0 Jeff Salyards | Monthly Archive | March
Archive | March, 2012

A Rose by Any Other Name. . .

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I completely understand why George Foreman named all his sons kids George. Sure, it probably confuses the hell out of them, but at least he knows he can’t screw anything up.

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Me, on the other hand? When I am tired, frustrated, or distracted (which is roughly 6 ½ days a week), there is a very good chance I will call one of my daughters by the wrong name, sometimes twice before stumbling on the right one.

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Well, the eldest reached her limit this weekend. When I accidentally called her Scarlett for the third time in one day, she yelled, “Daddy—stop calling me Scarlett! If you call me Scarlett again, I’m going to start calling you mommy!!”

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There are two potential outcomes here. Either this humiliation tactic works and cures me of screwing up their names. Or it prompts me to build that inescapable tower in the backyard and reserve the penthouse suite for daughter #1. Whatever the heck her name is.

Guest Blogging: Good Times!

I’m still new to this whole guest blog post thing, but at least I am no longer a virgin. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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The folks at SF Signal were kind enough to give me the opportunity to post on their site. Which is a fantastic place to visit, by the way. Everyone remotely interested in science fiction or fantasy should give it a gander, in my not-terribly humble opinion. Great articles and reviews galore!

I wrestled with what exactly to post. Not for lack of ideas, but a surplus—I started about 10 posts that went in 100 directions, and I kept spinning off into the blather-zone. But, after significant effort, I was finally able to reel myself in and focus on one idea. Through the entire piece even.

So, without further ado, my guest post: “Avoiding Tired Tropes When World Building.” Not to be confused with the ever-popular “Avoiding Tired Ropes When Sail Building.”

That’s a terrible joke–who’s moderating this place?! Oh, yeah. Me.










Failed First Lines

Sometimes the first line in a novel is such a beauty it gains an identity all its own. Even if you never read Moby Dick, you can probably quote the opening line, or at least would recognize it if somebody else did.

Being someone who doesn’t always spend his time wisely, I sat round imagining what some of those first lines might have looked like in first draft. . .  

“It was a dark and pleasant night. Right around 70, no humidity, easy cool breeze. Perfect sleeping weather.”

”Call me. . . Humperdink. Or Humpy. That’s what friends call me. Well, I don’t have many, but they would if I did. Lucky name for a whaler, I reckon.”

“It was the best of times, it was. . . nope, that about covers it. Historically low unemployment and crime rates, booming economy, no racism or bigotry to speak of. Pints of happiness, on the house for everyone!”

“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins, one way ticket to the big house. Thanks for nothing, you little brat.”

“In my younger and more vulnerable years, my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. Always wipe, he said. Always wipe.”

“I am an invisible man. Or The Invisible Man. Or maybe it’s Aqua Man. Whatever, I’m kind of a big deal. Unless I’m just an invisible man, in which case, never mind me.”

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. And a rock-solid prenup”

“This is the saddest story I have ever heard. Well, this and the one about the old lady who rescued stray cats, only to be eaten by them after she died. Although that’s actually a little funny, so I stand by what I said—this is the saddest story.”

“The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel. No. Hold up. Satellite’s working again. Tuned to Animal Planet. And it’s all kinds of colorful. HD too.”

“Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself. But then claimed she was a little short, and could someone lend her five pounds, which was so bloody like her.”

I Need a Smoking Jacket. And I Don’t Smoke.

I just got the final dust jacket for the hardcover. And I have to say, it is. . .  BAD. ASS. It would kick the snot out of Chuck Norris with its flaps tied behind its back. The designers, Federico Piatti and Victoria Maderna, just nailed it. Top to bottom, left to right. Fantastic. And Night Shade did their usual remarkable job pulling it all together. 

Jay Lake and David Anthony Durham were kind and generous enough to provide some great author blurbs, too, which I’m grateful for. The whole effect is just. . . wow.

In case you can’t tell, I am thrilled.  

So, without further ado or additional blathering, here it is.

 Scourge_of_the_Betrayer_Dust Jacket

Let me know what you think!


For those of you wondering if Scourge of the Betrayer is the sort of book that will separate you from some hard-earned cash, here is an excerpt for your reading pleasure. Not having done this before, I wrestled with exactly where to pull the text from. Part of me was tempted to select a slam-bam action sequence from the middle of the book, the kind where you feel the dust kicked up by a passing horse, hear the twang of a crossbow releasing its bolt, smell the sweat of fearful men. But then I thought, lacking context or any familiarity or emotional stakes in the characters, it would only be so much sound and fury. And really, stinky sweat? Right out of the gate, without so much as an introduction?

So I opted to go the traditional route and present a section from the very beginning. And just so you don’t accuse me of being stingy, I’m giving you a pretty meaty sampling, too. No tiny teaser here. You get to really dig in.

I figure that way, you can get a good feel for the book in order to decide if: 1), Scourge is not only the kind of novel you simply can’t buy fast enough, but the very sort you will happily recommend to friends, family, and strangers on a train, even if they don’t ask and might actually be trying to avoid eye contact; or 2), refer back to 1).

In all seriousness, I do hope you enjoy it. I have five mouths to feed. OK, so two of them are dogs, and one of those is smaller than a lot of cats. But still.

I’m also housing this in the main menu, so it doesn’t get archived and passed over. Enjoy!




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