swan_tower: (Default)

It’s out!

cover for IN LONDON'S SHADOW: AN ONYX COURT OMNIBUS

For centuries a faerie court has lain hidden beneath London: a place of shadows and intrigue, where the city’s immortal inhabitants can watch and manipulate the mortals above. Through two royal dynasties, through rebellions and plots, through war and plague and fire, the Onyx Court endures.

Now the court’s first two centuries are collected in a single book. This omnibus contains the novels Midnight Never Come and In Ashes Lie, as well as the novella Deeds of Men, the novelette “And Blow Them at the Moon,” and the short story “Two Pretenders.”

You can buy this from fine e-tailers all over the internet, chief among them Book View Cafe, but also Amazon US or UK, Barnes and Noble/Nook, Google Play, iTunes, Kobo, or (for the Canadians among you) Indigo.

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (*writing)

Jim Hines has been doing a thing on his blog where he genderswaps character descriptions to look at how women and men get depicted. He did it first with classic SF/F novels, then with more recent titles — including his own.

It’s an interesting enough exercise that I decided to go through my own books and see what happens when I genderswap the descriptions. Results are below. I skipped over the Doppelganger books because quite frankly, describing people has never been a thing I do a lot of, and back then I did basically none of it, so this starts with Midnight Never Come.

***

Read the rest of this entry � )

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (Default)

I’ve been holding off on a whole lot of news while I waited for the new site to go live; now that it has, you should expect a number of things in quick succession. 🙂

Since Midnight Never Come and In Ashes Lie have reverted to me in the U.S., I’m putting out ebook editions of them through Book View Cafe. If you click on those title links, you’ll find you can pre-order the ebooks at a number of sites, including Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, and Kobo; or if you would prefer to buy from Book View Cafe, Barnes and Noble, or Waterstones, those will be available soon. Midnight will be out on the 17th (that is, next Tuesday), and Ashes the week after.

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (*writing)

(I play too much Dragon Age. The word “enchantment” always comes out in Sandal’s voice in my head.)

I’m very pleased to announce “Tales of Enchantment,” a giveaway of more than 40 historical fantasy romances, plus a Kindle Fire to read them on. It’s organized by Patricia “Pooks” Burroughs, a fellow member of Book View Cafe, and features various other familiar BVC faces, like Irene Radford, Patricia Rice, and Sherwood Smith.

My own contribution to the bundle is an ebook of Midnight Never Come. Some titles swing the emphasis more toward “history,” some toward “fantasy,” and some toward “romance;” with more than forty books in the pile, there’s plenty to match all kinds of tastes.

The giveaway ends in seven days, so get your name in now! And note that if you share it and somebody else signs up from your share, you get extra chances to win. So spread the word!

Tales of Enchantment giveaway

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (natural history)

There are certain kinds of transition scenes I detest writing. One of them is the “holy shit, the supernatural is real!” scene common to so much urban fantasy; it was a source of great pleasure to me that I could more or less skip that scene in Midnight Never Come, on the grounds that the reaction of a sixteenth-century gentleman would not so much be “there are faeries under London?” as “there are faeries under London?” (You’ll note that nearly every pov character for the remainder of the Onyx Court series already knew about the fae by the time they showed up in the story. This was not deliberate, in the sense of being a thing I consciously decided to do . . . but I wouldn’t call it an accident, either. The sole exception that leaps to mind is Jack Ellin, and I had more than enough going on in the story to divert him, and me, while that transition happened.) It’s boring to me because the audience already knows the supernatural is real (or at the very least has no reason to be surprised by this fact), and we’ve seen that conversation so many times, making it fresh is really difficult. Your main hope is to undermine it in some fashion, like the time on Buffy when they told Oz vampires and demons were real. “I know it’s a lot to take in –” “Actually, that explains a lot.”

I’m dealing with a similar kind of thing in the fifth Memoir right now. The scene isn’t about the supernatural being real; it’s a different kind of transition, one I don’t really have a name for. And of course I can’t get into specifics, but it’s one of those deals where something very complicated is going on, only the complication is of a type that doesn’t actually make for great narrative. After the initial drama of the moment is over, there’s a lot of explaining that needs to happen, and a lot of very tedious suspicion that can’t be laid to rest with the right words or a single decisive action. Inside the story, the whole thing is going to drag on for days — probably for weeks. Making the reader sit through all of that would be dire, starting with the fact that I would have to write all of that.

It’s at moments like these when I love the retrospective, consciously-framed first person viewpoint of this series. Because I can 100% get away with Isabella saying “what followed was very tedious and dragged on for weeks, because there was nothing I could do that would resolve it with a single decisive action. But X, Y, and Z got settled — not without a great deal of wrangling and suspicion, but settled all the same, and now let’s move on to the next interesting bit.” Any viewpoint can skip over things, but this one gives me greater latitude to summarize what I’m skipping, without making it seem like the elided material is simple to deal with in real life. Isabella can acknowledge all the complications without getting bogged down in them.

I had no idea, when I started writing this series, all the advantages that would come with framing the entire thing as a series of memoirs. It just seemed like a period- and subject-appropriate way to approach the whole thing. But my god . . . it’s probably the best craft decision I’ve made all series long.

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (*writing)

I’m delighted to announce that Titan Books, publishers of the Memoirs of Lady Trent in the UK, will also be bringing the Onyx Court to its homeland!

Long-time readers may recall that the first two books of the series were published there by Orbit UK back in the day, but the mid-series publisher shift meant the latter two never saw UK shelves. Titan have picked up the entire series and, as you can see from the above, are reissuing them with splendid new covers — not to mention UK spelling and date formatting, like God and the Queen intended. ;-) My understanding is that they’ll be coming out in rapid succession, on a three-month cycle, so by early 2017 you’ll have the whole set. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to hold ’em in my hands!

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (*writing)
Some of you may recall that years ago, just before In Ashes Lie came out, I released a novella called Deeds of Men, which took place before that novel and after Midnight Never Come. It was originally a promotional freebie, but after a while I took down the free version and put it on sale at Amazon, mostly as a random experiment -- I knew zip about ebooks at the time. Despite that ignorance (which included things like me not bothering to give it a proper cover), it's sold some copies over the years, though not a huge number.

Now that I'm a member of Book View Cafe, I decided to do it over again, this time the right way. It has a spiffy-looking cover, courtesy of Chris Rawlins and Leah Cutter, and some revisions (most of them minor; one correcting a narrative choice I've regretted ever since I released the novella), and this time it got formatted by somebody who knows what he's doing (the inestimable Chris Dolley). That link will take you to the BVC site, where you can buy it in epub and mobi formats, good for most e-reading devices, Kindle included. It's also up on Amazon, and should be live on the B&N and Kobo sites in the next day or so.

A special note about Kindles: if you already bought the novella from Amazon, I think, though I'm not certain, that you should be able to download the new version as an update, without having to pay for it again. I'd love to have that confirmed, so if you're in that camp, please let me know.

For those who are wondering, the story does contain some spoilers for Midnight Never Come, though only of an aftermath-y sort -- it doesn't say what happened, just shows the characters where they are as a result. Otherwise it's only really full of spoilers for early seventeenth-century European politics. :-P

And stay tuned for more news in the next few days, about what I'm doing next with BVC . . . .
swan_tower: (With Fate Conspire)

I didn't want to steal any thunder from yesterday's announcement, so you get your Fate-related goodies today.

This time, it's the soundtrack! Just the listing thereof; I haven't had a chance to try and set up an iTunes mix. Also, the usual caveat applies, that although none of the track titles have outright spoilers, they do provide hints of where the story is going; read at your own risk.

But wait! There's more!

Backing up for a moment to Midnight Never Come instead, you can now buy a print of Avery Liell-Kok's portrait of Invidiana (as seen to the right, there) from her shop on Etsy. There's lots of other great art there, too, including some painted parasols (which might appeal to a few of you), so I encourage you to take a look through it all, and see if anything catches your fancy.

I'll be out of town when the next spot in the countdown rolls around (which will feature the last bit of the excerpt), so it may be a bit delayed -- not sure what my internet access situation will be. I'll try to get it up at something like the right time, though. In the meanwhile, enjoy!

swan_tower: (A Star Shall Fall)
If you've looked at the Onyx Court charity auction, you've seen my note about how I may end up writing a short story from the historical prompt the winner chooses. That was, in fact, the outcome of the original auction, for the Haitian earthquake relief; in writing a summary for the winner, I thought of a way to frame it as a short story. So I wrote it, and I sent it out, and now Beneath Ceaseless Skies has bought it! The story is "Two Pretenders," and I count it as Onyx Court continuity, though it's a bit different in period and tone from the rest of the series. The winner got to read it a while ago, long before the rest of you, so if you want a backstage pass like that (and the pleasure of knowing you were a part of the process), head over there and put your bid in.

Along with that, the last round of book discussion is up over on [livejournal.com profile] sirenscon, asking about urban fantasy in a historical context. Previous questions about mortal and faerie love, pov and non-linear time, and the interrelationship of the Onyx Hall with London are still open.

And y'know, yesterday I got this big honkin' box of author copies of A Star Shall Fall, which need to go to good homes. So I'm thinking I might select a random commenter from the [livejournal.com profile] sirenscon discussion posts to receive a copy. Add your two cents' worth on one of those four posts (or more, if you feel so inspired), and you might be the lucky winner!
swan_tower: (Midnight Never Come)
The third question in the Onyx Court dicussion series has been posted; this time, it's about mortal and faerie love.

Previous questions (time and pov and the role of London) are still open on the [livejournal.com profile] sirenscon LJ.
swan_tower: (A Star Shall Fall)
Marissa Lingen on A Star Shall Fall.

I've already admitted to her in private, and don't mind repeating here, how relieved her review made me. Why? Because she's a scientist, and I've been biting my fingernails over how the way I handle science in this book will be received. I've got at least two major factors complicating it, one being that I'm actively trying to grapple with the issue of how magic and science interrelate (or don't), and the other being that I'm doing it in the context of eighteenth-century science, which is fascinatingly wacky all on its own. And right now I'm trying to deal with the nineteenth-century ramifications of the ideas I set up in Star, which means it's a relief to know it's worked for at least one reader of that sort.

I knew I was setting myself up for this challenge. Back when I decided Midnight Never Come would be the first in a series, and that the books would take place in different centuries, I knew I had a chance to do something you don't often see in faerie fiction: not to show fae as totally stuck in the past, nor as completely modernized, but going through the process of change. Science & technology is a big part of that, though not the only one, so I knew I'd have to deal with these questions, and that it wouldn't be easy . . . just as Ashes taught me why you don't see more English Civil War-era fiction out there (because it's bloody COMPLICATED, is why), I know why more authors don't try to mash these ideas together.

On the other hand, if I succeed, I'll have done something that hasn't been done in a thousand other novels. And that's worth a few headaches, I suppose.
swan_tower: (Midnight Never Come)
Over on the [livejournal.com profile] sirenscon community, they're doing GoH book discussions leading up to the conference in October. In an excellent bit of timing, this is month my books are up to bat: Midnight Never Come and In Ashes Lie are on the table, and the first questions have been asked.

I don't think you need an LJ account to comment over there (though it would probably be helpful to put some name on your posts). And I doubt they'd object to input from non-Sirens attendees -- not everybody can make it to the conference that wants to. So if you want to jump in, feel free!
swan_tower: (victorian)
I've gotten a number of reviews of both Midnight Never Come and In Ashes Lie that say some variant on, "this takes a while to get going, but once it does, it's pretty awesome." (Or sometimes, "this takes forever to get going, and I gave up.") I fully expect that as more reviews come in for A Star Shall Fall, I'll get a few that say the same thing.

And I've finally figured out how to characterize it in my head: these books are arrangements of dominoes.

That is to say, the opening stages of each book are about lining up the stones, creating patterns that will -- once set in motion -- crash into each other in (hopefully) interesting ways. And the important part of this epiphany is, I'm not sure I could write these books any other way. Not so long as they are both (1) historical and (2) full of intrigue. I have to set the scene (in terms of both time and place), and I have to set up the political board (to steal from the metaphor I had Walsingham use in the first book). If I skip either of those steps, the dominoes will not fall as they should, because the reader will have no idea who these people are and why they're doing what I just said they did.

So I don't feel like this is a flaw, per se. Just a "mileage may vary" kind of thing. There are better and worse ways of doing the setup, and my success with it has probably been uneven; I'll certainly be looking at the opening parts of this fourth book with an eye toward making the setup as engaging as it can be. But my feeling that the current scenes for both Dead Rick and Eliza kick them into a higher degree of motion than they were before? That's just how these books go. The dominoes have begun to fall, and pretty soon the various lines I've laid out will begin to collide with one another, revealing the pattern of the whole. It's like Lune's Act III conversation with Tiresias in Midnight, or Vidar's appearance at the end of Part II in Ashes, or [redacted on account of spoilers for Star].

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go knock down some more dominoes.

Heh.

Jul. 16th, 2010 02:33 am
swan_tower: (victorian)
It just occurred to me that this particular plotline amounts to industrial espionage.

Well, it's the Industrial Age; it fits. It just makes an odd little mirror to the Walsingham-style intrigue of Midnight Never Come.

Okay, brain; a few more paragraphs of revision on this scene, and then we can go to bed.
swan_tower: (web)
[livejournal.com profile] arielstarshadow, a while ago -- where "a while" is "about six months" -- you mentioned you'd be interested in seeing my playlists for the Onyx Court books, the stuff I had on shuffle while writing, that the soundtracks got built out of. Well, since I recently found myself with occasion to mail those playlists to someone, I figured I might as well go ahead and put them up on my website. The Midnight playlists are here, and the Ashes playlists are here.

They're just .txt files, and moderately illegible; when iTunes exports a playlist, it includes all the file information, and it was already enough work just cleaning out the chaff so you could see what the titles, composers, and albums were. I didn't feel like doing even more work to make it pretty. Also, most of it is film scores. But if that's the kind of thing you're interested in -- especially the dark-and-atmospheric end of film scores -- you can scan through and see what I've been listening to.
swan_tower: (Default)
I've mentioned Avery Liell-Kok before; she's the artist who did (among other things) this portrait of Invidiana, this painting for my game Memento, and the webcomic My Name Is Might Have Been.

She's just launched a new website, and is actively seeking commissions. If you've always wanted a sketch or painting of something from one of your books (or works in progress), or a game, or something else entirely, drop her a line.
swan_tower: (Midnight Never Come)
The Carl Brandon Society is sponsoring a fundraiser to help people of color attend Wiscon, a well-respected feminist SF convention. I'm auctioning off a signed set of the first two Onyx Court novels. There are a lot more goodies on offer; details about how to offer, browse, bid, donate, or request assistance here.
swan_tower: (Midnight Never Come)
One is that for the duration of June, Midnight Never Come is available as a one-dollar e-book. You can pick up a Kindle copy at Amazon, or eReader or what have you at Fictionwise, and maybe other formats elsewhere -- but the offer only lasts until the end of the month.

The other is that I will be doing a reading and signing at Borderlands Books in San Francisco tomorrow (Saturday) at 1 p.m. If you're in the Bay Area, come on by, and hear some assortment of short stories and/or excerpts from In Ashes Lie. (I really should make a decision on what I'm reading . . . .)
swan_tower: (In Ashes Lie)
The plan is to give away one signed set of both Midnight Never Come and (in advance of publication) In Ashes Lie each week between now and the book release, and the first winner has been drawn. If you've already signed up, you're still in the running; if you haven't, head on over to the page for Deeds of Men and provide your e-mail address, and you too could get an early copy.
swan_tower: (Default)
I meant to post this yesterday: Brenda Novak's Online Auction to Benefit Diabetes Research. It's an annual thing, apparently, and this year they contacted me to see if I'd like to donate. You can find me under Historical Fiction (a signed set of Midnight Never Come and In Ashes Lie) and Sci Fi and Fantasy (ditto Warrior and Witch), but more to the point, you can also find goodies by lots and lots of people who aren't me. Not all of them are books, either.

The auction is huge, and it all goes to a good cause, so poke your nose on over there and see if you can't find something for you or someone in your life.

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