All posts by Hob The Goblin

I am a avid (some say Obsessive) reader. I read fast and hate to put a book down once I start it. I have done a lot of reviews on Goodreads.com and Facebook, But I was still having trouble keeping track of what I have read, what I want to read, and what People have told me I need to read. So the hope is this will help. I am also going to be posting about all of the authors I meet, and hopefully get a chance to question.

Phoenix Comic-con Fan Fest 2017

Phoenix Comic-con is in June and it is one of my favorite times of the year. For the last 3 years they have had a 2 day “Fan Fest” in November that I have wanted to check out. This was the first year I made it and even though I had fun and got to meet one of my favorite authors I probably shouldn’t have gone. I don’t know if any of you know what Pleurisy is, but its severe pain with every breath. (click the link to learn the whys and how’s)   But I had been suffering for about 6 days before the con and it was actually getting better. But after walking around for 3 hours on Saturday I was in so much pain I left and went to the ER.   After sitting in a hallway for 5 hours then getting an X-ray they wanted to do all this other stuff to see if I was having a Heart attack. That was stupid as I have had Pleurisy before and knew what it was plus I would have been dead if I had been having a heart attack for 5 hours but whatever, right? So 4 or 5 hours and a few IVs later they tell me its not a heart attack (No Shit?) and that the Pleurisy I have is viral so all I can do is rest. So what did I do, you ask? I went back to Fan-Fest on Sunday of course. I didn’t stay long but I still had a 2 hour drive home that was like stabbing myself in the lung with every breath. It is now Thursday morning and I have literally not gotten out of bed since I got home Sunday night except to go to the bathroom and can now breath shallow pain free breaths. Deep breaths still hurt but as my old granny used to say  “Life is nothing but pain” . She always was a bit odd.

Any way I did get to meet Drew Hayes the author of NPCs and The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant and many other great books. He is also the GM on the awesome Authors and Dragons Podcast. He has even done an interview on this very blog before! Check out the podcast its lots of fun and read the interview (not as fun but still good.) Drew had said something on his blog about  how he doesn’t dress up at cons but it is possible you might find him drunk and in half of a dragon costume. Well I couldn’t help but bring him a bit of something to wear that I made (and I will picture him wearing it during all future Authors and Dragons podcasts) He signed a few things for me and we had a nice talk. At least it was nice for me I may have been making no sense what so ever But that’s enough of my ramblings here are the photos.

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Drew Hayes wearing my gift
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Best thing ever!

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Comicare is a great cause!

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Pikachu was so happy to see squrtle
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I don’t know what they are from but I want to watch it

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Those wing are remote controlled
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That is one sexy Wall-e #astayoung

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I just missed the sweet group hug…
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Ghost busters everywhere but this was one of the best

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I almost screamed like a little girl I love Marvin!
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We had a nice talk about fur

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She even said By Grabthar’s Hammer… what a savings.

Book Haul + A Giveaway

October Was a great month for books, at least it was for me. So of course I am going to spread the love a bit and have a giveaway! But before we get to that let me show you what I was lucky enough to get my  grubby little goblin hands on.

 

  1. The Midnight Dunes (The Landkist Saga #3) by Steven Kelliher

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Steven sent over an E-ARC of the third book in his Landkist saga. I don’t know if his time as a UFC fighter helped but the battle scenes in this series are written very well. Go pick up a copy of Valley of Embers if you haven’t already got it.

 

  1. Black Guild (Black Powder Wars, #2) by JP. Ashman

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My Cactus loving goblin buddy sent me the digital ARC for his eagerly awaited second installment in his fantastic flintlock fantasy series the Black Powder Wars.  Check out the new cover Pen Astridge aka The Mighty Pen just finished for book one.

  1. The Infernal Battalion (The Shadow Campaigns #5) by Django Wexler

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I have to thank the publisher (Ace)  for this one.  I admit I already finished this a few days ago. This has been a great series from the start and to be honest this is the best one yet! One of the most satisfying series ends that I have read in years.

by Adrian Collins, Mark Alder, R. Scott Bakker, Bradley P. Beaulieu, Michael R. Fletcher, T. Frohock , Alex Marshall, Peter Orullian, Jeff Salyards, Courtney Schafer, Shawn Speakman ,Brian Staveley, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Marc Turner, Matthew Ward, Kaaron Warren, Mazarkis Williams, Deborah A. Wolf, Janny Wurts, E.V. Morrigan

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I backed this as a Kickstarter last year and received my beautiful hardcover copy a few weeks ago. Then last week I got a magical mystery paperback in the mail. Neither  I nor Adrian know why I got it but since I don’t need 2 of them…. Yup you guessed correctly this is the giveaway!

Open to all. Just comment below to enter . While not necessary to share this post it is appreciated! You don’t need to have a wordpress.com account to comment but it will ask for an email. I don’t care if you give a made up email but if you are the randomly selected winner you will have 24 hours to respond to the notice I send you. After that I will randomly select someone else. The contest will end and the winner will be chosen Friday the first of December.

Good Luck!

An Excerpt of Song By Jesse Teller

First I need to apologize to Jesse, I had all of this for so long and I said I would post it on release day. Well here we are 20 days later. So sorry again Jesse, and thanks for the Excerpt!

 

The Guard of Mending Keep

One Year After The Escape

 

The serving boy’s face was stained green with disgust and horror. He looked about to be sick, about to flee, about to weep. Rayph saw the trembling lip and the panic in the eyes, and he knew what the boy was carrying. It was small, maybe a little over a foot wide, spherical, and covered with a towel. The boy wove a path through the reclining bathhouse patrons and made his slow, methodical way around the main tub to the corner where Rayph sat with his good friend, playing crease and taking in the steam.

As the boy drew closer, the dread that rose up within Rayph prompted him to turn to Dova and grimace. Rayph moved his tile, tapping it lightly with his finger, and shook his head.

“I’m afraid we are about to be interrupted,” Rayph said.

The boy trembled beside the gaming table. His white, sweating face held the world’s shock, and Rayph nodded at him. “Set it down.” He waved his hand across the boy’s eye line and muttered his spell’s incantation. The serving child’s face smoothed clear of all trepidation, and he let out a long-held breath.

“Where did you get it?” Rayph asked.

The boy’s dark eyes looked troubled even through the effects of the spell. “He hurt me,” the boy said.

“Hurt you how?” Rayph asked.

The boy pointed to his temple. “He got in here. He burned me.”

Rayph clenched his fist and anger bubbled deep within him. “What did he look like?”

“He was trimerian, but his third eye,” the boy rubbed his forehead, “it seemed to be flaming. He stunk of sulfur.”

Rayph’s blood ran cold, and he stood. “Watch the boy. Lock down the house. If he returns, do not engage, just defend, Dova. He is beyond even you.”

He looked to his ethereal friend, naught but churning wind where his body sat. The towel draped over Dova’s shoulders and tied around his waist, the only indicator of his form.

Rayph grabbed the boy’s shoulders a little too rough, just a little too hard. “Where did he go?” Rayph tried not to let fear get the better of his voice, but it trembled. There are so many innocents here. If he unleashes, how much of the city can I save? The answer was very little.

Dova exploded with a slight puff of wind. The towels fell to the floor. Rayph could feel his friend fill the room, warm air, fluttering and vibrant with life, swelled, blowing curtains in a flurry. The doors to the bathhouse slammed shut.

“Where did he go, son?” Rayph asked the boy.

“Who said he’s gone?” The voice held a new lilt of arrogance to it, a soft tinkling, musical and filled with spite. The boy leapt back. His forehead ripped open, betraying an eye. His back split and out flapped two wings that bled greasy smoke.

“Clear the room,” Rayph commanded as he loosed his spell. The power of the spell’s thrall was so great that every reclined man leapt to his feet and rushed for the door. The doors flew open to slam closed again. Every lamp in the room surged, hissing flame before dying completely. The room was thrown into gloom, the only light issuing from the great opening in the roof centered over them.

With a flick of his wrist and the uttering of a command word, the air around Rayph’s right hand tore and his sword dropped from the wound. The air zipped closed again, and Rayph turned to the serving boy, who hovered before him.

“You harm that boy any further and I will hunt you, Meric. I will plunge into that darkness you surround yourself in and I will rip you from it.”

The boy tossed his head back and unfurled a hideous laugh that trembled the ceramic tiles of the wall. “I have not come to quarrel with you, old friend.”

“You and I were never friends,” Rayph said. The sky above the opening darkened, and Rayph stepped closer. “Why have you come here? Why show yourself now, after this many millennia?”

“The nation is wide open, dear friend. No one is watching over Lorinth in your absence. You have forsaken your post.”

“I still guard this nation. I serve not the throne, but this is still my home. I will return as court wizard one day.”

The boy’s head lobbed back, and he poured out another hideous laugh, so violent the corners of the mouth split, and the boy coughed blood. “Too late, Rayph, you will return too late.” The head shook. “You have not yet looked at the present I left for you. How rude you are, Ivoryfist.”

Rayph extended an arm toward the table and muttered a word. His eyes stayed locked to Meric as the object floated the room to hover before Rayph. With a jerk of the cloth, he unveiled the severed head. Rayph looked in horror at the face, so contorted in pain from its last moment he could not recognize it.

He stared at it. The left side of the face was badly burned, the neck severed with some keen, hot blade that cauterized the wound perfectly. Deep claw marks covered the right side of the face and neck. Blood stained the chin and mouth.

Rayph’s heart broke out in a rampaging rhythm, and his mind burst into flames as he recognized the face. “No.” He looked away, but his eye was drawn to the head again as the identity of the head locked in his mind. “It can’t be.”

A gurgling laugh filled the room, and Rayph summoned forth the power to smite Meric.

“No, Rayph, you mustn’t!” Dova screamed. He threw his whistling form before Rayph, and two thrumming hands landed on his shoulders. The air that comprised Dova’s body filled with the water of the tub they stood in, making a figure of rampaging moisture. “If you engage him here, you will destroy my city. You must not.”

“Listen to Dova, Rayph. He always was one for caution,” Meric said. “Caution and cowardice looking so much alike and all.”

“Rayph, who is it?” Dova motioned toward the head.

“Stoic,” Rayph breathed. “He has killed Stoic.” Saying it aloud let the words take on meaning. His friend was gone, his guard, dead. What would become of Mending Keep? Had they all fled? Had the world’s unkillable fiends made good an escape?

He knew the futility of the words before he spoke them but felt helpless to say anything else. “I will make you hurt for this, Meric. In this one act, you have killed yourself.” Rayph felt nauseous.

“Step aside, Dova,” he said.

“Oh, my dear Rayph, please do keep tight check on that temper of yours. I would hate to reduce this city to rubble because you threw a fit,” Meric said. The black smoke issuing from the flapping wings filled the room with unbreathable air. “Stoic is gone, as are his charges, but that does not mean we need come to blows. I was not the one that killed your boy.”

“This head was severed with your blade. Do not try to deny it.”

“Yes, for easier transportation, I assure you. He was dead long before I got there.”

Was Meric lying? Did he have any reason to? Why bring the head at all? Meric was not one to gloat. It was not his way. Why alert Rayph the prison had been broken in to? There was an element to this Rayph could not see, something big moving powerful pieces about the board.

“Who did this?” Rayph asked.

The boy laughed again, weaker this time. He doesn’t have much time. I have to get Meric out of that boy as soon as possible.

“I won’t do all of your work for you, Ivoryfist,” Meric said. Lightning flashed outside, the inky clouds that followed Meric everywhere boiling in the sky above them.

“Does this mean you’re coming off sabbatical?” Meric asked.

“I will find out who did this and why, and when I do, if your name comes up at all…”

The boy laughed again, a hissing wheeze that scared Rayph.

“Remember who helped you when it all comes out, Rayph. Remember who alerted you to the break. You owe me now,” Meric said.

“I owe you nothing. You did not do this for anyone’s reasons but your own.” It’s big. It’s really big, but I can’t see it.

Meric laughed again. The wings pumped, throwing blood through the air, and the boy’s body lifted.

“Leave the boy!” Rayph said.

“You don’t give me orders any more, Rayph. Those days are over.” The boy’s body lifted high above the bathhouse, and Rayph splashed into the center of the tub to stare up at darkened skies. With a deafening explosion, Meric broke loose of the boy’s body, and the child dropped. Rayph set his feet and watched as the body tumbled. The boy dropped through the opening in the ceiling, and Rayph caught him in his arms. The sky opened and rain hammered the city. Rayph looked up at his friend and grimaced.

“I must leave, Dova,” Rayph said. “But first I have to know what happened to Stoic. Can I use your lab and summoning room?”

“Everything I own is at your command, Ivoryfist, you know that.”

The boy woke up screaming.

 

 

Song
The Manhunters Book One
Release Date: October 5, 2017

Some of the darkest minds in Perilisc attacked Mending Keep, releasing all its prisoners. Despite his strained relationship with the crown, Rayph Ivoryfist calls old friends to his aid in a subversive attempt to protect King Nardoc and thwart terrorist plots to ruin the Festival of Blossoms. But someone else is targeting Rayph, and even his fellow Manhunters might not be enough to save him.

Order Song at Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

 

About the Author

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.

Recognition

SPFBO 2017 entrant
Literary Titan Gold Book Award Winner, April 2017
Drunken Druid Editor’s Choice, March 2017
Drunken Druid 2016 Book of the Year Short List
Hungry Monster Gold Book Award Winner, September 2016

 

“Jesse Teller is a talented author with the future in his hands.” —Peter Tr, booknest.eu

“A very strong author who boldly builds the world he has created with strong themes and no apologies.” —Dianne Bylo, Tome Tender Book Blog

 

“Jesse’s newest project, Song, is part of his Perilisc fantasy world: a richly detailed setting, ripe with legends, magic, and secrets whispered but not yet explored.” —Bookwraiths.com

 

 

Author Links:
Website
Facebook
Goodreads
Amazon
Twitter
Reddit
Smashwords

Where I ask C.T. Phipps and Michael Suttkus the best questions ever

johngobIn celebration of his just released book and his about to be released sequel I invited C.T. Phipps and Michael Suttkus over for a visit. I am going to ask them a few questions and I might even get him to do some kind of giveaway.

 

But first I will let the man himself tell us a bit about his new books.

 

C.T. Phipps: Awesome, Trevor, I absolutely am happy to discuss my new books LUCIFER’S STAR and I WAS A TEENAGE WEREDEER. Both of which are going to have their sequels coming out soon with LUCIFER’S NEBULA and AN AMERICAN WEREDEER IN MICHIGAN. I know you’ve reviewed both (see here for Lucifer’s Star and here for I was a Teenage Weredeer).

 

Michael Suttkus: You can’t make me talk!  Oh, wait, asking just might work!  I’m not sure what to say here.  I have cats.  They tell me to do things.  Mostly it’s “Feed me”, but you never know.

 

You had Michael Suttkus  as a coauthor on these books. Can you explain a bit on how that works?

 

C.T. Phipps: Michael Suttkus and I have been friends for twenty years and worked together on the RPG “Halt Evil Doer!” among many other projects. Basically, Michael Suttkus is an amazing world-builder and helped me create the setting for both Lucifer’s Star and I Was a Teenage Weredeer. Generally, I do the writing but often bounce ideas off him.

 

Michael Suttkus: Well, at first, we used the obvious method where we both write each chapter, then we force the chapters to fight it out in an arena to determine which is stronger while Star Trek fight music played loudly.  This proved less successful than we had hoped.  After that, Charlie did most of the writing while we threw ideas at each other.  While Star Trek fight music played loudly.  We’ve been stealing each other’s ideas for a while now so it seemed natural.

 

How much, if any outlining do you usually do for a book?

 

C.T. Phipps: I’m a hybrid author who generally comes up with an idea, “What happened to the Imperials after Return of the Jedi” and “What would it be like to do a Buffy the Vampire Slayer with the least dangerous shapechanger possible?” Then I generally plot out a bunch of ideas I want to do. None of these outlines ever last to the end but they give me an idea of what I want to happen to my characters. I take the view of, “How would each of my characters react to these events?”

 

Michael Suttkus: Outlining is a bit more necessary than normal in a collaboration just because you need everyone to know where things are and where they’re going at any point.  But an outline can’t ever be a rigid thing.  They say that battle plans never survive contact with the enemy, and writer’s outlines never survive contact with the characters.  They will insist on doing things their own way.

 

What do you think is the best pun ever told?

 

C.T. Phipps:” Oh deer. The puns were inevitable once I started writing I Was a Teenage Weredeer. Michael made me take them all to hart and I was unable to buck the system. I doe know if I could hoof it to the finish line as the very thought staggers me. *Ahem* On a serious note, I couldn’t help but make deer puns when I was making the book and Michael egged me on until the book had far too many. That’s when I decided Jane hated them and it was an actual “weakness” of weredeer she found stereotypical and annoying like vampires needing to count sesame seeds.

 

Michael Suttkus: English playwriter Ben Johnson was asked by someone to make up a pun.  He asked, “Upon what subject?” and was answered, “The king.”  Johnson replied, “The king is not a subject.” The second worst pun comes from Isaac Asimov whose “Death of a Foy” is nothing but a setup for one of the most groan-inducing puns ever written.  It’s all the better for apparently being a serious sci-fi story until the very last line when you realize you’ve been caught in a bad joke the whole time.  It is my life’s goal to produce a pun equally as painful and to inflict it upon an unprepared humanity!

 

In a few of your books you have snuck in small nods to your other books like Gary seeing a copy of  Cthulhu Armageddon. Should we keep an eye out for anything in this series?

 

Michael Suttkus: Charlie can handle this better than me. Though I should point out it happens even when you’re not looking. Shannon from Esoterrorism, for example, was the character who became Clarice in Lucifer’s Star. We move around characters we create and adapt others because some are just so good you can’t put them aside.

 

C.T. Phipps: Shh, don’t tell them we recycle characters.

 

Michael Suttkus: Bah, what’s next, telling them Wraith Knight took a lot from the Lord of the Rings?

 

C.T. Phipps: GASP! But actually, Trevor, we’re planning a crossover with Supervillainy Saga books. My next book, The Tournament of Supervillainy, is an homage to all those Crisis on Infinite Earth-style comics. Except I’m going to have characters from my other series show up and Gary visit their worlds. I totally came up with this idea and didn’t steal it from Marion G. Harmon’s Wearing the Cape crossover.

 

How do you manage to work on so many projects at once? Do you ever get them confused?

 

Michael Suttkus: Charlie does most of the writing.

 

C.T. Phipps: Says the guy working on three different books of his own.

 

Michael Suttkus: Which I will talk about when they’re done.

 

C.T. Phipps: Basically, I had a two year lull since I started professional writing due to Permuted Press making a contract that had my first books not to appear until 2017 (it was 2015 at the time). They never got printed by them either and I got another lull with Esoterrorism and Wraith Knight due to things happening with Ragnarok Publication. So, actually, the reason I had so many projects is I wrote other books during that lull and when I switched publishers, just handed them all my finished manuscripts.

 

Michael Suttkus: You still write like a madman.

 

C.T. Phipps: I admit, there’s also the fact I often let my imagination get away from me. I have more series than I know what to do with.

 

Michael Suttkus: How about finish them!

 

C.T. Phipps: My present plans are to finish up Esoterrorism, Wraith Knight, and Agent G as trilogies. Lucifer’s Star, Weredeer, and the Supervillainy Saga are ongoings.

 

Michael Suttkus: What about Cthulhu Armageddon?

 

C.T. Phipps: I consider it “finished” until my next idea. It usually shall come as a dream, I think, when the moon is in the proper alignment with Yuggoth.

 

If you could be any character from any book you have ever read who would you be? Why?

 

Michael Suttkus: Who wants to be a character from a book?  Terrible things happen to characters in books!  If they aren’t trapped in a post-apocalyptic hell-hole, someone’s trying to kill them or they’re trying to kill some evil, powerful person.  It’s danger after danger and sounds really stressful.  No, I want to be a character from a bad fanfic where the author doesn’t understand how drama works and everything is just wonderful for the main character.  Terrible story, but a great life!

 

C.T. Phipps: Captain Kirk is probably my choice because he not only gets to travel through space but he also has his legendary romantic life. *is hit by a book by his wife* Which is not at all a consideration but something that I was just bringing up as a possible benefit. Alternatively, I would be Han Solo for much the same reason. Feeling the Force wouldn’t be an option but I’d still have the Millennium Falcon. Too bad it would come with an awful kid.

 

A 35-foot ladder is leaning against the side of a building and is positioned such that the base of the ladder is 21 feet from the base of the building. How far above the ground is the point where the ladder touches the building?

 

C.T. Phipps: Michael?

 

Michael Suttkus: 0 feet.  A ladder with that shallow an angle to the wall will have fallen by the time you’ve finished asking the question.

 

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

 

C.T. Phipps: About ten or eleven and all of them are in print thanks to the good folk at Amber Cove and Crossroad Press. If I had to recommend any of them then I’d say Lucifer’s Star and Cthulhu Armageddon are my two “best” works while I Was a Teenage Weredeer and The Rules of Supervillainy are my two most “fun.”

 

Michael Suttkus: Five, all collaborations with Charlie though I’m working on a solo novel about a PI in a world with superheroes. Also a story about a werecrow which would be more original if not for the fact Charlie put her in I Was a Teenage Weredeer.

 

Do you have any advice to give a new writer?

 

C.T. Phipps: Don’t put the cart before the horse. Finish your book first then start worrying about making a career of it. You’ll probably not be able to make a living writing for a number of years unless you get very lucky so being a part-time writer is to be expected. Write what you want to read rather than what you think will sell. Don’t trust the first offer you receive and double check with groups like Absolute Writer Water Cooler to see if they’re frauds or not. Don’t put down self-publishing or independent and make friends with other authors online. Social media won’t make you a success but it can’t hurt.

Michael Suttkus: Don’t forget to experience bad media.  If you can analyze why certain books or movies just don’t work, you can avoid making the same mistakes.

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

Michael Suttkus: The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone.  Not to spoil it, but there’s a monster at the end of it.  I swear this book has turned more innocent children into budding nerds and writers by showing them the joys of metatext.  Most of what I’ve been reading lately is RPG books (“Numenera” was quite good) and paleontology.  I go through cycles.

C.T. Phipps: Star Trek: Discovery: Desperate Hours by David Mack and The Seer King  by Chris Bunch, both of which were very entertaining. I’m currently on a Star Trek kick to best help my writing for Lucifer’s Star’s sequel, Lucifer’s Nebula.

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

Michael Suttkus: Since you didn’t know I was going to be here, that hardly seems fair!
C.T. Phipps: How are you so awesome?
Do you have any questions for me?
Michael Suttkus: What’s up with the ladder question?

C.T. Phipps: When will you review my latest book?

I always throw in a few odd questions you guys got away easy. and as soon as you give me a copy. Speaking of giving stuff did you want to do a giveaway?

C.T. Phipps: Absolutely. I’ll happily give away 5 copies of I Was a Teenage Weredeer Kindle or Physical Copies.

Awesome! To enter to win just comment below. I will randomly select the 5 winners on Friday November 3rd. 

The metaphorical dice have been tossed and lady luck has chosen 5 winners! But first a huge thank you to C.T. Phipps and Michael Suttkus. I literally couldn’t have done it with out you! The winners are…………..

  1. Drew Cantrell

  2. alburke47

  3. Cristian

  4. Michael pope

  5. Sethia

Congratulations to you guys!

If you didn’t win don’t feel bad, just make sure you are entered in my new giveaway and follow the blog so you don’t miss my upcoming ones like the autographed Robin Hobb book that will be up for grabs  in December.

I will send an E-mail to the winners and if They don’t respond within 24 hours or so, ill pick a new name

 

Hob’s Review of A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne

A Plague of Giants (Seven Kennings #1)

by Kevin Hearne

ebook, 624 pages

Published October 3rd 2017 by Del Ray Books

 

 

I have been a fan of Kevin’s for years and it’s not just because he is a home town hero. I love his Iron Druid series on so many levels. and so, I admit I had some preconceived notions of what to expect with this new series. Well I was completely mistaken. Don’t take that wrong I enjoyed it but it was nothing like what was expecting.  This takes place in a whole new world created by Kevin, unfortunately that means no talking dogs or Irish goddesses. That is not an entirely bad thing though.  While not as strong of a book as the Iron druid it has some fresh ideas that give it a lot of promise.

Usually when a book is told in first person there is only one POV and that is kind of how this one works except not at all. The POV we see through is from Dervan, a widowed historian of a country called Brynt. He has the task of writing down the story a bard named Fintan is telling of the Giants War.  That is where the other POVs come in, when the Bard tells each part of the story he uses magic to take on the appearance of the person that part of the story is about. So the “voice” of the book changes frequently. I have to say Kevin did a very good job with that. Each one has its own personality and Idioms. That really brought the different characters to life. Some of them were boring at first but luckily it never stays on one person for too long and they all got better as time went on.

The book as a whole has plenty of blood and violence   I would almost classify the book itself as Grimdark. But the moments that are in the present are more lighthearted and it seems as if most of the war is over.

The magic system was particularly interesting. It is called a Kenning and there are 7 distinct types, each with its own subtypes that have different abilities.  The first is fire and then water air and so on. To be able to use this power you must go to the location for that kenning and it just so happens that each one is in a different country. To try and gain the power you have to risk your life. Brynt’s Kenning is water and if you wanted to gain this ability you must dive down in to an underwater cave as the tide is strongest and swim to the bottom. Of the people that attempt to gain a kenning at least 9 out of every 10 die in the attempt. We don’t find out why people are chosen, but the lucky ones will have powers that are pretty fucking awesome afterwards. It is said that each Kenning was discovered by someone that was suicidal in just the right place at the right time. I said before that there are 7 of them but that is just what everyone believes there is only 5 known Kennings. As with all magic there is a cost though and to use your Kenning ages you. The more power you use the faster you age.

That is all really cool! The thing I didn’t like that much are the Giants. No, not because they are the bad guys. Wait, well yes, they are the bad guys but that’s not why I don’t like them.  I actually liked some of the fire Giants. But I am getting ahead of myself again. There are 2 different kinds of giants. First is the Fire Giants (whom I liked sometimes) that live on the southern islands and have a history of trade with most of the other nations. They have the Kenning of fire (hence the name Fire Giants) and are known for the glasswork they produce.

Then we have the Bone Giants. They like to kill things and they wear armor made of bone. (Hence the name Bone Giants) That is about all we learn of them. We never find out if they have a Kenning. We never even really see why they sent armies across the ocean to attack. I am sure we will find out more as the series continues but I would have liked to know a bit more of their motivations.

Final Thoughts

I loved the magic system and how each land had mixed their idioms with the kenning they have. It was a fast-paced tale and Kevin told it very well.  I would have liked to learn more about the bone giants but hopefully that will come in the next book. I am going to give A Plague of Giants 4 out of 5 stars

 

I do think a Plague of Goblins would have been more fun though

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Hob’s Review of The Core by Peter V. Brett

It is always hard to write a review for the later books in a series without giving spoilers, yet still having the review make sense. So be forewarned this review might give a few subtle hints away. OK now that the warning has been given………

 

Can you fucking believe when Inevera gets killed in book 3? I thought that was a brave but strange move by the author. Even more so to have her die from falling over her shoe laces and breaking her neck while she was about to have a baby? ! I mean wow I did not see that coming.

 

What? Was that not subtle? I am just joking of course everyone knows that right? No? Well I was kidding about the death and the pregnancy. Speaking of pregnancy though, I really want to know how much of the Core was written while Peter’s wife was pregnant. In the book three characters are pregnant and the subtle ( About as subtle as I just was) jokes about eating and temper had me laughing out loud. But I wouldn’t be surprised if they had him sleeping on the couch.

 

But back to the review. I read a lot of books so I couldn’t remember off hand who was alive or pregnant or anything else so in preparation for The Core the fifth and final book of the Demon Cycle series, I did a complete re-listen to the Graphic Audio versions of the first 4 books. I have got to applaud the epic fucking awesomeness of all GA books but this series just blows me away with the quality of the voice cast and recording.  I can’t wait to get the Core in GA so I have the whole series. I did however think that Pete Bradbury did a great job with the regular AB. The recording would get louder and softer sometimes like the microphone was moved, but it wasn’t jarring or anything. https://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/The-Core-Audiobook/B06Y6G8NZW

But for those that haven’t just caught up like me and those sad, sad people that haven’t even started the series I will do a bit of a recap by posting the blurbs for each book and then once we are caught up I’ll talk about book 5.

The Warded Man

As darkness falls after sunset, the corelings rise—demons who possess supernatural powers and burn with a consuming hatred of humanity. For hundreds of years the demons have terrorized the night, slowly culling the human herd that shelters behind magical wards—symbols of power whose origins are lost in myth and whose protection is terrifyingly fragile. It was not always this way. Once, men and women battled the corelings on equal terms, but those days are gone. Night by night the demons grow stronger, while human numbers dwindle under their relentless assault. Now, with hope for the future fading, three young survivors of vicious demon attacks will dare the impossible, stepping beyond the crumbling safety of the wards to risk everything in a desperate quest to regain the secrets of the past. Together, they will stand against the night.

The Desert Spear

 

Legends tell of a Deliverer: a general who once bound all mankind into a single force that defeated the demons. But is the return of the Deliverer just another myth? Perhaps not.

Out of the desert rides Ahmann Jardir, who has forged the desert tribes into a demon-killing army. He has proclaimed himself Shar’Dama Ka, the Deliverer, and he carries ancient weapons–a spear and a crown–that give credence to his claim.

But the Northerners claim their own Deliverer: the Warded Man, a dark, forbidding figure.

Once, the Shar’Dama Ka and the Warded Man were friends. Now they are fierce adversaries. Yet as old allegiances are tested and fresh alliances forged, all are unaware of the appearance of a new breed of demon, more intelligent—and deadly—than any that have come before.

The Daylight War

Arlen Bales was once an ordinary man, but now he has become something more—the Warded Man, tattooed with eldritch wards so powerful they make him a match for any demon. Arlen denies he is the Deliverer at every turn, but the more he tries to be one with the common folk, the more fervently they believe. Many would follow him, but Arlen’s path threatens to lead him to a dark place he alone can travel to, and from which there may be no returning.

The only one with hope of keeping Arlen in the world of men, or joining him in his descent into the world of demons, is Renna Tanner, a fierce young woman in danger of losing herself to the power of demon magic.

Ahmann Jardir has forged the warlike desert tribes of Krasia into a demon-killing army and proclaimed himself Shar’Dama Ka, the Deliverer. He carries ancient weapons–a spear and a crown–that give credence to his claim, and already vast swaths of the green lands bow to his control.

But Jardir did not come to power on his own. His rise was engineered by his First Wife, Inevera, a cunning and powerful priestess whose formidable demon bone magic gives her the ability to glimpse the future. Inevera’s motives and past are shrouded in mystery, and even Jardir does not entirely trust her.

Once Arlen and Jardir were as close as brothers. Now they are the bitterest of rivals. As humanity’s enemies rise, the only two men capable of defeating them are divided against each other by the most deadly demons of all–those lurking in the human heart.

 

The Skull Throne

 

The Skull Throne of Krasia stands empty.

Built from the skulls of fallen generals and demon princes, it is a seat of honor and ancient, powerful magic, keeping the demon corelings at bay. From atop the throne, Ahmann Jardir was meant to conquer the known world, forging its isolated peoples into a unified army to rise up and end the demon war once and for all.

But Arlen Bales, the Warded Man, stood against this course, challenging Jardir to a duel he could not in honor refuse. Rather than risk defeat, Arlen cast them both from a precipice, leaving the world without a savior, and opening a struggle for succession that threatens to tear the Free Cities of Thesa apart.

In the south, Inevera, Jardir’s first wife, must find a way to keep their sons from killing each other and plunging their people into civil war as they strive for glory enough to make a claim on the throne.

In the north, Leesha Paper and Rojer Inn struggle to forge an alliance between the duchies of Angiers and Miln against the Krasians before it is too late.

Caught in the crossfire is the duchy of Lakton–rich and unprotected, ripe for conquest.

All the while, the corelings have been growing stronger, and without Arlen and Jardir there may be none strong enough to stop them. Only Renna Bales may know more about the fate of the missing men, but she, too, has disappeared…

notesOK so for those of you not taking notes I did a casting call and found a few goblins to fill the rolls of the main characters. We have Arlen Bales 34

who is Married to RennaRenna

and Ahmann Jardir

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who is married to Inevera, (and like 15 other wives)

Inevera

Rojer Inn and his wivesmusicgoblin-singing_full

and Leesha Paper  Leesha Paper

And I couldn’t help myself from casting this last one even though she is not a major character. sexy

ALL CAUGHT UP NOW?

I cringe when most authors have a made-up language that is used a lot in their books. In this series there is the Krasian language and yes, I suppose I did cringe at first with this series but Peter did two very important things to make it not only easy but fit the story perfectly. First Before a single Krasian word is said we are invested in the characters. It’s not until book 2 that much is said   Secondly, he made it sound familiar even though it is made up. It has a strong Arabic taste to it so it was easy to pick up on.

There are however, 2 words I think he kind of messed up with Ala = the name of the planet/dirt. I thought they were talking about god for the longest time.  The one that really confused me was Inevera. It translates to gods will/fate or something Inevitable. So, if you knew a thing would happen you might say it was Inevera. That part is fine it even makes sense, but it is also the name of Jardir’s wife. When Inevera says its Inevera or someone says it’s Inevera to Inevera, the first few times I was like what the fuck?

 

I made this animation to demonstrate how awesome Graphic Audio is and so you can hear a bit of the Krasian tongue. This is the story of creation told in book 2 The Desert Spear.

Here is a link to the GA series.

Now let’s talk about The Core. You know the book I am supposed to be reviewing here. (Just trying to remind myself) This one had a pretty grim feeling to it. Like humanity could be wiped from existence at any moment. That’s fitting since in the book …… humanity could be wiped from existence at any moment. Yes, the plan to go down to the core leaves the people up top in a pretty bad position and a lot of people die. I liked the tension that brought on and for about 9/10ths of the book I didn’t see how the series was going to be able to be finished in this book. That brings me to the one thing I didn’t like. The ending felt a bit rushed. Don’t get me wrong I actually liked the way it ended but it just felt like it happened to fast. How can a book that is 29 hours and 22 minutes long feel rushed, you may ask. It’s hard to explain but you will understand it when you read it.

 

Speaking of people dying there was a death at the end of book 4 that I had convinced myself for over a 2 years that it was faked. The person was being held as a prisoner and the faked death could have gotten him out of the city. I had convinced myself that was what had happened. But I was wrong. So, with such a long time assuring myself they were still alive the funeral was pretty emotional for me. What? Don’t look at me that way. I know it wasn’t a real person but….. fuck you it was like I lost a friend.

 

Give me a sec I need to collect myself now.

 

OK where was I? Oh yeah. One character that I didn’t like in the previous books was Briar. But his parts really stood out in the end and he became one of my favorites.  I think that’s one of the things I loved about this whole series. How just about everyone grows so much. From the days when people had to hide in their homes behind the wards every night terrified they would fail to the bad ass warriors we see in this book is just awesome. Then at the end we see the worst of them (you will know who I mean when you read it) risking and/or giving their lives to save those they would have happily watch die before, is inspiring.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

 

While the very ending could have had a bit more detail I think the series as a whole, ended pretty spectacularly. The Core was almost 30 hours of action that I finished in about 40 hours after starting. I couldn’t put it down. or turn it off whatever. While not quite the best book I have read this year, I will say this series as a whole is in my top 10 I have ever read. So, you should definitely pick up book one if you haven’t already, and if you have I really don’t need to say anything else. Once you know The Core is now out I am sure you will want to go get it. I give The Core by Peter V. Brett 5 out of 5 stars. This was truly a great series and I not only recommend it, I insist that you go read it!

Hobs Review of I Was a Teenage Weredeer (Bright Falls Mysteries, #1) by C.T. Phipps

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I Was a Teenage Weredeer (Bright Falls Mysteries, #1)  by C.T. Phipps

Kindle Edition, 262 pages

Published September 21st 2017 by Crossroad Press

If you have been HUNTING for something good to read, then you MUSK check out I Was a Teenage Weredeer.  Now I am not usually one to FAWN over books of the Urban Fantasy genre, but this one really hit the mark. …….. OK OK I know my little puns are not that punny but the book is full of them that are. So I will try to REIN myself in and LEAF (They eat leaves right?)  WERE was I? Oh yeah. The BUCK stops here and I will leave the puns to the professionals because I CARIBOU what you think of me.

December-10-2012-20-12-11-61851310094279099942183677218n

 

Let me be serious for a second and say it is a great story. In a world much like that of the TV show/book series TRUEBLOOD (With less BUCKSKIN on display) The protagonist is a teen Weredeer named Jane Doe (yes really) that works at her parents’ CALFITEREIA (that one is no good um..) her parents’  BEASTRO called the DEERLIGHTFUL DINER (that one wasn’t me)  When her brother is arrested for the MURDEER of her best friends sister who also happened to be the granddaughter of the head of the local Werewolf pack things get a bit WEREd (Help I can’t stop!)

 

Jane has the ability to Psychically read objects and see who has touched them recently. So it would only take a second to touch the body and case closed right? Well not quite. But it is a fast paced series of events that ANTLER ….I mean branch out from that point all the way to the end. With some really great side characters, a few that even threatened to push Jane out of the HEADLIGHTS .  You know, in HIND sight this isn’t even punny anymore.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

A fast paced MURDEER mystery that starts at a fast lope and never slows down. While there is plenty of humor and teen/deer angst it also deals with some complex subjects both real and paranormal, and it DOEs it well. Jane is a great character and in all honesty, I have never met a character quite like HERBiVORE. (Admit it that one made you laugh) I highly recommend I Was a Teenage Weredeer and give it 4.5 stars out of 5

 

 

Interview with Ed McDonald

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I just want to thank Ed McDonald for taking the time to do this interview. And now on to the questions!

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

In all honesty, no. It’s easy to look back at something you made and think “Ah, I hate how the word ‘number’ appears twice in that line, or ‘I wish I’d given that character another few lines of character development’ but I don’t like to look back. I’m very happy with where it ended up and I’m only moving forward.

(Not that it matters but I was very happy with it as well. It was a great read that I highly recommend in my review here.)

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

I am terrible for doing this, but I do it often. A good cover will get me to pick the book up from the shelf. Whether I keep on reading it then depends on the writing.

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

I provided a brief for my publishers on what I wanted. It was very detailed, several pages. Then they ignored it completely and their art departments or sub-contracted artists came up with something pretty much completely different. Dan Smith did the UK cover but the US one I’m genuinely not sure. I take the approach that I’m good at words, and other people are good at art, and I need to just leave them to do their own thing. It’s healthier that way and I’m really pleased with what they 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?

In a sense, I think that they do a little. Nenn and Tnota have been so often mentioned as being the favourite characters in Blackwing and they really aren’t central to the story! Additionally, the more I wrote, the more the story became about Ezabeth. I may have fallen in love with her myself a bit, even though that’s weird to say.
I like to imagine that after The Raven’s Mark books I’ll be able to explore the world I’ve imagined further, but I wouldn’t want to go backwards – I’d be interested in following the children of one of the characters perhaps. Assuming they live long enough to have them.

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

Legend, by David Gemmell. I’ve read if seven times. It’s a book that genuinely influences my moral compass and my way of living.

  1. How much for this car stereo? Oh wait, wrong kind of fencing.  I meant to ask, How did you get into fencing?  Do you compete or just do it for fun?

I did sport fencing at university, and then picked it up again later but I was always frustrated by how much of a sport it was, and how little genuine swordsmanship was involved. From there I started doing HEMA and never looked back. I love learning the technical aspects, but I’m also hyper competitive and love to compete.

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

Written – eight
Tried to publish – three
In print – one, with the eighth now in the hands of my editors

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

I do most of my writing with a beer in the pub, I guess that’s not great for my health…

  1.    What is your favorite word? Least Favorite?

Favourite word – there was a note in the margin of Blackwing’s edits by one of my editors, Gillian, saying “Arsehole is your favourite word. Maybe change a few?” I do like arsehole. Don’t quote me on that.
Least favourite – “literally,” used when people mean “very” and what they’re discussing is figurative.

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

Three, but you’ll never find them. Fictional, we’re talking millions. I have a short story in the forthcoming The Art of War charity anthology run by Booknest.Eu which features an Armageddon event.

  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?

I don’t think that I’ve ever really had criticism, but the best piece of advice was given to me by an agent was that my sixth book, at 280,000 words, was simply way too long to be published and that no agent/publisher would pick it up. As a result I abandoned it and wrote Blackwing, at an easy 117,000 words and never looked back.

  1. What has been the best compliment?

I’ve had one reviewer say it was their all time favourite book, but I’m going to give it to Anthony Ryan, author of Bloodsong, who said: “Upon starting Blackwing it quickly gained the rare distinction of being one of those books that felt as if it had been written especially for me.” Now that’s a compliment and a half.

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

Love what you write. If you’re enjoying writing a scene, it’s probably a fun scene. If it’s a struggle or boring, then change something up: a total location change, gender flip a character, start a fire. When it’s fun to write, it usually comes out fun to read.

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

Behind Her Eyes, by Sarah Pinborough. I wanted to read something far out of my usual reading zone, and it was great.

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

What two questions do you think I should have asked you, but didn’t?

(That is cheating!)

  1. Do you have any questions for me?

Are you aware that copies of Blackwing make excellent Christmas presents? They can also be used to prop up wonky tables, to insulate wall cavities and if you bind enough of them together, can make a handy life raft in an emergency. It’s worth stocking up.

Well if you are in need of a good book or ….um .. a life raft or anything else I guess you can pick up a copy at the links below.

Get a copy of Blackwing

  1. Amazon
  2. Audible
  3. Barnes & Noble
  4. Kobo
  5. Apple iBooks
  6. Google Play
  7. Abebooks
  8. Book Depository
  9. Indigo
  10. Half.com

 

Giveaway For an Autographed copy of Clash of Eagles

Question:  What do Alternative History

novels and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center have in common?

Answer:  This guy right here. Alan Smale  is a professional astronomer at NASA, studying black holes, neutron stars, and other bizarre celestial objects. However, too many family vacations at Hadrian’s Wall in his formative years plus a couple of degrees from Oxford took their toll, steering his writing toward alternate, secret, and generally twisted history.

If you know anything about me you know I love books. I love everything about them. In one way, they are a door to a different world, the start to a new adventure that can be had anytime you need to escape just a bit from the adventure you are already on.  The other way they amaze me is how they came to be on the page. I don’t mean how many hours did the author sit at a desk typing. I like to know a bit about the authors life and then while reading see if I can recognize where a certain influence or idea might have come from. With some authors that can be a terrifying spiral that once at the bottom I just want to ask the author if they are OK.  (I am looking at you Michael R. Fletcher. I am not a professional but if you ever need to talk I am here), and with others I can just see them sitting there collecting the tears of their readers as a trophy for each one. Possibly Fletcher here again or one of his Doppel’s but also most certainly Mark Lawrence and Pierce Brown .)

That is why, when I do Interviews I hardly ask about the books themselves. I ask stupid “get to know you” questions that are fun, for me at least (and that’s what’s important, right?) ways to see hidden depths in their writing that maybe even the author didn’t know were there. For example, this question I put to Darrell Drake.

ME: Q. Four children have small toys. The first child has 1/10 of the toys, the second child has 12 more toys than the first and is looking at him and going nananannaanna, the third child has one less toy then the first child has, so is crying at the top of their lungs. And the fourth child has double the toys of the third child then takes 5 from the first child. No question here just a flash back to when I ran a daycare…

Darrell: A. To the side, the fifth child has no toys—no trucks or baubles—only its gas mask. He watches and waits, hands in his lap, knowing the sleeping gas is imminent. His peers never learn, and that’s why his rise to the top will be swift and uncontested.

{Thanks for that insight in to your childhood Darrell I am here for you buddy!}

 Actually, that shit is mainly all a lie. I am just really bad at interviews. Plus it is a great way to introduce a really interesting author I got to meet this year at the Phoenix Comic-con . The author of the only book I bought the whole weekend! I still don’t know how I did that! I just went costume shopping and accidentally bought 27 books instead.

(No lie. Here they are, and I still didn’t get a costume)

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It is also a way for me to thank the great people that worked behind the scenes at the Del-Rey booth this year. It is thanks to them giving me free books and the authors signing them that I am able to spread the smell of a new book to you guys. Like the one we just did with Pierce Brown and the Upcoming one with Robin Hobb.

This book, Clash of Eagles  by Alan Smale has a great cover and that’s why I stopped to take a look at it. It was the premise though, that made me buy it.  Imagine a world in which the Roman Empire has not fallen and the North American continent has just been discovered. In the year 1218 AD, transported by Norse longboats, a Roman legion crosses the great ocean, enters an endless wilderness, and faces a cataclysmic clash of worlds, cultures, and warriors.

Since Yesterday (The 9th) was Mr. Smale’s Birthday, I Thought it would be the perfect time to start the giveaway for a signed copy of Clash of Eagles.

The giveaway will run from now until the 29th of September 2017. To enter just make a comment below. One winner will be chosen randomly on that day. Open to everyone. Good Luck to you all! Don’t forget to make a comment before you go and since you are here already why not enter my other giveaway here.

Want to buy a copy? Then Click here

 

Sorry I am late ending this giveaway. I was out of town and then sleeping for a few days. But A winner has been chosen. Congrats go to my fellow blogger Mogsy! mogsy