Monday, April 13, 2015

Reflections from the Road: The Alabama Book Festival

This past Saturday was the 10th Annual Alabama Book Festival. Held in historic Old Alabama Town in downtown Montgomery, and featuring 45 authors of every genre, the festival pulls in book lovers of all ages from all over the state and across the Southeast. I was honored to be a guest of the festival, my first time attending, and it was quite a time. Two things in particular made it a very special day.

A log cabin in Old Alabama Town
First, the venue itself. Old Alabama Town is an 19th century village comprised entirely of actual homes and buildings from the period--although they have been restored not a one is a facsimile. They are all the actual structures from the time! Log cabins, cotton gins, grist mills, doctor's offices, and a general store are just a few of the well over thirty properties that comprise Old Alabama Town. It's an absolutely unique setting for a book fair, and it made the experience that much more enjoyable.

Second, April 11th, the date of the festival, was also International TableTop Day, and the Montgomery Area Gaming Society was on hand to celebrate with a day of board games. As the author of a book in which board games factor quite heavily, I was invited to host Thrones & Bones games as part of the celebration.

I had to drive through torrential rains to get to Montgomery on Friday night, but it was worth it for the reception at the John Blue Hill House adjacent to the Governor's Mansion that evening. Then Saturday morning kicked off with clear skies and a demonstration of Thrones & Bones at Haigler House. Thanks to father and son pair Mike and Alex for being the first to play, and to Alex in particular for a very challenging game. I've never played a Thrones & Bones game that went so long before the first capture! Even as its creator, I never cease to be fascinated by the endless permutations of play that the game allows!
Mike and Alex play a game of Thrones & Bones

Then it was off to the children's area to present Frostborn to a full house--or rather a full tent. My talk was well attended by enthusiastic kids and their parents (who asked very intelligent questions and were a great audience). And thank you to the kids in particular who joined me on stage for help with a demonstration of what a real Viking helmet looked like!

After the talk there was a book signing, the a nice lunch in the Green Room, and back to Haigler House for another round of Thrones & Bones play. And then the day was done.
A glimpse inside the blacksmith's shop.

A last thought: I miscounted when I said two things made the day special. Actually, three things did. The third is, of course, the people who put it on! Everyone connected with the Alabama Book Festival was wonderful and they put on a great event. A huge thank you to Co-Chair Gail Waller, Joe Birdwell, the master of all things gaming, and Capitol Book & News Company, who facilitated book sales and signings for all the authors.

I highly recommend this event and hope to attend again.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Dark Matter TV Trailer

I am really excited for Dark Matter, the new TV series from  writer/producers Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie, the executive producers and writers for the Stargate franchise, based on their comic book from Dark Horse Comics.

Joe is a tremendous writer, a friend, and someone who is very well-read in literary science fiction. I published a novella by him once (in the anthology Masked.) I read the comic when it came out and loved it. I cannot wait to see how Dark Matter translates to television.

Meanwhile, IGN is running an exclusive trailer and it looks great!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Thrones & Bones Characters for the Fate Accelerated RPG

Something unbelievably cool is going on.

RPG Gamer Dad hosts an incredible podcast aimed at playing Role Playing Games with your children. It's become one of my favorite podcasts and required listening every week. He and I are also both becoming great fans of the Fate role playing games from Evil Hat Productions. There are actually two versions of Fate, a quick and easy version called the Fate Accelerated Edition (FAE) and an expanded game known as the Fate Core System. I've played FAE with my family, play testing the forthcoming Young Centurions game that Evil Hat is developing, but I'm looking at the Core System for a possible game set in the world of my Thrones & Bones novels of middle reader fantasy adventure.

Now, RPG Gamer Dad has taken the two main characters from my novel, Frostborn,Karn Korlundsson and Thianna the half-giant, and statted them out according to the Fate Accelerated rules. He and RPG Gamer Boy are going to play a session of FAE for their podcast, using my characters in a new "dream sequence" adventure inspired by my novel Frostborn.

How unbelievably cool is that?

RPG Gamer Dad writes about the experience of crafting characters based on my book on the Mad Adventurers Society today, with much love for both Evil Hat and Thrones & Bones. Check out his informative post.

Meanwhile, for your potential role playing pleasure, I've pulled out his stats for Karn and Thianna and posted them here, along with a troll boss of their own invention named Grunt'k. Happy Gaming!

Karn Korlundsson:

High Concept: Reluctant heir to Korlundr’s farm.

Trouble: All kinds of baddies are after me.

Aspects: Life is a game of Thrones and Bones.

I carry Whitestorm – a sword of ancient magic.

Careful: +1 (average)
Clever: +3 (good)
Flashy: 0 (mediocre)
Forceful: +2 (fair)
Quick: +2 (fair)
Sneaky: +1 (average)


High Concept: Outdoorsy giantess in search of adventure.

Trouble: Too small for a giant, too big for a human.

Aspects: Really good at sports.

Super-speedy on her skis.

Careful: +1 (average)
Clever: +1 (average)
Flashy: +2 (fair)
Forceful: +2 (fair)
Quick: +3 (good)
Sneaky: 0 (mediocre)


High Concept: Three-headed boss troll.*

Trouble: Really stupid.

Aspects: Big and fat and strong.

Careful: +2 (fair)
Clever: 0 (mediocre)
Flashy: +2 (fair)
Forceful: +3 (good)
Quick: +1 (average)

Sneaky: +1 (average)

* Trolls in Frostbornhave only two heads tops, so you'll have to imagine a third head here or adjust Grunt'k's High Concept accordingly! 

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Praise for Frostborn

Since Frostborn (Thrones and Bones)debuted in August, 2014 it has received a lot of praise. Here's run down of its accolades to date:

Starred Review in Publisher's Weekly.
PW Picks" Books of the Week for week of August 4th
Editor's Choice of Amazon for the month of August
io9's "Must-Read Science Fiction and Fantasy Books for August"
Bank Street College of Education's Best Children's Books of the Year
Imagination Soup "Best Books for 10 Year Olds"
SciFiChick’s Best of 2014
Aleksandra's Corner: My Top Ten Authors I've Only Read One Book From But NEED to Read More
Aleksandra's Corner Top 10 of 2014
A Book Long Enough: Percy Jackson Read-Alikes: Mythical Fantasy for Kids Ages 9-12
Tween Us: 5 books tweens will love that make great gifts
Things Matter 2014 Survey: Best 2014 debut. Favorite Cover.
Kidspace (Springfield, Missouri district library): A Guide to the Good Stuff - Fantasy Ages 9-12
Fantasy Book Critic Mahir’s Top Reads of 2014 : TOP TEN DEBUTS OF 2014
Bookworm Etc Best of 2014
Edmonds Booktalk: Award-worthy books to add to your reading list
Staff Pick/Recommended Read at 13 bookstores and libraries nationwide

Monday, April 06, 2015

Thrones & Bones at the Alabama Book Festival

This coming Saturday, April 11th, I'm a guest of the 10th annual Alabama Book Festival in Montgomery. The festival pulls in thousand of attendees and features 45 authors. I will be speaking about Frostbornand Nightborn,the first two books of the Thrones & Bones series, in the North Tent at 11:30 am, with a signing directly afterwards at Capital Books & News' booth.

However, this year the festival also coincides with International TableTop Day. So in edition to talking about my novels, I'll be hosting two demonstrations of the Thrones & Bones board game at the Haigler House in conjunction with the Montgomery Area Gaming Society at 10am and 3pm.

I'm planning on leaving the original wooden Thrones & Bones sets at home and bringing my cardstock pawn sets instead. I've just made two more sets to take with me (bringing the total to five sets). These have color coded bases for ease of play. I also made five rules brochures, with thumbnails and book information on the back. The attached pictures show the new game sets and the brochure, and one of the pictures shows the brochures with front, interior, and back visible. Pretty neat, no?

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Kids Books with Giants

Views from the Tesseract has included Frostborn (Thrones and Bones)in their A Tuesday Ten: Here Be Giants! run down of kid's books featuring giants. They also say:
"Lou Anders book is about as close to Dungeons and Dragons style fantasy fiction as I’ve found in MG books. Thianna is one of the two main characters of the novel and she is half human and half frost giant. This makes her too tall to hide among regular humans but far too small among her own kind. Thianna desperately wants to be taken seriously by her kin."
As a very big fan of role playing games, I don't mind that observation at all.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Win a Signed Copy of Frostborn

I'm hosting a Giveaway for a signed copy of Frostborn. To enter follow the link and sign up to follow my Twitter account there and you're automatically entered to win. The contest is hosted via Amazon Giveaways (so I don't see your information). You only need to authorize the "Amazon" application on Twitter to follow or confirm you follow @LouAnders. Contest ends the either Apr 1, 2015 11:59 PM PDT or when the prize has been awarded.

"This is the most fun I’ve had since Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban." Word Bookstores, Staff Pick

Frostborn has been named a Staff Pick by Book Shop Santa Cruz, Books Inc., Eagle Harbor Book Co., Hoover Public Library, King's English Bookshop, Mockingbird Books, Politics and Prose, Powell's, Queen's Library, North Shelby Library, The Waucoma Bookstore and Word Bookstores. It received a starred review in Publishers Weekly, who also selected it for the "PW Picks: Books of the Week" selection for the week of August 4th. It was the Editor's Choice of Amazon for the month of August and made io9's list of "Must-Read Science Fiction And Fantasy Books For August." Frostborn was chosen by the Bank Street College of Education as one of the Best Children's Books of the Year and was nominated for the 2015-16 Beehive Book Awards. It has been praised for its portrayal of equally strong male and female characters, for its lessons on friendship, inner strength, and teamwork, for its inclusion of Norse mythology, and for its portrayal of a biracial character dealing with bullying.

Frostborn: Beehive Book Award Nominee

I have just learned that Frostbornis one of ten nominees for the 2015-16 Beehive Book Awards in the category of Children's Fiction! The award is sponsored by the Children's Literature Association of UtahThe full list of nominees in the category are: 

Children’s Fiction:
1. The Blood Guard by Carter Roy
2. EL Deafo by Cece Bell
3. The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm
4. Frostborn by Lou Anders
5. The Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, the Blue Death and a Boy Called Eel by Deborah Hopkinson
6. Loot by Jude Watson
7. The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier
8. Spell Robbers by Mathew J. Kirby
9. Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald
10. The Vanishing Coin by Kate Egan
Congratulations to all the nominees!