Category Archives: Ghost in the Pact

Was GHOST IN THE RING the first GHOSTS book?

A reader emailed me this week:

“Really liked Ghost in the Ring! But the backstory for Caina seemed very detailed. Are there other books in the series?”

Why yes! Yes there are!

The very first book in the Caina series is CHILD OF THE GHOSTS. It’s free on all ebook stores, and it’s also a good long read – 100,000 words or about 5000 Kindle locations. It’s a complete story on its own, not a cliffhanger, and a good introduction to Caina and the world of the Empire of Nighmar.

After that, there are many more books. A complete list of THE GHOSTS and GHOST EXILE novels are below, in the proper reading order. The short stories are included in the list, but note that those are more like “bonus adventures” – you don’t need to read them to keep up with the main plot:

Child of the Ghosts
Ghost Aria (short story)
Blade of the Ghosts
Ghost in the Flames
Ghost Dagger (novella)
Ghost Light (short story)
Ghost in the Blood
The Fall of Kyrace (short story)
Ghost in the Storm
Ghost in the Stone
Ghost in the Forge
Ghost Claws (short story)
Ghost Omens (short story)
Ghost in the Ashes
Ghost in the Mask
Ghost Thorns (novella)
Ghost Undying (short story)
Ghost in the Surge
Ghost in the Cowl
Ghost Sword (short story)
Ghost in the Maze
Ghost Price (novella)
Ghost Relics (novella)
Ghost Vessel (short story)
Ghost in the Hunt
Ghost Keeper (novella)
Ghost Nails (novella)
Blood Artists (short story)
Bound To The Eye (short story)
Ghost in the Razor
Ghost Lock (short story)
Ghost in the Inferno
Ghost Mimic (novella)
Ghost Arts (short story)
Ghost in the Seal
Ghost Vigil (short story)
Ghost in the Throne
Ghost in the Pact
Ghost in the Winds
Ghost in the Ring

-JM

 

FROSTBORN: THE DRAGON KNIGHT progress update

Now on Chapter 9 of 26 of FROSTBORN: THE DRAGON KNIGHT!

I limited all previous FROSTBORN books to 24 chapters, because one of the dangers when writing a really long epic fantasy is the temptation to meander into endless sideplots. I do think storytelling is like passing semis on the freeway – best to to it as quickly as possible without any dawdling! So keeping the books at 24 chapters helped keep the focus on the essential story and prevent digressions.

That said, I think the most important part of the story is the ending. It’s like the punchline of a joke in that it validates everything that came before, so it’s really important to get the ending right. So the last two books in the FROSTBORN series will be as long as they need to be, however long that happens to be.

I did that for the GHOST EXILE series, and it worked out pretty well. I kept the first 6 books between 22 and 24 chapters each. GHOST IN THE THRONE (#7) jumped up to 26 chapters,  GHOST IN THE PACT (#8) did 25 chapters, and the ninth and final book GHOST IN THE WINDS weighed in at 33 chapters. It was also the longest book I had written in three years, but that was okay, because it was the end of the series, and it is extremely important to get the ending right!

-JM

GHOST EXILE series now in print

I am pleased to report that the entire GHOST EXILE series is now available in paperback format. Links and ISBN information are here at my paperback page. 

It is amusing to see how the books in the bottom row of the picture get progressively thicker the closer it gets to the end of the series. 🙂

-JM

Kalgri and the Voice

I don’t usually watch a lot of TV, but because of all the traveling I’ve had to do this summer, I’ve been watching more than usual.

As readers of GHOST EXILE know, one of the main villains of the series is a creature called the Voice, a malevolent spirit housed in the brain of an equally malevolent assassin named Kalgri. So I was watching TV, and I was highly amused to learn that there is in fact a TV show called “The Voice”.  This “The Voice” has nothing to do with assassins, but is in fact a musical competition show, where singers compete for the approval of judges seated upon red thrones.

It is nothing like Kalgri and the Voice from GHOST EXILE.

Though it is amusing to imagine what would happen if Kalgri appeared on the show. Grim, but nonetheless amusing. 🙂

-JM

GHOST IN THE WINDS spoiler discussion thread

A few people have asked for a spoiler discussion thread for GHOST IN THE WINDS, so here it is! Share your thoughts about GHOST IN THE WINDS below.

I’ll also mention some of my favorite scenes from the book.

MASSIVE SPOILERS FOLLOW!

###

In no particular order, my favorite scenes.

1.) I liked Caina, Annarah, and Morgant’s scenes together, both in WINDS and PACTS. Annarah usually takes the side of Caina’s conscience, and Morgant the side of her ruthelessnes.

2.) Whenever Kylon and Mazyan teamed up. I always listened to some Two Steps From Hell for that part. I also liked how Kylon didn’t completely realize how much everyone in the rebel army respected him for beating Master Alchemist Rhataban in single combat. Rhataban had a towering (and mostly deserved) reputation, and Kylon beat him with half the rebel army looking on.

3.) Speaking of Mazyan, Sulaman’s masquerading as a poet was inspired by the old story of Harun al-Raschid wandering the streets in disguise to see to the welfare of his subjects. Harun did it out of choice. Sulaman out of necessity. When he told Caina in GHOST IN THE COWL that if it was within his power he would reward her, he was telling the truth.

4.) Several people emailed how creepy they found Callatas’s lust for Caina after the Elixir Rejuvenata, which pleased me, because I wrote that deliberately. I wanted to make Callatas even more unsettling than he already was, and that was a good way to do it.

5.) Speaking of Callatas, he was a fun villain to write over the series, because he was such a dynamic Big Bad, and he was so dynamic because he made several serious mistakes. Callatas was a very human villain, because he made a lot of errors and he shot himself in the foot from time to time. His biggest mistake was not realizing that Kharnaces had set a trap for him, but his second mistake was both mishandling and underestimating Cassander Nilas, which almost (literally) blew up in his face. I liked writing the scenes in GHOST IN THE PACT and GHOST IN THE WINDS where Callatas had to admit to himself (if no one else) the extent of the problems his arrogance had created for him.

Callatas screwed up, but he never, ever gave up, no matter how serious the setback.

Though when he screwed up, Kalgri was right there to point it out. Repeatedly. And at great length.

6.) Speaking of Cassander, he wasn’t in GHOST IN THE WINDS, but he was one of my favorite villains in the series. He basically shoved aside Callatas as Big Bad in GHOST IN THE SEAL and GHOST IN THE THRONE, and he almost won. His largest mistake was trusting Kalgri. He didn’t trust her very much, but even that little bit of trust was enough to bite him.

7.) Speaking of Kalgri, she was also a fun villain to write, because she was so horribly rational. Her enemies (and allies) liked to call her a madwoman, but both Cassander and Caina grasped the essential truth about her. The Red Huntress was sane to a frightening degree, and most of the time made her decisions based upon clear, remorseless logic. Kalgri didn’t care about anything except 1.) her own survival, and 2.) killing as many people as possible. Everything she did proceeded logically from those two objectives, and when she did make mistakes (like losing her temper and fighting Caina hand-to-hand at Silent Ash Temple instead of withdrawing) she learned from them and did not make the mistake again. Or when she almost murdered Damla’s sons for the amusement of it, only to refrain when she realized that killing them might put her at unacceptable risk.

What really made Kalgri dangerous was not the Voice, but her iron self-discipline and her unwavering patience.

Kalgri was almost the most clever person in the books, but unfortunately for her, Samnirdamnus was even cleverer.

8.) Kalgri’s final scene was influenced by Ungoliant from THE SILMARILLION. After I wrote GHOST IN THE RAZOR, a  perceptive reader pointed out that Grand Master Callatas and the Red Huntress had a relationship a lot like Morgoth and Ungoliant from Tolkien’s masterwork. So Kalgri’s final scene was inspired by the fate of Ungoliant from THE SILMARILLION, where in the final madness of her insatiable hunger, Ungoliant devours herself.

9.) Samnirdamnus’s long game to defeat Callatas and Kotuluk Iblis and free the Court of the Azure Sovereign. He had been playing the game for a very, very long time, and he had been waiting just as long for someone like Caina to come along, a mortal to whom he could entrust his power at the final critical moment.

And it all came together. For the stars will go out before a Knight of Wind and Air relents in his duty. Caina has been a spy for her entire adult life, but the length of time Samnirdamnus has been a spy can only be measured using chronological terms commonly employed in astronomy.

10.) I liked the final scene with Caina and the Padishah, when the Padishah orders Caina to execute him and save Istarinmul. That was probably the single most noble thing Nahas Tarshahzon did in his life, and he got his revenge on Callatas at the same time. To paraphrase the first Sherlock Holmes story, retribution, though slow in coming, had overtaken Callatas at last.

It was fun to finally write that scene, because the Padishah was first mentioned in GHOST IN THE STORM, and he’s been missing since GHOST IN THE SURGE or so. So it was neat to finally find out what happened to him.

11.) The return of Iramis. That was seriously a neat scene to write. Poor Annarah! She knew the truth the entire time, but she could never tell anyone, because if Callatas ever realized his mistake, he could rectify his mistake with ease and destroy Iramis in truth. As Morgant said, the best liar in GHOST EXILE was the most honest woman of them all.

12.) The end when Sulaman dismisses the charges against Caina and calls for witnesses to speak for her.

13) Finally, I really did like the final scene where Caina comes back and Kylon is waiting for her in the House of Agabyzus.

I admit I hadn’t decided if I was going to keep Caina and Kylon together right up until I actually wrote the end of the book. Originally I was going to have Kylon go back to New Kyre, since he would have thought it his duty. Yet when I wrote GHOST IN THE PACT, I realized that Kylon was still furious at the Surge over Thalastre, and he couldn’t let that go. Additionally, he had seen too much in Istarinmul, and while he had once accepted slavery as part of the natural order of mankind (as indeed almost all pagan societies did on Earth), he couldn’t tolerate it any more.

Additionally, killing Kylon or breaking him up with Caina would have been too similar to the ending of GHOST IN THE SURGE.

And that line in GHOST IN THE PACT when Caina promises to wait for him at the House of Agabyzus! According to the Kindle, that was the most highlighted line in GHOST IN THE PACT. That just begged for payoff. The Iron Laws of Storytelling demanded that Kylon ask Caina to marry him in the House of Agabyzus.

14.) One last thing. A few people have asked what the new GHOST NIGHT series will be about, and this is all I’ll say until I start writing it in mid-2017:

Laeria Scorneus Amalas was not an only child. Not even remotely, and her family would make a sorcery-using Mafia clan look like the Brady Bunch.

-JM

GHOST IN THE PACT now available!

BNGhostInThePact

Available at Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon CanadaAmazon GermanyAmazon AustraliaBarnes & Noble, KoboGoogle PlayiTunes, and Smashwords.

Click here to read the first chapter. 

Caina Amalas has found the lost relics of Iramis, but with the relics comes deadly peril.

For Grand Master Callatas is ready to work his terrible Apotheosis, and all he needs to unleash the dark power of the nagataaru is the Staff and the Seal of Iramis…once he takes them from Caina’s dead hands.

Yet if Caina and Callatas do not work together, they are doomed.

For the last of the fearsome Great Necromancers, Kharnaces the Heretic, laid his sinister trap long ago, and its jaws now close around his former pupil Callatas. Unless the mighty sorcery of Kharnaces is defeated, he will unmake the world in his dark designs.

Starting with Caina and Callatas…