Ohhhhh, New Nooks! And a new low price for Huntsman…

 

I’ve gotta be honest…I still don’t own any form of e-reader but my HP iPaq 1955 Personal Digital Assistant.

Which I love with all the attachment of The Doctor and his sonic screwdriver.

(THIS is MY Doctor, by the way. You can keep the others…)

Bought a replacement screen and performed an intensive surgery to keep it alive…though now I have to align the screen with the diagnostic app every few uses.

I have done a bit of e-reading with it and like that well enough…but I am still way more of a ‘books with pages’ kinda guy.

But I am all for new technology. I like the idea of it…I just won’t use it myself.

So, in an effort to reward those folk who embrace these new devices…(and also to try to sell a few more copies…because my Nook sales have been terrible…maybe everyone has been waiting for these babies) I am dropping Huntsman for Nook to $4.99.

Since the new Nooks are all High-definition it’s good that I wrote the whole novel using patented 3D e-Smell technology. While your eyes are soaking in the stunningly gripping High Def words on your screen, you can scratch-n-sniff paragraphs for that extra-sensatory something. (The tangy-acidic smell of dragon, the yeasty odor of Viking ale, the pungent smell of unwashed hunter and the smell of charred Mage…)

You will never read the same way again if you download Huntsman for your Nook!

(Okay…I made up that e-smell stuff.) (It’s in Beta…)

 

 

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A great weekend of book selling…and a Special Sale! **UPDATED**

at MAN-Fest 2012 at Waters Church in North Attleboro.

I sold quite a few copies of HUNTSMAN and talked with some great people about writing, stories in general and Viking-era lore in particular and donated some of my proceeds to Neighbors Helping Neighbors.

Day Two was just as beautiful as One though I think there was a bit less foot traffic past the booths, mainly due to the numerous contests: Push-ups (the winner did 91!) Bull-riding, hot dog eating and more.

The highlight of my day occurred at the very end when the raffle winners were announced.

A woman made the announcements for each raffling of donated gifts. (She gave me a nice plug because she knew someone who bought and enjoyed Huntsman so had bought her own copy the day before…)

There was a ninth grade girl helping her, handing the prizes to the announcer etc. (This girl had been selling raffle tickets all day and was really working hard at it every time she came by my booth!)

About 30 seconds after they announced the winner of the copy of HUNTSMAN I donated, a woman was at my booth. (I think she was the ticket girl’s mom. Not really sure…)(***UPDATE- It was NOT her Mom. The woman helps oversee the Waters Church Cafe where Kaylie, the now correctly spelled start of this story…also volunteers!)

“Someone bought some tickets and tried to win your book but someone else won. She’s been working so hard here today that I want to buy it for her!”

She wanted to have it before the end of the announcements so I signed a copy for the girl who had been peddling tickets all day.

I could see them about 50 feet away as the raffles ended. The girl walked down a little slope toward her friend with her shoulders slumped and disappointed frown. She looked at her the woman and gave the saddest…shrug…ever.

The lady turned a notebook she had been holding around to show the book she was hiding to the girl.

It is sooo cliche…but it was truly the look of sun breaking through the clouds on a gloomy day. Her face went from disappointed to delighted in less than a second. There were hugs and a thank you to mom then she stood staring at the cover for about a half-minute.

She looked up and across to my booth and waved HUNTSMAN at me with a grin. I waved back.

It was…I think…the best writing-a-book-related moment of my life. Someone reeeally wanted something I wrote and a friend got it for her. She had given up her time all day to help others and found joy in my book as her reward.

Don’t tell me there is no magic left in this world…I don’t believe it!

Thank you, Kaylie! For all the time and energy you gave to Waters Church and  Neighbors Helping Neighbors. For running about selling tickets and getting sunburned.

And giving me the Best Book Sale Story Ever!!

I made a coupon code for Man-Fest in case I ran out of books. (Was not an issue…but I did give out a few…)

Because I am still smiling from Kaylie’s excitement over her new book, I  extend the $2.00 coupon to anyone who would like it.

Go to https://www.createspace.com/3893821 and add HUNTSMAN to your cart. Add the coupon code G8EG4CX2 to the coupon space provided.

Tell ’em Kaylie sent ya!

4 Stars for Huntsman!

4.0 out of 5 stars Prepare For a Journey, September 19, 2012

This amazing tale takes place in an 11th century Scandinavian Peninsula that never was, but should have been. With its tale of rune-singing magicians and acid-breathing dragons dangerous in their cunning, Huntsman is a tour de force of a world with characters that have suffered great loss, but who react differently to the vagaries of their fates.

Eyulf the Mage driven by power, Jaakko the huntsman driven by vengeance, and Avitus who merely wishes to live out his life in honor and service are the protagonists of three separate tales that in this first book of the trilogy begin an inexorable journey toward a combined conclusion that this reviewer eagerly looks forward to in the next installment.

~ Alan Loewen, author of Opal Wine and Yew Manor

Busy day yesterday!

 

Day One of Man-Fest was gorgeous. I drove out of gloomy over-cast Cape Cod to a beautiful sunny Attleboro for the festival.

After a rocky start… (while setting up my booth, a water hose fitting in the wall behind me decided to burst. Barely missed soaking my laptop & paperback books!) I sold some of the small supply of HUNTSMAN I had to sell, so I am back at it again today.

I own a re-creation of a Viking Dagger produced by the Franklin Mint many years ago and I have it displayed on the table with my books as an example of the era I write in for the Trilogy. Between the dagger and the bowl of candy corn my wife bought for the booth (shrewd woman that she is…) I have a steady stream of interested people thru my table. There is far more interest in my candy and weapon than my book so far…but I persevere!

My signing hand is all limbered up and I am determined to sell off the rest of my stacks today!

Brief overview:

Many thanks to Mary Ann for being my first ‘Signed-book-event’ customer!

A passer-by named Rose walked by with her son & husband, kept looking back at my booth instead of watching ahead and stepped on his heels before telling him she’d be back in a minute. Turns out she was an avid fantasy reader before her son was born and hasn’t had any time to read since. (The boy looked to be about 4 years old.) She went back to the husband for dollars and came for a book! YES!! I got someone RE-Hooked on fantasy reading. (I briefly felt like a drug-dealer…)

Had a conversation with an eight year old girl about the existence of dragons. (Loch Ness monster sightings, Biblical descriptions, numerous cultural depictions of large, reptilian creatures from around the world…I think I have her convinced!) Yet when I said I WROTE the book she was looking at she said: Really? YOU’RE Michael?

She looked inside the cover at the name again, checked the picture on the back and squinted at me to verify…I think she wanted some form of ID from me…it was hilarious.

Looking forward to Day 2…

 

So…where will I be today?

Signing copies of my book at MAN-Fest!!

Waters Church in North Attleboro is having what at first sounds like Festivus…for the rest of us! (Please excuse the Seinfeld reference…)

Car show… Feats of strength… Jousting?… a Mustache / beard competition…games and raffles galore.

And in the midst of the mêlée will be lil’ ole me. Selling signed paperback copies of HUNTSMAN.

My first ever book sale & sign event! Gotta admit…little nervous. But one thing I can say for sure:

A MAN-Fest is definitely the place to sell HUNTSMAN. Evil wizard, acid-spewing dragon, marauding warlord, grizzled sailor, a relentless hunter. Battle, revenge, betrayal…

What’s not to love about that, gentlemen? So…come on by and have some fun!

Or at least heckle the noobie author peddling his wares.

NOT a post about Writing…

or selling books…or a part of a new book.

Have you ever lost something and didn’t realize it until much later? I had a moment of realization on Wednesday.

I have lost the stars.

It wasn’t all at once, more of a gradual loss I think but I am having a hard time pin-pointing when and where I left them.

We visited New Hampshire on Monday, Tuesday last week and left waaaay too late in the day…trying to cram in all the ‘live free or die’ that we could before we had to leave.

On the way home as we crossed the Bourne Bridge onto the Cape I looked out of the car into the sky and saw stars! They were dim and fuzzy from lights on the ground and fume haze on the highway, possibly a low fog.

I realized then that I had not once looked up at the night sky while in the Granite State. Clear air, mountain sky…makes an amazing star field and I missed it. Never even looked. This is horribly unlike me. (To put it in perspective…we once set the alarm for 2AM in November to bundle up and lie in a field for an hour to watch the Leonid meteor shower…)

It hurt me to realize that while I have lived away from the mountains I have let my stars go. With floodlights and smog obscuring them, I have stopped looking up.

They are harder to see, but they are still there. I have let the difficulty of finding them wear me down. I let the troubles of this world bring my gaze down from the heavens. And I finally realized it.

I have been singing this all week now:

Take my love, take my land / Take me where I cannot stand / I don’t care, I’m still free / You can’t take the sky from me / Take me out to the black / Tell ’em I ain’t comin’ back / Burn the land and boil the sea / You can’t take the sky from me / There’s no place I can be / Since I found serenity / But you can’t take the sky from me!

It’s the theme from Joss Whedon’s Firefly. But it’s wrong…you CAN take the sky from me…but only if I LET you.

I have let my stars slip away.

I want ’em back now.

White Mountains, please take care of them until I can pick them up. Thanks!

An Excerpt of Chapter 8 of Dagger

~Book Two of the Hunted Mage Trilogy~

The sounds of the busy forge quieted as Erick bellowed at Hessu.

“It matters little what they WANT! They cannot have it!” He growled in frustration as he pulled the apron over his head and flung it at the ground. He sat down on one of the anvils wiped the sweat from his brow.

Hessu’s face darkened with anger, but he spoke with his usual calmness.

“You need not yell at ME, Master. You agreed to take Ragnor’s commission and then told me to deal with it. Now they come to me with their wishes and I, in turn, bring them to you. They want more and faster!”

Erick clenched his fists and began to fume with his eyes squinted tightly closed.

“How many,” he said with jaws grinding the words, “do they want now and when do they think they can get them?”

Hessu glanced at his slate and ran his fingers through his hair. The boy’s hands trembled as Erick watched.

I am being unfair to him. It has fallen to him to negotiate with the marauder’s men. I should not be so harsh, Erick thought. He stretched out his hands and could feel the joints in his fingers creak, so hard had his fists been closed.
Bloody iron arrowheads! Ragnor could have a thousand arrows made a day if he would but take bone or flint, but the gods-cursed Mighty Warlord has to have bloody iron!

“They want two thousand in the next fortnight.”

Hessu’s face had gone lifeless as he spoke the numbers to Erick.

He is braced for a storm, Erick thought with a sigh. Have I become such a tyrant?

He reached a huge hand over to the journeyman’s shoulder and shook him.

“I am sorry, lad. It is not your fault and I should not lash out at you for it!”

Hessu accepted his words with the slightest of nods and tapped the slate with his fingernail.

“If we do nothing else but forge arrowheads…the three of us need to craft four dozen each day! The two boys are not yet capable of the task. They can strike for two of us…but we will need to take in another as third…”

Erick raised a hand to stop his journeyman’s words.

“Four dozen each day? Even if a third lad were trained already, we would not have enough hours in the day to turn out that many.”

Hessu shrugged.

“And we have other work partly paid for as well that we dare not neglect. Ragnor’s men are insistent and I am tired of explaining to them that iron is harder to work than bronze. It takes more time. They do not understand,” he said with a grimace.

Erick rolled his shoulders back and twisted his head until it popped. He found that he stiffened quickly as he aged. His thoughts piled upon each other and he felt a headache begin.

“It cannot be helped. We will work as best we can. Can we find a few lads from another smithy to help out until we finish?”
The look of despair that clouded Hessu’s face was answer enough for Erick.

“I have already asked many. Ragnor has commissioned similar orders from all of them. Well, those I would trust to have apprentices trained how we would like them, at least. Every smith and ‘prentice within a days ride will be as hard at it as we.”

And Ragnor holds our city firmly in his grip. We had all better give him what he wants, had we not? Erick thought. He closed his eyes once more.

“When next they come, send them to me. You do not need to deal with them again. Let us begin and we will fill as much of their order as we may.”

He saw the relief in Hessu’s form as the journeyman made his way to the men and boys who stared at the Master with apprehension.

Erick could not hear Hessu’s words, but he watched the dismay and calculation cross their features. Juno knew what they were up against and blew out his cheeks in an exaggerated gust of air with eyebrows raised.

The apprentices were largely clueless, Erick realized. They suspected that the news meant more work for them and that was all. It would take a few words from Juno or Hessu to bring them into the reality of the task.

He stood and stretched, then stooped for his apron.

“HESSU! Stoke the forges! Get them to work!”

His roar made them all jump and they scrambled to the hearths in a frantic rush that made him laugh.

* * *

They spent two long days in a frenzy of activity.

Hessu roused the young apprentices before dawn and they filled the water barrels, refueled the forges and built up the slumbering embers in an exhausted shuffle.

Erick’s entire body ached from the constant pounding of hammer on iron and his head throbbed with the ring of it.

Two days of this and already I feel like a corpse, he thought with a groan as he lifted two sacks of iron ore by the necks and dragged them toward the smithy door. It was the last of their supply. If the cart-load he had ordered did not arrive by midday, they would be forced to stop and wait.

Two days of four dozen arrowheads from each of us! We have done it but we cannot keep to this pace.

He had climbed into his cot for six hours of rest but had not slept for two of them. The tingle in his hands from the pounding of the hammer had kept him from slumber. Even as dawn broke and he rose from his fitful sleep, he found that his hands shook as he ladled water into his parched mouth.

Damn Ragnor!

He reached the first hearth and let the bags fall next to the stone chimney. The lads would empty them into the crucible when the fire was hot enough.

He stepped from one hearth to the next and pumped the bellows at each. He added coal to each of the beds until they all glowed to his liking.

He turned to find a man who watched him from within the deep cowl of his dusty, hooded cloak.

“Mother of God! What are you doing in my forge, man? Get out before you do yourself harm! We are too busy for you today!”

The hunched figure hobbled back a pace and lifted its hands to his hood and drew it back just enough to show Erick the mottled face beneath.

“If you think aught you have here frightens me…”

The voice was raspy and came from lips that seemed melted and were drawn to one side in a crooked smile.

Jesu, God in Heaven…Erick thought with a shiver.

The withered hands reached up to draw the hood back into place and then disappeared into the cloak’s folds.

Erick felt his mouth working as he tried to voice the questions that were striking within his mind, but found he could not make the words come out.

“You are the Master smith here?” The man’s croak was filled with doubt.

Speak, you great dolt! He does not need your stare. He gets stares aplenty wherever he goes, no doubt.

He cleared his throat and answered.

“I am! And my warning stands. I will not have further harm come to you under my roof. So…please! Step outside my doors and I will speak with you when I am able.”

The intruder inclined his head and stared without speaking. Erick could see the glitter of his eyes in the glow of the hearth. They were narrowed to slits and the man’s cheek twitched as his lips pulled into a sneer.

“I thought Jorma had spoken to you and that there would, at least, be some courtesy at my arrival.”
The man turned and limped toward the doorway.

The Mage? Here, now! Of course, he is here when I am at my very busiest and can scarcely…damn it!

Erick motioned to Hessu to take his place at the hearths and hurried after the Mage. He ducked his head under the arch of the door and saw the crippled man leaving the yard.

“Mage!” Erick called after him and felt foolish for it.

It sounds like an insult when I yell it like that. Why din Jorma not tell me his name?

The man turned with a wince and stared at Erick with a hooded stare.

“Smith!” He said the word with disdain.

Erick picked up a bucket that lay beside the fresh water barrel and filled it. The apprentices had filled it to the brim the night before under threat of a beating if they did not.

He offered the bucket and a dipper to the Mage and nodded toward a section of log to sit upon while they drank.

Erick could feel the cool morning air begin to dry the sweat that already gathered upon his brows and arms.

“My courtesy is wanting today. It is true. I did not expect you here, but a message from Jorma that would instruct me when and where we would meet.”

The Mage pursed his lips and sat with a slowness that spoke of great pain to the smith.

“The carter wished me to name a time but I refused. Time presses upon me and I would like my work with completed as soon as I may.” He reached out and took the handle of the dipper and drew it to his lips with a hand that trembled under the weight of it.

Erick held his words until the man let the ladle drop back into the bucket and wiped his lips with a cloth.

“I cannot begin your work.”

The Mage turned a surprised look to him and chuckled quietly. It was an unpleasant gurgle that made the skin of Erick’s neck tighten with in fear.

“That will not do, Smith. Why has Jorma placed me in your care with such confidence if you are unable to meet my needs?”

Erick took a ladle-full of water before he answered with a frown.

“I do not conduct my business by Jorma Cart-boy’s leave, Mage. I have a large order placed by Ragnor’s underlings that taxes my men and me to our limits,” Erick said. He tried to speak the words as bluntly as he knew how, but they sounded petulant in his ears.

It is that bloody stare he has, like a snake. I am too busy to help him now and that is that. Just say it, man!

He grunted and began to stand up when the shriveled hand waved for him to sit once more.

“I cannot. I have too many tasks today as it is. If I dally here longer it will only get worse. I can help you in twelve days or so. I may not finish even then, but I cannot help sooner.”

The Mage laughed.

“I may have a solution for you. If you will but ‘dally’ a moment more.”