Many thanks to Shawn Speakman of Grim Oak Press for inviting me to contribute to his new anthology Unfettered II – Tales by Masters ofFantasy, which will include A Duel of Evils, a previously unpublished short story set in the Raven’s Shadow universe. The profits from Unfettered II will go to cancer research and alleviating the medical debt of authors. The book will be available in November 2016 but you can pre-order the hardcover on the Grim Oak Press website.
Here’s the full author line-up:
Bradley Beaulieu (Song of Shattered Sands)
Jim Butcher (Dresden Files)
Sarah Beth Durst (The Queens of Renthia)
Mark Lawrence (Gunlaw)
Erin Lindsey (Bloodbound)
Peter Orullian (Vault of Heaven)
Anthony Ryan (Raven’s Shadow)
Shawn Speakman (Annwn Cycle)
Michael J. Sullivan (The Legends of the First Empire)
Todd Lockwood (Cover Artist)
Don Maitz (Interior Illustrator)
And here’s the story about how this anthology came about:
‘Without health insurance and diagnosed with cancer in 2011, Grim Oak Press owner Shawn Speakman accrued massive medical debt while treating the disease. Rather than declare medical bankruptcy, he reached out to fellow authors and received donated short stories in return—many from New York Times bestselling writers. The stories were collected and became Unfettered, the proceeds from the sci-fi/fantasy anthology eliminating his debt burden.
To pay forward the aid he received—and to memorialize his mother who passed away earlier this year from Stage 4 stomach cancer—Speakman has again collaborated with celebrated sci-fi/fantasy authors to publish Unfettered II. “My mother first put books into my life as a child. Later she helped me survive two different cancers,” said Speakman. “Having lost her to cancer, I will focus my sorrow in a way that will make a difference. Unfettered II is the beginning of that.”
All proceeds from Unfettered II will go toward ending medical debt for other authors as well as be donated in partnership to the Cancer Research Institute in New York, NY.
Such notable New York Times bestselling authors as Terry Brooks (“The Shannara Chronicles”),
Charlaine Harris (“True Blood,” “Midnight, Texas”), Brandon Sanderson (“Wheel of Time,” “Stormlight Archive”), Jim Butcher (“Dresden Files”), and Naomi Novik (“Temeraire,” Uprooted) are contributing short stories to Unfettered II.
Cover art will be supplied by renowned artist Todd Lockwood, who contributed the artwork for Unfettered. Interior art duties will be handled by Hugo Award-winning illustrator Don Maitz.’
The new anthology from Grim Oak Press – Unbound – Tales by Masters of Fantasy – is now available in ebook (the hardcover should be out by the end of the year). Unbound includes my story The Hall of the Diamond Queen, read the first page here. Where to buy: Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Nook, Kobo, Apple iBooks.
Here’s the full line-up of contributing authors:
Small Kindnesses by Joe Abercrombie
An Unfortunate Influx of Filipians by Terry Brooks
Many thanks to everyone who entered the Tower Lord giveaway competition, especially those who donated to Michael J. Sullivan’s Ride to Conquer Cancer. Total donations amounted to $1092.00 which is terrific. Donations for this very worthwhile cause will remain open until September 12th so please consider making a contribution. Without further ado, the winners are:
1st place: Laura Fisher
2nd place: Josh Garner
3rd place: Marianne Harrington and Duncan McKenzie
2nd-chance draw winners: Karen Seidle and Benjamin Surratt
Congratulations to the winners and commiserations to everyone else. As per the rules, everyone who made a donation will receive signed bookplates for Blood Song and Tower Lord. Also, many thanks for all the positive comments in the emails, sorry I couldn’t reply to you all individually.
It’s time for another giveaway competition. The rules are the same as before, with an added bonus.
One first-place winner will receive a US hardcover edition of Tower Lord, signed, lined and dated by me.
One second-place winner will win a UK hardcover edition of Tower Lord, signed, lined and dated by me.
Two third-place winners will win a UK large format paperback edition of Tower Lord, signed, lined and dated by me.
There will also be a second chance draw in support of fellow fantasy author Michael J. Sullivan who will be taking part in the Ride to Conquer Cancer in September benefitting the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Centre. Michael will be riding 150 miles in two days to raise money for cancer research. Michael lost both his father and sister to cancer, but he is riding primarily for the fantasy and science fiction authors who we’ve recently lost to this disease including: Iain M. Banks, A. C. Crispin, Jay Lake, and unfortunately many more.
Anyone who makes a donation of $20 or more to this very worthwhile cause will be entered into a second chance draw. There will be two winners in this draw. One will be chosen at random and the other will be the one who makes the largest donation. Each winner will receive a US edition hardcover of Tower Lord, signed, lined and dated by me. Also, anyone who makes a donation will receive both of the bookplates below for Blood Song and Tower Lord, designed and signed by me. Make your donations via the following link, and be sure to include your name in the ‘recognition name’ field:
As an added incentive, Michael has also agreed to send the winner a signed hardcover of their choice from the following books:
* Theft of Swords (includes The Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha)
* Rise of Empire (includes Nyphron Rising and The Emerald Storm)
* Heir of Novron (includes Wintertide & Percepliquis)
* Blood of Thieves (The Crown Tower and The Rose and the Thorn)
How to enter:
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org between now and midnight GMT on the 7th of August. Mark your email ‘Tower Lord Giveaway’ and include your name and address in the body of the email. Anyone wishing to be entered into the second chance draw must attach their receipt from Johns Hopkins confirming their donation. Feel free to photoshop out any personal information you don’t wish to share, but your name and donation amount will need to be visible. I will choose the winners at random on 8th of August. All addresses supplied will remain confidential and will be deleted at the close of the competition. Only one entry per contestant please, multiple emails from the same source will be banned and the sender blocked. P&P will be paid by me. Best of luck.
Thanks to Riyria Revalations author Michael J. Sullivan for tagging me in the Next Big Thing meme, a mechanism for authors to talk about future writing projects. Basically, each author answers ten questions about their next book and tags someone else to do the same. I’ll post links to whoever I tag when their own answers go up, in the meantime here’s mine:
1) What is the working title of your next book?
My next book is a novella entitled Slab City Blues: The Ballad of Bad Jack.
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
My ideas normally take a long time to gestate. In this case the character name ‘Bad Jack’ popped into my head a long time ago. I knew he was some kind of criminal but it was several years before I formed a clear idea of who he was and what he did.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
It’s the fourth story in my Slab City Blues SF-noir series which takes place in an orbital society which has gained independence from Earth after a bloody revolution.
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I wouldn’t. Writers are notoriously bad at casting and there’s a reason why movie producers pay lots of money to casting agents. Plus, as a reader, I like to formulate my own image of how characters look. That being said, Janet the gene-spliced vampire in A Hymn to Gods Long Dead (the third Slab City Blues story) is just crying out to be played by Olivia Wilde.
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? The Bourne Supremacy meets Firefly.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I’ll be self-publishing this one via the usual outlets on February 1st. Novellas are a tricky thing to sell, being too short to justify the expense of a print run and too long for magazines. Plus, I’m keen to keep hold of the series as it gives me room to enjoy the writing without worrying about a deadline.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Longer than it should. I was hoping to get it down in a month, in fact it took three. I started not long after finishing Tower Lord (Book 2 of the Raven’s Shadow trilogy), and was frankly pretty exhausted after writing 2000+ words a day for six months whilst holding down a day job. Also, I ran into a few thorny plot-issues that took time to resolve.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I do owe a debt to William Gibson’s Sprawl Trilogy, but that’s true of pretty much everything I write. Richard Morgan’s Takeshi Kovacs books are also a major influence.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I wanted to explore the more of the world I’d created in earlier Slab City Blues stories, all of which had been set on the same orbiting slum. This one takes us to the Asteroid Belt and provides an expanded view of the solar system beyond Earth orbit. However, the main inspiration was simply need to keep writing. I’m a full-time author now and I’m realising the more content I can produce, the greater the chance of continuing as such.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
If you’re a fan of hard-boiled crime fiction, armoured power-suits and space battles, then there’s probably something in there for you.