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Posts Tagged ‘real book!’

More adventures in L5R!

And this time around I mean literal adventures!

Well, one adventure, anyway. A while back I was contacted by the Edge Studios, the company now handling the Legend of the Five Rings RPG, asking if I’d like to create a pre-written scenario for the game that would pick up and run with a strand of the plot that was planned for the official storyline, but which never happened due to that storyline getting wrapped up earlier than intended.

So of course I said yes. Then I had to figure out how to make an RPG adventure out of a premise that amounts to “a bunch of religious figures get together to Do Politics,” heh. Also, it was my first time attempting to do something like this: I’d written microsettings for Tiny d6 several times before this, but those pack fluff text, a proposed setting, and several adventure hooks into 1500 words. This time around they wanted more like 15,000 words, all developing a single plot in a well-established world.

But in all honesty, I’m super pleased with how it turned out. Because there are no pre-generated characters and no way for me to know what types of people the players would bring to the game, I couldn’t just make it all be about theology and such (which probably would have been of limited interest anyway); I had to figure out structures that would let players engage usefully with the plot via a wide variety of skills. There’s a section where PCs can influence the religious conclave via anything from meditation to calligraphy to a sparring match to their ability to hold their booze! The necessity of providing that flexibility was actually a good thing, because it meant figuring out multiple types of conflict, which gave the adventure as a whole a much wider dynamic range.

Imperfect Land is out now, if you happen to be interested in the L5R RPG. I’ve gotten some good early reactions already, but of course the real question will be what happens when the rubber of what I wrote meets the road of people actually playing it. I hope they have fun!

And as long as I’m here announcing L5R-related news, I should add that I’ve officially sold a third and final novel in my series to Aconyte Books: The Market of 100 Fortunes, which will be out some time in early 2024, about a year after The Game of 100 Candles. First, though, I gotta write it . . .

New Worlds, Year Five — now in print!

If you prefer your worldbuilding essays in tangible form, you can now get New Worlds, Year Five in print from Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million, Bookshop.org, IndieBound, and Amazon in the US or in the UK — note that the US link gives me a small commission, but I mention that for disclosure, not as a push for you to buy from Amazon.

Also also! At JordanCon last month they published their (I think) annual) anthology, this time titled Neither Beginnings Nor Endings. It contains my long story “And Ask No Leave of Thee,” which the familiar among you will have recognized as a line from the ballad “Tam Lin;” yes, after several decades, my brain finally produced a Tam Lin retelling! You can get the anthology only from Amazon, in ebook or in print (both of those commission links again).

Get yer facts here!

A while back I wrote an essay on how translation gets represented in fiction for Dan Koboldt’s blog. Well, that essay is now available as part of an excellent book called Putting the Fact in Fantasy, which is stuffed full of practical advice on a variety of topics relevant to writers. You can get an overview for some of its contents in Dan’s post, and you can order the book from a variety of retailers — including as an audiobook! Some of you might also be interested in its predecessor, Putting the Science in Science Fiction.

For me, these kinds of books aren’t only about learning details that let me correct my mistakes (though that happens, too). Just reading through such articles often gives me ideas for new stories, as some concrete specific suggests a whole plot problem or scene. May they do the same for you!

New Worlds, Year Five!

The New Worlds Patreon wrapped up its fifth year at the end of February, and now you can get the Year Five collection!

cover art for New Worlds, Year Five by Marie Brennan

Featuring discussions of everything from different forms of government to issues of representing invented languages on the page. Get it from Book View Cafe (via our shiny new storefront! we have both epub and mobi!), Barnes & Noble (for Nook), Google Play, iTunes, Kobo, Indigo, or Amazon US or UK. (Be aware that the Amazon US link gives me a small commission. Despite that kickback, though, I strongly encourage buying from sources other than Amazon when you can; BVC sells Kindle-compatible mobi files, too.)

This is only the ebook, by the way — the print edition will follow next month!

Ars Historica — now in print!

I ran into some technical snags with this, but I have finally gotten Ars Historica into a print edition! You can get it through Bookshop.org (my current recommendation for supporting independent bookstores), Barnes and Noble, The Book Depository, or Amazon in the US or the UK. It joins Maps to Nowhere in the tiny but growing library of novella-sized short fiction collections on my bookshelf — my physical bookshelf, I mean — and the others will follow in due course!

MAPS TO NOWHERE now in print!

One of my projects for 2021 is to start working my way through my backlist of BVC titles and get the majority* of them into print editions. That project starts now, with Maps to Nowhere!

cover art for MAPS TO NOWHERE by Marie Brennan

It’s a slim little paperback, about the size of a novella, and you can get it now from Barnes and Noble, Book Depository, Bookshop.org (which, btw, has become one of my favorite places to order from — it’s the latest development in supporting independent bookstores), or Amazon US or UK. (Full disclosure: I get a commission from sales through the Amazon US link. Which is nice, but did I mention I really like Bookshop.org?)

The others will follow in due course — with the asterisk up above being that some titles (Never After, Monstrous Beauty) are too short for print editions, while others In London’s Shadow, The Doppelganger Omnibus) are too long. But the rest are Goldilocks-approved, and over the next year or so, I hope to roll them all out!

THE MASK OF MIRRORS IS OUT! + where to find me in the next month

The time has come, the walrus said, to celebrate the fact that The Mask of Mirrors is out at last!

cover art for THE MASK OF MIRRORS by M.A. Carrick

Now I begin to enact the ritual dance of the Author With a New Book Out — which is to say, my schedule is chock-full of Things I am doing for promotion. Right now you can find our Big Idea piece up at John Scalzi’s blog and our My Favorite Bit piece up at Mary Robinette Kowal’s, not to mention the various other interviews and podcasts we’ve been lining up for the last two months. But that’s not all — we’ve also got several events coming up in the near future!

TONIGHT, at 7 p.m. Pacific, Alyc and I will be doing a joint event with Christopher Paolini at Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore. Signed and personalized books are available!

On Thursday, January 21st, at 6 p.m. Pacific, we will be doing a joint event with Andrea Stewart (author of The Bone Shard Daughter) at Orbit Live. This event will also be made available on YouTube afterward, for those who aren’t able to attend.

We will be doing an AMA at r/Fantasy on Tuesday, January 26th — so if you have questions you’d like to ask, get ’em ready!

I will also be teaching a workshop on how to do public readings of your work, through the auspices of the Dream Foundry.

On Wednesday, February 3rd, at 7 p.m. Pacific, I will be reading at The Story Hour.

And finally (for now, anyway), I will be participating in virtual Boskone, from February 12th-14th! Precise programming schedule TBA.

Go forth and tell everyone the book is out! I know the world is very full of other stuff going on right now, much of it bad and more important for the general state of the world than the publication of a fantasy novel . . . but also, live goes on at the same time, and so does work. Pandemics and white supremacists be damned — I want to enjoy this moment!

Rook and Rose Book 2, Chapter Twelveteen

It’s been a little quiet around here because we have, uh, thrown linearity out the window for a while. >_>

Remember what I said before, about how we decided our Chapters 14 and 15 were both so short they should be a single chapter? That took what had been 13 and pulled it up to 14, leaving us with a gap after 12 — or more precisely, some scenes in 12 that might (and in fact did) get redistributed between that and 13. Hence dubbing the new material Chapter Twelveteen. We’ve spent the last week and a half sort of ricocheting between that and Chapter 17, and it was almost a race to see which one would get done first; Twelveteen won (by a nose).

I’m really glad we made this change (even if it led to one scene ping-ponging from 12 to 17 to 13, which is really inconvenient when a) you number your scenes in the document and b) you have formulas in your outlining spreadsheet that calculate both the wordcount for the chapter and the running wordcount for the novel, which get borked when you drag things around like that). Twelveteen has some stuff we really needed: a big, creepy encounter with one of the threats, a bit of character bonding in a place where it had been profoundly lacking, the reappearance of a character we haven’t seen for a while, and the reintroduction of a character who, we realized, hadn’t actually been seen since the last book. All of which do multiple duties: the reappearance also lets us move an investigation forward and set up a later scene, the reintroduction lets us elaborate on a certain political intrigue and foreshadow something else, the creepy encounter facilitated a whole bunch of exposition and also set up the aforementioned intrigue, etc. Like I said, very much needed.

Aiming for a set length, in the sense of both wordcount and number of chapters, is simultaneously a blessing and a choke-leash. It keeps us from getting too tangled in our own complexities, adding new subplots and twists until we utterly lose sight of where we’re going — but it also means we don’t have the kind of flexibility I’ve had with other novels, where eh, if I need to add in another chapter in order to deal with something, I can. I’m very, very glad that we were able to do the big avalanche stuff more efficiently, in two chapters instead of three . . . because otherwise we might have had no choice but to look back at what we have and decide what thread to yank out entirely, to make room for everything else.

Wordcount: ~123,000 (not counting the nearly-complete Chapter 17)
Authorial sadism: Look, we put Chekhov’s Magic on the mantel. We had to pull the trigger eventually.
Authorial amusement: DOOMCLAW THE YOWLER
BLR quotient: In part because these scenes are spread across two chapters, uhhhh, all three. It depends entirely on which scene you’re looking at.

Oh, and in case you missed it:

Advance reader copies of THE MASK OF MIRRORS, by M.A. Carrick

Real book!!!! (Advance copies thereof, at least.)

Nine Lands + photo sale!

My latest short story collection, The Nine Lands, is out now! You can get it from Book View Cafe, Barnes and Noble (Nook), Google Play, iTunes, Kobo, and Amazon US or UK. This is my third short story collection, after Ars Historica and Maps to Nowhere, plus the mini-collections Monstrous Beauty and Never After. Bit by bit, I’m getting my short fiction back out there!

Also, don’t forget that I’m currently running a holiday photo sale! Of course anything in my galleries is available, but this set of photos are already printed and ready to ship, no lead time necessary (which becomes an issue around the holidays). Prices range from $50-$100; if you’re interested, get in touch!