Where the Trains Turn November 19, 2014 Where the Trains Turn Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen His imagination runs wild. The Walk November 12, 2014 The Walk Dennis Etchison Creative differences can be brutal. Where the Lost Things Are November 5, 2014 Where the Lost Things Are Rudy Rucker and Terry Bisson Everything has to wind up somewhere. A Kiss with Teeth October 29, 2014 A Kiss with Teeth Max Gladstone Happy Halloween.
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Showing posts by: Jon Sprunk click to see Jon Sprunk's profile
Fri
Feb 7 2014 4:00pm
Excerpt

Blood and Iron (Excerpt)

Jon Sprunk

Jon Sprunk Blood and Iron The Black Earth

Check out Blood and Iron, the first installment in Jon Sprunk’s new epic fantasy series The Book of The Black Earth, available March 11th from Prometheus Books!

It starts with a shipwreck following a magical storm at sea. Horace, a soldier from the west, had joined the Great Crusade against the heathens of Akeshia after the deaths of his wife and son from plague. When he washes ashore, he finds himself at the mercy of the very people he was sent to kill, who speak a language and have a culture and customs he doesn’t even begin to understand.

Not long after, Horace is pressed into service as a house slave. But this doesn’t last. The Akeshians discover that Horace was a latent sorcerer, and he is catapulted from the chains of a slave to the halls of power in the queen’s court. Together with Jirom, an ex-mercenary and gladiator, and Alyra, a spy in the court, he will seek a path to free himself and the empire’s caste of slaves from a system where every man and woman must pay the price of blood or iron. Before the end, Horace will have paid dearly in both.

[Read an Excerpt]

Fri
Feb 24 2012 5:00pm

Looking Back From The End

Shadow’s Master by Jon SprunkNow that the last book of my trilogy, Shadow’s Master, has come out, I’ve been looking back over the last four to five years of my life with a fresh perspective. When I first began collecting ideas for a new series of books that would eventually become the Shadow Saga, I never contemplated that those baby-steps would take me so far. I had been writing for many years already, without much success beyond a few published short stories, and I was actually on the verge of giving up. Not giving up writing, because I didn’t think that was possible for me, but giving up on the dream of seeing my books on the bookstore shelves.

[Read more . . .]

Sat
Oct 29 2011 10:30am

The Stories That Shape Us

There are a lot of things that influence us as children, things that help to shape us into the people we will become. Friends, family, television (oh, you rotten temptress), religion, and sports, just to name a few.

For me, it was books. Specifically science fiction and fantasy books. They got me through boring afternoons and kept me up too late at night. They took me to faraway (and sometimes imaginary) places and introduced me to people different than myself. As such, I credit books for much of who I am today, for better or worse.

[Dive in...]

Fri
Oct 21 2011 3:00pm

Backstory: How Much Is Enough?

Some novels relate the events of a few days, or even less, while others span generations. Yet no matter how long a time period your story covers, there is always something that came before. Those events that impact the storyline are called backstory.

[Read more]

Thu
Jul 28 2011 4:01pm
Excerpt

Shadow’s Lure (Excerpt)

Jon Sprunk

Please enjoy this excerpt from Shadow’s Lure by Jon Sprunk, out now from Pyr Books. This sequel to Shadow’s Son continues Caim’s story and expands upon the nature of his ghostly companion, Kit.

***

There was no gate in front, so he followed the uneven path of stones up to the main house and pushed open the weather-beaten door. The dim interior swallowed the daylight as he stepped across the threshold. The smoky air stung Caim’s eyes. The front room took up most of the ground floor. Its walls were bare timber joined with wattle. Two scarred wooden pillars supported the low roof. There were no windows, and no bar either, just a doorway covered by a sheet of dingy canvas leading to a back room, possibly the kitchen. Two long trestle tables occupied much of the floor. Five men sat around the first, smoking from clay pipes and drinking. By their simple clothing and muddy boots, he took them for farmers or ranch hands.

[Read more]

Thu
Jul 7 2011 4:03pm

A Love Letter to Firefly

One sultry evening in the autumn of 2005 while vacationing in Disney World, my wife and I passed a theater. The film playing was Serenity. We had seen a few episodes of Firefly on TV before it was cancelled, so we were familiar with the show. Having nothing better to do, we bought two tickets.

I was enthralled. Before the end credits rolled, I was determined to get the complete first (and only) season of Firefly as soon as possible and catch up on what I had missed.

[To join the Shindig...]

Thu
May 12 2011 4:03pm

Conventions Big and Small

In the last couple years I’ve attended two major conventions, World Fantasy in San Diego (2009) and Dragon Con in Atlanta (2010). This year I decided to dial it back with a slate of smaller local and regional conventions.

My decision was made partly out of financial pragmatism. Big conventions, unless they are held in your hometown, can be expensive to attend. Including airline tickets and three or four nights at a host hotel, you can be talking more than a thousand dollars. Also, I wanted to see how some of the local cons compared.

First, I want to talk about the Big Ones.

[Read more about The Big Ones....]

Mon
Apr 4 2011 5:01pm

In The Flow

There are a lot of things I love about writing. The fame, the fortune, the hordes of screaming fans...*cough* Please pardon me as I clean up the soft drink I just snorted through my nose.

Really, writing is both a wonderful and terrible choice for a career, but one of the best parts is an experience so sweet and pure that it truly rivals the other great pleasures in life. No, it’s not the first time you sign a book for your father.

I’m talking about flow.

[To ride the flow, click here...]

Thu
Mar 3 2011 4:06pm

Novel Building: The Journey from Seedling to Bookshelf

The most frequent questions I’m asked at book signing and other public events are about writing and publishing a book. How long does it take to write a novel? Where do you start? And what happens after you’re done? In this blog I’ll cover some of the different aspects of the process from my perspective. I’ll start at the beginning: the story seed.

[To watch the seed grow....]

Fri
Feb 11 2011 10:37am

Roles That Bind: Roleplaying Games and the Fantasy Genre

Dungeons & Dragons home campaignMy earliest attempts at writing fell largely into two categories: emulating my favorite authors, and stories based on roleplaying games. For me it was a natural progression from reading fantasy to roleplaying to writing. My first novels were little more than extrapolations of these mutually-bound activities. (What if Sir Galahad existed in a Gary Gygax world? What if a team of adventurers acted like the characters from Mission: Impossible?) Those novels were (thankfully) never published, but I learned a great deal from them. Let me sum up some of those lessons.

[Focus fire here for more on this...]

Mon
Jan 31 2011 3:37pm

Writing What You Don’t Know

Black dragon writing art by Ciruelo Cabral

I’m sure many of you writers have heard the old adage, “Write what you know.” I have, over and over, but I’ve always wondered, what about us speculative fiction types? Are we supposed to enroll in NASA so we can experience a spacewalk before writing about life beyond Earth’s gravitational field? Should we don suits of medieval armor and traipse across the countryside looking for dragons to slay (and dodging the men in white coats)?

[To see how to avoid a padded room....]

Mon
Jan 24 2011 2:33pm

Characters: What Are They Good For?

GandalfThere is a memo stuck beside my computer screen. It’s the only writing advice hanging in my den. Four words in capital letters.

“Character is the story.”

I don’t know if it’s a maxim or an article of faith, but whenever I get stuck in my writing, when I can’t make heads or tails of what I’m trying to say, I go back to the characters. For all the theories about plot and structure, narrative versus dialogue, I don’t give much of a damn about a story if the characters don’t grab me. In fact, characters are usually the first thing I remember about my favorite stories. They’re like old friends.

[Read more...]

Thu
Jan 13 2011 2:22pm

Worldbuilding: The Art of Everything

Dr. Sheldon Cooper on the television show The Big Bang Theory explains physics as “the study of the universe and everything in it.” Most days, that sounds like my job, too.

As writers, one of our most important duties is to create settings which entertain, enlighten, and (most of all) captivate. In essence, we are asked to do the impossible—to create a fictional world  every bit as nuanced and detailed as the real world. No, strike that. We are tasked with creating a more nuanced and detailed world because many readers pick up our books to escape reality.

[Read more...]

Tue
Jun 1 2010 5:19pm
Excerpt

Shadow’s Son (Excerpt)

Jon Sprunk

Enjoy this preview from our friends at Pyr Books!

A killer stalked in the shadows.

Hidden within the gloom shrouding the hall’s lofty ceiling, he crept across the rafters to the flicker of the torch fires below. As unseen as the wind, silent as Death itself.