My Friends

The real heroes of my Inkshares campaign. I love how most of them seem vaguely surprised or amazed. I am too friends, I am too.

I love these people.

Goodreads Giveaway – Asteroid Made of Dragons

My publisher is giving away 20 free copies of the paperback! GET IN THERE AND WIN THEM.

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Click on Kuwabara to be instantly transported.

The contest runs from now until 4/5 – the official release of AMOD. Even if you’ve already pre-ordered, I would LOVE it if you would add the book to your Goodreads queue.

I,  quite nerdishly, adore Goodreads. I know the ecosystem has gotten a tinge more corporate since Amazon aquired them – but it is my first stop for reviews, ideas of more books to read, and my never-ending TBR pile is virtually curated. And if you’re looking to do AMOD and me a solid – you passively adding it to your queue alerts all your friends – and THEN THE SYNERGY OF SOCIAL MEDIA DAEMON BLACK LILITH WHOAAA will happen. If you want to be my Goodreads friend or  – more unsettlingly – follower you can also do that here.

Please share this link around, that is what it is for. You DO have to be a Goodreads user to apply – but other than that, anyone can enter and win a free copy.

AsteroidMadeOfDragons-finalfront cover hi-res jpeg
God, I really need to rewatch Yu Yu Hakusho.

Sunset Falls on the Weeping Gate

Edward Felspar

On Assignment

Vyle Tymes – 25th of Psydros, 2015

History sleeps all around us. In the stones of the roadway, in the iron of the rail, in the scars that lekpalios hide behind full flagons or a worker’s blue or a traveler’s cloak. As we walk the streets of Vyle we can hear the shuddering breath of the sleeper, feel its sighs on our backs as the Tagma march by. The clamor of the train is the heartbeat, slow and steady as History dreams. But we must walk with care, for we can never be sure of the days when History will wake and speak again in letters of fire.

ASH
ASH Insignia – From File

It was this reporter’s privilege to be present at the Weeping Gate of Smyrna bare hours ago, to watch the most perilous and remarkable Fey assault since Amarant Field be turned aside by a single unit of the Advance Special Hoplite: the Antichyros of Sunset. Details are few and far between at this heedless hour – but many eye witness accounts will soon fill the ears of every citizen of Vyle with what they saw that day. Let this be the first. The larger details of the account will certainly be forthcoming in these pages as time and diligence can locate them.

According to the ASH Desk, the ATC Sunset was dispatched to investigate a communication lapse at Fort Terra. They found the outpost empty except for a few soldiers recovering from a strange sickness. There they were set upon by a gigantic beast with a form similar to a fox that pursued them and the survivors even to the vast ironbane bastion of Smyrna, the Weeping Gate. After seeing to the care of the Fort’s survivors, the ATC Sunset were immediately dispatched by Tagma leadership to delay and distract the creature. From all reports it had gone mad with rage and pain and was throwing itself against the Gate itself. Tagma Silver officials insist that the city was in little danger and the damage to the gate was minimal, but this reporter and the many citizens who stood on the walls know the truth. The great fox’s eyes were not those of a beast and it’s aim was clear.  The Fey creature was well on the way to tearing the gates asunder and filling the streets of Smyrna with horror and fire.

How could any mortal hope to contend with such alien malice?

Then, as if struck by lightning, the great fox fell still. Its flesh began to tear and boil, bursting asunder like meat on the griddle. The beast fell apart into horrible droplets of violet viscera, like foul jelly scattered at the foot of the Weeping Gate. ASH Archon Nadia Soon – the White Rose of Vyle – spoke to reporters after the battle, relating the bizarre strategy employed to destroy the beast. The ATC Sunset had borrowed simple demolition charges from the station, then wrapped them with ironbane shrapnel found about the Smyrna Repair Yard. This makeshift device was then hurled into the center mass of the great fox and ignited by a well placed bolt of fire from Demiarchos Coram Lethane of ATC Sunset.

This brilliant tactical move was not the end of their work. The bits of remaining flesh still moved in attack -compelled by the dark will of a hooded figure that hovered on the battle’s edge, hurling fire at the brave soldiers. The citizens of Smyrna were as silent as the grave – too caught up in the plight of their defenders to cry out in either alarm or battle pride. In silence they watched the five members of the ATC Sunset do battle. The spells and ceaseless flashing camera of the bard Ansel, the vicious strikes of the knight Nora, the flames that ever flow from Lethane’s hands – hot as the sun, the brutal axe of the juggernaut Gish, the catlike grace and mortal blows of the monk Etrian. They bled in the engine yard, they cut the foul things down and sent their hooded master screaming into the wilderness whence it came.

They stood up from the battle, their own blood wet on their uniforms, and the golden sun sank behind them. At last the watchers on the wall could breathe, at last they could cry out, at last they could exclaim in jubilation for their saviors, their heroes.

This reporter was there, but did not cry out. Wide gaze on the sunset until it faded, the eyes of History falling closed. History sleeps again, but for how long? Not long would be this reporter’s estimation – History has a new tale to tell, and we are witness to the first lines.

 

 

 

Music for Your Face

I made a Spotify playlist for Asteroid Made of Dragons! It was fun for me to do. FUN I SAY. I’m a recent expatriate from Songza (RIP) and I hate Google Play Music, so I’m fairly new to this as my streaming music font of choice. I’m — okay with it? Still learning my way around and making this playlist was a good venue for that. One thing that is annoying is there doesn’t seem to be a way to control the order of the songs on the playlist, so I can’t put them there in proper  ‘I burned you this CD mix’ order. SO – below I’ll put them in the intended order, along with a little description of which character, scene, or concept from AMOD made me pick it.

Fair warning, this is heavy on late 90’s and early 00’s pop, as that was when I was in high school and college and a lot of my musical inclinations coalesced. This whole exercise started when I realized that ‘Freak of the Week’ by the Marvelous 3 was an excellent backing track for the Rime and Jonas plot line in the book. Probably some light spoilers below if you want to be 100% PURE for your first read of the book.

 

Hit Parade – BRADIO

If anyone’s curious, my mental image of the book is flat-out anime – so I would want the feel of an anime opening theme. I also keep my age-old tradition of beginning and ending the mix with the same artist. I would have put ‘Flyers’ up front, but Death Parade beat me to that pretty soundly, but I’ll steal it as my closer. This song is just super goddamn fun, the anime titles would have the Players in the cart, arguing over props – while inter-cutting images of the Main Characters doing whatever they were doing 5 minutes before they appear in the book.

Science Genius Girl – Freezepop

Xenon! The best – my archaeologist goblin with a heart made of nerd. I was determined to have a brand new main character for this book, one who does not express their might through any sort of combat – only in her quest for knowledge and prodigious drinking prowess.

Freak of the Week – Marvelous 3

Our Heroes, Rime and Jonas – this would play during the fight scene with the golem after the semi-botched bank heist.

My Name is Jonas – Weezer

No reason.

Burden in My Hand – Soundgarden

The Squire’s Dark Secret. This song doesn’t quite fit the tone for all of the revelations about what made Jonas flee from Gilead – but it’s a song that will be important later, so I’m wedging it in. Side note – in Aufero this is a song from Gilead, something of a Low Ballad that soldiers sing when deep in their cups.

Karma Police  – Radiohead

The fight scene on the ship, where Rime goes a wee bit too far involving lightning and half-ghost pirates.

Postcards From a Midwestern Salesman – Dayroom

Linus, the dread knight of duty. The lyrics don’t quite fit – but the feeling of age, of time, and of being completely weary do.

Gotta Be Somebody’s Blues – Jimmy Eat World

Ah! In the anime, we would use a TOTALLY different art style for this flashback to the ‘caging’ of the dragons – mimicking the ideographs and stylized depictions on the urn, with this rad, RAD song in the ground.

Are You Jimmy Ray? – Jimmy Ray

Sideways’ theme song. Also perfect for when he’s drunk and sunbathing between murders on the cruise ship.

Longview – Green Day

Just for whenever Rime and Jonas or Mercury and Xenon are just kind of wandering around. Lyrics don’t fit, but it’s my favorite Green Day song, so deal.

Fuck and Run – Liz Phair

Rime loves this song. Just sits in her room, with her headphones plugged in and listens to it on repeat.

Desperately Wanting – Better Than Ezra

I like this song. Yep, that’s it. There’s precious little romance in the book – some beginnings, some endings, and a good deal of platonic connection.

Low Man’s Lyric – Metallica

Jonas returns home. Lots of dog imagery for this kid. Just a song about feeling like dirt for all the crap you did. Also good for while he’s in the dungeon.

Gimme Sympathy – Metric

Xenon at the Weary Titan bar. Just kind of drunk and lost, man.

Pacific Rim (Main Theme) – Ramin Djawadi ft. Tom Morello

Rime IS A JAEGER AND THE ASTEROID IS A KAIJU.

Gotta Get Up – Harry Nilsson

Asteroid Response Team.

So Clear – Junip

Entering the Asteroid, also the feeling of unraveling all the weirdo Precursor mysteries and secrets that are crammed all over the damn place.

Power of Two – Indigo Girls

No comment. Probably about Mercury and Xenon, but also applies to Jonas and Rime.

Fall Behind Me – The Donnas

Parting of the Ways.

Flyers – BRADIO

End credits and a sky-cycle.

 

Spell/Sword Audiobook Contest Winners!

Here are the winning entries!

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Phil Rood

Scorecard: 6 chances

 

Spell AND Sword +2

Tweeted x3

Judge’s Comments: Unexpected to receive a drawing, but very pleased to do so. The barbarity, the virility of the linework, that dashing mustache! Also the sensible messenger bag really sets of the ensemble. This piece is ready to be airbrushed on the side of a van.

richheinz

Rick Heinz

Scorecard: 9 chances

Sword +1

Cosplay +2

Tweeted x3

Judge’s Comments: Just look in those eyes. The intensity, the focus. Those are the eyes of a killer. A killer of hearts. Emotional damage 10d6+5, roll vs. swoon. DC Impossible.

redtom

Thomas J. Arnold

Scorecard:21 chances

Sword +1

Bad Cosplay +6

Tweeted x3

Judge’s Comments: There’s a lot to unpack here. Does he know that bird is there? Is the bird whispering forlorn secrets of regret and torment into his beard? What an adorably tiny blade! Has this piratical gentleman absconded with a fairy’s rapier? Excellent framing as well, as you can see the white abyss of nothingness that wait sto devour us all.

spell-sword

Margaret Poplin

Scorecard:16 chances

Spell AND Sword +2

Cosplay +2

Mystery Multiplier (Holy Shit Effect) x 4

Judge’s Comment: Wow! I don’t know if that is the proper grip one uses on a katana while casting an ice spell with your off-hand wand, but still damn. Definitely my personal favorite.

ALL of you win a free download of Spell/Sword from Audible.com. I’ll be contacting you all via email with your download codes shortly. Now I will announce the winner of The GRAY PRIZE, a 50.00 gift certificate to the local bookstore of your choice.

52 chances in the pool. The selection was totally random, based on the number of chances each of you had. I just figured out the probability and rolled some dice.

The winner of the GRAY PRIZE is: Thomas J. Arnold!

Thank you all so much for participating! And I hope that you enjoy the audiobook of Spell/Sword.

But wait ! Some of you are probably wondering what happened to the other 6 downloads? I offered to give away 10 downloads,right?! Yes, you are right, person who follows my blog and social media presence very closely but still didn’t bother to enter. I only had four entries, so they all get the download and I still have six remaining. But what am I going to do with them? Tell you what, the contest is over, but I’ll put a bounty on those remaining six downloads – all it takes is a picture as awesome as the four that I’ve shared above. Send to me any way you like, @gderekadams on Twitter is the easiest. I’ll honor this until I decide not to – or the six downloads are claimed, either way I’ll come back and update this post to prevent confusion.

UPDATE [2/1 – 2:24 EST]

1 Bounty Claimed

davebarrett

Dave Barrett

Judge’s Comments: Puns are never acceptable. I hate and love this.

2 Bounty Claimed

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John Waldrip

Judge’s Comments: RAWR

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.

 

Answers to No One

King Tamar sat alone. It drove her mad to be blind while her city, her people, were in peril. They were imperiled by the blazing red-white circle that, by her guard’s faltering description, filled half the night sky now. She had given them all tasks, duties to prepare the castle defenses, to prepare the city for the long night that could still fall. My vision will return. There will be much to do come dawn, either way.

She had decided the best place for her to be was the Alabaster Throne, where at least she could be a symbol of resolve and comfort to her people. Her heirs were safely on their way, bound for the far city of Caleron. They had fought her decision, but they had bowed to her Sight.

The king raised her head. Someone was there, standing a few feet from the throne, silent and unannounced. She craned her ears, trying to decide if she should rebuke this careless guard, but she could not hear the jingle of chain mail, or the creak of leather straps, or the slight tap of a blade against armor. As best she could tell, the someone was standing in the blue rectangle, recently vacated by the knight’s tribunal.

Someone walked closer.

“Could I stay with you a moment?”

King Tamar felt as though she was stepping across a dark pit and wished that she had not left her glaive in the sitting room floors below. “I am sorry, but I do not know you.”

A strong hand took hers. “You know me.”

“Though we have never met.” The king returned the grip, the way she might handle a viper.

“I was curious about something. You had them break bread together. Simple magic, old magic, from the very bones of the city. Only the hunter noticed. You wanted to bind together your little band of heroes. But why did you not tell them all that you saw?”

Tamar the Thrice Cursed smiled, all teeth. “I am a king. I owe answers to no one.”

“She will pay with the coin most dear. That is what you saw. Why did you not say it?”

Tamar reached up and methodically pulled the blood-soaked cloth from around her eyes. Blind eyes, dry-rimmed with red, but she wanted her questioner to see the iron. “There is always a Cost. I have paid it many times. My city, my children, the stones I bought with steel and death. If they were Heroes they would pay it gladly, but they are villains all, so I will spend their lives for them. I know what Tomorrow holds for them, all but the goblin. The boy’s future is a brown cloak, the girl’s is an empty cup. The monster will wither in a teardrop of stone. Is that what you ask? Is that what you want to know from a king?”

A gentle hand ran down the king’s face, and she slapped it away.

“I know a king’s burden.” The hand released her and was gone, but as Someone walked away the voice lingered, coiling around her like a green vine.

Tamar sat alone and thought of the falling sky she could not see and her father who was gone and the battles she had fought, young and bright, scattering memories like flower gems on a broken necklace—falling to break on the floor of her throne room. Then she thought of promises. Promises kept and promises yet to be fulfilled. This is the last curse. To see with eyes unclouded how utterly empty the Game. Block this cut, stamp out this blaze, rip out the beast’s heart again and again, but still it comes. Only Once—only one chance to stand, to move, to protect, to find the right path. Stone cracks, wind falters, sun fades, even Time erodes. I walk down a tunnel of wind with a fistful of sand. What does it matter if the asteroid falls? Everything ends—everything falls apart.

“The button falls off the coat,” the old woman said, but not even Someone was listening.

Excerpt from Asteroid Made of Dragons.

Book Four Brainstorming

Council of NIneHa! Stumbled across my brainstorming for the title of book 4. Posting here for posterity. It’s kind of funny that I ran right past the one I finally selected before settling.

Rime Korvanus and the Four-Chamber Secret
The Four-Chamber Secret
The Black Dog Called Love
Rime Korvanus and the First Kiss
The First Heartbreak
Heartbreaker
Heart on Fire
Heart of Fire
Rime Korvanus is Going Steady
Rime Korvanus is Going All The Way

School
Wizard
Love
Love and the Council of Nine
The Council of Nine
Don’t tell my Crush I’m a Wild Mage
Wizard School Waltz
Frenzied Bursts of Magical Energy and Teenage Romance

Love and Magic
Love
Fire
Burn
Light
Tower

Love and the Study of the Arcane
The Arcane Study of Love and Levitation
Wizard
Magic
Arcane
Eldritch
Mystical
Education
School

Back to School
Madwand Love
The Preposterous Inconvenience of Love and Other Matters Both Magical and Mundane
The Inconvenience of Love

Doubt That the Stars Are Fire
Love Hath Made Thee a Tame Snake
Witchcraft in Your Lips
Dog Bark at a Crow
This Rough Magic

Fire’s Servant
Servant of Fire