Tag Archives: review

Ours Is the Storm on Sale for 99¢!

This week, Ours Is the Storm is only 99c on Amazon!

But you already read it, you say. You’ve got a copy. You don’t need another. Of course you don’t so what can you do?

 

All the usual stuff:

Review Ours Is the Storm on Amazon by clicking here.

Tell your friends to buy the book

Buy a copy for your favorite fantasy reader – a $1 gift! How easy is that? And they’ll think you’re awesome!

Spread the word on social media – Facebook, Twitter, Reddit /r/books or /r/Fantasy, Tumblr, wherever!

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RAZE - a weekly fantasy web serial

My serial needs your vote!

Every vote counts

If you’ve been following RAZE (or if you haven’t), I could use your vote and your rating on topwebfiction.com. This’ll help increase the visibility of my web series and get more readers. Just click here to cast your vote. Top Web Fiction and its sister site, Web Fiction Guide, are the premier place for readers of online serial fiction to find the best stories, all posted for free. Ranking will get me views, readers, and more votes.

I could also use your review. RAZE is listed at Wattpad and at webfictionguide.com. Those links will take you to the appropriate place to drop a star rating and a couple of words. It would make a huge difference so I hope you can spare a couple of minutes.

Lastly, tell your friends! RAZE is a series of short entries, readable on any of your online devices through my site and through Wattpad. If you know someone who likes mature, adult takes on fantasy literature, RAZE might be there thing. That said…

About RAZE and “mature” material

RAZE is an ongoing, weekly epic fantasy web serial, a serious, character driven portrait of the greatest warrior the world has ever known, told from his holding cell before his execution at the hands of the woman he loves; a cell he chose; a cell in which he waits. To find out why, you have to get to know RAZE.

RAZE is also fairly dark thus far, and explores some mature themes that may prove upsetting to some. I’m of the opinion that fiction is the correct place to explore and understand things that frighten us, disturb us, or even things that have traumatized us. I think it’s the right place, both for myself and for many readers. It’s not everyone’s thing and readers looking for lighter entertainment may not be interested in this story. Of course I want RAZE to be entertaining, but it’s also an outlet for my own thoughts, concerns, fears, and wounds. All that said, and with my intentions being what they are, I also know that there’s room for improvement and better understanding in my own work. I hope anyone who reads and has thoughts about the work will let me hear those thoughts.

Thanks everyone.

 

 

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Ours Is the Storm makes top 25 list!

Hey all, I ran across this yesterday which was a pretty cool find. BestFantasyBooks.com compiles several lists every year of their favorite works, and for 2016 Ours Is the Storm made their top 25 best indie fantasy books list! (You have to scroll down quite a bit, but there are a bunch of other great books to check out on the list too.)

It’s a great honor to be on there with a number of the top fantasy writers working outside of the big traditional publishers. There are a lot of us and I’m humbled that Ours Is the Storm  is so well-regarded.

Check out BestFantasyBooks.com for great fantasy recommendations and new books.

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Review – Crimson Peak

I love Guillermo Del Toro.

Watching this yesterday, I found myself trying to find the right adjective for his work, and I came to “lush.”

Decadent is wrong; nothing he does is extraneous, unneeded, crass. Rich is close, but implies a sweetness or savoriness that’s again, not quite right.

Crimson Peak is a great expression of his style and ability; it’s lush. The costumes, dialogue, sets, story, violence: all of it is full, brimming over, so good you can’t get enough. This is a blood-soaked, gothic, romantic horrorshow, but not a horror movie. It has its moments of classic scare, but the terror permeating every scene, the wait, the anticipation, is what distinguishes Del Toro from others who wish they had half his skill in engaging an emotion.

Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain are particularly fantastic – but I won’t spoil anything by telling you why.

Once again, I want to stress that this isn’t a horror film. It’s a Del Toro film, much more about human horror and nastiness than that of cheap evil spirits or motivationless monsters. Don’t go expecting to jump out of your seat every ten seconds only to laugh at it. This is awesome storytelling, amazing visuals, and creepy, Mary Shelly-like gothic horror, meant to hold up a mirror instead of zoom in on the machete blade. Awesome, 9/10 would be creeped out again.

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Review – The Lies of Locke Lamora

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Here I am, procrastinating on actually working on my new projects (The Festival of Masks, a Mona Scrap, and RAZE, a fantasy web serial) or old projects (The Victorious Death of Eliza Warden) but sort of doing something useful by blogging a little.

The Lies of Locke Lamora is funny, brutal at times, clever, and fresh. It’s Ocean’s  Eleven meets Dungeons and Dragons, Catch Me If You Can meets Lord of the Rings. It’s a fine long read and stands well enough on its own, but is also part of a planned seven (I think) part series. Settle in and enjoy the creative profanity, teeth-knocked-out fights, and witty banter. I wouldn’t suggest it if you’re squeamish about any of those things, but if you are you may have found the perfect modern expression of fantasy thievery and con-art.

Locke resides in the canal-lined city of Camorr, which shares a lot with Terry Pratchett’s Ankh Morpork, Lieber’s Lankhmar, and renaissance Venice. He works for the Capa, sort of a Don-like crime boss, in a city that regulates its crime right along with its nobility. He leads the Gentleman Bastards, a con-artist group without peer, as they scheme and steal and pull one over on just about everyone else in the city. Things grow more complicated, however, as their latest job takes a few unexpected turns, and meanwhile a mysterious gray figure begins stalking the city’s criminal elite.

I will say that I felt a few parts of the book had a little too much room to breathe; a few pacing missteps and a little bit of forced dialogue aside, , this is a fun, engaging read, written in a modern style that makes the characters, events, and wildly imaginative setting easy to relate to. If you’re a fan of modern fantasy, crime stories, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, this might be for you. Want to get away from fantasy involving worldwide wars, the fate of humanity, and esoteric magic systems? This will be your thing.

This and other goodreads reviews here.

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Review – The Book of Merlyn

The Book of Merlyn

I’m not certain that this volume is quite as necessary as the back matter suggests. That said, it has the wit and beauty you’d expect, and includes one of my favorite segments (the geese) from The Sword in the Stone. Some of the segments about communism vs. capitalism, property – the more political topics – detracted for me. Then, however, those segments would be interrupted by the poignance and emotion that made me love The Once and Future King so much, and I was glad I’d picked it up. If you’ve read the rest of the Once and Future King, it’s worth it, but only as the capstone to the series.

4/5 magic talking hedgepigs

Some other goodreads reviews here.

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Dead Man – Streaming Netflix Movie Review

“Do you know my poetry?”

I can’t believe I waited so long to watch this. A spectacular, odd, and puzzling film which I’ll be thinking about and certainly revisiting for another viewing.Dead Man

A Jim Jarmusch (Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai; Only Lovers Left Alive) western emanating style and complexity, Dead Man is one of those flicks that I’d only really heard of on my Netflix instant queue. I gave it a closer look and, aside from pre-Pirates Johnny Depp, found – Jim Jarmusch! A score by Neil Young? Billy Bob Thornton! John Hurt! Alfred Molina! Robert Mitchum! Iggy Pop?! There are even more really fantastic and surprising actors in this, too many to list, but needless to say I jumped right in, brushing off my chagrin at having left the movie to languish on my queue for so long.

Jim Jarmusch

Jim Jarmusch

Accountant William (Bill) Blake (no relation to the artist and poet) heads to Machine somewhere in the West to start a new job, only to discover the job’s taken. He finds himself at the end of the line, with no money and no prospects. A simple gesture of kindness to Thel, a beautiful woman who makes paper roses, leads to a series of unhappy events and choices which take William Blake further and further from what he knows. Aided and guided by Nobody, scholar, mystic, and  outcast of the local Native American tribe(s), Blake is on a journey through the mirror, unaware he’s already a Dead Man.

Dead Man is filmed in black and white, lending it a style more reminiscent of 40s Westerns than the Leone/Eastwood era. Further setting it apart is the dreamy, kind of trippy vibe, established immediately and reinforced with strange occurrences and poignant, quiet moments that would have been cut from a bigger studio film. Be warned, if you’re looking for fast-paced action, this ain’t it. That’s not to say there aren’t a few boxes of ammo fired, badass lines, or unusual characters–just don’t expect constant shootouts and bar fights.

The depiction of the Native Americans throughout the movie is especially well done and (reportedly) quite accurate. Neil Young’s haunting, stark, and largely-improvised score is perfectly matched to the film. As mentioned, there are too many great performances to list, but Hurt and Molina stand out, and it was nice to see Johnny Depp act a role a little more nuanced and meaningful than some recent ones (*cough drunk pirate cough*). Gary Farmer, whom I’ve only seen in Jarmusch movies but (according to IMDB) is in literally everything, is just fantastic as Nobody.

Jarmusch has a talent for a kind of quiet, heartbreaking combination of violence, peace, hope, and tragedy it’s tough to put words to. Watching Blake’s journey tuned a random evening’s Netflix selection into the discovery of one of my new favorite movies, and provided food for thought for a long time to come. The moment it was over, I was ready to watch it again. Highly recommended.

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