July 2012 Archive

Red Country Artwork: Knives

We’d done a sword, we’d done an axe, which left us with the question, ‘what weapon now shall we use upon our cover?’  Other styles of sword, mace, morningstar, and bow were considered, but they seemed either repetitive, lacking impact, or not especially appropriate to the book.  The answer?  You can never have too many knives.  Particularly suited to this story, with its western theme, since what bold pioneer of the frontier would be without a good knife?  I wanted a selection that would get across that western feel with maybe a tad of a fantastical twist, so I sent to Didier Graffet, weapon artist extraordinaire, a selection of photos cribbed from the internet featuring various antique bowie knives, dirks and daggers long and short that got across the sort of vibe I was after.  His first sketches came back a little something like this:

Which was pretty much exactly what I had in mind, so I don’t think I had anything to say, other than, ‘colour them forthwith!’  The results:

C’est magnifique.  Click to embiggen.  I love the way they look almost real but at the same time you can see the brushwork, they have a decided style.  Hyper-real, if you will.  Then, with a little of the red stuff or, “et sang” as Didier has it:


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Whisky Deathmatch: Winners and Losers

Twelve whiskies entered, six left.  Our proud winners: Auchentoshan 3 Wood, Highland Park 18, Longmorn 16, Ardbeg Corryvreckan, Glenfarclas 21, Balvenie Single Barrel. Our losers, stripped of their packaging and placed upon the table of shame: Bladnoch 20, Talisker 18, AnCnoc 16, Bruichladdich Infinity, Aberlour 18, Dalmore 15. Some general observations.  Firstly, glencairn glasses, or […]

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Red Country Artwork: Map

For the last few books I’ve done a little series of posts about how the cover art came together, for those interested in such things, so I though I might as well do something similar for Red Country.  The concept was basically set with Best Served Cold and developed a little with the Heroes and […]

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Back from Aviles + Blackwells

Back from a wonderful few days at the Celsius festival at Aviles in Spain and I really need to thank the organisers, Jorge Argyz, Cristina Macias, Diego Cruz, and Ian Watson for inviting me, as well as the Spanish readers who turned out and a set of writers and associates whose company I very much […]

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Process, and Aviles

I leave tomorrow for the Celsius 232 festival at Aviles in Asturias, Spain, where I will be spending a few days in the company of George RR Martin and a cornucopia of other authors.  Those of you preparing to get jealous, I hear the weather there is currently capricious.  Those of you who might actually […]

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Dalmore 15 vs Balvenie Single Barrel

A slightly strange match up here, but then I bought a dozen bottles of whisky and only had this idea somewhat afterwards so in a way it’s rather surprising that they’ve so neatly fit into pairs by origin and style.  If I’d have thought it out beforehand I’d probably have plumped for an extra Highland, […]

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Red Country UK Cover

Lookee here: A nearly final version.  For the full effect, here: You can never have too many knives.  Yes, indeed, a development of the theme from the last two books but, you know, if it ain’t broke, as they say, why fix?  I continue to love the way these UK covers blend something a little bit fantasy […]

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Nothing worse than Victory

So, the film of Conan the Barbarian (not the Momoa one, that one’s dead to me, the Arnie one), ends pretty much the night of Conan’s victory over Thulsa Doom.  Finally, Conan has achieved his life’s ambition and killed the man who killed his mother and father and destroyed his people and took his father’s […]

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Glenfarclas 21 vs Aberlour 18

Whisky Deathmatch returns!  We’ve already witnessed a perhaps slightly underwhelming clash between unsherried Speysides, now two well matured sherried Speysides step into the ring, which is to say whiskies that have spent a fair amount of their maturing time in barrels which once held sherry, and with a tendency, therefore, towards an amber colour, and […]

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The Hollow Crown – Richard II

Always interesting to see filmic adaptations of the bard, and this is a relatively heavyweight BBC effort accompanying a season of Shakespearey gear for some anniversary or other.  Richard II, this first episode, they’re also doing Henry IV 1 and 2 and Henry V over the next few weeks.  I’ve always loved the histories, more […]

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