Monday, July 28, 2014

Neverland's Shadow

As most on this blog already know, I wrote a short story for the Unfettered anthology for Shawn Speakman, called "The Jester." Shawn is putting together another anthology called Neverland's Shadow and I'm penning another story for that it.  What really drew me to this anthology is that the whole body of work focuses on the antagonist.  Rarely do we get a glimpse inside the heads of these nefarious types, but this anthology will use this as its binding theme.

So who all will be contributing? A pretty awesome line-up.  Including:

  • Ann Aguirre
  • Piers Anthony
  • R. Scott Bakker      
  • Jim Butcher
  • Glen Cook
  • Tang Fe
  • Mark Lawrence
  • Tanith Lee
  • Ken Liu

  • Scott Lynch
  • John Marco
  • Tim Marquitz
  • Peter Orullian
  • Kat Richardson
  • Anthony Ryan
  • Shawn Speakman
  • Michael J. Sullivan
  • Adrian Tchaikovsky
Other people associated with the project include Terry Brooks, who will be writing the introduction. Todd Lockwood will be developing the cover and editing will be handled by Shawn Speakman and Roger Bellini. One of the things that Grim Oak Press does so well is creates really beautiful leather bound collector volumes including signed editions. Last time around the signed/numbered copies sold out almost instantly, and I suspect this volume will be popular as well. So if you want to get your hands on one of these, circle September 3, 2014 on your calendar as that's when Grim Oak Press will start taking pre-orders. And if you want to learn more about the anthology as a whole, hop on over to Grim Oak Press.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Dark Beyond the Door

I'd like to introduce a new anthology of short fiction: The Dark Beyond the Door. This book was the inspiration of J.R. Karlsson (editor and story contributor) who wanted to shine a spotlight on some great self-published authors he had recently discovered.

J.R. originally approached me to write a foreword to the book, speaking a bit about self-publishing and how many authors are (a) finding success and (b) choosing self-publishing as a viable way of reaching audiences instead of what it was in the past (the last resort for people who couldn't be published themselves.  I was pleased to help. Anything that can showcase the talent that is coming out of the self-publishing world is something I strongly support. J.R. also invited me to contribute a story, the only requirement was "a door" had to be featured prominently in the story.

I didn't have time to write a new short, but luckily I had something that fit the bill nicely, The Jester, which was originally written for the Unfettered Anthology had recently reverted to me and it's a little Royce and Hadrian adventure where the duo are hired by a rich candle maker following a map to a renowned treasure.  During the course of the story the party is locked in a room with a terrible creature trying to break down a flimsy door.  The group has a choice to make between the only three things in the room: another (more sturdy door), a lever, and a chest.  Each one represents something, and you'll have to read the story to find out what, but I was happy to add The Jester to the anthology.

So who are these talented authors that J.R. was so impressed with?  Well here is the way J.R. introduced the group during a recent AMA (Ask Me Anything) on reddit's Fantasy forum:

  • Michael J. Sullivan, the best-selling author of the The Riyria Revelations and /r/fantasy regular. He's no stranger to AMAs, having participated in many and earning the respect and admiration of many users through his continual feedback and participation within the community.
  • M. Todd Gallowglas, the founder of The Genre Underground and author of the Tears of Rage and Halloween Jack series. Another regular to /r/fantasy[13] , you can often see him contributing his wisdom on a variety of topics.
  • J.S. Morin, our fourth reddit regular and author of the Twinborn Trilogy and more recently the Mad Tinker Chronicles. You can find him wherever there is good discussion on this subreddit.
  • Gregory S. Close, a reddit regular responsible for the huge tome In Siege of Daylight. He discovered /r/fantasy[16] through the Worldcon in San Antonio and hasn't left since.
  • Christopher Kellen/r/fantasy[18] 's answer to Karl Edward Wagner and author of the popular Elements of Sorcery and Arbiter Codex series of Sword and Sorcery books.
  • S.M. White, the author of The Paarus Histories and The Witch's Price. People seeking dark fantasy need look no further.
  • Ken Lim, reddit regular and author of The Starfall Knight, Exigent and The Steelbound Sun.
  • Tristan Gregory, reddit regular and the author of The Wandering Tale and the excellent Twixt Heaven and Hell.
  • S.G. Night, an American writer hailing from the D.C. Metro area. In 2013 he self-published 'Attrition: the First Act of Penance' at the age of 18.
  • J.R. Karslon, didn't add himself in the run down, so I will. He is the author of Escana, the eponymous first volume in an ever-evolving epic fantasy series. He also writes a sword and sorcery compendium known as El-Vador's Travels set in the same universe and a science fiction comedy series called The Extraordinary Adventures of Phil Jones. He's also the founder of Fiction Garden, a website he plans to use to introduce more stores from "indie" authors.
I should also mention the striking cover was created by S.A. Hunt who J.R. describes as "a terrific writer in his own right with his Outlaw King series."

So that's who contributed but what about the stories? Well I'm glad you asked.  Here is a bit about each one:
  • The Jester by Michael J. Sullivan is a classic piece of short fiction set in the best-selling Riyria Revelations world, featuring the inimitable duo of Hadrian and Royce mid-quest, as they attempt to make a choice that will either save them or damn them. 
  • Jaludin's Road by M. Todd Gallowglas is evocative Sword & Sorcery set in his Tears of Rage world. After returning home from five years of growing up in the deserts, Jaludin discovers that his home town is under a nefarious curse. He must discover why before the entire town dies of thirst. 
  • Three Demon Gambit by J.S. Morin is a warning to all not to mess in the affairs of demons. As one wizard pits himself against creatures that thirst for his very soul. 
  • Ehly by Gregory S. Close tells the story of a young girl fighting for survival after her father's brutal murder. 
  • The Oath by Christopher Kellen is a prequel to his Arbiter Codex, featuring a younger D'arden Tal prior to his transformation into an Arbiter. 
  • The One Who Runs by S.M. White tells the tale of The Blood Prince, Adon, and the witch he had become bound to, as he searches for his love, Calla. 
  • Chaff by Ken Lim is set in the same universe as The Starfall Knight, as a hunter known as Hania encounters a child called Viveka from another aerock and does her utmost to protect her. 
  • The Swordsman of Carn Nebeth by Tristan Gregory is the first of his Wandering Tale fantasy short story series, featuring the consequences of a returning soldier, Coary, told through the eyes of the young village boy William. 
  • Bloodtaker by S.G. Night is the first Inspector Vego mystery. A chilling tale of a necromancer willing to do anything with blood in order to get that which he desires most and the inspector who must hunt him down before he strikes again. 
  • Knight's Oath by Jason Varrone is a story of loyalty, passion and tough choices in the midst of a potential battlefield. It questions the morality of a commander's choices, and his ties to the King he is sworn to obey. 
  • One Shot by J.R. Karlsson is an urban fantasy based in Coleraine, Northern Ireland. When Sarah's house is set on fire with her trapped inside, and a sniper prevents her immediate escape, she turns to her only friend, Martin. Together they must unravel the mystery of how she survived the blaze, why someone is targeting her and how they can stay alive long enough to find out.
Even if you've already read The Jester I hope you'll give The Dark Beyond the Door a try, after all anthologies are a great way to find new authors to love. And if you haven't read the story, here is a chance to get it along with a few others.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Goodreads Most Followed

Many years ago I wrote a blog post about sign posts--indicators that you might be getting somewhere with this whole "writing gig."  After writing 25 books (and releasing 9) I still think of myself as the new kid trying to find a place to put my tray in the lunchroom filled with real authors.  How I even got into the school is a mystery, but has a lot to do with me finding an unlocked back door. I see the various cool kid tables and wouldn't dare put my tray down at one of those.  Maybe someday...if I keep at it, but not yet.

So it was funny when Robin mentioned today that I'm one of the most followed people on goodreads (#48 over the last year). 

Now the list only goes to #50, so I'm really near the bottom. But I still find this amazing.  After all other people on the list include:

And of course many more. I'm not sure I deserve to be listed among people, but I certainly am glad for all the readers of my books who have followed me.  I'm assuming they are following me because of my books, it certainly isn't because of my book reviews, which are few and far between.  So thank you fellow goodreaders. You made my day.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Why is the Raccoon Falling?

(Now that I sent out critiques, I’m receiving responses to the First Five Pages Project. No suicides, so that’s good. A few of the writers mentioned having read and appreciated the writing advice essays I’ve posted on this blog and are presently ensconced in the bar on the right. I had no idea my ramblings on writing had impact, but since it appears to have, and because I see a number of people struggling with how to start a story, I thought I would make another.)

Take offs and landings are always the scariest parts of any flight—stories are no different. Getting off the ground in time to clear the trees and not spill the luggage from the overhead bins isn’t as easy as skilled pilots make it seem.

Writers, invented world fantasy writers especially, often feel like the concerned friend walking into the living room of a horder. Where do you even begin? When you set a story in a new universe, there is so much you need to get across to the reader before they can begin to grasp the story you want to tell. The result is often an explosion of information, what I call the wall of noise, and others refer to, more affectionately as, the learning curve. Many authors have famously built giant walls with indifference to the reader. This sink or swim mentality is often lauded—among those who swim. The deeper the water, the stronger the deadly current, and the farther the opposite shore, the more the successful swimmers brag of the author’s excellence, mostly due to their own sense of pride in having survived the struggle. This hazing initiation has its merits, but I feel it has even more detriments. The most obvious is lack of audience, and quite often lack of career.

So how can you avoid the wall of noise in a story where many words don’t even have definitions yet? And how can you build characterization and setting without huge piles of exposition? And how can you grab a reader’s interest, and hold it?

One way to approach the opening of a novel is to treat it as a short story with a loose end, and that loose end can work as a splinter in the skin of the reader. But such a splinter can’t be inflicted on a reader without some context. A scream, or someone yelling “help!” isn’t too likely to elicit a response because anyone hearing them won’t know the circumstance. Maybe the shouting person is just kidding, or playing a game. This is why a fantastically exciting start to a story isn’t good enough. Without context, it can be bewildering. If, however, you can see the person screaming is a child standing next to an adult who is bleeding on the street, a response is more likely to result. To truly set the splinter deep, you first need to establish what’s going on, and who is involved.

The trick to this is that the situation needn’t be complex. It can, and often should be, simple. A character can be in a panic having lost their keys or glasses. They can run out of hot water in the shower. They can step in a puddle on the way to a crime scene, or they can be determining which wire to cut on a bomb with ten seconds left to decide. The point is that the issue at hand needs to be easily comprehended by the reader, because the problem, or tension, in the scene isn’t the point. The real purpose of the scene is to establish the character and setting. The crisis is merely the vehicle. Allowing the reader to quickly, and easily, grasp the situation—the goal and the obstacles to success—grants them the ability to focus on the Who and Where. And how the players in the drama act is the means by which a writer can establish characters, and show rather than tell.

In the opening scene of House of Cards, the main character is faced with a mortally injured dog. This has nothing at all to do with the plot of the series, or even the episode, but everything to do with establishing the character’s personality and the tone of the show. Often the opening of a story isn’t about The Big Event, but a scaled down version, the first symptom, or instance, of the coming storm—as in Stephen King’s The Stand. Sometimes this first instance can be a failure that provides the learning experience that comes in handy in the big moment. This is best handled as an insignificant event that the reader will dismiss, such as losing one’s glasses or keys.

You never want to confuse a reader. That is the surest way to get a closed book. Boredom is another and often holds hands with confusion, as being confused is often boring. Just present the situation, and after that you can have fun.

This brings me to the raccoon.

I know you’ve been wondering about the raccoon since you read the title, and have been thinking, “what does all this have to do with a falling raccoon?” That’s the point. Imagine a story that begins…

“The raccoon fell from the bridge and Bob had to catch it.”

This is easy to read and simple to understand and yet it asks so many questions that readers will need to read on to find the answers to. Why is a raccoon falling from a bridge? Why does Bob have to catch it? Who is Bob? What bridge? What is this all about?

Okay, a catchy opening isn’t that hard. Just throw out some absurd sentence (or raccoon) and you’ll catch attention. So, of course, that’s not enough. You need to back it up. A bait and switch will make a reader dislike you very quickly. Writing: “The President killed…!” only to follow it up with, “with his State of the Union speech,” won’t win you an audience. The opening has to be a shining example of your style and tone going forward. (This is often why many writers just write a book and then cut off the first chapter or two, starting where the story gets going, where they’ve hit their stride.) Creating a short story, or limited scenario, at the start helps this, and also helps limit the scope. You don’t need to explain everything; you just need to explain this one little thing.

The landmine to avoid is the explanations that you feel a need to make to ensure the reader knows why. Resist it. Make it clear what is happening, but drag your feet on why. The reader is a bystander with bad timing. As a writer you hold your finger up toward the reader and say, “Hang on a minute—I’m busy. Can’t you see the falling raccoon?”

String the reader along. After all, you have a perfectly good reason—the raccoon. You’ll explain later, but right now you have this issue of a plummeting animal to deal with, so let’s focus on that right now, okay? And by the time the crisis is over, this bystander (the reader) is impressed by the ingenuity, the courage, the quirky cynicism, the hilarious optimism, or the incredible skill or superpower of the main character, and the focus stops being on why did this raccoon fall and more on who is this interesting person I just met who catches raccoons?

So the first scene should be immediate, active, simple, engaging, and not necessarily connected to the main storyline except in a symbolic or hidden manner, but allow for character and scene development on a limited scale. Once this little intro-short story is over, the reader should be adequately ensnared in your web of words and hopelessly unable to escape your bonds of intriguing questions. At that point you can begin filling them in, a bit at a time leading them ever deeper into your world, a place from which they will never leave, or want to.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Hide and Create Writing Podcast

I've recorded a couple of podcasts with the peole over at Hide and Create, and as I've not embarrassed myself (too much) they are going to have me as a regular contributor. Hide and Create is kinda like eavesdropping on a conference panel without having to travel or pay the fees.  It has panelists offering some diversity so that multiple perspectives are covered.  For interest hosts represent New York Time Best seller, tie-in writers, editors, small press published and self-published. Here is a bit about the current roster.

Jordan Ellinger has been called a “standout” in a starred review in Publishers Weekly. He is a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association (SFWA), is a first place winner of Writers of the Future, a graduate of the prestigious Clarion West writers workshop, an award-winning screenplay writer, and author of more than twenty works of fiction, including popular series and media tie-ins (i.e., “Warhammer” and “Star Citizen”). He has collaborated with internationally best-selling authors like Mike Resnick and Steven Savile (with whom he co-authored “Martyrs,” a military thriller). He is a professional editor, having worked as Executive Editor at Every Day Publishing and on the Animism Transmedia Campaign. His film, “Tender Threads,” won the jury prize at Bloodshots Canada and was screened by master of horror, George A. Romero. He is experienced both in programming and writing games (including RPG’s) with focus on Artificial Intelligence systems, and has shipped games for publishers such as THQ and EA.
Portrait of Joshua EssoeJoshua Essoe is a full-time, freelance editor. He’s been editing and writing for twenty years in one form or another, but has focused on speculative fiction since 2009. He’s done work for David Farland, Dean Lorey, Moses Siregar and numerous Writers of the Future authors and winners, as well as many top-notch independents. Joshua describes his editing style and approach in a guest article written for

Debbie Viguie
Debbie Viguié is the New York Times Bestselling author of over a dozen novels including the Wicked series and the new Crusade series co-authored with Nancy Holder. Much of Debbie’s writing has a dark edge to it, including her retold fairy tales, her latest being Violet Eyes, a retelling of The Princess and the Pea. In addition to her epic dark fantasy work Debbie also writes thrillers including The Psalm 23 Mysteries and the upcoming Kiss trilogy. When Debbie isn’t busy writing she enjoys spending time with her husband, Scott, visiting theme parks. They live in Florida with their cat, Schrödinger.
Moses Siregar
Moses Siregar III is the author of the award-winning indie fantasy novel The Black God’s War and the forthcoming Splendor and Ruin trilogy. He is a producer and co-host of the Parsec Award-winning Adventures in Scifi Publishing podcast. He blogs occasionally at Moses and Dionysus Walk Into a Bar …but you’re more likely to find him sharing the lulz via Facebook and TwitterCheck out Moses’ debut novel “The Black God’s War” on

Moses is going to be leaving the show (he needs to focus on his writing and has a new baby coming - congrats Moses!)  and I'll be taking his place as kinda the "self-publishing" expert.  The first podcast I did was: How to get Reviews for Your Book and Get Noticed just click the link to listen in. The most recent podcast was: Facebook for Writers which I'm not on - which just might be an even bigger reason to listen to it ;-) 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Presenting at the Writer's Digest Annual Conference

In just a few weeks I'll be speaking at the 2014 Writer's Digest Annual Conference. I'm honored to be included with some amazing industry experts and best-selling authors. This will be a great educational and networking opportunity which will include:
  • Seven New York Times bestselling authors:  Kimberla Lawson Robey, Jacquelyn Mitchard, Dani Shapiro, Cheryl St. John, Dan Hampton, Barry Lyga and Harlan Coben!
  • Four dedicated tracks of instruction: Getting Published, Platform and Promotion, Craft and Self-Publishing
  • The Pitch Slam, the Conference's signature event, with more than 50 agents and editors slated to be on hand scouting new talent. 

I should also note there are actually two events:
  • Writer's Digest Pro (Friday) which is an all day event with one track designed for advanced writers with a more intimate knowledge of how the publishing and self-publishing industries work – sessions like advanced social media and promotion techniques, author branding, hybrid authorship, contract negotiations, and much more.  Writer's Digest Pro can be added onto any registration type for an additional $99.
  • Main Conference (Sat - Sunday) generally has four simultaneous tracks on a wide range of subjects. You can delve deeper into your craft and hone your skills or learn more about the complexities of contemporary publishing. 
As to my own schedule I'll be presenting in both conferences:
  • Author Branding (Pro: Fri at 11:10) - Words such as marketing, branding, or author platform cause many authors to break into hives, but in today’s publishing landscape building an audience is just as important to an author’s career as the writing itself. Branding is often misunderstood, frequently done poorly, or ignored altogether. In this session, successful hybrid author Michael J. Sullivan will demystify branding and illustrate five important tools you need to develop a persona that will organically attract the people most interested in the types of books you write. 
  • Panel: Marketing Strategies for Independent Authors: (Main: Sat at 11:10) - The biggest challenge facing an independent author is getting the effectively promoting your work and motivating the public to buy it. There are a number of strategies for doing this right and making the best use of your time. But what if you haven’t got time? What if you don’t like or understand social media? Is it worth investing time and effort into setting up book signings? Are online retailers the key to success? Are specialty markets worth pursuing? Should you hire a freelance publicist and, if so, what should your expectations be? You’ll learn all of this and more, plus have an opportunity to ask your own questions at this invaluable session.
  • Goodreads: The Platform That Can Make Your Career (Main: Sat at 2:40 pm) - In a recent Forbes’ article, Patrick Brown, the Director for Author Marketing at Goodreads, was asked to cite one of the most effective authors, he named Michael J. Sullivan “without hesitation.” Goodreads is an exceptional environment for audience building, but if done poorly, it can have disastrous results. Michael will share the techniques he uses and provide more than a dozen helpful strategies such as how to maximize book giveaways, creating “secret-private" groups, and how to maximize author discoverability.
I'll be speaking more next week about some of the other presenters and sessions that are going on, but if you think you want to come see me then I can get you $50 off your admission. Just use the code WDSPEAKER when you register.  Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Unfettered on sale for just $2.99

Cover Art by Todd Lockwood

One of the anthologies I'm most proud of participating in is Unfettered. For those who don't know, it's a work where none of the authors made a dime even though it has sold incredibly well.  It wasn't meant to make us any money...its sole purpose was to help pay off the medical bills of Shawn Speakman who amassed hundreds of thousands during his fight (and win) against cancer. We met our goal, Shawn is medical debt free, has put aside a nice nest egg for future insurance, and now is using the excess to help other authors who have medical bills that are overwhelming them.

I got an email from Shawn that he has put the US version of Unfettered on sale (the UK version is licensed to Orbit and Shawn doesn't control that price...but he is working with the publisher to try and get it reduced as well) Unfettered was a no-brainer at $9.99, at $2.99 it's a steal.  Just look at who has contributed stories:

  • Terry Brooks
  • Patrick Rothfuss
  • Brandon Sanderson
  • Michael J. Sullivan
  • Kevin Hearne
  • Mark Lawrence
  • Lev Grossman
  • Tad Williams
  • Jacqueline Carey
  • Daniel Abraham
  • Peter V. Brett
  • Robert VS Redick
  • Peter Orullian
  • RA Salvatore
  • Naomi Novik
  • Todd Lockwood
  • Carrie Vaughn
  • Blake Charlton
  • David Anthony Durham
  • Jennifer Bosworth
  • Eldon Thompson
  • Shawn Speakman
For my own part, I submitted The Jester, a Royce and Hadrian short story. Here's a bit about it:

Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A thief, a candlemaker, an ex-mercenary, and a pig farmer walk into a trap…and what happens is no joke. When Riyria is hired to retrieve a jester’s treasure, Royce and Hadrian must match wits with a dwarf who proves to be anything but a fool. Difficult choices will need to be made, and in the end those who laugh last do so because they are the only ones to survive.

This is a standalone short story of 7,200 words. No prior knowledge of The Riyria Revelations or The Riyria Chronicles is required to enjoy it to its fullest, making this a perfect introduction for new readers or a chance for Riyria veterans to spend a little more time with old friends. The Jester is a story of adventure, bonds of friendship, and a recognition that the choices we make dictates the future we find.
I hope you'll get your hands on Unfettered during the sale, even if you've read my story (I've given away quite a few copies for free) you'll certainly find others to enjoy. Here are some links to help you buy: Amazon Kindle •  Barnes & Noble Nook  •  Kobo

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

International Authors' Day Giveaway

I was honored to receive an email from Jenn at Book Reviews and Giveaways that not only was I her "favorite author" but that she wanted to feature me for a blog hop for International Authors' Day.  Part of the hop involves free giveaways of the work the bloggers love the most, and I was more than happy to participate.

For those who aren't familiar with blog's when a bunch of bloggers get together to feature a particular event or theme.  This one is organized by Lynn Thompson and will run from July 14th - July 18th. Here are a small sampling of participating blogs:

There are many more, and I wish I could list them all, but the list is just too long. But let's focus on Jenn's entry.  Here is part of what she had to say for her post:
My favorite genre is Fantasy. My first taste was playing games based on Dungeons & Dragons and I fell in love. I’ve read quite a lot in this genre, with several series or authors I really like. My favorite author has to be Michael J. Sullivan. His writing always feels like you are right there with the characters. You can feel what they are going through and you connect with them on so many levels. You find yourself caring what happens and experiencing emotions as though they were your closest friends. The descriptions are perfect. Never too much, never too little. You can visualize what he describes like it is being painted right before your eyes. I love how he can take so many plot threads along with the main plot and weave them expertly through more than just one book. You can’t help but stay up late just to read another chapter.
Jenn is running a "raffle copter" to giveaway one of my stories, but I was so thrilled to be part of this that I'm offering three of my short stories, not just to a single winner - but for anyone who signs up. Here is what I'm providing from this link.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A thief, a candlemaker, an ex-mercenary, and a pig farmer walk into a trap…and what happens is no joke. When Riyria is hired to retrieve a jester’s treasure, Royce and Hadrian must match wits with a dwarf who proves to be anything but a fool. Difficult choices will need to be made, and in the end those who laugh last do so because they are the only ones to survive.

NOTE: This short story was originally published in the Unfettered Anthology edited by Shawn Speakman.

A band of thieves set upon two lonely riders in the middle of the night. They had a larger party. They had the element of surprise. There was no reason to be concerned, but they didn’t realize who they were dealing with.

NOTE: This was originally published as the first chapter of Theft of Swords (Book #1 and Book #2 of The Riyria Revelations), so for those who have that already have this story.

Eleven years before they were framed for the murder of a king, Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater were practically strangers. Unlikely associates, this cynical thief decides to teach his idealist swordsman partner that no good deed goes unpunished. But who is really the student and who is the master?

NOTE: This short story was the seed that became The Riyria Chronicles, it eventually found it's way in Chapter 2 of The Rose and the Thorn.

I know that people on my site have probably already read these shorts, in one format or another...but I thought I should mention it in case you have friends/family that you want to introduce to Royce and Hadrian for free.

Thanks Jenn, and all the bloggers participating on the blog hop.  It's so nice to have a day (or three) devoted to authors and I'm honored to be included.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Stretch Goal Reached

Marc Simonetti's Coverama Crowd funding project hit it's next stretch goal ($30,000) so there will be five additional signed prints sent with all the books. I'm not sure if this is going to be one of them or not, but I do hope so.  At the very least, it will be included in the book.  There are still three days left to get in on this exceptional coffee table book.  You can get your copy here.

One of the cool thing about this picture, is that Marc painted it while recording through Livestream, and he has included his commentary as he worked on it, which will be a great help to other artists. It's amazing to see him go from nothing to a finished picture and you can watch along as he does.

Here is the first installment:


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Crowd Funding Marc Simonetti's Art Book

I'm pretty public about my love for Marc Simonetti's artwork.  Not only has he done beautiful work for my Riyria French covers:

And provided an incredible illustration to bring to life Hollow World:

But he has also done amazing work for Pat Rothfuss's King Killer Chronicles, George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones, Terry Prachett's Disc World, and the list just goes on and on.

My reason for posting today is Marc an It's Art are crowd funding a coffee table book of his art. You can learn all about it here.

The project has already funded...(currently at 278% in fact), but I wanted people to know about it as there are still 5 days left and if another $2,000 plus change is raised the $30,000 stretch goal will be hit which means backers will get another 5 signed prints!  As someone who has already backed this great project - I would love for this to have this added bonus.

As with everything that Marc does, this is an incredibly professional and amazing project. Just look at some of these pictures I've taken from the funding page:

How amazing are those? Almost 400 people have backed the project and Marc has a wide range of funding options available. He's already made these stretch goals:
  • $14,000 - Book expand to 256 pages
  • $20,000 - Signed copies of "The Wall" 

And the best part...Marc has done a new piece of original art for my Riyria series.  If you've read Heir of Novron and wondered what the capital city of Percepliquis looked like just before it was destroyed by Esrahaddon, well you'll get to see that as well. I've been working with Marc over the last few months while he produced the piece and I'm thrilled with the results.  Marc has even hinted that he might do a companion versions showing the city after the fall.  How cool would that be?

In any case, no matter what pictures are ultimately selected for the final book, I can't see how anyone will be disappointed.  I'm very excited about this project an hope that by posting here, a few others will be excited to.

The project will close July 15th, 2014, so there are only a few more days left.  Please pledge your support and get your hands on this wonderful, limited edition work of art.  Again the link is here.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Wattpad Featured Author

I'm pleased to announce that the fine people at wattpad are featuring one of my stories.

This is the short story that planted the seed which would eventually grow into Hollow World. My intention for this particular piece, was to have a "Twilight Zone" ending.  Where the main character isn't a very nice guy and gets "just what he deserves."  While there are many similarities:
  • Both Dan Sturges and Ellis Rogers build a time machine and go to the future because they are dying.
  • In both "futures" the people are genetically identical and live underground due to advance technology, leaving the "surface" in a pristine, natural state.
But that's really where the similarities end. Dan was written to be unlikable, and for a full-length novel I needed someone more sympathetic.  Also he is pretty much a card-board stereotype. In this short story it's not about growth of a character (which is pretty hard in a short story as they exist for just a few reading minute), it was more about showing that an inability to adjust to one's environment could lead to disastrous results. It also demonstrates the old, be careful what you wish for theme.

Also, the people in Hollow World would never do to Dan what Dan's future versions do. I don't want to say too much, as it might spoil the story.  But let's just say the people he run into have almost 180 degree different view on how people should be treated.

For those who aren't familiar with wattpad, it's an online community were writers can post stories, poems, or just about anything else.  Most people read these stories via their smart phones and they are voracious readers.  Here are some stats (as of April 2014)
  • 85 percent of its traffic and usage comes from mobile devices
  • 25 million unique visitors per month
  • over 1,000 story uploads per day
I've uploaded a number of short stories (and previews) on that site including:
  • Greener Grass (dystopian science fiction short story)
  • Burning Alexandria (dystopian science fiction short story)
  • The Jester (a Riyria short story - originally published in Unfettered)
  • The Thieves (a Riyria short story - also the first chapter of Theft of Swords)
  • The Viscount  (a Riyria short story - also the second chapter of The Rose and the Thorn)
  • Hollow World, Extended Preview (first 4 chapters of the full-length novel)
If you want to checkout my stories, click here.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

More about the anthology: Help Fund my Robot Army

As I mentioned in my recent post, John Joseph Adam's Help Fund My Robot Army Anthology is now released to the general public (formerly a Kickstarter).  It's an interesting idea, tell a story in the form of a Kickstarter.  Last post I introduced you to the amazing authors who contributed stories, today I want to share with you the Kickstarter Blurbs that we provided for each one.  Also I should note that John has made a few of the stories available for free from his website.  Here are the stories you can read for absolutely nothing:

Help Fund My Robot Army (via Lightspeed Magazine)

• The Spirit of Mars: Fund a Sacred Journey to the Red Planet—Andrew Penn Romine

• Help Summon the Most Holy Folded One!—Harry Connolly

• For Entertainment Purposes Only—Jeremiah Tolbert

• Help Me Follow My Sister into the Land of the Dead—Carmen Maria Machado (via Lightspeed Magazine)

Here are the various blurbs from the anthology:

Help Fund My Robot Army!!! By Keffy R.M. Kehrli
Help Fund My Robot Army so I can crush your hopes and dreams by making my own come true!

For Entertainment Purposes Only by Jeremiah Tolbert
A brain-altering device and app for dealing with an all-too-common problem of television and film spoilers. With our device, you can live a Spoiler Free life and enjoy the media you consume without concern.

Zero G R&J by Mary Robinette Kowal
NASA’s artist-in-residence program experiments with zero-G puppetry. David Tennant & Mary Robinette Kowal perform in space!

A Memorial to the Patriots by Jake Kerr
Help fund A Memorial to the Patriots, a marble monument in Baton Rouge to the valiant and brave defenders of Houston, who lost their lives to the terrorist insurgency forces last year.

I Want to be a Lioness by Chuck Wendig
I need to be on the outside what I feel I am on the inside: a lioness.

Liberty: Seeking Support for a Writ of Habeas Corpus for a Non-Human Being by Samuel Peralta
Seeking Support for a Writ of Habeas Corpus for a Non-Human Being

Help Summon the Most Holy Folded One! by Harry Connolly
With your help, we’ll summon the most holy, perfect, and eternal folded one: the avatar of the taco god. During this holy communion, we’ll learn the secrets of taco creation which we will then share with you!

Fulfill My Destiny—and Save the World! by Matt Forbeck
I have already conquered the world, but I need your help to build my time machine to make sure it happens. Or we all die.

Larping the Apocalypse 2: The Nano-Plague by Tim Pratt
You can be part of the most realistic post-apocalyptic live-action roleplaying game ever . . . if you live long enough.

Fund Taphognosis Industries by Tobias S. Buckell
Help us scan and upload entire minds . . . and change the future of consciousness research.

CatAssassins by Veronica Belmont
In an uncertain world, you want #CatAssassins on your side! Backers receive an early look at how our kittens are primed for global takeover.

Finder of Lost Things by Monte Cook
Lost something important to you? Support this project to help fund a device that will find it, no matter where or what it is!

Prima Nocta Detective Agency Needs You by Genevieve Valentine
Shadow City needs a hero. Prima Nocta wants to be that hero, because this place is really getting overrun with vampires.

So Juicy Transforming Strips by Matt Williamson
Tired of spoxy drainage? Together, we can “heal and reveal”!

The Spirit of Mars: Fund a Sacred Journey to the Red Planet by Andrew Penn Romine
JOIN US on an interplanetary pilgrimage to the mysterious FACE on MARS, and help found a NEW TEMPLE to the sacred SPIRIT of MARS.

Flashed Forward by Bradley Beaulieu
A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to send me, and perhaps some small part of you, beyond these days and into the future.

Help Me Follow My Sister into the Land of the Dead by Carmen Maria Machado
Aid & abet a heartwarming sibling reunion—albeit under grievous circumstances—in a terrifying place where no mortal has any business treading.

Be Careful What You Wish For by Michael J. Sullivan
I can make your wishes come true. Check out my magic talismans with a wide range of prices/number of wishes available.

A Practical Mechanism for Overcoming the Directionality of Temporal Flow by David D. Levine
Time travel is one of humanity’s greatest dreams. Help me to develop my theoretical concept into a practical device!

Life-Sized Arena Tetris! by David Malki !
Bring the world’s best puzzle game to a real-life gym near you!!

ZIPPERS by Derek Van Gorder
An innovative solution to entertainment-overload.

I used to Love H.E.R. (a/k/a Help Engineer and Rebuild My Robot GirlfriendRoommate) by Maurice Broaddus
Taking the human brain and placing it in a mechanical body is the next phase in extending our lives past “death.”

Locally Grown, Organic by Kat Howard
A new restaurant, offering the epitome of truly unique cuisine.

Let’s Keep Burt Grimsby’s Head Frozen! by Heather Lindsley
When a crowd can fund your dream, no project is too extreme . . . not even a water-fueled engine to #saveburtsfrozenhead

Jerome 3.0 by Jason Gurley
Reunite a widow with her late husband, and help write the final act to a love story that transcends death itself.

Help Me Destroy Cannes! by Jonathan L. Howard
At last, a plan to remove the horrible blight of Cannes from the world. It will work, but I need your pledges!

Save the Photophobic Hemoglobivores with the Sanguine Reserve! by Mur Lafferty
Help conserve one of the oldest species on Earth with a private nature reserve.

Nosferatu, Brutus? by Scott Sigler
Pedophiliac sparkly vamps must die, and you can help kill them! Unleash the “Teenage Vamplague” and take out these young punks forever.

Updates by Vylar Kaftan and Shannon Prickert
Waiting to hear about other Kickstarters? Back Updates . . . and get your updates!

You Only Live Once by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley
This is your chance to experience the ultimate adventure. Join us on asteroid X635s and discover the future. You only live once.

Mechanical Animals by Brooke Bolander
Using state-of-the-art advances in neural uplink technology and biologically-based cybernetic vessel structure, this project will try to place a human consciousness where it has truly never gone before—into the body of an animal.

KISMET™ by Daniel H. Wilson
The KISMET™ device from LIFE! corporation will streamline your day-to-day decision making and transform you into a better version of yourself!

Bring About the Halloween Eternal!!! by Seanan McGuire
Restore Halloween to its rightful glory, and prove that ours is the most sincere holiday!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Everything is Awesome

The other night we watched the Lego Movie, and I must say that I was entertained.  The only problem is that damn song is easy to get into my head and then it won't leave for awhile.  But yesterday I was doing a search on Riyria Fan Art (I was trying to find some interpretations of Royce and Hadrian for an Artist (more on that later).  But wile searching around I came across this...and it was...well awesome!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Help Fund My Robot Army

Lately I've been writing more than a few short stories. In the past, it has been for some "good cause": Shawn Speakman's Unfettered to help raise cancer. N.E. White's The End--Visions of Apocalypse to spotlight new writes from the sffworld forum, and Triumph Over Tragedy to raise money for Hurricane Katrina victims.

Help Fund My Robot Army is the first Anthology that I've actually been paid for. I didn't do it for the money, and in fact I'm going to use the check I got for matching funds for my Ride to Cure Cancer project.  So why did I sign up for it?

Well two reasons. One it was a really interesting challenge...write a story using the format of a Kickstarter which means I have to tell a tale using FAQ's, pledge levels, comments, and updates. It's not easy constructing a tale and creating characters in such a framework and I'm always up for a good challenge.

The second reason, John Joseph Adams. I met John a few years ago at a ConFusion convention in Detroit. He's a nice guy and one of the best anthologists in the industry. He's created more than a dozen all while managing the publication of LightSpeed Magazine.

One of the really cool things about anthologies is being thrown together with a lot of authors and I for one certainly feel the pressure to ensure I don't embarrass myself when my story is sitting side by side with people who have a lot more experience with this whole "writing thing" than I do.  Just look at the talent in Help Fund My Robot Army.

Keffy R.M. Kehrli is a science fiction and fantasy writer currently living in Seattle. Although his degrees are in physics and linguistics, he spends most of his time in a basement performing molecular biology experiments for fun and profit. In 2008, he attended Clarion UCSD where he learned that, unfortunately, rattlesnakes don’t always rattle. His short fiction has appeared in publications such as Apex Magazine, Fantasy, and Escape Pod, among others. He is also an editor and slush reader for Shimmer magazine.

Jeremiah Tolbert is a writer and web designer living in Northeast Kansas. His stories have previously appeared in publications such as Lightspeed Magazine, Way of the Wizard, and Asimov’s. He’s an avid watcher of television and films, and has completely given up on avoiding spoilers.

Mary Robinette Kowal is the author of the novels Shades of Milk and Honey, Glamour in Glass, Without a Summer, and Valour and Vanity. In 2008 she won the Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and in 2011, her short story “For Want of a Nail” won the Hugo Award for Short Story. Her work has been a finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards. Stories have appeared in Strange Horizons, Asimov’s, and several Year’s Best anthologies as well as in her collection Scenting the Dark and Other Stories from Subterranean Press. Mary, a professional puppeteer and voice actor, has performed for LazyTown (CBS), the Center for Puppetry Arts, Jim Henson Pictures, and founded Other Hand Productions. Her designs have garnered two UNIMA-USA Citations of Excellence, the highest award an American puppeteer can achieve. She also performs as a voice actor, recording fiction for authors such as Kage Baker, Cory Doctorow, and John Scalzi. Mary lives in Chicago with her husband Rob and over a dozen manual typewriters. Visit

Jake Kerr began writing short fiction in 2010 after fifteen years as a music and radio industry columnist and journalist. His first published story, “The Old Equations,” appeared in Lightspeed and went on to be named a finalist for the Nebula Award and the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. He has subsequently been published in Fireside Magazine, Escape Pod, and the Unidentified Funny Objects anthology of humorous SF. A graduate of Kenyon College with degrees in English and Psychology, Kerr studied under writer-in-residence Ursula K. Le Guin and Peruvian playwright Alonso Alegria. He lives in Dallas, Texas, with his wife and three daughters.

Chuck Wendig is a novelist, screenwriter, and game designer. He’s the author of Blackbirds, Double Dead, and Dinocalypse Now, and is co-writer of the short film Pandemic, the feature film HiM, and the Emmy-nominated digital narrative Collapsus. He lives in Pennsylvania with wife, taco terrier, and tiny human.

Samuel Peralta is a physicist and storyteller. He has produced and supported scores of crowd-sourced films, including projects based on Daniel H. Wilson’s The Nostalgist, and Stephen King’s Big Driver and Rest Stop. He has been recognized with awards from the BBC, UK Poetry Society, Digital Literature Institute, Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, and shortlists for the League of Canadian Poets, Elgin Award, ARC Poem of the Year, and Goodreads Best Small Press Books and Chapbooks. The titles in his Semaphore series—Sonata Vampirica, Sonnets from the Labrador, How More Beautiful You Are, Tango Desolado, and War and Ablution—all topped the Amazon Kindle Hot New Releases charts, and ranked at the top of the Bestseller lists, for poetry. More recently, the fiction titles set in his Labyrinth world—including Trauma Room and Hereafter—have begun to gain popular attention. Liberty is the latest addition to this universe.

Harry Connolly’s debut novel, Child of Fire, was named to Publishers Weekly’s Best 100 Books of 2009 but everything for that particular series went downhill from there. He has also published noirish adventure fantasy in the now defunct Black Gate magazine. In the fall of 2013, Harry launched a successful Kickstarter to fund the publication of an epic fantasy trilogy, along with a short fiction collection and a pacifist urban fantasy. Harry lives in Seattle with his beloved wife, beloved son, and beloved library system. He can be found online at

Matt Forbeck has been a full-time creator of award-winning games and fiction since 1989, designing games and toys and writing stories of all sorts. He has twenty-seven novels published to date, including the award-nominated Guild Wars: Ghosts of Ascalon and the critically acclaimed Amortals and Vegas Knights. His latest work includes the Magic: The Gathering comic book, The Marvel Encyclopedia, the MMOs Marvel Heroes and Ghost Recon Online, the Leverage novel The Con Job, the Dangerous Games trilogy of thriller novels set at Gen Con, and the Monster Academy YA fantasy novels. For more about him and his work, visit

Tim Pratt’s short fiction has appeared in The Best American Short Stories, The Year’s Best Fantasy, and other nice places. His most recent collection is Hart and Boot and Other Stories, and his work has won a Hugo Award and been nominated for World Fantasy, Sturgeon, Stoker, Mythopoeic, and Nebula Awards. He blogs intermittently at, where you can also find links to many of his stories. Pratt is also a senior editor at Locus, the magazine of the science fiction and fantasy field. He lives in Berkeley CA with his wife, writer Heather Shaw, and their son River.

Tobias S. Buckell is a Caribbean-born speculative fiction writer who grew up in Grenada, the British Virgin Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He has written several novels, including the New York Times bestseller Halo: The Cole Protocol, the Xenowealth series, and Arctic Rising. His short fiction has appeared in magazines such as Lightspeed, Analog, Clarkesworld, and Subterranean, and in anthologies such as Armored, All-Star Zeppelin Adventure Stories, and Under the Moons of Mars. He currently lives in Ohio with a pair of dogs, a pair of cats, twin daughters, and his wife.

Veronica Belmont is the host of the Sword & Laser YouTube show and podcast, now in its seventh year. The Sword & Laser anthology, edited by Veronica and Tom Merritt, was published in 2014. As an Internet and TV presenter, you may have seen her as the host of the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary live show and Gizmodo: The Gadget Testers on BBC America; or on Tekzilla, Fact or Fictional, Game On, and countless other web shows and podcasts. This is her first work of published fiction. She hopes there will be more.

An award-winning game designer with more than 25 years’ experience, Monte Cook is best known for co-designing Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition, and his work on various Planescape products, Arcana Evolved, Ptolus, Monte Cook’s World of Darkness, and the recent science fantasy game, Numenera. A writer with many varied interests, he’s also the author of two novels, more than a dozen short stories, a non-fiction book about conspiracy theories, and a comic book series from Marvel. Monte is a graduate of Clarion West. He currently runs Monte Cook Games, publisher of many fine roleplaying games.

Genevieve Valentine’s first novel, Mechanique, won the 2012 Crawford Award. Her second, The Girls at the Kingfisher Club, is out now from Atria. Her short fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, Lightspeed, and others, and the anthologies Federations, After, Teeth, and more. Her nonfiction has appeared at, The A.V. Club, Strange Horizons, and io9, and she is a co-author of Quirk Books’ Geek Wisdom. Her appetite for bad movies is insatiable, a tragedy she tracks at

Matt Williamson’s stories have appeared in a variety of literary journals, magazines, and books—most recently Bat City Review, Nightmare Magazine, and the anthology Fakes from W.W. Norton. He is also the executive editor of the literary journal Unstuck.

Andrew Penn Romine is a writer and animator who lives in Los Angeles with his wife, his cats, and way too many books. His fiction has appeared in Lightspeed, Paizo, Crossed Genres, Podcastle, and Three-lobed Burning Eye as well as the anthologies Fungi, What Fates Impose, By Faerie Light, Broken Time Blues, and Rigor Amortis. His work has received honorable mentions in Best Horror of the Year (Datlow), and Tangent Online. He’s also written non-fiction for Lightspeed and blogged about cocktails at The Functional Nerds. You can find him online at, or blogging about writing at Follow his day-to-day adventures on Twitter @inkgorilla.

Bradley P. Beaulieu is the author of the critically acclaimed epic fantasy series, The Lays of Anuskaya, which begins with The Winds of Khalakovo, continues in The Straits of Galahesh, and concludes in The Flames of Shadam Khoreh. Brad has high interest in Kickstarter, a great platform that he used to run two successful campaigns of his own, not to mention participating in several anthology projects. Along with fellow author Gregory A. Wilson, Brad runs the highly successful science fiction and fantasy podcast, Speculate, which can be found at Brad continues to work on his next projects, including a Norse-inspired middle grade series and Twelve Kings in Sharakhai, an Arabian Nights-inspired epic fantasy that will be published by DAW Books in the US and Gollancz in the UK. For more geeky goodness about Brad and his writing, please visit

Carmen Maria Machado’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, AGNI, NPR, Los Angeles Review of Books, VICE, and many other publications. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers’ Workshop, and was a fellow at the Millay Colony in 2014. She lives in Philadelphia with her partner.

Since finding a manual typewriter in a friend’s house when he was eight, Michael J. Sullivan has been fascinated with what doors the typewriter keys would unlock. He has written twenty-five novels, published nine, and has been translated into fifteen foreign languages. He was named to io9’s list of Most Successful Self-Published Sci-Fi and Fantasy Authors and has spent more than a year (and counting) on Amazon’s Bestselling Fantasy Authors list. He’s sold more than a half million copies and has been named to more than 95 “Best Of” or “Most Anticipated” lists including those of Library Journal, Barnes & Noble,, and Michael is one of the few authors who has successfully published through all three routes: small press, self, and big five, and he helps aspiring authors though his posts on publishing for Amazing Stories.

David D. Levine is the author of over fifty published science fiction and fantasy stories. His work has appeared in John Joseph Adams’s anthologies The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination and Armored as well as F&SF, Asimov’s, Analog, and many others, and he’s won or been nominated for awards including the Hugo, Nebula, Sturgeon, and Campbell. He lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife Kate Yule, with whom he co-edits the fanzine Bento. See his website at for more information and free fiction.

David Malki! is the author of the comic strip Wondermark, which in 2009 was nominated for the “Best Humor Publication” Eisner Award. He is also co-editor of the bestselling Machine of Death series of fiction anthologies, and creator of Machine of Death: The Game of Creative Assassination. His short fiction has appeared in Pseudopod and he also holds the distinction of having written the longest article ever published by Poets & Writers magazine.

Derek Van Gorder is a writer, cameraman, and science fiction filmmaker based in NYC. For as long as he can remember he’s had a penchant for visual art, spaceships, and old-fashioned special effects. His most recent short film C (299,792 kilometers per second) was funded completely through Kickstarter, and became a Vimeo Staff Pick. It has since been featured on a variety of popular inter-web hubs, including, Quiet Earth, and io9. He is currently plotting his next project.

Maurice Broaddus has neither robots nor girlfriends—his wife of fourteen years and two sons prefer it that way. He whiles away his hours toiling in his own secret laboratory capturing stories for such places as Asimov’s, Weird Tales, Cemetery Dance, and Apex Magazine. Every now and then he puts on his editor’s hat for the Dark Faith series (Apex Publications) and Streets of Shadows (Alliteration Ink), the latter of which was Kickstarted. Mostly he’s known as the author of the urban fantasy trilogy, The Knights of Breton Court.

Kat Howard is the World Fantasy Award-nominated author of over twenty pieces of short fiction. Her work has been performed on NPR as part of Selected Shorts, and has appeared in Lightspeed, Subterranean, and Apex, among other venues. Her novella, The End of the Sentence, written with Maria Dahvana Headley, will be out in September from Subterranean Press. You can find her on twitter as @KatWithSword and she blogs at

Heather Lindsley’s work has appeared several times in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, as well as in the magazines Asimov’s, Strange Horizons, and Greatest Uncommon Denominator. Her fiction has also appeared in John Joseph Adams’s dystopian anthology Brave New Worlds and in The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination, in Year’s Best Science Fiction 12, edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer, and in Talking Back, edited by L. Timmel Duchamp. She has been featured on Escape Pod as a writer and on Podcastle as a reader, and her stories have appeared in Polish, Romanian, Russian, and French translations. She currently lives in Brighton and works in London, which gives her more time to write on the train.

Jason Gurley is the author of Eleanor, The Man Who Ended the World, Deep Breath Hold Tight, and the bestselling novel Greatfall, among other books. He lives with his family in the Pacific Northwest, and can be found at

Jonathan L. Howard is an author and scriptwriter, the creator of the Johannes Cabal, Russalka Chronicles, and Goon Squad series. He lives in the English West Country with his wife and daughter, and Cannes will suffer his wrath.

Mur Lafferty is a podcaster and writer from Durham, NC. She made her name with podcasting (I Should Be Writing, The Angry Robot Podcast, and Escape Pod, the premier SF podcast magazine) and has written for magazines, roleplaying games, and audio and video podcasts. She’s the author of the popular Shambling Guides series, with books 1 (Shambling Guide to New York City) and 2 (Ghost Train to New Orleans) out now.

New York Times bestselling novelist Scott Sigler is the author of the Infected trilogy (Infected, Contagious, and Pandemic), Ancestor, and Nocturnal, hardcover thrillers from Crown Publishing; and the co-founder of Empty Set Entertainment, which publishes his Galactic Football League series (The Rookie, The Starter, The All-Pro, and The MVP). Before he was published, Scott built a large online following by giving away his self-recorded audiobooks as free, serialized podcasts. His loyal fans, who named themselves “Junkies,” have downloaded over eight million individual episodes of his stories and interact daily with Scott and each other in the social media space.

Vylar Kaftan is a Nebula-nominated writer of short stories who’s appeared in magazines such as Lightspeed and Asimov’s. She founded FOGcon, a science fiction and fantasy con in the Bay Area. Her creative avatar is Pinkie Pie. Shannon Prickett is a huge fan of Kickstarter, despite having now waited 2.5 years for a promised reward for backing a particular project. He also likes cake. They both play a lot of Ingress. Viva la Resistance! You can find them on Twitter at @Vylar_Kaftan and @bindr. He’s funnier.

Sylvia Spruck Wrigley writes about aviation and science fiction (but never both at the same time). She splits her time between South Wales and the Costa del Sol, two coastal regions with almost nothing in common. She’s been nominated for a Nebula Award for her short story “Alive, Alive Oh,” which appeared in Lightspeed in 2013. You can find out more about her at

Brooke Bolander is a chaos-sowing trickster girl of indeterminate employment, half-tornado, half-writer. Originally from the deepest, darkest regions of the southern US, she attended the University of Leicester from 2004 to 2007 studying History and Archaeology and is a graduate of the 2011 Clarion Writers’ Workshop at UCSD. Her work has previously been featured in Lightspeed, Nightmare, Strange Horizons, Reflection’s Edge, and the Prime Books anthology Aliens: Recent Encounters.

Daniel H. Wilson is a New York Times bestselling author. He has written eight books, including the bestselling Robopocalypse and its sequel Robogenesis, as well as other titles including Amped, How to Survive A Robot Uprising, and A Boy and His Bot. He is also co-editor, with John Joseph Adams, of the anthology Robot Uprisings. He earned a PhD in robotics from Carnegie Mellon University, where he also received master’s degrees in robotics and artificial intelligence. He lives and writes in Portland, Oregon. Find him on Twitter @danielwilsonPDX.

Seanan McGuire is an avowed Halloween Girl, and was among the first to back this project, thus proving that she knows what side of the patch to plant her pumpkins in. She is also the author of a great many books, and a frequent guest at Disney’s Haunted Mansion, where she hopes to one day take up permanent residence. Stranger things have happened. Keep up with her at

That's a pretty impressive line up: three New York Times Bestselling Authors, multiple finalists and winners of the Nebula, Hugo, World Fantasy Award, and Campbell. I think I got into this esteemed group mainly because I've run a successful Kickstarter before (most of the writers have Kickstarter experience).

This post is already getting a little long, so I'll do a follow-up post on the stories themselves. But in the meantime, checkout Help Fund My Robot Army, it's available on Amazon right now for just $6.99, or if you are a Prime Member you can borrow it from the lending library for free.