Archive for November, 2009

Last Word & Park City Peaks

Posted in John's Reviews - books, movies, whatever  by John Brown on November 30th, 2009
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LastWordGameMy youngest’s birthday fell on Thanksgiving this year. We asked her what she wanted to do. She said she wanted to go to a hotel to swim and then play a game as a family, so Nellie and I went to work. Nellie got the game. I got the hotel. Both were great.

The game was Last Word by Buffalo Games Inc. It’s fairly simple. There are subject cards with categories on them like “vegetables,” “breeds of dogs,” or “places you find water.”  Then there are letter cards. Each player gets a subject card.

The round starts when someone flips over a letter card. If you can think of a word that starts with that letter in your category, you shout it out, slam your subject card down, and then everyone else tries to come up with words that start with that letter and fit the category.  Or you try to think of words in someone else’s category if they beat you to it.  There’s no order to it–you just shout out the words as they come to your head.  The last one to come up with a word before the timer buzzes wins that round. The twist that makes it so fun, however, is that the timer is random.

You can play individually, in teams, or some mix (our youngest and I teamed up). Because of the random timer, anyone who can think up a word can play, which means our daughter who is eight could compete with the one that was seventeen.

We had a great time. One of the funniest things about it is that everyone is desperately trying to come up with words. Some fit, some don’t. Some don’t even exist. For example, when we did the category “male names,” number 3 shouted out “Mancake.” We couldn’t stop laughing. I think that one is going to enter the family vocabulary.

ParkCityPeaksHotelWe also had a great time at the Park City Peaks hotel. As far as rooms go, they were good rooms. The bed was a bit too soft for me, but perfect for my wife. We got them for $65 a night, which isn’t bad at all. But it was the pool that made the experience. 

The pool is an actual pool, not the big bathtubs some newer hotels offer. For example, the deep end is six feet deep. But the cool thing is that half of it is indoors and half of it is out. And the outdoor portion is heated. There’s also a large heated hot tub outside as well. In the picture it’s the thing producing the long row of steam in the back.

It helped that we didn’t have much snow so the place wasn’t crawling with skiers. In fact, we had the pool mostly to ourselves. So imagine: there we were on a November night in this alpine setting, the steam rising off the water, swimming and horsing around underneath the winter stars. It was marvelous. You can be sure we’re going back.

BTW, we had Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant. Let me recommend this to you. It makes the day a breeze. You can still have your homemade turkey dinner, but picking up the turkey  a few days after the holiday allows you to get them for cheap, cheap, cheap.

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Free etext of “From the Clay of His Heart” now available

Posted in News - updates on books, events, appearances, etc.  by John Brown on November 23rd, 2009
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fromtheclayofhisheartillustration2I just uploaded a free version of From the Clay of His Heart to the stories area. Check it out. The story made the Locus recommended reading list for 2008 and was included in the Year’s Best Fantasy 9 anthology published this summer.

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Interview on Fantasy Dreamer’s Ramblings

Posted in News - updates on books, events, appearances, etc.  by John Brown on November 23rd, 2009

This was a fun interview with Donna of Fantasy Dreamer’s Ramblings.

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Poisoned Pen, Concealed Carriers, and Crazies

Posted in News - updates on books, events, appearances, etc.  by John Brown on November 21st, 2009

Just got back from a wonderful trip with Larry Correia down to Phoenix. We did 2 signings and hit 23 bookstores in 1.5 days. Our new zipcode map GPS method rocks! Have three interesting things to report.

First, we have a great time at The Poisoned Pen, an independent bookstore in Scottsdale. Lori and the other two guys whose names I forgot (doh!) were wonderful hosts. We talked about our books, fielded questions, and then signed. Had a great time. A lot of laughing and good stories shared. If you’re ever in their area, you should stop by and check out the store.

It was also nice meeting Valerie Moore, a reader I met on Twitter, who makes her own beads. Cool thing is–she’s doing a new design inspired by the book called “The Grove.” Can’t wait to see what it looks like.

I also need to comment on Mysterious Galaxy, the store we went to in San Diego. Patrick and his crew were also wonderful hosts. This is also the first bookstore I’ve been into dedicated to science fiction and fantasy. The folks who showed up were hard core fans. We loved it. I hope I get to go back again and again.

BTW, anyone wanting to pick up signed copies can get them at either place while they last. I believe both stores do a lot of mail business as well.

Another comment along these lines. We noticed a dramatic difference between stores. Larry and I both agreed that the Barnes & Noble (Bookstar, which is a B&N store as well) and the independent stores (Poisoned Pen, Mysterious Galaxy) consistently showed the best customer service. They also consistently showed the most business sense. Kudos to them.  

Second, Larry had a bunch of gun owner friends show up to the signing and then invite us out to dinner the next night. We had a great time. Polite, good-natured, and fun. Of course, a number of them were carrying concealed weapons. And I’ll tell you what–never felt safer in my life.  Now, I know some people are going to say, hey, that’s just an accident waiting to happen and if any bad dudes show up you’re just more likely to get shot or have the gun stolen.

Um.

No.

These guys don’t just carry weapons. These guys live and breathe weapons. They customize guns. They shoot them and train with them in competitions. These guys know guns like I know my keyboard. I wish I could have remembered all their names–Chris, Hiram, Mark, the dude with the Hooters wife, and the other dude who drives for an armored truck company (and wears a kilt!), and about five others.

Thanks to Chris for a great dinner at Famous Dave’s!

I wish I could post pictures. I promised myself I take a camera on this trip. Dang it. Denver. I shall document Denver.

Finally,  I have to write about a guy in the Mesa Barnes & Noble where we were holding our informal signing. We were in the cafe. My great sister had brought rum cake muffins and everyone who came was eating them and talking. One of them asked me how I got the idea. So I told them the cow story and about the idea of humans being ranched for their souls. And just after I finished this a guy who had been reading behind us, a B&N customer, stands up and says, “Your book it true! Your book is true!” He had a beard and was all bug-eyed.

At first I thought he was joking.

Nope.

He said lizard men were ranching humans and I needed to read book xyz by author abc. Later he told my sister that the Bible showed they’ve interbred with humans and are taking our souls.

Lizard men… and all this time I thought it was the socialists that were going to get us.

Larry and I had talked earlier in the day about the demographics of our audiences. His audience was easy–red-state conservatives, military folks, & gun nuts. I expressed my trouble finding an easily identifiable demographic tag for my readers. But now I know–I got the crazies. :P

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John and Larry do Phoenix this Thurs & Fri

Posted in News - updates on books, events, appearances, etc.  by John Brown on November 17th, 2009
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Just a reminder. Larry and I will be in the Phoenix area this week on book tour. If you’re available, we’d love to see you Thursday night at the Poisoned Pen or earlier that day at the informal Barnes & Noble meet-n-greet!

Thursday,
November 19
3 pm – 5 pm
Meet public, discuss book, signing. This is informal, just chatting in the cafe–Brown & Correia Mesa, AZ Barnes & Noble
Dana Park Village Square
1758 South Val Vista Drive
Mesa, AZ 85204
(480) 545-8507
Thursday,
November 19
7 pm – 9 pm
Meet public, discuss book, signing–Brown & Correia Scottsdale, AZ The Poisoned Pen
4014 N Goldwater Blvd. Suite 101
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
(480) 947-2974

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Need Your Input on a T-shirt Design

Posted in News - updates on books, events, appearances, etc.  by John Brown on November 9th, 2009

Folks have been asking and I’ve been thinking about a T-shirt. I want it to have potential to be a cool saying on its own (so people actually want it) as well as promo for the book. I know I want the title, but do we need anything else? I’d like your input.

OPTION 1: TITLE ONLY

Slap the title as it appears on the book on a black shirt. Font is brown or the green of what’s on the book’s cover.

ServantofaDarkGodFont

OPTION 2: I AM NOT

I had someone say that the parents might be concerned if their kids were walking around with a shirt proclaiming they were servants of a dark god. Part of me says, yeah! Another part says, well, I guess I can see their point. The suggested solution was to add the words “I am not a” in front of the title in smaller font. It works. But it also feels like a copy cat of Dan Wells’ marvelous shirt which is just the title of his book.

OPTION 3: TITLE, SUBTITLE

In this version you get the bang of the title, but then you make it clear we’re talking about a book, not minions. So you have the title as above in big letters, then underneath or on top in smaller font you have:

  • Read it!
  • Eat. Sleep. Read.
  • Rocks!
  • An Epic Fantasy
  • Book-o-thrills
  • The humans are being ranched…
  • It’s story time, kiddies…
  • ??

So here’s where I need your help. Let me know which option you like best and if you have any ideas for option 3, please share them!!!