Game Of Thrones Season 2 Teaser

April 1 marks the return of George R.R. Martin’s bestselling fantasy series to HBO for its second season, where we see a whole new set of characters introduced (and quickly dispensed) to the land of Westeros. Should be cool.

This Week's Writing Links (1/27)

This week’s writing links feature an 80/20 rule for self-promotion, George R.R. Martin’s Hugo recommendations (other than his own book), a potential reunion for the Monty Python cast in a sci-fi film and four techniques for creating believable villains.

There are definitely some good links this week, but how can one not get excited about a possible sci-fi Monty Python movie? It will be interesting to see how this project develops, but if they can coax everyone into showing up, it sounds like ‘Absolutely Anything‘ will be a cool fusion of Monty Python and Douglas Adams elements. It will surely be one to keep an eye on.

Also, just a quick update on the release of my book, ‘The Exiles of the New World.’ In the end, the release date is going to be shuffled a bit. We’re going to get some pre-release copies out in January/February (for reviews and kickstarter backer preorders), but the actual release for the hardcover is probably going to end up being in early spring (April/May). There is a possiblity of seeing the ebook version available a little earlier than that as part of a “soft” release, but the hardcover release in stores is more than likely going to be a spring affair.

I was really hoping that this would make the Christmas/early January release window, but since that was just barely missed, it works out to wait a bit for the Holiday stock to sell before you get things into stores, hence the spring release. I’ll keep people appraised on hardened dates if they get set, but enough nonsense about my own stuff, let’s get to links!

Links:

– Amanda Hocking Is Still An Exception To The Rule: Self-Published Authors And Big Book Deals (io9)

– Debut Author Kerry Schafer Inks Deal With Ace Books After Discovery On ‘Book Country’ (usatoday)

– George R.R. Martin’s Hugo Recommendations (grrm)

– Monty Python Members To Reunite On Sci-fi Flick ‘Absolutely Anything’ (stumbleupon)

– Paula Margulies On The 80/20 Rule For Self-Promotion (paulamargulies)

– 15 Beautiful Homes Of Famous Authors (flavorwire)

– Av Club Reviews ‘A Universe From Nothing’ By Lawrence M. Krauss (avclub)

– 4 Techniques For Creating Believable Villains (writersdigest)

– Agent Advice: Nicole Resciniti From The Seymour Agency (guidetoliteraryagents)

– SF Signal: A John Carter Primer (sfsignal)

– The Cosmic War Between Ancient Starburst Galaxies And Supermassive Black Holes  (io9)

– JA Konrath: The Myth Of The Bestseller (jakonrath)

– ‘Virga’ Book Set Sweepstakes (tor)

This Week's Writing Links (1/19)

In today’s day after the SOPA blackout writing links, we’re featuring information about World Book Night10 ways to improve your writing while thinking like a comedy writer, new agents on the scene, a list of 10 musicians who should really write novels and the trailer for Wes Anderson’s new movie Moonrise Kingdom.

I hope that yesterday was a productive day for everyone with the relative blackout of the internet in protest of SOPA and PIPA. Although without wikipedia, the world’s most accessible (not necessarily reliable) encyclopedia, you might have been missing a huge portion of your research base.

The good news is that the internet is back today and with it, the everyday tools you are used to are once again at your disposal. Once again, instead of trimming all that unnecessary exposition out of your first chapter, you can now scour reddit for pictures of red pandas waving or read about which famous writers married their cousins on wikipedia.

Yes, the internet is back with all its distractions. The real question is how will you respond to the alluring return of the internet’s time wasting ways? One way to respond is to check out some links before you get back into the thick of things. I highly recommend this approach. Because the links have been provided for you and require no sifting on your part, it will help ease you back into old routines without totally removing the newly discovered feeling of unadulterated productivity you had this one fateful Wednesday when the internet chose to sleep.

Links:

– AV Club Reviews William Gibson’s ‘Distrust That Particular Flavor’ (avclub)

– Woody Harrelson On Haymitch And The Mind Blowing Sets Of ‘The Hunger Games’ (latimes)

– 10 Ways To Improve Your Writing While Thinking Like A Comedy Writer (writersdigest)

– This Spring Help Give Away One Million Books (tor)

– New Agent Alert: Carrie Pestritto Of Prospect Agency (guidetoliteraryagents)

– Connie Willis Named Recipient Of The 2011 Grand Master Award (sfwa)

– Kerry Conran’s Vision For ‘John Carter Of Mars’ (sfsignal)

– Quentin Tarantino’s Top Ten Movies Of 2011 (ropeofsilicon)

– Amazing 3D Portraits Of Authors Made From Their Books (flavorwire)

– 10 Musicians Who Should Really Write Novels (flavorwire)

– 10 Tips On Guest Blogging And Blog Tours (writersdigest)

– Scientists Prepare To Capture The First Ever Picture Of A Black Hole (io9)

– Trailer For Wes Anderson’s ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ (youtube)

This Week's Writing Links

This Week’s Writing Links feature some clever logo branding for the Milwaukee Public Library’s new ad campaign, 10 common mistakes writers make at conferences, 10 legendary bad boys of literature and a video of soccer prodigy Lionel Messi when he was being an amazing (and classy) 10-year-old, because why not?

I’m always happy to support a library branch, especially while our own city branches weather some harsh budget cuts. Although Milwaukee is certainly utilizing a clever approach with their campaign, you have to wonder if using popular social media branding may ultimately just remind kids that they need to check twitter. Here’s to hoping that’s not the case.

Also, SF Signal, a site I’m a big fan of, just underwent a design update, so make sure to stop by and check it out. In other news, links.

Links:

– Milwaukee Public Library’s New “Social Media” Ad Campaign (mpl)

– How To Avoid 10 Common Conferences Mistakes That Writers Make (writersdigest)

– Io9’s Books To Read In 2012 (io9)

– AV Club Reviews Roberto Bolano’s ‘The Third Reich’ (avclub)

– 10 Legendary Bad Boys Of Literature (flavorwire)

– Nominees For The 2011 Phillip K. Dick Award Announced (tor)

– JA Konrath Interviews Editor Susan Tunis (jakonrath)

– Seven Princes: An Epic Fantasy That Doesn’t Hold Back On The Epic (io9)

– Book Publicity: Working With Bookstores (sfwa)

– Genre Resolutions For 2012 (sfsignal)

– How Your Characters Write Themselves And Why You Have To Listen (jarrethdak)

– Soccer Prodigy Lionel Messi At Age 10 Being Amazing (youtube)

The Joy Of Books


A cool stop motion video from the people at Type bookstore in Toronto illustrating the joy of holding a physical book in your hand.

An Evening With Werner Herzog

I got a chance to see Werner Herzog speak in Chicago this week and needless to say, I was pretty excited about it. And after everything was all said and done, it was definitely worth the wait. Only about half the attendees made it into the auditorium to see him speak and as fate would have it, my friend and I were the last two people to get in.

Strangely, because we got stuck in the last second folding chair section on the side of the auditorium that they usually throw together for people late to church on Christmas, I somehow ended up sitting right next to where Herzog was waiting to be introduced. This meant that I got a chance to speak with him, albeit a brief exchange that mostly consisted of him saying things to me and me nodding dumbly in agreement. Still, it counts and I can say I met Werner Herzog, so that’s a life goal I can check off my list.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Herzog, he is a German film director known for films like ‘Grizzly Man,’ ‘Fitzcarraldo, ‘Rescue Dawn‘ and ‘Cave of Forgotten Dreams.’ Certainly heralded first for his contributions in cinema, people forget that he is also an author and often stresses the need for people to read more, regardless of what their pursuit or goal in life may be. So, that allows me to draw a bit of relevancy to the post. As a film director though, Herzog is pretty much the profession’s equivalent of a honey badger, pegged as a bit of an eccentric iconoclast and admittedly, his life often sounds like complete insanity.

He was once shot in the middle of an interview by a crazed man with an air rifle, but continued the interview unfazed even though he was still bleeding. He once saved Joaquin Phoenix’s life by pulling him out of a gasoline filled car after Phoenix wrecked his car in the mountains and then in a daze tried to light a cigarette. Herzog quickly disappeared after the incident because he didn’t want to make a fuss, like he was some sort of Bavarian superhero who spends his weekends joyriding around Northern California saving reckless celebrities. In his talk, he spoke about walking across Africa when he was only seventeen and mentioned that it was only after his eighth consecutive time in an African jail that he really started to understand people. A quality that he says allows him to be a good director, especially when approaching the subjects in his documentaries.

That’s just a small sampling of Herzog’s life and if anything, it backs up his claim that life experiences should come before formal education in order to produce effective and inspired art. His films, like his life, are always interesting, even when they meander or run a bit on the long side (which admittedly they all do). And while Herzog is sometimes unfairly dismissed as a crazed anarchist, people forget that even though he may be a bit crazy, he fiercely protects the integrity of his subjects and never plays anything for shock value or at their expense, which is a trait that I definitely admire about his work.

The talk he gave was great and very similar to his movies. Funny, inspired, a bit on the long side, but always worth the price of admission. We got some insight when he talked about how he really didn’t care for the infamous ‘Werner Herzog Eats His Own Shoe‘ documentary, that he gets shot by Tom Cruise in next year’s crime thriller ‘Top Shot‘ (possible spoiler?) and that he thought ‘Grizzly Man’ subject Timothy Treadwell was a bozo for how he conducted himself. We even got to see the first ever screening of the first part of his ‘Death Row‘ miniseries (part one was a portrait of death row inmate Hank Skinner) that will be airing on television later this year. A sort of offshoot of his recent documentary, ‘Into the Abyss.’ All in all, a cool experience.

This Week's Writing Links

This first week of 2012 should see everyone with a renewed sense of vigor as the dormant publishing industry finally awakes from its slumber to bring us brand new books. This is also the week where all the writers out there hunker down with their firm resolutions to get those thousand words out every day, no matter what nostalgic television series just got added to the Netflix Instant Queue.

In this week’s writing links, we have a nice piece on the 25 most beautiful college librariesadvice on how to deal with self promotion as a debut author without going overboard on the “self” part, 7 great practices for building your online platform, AV Club’s best books of 2011, some cool vintage Tolkien covers from around the world, reminders about reading and much more.

I’m a big fan of the 25 most beautiful college libraries segment, especially the picture of the Yale library included in the post, which I actually got a chance to see last year when I was in the New England area. I feel like I would have spent more time in the library in college if my library looked like that. Admittedly, I also would have wasted a great deal of time looking for old dusty tomes that held clues to the location of the Grail or secrets of the Davinci Code, but such grand pieces of architecture can’t help but distract and conjure up such escapist fantasies.

Now, for some links!

Links:

– The 25 Most Beautiful College Libraries In The World (flavorwire)

– How To Deal With Self Promotion As A Debut Author (sfwa)

– AV Club’s Best Books Of 2011 (avclub)

– Science Fiction And Fantasy Grand Masters (kirkusreview)

– Vintage Tolkien Covers From Around The World (flavorpill)

– 13 Things I Bet You Didn’t Know About Reading (professor)

– 7 Practices For Building An Online Presence (writersdigest)

– The Best Science Fiction And Fantasy Books Of 2011 (io9)

– Sf Signal Reviews Martha Well’s ‘The Serpent Sea’ (sfsignal)

– Most Anticipated Books Of 2012 (flavorwire)

– 25 Science Fiction Movies And Fantasy Movies To Watch Out For In 2012 (io9)

– New Photo Of Noomi Rapace In Ridley Scott’s ‘Prometheus’ (comingsoon)

– Av Club Review’s Carrie Fisher’s ‘Shockaholic’ (avclub)

– 10 New Must Reads For January (flavorpill)

– New Images From ‘The Hunger Games’ Movie (io9)

What Did You Enjoy Reading In 2011?

So, now that 2011 has been wrapped up neatly and we’ve journeyed a few days into 2012 without any Mayan prognosticated disasters or the foreseeable extinction of the written word, I’d love to know what people read and enjoyed in 2011 (it wouldn’t necessarily have to be published in 2011).

This year, I went back and explored Elmore Leonard’s ‘Pronto‘, which featured the character Raylan Givens, who went on to be the basis for the popular FX show ‘Justified.’ I also enjoyed Ernest Cline’s ‘Ready Player One‘, progressed deeper into the fantasy world Patrick Rothfuss created and cultivated, and admittedly was kind of on the ropes about Lev Grossman’s ‘The Magicians‘ and Jo Nesbo’s ‘The Snowman‘, despite both being well written tales.

Along with ‘Devil in the White City‘, ‘The Graveyard Book‘ and ‘The Book Thief‘, I finally got around to ‘A Storm of Swords‘ in George R.R. Martin’s Song of Fire and Ice series and of course was not surprised to find it brutal, but really good. If you thought that George R.R. Martin didn’t mind offing characters in the first two books, this one will put that to shame. Good lord. This is one fantasy world I would not want to live in. It’s like Deadwood minus the cowboys and syphilis.

So, that’s a sample of what I checked out in 2011. There are still a lot of 2011 books that I’d love to get around to this year. Tina Fey’s ‘Bossypants‘, Haruki Murakami’s ‘1Q84‘ and Karen Russell’s ‘Swamplandia‘ are at the top of my goodreads list and I know there are some others that I am forgetting. Either way, what did people enjoy reading in 2011? What are you looking forward to in 2012? Thoughts?