Blog Archives

NANP: Why Did It Have To Be Names?

The first guest in July for Names: A New Perspective is Graham McNeill, the author of various Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40,000 novels, and also quite a few other tie-in stuff and a few comics as well. In all the years I’ve been reading Warhammer fiction, he’s written some of my favourite books: Heldenhammer, Storm of Iron (review), Priests of Mars (review), A Thousand Sons, Warriors of Ultramar. He has also written a few that I’m not overly fond of: Dead Sky, Black Sun and Angel Exterminatus (review). But by and large, my experience with his writing has been positive, and he is one of those authors that I can try without a second guess. He is also one of the mainstays of Warhammer fiction, and he’s been around for quite a long time, both as a tabletop game designer and as an author, so in terms of tone and mood, his work has been consistent and evolving, both. Today, he’s here to talk names, so check it out!

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NANP: Names And Riddles

The last guest for the month of June on Names: A New Perspective is Steve Parker, author of two cracking Warhammer 40,000 short stories about a Deathwatch Kill-Team and their follow-up full length adventure in Deathwatch, recently released. I’ve read both the short stories, which are quite good, but have yet to read the novel. I’ve cut back quite a bit on my Black Library reading of late to make room for books from other publishers, and so I’m behind on that front, regrettably. If the short stories are anything to go by though, I’m sure I’ll like Deathwatch. It has generated a fair amount of positive buzz, and that’s always exciting. While I figure out when to read the book, here’s what Steve has to say on the topic of names.

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Publishing and Marketing 04: Women in SFF Part 2

About a week or so ago, I posted a list of some of my favourite female authors in SFF, past and present (that is, some of the women on the list are now sadly deceased). For the follow-up, I wanted to focus on some of my favorite female characters in SFF, irrespective of genre. Until March last year, I didn’t really have such a list in my mind. Even though I had read a few books by then that had female protagonists or supporting characters, I’d never really considered if any of them were my “favourites”. But that changed around quickly when I read Nathan Long’s Jane Carver of Waar, and all of a sudden, I realised that there were so many female characters I’d read of over the years that I would put on a list of favourites.

It was a really interesting revelation, and it led to me paying much more attention to such characters in the books I was reading, or had read, or would read. One thing that I noticed while compiling this list was that for the most part my favourite female characters fall into the role of the “warrior”, which is another subconscious thing I never really paid attention to.

Really weird how these things work out.

Once again, as caveat for this list, this is by no means comprehensive, just a small selection of a much wider range. And in this list, I’m not limiting myself to just novels and the like, I’m extending it to comics and movies as well, given that I am much more familiar with these media in terms of the content, rather than with the creators. Feel free to check out my reviews (books and comics) of the various novels I’ve read in the last two years for a bigger interest list.

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Publishing and Marketing 03: Women in SFF Part 1

One question that is being asked by many in the wake of the recent SFWA controversy, and all the commentary it has spawned in various places about misogyny and sexism within the publishing industry is: “If I want to read more books by female authors, where do I start?”

Often times, I think it is rather disheartening to hear such a question. Women have been writing books for a long, long time. And for people to not even be aware of that, or for that matter, be able to perform a basic google search about who are the big names right now? Doesn’t speak so well for us as a community. Speaking of the industry in the broadest sense, we are all very close-ranked, and to break out of the apparent restrictions is not easy. Sure its “easy” to get published as a woman, but to receive recognition? That’s an uphill battle.

It all comes down to respect. And when it comes to respect within the publishing industry (or even just in general in daily life), never ever use the word “political correctness”. That’s a dirty word to use, and it betrays a lack of ability to engage, and wilful dismissal of a very serious and ongoing issue that affects us all. Just look at the entire entertainment industry as a whole, whether its novels or comics or movies or even news.

In such a state, it is absolutely essential that we willingly look to broaden our horizons. We should take chances and read outside of our comfort zones, because otherwise we don’t challenge ourselves and we just propagate the “like begets like” scenario and we cannot grow as an individual.

Which is what this editorial, the third in my Publishing and Marketing series, is about: stepping out of your comfort zone. If you’ve never read a book by a female author before, then my suggestions herein are an excellent place to start.

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June Reading Poll Results

The voting process on my latest reading poll closed last night, after two weeks of intense excitement and record after record. Once again, just as with the previous two polls that I’ve run, this was a humbling experience given the tremendous response from the authors and their fans and everyone else who helped make this new poll such a success.

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NANP: Swords and Purposes

Today’s guest on Names: A New Perspective is Clint Lee Werner, better known as C. L. Werner to all fans of Warhammer Fantasy fiction, and also one of my favourite writers as well. Some of Clint’s early work, like Blood for the Blood God, was one of my earliest exposures to the world of Warhammer and he has stayed a staple of my reading ever since. His first Black Plague novel, Dead Winter (review), was one of my absolute favourite reads last year and I’m pretty excited for the upcoming sequel, Blighted Empire. I also have a copy of Writing Fantasy Heroes, an anthology of non-fiction work in which some of the top fantasy authors in the industry talk about, well, how to write fantasy heroes. Should be reading that one soon! Clint’s work is often very visceral and real, it gets you down in the trenches and always channels some pretty strong emotions. In terms of consistency, he is definitely one of the top writers out there. This is what he has to say on the subject of names and their purposes.

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June Reading List Poll

In January and February, I ran two highly successful polls where I asked all the readers of the blog to help me pick my reading list for the following months. The first one was for novels, the second one for comics. I managed to meet the reading goals for the first of those polls, but am still progressing through the second one, mostly because I’ve been traveling a bit too much of late, and reading time has generally been at a premium due to work and more time devoted to my writing.

However, I should be done with it by the end of this month, so keep an eye out for updates on that.

In the meantime, here’s my next reading poll, and this one is for novels once again. Hit the break to find out more.

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NANP: The Names Dice

Participating in the first guest post for Names: A New Perspective Part 3 is Nathan Long, one of my top favourite fantasy authors (with some excellent sword-and-planet mixed in). I’ve been reading Nathan’s books for almost 6 or 7 years now, and have pretty much read all the work he’s done for Black Library to date. His The Blackhearts Omnibus remains a firm favourite for me, as do his Ulrika the Vampire books (review of Bloodborn, Bloodforged, and Bloodsworn), and his Jane Carver of Waar duology (review of Jane Carver, and Swords of Waar) from Nightshade Books. Just as with Matt Forbeck, Nathan is one of the most consistent authors I know, and his books are always engaging and entertaining. Here’s what Nathan has to say on the topic of names.

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Middle East Film and Comic Con 2013

Image courtesy of the MEFCC FB page.

Image courtesy of the MEFCC FB page.

Year-long (at least) readers to the blog will remember that last year in April I attended my first ever major con, the inaugural Middle East Film and Comic Con. It was a fantastic event, and I’ve been waiting for the second installment ever since. I got the chance this past weekend, and it was absolutely amazing. I am told that where the attendance last year had been upwards of 13,000, this year it was predicted to be in the 23,000-26,000 range. That is unbelievable, an almost 100% increase over and above the first year. I will say that the show absolutely deserves it. The organisers put on a terrific show, and it was certainly a few notches above last year.

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Publishing and Marketing 01: Publisher Communication

About 2 weeks ago, I asked readers if they would be interested in some sort of a semi-regular column on the blog, the core topic being publishing & marketing. The response on the blog itself was rather lukewarm, to be honest, but I did have some good, albeit short, conversations with people over Twitter and Facebook about this.

The whole idea for the column sprung out of the “disaster” earlier this month when it was revealed that Random House’ eBook-only imprint, Hydra, was contracting new authors on the conditions that there would be no advance payments (which disqualifies the imprint from being considered a publishable market according to the rules, regulations and guidelines of the Science Fiction Writers of America’s organisation), and that they wanted complete rights over the work in question, irrespective of medium/format. Their payment structure was also dubious, frontloading almost all the costs of publishing the author’s work on the author himself/herself. Such costs include editing, covers, marketing, and so on, from what I understand. John Scalzi has done two in-depth posts on the subject here and here.

online-relationships-300x189Given the amount of information out there already on this particular subject, the furor over which has caused Hydra to revise some of its terms and offer authors better payment plans after a VERY stern letter from the SFWA, I am not going to cover this for now. All I can say is that if you are looking to get published by such eBook-only imprints, and I stress eBook-only, then you damn well make sure that you do not sign away your rights for foreign translations, audiobooks, print, and so on. Other people have already said it best: make sure to get some legal opinion and at least ask around when you get that contract. Make sure that you are informed about what you should and should not be doing.

Anyhow. Moving on.

For this first installment in this column series, I wanted to talk about publisher communication. Communication is a funny thing. We all define it quite differently and it means different things for different people. The specific area I want to cover today is how publisher communication works with marketing in the context of keeping readers and reviewers (they need not be mutually exclusive) informed and keeping a positive dialogue open. So here we go! Read the rest of this entry

NANP: The Geography of Names

Today, I welcome Gav Thorpe to Names: A New Perspective. Tabletop war games designer and author of numerous tie-in fiction novels, as well as a trilogy of original work, Gav is one of my favourite authors and he has penned some of the best novels I’ve read, one of which I consider to be a Warhammer 40,000 classic: Angels of Darkness. And he has penned one of the best Horus Heresy audio dramas as well, one that cemented my love and fascination with the Raven Guard and their Primarch Corax: The Raven’s Flight (review). His original work for Angry Robot Books, a sandals and sorcery tale that begins with Crown of the Blood (review) was a stand-out read for me last year, and I’m eager to progress with the series this year. Here’s what Gav has to say about the topic of names.

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NANP: The Little Black Book of Names

Joining me today on Names: A New Perspective is the great mercenary of words, Josh Reynolds, who has written everything from Sherlockian pastiches to the dark tales of Dracula, from tie-in fiction to a ton of original work, and lots besides. At the moment, he is one of my favourite authors, as I’ve enjoyed pretty much all the stuff he’s written so far for Black Library such as Knight of the Blazing Sun (review) and Gotrek & Felix: Road of Skulls (review soon!). Given his vast body of work, it was inevitable that he would have some really great insights into the topic of names, and this is what he has to say.

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