Monday, February 25, 2013

More stories with hauberks in them

I've been reading Ivanhoe in my off-time lately, one of many in my backlog of books to read. Despite my deep and abiding love for chivalry, I somehow made it three full decades without reading it or some derivative thereof. I haven't even seen the movie.

I can't believe Walter Scott was worried about publishing it under his own name. The action is fun and the setting is beautiful. But the dialogue is what wins me over. The personal interaction is just beautiful, on par with Shakespeare, a writer that Scott clearly emulates. I especially love the scenes involving the Clerk of Copmanhubst, a delightful character if ever there was one. Even better than the Clerk is the fool Wamba. Wamba's reminiscent of the jester in King Lear, another favorite of mine.

The prose can be kind of dense for 21st century readers. I realize now why I picked up Rob Roy as a kid and gave up after two pages. I consider myself fairly well-versed in the English language but I had to reach for a dictionary several times with Ivanhoe. To some, that might be a bad thing. To a writer, though, it's like finding new tools he can use later.

Dead Scotsmen aren't the only source of new words for me. I ran into the term rugose while playing a certain card game this month. I had to know what it meant, so I looked it up right then and what's more, my phone actually let me do it. I wonder if this is a temporary detente or if the machine and I are friends now.

I bet you're just burning up to know what rugose means. The simplest answer is "wrinkly."

Friday, February 22, 2013

I'm the guest blogger over at Blue Chocolate Diaries this week.

Check it out.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Your Mission

Hello everyone.

I hope you're enjoying Vacant Graves. I have a favor to ask you. It's not difficult, I promise.

You might even enjoy doing it.

If you like the Magnocracy Series, call your librarian (local, college, or all of the above) and tell them they should acquire it for their E-Book collection.

Most librarians have them now and I want to be clear: Carina Publishing loves libraries. And libraries love Carina. The software is DRM-free and very user-friendly. Libraries get people interested who might not want to gamble money on an unknown author or who might not be able to afford a book to begin with.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Vacant Graves

Well, it has arrived.

Get ready for some coal town action, creepy secrets, and...

What am I doing?

Don't read my blog today. Go read the book!

Monday, February 11, 2013


I often complain that the internet is mostly just criticism, a high-tech way to ceaselessly judge each other. I say that so you know what a hypocrite I am. Or maybe because this is less a criticism and more of a warning, take your pick. To my credit I think, I'm not calling anybody out by name.

So here goes.
[It will help to imagine me winking at this point]

Esteemed writers of cinema, cartoons, and games,

Writing believable-yet-entertaining characters can be hard, I know. Thoughtful, witty dialogue is such a drag. And now thanks to that Joss Whedon asshole, people are going to expect more of that.

Have no fear! Instead of challenging your audience's perceptions, just rely on ethnic stereotypes to get your point across!

I've completed this handy table to help you. Simple find the adjective/noun that best describes your character and choose an appropriate accent. Those overpaid actors do the rest of the work for you!

Character is:Accent should be:
CrazyRussian, Scottish
HornyFrench, Spanish, Latin American
Pompous/RichEnglish, WASP
RudeVarious New York City
Weird/GoofyIndian, Swedish

---End Sarcasm----

My own opinion is that accents are great. But I hate it when stories rely on them to establish a character's identity. I've noticed that a lot of children's cartoons just fall on back on stereotypes with accents (brainy German genius, arrogant rich guy with a WASP accent).

I realize that being 'politically correct' is like leprosy to some people, but seriously, what does this teach our kids? That everybody from Alabama is an inbred hick? That all German people are automatically smart?

I guess maybe I should just chill out. But it seems like when we wonder where prejudice comes from we might not have to look very far or deep to find the answer.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Something warm for my northern readers...

Sent out an MS on Friday and am working hard to get another submissions package out this week. So I'm posting this, since I'm told it's worth a thousand words (it's from my last trip down to Bahia Honda, in the Keys. Great park, by the way):