Category Archives: New Titles

Breath of Stone Is Up!

Breath of Stone, the second novel of Desert Rising, is available now!

Bone returns to silt and sand,
Blood to salt and water,
Breath to wind and stone,
Soul to sun and storm.
The desert consumes us all.

522-BreathOfStone-cover - CopyFor an instant, the desert heeded Syrina’s call–sand and fire, wind and stone, igniting and attacking at her command. But the triumph killed ally and enemy alike, leaving her with a handful of survivors, broken expectations, and a dead man’s boots.

There is no time to mourn.

The desert longs to feed on any Velshaan, and Raskah is willing to trade his own soul to command the sands. With hostages to ransom and the desert itself as his thrall, he will demand Syrina’s surrender before surmounting the rest of their kin.

But Commander Pyrius rejects defeat and refuses surrender. Despite years of exile, his skill and honor is remembered by Blade and bloodkin alike, and he will risk everything in his past to forge hope for the future.

But none of then yet understand that what is gained cannot always be lost when one chooses, and what is possessed sometimes refuses to be abandoned.

Breath of Stone is currently available through Amazon.

Really and truly, my darlings, I’m so excited to see this novel finally make it to your hands, and look forward to hearing from you!  If you’re inclined to leave a review, or add it to your Goodreads list, I’d so appreciate it.

And if you’re a Patreon supporter at a higher tier, your copy of Breath of Stone will soon be on its way to you!

I can assure you the next novel is already underway–now partially written and charted out with the Magic Index Cards.

#SFWApro

 

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I Want You To Love It

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I want you to love Sand of Bone.

Yes, of course I want folks to buy the book, but I want you to love it even more.

If you love it, you’ll stay up later than you should to read just one more chapter.  You’ll suck in a breath when the unexpected happens.  You’ll smile when one Blade tries, awkwardly, to flirt for the first time.  Your muscles will tense and your pulse will quicken when the fight begins.  You’ll let out a long breath of relief when someone at last understands.  You’ll feel joy and betrayal, anticipation and dread, satisfaction and hope.

You’ll finish the story and want more, and spend time thinking about what will happen next because the “more” isn’t available yet.

I’m working on that more right now, my darlings, because I love this story.  I want you to love it with me.  The greatest motivation is knowing others love it, too.

If you haven’t picked up Sand of Bone yet, you can now find it at Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iTunes.

And, of course, it’s also still available at Amazon and Smashwords.

 

 

If you want to stay up to date on new releases, upcoming projects and more, don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter!

 

#SFWApro

 

New Bits On SAND OF BONE

At last!

Sand of Bone is available for Nook through Barnes & Noble.

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There’s also a great review by Sherwood Smith at Goodreads.  (Cool news about her upcoming release can be found here.)

My favorite thing about the review?  She discusses her grimdark limits as a reader and where Sand of Bone falls on that continuum — information so important to readers choosing their story experience.

I want the folks who buy Sand of Bone to be GLAD they did so.  I don’t want readers surprised by a book that’s darker than — or not as dark as — their expectation.  As I’ve said before, my goal as a publisher is not to sell as many books as possible.  It’s to sell as many books as possible to readers who will enjoy them.

And folks have been buying Sand of Bone through Amazon and Smashwords!  Hooray and thank you!  (And it’s been nice to see Sword and Chant get a little bump as well.)  Now all you wonderful Nook readers can get in on the action.

 

Remember to sign up for the newsletter that’ll keep you up to date on my upcoming books,  convention travels, writing progress and more!

New Release: SAND OF BONE

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“Searingly vivid, and grittily realistic, Sand of Bone slams the reader into a harsh desert world full of complex people, tense moral dilemmas, and an exhilarating jet of the weird. Do not start this one late at night!” — Sherwood Smith

Amazon     Smashwords     iTunes

Barnes & Noble     Kobo

Syrina – descendent of the gods, one of the Velshaan who rule the deserts and deltas, cast out by her bloodkin for daring to reject their intrigues.

They thought exile to Salt Hold – surrounded by parched earth and outcast Blades who despise her – would end her defiance. But Salt is safer than the grand alcazar of home when she uncovers the secrets of commanding sand, fire, water, wind – the power mixed with ambition that nearly destroyed her bloodkin in generations past.

Pyrius was the desert’s most respected Blade Commander until the bloodkin sentenced him to Salt. But he finds a way to keep his Blade vows while still exacting revenge: serve the exiled Velshaan Syrina. When her bloodkin’s threats become actions, Pyrius sets a plan in motion that will either prevent the looming civil war simmering in the desert’s heat or see them all fed to the sands for sedition.

Because Syrina’s ability to touch the desert’s deepest elements is still fickle and raw – too weak to defeat her bloodkin, strong enough her bloodkin want her stopped before she learns more. The gods demand a soul in trade, and the fate of the living rests upon the redemption of the dead.

Amazon     Smashwords     iTunes

Coming Soon:   Barnes & Noble     Kobo

Sand of Bone — Closing In…

It’s coming, my darlings!

I have my first blurb!
“Searingly vivid, and grittily realistic, Sand of Bone slams the reader into a harsh desert world full of complex people, tense moral dilemmas, and an exhilarating jet of the weird. Do not start this one late at night!”Sherwood Smith

This makes me incredibly happy!

This weekend is for final corrections, proofreading, and the like. The cover design is in progress, and I’ll give you a look when it’s ready.

The tentative release date is August 20… though I’d love to have it up and ready by GenCon!

And you did sign up for my newsletter, didn’t you?

The Next Big Thing!

This is fun: writers answer ten questions about a new or upcoming project, then tag other writers to do the same.   Sherwood Smith was kind enough to tag me, and the writers I’m tagging will be listed at the bottom of the post.  I’ll link to their answers next week.

Here we go:

What is the working title of your current book?

Sword and Chant

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Different parts came from different places.  The central characters and their relationships came from a horrid, derivative, pseudo-Celtic fantasy novel I’d written years and years and years ago.  It was my first attempt at a novel.  The characters and their relationships were interesting but everything else was…  Ugh. 

Worst of all, I actually sent it to a couple publishers.  Once I’d learned enough to know how terrible it was, I lived in fear I’d someday hear it read aloud at one of those “It Came From the Slush Pile” convention panels.

Many years later, while writing four other novels that shall one day be revised, I became interested in the social and political dynamics of the Kashmir region, Afghanistan in the 1990s and the events surrounding Six Day War.  Those ideas freed the characters of my first attempted novel from the prison of derivative plot, and I combined them with different elements of setting and culture.  Some beta readers have said the setting feels like Turkey, and some say it feels like northern Africa.

The primary antagonist—the Chant—evolved from musings about the nature of sacrifice: the cost to the one making the sacrifice, the one causing the sacrifice to be made, the one accepting the sacrifice, and the willingness of all parties to participate in the sacrifice. (Those ideas will get more stage time in the sequel.)

What genre does your book fall under?

Fantasy, most certainly.  Epic fantasy, I suppose.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

First of all—movie! Woohoo!  Unless, of course, it’s one of those horrid adaptations.  Then it would be awful, and the actors actually playing the roles wouldn’t want to admit their involvement.

Anyway.

In my mind, the characters look and sound like themselves, not actors, but I can come up with a couple ideas for the secondary characters.  I could age Grace Park many, many years so she could play Nikala, one of the warlord-chieftains.  Andre Braugher could to play Yasid Sword, and Joy Bryant could play his daughter.  But for the main characters…  I’m clueless. 

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Seriously, it took me months to write a blurb that was under 200 words, and even then someone else had to fix it.  One sentence?  Gah.
It could be: Jaynes will do anything to avenge his father’s murder, but his triumphs as a warlord didn’t prepare him to face the threat of civil unrest, foreign invasion, and the seductive promises of the exiled god of sacrifice.

Or it could be: Shala Sword emerges from hiding to prevent the god of sacrifice from conquering the tribes, but finds the most brutal battles are against mortals intent on exacting revenge for sins committed a generation ago.
Or it could be…  Well, you get the idea.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I chose to self-publish, for reasons outlined here.  It’s currently available as an ebook through online retailers and in multiple formats.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Once I decided what I wanted to do with the old manuscript, I futzed with the opening chapters for about three months.  Then 9/11 happened, and the last thing I wanted to do was write about asymmetrical warfare, insurgencies, and guerrilla tactics.  When I was finally ready to face it again, I tore into it with a fury.  It was the first novel I’d written from a detailed outline. I finished within three months, and came in at nearly 160K words.  I later cut out enough words to make another short novel, had those chopped words not been so worthy of chopping.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Yeesh, I hate doing that.  It’s epic fantasy with a large cast of characters, gods who speak with mortals, battles and arguments, love and loyalty and loss, and a subtle form of earth magic.  It’s like other books with those things in it.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My own internal debates.  What happens when lifelong enemies decide they’re tired of fighting, or when the leaders want to end the fight but those they lead don’t want to?  What are the personal costs of fighting a weaker opponent who refuses to give up?  What are the moral implications of fighting an enemy who is weaker but more ruthless than you are?  What are the moral implications of not fighting, if that choice enables the enemy to hurt someone else?  When is it ethical to sacrifice your life—whether through action or death—and when is it ethical to use the willing sacrifices others make?  When does the act of defending one’s self cross the line to excessive aggression?  Why do people insist on saying, “It’s really that simple” when it obviously isn’t?

Odd as it sounds, I think about these things a great deal.  However, I very rarely discuss them because folks usually want to deal with real-world examples, and as soon as real-world examples are used, the discussion becomes one of politics.  And once politics enter the picture, Someone Must Be Right.

Sword and Chant lets me explore what happens to a culture, and to individuals, when they can’t find solutions that are good and right, and find themselves instead trapped doing what is ugly and necessary.

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

It’s filled with women and men who have families and friends, who argue and fight, who fall in love and defend one another, who are sometimes proud and sometimes ashamed, who have to lead with confidence even when they know they haven’t a clue what to do next.

And there is the Chant—god of sacrifice and patron of unfulfilled dreams.  He controls a skilled assassin who has an attitude, who’d be a pretty cool guy if he weren’t a god-enthralled killer who’s quite good at his job.

Who did you tag? I tagged two of my VPXV classmates–LaShawn Wanak and Stephanie Charette–and my longest-running critique partner and VPXVI grad Sandy Skalski.  There are a couple others I’ll be adding to the list, too.