Writing Tools

A long while ago, I did a blog post about my search for a laptop on which to churn out incredible chunks of prose that will one day be considered classics of the fantasy genre (a guy can dream, right?). At the time, the biggest challenge for me was finding the right features that suited my needs: specifically,  double sized left shift button.

Acer_AO532h_keyboardSounds like a simple need, doesn’t it? Not so. It’s amazing how many computer companies have changed their keyboard layout to a single-sized shift on the left hand with a slash button beside it. I tried it out on an Acer laptop but ended it up taking it back because guess what happened every time I tried to capitalize? That’s right, I’d get one of these: \

I ended up getting a Dell Inspirion and that sucker turned out a number of novels I’m happy to say I wrote. Though, in comparison to new laptops on the market, it had become a bit of a dinosaur not so long ago (I knew I was falling behind the bleeding edge of technology when my wife got an Apple MacBook Air), it was like a faithful dog and I was loathe to put it down when the battery gave up the ghost and I could only use it when plugged into an outlet.

Outlets are plentiful, after all. Right?

Sometimes. There were a couple of times I went out to my local coffee shop to write and personalized_funny_mustache_power_outlet_case-rf541f2ef9e1b454fa8fcbf6b915d3be7_a4600_8byvr_512spent more time either waiting for a seat by a plug or pulling up stakes to head to a different spot than I did writing. Not too often, so I might have dealt with it for considerably longer if I hadn’t got a message from my computer saying a hard drive failure was imminent. (I swear, that’s exactly what the message said; not just a faithful dog, but considerate and well-spoken, as well).

So the time had come. This time, I decided there were a few other features I wanted as well, the most important being a laptop with a little less heft to it than the last. The old Inspirion sometimes seemed to weigh as much as a small child. The other thing that impressed m about my wife’s rig was how quickly it started up and shut down. Sure, the boot up and shut down processes with the old hard drive/windows 7 combo left me opportunities to nap both before and after my writing sessions, but I thought that down time might be an opportunity to write a few more words.

Enter the solid state drive.

I’d always thought these were inferior beasts simply because the only time I’d ever encountered one was in my daughter’s tiny netbook. It’s also a couple of years old, so I don’t know how much memory it was, but it never seemed like enough. Unfortunately, as my age grows, it seems I forget that technology advances at an unbelievable pace.

So the search began: shift key, solid state drive, lightweight. I decided anything less than a 13″ screen would be too small, not because of the screen, but because anything less than 2000541855that usually equates to a less than full-size keyboard. God knows my hunt-and-peck  keyboard skills are mediocre enough without shrinking down those keys.

Add in a desire for a touch screen (so I don’t feel like technology leaves me behind too quickly) and a great Boxing Week sale at the Microsoft Store and I found my new baby: an Asus Zenbook UX305.

Small, light, and quick. The biggest advantage of the new laptop is that I now truly feel likeasus-ux305-640x341 I can take my writing instrument anywhere and crank out some words (or a blog post) anytime.

In a word: Freedom.

I’m expecting to write more and more often. My last novel took me about a year to write, I hope to cut that in half or less this time around.

Why didn’t I think of this before?

 

And Night Descends…the Third Book of the Small Gods

Right after Christmas, something happened…something that’s happened before, but far too much time has passed since the last time.

I published a book.

More specifically, Ella and the wonderful team at Paper Gold Publishing published one of my books.

And Night Descends is the third book in the Small Gods series, preceded by When Shadows Fall and The Darkness Comes. The story of Teryk and Danya, Horace Seaman, Ailyssa, and all the others continues as they each chase their fate as it is inextricably linked to an ancient scroll and a prophecy of doom.

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To raise the Small Gods, a Small God must die,
When stars go out, the end is nigh.
One must die to raise them all,
Should Small Gods rise, man will fall,
One can stop them, on darken’d wing,
The firstborn child of the rightful king.

WHEN SHADOWS FALL…THE DARKNESS COMES…AND NIGHT DESCENDS

The moment Teryk and Danya, the royal siblings, spoke the words inscribed on the long-forgotten scroll, they foolishly set in motion events destined to bring about the prophecy’s predictions. Teryk is the firstborn, but why do the words only make sense to his sister?

As they each launch themselves recklessly into a heroic mission to save mankind, it seems inevitable that key elements in this game of the gods would be drawn to one another and collide with frightful and yet-unfathomable consequences.

With a Small God already captured and being dragged to his death by a colossal, bloodthirsty golem, is it too late to turn back fate? Can any of them find a way to resist their destinies?

Intrigue in the court, an impenetrable veil between two worlds, escape, sacrifice, retribution and magic pull the strings of these puppets of destiny on a massive, creation-spanning chessboard hidden in shadow, veiled in darkness, lost in the night.

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Buy it now:

Amazon US  –  Paperback  – Kobo  –  Smashwords  –  B&N  –  iTunes  –  Scribd

A Book for Christmas…or 23

What would be better that picking up a great ebook for your loved one for only 99 cents? How about 10 fantastic reads for 99 cents? Or 13?

That’s exactly what the folks at Paper Gold publishing have offered up just in time for the holidays: not one, but two sets of great fantasy, each for only 99 cents. Check out the great titles below.

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13 COMPLETE NOVELS AND NOVELLAS FROM YOUR FAVORITE SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY AUTHORS.

LEGENDS is a magnificent collection of award-winning science fiction and fantasy books, some light enough to make you smile, all deep enough to make you think, What if…? Every single compelling story was hand-picked for your enjoyment. 13 worlds to make your own, 13 thrilling adventures, 13 heroes to root for. The perfect companion for late nights on the sofa, the perfect gift to those who enjoy a good read. Add it to your favorite kindle with one click now.

THIS BOX SET INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING TITLES:

ON UNFAITHFUL WINGS (ICARUS FELL #1) — Bruce Blake
THE UNIVERSE BUILDERS: BERNIE AND THE PUTTY — Steve LeBel
BRAIN WAVES — Cherime MacFarlane
DARK SIDE OF THE MOON — Ahmad Taylor
SUNSTONE — Holly Barbo
TRAPT: A TWISTED WOLF TALE — Rene Folsom
GONE — Julie Elizabeth Powell
WITCHWOOD ESTATE: GOING HOME — Patti Roberts
FROZEN HEART — Ella Medler
GARNETS — Suzy Stewart Dubot
SHERDAN’S PROPHECY — Jess Mountifield
OF SOUND MIND — Julie Elizabeth Powell
THE UNRAVELING (SAGE SEED CHRONICLES BOOK 3) — Holly Barbo

www.amazon.com/Legends-Fantasy-Box-Set-Vol-1-ebook/dp/B017QJCZCI

 

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10 COMPLETE NOVELS AND NOVELLAS FROM YOUR FAVORITE FANTASY AUTHORS.

LEGACY is an impressive collection of fantasy stories — some darker, some intense, all suspenseful, and every one unique. 10 new worlds to explore, 10 wild adventures, 10 ways to make a new set of best friends. The perfect companion for late nights on the sofa, the perfect gift to those who enjoy a good read. Add it to your favorite kindle with one click now.

THIS BOX SET INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING TITLES:

WHITE HART — Sarah Dalton
DESTINY’S WINGS — D.S. Schmeckpeper
WANDERING TO BELONG — Jess Mountifield
WHEN SHADOWS FALL — Bruce Blake
PARADOX: THE ANGELS ARE HERE — Patti Roberts
WERELORD THAL: A RENAISSANCE WEREWOLF TALE — Tracy Falbe
THE DRAGIL: BROKEN MAGIC — Holly Barbo
THE AVALON TRILOGY I: THE STAR REALM — Julie Elizabeth Powell
THE AVALON TRILOGY II: INVASION — Julie Elizabeth Powell
THE AVALON TRILOGY III: SECRETS OF THE ICE — Julie Elizabeth Powell

www.amazon.com/Legacy-Fantasy-Box-Set-Vol-ebook/dp/B0173EOGIM

 

Due to mature content, situations and language, these collections are recommended for audiences 18+. The Avalon Trilogy is suitable for young audiences, but can be equally enjoyed by all those young at heart. All works in these box sets have been professionally proofed by Paper Gold Publishing and Pelican Proofing, unless this service was expressly refused by the author. Some stories are written in American, some in Canadian, Australian, and some in British English. The authors have chosen to stay true to their heritage.

These box sets are comprised of a mix of already released novels and novellas, including a complete trilogy. Those books which are part of a series can be enjoyed fully without the need to read the complete series (though there is a chance you might develop story-addiction issues—for that, we apologize).

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0173EOGIMhttp://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0173EOGIMhttp://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B0173EOGIM

A Few Nice Words

For anyone who might have missed it, my Small Gods series was on a blog tour for a bit. A few of the people who hosted did reviews of the books, so I thought I would gather them together in one place. Thanks to everyone who participated, to Jennifer Marston at Neverland Blog Tours for organizing, and to Ella Medler for being Ella Medler.

WHEN SHADOWS FALL

WHEN-SHADOWS-FALL-PBOOK005It rained fire the day the Small Gods fled.

A hundred hundred seasons have turned since the Goddess banished the Small Gods to the sky, leaving the land to mankind alone.

For Prince Teryk, life behind the castle walls is boring and uneventful until he stumbles upon an arcane scroll in a long-forgotten chamber. The parchment speaks of Small Gods, the fall of man, and the kingdom’s savior—the firstborn child of the rightful king. It’s his opportunity to prove himself to his father, the king, and assure his place in history. All he needs to do is find the man from across the sea—a man who can’t possibly exist—and save mankind.

But ancient magic has been put in motion by a mysterious cult determined to see the Small Gods reborn. Powerful forces clash, uncaring for the lives of mortals in their struggle to prevent the return of the banished ones, or aid in their rebirth.

Named in a prophecy or not, what chance does a cocky prince who barely understands the task laid before him stand in a battle with the gods?

https://lynseyjames.wordpress.com/2015/03/30/when-shadows-fall-review/

http://www.mullenarmyfamily.blogspot.ca/2015/02/when-shadows-fall-book-review.html

https://iambatwomanyo.wordpress.com/2015/02/25/book-review-day-when-shadows-fall/

http://redlittleboots.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/blog-tour-when-shadows-fall-by-bruce.html

http://beautybooksandbabble.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/book-review-blog-tour-when-shadows-fall.html

http://www.themadt-party.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/when-shadows-fall-by-bruce-blake-book.html

http://chouett.com/2015/03/01/read4review-blog-tour-when-shadows-falls-by-bruce-blake/

THE DARKNESS COMES

DC_LARGE“You have brought to me Vesisdenperos, the sculptor. The one born to ensure the return of the Small Gods.”

When shadows fall, the darkness comes…

A disgraced Goddess Mother wanders blind and alone, praying for her agony to end. When a helpful apostle finds her, could it truly be salvation, or does worse torment lie ahead?

A sister struggles to understand a prophecy that may not be meant for her while her brother fights for his life. If the firstborn child of the rightful king dies, will it spell the end for everyone?

Darkness and shadow creep across the land in the form of a fierce clay golem animated by its sculptor’s blood. It seeks a mythical creature whose sacrifice portends the return of ancient evil banished from the world long ago. With its return will come the fall of man.

As the game unfolds, the Small Gods watch from the sky, waiting for their time to come and their chance to rise again. They wait for the fall of shadows, the coming of the darkness.

They wait for night to descend.

The quest for the revival of the Small Gods continues.

https://lynseyjames.wordpress.com/2015/04/05/when-darkness-comes-review/

http://beautybooksandbabble.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/blog-tour-darkness-comes.html

http://themadt-party.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/the-darkness-comes-tour-by-paul-blake.html

https://iambatwomanyo.wordpress.com/2015/04/02/book-review-day-the-darkness-comes-mini-tour-stop/

 

The Same Old Argument

I had a visit with a friend over the weekend who is making a big splash in the world of Big 5 publishing. Here’s a few differences I noticed between that route and self/small press publishing.

Guild Of Dreams

By Bruce Blake

—–

I did something unusual this weekend…I had a Saturday off. If you heard angels singing, now you know why.

While it’s not typical for me to have a day off from the ole day job on a Saturday, it wasn’t a surprise. Mainly, it didn’t surprise me because I asked for the day off. Those guys sure  know how to reward good work.

038575440XI took the day off because a friend of mine who is a traditionally published author was doing a book signing at a local book store. My friend–Jordan Stratford, author of the fantastic Wollstonecraft Detective Agency books for young readers–has a very interesting story that we can all feel jealous of (check it out here), but that’s not the subject of today’s post. No, today’s post is inspired by the conversation Jordan and I had regarding the differences between…

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Interview with Peter V. Brett, Author of The Warded Man (The Demon Cycle)

I don’t normally reblog posts that I haven’t written, but when Amanda said she had a Guild of Dreams post featuring an interview with Peter V. Brett, author of the Demon Cycle books, how could I not?
Enjoy this interview with a best-selling author!

Guild Of Dreams

by A.M. Justice

51hu1K5f9LLAbout eight years ago, my husband came home from work and announced that his coworker Peter had given notice so he could become a full-time fantasy author. Curious and skeptical, I bought the coworker’s book, thinking, “Let’s see what this guy’s got.” I quickly learned he had the right stuff. From the opening lines about a community gathering together in the wake of a strange fire, New York Times Bestseller The Warded Man hooked me, and I’ve been a loyal follower of Arlen, Lessa, Roger, Renna, Ahmann, and Inevera since. My copy of The Skull Throne, Book Four of The Demon Cycle, published by Del Rey, will be delivered to my Kindle today, and I look forward to reading it on an upcoming family vacation.

I admire Peter’s tight prose, inventive storytelling, and nuanced characterizations. Arlen is one of my all-time favorite fantasy heroes, and…

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Finding Easter Eggs

imagesNo, this isn’t a post about a bunny hiding chocolate for the kids to find, though that is one of my favourite times of the year (I kinda like chocolate). It’s about a different kind of Easter Eggs…the ones Yahoo dictionary defines as ” a hidden message or feature, as in a video game or DVD.” Or a book.

Most of us have probably seen them pop up here and there. The first one I remember noticing in a book was when I was reading Stephen King’s excellent novella The Body (later made into the movie Stand By Me). In it, the boys sneak past a junkyard that has the meanest dog in town, until years later when a certain Saint Bernard got rabies. I’ve paraphrased, but I’d already read Cujo, so I caught the reference immediately.

The thing is, not all Easter eggs are immediately obvious to all readers, and that’s not terribly fair. It’s like when you know a good joke that you aren’t willing to share with everyone.

Since I’ve added a few Easter eggs in some of my books, I thought I’d let everyone in on the joke.

The first one I want to reveal has actually occurred in two of my books. You BLOOD3Lrgsee, I love my children a great deal, so I try to sneak their names in wherever I can. My son’s name is Erik, my daughter is named Anya.

Do you recognize where they’ve slipped in?

The first time it happened was in my Khirro’s Journey trilogy. The name of the kingdom from which Khirro hails is Erechania.

WHEN-SHADOWS-FALL-PBOOK005The next time is in my current epic fantasy series, the Books of the Small Gods. Two the main characters derive their names from my kids…Prince Teryk and Princess Danya.

I’ll be doling out more of my own Easter eggs over the next few weeks, so keep checking back. In the meantime, I found a great site where people list Easter eggs they’ve found in books, movies, video games, etc. Go check out eEggs.com to see if they have some you spotted.

What are some Easter eggs you’ve come across in your reading/viewing/playing? Do you like finding them?

 

 

If All Were Equal

Chantal Boudreau looks into the problem of gender bias that plagues fantasy fiction (and our wolrd at large). Great read, so take the time to have a look.

Guild Of Dreams

fisherby Chantal Boudreau
When someone mentions female characters in fantasy, some stereotypes come to mind. There is the damsel in distress, the plucky princess, the matronly queen or the bawdy tavern wench, just for a few examples. These seem to show up everywhere, unfortunate tropes who sometimes serve as sidekicks and who often give the male hero extra purpose to their cause, but don’t have much purpose in their own right.
Then there’s the flip-side – the “strong female” character: the man-hating amazon, the stoic and noble female warrior who is an exception to the norm, the experienced sorceress or priestess who often proves self-sacrificing. While they may have a prominent role in the story, they tend to be loners and atypical of the women in that particular fantasy culture. Most of the women in the story other than that one outstanding character fall into the traditional medieval female roles:…

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When Shadows Fall, by Bruce Blake – 99c Promo Blitz

Three days only…grab a copy of When Shadows Fall for only 99 cents!

ellamedler

WSF99cdeal

If you like epic fantasy, the kind that feels like reality, you want this book. This is a world the likes of which you cannot even imagine. No problem, Bruce Blake has already done that part for you. Honestly, you want this book. And you want it now, while it’s on this incredible deal.

AMAZON US

What’s that? You don’t know if it’s for you?

Read an excerpt:

It rained fire the day the Small Gods fled.

Balls of flame fell from the sky, shattering homes and skulls alike, burning gardens and turning forests to ash, setting alight both farmers’ fields and farmers’ lives with disregard. Much later, it would be said the Goddess banished them for their wicked ways, but on that day, the Small Gods were naught but men and women afraid for their lives. In the eyes of history and legend, the width of the line between…

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