Tag Archives: Dave Gross

Wondrous Wit Smackdown! The Pleasure of Witty Repartee

What is it about witty banter that thrills our souls so? How is it that some stories may be weak on plot, on action, or lack a compelling setting, yet they can still rivet us so long as a silver-tongued duo is at the center of the scene? Of course, it’s so much better if the plot and action and setting are all backed up or enhanced by character interactions. There’s something incredibly pleasing about the lobbing back and forth of subtle insults (or not-so-subtle) or the casual joking of characters as they dash headlong into danger, using humor as their way to avoid directly admitting that they might die at any instant at the hands of whatever monster or fiend they may be facing.

Banter often also can be a way that two characters who, on the surface, appear to have an intense distaste for one another, are still able to convey a grudging fondness or even admiration for one another that they would rather not have others pick up on overtly. Let’s admit that a battle of wits can often be more exciting and entertaining than a clash of swords! So let’s look at several stories where the banter brings a grin to even the grimmest of circumstances.
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Recommended Reading by Professionals…with Violette Malan

In this series, I ask various publishing professionals (including authors, bloggers, editors, agents etc.) to recommend 2-3 authors or books they feel haven’t received the recognition they deserve.

Today’s recommendations are by Violette Malan. Violette Malan lives in southeastern Ontario with her husband. People tend to ask her about the choreography of stripping – and she’ll answer – but most of the time she’s the author of the Dhulyn and Parno novels, and the Mirror Lands novels, fantasies available from DAW.

You’ll find her on Facebook, on Twitter, and check her website.
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KING OF CHAOS by Dave Gross (Free Excerpt and Worldwide Giveaway!)

Courtesy of Paizo publishing, SF Signal is pleased to present this extract from King of Chaos by Dave Gross. There’s also a worldwide giveaway!

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Here is what the book is about:

After a century of imprisonment, demons have broken free of the wardstones surrounding the Worldwound. As fiends flood south into civilized lands, Count Varian Jeggare and his hellspawn bodyguard Radovan must search through the ruins of a fallen nation for the blasphemous text that opened the gate to the Abyss in the first place-and which might hold the key to closing it. In order to succeed, however, the heroes will need to join forces with pious crusaders, barbaric local warriors, and even one of the legendary god callers. It’s a race against time as the companions fight their way across a broken land, facing off against fiends, monsters, and a vampire intent on becoming the god of blood-but will unearthing the dangerous book save the world, or destroy it completely? From best-selling author Dave Gross comes a new adventure set against the backdrop of the Wrath of the Righteous Adventure Path in the award-winning world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

Read on for a free excerpt and giveaway details…

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MIND MELD: Which Authors Write the Best Action Stories?

[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

We asked this week’s panelists…

Q: What authors write the best action? What books feature the best action sequences? What does it take to make action really pop in fiction?

Here’s what they said…

Karina Cooper
After writing happily ever afters for all of her friends in school, Karina Cooper eventually grew up (sort of), went to work in the real world (kind of), where she decided that making stuff up was way more fun (true!). She is the author of dark and sexy paranormal romance and steampunk urban fantasy, and writes across multiple genres with mad glee. One part glamour, one part dork and all imagination, Karina is also a gamer, an airship captain’s wife, and a steampunk fashionista. She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with a husband, a menagerie, a severe coffee habit, and a passel of adopted gamer geeks. Visit her at www.karinacooper.com, because she says so.

When it comes to some of the best action I’ve read, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point you to Ilona Andrews—notably, her Kate Daniels series. This urban fantasy leans heavily on action, outlining the motion—and painting the intensity—in gorgeous detail that skimps on flowery prose. No superhero with impossible pain tolerance, you’re transported with Kate with every cut, every wound, every agony. When I think about authors and books that feature action, I can’t help but arrow right on this series.

Two other authors that come to mind are Chuck Wendig and Stephen Blackmoore. Both write a kind of urban fantasy genre, but both are extremely different. Wendig’s Miriam Black series—beginning with Blackbirds—shows action with an almost fascinating intensity. He describes combat sequences that aren’t so much “fights” as a grotesquely detached explanation of events that could go wither way. Blackmoore, in both City of the Lost and Dead Things, colors his often vicious action sequences with a noir grit you can feel to your bones. They are terse, which only allows my brain to color in the details with such ease that I’m both repelled and entranced. Exactly where I want to be when I pick up a Blackmoore or Wendig book.

Action can be so hard to get right, and extremely easy to get lost in. Too much detail slows down a scene, and a lot of beginning authors tend to want to block and write every gorgeous detail—like an epic martial arts movie scene. It takes a certain understanding of physical capability, some blocking, and the ability to curtail one’s prose to keep the scene going sharp, fast, tight, like an actual fight is. It’s a hard skill to learn, but one worth every moment spent revising to learn it. A reader caught up in the intensity and speed of a fight is one who is there for every breathless moment.

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THE DEVILS’ PAY by Dave Gross (Free Excerpt)

Courtesy of Skull Island eXpeditions, we have a free excerpt of The Devils’ Pay by Dave Gross.

What’s it about?

Samantha ‘Sam’ MacHorne and her Devil Dogs need a contract, and when one comes in that leads to the haunted Wythmoor Forest, the company moves out with warjacks and slug guns at the ready…

Sam and the Devil Dogs may be relaxing in Tarna, but it’s not by choice-they’d rather be employed than resting up. When a dangerous job offer comes from “the old man,” Sam takes the Devil Dogs and their newest recruit, Dawson, on a perilous hunt to capture an unidentified warjack before their rival Steelheads or the horrific Cryx make a claim on the never-before-seen technology.

Whether their mission will be worth the risk remains to be seen, but one thing is clear: Sam and the Devil Dogs will do whatever it takes to bring home The Devil’s Pay.

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SFFWRTCHT: A Chat With Author-Editor-Gamer Dave Gross

Dave Gross is the former editor of Dragon Magazine, Star Wars Insider, and Amazing Stories. By day, he is lead writer for Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition, which reunites him with the beloved Forgotten Realms setting. Also for Realms, he wrote Black Wolf, Lord of Stormweather, and other stories and novels. More recently he’s written Prince of Wolves, Master of Devils and Queen Of Thorns for Pathfinder Tales, featuring the not-always-heroic Jeggare and his hellspawn bodyguard Radovan. Find more tales of Radovan and Jeggare online. Gross has stories in the recent or upcoming anthologies Tales of the Far West, Shotguns v. Cthulhu, and The Lion and the Aardvark. He can be found on his website as well as on Facebook on on Twitter as @frabjousdave!


SFFWRTCHT: First things first, where’d your interest in science fiction and fantasy come from?

Dave Gross: The library. And I’m not joking. My folks encouraged us to read at an early age, and then they let us loose on the library. That’s where I started discovering the horror, science fiction, and fantasy books I came to love.

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