IRON IMAGE cover art

Here is the cover image for IRON IMAGE, the short story I’ll give away for free to newsletter subscribers (via Smashwords coupon code) once CLOAK GAMES: HAMMER BREAK comes out next month if all goes well.

Undoubtedly someone will point out that Nadia never dresses that way in the books. But if Nadia actually saw the cover, she wouldn’t care about that.

No, what would annoy her is that the woman on the cover is taller than she is.

And that would really annoy her. 🙂

-JM

CLOAK GAMES: HAMMER BREAK excerpt

Let’s have a short, spoiler-free snippet from CLOAK GAMES: HAMMER BREAK:

“How much experience do you have robbing banks?” he said.

“Um,” I said. “What’s the statute of limitations for bank robbery?”

He thought for a moment. “I don’t think there is one.”

“Then none. I have no experience robbing banks whatsoever.”

-JM

fun with audiobooks

I had to take a bit of a road trip on Monday, which meant I listened to some of the FROSTBORN audiobooks while I did that.

However! Most of the road trip took place in a crowded urban area with a badly designed road system, so I needed to rely on my GPS to find my way around the place. One of the miracles of modern technology is that I can run both my audiobook app and my GPS app on my phone, which I can then plug into my car so it plays over the speakers.

That said, using both the audiobook app and the GPS app at the same time can cause unintentional hilarity, because the GPS app takes precedence over the audiobook app and will cut in when it comes time to give directions.

Audiobook: “This is what we’re going to do,” said Ridmark. “We…”

GPS: In 500 feet, turn left onto 5th Avenue West.

Me (irritated): Ridmark is talking! Stop interrupting!

(a brief pause)

Me: Huh. I really did need to turn left onto 5th Avenue West.

GPS: Make a U-Turn.

So I can attest that you can listen to audiobooks and the GPS at the same time, but the GPS really does need to take priority. 🙂

-JM

The Hymn of the Pearl, by Brian Niemeier

The Hymn of the Pearl by Brian Niemeier is a fantasy novella with an interesting premise. The concept of palmistry (or “chieromancy” to be fancy) is an ancient one, the idea of reading someone’s fate from their palm. Hymn of the Pearl takes the concept to the next level, with chieromancers actually able to alter or change someone’s destiny by altering the invisible lines of fate extending from their hand.

Since fate is real in this setting, that means that the guilt of an immoral act inevitably invites misfortune. A chieromancer can take that guilt, and its inevitable misfortune, and transfer the guilt to someone else, preferably a livestock animal. It’s a rather more direct and practical application of the ancient idea of offering an animal sacrifice to appease the gods.

Previously, this practice belonged solely to a religious order called the Advocates. However, the Advocates were overthrown by another order called the Arbiters, who believe that fate was simply another science and pursued it without a religious lens. The Arbiters took a more commercial approach, changing fates and reassigning destinies for the highest bidder.

Into this setting comes Soter, the last of the Advocates. The fall of the Advocates cursed Soter so severely that he is a walking vortex of misfortune – if he travels on a ship, it will sink or undergo pirate attack, if he’s thrown in prison, the prison will burn down. The curse also makes Soter effectively immortal so he remains alive to enjoy his torments fully.

However, some of Soter’s former friends have realized the nature of his curse, and want to use him as a weapon to win a war, despite Soter’s warnings that it’s going to backfire horribly. Worse, something ancient and evil has noticed Soter’s curse, and has its own ideas about what to do with him…

It’s a really interesting theological and mythological idea, and I enjoyed reading The Hymn of the Pearl. The novella does use a lot of invented terms, but fortunately there is an excellent glossary in the back. (One of the nice things about ebooks – no need to watch printing costs.) The only thing I would change is the cover art, since it doesn’t say “high fantasy novella” but instead says “Penguin Classics Edition of some Roman poet or another”. That said, I cannot judge a writer for using public-domain art for cover art, since I have done it myself many, many times.

-JM

a 10k day!

I wrote 10,800 words today! 10k word days are rare, so I always appreciate them when they come along.

I finished the rough draft of the 3rd book of my upcoming 4-book science fiction series.

Next up, I’ll start edits on CLOAK GAMES: HAMMER BREAK. Check back tomorrow to see the cover image for the book!

-JM

CLOAK GAMES progress update

Finished writing IRON IMAGE today, the short story I’ll give away for free to newsletter subscribers when CLOAK GAME: HAMMER BREAK comes out in August.

I think I will start editing CLOAK GAMES: HAMMER BREAK on Wednesday or Thursday.

Before that, though, I only have 10k to 12k words left to do on the third book of the science fiction series I’ve been writing on the side for the last year. So I think I’ll wrap that up first, which should only take two or three writing days. One more book to write after that and then I’ll release the science fiction series! (Probably in October.)

I have to admit I’ve really been wrestling with whether or not I want to use Kindle Unlimited for my science fiction series. Based on the research I’ve done, it seems that the majority of all self-published science fiction is on Kindle Unlimited.

So does that mean there is a huge sales opportunity for science fiction on the other ebook stores, or does that mean all the science fiction readers use Kindle Unlimited?

It’s kind of a chicken and the egg problem.  And there’s a long list of pros and cons, so I’ll need to give it some more thought.

First, though, I actually have to write the books! 🙂

-JM

CLOAK GAMES: HAMMER BREAK rough draft finished!

I am pleased to report that the rough draft of CLOAK GAMES: HAMMER BREAK is done at 77,000 words.

It seems like it went quick, but I was working on the book on the side while writing GHOST IN THE RING and SEVENFOLD SWORD: CHAMPION, so most of it was already done when I turned my full attention to it.

Next up is IRON IMAGE, a short story that I will give away for free to newsletter subscribers via Smashwords coupon code once CLOAK GAMES: HAMMER BREAK comes out.

IRON IMAGE will be about what Riordan was up to between the events of CLOAK GAMES: TOMB HOWL and HAMMER BREAK.

-JM