Friday, January 30, 2015

Blackguards Artwork

I'm sure I'm not the only one who is anxiously awaiting the release of Ragnorok's Blackguards Anthology. I know the guys and gals over there are hard at work at it.  I've turned in my final version (with some pretty fun tuckerization) and contacted the people who paid to have me look over their stuff.  I'm still waiting on Emails for the first day Hollow World entrants, and as soon as those are in I'll be mailing them out.

In the meantime, I thought people would like to see some of the artwork for the book.  Here's the image for my piece, "Professional Integrity."

I don't want to tell you too much about what is going on in the scene depicted...dont' want to have early spoilers and all.  But I can say that I think it was a good choice for the story being told.  If you would like to see the other images, Ragnorak Publications has posted them online and you can scroll through them here.

I love seeing these early "sneak peeks." I'm already speculating on what some of the stories are about, and can't wait to get my own copy.  I hope you'll enjoy reading "Professional Integrity" just as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Today's word is... asyndeton

I doubt my household is "average." Being a writer, I often discuss topics that most would find out of the ordinary (and some downright frightening).  "How long does it take to dissolve a body in hydrochloric acid?"

The other night a friend of mine came over for dinner, and my wife and I were debating the realistic population density of a primitive society in a 100 square mile area.  We, of course, dragged him into it.  Dinner at our house comes with a fair amount of implied nonsense.

Today, my wife and I debated a stylistic aspect of writing.  I knew I was right, but I didn't have a reference to point to (and yes I realize that I just ended a sentence with a preposition, except I didn't because of this addition). Anyway, I've been reading a book and recommended it to Robin, while reading she asked about the following sentence and whether it was grammatically correct.
She licked her lips, reached for her purse, foraged in it. 
"Yes, I replied," that's perfectly legitimate. Robin wasn't convinced. I'm sure we had this discussion before...maybe several years ago, but we had both remembered the outcome differently.  I'm blogging on it now, so that when the issue comes up three or four years from now, I can point to this post ;-)

Okay, just a bit more background and then we'll get into asyndeton. Whenever we discuss rules of grammar it usually comes down to one of two things. The item under question is either:  (a) correct or (b) allowable under the "authors can bend and break whatever rules they want" get out of jail free card.  I prefer (a) because that makes it more likely she'll not edit it on those occasions when I do such things. So, I asked her to find the precedence.

For most of the morning, Robin searched and finally came up with what such a construction is called...and you guessed it, it's asyndenton. I suspect this is a little-known rule of grammar, and I'm recording it now so next time we have this "debate" I'll know right where to look for it.

So what is it? Here's the definition from the website, Literary Devices:
"Asyndeton refers to a practice in literature whereby the author purposely leaves out conjunctions in the sentence, while maintaining the grammatical accuracy of the phrase. Asyndeton as a literary tool [that] helps in shortening up the implied meaning of the entire phrase and presenting it in a succinct form. This compact version helps in creating an immediate impact whereby the reader is instantly attuned to what the writer is trying to convey. Use of this literary device helps in creating a strong impact and such sentences have greater recall worth since the idea is presented in a nutshell."
If we delve a bit deeper, we find there are three general reasons for using asyndeton (according to grammar and education portion of
  • "When [asyndeton] is used in a series of words, phrases, or clauses, it suggests the series is somehow incomplete, that there is more the writer could have included."
  •  "Asyndeton can also create ironic juxtapositions that invite readers into collaborative relationships with writers: because there are no explicit connections between phrases and clauses, readers must supply them to reconstruct the writer's intent."
  • "Asyndeton can also quicken the pace of prose, especially when it is used between clauses and sentences."
So, there you have it.  Perhaps you just learned a new word today, as well. If you're coming over this weekend for the Super Bowl party, I'll expect you to be able to recite its meaning or no nachos for you!

Friday, January 23, 2015

In praise of independent bookstores

This post isn't the first time I've raved about One More Page Books, and I'm sure it won't be the last. They're an independent bookstore in Arlington Virginia who really knows how to "do it right."

First, they don't just sell books, but delicious chocolate and fine wine too.  Three things that go perfectly together.

Second, they do events...a lot of events.  Not only do they have author signings but they also have story time for the kiddies, eight different book clubs, and even have sponsored author panel discussions for budding authors.  I've launched three of my series there, and they were huge successes.

Plus, as you can see by this photo they recently posted on Twitter, they provide special promotion  to local authors. What more could you want?  

While looking through their calendar of events, I noticed their 4th year anniversary is this month.  How exciting!  At a time when the huge bookstores are struggling, and fears of Amazon taking over the world run rampant, it's good to see one of the "little guys" who do well by doing it right.  Oh, and maybe they aren't such little guys, after all.  After all, when the President of The United States of America drops by your store (I kid you not).  You are definitely doing something right!

So congratulations One More Page Books for all you do on behalf of readers and authors alike. If you are in Northern Virginia, stop by and show your support, and if you're not local - find an independent bookstore near you and give them some lovin'.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A high school student's opinion on modern Fantasy and Sci-fi.

I saw this review for The Crown Tower through Twitter. It was very well written, extremely complimentary, and reminded me of one of the reasons why I write books. I love seeing people foster a love for reading. When they are still in's even better!

If it hadn't been for my brother introducing me to Tolkien's works, I might never have become a reader...and certainly not a writer.  So to find Rebekah Drew is not only reading, but also blogging and helping others find books they might love, really made my day.

I've been reading her reviews (both for my books and others) ever since I first saw her review for Theft of Swords back in 2014.  We seem to share a lot of the same tastes in books (not surprising since I write books I like to read). And even when we disagree, I find she gives good support for her ratings of the books.
Blogging, like novel writing, is primarily a labor of love, and I know it would really make Rebekah's days for some people to stop by her site, and see what she's saying about the books she reads. Who knows, you might just find your next great book to love and that would make me, and Rebekah very happy.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Can't believe I missed this anniversary!!

Back in the day, I was tracking my word count as I started my new series, The First Empire. According to the first date recorded there I was 4,200 words into the first book on 2/17/ two years at it as of a few days ago.   I had to take some time off to so some edit work for The Rose and the Thorn and for Hollow World, plus there was some time off for a few conventions...but it's hard to believe that I'm still working on this project.  I'm sure a big part of that is it was originally slated for a trilogy - and then grew into four then later five books.  But I'm loving the new world and the new characters.  Beta feedback has been very helpful and very positive.

I'm about 1/10th through book #5 and Scrivener is tracking my word count to finish on time - and the numbers are going down each day not up, so that is a good thing.  Shouldn't be too much longer now!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Two more weeks for Hollow World Giveaway.

There's just two more weeks left for the Hollow World Goodreads Giveaway. This particular giveaway is open to people in the US, Canada, and United Kingdom.

Because there are some parts of the world who aren't eligible, I'm opening up a second giveaway for people of all countries. What's more, if you are not from those three countries, I'll double your chances to win (to help compensate for the giveaway you can't enter in. Here's a link to the new giveaway. Like the Hollow World Goodreads Giveaway, I'll be selecting two lucky winners.

For those not familiar with this is a bit of information to help you decide if it might be for you:

Ellis Rogers is an ordinary man who is about to embark on an extraordinary journey. All his life he has played it safe and done the right thing but when diagnosed with a terminal illness he’s willing to take an insane gamble. He’s built a time machine in his garage, and if it works, he’ll face a world that challenges his understanding of what it means to be human, what it takes to love, and the cost of paradise. He could find more than a cure for his illness; he might find what everyone has been searching for since time began…but only if he can survive Hollow World. Welcome to the future and a new sci-fantasy thriller from the bestselling author of The Riyria Revelations.

“This is a clever and thought-provoking story, with loads of interesting ideas, some adrenalin-pumping action and plenty of humour...overall an entertaining read with Pax being one of my favourite characters of the year.” — Pauline M. Ross, Fantasy Review Barn 

"This is social science fiction that H.G. Wells or Isaac Asimov could have written, with the cultural touchstones of today. A modernized classic, Hollow World is the perfect novel for both new and nostalgic science fiction readers.” — Justin Landon, Staffer's Book Reviews 

“Michael J. Sullivan has made a name for himself with his excellent series of fantasy novels and Hollow World proves he can deftly tackle science fiction just as skillfully. The ideas are big and the future plausible, this is one of those rare gems you'll be thinking about long after you put it down.” — Bryce Lee, Only the Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 

  • 2014 Goodreads Choice Award Nominee
  • 2014 Barnes and Noble Top Fantasy and Science Fiction Picks for April
  • Only the Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Top 7 books of 2014
  • The Qwillery's Brannigan Cheney’s Top 3 books of 2014
  • The Fictional Hangout’s 2014 Best Books of the Year
  • The Book Probe's 2014 Most Anticipating Sci-Fi Novels
  • Ranting Dragon’s Ten Fantasy and Science-Fiction Novels worth reading in April 2014
  • The Bibliosanctum's Top 10 Reads of 2013
  • Indie Fantasy’s Best Book List for 2014
  • Fantasy Review Barn's Barney Award for outstanding reads of 2013
  • Ranting Dragon's 30 Most Anticipated Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels for 2014

Thanks to everyone reviewers and readers a like that have loved Hollow World. This was a book very near and dear to my heart, and I'm pleased to offer this giveaway in celebration of all the great year-end recognition it has received.  Good luck on the drawing!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

More Hadrian and Royce for Polish Readers

I'm pleased to announce I've signed some contracts to bring the Riyria Chronicle stories to Poland so more Royce and Hadrian for that part of the world.  Getting a foreign language publisher interested in more books from an author is directly related to popularity - or in other words, people buying a lot of the previous books - so thanks so much to all the people who purchased copies of The Riyria Revelations in this part of the world. I don't know when the books will be released yet but it's good to know they are coming.