Posts Tagged ‘SFWApro’

WARPATH review on Tor Dot Com

Today on Tor Dot Com, Alvaro Zinos-Amaro reviews Warpath, my Star Trek: Deep Space Nine post-finale novel published in April 2006.

This review is part of a series, just as the novel was. Alvaro is reviewing the entire run of post-finale Star Trek: DS9 novels, which was started by editor Marco Palmieri in 2001.

Warpath falls somewhere in the middle of the series, and as such, though I am proud of it on its own merits, it would be a hard place to try to jump into the ongoing post-finale DS9 narrative.

Regardless, it is still immensely satisfying to read comments such as these:

Warpath is an intricately-assembled emotional rollercoaster which, despite plenty of quiet character scenes, never lets up on tension. Part military thriller, rip-roaring medieval battle, detective mystery, post-modern Western, and high-tech medical drama, it plays on the strengths of all these sub-genres and fuses them together into a dazzling story that is amply greater than the sum of its parts. The main reason for this success, outside of fastidious and intelligent worldbuilding, is Mack’s prose. He is able to switch effortlessly between scenes of muscular action, measured dialogue, and evocative description.

And there’s plenty more where that came from. Read the full Tor.com review of Warpath here.

As it happens, all U.S. eBook versions of Warpath (as well as my Vanguard series debut Harbinger) are on sale until the end of May 2020 for just $0.99 each. So get ’em while the getting’s good, my friends.

 

 

The Shadow Commission delayed until August 11

For those who have pre-ordered The Shadow Commission, my upcoming third Dark Arts novel from Tor Books, be informed that due to the effects of the ongoing pandemic on the publishing industry and related businesses, the release date of my book (and many others) has been delayed.

Originally scheduled to publish on June 9, 2020, The Shadow Commission is now scheduled to debut on August 11, 2020.

I know it’s a bummer, but there’s really nothing that can be done about it. Many publishers, including Tor’s corporate parent company, Macmillan, are laying off employees and reducing the salaries of those who remain. Printers are running out of paper to print books, because the supply lines for their just-in-time inventory model have been disrupted. There are fewer truckers to cart books from printers to warehouses, and from warehouses to retailers. And the brick-and-mortar retailers are mostly closed, and the biggest online retailer isn’t accepting books right now.

Kind of a perfect storm of suck, really.

At any rate, please be patient. Here’s hoping that when the book arrives at last, you’ll all agree it was worth the wait.

 

#SFWApro

On Creative Burnout (#SFWApro)

I don’t know who needs to hear this right now, but I’d like to take a moment to talk about creative burnout and self-care. Because I think sometimes we all push ourselves too hard, and we all deserve a break.

There’s nothing wrong with stepping back from our work once in a while. Digging into one’s soul to tell stories, craft images, or to create anything, can be an exhausting process.

But life takes its toll on all of us. Health concerns, financial worries, family obligations, other full-time work … they all put stress on us. Mentally, physically, and emotionally.

I sometimes feel as if our field puts too much emphasis on the need to make measurable progress every day. Write “X” words every day. Post a certain number of tweets. Produce, produce, produce.

Artists are not machines. We need to recharge. To rest. To think. To dream. Sometimes, what we think is “writer’s block” is more than just a sign of a problem with our project: in some cases, it’s a warning of burnout.

Too many of us have been conditioned to stigmatize the idea of stepping away from our work, not just for a day, but maybe for weeks, or months, or longer. There are those who make us feel like failures if we do.

I’ve been my own worst critic in such situations. Beat myself up emotionally for not working when what I really needed was to embrace the downtime. I needed time this past year to process bad news on multiple fronts.

What I’m trying to say is, cut yourself some slack. If you can afford to do so, be willing to walk away from a blank page. Self-care — whether physical or psychological — is not sloth. Downtime is not a sin.

When you’ve healed, when you’ve regained your strength, your focus, your time … you’ll know it. Your muse will return. Ideas will flow again. But first you need to care for yourself and those around you.

There’s no sure-fire, one-size-fits-all formula for recovering from burnout. Maybe you need medical care, or talk therapy. Or the right chat with a friend. Maybe you just need time and solitude.

But when it comes to survival, you owe it to yourself to be a little bit selfish. As they say on airplanes, put your own mask on first before you try to help others. Catch your breath.

Remember: the creative life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Pace yourselves, my friends.

#SFWApro

Daniele Serra’s art for “Chaos at Feast”

When editor Robert Greenberger asked for suggestions concerning who we might ask to illustrate my story for his anthology Thrilling Adventure Yarns, there was only one name I wanted to put forward: Daniele Serra.

Because my short story “Chaos at Feast” is rooted in the Lovecraftian tradition of unspeakable ancient horrors, combined with the 1930s and 1940s adventure fiction that inspired the Indiana Jones series, I knew that Daniele’s haunting style would provide the ideal visual accompaniment to my prose.

Here’s a small slice of the image to whet your appetite:

To see more, read the full update here. Bottom line, I feel very fortunate to have one of my stories graced with art by Daniele.

#SFWApro

Interview on The Skiffy and Fanty Show Blog

Over on the blog of The Skiffy & Fanty Show, Paul Weimer has published an interview with me about my Dark Arts series, with a focus on its most recently published volume, The Iron Codex.

We got into some fairly substantial questions about the series in general and the new book in particular. If you have a moment, give it a look.

Here’s an excerpt of one part of the Q&A:

PW: You’ve penned sequels and follow-on novels in the various fictional universes you’ve written in before. What was different about your process in tackling The Iron Codex?

DM: Adding stories to the ongoing literary continuity of Star Trek, as I’ve been doing since 2001, is very different from writing a sequel to my own original novel.

When I write a Star Trek novel, I’m able to take advantage of the fact that many ideas and concepts don’t need to be explained in great detail, because readers of Star Trek novels are already familiar with the series’ setting and characters.

When I started plotting The Iron Codex, I had to deal with challenges that were new to me. One was that I needed to quickly refresh readers’ understanding of the complicated system of ceremonial magic I had developed in the first Dark Arts novel, The Midnight Front. But I also wanted the plot of book two to move quickly, in the style of classic Ian Fleming spy-thrillers.

It’s live now. Go check it out!

#SFWApro

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…)

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