Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Clock Man: and Other Stories - A Review

The Clock Man: and Other Stories by Eric Lahti is an excellent collection which both stands on its own for new readers, but also fleshes out the world of Henchmen for those who have been keeping up with the author.  Eight stories make up this collection, which takes Lahti’s imagination and share it out with readers.

All of the stories feel like they can live and breathe within the same universe of interconnected worlds, which is no mean feat.  Lahti opens by providing us with a glimpse into the broader universe that he’s been working in and some background as to how it truly functions.  He then moves right into the story an old “friend”, Wilford Saxton, the government foil who somehow survived the end of Arise, setting the stage and providing an exciting glimpse into Lahti’s next book.

Pretty girl.  Pretty deadly.
Of course, the real gem of this collect is “The Clock Man”.  Here, readers are introduced to a new character. Felix Crow, and a new world that is somehow connected to our own.  Felix is a classic noir character, but placed in a neo-wuxia setting that mixes Eastern and Western themes with great success.  My only criticism is that “The Clock Man” while a complete tale, felt like it had the potential to be its own novel, and spin out more of the universe that Lahti is operating from.

Lahti is an excellent storyteller and he weaves together his characters and his worlds into a convincing tapestry.  Each story stands well on its own, but also adds to an ever-expanding universe that will make readers eager for more.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

In Which A Fan and Friend Totally Makes My Day

Happy Level—Doing the Carlton!
I’ve been anxious recently.  Not chew-the-fingernails-down-to-nubs freaked out, but certainly some edge-sitting distress.  Tears of Heaven always had the potential for a sequel, but it could easily have stood alone as a complete story.  I would have been very satisfied that it had seen the publishing light of day and told the tale of Del.

The fans started asking for more stories.

So I wrote another story.

Yes, of course.  As simple as that—plus or minus nine months of blood, sweat and tears.

I felt that Hell Becomes Her was a better product.  Through no fault of my own, but no little effort on the part of my editor, Shawn, I’m an older, wiser and better writer.  Yes, Shawn can control space and time.

But was it?  Was it really?  Would it resonate with the fans who had enjoyed and supported Del in Tears of Heaven?  Would they accept a “kinder, gentler” Del who would literally (yes, literally) shake the pillars of heaven in defense of her family?

Apparently, they would:

Fantastic follow up to Tears of Heaven, our compelling protagonist, Del is used as a pawn in a deadly game played by immortals. Flawed, deadly, and hopeful, Del tries to do everything she can to keep those she loves safe, and those she hates destroyed. The sequel adds deeper layers of mythology, in a unique and captivating way. Highly recommended.

Thanks Mike!  Your review (and all those like it) totally made my day.  If you don’t think you can impact an author that you enjoy, write them a review.  Less than 1% of readers actually write reviews, and unlike fan mail, these can have an impact on the author and on other readers.  It’s so great to have that kind of input!

I still need more (many, many more) reviews.  I'm still happy to provide review copies to anyone who would be willing.  Love it or hate it—the only obligation you should feel is to write the review.

Of course, I'd prefer you love it . . . ya know, if I have a say at all!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Star Wars at 3.5

Are you implying I'm old?
I was 3.5, living in Bountiful, Utah and my parents took me to see Star Wars on opening weekend. There was no “A New Hope” at that point.  It was simply Star Wars and all the literature and media coverage at the time will confirm that for you.  That’s not really important, unless you’re on a tearing rant about George Lucas.

I’m not.


Because of the social structure of the Salt Lake City valley, my parents took me to the theater on Sunday and walked right in, only pausing to buy tickets. Lines that had been out the door and around the block the previous night had evaporated Sunday morning.

Huzzah for cultural Mormonism!

I do not remember watching the movie, as I do later films.  I remember the sense of wonder and fantasy that the movie created.  I remember, quite simply, loving it.  My parents, clever folks that they are, picked up on this and in short order Star Wars themed merchandise began to appear.  Sheets, action figures, ships, etc.  My mother (if I recall correctly) cut out the Time article about the movie, which came with tons of movie images, and taped them to my bedroom wall.

I’m sure I drove them nuts with Star Wars this and Star Wars that—as only an imagination-driven three year old can.

I am not, currently, a Star Wars nut.  I enjoy the films, the books, the culture.  But I found Star Trek much more to my liking, and—sin of sins—fantasy far superior.

But you can’t really forget your first, the one that instilled in you a passion and desire you didn’t even know existed.  At 3.5, being shown what is easily the seminal science fiction film, it certainly has an impact.  And like Lucas or love him or hate him or tolerate him, you have to give it up to Star Wars.

Many of us would not be who we are today.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Hang Out with Me!

Things are moving fast, especially with the upcoming holidays, so here’s hoping I can keep everything together.

First, in case you weren’t aware, there’s the author signing coming up in one week (Thursday, December 17th from 6pm to 9pm PST) at A Shop Called Quest.  There will be paperback copies of TEARS OF HEAVEN and HELL BECOMES HER, and I’ll gladly scribble a few words to you!

Next, I’m going to be interviewed on Blab.  It’s like a TV interview, only its live and it’s on the internet, and apparently there’s a degree of audience interaction.  That will also happen on Thursday, December 17th at 4pm PST.  Here’s the link for that.

After that, I drive with my middle son to Las Vegas where I pick up my parents and fly out to Michigan to see my brother receive his doctorate in history.  Jamie (said brother) helps me out from time to time with my history, Latin translations, and a few ideas that I bounce off him.  Tristan will be going on his first ever plane ride.  He’s a little nervous about that, but I’m sure with a Kindle in his lap, he’ll be happy enough.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Next Del Book—Chapter 1, Page 1

As my dear friend and fellow writer pointed out, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with agony and bitching.”  That wasn’t quite the case with the new Del book, but it certainly started with some cursing and several drafts digitally crumpled and thrown in the trash can icon.

Here for your inspection is what I hope is the start of something beautiful:
Only took me ten hours!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Demon-busters and Mythbusters

What we really need is a flamethrower!
Happy Monday everyone!  I’m follicles deep into the next Del book, and trying to write like the wind—having been advised to do so by several friends.

Writing like the wind is not easy.  The wind is swift, silent and invisible—except when it collects a lot of dust and debris . . . but for our purposes, we’ll ignore that.  I am, by contrast, quite corporeal, “type angry” and in these later years not as fast as I once was (but once I was as fast as I’ve ever been).

One of these days, Del may change her evil ways, but until then she’ll ride on.

In other news, I’m taking my two oldest boys to see the Mythbusters live show.  I’ve seen them before, and my boys love to watch the episodes, so I have little doubt that Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage will prove entertaining.

Ride on!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Little, and Broken, but Still Good

Yeah, he's a good one.  I can tell.
It’s been a bit shaky here in SoCal that last 48 hours.  Last night, my speech and debate team grilled me for a good hour about the shootings, gun violence, and terrorism before we moved on to the more mundane things like Russia throwing a tantrum about Montenegro.

You know, lighter fare.

So it was really nice to come in this morning and have a new, five-star review for Hell Becomes Her.  I totally agree with this review, except for the bit about the motion sickness.  Del doesn’t get sick, she’s afraid to fly.  It’s a Nephilim thing:

The sequel is actually better than book 1. You can read this without reading the first book in the series although for you to fully understand what Del actually is and has been through you should read book 1. In this one we find Del at the mercy of a new enemy that has kidnapped her daughter, frankly anybody dumb enough to kidnap her daughter is in for a world of hurt. The addition of Jane to the story worked for me as a companion for Marrin even if she is not immortal. Del frequently loses it in this book anger being her thing after all she has however become a calmer person since adopting Jordan. Finding out there are two races of Elves in the desert comes as a shock to her and the misdirection and lies by the leader of one almost does the group in. In the end Del figures it out but it is quite the battle to get to the truth. Of course our favorite angel to hate Ahadieil plays a much bigger role in the end of this one. The one real issue I have with this book is Del having motion sickness after reading her past and her time on a ship that just does not work for me.

Wow, good stuff!  It’s always fascinating to see the different takes on the stories and characters that I created.  Once they’re out there, there’s no arguing with the readers—and really, why would you want to?  We tell stories to entertain, not to be right.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Thanks, But Hard Pass

Your use of capslock has given us all something
to think about.
I appreciate the effort you're going through here.  I really do.

The sarcastic responses.  The use of fallacious arguments.  The ad hominem attacks.

It’s a lot of work for you to keep that up, time and time again.  Your Google-fu is pretty strong as well, from the numerous, though irrelevant, citations you keep providing.  The heavily-slanted (filled with lead weights) opinion pieces are my personal favorite.  Arguing from rage, yours or your pet editorials, almost always ends with everyone shaking hands and exchanging numbers for a weekend barbecue.

Opinions can always be changed when we use our CAPSLOCK!

But let's be clear—you're not persuading me, and you're not going to.

Rethinking my position, I see you have many valid points.
Your firm belief that anyone who is against your particular point of view must therefore be politically motivated is, I’m afraid, a flawed conclusion.  Why these two seem to go hand-in-hand, and why they result in what you clearly feel is an unassailable hand-waving argument, is disingenuous at best if not outright deceitful.  It’s an argument from the armchair, and not one of those comfortable Lay-Z-Boy recliners.  No.  I’m talking about the armchairs that envelop you in an ocean of cotton with Shiatsu massage on 97 chi pressure-points.

The kind of chair that makes you think you’re doing something both illegal and immoral.

Rather, do me the common courtesy of considering for just a moment that I've actually done the research, looked at the issues, read the scientific studies and arrived at a conclusion that has nothing to do with politics.  Yeah, it makes me sound like a big ol’ nerd—all that research and analysis before arriving at a conclusion.  But that’s just me.  That’s the way I was taught to do things, and the way that I’ve found yields the best results.  Gaming the system certainly has its fine points, and that’s great for you.

For me, I’d prefer you stop shouting in my face.  The spit, you understand, is gross.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


Hey pal, wanna read a good book?
Hey!  Yes, you!  You look like an individual of integrity and discerning taste.  What if I was to tell you that you can have, in your digital hands, a copy of Hell Becomes Her for absolutely free?

What’s that?  I must be lying?

No, no.  I assure you.  This offer is 110% legit.  I did the math myself.

Well, of course “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch”, but this deal comes darn-tootin’ close.  Let me explain.

There are some magic numbers in the book-selling industry, especially if you’re dealing with Amazon (and almost everyone is).  Two of those numbers, which are really important to writers and their publishers are: 25 and 50.

Innocuous though they may seem, these two numbers represent bright-lines for any particular book.  Around 25 reviews, Amazon’s algorithm starts to include a book in the “Also Bought” and “You Might Like” categories.  These are helpful if you happen to be interested in a specific genre, say urban fantasy, and would like to read similar titles.

Starting around 50 reviews, Amazon begins to really get aroused.  The system will start to look more seriously at the book and may push it to spotlight positions.

Two books are better than one!
Good reviews are also important.  The higher the rating, generally speaking, the higher quality the book (or at least the potential enjoyment).  Some advertisers even use the number of reviews and the review average to determine if a book is worth highlighting to their subscribers.

So that’s the deal, plain and simple—receive a free copy of Hell Becomes Her and, if you enjoyed the book, post a review on Amazon.  The review doesn’t have to be long.  One of my favorite reviews (or at least most memorable) for Tears of Heaven is: “Still A Better Love Story Than "Twilight".”  I assure you, I'm not buying your review, and you're in no way obligated to give a review—positive or otherwise.

If you’re breathing and if you have an opinion and if you’re capable of sharing it, I would like to give you Hell Becomes Her absolutely free.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Dance with the One What Brung Ya!

Don't MESS with Shawn the Edi-Thor!
Although Hell Becomes Her released a few weeks ago, I haven’t been in Del’s world for about six months.  Instead, I’ve been in Aubrey’s steampunk world, researching archaic firearms, horse-drawn carriages, airship designs and telegraph wires.  I’ve loved working with Aubrey’s character, as she’s wholly different from Del.

Different circumstances should result in different personalities.

I worked so hard on Constable of Aqualinne that I actually finished the last chapter a week ago, and submitted it to my beta team.  They gave me the thumbs up yesterday, so the first draft is complete.  Knowing that I was that close, I turned to consult the great sage and wisdom, my editor Shawn.

Shawn likes to crush all my romantic notions of authorship with a single, simple blow from her hammer “Reality”.  She wields it with more skill than Thor hefting Mjolnir.  Essentially, Shawn smacked me upside the head and said, “That’s great kid, but you’ve set up a third Del book.  You need to write at least one more.”

Mind the cane, boys!
After I recovered from my coma, I realized that wasn’t as big a problem as it would seem.  I’ve actually been considering several new books that would take place in Del’s world.  There’s nothing set in stone, but here are the concepts that I’ve come up with:

Working Title “Purgatory’s Cage”—Del faces her toughest challenges yet, not the least of which is a romantic relationship!
Unnamed Jane Book—A spin-off with Jane, the first time a mortal will take front and center in the series as she attempts to save the man—well, Nephilim—she loves.
Unnamed Dami Book—This one is a fan request which I’ve been mulling over for a couple years.  Tears of Heaven didn’t tell the whole Del and Dami story.  Or at least didn’t get into some of their other adventures . . . and what adventures they are!

Constable of Aqualinne isn’t going anywhere.  It’s still on the schedule, and more Aubrey Hartmann stories keep coming at me.  Her world of airships and clockworks and magic is a fun amusement park for an author to visit.  I’m looking forward to going back there just as soon as I can.

In the meantime, the girl that brought me to the dance gets at least one more spotlight—sweet, sweet Del.