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COVER REVEAL: Iron and Blood, Part 2 of the Saga of the Redeemed

I’ve just gotten the cover art for IRON AND BLOOD, part 2 of the Saga of the Redeemed, to be released on June 2nd.

Check it out:

Sweet, no?

Sweet, no?

Now, no doubt some keen-eyed readers have noted that it says “part I” up there. Yes, yes – very good, Poirot, have a cookie. I assure you that they have fixed that.

Besides, technically this is just the conclusion to THE IRON RING, which kinda, you know, ended in the middle of things (you noticed that, right? Because I’ve been hearing a lot about that, let me tell you.). Anyway, I’ll let the back cover of Book 2 here do the explaining:

Part II of the Saga of the Redeemed picks up right where The Iron Ring left off …

After Tyvian Reldamar gets double-crossed by his business partner, he is affixed with an iron ring that prevents the wearer from any evildoing. Not one to be deterred by this set-back, he quickly puts into motion a plan for revenge—one that will use every dirty trick in the book.

But things are never simple for mastermind Tyvian, especially not after he uncovers a sinister plot: evil wizard Banric Sahand is planning to decimate the city of Freegate. Now Tyvian must learn to work with—and rely on—his motley crew of accomplices including an adolescent pickpocket, an obese secret-monger, a fearsome gnoll, and a Mage Defender…who is also trying to get him arrested. Time is running out for Tyvian’s plan for revenge—while the fate of the city hangs in the balance.

Release day is June 2nd. Preorders are already available. Get excited, people!

Interview by the Dorchester Reporter

Hey, folks!

I’m in my local newspaper.

Look! A bunch of real dead and reprocessed trees bears print speaking my name!

Look! A bunch of real dead and reprocessed trees bears print speaking my name!

This is especially cool because it is a newspaper actually printed on paper and stuff. This makes it likely my mother will read it because, to her, it will be a real thing. Everything online is imaginary, you see.

(just kidding, Mom.)

In all seriousness, the interview was great and this is a wonderful piece. Go and check it out!

For the Love of the Game

I was interviewed recently by my local newspaper regarding The Iron Ring (psst! Buy it! Review!) and also about my win in the Writers of the Future Contest (pre-order!). It was a great interview and the reporter did a really thorough job (I’ll post here when the article is in print, never fear). I enjoyed it immensely. One of his first questions, though was a question I get a lot and a question, that, I imagine, a lot of writers get asked. The question was this:

Does it hurt when you get a rejection?

Everybody wants to know this. They hear famous author X had their brilliant manuscript rejected Y times and they wonder “how did they keep pushing? How did they know to keep going?” The odds of being successful as a writer seem so bleak, so hopelessly improbable, that each rejection seems like it ought to be another nail in the coffin of your authorial aspirations. Yet, somehow, we press on. So, again: doesn’t it hurt?

This question, I feel, has an answer in two parts. Firstly, yes, it does hurt. It hurts less and less the more you are rejected, mind you – you build something of a resistance to that unique kind of pain – but it always knocks you off your kilter a little. The longer you’ve had to wait for that rejection and the more of yourself you’ve poured into the thing being rejected, the worse the pain. It ranges from something like a slap to the face to a full-on punch to the guts so hard it makes your breath whistle through your teeth.

The second part of this answer goes like this: It doesn’t matter if it hurts. Anybody seriously considering writing knows that it is not a path to fame and fortune. Pick any ten authors out of modern book store and at least eight of them still have day jobs. They take up all their free time writing not because of the glory of it all, but because they simply must write. They aren’t going to stop just because somebody said they stunk. They’re going to get back on that horse to get knocked off again. And again.

Keep running!

                           Keep running!

And again.

Even if you do get to the “yes” and score yourself a book deal or get an award or something (so, like me), you haven’t succeeded yet. You aren’t done. The real work is just beginning. I’ve still got a day job and I’m working on two separate novels at the same time. In the next two weeks, I need to read 3 novels, grade about 140 pages of student work, teach full time, and turn around the revisions and final copy edits of Book 2. I’ve also got a wife, two small children, and a dog who deserve a little attention. At some point I should sleep and perhaps eat.

And I haven’t, by any stretch of the imagination, made it.

Some people seem to think that writing has some kind of finish line, that it’s a race you can win and then stop. That isn’t how this works, folks. You aren’t writing to win a race. You are writing because you love running. You can’t expect to stop.

This reminds me of a little story I read in Nick Evangelista’s The Art and Science of Fencing. It goes something like this:

A student of fencing traveled a great distance to meet with a great master to see if he had what it took to be great. The fencer showed the master everything he knew, pushing himself as hard as he could. When he had finished, he waited to see what the master would say.

“You do not have the fire.” The master said.

This was like a dagger to the student’s heart, but he could not contest the word of a master. The student gave up the blade and moved on with his life, eventually prospering in business.

Years later, the student encountered the master again. He took the opportunity to ask him how he knew he lacked “the fire.”

The master shrugged. “I didn’t, but if you did have the fire, it would not have mattered if I said you did not. You would have continued learning, no matter what I said. That is the fire.”

I think I have the fire. To be a writer, I think you need it. Rejections be damned.

Blog Tour is Winding Down…

We press on!

We press on!

So, the blog tour is more-or-less over, now. I’ve got a couple more things to trickle in over the next few weeks, but I should be returning to my regular posting habits next week. That said, here are some entries:

An Interview with me by C Stuart Hardwick (fellow WoTF winner and author)

My Book, The Movie (wherein I was asked to cast The Iron Ring, and did so)

Writers Read (wherein I discuss precisely what I’m reading right now)

And a pretty good review (3.5/5 “sheep”, points off for it being half a book) from I Smell Sheep

Overall, the reception to the book has been good. It’s been getting very good reviews on both Amazon and Goodreads (and many of them from people I don’t even know!), but it is still a small book in a great ocean of books. It’s being compared (in tone) to the work of Scott Lynch and Patrick Rothfuss and Brandon Sanderson, and that is pretty gigantic praise. On the other hand, I’ve also been taking a bit of flak for the book ending, essentially, in the middle (don’t worry – the sequel wraps up that plot arc, and it’s coming out in June!). For a debut novel, though, it is being received very well!

I do, however, need more attention for THE IRON RING. If you’re read it, please review it (somewhere). If you want to run a feature on it on your blog, drop me a line! If you want to interview me, I’m happy to do so! If you are interested in my writing a guest post for your blog, I’m game!

I should also point out, as a means to drum up buzz about my book, the price on Amazon is temporarily reduced to $0.99 – a steal! So, if $2.99 was too rich for your blood, now’s you’re chance, America! Go buy it! Read! Enjoy! Review!

Thank you all for your support! I press on (and Tyvian presses on, too, though with markedly less enthusiasm).

Everything You Never Wanted To Know and Did Not Ask

Hello there, sir! I know you are on your way to Twitter just now, but may I interest you in a fantasy novel? Very cheap, sir!

Hello there, sir! I know you are on your way to Twitter just now, but may I interest you in a fantasy novel? Very cheap, sir!

So, there’s more stuff up on the intertubes about me! Go and check them out (because, seriously, they’re being nice to me and I should send traffic their way)!

Guest Blog posts!

Literarily Speaking (Wherein I discuss the importance of creating history for your fantasy worlds)

The Page 69 Test (Wherein I discuss how the approximately 69th page of THE IRON RING fits into the story as a whole)


Literal Exposure (Find out about that time I fought a rat for a towel)

Beauty in Ruins (Wherein I go through where, how, and why I wrote the book!)

Book Features! (which are all the same, mind you)

I’m Shelf-ish

Bent Over Book-words


Say it with me now, folks: PUB-LI-CI-TY. We will be returning to our regularly scheduled jibber-jabber next week, I promise. Well, at least part of the time. Hey, let’s face it – all you people should be reading my book right now, anyway! How could you have time to read some silly blog posts?

But seriously, thank you one and all, for reading and supporting me. You guys all rock.

That Way Lies Madness…

So, my first novel is out (did you hear? No? Well go out and buy it!). This, being a new experience for me, has also brought with it a bunch of unusual lessons I wasn’t really expecting. In the interest of forewarning others, I will now take you on a tour of my neuroses.

Lesson #1: Having a Book For Sale Is More Stressful Than Selling a Book



Like, 2000% more stressful. Rejection from publishers, while moderately painful, is way less worrisome than if the entire world decides it hates your book. With publishers, there’s always others, right? If they don’t like it, you can always self-publish! Who cares what those New York fat-cats think!

The thing I forgot (and that maybe a lot of writers seem to forget) is that the audience to which the book deal will grant you access is not guaranteed to like your book. So, there I was, on release day, sitting there with a case of the shakes because I was pretty sure the only people who would read and like my book were my friends and family, and at least some percentage of those people would lie about it because they love me and don’t want to hurt my feelings.


Lesson #2: There Is No Upper Limit To How Much You Can Stalk Yourself

Like, hours and hours, easily. I have been swinging by Amazon and Goodreads and Barnes and Noble so damned often that it was reaching a kind of mania. It was: “Do I have any reviews? No?” (five minutes pass) “Do I have any reviews? No?” (five minutes pass). Never have I wished I didn’t have a smart phone more.

As an addendum to this rule, I’m not really sure how you can’t look at your reviews. Like, I have honestly no idea. Sure, I can deal with them (I’ve only received one bad review so far, and that person somehow read the book before it was for sale but wasn’t given it for review, so…shady, is what I mean. Of course they’re entitled to their opinion, but…you know what? I’ll shut up now.). But not looking at them at all is pretty much beyond my willpower’s capacity. Like Pandora, I’ve gotta open the box.

Lesson #3: Analyzing Amazon Ranking is Bad For Your Health

As of this precise moment, THE IRON RING is ranked 76,698th on Amazon. On the one hand, considering that there are probably millions of books on Amazon, this isn’t all that bad. On the other hand, I am forced to reconcile the fact that 76,997 books are selling better than mine. In other words, more people than could fit inside the Superdome have books out that are better appreciated than my own. For somebody who has a pretty intense competitive streak, that is frankly driving me bonkers.

Look, I know it’s irrational – those numbers are more representational than they are actual and they fluctuated by the tens of thousands every hour, so what do they really mean, anyway? Besides, the book just came out 13 days ago, so I should cut myself some slack. Of course, much like reviews, I can’t not look, so there I am again, wondering what magical publicity button I can push to make it down at least into the four-digit realm. Then, of course, this sets off a spate of Impostor Syndrome and all kinds of other stupid senses of inadequacy that are really bad for me. I have to cut it out.

The Takeaway

The fact is that I don’t know how well the book is selling, nor will I know until I receive my first royalty check. I’m doing everything I can to help sales (and still keep up with my other job), so I shouldn’t be down on myself. I’ve accomplished something pretty amazing here – I have to admit that. Of course, being me, I want to do better than just that. As with all things I do, I’m not in it just to play, I’m in it to win. Of course, once you “win” in anything, there is just another, bigger contest beyond the rise. That’s the nature of writing – first you try to write a book, then you try to write a good book, then you try to get a book deal, then you try to actually make money, then you try to make enough money to just write for a living. It never stops.

It is important to remember that, if you’re a writer, you can’t get into this race and expect to just win and then stop. You should be in this race because you like running.

Interviews with me! Also: THE IRON RING for iPad/Android!

Gaze upon the Ring! You are getting sleepy...sooo...sleepy... When I snap my fingers, you will buy this book.

Gaze upon the Ring! You are getting sleepy…sooo…sleepy…
When I snap my fingers, you will buy this book. *SNAP*

The Blog Tour chug-eth along!

Check out either Review From Here or The Dark Phantom for an interview with me about my writing process, what I’ve learned, and what I’m working on now.

My book was also featured on Rainy Day Reviews, though it’s just the book description and the old “About” page from my blog here (and, by the by, I’ve updated said About page to be a bit less amateurish. You’re welcome.).

Finally, if you want to read THE IRON RING (and who wouldn’t? I mean, honestly, it’s a wonderful time!), but hate Kindle or Nook formats, you can now download it directly from Harper Collins using their HC Reader for both iPad and Android tablets/phones. Click here to buy!   

Read it? Like it? Leave a Review Please!

So, have you read THE IRON RING yet? You have? Thank you very much! What’s that? You’ve *LIKED* it? That’s even better!

Now, I’ve one last thing to ask: Leave me a Review! Leave one on Amazon, leave one on Goodreads, leave one on Barnes and Noble! Without reviews, nobody will know my book exists, and if nobody knows it exists, nobody will buy it, and I’ve got a lot more Tyvian Reldamar adventures in me! So, please, review the book once you’re done! Thanks so much for all of your support!

(Alternately, if you hated my book, I guess you should leave a review, too, to warn off other dopes from being fleeced by my nefarious con-game of writing books. I’m hoping you folks will be in the minority, of course, but in the interest of fairness, I include this message. So there.)

More Guest Blogging

If you haven’t heard enough of me yet, here’s more!

A Guest Post on Stephanie Loree’s blog: “How it Took Me 18 Years for a 3-book Deal” 

An Interview of me by Theresa M Cole!

Go on, now! Go check it out!

Also: IT IS RELEASE DAY! Go and buy The Iron Ring! Go right now! It is currently only available in Kindle/Nook/E-book format, but a print edition will (hopefully) be coming soon.

The Blog-Tempest: Guest Post on Liana Brooks!

Hello, everybody!

Instead of rain, imagine god-awful amounts of snow. And blog-posts.

Instead of rain, imagine god-awful amounts of snow. And blog-posts.

The blog-tour excitement beginneth! I have a post up on Liana Brooks’ blog, so go check it out now!

Liana is a fellow Harper Voyager Impulse author and we share the same editor. Her novel, EVEN VILLIANS HAVE INTERNS (Heroes and Villains, Book 3), will be release in print tomorrow, the same day as THE IRON RING will be released virtually. I encourage you to check out her book and her blog.

Oh, and a big thanks to Liana for the signal boost!

Prepare Thyself for the Blog-Tempest!

You heard me: NO EXCUSES!

You heard me: NO EXCUSES!

Hey! YOU! You in the back! Guess what?


<cue party horns>

That’s right, kiddos! THE IRON RING – book one in the Saga of the Redeemed – is coming to an near you! Even better, it’s an e-book exclusive release, which means no matter how much snow is on the ground, you can still buy my book, curl up with it, and read until summer (at which point there will be ANOTHER BOOK!). As you can see, I’ve literally thought of everything.

Blog Tour Away!

Also, beginning on Tuesday, I will be going on a virtual tour of the inter-tubes, sharing my writing wisdom and pithy observations with the virtual world at large. Of course you, dear readers and closest allies, will be able to read it all from the comfort of this familiar website, since I will link all said blogs

Just imagine this, but with a head.

Just imagine this, but with a head.

and interviews to this very place. So, if you aren’t tired of me jabbering yet, I will see if two weeks of non-stop yammering about myself will cure you of that particular malady.

Anyway, I stand to be super-extra-fancy busy over the next few weeks, so those interviews and blog-posts are all you’re likely to see of me. So, until I check in again: buy my book! Read it! LOVE IT!

Wish me luck, folks – this is it! I’ve been waiting for this moment my entire life, so here’s hoping I don’t screw it up now!