Well, kind of.
The Dragon bit is that I’m at Dragon*Con today and thus won’t be as available as I usually try to be to respond to comments: readings to do, people to see, beers to drink. The double release bit—and I apologize but I’m going to hawk these today like a guy with a case of fake Rollexes—is that I actually have two books out this week!
Well, again, kind of.
The first, which actually came out yesterday is the paperback edition of my first middle grades adventure series, Darwen Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact (Penguin/Razorbill), which can now be yours for the measly sum of nine (count ‘em) bucks. The official target age range is 9-14, but I’ve had good feedback from readers who were a little younger than that and a lot from readers who were considerably older. You know who you are, and yes, your support is greatly appreciated.
The title character is an 11 year old English misfit currently living in Atlanta, Georgia, who finds that the odd mirror he receives from an equally odd shopkeeper becomes a doorway to another world after sunset. That world is beautiful, and strange, and full of monsters bent on getting out and enslaving what he has, thus far, consider to be “reality.” Darwen and his quirky friends have to band together to thwart what looks increasingly like it might be an invasion.
Astonishingly, Darwen is up for North Carolina’s school and library association middle grades book of the year and—still more gob-smackingly—already won SIBA’s Young Adult Book of the Year! You should be able to buy it at any book retailer (and if you can’t, I want to know why).
The second book I have coming out on Tuesday (Sept 4th) is a new thriller called Tears of the Jaguar, featuring Deborah Miller (of The Mask of Atreus) who, while working a Mayan dig in the Yucatan stumbles on precious stones that clearly don’t belong at the site, but have been in the ground a very long time. Pursuing the mystery plunges her into famous tales of witchcraft which lead her half way round the world… always just one step a head of at least one ruthless killer who will stop at nothing to get the jewels and prove their curious and unique history.
Sound fun? I hope you find it so. Tears is a Thomas and Mercer book (as was the Macbeth I did with David Hewson), so unless you special order it, you’ll get it most easily through Amazon (T&M’s parent company). Both books are available on Kindle as well, of course, and I’d watch for Tears to be discounted nicely in its e-incarnation.
So my worlds (two of them, anyway) collide at Dragon Con where (just to confuse things still further) I’ll probably spend at least as much time talking about Macbeth, a Novel. Taken together the three books are not obviously similar in style or genre so I am faced with the question I’ve raised before of how to “brand” myself in ways that cover all three.
(That’s brand as in logos and market associations, by the way, not brand as in red hot steel on the raw hide: careful there, missus.)
I’d like to think that what the three books have in common is a sense of adventure, a brush with the very strange, even supernatural, and some interesting ideas (interesting to me, at least) turned up like bright metal stumbled on while digging. All three have a deep awareness of the past, a pervasive sense of mystery, and the omnipresent threat of some serious violence.
Still, lumping them all together is tricky and probably fruitless because, with a few exceptions (again, for which I am deeply grateful), very few people will read all three, even if they really like one or two of them. This is my particular corner of hell: half the email I get from readers will say some version of “Yes, I saw you do fantasy too [or thrillers, or YA, or whatever the hell the Macbeth thing is] but I only read your other stuff.” The true crossover reader is like those big woodpeckers in the Everglades that no one has filmed for years and are probably extinct.
Which is kind of too bad. In terms of genre, I read all over the place, and though this habit is bad for me because it makes me write all over the place too—I generally consider it A Good Thing. I learn new techniques; I’m exposed to different story types; I broaden my range of experience. Yes, I know that last one sounds a bit grand, but I’m sticking with it.
So why not try something a little outside your normal literary diet, something you might not otherwise read but could open up new vistas of Fun and Enlightenment? You will? Well, by chance, I happen to have some new books coming out this very week. I know, I know. Quite the coincidence.
Step this way. I have watches too.