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It’s been a bit of a stealth launch up ’til now, but: I am pleased to announce that you can buy both Lies and Prophecy and its sequel Chains and Memory in trade paperback, from the following retailers:

I owe this state of affairs to the hard work of Leah Cutter, without whom I would not have had the first clue how to go about creating a print edition, much less done this good a job with it. I highly recommend her to anyone in need of a POD formatter; she does fantastic work. She also runs workshops, if you want to learn how to do it yourself.

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

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From now until next Tuesday(1), Lies and Prophecy is on sale! Normally the illustrated edition is $4.99 and the text-only edition is $3.99, but each is a dollar off for the time being, making that $3.99 for the illustrated and $2.99 for the plain. Choose your retailer here!

I’m also pleased to link to a pair of pieces about Chains and Memory. The first is a piece I wrote for Special Needs in Strange Worlds, on characters with PTSD. I could have talked for a lot longer there — one of the things I didn’t even try to touch on is the fact that Kim has also developed PTSD by the second book of the series — but the focus of that post is how I managed to give Julian PTSD without noticing, and what I did with the story and the worldbuilding once I figured it out. The second post is over at Mary Robinette Kowal’s blog, discussing the cultural differences between Kim and Julian, and how the two of them work to bridge that gap. Her blog series is called “My Favorite Bit,” and given my anthropology background, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that my own favorite bit is the mismatch between the two characters’ assumptions, the things they do because of those assumptions, and most especially, the light-bulb moment where they realize what’s been going on. (For those who have already read the novel, I’m referring specifically to the scene after Julian gets his nose bloodied at practice.)

Finally, I’ve gotten out of the habit of linking to reviews here, but I have to say I love this quote from Marissa Lingen’s review: “There are action scenes. There is not fencing, but there is fighting, torture, revenge, and true love. Of more than one sort. There is not actually a mutton, lettuce, and tomato sandwich, though. I suppose one can’t have everything. At least not in a book of this length.” I am now sorely tempted to put an MLT into the third book, just because. :-P

***

(1) Actually, from a couple of days ago until next Tuesday — but I forgot to post this in a timely fashion. Mea culpa.

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

swan_tower: (*writing)

Chains and Memory cover

At long last!

Chains and Memory is on sale today, at a variety of reputable outlets. This is the fruit of my very first Kickstarter, which was a resounding success; backers have had copies of this book for a little while, but now I can share it with you all. Go forth! Buy! Enjoy!

Seriously, I’m really excited about this. Remember, I ran the Kickstarter because I’d been wanting to write this book for a solid decade and more; to see it out in the world is incredibly satisfying.

And for those who are wondering . . . no, this is not the end of the story. There will be one more volume. When that happens will depend on the schedule of my contracted work in the immediate future, but stay tuned.

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

swan_tower: (*writing)

The illustrated Lies and Prophecy is now on sale!

“What’s that?” I hear you say. “Illustrated? When did that happen?”

Well, today. (Obviously.) But, to back up a little, it happened during the Kickstarter for Chains and Memory — one of my stretch goals was illustrations for Lies and Prophecy. The Memoirs of Lady Trent have spoiled me, you see; now I feel like all my books ought to have pictures. :-P Ergo, the first book of the Wilders series now has six images, drawn by the talented Avery Liell-Kok. Here’s one, to whet your appetite:

Athame

You can get this edition now, from a whole swath of retailers: Book View Cafe, Kobo, Google Play, iTunes, Amazon, and Amazon UK. (Also other Amazon outlets, but if I list every country individually we’ll be here all day.) Barnes and Noble will be up and running in short order.

And for those who have been wondering, Chains and Memory will be out on January 5th. You can preorder that one from many outlets right now!

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

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I’ve been remiss in advertising this, largely because I’ve had my head buried in the first draft of the next Memoir. (Current word count: 33,191, and Isabella’s brother is endearing himself to me for being the kind of guy who will say things other characters won’t.) BUT! Time has not yet run out, for me or for you!

Book View Cafe is having an ENORMOUS sale right now, continuing through January 1st. I will not attempt to list all the participating titles, because omgwtfbbq there are a lot of them — but Lies and Prophecy is one of them. Since one of the other things eating my head right now is revisions on Chains and Memory, this is a dandy time to pick up the first book, if you haven’t already. Or, y’know, one of the other splendid offerings. Or all of the above! (Now I’m wondering if any crazy person has actually bought every single sale title, just for the heck of it.)

You have a few days left to take advantage of this, though not as many as you might have had my brain not been snack food for my current obligations. Should still be enough time, though. Go forth and enjoy!

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

swan_tower: (*writing)

It’s a short draft, and I already know what needs to be added in, both to fill it out to a better length and to mend a kind of gaping lack in the story. But that is what revision is for.

Right now, at 84,223 words, Chains and Memory is finished.

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

swan_tower: (*writing)

Got started again on Chains and Memory last night. I wasn’t sure I’d recovered enough brain yet (between jet lag and the anaesthesia, I’ve been half-zombified for days; I spent most of Saturday alternating half-hour naps with an hour or so of wakefulness), but I decided to put my butt in the chair and see what happened. What happened was 1K of words, so I got to pat myself on the back for that and declare that I am officially Back to Work.

Of course, one day of writing does not actually Back to Work make. It’s a nice start, though, and it was actually rather pleasant to feel like I’m starting to recover. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have another 1K to crank out . . .

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

swan_tower: (*writing)

The hard part isn’t running a Kickstarter campaign. The hard part is dealing with all the work after your campaign succeeds. :-P

Good news is, I’m being organized. I’ve made a spreadsheet for all the backers, noting which items go to whom, so that (hopefully) it will be easy to track what’s been taken care of and what still needs doing. It would be easier if I could take care of everything in one go, but of course that won’t work; a lot of rewards involve Chains and Memory in either print or ebook format, and I can’t send that out until after I, y’know, write the book. (And revise it and copy-edit it and proof it and so on.)

But the ball will get rolling pretty soon. I’m just waiting on a half-dozen remaining surveys, at which point I can start sending out the rewards that are ready to go. After those, I’ll deal with the stuff that involves actual production (t-shirts, miniscript photocopies, etc) and/or coordination with the backers (tarot readings, tuckerizations). And then so on from there. This is going to be an item on my to-do list for a while, I can tell.

Such, my friends, are the laments of success. :-)

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

swan_tower: (*writing)

Just over an hour to go.

The number currently stands at $4,377*, and given that when I launched this I was moderately terrified I wouldn’t reach the $2000 goal, that’s pretty excellent. :-D It’s been exciting to watch the pace pick up, too: there have been more pledges in the last three or four days than any time since the first couple of days. Which is how these things usually go, so it doesn’t come as a surprise — but knowing it’s pretty common doesn’t make it any less exciting.

Anyway, if you want to get in on Chains and Memory, now’s your last chance! All the rewards are still available (though there are only two Tuckerizations left). You’ve got 66 minutes left, as of me hitting “post” . . . .

*I love it when I have to revise that number while drafting a post. ^_^

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

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I’ve done a number of interviews and guest posts lately, so here’s a quick link dump:

Five Underused Mythological Creatures at Fantasy Cafe, in which I talk about weird things in bestiaries that show up all too rarely in novels.

Interview at Fantasy’s Ink; they ask me about my favorite characters and what I consider to be the most important element in a book.

Another interview, this one with Mike Underwood, who leverages the fact that we’ve known each other for more than ten years to ask me a lot of fabulous questions about gaming, Driftwood, and what martial arts master I would train with if I could.

“Time, Writing, and Tricks of the Trade”, a guest post at Bookworm Blues where I talk about the challenges of writing a sequel fifteen years after the first book.

“Kick(start)ing Myself into Scrivener”, a post at Book View Cafe on my first-ever attempt to write a novel in a program other than Wordperfect.

And finally, one that isn’t mine, but mentions me and makes for entertaining reading: Science in Fantasy Novels is More Accurate Than in Science Fiction.

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

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A bit more than twenty-four hours left on the Chains and Memory Kickstarter. Over the weekend, we went from “might make it to the third stretch goal; might not” to “that’s the third stretch goal sorted; I wonder if we’ll hit the fourth?” Which is, in a word, awesome.

This means that everybody who backs the project will be receiving not two but five rewards: a thank-you in Chains and Memory, “Welcome to Welton” in ebook format, a short story in the Wilders setting, and the soundtracks for both novels. A couple hundred dollars more, and everybody’s copies of Lies and Prophecy will be illustrated to boot!

I’m going to try not to haunt my email today. Your mission, dear readers, should you choose to accept it, is to make that nigh-impossible for me: I still have Kickstarter configured to notify me every time there’s a new pledge, and if they come in at a good clip OH HEY LOOK THERE’S ANOTHER ONE no seriously, I just got another backer while I was typing this — what was I saying? Oh yeah. I would like to be driven to distraction by a steady flow of new pledges. :-) Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, LJ, Myspace, USEnet, carrier pigeon . . . whatever method you prefer, signal-boosting is a wonderful thing. It’s the last push, and I’m dying to see how far it can go.

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

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Combining these two into one because there’s less of a story behind them than the other two.

Tuckerization is the process of either naming a character after a real person or putting that person into the story as a character (those being not quite the same thing). It is, as you might expect, named after a real person.

In my case, what I’m offering is the use of someone’s name for a character. I’m actually not the sort of writer who bases characters on specific people — at least not mostly. There may end up being a cat in Chains and Memory who is both named and modeled after a friend’s cat, for no better reason than because I was thinking a lot about the book when I knew that friend in grad school, and Hitomi wandered randomly into Kim’s life in my imagination. (Cats, man. Not only do they go where they aren’t supposed you, you can’t even confine them to a single world.) I can’t be specific about which characters yet because I need to see what people end up playing a role in Chains and Memory, but there are a lot of Washington, D.C. types as well as wilders who will be passing through the story, so those are the most likely groups. I’ll be working with anybody who chooses Tuckerization to see what role they prefer out of the available options.

As for t-shirts, there are two options, basically one for each book. The Welton University t-shirt is for Lies and Prophecy, and features a six-pointed star, which is one of the frequent shapes given to the Seal of Solomon in Western occultism. The other is the seal of the Bureau for Special Psychic Affairs, a federal organization that features more heavily in Chains and Memory. The three-pointed star indicates the traditional division of the “psychic sciences” into the telepathic disciplines, telekinetic disciplines, and ceremonial magic. The laurel branches indicate the BSPA copying the look of the FBI seal to give themselves an aura of legitimacy, what with being a relatively new bureau and all. :-P And the motto . . . ordinarily it would be in Latin or English, but I’d established that Irish Gaelic was (for reasons of folklore and history) adopted as kind of the banner language of magic after First Manifestation, and so I decided to go with that here, too. It says “power, wisdom, restraint” — and yes, I know srian means “restraint” in the sense of a bridle, but that’s deliberate. These are the people who control wilders. And the book is, after all, called Chains and Memory. If the last word of the motto strikes you as a little ominous, you aren’t wrong.

That’s it for the “special” rewards, i.e. the things that aren’t books or progress reports or what have you. Plus there’s the stuff from the stretch goals, of course. Just a few days to go, and then the rewards can start rolling out!

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

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Of all the rewards I’m offering on the Chains and Memory Kickstarter, I think this one is the most special to me.

Changeling: The Dreaming has a concept it calls “dross”: objects invested with so much emotional significance that they actually contain energy of the sort changelings use to power their magic. They literally embody somebody’s dreams. Sometimes a piece of dross is famous or valuable — e.g. Babe Ruth’s bat — but they can just as easily be personal, like your beloved teddy bear from childhood.

That miniscript? Is dross. Back in the fall of 1999, when I had finished the first draft of the novel eventually known as Lies and Prophecy, I knew I needed to edit it. Since I was going on a weekend trip to a football game with the Harvard Band, the bus ride seemed like a good time to read through the book and mark it up — but for that, it needed to be portable. And, well, I hadn’t told anybody other than my then-boyfriend (now husband) that I’d finished a novel, and I didn’t want anybody saying “wow, that’s a giant stack of paper you’ve got there; what did you do, write a novel?” So I invented the miniscript: eight-point font, half-inch margins, single-spaced, full justification, print on both sides of the page, and voila, you’ve got a book on forty pieces of paper.

Which is still, to this day, the way I do my first round of edits. (You can tell me that is a bloody stupid way to print out a manuscript for editing. I will agree with you. And then I will go on printing miniscripts, because that is How I Do Things.)

The miniscript of Lies and Prophecy is quite literally the first time the first draft of the first novel I ever completed existed in print. Its creation is pretty much the moment that Marie Brennan, Fantasy Author stopped being a thing I wanted to be when I grew up, and became what I actually was.

It’s also a record of just how much the book changed over the years — and how much it didn’t. The first draft was flabby as all get-out, and I’ve added all kinds of new layers since then (the Yan Path stuff), fiddled around with secondary characters (Grayson used to be white; Liesel’s friends went through about eight different names apiece), cut out bits of worldbuilding that didn’t really contribute anything to the story. But it’s still the tale of Kim and Julian and the attack on Samhain and it ends pretty much the same way. If somebody ever writes an academic work on Marie Brennan, Fantasy Author, this miniscript will be a goldmine for their attempts to trace my growth as a writer.

And if you want a copy of your very own, you can have one. :-)

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

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I meant to post these a while ago, rather than in the last week of the Kickstarter — but hey, better late than never, right? So over the next few days, I’ll be making a few posts to talk about the non-book rewards available for Chains and Memory, and why I chose them.

First up are the tarot readings by my friend Emily Dare. I included these because Kim is a divination major at Welton, and tarot is her preferred tool, so it’s something that’s both very fitting for the story and also kind of unusual. And I asked Emily to participate because pretty much any time* Kim sits down with a tarot deck in this series, that’s Emily’s handiwork you’re seeing: I tell her what I want the reading to convey, and she reverse-engineers that to say what cards Kim should get, what layout she would likely use, etc. For Kim’s big reading in the early part of Lies and Prophecy, that ended up adding quite a lot of depth to the scene, because of Emily’s suggestions for how to complicate the process. And that’s exactly why I look for outside help: I could sit there with the itty-bitty Rider-Waite booklet and try to make something up, but I wouldn’t get the nuances and the neat little details that make it seem more real.

(Which is pretty much a true statement of any instance where I recruit help on a particular topic for a story. It’s always good to ask the people with the hands-on experience; they know the things you wouldn’t even think to ask.)

So that’s it for the first of the special rewards. I’ll be back later to talk about the miniscript, Tuckerization, and the t-shirts. Stay tuned!

*The exception being the Tower scene in Lies and Prophecy. I made up that particular reading all on my own. :-P

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

swan_tower: (*writing)

Eight days left on the Chains and Memory Kickstarter! We’re just $285 from a short story. Less than that, even, if I count the people who have donated via Paypal — which is a thing I should mention here, I suppose. If you cannot or do not wish to contribute via either Amazon or Facebook (and I can totally understand that decision), then I am more than willing to accept donations by other routes, and will include you in the appropriate reward level when I send things out to backers. Ping me here or by email and we can work out the details.

I’ve been working steadily on Chains and Memory for a little while now, so as to be sure I can finish it by October 4th, and it’s proceeding apace. There’s been some two-steps-foward, one-step-back shenanigans as I figure out how to launch the various strands of the plot, but I’m experimenting with Scrivener for this novel, and I think it may assist with tracking that stuff. Regardless, I am definitely on schedule for finishing the draft by the fifteenth anniversary of Lies and Prophecy.

Anyway, we’re headed into the final push. Do spread the word wherever you can, and let’s see if this thing goes to 11!

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

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Over the weekend, the Chains and Memory Kickstarter reached its first stretch goal. This means that every backer, current or yet to come, will also be receiving the next best thing to me sharing the novel soundtrack itself: a discussion of the “score” I made for Lies and Prophecy, with links to the songs where possible.

I’m looking forward to putting that together. The first song on the list is basically the reason I make novel soundtracks at all: I listened to it a bunch while writing the first draft of the novel, which caused it to become associated with the story in my mind, and then I leveraged that to help me get in the mood for writing, which led to me making playlists for books and so onward to the actual, formal score-type-thing. I love having the story in musical form; it adds another layer to how I perceive the characters and events. And now I can share that with other people!

Now, of course, it’s on to Stretch Goal #2: Short Story. The most likely prospect is that I’ll write about Henry Welton during First Manifestation — the days when half the planet suddenly had psychic powers and no idea how to control them. It’s possible something else will suggest itself while I’m drafting Chains and Memory, though. Speaking of which: I’ve started work on it, and am now a little more than 7K in, counting some material that got written beforehand. That puts me on track to finish it before October 4th, with time off for being in Okinawa and having ankle surgery, with a bit of a cushion to spare. Fingers crossed that things continue to go well.

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

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Five updates make a post . . . .

1) The Chains and Memory Kickstarter is a bit over halfway to the first stretch goal. The pace of progress has (unsurprisingly) slowed down; I welcome any signal boosting, and/or suggestions for other things I could do to spread the word.

2) While Mary and I were on tour earlier this month, Tor sent a camera crew to film our Portland event and interview us afterward. It was a fascinating experience; this wasn’t the “sit and have a conversation in front of the camera” kind of thing, but rather raw material for the following video:

If you’d like a sense of what our events were like, check it out!

3) Driftwood fans take note: I’ve sold the audio rights for “The Ascent of Unreason” to Podcastle.

4) My SF Novelists post for this month was “Pleaser Don’t Doed Thising”, in which I take aim at Bad Fantasy Latin, Bad Fantasy Japanese, and other such linguistic sins.

5) WisCon! I went. It was a thing.

Sorry, that’s just the tiredness talking. Going to WisCon was a good idea; going right after being on tour, less so. I feel like I didn’t take full advantage of the experience, partly because I was going easy on myself, partly because I’m new to the con’s culture and therefore didn’t know in advance about things like the Floomp. It was fun, though: lots of interesting people, some good panels (and some I really wish had dug further into their topics), some &@#$! awesome GoH speeches, etc. The good news is, now I know what to expect and can get more out of it in future years. Will I be back in 2015? Dunno; I’ll have to look at my schedule. But I do intend to be back eventually.

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

swan_tower: (*writing)

(You have no idea how tempted I was to title this “Ni Presentas . . . Goal!” You have no idea mostly because I’m not sure whether anybody reading this blog even knows why the heck I would be tempted to say that in the first place.)

So, that Kickstarter I’m running? It made goal this morning. I woke up way earlier than I wanted to, because I had to drag myself to the airport for my Wiscon flight, and lo and behold: I found myself funded. In fact, we’re at $2060 right now.

Which is, in a word, refrackulawesome.

And if you’re familiar with Kickstarter, you know what that means: stretch goals! I have 25 days to go before this thing ends, so I might as well see how far we can go. If we hit $2500, I will share with all backers “The Music of Lies and Prophecy” — the track listing for the novel, with links to the songs (where possible) and notes on how and why I chose them. (I would share the soundtrack itself, but, um, copyright violations up the wazoo.) And if we hit $3000, I’ll write a short story in the setting!

If we go beyond that . . . well, you’ll just have to wait and see. :-)

So if those sound tempting, you can mosey on over and back the project yourself. Or if you’ve already done that, spread the word to some friends! The more, the merrier.

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

swan_tower: (*writing)
(One thing that isn't going well: my WP installation. I don't know if I'll be able to get it back up before this evening, but for now it's kaput, which means among other things that today's picture post is broken. If you click on the missing image or the link, though, you should be able to see the full-size version on Flickr. In the meanwhile, this is only posting to DW and LJ.)

I'm not sure I have adequate words to express how pleased I am at the progress Chains and Memory has made in its first day. We're coming up on exactly 24 hours since I launched the project, and in that time, it has achieved over 75% of its funding. I think the technical term for that is freaking awesome, yo. Chickens, unhatched, yadda yadda, and we're not actually there yet -- but I think we can agree that's it a rather good start, can't we? </understatement>

It's a good thing that I'm going to Wiscon this year. Tomorrow I will be on planes for many hours, and then I will be surrounded by friends and colleagues and new people to meet, and all together that means I will not be able to haunt my email like a cat at a mousehole for the next few days. (I said on Twitter that I take 2d6 points of SAN loss from Kickstarter emailing me every time somebody backs the project. But hey, if you're going to lose sanity, this is a good way to do it!) If you're going to be at Wiscon yourself, a) do come by and say hello!, and b) my plan is to read from Lies and Prophecy at 2:30 on Saturday.

I promise not to check my email under the table while the rest of my friends read. :-P
swan_tower: (*writing)

Fourteen and a half years ago, I completed the first draft of what at the time I thought was a stand-alone novel: Lies and Prophecy.

Within a year or two, though, I started getting Ideas. Fragments of ideas, anyway — bits and pieces about what would happen to Kim and Julian after the end of that novel. They piled up, and fed back into later drafts of Lies and Prophecy, until here we are more than a decade later, and those ideas have formed a can-can line and are performing choreographed routines in my head.

So I’ve decided to Kickstart them into reality.

My aim, if I meet my funding goal, is to draft the sequel of Chains and Memory this summer, while I’m doing the prep work for the fourth Memoir. In pursuit of that, I am offering a variety of book packages, plus other rewards like behind-the-scenes reports, t-shirts, tarot readings, and even the chance to appear as a character in the novel. Head on over to Kickstarter to check out the full list; it will be running for the next four weeks.

You can also help me immensely by spreading the word! Whether it’s on a blog, or Twitter, or Facebook, or messages stuffed into bottles and dropped into the sea, any and all signal-boosting would be absolutely wonderful. I’ll be posting more information here over the next few weeks, and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

You have no idea how excited I am about this. :-D

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

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