Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas 2010

Christmas is over. I had a lot of fun with my family and really enjoyed most of my break. Except for the fact that I decided to catch the stomach flu on Christmas night. I won’t go into details but I was violently ill, sick enough that my wife almost took me to the ER.

But everyone at work had the stomach flu the week before, so I was pretty sure it wasn’t food poisoning, so I toughed it out. I am hoping when I look back at this Christmas I remember all the fun stuff and forget about the projectile vomiting.

My wife really liked her presents. I got her a kindle, a king size electric blanket(she has wanted one for years), and some pens with her name on them. I think I did a good job picking out presents, she really seemed to enjoy them. She got me a laptop, which was awesome because the mouse buttons on mine had stopped working just a week before Christmas. My other family members (cousins, aunts, uncles, and my father in law) got me an array of t-shirts, a nice metal book mark with my initials engraved, and a signed Orson Scott Card novel.

Like I said the family was a lot of fun this year, no drama, no arguments. After everybody left I got a little down. It happens every year, I start to miss my parents, both of whom have passed away. But it didn’t last very long this year. I guess time really does heal all wounds.

I did get a little writing done, as you can see progress on Blood Plague has gone up another couple of percentile. And I sent some queries to agents for the Laws of Summer, we’ll see how that works out.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Update on Blood Plague

Well, I hit 27,000 words on Blood Plague. Writing on the novel has been slow and steady. The first wave of the plague has just ended, so it has been a little rough to write. I have three view point characters and they have all had to deal with a lot of loss, writing about digging mass graves is a little depressing.

But the novel is coming along nicely. I think it might go over my estimated 100,000 words but I'll adjust the current projects box accordingly when it comes to that. With the holidays coming I think I will have to take a break from writing for a few days.

Unless I get some great news (hint, hint to book publishers that aren't ever going to read my blog) this will be my last post until the new year.

So Happy New Year, Merry Christmas, I hope you have a wonderful, magical, holiday season.

(Yeah, I said Merry Christmas in a blog post that mentioned mass graves. Never thought that would happen when I started writing this blog)

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Best Book Ever Part III

Here it is the long awaited final installment of the best book ever. This the list of my favorite books in the year that I read them(Note: The year I read a book had nothing to do with its release, Note #2: This list was compiled from memory so if I say I read a book before it was published I apologize. ) Previous entries can be read here and here.

My favorite book of 2000 was… um… well you see this was the year I turned twenty-one and well…um…I had other stuff to do. The stuff I did read I only have a vague memory of.

My favorite book of 2001 was… The Dome of Fire by David Eddings. This was my first Eddings book and it inspired me to go find his other stuff. A great book.

My favorite book of 2002 was… Dissolution by Richard Lee Byers. At this point I was drifting away from The Forgotten Realms and Dungeons and Dragons but The War of the Spider Queen brought me back for a little while.

My favorite book of 2003 was… A History of Western Civilization author unknown. This was a hard year for me to remember anything I read that I enjoyed. I had just started back in college and was taking 18 credit hours a semester for the time I took off, but this was my favorite class so…

My favorite book of 2004 was…Myth Adventures by Robert Asprin. This book provided me with a whole series of humorous light hearted stories. The perfect read between classes.

My favorite book of 2005 was…Knife of Dreams by Robert Jordan. The continuation of my favorite series of all time, and my copy was signed by the author!

My favorite book of 2006 was… Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. I read this one shortly before Robert Jordan’s death and loved it. I was really pleased when they announced he would finish The Wheel of Time

My favorite book of 2007 was… Sacrifice of the Widow by Lisa Smedman. By this point I was done with D&D. Everyone I gamed with had left town, and the only Forgotten Realms books I read in years was the The War of the Spider Queen but I was sold on Lisa Smedman’s writing from her entry, Extinction, in The War of the Spider Queen.

My favorite book of 2008 was… Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. This was a great book, I hate first person but I loved this one.

My favorite book of 2009 was… Storm Front by Jim Butcher. Again another start of a series that I really enjoyed.

My favorite book of 2010 was… Towers of Midnight by Brandon Sanderson. The latest entry in the Wheel of Time, who knew you could pack so much awesome in one book?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

An attempt at art

So I just got photoshop on my laptop and I decided to see if I still remembered anything about it from my graphic design classes. While I have been using adobe illustrator for Pill Hill Press book covers, I haven't used photoshop in years. Below is what I came up with, now to be honest I was looking at a picture of Superman while I did it, so it isn't totally free hand (I can never get the shading right when I do free hand), but I did draw the entire thing on a computer. I think it came out pretty well, except for the smoke at the bottom, which kind of looks like a strange, gray/black, blob.

Of course I used two hours I could have been writing Blood Plague or formatting Shadows & Light to do it, but oh well, nice to have a little break. Don’t expect too much more art from me. It takes up too much time.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A short story published

My short story, Let Justice Be Done, has just been published in The Scroll of Anubis, a mummy anthology. My story features a group of roman soldiers who were mummified in a bog. But they were Vigiles Urbani, the watchmen of the city who died hunting a criminal and they do not rest easy. The thieves that stole their bodies soon find that the phrase, Fiat justia, ruat caelu, “Let Justice be done, even though the heavens fall” is more than just a motto. Amazon link
My story Mortis Lupus was also accepted for publication in Bards & Sages Quarterly today.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Story Published

My short story, Blood of Warriors, Blood of Kings, has been published in Iron Bound ezine. It is a short story that begins with a knight who is tied down as a sacrifice, and is clearly a sword and sorcery tale. It is just a fun little action story. You ca read the pdf here

Monday, December 13, 2010


So I had the flu last week. I work at a library, someplace that people LOVE to go when they are sick. The library employees tend to take turns getting sick all through the flu season. But it wasn’t the normal flu, comparing this hideous pestilence to the normal flu is like saying a gunshot wound is a little scratch. I left work early on Tuesday, I was running a fever of 101 I went home and went to sleep. Somehow my voice rose two octaves higher while at the same time becoming whispery raspy thing that even I didn’t recognize.

The next few days are kind of a blurry haze of coughing and sleep. I remember working one day because five other members of our nine person staff called in sick. I remember sleeping, and reading a little, though I couldn’t tell you what I read. I remember my wife making me soup, and being extremely nice while at the same time teasing me about sounding like an eight year old girl who had been smoking her whole life (see the high pitch, raspy sentence above)

To make a long story short... too late(bet ya can't guess what I watched while I was sick), it was an awful week. I got nothing productive done, and now I am playing catch up.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Shadows & Light II and writing

I try not to get too much into Pill Hill Press on this blog but I thought I would give everyone an update on Shadows & Light II. We just got the last of the contracts in. We are starting to prepare the book for print, and hopefully it will be out late December/early January, but with the holidays it might get pushed back a little. Kind of depends on how much I can get done on it this weekend. Just wanted to let everyone know that it was coming along. I am a little slower than Jessy but it shouldn’t be too much longer.

On the writing front I have finished another 5,000 words in Blood Plague(working title). I think these are my best characters ever. Period.

If I can keep the plot going this might be the one that gets published, crossing my fingers. I didn’t know writing could be so easy until I started on this one, every time I sit down to write I get 2,000-5,000 words done.

I just need to get myself to the computer and keep at it, again with the holidays and now Shadows & Light II it is kind of hard to find time to write.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A shameless plug

With the holidays coming up I thought I would shamelessly plug the sci-fi anthology I edited this summer. Hey it is my blog, what better place to try and get some sales. Anyone interested in buying the book can get it from amazon or from barnes and noble It also available in the Pill Hill Press Book Shoppe. Right now there is a limited edition hard cover that can only purchased from the Book Shoppe, the hardcover is available until the end of December and it is only $3 more than the soft cover!


This short story collection features thirteen fantastic adventures set in the cold vacuum of space. Read about rogues, scoundrels, aliens, robots, heroes, junkers and priests as you explore the rich and creative diversity of the following stories: Junker's Fancy By Rosemary Jones, Leech Run By Scott W. Baker, A Space Romance By Paul A. Freeman, Hawking's Caution By Mark Rivett, Parhelion By David Schembri, To Stand Among Kings By Kenneth Mark Hoover, The Unicorn Tree By Alethea Kontis, The Beacon of Hope By Gregory L Norris, Tangwen's Last Heist By C.B. Calsing, The Stand-Ins By Gef Fox, Glacier Castle By Will Morton, Rescue By Margaret Karmazin, At One Stride Comes the Dark By Murray Leeder.


Amazon/ Diane Jones- Avid Reader: Exactly what the cover says, this is a collection of fascinating stories set in deep space, most having a good balance of science and fantasy and all offering enough suspense to make them very hard to put down.

Fred Warren/Residential Aliens: If you love stories about lone-wolf pilots, sentient spaceships, interplanetary power politics, rogue computers, lost colonies, and Terrors From Beyond, Zero Gravity, a new anthology of science fiction adventures from Pill Hill Press, will light your boosters and shove you deep into your acceleration couch… Read the rest here

JM Kirk Writer of Fantasy and Science Fiction: …Zero Gravity was an entertaining anthology that had more character driven stories than technology driven plots which is something I much prefer in my science fiction. This good range of stories is bound to appeal to many readers whether they are fans of the genre or not. Read the rest here

Tales of the Talisman/ Shawn Oetzel: …Pill Hill Press’ anthology, Zero Gravity Adventures in Deep Space is an eye-catching and fun read. It is filled with thirteen science fiction stories all nicely edited by Alva J. Roberts. I think fans of genre fiction will enjoy Zero Gravity Adventures in Deep Space immensely. I know I did. Buy a copy of the issue

Science Fiction Review: I haven't read a volume of short stories since, well, since about forever. I like getting engrossed in the plot and feel of a full-length novel. However, I picked up a copy of Zero Gravity while on an extended trip, and I read it immediately following a great but lengthy novel by Carol Berg. My flight was going to land in about an hour, so the short story format seemed appropriate to read one or two before landing, going through customs and immigration, getting a ride to the hotel, etc. I am glad I made that choice… Read the rest here

The Future Fire Reviews: As a whole, Zero Gravity is full of stories that seem to understand that humanity is no longer physically evolving in the original sense. We no longer worry about those genetic markers that in the past made a mate unacceptable. Today we evolve through social interaction and technology and this will most likely still be the case as we hurl ourselves outward beyond the stars. On the perimeter of the universe it will be our technology and our ability to co-habitat with our fellows that will serve us and I feel this collection gets that right. It is just plain good reading that should easily please any fan of deep space fiction. It is light, good for afternoons on the porch or, if you’re like me, a quick story to relax a bit before bed… Read the rest here

If any book reviewers are interested please drop me a line via the contact form and we will get see about getting a review copy to you. The book is available through many other online book stores inlcuding the many versions of amazon ie,, etc. And the Pill Hill Book Shoppe has very reasonable international shipping rates.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happy Belated Thanksgiving

Happy belated Thanksgiving to everyone. We had a great time on Thanksgiving, rather than spend all the money on food, we all went up to the local Indian casino, ate the buffet and gambled it was a lot of fun, and though at first it seems nontraditional, we did feast with the Native Americans.

The next day in the mail I got a coupon from them for $50 in free play, apparently last month I went up a tier in their players club star level, whatever that means. So we went up again on Saturday. It is only a forty minute drive so it really isn’t that much of a commitment.

It was kind of weird to go up there twice in one week. We usually go once a month, if that. The result of our gambling expedition? We are $120 ahead for the week, that is even counting gas and meals we bought up there. Its not the million dollar Powerball jackpot but it was still nice to get some extra money right before the holidays.

When we got home Saturday I took out the trash, laying on top of everything else in the dumpster was a box. For some reason I looked inside, this is strange in and of itself. I don’t usually decide to peek through the garbage. But inside of this box was nearly 900 comic books. Whoever threw them out was obviously a collector they were in amazing shape, none of them were very old. The oldest one was from 1989 but I grabbed the box and took it inside.

I haven’t read a comic book since I was in high school but I started reading through the stack of these and am having a great time. My dad always bought me a box of comics from the Sears catalog every Christmas, so this is like a flash back to my youth.

I didn’t get much writing done over the holidays. I am plugging along on Blood Plague, made it to about ten thousand words. This novel is coming easier than any other one I have ever written. I have a list of chapter, and what I want to happen in them. Even more amazing, I already know how the book ends!

Side Note: I have been getting a few emails about the Current Projects box on the left, mostly from writers who really want to have one on their website. I think this is great, I stole the idea from Brandon Sanderson’s website. But that’s not the point. The way I figure out the percentage is that I guess the book will be 100,000 words. This is a pretty good number for me, The Lion of Solkara was 112,000 words and The Laws of Summer was 98,000 words. My other novel, Kingdom of the Dead, was around 80k but that was a nanowrimo novel. Plus using 100k as my goal makes the math super easy. When I am 10,000words I am 10% done, at 13,000 I am 13% done, etc. If I ever get around to writing the epic fantasy novel rolling around in my head I might have to adjust the math, but for now this is what I am doing.