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May 15, 2016 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: The Craft  0 Comments

Brackett, Leigh.
Brown, Fredric.
Burroughs, Edgar Rice. “Pellucidar” Series; Mars Series; Venus Series
Carter, Lin. “World’s End” Series
de Camp & Pratt. “Harold Shea” Series; CARNELIAN CUBE
Derleth, August.
Dunsany, Lord.
Farmer, P. J. “The World of the Tiers” Series; et al.
Fox, Gardner. “Kothar” Series; “Kyrik” Series; et al.
Howard, R. E. “Conan” Series
Lanier, Sterling. HIERO’S JOURNEY
Leiber, Fritz. “Fafhrd & Gray Mouser” Series; et al.
Lovecraft, H. P.
Moorcock, Michael. STORMBRINGER; STEALER OF SOULS; “Hawkmoon” Series (esp. the first three books)
Norton, Andre.
Offutt, Andrew J., editor SWORDS AGAINST DARKNESS III.
Pratt, Fletcher, BLUE STAR; et al.
Saberhagen, Fred. CHANGELING EARTH; et al.
Tolkien, J. R. R. THE HOBBIT; “Ring Trilogy”
Weinbaum, Stanley.
Wellman, Manly Wade.
Williamson, Jack.
Zelazny, Roger. JACK OF SHADOWS; “Amber” Series; et al.

Son of Ereubus by J.S. Chancellor

September 26, 2010 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: Awesomesauce, Characterization, Plot, The Craft  4 Comments


Every epic fantasy series worthy of a recommendation from me and my friends pays homage to what I call fantasy je ne sais quoi.

I will attempt to describe the indescribable anyway.

As readers, we enjoy books but wallow in the really good ones. My buddies and I chew through fantasy novels like a Rottweiler puppy going through a bone. Here at Rehabilitated Hack Writerville, however, we review books for fellow writers. I target this book review to novelists, not simply readers.

Real fantasy has an intangible quality that makes it distinctive and attractive and this has little to do with world building and more to do with raw, creative talent that one could say is the voice of the book.

Son of Ereubus by J.S. Chancellor is like a warm piece of olive bread slathered generously with fantasy je ne sais quoi. So very delicious. Oh, did I eat the whole loaf? Whoops.

On the surface, leave no doubt that Son of Ereubus is creepy as hell. I would not call it a horror book but there are many horror elements on display. Indeed, the level of creep is so persuasive that, like the inhabitants of the human world and their protectors, a reader gets used to it. There is a certain, brutal aesthetic to the plot.

Underneath the surface, however, is a complex tale of which I’m not going to attempt to describe, so let’s just go with the back of the book:

Since time immemorial, Man has lived in fear of losing his soul to the darkness of Saint Ereubus. For generations, the Ereubinians have wielded that power and ruled like gods. Three thousand years ago, Man irresolutely placed his faith in a mythical world. That world, Adoria, now holds Man’s final hope. As the last stronghold of Man is threatened, the fates of three strangers become forever intertwined and everything they once believed will be irrevocably changed as they discover…

Their time has run out.

Chancellor packed Son of Ereubus so full of Epic Plot Goodness, it makes that plot summary akin to saying your favorite vacation spot in the entire world is “nice.”

That, my writing friends, makes the book worthy of study. Seriously. The plotting for this fantasy novel is incredible.

And that’s just getting started, for Son of Ereubus is a rare novel indeed: it’s character driven epic fantasy.

The characters Ariana and Garren are the yin and yang of the novel, and they both compliment and repel each other in a perverted harmony.  Ariana is a  powerful yet feminine character who seems continually frustrated that she is able to outthink everyone around her, yet they treat her as a “normal” woman, which she is so very not. I love Ariana. So spunky. So sassy. So in need of getting laid.

But I digress.

As much as Ariana is a special treat to read in a fantasy story, Garren, my friends, completely runs away with the novel. I was a quarter of the way into the book when I closed it and looked at the cover and went “Yesssss, this is going to be so awesome!”

Garren is the anti-hero and even before he grasps the ugly horns of self-determination, he strangely becomes a sympathetic figure. How Chancellor made me feel pangs of sympathy for such an evil fuck, I have no idea. Chancellor’s voicing with Garren is as complex at the mythos and plotting of the novel. She tricks the reader into thinking Ariana is a creature of chaos—wherever she goes, she sows the seeds of change. Compared to Garren, however, Ariana is a piker.

This is what pulls Son of Ereubus into brilliant epic fantasy. The creepy Armageddon undercurrents with the intertwining, complex plot and mythos combined with outstanding character voices come together in a wondrous opening novel of a trilogy.

Like I said, earlier, however, Son of Ereubus is fantasy je ne sais quoi and I believe that comes from the intense themes hiding behind the action-infused plot along with all the other hallmarks of an epic fantasy novel. It’s war, in Son of Ereubus. It’s not just a war for man and the souls of the human race, but also a war between good and evil, fate and self-determination and even a war between hot-blooded lovers.

I can’t wait to read the next book in the Guardians of Legend series, for Son of Ereubus was pure epic fantasy awesomesauce.

A Young Man’s Muse

September 18, 2008 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: Not Exactly Random, The Craft  1 Comment

Ken posted a wonderful, whimsical look into his motivations in becoming a novelist.

I wish my motivations were as pure as inspiration from Ray Bradbury. My literary foundation is a hormonal memory, programmed by my very first girlfriend.

Victoria was just cute: young and cute, perky and cute and then one day she went from cute to pretty. A big sci-fi and fantasy fan, I cannot begin to tell you how many books she introduced me to, and she even introduced me to Powell’s Books. There is a special place in my heart for someone who drove me to Powell’s for the first time; they actually had The Platypus of Doom on a shelf. We are talking major relationship mojoo. Wherever she is now, I am sure Life has blessed her with a kind husband and low-maintenance children.

Victoria was not just pretty, she was soft, girl soft, and she always smelled good. Just thinking about that fresh High School Girl Next Door scent makes me a day younger. She was easy to please, easy to smile and a mischievous pixie.

One afternoon while her parents and sister were out, we were kissing in her living room. Victoria was a fabulous kisser, and often when kissing her my mind emptied of thought. Little did I know Victoria, as smart pretty girls are wont to do, used this to her advantage.

(kiss kiss) “Anthony?” (kiss)

(kiss) “Hmmm?” (kiss)

(kiss) “You should write me a book.” (kiss)

(kiss) “Huh?” (yes, I was the master of conversation in 1985, let me tell you)

(kiss) “Write.” (kiss) “Me.” (kiss) “A.” (kiss) “Book.” (kiss)

(kiss) “Ok.” (kiss)

Then she stood up, pulled her gray sweater-dress over her head and threw it on the floor. There she was, standing in the middle of her living room, wearing nothing but little white socks on her dainty cute feet.

Someday Victoria is going to be walking around a bookstore, holding hands with her husband, because that is what you do when you walk with Victoria—hold her hand. She is going to see my book there, in hardcover, and suddenly exclaim (Victoria does not yell, she exclaims), “That’s my book!”

Her husband will roll his eyes and say nothing. Long ago, he gave up trying to decipher the mystery that is Victoria.

And that, my 7.3 readers, is why I started thinking about writing a novel, so long ago.

My problem with YA Fantasy

September 15, 2008 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: Plot, The Craft  7 Comments

My problem with Young Adult fantasy books, I came to realize, was parents. Let’s go over the parental plot device:

Dead parents
Unknown parents
Missing parents
Evil parents

Conveniently, getting parents out of the way lets a YA fantasy author spin a tale with added freedom from those pesky parental units. Yes, I know it’s more complicated than that, but still.

While I am sure that each generation needs its stories that deal with parental loss, as I got older, I ODed on the entire concept and my reading self ran screaming from the genre entirely for many many years.

My memory may be hazy, but there are, for example, excellent YA Fantasy books that have those pesky parents present, with Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising series coming to mind (unless, of course my 28 year old memory of the series is off). Blowing dust bunnies off the neurons, I also believe Madeleine L’Engle‘s A Wrinkle in Time books also have parents that stick around and even provide, yanno, help.

So it was with… well I admit horror, that I realized The Baby Dancers protagonist were bereft of parental units, unlike my Gaterunner concept which had a humorously flawed, but helpful, family setting.

Bad Anthony! Bad Anthony! Now what am I to do? My outline running around my head is flawed!

Gonna fix that. The parents won’t be a permanent fixture at the elbow, but they aren’t going to pushed aside for my convenience either.

my next novel is…

September 15, 2008 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: The Craft  3 Comments

Good morning!

Sunday ‎July ‎6, ‎2003, I wrote Chapter 1 of a YA Fantasy novel and gave it the working title The Baby Dancers. A warm and thought-provoking story, I was enamored of the theme and setting.

2003 was a dark time for my writing ability. I wrote outline after outline trying to kick start The Baby Dancers, never realizing the outlining process I employed was the wrong process. I set it aside, along with all the other failed novels. Baby Dancers needed solid characters–not plotting–and now I know how to do that.

Today I thought through the book end-to-end and have a clear path. I am poised to begin anew, and very eager to get cracking.

I am setting aside my Gaterunner project. It is a interwoven story, and in my heart, I do not want to write a novel similar to the plotting I did on Bunny Trouble.

Working Title: The Baby Dancers
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Current Word Count: 720
Est. Word Count: 80K
Started: 2003 (!)
Est. Draft 1: January 2009

Such fun! Such a dramatic departure from my last novel!

Prince Ombra

September 13, 2008 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: Not Exactly Random  0 Comments

Just a marvelous, marvelous book. Prince Ombra by Roderick MacLeish, a novel I read over twenty years ago, certainly stands the test of time.

What a wondrous story about Good vs. Evil, destiny vs. free will and in the end, a parable about overcoming self-doubt and passiveness.

If fantasy or classic YA literature floats your boat, Prince Ombra is the cat’s meow.

I, dear reader, have the first edition hardcover. I love my library. I cannot wait until my children suddenly realize their old playroom is a treasure trove of fiction goodness.