Market News: Cover Reveal for Guardian of the Sky Realms

I can't tell you how happy I am. My 'all ages' novel, Guardian of the Sky Realms, is going to be published by Cohesion Press, a great independent publishing house based in Australia, and it will be released exactly the way I wanted it to. Australian English, quality editing, quality internal block and cover.

Yes, the cover. High quality and symbolically representative of many elements of the novel – the Sky Realms, the barren lands below, and the idyllic, transformed state that Maree will find herself in. It appropriately leaves bits out.

Thanks to Cohesion Press (Geoff Brown), and the amazing talent of professional digital artist, Dean Samed, who created the cover.

Enjoy, and stay tuned for the third quarter 2014 for the release of Guardian of the Sky Realms.

Guardian_front

Review of Guardian of the Sky Realms by Bram Stoker Award nominee, Charles Day

Charles Day, someone who I respect a great deal, has nice things to say about my debut novel (Guardian of the Sky Realms):

GUARDIANS was a pleasure to read. Truly enjoyed the imaginative world author, Gerry Huntman created in his debut novel. If you're looking for a great fantasy full of wonderful characters this is the book for you.
~Charles Day, Bram Stoker Award® -nominated author of THE LEGEND OF THE PUMPKIN THIEF, HUNT FOR THE GHOULISH BARTENDER & DEEP WITHIN

Cheers, Charles!
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Review: The Sixth Precept by Larry Ivkovitch

This is an amazing book. Larry Ivkovich describes The Sixth Precept as an urban fantasy – and it certainly is in the sense that it is a fantasy and quite a bit of the adventure is set in a modern day US city – but a lot of the adventure is also set in medieval Japan. And stuff happens there. Yes, it is an urban fantasy, but it doesn't deserve simple labeling. For example, it has a neat, convincing detective story feel about it as well.

I'm raving – and probably because this fantasy adventure has everything, all in the right proportions.

I wont give too much away of the plot, as it would be a spoiler indeed, but I can say that the key storyline is about a woman in
medieval Japan with an amazing psychic gift, who is playing a key part in a great cosmic 'game', who sends the young girl she is protecting, through a rift into the future. That's just the beginning, when it comes to time travel as well as strange and miraculous people and creatures. I simplify this, because the most powerful feature of Larry's writing is the smoothness of the plot and the sustaining of adventure and entertainment. It is complex, but not distracting.

I normally am not a fan of time travel stories (although I should point out that time travel is not necessarily the sole, core element of
this novel), as I often find authors handling paradox particularly badly. For me, the best time travel stories enable travel into the
future, but impossible to travel backwards. However, there are a select few authors for me who handle forward and backward time journeying with flair – beautifully enabling the reader to suspend disbelief. Larry is one such author.

Another feature of the book that I liked was the treatment of some of the antagonists. They are complex. They are not necessarily black and white in the depiction of evil (with one deserved exception). The bestial creature who is supposed to hunt down the protagonists in modern day is an example of such a complex figure – while hated and dreadful in many ways, there are moments of sympathy as well. It makes the book memorable.

Larry Ivkovich's debut novel is way more polished and mature than a typical first work. I would strongly advise any fantasy reader –
especially paranormal and urban fantasy readers – to buy and enjoy this 5 star piece.
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History Repeats Itself, part 2

This comment follows directly from my previous entry.

I decided to outline my plot over the next month or two. Because the novel (working title, The Comfort of Beanbags) will be a YA novel, I think, it is likely to be smallish. Maybe around 40 to 60k. I think I can write it pretty rapidly.

More work, but hey, we writers are masochistic.
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History Repeats Itself

Yes, history does repeat itself. I feel like I’m in one of those Sixties b-grade scifi movies where the main character gets caught in a time loop. Or possibly even Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.

I wrote a short story a week or so ago (The Comfort of Beanbags) that was quite a challenge (I blogged that point during the process), and I now realize that part of the difficulty of this particular piece was to instill the intended theme and moods in a short work. The jury is still out on that matter, but I have come believe now that the path I should have taken was to write a longer work, a short novel, or novella.

Ironically, going through the process of writing the short story may have been a necessary ingredient to come to this realization…

So… I have another project in scope. I can’t let it go now. I am sure this story will turn into something a lot better in longer form.

Why does history repeat? Because that’s exactly what happened with Guardian of the Sky Realms. A short story turned into a novel.

Stay tuned.
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2010 Writing Roundup

I might do this six monthly.

I suspect most people aren’t very interested in extremely anal statistics on my efforts to be published, but I do keep meticulous records, mainly to make sure I don’t mess up my submissions (like sending a submission twice to a publisher, or breaking the rules about the length of time before I can send something else). I have to admit that I keep the stats also so that I can measure my success, intrinsically, and in comparison with the past. This is helpful for me, and my ego.

Perhaps, and only perhaps, other writers can get an idea of how much effort and how much potential reward (including disappointment) comes with the effort. I can only say that if you are a serious writer, writing short stories is smart, and submitting them and getting a foot into the industry, even if some of it is the tail end, IS WORTH IT.

So here are the simple facts (notwithstanding some last minute stuff happening – which will mean I will update this – so if you are reading this after 1 Jan 2011, it is up to date and complete).

Firstly, here is a breakdown of my submissions (they include short stories and novels. Rejections do include 3 withdrawals on my part because a given publisher is an ignoramus, or simply didn’t respond after a very long period of time). I also include efforts at various awards and contests  – note that all bar one will not resolve until 2011.

 

I consider myself a fantasy writer, but interesting enough I had my fair share of scifi success. Another interesting stat is that I got a very good hit rate with anthology submissions. Note that some of my successes will not publish until 2011. "Pub" is basically novels.

If you don’t count the ‘No unfinalised’, my hit rate overall is 18%, or 1 in 6. I am happy with that. In fact, 12 successes is, in my view, a good result for the first year I am serious about this stuff. My goal next year is to have the same number, but to publish at least 3 of my stories in an SFWA acceptable medium. Watch this space.

Here are some graphic representations, for the heck.

And finally, my list of successes for 2010:
 

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Outlining Bitter Creek

As committed in an earlier post, one of  my tasks running into next year is to outline my long-standing novel concept, whose working title is Bitter Creek. I started today. There is a bit of a history to this story, and I suppose I can reveal a little:

Firstly, it is the oldest, legitimate idea for a novel for me. While the Chronicles of Evyntyde can be traced back to about 25 years ago, when I was about 25, Bitter Creek‘s core idea came to me when I was about 15 years old. That makes it ancient.  I was traveling with my parents in their car and I was staring out of the car window – I certainly was a moody teenager at that age. I saw a bleak countryside, which Australia has a lot of in summer, and I suddenly had a vision – a set of thoughts, concepts, images – what would happen if out of that bleak landscape… and is it possible that it is happening because of…   It was a powerful sequence, perhaps running for about ten minutes, and this inspiration has never left my thoughts. It has been on my list of things to do for at least 5 years.

Now a sad story. About 5 years ago I wrote an outline (typed actually, on a spreadsheet), and despite my fastidiousness with computers, I found a few years later that I lost it. Ugh. I remember a lot, but it hurts – even now. The outline that I am creating is in effect a rework. Thank goodness this was the one and only time I lost data. I have a 3 Terabyte external hard drive to make sure that never happens again!!!

So, of the several things I promised to do over the next twelve months, I have commenced the first.

The tantalizer:

David is an Australian palaeontologist with a remarkable academic record. He is in his forties and has already pretty much done it all. He gave up his amazing position at a prestigious US College and returned home, to enjoy working the field in the Australian desert, which he so much loves. He is digging at Bitter Creek, a South Australian region where an unusual episode, eons ago, changed microbe life from one form to another. Inexplicably, although the theory is that an asteroid event caused it, he, and a former student of his, discover something different indeed, and it was about to impact the entire Earth.

in the meantime, another ex student of his, and a girl he had fallen in love with – which caused the most tumultuous and complicating episode of his life – is now working in Antarctica, and encounters something fantastic, but at the same time deadly, to all life on Earth. She doesn’t know there is a connection with what David had discovered, but she calls for his help.

They reunite and get caught in a global fight for humanity’s survival. Their skills, as esoteric and academic as they are, are called, and become indispensable in the struggle.

Sounds corny without specifics, but it is, in my estimation, unique. I look forward to outlining and writing it.
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latest on Guardians of the Sky Realms

It would appear that it will be first cab off the rank for IFWG Publishing’s publish queue for November – so very soon indeed. The reason why is because I have entered it in the Aurealis Awards for 2010 (Young Adult Novel category) and I have to get copies of the ARCs to the three judges before 31 December 2010. Not a lot of time when these ARCs get printed in the US. What is amazing is (and it is a coincidence, believe me) is that the three judges are all located in Melbourne, my home city.