R.F. Kuang's The Poppy War starts as a typical coming-of-age fantasy about a girl from humble beginnings who discovers she has special powers. Despite a cliched beginning, the first chapter had me hooked, as it's probably the best bit of writing in the novel --- not surprising given the knock-them-dead-from-page-one nature of publishing today. The... Continue Reading →
My Father’s Story, Part II: Coming to America
Arthur Alimonos, my father, passed away in March of this year at the age of ninety after having lived an amazing life. Twelve years ago, he asked me to share his story with the world. This is Part II of that story, where he journeys from his homeland in war-ravaged Greece to the shores of... Continue Reading →
Wars, Rings, Trek, and the Death of the Artist
Everything old is new again! Nostalgia sells, and like any good business, Hollywood is banking on your childhood like never before. Instead of the innovative storytelling we grew up with in the '80s, we are inundated with sequels, prequels, remakes, and reboots. Disney gave us new Star Wars, Amazon's Rings of Power brought us back... Continue Reading →
Station Eleven Review
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (what a name!) centers around an apocalyptic, end-of-the-world scenario involving a super-flu that wipes out most of humanity. It's a more concise and grounded version of Stephen King's The Stand, and was of particular interest to me given our post-COVID world. Mandel weaves a complex narrative with multiple... Continue Reading →
My Father’s Story, Part 1: Hunger and War
After ninety years on this Earth, my father passed away in March of this year. Here, I share the remarkable life of Arthur Alimonos as he tells it, beginning in 1933 in the little-known village of Magoula, Greece. Having lost his father to tuberculosis at age five, Arthur struggled to survive in a family of... Continue Reading →
O Babas Then Einai Etho (Greek Version)
Ο μπαμπάς δεν είναι εδώ. Η μητέρα μου ήρθε με αυτή τη γραμμή καθώς φτάσαμε. Ο μπαμπάς δεν είναι εδώ, μπήκε καθώς περπατούσαμε στο διώροφο όπου ζούσε ακόμα με τον πατέρα μου πριν από μια εβδομάδα. Τον είδα στο φέρετρό του στην κηδεία, περιτριγυρισμένο από τις επιχρυσωμένες εικόνες των Ορθοδόξων Αγίων, αλλά καθώς πλησίαζα το άκαμπτο... Continue Reading →
Dad’s Not Here: A Tribute to my Late Father, Arthur Alimonos
Dad's not here. My mother came up with that line as we arrived. Dad's not here, she intoned as we walked into the duplex where she'd still lived with my father a week ago. I saw him in his casket at the funeral, surrounded by the gilded icons of the Orthodox Saints, but as I... Continue Reading →
A Girl Called Wolf by Stephen Swartz
In today's exciting podcast, I sit down with Stephen Swartz to discuss his semi-biographical novel, A Girl Called Wolf. It's the harrowing true survival tale of an Inuit girl named Anuka (a fan and friend I've known for many years through Facebook) and the rare indie book deserving more attention. Then in true Story Matters... Continue Reading →
Artificial Intelligence: Better Than Us
We were wrong about the future. Everyone had it wrong, in fact. The fears instilled in us from 80s and 90s films like The Terminator and The Matrix were off the mark. AI isn't going to kill us and it won't turn us into slaves (or batteries). But that doesn't mean we shouldn't be afraid... Continue Reading →
Cloud Cuckoo Land is a Masterpiece
It's been a long time since I've read a book this good, and I couldn't be more thrilled. This book restores my faith in fiction and reminds me why I wanted to become a writer in the first place. It's a story that, quite frankly, I wish I could have written. Silly as the title... Continue Reading →
I’m done; it’s all a scam
Amazon ads? Scam. Bookbub? Allauthor? Awesomegang? Scam. Scam. Scam! What about review sites like Goodreads? IndieReader? Kirkus? All scams. I have spent the past several years trying to game the indie scene, but it simply does NOT work. Having wasted God knows how much money, I've had to rationalize these expenditures, telling myself it's a long-term... Continue Reading →
The Sorry State of Indie Publishing
The indie publishing industry is an embattled landscape of scams, schemers, dashed dreams, and desperation. Thanks to Amazon and the advent of POD printing, we are inundated with dreck novels by would-be authors, while the truly rare, standout storyteller often goes unnoticed.
In today's lighthearted episode of the Story Matters podcast, I read some of the ridiculous, absurd, frustrating, enlightening, and inspiring mail I've received over the past month. A guy who can't spell the word "you" wants to be a published author. Another person tells me he's going to write fan fiction based on Aenya, and... Continue Reading →
The Three-Body Problem
In today's podcast, Heather and I discuss Chinese novelist Cixin Liu's Hugo award-winning, The Three-Body Problem, a book President Barack Obama called "wildly imaginative." The Three-Body Problem is a welcome foray into the hard science fiction genre. When it comes to astronomy, mathematics, and the forefront of scientific theory, Liu knows his stuff. His ideas... Continue Reading →
The Rings of Power Was . . . Fine
While it may not be the popular opinion to hold, like most things on social media, and especially for every frothing-at-the-mouth critic on YouTube, hatred for Amazon's "The Rings of Power" has reached a fever pitch and is entirely overblown. Is it a great show? Not really, no. Is it worthy of Tolkien's masterpiece? Certainly... Continue Reading →
Noora's song features prominently in The Princess of Aenya. When Radia goes on the run, disguised as a serving girl named Noora, she sings her song in the Cosmos Theater, only to have the wilting flowers on the tables bloom. She sings it once more near the end of the story, before her gruesome confrontation... Continue Reading →
Sunshine State Book Festival Interview!
Guess what, fellow fans? I have been invited to showcase the books in the Aenya Series at the annual Sunshine State Book Festival on Friday, January 27th, and Saturday the 28th. So if you want to meet me in person, to talk about Aenya or storytelling in general, and if you'd like to pick up... Continue Reading →
The Giver for the Holidays!
Christmastime is here again, and what better story to celebrate the holidays than Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol? No, wait. Actually, we're doing Lois Lowry's The Giver, a classic tale of the original giver of gifts, Santa himself . . . Actually, no, this dystopian novel has little to do with Old Saint Nick. But,... Continue Reading →
The Wind Through King’s Mouth Hole
Finally!!! My pal Heather returns from her long hiatus in the Phantom Zone to talk to me about Stephen King's final (let's hope) book in his The Dark Tower series, The Wind Through the Keyhole. We then veer into a bunch of crazy tangents (as is par for the course) with subjects ranging from AI... Continue Reading →
The Feral Girl: Gamer Edition is NOW!
Hey, Aenya fans! The long wait is over . . . The Feral Girl: Gamer Edition for your Kindle-enabled device is finally HERE. What you get: Included in The Feral Girl: Gamer Edition for Kindle, you get Thelana's heart-wrenching origin story and prequel to Ages of Aenya, over 30 beautiful illustrations with many new, full-color art... Continue Reading →
Hadestown: Storytelling at its Best
Sometimes, the best forms of storytelling come from the most unexpected places. After months of reading books and watching shows that have left me feeling cold and empty, it's great to be reminded of what powerful writing can do. But in this case, the story was delivered through the medium of a broadway musical. I... Continue Reading →
What is Ages of Aenya?
OK, I've dissected enough of other people's books on my podcast. Now it's my turn. That's right, folks, it's time I get to toot my own horn. So here is your introduction to Aenya, a world blending the best of fantasy and science fiction. The books in the Aenya Series have possessed me for over... Continue Reading →
Stephen King Tells a Fairy Tale
Fairy Tale is Stephen King’s okayest novel to date. Maybe he's gotten tired after 75 years on this planet, having written a whopping sixty-five books (wow, sixty-five!!!), but his most recent release just feels bland and uninspired. While Charlie Reade, his one and only protagonist (a bit sparse for a 600-page novel), is likable enough, there’s nothing particularly... Continue Reading →
I know it’s cliche, but I am going to say it anyway: I can’t believe how time flies! I can’t believe that I wrote this review TEN YEARS AGO!!! But still, even after all that time, I have yet to read anything quite as impressive or impactful.
No review of Cloud Atlas could do it justice. I should just type the title in bold, followed by four stars. Hell, I’d like to change my rating system to give it five. Yes, it’s that good, a work of literary genius that transcends genre. Unfortunately, the cover sure as hell doesn’t do the book any favors. I get the impression that the artist didn’t know what to do, so he just Googled a bunch of cloud imagery and Photoshopped them together. The back flap states, Mitchell is, clearly, a genius, and while I typically hate this kind of more-often-than-not false praise, I can’t help but echo the sentiment. Few writers have intimidated me like this guy has. Cloud Atlas is on a whole other level, brilliantly written and conceived, deeply textured, and so meaningful you could base an entire religion around it. And yet, I am neither bitter…
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Is Life a Meritocracy?
"Is life a meritocracy?" Does being good at something inevitably lead to success, or is success more dependent on luck: who you know and where you are born? This question keeps me up most nights, gives me anxiety, and makes me walk around my neighborhood when everyone else is asleep. In my latest podcast, I... Continue Reading →
AI Art: Should We Be Afraid?
When I was first introduced to Midjourney, I nearly panicked. I panicked for the sake of my daughter, who endeavors to become a professional artist someday, and for artists the world over, many of whom I work with to promote the Aenya series. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective), I found both Midjourney and Dall-E quite... Continue Reading →
Nothing But Blackened Teeth
Nothing but blackened teeth? Eww . . . gross. Maybe someone should see a dentist. Oh, but wait, this isn't a story about dentistry; it's a horror novella set in modern-day Japan featuring the titular monster, a "Geisha" ghost with awful oral hygiene. All kidding aside, newcomer Cassandra Khaw gets a big A+ for this... Continue Reading →
Quick Look: The Feral Girl
https://videopress.com/v/VgvE12lG?resizeToParent=true&cover=true&preloadContent=metadata&useAverageColor=true NOW AVAILABLE!
The Secret to Becoming a Great Author
What's the secret to becoming a great author? Here's a little hint: it's no secret. Yes, this title is clickbait. If you see a YouTube video or Master Class offering a quick and easy way to literary fame and fortune, they're selling you snake oil. Like it or not, it's a long, hard climb to... Continue Reading →
The Dark Tower VII: WTF?
It's hard for me to wrap my head around Stephen King's Dark Tower finale and seventh book in the series, The Dark Tower, but I will try. I will admit I haven't been this eager to talk about a book in a long time. Imagine, if you will, William Shakespeare writing the novelization of the... Continue Reading →
AENYA NEWSLETTER 9/14/2022
Greetings, Aenya fanatics, I'm back with more EXCITING news! And yes, there's quite a bit of interesting stuff to get through here today regarding all FOUR (count 'em four) of my books, so let's get right to it, shall we? Ages of Aenya Published by Hear Our Voices! As many of you know, I introduced... Continue Reading →
The Rings of Power (You Know We Had to…)
You know Heather and I just had to talk about Amazon's most expensive show of all time, The Rings of Power, didn't you? As huge lovers of Tolkien's works and Peter Jackson's film adaptation, we try and parse through the honest detractors (the Tolkien purists) from the anti-woke crowd and get into the polarizing decision... Continue Reading →
Wokism, The Culture War, and Storytelling
Yes, we're doing it again! Intrepidly, boldly, perhaps a bit foolishly . . . Heather and I step back into the midst of the culture war. The political atmosphere in this country is particularly toxic right now, but we feel it's important to take a stand, as any conscientious person should --- because what we... Continue Reading →
The Dark Tower, Part 2: Song of Susannah
In this second part of our three-part series, Heather and I get into the nitty-gritty of Stephen King's magnum opus, The Dark Tower, to discuss the many ups and downs of his sixth book, Song of Susannah. As always, King excels at literary technique, and his talent for making us feel for his characters remains... Continue Reading →
Sorry (not sorry) for this political rant …
I recently met a fan of mine (he's read both Ages of Aenya and The Princess of Aenya and is eager to begin The Feral Girl) who was very much at odds with my political views. Let's just say his beliefs threw me into a depressive, anxiety-laden spiral. As we continue slipping toward a future... Continue Reading →
ATTENTION: Beta Readers Wanted for The Magiq of Aenya!
Lilliea, from the upcoming The Magiq of Aenya It's that time again, folks! I have officially begun work on my fourth Aenya book, The Magiq of Aenya, and I am giving a select few fans the opportunity to get an early look at it. If you are chosen to become a beta reader, you will... Continue Reading →
AENYA NEWSLETTER 08/01/22
Greetings, Aenya fans! I'm back with more exciting news ... So, what started as a fluke, something I wanted to write for myself, for dollars on Kindle, turned into one of my best works of fiction. I am talking, of course, about The Feral Girl. Seriously, I hadn't even thought to offer the book in paperback.... Continue Reading →
Stephen King’s Dark Tower Series, Part 1
What the heck is The Dark Tower anyway? I am six books deep into King's magnum opus, and I still have no idea. (OK, that's not true, I have some clue, but not enough to know why the party of heroes: Roland, Eddie, Susannah, and Jake, are so desperately trying to get there, or why,... Continue Reading →
GET IT NOW: THE FERAL GIRL!!!
It's finally here!!! The long-awaited prequel to Ages of Aenya. Lost and alone, a young girl braves the jungles of Aenya armed only with her bow, becoming both predator and prey. When food in her homeland becomes scarce, Thelana is sent away to find civilization. The days that follow become a fight to stay alive as... Continue Reading →
Is the entire indie book industry a scam?
My two most popular posts involve scams. I've received thankful messages from hundreds of writers for steering them clear of Olympia Publishers. Yet, I feel I've done nothing but drive them into the bigger scam that is the independent book industry. Don't get me wrong. If you want to see your name in print or share... Continue Reading →
AENYA NEWSLETTER: 5/18/22
Greetings, Aenya fans! It's been a long while since my last update . . . and for good reason. I have been working for the past month, hammering away at my keyboard for 8-10 hour shifts, to get the latest Aenya release into your hands! And I think the results speak for themselves. My beta... Continue Reading →
AENYA NEWSLETTER 04/05/22
WELCOME BACK, fiends and fans, ladies and germs, boyz and goyls, to the ever-popular Aenya Newsletter!!! Trust me, this is going to be a good one, as you'll soon find out. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the show. The Princess of Aenya #2 cover is NOW AVAILABLE! First up on the agenda, the new... Continue Reading →
Stephen King Kicks My Ass
Stephen King came to my house and kicked my ass. Yeah, you probably think I mean this in some sort of metaphorical way ... as in, his books are so much better than mine they put me to shame. But nope. Let me backtrack a little. My nights, as you may know, are filled with... Continue Reading →
My Ukrainian Friend: Alexey Lipatov
If only Ukraine had giant robots
So far so good, thank the gods, my friend Alexey is OK! And, believe it or not, he is STILL working, still producing art, some of which is clearly inspired by the awful situation in his country. I have been continuing my correspondence with him over at his DeviantArt page, but he has also started a Patreon. If you want to support this great Ukrainian artist with a little more than comments, please check it out!
The last thing I want is for this post to come off as exploitative. Right now, my thoughts are for the people of Ukraine only. What’s happening there is not just tragic, but the kind of thing that makes you question whether we’re living in a storybook. It’s like Trump and the January 6th insurrection. You keep asking yourself, “Is this really happening?”
Let’s break it down, shall we? President Vladimir Putin isn’t some misunderstood villain, he isn’t a complex, 3-dimensional character—he’s a cliche, every generic bad guy from every book/movie/show you’ve ever seen. He’s Cobra Commander, he’s Darth Vader, he’s Sauron. If this were a Tom Clancy novel, the publisher would say Putin is too unoriginal. He wants Ukraine. That’s it. And he’ll murder every man, woman, and child to get what he wants. On the flip side of this unreal coin, we have Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, playing…
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My Ukrainian Friend: Alexey Lipatov
The last thing I want is for this post to come off as exploitative. Right now, my thoughts are for the people of Ukraine only. What's happening there is not just tragic, but the kind of thing that makes you question whether we're living in a storybook. It's like Trump and the January 6th insurrection.... Continue Reading →
Why MAUS Matters
Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard about MAUS, Art Spiegelman's moving holocaust graphic novel, now recently banned by the Tennessee School Board. Schools in Tennessee are run by ninnies, apparently, because all seven members voted to keep the book from the hands of middle schoolers owing to the book's depiction of... Continue Reading →
Aenya Lore: Queen Lumina and the Unicorn
The World of Aenya is vast and varied. Its geography encompasses disparate landscapes, city-states, races, cultures, histories, and myths. For 2022, I am introducing a new series, Aenya Lore, to showcase the tales that exist within the larger narrative of the Aenya Series, some of which, you may remember, come straight from the novels. While... Continue Reading →
AENYA NEWSLETTER 12/01/21
Hey, Aenya fans! Boy, do I have some great stuff to share with you today. So let's get straight to it, shall we? The Princess of Aenya: Acclaim, New Cover, New Art A beautiful new cover is on its way for The Princess of Aenya! While I was completely happy with the old pic, I... Continue Reading →
Kirkus’ Great Books Worth Discovering: The Princess of Aenya!
In case you didn't know, Kirkus is America's premier book critic magazine, which has been around since the 1930s. They reached out to me a few months back wanting to feature my book in their June issue, after selecting The Princess of Aenya for their . . . Now I'd like to thank Tatiana Arnold... Continue Reading →
The Princess of Aenya Book Trailer is Here!!!
What more do I need to say? Check it out: https://youtu.be/PtMN_-H5On0 The Princess of Aenya is now available on Amazon Kindle or direct from me at http://www.nickalimonos.com!!! http://www.amazon.com/dp/B086JFZHDC
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