Readercon 2014

Dragonwell Publishing got great exposure at Readercon this year, with the author W. B. J. Williams attending multiple panels and doing a reading from his debut novel “The Garden at the Roof of the World”. The convention took place in Burlington, MA on July 10-13, 2014. Also in attendance was the author Anna Kashina, presenting her newest epic fantasy novel, “Blades of the Old Empire”.

Here are some pictures from the event:

W. B. J. Williams reading from “The Garden at the Roof of the World”:

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W. B. J. Williams with co-panelists:

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Dragonwell Publishing books in the dealers’ room:

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Anna Kashina’s “Blades of the Old Empire”:

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Our next destination is World Fantasy Convention in November.

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Making the future: guest post by R. S. A. Garcia, the author of LEX TALIONIS

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‘Lex Talionis’, or the law of revenge for the purposes of the book, begins with two people. A wounded soldier, trying to escape death from an unseen enemy while trapped alone on a ship in deep space, and a badly battered young girl who wakes in a spaceport hospital with no memory. The solider is trying to stay alive, but the girl has already died. It takes a mute alien no one has ever seen before to bring her back.

Clearly, these two people are connected. And it’s the nature of their connection that drives the central question of ‘Lex Talionis’. Who is this girl? Who killed her and why? What is the soldier’s part in all this?

Why does one young girl with no name matter?

Every woman on this planet lives with the daily fear of assault. Globally, the World Health Organisation reports that 35% of women worldwide have experienced either intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime. When you look at incidences in developing or under-developed countries, the rate becomes astronomical. Yet many people let these figures numb them. It only matters when it’s someone they know–or when they themselves have been attacked. But the attitudes and behaviour that lead to these appalling figures and institutionalized sexism are everywhere. And for those who think they’re good people, but who feel uncomfortable when certain issues are brought up, it’s important to realise that if you’re not part of the solution, you’re definitely part of the problem.

Every girl matters. Every person, no matter how ‘unimportant’, causes ripples in the lives of others. When you assault a woman sexually, when a woman dies as a result of intimate partner violence, you aren’t just hurting one woman. You are forever erasing a person from this planet. You are forever changing the lives of other. Because a woman who has been assaulted or raped will never be the woman she was before. And the people in her lives will never be the same people they were either, not if they love and care for her.

So in ‘Lex Talionis’ a terrible thing happens to a girl that doesn’t seem to matter, but it turns out she does matter. It turns out that the ripples set in motion by this attack go so much further than the pain the victim carries and the changes forever wrought within her.

And this is happening every day, all over the world, to too many women to count. Every day, we are building a legacy of devastated lives and changed futures. Sooner or later, we must realise we are suffering the consequences. Now. Right now. Not in the future, not in a few decades, but now, in this very moment. And women will not be the only ones caught up in the ripples. As the soldier in my book shows, all of us pay for what happens to the women in our lives. Every human makes up humanity. If we don’t value one of us, how can we value all of us?

With Lex, I have tried to present an unapologetic story of a girl’s battle to reclaim her life and her future after a terrible attack. I don’t ask that you like her, or that you sympathize with her. I simply ask that you think about the sad fact that although she is unique, her story is not. So whether you are man, woman, neither or both, let us think about those ripples and try, in our small way, to make sure they stop with us.

We are making the future, bit by bit, every day. Let’s try to make it a better one.

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You can find R. S. A. Garcia at her blog: http://rsagarcia.com/

And, check out LEX TALIONIS, the newest release from Dragonwell Publishing, which Publishers Weekly is calling a “stunning debut” in their starred review, now on SPECIAL SALE for $2.99 at:

On Amazon.com

On BarnesandNoble.com

COVER

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BLADES OF THE OLD EMPIRE by Anna Kashina: today’s Kindle Daily Deal at $1.99

Today only! Download Anna Kashina’s action-packed fantasy adventure, featuring a group of elite assassins fighting for the throne.

Anna Kashina is an award-winning author of Mistress of the Solstice and The Goddess of Dance. Her new novel, “Blades of the Old Empire” has been released earlier this year by Angry Robot Books, UK, to be followed by its sequel, “The Guild of Assassins” in early August. Check these deals out in the Kindle store to find out what everyone is raving about:

 BladesOfTheOldEmpire-300dpi BLADES OF THE OLD EMPIRE, Book 1 of the Majat Code, $1.99 until the end of today

Also available:

Guild THE GUILD OF ASSASSINS, Book 2 of the Majat Code

Majat Testing THE MAJAT TESTING, a short story of the Majat Code

Adobe Photoshop PDF MISTRESS OF THE SOLSTICE, a dark romantic fantasy based on Russian myth

 

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Guest post by Sarah Daltry, author of PRIMORDIAL DUST

A common theme in all of my writing is the idea of morality and choice, as well as the concept of defining yourself rather than being defined by others. I know many see me as a romance writer, but romance isn’t the point. A love story maybe, but it’s also about how we accept others and how we find people in the world who can see the flaws within us, and make them something we learn to appreciate.

In Primordial Dust, I used an assassin, because I wanted to explore the concept of hate and violence, but also in a way that deals with perception. Why is Seamus a killer? He happens to be born in a kingdom where killing is his job. However, he’s not unkind. The novel questions why we accept our roles so willingly – and what it takes to question them.

The story is not really about him or his assassinations, so it may be a disappointment to someone expecting the journals of Altair! Instead, it is about evil, morality, murder, and how we can excuse certain things with conditions. We say that someone who kills is evil, but we have armies. We watch the news and condemn countries who perpetuate violence, yet we allow it to be perpetuated daily within our own country. Why is our own violence acceptable, but that of others makes them evil?

I could spend a lot of time on this topic, although I know it’s important to keep it short. I also have no desire to alienate anyone, merely to open the conversation. Why is one person’s good another’s evil? Does conviction play a role? In my novel, magic is suppressed, because it is dangerous, but the characters also understand the basic tenet of magic: Intent is all. Again, an assassin hired to kill someone sent to kill his king could be preventing a war. Who is the villain then? And who is hero?

My cowriter for my gamer geek comedy, Backward Compatible, Pete Clark, wrote a play and one of the monologues in it specifically stated what I think is a key theme of my novel: “Everyone plays the hero in his or her own story. What you have to ask yourself is in how many stories do you play the villain?”

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Find out more about Sarah at the following links:

http://www.facebook.com/AuthorSarahDaltry
http://twitter.com/SarahDaltry
http://sarahdaltry.com

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Fantasy Authors Are Making Myths Before Our Eyes: a guest post by the author Tracy Falbe

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Fantasy fiction has always been something more than adventures with magic. This genre breaks the path into an inner world where people are tested by great forces.

I believe fantasy authors of all stripes are trying to do the deep work of creating new mythologies. The eminent late mythology scholar Joseph Campbell stated often that we live in an age with inadequate mythology. In his televised talks with Bill Moyers, he said, “The old-time religion belongs to another age, another people, another set of human values, another universe.”

He continued to explain that the psychological support offered by old myths and religions no longer functions for people of today. Furthermore, no new mythological forms are present to aid people in the rational and spiritual processing of their lives.

The profusion of fantasy literature in all of its forms is the result. Collectively authors and readers are exploring their imaginations and seeking to construct new guide posts that illustrate the challenges and stages of their lives.

For example, we live in an age suffering from vast ecological damage. Some old religions speak of end times and apocalypse, but waiting around for everything to collapse is not exactly functional.

The reality of this condition is at the heart of J.R.R. Tolkien’s masterpiece The Lord of the Rings. Saruman’s devastation of a forest to feed his industrial fires represents the industrial revolution and its attendant war machine. The same goes for Sauron in Mordor, a pitted and blasted place where armies huddle in the rocky volcanic fume.

But a small band of courageous players confront this horror against all odds. In the end the evil power of Sauron consumes itself. It cannot sustain itself. This story informs us of this truth and offers a psychological template for coping with life in this reality.

According to Campbell mythologies are “a systematized organization of fantasies in relation to the values of a given social order. So that mythologies always derive from specific environments.”

Therefore I ask: What mythologies are being created from our society?

An example that offers mythological support to the people of today is the film The Matrix, written and produced by the Wachowski Brothers. In this techno fantasy, Neo is offered the choice to take the blue pill or the red pill. Blue delivers the bliss of the manufactured reality of modern society without thought or question. The red pill breaks him free from the machine-ruled Matrix but leads to a grim reality of privation and always being hunted. But at least these people are aware of reality. Their thoughts are their own. Their feelings are their own.

Fantasy like its better-educated cousin science fiction is well known for exploring social ills. I’m particularly fond of the cruel matriarchy depicted in R.A. Salvatore’s popular Drow Elf Trilogy. It’s not that I think that women would be evil if given mastery of society. Rather, I admired how the story showed the injustice and suffering that naturally follow gender-determined authority. And the main character in this story sustains his compassion and ethics despite constantly being encouraged to be otherwise. That is a good myth to live by.

All artists including fantasy authors are doing the work of projecting society upon the psyche and provoking us to imagine our best selves. Although it’s nearly impossible to snip a sound byte from the writings of Carl Jung, I find this quote by that extraordinary thinker very illuminating.

“Therein lies the social significance of art: it is constantly at work educating the spirit of the age, conjuring up the forms in which the age is most lacking. The unsatisfied yearning of the artist reaches back to the primordial image in the unconscious which is best fitted to compensate the inadequacy and one-sidedness of the present.”

With its magic, monsters, grueling quests, epic battles, and life-changing disasters, fantasy fiction provides inspiring examples. As a reader, I imagine being heroic. I imagine myself possessing the courage to walk into Mordor. Society may have serious problems, but solutions begin with my actions.

In our admittedly frightening times when many people are spiritually adrift and institutions are failing, fantasy authors construct stories to teach our spirits to persevere.

People are turning to genre fiction to satisfy their normal human need for mythological guidance. The prevalence of various fan conventions like comic cons, anime cons, and gaming cons reveals a widespread public need for a shared mythology. At conventions they gather around themes of common stories that speak to them with meaning. They costume and celebrate the creators of their favorite stories. From this teeming mythological multiverse, millions of people find community, inspiration, and courage to be themselves. It’s more than entertainment. If you merely find something entertaining, you don’t engage in cosplay and buy collectibles.

The conventions I’ve attended remind me of pilgrimages and festivals associated around temples in India. There is always a story behind what they are doing too.

The many thousands of stories produced by fantasy authors every year are fulfilling our natural mythological needs. Will any one of them rise to become a widespread myth? Not very likely. A few will resonate with large audiences and may fulfill mythological needs for a time. And then new stories will be created to reflect the needs of our ever-changing societies. But each story will serve a small audience in a meaningful way.

What myth have I consciously portrayed in my writing?

When I wrote the Rys Rising series, I was creating a mythic telling of a society experiencing its last days. The elites were unable and unwilling to recognize their own failings. It’s ultimately a story of watching everything change but staying courageous and striving to survive. Giving up is not an option. For me this is the story that reflects the life I face and gives me spiritual fortitude.

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All nine of Tracy Falbe’s fantasy novels are available worldwide at her Brave Luck Books website. A free ebook copy of Rys Rising: Book I can be downloaded at http://www.falbepublishing.com/braveluck/free-fantasy-ebook-rys-rising.html

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Her novels are also available online at many retailers.

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E-book piracy: What to do if you find your book available for sale or a free download without your permission

During the recent months, we are finding an increasing number of sites that pirate e-books and either sell them cheap or list them for free without an author’s permission. Many of these sites are located overseas. Some operate as on-line bookstores, others claim no responsibility for the files shared through their web site, but the bottom line is still the same. These sites infringe copyrights. Sadly, they more often target indie authors and small presses, driven by misguided sense that they would be less likely to fight back. This makes the problem even worse.

Here is what to do if you find your book illegally available on line:

1. Go to Whois directory (http://whois.net/) and look up the web site listing your pirated title. There will be several e-mail addresses listed there for registrant, abuse, etc. Copy all of them.
2. Look at the “contact us page” of the piracy web site. Harvest all the e-mail addresses from there.
3. Write the following e-mail to all these addresses at the same time:
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SUBJECT: Notification of Copyright Infringement

TEXT:

Dear <WEB SITE NAME>,

I hereby notify you that:

The copyrighted work at issue is the ebook <BOOK TITLE> by <AUTHOR NAME>, which appears on <WEB SITE NAME> at the following URL:

<PASTE THE URL HERE>

I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above as allegedly infringing is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.

You can reach me at <YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS>

I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

Sincerely,

<YOUR NAME>, Author

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It is important to use this, or similar legal wording when sending your message. In most cases, your book will be de-listed within hours of sending this message.

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Summer Solstice Sale: two critically acclaimed titles for 99 cents each!

To celebrate summer solstice, download a copy of Anna Kashina’s MISTRESS OF THE SOLSTICE” and W. B. J. Williams’s THE GARDEN AT THE ROOF OF THE WORLD for 99 cents at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, or Kobo. Here are the links to the Amazon pages for the books:

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MISTRESS OF THE SOLSTICE by Anna Kashina is a dark romantic fantasy set in the exotic world of Russian fairy tales, the silver medalist in 2014 Independent Publisher Book Awards.

THE GARDEN AT THE ROOF OF THE WORLD by W. B. J. Williams is a medieval historical fantasy about the journey of maid Gwenaella and the unicorn Britomar to the mythical Garden of Eden.

Both authors will be attending ReaderCon from July 10-13, 2014, so if you are an attendee, this is also a chance to reserve your copies to have them autographed.

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