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

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Fan vs. Fan: Game of Thrones 603, 604

Loving the new Game of Thrones season thus far. Each episode an improvement upon the last. May you also enjoy these next two review chats discussing the episodes as improvements upon those that came before. We’re getting godly at this, folks.

Game of Thrones -FvF- 603- Oathbreaker

Game of Thrones -FvF- 604- Book of the Stranger

JM

Unruly Behaviour

Game-of-Thrones-joffrey-margaery-thumb

Pretty ridiculous article making the rounds today. Just wanted to add a few thoughts about his champion Romantic Poets: Shelley, Wordsworth and Keats. I am certain I recall the broad details of my university degree as well as I think I do (?).

First of all, they all wrote poems, not novels. So it’s kind of like saying ‘don’t watch this TV show, see these movies!’ Apparently the hundreds of years comprising the canon of English literature could not provide one actual book for Whiting to offer up in contrast. Second, none of these poets taught children complacency. While Wordsworth may have had his support for the French Revolution tempered by the methods of the Jacobins, they all pushed for revolution at various points in their lives, particularly Shelley. Naturally, the zeal to cast off what they saw as oppressive weights in their society is evidenced in their works, particularly Ozymandias or The Mask of Anarchy. Third, notably absent from the list is the firebrand William Blake, whose works offer us the first instance of the word ‘Orc’ and are alive with both the fire of mystical fantasy and condemnation of the Catholic Church. Blake clearly advocated for making free and independent choices, and behaving in ways that would upset any governing body demanding subservience.

 

Now, I don’t live in England. I have heard rumour that the school system is in dire straits, but any insight I might offer is surely hearsay. Suffice to say, it seems like there is plenty of bad behavior and I understand the desire to point fingers. Rotten attitudes can snowball throughout a school year, and one bad apple can definitely spoil the bushel. If underage students are delighting in the adult content of the books A Song of Ice and Fire (or, more likely, just watching the ribald show itself) it is easy to assume pulling out the root will kill the weed.

 

But it will also kill the flower. Lumping all fantasy into one category and making broad generalizations is ridiculous. This actual argument is likely the death throes of a bleating puritan, and as such not worth addressing. Further, while I do not live in England, I am a teacher, and one who appreciates that how a teacher wishes students to act is not always parallel to what is best for them. While I’m teaching a lesson, it would be ideal for me to have 100% engagement and participation, 100% effort once the work starts. That would teach the meter of Ozymandias to an excellent degree. But social understanding is as big a part of the school system as formal education, and while challenging to listen to, cope with, suffer through for a results-bent teacher of 30 pupils, it translates into growth for the young individual. This dichotomy comes down to respect: they respect your time while imparting new information and ideas, you respect their time when they push, pull and revel in their generation’s congealing identity. As long as they are not overlapping, butt out.

 

After all, it bears mentioning that Percy Bysshe Shelley himself was expelled from Oxford in 1811 for not following the rules. He was yet to publish anything of note.

 

JM

Fan vs. Fan: Game of Thrones 601, 602

So my friends over at Dork Shelf keep up with their favourite shows by having fans hurled into a pit together and given a smattering of tools loosely identified as weapons. Or, more accurately, we argue and joke about episodes of dorky shows we love. They do it for The Flash and as well for Game of Thrones. Lo and behold they asked me to be their resident book expert.

Flawless victory! I love A Song of Ice and Fire and almost remember most of it, so I’m a perfect fit. Plus Brian’s actually funny, which also helps. As a co-host of the show, I would be bereft of conscience if I did not pimp the FvF franchise – thus week by week I will be dropping new episodes here for your viewing enjoyment. They will definitely contain spoilers from the episodes in question, as well as questionable speculation about future episodes.

Game of Thrones -FvF-601- The Red Woman

Game of Thrones -FvF-602- Home

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

My Book is Out…

…and what a feeling it is.

Anxiousness.

It was supposed to be joy, right? Bliss? Balming relaxation? Squeaky giddiness?

Nope, just anxious. My publisher imploded a week before the release. Everything was late. All my traction from my efforts in the months prior fizzled like the lit fuse of a dud grenade while I scrambled around getting the job done instead of celebrating the victory. Even now I wait on a proof for the final version to arrive, certain it is great but unwilling to assume again based on the digital copy alone. Eventually it shall be as it was meant to – but the span where the iron was hot came and went with more than a few sleepless nights.

It has been rough, what should have been wonderful. The only fortunate aspect was that the novel itself has not been harmed and remains as it was: a debut sweat for.

Going forward I shall do as suggested me by author Graham Austin-King. Get on with writing Grip of Dust, read, and let the traction sort itself out. Anxiety and authorship were never estranged to begin with.

JM

The Last Book of Realmwalker Publishing Group

Mine was the last book published by Realmwalker Publishing Group.

It came out April 5th, about a week and a half after the company imploded over a series of business fall outs and other concerns. Keeping up with a jam-packed schedule of releases led to a build-up of pressure akin to the leakage of gas, while problems with payroll provided the incendiary match. Everyone could smell the sulfur, everyone could hear the hiss – but when the fireman among you says not to worry, your worries dissipate. They creep back later when the intrusive sensation persists, but for the moment you are placated. After all, they are the fireman. This is what they do.

By the time of launch all my rights were returned to me, and while my novel gives publishing credit where it is due, I essentially was and am now a self-published author.

Not the kind of thing I envisioned upon signing. The requisite time to produce my debut properly was divvied to newly-acquired authors whose re-releases could theoretically be republished in short order and with less effort. With the principal cover artist on holidays for March, a replacement was found who hailed from Brazil. Some miscommunication went down between he and RPG, and after two weeks he had produced nothing but the .PSD of a pre-existing picture of his. Company president James Drake was sufficiently horrified as to not let me even see it. With two weeks to go I had no cover. I enjoy the grit and fanfare of the cover I have now, but it would be a lie to say it was not a last minute thing.

When the whole community went belly up a few days later, there was lots of driftwood and silt to sift through. My book vs. the outrage and confusion of a whole body of newly published authors. It did not stand a chance at seizing the time necessary to be properly produced. With the release date looming, Drake and I worked an inordinate amount of hours–From the morning of Sunday, April 3rd, to midnight on April 5th, I was awake 58 of 60 hours –to no avail. In the end Purge of Ashes mostly missed its release date, took yet more time to get a softcover online, and then had some last minute issues still being resolved. Oh, and because of this the shipment of softcovers inbound for my book launch spent the party in a cargo container at Pearson Airport in Toronto. I called every company involved a billion times, but UPS was incapable of getting them for me on a Friday night and refused to work Saturday. Not one deadline hit.

The release of Purge of Ashes was an unmitigated catastrophe. Any momentum I had built through posting my 30 Days of Balance articles and hoopla over on Twitter was erased by the miasma of confusion over if and when the books were available. This was rotten. With tales like these one might imagine me fuming and irate – but that’s not me, and what’s more there was plenty of good that came from the mess of the last three weeks.

  1. For one, James was good on his promise to work diligently on my book regardless of the status of Realmwalker. While there was a foreboding sense of ‘too late’ hanging above everything we did, he did produce a book for me which has a solid cover and looks GREAT in the interior. He listened to my many questions and included lots of my suggestions, even for little things like the imbalance icons for the page count. He spent 56 of those 60 hours awake as well, doing most of the actual work. And as a pardon for the payroll flames of yester-week, did so entirely for free.
  2. Things could have been A LOT worse. The book did, in fact, get finished. I did not lose any money. I did not have to explain to everyone I know about why I actually wasn’t going to have a book in under a week. RPG could have fled with its tail between its legs and left me stranded, instead of admitting defeat and facing the fall out. A small consolation given what happened, but a consolation yet.
  3. I take being an author much more seriously. When I first got in contact with RPG Imbalance had been collecting dust. I was torn between pushing for representation and self-publishing. I was part of no communities. I was just a guy who had spent the better part of his free time for seven years completing a works. Now, in the process of promoting my release, I have met a cool cadre of authors, read a lot about the publishing industry, and dealt with much of the ever-present flak of being a newcomer. Everything has worked to aid me in better managing the project. Six months ago I had no such insight.

My only real concern is that fantasy aficionados who follow the ins and outs of the industry will look at RPG’s broad collection net and decide that, by virtue of being a new author hired in such a sweep, my novel is but krill.

While this concern is real to me, it is likely unfounded. From what I can tell experienced authors have seen it all before and offer guidance instead of scorn. Other authors pushing the self-publishing Sisyphus boulder raise their fists in solemn salute. To their credit, Realmwalker held off branding Purge of Ashes with the company logo to help ensure the novel did not suffer by association. This was a venerable act that further indicates the tragic nature of the implosion.

How much was smoke and mirrors? Somewhere more or less than we authors all thought, no doubt.

But I’m pretty proud of the accomplishment of the fellow I see in the mirror, and to the Purge go the smoke and ashes.

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