Friday, February 24, 2017

Interview with Jake Bible


Please welcome Jake Bible to The Qwillery! Stone Cold Bastards is published on February 24th by Bell Bridge Books. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Jake a Happy Publication Day!







TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Jake:  I started writing when I was young, way back in elementary school. I was lucky enough to go to a school where we were required to not only write a short book, but to illustrate and bind it. I pretty much ripped off other ideas like the old Dungeons & Dragons cartoon, Bunnicula, Mercer Mayer stories. I've always had a seriously overactive imagination. I continued writing up through and after high school, but let it fall away as life got busy and I got tired of the old way of mailing in stories to markets and publishers. The internet changed all of that and when I could start submitting via email. So I decided to give it a go again. That was back in 2007 and I've been writing my butt off since.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Jake:  I'm whatever it takes to get the novel written the way it needs to be written. The last novel I wrote I didn't even jot down a note until the final chapter. Then I outlined that chapter so I could tie up the story. I've outlined entire books and followed the outline, I've outlined entire books and never once looked at the outline, I've done it every way possible. It really all depends on how well-formed the story is in my head when I start writing.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing? Has your writing process changed over the years?

Jake:  After 40 plus novels, the most challenging part of writing is to not be derivative. I have certain themes and archetypes that I steer towards when I write a novel, but I try to make each story's characters new and fresh. It isn't easy. As for my writing process, I haven't changed much over the years. My mind is hyperactive, so when the story is flowing, I let it flow. When it isn't flowing, I back off and do something– clean the house, run errands, watch Netflix, read, cook. But I pretty much have always had the same process of slow start, super fast finish. So far it works for me.



TQDescribe Stone Cold Bastards in 140 characters or less.

Jake:  A rag-tag team of gargoyles come to life must save the last of humanity from extinction before the demon-possessed hordes destroy the world.



TQTell us something about Stone Cold Bastards that is not found in the book description.

Jake:  One of the themes of the book is being the reluctant hero. Most of the gargoyles actually have a lot of contempt for the humans they are protecting. They understand that humanity needs to be saved, but if it wasn't for the magic that compels them, they may not exactly put their all into it. Overcoming that contempt is part of the hero's journey for many of the gargoyles. It was great playing with that dynamic.



TQWhat inspired you to write Stone Cold Bastards? Why gargoyles?

Jake:  I came up with the name first. Stone Cold Bastards just popped into my head and I went, "Huh? What kind of story is this?" Then I realized that there are billion vampire, werewolf, zombie, and ghost stories out there, but other than a couple paranormal romances here and there, gargoyles have been pretty much neglected. Plus, gargoyles are made of stone and I knew they could just whomp the crap out of their enemies. I wanted to write a novel with some crap-whomping heroes that just kicked ass.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Stone Cold Bastards?

Jake:  Oh, man, I learned something huge! Did you know that what we generically call gargoyles are actually grotesques? That's where we get the word "grotesque" from! Gargoyles are waterspouts that usually are set at the corners of buildings whereas grotesques are any carved faces or carved statues that adorn a building. The stereotypical winged and fanged creature we all think of as a gargoyle is technically a grotesque. I thought that was way cool.



TQIn Stone Cold Bastards who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Jake:  The easiest character to write was by far Mordecai (Morty). He's the cigar-chomping, lead grotesque that acts all tough and gruff, but has a sweet spot for a few of the wards (humans) he and the other grotesques have to protect. Writing him came easy. I had a few hard characters to write, mainly the humans. Switching my brain from grotesque/gargoyle think and back to human think was not easy. I enjoyed being in Morty's head so much that when I went to write a human character I almost had a disdain for them. They were weak and soft and could get crushed so easily. They sucked. I had to work at making the humans likable and worth saving! It's kind of funny.



TQWhich question about Stone Cold Bastards do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Jake:  What type of novel is it? The genre is technically Contemporary Fantasy, but I think that classification (as many classifications do) misses the spirit of the novel. This is a dark, magical, post-apocalyptic, action adventure that I have tried to make as fun and entertaining as possible. It's a contradiction. I was inspired by those old war movies like The Dirty Dozen and Kelly's Heroes. The ones where the misfits are the heroes and you know most of them are probably not going to make it. Lots of jokes and sarcasm from the characters that helps mask the gravity of their situation. They know the odds are against them, but damn if they aren't gonna have a great time kicking ass and taking names along the way!



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Stone Cold Bastards.

Jake:  One of my favorites is from Morty. “Guys, I have a big day ahead of me, so if we could avoid the one-on-one attacks, that would be great." Morty is facing several hundred demon-possessed "vessels" as they are called and he could care less about the numbers. He just wants to get the fight going and be done with it. One big, huge, violent brawl is what he prefers. I love it.



TQ:   What's next?

Jake:  Oh, wow, I have a lot coming up. I'm currently writing an urban fantasy for Bell Bridge Books called Black Box, Inc. It's like The Transporter meets Dresden Files. It's turning out to be a lot of fun to write. I also publish with Severed Press and have been releasing a lot of military scifi and space opera with them. What I'm looking forward to is tackling a new genre for Severed Press: LitRPG. Basically its when the protagonist is somehow transported/sucked into/merged with a role playing game/video game/online game and they literally have to play by the rules of the game in order to survive. Ready Player One is a good example, but true LitRPG goes even deeper than that. It's going to be cool to explore something new.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Jake:  Thanks for having me!





Stone Cold Bastards
Bell Bridge Books, February 24, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 218 pages

Only a rag-tag team of gargoyles stands between humanity and extinction.

Hell has released its ravening horde of demons, leaving most of humanity a puke-spewing, head-spinning mess of possession.

Humanity’s last hope? A team of misfit gargoyles—including a cigar chomping, hard-ass grotesque—come alive and ready for battle during the End of Days. They guard the last cathedral-turned-sanctuary atop a bald knoll in the North Carolina mountains.

Gargoyle protection grudgingly extends to any human who can make it inside the sanctuary, but the power of the stonecutter blood magic, which protects the sanctuary, may not be enough when a rogue grotesque and his badly-wounded ward arrive.

All the hounds of hell are on their heels. The last sanctuary is about to fall.





About Jake

Jake Bible, Bram Stoker Award nominated-novelist and author of the bestselling Z-Burbia series, short story writer, independent screenwriter, podcaster, and inventor of the Drabble Novel, has entertained thousands with his horror and sci/fi tales. He reaches audiences of all ages with his uncanny ability to write a wide range of characters and genres. Other series by Jake Bible: the bestselling Salvage Merc One, the Apex Trilogy, the Mega series, and the Reign of Four series. Jake lives in the wonderfully weird Ashville, North Carolina. Connect with Jake on Facebook, Twitter, and his website: jakebible.com


2016 Bram Stoker Awards® Final Ballot



The Horror Writers Association has announced the the nominees for the 2016 Bram Stoker Awards®. Presentation of the Bram Stoker Awards® will take place during StokerCon on April 29, 2017.


Superior Achievement in a Novel
Hand, Elizabeth – Hard Light: A Cass Neary Crime Novel (Minotaur Books)
Jones, Stephen Graham – Mongrels (William Morrow)
Langan, John – The Fisherman (Word Horde)
MacLeod, Bracken – Stranded: A Novel (Tor Books)
Tremblay, Paul – Disappearance at Devil’s Rock (William Morrow)


Superior Achievement in a First Novel
Barnett, Barbara – The Apothecary’s Curse (Pyr Books)
Chapman, Greg – Hollow House (Omnium Gatherum Media)
Deady, Tom – Haven (Cemetery Dance Publications)
Garza, Michelle and Lason, Melissa – Mayan Blue (Sinister Grin Press)
Wytovich, Stephanie – The Eighth (Dark Regions Press)


Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel
Alexander, Maria – Snowed (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
Brozek, Jennifer – Last Days of Salton Academy (Ragnarok Publishing)
Cosimano, Elle – Holding Smoke (Hyperion-Disney)
Roberts, Jeyn – When They Fade (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
Sirowy, Alexandra – The Telling (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)


Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel
Bunn, Cullen – Blood Feud (Oni Press)
Chambers, James – Kolchak the Night Stalker: The Forgotten Lore of Edgar Allan Poe (Moonstone)
de Campi, Alex – No Mercy, Vol. 2 (Image Comics)
Kirkman, Robert – Outcast by Kirkman&Azaceta, Vol 3 This Little Light (Image Comics)
Miller, Mark Alan and Lansdale, Joe R. –The Steam Man (Dark Horse Books)
Moore, Alan – Providence, Act 1 (Avatar Press)


Superior Achievement in Long Fiction
Cushing, Nicole – The Sadist’s Bible (01Publishing)
Edelman, Scott – That Perilous Stuff (Chiral Mad 3) (Written Backwards)
LaValle, Victor – The Ballad of Black Tom (Tor.com)
Malerman, Josh – The Jupiter Drop (You, Human) (Dark Regions Press)
Waggoner, Tim – The Winter Box (DarkFuse)


Superior Achievement in Short Fiction
Bailey, Michael – Time is a Face on the Water (Borderlands 6) (Borderlands Press)
Bodner, Hal – A Rift in Reflection (Chiral Mad 3) (Written Backwards)
Golden, Christopher – The Bad Hour (What the #@&% is That?) (Saga Press)
Mannetti, Lisa – ArbeitMacht Frei(Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories) (Crystal Lake Publishing)
Oates, Joyce Carol – The Crawl Space (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Volume #2016/Issue#8) (Dell Magazines)


Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection
Barron, Laird – Swift to Chase (JournalStone)
Chizmar, Richard – A Long December (Subterranean Press)
Oates, Joyce Carol – The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror (Mysterious Press)
O’Neill, Gene – Lethal Birds (Omnium Gatherum Media)
Schwaeble, Hank – American Nocturne (Cohesion Press)


Superior Achievement in a Screenplay
Campbell, Josh, Chazelle, Damien, and Stuecken, Matthew – 10 Cloverfield Lane (Paramount Pictures)
Duffer, Matt and Duffer, Ross – Stranger Things: The Vanishing of Will Byers (Episode 01: Chapter One) (21 Laps Entertainment, Monkey Massacre)
Duffer, Matt and Duffer, Ross – Stranger Things: The Upside Down (Episode 01: Chapter Eight) (21 Laps Entertainment, Monkey Massacre)
Eggers, Robert – The VVitch (Parts and Labor, RT Features, Rooks Nest Entertainment, Code Red Productions, Scythia Films, Maiden Voyage Pictures, Mott Street Pictures, Pulse Films, and Very Special Projects)
Logan, John – Penny Dreadful: A Blade of Grass (Episode 03:04) Showtime Presents in association with SKY, Desert Wolf Productions, Neal Street Productions)


Superior Achievement in an Anthology
Bailey, Michael – Chiral Mad 3 (Written Backwards)
Manzetti, Alessandro – The Beauty of Death (Independent Legions Publishing)
Monteleone, Thomas F. and Monteleone, Oliva F. – Borderlands 6 (Samhain Publishing, Ltd.)
Mosiman, Billie Sue – Fright Mare-Women Write Horror (DM Publishing)
Murano, Doug and Ward, D. Alexander – Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories (Crystal Lake Publishing)


Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction
Braudy, Leo – Haunted: On Ghosts, Witches, Vampires, Zombies and Other Monsters of the Natural and Supernatural(Yale University Press)
Franklin, Ruth – Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life (Liveright Publishing Corporation)
Olson, Danel P. – Guillermo del Toro’s “The Devil’s Backbone” and “Pan’s Labyrinth”: Studies in the Horror Film (Centipede Press)
Poole, W. Scott – In the Mountains of Madness: The Life, Death and Extraordinary Afterlife of H. P. Lovecraft (Soft Skull Press)
Skal, David J. – Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker, the Man Who Wrote
Dracula (Liveright Publishing Corporation)
Tibbetts, John – The Gothic Worlds of Peter Straub (McFarland)


Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection
Boston, Bruce and Manzetti, Alessandro – Sacrificial Nights (KippleOfficinaLibraria)
Collings, Michael R. – Corona Obscura: Poems Dark and Elemental (self-published)
Gailey, Jeannine Hall – Field Guide to the End of the World: Poems (Moon City Press)
Simon, Marge – Small Spirits (Midnight Town Media)
Wytovich, Stephanie M. – Brothel (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

AIAS Announces 20th D.I.C.E. Awards


Press Release


20th D.I.C.E. Awards Honors Best in Interactive Entertainment

Overwatch Wins Game of the Year

LAS VEGAS – Feb. 23, 2017 – Celebrating its 20th year of honoring the industry’s top games, The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS), the non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement and recognition of the interactive arts representing its 33,000+ membership base, is pleased to announce the recipients of the D.I.C.E. Awards for the best games from 2016. Earning Game of the Year was Overwatch by Blizzard Entertainment, which challenges players to join the ranks of a legendary force of soldiers, scientists, adventurers and oddities, and clash on the battlefields of a near-future Earth. The awards were unveiled at the annual D.I.C.E. Awards ceremony, held at The Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas earlier this evening.

The AIAS membership honored games in 24 award categories, including Overwatch and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, which received four awards each. INSIDE won three awards, including the D.I.C.E. Sprite Award, which recognizes a game with limited resources for development and exposure (as compared to AAA titles). Other top honorees were Pokémon GO for Mobile Game of the Year, Steep for Game of the Year, Street Fighter V for Fighting Game of the Year and Dark Souls III for RPG/MMO Game of the Year. Winners for newly added awards that recognized achievement and innovation in virtual reality and augmented reality games, included SUPERHOT VR for Immersive Reality Game of the Year and Eagle Flight for Immersive Reality Technical Achievement.

“For the past 20 years, the D.I.C.E. Awards have been bringing together the most talented, innovative and inspiring minds in interactive entertainment to recognize and celebrate the industry’s most outstanding achievements,” said Mike Fischer, president, Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. “We’re thrilled to congratulate all of this year’s award winners whose incredible games have amazed and entertained fans worldwide, and are truly an inspiration to us all.”

In addition to the awards for the industry’s best games and creators from the previous year, the D.I.C.E. Awards also honored Todd Howard, Executive Producer and Game Director at Bethesda Game Studios, as the 22nd inductee into the AIAS Hall of Fame, which honors individuals who have been instrumental in the development of highly influential games. Howard was recognized for having created some of the industry’s most successful games by pioneering open-world gameplay, and played a key role in the creative direction and growth of highly-regarded franchises, including The Elder Scrolls and Fallout. Both are known for their experiential approach to world-building and storytelling, and have earning multiple D.I.C.E. Awards throughout the years.

The 20th annual D.I.C.E. Awards ceremony, which was co-hosted by Jessica Chobot of Nerdist News and Kinda Funny co-founder Greg Miller, was the culmination of the annual three-day D.I.C.E. (Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain) Summit (#DICE2017), which is known for drawing many of the interactive entertainment industry’s most respected and influential leaders, decision makers and visionaries.

The complete list of winners includes:

Game of the Year
Overwatch
  • Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
  • Developer: Blizzard Entertainment

Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction
INSIDE
  • Publisher: Playdead
  • Developer: Playdead

Outstanding Achievement in Game Design
Overwatch
  • Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
  • Developer: Blizzard Entertainment

Immersive Reality Technical Achievement
Eagle Flight
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Developer: FunHouse

Immersive Reality Game of the Year
SUPERHOT VR
  • Publisher: SUPERHOT Sp. z o.o.
  • Developer: SUPERHOT Sp. z o.o.

Mobile Game of the Year
Pokémon GO
  • Publisher: Niantic Labs
  • Developer: Niantic Labs

Handheld Game of the Year
Pokémon Sun and Moon
  • Publisher: The Pokémon Company
  • Developer: Game Freak

D.I.C.E. Sprite Award
INSIDE
  • Publisher: Playdead
  • Developer: Playdead

Outstanding Achievement in Online Gameplay
Overwatch
  • Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
  • Developer: Blizzard Entertainment

Strategy/Simulation Game of the Year
Sid Meier’s Civilization VI
  • Publisher: 2K Games
  • Developer: Firaxis Games

Sports Game of the Year
Steep
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Developer: Ubisoft Annecy

Role-Playing/Massively Multiplayer Game of the Year
Dark Souls III
  • Publisher: BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America Inc.
  • Developer: FromSoftware, Inc.

Racing Game of the Year
Forza Horizon 3
  • Publisher: Microsoft Studios
  • Developer: Playground Games, Turn 10 Studios

Fighting Game of the Year
Street Fighter V
  • Publisher: Capcom U.S.A., Inc.
  • Developer: Capcom

Family Game of the Year
Ratchet & Clank
  • Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
  • Developer: Insomniac Games

Adventure Game of the Year
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
  • Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment America
  • Developer: Naughty Dog

Action Game of the Year
Overwatch
  • Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
  • Developer: Blizzard Entertainment

Outstanding Technical Achievement
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
  • Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment America
  • Developer: Naughty Dog

Outstanding Achievement in Story
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
  • Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment America
  • Developer: Naughty Dog

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design
Battlefield 1
  • Publisher: Electronic Arts
  • Developer: EA Dice

Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition
DOOM
  • Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
  • Developer: id Software

Outstanding Achievement in Character
The Last Guardian - Trico
  • Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment America
  • Developer: JAPAN Studio

Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction
INSIDE
  • Publisher: Playdead
  • Developer: Playdead

Outstanding Achievement in Animation
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
  • Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment America
  • Developer: Naughty Dog

Since 1996, the D.I.C.E. Awards have recognized outstanding games, individuals and development teams that push the boundaries of technology, creativity and artistic expression in the worldwide interactive entertainment industry. Titles were played and evaluated by members of the Academy’s Peer Panels. The panels are comprised of the game industry’s most experienced and talented professionals. Each panel is responsible for evaluating one award category. D.I.C.E. Awards recipients are determined by a vote of qualified AIAS members. Award voting is confidential, conducted online and supervised and certified by VoteNet Solutions, Inc. The integrity of the system, coupled with a broad-based voting population of AIAS members, makes the D.I.C.E. Awards the most credible, respected and recognized awards for interactive entertainment software.

The 20th D.I.C.E. Awards was produced by the AIAS, and will be available to watch in-full at https://www.youtube.com/user/AcademyIAS.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Interview with Chris Sharp, author of Cold Counsel


Please welcome Chris Sharp to The Qwillery as part of the 2017 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Cold Counsel was published on February 21st by Tor.com.







TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Chris:  I have always thought of myself as a writer/story teller, even long before I did any actual writing. As far back as grade school—homemade role-playing games, stop motion movies, and elaborate imagined worlds with my friends were a constant.

I didn’t start writing prose in earnest until 2002, when a long brewing monster of a first novel started to spill out. That one took seven years, and was around 270,000 words of pent up, messy, story potential.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Chris:  Definitely more of a pantser. I tend to have a general sense of what I want to do, and then sit down and start writing from the beginning until I get to the end before I go back to look at what I’ve actually done. It doesn’t always work out in my favor—but I’m still fond of the romanticized notion of being the conduit for my higher storytelling self.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Chris:  After that first draft is done, I have historically struggled with going back and making the changes that are necessary to make it any good. So often, beta readers will offer notes that amount to “something not working” without insight as to what that something is. They are of course right, but I can become a petulant man-baby and argue the point in absence of clear direction.

I’m getting much better with this.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing? How does being a TV director influence or not your novel writing?

Chris:  I was never a TV director, but did some extended time as an independent film/commercial/industrial-video producer. I was closely bound for much of my youth, and twenty years post college, to a crew of very fine filmmakers/writers who have continued on to establish themselves in that industry.

Screenwriting and filmmaking are as much of a drive for me as long-form novelization. I tend to think and write in cinematic terms – a little light on description, and long on plot movement and dialogue as a driver of action. I feel like it keeps the story moving and adds entertainment value, but may sometimes undercut a message, morale, or key insight that I want to bring out organically in my novel writing. I’m a slow build, sprinkled insight world builder, and get very turned off by what feels like forced data dumps in exposition and descriptions.

More generally, everything I read, watch, and listen to has and does influence my writing. I steal from everyone and everything.



TQDescribe Cold Counsel in 140 characters or less.

Chris:  A coming of age yarn about a boy, his aunt, and his ax against the backdrop of fading mythology and ancient anger in a post-Ragnarok world.



TQTell us something about Cold Counsel that is not found in the book description.

Chris:  My editor, the brilliant Jen Gunnels, described it as “Conan the Barbarian as written by Tolkien while on a cocaine and petroleum bender,” which may give a keener insight into the tone then what you’ll get on the cover.

The boy is the last troll to survive the genocide of his race, his aunt is the masked reincarnation of an ancient goddess consumed by anger, and the ax is a possessed relic from the storied age of giants.

There are no humans or easy heroes to hold to, but I hope you’ll find yourself rooting for a loveable band of bloodthirsty killers, and wishing for more at the story’s close.

It’s fast, furious fun for the whole family, if the family isn’t afraid of harsh language, brutal violence, and reveling in the fodder of nightmares.



TQWhat inspired you to write Cold Counsel? What appeals to you about writing Fantasy?

Chris:  The protagonist, the troll, SLUD, was first summoned up through the rolling of dice for the Palladium Fantasy RPG in the seventh grade. I used to doodle his picture in my notebooks and write epic verse in his honor. I’d always thought to write his origin story some day, and started it on a whim with the notion to write a little, and sell it as a serialized novel… No takers.

But I was in an angry place at the time, and this angry story kept coming. I’d been disheartened by the underwhelming sales of my first published book, depressed by the direction some of my life choices had taken me, and penned inside by the brutal New England winter of 2014. SLUD’s story was the most fun I’d ever had writing. It was started as an exercise in speed and brevity, but metastasized into the book it is today.

For so many, I think fantasy/sci-fi is seen as less than real, and thereby frivolous. For me, rehashed stories about family dramas, or struggling with our own individual identities in the harsh face of adulthood is often tedious, boring, and overly simple.

Fantasy can and does deal with all of those same real struggles, but does so in a construct that takes us outside of our own microcosmic vantage—allowing us to better see and recognize the inherent truths of our mutual existence. Fantasy is not less than real, it’s hyper-real. At its best, there is more truth, for me, in a story about talking rabbits or space-exploring dolphins than another brilliantly insightful retelling of unresolved childhoods at a family dinner. I don’t need to read about that, I can live that for myself every Thanksgiving. Give me the fucking space dolphins and let me learn something new!



TQCold Counsel is your adult debut novel. How different is it writing for an adult rather than YA audience?

Chris:  Not much. I was perhaps a bit overly conscious of the “audience” in the writing of my first YA novel—about climate change, coming of age, and dragons. It’s geared toward older teens, but I tried to limit the bad language and some of the harder edges. But in reality, teens often have filthier mouths and harder edges than anybody. I’m finishing the sequel to that YA novel now, and I’ve let go of some of that initial pretense by design—and I think I have a stronger narrative/voice for it.

Cold Counsel is also a YA novel of sorts, in that SLUD, the troll, is a young adult trying to find his footing in an unknown world. All of the harsh language and carnage that surrounds him just happens to define the world he exists in, and if I did my job, his trollishness should not diminish his “human” thoughts, dreams, and disappointments along the way.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Cold Counsel?

Chris:  I have always been fascinated with world mythology. Joseph Campbell and Jung were staples of mine throughout college, and Norse mythology, which this book draws heavily from, is eternally fascinating. I can’t wait to read Neil Gaiman’s new take on the old myths.

But for this one, I was really focused on the vantage of the Vanir in the old Aesir/Vanir war, and of the struggles and death of the giants throughout those tales. I did some research into the mythology and cherry-picked the bits that fed into the narrative I wanted to tell. There are two old weapons that factor heavily into the story, an ax and a sword, and it’s the mythology around those two weapons, who made them, and what they represent that’ll guide where the story will go from here. That, and a deep delve into Gullveig and Angrboda, two/one ancillary figures from Norse mythology that I feel deserve a lot more attention.



TQPlease tell us about Cold Counsel's cover.

Chris:  The cover is by the amazing David Palumbo with the direction of the immensely talented Christine Foltzer. It pretty much speaks for itself: young SLUD with his cold ax against a mountain backdrop.

I think that Tor.com has been putting out some of the most exciting covers of late, and I’m thrilled to be in the mix.



TQIn Cold Counsel who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Chris:  My favorite character to write was Neither-Nor – a very hard to kill, misanthropic goblin from a wiped out clan, whose only reason to keep on living is to kill as many others as possible before his days are done. His ceaselessly negative, vitriolic spew was very cathartic to write, and I loved trying to make him oddly lovable despite it.

SLUD was in some ways the hardest to write, as I wanted him to be somewhat unknowable as he slowly builds toward a self-discovery that doesn’t even fully materialize in this novel. He’s the last of his race, and has led an entirely sheltered existence—equally innocent and calculating. Most of the insights to his character happen from outside perspectives, but I still wanted to make him likeable, and someone that the reader would want to follow along with.



TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in Cold Counsel?

Chris:  My YA series is heavy on social commentary and overt social discussion. Cold Counsel was in some ways both more personal and more overtly escapist. I definitively have a social message in Cold Counsel that will become more recognizable in the parts of the story that will follow, but I doubt that many readers would notice what that might be, and I’m okay with that.



TQWhich question about Cold Counsel do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Chris:  Holy crap! This is the book WE never knew WE wanted to read. Is there more to SLUD’s story?

Yes. Coming soon.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Cold Counsel.

Chris:

          Neither-Nor had a glassy look as he chugged the last few gulps of his own jug. He tossed the empty bottle in the snow, a little disappointed that it didn’t break. “Yer fuckin’ mad as a foamin’ weasel, ain’t ya?”
          Slud thought about it for a moment and shrugged. “Yeah, may very well be.”

Greatness, legends, and the stories of a lost age were bullshit. Life was about will and luck, and the rare moments when the two coincided—the rest was just suffering, and the fleeting illusion that the suffering abated for a few stolen minutes here and there.



TQWhat's next?

Chris:  I’m finishing up a beta-reader editorial round for the sequel to my YA dragon novel, and think it’s the best thing I’ve written yet—excited to get it out and earn a bigger audience for that increasingly epic series.

I’m currently writing a screenplay for an excellent producer/director that weaves contemporary politics with Lovecraftian horror—and I’m loving it.

I hope to be just getting started, and plan to have more SLUD, more dragons, and plenty of other things coming down the pipe as well.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Chris:  It was my pleasure. Thank you greatly for putting out such consistently good spec-fic content, and letting me spout off about my particular brand of nerdery.





Cold Counsel
Tor.com, February 21, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 272 pages

In Chris Sharp's new epic fantasy Cold Counsel, Slud of the Blood Claw Clan, Bringer of Troubles, was born at the heart of the worst storm the mountain had ever seen. Slud’s father, chief of the clan, was changed by his son’s presence. For the first time since the age of the giants, he rallied the remaining trolls under one banner and marched to war taking back the mountain from the goblin clans.

However, the long-lived elves remembered the brutal wars of the last age, and did not welcome the return of these lesser-giants to martial power. Twenty thousand elves marched on the mountain intent on genocide. They eradicated the entire troll species—save two.

Aunt Agnes, an old witch from the Iron Wood, carried Slud away before the elves could find them. Their existence remained hidden for decades, and in that time, Agnes molded Slud to become her instrument of revenge.

For cold is the counsel of women.





About Chris

Photo by Susannah Bothe
CHRIS SHARP grew up in the suburban wonderland of Alexandria, VA, where he cut his nerd teeth playing role-playing games and making gore movies with his friends. He studied English Literature and Anthropology at Brown University, and Mayan Archaeology at the Harvard Field School in Honduras. He then spent sixteen years in Brooklyn, NY, where he worked in film and commercial production by day, and was yet another wannabe novelist by night. Some of the films he made with his childhood friends have gained international distribution and won numerous awards at festivals around the world. His first novel, The Elementalists, is the first in a dark YA series and was called one of the “Overlooked Books of 2014” by Slate Magazine. Chris now lives in Concord, MA, with his wife, daughter and an insufferable cat named Goblin.




Website  ~  Twitter @TheFiveClaws  ~  Facebook

Youngblood is Back


Press Release


YOUNGBLOOD IS BACK

Image Comics is pleased to announce the return of Rob Liefeld’s YOUNGBLOOD—the blockbuster hit series that launched the Image Revolution and turned the comics industry on its head—with story by Chad Bowers (X-Men ‘92, Deadpool: Bad Blood) and art from Jim Towe. YOUNGBLOOD is reborn with an all-new cast and a bold new mission with YOUNGBLOOD #1 issue—set to hit stores this May.

"Youngblood has had outstanding talent contribute to its amazing history,” said Liefeld. “Alan Moore, Robert Kirkman, Keith Giffen and Mark Millar are a few who have left their mark. Chad Bowers and Jim Towe are four issues into their run and are producing stories that will be held as some of, if not the best Youngblood tales ever told. It honors the best of the past and forges exciting new paths for these characters!"

In this YOUNGBLOOD #1, an uber popular self-protection app called HELP! is changing how we stay safe—“HELP! lets you decide who saves you.” But when a high-rated young hero on the app goes missing, his best friend’s search for answers gains the attention of some unexpected allies, and together, they’ll do whatever it takes to find him… even if it means resurrecting the world’s most hated super-team, Youngblood.

"Trust me, you've never read a Youngblood story like this,” said Bowers. “I'm so incredibly proud of what Jim and I are doing on this book, and can't wait for readers, especially those who've maybe never picked up a Youngblood comic, to see what all the fuss is about!"

Jim Towe added: “I've been having the time of my life with Youngblood. The combination of so much creative freedom along with having a fantastic writer like Chad has really made this an artist's dream book to draw. We've crafted an incredibly fun and exciting modern day reimagining of these characters that I think both new and old fans are really going to enjoy.”

The series will also feature jaw-dropping alternate covers by Rob Liefeld, David Finch, and Chris Daughtry—so, gear up, strap in, and get ready to rediscover comics most Extreme universe.

YOUNGBLOOD #1 Cover A by Towe (Diamond Code MAR170637), Cover B by Liefeld (Diamond Code MAR170638), Cover C by Finch (Diamond Code MAR170639), and Cover D by Daughtry (Diamond Code MAR170640) hit stores on Wednesday, May 3rd. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, April 10th.




ABOUT IMAGE COMICS
Image Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 1992 by a collective of best-selling artists. Image has since gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. Image currently has five partners: Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri and Jim Valentino. It consists of five major houses: Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline, Skybound and Image Central. Image publishes comics and graphic novels in nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable. It offers science fiction, fantasy, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. For more information, visit www.imagecomics.com.

Image Comics' 25th Anniversary Blind Box Coming in July


Press Release


IMAGE COMICS’ 25TH ANNIVERSARY BLIND
BOX TO HIT STORES THIS JULY
Box to include randomized mix of 25 polybagged variants

In celebration of Image Comics’ 25th Anniversary, Image Comics is printing 1,992 blind boxes in commemoration of the company’s founding year in 1992. The IMAGE COMICS 25th ANNIVERSARY BLIND BOX will be available in comic stores on July 19th.

Each IMAGE COMICS 25TH ANNIVERSARY BLIND BOX will contain an assortment of 25 polybagged comics comprised of 17 all-new 2017 series and featuring limited edition variant covers only available in this box. Each comic will be bagged in opaque black poly to keep every comic a surprise.

Each box may include a randomized mix of the following variants:
  • 25th anniversary variant cover
  • B&W 25th anniversary cover
  • Virgin 25th anniversary cover
  • Virgin B&W 25th anniversary cover
  • Blank wraparound sketch cover
  • Extremely rare sketch covers drawn by each series artists—25 copies per series of the 17 selected launches
  • Exclusive THE WALKING DEAD: HERE’S NEGAN! #1 limited to 500 copies—the first 24 pages of Negan’s origin story printed in single-issue-format for the first and only time.
Retailers interested in ordering the IMAGE COMICS 25TH ANNIVERSARY BLIND BOX must use Diamond Code MAR170900.

One of the rare Ig Guara ROSE #1 sketch covers that could appear in your BLIND BOX.

One of the rare Geoff Shaw GOD COUNTRY #1 sketch covers that could appear in the BLIND BOX.

One of the rare Leandro Fernandez OLD GUARD #1 sketch covers that could appear in the BLIND BOX.


ABOUT IMAGE COMICS
Image Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 1992 by a collective of best-selling artists. Image has since gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. Image currently has five partners: Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri and Jim Valentino. It consists of five major houses: Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline, Skybound and Image Central. Image publishes comics and graphic novels in nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable. It offers science fiction, fantasy, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. For more information, visit www.imagecomics.com.

2017 Rhysling Award Candidates




The Science Fiction Poetry Association has announced the 2017 Rhysling Award Candidates for poems published in 2016.

This list may be adjusted per the SFPA announcement.


Short Poems (93 poems)
“3d printer” • Francis Wesley Alexander • Scifaikuest November
“Adolescence” • Ken Poyner • Star*Line 39.4
“After” • Herb Kauderer • Asimov's SF November/December
“Always the Black and White Keys” • Corrine deWinter • Horror Writers Association Poetry Showcase Vol. III, ed. David E. Cowen
“Annie&Diana/One Canoe” • Shari Caplan • Nonbinary Review 11: Anne of Green Gables
“Antagonist” • F.J. Bergmann • Spectral Realms 5
“appendage sale” • Susan Burch • Star*Line 39.2
“The Architect of Bonfires” • Tonya Liburd •  Space & Time 127
“The Ash Manifesto” • Rose Lemberg • Strange Horizons 10 October
“At the Robot National Convention” • Alan Ira Gordon • Star*Line 39.3
“The Bird Prince” • John W. Sexton • Faerie Magazine Summer
“The birds forget to sing” •  Carl Mayfield • Abbey 147
“Black Bull of Norroway” • Jane Yolen • Goblin Fruit Winter
“Bones Knock in the House” • Mary McMyne • Rose Red Review 18
“Bottle Cast Upon A Dry Sea” • G.O. Clark • Asimov’s Science Fiction February
“The Box of Dust and Monsters” • Beth Cato • Devilfish Review 17
“A Bug in the System” • Anton Cancre • Quick Shivers about Bugs (Cosmonomic Multimedia)
“Build a Rocketship Contest: Alternative Class A Instructions and Suggestions” • Wendy Rathbone • Asimov's SF January
“Christmas on Mars” • Carolyn M. Hinderliter •  Scifaikuest Vol. XIII, No. 4
“Classification of Folktales” • Margaret Wack • Strange Horizons
“The Dark between the Stars” • G.O. Clark • Star*Line 39.4
“Death Rides USAir At Night” • Jane Yolen • Parody 5:1
“Descent of the Composer” • Airea D. Matthews • Poem-a-Day October 24, Academy of American Poets
“Doppelgänger and the Ghost” • Lev Mirov • Eye to the Telescope 22
“Dorothy Delivered” • Kathleen A. Lawrence • Altered Reality Magazine 1
“Exotic Heads Trimmed Neatly” • John Reinhart • Eye to the Telescope 21
“Falling (A Part)” • Alexandra Erin •  medium.com June 8
“The Fantasy of Hans Christian Andersen” • KH Van Berkum • Strange Horizons February 8
Feles Alieni Vere Sunt • Neile Graham • Devilfish Review 17
“*For Quick Sale*” • Greer Woodward • Lupine Lunes, ed. Lester Smith (Popcorn Press)
“Foreign Policy” • David Barber • Star*Line 39.3
“The Frog” • K. Cassandra O’Malley • The Well of Changes (Bag Person Press) [reprint permission unavailable]
“George Tecumseh Sherman’s Ghosts” • Marge Simon • Silver Blade 32
“The Genius” • Sara Backer • Mithila Review 3
“The Giantess’s Dream” • Ada Hoffman • Twisted Moon 1
“Godzilla vs. King Kong” • James S. Dorr • Dreams and Nightmares 103
“History Teacher” • Gary Every • Star*Line 39.4
“How far does night have to fall?” • F.J. Bergmann • The Future Fire 38
“I Left My Heart in San Francisco. I Left Yours Somewhere in Colorado …” • Matt Betts • Underwater Fistfight (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
“Ink” • Akua Lezli Hope • Yellow Chair Review, Horror Issue, October
“Invocation of Diana” • K.A. Opperman • Eternal Haunted Summer Summer
“The Last Woman on Earth” • Mary Stone • Amethyst Arsenic 6:1
“Learning the History of War” J.J. Steinfeld • Star*Line 39.3
“Less than Human” • Marge Simon • You, Human (Dark Regions Press)
“The Long Run” • Neil Gaiman • Uncanny November/December
“Loose String” E. Kristin Anderson • Coe Review 47.1
“Love in the Time of Apocalypse” • Ann Thornfield-Long • Silver Blade 31
“Marginalia on Eiruvin 45b” • Bogi Takács • Bracken Magazine 2
“Martian Garden” • John Philip Johnson • The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction July/August 2016
“Memorial (for Jonathan Franzen)” • Tim Jones • New Sea Land (Makaro Press)
“The Memory Machines” • Jane Williams • The Pedestal Magazine 79
“My Corpse My Groom” • Ashley Dioses • The Audient Void: A Journal of Weird Fiction and Dark Fantasy 1
“My Pet Alien” • Dennis Caswell• Rattle Fall
“A Natural History of Snow” • David Clink • The Role of Lightning in Evolution (Kelp Queen Press, CZP)
“Nothing Goes Away” • A.J. Odasso • The New England Review of Books
“Of My Wounds, There Are Many” • Stephanie M. Wytovich • Sanitarium Magazine 48
“The Old Ones gather” • Terrie Leigh Relf • Scifaikuest May
“Orpheus” • Ace G. Pilkington • The Horror Zine June
“Past Imperfect” • Deborah L. Davitt • Poetry Quarterly Summer
“The persecution of witches” • Ali Trotta • Uncanny 11
“The Phosphorescent Fungi” • D. L. Myers • Spectral Realms 4
“Propagation” • Layla Al-Bedawi • Strange Horizons 18 April
“Quack” • Neal Wilgus • Dreams and Nightmares 104
“Quasar” • Triin Paja • Cleaver 14
“Returning” • Mary Soon Lee •  The Open Mouse May 6
“Richard Feynman’s Commute” • John Weswick • The Were-Traveler December 21
“Riding the Dark” B.J. Lee • Frostfire Worlds February
“Robot Testimonial Z” • Margaret Rhee • Mission at Tenth
“Rusalka” • Jane Yolen • Mythic Delirium 3.1
“Sappho and the Woman of Starlight” • John W. Sexton • Eternal Haunted Summer Winter
“Selkie” • E. Kristin Anderson • Faerie Magazine Summer
“Skin” • Alice Fanchiang • Liminality 10
“Song of the Encantado” • Jeremy Paden • Apex Magazine 83
“Space Opera” • Vince Gotera • Altered Reality Magazine 1
“The Sparrows in Her Hair” • Hester J. Rook • Strange Horizons 18 July
“The Spook Tree” • Cindy O’Quinn • Blood Moon Rising Magazine 66
“Star Dust” • Josh Brown • Illumen 25
“Stellar Quake” • John C. Mannone • The New England Journal of Medicine 375:1305
“Supercomputer Spends the Night” • Danielle Zaccagnino • Weirderary 4
“Sutekh From The Throne” • Denise Dumars • Horror Writers Association Poetry Showcase Vol. III, ed. David E. Cowen
“Terran Mythology” Shannon Connor Winward • Analog Science Fiction and Fact October
“This Rat” • Anne Carly Abad • Chrome Baby 48
“To Live In The Zombie Apocalypse” • Burlee Vang • Poem-A-Day December 20
“To the Girl Who Ran Through Crop Circles” • Karen J. Weyant • Strange Horizons 18 August
“Until Dawn” • Michael H. Hanson • Poetic Hustles 2 (Black Freighter Productions)
La Villa de Sirenia” • Jack Ralls • Star*Line 39.4
“Well, Water, Stars” • Adele Gardner • Silver Blade 32
“Why Elephants No Longer Communicate in Greek” • Timons Esaias • Why Elephants No Longer Communicate in Greek (Concrete Wolf)
“Widening Gyre” • A.J. Odasso • Not A Drop anthology (Beautiful Dragons Press)
“Witch Lord of the Hunt” • Ashley Dioses • Eternal Haunted Summer Spring
“The woman on the bus encounters time dilation” • Daniel R. Jones • Altered Reality Magazine
“World's Tiniest Human” • Muriel Leung • The Adroit Journal 16


Long Poems (60 poems)
“Absentation” • Lesley Wheeler • Thrush Poetry Journal November
“Adam’s Rendezvous with Dante” • John C. Mannone • Last Darn Rites Anthology (Whitesboro Writers, 2016)
“Alice-Ecila” • Steph Post • Nonbinary Review 10: Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass
“At Issue, the Miramo” • Ken Poyner • Dreams and Nightmares 103
“Best of” • Sarah Ann Winn •  Found Poetry Review: Bowietry
“The Blind Elephants of Io” • Karen Bovenmyer • Shortest Day, Longest Night (Arachne Press)
“The Butterflies of Traxl IV” • John Reinhart • The Pedestal Magazine 79
“The Chinese Pirate Ching Shih Plays Go With a Hooded Opponent” • Kendall Evans • Abyss & Apex 59
“Cobblestone Dragon” • Herb Kauderer • Polu Texni July 11
“Dame Evergreen” • Rebecca Buchanan • Faerie Magazine Winter
“The Dark Lord’s Diary” • Lee S. Hawke • Star*Line 39.1
“Data Mine” • Alexandra Erin • medium.com October 24
“The Death of the Horse” •  Beth Cato • Remixt Magazine 1:8
“Defender Prime” • A.C. Spahn • Outposts of Beyond July
“Elegy for Iain Banks” • Vince Gotera • Star*Line 39.3
“Exploratory Colony 454—15th May, 2052” • Lore Bernier • Eye to the Telescope 20
“First Lesson” • Mary Soon Lee • Silver Blade 30
“For Lonnie” • Holly Walrath • Liminality 9
“Further” • F.J. Bergmann • Lovecraft eZine 38
“Getting Winterized: A Guide To Winter Living” • Elizabeth R. McClellan • Angels of the Meanwhile April
“god-date” • Brandon O'Brien • Uncanny 9
“The Great Unknown” • Bruce Boston and Alessandro Manzetti • Illumen Spring
“Houses of the living, houses of the dead” • Jenny Blackford • Ipswich Poetry Feast International Poetry Competition, Highly Commended
“I Will Be Your Grave” • Tlotlo Tsamaase • Strange Horizons 7 November
Im Wald • Sandi Leibowitz • Mythic Delirium 3.2
“In Defence of Science” • David Clink • The Role of Lightning in Evolution (Kelp Queen Press, CZP)
“The Inconceivable Shape” • Simon Smith • Chrome Baby 45
“Interview with a 22nd-Century Sex Worker” • Darren Lipman • Strange Horizons 4 July
“The Journeymaker to Keddar (II)” • Rose Lemberg • Marginalia to Stone Bird (Aqueduct Press)
“Legend of the Albino Pythons and the Bloody Child” • Bruce Boston & Alessandro Manzetti • Polu Texni 18 April
“The Leviathans of Europa” • Christina Sng • Polu Texni 10 October
“The Lies You Learned” • S. Qiouyi Lu • Liminality 7
“little stomach” • Charlotte Geater • Strange Horizons 26 September
“Luminous Decay” • Robert Frazier • Dreams and Nightmares 103
“Morning During Migration Season” • Beth Cato • Star*Line 39.4
“Not Like This” • Mary Soon Lee • Apex Magazine August 4
Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas Lost at Sea, 1527” • Lisa M. Bradley • Strange Horizons 3 October [reprint permission declined]
“Phoenix Fire, Tabula Rasa” • Kim Eun-byeol • Stone Telling 13
“The Poem Gardens of the Ascari” • Rohinton Daruwala • Strange Horizons 13 June
“Portrait of the Captain with Small Waiting Objects” • T.D. Walker • Recompose 2
“Revolution” • Holly Lyn Walrath • Abyss & Apex 58
“The Rime of the Eldritch Mariner” • Adam Bolivar • Spectral Realms 5
“The Robot by the Fireplace” • Ken Poyner • Eye to the Telescope 20
“Rose Child” • Theodora Goss • Uncanny 13
“Salome’s New King” • Terry Miller • Devolution Z: The Horror Magazine 10
“Sargasso Sea” • A.J. Odasso • Remixt Magazine 1:1
“Spoiler Alert” • Matt Betts • Underwater Fistfight (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
“The Starlet Who Married A Monster” • Robert Borski • Lupine Lunes, ed. Lester Smith (Popcorn Press)
“Storm Miners” • Deborah L. Davitt • Blue Monday Review August
“Surviving a Canadian Poem” • David Clink • The Role of Lightning in Evolution (Kelp Queen Press, CZP)
“Talk to the Machines” • Johan Jönsson • Dreams and Nightmares 104
“Thirteen Ways to See a Ghost” • Shannon Connor Winward • 2016 SFPA Poetry Contest
“To the weaver, from the woman who slew Bakunawa” • M. Sereno • Stone Telling 13
“Väinämöinen Sings” • Jennifer Lawrence • Eternal Haunted Summer Winter
“We Shall Meet in the Star-Spackled Ruins” • Wendy Rathbone • 2016 SFPA Poetry Contest
“Were-” • Naru Dames Sundar • Liminality Summer
“Werewolf” • K.A. Opperman • Spectral Realms 4
“What Wants Us” • Karolina Fedyk • Star*Line 39.1
“When Coyote Called Down the Stars” • Aaron Vlek • The Were-Traveler December 21
“When the Gunman Comes” • Edith Hope Bishop • Mythic Delirium 2.3

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Interview with Nicholas Eames, author of Kings of the Wyld


Please welcome Nicholas Eames to The Qwillery as part of the 2017 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Kings of the Wyld was published on February 21st by Orbit.







TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Nicholas:  Thanks for having me! I started writing back in high-school, but didn't really take it seriously until after college, when I started reading books that affected me emotionally and thought, "This is what I'd like to do with my life."



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Nicholas:  Major pantser! At the beginning of KINGS OF THE WYLD the characters clearly state their intention to go from point A to point B, so I did my very best to throw as many kinks in their path as possible. What happens from one chapter to the next will hopefully surprise a reader as much as it did me.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Nicholas:  I know that most writers tend to bang out a first draft without worrying how it reads or if it's necessarily cohesive, and I think being able to do that would be tremendously productive. At present, however, I tend to get really nit-picky (see: obsessive) about what I've already written. Being able to blow through a first draft BEFORE revising extensively is a skill I would dearly love to develop. Now if you'll excuse me while I revise this paragraph...



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Nicholas:  Regarding the craft itself, Guy Gavriel Kay is the author who made the biggest impact on me, though I think reading books by Joe Abercrombie and Scott Lynch made me believe there was a way to get humour AND heart to play nice in a fantasy book. Very recently, Delilah S. Dawson's 'Wake of Vultures' gave me a lesson in committing to a character's voice.

For this series specifically, the setting of each book is (loosely) based on an era of music. For KINGS it was 70's rock, and those looking with a keen eye will find quite a few cunningly (and not-so-cunningly) hidden references within.



TQ:   Describe Kings of the Wyld in 140 characters or less.

Nicholas:  It's the often humorous and sometimes poignant story of a once-celebrated band of monster-hunting mercenaries who must reunite after decades apart to rescue the daughter of their leader, Gabriel.



TQTell us something about Kings of the Wyld that is not found in the book description.

Nicholas:  The names of my agent, my editor, and the author who had a hand in KINGS getting published are all somewhere, in some form, on the map.



TQWhat inspired you to write Kings of the Wyld? What appeals to you about writing Fantasy?

Nicholas:  I started writing KOTW almost immediately after reading 'Ready Player One', by Ernest Cline. That book, more than any other, is directly responsible for my own. The pacing is incredible, with one chapter practically bleeding into the next, and the whole time I was reading it I was intensely aware of how much fun I was having.

As for why I'm drawn to fantasy, the most obvious reason is this: there is nothing that happens in a fiction book that cannot happen in a fantasy (or science fiction) book, but the opposite cannot be said. Fiction, for the most part, is confined by what is real, what is possible, whereas fantasy (and again, sci-fi) is not. Provided the author creates characters you can empathize with and a setting you believe in, the story itself is utterly without boundaries. That's my opinion, anyway. Mileage may vary.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Kings of the Wyld?

Nicholas:  The best kind! As I mentioned, the setting is allegorical of the golden age of classic rock, so although I read some books and watched some documentaries on bands of that era, I mostly drank lots of whiskey and listened to an endless succession of mind-blowing rock albums. Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Who, Black Sabbath...To be honest, I had very limited knowledge of these bands before I wrote this book. Now, however, I'm here to tell you: OLD PEOPLE ARE RIGHT! That music is far superior to anything we've come up with since. Don't get me wrong: I love The Weeknd like anyone else with two ears and a heartbeat, but you can't top a high-as-a-kite Jimmy Paige guitar solo.



TQPlease tell us about the Kings of the Wyld's cover.

Nicholas:  First of all, I'm in love with it--and I am very picky about fantasy book covers. The lettering and design was done by Lisa Marie Pompilio at Orbit, and I really like that she embraces the book's 70's rock inspiration when it came to the title font. The artwork was done by Richard Anderson, who is my favourite cover artist of all time. I used to buy any and every book he did the cover art for (I bought two the day before I found out I was getting a book deal, even!) so it's pretty surreal to have his artwork on mine.



TQIn Kings of the Wyld who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Nicholas:  I think the main character, Clay, was the easiest, because we share the same sense of humour. The hardest was Lastleaf, my antagonist, because I didn't want to make him evil for the sake of being evil (I know--every author says that. Don't worry: book two's antagonist is totally, totally evil). Also, he's not at all the focal-point of the story, so I had to make the most of his interactions with the band.



TQWhich question about Kings of the Wyld do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Nicholas:

ME: If there was ever a movie made of Kings of the Wyld, what classic rock song would play during the opening credits. How about the end credits?

ALSO ME: Great question, Nick! The opening song would be The Who's 'Baba O'Riley'. And for the end credits: 'Shelter From the Storm' by Bob Dylan.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Kings of the Wyld.

Nicholas:  Ooooh! *steeples finger maniacally*

"There was nothing to mark the grave, no headstone upon which [her] single mourner might lay a wreath, or set a candle. There were only the words be kind carved into the birch's brittle skin, as if whoever did so had been crying, or a child, or both."



TQWhat's next?

Nicholas:  The Band: Book Two! (title to be haggled over endlessly by my editor and I until I inevitably capitulate and name it whatever she wants me to name it because that's just how it goes!)



TQ:   Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Nicholas:  Thank YOU so much for having me. I really appreciate it.





Kings of the Wyld
The Band 1
Orbit, February 21, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 544 pages

GLORY NEVER GETS OLD.

Clay Cooper and his band were once the best of the best, the most feared and renowned crew of mercenaries this side of the Heartwyld.

Their glory days long past, the mercs have grown apart and grown old, fat, drunk, or a combination of the three. Then an ex-bandmate turns up at Clay's door with a plea for help--the kind of mission that only the very brave or the very stupid would sign up for.

It's time to get the band back together.





About Nicholas

Nicholas Eames was born to parents of infinite patience and unstinting support in Wingham, Ontario. Though he attended college for theatre arts, he gave up acting to pursue the infinitely more attainable profession of 'epic fantasy novelist.' Kings of the Wyld is his first novel. Nicholas loves black coffee, neat whiskey, the month of October, and video games. He currently lives in Ontario, Canada, and is very probably writing at this very moment.







Website  ~  Twitter @Nicholas_Eames