Crossing the Streams: Multi-Author Contest

Cover by Tyler Walpole

Cover by Tyler Walpole

The contest has concluded. I’ll determine winners and contact the lucky recipients over the next week, and once everything’s locked, I’ll announce the results. Sign up for my way-less-than-monthly newsletter if you’d like to receive announcements of upcoming contests and events.

The estimable Ari Marmell invited me to participate in Crossing the Streams 2014, a big book give-away featuring lots of swell writers. Here’s the deal:

All of us run a contest on our own sites. Each contest might be a little different from the others. What they have in common is that we’ll each give away two books. Then we’ll donate a third book to the collective grand prize, so someone who enters any of the various contests wins a signed book from every writer involved.

You can enter each contest only once, but you can enter as many different contests as you like.

Dave’s Contest

To enter here, simply reply to this post with the title of your favorite—or your first—fantasy, SF, or horror novel not written by me (to cross out flattery as a tactic). If you’ll elaborate on why that novel is your favorite, or how it drew you into the genre, that’s fantastic but not required to be eligible for the random draw. But if you do elaborate, you gain a second chance to win. I’ll pick one winner by random draw and a second based on which commentary most persuades, amuses, or delights me.


Cover by Mathias Kollros

Those who win will receive their choice of one of the following Pathfinder Tales novels:

Prince of Wolves

Master of Devils

Queen of Thorns

King of Chaos

If by chance you have all of these novels, we can work out a substitute from my remaining author copies of other works.

To be eligible, you must make your post between now and March 19, 2014. I’ll post the prizes soon after receiving mailing information from the winners.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

Cover by Lucas Graciano

Cover by Lucas Graciano

My Esteemed Colleagues

Please also visit the sites of the other participating authors. I don’t know all of them well, but those I do are terrific writers and wonderful people. Enter their contests, read their work, and check out all their majesty.

Question of the Week: Plot vs. Character

When asked at convention panels which is more important, I steal a line from Bob McKee and answer, “Plot is character.” That is, the choices a character makes both determine the plot and reveal personality. At least, that’s the way most of us try to make it work.

Yet still people ask the question, and I have to acknowledge that some readers seem to respond more to what happens while others seem more concerned with relationships and character evolution.

Do you follow series (or authors) more because of their interesting plots or because of the characters you expect from them? If it’s plot, what makes a great plot for you? If it’s character, what qualities attract you to your favorite fictional characters?

Recommend Some Listening

Since moving to the tundra, I tend to hibernate in winter, yet I do most of my audio-book listening outdoors. Thus, I’m far behind in my Audible library, and I’ve accumulated enough credits that I need to spend them or lose them soon.


Please recommend good books with good narrators, the catch being that they must be available via Audible/Amazon. I’m particularly interested in recent popular fantasy novels, histories (especially Chinese and early 20th Century Europe), detective novels, and thrillers. I’m open to any genre, really, as long as the book and narrator are good, but those subjects have been on my mind lately.

Book Giveaway: Amber Scott

Cover by Tyler Walpole

Cover by Tyler Walpole

To  boost the followers of her author page, my friend and colleague Amber Scott is giving away a prize package including a signed copy of King of Chaos.

Go LIKE her page now to put yourself in the running.

While you’re at it, look down to the right to sign up for my less-than-monthly newsletter. There’s a contest coming soon, and newsletter people will be the first to see it.


Question of the Week: Book or movie?

As a reader and as a writer, I’m supposed to say the book is always better. But that’s not always true, is it?

Even Chuck Palaniuk has said that David Fincher’s film version of Fight Club (adapted by Jim Uhls) is superior to the novel, and many will argue that the same is true of Jonathan Demme’s version of Thomas Harris’s novel The Silence of the Lambs.

Sometimes a film is better in some ways than the novel; I’m thinking particularly of Anthony Minghella’s The English Patient, which introduces a visual mystery not possible in Michael Ondaatje’s novel. You could make a similar case for Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, although expect some heavy fire from J.R.R. Tolkien purists if you do.

Much as I admire Elmore Leonard’s fiction, I think the writers of Justified have exceeded his achievement with the expansion of his story “Fire in the Hole” into the TV series. Of course, they’ve done that in large part by consulting with Leonard and remaining as true as possible to his sensibility and style.

What other films and television shows exceed their literary origins in part or in whole? What are some ways in which the adaptation has fallen short of the original, and what would you have done to avoid that pitfall?




Question of the Week: What’s Your Snobbery?

If I have been accused of snobbery, it’s only because I’m guilty.

Beer snob, movie snob, grammar snob, whatever, I have no defense. Oh, I suppose I could justify every one of these prejudices of quality, but eventually I just stopped making an effort. In the end, I decided it’s perfectly all right to be a snob (if you spell it “alright,” I think less of you), as long as you aren’t a dick about it.

That means not belittling someone because he orders a Budweiser or watches Adam Sandler movies or gets the nominative and objective case mixed up. As long as you’re not his editor, it doesn’t fall to you to fix any of those things. That doesn’t mean you can’t entice your pal with a nice microbrew or try to turn him on to the films of Lee Chang-dong or suggest he correct the error you spot on his resume, as long as you’re not wobbling your head and looking down your nose while you do it.

This point comes home to me now and then when someone else is a snob to me. Sure, I like artsy films, but I also dig B-movies, and I bristle when someone talks down to me when she finds out I love the Universal horror monsters or comic books. Then I think of the Twilight fans I’ve mocked in past and feel ashamed. We like what we like, and making someone feel small for liking something you despise doesn’t embiggen you in the least.

So I’ve given up on trying not to be a snob, but I do try (and sometimes fail) not to be a dick.

Can you think of something about which you are (or were) a snob? Are there fields in which you’ve been both a snob and the subject of snobbery? Is there any legitimate reason we still think in terms of “high” and “low” art? Or are those categories of class inevitable and unassailable?