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Messages - jdiddyesquire

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I had a different reaction, but can definitely see how it would resonate for folks.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Myke Cole
« on: March 13, 2014, 03:44:54 PM »
Hey all, sorry to take so long to respond to this.

The trilogy is done. GEMINI CELL, my forth novel, will be set in the SHADOW OPS universe as Overlord has said.

I will continue writing military themed books (and even SHADOW OPS universe books) for as long as I can get paid to do it.

But it's also really important to me personally to break out of the military-writer stereotype. I want to be thought of as a good writer regardless of sub-genre. To that end, I'm working on a straight-up grimdark fantasy a la Mark Lawrence's BROKEN EMPIRE books. My agent has expressed some interest, and we'll see if I can get it over the top.

If anyone has any questions, feel free to email me directly at myke(at)mykecole(dot)com.

I really appreciate you reading my books, and caring enough to want to know what the future of the series is. I've said before that I write to communicate, and knowing that I'm reaching people makes all the difference in the world.

You all rock.

I haven't posted here in a decade, but I think it's important to note that GEMINI CELL is amazing. It's Myke's best work yet. Get excited.

This will probably frighten everyone. . . but anywhere between 7 and 10 books at once.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: recommends please
« on: November 26, 2012, 08:10:05 PM »
A few off the top of my head:


Mark Lawrence's KING OF THORNS

Courtney Schafer's WHITEFIRE CROSSING (well, half of it)


Howard Andrew Jones' THE DESERT OF SOULS

Daniel Polansky's LOW TOWN


Matthew Stover's HEROES DIE

Not fantasy, but AMAZING:


Rob Reid's YEAR ZERO


Something Red was originally a self-published novel that Simon & Schuster bought after it sold pretty well.

Just as a FYI.

I would steer clear of the excessive worldbuilding things that you love. Think about what HE loves. If he didn't like HP and Lord of the Rings, give him something character driven and hard boiled. The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie or Devices and Desires by KJ Parker would be my suggestions.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Debut Authorpalooza (2012)
« on: July 18, 2012, 08:02:49 PM »
Hey all,

I wanted to make sure you all were aware of the big event the next two weeks. A group of 10 authors approached me a few weeks ago about hosting them to celebrate the release of their second novel. I agreed and so this week and next, they're each writing a guest post about their experience, an excerpt from their next book, and giving away a few signed copies (all open worldwide).

A bunch of the authors post here including Mark Lawrence, Doug Hulick, Elspeth Cooper, Anne Lyle, and Mazarkis Williams (Stina Leicht, Teresa Frohock, Courtney Schafer, Kameron Hurley, and Brad Beaulieu are also participating).

Anyway, here's the link to the index post:

Check it out if it's your bag. Otherwise, grouse about how they need to get their THIRD book done already.

I was not a huge Railsea fan. I'd suggest The Scar. Even though it's Bas-Lag, it's by far his best novel in my humble opinion and Perdido nor Iron Council are required reading to enjoy it.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Who is K.J. Parker?
« on: July 10, 2012, 03:54:09 PM »
Do we know the second genre is fiction?

Indeed. Could be poetry too. Or playwriting for that matter. Romance is a possibility, but given KJP's comments in interviews about love, romance, and happy endings, I can't imagine that's the case. Unless KJP is a writing team, which hasn't been discussed but remains entirely possible.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Stand alone novels.
« on: May 30, 2012, 01:49:59 PM »
Ask and ye shall receive:

The Folding Knife by KJ Parker
Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson
Shogun by James Clavell
Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa
Gates of Fire by Stephen Pressfield
The Desert of Souls by Howard Andrew Jones
Pride of Carthage by David Anthony Durham
The Count of Montecristo by Alexander Dumas

This is easy. The Troupe by Robert Jackson Bennett and it's not close, really.

The other top books would be NK Jemisin's The Killing Moon and Howard Andrew Jones's The Desert of Souls.

I'm also a huge fan of Year Zero by Rob Reid, but it isn't out like 6 more weeks.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / The Killing Moon - NK Jemisin
« on: April 03, 2012, 08:50:05 PM »
Don't usually post my full reviews here, but figured this one probably holds some interest for people given she was up for the Hugo last year.

Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N.K. Jemisin's Hugo nominated debut, was one of the first novels reviewed on this blog. I said:
Jemisin presents a style that is uniquely intimate. I often felt like a voyeur lurking on the outskirts of something I shouldn't be seeing. It is beautifully written and brims with emotion.

I said a lot of other things about it too, not all of which were terribly smart (I was just starting!). While I haven't managed to read the subsequent two volumes in her Kingdom of the God's trilogy, the outstanding nature of the first novel put The Killing Moon on my radar as soon as it was announced for 2012 release.

To anyone paying attention to genre scuttlebutt, it's common knowledge that Jemisin is one of the more outspoken proponents of bringing new points of view to the fantasy lexicon. Whether that means non-western cultures, strong female characters, or more challenging narrative structures, she's practiced what she preaches. In Killing Moon the focus is more on the first two, eschewing the more complex narratives of her past work. The result is a plot oriented novel that will appeal to traditional fans of high fantasy as well as those tired of reading recycled characters and worlds.

In the city-state of Gujaareh, the only law is peace. Ruled by oligarchy, the city's reigns are held by the Prince and the Hetawa -- the dreaming goddess Hananja's clergy. Each night her Gatherers go forth, bringing the gift of a peaceful, dreaming death to those corrupt of thought and deed. From those last moments comes dreamblood, tithe to the goddess and her servants. Collected by the Gatherers and given to the Sharers, it is used to heal, soothe, and control.

Ehiru is a gifted Gatherer, a paragon of faith and purpose. He believes in his city and his goddess, but nothing, even the holiest organization in Gujaareh, is immune to corruption. When Ehiru and his apprentice, Nijiri, find themselves torn between their faith, their Prince, and the truth, they'll go to any length to do what's right. Unfortunately, the only person who believes them is Sinandi, a foreign spy who would prefer to see the whole city crumble to the ground.

Killing Moon consists of three primary points of view, all written from a tight limited third person -- Ehiru, Nijiri, and Sinandi -- each with their own voice. Ehiru, although arguably the novel's protagonist, fades into the background as the true believer who finds himself questioning his ingrained beliefs. In stark contrast, Nijiri and Sinandi brim with life. The former rejects the young apprentice model of learning his craft at the knee of his wizened master, becoming the novel's moral center from the get go. Most importantly that moral center doesn't necessarily reflect the reader's concept of morality, but his and Gujaareh's.

Sinandi completes the second aspect of Jemisin's quest to improve genre fiction. She possesses tremendous agency, never compromising herself for the whims of men.

"And then you shall stand beside him in the Protectors' Hall and beg them for help, knowing that your every word increases my power. Then they will listen to me even though I'm only Kinja's too-young, unseasoned daughter. We must use one another now, little killer, if we are both to achieve our goals." -N.K Jemisin, The Killing Moon

Exhibited by that statement, Sinandi is a force of nature, a strong woman who exhibits femininity without sacrificing strength. She never picks up a weapon; nor does she wear men's clothing. And like Nijiri, her sense of morality is grounded in her character and the culture from which she springs.

In that lies thematic thrust of Killing Moon. Cultural identity is at the root of every conflict. Whether it be Ehiru's faith and Sinandi's lack thereof, or Nijiri's struggle with love and duty, or Sinandi's fear of war and peace, all of it is built upon the idea that right and wrong is relative. Point of view and perspective matter. Cultural mores matter. Jemisin seems to project, through her world and her characters, a pervasive and underlying belief in the notion that judgement can only come from within. There's also a strong undercurrent of communism versus democracy, or close mindedness versus openness, or extremism versus tolerance, that bleeds through. Even then Jemisin seems to remain agnostic, pointing out the flaws in each and letting her characters choose for themselves the paths to walk.

From all accounts, it seems Jemisin based much of these cultural identities on an Egyptian model. News to me, only because none of the cues I would normally associate with Egypt were present -- pyramids, cat worship, umm... long goatees. But, that's the point isn't it? I don't know a damn thing about Ancient Egypt other than what I've seen in heavily stereotyped Egyptian garnished westernized media. Much of what I read of Jemisin's world felt new and fresh, even among all the excellent Eastern fantasies to come out over the last twelve months (Range of Ghosts, Emperor's Knife, Blackdog, et. al.). So much so that I quickly found myself down a Wikipedia rabbit hole, educating myself on the nature of Egyptian culture and mythology (a fact I'm sure Jemisin would take great pleasure from).

All of that excludes the primary take away from The Killing Moon. This is one hell of an exciting book. I hate to use the term tour de force because it sounds like I'm writing for some terrible literary newsletter who can only recycle superlatives from movie posters, but... it's a tour de force. From the opening moments the novel dazzles with intricate world building, deep and vibrant characters, and a fast paced, high stakes plot that left me bleary eyed from lack of sleep more than once.

I'm sure Someone, somewhere is reading this and saying, "Ya, but I didn't really like her first novel that much." For those I say, this is the novel that will make you fall in love with N.K Jemisin. For all the rational people who loved her past work, keep reading. It only gets better.
The Killing Moon is due out in stores May 1, with its sequel The Shadowed Sun available June 12. It should be noted here that the first novel stands entirely on its own. Reading it immediately on release will not have you cursing the gods that the second one is not available for five weeks. That said, you'll be very excited when the second novel comes out. It's that good. You can find Jemisin on Twitter @nkjemisin or on her website at

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Anne Lyle
« on: March 19, 2012, 03:39:50 PM »
I just reviewed it:

Overall the Alchemist has great pace, moving through equal parts political intrigue, bursts of action, and fear of discovery for Coby and Ned. There are moments where Lyle jumps forward in a plot line too suddenly, making a supposition or connection that a character don't seem quite ready to make. Likewise, I raised an eyebrow or two at the social progressiveness of many of the characters who for the time are significantly more accepting of others than I might expect. These are minor complaints and seem reasonable solutions to difficult problems, most notably the fact that close minded bigotry isn't a lot of fun for a socially progressive audience.

Mysterious circumstances combined with historical authenticity and the strange, Anne Lyle's Alchemist of Souls is a 2012 debut I can strongly recommend. It will stand out in the Angry Robot catalog as a title with broad appeal across a wide swathe of genre readers, as well as a real departure from many of their titles that eschew genre classification.

And also did an interview with her:

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: What's the genre?
« on: March 16, 2012, 05:21:16 PM »
This is purely curiosity, since I don't set a great deal of store by genre labels, but I wondered if anyone knows whether there's a recognised name (or, if not, what would you suggest) for fantasy that's set in a distinctly different world, but with a contemporary-style society - cars, planes, computers etc (or their equivalents) but a story that's recognisably fantasy rather than SF.  Having written a few of them, it would be nice to know what I'm writing 8)

Second world urban fantasy, I presume.

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