As my new novel Tides approaches release day, I am hosting some giveaways to celebrate! This week, I'm sharing about the "why" behind the selections in my three hand-picked novel collections that make up the top prizes. 

Check out the SFF Comics Collection and the SFF Strong (& Unusual) Female Protagonists Collection, too!

The Classics Collection will go to one lucky winner from among those of you who join my ARC readers list to read a free digital copy of Tides and review it on Amazon in the first week of release, between October 31 and November 7.

This was a hard collection to select--the classics are classics for a reason, after all. The list of classic sci-fi and fantasy novels runs deep and holds major cultural implications.

Ultimately, though, I stuck by three that have stuck with long past that first read, and have influenced my writing as I build out The Chronicles of the Third Realm Wars series.

Here they are:

Frankenstein, Mary Shelley

This incredible novel gave the world two truly incredible things: The archetype of the mad scientist, and also the tragic monster. I choose this novel for both of these gifts.

From Dr. Jekyll to Dr. Walter Bishop to Lex Luthor, the mad scientist is one of my all time favorite sci-fi tropes--and one of the most feasible. The lure of knowledge--and the power that comes with it--is just too great, and ultimately, I think we're all mad scientists at heart.

Then, of course, there are the consequences of that drive. Frankenstein's monster has grown a shadow in our culture even greater than his character on the page. Though capable of terrible things, ultimately he's sad, troubled, and lonely.

Adem emerged from my imagination out of the same dark corner where that poor guy lurks.

The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkein

I am not, by and large, a Tolkein fan--a statement that I know could get my "fantasy author" card revoked, but it is what it is. And while you could not pay me to re-read The Hobbit, Tolkein's collection of Middle Earth mythology bewitched me from the first page.

I've always had a great love for mythology, and I find Tolkein's writing style particularly suited to it. Personally, I have greater respect for Tolkein's creation of a complete mythology for his world than I do for making up his own language.

This collection is stunning. Will you lose track of who's who? Absolutely. Almost immediately. But the language and imagery is so lovely it doesn't matter.

The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury

Now look, it's possible you have heard me rave over Ray Bradbury once or twice before, but I'm doing it again anyhow. The man deserves it, and this incredible novel double deserves it.

This may be my most-read book of all time, and I've got the beaten up paperback to prove it. I will forever say that this is Bradbury's greatest work, and that's saying a lot when the same man also produced Farenheit 451. 

This novel dances seamlessly between science fiction and fantasy, and artfully crafts an alien planet into a complex portrait of humanity. As rich in prose as it is in imagination, the short stories that make up this novel are etched deeply into my soul with its magical blend of wonder, nostalgia and strangeness.

Want to win this collection? Join my ARC reader list and get your digital copy of Tides--this is the last week to join! 

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To say that  Greece had some of the most breathtaking, stop-walking-and-stare moments of my life would just be silly, because Greece is well known for this trait. (Just check Pinterest.)

But I have to say it, because I may never get over it--not just how beautiful scenes caught me off guard, but how frequently it happened. We're talking every few steps.

Nothing makes me relax like being near water. Water this incredilby blue and clear was awe-inspiring. If you ask me, as a writer, if you're not taking time to clear your mind and seek out inspiration, you're simply not doing your job.

From that perspective, I worked so friggin' hard on this trip, you guys. So. Hard.

So for today's Greek Week post, I wanted to share a few of those moments, even if my amateur no-filters photography can't come close to doing it justice. Enjoy!

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Next week, I have a short story coming out as part of a collective called The Alvarium Experiment, around the theme of Masters Revisited. 

For the collection, each author is taking a classic work of fiction and putting a speculative fiction twist on it. I chose Jane Eyre.

Jane finally found her happily ever after. But can she remain content as the ghost of Mr. Rochester's first wife haunts her? In this reimagining of Jane Eyre, Bertha has a dark secret she must share, leaving Jane to choose between her independent mind and her soul's yearning for love.

Doesn't this cover just give you chills? The Alvarium Experiment's Charles Cornell really captured the story's tone perfectly.

Jane Eyre is more than a story to me. It's a mirror. Every time I pick it up, my assessment of Jane as a character, her life's events, and her unusual relationship with Mr. Rochester leaves me unsettled in a different way than the time before. Thus, reading about Jane also tells me how much I have changed since the last time.

Which made it all the more fun to play with for this story. What do you think of Jane Eyre?

More details to come as the release nears!

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With a two-week trek through Greece the centerpiece of my month, I've got mythology on my brain this month. Mythology has always captured my imagination in a unique way. Something about those naughty, all-powerful gods and those incredible, larger-than-life monsters.

Greek mythology is the set of mythical stories I learned earliest in life, and it has a special place within my imagination (if you want proof, just read Mud). In fact, it was a major driver behind my desire to go to Greece in the first place.

I promise, pictures and stories from my actual trip are coming very soon! But in the meantime, behold this list of my very favorite contemporary novels inspired by Greek mythology, over at Book Riot.

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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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