Writing Goals for 2014

Now we look at what I hope to achieve writing-wise for 2014. Again, I’m going to set the bar low for myself as for the last couple of years I’ve found myself falling short of my annual goals, and as previously mentioned, because of BABY.

1. A new edit/copyedit of Kyra: The First Book of Enchantus. The book is currently on Amazon, but CreateSpace has opened up further distribution channels, and before I make my book available through these new channels, I want to do another run through and catch any typos, etc. And the good news is I’ve already gotten a start on this.

2. Self-publish Erotica story. I have an erotica story I wrote that I want to get up on Amazon. It will be published under a pseudonym. At the moment I’m having a friend work on the cover.

3. Edit “The Innkeeper’s Wife.” This is a short story I wrote last year, and I want to get it edited and finished through another draft or two and then start submitting it for publication.

4. Submit stories. Continue submitting stories for publication.

5. Write stories. I’ve get a couple of story ideas up my sleeve that I’d like to get written down this year.

6. Start the book. By “the book” I mean the novel idea that jumped into my head last year and wouldn’t let go. I need to do some more research and work on it, but I’d like to get that close to completion and hopefully get some start on the book, even if it’s just the first line or first page.

Now, let’s see how 2014 goes with writing.

Brandon Sanderson @ Copperfield’s Books San Rafael 03/06/14

Time for some special news. After some back and forth with Tor, the agreement has been reached, and on March 6th at 12:30 pm Brandon Sanderson will be doing a reading and signing at my store, Copperfield’s Books San Rafael, located at 850 4th st. in San Rafael. You can find more info about the store here.

I’ve had the opportunity to meet with and interview Brandon Sanderson twice in the past. I first got to know him when he dropped off a copy of Elantris at my old Borders store in Davis for me and my co-supervisor, knowing we were fantasy fans, with a message essentially saying: “Here’s my book, catch you next time.”

I did my first interview with him at my old Borders store in Roseville, when he was doing a reading for Hero of  Ages. We had a good time and I could tell then that Sanderson is one of those authors who as much as he loves to write, will always give time to connect with his readers. You can listen to the first interview here.

The second chance I got the opportunity to interview him was with the release of Towers of Midnight, where the crowd was insane and he was only doing a signing and no reading. I only got to do a quick fifteen-minute interview with him and didn’t know Harriet McDougal (Robert Jordan’s wife) would also be there. You can hear this interview here.

And now Sanderson will be coming to my store for a reading and signing on his book tour for the release of the second book in the Stormlight Archive, after The Way of Kings, Words of Radiance.

So free up your schedule and come on by and see the wonderful store we have and meet one of the best fantasy writers writing today. And you can see rest of his book tour here.

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Writing Goals for 2013 Achieved?

So I know I didn’t get much completed in 2013 as regards to writing goals, which can all be explained with one simple word: BABY. My wife gave birth to our son in August and all my time just magically vanished. Now, in early 2014, I’m finally starting to carve out time again to get back to writing, so my follow-up post to this one on writing goals for 2014 will be a simple and diminutive one, since my focus is on raising and being a part of my son’s life whenever I can, which doesn’t leave a lot of time for writing stuff. Fortunately, he goes down for bed around 7 and doesn’t get up again until midnight, so I will make it work.

Anyway, let’s see how we did.

GOAL #1: Continue writing Wyrd.  This is my historical fiction manuscript I’ve been working on for some time.  My goal for this year is to hit page 600, but I’d also just like to get as far as possible with this.  And I’m excited to see where it goes next.  You can see my updates for this project here.

Nope. That didn’t happen. Because BABY.

GOAL #2: Continue editing and read through of White Horse. This is a completed science fiction manuscript that I’ve been working on editing for a while, and haven’t made much headway, so hopefully this year, keeping things simple, I can get cracking on this.  And at the least come up with a better title.  Updates can be found here.

This sort of happened. I did get more of a read through done and got about half way through with plenty of notes. So not so bad. But again, not completely done because BABY.

GOAL #3: Write a short story or three. Got at least one short story written last year, so same goal this year, writing one or more stories.  Got a few ideas hanging around inside my brain.

Yay, this goal got completed. Wrote a story in the first half of the year about a couple running an small inn on an island. Which I really need to get around to editing and then submitting to magazines. A goal for 2014, methinks!

GOAL #4: Submit stories. Including the one I wrote last year, which will need to be edited, I’ve got a couple of other stories I want to be submitting to publications.

And this I did somewhat too, not as much as I wanted to, but still, got a fair number of rejections, so good.

Well, that wasn’t too bad. Now to start thinking about writing goals for 2014.

The Best Reads of 2013

Now it’s time to look back at what I thought was the best of the best for 2013.  I read 78 books in 2013 in print, ebook, graphic novel and audiobook. While I usually do a Top Ten or Top 15 best of list, this year I’ve decided to do something a little different. I’ve decided to go with a Top 15 for fiction, and then “top” categories for Young Adult books, Nonfiction and Graphic Novels. While I read a decent selection in each category, I chose the few I thought were the best.

And here we go . . .

Top 15 Fiction Reads
Top Nonfiction Reads
Top Young Adult Reads
Top Graphic Novel Reads

Top 15 Fiction Reads


Dangerous Women edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois: A new anthology featuring women as main and/or important characters, with new original stories from Brandon Sanderson, Jim Butcher, Carrie Vaughan, and a new novella from George R. R. Martin.


NOS4A2 by Joe Hill: The novel that puts Joe Hill on the map as one of the great horror writers, about a place called Christmasland where children’s souls are slowly stolen. NOS4A2 proves Joe Hill deserves to share the horror stage with his dad, Stephen King.  READ REVIEW.


Let the Old Dreams Die by John Adjvide Lindqvist: From the author of Let the Right One In and Handling the Undead comes his first collection of short stories featuring original chilling tales, as well as sequels to Let the Right One In and Handling the Undead.


Joyland by Stephen King: In this short novel, a young man has lost the love of his life and has chosen to spend his summer working at an amusement park, where there’s a murderer on the loose. READ REVIEW.


No Way Out by Alan Jacobson: Karen Vail is back on the case, and this time she’s traveled over the pond to London to solve the mystery of a terrorist attack that has much deeper ramifications.  READ REVIEW.


The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman: From the bestselling author of American Gods and Neverwhere comes a short tale of fantasy and folklore and history and legend and magic. A tale that spins its web around you and entrances you, escorting you across the dreamscape of its story. READ REVIEW.


The Heavens Rise by Christopher Rice: From the son of Anne Rice comes a dark tale of the bayou where things are never as they seem and strange creatures lurk in the swamps and grasses. 


Doctor Sleep by Stephen King: The official sequel to The Shining puts Danny Torrance in his middle-age years facing a drinking problem and helping a girl who has stronger shining abilities than he, while an ancient cabal is look to end her. READ REVIEW.


River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay: A sort of sequel to Under Heaven, Kay sets River of Stars four centuries later during the Song Dynasty, writing in the same wondrous and magical style. READ REVIEW.


Burning Paradise by Robert Charles Wilson: In this alternate world to ours, it is the near future and a strange alien presence is in control of communication and broadcasting enshrouding Earth in a blocking layer. There is a group that knows about its existence, and they were almost wiped out by the alien presence, but now it is time to put a stop to it. READ REVIEW.


Brilliance by Marcus Sakey: Since 1980, one percent of the population born have been “brilliants,” special gifted children that develop unique abilities putting them above regular humans. Some brilliants use their abilities for good, others for harm. READ REVIEW.


Big Egos by S. G. Browne: What if you could be your favorite celebrity or hero for a couple of hours? Browne posits just this in Big Egos, giving his characters the chance to take a serum that momentarily changes their DNA and makes them Indiana Jones or Captain Kirk, or whoever they want. READ REVIEW.


Red Planet Blues by Robert J. Sawyer: This is the great noir detective novel set on the planet Mars. Alex Lomax is a private Eye on New Klondike trying to forget his illicit past back on Earth and try to solve a decades old murder mystery. READ REVIEW.


Tuf Voyaging by George R. R. Martin: Originally released as a series of short stories collected in Tuf Voyaging that has now been reprinted, these are the tales of Tuf and his giant ship that is kilometers long that lets him create just about any animal you could imagine. READ REVIEW.


The Colony by A. J. Colucci: What if a supercolony of ants was developed and then control of it was lost. The Colony is classic-style Michael Crichton with science gone awry. READ REVIEW. A. J. Colucci Interview.

Top Nonfiction Reads


Gold Rush in the Jungle: The Race to Discover and Defend the Rarest of Animals of Vietnam’s “Lost World” by Dan Drollette Jr: A fascinating look into Vietnam’s wildlife and rainforests, one of the last places on Earth still left relatively untouched. But this is all changing now. READ REVIEW.


Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach: Mary Roach, bestselling author if Stiff and Bonk, takes readers on a journey from where food goes in at the mouth and comes out at the other end. Filled with entertaining anecdotes and fascinating facts, any reader will love GulpREAD REVIEW.


Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic by David Quammen: A comprehensive and absorbing look at the epidemics that have plagued our world and how the current ones could lead to the end of humanity with the next pandemic.


The World Until Yesterday: What We Can Learn From Traditional Societies by Jared Diamond: A compelling look at the way numerous traditional societies around the world handle everyday things like conflict resolution, neighboring populations and interacting with them, and child rearing. READ REVIEW.

Top Young Adult Reads


Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson: What if the world was full of superheroes, except these superheroes were called epics and they were actually evil and preferred controlling and subjugating ordinary humans and running the world the way they wanted. But what if there was a group called Reckoners who were looking to put a stop to the Epics?


Homeland by Cory Doctorow: Continuing from where Little Brother left off, Doctorow puts the reader right back in the action in a world where the government is always watching, even when you think they’re not, and it’s up to a a bunch of kids to make a difference. READ REVIEW.


The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson: In this world there are fifty united islands where one would expect to find the United States, where Rithmatists are born, who are able to create chalkings to fight each other and enemies with magic. READ REVIEW.

Top Graphic Novel Reads


Saga Volume One by Brian K. Vaughan: Two soldiers on opposite sides of a galactic war have fallen in love and now have an offspring, and its up to them to keep it alive and keeping on doing what they do best.


A compelling story of the Boxer Rebellion as told from two viewpoints in this stunning graphic novel project. READ BOXERS REVIEW. READ SAINTS REVIEW.

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“Blood Brothers: A Short Story Exclusive” by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell (William Morrow Impulse, 2013)

Blood Brothers

If you’re looking for something to hold you over after enjoying the great start of the Order of the Sanguines series with Blood Gospel, before you get your hands on the sequel, Innocent Blood; or if you’re interested in trying the series and want to get a taste for it, then Blood Brothers is the story for you. Just $0.99 for the ebook short story, it represents a link between the first and second books in the series and does a great job of giving the reader a flavor for the storyline and plot.

When he was a young reporter, back in the late ‘60s, Arthur Crane exposed the secrets behind the cult murderer known as the Orchid Killer. And now in the present day Crane wakes to find an orchid on his pillow, the signature of the murderer, and triggers some strong memories within him, opening up links to his estranged brother.

Family, joy, death and sadness; “Blood Brothers” has it all in a short story set in San Francisco that takes the reader on a wild ride both into the past and present and across the streets of the iconic city. Whether you’re a Rollins, Cantrell or Order of the Sanguines fan, or just want to give this story a try, you’re in for a real treat.

Originally written on January 15, 2014 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Blood Brothers from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

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Blood Gospel

“Codex Born” by Jim C. Hines (DAW, 2013)

Codex Born

Jim C. Hines brings back his unlikely hero and protagonist, in libriomancer Isaac Vainio, after putting him through the ringer in the first Magic Ex Libris book, Libriomancer. Hines does just what you should with a sequel to a fascinating and absorbing series, opening the world a little more in its magical complexity, providing some new wow moments, and learning more about the interesting characters. The key perhaps to Codex Born is that Hines doesn’t bother with too much setup, throwing the reader in headfirst with breakneck action and kickass magic.

A wendigo has turned up dead and Isaac, libriomancer at large, is brought in to investigate. He brings along his brilliant and beautiful buxom Dryad girlfriend, Lena (pictured inaccurately on the cover), who brings her girlfriend, psychiatrist Nidhi Shah, along to help. It’s a complicated trifecta of a relationship, but together there’s a lot of brain power and magical ability. The trail takes them into a secret, ancient group of libriomancers from far away who hate the supposed creator of libriomancy, Johannes Gutenberg, and have plans to end his domination. Vainio will have to make the choice when he gets to the bottom of everything and truly understand where his allegiances lie.

After reading Libriomancer, readers will be excited to see where Hines takes his characters with Codex Born, what new books and authors he will plunder for cool magical abilities, and where he’s going with his world. This sequel goes where no reader will predict, blowing it all wide open and changing the entire paradigm that had been established about libriomancy in the first book. Exactly what a great sequel should do.

Originally written on December 12, 2013 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Codex Born from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

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The Reviews Are Coming

Now that it’s 2014 and my newborn is working through his fifth month of life, my own life has settled a little and has more structure and control to it. I also have a backlog of reviews developing, with my two-post a week schedule.

Therefore, starting next week, I’ll be going back to the three-post a week schedule: Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The Book Report will be appearing on Wednesdays now. This should clear out my backlog a bit and get more reviews to you faithful readers.

Bookbanter Blog 2013 in Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 17,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.