Interview with Anthony Ryan

Anthony Ryan is the New York Times bestselling author of the Raven’s Shadow series, A fantastic epic fantasy with more than a hint of Grimdark. The Slab City Blues science fiction series. And his new series The Draconis Memoria …a Dragon Flavored Steampunk series. Book Two The Legion of Flame –– was released today in the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.     I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of The Legion of Flame (Available NOW HERE) If you haven’t read book 1 yet, take a minute or two and examine the choices you have made in life. After that you can pick up a copy of it here.  Then feel free to read my review of book 2. Don’t worry it is spoiler free.

In Celebration of this new release a few of my goblin minions and I, with the help of Alexis Nixon at Berkley Publishing, were able catch Mr. Ryan (He can move fast when he wants to)  so we could ask him a few of my Famously stupid questions, and believe it or not he answered them! So, my thanks to Anthony Ryan for taking the time to do this interview.

1.      If you could do it all over again, would you change anything in your FIRST book?

 

Yes, I’d do more to eliminate the typos. Other than that, probably nothing. I’m not claiming it’s a perfect book, but I think once something’s done and published I think it’s best just to leave it alone. If I wrote Blood Song now it would certainly be a different book, for the simple reason that I’m a different person these days.

 

2.      Have you ever judged a book by its cover?

 

All the time. Everyone does, even if we don’t admit it. There’s a reason why publishers spend so much time and money on covers.

 

3.      Who designed your cover/covers? Where you able to work with the artist or is it all the publisher/artist/God?

 

For my self-published work, I’ve commissioned various freelancers over the years. I’m currently working with an artist in Germany, Kevin Goeke, who did the cover for my novella ‘A Duel of Evils’ (see more of his work here). For my traditionally published work the publisher takes care of commissioning artists / designers, although they do consult with me as part of the process.  –

 

4.      Have you ever had a side character Try to steal the show? Would you like to go back and make a spin off series or something for them? Or is there a theme or idea you’d love to be able to explore in more depth?

 

Sometimes characters become much more important than I was expecting, whilst others have a shorter lifespan than I intended. In terms of spin-offs I tend to use my shorter works to explore characters who I liked but didn’t get very much screen time in the full length novels. In my novella ‘The Lady of Crows’ I enlisted a character at an earlier point in her life as a means of exploring the criminal underworld of the Raven’s Shadow setting.

 

5.      If you could read any book again for the first-time, what book would it be?

 

Probably ‘The Book of Three’ by Lloyd Alexander, which set me on the road to a lifelong obsession with fantasy.

 

6.      What was the best thing before sliced bread?

Unsliced bread.

 

7.      How many books have you written, how many have you tried to publish, and how many are in print?

 

With the ‘Legion of Flame’ I now have five traditionally published books in print, with a sixth, the collected edition of my ‘Slab City Blues’ sci-fi noir series, self published as print-on-demand. Back in my twenties I tried to publish a very bad crime novel which was rightly rejected by every agent I sent it to.

 

8.      Have you found any occupational hazards to being a novelist?

 

My hands hurt if I type too long without a break. The main actual risk is that it’s a sedentary occupation and you need to remember to go for a walk every now and then. Other than that, there’s always the chance that someone who didn’t like my last book might send me a weirdly passive aggressive email.

 

9.      What is your favorite word? Least Favorite?

 

My favourite word changes by the day, at the moment I find myself most taken with ‘gargantuan’. My least favourite: ‘puce’.

 

10.  How many people have you killed over the course of your career?  Real people first, then fictional.

 

As for the real people, nobody squealed and the coppers were never able to pin nuttin’ on me, y’hear! As for fictional people, let’s just say I’m probably a mass murderer.

 

11.  What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?  Did it end up helping? Or did we just count that person in question 10?

 

Criticism is only useful if it’s considered and not just someone slinging abuse. I think the best criticism I received was being encouraged to concentrate on clarity rather than lyricism when it comes to my prose.

 

12.  What has been the best compliment?

 

I always like to hear from people who’ve gotten something positive from one of my books, especially during difficult circumstances. I occasionally get emails from veterans or active service military people who seem to get a lot out of them, which is nice to hear.

 

13.  Do you have any advice to give a new writer?

 

Learning not to give up is a skill you have to acquire along with everything else. Other than that, read as much and as widely as you can and finish what you start.

 

14.  What was the last book you read? Was it any good?

 

The last book I read was Blackwing’ by Ed McDonald and it was terrific.

 

15.  What one question do you think I should have asked you, but didn’t?

 

Would you like a million dollars?

Yes. Yes I would love a million dollars….. Oh, I was supposed to ask you that. Well never mind then.  That’s all of the questions I have. Thanks once again to Mr. Ryan for spending the time to talk with me. To you, my loyal Goblins I say you really should check out this great series. It is Steampunk with friking Dragons! What more could you want?

SP dragon

Don’t ask me why the dragon above has goggles on his hat and his eyes. Who am I to judge a Steampunk Dragon? Seriously though this dragon was drawn by my Daughter I added the hat and goggles.

 

 

Ebook:  Amazon.com  –  Amazon.co.uk  –  Nook  –  Kobo  –  iBooks

Hardcover:  Amazon.com  –  Amazon.co.uk  –  Barnes & Noble  –  Indiebound  –  Waterstones  –  Wordery  –  The Hive

Audiobook:  Audible.com  –  Audible.co.uk

 

Hob’s review of Faithless by Graham Austin-King

Faithless
by Graham Austin-King

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The Blurb

The temples of the Forgefather have fallen. The clerics and defenders that could once be found across the nine lands are no more. Priests huddle in the great temple, clinging to the echoes of their lost religion. But the Father has fallen silent. There are none who still hear his voice.

The mines of Aspiration lie far below the temple’s marble halls. Slaves toil in the blackness, striving to earn their way into the church and the light. Wynn has been sold into this fate, traded for a handful of silver. In the depths of the mines, where none dare carry flame, he must meet his tally or die. But there are things that lurk in that darkness, and still darker things within the hearts of men.

When the souls bound to the great forge are released in a failed ritual, one novice flees down into the darkness of the mines. The soulwraiths know only hunger, the risen know only hate. In the blackest depths Kharios must seek a light to combat the darkness which descends.

 

Let me start by saying this is a fantastic book in every aspect, from the wonderful cover (Designed by the equally wonderful Pen Astridge) all the way to the last page. But I am getting ahead of myself again. I received an E-ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influences what I say. As always, my opinions are completely my own. Well I am sure you will share them with me after you read it but you know what I mean.

OK now about this book. It is told through 2 POV’s. The First one is Wynn, a young farm boy who is basically sold to the temple by his father. The second is Kharios, a young man that has made it out of the mines and become a Novice in the temple. Now I know what you are thinking…. Well no that’s a lie. If I knew what people were thinking I would probably be doing something other than blogging, but stop trying to side track me.. What you should be thinking is, what kind of temple buys little kids and what are these mines I mentioned.

Well the answer to one explains the other. I will start with the Temple. It is the Temple of the Forgefather. Basically, a god of fire and metal.

ax2e

 

Not that kind of metal.  More like this kind of metal.

goblin_blacksmith_by_hrtc

So yes, he is the god of the forge. And the mines are where the metals and other ore is …. Well mined.

They need people to work down there so they take anyone they get their hands on. Sounds like a pretty bad God, right? Well we can’t really blame him he has been missing for a few hundred years.

So, anyway the book starts with Wynn getting sold to the temple. He starts out thinking he will be training to become a priest. That is the goal of everyone down in the mines, but one not reached very often. The book started out at a slow pace, but with some absolutely fantastic writing. I was comparing it to Rothfuss in my head for about half the book. Beautiful Prose, not a whole lot of action. But then Oh MY GOD all hell breaks loose. I was on the edge of my seat saying stuff like oh shit and no way for half the book.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I was blown away by this book. Faithless was one of the best books I have read so far this year. It is an awesome story told remarkably well. I read it in one sitting, I literally could not put it down. I highly recommend it and wish I could give it more than the 5 stars out of 5 that it received.

 

Get a copy of Faithless

Author Interview with Jesse Teller

When I do an Email interview like this I usually just post it as is. But, Jesse has really given some in-depth responses on some of the questions so I will respond (in brackets like this)

 

  1. If you could do it all over again, would you change anything in your FIRST book?

I did do it all over again, six times. There were seven drafts of that book. Mostly honing wordplay and some surgery of characters and plot points. There was a really cool idea where this half-demon cuts open this wizard that serves him, and he takes out his heart and replaces it with a crystal, and then closes his chest up again. The crystal performs all the tasks the heart would, but the crystal never needs rest, so the body never needs rest. This wizard was unable to sleep and he worked round the clock for the demon. In that draft, I got to explore the mercy of sleep, because sleep is a mercy. It provides an end and a beginning. Sleep is the most selfish thing we do for ourselves. Sleep gives us time to regroup before we face the troubles of the next day. All of those things were taken away from this wizard. He worked for the half-demon nonstop. His day never ended, and there was an immense amount of cruelty in that. If I could rewrite that book, I think I would put that back in.

(I suffer from Narcolepsy, so to me sleep is the bane of my existence. So I wouldn’t mind being that wizard, as long as he gets coffee breaks.)

  1. Have you ever judged a book by its cover?

It’s hard not to. It’s really hard not to. Let’s just talk about books because there’s the thing where you can say, “I met that guy and never really gave him a chance. I judged the book by its cover.” Let’s just set that aside and talk about actual books and actual covers. Have you seen the original cover for Stephen King’s book Wasteland? It’s all oranges and blacks and it’s got that scary train on it. It’s absolutely terrifying. When I first saw that book, I bought it immediately. Man, I wanted to read that book. That’s when I found out it was the third book of a series. So, I had to buy the other two. But man, when I opened that book, I was so excited. I got that feeling you get, when you’re watching a horror movie and you realize that it’s building and it’s coming for you, and you know, any minute, it’s going to break like a wave and the really, truly horrible part’s gonna come out. You keep waiting for that, and the tension keeps building and keeps building and keeps building and keeps building until, it happens. Well, I finished Drawing of the Three, which is the book before it, the night before. I woke up to go to school that day. On my way out the door, I grabbed Wasteland and stuffed it in my backpack. It sat there all throughout the bus ride, all throughout first hour and second hour and third hour and fourth hour, just building and building like a horror movie. I knew it was in that bag. At lunch, I skipped lunch, and I went out by the baseball field and sat on the bleachers. It was a cold day. I pulled the book out and held it between my hands. It took bravery to turn the cover. That was one of the times I judged a book by its cover, and I was not disappointed.

train

3.       Who designed your cover/covers? Where you able to work with the artist or is it all the publisher/artist/God/ Kid with the crayons?

I got to work with mine. She’s cute and sexy and she married me years back. She’s a great artist. She’s a graphic designer in profession. She listens to what I have to say about the covers, which I know is not what you get with traditional publishing. I had final approval rights on all of my covers. We chose a theme, and that theme was shadows. So, you’ve got the shadows of characters on three of them and the shadows of the skyline on the fourth. For my book that comes out in October, we hired a gifted cover designer from Seedlings Design Studio and I’m really excited about what she came up with.

 

  1. Have you ever had a side character Try to steal the show? Would you like to go back and make a spin off series or something for them? Or is there a theme or idea you’d love to be able to explore in more depth?

Oh man, her name is Helena Flurryfist. And I am obsessed with this woman. She’s got a bit part in a 7-book series I wrote, and, OK, the thing is this. I’m a fantasy writer. I write fantasy books. Action, magic, harrowing battle, love stories, and fire. I like fire. I do not write romance novels. Now I need your help, because you have to help me tell my beta reader and my wife that I do not write romance novels, and I cannot write Helena Flurryfist as a romance heroine, even though that is what they are telling me to do. I keep telling them, I don’t write romance. My wife keeps giving me that look, and that wife eyebrow she’s got, and she gives me that little smile that says, “I know you’re eventually going to do this anyway.” And I keep thinking about Helena. You’ve gotta help me, hobgoblin.

(She sounds hot, I bet she looks just like this)

dress

  1. If you could read any book again for the first-time What book would it be?

The book is called Conan the Usurper. I’ve got a thing for Conan. Not the Arnold Conan. I need my Conan pure, like a good brandy, it needs to be aged. It has to have been written by Robert E. Howard in the 20s when he first created the character. Nobody writes Conan like Howard. We’ve seen a lot of people try. There have been some good Conan stories told, but nothing like Howard. So I’m reading this story, and it takes place way out in the jungle in nowhere. It’s a Robert E. Howard jungle, so it’s dark and old and musty and wet and muddy and gritty. And there are these drums off in the distance, and every now and then you hear a scream out there. And you’re a hero that’s headed for those drums, and you can feel it right here, right in your chest. You can feel that bass rattle in your ribs, and the closer you get, the more details you get. That’s the horror of it. The closer you get, the more you can hear that there’s rattles, you can hear that there’s screaming, you can hear begging, you can hear mumbles and chants. And you’re just pushing through the thick, waxy leaves, squelching in the mud, wishing you didn’t have to take the next step to get closer. Man, only Robert E. Howard can put you there. There was something savage about that night. I was in a little one-room apartment. It was my apartment, so it was dirty. It was an old building, and you could hear it tick around you. It wasn’t far away from a highway, but it was far enough that the only thing you could hear were the semis screaming by. The book was an old nickel paperback. When you turned the pages, you could feel they were gritty, like those old paperbacks get. The book was battered and bruised. There were pages, a big chunk of pages, missing out of the back. And I knew that when I got to those pages, I wouldn’t be able to finish the story. But I had started it, and I was in the jungle, and I’m moving forward through the leaves and I can hear the drums. I can hear the screaming. I can hear the rattle. I can hear the chanting, and I’m not even kidding, hobgoblin, I ran out of pages. I set the book down in the middle of the floor, and I stood up and I stared at it. I knew that even if I had a brand new copy, and the pages I was missing were in there, I was never going to have that experience again. So years later, when I found the book at a used bookstore, I walked right past it. To this day, I’ve never finished that book. And I wish more than anything, that I could go back to that night and read that story again, and again run out of pages.

index

  1. When trying to figure out what a character should look like, do you Think of Celebrities, or just start looking at everyone you pass as if your looking through a mug shot book?

It’s really neither one of those. A character literally just walks in my office. Sometimes I see them and I know what they should look like, but they don’t look that way, so I describe them how they should look. Allow me to give you an example. I’ve written a book called Forsaken. Now this book’s not coming out for a very long time, but it has a character named Earl Flurryfist. Earl is a member of the Flurryfist clan. His people, dating all the way back to the progenitor of the clan, had thick blonde hair. Earl showed up in my office that day with short cropped black hair. So I wrote him with thick blonde hair. And now, every time I see him in the book, he’s got black hair, and every time I see him in the book, I describe him as a blonde. There’s other things, too. Sometimes, scars will be there and I don’t know how the scar was created, so I don’t describe the scar. I’ve got one character in one of my books—now goblin, I only write fantasy books set in the fantasy time period. One of my characters showed up in my office one day wearing an object I can never describe in any of my books. He was wearing a Rolex watch. Had a sword, and a dagger, and a gold Rolex. When I wrote that character, of course, I didn’t describe the Rolex. That didn’t stop him from checking the time. I just didn’t describe it.

( I am not surprised, even goblins know that it is all about the bling.)

ed 1

  1. How many books have you written, how many have you tried to publish, and how many are in print?

Monday night I finished my 25th book. I’m a no-child-left-behind kind of writer. I don’t write a book and decide I’m never gonna publish it. I’ve decided on a publishing rate of two books a year for normal size books, and for my epic books (anything 700-pages or longer), one a year. At that rate, the book I finished Monday will be published in 2033. I’ve only printed four so far. But I don’t have time to slow down. I’ve got a lot more planned past these 25, and I’ve got a lot of work to do. My all-time hero is Louis L’Amour, and I hope one day to be the Louis L’Amour of fantasy.

  1. Are there any occupational hazards to being a novelist?

OK, so I type with three fingers on my left hand and four fingers on my right. I didn’t learn to type properly. So, my pinky finger on my left hand is always flexed and out of the way. That is fine for a normal workday. But toward the end of a book, I go into what we call end-of-book mode. And my wife allows me to obsess about the book, and I start putting in real numbers. When that happens, my pinky finger starts to cramp, and it feels like it’s on fire. But I can’t stop typing. That’s not an option. And I don’t use voice software. So what I do is I take medical tape and I tape my finger straight. It’s not very comfortable. It causes me to cuss a lot, and it slows me down a little bit, but at least I can still type. But every now and then, I look at that finger and the quote from the Bible, “If thy right eye offends thee” will come to mind, and I’ll think to myself, “Could I still get by if I only had 9 fingers?”

(I know this is a really bad graphic but Sorry not sorry)

The_Blade_Itsel

 

  1. If you had 1 million pennies what else would you have?

A big jean pocket. No, if I had that many pennies, like I wouldn’t need all that, so I’d take about 5 pounds of pennies and I’d melt it down. My wife thinks blacksmiths are sexy, so I’d set myself up with a forge. I’d smelt the copper and pour it and make a copper sword. While the metal was still cooling, I would sink pennies in it to form the skin of the sword so you could still see Lincoln’s face. And I would call it The Emancipator.

(now that is a great answer)

penny.jpg

  1. How many people have you killed over the course of your career?  Real people first, then fictional.

Real people? I can’t really get into that. Not so much because it would incriminate me, but a lot of really good friends put their lives on the line to help me dispose of bodies. But let’s talk about killing characters in books. I can’t even begin to tell you how many characters I’ve killed. Pitch battles where tens of thousands of people died, down to the little deaths where somebody just curled up in an alleyway and gave up the ghost. I can tell you about the ones that hurt me. The way I deal with it is I don’t blame myself. A lot of times when I’m writing, it doesn’t feel like the story’s coming from me. It feels like I’m witnessing it and writing it down. So when I witness the death of one of my favorite characters, I don’t take the blame for that. All I can do is try to represent that death in the best way possible. They’re gonna die, they’re gonna die horribly or die well, and the way I see it is, I owe it to them to make that death as representative of how it actually happened as I possibly can. In the end, I’m not a god in this world that I work with. People have said that I am. An editor I respect looked at me once, when I told her something wouldn’t work, she looked at me and said, “You are the god in this world. You can make it work.” That’s not bad advice. But I don’t think in my particular case it’s very accurate. I’m not a god in this world, I’m a reporter. I’m just trying to bring the news of what has happened in Perilisc to the people who want to read about it.

(Why won’t anyone answer the first part of this question? But I do Recognize your loyalty and must applaud you for it.)joke517bac-c

  1. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?  Did it end up helping? Or did we just count that person in question 10?

The toughest criticism I ever got… Well, there’s the little deaths you suffer when you’re a writer. You talk to somebody and they tell you how interested they are in your work, and you give them the book, print it off and hand it to them, and they say, “Yeah, I got through the first chapter and then I ran out of time.” And what they’re really saying is, “I read the first chapter and I didn’t feel the need to read anymore.” I was told once by my stepfather, when I was in high school, I had just written a story, and I was told by him, “I’ll read it when it gets published.” But that’s not what we’re talking about here. We’re not talking about the little deaths. My editor for Liefdom came back with pages of comments, with suggested rewrites. This was in 2010. I read it, and there’s the knee-jerk reaction of “She doesn’t know what she’s talking about,” or “She just doesn’t get it,” or this one’s my favorite, “She’s just jealous.” And what I had to understand was that I just wasn’t a good writer. So, I was at a crossroads. There’s the turn to the west that says now we work, now we work at being better. We write one book after the next after the next after the next, until we get good at this. Or you turn to the east, and you’re like, we’re not good at this, I give up. At this point, either one of those is a viable path. We choose to give up on things we’re not good at all the time, that doesn’t make us bad people, or weak. She gave me those pages and I had looked to the west and looked to the east, and I went west. Ask me on another day, and maybe east. I eat a bad breakfast and have indigestion, maybe east. But I went west, and I worked for six years, writing every day, until I was good enough to publish.

  1. What has been the best compliment?

That one is super easy. I’ve heard this a couple of times and I think every writer would agree with this. “I just couldn’t put it down.” For two women I know, the day they started Liefdom was the day they finished it. One of them made a day of it, got up, started reading, read all day, went to bed. But one of them was a single mother of two lively daughters. She put her daughters to bed after working a full day, and picked up my book to unwind before she went to bed, and when she was done with that book, she took a shower, she woke her daughters up, sent them to school, and she went to work. How can that not be the greatest compliment I’ve ever gotten?

  1. Do you have any advice to give aspiring writers?

This one is really easy. Write all the time. When you’re done writing, either eat or sleep and get back to writing. The more I wrote, the more I trained my brain to write. So, at first, I needed an idea of what I was going to write that day in order to do the job. Flash forward 300,000 words, and now I don’t even need to think about it. The day’s words just come to me. Flash forward 3 million words, where I am right now, and I don’t really need a game plan for the book at all. The more you train yourself to write, the less you need to plan, the less you worry about doing it. I have a friend I’m mentoring and he’s like, “I just didn’t have anything to write today.” My advice to him is always the same. Write anyway. Work inspires more work. Very rarely have I ever come across an artist in any field who made a piece of work and was done. Usually, during the course of making a piece of art, they become inspired for their next piece. Work inspires work.

  1. What will be your Final words?

When I die, the final words I say will be, “I love you so much. You were such a good wife. and I’m so proud of you.” When I write, my final words will be one of two things, “And he looked across the smoking ruin of the world, and laughed.” or “He looked across the smoking ruin of the world, and decided he could help.” It all depends on who wins.

  1. What one question do you think I should have asked you, but didn’t?

I was talking to my father-in-law one day. He was driving me to pick up my kids at martial arts, and I had just completed an interview. He’d never read any of my interviews. I said, “I took an interview today.” He said, “OK.” I said, “They’re all starting to sound the same.” He said, “Oh,” and then he listed off four questions. The man has never read an interview for a writer, and he knew the four questions I had to answer the most. When you’re doing this, you answer a lot of the same questions, and I haven’t had to do that with your interview. This is one of the best interviews I’ve ever had. And I always wonder, why didn’t they ask about this, or why didn’t they as about that? I’d say you cut pretty deep into the meat of what I am doing. But the question I’ve never been asked is, who is your audience? In our mind, as writers, we picture the people we’re talking to. Usually it looks something like Comic Con, where you’re sitting on a stage and you’re talking to a crowd of people that are all dressed up like the characters you’ve written, and those people are going crazy for you. That’ll get you through one or two books, but you’ve gotta dig deeper when you’ve been writing for six years and two people have read your work. When you’ve been doing it that long, you need to have a more defined audience. So what I do is, I pretend that I’m dying, that my kids are too young to understand, and I’m not going to be able to teach them and raise them in all the things I want them to know. So all I have is the book I’m writing, and in that book, I have to teach them something about the world, that they’re too young to know now. All of my books are love letters to my children. One day, when they’re much older, and before they go to college, I’ll give them a copy of all my books that I’ve published to that point. When they read that, they’ll truly know their father.

(As a father myself that really hits home. I will read the rest of your books with a different eye)

  1. Do you have any questions for me?

I could ask how you came up with these questions. I could ask where you got the name the Hobgoblin. I could ask why you spend your time interviewing writers. I could ask what you thought the first time you read my book. But I’m not going to ask any of those questions. I think I’d like to know what age you were when you decided you wanted to spend the bulk of your time in other worlds, and what was the book that did it? What was the book that made you say, “I want to spend my free time doing this.”?

“That is kind of an easy one. I have Dyslexia and when I was young I hated to read. It was really frustrating for me. But I am nothing if not a stubborn little goblin, so I made myself sit and just do it, and I soon started to beat my frustration down.. I started with the Dragonlance books when I was 9 or 10. Then soon moved on to Greek Mythology and  Conan. But when I was 11 I had my first major surgery to remove tumors from my sinuses and when I was recovering my Uncle gave me Lord Foul’s Bane the first book of the The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen R. Donaldson  It was good but I read the whole trilogy in 4 days. I needed something nice and thick to sink my teeth into.

I was still really weak. I was not supposed to even get out of bed for another 2 weeks, because, I had after all, just had  8 1/2 pounds of tumors taken out of my head but I needed something to read. So I bribed my brother to take me to the grocery store. I got on my brothers handlebars and he pedaled me the 2 blocks. I was lucky enough that they usually had a good selection of books.(For a Grocery store at any rate) On that day I picked up The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan. It was on a cardboard New Release display, Having read some of Jordan’s Conan books, I was sure I would like it so I picked it up and bought it Without even opening it. In the 27 years since then I have read that book, and the rest of the series as well around 35 times and listened to the audio 15 or 20 times.It consists of 10,173 pages, 4,410,036 words, and the playtime of the Audiobooks totals out at 19 days 5 hours and 25 min.

Here is that book. I was never lucky enough to meet Mr. Jordan and have him sign my old battered book But Brandon Sanderson did.

You know how I asked about if you could go back and read it again for the first time? I was actually able to kind of do that when my son started the series. Our discussions long into the night are some of the best memories I have.”

Well that is all for the questions. I really want to thank Jesse and his wife, Rebekah for taking the time getting these questions done. I hope you guys had as much fun as I did.

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As for you my fearsome Goblin readers you should take a minute and head over to Jesse’s blog and follow him to be entered to win 5 FREE books! Also don’t forget to take a look at the Excerpt of Jesse’s new book I just posted HERE    

Here are details on his new release:

Mestlven: A Tale from Perilisc
Revenge, Insanity, and the Bloody Diamonds
Meredith Mestlven was abused and betrayed by her nobleman husband. After a desperate fit of retaliation, she fled for her life and lost her sanity. Now nearly 20 years later, she returns to her home at Sorrow Watch to destroy her enemies and reclaim her jewels. How far will she go to satisfy her revenge? Dark, cunning and beautiful, Mestlven will win your heart or devour your mind.

Book links:

Author bio:

Jesse Teller fell in love with fantasy when he was five years old and played his first game of Dungeons & Dragons. The game gave him the ability to create stories and characters from a young age. He started consuming fantasy in every form and, by nine, was obsessed with the genre. As a young adult, he knew he wanted to make his life about fantasy. From exploring the relationship between man and woman, to studying the qualities of a leader or a tyrant, Jesse Teller uses his stories and settings to study real-world themes and issues.

He lives with his supportive wife, Rebekah, and his two inspiring children, Rayph and Tobin.

 

 

Excerpt from Mestlven: A Tale from Perilisc by Jesse Teller

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This is my first time Posting an excerpt so I am just going to post it and then put all my amazingly witty and hilarious stuff down at the bottom……. Excerpt is a strange looking word, isn’t it?

OH I should say this is From Mestlven: A Tale from Perilisc by Jesse Teller.

You know, if you didn’t get that from the title. Anyway here it is.

 

Festival of The Pale

 

The Pale, the goddess of death, fixed her rotting eyes squarely on the city of Mestlven where grew a darkness, patient and terrible. Her murder lifted from the battlefields of Corlene to swoop and brood on Mestlven’s roofs and scream at her citizens. Enormous crows, two feet tall with four-foot wingspans, terrorized the city and ate her trash, her vermin, her dead. When those sources of rotting meat and bloated flesh ran out, the crows began hunting her young. The coming of the crows marked the goddess’s intent for the city to host her annual festival. The clergy of The Pale arrived in force while her citizens cringed and waited with dread.

Mort arrived in Mestlven on the eve of the festival, her garrote stashed in the cuff of her robe, her dagger hanging from her hip. She murmured the prayers of The Pale and witnessed the spectacle of the massive city. Built by a long-dead race of giants, the scale of the buildings reached beyond her understanding.

Her wagon lurched ahead, rumbling along the cobblestones. The idols it carried trembled. Navigating the hills and winding alleys of the city proved difficult. Citizens pressed in tight to see The Pale’s cloth march through their streets like the slow and steady onset of some plague. Hunched over the reins of the wagon, Mort was used to the way they stared, fear branded on every face. Her brown wool cloak, befitting a priestess of her rank, gave no hint of the trim body she hid within its folds. They could not hope to guess her size. With the grinning skull she had painted on her face, and the scowl their pie-eyed looks teased up from her, she knew their fear nearly crippled them. No city wished to host the Festival of The Pale, but for some reason the goddess’s considerable murder had chosen this town. Mort found her anticipation growing.

For long years she had been a brown robed priestess of The Pale. She longed for advancement within her order, for a better understanding of her goddess and a closeness to The Pale that had been lacking these past months. She thought again of her bishop’s groping hands and the rage they had inspired in her, and she felt at odds with her church’s leadership and its goals. She had never been chosen to attend the Festival of The Pale before, but she knew something grand was about to happen.

The Grim stalked ahead, the personification of The Pale in the world of man. She rode the great albino horse that never died, and a black fog issued from the hem of her rotting robes to crawl the ground in all directions, seeking out the corners and recesses of the city. She carried the staff that claimed everything before it. Mort had never been so close to The Grim, and her excitement for the festival brought her near to panting.

The procession stopped at the center of town. The Grim dropped heavy to the street beside her mount, and with a clawed hand, stroked the beast’s muscled flank. She shuffled forward, dragging her feet and leaning heavily on the staff until she reached the very center of the courtyard. There, she slowly lifted the staff a few inches from the ground and held it aloft.

“Wretched mother of death, we come to this place at this time to make tribute and receive tribute in your honor.” The Grim’s prayer broke across the air, dry like the rattling of bones. “I claim this city for the duration of the festival for you and your enjoyment.”

She slammed the staff into the ground. The street trembled as a circle of power exploded in all directions and embraced the entire city. The crows lifted into the air, screaming as they stained the Mestlven sky as black as a cloud of noxious gas issuing from a ruptured corpse.

Mestlven: A Tale from Perilisc
Revenge, Insanity, and the Bloody Diamonds
Meredith Mestlven was abused and betrayed by her nobleman husband. After a desperate fit of retaliation, she fled for her life and lost her sanity. Now nearly 20 years later, she returns to her home at Sorrow Watch to destroy her enemies and reclaim her jewels. How far will she go to satisfy her revenge? Dark, cunning and beautiful, Mestlven will win your heart or devour your mind.

Book links:

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Jesse is giving books away!!

To enter, just follow jesseteller.com via email or WordPress by July 16th. On July 17, 2017,  he will randomly select winners from his blog followers.

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Five (5) winners will receive a digital version of the Perilisc Starter Set: Liefdom, Chaste, Mestlven, and Legends of Perilisc in the format of their choice (mobi, epub, or pdf available).

One (1) grand prize winner will receive signed paperbacks of the Perilisc Starter Set: Liefdom, Chaste, Mestlven, and Legends of Perilisc.

Author bio:

Jesse Teller fell in love with fantasy when he was five years old and played his first game of Dungeons & Dragons. The game gave him the ability to create stories and characters from a young age. He started consuming fantasy in every form and, by nine, was obsessed with the genre. As a young adult, he knew he wanted to make his life about fantasy. From exploring the relationship between man and woman, to studying the qualities of a leader or a tyrant, Jesse Teller uses his stories and settings to study real-world themes and issues.

He lives with his supportive wife, Rebekah, and his two inspiring children, Rayph and Tobin.

 

 

What? Why are you still here? Oh I was just kidding about the amazingly witty and hilarious stuff. You should know me better than that by now. I will be posting a really great interview with Jesse Teller that I will link here, but for now its 4:00am and I am all out of witty things to say. I guess I am witless.

I Went On An Adventure

 

 

 

I went on a hike a few days ago to test out my new camera. It is a Nikon D3400 I am still getting used to it, so some of the photos are kind of cut off, but the clarity is pretty good I think. So lets start going through the photos.

This first shot is a Cactus growing out of a crack in some rocks.DSC_0014

But when we zoom in a bit we can see a friendly spider has made its web underneath the cactus.

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As if being covered in 2 inch long spines wasn’t enough to keep people away the 2 foot wide spiderweb so thick you cant see through it should do the job.

Next we come to a cliff that might just be kept from falling by 2 trees

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Now lets go up to the top of a cliff from witch I was able to look down on a waterfall.

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And here is a short video

 

 

Then I saw the most messed up tree ever. It looks like it is trying to eat the rocks it is growing out of. But even cooler than that was the Dragon living in it.

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And here is some GOPro Videos of my hike. Watch if you like to see fat guys sitting on cliff edges and then jumping rock to rock and not falling. Yes I am like a Goblin/Goat.

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Now some leftover Photos I think turned out pretty good but I couldn’t fit them in to the story lol.

 

 

 

Hob’s Review of Dragonship A Short Story by J.P. Ashman

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I have to apologize I made the graphic for a different review but it just fit so perfect I had to reuse it.  This is the second short story by J.P. that I have read. I think this one is even better, and the first one Black Martlet   earned 5 out of 5 stars.

Oh yeah I should mention I received an E-ARC From the author in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influences what I say. As always, my opinions, while completely awesome and undeniably correct, are completely my own.

Now this story is short enough that all I really should say is that it is awesome go read it, But I also want to add that it is a awesomely original take on an Epic Fantasy classic.

So Go Read It!

 

Dragonship by J.P. Ashman easily earns 5 stars from me.

Interview with Steven Kelliher

 

  1. If you could do it all over again, would you change anything in your FIRST book?

Well, this being the modern age and all, I actually DID change something just a few weeks ago. When I first went to publish Valley of Embers, I sought out advice from another fantasy author/editor I was friendly with online. He’s a great writer, and he suggested that my intro scene, which began with a tense action scene in the vein of a thriller, was a little too jarring. I modified my intro and wrote an additional scene of about 3-4 pages I’ll dub the, “Calm before the storm” scene, introducing a few of the characters and easing the reader in. Thing is … it always felt weird to me, and when I did a blind test with 16 other author friends, they unanimously preferred my original intro, so I recently changed it back.

 

Other than that, there are ALWAYS things that could have been improved. I think I edited my first book a little too harshly, in that I trimmed some subplots that, while not essential to the overall story, were nice character add-ons. With the sequel, I’d allowed myself to up the word count, and–hopefully–add more depth to the ancillary characters as a result.

 

 

  1. Have you ever judged a book by its cover?

I wouldn’t say I judge the book by the cover, but it is absolutely THE most important thing in terms of hooking potential readers. Or, if not hooking them, letting them know the feel/tone of your book. If they hate what’s inside, it’ll all be for naught, but if they hate what’s outside, you can bet they’re not going to open it unless they’re specifically recommended to.

 

 

  1. Who designed your cover/covers? Where you able to work with the artist or is it all the publisher?

I put a two-artist team together for my current series, with artwork done by Aaron Nakahara, a Maui-based designer, and a graphic designer for the titling. Being on the same page is extremely important. You want an artist whose style not only suits your world, but whose personality suits yours, at least on a professional level. I controlled all aspects of the production process, but you should always consider the advice of visual artists when working in a visual medium.

  1. Have you ever had a side character Try to steal the show? Would you like to go back and make a spin off series or something for them? Or is there a theme or idea you’d love to be able to explore in more depth?

 

It’s pretty important to me to listen to the characters in my stories and let them open and guide the narrative. I’m a big believer that a cool world concept and magic system is only intriguing if the characters are compelling. Without them, you’ve got an empty husk, even if it’s a “cool” one. I have absolutely had side characters force themselves into positions of prominence, but it’s rarely been a bad thing. They’ve always got a good reason for insisting on the spotlight.

 

 

  1. If you could read any book again for the first-time What book would it be?

Hmm. I don’t even think it’s my favorite book, but I often point out Joe Abercrombie’s Best Served Cold as a masterpiece in terms of pacing and thematic intent. All character arcs are tightly-spun and the narrative rockets along at an incredible clip. It reads like the best of revenge thrillers, and it’s got some epic flair and a good number of organic twists. Fun, horrifying, violent, beautiful and poignant, this one left a mark.

  1. When trying to figure out what a character should look like, do you Think of Celebrities, or just start looking at everyone you pass as if your looking through a mug shot book?

I’ve never based a character’s look on anything specific, at least not consciously. But we’re all influenced by our collective experience. I like to think I discover the setting first, and then I find the characters playing around within it, as if they’ve been there all along.

  1. How many books have you written, how many have you tried to publish, and how many are in print?

I’ve half-written, three quarters-written, five eights-written a number of books, but Valley of Embers was the first one I saw through to the end because I found out the writing process that works for me, which I have since streamlined and adapted. The Emerald Blade was the second book I completed, and I’m currently on #3. Before completing my first couple of books, I’ve made a 10+ year career of blogging, sports writing, etc.

  1. Four children have small toys. The first child has 1/10 of the toys, the second child has 12 more toys than the first, the third child has one more toy of what the first child has and the fourth child has double the third child. How long before you run away from them screaming?

The key to dealing with small children is to not have them yourself, go and hang out with family members or friends who do, be the most awesome uncle/big cousin possible and make sure you leave the parents with more trouble than you arrived with. No consequences, and you’re revered by tiny humans everywhere.

  1. Are there any occupational hazards to being a novelist?

Mentally, there’s the constant threat of comparison, which most writers fall prey to, whether that’s feeling down because you don’t think you’re as talented or will sell as much as someone else, to feeling like you’re more talented and should be selling more. It’s a part of the human condition, and it’s important to remind yourself as a writer that we’re all on the same team, so to speak. There’s a virtually-infinite pool of potential readers and–despite the advent of independent publishing–only so many writers to service them. Did that sound weird? Yep. Keeping it. Also, criticism, from both readers and bloggers, can sting. But you’ve got to take the good with the bad. Physically, writing is tough on your back/posture … all that jazz.

  1. How many people have you killed over the course of your career?  Real people first, then fictional.

The first thing you need to know is that I always make it quick. It’s also the last thing you need to know.

 

 

  1. How many of those just counted would you estimate are the direct result of you being so angry at someone that you thought “Oh the things I am going to do to you?”

I don’t get angry before or during fights, even dating back to my days in the ring and cage. But, adrenaline can be a hell of a drug, and it pairs nicely with head kicks.

  1. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?  Did it end up helping? Or did we just count that person in question 10 or 11

 

I received criticism on a draft from a big-name author I respect that my writing just wasn’t at the level it needed to be, but that was balanced by another who gave the book a raving, five-star review. Again, good with the bad. Not all writing styles will be for everyone, and his criticism did lead me to do two full page-one rewrites.

 

  1. What has been the best compliment?

A recent review compared my current series to a unique blend of Princess Mononoke, The Legend of Zelda and Avatar: The Last Airbender. Two of those were conscious influences on the world of the Landkist Saga. All three are awesome.

  1. Do you have any advice to give aspiring writers?

 

I wrote a letter to R.A. Salvatore when I was 13, as he was my favorite author at the time and lived in my home state. I referred to my desire to one day “compete” with him on store shelves. I didn’t mean it as an insult, but competition was in my mind even at that time, and even with someone I admired. He wrote a really nice note back (also told me I could Email him next time so as not to waste money on postage,) and said, “There is no such thing as competing authors. There can never be too many voices in the fantasy genre.” It stuck with me. And I would tell any “aspiring” writers out there to drop the “aspiring” tag, and just keep writing. If you write, you’re a writer. And it’s up to readers, critics and your own muse whether or not you’re any good at it.

  1. What do you think will be your Final words?

“I had a good run. Thank you. I love you all.”

 

 

  1. What one question do you think I should have asked you, but didn’t?

 

What would win in a fight between a Tiger and a Lion? It’s literally the only question that matters and I’m disgusted at your lack of professionalism.

  1. Do you have any questions for me?

What is the best portrayal of a goblin in any medium? And why is it Norman Osborne?

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Some great answers to some stupid questions! Thanks Steven. And you can find his books here