Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Read My Book: The Winged Turban is published

In previous posts I talked about my novel-in-progress, The Winged Turban, which I've posted in installments on Inkitt and which won second place in one of their contests. After much revising and hemming and hawing, I decided to publish it today so it can join my other two books on Amazon. It's very much in the high-fantasy vein, though without excessive swordfighting (hell, there isn't any) or battles; it's a quiet, humorous fantasy novel about magic, love, and whether or not any of us are living the "right" lives. I dedicated the book to my Spring 2015 British Science Fiction and Fantasy class, which spent the entire semester reading so many great works--Tolkein, White, Dunsany, etc.-all of which inspired me to finish the book and respond to the great, on-going conversation of fantasy literature. 

Here's the blurb from Amazon: Beatrice is the victim of an arranged match to the Duke of Saffredento, who hastily abandons her to an estate full of forgotten traditions and curses. When the portrait of a strange woman begins turning up in the house, she summons the great sorcerer, Hildigrim Blackbeard, to investigate. The portrait, it seems, has traveled through time to find her—and bring her back by any means necessary. For she can no longer be Beatrice of Saffredento, but a young woman who died two-hundred years ago and must be reborn through the magic of an Enchanted Circle. But no one in recorded history has ever conjured such a Circle, though quite a few have gone mad in the attempt...

You can buy the book here for 99 cents:

Also, my other books, The Astrologer's Portrait and The Count of the Living Death are free to download from Wednesday to Friday:

Sunday, September 13, 2015

"Death's a Mug's Game": Reading Life and Death in Gaiman's Sandman

[This is a short excerpt from my longer article on Gaiman that will appear in Gale/Cengage's British Writers Series XXIII next year: what follows is a brief reading of two comics from the series, which I hope will inspire people who haven't read them to pick them up!] 

Critics often ask—with all seriousness—why comics writers would write a comic instead of a traditional story or novel. Typically they see comics as a juvenile form of literature, or at best a way station for writers trying to break into more serious work. Gaiman, however, has always embraced the possibilities of what Will Eisner termed “sequential art,” and never distanced himself from the comics community that spawned his greatest success. Partly this is because for him, comics were “virgin territory.” As he goes on to explain, “When I’m writing novels I’m painfully aware that I’m working in a medium that people have been writing absolutely jaw-droppingly brilliant things for, you know, three-four thousand years now...But with comics I felt like—I can do stuff nobody has ever done. I can do stuff nobody has ever thought of.” (Ogline, Wild River Review). One of the things he can do that “nobody has ever thought of” is the sheer range of associations possible in a literary comic book. While a story or novel can allude to this or that work, a comic book can literally have several stories/characters existing simultaneously in a single frame, even in distinct worlds/times/ universes. As Harlan Ellison, the famous science fiction writer, remarked about Sandman, “I remember finishing issues of Sandman and just sitting there trying to catch my breath, saying “What a ride this guy has taken me on. And I’d add, “how brilliantly clever.” I’m a fairly clever guy, and I knew that I was catching maybe a third of the cultural references in each issue that Neil would just casually drop in” (Bender xiii).