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I Need Help

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I need help.

You are my people. You are my ragtag band of adventurers, wizards, lawyers, normal humans, and mutants. And I need your help getting my art out in the world.

Tomorrow is release day for my book, THE RIDDLE BOX. It’s the sequel to that other book I won’t shut up about, SPELL/SWORD. I’m extremely proud of it. Enough so that I’m able to compel myself to do this. To unabashedly ask for help. I’m an indie writer. My books are completely self-published, leaning on my artist friends and my word friends to get me much closer to the professional quality level than I ever could alone. After that I’m the salesman, the marketer, the head of the fan club.

I’m really bad at it. Or rather I’m incredibly eccentric and inconsistent at it. Which amounts to the same thing.

Tomorrow I need your help. If you’re buying the book, I need you to make noise about it. On Facebook, on Twitter, on Ello, on Tumblr. I need you to pester other nerds and readers and reader-nerds. From what I learned on the first book, tomorrow will be the biggest sales day this book may ever have – and the higher we can get in the Amazon rankings, the more it will show up in stranger’s searches and get suggested to other customers that like manticores.

And after that I need you to do more. I need you to write a review. On Amazon, on Goodreads, on your own blog. Anywhere online or in print. The couple of dollars I’m going to get from you for buying the book is FAR outweighed by the value of a review – EVEN IF YOU HATE THE BOOK. it’s a funny thing that whatever made you hate the book may be the very reason that someone else will love it. I love getting 3 star and 4 star reviews – it seems like you are giving me legit criticism, and when outsiders read them it hides the fact that you are all my marauders.

Please help me. My art is weird. I know if we keep at this eventually we’ll tumble into some sort of larger presence on the web and in the genre – or at the very least some literature-archaeologist is going to stumble across the oddest of diamonds in the far flung future.

There are sample chapters of both books here: http://spell-sword.com/buy-the-book/

And the money link to Amazon for the ebook and paperback is here:http://www.amazon.com/Riddle-Box-Spell-Sword-…/…/ref=sr_1_1…

[As a reward for reading this far, I’ll let you in on a secret. You can order the Paperback right now. You don’t have to wait until tomorrow if you don’t want to.]

So thank you. I assume you will all now follow my whims like automatons, but thank you anyway. Thank you for reading this far. In this post, and in the books. It means so much to me when I see you guys posting nice things about the book, or commenting on my book related posts, or sending me cool pictures of you and the book in France. Anything and everything you do that shows support is deeply appreciated.

Let’s do it! Please?

Take This Book From Me

pow-hi

I’m giving away 5 free copies of the paperback on Goodreads! The contest ends on release day of 11/26 so get in there now if you’d like a copy. You do have to be a member of Goodreads to enter -but why aren’t you already you book nerd, you?

Feel free to share this around – this is one of the best ways to get some easy publicity on Goodreads and have people add the book to their queue.

Click the cover to go enter!

Click the cover to go enter!

Continuity

Artist - Abe Taraky

Artist – Abe Taraky

I get asked this question a lot: How many books are there in the Spell/Sword series?

Well, not a lot. Eleven times, tops.

People ask because they want to know what they’re getting into, I suppose. Or just figure out how many years they have to deal with me explaining my fiction with wild-eyed elan. On the site so far I have three titles listed: Spell/Sword, The Riddle Box [PREORDER IT OH MY GOD PLEASE IT COMES OUT ON THE 26th]and Asteroid Made of Dragons.  These are reasonably set in stone – first one is out, second one next week, and I reference the title of the third book IN the second book so those are visible within the Narrative Fog of War. But, as I’ve always said – this is not epic fantasy, I’m not writing a trilogy. The story doesn’t end in the next book ( though you can safely consider AMOD as the end of an arc, or more correctly, the end of Disc One).

So, how many books will there be?

I should really only ask rhetorical questions that I know the answer to.

More than three, obviously? Seven seems like too many, but five might not be enough. BUT who writes a six book series?!? Is that a hexology? Wait, that kind of sounds badass, maybe it will be six books.

See, you would think I’m in charge of these things. But I’m kind of not. I know the tale I’m telling, I know the end. But the path to get there — there’s still plenty of shadows and fog, which is the way I like it. I’m a ‘pantser’, a ‘discovery writer’. I ‘don’t know what I’m doing’. I don’t know what I’m doing. Is there anything more wonderful or grand than that statement? I just point my antenna towards Aufero and pick up the broadcast and try to type fast enough to keep up with it — at least for the rough draft. Part of me wants there to be 10 books, because the last one is so sad.

Let’s pretend. Let’s pretend there are going to be ten books. Here’s what they will/could be.

  1. Spell/Sword
  2. The Riddle Box
  3. Asteroid Made of Dragons
  4. Paper-Thin Harry Potter Parody*
  5. Wild Magic and Mild Salsa
  6. Suddenly the Robots
  7. Ecclesiastical by Jonathan Franzen
  8. The Archivarium Saga : Secret of the Wonderblade**
  9. Swordroom – Adventures in Financial Diplomacy and Corporate Espionage
  10. The Fall

* There will be a year ‘in-world’ gap between the events of AMOD and Paper-Thin Harry Potter Parody

** I think this is the one where they get Bird!

Shit, maybe I will write 10 books. I need to hurry up and become famous so I can write these faster and stop wasting time ‘feeding and clothing’ myself.

The Holy Detective

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Close your eyes. Okay, wait, open them again. You can’t read with your eyes closed. Are you reading this now? I guess I’ll need to wait for you to get bored and come back and read this.

Okay – welcome back. Now, metaphysically close your eyes. What do you see when you read the word ‘detective’? YES I KNOW YOU SEE LETTERS.

You are impossible to blog at. Simply impossible.

Now most normal people probably see Sherlock Holmes. Or Batman. Or Sam Spade. Or Tracer Bullet. Or Kay Howard. Or DCI Jane Tennison. Or Columbo.

Or any other number of gumshoes, thief-catchers, and head-scratchers. The ones who find. The ones who put the pieces together. The ones who solve the puzzle, catch the crook, go into the dark place and shine their big-ass X-files style flashlight on the things we’re afraid to look for.

All the way from Sgt. Cuff in The Moonstone to the watered down latter day sleuths that tromp across primetime underneath their personal assortment of L.E.T.T.E.R.S. — we love them. Or at least I love them. But I would make the argument that in our modern minds the role of detective has taken on a religious bent.  When they appear in a story we know their purpose, we understand their function. And when they succeed, when they drag the truth to light,there is a feeling of our faith being rewarded.

Humans have always used stories to understand the world that surrounds us. I find it interesting that so much of popular fiction in one way or another features this figure: the Detective as Hero. True Detective on HBO explored this trope in several fascinating ways — overlaying the mechanics of a procedural on the Hero’s Journey. As a side bar, I also found it interesting that the grungy, dystopic world of that show culminated in a moment of true, non-ironic hope and peace.

Maybe that’s why the popularity. If Campbell is to be trusted [ AND HE FUCKING IS] the mono-myth appears again because it mirrors the operation of the human psyche. Mapping the Hero’s quest to Detective stories is a natural pop-culture tic. The Call is some dead body in an alley somewhere, the Underworld an interrogation room, the Elixir a confession, a signed piece of paper, vengeance wreaked, the sound of the cuffs as they click closed. Across the board we make a solemn grunt of satisfaction as the Detective solves the case.  Other heroes have their battles take many forms, but for the Detective it most often boils down to ‘ Figure This Out.’ Maybe I just find mental battles more interesting in my dotage.

What do you think? Close your eyes again. [Metaphysically you ass.] When you see your Detective, are they outlined in a holy fire? Or, as is all too often the case, is it just me having a weird fixation?

Because I see it. Bayless and Pembleton, Mulder and Scully, Watson and Holmes. When the Detective appears I am on board. I lean forward, towards the TV or the page, eager for the first move to be made. I want them to get out there, out there in the dark and get on the trail. I want the hounds sniffing at the scent, I want the board covered with pictures and yarn, I want the detective to drink her coffee grind away at the problem. FOLLOW THE LEADS, GET IT WRONG, TRY AGAIN.  Play the violin and stare at the drop of green ink on the handkerchief and realize that the priest was blind so there is NO WAY HE COULD HAVE KNOWN THE KILLER HAD RED HAIR.

I may have a problem.

So yeah, I like mysteries a little. And detectives a bit.

When I realized that the most logical sequel to my fantasy novel was an Agatha Christie locked-room murder mystery, I was to put it mildly: NUCLEAR LEVEL STOKED. Just throwing all those toys in the box and rattling them around was exciting enough, but the idea of my hero becoming the Detective was the most exciting. Rime is a character defined by her intellect, the idea of matching her up against this type of puzzle was very exciting. Also, finding out that Rime has the same nerdy love for mystery stories that I do was another nice surprise. She’s so excited to step into that role. If I may put it mildly, she is a huge dork about it. Another surprise: Rime is not the greatest detective in the world. I wouldn’t say terrible exactly – but definitely not on speed dial for Commissioner Gordon.

So, what do you think? Is the Detective ‘holy’? OR HAVE I JUST GONE MAD.

[This post is a naked attempt to promote my new book, The Riddle Box. The first two chapters are free here and you can pre-order the ebook here. DON’T FALL FOR MY TRICKS.]

Design Sketch - Mike Groves @poopbird

Before You Buy the Barrel

Now available free here on the site: the first two chapters of The Riddle Box.

Sample Chapters This Way!

This is a common tactic – in both the world of traditional and self-publishing. It’s nefarious.  You’re going to read the first two chapters, just enough time to figure out you think the book is fucking awesome, then I’m SLAMMING THAT PAYWALL DOWN IN YOUR FACE. It is goddamn Machiavellian.  Even better this book is a murder mystery, so you will never ever know ‘whodunnit’ if you don’t fork over your filthy silver coins into my internet pouch.

I know, Kuwabara! It IS upsetting.

I know, Kuwabara! It IS upsetting.

So yes – give the chapters a taste, you fools! Commit yourself all unknowingly to an oubliette of narrative servitude that will last unto the cracking of the world.

Or maybe you won’t like it – also possible.

If you like what you read, you can pre-order the book via the link below — available November 26th!

The Riddle Box Preorder- Kindle Version – .99

So try that wine. I’ll be talking much more about they why and wherefore of the novel, trying to win you over many other ways as we get closer to the release — but ultimately you can just read the first few pages and make the decision for yourself, you informed consumer you.

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I/O Tower – General Spell/Sword Shenanigan Update

1. I’m getting the final 50 pages of copy edits for The Riddle Box this weekend! With any luck I’ll be able to have the ebook up for sale sometime next week.

2. Which means I need to start the shilling. Eh, I’m not as bothered by it this time around — which probably just means I accept I’m not any good at it, and will be incredibly lackadaisical about the whole process. WHATEVS. I’ll put some posts up here promoting the book when it goes live.

3. Publishing Book Two means I get to start work on Book Three : Asteroid Made of Dragons very soon. Oh man, I’m practically slavering. There is slaver all over this place. It’s kind of a loose grab bag in my head at the moment, but I know the first scene requires the most absurd action sequence I can possibly manage. Exploding buildings, dragon mechs, ninja stars made of Pure Hate – it’s all on the table people. We’re going to see a lot more of the world next time around because Jonas and RIme Are Getting on a Boat [original working title].

4. I might try my hand at writing a script for a short film. Some friends are looking for a new project and need some script fodder. Could be fun? Interesting to write something that will have no budget to shoot. I’m thinking secret agents that work for minor deities.

5. Go NaNoWriMo! Good luck to all you typers out there.