Tag Archives: Dragons

Cover Reveal and Pre-Order: Ghost Is the New Normal

sk4ecover

Book 4 is a real thing with a real release date: March 21, 2017. It has a pre-order at only 99 cents (this price will only last until March 22!), and it’s all ready to go so I can have copies in hand for Norwescon (Seatac, April 13-16). The audiobook is scheduled for release one week later, on March 28. I’m excited about this one because it has giant mutant cockroaches. And also ghosts and dragons, of course.

Claire has a big problem, Drew has a smaller problem, and Justin gets to have some fun. Iulia causes trouble. Avery is sensible. Enion remains adorable and Tariel is still the only real grownup in the room. If you’re new to this series, check out where it begins with Girls Can’t Be Knights, available in ebook, paperback, and audio!

With this book’s release on the horizon, I can now also officially state for the record that the Spirit Knights series will have a total of 5 books. That’s right, Number Five will be Number Last for the series. But that’s not the last you’ll see of Claire, Drew, Justin, and the rest of the crew. Claire and Justin kind of already aren’t Spirit Knights anymore, you see. I freely admit that this series began with a book I wasn’t expecting to make into a series. It’s gone places I didn’t really foresee. As such, the series title doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense anymore.

Which is why, following book 5 of Spirit Knights, I’m shifting to a different line of attack with this stuff. There will be more stories, some about Claire and some not. They’ll all take place in the same world where Portland is extra-weird. But they won’t all take place in Portland, or even in the PNW. I’m looking forward to spending time with the kind of people affected by [spoiler] [spoiler], and [spoiler].

#Superheroes In Denim

I’m officially announcing the release of a 3-in-1 edition of the Maze beset trilogy. It includes a brand new short story and a selection of non-Bobby character-based flashfic of the ‘day in the life’ variety. The combined edition will be released in early May because I have to finish other projects (*cough*Ethereal Entanglements*cough*) by the end of April, and this omnibus edition actually requires work to assemble. It seems like a really minor thing to do, and yet, it’s actually a major pain in the butt.

I present the omnibus cover, which I am delighted by. This edition will go into the Kindle Unlimited program, so if that’s your book-reading preference, you’ll be able to find it there. If not, the three separate books are still available all over the place. When the interior is finalized, I’ll be offering the full package of new material as a freebie option for signing up for my newsletter as an alternative to getting ARCs of everything I release.

superheroes in denim

Book Review: The Blue Dragon’s War by Sean Newton

The Blue Dragon’s War by Sean Newton – 5 stars

For thousands of years, the Dragons ruled the continent of Calibran. Wielding magic and an intelligence few could match, their whim was law, and the lesser beings were merely playthings and game pieces.

But not everyone was content to be ruled by the dragons.

The minotaurs of Kehlaktur are strong, fierce and independent. They boast that their city needs no walls to keep them safe, only the strong arms and brave hearts of their warriors. And up till now, they have been right.

They have something the Blue Dragon wants.

Glaurax the Deep comes to the minotaurs with an offer: accept his rule and he will transform them into a mighty army and make them masters of all, subject only to the dragon.

But, the minotaurs value their freedom too highly to be ruled by a dragon tyrant. Now, the dragon is coming to take by force what the minotaurs would not give willingly. With the aid of madmen and blood magic, swords and axes, the minotaurs will fight to stay free.

When you’re fighting a dragon, though, is all that enough?

Told by an elder minotaur as a history of their people to younger minotaurs, this tale covers an important event from their past, one relevant to their present. In it, Grom is depicted as a hot-headed young warrior still in need of training, and follows him as he learns the lessons of wiser warriors and experience to come into his own.

This minotaur culture is interesting and detailed without being shoved down your throat. The device of depicting a storyteller who breaks into the story every so often to help his listeners understand some of the more subtle messages works beautifully. I found the storyteller to be the most interesting, compelling character, in fact, and am looking forward to finding out who he really was in his youth, as I suspect much of his knowledge of Grom’s heroism may be firsthand, or possibly from his father or grandfather.

I enjoyed this fast-paced bardic-style tale a great deal and look forward to reading more from this series. The novella is currently in pre-order on Amazon and will release on October 5th.

Book Review: All the Colors of Magic by @CaveoPrincipia

All the Colors of Magic by James A. Owen – 5 stars

ALL THE COLORS OF MAGIC is a coloring book for All Ages, filled with illustrations selected from the series The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica by author/illustrator James A. Owen, including all seven covers, a selection of chapter illustrations from the novels, and featuring: Dragons, Badgers, a slightly-depressed six-armed Minotaur, Battle Goats, a Goblin Market, A Mechanical Owl, a Sphinx, more Dragons, and other Magical Creatures, all presented in beautiful removable pages that can be framed as they are, or colored and mounted in a place of honor on your refrigerator. The book is perfectbound, 8 3/4″ x 11″, with a full-color glossy cover. The 22 illustrations featured on the interior pages have been printed on a heavy, uncoated stock that will be ideal to color with crayons, pencils, markers, or watercolors. The pages are printed on one side only, and are perforated along the spine for easy removal.

I have a confession to make: I didn’t read the book. That’s because it’s a coloring book. There’s very little to read. On the surface, that should make this a children’s thing and not worthy of a review. Except it’s neat enough that I feel compelled to share it. As regular readers may have noticed, I kind of like dragons. A little. A smidge.

Okay, a lot. I adore dragons. There, I said it. This book is a bunch of dragons and other fantasy critters illustrated in black and white. They’re actually quite good as-is, and would make any wall more pleasant to look at fresh out of the binding. Every illustration is on high quality, thick paper, and I have similar drawings already hanging on my walls. But they’ve been drawn such that coloring is almost demanded.

If you like dragons and fantasy critters, and you have a hankering to use colored pencils, crayons, or whatever strikes your fancy, I recommend this. It’s good stuff and completely suitable for anyone who can color in the lines.

In addition to this book, there’s also a new Kickstarter by Mr. Owen that will put THREE awesome new coloring books into your hands before Christmas.

Ye Olde To-Do List #amwriting #amediting

I finally finished the first draft of my next book this past weekend, titled Al-Kabar. This is the second novel of Ilauris, though it doesn’t follow Damsel In Distress as a sequel. This book is intended to stand on its own, and only shares the primary element of that previous book: it’s about a woman who has to learn how to rescue herself. Now it’s time to fix all the stuff I already know is wrong with it, then shuffle it off to some beta readers while I dive into my other projects for the remainder of the year.

Here’s my schedule for the next few months:

6/20: South Bay Grange Strawberry Festival, Olympia, WA
6/27: Destination Staycation at the AFK Elixirs & Eatery in Renton, WA
7/3-5: GearCon in Portland, OR
7/11: Guest of Jacobsen’s Books at the Farmer’s Market in Hillsboro, OR
7/15-26: RAGBRAI!
7/30-8/2: GenCon in Indianapolis, IN
8/19-23: WorldCon in Spokane, WA
9/?: Release Al-Kabar
9/19-20: Rose City Comic Con in Portland, OR
9/25-7: Steamposium in Seattle, WA

As you can see, I’ll be a tiny bit busy this summer, especially on the weekends. My next project after Al-Kabar is an as yet untitled collaboration with singer/songwriter Ilana Harkavy. It’s a Young Adult title about self-image inspired by her song Lipstick Liars. At the same time, I’ll be working with Erik this summer and fall on the fourth book of The Greatest Sin, also as yet untitled.

Looking beyond that to November, I’m expecting to walk away from NaNoWriMo with first drafts for the sequel to Girls Can’t Be Knights, already titled Backyard Dragons, and the next Ilauris book, working title Bronwyn. Watch for a 3-in-1-plus-new-material to come soon (no idea when) for Bobby and the gang as I work feverishly to finish the full revamp of the Maze Beset trilogy so I can move on to Bobby’s new adventures without looking over my shoulder anymore at shoulda-woulda-coulda for the original trilogy.

Another new project is coming too! This one isn’t about books as much as it’s about dragons. Come see me in person to be the first to find out about this new venture I’ve been working on. I’ll talk more about that here when the heat and madness has passed.

Here’s to a great summer, folks. May it be every bit as awesome as we all know we deserve. Oh, and by the way, in case you somehow missed it, Girls Can’t Be Knights releases on Friday.

P.S. Should you happen to expect to be in a town while Ragbrai is passing through it, let me know! I won’t have copies of any of my books while on the ride, but I’ll be happy to stop and chat for a few. And if you’re also riding Ragbrai, I’d be delighted to meet with you in an overnight town.

Dragons In Pieces Is On Tour

A blog tour, that is! For the next month, Dragons In Pieces will be appearing on various blogs strewn across the internet. I’ll update this post as they go live with permanent links to the pages. For posterity! For glory! For fun!

Along with the tour, I’m also offering a giveaway on Goodreads, of 5 signed copies of Dragons In Pieces. They’re really sharp and snazzy, with dragons on the cover and everything.

1/27: Fantastic Indie Authors
1/27: Cheap and Free Amazon Kindle Books
1/28: Sun Mountain Reviews
1/29: Science Fiction Books and Authors
1/30: Bestseller Books
1/31: Cryptic Reads (includes a positive review, yay!)
2/3: Peace, Love and Writing
2/4: Book Freebies, Contests, and Giveaways
2/5: Live A Thousand Lives (includes an interview)
2/6: Rose Wynters
2/7: Fangs, Claws, and Demons
2/10: Dystopian Novels
2/10: Popular Fantasy Books List
2/11: Best YA Books
2/12: Hardcore Books, Video Games, and Readers
2/13: Indy Book Fairy
2/13: Fire and Ice Book Features
2/14: The Best Indie Books
2/17: Life As A Single Mom
2/18: Pressed Leaf Publishing (guest post)
2/19: Nocturnal Predators Reviews
2/19: Coffee & Books & Art
2/20: The Cat’s Pajamas (positive review!)
2/20: Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews
2/21: Walking on the Dark Side
2/24: Kay Lalone (review)

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Where Did You Get The Idea For Bobby’s Superpower?

I get asked about this a lot. If you haven’t read the book yet (You should!), Bobby is the main character of Dragons In Pieces. He abruptly develops a superpower that’s a little unusual. His body can become hundreds of tiny robot dragons. Repeatedly through the Maze Beset trilogy, he displays that he can pop just one or a handful off his body, or go full swarm and let them all out. Each dragon is about the size of a quarter, and when they pop off, each removes about that much of his body. So, when he just lets one out, it takes a fingertip from the last knuckle. Letting out a ‘handful’ is letting his whole hand become dragons up to his wrist, and that’s about 25 or so of them.

The Maze Beset trilogy originally began as a Mutants and Masterminds (second edition) role playing game, also titled Maze Beset, for which I am the Game Master. The game has a similar premise, similar bad guys, and similar themes. It began rather differently, with the characters being treated much more reasonably and deciding to work with the government because of it. The four main characters of that game are in the books as secondary characters, with most of them not appearing until Dragons In Chains.

Because I chose the number 35 for how many superheroes there would be in total, this meant I had to make up 31 of them myself. They needed names, basic personalities, superpowers, and appearances. I did a lot of the typical ones, like fire starting (Lizzie), ice generation (Alice), super-speed (Ai), and flight (Violet), but there are only so many options for typical powers and I got bored. Stephen, as a vampire, is an example of what my boredom led to. Why couldn’t someone set up a suite of powers and drawbacks that mimic a vampire? No reason why not. Matthew the werewolf had similar reasoning.

I just needed a few more, and I sat drumming my fingers on my desk, madly trying to come up with anything that didn’t seem stupid. There was the M&M Core Book on my desk. With no better ideas, I started scanning the power entries. There’s one power near the beginning called (Alternate) Form. This power is all about the hero’s body being able to turn into some other substance, like sand or shadow or mist. One of the options reads:

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

The Dragon On My DeskBingo. But…little robots? What kind of little robots? Enter The Dragon On My Desk, seen here hanging out with some tinsel and lights for the holiday. It normally sits, as noted, on my desk. This little guy has been jealously protected from my kids for years, because he’s mine. Never mind that he doesn’t have a proper name, that’s entirely irrelevant. Mine.

That dragon, though…well, I thought it would be both silly and difficult to explain if Bobby’s dragons looked like that one. Also, sparkly wings didn’t really fit my image of a mildly homophobic hick dumbass from Georgia. So, what should tiny robot dragons look like? How about this?

Yeah, much better. That’s the mercury dragon from AD&D, also known as 2nd edition D&D, found in the Monster Manual 2. I’ve always loved this particular picture. It’s far and away my favorite dragon in all the books. For some reason, this one says ‘dragon’ to me in a way that none of the others do. (For the record, the black dragon is my second favorite.)

Bobby’s dragons don’t look exactly like this, that would violate WotC’s copyright. Shorten the tail and give it a little bit of a robotic feel, and that’s the feel of them. Someday, I’m going to have someone make me a little horde of these things out of some kind of metal and stick them to my walls. Because.