Saturday, August 15, 2015

5 BLADES is out and FREE

 5 Blades an anthology I contributed four! previously released tales is out and for free for the next couple days.

My tales may be familiar to my regular blog followers, -

Fangs of the Dragon: Blessed by a holy man, Porter Rockwell was promised that if he never cut his hair he would not be harmed by bullet nor blade . . .
But what if monsters strike with tooth and claw? This might be Port's last ride . . .
Or will he send them crawling back to the abyss? Either way it's gonna be a helluva fight!

The Serpents Root: A quest for a dangerous item to cure the sick may not be as simple a delivery as a thief expects. Love can be a killer.

The Dig: An archaeologist struggles with the semantics of who is the real grave robber with a rogue Italian captain in WW2 when they find something buried that should not be.

The King in the Wood: Music and mythology merge as a young woman buys a strange instrument in a curiosity shop and things will never be the same.

The other four blades are 

Jason King - fantasy author extraordinaire who recently released book 2 in his Age of the Infinite series.

Drew Briney - lawyer and all around nice guy, with a some great fantasy tales.

Jaime Buckley, acclaimed comic artist with some of his tale spinning.

and newcomer Lewis Strassburg with a great fantasy tale of revenge and giant worms.

Catch it while its hot and free here

P.S. should have had you wait a day Paul! I owe you!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

City of Stairs

City of Stairs, by Robert Jackson Bennett

This was brilliant. A great mashup of epic fantasy, mystery and espionage like thrillers. I was captured by the thought of a once great empire, blessed by a cabal of divine Gods who bestowed strange miracles and blessing upon their chosen people until a put upon satellite people using mysterious means had their revenge and slew the gods.

That is all in the not-to-distant past of the novel and we are now dealing with a reconstruction and digging through the scraps of information left in the wake of such deicide. This is also all set in a fantasy world with technology similar to about the turn of the century and all that goes with it - bureaucracy. A murder sets the stage and into this steps Shara, an official from one of the ruling families of the victors and Sigrud her muscle - essentially a massive Viking. They are trying to piece together why a historian  was killed, it is also matters that he was once important to Shara and they each had a fascination with the mysterious past of this once blessed land.
Bennett evokes great charm and wit with these characters and once the action gets going Sigrud reminds me of everything I love about Brock Sampson from Venture Bros! This is a very good thing!
The twists and surprises keep coming and I highly recommend this!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Dark Tale of a Dark Man (and Woman)

Blue Eyes at Night, by J.P. Wilder

This is book two of the Crusader series which I reviewed some time ago here, apologies to J.P. I mentioned this was coming and I did buy it the day of release but my reviews have fallen sharply behind, something I will work at remedying from here on out.

Blue Eyes at Night is the second book following the adventures and redemption of minor lord and experienced Crusader Aaron. He is wracked with guilt at what he had to do and succeed in the previous chapter book that made him a hero presently. Without any recourse on moving forward with his life he heads back into the fray.

I see J.P.'s life experience here to a degree - I am only guessing, but I can see shades of veterans here whether it be modern or ancient. Granted this is fantasy but J.P. has a dark mood giving us insight into that terrible survivors guilt and washes it down with some fantastic action. I enjoy the mixing of almost history with a grimdark fantasy.

On his journey Aaron encounters ghosts from the past specifically Lady Edweene who he thought was dead - or is it her twin sister Lady Elayne? He also has to face the living demons before him. Recommended for everyone that likes gritty fantasy with a little something extra.

I'm also in the midst of J.P.'s next paranormal thriller Schade of Night and wow does he kick things up a notch when he goes from chapter books to novels!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Into the Belly of Kathulos: UGEEK #6

Chapter 6 of Walking Through Walls: Into the Belly of Kathulos in issue #6 of UGEEK Magazine came out over the Fourth of July weekend, and I wasn't home to get a copy or really post about it until now.

It's got a great steampunk cover (and article inside) and a great cosplay centerfold of a steampunk Snow White by Mala Foxx.

I also noticed a author spotlight on my good friend Jason King, whose latest fantasy novel The Soulless Grave was just released today and an interview with a new facebook friend actress Wren Barnes.

This S&S fantasy noir is going places I didn't expect and I'm quite happy with it.

Thanks to my editors James Wymore, Holli Anderson and Bruce Durham for helping polish it up and I am looking forward to the next chapter that will be out in time for Salt Lake ComicCon. I am hoping that this mag helps spread my gospel and people start buying my other books. I expect that this particular tale will take at least another 6-7 chapters to wrap up and when its done I expect to release it myself for fun.
Mala's pic by the great Vladmir Chopine, who I hope to have do a portrait of me sometime - he has done magnificent work on at least half of my best local writer friends.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Hand of Fate

I decided I would release another of my novelettes as its own kindle, The Hand of Fate its one of my oldest stories and it is included in the earlier collection The Mad Song but I just felt like putting it out there on its own anyhow.

It is a tale I've always really loved, blending sword and sorcery elements with Mongolian death worms and Tuareg lore, oh, and Humphrey Bogart's SAHARA was an influence too.

The cover is a modified pic I recently took of another trip to the four corners area, I liked the big raven sitting on the ruined tower, I adjusted the color some and I did add the arrows.

Here is my brutally simple description:


When desert nomad Ahimoth, takes in defeated conqueror Seantum, extending him the hospitality of his people, he is obligated to defend his guest against all foes whether they be forces of nature, man or worse. 

But when the victorious enemy insults Ahimoth and takes Seantum prisoner, the nomad's honor cannot rest until he sets things right and the Hand of Fate will not allow him to turn the other cheek.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Reading My Friends

I'm way behind on reviews etc, so I thought I'd get a few of these together, especially since I know all these people and consider them friends.

The Lure of Fools, by Jason King
"Adventure is the lure of fools, and excitement glamour to the gullible. The siren song of the world is as music to the wanderer's feet, but that dance leads only to the soul-less grave." So Jekaran's uncle has warned him. 
The Lure of Fools is awesome epic fantasy with a good dose of the gritty action and humor that I love about sword and sorcery as well. While I thought it started just a little slow, once things got going this was a rip roaring book, with witty dialogue and clever action.
It reminded me in places of some other fantasy tales I greatly enjoy = Elric and Hellboy and the Golden Army but also with its complete own legend. (by no means am I saying this is a pastiche of the other two-merely that some things reminded me, the reader, of same and again I am a big fan of those other works so its a compliment)
Jekeran, the main character finds himself tied up with some interesting twists of fate involving a sentient powerful sword, and that's always trouble. I also liked the magic system involved in the world and the backstory as its revealed. I heartily look forward to the next installment - The Souless Grave that is getting released in just a couple weeks!

Blood Oath, by Sarah E. Seeley

Blood Oath is an Orc love story. Didn't see that one coming did you. And I gotta tell you , you didn't see the twists coming in this one either! Our tale begins with Riplanicum a young Orc with a mission from his mentor to hide a sacred and powerful stone. He comes across his beloved dying on a battlefield, but she is also from an opposing clan and from there the reveals just keep coming.
I did feel that some of the ending was just a wee bit duex ex machina but at the same time I have to say that I was floored by some of the back stabbing twists on the way there! Well done Sarah!

Beibers Finger, by Craig Nybo

Beibers Finger is one of the most off-the-wall surprising pulp sci-fi gonzo books I have ever had the pleasure of reading/listening too.
Taking place in a world(s) that is like our own but not our own, it blends two stories 1. is the bizarre aftermath of a teen idols brutal murder - a piece of him is left and retrieved by a super fan who gets him cloned. She then has plans for him to do a big comeback at the Pan-Galactic Prom Show = his is all perfectly reasonable right? 2. A dying race of Ice Beetles need help before they are exterminated and we follow their brave rescue crew on a mission that is half  Seven Samurai half Hard Days Night - are you with me? We are in a heap of trouble by books end and it all has to wrap up in book two The Pan-Galactic Prom Show which I will be getting to post haste!

I have several other friends who have read this and I've heard it said this could not have gotten published except through the self-publishing market - I beg to differ, it is amazing but it does require special taste. The author Craig Nybo is truly a tour-de force and I look forward to working with him again - he was the bass player on that spoken word improv album I did a month ago.

Incorrect Astronomy, by Steven Peck

A collection of poetry by an evolutionary biologist and I was very pleased with his turns of phrase and insights. Whether the first that caught my eye The Slaying of the Trickster Gods or Waist Deep in the Abyss - Peck has quite a way with words that I truly appreciate. The moods cascade all over the place and some of these struck home deeply because poetry is someone saying how you feel, and you know the truth of it. Decisions Among the Red Rocks is another favorite. It is a short collection but if you feel for poetry like I do give Incorrect Astronomy a chance.

Crow Jane: Rock Band Fights Evil Volume 3, by D.J. Butler

Crow Jane rocks us into Qayna's point of view - a new character in the RBFE universe but an integral important one, she has after all been around since the beginning! And this is what I love about Butler's writing, an eclectic blend of what you know or think you know, arcane references and a buckshot load of smart action fantasy!
So, Qayna/Jane/Cain - that's right Jane is Cain, cursed to be unable to die no matter what she does, and of course she gets wrapped up in others agenda's and double crosses including the coming war between Heaven and Hell. The story interplays between the present and the past and this is a great way to find out more about our favorite band of damned men. Get on the playbill with this one!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Book Review: Poets in Hell

I'm damnably late on this, especially when I am seeing a legion of press pushing the next Janet Morris edited production Heroika.

Poets in Hell continues the tradition of famous and infamous persons alike in Hell having their dramatic turn on all the monstrous possibilities for conflict.

I recall I read Rogues in Hell a few years ago and quite a few of the same authors are back. My first thought years back was why did so many of these mazing people end up in hell? They don't deserve it, until Janet herself commented that there are 613 commandments that nearly everyone of note in life has broken and thusly we end up with Heroes in Hell...

I'll mention my favorite tales:

Seven Against Hell, by Janet and Chris Morris
I love this opening, we get the magnificent point of view of vaunted Diomedes (one of my favorites from The Iliad) he along with Odysseus, Homer and Sappho. Gotta love anything with Sappho! Greatpoetry and imagery for anyone who loves The Iliad and Odyssey.

The opening line of Nancy Asire's Reunion got me - If hell had a GDP ("Gross Demonis Product"), that product would be rumors.
Great line and a great tale.

My friend Bruce Durham's Hell-Hounds is fantastic combining Alexander Graham Bell, Marconi and a run in with the aforementioned Hell hounds and of course the great Snorri Sturluson and Robert E. Howard - my only beef Bruce is that your tale is far too short!

My favorite this time around is likely Larry Atchley Jr's Poetic Injustice probably because I like Samuel Coleridge and always loved his Kubla Khan and this tale is about Coleridge being vexed that he never truly finished that poem to epic length and he needs to - couple that with a nefarious plot by Guy Fawkes and Anton La Vey again as a tailor and we have devilish conspiracies.

And one of the things I really enjoy about this series is the wide variety of people in hell, like Beowulf and Boudica in Tom Barczak's Pride and Penance - and the Jabberwocky!

All in all a great collection of twisted historical personages in the worst place in the universe.