Sunday, November 17, 2019

A small rant...

Hey all, Robin here. I'm Michael's wife and I sometimes take control of his blog. This is one of those times. I'm going over the very last of the changes to Age of Death before sending it off to the printer. First, I should mention that I'm an engineer by training (MSEE), but I spent most of my life in software. I'm a "technical gal" Math was my favorite subject, Grammar very near the bottom. So, it's ironic that these days I spend an amazing amount of time on the Internet trying to determine things like which of the following is correct:

  • None of them were friends. 
  • None of them was friends. 
As an analytic type person, there should be a singular answer to such a question. But English is a language with all kinds of issues--don't get me started on why backyard is a single compound word, but front yard is two words.

Apparently, the problem arises in the fact that "none" is not always singular. Apparently, it used to mean "not one," so was would be correct. In practice, however, it is sometimes meant to mean "not any," so were should be used. 

To make matters worse, people who spend their lives contemplating such mystical matters don't always agree. Just look at this online debate on the subject.

And to make matters worse, there is the last statement. "It should be pointed out that none does not come from not any, but from nan (old English), which was used with either singular or plural verbs."

Argh!!!  All I want to know is which word do I use!!

And the worst part, no matter which one I select, there will people who will treat it as a "grammar mistake." In other words, I can't win either way.  For someone who deals in black and white such things are maddening. I guess I'll just insist that no book written by Michael will ever use such a sentence!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

2019 Goodreads Choice Award Nominees for Best Fantasy


Well, I was both surprised and pleased to find that Age of Legend made its way into the semifinal round for the Goodreads Choice Award. Robin and I want to thank all the people who voted for it. This makes my 8th Nomination!


There's an amazing collection of books nominated, and I'm honored to be among them:


Voting in the semi-final round will close on November 17th and the field will be narrowed to a final 10. Pick your favorite and join the 2.2M people who have already voted for their favorite books!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

A Kickstarter project I'm backing and I hope you'll check it out as well.


Many people ask me for endorsements or help when promoting their book. If you follow this blog, you know I don't do much of that. Why? Well, I'm a picky (and prickly) sort, and few books are able to stand up to my exacting standards. I take my reputation seriously, so I have to feel strongly about a project before I put my name behind it. Well, today is one of those days.

I'm a huge proponent of Kickstarter, and I've been trying to nudge more authors to use this great platform (because it has so many advantages for both readers and writers). One of my author friends has finally taken the plunge and created his first Kickstarter to fund hardcover editions of the first book in his trilogy. Since this is something I've always wanted (I already have a signed paperback, the ebook, and the audiobook), I jumped on the project right away, and just today, I increased my pledge by $10 to get early access to the final book in the series.

I've known Dyrk Ashton for around two and a half years and he's stayed over at our cabin a few times. Also, every time I go to a convention that the two of us are at, I try to spend as much time with him as I can. Why? Dryk has a keen mind, a great sense of humor, and an amazing writing acumen that makes any conversation with him worth savoring. And he's a really kind and helpful guy to fellow authors, so how can you not love that?

But enough about Dyrk, let me tell you about his books because they are well worth crowing about. The trilogy is called Paternus and these are their titles:
  • Paternus: Rise of the Gods
  • Paternus: Wrath of the Gods
  • Paternus: War of the Gods
They are urban fantasy tales that can best be described as American Gods meets the Avengers. When I started reading Dyrk's debut novel, my first thoughts were. "Wow this guy really knows how to draw you into a story, and his prose is smooth as silk and well polished." But I'm not the only author that sings Dyrk's praises. Here are some quotes from other authors I respect, and what they say about Paternus.
"Epic, innovative urban fantasy. A great read." — Mark Lawrence, bestselling author of Prince of Thorns and Red Sister.
"Wow! Ashton's story is a crucible in which myths are melted and remade to thrilling effect." — M.R. Carey, author of The Girl with all the Gifts 
"Paternus is an imaginative, exhilarating ride. A refreshing take on contemporary fantasy." — Anthony Ryan, New York Times Bestselling Author of Blood Song and The Legion of Flame 
"Terrific! Paternus is intelligent, intricate, suspenseful, and epic." — Nicholas Eames, Gemmell Award-winning author of Kings of the Wyld and Bloody Rose
If you don't want to wait for the hardcover to get started, the first two books are out now, and they are enrolled in the Kindle Unlimited program so you can read them for free (or pick up a copy of each for under $5 -- such a deal!) And if you do, you can even get an early copy of the final book which will be released to the retail chain on May 19, 2020.

So, in conclusion, click the link, and check out the Kickstarter, and if you see something you like please back the project. I'm betting you'll be turned on to a new author and you'll want to read every book that he puts out, and he'll get a larger payday as buying direct is always more profitable for the author than purchasing through the retail chain. So ends today's public service announcement.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Washington Post Bestsellers List again.

 

Hey all, Robin here. I hijack Michael's blog from time to time to announce big news. Well, things have been so busy as of late that I forgot to mention that two of the Legends of the First Empire books hit a bestseller list again.  This one was for the Washington Post Hardcovers and they made the list in the middle of October. While Riyria was Michael's breakout debut series, the Legends of the First Empire books have certainly provided him with more notoriety. Here are some of the "big lists" that the books in this series have appeared on:

Age of Myth:
  • #2 Washington Post Hardcover Bestseller List (July 2016)
  • Barnes & Noble Bestseller in Science Fiction and Fantasy (July 2016)
  • Barnes & Noble Bestseller in Science Fiction and Fantasy (August 2016)
  • Barnes & Noble Bestseller in Science Fiction and Fantasy (Sep 2016)
  • Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Best Fantasy (Nov 2016)
  • #93 Amazon ebook Bestseller (March 2017)
  • #6 Bestselling Audiobook (May 2017) 
  • #6 Washington Post Hardcover Bestseller List (Sep 2018)
  • #3 Washington Post Hardcover Bestseller List (April 2019)
  • #7 Washington Post Hardcover Bestseller List (Oct 2019)
Age of Swords:
  • USA Today Bestseller List (Aug 2017)
  • #1 Bestselling Audiobook (August 2017)
  • #7 Washington Post Hardcover Bestseller List (Sep 2017)
  • Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Best Fantasy (Nov 2017)
Age of War:
  • New York Times Bestseller List (July 2018)
  • USA Today Bestseller List (July 2018)
  • #3 Bestselling Audiobook (July 2018)
  • #12 Washington Post Bestseller List (April 2019)
  • Goodreads 12 Best Fantasy of 2018 (Aug 2018)
  • #3 Washington Post Hardcover Bestseller List (Sep 2018) 
  • Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Best Fantasy (Nov 2018)
  • #3 Washington Post Hardcover Bestseller List (Apr 2019) 
  • #8 Washington Post Hardcover Bestseller List (Oct 2019)
Age of Legend:
  • New York Times Bestseller List (July 2019)
  • USA Today Bestseller List (July 2019)
  • #6 Bestselling Audiobook (July 2019)
  • Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Best Fantasy (Nov 2019)
We are eternally grateful for all the amazing support that you have shown Michael over the years, and we are just about to put Age of Death on the presses, so more excitement to come!

Friday, October 11, 2019

P1999



Around the turn of the century, Robin and I began playing a new revolutionary computer game called Everquest. This was one of the first massive multiplayer online role playing games, and became a massive success that is still in existence twenty years later. We found it incredibly fun and played it for over three years. Robin and I had many adventures and eventually joined a guild that for a time we ran together while the guild leader was away with real-life issues.

While playing I began writing stories about the adventures and misadventures of the guild members. Believing these led to an increase in membership, I was made an officer in the guild. I then went on to write a fictional serial story using members of the game server (mostly members of our guild). The story was so well-received that I seriously began thinking about writing again after a near ten year hiatus. The result was a book about two thieves, and some of the first readers of Riyria were members of our Everquest guild. Theft of Swords is partially dedicated to them: Dragonchow.

Everquest then went on to deviate from the game creator’s original vision as Sony began tacking on expansions that broke much of the game’s original foundations. In short, they made the game easier in order to attract a wider audience. Robin and I lost interest in the early to mid-2000s. Today Everquest bears little resemblance to the original.

Why am I telling you all this? Because it is all starting over again on October 25th.

A group of volunteers with a vision created a classic version of EQ as it was when it released in the spring of 1999. They opened the server in October 2009. This server, called Blue, followed the same expansion and update track as the original game up to the point where the original development team stopped. Daybreak Games, the owners of Everquest, blessed the project that became known as P1999, (Project 1999) so long as they did not make money off the game, or allow it to advance beyond the 2001 expansions.

Now ten years later, P1999 is opening a new server called Green.

Blue was considered the 10-year beta test. Green is expected to be the most accurate re-envisioning of the original game.

P99 (as it is called) is free, but the wonderful volunteers do accept donations to help pay for the maintenance.

I thought I would mention it because I wish I had known about the opening of Blue back in 2009. So I am passing on the info to you. If you have no idea what Everquest is, allow me to quote Foghat_Vender 9 from a Reddit post he made that I feel sums up much of the game’s appeal.

“No modern conveniences at all. No group finder, no map, no minimap, when you die your shit stays on your body for a week and you lose xp and have to run to your corpse naked, no loot distribution system, money has weight and doesn't auto convert into higher denominations. The graphics are garbage, and there are zones. Mobs follow you until you zone and training players is a thing that the community has informal rules and standards about. Spells cost money and you need to memorize the spells you want to use in battle beforehand (or during if you're not under attack). Mana users spend most fights sitting to regain Mana. Etc, etc, etc”

In addition, a few of the etcs that Foghat neglects to mention is that the game is designed to cause people to group up and play together, so soloing is hard, and multi-boxing is not allowed (and they police this.) The game is slow, at times tedious, and tough. Originally it took Robin and I a year to reach level 50, and another year to reach level 60. 

It is also the most fun I’ve ever had in a computer game.

Robin and I returned to p99 Blue about two years ago and played it off an on. We reinvented our original characters and leveled to 50. Then we heard about Green. 

We’ll be playing on the 25th. I hope the names “Royce” or “Hadrian” or “Esrahaddon” will be available.

For more information: 
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZQqFRstN9Y
Official sight: https://www.project1999.com

Perhaps we will see you in Norrath.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Riyria Boxset Now Available



No, this isn't the hardcover boxset (coming early next year), and if you are interested in a notification for that release, you can sign-up for it here. This boxset is produced by Orbit and it's the paperback edition in a 4-color box. We had a pre-order for this product, and all copies have been mailed out (thanks all, for buying directly and getting early copies).

Currently, Amazon has this priced at 30% off ($28). And BookDepository has a 5% discount but ships for free worldwide ($37.44) At those prices, it's about the same price as a single hardcover, and you'll get all 6 full-length novels in a 3-volume, making it a  great holiday gift for loved ones you've been trying to hook on Riyria.

As always, we also offer signed copies directly from our store at list price ($39.99).

Here are some links to other popular stores:

Canada: Amazon | Chapters
UK: Amazon
Germany: Amazon
Worldwide (with free shipping): BookDepository

I hope you'll grab a set, if bought separate and at full price, these would cost $50.



Friday, September 27, 2019

Age of Empyre Cover Reveal


It's so satisfying when you finish up a series, especially one like Legends of the First Empire, which has taken years to write and release.  Today we debuted the cover of the last book in the series over at Fantasy-Faction. Want to see what Marc put together for the final book in the series? Well, come over and take a gander. I think it's pretty epic!