Tag Archives: Chuck Wendig

Catching Up on Links

Some links on pieces about writing and related matters I had collected but not passed on:

 

Fonda Lee, who is making waves with her new novel, Jade City (more on my impressions of that book later,) did a good, practical Twitter thread essay on awards versus sales when it comes to marketing buzz.

Tim Pratt did an interesting piece on the process of writing his alien creatures in his SF novel, The Wrong Stars.

John Scalzi did a piece about attempts to tabulate authors’ sales from limited sources and the markets for fiction in general.

Anaea Lay recounts the story of her glamorous author travels to WorldCon in 2017, useful for those who may be doing convention traveling.

Chuck Wendig didn’t particularly like a piece of writing advice someone gave on Twitter and so did a comic riff on it followed by some useful writing advice as a Twitter thread essay.

Ineke Chen-Meyer points out an interesting difference between our fictional characters and the real world.

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Holiday Loot

Lookee what I got over the holidays:

 

When people want to know what I want as gifts, usually I say books, so this was my most recent haul. Most of these are continuations of series I’ve been reading, but I also got three new works, including two from authors I haven’t read before.

Going from left corner top clockwise, I got the final book in Linda Nagata‘s military technothriller SF trilogy — Red: Going Dark; the latest (Book #6) in Diana Rowland‘s zombie SF mystery thriller series White Trash Zombie: White Trash Zombie Unchained; Kat Howard‘s first novel in her new contemporary fantasy series An Unkindness of Magicians; Jim C. Hines‘ new venture in comic SF — Terminal Alliance; Karina Sumner-Smith‘s concluding volume in her post-apocalypse secondary world fantasy trilogy — The Towers Trilogy: Towers Fall; the second in N.K. Jemisin‘s acclaimed apocalyptic secondary world fantasy trilogy Broken Earth: The Obelisk Gate; Fonda Lee‘s new novel starting a secondary world, post-industrial fantasy crime series — Jade City; Ann Leckie continuing the world of her acclaimed SF Ancillary series in a spin-off Provenance; and Chuck Wendig continuing his contemporary fantasy series with Book #4 — Miriam Black: Thunderbird.

I’m looking forward to reading through them over the next few months. The cover art on all of them is really good and quite varied in approach. There wasn’t really a theme to this year’s haul selection, other than a “let’s kill off some of the trilogies” approach and some “oh look, a new book in the series” selections. But I did end up with a fair amount of SF and contemporary-styled fantasy titles as a result. There is a whole other queue of titles that will be the gift selections for later and that are a fairly wide range. For the two new authors, Kat Howard and Fonda Lee, both of these novels have been much talked about in fandom and both sounded interesting to me. Once I’ve read them all, I’ll let you know what I think of them. Feel free to share any works you got for the winter solstice/new year.

If you want to check out these authors and their works further, links to their official websites are provided below:

Linda Nagata: http://www.mythicisland.com/

Diana Rowland: http://www.dianarowland.com/index.html

Kat Howard: http://www.kathowardbooks.com/

Jim C. Hines: http://www.jimchines.com/

Karina Sumner-Smith: http://karinasumnersmith.com/

N.K. Jemisin: http://nkjemisin.com/

Fonda Lee: http://fondalee.com/

Ann Leckie: https://www.annleckie.com/

Chuck Wendig: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/

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Links to Articles About Writing and Publishing (I Told You I Had Links. So Many Links.)

Here are links to articles on writing and publishing that I found interesting. (Writing neepery, in other words. Much more pleasant than Hugo neepery, really.)

 

The Internet is full of words, you see. We raised the young people on them.

Kameron Hurley talks about her writing life in the past and the present. Lot of straight financial stuff there.

Chuck Wendig offers helpful suggestions about dealing with reviews to writers.

However, Foz Meadows, who just got a two book deal, does take Chuck to task on there being no rules for writing fiction. (This one’s for you, Andrew! She writes better than I do, but given it’s her blog it was on, she has more curse words.) This is a regular problem — Chuck is a terrific fiction writer, just did the new tie-in novel for Star Wars — but writers, when asked for advice or proferring it, often fall into the form of ordering it to give it a more authoritative bounce. It does more harm than they realize, so I appreciate Foz addressing this.

Chris Brecheen wrote to a woman writer who wanted, get this, J.K. Rowling to retire because she believed it would give other writers a better chance. Brecheen explained how fiction publishing actually works, and that it’s not a competition, which is actually helpful for a wider pool of authors than you might think.

Daniel Jose´ Older offers advice that is also very helpful to a lot of writers dealing with the endless time crunch of life.

 

Food for thought! Hope all your evenings are warm and safe and welcoming, folks.

 

 

 

 

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Unreality Junction: Goodies for the Holidays!

I’m still dealing with the fallout of this last part of the year, but here are the book goodies I got (not that I necessarily need an excuse to get them, but you know, it looks better when you have a handy gift giving seasonal cover.)

1. White Trash Zombie Apocalypse by Diana Rowland

The third novel in Rowland’s contemporary fantasy series about Louisiana morgue attendant and zombie Angel. I read the first one of this series, My Life as a White Trash Zombie, and liked it, though I thought the ending seemed a little rushed and overly heightened. But then I got the second book, Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues, where Angel starts to find out a lot of info about being a zombie and the ending of the first novel made more sense from that. This third installment ups the action even more than the first two as Angel has to deal with a zombie film shoot, mysterious deaths, the local zombie syndicate, the return of various antagonists, rain and flood, taking the GED, etc. Rowland is great at combining her small town frame with Angel getting her life together, with essentially a spy thriller. This novel has a bit less humor than the first two, but also an increasingly confident Angel. My only complaint is that the heavier spy thriller aspects meant less cop and morgue time this go round. Rowland is a former cop and morgue worker, so she does that stuff very well, as well as a really interesting take on zombism and the strange mix of pathos and advantage therein.

2. Codex Born by Jim C. Hines

Moving on to the new titles I haven’t read yet, is the second novel in Hines’ new contemporary fantasy Magic Ex Libris series about a libromancer, Isaac, who can pull things from books and helps guard the world from magical threats. The second book focuses more on Lena, the dryad dragged from the pages of an old pulp fantasy novel, who is Isaac’s bodyguard and sometime lover. New enemies are after Lena’s powers, and that can mean some very bad things for everyone. The first novel, Libromancer, made quite a big splash, has a lot of humor and interesting stuff, and also let Hines bring in his fire spider from his Jig the Goblin novels, so I’m looking forward to this one.

3. Nysta: Duel at Grimwood Creek by Lucas Thorn

Continuing with the sequels is book two of Australian author Lucas Thorn’s Nysta series, a secondary world western, D&D epic, satirical dark fantasy revenge quest mash-up of awesome cussing proportions. I featured the cover art for the first volume, Nysta: Revenge of the Elf, on my blog, by artist Amir Zand, then got the first book and featured the next two covers. The Nysta books read exactly like westerns, except they are about elves, wizards, gods and magical forces in really interesting landscapes. The first book was violent, rough, slyly funny and quite moving all at the same time. Nysta, the central character, is an elven destroyer out to get the gang of elves who killed her husband. In the second book, she is closing in on the Bloody Nine but dealing with strong magical forces and monsters in the Deadlands. (I’m hoping that Thorn and Zand can get some sort of comic book spin-off going on this world sometime — great fun.)

4. Red Country by Joe Abercrombie

Not a sequel, but a continuing world novel, and a western to boot, in this novel Abercrombie expands his First Law world by traveling to a new frontier land in which presumed dead Northern barbarian king, the legendary Logan Ninefingers, has been hiding out on a farm under the name Lamb. The central character is Shy, his stepdaughter, who sets off after her kidnapped brother and sister with Lamb/Logan in tow. Other characters from Abercrombie’s previous novels make appearances and probably there are clues to the mysterious past of wizard battles that seems to subtly affect everything in Abercrombie’s secondary world. You probably don’t have to read the First Law trilogy and standalones Best Served Cold and The Heroes first, but it would help to get the full effect. Abercrombie’s mix of brutal war, black humor, and fascinating mythology is a hoot but it’s his characters who sing — each has a distinct voice that lets him try out one type of story after another. Interesting to see what he will do with the western one.

5. The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch

Lynch broke on the scene with the first book in this series, The Lies of Locke Lamora, to much acclaim. The satirical dark crime thriller fantasy about con artists in a remarkable city had a few minor plot issues for me, but the writing was lovely with its dual chronologies and the scenery sublime. The sequel, Red Seas Under Red Skies, had some plot issues too, but expanded the world of the story in interesting ways, plus pirates! Lynch ran into some personal issues that delayed this third book in the series, and it may be the last, but I think it may also be the most interesting. A poisoned Locke has to become a pawn in a battle of mages that pits him against the long gone con-woman he loves — Sabetha, whom we finally get to see. So fun and I had to get.

6. Mockingbird by Chuck Wendig

Wendig’s first book in this Miriam Black series, Blackbirds, was another book whose cover art first drew my attention to it. It’s a contemporary fantasy series about a sarcastic and desperate young woman who, when she touches someone, knows when and how they will die. In this sequel, Miriam is trying to do the settling down thing with her truck driver boyfriend and has achieved more control over her powers, but then she sees a death that may change everything. Wendig has a deft hand, a sensibility with looney and weird characters, and a central character with a great voice. It also has some genuine mystery to the suspense and interesting supernatural elements.

7. Feed by Mira Grant

I read Grant’s contemporary fantasy novel, Rosemary and Rue, written under her main name Seanan McGuire, and liked the writing (she’s a Campbell award winner,) but wasn’t quite as blown away by the world and focus of that story. So I decided to try her horror science fiction with this first book in her Newsflesh trilogy. Feed got a ton of attention and a Hugo nomination. It’s a near future zombie thriller that takes the mutated virus approach to zombies, with a dark satire of political campaigns and conspiracies, news media and blogging, horror films, medical research, etc. Grant has a very sharp eye, so I suspect I will like it.

8. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

I am a huge Atkinson fan. She has occasionally dipped into fantasy, magic realism style, and her standalone bestselling novel Life After Life is a full out fantasy novel that has been nominated for the Orange Prize and probably will pick up quite a few of the major nominations for the year. The novel is about Ursula, who continually dies but in alternate overlapping universes lives as the world marches towards World War II and a fate that Ursula’s unique repeating life may affect. That’s going to be rich toffee, the way Atkinson writes, so I shall probably save it for a bit later when chaos declines a little, but I am looking forward to it, even though WWII is not my favorite era.

9. Shadow’s Sun by Jon Sprunk 

Technically this wasn’t a new goodie for the holidays, but it was a book temporarily misplaced in our move last year, so now I’ve got it recovered finally and can tackle it. It’s Sprunk’s debut secondary world fantasy novel, with divine cover art, about an assassin named Caim, who finds himself, as assassins frequently do, a pawn in a complicated and high stakes plot. But this particular assassin has some unusual aspects to his life — ever since he was a child damaged by tragedy, Caim can call shadows to cloak him, a magic that haunts him and he distrusts, and he has been visited by a ghostly, mercurial and mysterious spirit named Kit who sometimes helps him out. The writing style has a traditional, grand feel to it, but with bickering, a combination I think I’m going to like. It reminds me a bit of some of Glen Cook. Sprunk has started a new series, The Book of the Black Earth, which sounds interesting, so I will have to catch up over time. But I think I will enjoy Caim’s tale first.

My mother was astonished that my husband and daughter were watching the end of How to Train Your Dragon, a favorite animated film of ours. I was astonished that she hadn’t seen the movie, as it’s tailor-made to be the sort of movie my mom would like. So we sat down and watched the film and she did indeed love it. There is also a cartoon spin off; if you’ve got young kids you might as well try it out. And the sequel film, How to Train Your Dragon 2, comes out next year; we’re looking forward to it. Here’s the trailer:

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Interesting Writings for a Day of Recovery — 10/20/13

I’ve been sick. Like barely moving sick. So now that my brain works a bit better, here are some interesting writings links that piled up (some a tad old in Internet days):

1) Chuck Wendig has a very funny stream of consciousness piece about his experience as an author trying to edit and revise his work. (However, his complaints to publishers piece is silly; don’t bother with that one.)

2) Laura Miller at Salon.com had a good piece about new/old models of book buying online, mainly that Netflix is reviving the idea of book clubs to some extent as well as the subscription model for heavy readers. But what was also useful in the piece is the explanation again about what is actually going on in e-books (they aren’t replacing print,) and how, once again, fiction readers are marketing resistant and use word of mouth:

The leveling off of the e-book market suggests that what once seemed like a boom destined to overwhelm and replace print publishing has in fact become a thriving submarket. (A recent survey of travelers at London’s Heathrow Airport found that even in circumstances where you’d expect e-books to prevail, 71 percent of those polled said they preferred to hit the road toting print books.) All sorts of people read e-books, but a significant portion of that market is made up of what are called “heavy readers.” A Pew Internet study of e-reading showed that the average e-book user reads 24 books per year, compared to the 15 read by people who don’t use e-books.

Even Amazon isn’t very good at suggesting the next book you might want to read — or at least, its customers rarely rely on it for such advice. Most readers (e- or print) still prefer to heed the advice of trusted friends instead. For some things, the human touch remains indispensable.

3) Nick Mamatas does a nice satire of criticisms leveled at “genre” fiction that can just as easily be utilized for “literary” fiction (i.e. contemporary drama, which is not necessarily literary, just as genre is not necessarily not literary.)

4) Foz Meadows is so very tired of writing about systemic prejudicial bias towards women and other repressed groups, but she is so very good at it.

5) Laura Miller again with an article at Salon.com (because I had them piling up,) on the rather crazy and completely pointless fighting going on between readers at Goodreads and authors and author publishing authors.

More as I get back up to speed, one more time.

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October 20, 2013 · 8:30 PM

Odds and Ends — 7/14/13

There has been some sad news recently, but it is still being digested, so instead, here are some other things:

1) J.K. Rowling has been outed as the author of the successful mystery novel The Cuckoo’s Calling, under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. Galbraith was supposed to be an ex-military cop writing about the improbably named ex-military detective, Cormoran Strike. The debut book came out in April to buzz and praise. A newspaper investigation, though, caught Rowling out very quickly. (No longer are we in an age when someone like Stephen King could masquerade as Richard Bachman for several years.)

My reaction to this is giggles. I can just imagine the compliments about the military manly manness of Strike and Galbraith in many reviews. Even better, the book was much praised for its writing. It also now makes a great birthday present for the hubbie, who loves Rowling. It’s rather funny this came out now as I just saw a university Quidditch team practicing this afternoon, my first time seeing people play it live.

2) I hate Chuck Wendig because he is annoyingly good at writing. Not only did he write the fantasy novel Blackbirds, and a number of other things I need to get to, (and design games, etc.) but he’s infernally good at writing pieces on his blog that you don’t want to read while drinking liquids near the keyboard. I had to put his blog on my blogroll, since I cannot possibly be putting up a link saying go read what Chuck wrote every other day.

But now I really hate him. I had on occasion taken some of the weirdest, most poetic content from spam marketing comments that I got on this blog and put them up as Spam Poetry with sometimes snarky commentary. So clever of me. But you know what Chuck has been doing for quite awhile apparently? Taken the weirdest search terms that people have supposedly used to find his blog and dissects them. He calls it Search Term Bingo.  I can’t play this game because I mostly get search terms like “boy lost at comic convention” because I put up the photo of the boy who was lost at a comic convention talking to Wonder Woman and the Flash. I could make some up. I suspect that Chuck has made some of them up. But I don’t care because it’s funny and in that one column, he made about four different memes. So anyway, read that one and look up some of the others, and come to hate the brilliant Wendig as much as I do. Also, read Blackbirds.

3) Lionsgate, facing a vocal backlash at the launching of a film version of Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, is trying to disassociate itself from Card, whose virulent views of gay people and fierce activism against their rights has come under fire, and hold a LGTB benefit in premiering the movie. This desperate move came after Card hamfistedly demanded to the media that no one protest boycott the movie or say mean things about his views anymore because the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Prop 8, despite all the efforts of NOM, of which Card is a director. Lionsgate is being equally disingenuous, claiming that they didn’t know Card’s views before getting into the film. Given that he’s been doing his activism for twenty years or more, this seems unlikely.

People are either going to come to the movie or not. I won’t be, but have nothing against people who do go. Ender’s Game and sequel Speaker for the Dead are two very SF interesting novels (and libraries often have them if you want to check them out, which helps libraries.) Unfortunately the man who wrote them is not a very interesting person.

4) And a last bit of social consciousness for the day, which also just happens to be amazing spoken poetry, is a video by young British poet Hollie McNish called Embarrassed about breastfeeding, society and her own personal journey. Having been through what she’s gone through, all I can say is, well done, madame, well done:

 

 

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Interesting Writings — 6/12/13

Quick Linkage time*:

Chuck Wendig entertainingly talks about Kindle/Warner’s team-up to sell licensed tie-in fiction to some of their book/t.v. show franchises as a form of “fan fiction.”

Foz Meadows talks about realism and outliers in SFFH.

One more sexism in SFFH entry by Emily Finke, because I thought this very cogently talked about the larger problem beyond the big controversies.

Tobias Bucknell explains publishing math to people who don’t really know anything about it.

Video interview and quoted excerpts from an interview with recently deceased writer Iain M. Banks. The award winning author was an excellent ambassador for doing away with the imaginary wars and an all round great guy. It is a loss, but check out the legacy of his novels, including his last one coming out this week.

*For reasons known only to WordPress, only one link here got the traditional blue coloring, but they all seem to be working, so click on the underlined words. Thanks!

 

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