Thralls of the Fairie and Other Tales is now out in the wild and on sale for its release week! Looking for some Sword & Sorcery adventure? Some heroic fantasy? Something to pair with those final season 4 episodes of Stranger Things? Celebrate the holiday weekend with these eleven tales where thieves quest, the abandoned hunt, and commoners struggle merely to survive!
Tag: new book
Thralls of the Fairie – Baldairn Motte
A new anthology from Craig Comer – ebook available for pre-order. Eleven tales of Sword & Sorcery, low fantasy, and high adventure.
I’m excited to say that Thralls is now also available in print – Get yours here!
Broken into three sections, I’m sharing more about each in turn:
TALES OF BALDAIRN MOTTE – Far away in Baldairn, the king is dead. As armies march and lords grasp for an empty throne, the villagers of Burn Gate find themselves caught between protecting their families and defending their lands. For the crofter, Trask, the decision is simple, but the cost will shape the fortunes of those he loves.
Baldairn Motte started as a question posed by author Ahimsa Kerp, who wondered how the men who fought for Sauron in Lord of the Rings were tricked into believing they were in the right. That idea melded with one of my own, where I pondered over the impact a large medieval battle would have on the local populace—the farmers and villagers who had to deal with trampled fields, slain livestock, and a sea of rotting corpses. Not to mention the loss of life and the struggle they faced between honoring their duties to their lords and protecting their families.
Along with author Garrett Calcaterra, we set out to explore these topics in a slightly different manner—we would each create our own story based around a common set of “factual” events. In this way, each of us would tell a different point of view of the same conflict. The original result was the three novellas of The Roads to Baldairn Motte, with my tale called Thralls of the Fairie. To that mosaic novel, we added a few interstitial documents—made-up chronicles and letters—to help flavor the wider world and help setup the core conflict of our tales.
When our first publisher, L&L Dreamspell, closed its doors we had the opportunity to republish Baldairn with Reputation Books. Our editor there asked for more short pieces to color our world and characters. “An Ambush at Plum Grove” was one of these tales, and serves as a prologue to the expanded edition. “A Morning Storm” was a cut bit from an initial draft of Thralls, when there were several additional point-of-view characters. It serves now as a resolution to the ill-fated Orren of Burn Gate.
Now with Knight Owl Publishing, Baldairn has grown and morphed throughout the years. But at its heart it remains a collection of tales, not of destined heroes or mighty lords, but of simple folk trying to survive and find happiness.
Thralls of the Fairie – Kuthahaar
A new anthology from Craig Comer ebook available for pre-order. Eleven tales of Sword & Sorcery, low fantasy, and high adventure.
I’m excited to say that Thralls is now also available in print – Get yours here!
Broken into three sections, I’m sharing more about each in turn:
TALES OF KUTHAHAAR – In Kuthahaar, the Sultan lords over imprisoned oracles, wraith-like assassins, and underground rivers filled with the dead. For Saja and Akil, uncovering these mysteries will seal their fates, whether they wish it or not. For Rajheb, it is enough to wander the city, and remember what was.
“The Kultar’s Lost Hand” was the city of Kuthahaar’s first appearance. The story came of wondering what happens to young heroes when their bodies age and exploits are forgotten. But the city, with its Sultan and boatmen, shaded palaces and cults of mystics, spawned so many other thoughts that soon I had a whole series of tales that further flushed out the mightiest city in the world. The fabled capital of a largely desert empire, Kuthahaar is not quite Arabian, but certainly not stock European. The city lives somewhere in-between, in a time not yet faded into myth.
In “The Dream Thief of Kuthahaar” and “The Augurwraith” questions of fate and agency carry forward Kultar’s themes. If magic exists, will it help or hinder the lowborn? Will it be an equalizer or another tool for oppression? “The Blood of Khalid Al’Tahir” is a more straight-forward tale, but still with its own twist of fate. This play between heroes and rogues, fate and agency, is one I find fascinating, and I hope you, the reader, will as well.
Thralls of the Fairie – Lost Lands
A new anthology from Craig Comer available for pre-order. Eleven tales of Sword & Sorcery, low fantasy, and high adventure.
I had fun time working on these tales, dusting off the old and polishing up the new, never before released. Herein lies a span of almost twenty years of writing, and whereas I hadn’t remembered every twist and turn of each of them, I had a clearly etched memory of when I’d written them. Each is dear to me, and I hope will be an enjoyable read for you!
Broken into three sections, I thought I’d share more about each in turn:
TALES OF LOST LANDS – To reclaim the heart of her god, Mior bargains with mages and delves deep into the temple of a cult. Caita Halftallow finds strength amongst the herd, the better to crush her enemies, while Jaelyn’s song lends her the strength to slay fiends.
The winner of the Artist’s Challenge Anthology contest, “The Song of Jaelyn” first saw print in 2008. The contest rules were simple: submit a story inspired by the anthology’s cover. With a ship besieged by a storm, and a begowned woman staring longingly at the sea, the story formed quickly and almost wrote itself. Its theme of a wronged, and seemingly desperate, victim turning the tables on their assailants continued in other tales. In “Tazirum’s Dagger,” my second published story, it’s a group of young would-be adventurers who get in over their heads. “The Tomb of Jorem’bel” and “The Lure of Caita Halftallow” feature heroes fighting against the odds to save their family’s legacies.
These are tales inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson’s BLACK ARROW and Sir Walter Scott’s IVANHOE, not to mention the adventures of more brawny rogues like Conan and David Eddings’ Sparhawk. They are gritty and set in lands both familiar and strange, where magic exists but is clouded in mystery and not readily visible. And if the gods play a hand in the fate of our heroes, it is only for their own ends.
BARROW WITCH Now Available!
It’s out! Book 3 of A Fey Matter released today; you can find it on Amazon and everywhere you get your reads!
#fey #gaslamp #fantasy – Buy on Amazon!
“In BARROW WITCH, the stakes are steeper, the danger more dreadful, and Effie is more exciting than ever. Comer concludes his trilogy with flourishing aplomb… It’s quite the accomplishment for each book in a series to improve, but with BARROW WITCH we reach the ultimate high of fey steampunk fantasy that the series has always delivered.”
– Ahimsa Kerp, author of Empire of the Undead
Praise for THE LAIRD OF DUNCAIRN:
“Effie is an amazing character. I loved following her journey and seeing her change and grow.”
– I Heart Reading
“The book was a one sit read for me. I loved it and would recommend it to everyone. The characters were well developed and deep with an original story.”
– Read Day and Night Blog
“Well-developed characters and plot make this historical fantasy a true pleasure to read and become lost in… A very unique and fascinating story.”
– Cecily Wolfe, author of Throne of Grace
Find the series on Amazon; Download it from Kindle Unlimited!
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.