Thursday, February 23, 2017

Writing About Politics

So the question on the table this week at SFFSeven is, should writers be talking about politics?
And that seems obvious to me: yes, if that's what they want to do.  I don't care what your politics are, if you want to share them, then do so.
Now, I typically don't.  That's my choice.  As I've said before, I tend not to talk about politics for the same reason that an alcoholic doesn't have just one drink.  I get caught up in reading articles and getting riled up and then I don't actually get the things I need to do done.
And other people have talking about politics well covered, often saying the things that I'm thinking better than I would say it.  So it's best that I don't.
But that's me, that's my choice.  No one should tell me not to make that choice.  And certainly, any writer, whatever their political stripe, should feel free to do the same.  And, like I said, it's not that I don't have opinions (because, oh lord, do I), but going on about them isn't my priority.
Right now my priorities are the release of The Holver Alley Crew, copy edits of Imposters of Aventil, and further work on the projects down the road.  So that's what I'm going to get on.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Early buzz for THE HOLVER ALLEY CREW

The Holver Alley Crew comes out in two weeks, and the early reviews make me happy.  
There’s some fantastic planning scenes, as the team pieces together exactly what they’re going to do and when. Then there’s the tension of the job, and this is something which is brought out to perfection – each action is watchmaker-precise, and each failure can lead to a cascade of other failures – watching the team anticipate and deal with these (or not) is agonizing and wonderful.
And from POWDER AND PAGE:
The neighborhood of North Seleth and Holver Alley are well-written and thoroughly described environments that I could visualize being in any city. The alley is a close-knit community where the neighbors help each other out and everybody knows everybody else.  The reader gets to be immersed in this little segment of Maradaine- bars, churches, sewers, the chemist shop, a bakery… you name it. This whole world has depth equivalent to the most well-known and loved fantasy works on offer.  The final verdict: You’ve GOT to read this book!
More reviews are sure to come in the next couple weeks, but surely that's enough to get your pre-order on, yes?  So get it.
maresca-the-holver-alley-crew
Mixing high fantasy and urban fantasy, The Holver Alley Crew is the first novel of Maresca’s third interconnected series set in the fantasy city of Maradaine.
The Rynax brothers had gone legit after Asti Rynax's service in Druth Intelligence had shattered his nerves, and marriage and fatherhood convinced Verci Rynax to leave his life of thievery.  They settled back in their old neighborhood in West Maradaine and bought themselves a shop, eager for a simple, honest life. Then the Holver Alley Fire incinerated their plans. With no home, no shop, and no honest income—and saddled with a looming debt—they fall back on their old skills and old friends.
With a crew of other fire victims, Asti and Verci plan a simple carriage heist, but the job spirals out of control as they learn that the fire was no accident. Lives in Holver Alley were destroyed out of a sadistic scheme to buy the land.  Smoldering for revenge, burdened with Asti's crumbling sanity, the brothers lead their crew of amateurs and washouts to take down those responsible for the fire, no matter the cost.
Goodreads Page for THE HOLVER ALLEY CREW
Available at AmazonBarnes & Noble, and more!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Ugly Head of Professional Jealousy

So, with THE HOLVER ALLEY CREW just a few weeks away, now's the time when I've really got to put a tight rein on my own bad habits.
That bad habit is become obsessed with the other books that are coming out around now and how much attention is apparently being paid to them.  
Key word there: apparently.  Because I have learned that sometimes due to the circles I pay attention to, an upcoming book can seem to be The Thing Everyone Is Talking About, but in fact, it's really not being talked about much outside of those circles.
I still feel that swell of jealousy.  It's natural, it's human, and I try not to make too much of a thing.
But there are so many ways to drive yourself crazy with this.
So here's an example.  Any given month, there's going to be a few articles here in and there (where they talk about SFF books) about the books that are coming out that month.  There are the ones that just list ALL THE BOOKS, which is about 200ish per month.  And that's JUST the professionally, traditionally published ones.  That's just a list, though, so in many ways, it's little more than noise.  No one will notice your book on that list who wasn't already looking for it.  Helpful for completists, but little more.  
But then there are the curated lists, of about ten to twelve books coming out that month.  Ten to twelve of those 200ish books.  
Any given month, there will be about three titles that will be on ALL THE LISTS.  No matter what. The big dogs of the genre.   Then there will be about ten more which will take up five to seven slots on those lists.  If you've done your math, you can tell that can be the whole list, most of the time.  Those are the essentially, "These are the books everyone's talking about this month."  And then there's a couple wild card slots.  Right now, that's my zone-- getting named on a wild card.  
This makes getting on any of those curated lists a pleasant surprise.  But it also means I pay attention to a lot of those things in any given month I have a release.  So I notice what those essential books are, and oh, does it start to burn.
But I keep it in check.  In part, because I know I'm doing all right.  And also because I like having something to strive for.  The good thing about still being a wild card is it keeps my ego in check.  Sometimes, I think that's more important.

Hey, let's not forget that there's still a few weeks to pre-order THE HOLVER ALLEY CREW.  You're going to want to get your hands on this one as soon as you can.
Mixing high fantasy and urban fantasy, The Holver Alley Crew is the first novel of Maresca’s third interconnected series set in the fantasy city of Maradaine.
The Rynax brothers had gone legit after Asti Rynax's service in Druth Intelligence had shattered his nerves, and marriage and fatherhood convinced Verci Rynax to leave his life of thievery.  They settled back in their old neighborhood in West Maradaine and bought themselves a shop, eager for a simple, honest life. Then the Holver Alley Fire incinerated their plans. With no home, no shop, and no honest income—and saddled with a looming debt—they fall back on their old skills and old friends.
With a crew of other fire victims, Asti and Verci plan a simple carriage heist, but the job spirals out of control as they learn that the fire was no accident. Lives in Holver Alley were destroyed out of a sadistic scheme to buy the land.  Smoldering for revenge, burdened with Asti's crumbling sanity, the brothers lead their crew of amateurs and washouts to take down those responsible for the fire, no matter the cost.
Goodreads Page for THE HOLVER ALLEY CREW
Available at AmazonBarnes & Noble, and more!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Holver Alley Crew Excerpt

With THE HOLVER ALLEY CREW just a few weeks away, it's high time to whet your appetite with an excerpt.  
Mixing high fantasy and urban fantasy, The Holver Alley Crew is the first novel of Maresca’s third interconnected series set in the fantasy city of Maradaine: THE STREETS OF MARADAINE
Goodreads Page for THE HOLVER ALLEY CREW
Available for pre-order at AmazonBarnes & Noble, and more!
-------
CHAPTER ONE
Asti Rynax couldn’t sleep. The bedroll wasn’t the problem. He’d slept plenty of nights in jail cells, road ditches, even trapped inside a wooden crate. The problem was sleeping on a hot wooden floor in the single-room flop, his younger brother, brother’s wife, and crying baby just ten feet away behind a thin cloth. He craved his own flop, his own space, without families, babies, or smoke.
Smoke.
Asti sat up, smelling the air.
Definitely smoke. And not from the oil lamps.
Asti sprang to his feet. “Verci. Wake up.”
“What, what is it?”
“Smoke.”
Verci was out of the bed, crossing over to Asti in a flash, despite being naked. Asti’s eyes went to the slight paunch his brother was getting. Married life was taking its toll on his normally lean body. “You’re right.”
“It’s just the Greenfields’ kitchen,” Raych mumbled from the bed.
“No, it’s too strong,” Asti said. He glanced back at Verci. “Put something on.”
Verci waved him off, taking another smell. “Much too strong.”
Asti touched the door. It was warm. Cautiously he cracked it open. The hallway glowed with crackling flames. He dashed back over to the kitchen and grabbed the bedroll and blanket.
“Blasted saints,” Verci muttered. “Raych, wake up.”
“Wha—”
“Get up. Get the baby.” Each word was like an arrow. Verci grabbed his pants off the back of a chair and pulled them on.
Asti held the blanket over his face. In the hallway the flames were licking up the walls and ceiling, wooden support beams already cracking. Asti swung the bedroll at the fire, beating it down. Useless. The smoke was getting thicker, the fire hotter, despite his efforts.
“Can you get to the stairs?” Verci called.
---
READ MORE HERE.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

A little tease for the far future

Many things are happening right now, so I don't have a proper blog post for today.
Instead, here's a little tease from my secondary Work-in-Progress.  (In other words, not A Parliament of Bodies, or anything to do with Maradaine.  This is from the Space Opera WIP tentatively called Banshee)...

“Tell us who she is!  Tell us how to defeat her!”
Hagchlek made a noise that was oddly like laughter.  You won’t.  You still do not understand what you are dealing with.  She is a human from Mars.  Do you understand what that means?
Two of the shock troops came hustling around corner.  Kengle switched her rifle to sonic mode, and fired a boom down the hall.  They dropped clutching at their heads.
She’s coming,” Hagchlek’s interrogator said.  Hagchlek kept going.
Do you know what Mars is?  It was a desolate, icy rock in the humans’ home system, and humans came and said ‘We’ll make this into a place we can live’ and by fire they did.  They did that on dead moons and toxic planets throughout their system. And then humans piled into ships that crawled slower than light and lived and died in those boxes so their great-grandchildren might find a new home on another world, and when the worlds they found were also desolate rocks, they bent them to their will.  If you think some challenge is impossible, I tell you, you haven’t met humans.”
“What is this mad species?”
“They are what you have brought on your head.  We fought them for generations and no setback, no failure could deter them.  When they collectively decide to defeat a problem, they will not be stopped.”
“But she’s just one human!”
“And one is a plague upon you.  And know this: even if you kill Samantha Kengle, all you’ll succeed in is bringing all of humanity on your head.”

Monday, February 6, 2017

One Month to THE HOLVER ALLEY CREW

So, it's time to turn the promotion machine from The Holver Alley Crew up to eleven.  Have you pre-ordered it yet?  Are you still wondering what this whole "Streets of Maradaine" thing is about?
I've been wondering about that, the right way to pitch it, to talk about it.  And then, lo and behold, last week at the SAG Awards, David Harbour says it nearly perfectly:
"We will shelter freaks and outcasts, those who have no home; we will get past the lies; we will hunt monsters; and when we are lost amidst the hypocrisy and casual violence of certain individuals and institutions, we will punch some people in the face when they seek to destroy the meek, the disenfranchised and the marginalized, and we will do it all with soul, with heart and with joy."
If that's not the Rynax brothers at their core, friends, I don't know what is.
Now, if you're wondering if you need to be up-to-date on the Thorn and Constabulary books to read this: no.  This series launches its own characters, and you can read it independent of the other books.  This can be your entryway into Maradaine.  But it can also enrich the Maradaine experience you've already had.
"The charming antiheroes will leave you rooting for them long after the dust settles."  --RT Book Reviews 
"The whole narrative is tightly plotted, and each page makes you want to turn to the next – it’s got fires, knife fights, brawls, daring escapes, explosions, and a lot of heart – and as such, I’m looking forward to seeing what adventures the Holver Alley Crew go onto from here." -- SF and F Reviews
The Rynax brothers had gone legit after Asti Rynax's service in Druth Intelligence had shattered his nerves, and marriage and fatherhood convinced Verci Rynax to leave his life of thievery.  They settled back in their old neighborhood in West Maradaine and bought themselves a shop, eager for a simple, honest life. Then the Holver Alley Fire incinerated their plans. With no home, no shop, and no honest income—and saddled with a looming debt—they fall back on their old skills and old friends.
With a crew of other fire victims, Asti and Verci plan a simple carriage heist, but the job spirals out of control as they learn that the fire was no accident. Lives in Holver Alley were destroyed out of a sadistic scheme to buy the land.  Smoldering for revenge, burdened with Asti's crumbling sanity, the brothers lead their crew of amateurs and washouts to take down those responsible for the fire, no matter the cost.
Do you need to know more?  Or do you just need some links?

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Perils of the Writer: Interviews

I'll cop to it, I love interviews.  I haven't done enough that I feel like it's "stale" yet at all.  I'm sure I'll get there, but today is not that day.  Which is good, because with The Holver Alley Crew just a month away, I've got a few coming up.
Over at File770 a few months ago, I had a good interview from Carl Slaughter with solid, on point questions that wanted to probe deeper into my work, specifically An Import of Intrigue.  I really liked answering those, as he showed a strong awareness about the work and what I was doing. 
CARL SLAUGHTER: The main character in Import of Intrigue is an uncircled mage. What exactly is an uncircled mage?
MARSHALL RYAN MARESCA: For mages to practice their craft in Maradaine, they need to be part of a Circle, which is a legal organization that provides training and accountability, but also that protects the mage from egregious arrest or prosecution. An Uncircled Mage is someone who has the knack for performing magic, but lacks the formal training, and thus is not part of any circle. This can happen a few different ways, but in Minox’s case, his magical abilities didn’t manifest until he was much older, when he was already in the constabulary.
CS: What sort of unique circumstances does a police detective who is an uncircled mage find himself in?
MRM: Since the Circles exist to give mages legal protection from constabulary harassment, they do not cooperate with the Constabulary at all. Which means that Minox—a man with deep familial ties to the Constabulary, who always wanted to be an Inspector—had to make the choice to not learn how to use his powers, and be shunned by other mages. But it also means that many in the Constabulary, who distrust and fear mages, don’t want to work with him. He’s on the outside in both worlds.
You can read the whole thing here.