Category Archives: Maze Beset

January Round-Up #amwriting #superheroes #cyberpunk

And look! There’s the branding for the superhero stories.

As promised, the January story is no longer available for free. If you missed it, Frigid Shame, a story from the Maze Beset universe, is now available on Amazon and Kobo for 99 cents.

Alice, a former medical school student turned ice-generating superhero, has some issues, and she needs to sort them out. Winter, it turns out, is her new favorite season, whether she likes it or not.

Next month’s story will take us to the Asian-inspired culture of Ilauris in a story titled The Price of Tea. If you’d like to make sure you find that story while it’s free, be sure to sign up for my newsletter, and you’ll get an email shortly after the story is posted every month. Link in the menu bar above.

In other news, the books of the Maze Beset trilogy have received a facelift. Again. Lots of folks complained because they liked the old blue cover for Dragons In Pieces. I heard you. That cover didn’t work because too many folks thought it said “epic fantasy,” but I’ve gone back to a simpler blue scheme, followed up with a simpler red scheme and a simpler green scheme.  Click through on the cover to find them all on Amazon.

If you purchased a copy of the yellow cover for the first book, I still have a few copies of the second and third, and will continue to bring them to shows until I run out for folks who want a matching set. I don’t have any more copies of the original red and white covers for book 2 & 3, though. There was an incident with an overwatered plant next to a cardboard box on my desk…and that was that for my small back stock of the old covers.

But wait! There’s more! The next Darkside Seattle novella is available for pre-order on both Amazon and Kobo.

Isabella lives in DeeSeat. She breathes it. People respect her family for doing the right thing and standing up when others would lay down and die. Even when it gets them killed.

Gangs rule DeeSeat, or so they want to believe. Isabella just wants to survive, and she’s tired of having to fight so hard for that.

Mechanic is the third novella, but you don’t have to read them in order. Street Doc, Fixer, and Mechanic each stand on their own. Next on my DeeSeat plate is Hacker, a story about a man with a VR problem.

And finally, if you like my stuff and want to help me out even more than just buying my books, Clockwork Dragon–the authors co-op I helped found and am part of–has launched a Patreon. We have no idea what we’re doing, but I’m sure we’ll figure it out. For just $5 a month, you’ll automatically get an ebook of every novel-length release from four different authors, myself included, at least two weeks in advance of the release. For 2018, we expect that to net you at least 7 books. Before publication.

Cheers!

Change Is In the Air

It’s December, which means it’s time to chill, prop up my feet, and relax.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Okay, for real, it means that I have a lot of work to do. Knights 5 is in revisions. Darkside Seattle: Mechanic is also in revisions. Once those are taken care of, it’s time to apply grinding things to various body parts for The Greatest Sin 6. And things just kinda keep going from there. My 2017 publication schedule was sparse, and there are good, honest reasons for that, but it’s not going to happen again in 2018.

This post, though, is about change.

For the next year, and longer if I can maintain it, I have set myself a goal to release one new short story every single month, whether I have a book release or not. Even during NaNoWriMo, even in the summer when I’m on the road every day.

It’ll be awesome, and you can watch my descent into madness in real time.

But wait! There’s a twist.

Every short story in this barrage will go on my website, this very page, for free. For one week. On the second Tuesday of every month, starting next week, December 12th, you can read it here. The story will run anywhere from 1k to 10k words, and it will fit into one of my four main world categories: Spirit Knights, Maze Beset, The Greatest Sin, or Ilauris.

(Given the nature of Darkside Seattle and the breadth of my audience, it won’t be included. Sorry.)

On the third Tuesday of every month, that story will disappear from my website forever, replaced by a link to buy it for 99 cents USD on Amazon or Kobo.

Do you want an email nudge from me when the story is free? Plus reminders about events I’m working and books I’m releasing? Look! I have a newsletter! There’s a link in the menu bar and everything! It’s amazing how this digital age stuff works. Almost like magic.

I hope you enjoy the stories and I look forward to writing them.

Sprinting To The End #NaNoWriMo

At this point, my final NaNo wordcount is looking to be around 90k. Some of those words were easy, and others were hard. I contended with two conventions and one conference, and also the first anniversary of my father’s passing. For an extra challenge, a friend with terminal cancer passed last week when I thought she still had a few more months, and I’ve had some in-house medical drama here.

If you’re a Greatest Sin fan, the medical drama was not about my health. I promise that, though I have a cold right now, I’m fine. Erik is fine too. Yes, I’m drinking plenty of fluids and taking care of myself.

Anyway, I’ll finish the current book later today, most likely, and then see if I can bang out a short story or two between then and Thursday.

If you’ve won or are about to, congrats! I hope you enjoy/ed the congratulatory video.

If you didn’t win and don’t think you will, I feel your pain. Those who’ve been following along already know my basic advice. To sum up: don’t be hard on yourself.

For those who didn’t finish the story, regardless of your wordcount, I recommend keeping on with the keeping on until you finish the story. After November, don’t neglect the rest of your life, but carve out a little time for you and your new writing habit. If 500 words per day fits into your life, then write 500 words per day.

For myself, I have to get back to a bunch of things I let fall by the wayside. On Friday, I have a mountain of tasks to tend, including some long-ignored gaming. Then I have a bunch of planning to work on for 2018.

Whatever you like from my catalog, there will be something for you in 2018. Darkside Seattle: Mechanic will be out soon. Knights 5 has a firm release date of March 27, with a cover reveal coming soon. The Greatest Sin #6 is slated for a soft release date (meaning it might slip) in late May. If all goes well, the next Ilauris book will release in October 2018, and another Darkside Seattle will follow shortly after. For all the supers fans, my next supers book has a soft release date in early July (though it doesn’t involve Bobby and the gang). I have other projects, but can’t commit to any release dates (not even soft ones) for any of them yet.

I’ll also have a bunch of short stories for ya’ll, and I’ve got some stuff in upcoming anthologies. Watch for announcements about Undercurrents, Hideous Progeny, and more! If we’re lucky, we’ll also have Clockwork Conjurations next fall.

What else is on the horizon? Clockwork Dragon, the author’s co-op I co-founded, will open up a Patreon in January. The goal of our Patreon will be to help us pay for our event tables, which will give us breathing room to cut back a little bit on the events and write even more. And that’s really what we all want–more stories. Link coming soon! I hope you’ll consider spending a few bucks to support a group of four indie authors that happens to include me.

Which is to say that November’s fun is about to give way to real life. I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving!

The End of Summer #amwriting

 

Summer is officially over as far as I’m concerned, because I have no more conventions until after Labor Day. My schedule through the end of the year:

Readerfest–Seattle, WA
Renton City Comic Con–Renton, WA
GeekGirlCon–Seattle, WA
Galaxaar–Issaquah, WA
Jet City Comic Show–Tacoma, WA
Orycon–Portland, OR

That’s it. No heavy travel, and all relatively small shows. I remain a Municipal Liaison for my NaNoWriMo region, and I already have a plan for my NaNo this year. It’s a book that I know in advance will require multiple revision passes for detail and layered meaning.

Other projects on the horizon:

Spirit Knights 5 should be out next March, hopefully with a concurrent audiobook. This will complete the series, but not end the adventures in that version of Earth, or with Claire and the gang. I’ll take a hiatus from urban fantasy to focus on other things next year, then come back to it with at least two books set in that world. More info about it as the book’s checklist earns checkmarks.

Darkside Seattle should have another installment by the end of the year. I’m not firm on that deadline. It may be January instead. Regardless, work continues on the novella collection. Looking forward to 1-3 more releases next year. The first novel should be out in late 2019 or early 2020.

The Greatest Sin earned a positive Kirkus review (“luminous”, “daring”!), and there will be another announcement regarding it in a few days. Book 6 is in the works, and we’re hoping to return to May for our release month after some annoying setbacks this year.

The supers from Maze Beset are getting some fresh love in a project with no deadline at this time. This will be another case of me leaving the series title behind in favor of something else. I expect to have at least one book sometime next year for this world.

In Ilauris news, I’ve settled on the Elf book as my next project on that front, which I’m hoping to release in Fall 2018. Also, a story from the pirate faction will appear in an anthology titled Undercurrents: What Lies Beneath. The pirates feel like a short story subject instead of a novel subject, so there may be more to come from that.

My first turn as an anthology editor, Bridges, releases in November. I don’t have a story in it, but I’m exited about the project anyway. All the stories came from members of the Northwest Independent Writers Association, a group to which I belong. Without NIWA, I never would have met Jeffrey Cook, and we all know how that’s turned out (hint: well).

As part of Clockwork Dragon, I’ve got an anthology project in the works for Spring 2019, Spring 2020, and Spring 2021 releases. Yep, I’m that far ahead of this thing. It’s going to be awesome, and I look forward to sharing all the super-secret details with everyone after Norwescon 2018! If you’re looking for Dwago’s book, circumstances have delayed it again, and I have no new hopeful release date at this time.

For future planning, I can confirm I’ll definitely be at Emerald City Comic Con, Miscon, GEARCon, and GenCon again in 2018. I’ll be at other shows too, but they’re unconfirmed at this point.

#My5: Inspiration, or Weird Associations #amwriting

One question most of us penmonkey types get asked often is how we come up with these wacky story ideas, what inspires us, and what exactly is a “heckbiscuit”? That last one might just be me, but the point still stands. Many folks just want to know what makes artist brains do art. KM Alexander, a delightful gentleman who writes disturbing things, asked me to participate in a celebration of this question and its various answers, called My5. As such, I present five things that have inspired my stories. Specifically, the Maze Beset trilogy of superhero novels.

1. The X-Men. Back in college, which happened so long ago cellphones hadn’t been invented yet, I read X-Men titles. I wound up in enforced proximity to these comics often and picked them up to pass the time that otherwise would been blank boredom. Prior to college, I had been exposed to the X-Men cartoon, so when I had the choice of several different comics, I picked up the X-Men ones.

My favorite X-Man is Nightcrawler. Because duh.

On the whole, the movies have been kind of disappointing, but they came out too late to blunt my interest in the characters.

This is the basis for the humanity of the supers in the series. They have lives and families, and the story isn’t really about the superpowers. The powers are just the cool guns and tech they use.

2. The Heroes TV Show, Season 1. Never mind the later parts where it got really weird. The initial season showed supers in a way I hadn’t personally seen before. Superhero as everyday person with a bizarre power and no spandex really appealed to me on many levels. I know comics have been exploring this idea for a long time, but aside from X-Men, I never got into comics much. I like lots of words and not many pictures. This show happened during a segment of my life when I had time to watch TV, and it hit a lot of buttons for me. I looked at that and Hmmed and muttered a lot.

This is where the basic idea of the novels came from. Genetics, conspiracies, modern day action, and all that.

3. Marvel Super Heroes RPG (MSH). Technically, this happened first. I started playing D&D in high school, which turned out to be a gateway drug for Shadowrun, Vampire: The Masquerade, and MSH. That’s right. D&D is, in fact, a gateway drug. For other RPGs.

MSH is ridiculously silly. I once used random chargen to create a character made entirely of strawberry jell-o. I’m not saying it was a good character or I ever played it, but random chargen gave it to me. Another time, it gave me a character with two forms. One was stupid and the other was smart. Ah, MSH, you’re adorable. Because of you, I have a lot more d10s than I need for anything else, ever.

But this is where the idea of random, bizarre superpowers entered my head, which is the foundation on which the trilogy sits.

4. Mutants & Masterminds RPG. Like MSH, M&M provided an opportunity to be a superhero, only this time with less silly rules. Before starting the novels, I started an M&M game on the Myth-Weavers RPG bulletin board site. The game, now in its sixth year and still chugging along with two of the original players, began with exactly the same premise as the novels.

More importantly, I present a quote from the character generation section, specifically the (Alternate) Form power:

Swarm: Your “body” is actually thousands of other tiny creatures: insects, worms, even little robots.

It’s not hard to see where the idea of a person being made up of a swarm of tiny dragons came from. Thanks, Green Ronin Publishing!

5. Friends. (Sorry, no pictures!) A staggering number of my ideas come from chatting with friends. I say “What if…” and then we ramble on tangents via chat or in person until the idea is awesome. In this particular case, the two players mentioned in #4 are friends who’ve been playing the characters of Jayce and Liam for all of those six years. I shamelessly yoinked their characters (more or less with permission) and used them. Bobby came from having an NPC of that name who interacted with their characters and became a real person for having done so.

Those are my five. Check out these other #My5 posts for more ramblings on inspiration: KM AlexanderMichael Ripplinger, Laurie Tom, Eric Lange

Dragons In Pieces #Ebook Bundle

WARNING: Blatant self-promotion ahead.

I’m pleased to announce that Dragons In Pieces was selected to be included in the Zombies, Monsters, and Gods ebook bundle from BundleRabbit. The bundle is Pay What You Want, which means you get to set the price for up to $44 worth of awesome fantasy and sci-fi ebooks.banner

As a value-added bonus, a portion of whatever you elect to pay for this bundle goes to a charity of your choice. Looking for more info about the books? Check here.