Friday, September 15, 2017

Terror and the cowards behind it

It’s an interesting world we live in, isn’t it?
One of the things I find most interesting (and frustrating.infuriating/depressing) is that some people rise up when things go badly and others seek the lowest common denominator.

What do I mean? Well, we just had two massive hurricanes hit the US shores and do heavy damage. Seriously heavy damage.  The kind that makes insurance companies, and government officials alike, weep into their coffee. We weren’t alone, by the way. The Bahamas got nailed to the wall, too. At least one island has been effectively scoured clean. It’s horrifying.

Believe it or not, this isn’t an article abut Climate Change Deniers. I can’t stop human ostriches from shoving their head in the sand after fifteen years of evidence. So there’s that.

No this is about the human condition. What we normally see in these circumstances is tragedy. The news media, in an effort to grab up ratings (because these days the news is all about ratings in the US (another topic near and dear to my heart). We’ll get a sound bite or two from big wig officials. Some of who even leave their golf games behind so they can be seen doing their jobs. I won’t name names. No reason to.

What we also see, less of unfortunately, is the smaller collection of genuine humanitarians who go out of their way to try to make it right. Mostly we can find these folks on the internet, where a few people have made posts (often condemning the media for not showing the story, but that’s nether here nor there) highlighting the restaurant that makes a thousand meals to give away to the people with nothing left, or the furniture stores that open up to allow in as many as can fit, once again, those who have lost everything, or the occasional mega-church that locked its doors rather than allow the disenfranchised a place to sleep. The politicians who had to decide where to put money they really didn’t want to spend on natural disaster relief. Yes, that too, made the news. Know what makes the cynical side of me happy? Sooner or later the little darlings always remember that reelection isn’t really all that far away, and they mostly do the right thing, even if it ill suits their desires.

They are human stories. Some of them are good some of them not so much. There is tragedy. There is triumph. There is pain. There is loss. There is survival. There is kindness. There are groups of pathetic losers who decide looting is the only way to go here. Not food. No. High end TVs and stereos. Because really, when the world is down and out it’s best to make the situation worse for some and better for you, right?

All of this in the microcosm of two drastic storms. Good and bad, naughty and nice, desperate and despots. It’s part of the way our world works and more the tragedy for a lot of it.

Then this morning I get up to the news of another terrorist attack.

Somewhere in London a vile, despicable coward decided to set off a bomb a train in the tube as it was pulling up to a station.

Again: Vile. Despicable. Coward. You are not making a point here. You are not showing everyone how powerful you are. You are maiming innocents. I suppose the good news is that you didn’t actually get the body count you wanted. That has to count for something.

I have never understood terrorism. It’s war method that serves no real purpose in my eyes. Rather than taking on military targets or government targets it seems the idea is to spread terror by killing people who are not even a little bit involved in whatever idealism is having a hissy fit this week.

What Terrorism seems best at, so far, is giving a dozen different groups a chance to claim credit for monstrous acts. They come out like cockroaches as soon as it’s time to bask in the light of being the most despicable sort of cowards.

The news article I saw showed a man who’d had over half the hair on his head burned away. He pointed out that there were a lot of people much worse off. A woman talked about being nearly trampled while people tried for the doors, and about the fact that a pregnant woman was pinned under her. A small boy was severely injured and bleeding.

I am not terrified by acts of terrorism. I am infuriated.

If you have a problem with someone, or an organization, perhaps you could direct your anger there?

If you are living in the UK and can’t stand the UK, might I suggest going elsewhere? The same for the US, by the way. Neither country is perfect. Neither is a complete evil empire. Most of the people living in countries where terrorism takes place are just trying to get through the day. I know the same is true in most countries where wars are fought and where, sadly, both the US and the UK seem obligated to step in from time to time. (Seriously, don’t get me started. I’m not an isolationist, but this sort of stuff could make me one easily.)

I’m going back to that old saying my dear old mother use to cast my way: Two Wrongs Don’t Make A Right. Whoever has done whatever to you, find the responsible party and have a discussion. Take them to court. Write mean letters to the press and spam them on the internet. Go to war if you must, but do it the right way. Planting bombs and blowing the hell out of innocent people is not an act of bravery and frankly, if your god thinks that’s the way it should be done, you should seriously consider a new god. One that isn’t cowardly and capable of great evil. I’m looking at the American Terrorists, too. What’s that? Women can have abortions here? Let’s blow it up and kill a few innocent people to show how precious every life is? Yeah. That makes sense.

Back to the other side of the coin. The only news we’ll likely see is the suffering and the hunt for a cowardly bomber. I hope they catch said bomber and bury them under a nice prison. I don’t mean kill ‘em. I mean lock their nasty, cowardly little butts away for all time. For every story of terror, there are likely at least an equal number of small acts of bravery. Someone coming to the aid of a stranger, or hundreds donating blood to help with the situation. There are endless lists.

How to fight terrorism: 1) Let the specialists do their jobs, and as much as it makes some people cringe, if you see something, report it. In the worst case scenario there might be egg on the face. In the best, someone is captured. 2) Be kind. 3) Be brave. What do I mean? Be brave. Be yourself and don’t give into the fear that terrorists want to generate. Don’t let them win with their cowardly agendas.

That’s just me.


So, yes, I have a story in this anthology.

If you'd like to order it in advance, you can do that right HERE.

What's that? The cover? Well, that you can see right here.

And of course, here's that table of contents!

here's the table of contents:

Bracken MacLeod Lost Boy
Remy Flagg Murmur
Doungjai Gam We're all Haunted Here
Emma Gibbon Ghost Maker
Kenneth Vaughan And They Too Want to be Remembered
Peter Dudar The Thing With No Face
GD Dearborn Triumph of the Spirit
Nick Manzolillo My Work is Not yet Completed
Paul McNamee East Boston Relief Station
Trisha Wooldridge Ghosts in their eyes
Curtis M. Lawson Everything Smells like Smoke Again
Renee Mulhare Stranding Off Schroodic Point
Tom Deady Turn Up the Old Victrola (a.k.a The Road Part Deux)
Dan Szczesny Boy on the Red Tricycle
Dan Foley They Come With the Storm
Barry Lee Dejasu Tripping the Ghost
Rob Smales Road to Gallway
Paul McMahon The Pick Apart
Morgan Sylvia The Thin Place
Matt Bechtel Walking Man
Larissa Glasser The Mouse
Patricia Gomes Scrying Through Torn Screens

Monday, September 11, 2017

Fighting in Fiction

Once upon a time I was reading a manuscript for a fellow writer who will remain unnamed. I was having a fine time, until I got to the first combat scene. During the middle of a knock down, drag out magical battle where flesh is burning and brick walls are being turned into so much stone powder, the main antagonist of the scene stops what he’s doing and says “Ah, trying to use the (insert lame spell name here) on me, I see.”

Yeah. I circled the paragraph and when I saw my fellow writer a few days later, I asked him if he’d ever in his life been in any sort of serious fight. He responded, as I suspected he would, with a negative on that particular aspect of his life. Excellent as far as I’m concerned. He’s a nice guy and I personally believe that violence belongs in movies and books and not in our personal lives, excluding only certain types of sports.  But it also explained something. As I have been in a few fights in my time, including multiple sparring sessions, I can pretty much state as a fact that neither I nor any of the folks I was sparring with or having a serious fight with, ever stopped to comment on what an opponent was trying to use as a combat maneuver. The closest I’ve ever come was “good one” mumbled by one of my opponents past his mouth guard after I finally managed to get one decent jab past his defenses. The first of the fight as I recall.

Hand to hand combat requires a great deal of energy and concentration. So does armed combat for that matter. Normally you’re going to be far too busy avoiding getting parts of  your anatomy turned into hamburger to even consider carefully phrasing a compliment, especially if the fight you’re engaged in is life or death.  It might work occasionally for Hollywood, but the odds are good that, as with my friend above, the comment will show an appalling lack of experience.

Fiction writers work in the realm of the fantastic, even if they are writing a romantic comedy. We are in the business of selling lies. Those lies might be close to reality or they might be radically removed from anything close to what the author has ever experienced, but either way they are lies. That means we are liars. And that means if we want to sell our lies, we have to learn to lie convincingly.

That means we have to know when to engage the realism.  I tend to write a lot of violent sequences in my works. It’s part of what I enjoy writing and part of how I move my stories forward. I don’t care how excessive the combat is, and it is often far larger than would ever be possible in reality, I want to make the trappings of the scene at least a little believable.

I can only go from my own experiences, but as a rule, going back to the first comments made in the article, I’m pretty darned sure I’ve never commented on what someone was trying to do to me in combat while they were trying to do it. I saved it for later, after it was done and I’d had time to consider the situation.

Most of the fights and sparring sessions I’ve had were over too fast for me to have time to chat up my opponent, or I was far too busy concentrating on not getting my face knocked off my skull. Also, frankly, it takes a lot of energy and fighting requires that you breathe a great deal as the oxygen burns out of your system faster.

On DEEPER, my publisher complimented me for understanding that firing a handgun takes effort. He was especially pleased with the fact that I understood how firing several hundred rounds from multiple weapons would be like absolute torture to the person doing it. Not only are handguns and automatic assault rifles deceptively heavy, they also have recoil. In order to keep the barrel aimed in the right direction, you have to constantly aim and adjust for that recoil. Get into a situation where you are firing at a small army of monsters, and by the time it’s done your arms are going to feel like you’ve been working out extra hard on the weights to impress that cute girl (Or guy) over in the corner who’s been flirting with you for the last half hour.

Even in light contact sparring sessions, you’re likely to get a few bruises before the fighting is done, because from time to time you’re going to block or be blocked by a part of the body that isn’t covered by pads and doesn’t have much meat to protect the bones. Let me tell you, your shin crashing into somebody else’s shin might stop you from getting kicked in the stomach, but it’s not going to make your leg feel any better about what you just put it through. Or, as one person in the know put it to me: The boxing gloves are designed to protect your hands more than they are designed to protect your opponent’s face. Getting hit by those pads hurts like a mother.

Fighting of any kind is a matter of survival, and if you want your readers to believe that someone is in a fight for their lives, the characters should act in believable ways. It’s likely going to be easier for someone who’s been in several fights to swallow a bad guy who can throw cars than a bad guy who makes casual conversation with the hero who’s trying to separate his head from his shoulders.

I mean, really, there’s insane and then there’s just plain crazy.

James A. Moore

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Thursday, September 7, 2017

FALLEN GODS cover reveal and contest

The cover for FALLEN GODS has been revealed. There's a contest to win copies of THE LAST SACRIFICE thrown in for good measure. GO HERE to see and to possibly win. :)

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


“Gripping, horrific, and unique, James Moore continues to be a winner, whatever genre he’s writing in. Well worth your time.”
– Seanan McGuire, New York Times bestselling author of the InCryptid and Toby Daye series

“James A Moore is the new prince of grimdark fantasy. His work is full of dark philosophy and savage violence, desperate warriors and capricious gods. This is fantasy for people who like to wander nighttime forests and scream at the moon. Exhilarating as hell.”
– Christopher Golden, New York times bestselling author of Snowblind

“With The Last Sacrifice, James A. Moore has triumphed yet again, delivering a modern sword and sorcery tale to delight old and new fans of the genre.  With its intriguing premise, stellar cast of characters, and flavorful horror elements, this is damn good stuff.”
– Bookwraiths
“This was a very good read.”
– Purple Owl Reviews
“Epic fantasy at its best.”
– Amanda J Spedding
“Grimdark as fuck!  So in a word “’GREAT’”.
– The Blogin’ Hobgoblin
“I liked The Last Sacrifice a great deal.  I’ve always enjoyed Moore’s work and don’t see that changing anytime soon.  He just keeps getting better.  Check this one out and see.”
– Adventures Fantastic
“What’s Moore to say? People fighting Gods? Bring it! This is a great addition to James A. Moore’s line up.”
– The Book Plank
“I love it. This is a story that turns the genre story arc on its head, mixes up the motives of heroes and villains, and muddies the waters of divine intervention. A fantastic, surprising start to a major new series.”
– Beauty in Ruins
The Last Sacrifice is a solid start to the sordid grim-dark tale documenting the end of a bleak violent world.”
– Smorgasbord Fantasia
“I found The Last Sacrifice to be highly engaging, magical with a distinct grimdark feel and the world herein is richly imagined and cleverly wrought and brought to life. I can’t wait to read the sequel and I am now also eager to check out the other works by this author. I highly recommend this book to all lovers of fantasy.”
– Cover 2 Cover
“I’d recommend this and I’ll be keeping an eye out for the next one. More evil Grakhul/He-Kisshi action please Mr Moore!”
– Ribaldry’s Books
“I was just turning pages as fast as my eyes could devour the words.”
– On A Dark Stormy Review
“Moore has laid the groundwork for a trilogy that promises to be loaded with terrifically grim fantasy storytelling. I might even call it epic. There is a lot of swift, merciless violence in this book, mingled with an undercurrent of very welcome, if very dark, humor. All of it together takes me back to what made me giddy about epic fantasy way back when. I’d say I’m happy to be back, but I’m not sure that’s quite the right word for a book packed with this much violent incident. Let’s say instead that I’m bloody satisfied.”
– Rich Rosell for the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog
“Fast-paced fantasy that you simply can’t put down. Great action adventure.”
– Morpheus Tales
The Last Sacrifice is an enthralling fast-paced book with ass-kicking characters who could only grow stronger as the series progresses.”
– Zirev
“James A Moore throws in elements of horror, dark fantasy, low magic and some amazing world-building into this boiling mix that somehow seems to work. Spinning off the staid old genre story-lines into a new direction with this epic take on God versus Man, The Last Sacrifice is a solid start to the sordid grim-dark tale documenting the end of a bleak violent world.”
– Fantasy Smorgasbord
The Last Sacrifice will tickle the fancy of any fans of grimdark fantasy, with its large cast of characters and earth-shattering consequences.”
– The Warbler Books

“Fantasy lovers will enjoy this book, and while an emphasis on gritty storytelling and horror elements elevates this from more standard magical creatures or hocus-pocus, it is still an absolute page-turner.”
– LeftLion
The Last Sacrifice is dark and violent with no punches pulled. The worldbuilding is epic in scope but focuses on a select few individuals to flesh out the story.” 4.5/5 stars
– San Franciso Book Review

Monday, August 28, 2017

Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival

And here's a list of the scheduled panels for this free event:

Those of you thinking you might show up for only part of the day for The 3rd Annual Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival...think again. Here's the panel schedule for the day.
10:30 -- The Dark Border: Fantasy, Folklore, Fairy Tales and Horror – Why it’s magic when they meet.
-----Craig Shaw Gardner, Kat Howard, Hillary Monahan, James A. Moore, Cat Scully (M), Laurie Faria Stolarz
11:30 -- The New England Mystery Tradition -- Spooky autumn helps horror, but how much are New England mystery authors inspired by the region and its atmosphere?
-----Dana Cameron, Christopher Irvin (M), Leigh Perry, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Sarah Smith, Thomas E. Sniegoski
12:30 – Horror in Comics -- What makes the medium so well-suited for the weird and supernatural, and what do our panelists think is required reading from then and now?
-----Stephen R. Bissette, Jason Ciaramella (M), Rachel Autumn Deering, Brian Keene, Errick Nunnally, Fred Van Lente
1:30 -- Joe Hill: A Season of Strange Weather – Interviewed by Christopher Golden
2:30 – Far North Frights: Horror from above the 42nd parallel Why do so many scary writers love northern New England, from Acadia to the Northern Kingdom?
-----Joseph A. Citro, Tom Deady, Kristin Dearborn, John M. McIlveen, Holly Newstein-Hautala, Douglas Wynne (M)
3:30 – Our Haunted World: Why Do We Need and Read Horror in Scary Times?
-------Nicholas Kaufmann, John Langan, Bracken MacLeod, Mary Sangiovanni, Paul Tremblay, Rio Youers (M)