One of the nice things of living on the West Coast (other than it literally being paradise) is that most of the US/ Europe is already abed when I post. I don’t know why that makes me feel freer, but I sort of like knowing that I’m the last one up, even if that’s not true (I hear there’s this place called Asia. And maybe Australia?).
Anyways, by the time anyone reads this, The Glass Dagger, book three in the Sol’s Harvest series, will be live. And hopefully delivered to people who preordered it. I don’t actually know how that works, and you can’t see who/ how many people have already ordered it until the day of, so I guess I’ll find out when I wake up in the morning. So until then, I guess I’ll break out some whiskey (the good stuff tonight – Templeton) and do some drinking and typing.
But before I get too tipsy, some things. Firstly…
BUY MY BOOK! Secondly…
LEAVE A REVIEW! I don’t know where this “truism” comes from, but supposedly you need 25 (or 50, depending on who you speak to) reviews on Amazon in the first week to be considered a success. Hell, looking at the below pic of where TWR is currently hanging out in—oddly enough—the War & Military free section of Amazon, it’s review numbers and scores are looking a little lean against books with man-abs featured ever so prominently. But maybe that’s been my mistake all along: Not featuring enough abs on my covers.
One of these things is not like the others...
And now that I think about it, if you have a Goodreads review for The Imbued Lockblade, would you mind copy/ pasting it over to Amazon? GR is great, but just doesn’t cut it, and TIL only has two (2?!) reviews at present and is feeling a little unloved. But that’s the problem with being the second child, I guess.
Oh yeah, before I get to my thoughts on this novel, I’ve been out and about trying to gin up some attention. So you can find the OFFICIAL Glass Dagger playlist over at Fantasy Hive. Listen to it! The first song at least, which is mind blowing. The other ones are great and all, but I’ve been stuck on this one for months.
I also have music related post over at The Fantasy Inn where I argue that Grimdark is the new Grunge music. People have been receptive as of yet (my meme probably doesn’t hurt), but I’m waiting for it to filter over to the grimdark groups.
And now, without further ado (adieu?), let’s talk some Glass Dagger…
Right after I go fill up some more Templeton that is…
Okay, so I’m not nearly tipsy enough for the quickly approaching pretention you’re all about to endure, so know that this is me. The pretentious me that I hate and try to stifle but who refuses to be strangled no matter how many years I’ve been at this.
Anyways, I’m really proud of this book. Not just because Swiff over at Fantasy Book Review says this is my best yet, and I’ve gotten some compliments on my prose, which has always been my mental Achilles heel, but because this story is where I finally get to (mostly) unveil what I’ve been at all along. I’ll try and keep this spoiler free (in terms of book three at least; I’m going to go out on a limb and assume if you’re reading this you’ve read the first two books), but this is the first time that I get to show what this series is really, truly about.
Hard to believe this, but it’s about moral ambiguity and there being no good choices, only less bad ones. You know, that fun stuff that fantasy readers love so much (because it’s totally not an escapist genre in the least). I’ve recently taken some flak over having removed the slavery issue in my civil war reimagining , and I think a lot of that is because on some level I wanted to take the certainty out of the war. It should go without saying, but slavery is unequivocally wrong and the Confederacy were traitors to the ol’ USA (mind you, I don’t extend this to every soldier who fought for the Confederacy, but certainly to their leaders). There were clear heroic/ villainous sides in the real war because of slavery, and by removing that I injected (hopefully) more moral ambiguity to my constructed universe. This time we get the Render view of the situation via Graff, and I hope it’s as equally legitimate/ flawed as the Weaver view Marta believed in the first book.
But more than that, I get to expand the perspectives of the situation with each new character backstory. Marta may not have had the best moral anchor, but she at least came with a clear perspective to the Grand War. Ditto for Luca in book two, which I hope opened the reader up to a wider perspective of the whole story world. And, with the revelation at the end of book two, I hope that the shift in audience perspective as to who is right and who is wrong is now at a precarious balancing point. One that I hope to disrupt further with book three.
Marta, although not a conventional hero, is at least on a heroic quest. Luca too wants nothing more than to make the best out of a bad situation, any situation. He may know and accept that he has to kill a man, but he won’t make him suffer because that would be cruel (as opposed to Marta, who will not make him suffer because it would waste too much time).
Graff, who it should be no secret by now is the POV for book three, is an entirely different beast. The other two POVs could be considered neutral in the war between the Renders/ Weavers. Graff, by his very occupation, has made his clear choice as to which side he stands on. Like the other two, he’s doing what he believes is best. But for him it isn’t a personal quest, rather for all of Ayr.
Too bad it’s in complete opposition to the other two.
I’m tipsy enough to let my full pretention shine though in that I always intended this series to be a Rashomon-style slow-reveal in that what seemed so clear-cut at the beginning (get innocent girl from point A to point B) slowly unravels into… not a mess, because this was planned out from the very beginning… but into a situation where all perspectives need to be taken into account. Because, as I’ve always firmly believed, the best stories are those in which I want both the protagonist and antagonist to win. Marta and Luca were my protagonists in that, although they may not always be easy to like, they at least have a heroic aim. Or start out to at least. In books three and four I get to dig into the antagonists’ perspectives, and I can assure you that things are not nearly as clear-cut as they appeared in the first book.
This is one of the reasons why I avoided going traditionally published with this one. One of my biggest proponents, the inestimable Mihir at Fantasy Book Critic (not to ignore Lukasz in the least), has really wanted me to go trad with this one. And as much as I appreciate his vote of confidence, there’s no way I could have ever successfully pitched my vision (ugh, who said that?), which was a Frankenstein-esque melding of The Last Airbender with True Detective in a non-linear multiple 3rd person POV steampunkish reimagining of the American Civil War with no true heroes and strong religious overtones that incorporate the Protestant/ Catholic divide as well as reincarnation.
Who in their right minds would put down money to fund that?
Well, if judging by the preorder numbers that have come in since I started writing this post, not many. Which means that this imagined agent/ editor made the right decision in not wanting to pick this series up. And honestly, it’s a really hard sell. I think/ hope/ pray that when it all comes together in book four and people see what I’ve been aiming at all along, it might/ maybe/ probably not will catch on, but that’s a pretty big gamble. I think this series really is that: something that needs to be read from start to finish as a whole, which means that my year between titles and fumbling baby-steps towards my goal haven’t really aided in that aim. If I could go back in time, I definitely would have told my younger self setting out on this endeavor to attempt something easier, linear, and probably involving man-abs on the cover.
But that’s why life is a learning experience. You never stop learning (or at least you shouldn’t) until you die.
And yeah, I’m more than tipsy now. Hope you enjoy book three.