Salt Lake Comic Con 2015 just announced pre-orders are available for their exclusive short story anthology– Heroic: Tales of the Extraordinary. My story, Enigma’am, is in there along with some amazing work by David Farland, Michael A. Stackpole, J. R. Johansson, Craig Nybo, Johnny Worthen, Lisa Mangum, Bree Despain, Bryan Young, Dan Willis, Brian C. Hailes, Eric James Stone, Paul Genesse, and Blake Casselman. It’s a charity anthology, so all the proceeds go to benefit the Aaron Allston Foundation.
My story is a superhero origin story. The main character is also featured in my latest book: Thug #1 (publishing pending).
The paperback is being offered only as a limited edition print run, and exclusively at the convention. So if you want one, you better get in on it fast. All the contributing authors will be at #SLCC15 so you can collect all the signatures while you’re there. (My booth is Black #15, if you want to come by. You can also find me at several panels.)
Great fiction, limited edition collectible, and helping charity… what could be better? Get it quick!
I’ve dedicated books before, five of them actually. Something new happened recently, though. Somebody dedicated a book to me.
Needless to say, I feel honored. Jason King writes amazing fantasy, and I am lucky to have him as a friend. I never knew what it was like to have a book dedicated to me before. I’ve read tons of them, of course. I’ve spent time meditating over my own. Until now, I didn’t realize how cool it is. Thanks, Jason!
On a side note, you probably remember me mentioning in a previous post how much I loved the cover to the first book in this series. I think it’s my favorite book cover of all time. (It’s the purple one on the left, in case you haven’t seen it.) I’ve been lucky enough to work with the cover artist, Alexandria Thompson a couple of times (she did my covers for Salvation and Exacting Essence). However, when the second book in the series came out, the publisher, Curiosity Quills Press, decided to go a different direction with the covers. They changed the cover to the first book, The Lure of Fools, and made a matching cover for this one.
When Jason asked what I thought of the new covers, it took me a long time to get over the shock of the change. In the end, though, I like them. I’ve seen a lot of series going this way, and I think from a marketing perspective it’s a good idea, even if I will miss the art of the earlier edition. What do you think?
Anyway, I’m not suggesting that you run out and buy this book just because it’s dedicated to me, but there are a lot worse reasons for buying a book. ;) I highly recommend it for the story, though. Jason King does uber-powerful artifacts like no other.
As far as Riley McCullough is concerned, her best friend getting ‘dragged’ off to Puerto Vallarta for the first two weeks of summer vacation was the end of the world―at least until the bombs fell.
Life in suburban New Jersey with her mother has been comfortable, not to mention boring, to an introverted fourteen year old. As if her friend’s surprise trip wasn’t bad enough, her expectations for the ‘best summer ever’ disintegrate when she gets sent across the country to stay with a father she hasn’t seen in six years. Adjusting to a tiny, desert town where everyone stares at them like they don’t belong proves difficult, and leaves her feeling more isolated than ever. To make matters worse, her secretive father won’t tell the truth about why he left―or what he’s hiding.
Her luck takes an unexpected turn for the better when she meets a boy who shares her interest in video games and contempt for small town boredom. In him, she finds a kindred spirit who might just make the middle of nowhere tolerable.
Happiness is short lived; fleeing nuclear Armageddon, she takes shelter with her dad in an underground bunker he’d spent years preparing. After fourteen days without sun, Riley must overcome the sorrow of losing everything to save the one person she cares about most.
Review: You already know I’m a lifetime fan of Matthew Cox‘s cyberpunk, of course. This YA is a bit of a change, though. It has the apocalyptic feel, but spends the time with his main character and digs deep. It’s an emotional ride, and I highly recommend it. I can’t say much the synopsis didn’t, because I’d hate to give any spoilers. This almost borders on horror, and I highly recommend it!
Author Bio: Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey.
Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour (<- deliberate), and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it.
He is also fond of cats.
Available Now! The Actuator 2: Return of the Saboteur
The Machine Monks fight to keep control of the Actuator while enemies attack the base. As besiegers wear them down, the rest of the world struggles to adapt to the chaos left in the wake of the great change. Their only choice is to push forward and find the next key and shutdown the fantasy realm surrounding the base. When they do, Xenwyn will die.
Haunted by the incalculable death toll all over the earth, Jon accepts the mission to recover the next key. Despite his injuries and as much as he hates to leave his newfound love, he refuses to let all of humanity suffer if he can fix it.
Desperate to keep Xenwyn alive, Red determines to find a magical cure before Jon gets back with the key. Each time he takes her across a border, might be the end.
Seeing all his friends in turmoil, Dragon Star sets out to find the saboteur. If the architect of this dark world cannot offer any means of setting things right, he will at least see consequences for the horrors he unleashed.
None of them ever imagined the Actuator could still make the world even worse.
This series has been a wild ride! I’m so thrilled to finally have this book out. I’m well into editing for the next anthology and halfway through the first draft for book 3. If you liked Book 1, you will love what’s coming next!
Guest post by Jay Wilburn. I’ve had the privilege of working with Jay on 3 anthologies– So It Goes: A Tribute to Kurt Vonnegut, The Actuator 1.5: Borderlands Anthology, and the forthcoming Windows into Hell. He’s a pro all the way, and I’m thrilled to have him post on my blog.
“Sometimes They Have to Live”
by Jay Wilburn
Kill your babies is a common recommendation for writing. It is a broad piece of advice. It refers to pages and scenes within a story that don’t serve the story. Those have to be cut no matter how cleverly worded they are. It refers to flashbacks and dreams and back stories and tangents. They may be things that are beloved by the author, but often they are the very things that hold the story back. It can of course refer to the actual characters within a story. Sometimes a character has to be erased from existence or absorbed into other characters instead of standing alone. It can mean that characters have to die.
Not everyone gets to live until the end of every story. George R. R. Martin, Stephen King, the Walking Dead series both television and graphic novel, and others are well known for no character being safe. This is part of the appeal of these authors and stories to the fans. Everyone is in danger at every moment. The story becomes intense and the losses are anticipated with great dread. The problem in a long running series though is that after the sense of loss and history of certain characters, they often have to be replaced by new characters. When these new characters meet their end on the buzz saw of the infamous character killers, their demise lacks something and their replacements are sometimes kept at a distance emotional by readers. There is a novelty and a true power to a story where anyone can die, but there is also a cost in too frequent deaths.
Some of the power in characters not making it through the apocalypse or the war story is both in that anyone can die, but deaths aren’t one after another. If the death of a character is meant to catch readers off guard and move them the way the characters within the story feel the loss, then sometimes they have to live.
There must be a core of the story characters that make it through. Readers benefit from having some characters that have been with them since the beginning. These characters hold the history and know the full scope and meaning of the series. They can refer back to moments that carry meaning throughout the series. Often, these moments hold more potential than the death of these characters would.
There are moments when it is time for characters to go and those moments must be chosen carefully, if we are serving the readers. Their lives and deaths matter to the story and matter to the audience. If they don’t, then killing them off in a creative way isn’t going to carry much punch anyway.
Check out the latest book and music from a new series by Jay Wilburn!
The Dead Song Legend Dodecology Book 1: January from Milwaukee to Muscle Shoals –
The Sound May Suffer – Songs from the Dead Song Legend Book 1: January –
About the Author: Jay Wilburn lives with his wife and two sons in Conway, South Carolina near the Atlantic coast of the southern United States. He taught public school for sixteen years before becoming a full time writer. He is the author of the Dead Song Legend Dodecology and the music of the five song soundtrack recorded as if by the characters within the world of the novel The Sound May Suffer. Follow his many dark thoughts on Twitter @AmongTheZombies, his Facebook author page, and at JayWilburn.com