Interview with ED McDONALD

McDonaldE-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Ed McDonald?

Hello! That would be me. I’m an author, swordsman, medieval historian, lecturer, husband, reader, and gamer.

Your debut novel, Blackwing, will be published by Gollancz. It’s been getting quite a bit of pre-publication buzz. How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

Blackwing is the first part of The Raven’s Mark series. It’s epic fantasy in scope, but with a tight focus on a single character and the individual part he plays in a wider conflict. The pace is more like a thriller than the usual wander through a fantasy landscape, so I’d say that if you like your fantasy fast paced, character driven, hard hitting, free from gender bias and set on the edge of a post-apocalyptic magical wasteland, then it’s probably for you. Continue reading

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Guest Post: “Inspiration for Fantasy Authors” by Anthony Ryan

RyanA-AuthorPicWhilst I don’t like to stereotype, I’m going to assume that if you’re reading this then there’s a fair chance you’re familiar with the sitcom The Big Bang Theory. In one of the earlier episodes Penny asks Leonard “What did you do today?”, to which he responds, “Well, I’m a physicist, so I, y’know… thought about stuff.” Although I wouldn’t want to imply that the complexities of writing fiction are of a similar order to particle physics, writers, like physicists, do spend a considerable amount time thinking about stuff. When it comes to inspiration thinking time is crucial. When I count all the stories I actually wrote, compared to those I thought about writing, I come up with a ratio of approximately one in ten, i.e. only about 10% of my ideas actually turn into stories and then only after a lengthy period percolating in the confused teapot of my imagination. Continue reading

Interview with DAVID MEALING

MealingD-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is David Mealing?

Husband, father, fantasy author, role-player, board gaming geek, avid esports enthusiast.

Your debut novel, Soul of the World, will be published in June by Orbit. It looks pretty epic: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

My usual pitch is ‘French Revolution with magic,’ but it gets much bigger as the story gets going. Soul is the first of a trilogy, and I’ve tried to set up deeper layers with each book. So by the end of book one, you’ll have the main plot wrapped up, with a deeper, ‘plot behind the plot’ just starting to reveal itself. I do the same thing in book two, wrapping up the plot behind the plot from book one and introducing a new layer of unknowns by the end. Then (if everything goes to plan!) book three should wrap everything in a nice neat package. Continue reading

Guest Post: “Write what you know… even if that’s just being an idiot” by Tom Lloyd

Write what you know, it’s the first piece of advice a writer will get. It’s sometimes useful too. After eight years and almost a decade as a published novelist, I was starting a new series and so I asked myself what I’d learned, what I liked and what I wanted for the next few years. But this time round I wasn’t some newbie, I was a wise and skilled crafter of words who utters profound witticisms as he works the room of industry types, right?

Much to my disappointment that clearly wasn’t the case. I was pretty much the same damn fool I’ve always been. Well meaning, stubborn not the cleverest, getting on a bit with something of a food preoccupation – not without some skill but not ever likely to be one of the biggest and brightest stars in the sky. So hey, write what you know? Continue reading

Cover Reveal: THE GREEN COUNT by Christian Cameron (Orion)

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Today, we have a cover reveal for you! The Green Count is Christian Cameron‘s latest historical military epic, and the third in his William Gold series (also known as the Chivalry series). It is due to be published by Orion Books on July 13th, 2017. Here’s the synopsis:

Famagusta, November 1365. The world teeters on the brink of bloody political upheaval… and Sir William Gold is caught right in the thick of it.

After the bloody trials of Alexandria, Sir William Gold is readying for a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to ease the burden on his soul. He hopes, too, that the Holy City might allow his relationship with Emelye, cousin of the Green Count of Savoy, to develop.

But the Roman Emperor of Constantinople has been taken hostage by an unknown enemy, and the Green Count is vital to the rescue effort. It is up to Sir William to secure his support, but he soon finds that his past, and his relationship with Emelye, might have repercussions he had not foreseen…

Suddenly thrust onto the stage of international politics, Sir William finds himself tangled in a web of plots, intrigue and murder. He must hold true to his chivalric principles, and to his knights, if he is to save the Emperor and survive to tell the tale.

The first two novels in the series — The Ill-Made Knight and The Long Sword — are also published in the UK by Orion.

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Christian Cameron is also the author of the Traitor Son Cycle, a best-selling fantasy series, under the pseudonym Miles Cameron (published by Gollancz in the UK and Orbit in the US).

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Also on CR: Guest Post on “How I do Research”

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Excerpt: BLOOD UPON THE SAND by Bradley Beaulieu (Gollancz)

beaulieub-3-blooduponthesandukToday, we have an excerpt from Brad Beaulieu‘s highly-anticipated Blood Upon the Sand, the next novel in his Song of the Shattered Sands epic fantasy series. First, the synopsis:

Second in epic new fantasy series of mystery, prophecy and death within the ancient walled city of Sharakhai, home to the Twelve Kings…

Çeda, an elite warrior in service to the kings of Sharakhai, is learning their secrets even as they send her on covert missions to further their rule. She has already uncovered the dark history of the asirim, but it’s only when she bonds with them, chaining them to her will, that she feels their pain as her own. They hunger for release, they demand it, but their chains were forged by the gods themselves and are proving unbreakable.

Çeda could become the champion the enslaved asirim have been waiting for, but the need to tread carefully has never been greater. The kings are hungry for blood, scouring the city in a ruthless quest for revenge, while Çeda’s friend Emre and his new allies in the Moonless Host are laying plans to take advantage of the unrest in Sharakhai, and strike a major blow against the kings and their god-given powers.

The shifting tides of power are fickle and dangerous, though. The Kings and the Moonless Host have their own agendas, as does the dangerous blood mage Hamzakiir, whose plotting uncovers a devastating secret that could shatter the power of the hated kings. But it may all be undone if Çeda cannot learn to control the growing anger of the asirim that threatens to overwhelm her…

Blood Upon the Sand is due to be published next week by Gollancz in the UK, and DAW Books in North America. Now, on with the excerpt!

Continue reading

Review: THE LAST MORTAL BOND by Brian Staveley (Tor)

StaveleyB-CUT3-LastMortalBondUSThe highly-anticipated conclusion to the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne trilogy

DEATH IS NEAR, ARMIES ARE GATHERED, AND THE FUTURE RESTS ON A KNIFE-EDGE 

The Annurian Empire is losing a war on two fronts — and it’s unclear who’s in command. Adare is stationed in the thick of battle, calling herself Emperor. However, she can’t hold back the nomadic Urghul forces forever. She needs her brilliant general, Ran il Tornja, but will he betray her again?

Adare’s brother Kaden is the true heir, yet he’ll accept a republic to save his divided people. And he faces something more terrible than war. He’s unmasked Ran il Tornja as a remnant of an ancient race, one that attempted to destroy mankind. The general now plans to finish what they started. Kaden has also discovered that capricious gods walk the earth in human guise — and their agendas may seal the fates of all.

In early 2014, I finally got around to reading Brian Staveley’s first two novelsThe Emperor’s Blades and The Providence of Fire. I was blown away — I read them back-to-back, which is something I haven’t done with a fantasy series since Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamora and Red Seas Under Red Skies, and Peter V. Brett’s The Desert Spear and The Daylight War. Staveley’s writing, his characters, and the fantastically composed and paced narrative just pulled me through. I was hooked. I still think the two novels are a fantastic example of what modern fantasy can be. (Seriously, go read them.) I had a rather different reaction to The Last Mortal BondContinue reading