Beta Read

Cover
Last night I sent my book out for its first beta read. That would be 2+ years after being originally published. Now let us never speak of it again.

After the latest round of editing, I am very excited for their feedback. For the first time I really feel like the writing has caught up to the story itself and tells it clean and true. I cut 7,000 words, most all of them useless, and brought the first 30 pages from tepid to intriguing. Now, when I hop in and read a page here or there, I just read. No fixing, editing, or shuffling in my head. Just smiles on my mouth.

As for the new cover, I just threw something together in Photoshop to differentiate between this and my previous version. I’m pretty proud of it, even if close attention exposes my shoddy work.

My beta readers are:

Dyrk Ashton – Fantasy Faction’s choice for SPFBO#2 and third place finisher, Dyrk is the author of Paternus: Rise of Gods – the novel I’m currently reading – with Paternus: Wrath of Gods coming out July 10, 2018.

James Downe – co-author with AEsc Adams of the 5+ book series Legacy of Ash, his website is constantly expanding with new information about their detailed world.

Michael Baker – author of the Thousand Scars: Counterbalance Book 1 (hey, a sister series to The Imbalance?), he’s a diligent author who gets things written.

Tom Smith – I had to Grimdark it up a little with the next two, as I do draw some inspiration from the genre. Tom writes for Grimdark Magazine and knows how to get dirty.

Femke Geisolf – is a badass blogger who connected with me over our mutual love of the Malazan Book of the Fallen. She works hard at expanding self-published fantasy in Europe.

Debdip Chakraborty – is a friendly fellow from Kolkata who is working on his own book and is much loved by the online fantasy community.

Khaled Jabar – won my seat designated for a total stranger. It’s an important role!

I’m super excited to let the book out of my hands a while so I can focus on its sequel. Last year I made some headway twice a week, but this summer I expect to have more than triple the opportunity to push it close to completion.

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Kings of the Wyld Review

On page 33 of my copy of Kings of the Wyld there is a section that beings with the line “And there it remained” and goes to the end of the chapter. It is two or three paragraphs and concludes chapter three, a chapter that by title (“Hitting the Road”) and placement within the book is surely a building chapter, there to get the story going. And yet, this section was for me the greatest part of the book. All the fantastical creatures, extraordinary treks, wacky antics, rich comradery, and dangerous encounters to follow stemmed from this one simple moment where Eames gets to the heart of matters, and elegantly.

It took a similar amount of chapters to impress his fellow author Sebastien de Castell (as mentioned in the acknowledgements) which was the beginning of Eames’s ascension to agent and publishing. I’m not surprised. I imagine it was this moment that sealed the deal. It is a beautiful thing to draw emotion from comedy, pull pathos from romp. Sometimes more beautiful than doing so in a work where it is the chief goal.

Great characters, clever interweaving, fun rock ‘n’ roll dressing, and some famous scenes. An excellent read.

First Fan Art

A while ago, Malazan Empire members Itwaes Nom sent me this sketch of Avery Shim ta Salm and Aronan Kloss from Purge of Ashes – my first fan art! Exactly the sort of enthusiasm Imbalance is all about. And those javelin looks sick. Super flattered. The picture must be after Aronan loses his cape 😛

itwas-nom-avery-aronan-sketch

It’s a cool feeling. I recommend everyone write a book. My readership is thin now, but respect like this (plus his review) make it all worth it. Rock on, Itwaes!

JM

My TOR.com Think-piece on Malazan Book of the Fallen

gardens-of-the-moon-cover

So if you would please take a gander at this article I was asked to write for TOR.com (you know, the biggest fantasy publisher in the world) I would be thrilled. It’s meant for people who are interested in Malazan Book of the Fallen but keep hearing a lot of chat about it ahead of time. Those already disinclined will find nothing to like about the article, while those who already love the series will hopefully feel similar. It really is a unique piece of art when your plumb its depths, and definitely worth the investment.

I have Imbalance news, but will wait a bit to share. Until then: babies, babies everywhere!

JM

Coup de Grace

So I have had some pretty bad news lately, as documented and documented, but ‘everything comes in threes’ as people like to say. Fortunately, as far as news goes, I was saving the best for last.

I am glad to announce I have been offered a guest opportunity to write about fantasy for TOR.com regarding the magnificent opus The Malazan Book of the Fallen. I am really looking forward to praising the virtues of what I believe is the greatest fantasy books of all time, and determined to convince those on the fence of why they need to tackle the monster series. At least one other friend is also gearing up, so it is going to be great fun. Even more importantly to me personally, this chance has come right when my prospective publishing future seemed most daunting (hehe, naw, Imbalance will be one way or another, no worries) and I see it as surefire proof my prose is not so deplorable.

More on the matter to come, and I’ll be sure to direct you to the essay when it is published in September!

JM

The Best Reason to Skimp on Site Updates

So this announcement has been pending for some time, but I went and had a baby boy back on July 14th. Coupled with my two-year old girl life has been busy and unpredictable!

Abby & Sebastian

Now I’m just softening you up. Is there a cuter pair? Doubtful.

Lots has been happening with regards to Imbalance, and a more business-minded follow-up to this post is forthcoming, but hey, as Aronan would say, ‘Family comes first.’ As it stands, this is a pretty good reason for the site’s silence in June and July (and likely August, I’m on very little sleep and the place is a mess).

JM

My Interview for Fantasy Faction’s ‘Superfan’

Fantasy Faction – a wonderful online community for fantasy fans and authors alike – recently interviewed me about the Malazan Book of the Fallen, and it was posted as the first in their ‘superfan’ series. Check it out!

Here’s a sample:

So, what exactly is this series about?

The decay of gods. The history of those whose deaths shape the passage of time. The burden of suffering upon those who would create beauty. The longevity of the land’s spirit beneath the rigors of man. The plight of the unwitnessed whose struggle has been lost in the annals of memory.

If that seems poetic, heavy or massive in scope, as if I did not answer the question, then WELCOME to the Malazan Book of the Fallen!

JM

New Pricing / Amazon Releases

So everything is finally set up on Amazon, even if some of their cover art jpegs have not updated since 19-dickety-2. It breaks down thusly:

Amazon.com

  • Purge of Ashes on Kindle: $5.08 USD
  • Purge of Ashes in lovely paperback: $15.95 USD

Amazon.ca

  • Purge of Ashes on Kindle: $6.49 CAD
  • Purge of Ashes in lovely paperback: $20.21 CAD

We managed to drop the price of the physical copy, mostly in an effort to make a sane price for the book in Canada. This is added incentive for anyone who has been on the fence about a purchase. It’s a great deal on a great book.

As well, to illustrate the above statement, I have added a ‘Reviews‘ section to the site that can be found here.

JM

BEHOLD!

Front Purge of Ashes Cover

You can now purchase Purge of Ashes for your Kindle (and we think other eReaders work fine, too)

Could not be more proud. Epic cover epic content… what’s not to like? If you stumble upon my little corner of the net, please take minute to think to yourself: “Do I need to buy the big container of spinach? It will cost $5 and probably go bad.” Then think to yourself instead: “No, I will spend the same money on a novel that WON’T go soggy” – and then buy my book. It’s that easy.

And hey, it’s got a cool cover, right?

JM