Book Recommendation: Throne of the Crescent Moon

In 2011, I probably read only about 5-10 books.  In 2012, I decided I needed to up that number, so I started listening to audiobooks in order to make better use of my exercise and driving time.  I probably read/listened to about 20-25 books last year, and this year I’m on track for over 50 books.  I figured it might be a good idea to start recommending the ones I’ve liked. I use affiliate links on my site, so I may earn some income if you end up buying something after following my links, but I promise I’ll only recommend things that I actually liked.

My first book this year was Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed.  I liked this book and its treatment of religion so much that I reviewed the book several months ago over at the blog of the Association for Mormon Letters, despite the fact that it does not mention Mormons, nor is it by a Mormon.  Saladin Ahmed draws on Muslim and Arabic themes in writing a very enjoyable epic fantasy novel.

Unfortunately, Audible’s affiliate program doesn’t seem to let me link directly to the book, but you can search for it below.

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If you prefer to read rather than listen, you can buy the book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Book Depository.

Salt Lake Comic Con 2013

This blog post is sponsored by Grammarly: I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because my brain is still tired after Salt Lake Comic Con.

The inaugural Salt Lake Comic Con was a blast. I had a lot of fun seeing old friends, meeting new people, looking at people’s costumes, browsing the booths, and participating on panels. I’ve heard the convention sold over 50,000 tickets — which ended up being a problem on Saturday, as the building reached capacity and some people were forced to wait outside until others left.  The good news for next year is that, according to a staff member I talked to, they plan to reserve the entire Salt Palace, which would double the available space.

A quick recap of the panels I was on:

Thursday:

  • Paradoxes: The Trouble with Time Travel – We talked about time travel in movies, TV, and written form.  I brought up the Novikov self-consistency principle, which is what would seem to prevent paradoxes even if time travel to the past is allowed by General Relativity.
  • Ender’s Game: 30 Years of the Book and Comics to the Big Screen – We talked about the book and the upcoming movie.  The Deseret News wrote an article about the panel, including a quote from yours truly.

Friday:

  • Internet & Social Media Tools for Writers & Artists – We talked about Twitter, Facebook, etc., and how to use them to promote yourself.  I felt like I didn’t have as much to contribute as the other panelists, so I was relatively quiet on this panel, but I still got a few good points in.
  • How to Win Writers & Illustrator’s of the Future Contests – We talked about the contest.  I encouraged all the aspiring writers to commit to entering a story every quarter until they either won or became disqualified by having published too many stories.
  • The Anatomy of Writing a Great Fight Scene/Action Sequence – We talked about ways to write action sequences.  After several panelists had explained their knowledge of various ways to fight, I said, “I know karate, jiu-jitsu, kung fu, and several other names of martial arts.”  That drew a big laugh from the audience.

Saturday:

  • From Ripley to Buffy to Katniss: A Look at the Strong Female Protagonist – We talked about strong female characters, why we love them, and why they still seem to be less common than they should be. I mentioned that while growing up, when I ran out of Hardy Boys to read, I read my sisters’ Nancy Drew novels, then said, “I couldn’t help noticing that one Nancy Drew was as smart as two Hardy Boys.” That line was a real crowd-pleaser.
  • How to Write Great Fantasy – We talked about the elements of good fantasy stories.
  • Genre Bending: When Should and Shouldn’t Rules be Broken – We discussed what genre means, some of the pitfalls of mixing genres, and some of the advantages.
  • Choose Your Own Apocalypse (Zombies vs. Robots vs. Aliens) – This panel was run like a game. One panelist was in charge of the robot apocalypse, one was in charge of the zombie apocalypse, and I was in charge of the alien apocalypse.  Along with audience participation, we tried to convince the audience that our apocalypse would be the worst. The discussion was hilarious, and I think a good time was had by all.

Overall, I had a great time and I look forward to participating again next year.

My panel schedule for Salt Lake Comic Con 2013

I’ll be a panelist at the first Salt Lake Comic Con, September 5-7 (Thursday-Saturday).  It’s kind of a thrill to be on a guest list that includes William Shatner, among many others.

My panels are:

Thursday:

  • Paradoxes: The Trouble with Time Travel – 3:00pm
    Daryn Tufts, James Wymore, Eric James Stone, Tom Durham, Peter J. Wacks
  • Ender’s Game: 30 Years of the Book and Comics to the Big Screen – 6:00pm
    Jake Black, David Farland, Brian Wiser, Eric James Stone, Aaron Johnston, Mettie Ivie Harrison

Friday:

  • Internet & Social Media Tools for Writers & Artists – 3:00pm
    Howard Tayler, Heather Ostler, Michaelbrent Collings, Eric James Stone, Warky T. Chocoba
  • How to Win Writers & Illustrator’s of the Future Contests – 5:00pm
    David Farland, Brad Torgerson, Eric James Stone, Brian Hailes
  • The Anatomy of Writing a Great Fight Scene/Action Sequence – 8:00pm
    John Steiner, Larry Correia, Eric James Stone, Brad Torgerson, Brandon Mull

Saturday:

  • From Ripley to Buffy to Katniss: A Look at the Strong Female Protagonist – 11:00am
    Dani Dixon, Eric James Stone, Peter J. Wacks, John Steiner, Lisa Mangum, Mette Ivie Harrison
  • How to Write Great Fantasy – 12:00pm
    Larry Correia, Eric James Stone, Brandon Mull, Rhiannon Paille, ML Forman
  • Genre Bending: When Should and Shouldn’t Rules be Broken – 1:00pm
    Bryan Young, Dan Willis, Eric James Stone, Larry Correia, Mettie Ivie Harrison
  • Choose Your Own Apocalypse (Zombies vs. Robots vs. Aliens) – 8:00pm
    James Wymore, Eric James Stone, Larry Correia, Carter Reid, John W. Morehead

“Cui Bono?” published in The Urban Green Man

The Urban Green Man: An Archetype of Renewal from Hades Publications.

Here’s how the story begins:

When people ask me what I do, I usually lie and say I’m an insurance salesman.  If that doesn’t send them scurrying for another subject, I have a whole spiel about how they could save money by switching.  I even have business cards.  In the rare case someone actually calls me, I quote an outrageous price and I never hear from them again.

If I’m more inclined to tell the truth, I say I’m a private investigator.  People tend to find that a lot more interesting than insurance salesman.  If they ask for details, I tell them it’s mostly insurance fraud and divorce cases, pretty routine stuff. What I don’t tell them is that it would be more accurate to replace the word private with paranormal, and that my cases generally involve supernatural beings.

It’s still mostly insurance fraud and divorce cases.  You wouldn’t believe how many business fires are started by strapped-for-cash owners summoning fire elementals, or the number of old geezers who are tricked into marrying succubi.  So when a man and woman walked through my door wanting to find a missing person, it was a welcome break in the monotony.

My story “Cui Bono?” is now available in the anthology If you want to read the rest, buy the book, which is currently 10% off at Amazon.com.  Here’s what else you’ll find in the anthology:

INTRODUCTION

The Spirit of the Wild Wood by Charles deLint

EARTH

Evergreen by Susan MacGregor
The Gift by Susan Forest
Sap and Blood by Martin Rose
The Green Square by dvsduncan
Awake by Peter Storey
Breath Stirs in the Husk by Eileen Wiedbrauk
Green Apples by Rhiannon Held

AIR

The Grey Man by Randy McCharles
Mr. Green by Gary Budgen
Whithergreen by Karlene Tura Clark
Cui Bono? by Eric James Stone
Fallow God by Maaja Wentz
Green Man She Restless by Billie Milholland

FIRE

Purple Vine Flowers by Sandra Wickham
Exile by Mark Russell Reed
Without Blemish by Celeste A. Peters
Waking the Holly Kin Eileen Donaldson
Deer Feet by Michael J. DeLuca
Buried in the Green by Heather M. O’Connor
The Forest Lord by Sarina Dorie

WATER

Greentropy by Calie Voorhis
Abandon All… by Goldeen Ogawa
Green Salvage by Miriah Hetherington
The Ring of Life by Nu Yang
Cottage on the Bluff Michael Healy
Johnny Serious Satyros Phil Brucato
Fun Sucker by Suzanne Church

WOOD

Greener Pastures by Micheal J. Martineck
Green Jack by Alyxandra Harvey
Green is Good by Karen Danylak
Neither Slumber Nor Sleep by Kim Goldberg

“By the Hands of Juan Perón” coming in DSF

My short story “By the Hands of Juan Perón” will be published by Daily Science Fiction on Friday, which in practice means it probably will be emailed to subscribers Thursday evening. If you don’t already subscribe, go sign up for free here.  Otherwise, you’ll need to wait a week before it shows up on the website.

To whet your appetite, here’s how the story starts:

In 1987 someone broke into the tomb of Argentine dictator Juan Perón and removed the hands from his corpse. An unknown group subsequently demanded eight million dollars in ransom for the hands. Despite an extensive investigation by the Argentine government, the culprits were never identified. As for Perón’s hands, they remain missing to this day–in this timeline.

Of all my stories, this is the one that most reflects my Argentine heritage.

P.S. It is not a coincidence that the story will be published on July 26, the 61st anniversary of the death of Eva Perón–in this timeline.

Help my nephew Griffin

Three-year-old Griffin, whom I acquired as a nephew on marrying his aunt Darci, fell into a campfire a couple of weeks ago and severely burned his right arm and hand. Darci put together the video below to help with a fundraiser for him.

If you can donate to help, Darci and I would appreciate it (as will his family.)

What Fates Impose Kickstarter

Earlier this year I wrote a story about an elephant that could paint the future. That story, “A Crash Course in Fate,” has been accepted into an anthology titled What Fates Impose.  As you can probably guess, the anthology is filled with stories about fate.  (My previously published story “A Great Destiny” has also been accepted as a reprint.)  However, the publisher is trying a “crowdfunding” business model with this anthology.  The anthology will be published (and the authors will get paid) only if the project’s Kickstarter reaches its goal of $5000. It’s already up to $1240 after only 5 days, with 27 days to go, but obviously every bit of support helps.  If you’re interested in reading my story (and others by authors such as Ken Scholes, Cat Rambo, Ferrett Steinmetz, Keffy R.M. Kehrli, and more), please consider pledging $10 to get the ebook or $20 to get the print book.  For the aspiring writers among you, there are rewards at higher levels that include manuscript critiques from award-winning authors.  Your pledge is only charged if the project as a whole manages to achieve its funding goal, so you don’t lose any money if the project falls short.)

Tweets for the week of 06-01-2013

My first mystery story publication

I’ve had many science fiction and fantasy stories published.  Some have had mystery elements to them.  But “Wouldn’t Be Much,” in the June issue of Crimson Fog magazine, is my first plain mystery story — no science fiction or fantasy involved.

But it does involve magic.

Crimson Fog uses a Flash-based reading application that makes it look like you’re reading in a paper magazine, so they can do some really interesting things with layout.  It also means I can embed the issue here, so you can read the story my clicking on the cover below. (If you’re reading on a device that doesn’t support Flash, like an iPhone or iPad, try this link.)

Tweets for the week of 05-25-2013