Friday, February 24, 2017

Interview with Jake Bible


Please welcome Jake Bible to The Qwillery! Stone Cold Bastards is published on February 24th by Bell Bridge Books. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Jake a Happy Publication Day!







TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Jake:  I started writing when I was young, way back in elementary school. I was lucky enough to go to a school where we were required to not only write a short book, but to illustrate and bind it. I pretty much ripped off other ideas like the old Dungeons & Dragons cartoon, Bunnicula, Mercer Mayer stories. I've always had a seriously overactive imagination. I continued writing up through and after high school, but let it fall away as life got busy and I got tired of the old way of mailing in stories to markets and publishers. The internet changed all of that and when I could start submitting via email. So I decided to give it a go again. That was back in 2007 and I've been writing my butt off since.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Jake:  I'm whatever it takes to get the novel written the way it needs to be written. The last novel I wrote I didn't even jot down a note until the final chapter. Then I outlined that chapter so I could tie up the story. I've outlined entire books and followed the outline, I've outlined entire books and never once looked at the outline, I've done it every way possible. It really all depends on how well-formed the story is in my head when I start writing.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing? Has your writing process changed over the years?

Jake:  After 40 plus novels, the most challenging part of writing is to not be derivative. I have certain themes and archetypes that I steer towards when I write a novel, but I try to make each story's characters new and fresh. It isn't easy. As for my writing process, I haven't changed much over the years. My mind is hyperactive, so when the story is flowing, I let it flow. When it isn't flowing, I back off and do something– clean the house, run errands, watch Netflix, read, cook. But I pretty much have always had the same process of slow start, super fast finish. So far it works for me.



TQDescribe Stone Cold Bastards in 140 characters or less.

Jake:  A rag-tag team of gargoyles come to life must save the last of humanity from extinction before the demon-possessed hordes destroy the world.



TQTell us something about Stone Cold Bastards that is not found in the book description.

Jake:  One of the themes of the book is being the reluctant hero. Most of the gargoyles actually have a lot of contempt for the humans they are protecting. They understand that humanity needs to be saved, but if it wasn't for the magic that compels them, they may not exactly put their all into it. Overcoming that contempt is part of the hero's journey for many of the gargoyles. It was great playing with that dynamic.



TQWhat inspired you to write Stone Cold Bastards? Why gargoyles?

Jake:  I came up with the name first. Stone Cold Bastards just popped into my head and I went, "Huh? What kind of story is this?" Then I realized that there are billion vampire, werewolf, zombie, and ghost stories out there, but other than a couple paranormal romances here and there, gargoyles have been pretty much neglected. Plus, gargoyles are made of stone and I knew they could just whomp the crap out of their enemies. I wanted to write a novel with some crap-whomping heroes that just kicked ass.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Stone Cold Bastards?

Jake:  Oh, man, I learned something huge! Did you know that what we generically call gargoyles are actually grotesques? That's where we get the word "grotesque" from! Gargoyles are waterspouts that usually are set at the corners of buildings whereas grotesques are any carved faces or carved statues that adorn a building. The stereotypical winged and fanged creature we all think of as a gargoyle is technically a grotesque. I thought that was way cool.



TQIn Stone Cold Bastards who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Jake:  The easiest character to write was by far Mordecai (Morty). He's the cigar-chomping, lead grotesque that acts all tough and gruff, but has a sweet spot for a few of the wards (humans) he and the other grotesques have to protect. Writing him came easy. I had a few hard characters to write, mainly the humans. Switching my brain from grotesque/gargoyle think and back to human think was not easy. I enjoyed being in Morty's head so much that when I went to write a human character I almost had a disdain for them. They were weak and soft and could get crushed so easily. They sucked. I had to work at making the humans likable and worth saving! It's kind of funny.



TQWhich question about Stone Cold Bastards do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Jake:  What type of novel is it? The genre is technically Contemporary Fantasy, but I think that classification (as many classifications do) misses the spirit of the novel. This is a dark, magical, post-apocalyptic, action adventure that I have tried to make as fun and entertaining as possible. It's a contradiction. I was inspired by those old war movies like The Dirty Dozen and Kelly's Heroes. The ones where the misfits are the heroes and you know most of them are probably not going to make it. Lots of jokes and sarcasm from the characters that helps mask the gravity of their situation. They know the odds are against them, but damn if they aren't gonna have a great time kicking ass and taking names along the way!



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Stone Cold Bastards.

Jake:  One of my favorites is from Morty. “Guys, I have a big day ahead of me, so if we could avoid the one-on-one attacks, that would be great." Morty is facing several hundred demon-possessed "vessels" as they are called and he could care less about the numbers. He just wants to get the fight going and be done with it. One big, huge, violent brawl is what he prefers. I love it.



TQ:   What's next?

Jake:  Oh, wow, I have a lot coming up. I'm currently writing an urban fantasy for Bell Bridge Books called Black Box, Inc. It's like The Transporter meets Dresden Files. It's turning out to be a lot of fun to write. I also publish with Severed Press and have been releasing a lot of military scifi and space opera with them. What I'm looking forward to is tackling a new genre for Severed Press: LitRPG. Basically its when the protagonist is somehow transported/sucked into/merged with a role playing game/video game/online game and they literally have to play by the rules of the game in order to survive. Ready Player One is a good example, but true LitRPG goes even deeper than that. It's going to be cool to explore something new.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Jake:  Thanks for having me!





Stone Cold Bastards
Bell Bridge Books, February 24, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 218 pages

Only a rag-tag team of gargoyles stands between humanity and extinction.

Hell has released its ravening horde of demons, leaving most of humanity a puke-spewing, head-spinning mess of possession.

Humanity’s last hope? A team of misfit gargoyles—including a cigar chomping, hard-ass grotesque—come alive and ready for battle during the End of Days. They guard the last cathedral-turned-sanctuary atop a bald knoll in the North Carolina mountains.

Gargoyle protection grudgingly extends to any human who can make it inside the sanctuary, but the power of the stonecutter blood magic, which protects the sanctuary, may not be enough when a rogue grotesque and his badly-wounded ward arrive.

All the hounds of hell are on their heels. The last sanctuary is about to fall.





About Jake

Jake Bible, Bram Stoker Award nominated-novelist and author of the bestselling Z-Burbia series, short story writer, independent screenwriter, podcaster, and inventor of the Drabble Novel, has entertained thousands with his horror and sci/fi tales. He reaches audiences of all ages with his uncanny ability to write a wide range of characters and genres. Other series by Jake Bible: the bestselling Salvage Merc One, the Apex Trilogy, the Mega series, and the Reign of Four series. Jake lives in the wonderfully weird Ashville, North Carolina. Connect with Jake on Facebook, Twitter, and his website: jakebible.com


2016 Bram Stoker Awards® Final Ballot



The Horror Writers Association has announced the the nominees for the 2016 Bram Stoker Awards®. Presentation of the Bram Stoker Awards® will take place during StokerCon on April 29, 2017.


Superior Achievement in a Novel
Hand, Elizabeth – Hard Light: A Cass Neary Crime Novel (Minotaur Books)
Jones, Stephen Graham – Mongrels (William Morrow)
Langan, John – The Fisherman (Word Horde)
MacLeod, Bracken – Stranded: A Novel (Tor Books)
Tremblay, Paul – Disappearance at Devil’s Rock (William Morrow)


Superior Achievement in a First Novel
Barnett, Barbara – The Apothecary’s Curse (Pyr Books)
Chapman, Greg – Hollow House (Omnium Gatherum Media)
Deady, Tom – Haven (Cemetery Dance Publications)
Garza, Michelle and Lason, Melissa – Mayan Blue (Sinister Grin Press)
Wytovich, Stephanie – The Eighth (Dark Regions Press)


Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel
Alexander, Maria – Snowed (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
Brozek, Jennifer – Last Days of Salton Academy (Ragnarok Publishing)
Cosimano, Elle – Holding Smoke (Hyperion-Disney)
Roberts, Jeyn – When They Fade (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
Sirowy, Alexandra – The Telling (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)


Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel
Bunn, Cullen – Blood Feud (Oni Press)
Chambers, James – Kolchak the Night Stalker: The Forgotten Lore of Edgar Allan Poe (Moonstone)
de Campi, Alex – No Mercy, Vol. 2 (Image Comics)
Kirkman, Robert – Outcast by Kirkman&Azaceta, Vol 3 This Little Light (Image Comics)
Miller, Mark Alan and Lansdale, Joe R. –The Steam Man (Dark Horse Books)
Moore, Alan – Providence, Act 1 (Avatar Press)


Superior Achievement in Long Fiction
Cushing, Nicole – The Sadist’s Bible (01Publishing)
Edelman, Scott – That Perilous Stuff (Chiral Mad 3) (Written Backwards)
LaValle, Victor – The Ballad of Black Tom (Tor.com)
Malerman, Josh – The Jupiter Drop (You, Human) (Dark Regions Press)
Waggoner, Tim – The Winter Box (DarkFuse)


Superior Achievement in Short Fiction
Bailey, Michael – Time is a Face on the Water (Borderlands 6) (Borderlands Press)
Bodner, Hal – A Rift in Reflection (Chiral Mad 3) (Written Backwards)
Golden, Christopher – The Bad Hour (What the #@&% is That?) (Saga Press)
Mannetti, Lisa – ArbeitMacht Frei(Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories) (Crystal Lake Publishing)
Oates, Joyce Carol – The Crawl Space (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Volume #2016/Issue#8) (Dell Magazines)


Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection
Barron, Laird – Swift to Chase (JournalStone)
Chizmar, Richard – A Long December (Subterranean Press)
Oates, Joyce Carol – The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror (Mysterious Press)
O’Neill, Gene – Lethal Birds (Omnium Gatherum Media)
Schwaeble, Hank – American Nocturne (Cohesion Press)


Superior Achievement in a Screenplay
Campbell, Josh, Chazelle, Damien, and Stuecken, Matthew – 10 Cloverfield Lane (Paramount Pictures)
Duffer, Matt and Duffer, Ross – Stranger Things: The Vanishing of Will Byers (Episode 01: Chapter One) (21 Laps Entertainment, Monkey Massacre)
Duffer, Matt and Duffer, Ross – Stranger Things: The Upside Down (Episode 01: Chapter Eight) (21 Laps Entertainment, Monkey Massacre)
Eggers, Robert – The VVitch (Parts and Labor, RT Features, Rooks Nest Entertainment, Code Red Productions, Scythia Films, Maiden Voyage Pictures, Mott Street Pictures, Pulse Films, and Very Special Projects)
Logan, John – Penny Dreadful: A Blade of Grass (Episode 03:04) Showtime Presents in association with SKY, Desert Wolf Productions, Neal Street Productions)


Superior Achievement in an Anthology
Bailey, Michael – Chiral Mad 3 (Written Backwards)
Manzetti, Alessandro – The Beauty of Death (Independent Legions Publishing)
Monteleone, Thomas F. and Monteleone, Oliva F. – Borderlands 6 (Samhain Publishing, Ltd.)
Mosiman, Billie Sue – Fright Mare-Women Write Horror (DM Publishing)
Murano, Doug and Ward, D. Alexander – Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories (Crystal Lake Publishing)


Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction
Braudy, Leo – Haunted: On Ghosts, Witches, Vampires, Zombies and Other Monsters of the Natural and Supernatural(Yale University Press)
Franklin, Ruth – Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life (Liveright Publishing Corporation)
Olson, Danel P. – Guillermo del Toro’s “The Devil’s Backbone” and “Pan’s Labyrinth”: Studies in the Horror Film (Centipede Press)
Poole, W. Scott – In the Mountains of Madness: The Life, Death and Extraordinary Afterlife of H. P. Lovecraft (Soft Skull Press)
Skal, David J. – Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker, the Man Who Wrote
Dracula (Liveright Publishing Corporation)
Tibbetts, John – The Gothic Worlds of Peter Straub (McFarland)


Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection
Boston, Bruce and Manzetti, Alessandro – Sacrificial Nights (KippleOfficinaLibraria)
Collings, Michael R. – Corona Obscura: Poems Dark and Elemental (self-published)
Gailey, Jeannine Hall – Field Guide to the End of the World: Poems (Moon City Press)
Simon, Marge – Small Spirits (Midnight Town Media)
Wytovich, Stephanie M. – Brothel (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

AIAS Announces 20th D.I.C.E. Awards


Press Release


20th D.I.C.E. Awards Honors Best in Interactive Entertainment

Overwatch Wins Game of the Year

LAS VEGAS – Feb. 23, 2017 – Celebrating its 20th year of honoring the industry’s top games, The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS), the non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement and recognition of the interactive arts representing its 33,000+ membership base, is pleased to announce the recipients of the D.I.C.E. Awards for the best games from 2016. Earning Game of the Year was Overwatch by Blizzard Entertainment, which challenges players to join the ranks of a legendary force of soldiers, scientists, adventurers and oddities, and clash on the battlefields of a near-future Earth. The awards were unveiled at the annual D.I.C.E. Awards ceremony, held at The Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas earlier this evening.

The AIAS membership honored games in 24 award categories, including Overwatch and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, which received four awards each. INSIDE won three awards, including the D.I.C.E. Sprite Award, which recognizes a game with limited resources for development and exposure (as compared to AAA titles). Other top honorees were Pokémon GO for Mobile Game of the Year, Steep for Game of the Year, Street Fighter V for Fighting Game of the Year and Dark Souls III for RPG/MMO Game of the Year. Winners for newly added awards that recognized achievement and innovation in virtual reality and augmented reality games, included SUPERHOT VR for Immersive Reality Game of the Year and Eagle Flight for Immersive Reality Technical Achievement.

“For the past 20 years, the D.I.C.E. Awards have been bringing together the most talented, innovative and inspiring minds in interactive entertainment to recognize and celebrate the industry’s most outstanding achievements,” said Mike Fischer, president, Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. “We’re thrilled to congratulate all of this year’s award winners whose incredible games have amazed and entertained fans worldwide, and are truly an inspiration to us all.”

In addition to the awards for the industry’s best games and creators from the previous year, the D.I.C.E. Awards also honored Todd Howard, Executive Producer and Game Director at Bethesda Game Studios, as the 22nd inductee into the AIAS Hall of Fame, which honors individuals who have been instrumental in the development of highly influential games. Howard was recognized for having created some of the industry’s most successful games by pioneering open-world gameplay, and played a key role in the creative direction and growth of highly-regarded franchises, including The Elder Scrolls and Fallout. Both are known for their experiential approach to world-building and storytelling, and have earning multiple D.I.C.E. Awards throughout the years.

The 20th annual D.I.C.E. Awards ceremony, which was co-hosted by Jessica Chobot of Nerdist News and Kinda Funny co-founder Greg Miller, was the culmination of the annual three-day D.I.C.E. (Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain) Summit (#DICE2017), which is known for drawing many of the interactive entertainment industry’s most respected and influential leaders, decision makers and visionaries.

The complete list of winners includes:

Game of the Year
Overwatch
  • Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
  • Developer: Blizzard Entertainment

Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction
INSIDE
  • Publisher: Playdead
  • Developer: Playdead

Outstanding Achievement in Game Design
Overwatch
  • Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
  • Developer: Blizzard Entertainment

Immersive Reality Technical Achievement
Eagle Flight
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Developer: FunHouse

Immersive Reality Game of the Year
SUPERHOT VR
  • Publisher: SUPERHOT Sp. z o.o.
  • Developer: SUPERHOT Sp. z o.o.

Mobile Game of the Year
Pokémon GO
  • Publisher: Niantic Labs
  • Developer: Niantic Labs

Handheld Game of the Year
Pokémon Sun and Moon
  • Publisher: The Pokémon Company
  • Developer: Game Freak

D.I.C.E. Sprite Award
INSIDE
  • Publisher: Playdead
  • Developer: Playdead

Outstanding Achievement in Online Gameplay
Overwatch
  • Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
  • Developer: Blizzard Entertainment

Strategy/Simulation Game of the Year
Sid Meier’s Civilization VI
  • Publisher: 2K Games
  • Developer: Firaxis Games

Sports Game of the Year
Steep
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Developer: Ubisoft Annecy

Role-Playing/Massively Multiplayer Game of the Year
Dark Souls III
  • Publisher: BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America Inc.
  • Developer: FromSoftware, Inc.

Racing Game of the Year
Forza Horizon 3
  • Publisher: Microsoft Studios
  • Developer: Playground Games, Turn 10 Studios

Fighting Game of the Year
Street Fighter V
  • Publisher: Capcom U.S.A., Inc.
  • Developer: Capcom

Family Game of the Year
Ratchet & Clank
  • Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
  • Developer: Insomniac Games

Adventure Game of the Year
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
  • Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment America
  • Developer: Naughty Dog

Action Game of the Year
Overwatch
  • Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
  • Developer: Blizzard Entertainment

Outstanding Technical Achievement
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
  • Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment America
  • Developer: Naughty Dog

Outstanding Achievement in Story
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
  • Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment America
  • Developer: Naughty Dog

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design
Battlefield 1
  • Publisher: Electronic Arts
  • Developer: EA Dice

Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition
DOOM
  • Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
  • Developer: id Software

Outstanding Achievement in Character
The Last Guardian - Trico
  • Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment America
  • Developer: JAPAN Studio

Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction
INSIDE
  • Publisher: Playdead
  • Developer: Playdead

Outstanding Achievement in Animation
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
  • Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment America
  • Developer: Naughty Dog

Since 1996, the D.I.C.E. Awards have recognized outstanding games, individuals and development teams that push the boundaries of technology, creativity and artistic expression in the worldwide interactive entertainment industry. Titles were played and evaluated by members of the Academy’s Peer Panels. The panels are comprised of the game industry’s most experienced and talented professionals. Each panel is responsible for evaluating one award category. D.I.C.E. Awards recipients are determined by a vote of qualified AIAS members. Award voting is confidential, conducted online and supervised and certified by VoteNet Solutions, Inc. The integrity of the system, coupled with a broad-based voting population of AIAS members, makes the D.I.C.E. Awards the most credible, respected and recognized awards for interactive entertainment software.

The 20th D.I.C.E. Awards was produced by the AIAS, and will be available to watch in-full at https://www.youtube.com/user/AcademyIAS.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Interview with Chris Sharp, author of Cold Counsel


Please welcome Chris Sharp to The Qwillery as part of the 2017 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Cold Counsel was published on February 21st by Tor.com.







TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Chris:  I have always thought of myself as a writer/story teller, even long before I did any actual writing. As far back as grade school—homemade role-playing games, stop motion movies, and elaborate imagined worlds with my friends were a constant.

I didn’t start writing prose in earnest until 2002, when a long brewing monster of a first novel started to spill out. That one took seven years, and was around 270,000 words of pent up, messy, story potential.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Chris:  Definitely more of a pantser. I tend to have a general sense of what I want to do, and then sit down and start writing from the beginning until I get to the end before I go back to look at what I’ve actually done. It doesn’t always work out in my favor—but I’m still fond of the romanticized notion of being the conduit for my higher storytelling self.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Chris:  After that first draft is done, I have historically struggled with going back and making the changes that are necessary to make it any good. So often, beta readers will offer notes that amount to “something not working” without insight as to what that something is. They are of course right, but I can become a petulant man-baby and argue the point in absence of clear direction.

I’m getting much better with this.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing? How does being a TV director influence or not your novel writing?

Chris:  I was never a TV director, but did some extended time as an independent film/commercial/industrial-video producer. I was closely bound for much of my youth, and twenty years post college, to a crew of very fine filmmakers/writers who have continued on to establish themselves in that industry.

Screenwriting and filmmaking are as much of a drive for me as long-form novelization. I tend to think and write in cinematic terms – a little light on description, and long on plot movement and dialogue as a driver of action. I feel like it keeps the story moving and adds entertainment value, but may sometimes undercut a message, morale, or key insight that I want to bring out organically in my novel writing. I’m a slow build, sprinkled insight world builder, and get very turned off by what feels like forced data dumps in exposition and descriptions.

More generally, everything I read, watch, and listen to has and does influence my writing. I steal from everyone and everything.



TQDescribe Cold Counsel in 140 characters or less.

Chris:  A coming of age yarn about a boy, his aunt, and his ax against the backdrop of fading mythology and ancient anger in a post-Ragnarok world.



TQTell us something about Cold Counsel that is not found in the book description.

Chris:  My editor, the brilliant Jen Gunnels, described it as “Conan the Barbarian as written by Tolkien while on a cocaine and petroleum bender,” which may give a keener insight into the tone then what you’ll get on the cover.

The boy is the last troll to survive the genocide of his race, his aunt is the masked reincarnation of an ancient goddess consumed by anger, and the ax is a possessed relic from the storied age of giants.

There are no humans or easy heroes to hold to, but I hope you’ll find yourself rooting for a loveable band of bloodthirsty killers, and wishing for more at the story’s close.

It’s fast, furious fun for the whole family, if the family isn’t afraid of harsh language, brutal violence, and reveling in the fodder of nightmares.



TQWhat inspired you to write Cold Counsel? What appeals to you about writing Fantasy?

Chris:  The protagonist, the troll, SLUD, was first summoned up through the rolling of dice for the Palladium Fantasy RPG in the seventh grade. I used to doodle his picture in my notebooks and write epic verse in his honor. I’d always thought to write his origin story some day, and started it on a whim with the notion to write a little, and sell it as a serialized novel… No takers.

But I was in an angry place at the time, and this angry story kept coming. I’d been disheartened by the underwhelming sales of my first published book, depressed by the direction some of my life choices had taken me, and penned inside by the brutal New England winter of 2014. SLUD’s story was the most fun I’d ever had writing. It was started as an exercise in speed and brevity, but metastasized into the book it is today.

For so many, I think fantasy/sci-fi is seen as less than real, and thereby frivolous. For me, rehashed stories about family dramas, or struggling with our own individual identities in the harsh face of adulthood is often tedious, boring, and overly simple.

Fantasy can and does deal with all of those same real struggles, but does so in a construct that takes us outside of our own microcosmic vantage—allowing us to better see and recognize the inherent truths of our mutual existence. Fantasy is not less than real, it’s hyper-real. At its best, there is more truth, for me, in a story about talking rabbits or space-exploring dolphins than another brilliantly insightful retelling of unresolved childhoods at a family dinner. I don’t need to read about that, I can live that for myself every Thanksgiving. Give me the fucking space dolphins and let me learn something new!



TQCold Counsel is your adult debut novel. How different is it writing for an adult rather than YA audience?

Chris:  Not much. I was perhaps a bit overly conscious of the “audience” in the writing of my first YA novel—about climate change, coming of age, and dragons. It’s geared toward older teens, but I tried to limit the bad language and some of the harder edges. But in reality, teens often have filthier mouths and harder edges than anybody. I’m finishing the sequel to that YA novel now, and I’ve let go of some of that initial pretense by design—and I think I have a stronger narrative/voice for it.

Cold Counsel is also a YA novel of sorts, in that SLUD, the troll, is a young adult trying to find his footing in an unknown world. All of the harsh language and carnage that surrounds him just happens to define the world he exists in, and if I did my job, his trollishness should not diminish his “human” thoughts, dreams, and disappointments along the way.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Cold Counsel?

Chris:  I have always been fascinated with world mythology. Joseph Campbell and Jung were staples of mine throughout college, and Norse mythology, which this book draws heavily from, is eternally fascinating. I can’t wait to read Neil Gaiman’s new take on the old myths.

But for this one, I was really focused on the vantage of the Vanir in the old Aesir/Vanir war, and of the struggles and death of the giants throughout those tales. I did some research into the mythology and cherry-picked the bits that fed into the narrative I wanted to tell. There are two old weapons that factor heavily into the story, an ax and a sword, and it’s the mythology around those two weapons, who made them, and what they represent that’ll guide where the story will go from here. That, and a deep delve into Gullveig and Angrboda, two/one ancillary figures from Norse mythology that I feel deserve a lot more attention.



TQPlease tell us about Cold Counsel's cover.

Chris:  The cover is by the amazing David Palumbo with the direction of the immensely talented Christine Foltzer. It pretty much speaks for itself: young SLUD with his cold ax against a mountain backdrop.

I think that Tor.com has been putting out some of the most exciting covers of late, and I’m thrilled to be in the mix.



TQIn Cold Counsel who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Chris:  My favorite character to write was Neither-Nor – a very hard to kill, misanthropic goblin from a wiped out clan, whose only reason to keep on living is to kill as many others as possible before his days are done. His ceaselessly negative, vitriolic spew was very cathartic to write, and I loved trying to make him oddly lovable despite it.

SLUD was in some ways the hardest to write, as I wanted him to be somewhat unknowable as he slowly builds toward a self-discovery that doesn’t even fully materialize in this novel. He’s the last of his race, and has led an entirely sheltered existence—equally innocent and calculating. Most of the insights to his character happen from outside perspectives, but I still wanted to make him likeable, and someone that the reader would want to follow along with.



TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in Cold Counsel?

Chris:  My YA series is heavy on social commentary and overt social discussion. Cold Counsel was in some ways both more personal and more overtly escapist. I definitively have a social message in Cold Counsel that will become more recognizable in the parts of the story that will follow, but I doubt that many readers would notice what that might be, and I’m okay with that.



TQWhich question about Cold Counsel do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Chris:  Holy crap! This is the book WE never knew WE wanted to read. Is there more to SLUD’s story?

Yes. Coming soon.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Cold Counsel.

Chris:

          Neither-Nor had a glassy look as he chugged the last few gulps of his own jug. He tossed the empty bottle in the snow, a little disappointed that it didn’t break. “Yer fuckin’ mad as a foamin’ weasel, ain’t ya?”
          Slud thought about it for a moment and shrugged. “Yeah, may very well be.”

Greatness, legends, and the stories of a lost age were bullshit. Life was about will and luck, and the rare moments when the two coincided—the rest was just suffering, and the fleeting illusion that the suffering abated for a few stolen minutes here and there.



TQWhat's next?

Chris:  I’m finishing up a beta-reader editorial round for the sequel to my YA dragon novel, and think it’s the best thing I’ve written yet—excited to get it out and earn a bigger audience for that increasingly epic series.

I’m currently writing a screenplay for an excellent producer/director that weaves contemporary politics with Lovecraftian horror—and I’m loving it.

I hope to be just getting started, and plan to have more SLUD, more dragons, and plenty of other things coming down the pipe as well.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Chris:  It was my pleasure. Thank you greatly for putting out such consistently good spec-fic content, and letting me spout off about my particular brand of nerdery.





Cold Counsel
Tor.com, February 21, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 272 pages

In Chris Sharp's new epic fantasy Cold Counsel, Slud of the Blood Claw Clan, Bringer of Troubles, was born at the heart of the worst storm the mountain had ever seen. Slud’s father, chief of the clan, was changed by his son’s presence. For the first time since the age of the giants, he rallied the remaining trolls under one banner and marched to war taking back the mountain from the goblin clans.

However, the long-lived elves remembered the brutal wars of the last age, and did not welcome the return of these lesser-giants to martial power. Twenty thousand elves marched on the mountain intent on genocide. They eradicated the entire troll species—save two.

Aunt Agnes, an old witch from the Iron Wood, carried Slud away before the elves could find them. Their existence remained hidden for decades, and in that time, Agnes molded Slud to become her instrument of revenge.

For cold is the counsel of women.





About Chris

Photo by Susannah Bothe
CHRIS SHARP grew up in the suburban wonderland of Alexandria, VA, where he cut his nerd teeth playing role-playing games and making gore movies with his friends. He studied English Literature and Anthropology at Brown University, and Mayan Archaeology at the Harvard Field School in Honduras. He then spent sixteen years in Brooklyn, NY, where he worked in film and commercial production by day, and was yet another wannabe novelist by night. Some of the films he made with his childhood friends have gained international distribution and won numerous awards at festivals around the world. His first novel, The Elementalists, is the first in a dark YA series and was called one of the “Overlooked Books of 2014” by Slate Magazine. Chris now lives in Concord, MA, with his wife, daughter and an insufferable cat named Goblin.




Website  ~  Twitter @TheFiveClaws  ~  Facebook

Youngblood is Back


Press Release


YOUNGBLOOD IS BACK

Image Comics is pleased to announce the return of Rob Liefeld’s YOUNGBLOOD—the blockbuster hit series that launched the Image Revolution and turned the comics industry on its head—with story by Chad Bowers (X-Men ‘92, Deadpool: Bad Blood) and art from Jim Towe. YOUNGBLOOD is reborn with an all-new cast and a bold new mission with YOUNGBLOOD #1 issue—set to hit stores this May.

"Youngblood has had outstanding talent contribute to its amazing history,” said Liefeld. “Alan Moore, Robert Kirkman, Keith Giffen and Mark Millar are a few who have left their mark. Chad Bowers and Jim Towe are four issues into their run and are producing stories that will be held as some of, if not the best Youngblood tales ever told. It honors the best of the past and forges exciting new paths for these characters!"

In this YOUNGBLOOD #1, an uber popular self-protection app called HELP! is changing how we stay safe—“HELP! lets you decide who saves you.” But when a high-rated young hero on the app goes missing, his best friend’s search for answers gains the attention of some unexpected allies, and together, they’ll do whatever it takes to find him… even if it means resurrecting the world’s most hated super-team, Youngblood.

"Trust me, you've never read a Youngblood story like this,” said Bowers. “I'm so incredibly proud of what Jim and I are doing on this book, and can't wait for readers, especially those who've maybe never picked up a Youngblood comic, to see what all the fuss is about!"

Jim Towe added: “I've been having the time of my life with Youngblood. The combination of so much creative freedom along with having a fantastic writer like Chad has really made this an artist's dream book to draw. We've crafted an incredibly fun and exciting modern day reimagining of these characters that I think both new and old fans are really going to enjoy.”

The series will also feature jaw-dropping alternate covers by Rob Liefeld, David Finch, and Chris Daughtry—so, gear up, strap in, and get ready to rediscover comics most Extreme universe.

YOUNGBLOOD #1 Cover A by Towe (Diamond Code MAR170637), Cover B by Liefeld (Diamond Code MAR170638), Cover C by Finch (Diamond Code MAR170639), and Cover D by Daughtry (Diamond Code MAR170640) hit stores on Wednesday, May 3rd. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, April 10th.




ABOUT IMAGE COMICS
Image Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 1992 by a collective of best-selling artists. Image has since gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. Image currently has five partners: Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri and Jim Valentino. It consists of five major houses: Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline, Skybound and Image Central. Image publishes comics and graphic novels in nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable. It offers science fiction, fantasy, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. For more information, visit www.imagecomics.com.