80s in the Park!

I’ve been invited to 80s in the Park, a big concert the weekend of September 28th in Melbourne, Fl. It’s a concert in the park with lots of 80s bands, celeb guests, actors, comics people, horror stars. And I will be there. Looking forward to it. It’ll be my second trip to Florida this year.

If you are in Florida the last weekend of the month, drop on by and say hello.

My First Novel!

I’m in the process of finishing my first novel. I will have it ready for a proof reader by the end of the month. I plan to take it to Kindle once I get it ready for print when the proof comes back.

It’s called The Age of Heroes: A Fated Path. It will be the first book in a series of at least three books. The first is a novelization of the Age of Heroes comics, but expanded and with new information and stories woven in. I have been having a blast getting back into writing those characters and I’m pleased with the way its coming along. I should be done with the first draft next week.

I created a page for the book and will post news and links to the first chapter and where to get it on this page. Keep checking for updates.

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Review: King of Thorns

King of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #2)King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Prince Jorg is now a King, four years after the events in Prince of Thorns. And he has a nemesis in the Prince of Arrows, his Antithesis is almost every way. In a series of flashbacks we discover that Jorg has two running conflicts going. An external one to become emperor and an internal one against unseen foes that are trying to destroy his soul.

He has grown as a character and developed more empathy and humanity (leaving your teens helps!, but he can’t afford to lose his edge. And he can’t afford to lose his drive if he wants to be Emperor.

So he enlists the aid of two kingdoms as well as a surprise “ghost” which gives him some very useful knowledge about the “builders”. The people who made the previous civilization so mighty.

Lawrence is one of the best of this new breed of fantasy writers who are producing what I like to term “Fantasy Noir”. A more realistic and grounded type of fantasy that deals with the complexities of human nature in a style that’s almost like good crime fiction. It’s fantasy that loses all the tropes and tries for new territory.

He doesn’t lay it on too thick, What elevates him above a lot of writers is a lean prose style that doesn’t waste verbiage. It’s tight and to the point. He doesn’t bury you in exposition or info dumps. He feeds you little nibbles of back story, just enough to keep you hungry for more. No prolixity, which is something I detest the more I read.

And because he works in a science field, his “magic rules” are much closer to credible physics and quantum theory. That makes it more interesting to this science geek. I’m especially curious where he goes with his mathemagicans. I’ve long had a fascination with Pythagoras theory that math is magical.

After Emperor of Thorns he has another series planned in the same world. I suspect we will be much entertained.

Excellent stuff!

David Lloyd at Comicfest 2013

Comics legend and my onetime Espers collaborator David Lloyd will be at Comic Fest 2013 in San Diego this October. I will also be a guest and will be interviewing him for his panel. In addition to being the artist of V for Vendetta, Davis is also the online owner operator of Aces Weekly where I am doing Blue Cat with Val Mayerik. Aces Weekly is a great online comics anthology featuring artists from around the world.

I previously did a podcast interview with David for this blog where we talked about Aces Weekly. You can listen to it here.

Superman/Batman Trailer

A very cool fan made trailer with Bryan Cranston as Lex Luthor and Jeremy Irons as Alfred

Prince of Thorns

Prince-of-Thorns

Another great dark fantasy book I’ve read recently is The Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence. I’ve had it sitting on my iPad kindle for a while waiting to be read. I was initially interested because of the great cover art and the blurb sounded original. I’m glad I finally got around to it. If you like Game of Thrones, this is set in a similar kind of world except it’s actually more than 1500 years in the earth’s future in the wake of a distant cataclysm which reduced civilization to a medieval state. There is a kind of magic and monsters in this world as well as legacy weapons of the past which crop up to cause much mayhem.

The star of the story is a teen-aged prince who ran away from home to become leader of a bunch of bandits. He dreams of being king by age 15 and will do whatever it takes to get a crown. He is a fearless, driven character who has a vendetta against a count who killed his mother and brother. His father is still alive but has all but disowned him. He’s a kind of kid Scarface, with no moral compass and a cynicism born of the horrors he witnessed as a child. Definitely an anti-hero. But he does grow over the course of the story and there are two more books in this series. The next is King of Thorns.

I highly recommend these books if you like Game of Thrones or Joe Abercrombie. Fantasy noir series are very hot these days. I’d rate this trilogy as one of the better ones that I’ve read so far. It’s not for everyone. If you want something more like Terry Brooks of Raymond Feist you will probably want to stay away. But if you like your fantasy more realistic and stories that don’t play it safe or bury you with cliches, then check it out.

The Rep

Most kids create a laundry list of jobs they would like to do when they grow up. One of my earliest was I wanted to be a Marine Biologist. When I was a teen, most of them were I wanted to run my own business and the two highest on the list would have been disasters if I had done it. One was, I wanted to run a used book store. The other was, I wanted to run my own single screen theater doing art films and revival cinema. Those are extremely tough jobs even when I was a kid and nowadays, almost a suicide pact. Yet many people still want to do them as this film demonstrates.

Author George RR Martin has invested in one in Santa Fe New Mexico. I wish him all the luck in the world. One of my big lottery fantasies is if I won a big lottery winning I would do one myself in some town. Get a failed or failing theater, refurbish it and try my own community cinema. The big problem is making it cool again. When I was a teen there were lots of revival cinemas in San Diego. One of them, the Ken is still going. Another, the Strand, in Ocean Beach, is not. This was pre-VCR and now we have big screen HDTV and streaming video. Why go to a theater when you can watch a movie at home on your terms and have food, drink that you like and stop the movie whenever you want?

The only answer I see is luxury cinemas that serve great food and drink. Those are cropping up around the country. The problem is most films these days are shallow.

Frankly, I hope the cinema doesn’t die but it’s not looking good these days. I do think a good film with a audience that’s into it is a great community experience. People can ruin it with bad behavior , but its nice to get out and have some fun. I for one still have this dream. Though this film sure is an eye opener.

RIP: Elmore Leonard

One of the great crime writers has passed at age 87. Elmore Leonard wrote a ton of great books over the years: Get Shorty, Jackie Brown, Rum Punch, Out of Sight, 52 Pickup as well as books that gave us the character Rayland Givens and the TV show Justified, one of the best TV shows on the air today. He also wrote a bunch of westerns that made it to film. Joe Kidd, 3:10 to Yuma, etc.

I’ve read most of his books. I remember when I discovered him, I read stacks of his books over the course of a few months. He had a very unique voice and he will be missed, but 87 is a good run.

UPDATE: Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing. They’re excellent.

Patrick Rothfuss: Kingkiller Series

I just finished “Wiseman’s Fear”, book two of Patrick Rothfuss excellent Kingkiller trilogy, It’s a popular fantasy series bound for television. It’s a great fantasy series, not as dark as Game of Thrones but the fantasy is toned down in favor of more character oriented scenes. It’s about a biographer named the Chronicler who tracks down a famous Archanist (Wizard) who’s been hiding out as an Inn Keeper. He wants to write his life story so the Archanist, named Kvothe, agrees and relates his amazing story. The third book is supposed to come out next year.

It’s set in a medieval fantasy type planet that has magic but is closer to our world than say, Tolkien’s, in realism. The magical creatures are more rare. Magic in this world behaves in an almost scientific way. The story is kind of a Harry Potter type saga as Kvothe is a penniless orphan who becomes a great wizard after going through a very tough academy.

The first book in the series is “The Name of the Wind”. I highly recommend them.

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