The Goodreads Choice Awards 2013 (Round Two)

Hey everyone! As some of you may have noticed, Promise of Blood was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Awards in both the Fantasy and Debut categories. Last week was the first round of voting in which people could add write-in nominations or vote on the initial list of fifteen books in each grouping. We have now reached the semi-final round in which the write-ins have been added and each category has twenty choices. This is where votes really start to matter.

Goodreads Choice Awards

This is a huge honor for me both professionally and personally. It means that not only are people reading my book, but they are enjoying it. I was particularly shocked to see my name on the Debut authors ballot as that is a much broader field: every debut novel to come out in 2013. And while Promise of Blood has the fewest number of ratings of all the debuts, it is in the top third for average rating.

That's some dang cool stuff.

The voting for this round lasts until Saturday the 16th. If you want to help me or one of your other favorite authors whose book is on the ballot please go and vote!

Rights!

This coming news is probably far more exciting to me than it is to most of you, but I can now announce my first two foreign rights sales! We have sold the French rights to The Powder Mage Trilogy in a three book deal with French publisher Panini. This deal was done by Noemie Rollet at the Elaine Benisti Agency.

We have also sold the Herbrew-language rights for Promise of Blood in a deal with the Korim Publishing House. The deal was done by Rena Rossner at the Deborah Harris Agency.

I do not yet have a publication date for either of those, but I've been told that Panini plans on publishing Promise of Blood within 18 months (and hopefully sooner). Before anyone asks: no, I had no idea there was a market for Hebrew-language epic fantasy either.

Weekly Inspiration

Certain things spark the creativity in all of us. Perhaps a smell associated with a powerful memory, or a long walk in the park or a drive through the countryside. Maybe a newspaper article, or a book we read. For me it's often visual - a piece of fantasy art or a tv show or movie. Well, I want to start gathering the things that inspire me every week and sharing them with you on Fridays. Because I browse Reddit a lot, you'll probably see several things for /r/earthporn or /r/imaginarylandscapes. I will always try to point back to the artist or owner of the material (or at least where I, myself, found it).

**If one of these is your work and you'd like it removed, please let me know and I'll do so ASAP.

Waterfall_Castle_matte_art_by_fstarno

 

I found this on fstarno's DevianART page. Magnificent vista. This is the kind of art I love; digitally realized, with a depth that makes you want to step into the world.

Last month's National Geographic had some interesting global warming maps in them, and I commented on it to Mark Lawrence, who's Broken Empire trilogy is set on a post-apocalyptic Earth. He said that he had used something similar to help him figure out his own maps. So that's cool.

This next one is kind of random: an article on Io9 about People Who Live Inside of Water Towers. I found that it helped me conceptualize what the design of a real castle tower (through a modern person's eyes).

MlUrZDJ

I found the photo above on Reddit. I think the photographer might be Ed Cooley. The outcropping of rock, the fog, and the impenetrable forest all give it a very fantastical feeling. There could be an army in those woods, and you'd never know it until they were on top of you.

RY55VZr

Skogafoss Falls, in Iceland seems like the type of place I'd want to visit. I found the following picture here (don't know the photographer). I like the vast emptiness of it all - although, someone in the comments pointed out that just to the right is a huge parking lot that's probably full of people. Oh well. That just goes to show the importance of cropping.

Ajf9g3D

Not sure who the photographer is on this one either, but I love how solitary the picture is. Don't know what the cabin is for (ice fishing in the winter?). I imagine it would be a great place to buckle down and write. You know... if it has wifi. One thing I miss about living in Utah is seeing the mountains every day. They impart a kind of majesty that rolls over into one's writing.

I'll leave you with just one more that made my weekly inspirations list:

photo: Kacper Kowalski / Kacperkowalski.com

As far as I know this is a picture of the runoff pond for the crayola factory. But I still like it. The vibrant colors really grab me. I imagine I'm looking into the eye of the old man forest. Found here.

Promise of Blood on Sale

Promise of Blood has gone one sale! It's currently $1.99 on Amazon, Kobo, and I think it should be on Nook as well. I'm delighted that Orbit has decided to do this sale. It's a great way for people to be able to get in to the series who otherwise might have balked at paying five times that for the ebook of a new author.

It would also be a good time to remind you that "The Girl of Hrusch Avenue" is available internationally for $.99 (or your local equivalent. This short story is another good place to enter the Powder Mage universe, and you don't have to have read Promise of Blood to enjoy it.

International Giveaway Winner!

I have two winners for the international giveaway of Promise of Blood! In order to enter the contest, you had to tell me the name of your favorite book and why. There were some really awesome, thoughtful, and heartfelt entries. You can go take a look at them here, and maybe get ideas for your reading list. As I mentioned at the beginning of the contest, I am giving away one signed hardcover for the winner in the US, and one ebook (via Amazon) for the winner outside the US.

The winners are Justin Lucas (USA) and Angela Meadon (South Africa). I'll be getting in touch with you both via the email you left me. If you don't hear from me today, you should definitely drop me a message (brian at brianmcclellan dot com). Congratulations!

To everyone else that didn't win, you can still get your hands on a book through Amazon, B&N, or your local bookseller. If you want to know what the Powder Mage Universe is all about you can also get a short story, "The Girl of Hrusch Avenue" for only $.99 through Amazon, Nook, Kobo, or direct.

Westlake Signing

Hey everyone! Those of you who follow me on Facebook and Twitter already know that I'll be signing tomorrow afternoon at the Barnes and Noble in Westlake, OH. The event is from 1-3 PM. Feel free to drop by during that time to get a book signed or, if so inclined, hang out and chat for a little bit. It should be a good time. This will be my first "sit in a random bookstore for two hours" type of signing. Previous signings have been after speaking engagements at libraries and at the launch party for Promise of Blood. So this is a little bit different and will probably be less crowded.

International Giveaway

It's been a while since I did one of those giveaway things, so I'd thought I'd go about with a new one this week. I've got two copies of Promise of Blood: One hard copy for a winner in the United States, and one digital copy for another winner outside of the US (the cost of international shipping being what it is). The digital copy will be given away via Amazon, so keep that in mind when you enter.

This is how you enter: leave a comment below that tells me your name, your country, the name of your favorite book, and why you love that book. I'll pick a winner from the US and one from outside. Be sure to leave your email so that I can let you know if you've won.

Oh, and no pandering.

Book Fort

Myke Cole is running a contest right now in which he asks his readers to make a book fort. I decided to enter. Behold: Castle Leto.

[gallery columns="2" ids="966,976"]

The construction was slow and tedious. It took five thousand unskilled laborers and fifty stonemasons almost fifteen years to build.

[gallery ids="968,967,969"]

[gallery ids="977,971,973"]

No nation is without enemies. The power of Abercrombie eclipses this land, and even now his soldiers threaten the castle.

[gallery ids="972,975"]

The Marion Public Library

037 I had the pleasure of being invited to speak at the Marion Public Library on Tuesday evening.

It was my first hour-long speaking engagement and, though I spent the entire time sweating bullets, it turned out to be quite fun. I did a reading from Promise of Blood and then spoke a bit about the path I took to getting published and what it's like being a full time author. Afterwards, I did a Q&A session and then sat down to sign books.

064

I think we had around fifteen to twenty people there and to be honest, I have no idea whether that's a good turnout or not. From what I've heard talking to other authors any given event will have between two and a hundred people at it and there's no real rhyme or reason to predicting the turnout.

Wifey and I decided to make it a day and went down early to have dinner at Der Dutchman, an Amish restaurant off 71. We both ate a regrettable amount of food and I have to say the pot roast was delicious. We also quite enjoyed the scenery going down and coming back up (it's about a two and half hour drive to Marion from our house). I love the rolling farm country and the old houses. Makes me want to get a place out in the middle of nowhere.

049

My next event will be on this coming Tuesday (July 23rd) at 7:00 PM at the Beachwood Public Library in Beachwood, OH. This is a registered event, so if you'd like to come please sign up ahead of time. I will do a reading, signing, and Q&A. I hope to see you all there!

Some Beginning of the Week Sundries

I woke up this morning to see that Promise of Blood was on not one, but two "best of first half of 2013" lists. Considering the sheer volume of fantasy novels put out every month, that's pretty cool! The first list is over here at Shadowhawk's Shade. The second list is at Bane of Kings Writing Blog.

Something else cool: Promise of Blood was chosen as Fantasy Book Club's July Book of the Month.

I'm currently working on a way so that people can buy "The Girl of Hrusch Avenue" directly from my website in either epub or PDF. This is for people who don't have an ereader or the story isn't available in their country for some reason. Hoping to have that together by the end of they day. I'll let you know.

Kobo still doesn't have "The Girl of Hrusch Avenue" live. I'm not sure why. I'll do some more investigating today. Other than that, though, the launch went great! I've been getting some wonderful feedback on Amazon and Goodreads, and everyone seems to have enjoyed it so far!

If you're looking for a unique copy of Promise of Blood, you can get one from Doodled Books. They are signed, lined, numbered, dated, and doodled by yours truly!

Finally, I got this wonderful picture from a fan named Brandon over the weekend:

The Girl of Hrusch Avenue

I'm happy to present the first in what I hope will be a series of short stories that take place in the Powder Mage universe and give depth to some of the characters that everyone has come to know and love (though it's not necessary to be familiar with Promise of Blood to enjoy this story).

girl of hrusch avenue cover_FNL_02

"The Girl of Hrusch Avenue" is the story of an orphan named Vlora that lives at a boarding school as a ward of the state. Even at her young age, she already has enemies: the Bulldog Twins, Baron Fendamere, and her own headmistress. When a strange man offers to buy her, Vlora runs away and takes to the roofs above the gunsmithies of Hrusch Avenue. It is there that she meets a boy named Taniel and begins a friendship that will change her life forever.

Available for $0.99 in ebook from Kindle, Nook, and Kobo worldwide:

To celebrate the launch of "The Girl of Hrusch Avenue," I'm giving away fifty signed bookplates that go handsomely inside your hardcover edition of Promise of Blood, pinned to your wall, or just propped in one corner of your desk. Thirty bookplates will be given away in the US, and twenty will be given away to people outside the US. The giveaway is over. I've decided to go ahead and send a bookplate to anyone that entered, regardless of their location. Expect yours by the 15th or so.

bookplate_hi-res

 

To enter: email me at brian (at) brianmcclellan (dot) com with the subject line GIVEAWAY. Include your name and mailing address. I'll choose the winners at random on Monday or Tuesday morning and you will be notified by getting a bookplate in your mail sometime the next week.

"The Girl of Hrusch Avenue" cover and synopsis

A little treat for you today! "The Girl of Hrusch Avenue" will be out this coming Saturday and we have final cover art. girl of hrusch avenue cover_FNL_02

"Vlora is an orphan living at a boarding school as a ward of the state. Even at her young age, she already has enemies: the Bulldog Twins, Baron Fendamere, and her own headmistress. When a strange man offers to buy her, Vlora runs away and takes to the roofs above the gunsmithies of Hrusch Avenue. Here she meets a boy named Taniel and begins a friendship that will change her life forever."

A huge thanks to Isaac Stewart for his awesome job on the cover.

 

New Short Story!

I've been doing a few side projects to keep me primed while I plot and begin to write the third book in the Powder Mage Trilogy. One of those projects is to write and put out a short story (and possibly more than one) from the Powder Mage universe. The goal of this is two-fold:

  1. To give my current fans something else to read while they wait for The Crimson Campaign.
  2. To give new fans a way to discover the Powder Mage universe.

It's a bit of an experiment for me, as this will be my first "self-published" story. It's been an interesting journey while I figure out everything that goes in to publishing any kind of fiction, and has definitely given me a new-found respect for my publisher and for people who self-publish entire novels. Considering the work that I put in to this story of about 8000 words, I can't imagine trying to do it with something that is 100K words or more.

"The Girl of Hrusch Avenue" will be out next Saturday, June 29th, and available worldwide through Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and Apple.

It tells the story of ten-year-old Vlora, an orphan that spends her days on the rooftops above the gunsmithies of Hrusch Avenue, and her friendship with a boy named Taniel.

Winner of the June Goodreads Giveaway!

Last week's giveaway has come to an end, and I'm pleased to announce the winner: Congratulations to Christel Sparks of Cambria, WI. I'll be putting your copy of Promise of Blood in the mail within the next two days.

We ended with 878 entries. Thanks to everyone who entered, and better luck next time. I'll likely do another giveaway of some kind within the next few weeks so don't forget to check back frequently. To keep an eye out for this sort of thing, you can follow me on Twitter, Goodreads, or Facebook.

Trip Followup: NYC, Signing at Yale, and Signed Stock

Last weekend I found myself on a road trip in which I visited New York City and New Haven, and signed bookstore stock in several different cities. This all came about because an old friend of mine invited me and Ethan to come visit him at Yale Divinity. I was able to convince Ethan to take a couple extra days off of work and we spent two days in New York City, visiting Orbit and hanging out with cool folks there.

To start, it was my first visit to New York City.

I've never seen so many people in one place before, except maybe down in Cleveland on a night when the Cavs and Tribe finish their games at the same time. It was a little overwhelming at times - the bustle, the noise, the suicidal taxis. I'll say that the subway was cleaner than I expected and easy enough to navigate once I got the hang of it.

It was very cool to visit the Orbit offices and meet everyone in person and see where the magic happens. I've emailed with most of those people quite a bit, but putting a face to the name and shaking hands really helps me communicate with them in the future.

I also met my agent in person for the first time. It may be hard to imagine that we've worked together for two and a half years now and haven't had lunch, but such is the world we live in. It was excellent to finally shake her hand and thank her in person for being so fricking awesome.

Some pictures:

[gallery ids="768,764,766,765,767,763"]

After NYC, Ethan and I headed up to Yale (which was the purpose of the trip in the first place). There we hung out with our friend Mike, who gave us a tour of New Haven and Yale and took us to some very tasty eateries.

One of the best parts of my trip was that Mike, who works in the Yale Law Library, got the head librarian to buy my book for the stacks and I was able to sign it while I was in town!

[gallery ids="769,770,771"]

On the way home on Monday, Ethan and I were able to mosey our way back and take the time to stop at bookstores along the way so that I could sign stock of Promise of Blood. Here is where I signed:

3 copies at the Barnes and Noble in Wilkes-Barre, PA

5 copies at the Books-a-Million in Scranton, PA

3 copies at the Barnes and Noble in Newburgh, NY

1 copy at the Barnes and Noble in the Danbury, CT.

2 copies at the Barnes and Noble in Milford, CT.

If you're in one of those areas and want to get your hands on a signed copy, get thee to a bookstore!

Reddit Limerick Contest Winner

Over on Reddit, I post the winner of the fantasy-themed limerick contest that I held last week. The winner was user R_A_Mathis, and this was his limerick: "There once was a wizard named Zowder

who fancied a go with black powder.

He made up a batch,

got too close with a match,

and turned his poor head into chowder."

I liked that it was flintlock-fantasy themed, and it made both wifey and I chuckle. Special mention went to users SkyCyril and markaaronsmith for their cleverness. Head on over to the original contest to read the rest of the limericks. Warning: some are quite dirty. But then again, they're limericks...

Reddit Giveaway

Today I'm doing a Reddit-exclusive giveaway. Come check it out. For those of you coming over here from Reddit, here's what the bookplates look like:

bookplate_hi-res

The bookplate is a 3x4 sticker, signed by me, that can be put in the front of your copy of Promise of Blood.

If you're looking for a signed hardcover, they're available from both VJ Books and Goldsboro for international shipping. If you've already bought the book, don't forget to add yourself to the Reader Map!

Gardening

Two weeks ago I locked myself out of the house while taking the dogs out. Not my finest moment.

The wife was at work, I was in pjs, and it was about forty degrees out. To keep myself occupied while waiting for wifey to get home (I had to kill an hour), I decided to take my twitter followers on a tour of my garden. I showed them everything that had wintered over - the blackberries, rhubarb, blueberries, and herbs.

Well, I finally got around to planting the rest of my garden, so I thought I'd share some pictures of the yard with you:

[gallery ids="578,579,580,581,582,583,584,585,586"]

Last year we planted 27 Roma tomato plants in just one and half of those 4x8 boxes. It was a little... crowded. We ended up getting well over 150 lbs of tomatoes, the vast majority of which we turned into salsa, tomato paste, and spaghetti sauce. This year we've cut back and diversified with broccoli, peppers, and more cucumbers.

A word about compost: I keep two separate compost bins. One is for leaves and kitchen scraps. This will be turned monthly and added to my garden in the spring. It does great things for the soil. The other compost bin is for particularly weedy grass clippings, weeds from the garden, and leaves from the areas in which we have poison ivy growing. I could use those stupid garden bags to get rid of that refuse, but that seems like a hassle.

I put clean (not a lot of weeds) grass clippings on my vegetables to help keep weeds down and the soil moist. I put wood chips on the blackberries, blueberries, rhubarb, and raspberries, as they are permanent plants.

On Monday, wifey and I did our first hive inspection. We didn't take any pictures of the inspection itself, but here are some of the bee yard:

[gallery ids="587,588,590,589,591"]

The girls were looking a little rough after the winter, but there was some brood in the frames and even a couple of frames of fresh capped honey. We put the top brood chamber on the bottom (because the queen works her way bottom to top as she lays eggs), and added the honey supers. Hopefully the extra room will encourage the queen to lay eggs like crazy and in a month we'll have a booming population.

I've had several people ask me in the last week where they can get a signed first edition of Promise of Blood. I can help you with that! Well, not me personally. But these guys can: VJ Books (US)

Goldsboro Books (UK)

Both of these bookstores ship internationally.

Something I got in my email this morning that I thought was kind of cool: Promise of Blood is a staff pick at a Waterstones in the UK. This is the first time I've seen my book as a staff pick, so it's very exciting!

Waterstones

I love seeing pictures like this, so feel free to send them my way! And don't forget to add yourself to my Reader Map if you get the chance!