Guest Post: “From Funny Book to Fleshy Series: The Finn Fancy Evolution” by Randy Henderson

HendersonR-AuthorPicWriting a fantasy series is a strange and daunting process. Over the course of transforming a single book into a series, I personally realized that rather than planning a whole series in advance, there were some basic things I could include that would allow a series to create itself.

First, sometimes writers plan ahead. Sometimes, we make s#!te up as we go along. Often we do some combination of the two. This applies to books, but also to entire series I’ve learned.

For Finn Fancy, I didn’t plan to write a series. I wrote some chapters for fun, which got turned into a finished book because an editor expressed interest. That book got purchased as the first in a series. Did I have a series? Not really. I had a book. And a few one sentence concepts I’d written out after finishing that book for potential sequels. Continue reading

Guest Review: FINN FANCY NECROMANCY by Randy Henderson (Tor/Titan)

HendersonR-FinnFancyNecromancyUSReviewed by Ryan Frye

Finn Gramaraye was framed for the crime of dark necromancy at the age of fifteen, when the surviving victim of a dark ritual was found in his bedroom. Convicted and exiled to the Other Realm for twenty-five years — twenty-five years as a disembodied soul, tormented by the Others — Finn is now being set free. But his return is met by a magical attack on his escorts, and Finn is framed again for dark necromancy.

Finn has only a few days to discover who is so desperate to keep him out of the mortal world, and find enough evidence to prove it to Arcane Enforcers who already view him as a criminal.

Unfortunately, his family are little help. Father has become a mad magical inventor. Brother Mort fears that Finn wants to take over the family business.  Sister Sammy is now a jaded hacker allergic to magic. And simple but sweet brother Pete still believes he’s a werewolf because of a childhood dog bite, yet wants Finn to help him find a girlfriend.

Finn is joined by Zeke, a former Arcane Enforcer and fellow exile seeking to prove himself worthy of returning to duty — even if that means proving Finn guilty. Together, they will battle magical creatures, family drama, and the challenges of Finn’s love life as they race to solve the mystery of who wants Finn returned to exile, and why.

Finn Fancy Necromancy is a book that came in completely under my 2015 “Hey that looks good I should check it out” radar. However, when I read the blurb I was sucked in, and accordingly bumped it up the reading pile for rapid deployment. Like many Urban Fantasies, this one features a first person perspective and a fast paced plot. Henderson doesn’t waste any time in ratcheting up the action and adventure. We first meet the titular character, Finn as he is being released from twenty-five years’ worth of magical exile. He’s been cut off from the world since 1985, so as you can imagine, he has lots of catching up to do.

Upon his return, Finn is immediately framed for another crime that will certainly put him back into exile unless he can somehow prove his innocence. This crime he’s been framed for sets up all the action for the remainder of the book, and since this all goes down in the very early stages of the narrative; it gives the book a breakneck pace which makes the pages just fly by. Continue reading

Upcoming from Titan Books in 2015

A small selection of interesting books coming up from Titan Books UK, in 2015…

ChristopherA-SW2-TheMachineAwakesUKAdam Christopher, THE MACHINE AWAKES (April)

As humanity fights a destructive mechanical race, a government agent finds a conspiracy far closer to home in this far future space opera set in the Spider War universe of The Burning Dark.

In the decades since the human race first made contact with the Spiders — a machine race capable of tearing planets apart — the two groups have fought over interstellar territory. But the war has not been going well for humankind, and with the failure of the Fleet Admiral’s secret plan in the Shadow system, the commander is overthrown by a group of hardliners determined to get the war back on track.

When the deposed Fleet Admiral is assassinated, Special Agent Von Kodiak suspects the new guard is eliminating the old. But when the Admiral’s replacement is likewise murdered, all bets are off as Kodiak discovers the prime suspect is one of the Fleet’s own, a psi-marine and decorated hero—a hero killed in action, months ago, at the same time his twin sister vanished from the Fleet Academy, where she was training to join her brother on the front.

As Kodiak investigates, he uncovers a conspiracy that stretches from the slums of Salt City to the floating gas mines of Jupiter. There, deep in the roiling clouds of the planet, the Jovian Mining Corporation is hiding something, a secret that will tear the Fleet apart and that the Morning Star, a group of militarized pilgrims linked to terrorist atrocities across the whole of Fleetspace, is determined to uncover.

But there is something else hiding in Jovian system. Something insidious and intelligent, machine-like and hungry.

The Spiders are near.

The second novel in the Spider Wars series, following The Burning Dark. [An earlier version of this post had an incorrect sysnopsis. This one is longer and better, straight from the author.] The Machine Awakes is due to be published in North America by Tor Books. Christopher will also have another novel published in the UK by Titan Books this year, one which I’m really looking forward to… More to come.

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EvansC-OfBoneAndThunderUKChris Evans, OF BONE AND THUNDER (February)

Channelling the turbulent period of the Vietnam War and its ruthless pitting of ideologies, cultures, generations, and races against each other, military historian and acclaimed fantasy writer Chris Evans takes a daring new approach to the traditional world of sword and sorcery by thrusting it into a maelstrom of racial animus, drug use, rebellion, and a growing war that seems at once unwinnable and with no end in sight. In this thrilling epic, right and wrong, country and honor, freedom and sacrifice are all put to the ultimate test in the heart of a dark, bloody, otherworldly jungle.

In this strange, new world deep among the shadows under a triple-canopy jungle and plagued by dangers real and imagined, soldiers strive to fulfill a mission they don’t understand and are ill-equipped to carry out. And high above them, the heavy rush of wings slashing through the humid air herald a coming wave of death and destruction, and just possibly, salvation.

This looks like a really interesting novel. I picked up a copy not so long ago in Canada, but I’m glad it’s now got a publisher and release date in the UK. Of Bone and Thunder is published in the US by Gallery Books.

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GregoryD-H1-HarrisonSquaredUKDaryl Gregory, HARRISON SQUARED (March)

Harrison Harrison — H2 to his mom — is a lonely teenager who’s been terrified of the water ever since he was a toddler in California, when a huge sea creature capsized their boat, and his father vanished. One of the “sensitives” who are attuned to the supernatural world, Harrison and his mother have just moved to the worst possible place for a boy like him: Dunnsmouth, a Lovecraftian town perched on rocks above the Atlantic, where strange things go on by night, monsters lurk under the waves, and creepy teachers run the local high school.

On Harrison’s first day at school, his mother, a marine biologist, disappears at sea. Harrison must attempt to solve the mystery of her accident, which puts him in conflict with a strange church, a knife-wielding killer, and the Deep Ones, fish-human hybrids that live in the bay. It will take all his resources — and an unusual host of allies — to defeat the danger and find his mother.

I’m a big fan of Daryl Gregory’s writing (his novels and also his comics). I was lucky enough to read an early draft of this novel, and I really liked it. It was fun, well-written and really interesting. I can’t wait to read the final version. Harrison Squared is due to be published in North America by Tor Books.

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HendersonR-FinnFancyNecromancyUKRandy Henderson, FINN FANCY NECROMANCY (February)

Found guilty of a crime he didn’t commit in 1986, 15-year-old Finn Gramaraye was exiled to the Other Realm for 25 years. But now he’s back in the mortal world and is disappointed to discover that he’s middle-aged, DeLoreans can’t fly, and he’s been framed for murdering someone with dark necromancy — again. He has three days to clear his name and win back his high-school crush, but his nuclear family is something of a disaster: his father has gone mad, his mother’s a ghost, his sister is allergic is magic, one brother thinks he’s a werewolf, and the other is busy running the family necrotorium business, andseems most disappointed that Finn is back on the scene… Who can he trust to help him? Forced to team up with the ex-partner of the enforcer he’s accused of killing, Finn encounters a host of supernatural creatures as he struggles to regain his memories and figure out who wants him gone, before it’s too late.

This novel sounds like it could be quirky and fun.