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September 14, 2019

I liked Under Heaven, Guy Gavriel Kay’s take on 8th Century China, but it might be the first historical fantasy I’ve read that felt too realistic.
 

The magic in Under Heaven (shamans, ghosts, etc.) only exists on the margins, yet that isn’t what threw me off. And I respect how much research Kay clearly did on the Tang Dynasty, even though he occasionally delivers his version of the details as bald info-dumps. Mostly, I just wish the protagonist’s decisions and actions mattered more.
 

I...

July 15, 2019

The Black Resurrection, the second book in my Red Wraith series, is out today on Amazon! Want a preview? The first chapter is below:
 

Da looked away as the Imperial Guards mutilated his nearly completed dragon.
 

He’d had time to finish the body, enhancing its elephantine base by grafting on the necks of a hundred snakes, the bellies of a thousand frogs, and the scales of countless carp. The four legs were done too, ending in tiger paws tipped with hawk talons. And the head was perfect,...

May 12, 2019

Writing update: The Black Resurrection, the second novel in my Red Wraith series, will be available July 15 on Amazon! It's a standalone sequel, so you don't need to have read the previous book or the prequel novellas. (But if you'd like to, my suggested reading order is here.)
 

Isaura’s son has been kidnapped.

Worse, his kidnappers are taking him to Huancavelica, a Peruvian mercury mine so dangerous it’s known as the “Mine of Death.”

Her only ally is Amadi, a runaway slave haunted b...

December 12, 2018

Guy Gavriel Kay’s Tigana is the best-written fantasy I’ve read in a while.
 

It wasn’t just the prose that got me (although Kay’s phrasing is often gorgeous). I loved the setup: instead of having one villain threatening to take over the known world, Kay has two, both sorcerers. And they’ve already divided up the Palm, a hand-shaped peninsula based on the boot of early Renaissance Italy. The resulting balance is precarious. “Today only the power of one keeps the magic of the other from b...

November 2, 2018

It’s hard to do better than Naomi Novik when you want a good historical fantasy.
 

Spinning Silver, her latest offering, is a riff on Rumpelstiltskin set in medieval Russia. Miryem, the daughter of a Jewish moneylender, takes up her father’s trade and finds she’s shrewd enough to turn pennies into silver and silver into gold. Her success attracts the attention of the Staryk King, the manifestation of Russian winter. He wants her to make gold for him, and eventually forces her into being...

April 14, 2018

The Ascenders comes out today! The first chapter is below. Enjoy!
 

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The infernal pig shot out of Chase’s hands, scrabbling further into the woods and away from the colony.
 

Damn it all, but that sow was slippery.
 

Chase, having fallen onto the muddiest portion of the trail when the swine eluded his grasp (again!), picked his stout frame off the ground and sprinted in pursuit.
 

“Mila!” he shouted. “You blasted ball of bacon, come back here!”
 

That was two hours of chasing this pig...

April 7, 2018

The Girl with Ghost Eyes might be the first cultural fantasy I’ve read.
 

M. H. Boroson’s novel is packed with plenty of history too. The story is set in San Francisco’s Chinatown at the end of the nineteenth century. And there are references to legislation like the Chinese Exclusion Act and events like the California Gold Rush.
 

But it’s the wealth of cultural detail that makes this book so unique.

The protagonist is a Chinese American immigrant named Xian Li-lin. She’s daughter to Chin...

February 24, 2018

The Battle Dancer is out! It's a quick read—only 14,000 words or so. The first scene is below. Enjoy!

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As recently as six months ago, the sight of Dzune’s terraced ingenuity would have taken Tay’s breath away.
 

Each level of the city was set a little farther back than the one beneath it, hollowed out of the desert valley like spoonfuls scooped from thick stew. The buildings were constructed from rich red brick, and everything was connected by a carefully maintained system of ladd...

January 17, 2018

My novella The Battle Dancer is available for pre-order!
 

It's a bit of an odd bird—I built it from some of the 70,000 or so words I cut from The Red Wraith. (That was a bloodbath of a revision, let me tell you.) Consequently, the story isn't self-contained; it's meant as a lead-in to The Red Wraith. But for what it's worth, an earlier version of The Battle Dancer won an honorable mention from the Writers of the Future contest.
 

Here's the official blurb:
 

Everyone in Dzune had always...

December 3, 2017

Charlie Holmberg’s Paper Magician series has a lot going for it. The magic system is great: magicians have to bond to a specific manmade material, and can then perform spells only by manipulating that material. I also like the early-twentieth-century-England setting. And the characters are strong: Ceony Twill, the protagonist, is distinct and likable, as is Emery Thane, her love interest and mentor in the art of Folding paper.
 

But I’m mixed about the books' lengths. They all run about...

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I write mostly speculative fiction. Usually fantasy, with historical elements mixed in. Sometimes there's a bit of mystery too, or (shhh!) even a little romance.

 

But it's weird—it's always weird. Consider yourself warned.

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