Monthly Archives: October 2012

NANP: Names, Names And Names

Joining Names: A New Perspective today is Gwenda Bond, who had her first novel Blackwood published this year through Angry Robot Books’ YA imprint, Strange Chemistry. Along with Kim Curran’s Shift, Gwenda’s novel was one of Strange Chemistry’s first wave launch titles and has had a very good response so far, which I hope continues well into 2013. The book is on my to-buy-and-read list and I’m rather looking forward to it, particularly since the cover art is just so fantastic! This is what Gwenda had to say on the topic of names in her novel(s).

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What You Know and What You Don’t

The other day I was having a conversation on Twitter with my reviewer friends Paul Weimer (of SF Signal and Functional Nerds) and Sally Janin (of Qwillery) about a recent debut novel that is causing waves in the publishing industry. The book in question is called Stormdancer and is Jay Kristoff’s first book in the (billed to be) Lotus War series. The premise of the novel is that it is a coming-of-age story of a young girl in a setting that is touted as Japanese Steampunk, and explores her relationship with her somewhat-estranged father and an arashitora, or thunder tiger, or griffin. Our point of discussion was the cultural appropriation by Kristoff in the novel, his particular approach being severely unpalatable to me as someone who, while not very well-versed in, is still quite familiar with Japanese culture. The discussion extended to whether or not a reviewer’s familiarity with the settings/cultures portrayed in a speculative fiction novel play a big part in our perception of how good/bad a novel is.

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NANP: A Name By Any Other Name

Another Thursday, another Names: A New Perspective post, this time with author Jeff Salyards, who debuted this year with his first Bloodsounder’s Arc novel, Scourge of the Betrayer (my review). As I said in my review, the novel is a very different sort of fantasy book that breaks with tradition and delves far more into the characters than many others; its a character study at its core. The novel also continues the seeming tradition of Nightshade Books to publish authors who are out to challenge the mainstream perception and tastes, and I think it succeeds on that level. When I invited Jeff to talk about how and why he names his characters (and places) as he does, this is what he came back to me with.

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NANP: The Naming of Things

Today’s guest on the blog is author Lou Morgan who had her debut novel Blood and Feathers published a few short weeks ago by Solaris Books (my review). Blood and Feathers is similar to The Collector novels by Chris F. Holm in content, being about angels and demons, but it has a much different perspective on them, and the protagonist is a well-and-truly-alive woman rather a man dead for like the last 50 years or so. Lots of possibilities and exciting things that make Blood and Feathers an awesome novel to read and Lou Morgan a name to watch out for in urban fantasy fiction. Most of Lou’s characters have really fun names and here’s what she had to say about them.

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NANP: Building Fantasy Worlds One Name At A Time

Joining me on the blog today is Courtney Schafer, author of the adventure fantasy novels The Whitefire Crossing and The Tainted City, both of them a part of her The Shattered Sigil series for Nightshade Books. I read The Whitefire Crossing last month and I was utterly blown away by it (my review). It is easily one of my best reads this year, even made my September Reading Awards list. If you are looking for a different type of fantasy novel to read, one that is serious and covers some new ground in terms of its magic system and characters and its scope, then The Whitefire Crossing is what you want. This is what Courtney had to say about her world-building in the the two novels.

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The Ragnarok Chronicles (Teaser)

Another short, zipping-by post for you all. I didn’t mention this in my September Report but I am going to be participating in the National Novel Writing Month for all of November. In a change from last year’s attempt, where I wrote a sort of traditional sword-and-sorcery epic fantasy, I am working on a science fantasy this time. I’m calling the project Ragnarok Chronicles at the moment and the first installment is going to be a novella-length story I’m calling Cloak of Secrecy. This project is a Norse mythology inspired science fantasy set thousands of years in the future, in a galaxy that is dominated by humanity and is devoid of any sentient alien races. I’m still working on that high concept but just like Project Dharmayoddha, this one is really exciting too! Here’s a teaser of my Scrivener screen. Note that I’ve already put in the notes for Part 1 and the first four chapters.

Going to be digging into a lot of Norse mythology for this one since the Norse Gods and the Giants are quite central to the entire narrative. My principal protagonist is a guy named Arnil Tyrias, a high-ranking officer for the CIA/FBI/Police Department analog organisation that I’m calling Sigvalds at the moment. The story will follow him as he investigates a series of murders on the planet Hermandr and comes to a startling conclusion about the role of the gods and monsters in recent Human history, the last 600-700 years.

That’s all I can share at the moment but look out for stuff in the coming weeks!

NANP: Names As Characters

Kicking off the fourth week of Names: A New Perspective is author Anne Lyle who has been making waves this year with her debut novel Alchemist of Souls, an awesome alternate history set in Elizabethan London in which explorers have discovered a race of magical beings, the Skraylings, inhabiting the Americas (my review). Like all the debut authors I’ve featured on the blog so far, she is another one to watch out for, one you can expect more awesomeness from. I do have an eARC of her second novel Merchant of Dreams sitting on the laptop waiting to be read and I’m looking forward to it, although it will be a while before I get around to it. Here’s what Anne has to say on the topic of names and characters in her novels.

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Big, Big Smile On My Face

So, yesterday was kind of an awesome day. At least it began like that. I pushed through a 2000-word movie review for Dredd 3D where I was all praise for the film. It felt good to write a review like that, especially since I hadn’t realized I would have so much to talk about when I started it. And then, in the evening, I got the biggest surprise of all:

As you can see, The Founding Fields has a blurb in this book. Said book being Swords of Waar by Nathan Long and the blurb being from my review of Jane Carver of Waar, the first book in Nathan’s new series that is inspired in part from Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter novels. You can find my review of the book here.

This happens to be the second published blurb for The Founding Fields, the other being from blog owner Commissar Ploss, and this is a huge, huge thing for us. Particularly for me, since that’s MY FREAKIN FIRST EVER REVIEW BLURB. *AHEM* There was much oooh-ing and aaaah-ing when Larry (co-blog owner) informed me about this yesterday and when he sent me that pic above. I’m super, super excited for this. This is like a validation for everything I’ve done in the 13 months that I’ve been reviewing and its all thanks to Ploss since he is the one who set me on this path, to being a more professional reviewer than I’d envisioned myself being when I wrote my first one for this very blog.

So yeah, thanks to Nathan Long for an excellent novel, thanks to Night Shade Books for publishing this piece of awesomeness, and thanks to everybody who’s supported me this far.

Did I also mention that Nathan Long is one of my top favourite authors? Yeah, that too!!

Now I can’t wait for my copy of Swords of Waar to arrive. Epic! I was so over-the-moon about this that I went ahead and bought Jane Carver of Waar then and there from the bookstore. It looks so epic and shiny and beautiful that words absolutely fail me.

And also, shoutout to my friend Justin Landon from the Staffer’s Musings blog who is quoted below me. Cheers man!

NANP: The Power of Names

Everybody give a warm welcome to author and poet Helen Lowe, who is joining us all the way from Christchurch, New Zealand. Helen has worked on several books so far, and is the winner of the 2012 Morningstar Award as well which was given in recognition of her debut novel Heir of Night from last year. I read the novel back in August and loved it (my review) so much that I’ve marked her down as one of the most promising authors of the new generation. No mild exaggeration that. Helen was really excited about the topic for this post and as you will see down under, she is very passionate about it too. Here’s what she had to say.

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NANP: A Game of Names

Today’s guest on Names: A New Perspective is Teresa , author of the dark fantasy novel Miserere: An Autumn Tale (Review) and the upcoming historical fantasy The Garden. I read Miserere early this year and I was quite impressed with it, so much so that it made my April Reading Awards list as an honourable mention. It would have been higher on the list but I read a ton of awesome novels that month, so all good regardless. Thanks to Miserere and Nathan Long’s Jane Carver of Waar and a couple other titles Night Shade Books is quickly becoming one of my favourite publishers so thanks to Teresa for introducing me to them! When I asked her if she would like to contribute to the series, here’s what she had to say on the topic.

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September Report

And so the third quarter ends and we finally move into the last 3 months of the year. I’m wondering where all the time has gone!!! Lots of good things happened in August and the morale-boosting effect of that lasted all through September, as you’ll see below.

To do a small recap of my goals for the year,,

  1. Write ~420,000 words of both fiction (various submissions and novel projects) and non-fiction (reviews and blogposts).
  2. Read 300 novels, comics, novellas, stand-alone short stories (still not sure if these SHOULD be included) and listen to some audio dramas and audiobooks.

At the end of August, I was quite a bit closer to my goals, having crossed the ~300,000-word mark, out of ~420,000 words and was still ahead on the reading goals, as I was at 207/300 on August 31st. You can find the August report here.

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NANP: Names Are Fun

Joining me for the third installment of the Names: A New Perspective guest post series is author Kim Curran who sold her first novel earlier this year, an SF novel called Shift to Angry Robot Books’ brand-new Young Adult imprint Strange Chemistry. Shift was also Strange Chemistry’s one of two launch titles along with Gwenda Bond’s debut Blackwood last month. Shift has an awesome premise and I’m looking forward to getting around to reading it soon. I’ve had a good experience with the two Strange Chemistry title I’ve read already and I’ve got a third one on my list, Jonathan L. Howard’s Katya’s World. Let’s see what Kim has to say about picking names for her novel.

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