Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Where in the World is Rob J. Hayes?

Some of you may be wondering:

“Hey, Rob J. Hayes, just what in the seven circles of hell is going on with you? You haven't release a new book in years.”

And you'd be right in wondering that. So let me break it all down and set your woes at ease.

There are new books coming this very year. Three of them, in fact.

We'll start with a quick run-down of the past:
  • I released The Ties that Bind(TTtB) in 2013.
  • I then went to work on It Takes a Thief to Catch a Sunrise(ITaTtCaS) and released that in 2014.
  • I then set to the sequel to TTtB, Best Laid Plans(BLP)
  • In 2014 TTtB was picked up by Ragnarok Publications and all three books were re-released over 2014 and 2015.
  • In 2015 I re-released ItaTtCaS.
  • In 2015 I finished BLP and submitted it to Ragnarok Publications.
  • In 2015 I finished work on a number of short stories all set in First Earth and submitted those to Ragnarok Publications to be released as The Bound Folio(TBF)
  • In 2016 I finished the follow-up to ItaTtCaS, It Takes a Thief to Start a Fire.
  • In 2016 I also finished a Sci-Fi thriller but shhhh! You're not supposed to know about that yet.

So that's a basic run-down of the past three years and it looks a bit crazy when presented as a bunch of dates and acronyms.

“But what does it all mean?” I hear you cry. “It's been so long since you released anything new!”

I hear you. I do. And I am very sorry about that. It all basically boils down to publishing schedules and my own particular brand of crazy.
No. The other type of crazy.

I'm the type of person who likes to finish an entire series before submitting it to publishers. This means that Where Loyalties Lie was sitting on my computer, finished, for a good six months before I sent it off to Ragnarok because I wanted to send them The Fifth Empire of Man at the same time.

Along with their own changes to their publishing schedule, this means the follow-up to TTtB has been significantly delayed. For this I am truly sorry. Honestly, I am. 
Bit of a dog theme in this one.

I actually can't wait to share it with you all because (don't tell my debut trilogy I said this) it's by far the better series of the two. But it's coming! Where Loyalties Lie has been set for a December 13th 2016 release date! YAY!

Similarly, The Bound Folio was originally supposed to release early in 2016, but Ragnarok's changes to their publishing schedule has pushed it back again and again. Despite this, I am assured it will be releasing this quarter with an expected release date of June 2016. Honestly, the release of this one seems a bit of a mess and I wish I could have given you all a more definite release date a lot sooner. It's unfortunately out of my hands.

This leads me to It Takes a Thief to Start a Fire. This sequel has been a long time coming and I wrote it rather quickly. Since then it's been stuck in editing for a while, but there is light in the end of the tunnel. I'm confident that the latest version of the book will be its final one and, because I'm self-pubbing it, that means it's almost time for its release. I would say expect it in the early 3rd quarter of 2016. I know I originally said late 1st quarter... but it got a bit held up. I'm sorry.

Moving on to 2017 and beyond you can expect more books from me again. The second book in the BLP duology, The Fifth Empire of Man, should be coming from Ragnarok Publications and we'll have to see what happens with this little Sci-Fi thriller I've written. There is also a stand alone book set in First Earth in production which will follow the Black Thorn and his Rose and following that will be another full trilogy also set in First Earth. There may also be a few other projects on the cards...
This may or may not be an indicator of what is to come... just saying.

So there's plenty coming. I'm very sorry it's taken a while, but I am not Brandon Sanderson, I am only human.
Damnit, Sanderson. Leave some words for the rest of us. ;)

Rob J. Hayes is the author of the acclaimed The Ties that Bind trilogy and the upcoming Best Laid Plans duology. You can find out more on his website here.

Monday, 9 May 2016

Is This Funny Or Is It Alcoholism?

Hahaha... ha... ha... um... Oh.

Haha! Tyrion Lannister said something witty and we all laughed... but, uh, it's not really funny. Is it? It's alcoholism. And that's not funny. I... I don't know if I should be laughing or... I feel bad now.

I mean. Fair play to good ol' Tyrion, he's been through some shit. He's seen some shit. He's done some SHIT!

They're all dead, Dave.

In fact, it's pretty obvious at this point that Tyrion can only really function day to day with a bellyful. This is beyond a litte characterisation. This is drinking problem.

I've gotta ask myself at this point. This quote we all laughed at. Was it not a cry for help?

I mean, shit! The guy says this, then gets a bit more drunk, then wonders down into a dark pit to bro out with some fire-breathing dragons. It's quite clear he at least half expects them to roast him alive and nibble on his charred remains. So, uh, is this funny? Or is this a character so far gone into his alcoholism that he's actively seeking out dangerous activities to end his own existence.

I don't actually remember the last time we saw Tyrion without a drink in his hand. Hells, the last time we saw him, he was actually trying to get people (folk who don't drink) to start drinking with him. He was actually looking for enablers. It was a painful scene. It was awkward and yet seemed a little less so because it was done with Tyrion's trademark wit and Dinklage's trademark charisma. But still... it was painful to watch and not because (like most of GoT) it was cringe-worthy, but because it was so real.

To me, this is the most interesting thing happening in GoT at the moment, far more than Dany's Cher impression.

Dany, rolling it back to season 1.

Far more than Ramsay's... whatever the fuck he's actually doing. I mean, we get it, dood, you're evil. Cool. I'm bored of you now 'cos, ya know, that's your whole thing. Seriously. Even Dr Evil had depth and his name was evil... and he was in a spoof.

Far more than Jon's Jesus impression... Oh yeah, spoiler. Jon Snow isn't dead. Shame on you if you didn't know that. It's not even a spoiler it's just... he was... It was so damned obvious.

Far more than Bran's Cher impression. Yeah, I'm not gonna put that picture up again. But, hey, way to ruin the Sword of the Morning, GoT! Not the point. I know.

Back to the point. It would be really interesting to me if they added some real world issues into a show that just tries to shock us with more and more outrageous shit that doesn't even seem outrageous anymore because we all expect it!

I just feel that it would be far more interesting at this point to explore Tyrion's descent into alcoholism rather than, you know, whatever the fuck is happening in this scene.

Rob J. Hayes is the author of the acclaimed The Ties that Bind trilogy and the upcoming Best Laid Plans duology. You can find out more on his website here.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Book Review: King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

Well that was a hell of a ride.

I read the second half of this book over the course of 2 days... which is quite rare for me given how slowly I read. That should tell you something about how much I enjoyed it.

So King of Thorns follows on fairly directly from Prince... and also not. Jorg feels a bit more human this time around, slightly fewer sharp edges and not quite as much of an arsehole... though he is still very much an arsehole.

The story is told across 3 different timelines. There's Jorg's wedding day (present), there's 4 years previously, and there's 4 years previously (the time that Jorg forgot). The story chops and changes from one to the other quite masterfully to both build tension, and introduce new plot devices. In many hands this method wouldn't work, but in Lawrence's it certainly does. It feels natural and it feels very well-planned and plotted.

Jorg gets some new powers and tricks. Makes some new friends. Loses some old friends. And faces off against some old and new enemies.

I'm gonna start with what I didn't like this time because... well there really isn't anything. It was a bit slow-paced near the start. Lawrence gave us time to acclimatize to the new Jorg and his new station, and also to the style in which the book is written. He introduces the new major players for this book. Then the pace kicks in and it pretty much doesn't stop all the way to the end.

We learn a smidgen more about the world and how it came to be in this book. I won't ruin it for any who don't yet know and I'm fairly certain I still don't know the full story. Suffice to say it's very interesting, it makes a certain kind of sense, and it leaves you wanting to know the full story... but doesn't tell you.

On to what I loved about the book and there's 1 thing I want to talk about and it's this. I loved how Lawrence subverted the hero of prophecy trope.

One of the new players we have is the Prince of Arrow. Here we have this all round decent human being, a man who most agree is destined to sit his arse upon the throne and unite the Broken Empire. He is light and good and stands for all things peaceful and shiny.

Then we have Jorg. He's a bit more human in this one, but he's still a foul-mouthed, fouler-minded thug with rivers of blood on his hands. He's still after the throne because a) he thinks he's entitled to it, and b) someone once told him he couldn't have it and it's in his nature to rebel. He is darkness and death and fire and blood.

By way of perspective, Jorg is the hero of this tale and the Prince of Arrow is the villain. This is why Kings of Thorns is so damned good.

I give King of Thorns a 4.5 our of 5, but as always I round up. Can't wait to start Emperor of Thorns and see how Lawrence is going to wrap up the trilogy.

Rob J. Hayes is the author of the acclaimed The Ties that Bind trilogy and the upcoming Best Laid Plans duology. You can find out more on his website here.