen so that anyone who lands on this page sees it first, instead of having to scroll down to look for it.
Enter to win your free copy today!
5/29/14 -- As the summer reading season is now upon us again, and I'm not releasing anything new this year, Necro Publications and I have decided to set up a new promotional giveaway on GoodReads. Very similar to last time, if you do not have The Hand of Osiris yet and you'd like to enter to possibly win a free copy, check back here tomorrow for a link or check in on GoodReads. The promotion goes live tomorrow and will run up to the Fourth of July weekend, just in time for beach season.
4/21/14 -- I recently did an interview with Evelyn Rainey who is the Sci Fi/Fantasy book editor at Bella Online. We covered a variety of topics, from the writing life, to the spiritual side of sci fi and fantasy and we even discussed what my "dream cast" would be if someone ever got the idea to make "The Hand of Osiris" into a movie. Lots of fun, all around. Check it out and as always, feel free to drop me a line!
3/16/14 -- "The Hand of Osiris" continues to rack up some very good reviews. On Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Goodreads it's picked up several great write-ups in the last month.
A few examples:
9 levels says: "The story is great. It has a sense of mystery and adventure. The shootouts are full of blood and bone."
Mcpat says: "I started reading and couldn't stop."
At B&N a reader posts: "Not for the squeamish, but definitely worth a read if you're looking for a different take on a western."
Over at goodreads we have R. Parrott who says: "The characters draw you in and the vivid story keeps you engaged."
I say "keep 'em coming, folks." It's always great to hear from people, and it's especially nice when they enjoy your work.
2/6/14 -- This is the first new post in almost two months, and quite frankly there hasn't been much to post about lately. Most of what writers do is not post-worthy (in my humble opinion) and when you're more or less between projects, as I am now, there can be long periods where it appears that nothing is happening. My last book came out about six months ago, so the hoopla and the promotion has died down now (at least for the moment) and in the meantime, I've been hammering away at some new stuff.
In the absence of much else going on then, and in the interest of keeping things updated when anything does happen, I''d lke to share a very kind review that "Osiris" got on amazon the other day. Posted by a user called Zatoichi 007, it reads as follows:
"The Hand of Osiris" by Frank Cavallo is a towering feat of imagination. Rarely have I read a book that I had less of an idea of where the plot was heading than I did with this one. What starts out as a straight up western veers heavily into supernatural territory before becoming downright existential. However, it never loses sight of a tight narrative and drive, coupled with a steady pace of action and suspense. The character of Mr. Osiris is genuinely inspired, yet is not the scariest villain in the book. Overall, I recommend this to any fan of weird western fiction, in spite of some occasionally sloppy editing. Cavallo has a strong command of language and his descriptive powers are first-rate. A better editing job would be an improvement, but the enjoyment is not adversely affected in its current form"
Obviously, I did not edit the thing, so complaints in that department are above my pay grade -- although it obviously irritates me a bit. But overall, a cool enough review to merit a post. Thanks, Zatoichi!
12/14/13 -- Following her very kind review of "The Hand of Osiris" last month, the Crowgrrl asked me if I would do an interview with her. Of course, it was my pleasure to sit down and answer her questions. She covered quite a lot of ground: background on this novel, other work out there, future projects, etc. So click on the pic to check it out, it just went up today.
11/25/13 -- A new review for "The Hand of Osiris" posted today over at the Crowgrrl's Entertainment Source. If you have never visited that site, do yourself a favor and check it out ... and not just for me, it's a fantastic resource for all things dark and creepy. The driving force behind it is Athena Schaffer, the Crowgrrl of the title, a true aficionado of horror if ever there was one. Her site has it all: movies, TV, music--and of course, books.
If you are already familiar with it, then I'm only telling you what you already know.
The Crowgrrl wrote up a very nice review of my first novel a few years ago, and I have been a fan of hers ever since. For the last release we did a brief interview (which is still posted here under "The Lucifer Messiah" banner) and she has asked me to do so again. So keep checking back, as there should be a new interview hitting the net within the next few weeks.
She says of the new book "...this story was extremely chilling!"
As always, click on the pic for the link!
11/9/13 -- The latest review of "The Hand of Osiris" comes from True Review's editor in chief, Andrew Andrews, who says of it "...the fun is in the frontier grittiness...lots of harrowing descriptions of an evil west -- and the morally and spiritually empty places there."
I'd say he nailed it. That's exactly what I was shooting for.
Check it out by clicking on the pic to the right.
11/6/13 -- Even though the book is not brand new, the book trailer idea is--at least for me. So in that spirit, and because it's never too late to make a first impression, I now have a book trailer for my my first novel, the 2006 Medallion Press release "The Lucifer Messiah."
Just like the other one, it can be viewed on youtube, my amazon author page or goodreads. Or right here...
11/3/13 -- Just released today -- my first Book Trailer!
These things have been a point of contention in the publishing community for several years now, with some pushing hard for every new release to get the "cinematic" treatment we've all come to expect from movie trailers. Others question whether these things really do help to drive up sales numbers, or even if the medium itself is "wrong" for the promotion of a literary work.
For my money, I'm obviously willing to try it. If nothing else, these things are just fun.
So check it out -- the new book trailer for "The Hand of Osiris."
10/29/13 -- Horror Novel Reviews posted a very nice review of "The Hand of Osiris" yesterday. They had some great things to say about the book, and I'm really thrilled with their take on it.
A snippet (click on the pic to read the entire review):
"Frank Cavallo has created an excellent story that I believe has the potential to become a classic. The Hand of Osiris is a western set in the year 1879 and is full of adventure, horror and a fair amount of bizarre characters. The twists and turns will have you flipping the pages, keeping you wondering precisely where we’re headed and how the tale will eventually conclude. The story grips, and doesn’t let go."
10/21/13 -- The Black Library is running a promotion today for their entire line of Gotrek & Felix material (if you are on their email list, like me, you got a note in your box this morning.) Some of the stuff is packaged together in bundles, but everything can still be purchased separately -- as always either in good, old fashioned print or by direct download.
Two of the titles listed are authored (all or in part) by yours truly. So if you have not yet taken a look at the Warhammer work I've been promoting here, now's your chance. Click on the pic for a link to the promotion at blacklibrary.com.
10/7/13 -- The book giveaway for "The Hand of Osiris" ended this weekend, after attracting some 570-plus entrants.
The lucky winners are: Juanita Harman of Billings, Montana. Teresa Archer of Aberdeen, Washington. Rachel Parrott of Arlene, Oklahoma. Marisa Young of Gaithersburg, Maryland and Denise Cosme of the Bronx, NY.
Congratulations to you winners and thank you to everyone who entered.
One last note: I am currently about 2000 miles from home, dealing with a family issue. I expect to be back at my desk by week's end. As a result, the shipment of our winning books will not take place until the weekend. My apologies for the delay, but this trip was completely unexpected and I had no time to prepare.
Again, thanks to everyone who entered and big congratulations to you winners!
10/4/13 -- Second post of the day ...
The GoodReads giveaway contest for "The Hand of Osiris" ends tomorrow. I'm pleased to see that over 300 people have entered thus far (and there's still plenty of time to put your name in.)
Once again, good luck to all of you who entered. The winners will be announced this weekend on both the GoodReads site and right here on this blog. And if you miss out this time, stay tuned -- there may be future contests...
10/4/13 -- I love e-zines, as anyone who has browsed this site can tell. I've contributed to a half dozen of them over the last few years, and I love to check them out. They're great places to find new writers, and to sample stories you might never have had the chance to see otherwise. Plus, most of them are totally free online.
In that spirit, I'm putting in a plug today for one of my favorite of the lot -- the "Lovecraft eZine" which is dedicated to -- wait for it -- works inspired by and involving the mythos of, a certain New England based early 20th century writer you might have heard of.
9/27/13 -- Two weeks in and the Goodreads book giveaway has attracted some real interest, about 137 requests at last count, and sure to continue growing. Hopefully it lives up to the hype. Feedback so far has been pretty good.
I'd love to give one to everyone who asks, of course. But that would annoy my publisher and my agent, and let's be honest, who wouldn't like to make at least a little money off of the hard work that goes into this business? I just hope that some of the folks who don't happen to get lucky in the drawing go out and grab a copy (or download, whichever.) And if you do, please let me know what you think.
One of the great things about a site like that is the direct access to authors and their work. I'm very open to discussing things with folks, and I'm always around for a chat. Just hit me up with a question or a comment, and I'll do my best to get back to you ASAP.
And once again, to all who entered the contest -- thank you, and the very best of luck!
9/13/13 -- As today is Friday the 13th, a "holy day of obligation" for all horror writers, if ever there was one -- I have posted a promotional giveaway on Good reads. If you don't have the new book, and you're the gambling type (...and you're willing to wait a few weeks) you can enter by clicking on the widget below. 5 copies will be given away to randomly selected good reads members on October 6th.
If you're not already on the site, this is also a great opportunity to start your own good reads page. You can connect with other people out there who read the same stuff as you, you can follow your favorite writers and get plenty of recommendations for new authors and books to add to your list.
Good luck to everyone who enters. As of this post, 34 people have signed on in less than 12 hours, so it's getting some
traffic. Don't miss out, sign up today!
8/28/13 (PT 2) -- There's a very cool story that popped up on Slate.com's The Vault today about H.P. Lovecraft entitled "Seeds of Lovecraft's Mountains of Madness in his Terrifying, Tightly-Packed Notes." It contains a nice pic of the back of an envelope that the writer used to sketch out some details of his monstrous creations, along with his scribbled, hand-written notes.
Click on the brooding image of the author to link to the site.
8/28/13 -- As I've posted recently about reviews for both of the Warhammer books I have out right now, I thought I'd just mention the first review that has come back for "The Hand of Osiris." It's not a professional publication review, but since so much of what we do today is "crowd sourced" I suppose book reviews are not much different. Besides, for better or for worse, readers posting reviews on sites like Amazon, B&N or Goodreads lets fans talk directly to fans.
So with that in mind, a reviewer on Amazon named Tara posted her thoughts yesterday. Here are a few snippets: "This book is, in a word, cool ... I was on a horse-back ride I didn't want to end. Except when Vargas came along. Shoulda known, this is a Necro publication after all, lol. I near ran for the comfort and safety of my bunny slippers whenever Vargas came round. So, Necro fans and Western fans alike, find out the magic of THE HAND OF OSIRIS, and get lost in a western town in a way you never have before."
8/27/13 -- Today I got a link for a review of Hammer and Bolter: Year 2, from a site called “Conclave of Har.” Although I contributed only two stories to this massive volume, both managed to get mentioned in the review. As it turns out, the reviewer really liked one of the tales—the other, not so much.
I suppose that’s to be expected, I’m not here to shy away from mixed or even bad reviews when they come in. Everyone gets them. But the highly split nature of this particular review highlights a point that I think is rarely made, and one which I feel like I should shed some light on at this point.
When I see reviews for in-universe fiction, like Warhammer or D&D stuff—work where the author does not own the copyright, and has limited creative control over the material—I frequently see a host of complaints heaped on the writer which, having written some of this kind of material myself, I now know are rarely in his or her power.
My two stories in H&B:YR2 are a perfect example. The story the reviewer finds “forgettable” is the first ever Warhammer piece I did, called “The Talon of Khorne.” If you saw the notes for that piece, and the emails between myself and editors that brought it about, you’d probably be surprised. Because almost nothing in that story was my original idea. Not the major characters, the plot or in some cases, not even the progression from one scene to another.
As it was my first ever piece for Black Library, almost all of the structure was laid out for me by the editorial staff. In a way, it felt something like a literary audition. They gave me a storyline, the characters, the plot, the length and even dictated some of the prose. Essentially they were saying: “we have this story we want written, you go and write it up and let us see how you do it.” Now, personally I happen to like how it came out—and so did they—but that’s just a matter of opinion. The simple fact is, they own the characters and they told me exactly what to do with them. All I did was write it out long-form. If you like the descriptions, or the atmosphere or the dialogue—great, because that’s (mostly) mine. But virtually everything else about it belongs to the publisher. I literally don’t even own the material.
By the same token, the opposite was true for the other story in that collection “Leechlord.” By the time I got the assignment to write this one (another thing most reviewers don’t seem to know—the editors tell us what to write next, not the other way around) I had more or less “proven” my chops to the editorial staff. They were apparently very happy with the way “Talon” came out, so for “Leechlord” all they did was hand me a character, in this case the mad doctor Festus, and they essentially said: “have at it.”
That story, unlike the other one, was virtually all my own doing. The editors tinkered with a few things along the way, as they always do, but from stem to stern, “Leechlord” was virtually all mine from conception through execution. I don’t own the copyright on that either, which is simply the nature of the beast with this work-for-hire stuff. But that story was much, much more of my own work than the other one.
You can imagine then, how frustrating it can be for a writer handling this kind of material to read a review in which someone dislikes a piece that he had almost zero creative control over, while simultaneously praising a second piece that he had virtually complete control over.
When it comes to work-for-hire on in-universe fiction, just because the author has his name on it, it doesn’t always mean he dreamt up the whole thing. In fact, that’s often not the case at all.
So let me end by saying to you, good reviewer at Conclave of Har (if you’re reading this) I’m very glad you liked my story.
8/26/13 -- I got a link today for a nice little review of "Into the Valley of Death" on the site linked to the right called Falcata Times.
You have to scroll down a bit, as the reviewer covers several novels in one post (mine is the last one on the page) but he says some nice things about it, which is always good to see.
"...its well written, the characters come across wonderfully ... All round a great piece of fun fiction."
As I usually tell people who ask about my Warhammer stuff, I love writing it, but you have to understand it in context. It's not meant to be Shakespeare. It's written to be fun. So whenever a reader says that about it, I'm happy. Mission accomplished.
Thank you, Falcata Times.
8/18/13 -- The early feedback on "The Hand of Osiris" has been coming in this week (as I slowly settle back in myself from the effects of a 12 hour time change.) I'm pleased to say it's been all positive at this point. I try not to put tremendous stock in online reviews, for reasons that are too many to list here -- maybe in a future post. But that having been said, it is nice to hear from some folks who like the new book.
As I've said many, many times before, what I write is aimed at a niche market. It's not for everyone. I've been fortunate that my work has thus far been well received within the community it is largely intended for -- horror and surrealist fantasy afficiandos. That's really all any writer can hope for, I think.
I have had a few questions lately regarding my Warhammer work, given the release of two titles from Black Library that I contributed to this summer. Is there more Warhammer fiction coming from my desk? The simple answer to that question is: I don't honestly know. I can say, at this point, that I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the editorial staff at Black Library over the production of these two volumes hitting the shelves right now. The main constraint I'm facing right now is time. There just isn't enough of it. On the up-side, I have several independent projects in the works right now, hopefully to see publication some time next year if all goes well. But with a full time job demanding the majority of my time regardless, there is only so much writing I can manage.
In any event, there is plenty more coming and plenty to enjoy right now. So if you haven't yet, grab your copy of "The Hand of Osiris" or the Warhammer "Gotrek and Felix: Lost Tales" and "Hammer and Bolter" Volume 2" all available today at bookstores and online outlets everywhere.
8/12/13 -- While I was out of the country traveling this summer, my new novel "The Hand of Osiris" was released by Necro Publications. They did a great job with the cover and the layout, and I'm really looking forward to doing some promotion for it, now that I'm back in the USA and ready to roll!
As is always the case now, the book is available either in paperback format or for Kindle download. So whatever your pleasure, this Weird Western can be yours for only a few bucks by clicking on the cover photo.
7/23/13 -- Just a quick note. The release date for "The Hand of Osiris" has been pushed back, due to some technical issues with the proofs, copy-editing, etc. These things are important and none of us can rush them. So, despite what I posted a few weeks back, the novel is not actually out today. I'm working through the issues with the folks at Necro Publications, and we're hoping to have everything ironed out very shortly. Once that's done, and we're sure we're putting out the best product we can, it will hit the shelves and the digital domain like a hammer!
In the meantime (and speaking of Hammers) Hammer and Bolter Volume II is out and in stores now. Plus, Gotrek & Felix: Lost Tales makes its debut August 6th (available for pre-order on Black Library dot com and Amazon already.) So I've got plenty of material out there for your summer reading pleasure!
7/21/13 - It's on the shelves now. Hammer and Bolter Book II. This massive volume comes in around 900 pages of Warhammer, Horus Heresy and 40K action. I have two stories in this compendium, both of which were available only through direct download -- until now.
Both "The Talon of Khorne" and "Leechlord" are included in this anthology.
6/1/13 -- While "Into the Valley of Death" is available direct from Black Library at their site (which can be linked from several places on my site here) I'd like to mention that my work is also available through iTunes as well. You can download any one of the 4 items listed there under my name direct to your Kindle or e-reader.
Click on the book cover on the right for a link to iTunes.
6/1/13 (Pt 2) - "Into the Valley of Death" got a plug today on the Beasts of War site. My thanks to Brennon at BoW for the nod!
Link to the Beasts of War site by clicking the pic at right.
5/31/13 - "Into the Valley of Death", which is my new Warhammer novella, goes on sale today as a stand-alone digital download. For all those Gotrek & Felix fans out there who don't want to wait for the four-story anthology "Lost Tales" of which this will be a part (available in about 2 months at fine bookstores everywhere) you can buy an electronic copy for your Kindle or other E-reader TODAY.
Although styled as a "Gotrek & Felix" adventure, this tale is all about our man Felix, who (as it says on the cover blurb) had a knack for getting into trouble even before he met everybody's favorite Slayer. Here we tell the story of his early wanderings, and his ill-advised journey through a land haunted by all manner of the dead and undead, seeking a lost tome at the lair of an infamous necromancer.
Before he ever met Gotrek Gurnisson, Felix Jaeger had a knack for getting into trouble... Risking his life to save a band of travellers from certain death, Felix finds himself drawn into a quest to retireve a dangerous artefact from the mystical lair of a long-dead necromancer. But as danger presses in, Felix finds that he may not be able to trust his new companions. Just what is the secret of the Valley of Death, and how can Felix possibly survive it?
5/23/13 -- I wasn't entirely sure on this one until just recently, so I held off on making any announcements, but it does appear now that my two Warhammer stories from last year: "The Talon of Khorne" and "Leechlord" are going to be included in the massive collection "Hammer and Bolter: Volume 2."
This is for anyone who missed them last year, or just prefers to read a regular old fashioned book, instead of a nook or a kindle (like me.)
I have to admit, I feel very fortunate right now. With this release, I will have three books on the shelves at once this summer. Of course, two of them are collections: this Hammer and Bolter compendium plus my novella in the Gotrek & Felix: Lost Tales book. But they'll be out around the same time as my stand-alone, independent novel "The Hand of Osiris" so that's a lot of my stuff floating around this summer.
Hope you all enjoy this mini-barrage of dark, weird fiction, and please keep the feedback coming! It's always great to hear from readers out there!
5/16/13 - Today brings the first peak at the cover art for my new novel from Necro Publications "The Hand of Osiris" a weird-western horror that I'm really excited about. Dave Barnett at Necro deserves tremendous credit here, for finding a great artist (whose name I do not yet know, unfortunately -- or else I'd be giving him or her their share of credit here too!) and for taking the care to get every little detail right.
Most of these things will mean very little to people, especially out of context, but even, I imagine to those folks who actually read the book -- but I assure you, every single detail of this cover art is spot-on, dead-bang, 100% accurate. The detailing of the clothing, the physical characteristics of the two figures and even down to the authentic depiction of an 1851 Colt Navy revolver.
Plus, the scene is just plain (in Dave's own words) Bad Ass!
4/13/13 - With two book releases upcoming this summer (and a possible third I can't mention just quite yet...) I figured it was about to time to break down and join the establishment. So I finally got an amazon.com author page. There's not much on it that you can't find here but it has direct access to the amazon pages for my work. As of this moment, some technical glitch has my name not appearing on the page for Gotrek & Felix: Lost Tales, despite appearing on the cover itself. I am in the process of having that error corrected.
The author page is linked to the little pic of me at some long ago book signing.
4/11/13 - These announcements always seem to arrive in groups, so only about a week after the release of the cover art for my next Warhammer novella, I am pleased to announce that I have signed a deal with Necro Publications to publish my second novel "The Hand of Osiris."
Necro Publications is a fantastic company, a leader in the hard-core horror field for two decades. Some of the best names in modern dark fiction work under the Necro banner: Joe Lansdale, Edward Lee and Jack Ketchum among many others.
I'd like to give a shout out to David Barnett at Necro for his work on this deal. A big thanks to him both for this opportunity to have my work appear as a Necro novel and for his never ending passion for all dark fiction.
4/3/13 - The wait is almost over.
After many months of revisions, editing, re-revisions, trans-Atlantic conference calls and a small blizzard of emails, my latest Warhammer project is heading to the printer very soon.
The new novella is called "Into the Valley of Death" and is one of four "Lost Tales" of the best-selling heroes Gotrek & Felix, hitting stores this July from Black Library. I'm very excited about this project, not only because the good folks over there at Games Workshop have let me run amuck for a while with one of their flagship characters, but also because I really love where this novella took us. After a summer spent trekking through dangerous wilderness trails and exploring the barren ruins of several lost cities, this was a story I was dying to write.
The cover art was released just the other day, and clicking on it should bring you to the Black Library site, where the novella collection is featured and will soon be available for pre-order.
12/4/12 - Here's a slightly odd little thing, which I thought was worthy of a post.
The Lucifer Messiah, my novel from 2006, was featured today on a site called "100 Free Books." I had never actually heard of it, but the site owners sent me a nice little note letting me know what they're all about. Evidently, they select books and put them up for free to Kindle users, for a limited window of time. They post a blurb and a cover pic, and I suppose people can take a chance on an author they've never read before, without risking the cash.
Now, under ordinary circumstances, you might suppose that an author would NOT be so keen on the idea that a site out there is basically giving away copies of their work. After all, if you're working as a writer, your words are your product. That's what you get paid for.
Well, that might usually be the case, but for me--for this book--and in this case, I'm actually glad to hear it.
Anyway, for right now, it's free to anyone who wants to see it, for a limited time only ... yada, yada, yada. And I think that's great. Maybe it will find it's way into the hands of someone who would not have found it otherwise, buried under the avalanche of books that come out every year and get much more press than this ever got. Hey, maybe you're that person, reading this now.
If so, feel free to let me know what you think. And if you liked it, check out what else I've got out there. A lot of that is free too. And maybe next year, when (fingers crossed) some of my new stuff with Black Library actually does hit the shelves, you might pick that up too.
As my UK editor is fond of saying -- Cheers!
9/22/12 - Well, the summer is gone and I'm back. As I mentioned before my hiatus, I have spent the last few months traveling and working up a few projects for Black Library. The original concept has evolved over that time, as these things often do. Right now I'm in the process of working through a novella and a short story, as well as tossing around ideas for one other short project.
My summer travels took me to Peru this year, from the post-colonial streets of Lima to the thin air of Cuszco and the Andes peaks, down to the fantastic vistas of one of the world's true "lost cities" in Machu Picchu and then to the Amazon basin, where I swam in piranha-infested waters and hiked a jungle filled with snakes, tarantulas and many, many other nasty, deadly critters.
All in all, a great time. I met some fantastic folks, from Australia (the outback-strength bug spray really saved me in the Amazon), to the UK, Germany and France. My time spent wandering the ruins of the Inca Empire gave me plenty of notes on ancient temples, towers and cities. Hopefully that will all make my next "lost world" adventure tale all the better.
Lastly, my two stories from this past year are featured in Black Library's year end mega-issue (linked to the pic on the left.) If you haven't picked them up yet and you want to get all the slashing, bloody, gory greatness that is Hammer and Bolter all in one package, you're a mouse click and $39.99 away.
7/14/12 - The new issue of Hammer and Bolter is now on sale, featuring my Warhammer short story "The Leechlord."
Same low price of $3.99 gets you my dark and twisted tale as well as several others by some of Black Library's best contributors.
The tag for this one is: An Imperial knight, wounded in battle against the vile skaven, encounters Festus, the dreaded servant of the plague god.
7/6/12 - Today I added a new page to the site, full of original content -- the Adventures of Xerxes Kane.
It's a throwback to old time, swashbuckling space adventure; to the Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers and Crash Corrigan serials, and to the pulp stories of spaceships and aliens. It's something I've been wanting to do for a long time.
The Xerxes Kane series will chronicle the adventures of a space pirate captain and his crew of galactic buccaneers as they roam the spaceways seeking fortune and battling enemies of every kind, both human and otherwise. It will appear here on my site and nowhere else, free of charge for anyone who wants to follow it. I'm not selling it and I'm not sending it anywhere for publication. No editors requesting changes, no magazines dictating word counts or release dates.
It's space opera and nothing else. Movie serial, pulp fiction escapist adventure. The continuing tales of a rogue and his men, blasting their way across the galaxy. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it, and keep coming back for more!
7/5/12 - Happy belated Fourth to everyone out there! Hope you all had a nice, safe holiday.
The Past, Imperfect sparked a few interesting discussions in the comments section on Every Day Fiction the day before yesterday, ranging from a conversation over the origin of the term "U.K." to the geopolitics of the early 1860s to episodes of Family Guy. That site always draws a lively crowd and I'd like to thank everyone who contributed, as well as everyone else who stopped in to read the story.
That's likely to be my last independent short story out there for a little while, as I narrow my focus over the next few months to concentrate on my Warhammer work. I have a second Hammer and Bolter piece going on sale later this month and I might have a few things popping up again near the end of the summer/early fall.
It's been a busy last few months on the short fiction front, from Ray Gun Revival, three Every Day Fiction stories, a Lost Souls piece and two Warhammer stories. I'd like to thank everyone who read/commented/rated any of my work over that time. I really appreciate it.
Now I'm heading into the bunker, where I'll hunker down for the next few months, hard at work imagining the goings on of the dark and grim world of Warhammer.
7/3/12 - My latest short story The Past, Imperfect goes online today at Every Day Fiction. As always for that site, it's a quick read, coming in at just under 1000 words.
Inspired by the old Rod Serling Twilight Zone series, it's the tale of a pair of scientists who use a time machine to travel back to one of the single most pivotal days in American history, as well as the bloodiest --the Battle of Antietam. They're about to learn that the past isn't quite as easy to change as they might have imagined...
(as ever, click on the picture to link directly to the story)
6/30/12 - Every Day Fiction announced their line up for July this morning. My Civil War time travel story The Past, Imperfect will be featured on Tuesday July 3rd, as a part of their American Independence Day run of stories.
It's an attempt to put a little extra twist on the old "what if the South had won the war?" theme. As always, please feel free to drop by the site and either rate the story, leave a comment or both!
6/30/12 (Part Two) My first contribution to the horror e-zine Lost Souls went up today, a short story called An Unexpected Guest.
Lost Souls is a free online magazine that aims to showcase up & coming writers in the horror and supernatural fields. I'm very happy to be included in their most recent issue, along with some fine new authors of the weird and surreal. Take a minute and check out the site, its totally free and full of great, scary content.
6/15/12 - My next Warhammer story The Leechlord will be featured in the Black Library's Hammer and Bolter Issue 22 in July. You can pre-order the ebook now. $3.99 for digital download. Should be released in a few weeks.
The hook: An Imperial knight, wounded in battle against the vile skaven, encounters Festus, the dreaded servant of the plague god.
6/8/12 - Got word today that I have been greenlit by Black Library for a Warhammer novella. This will be my third contribution to the Warhammer mythos. It's been an absolute pleasure working with the Games Workshop folks over there in the UK, especially my Black Library editor Laurie Goulding.
I can't say much about the details at this point (or really anything of substance, actually.) In the least it probably means that my short fiction work will be taking a back seat for a few months as I concentrate on a longer project. I do have a few things in the pipeline already, so some of those will be popping up over the summer as I dive back into the grim, dark and violent world of Warhammer.
There are few places I'd rather spend my summer exploring.
6/7/12 - Shortly after Dragon Knight hit the pages of Every Day Fiction, I got word that they would be publishing another of my flash fiction stories. I'm very happy to be working with the folks over there, who run a very nice magazine with lots of excellent content, every single day. No details yet on a date for my third contribution to the ezine, but my best guess is some time in July.
This next piece is a Civil War time-travel story, entitled The Past, Imperfect. I'll post an update on the expected publication date soon.
6/5/12 - Dragon Knight is featured today as the story-of-the-day on Every Day Fiction. It's a story about hospitality, judging people based on appearances, and the culinary preferences of carnivorous ogres.
Click on the pic to link to the story.
5/31/12 - My new flash fiction story Dragon Knight will be appearing in Every Day Fiction next month, on June 5th.
This month was a wizard story, next month a dragon. So yes, I do appear to be covering all the big fantasy tropes at the moment (and hopefully doing something interesting with them.)
5/13/12 - The Final Summoning was pretty well received yesterday on Every Day Fiction, a site where the readership (many of them other writers) is notoriously critical. I was very pleased to see that several of the readers were familiar with the source material that inspired the story (Clark Ashton Smith and Plato) ... and still liked it.
Putting a story out there for all to see -- and for all to criticize at their whim -- can be nerve wracking. It always feels good to get a positive response.
Thanks to everyone who stopped by the site to read it, and to everyone who voted.
5/12/12 - Hot on the heels of my first Warhammer publication, today my fantasy uber-short "The Final Summoning" is the featured story-of-the-day on Every Day Fiction.
(As always, click on the picture to view the story)
5/11/12 - My first Warhammer short story "The Talon of Khorne" goes on sale today as a feature in The Black Library's monthly e-magazine "Hammer and Bolter."
The tag line is "The last survivor of a slaughtered tribe reluctantly leads her people’s killers in pursuit of the legendary champion of the Blood God – the infamous Scylla Anfingrimm."
5/1/12 - Just got word this morning that The Final Summoning will be the "story of the day" on Every Day Fiction on May 12th.
Please feel free to drop in a comment or give it a vote on their five star chart when it debuts.
4/30/12 - My flash-fiction short story "The Final Summoning" was just sold to Every Day Fiction.
For those who may not be familiar with the term, "flash fiction" is a complete story told in 1000 words or less.
The story -- a tale of a wizard calling forth an ancient demon -- should be appearing online sometime next month.
4/27/12 - I've put up some new comic-style artwork on the "Gallery" page. Along with the visualizations of the principal characters from "The Lucifer Messiah," everything was created using a fantastic site called "Hero Machine."
If you've never visited it, take a minute to check it out (the pic below is linked to the site.) But beware...you may end up spending a lot more time there. The site lets you mix and match from thousands of image fragments to piece together virtually any character or logo you can imagine.
It is a dream site for any frustrated artists out there (like me.)
4/19/12 - "The Oracle of Ganymede" is now up on the Ray Gun Revival homepage, as one of April's featured stories.
In a distant future, one man embarks on a journey across the Solar System, seeking the treasures of fallen empires and the love of a mysterious woman.
(Click on the picture below to link to the story)
3/19/12 - My sci-fi short story "The Oracle of Ganymede" was just sold to Ray Gun Revival, a great monthly e-zine dedicated to bringing back old time space opera adventure. According to the editors (or Overlords, as they prefer to be called) the story should be appearing in either April or May's issue.
Although Ray Gun Revival pays their authors (which always makes us happy, of course) the site itself is totally free. So check it out, and when "Ganymede" hits the web please feel free to post a comment.
2/12/12- Now that the contracts have all been signed, I am pleased to announce that I have sold two short stories to Black Library (handy link to the right.) Both are set in the Warhammer Fantasy Universe and should be appearing either by digital download or in a print anthology (or possibly both) within the next several months.
2/2/12 - Today I am officially re-launching this site, with a totally redesigned layout and lots of new content. While this space was dormant over the last several months, I've been able to put together several new projects, which should all be coming out some time later this year. In addition, I should be adding a few new features over the coming weeks and months. As things develop, updates will follow.