Friday, October 25, 2013

Authors, Alcohol & Accolades: Volume 9

"Age appears to be best in four things; old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read."
--Francis Bacon

I have returned with another volume in my fun series: Authors, Alcohol & Accolades. Please check Volume 1 for links to all of the prior installments. Each installment showcases some of my favorite authors, and I have returned to highlight more, and to delve into their drinks of choice. I have found this to provide a fascinating glimpse into the life of the writers I enjoy and hope you like the interviews as well. This edition will also be a little different as I will be providing some updates on past guests of this series

You can look forward to further volumes in this series too, and any authors who are interested in participating in future volumes can contact me.

Brian McClellan (Twitter: @BrianTMcClellan)
Brian has written one of my fantasy novels of 2013, Promise of Blood, the first book in the Powder Mage trilogy. He envisions a fantasy world where gunpowder fits into its own unique form of magic, making for a cool idea. This fits into the subgenre of "flintlock fantasy." The book has intriguing characters (including a Master Chef), and the intricate plot ranges from a military coup to ancient legends coming to life. It is fast paced, thought provoking and just a damn good read. Brian has also penned to two short stories set in the same universe, The Girl of Hrusch Avenue and Hope's End, and both are worthy additions. The next novel in the series, The Crimson Campaign, is due out in February 2014 but we can likely expect more short stories whole we wait. This is a must read for all fantasy lovers and receives my highest recommendation.

Brian's Preferences: "I've never really been a drinker. Partly by upbringing, partly by personal taste, alcohol just hasn't ever appealed much to me. I do, however, have a weakness for pop. The very best is a strong ginger ale, like Fever Tree. I like it to have a bit of a kick—to feel some burn in my sinuses and the back of my throat. Apple Beer is another pop with a bit of a punch, but you can't find it readily in the eastern US. A good Italian soda is pretty easy to get your hands on, though, as most of the Italian restaurants serve it (and Cleveland has a lot of Italian restaurants). Since most of my friends do drink, I'll often find myself at a pub or bar and unfortunately most of those don't bother with anything cool and non-alcoholic. My best bet in those cases is a specialty root beer which, depending on the brand, can taste just as good as anything else."

"You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you."
--Ray Bradbury

Updates On Prior Authors: Since the first installment of this series back in December 2011, many of the previous participating authors have published additional books and novels. I have read and enjoyed a number of these new books so wanted to update my readers about what these authors have been doing since their prior contribution to this series. In this Update, I'll mention four authors from prior installments of this series and in future installments, I will update other authors too.

Brett Talley (from Volume 1): Brett impressed me with his first Lovecraftian novel, That Which Should Not Be, and has since crafted a science fiction horror novel, The Void, which deals with dreams and space travel. It too touches upon Lovecraftian themes and will be sure to disturb you, in the best way possible. Most recently, he contributed to Limbus, Inc., a shared world anthology about a mysterious company offering jobs specifically fit to each person. Those jobs are never quite what they seem at first, which sets up the conflict. The stories range in genre and each will intrigue and entertain readers.

Mark Lawrence (from Volume 2): I lauded the debut in Prince of Thorns, and Mark has now completed the trilogy with King of Thorns and Emperor of Thorns. The tale of Jorg is gritty and dark, with wicked humor and intriguing twists. The new volumes live up to the promise of the first, and provide a fitting, and bloody, end to the tale. This is not a trilogy for everyone, but those who enjoy a bit of a darker fantasy will be well rewarded. A highly recommended trilogy. And we can look forward to more books in the Broken Empire setting, with the Prince of Fools, due out in June 2014. I can't wait to see where Mark takes the story this time.

Brad Beaulieu (from Volume 2): I also raved about Brad's debut fantasy novel, The Winds of Khalakovo, the first book in the The Lays of Anuskaya trilogy. He too has finished his trilogy with The Straits of Galahesh and The Flames of Shadam Khoreh. This is a fantasy world that is rich in detail and tends toward a more leisurely read to enjoy the language and complex story. Yet it doesn't lack for action either. Take your time with this trilogy and be richly rewarded. Brad also has published a book of 17 short stories, Lest Our Passage Be Forgotten, which showcases his versatility and includes two stories set in his trilogy's universe. He is working on a new trilogy, unrelated to The Lays, and is sounds like it could be another winner.

Shawn Kupfer (from Volume 5): After his debut of 47 Echo, a fast-paced and exciting military science-fiction novel concerning a future war against China and North Korea, Shawn has followed up with two sequels, Supercritical and the recently released Fear & Anger. In part, it is like a futuristic version of The Dirty Dozen. The two new books are excellent additions to the series, ramping up the action, the stakes and getting deeper into the characters. I previously won one of the author's contests, getting a character named after me in his latest book, Fear & Anger, so that is cool. There is more to come in this series and if you enjoy military SF, then you should definitely check out this series.

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