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Unexpectedly, I’ll be attending LonCon3, this year’s WorldCon, hosted in London, England. The convention administrators were foolish kind enough to schedule me on some panels during the convention, and so my schedule for the weekend is posted below. If you’re at LonCon3 (and it seems that half of the SFF fans in the world will be there), I hope you’re able to come by for the panels. They’re all very interesting, and my panel-mates include some humblingly intelligent and amazing people. (And some guy named Justin Landon…)

Outside of these panels, I’ll be around the convention floor (well, wherever they allow you to drink beer, at any rate.) So, if you see me, come say “Hi!”

Note: The listed panelists are preliminary and subject to change. Read More »

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One of the most unique aspects of Terry Brooks’ Shannara series is its unerring dedication to following the Ohmsford and Leah family lines as each new generation finds trouble for themselves in the Four Lands (and beyond, in some cases.) Since I first discovered Brooks, the Ohmsfords and the Leahs have held a special place in my heart, and the hearts of many fantasy readers like me. So, it makes perfect sense that Orbit Books, Brooks’ UK publisher, would create such a loving family tree to illustrate the labyrinthine connections between the two families.

You find a high resolution (like, really high resolution) version of the family tree on Orbit’s Facebook page, where you can also enter to win a gorgeous print by voting for your favourite Shannara generation. Fun stuff, great series.

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I’ve ragged on a lot of covers with sultry-looking dudes in LARPing gear, but there’s something about these character-centric Robin Hobb covers that works for me. While not quite the homerun that the new covers for Hobb’s Liveship Traders trilogy are, the aging of Fitz, from young adult to weathered, handsome dude is a great touch for past fans of the series. Plus Fitz has an axe, so… yay.

Incidentally, young Fitz is the perfect draw for a young adult audience, who will be attracted by the bright colours and familiar design conventions. I discovered and loved Hobb’s work as a teenager, and I can see these new covers opening a lot of doors for a new generation of readers.

I could have done without the floating animal head ghosts, though. (JK, Nighteyes, I still love you.)

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Tomorrow marks the release of A Plunder of Souls, the third instalment in my historical urban fantasy, the Thieftaker Chronicles. For those who are unfamiliar with the series, the books are set in pre-Revolutionary Boston, and feature a conjuring thieftaker (sort of an eighteenth century private investigator) named Ethan Kaille.

I have a Ph.D. in U.S. History and so I take my historical research seriously; I’ve done my best to portray accurately the real-life events from the 1760s that coincide with my fictional narratives. I have taken care in my portrayal of historical figures, and I have made every effort to create a Boston that is true to its purported time while also being accessible to twenty-first century readers. Read More »

The Twilight Dragon by Shawn Speakman

Shawn Speakman, good friend of this blog, has been carving out a pretty nice niche for himself in the wild west of self-published fantasy. Writing in the vein of classic ’90s fantasy, Speakman’s Annwn cycle mixes the best of Terry Brooks’ adventurous epic fantasy and the otherworldliness urban fantasy of Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files. The Twilight Dragon is a collection of short stories that bridge the gap between Speakman’s debut novel, The Dark Thorn, and its sequel, The Everwinter Wraith.

It’s no secret that I’m a Todd Lockwood fanboy and his work on the cover for The Twilight Dragon is gorgeous. Lockwood’s art alone is keeping dragons interesting and relevant to fantasy fiction these days. (Okay, maybe not, but he’s the species’ best ambassador.) Lockwood also provided the cover art for The Dark Thorn and the Unfettered anthology, edited by Speakman.

The Twilight Dragon will be released in October, 2014 by Grim Oak Press.