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…)
“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.
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).
The release of The Midnight Front, the first book in my new Dark Arts series from Tor Books, is still a few months away, but the folks at Kirkus Reviews have already weighed in with the first early trade review of my new opus.
“Mack’s novel is … propulsive, with well-crafted characters and cinematic set pieces culled from the war’s most momentous crossroads. Equal parts brimstone and gunpowder, the book deftly mixes the tropes of high fantasy into a semirealistic portrayal of WWII…”
“A complex, entertaining fantasy that sets loose a ‘chosen one’ hero arc among the dogs of war.”
Not too shabby!
The Midnight Front will be released on January 30, 2018, in hardcover, trade paperback, eBook, and digital audio formats. You can pre-order a copy in the format of your choice from your favorite retailer now.
Over the last few weeks I’ve granted a number of interviews concerning the writing process and inspirations behind my Star Trek: Discovery novel Desperate Hours. In case you’ve missed my myriad social media posts about each one, here’s a quick roundup of all of them to date (though more are soon forthcoming):
October 8, 2017:Literary Treks (Audio)
Topics: writing Star Trek: Discovery novel Desperate Hours
October 2, 2017:TrekLand (Video)
Topics: writing Star Trek: Discovery novel Desperate Hours
September 28, 2017: TrekCore Topics: writing Star Trek: Discovery novel Desperate Hours
If you’ve been waiting for the cover reveal of my upcoming Star Trek Titan novel Fortune of War, here it is! (Updated on September 16, 2017, with the corrected cover.)
The novel comes out in mass market paperback and eBook on Tuesday, November 28, 2017. You can pre-order your copy now directly from the publisher or from your favorite retailer, using the links on my site’s page forFortune of War.
Need more info? Here’s the book’s back-cover copy:
Death slumbers in the ashes of silent planets,
waiting to be awakened and unleashed….
Twenty years have passed since the interstellar scourge known as the Husnock were exterminated without warning by a being with godlike abilities. Left behind, intact but abandoned, their desolate worlds and derelict ships brim with destructive potential.
Now a discovery by a Federation cultural-research team has drawn the attention of several ruthless factions. From black-market smugglers to alien military forces, it seems every belligerent power in the quadrant hopes to capture the Husnock’s lethal technology.
All that stands between the galaxy and those who have come to plunder the cruelest secrets of the Husnock are Admiral William Riker, Captain Christine Vale, and the crew of the Starship Titan.
FORTUNE OF WAR
A VOYAGE OF THE STARSHIP TITAN
BY NEW YORK TIMES
BESTSELLING AUTHOR DAVID MACK
If you’re a fan of Will Riker and the valiant crew of the Starship Titan, this is one adventure you won’t want to miss!
Last week I attended for the first time the GenCon Writers’ Symposium, which runs as auxiliary programming at the world-famous GenCon gaming convention. Now that I’ve had a couple of days at home to catch up on emails, bills, and life in general, I’m excited to share my post-convention thoughts.
First, I apologize for the general lack of photos. I was kept pretty busy at GCWS, and most of the time I was having so much fun that taking photos rarely occurred to me. That said, I will remark that I found downtown Indianapolis to be quite a lovely place:
For those not familiar with GCWS, it is a comprehensive program of panels, workshops, and seminars designed to offer something of value to everyone from novice writers, authors of moderate experience, and even grizzled literary veterans. There are tracks of programming devoted to the writer’s craft, the writer’s lifestyle, the business of writing, and much more. Its participants include authors, editors, and agents, and its team of dedicated moderators are truly exceptional at their jobs.
Without exception, I found the symposium’s roughly 2,300 attendees to be knowledgeable in their questions, keenly engaged with the subject matter, and serious about improving their craft. I was also pleasantly surprised at how many attendees were not only familiar with but were genuine fans of my work, both for and outside of Star Trek. They were also very receptive to the pitch for my upcoming original novel The Midnight Front—we gave away 72 advance reader copies of the book at the show.
It also didn’t suck that my fan traffic remained steady even while I was signing beside fantasy publishing titans Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Charlaine Harris.
The Symposium’s sponsors, WorldBuilders and Archivos, were generous enough to underwrite a welcome meal at The Old Spaghetti Factory (Archivos) and snacks at the authors’ Saturday-evening hangout in The Rock Bottom Brewery (WorldBuilders). I’m also grateful to the convention’s bookseller, Half Price Books, who took a chance on stocking three of my Star Trek titles (of which we sold nearly every copy they brought, in part thanks to some hard-core hand-selling I did from their table on Saturday afternoon).
The people whose labor made all of this possible were the Symposium’s volunteers, and most importantly its director, Marc Tassin, who after this year will be moving on to new challenges and placing the Symposium into the very capable hands of new co-directors Kelly Swails and Melanie Meadors.
As for my personal experience? I was most blown away by how many wonderful new friends I met among the other Symposium participants. It was a genuine pleasure getting to meet and/or know folks like Monica Valentinelli, Elizabeth Vaughn, Kelly Swails, Jerry Gordon, Raj Khanna, Susan Morris, Dave Robison of Archivos, Anton Strout, Steve Drew, John Helfers, Beth Cato, and Maxwell Alexander Drake.
I also had the pleasure of spending quality time with such friends as Ilana C. Myer, Aaron Rosenberg, Marco Palmieri, Matt Forbeck, and Gregory Wilson.
As much as I could gush about the Symposium’s programming and events, ultimately what I loved best about GCWS was the people I met. There was just a wonderful vibe to this event. I felt the eagerness of the attendees to learn, and the willingness of the participants to share all that they could. For years I’ve heard great things about GCWS from Aaron Rosenberg and Marco Palmieri; I’m glad I finally heeded their advice and committed to this event.
This was one of the most enjoyable and emotionally rewarding convention experiences I’ve ever had, and I hope that the fine folks at GCWS will want to invite me back for many more Symposiums in the years to come.