The Geomancer

12/27/11

LEC Book Reviews names Pyr "Best SFF Publisher or Imprint 2011"

LEC Book Reviews has just released their choice for the "Best SFF Publisher or Imprint 2011" and we are gratified to see that they have selected Pyr. They write:
"...throughout the year, in almost every review of their titles I’ve written you’ll have noticed some mention of how great Pyr is. Under the deft editorial management of Lou Anders, this imprint of Prometheus Books continued to grow on the genre scene, and even expanding a new YA-oriented line of books. But more importantly, Pyr continued to do what we love it for; publishing consistently quality genre novels, adorned with gorgeous artwork from their Art team.

Pyr doesn’t necessarily publish the most thought-provoking novels or those with great literary ambitions - they publish the devilishly creative, offbeat, and fun ones. Their books are often pulpy, hilarious, colorful, and brimful with fantastical goodness. Pyr knows how to pick them, and we’re glad they do."
Thanks! We appreciate this very much! 

12/21/11

Last Minute Gift Ideas

It's December 21st. You forgot about that nephew, or (really?) still don't have anything for mom. AND YOU WILL SEE THEM IN 3 or 4 DAYS. Here are several suggestions, in both fiction and nonfiction, for easy stop-and-grab-on-the-way gifts for every reader on your list:

Holiday Gift Guide #1

and

Holiday Gift Guide #2

We hope they help! Happy holidays.

12/7/11

Pyr: Best SFF Press for eBooks

Staffer's Musings have just released their Best SFF Press for eBooks (2011). They write:
"What I can judge, is who's making the effort to put out the best eBooks. And that's Pyr.

It shouldn't be new to anyone who reads this blog that I'm a dedicated eReader. The vast majority of books I purchase are eBooks and the vast majority of ARCs I read are electronic. Gone are the days of error ridden eBooks from major publishers (largely), but there's still a huge gap between the quality of hard copies and their eBook counterparts. Lou Anders, and Pyr, are changing that one eBook at a time.

Sure, their eBooks are almost never available on release day. And yes, they're not as affordable as those from Angry Robot or Night Shade (who both do a great job with their eBooks also). But for me Pyr has become the go to source for beautiful, professional eBooks"

11/29/11

Custom Action Figure Mod of George Mann's The Ghost

George Mann, author of Ghosts of Manhattanand Ghosts of War, was recently a Guest of Honor at TeslaCon II in Madison, WI. While there, a very cool fan named Robert McAlister presented him with "the most awesome thing." It was a 12" action figure of The Ghost, hand converted, and mounted on a specially decorated plinth.

Here are pictures!


11/13/11

IlluXcon

Cynthia Sheppard at IlluXcon. Above and to the right of her, a sneak peak at a wonderful cover she did for us.



11/3/11

Planesrunner: Some Reasons It Should Be On Your Radar

Illustration (c) John Picacio
“Smashing adventure fiction that spans the multiverse without ever losing its cool or its sense of style. Ian McDonald is one of the greats of science fiction, and his young adult debut is everything you could hope for: romantic, action packed, wildly imaginative, and full of heart.”
 —Cory Doctorow
 
"Planesrunner is chock-full of awesome. Ian McDonald's steampunk London blazes on a vast scale with eye-popping towers, gritty streets, and larger-than-life characters who aren't afraid to fight for each other. The kind of airship-dueling, guns-blazing fantasy that makes me wish I could pop through to the next reality over, join the Airish, and take to the skies"
—Paolo Bacigalupi, Michael J. Printz Award–winning author of Ship Breaker
 
"Athletic, brilliant, and always ahead of the game, Everett is too perfect, but it doesn't detract from the book's fun. McDonald writes with scientific and literary sophistication, as well as a wicked sense of humor. Add nonstop action, eccentric characters, and expert universe building, and this first volume of the Everness series is a winner."
Publishers Weekly Starred Review
 
"What joy to find science fiction based on real scientific concepts... In his debut for teens, established science-fiction writer McDonald builds a world just different enough to charm readers into believing... Shining imagination, pulsing suspense and sparkling writing make this one stand out."
Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review!

"[Planesrunner's] world is as sharply imagined and inventive as we've come to expect from [Ian] McDonald. And it also may be the first steam-free steampunk novel… first-rate adventure writing… by the cliffhanger ending we're ready to follow [Everett] into whatever new universes McDonald can concoct, and the next one already looks interesting. Planesrunner is not only excellent YA SF in terms of its likeable characters and well-executed setpieces, but is simply good SF in a way which almost reinvents, and possibly makes addictive, the old parallel universe trope. It's fun."
—Locus, November 2011

"Planesrunner is a first class teen science fiction novel, which I believe will appeal to the fans of such boy-oriented books as Paolo Bacigalupi's Ship Breaker and Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan… There is hardly anything about Planesrunner to complain about. Quite the opposite, a lot to complement this novel on: First of all, the science. The whole idea of parallel universes is endlessly exciting and Ian McDonald did a fantastic job coming up with alternate versions of Earth's future… Second, the main character with ethnic background… Third, the teen romance has a great dynamic. Both participants are strong and resourceful young people. Planesrunner is a fantastic beginning to a new teen adventure series that will leave you yearning for more. Score: 4.50 / 5 "
—Night Owl Reviews, Reviewer Top Pick

‎"Ian McDonald's Planesrunner is the first in what I hope is a very long series of young adult science fiction novels.... I can't wait for the next book in this series. Planesrunner, scheduled for release in December 2011, is an appealing alternative to the dystopian YA titles lining bookstore shelves these days."
—Portland Book Review

‎"This is science fiction adventure at its best, and at its core is Everett, the heroic little geekling that we all wanted to be as kids... With "Ten Known Worlds" as part of this book's lore…I want an interdimensional passport ASAP… The adventure simply never stops… Snappy dialogue…and fascinating details round out this marvelous series debut."
—The Examiner

Convinced? Now go check out the Infundibulum Facebook page.

10/29/11

Ay Caramba!




Just received a few copies of the Spanish version of Shadow's Son. With a nice quote from Charlaine Harris on the cover! Me gusto!

10/8/11

Shadow's Lure available on Kindle

Hey folks,

Shadow's Lure, book 2 of my Shadow Saga, is now available on Kindle. Yay!

10/6/11

A high water mark in contemporary fantasy

Adventures Fantastic has this to say about MD Lachlan's Fenrir, and the Pyr brand of fantasy:

"The characters have more depth than most fantasy characters, and Lachlan does a marvelous job juggling a number of major and minor characters, some of whom have multiple names, and making them individuals with their own characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses.  These aren't just static characters, either.  They grow and change, to the point that one or two switch allegiance.... As good as Wolfsangel was, and it was good, Fenrir is better.  If this series continues to improve, it will be a high water mark in contemporary fantasy.  It pretty much is already. Series like this one, the Danilov Quintet by Jasper Kent, the First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie, and the Shadow books by Jon Sprunk, just to name a few fantasy series (and that's not even getting into the science fiction), have made Pyr books my favorite publisher.  With quality like this, it's no wonder Pyr seems to have a permanent place on the shortlists of all the major awards."

10/3/11

For Your Viewing Pleasure: The Full Jacket of Planesrunner

Cover Illustration and Front Cover Design © John Picacio
Spine and Back Cover Design by Grace M. Conti-Zilsberger
  Coming in December 2011
There is not one you. There are many yous. There is not one world. There are many worlds. Ours is one among billions of parallel earths.
When Everett Singh’s scientist father is kidnapped from the streets of London, he leaves young Everett a mysterious app on his computer. Suddenly, this teenager has become the owner of the most valuable object in the multiverse—the Infundibulum—the map of all the parallel earths, and there are dark forces in the Ten Known Worlds who will stop at nothing to get it. They’ve got power, authority, the might of ten planets—some of them more technologically advanced than our Earth—at their fingertips. He’s got wits, intelligence, a knack for Indian cooking.
To keep the Infundibulum safe, Everett must trick his way through the Heisenberg Gate that his dad helped build and go on the run in a parallel Earth. But to rescue his dad from Charlotte Villiers and the sinister Order, this Planesrunner’s going to need friends. Friends like Captain Anastasia Sixsmyth, her adopted daughter, Sen, and the crew of the airship Everness
Can they rescue Everett’s father and get the Infundibulum to safety? The game is afoot!

Planesrunner is chock-full of awesome. Ian McDonald’s steampunk London blazes on a vast scale with eye-popping towers, gritty streets, and larger-than-life characters who aren’t afraid to fight for each other. The kind of airship-dueling, guns-blazing fantasy that makes me wish I could pop through to the next reality over, join the Airish, and take to the skies”
—Paolo Bacigalupi, Michael J. Printz Award–winning author of Ship Breaker

“Smashing adventure fiction that spans the multiverse without ever losing its cool or its sense of style. Ian McDonald is one of the greats of science fiction and his young adult debut is everything you could hope for: romantic, action-packed, wildly imaginative, and full of heart.”
—Cory Doctorow, author of For the Win

9/16/11

Give Yourself to the Rift

What people are saying about Clay and Susan Griffith's The Rift Walker (Vampire Empire, Book 2):

“I've said it before and I’ll say it again: The future of genre fiction is now – and it’s Clay and Susan Griffith’s Vampire Empire trilogy.”
-Explorations: The BN SciFi and Fantasy Blog, September 9, 2011

“The Vampire Empire series stands out because of its unabashed steampunk leanings and that is both great fun and a refreshing direction for the genre. It creates a world where science (albeit steampunk science) and magic clash head on and this is a major theme of this volume as Adele taps into her powers… I really enjoyed the first book, however I loved the second. The story built apace and left me eagerly anticipating the final part. 8 out of 10.”
-Taliesin Meets the Vampires, September 8, 2011

“The Vampire Empire series is becoming one of my favorite all time series. If you haven't read these books yet, I strongly recommend them. I know there are a lot of vampire books out there but this series sets itself apart from the rest. I can not say enough about this book. The first book blew me away and the second did it again. I absolutely love this series and I can't wait for the third book to come out.”
-2 Read or Not 2 Read blog, September 8, 2011

“I loved The Rift Walker. Clay and Susan Griffith can tell a good story that includes an exciting, fast paced battle, political intrigue, tender romance with believable technology and paranormal aspects. The only thing I didn’t like about this story is that I have to wait for the next book to come out!”
-Literary Escapism, August 28, 2011

“The sequel has hundred extra pages to tell it’s story over first book in the Vampire Empire series and they are packed with more locations, more political intrigue, more vampire mythology, more romance, and the same rich characters who captivated me in The Greyfriar…there is still plenty of action and intrigue that evokes the old pulp novels of the past, dashing and daring adventure though exotic locations, and sweeping romance between these star crossed lovers.”
-All Things Urban Fantasy, September 2, 2011

“The Griffiths…offer us what we came looking for: unrelenting action, adventure, romance and a fair bit of magic. There really is something for everyone here, and this, I think, really is the what makes the Griffiths’ writing so endearing…At the end of the day though, what I keep reading ‘Vampire Empire’, and what I imagine a lot of other readers keep reading these books for, is the all out epic entertainment they provide. In this respect, The Rift Walker really outdoes the first book, providing us with devilish conspiracies, all-out war on a reclusive vampire clan, airship chases, betrayals, heroics and complicated affairs of the heart, all told from a massive, epic scope…[The Griffth’s] continued mixing of tropes from steampunk, epic fantasy, urban fantasy and adventure is still refreshing and proof of how a bit of innovation - even in a purely gratuitous entertainment sense - can bolster a novel’s quality. If you haven’t yet gotten in on the Griffiths’ highly enjoyable, highly diverting ‘Vampire Empire’ trilogy I suggest you do so now. No matter what genre background you have, I can almost guarantee you’ll find something to your liking here.”
-LEC Book Reviews, September 2011



8/29/11

Dragon*Con Author Signing Schedule


Dragon*Con attendees! Pyr will be in the Marriott's Marquis Ballroom exhibit hall during Dragon*Con (Atlanta, GA) Friday 9/2 - Monday 9/5.

Visit booth 709/711, where you'll find lots of books available for sale at a great discount (cash or credit card only) and many Pyr authors on hand to sign your purchases too. Once again, we will have a limited quantity sampler book for con attendees, this time featuring not just new and forthcoming titles, but excerpts from some of our hottest books of the past few years.

To aid in your planning, here is a schedule of our in-booth author signings (subject to last minute change, of course.) If there's someone you want to see but you can't make the time that's here, stop by the booth just to check and inquire - many of these authors will make impromptu visits at other times, especially on Sunday and Monday.

Friday, September 2

2:00 – 3:00 pm ANDREW MAYER (The Falling Machine)

3:00 – 4:00 pm ARI MARMELL (The Goblin Corps)

3:30 – 4:30 pm CLAY and SUSAN GRIFFITH (The Rift Walker; The Greyfriar)

4:00 – 5:00 pm MIKE RESNICK (The Buntline Special; others)

4:00 – 5:00 pm SAM SYKES (Black Halo; Tome of the Undergates)

Saturday, September 3

11:00 – Noon JAMES ENGE (The Wolf Age; others)

Noon – 1 pm JON SPRUNK (Shadow’s Lure; Shadow’s Son)

1:00 – 2:00 pm ERIN HOFFMAN (Sword of Fire and Sea)

1:30 – 2:30 pm ANDREW MAYER (The Falling Machine)

2:00 – 3:00 pm JAMES ENGE (The Wolf Age; others)

3:00 – 4:00 pm ARI MARMELL (The Goblin Corps)

4:00 – 5:00 pm MIKE RESNICK (The Buntline Special; others)

5:00 – 6:00 pm CLAY and SUSAN GRIFFITH (The Rift Walker; The Greyfriar)

6:00 – 7:00 pm SAM SYKES (Black Halo; Tome of the Undergates)

Sunday, September 4

Noon – 1 pm JON SPRUNK (Shadow’s Lure; Shadow’s Son)

1:00 – 2:00 ERIN HOFFMAN (Sword of Fire and Sea)

Booth hours are Friday 1:00 – 7:00 pm; Saturday and Sunday 10:00 am – 7:00 pm; and Monday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. We hope to see you there!

8/25/11

Reminder for Dragon*Con

Dragon*Con is a week away! Many of our authors will be joining us at the Pyr Booth (709/711 in the Marriott Marquis Ballroom,) and of course, we'll have books.

Just a reminder to anyone wondering whether you'd like a book, we have sample chapters available on our website.
The books the chapters are from are listed on the right sidebar.

Happy reading! I hope to see you in Atlanta.

For Your Viewing Pleasure: Blackdog

Blackdog by K.V. Johansen
Cover Illustration: © Raymond Swanland
Design by Grace Continue M. Zilsberger





Long ago, in the days of the first kings in the north, there were seven devils...

And long ago, in the days of the first kings in the north, the seven devils, who had deceived and possessed seven of the greatest wizards of the world, were defeated and bound with the help of the Old Great Gods...

And perhaps some of the devils are free in the world, and perhaps some are working to free themselves still…

In a land where gods walk on the hills and goddesses rise from river, lake, and spring, the caravan-guard Holla-Sayan, escaping the bloody conquest of a lakeside town, stops to help an abandoned child and a dying dog. The girl, though, is the incarnation of Attalissa, goddess of Lissavakail, and the dog a shape-changing guardian spirit whose origins have been forgotten. Possessed and nearly driven mad by the Blackdog, Holla-Sayan flees to the desert road, taking the powerless avatar with him.

Necromancy, treachery, massacres, rebellions, and gods dead or lost or mad follow hard on the their heels. But it is Attalissa herself who may be the Blackdog’s—and Holla-Sayan’s—doom.

Reviews:

"Johansen’s characters project believability, and her world is full of rich and vivid detail. High fantasy for lovers of mythology and of powerful beings in human form, this adult fantasy debut should appeal to fans of Robert Jordan’s ‘Wheel of Time’ series.”

—Library Journal
“I’m hooked. The mix of magic, Tibetan-style religion, and Harold Lamb–style adventure is pretty addicting”

—James Enge
World Fantasy Award–nominated
Author of Blood of Ambrose
and The Wolf Age
“Interesting and absorbing; Blackdog takes as its heart, and its strength, a subject that most fantasy writers shy away from—the Gods themselves.”

—Tom Lloyd
Author of The Twilight Reign series



Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

8/24/11

Pyr Editorial Director Wins Hugo Award

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Cheryl Krajna
1-800-853-7545
ckrajna@prometheusbooks.com

August 23, 2011

Pyr Editorial Director Wins Hugo Award
Lou Anders Recognized

Amherst, NY– Pyr, a science fiction and fantasy imprint of Prometheus Books, is proud to announce a 2011 Hugo Award win by Editorial Director Lou Anders.

Anders received the trophy for “Best Editor–Long Form” at a ceremony on August 20 at the Peppermill Hotel and Casino in Reno, Nevada. Jay Lake and Ken Scholes presided as masters of ceremony, with additional presenters including Renovation Guests of Honor Tim Powers, Boris Vallejo, and Ellen Asher, along with leading genre writers George R. R. Martin and Robert Silverberg.

The Hugos are international, fan-voted awards. All members of the World Science Fiction Society are eligible to vote.

This was the fifth consecutive nomination and the first win for Anders in the category.

“Words cannot express what an honor this award represents to me,” Anders said. “But what I can express is how privileged I feel to work every day with the host of brilliant authors who have made Pyr what it is.”

“Lou’s taste, vision, and stewardship have been instrumental in shaping the Pyr brand,” said Prometheus Books President Jonathan Kurtz. “We’re extremely pleased and grateful for the tremendous reception Pyr has received since its inception.”

Prometheus Books, an independent publisher of thoughtful nonfiction, launched the Pyr imprint in March 2005. Since then, it has become a brand known for books with quality both inside and out, from rich, engrossing narratives to award-winning cover art and design. Although technically an imprint, Pyr was called “one of a very few publishers I know of who have no bad books to their name” by a BiblioBuffet writer, and “one of the most exciting publishers in the business” by Black Gate magazine.

# # #


8/23/11

2011 Hugo Awards

         

Video streaming by Ustream

This Be Nice Praise

Blackdog"High fantasy for lovers of mythology and of powerful beings in human form, this ... debut should appeal to fans of Robert Jordan's 'Wheel of Time' series."
    -Library Journal on K.V. Johansen's Blackdog

8/16/11

Austin signing

Hey, guys. If any of you are in/around the Austin area, I'll be doing a signing at Dragon's Lair Comics & Games, starting at 6:00 PM on Wednesday (the 17th). In addition to a variety of gaming books, they should have copies of The Goblin Corps available for sale, and of course I'm happy to sign anything of mine that you might already have.

Hope to see at least a few of you there. :-)

Two Very Nice Reviews

BlackdogThe Library Journal has reviewed two forthcoming Pyr tites.

Of K.V. Johansen's Blackdog they say:

"When caravan guard Holla-Sayan comes to the aid of a little girl and her dying dog, he unwittingly becomes the protector of the goddess Attalissa and the vessel for the spirit of her Blackdog guardian. In a world where gods and devils walk the land, a wizard-warrior who was once one of the seven devils and the young goddess find themselves embroiled in a web of necromancy, rebellions, and the inevitable shedding of blood. The author of the YA fantasy “Warlocks of Talverdin” series creates a larger-than-life story of gods and demons at play in the world of humans. Despite their divinity, or lack thereof, Johansen’s characters project believability, and her world is full of rich and vivid detail. VERDICT High fantasy for lovers of mythology and of powerful beings in human form, this adult fantasy debut should appeal to fans of Robert Jordan’s “Wheel of Time” series."

The Rift Walker (Vampire Empire, Book 2)Of Clay & Susan Griffith's The Rift Walker (Vampire Empire Book Two) they write:
"An arranged marriage to the boorish, militaristic Senator Clark of the American Republic proves more than Princess Adele of the Equatorian Empire can stand. As Clark’s plan for victory over the British vampire clan that rules most of the Northern Hemisphere evolves into a genocidal campaign, Adele flees her husband and returns to her true love, the enigmatic Greyfriar. With its steampunk setting, enhanced by the mysteries of geomancy and ley lines, this title advances the Griffiths’ chronicle of an alternate Earth forever changed by the ­emergence of a clan of vampires bent on conquest. VERDICT Pulp adventure, steam­punk, and gothic romance meet in this luscious tale of intrigue and derring-do, the sequel to The Greyfriar."

8/14/11

Lost in translation

I have, on more than one occasion, seen this fantasy author or that criticized for word choice. Not that they picked the wrong word for their intended meaning, but they picked a word that didn't "feel" fantasy enough. It shattered a given reader's suspension of disbelief; it broke the fourth wall, and tore them out of the novel.

I have been accused of such myself, in fact.

And I'm not suggesting that such complaints are automatically invalid. It's absolutely possible for a fantasy author to go too far. Particularly modern slang, for instance, sounds woefully out of place in a fantasy setting. I don't ever want to see a knight in a medieval-style Feudal society utter the phrase "That was the bomb, yo!" or hear an elf refer to the actions of his rival as "Whack."

(Well, I usually don't. Now I suddenly have a perverse urge to read, or even write, a short story in which everyone talks like that. But that's beside the point.)

But the criticism I'm speaking of doesn't extend to examples that egregious. They are complaints such as "You should never have puns in fantasy, because the characters aren't really speaking English, so the puns wouldn't actually work in whatever language they are speaking." Or things like "Timothy Zahn shouldn't have used the word 'katana' in his Star Wars trilogy." Or, to bring the example closer to home, a reviewer who said I shouldn't have used the word "origami" in Agents of Artifice. (Just to be clear, I don't want anyone to get the impression I'm calling the guy out. I'm not; it's just a convenient example. Heck, the overall review was quite positive.)

And while I understand these arguments, I utterly--even vehemently--disagree with them.

Let's take the latter two complaints first. Why shouldn't those terms be used? Because there's no Japan in the universes of Star Wars or Magic: the Gathering? Well, no. But there's also no England, yet we don't mind the fact that most of the terms come from English. Are we suggesting that in none of the Star Wars worlds has anyone ever developed a sword like the katana? And if they have, why is it any less appropriate to use that word for it than it is to use the word "sabre" or "sword" when describing lightsabres?

Magic: the Gathering does include at least one world that is very heavily based on feudal Japan. So there's zero reason to think the art of origami doesn't exist. Again, if it does, why should the author go about finding a brand new word for that art form--which he then needs to take time to explain to the reader--when a perfectly good word exists and already has an accepted meaning (albeit a borrowed one) in English?

It's inefficient. It wastes word count and the reader's time. Now, if there was truly a major flavor difference--if the word in question was something incredibly modern, with major pop culture connotations--that might be worth it. But most of the time, it just isn't. Especially since, even if the author does provide the new meaning to the reader, it still may not have the same impact or recognition as a word they already know.

What about puns and wordplay, though? Okay, that argument holds a little more merit. To use an old, traditional example, there's no reason that the words for "threw" and "through" sound alike in the language of some fantasy culture, even though they do in English. Therefore, characters shouldn't be making puns that rely on that sound, right?

Well, no. It's true that the communal illusion of fantasy, accepted by readers and writers both, is that the characters usually aren't really speaking English, so (in a sense) the author is "translating" the character's dialogue into a language the reader can understand. It's not something most of us think about actively or consciously, but it's the only way the whole setup actually works.

But as any translator will tell you, translating dialogue or fiction from one language to another isn't just about swapping out words. You have to rewrite things. Phrases that flow in one language don't in another. Slang and metaphor don't carry across. Humor doesn't always translate. The act of translation is one of conveying intended meaning and feel, not just precise word choice.

So yes, "threw" and "through" may not sound at all alike in the language of, say, the wood elves of Hippie-Grove Forest. On the other hand, perhaps in their language, the words for "thumb" and "xylophone" do sound the same. Thing is, there's no way to convey that particular pun to English speakers.

My assumption, then--on the rare occasions that I'm bothering to think of it at all--is that, if I come across a pun that wouldn't work in the fantasy language in question, I assume it's a stand in for a pun that would have worked, but wouldn't in our own language.

It may feel a bit convoluted to some of you, and I certainly understand that. But I think it's a necessary leap to maintain the shared fiction. Either we can use the language we're writing in, and justify it, or we can't--and we strip authors of a huge portion of their toolbox, and make their books less flexible, less enjoyable.

Of course, everyone's going to draw their lines in different places. For some, it's the use of words that come from common names. In The Goblin Corps, I used the word "non-euclidean" at one point. I know some people object to it, and I absolutely understand why. I questioned its use myself. After all, there probably wasn't a Euclid in the history of that world. But ultimately, I decided that it was the only efficient way to get that point across, and that I'd just have to assume (if asked) that the name was a "translation" of whatever mathematician invented the concept in that setting. A number of readers won't agree with that choice, but it remains a deliberate one.

(This is also, BTW, why I don't really care for made-up curse words. When it's on TV, or some other medium where you aren't allowed to curse, I can deal with the occasional "frak." But otherwise? Say what you mean, damn it!)

Ultimately, there are always going to be some word choices that pull you, me, or any given reader out of the text. That's just the nature of the beast. Next time it happens, though, give at least a brief bit of thought as to why the author might have chosen that word--and how much it would actually have added, if anything, for him to go back through and have to invent, and then explain, a replacement. I think you'll find that, the vast majority of the time, it wouldn't have been an improvement at all.

8/12/11

Announcing a special Vampire Empire event with actor James Marsters



Actor James Marsters joins Vampire Empire authors for DragonCon reading and panel event

Amherst, NY—Actor James Marsters—best known for his iconic role as “Spike” in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel and familiar to genre fans for his roles in Torchwood and Smallville, among others—has signed on to narrate the Vampire Empire trilogy for the unabridged audio books being produced by Buzzy Multimedia for release in spring 2012. In support of this new collaboration, Marsters has announced a very special reading event for fans at DragonCon in Atlanta, GA, on Sunday, September 4th at 7:00 pm (ET).

This ticketed, limited-seating event will open with authors Clay and Susan Griffith introducing the Vampire Empire series—providing an overview of the characters, the setting, and the themes. For the bulk of the event, Marsters will read from The Greyfriar (Vampire Empire, Book One). After his reading, Marsters will join the Griffiths for a conversation with the audience. There will be a book-signing and autographing session to close the event, at which copies of The Greyfriar and the newly published book two, The Rift Walker, will be available.

Marsters, acclaimed for audio work that includes being the voice of Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files, is ideal casting for The Greyfriar, called “so much more than a vampire novel,” by BN.com and “phenomenal . . . from start to finish” with “amazing vampire mythology, a chilling alternate history, and a poignant romance that grips your whole heart and refuses to let go,” by All Things Urban Fantasy.

Tickets for the DragonCon event go on sale next week. Check the James Marsters Facebook page for more details and to order tickets.


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8/5/11

For Your Viewing Pleasure: Mirror Maze

Mirror Maze by Michaele Jordan
Cover Illustration: © Cynthia Sheppard
Cover Design by Grace M. Conti-Zilsberger


Coming in October

Jacob Aldridge is still utterly devastated by the death of his fiancĂ©e when he suddenly encounters her doppelganger. Livia Aram’s uncanny resemblance to the late Rhoda Carothers so transcends coincidence that Jacob becomes obsessed with her. The intensity of his passion terrifies her until her compassion is roused by his desperate plight. A demon is stalking him, a succubus-like entity that feeds on human pain and desire. With the help of Jacob’s sister, Cecily, and Livia’s guardian, the mysterious Dr. Chang, they overcome the demon.  Or so it appears. . . .

Jacob, Liva, and Cecily are all victims of a single curse, a curse which entrapped and destroyed their parents before them. Now fate has drawn their descendants together again, and the curse is playing out. Nothing can help them, until Cecily’s husband returns from abroad. Colonel Beckford has been missing for years; he has seen strange things and acquired strange powers in his absence.  Now he will do whatever it takes to free his wife and eliminate the demon and its curse once and for all.

7/18/11

If Only All Hate Mail Was This Good...

Dear Jerk,
 
The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man: (Burton & Swinburne In)
Who do you think you are? Thanks to your awesome cover design on Mark Hodder's The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man, I decided to buy a fantasy/scifi/ whatever it's called book for the first time ever. Because of Mark Hodder's book, I thought, gee maybe this Pyr Book Publisher might have some other good books. Since March, I've read Twelve, Thirteen Years Later, Ghosts of Manhattan and Vampire Empire! Not only that, but I still have to buy The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack, The Falling Machine, The Buntline Special and Ghosts of War! Where do you get off putting out these books? There are other publishers for god sakes but can I look at them? No. And what books do you have coming up in the next few months? 5 more that I want to read now!... Thanks to you and your publishing company, I check writers blogs. Blogs! And I actually like book covers now. Why? I don't know. I can't explain it. Now all I want to do is write steampunk books with magic and vampires and monsters. I don't know how you sleep at night. 

Sincerely,
Andrew Augustine
or (if you thought this wasn't funny)
Sincerely,
Brian Urlacher

7/14/11

Hoffman's Debut Has All the Right Elements

Sword of Fire and Sea: The Chaos Knight, Book OneErin Hoffman's debut fantasy, Sword of Fire and Sea, is plling up some good reviews.
"Many fantasy novels, especially high fantasy ones, can suffer from bloat and padding, with far too much detail given, making the reading something of a slog. By comparison, Hoffman's novel reads much like Lou Anders, her editor, compared her to: Michael Moorcock. The writing is crisp, sharp, and the text is replete with new and interesting things around every corner. Fire priestesses, gryphons, mind magic using mages, Goddesses, magic weapons, Air knights...Hoffman never lets up in the narrative in introducing us to her world and new characters. The strong elemental theme to the magic put me in mind of the Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher, and, yes, to Avatar the Last Airbender." SF Signal, Four Star Review

"Despite its short length, under 300 pages, Sword of Fire and Sea uses its space wisely. It doesn't waste words or build in details that will have more significance later in the story. Hoffman focuses quite squarely on the here and now for Vidarian and Ariadel, giving us just enough to understand their situation(s) and motivations. This is definitely more like the fantasy series of when I was younger and will likely appeal to anyone who enjoys RPGs (Role Playing Games) or MMO's games (Massive Multipleplayer Online)." Night Owl Reviews, Four 1/2 Star Review

"This series debut by video game designer Hoffman features well-drawn characters, both human and mythical.  VERDICT: Introducing a world of elemental magic, intelligent gryphons, and warring forces, this fantasy adventure is suitable for both YA and adult readers." Library Journal
And if you want a taste of Erin's world, head to Beneath Ceaseless Skies, where her story "Sightwolf" is online for free.

The Goblin Corps Wants You!

The Goblin CorpsReviews for The Goblin Corps are starting to pour in, and the verdict seems pretty clear:

"Goblins are mean, nasty creatures. As a staple race of most epic fantasy, they usually exist for some sort of sword fodder, beings killed to level up the hero. But some authors like to turn the tradition on its head. Jim C. Hines has done that with humor in the Jig the Goblin series, R. A. Salvatore gave orcs more personality with in the Hunter’s Blades Trilogy, and now Ari Marmell mixes the best ideas of these two authors with the grittiness of Joe Abercrombie in The Goblin Corps. ....I haven’t enjoyed a quest fantasy this much since I read David Eddings back in middle school. Marmell has the wit and charm of Eddings’s stories coupled with the grittiness of Joe Abercrombie or Sam Sykes and a narrative style that is completely his own. If you ever wished that Brandon Sanderson or David Eddings could be a tad bitter more realistic in content, or Scott Lynch and Joe Abercrombie a tad bit funnier then you will love the way that Marmell has struck a wonderful balance between the two. I haven’t laughed so hard or been so into a book in many a year. Highly recommended." Grasping for the Wind 

"The Goblin Corps possesses the same elements that made The Conqueror’s Shadow so much fun to read. This includes cleverly subverted fantasy tropes—villains who are more likeable than the heroes, a wolf-like troll, a war against the Dark Lord that doesn’t go quite as planned, etc.—comical David Eddings-like humor, and Joe Abercrombie’s kick-ass grittiness.... As good as The Conqueror’s Shadow was, The Goblin Corps is better. Better written, funnier, more fulfilling, and twice as entertaining. Basically, The Goblin Corps is must-read material for anyone who is a fan of Joe Abercrombie and likes seeing fantasy tropes viciously subverted. Don’t let the Abercrombie comparisons fool you either. Ari has his own style which he is perfecting, and if he can continue writing books like The Conqueror’s Shadow and The Goblin Corps, then I wouldn’t be surprised if exciting new fantasy authors were one day compared to Ari Marmell..." Fantasy Book Critic 

"...his is a good story, a very good story. I enjoyed it so much more than I thought I would. The twists and turns in the plot kept me wondering just what would happen next. I enjoyed it so much that I am looking forward to getting a copy of it for my nephew so that he can enjoy it also. This is a fantasy to share with others." Night Owl Reviews

7/13/11

ArtOrder Challenge: Ilustrate a Scene from James Enge's This Crooked Way

This Crooked WayJon Schindehette is the Senior Creative Director at Wizards of the Coast. He also runs the (incredible! amazing!) ArtOrder blog, which regularly dispenses invaluable advice to aspiring and up-and-coming artists. The blog issues "ArtOrder Challenges," always judged by professional illustrators and art directors in the field. For the latest, Jon asked Irene Gallo of Tor and yours truly of (obviously) Pyr to select passages from our respective imprint's publications.

I've selected two passages from James Enge's This Crooked Way. Enge's monsters are always imaginative, and manage that balancing act of being horrifying and humorous in equal measure. Personally I cannot wait to see a host of interpretations of his imagination. See contest details here.

Ian McDonald's The Dervish House wins John W. Campbell Memorial Award

The Dervish HouseIan McDonald's The Dervish Househas won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award.
The John W. Campbell Memorial Award for the best science-fiction novel of the year is one of the three major annual awards for science fiction.The Award was created to honor the late editor of Astounding Science Fiction magazine, now named Analog. Campbell, who edited the magazine from 1937 until his death in 1971, is called by many writers and scholars the father of modern science fiction. Writers and critics Harry Harrison and Brian W. Aldiss established the award in Campbell's name as a way of continuing his efforts to encourage writers to produce their best possible work. Congratulations, Ian!

Meanwhile, The Dervish House also won the BSFA Award, and has been nominated for the Hugo, the Arthur C Clarke, the American Library Association, and Locus awards.