I thought I’d celebrate the launch of the book by giving you the full piece of art that adorns the cover. Isn’t it wonderful?
The book is doing quite well, considering, having made it up to 4th place in the Amazon New Releases in Action Adventure today. If you’d like to try helping me make it to #1 and the coveted Orange Tag, please feel free to purchase it by clicking the book link below!
So, the novel launch should have been today, but my editor was doing very important things at 20BooksTo50k, a wonderful Las Vegas conference that I hope to be able to attend someday. That means it gets pushed back just one week, so not really a big deal. But, to tide us over, I’m going to give you a sample snippet of the book. I’d also like to point out that those who receive my newsletter (hint, hint!) have already seen this snippet. You can be added to my newsletter here.
Azriyqam lowered her voice. “I do have news, but not from my father the Crown. I assuredly want your attention, but I do not want it overly focused on me. The dragon that I arrived on, do you know his name?” “There are so many dragons, who could name them all?” said Tselah. “He’s one of the Knights-Commander, I believe,” said Elam. “I’m going to get this wrong, but I have trouble with your right name, too. It’s… Coo-ree…ark, isn’t it?” “Almost. Sir Cooriarh. He is one of the chiefs of the Throne’s guard. He is circling us now, and will land in a little less than two hours unless I walk out before that time.” Elam sat back and folded his arms. “You know, Haraad used to threaten people before they’d offered him any harm, too. I’m not going to flatter you by pretending that I ever particularly admired you or thought of you much at all when you were just the Responsibility, but I never thought you one to be like him.” A spike of icy rage shot through her at that, but when she saw Tselah’s smile at her reaction she bit down on the angry response she felt coming. “I would prefer you to consider it less a threat than a warning, in case you should be tempted to consider… desperate courses of action.” “And why should we be tempted to do any such thing?” asked Elam, quietly. “Is your father or the throne planning something that should make us despair?” “No. Or at least, that very much depends on what you say next. You wish to know why dragons have been stopping and examining your ships. I will tell you: they are looking for a missing dragon.” Azriyqam watched closely for their reaction…
This is my first ever sequel release, just over a year after the release of the original RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CROWN.
It comes out one week from today, available at Amazon.com and from New Mythology Press, an imprint of Chris Kennedy publishing. There are no preorders, but I will blog again when the book is up.
There’s no way, here, to explain how much I have learned in the writing of this sequel. It is completely different from writing an original novel. It’s like balancing a whole future on the tip of your finger while dancing. The book that will release a week from now is not the same book I started writing in July of 2021. That book will be – well, to be honest, it won’t ever be written, because I discovered about 40,000 words into it that it was fragments of the third book in the series, which, by the time book two was finished, I realized would be changed a great deal by the events in this novel.
Right now, I am working on yet another sequel, specifically the long-awaited further adventures of James and Harriet, which will be titled ALL CREATURES IN HIS THRALL. Progress is slow, but steady. I’m afraid that one of the reasons it has been so long in coming is that I started writing book three of that series as well. I think that book will, indeed, be published someday, but first I am going to have to finish this one. It turns out that I am still pretty new at this author thing.
One funniest things that has happened during the blog hiatus is that this blog has gotten an insane amount of traffic from a completely facetious post that I did about a year ago concerning my completely fictional and humorous take on the script for Top Gun: Maverick. It seems that there are many many fans and possibly pirates who have been trying to get their hands on the script for this movie, and a number of them have found their way to my blog. I hope it gave some of them a laugh. And, if they were pirates, I hope it wasted their time and frustrated them. In any case, I would like to say thank you to all my fans for hanging in there and for giving Responsibility life. I am so glad you have enjoyed flying with her.
I’m embarrassed that it has been so long since this blog updated. Really? Over four months, and THAT was a reblog? That’s just sad.
Although this year has, in many senses, been a triumph in the worlds of my writing — one novel released, one major (for me at least) award, and two anthology invites — it has also, by other measures, been a very hard year. There have been losses in my family. I’ve been on the same pandemic ride with the rest of you. Conventions have cancelled, plans didn’t work because someone got sick, might have gotten sick, or just decided differently, and recently, a major writing hope… went away.
However, if there is one piece of wisdom I have gathered over this “career” of mine, it is this: it will always be harder than you think. It will take more work than it “should,” and it won’t be “fair,” however that useless term is defined. So, we go on. We just go on.
And, we find new things to do, too. We go back to old things and remember the joy they gave us. So here, I leave you something new: I’m not an artist, not really, but this is the closest I can give you to a visual of what Responsibility, the Princess Azriyqam looks like in my head. Hope you like it:
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!