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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Journeymage is live at Amazon! Spoiler discussion thread!

Find it here:

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Remember, it's up at a special price for a limited time: $5.49.  Why?  Because until sometime around Saturday morning, when you buy the book I'll donate a dollar to BSA Troop 439, a small rural Boy Scout Troop operating out of the Bahama Ruritan Club in Bahama, NC.  I'm Assistant Scoutmaster for the troop, and both of my sons are Scouts.  Since at least some of the inspiration for Journeymage came from last summer's camp at Raven Knob in Mt. Airy, NC, I think it's only fair that the troop benefit from the resulting intellectual property.  I'll reduce it to the proper price when the special is done, and anyone who has moral objections to donating to the BSA can purchase it then - or get it through Amazon Prime.  I'm only counting direct sales, not lends.

Best yet, I think I can get my company to match the donation.  Thus is the power of the Spellmonger . . . 

I'm pretty happy with the book.  I wrote it in about 6 weeks, coming straight off of Hawkmaiden and High Mage, and I think it's a good diversion.  Serious - nay, even major - stuff happens that has implications for the war and such, and we learn far too much about the Kasari people.  In terms of "naughty" level, I'd class it as "ribald" at most.  No one has sex on stage.  But at least one character is a little on the frustrated side.  The inspiration of the book can be summed up as "The Children's Crusade meets Follow Me Boys meets Game of Thrones", with some whacky magic here and there.  Min learns a lot of important things about himself, does a lot of important things for the long-term future of the kingdom and the war, and learns far too much about the Kasari culture.  

Here's the blurb: 

Minalan’s Summer Vacation! 

What does the most powerful wizard in the world do after the war is over? Despite the hordes of goblins still ready to ravage human lands, King Rard has signed a treaty with them, so Minalan is forbidden from taking advantage of their weakened state. Most would take a well-deserved rest over the summer . . . but Minalan and his household are busy repaying a favor owed to the tribal Kasari for their help in the war, and the Spellmonger pays his debts. So Minalan spends his summer sneaking two thousand Kasari children through enemy lines, goblin territory, hostile Wilderlords, and through some of the roughest territory in the Five Duchies toward salvation.  
But the Spellmonger soon learns that not even the help of a goddess is going to be sufficient to contend with the realities of the quest. Despite his best efforts and some of the most advanced magic seen since the Magocracy, the march attracts enemies . . . and far too many friends.  
For when the desperate refugees of the war-torn Alshari Wilderlands see the well-fed legions of Kasari march by, they cannot help but follow, even if they have no idea of the destination. Any life is better than the hopeless existence they've lived avoiding starvation and the goblins’ stewpot. And the promise of hope the great march of the Spellmonger’s children offers is just too good to pass up. Security and the promise of a brighter future lie just on the other side of the border with the duchy of Castal.  
The problem is that the Duke of Castal, Prince Tavard, who is also Minalan's titular overlord, is dead-set against a single Alshari refugee crossing his frontier – and he’s assembled a small army to stop any from doing so. With political pressure high and the very gods maneuvering behind the scenes, it’s going to take some clever magic, some inspired legal maneuvering, and some serious effort to pull off this miracle . . . but that’s the kind of job the Spellmonger does in Journeymage!

This is not the Meanwhile, Back In Sevendor book many of you want - that will be Enchanter.  Nor is it a bloodbath.  This book is essentially the beginning of the second cycle of novels, covering Minalan's growing magical and political sophistication.  But if you like world building, I think you'll enjoy this one.  It's shortish (140,000 words) but pretty involved.  And if you get off on logistics and supply issues, you'll be in heaven.

Thanks for reading my stuff.  And if you really want to boost me and my stuff, then go leave a review at Amazon - and don't be afraid to be candid.  The number of reviews is one of the things that drives sales, and the more sales I get, the more I like writing these things. This marks the fourth book I've published in the series in just over a year (Knights Magi came out on March 10th of last year - I would have made that date, had I not had a couple of hospital stays). And there is plenty more to come.  I'm enjoying the hell out of this, and I plan a long and interesting career for our Spellmonger and his friends . . . and enemies.

Now, I'd like to throw the comments open to spoilery discussion.  Don't read them if you haven't read the book or don't wan't to be spoiled.  You know the drill.  Things I'd love to hear are: favorite parts, favorite character, character you'd most like to see in their own focused story, and whether you think this book holds up to the standards of the series.  Basic feedback stuff.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Journeymage immanent - and a special announcement.

Moments ago I finished my second pass/rewrite of Journeymage.  I'll do one final pass on it when its all back from the proofreaders, and then there's nothing stopping me from releasing it but dramatic effect.  Expect it in the next few days.

I am doing something special with the release of Journeymage, however.  My sons are both Boy Scouts, and I'd like to donate some of the proceeds of Journeymage directly to their troop, Troop 439 in Bahama, NC, to help support the ongoing efforts of this small, distinguished troop in rural NC.  I understand that not everyone feels comfortable contributing to that organization, however, and out of respect for everyone I want to limit the size of my contribution and how its determined, so that no one has any qualms about it.

To that end, I will be offering Journeymage at a slightly increased rate (+$.50) for the first 48 hours or so.  For every sale made at that special price I will donate $1.00 to the troop in preparation for their summer camp activities.  If you don't want to contribute, just put off buying Journeymage until the gimmicky promotion is over.  Everyone wins.

This is also a chance to recommend the book to anyone you know who just likes to support Scouting.  I think they'll like the book, and it gives them the opportunity to directly help a specific group of boys, not a vague and nebulous organization you might be suspicious of.  Spread the word.  And my motivation for this will become clearer when you finish the book.

In any case, it's on like a pot of neckbones.  I'll start the final run this afternoon.

For those of you who are interested in my future publishing plans, I'm going to take about three weeks off from Sevendor and work on some other projects (Trask's Odyssey included; while I probably won't be finishing it in the next three weeks, I'm anticipating significant progress and a release some time this year.).

Then on to the next two novels in the series, which I'm going to attempt to write simultaneously.  Just to say I did it.  As it is, I'm already well on my way toward my goal of writing six Spellmonger books this year.  It's only March, and I've gotten Hawkmaiden and Jorneymage both out.  That only leaves four more before December.  Proper novels, too - Hawkmaiden was 90,000 words, long for a YA.

The next two books will be Court Wizard and Enchanter.  One will follow Pentandra's introduction to married life, and follow political events in Alshar, while the other will focus on Min's continued development of Sevendor, and his research into the nature of the many stones in his treasury.  I'm thinking each will be between 20-30 chapters, between 140-170,000 words.

Then I'm planning to release my second YA title, Hawklady, another 90k word juvenile following Dara's perspective through the end of Magelord and into Knights Magi (in a "meanwhile, back at the castle" sort of way).

Then for my sixth Sevendor novel of the year . . . I haven't decided.  We'll have to see how things develop. Because I have all of these short stories to get through, too.  The two that are in process will be finished, and I have a half-dozen more short pieces I want to do to fill in the corners.

It's going to be a busy year in Sevendor. And I'll still finish TO this year.  Hope y'all continue to be entertained.  And let me know what you think about my charitable plan for Troop 439.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Just Finished The Rough Draft Of Journeymage

My editor has already returned the first five chapters, so it should go pretty quickly.  It's a little rougher than I like, at the moment, but I've got a very good idea what I'm doing with it.

I don't really do "release dates", but you should get a shot at it in the next two weeks.  Before the end of March, certainly.  Possibly before.

It's a good book, but it's a departure from the "kill the evil dark lord" formula.  Not everyone will be thrilled with it, but it does have at least one good battle and some nifty magic, as well as some intriguing revelations about humanity's origins on Callidore.

But it's wrapped.  Tomorrow I'll start the painful rewriting process.

As far as what books will come next, what would y'all think if I released two at the same time?  I want to do Court Wizard, but I also want to do Enchanter.  They're both relatively short books that take place at the same time.

Hmmm.  The more I think about that, the more interesting the idea becomes.