EXTRACTION Cover Reveal!

Extraction Cover.png

Look at all that cover!!!

I am SO excited to share this with you! I’ve been sitting on it for weeks, and it’s gorgeous, and as the release date approaches for the book I could not be more thrilled! Ok, so first:

About The Cover Artist: C. Bedford

The cover for Extraction is a commissioned digital painting created by C. Bedford. This wraparound cover features Rethnali against some of the landscapes she travels through in the story.

Bedford also designed the covers for Ariah and the second edition of Resistance, which gives this cover the same visual identity as the the other two Aerdh novels.

C. Bedford is social!

Website | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram | Deviant Art

About the Book: Extraction

“There is no justice in convenience.”

Rethnali, a newly-minted captain in the long-standing and brutal elvish rebellion, wants to do more than keep her soldiers alive. She wants to turn the tide of the war for her people. When her old captain and mentor, Li, shows up at her camp with orders to go deep into enemy territory, she may have the opportunity to do just that.

But as Rethnali’s mission unfolds, she realizes that she is just a pawn in a larger game. While she tries to protect her soldiers, she is forced to decide the course of her future and the future of the elvish rebellion itself. Extraction is a story of lives shaped by hard choices and unforeseen consequences.

EXTRACTION will be available on Amazon in ebook and paperback formats on November 21st, 2017, and will be up for pre-order soon! Watch this space, or sign up for my newsletter for an alert to get information about pre-orders! If you want the book even sooner than that, my Patreon subscribers will get an early bird release of the book!

Enter the Resistance Giveaway!

RESISTANCE Final Draft

Guess what–the second edition of Resistance is out, but you can get your copy for free!

The second edition of Resistance, which has a beautiful new cover by C. Bedford and additional short fiction related to the novel, is now available for purchase on Amazon. The ebook is available now, and the paperback will be available within a week.

But! Two entrants in the giveway will win their choice of a free ebook or paperba/ck. Enter now for your chance to win! The giveaway will be open to entrants until Sunday, 8/27/2017. Winners will be announced on Monday, 8/28/2017.

Enter below!

RESISTANCE Re-Release!

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Hi friends!

I am so excited to show you the new cover C. Bedford has created for Resistance! Isn’t is lovely? I love every damn thing about it! She has captured so many awesome little details here–Rivna’s tattoos, Shandolin’s neck wounds, the messy back alley in the City.

Which brings me to my next point. Have you read Resistance? Were you thinking about it, but then were like ‘oh well, shit, now it’s out of print’? Guess what! I’m re-releasing it through the Kraken Collective!

The formal re-release of the second edition will go live August 15. But Patreon subscribers at the $4 level (Word Hoarder) will get an ebook sent to them next Sunday!

Subscribers at the $6 level (Completionist) will get both the ebook next Sunday and will have a signed copy of the second edition print book sent to them as soon as that’s available (on or around August 15).

The second edition has minor changes to the text and includes a small selection of additional short fiction related to the novel. I hope you enjoy it!

“Sigils” is available on Patreon!

sigils-2

cover design by Samantha Cantu

It’s here! Patreon subscribers at the $1 level and up now have access to “On The Market.” Not a subscriber? It’s not too late–sign up, and you can get the story! Here’s the blurb:

The City of Mages is built, but it is not safe. One of the mages is murdering the others, and Resident 5613 has been assigned to find out why–and stop the murderer if they can.

The story is attached here in the following formats: PDF, MOBI, and EPUB.

This one’s different than a lot of my other Aerdh stuff. The Magi are explored in greater depth–so if you’ve had wonderings about how the City of Mages came to be, this story fills in some of those gaps. And while there is the requisite amount of social justice navel gazing in this one, as always, this one is also a murder mystery.

As always, thank you for reading! Reviews are welcome and appreciated if you feel so moved! “Sigils” has a Goodreads page here.

Just Published: “The Music of the Spheres”

“The Music of the Spheres” is included in Capricious, issue 7available for purchase here.

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Polyphemus is a small, far-flung planet shrouded in darkness. While it is survivable for human life, many do not thrive there. But Wren does. Wren, blind and young and musical, walks across the skin of Polyphemus and feels the planet’s beating heart.

I love this story! It’s about finding a place you belong. It’s about dis/ability. It’s about how sometimes what is alien is actually familiar and vice versa. I am so glad it found a home. Pick up a copy of Capricious issue 7–all the stories in it are truly lovely.

Book Review: A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC by V.E. Schwab


Amazon | Goodreads

Notes on Diversity:
It’s subtle, but it’s there. The ruling family of Red London–Kell’s London–are definitely brown folks. And Rhy Maresh, the crown prince of Red London, seems pretty canonically bisexual. Lila is definitely gender non-conforming. I am not venturing that she’s trans or genderqueer, but she is performing, quite consciously, a very butch and very hard kind of femininity.

Now, that does mean that our leads, Kell and Lila, read as straight-ish and White. The major antagonists are also White. So it’s a decidedly White book, but there are at least queer brown people in power, so there’s that.

Review:
V.E. Schwab has two enormous strength going for here in this book: first, she can write; second, she can fascinate. She constructs effortlessly emotional sentences. The book reads fluidly, quickly, and packs a great number of punches. Schwab is a smooth and evocative writer, which is needed when outlining the nuanced differences between the various Londons.

Which brings me to point two: the story’s hook is great. Four parallel Londons, each linked and locked by magic, each with its own history and relationship with magic. And within all of those worlds, there are only two people–Kell and Holland–who can travel between them. Only two people who can see these other worlds and report back and forth.

The opening scene is masterfully done, and tragic, and beautifully sets the stage for everything to follow. This is a tale of obsession and sacrifice, and all of that is spelled out in those opening interactions Kell has.

We start with Kell as he travels and as he flirts with danger, and then the plot ratchets up when his flirtations get the best of him. But by then, Lila Bard, hungry thief and sharp-tongued street rat, has already linked her fate with his. They cut a blood-soaked trail from one London to the next, plagued by an artifact they only half understand, while hunted by the sadistic rulers of White London–a London hungry for power and dominance.

I loved this book. It wasn’t perfect–the plot took too long to fall into place, which meant the pacing was uneven, but the story and the world was fascinating enough that I kept going anyway. Lila is a deeply fascinating character. The counterpoint of her poverty to Kell’s confused by privileged life bore out interesting moments and conversations throughout.

I’m one of the lucky ones who can read the next book in the series right now.

I’m Playing World of Warcraft Again

A few years ago, back before I had a kid, I used to play World of Warcraft. I started playing because a good friend of mine started playing. And she started playing because a friend of hers was playing. We leveled up together, joined his guild. Friend started dating her friend. I mailed a holy priest and got into healing. Did some raiding. Wrath of the Lich King came out. Friend and friend-of-friend broke up. Guild split up. I realized I needed to focus on finishing my dissertation anyway and stopped playing.

And now here I am again. 

Look the world is terrible, and I need something that helps me unplug. WoW’s stream of endless, mind-numbing quests is exactly perfect for that. I actually always really liked leveling. And, perversely, leveling healing characters. So now I’m back again. 

It’s bizarre–it’s like going back to your hometown and noticing all the things that have and haven’t changed. The Cataclysm expansion totally blew apart and stitched back together old world Azeroth zones. They are prettier than they used to be, and the quest lines are darker than I remember them being. Spending and talent trees are so much more streamlined than they used to be. Everything is half-familiar.

I’ve rolled a Draenei Shaman. I’m doing every Alliance quest in every zone (including the starter zones–they give killer rep). I’ll report back on my weird experiences here.

Book Review: EVERY HEART A DOORWAY by Seanan McGuire


Amazon | Goodreads

Notes on Diversity
I confess I read Every Heart A Doorway on the strength of its asexual protagonist, Nancy, and I was not disappointed. But beyond Nancy, there is also a trans character (Kade), and Sumi, an Asian girl. I think Sumi may have been the only non-White character,* and it’s…not great that she essentially gets fridged.

An additional diversity shoutout to the character of Eleanor, who, in running her school finds the word “crazy” problematic and bans it. I really loved this, considering the context, and I also really loved how some characters defiantly used it and reclaimed it anyway.

Review
Every Heart A Doorway, by Seanan McGuire, is a murder mystery, and a coming of age story, and a portal fantasy all neatly wrapped in the same novella. It’s a minor miracle that the novella never feels overstuffed—in fact, I wanted more from it. I didn’t want it to end.

Every Heart A Doorway follows Nancy, a girl who has been to and returned from the Halls of the Dead, and who must find a way to settle back into the mundanities of the normal, regular world again. Luckily for her, she’s not the only such stolen and returned child. There are enough such children that there is an entire boarding school devoted to their treatment and rehabilitation.** Nancy’s parents pack her off, and so her story begins.

Just as Nancy is finding her footing at her new school, students start turning up dead. And not just dead, but mutilated. Nancy understands that as the most recent addition to the school, and as a girl whose portal world has such a close connection with death, she is an easy and likely suspect. She knows clearing her own name means casting suspicion elsewhere, and that means unraveling the mystery at hand.

McGuire is a deft writer. Since this is a novella, space is limited, and the cast of characters is surprisingly large for a novella. But the characters are quickly and deftly drawn. Most of them have excellent depth. The mystery itself has twists and turns and a decent red herring. The plot clipped along, quick but not rushed. I found myself more interested in the worldbuilding, though, than the mystery. There was something more compelling in the way the characters categorized the portal worlds—Wicked and Virtue, Nonsense and Logic—than the inevitable death of the next student, who I was sure was not going to be Nancy.

I was particularly fond of the ending, which wraps things up so neatly emotionally, but quickly and quietly. It made me think. It made me mull things over. I want to talk about it with people, but I can’t here, because spoilers.

As much as I am glad there was representation of a young ace woman and a young trans man, and as well-realized as a I think Nancy and Kade were, respectively, I wish their ace-ness and trans-ness had not been so…clinically written. I couldn’t help but contrast the way McGuire wrote about asexuality and gender identity with the way she wrote about the harms of patriarchy, and how in this world it so easily led to the capture of girls over boys. That section was nuanced and wry. Or compare to the embodiment of smart/pretty in Jack and Jill and how viciously that has gone awry, which is skillfully written throughout. The sections where Kade discusses his gender or where Nancy discusses her asexuality are blunt to the point of earnestness. Still, I am glad the characters were included.

3 stars*I think this is the case? If I am misremembering, please let me know in the comments, and I will amend the review.

**There are, as one character explains, actually two such schools: one school for kids who want to return to their portal worlds, and one school for kids who under no circumstances ever wish to see their portal worlds again. I found this detail particularly interesting.

Ink & Locket WARRIOR Anthology Fully Funded!

Ink & Locket’s Warrior anthology, which is full of queer representation in speculative fiction, has been fully funded through kickstarter supporters! You should really check out what the folks over at Ink & Locket are doing with the extra money, it’s really wonderful, heartwarming stuff. 

Also, if you’re a writer, I’d encourage you to keep an eye on their calls for submissions page. Their editing process is lovely. Being part of this anthology has been such a wonderful experience!

ARIAH Novella Coming in January for Patreon Subscribers!


Hi friends!

This is a quick note to let you know that an Aerdh novella is still coming, but I’m pushing back the drop date a month. Instead of getting your novella by December 31st, 2016, you shall have it on January 31st 2017.

My apologies for the delay! I’d rather take the extra time and make sure the novella is solid and polished than rush it and get you something unfinished and haphazard. But please know it is in the works. 

To tide you over, let me tell you what I’m working on:

About the novella:

  • The novella is titled In The Company of Strangers.
  • The main characters are Sorcha and Shayat.
  • It takes place after “A Matter of Circumstance” and before the end of Ariah.
  • It is the precursor to a second novel focusing on Sorcha and Shayat’s search for Ariah during Ariah’s time with the Droma nomad.

As always, thank you for your support. And this time, thank you for your patience, as well! The novella will be available to Patreon subscribers at the $5 level and up.