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Archive for December, 2012

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Since Everybody Else Is Doing A Best Of List…

A couple weeks ago I found out that CITY OF THE LOST wound up on the Kirkus Reviews Best 100 list for fiction in 2012. Exciting? Absolutely. Surprising? You betcha. What I hadn’t realized until last night is that it also ended up on their Top Science Fiction & Fantasy of 2012 list. Makes sense. They just split out the SF&F books from the list and boo-yah! There ya go.

And this is where it gets weird for me. Seeing the book in a sea of ninety-nine other books is fantastic. Seeing it with ELEVEN other books is a tad daunting. I now get to see the other authors that they felt were worthy of this honor.

Authors like Charles Stross, Elizabeth Bear, Jack McDevitt. These are authors who I would honestly have a problem talking to over the fan squee oozing from my pores. I was on a panel one time with Tim Powers and I was fine during the panel because I was being Professional Author Type Person (For A Given Value of Professional), but I was so freaked out over it being TIM FUCKING POWERS that I froze up and bailed without talking to him afterward.

And then this morning I find CITY OF THE LOST on the My Bookish Ways Best of 2012 list alongside people like Chuck Wendig, Chris F Holm, Sophie Littlefield, Kevin Hearne and John Hornor Jacobs.

To be in these authors’ company in any capacity is astounding to me. I am happy and grateful that CITY OF THE LOST has been so well received by the people who took the chance on a debut author to read it. Thank you very much. Really. I truly hope that you enjoy DEAD THINGS as much if not more. I honestly think it’s a better book. I hope you do, too.

So after seeing all that I figured what the hell. Here’s my list.

I know this comic isn’t new but I came to the series late, which is good for me. If I’d had to wait for each issue I’d have gone nuts. This series is phenomenal. As it is I tore through what was out there over the course of a week and now I only have to wait a little longer to see the ending. Hill brings horror and humor and sadness all roiling together into a big ball of fucking awesome.

Lovecraftian Noir. Brubaker’s deft hand at crime writing coupled with the raw edges of Phillips’ style makes for a gripping, superbly told story about arcane evil and doomed redemption. Cross over crime writing with supernatural horror and I’m so there.

Some disclosure here, I love Sean Phillips’ work and was lucky enough to get his art on the cover of CITY OF THE LOST, which somehow springboarded into writing an essay for Brubaker on Raymond Chandler and the inspiration for Philip Marlowe for the back of FATALE #4. So not only is this a series I love, but in some very small way, I’m a part of it and that amazes me.

Wendig has a very distinctive style and if I had to compare him to anyone it’d be Stephen King. He has a way with dialog and little side menaderings that solidify a place, a person or a particular type of batshit crazy. Though I love the follow-up, MOCKINGBIRD, BLACKBIRDS was so different from the usual fare that it will always be the better book in my mind.

What do we do when the zombie apocalypse is over and done with? What sort of people will we have become? BLACKOUT is the final book in Grant’s Newsflesh trilogy and it’s fantastic. The whole series is great in what it says about society, media and politics in the wake of something as devastating as a zombie apocalypse. This is an excellent closer.

Abbott’s noir novel about high school cheerleaders makes Heathers look like a fucking Hallmark special. The dialog is so crisp, the characters so vivid and the emotional blackmail and backstabbing so brutal it’ll make your skin crawl. No one does the subtleties of noir nearly as well as Abbott does.

Sam is a Collector of souls for Hell. You make a deal with the Devil, he’s the one who’s gonna come knocking when the bill comes due. This books mixes a hard-boiled detective story with the machinations between Heaven and Hell with this poor schmuck caught in the middle. Extraordinary book. You should buy it and everything Holm has written.

Doctor Adoulla Makhslood, “The last real ghul hunter in the great city of Dhamsawaat,” is old, fat, cantankerous, tired and bitter about the thankless life he’s led in service to the people of Dhamsawaat. And he’s one of the best fantasy protagonists I’ve ever read. Ahmed manages to shrink down an epic plot down to a very personal and intimate story of a man and his young charges who are badly outgunned and out of their depth.

I know I’m missing others books. A lot of them. ASHES OF HONOR and DISCOUNT ARMAGEDDON by Seanan McGuire are both fantastic urban fantasies, though in radically different ways. EVEN WHITE TRASH ZOMBIES GET THE BLUES by Diana Rowland is a blast. PLAGUE TOWN by Dana Fredsti, GETAWAY by Lisa Brackmann, SEAWITCH by Kat Richardson, SEVEN WONDERS by Adam Christopher, THIS DARK EARTH by John Hornor Jacobs, and on and on. A great year for books.

I know I’m missing stuff from this list and I’ll be kicking myself in half an hour for not including something.

But what about you? What are your favorites for 2012? What do you think should be here that isn’t?

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A First Review! Winners! Events! Exclamation Points!!1!

How about a less ranty post today? To be honest that last one wasn’t all that ranty. I can get a LOT more ranty over at L.A. Noir. Anyway, how about some good news?

DEAD THINGS got its first review the other day. By Publisher’s Weekly no less. Wooo!! They use phrases like “Chandleresque” and “urban despair”. And the money shot is, “Urban fantasy readers will appreciate the polished, assured writing and hope for a bevy of sequels.”

A BEVY of sequels. That’s almost as much as a plethora. Pretty effusive praise for PW.

***

I held a contest last week to give away two ARCs of DEAD THINGS. On saturday I picked the winners. I’ve already contacted the winners and the books will be winging their way to them later this week.

If you didn’t win fret not! I have it on good authority that Penguin will be holding a Goodreads giveaway in January for the book and once I get copies of the finished product some time in January I’ll do one myself. As soon as I hear more I’ll let y’all know.

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As to events, I will be doing signings of DEAD THINGS in the first week of February out here in L.A. Still trying to get some things arranged for something in the Bay Area, but not sure that’ll pan out. But here’s what I got so far, so mark your calendars!

Mysterious Galaxy – Redondo Beach – Tuesday, 2/5/13 at 7:30pm – There will be books! And possibly cupcakes. I may or may not be sober. I will DEFINITELY be full of Ativan.

Dark Delicacies – Burbank – Saturday, 2/9/13 at 2:00pm – For my peeps on the other side of the hill, or my peeps who want to see me on a weekend. If you’ve never been to DD you really should come and check it out. It’s a fantastic horror store. And it’s full of gothy, dead stuff.

Mysterious Galaxy – San Diego – Sunday, 2/10/13 at 2:00pm – For those of you further south who want to bask in my glorious presence… sorry. I don’t actually have a glorious presence. It’s kind of a shlumpy presence, actually.

Would love to see y’all at one or all of these. But if you can’t make it I… *sniff* I understand.

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Your Ideas Of Liberty Do Not Include Murdering Children

We have a gun problem. We’ve always had a gun problem. If you give people the tools to murder some of them are going to use them.

Today some 20-odd people, most of them kindergarten students, were murdered by a gunman at an elementary school in Connecticut. By any account that’s a massacre.

This is not okay. I would think that that would not be something that would require discussion, but apparently it is. Because we keep running into the same thing over and over and over again. People walk into a crowded movie theater, or a shopping mall, or a college campus or an elementary school looking to kill strangers.

How it happens is not a difficult thing to understand. Guns are too easy to get. They’re too unregulated. There isn’t enough focus on getting people the mental health care they need to keep them from doing this in the first place.

Yes, I get that these are not simple things to fix. There are laws to pass and enforcement to figure out. There is funding that needs to be put in place and more vigilance in background checks. There needs to be more emphasis on dealing with mental illness rather than sweeping it under the rug as someone else’s problem.

But it’s doable. And the longer we wait, the worse it will get. More people will die. More CHILDREN will die.

And not just in a school in a little town terrorized by a psychopath. Kids on the street, kids in gangs, kids caught in a crossfire. They are victims just as much as anyone gunned down on a school campus by an insane man with an assault rifle.

The arguments against more regulation are all on the same basic theme. “I have to protect myself.” “I have to defend my rights.” “I have to keep my liberties.”

What part of your liberties include the right to murder 6-year-olds?

Inevitably there are those who will say, “Well, if I’D been there with MY gun this wouldn’t have happened,” as some way to justify that more people armed is actually a good thing.

Okay. Fair enough. Then let’s change the question from “How do we solve this problem” to “Where the fuck were you?”

You weren’t there. You couldn’t be there. The police couldn’t be there. The only thing that would have prevented this from happening is if the person who did it had not had access to a weapon. Period.

I’m not saying outlaw guns. I own guns. I respect the right to own guns. But it is by far too easy to get hold of one whether you’re sane or crazy, an upstanding citizen or a career criminal.

So I’m asking the same question a lot of other people are asking. How many more murders do we need before we put intelligent, nation-wide gun regulations in place? How many dead children do we need before we close the loopholes, before we pay attention to the warning signs that someone might snap?

I get it. The Genie’s out of the bottle and we’re not putting him back in. There will always be guns. There will always be murderers. We will always find ways to kill each other.

But there is no sane reason we should make it easy to do.

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An Announcement Of Some Import… To Me, Anyway

I have received clearance to share some news.

*AHEM*

DAW Books has bought two sequels to my novel, DEAD THINGS.

BROKEN SOULS and HUNGRY GHOSTS will come out in 2014 and 2015 respectively and will continue chronicling the unfortunate life choices of necromancer Eric Carter.

Until I come up with something better we’ll just call this the Necromancer Series. Files is already taken. Everybody’s doing a Chronicle.  Annals just sounds dirty.

I’ll think of something.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled workday.

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Want Some DEAD THINGS? I Got Ya Covered

My next book DEAD THINGS comes out February 5th. Two looong months from now.

But you can read it early.

See, I got these ARCs. You know, advanced reader copies. Two of ‘em. Sittin’ right here on the Group W bench.

Ya want one?

As in the past there’s two things you gotta do. 1) Follow me on Twitter. My handle’s @sblackmoore. 2) Tell me you want in, either on Twitter or here in the comments. Either’s fine.

I’m running this contest from now until next Friday, the 14th. I’ll pick two people and those two folks will get an ARC of DEAD THINGS.

And as in the past, some caveats. Overseas shipping is an ass-kicker. So, this is gonna be U.S. and Canada only. Sorry, but I’m broke.

If you don’t win and you still want a copy, don’t worry. I have it on good authority that Penguin’s gonna do a Goodreads giveaway some time next month and I’ll let y’all know about it when it happens. In fact you probably won’t be able to shut me up.

So if you want in, let me know.  You got two weeks.