Best of Indy Voting

Best of Indy - Vote for Me 2016Once again, I am honored to be nominated for Nuvo’s Readers’ Choice Best of Indy – Best Local Author. You can vote daily through August. I’d appreciate your support for Best Local Author. Just click the link above to be taken to the voting page. I apologize that you need to sign in, but it’s easy enough to opt out of all mailings.

Remember: a vote for me is more than that dirty peasant Dennis gave to Arthur, King of the Britons!

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Scars of the Sundering, book 2: Lament – Now Available for Pre-Order!

After much pain and heartache, the second novel in my Scars of the Sundering series, Lament, is now available for pre-order for Kindle.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00040]“The quality of our legacy is measured in the lives we touch.”

Pancras and the drak twins reach Muncifer. The judgment of Archmage Vilkan Icebreaker was swift: Pancras is sent to the far side of the continent and Delilah remains the Arcane University. His penance takes him toward the far north, and is made only somewhat better by the companionship of The Golden Slayer and the fiendling Qaliah. Along the way, events drive Pancras to rekindle his faith in Aita.

Bound to the Arcane University, Delilah works to escape, while her brother uncovers an ancient Munciferian secret that will change the very nature of magic as they know it and shake the foundation upon which the Arcane University was built.

Pre-orders will be delivered on August 1st. The print version will be released at Gen Con (August 4th) and but if you can’t wait, is available on Amazon.com right now!

 

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New Page for Art

KaleDelilahFinal-CharReedFrequent visitors may notice a slight change to the site. I rearranged the options on the menu bar at the top of the page and added one: Visions of Art.

Visions of Art is the page on which the various pieces of character art, maps, and concept art will reside. I already posted everything on Pinterest (including logos and covers), but if you don’t have an account, using Pinterest can be kind of a pain.

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REVIEW – The History of the Commodore 64 in Pixels by Chris Wilkins

C64 in PixelsTonight’s review is a bit of a departure, as the book I’m reviewing is not sci-fi or fantasy. In fact, it’s non-fiction. While it’s not the first non-fiction book I’ve reviewed here, non-fiction is definitely not the focus of my reviews. While you can find The History of the Commodore 64 in Pixels on Amazon, getting a hold of it might be challenging; I don’t believe it’s in general distribution. I received this book as part of a Kickstarter to which I contributed last year. In short, this book recounts the history of an oft-forgotten member of the gaming scene, the Commodore 64 personal computer.

When you think of what they had to work with: a roughly 1 MHz processor and 64K of RAM, it’s really amazing what the programmers from around the world accomplished on the brown, breadbox-shaped machine.

There’s a common element in a lot of the stories told in this book: the SID chip, a powerhouse (for the time), 3-voice synthesizer widely recognized as a musical instrument in its own right. The music and sound-effect capabilities of the C64 were unparalleled in the home PC market.

All of this are told as a series of essays by the people who were captivated and inspired by this machine to try their hand at programming and composition and created some of the great games for which the C64 is remembered.

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Lament Cover art Revealed!

As Lament goes into the final round of proofreading, I now have the finished cover art!

Lily Yang once again lent her talents to my cover (you’ve seen her work before on Malediction), and did a fantastic job.

Lament cover final lowres

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ConQuesT 47 Wrap-Up

2016-05-27 11.48.41-2Sadly, ConQuesT 47 was not as successful as I had hoped. Last minute staff shake-ups, last year’s harassment scandal, plus the close proximity of Planet ComicCon and Mid-America Con II/WorldCon resulted in a fraction of the expected attendance. There was also a noticeable breakdown in communications between the con staff and the vendors (like a surprise 2-hour extension to Dealer Hall hours while we were packing up for the night on Saturday).

I sold between 14% and 25% of what I did last year, and that’s with two new titles at the show this year. The gulf in uncertainty is due to not being able to correlate several Kindle sales with Con activity (i.e. They could be coincidental).

I had high hopes for the first con of the season for VFF Publishing. Such a massive disappointment is difficult to deal with when you invest that much time and money into something that ends up being less than was promised.

I’ll stop short of saying the convention was abysmal, however. I felt the panels I was on went well, despite the reduced attendance. I would be reluctant to return as a vendor, but I might consider returning as a program participant/panelist. I made a few good connections, as well. The Undergophers did a great job in the gaming area. If I return next year without the commitments of the Dealer Hall, I will definitely spend more time in the gaming area and maybe even run some games.

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ConQuesT 47

Are you going to ConQuesT 47 in Kansas City, MO over Memorial Day weekend (May 27 – 29)? I will be there all three days selling & signing my novels and short stories. But that’s not all! I will also be on three panels on Saturday.

Success vs Accomplishment SAT 11 AM
A philosophical, and hopefully informational, discussion about what it
means to make it as a writer or an artist. What are your goals? How do you
measure yourself? What do you need to do next? How do you get there?

Dealing with Writer’s Block and Other Hurdles SAT 2 PM
With every book I write, I find there are more than a few periods of
internal conflict where the story is trying to break free but doesn’t
quite make it to my keyboard. Writer’s block is something many struggle
with. Join me as we discuss what works for me, for other writers, and for
you!

Independent Publishing 101 SAT 4 PM
A nuts-and-bolts primer in how to run a business as a 21st-century
creative entrepreneur — there’s more to independent publishing than just
“self-publishing”!

You won’t get these topics at the Gen Con Writer’s Symposium! At least, not from me. You also won’t hear what I have to say about these subjects here, at least, not before ConQuesT.

… mostly because I’m not sure what I’m going to say yet. I’ll try to make it profound and useful. I hope to see you there!

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Seven Galaxies stories now available!

Forgotten Dreams Cover for webA few years ago, I wrote two short stories for Fear the Boot’s Sojourn speculative fiction anthologies. The rights have reverted back to me, so I am making “Forgotten Dreams” and “The Pleasure Pools of Persiphia” individually available on Kindle.

They are $0.99 each. If you prefer print, they’re still available in the Sojourn anthologies, but I will also have a convention-exclusive flipbook version available starting at ConQuest 47 in Kansas City, MO.

The flipbook has both stories bound together, but they’re upside down with respect to each other. When you finish one story, you close the book, flip it over, and start the other. Since they’re not sequels (though they share a setting), it doesn’t matter in which order you read them. I plan on selling the flipbook for $5 only at conventions (ConQuest, Gen Con, whatever other shows I exhibit at). I will likely also offer direct sales of these, so if you can’t get to one of my convention appearances, I’ll have something set up for you to send me $5 +shipping via PayPal and I’ll mail a signed copy out to you.

Pleasure Pools Cover for webYou may ask, “Well, why not make it permanently available in print on Lulu or someplace like that?” Very simple: they won’t guarantee consistent results with the flipbook. Automated systems don’t like seeing half of a print file upside down. Plus, I would have to sully one of the beautiful covers with a barcode and since each side is upside down with respect to the other, placement is problematic. Later this year, I may investigate making individual print copies available, but the price I’d have to charge to make it cost-effective may not be worth your while for a 10,000-word short story.

Please note: production of these is not in any way holding up production of Scars of the Sundering, book 2: LamentLament is currently with my editor and Beta Readers. Cover art has been ordered and everything is on track for a Gen Con release. Scars of the Sundering, book 3: Salvation is written. Editing will begin on that once Lament is published.

 

 

Categories: Publishing, Scars of the Sundering, Seven Galaxies, Sojourn | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Spin on Urban Fantasy

A discussion in my Tuesday evening writers’ group inspired me to think about my own Urban Fantasy world I’ve been developing for a couple of years now (here and there).

At first, I thought it would basically be our own world, but with magic, cryptids, lycanthropes, etc. But that pretty much describes most Dresden/Supernatural/Anita Blake-type Urban Fantasy (except, perhaps my desire to have a greater emphasis on cryptids–I was going to have a main informant be an Appalachian bigfoot named Bob who LOVED reality TV and cheap beer).

So, I started thinking of ways I could make it more unique, something I hadn’t seen before. What if, I made my Urban Fantasy setting a far future version of the fantasy world I’m already writing in?

I’ve already got magic-powered cannons, lights in nobles’ houses powered by magic, and minor clockwork technology. Two thousand years in the future, what sort of tech could industrious engineers have invented?

Teleportation circles I introduce in Salvation (that’s book three of Scars of the Sundering, so there’s a free preview for you!) would shrink the world, especially decades hence after the secret to creating new one was uncovered. A planet-wide network of these could cause rapid globalization. Since I establish in Salvation that only a certain species can activate the teleportation circles, they would obviously become the gatekeepers of global transport. There would be many people who would want an alternative, so magic-powered vehicles could be developed that wouldn’t rely on these people.

My big concern is part of the appeal of Urban Fantasy seems to be the fantastic applied to our modern world. If I apply our modern amenities to a fantastic world, would that strip away the appeal? Or would it create something intriguing that readers would enjoy?

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REVIEW – Thieves at Heart by Tristan J. Tarwater

Thieves at Heart coverTavera, or Tavi, as she’s known is the young half-elf girl at the heart of this short novel. Orphaned as a child, taken in by prostitutes, then sold to a man to raise as his own daughter and train as a fellow thief, Tavi has a better life that one would expect. Thieves at Heart tells her story as she grows up (with all the tribulations puberty entails), trains as a thief, and sets off on her own.

It’s a quick, entertaining read. I’m not sure I’d say there’s anything deep to the story; it doesn’t feel like something with a profound message. Of course, many books are just written to be entertainment and that’s good, too. It does speak, I think, to experiences a lot of women have as they’re coming of age (I can only speculate here, as I am not a woman). Thieves at Heart does this in a way that doesn’t feel cheap or exploitative. It feels real.

I may be overthinking or overanalyzing. I enjoyed Thieves at Heart. I was curious to see how the author’s long-form fiction was since I enjoy the webcomic she writes. Give Thieves at Heart a shot, you might enjoy it, too.

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