Thursday, June 23, 2011

Free Weird-Ass Horror

My friend Jonathan Curwen, who hails from the worst neighborhood in San Francisco, has finally got around to publishing his weird-ass novel Knife Lake. I'd be a terrible friend if I didn't mention that it was available on in every ebook format imaginable. And, in a characteristic gesture of sweeping beneficence, Cur has decided to make it a FREE download for the next 2 weeks.

To obtain: go to, put Knife Lake in your cart, and enter VE46K (not case-sensitive) in the coupon code box. Click on the totally awesome cover art below to get started.

Warning: this is a weird-ass book, and has plenty of disturbing images, bloody scenes, and shapeshifting demons. Not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach.

And yes, I did design the cover.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Lakes of Knives and Lectures in Book Form

I'm re-reading Ringworld by Larry Niven for the first time since high school. The ideas shine, but his characters lecture for pages at a time, obviously serving as mouthpieces for the Big Concepts. Granted he wrote this book over forty years ago & was a relatively inexperienced writer at the time, but that doesn't make things like a 3-page monologue about luck as a selectively-bred trait any less interminable. But, like any classic, the strengths overwhelm the weaknesses. Give it a try.

(Side note: the Halo video games are an UTTER SHAMELESS RIPOFF of the Ringworld concept. Shame on you, Bungee! Thieving button-mashers! Shame!)


I'm grinding out a final draft of The Dulcet Constellation and getting sick of the damn thing. But that's okay--a little derision for your own work makes you a more objective self-editor, I suppose. Also working on a cover, and seem to have hit a wall when it comes to my own design skills. I would love to hire Daniel Egneus for the job, but a) he lives in Italy, and b) it would probably cost a year's salary to even get him interested.
Actual size
Speaking of design, I just finished a book cover for my friend Jonathan Curwen. He wrote a super-weird, violent, and bizarrely emotional horror novel called Knife Lake (the title of which I also suggested--you're welcome, Cur). It's gonna be out within a month or so on Smashwords. He can tell you more about it on his blog, when he decides to actually write a coherent post.

Samuel Rippey

In designing Cur's cover, I took some advice from Robert Swartwood and made the author's name and title big enough to be visible in a thumbnail. Ebook covers are a different game: people aren't picking up a physical object--they're looking at a few pixels on the screen. So bigger is better, until proven otherwise. The design of my own cover for The Rifle Carousel went through a few iterations before this concept sank in. (By the way, Carousel just got its first five-star review from someone I didn't bribe.)

On the literary front...reading Knife Lake got me to wantin' to write some old-fashioned horror again. Perhaps sometime in the near future, I'll sit down and bang out a novel in a couple of weeks, like Michael Moorcock did in his pulp days. I've got this idea about a troll w/infinite powers of physical regeneration becoming an underground performance artist...or perhaps something less risky, like a softcore Twilight-esque adolescent vampire romance. It would probably sell better, God knows.