Gemmell Award Winners

The David Gemmell Awards were announced over the weekend.  (Yes, I’m behind and getting further behind every day.)  Congratulations to all the winners and nominees.

The winners are:

The Legend Award for Best Fantasy Novel

The Morningstar Award for Best Fantasy Newcomer

The Ravenheart Award for Best Fantasy Cover Art

  • Jason Chan for the cover of The Liar’s Key by Mark Lawrence (Harper Voyager)

The winners were announced September 24, 2016 at Fantasycon. Winners received trophies based on David Gemmell’s novels and characters.  Go here for a complete list of nominees.

The only one of the nominees I’ve read is The Vagrant, and I’m not quite finished with it.  I will say that it’s deserving of the award.  Hopefully I can finish it and get a review up soon.

Return to Sharakhai

Of Sand and Malice MadeOf Sand and Malice Made
Bradley P. Beaulieu
Daw Books
hardcover, 240 pages $18.00
ebook $9.99

I’d like to thank Bradley P. Beaulieu for providing me with the review copy.  I found reading the book to be rather frustrating, not because of any flaw in the story or writing.  Just the opposite.  Life has been chaotic for a number of reasons which are worth getting into.  I’ve been reading the book in snatches, with many interruptions.  I’ve wanted to simply dive in.  Unfortunately, that’s not what’s happened.

But I did manage to carve out some time to read most of the second half over the weekend and finished the last twenty pages tonight.  Of Sand and Malice Made is an excellent fantasy adventure.

It’s also a great introduction to the world of Shattered Sands, which we saw in the first volume of the series, Twelve Kings in Sharakhai (reviewed here).  You don’t have to have read that volume to enjoy this one.  Of Sand and Malice Made is a prequel, telling an adventure of Ceda before the tale of her quest for vengeance against the kings begins.  In fact the kings are hardly mentioned. Continue reading

About Armadillocon

Future Potentate NamebadgeSo, yeah, about Armadillocon. You know, the one that was held at the end of July. While it’s a little late for a con report, I’m going to post a brief one. I’m home waiting on a service technician, who will be by sometime between noon and 5:00. I thought this would be a good time to kill one of the items on my Should Have Already Done List. It’s better than killing someone, such as the person who called at 10:45 wanting to know if I was available because the rest of the service calls are out of town. (No, I thought I made that clear when we talked last week. I have office hours and appointments with students in a few minutes.)

Anyway, I wasn’t planning on going this year, mainly due to distance and money.  Then I learned that Bill Crider, who is a regular, had been diagnosed with cancer.  I thought I had missed the con but found out it was a week later than I’d thought, namely the upcoming weekend.  I looked at the guest list.  None of the headliners appealed, but there was a long line of folks I hadn’t seen in years.  I used to hit Armadillocon just about every year, but since I moved to the other side of the state in 2010, I hadn’t gone.  The summer of 2009 was the last time I was there.

It was a last minute decision, but I was able to make it work.  Armadillocon was one of the first conventions I attended, and it was back at the hotel where it was held the first few years I went.  Nostalgia won out.

Because I literally didn’t register until a few minutes before the preregistration deadline and make my room reservation, I didn’t get the basic room but one a little fancier, at the end of the hall with a balcony.  I came in, noticed a few balloons tied to pieces of candy on the bed, and hit the restroom.  When I came out I saw some items that had been out of my field of view when I got in the room.  A bottle of bubbly on ice with two fluted glasses.  A card in an envelope with a woman’s name on it.  A cupcake alongside a smaller card containing the same same woman’s name.  A bouquet of birthday balloons.  Clearly the front desk had made a mistake. Continue reading

Guest Post by Bradley P. Beaulieu

The good folks over at Ragnarok Publishing are running a Kickstarter for a new anthology featuring female protagonists, Hath No Fury, which ends in a few hours.  They asked me to help get the word out and offered suggestions that would help to do that, including possible guest posts by some of their contributors.  One of the authors with a story in the book is Bradley P. Beaulieu.  His contribution features the protagonist from his current series, The Song of the Shattered Sands.  I reviewed the first volume, Twelve Kings in Sharakai here.

So without further ado, here’s Brad:

I was recently at a convention—GenCon down in Indianapolis—and I was doing a short video interview where we got to talking about the state of the field and how quickly (or not) it changes. My basic take was that it’s a field, much like most of the entertainment industry at large, that’s pretty slow to change.

Why? Well, it’s complicated, but I think a lot of it boils down to how editors (and these days more and more, purchasing panels) decide what a publisher is (and isn’t) going to buy. For the purposes of this conversation, I’m just going to call these folks “editors”, but know that these days it’s almost never a single person that’s making the call, but rather a number of people, including sales, marketing, and other executives—especially if we’re talking about a hot author or property—but it all starts with the editors, so let’s be reductive for the time being. Continue reading

The Last Night of Summer

Well, tonight is the last night of summer.  Yeah, I know that officially summer doesn’t end until the equinox, which is still a few weeks away.  And in the US, Labor Day, which is a week from tomorrow as I write this, is traditionally considered the end of summer.  But classes start in the morning, and my days of at least theoretical flexibility are pretty much gone for the next three and a half months.  In reality, I’ve been back at work and hitting it pretty much full steam since early July with only a few moments here and there to slip away.

Back at the beginning of the summer, I wrote this post, in which I outlined some changes I was implementing over the summer, along with some plans I had.  How did I do on accomplishing the plans? Continue reading

A Review of Datlow’s The Best Horror of the Year Volume Eight

Datlow Best Horror EightThe Best Horror of the Year, Volume Eight
Ellen Datlow, ed.
Night Shade Books
Trade paper $15.99
ebook $14.99

Since this is a review of a horror anthology, I’m going to run with that theme and say August has come from one of the circles of Hell. Just which one, I’m not sure. I need to brush up on my Dante. I finished this book two (three?) weeks ago, and I’m just now getting a relatively quiet and uninterrupted moment when I’m not too wiped out to put coherent sentences together. (The previous post doesn’t count. A careful reading will show I wasn’t in a good mood, and I don’t write reviews when I’m cranky crankier than usual.)  The only part of the process that went the way it should was requesting the book and the quick response.  Thanks to Brianna Scharfenberg of Night Shade Books.  Delays in reading the book and posting the review are entirely mine.

Datlow is one of the most accomplished editors in the field.  I know that any project, whether reprint or original, will have a top-notch selection of stories.  That’s the case here.  Not every story was to my taste, but then I don’t expect them to.  The only anthology that will be completely to my taste will be one I’ve edited, and maybe not even then. Continue reading

Some Thoughts on HPL, on the Occasion of His Birth

LovecraftOther than the Dublin Ghost Story Festival (which I can’t afford to attend), there’s not a lot happening this weekend of any significance.  Which is fine, because there won’t be much to distract from observing HPL’s birthday today.  I intend to read something by him later, provided both the two-legged and four-legged people in the house will leave me alone.

I thought I’d mark the occasion by sharing a few thoughts.  It’s become particularly fashionable in recent years to bash the Gentleman From Providence.  While this is nothing new, it seems to have gained momentum.

When I was younger, the most common complaint I heard was that Lovecraft’s prose was too purple.  I didn’t pay that much attention to the criticism at the time because I was more into science fiction.  It was only as my interest in fantasy began to eclipse my interest in SF that I really started getting into his work.  I’ve always found his writing to be readable.  While there is some merit to the complaints about Lovecraft’s style being outdated (which to a large degree boils down to matters of taste), they’re not a deal breaker for me.  Continue reading

Still Not Dead Yet

Yes, I am alive, at least for certain definitions of life.  I’ve just been swamped with ending a term, preparing for one that’s off to a bit of a rockier start than usual, and getting a child ready to start high school in a school that has over 2,000 students.  Among other things.

Most days, I only have a few minutes of stillness and quiet (internal and external) to focus on reading/writing/blogging.  I’m hoping that will change by Labor Day, when everything should fall into a routine.

To the two people to whom I promised reviews, I finished the books over a week ago.  I will write them as soon as I can do a professional job that isn’t rushed.  I’m hoping that will be this weekend.

Is the Second Summer Term Over Yet?

Well, no, actually it’s not.  I ruin some people’s day give the final on Thursday.  I’ve got a few posts lined up, I just need to finish an anthology (one story left), and two novels (both nearly done).  Because of some things I’ll go into when I write the con report, I went to Armadillcon last weekend.  It was a late minute decision.  Since I got back, I haven’t gotten anything done in terms of blogging or writing until this evening.  My son’s summer ended last Monday when band practice started, and the week has been hectic for all of us.  Things should settle down a bit by the end of the month, and hopefully I’ll post a little more regularly.  Anyway, I haven’t died or dropped off the face of the planet (at least not entirely).