Monday, February 26, 2018

Cover Art, and Working With Paul Young

So, I'm not going to share it, but the first cover art I received for Lady Henterman's Wardrobe was... not good. 
Most of the time when I get a cover art email from my editor, it's very exciting.  I'm thrilled to see what vision has come from my books and artist notes.

When that first Lady Henterman cover came in... oh, no, I did not have that feeling.

But I took action, and wrote to my editor about how I felt, and we communicated our issues with the cover artist, who then produced something else.  Something with similar concepts, but stronger execution.  And that was what became our cover.

And in a little bit-- shortly after Lady Henterman releases (eight days away!), we'll be revealing the cover for The Way of the Shield.  l like it a lot, let me tell you.  It's cover that tells you right away who Dayne Heldrin is, and Paul's once again done an excellent job. 
(Same for the cover for A Parliament of Bodiesbecause we did that work before we decided that Way of the Shield would come out first.  You probably won't get to see it for a while, but: it's cool.)

Let me tell you, I have been really lucky to have Paul Young as my cover artist for all the Maradaine books.  He gets the look and feel that I'm going for, and he actually reads the text of the book looking for ideas and imagery that pops out.  I think he's done me a lot of good with every book, and I'm proud to have his work be the calling card for mine.  
So, thanks Paul. 

Thursday, February 22, 2018

On My Mind: Building Community

So, this past weekend I was at Boskone, and it was a wonderful time, as I was reminded what an amazing community we have in SF/Fantasy Literature.  There are some amazing people in this business, who are filled with wisdom and warmth and kindness.   I had the great fortune of sharing the signing table with Mary Robinette Kowal, who all of these attributes in abundance.  We, as a community, are blessed to have her in it.

Sadly, this past week, I've also been reminded that we have a way to go, and there are some people who thrive in being terrible, and making things unpleasant for those around them.  And that behavior, sadly, gets them notoriety.  They get talked about, which serves their ends.  I won't give them the time of day.

Because the people who are wonderful, who do great work and are good people-- they're the ones who deserve notoriety.  They're the ones who should get notice and have their names mentioned over and over.  So here is a large list of great people who deserve your attention. 
First off, some of the people who I have been personally connected to, who have been a wonderful part of my local community: Stina Leicht, who wrote Cold Iron and Black Thorne and the upcoming Persephone Station, and gave back to the community for years by running the ArmadilloCon Writers Workshop before passing it to me.  Rebecca Schwarz, who is running it now.  Amanda Downum, author of The Necromancer ChroniclesPatrice Sarath, author of Gordath Wood and the upcoming The Sisters Mederos.  Ari Marmell, who writes the Mick Oberon and Widdershin books.  Nicky Drayden, who had her fantastic debut last year, The Prey of the Gods.  Chris Brown, who wrote Tropic of Kansas and is one of the nicest guys you'll meet. Alex C. Wrenick, who writes shorts and poems, also as Camille Alexa.  BookTuber Extraordinaire Thomas Wagner.

Also, my fabulous compatriots on SFFSeven: Jeffe Kennedy, James A. Moore (who wrapped me in a great big bear hug this weekend), K.A. Krantz, Marcella Burnard, Veronica Scott and our newest member, Vivian Jackson!  Vivian was a student of the aforementioned ArmadilloCon Workshop, making her another great success story from that program!

Friends, I'm not even scratching the surface.  There are so many more: Caroline Yoachim. Fonda Lee. Annie Bellet. Elizabeth Bear-- someone who treated me like a peer well before I earned it.  Courtney SchaferT. Frohock. ML Brennan. Spencer Ellsworth. Jaym Gates. Laura M. Hughes. Sarah Chorn. Foz Meadows. Melanie R. MeadorsMike UnderwoodPAUL WEIMER, possibly one of the nicest people in this business.

I could go on and on, because we have so many amazing people in this business.  Who else do you think deserves some praise?

Monday, February 19, 2018


The past few weeks have been crazy busy-- as you can probably imagine-- and as I finish up at Boskone (which has been a lovely time), I realized we're only two weeks away from the release of Lady Henterman's Wardrobe.  These final pre-release days are always a bit on the stressful side, but also exciting.  Even on a seventh book, that doesn't change.
But we have early reviews!  And those always make things easier.  For example, over at RT Book Reviews, they said,
"As the second book in this Maradaine series, Maresca has room to let his story breathe without losing its thrills as he continues to worldbuild and reintroduce his charismatic antiheroes. By the time the story comes to a close, you'll be itching for a third helping from the author."
And at Publishers Weekly, they've said:
Fans of the series will welcome this enjoyable return to its colorful setting.
It was kind of challenging to find a pull-quote from that one, because the review is a bit spoiler-y.  So click at your own risk.
But this leaves me feeling pretty good as we come up onto the release.  And you still have time to pre-order it, so get to it!

Mixing high fantasy and urban fantasy, the second novel of the Streets of Maradaine series follows the Rynax brothers’ crew of outlaws as they attempt their biggest heist yet and restore justice to the common people.
The neighborhood of North Seleth has suffered–and not just the Holver Alley Fire. Poverty and marginalization are forcing people out of the neighborhood, and violence on the streets is getting worse. Only the Rynax brothers–Asti and Verci–and their Holver Alley Crew are fighting for the common people. They’ve taken care of the people who actually burned down Holver Alley, but they’re still looking for the moneyed interests behind the fire.
The trail of breadcrumbs leads the crew to Lord Henterman, and they plan to infiltrate the noble’s house on the other side of the city. While the crew tries to penetrate the heart of the house, the worst elements of North Seleth seem to be uniting under a mysterious new leader. With the crew’s attention divided, Asti discovers that the secrets behind the fire, including ones from his past, might be found in Lady Henterman’s wardrobe.
Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and more!

Thursday, February 15, 2018


With the release of Lady Henterman's Wardrobe just a few weeks away, you still have time to read The Holver Alley Crew so you are up to speed when Lady Henterman comes out.  And why wouldn't you want to fall in love with Asti & Verci Rynax, and the rest of the crew? 
Look what people said about it:

From the Bibliosanctum:
Certainly, fans of caper stories should be making The Holver Alley Crew their number one priority. A strong start right out of the gate, this series opener is a well-written and brilliantly executed example of the fantasy heist genre, and of all the novels written by Marshall Ryan Maresca so far, this might be my favorite one yet! The Rynax brothers and their crew are so good at their jobs that they will steal your heart from the very first page, and I simply can’t wait to see what the gang will be up to next.
From The Speculative Herald:
Maresca crafted a fresh and thrilling heist story that moves at a great pace. This is the type of book you just feel the need to read cover to cover, looking/wishing for the pause button on real life until you finish.
From JBrondar Book Reviews:
This is my first book from Marshall Ryan Maresca and I loved it. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next books in the series. I will be on the lookout for Maresca’s other books too.
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.
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!

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.

Available at AmazonBarnes & Noble, and more!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Randomness and Fire

It's been a busy few weeks, and that busyness isn't stopping any time soon, since I've got to get plenty of ducks in a row before going to Boskone this weekend.  I've got the usual pre-conference prep, including practicing my reading selections (Friday, 5pm!) and making sure my family has plenty of food for the days I'm gone.

So, here's a fire dance.  Enjoy.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Why You Aren't Writing That Novel

OK, time for some hard truths.  You haven't finished writing That Novel.  You've been talking about it for years, and you can visualize all the elements of it so easily.  You know it, back and forth, inside and out.  It's there, waiting.

But you haven't written it.

Why is that?

I could tell you it's about discipline-- and it is, no doubt.  It takes discipline, it takes putting your ass in the chair (or feet at the standing desk), and just plain doing the work.  It takes not going to that party, not binging that series, not spending yet another night refreshing Facebook every twenty minutes.  It takes just digging in and getting it done.

But most of you don't want to do that.
Here's the ugly truth, dear reader, and look deep inside yourself and ask yourself if this is why you haven't written That Novel.

You don't want to write a novel.  You want to have written it.

I get that.  I get wanting the glory of having it in your hands, being able to say, "Oh, I wrote a novel", but not having to do to the unsexy, daily-grind part.  I'm in the process of drafting my tenth novel (thirteenth if you count the ones that are sitting fallow on  hard drive), and I always wish there was a way to fast-forward this phase of it.  At this point, I know what I'm doing in terms of writing a novel, but it's still hard, grinding, go-down-to-the-word-mines work

And you're never going to write That Novel until you come to terms with that part of it, and get down to doing it. 

So what are you waiting for?

Monday, February 5, 2018

And now the next work begins...

So, now that I've made the big announcement, I can stop being cagey about what I've been working on.  The Way of the Shield  has been turned in, and next up I finalize edits on Parliament of Bodies.  

Plus, I've got the draft of Shield of the People well underway.  I'm driving forward with that, and laying down the groundwork so once that's done, I can jump right in on The Fenmere Job.  Plus, Lady Henterman's Wardrobe comes out in one month, and while the book is done, there's the usual book-launch promotional work to be done.

As you can imagine, that's plenty on my plate.  My upcoming year is pretty well penciled in, and February is going to be a busy month.  But I'm so excited about what's to come.  Lady Henterman is a fun one, people, and you're going to get your hands on it very soon. 

As for me, I'll be down in the word mines.  There's a whole lot to dig up now.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Grand Announcements for Maradaine

I've been hinting for quite some time about big news, and finally I'm ready to tell you about it. 
First, the slightly sad news: the third Maradaine Constabulary novel, A Parliament of Bodieswill not be released until Spring 2019.  I know many of you have been anxious for the next installment with Satrine and Minox, and it is going to come out, just a few months later.  This is entirely due to production schedule and release strategy-- because we've got something else planned for release in the fall of 2018.  And so much more.

What is going on?  Well, I've signed a contract for FOUR new books!

First off, coming out on October 3rd, 2018, we have THE WAY OF THE SHIELD, the first novel of the fourth Maradaine-set series, called The Maradaine Elite.  What is THE WAY OF THE SHIELDand The Maradaine Elite?  Glad you asked!