Happy New Year!

So hey, everybody. Hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season!

A few of you have written to ask about my mom’s health… and I’m happy to say that she’s doing much better. Thanks for all the good wishes!

Things have been crazy busy here, but it is of course of EARTH-SHATTERING importance that I post my Top 10 of 2013 list, right?!!??!?!??!??!?!?!?`1111/1/1/1/1/

So…

Here goes…

 

Top 10 Books (These are books I read in 2013, though some may have been released earlier) in no particular order.

 

10.  Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

Flynn gives these perfect little details and observations… I think I learned more about writing by reading this book than I ever did in any writing class.

9. The Fault in Our Stars – John Green

Everybody told me that this is a book that guts you. I mean, it’s about terminally ill kids, for god’s sake. And of course I could totally predict what was going to happen within the first ten pages… but that doesn’t matter. At. All. Because the characters are so charming and so unexpectedly funny that you don’t realize Green slowly inflicting little paper cuts on your soul…

8. Turning the Mind Into an Ally – Sakyong Mipham

The only non-fiction book on the list this year. A GREAT book for beginning practitioners, but also a great book for advanced practitioners, too.  Mindfulness from the Tibetan perspective.

7. The Legend of Zero: Forging Zero – Sara King

I don’t read a whole lot of science fiction, but this book really surprised me. Great characters, great world-building. Tons of fun. Highly, highly recommended.

6. The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman

A beautiful book. And if you get the audiobook, you get to listen to Neil himself. J

5. Speaks the Nightbird – Robert R. McCammon

I grew up reading McCammon’s books, but for some reason I kept putting this one off. That was dumb because this book is astounding. Great mystery, great setting, great characters… just an amazing book from beginning to end.

4. The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky

Chbosky managed to distill what it was like to be a teenager in the early 90s perfectly. This is one rare case, though, where I think I may have liked the movie even more than the book… because we get more of Sam and Patrick.

3. Dee Gong An – Translated by Robert van Gulik

Really interesting mystery written sometime in the 18th century in China, translated for the first time into English by Robert van Gulik. The similarities to western mystery novels are almost as striking as the differences (though the inclusion of supernatural elements would seem to make solving the mysteries a bit easier…). Pretty nifty, especially if you’re a nerd for Chinese stuff… as I clearly am.

2. Mountain Home – Bracken Macleod

A tense, bloody ride into the heart of chaos. Definitely check this one out…  It’s tough to believe this is Macleod’s first novel! I anxiously await his next one!

1. Fuckin’ Lie Down Already – Tom Piccirilli

Noir. Jet. Black. Noir. Tom Piccirilli is frequently called a writer’s writer, and there’s a good reason for that. He is the David Copperfield to my Hey-I-kinda-learned-this-one-card-trick-to-pick-up-chicks-but-I-forgot-how-it-goes.

(Note to young readers: Girls? Not that impressed with card tricks. Even well-done ones.)

Anyway, yes, Piccirilli is a writer’s writer. He also happens to be a READER’S writer. So if you haven’t checked him out, you should.

 

Top…er… 5 Movies (I didn’t watch much this year, apparently)

 

John Dies at the End – It…I… You… I mean… You just gotta see it.

Stoker  –  From the director of Oldboy. A really slick, wicked, make you wanna take a bath in bleach kind of movie.

This is the End –  Hilarious. I can’t believe this came out of Hollywood, actually, or that some of the stars involved agreed to do it. But I’m sure glad they did.  Complete insanity.

The World’s End – Very funny, nostalgic, and super cool. I’ll pretty much watch anything that Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright. It was great to see some of the Spaced people again in cameos.

American Mary – I’ve heard about the Soska sisters for a bit, but now I see why. Really dark, really fun. Very different from the standard horror fare.

 

So, what were your favorites this year? I’d love to hear some suggestions!

 

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Well…

A lot has happened since my last post. My mother has been in and out of the hospital for most of that time, with an as yet still un-diagnosed illness. It’s been a lot like watching an episode of House… they just sort of don’t know what’s wrong with her.
SO… I’ve been spending a lot of time back and forth to the hospital with her. And hospital wifi sucks.
Which leaves me once again apologizing for a lack of updates.
Anyway, Jianghu is available now (ahem…http://www.amazon.com/Jianghu-The-Randall-Lee-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B00FUV14S6/), and I’m super happy to say that so far the reviews have been great.
I also have a few other projects that recently became available. My story “Still” is in Nightscapes: Volume 1 (http://www.amazon.com/Nightscapes-Volume-1-ebook/dp/B00EYGNCHE/) with awesome folks like Ray Garton, Lisa Morton, Lisa Mannetti, and tons more, and I did a chapter in the collaborative novella The Carnival 13 (http://www.amazon.com/The-Carnival-13-ebook/dp/B00G97Y4AA/), which is a pretty cool charity project with all proceeds benefiting Scares that Care, a very cool children’s charity.

Oh, and the Randall Lee Omnibus is available, collecting Changes, Pressure Point, and Jianghu.

Phew.

Enough of my pluggin’.

Nobody really showed much interest in the Jackie Chan thing, so I guess that’s scrapped, but if you get the chance, definitely go see Chinese Zodiac. Just goes to show that age is just a number. 😉

I have to get ready to head back up to the hospital (she’s actually getting to go back home today, supposedly) but I will post something more substantial soon.

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Today’s blog post is brought to you by the fine folks at Grammarly.com

I use Grammarly for proofreading because I, for one, *do* give a f@#$ about an Oxford comma.
So there, Vampire Weekend. ;P

Okie-Doke. It looks like I’m actually starting to get a bit of traffic to this thing, so I should probably update more often and, y’know, say stuff that is important and interesting and stuff.

*The sound of crickets*

Ooh!
Wait!
Shut up, crickets! I actually have some fun stuff to announce.
First of all, that thing that many of you are wondering about….

Jianghu – Book 3 in the Randall Lee Mysteries!

For those of you who are not signed up to the newsletter (and if that’s true, why haven’t you?! I promise not to spam you!) the book IS finished!
I’m not certain of a release date quite yet, as there are still minor fixes going on here and there, but I can tell you that it will be SOON.
Very soon.
In the meantime, here’s a glimpse at the new cover, by the excellent Lynne Hansen:
Jianghu600x900 (1)

Very nice, yes?

It’s a pretty wild ride, and I think you guys will like it.

I sure hope so, anyway!

In other news, some of you may know that I’m a nut for Hong Kong action films. I mean, if you’ve read any of my stuff, it makes sense, right?

This April, Jackie Chan celebrates his 60th birthday. If you know anything at all about the guy, you know that’s a pretty amazing achievement! He’s put himself through a lot, over the years. In celebration of his life and career, I’ve decided to take it upon myself to watch (and, in most cases, re-watch) all of his movies and document that journey, along with whatever events and insights pop up in my own life that relate… here.

I’ve been jokingly referring to the project as “Thursdays with Jackie,” a play on… y’know… that one book about that other guy that took place on some other day of the week. 😉
I’m planning to start this bizarre journey next week. Now, Mr. Chan has been in A LOT of movies (ahem…http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000329/) , starting with walk-on roles as a kid and, later on, as a stuntman, so I’m starting with what was arguably his first starring role in New Fist of Fury. The plan is to give a bit of background on each movie, when possible, and then just to see what else comes up.

If you’d like to play along at home, I’m sure the movies are mostly pretty easy to find. Many are probably on Netflix or Youtube or something. When in doubt, there’s Yesasia.com, which is an excellent site.

It would be a lot of fun if we could turn this into a kind of group experience.

Anyway, that’s about all for now. If you’d like to join me for “Thursdays with Jackie,” drop me a line and let me know. I’d love to know that I’m not completely alone and insane for doing it.
🙂

Until next time…

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If you’re in the neighborhood….

I’m going to be at the World Horror Convention in New Orleans this weekend. The mass signing on Friday (the 14th… Jason would be sad) is free and open to the public, so if you’re in the area, stop by and say hi! Here’s the schedule: http://stokers2013.horror.org/masssigning.html

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Hello again!

I know, I know. I *say* that I’m going to be better about blogging, but then months fly by, right?
I have a bit of an excuse this time. The period of time between January and, oh, about two weeks ago was filled mostly with recurring bouts of flu, anxiety attacks, and general unpleasantness.
With that being over now, I’m a much happier (and healthier) person.
And while I am SUPER behind on my writing, I’m now going to be hitting it pretty much full-time so I plan to be able to get caught up soon.

What this means for you, dear readers, is that Jianghu – the 3rd Randall Lee mystery – will likely be available in mid-summer rather than late spring. Also, fear not Nephilim Codex fans! Down – Canto II – is the absolute next thing on my list. I feel bad about pushing it back, but I really felt like I needed to finish out this first semi-trilogy in the Randall Lee stories, especially since some readers are not especially happy with me after the cliffhanger ending of Pressure Point…
For any of the Star Wars fans out there, think of Pressure Point as my Empire Strikes Back. As Dante noted in Kevin Smith’s brilliant Clerks, “Luke gets his hand cut off, finds out Vader’s his father, Han gets frozen and taken away by Boba Fett. It ends on such a down note. I mean, that’s what life is, a series of down endings. All Jedi had was a bunch of Muppets.”
Jianghu is conspicuously missing muppets, but otherwise the comparison is a pretty good one, I think. Randall will (hopefully) make it back up into the light, but he’s got to go all the way through the darkness to get there. That being said, I’m trying to fit in as much humor and lightheartedness as is appropriate for a book about a guy hunting a child killer. There are quite a few funny moments so far (and I plan on sharing a bit of that with my newsletter members, so send me an email to join if you haven’t already! charlescolyott@gmail.com)

Anyway, I could write about how awesome the book is going to be…
Or I could work on making the book awesome.

I think some of you will appreciate if I do the latter. 😉

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Who IS this Randall Lee I keep hearing about..?

Find out for yourself! For FREE this weekend!

4.7/5 Star rating, with 45 reviews.

“Charles Colyott is a fresh and bold new voice on the mystery scene. Just when you think it has all been done before, here comes Randall Lee.”
–Scott Nicholson, author of Liquid Fear

“Charles Colyott’s novel, CHANGES, is a stunner. A thrill-ride from start to finish that will stay with you long after you’ve finished the last page. The characters are unique in detective lore, the situations are mesmerizing and together they draw the reader into a world quite unlike anything previously encountered. Read this book to learn, laugh, and fall in love with a brilliant young writer’s work.”

–Lisa Mannetti, two-time Bram stoker nominee and winner, The Gentling Box.

“With slick action reminiscent of Barry Eisler, and witty dialogue in the league of Jeff Strand, Charles Colyott creates a thriller all his own. The compulsively readable prose of CHANGES will keep you reading long into the night, and when you’re through, you’ll be hoping for another thriller starring the sometimes troubled acupuncturist/Tai Chi Chuan expert, Randall Lee.”

—-Glen Krisch, author of Brother’s Keeper, Loss, Where Darkness Dwells, and The Nightmare Within

When a young woman is found murdered in a seedy massage parlor near his neighborhood, the police recruit Randall Lee – an American acupuncturist and Tai Chi master — as a translator and expert in Chinese culture, to assist in the investigation. Lee discovers that the murderer is an expert in a forbidden Chinese martial art – the dark mirror to his own healing practices – and joins in the hunt for the killer to escape his own inner demons and save the woman he loves.

Here’s the link: http://www.amazon.com/Changes-Randall-Lee-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B00771XOLC/

Grab a copy and feel free to share this link with all of your friends!!!

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My Favorite Books of 2012

Well, it’s that time again… Time to get bombarded with everyone’s top whatever lists. And since you’re already getting bombarded with them, why not have one more, eh?

First off, here’s the thing… I cheat. Some of these books are not from 2012, but that’s when I read them, so there. 😉

  1. My favorite book of the year was probably Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One. 80’s stuff, D&D, Atari games…It’s basically Willy Wonka meets The Matrix, and I mean that in the best possible way.
  2. Jeff Strand’s Lost Homicidal Maniac (Answers to “Shirley”), the latest in his Andrew Mayhem series. If you haven’t read these, ignore the rest of this list and go buy them all right now. Most horror comedy is hokey; not so with Strand. Mayhem’s adventures will have you giggling and cringing (frequently simultaneously). Check ‘em out. Seriously.
  3. The Nerdist Way by Chris Hardwick is a good pairing with Ready Player One, actually. Are you a nerd? I am. Wanna learn how to channel that nerdery into something positive and productive? Booya. Buy this book. Simple as that.
  4. Where Darkness Dwells by Glen Krisch. I’m not going to say too much about this one… It’s more fun if you just go into it blind.  A Great Depression horror story that reads like a cross between Ray Bradbury and Clive Barker… Give it a try, you won’t be sorry.
  5. Carole Lanham’s collection, The Whisper Jar. I’m extremely partial to the story, The Good Part, which may give you a case of the jibblies for the rest of your life.

So those are the tippy top ones. I read lots of other good stuff, too, like King’s 11/22/63 and Brian K. Vaughan’s Y the Last Man. I also finally gave in to peer pressure and started on the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher (and they’re great fun, btw).

If you like this sort of stuff, add me on Goodreads here: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1125254.Charles_Colyott

What were some of your favorites this year?

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