Fall 2016 Update

So what’s going on with your favorite overworked author? Well.

1) Currently writing a Stormtalons novel for Onder Librum (The Ed Greenwood Group)

For those who’ve not yet pierced the mists that obscure these realms (absolutely the ones you’re looking for, btw), the STORMTALONS setting is a medieval-esque fantasy setting hatched from the brain of Ed Greenwood, creator of the Forgotten Realms, and forged and tempered with the pens of many extremely talented authors. (His first novel, Words of Unbinding, is launching within days, and preorders for the special collector’s hardcover edition are on!)

I am writing a novel that will come out sometime next year, I think, in the setting, telling a tale I’ve waited 20+ years to tell. My very first D&D character was a mysterious warrior, highly skilled in woodlore and the ways of the wild, called the Lone Knight (though he was technically a ranger in 2e terms). His boon companion? James the Wanderer, a fighter played by my friend Jim Campbell, a polearm expert from a distant land who wore the Jaguar for his totem. We’re talking some old-school STRANGER THINGS era gaming, where we were constantly on the run from epic monsters and thought a fireball could take out the Demogorgon. Anyway, those ideas have been kicking around in my head for decades, and now they’ve grown into a really awesome story. Much as I love all my writing, I haven’t felt quite this way about a fantasy novel since I wrote Ghostwalker. It’ll be amazing.

2) Mask of the Blood Queen to be released soon!

That’s right. Sometime (I hope before the end of this year), Mask of the Blood Queen–third in the WORLD OF RUIN series–will be released. I have just got edits back and am assured they will be a quick turn-around. I’m hoping it’ll hit in November, maybe even October. Just in time for Halloween would be excellent, what with a very scary MASK being on the cover… (Cover reveal soon!)

3) Extra-Life 2016 game September 16!

I’m raising money again this year for Seattle Children’s Hospital through the Extra-Life network. I don’t wanna take up too much of your time with the particulars, but you can help kids, get tax-writeoffs, power up my character to fight giants, get me to say something on our prime-time game livecast, and enter for a chance to win one of my books, all at the same time. Donate!

Here’s the link: http://www.extra-life.org/participant/erikscottdebie

4) Can*Con in a couple weeks

On September 8-11, I’ll be up in Ottawa at Can*Con, a literary convention in Canada, at which a lot of TEGG stuff will be going on. If you’re in the area, let’s hang out!

5) Anthology releases! Women in Practical Armor and Shadowed Souls!

For those who supported this anthology (or those who are intrigued by the name), this is a fantasy/scifi anthology out from Evil Girlfriend Media that stars female warriors in (as you guessed) armor. Functional, practical, useful, non-cheesecake armor (with one very pointed exception). My story is about Ovelia, heroine of my WORLD OF RUIN series and cover star of the second novel, Shield of the Summer Prince.

This is Ovelia. Practical armor like a boss.

This is Ovelia. Practical armor like a boss.

Books have started showing up! I’ve also written and sent my four MARK OF THE BLOOD QUEEN award stories, for backers who kicked in extra to have a special story commissioned just for them.

I am also a contributing author to the Shadowed Souls anthology, edited by the great Kerrie L. Hughes and a man who needs no introduction, Jim Butcher. It is perhaps my highest profile anthology for which I’ve ever had the honor to write.

My story? Stars Lady Vengeance.

I like to think that's Lady Vengeance on the cover. :)

I like to think that’s Lady Vengeance on the cover. 🙂

6) Everyday life

Otherwise, I’m just working at my day job like a madman and occasionally kickboxing when I get a chance. And occasionally playing video games when I’m worn out of energy otherwise! I’m also playing in a few tabletop games, though it’s tough to schedule blocks of time when you’re an adult, you know? Things are stable, if really busy. 🙂

Happy reading!

Cheers,

Erik

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Why BLIND JUSTICE?

I got a bunch of paper copies of BLIND JUSTICE in the mail recently, and it prompted me to start thinking about the book and why I wrote it.

RAGE, mostly.

She knows you better than you know yourself--and she will punish you for it.

She knows you better than you know yourself–and she will punish you for it.

First of all, obviously, I wrote it because Ed Greenwood asked me to. He was launching a new series of novels through Onder Librum/The Ed Greenwood Group, and I was honored and thrilled to be a part of it (BLIND JUSTICE is the third TEGG book released). But Ed had nothing to do with the subject material of the book or its direction or any of that. That was all me. So why?

I guess the short answer is, I was angry.

I wrote BLIND JUSTICE from a place of anger. Of rage and of outrage. For years, I have watched story after news story about rapists, murderers, and other abusers escape justice, and always through casting aspersions on their victims. Questioning what they were wearing, obfuscating their lack of consent, singing about blurred lines. (Oh yeah, I *HATE* that song with a burning passion.) The events and characters in the novel are all created for the book and not based on anything or anyone from real life, but they *could be.* Easily. And that’s the point.

I purposefully set out to look at the evil that men do (yes, men–not all men, but it doesn’t take that many), and that’s what the book is about: human evil in our modern world. Evil that we turn a blind eye to, and the bigoted, ignorant, or selfish reasons we do.

Seraph the Justicar is a manifestation of humanity’s urge for vengeance. Unbridled. Unrestrained. Unchecked.

And Maria Ruiz–my human lead? She represents the human need to temper such violence with justice.

It is no accident that throughout the novel, Ruiz wonders not only whether she can stop Seraph, but whether she should. The daemon goes around killing people without trial–holding them accountable using only her own (generally perfect) judgment–and humans just can’t do that. But at the same time, perhaps she is doing us all a favor by doing what she does.

This informs the ultimate confrontation. Don’t worry, though–I won’t spoil it. 🙂

All of my books are about two things, ultimately: 1) the tension between justice and vengeance, and 2) identity, and this book is no exception.

Ruiz’s ethnic/cultural identity and orientation is not causative in the book–she could have had a different identity and the book still would have happened the way it does–but it’s extremely important. She resides at the intersection of numerous vectors of hate in the book, and she could be a target (not victim–target) of a number of the novel’s villains. She *is* targeted with their harassment on many occasions, and the way she deflects, deals, and/or copes with it is meant to shed light on how those dynamics often play out in real life. However much she wants to lash out and attack her harassers and oppressors, she usually doesn’t, because she recognizes that won’t always help and might very well make things worse.

And lest I be misunderstood here, I am not attempting to explain anything to anyone of those identity vectors I don’t share–female, POC, non-straight. You already know how life is and are experiencing it every day. I’ve got nothing to tell you on this point.

This is me attempting to explain something to people who share my identity vectors–male, white, straight. To folks like me: while I don’t know everything about issues of race, gender, and sexuality, I have some awareness of it, and I want to invite you along the same path. We’re all learning. It’s an ongoing conversation.

To an extent, Seraph’s identity also informs the book. Her sexual orientation is unclear, but her human form is a WOC, and that is purposeful. Not only because her raison d’etre is to punish the abusers of people who look like her, but because too easily people who look like me (a straight cis white man) see themselves as the saviors of the oppressed, rather than (at-best) allies in their struggle. And that is what they are–at best–in this book.

And most of us in this book? We’re the villains.

No, we don’t get to pretend we’re the plucky heroes. We don’t get to imagine we’re Marty McFly while acting like Biff. We don’t get to vote for fascists and call ourselves the real Americans. We don’t get to imagine that just because we’re white and male, we’re good or noble.

If we want to help, we have to *earn* it, and that means taking a hard look at the awful things we let happen, because we don’t step up to stop them.

There is no white male savior in this novel–no square-jawed cowboy with a white hat–nor will there be in the sequel. I am not rushing to the rescue. I am not in this book at all.

BLIND JUSTICE is not mine. It never was.

I mean, I wrote it, but I didn’t just write it for myself.

I want to help. I need to help.

And to those who look like me–who have the influence or privilege or whatever you want to call it that I have–I want you to want that as well.

Cheers