Updated Cover for A Count of Five

We're still putting the finishing touches on the cover for A Unique Sickness of Spirit. In the meantime, I thought I'd share an updated cover image for the first book in the series, A Count of Five. This won't alter the print version, but new copies of the digital will now feature this image.

In other news, we saw Pete's Dragon last weekend. It was a decent movie, but Disney made a serious error in releasing it so soon after the far superior Jungle Book. It's impossible not to look at this and be underwhelmed - the genres are similar, but they're just not in the same league. You can check out my review of Pete's Dragon here, and - because I'll take any excuse I can think of to link to my review of The Jungle Book - you can read about one of the year's best movies here.

Medieval Pony Squad Weekend

Not a lot to update this week, but I've got a few things. Lindsay and I had a nice weekend: we swung by the Midsummer Renaissance Faire in Bonney Lake, WA. While we were there, we caught a couple fun acts and bought some costume pieces. It was nice, though a tad smaller than the ren faires we're used to. Growing up on the East Coast spoiled us, I guess.

Pivoting from a faire to Walmart, we came across these figurines. Friendship is Magic is one of many animated series we both enjoy, and these might be the nicest collectibles I've seen from the show, at least at this price point.

I threw together a very brief review with some additional pictures over here, if you're interested.

Shifting gears to movies, we caught Suicide Squad on Sunday. While I can definitely appreciate why the vast majority of critics tore it apart, I had a much more favorable reaction. The movie's got flaws - major structural ones, in fact - but unlike its dour predecessor in the DC Expanded Universe, this one was actually fun. If you want more details on that, check out my review at The Middle Room.

July Ends; the Madness Continues

It's been an exhausting 58% of a year so far. Exhausting, but productive. I wrapped up the first draft of the sixth book in the Citadel of the Last Gathering a few days ago - SIXTH. That's three novels this year alone: a personal best.

Don't expect much more between now and the end of December, because I've still got to get the third book prepped for release this fall (we're targeting October), and I want to start going over books four through six. Plus we've got Mainlining Christmas to think about, and we're considering moving to a bigger place.

Busy, busy, busy.

What else is up? Well, speaking of Mainlining Christmas and quotes from Frosty specials, we just finished up a month of Christmas in July over at the holiday-themed blog. Check it out if you haven't been following along.

Since my last update, I saw Star Trek Beyond, a movie I far underestimated from its trailer. This did a fantastic job blending the new films with the series they're based on - it was an absolute joy to watch. I go into more depth over at The Middle Room, if you're interested.

Beyond that, I've been making the most of the summer toy-collecting season, when clearance is at its best and new toys are coming out constantly. Among my favorite acquisitions is this trio of Barbie figures paying homage to Classic Trek.

These are showing up at Toys R Us, if you're interested, at $35/each. That's not cheap, but it's a fraction of what you'll pay for high-end figures.

Religious Artifacts

If you live in Seattle and have the time, I highly recommend you swing by the EMP Museum before their Star Trek special exhibit closes. The collection is drawn from every iteration of Trek - every series is represented, as are most of the movies. It's mesmerizing. If the Vatican threw open the doors to their archives, I'm guessing this is what it would feel like.

On top of that, there's a special exhibit on "Wearable Art" taken from a New Zealand-based competition. If that sounds dull to you, you're likely making the same mistake I made and are forgetting that WETA is based in New Zealand.



Bad ass.

It feels like you're walking through an exhibit drawn from the greatest nightmares. There's an eight minute video presentation there that's worth every second: sort of a carnival of these costumes in motion.

Let's see... what's else is going on? I was quite happy with the new Ghostbusters movie. We can quibble over details, but this has the potential to mean as much to the next generation of geeks as the original meant to mine. Hell, McKinnon's character swipes the award for all-time best Ghostbuster right out of Murray's hands.

As always, there's a full review up on The Middle Room if you want the long version.

Also, just a reminder but my wife and I are running a special July edition of the holidays over at Mainlining Christmas. We took the Christ out of Christmas and left him on an abandoned island in July. Honestly, I think he's probably happier there anyway. Click the link to learn more about Christmas specials set in the summer than you probably ever wanted.

I think that's about it for news. I'll check in again when I've got more to say.

July's Fine and All, but MERRY CHRISTMAS

I've got a lot to cover in this update, but I'll try to keep it fast.

First, we're still on track to have A Unique Sickness of Spirit (book 3 in The Citadel of the Last Gathering) out this fall. We're still putting some finishing touches on it, but it's looking good.

In other news, IT'S CHRISTMAS! Well, it's Christmas in July, or at least it is over at our holiday-themed blog. Lindsay and I are planning to post once a day in July. We'll be reviewing movies, episodes, and other media fixated on this bizarre pseudo-holiday.

To celebrate, we're also going to be giving away digital copies of my novels! Between Friday, July 8 and Sunday, July 10, go to Amazon to grab your free copy of each of the following:

What else? Since I last updated, I've watched and reviewed X-Men: Apocalypse (flawed but under-rated), Finding Dory (basically flawless and rated about right), and Warcraft (just weird as hell). I also finally got around to last year's Fantastic Four in my series reviewing the lowest rated and least-loved superhero movies of all time. I thought the first half was intriguing, but it quickly fell apart.

In addition, I wrote up a brief article looking at what's becoming an odd trend in movies: while most of the industry's stalling, Disney has been putting out an almost shocking rate of critically acclaimed, financially successful films. You can read that here.

Lastly, I wrote up a toy review at my old site, The Clearance Bin. I rarely post there these days, but I couldn't help it: NECA's 8 inch Weird Al figure just demanded a write-up. The review might not conform to the norm, but it was a hell of a lot of fun to put together.

Cover Reveal: A Unique Sickness of Spirit

We're still working on getting the third novel in The Citadel of the Last Gathering ready, but I just finished an early version of the cover image and wanted to share. This isn't finalized - I've got a few more adjustments to make - but I'm extremely happy with how it's coming together.

Incorporating elements of Victorian horror and steampunk, A Unique Sickness of Spirit begins just moments after the conclusion of A Tide of Ice.

Alaji, Yemerik, and Phaesha arrive in a time very different from the one they left. Here, ships sail through the air, the lines between the living and the dead have blurred, the poor sell their very blood and spirit to survive, and a nation at war is splintering into factions. Alaji finds herself becoming a symbol for revolution, whether she wishes it or not.

A Unique Sickness of Spirit will be available in fall 2016.

News, Updates, and Stuff

I know, I know - I don't post often enough here. But I've got a great excuse: I've been writing.

The first draft of book five is now done. You read that right - book five. That's two complete novels written this year, and we're not even halfway through 2016. In case anyone's curious, this is definitely the most productive I've ever been in my life.

Of course, I've still got a ton of work to do on book three, A Unique Sickness of Spirit, between now and the fall. So I'll be taking some time off of writing to revise that and work on the cover before I dive into book six, which is an installment I've been dying to tell since I started this series.

Lindsay and I went hiking a few times already. We didn't go anywhere we've never been before, but we did get to one of our all time favorite trails: Lake Serene (hence the pictures).

What else? Well, I've been to the movies a few times recently. In April, I saw Jungle Book, which was a major achievement in both technology and storytelling. If you want more details, check out my full review over here.

If you thought I'd wait longer than opening day to see Captain America: Civil War, you don't know me all that well. It was my second favorite movie in the MCU, behind only The Avengers (and even then, it was close). After the poorly constructed Batman v Superman, it was a joy to see a superhero movie on this scale made by people who understand what they're doing. You can find more of me using Civil War as an excuse to bash Zack Snyder in my review.

Just this past weekend, my wife and I went to see Shane Black's 70's comedy/noir, The Nice Guys. I enjoyed the movie quite a bit, though I was a little disappointed to find it staying a little too close to Black's earlier work.

We're also experimenting with a new review format over on Mainlining Christmas. Our test subject is Home, a CG comedy/SF kids movie that came out last year. It had just enough holiday elements to earn a spot on the site but not enough to take up our time in December. If you have a few minutes, head on over and let us know if you like the "discussion" format.

That's it for now.