FIRST BIG NEWS
You remember the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off, right? It's the annual contest organized by best-selling and award winning novelist Mark Lawrence, designed to showcase the best up-and-coming independent writers of fantasy fiction by giving them a large platform. With that in mind, enterprising author Jon Auerbach has collected samples from OVER 70 current and past SPFBO participants and made it available FREE for anyone to download. Both of my entries, TEN THOUSAND DAYS and HELL COMES TO HOGTOWN, are included in there. PLEASE head over and check out this smorgasbord of free sample goodies. Who knows? You may just discover your new favourite book or author.
Cover by Luke Tarzian
Check out the announcement post at Fantasy Book Critic
SECOND BIG NEWS
For the fourth (yes, FOURTH) year in a row, I will have a story appearing in Mystery & Horror's STRANGELY FUNNY comic horror anthology series! They must really like me over there. It's awesome to have found a place that fits my weird brand of kooky, creepy humour so well.
STRANGELY FUNNY VII will be released in the spring, and you can be sure as I will have all the deatils (and the new cover!) as soon as they're available.
THIRD BIG NEWS
This is probably my favourite. I kept it on the down-low all year, but if you read last week's year-end-report you already know about it: I wrote not one but TWO new books in 2019. I know, I'm just as shocked as you are.
Look at it. LOOK AT IT!
Like I said. Cautiously optimistic.
JANUARY IWSG QUESTION
What started you on your writing journey? Was it a particular book, movie, story, or series? Was it a teacher/coach/spouse/friend/parent? Did you just "know" suddenly you wanted to write?
This is a very complicated answer. I had already written this when I got all my big news to share, so bear with me.
In my bio, I usually say that I wrote my first story when I was 5 years old, and I had to ask my baby-sitter to look how the spelling of "extra-terrestrial" in the dictionary. This is true - and in fact, I may have been even younger.
I also often credit the Star Wars films and the Americanized version of the Japanese Anime ROBOTECH/Macross as teaching me how to tell stories, which is also true. You may not see it in my published works, but I have scores of unpublished material that follows the same serialized structure of Star Wars and sci-fi cartoon series. The Teddy Ruxpin cartoon was also a big influence, believe it or not.
I've sometimes joked that the reason I started self-publishing is because I read lots of terrible self-published work and I thought, "I can do better than that," and now I'm the guy who inspires other people to say "I can do better than that." This is also, sadly, true.
But while contemplating this question, I have come to the realization that one of my biggest and earliest influences is Robin Hood. My earliest recollection of watching a movie was VHS copies of Robin Hood, which in my later years I've come to believe were the Robin of Sherwood series from British TV.
This image is seared into my brain from childhood. I think I had nightmares about that guy.
I loved those shows as a kid, with all the sword fights and magic and mysticism. I also loved the stories (though the Robin Hood stories don't usually have the same kind of supernatural elements as the Robin of Sherwood series did). Several of my first LEGO sets were also Robin Hood-themed:
I HAD THIS SET! It blows my mind whenever I find images on the internet that I remember so vividly from childhood. There's a secret door on tower on the left-hand side, which I adored.
Needless to say, I was psyched when the Kevin Costner movie came out in 1991. I haven't watched it in almost 30 years so I don't know if it has held up, but I will continue to remember it fondly until that illusion is shattered.
A couple of years ago I was going through my old stuff at my parent's house and I found one of my very first stories, from when I was in grade 1 or 2. It was in French, fully illustrated in colour, and bound like a small book with cardboard covers. And what was it about? An elf named "Bras D'or" (Golden-Arm), an expert archer who looked like Robin Hood, tricking and defeating a giant blue ogre.
It hasn't happened yet, but I'm sure I'm going to eventually write a gritty reboot of Robin Hood in some form of another.
How about you? How is your new year starting off?
Hugs & Kisses,
The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group at http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/.