10/10/15
Weta2

New York Comic Con 2015 (with pics!)

Hey everyone. My blogging has been pathetic as of late. I am going to make an effort to get on here more. Promise. And, what better way to usher in this new era of more consistent blogging than with a photo gallery from New York Comic Con, 2015.

I didn’t have a signing there this year, but my publisher was kind enough to send me a badge (two badges, actually, but that is another story…) and I attended as a spectator and lover of all things beautiful and bizarre.

I also attended a fantastic cocktail hour arranged by Amazon Publishing and got the honor of hanging out with authors like Marko Kloos (and his lovely wife Robin) who writes awesome military sci-fi, the incomparable Amy Bartol (who writes enormously popular paranormal romance), J.D. Horn (renowned for his Witching Savannah series and a fellow Westmarch publishee), Jeff Wheeler (amazingly successful fantasy author of Muirwood fame(who once hosted a guest post from me)), Dana Cameron (who writes award-winning crime and sci-fi),  Robert Masello (a veteran writer of novels and scripts with an amazing breadth of knowledge and humor), and Evan Currie (author of dozens of brilliant sci-fi novels).

There were other writers, and I apologize for missing you in this post. But I had a great time with all of you. And I must mention the awesome staff of 47North who put this all together and kept us laughing and without thirst all night: Britt, Jason, Ben, Courtney, Kim and all the others… thank you!

And now, without further delay, the pictures from New York Comic Con 2015 (apologies, in advance, for the crappy quality of my phone’s camera…)(And, yes, that actually was a delay, but there won’t be any further delays). (Except for this one). (And maybe this one). (But that’s it.). (I swear).

03/22/15
denver

Denver Anomalycon 2015

Apologies in advance for the brevity of this post, but my daughter is asleep on my left arm as I write it. Just a quick note that I will be in Denver on Thursday, March 26, to Tuesday, March 31, for Anomalycon 2015.

I’ll be signing copies of The Scourge at the convention, and feigning expertise at a number of panels. If you’re in the area, stop by. I’ll also have a few days to spare, so if you’d like me to feign expertise at your writers’ or readers’ group, I’m happy to oblige.

See you on the 16th Street Mall!

 

 

 

10/14/14
P1130332

Comic Con – Sunday (and Book Signing!)

 Hello peoples,

Sunday was another exhausting but amazing day at the Jacob Javitz Center. As promised, Belle and I donned our Edward and Elizabeth costumes and paraded around the conference. I also did my book signing in armor, which is not as easy as it sounds. And what a wonderful book signing it was. We gave away 50 copies of the The Scourge to 50 of the coolest people on the planet. Big Thanks to Courtney Miller of Skyscape for running the signing and making sure everything went smoothly (and humorously). Thanks to Ben from 47North for making the entire event happen, Britt for organizing it, Alex for supervising and being a wonderful human, and Justin for everything else. Oh, and a *huge* dollop of gratitude to Preston Ray, owner of the armor I was wearing. He was kind enough let me carry off his $2000 baby to New York without a second thought. Thanks!

Things I learned:

1. Wearing armor for three hours is not as fun as it might seem.
2. Signing books in armor is tricky.
3. There are some mentally deranged people at Comic Con.
4. I am one of those mentally deranged people.
5.  Parking in New York is ridiculous.
6. Breastplates look similar from the front and back.
7. Never buy a pretzel from a roadside vendor.
8. Fed-Ex Kinkos has got your back when you need last minute printing.
9. Did I mention the mentally deranged people at Comic Con?

And now, a gallery of images from my signing and the madness that is Comic Con.

 

09/20/14
nycc-logo-hi-res

New York Comic Con

Hello, peoples of the world. Just a quick note to let you all know that I will be at New York Comic Con this year (October 9-12). Please stop by the Amazon Publishing/47North booth on Sunday, October 12, at high noon, for an old fashioned book-signing! I’ll be signing copies of The Scourge and waxing philosophical about knights, swords, history and why supermarkets put the freshest and softest Twizzlers at the back. But the signing is only for 30 minutes, so get there by 1230!

Hope to see all of you there!

 

04/17/14
Graphic_Reviews

The Crazy Importance of Reviews

Hey everybody. I’m posting for two reasons. The first, to update all of you on Emaculum. But I will get to the first second, if that makes sense, because I have something really important to ask, and it concerns reviews.

Big, crazy, wibbly-wobbly, timey-whymey things are going on at 47North, my publisher. Apparently their promotional efforts for books are being prioritized by the number of good reviews. The more reviews a book has, the more they will promote it. This is huge. *HUGE*. I cannot stress enough the absolute HUGENESS of this for writers. I humbly ask that if any of you have not reviewed my novels, please do so. And if you have friends or family members or literate pets that have read my books and enjoyed them, please, please encourage them to write reviews for every one of my books they have read.

I am extremely grateful for any and all efforts made in this regard. Thank you!

Now, onward to Emaculum:

The novel is almost finished, and I’m starting to get really excited. The end is a wonderful, emotional, powerful moment that is coming at me like a waterfall on the river. It seems like Edward has been questing for so long, and now I am one episode away from the resolution of his efforts. That’s right. I’m just about at episode 8. And yes, I said the end. There may be further adventures in the Scourge universe, but Edward will probably sit them out. At least for a little while…

So, the actual update:  After editing and formatting, I’m thinking I that will have Emaculum done at the end of May. Not having the deadline pressure of a serial has allowed me to go back and change things as I write, which will make this a much better novel, but it also has allowed my OCD to kick into overdrive. I’ll have some announcements as we get closer to publication time. I’d really like to make a big splash when I launch this, and I’d like all of you to help me do it. But for now, watch this space.

Thanks again! I really appreciate all the support I get from my readers. I am touched by your emails, blog comments, Facebook posts, and the many things you do to encourage, inspire, and motivate me.

Roberto

 

 

 

03/27/14
chickenroad3

“You … you … skelm!” And other problems.

A quick vent-post about the problems I often encounter with language in historical fiction.

Those of you who read my previous post on historical language know that this is an ongoing thing with me.  But tonight, I was looking for a word that means ‘scoundrel’ but isn’t ‘scoundrel,’ because ‘scoundrel’ is a 16th century word.

So I settle on “rogue.” But Rogue is also 16th century. How about “ruffian?” Yeah, the 16th century had all the good words.

Eventually, I find “caitiff” which is a 14th century word for “scoundrel,” but is about as lively as an anvil. “You’ll not be paid a penny, you caitiff!” Doesn’t have quite the ring I was looking for. And even if I use it, half of my readers will stop, look at the camera (am I the only one who’s life is followed by movie cameras?), and say, “huh?” And the other half will just skip over it and silently curse me. No. the search must continue.

Skelm! Perfect! It’s got a nice Saxon bite to it and sounds absolutely perf… oh. Curse you, 16th century! Curse you to hell!

*mental note: My next novel will be set in the 16th century*

So, after far too long spent searching (so long, in fact, that I can’t really remember why I’m looking for the damned word), I stumble upon “Poltroon.” Good. Sounds like an insult. “You won’t get a penny! You will get justice, you poltroon!” I like it. Readers won’t know what it means, but they’ll get the gist. Think of Jesse from Breaking Bad going, “Oh, snap! He called you a damned poltroon!” In fact, I may start calling people poltroons. Help me out. Let’s bring back poltroon. Start using it in ever day life. Let’s see how long it takes for a celebrity to use it. Um… where was I? Poltroon! I check the date…Yes! It works. Happy day! It only took 20 minutes and a venting blog post about language to find one! Wait a minute. Wait a damned minute…

…in the 13th century, “poltroon” was spelled “poultron.” It was only spelled “poltroon” in the — say it with me — 16th century. Sigh. The gangsta-snap, you-been-dissed quality of “poltroon” gets completely lost when it’s “poultron.” It has that sophisticated Frenchiness that defies street cred. “Ahh, non, non. You will not get a franc! You will get zee justeese, you poultron!”

Can I just use the 16th century spelling? Of course I can. Will I be accurate? Not really. But does it really matter? Unless I write the entire book in Middle English, it will never be 100% accurate. And God knows I’ve done my homework on this word.

I’m going to use it. Damn it all to hell, I’m using it. And when some poltroon decides to post a public tweet saying: “@robertocalas, in Emaculum, you used word poltroon, but in 13th c. waz actually spelled, poultron. just saying.” I am going to call them a filthy, damnable skelm.

Although it will have to mean filthy in the physically-unclean sort of way, because the “morally unclean or obscene” meaning of that word wasn’t around until …Yeah. You know the rest.

 

 

02/15/14
sword

Pausing from Emaculum …

. . . just a quick pause to tell everyone that I am still alive and still working on Emaculum, and to re-circulate an old interview I did for Melissa Olsen’s blog. Oh, and, hello!

Melissa Olsen: What’s the story behind the picture of you in a suit of armor?

Armor is actually making a comeback. It’s very popular in Venice and Paris. I expect that you’ll start seeing more and more of it in the U.S. very soon. The main problem is trying to accessorize in social situations. Do you use a full-jaw bevor for dinner with people you just met? Is a besegew appropriate for the theater? You really have to change your thinking, but I think it’s worth it. The reduction in violent crime alone is a great reason to try it.

 

Melissa Olsen: Do you read your reviews? Why or why not?

I’m fairly certain this woman has reviewed my book.

Yes. I read every one.  I think most writers are insecure. We crave positive feedback, thrive on it really. The negative stuff is awful, of course. I can stew over a negative review for days. But hopefully the really negative ones are few and far between. And I have come to realize that reviews reveal more about the people that write them than about the book itself.

I once read two reviews, back to back. One of them said that they loved that book, but that it wasn’t very fast paced. The other said that they liked it, but the pacing was too fast. Back to back. One after the other. I’ve also read reviews that say my story had too much description, and then a review that said the sparse descriptions weren’t enough. Oh, and there are the *really* weird ones. Ones where the reader writes two pages worth of hateful rants and insults me and my writing and everything about the book. When I read those, I think that surely I must have done something awful to them in real life. I mean, why else would they be so angry over a book? Luckily I don’t get many of those.

Melissa Olsen: Your novel The Scourge is about a zombie-like plague that spreads in the 14th century. How much were you influenced by the real-life Black Death?
I love the Middle Ages and I have since I was a child. When I decided to write a zombie story, I knew it had to be a medieval one. From there, it was an easy leap to the idea that any epidemic in the 14th century would have been compared to the plague. And though this new plague and the horrors it creates is a big part of the novel, the story is really about a knight who wants to find his wife, and the friends who are willing to risk their lives to help him. There is a lot of humor, a lot of emotion, and, yes, a lot of violence. But the medieval age was a violent time. The zombies (they are called ‘plaguers’ or ‘demons’ in the novel) are just another obstacle. Something that makes it more difficult for Sir Edward to find the woman he loves. There is quite a bit of religious symbolism in the book, and the zombies are also a big part of that.

Melissa Olsen: What’s your favorite place to work? What’s most likely to distract you (besides Facebook)?

My favorite place to work is on my glass desk, which faces a wall but has windows on either side. I am terribly easy to distract, so I have to make rules and goals for myself. I am not particularly good at sticking with those rules or meeting those goals, though. Which is why writing serials is a good thing for me. There are set deadlines for each episode. Deadlines I have to meet or everyone will hate me and I will have no friends (remember that thing I said about writers and insecurities?). The Internet is the greatest tool we writers have, and it is also our biggest downfall. It has boundless powers of information, and limitless ability to lure us away, like will-o-wisps. I spend a lot of time wandering the dark forest of cyberspace, chasing lights.

Melissa Olsen: What scene in your book was your favorite to write?

There have been a lot of scenes that I really enjoyed. Some of my favorites have to do with Tristan and Morgan, two characters who are complete opposites in ideology. There was a scene in The Scourge where a peddler is trying to trade holy relics for a horse. Morgan is overwhelmed by the thought of owning a relic and Tristan makes fun of him for it throughout the rest of the book. There is one relic in particular that Morgan traded for that caused great mirth in Tristan, and led to one of my favorite lines in the book. A lot of readers tell me they like that part too.

Another fun scene involves a mad king trying to force Tristan to put his hand into a vat of boiling oil. There’s a lot of tension in it, and we see Tristan’s humor fall away. You really get to see a different side to Tristan, who is usually laughing. I think those types of scenes, where the characters’ personalities really shine, are some of the most fun to write. But one of my all time favorite scenes is in episode 8 of the second book, The Scourge: Nostrum. Edward and Tristan are trying to escape from a tower cellar and their only option is a bit unsavory. Hilarity ensues.

 

Melissa Olsen: Someone recently asked me what character, from screen or page, I would most like to have dinner with. This became a surprisingly difficult question – apparently I like a lot of antiheroes. Who would you pick to share a meal?

That is a difficult question. There are a lot of historical figures I would love to have dinner with. Sir Edward Dallingridge, hero of The Scourge, would be the first. Edward, the Black Prince of England would be another. And William Marshall, a 12th century earl. Joan of Arc. Henry V, of course. And Eleanor of Aquitaine. Lots of people in history.

Okay, I’ve thought about it a bit. I would probably most like to have dinner with Tyrion, from George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones (Song of Ice and Fire series). He’s a little man with a huge brain and one of the funniest characters I have read. I’d also love to meet Captain Malcolm Reynolds, from Firefly (huge fan). Paul Atreides, from Dune. And, of course, Sir Tristan of Rye, from The Scourge.

Melissa Olsen: What kind of medieval weaponry are you best with?

I suppose I’m a sword guy. I have fenced for twenty five years, seven of those years quite seriously and competitively. And I spar occasionally with broadswords. I used to own a company that sold reproductions of historical weapons and armor, so I’ve done my share of stupid things with all manner of medieval steel. But the sword is the heart of the medieval tale. And there’s no weapon quite like it.

That’s the entirety of the interview. Thanks for reading, and I’ll be back soon, promise!

Save