Spell/Sword Audiobook Contest BIRTHDAY EDITION

Time for another giveaway! I’ve been sitting on these download codes for the Spell/Sword spell_sword_cover_finalaudiobook for long enough. My birthday is at the end of the month and to celebrate I want to GIVE 10 people a free download of the book from Audible.com. Admittedly I’m GIVING you these with the idea that you will GIVE me an honest review and GIVE me your undying support and perhaps GIVE me a sandwich if I am hungry at some undisclosed date in the future. All of this giving, it warms the heart.

10 people will win the free download, and one person will win the The Gray Prize.

The Gray Prize

  • $50.00 gift certificate to local book store of your choice OR I take you to lunch  and tell you what  nice person you are (location/travel permitting)
  • Unique, one of a kind Gray Witch mug, hand-made by the author with a Sharpie.
  • Your choice of one (1) of my completed Gundam models
  • One Question That I Must Answer Truthfully*
  • So, how do you enter?

Send me a picture of yourself with a SPELL or a SWORD. [counts twice if your picture has BOTH].  You can email to me directly spellswordcontact AT gmail DAWT com OR tweet to me @gderekadams. If you tweet it, because of the native social media boosting properties, I will add a x3 multiplier to your entry.

1 chance – Picture of you with a SWORD

1 chance – Picture of you with a SPELL

2 chances – Picture of you with a SPELL AND A SWORD

Tweet your entry – x3 Chance Multiplier

Other bonus attacks for pictures:

+2 chance – cosplay

+4 chance – Spell/Sword cosplay

+6 chance – bad cosplay

+10 chance – bad Spell/Sword cosplay

+5 chance – somebody famous

+5 chance – impressive location

+5 chance – unsettling composition/spooky

+50 chance – Lev Grossman

x4 Mystery Multiplier – ????

The contest ends at midnight on January 31st, 2016.

No purchase necessary – all entries will be entered into the drawing for the download codes and The Gray Prize. I’ll do the drawing on February 1st and announce here the winners and contact you via email to get you your filthy winnings.

NOTE: I’m going to want to share these pictures with the Internet, obviously – if you are NOT OKAY with that, you can still enter. Just let me know in the email that the images are not for sharing. I’m planning on sharing the 10 winners – along with any other pictures I get that are super hilarious or poignant.

Any questions? Drop them in the comments below – let’s go! I’m very excited to see what you folks come up with.

*What is truth? I am a secretive writer, and much of the Grand Plot of Spell/Sword still lies in shadow. This is your chance to ask me one question about the books that I have to answer truthfully and fully to the best of my ability. Or I guess you could waste it asking me about my political views or something? It’s your nickel.

 

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The Riddle Box – Cover Reveal

At last – no further preamble – here is the cover illustration for The Riddle Box!

Cover Illustration - Mike Groves @poopbird
Cover Illustration – Mike Groves @poopbird

Yes! Bask in it’s glory. So many thanks to Mike Groves – poopbird.com – for his fabulous design.

Thank you for enduring the flood of activity from the blog, but I’m afraid there will be more to come as the release of the book in August gets closer.

Shares, presses, tumbles, and retweets very much appreciated – but please always credit Mike Groves/poopbird as the artist.

Stay tuned at this spot for more ramblings, poorly planned self-promotion, and pretty good recipe for peanut butter cookies.

Please follow this link to add The Riddle Box to your Goodreads queue!

Judge Me By My Cover – Day 5

Oh, we’re so very close. This is just a line drawing of the final design. I had gotten used to seeing the ‘straight on’ view of the Bride – so when Mike dropped this different perspective in my lap, I was immediately in love. Stay tuned for the final cover reveal tomorrow!

Design Sketch - Mike Groves @poopbird
Design Sketch – Mike Groves @poopbird

 

[Sketches for the cover illustration of The Riddle Box, my upcoming novel. I’m showing off the design process and sketches this week before the final reveal of the cover.]

Final Cover Reveal: 7/12

The Riddle Box – Click the link to add to your Goodreads!

Judge Me By My Cover – Day 4

And now we’re back to the ‘bride’ – I was a little bit nervous about not putting Jonas and Rime [Our Heroes] on the cover, but our earlier discussions about a truly ‘evocative’ cover gave me courage. Here are two different versions of the ‘bride’ that Mike developed.

Design Sketch - Mike Groves @poopbird
Design Sketch – Mike Groves @poopbird

More of the ‘floating numbers’ from the cover of Spell/Sword – and the appearance of the secret symbol! It’s massively important to the plot of The Riddle Box, and also to other stories beyond for those that have been following since the Lodestar days.

Design Sketch - Mike Groves @poopbird
Design Sketch – Mike Groves @poopbird

I don’t know what the flowers are all about – but they look great. I also really started to enjoy how the Bride’s ‘skull’ could read as her literal skeleton or as some sort of creepy mask. Also the decolletage and blood – so tasteful.

[Sketches for the cover illustration of The Riddle Box, my upcoming novel. I’m showing off the design process and sketches this week before the final reveal of the cover.]

Final Cover Reveal: 7/12

The Riddle Box – Click the link to add to your Goodreads!

Judge Me By My Cover – Day 3

And then things got a little weird. As often happens, Mike surprises me with a design that I love, but has very little connection to what we had originally been working on.

Design Sketch - Mike Groves @poopbird
Design Sketch – Mike Groves @poopbird

 

Now, I love this illustration. We had some discussions about going with a very evocative image on the cover, instead of something directly related to the plot. The mystery transpires in the Manor of the Heart-Broken Lion in the novel – and Mike really responded to that. We ultimately decided to go back to the original trajectory, but SPOILER ALERT: this sketch will find its way onto the back paperback cover of the book and potentially tattooed into my flesh at some point.

[Sketches for the cover illustration of The Riddle Box, my upcoming novel. I’m showing off the design process and sketches this week before the final reveal of the cover.]

Final Cover Reveal: 7/12

The Riddle Box – Click the link to add to your Goodreads!

Judge Me By My Cover – Day 2

Never forget the wooden pigs.
Never forget the wooden pigs.

After the initial thumbnail, Mike got very fixated on the exact design of the ‘bride’. [Sort of like how all he wanted to draw for the first book was wooden pigs. It’s a long story.] He has a dozen different takes in his sketchbook, but here are the ones he sent me next for feedback. I, of course, was tremendously helpful – most of my notes disintegrated into – ‘looks awesome’ and ‘god I wish I could draw.’

 

Design Sketch - Mike Groves - @poopbird
Design Sketch – Mike Groves – @poopbird
Design Sketch - Mike Groves @poopbird
Design Sketch – Mike Groves @poopbird

You can start to see the signature ‘numbers’ creeping into the inked sketch.

[Sketches for the cover illustration of The Riddle Box, my upcoming novel. I’m showing off the design process and sketches this week before the final reveal of the cover.]

Final Cover Reveal: 7/12

The Riddle Box – Click the link to add to your Goodreads!

Titan’s Wake – Final Words

Tributes to DUNE by artist Jose-Luis Segura
Tributes to DUNE by artist Jose-Luis Segura

[This isn’t going to make much sense – shocking for my blog, I know. I wrapped up a Pathfinder campaign last night, and this was the framing device for the final game – the tale as told by a bard, long after the heroes have vanished across the dunes. Over the next few days I’m going to be focusing the blog into Self-Promote Mode to ramp up to the release of The Riddle Box – which means I’ll be posting more often and also not slapping down random, vague stories and odd snippets – so bonus both ways!]

Sleep in the sand and tell me what you dream

Dance in the air and sing me what you seem

Burn in the sun and  draw me what you fear

Drown in the sea and remember me, my dear.

 

Riddle me lies and cry me bright truths

The unquiet shepherd is dead

Kiss me with cold and hold me with steel

The black and white book has been read.

 

At the heart of tomorrow in the shade of Forget

We danced in the Eye of the Dream

I see you and steal you and break you alone

Please tell me you hear me scream.

 

Drown in the sand

Burn in the air

Dance in the sun

Sleep in the sea

But please remember me, my dear.

Oh, please remember me , my dear.

Won’t you please remember me, my dear?

 

“That’s a strange song,” said the child. “What does it mean?

“It means I’ve had too much to drink,” said the bard, “And you should hurry to fetch me another.”

“But you promised me the tale, the tale of the Six Heroes…and the Titan!”

“Ach – that is a weak song, child. It is shorter than is proper, but still seems tedious. What little sense it has is brittle and shatters like sugar-glass if you lean on it. It has no proper villain, more questions than answers, and it muddles up more than it means. And the ending – sand and shade, child! – it is a preposterous hogwash that even an old talespinner like me has a hard time speaking with a straight face.”

“But…”the child insisted, “It’s my favorite story.”

“Oh, is it now?” the bard’s eye twinkled.”I suppose every story is some poor fool’s favorite story. Who am I to begrudge you yours? Sit down, child – and I will tell it then. I will tell the tale of the Descabellado, the Bastard Sands – of the Wind Thief, the Blank-Face Beauty, the Frog Knight, the White Wanderer, the Furious One, and the Unknown Gunner. I will tell the tale of the Titan, of the Red Sword. Now lean in close and listen, for this tale is not often told and the sun hungers for night…

[And here the whole campaign happened. Highlights include the party accidentally destroying two sites of holy power on the same day, a machine city ruled by psychic dragon cultists, awkward sexual liaisons with said psychic dragon cultists, a prolonged period of several weeks that may have been a dream, a robotic turkey mount with laser eyes, lots of talking, murder, unexpected betrayals, more talking, and a final battle against an insane Void Dragon where half the party died and continued to fight the beast in the Spirit World.  You know, D&D stuff. ]

During the story, a group of children gathered to hear the bard. For all his protestations, he told it well and they were spellbound until the last words fell as the Titan vanished from the world of mortals.

“…and that is the end of my tale, if any tale can truly be said to end.” the bard concluded, and took a long swig from his wineskin.

“But, wait – I still don’t understand” said a dwarven child. “ What did it all mean?”

“It meant what it means,” the child who has demanded the tale in the first place retorted. “Stories don’t need to mean anything.”

“But what about the Heroes, what happened after?” an elven girl with red hair scratched her nose.

“Oh, so demanding!” the bard chuckled. “Proper tales don’t usually have epilogues, but this is hardly a proper tale. Tell you what – each of you can ask me one question. And I promise I’ll only lie twice!”

[Here the players took on the role of the gathered children and asked their questions about the future of their world. Their secrets are their own, and I will not share them here.]

The children quickly thought of more questions and they begged and pleaded with the bard to answer them, or to give them hints about which were the lies and which were the truths. He only took a long draw from his wineskin until the last dregs were gone and laughed all the harder as he pushed his way through the crowd of children.

“Decide for yourself, young ones. That’s the best way. If there’s any moral at all, I guess that’ll have to do!”

The halfling pulled up his ratty cloak and stumbled out into the street, still laughing. He left the children and the questions all behind and whistled a strange tune to himself as the shadows of evening settled on his back.