Curse Update: Cover

Posted by John Brown on August 9th, 2014




The proof has been shipped. When that arrives, we’ll review it to make sure everything looks good, and then it’s release time.

The artwork is proceeding along for RAVELER as well. The target for that is mid August. As soon as it’s finished, we’ll be ready to release that book as well.

Just for kicks, here’s the SERVANT spread.




Curse Update: All we’re waiting for is the cover

Posted by John Brown on July 29th, 2014

Yup. Interior formatted and finished. CurseV2FinalV1As soon as we put together the cover, I will announce to the early bird sale for my newsletter subscribers. 

Now, do you remember the illustration to the side? Back in April I told you to look at it and see if you could find the issue. I will now direct you to Talen’s leg. Click on the image to see it full size. In a post this week, I will explain just what this is all about.


Curse Update: Copy edits and art

Posted by John Brown on July 19th, 2014

CurseV2FinalV1The copy edits for CURSE and RAVELER are finished. The artist has also begun working on the cover for RAVELER.

The next task is to review and add anything necessary to make the ending of CURSE and the beginning of RAVELER work in their new roles.

And then it’s pub time. Getting very close now, folks.


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Do you wish books had ratings for sex, violence, and language? If so I want to chat with you.

Posted by John Brown on July 15th, 2014

MarshmallowMateysBack in 2011 I wrote a post titled “Since when did young adult fiction become the cure for cancer?”  It was a response to all the YASaves hysteria. The main point of my amazing post (grin) was that the people complaining about some YA content wanted not to ban books, but to simply have a way to more easily evaluate if they wanted to buy a particular book in the first place.

They want to avoid purchasing what they thought was a box of Marshmallow Mateys only to open it and find a bunch of bicycle sprockets.

Last year I decided to work on a solution. I have some ideas. But before I get ahead of myself and build something, I want to really understand if it’s a problem worth solving. I want to chat with others who do care about content to see what aspects of this are important to them and what they’re doing now to find this information.

So, if you wish books had ratings for sex, violence, and language, then I want to talk to you. It will take about 20 minutes. If you’re open to chatting, leave a comment, or click Contact above and fill in the form.

Because I live up in the middle of nowhere, we’ll have to chat via a web meeting. But never fear: I’ll host that. All you’ll have to do is show up and answer my questions :)


Posted in Blather


Curse Update: Copy Edits, 2 Books

Posted by John Brown on July 12th, 2014

CurseV2FinalV1My copy editor just delivered the marked up manuscript. I will be making the edits over the next few days. Once those are made, it’s time to publish.

Ah, but publish just one book?

Nope. It looks like this is going to be two:

  • CURSE: The Dark God Book 2
  • RAVELER: The Dark God Book 3

Each book would be about 120k words. Novels can range from around 30-50k words like many middle grade novels (or most of the books written by Louis L’Amour) to the 50-70k length of a lot of romance novels to the 70-100k words of many thrillers to the 300-400k epic behemoths that George R.R. Martin and Sanderson have recently written.  I think most adult novels are around 100k.  I think most fantasies are in the 80-130k area, although many epics can be in the 200′s.  The bottom line is that both volumes will be chock full of story.

This is all part of a strategy to tell the same long, big story as originally planned, but do it in quicker chunks so that the series can become viable financially more quickly, but also so readers aren’t waiting so long between books.  I have tormented those who enjoyed book 1 and wanted more far too long. I want to remedy that in the future, and more frequent installments will allow me to do this. Getting these two volumes out will help set the expectation, I think.

So a release of CURSE in July seems more than feasible. Then we’ll release RAVELER early August. Why August? Because we need to commission a new cover illustration. The soonest the artist can have it done would be August. Stay tuned. I can’t wait to see what art Victor comes up with next.

And if you want to get in on the new release sale for both, please sign up for the notification in the left sidebar.



Saving Mr. Banks, Elementary, Captain Phillips, & Lone Survivor

Posted by John Brown on June 23rd, 2014

Saving Mr BanksOver the last two months I’ve been able to squeeze in a couple of hours to watch a few shows and some episodes of a TV series. I was plesantly surprised to have actually had a wonderfully good run. If you haven’t watched any of these, you’re in for some awesome entertainment.

Saving Mr. Banks

I didn’t think I’d like this movie. I enjoyed Mary Poppins as a child and enjoyed it again with my kids. But a movie on Disney getting the rights to make a movie? Boring. Except I was completely wrong. This is not a story about some woman selling the rights to her story. It’s about why she never wanted to sell the rights to Disney in the first place. It’s about her childhood and the real source of Mary Poppins. And to pull that off Saving Mr. Banks has to tell two stories: an often funny one about P.L. Travers who does not want to license her story and Disney’s final attempt to win her over, and a poignant one that reveals why Travers was so resistant. And it leaves the last twist, one that expands the meaning of the title in the viewer’s heart, to the very end. I loved this movie. I loved Hanks as the affable Disney and Thompson as the irascible Ms. Travers. Loved all of the other characters. If you enjoyed dramas like Miss Potter or The Blind Side, you’ll love this too.


I thought: another Sherlock Holmes series? Puh-lease. Yes, the two films featuring Robert Downing Jr. and Jude Law and the BBC series with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman were superb. I loved both. But another Sherlock? Surely this is going to be some cheap attempt to capitalize on the success of the other two, something that is direct-to-DVD quality. Who is going to do it as well as Downing and Cumberbatch?

Boy, was I wrong (yet again!)

Elementary is delightful. Sherlock, played by the talented Johnny Lee Miller who made Eli Stone such a joy, is a modern day Brit living in New York. He’s in the final stages of drug rehab, living with a “sober companion.” The companion is Joan Watson, played by Lucy Lui. The Captain of the NYPD is one of Sherlock’s old friends an appeciates his skills and so brings him in as a consultant on various cases.

So how could they do anything different? Yes, you have the quick powers of observation and intellectual acrobatics the other Sherlocks have. But the female Watson and the whole recovering addict angle takes the stories in a new direction. This Sherlock has a past that haunts him. And this Watson is maybe a bit quicker than the other two, as wonderful as they are.

I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it, but there is room for three Sherlocks and Watsons. I can’t tell you which of the three pairs I enjoy more.

Captain_Phillips_PosterCaptain Phillips

As soon as the news stories about Somali pirates started breaking back in 2008 I knew it would lead to some thrillers. Heck, Abdul Hassan, “The One Who Never Sleeps” was one of the first zings I posted on this site. What I didn’t know was that the big thriller would be based on an actual story: the 2009 hijacking of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years. Phillips is played by Tom Hanks, who always gives a great performance. But I also found the portrayal of the pirates interesting as well. As I did the many unexpected details of how these pirates operate and how the incident was brought to a close. If you like realistic thrillers, you’ll enjoy Captain Phillips.

Lone Survivor

I reviewed the book Lone Survior back in 2011. You can read my full report there, but the bottom line is that it was an awesome read. However, as with all awesome reads, you become a bit wary of the films based on those books. I’m happy to say the filmmakers did a great job on this one. They paid huge attention to detail because they wanted to honor the fallen soldiers by getting it right.

Lone_Survivor_posterIn order to get it right, they brought Marcus Luttrel, the author, and a number of other SEALs onto the project as consultants. The SEALs put the actors through some basic training before they even began shooting. This was to not only help the actors get to the point where they handle their weapons and gear as someone seasoned might, but also so they could feel what is was to work as a team, an important part of being a SEAL. The SEALs stayed on to provide input as well during the shooting.

But the details went beyond that. I have never seen a military film that felt as real to me, especially when it came to the characters. SEALs are warriors. But that doesn’t capture the variety they come in. And in the opening 25% of the movie we see sides to these men that many movies do not portray. It was so refreshing! In fact, without the groundwork laid in the beginning, this film wouldn’t have had near the impact it did. Yeah, the action is ACTION! It’s thrilling. You have never seen some of the shots the film portrays. But the action means nothing without the men.

And this story is about the men.

It’s about what it means to be one of those guys and gals who put their lives on the line for the rest of us. And if you want a special treat, when the film is over, you’ll watch all the extras.

The f-word is used about five million times in this movie. I usually don’t like a lot of vulgarity in my entertainment. But I cut the folks some slack in this case because I felt the story was worth it. Besides, I didn’t consider it entertainment anyway, more documentary.

If you are interested in what it’s like for Special Operations forces, if you want a story to help you see what so many are doing for the rest of us, I don’t know that it gets any better than this.

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