The Last Road … and some fellow forthcoming books from Pyr

As you might have heard, late last year the publisher of Gods of the Caravan Road, Pyr, was sold by its parent publisher, Prometheus, to another company called Start. This also meant that the distribution switched from Penguin Random House to Simon and Schuster. Unfortunately, during the changeover in distribution, there was a glitch. Most of the ensuing problems were rapidly sorted out, but it seems that some pre-orders for four [update: five! I missed one …] forthcoming Pyr books, including The Last Road, Book Five of Gods of the Caravan Road, were wiped out, and those who had pre-ordered the books from some online retailers received an email saying the books had been cancelled. Not the case! However, if you had pre-ordered The Last Road, or the new Pyr books coming from K.D. Edwards, Richard A. Knaak, Tracy Townsend, and David Walton, you might want to check your account and make sure that your order still exists.

In case you did lose your pre-order of The Last Road, or hadn’t pre-ordered yet, and because you might want to check out some other new Pyr titles, here are the four five books that were hit by this, with links to various purchasing options in Canada, the UK, and the US. You’d be doing us all a favour if you passed the word along, too. As you probably know, pre-orders are a really important part of a book’s first wobbly steps into the real world; they can affect how much push a new release gets from publishers and bookstores, among other things — and ours were all erased.

That’s it for now . . . I hope to have more news about The Last Road soon.

Herewith the four five forthcoming Pyr books affected by the pre-order gremlin:

K.D. Edwards – The Hanged Man: The Tarot Sequence Book Two

The last member of a murdered House tries to protect his ward from forced marriage to a monster while uncovering clues to his own tortured past.

The Tarot Sequence imagines a modern-day Atlantis off the coast of Massachusetts, governed by powerful Courts based on the traditional Tarot deck. Rune Saint John, last child of the fallen Sun Throne, is backed into a fight of high court magic and political appetites in a desperate bid to protect his ward, Max, from a forced marital alliance with the Hanged Man.

IndieBound (US)
Barnes & Noble (US)
Indigo (Can)
Amazon (Can)
Amazon (UK)
Amazon (US)
Kobo (Can)
Kobo (UK)
Kobo (US)

K.V. Johansen – The Last Road: Gods of the Caravan Road Book Five

When even the gods are dying, the hope of the world may lie in its most feared enemies.

A new god proclaimed as the All-Holy has arisen in the west and leads an army eastward, devouring the gods and goddesses of the lands between, forcibly converting their folk and binding their souls to himself. Even the great city of Marakand seems powerless to resist, though the devils Moth and Yeh-Lin and the assassin Ahjvar, undying consort of the god of distant Nabban, have come to stand with it.

IndieBound (US)
Barnes & Noble (US)
Indigo (Can)
Amazon (Can)
Amazon (UK)
Amazon (US)
Kobo (Can)
Kobo (UK)
Kobo (US)

Richard A. Knaak – Black City Dragon

A historical urban fantasy set in Prohibition-era Chicago, which combines action, mystery, and romance against a backdrop of gangland wars and the threat of supernatural horror.

For sixteen hundred years, Nick Medea has guarded the gate between our world and Feirie, preventing the Wyld—the darkest Feirie of all—from coming into Chicago to find human prey. But since he defeated Oberon, more and more Wyld have been slipping through. Nick and his Feirie companion, the shapeshifter, Fetch, have been busy hunting them down.

IndieBound (US)
Barnes & Noble (US)
Indigo/Chapters (Can)
Amazon (Can)
Amazon (UK)
Amazon (US)
Kobo (Can)
Kobo (UK)
Kobo (US)

Tracy Townsend – The Fall: Thieves of Fate Book Two

An apothecary clerk and her ex-mercenary allies travel across the world to discover a computing engine that leads to secrets she wasn’t meant to know—secrets that could destroy humanity.

Eight months ago, Rowena Downshire was a half-starved black market courier darting through the shadows of Corma’s underside. Today, she’s a (mostly) respectable clerk in the Alchemist’s infamous apothecary shop, the Stone Scales, and certainly the last girl one would think qualified to carry the weight of the world on her shoulders a second time. Looks can be deceiving.

IndieBound (US)
Barnes & Noble (US)
Indigo (Can)
Amazon (Can)
Amazon (UK)
Amazon (US)
Kobo (Can)
Kobo (UK)
Kobo (US)

David Walton – Three Laws Lethal

A science fiction thriller in which fleets of self-driving cars make life-and-death choices.

In a near-future New York City, where self-driving cars roam the city streets, rival entrepreneurs Brandon and Tyler compete to produce the smartest AIs, training them in a virtual game world to anticipate traffic and potential customers better than the competition. The result? Intelligent computers that excel at using all available data to determine which humans should live, and which should die.

IndieBound (US)
Barnes & Noble (US)
Indigo (Can)
Amazon (Can)
Amazon (UK)
Amazon (US)
Kobo (Can)
Kobo (UK)
Kobo (US)

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Short Stories Online

This month I began experimenting with a new way of republishing short fiction. I have the first story from The Serpent Bride, originally published by Thistledown back in 1998, up at Curious Fictions; you can support me by visiting my Curious Fictions author page to subscribe and read it. I’ll eventually be posting all the stories from The Serpent Bride, if this goes well. Although the book itself is out of print, I have the last copies, so if you’d like to have the stories in their original form, you can get a copy of the book from me for ten dollars plus shipping to wherever you are.

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Tallying the Books 3: The Pippin trilogy

I’m a fantasy writer — of course if I write picture books, they’re going to form a trilogy!

Not really. But that’s how it turned out.

Cover of Pippin Takes a Bath

Pippin Takes a Bath

I wrote the three ‘Pippin and Mabel’ books inspired by my dog Pippin, who was a big yellow husky-ish dog. The book-Pippin is female and not husky-ish at all, and lives in a little house near the woods with Mabel, an artist. Whether it’s fleeing up hill and down dale to avoid a bath or discovering things like kittens and mysterious bones in the woods, Pippin always keeps Mabel’s life from being boring. They came out in 1999, 2000, and 2001. I received a Lieutenant-Governor’s Early Childhood Literacy Award (now renamed the Dr. Marilyn Trenholme Counsell Early Childhood Literacy Award) in 2000 for Pippin Takes a Bath.

Cover of Pippin and the Bones

Pippin and the Bones

The real Pippin really did dig up my tomato plants to bury a bone and carefully put them back into place and pat down the earth so I wouldn’t notice. Unfortunately he wasn’t a botonist and got which end up a tomato plant should go wrong. All the roots sticking up in the air was a bit of a giveaway. And he also really found and claimed a stray cat, whom we adopted — thought that was after I wrote Pippin and Pudding. He never found a Mastondon, though.

Cover of Pippin and Pudding

Pippin and Pudding

My novel Blackdog is dedicated to Pippin.

The three Pippin books were illustrated by Bernice Lum. French translations (translated by Cecile Gagnon) were published by Scholastic.

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Tallying the Books 2: The Serpent Bride

The Serpent Bride, my second published book, was a collection of ten short stories that were literary fairy tales, retellings of ballads from Medieval Denmark, was published in 1998 from Thistledown Press. (For non-Canadians, that’s a venerable small literary press out west.) I started off reading Victorian or early twentieth-century translations of some of these but then switched to reading the originals. Since my Danish is limited to God/Glaedelig Jul, Ja, Nej, Bedstefar, Rødgrød med fløde, and Tak for kaffe, this was a slow process. However, I’ve studied languages and around the same time had begun a correspondence with a great-uncle who had no English, so for a while there my (non-oral) Danish was improving. I choose to use some of the weird Victorian Anglicizations of names that I found in one collection, though — now I have no idea why. That’s something I’d definitely do differently if I were writing these again. I mostly stuck to the plots as given in the ballads, aiming to give flesh, bone, and blood to the sketches of the characters found in ballad form. I left my dragon-prince a shapeshifter, though, rather than under a curse. Had to get one voluntary shapeshifer in there, at least!

Cover of the book.

The Serpent Bride. Cover painting by Stevi Kittleson.

One significant change I made for the published version was to write a victorious ending for the hero of “Germand Gladensvend”; after defeating the troll and tearing it to bits — as she does in the original — she finds her husband alive. In the original version she only finds his hand. I wrote a version that ended like that, too, which I quite liked, but decided one tragedy among nine triumphant love stories was going to be jarring.

Why did I set out to write these? I have no idea; I have no memory of deciding to do it. It wasn’t that I came across a Danish ballad and thought, I’d like to retell this story. I don’t remember it being an idea at all; there’s just a point in my memory where that was what I was working on. Strange.

I still quite like them; as in the originals, they’re stories about forthright young women going out to solve their own problems — even if that means finding a knight to kiss you to break a curse, you can still take charge of the situation. They have a bit of quirky humour — some of it mine and some of it, like the nun wishing ‘God would send her such an [implied – sexy] angel’ original to the ballads. They’re stories for all ages, as folk or fairy tales always have been. Good fun, if I do say so myself, both to write and to read.

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Tallying the Books 1: 20 Years Ago … Torrie and the Dragon

Twenty years ago my first book was published. Torrie and the Dragon came out from a Canadian children’s publisher called Roussan in 1997. It was shorter and had less depth than I would have liked, but in Canada, kids’ books were often quite short. I think of it now as something long ago and far away, but when I go back and look at it, I realize it was not bad at all. I quite like it still, especially the humour of Torrie’s narrative voice, which has echoes of Milne, Lang, and the like, I think. And one thing it had, which the publisher of the later Torrie books wanted cut, was the framing story of what I called the peanut gallery — the crowd of sometimes restive animals and Old Things in the Wild Forest to whom Torrie was telling his adventures.

I wrote it when I was twenty, in eight days, during my father’s final illness. It’s the only eventually-published thing of mine he ever got to read, though it didn’t find a publisher till I was twenty-nine. A young enchantress gets fed up with her sorcerer father turning captured trespassers into wolf-headed guards, steals the latest victim from the dungeon, and sets off with him to slay a dragon and save his kingdom, all accompanied by Torrie, small and furry, ancient and wise, oldest of the Old Things of the Wild Forest.

Here’s the cover (art by Dean Bloomfield):

Some years and several other Torrie books later, I would rewrite it to make it more what I’d always wanted it to be, and that completely retold version, Torrie and the Dragonslayers, is still in print and available as an ebook as well. (I’ll talk about it later in this chronological survey.)

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