Saturday, December 29, 2012

Enoch's Device Is Available In Print!

My debut novel, Enoch's Device, is now available in paperback at Amazon and the CreateSpace eStore! The novel also has its own webpage, enochsdevice.com.


It was very cool to hold the first print edition of my novel in my own hands. It's now going on the top shelf of my bookshelf, between The Arcanum and The Name of the Rose!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Wayward Herald: Update on Enoch’s Device

Enoch’s Device is now up on Goodreads and Shelfari, so please tell your friends on those sites! Also, the novel is now available on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.com. A print version should be available starting in early January. In the meantime, you can check out my new author’s page on Amazon here. It even shows my weekly blog posts on Fresh-scraped Vellum.


In other news, as of December 25th, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey had grossed an estimated $168,303,000 in the U.S. according to Box Office Mojo. That nearly doubles its gross on opening weekend. Sadly, for my wager at least, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 had grossed $227,366,118 after its second weekend. The week between Christmas and New Year’s is a vacation for many, so there may be plenty of movie-watching to be had. But unless Bilbo and the dwarves draw huge crowds between now and New Year’s Eve, I’m thinking I'm losing my bet like Gollum lost that precious ring.

Until next week, good tidings and good day!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Enoch's Device Is Available Now!

My new novel, Enoch's Device, is now available on Amazon! I have long awaited this day, and I'm grateful to be able to share it with you now.

 
Nearly a thousand years after the birth of Christ, when all Europe fears that the world will soon end, an Irish monk, Brother Ciarán, discovers an ominous warning hidden in the illuminations of a religious tome. The cryptic prophecy speaks of Enoch’s device, an angelic weapon with the power to prevent the coming apocalypse.  
Pursued by Frankish soldiers and supernatural forces, Ciarán and his freethinking mentor, Brother Dónall, journey to the heart of France in search of the device. There, they rescue the Lady Alais from a heretic-hunting bishop who insists mankind must suffer for its sins. Together, the trio races across Europe to locate the device, which has left clues of its passage through history. But time is running out, and if they don’t find it soon, all that they love could perish at the End of Days.  
Enoch’s Device is a fast-paced medieval adventure steeped in history, mythology, and mysteries from a dark and magical past.
I hope to have the novel up on Barnes & Noble and Kobo by tomorrow. A paperback version should be available in early January. But you can purchase the ebook at Amazon right now (here's the link). I appreciate your support and hope you enjoy Enoch's Device!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Cover Reveal – Enoch’s Device!

I can finally reveal the cover art for my new novel, Enoch’s Device! The artwork was done by Glendon Haddix of Streetlight Graphics, who was great to work with. The back-cover blurb follows this image of the book’s cover.


Nearly a thousand years after the birth of Christ, when all Europe fears that the world will soon end, an Irish monk, Brother Ciarán, discovers an ominous warning hidden in the illuminations of a religious tome. The cryptic prophecy speaks of Enoch’s device, an angelic weapon with the power to prevent the coming apocalypse.  
Pursued by Frankish soldiers and supernatural forces, Ciarán and his freethinking mentor, Brother Dónall, journey to the heart of France in search of the device. There, they rescue the Lady Alais from a heretic-hunting bishop who insists mankind must suffer for its sins. Together, the trio races across Europe to locate the device, which has left clues of its passage through history. But time is running out, and if they don’t find it soon, all that they love could perish at the End of Days.  
Enoch’s Device is a fast-paced medieval adventure steeped in history, mythology, and mysteries from a dark and magical past.
The novel should be available on December 22nd – but more on that soon!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Wayward Herald: The Hobbit Has A Big (Lonely) Mountain To Climb

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opened this weekend, setting a new December record according to Box Office Mojo. The film earned $84.6 million in the U.S., which is great – but it’s far behind what I need to win my domestic wager.
The Hobbit faces a long trek up the Lonely Mountain!
The Hobbit’s opening day ranked only 29th all time. The opening day of its competition, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, ranks 6th all time. (As an aside, and for the sake of all that's good in the world, the #1 rank is held by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, followed by The Avengers.) The Twilight film’s domestic gross in its opening weekend was $141,067,634, which by my count is around $56 million more than The Hobbit. Bilbo and his band of dwarves are going to need to make up some serious ground over the holidays if they have any hope of closing the gap! Otherwise, I’m going down like Smaug on his last trip to Lake-Town. Uggg.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Vampires vs. Hobbits: A Questionable Bet & A Great Book Giveaway!

The other night, my wife and I made a friendly wager, perhaps a foolish one on my part. She has long been a fan of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series and predicted, rather confidently, that the new Hobbit film would never beat out the latest Twilight movie at the box office. I told her she was crazy. Of course The Hobbit would win, after all, it’s one of the bestselling books of all time. Only books like the Bible beat it out, right?


At that moment the wager was on! Was I a fool, or will Tolkien’s masterpiece save the day? Only time will tell, but here’s what statistics may suggest. The Hobbit is believed to have sold more than 100 million copies. Of course, it’s been out since 1937. Breaking Dawn, the fourth novel in the Twilight Saga, is believed to have sold at least 10 million copies, and it’s only been around since 2008. So, if The Hobbit has been out about 75 years, that would amount to an annual sales average of a little more than 1.3 million copies. Breaking Dawn may be averaging at least 2.5 million copies annually in just four years! (Thinking I’m in trouble.)
 
Or course, we’re talking movies here, not books. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 stars Robert Pattinson (a fact my wife has reminded me of more times than I can count) and Kristen Stewart. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey stars a British actor I’ve never heard of and Ian McKellen. (Thinking now I’m in big trouble.)
 
Since I’m probably going down with a ship full of dwarves, I thought I’d have a little more fun with this and feature my first book giveaway on this blog. Here are the rules, if you’re interested in joining this oh-so-important debate:
  1. Post a comment here by noon (EST) on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012, with a prediction of whether The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will out-gross The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 at the U.S. domestic box office by the end of The Hobbit’s third week (which will be Dec. 28-30, 2012); and predict by how much (in U.S. dollars) The Hobbit will exceed or fall short of Breaking Dawn Part 2 during this same time frame (i.e., the “margin of victory”).
  2. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 2 grossed $254,598,866 at the end of its third week according to Box Office Mojo, which will be our official source for domestic box office data. This is the number The Hobbit will have to beat.
  3. In addition to posting your prediction, you must be a “follower” of this blog, which means you’ve “joined this site” by clicking the “Join this site” button on the right-hand column.
  4. The whole thing is free, like my blog. If you win, you must be able to send me an email address and have a regular street address (no P.O. Boxes) for shipping purposes. Books can only be sent to addresses in the United States and Canada.
  5. The winner i.e., the person who predicts which film will have the highest domestic box office gross at the end of its first 3 weeks and comes closest to predicting the margin of victory – will win the book giveaway, either a copy of The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part 1: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion, or The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Visual Companion, depending on whichever film prevails. In the event of a tie, the winner will be chosen by a random drawing.
 So, its Bella vs. Bilbo (or is it Edward vs. Thorin?), and the game is on!  Best of luck to all – and throw some luck my way. I’m afraid I’m going to need it!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Wayward Herald: December Math

Every December I am reminded of how difficult it is to get anything done during the holidays. Agent Rachelle Gardner once suggested that writers should plan out how much time they think they’ll have to write during the holidays – and then divide that in half. Even that may be generous, and this December is proving to be no exception! So, blogging may be a little slow this month, but hopefully there will be some exciting news on the horizon.

Stay tuned, and try to enjoy the hectic holidays!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Hobbit: A Classic on Many Levels

I recently re-read J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit for the first time in probably ten years. Once I got past the older and awkward narrative viewpoint (in Tolkien's defense, the omniscient point-of-view was in vogue back in 1937, especially for what was considered a children’s book), I was reminded of how rich and wonderful the story is. I also realized how classic the tale is on so many levels. Not only is it a prototypical journey tale, but it incorporates all the classic archetypes of fantasy fiction.

This illustrated edition is one of the best!
I’ve written a number of posts on journey tales, including what the late screenwriter Blake Snyder called “The Golden Fleece.” These stories embody the classic quest myth; or, as Snyder puts it, a “hero goes ‘on the road’ in search of one thing and winds up discovering something else – himself.” The same transformation occurs in The Hobbit. Bilbo begins the story content never to leave the Shire, and more worried about his dishes than anything else, only to be reluctantly drawn into the dwarves’ quest to reclaim their treasure from the dragon Smaug. By the end, and after numerous adventures, Bilbo has become a genuine leader and hero – tricking the dragon, stealing the Arkenstone, and trying to broker a peace between the men, elves and dwarves before the Battle of the Five Armies.

Looking forward to the movie on December 14!
The Hobbit also embodies all five of the archetypes I wrote about in my series on the Top 5 Clichés in Fantasy Fiction. As I noted back then, these so-called clichés are actually classic archetypes, and often fundamental elements to great fantasy fiction.
  • The Farm Boy With A Secret: This element represents the Messiah archetype – the everyman chosen to save the world (this archetype goes back to the biblical David, and maybe before then). Bilbo is certainly an everyman (and without any secret or hidden powers), but through courage and determination, he becomes a true hero: an ordinary person who accomplishes extraordinary things.
  • The Wise Wizard: Gandalf embodies this archetype, a mentor character whose wisdom helps guide Bilbo in his quest.
  • Orcs!: Or rather goblins in this one, but the archetype of the monster lurking in the darkness to threaten men is alive and well in The Hobbit. The trolls, spiders, and even Gollum also play this role.
  • The Magic Weapon: This archetype represents the protecting power of destiny, or a form of divine aid. In The Hobbit, the ring plays this role. It’s the device that allows Bilbo to escape Gollum, free the dwarves from the spiders and the elves, and trick Samug into leaving his lair. (Incidentally, Tolkien re-wrote the scene with Gollum and the ring after he started writing The Lord of the Rings; in the original version, the ring was not the object of pure evil that it's later revealed to be.)
  • The Overwhelming Ancient Evil: This is the weakest of the five archetypes in The Hobbit. The Hobbit lacks an overriding antagonist, but instead includes a series of opponents along the journey. If there is a central antagonist, it would be Smaug, who might fit the definition of an ancient evil. But even he is gone before the final act, giving way to the conflict between Thorin and Bilbo before the Battle of the Five Armies (the conflict with Thorin, I must admit, was one of my favorite twists in the novel).
Lastly, The Hobbit contains all of the classic elements of a great epic. The journey involves a fairly vast setting and takes a considerable amount of time. The stakes are huge, and while they start out small – the fate of the dwarves’ treasure – they end up being quite large as the massive goblin army arrives for the Battle of the Five Armies. This battle is also a truly grand event, as is the scene with the dragon at Lake Town. And, Bilbo plays the role of a true hero (Bard also has a cameo in this role when it comes to slaying the dragon).
 
Overall, I’m glad I re-read The Hobbit, and look forward to the film next week. And, I’ll look forward to reading the novel again in a few years time. It is part of the bedrock of the genre, and every time I read it, I discover something special.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Wayward Herald: A Great Blog Says Farewell

The Wayward Herald looks forward to the post-NaNoWriMo month of December and revival within the blogosphere on the topics of writing, publishing, and, or course, historical and fantasy fiction. But the end of November 2012 also marks the end to one of the great fantasy book review blog sites around: Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review.

Sailing to New Horizons
This was one of the first sites I joined upon starting my own blog, which periodically reviews fantasy fiction. Graeme Flory, however, was a prolific reviewer whose insightful commentary brought my attention to more than a few novels that I’ve truly enjoyed.

Graeme is moving on to new horizons, and I wish him well. Everyone needs a change some time, and as a blogger who tries to create insightful content at a weekly pace – albeit a pace much more slothful than Mr. Flory – I totally understand.

Good luck Graeme, and thanks for many years of great blogging!