Monthly Archives: May 2011

Inside the Zombie Studio: An Interview with Comrick and Daevan of the Curse of Troius

Thank you for joining us today on Inside the Zombie Studio, the highest-rated and only show on television after the rise of the walking dead. I am your host, William Tetley.

(audience moans, shuffles)

Joining me today are two of the primary… shall I call them movers? of the zombie fantasy novel, The Curse of Troius. I am honored and pleased to welcome first the Stranger of Daneswall, Daevan. I hope that it wasn’t too much trouble getting through the horde surrounding the building?

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Magic in the World of The Curse of Troius

Get your Nerd Waders out. This one is gonna be geeky. Like a 7th level Spiritwrack spell geeky. Thou hast been warned.

During a recent author interview (see what I did there!? Didn’t that make me sound all authoritative and cool? Like I’m a big time dude that magnanimously allowed the guy with the white card that says PRESS tucked into his fedora onto my yacht and allowed him to savor the aroma of my pipe and swirled brandy. It was almost exactly like that.)

Anyway, during a recent author interview, I was asked about the nature of magic in the world of The Curse of Troius. It was an interesting question, or at least it was interesting to me, since I never expected it. Magic plays a very subtle background role in Curse, with few “on-screen” demonstrations of spells and wizardly goodness. The zombie plague at the heart of the story is caused by magic, of course, but little of it is described in detail as a process – mostly because I didn’t want to turn it into a story about My Magic System. It was enough for me to show that magic was behind it, then move on the the important stuff like gnashing teeth and spilled innards.

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I Suck At People

Most people are afraid of speaking in public. In fact, this phobia is one of the top two fears that afflict the American public (source: None. I made that up. But I think it’s true anyway). The idea of standing in front of strangers, or co-workers, or even friends can set the palms sweating, skin flush, and voice jumpy, squeaky, and waytoofastinanattempttogetthroughthesentenceasfastaspossible (that says “way too fast in an attempt to get through the sentence as fast as possible”, for those who have no interest in working for what they read). The smartest, most knowledgeable person on earth can sound like a bumbling buffoon in those situations.

Oddly enough, I feel perfectly fine in those situations. I can stand up and riff on a whole lot of stuff, even if I need to make it up as I go. I talk with my hands a bunch and I pace, but I think it helps keep people awake. I’ve done it a bunch of times, and did it for a living for a while (well, part of my living). I have a knack for it. Now, before you get the idea that I’m just tooting my horn and acting like I’m all that, the only reason I brought that up is because I am easily one of the worst interactors with human beings that ever lived.

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Some Things I Don’t Understand

There is a lot about life that I don’t get. String theory. Or, for that matter, physics in general. Well, to be honest and to take it one step further, I don’t understand any of the physical sciences. Or math past algebra and geometry. Or 90% of biological science. I just can’t understand them. It’s not that I don’t have the ability to learn about them. I think I’m smart enough to grasp the concepts of moles in chemistry and irrational numbers and all that horseshit. It’s just that as soon as I come across these subjects, my brain waits one minute, decides if it cares about anything just mentioned, then just veers off into imaginationland as it tries to entertain itself. My apathy is strong, and it takes a lot to overcome it. It’s the reason why I can’t understand physics or chemistry or calculus or architecture or art history or poetry or fishing or the million other things I don’t understand – my brain won’t let me, and instead tries to figure out which color has been used most often in Marvel superhero and villain names.

Then there’s the stuff that my brain wrestles with over and over, and still can’t come to grips with no matter how hard I try. These are the issues that vex me, that I ponder as I drive for long stretches, letting my brain work on them like it’s part of the SETI program, and one day it’ll filter enough information that I will finally understand one of those things that for the life of me I just don’t get. What follows are some of those things I’m trying to work through.

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Last Alley – An Excerpt from The Storm of Northreach

This is the latest excerpt from The Storm of Northreach, the sequel to The Curse of Troius, due out sometime in 2011. As of now, this is unedited, since I wrote it yesterday afternoon. It may reflect that fact. But it does give an idea of what the novels are like without giving anything away, since this the former minstrel Ternn’s first appearance anywhere. Enjoy! Or hate it. I can’t tell you what to do. But you can tell me what you think.


The pouring rain ran in a sheet down Ternn’s seamed and pinched face. He clenched his arms protectively the crude clay jug pressed against the sodden fraying remnants of his shirt.  He staggered down the half-flooded road, plodding obliviously through the rank water that had risen from the lowest channels of the refuse canals that cut through the Gutters.  At this point, he would have waded through a knee-deep pool of the city’s collected shit in order to reach his favored spot, now that he’d gotten his hands on enough of Icar’s rotgut to keep him in a stupor for a few days.  With his treasure, he’d be able to keep the memories haunting him at bay for a little while longer. Read the rest of this entry

Happy Birthday, Blog

Mmmm moustache cake.

It was two years ago today that my first blog post went up. Lady Aravan read it. She’s a tremendous supporter that way. For several months I wrote, whatever random shit I could, just trying to train myself to get words on “paper” again, to an audience of one (then two, after a Peruvian farmer with bad English skills thought this was a gardening website). It had been so long since I’d written anything beyond a grocery list or vague jottings for a tabletop game that I wanted to see if I had what it took to write an actual story. I’d gotten an idea, see, and I wanted to see if I could make it work, if I could capture the thing that was in my brain.

That was two years ago. That idea has been published for just over a year now, for better or worse. My blog has soldiered on, sometimes neglected, other times ignored outright, but it’s been here, mostly unread (and much of it deserves that honor), but serving its purpose: keeping me in the habit of expressing myself through the magic of hunt-and-peck typing. In the last two or three weeks, my blog has seen an influx of people, some fellow writers, some friends, who have been kind and generous to me. The support you have all shown me here, from Lady Aravan on Day 1 to the latest person who foolishly clicks the link I post on Twitter or Facebook, means more than I can say. The problem with being a person known for sarcasm and jadedness (if it’s not a word, it is now) is the difficulty of communicating sincere and heartfelt emotion. But here it is: To the people that come here and read my words, Thank You. I love you all, because you help keep me sane, and keep that hope buried deep inside me that one day I could peck out stories and sell them for a living – that hope that keeps me in my dingy Matrix office every day, hoping towards tomorrow – you help keep that hope alive, and I am forever in your debt for it.

Later today I’ll put up a real post, something besides the blog-navel-gazing that I find tedious. But it’s a special occasion. So come on, blog, blow out the fucking candles already. You’re ruining my reputation.

By Garsh, It’s a New Look

Why yes, yes it is.

I wanted something that allowed Pages to be visible, so I could display a link to my riveting life’s story and more importantly, a place to describe my work in a little more detail. I might go back and add some of the nice things people have said about them. Just as soon as someone says something nice about them. Har har.

I hope you don’t hate the new look. I loved the last look I had, but someone smarter than I recently suggested that having access to pages talking about me and my work was a really good idea. Like most men tend to do, I let the thought rattle around in my head for a week before I figured out that I should do something about it. But I did! See?!

Hate on it in the Comments, or just lurk like the weird voyeur I always pictured you to be.

Allow Me to Waste a Few Minutes of Your Time

What you are doing, right now, is reading the words that I’ve just finished typing. During the time that you are spending reading them, you could have done a million other things. You could have studied for some important exam. You could have started learning a foreign language that no one has even invented yet. You could have worked on that project your boss dropped on your desk or stared moodily at the ceiling or gotten some more coffee or chatted up that looker from down the hall or whatever. But you didn’t. You’re reading this, and I’m wasting your time.

It’s the highest compliment I can ever be paid. Read the rest of this entry

Listen to Me Bitch About Game of Thrones

Well, “listen” in strictly the narrator-voice-in-your-head sense. I don’t anticipate doing any podcasts in the near future (I had actually typed out “never” before getting rid of that, since I have previously sworn that I would never get a cell phone or use Twitter and a whole lot of other things that I then embrace and growl at anything that threatens them. I’m a lousy predictor of my own future behavior.), so you needn’t worry about having to actually listen to my voice, which sounds like the screechy warble of a career monk suddenly asked to recite the Gettysburg Address live in New York City during New Years’ Eve when it’s reproduced through electronic media. Or maybe that’s just how I hear it. God I hate how my voice sounds unless I’m in Game Show Mode and I put on the Announcer Voice, the one I bust out for seminars and other public speaking events. Better to sound like a used car salesman than a hopped-up junkie pulled over for a busted tail-light.

Holy shit, I completely forgot about what I was going to say. I actually had to read the title before I remembered that this wasn’t about podcasts. So, Game of Thrones. I’ll probably start cussing more as we go. I tend to do that. You been Warned. Read the rest of this entry

I Am Apparently the World’s Least Organized Writer Ever

One of the many cool side effects of coming into contact with a whole slew of authors, indie and otherwise, is being able to hear about the writing process from other perspectives. It’s fascinating (to me) to hear about how people go through the creative process and what they do to keep on track and plot and plan and gather information and organize themselves and all the work that goes into the long painful birthing process. I’ve read about the outlines people put together. I’ve seen in-depth analysis (with pictures!) about the creation of character cards that detail each person’s description, personality, traits, and their connection to the other major and minor figures in the novel all charted on a huge whiteboard. Notebooks, scribblings, collages, all part of an organized approach to writing a novel.

I see this stuff, and all I can think of is: Holy shit, I am the least organized writer of all time. Read the rest of this entry