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The Games Wizards Play website splash page

 

It's  February 2, 2016.

The book has its own website, as well as its own Tumblr and Twitter: you can follow its progress there.

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It's not scientists who find the first signs of life on Mars. It's wizards... Young wizards Kit Rodriguez and Nita Callahan become part of an elite team investigating the mysterious, long-sought "message in a bottle" that holds the first clues to the secrets of the long-lost inhabitants of Mars. But not even wizardry is enough to cope with the strange events that start to unfold when the "bottle" is uncorked and life emerges once more to shake the Red Planet with its own perilous and baffling brand of magic.

The good news is that the Martians seem friendly. The bad news is that now they're free to pick up where they left off on a long-dormant plan that could change the shape of more than one world… and they don't mind using their well-intentioned rescuers to achieve their goals. Kit’s long-standing fascination with all things Martian unexpectedly enmeshes him in a terrible, age-old conflict -- turning him into both a possible key to its solution, and a tool that in the wrong hands shortly threatens the whole human race.

Only Kit has a shot at defusing the threat. But when he vanishes unexpectedly from the Mars of here and now, his fellow wizards are left uncertain of where his true loyalties lie. Nita’s determination to find the truth – and Kit – soon sends her into battle against an implacable enemy who may not be conquerable except by violating wizardry’s most basic tenets. As the shadow of interplanetary war stretches ever more darkly over both worlds, Kit and Nita must fight to understand and master the strange and ancient synergy binding them to Mars and its last inhabitants… or the history that left Mars lifeless will repeat itself on Earth... Now at the online store at Ebooks Direct
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A Wizard Abroad New Millennium Edition cover

Teenage wizards Nita Callahan and Kit Rodriguez have been working the New York suburbs for nearly thirty years now, through nine novels' worth of adventures. As the dawn of their fourth decade in print draws near, the long-planned updating of the Young Wizards series continues with the Ebooks Direct release of the fourth novel in the series: A Wizard Abroad.

Abroad, like So You Want to Be a Wizard (book 1 of the Young Wizards series), Deep Wizardry (book 2), and High Wizardry (book 3), now appears in a New Millennium Edition that's been extensively edited and updated for the present century.

You can find out more about the update project as a whole here. All nine books will be updated by the end of 1Q of 2013, and all brought into alignment with the new (2008-2011-based) timeline.

If you've already picked up copies of the first two New Millennium Editions, you can grab A Wizard Abroad here. Alternately, if you haven't yet acquired any of the new editions, we're offering a four-volume "box set" of the first New Millennium Editions at a slightly lower price than buying all four separately.
New Millennium Edition Four-book set

(For those interested: book 5 of the series, The Wizard's Dilemma, is now in edit and will be available around mid-February of 2013.)

A little about the story:


There's magic across the Atlantic...

NitaCallahan's mom and dad are beginning to get the idea that she and her fellow wizard Kit are "spending a little too much time together". So -- explaining that they want to give their daughter a little vacation from wizardry -- they pack Nita off for a month-long stay with her eccentric aunt at her farm in Ireland. But this turns out to have been a bad move on Nita's parents' part, since Ireland is even more steeped in magical doings than the United States.

Nita, initially certain that she's going to be bored out of her mind, soon finds that the serene beauty of the Irish landscape is deceptive. The ghosts of men and beasts and other beings -- including what seem to be heroes, ancient gods, and even the Powers that Be -- confront her at every turn. And her attention to strictly wizardly business during this crisis is somewhat distracted by the dark and edgy Ronan Nolan, a local teen wizard with uncomfortable secrets... and an agenda that might possibly include Nita.

 
Along with a group of Irish wizards both young and old, Nita and Kit (who joins her in Ireland) are drafted into an increasingly desperate battle with the Lone Power in yet another of Its many forms. The fight is a personal one, as always -- but this time there's more at stake than usual, as the ancient Enemy of life attempts to submerge the everyday Ireland in an older, more dangerous one: a place where human beings are fairy tales, and the legends and monsters of Celtic myth are a deadly reality....

Reviewers say:



"Duane seamlessly interweaves encounters with creatures from legend with glimpses of modern Irish life and teen culture... So clever and well reasoned that readers will have no trouble suspending disbelief." (School Library Journal)




"An engaging fantastical tale... Definitely worth reading." (Book Trust)




"Suitable for a wide range of readers. The colourful descriptions and imaginative characters create an exciting read... found it difficult to put the book down." (Platform)





To sign up for our shop's mailing list and be informed of new releases in the New Millennnium series (and other offerings), click here.
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I did my first ebook collection of short fiction a bit more than a year ago, and Uptown Local and Other Interventions seems to have pleased a lot of people; so a little while ago I started thinking about doing another ebook that would gather together other short work I'd done and had fun with in recent years.

I wanted to wait a little while to find the common thread that bound all the stories together, though, before I put the collection out there. I can't believe it took me as long as it did to notice that all the stories I'd pulled together had a strong fairy tale component: and those that didn't were ghost stories.

In retrospect it shouldn't have been a surprise. Fairy tales are probably the subfamily of fantasy that I love the best: the house is full of them, in collections and compendia from every culture you can imagine. And many of my books have had fairy tales at their roots (Stealing the Elf-King's Roses and Raetian Tales 1: A Wind from the South being the most obvious of these). And the timing for a collection of fairy-tale-based fiction isn't bad, I suppose, with the genre suddenly so hot in popular culture. (Well, all right, not "suddenly", really: this has been going on for a couple/few years now.)

As for the ghost stories, I've always had a bit of a yen for those; and of course as we come up on Hallowe'en this particular line of thought resonates more strongly than usual. Modern ghost stories in particular have an attraction for me, and when I realized that I already had one or two of those in this putative collection, I thought I'd round it out by adding the longest one I'd ever written -- a screenplay, as it happens.

So here's Midnight Snack and Other Fairy Tales, and here's what it contains:

  • First Readthrough: How you do the casting for a fairy tale… and what can go wrong while you do.
  • The Dovrefell Cat: Your pet polar bear may sometimes be a problem… but there’s one night of the year when he shines.
  • …Under My Skin: Some first dates just don’t work out the way you think they will: not at all.
  • A Swiss Story: Lots of people from that part of the world have something from “during the War”. But not many have anything like this…
  • Blank Check: A most unusual client turns up at one of the world’s oldest banks with an impossible request… which nonetheless must be fulfilled.
  • Don’t Put That In Your Mouth, You Don’t Know Where It’s Been: A would-be worshipper of the Triple Goddess has her upcountry ritual disturbed by something very odd.
  • The House: A school science project examining gingerbread as a structural element turns into something way more personal.
  • Cold Case: A cop who won’t take no for an answer meets a murder victim who’s even more stubborn than he is.
  • The title work, Midnight Snack: “Dad came down with the flu that week, so I had to go down to the subway and feed the unicorns…” (Along with the story of how it got censored.)
  • And completing the collection, a full-length feature film screenplay, Dead & Breakfast: a ghost story with computers.
Want a copy? Click here. (Or on the image at the top.)

…As with all our ebooks, this one is DRM-free and can be moved from device to device at your pleasure. Also, for the same flat price, we offer an all-format bundle containing various versions of the major ebook formats, so you can find out what works best for you. (And if you have multiple devices this is good too: we don't see any reason why you should buy the same book twice just because you have a Kindle and a Nook or whatever.) Just choose "All Format Bundle" in the dropdown menu on the book's page at the store.

Enjoy!

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For those who're interested: the release of the AWoM paperback is scheduled for May 2, 2011, and you can preorder it now.




 



"In the hotly anticipated ninth installment of the Young Wizards series, Kit and Nita become part of an elite team investigating the mysterious 'message in a bottle' that holds the first clues to the secrets of the long-lost inhabitants of Mars. But not even wizardry can help them cope with the strange events that unfold when the "bottle" is uncorked and a life form from another era emerges.

"Though the Martians seem friendly, they have a plan that could change the shape of more than one world. As the shadow of interplanetary war stretches over both worlds, Kit and Nita must fight to master the strange and ancient synergy binding them to Mars and its last inhabitants. If they don't succeed, the history that left Mars lifeless will repeat itself on Earth..."
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Witch High cover

Just got my author's copy yesterday. The anthology features stories about a suburban U.S. high school catering to young wizards and witches, and my story "The House" bats cleanup in the volume (always a fun position to be in):

She lay face down on her bed, clutching her pillow over the back of her head, and moaned, “It’s useless. Useless!”

            In the hallway outside her bedroom, Brianna’s mom had the linen closet open and was stacking sheets in it: Bri could smell the lavender water from here as her mom sprayed it onto layer after layer. And for the moment, the light clean scent infuriated her. Her mother’s compulsive housewifeliness didn’t usually bother Brianna so much except at moments like this, when the world was ending, and how nice the sheets smelled wasn’t even slightly germane.

            “Sweetie,”  her mom said,  “maybe you should just wait a few days and ask him again.”

            “It wouldn’t help,”  Brianna muttered. “He’d just get the idea I really wanted to do this project with him.”

            “Yes, but you do really want to do this project with him.”

            “That’s not the point!!”

            From out in the hall came the perhaps understandable long silence as her mother tried to parse this statement. Unfortunately Brianna had noticed that her logic and her mom’s sometimes just didn’t intersect, and occasionally serious annotation became necessary.  “If I ask him again,”  Bri said, pulling the pillow up a little so she wouldn’t have to shout,  “he’ll tell everybody that I was desperate. It’ll be all over school. My rep will never recover.”

            “Which rep are we talking about, honey?”  her mother said, pausing to spray some more lavender water, and then to sneeze. Her mom was allergic to lavender, which always added a slightly surreal quality to this operation in Brianna’s eyes.

            “My reputation as an independent kid who doesn’t need anybody’s help to get the job done!”

            “Well, you don’t, if you ask me. So do it without him.  If he’s not smart enough to want to pair up with you on this science fair thing -- ”

            Parascience, please, Mom! This is not just people fussing around with anemometers and toy erupting volcanoes: it’s going to be the main event of Heritage Week!” Though she had seen Carol Anne Naylor’s plan for a real miniature exploding volcano, genuine magma and all, and had been consumed by envy at not having thought of it first. If it worked, it would be terrific, and even if it malfunctioned, that could still potentially be desperately cool. After all, there was never any guarantee when you were working with a fire elemental, even a baby one, that it wouldn’t get out of hand --

            Another few sneezes came from outside, and then the sound of her mother shutting the linen cupboard.  A few seconds later her mom came in and sat down on the bed beside Brianna, smelling strongly of lavender.  “All right,”  she said to Brianna,  “I’m missing something here. What exactly is it that makes Arthur Etchison so necessary to what you’ve got in mind?”

            His eyes. His shoulder muscles. His haircut. His –  But there was no point in getting into this line of reasoning with her mother. Brianna pulled the pillow up over her head again, this time with reason, as she was blushing again. It was the curse of her life: she had always been an easy blusher, and this year when Arthur arrived at school from England, an exchange student, yes, and I’d exchange any ten of our guys for one of him, he is just so --  Brianna moaned again, feeling like her face should just about be able to scorch the sheets under it at this point.  “Mom, it’s just such a good idea! He’s the King of Shop:  he’s got a way with metal, it listens to him. You should see him under the hood -- ” Wouldn’t I like to get under his hood!!  said one completely unrepentant part of her mind:  in response, the blush scaled right up to blowtorch level.  She started talking faster, hoping to distract herself. “And nobody, nobody else has even thought about doing anything with the paraphysics of magic swords.  Everybody’s all hung up on organics this year, the specific gravity of potions and catalytic thaumachemistry. Or else this vague paperwork stuff, diagramming hexes, the structural analysis of spells.” She waved a hand from under the pillow. “Airy-fairy stuff where nothing’s likely to blow up or make a mess.  Nothing concrete. Nothing practical.

            Her mother sat quiet for a moment.  “Okay,”  her mom said. “So if you can’t ask him again to help you, what are you going to do?”

            Brianna was tempted to cover her head with the pillow again… except that wouldn’t help her solve the problem.  “Think of some other project?”  she said after a moment.

And she does. Then matters ensue which are not merely hilarity.   

 A lot of good company in this anthology: Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Laura Resnick, Jody Lynn Nye, Esther Friesner, Debra Dixon...  Worth a look, I'd say.

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There’s been no mention of this on the blog recently, so I thought I’d drop in a note about it now: I’ll be the Guest of Honor at StoCon ‘08 from the 1st through the 3rd of August. The convention venue is the Kulturhuset in Skarpn├Ąck, a suburb of Stockholm (you can get there easily on the Metro: it’s about a 20–minute ride). If any of you are located locally, it’d be super to see you!

This is going to be a lot of fun, as while I’ve been to a lot of other cities in Europe, I’ve never yet made it up to any part of Scandinavia — and it’ll be super to be able to be there in the summertime.

(For those of Peter’s Swedish fans who might be wondering — unfortunately he won’t be able to make it: he presently has a work commitment that will be keeping him home.)

For some reason, the Google map I embedded below isn't displaying, but if you click on "View larger map" you'll see where the convention will be.



View Larger Map

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Friends,

It's up at last.

There are a lot of places where this notification needs to be posted, and a lot of explanations and profound apologies to be made... but for the moment it just seems best to get the news out.

Chapter Seven is now available online for subscribers: it's linked to from the normal TBM subscriber gateway page. The same old username and password that worked for previous chapters will get you in. (If you can't find your login info, email me and I'll send it out to you pronto.) HTML and PDF versions are there right now --  the mobile .prc versions will go up in due course, as soon as we receive the conversions.

If you're not a subscriber, the chapter will go public on the 28th of the month. Look for the link to its gateway page in the left-hand menu at the project page at http://www.the-big-meow.com. (And for those of you who might feel inclined to subscribe, the subscription button is at the top of the left-hand column, along with info about what you get.)

Once again, I'm deeply sorry for the immense delay. I'm going back on the old one-chapter-per-three-weeks schedule: Chapter Eight will be going up in mid-August. Additionally, the book has become a couple of chapters longer in the course of being restructured -- check the project schedule for the anticipated posting dates.

Thanks again, everybody, so very much, for your patience during this past crazed and difficult year. More info shortly.

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Here's the official announcement:

***

The First North American Discworld Convention will be held September 4-7, 2009 (Labor Day weekend which includes a Monday holiday) at the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel in downtown Tempe, Arizona (near Phoenix). It will be a celebration of the Discworld universe created by our Guest of Honor Terry Pratchett. Other guests will include Diane Duane, Peter Morwood, and Esther Friesner, with more to be announced. During the weekend we will have many panels, presentations, readings and other activities for Discworld fans. We are also planning to have a Maskerade, a Banquet, a Marketplace (dealer's room/art show), a Charity Auction to benefit the Orangutan Foundation, a Hospitality Suite, and other activities for attendees. The North American Discworld Convention is being sponsored by Leprecon, Inc., an Arizona non-profit volunteer corporation.

Our Guest of Honor, Terry Pratchett, is the international best-selling author of the Discworld novel series, which began in 1983 with The Colour of Magic and most recently continued in Making Money. His young adult and children's books, including the Johnny Maxwell series and the Tiffany Aching Discworld YA books, have been well received, and he was awarded the 2001 Carnegie Medal for The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents. He also co-wrote Good Omens with Neil Gaiman.

Our additional guests are fans of Terry's work and good friends of Terry's. They are also excellent convention guests in their own right and we're looking forward to having them join us.

Diane Duane and Peter Morwood have written many novels, comics, and screenplays, both singly and as collaborations. They co-wrote The Ring of the Nibelungs miniseries (aired in the U.S. on SciFi as Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King), and each has several new novels and projects in the works.

Esther Friesner is a science fiction and fantasy writer best known for her humorous stories and anthologies (such as Alien Pregnant by Elvis and the Chicks in Chainmail series) and her fantasy novel series (Majyk, Demons, New York by Knight, and Gnome Man's Land). She's recently embarked on a young adult series featuring a young Helen of Troy with Nobody's Princess and the upcoming Nobody's Prize.

We will be hosting other guests with connections to Terry and Discworld in addition to those above and will announce them as they are confirmed.

The convention will run from early afternoon on Friday, September 4th to late afternoon on Monday, September 7th. There may be some limited activities available for pre-registered members on Thursday night, September 3rd, depending on the travel schedule of our guests. Tentative plans for major events include a special event on Friday night, the Maskerade on Saturday night, and a Banquet in the early evening on Sunday. We will have special panels with our guests including a spotlight talk/interview with Terry Pratchett, probably on Saturday afternoon. Outside of the major panels and events we plan to have more discussion panels, presentations, readings, demonstrations, games, and other activities that will make this a fun and memorable weekend for everyone.

The Charity Auction will benefit Terry Pratchett's favorite charity, the Orangutan Foundation, and will likely be held on Sunday afternoon. There may be some additional fund-raising activities during the weekend as well.

Our venue is the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel in Tempe, Arizona. Leprecon, Inc. has recently hosted the 2004 World Fantasy Convention and the 2006 Nebula Awards weekend at the Tempe Mission Palms and it has received acclaim from fans and pros at those events. The hotel is located in the heart of downtown Tempe with a varied selection of restaurants, shopping and nightlife nearby. It is a short distance from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and is accessible via the Phoenix Light Rail system, which will be opening in late 2008. Our room rates are US $119 per night S/D, US $129 T, and US $139 Q with a US $9.75 per night hospitality fee that includes airport shuttle, valet and self parking, internet access, a fitness center, and more. The online booking code and the reservation phone number will soon be available on our website.

The initial membership rate will be US $60 for a full weekend membership, or US $30 for a supporting membership. Children 6-11 will pay US $30 with kids 5 and under free with an adult membership. These rates will be in effect until March 31, 2008. This rate includes all regular convention events, panels and presentations. The Banquet and a possible VIP event/charityevent will cost extra and will be announced when details are finalized. Payments can be made via the mail or online via Paypal. Full details are on our website. We are planning to cap membership in the 900 attendee range to ensure that all attendees will be able to be seated at the major functions in our ballroom.

For those wanting to mix in some tourism around the convention we will be looking into making arrangements with local touring companies for trips before and/or after the convention with the possibility for some special excursions being arranged for attendees. Keep an eye on our website for details.

We're looking forward to hosting a fun weekend for all of our attendees and our guests. Please be sure to visit our website at http://www.nadwcon.org and join in the discussions on our message board and livejournal community.

Lee Whiteside

2009 North American Discworld Chair

http://www.nadwcon.org

***

Let me add as a side issue that the Tempe Mission Palms is a really lovely hotel in a great neighborhood. Within walking distance are: a microbrewery, a branch of Coldstone Creamery, various terrific restaurants (including a great Greek one and an Irish pub with super food) and one of the best used bookstores I've ever seen. Also:  the conrunners are extremely nice and competent people, and I look forward to a super convention.

So Yay!

(does a little Tempe dance)
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If anyone wants one, check under the cut.

This widget will run as a Google Widget on an iGoogle page, and various other places. You can also pop it out to the desktop if you're willing to install SpringWidget's client.

Read more... )
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And so, to my great sorrow, passes one of the most senior, and certainly one of the most beloved, of this century's YA fantasy writers: one of the first of us to break out, over the course of years, into worldwide fame, and to general agreement that she "wasn't just writing kid stuff".

She was a gifted and powerfully imaginative writer with a graceful style. Unquestionably she was an influence on me, though perhaps not in the way people might think. I read her first few books in my late teens / early twenties; and while in a general way I liked what she was doing, I had personal niggles about the way she was doing it. Certainly there were things about A A Wrinkle in Time and A Swiftly Tilting Planet that made me think, Hmmm... I'm not so sure about this. If I was going to do something of this sort, I'd do it this way (...there you have it in a phrase, the eternal/internal certainty that they have it right of writers everywhere...) -- and the result, somewhat later, was So You Want to Be a Wizard.

Plainly the general similarity in themes between SYWTBAW and L'Engle's early work has been noticed, for our books do often enough get mentioned in the same breath. It's a development that would have astounded me if I'd known about it when I first met her. That was twenty-some years ago, when my first editor at Delacorte (where SYW... debuted) took me to a party that was being thrown by the publisher in Madeleine's honor. We had a few moments to sit down and chat, after we were introduced, and I went into a strange sort of shock/horror after a few minutes when she said to me, "By the way, I read your new one. I liked it very much. What's the next one about? When are we going to see it?"

The shock/horror was, I now think (a) because no new writer really expects one of the greats to say something like that to them, no matter how you may daydream about it: (b) because up until that point I had given the idea no consideration whatsoever. Srsly. If there are now eight-going-on-nine books in the Young Wizards series, I think we can all blame L'Engle, because I went home to Philly that night thinking "Hmmmm....", and had a long, long look toward at the Great South Bay and the Atlantic past the Jersey wetlands as the Metroliner headed south. Deep Wizardry, surely, has L'Engle's shadow lying long over it. I will very much miss the sense that the woman who cast it is still just over the horizon, still working.

...But if life, and life after, have gone the way she expected... she still is. (sigh) Take care, cousin. See you later.

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It's always fun when friends pass through the area. We spent the day yesterday with Bookslut's Jessa Crispin (and she spent the night at our place due to a non-manifesting bus-back-to-civilization) and had such a great time. (waves at Jessa!) Soon again!

And another mention elsewhere in Bookslut: So You Want to Be a Wizard is mentioned in Heather Smith's article on the covers of books with wizards on /in them, and (I think) wins.

We have arrived at the rarest example of wizard-based lit -- that with the classy, masterfully executed illustration.... For those who love stories about small children who run afoul of dragons, and yet are ashamed to admit so publicly, we suggest hiding this book under your pillow, next to your collection of small handguns. The current cover is simply too pleasant to contemplate altering.


:) So true. (Even if they get a little hung up on the dragon drool.) Yay Greg Swearingen!

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