Book Review – Best Served Cold, by Joe Abercrombie

Bear with me here. I’m going to start my review of Best Served Cold by talking very briefly about another of my favorite books, China Mieville’s Perdido Street Station. My favorite aspect of PSS was Mieville’s relentless use of language to impart an overwhelming feeling of grime. For all its cast of entertaining characters, for me the star of... Continue Reading →

Book Review – Arm of the Sphinx, by Josiah Bancroft

Having been delighted with Josiah Bancroft’s Senlin Ascends, I dove straight into its sequel, Arm of the Sphinx. Top-line verdict: it’s wonderful. I liked it nearly as much as the first book, which is to say that if forced to assign stars, I’d give it 4.9 out of 5. AotS is a more complex book... Continue Reading →

Elanor and the Trail Junction

(This is a companion piece to Kira and the Gold Coin from a few years ago.) It is late morning in the Hundred Mile Wilderness, a section of particularly uninhabited forestland in central Maine that is best known for containing the most challenging section of the Appalachian Trail. My family is staying at the Gorman... Continue Reading →

Book Review – John Crowley’s Little, Big

Only once before, I think, have I finished a 500+ page book and discovered I could not easily describe what it was about. (That was David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest.) But it has just happened again, with the odd faerie-tale Little, Big by John Crowley. I chose the book on the strength of multiple recommendations (and... Continue Reading →

Asking People to Punch You

I'd like to talk a bit about Beta Readers. A Beta Reader is someone willing to read a draft version of a book and offer their opinions to the author. While it’s a bonus to find a Reader who is themselves an author or editor, there are no qualifications beyond a desire to think critically... Continue Reading →

Ye Olde Language of Fantasy

I’ve started listening to the first book in Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy, Sanderson being a conspicuous gap in my coverage of modern fantasy. I noticed early on his use of the word “ashmount” to describe what I assume are volcanoes, and that observation prompted me to write this piece on the use of vocabulary and... Continue Reading →

Showing, Telling, Filtering, Grounding

“Show, don’t tell.” If you’re a writer or have ever taken a writing class, you’ve heard this advice, probably many times over.  Readers want drama, not dry explanations. Give them something they can visualize!  Don’t say “Joe became angry.”  Say “Joe slammed his fist down on the table. His face turned an alarming shade of... Continue Reading →

“How’s Your Book Doing?”

On a regular basis I am asked some variant of the question, “How is your book doing?”  Here, let me answer that.  Warning: numbers! Today is May 14, 2016. The Ventifact Colossus has been out for just over four months.  In that time it has sold 513.91 copies. If you’re reading this blog, chances are... Continue Reading →

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑