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.
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.
I just wanted to drop you a blog note to let you know that I’m appearing at Life, The Universe, And Everything this afternoon on three panels. LTUE is on DISCORD this year! It’s also hosted out of Utah, so all times are in Mountain Standard Time! Please join LTUE HERE!
They are: Creating Religions (4 pm) Gary Gygax Room Religion is important to many real-life cultures and regions in the world and can greatly increase the believability of a world. When creating a religion for your game world, it is often easier to base your religion on real-world examples. But if done poorly, this can create many difficulties, including offensive stereotypes. How do you create a religion while avoiding these possible pitfalls?
Disability Literacy (6 pm) C.S. Lewis Room Daily life for the physically disabled and neurodivergent is different. They have to be aware of things that some people take for granted or ignore completely. | Humor in the Fantastic (7 pm) Ursula K. LeGuin Room Fantasy sometimes has unexpected magic and consequences that can lead to humor. Many books have used this to great advantage. Let’s discuss how authors have found humor in the fantastic.
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.
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!
I am pleased to announce that ALL THINGS HUGE AND HIDEOUS, the adventures of Chief Veterinarian (enslaved) of the Evil Dark Lord, Dr. James DeGrande and his valiant Veterinary Assistant (also enslaved), Witch Harriet Templin, is about to go back in print! It is now on preorder on Amazon as an e-book, and paperback will shortly follow! This is my first foray into the wonderful world of SELF PUBLISHING!!
“Hilarious! Veterinary horror like Terry Pratchett would write!” — D.J. Butler, author of WITCHY EYE
“A rollicking adventure that hits all the right notes.” –Christopher Ruocchio, Award-Winning Author of The Sun Eater Series
Everyone says it was better in the Good Old Days. Before the Dark Lord subjugated us. Before he gave all the good land to his ogres, orcs and trolls, reducing the civilized races to serfdom and the dirty work: pig farming, sewer cleaning, veterinary medicine.
But even before that happened, things weren’t that much different for the veterinarians. Everyone cheered the heroes who rode their unicorn chargers into combat against the Dark Lord’s dragons, but no one ever remembered who treated the unicorns’ phosphine burns afterward. The only real difference is that now I’m treating the dragons. Today I have to save one’s life. Know what fewmets are? No? Then make a sacrifice of thanks right now to whatever gods you worship, because I have only a few hours to figure a way to get them flowing back out of the Dark Lord’s favorite dragon. Yeah, from the other end. And that’s just my most illustrious client.
I’ve got orcs and trolls who might eat me and dark elf barons who might sue me if their bloodhawks and chimeras don’t pull through. And that doesn’t even consider the possibility that the old hag with the basilisk might show up.
The only thing that’s gone right this evening is finding Harriet to be my veterinary assistant. She’s almost a witch, which just might save us both. If we don’t kill each other first.
I am honored to announce that my story, “Humanslayer” has been selected as one of the ten finalists for this year’s Baen Adventure Fantasy Award!
I’d like to post an excerpt, but I think that might go against contest rules.
I was honored to win First Runner Up in the inaugural BFAA in 2014 with my story, “Phoenix For The Amateur Chef.” It would be awesome to win, but obviously I am honored simply to have made it this far.
Oh, heck, no one can get upset if I just give you the first line, right..?
“At the foot of the mountains at the cold edge of the world, a dragon lay dying…”
So, every now and then, I think: wouldn’t it be cool if there were a story about…
For example, like many people, I loved the story of Remus Lupin in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Not just because he was an awesome character, but because he started me thinking: what other cursed kids can’t go to Hogwarts? Dumbledore managed to come up with a scheme to get Remus into Hogwarts and keep him and his classmates safe, to an extent, but what about the kids who couldn’t go?
Children with disabilities never seemed to exist in Hogwarts. To be fair, maybe wizards aren’t “disabled” in the same ways as Muggles. After all, Madame Pomfrey is pretty much able to regrow Harry’s arm. Perhaps blindness, deafness, paralysis and developmental delays are cured among wizards in the same way that we remove extra fingers and toes o the rare occasions they develop. But there are curses and conditions that even wizards cannot cure.
Where would such children — the children who couldn’t be mainstreamed without great danger to themselves or others — learn their magic? And what would happen on that terrible day when they, and they alone were left to save the world, against all odds? This was the genesis of my novelette, “The Last Academy.” And I never thought I would write it until I was invited to the anthology Fantastic Schools. Obviously, I didn’t write in the Potterverse, but think of it as a, shall we say, Potteresque story.
And now, to whet your appetite, an excerpt, from Edric’s first day at his new school:
There was already a chair pushed back next to the boy who was eating with one hand. Edric began to sit.
“Excuse me, but this seat is taken,” said an exasperated voice.
Edric jumped. He almost lost form. “What?” The boy next to him was looking up with an amused expression on his face, but Edric would swear he hadn’t spoken.
“Yes, I know, you weren’t to know,” said the voice, which sounded like a young boy’s. “But I promise you that I am here, even though you can’t see me. Although honestly, the food might have been a clue.”
Edric blinked. There was indeed about a third of a meal on the plate in front of the seat. And the seat-cushion was flattened.
“Look, you can sit opposite me if you like.”
“Um, thank you.”
That meant that Edric had to walk around the girl in the wheelchair, the head of the table, and then the sphere of darkness, which was uncomfortably close to the wall.
“Um,” Edric said, trying not to address anyone in particular, “Is that dangerous?”
“No,” said a girl’s voice from inside the sphere. “Just don’t stick your head inside it.”
Edging around so as not to touch it, Edric sat down next to the blindfolded girl with grayish skin. As he did so, his plate filled. There was a steaming portion of shepherd’s pie, some white bread, and a cherry tart. The food looked decent enough, but it didn’t appear he was going to get any choice.
“Are you Edric?” the girl asked, without turning to face him.
“Yes,” he said.
“I’m Gwen.” She faced him and smiled, offering her hand in his general direction. He took it. Her hand felt unusually dry and cold. “Thanks for sitting with us.”
“It wasn’t his first choice,” said the girl in the wheelchair, sourly.
“Oh, come off it, Karen,” said the boy across from Gwen with a smile. “Half the people at the table tried to sit down there. It’s a shock finding yourself at Calarzat with the monsters. Can’t blame people for wanting to latch on to what looks normal.” He nodded to Edric. “Hi, I’m Callahan.”
Edric extended his hand. Callahan gave a wry smile. “Thanks, but you don’t want to do that.” He pushed himself back and withdrew his hand. Instantly, the candles guttered out and he held up a hand that was alive from wrist to fingertips in incandescent flames.
“Ah… I see,” said Edric. “I could shake the other hand?”
“Not unless you like second-degree burns,” Callahan said.
“Oi! Kindling! Lights!” yelled the biggest wolf, from down the table.
Callahan slid his hand back under the table and the candles sprang to life. “It’s useful.” He gestured to the chair beside him. “That’s Ian.”
“Sorry I tried to sit on you.”
“Oh, it’s all right, I suppose.”
Edric turned to Gwen. Might as well get the awkward parts over with. “Why are your eyes bandaged? Did you hurt them?”
“Not exactly. Are you afraid of snakes?”
Edric blinked. “Not particularly. Why?”
For an answer, her hair parted, and a thin snake peered out at him brightly. His mouth dried up as he realized what he was sitting next to. “You’re a… gorgon?”
“In a way. The Dark Lord cursed me when I was four. An attempt to blackmail my family. But I started out as a human. Calarzat is for human monsters.”
“Is that what happened to you?” Edric asked Callahan.
“Um, no,” said Callahan. “I’m afraid we had a bit of a house fire when I was seven years old. My Dad panicked and tried to cast a spell so the fire wouldn’t hurt me. It worked. Sort of. You see, the fire became my best friend. And it never wants to go away.”
“Can you control it?”
“Can you control your friends?” asked Callahan. “It gets… upset if I do that too much. You don’t want to see it angry. Ian’s dad tried to keep him safe, too. From the Dark Lord. Turned him invisible. Permanently.”
“Callahan!” snapped Karen. “You don’t talk about other people’s conditions. You know the rules.”
“I don’t mind,” said Ian. “S’true.”
“That’s not the point,” Karen said.
“What about them?” asked Edric, jerking a nod toward the group at the other end of the table. “They look normal enough.”
“It’s not full moon,” said Ian.
“Werewolves?” Callahan nodded. “Don’t like anyone else much, do they?”
“If you’re not a wolf, you’re not worth anything to them,” Callahan said.
Even Karen didn’t bother to dispute this. “And you’re here because… you can’t walk?”
Karen frowned. “No one at Calarzat is compelled to talk about why they are here unless they want to. And I don’t.”
“What about you?” Callahan asked. “What brings you here?”
“It’s hard to explain,” Edric said. I don’t want to explain it.
Karen scoffed. “Wants to know our secrets but keep his own.”
“Can you show us?” asked Callahan.
“Uh… not if you want to keep eating,” Edric said, staring down at his plate.
“And you’ve been to Porcinoma?” asked Gwen. “Yes,” Edric muttered. He wished he was back there, with his friends. Except he’d be dead. With his friends.
Well, 2020 is certainly going to go down in history as the worst year for Cons until we have an actual nuclear exchange (and that’s still a possibility in what do you think? October? Let’s say October). I myself was slated to attend LibertyCon in Chattanooga in June before that got cancelled by the venue. For all of you who are missing the F/SF con experience, there are many cons that are moving online. Introducing…
I will be appearing at AmazingCon doing a reading from All Things Huge And Hideous on Friday, June 12th, at 3 pm, and also taking questions, and will also be appearing on a Worldbuilding Panel on Saturday, June 13th at 4 pm.
I’d really love to see as many of you come as can, you can register by clicking on the con banner above, which will take you right to the website!
Oh, and here’s the best part: it’s PAY WHAT YOU WANT!! Donations are VERY much appreciated, but not required!
Many other awesome authors are doing readings and panels on a variety of subjects! Please enjoy some fantasy and science-fiction with us!