Two Book Endorsements

Not Book reviews mind you. I don’t have the inclination to go through them both in detail and potentially spoil them for the reader.  But I’ll give them wholehearted thumbs up. (Or at least 99%.)

I recently finished reading Fated. The first book in the Alex Varus series by Benedict Jacka. Alex is a ‘probability mage.’ Don’t call him a ‘fortune teller.’ That gets him cranky, apparently. There’s nothing showy in his magic. But when you can see what’s going to happen from every contingent possibility, you don’t need to say Forzare! and make the world tremble.  (Plus he does a Dresden Shout-out, so I have to give it props for sheer audacity.) It has good humor, a great narrator as a primary character. Troubled, with having walked both the light and dark paths (further on the dark side than Harry ‘actually’ has, in fact). But committed to doing what’s right now, when no one else seems to be. Excellent world-building, a great magic system, a crackling narrator, and can there be a better city to write Urban Fantasy in than London? I really need to get the next two books in a hurry. Though Mrs Cole would point at the towers of Babel that constitute my current reading piles and tell me to stop. 😛

I no sooner finished that than turned straight into the 3rd book of Larry Correia’s Grimoire Chronicles: Warbound. If you’ve read the 1st 2 books, I don’t need to say anything more. If you haven’t. Well, do yourself a favor and get them. ALL. NOW. Alternate History meets Dieselpunk meets Superhero Noir (which is how the magic system of the series basically pans out, something X-Men-like, but more believable). Also, this is Larry Correia, so you know there will be guns. LOTS of guns. Many, many firearms of all types. Right uses Might. And Freaking How. There’s wit. There’s romance (gasp!). And there are epic battles by the bucketload. Correia is a master of pacing. And it shows. The editor could’ve done him a few favors in the grammar department. But none of them are disastrous. Some people classify this series as Urban Fantasy. I push back on that by saying that the action is decidedly NOT given to any one city, and the character of any ONE city does not define any character in the story. So it’s not UF. That doesn’t make it less awesome.

Now, as Amazon offloads another truckload at my door, the next book up is from a former conversant on the OLD Bioware Forums boards, back in the days of Neverwinter Nights. The Grim Company, by Luke Skull. I’m looking forward to this read. And I’ll hope he returns the favor when The Iron Conqueror comes calling.

I finished three chapters of the Sword & Sandals this week. And I have most of a fourth in my notes. So it’s time to get cracking on that. 😉





Happy Last Day of Summer!

And a mild summer for us at that.

I recently tried out the beta of Scrapple, the mind-mapping software from Literature & Latte, the people who made Scrivener. The latter product I can highly recommend, and write all my long-term fiction in. The resources it provides are exceptional and I love the full-screen mode when it comes to a no-distractions environment. Also between the 5 backups, saving every time you’re idle for 2 seconds, and the ability to snapshot a save whenever you like, it’s virtually impossible to have a file go completely corrupt.  I could sound like an advertisement for Scrivener, without ever getting paid by them. But it’s a great product, and it’s paid for itself in spades. Here’s another blog endorsing it, with a lot more of the technical bits, which was beyond my purpose in this blurb:

I wanted to like Scrapple, and I have to say, if you’re a mind-mapper, you probably will. But after a dozen or so attempts, I quickly came to recall why I never liked ‘brainstorming,’ no matter what title you put on it. I’m a very linear thinker. An outline comes pretty naturally to me. And I like to think progressively, not just throw things against a wall and see what sticks. I’ve had people tell me that doesn’t sound creative. I give that a shoulder shrug and say, ‘Meh.’ I don’t buy the ‘A creative mind is a messy mind’ argument either. What works for one person doesn’t work for another. And I have enough rough drafts on the table to know I can craft a story.

So in the end, I have to say Scrapple isn’t for me. But it may be for you. It certainly is good at what it claims to do. And the good folks at Literature and Latte will support it.

On another note, I hold in my ink-stained fingers the third and (seemingly) final volume in Larry Correia’s Grimnoir Chronicles: Warbound. And I can say it’s a fine read already. Most people will know the author from his B-Horror meets Gun Porn guilty pleasure of a series: The Monster Hunters. I actually got to him through this series, which has been whip-smart from the get-go. But all his writing is intense, lots of action, yet still possessing humor and character to spare. It’s not on the Jim Butcher Dresden Files level of pure reading bliss yet. But he’s getting closer every book.