This Week’s Writing Links: Half A King

Half_a_King_by_Joe_AbercrombieFresh off climbing a volcano and watching an inspiring US Women’s World Cup win, I thought I would get back into the swing of things on the blog. I’ve been working tirelessly on the book writing side of things this year, but have been neglectful on the blogging side, which admittedly, if I had to choose between the duties of a contemporary writer, is how I would prefer it. But now that I’ve finished manuscript duties for the time being, I suppose it’s time to return to contributing to the overall betterment of culture and society by posting Nicholas Cage mashups and soccer videos on my blog.

I’ve also had some people email me asking about when the Exiles of the New World is going to be back in print. That’s something I’m hoping to have an answer to in the next few months. I have to wait and see what happens with this WIP before going ahead with Exiles. Even if this manuscript gets pushed back, Exiles should be back on the market at some point this year. Until then, please do not attempt to buy any of the gouged used copies being sold on amazon. Email me for more reasonable alternatives before buying a $60 copy online.

Anyway, moving on. This week’s writing links features the AV Club’s best in print so far for 2015 (including Joe Abercrombie’s ‘Half a King’ and Noelle Stevenson’s ‘Nimona’, both of which I’ve read a bit of and enjoy greatly), some July must-reads from Flavorwire (including Harper Lee’s much anticipated Go Set a Watchman), Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner’s reassuring advice to struggling writers and some cool maps of fictional literary places.

I’d like to quickly swing back to Joe Abercrombie’s Half a King and talk a little bit more about that novel. I have read some of Abercrombie’s stuff in the past and liked it, but have admittedly preferred the style of his fantasy contemporaries like Rothfuss, Martin and Lynch just a bit more. However, having recently read some of Half a King, I must say it is quite good. The first chapter is a masterclass on writing a very tight, involving opening that grips the reader from page one without plaguing them with exposition or resorting to the more popular crutches of YA fiction like a burst of immediate contextless action or using a prologue or zombies or zombie prologues. Either way, if you were struggling with your opening, regardless of what genre or age group you’re writing for, try to track down that first chapter. It’s a good one.

Speaking of Nicholas Cage mashups (just let this abrupt transition happen), did everyone see the Nicholas Cage as Game of Thrones character mashup? It’s amazing and I love almost everything about it, but my only problem with it is that I honestly thought this post would represent the literal end of the internet. Like I always imagined that if Jeff Bridges’ character in Tron kept driving his blue light bike out of the mainframe and eventually found the end of the internet many years later, it would just be this picture of Nicholas Cage as Bran Stark floating in the nothingness of space, kinda like when they found the edge of the universe in Dark City. Unfortunately that doesn’t appear to be the case, as this mashup exists and more internet content continues to be produced. Disappointing to say the least, but we must be strong and forge on.

Anyway, check out some other good writing links below and feel free to share your own.

PS. I have a new release date for Doors of Stone. It’s never.

Just kidding. I’m sure it will come out at some point, but not in 2015 as Rothfuss stated in a tweet, so Doors of Stone watch has officially been pushed back to at least 2016. I’m sure it will be worth the wait though. Can’t wait to check it out.

This Week’s Writing Links:

– Best in Print of 2015 so far (avclub)
– 10 Must Read Books for July (flavorwire)
– Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona (amazon)
– Dune, 50 years on: how a science fiction novel changed the world (theguardian)
– Matthew Weiner’s Reassuring Advice for Struggling Artists (fastcompany)
– Nicholas Cage as Every Game of Thrones Character (io9)
– Cool Maps of Fictional Places (joehill)
– Review of the Paper Towns Film Adaptation (thewrap)
– 7 Books to Read Before Seeing the Movie (kirkusreview)
– Every Time Travel Movie Ever Ranked (io9)
– Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness Avaliable as an ebook (sfsignal)
– How I Got My Literary Agent: Rebecca Phillips (writersdigest)
– How To Tell If Your Manuscript is YA (katebrauning)
– Hank and John Green’s new podcast (hankandjohn)

This Week’s Writing Links: Game of Thrones Returns to TV


This Sunday (4/12) marks the return of Game of Thrones to television, sending viewers scrambling to reconnect with distant relatives at Easter dinners so that they can piggyback off their HBO Go accounts and once again enjoy the popular character generator/mutilator that is George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series.

Season 5 will see the return of many fan favorite characters including Tyrion Lannister, Arya Stark and poor ol’ fingertipless Ser Davos (pictured above), who mystifyingly continues to put up with Stannis ‘no one wanted to go to Prom with me’ Baratheon (also pictured above looking like tons of fun) for no good reason. This season will also dive into material from the fourth book of the series ‘A Feast for Crows’ (and some of the fifth ‘A Dance with Dragons’, too, since both books take place chronologically at the same time), bringing us ever closer to the quandary of what will happen when the show catches up with the source material.

This week we received an answer to that particular dilemma when show creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss announced that the show will surpass the books and inevitably spoil the ending, putting to rest the fear that the tv series would fall into an endless limbo after season 6 until Martin finishes the rest of the books. I actually like this decision. I will of course read the books when they come out, but I’m also supportive of the show pushing on toward its own conclusion. I’m sure there will be enough compelling material in both mediums to justify their respective existences. And in even more promising news, George R. R. Martin has stated that he’d like to finish the next book, ‘The Winds of Winter’, before the arrival of Season 6 of the show in 2016.

To further support this sentiment Martin has cancelled a lot of appearances this year and decided not to write any episodes of the show this season. So, that’s promising. On the flip side, he also appears to be developing a new show for HBO called Captain Cosmos, which seems to counter all those other previous statements, but truthfully, he can do whatever he wants on whatever schedule he sees fit, and I hope he does just that. All I ask is that the show finishes up relatively soon so Maisie Williams is free to do the ‘Last of Us’ movie. She and Hugh Jackman have some zombie/clicker hunting to do together.


Writing Links:

– An Illustrated Guide to all 465 Deaths in Game of Thrones (washingtonpost)

– George R.R. Martin Developing New HBO Series ‘Captain Cosmos’ (rollingstone)

– Overanalyzing the New Game of Thrones Excerpt (flavorwire)

– Random House To Publish Terry Pratchett’s Final Discworld Novel (terrypratchetbooks)

– Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright on Writing (youtube)

– Science Fiction Writing Tips: How to Make a Vampire Not Suck (writersdigest)

– How I Turned Writing Every Day From a Chore to an Insatiable Itch (reddit)

– Randy Ribay: The Importance of Diversity in Fiction (writinginthemargins)

– 100 Best Films Decade So Far (avclub)

– Apparently the Brontosaurus Had Been Pluto’d and then Unpluto’d. Who Knew? (scientificamerica)

This Week’s Writing Links: George R.R. Martin Talks Song Of Fire And Ice

George-RR-Martin-Game-Of-Thrones-Book-Show-Special-1This week’s writing links include George R.R. Martin answering Game of Thrones questions, a possible Fight Club graphic novel sequel on the way, AV Club’s best books of the year so far and a new trailer for Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity.

It’s interesting to hear Martin talk candidly about his ultra popular books, especially describing the inception of the series when he thought it might be a novella. It goes without saying that it would have been history’s longest novella (although truthfully novellas stops being novellas around 50,000 words). Martin also talks about how seeing some of his characters being brought to life on television has fleshed them out in a way they never were on the page. In other news, links!


– George R.R. Martin Answers Tough Questions About Song of Fire and Ice (io9)

– Fight Club Gets A Sequel As A Graphic Novel (yahoo)

– New Literary Agent Alert: Beth Campbell of Bookends LLC (writersdigest)

– 10 Literary Authors You Didn’t Know Wrote Science Fiction (flavorwire)

– Stephen King Talks E-Books (youtube)

– How To Write The Perfect Query Letter (writersdigest)

– Interview With Peter Clines of Ex-Heroes (guidetoliteraryagents)

– Riddick Motion Comic (facebook)

– Best Books of 2013 So Far (avclub)

– 11 Debut Novels We Love (kirkusreview)

– New Trailer For Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity (comingsoon)

– Writers Market 2014 (digestshop)

– Doris Lessing And The Perils of the Pseudonyms (newyorker)

– X-Men: Days of Future Past Comic-Con Panel (imdb)

47 Ronin Trailer (youtube)

This Week’s Writing Links

DoctorSleep2This Week’s Writing links feature Stephen King’s sequel to ‘The Shining’, 10 must reads for March, a matchbook version of Fahrenheit 451 and a list of Sci-fi writers who were awesome inventors too.

After 30 years, Stephen King is finally returning to the universe of ‘The Shining’ with his new novel ‘Doctor Sleep’. Read more about the release over on Sf Signal’s page, but for now, here is what we know about it from the posted synopsis:

On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the “steam” that children with the “shining” produce when they are slowly tortured to death.Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant “shining” power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”

Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of devoted readers of The Shining and satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.

Make sure to keep an eye out for ‘Doctor Sleep’ when it releases September 2013. Until then, here are some links!


– Stephen King’s Shining Sequel ‘Doctor Sleep’ Coming in September 2013 (sfsignal)

– Matchbook Version of Fahrenheit 451 (imgur)

– 5 Sci-fi Writers Who Were Awesome Inventors Too (inktank)

– 10 Must Reads For March (flavorwire)

– 7 Things I’ve Learned So Far By Douglas Brunt (writersdigest)

– AV Club Reviews Karen Lord’s ‘The Best of All Possible Worlds’ (avclub)

– Joe Wright To Direct Adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s ‘The Ocean at The End of the Lane’? (avclub)

– The Best Places To Be If You Love Books (buzzfeed)

This Week’s Writing Links

AMOL_cover_lgThis week’s writing links include a conclusion to the Wheel of Time series, news on the film adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Graveyard Book, a great 2012 short story recap and ebook author JA Konrath offers some advice upon hitting his million ebook sold milestone. 

Despite only reading about six book in the series, I thought it would be nice to highlight the end of the Wheel of Time, which with Brandon Sanderson’s help, Robert Jordan was able to complete posthumously with A Memory of Light. The consensus from the hardcore fans (at least the ones I talked to) seem to be that it was a fitting end to the series. The average rating on Amazon right now for AMOL is only three and half stars, but that doesn’t really mean much. Honestly, if you go through and read most of the one star reviews they read like they were written by robots or hill people, so it’s hard to take them to heart. I figure if you stuck with the series this long and the ending isn’t that it was all just an autistic kid’s dream, you should be relatively satisfied. And I must say after fourteen books, Rand (I’m assuming this is Rand on the cover) really got his posing down. Good for him. He’s been through a lot.

Also, my book The Exiles of the New World is now available on Nook for $1.99. It was previously only on the kindle for ebook form, so it’s nice to get that bit of expansion on the digital platform. Against all odds I managed to finish a draft of my next book this week too, which despite being far from complete, is getting there. It always feels nice connecting the dots, even if the dots are blurry for now. A good four or five months of revising will really help this one out. And if no real progress is made during those four or five months, I’ll just change the ending and make everyone ghosts and pretend like that’s profound. Sound good? Cool.

Oh, here are some links.



– AV Club Reviews A Memory of Light (avclub)

– How To Write A Character From Start To Finish (writersdigest)

– 10 Books That Could Save Your Life (flavorwire)

– How I Got My Agent: Joanne Bischoff (writersdigest)

– io9’s March Bookclub: The Best of All Possible Worlds (io9)

– Rachel Swirsky’s Short Story Recommendations For 2012 (amptoons)

– SF Signal Reviews Son of Destruction By Kit Reed (sfsignal)

– Speechless: Writing Dialogue For Characters Who Don’t Speak (torforge)

– Ron Howard May Take Over Graveyard Book Adaptation (avclub)

– How To Sell ebooks (jakonrath)

– Amy Poehler Is Writing The Book To End All Books (avclub)

This Week’s Writing Links

This week’s writing links feature the beginning of NaNoWriMo, the launch campaign of fellow Iconic author Tricia Drammeh and her YA novel The Claiming Words, the Disneyification of Star Wars, some tips on improving your writing and of course, the announced run time for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (I’ll give you a hint, despite being the shortest of Jackson’s journeys into middle earth, it’s still really long).

Tricia Drammeh’s YA fantasy novel The Claiming Words launched in September and she is currently doing her promotional rounds for the holiday season. Her book follows sixteen-year-old Jace Alexander who moves to the small town of Oaktree, Georgia, and enters into a world of secrets, magic and danger. Tricia has been getting great reviews from her readers and I’m excited to check the book out myself. I haven’t had a chance to read my copy yet, but it’s on my vacation beach reading list for next month. Be sure to check out her website and The Claiming Words, which is available on Amazon. I should also mention that Tricia conducted a short interview with me over on her site yesterday and that was very cool of her. Be sure to check the interview out if you have a chance.

So, since Star Wars is my favorite anything, I guess I have to address the big announcement made this week regarding the franchise. Disney bought Star Wars for $4 billion and initially I was kind of frightened by the whole thing. It kind of played out like that scene in LOTR where Bilbo tries to take the ring back from Frodo and it’s like the worst thing ever. Why would you try to do that to Star Wars Frodo, Disney Bilbo? Anyway, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it might be nice to see Star Wars under the same blanket as Pixar and the Avengers. Both those products have been handled well under Disney’s care and if this means we get some new Star Wars movies, why not? I can’t lie, I get excited by most things Star Wars regardless of what they are. I’m even kind of excited to play Star Wars Angry Birds when it drops next week (Nov 8) and I don’t really like Angry Birds. So, let’s roll the dice and see what happens. I’m all for it. And now to links!


– Tricia Drammeh’s YA Fantasy The Claiming Words (amazon)

– Look For NaNoWriMo Groups In Your Area (nanomo)

– New Literary Agent Alert: Pooja Menon (writersdigest)

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Run Time Announced (ign)

– 8 Simple Tips To Better Writing (writersdigest)

– The Best SF/F Reads In November (sfsignal)

– Quick Guide To Pitching Your Book (guidetoliteraryagents)

– AV Club Reviews R.L. Stine’s Red Rain (avclub)

– Amazing Tattoos Inspired By Children’s Books (flavorwire)

– Disney Buys Star Wars, Internet Goes Crazy (everysiteontheinternet)

– Will Episode 7 Be An Original Story? (syracuseblog)

This Week’s Writing Links

The beginning of fall (should) bring productivity back to those writers who are suffering from summer sabbaticals away from their typewriters. It is much easier to force yourself to produce those 1,000 words a day now that the nice weather has left us.

To help you get back on the right track, we have some writing links this week, including Chicago’s One City, One Book for the season (Zusak’s The Book Thief), JK Rowling’s rather quick return to children’s fiction, SF Signal’s podcast about the domination of bleak sci-fi within the genre and the AV club’s review of Slow Apocalypse.

Chicago’s One City, One Book is a program that promotes reading through the selecting of a novel for a city wide book club. This season’s choice is Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief, which for those of you that have not read it is a fantastic book. It reminded me of really great YA/children’s books I read as a kid like Maniac Magee, Number the Stars and The Giver. Books that really stay with you long after you’ve read the last lines.

Zusak will be in Chicago at the end of the month to speak about the book. If you are in the area, make sure not to miss it. He will be in town on Oct. 22. You can check the schedule for other Book Thief events this month here.

Other posts to come this week (hopefully): A Looper review, Good Character, Great Speeches Feature and another post on Chapter Pacing. But for now, links!



The Book Thief Is Chicago’s One City, One Book Selection (chipublib)

– JK Rowling’s Next Book To Be A Children’s Book (yahoo)

– Sherman Alexie’s Top 10 Pieces Of Advice For Writers (writersdigest)

– How To Find The Right Agent Webinar: Oct 11 (guidetoliteraryagents)

– 10 Essential Books For Book Nerds (flavorwire)

– Av Club Reviews John Varley’s Slow Apocalypse (avclub)

– SF Signal Podcast: Are Optimistic Sci-fi Stories Gone Forever? (sfsignal)

Rise of Ransom City Sweepstakes (tor)

– Tricia Drammeh’s The Claiming Words Release (amazon)

– Be On The Lookout For Starry Wisdom Library’s Anthology Release (starrywisdom)

This Week’s Writing Links

This week’s writing links include the release week for J.K. Rowling’s new book The Casual Vacancy, a Princess Bride cast reunion, sf signal’s podcast interview with Patrick Rothfuss, Roger Ebert’s review of Looper, advice on selling film and television rights for your book and a list of ten literary authors who did their own illustrations.

JK Rowlings new non-Harry Potter releases this week to somewhat mixed reviews, which is expected when you follow up one of the most successful series of all time with a book about unhappy people doing unhappy things (or at least that’s what the reviews make it sound like). Good for her though, for not only continuing on with her writing, but trying something different. She certainly could have poured herself into another escapist children series without batting an eye and made another billion dollars, but kudos to her for writing what she wanted to write, even if it sounds like David Foster Wallace material. I think she’ll be okay with her mortgage payments if this book is not a wild financial success.

In other news, even though it’s not based on a book, I’m pretty excited to see Looper. It comes out tomorrow and is already receiving solid reviews. I won’t get a chance to see it until Tuesday, so no spoiling it, okay? Feel free to talk about how awesome it was if you see it this weekend though. Andddd links.



– Mixed Reviews For J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy (bbc)

– SF Signal Podcast: Patrick Rothfuss Interview (sfsignal)

– Literary Agent Interview: Kate Garrick (writersdigest)

– Ten Literary Authors Who Illustrated Their Own Work (flavorwire)

– What You Need To Know About Selling Your Film And Television Rights (guidetoliteraryagents)

– Roger Ebert’s Review of Looper (rogerebert)

– JA Konrath Outlines His Legacy Vs Independent Book Sales (jakonrath)

– Patrick Rothfuss Invites People To Help With World Worldbuilders (Rothfuss)

– Anne Hathaway And Ben Whishaw Join Robocopalypse (sciencefiction)

– New Hobbit Poster Makes Its Debut (twitchfilm)

– AV Club Reviews Neal Stephenson’s Essays (avclub)

– Princess Bride Cast Reunites (io9)

This Week’s Writing Links

We start off this week’s writing links with the 2012 Hugo Winners, AV Club’s review of Sorry Please Thank You: Stories by Charles Yu, an interview with literary agent Lindsay Edgecombe and tips on how to utilize Goodreads to its fullest potential.

This year’s Hugo Awards saw some surprises as George R.R. Martin’s A Dance With Dragons did not win the best novel category (although a friend did point out that he won the Lifetime Achievement award and this may have been an example of spreading out some of the love to others), instead going to Jo Walton’s Among Others. Neil Gaiman also won an award for writing a Doctor Who episode and Game of Thrones won best long form dramatic presentation to further bolster Martin’s award shelf.

In other news I was a friend’s birthday dinner away from making Patrick Rothfuss’ Chicago signing/Q & A, but will sadly have to wait for his next pass through the city, more than likely when his final Kingkiller Chronicle novel releases. I have been rereading his two books in anticipation of The Doors of Stone‘s arrival, but fear that could be in the realm of 2014 and beyond. For now, we only have our links to keep us company as we wait for that far off day.


– 2012 Hugo Award Winners (tor)

– AV Club Reviews Charles Yu’s Sorry Please Thank You: Stories (avclub)

– 20 Famous Writers On Death And Mortality (flavorwire)

– Iconic Author Wayne Zurl Has A September 29th Release (pumpyourbook)

– Literary Agent Interview: Lindsay Edgecombe (guidetoliteraryagents)

– 5 Ways Writers Can Get The Most Out Of Goodreads (writersdigest)

– SF Signal Reviews Clean By Alex Hughes (sfsignal)

– 7 Freelance Writing Scams And How To Avoid Them (sfwa)

– JA Konrath’s Writing Code Of Ethics (jakonrath)

– RIP Michael Clarke Duncan (eonline)


This Week’s Writing Links

This week’s writing links feature a review of Graham Joyce’s Some Kind of Fairy Tale, NPR’s user voted 100 best teen novels ever list, etiquette for proper beach reading material (in which a beach goer is criticized for bringing a book on string theory to the beach. I can’t lie. I did this once and it warranted a few odd looks from passing orange tinged Floridians), the announcement that Peter Jackson’s Hobbit adaptation will now be three films, SF Signal’s podcast on steampunk and the report card for Phillip K. Dick film adaptations.

Graham Joyce’s Some Kind of Fairy Tale seems to be the toast of critics right now, praised as a modern fairy tale done right. Joyce’s novel is described in AV Club’s review as an, “achingly resonant story of a broken man who’s found his long-lost sister. His prose and dialogue, even more than usual, are carved with balance, clarity, and subtlety.” Some Kind of Fairy Tale has been added to my reading que, but I haven’t quite gotten to it yet. I am still plowing through Hugh Howey’s engrossing sci-fi omnibus Wool, which I would also encourage people to check out.

In other news, The Hobbit is now officially three movies, which certainly seems to have brewed some grumblings from the fans (albeit minor grumbling, I would point out that they are far from mutinous). Three movies may be stretching it a bit since the book itself is just over 300 pages (which would put each respective movie at about 100 pages of source material to cling to), but truthfully, I’ll watch anything Peter Jackson puts up on the big screen. I just hope that the movies don’t suffer from bloating with filler material and forced subplots. Anyway, on to the writing links!


– AV Club Reviews Graham Joyce’s Some Kind Of Fairy Tale (avclub)

– 100 Best Ever Teen Novels (npr)

– Literature Greatest Author And Illustrator Duos (flavorwire)

– Literary Agent: Elizabeth Kracht Of Kimberley Cameron Associates (writersdigest)

– Webinar: John Cusick Teaches Writing And Selling Sci-fi/Fantasy For Kids (writersdigest)

– Sci-fi Movie Moments That Made Us Believe In Wonder (io9)

– AV Club On Robert Cormiers The Chocolate War (avclub)

– First Panoramic View Of Mars From Curiosity (examiner)

– SF Signal Podcast: Steampunk (sfsignal)

– What Is Proper Beach Reading? (npr)

– Peter Jackson Confirms The Hobbit Will Be Three Films (deadline)

– The Phillip K Dick Report Card (tor)

– Joss Whedon Directing Avengers 2 (io9)

– The First 40 Pages Of Richard Kadrey’s New Sandman Slim Novel (io9)