by Brian

Fake Beatles and Rewrites

April 4, 2011 in Uncategorized by Brian

Wifey and I saw 1964 the Tribute over the weekend. It was very well done. These guys have been a touring tribute act for 27 years, and are doing 120 shows a year. Kinda crazy. They’ve got the songs, the voices, the looks, all down really well. We had nosebleed seats, but honestly I think it helped with the illusion. It really felt like we were seeing the Beatles (aside from the lack of women throwing themselves at the stage and other such sundries).

Over the last four weeks I have rewritten about 1/3 of Promise of Blood. It’s been kinda hectic, kinda draining, yet I feel it’s been worth it. The first section of the book now moves much faster, there are some significant improvements with motivation and characterization, and I think things have been set up even better for the sequel.

The end result is I’m both burned out and empowered. I want to get working on a couple other projects but I also want to sleep for a week.

by Brian

A Long Absence

March 10, 2011 in Agents, reading, Update by Brian

I’ve been on sabbatical the last few weeks. By “sabbatical” I mean that every time I should have written a blog, I went and did something else instead. Usually, that something else was reading. I’ve gone through a number of books lately:

The Crippled God – Steven Erikson
Making Money – Terry Pratchett
Thud! – Terry Pratchett
Unseen Academicals – Terry Pratchett
Medicus: A Novel of the Roman Empire – Ruth Downie
Westmark – Lloyd Alexander

As you can see, I’ve been on kind of a Terry Pratchett kick lately. I think I’d have read more if my local library had a better selection. It’s hard to read one and not want to go right back into that world. I’ve been trying–unsuccessfully–to get my wife to start reading them.

New on the book: I had a long talk with my agent recently. I’m now working on a rewrite of about 40K words of Promise of Blood. Not exactly what I wanted to do, but I couldn’t argue with many of the problems she had and the solution is a rewrite. The good news is, I’m excited about my plans for the re-write and I’m already about 15K words into it. It will make the first third of the book move faster and, hopefully, pull the reader in far better than the first draft would have.

On the thought of agents, I read a blog recently that talked about how agents are faring in all of this hubbub in the publishing world. I thought it was of particular interest because most news I see has to do with authors or editors, not the middleman.

by Brian

Modern Fantasy, eh?

February 16, 2011 in Blogs, World Fantasy by Brian

I was doing a little pre-work blog reading yesterday when I came across this gem. I really don’t know what to call it. It’s not an analysis because no actual analyzation happens during the post. It’s not a review, because it’s not aimed at a particular book but rather an entire subgenre (or maybe even genre as a whole). No, let’s just call it an opinion. It’s one man’s opinion of the modern fantasy genre–specifically naming two of my favorite authors: Joe Abercrombie and Steven Erikson. And a kind opinion it is not.

I don’t have anything to say about the article. Ok, that’s not true. I have plenty to say. None of it is nice and I couldn’t put even a fraction of it into less than a page. Hell. I’m going to try anyway.

It made my blood boil in the same way literary elitists in the English program at college did. Not just because it attacks writing I like. No, it attacks a whole category of Fantasy that I someday hope to be recognized within. It takes everything I do, all of my hopes and dreams and career aspirations, and calls them “postmodern blasphemies against our mythic tradition” because one elitist zealot has gone all St. Augustine on the literary tradition of Fantasy, with Tolkien and Robert E. Howard as his Lords and Saviors.

I love Grandpa Tolkien. You’re going to find few modern fantasy writers that don’t. Most owe their career to his influence, at least in part. Yet he is not the Fantasy Jehovah. His works are not law, cannonized by higher authority, their words sacred.

I won’t even start into the comparison between Tolkien and modern writers. It’s unfair, and frankly naive. Howard is a much better comparison and I would bet one of my dogs (the smart one) that the creator of Conan the Barbarian would love Abercrombie’s First Law series or Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen.

I’m gonna stop now. I think my most apt description of that article is naive. Naive and foolish.

I actually came across the article from Joe Abercrombie’s blog, where he wrote a response. It was enjoyable.

by Brian

Kindle: Week 3

February 13, 2011 in exercise, kindle by Brian

I’ve had my Kindle long enough to get a good feel for it. I still stand by everything I said in my Kindle 3 Review but I wanted to add a little more.

I’m really excited for the beginning of March. Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss and The Crippled God by Steven Erikson both come out on the first of that month. Those are both books in the “I don’t care how poor I am I’m getting them” realm. However, the problem with these books go much deeper than whether I can really afford them. The problem is: which do I read first? I mean, seriously. How am I gonna choose? I’ve already decided that they will be the first two new books I buy on my Kindle. I will one day own the hardcover of both–I know, it’s weird to buy a book twice, but I don’t mind–and it’s not like I’m exactly swimming in bookshelf space at my current house. These will therefor be the first giant epic fantasies I will have read on the Kindle. I’m curious how, if at all, this will change the experience for me.

Certainly my arms won’t be as tired after reading for 18 hours straight.

I’ve discovered that my Kindle balances perfectly on the ipod holder on our elliptical. This is kind of a major breakthrough because it means I can read while I exercise. I love wheeling my desk over there and watched some Craig Ferguson on the laptop while I work out, but it doesn’t release me from the torture that is prolonged movement quite the way that reading a book or a series of articles does.

by Brian

I’m not dead yet!

February 10, 2011 in Uncategorized by Brian

I’m about a third of the way through my Drums of War rewrite. It’s going quite well. In other news, the Japanese have designed a machine that will turn office paper into toilet paper in thirty minutes. I can’t imagine it’s soft on the bum.

Get back to me when they design a machine that recycles paper into cheesecake.

by Brian

A Day at the Beach

February 3, 2011 in Uncategorized by Brian

Ok, it wasn’t a day. More like thirty minutes. But still! Welcome to the north coast, people. Squint hard and you can see the lighthouse about a quarter mile out.

by Brian

Post of Interest: Borders

February 1, 2011 in Uncategorized by Brian

Borders has been going down the tubes for some time. This is the latest of many posts throughout the blogosphere that indicate how things are going. You should probably dish your Borders stock, if you haven’t already.

by Brian

January 31, 2011 in Uncategorized by Brian

I would have joined Vader to rule the galaxy. Just sayin’.

by Brian

My Kindle 3 Review

January 28, 2011 in ebooks, kindle by Brian

The Good:
Screen size and weight. It feels like holding a (very) light paperback. I had no problems reading on my back for hours, holding the screen over my head (can’t say the same for a Steven Erikson hardcover). The print size is adjustable for those with bad eyesight though I kept it at a standard paper-back sized font.
Didn’t hurt my eyes one bit. The e-ink technology they use feels to the eyes just like reading a regular book and I don’t know if I will ever touch my Kindle for PC application again.
The web browser is more of a pleasant bonus than anything else. As one of those barbarians without a smart phone it will be nice for checking things on wikipedia or reading my daily blogs when I’m someplace without my computer (but with wireless, for I did not get the 3G model for the extra $50).
It can hold MP3s. I’m sure I read this somewhere before buying, but it surprised me anyway. I threw a couple episodes of Writing Excuses on there yesterday but for anyone with an MP3 player this really isn’t that fantastic. It doesn’t have a lot of memory but will be a good place to keep audio books–if I ever buy one. What it does not have is a navigable menu for your MP3s; simply a press and play.

The “Meh”:
The web browser goes under this, too. It has a tough time rendering pictures and can be slow and choppy. It has an awkward cursor thing that lets you navigate but is less than functional if you’re in a hurry or at all impatient.
The touted free ebook archive we’ve heard so much about is kinda underwhelming. I’d hoped for something that I could browse during work, plucking this book and that and whisking it to my kindle. Instead I found links to several websites (,, and not a single one of which I found “browseable.” Go ahead and call me lazy. I don’t mind. It just didn’t live up to my expectations. I’d hoped to have hundreds of awesome old books on my kindle in a few days. I’m up to about sixteen that caught my interest and those were mostly childhood reads (Les Mis, Count of Monte Cristo, etc). If a book is public domain and you know exactly what you want, you will probably find it on one of those sites. But don’t expect to jump on the internet and fill your bookshelf. Running down a brightly lit bookstore aisle with a shopping cart and carte-blanche this is not.

The Coolest Thing So Far:
I figured out how to put my own work on the kindle. It’s really quite simple once you figure out how to save your files and where to put them. The formatting isn’t perfect and I won’t be able to effectively edit on the thing. What makes me the most excited is my ability to have a non-editing, comfortable read through of one of my books without having to sit at the computer. I kicked back on the couch and read Drums of War on and off throughout the last day and a half and was delighted.
It gave me a feel for how the book would look on a printed page. It didn’t hurt my eyes or back and it didn’t feel at all like a chore or work. It felt like I was on my couch reading a paperback. And that alone may be worth getting a kindle.

by Brian

Post Birth/Town Blowing Up Day

January 26, 2011 in Uncategorized by Brian

So my town caught on fire two days ago. They gave an evacuation order (which was then rescinded a couple hours later) and we skedaddled out of there with our pets for an impromptu trip to my parent’s house. The whole thing made national news. Gas pressure spike, fires, no body hurt, etc. All in all a very exciting day. We didn’t get heat back until about 9PM–which is fun when it’s 10 degrees out.

And yesterday was my birthday. Yay! All of twenty-five years old. Fatter and more arthritic. Maybe a teeny bit wiser. Or at least more experienced in the deep, trying ways of this wearying world. *Insert epic sigh here.*

My kindle came in the mail yesterday. I’m very excited. You can see it below next to my keyboard, or for further reference, by Leto. I plan on spending a good amount of time with it the next couple days but here’s my initial response:

-I love the size and the weight.
-I can see the screen perfectly without straining my eyes.
-The free book resources are a little underwhelming–you need to know what you want to find things.
-The web browser has it’s downsides but it’s still fun.