Friday, November 20, 2015

Theft of Swords Paperback on Sale

I'm not sure if any other sites are matching this price but I saw that Amazon US has the paperback version of Theft of Swords for sale at $9.45. That's 41% off so a huge discount.  Just wanted to let people know. If you have a friend or family member who has been thinking about starting Revelations...or if you need to stock on Christmas gifts.  Now is a great time to do so. I don't think the sale will be going for long.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Riyria is dominating the Top 100 Epic Fantasy Listens

The Riyria stories are dominating the heck out of the Top 100 Epic Fantasy Listens on Audible right now.  Here's what we have:
  • # 14 - Professional Integrity (Free short story)
  • # 24 - The Jester (Free short story)
  • # 37 - Heir of Novron (Riyria Revelations #5 & #6)
  • # 38 - Rise of Empire (Riyria Revelations #3 & #4)
  • # 56 - The Death of Dulgath (Riyria Chronicles #3) - preorder releasing mid-December
  • # 59 - Theft of Swords (Riyria Revelations #1 & #2)
  • # 78 - The Crown Tower (Riyria Chronicles #1)
  • #100- The Rose and the Thorn (Riyria Chronicles #2)
That's all the Riyria novels and two out of three of the short stories. Pretty amazing.  It's all due to the narration by the amazing Tim Gerard Reynolds. Early this week I went up to Audible headquarters in Newark and hung out with Tim in SoHo for dinner and in studio while he started recording The Death of Dulgath. It was a lot of fun.  

In other news.  The hardcovers are printed and I'm just waiting for them to be picked up and delivered.  The shipment weighs 15,000 lbs so obviously a pretty big truck is needed.  Also, for those who haven read Theft of Swords Amazon has the paperback on sale right now for $9 and change - that's 41% off the list price. At that amount I don't think it'll be on sale for long, so grab your copy while you can. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

2015 Goodreads Choice Awards Fantasy

Well, it was a long shot...The Death of Dulgath has only been out for a few weeks, so it doesn't have nearly enough reviews to make the first round nominations  Still, I'm hopeful it can get a few write-in nominees so it might yet make the list.  I was thrilled that Hollow World got in last year through that process.  In any case, congratulations to the 15 first round nominees!

For myself, I did a write-in for Twelve Kings by Bradley P. Beaulieu. This is the first book in a new series for Brad, and I really enjoyed it.  Here's a button for voting or adding your own write-in.

And here is a list of the first 15 nominees:

Aeronauts Windlass
Jim Butcher
Autumn Republic, The
Brian McClellan
Boundary Crossed
Melissa F. Olson
 Darker Shade of Magic, A  
V.E. Schwab
Dead Heat
Patricia Briggs
Fifth Season, The
N.K. Jemisin
Fool's Quest
Robin Hobb
Liar's Key, the
Mark Lawrence
Magic Shifts
Ilona Andrews
Shannon Mayer
Shadows of Self
Brandon Sanderson  
Skull Throne
Peter V. Brett
Trigger Warning
Neil Gaiman
ision in Silver
Anne Bishop
Yield the Night
Annette Marie

Monday, November 2, 2015

Unbound: Tales by Masters of Fantasy

I'm honored to have a short story included in the latest anthology by Grim Oak Press (edited by the amazing Shawn Speakman).  The subtitle of book is "Tales by the Masters of Fantasy" and while I won't presume to put myself in that category, I'm glad that Shawn sees me fit for such inclusion.

Like Unfettered, Shawn's previous anthology, this one has a pretty amazing line up.  Just how amazing?  Well take a look at the authors who have stories in this book: Joe Abercrombie,  Terry Brooks, Kristen Britain, Jim Butcher,  Rachel Caine, Harry Connolly, Delilah Dawson, David Anthony Durham, Jason M. Hough, Mary Robinette Kowal, Mark Lawrence, John Marco, Tim Marquitz, Brian McClellan, Seanan McGuire, Peter Orullian, Kat Richardson, Anthony Ryan, Shawn Speakman, Brian Staveley, Michael J. Sullivan, Sam Sykes, and Mazarkis Williams

Also like Unfettered, the writers were able to explore whatever theme or story idea they thought would make a good story.  A nice way to compile an anthology (in my opinion). As for myself, my entry has nothing to do with either Riyria or The First Empire. It's a completely standalone story that combines my love of computer games and some existential musings. It's called "The Game" and here's what I wrote in the way of an introduction for the piece.
I admit it, I’m a long-time gaming geek. When I started back in 1984, I played on a Compaq DeskPro outfitted with an 8 MHz 8086 CPU and an awesome monochrome display adapter. I said I was a geek, remember? During the golden age of computer gam- ing, otherwise known as the 1990s, each month brought quantum innovations, spurring a host of inventive game designs. For me, the pinnacle was reached with the invention of the MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role-playing game), and my wife and I became lost in the world of EverQuest from 1999 to 2001. 
In the land of Norrath, we made many friends as we rose from a pair of pathetic magic users to guild legends, and I saw how the lines blurred between reality and the virtual world. People speak of how computer games are a waste of time. But a great many good things grew out of those days. One of them was a fertile seed of an idea that I pondered well over a decade ago . . . and still do. This story is the result.
And to give you a taste, here is the first page, courtesy Shawn Speakman at Grim Oak Press.

 I hope you are interested, and if you would like to pre-order a copy of Unbound, you can do so from Grim Oak Press.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Just in time for the holiday: Meet the Tetlin Witch

The new series I have coming out from Del Rey next year (The First Empire) explores various legends and the truth behind them. One character from Elan who you've not been introduced to before is the Tetlin Witch. Given that All Hallows Eve is upon us, Robin thought you might like a little sneak peak to the Tetlin Witch, so here is a poem that first appears in the fourth book of that new series, but about a character who comes up even in the first book (Age of Myth). I hope you enjoy it!

Far beyond the woodland hills, beyond mountains vile,
Hidden in a mist-soaked swamp, upon an awful isle.
She haunts the lapping blackened pools, and creeping ivy ways
And there awaits with hair of black and eyes a dismal gray.

She waits they say for time to end, and her life to be through,
Until that time she waits for me, and also waits for you.
Within a hut beside a pool the Tetlin Witch does dwell,
And watches at the fetid pond, the door that leads to Rel.

And there she sits upon her stool beside the very brink,
And watches as the fated fools down in the darkness sink.
Beware the Tetlin Witch my friend, and never go astray,
Beyond the woodland hills, beyond the light of day.

Or you too may find yourself caught up in the mire,
Sinking, screaming uselessly, helpless til you tire.
Then under the muck, under the water, deeper you will go,
All of you lost, forever gone, the Witch cackling as you go.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Penguin Random House Coffee Klutch - better late than never

Okay, really late in getting this post out...sorry for the delay. I've been busy doing the last changes to Age of Myth before it goes to production (copy editing) and this, along with printer proofs for The Death of Dulgath has kept me and Robin busy.  I actually wrote this right after returning form New York, but I wanted Robin to look it over so I didn't embarrass myself. In any goes.

A few weekends ago I got to pretend to be an author. I know. I know. You're probably thinking that I AM an author. Still, it rarely feels like it...for the most part I live in an isolated bubble. I don’t see people beyond my family and a handful of folks at my local pub and coffee shop who know me well enough not to look up at my arrival. This is partially why I have problems with the idea that I am an author, rather than a guy who wrote some books. Probably a good thing.

Okay, so about the event...whenever she is visiting, Robin Hobb has a habit of going to public places and telling her fans to come invade a local restaurant or coffee house to see her. While in New York last year, instead of bringing the local Denny’s to a standstill, her publisher, Random House (Del Rey), hosted the meet-and-greet in their offices. They did the same this year with two distinct differences: I was there and Robin Hobb was not.

Wasn’t just me, there were a lot of authors in attendance including: Bradley P. Beaulieu, C.A. Higgins, Alan Smale, Terry Brooks, Marshall Ryan Maresca, Shawn Speakman, Myke Cole, Sylvain Neuvel, Alis Franklin, Naomi Novik, Erin Tettensor, Melissa Grey, Daniel Jose Older, Judd Winick, Susan Griffith, and Bill Schweigart were there too. We all came to see each other, readers, and to give away books provided by our publishers (very nice of them.) What it meant is that for forty-eight hours I was able to step into a Nora Ephron movie. I wandered Manhattan in the fall with an over-sized scarf and talked about the book business. Just to psyche ourselves, Robin and I watched You’ve Got Mail the day before and were whistling the Puppy Song as we arrived in Manhattan.

I’m pretty sure Nora Ephron’s vision of New York does not include a cramped five hour bus ride through Philly and Jersey. Usually we like to take the train from DC to Midtown, which is significantly shorter and far more comfortable, but the bus has the advantage of being within walking distance to our house, and a lot cheaper on short notice—which this was.

 The weather was gorgeous. I was wearing my author uniform of sports jacket, sweater, jeans, cap, and afore mentioned enormous scarf that was wholly unnecessary. We carried all our luggage in a small courier bag. I never pack heavy or wear fancy shoes when going to Manhattan because we walk everywhere. My wife has a Fitbit.

We ate at a pleasant French Bistro, then hiked to our hotel. Nice one. Robin booked it. After checking out the Apple Glass Cube just down the street, and the creepy storefront windows of Bergdorf Goodman (they’re doing a Crimson Peak theme), we collapsed in our room. Rumor has it we logged just shy of 10,000 steps.

Next day we ate breakfast at a little packed diner where I watched the people passing on the street thinking about stories set in an urban jungle. Something about New York has that effect. Probably the fact that so many movies depict it and get it right. Walking down any street I see people doing things like hauling a luggage rack along the sidewalk, or walking five dogs while smoking and drinking a latte, or a woman in a stunning black and white 1940’s dress with red lipstick leaning seductively against a building, or a doorman in an old-fashioned uniform and think, This is staged, right? It’s hard not to dream up characters and tales, but it is like drinking from a fire hose. It becomes a blur.

After breakfast, which like everything in New York is fast and efficient and all business, we hoofed our way to Random House. The day got warm—mid-seventies in mid-October—and I started to sweat. Great, I’ll smell like I just came from the gym. Not that I belong to a gym, but I can imagine—I’m a fantasy author after all. The good news is that my coffee breath will likely overwhelm the body odor.

Random House is lodged in the first fourteen floors of a giant glass building. In a stark lobby that could have been the setting from a Ayn Rand story if she had written 2001 Space Odyssey. They have glass cases of significant books they’ve published up on the walls well out of the reach of mortals. My favorite was Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer.


Security at all buildings in Manhattan is strangulation tight, and always leaves you feeling that publishing books is just a front for something else. I’m positive that if you push the lowest button on the elevator it will take you to MIB headquarters. Alas, I wasn’t allowed near the elevator panel, so we’ll never know for sure.

Tom, my editor’s assistant, came down to rescue Robin and I from the barren bench in the lobby and provide escort. I thought of calling him Strider, but figured that was too geeky. I soon realized such a thing was impossible. One does not simply walking into Del Rey. One needs to have credentials to work there. Now you might think that would entail diplomas and signed letters of recommendation, and I’m certain they have those too, but first and foremost, their geeks. They have to be. They read fantasy books all day and have life size cut-outs of George Martin in their cubicles. That’s right…Del Rey is geek heaven.

After meeting and chatting with my editor, Trisha Nawani, who works beneath a threat-of-death-by-fantasy-book-avalanche shelf (seriously, I hope you have literary insurance and a hard hat). She alone in Del Rey has an iMac, which made me smile and think she might be the queen of the Del Rey Geek Realm. When I found out she was deeply into Magic the Gathering, I began looking for her crown.

Then Trisha led Robin and I to the event, a large room where the other authors had begun to gather. Right now you’re imagining a dark room with no descernable walls and a blue light coming up from the illuminated floor casting everyone’s face in sinister shadows like the judges at the start of the Christopher Reeve version of Superman. We’re all in cloaks, most with hoods up, except Shawn who looks cooler without it. Sorry to say that you’re imagination—or rather mine—is a tiny bit off. We were in a well lit event space not unlike a high end hotel conference hall, except with books. Books on shelves, book on tables, some were mine. Smile.

The first author I ran into was a wild, bearded man who gave me a bear hug. The rest of you might know him as Myke Cole. If you’re wondering if you’ve ever met Myke—you haven’t. No one forgets Myke Cole. He’s a cross between Hemingway and Peter Jackson’s stand in for Gimli. He’s the one in the pictures below with the Fahrenheit 451 T-shirt, and the bicep with the tattoo that is big enough to write a novel on. I already knew Myke, but the next author I’d never met and was anxious to as I’d read her most recent book—Uprooted—a few months ago and loved it. I’m certain Naomi Novik had no idea who I was. I’m pretty sure she still doesn’t.

The clock struck 11:00am and the doors were opened. I didn’t know this at first as I was talking to Shawn Spearman (who I know very well in the Narnia-quese world of inter-webs, but have never met in real life). But when I spotted someone with a copy of Theft of Swords, I got clued into the start of the event and I walked to a table to sign it. By the time I did a line had formed at my table. Some brought bags carrying books of mine.

One fellow had a complete set of my original self-published works. Another fellow who goes by the name Kevin, presented me with a Fritz Leiber book as my Riyria novels have often been compared to them, but I am famous for never having read anything by Mr. Leiber.

Orbit sent over a stack of Rise of Empire as my addition to the Robin Hobb Coffee Klutch. (I’m still calling it that even though she wasn’t there.) In the midst of all this I spotted a familiar face over my shoulder. Tim Gerard Reynolds, the voice of my audiobooks had taken time from his ever busy schedule to say hello.


The man is now an ‘A-lister’ in the audiobook world, and still remembers my name. Squee! I never get enough time to speak to this man who gave voice to Royce and Hadrian, and once again he was gone before I could say much. He had places to go and I had people to meet.

Robin got her own celebrity moment when a pair of women approached her. They wanted to thank her for all her hard work on the Kickstarter (that they just loved) and for pushing me to write more Riyria stories. The three of them spent more than half an hour swapping favorite "Riyria stories" and Robin dished with them about some behind the scenes stuff.

As things wound down I met Terry Brooks when Shawn told me to stand next to him (or at least his wife) for this photo.


He explained how he had outlived everyone at his publisher. I replied that he shouldn’t let that get him down, and that if he kept at it I was certain one day he’d make a go of this ‘writing thing.’

After the event my editor treated us to lunch. It was there that  I learned about Tom’s computer game and movie addiction and Trisha’s affection for Magic the Gathering. So there you have it, publishers are in fact human, and oddly normal people with ordinary lives. Sort of. Well, as ordinary as people can be who have a life size cut-out of George Martin in their offices.

By the time we got back to the Port Authority bus station, we’d walked 12,984 steps. I had a beer at the bar beside the bus station and discussed the Mets with a fan on the bar stool next to me. Born a Tigers fan, I adopted the Nationals when they were born right about the time I moved to DC. That had to be a sign or something. But as Hadrian says, ‘Your enemy is only your enemy until he hits the ground’—or in this case, you do.

A long five hours later we were home. The dream was over, and once again I was just a guy who wrote some books, in a townhouse that needs cleaning. Then I saw the boxes.

The Death of Dulgath proofs were back! But that’s another story.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Authors Helping Publishers: Kickstarter Card Game

I really like the guys & gals over at Ragnarok Publications.  They released my short story "Professional Integrity" in the Blackguards Anthology they Kickstarted last August, and they produced a beautiful book with stories from almost two dozen amazing authors.

Now, they're running a Kickstarter to produce a card game dreamed up by fellow fantasy author Mark Lawrence (author of The Broken Empire Series and The Red Queen's War). It looks like a lot of fun.

I backed as soon as I heard about it, and they are already 100% funded. But more funding means more perks through stretch goals.  They've even asked me to pen a few snarky quotes for the game, so there's that to look forward to. In any case, check it out and if looks like something you think you'd enjoy why not back it as well?  Click on the graphic below (or this link) to learn more.