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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!


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...

November 27, 2016

Hi everyone,

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, and gained less weight than I did:)

Just wanted to let you know that Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing recently released a print version of The Red Wraith. They also let me revise the story a bit and restore the original opening. If you want an autographed version, let me know, and I’ll get it to you for my author's discount plus shipping.

Oh, and the eBook version is updated as well.

Happy holidays!

October 31, 2016

All too often, soldiers make the ultimate sacrifice. But what if death didn’t relieve them of their duties? What if the fallen still had a final task to perform?

That's the premise underpinning Mary Robinette Kowal’s Ghost Talkers, a paranormal mystery set during World War I. Ginger Stuyvesant, an American heiress, and other female mediums have discovered how to speak with the spirits of recently killed soldiers; the soldiers have been trained to report in and provide details about en...

September 29, 2016

Like its predecessor The Paper Magician, Charlie Holmberg’s The Glass Magician is crisp, creative, and vaguely unsatisfying.

Ceony, the heroine of both books, is still lovesick over Emery, her mentor in the art of Folding (using paper to cast spells). The story moves just as quickly, starting with a bombing in Chapter Three and resolving in a little over 200 pages. And the materials-based magic system remains fun.

But what had the makings of a mystery turned out to be merely an exten...

August 17, 2016

What happens when you take Patrick O’Brian’s Jack Aubrey and grant his ship thoughts, wings, and the ability to breathe sonic waves? You get Naomi Novik’s excellent Temeraire series, one of my favorite historical fantasies.

In Novik’s version of the Napoleonic era, dragons are used as flying battleships, complete with crews that hang on by clipping carabiners to their giant steeds’ harnesses. Dragons can talk too, and often express personalities evocative of highly intelligent dogs.


July 31, 2016

Looking for something to read over lunch? The eBook versions of my short stories are all $0.99. Personal favorites: “Branded Faith” (the inspiration for my new novel The Red Wraith) and “Love and World Eaters” (which draws on my time as an intern at the Chicago Field Museum).


July 25, 2016

For a book that clocks in at only 226 pages, Charlie Holmberg’s The Paper Magician sure delves into a lot of backstory. Stranger still, most of the history lessons aren’t about the main character.

That would be Ceony Twill, a recent graduate of the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined. Ceony wants to be a Smelter, a magician who works with metal. But because Folders are in short supply in Holmberg’s version of early twentieth-century Britain, she’s apprenticed to Emery Thane,...

May 23, 2016

Did gods create the people of Earth to believe in them? Or did the people of Earth create gods by believing in them?

In American Gods, Neil Gaiman plays with the latter concept. Over the centuries, newcomers to America, from Egyptians to Vikings, brought over beliefs that manifested as physical aspects of their old-world gods, such as Anubis and Loki. American soil is bad for gods, however, and the old gods were eventually forgotten and replaced by the new gods of TV, credit cards, we...

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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.