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Posts Tagged ‘chains and memory’

Soundtracks on Spotify!

Last weekend @hannah_scarbs asked on Twitter whether I had the soundtracks to my novels on Spotify. To which the answer was no — but now it’s yes, because that made me realize that putting them up there is an eminently sensible idea. Of course not everything is available on that service (in particular, all of the Battlestar Galactica scores are absent, and I’ve drawn heavily on those over the years), but the vast majority were there! So if you want to know what my soundtracks sound like, now you can give ’em a listen. And if you want to know what each track maps to, I’ve also linked to that information for each book.

LIES AND PROPHECY and CHAINS AND MEMORY now in print!

It’s been a bit of a stealth launch up ’til now, but: I am pleased to announce that you can buy both Lies and Prophecy and its sequel Chains and Memory in trade paperback, from the following retailers:

I owe this state of affairs to the hard work of Leah Cutter, without whom I would not have had the first clue how to go about creating a print edition, much less done this good a job with it. I highly recommend her to anyone in need of a POD formatter; she does fantastic work. She also runs workshops, if you want to learn how to do it yourself.

Limited time sale for LIES AND PROPHECY!

From now until next Tuesday(1), Lies and Prophecy is on sale! Normally the illustrated edition is $4.99 and the text-only edition is $3.99, but each is a dollar off for the time being, making that $3.99 for the illustrated and $2.99 for the plain. Choose your retailer here!

I’m also pleased to link to a pair of pieces about Chains and Memory. The first is a piece I wrote for Special Needs in Strange Worlds, on characters with PTSD. I could have talked for a lot longer there — one of the things I didn’t even try to touch on is the fact that Kim has also developed PTSD by the second book of the series — but the focus of that post is how I managed to give Julian PTSD without noticing, and what I did with the story and the worldbuilding once I figured it out. The second post is over at Mary Robinette Kowal’s blog, discussing the cultural differences between Kim and Julian, and how the two of them work to bridge that gap. Her blog series is called “My Favorite Bit,” and given my anthropology background, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that my own favorite bit is the mismatch between the two characters’ assumptions, the things they do because of those assumptions, and most especially, the light-bulb moment where they realize what’s been going on. (For those who have already read the novel, I’m referring specifically to the scene after Julian gets his nose bloodied at practice.)

Finally, I’ve gotten out of the habit of linking to reviews here, but I have to say I love this quote from Marissa Lingen’s review: “There are action scenes. There is not fencing, but there is fighting, torture, revenge, and true love. Of more than one sort. There is not actually a mutton, lettuce, and tomato sandwich, though. I suppose one canโ€™t have everything. At least not in a book of this length.” I am now sorely tempted to put an MLT into the third book, just because. ๐Ÿ˜›

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(1) Actually, from a couple of days ago until next Tuesday — but I forgot to post this in a timely fashion. Mea culpa.

Chains and Memory is on sale now!

Chains and Memory cover

At long last!

Chains and Memory is on sale today, at a variety of reputable outlets. This is the fruit of my very first Kickstarter, which was a resounding success; backers have had copies of this book for a little while, but now I can share it with you all. Go forth! Buy! Enjoy!

Seriously, I’m really excited about this. Remember, I ran the Kickstarter because I’d been wanting to write this book for a solid decade and more; to see it out in the world is incredibly satisfying.

And for those who are wondering . . . no, this is not the end of the story. There will be one more volume. When that happens will depend on the schedule of my contracted work in the immediate future, but stay tuned.

BVC Year-End Sale

I’ve been remiss in advertising this, largely because I’ve had my head buried in the first draft of the next Memoir. (Current word count: 33,191, and Isabella’s brother is endearing himself to me for being the kind of guy who will say things other characters won’t.) BUT! Time has not yet run out, for me or for you!

Book View Cafe is having an ENORMOUS sale right now, continuing through January 1st. I will not attempt to list all the participating titles, because omgwtfbbq there are a lot of them — but Lies and Prophecy is one of them. Since one of the other things eating my head right now is revisions on Chains and Memory, this is a dandy time to pick up the first book, if you haven’t already. Or, y’know, one of the other splendid offerings. Or all of the above! (Now I’m wondering if any crazy person has actually bought every single sale title, just for the heck of it.)

You have a few days left to take advantage of this, though not as many as you might have had my brain not been snack food for my current obligations. Should still be enough time, though. Go forth and enjoy!

Here and there (but not everywhere)

Made a haphazard stab at sightseeing in D.C. today. I had only about five hours to spend on it; getting myself to the hotel and then out to the National Mall ate the morning, and at this time of year both the museums and the sun close up shop pretty early. The Mall itself wasn’t putting its best foot forward anyway: this being the off-season, they’re doing returfing projects, there were temporary fences everywhere along with some tents (related to Election Day yesterday? or something else entirely?), the Capitol dome is wrapped in scaffolding, etc. Plus the weather was rather grey. From a photography standpoint, it wasn’t ideal, though I did get some pretty good shots of the Korean War memorial — the trees there had turned red, which harmonized nicely with the metal statues and the dark green ground cover.

But photography was one of only several things I’d come there to do. My top priority was actually research for Chains and Memory. There’s a scene that takes place at the western end of the Mall, so I wandered around Constitution Gardens and the Lincoln Memorial and the bank of the Potomac to fix in my head just how far apart everything is. (Answer: quite.) Then I needed food, and somebody had told me the cafe in the Museum of the American Indian was really good, so I walked more or less the entire bloody length of the Mall just to get a very late lunch — which, to be fair, was worth it. Bison skirt steak with huckleberry reduction, cucumber and some other things I forget in fireweed honey, a truly excellent salad of wild rice with pine nuts and watercress and cranberries and other stuff I couldn’t identify in a apple cider vinaigrette, and then some fry bread to top it off, because how can you not have fry bread?

Wound up spending the rest of my afternoon in that museum, because a) I was there and b) I like anthropological stuff. It’s not at all the kind of museum I expected it to be: I subconsciously assumed there would be galleries devoted to the various geo-cultural areas, i.e. Great Plains and Southwest and so forth, but it’s organized much more around themes. One gallery had to do with the cosmologies of seven different tribes; another was about treaties between the nations and the U.S.; a third discussed how contemporary Native Americans express their identity in the modern world. I don’t think I did the museum justice, but my feet were hurting and I was a little brain-dead; I will have to settle for the value I did get out of it.

I certainly did not do justice to the Mall itself, because I lacked the time and the energy, and the weather was on the dreary side. In tracking how long it took me to get from the north end of the pond in Constitution Gardens to the Lincoln Memorial, I managed to miss the Vietnam Memorial entirely. And I meant to stop at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on my way to food, but thanks to my calorie-deprived state I went right past the place where I should have turned to find it, and by the time I realized that it was much too late to backtrack. But given how many other things I missed in the area — e.g. every museum save the one — it isn’t like I can check “see the National Mall” off my bucket list anyway. I’ll be back some day, and then I’ll see at least a portion of the things I missed this time.

And now, World Fantasy!

Number sixteen

It’s a short draft, and I already know what needs to be added in, both to fill it out to a better length and to mend a kind of gaping lack in the story. But that is what revision is for.

Right now, at 84,223 words, Chains and Memory is finished.

indicted on two charges of negligent authorial cruelty

You would think I’d notice when I’m doing something horrible to my characters — but sometimes the penny drops quite late.

The context for this post is the scene I wrote for Chains and Memory last night. There’s a detail I put into Lies and Prophecy that seemed like an interesting twist, an additional layer to an aspect of the world that the characters hadn’t realized was there. When I started planning out this book, I knew I was going to add another component to that detail; the adding happened a few days ago. And then last night, writing a follow-on scene, I finally realized what I’d done to Julian, by tossing in that little detail so many years ago.

I can’t get more specific than that without massively spoiling things, but I can give a different example of what I mean: Nicholas Merriman, an NPC in my game Memento, which is the campaign that ultimately gave rise to the Onyx Court series. Nicholas is nowhere in the novels, so there will be no spoilers for the Onyx Court if I tell you I may have been more cruel to him than any other member of the Merriman family save Francis. (Who did appear in the novels, so if I tell you his role in the game was pretty much the same except it ended a little bit worse, you’ll have some scale for comparison.)

Memento was a Changeling game about a group of faeries reincarnating in mortal hosts over a period of centuries, trying to create the Philosopher’s Stone. They were assisted in this process by a faerie-blooded human family, the Merrimans, who passed down the knowledge of their quest through the generations . . . but lost bits of it along the way, because seven hundred years is a long time to keep that kind of thing alive. Nicholas, living in the modern day, had only the fragments he’d gleaned from his Alzheimer-afflicted grandfather, and almost no connection to the faerie world whatsoever.

Under the mechanics for fae blood in that game, Nicholas was permitted one single “fae gift,” i.e. an ability inherited from his changeling ancestor. It could be a powerful ability, but he could only have one. I chose Parted Mists. In Changeling, the Mists are a metaphysical force that causes human beings to forget about magical things: to come up with “rational” explanations for them or dismiss them as mere fancy or just forget them entirely. Parted Mists allowed Nicholas to actually remember his interactions with the PC changelings, which was pretty necessary to make the plot go; ergo, my decision seemed like simple common sense.

So they meet Nicholas and realize they were doing something important and go through a process that causes them to remember their past lives, which takes up the bulk of the campaign, with them flashing back to previous centuries (and previous Merriman helpers) before finally snapping back to the present day and finishing what they started.

By which point I had realized that I had been horrifically, unthinkingly cruel to Nicholas.

Because he remembered.

Here’s the thing about Changeling: in that setting, there is a magical layer to the world that we can’t generally see. Changelings can see it; children can see it, but lose the ability as they grow up; adults can be temporarily enchanted to see it, but the Mists make them forget after the enchantment fades.

Nicholas did not forget.

After he met the PCs, Nicholas knew that he was living in grey, dreary Kansas. He knew Oz was right there, all around him: a fantastical world filled with color and magic and wonder. He knew the PCs lived in that world, and he’d been permitted to visit it a few times. But every time, the magic ended, and he was back in black-and-white Kansas — remembering precisely what he had lost.

I did not mean to be so cruel to him. But I was, and it took me months to realize I had been.

And that’s more or less what I’ve done to Julian. Not the same flavor of cruelty, but the same failure to notice until an embarrassingly long time later. The good news is, I have noticed, and that means I can make story out of it; that’s what I was doing last night. Not only that, but in writing up the problem, I realized it had a whole second layer to it, so that he’s asking Kim the question she hears, and also a second question she won’t hear until it’s almost too late.

If I’m lucky, readers will hit this part of the story and think “oh, wow, that’s a really awesome thing Marie Brennan set up there.” They won’t realize how much of it was an accident, that I only just caught at the last second. ๐Ÿ™‚

I haven’t done a meme in a while

You can tell a lot about a person from their music. Hit shuffle on your iPod, MP3 Player, etc. and put the first 10 songs! One rule, no skipping!

(I’m leaving out the part where I’m supposed to tag ten more people to do this.)

I guess I’ll go with the playlist I’ve been slowly assembling for Chains and Memory. This isn’t the soundtrack; it’s just the music I’ll be going through when I pick stuff for the soundtrack. As such, it skews toward techno, rock, and more modern-sounding scores (whereas the playlists for the Memoirs, to choose a contrasting example, avoid those exact things).

1. “The Magic Wedding,” Cirque du Soleil, CRISS ANGEL Believe
2. “The X-Jet,” Michael Kamen, X-Men
3. “Mater Gloria,” Lesiem, Mystic Spirit Voices
4. “. . . He’s been arrested for espionage,” Harry Gregson-Williams, Spy Game
5. “Written in the Stars,” Ramin Djawadi, Clash of the Titans
6. “CWN Annwn,” Glenn Danzig, Black Aria
7. “Amnesia,” Dead Can Dance, Anastasis
8. “No More Sorrow,” Linkin Park, Minutes to Midnight
9. “Creeping Death,” Apocalyptica, Plays Metallica by Four Cellos
10. “There’s Only Me (Instrumental)”, Rob Dougan, Furious Angels

Back on the horse

Got started again on Chains and Memory last night. I wasn’t sure I’d recovered enough brain yet (between jet lag and the anaesthesia, I’ve been half-zombified for days; I spent most of Saturday alternating half-hour naps with an hour or so of wakefulness), but I decided to put my butt in the chair and see what happened. What happened was 1K of words, so I got to pat myself on the back for that and declare that I am officially Back to Work.

Of course, one day of writing does not actually Back to Work make. It’s a nice start, though, and it was actually rather pleasant to feel like I’m starting to recover. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have another 1K to crank out . . .