City of Masks is out there (for sale)!

Thanks to Tyche Books, City of Masks is available for sale on the Tyche website, Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords, and who knows where else.  I hope it is received with the same generosity as its older sibling, City of Demons.

There are more books to come in the series.  Cities of Sand (tentative title) is next.  I can hardly wait.  Marick, Dorict, and Vinir go south to try and find the source of the demons.  Things do not go smoothly.  Marick probably has something to do with that.

As for City of Masks:

Life in the Banehall of Shirath has not gotten any easier for Garet and his friends.  The Caller Demon is dead, but now the beasts seem determined to overrun the city.  Attacks come day and night; the demons kill in packs, and terrible new forms of these monsters appear to spread terror among the citizens of Garet’s adopted home.

There is one hope.  Masked figures hunt through the night-shrouded streets, killing demons and saving many lives.  One such demon-killer has been following Garet through the streets, but whether she means to help or harm him is unknown.

What is known is that the demons –or the power behind them – will not stop until Shirath is destroyed.  Unless, of course, the Masks destroy it first.

Cover by Galen Dara

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Questions from A.R. MacNeil Secondary Students (Part 1)

Okay, I finally have enough willpower to start answering questions from the students at A.R. MacNeil.  I gave an author talk to two classes (Ms. Phillips’ and Mr. McDowell’s) a few weeks back and was presented with an envelope full of questions.  Here are the first five along with my answers:

1. Why fantasy?  It’s what I read and still read.  I read other things, of course, but fantasy started me off.  I love it because you can let your imagination run – as long as your writing can keep up!  From mythology to Tolkien and Le Guin to comic books, fantasy is pure out lovely.

2. Why did you become an author and quit being a teacher?  Was it worth it?  Aha!  Two questions for the price of one.  Very sneaky.  I found that I couldn’t do the best job on either one when I was dividing my time.  Stephen King wrote in his excellent book, On Writing, that the one job that prevented him from writing was teaching English at a college.  I did all the writing I could on holidays and during the summer, but it was not enough.  The question I faced was, which do I want to do more?  After seventeen years of teaching, I wanted to write more.  Maybe after seventeen years of writing, I’ll want to drive a taxi.  Was it worth it?  You read the book (I hope).  You tell me.

3. Does Garet and Salick’s romance remind you of your own?  Yikes!  Personal space!  Personal space!  Not really.  Mine was much calmer and lacking in any homicidal attacks by sword-wielding assassins.  Same result though.  Love.

4. Where did you get the ideas for this book – from another book?  In a way, every reader who is an author gets ideas from other books.  I take the humanity of my characters from Andre Norton and Ursula Le Guin.  I borrow a sense  of horror from Robert E. Howard, Edgar Allen Poe, and Stephen King.  The landscapes come more from personal travel then books, but I’ve perused many a map of medieval cities in planning Shirath.  As for the basic ideas: demons using fear and how to fight them, that comes from my own childhood.  When I was five, I feared what might be in the dark spaces of my room.  The closet was the worst, until the day I opened it and found it empty of monsters.  That always made me wonder about fear, and that was the basis for the book.

5, Are you secretly a demon?  Which character are you most fond of?  Another two-for-one, eh?  In the first book, I was fondest of Marick, since his dialogue was so fun to write.  In the second book, I liked Trax the most.  He’s a complex fellow, and I enjoyed exploring his devious nature.  As for the other question, I am not a demon.  Sorry if that disappoints!  However, on the bright side, I seem capable of producing  them at will.  Muuwhaahaahaa!

I will try and answer more questions when my natural laziness takes a vacation.  And thanks to Ms. Phillips and Mr. McDowell for their kind invitation.

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Milestone for Gods and Dragons Collection

The e-book collection, Gods and Dragons, has hit a significant milestone: over 50,000 sales!  Kudos are owed to Phoenix Sullivan at Steel Magnolia Press and to my fellow authors for making me look good.

I’m having a hard time processing this, since it means that 100,ooo eyeballs (barring Christmas accidents with Red Rider BB guns or the existence of Cyclopean fans) have seen City of Demons.  I hope the sequel will live up to their expectations.


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The Sequel (draft) Is Finished.

City of Masks (working title) is complete – except for the revising, editing, and polishing.  Oh yes, and finding a publisher.  Minor considerations.

Now for a week or two of reading other people’s writing.

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VCon Report

I’ve been putting this off to write, but it’s time to report on VCon.  I missed the Friday night opening, but went there Saturday and Sunday to participate in three panels: Religion and Atheism in SpecFic, Violence in SpecFic, and Kid Lit.  All three went well (meaning I didn’t lose the power of speech and at least made partial sense when I talked).  The panel on Violence in SpecFic had the added bonus of having David Weber as a fellow panelist.  He is a prolific author of military SF, and a man who is very thoughtful about his writing and SF in general.

Many thanks to the VCon staff and volunteers, especially Sandra Wickham, the coordinator of the panels.  Next year, the theme is time travel.  I might even try to figure out a costume for that one.

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Gods and Dragons Update and VCon Approaches!

The Gods and Dragons collection, which contains my novel as well many others, all of them good reads, is still charging forth.  Over 20,000 copies sold!  This means a lot of new readers for City of Demons, and I hope they are all happy with the experience.  I’m still on’s list of 100 top fantasy authors, which continues to be funny and terrifying.

VCon, The Vancouver Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Gaming Convention is set for October 3rd to 5th.  I’m pleased with the panels I’m on, since each topic could start a really vicious argument.  If you attend, please drop by and dispute:

Friday, 3pm: Are Fantasy and Science Fiction Inherently Violent Genres?

Saturday, 6pm: The Role of Religion and Atheism in Speculative Fiction.

Sunday, 4pm: Is There Enough Kid in Kidlit?

I look forward to seeing other writers, artists, and fanatics there.

VCon 39, Military Might

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Gods and Dragons Conquers the World! (Metaphorically)

Time for an update on the Gods and Dragons collection, which republished City of Demons.  It is doing amazingly well, so well that I’ve been on’s list of the hundred most popular fantasy writers for weeks now.  Sometimes I’m ahead of Haruki Murakami, which is just plain wrong, since he is the greatest author who has ever lived.

I’m waiting for the karmic retribution.

Since this is a republication rather than a new book, I blame it all on the skillful marketing of Phoenix Sullivan at Steel Magnolia Press and the talents of my fellow authors.  The lesson that new writers should take away from this is that figuring out the algorithms of Amazon and the return on investment for different types of ads is part of the writing game.  You can’t just write well, you have to market well (as well).  If it’s not your cup of tea, then find someone who can do it for you.

This is an amazing ride that will end soon, but I’m glad I’m on it now!

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City of Demons Reborn!

Steel Magnolia press has re-issued City of Demons as one of eight epic fantasy novels in a new e-bundle titled Gods and Dragons.  For all of 99 cents, you can have eight wonderful adventures.  The deal is a temporary one, so go over to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or wherever you shop for e-books, and get this.  I’ll leave the banner up while the deal lasts.  Echh, self-promotion makes me dizzy, but it really is a good buy with some fine authors included.

Garet’s story continues to unfold.  Why would men and women wear stone masks and prowl through the city of Shirath at night?  The Banes don’t know, and you will have to wait for the next book to find out.

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City of Demon News is Coming

There will be a City of Demons announcement in a few days, but to hold you until then I present the following:

file: Some of the Wards of Shirath

This is a crude map of wards 5, 6, and 7 in the city of Shirath.  The green shapes are buildings, the red ones are warehouses and workshops, and the yellowish-orange parts are stockyards and barns.

Yes, I have been working on the sequel, a book with no current title, though I am leaning towards “City of Masks.”  After weeks of pacing back and forth and muttering things like, “Of course, the guardhouses would be there,” and, “No, no, I already wrote in the first book that the Fourth Ward had three-story courtyard tenements!” I finally settled the geography of the city in my mind.  The history is also coming along, though with six-hundred years to cover, I might skip a decade or two.  As for the story, another hour or two of pacing brought about a plan, and I am currently hammering away at chapter three.

In case you were wondering, Garet and Salick are still an item, but forces rising in the city will test their relationship as Garet chooses between loyalty to the Banehall and belief in his own ideals.

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Old Projects, New Projects

I haven’t posted in a while – sorry about that – but I’ve been wrapping up some projects.  And really, just posting that your in the middle of things doesn’t bring anybody closure.  I finally finished a rejection-worthy (or maybe acceptance-worthy) version of Rock, Paper, Scissors, my second YA fantasy novel.  I also completed a wretched draft of Luck, my non-YA science fiction comedy that I started during NaNoWriMo.  That last one will have to marinate for a while, maybe years, before I can work on it again.

On the short story front Wily Writers editor, Angel McCoy, tells me they are publishing my horror story, The Talking Box, on their website in July.  I hope readers enjoy it, or are at least satisfactorily repelled by the horrible events of the tale.

All new projects revolve around the sequels for City of Demons.  I have three more books floating around in my head (with some of that down on paper), so I am trying to flesh out the world of Shirath and surrounding demon-infested real estate before I get tripped up on details.  Turns out that the city is bigger than I thought, maybe around 250,000 people, but I have to check my math.

Aside from that, I am desperately awaiting the English version of Haruki Murakami’s new novel.  A garden chair, a shady tree, a cup of Assam tea, and two hundred pages of incredibly complex themes and ambiguous prose.  Ahh, summer.

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