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Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Perfect Yule Gift . . . Spellmonger Books!


If there's a certain Spellmongral in your life who you want to dazzle, consider getting them the physical printed copy form of the series!  Yes, if you know someone who loves Epic Fantasy (and, let's be frank, the Spellmonger Series is Epic-er Fantasy) but who "doesn't do e-books" (lookin' at you, Mom) then consider giving them the blessed gift of print!

The first four Spellmonger Series novels are available from Amazon, now!  I thought I would provide a helpful link to direct you toward them, to spare you the labor of googling them, because I'm a helpful sort of fellow. 

Spellmonger (US$20.83 ):


Warmage (US$24.99)


Magelord (US$24.95)


Knights Magi (US$19.95)


The fifth novel, High Mage, should be available in the next few days, as I'm contending with issues from Amazon's new Paperback capability (which ate CreateSpace, which means all of my previous books on CreateSpace had to be re-formatted). 

Why are the books so pricey?  It's not because I'm greedy.  Its because I printed them on the 6"x9" format, and its a lot of words.  Which means a lot of pages.  Dead trees don't grow on trees, apparently.  I tried to keep pricing as low as I could and remain consistent, but the fact is that a 500+ page 6x9 book, at Print-On-Demand prices, just costs that much.  I'll be exploring less-expensive formats in the future, but I know enough people want to hold an honest book in their hands that I wanted to make this available.

BUT WAIT!  THERE'S MORE!

For you fans of the Spellmonger Cadet series (who are no doubt eagerly devouring the recently-released third installment, Sky Rider, in every free moment), no doubt you know that Hawkmaiden is already available in hard copy -- I went ahead and slashed the price on this as much as I possibly could, bringing it down to $13.50 (it the update isn't showing up on the page, yet, but should be reflected in your cart). 

Additionally, in order to make the Yule of a couple of special fans, I've pushed ahead and contrived print copies of Books 2 and 3 of the series, providing a complete printed set in time for Christmas!  More, I've released them at a special as-low-as-I-could-get-them introductory price! 

Hawklady (US $10.50) 

Sky Rider (US$11.00)

(I know - it's unusual for a series to get cheaper as you get through it.  I'll work on that.)

That means you can get ALL THREE CADET NOVELS, the entire Hawkmaiden Trilogy, for just US$35.00!  If there is a potential hawkmaiden or aspiring wizard's apprentice in your life, perhaps they might enjoy such a magnificent gift under the tree.  Just sayin'.

BUT THAT'S NOT ALL!  EXCLUSIVE!

Starting Saturday, December 7th, Gallery 71 in Hillsborough, NC will have a limited number of autographed copies for sale.  I plan on having complete sets of both series, to the extant I can, available there exclusively.  Purchasing a complete set also includes some small token of my gratitude in the way of what the kids call "merch".  More details shortly.  Go ahead and bring the stuff you need framed up for Christmas, too -- Lance is one of less than a hundred Certified Master Framers in the world, and if you want your stuff framed before the holidays, GET IT IN NOW!  BONUS: mention that you're a Spellmonger fan and get FREE GLASS on your first frame job!  Magelord's prerogative. 

I don't know how many copies will be there, or how long they'll last.  At this point we don't have a set-up for mail order, but I'm feverishly working on it.  As soon as it's locked down I'll publicize it.

AN IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT THE ART:

If you will note, the very distinctive, lovely cover-art for the first two books of the Hawkmaiden Trilogy are by Giorgia Giotta.  She was my first fan artist, and I promised printed copies of both books to her in exchange for using her beautiful artwork on my covers.  It has taken me THIS LONG to get Hawklady into print, and for that I apologize -- long-promised copies of both works, along with some other trinkets and tokens of my gratitude, are being dispatched tomorrow.  Despite its other advantages, CreateSpace just DID NOT want to print Hawklady's cover, no matter how many times I screwed with it.  In the end, I had to use the new system, which did.  Unfortunately, the art Giorgia provided for the rear cover is tiny, and doesn't do her justice.  I am seeing what I can do to find a better way to present it (the original cover blank is over on the Discord server for your review) but for now I just wanted to book to get printed.  To be honest, I did not feel right soliciting a third commission without satisfying the last, hence the temporary cover for Sky Rider. 

Ditto my faithful superfan and beta reader Sir Aaron of Schwartz, who runs the semi-official Spellmonger fan site at Discord.  He spotted several serious continuity issues with Sky Rider.  While that forced a quick re-write, it also dramatically improved the book, and for that he has my gratitude. 
.
Also, the release date for the audiobook of Enchanter has been set for January 8th.  Mark your calendars and set your alarms. 

LASTLY, while this year winds down to a delightful Yule, I am starting to plan my convention calendar for next year.  Right now, it's mostly empty.  If you are affiliated with a fantasy-oriented con and want me to appear, let's talk.  Email me at tmancour@gmail.com with CON REQUEST in the subject, and let's see if we can work something out.  I can do panels, etc.

Thanks, and I'll be posting more news shortly.  It's been a busy year.

Terry




Saturday, December 1, 2018

Sky Rider is Live on Kindle! And MORE News!



Happy December, Spellmongrels!

Sky Rider is now up and live and waiting for you at Kindle!  And I have some MORE News about it, but first . . .

I've gotten a lot of quizzical looks from my fellow writers when I tell them about my Cadet series.  They're intrigued, but most "adult fantasy" writers feel a certain disdain when it comes to younger readers.  I can understand that -- Epic Fantasy is a hard art to master.  Incorporating adult themes and characters in a compelling fashion while also managing the world-building and plotlines of a multi-volume work is like juggling dynamite.  Considering a shorter, less-serious work after that is like going back to Maxwell House after you spent a year drinking pure Kona.

The thing is, I got the idea from George R. R. Martin, who, in his long career before Fire & Ice, wrote a few YA books I liked.  And from Anne McCaffrey, whose Harper Hall series is a direct inspiration.  Those books featured young characters tackling the challenges of adolescence in a fantasy setting.  That's an entirely different sort of book than adult fantasy.  But not only are the two subgenres not unrelated, they also have the capacity to be excellent narrative complements.

Seeing Sevendor through Dara's eyes is a much different thing than seeing it from Minalan's.  To Min, Sevendor was a magical DIY project.  To Dara, it was her home and entirety of her universe, changed dramatically over a very short period of time.  Between the two perspectives, our minds can fill in the details about the rest of the place, or at least ask intriguing questions about it. 

Some people would find this sort of inclusion distracting in a more adult work.  Martin puts children into his works, of course, but always in the context of a brutal adult environment.  The "kids" in his world are really but tiny adults forced to contend with adult situations.  No one is going to sit down and read Arya's part of the story to their ten-year-old before bed.  Martin does it really well, of course, and I'm not slamming him in the slightest.  But part of what attracted me to fantasy was the essential sense of wonder implicit in magic, and that foundation rests firmly with our childhood, and our discovery and exploration of the complex world around us.

Recapturing that, and reminding the reader what those moments in our own life were, are as important as Saving The World. 

It is valuable to the understanding of the reader as they imagine the world (not to mention helpful to the writer) to provide those perspectives.  It's also important to the genre as a whole.  Introducing children to fantasy literature is the best way to ensure a steady supply of adult fantasy readers. 

But I won't deny that I saw an opportunity in the market. 

While my Cadets are written for minors, I try to take the Disneyland approach and write them to be entertaining to both kids and adults.  That was one of the essential elements for Harry Potter's success, after all.  Rowling created a new market for fantasy that straddles the line between children's literature and adult epic fantasy.  The problem is, if you encounter the books early in your reading career and voraciously tear through them, when you look for similar works out there that will feed your newfound jones for epic fantasy, most of the "next steps" are into the dark and adult fantasy where there are lots of gruesome deaths and boobies. 

My Cadets aren't designed to be Potter-replacements, of course, but they are designed to fill that niche.  I want each of them to be complete novels (not a 50k word "novel") that don't strain credulity; thankfully, having the world of Callidore developed as a backdrop spares me from having to try to build a world for each book.  Having Dara as a minor character in the main series gave me the basic elements of her story.  All I had to do was fill in the details and tell it from her perspective. 

But I also tried to keep them focused on adolescent issues, not mere re-tellings of parts of the story.  In Hawkmaiden, Dara struggles with the realities of a social and political revolution, but she's also contending with both early puberty and challenging the adult rules that bind her.  Her emerging Talent made her the Spellmonger's apprentice, but it was her adolescent rebellion toward her family's rules that inspired her to capture her falcon.  In Hawklady, Dara not only confronts some uncomfortable truths about the world around her, but also has to contend with social issues, rivalries, sudden fame, and increased social position.

In Sky Rider, Dara's life is even more complex.  But it isn't all secret councils with elves and wizards, there's also the realization that she's grown apart from her family in ways that put her in opposition with it, sometimes.  She's also discovering her adult will, as she matures from a spunky adolescent into a teen saddled with increasingly adult responsibilities.  Yet she still maintains the pure childlike sense of wonder when she encounters something amazing . . . and sense of disgust when she encounters something gross. 

It is important for adult readers of fantasy to be reminded of those moments, and how important they were to our own lives.  Most of us spend the last eighty percent of our lives trying to come to terms with the first twenty percent, it is so important to us.  The feelings of teenage embarrassment, fear, awkwardness, regret, uncertainty, stubbornness, and other signs of immaturity stalk us throughout our adult lives.  Indeed, how we ended up avoiding and coping with those challenges largely shapes our adult character.  I think most adults can pinpoint some experience in their adolescence that was a watershed moment for how they faced the world, nor does it have to be particularly dramatic. 

Identifying and exploring those moments in a character's life, and being there to experience it with them, prepares a child for their own inevitable encounters by giving them models and examples upon which to draw for inspiration and guidance.  For adults, it reminds us of those tender moments of pure adolescent terror and joy, and how important the unimportant-to-adults problems were.  For those of us with teens, that's a particularly important thing to remember.  Fighting with your parents was never fun, even more so than fighting with your children.  But it is an important skill to learn if we want to thrive in an adult universe.  It gives us a pattern for how to handle situations with non-parents, and can shape our respond to crisis and authority.

But I crafted my Cadets not just as "children's literature" or YA; I tried to give them some muscle.

One of my complaints with the current crop of crappy YA dystopian novels, of whatever genre, is their abysmal use of words.  (The other is length: a 50,000 word story is not a novel.  Oh, and writing a desperate cliffhanger to compel the reader to buy the next chapter?  That's a time-honored cheap and tawdry trick that ultimately wears thin and loses the reader.  It just is.  Finish the story in the book, damn it, at least with enough resolution to keep your readers happy.) 

It's not just my complaint, either; young fans hate being treated condescendingly by an author.  Fantasy readers, I've noticed, like a meaty read.  They don't want simple, plain language, they like words.  As a writer I try to give them the words they didn't know they needed to describe something.  The predilection for modern YA writers to dumb-down their material means losing the best readers to adult fantasy prematurely, when they run out of good new books.  It gets even worse when the young reader realizes that the kid in the "fantasy" novel thinks and lives more or less like they do.  That's patronizing and boring. 

So I give them big words they probably won't encounter in other works.  If I've done my job right, then a kid reading one of my Cadets is going to have to look up a word.  That's on purpose.  English is one of the most varied and effective languages on the planet, and writers who don't take advantage of that are cheating the readers and themselves.  If the adult readers have to look up a word every now and again, I won't complain.  Read, bitches, read!

I also try to show them a world very different from their suburban existence.  Life in an agrarian feudal economy with a low life-expectancy is much different than life in our modern world, and it brings a different set of expectations and outcomes.  Fourteen year old girls in a medieval society were making serious decisions about their lives, or contending with other people making decisions for them.  Our modern ideal of childhood arguably didn't begin until Western Europe achieved food security.  Young marriage and hard work was seen as the best social security investment, and options were limited for the vast number of people. 

Yeah, it's exciting to survive a robot monster attack in a dystopian underground maze, but when the realities of your life also include dying of hunger or disease or early childbirth, surrounded with the constant threat of war and lawlessness, there is a certain drama there, too.  While those are not issues our children are faced with, largely, it is important for them to realize those perspectives as they grow to adulthood. 

My next three Cadets will switch genders to boys and not be Dara-centric.  This won't be the last of the Dara novels, however.  She's one of my favorite characters and there's a lot more of her story to tell.  But she's rapidly aging out of the cadet years, at least in terms of responsibility, and her next novel will be far more adult, though tastefully so.  If you haven't picked up on it by the end of Sky Rider, she has a love triangle to resolve.  That's an entirely different kind of story from a YA book.

I'm toying with a couple of ideas for the next Cadet novel.  My son Hayden is working on a Ruderal novel, but I don't want to pressure him - he's 14, and in all-honors classes.  It will be done when it's done.  That said, I'm thinking about doing a book about a Kasari boy's adventure in the Wilderlands.  Conversely, I've also got an idea for a book about an entirely new character, a peasant boy who discovers he has Talent just before Warmage, and has the Censorate chasing him.  Another story that has suggested itself concerns a homeless orphan in a small town in Gilmora who gets swept up in the invasion.  I'd be interested in hearing what kinds of future YA books you would like to see from me. 

Why?  Because my experiment has been successful.  Successful enough so that kids are starting to dress up as Dara for Halloween.  And write book reports on Hawkmaiden.  Successful enough that Podium Publishing and I just extended our contract to cover them.

That's right, the Hawkmaiden trilogy will be produced and sold as an audiobook! 

All three novels will be done, and likely combined into one volume.  Production cost on audiobooks is high, so it makes good economic sense to invest in longer works, not shorter ones.  The reason there aren't more YA audiobooks is largely because most new YA novels are too short to make that economically viable.  Because of that, it's difficult for a company to risk an investment on YA, leaving a market that is unfulfilled.

Bottom line: you can now listen to some quality fantasy in the car with your kids without having to worry about someone's boob metaphorically popping out.  From what I understand, there's a market for that.

I hope you enjoy Sky Rider.  It was my attempt to prove that sometimes the biggest struggles facing a kid isn't saving the world, but saving as much of your own personal world as you can.  And that's not always possible.  But it's also not always depressing.  Adolescence is just a phase . . . the most important phase of our development.  It should be treated with some gravity, and appreciated for its wonder.

More news soon . . .

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Big Fat News Update!

Miss me?

I've largely been absent from social media for the last six months, by design.  Why?  Partially to cultivate a reputation for being mysterious and enigmatic (what writer doesn't enjoy that?) and partially because I've been busy.  Real busy.  Though I've technically "taken a year off", that largely involves publishing, not productivity.  Indeed, though I haven't released anything new in about a year, I've actually been putting in more time on Spellmonger-related stuff.  Pray attend:

First, my big announcement: I have reached an agreement-in-principal with Battlefield Press to license the Spellmonger Series for development as a FRP property.  This will likely encompass at least three (3) sourcebooks with accompanying campaigns covering various facets of gameplay on Callidore.  In addition, Battlefield Press has also agreed to publish the Atlas of the Five Duchies.   Battlefield is perhaps best known for adapting Eric Flynt's crosstime 1632 series for game play, but Jonathan Thompson has authored and published a number of other popular FRP materials, and I'm excited to be working with him and his team to turn Spellmonger into a well-conceived and extremely playable game universe.  While we don't have release dates yet, news will be forthcoming about that sort of thing as it evolves.  This has been a pet project of mine since the beginning, and I want to especially thank Sir Aaron of Schwartz for his hard work and support in the effort.

Speaking of Sir Aaron, if you haven't investigated his semi-official fan site over at Discord, I encourage you to do so.  While still in the nascent stages, Aaron has done incredible work in the set-up and administration of the site.  That is where I will likely be posting additional news, tidbits of lore, and even stories, and I'll occasionally pop by to see what has been posted.  I've uploaded several maps over there, too, so it you're looking for that sort of thing (as well as fan art -- I LOVE fan-art!) and speculative discussion about what the future holds for the Spellmonger universe.  Stop by and add your own thoughts and such.

More news:

While my abbreviated con schedule this summer only saw me at a few regional conventions, they were, nevertheless, quite productive.  As much as I would like to see a FRP adaptation of the Spellmonger Series, for a number of reasons I also want to see its development into graphic form.  To this end I've retained the services of a few artists to help develop the visual conception of the series.  Like, what do gurvani look like, and how are the different from Tolkienesque goblins?  Similar thing for Alka Alon, Tal Alon, Karshak, etc.

We won't even get into the Sea Folk and the Formless.  Baby steps . . .

I've also begun talks with an Undisclosed Comic Book Company to do a six-issue adaptation of the Spellmonger novel.  Details will remain mysterious and murky for now (we take our meetings in remote graveyards at midnight) but I'm very hopeful we can get something committed to paper and in production, hopefully for a 2020 release.

("But Terry!  We can't wait that long for new stuff!  We want new stuff NOW!")

Well, of course you do.  And why shouldn't you?

First, for the audiophiles among you, it appears that Podium will be releasing Enchanter sometime in January, and likely have Court Wizard out around March.  John Lee, after spitting out so many of my abysmally long works, took a short vacation (Briga knows he needed it), but production is back on.  Sales continue to be brisk.  Podium continues to be a stellar publisher, turning out impeccably high-quality work.  Tell your friends.

(For those of you unaware, Enchanter marks the first of a three-book section of the series, and it goes dark.  Court Wizard is told from Pentandra's perspective, more or less concurrently with Enchanter, and Shadowmage is told from Rondal and Tyndal's perspective, also more or less concurrently).

Want more new stuff?  Of course you do.

I just got back Sky Rider from the editor this week, and will begin the final re-write tomorrow.  I'm planning to have it up by December 1st, only eight months later than I planned.  It will conclude the Dara trilogy of YA novels (her next one will be more adult) and the next Cadet novel will have a male protagonist.  More than that, I shall not say at this time.  But look for the Kindle version of Sky Rider on or about December 1.

And now, for the question everyone wants to know . . . when will the next series book be out?

Actually, sooner than I expected.

Thaumaturge is more than half-written, and seems to be flowing freely, now that I've figured out what it is.  For some of you it will be disappointing: not a lot of action, not nearly as much as Necromancer.  Sorry, it's just not that kind of book.  It can't be.

Thaumaturge has to set up the arc for the next ten books, and as a result is going to have a hellish amount of exposition and world-building.  Think Magelord 2.0, in terms of story, so if you liked that book you'll like this one.  Book 12 will be far more action-packed, I promise.  But I have to lay the ground-work for several novels in this one, so bear with me if you're a action fan.  If you're a world-building fan, this will be a feast.

Main characters will include Mavone and Sandoval, a lot of Min, Alya, Astyral, Gareth, Carmella, Nattia, a little bit of Ithalia, and cameos from many other familiar characters.  We will see some new faces, too: in particular, Min's new lawyer, Lawbrother Bryte the Wiser, who plays a prominent role.

We'll also see the rise of three ugly Nemovorti in the northlands whose job it is to kill or capture Min at any cost.  Dradrien smiths forging magical weapons.  Road-building, market economics and lawmaking as devout religious expressions.  An exploration of Gilmoran marriage customs.  And the attempted thaumaturgical deconstruction of the snowstone spell. All in a frontier town on the edge of a war zone.

Yeah, there's more to it than that.  Promise.

Finally, I'm planning on reading excerpts of Sky Rider at Gallery 71 on November 24th as part of Hillsborough, NC's celebration of literacy and books.  More details as they become available.

More soon.  But that should give you something to chew on.


Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Spellmonger gets a Discord server! New fansite!

It is my pleasure to announce a new fan site for the Spellmonger series on Discord! 

Constructed and managed by superfan and recognized Knight of Sevendor, Sir Aaron of Schwartz, this site will have both fan and some "official" content, including, mayhap, a few exclusive short stories, eventually.  While it's a work in progress, I look forward to seeing a more comprehensive forum on Spellmonger, as I develop and write the second decalogy.  Fan input is hugely important to me (I get 4-5 fan letters a day, now) and I really want to know what parts you like best, which ones you don't, and which ones you hate. 

Ghost Rock: The Spellmonger Series Discord Server and Fan Site:

 https://discordapp.com/channels/410296986563117077/448666256552230913

Work continues on all projects, albeit more slowly than anticipated.  I had a busy summer, and nearly lost some data with a hardware crash, but things are nearly back on track.  I'm working to revise Court Wizard for audiobook at the moment, but I'll be back to composition etc. before you know it.

Thank you all for your support, and an especial thank you to Aaron, who has gone above and beyond for this series. 

Terry

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Going to be at HeroesCon in Charlotte this weekend . . .

. . . Booth 520.  I'll be there Friday and Saturday before taking off Sunday morning for Father's Day.  Come out and get a rare autographed copy, chat with the author, and get a chance to ask me your most burning questions about Spellmonger!  If bandwidth permits, I'll try a Facebook livestream from the con.

In other news, Journeymage will be available on Audible.com on July 3rd!  Yay!

In yet other news, writing comes along at a clip -- just not as fast as I would like.  Sky Rider is late (although nearly complete), Trask's Odyssey has made significant progress but is still not ready, and I have a bunch of short stories that I've started and need to finish.  It's been a busy year.  Here is a recent interview I did that explains this in a little more detail:

http://thewayfarersrest.blogspot.com/2018/05/an-interview-with-terry-mancour.html

In yet other, other news, both the Atlas of the Five Duchies and the gaming module project are proceeding apace.  I'm hopeful to have an announcement about both of them by the end of the summer.

Do not despair.  I've been writing like mad, as well as working on the next series of audiobooks.  Once we catch them up with the written series, things will smooth out a bit.

Thanks again for reading, and for all of your support!

Terry

Thursday, March 29, 2018

High Mage Audiobook available for Pre-Order!

The link you all have been demanding: the preorder for the Audiobook of High Mage!  Get it now!  


In other news, I've about wrapped up the corrections on Journeymage audiobook, and it should be released directly.  No, I don't know how directly.  But Podium is cranking these out as fast as I can revise them.  Still cranking on Sky Rider (plenty of Spring left) and other stuff.  


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Yes, she's real.



Meet Cinder.  She specializes in chewing up fingers, toes, shoes, and writing schedules.   She'll be making an appearance in Sky Rider.  If she'll get off the damn keyboard.

7 weeks old, likely an Australian Shepherd mix.  She herds our cats (Mystery and Puzzle -- she's smart enough to leave Lucifer alone).  Most playful puppy ever.  Not conducive to writing, perhaps, but she's learning.  Now if I can just train her to make me coffee . . .

Oh, yeah.  High Mage audiobook will be released APRIL 3rd! 

Back to work.