Souvenir (A Poem)

I do forget from time to time
That I’m a poet in my heart.

I hone my craft. I work and train
Until my words become a job;
Until taletelling’s commonplace
And then I lose sometimes the why.

But then I watch my children laugh
Or my wife takes my hand in hers
Or I climb in a plane and soar
And watch a sunrise over clouds.

I do forget from time to time…
But poetry remembers me.

The Dragonprince’s Legacy

a-darkness-in-the-eastNote: The following is a cleverly concealed new-release notification. If you’d prefer to skip straight to the good stuff, click here.

I just re-released The Dragonswarm (The Dragonprince’s Legacy, #2) with a new Afterword. I thought my regular readers here might find its contents interesting, so here you go:

Welcome to the end of The Dragonswarm. Since you’ve made it this far, I’m going to act as though you enjoyed the story. Now I need to take a moment to tell you how to keep enjoying the story.

I originally wrote the tale of Daven Carrickson becoming the Dragonprince–everything you’ve just read in two volumes–as a single mega-epic novel called Taming Fire. That was fifteen years ago, and the story has changed a lot since then, but it always started with Daven meeting Othin on the little hill outside town, and it always ended with him battling Pazyarev in the skies and then sending the king packing.

Back then, I expected Taming Fire to come with a sequel–a story that’s now available as The Dragonprince’s Heir. It skips ahead fifteen years from here, and finds the dragonswarm mostly subdued, but Daven has been lost (as in “missing in action,” although most everyone does assume he’s dead), and the story is told from the point of view of his first-born son.

I published The Dragonprince’s Heir in June 2012, six months after The Dragonswarm, and it completed the original trilogy. If you’d like to read the story as my original artistic “vision,” that’s your next step. Grab a copy of The Dragonprince’s Heir and discover the ultimate conclusion to the story that started when Othin confronted Daven by the little brook.

However, I also always intended to spin out some additional (maybe supplemental?) stories about the time between this novel and the next one. But when I skipped fifteen years and changed protagonists, I forgot that my readers didn’t know my secret intentions.

Because of that, The Dragonprince’s Heir elicited a minor outcry from fans who wanted to see more of Daven in action, who wanted to see how Daven used the powers and resources gained in The Dragonswarm to overcome the tide of dragons, who wanted to meet the “famed dragonriders” who get mentioned in the final book but are already lost by then.

We live and learn. So now, before you jump ahead, I can give you that warning. I’ve outlined ten novellas exploring those stories (which will eventually be collected in The Dragonprince’s Arrows and The Dragonprince’s Blades), as well as an additional feature-length Daven novel (The Dragonprince’s Odyssey), all of which take place between The Dragonswarm and The Dragonprince’s Heir.

And, even better than a warning, I can give you an opportunity to sample those stories. The first of the ten novellas, A Darkness in the East, is available now! It picks up the thread a few months after the end of The Dragonswarm and starts with Daven riding into battle on the back of the mighty Pazyarev.

He’s also a little concerned because he hasn’t heard anything from Vechernyvetr since that fight. And now there are rumors of really terrible things happening in the shadow of the mountains that Daven and Vechernyvetr briefly shared as a home.

The novella works as a standalone story, but it also introduces some of the plot and much of the story dynamic that will drive the other stories in the collections. And I won’t lie; it’s pretty fun to see the Dragonprince in action. Daven kills a lot of dragons in this piece.

Check it out. And thank you for reading. I really hope you’ve enjoyed the experience.

And, because it’s so much easier to embed a functioning hyperlink in a blog post than it is in an ebook, I’ll go ahead and give you the link (in addition to the name). Click here to grab your own copy of the new Dragonprince novella for just $2.99!

An Excerpt from “A Darkness in the East”

I’ve mentioned my upcoming Dragonprince novella several times now, but I don’t know if I’ve ever called it by name. It’s called A Darkness in the East, and takes place immediately after the events of The Dragonswarm.

Last week I was drafting a work request for my cover artist and he needed a description of Daven’s sword and magic effects. I had just finished a new action scene in the novella, so I carved that out for him.

Just before I sent it off, I was rereading it, and thought, “Man, I’ll bet my readers would like to see this!”

So here you go. It’s a sneak peek at my upcoming release, A Darkness in the East:

No matter their intentions, friend or foe, these men had made themselves an obstacle to Daven’s goal. Daven meant to save the people of this village, and six men with sharp-edged swords were not enough to stop him. He nodded to the door and ancient oak writhed beneath his will. It uncurled, shrinking back from the crafted iron bolt, then of its own accord the door swung wide.

A monster of a man blocked the open doorway. He wore a soldier’s chain and tabard and carried a huge two-handed sword. He fixed his eyes on Daven now without a trace of fear or hesitation. The sentry slung his sword in a vicious arc aimed straight at Daven’s collarbone.

But Daven didn’t flinch. He caught a gust of wind out of the sky. He bundled up a thousand little threads of air within his will and stabbed them past his left shoulder and down into the house. Focused, living wind caught the sentry like a battering ram. It hurled him back and crumpled him upon the floor.

Then, for the first time, Daven had a chance to see within the room. He could not tell at a glance the whole situation, but he saw within the house what he’d expected: one wide open room, a knot of women and children on the far wall, and six strong men arrayed against him.

Well, five now.

Still standing on the threshold, Daven flexed his right hand–borrowing power from the monster high above–and summoned up a sword of living stone. Grains of elemental earth almost too small to see swirled up in an inverted whirlwind, gathering first in his palm, taking the shape of a sword’s hilt, and then rapidly coalescing into the shape of a blade. The sword looked something like a rapier, but it shone the perfect black of obsidian and gleamed along an edge as sharp as starlight.

In the same breath, Daven summoned wild fire into a ball around his left hand, the power of a blacksmith’s forge contained, constrained, but anxious to explode. It glowed the angry red and dull black of a smoldering coal and cast long, flickering shadows into the crowded room.

From his place on the floor, the fallen giant groaned out, “Don’t just stand there. Kill him!” To Daven’s great surprise, the men complied. They surged forward as one. Daven shook his head and went to meet them.

The Next Big Thing

My friend and fellow fantasy author (and now collaborator) Joshua Unruh asked me to write about my next project as part of a chain blog. He spent a lot of his own post talking about writing in my world, so it would be rude for me to ignore his request. But, then, I’ve struggled so much with my “next project” that this has felt like a really difficult post to write.

The thing is…long before Josh tagged me, I already knew that this was the post I needed to write. And it’s been difficult that whole time. That’s why I haven’t said a word here for two months now (and why that last word was some nonsense about cookies).

Here’s the thing: One year ago, I quit my day job to be a full-time writer. I spent five months completing my masters degree and capping off an epic fantasy series that I’ve been working on since I was a teenager. Every bit of that was a dream come true.

Then I published The Dragonprince’s Heir, and in the time since then I have wanted to do anything but write.

Those words are painful to say. It’s especially painful to share with you, my strongest supporters.

There are a lot of reasons. There was a vocal negative reaction to The Dragonprince’s Heir, but that’s probably the smallest reason of them all. I’m used to criticism, and I’m not under the impression that anything I write right now is pure gold. I’m still learning, still developing as an artist, so the books I’m writing now are just stepping stones to the really good stuff I’m going to work on next year.

I believe that now, and I hope to keep believing it with every passing year until I run out of them entirely.

No, most of what’s getting in my way is stress and obligation. See, I didn’t just quit my job last year. I also started an indie publishing company and hired a couple editors and a marketing guy. You probably know them all by name. They’re all fellow authors and good friends of mine, and it was our plan to put together a flood of awesome fantasy for you guys that would leave you begging for even more (and, in the process, fund Consortium Books to hire and train even more authors).

It…didn’t quite work out that way. We got a good start with the release of Courtney’s epic fantasy Rethana’s Surrender and Joshua’s noir viking saga Downfall, but the weak point in our plan was me.

I had boring day-job work to do. Not for my old government bosses, this time, but for my own organization. There was so much work to do, and now several families’ livelihoods depending (at least partially) on my business acumen. That’s a lot of pressure (and not a small amount of tedious paperwork).

On top of that, for lots of very good reasons, I signed a three-book publishing deal with Amazon’s 47North. I owed them the first novel in a new trilogy on November 1, but when I started hiring people in June and planning our schedule, November looked a long way off. As it turned out, I just had time to deal with the first, most urgent mountain of corporate paperwork before I had to dive into the 47North project with a desperate urgency just to hit my deadline.

And, of course, after I turned that in I found myself facing a new mountain of chores that had piled up while I was frantically writing. And then, when I realized they still needed me for consulting on promotional materials and reviewing edits and revising the manuscript, I discovered there was still a surprising amount of work to do on the novel I’d just delivered.

Somewhere in there I had a root canal, watched dad campaign for and then unfairly lose a bid for State Representative, caught pneumonia for six weeks or so, and survived two major holidays with all the family commitments those entail.

That’s how I’ve spent my dream-come-true so far: exhausted, overwhelmed, and behind schedule.

So! The challenge for this blog post was to tell you about my current writing project. The sad fact is, it’s the same one I blogged about last July (and promised by the end of summer). I’m working on a novella set in the world of the Dragonprince, featuring Daven and taking place immediately after the events of The Dragonswarm. Six months now, and I’ve got a little over 6,000 words written.

I’m actually really excited about the story. It’s Daven in all his power fighting a vicious (and frighteningly clever) dragon brood out in the eastern plains. It’s full of exciting action and tense drama and some surprising revelations with regard to the dragon bond.

It also sets the stage for the collaborative novellas Joshua was talking about in his post. A Darkness in the East is the first chapter in a five-piece collection called The Dragonprince’s Arrows. Among them, those stories will reveal how Daven came to have an army of dragonriders behind him and introduce some of the more interesting riders.

Unlike the one I’m still working on, those stories are already written. Or…drafted, anyway. Joshua and Jessie agreed to collaborate with me on them, so I’ll get to introduce you to Joshua’s break-neck plot and Jessie’s endearing characters, all wrapped up in the huge and fascinating setting that is Daven’s dragonswarm.

In other words, the next big thing is huge. It’s awesome, and I can’t wait to share it with you. I just have to get over myself first, get out of my own way, and learn how to write for fun again.

Wish me luck. I’ll let you know the moment the story’s done.

Candycreme Cookies

Sometime last week, I was watching Twitter when a conversation developed concerning cooking as an art form. Argumentative as I am by nature, I immediately thought, “There’s nothing that creative about cooking!”

Argumentative as I am by nature, I immediately thought, “That’s stupid! Of course there is! For instance, I could probably imagine an incredible new kind of cookie and thereby make the world a better place.”

Now, that inner dialogue is ridiculous in any number of ways, but I share it to explain how it came to pass that I spent my entire afternoon on Sunday working in the kitchen. In the end, I created an expensive kind of cookie that looks like beef jerky and tastes like candied brownies.

I also got to spend several hours making messes with my five-year-old daughter and letting her lick batter from the stirring spoons (while also teaching proper kitchen hygiene–we went through a lot of spoons). In every way, I consider the afternoon a stirring victory.

Well…in every way but one. The cookies would be more popular, I think, if they didn’t look quite so much like beef jerky. I did an excellent job of creating the flavor profile, it’s just in the mechanical technique of baking where I stumbled.

So maybe someone out there can refine my process and make a better version of the cookie. Here’s my recipe, dedicated without reservation to the public domain (as is my wont).

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup caramel syrup
  • 3/4 cup marshmallow creme
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 2-1/4 cup flour (unsifted)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt

Preparation (Candycreme)

On a double-boiler, melt together chocolate chips, caramel syrup, and marshmallow creme, along with 1 tsp salt. Once mixed, keep at a low simmer so it will easily pour.

 

Preparation (Dough)

Beat together butter, sugar, and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs and vanilla, then slowly mix in the candycreme. Add flour, baking soda, and 1/2 tsp of salt.

 

Baking

Preheat over to 375 degrees. Bake cookies in tablespoon-sized globs for approximately 10 minutes.

When I tried baking them as globs on a cookie sheet, they spread out to a pancake-size pool, then swelled up to a very impressive pillowy texture, then ultimately collapsed into a circular candycrisp. They were still delicious in that form, but not terribly cookie-like.

Hoping to solve that, I tried making a mega-cookie in a pie tin. I filled it to about 1/3 depth with the dough, and cooked it for 10 minutes at 375. When I checked on it, the dough had risen again, so that it threatened the top of the tin, and the outer edges looked crisped but it was still quite clearly liquid in the center. I gave it another five minutes, and when I checked again it had collapsed like a bad souffle. The cookie in the bottom of the dish (about 1/4-inch thick, and deliciously gooey) had a brown/black cracked texture that looked like the landscape from some post-apocalyptic horror. Very cool.

I next tried it in a muffin tin, hoping that smaller puddles of dough would behave better, but they didn’t. I just ended up with twelve post-apocalyptic horrors instead of one.

Trish thinks I probably could have solved the problem by adding more flour (since I just adapted a chocolate chip cookie recipe, but added a liquid candycreme in place of the dry chocolate chips). We also considered freezing and chopping up the candycreme to use like chips instead of pouring it in as a liquid. I’d also considered making normal cookies and dredging them in the candycreme, as is sometimes done with pretzels in melted chocolate or almond bark.

Now that I’ve made the attempt, I think a better option would be to blend the candycreme into a brownie batter recipe instead of cookie dough. Then again, I don’t know enough about brownie batter to say that with any strong conviction. I merely present these alternatives as recommendations for future experimenters.

1492 in Oklahoma City (Restaurant Review)

If you like Mexican food and you live in Oklahoma City (or near enough to visit), I’m about to make your life better. If you live more than…oh, let’s say three or four hours away, I’m just going to make you intensely jealous.

As you know by now, I’ve spent the last two months in a frantic writing frenzy. When I’m writing under deadline (just like writing with a day job), the key becomes to get as much work done as possible in my alone time. This time around, that largely happened in the wee hours when everyone else was blissfully asleep.

But I have long made a habit of taking advantage of mealtimes for that purpose, too. That was particularly important when I had a day job and writing at work posed a questionable risk to my ownership of my work. For that very reason, I wrote most of Gods Tomorrow on long lunch breaks at Buffalo Wild Wings.

This time around, I’m in a different part of town (although, come to think of it, I spent a decent chunk of time at Buffalo Wild Wings, too). Still, my new favorite is a Mexican place in Midtown called 1492. I’ve been in two or three times a week for months now. I’ll order a soft drink and some entree (usually a half-order of chicken fajita nachos, which comes with some of their excellent guacamole), then enjoy free refills on their chips and salsa while I sit and write for hours.

My chief judgment of a Mexican restaurant falls on their salsa. I always eat a lot of salsa, and anyone who can make a good salsa can handle Mexican cuisine. I’m a tough judge to please, though, because I’m picky about textures. I don’t much like a super chunky blend. I like a smooth, even flavor, rich in spice but not overwhelmed by one strong flavor (like the jalapeno bite at Ted’s, the Texas chili at Abuelo’s, or the vinegar at Chilis).

See? Super picky. But 1492 makes my ideal salsa. I love it every time. And, as I said, anyone who does good salsa can do the rest. Their guacamole is excellent. I’ve also had tamales, enchiladas, tacos, and quesadillas. All delicious. When we take our kids, we always get a big bowl of the yellow queso, and it always gets scraped clean.

They call themselves a place for “New World Latin Cuisine,” which is the fanciest euphemism for “Tex Mex” I’ve ever heard. Located as they are in Midtown (1207 N. Walker, OKC, OK 73103), they can get crowded weekdays over lunch and weekends in the evening, but I’ve gone more than once for Saturday lunch and stayed til almost dinner time without ever having to feel guilty for taking up a table.

Of course, that’s a big deal to me. Restaurants are not designed to accommodate free-loading novelists, but I have never felt rushed or unwelcome, even when the words were really flowing and my visits stretched dangerously close to criminal loitering.

The prices are reasonable for mid-tier Mexican–you can expect something in the same range as On the Border, Poblanos, or Abuelo’s.

If you live in the Oklahoma City area, I have to recommend a visit to 1492. And when you’re there, tell them international bestselling fantasy author Aaron Pogue sent you. They’ll have no idea what you’re talking about, but maybe if enough people do that, I’ll start getting free guacamole or something. That would be delicious.

FTC Notice: I have not been paid or otherwise endorsed in any way for this recommendation. However, maybe if we all work together, we can turn that around. What do you say?

Working for the Man

I’ve mentioned more than once that I’ve been working on a book for 47North, a science fiction and fantasy publisher owned by Amazon. I even wrote an article for Unstressed Syllables explaining how to submit a book to an Amazon imprint. That has been one of my most popular posts there.

But I don’t think I’ve ever shared the story of how I ended up with a traditional publishing contract. There are some restrictions in the contract as to what details I can share, but the story’s mine to tell. So here we go.

Submission guidelines

I told the story in the aforementioned article, but last January I decided that I wanted to get something published by 47North. I’ve really loved the control (and profit) available through self-publishing, but the one big thing I lack is advertising. I’m making enough revenue now that I could afford to pay for some promotion, but I wouldn’t really know what is worthwhile. And I don’t want to spend the time on trial and error.

Meanwhile, several of the standouts in the self-pub community were crowing about their deals with Amazon imprints. Amazon is far more responsive to author needs than New York publishers. They offer much fairer contracts (in a lot of ways) and pay approximately twice the royalties you’d get from anyone out of Manhattan.That’s not sharing secrets from my contract, that was the buzz about Amazon publishing before I ever heard from them.

So I decided to do a deal. As I said, I’ve been most satisfied with self-publishing, and I had no intention of quitting. Instead, I hoped to sell a book or two to Amazon, experience the traditional publishing process for the sake of my bucket list, and then watch while their promotion spilled over into new loyal readers (and more profit) for all my other books.

As it happens, nothing came of my carefully-crafted submission. It got lost in the slush pile. Instead, someone from Amazon contacted me spontaneously in May because they’d noticed how well Taming Fire was selling. He was clearly surprised to hear that I had contacted them way back in January.

Still, everything worked out. We had a phone call to discuss what they could offer and what I was looking for. I took care to stress my commitment to Consortium Books, and they had no problem with that. None at all. Obviously they’d hoped I would want to republish my proven series through them, but when I said that was impossible, they were still just as interested in hearing what else I had to offer.

And that was…nothing. Between Consortium Books and Draft2Digital, we’ve gotten really good at publishing, so everything that I had ready to publish was already published. I did mention a new property in a new universe that I had started for a class last spring.

It was 15,000 words (which would qualify as a short story) and an outline, but that was enough to interest them. They didn’t even ask to see the pages. They signed me to a three-book deal on an outline.

That’s a big deal. It happens all the time for big-name authors–guys like Stephen King and James Patterson–and sometimes for midlist writers who’ve been working with the same publisher for a long time. But mostly publishers won’t even start to talk about a contract until they’ve seen a complete manuscript.

And here I got a three-book contract on an outline. I’m still a little bit in shock at that. I’m big time.

Deadlines

Of course, that meant I still had to write the book. And I had to write it good enough to justify the advance they paid me back in June. I had no doubt that I could do it, but that was still a stressful pressure hanging over my summer.

My busy summer. See, in June I hired my first (paid) employees at Consortium Books. We have an Acquisitions Editor and a Senior Editor, plus a Marketing Director hired in September. So I spent my summer on such inescapable chores as payroll taxes, group health insurance, and pursuing our nonprofit status.

I planned to get that stuff hammered out quickly, then set my employees to work while I turned my attention to the book. I figured if I took two months on chores, I’d still have two months to write the draft (August and September), and all of October for revisions before I mailed the book off for my November 1st deadline.

That…didn’t quite work out. I started June with 15,000 words of story written, and when October rolled around, I still had 15,000 words.

Even then, I was slow to start. Day after day slipped by when I had no more than a couple hundred words to show for all my effort, and I needed to be doing about 2,000 a day for all of October.

As I fell further and further behind, I kept trying to jump start my process. I would dedicate more and more hours to writing (or, as it so often turned out, not writing). I rebuilt my outline repeatedly. I spent a lot of time psycho-analyzing myself and tried a dozen different solutions.

My wife just kept reminding me, with more faith in me than I’ve ever had in myself, “You’ll get it done at the last minute. You always get it done at the last minute, and it’s always wonderful.”

And, of course, she was right. Look for Oberon’s Dreams on bookstore shelves in May. And watch for updates here in the meantime; I’d love to do a cover reveal once we have final art, if they’ll let me.

As for me, I’m going to keep putting in the long hours, now that I’ve found a schedule that works for me. I’m really hoping I can write and publish at least two new books in the time it takes Amazon to publish the one I just delivered.

Any votes on which two new books I should write?

I Always Knew this Day Would Come!

I’ve been sued.

It’s not as exciting as it could have been (and surely will be in the future). This time, it’s a small-claims matter.

Way back in 2002, when I first graduated and discovered with a shock that I had to get a job, I found a Tech Writing gig in Tulsa. We relocated up there, rented out a duplex for a couple years, and then bought a cute little three-bedroom house with the expectation we’d be trapped in Tulsa for decades yet.

Three years later I landed an incredible job with the FAA in Oklahoma City, and we moved away. But to our great dismay, we couldn’t sell the house. We hired a lousy realtor who did next to nothing to promote it for the length of her 90-day contract, and by that point we were broke from paying two mortgages, so we panicked and started looking for a renter.

That became a pattern. We’d get renters for six months to a year, that would end badly, we’d waste a weekend and a couple thousand bucks trying to fix up the place, then try listing it for sale (because we are not doing this ever again!), and after 90 days on the market we’d be suffering so much financially that we tried finding renters again.

We’ve been through four realtors and three property managers, and now our last property manager is suing us. In the months that this drama has been unfolding, we’ve gotten a referral for a wonderful new realtor, listed the house for sale, watched 90 days slip quietly past with no interest from buyers, and…now we’re looking for a new property manager.

I kinda hate this house. It was a wonderful first home, and that kinda just makes me hate it all the more. It’s a great deal and a great property. I can’t imagine why we can’t sell it.

And now I’ve been sued. Awesome.

Ultimately, this lawsuit is small potatoes. Given the ambitious nature of my business plans in a notoriously litigious industry (intellectual property), I’m definitely going to end up sued again. So I’ll just consider this practice, find out how the process goes, and try to make the most of it.

Meantime…anyone out there looking for a newly-renovated starter home in a quiet neighborhood? Let me sell it to you. Cheap.

Advance Reading Copy of Myth Reaver (Noir Viking Fantasy)

I mentioned this yesterday, but wanted to give it the full attention it deserves. So here’s my official grand announcement:

Someone decided to merge a neo-noir fantasy epic with a Viking saga…and nailed it. And I got to help.

Joshua Unruh is my Marketing Czar at Consortium of Books, and we’ve just completed acquisitions for Saga of the Myth Reaver: Downfall. Here’s the product description:

Noir: Everyday men and women drowning in the murky, corrupt waters of their own flaws.

Saga: Peerless heroes fighting epic battles yet ultimately doomed to fail.

At the crossroads of these two literary traditions stands the Saga of the Myth Reaver.

 

The Nine Worlds have never seen a hero like Finn Styrrsson. Blessed with an unmatched thirst for victory and the supernatural strength and vigor to slake it, Finn might have been the greatest warrior-king his people had ever known. But he was born the youngest of eight princes with a conniving eldest brother who won’t abide the threat Finn poses to his rule. Despite Finn’s unfailing loyalty, he is forced from his home to forge a new destiny.

Already a powerful warrior and deadly reaver, Finn discovers that he above all others is equipped to kill the monsters, the giants, the myths that besiege Midgard. He becomes the Myth Reaver and a living legend.

Yet despite his prowess and fame–indeed because of them–Finn never wins that which he most desires. He never finds a home. After a lifetime spent battling dread monsters and shining demigods, Finn realizes that in all the Nine Worlds, there is only one enemy whose defeat can give him the renown he so richly deserves.

Whether it’s in search of glory or a glorious death, Finn always overlooks his true enemy. That mistake will be his downfall.

We’d like to start the book off with some positive word-of-mouth, so if the premise sounds interesting and you’d be willing to provide a helpful book review, leave a comment below (with a valid email address). We’ll send free ARCs to the first 100 people who ask.

Update!

The book is now live at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo! That means we’re no longer offering the ARC, but you can pick up your own official copy for just 99 cents.

Check it out, and be sure to leave a review!

Meanwhile, in Oklahoma City…

A title like that really shouldn’t be followed with fascinating tidbits, should it? But life has been action-packed around here lately, and it’s only getting more interesting by the minute.

Here are some highlights:

Most of my books are now available on Kobo!

That means you can get DRM-free ePubs even if you’re not living the in the US. (I hadn’t realized Barnes and Noble made that restriction). We’re working on getting all the Consortium Books library up there, and will have it shortly.

Draft2Digital (my new e-book publishing platform) is…functional! Sort of!

Man, that should really sound more exciting than it does. As of yesterday afternoon, we can now add new book projects, input all the basic sales data, upload a source document (Word or Google Docs), and then generate a beautifully-formatted e-book. We haven’t integrated the tools to publish that book to our various vendors yet, but I’ve done proof of concept and tying all the pieces together shouldn’t be too hard.

I just signed a three-book deal with Amazon’s sci-fi fantasy publishing imprint, 47North! (Yes, these all get exclamation marks. If they didn’t deserve exclamation marks, they wouldn’t be news.)

That was actually last Wednesday, but Amazon has agreed to publish and promote three books in the World of Auric superhero-fantasy series. I’m really looking forward to experiencing the (somewhat) traditional publishing process, and especially to the promotional partnership Amazon can provide.

And while I was writing this post, I was contacted by an anime production group interested in developing the Dragonprince’s Heir into a feature film, or possibly a series!

I have no idea how much interest you would have in seeing that, but I find the idea fascinating. And, of course, it gives me an opportunity to find new readers in another market altogether. That some exciting stuff!

And, finally, I recently approved our next title from Consortium Books, Myth Reaver: Downfall, by Joshua Unruh!

It’s neo-noir Viking fantasy, which means it’s huge and dramatic and all kinds of grim. If any of that sounds at all interesting to you, you’ll probably love the book. It’s epic in scale and tone, and perfectly executed. I’m so proud to have been a part of this story’s development.

I really wanted to mention this one sooner, but I saved it to the end because it comes with an offer! Draft2Digital will be building us an Advance Reading Copy of Myth Reaver: Downfall sometime tomorrow, and Josh offered to let me share copies with my readers.

I’ll probably make a separate post about that tomorrow (if I can find the time), but if you’ve read this far, you can get a head start. Leave a comment below asking for an ARC of some grim Viking fantasy, and I’ll make sure you get one.

Now…I guess I’d better get back to work!