I have been so preoccuppied with other matters, that I forgot that the mass market paperback edition of Mirror Sight was due out this spring until I received my author copies last night. I am quite fond of paperbacks--that was what I read when I was a kid. It was what I could afford, and what a deal for hours and hours of entertainment. (This was somewhere back in the age of dinosaurs when we still had Waldenbooks at the local mall and a novel cost $2.99.) In any case, the mass market paperback edition of Mirror Sight releases April 5th!
Hi there. The thing about writing and publishing is that a lot of stuff just does not seem to happen, until all at once it does. (!!!) in August, I completed Green Rider #6 Firebrand And turned it in to Madam Editor. She was finally able to read and edit it, and returned it to me with edits late Thursday night (1/28). It is miraculously light on edits and I'm thrilled. Needless to say, Madam Editor was pleased with the manuscript. Next step is for me to revise, proof, and return the manuscript to the publisher for copyediting. Also late on Thursday, I got to see preliminary sketches for the cover by Donato. They were beautiful, but only one could be chosen (even though I asked for all three). I can't wait to see the final product. Needless to say, I did not get much sleep that night.
I am now also able to reveal the pub date (U.S.) March 7, 2017. I realize it is a bit of a wait for readers who have already been waiting, but this decision is not anything I have influence over--I just write the stuff. The audiobooks should be available at about the same time. Canada will follow shortly on the U.S. date. The U.K. and Commonwealth countries should also follow fairly closely. The rest of the world, the galaxy, and beyond? I have no idea.
Thanks for your patience, and there you have it until the next update.
Hope autumn is treating you well. It's still summer here in the Southwest! Just a couple updates for you.
First, I finished writing Green Rider #6: Firebrand in earlyish August. It has since been with my editor, but there is no telling when she'll get to it, and I know nothing of a possible release date. (The author is always the last to know.) Here is hoping I have more to tell you sooner rather than later.
Second, I have a short story called "Mr. Island" coming out in an anthology called Unbound edited by Shawn Speakman. It is chock full of terrific writers, from Terry Brooks to Seanen McGuire. Here is the website, with ordering information.
What is "Mr. Island" about? It's rather hard to describe. It is not a Green Rider story, but the tale of an unusual mariner who washes upon the shore of 1878 Maine, and the changes his presence wreaks. It is part SF, part fantasy, part romance, all with a whiff of historical.
Hi there, I have been meaning to post this for a while. Last year when Mirror Sight was released in the UK, I was requested to write a couple blog essays. One got used, and one did not (not to my knowledge, anyway). So, I wanted to post the unpublished one since I went to the trouble of writing it. So here you are...
Twisted: of Hummingbirds and Monsters
Hummingbirds have made me scream. Yes, the diminutive, jewel-toned birds whose wings beat so rapidly that they buzz like bees, have scared the bejeebers out of me. They may be tiny, but they are aggressive when defending their territory. On the occasion of my scream, I was preparing to remove a hummingbird feeder to clean and refill it. When I reached for it, a hummer charged me from out of nowhere. Those who have read my last two Green Rider books, Blackveil and Mirror Sight, will have a good notion of what the above incident inspired--the inclusion of hummingbirds as murderous denizens of Blackveil, a forest that has been corrupted by dark magic, its flora and fauna altered into deadly forms. More than a few readers have told me they will never look at hummingbirds the same way again. Spotted salamanders have also made me scream. During walks on dark, wet nights with my dog, a salamander would suddenly appear in the beam of my flashlight, large and black skin glistening. (Spotted salamanders can grow to be nine inches long.) Surprisingly, salamanders have not yet made it into Blackveil Forest. So why hummingbirds, and not giant spotted salamanders, or for that matter, red efts like those I used to find under my wood pile? After all, hummingbirds are exquisite jewels of the bird world and creatures of daylight with charm to spare. People like to attract them with feeders because they are delightful to watch. But hummers as deadly? It is exactly that unexpected twist that make hummingbirds, in their altered form, perfect denizens of Blackveil. Meanwhile, salamanders are more typical slimy-looking creatures, dwellers of the night and murk. To see one in Blackveil Forest would be more expected than a hummingbird. Not a surprise. One of the delights of writing is twisting what we think we know. It helps to keep the reading experience fresh. In Blackveil, one of the characters, a forester by trade, observes the monstrous flora and fauna of the forest. He sees, for instance, an oversized pitcher plant digesting a small mammal, and states to his companions that though the forest has been perverted by evil, it appears to be in balance with itself. Ecological balance in an evil, nasty forest? Even the forester's companions are surprised by his perspective. It often helps in fantasy, and makes twists more effective, to keep one foot in reality to ground the reader. Hummingbirds and pitcher plants exist in our world and we can relate to them, come to them with a sense of the ordinary, until in the pages of a novel they become something new. I admire the natural world. I learned a great deal about it as a national park ranger. I incorporate details of forest and mountain, lake and ocean, and plant and animal into my stories because I believe it makes the world stronger, more vivid. The realm of Sacoridia, where most of my novels take place, is based on the state of Maine where I lived for twenty years. Yes, those hummers were Maine hummers. Not all the monsters in my books are so clearly based on existing animals, however. I am, after all, writing fantasy. In my first book, Green Rider, our protagonist, Karigan, encounters her first creature of Blackveil. It is huge and armored with a carapace. It has claws and a tail with a stinger. Its blood is poisonous. Is it a giant spider, or a crab? Maybe a scorpion? Possibly all the above, with a strong resonance of the crustaceans of the Maine coast. While this creature is more fantastical, I tried to ensure its behavior made sense, that it didn't just appear out of nowhere with no logic to its existence. I gave it animal instinct and a need for reproduction. It demonstrated behavior for providing for its young. Yes, it is monstrous in shape, but it is also driven not by evil impulses, but by the needs of its species. That, in its own way, is another kind of twist. Now that I live in the high desert of the American Southwest, I wonder what will make me scream...er, provide me with new inspiration. There are different kinds of hummingbirds here, and while you won't find spotted salamanders on evening walks, there are good-sized lizards scampering through my yard. Tarantulas, anyone? Oh yes, monsters are fun to write, and finding surprising story inspirations takes it all to the next level.
Not a whole lot happening here, but a few small items:
The cover art for the UK edition of Mirror Sight, by April Schumacher, is up for the Gemmell-Ravenheart Award. If you like the art, click on "voting" and give it your vote!
Speaking of cover art, here is the new art for the mass market edition of Green Rider in France:
As a lead up to the North American release of the trade paperback edition of Mirror Sight On May 5th, I will be announcing the title of the 6th Green Rider novel on April 22. I'll be dropping daily hints on my Facebook page until then.