Redemptor is out

 

I’m extremely pleased to announce that Redemptor is now available on Audible. Once again, R.C. Bray has done a fantastic performance. 

Because it’s an Audible Original Production, the book will be Audible-exclusive for six months. After that time, we’ll do a paper and ebook release.

In the meantime, Crossroad Press has officially released the new ebook version of Hounacier. Paperbacks to follow. Also, we’ll be getting Ibenus re-edited and hopefully re-released soon.

Finally, Crossroad has released the new paperback edition of Mountain of Daggers. So for anyone wanting to get your hands on a physical copy, those are out now.

-Seth

Black Raven Flies Again

Now that my 90-day separation with my old publisher has completed, I’m very pleased to announce that Tales of the Black Raven has been re-edited and released by Crossroad Press.

 

A huge thank you to David Wilson and David Dodd for all their support and help in bringing my little Sword & Sorcery adventures back to the public.

You can find the new Kindle editions here:

Mountain of Daggers – Book 1 (11 stories)

Sea of Quills – Book 2 (9 stories)

New paperbacks will soon follow.

As for my Valducan series, those will be returning again soon after a re-edit.  Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving On

After three years and five books, I’ve decided to end my relationship with Ragnarok Publications.

I won’t lie. This wasn’t easy. But it had to happen.

I’m not going to go into much detail here. There’s several reasons, some big, some small, but the short of it comes down to business.  Writing is a business. Publishing is a business. And Ragnarok hasn’t paid me what they owe me.  How much? I wish I knew.

This isn’t a new problem. Other authors have left over the past year for the same reason and more.  It sucks. But business is business.

I’m not interested in trash-talk. So don’t expect that. I will always be grateful for Ragnarok being the first publisher to take the risk on me. I’ve made a lot of good friends there and many special memories.

So what does this mean?

Well, it’ll take a few months for the transition to take effect and all rights to return to me on the books already in publication.  So, I have until then to figure it out.  Hopefully, I will find a new publisher with a solid reputation who wants my Valducan Series (anyone know a good agent?).

What about Redemptor?

Well, Redemptor (Valducan #4) is completely back in my hands. Technically, it never left. Due to a merger and some other reasons, Ragnarok never sent me a contract (Crazy. I know.) So as of this moment, I have the full rights to it.

However, this also means that it will not be releasing this November. I’m terribly sorry for that.

Hopefully Redemptor will find a new home soon.

This isn’t a post I wanted to make. I wanted to post about how Redemptor is coming soon and about how Ashes of Onyx is nearly complete. But business is business.  Sometimes it isn’t fun.

-Seth

Eleven Facts About Mountain of Daggers

Mountain Cover FrontToday marks one year since Mountain of Daggers‘ release.

I’ve written before about the journey it took for it to finally hit print, as well as the various inspirations. But in honor of Black Raven’s birthday, I wanted to share a few bits about my roguish hero. And because there are eleven stories, I figure I should give eleven fun facts.

***Spoiler Warning***

1:  The first story, Birth of the Black Raven, was meant as a stand-alone with an open ending.  I’d never intended for it to have any sequels.  I nearly changed it to a flashback story where at the end a much older Ahren is recounting the tale to a new initiate into the Tyenee.  Thankfully, I decided against it.

2:  While most fantasy thieves are usually depicted in a cloak, Ahren always wears a wide-brimmed hat. I chose the hat because that’s what seemed the most practical for a sailor to wear. (Despite the cool appearance, cloaks murder peripheral vision.)

3:  A news article about diamond smugglers loading their goods into hollow crossbow bolts and firing them outside the perimeter of diamond mines to retrieve later is what inspired The Reluctant Assassin.

4:  Because the first story lacks any magic or fantastical elements, I wrote the The Porvov Switch to bring in demons, magic, and introduce Delakurn’s only obvious non-human race, quellens.

5:  The Ferrymaster’s Toll was originally slated to appear in Flashing Swords #13 as the featured story.  The magazine folded before it hit print. flashswordscovermockup13

6:  Originally, Mountain of Daggers was 14 stories and over 90,000 words.  When Rogue Blades wished to publish it, I was asked to cut that down to 60,000 words, add some newer stories I had already written, and release it as two 60,000-word collections. Three stories were cut and moved to Sea of Quills. Washed Ashore was originally set after Reluctant Assassin. The Gilded Noose was to take place after Darclyian Circus. The Raven’s Cage was the original closing story.

7:  The Seventh General came about after I had a new boss that immediately began pushing me out of a former job. It was also the last story written for the first collection.

8:  Dolch is inspired by the repeat villain Murdoc on MacGyver.

9:  While Ahren has a reputation as an assassin, he never actually murders anyone “on screen.” The people he’s shown killing are always armed and actively posing a threat to him or to his companions.  This was an intentional throwback to the old pulp heroes.  In The Ferrymaster’s Toll he does commit murder, but the reader only sees the bodies after the fact. He’s also shown murdering the unarmed villain in The Reluctant Assassin, but that guy was a dick and totally deserved it. 

10: Race for the Night Ruby was the second Black Raven adventure I wrote.  It’s also my favorite in the first collection.

11:  The Tyenee symbol is described as a mountain of upturned daggers.  I had no idea how that actually looked when I wrote it, but thought that it sounded cool.  When artist Dider Normand was commissioned to create the original cover art, we had to figure out what the symbol actually looked like.  It took several rounds before we had the final look.

BR - Concept MedallionsBR - Mountain Rough

Original concept sketches

Mountain Cover 1st Dr

Final Design

 Tyenee500pxGray

Actual medallion made by Campaign Coins
And you can buy one at my Store!

So there you have it. If you’d like to give Ahren a birthday present, he’s always happy to have a review or rating on Goodreads or on Amazon.

-Seth

 

 

2015 in Review

2015

This year has been incredible. In the 10 years since my first sale, 2015 was the first time I openly referred to myself as an author. Before that, it felt sort of weird, like I was some wanna-be pretending I was something that I wasn’t.  Even after Dämoren released in 2014, I was apprehensive about throwing that title out because I remembered some opinion piece that said to be called an author, one must have two published book.  It’s silly, I know, but I was never able to really put my chin up high, walk up to a total stranger and say, “I’m an author,” until this year.

Hounacier was released in March with a wonderful reception. I’d been very nervous about it because it was so drastically different than Dämoren. But for the most part, readers have loved the sequel.

After years of close calls and false starts, the Black Raven made his literary return with Mountain of Daggers in March and Sea of Quills in September.  Reception has been mixed, but most readers appear to enjoy it.  We always knew it was going to be a niche-market, but Black Raven is my baby.  They’re my popcorn adventure fiction and I couldn’t be more proud to have him out there.

RC. BrayDämoren was an Audie Finalist for Best Paranormal Audiobook.  It was my first major award nomination and while we lost to M.R. Carey’s The Girl With All the Gifts, I’m honored that my little debut got to rub elbows with so many great works. I got to go to my first award ceremony and meet R.C. Bray in person.  He’s now narrated four of my books, and I’m terribly proud to get to work with a narrator of his caliber, and he’s also a great guy, which makes it even better.

My first anthology release in five years happened with The Serpent’s Army.  I have two more coming in 2016.TCC

I gave my first Guest Author presentation at All-Con 2015, soon followed by FenCon 2015 and the TCC Library.  Evidently those went very well because I was contacted by the DFW Witers Conference and asked to come speak as a Guest Author for 2016.  It’s a huge honor. The last time I attended the conference I was an unpublished author desperate to sell Dämoren. 

I enjoyed many great books this year. In fact, I read more in 2015 than in any other year.  My favorites include:

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. I loved this series so much that I have a blog about it.

The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey. After losing the Audie to it, I had to check it out.  Great book.  It’s also the only book told in Present Tense that I didn’t find distracting or awkward. 

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Fantastic and fun book. The audiobook was read by Wil Wheaton, who not only gave a perfect performance, but was beautifully appropriate as the narrator of the greatest nerd-culture book I’ve ever found.

The Martian by Andy Weir.  Absolutely lived up to the hype.  And while my opinion of R.C. Bray might seem biased, believe me when I say that he absolutely killed it with this performance. Awesome audio book.

The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris.  I listened to the audiobook read by the late, great Frank Muller.  Muller was hands-down my favorite narrator ever and I picked this book up just as much for him as I did in my interest in the novel itself.  As someone who has seen the movie-version uncounted times, I was amazed to see how wonderful the source material was.  Highly recommend it.

In addition to book releases and a ton of reading, I wrote Ibenus.  While we’ll have a lot of editing and polishing to do, it feels so good to finally have that story out of my head.

With one novel release, two short story releases (and a likely third that I’m just waiting on the contract for), and Ragnarok’s recent distribution deal, 2016 is poised to be another great year.

Thank you, everyone, for you support.  May you all have a healthy and prosperous New Year.

 

Sea of Quills is Out

Sea of Quills RagnarokOnce again, a lunar eclipse had heralded a book release. My second Black Raven collection, Sea of Quills is out on Kindle today. Other formats, including Audible, will be available shortly. Needless to say, I’m very excited. I want to thank Tim Marquitz, Joe Martin, and Jason Waltz for making this happen.

In honor of the release, I have a guest Blog over at The Quillery, discussing why we love fictional thieves. I also have an interview over at Galleywampus where I discuss Black Raven as well as some info about Ibenus (Valducan #3)

My long-time friend, Clay Sanger from Blackguards, has been running a series of posts leading up to to today where he recounts the years spent waiting for this, and give some fun accounts of things like Dämoren, Hounacier, Mountain of Daggers, and just some adventures we’ve had since we first met staffing a massive paintball game. You can read about it all here.

There are a few more guest blogs that will be coming out over the next few days, so I’ll post those up as they happen. You’ll also be able to find them all at my Interviews and Guest Blogs page.

So in honor of Sea of Quills’ big day, I want to give a little trivia about each of the stories included. Some of which I’ve said before, but most I haven’t.

1: Temptation’s Proposal – Unlike many of the other stories in this collection and most of those in Mountain of Daggers, Temptations’ Proposal was never intended to be published in a magazine or anthology as a stand-alone. It was written with the sole purpose of being the first story in the second collection.  I wanted a bit of symmetry with Mountain of Daggers by having both collections begin at a party.  I also wanted to show a little of everything that Ahren could do.

2: Washed Ashore – This story was originally slated for Mountain of Daggers, set between the Reluctant Assassin and Race for the Night Ruby.  The idea for it came when my wife and I spent a week sailing the Caribbean and I was watching the surf pound a jagged rock.  I imagined Ahren bleeding and trying to climb up the face, and rest of the story just grew from there.

3: Treasure of Bogen Helm – As with many stories, Treasure of Bogen Helm was several unrelated story ideas that came together.  Among them, was on that same Caribbean trip, we stopped and explored this desert island that once held a massive wild goat population. Mixing that with a cave I saw on another island, and a really cool documentary on cephlalopods, I had a story.

Caribbean Cruise 024

4: City Beneath the Kaisers – Again, many small ideas came together to form this tale.  The two most notable came from the Seattle Underground as well as this lone tower that I saw in Florence that was erected in the middle of a street.  

Tower

5: The Noble Hunter – I wrote this simultaneously with City Beneath the Kaisers, so they have many of the same themes and inspirations. The biggest difference is that I wanted Ahren to steal the jeweled eyes from a statue erected in a public square.  That idea came from the the bronze Triumphal Quadriga in Venice that once had ruby eyes. 

6: The Blossom of Eternity – I was asked to write this for an assassins anthology. While I’d referred to Ahren as being an assassin before, I’d never actually shown him commit outright murder.  Once I had come up with the story, the original version clocked in at about 12,000 words.  It was way too long and dragged at parts, so we made some surgical edits. Sadly, the anthology fell through before it was printed.

7:  The Second Gift – I was asked to write this story for the Time in a Bottle Anthology and it was the first time I was approached to submit for a project. As you might guess from the title, the theme was time.  I’d originally envisioned it being much longer, but once it was done, it ended up being one of the shortest Black Raven adventures.

8:  The Gilded Noose – The inspiration for enslaved artist came when I learned how Michelangelo was forced to work for the church. This story was originally slated for Mountain of Daggers, taking place between Darclyian Circus and Born of Darkness.  When we split and reorganized the tales between two volumes instead of one huge one, I was very disappointed since I’ve always liked it. I’m very happy to see it out now.

9:  The Raven’s Cage – The story came about after I toured the prison at the Doge’s Palace in Venice.  In fact, it was the fifth Black Raven story to be written.  Originally it was going to serve as the end for Mountain of Daggers, but with the shuffle, I decided that I’d rather end Sea of Quills with it.

Prison Hall

 

I hope you all enjoy Sea of Quills, and found these little bits of trivia as much fun as I had recounting them.

-Seth

 

Mountain of Daggers is on Audible

Audible MODMountain of Daggers is now available on Audible, narrated by R.C. Bray. Once again, R.C. has done a fantastic job.

I’ve said before how scary, yet exciting, it is to hear your story for the first time. Ahren has been with me for a long while, and getting to not only hear his voice, but also Volker, Polncoh, and all the others, is simply amazing.  I hope everyone enjoys his adventures.

While listening the the first story, “Birth of the Black Raven”, I started wondering how long ago it was that I first came up with him.  Ahren was originally supposed to be the hero of a single stand-alone tale with no intention of becoming a pulp serial.  I checked an Old Drafts folder on my computer and found the original rough draft (at the time titled “The Black Raven’s Revenge”) that was written in August 2005.

Ten years.

Raven 2005

If anyone had told me then that one day that little short story was going to spawn a series, and that it would be narrated by an award-winning voice actor, I wouldn’t have believed it.   Funny how plans change, isn’t it?

Speaking of series, we’ve completed edits on Book II, Sea of Quills, and everything looks to be in order for its release this fall.  Audible will also be releasing the audio version, though I don’t know yet when that will be.  In the meantime, I’m still plugging away at Ibenus, and once some things settle down I promise I’ll be posting some more blogs about important topics like Conan Movies and other fun stuff.

-Seth

Cover Reveal and Audible Release

Hounacier AudibleThis week Audible released the audio version for Hounacier.  I’m very happy to say that R.C. Bray has done a spectacular job bringing it to life.

It’s a very strange feeling getting to listen to your book for the first time.  Scary. Bit exhilarating.  You wonder how certain characters are going to sound or the pacing of specific scenes is going to play out.  Then the worry starts to go away and you just listen.  It might sound crazy, but the audiobook is the only time that I actually get to enjoy my own story.  Normally, when ever I read it or re-read a specific scene, I can’t see it the same way a normal reader can.  I’m still editing in my head, or I’m remembering old ways things were written in previous drafts, or I’m just being critical of it in only that way an author can criticize their own work.  But with the audiobook, my critical eyes aren’t invited to the party.  I can just sit back and enjoy the ride in the closest way I think a reader can experience it.  It’s a great feeling.

In speaking of audio books, R.C. Bray is wrapping up his recording for Mountain of Daggers.  I can’t wait to hear Ahren speak for the first time.  No word yet on release date yet, but I’ll share it once I know more.

In the meantime, here’s a little something that makes me smile:

 

Sea of Quills Ragnarok

 

And by smile, I mean smile ear-to-ear like a madman.  Artist Alex Raspad has done another great picture of Ahren. The image is from Washed Ashore,” one of the nine stories.  Sea of Quills will be coming out this October.  And for you audiobook lovers, yes, R.C. Bray will be narrating for it as well when the Audible version comes available.

That’s all for now.  Hope to have some new updates coming soon.

-Seth

 

New Store and Some Free Fiction

For those that have been wanting a Tyenee Pendant from my Black Raven stories can find one on this site.  So far I only have the copper pendants.  Depending how they go, I’ll be expanding to Bronze, Silver, and the others.  I did have a few gold pendants made for myself and a few others.  There is one gold left and will be doing some special giveaway for it in the future.

In other news, several years ago I narrated my story The Mist of Lichthafen for the TTA Press podcast, Transmissions From Beyond.  It was a lot of fun.  However, TTA eventually pulled the podcast site down.  So I finally uploaded my recording to YouTube and SoundCloud for people to enjoy.

 

 

For those not familiar with the story, The Mist of Lichthafen was originally published in Black Static Magazine and was my first sale. It’s a heist/horror story, and while it’s technically not a Black Raven story, it shares the same world and themes. Many of the places in Mist of Lichthafen also appear in the Black Raven adventure Thieves Duel.  The quality of the recording is okay.  I wish my mouse wheel wasn’t so loud and there is a moment where I fail horribly as doing a little girl’s voice. But it’s still fun.  

Hope you enjoy it.
 

Mountain of Daggers is Released

I am so very happy to announce that the first collection of Black Raven stories, Mountain of Daggers, has officially released. It’s currently available on Kindle, and other sites will have it soon.  Print editions will be appearing in 10 or so days.

Mountain Cover Front

Six years I’ve waited to say that. And it…felt…awesome.

Ahren has been my favorite character and a close imaginary friend for many years now.  And while the book is technically a collection of short stories, the best way I could really describe it is as Season 1. Sea of Quills (or Season 2) will be coming out this October, and I can’t wait to see what beautiful cover art the team at Ragnarok Publications will have for it.

One year ago I posted a blog about the journey the Black Raven has taken from a single short story to where he is today.  Personally, I find it rather fitting how it worked out after that. 

I want to thank Crystalwizard, Jason Waltz, Joe Martin, and Tim Marquitz for bringing this dream to life.