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Originally published at Grasping for the Wind. Please leave any comments there.

So recently some acquaintances of mine were on vacation and stopped at a local used bookstore….

It was one of those stores where the books are just piled everywhere, but the proprietor knows where EVERYTHING is….

But it was not the chaotic nature of the store that made this place so unique, it was these….

And then it gets a little odd….

Only to then jump the shark completely….

All to end with this heartfelt offer at the cash register….


And for extra credit, I give you this product recommendation from O. J. Simpson….


Originally published at Grasping for the Wind. Please leave any comments there.

Wizards of the Coast is now offering in multiple formats (PDF, EPUB, MOBI) a free download of The Gates of Madness an e-novella that explains the origin story for their multiple world-spaning event The Abyssal Plague.

In addition, there is a free short story by Erik Scott de Bie (if you scroll to the bottom of the download page) called “Gedrin Shadowbane” that you can get in PDF format.

Geek Media Round-Up: July 21, 2011

Originally published at Grasping for the Wind. Please leave any comments there.


8-Bit Sand Tribute

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Originally published at Grasping for the Wind. Please leave any comments there.

In celebration of the audio release of Blood TrustI have one copy of the audiobook by Eric Van Lustbader to give away courtesy of Macmillan Audio.

In order to win, just leave a comment below telling me why you like thriller/mysteries. Best answer by Aug. 1, 2011 (in my opinion) wins it.

And enjoy this audioclip from the audiobook as a special gift to everyone.

Blood Trust by Eric Van Lustbader webclip by johnottinger

It was once said that you must trust and believe in people or life becomes impossible . . .

Alli Carson has been through her own personal hell. With her father, the President of the United States, recently dead and her mother in a coma from a terrible accident, she has poured herself into her training to become one of the best FBI agents at the Fearington Institute. Her inspiration and solace comes from the one man with whom she has ever felt a kinship, National Security Adviser, Jack McClure. But when Alli becomes the prime suspect in a murder at Fearington, a wide ranging investigation is triggered, involving local homicide detectives, the secret service, the FBI itself, and Alli’s own uncle, the billionaire lobbyist Henry Carson. And yet nothing is what it seems.

What follows is a treacherous journey that leads Jack and Alli into a complex web of lies and deceit. Using Jack’s unique gifts to see the through the labyrinth of manipulation, their investigation leads them into the dark heart of the international slave trade, tied to a powerful Albanian crime lord whose ability and influence in global terrorism grows with each day.

The two find themselves in the crosshairs of vast global enterprise, one that lurks in the shadows of power and has infiltrated Washington and their lives in ways neither of them could ever have imagined. And hidden deep among it all sits a terrifying criminal mastermind, someone fueled by a hatred that can never be quenched, and a mind that knows neither feeling nor mercy.

1. Drawing is open to residents in US and Canada only.
2. Simply leave a comment on this post with your reasons why you want it to enter. A winner will be chosen and notified of their winning entry via email.

SFFWRTCHT: A Chat With Author James Enge

Originally published at Grasping for the Wind. Please leave any comments there.

Known as mild-mannered James M. Pfundstein by day, a Latin, Greek and classics professor, at night, he becomes James Enge, author of legendary tales of the swordsman Morlock. Morlock has featured so far in three novels, with a trilogy on the way from PYR in 2012, and numerous short stories which have appeared in Black Gate, Swords & Dark Magic, Every Day Fiction, Rogue Blades’ Return Of The Sword, and Flashing Swords, amongst others. A frequent panelist at cons on topics such as pulps and swords & sorcery, James Enge can be found at www.jamesenge.com, on Facebook and as @jamesenge on Twitter.

SFFWRTCHT: Let’s start with the day job. You teach classic languages or literature or both?</p>

James Enge: Both languages and literature. Latin language mostly, with a little Greek. And myth and Roman history, too. I do whatever I can to capture the students’ attention. You have to sell clasics pretty hard these days. It’s a good challenge, though. Every college teacher should show that what he’s doing is worth the students’ time.

SFFWRTCHT: Awesome! Who are some of your favorite classical writers?

JE: I like Virgil–The Aeneid is like a fantasy novel in verse, with gods and magic and murder and treachery and all the good stuff. Also Seneca–the same stuff as Virgil, but with extra doses of cannibalism and murder.

SFFWRTCHT: Was it academic boredom, morbid curiosity, or too much spare time which led you to become a writer?

JE: I started as a kid, long before I got into classics. Though I was always into myth.

SFFWRTCHT: What kinds of stories/things did you write as a kid?

JE: Oh, God. Horrible multibook imitations of Tolkien, drenched with Mary Sues, that never ended until I abandoned them.

SFFWRTCHT: How did the Morlock character come into being?

JE: Morlock was a combination of lots of things–Tolkien, Arthurian mythos, Wells. Irritation with favorite writers gets me to write. I thought Wells was unfair to the Morlocks. Maybe they’re not so pretty, but they have a fair claim to being the real human beings of Wells’ far future: they seem to be _hnau_, (to borrow a word from C.S. Lewis) and it’s not clear to me that the empty pretty Eloi are _hnau_. In something like the same way, Tolkien was unfair to Dwarves–always talking them down, in contrast to his favorites, the Elves. Add a catalyst of Arthurian legend to this volatile mix of literary irritation and you get a wonderworking dry drunk named Morlock Ambrosius who las a long-term connection with Dwarves. Anyway, he walked into one of those multibook things I wrote as a teenager and started causing trouble immediately. Although it took a long time for the world to grow around him. And for my storytelling to grow up to him.

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Originally published at Grasping for the Wind. Please leave any comments there.

My parents just took a cruise around the Baltic Sea, and knowing my penchant for all things SF, took this excellent pic of a specialty SF bookstore in Old Town Stockholm.

I am particularly a fan of the dragon/spaceship combo on top of the sign.

Hälsningar andra science fiction-älskare! (Translation: “Greetings fellow science fiction lovers!” I hope.) We are glad to know you are out there fighting the good fight, reading the good read!


Originally published at Grasping for the Wind. Please leave any comments there.

Every Tuesday night, a new episode of the Functional Nerds podcast is posted at www.functionalnerds.com with hosts Patrick Hester and John Anealio chatting with authors like Blake Charlton, James Enge, L.E. Modesitt, and more.

In addition to running the podcast, Patrick edits and records podcasts for www.sfsignal.com and author Mur Lafferty and can be found at www.atfmb.com.

John is a school music teacher by day and spends his nights recording and writing funny or serious songs with speculative themes. Much of his work can be found on various podcasts and websites, including http://www.youtube.com/user/JohnAnealio and http://johnanealio.bandcamp.com/.

They joined us to discuss their own work and the business of podcasting.

SFFWRTCHT: Please tell us a little about how Functional nerds came about. You were bloggers first?


Patrick Hester: I was doing a blog and podcast called ‘All Things From My Brain’ and thought I needed a second voice. John was listening and doing his own podcast and thought the same thing. He contacted me and we started chatting. Thus was born The Functional Nerds.

SFFWRTCHT: Why the name Functional Nerds?

PH: When John contacted me about partnering up, he said it needed to be called ‘Functional Nerds’ based on something I’d mentioned once or twice. I had a boss tell me that I was a nerd, but ‘functional’-as in, I function in society.

SFFWRTCHT: Hey, I like that. Podcasting is still new to a lot of us. Can you tell us how you go about putting a show together?

PH: I do the recording, editing and put the posts up. John books all the guests and handles the scheduling. I used to do all this show prep, I’d write out scripts for us (you can tell in the early shows), but we don’t do that now. John prepares cogent questions and then I mess him all up by going all over the place.

SFFWRTCHT: Do you use any other programs besides Skype do you use for the podcasts? I know Patrick’s written a great article on how he does the technical stuff.

PH: Quick app list for podcasting: Skype, Wiretap, Garageband, Amadeus Pro, Levelator.

SFFWRTCHT: What types of books do you like to showcase on your podcast?

John Anealio: Science fiction, fantasy, epic fantasy, urban fantasy etc. and so on.

SFFWRTCHT: Has it been a challenge to book guests? And relatedly, how do you get in touch with people?

PH: For the SFSignal podcast, I have a list of contacts from SFSignal, plus I troll websites for contact info (I book that show). I recently have had publicists contact me to get their people on SFSignal, which is different and welcomed (sometimes).

JA: It’s been surprisingly easy to book guests for The Functional Nerds Podcast.  I’ve booked a lot of authors and musicians through Twitter.  For some authors, I’ve gone through their publicists.

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Giveaway: 1 Copy of Dead Iron by Devon Monk

Originally published at Grasping for the Wind. Please leave any comments there.

Courtesy of the always awesome Roc books, I have a copy of Dead Iron by Devon Monk to give away to one lucky commenter. I’ve perused an advance review copy and this looks like on the better steampunk novels to be published recently. Just live in the USA and tell us what you like about steampunk and you will be automagically entered to win! Contest is open till midnight July 4th. (After all, what better way is there to celebrate America’s birth than by winning a steampunk novel?)

Click for Amazon listing

Although devisers have civilized the east with their steam and gear contraptions known as matics, civilization has yet to take hold in the new states. When three brothers bring Cedar a sign that his own brother may still be alive, all they ask in return is a favor. Cedar agrees to hunt for the Holder, a device created by mad devisers. In a land shaped by magic, steam, and iron, where the only thing a man can count on is his guns, gears, and grit, Cedar’s quest for the Holder will lead him down many paths. In order to succeed, he must save a child’s life, free a vengeful zombie’s soul, and break the curse that steals his humanity before he kills the very people he’s trying to save.

In a land shaped by magic, steam, and iron, where the only things a man can count on are his guns, gears, and grit, Cedar will have to depend on all three if he’s going to save his brother and reclaim his soul once and for all…

Originally published at Grasping for the Wind. Please leave any comments there.

To many, Lou Anders is the face of @PYR_Books, where he serves as Editorial Director and Art Director He’s also the editor of acclaimed anthologies, including Swords & Dark Magic co-edited with Jonathan Strahan. A 2011/2010/2009/2008/2007 Hugo Award nominee, 2010 Shirley Jackson Award nominee, 2008 Philip K. Dick Award nominee. 2010/2009/2007 Chesley Award nominee/winner/nominee, and 2006 World Fantasy Award nominee. He’s edited anthologies for Solaris, Gallery, HarperEOS, Roc, Monkeybrain books and Wildside Press. You can find him on Twitter as @louanders or at www.louanders.com and www.pyrsf.com.

SFFWRTCHT: So Lou, when and how did you discover your passion for speculative fiction? </p>

Lou Anders: Several times/places. If I had to boil it to a few key events, I’d say the first was an exposure to the TV show Land of the Lost. I had no idea until years later how many actual Science Fiction authors wrote for that show – Niven, Sturgeon, etc. But it was a show with dinosaurs, wormholes, lost civilizations, micro/bubble universes, curved space. Blew my young mind. I was a kid in the deep south, whose teachers wouldn’t even say the word “evolution” even in context of mathematical theory. A few years later, I found some battered paperback copies of The Science Fiction Hall of Fame volumes.  And then when I was 12 or 13, my dad shoved A Princess of Mars into my hands and ordered me to read it. I resisted of course. “It has a naked woman on the cover.” “I know it has a naked woman, but it’s still a good book.” I ended up reading every Edgar Rice Burroughs I could find over the next year, then moved on to Moorcock and Lieber.

Then I saw Excalibur in the 5th grade. One of my teachers was there too. She held me after class the next day. Turns out she was afraid I’d rat her out. We agreed that the sex wasn’t gratuitous but was necessary to the plot. And not to tell anyone else we’d seen each other there. In the 1990s, when the Land of the Lost script was floating around Hollywood in development hell, my then-script writing partner and I tried to get on it. So upset with the Will Ferrell remake.  It could have been like a Jurassic Park style film, only with a few sensawunder concepts.

SFFWRTCHT: Did you and your partner sell any scripts?

LA: Our first one got passed around. On it, we got hired by a production studio to do a work for hire for one of their directors. That never got made, but then a production company hired us to write another which also never got made. But for a while there was “heat’ on us and we had CAA agents and lots of meetings. Michael Bay’s right hand man wanted him to do 1 of our films. Turned it down as being too close to Armageddon. We shared scenes.

SFFWRTCHT: Ok, so you were an avid reader and even tried writing scripts. What about short stories or novels?

LA: Well, we also had a standing invitation to pitch Voyager. Which we did several times. I wrote The Making of Star Trek First Contact book and over 500 articles for Star Trek Monthly and Babylon 5 Magazine.

SFFWRTCHT: So how did you end up Editorial Director of a SF publisher?

LA: I’ve had a very few short stories published. And I’m on draft 5 of my first ever novel right now. 5 years in LA as journalist on SF TV sets, writing screenplays. So ex-girlfriend, Harvard MBA, hires me to move to SF and be the content person for an online reading startup. Bookface was “browser based reading” that tracked ad revenues and paid publishers for the time people read online. In one year, we had 42,000 users, and thousands of titles in all genres, nonfiction, religion, computing, childrens, you name it.

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Giveaway: Faultlines Web Series package

Originally published at Grasping for the Wind. Please leave any comments there.

Faultines the Web Series is a a start-up web series that is giving away a walk on role or character named after you, a t-shirt, signed DVD, signed poster and a copy of the script to one person who comments below through June 30.


After a mysterious number of earthquakes strange things have been happening around the effected areas. It seems that the earthquakes have opened cracks in Hell and are releasing demons upon earth. A demon hunting pastor and his eager assistant have been following these events as they are taking place, but when the demons come to stop them they are forced to fight. Along the journey they will join forces with an Angel and a Seer to fight the demons and return them to Hell where they belong.

Faultlines Pitch Video from DanielWoods on Vimeo.

Our Story:

Faultlines is a high-production-value web series that is being produced by industry professionals with a goal to create one of the finest web series we can. We have renowned professionals involved from many areas of film and television production involved, including art designers, makeup artists, costume designers, producers, not to mention cast members, who are all working together to make a high-production-value web series at studio quality by pooling our talents to create something truly special.

The Creator:

Daniel Woods was influenced by the comics such as Hellblazer and Lucifer to write Faultlines the Web Series a supernatural web series about angels, demons and the humans that get caught in between. He has worked on TV shows such as Chuck (NBC), House (FOX) and movies such as Transformers 3 (Paramount Pictures), The Avengers & I, Alex Cross.


We will be shooting this series in Akron, OH and surrounding areas.

Donate for a chance to win an iPad 2:



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