Another Interesting List

So Paul Goat Allen over at Barnes and Noble’s book blog (we won’t ask about their future here), made a list of the 20 best Paranormal Fantasy series.

It’s not an altogether bad list. I’ve read most of the series, and there’s a couple I *want* to that I haven’t had the time yet.

First of all, I’ll quibble with the title. Paranormal Fantasy is Department of Redundancy Department. Fantasy is, by definition, outside (hence Para) the normal. Paranormal Romance works as a genre, because Romance (while having its own mash of fantasies) can be this OR otherworldly. Fantasy, even when it’s a world “like” ours, isn’t. Now I get what he means, he’s mashing “Paranormal Romance” and “Urban Fantasy” together because the two are often difficult to distinguish. Fair Enough. But they are not so fungible as to mash their titles together.

Second, I’ll quibble with the #1 spot. Dead Beat is *probably* the best Dresden Files, and he was trying to only take 1 per series. That’s fine. However, there’s no way DB is not the high point of Urban Fantasy. Period. Full Stop. It practically LIVES on the TV Tropes Crowning Moments of Awesome page. Right down to this iconic image: Yes. This is Dresden Files. Sorry, Kim Harrison’s Hollows is a very good series. But it has no moment even approximating this…oh as amazing as the picture is, it forgot the one man polka band keeping time.

Third, how in the world is Kate Daniels NOT on this list?

No really. Impressive character growth, fantastic relationships. Great plots, intense action. The series is amazing, and has everything Urban Fantasy fans should expect. And if you want a Distaff counterpart to Harry, it’s Kate. No question.

I could also make a case for MLN Hannover’s Black Sun’s Daughter and Benedict Jacka’s Alex Verus. But to me, the glaring omission is Kate Daniels, as IMHO, it’s the second best Urban Fantasy you can buy today, behind Harry Dresden.

Still, not a *bad* list, perse.

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18 Influential Voices in Literature on the Internet


I’ve heard a LOT more of these than the Times list. And I’m on the internet for hours a day. So it can’t be because I’m ‘isolated.’ Now admittedly the web is a big place. But these are bigger names, IMHO. And hence more influential.

Originally posted on Cedar Writes:

top5influencesSomeone put together a list of the 35 Writers who Run the Internet that had a bunch of us scratching our heads in puzzlement. We’d collectively heard of two or three of them, and most of us are very well read online, keeping up with the changes in the industry. So I challenged several disparate groups of people to nominate influential voices in literature. Who do we listen to?

I was looking for people who are respected, known for their positive contributions to discussions of writing and publishing, who nurture the current and rising generation of writers. I wasn’t looking necessarily for writers, but those who contribute to the internet’s depth of knowledge about good stories, and good writers.

Here’s the list, roughly ranked in order of number of times a name was suggested. I wound up dropping a few, who only received a self-nomination, or one vote, and I’m…

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Position-by-position: Considering MLS’s All-Star Game snubs


In which I ask, “What does Dom Dwyer have to do to get recognition among the League’s best strikers?”

Originally posted on ProSoccerTalk:

All-Star snub lists are a tradition in every sport, even though they often ignore the realities of the task. Caleb Porter couldn’t pick every player whose had a good season, and since there’s an actual game to play, he has to have some reasonable positional distribution. Add in the Fan XI and  Don Garber’s picks (which technically, he can exclude from the squad) and there were since significant restraints on the second-year boss.

So before criticizing his choices, let’s lay some ground rules – guidelines that will keep this from descending into a bland list of every player that’s performed above some imaginary threshold:

1. You have to be better than somebody who was chosen, preferably at your exact position. Having a good year doesn’t justify an All-Star spot, nor does a case that doesn’t acknowledge the competition at the position.

2. You can’t be a “snub” just because you’re better than a player who was

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In Full Editing Mode

So after finishing book 3 of the Sword, Sandals, and Sorcery series, I decided I needed a little break before going into the next. Still not sure how long that break will be. It’s too long to stop until November and NaNo. But it did take me three months to the day to finish the 120,000 words of Chosen in Chains.

I can usually edit one work while I write another. But there was one book I couldn’t, because sometime in the past, it got horribly reformatted. As in almost every paragraph break was annihilated. Indents were too far, random returns, just ugly.

It was also Aurori’s Blood. My first novel, and the one that probably has gotten the best feedback of anything I’ve shown. So I decided to take the time to comb through it in dedicated fashion, fix it, put it in Scrivener, and then rework the plot of the rest of the series.

For those of you who know nothing about it, here’s my attempt at a logline: A Romany Sorceress, not wanting to become a vampire, flees into the arms of a minor courtier of Emperor Rudolf II in Prague who is preparing to kick off the Long War against the Ottoman Empire. She thus becomes embroiled in a plot of forces political and arcane, wherein a necromancer steals a tome from His Majesty that will allow him to control creatures such as her would-be masters.

Much Chaos Ensues. Where did this come from? Well, I’ve read two authors in my life about whom I’ve said, “There’s no way in the world I could do this.” One was Steven Erikson and his mammoth, sprawling dark epic, The Malazan Book of the Fallen. To me easily the superior sustained epic fantasy of this era. Yes over Wheel of Time (which had 6 books of total cash-cow dross), and A Song of Ice and Fire (which has now spent 2 book spinning its wheels and sees its author dissing its fans for daring to think that once every 6 years is a tad slow for production, ESPECIALLY in a series that is making no narrative progress). When I read Malazan, I was amazed by Erikson’s worldbuilding, characters, gallows humor, and sustained ruthless forward energy. I looked at that, love it, but was pretty sure I could never do anything ‘like’ that. And didn’t really convince myself I wanted to. (I’m now doing a fairly dark epic fantasy of my own, but still, I’d be shocked if anyone compared this to MBotF.)

Then there was Jim Butcher and his Dresden Files. When I saw this recommended on the old Malazan Forum time and again I hesitated. Urban Fantasy didn’t appeal to me. To me, if it’s present day, give me sci-fi. Of course, the fact that too much sci-fi has become political tripe instead of stories about exploration, new cultures, and old challenges encountered in new ways has made me very wary on it. But eventually I gave Dresden a try…oh my. Nope, couldn’t do that either. Fast, funny, brilliant action scenes, and superb genre-savvy characters. For my money, the Best Fiction on the Market.

But, there was a marked difference: Where I read Erikson, loved him, but was intimidated from trying to write anything because I could never measure. With Butcher, it was infectious FUN to think, “I couldn’t do this. But what could I do?”

So I took my love of history, dropped it in one of the most eccentric courts of all time (Rudolf II, Emperor of the Romans in Renaissance Prague), remembered Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle, and all the myths he toyed at with that, and then went through Slavic and German Folklore for a few dozen more, and did my best to turn it all up to 11 and see where it went.

And that’s the source of the Aurori Saga. An All-the-Myths-Are-True (sorta) 16th century “Renaissance Urban Fantasy,” if you will. And I’ve had fun refurbishing the first, and playing with the plotline of the subsequent books to tighten the narrative a tad. It might just keep my occupied until I can prep for NaNo with Book 4. We’ll see. ;)

Just Something In The Morning

Originally posted on According To Hoyt:

I’ll post in an hour or so.  Some family stuff has come up that unexpectedly ate my morning.

BUT in the meantime, I came across this cover, from Random House:

Sell to the Majors!  You’ll get appealing and commercial covers…. Guys, his tail is square from bad clipping.  a piece of the mountain is in the middle of his back… Oh, wait, it’s not a tail, it’s a river tilted at  a completely different angle from the rest of the picture.

Way to go, Random Penguin!

Which brings us to this:

Fisking Hugh Howey

And this from it is the most beautiful thing I’ve read in a long time.  I read it aloud, and the tears ran down my face, because it’s out in the open, and I don’t have to keep it in anymore:

When in the Course of publishing events, it becomes necessary for writers to sever their…

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A Hearty Endorsement

Of this list of questions:

I’ve always been a fan of doing character interviews. I do them of my major characters in each book. Along with questions like, “What would cause you to abandon your plan?” for the antagonist (as in, “Does he do it because he wants to make the world better, as he sees it–and thus is a well-meaning extremist. Or is he just in it for Global Domination and the EVULZ). Even minor characters get a good helping of these questions. You never know when one might ‘step up’ on you.

For Yalissa, in my Hellenistic Fantasy, for instance. What would mentally destroy her has changed from Book 1 to now. In the 1st, the Destruction of her Temple and Faith would have undone her. She would have sacrificed everything for her fellow Chosen. However, the events of the second book tear away all of that from her. Now, her relationship to Sharit is more open to questioning. And what she truly cares for is the people she has freed from captivity.

How did she get from point A to Point C? Ahh. Not telling. lol. One day you’ll learn. I hope. ;)

Here We Go Again

You know, I’ve come to the conclusion that the entertainment industry is populated by the only group of semi-educated people on earth who both:

1) Have no freaking comprehension of how market economics works. And

2) Still make money, despite their incompetence at managing said system.

Of course, I would add that their lack of intuitive grasp of the Law of Supply and Demand is beginning to have consequences. Especially with the new realm of Indie Creators and small marketeers eating away at their profits.

Which is, of course, at the heart of why a bunch of .001% authors can suffer Amazon Derangement Syndrome, claim a boycott is happening when it isn’t, and then duff around while their publishers–who artificially inflate the prices on e-books–continue to tell them stories about how Amazon is cheating them. This despite the fact Amazon has specifically promised to compensate THEM for any losses.

Note, this means authors are complaining because their publisher is abusing them, and they are complaining to the party that is actively trying to compensate them fairly.