stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
The audio edition of IRON AXE is part of Audible's First-in-the-Series sale until Friday! It's only $3.99.  Narrator PJ Ochlan does a great job reading it, too:

http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Iron-Axe-Audiobook/B00Q75H1Y0/
Although Danr's mother was human, his father was one of the hated Stane, a troll from the mountains. Now Danr has nothing to look forward to but a life of disapproval and mistrust, answering to "Trollboy" and condemned to hard labor on a farm. Until, without warning, strange creatures come down from the mountains to attack the village. Spirits walk the land, terrifying the living. Trolls creep out from under the mountain, provoking war with the elves. And Death herself calls upon Danr to set things right. At Death's insistence, Danr heads out to find the Iron Axe, the weapon that sundered the continent a thousand years ago. Together with unlikely companions, Danr will brave fantastic and dangerous creatures to find a weapon that could save the world - or destroy it.

If you've been thinking about trying an audio book to hear on your phone, now's a great time!
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
At World Fantasy next weekend, I'm moderating (!) a panel with Linda Robertson, Marilyn Mattie Brahen, Fred Durbin, and . . . Mercedes Lackey!

Whoa.

While I've sat on panels with any number of Big Name Authors, including ones whose work I've loved, I've never moderated one before. Time for the Big Boy Pants!
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
It's Release Day!  Release Day!  Happy, happy Release Day!  un/FAIR is officially available from booksellers everywhere.

It's difficult enough to live in the neighborhood "freakazoid" house. It's even more difficult when you're autistic and neither your family nor best friend really understands you. So when Ryan November wakes up on his eleventh birthday with the ability to see the future, he braces himself for trouble. But even his newfound power doesn't help him anticipate that the fair folk-undines, salamanders, gnomes, and sylphs-want him dead, dead, dead. Ryan races to defend himself and his family against unrelenting danger from the fairy realm so he can uncover the truth about his family history-and himself. Except as Ryan's power grows, the more enticing the fairy realm becomes, forcing him to choose between order and chaos and power and family. And for an autistic boy, such choices are never cut and dry.



Grab it now! It's a great read for the start of the school year!
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)


Today we have an interview with Nicky Peacock, fellow author of YA paranormal, urban fantasy, and horror fiction.  Her Battle of the Undead series pits vampires against zombies, and her latest novel Lost in Wonderland is--well, I'll her talk about it.  Take it away, Nicky!

What's the title of your latest book, and what's it about?
My latest book is the first of a new series; it’s called Lost in Wonderland. It’s a twist on the classic Lewis Carroll book, but doesn’t just re-tell the story, it takes the themes of madness, growing up and being lost and threads them through a YA thriller about a secret vigilante group who go after serial killers.

Your three favorite authors are . . . ?
Poppy Z Brite – a horror author who can make the grotesque beautiful.
Laurell K Hamilton – an urban fantasy author who thinks outside the box
Richard Laymon – sadly no longer with us, but his legacy is a wealth of scary books best read with the lights on!

Where's the strangest place you've ever gotten a story idea?
Working at a Halloween attraction. Although being a horror writer, ideas were going to be inevitable there I guess! I do tend to have a lot of ideas first thing in the morning when I wake up, and I write best late at night.

Makes perfect sense. Dark or milk chocolate?
I know that dark chocolate is meant to better for you, but I prefer milk chocolate – especially if it smothering peanuts or draped over Turkish Delight, hmmmmmmm.

What's your preferred caffeine source?
I have to watch my blood pressure, so I have to limit my caffeine intake. I do drink tea, but I keep it to just to cups a day. I actually prefer smoothies. My fav is a banana, strawberry, blueberry and chocolate milk.

Sounds delish!  What kind of writer are you--an outliner or a pantser?  Explain.
I’m a plotter, but I always leave some wiggle room. Stories tend to evolve as you write them, and I think if you fight against that evolution, you can damage your story. I keep everything loose and then tie it all together through edits. I truly believe you have to plot a book to make sure that you don't meander around with characters that don’t have an impact and a story that plods along, but you still have to keep it ‘pantsey’.

Where did the inspiration for Lost in Wonderland come from?
Last year was Alice in Wonderland’s 150th anniversary and I re-read the book as an adult. It was a real eye-opener for the themes it included that I didn’t pick up on when I was young. So, I decided to write a book that honored the themes, but didn’t just re-tell the original story and Lost in Wonderland was born.

Describe your writing area.
The best area is a beautiful 15th Century hotel that’s about a 5-minute drive from my house. It’s set in stunning grounds and is like stepping back in time. You also can’t get an Internet or phone signal there for love nor money, so it’s perfect for making sure I don’t get distracted.

Now the tough one: Right now, do you prefer to read ebooks, paper books, or both? Explain.
Both. I love my Kindle as I can take hundreds of books with me everywhere I go, but there is still something special about a physical book, especially when it has your name on the cover!

What four people from history would you want at your fantasy dinner party?
Amelia Earhart – I’d like to know what happened to her.
Bram Stoker – I’d like to know if he based Dracula on a real vampire.
Genghis Khan – he seemed like a bit of a party animal.
Christopher Marlowe – I would want to talk to him about Shakespeare.

Nicky can be found at the links below:

Thank you, Nicky!

stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
Today, we have a cross-blogging event: How I Met My Agent / How I Met My Client.  It's a fun and funny story because . . . well, you have to look.  My agent is Lucienne Diver, and we've been in a client/agent relationship for over twenty years now.  Her posting of this blog can be found here.

I also have to admit that this is the first time I heard about the spiders.

As an introduction, Lucienne Diver is a literary agent with the Knight Agency, where she represents a bunch of authors in several genres, including fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and romance.  She's also the author of popular The Latter-Day Olympian series and the highly-acclaimed YA Vamped series.

The story starts with me, so I'll go first:

How I Met My Agent by Steven Piziks

It was that miracle moment. The phone rang.

I snatched the receiver off the wall and discovered I was talking to Jim Baen of Baen Books. He had read my science fiction novel In the Company of Mind and wanted to buy it.

I almost leaped through the ceiling. But I kept myself under control and said something I had been rehearsing for years. “That’s fantastic!

Thank you! What kind of terms are you offering?”

He told me, and I said, “That’s great! I’ll call you back when I know more. Thanks so much!”

Once I hung up, did I call my parents? My best friend? I did not. I called an editor who had bought a bunch of my short stories over the years.

“I need an agent!” I bawled.

She laughed and gave me the number of Vince Alfieri, a New York agent.

By now I was wondering what my phone bill was going to be like. I called Vince, who said he wasn’t taking new clients right then.

Argh!

Remember, this was in the days before cell phones, before the Internet, before Google. I couldn’t just hop on-line and spend a couple hours looking up agents and agencies.

“But,” Vince continued, “I know a lady who is taking clients. You might want to give her a call. Her name is Lucienne Diver.”

I seized on this. Vince gave me the number, and I dialed yet again. A woman with a radio announcer voice answered the phone, and I found myself talking to Lucienne.

This was 20 years ago.

I think I must have been one of her first clients, though at the time she never let on. She handily took over the Baen negotiations (though that turned into a real trick–buy me a cheeseburger some time and I’ll tell you about it).

Lucienne negotiated two contracts with Baen for me, and another contract with Roc. We had a number of conversations on the phone, but no face-to-face contact until about three years later, when we both attended the same convention. I think it was a World Fantasy Con, and we agreed to meet at a party.

“We’ll find each other,” she said on the phone. “I have long blond hair and I’ll probably be wearing a blue dress.”

“I’m the tall guy with the shaved head,” I said. “You’ll probably see me first.”

I was right. Five minutes into the reception, a voice said, “Steven?” and at last I was talking face-to-face with my agent. She took me to the bar for a Coke. (I don’t drink, so I’m a cheap date.)

Lucienne and I have been agent-and-client and friends for over twenty years. Our relationship has lasted longer than my first marriage, in fact. We’re both friends and business associates, and I’ve watched her go from single lady to married woman to proud mom, and from steadfast New Yorker to woo-hoo Floridian. We’ve weathered a number of changes to the publishing industry together, and I can only wonder what’s coming up next.

_______________

How I Met My Client

What Steven didn’t tell you is that he called me the week before my wedding to say that he had an offer on the table for his debut novel and was I interested in considering it for representation. Well, of course I was. The book sounded amazing! But this was in the early days of e-mail, before we all had e-readers and could accept electronic submissions, which meant that he had to send it in hardcopy, which put us into my wedding week. Still, I dug in right away. I couldn’t resist, and it wasn’t exactly a hardship, as I was physically unable to put the novel down. (IN THE COMPANY OF MIND, for inquiring minds who want to know, a dark, gritty novel with both highly personal and massively far-reaching stakes.)

Of course I wanted to represent it. I told him so, we came to an agreement, and I got right on the phone with the publisher. Or, at least, I left him a message. By that time we were into the final crash-prep for the wedding, so I found myself alternating between arguing with the caterer and negotiating on the phone at my parents’ house and, best of all (by some Tim Burton definition of the word “best”) from a spider infested phone booth on my honeymoon.

As Steven says, these were the days before cell phones. My husband (ooh, it was so exciting to say that then!) and I honeymooned in a rustic lakefront cottage on Lake George. The only phone we had access to was in a phone booth at the edge of the parking lot at the lodge. The only problem was it was festooned with spider webs and, I was quite certain, populated by the eight-legged menaces that created them. Clearly, no one was expected to actually make calls on vacation. What, was I crazy?

The answer, of course, is yes. I am. And a work-aholic. And so I, the girl with the spider phobia, reached bravely into the phone booth, risking life and limb to put coins into the slot and grab onto the receiver, holding it at the very end of its reach and contorting myself to stay as far away as I could from the creepy crawlies. Here, I’ve drawn you a visual with all of my spectacular artistic talent.

spider booth001

(You can see why I don’t give up my day job for my art.)

The rest is history. Steven and I have worked together for years and years, through various genres, names and publishing permutations.

We’ve seen the restructuring of publishing distribution, the advent of e-books (as more than a faraway fear that they would ruin book publishing for all time), cell phones and electronic signatures. We’ve seen crazes and trends and bandwagons, oh my! It will be fascinating to see what the next twenty years have in store.

_______________

BONE WAR is currently on sale everywhere!


stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
A reader reviewer for IRON AXE wrote that he liked the book until he hit the "social commentary" about gay people, and then he didn't like it anymore.  He wanted interesting characters in his fantasy, not social commentary.

I found his statement odd.

If there's social commentary in the Books of Blood and Iron, it's about how people treat those who are different--half-bloods, LGBT people, slaves, people of different races.  Or it's about about how society treats men differently from women.  None of that commentary bothered the reader in question at all.  Hell, the fact that I have two interracial relationships--a half-troll with  a human, and a human with an elf--didn't bother the reader in the slightest.  But Talfi falling in love with a man--that's a deal breaker.

Look, dude--it's not my job to tell you what to like and what not to like.  You are free to hate any kind of story you want.  But don't be a god-damned hypocrite about it.  Don't try to climb a pedestel and say the story is bad because of social commentary.  Admit that you don't like Talfi because you're too insular, too uneducated, too shithouse-behind-the-trailer provincial to join modern society and accept that LGBT people have read heterosexual love stories for centuries, and now it's okay for a few books to have in them men who love men.

I've said said before that Talfi is based on Thjalfi, the speedy teenaged mortal from Norse mythology who became Thor's servant.  He only appears in two stories, but I always liked him and wanted to use him somewhere in a book.  I was halfway through IRON AXE before I realized he was gay.  Talfi is also unapologetic and unashamed about  it, even though he lives in a society that puts him down for it.  Talfi also has a happy ending.  (This isn't a spoiler, really--I've said over and over in my blogs that I despise the Tragic Gay Character trope and will use it only after the sun burns out.)  I would have cheerfully committed murder for this kind of character when I was a teenager.

Talfi is not merely "the gay guy," either. He is an archer, a prankster, a runner, an imp, a loyal friend, a happy-go-lucky, accidental immortal who has no idea how powerful he can be.  He needs to learn.  After a thousand years, it's time for Talfi to grow up, and that's what we explore in BONE WAR.

And yeah--he's gay.  You'll like him.

stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
The covers for the Books of Blood and Iron follow a progression, and it's pretty cool.  We start with IRON AXE:



We have an ancient axe, crudely made and battered and chipped. It looks like something from an archaeological dig, which makes sense, since the Axe was made more a thousand years ago, and quickly.  An axe, of course, is one of the first tools humans ever created.  Stone axes were used first to cut wood by hunter-gatherers, then were adopted as weapons.  The volcano-esque surge of power in the background is a great touch.  If you've read the book, you know why . . .

Then we have BLOOD STORM:



The weapon is more sophisticated.  It's better-crafted, but still well-used.  Since it belongs to Pendra, one of the Gardeners (or fates), the well-used part makes sense.  So does the blood on the blade.  The sickle came after the axe, appearing when people settled down into farming communities and needed something to harvest grain--or slice enemies in half.

Finally, we have BONE WAR:



The sword is the most difficult weapon to forge, and a sword of ivory, complete with runes and a blood-red ruby in the pommel, would be all but impossible to make.  Swords were the final bladed weapon to be created by human civilization.  We've arrived at the most powerful and sophisticated weapon in the progression, sleek, powerful, and able to slice through fate itself.

I had minimal input on the covers, incidentally.  Anne Sowards, my editor, asked me for some images or ideas from each book that might make good covers, and I gave her a list.  The Axe showed up on the first cover (I'm afraid I don't know who the artist is), and Anne thought a progression of weapons would look great for the series.  She was absolutely right.
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
The kind of main character you usually find in fantasy is a straight white male.  I was more than halfway through BONE WAR before I realized I didn't have any of those in the trilogy.

Really.  I don't.

Danr, the main character, is half troll.  He isn't fully human.

Aisa, a primary character, is a Middle-Eastern woman.  Or rather, she's from a culture based on the Middle East.

Talfi, another primary character, is a white male, but he's gay.

Ranadar, who starts off as a minor character in the beginning of the series and becomes a major character by the end, is a white male (though an elf), and he's also gay.

Hmmm.

I didn't set out to do this on purpose.  It just happened.  Danr came to me when I was reading a set of children's stories about Norwegian trolls.  Aisa started off as an image--a woman wrapped in rags that hid even her face and hands.  I wanted to know who she was and why she wrapped herself up.  Talfi was originally based on Thjalfi, the mortal boy from Norse mythology who became Thor's servant.  I always wondered what it would be like to be a teenaged boy who was unexpected snatched into a world of gods and monsters--and immortality.

I did deliberately set out to create a set of outcast heroes.  A half-blood human-troll.  An escaped slave.  An immortal boy who loved a man.  An elf who betrayed his (evil) family for love.

Along the way, I accidentally created a more diverse cast than I thought.

BONE WAR is available at bookstores!

stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
Sometimes authors slip the names of real people and even their descriptions into their fiction.  This is called "tuckerizing" after a fan named Bob Tucker, who made it a hobby to persuade as many writers as possible to name characters after him.  Authors do it as favors, for fun, or as fundraisers.  I've done all three, but especially the fundraiser part. BONE WAR has tuckerizations, too.

The school where I teach has been hit by a number of tragedies, often ones that come with a financial cost.  At the time I was writing BLOOD STORM and BONE WAR, Joshuah Bertram, the young grandson of one of the cafeteria workers was diagnosed with cancer.  Josh's mother graduated from the school as well.  The medical costs were devastating.  The teachers and other staff at Nameless High School decided to collect money to help.  I sent out a school-wide email that I was auctioning off the right to name a character in BLOOD STORM.  Halfway through the auction (and bids flooded the system), someone hit on the idea of everyone pooling their money and naming the character after Joshuah.  The pool won by a wide margin, and Joshuah appears in the second chapter of BLOOD STORM.

Against all expectation, Joshuah's cancer went into remission, and everyone celebrated.  But when I was halfway through BONE WAR, it came roaring back.  Again, I set up an auction for characters.  This time we had a tie for first place, so I tuckerized two people. You can find Lady Sharyl and Joe the Sailor both playing small but pivotal roles in BONE WAR.

In my book, I'm able to make fate do whatever I want, but in real life, nobody has that power.  In the end, the cancer proved too powerful, and Joshuah passed away.  He was five years old. Joshuah lives in the pages of BLOOD STORM and the memories of everyone who knew him.

BONE WAR

Jul. 27th, 2016 08:10 am
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
My epic fantasy novel BONE WAR comes out next week!

The author of Blood Storm and Iron Axe returns with the third Book of Blood and Iron—where Danr the half-troll must stop two vengeful queens from razing the world to the ground...

From their sacred Garden, the three fates control all life and maintain balance in the world. But one of the fates has been captured by the evil elf queen, placing the future of every being, including Death herself, in jeopardy. And only one hero can defeat the elf queen: Danr the half-troll.

In order to rescue the missing fate, Danr must first acquire the fabled Bone Sword. Normally Danr would expect his companions to help. However, they are currently in pursuit of a mysterious creature who seems both oddly familiar yet dangerously unknown. But one thing is certain for all of the adventurers: failure is not an option.

Order print at Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01839Q4RC/

Order audio book at Audible:
http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Bone-War-Audiobook/B01H60YE3U

They Came!

Jul. 19th, 2016 07:18 am
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
These came in the mail today!



So awesome!  BONE WAR is the latest in the Books of Blood and Iron series:

From their sacred Garden, the three fates control all life and maintain balance in the world. But one of the fates has been captured by the evil elf queen, placing the future of every being, including Death herself, in jeopardy. And only one hero can defeat the elf queen: Danr the half-troll.

In order to rescue the missing fate, Danr must first acquire the fabled Bone Sword. Normally Danr would expect his companions to help. However, they are currently in pursuit of a mysterious creature who seems both oddly familiar yet dangerously unknown. But one thing is certain for all of the adventurers: failure is not an option.


It's available for pre-order now, and goes on sale August 1!  The audio version, read by PJ Ochlan, is also up for pre-order.

If you haven't read Iron Axe or Blood Storm (and why haven't you?), don't worry--the books are written to stand alone.
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
It's been a busy writing week, in a non-writing kind of way.  I got early sketches of a cover for un/FAIR, my upcoming middle-grade fantasy novel.  (Watch for it!)  In a rare and delightful move, the editor was asking for my feedback.  Neat!

Then I got copyedits for BONE WAR, the final novel in the Books of Blood and Iron trilogy.  I'm hip-deep in those now.

Meanwhile, Darwin is sick with a head cold, so he's staying at home and answering work email . . .
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
Back when I wrote the Silent Empire, I wanted each book to stand completely alone so that no matter what order readers might find them, they could read them all.  I also wanted to avoid the problem of readers saying, "Oh--this is book two, and there's no sign of book one anywhere. Never mind!"  This is why each book says, "A Novel of the Silent Empire" on it instead of "Silent Empire Book I."

When it came to the Clockwork Empire , I wanted to do something similar.  The trouble is, I had an overarcing story that made it difficult.  Additionally, readers always forget some details--they read Book I many months ago, and they forget, say, that Alice met Gavin when he was only 17, or that Gavin's best friend died in an air pirate attack.  I needed to remind returning readers of key details and give new readers a chance to slip into the story, and I didn't want to do it by trying to sneak in all kinds of exposition into the book itself.

And then I hit upon "The Story So Far."

TV shows do it, after all.  How many shows can you count that start with, "Previously on . . ." to remind you what happened a few episodes ago?  And why couldn't my novel do the same?

So I started THE IMPOSSIBLE CUBE with a sort-of prologue called "The Story So Far."  It was supposedly written by the book's editor, and he enthusiastically welcomes back old readers and heartily greets new ones.  Then he tells everyone quite pointedly that if you already remember everything from THE DOOMSDAY VAULT, you can skip right ahead to Chapter One, but if you need a quick orientation, feel free to read this prologue.  I deliberately wrote the material as fast and funny--no reason a big hunk of blatant exposition can't be interesting!  Then I held my breath.

Reviewers loved it.  A great many reviews and blogs mentioned how much they liked a section that reminded them of details from the previous book, and one blogger said the information let him read THE IMPOSSIBLE CUBE without getting THE DOOMSDAY VAULT first.  So I started THE DRAGON MEN and THE HAVOC MACHINE the same way, to equal success.

Now I've become a fan of it.  BLOOD STORM has just come out, and it includes a "Story So Far" section of its own.  If you missed IRON AXE, don't be shy!  Jump right in--we'll make sure you understand everything you need to know.  Though of course you can buy both.  They're perfect for all your gift-giving needs.
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
My book IRON AXE got a lot of favorable reviews.  Awesome!  It also got a few less-favorable reviews.  Ah well.  Not everyone can like everything.  One displeased reader, however, wrote:

"I really enjoyed this story up until the introduction of the gay character I don't [read] books especially fantasy for some great societal commentary"

Hm.  I don't respond to reviews on forums where they appear.  But this is =my= forum.  And I'm gonna say:

What kind of shit sandwich did you eat for lunch, dude?  Talfi, the gay character you're talking about, doesn't reveal he's gay until chapter eleven, exactly halfway through the book.  Until then, you had no idea.  Meanwhile, we have a protagonist who deals with the fact that his half-blood status makes him an outcast and a slave who is made an outcast because she dared to stand up to her (male) owner, both of which are thinly-veiled social commentary that carry us through a good two hundred pages.  But a character who off-handedly mentions that he's gay--THAT becomes social commentary which makes the book unreadable to you?

Shit sandwich reader, you need to examine your life priorities.  Reading about the injustice of prejudice, sexism, and slavery doesn't bother you in the slightest, but a form of love bothers you.  Dude, grow up.  Look around you.  Walk a few miles in the real world.  Or, if you can't, look at a fantasy novel as a fantasy and enjoy the craft that went into the story.

BLOOD STORM, the second book in the series, went on sale yesterday, and Talfi is in it.  His relationship with his partner Ranadar is one of the things that forces him to accompany Danr on the dangerous quest to find the power of the shape.  And we find out more about Talfi's background along the way.  How, exactly, did Talfi survive the Sundering?  What happened on the day he died the first time?  Who was his family and what happened to them?

And Talfi talks directly to Grandfather Wyrm, one of the most fascinating characters I've ever created.  I can't wait to see what readers think of him.

BLOOD STORM is on sale now, including in audio format!
stevenpiziks: (Bad Ass)
BLOOD STORM is one of Amazon's Best Books of the Month for Science Fiction and Fantasy!

http://www.amazon.com/b?ie=UTF8&node=4919319011
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
I recently read a biography of Charles LIndbergh.  After he flew across the Atlantic and landed safely in Paris, he became a superstar.  Hugely and even frighteningly.  He couldn't walk down the street without summoning crowds of people.  His finances were always in disarray because people wouldn't cash the checks he wrote them--they saved them as souvenirs.  Fans snatched clothing off his body, tore his shirts, and ripped the pockets off his pants.  He spent months and months touring the country in The Spirit of St. Louis, and whenever he landed, he had to have guards keep crowds away from the plane to stop Lindbergh-hungry crowds from tearing the vehicle to pieces and carrying chunks of it away.  And, of course, Richard Hauptmann kidnapped Lindbergh's baby son, crushed his skull, and buried the body.  (It was this case that lead Congress to create the law making kidnapping a federal crime.)

Lindbergh, a crushingly introverted man, found all this attention painful at best, terrifying and soul-crushing at worst.  And I can't imagine the horror of losing his son to a lunatic kidnapper.

Lindbergh was (is) considered one of the great American heroes, and it occurred to me that he wasn't unlike Danr.  Like Lindbergh, Danr didn't set out to be a hero.  He just did want needed doing.  And it seemed to me that word of a half-troll saving the world would get around, and when there are vanishingly few half-trolls in the world, it would be really, really hard to hide who your identity.

So Danr was forced to deal with being a shy young man thrust into the hero's limelight.  Royalty want him to dine wtih him.  People give him gifts.  Crowds recognize him on the street and want to snatch his trademark straw hat.  And everyone wants him to tell his story over and over again.

But fame has its downside.  Not everyone likes half-bloods.  Quite a lot of people find them repulsive and think they should be banished--or worse.  (You might find some autobiographical material here.)  Danr is barely able to handle the downside of fame himself, but what will happen to Aisa if they get married?  Will people hate her as much as they hate him?  On the other side, will his fame put her in danger?

This isn't anything celebrities on our world haven't dealt with, but BLOOD STORM is epic fantasy, and we have magic to pull on the tapestry of our story.  Some really nasty people blackmail Danr into visiting a truly dangerous part of Erda to find the power of the shape, the magic humans lost long ago.  Danr doesn't want to go--until he realizes he might learn how to change into a human and avoid all the problems fame and his half-blood status have brought him.

Sure . . .

BLOOD STORM goes on sale today!
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
When I wrote IRON AXE, the protagonist was Danr, sometimes known as Trollboy.  The book centered around him and his need to come to grips with his human and troll heritages--and with the long-ago loss of his mother.

When it came time to write BLOOD STORM, I knew things would have to change a little.  I've read a number of series books in which the author conjures up a brand new emotional or mental problem for the series hero to deal with, and it always feels forced.  I didn't want to do that with STORM, and in any case, I already knew that STORM would focus more on Aisa.

Danr is still the protagonist, make no mistake.  It's HIS story and HIS series.  But Aisa is enormously important, both to him and the world of Erda, and this time around I wanted to bring her a little more into the forefront.  A large part of Aisa's background was left in mystery in IRON AXE, and in BLOOD STORM, I explored those mysteries.  Why was her mother always so ill?  Why was Aisa's father so uncaring toward her?  What does it mean in IRON AXE when Grick tells Aisa she's "earned her face"?  How does AIsa, a newly-powerful woman who clawed her way out of slavery, deal with a government that buys and sells people?

Also, Aisa lived through a brutal battle at the end of IRON AXE.  This doesn't leave you unscarred.  I did quite a lot of research into PTSD and used it in a fantasy world.

So BLOOD STORM shifts a bit from dealing with Danr's personal problems to dealing with Aisa's.

For all the Danr fans out there, Danr still has issues to work out.  But that's another blog post.
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
Tomorrow is BLOOD STORM's release day! To celebrate, we have a preview of Chapter One:

  The orc woman flew backward and landed in the cave pool with a great splash. Danr didn’t even have time to shout before a great tentacle slammed into him and swept him aside like a toy. He crashed hard into the tunnel wall. Air burst from his lungs and stars danced before his eyes. Vik! It was always monsters, always fighting.

  “To the left!” Talfi shouted. “Aisa! It’s going to the left!”

  The great squid at the back of the cave pulled in its tentacles and struck again, this time to the left.
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