Friday, October 21, 2016

Challenger Middle School

This past Wednesday, October 19th, I drove up to Huntsville, Alabama for a visit to Challenger Middle School. They were taking standardized tests all day, and I was the much-needed break. I gave three talks, to the sixth, seventh, and eight grade respectively, and had two lunches in between with select groups of students (one of which is pictured below). These lunches are always a highlight of school visits whenever they are held and Challenger was no exception. I had a great time. Thank you to Jennifer Prince, Library Media Specialists, my handler, teacher Dia Phillips (who took this great picture), to all the students and staff at Challenger, and bookseller Kim Brown-Barley from the Barnes & Noble on Carl T. Jones Parkway for facilitating sales of Frostborn, Nightborn, and Skyborn!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The World's Most Beautiful Thrones & Bones set

Readers of my Thrones & Bones series know that each book's appendices includes rules for an original board game, games that actually appear in and are important to the plot of their respective story. For the very first book, Frostborn, the game was called Thrones & Bones. A popular pastime among the people of Norrøngard in the world of Qualth, it is inspired by a real-world Viking game called hnefatafl. The rules borrow from several hnefatafl variants (no one knows how the actual Vikings played the game but there have been many diverse reconstructions) and add some new-to-Thrones & Bones elements that make it a unique game in its own right. In fact, I was deeply honored when Board Game Geek created a page for it christening Thrones & Bones a real game!

But one of the best things about being an author has been interacting with my fans and a real delight has been seeing the amazing Thrones & Bones fan-made sets that readers around the US and in the UK have created! Then, earlier this year, my good friend and fellow author J. F. Lewis (Staked, Grudgebearer) decided he wanted a really nice, wooden Thrones & Bones set. He commissioned an artist named Jack Windsor of Ignited Arts & Design to craft one. And suddenly the world's most beautiful Thrones & Bones set was born. And it held that position... until now!

Behold! This is a custom hand-made Thrones & Bones set, created for me by the very same Ignited Arts & Design. The board and pieces are all built and decorated by hand; all components made from hard maple wood.

The playing pieces are based on the designs done by Justin Gerard for the novel itself, while those dragons in the corner are inspired by a shield carried by my character Ynarr Ulfrson of Norrøngard, as drawn by Andrew Bosley. The Shield Maidens stand on raised spaces decorated with, what else, their shields, while the throne where the Jarl starts play features the Norse rune known as the Ægishjálmr, the Helm of Awe, a powerful symbol of protection. Meanwhile, the barrow mounds, the starting position for the Draug attackers, are decorated with the swords and axes that the playing pieces themselves wield.

Frankly, I'm blown away! Grateful to Jack Windsor for his talent and J.F. Lewis for being driven to finding him.

(And I'm happy for Lewis' set and mine to jointly hold the title of "Most Beautiful Set(s) in the World.")


Monday, September 19, 2016

The GM Showcase: Alchemy and Intrigue Along the Red River (Salt in Wounds)

This week, I'm one of the players on The GM Showcase podcast.  

"Alchemy and Intrigue Along the Red River" is a Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition role playing game being run by JM Perkins and featuring Chris Thompson, Phil Mainprize, Jeremy Land, and Yours Truly as the players.

The adventure takes place in and around Perkin's own creation, Salt in Wounds, an incredible city that was actually built on the back of a bound Tarrasque.  I'm playing Shestendeliath Orlamorn, a green dragonborn fifth level Herbwarden, a type of Alchemist, which is a character class created by Rich Howard and available on DriveThruRPG via Tribality Publishing.

This was a very fun adventure in a truly unique (and somewhat disturbing) world. Check it out! Be sure to check out the Salt in Wounds setting and the Alchemist class as well, and keep your eyes open for Perkin's forthcoming Kickstarter.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

New Book Deal: The Dragon Squire

I have some BIG NEWS that I've been sitting on for a while.

I've sold a fourth novel!

From Publishers Weekly's Rights Report: Week of September 12, 2016:

Phoebe Yeh at Crown has bought The Dragon Squire by Lou Anders, a middle grade medieval twist on Freaky Friday, in which an arrogant dragon and a hapless young squire switch bodies after a spell goes awry. Publication is slated for summer 2018; Barry Goldblatt at Barry Goldblatt Literary sold world English rights.

Thanks to my agent and my editor! I'm very excited.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Pioneer Con 2016

I'm honored to report that I'll be the Keynote Speaker this coming October 14th at Pioneer Con 2016, a new event described as "3/4 Comic-Con and 1/4 academic conference" being put on by the Sigma Kappa Delta English honor society of Jefferson State Community College. Here are the details:

Pioneer Con 2016

Sigma Kappa Delta English honor society is proud to announce Pioneer Con 2016 will be held on Friday, October 14, on the Shelby-Hoover campus in the Health Sciences Building room 129.

Your ticket provides all day come-and-go access.

General admission ($15)
Jefferson State students ($10)
SKD members ($5)

This event will be 3/4 Comic-Con and 1/4 academic conference, focusing on the theme “Re-Creation.” We have confirmed several exciting off-campus speakers, but we want to involve Jefferson State students and faculty as much as possible in this celebration of all things geeky.

Confirmed Events Include:
Keynote presentation by Lou Anders, author of Thrones & Bones series
Kyle Sullivan, creator of Trekspertise
Classic film talk & screening, Ryan Kindahl of 2threefive
Steampunk craft session
Faculty discussion of “The Literary Merits of Science Fiction”
Costume contest
Food truck lunch
Pizza party dinner (included in registration)

We Are Now Seeking ROUND TABLE PRESENTATIONS By Members Of The Jefferson State Community in a round table, 4-5 speakers present a point of view in a brief speech and then lead discussion with members of the audience. Although SKD is the English honor society, we welcome proposals from participants in any discipline.

We are seeking presentations on the following topics—or on a topic that you propose:

The Medical Ethics of Frankenstein
How to Survive the Apocalypse
Harry Potter: The Gateway Drug to Literacy
Cult Fandoms
Tips for Successful Cosplay
My Favorite Monster
Introduction to Anime
Best and Worst Film Re-Makes
What You Don’t Know About Vampires
Discussion of The Walking Dead, 12 Monkeys, Jessica Jones, Star Wars, etc. – focused look at film / TV.

Presenters will be admitted free to the day-long event and can come and go to sessions that interest them. Please note: Faculty and community members are welcome to submit proposals, but priority selection will be given to Jefferson State students.

To make a round table proposal, send us a description of your topic 100-200 words in length. Tell us as much as possible about what you want to cover, and remember that your presentation must fit comfortably in a one-hour session. (25-30 minutes for presentation; 25-30 minutes for audience discussion.) If you plan to have more than one presenter for your topic, please provide the name of each participant. Up to five people may participate in a round table.

Send your proposal by 12 noon on Thursday, September 22 to SKD sponsor Jamie King, We’ll make final decisions and inform selected participants through email by September 28.

Win Prizes
Preregister and to win one of five graphic-novel interpretations of a classic literary work. Email or contact sponsor Katie Boyer ( by October 10.

Registration must be paid in cash on the day of the event.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Skyborn Launch Event

Yesterday was the Launch Event for Skyborn, the third book in the Thrones & Bones trilogy. We held it at the Barnes & Noble at The Summit Shopping Center from 2 to 4 pm, where each of the previous two novels launched.

And it went fantastic! We had a huge crowd! A high percentage of kids in the audience as you can see (plus that one weird bald guy in the red shirt who seems to show up at all of my events. Don't get him started on David Bowie or role playing games.)

This time out, through the ingenuity and foresight of B&N's Community Relations Manager and the generosity of several librarians, the event counted as a Book Fair for five schools (four of which I've visited and one of which I hope to), and I'm pleased to say that we had attendees from all  five of them.

We opened the event with a short talk in which I discussed the origins of Thianna Frostborn way back in 2008 or 2009 and what bringing her narrative to a conclusion (for now) means to me. Then I did a quick reading and  Q&A. Then it was on to the signing. I signed (and rune stamped) for most of four hours and when I was winding down at 4pm, more folks showed up!

Afterwards, there was a victory dinner at Asian Rim, where we continued the tradition of incredible Thrones & Bones themed cakes (loud shout out to the bakers at Whole Foods Market, who do an incredible job.).

Thanks to everyone who came and helped make the Skyborn launch a fantastic event. Special thanks to Pam Tindal, Community Relations Manager at B&N, all the B&N staff, the staff at Asian Rim, and all the students and media specialists at the Altamont School, Highlands School, Liberty Park Middle School, Mountain Brook Junior High, and Vestavia Hills Elementary Central!

Meanwhile, stay tuned for some exciting news soon!