Tuesday, November 19, 2019

FENMERE JOB GIVEAWAY and Geeking out on all things Maradaine

Writing something huge and sprawling and multi-faceted, I'm always struck by something I heard Steven Brust say many years ago when I was still in BabyWriter mode and he was on a panel. "Every sequel we write is fanfic of ourselves."  Now, this was around 2007 or so, so this statement got a bit of pearl-clutching in the room. "Fanfic? Professional writers?" So he clarified and expanded his thought: "We are SO GEEKED OUT by the sandbox we built, we want to play more in it."

This is a thought I keep coming back to. That even as creators, we are also fans of the thing we make. We love it SO DAMN MUCH that we want to keep diving into it.  Sometimes I will have reactions to the work, my brain goes very, "BUT DO THIS THING", when said thing is not particularly useful or helpful to, you know, DOING THE WRITING. But yet my brain seizes upon it and wants it done. It took me a bit to realize that it was the part of my brain that REACTS like a fan. The same drive to, say, write fanfic, make fanart, edit fanvids, etc., was still a part of my overall fannish reaction. Even if it was a reaction to my own work.

This is all a longwinded way to say, "Sometimes I make fanart of Maradaine", and that's why this thing exists. And since I, like, CANNOT DRAW or such, my medium tends to be silhouettes contrasted on color. But still, I was driven to make this and now share it.
Image
Along those lines: I've received ARCs of THE FENMERE JOB. So, in this spirit: I’ll send one or two to the artists behind any favorite Maradaine fan art in the next week. Share some with me!
Image

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

SHIELD OF THE PEOPLE and the rest of the year

Hello, Friends!  SHIELD OF THE PEOPLE is out! I am very excited.  Some review quotes:

"I love seing good-hearted characters who keep true to their moral centers even in a gritty world. Shield of the People is wonderfully emotionally complex while also barreling through fantastically-paced action. Highly recommend!"  -- Cass Morris, author of From Unseen Fire

"A series of violent rebel threats on the elections and the twisty machinations of both the Tarian Order and the Open Hand ensure enough action and intrigue for any fan of fantasy adventure. Series readers will delight in returning to the rich universe of Maradaine." - Publishers Weekly

"It has the top-notch characterisation and complex, believable world we’ve come to know and love, backed up by a strongly realised and compelling narrative. Go get it – you won’t regret it." - SF&F Reviews

I'm thrilled that this latest Maradaine adventure is hitting the world.  And next year, we'll have The Fenmere Job (Asti and Verci Rynax cross paths with the Thorn!) and People of the City (Dayne and Jerinne with the Thorn, Minox & Satrine, Asti & Verci!  Full madness).  Both of these books I am really proud of, and I hope it all lives up to the prediction in this review that Maradaine deserves serious consideration for the Best Series Hugo Award.

This weekend!  I will be at World Fantasy Con.  My schedule is here.  Come say hello.
After this, I'm switching gears and hunkering down to write Velocity of Revolutionmy dieselpunk motorcycles-and-insurrections novel in a latin-influenced secondary world. Very excited to get underway on this.

I hope, as always, to have more news to share soon.  I know I've been radio silent on this channel, but largely because of how busy things have been.  Back into the word mines for me.  Later.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Juggling Cats and Chainsaws

Folks, it has been a TIME for me the past few months.  In good ways, with the Good Kind of Busy, but still: A TIME.  And a big part of that is the cat-and-chainsaw juggling that is finishing the draft of PEOPLE OF THE CITY, where I have several plot threads from four different series converging and paying off, and that has been a huge thing, let me tell you.

I'm honestly so glad I'm using Scrivener for this.

One of the things that I LOVE about Scrivener is how painless it is to move scenes around. When you're juggling a bunch of converging plot lines it can be VERY helpful to try different orders of scenes for maximum impact.  Like, you plot it out in outline, figuring out all the What that needs to happen.  But then once it's written, and you've got a sense of the scenes, how they each rise and fall, the lengths of each one, the rhythm of the chapters, it's fun to play with how that works.  Do you group three disaster scenes together, so things fall-fall-fall in each bit through the chapter?  Or push the disaster of one plot line to the next chapter while bringing in the hope from another: fall-rise-fall. Which one is the best end-of-chapter kick?

Plus I can see the word count of each scene, each chapter, and get a sense of how shuffling the scenes around affects the pacing, keywords to show me which characters and threads I'm moving, how each plot thread is moving forward.

I can't imagine writing a novel like the one PEOPLE OF THE CITY is shaping into without these tools.  SO VERY HAPPY.

In other news: SHIELD OF THE PEOPLE comes out this month.  AND I'll be at New York Comic Con this weekend and World Fantasy Con next month.  So things are not slowing down.  Say hello if you can.  Wish me luck.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

ArmadilloCon 2019 Schedule

ArmadilloCon is this weekend!  I have quite the action-packed schedule.  I hope to see everyone there!  Come say hello, please!

Friday, August 2
7pm: ArmadilloCon 2019 Opening Ceremonies
Ballroom D, 7pm - 7:30pm
Track: Fandom
Type: Panel
Jennifer Juday (moderator), Patrice Caldwell, Dan Tolliver, Rebecca Roanhorse, Marshall Ryan Maresca, Moriba Jah, Martha Wells
Everyone should attend! This event kicks our 2019 convention into full swing. Afterwards, join us in the Lobby for Meet the Pros!

8pm: Crossover SF
Ballroom F
Track: Speculative Fiction Literature
Type: Panel
Rebecca Schwarz (moderator), Marshall Ryan Maresca, Jacob Weisman, Derek Austin Johnson, Thomas Wagner, Sanford Allen
Who owns science fiction? With the recent controversy over Ian McEwan as the latest “outsider” to proclaim that they are the first to write a common science fiction trope, the question arises: Is knowledge of the current state and history of the genre necessary to write something good or original? Should there even be a distinction between SFF and literary at all?

Saturday, August 3
10am: Game of Thrones
Ballroom E
Track: Media
Type: Panel
Marshall Ryan Maresca (moderator), Aaron de Orive, John Picacio, K. Tempest Bradford, Rie Sheridan Rose
That ending! That battle! The Starbucks cup! The deaths, the lives, the dragons. Our panelists talk Game of Thrones, and its groundbreaking impact on television.

11am: Author Reading: Toastmaster Marshall Ryan Maresca
Conference Center
Track: Readings
Type: Reading
Marshall Ryan Maresca (moderator)
Author Reading: Toastmaster Marshall Ryan Maresca

1pm: Missing Men
Southpark A
Track: Speculative Fiction Literature
Type: Panel
Marguerite Reed (moderator), C. J. Mills, Marshall Ryan Maresca, Ari Marmell, Jessica Reisman, Barbara Ann Wright
Where are the Strong but Vulnerable Male Characters?

2pm: Entropy: The Play
Conference Center
Track: Readings
Type: Drama
Marshall Ryan Maresca (moderator)
A play by Marshall Ryan Maresca. Do you want to see a ten-minute time loop play? Do you want to see a ten-minute time-loop play? Do you want to see… uh-oh.

3pm: Fannish Feud
Ballroom D
Track: Gaming
Type: Participatory Event
Mark Finn (moderator), Professor Griffin, A. T. Campbell, III, Dan Tolliver, Rebecca Roanhorse, Mikal Trimm, Marshall Ryan Maresca, Matthew B. Tepper, Cassandra Rose Clarke, Troyce Wilson
Fans vs. The Pros try to score points in ArmadillCon's long-running live action contest.

4pm: How to Build A Religion
Southpark A
Track: Writing, Editing & Publishing
Type: Panel
Matt Cardin (moderator), Gabrielle Faust, Marshall Ryan Maresca, Mark Finn, Jessica Reisman, Stina Leicht
Going beyond gods and demons and hells and magic spells. What are the possibilities in creating realistic belief systems?

Sunday, August 4
11am: The Myth of the Apolitical Novel
Ballroom D
Track: Speculative Fiction Literature
Type: Panel
Christopher Brown (moderator), Suyi Davies Okungbowa, K. Tempest Bradford, Marshall Ryan Maresca, Ari Marmell, Rebecca Schwarz
Science fiction has always been political; fantasy has been better at obscuring its political underpinnings. Why do some readers call for authors to stay out of politics, and what does that mandate really mean?

12pm: Food in Fantasy
Ballroom E
Track: Speculative Fiction Literature
Type: Panel
Michelle Muenzler (moderator), C. J. Mills, Amber Royer, Gabrielle Faust, Marshall Ryan Maresca, Amanda Downum
It’s not just Hobbit bread and second breakfasts. Our panelists talk food, recipes, and inspirations for their favorite meals in the books they write and the books they read. There may be samples.

1pm: Autographing - Sunday 1-2 PM
Dealers Room
Track: Readings
Type: Panel
Michael E. Marotta, Michael Wolff, Marshall Ryan Maresca
Autographing - Sunday 1-2 PM

Friday, July 26, 2019

ArmadilloCon, Shield of the People and Masochism

Hello dear friends,

How is July nearly over?  I'm losing track of the summer, and there is so much going on. 

For example, ArmadilloCon is just a week away.  I'm going to be the Toastmaster at this year's con, which is very exciting, as I get to make the Toastmaster speech, but that also means I have to write the Toastmaster speech.  I'm excited, though.  It's going to be a great event, with other Guests of Honor being Rebecca Roanhorse, Patrice Caldwell, Martha Wells, Moriba K. Jah and Dan Tolliver.  If you're in the central Texas area (or can get to it with little hardship), then come down to see us all, August 2nd-4th.

And if you are there, and you see me, there are two ways you can get one of these beautiful ARCs of SHIELD OF THE PEOPLE, months before it comes out on October 29th!  (Of course, you can always pre-order it.)

ARMADILLOCON METHOD #1: Come up to me in anything that could be considered a reasonable attempt at Maradaine Cosplay.  First person who does this will get an ARC.

ARMADILLOCON METHOD #2: Come up to me and recite the Tarian Oath, or at least a good faith attempt.  First person to swear their fealty to putting themselves between the innocent and harm will get an ARC.

"But Marshall," you say, "What about those of us who cannot make it to ArmadilloCon?"

Well, I've got up to three SHIELD OF THE PEOPLE ARCs to give away on line.  Post FAN ART of Maradaine-- anything that can reasonably called Fan Art-- to twitter with the hashtag #Maradaine by JULY 31st. 

I will send ARCs to the artists behind my TOP THREE PICKS.  If you are not Twitter-enabled, then email it directly to me, and I'll post it on Twitter on your behalf.

You would think that doing all this right now would be enough things to keep me busy, but, APPARENTLY NOT, because I've also started a podcast. 

I've teamed up with Alexandra Rowland (A CONSPIRACY OF TRUTHS) and Rowenna Miller (TORN, FRAY) and launched WORLDBUILDING FOR MASOCHISTS, where we talking about fantasy worldbuilding and doing the sort of deep-dive, well beneath the surface kind of worldbuilding.  It's available on iTunes and Spotify and most other places you get your podcasts.  We've released two episodes so far, and it comes out every other Wednesday.

That's all from this side of the screen.  Back to work, as there's so very much to do.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Seven Deadly Writing Sins

All right, if you want to WRITE BOOKS and GET THEM DONE, you've got to do the work.  There's no getting around that.  So, do the work, and avoid the Seven Deadly Sins:

SLOTH- Don't be lazy. Sit down, but in chair, and do the writing.
GLUTTONY- Don't try to shove EVERYTHING into a story.  Save some ideas for something else.
WRATH- Don't get angry and destroy the work you've done when it's coming out wrong.  Walk away, cool down, look at it fresh.
PRIDE- Take your critiques with humility and grace.  Seek out critique partners who will challenge you.
LUST- Avoid the lure of the New Shiny.  Work on the project you've got going on, get it DONE.
ENVY- Eyes on your own paper. Don't worry about what other writers are doing.
GREED- ... ummmm....

Greed's fine in this business, actually.  Go after whatever money they'll pay you.  You've earned it.   Don't work for free.  Or "exposure".  Or copies that you need to sell.  GET PAID.  Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.


So what are you still here for?  Get down in those word mines, get to work.  I'll see you down there.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Juggling the cat herders of interwoven plots

So let's talk about plot weaving.
I'm working right now on the draft for People of the Citywhich is the culmination of Phase I of the Maradaine Saga, and... friends, it's a lot.
I mean, I've been the person who's been all "YES LET'S DO THIS" but bringing together the threads of four different series in a way that comes together in a single book that needs to be A. a solid story in its own right, B. the third Maradaine Elite novel and C. the twelfth Maradaine Saga novel that closes and caps and satisfies a bunch of storylines, while setting the stage for more things in Phase II and beyond.
It's a lot.
I've been saying it's like juggling a chainsaw, a flaming machete and a baby. 
However, this is what all those outlines have been for.  I've been working up to this moment, and I've known what this one was going to be about, and how the different elements were going to come together here to unite the plot lines into what the plot of this book needed to be about.  I knew what I needed to seed in the previous eleven books.  The work has been building to this.  Seven main characters from four different series coming together into a big event.

But that doesn't change the fact that it's A LOT.  And I'm more than a little scared I won't pull it off.  But I've done the work, laid the foundation, and I think I've got it.
Because I fought to do this, and wow, I'm really getting to do it.  That's incredible.
So mark your calendars for Fall 2020.  We're going to have something awesome.