As demonstrated so very recently by La La Land, artists do tend to enjoy the occasional deep dive into their own wallows.

A writer myself, I’m a total sucker for it. The highs and lows that come with artistry expose our internal quirks and vulnerabilities like nothing else.

Writers are far from impervious to the occasional navel-gazing whim. Here are a few of my all-time favorite books that indulge in some intense navel-gazing.

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I always enjoy a peek into another author or reader’s list, and I was recently chatting up some comics recommendations on Twitter, so it felt like a nice time to draw out this conversation more and share my comic books pull list.

Personally, I love stories that go big, with a bent toward the strange and absurd. It’s just what comics to do best, in my opinion.

I am also a big believer that comics are for everyone—it’s not just capes and mutants! No matter what you enjoy, there is a comic for you--beyond superheroes, there is also a lot of action, thriller, romance, and even literary graphic work out there.

I’ve never gotten into the biggest superheroes in comics (though I’m a sucker for them on screen). This is in large part because the universes of these stories, particularly DC and Marvel heroes, tend to be so massive I, a) don’t know where to start, and, b) am not sure I want to get sucked in to that level. So I’ll pick up the major cape graphic novels, but otherwise, I stick to the fringes a bit more.

Here are my current favorites.

Saga, Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples

A classic Romeo and Juliet story, taken into an alternate universe space opera, where the lovers get married, start a family, and must learn to survive on the run while being pursued by agents on both sides of an ongoing war.

Every single character is given depth and shades of gray, with an eye toward heavier topics like the cost of war.

Also, the MOST amazing alien illustrations. THE MOST.

The Walking Dead, Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn

The comic book is just different enough from the TV show to keep you on your toes, but similar enough that if you love one, you’ll love the other.

Sometimes horrifying and other times cheesy in a “What About Beaver” sort of way, this comic explores the brightest and darkest corners of human nature.

Bitch Planet, Kelly Sue Deconnick and Valentine De Landro

First of all, I want to BE Kelly Sue Deconnick. Seriously. Look her up. But girl-crush aside, Bitch Planet is a revolution.

In this world, noncompliant women are shipped off to a prison planet where they are safely confined and can’t disrupt a heavily patriarchal society. Speaking your mind and breaking out from the norm condemned as acts of rebellion. And if you pick it up by single issues, each one comes with a feminist essay in the back.

This comic has meant so much to fans that the NC (noncompliant) mark has become a popular tattoo, and it’s definitely on my own list for future inking.

Paper Girls, by Brian K. Vaughan (again), Cliff Chiang and Matt Wilson

Set in the 1980s and following the adventures of four pre-teen girls who are breaking the glass ceiling as the first female newspaper deliverers, a simple world is quickly twisted around in an absurd and delightful time-travel adventure. Get ready to be confused. You know, in a good way.

Beyond this, the coloring and illustration of this story is just too cool. Check out these covers. Also, more cool monsters.

Concluding note: Just now realizing how Image Comics-heavy my reading is. Promise, no one paid me to write this.

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One of the big questions I wrestle with as I continue to write the Chronicles of the Third Realm Wars series is, where the hell are the gods?

Much like in our real world, Terath's gods can often seem distant and even apathetic in the face of great danger, horrors and tragedy. Do they just not care? Are they even paying attention?

These questions are woven throughout the books because they are constantly within me.

Maybe this is why, as I suddenly realized a few weeks ago, so many of the books I love also put questions about the gods and their engagement with our world front and center.

Over at Book Riot, I've compiled a list of them. If you love American Gods and its strange tale of a deity-level power shift, you'll get as much theological wrangling from these tales as I have.

Read the article here.

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If you love books, and you love authors, and you like meeting authors and getting books, well boy, do I have some awesome events for you.

And hey, guess what? I'll be there. I'll have copies of my books for you, some awesome swag to give away, and I'll even be presenting a couple times.

Plus I've got a special giveaway goodie for those who buy both Mud and Rain.

So how about I tell you about the actual events.

RT Book Lover's Convention, Atlanta, May 2-7

This event last year was the most intense reader fandom experience I have witnessed (granted, last year it was in Las Vegas, which may have added to the atmosphere). But if you love reading, especially genre fiction, and especially romance genre, this is your scene. There's also a writers' track for all the authors in attendance.

Find me:

  • Thursday, May 4, on the Fighting & Frenching panel at 1:30 p.m, where we'll talk about how to craft compelling action and romance.
  • Saturday, May 6, at the Giant Book Fair, where I'll have books, goodies, and a special gift for anyone who buys both Rain and Mud.

Literary Hill BookFest, May 8, D.C.'s Eastern Market

This an annual event takes place at Capitol Hill's awesome Eastern Market and celebrates D.C.'s local authors. So come on out and support some local talent!

Find me: 

  • 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. in the Eastern Market at my booth. My books will be sold through the Capitol Hill Book Shop on site, and I'll be there to talk about them and sign them, if  you like. Again, I'll have swag and goodies to pass out.
  • 2:30 - 2:50 p.m. at the Eastern Market presentation stage, I'll be giving a short talk and reading about the Chronicles of the Third Realm Wars and how it came to be. Bring your questions!

See you there, readers!

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Another BookRiot post up from yours truly.

This time, I'm talking about how I came to stop caring about reading the book before watching a screen adaptation of a story (sacrilege, I know!).

Here's a clip for you:

The more creative writing I do, and the more time I spend with other writers and creatives, the less high-minded I am about art and creativity in general.

I am less worried about holding onto that one new magical idea (they tend to come back to me, and I already have more than I can deal with); I am less concerned about making sure the words at the end of a chapter are utterly perfect (I’ll fix it in rewrites); and yeah, I’m a lot less precious about where and how I consume stories from the rest of the world.

Read the full article here.

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