Tuesday, July 30, 2013


I've spent part of this evening working on the new site.  All four of the new blogs have been created, and I've written the introductory post for three of them.  I don't have any graphics in place yet. Since each blog will have a different focus, I want each one to have it's own logo.  That will take a little time to set up.   Hopefully within a couple of weeks.

On a unrelated topic (not really since time spent on one is time not spent on the other), I've almost finished the last of the novelettes that received Hugo nominations.  I should manage that before I collapse and go to bed.  I won't be able to read the novellas before the deadline to vote.  That's tomorrow, so I probably won't vote in that category.  I'll post some thoughts on the nominees when I get a chance in the next day or so.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Jury Duty

I've got jury duty in the morning.  If I get selected, I may be out of pocket for a while.  I got the new webpage started, but it's very much in a state of construction.  I'm hoping to make some progress in the evenings this week.  The weekend taken up with yard work.  The joys of home ownership.

That's things with me.  What's up with you?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Quick Update

I met with a friend who is a web designer on Monday and will meet with him again tomorrow morning.  Monday's meeting was to discuss the situation with Google and what I'm wanting to do plus lay out a basic plan.  The rest of the time we were playing catch up since we hadn't seen each other in a few months.  Tomorrow we'll get the basics of the new web site set up.  At this point I think I'm going to run with four blogs as part of the new site.  One will continue the fantasy and heroic adventure along with a good deal of pulp and one will focus on science fiction.  I'll have a new one that will be noir and detective fiction, since it really doesn't fit on either of the two current blogs.  I'll also run a fourth that will be Texas and Southwest history.  I had a column at Jason Waltz's Home of Heroics that ran under the title Dispatches From the Lone Star Front.  I've done one or two since that venue folded, but they really don't fit here all that well.  I suspect a blog with a pure historical focus would be successful once it found its audience.  I suspect the overlap of that audience with the audience of Adventures Fantastic would be rather small.  If nothing else, I could reach a new group of readers.

What the new site won't have for a couple of weeks, at least, is a store for original fiction.  I want to get a new computer before I start to produce files that can be read on an ereader.  The machine I'm writing this on  is over a decade old.  My son will start middle school in the fall, and my wife is pushing for a new computer he can use.  It might be a few weeks before that purchase is made.  I want to research what would be the best machine for our needs, and I don't want to rush.  I've got a jury summons for Monday, so if I get selected that will slow everything down.

I'm in the middle of reading all the short fiction nominees for the Hugos.  There's a week left to vote, so I probably won't read all the novels by the deadline, not that I would try anyway.  I've got some other novels I'm needing to get to soon.  I'll post my thoughts on those as I get them done.  I've finished the short stories, so that post will go up by Saturday at the latest.  Then the novellettes.  The novellas are a bit longer, but I think I can get them done.  We'll see.

So that's how things stand at the moment.  I'll let you know when the new site goes live.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Look at Weird Tales #361

Weird Tales #361
PDF $2.99

Before we get started, I'd like to thank Doug Draa for the review copy.  Doug, who blogs at Uncle Doug's Bunker of Vintage Horror Paperbacks, is a new contributing editor at Weird Tales, and we wish him a successful run in that capacity. 

Weird Tales has adopted the policy of giving each issue a theme.  The previous issue was Cthulhu Returns, and according to the ad in the present issue, the next issue's theme is the Undead.  There are rumors of a sword and sorcery issue in the works as well.  In addition to having stories around a specific theme, each issue will also have unthemed stories.  As you can see from the cover, the present issue has the theme of Fairy Tales.

Fairy Tales as a theme is pretty broad.  That can encompass retellings or deconstructions of established fairy tales, new stories which read like fairy tales in they way they are structured and/or the themes they address, and stories in which (often contemporary) characters interact with the realm of fairy.  All of those and more are included here.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Sale on Hard Case Crime Titles at Amazon

I don't know how much longer this is going to last.  Maybe another day, maybe a few more minutes.  Amazon has 48 Hard Case Crime titles in Kindle editions on sale for $1.99.  This isn't the entire catalog, but it's an impressive portion of it.  Grab one you missed while you can.  As you may know, I'm a big fan of this publisher, so I thought I'd give you a heads-up that they were available (which isn't the same as spam; Google are you listening).  An example of what you get is to the right.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Changes Coming to the Blog

Traffic the last few days has been up quite a bit, so when traffic today was down, I wasn't too worried.  I've noticed that trend before, a drop in hits on the day following higher than usual traffic, even thought the traffic drop today is greater than usual.

Then I noticed something in my inbox.  It was from Google.  It had come in overnight, and at first glance I thought it was spam that had slipped through the filter.  Instead it was accusing this blog of being spam.  The second line read, in part, "As a result of your site having pure spam, Google has applied a manual spam action..."

Excuse me!?!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Butcher of Khardov

The Butcher of Khardov
Dan Wells
Privateer Press/Skull Island eXpeditions
ebook (mobi, epub, pdf) $4.99

I wrote a few weeks ago in my review of In Thunder Forged that the Iron Kingdoms (TM) is a place I was looking forward to visiting again.  Simon Berman was kind enough to send me a review copy of the latest novella in Privateer Press' Skull Island eXpeditions line.  (Thank you very much, Simon.)  The Warcaster Chronicles consists of two novellas so far, but if the quality of this one is consistent with the rest of the line, there will be more once word gets out about them.

Personally, I prefer the novella length because it allows an author to develop character and world while still maintaining a good pace.  There's no time to get bogged down in unnecessary details in a novella.  Plus, I can read one in one or two sittings without investing a major portion of my life.

The Butcher of Khardov is Orsus Zhoktavir.  He's seven and a half feet tall and more than a match for any man.  He watched his parents butchered by raiders when he was ten.  He's working as a lumberjack and engaged to a girl named Lola.  But you know what they say about the best laid plans...

Friday, July 12, 2013

Happy Birthday, Charles R. Saunders

Charles R. Saunders was born today, July 12 in 1946.  Saunders is the author of the Imaro series, the Dossouye series, and various works of nonfiction.  Saunders is the foremost practitioner of what is known as the Sword and Soul subgenre of Sword and Sorcery, in which the settings and characters are based on African history and mythology rather than European.  I am ashamed to admit that I've not read either the Imaro or the Dossouye series, although I'm familiar with the basic premise of each.  I've got the first two Imaro books on the shelf and plan to get to them by the end of the year.

Happy birthday, Mr. Saunders, and many happy returns.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Weird Tales Update: Issue # 361 ToC Posted

I don't normally do two posts in one day, but I just learned that Weird Tales has posted the table of contents for the next (as yet unpublished) issue, # 361.  The cover has also been posted, as seen at left.

Authors include Peter S. Beagle, Jane Yolen, and Tanith Lee along with a number of lesser known names.  The theme is fairy tales, and the three headliners are among the top authors in this subgenre.  If the other stories are of comparable quality, it will probably be a great issue.  Even if the other stories don't come close to Beagle, Yolen, and Lee, it could still be a better-than-most-stuff-out-there issue.  Those three are some of the best writers working today, and it's really not fair to newer writers to compare them to B, Y, & L.

There's no release date yet, only that individual copies will be available soon.  I truly hope so, but given some of the recent developments at the magazine, I'm not going to hold my breath. I'll refrain from further comment at this time since I said my piece in the previous post on WT.  Look for a review when I get a copy of the issue.

Some Thoughts on the Random Penguin Merger

Although he may not have a household name, Tom Dupree is a publishing insider with a lot of experience.  He doesn't blog often, but when he does, what he has to say is usually worth paying attention to.  He posted today about the merger of Penguin and Random House into Penguin Random House, (AKA Random Penguin on this blog).

I think he's spot on in what he has to say.  Go read his post if you haven't yet.  I'll still be here when you get back, with some thoughts of my own.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

David Gemmell Awards Are Back

It dawned on me earlier today that I forgot to mention that the David Gemmell Awards have revamped their website and are now back for another year.  I mentioned them in passing in the previous post, but I forgot make them the subject of a post, something I had intended to do.  Anyway, it may be somewhat misleading to say the Gemmell Awards are back, since they never really went away.  They are merely delayed in order to coincide with this year's World Fantasy Convention, which will be held in Brighton.

The lists of nominees in the various categories are up on the new website, which looks quite impressive and is more visually appealing than the old one.  This is becoming the only award in I care about, at least in the sff field.  But that's a topic for another post.  Check out the nominees, join the site if you  haven't, and make sure you vote.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Rest of the Summer

Just a quick note to let you know what I've got on my plate leading up to Worldcon. 

Speaking of Worldcon, I'm going to read at least some of the short fiction nominees, as many as time will allow, and give my thoughts.  I don't think I'm going to try to read all the novels.  The publisher of two of them put a security code of the ebooks that went out in the Hugo voters' packet.  I don't appreciate what that implies.  I'm not going to upload the books to a file sharing site.  I'm not a crook, nor do I care to be treated as though I were.  Therefore, I won't be reading (or voting for) Blackout by Mira Grant or 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson.  I do have some comments to make about this year's nominees in general.

The Gemmell Awards are a bit later than usual this year to coincide with the World Fantasy Convention.  My review copy of Winter Be My Shield by Jo Spurrier arrived the other day.  It's on the long ballot for the Morningstar Award.  I'm looking forward to reading it.  I'll post the review on the Gemmell Awards site and a notice here when it goes live.  After the awards are given out, I'll post the review here.

I've got a number of titles from Pyr.  The ones I intend to review in July are The Doctor and the Kid by Mike Resnick, Kindred and Wings by Phillipa Ballentine, and Wrath-Bearing Tree by James Enge.  Then there's The Scroll of Years by Chris Willrich and The Doctor and the Rough Rider by Mike Resnick.  Those I probably won't get to until August.

I've had a copy of the conclusion of Joshua P. Simon's Blood and Tears Trilogy, Trial and Glory on my ereader for far too long.  It's going to be reviewed within the next four to six weeks. 

I don't know what order I'm going to read them.  It will depend on my mood and what I feel like reading.  I'm also going to throw in a bit of shorter works, both here and over at Futures Past and Present.  There are also a couple of other novels I'd like to read by the end of the summer.  And somewhere in there, I'll be reading things for my column at Amazing Stories (TM). 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

John D. MacDonald's One Fearful Yellow Eye

One Fearful Yellow Eye
John D. MacDonald
trade paper $16.00
Kindle Nook $11.99

It's been a few years since I read any MacDonald, and a few years more since I read one of the Travis McGee novels.  I'd been reading them in order, and this one was the next in sequence.  It was also the only one I was missing.

I'd had an urge to read MacDonald for a while, sort of a mental itch that wouldn't go away, and so I decided to pick up this series where I'd left off.  A quick online check found a good copy in the editions I was collecting for a few bucks plus shipping, so I placed my order.

Much of this one takes place in Chicago in the winter, not your typical setting for a McGee novel.  Travis gets a call from an old girlfriend.  Her rich older husband has died of cancer.  This was expected.  His fortune, which he had said he would divide between her and his two grown children, has vanished.  Over a period of several months before his death, he quietly liquidated most of it.  This was not expected.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Further Thoughts on Marvin Kaye and Weird Tales, Plus Some Suggestions

Last fall I wrote a detailed review about the first issue of the latest version of Weird Tales.  One of the commenters, Chap O'Keefe, said he had sold a pair of stories that were scheduled to come out in subsequent issues.

Since then, there's been little news about when those issues would appear.  At least until last Monday (June 24).  Mr. O'Keefe updated the status of his submissions in a follow-up comment.  I'm reproducing it in its entirety: