Monday, August 20, 2018

The International 8

We all have different corners of geekdom that we call our own. That concept in and of itself is a post for another time, but one of my personal favorite corners is DOTA 2, which I've mentioned recently in conjunction with my current research subject, artificial intelligence.

Well, this week it's time for The International, one of the largest and most prestigious esports tournaments in existence--and easily the one with the largest prize pool (almost $25 million this year).

I fully recognize most people don't even know what I'm talking about here, let alone care about it, but, well, The International is a really cool thing. I'm currently still racing to finish book 4, so I won't be able to watch nearly as much of the tournament live as I would like, but I'll certainly still tune in to  catch some of the games when I can (especially those involving EG and Liquid), and be following recaps and summaries on the DOTA 2 subreddit.

The video below relays some of the intensity, drama, and general awesomeness of The International. It's cool, ya'll. Way better than the League of Legends World Championship (boooooooo). Way better than Overwatch League or the Heroes of the Storm Global Championship (meh). It even blows the Starcraft 2 World Championship Series out of the water (and don't even get me started on things like CoD or Fortnight. Zzzzzz.) Them's fightin' words, I know. But, well, fight me on it, ya'll, I dare you.

So, if you're interested, check out the video below!

I'm freaking PUMPED.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

New Audiomachine Album: ASCENDANCE


It's no secret that I'm a big Audiomachine fan, so whenever they come out with a new album, I'm all over it. Well, their newest collection, Ascendance, just became available on Apple Music, and I'm loving it. I'll have to give it a few weeks to be sure, but I think it's one of my top three or four albums they've released.

Some context: Audiomachine creates my favorite writing music. They make epic music (mostly for movie trailers), and it fits perfectly with an epic fantasy writer who loves to write with music in the background (me).

So, if you're a writer--especially a fantasy writer--and you like writing music, you should definitely check them out!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Worldcon 2018


I'll be at Worldcon 76 in San Jose this weekend! This will be my seventh Worldcon (after Renovation, Chicon, LoneStarCon 3, Sasquan, MidAmeriCon II, and Worldcon 75 in Helsinki, Finland), so I know my way around the block at this point. It's a convention I always enjoy, and I'm looking forward to another year.

I'm not on any official programming this time around, but you'll see me hanging about--likely doing a lot of writing, as I'm racing to finish Book 4 at the moment. Look for me in hotel lobbies, hitting up a few panels, and generally barconning it up.

So, if you see me, whether I'm melding with my laptop or chatting with a group, take a moment to say hello!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Dota 2 and OpenAI



I'm a big DOTA 2 fan. I've been aware of it since it's conception as a Warcraft III mod. I was aware of the WC3 custom game arena back in the day, but spent most of my time playing both the campaigns and online matches of WC3. (And time well spent, imo--WC3 is still one of my all-time favorite video games.)

My younger brothers, though, played DOTA (the Defense of the Ancients custom game created from the WC3 editor) a lot. I looked over their shoulders on occasion and while it looked interesting, there was something about the game that just didn't draw me in.

Flash forward to about ten years later--about 2012--where my siblings and I are playing Starcraft 2 on a pretty regular basis. Most of that involved 4v4 matches, but on occasion my sister's husband wanted to join us, and that meant we had to find a 5-player game. We turned to some SC2 custom games, which included Aeon of Storms, as it was called at the time (another MOBA). We played this for a while, and then found out DOTA 2 was going to be released soon for free on Steam, and, well, the rest is history.

I play the occasional action, role-playing, or survival horror game on PS4, but DOTA 2 has been my go-to game for the past few years, now. It's fun, it's incredibly complicated, and it's very competitive. (It also notoriously has one of the worst-mannered gaming communities in existence, but you win some you lose some, ya know?)

So, DOTA 2 is cool. If you're curious, Juggernaut is one of my all-time favorite heroes, but lately I've also been playing a lot of Pudge.

This screenshot is from a year ago or so.

This one is pretty recent.

Anyway, with all that being said, there are some interesting developments involving DOTA 2 and one of my other current interests, AI.

An interesting exhibition match happened last year at The International 7 last year (the most prestigious DOTA 2 tournament, held every year, which consistently has the highest prize-pools in e-sports history). Dendi, one of the best and most famous DOTA 2 players in the short history of the game, faced off in a one-on-one scenario (DOTA 2 is usually 5v5) against a special opponent: an OpenAI bot--or, in other words, an artificial intelligence developed by the OpenAI research company, funded in large part by Elon Musk.



In short, the bot dominated.

OpenAI has continued working hard on their DOTA 2 program because they feel that the DOTA 2 video game presents a particular challenge for an AI. It is one of the most complicated and nuanced video games in existence. But don't take my word for it, take OpenAI's (from their recent blog post):

Dota 2 is a real-time strategy game played between two teams of five players, with each player controlling a character called a “hero”. A Dota-playing AI must master the following:
  • Long time horizons. Dota games run at 30 frames per second for an average of 45 minutes, resulting in 80,000 ticks per game. Most actions (like ordering a hero to move to a location) have minor impact individually, but some individual actions like town portal usage can affect the game strategically; some strategies can play out over an entire game. OpenAI Five observes every fourth frame, yielding 20,000 moves. Chess usually ends before 40 moves, Go before 150 moves, with almost every move being strategic.
  • Partially-observed state. Units and buildings can only see the area around them. The rest of the map is covered in a fog hiding enemies and their strategies. Strong play requires making inferences based on incomplete data, as well as modeling what one’s opponent might be up to. Both chess and Go are full-information games.
  • High-dimensional, continuous action space. In Dota, each hero can take dozens of actions, and many actions target either another unit or a position on the ground. We discretize the space into 170,000 possible actions per hero (not all valid each tick, such as using a spell on cooldown); not counting the continuous parts, there are an average of ~1,000 valid actions each tick. The average number of actions in chess is 35; in Go, 250.
  • High-dimensional, continuous observation space. Dota is played on a large continuous map containing ten heroes, dozens of buildings, dozens of NPC units, and a long tail of game features such as runes, trees, and wards. Our model observes the state of a Dota game via Valve’s Bot API as 20,000 (mostly floating-point) numbers representing all information a human is allowed to access. A chess board is naturally represented as about 70 enumeration values (a 8x8 board of 6 piece types and minor historical info); a Go board as about 400 enumeration values (a 19x19 board of 2 piece types plus Ko).
So, this time around, OpenAI's goal is to have a team of five AI bots go up against five professionals at The International 8, happening in just a few weeks. The OpenAI system has already defeated a team of five former professional players, so things are looking pretty scary for The International this year.

It's all pretty exciting.

At least it is for me :-). I recognize these are two very niche subjects that, when combined, form even more of a niche subject, and I'm okay with that. But, hey, I find it fascinating.

I have a lot of other thoughts about the machine learning processes OpenAI has experimented with to get to the point they are at today in DOTA 2. I have even more thoughts about the implications of such things--that is, after all, in large part what my next project is about!

But, for now, it's fun to sit back, watch, and learn.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Current Research: Artificial Super Intelligence

While I'm hard at work finishing the Chaos Queen Quintet, I've also been making time to research my next (post Chaos Queen) project. For the most part, that means researching artificial intelligence, artificial super intelligence, nanotechnology, and so forth. Here's what I've read so far:


And here's what's coming up (as soon as I finish book 4):


Cool stuff! I'll probably go into more detail about this in the future, but I just wanted to share it for now. It's making me very excited about my next project...about which, for now, I will say nothing :-).

Friday, July 27, 2018

Gen Con 2018!

I'm returning to Gen Con this year! I had a great time last year, and I'm very much looking forward to my second appearance at the Con. I'll be participating on a number of panels and other programming items as part of Gen Con's writer's symposium, so if you're attending, find me and say hello!

Thu 2 Aug

12:00 PM (Boston): Artificial Intelligence and Speculative Fiction
I'm particularly excited about this one. I've been researching artificial super intelligence quite a bit lately, and I think this could be a very fun discussion.

3:00 PM (Ballrooms 3-4): Religion in SF/F
Some of my bread and butter, you could say. Religion plays a very significant role in the Chaos Queen books, so no surprise here.

4:00 PM (Ballroom 1): Finding Inspiration
Not sure of any details but I think it'll make for an interesting, and hopefully helpful, panel.

Fri 3 Aug

1:00 PM (Signing Table in Dealer's Room): Signing!
I'll be signing books! I'll also have a few for sale in the dealer's room.

Sat 4 Aug

2:00 PM (Atlanta): Vampires: Undead, or Just Dead?
Vampires! Because Astrid! And BtVS!

Sun 5 Aug

9:00 AM (Boston): Read and Critique 3
I think you have to sign up for this in advance, so if it interests you, look into it!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Thoughts on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Reboot


I'm late to the party on this (I've been summer vacationing for most of the past two weeks--playing with bears in Alaska and then at the beach in SoCal), but news broke a few days ago that Joss Whedon is exec producing a reboot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with Monica Owusu-Breen as showrunner. The series is still in very early stages of development--no script, no casting announcements--but some of the more interesting details include the producers' intention to cast an African American woman as Buffy, and their hope to keep the metaphorical aspect of the show intact.

Hmmmm. Interesting.

I have...so many feelings about this. Like, very conflicted, convoluted feelings. Allow me to break those feelings down into something reasonably coherent, if you will, in an old-fashioned pro/con list.

PROS

  • More Buffy! BtVS is, of course, my favorite show of all time. While I'm hardcore side-eying the reboot concept, even the slightest chance that I could get more of what made the original series so great is, in a word, sublime.
  • A black Buffy. I'm all for this! The original serious had a very white-washed cast, and it would be awesome to see it take a more diverse direction.
  • Hitting metaphor hard. "High School is hell" is one of the concepts that made the show take off to begin with, and some of the best episodes succeed largely through their use of metaphor. Given our current socio-political climate, there are more issues and concepts than ever to tackle, either through a monster-of-the-week or with much grander plot strokes. I would love to see this done well in a contemporary supernatural television program.
  • Joss Whedon's involvement. This is a tough one because my feelings about Joss Whedon have largely changed over the past year (look at what they once were, and while I've yet to publish anything specific on how I've been feeling about Whedon lately, it's safe to say I'm disillusioned at best), but a reboot of BtVS without his name attached in some capacity just...wouldn't seem right?
  • Monica Owusu-Breen. She's tentatively in the pro column--in looking at her IMDB writing credits page I see she's worked on some interesting shows, but none of her individual episodes stand out to me. This isn't a dealbreaker--hence her place in the pro column--but it mainly means I'm just very curious to see how she handles the show. I think she could add fresh, interesting, potentially delicious blood (see what I did there) to a reboot of the series.

CONS
  • ...more Buffy? (Seriously, ya'll, I'm conflicted.) The original television series (not the film, for the record) stands as one of the best television shows of all time, even now, twenty years later. Why change what is so incredible? Can you even change it without inevitably making the new product worse? I'm not sure you can. Joss said it himself:“I see a little bit of what I call monkey’s paw in these reboots. You bring something back, and even if it’s exactly as good as it was, the experience can’t be. You’ve already experienced it, and part of what was great was going through it for the first time.” And yet, here we are, I guess. Shrug.
  • A reboot? Really? I'd be much more interested in a continuation--in which we follow a new slayer, oh, say, 20 years after the original series--of the story. New characters, new villains, new apocalypses. Sarah Michelle Gellar could even make a few (ideally rare) cameo appearances as an older, wiser, perhaps more jaded and/or grizzled (or, perhaps, retired and very happy? I don't know!) Buffy--and Alyson Hannigan could totally show up as a bad-ass witchy woman in her prime! That would be amazing. An adaptation of something else in-world would also work--Frey being a prime target (And Hannigan could still cameo! It would be so cool!). That would also be amazing. When you could do something like that, why reboot the already incredible, much lauded original series? (For the record, I know why, and it's money. But still.)
  • How they're using the African American casting as a marketing ploy. Or at least it feels that way. As I mentioned above, I think a black Buffy would be very cool. I also think it's weird of the producers to offer that as one of the only bits of information they give us when they've only just barely announced the reboot in the first place. It sort of feels like they're really nervous about the response to the show (a reboot of an original that was notoriously popular, albeit with very mixed opinions, among minorities), and are trying to placate the potential audience with such an announcement. In short, I don't like how they're going about it. It feels condescending and poorly planned. That said, I still think it'd be a potentially awesome casting choice. We will see.
  • Ugh. Joss Whedon. (Did I mention my feelings are conflicted and convoluted here?) This is tough because despite Joss Whedon's objective strengths as a writer and creator, he's kind of been an asshole to women (allegedly)--particularly his ex-wife--in spite of his feminist proclivities. There was once a day where I would have consumed anything Joss Whedon remotely had a hand in creating, but that day has long past. Instead, I basically ask myself "could I like this in spite of Joss Whedon's involvement?" So...yeah.
  • But...Joss Whedon isn't showrunning. (I'M ALL OVER THE PLACE ABOUT THIS, OKAY?) The way Joss Whedon ran the original BtVS TV series revolutionized the way stories were told on the small screen. If he's only involved as EP, well...look at it this way: the 1992 Buffy the Vampire Slayer film is notoriously bad, precisely because the people involved didn't know how to handle the character and the premise. They twisted Whedon's original vision into a joke instead of playing it straight. There's a risk of that sort of thing occurring here, even with Owusu-Breen involved.
  • Things Are Different Now. BtVS came about in a particular climate, with a particular message. Many particular messages, in fact, that were particular to the sociopolitical climate of the time--providing a strong, heroic, dynamic, profound, and multi-faceted central female character perhaps foremost among them. This was a revelation. The reboot, however, could not replicate this. It's attempting to following in the footsteps trailblazed--and subsequently etched, carved, and gilded--by it's own direct predecessor. The original series was both a product of and a reaction to its time, and while the reboot has some interesting ground to potentially cover (as I mentioned above about "metaphor"), the cultural moment simply doesn't exist. (Which is not to say that the reboot couldn't create a new cultural moment, but lightning doesn't strike twice, as they say--it could, technically, but I wouldn't hold my breath.)
So. I'm sure I'll have more thoughts about this as the project develops, but I don't know, ya'll. Right now I'm worried. I'm very tentatively, very small-ly excited about the prospect, but mostly I'm worried. And I'm not alone. With response articles like "Is the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Reboot Doomed to Fail?" and "Talent of Color Do Not Need White TV Show and Film Hand-Me-Downs," and Twitter in an outrage about it all, I'm clearly not alone.

I do have hope, don't get me wrong. But hope and fear go hand-in-hand.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

r/fantasy Writer of the Day!

Hey alls!

I'm Fantasy Writer of the Day over at r/fantasy (the reddit subgroup), so that's neat. If you're curious about me, the Chaos Queen books, writing in general, or Buffy the Vampire Slayer, you should definitely head on over and chat/ask me questions/whatever!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Bears!

So last week my family and I went on adventure.

We took an airplane to the tiny town of King Salmon, AK, and from there a float plane to Katmai National Park.

While there, we camped in an electric fence enclosed compound, for reasons you'll understand later.

We hiked into the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, where the largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century occurred.

My daughter was a straight up adventurer. She's also freaking adorable.

Like I said. Adorable.

Also, we saw bears. Because that's what you do at Katmai.

Lots of bears.

Lots and lots of bears.

We were very close to these bears.

Fortunately, they were distracted by other food. Also, there were pretty strict rules in place around the camp that helped. Bears have the right of way throughout the entire place, which means they're often wandering through the middle of camp (only the campground itself has the electric fence). It was crazy.

This cub was not happy with his sibling.

B was often oblivious to the bears.

But on occasion she thought they were pretty cool. DID I MENTION ADORABLE THO??

Seriously though. BEARS.
Anyway, it was quite the adventure. If you want to get a taste of what we saw, check out this bear cam, set up in one of the major viewing areas at Brooks Camp (where we stayed) in Katmai.

Nice to have some time away. Now, back to book four! 🐻 💪🙌⚔️

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Brandon Sanderson Reviews DARK IMMOLATION

In case you missed it, Brandon Sanderson recently reviewed Dark Immolation on Goodreads!

So, yeah, that's a thing.

For those who aren't aware, Brandon has been a mentor of mine for some years now. I took the class he offers at BYU (and which you can now see online, check it out if you're remotely interested in writing!), twice officially, and twice unofficially (audited). He taught me just about everything I needed to know to get an agent and eventually land a publishing deal, and his feedback on my work the first time I took his class (when I was writing the very first, very different version of Duskfall) was encouraging enough to motivate me to actually pursue a career in this crazy business.

So, anyway, it's cool that he's been able to read my books and has nice things to say.

Just a few highlights:

"...A series full of strong ideas, intriguing questions about morality, and solid writing--books I think will appeal to anyone who enjoys my epic fantasy."

"I think an aspiring writer can study these books as an excellent example of blending the familiar with the strange in a way that's different form my personal approach. Though magic plays into the books, it often takes a back seat to interpersonal relationships."

"...A thoughtful epic fantasy series that explores religion in an interesting way, and which has an impressive depth of characterization."

🙌👍👌💯💪🎉 ⚔️🛡🖋📚🖤

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Hannah Gadsby: Nanette


After seeing several people on social media recommend it, last night Rachel and I watched Nanette, the stand-up piece by Hannah Gadsby on Netflix.

...honestly, I'm not sure what I could possibly say about it other than: go watch it, please. Through 'til the end. It is absolutely worth your time. It is truth.

I think, and hope, it has changed the way I view, and tell, stories.

-

* Addition on 19 July 2018 *

I've still been thinking about Nanette. Found some interesting reactions to it, which I'll place here, mostly for my benefit.

John Scalzi's reaction

Various Twitter reactions (via Buzzfeed)

Monday, July 02, 2018

The Five Building Blocks of Storytelling

At Salt Lake Comic Con last fall, a fellow was interviewing authors and pulled me aside. What follows is the result of THAT FATEFUL ENCOUNTER, and I completely forgot about it until I saw a link to it the other day.

Friday, June 29, 2018

A Tour Completed

The Witchy Winter/Blood Requiem Tour has come to an end!

When all was said and done, over nine days we did eight full events at independent bookstores and signed books at thirty-nine Barnes & Nobles throughout the west! Our days basically consisted of waking up, driving, stopping at every Barnes & Noble we could find along the way, driving some more, doing an event, sleeping, and then starting all over. (The one exception was Sunday, which we took as a writing day.)

Dave Butler, in addition to being a brilliant writer, is also a great traveling companion, and we had many an enlightening, productive, ridiculous, and hilarious conversation along the way.

It was awesome. Also, exhausting. But mostly awesome.

Here are the tweets about (most of, but not all!) the bookstores and events we hit up along the way. I'm not saying they're exciting (they get repetitive), but if you want to know about signed Chaos Queen/Witchy War books near you, you might find some here!

(Also, for any folks in the Las Vegas and St. George areas, we're planing a brief epilogue to our tour where we'll do some events in both of those locations, likely in mid September. Keep your eyes open for more info about that!)




































Thursday, June 28, 2018

Reading/Signing in Anchorage, Alaska!

Hey folks!

If you're in the Anchorage, Alaska area, I'll be doing an event at the Anchorage Barnes & Noble on 14 July, 6-8 PM! I'll do a reading, answer some questions, and of course sign books. It'll be fun.

HERE'S THE LINK TO THE FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE!

Also, turns out Duskfall is a staff pick at this particular B&N, so that's neat!

(I grew up in the Anchorage area, so none of this is particularly surprising, but all very cool nonetheless!)

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

BLOOD REQUIEM Audiobook on sale now!



It took a bit longer than anticipated, but the audio for Blood Requiem is finally available from Recorded Books! I haven't had the chance to listen to it yet, but if it's anything like the first two, Adam Verner has nailed it. Check it out on Amazon or on Audible!

Monday, June 11, 2018

The WITCHY WINTER/BLOOD REQUIEM Book Tour!

Hey ya'll!

In a follow up to the Witchy Eye/Dark Immolation book tour last year, the follow-up Witchy Winter/Blood Requiem book tour is officially happening, starting this Friday!



The brilliant Dave Butler and I will once again be touring with our newest books, Witchy Winter and Blood Requiemrespectively. You've heard enough about Blood Requiem around here recently, but if you haven't heard of Witchy Winter (sequel to the groundbreaking Witchy Eye), I highly recommend it! Check out the blurb:

Sarah Calhoun paid a hard price for her entry onto the stage of the Empire’s politics, but she survived. Now she rides north into the Ohio and her father’s kingdom, Cahokia. To win the Serpent Throne, she’ll have to defeat seven other candidates, win over the kingdom’s regent, and learn the will of a hidden goddess—while mastering her people’s inscrutable ways and watching her own back.

In New Orleans, a new and unorthodox priest arises to plague the chevalier and embody the curse of the murdered Bishop Ukwu. He battles the chevalier’s ordinary forces as well as a troop of Old World mamelukes for control of the city and the mouth of the great Mississippi River. Dodging between these rival titans, a crew of Catalan pirates—whose captain was once a close associate of Mad Hannah Penn—grapples with the chevalier over the fate of one of their mates.

Meanwhile, a failed ceremony and a sick infant send the Anishinaabe hunter Ma’iingan on a journey across the Empire to Cavalier Johnsland, to a troubled foster child named Nathaniel. Ma’iingan is promised that Nathaniel is a mighty healer and can save his imperiled baby, but first Nathaniel—a pale young man with a twisted ear who hears the voices of unseen beings—must himself be rescued, from oppression, imprisonment, and madness.
Dave and I will be traipsing around the western United States promoting our books in any way possible. You'll see each of our official stops below, but we'll also hit up just about every other bookstore we can on our way around, signing their stock and meeting folks.

It's gonna be great. If you're in any of the following areas, come see us!

Friday 15 June 7:00 PM (MST) - The Rediscovered Bookshop
Boise, ID

Saturday 16 June 2:00 PM (PDT) - The University Bookstore
Seattle, WA

Monday 18 June 7:00 PM (PDT) - Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing
Portland, OR

Tuesday 19 June 3:00 PM (PDT) - Reader's Guide
Salem, OR

Tuesday 19 June 7:00 PM (PDT) - The Book Bin
Salem, OR

Wednesday 20 June 6:00 PM (PDT) - Borderlands
San Francisco, CA

Thursday 21 June 7:30 PM (PDT) - Mysterious Galaxy Books
San Diego, CA

Friday 22 June 8:00 PM (PDT) - Flintridge Bookstore and Coffeehouse
Flintridge, CA

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

BLOOD REQUIEM available TODAY!



My third book comes out today!

It's available in print and in ebook, and the audio version should be up soon as well.

In case you're new around here, Blood Requiem is the third book in the Chaos Queen Quintet, a dark epic fantasy series I'm writing. If you like Mistborn, The Wheel of Time, or A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones), these books are right up your alley. The series will consist of five books total, and I'm already halfway through book 4 (due out in 2019, and book 5 in 2020).

Writing these books is an amazing, humbling process and one of the coolest things I've ever done. I have an awesome agent, a great publisher, and a fantastic support group of family, friends, fellow authors, and fans.

Thank you all so much for reading! I hope you like this installment as much as I do. :-D

Here's the blurb:

The Nine Daemons are on the rise.
Once believed dead and gone, Daemons have found a way back into the world. But he only people who can withstand their assault are spread across the face of the Sfaera.
Free at last from the influence of assassins and emperors alike, the psimancer Winter sails back to her hometown--only to find a new trouble stirring. Meanwhile, the heretic sisters Jane and Cinzia Oden are beset by supernatural attacks. And soon their allies, the vampire-girl Astrid and the former assassin Knot, must face the terrifying Black Matron.
As new battles are fought, the Daemons creep ever closer to freedom, and the legend of the Chaos Queen may soon be made anew. 

Monday, June 04, 2018

FEUER STUNDE: Book 2 is out in Germany!


I missed posting about this on Friday, but book 2 of the Chaos Queen Quintet (Die Chroniken der Sphaera) came out in Germany on 1 June!

Knaur has done a wonderful job with the production of the books over there--the covers are awesome, and the maps are gorgeous.

If you're in Germany or speak German, pick up a copy!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

BLOOD REQUIEM at Phoenix Comic Con!



Cool news--I'll be selling EXCLUSIVE copies of Blood Requiem at Phoenix Comic Con this weekend through Bard's Tower! Blood Requiem doesn't officially come out until June 5th, but I've gotten special permission to sell some advance copies of the book for Phoenix Comic Con. I'll have limited copies. So, if you're in Phoenix and really want book three of the Chaos Queen Quintet, head to Phoenix Comic Con!

Come to Phoenix Comic Con this weekend if you want a taste of these lovelies before they're released.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Life is good.

Three years of books 📚, and three years of Baby B 😍 (who isn't a baby anymore).

Life is very, very good.






Tuesday, May 15, 2018

BLOOD REQUIEM Launch Party!


Release day for Blood Requiem, book three of the Chaos Queen Quintet, draws nigh!


We'll once again celebrate with a release day party at Weller Book Works in Salt Lake City. The event will begin at 6:30 PM with a reading from Blood Requiem, followed by a brief Q&A, and then The Signing of the Books.

It'll be a lot of fun. Weller's has hosted launch parties for my previous two books, and they've both been fantastic.

I'm particularly looking forward to this one because of how I feel about Blood Requiem. While Books 1 and 2 were both great (albeit for very different reasons), and I'm very proud of both of them, I'm particularly excited about Book 3. I think it's, pretty unequivocally, the best of the series so far. I cannot wait for everyone to read it!

So, if you're in the area, come hang out and celebrate with us!

And, if you aren't in the area, keep your eyes peeled here, because we're putting the finishing touches on a book tour for the middle of June! :-D

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Alicia Vikander as Winter

I have a file on my computer of actors that more or less look like characters in the Chaos Queen Quintet. My publisher originally asked me to create the file to provide more detail for my cover artist. We ended up going in a different direction with the covers that didn't require character detail (and, for the record, I'm very happy about this--I love the more abstract look of the covers), but I still have the file.

And, if you write and you're anything like me, matching actors to your characters is sort of an irresistible right of passage of any large-scale story I'm telling. In a lot of ways it's important to the process for me, as well. Enhancing the way I see the characters in my head can go a long way.

One day I might blog more about that file, but for now I'm going to keep it under wraps. As a reader, I more often than not prefer my own images of characters, and I don't want to ruin that for anyone who feels the same way. Also, none of the actors in the file really seemed to completely work for any of my characters. Some actors are closer than others, but none of them really embodied my characters.

That said, a couple months ago I saw the new Tomb Raider film, and...well...I've found an actor that does.

The film itself was entertaining, but not much to write home about in most areas. However, Alicia Vikander plays Lara Croft with an impressive combination of vulnerability and strength. The whole time I watched the film, all I could think of was how great Vikander would be as Winter (especially from Book 3 onward--I won't say why because it'd constitute a mild spoiler--but she'd be fantastic as Winter from the beginning, tbh). Die her hair black, get her dark contacts, and she'd be the spitting image of Winter. Also, Vikander has serious acting chops, and that doesn't hurt.

Anyway. I think that's pretty cool!

For the record, if the Chaos Queen Quintet ever does get picked up for a screen adaptation, I'll almost definitely have ZERO input on casting. But still, a guy can dream!


Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Graphic Audio DARK IMMOLATION Part 2 Now Available for FREE!



Part 2 of Graphic Audio's adaptation of Dark Immolation is now available for FREE in podcast form! If you were listening along to Part 1, now is your chance to continue the story. And, if you just want to check out how Graphic Audio does things, this is a great opportunity. I've said it many times, but I'll say it again: I'm very happy with the adaptations GA has done of my books! They produce high quality work. Check them out!

Here's the link to the first episode of Part 2 in iTunes.

Monday, April 30, 2018

WITCHY WINTER



This book has been sitting on my desk for a month and I'm finally able to read it!

Dave Butler writes flintlock fantasy that takes place in a very alternate history Jacksonian America. In a word: awesome. I had this to say about his first book:
Captivating characters. Superb world-building. Awesome magic. Butler fuses fantasy and history effortlessly, creating a fascinating new American epic. Not to be missed!
I can't wait to tackle the sequel. If you haven't read his books, give them a shot!

Check out Book 1 in the series, Witchy Eye, here.

And check out Book 2, Witchy Winter, here.