The Iron Codex Spotify Playlist

One year ago I brought you the Spotify playlist guide for my first Dark Arts novel, The Midnight Front. I’ve chosen to reprise that effort by putting together another Spotify playlist for the second book in the series, The Iron Codex.

Music is invaluable to me as a storyteller. It inspires me with new ideas, and when I’m working, movie soundtracks often help me maintain a consistent frame of mind and emotional state that’s suited to whatever I’m working on.

Once again, to give you a look into my brain’s creative relationship with music, and how it connects to the stories that I write, I have assembled this guide to The Iron Codex’s playlist. Not all chapters or scenes have specific tracks associated with them, but those that do, I’ve done my best to annotate accordingly.

As a quick review of the playlist will reveal, the biggest musical influences this time around were spy-movie soundtracks. Specifically, Kingsman: The Secret Service, by Henry Jackman and Matthew Margeson; Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace by David Arnold; and Skyfall by Thomas Newman.

Also, a fun bit — at the end are two “bonus tracks.” Neither informed any particular scene, but they were instrumental to me in defining the “headspace” for two characters in particular: Cade, whose heartbroken, soul-shaken state is evoked by John Fullbright’s earnest “Until You Were Gone,” and Briet, whose need to earn some kind of redemption is expressed by Brandi Carlile’s hit “That Wasn’t Me.”

Nota Bene: Not all of the listed tracks are available for playback on Spotify, due to ever-changing licensing permissions, etc. Those of you who collect movie soundtracks might own one or more of these discs already. If you can compile your own local playlist based on this, all the better. (more…)

Excerpt: The Iron Codex

The fires of Hell heat up the Cold War in this excerpt from The Iron Codex!

From the Tor/Forge intro:

1954: Cade Martin, hero of The Midnight Front during the Second World War, has been going rogue without warning or explanation, and his mysterious absences are making his MI6 handlers suspicious. In the United States, Briet Segfrunsdóttir serves as the master karcist of the Pentagon’s top-secret magickal warfare program. And in South America, Anja Kernova hunts fugitive Nazi sorcerers with the help of a powerful magickal tome known as The Iron Codex.

In an ever-more dangerous world, a chance encounter sparks an international race to find Anja and steal The Iron Codex. The Vatican, Russians, Jewish Kabbalists, and shadowy players working all angles covet the Codex for the power it promises whoever wields it.

As the dominoes start to fall and one betrayal follows another, Anja goes on the run, hunted by friend and foe alike. The showdown brings our heroes to Bikini Atoll in March 1954: the Castle Bravo nuclear test.

But unknown to all of them, a secret magickal cabal schemes to turn America and its western allies toward fascism—even if it takes decades….

If you have a copy of The Midnight Front, you have an earlier version of this excerpt in the back of book one. This is the copy-edited and polished version, now on the Tor/Forge Blog.

Follow my heroine Anja into a magick-fueled, globe-hopping Cold War-era spy thriller! The Iron Codex will be published in trade paperback, eBook, and digital audiobook formats in North America on January 15, 2019 by Tor Books.

FREE FICTION: “Hell Rode With Her”

Hell Rode With Her,” an original novelette excised from the manuscript of The Midnight Front, details events that befall Russian-born sorceress (aka “karcist”) Anja Kernova after she deserts from the Red Army in late 1943.

This was in fact the first part of the Dark Arts series that I wrote, and Anja’s confrontation with her countrymen during the Great Patriotic War sets the stage for the series’ second book, The Iron Codex, in which Anja is the chief target of an international magickal arms race in 1954.

The good folks at Tor Dot Com are hosting the publication of this story, which first appeared in the anthology Apollo’s Daughters. Please head over to Tor Dot Com, enjoy the story, and leave a comment so that the good folks at Tor will know people are actually reading it.

The Iron Codex will be published on January 15, 2019, and is available now for pre-order in both trade paperback and eBook formats.

#SFWApro

Midnight Front named a “Top Read of 2018”

I’m pleased to share that Richard Auffrey of The Passionate Foodie blog has named my novel The Midnight Front one of his Top Three Reads of 2018,” alongside “The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky” by John Hornor Jacobs and The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang. (Not too shabby!)

He says of my novel, “An impressive and riveting supernatural thriller…,” and “I highly anticipate the sequel.”

Check out his other comments and reading recommendations here!

My 2018 Awards-eligible work ( #SFWApro )

I have only one work eligible for awards consideration this year, and it’s The Midnight Front, my World War II-era supernatural thriller. Published by Tor Books on January 30, 2018, here is its back-cover description:

The epic first novel in the Dark Arts series.

On the eve of World War Two, Nazi sorcerers come gunning for Cade Martin but kill his family instead. His one path of vengeance is to become an apprentice of The Midnight Front — the Allies’ top-secret magickal warfare program — and become a sorcerer himself.

Unsure who will kill him first — his allies, his enemies, or the demons he has to use to wield magick — Cade fights his way through occupied Europe and enemy lines. But he learns too late the true price of revenge will be more terrible than just the loss of his soul, and that there’s no task harder than doing good with a power born of ultimate evil.

 

It is eligible for, among others, the Hugo, the Nebula, the World Fantasy, and the Sidewise awards. Because of an offset eligibility calendar, it is not eligible for the next round of The Dragon Awards (though its upcoming sequel, The Iron Codex, will be).

If you are a SFWA member, you can read this book for free in Kindle, mobi, or ePub formats by visiting the SFWA Member Forums and downloading it from the “SFWA Fiction 2018 > Novel 2018 > The Midnight Front by David Mack“. (You must be a member of SFWA to access the preceding link.)

Thank you in advance for your consideration.

#SFWApro

New interview at The Writer’s Pane

Literary blogger Anna Palij has published a new interview with me on her blog, The Writer’s Pane. It’s not a book-pimping exercise disguised as an interview. This is an honest-to-goodness “getting to know you” kind of interview.

Herewith, a small sample of our online correspondence:


Where do you find inspiration?
Wherever I can, to be honest. In the news. In unanswered questions from other stories. In rhetorical questions that spark unexpected connections in my subconscious. In my hopes as well as my anxieties. In my desire to avoid bankruptcy. In my fear of vanishing into obscurity while still alive. In my anger and disappointment that the human species has failed to live up to my lofty expectations.

Which character in literature do you associate yourself with the most?
I’m not sure I could reduce this answer to a single character. When I’m working on a novel, slogging away in unsung solitude for months at a time, I feel not unlike Sisyphus. When a book-release day results in a general yawn of apathy from the world, I feel like Charlie Brown, once again deceived into trying to kick the football. When opportunities for professional success slip away, but I’ve catapulted another writer to glory in the process, I feel like Mad Max at the end of The Road Warrior, left behind and forgotten amid the wreckage, lost to memory. In my best moments, when I am closest to living in accordance with a Zen ideal, free from attachment and desire, I feel like the protagonist of Richard Brautigan’s classic novel In Watermelon Sugar, the character who does not have a regular name.


Head on over to The Writer’s Pane to read the rest of the interview.

I’ll Be a Guest at Phantastika in Berlin this October

I am pleased to announce that I will be an author guest of Phantastika, a convention celebrating the fantastic in media, literature, and the arts, as part of German Comic Con in Berlin.

The event takes place on Saturday, October 20, and Sunday, October 21, at Station Berlin.

In addition to yours truly, the event will host numerous author guests whose works include science fiction, fantasy, and non-fiction.

I just want to say that I am excited and honored to have been invited as a guest of this event. It’s been several years since my last trip to Germany, and when I remember what a wonderful time I had there, I feel great anticipation for my next visit. I love Germany and the German people, and it fills me with joy to know I can look forward to their hospitality once again.

See you in Deutschland, meine Freunde!