REVIEW: A Spot of Vengeance

C.J. Anthony – Troubador Publishing – 10 July 2019 – 268 pages – Thriller

Ex-Army intelligence Danny Swift has always yearned to be an artist. By coincidence, he meets art dealer Hafiz De Mercurio who promises to help him launch his career. Little does Danny know that Hafiz hides behind a deadly cloak of deception until British intelligence recruit Danny, and his perilous mission is to covertly observe the elusive Hafiz. They believe something big is coming, something coordinated, a terror spectacular to rival anything seen before, and the key lies in a cypher hidden in works of art. Unable to refuse, Danny is drawn into a world he’d turned his back on, a world of lies, deception and double-dealing.

As the clock ticks down and Danny begins to crack the code surrounding the enigmatic Hafiz, Danny will be tested in ways he never imagined… including preventing the massacre of innocent people and artworks on display in the eleven Gagosian galleries around the world.

When this book came across my desk, the description of it really caught my attention. I thoroughly enjoy thrillers, especially ones that involve British intelligence, and the fact that this included the art world and a possible terrorist attack had me intrigued.

The story itself is very interesting, and I found myself continuing to read, despite some issues that I had with different aspects of it, because I wanted to know the conclusion of the story and how everything came together. I love how the author made the center point of the entire thing the art world, and how the different paintings were used as part of the plot, though I think the descriptions of them could have been better.

The setting of London, specifically places like Hafiz’s apartment, Bernadette’s gallery, and The Tate Modern Gallery, were well written. You almost felt like you were there as you read the story because of the detail that he included. For example, when Danny (the main character) visited the Tate Modern, there were groups of school children there, and the author pointed out that, because of these, it was easier for him to hide in plain sight, going with the flow of these groups as if he was part of them.

The characters, for the most part, kept me coming back for more, though I can honestly say I really didn’t care what happened to any of them as the story went on. It was more general curiosity of how the story would unfold, rather than an emotional connection to any of them, despite the fact that a good portion of the beginning of the novel is getting to know both the main character, a few of the side characters, and the art world itself. To me, the art world was more a character than a setting, and the best one at that.

Once Thom got involved, there was quite a bit of adventure, as Danny went from trying to prove Thom wrong to trying to stop things from happening, and parts of it were really good. Unfortunately, there were some parts that needed a better explanation, and therefore got confusing, leaving me unsure how Danny was coming to the conclusions that he was coming to. Specifically the cracking of the code. I had to go back and reread a couple of places after realizing that I’d missed something.

I enjoyed the conclusion of the story, but not the conclusion of the book. To me, the story ended with the terrorist plot being averted (I’m not giving anything away saying that, as it wouldn’t be a good book at all if everyone died in the end and the terrorists won), and although I didn’t like that it was just over and nothing really happened after that, I would have rather it ended that way, without all the extra things that happened in the end. Neither part really added to the story, and I couldn’t help but wonder, when the book concluded, if I had read the entire story wrong.

Characters

Danny was a bit of a let down. He’s supposed to be this ex-military intelligence guy, now artist, who has great potential as a character, but there’s just too many times that his behavior and attitude aren’t consistent with the type of background he has, or maybe not consistent with the way I expected him to be portrayed. He just happens to fall into this whole thing. After being quickly accepted and connecting, oddly enough, with this great art dealer, he’s immediately thrust into this art world, and then, because of his closeness with Hafiz, British intelligence reaches out to him for his help. There was too much whining, for lack of a better word. Too much bellyaching about the “predicament” he’s in. And then all the lovey-dovey longing for this woman he just met. It just felt so… forced. Like, they had to be in a relationship to continue the story. It didn’t feel fluid or real.

Hafiz was a bit of a letdown as well, and I think that was more upsetting to me than the letdown of Danny. He is another character that has such great potential, especially after an event at the beginning of the story that sort of pushes this whole thing along. Unfortunately, that event is only slightly touched upon through the rest of the story even though it is so very important. I wanted more from him.

The two female characters – Marina and Bernadette – were both perfectly perfect as perfect can be and mentioned often is their perfectly perfectness – too often. So often, in fact, that it becomes disgusting, annoying, and truly unbelievable. That’s really all you get to know about either of them, which is odd considering how integral they are to the story. The little bit we do find out about them is quickly dropped in favor of talking about how they look in their tight outfit of the moment and sex with them. It’s as if they hardly exist outside of how the men in the novel saw them, the sexual attraction, when both of them have careers and pasts that, had the author shared more about them and fleshed them out better, would have explained their motivations behind certain actions and choices they both make.

Thom, the British intelligence man, seemed very interesting, but he wasn’t around enough to really get to know him, which was strange, and a whole other complaint I have about this story.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

The adventures that are undertaken throughout the story, and not just by Danny.

The Art World itself. I really enjoyed learning about the selling of art, the paintings, the artist who created these, and other aspects of the art world that I had previously not known. Because of the fact that he was using one character teaching things to another, it didn’t often feel like an information dump.

The description of the surroundings, as I stated above, were well done, as well as the details that he put into it. Sometimes the description helped you get to know the character a little better i.e. upon visiting Hafiz’s apartment, Danny could tell, before even coming to the door, the kind of mood the man was in based on how the shades were.

The paintings as part of the plot. That was very intriguing, though again, it could have been described a lot better.

Cons:

A confusing timeline.

Disappointing altercation between the two females in the story. The confrontation between the two could have been so much better. It would have even given us a great opportunity to learn more about the two of them and, again, their motivations behind the choices they made.

The lack of real meat in the characters. Or maybe I should say meat that mattered. We have a lot of information about some, not near enough about others, but none of them felt like real people to me. As I stated above, I was reading to find out the end of the story and how we got there, not reading to find out what happened to the characters, and when things did happen to the characters, it wasn’t meaningful. There wasn’t enough depth to them to make me sad or angry or happy or upset or whatever when things happened to them.

The end of the book. Thinking about it now, I guess we can say that the author left it open for a second story, at least in some ways, but he didn’t leave it open in a way that made me want to read book two, if there is going to be one, to find out what happens. The ending is all wrapped up in this not-so-neat little package, with some of those conclusions feeling like puzzle pieces that don’t fit being forced to fit, even if one has to cut one of them to make it fit with the other.

The editing of the book was, for me, a shambles, and I brought this (with some specific points) up to the author. I put this at the end of my Cons because, as an editor, I have a harder time ignoring things that others might be able to just look past. I think the author’s editor did him and this book a disservice, and hopefully my notes were able to help the author out in the future.

Final Thoughts

All in all, I’d say it was a good debut novel, and I wouldn’t be opposed to reading his next piece when it is published. It had issues, but it also had things about it that made it worth reading until the end. The author has talent, and as he writes more, he will be able to hone in on ways that will make the story even better.

INTERVIEW: C.J. Anthony

I met C.J. Anthony a few months ago through his publishing consultant and was so completely intrigued by the plot idea of his debut book that I agreed to read it. I wanted to know more about him, especially after we exchanged a few emails, so here we are, sitting down for an interview together.


Meghan: Hi, C.J. Thanks for agreeing to sit down with me today. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

C.J. Anthony: I’m a former British soldier and currently a security specialist mainly working within the Middle East. I had toyed with the idea of writing a book for some time. I had some ingredients – characters, settings, and genre – but I just needed the right plot to bring it all together. I’m inspired by my experiences that have happened in my life, taking certain events that I think would make an interesting story, and put them creatively together. By altering the truth, I create a more engaging story. A book needs a kind of organic identity.

I’m passionate about anything creative, I’m an avid art collector, a keen painter, and I have exhibited in London. For as long as I can remember, I have always been creative, and I’m obsessed with it. To produce something to evoke an emotion in others is quite overwhelming.

Meghan: What are four things most people don’t know about you?

C.J. Anthony: I’m an art collector. Artist. I’m sat in my office now – in Baghdad. I have assisted a friend who is a military technical advisor on a feature film.

Meghan: What is the first book you remember reading?

C.J. Anthony: The Village with Three Corners. I read it while I was at primary school. What a classic.

Meghan: What are you reading now?

C.J. Anthony: Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan and The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan.

Meghan: What made you decide you want to write? When did you begin writing?

C.J. Anthony: I began writing about two years ago. My current manuscript is directly influenced by my love of art; both collecting and being an artist, also drawing on my knowledge and experiences within the security world. One afternoon I was sitting at home having a coffee with the TV on in the background, whilst flicking through one of my art books published by British artist Damien Hirst. The book illustrates over a thousand of his famous various spot paintings, spanning over twenty-five years (1986-2011).

As part of my art collection, I own a signed limited edition print by Hirst. This limited edition is titled Controlled Substances; the original was publicly on display at the Tate Modern Gallery in London in 1994. The painting is based on the simple format of the grid, the painting features circular ‘spots’ of coloured paint lined up at regular intervals, with the spaces between them always the same distance as their diameter, on a white background. With all the letters of the Alphabet and numbers next to an opposing spot, visually this particular edition resembles some sort of code to produce secret cyphers.

I’d already known about the Damien Hirst exhibition back in 2012, which I missed due to work commitments. It was a major retrospective celebrating his spot painting series, simultaneously across all the eleven Gagosian galleries worldwide. While I was flicking through the pages of the Hirst book, I noticed that the film The Imitation Game was on TV. It stars Benedict Cumberbatch as a British cryptanalyst Alan Turing, who decrypted German intelligence codes for the British government during the second world war.

That very moment was my epiphany, my catalyst to start writing. In my excitement, I got up from off my sofa and walked over toward the Hirst edition print that was hung up on the wall. I took it from off the wall and placed it down in the centre of the living room floor. Pausing for a moment in thought, I then started to carefully tear out pages from the Hirst book, placing them around the print in a sort of strategic pattern. At this stage, it didn’t make sense, but visutally it helped me put together the plot. Eleven galleries, eleven owners, cryptography, and a bit of art and terrorism thrown into the mix. I quickly went to my study and got my notebook and pen and sarted to plan, plot, and prepare – A Spot of Vengeance. Taking me a total of nine weeks to write the full manuscript while I was in my office in Basra.

Meghan: Do you have a special place you like to write?

C.J. Anthony: For me, it’s when I wake up in the early hours and go into my office and write. There’s just calming and inspiring about that time of day, when your still half asleep with a cup of coffee and music playing in the background.

My favorite place to write, when I’m home in the UK is my study as it faces out onto a wooded area, which is very pleasing on the eye, however I get distracted by the wildlife.

Meghan: Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?

C.J. Anthony: A lot of day dreaming the scenes and a lot of doodling.

Meghan: Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

C.J. Anthony: That’s the beauty of writing, the challenges are so addictive and when you achieve your aim it’s a great feeling.

Meghan: What’s the most satisfying thing about writing so far?

C.J. Anthony: To actually feel the physical book in your hand and to see others read it! And the great reviews I have received so far is overwhelming.

Meghan: What books have most inspired you? Who are some authors that have inspired your writing style?

C.J. Anthony: The books I have read have all been inspiring in one way or another, but none have inspired me and my writing style. More of a motivation to write.

Meghan: What do you think makes a good story?

C.J. Anthony: Something that makes you want to be a certain character or makes you constantly think about a certain subject matter, long after each chapter or when you have finished the book.

Meghan: What does it take for you to love a character? How do you utilize that when creating your characters?

C.J. Anthony: My characters are all people that I’ve known or I still know them today. (But they don’t know it’s them. I hope ha!)

Meghan: Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

C.J. Anthony: Danny, with elements of Thom and the style of Hafiz – I love designer clothes, and being a gentleman is a fine art these days.

Meghan: Are you turned off by a bad cover? To what degree were you involved in creating your book covers?

C.J. Anthony: Yes, some book covers don’t do the author any justice, which is unfortunate as it’s a representation of them and their work. I was fortunate enough to design my own book cover, as the publishing design team’s ideas were somewhat poor and their ideas wouldn’t give the reader/viewer an insight into what the books is really about.

I love conceptual art designs on book covers, as it should give you a hint of what to expect; gets the mind working before you have even started to read.

Meghan: What have you learned creating your book?

C.J. Anthony: I’ve learned a lot about the process and mastering the craft as a writer, which is an ongoing process, and that you need to adapt all the time to keep up with trends at the time.

Meghan: What has been the hardest scene for you to write so far?

C.J. Anthony: I write in a filmic way and my story is dominated by code breaking. I had to make the code breaking scenes feel very creative, in a way, so that the reader feels they are on the journey with Danny.

Meghan: What makes your book different from others out there in this genre?

C.J. Anthony: It is not only a book for the spy thriller enthusiasts, but it is also for the creatives and art lovers among us. Readers will experience a vicarious feeling of excitement, opulence, and intrigue. Also educating them on a well-researched insight into the world of art, depicting how it’s dominated and manipulated by the chosen few. These are just some of the many incremental differences that readers will receive compared to other works similar to A Spot of Vengeance. Skillfully highlighting the worlds constant threat of terrorism and its shadowy tactics. This intriguing story is loosely based on true events with interesting characters. The ongoing war of critic versus artist, ruthless buyers, and the self-obsessed collectors. While portraying the lengths in which someone would go to manipulat their own position of power, purely for personal revenge. Encouraging the reader to get lost in the narrative and question their own emotional experiences. I believe it sets it apart and makes it all the more interesting as a result.

Meghan: How important is the book title, how hard is it to choose the best one, and how did you choose yours (of course, with no spoilers)?

C.J. Anthony: Originally my book was titled “The Architect” as the British artist Damien Hirst claimed to be an architect, his ideas and designs are then put together by an army of helpers. Just like a real architect designs a building and it is then constructed by builders. However, I was advised to give it a more direct title as readers would think the book was about an architect and buildings.

Meghan: What makes you feel more fulfilled: Writing a novel or writing a short story?

C.J. Anthony: This is my first book and I have really enjoyed the journey. It has been overwhelming at times, but worth it.

Meghan: Can you tell us about some of the deleted scenes/stuff that got left out of your work?

C.J. Anthony: I had written an alternative ending, but when I read it out loud, it just didn’t work and it played on my mind for days so I had to rewrite it.

Meghan: What is in your “trunk”?

C.J. Anthony: My sister passed away three years ago, aged 38. She had learning difficulties and sadly died in her sleep peacefully. Her boyfriend (Scott) of 23 years has Asperger’s and Autism. Throughout their twenty-three-year relationship, they spent every moment they could together, doing activities, youth club, church, movies, etc. (They called themselves the love birds.) They just adored each other. However, every Monday was the only time they spent apart throughout their twenty-three-year relationship, while Scott would work part time at a local charity shop. Due to his condition, he forgets and still waits for her or visits her apartment and his parents have to remind him. I have an idea for a love story/their love story, showing the issues they battled with in society and their own conditions as a couple – with a great twist in the end.

Meghan: What can we expect from you in the future?

C.J. Anthony: A Spot of Vengeance is now being written into a screenplay. Due to having contacts within the film industry, I have secured an agent to represent me.

Meghan: Where can we find you?

C.J. Anthony: I am only on Instagram at the moment. Please connect with me.

Meghan: Do you have any closing words for your fans or anything you’d like to say that we didn’t get to cover in this interview?

C.J. Anthony: Just a big thank you. My older sister, Pamela, has stage 4 cancer – she’s going through chemo therapy for the second time. I’m donating 50% of all sales to cancer research, which is a fantastic charity.

Born in the UK, Birmingham, C.J. Anthony’s debut novel showcases his creative skills and diverse imagination that will lead readers in contemplation long after they turn the last page. Drawing on his experience as a former British soldier, security specialist within the Middle East. He writes in a filmic and seductive prose, adding to the emotive and realistic charge to his narrative. C.J. Anthony is passionate about anything creative, an avid art collector, and a keen painter who has exhibited in London.

A Spot of Vengeance

Ex-Army intelligence Danny Swift has always yearned to be an artist. By coincidence, he meets art dealer Hafiz De Mercurio who promises to help him launch his career. Little does Danny know that Hafiz hides behind a deadly cloak of deception until British intelligence recruit Danny, and his perilous mission is to covertly observe the elusive Hafiz. They believe something big is coming, something coordinated, a terror spectacular to rival anything seen before, and the key lies in a cypher hidden in works of art. Unable to refuse, Danny is drawn into a world he’d turned his back on, a world of lies, deception, and double-dealing.

As the clock ticks down and Danny begins to crack the code surrounding the enigmatic Hafiz, Danny will be tested in ways he never imagined… including preventing the massacre of innocent people and artworks on display in the eleven Gagosian galleries around the world.

INTERVIEW: Kevin J. Anderson

I think every avid reader has a short list of authors that they would love to talk to. A few months ago, I was lucky enough to have a conversation (online) with one of mine. Even HE will admit that I fangirled a smidge, no matter how professional I tried to behave. Just a few days after posting that interview, I took a break from my book blog while I worked on creating my next adventure. As far as I was concerned, it was the best way that I could have ended that part of my story, getting the chance to do that. When I sat down to start planning my future blog posts here, I wanted something that, for me, would be epic, but I couldn’t imagine topping that. It wasn’t until one night, around 3 am (when I seem to always get my best ideas), I just happened to wonder if he would be interested in coming back for a second interview – close that blog out with him, and then open this blog up with him. He agreed… and here we are.

Kevin J. Anderson is an incredible writer, and anyone who hasn’t take the time to read one of his Star Wars and Star Trek books or the continued saga of Dune is truly missing out. But for me, it will always be The Last Days of Krypton. It’s definitely top ten in my most favorite books of all time… and one of the few on that list that haven’t changed over the years. I came upon it… almost by accident. My family was getting prepared to evacuate for a hurricane, and we were in Walmart picking up some last minute items. This was back when the book area was in the front of the store, up near the registers, and my sister and I would go to that section every chance we got. My mom told me I had “exactly one minute” to pick something, so I just grabbed a book – one of several that I was trying to make my mind up on – not even looking at what it was. I read almost the entire thing in the car, and have read it several times since. You don’t have to necessarily be a Superman fan to pick this book up. It’s… before Superman. How his parents met and got together, why General Zod is such a jerk. The important stuff haha. It really is quite good.

Since that time, I had lent the book out a couple of times, until one day it didn’t come back. In a conversation with an old friend a couple of years ago, talking about favorite books, I mentioned that book and how much it meant to me. For my birthday, he purchased a hard cover copy and, knowing he was going to be at a convention that Kevin was at, he had him sign it for me. It is one of my most treasured items.

Ladies and Gentleman, I give you… my second interview with THE Kevin J. Anderson.


Meghan: Hi, Kevin. It’s been a little while since we sat down together. What’s been going on since we last spoke?

Kevin J. Anderson: Plenty, as usual. Many books released – Spine of the Dragon (epic fantasy) and Kill Zone (high-tech thriller) just in the past month, and a vampire thriller, Stake, coming out from Audible in October. And I’m a professor running a brand new grad-program for a Publishing MA at Western Colorado University, and I’m involved in the big Dune feature film and TV series. So, yeah, busy.

Meghan: Who are you outside of writing?

Kevin J. Anderson: Well, writing is an integral part of just about everything I do, and even the other parts of my life are related to my writing – as a teacher, a dedicated hiker in the mountains of Colorado (I dictate my writing while hiking), a publisher. And I’m also the grandfather of three great boys, and an appreciator of fine craft beers.

Meghan: How do you feel about friends and close relatives reading your work?

Kevin J. Anderson: I hope my friends and close relatives want to support me by reading my books! (Though, if I do have a the occasional graphic sex scene, that can be a little embarrassing.)

Meghan: Is being a writer a gift or a curse?

Kevin J. Anderson: A gift – I love writing, making up stories, creating worlds, playing with my imaginary friends. I can’t conceive a job that would be more satisfying for me.

Meghan: How has your environment and upbringing colored your writing?

Kevin J. Anderson: I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin, so I have a Midwestern sensibility and work ethic, and that “isolationism” kept me from being exposed to exotic cultures and foods. I didn’t even have Chinese food for the first time before I was in college. But now I pursue all sorts of experiences and foods with great gusto.

Meghan: What’s the strangest thing you have ever had to research for your books?

Kevin J. Anderson: When you write big SF and Fantasy, you have to research many strange things. Sometimes, when writing modern-day high-tech thrillers, you can step into dangerous territory. In one of my novels, Virtual Destruction, I had to interview many security experts about the best way to poison a prominent weapons researcher (that raised some eyebrows), and for another novel, Fallout, I toured the Hoover Dam complex and asked a few too many questions about how a terrorist might blow up the dam (turns out, you can’t), and that also raised some suspicions.

Meghan: Which do you find the hardest to write: the beginning, the middle, or the end?

Kevin J. Anderson: Probably the middle. I write massive books, 160,000 words or more, and when you hit the middle, you’re getting tired from all the work already, and the end seems very far off.

Meghan: Do you outline? Do you start with characters or plot? Do you just sit down and start writing? What works best for you?

Kevin J. Anderson: I outline very carefully. I feel that if you want to build a big, complex skyscraper, you better draw a blueprint first, rather than just digging holes and throwing up walls wherever you like. I really don’t like rewriting and throwing out chapters, so I prefer to plan ahead. This is doubly important if you collaborate, so you and your writing partner both have the same road map. Also, if you write media tie-in books, you must outline carefully, so the licensor can approve ahead of time.

Meghan: What do you do when characters don’t follow the outline/plan?

Kevin J. Anderson: I develop the characters as I develop the outline, so the plot itself is natural to the characters. If I reach a point where the characters really insist on doing something else, my subconscious is already retooling the storyline.

Meghan: What do you do to motivate yourself to sit down and write?

Kevin J. Anderson: It’s fun to write. I don’t need to trick myself.

Meghan: Are you an avid reader?

Kevin J. Anderson: I used to be a voracious reader, but now I WRITE so much, my days are filled with writing, editing, and proofreading my own prose. When relaxing, I prefer to sit back and enjoy a good movie or show. I do consume audiobooks a lot, though.

Meghan: What kind of books do you absolutely love to read?

Kevin J. Anderson: Great epics that are not necessarily in my genre. I read outside of SF/F because I learn a lot of new tricks that way.

Meghan: How do you feel about movies based on books?

Kevin J. Anderson: Since I’m working on the new DUNE movie, I certainly think that’s a great idea and I am confident with the cast and crew involved, it will be excellent. When a book is made into a movie, it’s beneficial to the author in almost all instances. Sometimes authors gripe about changes, but even a mediocre movie sells a lot of copies of the original book.

Meghan: Have you ever killed a main character?

Kevin J. Anderson: Dozens and dozens of times. Very sad…

Meghan: Do you enjoy making your characters suffer?

Kevin J. Anderson: I don’t enjoy it, but you do want to throw them into terrible and challenging circumstances, which makes the story compelling. When characters suffer great tribulations, we hope it shows the reader how they might cope with their own difficulties.

Meghan: What’s the weirdest character concept that you’ve ever come up with?

Kevin J. Anderson: I had to create a shape-shifting alien prostitute who worked on a space station and never knew what sort of customer would come in next. That was pretty weird.

Meghan: What’s the best piece of feedback you’ve ever received? What’s the worst?

Kevin J. Anderson: Best piece of advice was from an otherwise useless writing instructor when he told me “No bad guy ever THINKS he’s the bad guy.” Made me rethink antagonists completely. Worst piece of advice was when my agent suggested I should write medical thrillers, like Robin Cook, because they sold well. Since I know nothing at all about medicine or hospitals or doctors, that was not a good idea.

Meghan: What do your fans mean to you?

Kevin J. Anderson: As I write this, I spent five days at DragonCon (about 100,000 people) then came home for one day, then flew off to spend four days at Salt Lake FanX (another 100,000+). I do a great many conventions where I meet fans face-to-face, take pictures, sign their books. I also interact with them daily on social media. Without my fans, I wouldn’t be able to sell stories.

Meghan: If you could steal one character from another author and make them yours, who would it be and why? If you could write the next book in a series, which one would it be, and what would you make the book about? If you could write a collaboration with another author, who would it be and what would you write about?

Kevin J. Anderson: These last three questions… I just don’t even think like that. I have so many projects in the works, and so many already planned out in my head, that I simply don’t spend time considering what series I might like to do or what writers I would work with. I already do my solo books, and my collaborations with Brian Herbert, Doug Beason, and my wife Rebecca. I don’t have brains pace for any more!

Meghan: What can we expect from you in the future?

Kevin J. Anderson: Kill Zone just came out in hardcover from Forge Books. Stake will be out from Audible in October. From my own WordFire Press, I just published Saga of Seven Suns: Two Short Novels, and I will be releasing new editions of my novels The Dragon Business, Captain Nemo, and The Martian War.

Meghan: Where can we find you?

Kevin J. Anderson: Twitter ** Facebook ** Instagram ** Website (alas, a website interminably under construction)

Meghan: Do you have any closing words for your fans or anything you’d like to say that we didn’t get to cover in this interview or the last?

Kevin J. Anderson: I’ll keep telling stories. I’m glad a lot of people like to read them.

Kevin J. Anderson is the author of 160 novels, 56 of which have appeared on national or international bestseller lists; he has over 23 million books in print in thirty languages. Anderson has coauthored fourteen books in the Dune series with Brian Herbert, over 50 books for Lucasfilm in the Star Wars universe. He has written for the X-Files, Star Trek, Batman and Superman, and many other popular franchises. For his solo work, he’s written the epic SF series, The Saga of Seven Suns, and a sweeping nautical fantasy trilogy, Terra Incognita, accompanied by two progressive rock CDs (which he wrote and produced). He has written two steampunk novels, Clockwork Angels and Clockwork Lives, with legendary drummer and lyricist Neil Peart from the band Rush. He also created the popular humorous horror series featuring Dan Shamble, Zombie PI, and has written eight high-tech thrillers with Colonel Doug Beason.

Anderson holds a physics/astronomy degree and spent 14 years working as a technical writer for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He is now the publisher of Colorado-based WordFire Press, a new-model publisher using innovative techniques and technologies to release books worldwide in print and eBooks. They have released over 300 titles. Anderson is also one of the founders of the Superstars Writing Seminar, which has been one of the premiere professional and career development seminars for writers. He is also an accomplished public speaker on a wide range of topics.

He and his wife, bestselling author Rebecca Moesta, have lived in Colorado for 20 years; Anderson has climbed all of the mountains over 14,000 ft in the state, and he has also hiked the 500-mile Colorado Trail.

The Last Days of Krypton
Before there was Superman… there was Krytpon, a doomed world, and two parents who gave us their only son…

Everyone knows how Kal-El – Superman – was sent to Earth just before his planet exploded. But what led to such a disaster? Now, in The Last Days of Krypton, Kevin J. Anderson presents a sweeping tale of the pomp and grandeur, the intrigue and passion, and the politics and betrayals of a doomed world filled with brave heroes and cruel traitors.

Against the spectacular backdrop of Krypton’s waning halcyon days, there is the courtship and marriage of Kal-El’s parents, the brilliant scientist Jor-El and his historian wife, Lara. Together they fight to convince a stagnant, disbeliving society that their world is about to end. Jor-El’s brother, Zor-El, leader of the fabled Argo City, joins the struggle not only to save the planet but also to fight against the menace of the ruthless and cunning General Zod.

The diabolical Zod, future archenemy of Superman, avails himself of a golden opportunity to seize power when the android Brainiac captures the capital city of Kandor. As Zod’s grip on the populace tightens and his powers grow, he too is blind to all the signs that point ot hte death of the very civilization he is trying to rule.

Through all of this, Jor-El and Lara’s love for each other, their history, and their son allows for Krypton to live on even as the planet is torn apart around them. For in the escape of their baby lies Krypton’s greatest gift – and Earth’s greatest hero.

The Last Days of Krypton is a timeless, groundbreaking exploration of a world that has never been fully defined, and reveals the extraordinary origins of a legend that has never ceased to amaze and astound generation after generation.


Wake the Dragon 1: Spine of the Dragon
Bestselling author Kevin J. Anderson’s triumphant return to epic fantasy, Spine of the Dragon, is a politically charged adventure of swords, sorcery, vengeance, and the rise of sleeping giants.

Two continents at war, the Three Kingdoms and Ishara, are divided by past bloodshed. When an outside threat arises – the reawakening of a powerful anceint race that wants to remake the world – the two warring nations must somehow set aside generational hatred and form an alliance to fight their true enemy.


Kill Zone: A High-Tech Thriller
Power duo Kevin J. Anderson and Doug Beason team up in Kill Zone, a perilous disaster thriller for the modern age.

Deep within a mountain in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a Cold War-era nuclear weapons storage facility is being used to covertly receive more than 10,000 tons of nuclear waste stored across the U.S. Only Department of Energy employee, Adonia, and a few others, including a war hero, a senator, and an environmental activist, are allowed access to perform a high-level security review of the facilities. But Hydra Mountain was never meant to securely hold this much hazardous waste, and it has the potential to expolde, taking with it all of Albuquerque and spreading radioactivity across the nation.

This disaster situation proves all too possible when a small plane crashes at a nearby military base, setting off Hydra’s lockdown and trapping Adonia and her team in the heart of the hazardous, waste-filled mountain. Now, the only direction for them to go is deeper into the mountain, through the tear gas and into a secretive area no one was ever supposed to know about.

Time for a Change (Pt 2)

The Gal in the Blue Mask

Seven years ago, this month, The Gal in the Blue Mask was born.

Today, it evolves into something different, something better, something more.

Today, Meghan’s House of Books is born.

And I can only hope, in seven years, it can become even half of what The Gal in the Blue Mask became.

Today, just as I did seven years ago, I am starting this blog for me because I want a place where I can be me, most importantly, and where I can be passionate about the books I love and honest about the books I hate. Where I can showcase the authors that I have met over these seven years, and the authors I meet in the future.

Today, Meghan’s House of Books opens its doors. Feel free to come on in and look around.