by Brian

Promise of Blood

February 10, 2012 in Uncategorized by Brian

A couple weeks ago I announced the sale of Promise of Blood and two untitled sequels to Orbit Books. The Publisher’s Marketplace announcement is thus:

Brian McClellan’s PROMISE OF BLOOD, a debut trilogy set in a world inspired by the revolutionary turmoil of 18th-century Europe complete with guillotines, starving peasants, fanatical royalists and a hero whose survival depends on a small group of honorable mages, including his own estranged son, to Devi Pillai at Orbit , in a good deal, in a three-book deal, for publication in Summer 2013, by Caitlin Blasdell at Liza Dawson Associates (World English).

Here’s a little more about the book:

Field Marshal Tamas has staged a coup against the king of Adro. His powder mages have slaughtered the king’s Privileged cabal of sorcerers and the nobility has been rounded up to face the guillotine with their king. Tamas has brought revolution to his country in one bloody night to save his people and right the wrongs caused by the old regime. Yet his actions have far-reaching consequences of which no reasonable man could have conceived, and the king will prove the easiest obstacle to overcome in his quest to free Adro.

Captain Taniel Two-shot is a powder mage of considerable skill. Gunpowder makes him stronger and faster than other men. He can manipulate its properties to shoot out a man’s eye at twice the length of a battlefield. It makes him perfect for killing the old Privileged sorcerers with their destructive magic. One of those Privileged has escaped Tamas’ cull. The problem is, she’s stronger than any sorcerer Taniel has ever seen, and the mercenaries sent to help him track her are of dubious reliability.

When Adamat is summoned to the palace in the middle of the night, the last thing the veteran investigator expects is to arrive during a regime change. His new employer is none other than the man responsible for overthrowing the current government and he has some unfinished business with the king’s sorcerers. The dying Privileged cabal has left the Field Marshal with a riddle. It could be nothing, but Tamas does not like loose ends. Adamat knows from long experience that one doesn’t ask questions unless one is willing to learn–and believe–the answers. To add to his problems, the Field Marshal isn’t the only one interested in the answer to the dying sorcerers’ riddle. As enemies emerge from the shadows and the investigation takes a disturbing turn, Adamat must decide where his loyalties lie.

by Brian

Cake Makes Everything Better…

January 27, 2012 in Uncategorized by Brian

…Even the inevitable march through time that is the aging process.

I turned 26 yesterday. Wifey made me a four layer strawberry cake with strawberry-rhubarb jam between the layers; covered in butter-cream frosting; and topped with chocolate chips.

by Brian

Book Sale!

January 26, 2012 in Uncategorized by Brian

I was finally able to announce this week that I sold Promise of Blood and two untitled sequels at auction to Orbit Books.

The tentative release date for Promise is spring of 2013.

I will be posting more this weekend. I’m still at my day job until next Wednesday, at which point I will be going FULL THROTTLE writer. This means that until then, I have limited time for blogging and the rest–and I still need to wear pants to work.

by Brian

New Year

January 5, 2012 in Uncategorized by Brian

As I get back in the swing of following blogs and such, I realize that everyone’s making New Year Resolutions(tm). Sigh. Ok, here it goes:

I resolve to lose weight
I resolve to write consistently
I resolve to use both my blog and Twitter on a regular basis
I resolve to have a real actual website functioning before the end of the year
I resolve to not dump another 100 hours into Skyrim

Now that we have that out of the way, I can say that I will be going to ConFusion in Michigan. It’s being held Jan 20-22 this year.

Oh, yes… I resolve to go to more events.

I enjoy Cons. I really do. I’ve only been to three, though, so it’s not like I’m a pro. I’ve been to WorldCon twice and World Fantasy once. Never to any of the small ones, though I’ve heard they are a lot of fun.

The first two times I went with a large group of authors/fans/friends from BYU and so had people there to show me the ropes and hang out with. When I went to World Fantasy I certainly knew a couple people, but I was really flying solo for the first time ever. And, for the first time ever, I was peddling a book and let me tell you: I was terrified. I spent a lot of time wandering around trying to look like I knew where I was going, and a lot of time sitting in the corner reading or people-watching. I spent the whole weekend on about four hours of sleep and that did NOT go well.

This con, I hope to be able to relax a little more. I won’t be trying to get someone to read my book and that will take a huge load off my shoulders. I’ll be going with the express desire of making friends and getting books signed. It will be nice.

I’ve been reading Daniel Abraham’s The Long Price Quartet over the last few weeks. I’ve through three books and have not yet gotten the fourth. However, I did just pick up Leviathan Wakes. It looks like it’s still on sale for $2.99 at the Kindle store. I’m looking forward to reading it but it might have to wait till after ConFusion. I’m doing some catch up reading on authors that will be there so I don’t feel like a total ass when I meet them.

“I’m so-and-so.”
“Nice, I’m Brian, I’ve heard a lot about you.”
“Thanks! What of my stuff have you read?”

I pulled that on Patrick Rothfuss back at the Denver Worldcon. I did have a good excuse, though–we only had one copy of Name of the Wind at the time and Wifey had been reading it.

by Brian

Movie Roundup

December 22, 2011 in Uncategorized by Brian

The first trailer for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has hit a trailer website near you. When the music starts and you get shots of Ian Holm as Bilbo, you’ll think, “crap, another one of those crummy teasers with footage from the first film and large gold letters demanding that we look forward to the next movie.” But no, it’s the real deal and I’m glad of it. Unfortunately, we won’t be watching the movie itself until December 2012. A bit of a gap to be already tantalizing us movie trailers, hmm?

I’m already hooked, I’ll be honest. When the dwarves start to sing I got chills. As many of my friends have pointed out over the years I’m a bit of a dwarf myself and they’ve always been my favorites anyway, so seeing Thorin and the rest got me downright giddy.

Wifey and I saw Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows in the theater last weekend. As with the first, it was a mix of genuine Doyle and modern film making that I think really worked. Guy Richie was a perfect choice for the director both times, and I think a lot of other modern directors, even good ones, could have completely flopped it. I had my complaints, primary of which was Rachel McAdams’ marginalized role. I liked her a lot as a foil for RDJ.

Speaking of RDJ, I finally got around to watching Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. It’s been on my list of movies to watch for a very long time but it just never came to Netflix streaming, so I finally broke down and ordered the DVD. It had a very dark humor, an odd storytelling method, and made me wish that Val Kilmer did more stuff.

by Brian

The Name of the Wise Man’s Fear

May 1, 2011 in Uncategorized by Brian

I’m pretty sure that was the book I read last week. It’s all kind of blurred into one. No, wait. I think it was two different books because I started in paperback and ended on Kindle. So it was The Name of the Man and Wise Wind’s Fear.

That’s not right either.

The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear. There. I got it. 1680 pages of narrative. I read them in three days. Not that I’m a fast reader. Far from it. I’m a bit of a self-destructive reader which is why I don’t read as much these days. I just can’t handle the giant headache of have after spending the better part of 72 hours reading. But I can’t help it. I get pulled in. Seduced by a new world, not allowing myself to wake from that lucid dream until the last page has been turned.

I’m utterly useless until I’ve finished reading a new book. Ask wifey.

Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicle is a thing to behold. It’s what Harry Potter would have been if Harry Potter would have been a little less… kid-ish. It’s got sex and violence and murder and all the other good stuff. It’s also chocked full of teen angst. Now, this kind of thing normally annoys the hell out of me. I hate teen angst. It’s a lot of good-for-nothing whining. Yet Rothfuss pulls it off. I enjoyed the world, felt for the main character. Hell, I’ve never spent so many pages just praying for a character to get laid before. Maybe that’s because I don’t read chick lit. Who knows.

I’m kind of rambling. I don’t mind. My brain is still resetting from spending so much time in Rothfuss’ world.

I’m trying my hand at short stories lately. Three weeks, and I’ve written two pages. That’s how successful I’ve been. Short stories are a wild thing. They have to be succinct and to the point in a way that novels can only dream. They have to be monstrously entertaining in less than two paragraphs. They are frustrating.


by Brian

April 18, 2011 in Uncategorized by Brian

by Brian

Fake Beatles and Rewrites

April 4, 2011 in Uncategorized by Brian

Wifey and I saw 1964 the Tribute over the weekend. It was very well done. These guys have been a touring tribute act for 27 years, and are doing 120 shows a year. Kinda crazy. They’ve got the songs, the voices, the looks, all down really well. We had nosebleed seats, but honestly I think it helped with the illusion. It really felt like we were seeing the Beatles (aside from the lack of women throwing themselves at the stage and other such sundries).

Over the last four weeks I have rewritten about 1/3 of Promise of Blood. It’s been kinda hectic, kinda draining, yet I feel it’s been worth it. The first section of the book now moves much faster, there are some significant improvements with motivation and characterization, and I think things have been set up even better for the sequel.

The end result is I’m both burned out and empowered. I want to get working on a couple other projects but I also want to sleep for a week.

by Brian

A Long Absence

March 10, 2011 in Agents, reading, Update by Brian

I’ve been on sabbatical the last few weeks. By “sabbatical” I mean that every time I should have written a blog, I went and did something else instead. Usually, that something else was reading. I’ve gone through a number of books lately:

The Crippled God – Steven Erikson
Making Money – Terry Pratchett
Thud! – Terry Pratchett
Unseen Academicals – Terry Pratchett
Medicus: A Novel of the Roman Empire – Ruth Downie
Westmark – Lloyd Alexander

As you can see, I’ve been on kind of a Terry Pratchett kick lately. I think I’d have read more if my local library had a better selection. It’s hard to read one and not want to go right back into that world. I’ve been trying–unsuccessfully–to get my wife to start reading them.

New on the book: I had a long talk with my agent recently. I’m now working on a rewrite of about 40K words of Promise of Blood. Not exactly what I wanted to do, but I couldn’t argue with many of the problems she had and the solution is a rewrite. The good news is, I’m excited about my plans for the re-write and I’m already about 15K words into it. It will make the first third of the book move faster and, hopefully, pull the reader in far better than the first draft would have.

On the thought of agents, I read a blog recently that talked about how agents are faring in all of this hubbub in the publishing world. I thought it was of particular interest because most news I see has to do with authors or editors, not the middleman.

by Brian

Modern Fantasy, eh?

February 16, 2011 in Blogs, World Fantasy by Brian

I was doing a little pre-work blog reading yesterday when I came across this gem. I really don’t know what to call it. It’s not an analysis because no actual analyzation happens during the post. It’s not a review, because it’s not aimed at a particular book but rather an entire subgenre (or maybe even genre as a whole). No, let’s just call it an opinion. It’s one man’s opinion of the modern fantasy genre–specifically naming two of my favorite authors: Joe Abercrombie and Steven Erikson. And a kind opinion it is not.

I don’t have anything to say about the article. Ok, that’s not true. I have plenty to say. None of it is nice and I couldn’t put even a fraction of it into less than a page. Hell. I’m going to try anyway.

It made my blood boil in the same way literary elitists in the English program at college did. Not just because it attacks writing I like. No, it attacks a whole category of Fantasy that I someday hope to be recognized within. It takes everything I do, all of my hopes and dreams and career aspirations, and calls them “postmodern blasphemies against our mythic tradition” because one elitist zealot has gone all St. Augustine on the literary tradition of Fantasy, with Tolkien and Robert E. Howard as his Lords and Saviors.

I love Grandpa Tolkien. You’re going to find few modern fantasy writers that don’t. Most owe their career to his influence, at least in part. Yet he is not the Fantasy Jehovah. His works are not law, cannonized by higher authority, their words sacred.

I won’t even start into the comparison between Tolkien and modern writers. It’s unfair, and frankly naive. Howard is a much better comparison and I would bet one of my dogs (the smart one) that the creator of Conan the Barbarian would love Abercrombie’s First Law series or Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen.

I’m gonna stop now. I think my most apt description of that article is naive. Naive and foolish.

I actually came across the article from Joe Abercrombie’s blog, where he wrote a response. It was enjoyable.