What 2017 brings

Now a little over a month outside 2016, I’ve reflected on all that I’ve done in the past year, and I can say without doubt that it’s been a good year. I book 4 shows last year, one of which was the Hallmark movie A Rose for Christmas, my biggest part yet. It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot from some great actors.

Last year also saw the release of the second book in my Hunter’s Moon series, in fact, titled Hunter’s Moon. Also released last year was the little novella that could, Out of Ordure. As my first effort at humor, it’s been well received, and I’m so thankful for that. So with new accomplishments and big steps forward, what does this mean for 2017?

A lot.

I’m sitting in the airport waiting for my flight back to Vancouver. I’ve been bouncing back and forth between a scene I’m shooting next week on another Hallmark movie, and edits on another book. I will soon be outlining the sequel to my epic fantasy series, The Saga of Ruination. It’s been 3 long years, I know. Much has happened since then, but I promise you every bit of it has contributed to this upcoming sequel being the best it can be. Simply put, the book is coming this year.

I’m also revamping a book to submit to a large publisher, so I’m looking forward to that. Film is in full swing, and the auditions are starting to show up. Things are off to a good start, and I hope to have a lot to bring this year. I will soon post a list of comicons I’m confirmed to attend, as well as those I’m tentatively confirmed. I should be doing at least 6 shows this year, but possibly more. We’ll see how things pan out between that and the films I book this year.

Reach out and grab 2017. It’s yours!

To be a Hero

R.A. Salvatore’s latest Drizzt novel, Hero. Where to start? Let’s go back a bit.

I came somewhat later into the game, so to speak, in that I read my first Salvatore novel, The Crystal Shard, 10 years after it was published. So I’ve been reading The Companions of the Hall for 20 years instead of the 30 years he’s been writing them.

It’s been a long ride. It’s been a thrilling ride. It’s been an amazing, heartfelt, lighthearted, heavyhearted, adrenaline-pumping ride, one adventure after the next. It’s a continuous story not only of a group of fantastic characters, but also of an author who has achieved the feat of writing their stories for 3 decades and still keeping it fresh, exciting, compelling, and just plain fun.

This post is only partially about the book. The reason for this is because it is the latest in over 30 novels. If you haven’t read any of the books, you wouldn’t start with this one, and if you’ve read them this far, you don’t need me to sell you its virtues. You’ve either read it or are planning to. Instead, I’m going to talk a little about the book, and more about the characters and experience itself.

The Companions of the Hall couldn’t be a more unlikely group. A Delzoun Dwarf destined to be king, battling an invading barbarian tribe. A young barbarian in his first battle, defeated and later adopted by a merciful and kind-hearted dwarf. A human girl also adopted by the same dwarf. A lazy halfling with a large belly and an even larger heart. And a dark elf. A drow from the darkest place in all of Faerun. Drizzt Do’Urden, born in the drow city of Menzoberanzan in the Underdark finds that he cannot live amongst his people, a race of evil elves in a city where subterfuge, betrayal, and murder are simply a means to an end. After years of training to have eventually become the greatest weapons master in all of Menzoberanzan, Drizzt leaves and finds his way to the surface, to a place named Kelvin’s Cairn, and his fateful meeting with a great red-bearded, kind-hearted, tough-as-nails dwarf destined to be king. Bruenor Battlehammer.

And thus the beginning of the Companions of the Hall.

Bruenor Battlehammer
Cattie-brie
Wulfgar
Regis
Drizzt Do’Urden

The story of these characters is truly something to be experienced for more than just how good the books are. Yes, there is magic aplenty in these books, for they take place in the Realms, after all. (Forgotten Realms, for those unfamiliar) But the magic I’m talking about here is different.

After traveling beside the Companions of the Hall for so long, they’ve become far more than just words on a page, created by an fantastic author. (yes, I’m a fanboy. I admit it) These characters have become real. Their adventures, triumphs and failures, gains and losses. I’ve felt it all with them. Across countless miles traveled, miles of dead monsters in their wake, many a town still standing due to their influence, the companions are legendary not only in their own world, but in the genre of fantasy as a whole.

I remember the first time I heard about Drizzt. While I was in University, a dear friend of mine was telling me about these books about this race of evil elves that lived underground. Their fighting prowess was the stuff of legend, and that everyone feared them. One of them was actually good, and came to the surface. My friend showed me his well-loved paperback copy of The Crystal Shard, and I was instantly intrigued. I went to the bookstore and bought the hardcover omnibus. And here I am, 20 years later, just as captivated after finishing this latest entry as I was with the first.

And I’ve forgotten to mention someone. Artemis Entreri

Entreri. This was a character I HATED from the minute he appeared. I continued to loathe him many books hence. A character without conscience, without remorse, without a moral compass and who simply enjoyed killing because he could. Irredeemable. Or was he?

I like Artemis Entreri now. A lot. Years into these stories we gain insight into Entreri’s past and what made him into the man he’d become. Over the course of many books we seem him experience a character arc that he experienced throughout all of the books saw his gradual change from coldblooded killer, to something else not quite good, but not the heartless thing he’d been. And then his unlikely partnering with a drow elf named Jarlaxle.

Jarlaxle. Probably my favorite character…..ever. Possessed of an unpredictable wit, cleverness I could only dream of having, and an endless array of resources he’s accumulated, Jarlaxle is not one easily caught off his guard. An invaluable friend to have, an enemy not to want.

And so we have 30 years building up to what was simply an amazing book. After so many adventures, so many ups and downs. Death, life, swords, arrows, magic, camaraderie, and undying friendship, we come to a book that left me very emotional at the end. An elf born of one of the most evil races in all of Faerun, becomes a hero known throughout the land. His exploits, moral code of ethics, and constant questioning of himself and his motivations, and striving to do the right thing, has a lasting effect on all he encounters. Perhaps his personal moral code could attract the attention of the Gods Themselves. Perhaps…even…a God one would wish never to encounter? Drizzt’s influence, the residual effect he’s had on the world has created heroes. The title of this book is for Drizzt….or is it?

Though I’ve loved every book, Hero sits as one of my favorites. These characters, the Companions of the Hall, and the friends they’ve accumulated over the years, are not just words on a page. Not for me, and I suspect the same for many others. For me, there is a very ‘realness’ there. Indeed they are in so many ways, real. And that…THAT, is proof enough that magic exists. And what a marvelous thing that is.

Beasts of Tabat

This is a book that took me over six months to read. It didn’t take that long because I had a hard time with it, or that it was uninteresting. Far from it, in fact. It took me so long because I started it just before life got incredibly busy. I say this because it’s a testament to the book that I kept coming back after weeks and sometimes months away from it.

Beasts of Tabat is the story of legendary gladiator, Bella Kanto. A warrior for Tabat for many years now, she has never known defeat despite aging, (albeit quite gracefully) and younger gladiators coming to challenge time and again. Bella Kanto has a tremendous ego with the skill and beauty to match.

This is also the story of Teo, a boy who finds himself in the famed city of Tabat, where magical creatures of every kind are captured and used in a variety of ways to keep the city running. Some are used as fuel, some as laborers, and some for their body parts. The more time Teo spends in Tabat, the more trouble he finds himself in, and the deeper he sees into the dark side of this wonderful place he’d read so much about.

I found myself drawn into the world and the characters. Tabat is a big city much like any other, with it’s entertainment, upperclass sections as well as its slums. I found myself emotionally invested in the plight of the beasts and creatures used by Tabatians. I’m curious what Teo’s hidden nature will reveal, and what part Bella may have to play in the events that unfold at the end of the book. The cliffhanger ending has me ready for the next book without a doubt. Things are happening, and if there is one thing history has taught time and again; the oppressed will eventually fight back.

A tremendous upheaval is coming to Tabat, and I plan to be there for it when the next book arrives.

Cat Rambo’s Beasts of Tabat was a great read filled with flawed and real characters and real situations. This book provided a glimpse of a rich world filled with diverse creatures and people, and I look forward to seeing more of it in the soon to be released sequel.

Out of Ordure

FairyCover-textA big greetings and salutations to you! I’m excited to announce the release date for my new novella, Out of OrdureAUGUST 18TH marks the release date for this first volume in a series of short length books I will be writing. These aren’t your typical fairies, folks. Working for Fey World Maintenance isn’t the easiest job for some, and Fecanya has the worst job of them all. But if anyone can do it, it’s this sassy little fairy. See below for the back cover synopsis. If you love humor, fantasy, magic, and the idea of a sassy and attitude-filled fairy, this is your book!

Synopsis

For countless ages, fairies have existed in human lore as protectors of children, sprinklers of magic dust, and bloomers of flowers. Yeah well, fairies have other jobs, too.

Enter Fecanya, Ordure Engineer at Fey World Maintenance Services. She hates her job. Not that anyone who processes…‘leavings’, would, but hey, you wanna trade?

When news of an impending meltdown at a wastewater treatment facility, and a messy war between two gorilla factions (ever seen a gorilla projectile?) arrives at the office, Fecanya must use her many talents to prevent both disasters. But is there a mischievous hidden presence behind this?

With the threat of a city covered in filth of epic proportions, and a jungle at the brink of great ape warfare, it will take more than a visit with her stuffy satyr therapist for Fecanya to prevent a disaster and unmask the hidden enemy, before the ‘leavings’ hit the fan.

Mythology 101

510nvwc3kPL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Mythology 101. This book had an interesting effect on me that I can only best describe using a food analogy. Have you ever started a meal and thought, “Mm. This is good.” Then, as you continue to eat, the meal grows more tasty exponentially. Then you have to put the meal in the refrigerator because you can’t finish it in one sitting, but the aftertaste of that meal had you longing to finish it?

This was the effect Mythology 101 had on me. Starting the book, I found myself enjoying it, smiling at the whimsy of Keith Doyle, and his clumsy antics as he worked his way through the social and educational world of college life. Then, at some point between the beginning and the middle of the book, I was engulfed. There I was, at the university, meeting the elves, invested in the challenges they and Keith faced. I found myself wanting to jump in the book and fight his enemies, sneak into the elves’ secret village, attend their secret course. Since my time in college I’ve never had the desire to return, but I would, for such an adventure.

Mythology 101 is a book overflowing with character, personality, and just plain fun. As shameful as I am for admitting that this is my first entry into the beautiful worlds of my dear friend, Jody Lynn Nye, I am ecstatic to know that there is much more to experience. I say with true sincerity, that if I had not my own writing to do, I would devour every single one of her books in rapid succession. I am addicted.

This is not a recommendation more than a compulsion. Buy a copy of Mythology 101 and enjoy it front to back. If you are a fan of fantasy, humor, and/or just plain FANTASTIC storytelling, grab a copy of this book. It’s a fantastic and fun time!

Triorion: Awakening

41-LCoxlE9L._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_Jetta, Jaeia, and Jahx are powerful telepathic triplets living under abusive and poverty-stricken conditions. Even the planet they live on is not very hospitable to humans. But there is more to these three than being able to speak into each other’s minds, or read someone else’s. They have the ability to assimilate information gleaned from another person’s mind, granting them skills, comprehension, and maturity far beyond their years. In fact, I frequently had to remind myself that these three were only five years old at the start of the book. I say that because of how they act so much older.

When their kind uncle sends them to be tested, and eventually recruited into the Eeclian Dominion and their abilities are discovered, they are forced to participate in a military strategy game that is more than it seems.

To say that these three children who are not children experience horrors beyond belief is an understatement. And the mystery of the origin of their telepathic power is a dark silhouette in the background of this story that keeps you ever wary as you turn one page to the next. LJ Hatchmeister has crafted a fantastic science fiction epic that will keep you reading well into the night. Species from many different parts of the universe populate this story in living color, and I found myself jarred when I (hesitantly) put the book down for a meal break and realize I wasn’t in the middle of a group of individuals from different planets. It’s that immersive.

Triorion: Awakening is a fantastic book that I can’t recommend strongly enough. Whether you’re a long time science fiction reader or have yet to try the genre, do yourself a favor and give this book a go. It is fantastic, front to back.

Humble Book Bundle

Just launched today, and going for only two weeks, is the Humble Book Bundle. Featured are fifteen ebooks, some by bestselling authors such as Kevin J. Anderson, Louis McMaster Bujold, Rebecca Moesta, Jody Lynn Nye, and others, as well as yours truly, will be assembled in this awesome collection for two weeks. It’s pay what you want, and some of the proceeds go to charity. So please head on over to Humble Bundle, have a look at this fantastic deal, and after you grab yours, tell a friend!

Snake Handlin’ Man

51h1frIUbRL._SX319_BO1,204,203,200_This band cannot catch a break. Traveling from city to city, eating cheap, and playing gigs, Eric and his group of damned musicians want nothing more than to have a meal at a local diner, when they’re suddenly attacked by flying snakes. Of course, if you’ve read the first book, you know that things only escalate from there, as band member, Adrian, is bitten by one of the demonic serpents, and places himself in a magical coma after warning Eric that he has three hours till the poison kills him.

There’s just one problem. The anti-venom must be milked from a lamia, that is, a half woman half snake worshiper of the snake god, Apep. They follow clues that lead them to a preacher in possession of a holy symbol with the power to fight back the twisted worshipers of the snake god. So everything is simple; all they need to do is convince a preacher of shaky faith that he can activate the big talesman to help them battle human/snake hybrids to get them to the medusa-like lamia so that they can milk her for the anti-venom. Oh, and make sure Apep, the snake god doesn’t make it into this world and pretty much destroy everything.

The second installment of Rock Band Fights Evil is every bit as fun, funny, and punchy as the first. I found myself chuckling, wincing, and practically out of breath at the end of this story. It’s short enough to blast through in a an adrenaline-packed day, and leaves you ready for the next situation these guys get swept into. DJ Butler does it again!

Behold, the Clockwork Angels

UnknownIs a utopia without the basic traits of the human experience, truly a utopia? How appealing, life would be, without crime, without poverty, or violence! This is the world that the Watchmaker has created for the people of Albion. In this land, under the absolute rule of the Watchmaker, all things have their place, and every person has their task, their function, within society that they perform. In this land, everything is on time, everything moves according it’s designated time, including the weather. Albion is a place where the unexpected does not exist, and where people go about their designated lives, working their designated professions, in a land absent of the crime, or strife, or danger. Or creativity and imagination.

Is a free world without the safety net of predictability, absent the eradication of crime and violence, worth having? This is the world that the Anarchist would create. In his view, people should be free to experience life on their own terms, in their own way, absent the totalitarian rule of the Watchmaker and his structured Stability. Life is an organic experience that should be lived, not controlled. The Watchmaker’s Stability is not life, but oppression, and people should be free to choose how they liver their lives.

What would it be like to see the world? To travel to different lands, experience different traditions, see the many sights of the world. What would it be like to actually gaze upon the splendor of the clockwork angels. Young Owen Hardy is a dreamer, filled with curiosity and wonder about the world. Though he is happy in his stable and comfortable home with his father, he is restless. There is so much to see and do! In his youthful dreams and visions of an exciting life, filled with wonder, he will learn what freedom is. He will learn what it takes to create a utopia, and he will learn that he has unwittingly stepped into the center of a conflict that will shape his mind and forever change his life.

This is the story of a young boy who wants to see more of the world than his cozy village of Barrel Arbor, in the land of Albion. In one seemingly innocuous moment of spontaneity, a little gear in the grand clock of the Watchmaker’s Stability decides to change his function, just for a brief moment, with a quiet rendezvous with the love of his life on a hill under the stars. It is this not so innocuous moment, that forever changes his life, and his adventure begins, under the gaze of the Clockwork Angels.

Clockwork Angels, by Kevin J. Anderson is the novelization of the album by the hit band, Rush. I only have one thing to say. Buy it. This book is fantastic.