Tag Archives: fantasy

OAK SEER: A Fey Matter Novel – Cover Reveal

I’m excited to reveal the cover for OAK SEER, the second novel of the Fey Matter series! The book releases June 26, so stayed tuned for more details.
#fantasybook #bookcover #teamcityowl #feymatter

OAK SEER picks up a few months after the events of THE LAIRD OF DUNCAIRN:

Thrust into the public eye as the “Green Lady,” Effie of Glen Coe has become a living legend, the fey woman who saved Scotland from devastation. But to some, she’s a threat to human existence and a traitor to fey-kind.

Determined more than ever to forge a peace between fey and humans, Effie finds herself navigating a realm increasingly divided. The lords of London have other plans, and once again Effie is pulled into a quagmire of politics and greed. She must stand against plots to remove her kind from the shores of the empire and madmen who murder fey without regard.

Even worse, heinous cults have arisen, enthralled by an unseen enemy. With violent thugs and unruly mobs all around, wits and courage are not enough. Effie must become something more than herself, an Oak Seer, a fey mantle long lost. But can she survive long enough to claim it?

Advertisements

Girls Kick Ass Promotion

Did you wake up and ask yourself this morning: Where can I find new fantasy books featuring kick-ass women? If so, you’re in luck! Check out the Girls Kick Ass collection and fill up your kindle with FREE and $0.99 ebooks from now until April 11th!

http://www.fantasyauthornicoletteandrews.com/girls-kick-ass/

Owl Madness

All this week City Owl Press is hosing #OwlMadness where you can learn about some great authors and discover new books. Stop by www.cityowlpress.com for daily posts.

As part of this promotion, THE LAIRD OF DUNCAIRN will be only $0.99 all week! So now’s your chance to check it out, and if you’ve enjoyed it already–thank you!–share the news with a friend!  (Find it on Amazon!)

An Oath of Dogs – Interview with Wendy N. Wagner

Today, I have the privilege to chat with Wendy N. Wagner about her new book, An Oath of Dogs (Angry Robot, July 2017.) For those who aren’t familiar, Wendy is managing editor of the Hugo Award-winning Lightspeed magazine, as well as the author of two novels set in the Pathfinder RPG world, Skinwalkers and Starspawn.

CC: Welcome! An Oath of Dogs was released earlier this month. Congratulations! Give us your elevator pitch for the novel.

WW: An Oath of Dogs is the story of a woman who moves to a new planet only to discover that her boss has been murdered—and it looks like their company did it to cover up a much larger crime. It also features a heroic therapy dog, lots of alien plants and creatures, a sect of neo-Mennonite farmers, a mysterious pack of wild dogs, and a botanist with a love of beer.

CC: Sounds like a lot of cool hooks for readers. What was the nugget that started the story in your head? A character, scene, or event?

WW: I had an idea about wild dog packs that made me want to explore the relationship between people and dogs. I kept playing around with the idea, and it grew into part of a much more complicated story about the way we explore and develop new places and how we treat the landscape around us.

CC: How long did it take to write? Do you have a normal writing time, or do you fit it in when you can?

WW: This book took a long time to write! Maybe two and a half or three years, even. I got the idea for the story while I was working on my first Pathfinder tie-in novel, so I didn’t get a chance to really start working on it for a while. Then I got hired to write a second novel, so that slowed it down even more.

I try to write in the morning, after my daughter has gone to school and my husband has gone to work. I walk the cats, drink some coffee, and then write for an hour or two before I do my freelance work.

CC: So you’ve told us who the protagonist is, but tell us about a side character you love.

WW: Oh, it’s so hard to choose—I wound up falling in love with all the side characters! Probably my favorite is Olive Whitley, a young girl who befriends the main character. Olive loves wandering in the woods and studying nature, where she harvests plants to sell to local artists to help her family make ends meet. She’s just a really, really good kid. A little weird, but good.

CC: Which question about An Oath of Dogs do you wish someone would ask? Ask and answer it!

WW: Well, this is extremely nerdy, but I wish someone would ask about the scientific names I used. I feel very clever about coming up with them. I used taxonomic names based on the names for plants that currently exist, but I gave them a third component based on the name of the planetary system. The world An Oath of Dogs is set on is called “Huginn,” and it orbits a planet named “Wodin,” accompanied by the tiny satellite of “Muninn.” All the celestial bodies in the system are named for Norse entities, and it’s called the Yggdrasil system. So if humans were from Huginn, they’d be Yggdrasil homo sapiens.

CC: Those are great details, and I love the Norse influence… Speaking of which, gardening is another passion of yours. Tells us how it inspires/influences your writing.

WW: I love plants, and I love dirt. Everything I write winds up having a lot of plants in the background, simply because plants are a major part of the way I see the world. A world just doesn’t feel like a world unless it’s packed with growing things!

Since I find biology and horticulture so interesting, those sciences usually play the main role of “science” in my science fiction. I like writing about the future and imagining that people have traveled to new worlds, but since I barely pay attention to technology in our current world (at least while it’s working), I don’t spend a lot of time imagining fancy gadgets and crazy technology for my books.

CC: An Oath of Dogs explores the relationships between humankind, animals, and the landscape. Do you think it’s important a novel have a social message?

WW: Not exactly. I think it’s important for a novel to grapple with culture, because I think that as an artist, part of your job is to play around with cultural elements. And because you’re a human being, of course your work has a political, moral, philosophical, and sociological stance, no matter what you’re writing about or what genre that you’re working in. The more you try to understand and control the political, moral, philosophical, and sociological stance your work is taking, the more mature your work will feel and the stronger your craft will become. But that still might not feel like a “message,” per se.

CC: Your first two novels, Skinwalkers and Starspawn, are set in the shared Pathfinder world. How was it controlling your own universe in its entirety this time? Did it make the writing process easier or harder?

WW: Writing in my own world is vastly easier. I think the best fiction features characters and settings that grow intrinsically out of each other, and that’s almost impossible to achieve in a shared-world setting where your story can’t have any long-term effect on the world.

CC: Are you a plotter or a pantser?

WW: Yes and yes.

While I’ve had to write really in-depth outlines for projects (all of my tie-in work had to have multi-page outlines approved before I could start writing) and really appreciated having them as a tool for writing, I’ve also written things where I only had a very loose outline. I definitely like knowing a basic structure, but I don’t mind finding things out as I go.

CC: Now for fun, who would win in a fight, Kate Standish or Jendara (from An Oath of Dogs & Skinwalkers, respectively)? Compare their strengths and weaknesses.

WW: Jendara, definitely! Standish is tough-minded, and she has a fairly physical job, but Jendara is a combat veteran. Plus, she heats her house with wood and cooks on a wood stove, which means she’s constantly splitting logs.

While I was researching the Jendara novels—she lives in part of the Pathfinder world inspired by Viking culture, which meant lots of reading up on Vikings—I learned that one archaeological dig had uncovered a war horse with a cut in its leg bone containing shards of mail and other bone. Further examination made the archaeologists realize that a fighter had chopped their sword through the horse’s chain mail coat, through one of its front legs, and only finally come to stop in the bone of the horse’s second front leg. And that was with one blow! I can’t imagine that kind of strength, but it was far more common in less sedentary centuries.

CC: What if they teamed up? Who would be the sidekick?

WW: If those two teamed up, they’d be unbeatable. (Well, unless they found a keg of really good beer. Both of them are a little too fond of beer.) They both have incredibly hard heads and refuse to take no for an answer. But Standish would have to be the leader, because Jendara can be a bit rash, and she’s terrible at making plans. Then again, people like Jendara a lot more, so if it was a bigger group, she’d make the better leader. Standish is really good at getting people angry with her.

CC: Any other writing projects you’re working on?

WW: I’m working on a ton of stuff, but I’m not sure I can talk about any of them! I do have some fun short stories coming out, including one in this awesome anthology that looks like a Ouija board.

CC: That looks like a lot of fun! Thanks for stopping by, and good luck with all your writing endeavors!

An Oath of Dogs:
Kate Standish has been on the forest-world of Huginn less than a week and she’s already pretty sure her new company murdered her boss. But the little town of mill workers and farmers is more worried about eco-terrorism and a series of attacks by the bizarre, sentient dogs of this planet, than a death most people would like to believe is an accident. That is, until Kate’s investigation uncovers a conspiracy which threatens them all.

More About the Author:
Wendy N. Wagner grew up in a remote town on the Oregon coast, a place so small it had no grocery store and no television reception. When the bookmobile came every two weeks, the whole town gathered to explore its latest offerings. Books were her lifeline, her window into the outside world, and soon, an obsession.

Wendy’s short fiction has appeared in more than 30 anthologies and magazines, and she has written tie-in fiction for the award-winning Pathfinder role-playing game (including two novels). Her third novel, AN OATH OF DOGS, is due out July 2017.

As well as writing, Wendy is also the managing/associate editor of LIGHTSPEED and NIGHTMARE magazines. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her very understanding family. You can follow her exploits on www.winniewoohoo.com.

Marion County Fair 2017

I had a great time meeting new fans at the Marion County Fair this past weekend. Thanks for everyone’s support and enthusiasm for THE LAIRD OF DUNCAIRN!

Fey Matter Update

THE LAIRD OF DUNCAIRN received a great review today from Cecily Wolfe:

Well-developed characters and plot make this historical fantasy a true pleasure to read and become lost in. Readers looking for a strong female protagonist will find her in Effie, who is believable and likeable. A very unique and fascinating story – I definitely can’t wait for this series to continue!

I am so happy readers are enjoying the first installment of The Fey Matter series, and I hope the second will be in their hands within the year! I’m currently revising book II–as yet unnamed–and am eager to hand it over to my publisher (City Owl Press) by the end of summer!

The Augurwraith by Craig Comer – Part VIII

The assassin appeared at her side. He held the crossbar meant to wedge the doors in place, but instead, he heaved the beam at the newcomers. It clattered along the floor at their feet, causing them to slow and jump out of the way.

Lucendes reached into his shirt and plucked out the totem, handing it to her. As Saja felt the cool glass, a shiver went up her arms. The last time she’d seen Tarim, he’d run a hand through her hair as they strolled through the potters bazaar. Would he remember?

“Do it now!” Lucendes said. “As Khouri instructed!”

Saja glanced up. The thugs were almost on top of them. Raising the totem, she hurled it at their feet. She found her voice and shouted, “Tarim, son of Yusri!” The totem shattered, and a flash of white light seared Saja’s eyes, blinding her.

She stumbled backward into the doors. Dark shadows grew solid as her vision returned. All but one.

“Tarim,” she whispered. He was clothed in the fine vest and shirt of one of the Kitame’s guard, with a silk sash of blue wrapped around his waist. Hanging from a belt was a curved sword.

He wasn’t the boy from Saja’s dreams. That Tarim was more solid, somehow more real. The Tarim before her was blurred, as if the details of his face—the glint of his eyes and ridge of his cheeks—weren’t fully formed. Or perhaps they were just hidden from this world.

The augurwraith studied the foyer, taking in the minions of the Horned Man, who’d stopped in horror of their new adversary. It shifted its gaze to Lucendes, and finally, to Saja. Joy swelled in her chest, then dwindled to nothingness.

No recognition showed in its features.

The creature drew its giant blade and snarled. One of the thugs dropped his stave and ran. The augurwraith turned and sprang forward, cleaving a path through the other men. Where its sword met flesh, great rents blossomed. Its movement was a drifting mist, its already blurred features seeming to dissolve and reform with each step.

A man with a short sword hacked at the creature’s back, but the steel slid through the augurwraith like a stick through a spider web, pulling tendrils of mist in its wake. The creature slashed low, and the man clutched at sundered legs as he fell.

The remaining minions bolted for the far reaches of the room, where a pair of doors and a corridor led off to other parts of the storehouse. The augurwraith pursued them, its whirling blade a dark streak of shadow.

Saja trembled, not quite comprehending what she saw. Tarim. And the creature. Existing together, yet not the same. They couldn’t be. She took in the butchery, and something steeled within her gut. No, she thought. This couldn’t be how she remembered him. With a determined step, she strode forward.

Across the foyer, the augurwraith disappeared into the corridor. Saja quickened her stride. She’d reached halfway to the edge of the room, when Lucendes grabbed her shoulders.

“Let it be,” he said. Saja tried to shrug him off, but his grip tightened.

“I have to see him,” she said, “the real Tarim. My Tarim.” She squirmed in his embrace, straining against his wiry arms. Her hand found the knife at her belt, and she drove its butt into his gut.

He shuffled back, releasing her, and they glared at one another. Lucendes’ face was a tense mask, his skin pulled tight around his eyes and lips. Saja knew if he lunged with his dagger, she would die.

But the assassin relaxed and shook his head. “It is foolish to hope such things,” was all he said.

Saja ran. Bodies lined the corridor, leaving a trail easy to follow. She rounded a corner and hurried down a flight of stairs, as a scream echoed from below. Her feet hit dirt, and she leapt toward an open door just as a stout man with graying locks burst through from the other side.

Saja grunted as they collided, and the wind was knocked from her lungs. She was thrown back and landed hard on her rump. The man cursed, staring down at where her knife stuck from his chest. His knees buckled, and he dropped.

Saja blinked, but she had no time to dwell upon what she’d done. Scrambling to her feet, she padded around the man and peered through the door. The augurwraith stood within, stalking a man who already clutched at a flayed hand. Several tables lay overturned and broken, and in the far corner, a trapdoor rested open against the wall.

But it was the form huddled against the near wall that halted Saja’s breath. Her father lay with nothing but a soiled cloth wrapped about his waist. Purple welts covered his body, and caked blood matted in his hair.

She rushed to his side, and the movement brought the creature spinning toward her, sword raised high.

“No!” she roared. “You are Tarim, son of Yusri, not this creature!” Fury burned within her chest. At her father and the guild. At Lucendes and the thieves of Kuthahaar. And at Tarim. The apprentice had wounded her deepest of all. She’d thought to tell him of how much she loved him, but now as she stood before him, she felt only the anger of betrayal.

“You could’ve run,” she said. Tears streamed down her cheeks, and her body shivered. “We could’ve hid from my father and found a life together. But you abandoned me and ripped that life away.”

The augurwraith’s face remained hard, but it lowered its blade. “You are wrong, Saja, daughter of Sukahn,” it said.

A voice gasped in wonder. “Tarim, I dared not truly believe.” Saja’s father gawked at his former apprentice, then racking sobs overtook him. “What have I done?” he cried.

“You did what you thought best,” said Tarim. He turned his gaze to Saja. “As did I, no matter how much it hurt you.” He paused, and the silence seemed to suck the air from the room. “What is done, is done. You must find a way without me.”

“Is that all?” she asked, though she knew Tarim’s words for truth. He’d tried to save her and her father the best way he could, the only way left to an apprentice bound to a penniless drunkard of a master.

The apprentice shimmered as if its shadowy form was suddenly taken by a gust of wind. “Do not seek me again. It only brings me pain.” Tarim’s face grew sorrowful, then began to fade.

As the augurwraith dissipated, Saja felt a void open within her. A great hunk of her old life ripped away, and with it went the false hope she’d tucked deep in her heart, one she’d never admitted existed, even to herself. The hope Tarim would return to her. In that void, Saja realized she would need to forge resolve and strength. He’d given his life for her future, and she meant not to squander that gift. She’d rescued her father once but would need to do so again. She loved him still and would not abandon him the way he’d abandoned her.

Across the room, the remaining minion of the Horned Man stared at Saja in bewilderment, clutching his bloodied hand. “Run, fool! To the Under!” barked Lucendes. The man jumped at the assassin’s command and scampered to the trapdoor, disappearing down a hole in the floor.

“Saja,” said her father, shoulders jerking as he continued to sob. “I ruined us. Who will trade with me now?”

“Don’t worry, papa,” she replied. She helped him to his feet, then grinned at Lucendes. “I am your new apprentice, and I believe the Tanner’s Guild will soon be sending you more work than you can handle. And at a very favorable price.”

The assassin laughed. “Perhaps,” he said. “The Blessed One does take care of his own.”

THE END

Originally published in Pulp Empire Volume IV.

© Craig Comer

A Fey Matter II Rough Draft Complete!

Feeling excited and accomplished this past week, as I’ve finished the rough draft of my second Fey Matter novel. As yet untitled, it currently weighs in at 95K words (though I’m sure it’ll grow a bit in editing) and follows Effie as she uncovers a series of shocking events springing from the aftermath of THE LAIRD OF DUNCAIRN.

effie-snipit“That notoriety persuaded her little did not lessen the desire that gripped her to have a voice in the matter, one that would rattle the empire and shake free the parasitic hold of prejudices against the fey.”

Work on THE LAIRD OF DUNCAIRN continues as I get my marketing ducks in a row. I saw a mock up of the cover, and I’m excited to reveal it, hopefully sometime soon!

BM_Small_newLast, Garrett Calcaterra, one of the co-authors of THE ROADS TO BALDAIRN MOTTE has posted his novella from that book for FREE on Wattpad. What, free? Yep, and if you like that, you can also check out his YA fantasy novel, DREAMWIELDER, as well.

The novella is entitled, ON THE BLACK WIND TO BALDAIRN MOTTE, and you can find it by clicking here.