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! 

Monday, June 15, 2015

2015 Chesley Award Nominations

I resigned as an editorial director and art director in September, 2014 to become a full time children's book author.However, work that I acquired featuring cover images which I directed is still coming out. I am very thrilled therefore to learn that I have been nominated for the Chesley Award in the category of Best Art Director. This is my eight Chesley nomination (I won in 2009), and I am as humbled and honored as I ever was to be included alongside such prestigious company as 
Shelly Bond (DC/Vertigo Comics), 
Irene Gallo (Tor &
), Jeremy Jarvis (Wizards of the Coast), and Lauren Panepinto (Orbit Books). Congratulations to all the nominees, and thank you to the fabulous artists with whom it was my pleasure to collaborate.

And speaking of... several works which began life under my tenure as art director are on the ballot as well in the category of Best Cover Illustration - Paperback. Huge congratulations to the geniuses behind these nominations:

The 2015 Chesley Awards will be held at Sasquan, the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention, Spokane, Washington, USA on August 19-23, 2015. Ceremony times to be announced.

Meanwhile, I am happy to say that I am still collaborating with artists these days, working with several really talented folks on projects in and around the Thrones & Bones series. Only a fraction of this artwork has been made public but there is a lot to come in a very short time!

Here is the complete list of 2015 Chesley Award Finalists. Congratulations to us all!

Best Cover Illustration / Hardcover
Julie Dillon, Shadows Beneath: The Writing Excuses Anthology edited by Brandon Sanderson; Dragonsteel Entertainment, June 2014
Jon Foster, Zombie Baseball Beatdown by Paolo Bacigalupi; Subterranean Press, 2014
Todd Lockwood, The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan; Tor, March 2014
John Picacio, Endymion by Dan Simmons; Limited Edition, Subterranean Press, December 2014
Michael Whelan, Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson; Tor, March 2014
Best Cover Illustration – Paperback
John Harris, Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie; Orbit October 2014
Jon Sullivan, The Return of the Discounted Man by Mark Hodder; Pyr, July 2014
Raymond Swanland, The Lady by K.V. Johansen; Pyr, December 2014
Danielle Tunstall, Unseaming by Mike Allen; Antimatter Press, October 2014
Raoul Vitale, Nebula Awards Showcase 2014 edited by Kij Johnson; Prometheus/Pyr
Best Cover Illustration – Magazine
Julie Dillon Analog April 2014
Matt Dixon, Clarkesworld #90 March 2014
Wayne Haag, Interzone #253 July/August 2014
Patrick Jones, Analog March 2014
Jae Lee, Batman/Superman #14 DC Comics October 2014
Peter Mohrbacher, Lightspeed #48 May 2014
Dan Dos Santos, Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #3 Dark Horse, March 2014
Best Interior Illustration
Anna Balbusso and Elena Balbusso, “Ekaterina and the Firebird” by Abra Staffin-Wiebe;, January 2014
Galen Dara, “A City of Its Tentacles” by Rose Lemberg; Lackinton’s #1 February 2014
Julie Dillon, Imagined Realms: Book 1 July/August; Kickstarter December 2014
Scott Gustafson, Classic Bedtime Stories; Artisan, September 2014
Karla Ortiz, “The Walking Stick Forest” by Anna Tambour; May 2014
John Picacio, Nuestra Senora de la Esperanza; October 2014
Best Gaming Related Illustration
Noah Bradley, Drown in Sorrow Magic card, Born of the Gods; WotC, Feb. 2014
Eric Deschamps, Ephara, God of Polis Magic card, Born of the Gods; WotC, Feb. 2014
Michael Komarck, D&D The Rise of Tiamat; WotC, Oct. 2014
Peter Mohrbacher, Pharika, God of Affliction Magic card, Journey into Nyx; WotC, May 2014
Karla Ortiz, Ghoulcaller Gisa Magic card, Commander 2014; WotC, Nov. 2014
Chris Rahn, Ajani the Steadfast Magic card, 2015 Core Set; WotC, July 2014
Best Product Illustration
Frank Cho & Brandon Peterson, Fast Food New York ComicCon 2014 art print
Donato Giancola, George R.R. Martin Song of Ice and Fire 2015 calendar Bantam, 2014
Patrick Jones, Conan The Conquered Illuxcon promotional art
John Picacio, La Calavera Loteria card Lone Boy
Raymond Swanland, One with the Light Limited Edition Giclee on canvas Acme Archives 2014
Best Color Work – Unpublished
Linda Adair, Dragonsbride oil
Michael C. Hayes, Alegretto oils
Reiko Murakami, Giving Name Photoshop
Mark Poole, Omens oils
Dorian Vallejo, Crossing oil on canvas
Annie Stegg Gerard, The Lady of Lorien oil on linen
Best Monochrome Work – Unpublished
Kristina Carroll, “Dragonslayer” charcoal
Sean Murray, “Gateway: The Storkfriars” graphite
John Picacio, El Venado, graphite
Olivier Villoingt, “The Soul of War” graphite & acrylic
Allen Williams, “Sphynx” graphite
Rebecca Yanovskaya, “Wisdom” ink & mixed media
Best Three-Dimensional Art
Dan Chudzinski, The Mudpuppy, resin & mixed media
David Meng, Sun Wukong, the Monkey King
Michael Parkes, Meditation, bronze
Forest Rogers, A Fish from Versailles, Kato polyclay
Virginie Ropars, Morrigan, polymer clay & mixed media
Vincent Villafranca, Modernity’s Squeaky Child, bronze & steel
Best Art Director
Lou Anders, Pyr
Shelly Bond, DC/Vertigo Comics
Irene Gallo, Tor &
Jeremy Jarvis, Wizards of the Coast
Lauren Panepinto, Orbit Books
Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award
Kinuko Craft
John Harris
Gregory Manchess
Iain McCaig

ScripTips at the Pelham Writing Workshop

This Thursday I'll be giving my ScripTips lecture on outlining novels using Hollywood scriptwriting techniques at the Pelham Writers Workshop. The usually one hour session has been increased to two hours so that I can drill down and give the complete lecture. I will be signing Frostborn (Thrones and Bones) afterwards.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

World Building the Thrones and Bones Series

I am a guest today on Elizabeth O. Dulemba's blog talking specifically about world building for the
Thrones & Bones series.
"When I started the manuscript that would become Frostborn, the first book in the Thrones & Bones series, I began with the setting. I had an idea that I was going to write about a half-human, half-giant girl struggling with her dual heritage, but I really didn’t have much beyond that."
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Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Thrones and Bones Fate Accelerated Character Creation and Live Play

I've mentioned before that the incredible podcast, the RPG Gamer Dad Podcast, was working on a series of episodes featuring a game of Evil Hat's wonderful Fate Accelerated role playing game system rules set in the world of my Thrones & Bones novels.

Well, it debuted this week! Episode 35 features the character generation, in which RPG Gamer Dad and RPG Gamer Boy stat out Karn and Thianna from my novel Frostbornand a three-headed troll. Then we get to listen to the first part of the actual play, in which RPG Gamer Boy plays Karn and RPG Gamer Uncle plays Thianna. 

I cannot tell you how honored I am by all this, nor how smart and cute RPG Gamer Boy is! 

But if that weren't enough, the episode also features a great interview with Chris Hanrahan of Evil Hat Productions!!!

Please check it out

Happy Sigurdsblot!

Happy Sigurdsblot!

In celebration of this Viking holiday, we're giving away a copy of the just-released paperback edition of Frostborn!

Sigurdsblot commemorates Sigurd, the Norse hero who slayed the dragon Fafnir!

Click here for details. (Sorry, US only).

Update: The contest is now over, but YA Book Central is now hosting a contest to give away five copies of the forthcoming Nightborn hardcover!