Win Five Free SIGNED Books!

I am honored to be part of a wonderful five-book giveaway sponsored by David (D.J. Butler), the author of WITCHY EYE (which is a wonderful read, BTW, set in an incredibly unique alternate reality America of the early 1800s). We are each giving away five signed copies of our work in five packages. You can enter multiple times, and I hope you will. Simply click here to be taken to the entry platform.

Take Responsibility. And Sarah Calhoun, St. Tommy, and Joaquin Serrano! Happy Reading!

FantaSci AAR: Anatomy Of A Novel Release

Okay, this is late for an AAR from FantaSci. I know, it was two whole weeks ago, but let’s just say that the two worst times for any writer whose day job is teaching are the end of May and the beginning of September. Now that the feverish activity surrounding the last two weeks of school are out of the way, I can pretend I have a blog again.

The people at FantaSci were awesome, and I’d like to especially thank my editor, Rob Howell, who shoehorned me onto panels and shared his reading time, because up until we knew that my novel was releasing here, I wasn’t really officially part of the con.

I’m so honored to be part of Chris Kennedy Publishing and New Mythology Press; these guys really made me feel at home. And for the first time in my life, I had fans — like, actual, honest-to-God FANS — stop me in the hall and ask me to sign copies of a book. MY book. With, like, my actual name on the cover! And they bought copies! Of my book!

Here’s my book, which I have hardly mentioned on this blog.

So, I got to hang out with Larry Correia, who was nice enough to blurb this novel, and he is one of the most helpful senior authors I have ever met. Friday was my reading, and while it was understandably not well-attended, neither was anyone else’s, let’s be honest.

The highlight of my con was undoubtedly the Baen Roadshow, because 1) my picture was up there TWICE as the only mortal to have yet achieved the honor of winning both Baen Awards, and 2) Toni Weisskopf, the publisher of Baen, used the opportunity to mock the difference between Fantasy Scott and Science-Fiction Scott pictures. Hey, what can I say: those Jim Baen Memorial pictures of previous winners were intimidating. They were wearing ties and I lost my cool.

Fantasy Scott



Science-Fiction Scott

But people kept coming up to me and congratulating me on my wins. Like it meant something! See, the thing is, if you tell your “normal” friends or co-workers, “I won a SFF writing award,” they’ll go, “Oh. That’s nice. Congratulations.” But, really, it’s not part of their world, and it’s kind of like telling them that your club curling team won the state championship. Okay. That is a thing that some people — odd people — do.
But at FantaSci, people are INTO club curling! I mean, SFF. And they GOT why it was a big deal!

Also on Saturday, I was on a panel with Rob Howell and Barbara Evers discussing what made magic and magic users work. Probably do another blog entry on that. And then I also got to hang out with Robert “Speaker” Hampson, who kindly gave my kids little stuffed Wroguls (NOT octopuses) and whose book about these awesome aliens DO NO HARM I heartily recommend!

No, Seriously, I’m Giving Away A Signed Book. And Reading from it!

So, I’m giving away a signed copy of my new novel, and all you have to do to have a chance to win it is reblog and like the post. Chances of winning are dropping all the time, but there’s still one day before it releases tomorrow!

I’ll be at FantaSci in Raleigh, NC in just a few hours, and will be reading from the novel in the Oak Room at 3 pm CDT tomorrow!

Please stop by if you happen to be there!

BOOK GIVEAWAY: RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CROWN! (AND EXCERPT)

BIG BOOK RELEASE GIVEAWAY! MAY 21ST LAUNCH!!

I have a whole box of fresh, book-scented copies of my new, first-in-the-series novel, RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CROWN. Would you like a signed copy? Here’s what you do:

LIKE AND REBLOG this post between now and the LAUNCH DATE, MAY 21st! That’s all. And then, I will draw ONE NAME, and send you a copy of the book. Winners will be posted on May 29th, and books sent out on June 7th!

And it is with great pleasure that I present this excerpt, in which our protagonists assault an enemy airship:

Elazar turned to Azriyqam and Merav. Azriyqam felt as though she were trapped in a soap-bubble that might pop and take this whole unreal situation with it. At the same time, his voice took on an eerie clarity. “Stay on my wing. Azriyqam left, Merav right. We’re going to skim the trees and then climb from darkward. We attack out of the dark. I’ll be in front. You land behind our target. If you’re hurt, get back down as fast as you can. Now, fly!”

With that, he ran for the beach. Azriyqam followed, with Merav a half-second behind. They spread their wings, climbing in the gentle breeze. The great airship was very close now, but Azriyqam could not look back at it. Trying to look around while flying was an invitation to losing control.

The flat leaves of the palm trees formed a surface of dark waves beneath her, undulating in the wind. Ahead of her, Elazar’s deep bronze and Merav’s pale mauve skins glinted in the silver light, and her own pale green flesh doubtless did the same. How visible are we? She shuddered, remembering the terrible, tearing drumbeat of the Consortium’s guns—was it only yesterday?—and the far worse, sickening sensation of sliding her airswords through flesh that had followed.

Azriyqam strained against the air, putting everything into climbing. Elazar accelerated upward and she slid below him. Sure enough, a column of warm night air filled her wings and she rode the thermal after him. They flew higher in a wide spiral.

Now Azriyqam could risk a look back. The Consortium’s airship gleamed at the edges like a stretched egg, but dark at the center. Then, a beam of brilliant white light stabbed out from beneath it, probing down at the beach.

Ice settled in Azriyqam’s gut. Now they would find Senaatha for sure. Elazar said nothing, but continued his climb, and she and Merav followed for interminable seconds. The balloon hung below them, motionless now, just above the level of the trees. Elazar stopped climbing and arrowed back along their path in a shallow dive, and Azriyqam followed, wings aching with effort.

Elazar folded his wings, grabbed something from his harness, dropping sharply. The other two followed.

Now the earth rushed at her, the ovoid of the airship getting big. Bigger. Unbelievably big, becoming a curved surface. Against the moonlight, for just an instant, Azriyqam saw a black protrusion become a man standing within a small, circular railing. Clamped to the railing was a long, deadly shape. Suddenly, he rose, fumbling for the machine gun.

Elazar’s wings swept forward. Two silvery darts shot from between his fingers. The man staggered back, clutching at his chest, and Elazar was down, running across the canvas surface of the envelope. The throwing darts were light weapons, meant more to distract than to kill, but propelled by the momentum of his dive, they had struck their victim at over a hundred miles an hour. His scream had been ripped away by the wind, and as he levered himself painfully off the railing of his station, Elazar buried his airswords in the man’s chest. He fell with a soft moan.

Azriyqam’s own momentum carried her past him and she staggered, going to one knee on the taut but yielding surface. She staggered to her feet.

FantaSci Appearance: Reading And Book Release!

Hi, friends, i know it’s been an incredibly long time. The short and brutal reality is that being a high-school teacher in COVID times is a lot more work than normal, so in the belief that most of you would rather have me producing fiction than blogging/newslettering, I have been forced to give it up, mostly.

HOWEVER, there is good news on the publicity front. RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CROWN, the first book of the ACROSS THE ENDLESS OCEAN series, is coming out MAY 21st! I will be appearing along with it at FantaSci in Durham, North Carolina.

It is going to be AWESOME! There will be panels, and a READING, and fun! Please come down if you can!

My schedule will be as follows:

Friday 3pm: Book Reading (Oak Room)

Saturday 12pm: New Mythology Press (Rose Room)

Saturday 4pm: Mystics and Magic (Main Room)

Sunday 9am: NMP Kaffeeklatsch (Camellia Room)

May be a cartoon of text that says 'RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CROWN G. SCOTT-HUGGINS'

NEW NOVEL ANNOUNCEMENT: ACROSS THE ENDLESS OCEAN

Image by Stephanie Law. Used with permission. Original illustration for “Abandoned Responsibility,” in Fantastical Visions IV

This is the announcement I have been waiting a lifetime to make: New Mythologies Press, an imprint of Chris Kennedy, Publishing has accepted my novel, Across The Endless Ocean. I am honored to be their new editor, Rob Howell’s, first accepted author since he took over the press. We both hope and intend that this will be but the first of a series of adventures featuring Responsibility, the halfdragon heroine of the series.

While we are still hard at work hammering out the edits, we intend to get the novel ready to publish as soon as possible, and I can hardly wait to present it to you all. If you are interested in a foretaste, though, the story that started it all, “Abandoned Responsibility,” (and which comprises the first two chapters of the book) can be reached on Podcastle through the link.

A further adventure, also included in the novel, can also be found on Podcastle as “Responsibility Descending.”

Why is this novel so special to me? There are several reasons. Mostly, it is because it is the first time I have ever sent out a whole novel to a publisher, cold, and had it accepted. And while I will always be grateful to Jason Rennie and Superversive Press for giving All Things Huge And Hideous the green light, it was something that took shape over several stories. In some ways, it still IS a collection of short stories. It was funny and delightful to write, but it is also farce.

Across The Endless Ocean is not farce. It’s about courage, and honor, and what it means to become an adult in a hostile world. It comes from somewhere deeper inside, if that makes any sense. I hope you will enjoy it.

That’s Not Your “CHARACTER,” You’re Just A Dick.

Image may contain: text that says 'theMAZC @theMAZC2009 Replying to @StrahdVonZ It doesn't matter if your character is fun to play as, if it isn't fun to play *with*. Play someone you'd like to be around for 4 hours every week, because everyone else will have to. 7:15 PM 25 Dec 18 Twitter for Android'

Been thinking about this rather excellent observation for a bit. And it’s been awhile since I did a good, old-fashioned listicle here on the blog. Okay, it’s been awhile since I really did much of ANYTHING here on the blog, but I’m a high-school teacher at the end of the Second Semester Of COVIDS and a Dad planning Christmas with 3 school-age kids, so give me a break).

There are always players — and, I think, writers — who confuse characters that are fun to play and write with characters that are fun to play WITH and fun to read. I’ll also admit that I haven’t always been innocent of these. So with that in mind, I’m going to dive right in to Characters That Are Dickishness In Disguise.

The Character That Can’t Be Told What To Do aka Contrarius: Most of these characters are power fantasies (which there’s nothing wrong with as such: that’s kind of what RPGs are for.), and this one is no exception. You kind of get the impression that the player is someone who is never allowed to say “no” to anyone in real life and he’s by all the gods gonna make up for it now. Often comes right out and says, “My character doesn’t like being told what to do,” and every experienced player cringes. It doesn’t matter how good a suggestion that your character makes, or some other character makes, or the NPC giving advice to your party makes, or how good an idea is. If it wasn’t Contrarius’s suggestion, that’s reason enough to fight it tooth and nail. Often, Contrarius gets his way because of Don’t Split The Party.

The Character Who Deliberately Annoys NPCs aka Impertinens: Impertinens doesn’t like it when the party has friends. To Impertinens, the rest of the world consists solely of people who aren’t good enough for the party. Gods help the king or duke or wizard who has the temerity to summon the party, pay the party, or warn the party. They are in for a heaping helping of mockery and abuse simply because Impertinens’s player finally gets a chance to say what’s on his mind. Impertinens can’t really be shut out, because he’s at his most annoying at the safest parts of the game, i.e. when the DM is desperately trying to actually establish a plot, and doesn’t really want to, for example, have Denethor tell the Guards of the Tower to throw Pippin off the Citadel for being an ass.

The Character Who Is Deliberately The Opposite Alignment Of Everyone Else In The Party aka Spoilerus: Spoilerus loves being the party pooper. Everyone else is a champion of law and good? Spoilerus is going to be the chaotic evil sorceror that’s hanging back to eviscerate and torture the fallen. Everyone wants to do a thieving dungeon run? Spoilerus will be the worst example of the stick-up-the-ass paladin, looking for ways to give away the party gold. Spoilerus is basically Gollum, except that he’s not trying desperately to keep the rest of the party safe so he won’t lose his shot at the Precious.

The Character Who Can’t Be Told The Odds aka Kamikaze:
DM: “Okay, you’re squatting outside the Black Gate of Mordor, honeycombed with caves full of thousands of orcs, bolstered by flying Nazgul. The Orc patrol gets closer and closer to your hiding place…”
Kamikaze: “I CAST FIREBALL!!!”
Kamikaze doesn’t believe that anything worthwhile happens in D&D that doesn’t involve attack and damage rolls, and believes that combat is the first, last and only option for dealing with anything. And Kamikaze always has an excuse for fighting literally everyone. They’re too strong? Well, they need to be taken down a peg. Too weak? Easy kill. You’d think that Kamikaze would get his throat cut in short order, but the problem is that he’ll take the rest of the party down with him.

The Character Surrounded By Theme Music aka Energizer Bunny: The Energizer Bunny NEVER STOPS. Is he a rogue? Well, he will steal things all the time. From other party members if nothing else is around. Is he a necromancer? He will animate everything that is dead, up to and including dead squirrels the party runs across. Is he a warrior? He will challenge shopkeepers to duels for haggling with him. The dead giveaway for this character is that he asks the same question in every room in the dungeon: “Is there a <object my character is obsessed with>?” Then he pouts when people get tired of him.

The Character That Hates Another Member Of The Party aka Nemecyst: Nemecyst is as much fun as a huge boil you can’t get rid of. He hates orcs. Or paladins. Or just YOU, because you know more about D&D, or you had an idea the party liked better than his idea, or because Fuck You, that’s why. Nemecyst my plot your death, but is more likely to simply argue with you at every turn and/or degrade your character gratuitously. Essentially, the character is a bully, and often a racist bully at that. Not that there aren’t sometimes moments where being a “racist” in D&D can’t be realistic (being racist against, say, vampires, can be a survival trait), but it sure as hell isn’t a fun thing to hang around.

Of course, confronting the players with these things tends to get a defensive response featuring the chorus, “I’m just roleplaying,” or, “Well, that’s what my character would do!”
If you’re having to say these things more than once a campaign? Yeah, you might want to examine why that is, and whether one of these “characters” applies to your play style.

Your party and DM will be glad you did.

Thank You Readers And Fans!!

So, the launch of ALL THINGS HUGE AND HIDEOUS is truly well begun. Over 100 copies were purchased this week. 11 reviews. Exactly how many, I don’t know, because the print books haven’t shipped yet. I know that’s pretty small potatoes for some authors, but it’s a big helping for me.

I truly want to thank some people by name. Please know that if I did not name you, I still very much appreciate your purchase and your word-of-mouth spread of the book’s title. If I tried to mention everyone, I would inevitably leave people out.

Thanks to fellow authors Larry Correia and Jim Hines for using their HUGE platforms to spread the word. Thanks to fellow authors Chris Ruocchio and Dave Butler for blurbing the book. Thanks to superfans Ralph Seibel and Kat Adams for giving copies of the book to people. Thanks to my good friend Jon Miles and most of all my wife, Katie for encouragement, and in the case of Katie, a LOT of veterinary information so I wasn’t TOO much of an idiot.

ALL THINGS HUGE AND HIDEOUS HAS RELAUNCHED TODAY!!

Paul Maitland Cover Art!

For Labor Day Weekend , pick up my new Fantasy novel about the guy who doctors the Evil Dark Lord’s Dragons! Only $4.99 on Kindle and FREE on Kindle Unlimited!

The launch is going extremely well, thanks to awesome fellow authors like Larry Correia, Jim C. Hines, Brad Torgersen, D. J. Butler and Chris Ruocchio, who have graciously blurbed and/or spread the word about the relaunch, sales are beyond my expectations! And thanks are EVEN MORE due to my awesome fans who have also shared the news about my book! Thank you all!

RELEASE THE SNIPPET! Countdown to Rerelease: Chapter 7: ALL THINGS HUGE AND HIDEOUS

RELEASES TOMORROW! If you have read or are reading this novel of mine, I’m so happy you stopped by. Please remember to share these blog posts and let people know that they can Preorder ALL THINGS HUGE AND HIDEOUS here. Also available IN PAPERBACK!!

RELEASES SEPTEMBER 5TH!

Part VII: Blood Test

I have three rules for my clients:

Pay at the time of service.

Control your animal.

Do not abuse the staff.

If you’re going to violate these rules, you’d better know another doctor, and you’d better be able to get there faster than I can run while carrying my No. 75 dragon scalpel, because one of the tenets of my philosophy of care is that rudeness is a malignant tumor that can be effectively treated by immediate excision.

So when I heard a snarl, followed by Harriet’s scream from the front of my practice, I was out of the back and fully prepared for surgery in about three heartbeats.

Harriet was clutching the desk, trying not to move. Perched on the hump of her back was a large, vampire bat, its wings outstretched and its fangs poised to strike the back of her neck. I whirled on its owner, raising my scalpel.

And then carefully laid it down at my feet.

“The Dark Lord will see you, now,” said the tall shape in the thick black robes.

There is one other way to violate the rules I mentioned and avoid having your guts resectioned. I don’t like to talk about it. But you can also be the Prime Minister of the Dark Lord of the World.

“Minister Praxitela,” I bowed. “What an honor that you came to tell me yourself.”

“Yes, it is,” the vampire said, her voice thick with disdain and fury. “And immortal though I am, I can feel my time being wasted every second you delay. Move, human.”

I straightened. Immortality didn’t stop me from killing you last time, would have been both true and extremely unwise to say. I looked over at Harriet, who was still flinching beneath the fangs of Praxitela’s huge bat. Harriet had never really explained how she had managed to resurrect Praxitela at the Dark Lord’s command. But it looked as though the vampire lord was anything but grateful for it.

“To best serve our Lord,” I said smoothly, “I should know what animal needs to be treated.”

“If you delay me another instant,” she said. “It will be you.”

“Very well,” I said. “Harriet, we are attending upon the Dark Lord. Close up.”

“Ah, James..?” she said, through gritted teeth.

“Of course,” I said. “Without my assistant, I shall be much less use to His Great Darkness,” I said, gathering up my scalpel and carefully sheathing it.

Praxitela fixed me with a glare, and raised her finger. “Very well,” she said. The great bat flew back to her shoulder, raking Harriet’s shoulder, casually. Harriet swallowed a whimper and walked as steadily as she could to the back room to gather our things.

I’m sorry if my behavior doesn’t strike you as badass enough for your taste, but there are times to stand up for your dignity, and they are not when facing the barely-leashed ire of a vampire lord you have already killed once. They hold grudges about such things. Besides, we both knew who was ahead in the game.

“The practice is closed for the day,” I said to the crowd, most of whom were on their knees before the vampire already. Even Baron Klathraee merely rose, bowed from the neck, and left. When the dark elf lord shuts up, it’s wise to do the same.

“And perhaps longer,” Praxitela murmured.

At these words, a chill ran down my spine. Praxitela knew something that I did not. What? I had no idea. But it was important enough to get her out during daylight hours, and it wasn’t that she’d been given permission to kill me outright. If it was that, she’d have just done it, and the more witnesses, the better she’d have liked it.

Still, I knew something she didn’t, too. Trying to look casual, I reached through my office door and, using all of my strength, took the cloak of Aurmor off its reinforced hook. Harriet reappeared at my side and I saw her eyes widen as she recognized it. I felt myself lose half an inch of height as it settled on my shoulders. I hoped it would be enough to buy our freedom. And the look on Praxitela’s undead face would make it just that much sweeter.

We passed through the gates of the Dark Tower faster than I was used to. For one thing, I wasn’t allowed to use the great gates. For another, the orcs on guard usually liked to make humans wait.

Before Praxitela’s cowled shape, they dropped on their faces.

Other humans always ask me what the Dark Tower is like, and answering that question always throws me. What’s it like? You know what it’s like. A half-mile tall, sticking up out of the earth like a needle from a wound the size of a continent. Some say that’s what it is. That it’s how the Dark Lord came here. That he and his Dark Tower stabbed into our world from somewhere else. For all that it’s made of black stone, the surface glistens like an oil slick. Volcanic glass, I think, though I’ve heard people swear it’s black diamond, carved into razor-sharp edges and crenellations like claws. Each tower reaches higher than the last until the pinnacle of it disappears in the clouds beyond.

You want to know what it’s like inside, though, don’t you?

Trust me, you really don’t.

Oh, on the most basic level, it’s perfectly straightforward: the interior walls are just like the exterior. The Dark Lord likes bare stone and dark metal. Or he doesn’t care enough to cover them. But there’s too much inside the Tower that no one ought to see.

I could tell you about the hallways that curve off in directions that shouldn’t be there. I could tell you about some of the windows – just some of them – that do not open onto the city that we think of as below the Dark Tower. But there’s a lot more than how it looks to worry about. There are the echoes that you hope you never see the source of. There’s the way the air hangs perfectly still until a chill breeze hits you and cuts right through anything you happen to be wearing. It passed through the Aurmor cloak like it was gauze. And there are the smells they carry. I would tell you not to eat before you go into the Dark Tower, but it’s not as though you’re likely to have a choice of when you go if you’re summoned to dinner. And you’re not likely to be the diner, either.

All that, and I haven’t even touched upon what you’ll meet in the halls.

Even if I’d been afraid of what Praxitela would do to me, I wouldn’t have run away from her in the Dark Tower. My chances of ever coming out again would be nil.

Harriet stumbled against me and I remembered with a thrill of dread that it was her first time. I closed my hand on what was supposed to be her shoulder, and ended up being the curve of her spine. “Do not vomit in here,” Guilt and fear made my voice harsher than I’d intended, and she pulled away, glaring at me. But she swallowed hard and her pace steadied.

We were taken directly to the Room. With any other ruler, it would be a throne room. But the Dark Lord doesn’t sit. He just is.

He looked the way he always looks. Taller than any man, cloaked and hooded in shadow and crowned with black iron. Tendrils of night flowed from him, hiding the floor. Is it really made of bones? I couldn’t tell you, but it’s not smooth.

DR. JAMES DEGRANDE.

I dropped to my knees before him and bowed my head. Harriet did the same. I waited to hear my assignment.

YOU ARE TO BE ELEVATED TO THE OUTER COUNCIL, TO TAKE UP THE POSITION OF BEASTMASTER.

What?

AURANGAZEB HAS BEEN EATEN. WE BELIEVE HE HAS BEEN CARELESS. WE TRUST YOU WILL BE MORE CAREFUL.

I blinked. But I was still in the Room, and night still swirled around my fingers. I was not having a nightmare.

“James…” Harriet’s voice was a rising whimper.

“Yes, Lord,” I babbled. “You do me too much honor.” Far, far too much.

INDEED. PRAXITELA WILL EXAMINE YOU. MINISTER, YOU MAY EXAMINE THE DOCTOR IN ANY WAY THAT TESTS HIS SUITABILITY TO PERFORM THE DUTIES OF HIS NEW POSITION AND TO FACE ITS RISKS, USING THE RESOURCES AVAILABLE TO HIM. NO MORE. SERVE WELL, AND LIVE.

I was dead. Praxitela, as my examiner? She rose. So did I. I caught my breath, clutching my last chance for life and more.

“Great Lord of Darkness, I beg you to hear your slave’s plea.”

Praxitela hissed. There was an endless moment of silence. I didn’t dare raise my eyes.

SPEAK, DR. DEGRANDE.

“With your permission, Great Lord, I wish to buy my freedom.”

Only my heart beat in that moment.

AND WHAT HAVE YOU TO OFFER FOR THAT WHICH HUMANS FOOLISHLY PRIZE ABOVE ALL ELSE?

Slowly, I undid the clasps that held the cloak on my shoulders. It fell as if sucked down to the floor. I heaved it up and ripped it open, showing the golden scales. “This cloak of Aurmor, Lord. Given me for services rendered.”

For once, I had the pleasure of seeing Praxitela truly shocked. Her face was frozen, but her red eyes darted from me, to the cloak, and back again.

FOR SERVICES RENDERED. AND WHAT SERVICE DID YOU RENDER, DR. DEGRANDE, THAT WAS WORTH THE RANSOM OF A HIGH NOBLE?

I had expected this question, but had nothing to fear from it. “I killed an enemy of yours, Great Lord, when he attempted to bribe me into conspiring with him to bring about your downfall. Afterward, he no longer needed it.” And every word of that was the truth.

RESOURCEFUL, DR. DEGRANDE, the Dark Lord said at last. TOO RESOURCEFUL TO LOSE AS AN ASSET. I DO NOT ACCEPT YOUR PRICE. I HAVE ALL THE MAGICAL ARMORS I COULD WANT. I NEED NO MORE.

The Aurmor hung in my grasp, weightless in comparison to my disappointment.

NOW GO, AND BE INDUCTED INTO YOUR NEW POSITION.