Saturday, January 23, 2010


So I finished my first edit of Kingdom of the Dead. Now the whole thing actually makes sense. I just have to go through it all again and fix awkward sentences, grammar, and add descriptions. Then I will proably have to go through it again. My first, as yet unpublished, novel took 5 edits, and I still need to go through it again to fix grammar problems. So the three or four edits of KotD is actually an improvement.

I have started writing my next novel, with the working title God's War. That is going to have to change, but at least it is better than "book", "story", or "ZombieboOk" which were the working titles of my other three novels.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Shadows & Light Reviewed!!!

The following is the first review of Shadows & Light Tales of Lost Kingdoms. First published online at The Fantasy Tavern The review was written by Tracy Falbe.

The literary palates of fantasy readers will appreciate the flavors packed into the anthology Shadows & Light: Tales of Lost Kingdoms. This premium box of chocolates was published by the Pill Hill Press and edited by Alva J. Roberts, who can certainly be proud of the twenty-two short stories that mix a full measure of fantasy with a couple dashes of horror.
The overall quality of the writing in this anthology is very strong. The stories grabbed my attention right away within the first paragraphs and often the first sentences. Vivid imagery, strong emotions, smooth transitions, and tireless action were standards upheld by every author selected for the anthology, and, like a book of paint swatches, all the darker shades of the genre were represented. A daring elf queen, female centaur, changeling warriors, a priestess of the dead, and a barbarian king are a smattering of examples from this suite of stories that were obviously written and selected with care.
As with any anthology, some stories resonated with me more than others, but this will vary with the tastes of each reader. One of my favorites was Azerian: Pawn of the Serpentine Witch by Christopher Heath that could be labeled as heroic fantasy or barbarian fantasy. With lizard men who sacrificed humans, a powerful witch desiring pregnancy, and a barbarian king, this story flowed like hot lava and drew me into its frightening action. My only complaint about the story would be its epilogue, which I considered unnecessary. It answered a few questions, but mostly I thought it came across as notes for future stories that should have been written instead of summarized in an epilogue.
Another story of note is Shadow on the Edge of the City of Light by Bill Ward. It was a well done study in the corruption of an abused innocent who was twisted by a strange seductress and a potently evil ancient sword. The main character's transition to an evil dark lord by an exploitative lover was stark and believable.
Then Lydia Sharp's story The Keeper of Secrets tugged at my emotions as the heroine went to a fateful meeting with her estranged mother. I could relate to apprehension at a homecoming after long departure. Plus, I loved how this story included ocean-based fantasy life forms that supported the protagonist, like mermaids and an octopus being.
Another story with powerful emotions was Treischan Strength by D.M Bonanno who told of an ancient and dying tree's struggle to save its offspring. I have always been sensitive to the life within trees, and I was touched by this narrative that showed the courage of trees.
For fantasy readers who are also fascinated by the Roman Empire, the Sword of Rasna by Gustavo Bondoni offers a fantastical view of the historical struggle between a rising Rome and the older Etruscan society. On a further military note The Siege of Ravelin by Ray Kolb is a well told tale. It compelled me to keep reading with its instant aura of mystery as a bored soldier keeps watch over a supposedly dead city that has been under siege for a century. The author succeeded in making me know that something terrible was going to happen and want to keep reading.

All the stories in this thoughtfully produced anthology deserve praise even if I did not mention them specifically. I rarely give a perfect five sword review because that rating has to be withheld for the best books, but this anthology really did strike me as a superior collection of short fantasy fiction. Shadows and Light would make a great introduction to the genre for someone unfamiliar with it, and it definitely reminded me of why I like fantasy so much.

Monday, January 11, 2010

2010 Writing Goals

2010 Writing Goals

-Write 1 short story or chapter a week
-Finish Editing my novels(I have three of them sitting on my computer that need edited)
-Write at least one more novel
-Get 12 short stories published(other than PHP)
-Try to get my short stories, that I have the rights back to, reprinted online so that more people can read them

How have I done so far?

I have had two short stories published this year so far, and I know that a least two others, proably more, will be coming out.

I have the idea for two more fantasy novels, one is going to be very dark, and I am just trying to decide which one to write first.

I have written two short stories so far.

I am editing Chapter 14 of Kingdom of the Dead. This is just the first edit where I fix gross errors and make sure the story makes sense, I still have to go back through a few more times. Once to add in more descriptions and once for grammar.

Against the Grain, originally published in Shadows & Light: Tales of Lost Kingdoms is going to be reprinted online in Golden Visions magazine.

Not a bad start to the year, lets see if I can keep it up.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Outer Reaches Now Available

Outer Reaches magazine is now available, my short story The Crystal Blight appears in this volume. You can buy it HERE

They Crystal Blight is about a group of space pirates confronted with a new biological agent.

How I Spent Christmas

The day after Christmas I was going to blog about the weather, and how it effected our Christmas plans. I forgot about it, but our local radio station posted some pictures and I thought I'd share.

Here is Christmas Eve Day. It was chilly in the thirties, and we still had a little snow, from a previous storm. Everything froze over the night before and it was a pretty idylic image of winter in a small town.

Her was christmas.
This is a picture of main street, notice the drifts so high you can't see most of the buildings on the other side of the street.

This is about 1/2 block from the first picture, this is a picture of the corner at 2nd st. and main

This is a picture taken about a block from my house

So on Christmas Day no one came over and we stayed in. Jessy and I opened our presents from each other and ate a gluttonously on the prime rib that she had prepared to feed everyone. We did have Christmas later with everyone else.

All in all I have to say it was one of the most relaxing Christmas Day's I've ever had. The storm didn't bother me at all, we kept inside and kept warm.

Of course our drive way is in the alley and they don't plow those, so I couldn't get my car out until the following Tuesday and ended up walking to work Monday.

Photos were taken from if you're curious to see more you can vist thier website.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

First off, Happy New Year!

I've written a couple of short stories that last couple of days. And I decided to try to get all of my short fiction reprinted online. And I've already got an acceptance. Golden Visions will be publishing Against the Grain, my story from the Shadows & Light anthology, it will be in thier April issue.

I've started editing Kingdom of the Dead, and have the idea for my next novel brewing in the back of mind.