Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Big Fat, Better than Anything, (US only) Bigger than Your Head Giveaway

"No-one - priest, scholar, or king - knew who or what had drawn the stone from the mountain and shaped it into an arch. It had been standing on high for hundreds of years before the godhouse was built below. Perhaps thousands. Its origins were no longer considered as important as its message, a warning that in sunlight gleamed for miles and in starlight flashed and sparkled. For beyond the arch solid mountain sheered off to a mist, shielding both sight and sound. The Edge of the World." More on that later.

So from my overflowing boxes I have pulled out the following to give away:



  • 2 Jo Fletcher Books (UK edition) Tower Broken hardbacks
  • 2 Jo Fletcher Books (UK edition) Tower Broken trade paperbacks
  • 2 Night Shade Books (US edition) Tower Broken hardbacks
  • 8 Night Shade Books (US edition) Knife Sworn hardbacks
  • 4 Jo Fletcher Books (UK edition) Knife Sworn paperbacks
  • 2 Jo Fletcher Books (UK edition) Knife Sworn trade paperbacks

That's twenty books! TWENTY!! That has to be the biggest, big fat, better than anything, bigger than your head giveaway ever. (Even though unfortunately my wallet can afford only to send within the U.S.)

"But how do I win?"



Here's how to win. In the comments below, write the next paragraph to my unfinished story from 1998. Since it's impossible for me to choose the BEST answer, I will have to choose randomly. In your comment, please indicate which book you would prefer to win.

Good luck!




Sunday, September 15, 2013

Unforgivable Curses

There have been some interesting discussions on the author-critic dynamic of late.

This appeared on a now-defunct forum and I'm reposting with permission of the author.

 

Unforgivable Curses

Because I’m such a muggle I can’t get myself a life sentence simply by uttering one of three different words or phrases. You know, crucio, or that one that sounds like abracadabra. As a writer though, I can get myself chased by a sizable horde of internet villagers, complete with pitchforks and torches, with a simple unforgivable phrase. For the wizard it’s all about the exact wording and pronunciation (it’s not leviosa, it’s leviosa), for the writer it’s less about the words and more about where you put them. If you place them in the comments section of a negative review... bang!

Now common sense and anecdote are sufficient to furnish a writer with the notion that replying to negative reviews is by and large a waste of time. The reviewer has an opinion, they’re perfectly entitled to it, and they’re incredibly unlikely to change it because of anything you’ve got to say about the matter.  Couldn’t convince them in 400 pages? 5 more lines isn’t going to swing it.

On the flip side, readers of the review will add their comments as invited, and many of them will have different opinions about the book in hand. We like to read those different opinions – that’s why the comments section is there. So why should a writer avoid commenting on a negative review of their own book? Answer: “Escalation”. It will often be the case that one comment leads to a reply and, step-by-step along a path paved with less-than-good intentions, the exchange descends into flames.

However, things seem to have moved on. Somewhere along the line the concept that a writer is ill-advised to comment on a negative review seems to have morphed into a law that a writer may not comment on a negative review, and that if they do they have committed some crime for which they must not be forgiven and must be punished. Even slight and innocuous incidents, occasions where someone who knows the writer might have commented, occasions where fans of the writer’s work may have commented, become celebrated events. Twitter lights up. Fevered messages are exchanged. The details are utterly unimportant – someone has committed the unforgivable crime and the troops must be marshaled  WTF, they say. The shops run short of exclamation points and question marks. It’s a fete day, people unfold their blankets and open picnic hampers to watch the train wreck. Indignant goodfolk declare they were on the very verge of buying that self same book but now wouldn’t piss on the writer in question were they on fire. The hit squad sets off for Goodreads to set up new accounts and dole out a ritual punishment of 1*s. It’s another happy day of righteous anger.




Rewind. The writer has done something that’s ill-advised because it may lead to an exchange that reflects poorly on them. They haven’t scanned and posted their klu-klux-klan membership card. They haven’t reversed over a baby and driven away howling with laughter... They haven’t yet even had a heated exchange that reflects poorly on them. The reviewer is happier than any Larry you care to mention because site traffic is through the roof and that the person whose book they didn’t like has taken the trouble to register their opinion. The reviewer is not sitting in a shaded corner surrounded by concerned well-wishers as they fan themselves and try to recover from the shock. They have not been intimidated by BIG WRITING.

Unprofessional!  scream the fevered masses. How dare this person open their mouth in the place where comments are invited? How can they live with themselves having let down the side and brought shame upon the well ordered ranks of famously conventional law-abiding folk that constitute the writing fraternity, those regimented pros who make the ancient order of chartered accountants look like wild anarchists on an acid trip. For shame. Weep. Were we only to bind the corpses of the world’s literary giants with copper wire the energy crisis would be finished, so fast must they be spinning in their graves at the thought of an unprofessional writer.


So here’s the thing. I’m not a rebel without a cause. I’m not saying look at me I’m craaaaazy, how cool is that. But I’m also not going to be dictated to about what I can and can’t say and where I can and can’t say it by the internet police, however self-appointed they may be and however shiny the badge they made. If I want to respond to a negative review - and 99% of the time I don’t – then I will.






Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Doing Doodles

So there are signed books, and everyone seems to like those. A signature takes 3 seconds and can triple the price of a book (or more, depending where you try to buy them). But for the real devotee there are doodled books! Like all collectables the added value is in the eye of the beholder, something ineffable. A first edition really isn't any different from a second edition (there are often far more first editions than second or third). A signature is just a tiny smear of ink) but it's a connection to the author above and beyond the mechanically reproduced words, and people like it. A signed first edition of some famous book from a few decades back can fetch tens of thousands. True, mine are unlikely to ever be worth more than a nice meal, but hey - they will last longer!

A doodle is something more. Not a signature that's bashed out thousands of times, but something chosen and executed with imagination, something that took time and thought. It may not be great art, but it's far more personal than a signature.

There's a site Doodled Books that sells doodled books by all manner of authors. Some of them are very good, some very funny, and some even both. Anyway, it takes a helluva lot longer than a signature and they pay me £5 ($7.50) for doing one, but I enjoy scribbling and each one is a book sold and more than that it's a book someone is going to keep and look after.

So, if you want one here are the kind of things on offer. Go check 'em out!



Friday, February 15, 2013

Next Jo Fletcher Books Giveaway: The Snowmelt River by Frank P. Ryan!

Previous winners yet to claim their prizes:

ally r (Irenicon)
Roger Bellini (The Vampire Shrink and Blood Therapy)

Remember to send your snail mail address to Mazarkis (dot) Williams (at) gmail (dot) com! Thanks!



On to this week's contest: The Snowmelt River by Frank P. Ryan!

Awesome cover, right? You want it, right?

On the summit of the fabled mountain Slievenamon in Ireland there is a doorway to an ancient land of terrible power. The gate of Feimhin has lain closed for centuries, the secret of its opening long lost. But now four orphans drawn together by Fate must pass through the portal to face their destinies. What they find beyond is the enchanted but war-ravaged world of Tír, a strange land populated by monsters. Here death waits at every corner and they must learn to fight if they are to survive. And they'd better learn quickly, because their enemy, the Tyrant of the Wastelands, is growing in power.

Listen up, U.S. people! This book is not available here! This is your chance to get your paws on it.

But of course I'll make you work for it. Come up with a cool monster for me and you will be entered to win the book. Good luck!

+ + +

This contest is now closed. The winner is Richard Auffrey! Congratulations!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

This Week's Giveaway: Double-Duty The Vampire Shrink Paperback & Blood Therapy Trade Paperback!

 This week is double duty with two (2) Lynda Hilburn books! The Vampire Shrink and Blood Therapy are here for you to win! What if you were a psychologist and your clients thought they were vampires?


Kismet Knight is a young psychologist with a growing clinical practice, and she's always looking for something to give her the edge in her chosen career. When her new client turns out to be a Goth teenager who desperately wants to become a vampire, Kismet is inspired to become the vampire shrink, offering her services to people who believe they are undead. Kismet herself, as a scientist, knows it's hokum, but she's looking at it in a purely psychoanalytic light, already imagining the papers she's going to write on this strange subculture.

That's until she meets the leader of a vampire coven, a sexy, mysterious man who claims to be a powerful 800-year-old vampire, and she is pulled into a whirlwind of inexplicable events that start her questioning everything she once believed about the paranormal.


OK to enter this week's contest, please come up with a name and personality for a vampire! On Friday I will roll my die and choose a winner. The winner will please please send me his/her/hir mailing info to

Mazarkis (dot) Williams (at) gmail (dot) com,

and the wonderful Nicola Budd at Jo Fletcher Books will then send his/her/hir copies! Easy!

Previous winners who have not yet claimed their books:

Ally r (Irenicon)
Johann Pollard (City's Son)

Follow the instructions above to get your copies!

Thanks and good luck!

++++

This competition is now closed. The winner is Roger Bellini! Congratulations!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Waiting for Nemo

I have seen the epic satellite photo of the storm that's hovering over me right now, but all I get from it at the moment is sinus pressure. Still, in the spirit of cataloguing this historic event, I have begun to take pictures a few hours apart. Right now I've only two, this one
which shows my car shortly after the state of emergency was declared, and this one
taken three hours later. Nothing too bad yet. If my car isn't so interesting here's a better picture my sister took from the attic with all our New England-y rooftops.

More later! The subway and commuter trains have already shut down for the day and nobody is allowed on the roads after 4. Should get interesting, or we have crawled to a halt for no reason.

Update: Well Nemo seems to be here. I took these pics


The first at 5:00, and there was very little change from 3:00. But just now (at 11) I could not get the screen open, for it was coated with snow and frozen shut. The biggest snows are supposed to fall between now and 5:00 am, twice as much as we got already. We'll see if that happens.

Update:

Well we certainly got a lot of snow, and it's still snowing as of 10:40 am. Here's what my car looks like now:

Fun times!
 

Monday, February 4, 2013

This Week's Jo Fletcher Books Giveaway: The City's Son by Tom Pollock!

Important notice: I am still searching for one of my winners. The user known as Ally r won a copy of Irenicon by Aidan Harte!



This week's Jo Fletcher Books giveaway is a trade paperback copy of The City's Son by Tom Pollock! I'm very excited about this one because my son loves it. But you don't have to believe him - look at this starred review from Publisher's Weekly!

*"Glittering and gritty . . . Gorgeously written and brimming with bizarre urban creatures, this darkly imagined and sometimes painful tale should delight fans of Neil Gaiman, China Miéville, and Holly Black."








Running away from her traitorous best friend and her distant father, teenage graffiti artist Beth Bradley is looking for a new home. What she finds is Filius, the ragged crown prince of London’s underworld—a place where glassy spiders steal voices on telephone wires, railwraiths terrorize the train tubes, and deadly scaffwolves stalk the shadows.

Reach, the malign god of demolition, is on a rampage, destroying the creatures of hidden London to lay claim to the skyscraper throne. Caught up in helping Filius raise an alleyway army to battle Reach, Beth soon forgets her old life. But when the enemy claims her best friend, Beth must choose between the acceptance she finds in the streets and the life she left behind.

I think Skyscraper Throne is a great name for a series. There are lots of fantastical thrones out there, from my own Petal Throne to George R R Martin's Iron Throne. So I have an idea. Name your own fantasy/SF throne to enter this contest.

On Friday I will pull out one of my many-sided dice and roll up a winner. The winner will email his/her/hir address (I hope) to Mazarkis (dot) Williams (at) gmail (dot) com and shortly thereafter receive his/her/hir copy.

Good luck!

+++

This contest has now ended. We had some great throne ideas! The winner is Johann Pollard! Congratulations! Please sending your snail mail info to mazarkis (dot) williams (at) gmail (dot) com!