Thursday, July 02, 2015

Mapping the Fantastic: Four New Maps added to the Thrones & Bones Website

The Thrones & Bones website is undergoing an expansion in anticipation of Nightborn's release. One of the first bits of new content is the addition of four new maps by amazing cartographer Robert Lazzaretti (of Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder fame). This bring the total number of maps on the site to six, all by Lazzaretti. He and I have worked very closely together to get the details of the world of Thrones & Bones exactly right (called the world of Qualth, with our focus thus far being on the continent of Katernia and the neighboring island-continent of Thica). I'm so fortunate to work with such a talented artist. Check out his gorgeous work and see more of the world of the Thrones & Bones series!

Last week, I interviewed Lazzaretti for Mundie Kids about his work on the T&B series. You can read our interview here.

Lindsay Cummings Interview and Kirkus Essentail Reads

Earlier this week, I posted my interview with author Lindsay Cummings. Now, she has posted her Interview with Lou Anders. We talk about world-building, board games, Norse culture, my Top Five Books of All Time, and the perfect cup of coffee. 

Meanwhile, Kirkus has posted their Essential Speculative Fiction Reads in July, and I'm happy to say that Nightborn tops the list. They say:
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Everyone is chasing after a powerful artifact known as the Horn of Osius, an ancient relic capable of controlling dragons. Who is everyone? The Dark Elves; Desstra, a conflicted Dark Elf training to join their elite ranks; and Karn Korlundsson, an avid gamer and adventurer who learns that his best friend, Thianna Frostborn, disappeared when trying to find that very same relic. 
WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: Nightborn offers a carefully constructed and believable world populated with handfuls of imaginative and well-realized fantasy creatures. Plus, like Frostborn, the previous book in the Thrones and Bones series, Nightborn comes with a nifty extra: instructions for playing the board game Charioteers, highlighted in the novel.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Would You Rather Be a Hammer or a Nail?

After reading Nightborn, Winter Haven Books asked me “Which group of elves would you belong to, the Dark Elves or the Wood Elves and why?” My response is the guest post "  Would You Rather Be a Hammer or a Nail?" Check it out and see if you agree!

Six Questions for Lindsay Cummings

Lindsay Cummings is the author of the middle-reader fantasy series Balance Keepers as well as The Murder Complex series of young adult books. She joins us today for a short interview. 

LA: Your fourth book is coming out in a few months, and you are in your early twenties. What was your path to publication like, and what is your writing life like these days?

LC: Pretty crazy, isn’t it? I wrote my first book at eighteen, and it wasn’t really all that great. It was rejected by 120 agents, and then I went on to write another book, where I took my time and really focused on editing. That one was finally picked up, and it took about nine months to sell. Overall, I’ve learned that editing is incredibly important! Without edits, a book doesn’t do as well as it could.

LA: You’re writing two series simultaneously, the Balance Keepers series of middle-grade fantasy books and the teen Murder Complex series. How is switching gears between two series, and what differentiates writing middle grade from young adult?

LC: It’s a little strange sometimes, having to balance two completely different series. One is very dark, and the other is very fun and lighthearted. My YA series is in first person, and my middle-grade series is in third person, so that sort of “tricks” my brain into switching when I sit down to write. But mostly, it’s the darkness and light that set the two apart.

LA: I think I spot some of your influences in Balance Keepers: The Fires of Calderon, and wasn’t surprised to see Harry Potter mentioned in your bio. Growing up, what were your favorite stories—not just books, but films, comics, etc.? What sort of narratives did you gravitate toward?

LC: I loved Harry Potter so much, I think I read them all about five times growing up. I also loved the Chronicles of Narnia. And of course, I have always been a big Marvel fan. I love superheroes, and always wished someday I’d get bitten by a radioactive spider or something. ☺

LA: I love maps of fantasy worlds, and The Fires of Calderon has two! How did you build the three worlds of the Realm? Did the world come first or the story? (And I guess a related question would be “Are you a plotter or a pantser?”)

LC: I love the maps in BALANCE KEEPERS! The artist did a fantastic job of bringing my Realms to life. I imagined the coolest, most extreme settings on earth: volcanoes, snow-capped mountains, jungles, oceans, etc. And then I just made them magical, and added in super-cool creatures that I wouldn’t mind owning myself. ☺ I’m a MAJOR pantser, but since I started writing BALANCE KEEPERS, I’ve become a plotter. I just think plotting saves me from writing myself into too many holes later on during the drafting stage!

LA: I love that the magical tiles in Balance Keepers don’t just grant our protagonist powers—they can be used to play games as well! Are there rules for the game of tiles? Are you a gamer yourself?

LC: There are totally rules—but I’m too lazy to actually sit down and plan the real game myself. (That’s pathetic, I know!) I’m a huge board game and card game player, and growing up I used to love this marble/board game called AGGRAVATION. Also, Monopoly never gets old. (Until you hit the three-hour mark, and then it totally does get old.)

LA: Finally, do you have any particular ritual or funny requirement that you have to do to write? A space, a song, a snack to have on hand?

LC: I love hot Cheetos!! They are my writing fuel. Also, I drink a fancy energy drink called Spark, and that keeps me from falling asleep on my keyboard.

LA: Thank you, Lindsay. Book 2 in the Balance Keepers series, The Pillars of Ponderay, will be released September 22nd. You can learn about all of her work and stay up on news by visiting her website

Monday, June 29, 2015

"Good pacing, well-drawn characters, and engaging action scenes!" says Booklist

A fantastic review of Nightborn in Booklist this week!
"In the opening scene, dark elves Desstra and Tanthal are teammates in a war game leading to membership in—or banishment from—the secret order protecting their homeland. Both competitors are courageous and clever, but Tanthal is unencumbered by such petty concerns as friendship or ethics. Later sent on a mission with Tanthal in charge, Desstra chafes under his leadership. Along the way, she forms an unexpected bond with a human boy, devoted gamer Karn, and his friend, the half-giant Thianna, the duo whose exploits
were chronicled in Frostborn (2014), the first volume in the Thrones & Bones series. Bent on solving an ancient riddle and completing a quest, the characters’ overlapping paths lead them all toward an epic battle with a satisfying conclusion. The extensive back matter includes a glossary, invented history, and instructions for playing a board game mentioned in the novel. This sequel offers an adventure story with good pacing, well-drawn characters, and engaging action scenes. And yes, there’s the promise of more to
come." — Carolyn Phelan, Booklist

When the Dog Bites, When the Bee Stings...

Rich Howard pens role playing games material and articles about same. He is a regular contribute to, and today he posts, "10 of My Favorite Things from June!" Along with pointers to aquatic adventure aids for RPGs and some wonderful artwork, he includes these very kind words:
"You’ve heard me wax poetic about Lou Anders on the DM’s Block and RPG Academy, and you might have even heard me talk about him in person. It’s no secret I’m a big fan. I first heard his name floating around World Fantasy 2012, which was followed up by a Must-Listen-To episode of one of my other all-time Favorite Things, the Writing Excuses podcast. I’ve often referred to Lou as a genius when it comes to writing and editing, and I want to assure you that as excited as I get about the things I love, that claim is not meant to be hyperbolic. Just listen to the Writing Excuses podcast or his upcoming interview on RPGGamerDad and judge for yourself. He’s since left editing for full-time writing, and the world of Middle Grade fiction is all the better for it. The reason he pops up in My Favorite Things this month is because I just recently discovered that Lou is the author of the highly acclaimed Throne and Bones series, the trailer for which you can see below. My niece and nephew are reading it now and loving it. If you want to sample two things on this list in one podcast, pop over to this adorable episode of RPG Gamer Dad and listen to RPG Gamer Boy create characters from Frostborn in the Fate Accelerated system and run through an adventure."

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Song of Helltoppr

Helltoppr is an evil draug, an undead warrior who appears in the novel Frostborn and menaces my heroes. We get a snatch of "The Song of Helltoppr" in the book, and the full lyrics are printed in the appendices. When it came time to writing the song, I enlisted the help of my nephew, Jonathan Anders, who not only helped me compose the lyrics, but performed the song as well at the party for my book launch. Now, through the magic of YouTube, you can hear "The Song of Helltoppr" too.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Thrones & Bones for the Fate Accelerated RPG Episode 2

The RPG Gamer Dad​ Podcast continues with part two of its actual role playing game set in the world of Frostborn (Thrones and Bones​ 1) and using the Fate Accelerated RPG​ from Evil Hat Productions​! The episode (#37) also features an interview with Mike Olson​, designer of the Atomic Robo​ RPG. Check it out!

Meanwhile, for those coming in late, part one can be found in episode 35. And for those wanting to play in the Thrones & Bones world themselves, RPG Gamer Dad and RPG Gamer Boy's character sheets for Karn and Thianna can be found here.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Hanging in the 'Ham with Writers

Yesterday, I was a guest lecturer at Anita Saxena's Pelham Writing Workshop: How to Write a Novel. We had around eighteen attendees, ranging in age from 15 to 55. I gave the full two hour ScripTips presentation and signed books afterwards. Thanks to Anita for inviting me and to all the attendees-- you were a great audience. 
Then I jumped in the car and drove from Pelham to Hoover, to the Little Professor Book Center, where four middle grade and YA authors were stopping in on their southeast tour, the Southeast Summer Book Bash! Lynne MatsonLindsay CummingsRobin Constantine and Jaye Robin Brown were all there, in a round-table discussion with fans. They kindly pulled me in and we talked until Little Professor closed about all things writing and publishing (and some things not!) 

Local YA author Stephen L. Duncan showed up, along with a friend from the Cahaba Brewing Co, and we went from there to The Garage Cafe, a very hip dive on Southside. We sat around in the outdoor patio in a sort of junk yard with rusty found objects everywhere, stone patio benches, and christmas lights threaded through the trees. Cash only. Only bottled beer and sandwiches, and you order the sandwich by walking into the kitchen area and telling the cook what you want. Which was the perfect place the the occasion! We stayed out until about 10:30 talking. A great time was had by all! 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Desktop/Laptop Wallpaper for Thrones & Bones

Want wallpaper for your desktop and laptop with art from the Thrones & Bones series? Well, you're in luck. The website Ex Libris just debuted the first Thrones & Bones wallpaper today. This is a scene from the first novel, Frostborn, showing Karn and Thianna as they stumble upon Helltopp's Barrow. (If you zoom in, you can see the corpse door in the opening of the mound!). The illustration is by the amazing Andrew Bosley, who also does artwork on the Thrones & Bones website.

The wallpaper is available in a variety of sizes and you can download it here!