Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Post-Christmas, Pre-New Years

The Christmas weekend went very well...low-key, relaxing, just the way I like it. We got a White Christmas too, as a couple of inches of snow blanketed Lexington. It was wonderful spending time with my sister, mother, the always gregarious Harold (a cat, for those of you who do not yet know of him) and a dear family friend that has officially been declared my "third grandmother". (both of my grandmothers have passed away, and this wonderful lady has been a dear friend of the family since early I decided to annoint her as my third grandmother!).

As we have a small group, we tended to spoil the heck out of each other. I got an awesome new black leather jacket which I will be wearing at appearances in early 2011, along with several other gifts ranging from some new clothes to an Ace Frehley DVD. It was a really wonderful, restful weekend!

I had peace of mind too, as we got all packages for Dream of Legends out before the weekend hit. We were a few days behind because it took a little longer than usual for the books to arrive for signing, probably due to the busy nature of the holiday season.

I was able to acquire a great pic of me and my editor, Karen Leet, just after she got to see the limited edition hardcovers for the very first time. I may look a little disheveled, but I definitely want to share this photo, as you can tell how pleased Karen is with how the book turned out.

I also got my Pluto Award in the mail. It is a beautiful, fully engraved award, which I will be taking a picture of in the next day or so. I will post it here, of course. It is just an amazing way to be wrapping up 2010, and definitely gives me a great deal of encouragement to head into 2011.

I will endeavor to get a nice "year in review" post up for the new year, but thought I would drop in and share a few things in the mid-week!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Crown of Vengeance wins the 2010 Pluto Award!

Today is a very special day, as I just received word that Crown of Vengeance was announced as the winner of the 2010 Pluto Award.

Six nominees were announced in November, with 2 finalists declared on December 4th, and Crown of Vengeance made the final cut earlier today. This is my first national/international literary award, so it will always be extra, extra special in my heart. It is a real thrill to know that a jury thought so much of my work to nominate it, and choose to move it forward in the following rounds.

So much work goes into these books. The series itself has been in development for over 15 years, even though book 2, Dream of Legends, is only now being published. An award like this is a real validation and encouragement, and I can't say enough how amazing it was to get the word that Crown of Vengeance won.

I would also like to recognize a couple of other individuals for whom this award is significant. One is Amanda DeBord, my hard-working editor on Crown of Vengeance. I have always loved working with her, as she is a very gifted editor, and know she will be very happy about this award. The other is Matthew Perry, who did the cover art and set of illustrations in Crown of Vengeance. As everyone knows, I have had a great collaboration with Matt with his artwork and my books, and I think Matt will be very pleased to hear about this award as well.

I extend a huge thanks to the board and jury of the Pluto Award. I promise that I will continue to put a 250% effort into all the future installments of the Fires in Eden Series, and that the confidence you have shown me in selecting Crown of Vengeance was well placed. This series is from the heart, and I put my all into it, to create an epic adventure that has rays of light within it, even if the challenges presented to the characters might seem impossible at times. I don't think you will be disappointed with where this series is headed! :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Dream of Legends now available on Kindle! Just $3.99 too!

A bit of welcome news arrived today...

the Kindle edition of Dream of Legends is now up and active!

All of Matt's artwork is included in the Kindle version, and I don't think that the $3.99 price, for a 746 page book, is too shabby, now is it? lol

If you have a Kindle, help us kickstart this release! I also want to say that Steven Shrewsbury, my friend and fellow SSP author, had his Thrall novel go live as well. Great heroic fantasy, if you like the Robert E. Howard and David Gemmell types of books. His book is also just $3.99 and has all the artwork too.

Here are the links:

Dream of Legends Kindle Edition

Thrall Kindle Edition

Exciting times! The elements for the limited edition packages are all in house as of today, so those will be shipping out at the beginning of next week, signed. Those that pre-ordered them are in for something special. They came out really, realy wonderfully!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Made it back safely, but a few close calls!

Being an author that strives to keep every committment, and one who really appreciates every media opportunity that is offered, I tend to find myself occassionally in the thick of some adventures, as happened last week during my trip to do the signing at That Book Place in Madison, IN. Last night was no exception, and turned out to be possibly the most harrowing author adventure I've had yet.

I went to Louisville to be on Fender's Den Radio Show, which is a great show that features live performances by bands, interviews, and the like. Louisville is only an hour outside of Lexington, so on a normal night, this is not a problem. Unfortunately, last night was not normal.

Getting to Louisville was a little difficult, as the snow had begun to fall. I had to keep it to about 40 miles an hour, but you could still see the road lines, and the main worry was about the slickness of the highway. I saw salt trucks out, so I had some hope. Got to the studio safely, where Dusty June and Fender, the show hosts, had myself and actor Sonny Burnette (one of my favs), who played Latacolc in Swordbearer, on for an interview focusing on the movie.

We followed a very good rock band called Your News Vehicles. Very cool bunch of musicians, and I definitely recommend you checking them out, as their performances was tight, and I really liked the vocal quality of the singer. Sonny and I were interviewed for about a half hour, and then we set off for the return journey.

While we were inside of the studio, the snow had fallen more thickly, and the interstate had a layer of it such that seeing the road lines was difficult at best in some stretches, and non-existent in others. This makes for a lot of fun as there are always some people that think that they, and their cars, transcend the laws of physics and come racing down the highway in such conditions, when two lanes cannot be seen, much less demarcated. These are the type of people that you see turned around backwards in ditches or perched up on embankments, I strongly believe, or who end up having intimate encounters with telephone poles or light poles.

I had some "interesting" moments, such as one curving stretch on the highway where I couldn't see the road, and the snow was gushing down, AND a big truck came rushing by on the left, and threw up a pile of slush that covered my entire windshield right as I entered the curve (and couldn't see the lines on the road, I must remind you, which means you can't see the lines marking the shoulder of the road or anything else like that). Literally blinded for a few moments until the trusty windshield wipers did their thing, but it definitely makes for a little elevation in heartrate.

I did have a Monster Energy drink to help me, though there was no chance of going drowsy. Went as slow as 20mph in some spots, and no higher than 35. Took easily over 2 1/2 hours to make a trip that normally would be under 1 hour. I finally got back to Lexington. Sonny and I had touched bases by phone a couple of times during our drives back, and I called him again to make sure he got home safe, which, thankfully, he did.

Dues Paying on my path has been going on for quite some time, but I definitely paid some extra dues last night. Hopefully I'll have some adventures of a less-harrowing variety in the future to bring a little balance into things!

Needless to say, I'm glad to be having an office day today!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Apex Day 2010 was a winner, and I will be on Fender's Den Radio Show tonight...

(photo is of me with the legendary Jason Sizemore of Apex Books, right after the event...if you look carefully, you can see the glow of success on Mr. Sizemore! )

Apex Day 2010 was a great deal of fun...met some new friends like Rodney Carlstrom and Debbie Kuhn, and saw some very special friends like Janet Harriet and Michael West, and got to hang out with the Apex legions at Joseph Beth Booksellers in Lexington Kentucky.

Jason, the head honcho of Apex Books, put together a great group of guest authors, with a spotlight on Gary Braunbeck, who did several outstanding readings. R. Thomas Riley came all the way from North Dakota, and Jerry Gordon, Lucy Snyder, Mari Adkins, and the always enthralling Maurice Broaddus rounded out the main group up front.

There were definitely some great moments, including seeing Jason Sizemore in a Santa hat, and THEN seeing Gary Braunbeck in one, after he requisitioned it from Jason during the giving out of the door prizes. Proof is below, and no, these are unaltered photos, LOL:

I finally got to take a photo with Mari Adkins, a great editor and writer who is one of the Apex editors, in I joked with her, you see her only slightly more frequently than J.D. Salinger's rate of public appearances when he was alive, haha.
I have proof of this visit with Mari as well:

Rhonda Wilson, Earl Dean, and many other great people I know were in the crowd, and attendence was really good. Rachel at Joseph-Beth produced yet another well-run, hospitable author event, and many that I talked to who were there for the first time now know what I mean when I say that this is one of the best bookstores in the entire country.

Now on to Fender's Den today in Louisville to be on their rockin' radio show, along with actor Sonny Burnette. we are supposed to go on at 7pm eastern time USA, and the show info and archives can be found at
that's it for now!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Appearing Tomorrow on Fender's Den Radio Show

As promised, here's the update on the radio show I was thinking I was scheduled to appear on... LOL...

I will be on Fender's Den Radio Show, a VERY cool radio/video show based out of Louisville Kentucky. Their site is at:

The time for the show is at 7pm eastern time USA. This is going to be a very fun one, and different from many of the media appearances that I've made, so I encourage you to catch it live, or, if you miss it, check out the archived version later. Go to the website to get information on the show and linking up to it!

If you are on Facebook, they have a brand new fan page up too: that address is:

That's all for now! I'm heading down to participate at Apex Day in Lexington today at Joseph-Beth from 2-4pm, where Gary Braunbeck, Maurice Broaddus, Jason Sizemore, Michael West, and many other great authors will be hanging out, signing, and more.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Apex Day on Saturday! Voyage of the Dawn Treader Today!

Okay, I'm pretty whupped at the moment, but there's an exciting weekend coming up!

The Limited Editions of Dream of Legends are in route to me to be personalized/signed for those who ordered, and I assure you, you will be really pleased with how this book turned out! :) It is one sharp-looking hardcover. Authors tend to get excited when they can actually hold a physical book in their hands. I only have the pre-print run proof copy, which I had to do a line by line last review/check of, not an easy task for a 740 page book, but it is a copy that I got to hold in my hands! LOL.

This weekend, I'll be one of the guests at Apex Day at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Lexington. Gary Braunbeck, Maurice Broaddus, Michael West...the list is big and awesome. It will be from 2-4 at Joseph Beth, and I am really looking forward to participating, as Jason graciously included me on his list. Apex is one of the best independent presses in the country, and it is always an honor to be invited/included on anything with Jason.

There's a facebook page for the event. Link here:!/event.php?eid=146724642029668&index=1

I am supposed to appearing on a pod/video cast on Sunday, but I don't have final details so I'll have to update this later with a blog post if that is still happening.

Everyone should go see Voyage of the Dawn Treader this weekend! It was my favorite of the Narnia series growing up. I'm going to the theater in about an hour to see it, but from the trailers it looks magical. I hope the new director delivered the heart that the Narnia tale has, which is much more important than the flashy special effects. I've been looking forward to this one for a long, long time!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Last Day to get Dream of Legends Limited Hardcovers

Just a quick note to remind everyone that today is the final day for getting the big deal on Dream of Legends Hardcovers. The hardcovers look fantastic, and they come with a ton of extras (and you can get the new t-shirt design as an added option). Only 75 to be issued. This is by far the best deal for the new book, and one of the best deals you will find on a new release anywhere, major or small press.

hope you give it some I like to say, the book will still be around long after the latest electronic gizmos are obsolete/inoperable/gathering dust... :) And those latest gizmos cost a lot mroe too!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Crown of Vengeance in finals of Pluto Award-Signing in Madison Report

First of all, I am very pleased to announce that I just found out that Crown of Vengeance is now one of the two finalists for the 2010 Pluto Award, narrowing down from the initial field of 6 nominees. The 2010 Pluto Award will be announced on December 18th, so we'll have to see what happens! It is definitely an honor to have Crown of Vengeance be a finalist, something that is extra encouraging on the eve of Dream of Legends being released.

Staying a little warmer today, after a big adventure to Madison, Indiana yesterday for a signing at That Book Place. Madison is a small town right on the border of Kentucky, a very scenic, historic area. It is also known for its success and participating on the sport of hydroplane racing. One day, it is going to be well-known as the town where That Book Place is located.

This store, owned by Frank Hall, is an author-friendly independent bookstore. Frank is definitely one of the good guys in this often-hazardous business that authors have to deal with. I have seen Frank out on the circuit, and he was kind enough to invite me up for a signing.

As luck would have it, snow began to fall in Lexington and the region early on Saturday morning. Leaving town was an adventure, but as I always say, I will make every last effort on behalf of my reader-friends. The trip got out to a rocky start, as just as I was heading out of Lexington, 3 cars ahead of me and mine hit a particularly bad patch of ice. All of us went into slides. I was able to keep calm, go with the direction of the slide and regain control. The car ahead of me avoided collision, but the other two ended up over the curb and on the sidewalk. Fortunately, a police car was on the spot to take care of those two vehicles.

I had to be cautious on the drive up, as the roads were in various conditions depending on whether they had been visited by salt trucks. Drawing closer to Madison, it gets a little more hilly and winding, which made for some dicey stretches.

I got to That Book Place safely, about an hour ahead of the signing time. Frank and Dan, who helps him run the store, and Frank's wife were on hand, and it began what was a very nice visit. A.J. Scudiere, a thriller/science fiction author from Nashville, made it right on time for the signing, after having gone through some adventures herself.

One of the first reader-friends to show up was Anita, who showed me her Kindle, and the copy of The Exodus Gate on it. She told me that she really liked the wolf-creatures in the book (the An-Ki) and wanted me to assure her that they would continue forward in the series and would not be all killed off. She also indicated that while she likes e-Books, she did want print copies of the authors she likes. She picked up The Exodus Gate in print, as well as The Storm Guardians, and also got a copy of Dreams of Steam, which has my steampunk short story "In the Mountain Skies" in it. It was a great start to the signing, and I was really flattered that she thought enough of The Exodus Gate, as an eBook, that she wanted a print version signed and personalized.

A few readers had pre-bought books and left them in the store to be signed and personalized, and there were also a few customers browsing who turned out to be fantasy readers, such as one lady whose boyfriend was a fan of Robert Jordan and the Wheel of Time series. She thought he would really enjoy the Fires in Eden series and picked up a Crown of Vengeance for him.

A.J. Scudiere was great to do a signing alongside, and people should check out the audio movie versions of her books as well. Yes, that's movies, where her books are given a soundtrack, sound effects, and a full cast of actors bringing you an audio book like no other. Check her work out!

There were some humorous moments as well. Frank evidently runs an unofficial cat placement service, or so it appears, as a little kitten was dropped off to him, to deliver to a home that he had found. This evidently takes place on a regular basis, and Frank and his wife have no less than 10 cats themselves. I think that the kitten should have been given the job of being the bookstore cat, as it took quickly to Frank, even falling asleep on his shoulder. (as the pic proves). It won't be much longer before Frank will be giving a free cat to every author that signs at his store!

Frank has a really good thing going at That Book Place. Not only is he expanding the store size, but he is also adding a coffee shop soon, and he is founding a new small press publishing company. His brother owns a game store in Madison as well, so I can see Madison becoming a real genre hotbed in the near future!

Authors and readers should really get behind Frank and what he is doing. He's shown himself to be a straight-shooter, and he has a passion for the genre, cares about authors, and I really hope he has tremendous success.

All in all, it was a good day, and one that went much better than it might otherwise have gone given the bad weather.

As a last note, remember that this Wednesday, December 8th, is the last day to pre-order Dream of Legends limited hardcovers (and get an incredible price).

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dream of Legends makes a top 5 list, and Trans-Siberian Orchestra Rocks Rupp Arena!

Yesterday I had a couple of very nice things happen. One was a surprise, and the other has become a bit of a holiday tradition.

The surprise was that a fantasy reviewer in Europe chose Dream of Legends as one of his 5 most anticipated book releases of December. The site was The Ranting Dragon, and the link to the anticipated december releases is here.

The other books on the list were by Brandon Sanderson, Glen Cook, Mike Resnick, and Nancy A. Collins. Obviously, I was both thrilled and stunned to be put in this kind of list. When you put as much work into a book, especially a larger type of book as an epic fantasy tends to be, it certainly uplifting to have something like this occur. I hope that things like this help to encourage folks to take a look at picking up one of the limited edition hardcovers, as they look very sharp and it takes a whole lot to put together the kind of package that we put together (which is why you don't see packages like this very often with any publisher's new releases, small or large press).

The other major thing yesterday was my third Trans-Siberian Orchestra show in Lexington. As everyone knows, I'm a lifelong hard rock and metal fan, and Trans-Siberian Orchestra fuses hard rock and metal with orchestral elements to create a really phenomenal sound. To go with it, they have a massive stage show, that of all the great stage shows I've seen, is second only to Kiss. Lasers, lights, fireworks, mobile platforms and trusses, fire jets, the works! TSO was founded by a couple guys from the metal band Savatage, who had a string of excellent albums from the early 80's right up through the early 2000's. They are often joined by other metal alumni, as when one of my favorite guitarists, Alex Skolnick of Testament fame, was on hand last year playing with TSO.

Make no mistake, this is an arena rock show, with a whole lotta rock, and some orchestral polish. The show went well over 2 1/2 hours, and I encourage everyone to go out to see this if it comes near. These guys and gals clearly care about the fans, as the tickets are much less than most arena shows, and you get 3 times as much of a show, visually, and in the length of the performance. I did get some nice pics at the show, a few of which I've put on this page.

The band members often go into the audience, and the bass player knew where to go to rock, when he came up into my aisle. I was only able to get a quick, blurry cell phone pic, but it does prove he knew where to go! LOL

It is a family tradition now, as my mother and I have gone three years in a row, and my sister has been aboard for the last two. This is my idea of a holiday concert, that's for sure!

Last, but not least, I would like to extend my warmest regards, and wishes for peace and happiness, to all of my Jewish friends and their families during the celebration of Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, which began at sundown last night and continues for 8 days. Be sure to eat more than a few latkes! You have all been wonderful to me and I hope your kindness and support of my own path returns tenfold!