Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Covers of Maradaine

I feel like I've been very fortunate with the covers of my books.  Paul Young has been the cover artist for all four books so far, and I'm given to understand that Sheila's intentions are to keep using him for my books, which suits me just fine.  Because Paul gets the look and feel of Maradaine, and what I want the covers to evoke.  He gives a cover that clearly says, "Hey, this is what kind of book you're getting." And it's spot on.  And he's also receptive to my thoughts and concerns.
Collage 2Case in point: the Import of Intrigue cover, which is probably my favorite to date.  There were plenty of tweaks from the initial image I was shown to the final version.  We went through, for example, variants of Satrine's handstick until we had one that I was happy with.  Paul also integrated the Tsouljan text I created into the signage. I love the look and feel of the whole thing.
I've seen an initial concept for the Holver Alley Crew cover, and I'm already very happy.  I can't wait to see the final version, and be able to share that as well.  Since that book will be coming out in March 2017, that won't be the far away.  But for now, we'll just enjoy the Import cover.  
Maresca - An Import of Intrique
An Import of Intrigue releases on November 1st.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Where Did August Go?-- Hugos, Reviews and Imposters

Happy Monday!  It's already the 22nd.  I feel like I turned around, and the month is nearly over.  And there's still so much I need to do, in the rest of the month and the rest of the year.   I'm not worried-- I can do the work.  It just seems the whole summer was a blur.  
But in other news: Sheila Gilbert won the Hugo for Best Editor Long Form!  This thrills me to no end.  Needless to say I think it's well deserved, especially considering that the award represents her work for books released in 2015, which includes The Thorn of Dentonhill and A Murder of Mages.  So, of course I'm proud just at the idea that my work helped contributed to her win.

In other news, I found this lovely video review of several SFF books, but her highlight is A Murder of Mages.  Which is pretty cool.  
Finally, Powder & Page gives The Alchemy of Chaos a four-star review.  "Mr. Maresca has provided his readers with another dashing adventure in Maradaine and it was GREAT."  This sort of thing always makes me happy.  It's been a good weekend.
Also from the Powder & Page review: "I’m waiting for the characters to overlap, even if it’s just a tiny, insignificant interaction. I’m going to shriek and wave the book about in a dangerous looking manner and find someone to fangirl about it to if that moment ever comes."
That reminds me: I need to finish the final draft of The Imposters of Aventil.  I do have a Hugo-winning editor to answer to, after all.  
Back to the word mines.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Who Else Would I Write?

You know, I love writing the Maradaine books, and I have a bunch of other stuff in the back of my mind beyond those books.  I've got plenty to keep me busy for years to come.
That said, if I got the call from DC to, say, take over Green Arrow, I'd be all over that.  I mean, if you've read The Thorn of Dentonhill, the idea that I'd be into writing a bow-wielding vigilante isn't too surprising.
Yeah, that'd be pretty awesome.
That said, I've got plenty on my plate, including finalizing The Imposters of Aventil, and a few more things in the hopper that I'll be telling you about soon.
Until then, into the word mines.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Perils of the Writer: The Terminal Cases

The other day I was asked (via email) about dead projects, and how one, as a writer, knows not to keep working on something and put it in the drawer.  So I decided to look over my "Terminal Cases".
The Terminal Cases are projects that aren't technically "dead", and... as you never know when lightning might strike and there's call to go back to them.  But it's more likely than not that I won't go back to them and finish them. There are some good ideas in there that it's worth looking them over, and possibly mining them for things I can use later.  And it's always good to remember the dead ends on the path to publication.  Now, some of these aren't genre, and you never know-- at some point I might want to write something that's non-genre lit.
  • The Fifty Year War: This was my first attempt to write a novel in the Maradaine setting, this detailing the war between Druthal and Poasia that's been referenced in the Maradaine novels.  This one I had a complete manuscript, but it's not a proper narrative.  It's more like a loosely connected series of shorts and novellas.  Maybe some day I'll pull elements of it out, rewrite it extensively and put it out as a series of novellas.  Maybe.
  • The Crown of Druthal: This was, at the time, my intention for the Grand Fantasy Series.  It's, of course, in the same setting as the Maradaine books, but this series was to travel the whole world.  Which was the point and the problem: all I had was, "I've made this world, now let's show it all."  Plot was essentially smacked-in with a hammer to justify the path of the journey.  So it wasn't much of a narrative.  I had one manuscript written, and an outline planned out for several more, but in the end, it really wasn't a story.  But it was a useful exercise to learn how to write a novel.
  • The Lowered Bar: The idea behind this was to follow four mediocre students as they muddled through a mid-grade college, eventually to get degrees but not really getting educations. I never really came up with a full outline, just various scenes. It never really came together into a unified whole.
  • Long Night of the Pieman: This one was based on my experiences pizza delivery, boiled down to a driver's adventure in one night. Here I had a full outline, and wrote a fair amount. But as my days as a driver got further and further behind me, the less relevant the piece felt to me.
  • The Xanadu Job: This one was a sci-fi Ocean's Eleven, quite literally. The team was even eleven people, with roughly the same jobs in the movie, and the underlying plan was similar, with some sci-fi twists. A few bit and pieces of this did find its way into Holver Alley Crew.
  • Arthur Wood's Metatextual Life: My concept here was Arthur was a young man, just moved to a new city, starting up a life there. But at the same time, Arthur is the main character of a TV show, with a rabid on-line fandom. So I had ideas for how these different facets affected each other. Like, from Arthur's point of view, he had a friend that he saw all the time, but doesn't see anymore; but from where it's a TV show, the actor playing that friend left and is now on another show. Stuff like that. I had an sketch of how Arthur's life would go over five years (in the form of a five-season episode guide), but there was something structural about the whole concept that eluded me. I never quite sussed it out. So here in Terminal Cases it'll sit.
  • Convergence of Angels on the I-35: This one is well over a decade old in the Terminal Cases pile, really. I had written many chapters longhand, long ago, and then typed it up on the computer. Due to various mishaps and errors in judgment, any electronic version is lost. I still have the longhand, but I have yet to type it up and do anything with it. And I may not, because it is very much a "young man's" book-- I'm no longer 23 years old, spending long nights in diners. But I do love the title.
  • Nightingale: This was my "flawed superheroine" project, about a wife & mother who survives when her family is killed, and gets her vengeance on. I had imagined it as a short TV series, or later as a web series.
  • Dr. Hiro Hirose vs. Professor Badass: This originated from that Internet Meme of Prof. Badass, which you've probably seen. I imagined him as the head of a whole evil team. Then I came up with matching heroes to oppose him, lead by Dr. Hiro Hirose.  The whole thing started as an exercise in googling interesting hero-like pictures, really. But when I tried to actually write, at least so far, I realized I had characters, but no story. Yet. Maybe it'll percolate back up later on. You never know.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Monday, August 8, 2016

Preview Material for IMPORT OF INTRIGUE and HOLVER ALLEY CREW

Folks, so much is going on.  I thought I'd have a respite in August, but that is not in the cards.  It's good stuff for me, but it's keeping me busy.  Especially with AN IMPORT OF INTRIGUE now just three months away.  And HOLVER ALLEY CREW comes out in March, only four months after that.FB Banner Import
So, in the mean time, here is a bit of bonus material: the "close-up" maps for both books.  Import focuses on the Little East, the collection of enclaves where most of the story takes place.
MCI02 Map for Pub Color
The next map, for Holver Alley Crew , centers on North Seleth, in the west part of Maradaine.
HAC01 Map For Pub 
Hopefully both of these will tease and whet your appetite for both books.  I'll have more IMPORT OF INTRIGUE announcements in the near future as well.  And hopefully a few more things to share as well....
Until then, into the word mines.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Perils of the Writer: The Length that Fits Your Story

So, I'm primarily a novelist.  That's the length of stories I write on the whole, that's the length that feels right in what I conceive a story to be.  I'm not a big fan of writing short stories, in that I rarely have a short story idea, and I do have so many long-form ideas, so I feel like trying to conceive short stories for the sake of "short story" in and of itself is wasting my time.
Note: I'm not saying short stories are a waste of time.  I'm saying me trying to force myself into a short story box out of the idea it's something I "should" do is a waste of time.  Everyone's mileage varies.  I have plenty of friends who are short story masters, and novels make them want to tear their hair out.
That said, having just come off the ArmadilloCon workshop, I feel like the teaching-writing environment, from the large workshops to smaller ones to critique groups-- tends to be shorter-work focused.  This makes sense-- a teacher will have an easier time reading and critiquing something that's 5000 words as opposed to 100,000 words.
The challenge then is this: there are very few resources out there, especially for the genre writer, to learn how to novel.  At best, people are taught how to short story, and then told, "You know, do that, but longer" and thrown out into the woods. I know in the workshop this year, most of the students described "novel writing" as an intended goal, but most of them came in with a short story (as opposed to chapter one of a novel, which was allowed but somewhat discouraged).  If we ("we" as a genre-writing community as a whole) are going to engage in teaching writing, we need to create more resources for the novel-writing student. 
I have some ideas of how to do this, but they need time to ferment.  That, and I have plenty of other work to do right now as well.