Tag Archives: fantasy


A legendary serial killer stalks the streets of a fantastical city in The Helm of Midnight, the stunning first novel in a new trilogy from acclaimed author Marina Lostetter.

In a daring and deadly heist, thieves have made away with an artifact of terrible power – the death mask of Louis Charbon. Made by a master craftsman, it is imbued with the spirit of a monster from history, a serial murderer who terrorized the city, leaving a trail of gruesome corpses.

Now Charbon is loose once more, killing from beyond the grave. But these murders are different from before, not simply random but the work of a deliberate mind probing for answers to a sinister question.

It is up to Krona Hirvath and her fellow Regulators to enter the mind of madness to stop this insatiable killer while facing the terrible truths left in his wake.

THE HELM OF MIDNIGHT is the first in the Five Penalties trilogy. Book drops April 13th 2021, and is available for pre-order now! (Click for links to Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, Indie Bound, and direct from MacMillan.)

Happy reading!


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Realized I haven’t posted anything in forever!  Sorry about that.  So, here’s a piece of personal art I did a little bit ago, just for the heck of it.  I call it Ten ‘O Clock Magic.


Ten O Clock Magic small

Because midnight might be the witching-hour, but it doesn’t have the market cornered on enchanted time.


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The Last Shimmery Story of the Year

“A Drop of Ink Preserved in Amber” is out on the Shimmer website.  It has the distinction of being the final Shimmer story for 2015 (I’m look forward to more great stuff from Shimmer in 2016!).

Click here to access the full story for free.


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The Prayer Ladder is up at QuarterReads!

This almost-flash fantasy piece was first published in Galaxy’s Edge magazine, and later appeared in the venue’s Best-Of anthology.  Here’s an excerpt:

The ladder stretches up and up before me. Into the sky, past the clouds – past the sun, perhaps. I cannot see the top, but I know it ends in Heaven.

Chill winds sweep the ice covered mountain, and I hunker into my coat of caribou skin. The sleeve of my left arm is too long – Mama meant it to last me another two winters. The other is capped next to the stub of my right elbow.

The sack full of my village’s prayers hangs lightly around my neck. Hundreds of little scrolls fill the burlap, written in hands both illegible and refined.

Once every five years the prayers are carried to Heaven.

Once every five years a citizen leaves and never comes back.

And now it is my turn.

You can read the rest (for only a quarter!) by clicking here.

Happy reading!


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LoneStarCon 3 and the Five Minute Rule

So, my plan was to do a LoneStarCon 3 overview today, but alas, I feel I am too late. There are already a ton of rehashes all across the web focusing on everything from the lack of a YA Hugo , to the overall older vibe (google it and take your pick), to how it stacks up against other cons.

There are even some nice blogs that cover who met whom and who did what. (What, you say I’m only linking to Lou Anders’ post because I’m in it? Not so, not so!)

What could I possibly bring to the table when we’ve already got an embarrassment of riches (ie. blog posts)?

I’m here to give you the one thing I learned at Worldcon that trumps everything else: the five minute rule.

What is that, you ask? Is it like the five second rule? Er, no.

The five minute rule relates to a paranormal phenomenon that can only be experienced when a large number of people you want to meet are all gathered in close proximity for long periods of time. Here’s the theory:

Whenever you are about to leave a social area of the con–say you’re sleepy and want to call it a night–wait five minutes. If you do, someone interesting will inevitably make an appearance and talk to you.

The first time it happened we (a group of us from the Writers of the Future forum hung out a good chunk of the time) were at the hotel bar just as it closed. The staff were ‘encouraging’ us to leave, and we thought it best to comply. However, we lagged, and the lady taking out the garbage bins kind of barreled through the crowd–inevitably pushing us (literally) into Lou Anders from Pyr. He was great to meet. I had attended several of his panels that day, and ended up going to several more. We ran into each other on other occasions during the con, and each time was a pleasure.

The second time I encountered the phenomenon, the group of people I was with had just decided to head to bed, but as it was nearing two (or was it three?) in the morning, we were all moving rather slowly. Within five minutes, an editor form Orbit (who shall remain unnamed, as it seems this is one of her favorite con games) came and sat at our table (led there by a friend). She immediately asked us all to pitch our books, and was kind enough to critique our attempts. If we’d left when we’d decided to, we would have missed out.

It happened again and again throughout the con. We wanted to leave, but we lingered, and ran into Joshua Bilmes. We wanted to leave, but lingered, and ran into Kim Stanley Robinson. We wanted to leave, but decided we better wait five minutes because, geez, the correlation between us deciding to leave and interesting people showing up was just getting weird…

So, anyway, that’s my unique Worldcon observation: when you think it’s time to go, wait five minutes. You never know who might make an appearance.

All kidding aside, Worldcon is primarily about people–meeting new people, and reconnecting with colleagues you already know. That’s why it’s essential to hang around after hours, and if you’re an introvert like me, to step out of your comfort zone for a while.

Do you have a unique Worldcon observation? If so, let me know in the comments!


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WotF Awards Vid

Hi all!

Below is a video clip from the Vol. 29 Writers and Illustrators of the Future awards ceremony. It contains an introduction to my story, the wonderfully quirky dance choreographed for it, my thank you speech and Tiffany England’s thank you speech. Enjoy, get inspired, and enter the contest!


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Good News!

Part two of the WotF workshop overview will be up next week.

This week I wanted to crow a little, if you’ll indulge me.

First off, I sold a story to Mike Resnick over at Galaxy’s Edge after a minor (but really needed) rewrite.  I’m super excited about this, as it’s my fourth professional-rate sale.

Secondly, my story “Sojourn for Ephah” won second place in the InterGalactic Medicine Show readers’ poll!  To get positive feedback from editors is great, but this is the first time I’ve been able to see what kind of an impact my work has had on readers.  I’m extremely pleased that the story was so well received.

Well, that’s it, just a batch of good news.  All in all, April’s been a pretty good month.


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Great Cause, Great Books

Hi all!

I’m at the WotF workshop right now–having a blast, by the way–and I promise to post a full overview of the week when I get back.

Our instructors for the workshop are Tim Powers and David Farland/Wolverton.  Both have been fantastic so far.

Mr. Farland’s attendance has been especially appreciated, since he and his family very recently experienced a tragic hardship.  If you don’t know, his son, Ben, was severely injured in a snowboarding accident just a few days ago.  Besides broken limbs and bruised organs, Ben also suffered internal bleeding and brain damage.  He’s been in an induced coma at the hospital and still has not woken up.

Since there was nothing he could do for his son but wait, Mr. Farland decided to come teach our workshop.  I and the other winners really appreciate him being here.  It can’t be easy.

So, to give back to him in turn, we’re all participating in a book bomb.  We’re trying to get the word out about his books Nightingale (A YA novel he published last year to much acclaim), and Million Dollar Outlines (A non-fiction book on how he approaches plotting and the like)

Both can be found on Amazon (see links below).

The bills for Ben’s medical expenses are already high, and are estimated to continue to skyrocket.  The Farland family can use all the help they can get.

So, if you’d like to help out a deserving family and get a great book at the same time, please consider purchasing one of these books today.  Spreading the word would also be a tremendouse aid.

Nightingale: http://www.amazon.com/Nightingale-David-Farland/dp/B008SMUL2E/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1365604883&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=david+farland+nightingale

Million Dollar Outlines (2013 Edition): http://www.amazon.com/Million-Dollar-Outlines-ebook/dp/B00B9JYJ6W/ref=pd_ys_sf_s_154606011_a1_n_1_p

Thanks everyone!


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WotF Vol. 29 Cover

It’s a little after-the-fact, but the cover for Writers of the Future Vol. 29 has been released, and the book itself is available for pre-order!


Anybody else hear Elton John in their head singing “Rocket Maaaaan” when they look at the cover?  The illustration is by wonderful Stephen Youll.

You can pre-order a mass market paperback from Barns & Noble or Amazon.  The e-book version will be available in several formats for imediate download on April 14th.


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Duotrope meets Submitomancy meets the Submissions Grinder

Alrighty, for all of you waiting for a system to essentially fill the void Duotrope left, I know of two.  One is still in the works, and one made its début in beta-mode this week.

First we have Submitomancy, and it’s an interesting option.  It will charge fees like Duotrope, but unlike Duotrope will have a lot of free features.  Its Indiegogo page (which is like Kickstarter, for those who don’t know), states that its submission tracker will be free, and that “Premium users will gain the advantage of full library features, power searches and social interactions.”  So it’s aiming to be a Duotrope replacement and social-networking site all in one.

The main differences between the free services and those behind the pay-wall are:

Free gets a manuscript database, CSV import, their basic search function, submissions tracking, average response times per market, and their newsletter.

If you pay their annual premium fee, you get access to the above, plus their ‘expanded databases,’ a ‘power search,’ detailed market response data, personalized notifications and reports, a profile page, status updates, skins, and anything else they might think to add between here and there.

If this sounds like a site you want available, visit their Indiegogo page and consider contributing to their startup costs: http://www.indiegogo.com/submitomancy

The Submissions Grinder is another option that launched this week.  Remember that backup file you downloaded from Duotrope, that has all of your data but in a rather unusable form?  No need to reformat the spreadsheet, just upload it now into the Submissions Grinder.  This system’s creators (It’s brought to your by Diabolical Plots) intend to keep it free, and it currently offers just about every feature Duotrope does, with a few minor exceptions (that I think will get filled in as they go along).

Right now, though you can import, you can’t export your data again, but they have stated they’re working on that.  And when viewing your submissions history you can’t narrow down your submissions by year.

The system is in its rough beta mode right now.  Errors pop up frequently, but let’s face it, they’ve only been up for three days.  The pending responses data is already beginning to rival Duotrope’s pre-paywall era on some markets (after only three days!), though their market database isn’t yet fully formed.

I’ve already made myself an account, uploaded my data, and made a few mistakes as a user–the proprietors are extremely helpful and ready to jump on any problems you might have, no matter if you or the site are at fault.

If you’d like to test out the Submissions Grinder, you can find it here (and if the page gives you an error, just try again later): http://thegrinder.diabolicalplots.com/

The real key to any of these sites are the users.  The fewer people who use them, the less valuable they become to some people.  What’s really great about these new venues, compared to Duotrope, is that they have options that are free.  Sumbitomancy is going to charge service fees, but they know that to attract new users you have to let them try out the system.  I have no idea why all of Duotrope’s services are behind a pay-wall, as there’s no way for new customers to test the waters–so there’s no justification for them to pay for the service.  You’d think DT would at least offer a trial period for new accounts or something.

Anyway, what we have now are tiered options, in my opinion.

On the high end:  (price-wise, not necessarily service-wise.  I’ll wait to make that judgment once all three are up and running), we have tried and true Duotrope.  Nothing is free, in my opinion it’s overpriced, but it’s aesthetically pleasing, it works, it currently has the largest database as far as markets go, and it’s practically bug-less.

Next we have Submitomancy, which has free subscriptions and pay-to-play subscriptions, leaving things like its sub-tracker free to the public, and with extra features Duotrope does not offer in its pay brackets, but it’s not up yet, so we don’t know if its virtues are all that its proprietors hope them to be.

Lastly we have the fully-free Submissions Grinder, which gives you nearly all the same features as Duotrope at this point, plus the ability to import the data you saved from Duotrope, but is probably going to be buggy for a while and it’s a bit hard on the eyes.

So there you have it: options.  Choices!

If you do use one of these new systems, let me know in the comments how you think it stacks up!


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