Guest Blog: Lou Anders

Lou Anders recently released his debut, Frostborn, and I'm happy to host a guest blog from the author. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:

Fantasy fans of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice series will embrace this first novel in an adventure-filled, Viking-inspired series by a debut author.

Meet Karn. He is destined to take over the family farm in Norrøngard. His only problem? He’d rather be playing the board game Thrones and Bones.

Enter Thianna. Half human, half frost giantess. She’s too tall to blend in with other humans but too short to be taken seriously as a giant.

When family intrigues force Karn and Thianna to flee into the wilderness, they have to keep their sense of humor and their wits about them. But survival can be challenging when you’re being chased by a 1,500-year-old dragon, Helltoppr the undead warrior and his undead minions, an evil uncle, wyverns, and an assortment of trolls and giants.

Readers will embark on a sweeping epic fantasy as they join Karn and Thianna on a voyage of discovery. Antics and hair-raising escapades abound in this fantasy adventure as the two forge a friendship and journey to unknown territory. Their plan: to save their families from harm.

Debut novelist Lou Anders has created a rich world of over twenty-five countries inhabited by Karn, Thianna, and an array of fantastical creatures, as well as the Thrones and Bones board game.

You can check out the series' official website here.


The Value of Being Bad

There’s a book downstairs in my library that I’m allowed to throw away now. I won’t tell you what it is. You may not know the book, but you have probably heard of the writer. I read it in the mid-to-late 90s, and I hated it. Or rather, I started out really intrigued and by the halfway point, I was disgusted at its missed potential. But I kept it. I kept it because it was that book for me. You know what kind of book I mean. The one where you go, “I can do better than this,” and then you set out to do it.

I didn’t write a novel then, but I made a pact with myself. I would keep the book on my shelf, until I had a real, actual, published book of my own to put on the bookshelf. Then I could throw the hated book away.

I can now, with the publication of Frostborn, the first volume of the Thrones and Bones series. I can pitch that bad book right in the garbage bin. Only now I don’t want to. I think I’m too grateful to it for starting me on the process that led to this point.

Also, I’ve learned something between then and now. I’ve learned the value of a bad book.

I think a bad book -- the right kind of bad book -- can sometimes teach you more about writing than a good book can. A really good story can inspire you to want to do the same, but as often as not, it just inspires you to read more by the same writer. Whereas some of the failures I’ve encountered have set me thinking about what was wrong with them, how to fix them, ways they could be improved. You get where this is going.

Snow White and the Huntsman doesn’t rank very high in my list of good films. I think it’s a seriously flawed movie, with some real problems of plot and character and logic. But it’s not so much a bad film as a near miss, a bad film that contained the potential of a good film. I was so frustrated by its failures that I’ve deconstructed and reconstructed it in my mind a dozen times. I’ve gotten so much out of analyzing and dissecting Snow White and the Huntsman that I’d go so far as to say it’s one of the most valuable cinematic experiences I’ve had in the last five years. Which is not, in any way shape or form, to say that I consider it a good film. But it was a good-for-me film.

I’ve been a book editor for ten years now this past March. I’ve acquired and edited over two hundred books in that time. It’s been my privilege to work with some true geniuses. Masters of the craft. I’ve also had to read ten times as many manuscripts as I’ve acquired to find those gems. Maybe a hundred times as many. I’ve seen a fair number of bad manuscripts, but I’ve seen a far greater number of near-misses, stories that were competently written but which lacked that last few percentage points to make them click. I’ve also had the benefit of seeing what worked and what didn’t in the crucible of actual readers’ reactions. Ten years of living with my arms sunk up to my elbows in other people’s prose has been invaluable. And I’ve learned as much or more from seeing what didn’t work as I have from acquiring what did.

Meanwhile, I don’t think I’ll ever throw out that bad book now. It might be one of the best book purchases I’ve ever made. Now as to the empty bottle of Iron Throne blond ale on my desk, that I have to keep until I get my first product tie-in.


Lou Anders's research on Norse mythology while writing Frostborn turned into a love affair with Viking culture and a first visit to Norway. He hopes the series will appeal to boys and girls equally. Anders is the recipient of a Hugo Award for editing and a Chesley Award for art direction. He has published over 500 articles and stories on science fiction and fantasy television and literature. A prolific speaker, Anders regularly attends writing conventions around the country. He and his family reside in Birmingham, Alabama. You can visit Anders online at and, on Facebook, and on Twitter at @ThronesandBones.

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