Sunday, December 21, 2014

Audible's Five-star favorites


One of the cool things audible does each year, is provide a list of the books that received the most 5-star reviews broken down by a number of categories. In addition they provide their "Best of Everything" indicating the books with the highest 5-star ratings regardless of category. I'm pleased to say I've made the "Best of Everything" twice.
  • 2012: Theft of Swords
  • 2013: The Crown Tower
While I didn't have any books hit this year, there are a lot of great ones that did, and I wanted to share them in the hopes of you finding a great new book to try.  Here's the selections for "The Best of Everything"
  •  The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
  • Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
  • The One by Kiera Cass
  • Yes Please by Amy Poehler
  • Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
  • Influx by Daniel Suarez
  • Shattered by Kevin Hearne
  • Capital by Thomas Piketty
  • The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness
Seeing as how I write Science Fiction and Fantasy, this list is also one I care a great deal about.  So here are this years top-rated audio books for those genres:

  • The Dragons of Dorcastle by Jack Campbell
  • Influx by Daniel Suarez
  • Skin Game by Jim Butcher
  • Monster Hunter Nemesis by Larry Correia
  • Shattered by Kevin Hearne
  • 299 Days: The Preparation by Glen Tate
  • Tech World by B.V. Larson
  • Prince Lestat by Anne Rice
  • Lock In by John Scalzi
  • Ex-Purgatory by Peter Clines
  • The Girl with all the Gifts by M.R. Carey
  • The Magician's Land by Lev Grossman
  • Earth Awakens by Orson Scott ard and Aaron Johnson
  • Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
  • Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor
  • Terms of Enlistment by Marko Kloos
  • The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness
  • Off to be the Wizard by Scott Meyer
Happy Holidays and I hope you find something great to listen to!

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Best Book That I Listened to This Year


The fine people over at audible asked me and a 23 other authors to weigh in our favorite listens and here is the answer I gave:


Here is a link to the full list.

For those that are lazy, but still curious, here is what each person picked.
  • Anthony Doerr - We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
  • Lisa Genova - You are a Badass by Jen Sincero
  • Lev Grossman - Her Majesty's Secret Service by Ian Fleming
  • Michael J. Sullivan - The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
  • Jennifer Probst - Heroes Are My Weakness by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
  • Kevin Hearne - Dirty Magic by Jaye Wells
  • B. V. Larson - Foundation and Empire by Isaac Asimov
  • Debbie Macomber - Wonder by R. J. Palacio
  • Chris Bohjalian - One More Thing by B.J. Novak
  • John Connolly - Light of the World - by Lee Burke
  • K. A. Tucker - YOU by Caroline Kepnes
  • Dan Bucatinsky - Unbearable Lightness by Portia De Rossi
  • Jasinda Wilder - Sand by Hugh Howey
  • Willy Vlautin - Hangover Square by Patrick Hamilton
  • Suzanne Young - The Dream Thieves 0 by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Caroline Kepnes - Big Little Lies by Caroline Lee
  • Ilsa J. Bick - Dead Mountain by Donnie Eichar
  • Becca Fitzpatrick - Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
  • Christina Lauren - Dark Skye by Kresley Cole
  • A.American - The Martian by Andy Weir
  • Lisa Renee Jones - The Rookie by Scott Sigler
  • Katy Evans - Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
  • Andrew Peterson - My Sister's Grave by Robert Dugoni
  • Kathleen Brooks - The Wrong Todd by Donna McDonald
What's your favorite listen of the year?

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Audible's 2014 Best Books in Fantasy


Yep it's time for yet another "best of" list. This one brought to us by the amazing people at Audible.com. So here are their picks for the Best Fantasy of 2014.


The full list includes:
  • Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson narrated by Michael Kramer & Kate Reading
  • The Legend of Drizzt: The Collected Stories by R. A. Salvatore with multiple narrators
  • Prince Lestat: The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice narrated by Simon Vance
  • The Book of Life: All Souls, Book 3 by Deborah Harkness narrated by Jennifer Ikeda
  • The Magician's Land: The Magicians, Book 3 by by Lev Grossman narrated by Mark Bramhall
Some fantasy showed up on some of the other lists as well, including:

  • Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
  • Written in My Own Heart's Blood: Outlander, Book 8 by Diana Gabaldon
  • Skin Game: A Novel of the Dresden Files, Book 15 by Jim Butcher
  • Monster Hunter Nemesis by Larry Correia
  • Red Rising by Pierce Brown
  • The Girl with all the Gifts by M.R. Carey
  • Dark Eden by Chris Becket
  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

  • The Book of Life: All Souls, Book 3 by Deborah Harkness narrated by Jennifer Ikeda
  • Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
  • The Magician's Land: The Magicians, Book 3 by by Lev Grossman narrated by Mark Bramhall
So go grab some earbuds and give a listen, there's these and plenty more good listens over at audible.com.

Friday, December 12, 2014

NPR's 2014’s Great Reads in Science Fiction & Fantasy


NPR's staff and critics came up with a list of 250 titles they loved for 2014. When breaking them down to the science fiction and fantasy category, here is what they came up with (and a link for you to learn more):


The format of the images makes it a bit hard to see exactly what was picked, so here is the full list for your reading pleasure.

  • The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
  • On Such a Full Sea by Chang-Rae Lee
  • The Inheritance Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin
  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  • Ancillary Sword by Anne Leckie
  • Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix
  • How to be Happy by Elenor Davis
  • Definitely Maybe by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky
  • Aviary Wonders Inc. by Kate Samworth
  • Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan
  • The Martian by Andy Weir
  • Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan
  • Afterparty by Daryl Gregory
  • The Memory Garden by Mary Rickert
  • The Bees by Laline Paull
  • Valour and Vanity by Mary Robinette Kowal
  • The Man with the Compount Eyes by Mu Wing-Yi
  • Unexpected Stories by Octavia E. Butler
  • The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang & Sonny Liew
  • California by Edan Lepucki
  • Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood
  • Little Nemo Dream Another Dream by Winsor McCay
  • Heap House by Edward Carey
  • The Hawley Book of the Dead by Chrysler Szarlan
  • Whiskey Tango Foxtrot by David Shafer
  • The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan
  • The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber
  • The Night Gardener by Johnathan Auxier
  • The Peripeheral by William Gibson
  • The Usagi Yojimbo Saga Volume 1 by Stan Sakai
  • A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd
  • The Last Illlusion by Porochista Khakpour
  • The Three-body Problem by Cixin Liu
  • The Adventures of Beekle by Dan Santat
  • The End of the Sentence by Maria Dahvana Headley & Kat Howard
  • Fatale Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips
  • LightSpeed Women Destroy Science Fiction Special Issue
  • The Apex Book of World SF 3
  • Kaleidoscope by multiple autohrs
  • Quest by Aaron Becker
  • The Wrenchies by Farel Dalrymple
  • Rat Queens Vol. 1: Sass And Sorcery  by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch
  • Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer

Thursday, December 11, 2014

This kind of thing benefits no one


I must say that I get a bit tired of hearing how self-published books scam readers with fake reviews and artificial rankings. I've been in (and watched) the self-publishing world for a long time now, and I can tell you the professional self-published get their sales and rankings based on what they should be...readers who love books and say so.  Yes, there are a few bad eggs who operate in disreputable ways, and this undermines an industry that deserves better. Given how self-publishing has benefited both writers (making full-time income), and readers (inexpensive books they love), it's sad to see these things happens.

Which brings me to All About A's.  A book whose description says, "Have you ever wondered about the letter A? It's the first letter of the alphabet, but why? Who created it? This books purpose is to answer these questions, maybe. So sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride."

But the problem...is it's a book with six chapters and the entire content is just the letter A repeated over and over and over again.  I'm sure it will be removed from Amazon soon, so I'm not going to bother posting a link.  But it's current #222 in free stories:

Well, it's free so maybe some people downloaded it just as a joke or to show others.  But this book is also in the Kindle Unlimited Library, and if a big part of that 222 ranking is through "borrows" it's going to hurt the legitimate authors in the program. This is because regardless of price, everyone in Kindle Unlimited gets an equal cut of a pool divided by a number of borrows. So, I do feel bad for the authors whose paychecks will be a little smaller until this book is removed (hopefully Amazon won't give this books author any cut and it will be a moot point).

But, here's the part that really gets me...the reviews.  A 4.6 rating and 119 of them.


Are they paid reviews? Are they friends of the person who did this book? I've even seen comments on a writing forum who thinks it was done by one of the big publishers, no doubt to hold up as an example about the "quality" of self-publishing.

So, I'm not sure if this is (a) a joke (b) someone trying to make a point (c) someone hoping for a viral 15 minutes of fame or (d) just someone trying to cash in with next to no effort. But no matter what the truth is, it's really not helping anyone, and I'm really sorry to see it released.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tenacious Reader's 10 New Series or Standalones to Look for In 2015


Tenacious Reader put together a really great list for books they are looking forward to in 2015. Here's a link. What's on it?  Well, I'm glad you asked!


For easy searching, here are the titles:
  • The City Stained Red by Sam Sykes
  • Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear
  • A Darker Shade of Magic by  V.E. Schwab
  • Those Above by  Daniel Polansky
  • Clash of Eagles by Alan Smale
  • Uprooted by by Naomi Novik
  • Time Salvager by Wesley Chu
  • A Crown for Cold Silver by Alex Marshall
  • Armada by Ernest Cline
  • The Dinosaur Lords by Victor Mil├ín
There was also an honorable mention:
  • The Fireman by Joe Hill 
A lot of great books to look forward to!  Add some to your "to be read" pile today!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Goodreads 201: Advanced Tips for Driving Book Discovery


I've made no secret about my unabashed love for Goodreads as both an author and a reader. The only downside is the knowledge that I'll never make it through all the books that are constantly being added to my "to be read pile." But I love the community and their enthusiasm for the written word. I think Goodreads is doing an excellent job fulfilling their mission "to Help Readers Find and Share Books They Love."

At this years BEA (Book Expo America) Patrick Brown, Director of Author Marketing, did a great presentation on tips that authors can use to make their books more discoverable.  Yes, I know that's not a word, but I'm exercising the authorial right to expand the English language through usage. I wasn't there, and I "sorta" knew it was occurring, because I started to see tweets about my name being mentioned. Yesterday, my wife ran across the online version of Patrick's slideshow.


This presentation covers a wide range of topics, and provide great tips. I highly recommend you check it out. It's well worth the time to watch.  Here is some of what is covered:

  • Readers enthusiasm with author interaction (Bella Andre & Stephen King)
  • Author on-line meetup Groups (John Green)
  • Ask the Author Program (relatively new feature. I was part of the the debut launch and it's now available for any goodreads author
  • Author's reviewing books they've read
  • Author's posting bookclub discussion topics
  • Making "quizes" for readers to show their knowledge of your books
  • Publisher lead "re-readings" for earlier books in a series just before the launch of a new title
  • Add Goodreads Reviews to your site
  • Word-of-Mouth sharing through Goodreads News feeds
  • Giveaways as social ads
  • Goodreads notifys people who have shelved a book on release day
  • Personal selection emails - sends a notification to anyone who rated author's book at least 3 stars
  • Creating Book Challenges
  • Author Groups (both public and private)
  • Be a reader first!!  Participate in groups, review books.

This is  just one of several useful slideshow presentations put on by Goodreads. Here are some others worth checking out (there may be some overlap in content):