Tag Archives: Garrett Calcaterra

[GUEST POST] Garrett Calcaterra, Craig Comer & Ahimsa Kerp on Mosaic Novels


Garrett Calcaterra is an author of dark speculative fiction. His books include Dreamwielder and Umbral Visions.

Craig Comer’s shorter work has appeared in several anthologies, including: Bardic Tales and Sage Advice, and Pulp Empire Volume IV. Craig earned a Master’s Degree in Writing from the University of Southern California, is an avid hiker, and likes to tramp across countries in his spare time, preferably those strewn with pubs and castles.

Ahimsa Kerp is a peripatetic language mercenary and spec-fic writer who is fond of rambling hikes, craft beer, and tofu tacos.

Together they have co-written the mosaic fantasy novel, The Roads to Baldairn Motte.

Mosaic Novels and Eschewing Traditional Narrative

GARRETT: Seven years ago, Craig Comer and Ahimsa Kerp asked me to join them in writing a collaborative project called The Roads to Baldairn Motte. The resulting book-a sprawling and highly unconventional mosaic fantasy novel-was published by an independent publisher and garnered a small bit of critical acclaim. Rogue Blades Entertainment, in particular, praised the novel, saying it “contains some of the best and most thought provoking studies in heroism at the individual level that I’ve seen in quite a while.”

We, of course, were ecstatic. But still being inexperienced and largely unpublished at the time meant we had no established readers and knew nothing about marketing a new book. The Roads to Baldairn Motte disappeared into obscurity, eventually going out of print. That would have been the end of it, if it weren’t for Mary Moore, managing editor with Reputation Books. Mary saw untapped potential in the book, and with her guidance, Craig, Ahimsa and I completely reworked the novel, adding new vignettes and interstitials, reordering the three main narratives to provide a more traditional three-act structure, and clarifying plot points readers had criticized on Goodreads and Amazon with the first edition.
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MIND MELD: Our Non-Writer Influences

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

We asked this week’s panelists about their influences outside of the literary world.

Q: Who are your non-writer influences? And how have they influenced your work?

Here’s what they said…
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[GUEST POST] Garrett Calcaterra on Epic Fantasy and How J.R.R. Tolkien Pulled a George Lucas


Garrett Calcaterra is author of the epic fantasy novel, Dreamwielder, released earlier this month by Diversion Books, and touted by steampunk legend James P. Blaylock as “fast-paced, colorful, and richly detailed.” His previous titles include The Roads to Baldairn Motte and Umbral Visions. In addition to writing, Calcaterra teaches literature and composition at various academic institutions. When not writing or teaching, he enjoys hiking with his two dogs and quaffing good beer.

Epic Fantasy: A Civilization in Peril and the Heroes to Save it

by Garrett Calcaterra

With Disney’s recent purchase of the Star Wars franchise and a new movie looming, everyone seems to be talking about Star Wars. I’ve been no exception. In a guest post at the very cool Inkpunks blog I confessed how the ending of Return of the Jedi inspired me as a young lad to go off and write sprawling stories with multiple viewpoints and climatic endings. More recently, I was a guest on the Defective Geeks podcast where I talked with the delightfully nerdy Gizzy B and Space Pirate Queen about why the original Star Wars trilogy is so much better than the prequels. The consensus among the three of us was that Episodes 1-3 are little more than Star Wars porn-sure we get our fix of exotic planets, light saber duels, and space battles, but the plot premise and characters are about as plausible as a buxom babe inviting a plumber inside to “check her plumbing.”

To me, the most disconcerting aspect of Episodes 1-3 is the fact that in the back of our minds we all know Anakin Skywalker is going to turn into Darth Vader. We all know the Republic will fall and Palpatine will create the Empire. This makes every one of the protagonists-even the most powerful ones like Obi-Wan and Yoda-utterly impotent. They can do nothing to change the fate of their civilization, and therein lies the weakness of the prequels. George Lucas had it right the first time when he started the story with Luke, Leia, and Han: the heroes who actually save the galaxy. But Lucas is hardly the first person to make this mistake. In fact, the grand-daddy of epic fantasy, J.R.R. Tolkien himself, made a similar miscalculation a good 80 years before Lucas.
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MIND MELD: Books You Eat Like Candy & Books You Savor

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

Many readers have different gears when reading books. Some books are ones in which you luxuriate and spend time with, others are such a ride that you turn the pages rapidly, carried along through them at warp speed.

We asked this week’s panelists about this phenomenon:

Q: What books do you savor? What books do you eat like candy? What makes for you a book that you savor, or speed through?

Here’s what they said…

Sandra Wickham
Sandra Wickham lives in Vancouver, Canada with her husband and two cats. Her friends call her a needle crafting aficionado, health guru and ninja-in-training. Sandra’s short stories have appeared in Evolve: Vampires of the New Undead, Evolve: Vampires of the Future Undead, Chronicles of the Order, Crossed Genres magazine and coming up in The Urban Green Man. She blogs about writing with the Inkpunks, is the Fitness Nerd columnist for the Functional Nerds and slush reads for Lightspeed Magazine.

As a fitness professional, I have a hard time comparing books to popcorn and candy. I’m sorry. It goes against my nature. Is it all right if I call them fruits versus vegetables? Fruit is yummy, quick to eat and always fun. Vegetables can be yummy, are a bit more work to eat but you know they’re extremely good for you.

I always read because I want to be entertained and I admit I don’t always read because I want to learn something, or broaden my mind. Sometimes, I really just want to have fun and read an entertaining book. That’s when I turn to the fruit.

The fruit books I grab for a quick, fun read are urban fantasy. Give me a Kim Harrison, Kelley Armstrong, Diana Rowland, Kat Richardson, Kevin Hearne (the list goes on and on) and I’ll disappear. I’m not saying that urban fantasy can’t be mind expanding or explore important issues, when they’re well done they certainly do that, but I don’t need to rethink my entire life to read them.

I’d also list horror books under this category, though it depends on the author. Some of those are a mix of fruits and vegetables with a side of bloody dip.

My vegetable books tend to be fantasy that take after the Tolkien mold. These are the stories I want to dive fully into, to be immersed in the world the author has created and linger there, enjoying every aspect of the characters, the setting and the story.

I’m interested to see other people’s responses on the books they savor, because I know I need more vegetables in my reading diet.

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