Thursday, April 16, 2020

NEW BOOK: What Was Your Name Downriver?: Tales of the Shattered Realm

Another product of prolonged self-quarantine comin' at ya!

I've just gotta say, I'm so happy that I'm finally able to put this out in some way. These stories are the product of a lot of work and a lot of encouragement from interesting places. They're some of my favorite stories in that I love the characters and loved playing in their world.

WHAT WAS YOUR NAME DOWNRIVER? is a collection of three stories (one novella, two short stories) that take place in my fantasy western setting, The Shattered Frontier. They follow the adventures of war veteran, bounty hunter, and famous/infamous gunslinger, Evaline Cartwright, as she endures the travails of one of the most lawless counties in the nation. The kind of fun place where Evaline might fight your average brigand one day, and the next day a volatile mage who can destroy entire cities on accident.

Here's the synopsis:
Evaline Cartwright: war veteran, bounty hunter, known to many in Ariasun County by her thoroughly-earned appellation, "Calamity Cartwright." 
Trivan Esterhazy: a woman gravely wounded, hoping to find a better life for herself in more civilized parts of the nation. 
The two have only just met, both riding a steamboat north through the county to escape foul dealings in their respective lives, but a violent attack by a rogue mage has ensured their abrupt alliance. Armed with Evaline's wits and weaponry and Trivan's instincts and common sense, the women will have to plot their way through hostile territory and wild woods in the hopes of defeating the mage and freeing themselves of its volatile magicks.
History Time! If you don't mind indulging me!

Evaline has appeared in a few other places publicly:
  • The first short story I ever sold was the first story I ever wrote about Evaline called "The Lonesome Dark." It appeared in BLACKGUARDS and was recently republished in BRIGANDS.
  • Michael J. Sullivan put out an open call for short story submissions to be published with the third book of the Ryria Chronicles, THE DEATH OF DULGATH, and, while it didn't make it to publication, "The Horse Thieves of Ariasun County" was a runner-up.
After getting that kind of positive feedback, I spent some time really fleshing out the world and the characters themselves, and doing research into American history for flavor, with the intention of writing a novel tentatively titled RIDERS OF BITTER PROSPECT. Another novel commitment was something I couldn't realistically do while I was at university and, subsequently, abroad for a year. The Japanese work week just didn't frequently allow for it.

So I opted for a collection of short stories which, again, was a pretty tough commitment. You might have noticed that progress bar on the side that hasn't moved in a while. One of those short stories just kept going until it became a novella, the anchor story WHAT WAS YOUR NAME DOWNRIVER? It's a straight-forward adventure, but it does the heavy-lifting as far as providing a cross-section for what the setting is all about and what potential stories might emerge as a result.

That's it! I hope you'll consider giving it a try. If this book does well, I'd like to work in this setting indefinitely. Love hanging out there!

Be safe!