Monday, April 14, 2014

The 22nd Pikes Peak Writers Conference



One of the highlights of my year as an author is the annual Pikes Peak Writers Conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado. This year’s conference (April 25-27) includes keynote speakers Hank Phillippi Ryan, Jim C. Hines, Gail Carriger, and Chuck Wendig. I’ll be spending three glorious days with hundreds of other writers. And authors. And editors. And agents. And illustrators. Book lovers all. 


While I am excited to be presenting three different workshops, and hosting an Author Read & Critique, the real thrill comes from hanging out with fellow writers. Why? Because writing is, by nature, a solitary act. We spend a lot of time inside our heads, inside our little worlds, basically talking to ourselves. Conferences provide us with a chance to chat with others who understa
nd the quirks that come from being a writer.

As an author, I have to admit that I spend most of my informal conversations with other authors discussing the business side of the publishing world: book sales, the actions of our editors and publicists and agents, who is the next rising star in our particular genre, and cover art are some of the things you will hear a pair of authors quietly discussing in the corner of the hotel bar or over a cup of coffee in the lobby. Writing is a business, after all. A wild, white-water rapids ride of a business, where you sometimes feel like a rock star. But, it is still a business. 

That said, I have never found anything in my life as completely gratifying as writing. From crafting the outline, to struggling through the first draft, to plodding my way through revision after revision, to celebrating the first peek at the cover art, to holding my published book in my hand, this is what I was meant to do. Spending time with other people who feel this way? Priceless. So get thee to a conference at least once in your writing career. You'll be glad you did!


Me with Marie Lu, author of LEGEND

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Cover Reveal Day: THE STAG LORD


I am beyond excited to share the cover of my upcoming adult urban fantasy, The Stag Lord.  Errick A. Nunnally, graphic artist and author, did the cover and really captured the feel of the book.

The Stag Lord
Spence City, an imprint of Spencer Hill Press
October 28, 2014
Goodreads (add it to your To Be Read mountain, er, list today)
 

Jacket Copy
On the run across America from a vengeful shape-shifter, Bannerman “Bann” Boru has only one thing on his mind: keeping himself and his young son, Cor, alive. 

At any cost. 

Until he meets Shay Doyle, healer and member of a secret group of immortal Celtic warriors, the Tuatha De Danaan, living in modern-day Colorado. When Cor is injured, Bannerman is forced to accept her help. He quickly realizes that the golden-haired healer is shield-maiden tough and can hold her own on the field of battle with the big boys. And Shay soon discovers that there is more to Bann than meets the eye. 

Now, with the shape-shifter Cernunnos teaming up with the local pack of Fir Bolgs (Bronze Age creatures with a nasty taste for children), Bannerman, Shay, her wolf-dog, Max, and the rest of the Doyle clan must figure out how to battle one insane god.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Sneak Peek: THE STAG LORD

I've been given the green light from my publicist to show a tiny portion of the cover of The Stag Lord. This book is my first adult novel. Yeah. New sandbox.

We're doing a cover reveal next week (I think) of the whole thing, but for now, here's a sneak peek:



The Stag Lord by Darby Karchut (writing as Darby Kaye)
Spence City, an imprint of Spencer Hill Press
October 28, 2014

On the run across America from a vengeful shape-shifter, Bannerman “Bann” Boru has only one thing on his mind: keeping himself and his young son, Cor, alive.

 At any cost.

Until he meets Shay Doyle, healer and member of a secret group of immortal Celtic warriors, the Tuatha De Danaan, living in modern-day Colorado. When Cor is injured, Bannerman is forced to accept her help. He quickly realizes that the golden-haired healer is shield-maiden tough and can hold her own on the field of battle with the big boys. And Shay soon discovers that there is more to Bann than meets the eye.

Now, with the shape-shifter Cernunnos teaming up with the local pack of Fir Bolgs (Bronze Age creatures with a nasty taste for children), Bannerman, Shay, her wolf-dog, Max, and the rest of the Doyle clan must figure out how to battle one insane god.



Thursday, March 20, 2014

Review of SUNRISE and Interview with Mike Mullin, Author of the award-winning Ashfall series

Sunrise by Mike Mullin

I have been telling everyone about these books for two years, ever since I read the first book in the series, Ashfall. Now, the long wait is finally over, and we crazed fans get to the read the third (and last) book, Sunrise, in the trilogy. I will miss Alex and Darla, but I love this series and will re-read it again.




Book Synopsis
The Yellowstone supervolcano nearly wiped out the human race. Now, almost a year after the eruption, the survivors seem determined to finish the job. Communities wage war on each other, gangs of cannibals roam the countryside, and what little government survived the eruption has collapsed completely. The ham radio has gone silent. Sickness, cold, and starvation are the survivors’ constant companions.
When it becomes apparent that their home is no longer safe and adults are not facing the stark realities, Alex and Darla must create a community that can survive the ongoing disaster, an almost impossible task requiring even more guts and more smarts than ever—and unthinkable sacrifice. If they fail . . . they, their loved ones, and the few remaining survivors will perish.

This epic finale has the heart of Ashfall, the action of Ashen Winter, and a depth all its own, examining questions of responsibility and bravery, civilization and society, illuminated by the story of an unshakable love that transcends a post-apocalyptic world and even life itself.



My Review
Wow. Simply wow. Sunrise, the third book in Mike Mullin’s apocalyptic trilogy, is my favorite of the three. So far. I have hopes that he might write one more.

Sunrise took me on a rollercoaster of a reading ride as I watched Alex continue his journey from snarky teenager to a man and a leader of men (and women) as he struggles to build a life for himself and for those he loves in post-eruption America. An America, by the way, that is facing its own struggle to survive. While there are a few unanswered questions, the ending was just what I wanted for Alex and Darla.

One of my favorite things about this book was the way Mike Mullin wove in bits of cultural references (feudalism, Viking longhouses) as well as literary references (such as Don Quixote, Peter Pan, and even a quote from Edmund Burke). These made the social studies teacher in me very, very happy. What can I say? I’m a geek at heart.

I am so sad to see this series come to an end, but I have loved every minute of Alex’s adventures, even when some of the adventures made me flinch. And cry. And cheer.

While I mourn the ending of the Ashfall series, I am excited to read all of Mike Mullin’s future works.Highly, highly recommended series.
 

  
My Interview with Mike Mullin


Thanks, Mike, for taking time to answer my questions.
My pleasure. Thanks for joining the blog tour! 

1.      What have been some of the “coolest” moments for you as a published author?
There have been many, but my all-time favorite was doing a presentation at the Linn County Juvenile Detention Center. It was supposed to be two forty-five minute talks. But when I got there, they told me their “inmate” population was low, so I’d be speaking to everyone at once. I thought, score, I’m out of here in forty-five minutes! But no—I was expected to fill their whole two hour activity period.
So I quickly converted the talk to a writing workshop and got all the kids to start novels. And their stories were amazing! Kids in juvie have lived interesting lives—often terrible and difficult, yes, but also fascinating.
About a year after that, I got a letter from a kid who has continued to write since that day and credits the writing with helping him to turn his life around. You can read more about it here.

2.      How do you juggle all your appearances with finding time to write?
I don’t do a very good job of it. That’s part of the reason SUNRISE came out a year and a half after ASHEN WINTER—I did too many appearances and not enough writing. I finally forced myself to buckle down—I started going to school appearances early and writing in the car. Big chunks of SUNRISE were written on my laptop in school parking lots. 

3.      How do you stay in shape for your martial arts presentations?
I don’t do a very good job of this, either. I attend taekwondo classes twice a week whenever I’m in town, and I do a lot of walking and bicycle riding, particularly in the summer. But I’ve got to find a better balance between writing, exercise, and my presentation schedule. When my wife, Margaret, finishes her doctoral dissertation, she’s going to start going to taekwondo with me. And I’m going to start taking yoga with her. So that will be four blocks of time per week reserved for exercise. I’m hoping that helps. I’ve also been making an effort to drive less and walk or bike more. So most of my trips to the library, post office, and grocery store now are on foot. That helps some. 

4.      Of the three books in your trilogy, ASHFALL, ASHEN WINTER, and SUNRISE, which one was the most difficult to write?
SUNRISE was easily the most difficult. It’s a very different book from the first two. ASHFALL and ASHEN WINTER each take place over the course of about two months. They’re simple quest novels—Alex needs to find someone, and he goes on a journey through the apocalypse-ravaged countryside to find them.
SUNRISE is far more complicated. There are more characters, and there’s no journey to serve as an overarching plot thread. Instead, Alex is trying to create a place where his family and associates can be safe.
I realized early on that SUNRISE was going to be tough to write, and I asked my editor, Peggy Tierney, how long I could spend on it. She told me, “Take as long as you want to write the best book you can.” And I did. I spent more than two years on SUNRISE. I hope you enjoy it. 

5.     What are you working on now?
I’m about 30,000 words into the first draft of SURFACE TENSION, a young adult thriller. It’s about a teen who sees a group of terrorists crashing an airplane from the ground. He’s the only one who knows how they’re doing it, and they want him dead.



About the author:
Mike Mullin’s first job was scraping the gum off the undersides of desks at his high school. From there, things went steadily downhill. He almost got fired by the owner of a bookstore due to his poor taste in earrings. He worked at a place that showed slides of poopy diapers during lunch (it did cut down on the cafeteria budget). The hazing process at the next company included eating live termites raised by the resident entomologist, so that didn’t last long either. For a while Mike juggled bottles at a wine shop, sometimes to disastrous effect. Oh, and then there was the job where swarms of wasps occasionally tried to chase him off ladders. So he’s really glad this writing thing seems to be working out. Mike holds a black belt in Songahm Taekwondo. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife and her three cats. Ashen Winter is his second novel. His debut, Ashfall, was named one of the top five young adult novels of 2011 by National Public Radio, a Best Teen Book of 2011 by Kirkus Reviews, and a New Voices selection by the American Booksellers Association



Buy Links for Sunrise:
 Enter for a chance to win a complete set of the Ashfall series here! Rafflecopter


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Cover Reveal: MARTYR by A.R. Kahler

 Another awesome book coming this October from Spencer Hill Press. Check this one out!


Book Blurb:
Three years have passed since magic destroyed the world.
Those who remain struggle to survive the monsters roaming the streets, fighting back with steel and magic—the very weapons that birthed the Howls in the first place.
Tenn is one such Hunter, a boy with the ability to harness the elements through ancient runes. For years, the Hunters have used this magic to keep the monsters at bay, but it's never been enough to truly win the war. Humans are losing.
When Tenn falls prey to an incubus named Tomás and his terrifying Kin, Tenn learns there's more to this than a fight for survival. He's a pawn in a bigger game, one with devastating consequences. If he doesn't play his part, it could cost him his life, his lover and his world.


Alex's Bio:
Alex is many things, but first and foremost, he's a Sagittarius.
In the past few years he's taught circus in Amsterdam and Madrid, gotten madly lost in the Scottish wilderness, drummed with Norse shamans, and received his Masters in creative writing from Glasgow University. And that's the abbreviated list.
He is the author of the tantalizing CIRQUE DES IMMORTELS trilogy, which debuted in 12/12 from 47North. MARTYR, the first book in his post-apocalyptic YA fantasy series, THE HUNTED, will be published 10/14 by Spencer Hill Press.
When he's not writing or climbing in the rafters, he's probably outside, staring at the clouds. And seeing as he now resides in Seattle, there are clouds aplenty.
He can be followed on Twitter @ARKahler or at www.arkahler.com