Guest Post: ‘Ghost of the Asylum’ author Ty Johnston November 29, 2011Posted by Steve in Books, Fiction.
Fantasy author Ty Johnston’s blog tour 2011 is running from November 1 through November 30. His novels include City of Rogues, Bayne’s Climb and More than Kin, all of which are available for the Kindle (http://www.amazon.com/Ty-Johnston/e/B002MCBQRU/ ), the Nook (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/ty-johnston ) and online at Smashwords (http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/darkbow ). His latest novel, Ghosts of the Asylum (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00629GGVK ), is now available for in all major e-book formats. To find out more, follow him at his blog tyjohnston.blogspot.com.
Hello there. I have obviously had little time for blogging, but I make time for pleasure reading. My sanity requires it. The book I am reading now is gritty fantasy novel set in a city of intrigue and machinations. One man, skilled and dangerous, fights and deduces his way through maze of plotsand relationships. The man is Kron Darkbow, and the city is Bond.
It is exactly the kind of read I need when I have things to wrestle on my own. I can slink through the alleys with Kron, or navigate the rooftops with him and wonder who he should trust — if anyone. Trust is a rare commodity in Bond.
Ty has blessed this blog with an excerpt from his latest Kron Darkbow novel, “Ghosts of the Asylum.” Here it is:
The hammer struck again. Splinters of wood rained upon the air as the door slammed open and Mama Kaf filled the doorway.
She took one look across the entrance room to where Eel stood, the lad’s knees quivering, and tromped in his direction.
The others filed into the room behind her, pausing to take in their surroundings before moving forward.
Kerjim caught a glimpse of his nephew around the big woman’s side. He smiled. “Oh, this is a pleasant surprise.”
Mama Kaf slung her weapon up on a beefy shoulder, steadying it for a strike.
Fear plain on his face, Eel stood his ground, his curved knife held in front and his short sword out to one side.
The woman roared, shaking the ground. The hammer swung down from on high as if an angry god were unleashing fury. There was a swishing whistle through the air as Eel darted back, then the cracking of the steel mallet upon marble. The hammer’s ringing jarred the nerves, sending shivers along the spines of all present with the exception of Mama Kaf herself, who tugged back on her weapon and brought it up to her shoulder once more.
Eel’s feet remained planted, but his shoulders shifted from side to side, readying him for a lunge one way or the other. It was obvious to everyone all he could do was try to avoid the mad brute, for there seemed no way his little blades could put a stop to his attacker.
Kerjim sighed and stepped forward. “Hold!”
Mama Kaf stood motionless, her hammer gripped in both hands in front of her heaving chest. Her massive head twisted slightly to one side, a squinting eye staring at the Pursian.
“We are here for Darkbow,” Kerjim said. “If my former nephew will inform us as to the man’s location, we might allow him to live.”
Mama Kaf’s head rolled around to stare at the young man before her.
Eel glanced around the big woman’s shoulders to his uncle. “Go to hell.”
The hammer came up.
Swinging the sword again … March 15, 2011Posted by Steve in Fiction.
Believe it or not, I’ve had a chance to put a few minutes together lately for fiction efforts. Work is progressing, at last, on “The Infinity Swords” anthology. I’ve posted three of my previously published Calthus stories at Amazon.com, and they should be available for Kindle very soon for those of you who want some short sword-and-sorcery mayhem on your e-reader.
I will add to the Kindle stockpile in the coming days, including some never-before-published work. I plan to publish my novel “Sundered” for Kindle as well, once I’ve given it another edit. I even have some fiction I want to write.
This feels really awesome.
A Porn Princess of Mars June 6, 2010Posted by Steve in Books, Fiction, Movies, Reviews.
Tags: Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Science Fiction, Sword & Sorcery, Writing
Let me just say the Princess of Helium should be breathtakingly beautiful, not “rode hard and put away wet.”
The choice of Lords to portray “the incomparable Dejah Thoris” was horrible, but the choice of Antonio Sabato Jr. to play John Carter was even worse. Carter is supposed to be a soldier from Virginia, but Sabato exudes all the Southern charm of a plate of lutefisk.
Don’t even get me started on Tars Tarkas and his ridiculous costume. Think Lou Gossett Jr. in “Enemy Mine,” then stick some wobbly tusks in his jowls.
Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote fast-paced swashbucklers with exotic beasts, sweeping landscapes and beautiful Barsoomian cities. In this production, we get bad CGI bugs, sand and rocks and a factory of some sort. At least they took down the “Safety First” signs.
Even the action sequences blew chunks. Here’s a hint: During a fight scene, people should move.
Like this …
Or this …
I hope a horde of giant white apes rips up the studios.
“Through Blood and Iron” table of contents … May 14, 2010Posted by Steve in Books, Fiction.
Tags: Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Short Stories, Sword & Sorcery, Writing
Rob Santa at Ricasso Press has put together a table of contents for his next anthology, “Through Blood and Iron.”
The call for submissions on this one mentioned Rob wanted action, action and action. I think my Calthus story, “Deep as Death,” fits that bill.
If you’ve been paying attention to sword-and-sorcery and fantasy of late, you’ll recognize a lot off the names on the author list. Here they are, in no particular order:
- Lindsay Buroker, “Through Fire Distilled”
- Christopher Heath, “Azieran: Instant Carnage and the Secret of Runic Steel”
- Brent Knowles, “The Daughter’s Oath”
- Jeff Draper, “The Feorhmaegan”
- Jeffery Scott Sims, “The Guardian of the Treasure”
- Jason E. Thummel, “Talieron, Under the Bloodied Sun”
- John M. Whalen, “The Hostage of Maldon”
- Jason M. Waltz, “As Darkness Falls, so too Truth”
- Bruce Durham, “Apocalypse”
- Lee Reynoldson, “A Hound Against Hawks and Wolves”
- Jo Thomas, “Broken Bear”
- Peter J. Mitchell, “Blood and Taxes”
- Nathan Meyer, “Blood and Thunder”
- T. A. Markitan, “Bottom of the Wishing Well”
- TW Williams, “Each Day Its Debt”
- David Tallerman, “No Rest for the Wicked”
- Steve Goble, “Deep as Death”
- Bill Ward, “Secrets of the Iron Skull Order”
- Nicholas Ozment, “Skin Deep”
- Lance Schonberg, “Inside the Circle”
- James Lecky, “Forged in Heaven, Tempered in Hell”
- Craig Comer, “A Morning Storm in Lord Hairng’s Encampment”
Rob says he might yet add a flash story or two if any come in soon. That all adds up to a lot of mayhem. I’ll let you know when the publication date nears.
Letting stories simmer … April 30, 2010Posted by Steve in Fiction.
Tags: Fantasy, Fiction, Short Stories, Writing
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One of the better writing tips I’ve ever heard came from a longtime newspaper columnist. He recommended walking away from the piece once you think you are done, and not looking at it again for at least a day or two. Upon returning to it and reading with fresh eyes, little things jump out at you and new ideas bubble to the top.
It’s a great tip, and it works with fiction, too.
I’m certainly guilty of banging out a story I’m all excited about and sending it off to a potential publisher as soon as humanly possible. At least, I did that early on. These days, I realize the wisdom of waiting.
I’m writing this post now, when I should be sleeping, because I let a story simmer. I had a Calthus sword-and-sorcery story mostly written some time ago. I got busy, got away from writing for a spell … you probably know how that goes. Anyway, as I started to stretch my writing muscles again I decided to revisit that story. I opened it up, read it, made some edits, liked what I saw, liked what I added, started looking for potential publishers.
Then I remembered the whole simmering thing. I closed the file, and left it alone for a couple of days.
Then, this morning as I walked my dog, that story started running through my head. I envisioned a particular scene, in which Calthus has just battled a large bear-like thing to the death. My hero rises, victorious, drenched in the blood of the vanquished beast, and faces the fellow he has been traveling with under an uneasy alliance. It’s a good scene, I think, but as I walked the dog I realized I had missed an opportunity. I envisioned a new line of dialogue, a new insight into the workings of my hero’s mind, and realized I needed to rewrite that scene a bit. It’s not a huge change — not even a hundred words — but it adds a huge dash of zest to the character. It’s exactly the kind of thing Calthus would say and do. And it’s a moment that might never have made it into the story if I’d sent it out a couple of days ago when I thought it was done.
So after getting home from the dog walk, I had to sit down and start tapping the keys. And then I figured I’d write a short post here to pass the lesson on: When you think you’re done, let ‘em simmer. Brings out the flavor.