Tuesday, March 28, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: Catalyst (STAR WARS): A Rogue One Novel by James Luceno

Even overgrown battle stations need something that goes BOOM.

[Affiliate Link]
*2 STARS*

In the pursuit of a new super weapon to bring lasting peace through fear, the Republic rapes worlds to build what could be an impossibility.

Read the rest of my review at SFFWorld.com

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: Gearspire: Advent by Jeremiah Reinmiller


An ambitious debut that hits, but doesn’t always draw blood.

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*3 STARS*

In a world where advanced technology crumbles into decay, a scant few holding its secrets, magic is practiced and feared, and an empire hangs in the balance of war, Ryle is a young man, single minded in his passion to right past wrongs, all of them his — borne of a long lost father.

Read the rest of my review at SFFWorld.com

And if you like Reinmiller's work, don't forget to check out his Landing Page with Gearspire extras.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: The Secret Horses of Briar Hill by Megan Shepherd

Transcendent, magical. A tale that strikes you deep in the heart as it lifts you up.

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*5 STARS*

Print Length: 240 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (October 11, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1101939753
ISBN-13: 978-1101939758

In the mirrors of Briar Hill Hospital winged horses live. And for a young girl, sick and orphaned, they bring color to her cold world of gray.

I don’t usually read Young Adult Historical Fiction, but a recent visit to the library captured my attention with this strikingly magical cover and I had wondered if it might find my young daughter’s interest.

It failed with her for now, but had me riveted by the first page. With carefully crafted prose we follow what appear to be the delusions of a sick girl with what only seems to be a terminal illness in the countryside of war-torn World War II England. At Briar Hill they are safe from the bombs, but there doesn’t appear much that can save them from the stillwaters that lurk in their lungs and take whom they will. Little Emmaline is a fighter though, despite all that she has lived through, despite where she is and the disease that takes a toll; she finds beauty in the everyday.

There is humor and strikingly heartfelt scenes in a book that is far deeper than you might imagine. Certainly a book to appeal to the young of age, but this is also one that can captivate anyone young at heart.

Moving, magical, the author does an amazing job of crafting a story that leaves the ultimate mystery up to each individual reader to decipher. Some will say the horses were real, some will say they were merely a symbol.

For me, I know what they were. I have no doubt. For I felt the wind on my cheeks as they flew.

(Gah! That was beautiful.)

Friday, March 10, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: The Seer by Sonia Orin Lyris

The Seer is a masterpiece of Epic Fantasy in the vein of The Game of Thrones.

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*5 STARS*


Amarta can see the future, but nothing is certain, everything changes, and a man made powerful by her own talent will stop at nothing to have her power for his own—or for none at all.

Read the rest of my review at MYLIFEMYBOOKSMYESCAPE

*BONUS: And on Baen's website you can read a free short story that takes place before the events of The Seer, called Touchstone. It is a great addition to the overall and gives a great feel for the world.

I'm a fan. Touchstone by Sonia Orin Lyris

Thursday, March 9, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: Avogadro Corp. by William Hertling

Avogadro Corp is a diabolically clever insight into accidental A.I.

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*4 STARS*


What happens when an email algorithm to help human collaboration takes on a mind of its own; goes beyond its purview and skips past every check and balance in its way?

Read the rest of my review at MYLIFEMYBOOKSMYESCAPE

Monday, March 6, 2017

The Return

Life is like a box of chocolates...

We all know the line, and so true it is. Been an eventful (perhaps BEYOND eventful) 8+ months since last I posted; where I uprooted my family to move north, turned into a resume-spewing machine, played the interview game, sold our home, bought another and moved right back where we started from.

*Phew*

(That would be enough for most people, but we actually did all that in about 3 months. The last 5 have been something of the hangover that came after.)

In the midst of the insanity attempt to do everything at once (because it just seemed more convenient at the time of conception) writing took a big back seat, but I'm back, 6000+ words on Kip the Quick 2 and plowing forward. I've been brewing up ideas and plotlines for months, the notes have been shoved here, jotted there (all congealing into a general, terrible mess), and I found myself stuck in a mire; trying to struggle out of the general sense of impossibility that it had all become. But I'm out, using what I've learned in the past, taking my own advice (finally!) and just writing.

It's good to be back, it's good to have our housing situation figured out; great to be setting down roots in a place we already knew we loved, reconnecting with friends and in general: just pretty awesome.


Friday, July 1, 2016

MASSIVE Fantasy/Sci-fi Giveaway: $115 Cash, 15 Paperback Novels, 8 eBooks, Oh-My!

Enter for a chance to win one of the awesome prizes below on this Rafflecopter run giveaway. Ripley's Booklist is selective, and I'm excited to take part.


ENTER THE CONTEST BELOW

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Interview and Giveaway

DJ of MYLIFEMYBOOKSMYESCAPE was nice enough to interview me recently and we talked about Kip the Quick. Read the interview now if you want to know a little more about me and a little more about our favorite pretentious scamp: Kip.


And two copies of the ebook are up for grabs on the giveaway below.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Story Climax: The Whole Point - Writing Tool by Victoria Mixon

Your Climax is your Premise. Remember that and it will bring you focus.

A few years back, before all the craziness of my move to Texas, subsequent relocation back to the west coast just a year later — in a whirlwind of dust and debris that felt as if it were as bad as a tornado — I read a handy-dandy post by Jami Gold with guest star editor Victoria Mixon. (The post is from an excerpt of Mixon's excellent: The Art and Craft of Writing Stories.)

Bomb by _Gavroche_ on flickr.com
Blew my mind back then, and as I'm working on some outlining of a new epic fantasy, I'm reminded of it's usefulness. In an effort to iron out the concept in my own mind and share the brilliance with you, here is a snippet of that post and my own efforts to make it work.
"What’s the Climax of a novel? 
We must understand, for now, only this one, fundamental thing: the Climax is the real reason we write our stories. 
Once upon a time, two teenagers became so distraught over their passion for each other they committed suicide—that’s the premise. Cause? Their parents wouldn’t let them marry or even date—that’s the story. Cause of that? Their families hated each other—that’s the backstory.
—Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare"

In the post there are more examples to help drive it home, and they are laid out in the book as well. Here I'll make my attempt to distill some pieces down, including my own work, to show how it works.

A teenage boy hunts for a demonic killer and murders his kindly old neighbor—that's the premise. Cause? He must save the town from a killer that can not stop—that's the story. Cause of that? His neighbor is a demon and the boy is a sociopath obsessed with serial killers and death—that's the backstory.
I Am Not A Serial Killer, by Dan Wells
(Great book, big recommend! And the sequels may be even better.)

A young farmboy uses incredible powers to survive a series of ordeals to confront and destroy a terrible force—that's the premise. Cause? He is the Dragon Reborn and the only one that can destroy the Dark Lord—that's the story. Cause? He was saved and forced to find his power by multiple factions with their own motives—that's the backstory.
—The Wheel of Time, by Robert Jordan (and Brandon Sanderson)
*Ok that's a hard one to summarize, considering it is 13 MASSIVE books, but I think that does it. And in this case, the backstory is more or less all 12 prior books.

Now one for me. Oi. (Hardest yet!)

A brash young man convinces an arrogant magus to rebel against the laws of their society and save the day—that's the premise. Cause? They join a mercenary group to fight back against an evil society, while the magus despairs over his lost power and the young man grows in his resolve to find his—that's the story. Cause? They leave their secret order, each with their own deepset reasons—that's the backstory.
Seeking the Veil, by Clifton Hill (That's me. Which you already knew, because you're a sharp one.)

Ok, I was going to try Kip, but my head is hurting now. And I need to get back to that outline I was talking about. Which this little blog post was totally not about avoiding. Really.

Anyone willing to try the technique here? Go ahead, I dare ya!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Kip the Quick on Sale!

World release on Amazon.

Witty, fast-paced fantasy heist where morality is...debatable.

Kip is a young thief on the hard streets of Tander in the middle of the Sparelands -- a dry, hot piece of hell, hit with frequent and terrible storms. All he wants to do is leave, but first he must save enough to cover fare for the only safe exit in town: the iron wain.

With six months to go, the job of a lifetime lands in his lap: To steal a vial of the Essence -- a piece of myth and legend. He'll do anything to pull it off, but the question is... Will he survive?


Never fear for Amazon alternatives, a wide release and paperback are coming soon. Stay tuned for more info. And sign up for the newsletter to hear it first.