Cover art for A KNIGHT IN THE SILK PURSE

Here’s a small version of Todd Lockwood’s cover for an upcoming anthology.  It’s full of Todd’s trademark storytelling details; for example, check out the Aztec-influenced carving in the background, and the ghostly silver tattoos covering the skin of the woman on the left.

The central character is the titular knight–a young paladin investigating a highly unusual murder in the city of Taux. She is also one of two first-person narrators in my story “The Fairest Flower.”

Details about pub date coming soon!

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Writing update

Things have been quiet recently, but there’s a bit of movement on a couple of works-in-progress.  Today I saw a draft of Todd Lockwood’s gorgeous cover for  A Knight in the Silk Purse, the sequel to the anthology Tales of the Emerald Serpent. My story has been finished for a while now, but since all the tales take place during a spring festival in the fantasy city of Taux–and since all of them deal in some way with a murder investigation–there’s bound to be  some last-minute tweaks to iron out minor inconsistencies and weave them all together just a little tighter. I should have more news on the release date soon.

Madness on the Orient Express, the anthology that was a stretch goal for Chaosium’s re-release of the game Horror on the Orient Express, is also coming into the home stretch.  My story, “A Great and Terrible Hunger,” continues my recent trend toward dark little tales. I should be seeing page proofs shortly.

I’m currently working on a new project, something quite different.  More news about that coming soon!

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Fiction series on my must-read list

I love series. When I like characters and the worlds in which they live, I look forward to spending time with them again and again. I’ve started a lot of series, but these are the ones I’m looking forward to continuing.

I finished Bernard Cornwell’s latest book, The Pagan Lord, last week. I’ve read several of his series. This one, set during and just after the reign of Alfred the Great, is my favorite. Solid historical fiction with an unusually complex and appealing narrator.

The next two books are both set in Regency England, but the tone and style are quite different.

Mary Robinette Kowell writes stories with the flavor and elegance of a Jane Austen novel, provided that Jane Austen wrote the occasional novel that included a magical illusion known as “glamour,” as well as  a bit more action and adventure than was her wont. Kowal’s fourth book in this series is Valour and Vanity, coming in June 2014.

Who Buries the Dead is the tenth novel in C.S. Harris’s Sebastian St. Cyr Regency mystery series. This is NOT Jane Austen’s genteel English countryside, but dangerous, intrigue-laden London in a time of war and social turmoil and uncertain political alliances and terrible poverty. The hero is a nobleman disillusioned by his war experiences and the gradually unfolding revelations about his family and his own identity. Harris has a PhD in history and specializes in the history of this era, and it’s a delight to read a historical novel that’s as solidly researched as it is well written. Alas, book ten won’t be out until early 2015.  I read Why Kings Confess last month on the day of its release.  I love these characters, particularly Lady Devlin, nee Hero Jarvis.

In the urban fantasy department, I’m following three series:  Ilona Andrew’s Kate Daniels series, Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden series, and Richelle Mead’s Bloodline YA books. I’m also hoping Alex Bledsoe continues to write about the Tufa of Appalachian.

The next Kate book is Magic Breaks, and will be out in July. Really looking forward to that one. The over-arcing danger has been coming steadily closer, and I expect things to hit in the fan with the coming volume. The Harry Dresden books keep getting better, technically speaking, but they are starting to make me sad. (Poor Molly Carpenter just can’t seem to catch a break…) Still, it’s hard to quit when there’s a Fey War That Could Destroy Mankind looming on the three-books-from-now horizon.  I read the  Bloodline series as a gift to my adolescent self. I would have loved these books in my tween and teen years. The protagonist’s outstanding characteristic is intelligence. She’s logical, literal, and a little befuddled by things that come easily to her peers. Her character arc is wonderful–she’s facing her deepest fears and discovering emotional depths and remarkable courage. I’m looking forward to Silver Shadows in July.

What series do you follow, and are there any in particular you’d recommend?

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Unicorn Writers Conference

Only a week until the Unicorn Writers Conference! This will be my second year at this well-run event in Portland, Connecticut.  I’ll be doing two workshops–Writing Fantasy: Beyond Elves and Dragons and Creating Compelling Villains–and the rest of the day will be filled with one-on-one writing critiques.  A busy day at a lovely resort, surrounded by interesting people.  Sounds like a pretty good Saturday.

If you’ve been thinking about attending a writing onference, check out this event.  Apparently it fills up quickly, so it’s not too early to plan for 2015!

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By Faerie Light II

The packaging of the anthology By Faerie Light is a little bit confusing, even for someone who has a story in this anthology.  Or a story in HALF of the anthology, depending upon whether you’re going with the paperback or the ebook.

Yeah, I know. Here’s how that works.

The dead-tree version of By Faerie Light contains all 18 stories. Behold the cover, just over there to the right.

The ebook version has been broken up into two sections.  The first half, By Faerie Light Vol. 1,  uses the same cover, which makes sense. (Unlike the whole splitting-up-the-ebook thing, which really doesn’t.) My story isn’t in this ebook.  It’s in By Faerie Light II, which, as I discovered today, has a different cover.  So if you want to read “The White Tunic,” a twisty little tale that features clever farm lads and malevolent scheming fairies and dragons and Far Worse Things, you’ll want the ebook with the blue cover. That said, at $2.99 each, you could probably go pink AND blue.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this tale. Leave a comment here or on Facebook or, if you prefer, drop me an email.

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This week’s reading list

I’ve been hitting the gym every day after lunch for an hour on the recumbent bicycle, going nowhere faster than a hamster on amphetamines. And the odd thing is, I look forward to  Hamster Time. Along with a good cardio workout (and, eventually, thinner thighs),  I get  an hour to read.  Here’s this week’s Hamster Time Titles.

Wisp of a ThingWisp of a Thing by Alex Bledsoe is the second book in his Tufa series. Read The Hum and the Shiver first. You don’t have to–Wisp is not a sequel and both stories stand alone just fine–but you’ll want to.  Trust me on this.  This series offers a fresh approach to fairy folklore, memorable characters, solid pacing, and very fine writing. Alex Bledsoe is now officially my favorite urban fantasy writer, bumping Charles de Lint down to second.  Yeah.  It’s that good.

 

the-zen-of-social-media-marketing-an-easier-way-to-build-credibility-generate-buzz-and-increase-revenue

 

The Zen of Social Media Marketing by Shama Hyder Kabani is an excellent, actionable approach to the topic.  Kabani not only knows her stuff, she updates it.  There’s a link to a continuously updated online ebook. This is a great idea, since so many books on related topics are out of date before they’re published.

 

Land of the Silver Dragon

Land of the Silver Dragon by Ayls Clare is the fifth novel in her Aelf Fen Mystery.  The mysteries themselves tend to be slight–in this book it’s almost non-existent–but Clare excels at creating a sense of time and place–the fens north of Cambridge, during the reign of William Rufus (the son of William the Conqueror.) Apprentice healer Lassair is an appealing first-person protagonist.  If you’re a fan of medieval-era historical fiction, this series is worth a look.

 

 

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