Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Hugo Eligibility

You know, if you had told me thirty years ago that in 2020 I would be able to write up a list of multiple things of mine that were Hugo eligible, it would have blown my mind. Probably even more mind-blowing would have been the idea that what gets nominated will be a bunch of people I'm friends and acquaintance with.   That remains wild to me, even to this day.
But, hey, if you are nominating, let me steer you to some of my things that are, in fact eligible.

BEST NOVEL: Both  A Parliament of Bodies and Shield of the People were novels that came out in 2019, so they are both eligible for Best Novel.  Though, if we're being honest, I'm very much not expecting that.  Both books, very well received, but there's been no such buzz on them.  But if you think they deserve to be nominated, I would be deeply honored.

BEST SERIES: From my understanding, by the wording of the award rules and how the various sub-series interact, that all of the Maradaine Saga is eligible as a whole, and that would be the best way to nominate the series, if that was your interest.  Again, I would be deeply honored if you think the interweaving of four series into one setting has been an endeavor worthy of your vote.   Maybe you want to wait until People of the City comes out to see if I stick the landing there?  If so, I respect that.  I would love to be honored here, but I understand I need to earn it.

BEST RELATED WORK: I did put up the ArmadilloCon 41 Toastmaster Speech for everyone to read after Martha Wells asked me to, and it is a speech I'm very proud of.  I was asked to say a bunch of kind things about the community of SFF and the people in it-- especially and specifically the guests of honor like Martha-- and I spoke from my heart, and if that reached you, I'm glad.

BEST FANCAST: Ok, friends, this is probably the big hat shake on my part.  Last year I launched Worldbuilding for Masochists with Alexandra Rowland and Rowenna Miller and it has been a delight to do, and I think we've done really good work making a podcast that is fun to listen to and gives a lot of insight into the worldbuilding process.  I really think this is work that is worthy of your nomination.  Please, if you've not yet checked it out, head on over and give it serious consideration. 
Also, if we get nominated, Alex and Rowenna have carte blanche on my Hugo Ceremony outfit.  Tell me you don't want to see that.

That's all I've got!  If you can nominate, go forth and nominate with your whole heart.  And, if you can't, consider the value of getting a supporting membership for 2021 so you can nominate next year. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2020


So, five years ago, I launched the Maradaine Saga with THE THORN OF DENTONHILL, in which magic-student-by-day, vigilante-by-night, full-time beautiful idiot Veranix Calbert fought his war against the Fenmere drug cartel.  Next came A MURDER OF MAGES, the first of the Maradaine Constabulary, where ex-spy working mother Satrine Rainey teams up with untrained mage Minox Welling as Inspectors Third Class to investigate a string of ritualized murders of circles mages.

The next year, we put out THE ALCHEMY OF CHAOS, where Veranix's double life was pushed to the edge and he juggled stopping drug sales, keeping the Aventil gangs in check, fending off assassins all while taking exams. Then AN IMPORT OF INTRIGUE, where Satrine and Minox investigate the extremely complicated murder of a Fuergan dignitary, facing ghosts of Satrine's past and the danger of Minox's future.  We followed this up switching gears with THE HOLVER ALLEY CREW, the first of the Streets of Maradaine, where Asti and Verci Rynax have to return to their heist-pulling ways when their home and shop are burned down.  Then the first crossover book, THE IMPOSTERS OF AVENTIL, where the actions of Thorn imposters get the attention of the Constabulary, so Veranix has to both confront the imposters and Minox and Satrine.

We return to the Streets of Maradiane with LADY HENTERMAN'S WARDROBE, where Asti & Verci and their crew follow their path of revenge against the people who started the fire, leading them to a nobelman's home and a dangerous enemy from Asti's past.  Next came the beginning of the Maradaine Elite, with THE WAY OF THE SHIELD, where pacifist warrior Dayne Heldrin meets Tarian initiate Jerinne Fendall, and they work together to stop a revolutionary uprising against the Parliament. 
Then the third Maradaine Constabulary, A PARLIAMENT OF BODIES, where Satrine and Minox investigate a horrific, sadistic killer who created an exhibit of death on the Parliament floor, and Dayne and Jerinne work with them to stop the killer.   In SHIELD OF THE PEOPLE, Dayne and Jerinne discover a plot against the free election of the Parliament, and work to protect the voice of the people of Maradaine.
NOW, there is THE FENMERE JOB-- which comes out TOMORROW-- in which Asti & Verci strive to stop a drug shipment from hitting their neighborhood, but The Thorn shows up with his own agenda. Now the stage is fully set...

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.
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!

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.