Friday, May 31, 2013

Immaterial Evidence Launch

My friend Milo Fowler's novella Immaterial Evidence goes live today. It's a hard-boiled crime story with a speculative bent. If you've enjoyed Fowler's serial The BackTracker or his Mercer stories, you'll feel right at home in this new dark alley. Here's the blurb:
The vault door never opened. The bank went into lockdown in less than a minute. Yet the security footage was unmistakable: a hundred silver bars had simply vanished.

Ever since the city’s most dangerous crime boss put a price on his head, private investigator Charlie Madison has lived as an exile in Little Tokyo. But now an old friend and police sergeant has lured Madison back into the city to hunt down an invisible criminal—if he can.

As Madison makes his clandestine return, high-profile people start disappearing. And when federal agents swoop onto the scene to take matters into their own hands, they offer Madison a deal he can't refuse—as long as he agrees to work with them. With Japanese freedom fighters and refurbished killing machines threatening to take the world to the brink of nuclear holocaust, the United World government needs all the help it can get.

Embroiled in an unimaginable mystery, one private eye must rely on his wits to solve a case where the evidence is immaterial, and the odds are stacked high against him at every turn.
 To learn more about Fowler and his work, visit his blog.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Engn Cover Reveal

My friend Simon Kewin has a novel coming out in July from December House. The title is Engn, and from the blurb and what I already know of Simon's writing, I'm sure it will be a fascinating and engaging read well-worth your time. I'm proud to be taking part in the cover reveal today. Here's the blurb:
Finn's childhood in the valley is idyllic, but across the plains lies a threat.

Engn is an ever-growing steam-powered fortress, that needs a never ending supply of workers. Generation after generation have been taken away, escorted into its depths by the mysterious and terrifying Ironclads, never to return.

The Masters of Engn first take Finn's sister, then his best friend, Connor. He thinks he, at least, is safe - until the day the ironclads come to haul him away too.

Yet all is not lost, Finn has a plan. In the peace of the valley he and Connor made a pact. A promise to join the mythical Wreckers and end Engn's tyranny from within.

But now on his own, lost and thwarted in the vastness of Engn, Finn begins to have doubts. Is Connor really working to destroy Engn?

Or has he become part of the machine?

Want to know more? Join the Engn mailing list sponsored by December House or stop by Simon's blog.

CSFF Blog Tour: Merlin's Blade Day One

Merlin's BladeWriters and poets have been building on the King Arthur legends for close to a thousand years. We can add a new name to that list: Robert Treskillard. Merlin's Blade is book one in The Merlin Spiral series and Treskillard's debut novel. At the center of this story is the young Merlin; a stone with dark, supernatural powers; and a conflict between Christianity and paganism.

Treskillard takes the story of Merlin's youth in a new direction from the traditional Merlin story. Treskillard's Merlin is not the spawn of an incubus but the only son of two mortals: Owain and Gwevian, both of whom are the children of chieftains. Merlin's early life is fraught with hardship and sorrow. His mother drowns. Years later, wolves severely scar Merlin's face and eyes when he attempts to defend his half-sister from them. Although he can see colors and shapes, Merlin is for all practical purposes blind. His father, who once fought as a warrior but is now reticent about his earlier adventures, works as the village blacksmith, making nails and horseshoes and occasionally forging a sword. Merlin has become a devout Christian despite his father's indifference and his step-mother's antipathy to the relatively new faith. His step-mother's father is a leader among the druids. Merlin is infatuated with the Magister's daughter Natalenya. The girl has treated him kindly at chapel but Merlin is so shy in her presence that he can barely talk. He has little hope of being anything other than an admirer.

Merlin's world turns upside down with the arrival of his step-mother's father Mórganthu, who has wrestled a queer stone from the depths of a nearby lake. Mórganthu is gathering druids from across Britain at the old standing stones circle. He plans to use the power of the stone and its connection to Belernos—a Celtic god of the underworld—to launch an uprising against the Christian faith in Britain and reestablish the power of the druids. The stone glows blue, explodes with blue flames at times, and has the power to kill. It works on people's weaknesses, particularly lusts for gold and power, and draws them to its worship and service. The stone fails to bewitch Merlin, who can hardly see it. For once his blindness is an advantage, but Merlin is also having visions that take him to another world where his sight is clear and he sometimes sees the past and other times battles with spiritual forces. To add to the turmoil that the druids stir up, the High King Uther is making a visit to gather support for the war against the Saxons. Revenge and intrigue bring the confrontation between Uther and Mórganthu to a head. The future of Britain hangs in the balance.

Treskillard tells a compelling story from various points of view and manages to hold all of his material together. Although he deviates from the standard Arthur/Merlin story, he brings in enough elements from the tradition to keep us grounded in the old mythology. Readers familiar with the Arthur/Merlin legends will recognize Uther, Vortigern, Igerna, Gorlas, the Lady of the Lake, and others. Treskillard also tells us a new story regarding the sword in the stone and works the red and white dragons into his tale. Reading Merlin's Blade is like stepping into a familiar roller coaster at an amusement park that takes a whole new set of twists and turns. I can't wait to see new twists Treskillard has in store for us in book two, Merlin's Shadow.

The image above illustrates an episode in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia regum Britanniae between Merlin and Vortigern. Anonymous, C15th, detail from an original MS held by Lambeth Palace Library.

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of Merlin's Blade from the publisher.

To learn more about Treskillard and his work, check out his blog and website.

Check out what other CSFF bloggers are saying:
Noah Arsenault
Beckie Burnham
Keanan Brand
Laure Covert
Pauline Creeden
Emma or Audrey Engel
April Erwin
Victor Gentile
Ryan Heart
Timothy Hicks
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
Nathan Reimer
Chawna Schroeder
Kathleen Smith
Jojo Sutis
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Phyllis Wheeler
Shane Werlinger
Nicole White

Friday, May 24, 2013

Highway 24 Available for Pre-Order Savings

A quick note to let you all know that my novelette Highway 24 is scheduled for release on June 7 and is now available for pre-order at the MuseItUp store. Order now for a savings of 20%.

Here's the blurb in case you didn't see it in an earlier post:
On a lonely country highway, a young travelling salesman runs down a teenage girl. It was an accident. Why she was wandering around on a highway in a pink, formal dress, he can’t imagine. There’s no doubt she’s dead. Fear takes over and he flees the scene, absently taking one of her shoes with him. An old memory, something familiar about that shoe, struggles to surface. As he speeds away from the accident, he thinks his nightmare can’t get any worse, until he sees a pair of green eyes in his rear-view mirror. The shoe and those eyes lead him to a small town where he meets an all too knowing preacher and a sheriff obsessed with the girl’s tragic demise. As Paul digs deeper into the mystery of the girl and her shoe, he comes face-to-face with a dark secret from his father’s past.
See the post Coming to a Road Near You for an excerpt.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Kindle Prices and The Hobbit Movie

The Worship of Mammon (1909)
by Evelyn De Morgan
I've certainly been neglecting the blog lately. Too much reading and writing and not enough time to do anything else. I've been making great progress on a novelette, hoping to have it finished by the end of May so I can send it out. In the meantime, here are a couple items to ponder.

What's a reasonable price difference between a paperback and a kindle version of a novel. Should the kindle version be half the price, a third of the price? The people at Penguin Classics have some odd ideas about pricing. I enjoyed Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House and decided I might like her gothic novel We Have Always Lived in the Castle. The paperback Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition is $12.80. It includes an introduction and some illustrations. (I'm not certain about the illustrations but an illustrator is listed.) The kindle version of that edition is $12.99. Yes, that's right. The electronic version is 19 cents higher than the paper version. Follow the links if you don't believe me and I wouldn't believe me either but it's true. The version made up of 0s and 1s that can be wirelessly delivered to you and replicated for next to nothing costs MORE than the paper one which costs money to create and deliver. Hmmm. Was there an error somewhere or is this just greed on the part of the publisher? Very, very ugly greed. I think I'll be reading a copy from the library.

I still haven't seen The Hobbit movie. I know. I'm probably the only fan of Tolkien's books that hasn't seen it. I don't like movie theaters and it will drive me nuts to not be able to immediately see the rest of the films after I watch the first one. I finally gave in to curiosity the other day and bought the DVD. I'm holding off on watching it until I finish my novelette. You have to reward yourself once in a while. I laughed when I noticed that the movie is rated PG-13 for "intense fantasy action violence and frightening images." Isn't The Hobbit supposed to be a kid's book?