by Brian

It’s my birthday and I’ll give stuff away if I want to…

January 25, 2014 in Short Fiction by Brian

Today is my 28th birthday so I thought it would be fun to give away one of my short stories to anyone who wants it! For Saturday and Sunday you can download a free copy of “Hope’s End.” Get it here: GIVEAWAY ENDED.

You can, of course, grab “Hope’s End” still for just $.99 by following the link above.

If you want to do a little something for me (and get yourself even more reading material for the weekend), you can get a copy of Forsworn, the new powder mage novella, or “The Girl of Hrusch Avenue.” Or better yet, you can pre-order The Crimson Campaign!

I hope you all have a happy and safe weekend!


by Brian

Forsworn: A Powder Mage Novella

January 21, 2014 in Short Fiction by Brian

Forsworn: A Powder Mage Novella is now available for purchase. You can currently get it directly from me via paypal on this page or use the links below to find it at your local ebook store.

If you’re unfamiliar with my Powder Mage short fiction, you can check out the other stories as well: “The Girl of Hrusch Avenue” and “Hope’s End.”

Forsworn 1.5 mb

by Brian

Tabletop Games 2: Table Harder

January 21, 2014 in Tabletop Games by Brian

People seemed to really like my last tabletop games post so I figured I would go ahead and do another as I plan for a birthday game night with friends. Here are some of the games that I’ve played previously (though not necessarily recently), as well as my thoughts.


Munchkin is a great deal of fun. You and your friends are exploring a dungeon together: fighting monsters and gathering treasure. The goal is to be the first person to level up to ten. Throughout the dungeon crawl you will help your friends or stab them in the back or maybe do both on the same turn. It can be a wildly volatile game with no clear winner until the moment they do, actually, win. The expansions add more cards and/or game mechanics. I personally have the Clerical Errors and Demented Dungeons expansions. Easy to medium learning curve.

Bonus points for being pretty cheap as far as tabletop games go.

Warning: I have dubbed this “the game to end friendships.” It’s the only game that I’ve actually gotten angry enough to start shouting. I could write a short treatise defending myself, but at the end of the day it’s not cool to get all angry during game nights no matter how butt-hurt you’re feeling. So keep that in mind.


Castle Ravenloft. It has a great premise–based off of D&D rules, you and your friends are exploring the titular castle in order to put an end to the evil housed within. You are all working together for this purpose and you either all win or all lose. The good: the art is very cool and the minis are a ton of fun (for someone who doesn’t have any experience with miniatures). The bad: the leveling and combat rules are simplistic.

Overall I have to admit I was a little disappointed. I want to find a game that is similar to this but just a little more in depth. That being said, my friends liked it a lot more than I did. Medium learning curve.


Game of Thrones: The Board Game is, well, complicated. As are my feelings on the game itself. Despite getting this for Christmas in 2012, I’ve only actually played it twice. That’s mostly because my gaming group decided, while about half way through setting the game up for what would have been our third play through, that it’s just too damn involved. Too many pieces, too many rules, and too long a game. None of us really have the patience for it.

Despite all this, I really do like it. With the right group of friends and with the proper amount of time it’s a very fun game. Well made, evenly-balanced. Just be ready for a 30 minute setup and a four hour game. If you like that kind of game, then I do recommend it. Difficult learning curve.


Citadels. This is a really cool game. Each of the players is building a city in the hope of gaining the most victory points. Despite this sounding exactly like 7 Wonders, it’s not. Each round you select a different leader who gives you different bonuses and you slowly build yourself up while trying to keep your opponents from building their own cities. We haven’t played this one for a while and I don’t know why. It’s really quite good. I do recommend it for anyone who likes 7 Wonders.

Again, bonus points for being rather inexpensive for a tabletop game. Medium learning curve.

by Brian

Stabby Award

January 20, 2014 in Awards, Promise of Blood by Brian

I went away for a convention this weekend and when I returned, there was an /r/fantasy Stabby Award waiting for me! How cool is that? Thanks /r/fantasy (and a special thanks to /u/elquesogrande)!

Sorry for the glare. I’m terrible at photography.




by Brian

It’s Release Day for Les Poudremages: La Promesse du Sang

January 15, 2014 in Release Day, Translations by Brian

The French translation of Promise of Blood has hit the stores today. Looks like it’s readily available in France and the UK. It also looks like it won’t be available in Canada until February 19th, but you can pre-order it here.

French Cover

by Brian

First Review of TCC

January 15, 2014 in Reviews, The Crimson Campaign by Brian

The first review of The Crimson Campaign is out! You can read it here on Kirkus. They say ”A reliably rewarding installment that will keep appetites whetted for the conclusion.”

I can live with that.

If you haven’t pre-ordered The Crimson Campaign yet, you can do so on Amazon, B&N,, Waterstones and more. Pre-orders are huge for a new author like me, so I’ll be very appreciative!

by Brian

ConFusion Schedule

January 15, 2014 in ConFusion, Conventions by Brian

This week I’m going to be at Legendary ConFusion in Dearborn, Michigan. Should be a very good time with a plethora of authors including Peter V. Brett, Myke Cole, Sam Sykes, Cherie Priest, Kameron Hurley, Brad Beaulieu, and many, many more.

If you have Amazon Prime and are local to the convention, you can order Promise of Blood today and still have it arrive in time to get it signed. I have no idea if it will be available in the dealers room, so I plan on bringing a stack of my own copies to sell but my quantity will be limited. I also have no idea if they’re giving me a seat at the mass author signing… so that’s awkward. Oops. I didn’t see the “Full Schedule” PDF. Looks like I’m set for the 3PM Mass Author Signing on Saturday.

If you want to come see me get all sweaty and nervous at the front of a room full of people, here are my panels:


Does my world need an economy?

Rae Carson, Cherie Priest, Ron Collins, Brian McClellan, Ferrett Steinmetz

7pm Saturday – Southfield

Worldbuilding can be fun, daunting, and everything in between. One of the aspects that can have a drastic impact on the course of the story is the fantasy economy. As a discipline, economics is often seen as boring in the extreme, but in practice it informs such fantasy staples as warfare, diplomatic relations, crime – organized or desperate, and nearly any other conflict one could choose to name. The fantasy economy is fundamental, and here is how to do it right.

Don’t write what you know

Brian McClellan, Elizabeth Shack, Stina Leicht, Tobias Buckell, Catherine Shaffer, Mike Carey

11am Sunday – Erie

An axiom of writing has long been “write what you know”. In SFF circles this is somewhat amended, but the sense that one should constrain writing to subjects of passionate interest and deep understanding still seems to be quite popular. But what about the other side of the coin? What value can be found in writing what one does not know about? Research, learning, and then spreading that joy can yield fantastic results, if done right. We discuss how to do it right.

Faking History

Brigid Collins, Brian McClellan, Kameron Hurley, C.C. Finlay, Howard Andrew Jones

1pm Sunday – Erie

Legends generally take time. History has a weight that helps to propel the present and inform a culture. In building an epic backstory in fantasy or science fiction, how does one do that? Flat out stating “there is a legend of this thing with a badger” only serves to make an audience look for the badger, so how does one craftily insert these details without a reader taking conscious notice? Who does this well, and what can we learn from some others who have done it less well?

Gaming and Writing

Carrie Harris, Saladin Ahmed, Howard Andrew Jones, Brian McClellan

2pm Sunday – Rotunda

Many authors grew up playing games: tabletop, roleplaying, live action, or a mix of all three. Games, tie-in fiction, and the experience of constructing a shared narrative all help develop the drive to write, and can have an impact that lasts far into an author’s career. This panel discusses what they learned about storytelling from the act of gaming
Note: this was not on my original slate of panels. A couple of people asked for something like this, and I added it. If you do not feel like you have anything to add to the discussion, don’t hesitate to let me know. That being said, I think this one sounds fun and I wish I could take credit for coming up with is.
by Brian

Cover Art for the Upcoming Powder Mage Novella

January 14, 2014 in ebooks, Short Fiction by Brian

I’ve dropped a lot of hints recently (especially if you follow me on Twitter) about my latest little side project, a Powder Mage novella. It’s coming along nicely. The cover art is finished and the manuscript has gone through numerous edits and two rounds of beta-readers. If everything stays on schedule, I’ll finish another edit tomorrow and send it off to the copyeditor, then final edits next week and a release of 1/26/14 on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and directly from me.

The novella takes place 35 years before Promise of Blood. For reference, “Hope’s End” takes place about 18 years before PoB and “The Girl of Hrusch Avenue” is about 10 years before PoB.

“Erika ja Leora is a powder mage in northern Kez, a place where that particular sorcery is punishable by death. She is only protected by her family name and her position as heir to a duchy.

When she decides to help a young commoner—a powder mage marked for death, fugitive from the law—she puts her life and family reputation at risk and sets off to deliver her new ward to the safety of Adro while playing cat and mouse with the king’s own mage hunters and their captain, Duke Nikslaus.”

by Brian

Book Giveaway Contest!

January 9, 2014 in Contest, Giveaway by Brian

With the release of the UK paperback of Promise of Blood earlier this week, I decided it was as good a time as any to have some kind of a giveaway. But I’m not gonna make it easy on you this time. No, no. This is going to be a contest! And a photo contest, no less. To enter the contest, here’s what you have to do:

The contest is over! Check out the winners here.

1. Take a picture of your copy of Promise of Blood. It can be a hardcover or an ebook on your favorite ereader (turned to the title page). Do something fun with it. Jazz it up. Make me laugh. You can also take a picture of where you’d keep your copy if you had one.

2. Post it to Facebook or Twitter or Reddit or Imgur or where ever you like online.

3. Send me an email at brian (at) brianmcclellan (dot) com with the header CONTEST ENTRY. Give me the link to where you posted it as well as your city/state/country. I will be sharing the pictures on the website as they come in.

In a couple of weeks, probably after I get back from ConFusion, I’ll choose my three favorite photos. First place will win a signed hardcover of Promise of Blood. Second place will win a signed US trade paperback. Third place will win a signed UK paperback. You can add them to your collection, give them to friends, donate to your local library, use it as a plate. Anything you want! And yes, this giveaway is open internationally.

The first entries are in!

And another one from Tori (Instagram won’t let me copy the image).

If you don’t want to wait to see if you won, Amazon has reduced the sale price for Promise of Blood a whole nine more cents, and it’s currently $1.91 in the US. Madness!

A few other things of note. I recently wrote a guest blog on the Kindle Daily Post, where I talked about my favorite fantasy novels of all time. I also found this stinking awesome Steampunk Star Wars art which I shared on Facebook and Twitter and like it so much I’m going to share it here too. Also, if you liked the Powder Mage short stories “The Girl of Hrusch Avenue” and “Hope’s End“, you’ll be happy to know that I’m editing a Powder Mage novella that should be out by the beginning of February. I plan on posting the cover art sometime next week.

by Brian

Award Nominations

January 8, 2014 in Awards, Campbell Award, Hugo Award, Nebula Award by Brian

It’s award nominations time of year in the world of science fiction and fantasy literature, and for the first time ever I’m eligible! Here is what I wrote in 2013, and what awards they are eligible for:

Promise of Blood (Orbit Books, April 2013)

Hugo Award for Best Novel

Nebula Award (Novel)

“The Girl of Hrusch Avenue” (June 2013) and “Hope’s End” (September 2013)

Hugo Award for Best Novelette

Nebula Award (Novelette)

Not only that, but I’m in my first year of eligibility for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. This is the big one for new authors and frankly the Hugo is a little out of my league (so is the Campbell, but that doesn’t stop me from reaching for it). The Campbell Award voting is done in conjunction with the Hugo Award, so don’t forget that one when you’re filling out your Hugo Ballot.

In order to nominate for the Hugo, you have to have been a member of the 2013 Worldcon (LoneStarCon, or be a member of the 2014 Worldcon (LonCon). Here is a link that will tell you everything you need to know about nominating. In order to nominate for the Nebula Award, you have to be an active SFWA member. More info on that here.

Be sure to nominate in every category that you can think of someone deserving. Here is a partial list of those eligible. These are the people I have my eye on:

Campbell Award

Helen Wecker

Westley Chu

Best Novel

Emperor of Thorns (Mark Lawrence)

Best Editor

Devi Pillai (Orbit Books)

Best Professional Artist

Gene Mollica

Isaac Stewart

Best Fan Writer

Justin Landon