Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

Last night, I saw that Michael J. Sullivan’s Theft of Swords is today’s Kindle Daily Deal, on sale for $1.99.  I wrote up a personal story about it over at reddit/r/fantasy:

I rarely read physical books anymore, but one year ago our Barnes and Noble in Prescott, AZ closed down for good. Michael’s novel had just come out, and I really wanted to own a physical copy, for more than one reason. Not to toot me ‘umble horn, but I knew this guy was destined for great things back in 2010 when he was one of the very first fantasy authors to have tremendous success as a self-published author. So I interviewed him on my blog in August of 2010, and then again for our Adventures in SciFi Publishing podcast in early 2011.

Of course I was bummed about our B&N closing. I stayed in the store until the end, on the last night of the year in 2011. I hung around and asked if I could buy the final book ever sold at the store. I chose Theft of Swords, because I thought that would be a well-deserved honor for Michael. It’s hard to see the story from this pic, but I didn’t have a camera with me so I asked a guy to take a picture of the book just before the B&N folks kicked me out for good. And there it is through the glass:

I wanted to support Michael by buying his book, but this paperback also symbolizes something for me. It’s proof that in this new age of digital publishing, a hardworking independent author can succeed in a really big way—even if you write good old traditional fantasy books.

As for his book, it’s a lot of fun. His series builds in complexity from one book to the next, but IMO it’s always compulsive reading. He’s not trying to be grittier than Martin, more epic than Erikson, to write better prose than Rothfuss, or to build a more magical world than Sanderson. He just tells you one hell of a story full of outstanding twists and turns, and he writes for anyone who can still enjoy a classic fantasy tale.

If you’ve got a couple of bucks burning a hole in your pocket, I say treat yourself for the holidays and vote with your wallet to support a fantastic new voice in fantasy.


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At the risk of seeming cheeky (don’t mind me, I have a burning secret desire to reside in the UK and drink lots of black tea with the locals), I’m going to post an email that I got from a reader last night. But before I do, allow me to dissect myself and let you know what the different parts of me are thinking right now.

The first part of me is probably just chuffed (there I go again with the UK bit!).

Another part of me hopes to inspire other writers, especially aspiring writers who haven’t yet polished and put their stories out there. Because I’m just a big kid writing stories from his basement, posting stuff on the internet. You can definitely do this too. Believe me, it feels great. This is absolutely so much fun.

Another part of me thinks this is a perfect example of how to send an email to a writer. 1) She blows much more praise in my direction than I deserve (and I love her for that). 2) There’s helpful feedback, which I requested in my author’s note at the end of my book (and I love her for that). Seriously, if you enjoy a writer’s work, you can give back so much to them by writing a review and/or sending an email like this. It makes our days (weeks? months? years?) and gives us wind gusts at our backs to help us put out the next story faster. I can’t overstate that.

The last part of me loves that she recognized two things I worked very hard on (heh, he said hard on): 1) formatting and proofreading, and 2) a lack of major plot holes, continuity errors, and inconsistent/contradictory information. I also love that she is dead on accurate about where I can improve on my characterization. In fact, I’ve already been working on the very thing she mentioned as I’m writing book 2.

Another part of me loves that this reader offered to be a beta reader, and I want to let you know that you too can volunteer to “beta read” my future books; that means you can be an early reader who lets me know where I’ve really screwed up (something I’ve been known to do a lot) so I can fix those issues before publishing it. And if you’d like to beta read, I intend to have a book 2 for you by the end of the year. Know that all good beta readers surely go straight to Heaven.

Alena granted me permission to post her email, so here it is, without further ado …

Subject: Tiny Gods, That Was Delicious!

Hello Moses,

I just finished reading “The Black God’s War” and I’d just like to tell you, “Bravo!” I truly enjoyed reading your book, and will probably enjoy reading it at least 3 or 4 more times. Since you said that you welcome critique, I figured I would shoot you an email (also, I’m REALLY curious about your pantheon, but more on that later).

Ok, so first things first: I think this might be the first e-book I have read to date that does not contain ANY formatting, spelling, punctuation or typographical errors, indie or not. At least I’m pretty sure of that. You see, I read a lot of e-books nowadays (I think I now have ~110 titles), and almost every one has those errors. It’s extremely irritating to be reading and have your groove thrown off by a misspelled word or an error in the format. I’m sure you can understand my frustration.

Now, onto the story: I honestly don’t know where to start. Ok, the pantheon. Wow. I loved the blend of gods, and the world building you did, just in the Rezzian religion, and would liked to have seen a bit more about the Pawelon spiritual beliefs. Also, I don’t believe you ever fully explained the meaning of Lux Lucis, though I gathered a bit from context. Maybe this will come in a later volume?

The characters were very believable, and I liked the way you developed them, but I think you probably could have done a little bit more  By this, I don’t mean to say that you didn’t go an amazing job with character development or on building each individual story line; you did. What I mean is this: Have you ever read a story that was in first person narrative and felt after a while that you were inside their head and could feel their emotions? I feel that, even though your story is primarily in third person, there are tiny glimpses into the protagonists beings. I think you have the skill to make us, the readers, feel like we’re inhabiting that person’s body while we are reading, and thus bring us into the story line, as well.

I loved the rich descriptions you gave about all the settings, clothing, the way men and women appeared and acted, the types of weapons they chose to use. I liked the cultural differences you gave to the two races in battle, and their differing strategies, along with cultural reasons for these strategies.

I would also like to congratulate you on something. When I read, I often look for plot holes or clues or undeveloped threads in the story, and I did not see any. It didn’t seem that you had any contradictory information in your story, nor were there any undeveloped thoughts or places the characters could have grown that just got forgotten.  And that’s kinda rare in a debut, indie novel.  So, good job there, buddy!

There are probably some other things I’d like to talk about, and ask you questions about, but it’s 1:30 in the frickin’ morning, and I have to wake up in a few hours. (OOOH!  The pantheon.  Really curious about how you developed it.) So, I should go to sleep.  It was lovely reading your book, and I look forward to hearing back from you.


Alena Markins

P.S. I know you don’t know me yet, but I’m planting this seed in your head now. I would really like to become a beta reader at some point in the future. This is something we could talk about, if you’re open to it. I know that many authors are very nervous about this, so I will understand some hesitancy on your part. However, I do know that many authors like reader feedback from someone who is not just trying to make money off of them and genuinely enjoys a good product. Hopefully, I can convince you to be amenable to this idea in the future. I think you’ve got some great ideas and would like to read more of your work. Plus, I just like knowing secrets, especially if I know I’m the only one who knows them. 🙂


And that, my friends, is why we write.


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Best Dragon Quote Ever? From Rilke

   Posted by: Moses Siregar III Tags: , ,

Rainer Maria Rilke

Rainer Maria Rilke

From Rainer Maria Rilke (context):

“Perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us.”

I found it in the comments on a Lev Grossman post about “The Best Thing Anybody Ever Said About Fantasy.” Some great stuff there.


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