Saturday, January 29, 2011

Shadow's Lure Available for Pre-Order

Hey folks,

Just an FYI that Shadow's Lure, the second book in the Shadow Saga, is available for pre-order on Amazon. You might also be able to pre-order it from your local bookstore.

Thanks for your support.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Hour of the Wolf

FYI, I'll be appearing LIVE on the Hour of the Wolf radio show, hosted by Jim Freund, this week on Thursday, 1:30-3:00 AM. Yes, that is AM, folks. Which either makes it very late Wednesday, or very early Thursday.

Their website:

Sunday, January 23, 2011

UK Cover for Shadow's Lure

This is how the UK cover will look. Again, this is by the always excellent Chris McGrath, who seems like a very awesome dude.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Cover for Shadow's Lure

Here is the cover art for my next book, Shadow's Lure. I want to thank artist-supreme Michael Komarck for another outstanding cover. I've been told this is still a work in progress, which blows my mind because it's so terrific already.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

First Blog

Hey gang,

You can see my first blog on, called "Worldbuilding: The Art of Everything."

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Guest Blog: Susan Gourley

Thanks, Jon, for inviting me to your blog. Today I’d like to talk about naming characters and more specifically how I named the characters in my fantasy series, The Futhark Chronicles.

How do authors decide what to name their characters, their fantasy worlds and the objects in it? I personally seldom name a character after a real person especially if the real person is a family member. That’s a good way to get in big trouble.
I have to make up names or use names I recalled from somewhere in a foggy memory. But it’s not always random.

In my fantasy series, The Futhark Chronicles, I’ve heard comments about the word Futhark. I didn’t make it up.
Futhark is the more formal name given to what is commonly known at the Runic alphabet. Elder Futhark dates back to 300 B.C. and is still used today though often in a younger form. By using the word Futhark as the name of my word, I knew connections would be made on search engines. People looking up Futhark, interested in using runes, are also likely to be people who read fantasy novels. I hope.
In my book, Bayard, is the warhorse belonging to Cage Stone, the hero of The Futhark Chronicles. In legend, Bayard was the immortal horse in Charlemagne folklore. My Bayard isn’t immortal but he’s special.

Not all names I use are of mystical lore or legend. Cage Stone, the half-elf featured in my fantasy series, is a man trapped by destiny into his role. As the series progressed the chains on him draw tighter, making his name seem very appropriate. The Keepers of Sulbreth finds him coerced into helping the king fight demons. Cage learns more about his forced involvement in the war with the foul beasts in Beyond the Gate.

It’s also important to not make names too similar. A certain very long fantasy series has so many characters and many with similar names the reader almost needs a list to keep them straight. And make the names pronounceable. Lots of accents and odd spellings can distract a reader from enjoying the story.

Avoid names associated with completely sympathetic characters. Certain traits would be expected in a character named Hitler or Vader. A name like Belle would give rise to other expectations though some might call it overused. You can use small variations with names like I did with my main female character, Sabelline.
Are there names as a reader you think are overused? Have you ever been taken out of a story because of the distracting names?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Hot-Selling Indie Writers

Robin Sullivan posts an eye-opening guest blog on indie-writer J.A. Konrath's blog (here). She even mentions me!

Now, I've always believed that talent will eventually rise to the top in any field, especially when combined with hard work, so it's great to see writers finding new ways to reach readers. I'd really like to read more about how Ms. Sullivan has been so successful in promoting her husband's work. (This dog ain't too old to learn some new tricks.)

Great post, and a great blog in general.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Signed Copies Available

I've teamed up with the local Borders to make signed copies of my books available to people who live too far away to attend my signings. Just contact the store, and they'll send it to you. Normal mailing charges apply, of course.

5125 Jonestown Road
Harrisburg, PA 17112
(717) 541-9727

Special thanks to the staff and management of Borders for extending this courtesy.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

Hey folks,

I'm not very good with resolutions (We fear change!), but I'm going to 'try to try.'

1. More play, less TV. As Logan gets older, he's becoming more interested in tv shows. And it's soooo easy to just let him watch while I get stuff done. But this isn't a good trend, and I'm going to focus on more play time.

2. Write more. I'm increasing my weekly goal for new pages written. Hopefully this won't result in lesser quality. Hey, Stephen King writes on Christmas, so I can, too. (Note: I did write a little on Christmas this year. Yay?)

3. More conventions. Last year I attended just one fan convention. This year I've got four lined up already, with at least one more to add. The goal here is to get out of my cave and expose myself to more people.. er, expose them to my writing, that is. I'll post a list soon.

4. Make signed copies available to those who live far away. I feel horrible when I'm contacted by readers who would like a signed copy of my book, but they live in different states (or countries). I have a couple ideas how to accomplish this without breaking the bank. I'm going to work on it.

5. Enjoy more, stress less. There's a lot of uncertainty in a writer's life, especially when you're just getting into the business. But you can't let it affect your thinking. You just have to keep producing your best work and let the cards fall where they may.

That's it. I hope everyone has a wonderful 2011. Stay safe.