Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Just look at that cover. Then, feel free to judge the book.
Artist Gerard Miley captured this one perfectly. HUSH is, at it core, a story about a woman with a magical hammer fighting her way across a frozen landscape to confront the eponymous primal dragon of cold.
Hush is a damn big dragon. She's so large that one chapter of this novel is set inside her mouth. Infidel, Stagger, and Sorrow have to fight a shapeshifting ghost with, an ogre champion, three ogre priestesses, a human judge and his bodyguard and a dozen burly sailors on the battleground of Hush's tongue. And there's still room for three boats. Hush is big, I tell you, big!
If you've read Greatshadow, you know who Infidel and Stagger are. But you're probably wondering who Sorrow is. Sorrow is a young witch who gains power over the material world by hammering nails into her skull. For instance, she has an iron nail in her temple that gives her the power to mold iron as if it were clay. Her powers are rather formidable, though she spends half the novel wearing an iron brace on her limbs because her hobby hasn't exactly been good for her health.
To assist her in physical tasks, Sorrow builds a wooden golem, then crafts a soulcatcher to go out and hunt for a ghost she can use to animate it. Stagger happens to be the nearest ghost who has failed to move on from the material plane. So, after spending 90% of Greatshadow as a disembodied spirit, Stagger spends 90% of this novel back inside a body, albeit a wooden one, with an oak barrel for a chest, roots for fingers, and a coconut for a head. His soul essentially serves as a battery to bring the golem to life, and, like any battery, the more Sorrow uses him, the weaker he gets. And, it's not like he gets to use his new body for anything he wants to do. He can only move if Sorrow commands him to.
Adding to his frustrations, Sorrow is a passenger on the same boat that carries Infidel to the frozen north. So, Stagger spends much of the book within a few dozen feet of the woman he loves, forbidden to so much as wave at her, unable even to call out her name as his coconut skull lacks a tongue.
Will Stagger ever get to speak with Infidel? Can Infidel survive her quest now that she's lost her strength and invulnerability? Will Hush succeed in her plot to murder Glorious, the primal dragon of the sun, plunging the world into eternal winter?
You don't have to wait any longer to find out! HUSH hits bookstores today! Run out right now and buy a copy. Then skip work today and read it, so you can join me on my first ever Goodreads discussion thread, where I'm talking about all the books of the Dragon Apocalypse, even books I haven't written yet! Here's the link. After you buy your copy, if you want a second copy to give to your best friend in the whole world but don't have the extra dough to shell out in these rough economic times, then as long as you're at Goodreads, why not sign up for the HUSH giveaway there? Twelve copies are available to residents of the US, Canada, and the UK. If you want to try to win one, enter here.
Good luck! Don't be shy about Amazon reader reviews and enthusiastic tweets!
Saturday, June 9, 2012
Whew! A busy couple of weeks! In addition to attending Balticon and ConCarolina's, I've been furiously pounding the keys on Witchbreaker. It's finally turning into a real novel! I made a few bad choices with character personalities on the first draft that left me with an important protagonist almost completely devoid of charm. I spent a lot of the first draft just keeping him off stage so I wouldn't have to write about him. This time around, I've tried an unusual approach for a James Maxey character: I've made him an actual nice person, motivated by a desire to live up to a code of knighthood. What the...? How did he slip into the book? Luckily, he does have a dark secret, a big one. And he does get to fight a dragon buck naked in his first scene. So maybe he's not such an unusual character for me after all.
But, Witchbreaker is still half a year away from bookstores. The book I should be talking about is Hush, hitting stores this month, June 26! I'll be launching the book with a trio of appearances. June 26, I'll be in Cary at the Barnes and Noble along with Lisa Shearin, Kelly Gay, Tony Daniels, Mark van Name, and David Drake, as part of their annual speculative fiction panel. The fact that's the day by book hits bookstores is a felicitous bit of timing! Later that same week, at Hillsborough's Last Friday street festival, I'll have a table in front of Purple Crow books from roughly 6-9. Then, on July 10, I'll be at the Barnes and Noble in Greensboro.
Hush had its first review yesterday, by Nick Sharps at Elitist Book Reviews who describes the book as "the most original and colorful fantasy world I have encountered in recent memory." Alas, he didn't like it quite as much as he liked Greatshadow, though he says he's looking forward to Witchbreaker. He notes that the supporting cast, mainly the Romer family, felt a bit underdeveloped. In retrospect, I agree. I introduced some characters in Hush solely for the purpose of having them on stage in Witchbreaker, where their stories become more central to the plot. Hopefully as the series unfolds their more leisurely character arcs will become increasingly interesting.
Also yesterday, I'm part of a pair of blog posts at lucreid.com discussing the art of writing 10,000 words a day. Not to spoil the articles, but the answer is pretty simple. If you want to write 10k words a day, and you can write 1000 words an hour, you have to be willing to put butt in chair for 10 hours and type like a maniac. This is why I hardly ever manage the feat, though I did crank out 16k words from Tuesday through Thursday this week. There really are no shortcuts.
Finally, I've got some air time at the latest The Future and You podcast from Stephen Euin Cobb as he interviews guests from last weekend's ConCarolinas. Listen here!