Right now, you can get Ari Marmell’s short fiction collection Strange New Words: Tales of Heroism, Hi-jinks, and Horror for the low, low price of $3.99!
BONUS: For the rest of this month, the author is donating all profits from the sale of the book to people fighting cancer.
Read on to see the extensive book description, including descriptions for all 12 stories!
Ari Marmell is a fantasy author whose novels include
The Goblin Corps, The Conqueror’s Shadow, The Iron Kingdoms Chronicles: In Thunder Forged, as well as the
Widdershins novels (Lost Covenant, Thief’s Covenant, and False Covenant). His latest novel, Hot Lead, Cold Iron, begins a new urban fantasy series. Follow Ari on Twitter using the best handle ever: @mouseferatu.
How to Successfully Create Suspension of Disbelief
by Ari Marmell
“Suspension of disbelief” is absolutely essential to any fantasy tale. If you can’t get the reader to accept the impossibilities of whatever magic or monsters you’re throwing at them, you’re never going to get them invested in the story. Everyone knows that.
What many people do not realize, though, is that, to suspend a reader’s disbelief, you have to start them from a shared baseline of what IS believable. A foundation of realism, some might call it–except that reality gets in the way of believability surprisingly often.
We’re pleased to be able to bring SF Signal readers this excerpt from the new book Hot Lead, Cold Iron by Ari Marmell, the first in an exciting new fantasy detective series.
Here’s how the book is described:
Hot Lead, Cold Iron is the first novel in a brand-new fantasy detective series that will appeal to fans of Rivers of London and The Dresden Files
Chicago, 1932. Mick Oberon may look like just another private detective, but beneath the fedora and the overcoat, he’s got pointy ears and he’s packing a wand.
Oberon’s used to solving supernatural crimes, but the latest one’s extra weird. A mobster’s daughter was kidnapped sixteen years ago, replaced with a changeling, and Mick’s been hired to find the real child. The trail’s gone cold, but what there is leads Sideways, to the world of the Fae, where the Seelie Court rules. And Mick’s not really welcome in the Seelie Court any more. He’ll have to wade through Fae politics and mob power struggles to find the kidnapper – and of course it’s the last person he expected.
Read on the for the excerpt…
Check out the cover and synopsis for the upcoming novel Covenant’s End by Ari Marmell, the latest in the Widdershins Adventure series.
Nicole Sommer-Lecht’s minamalist cover design wonderfully showcases Jason Chan‘s excellent illustration work. It wisely maintains consistency with the series’ previous covers for Thief’s Covenant, False Covenant and Lost Covenant. All covers are embiggened below.
REVIEW SUMMARY: Marmell continues to explore the growing up of a teenage thief with a God in her head as she is on the run outside her home city.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: On the run from her deeds in her hometown, a young thief finds that aiding a branch of her old patron’s family is far trickier than she thinks.
PROS: Excellent voice and interaction between Widdershins and Olgun; fun, relatively light action not afraid to go darker at key moments; good development of the character’s long term arc; Offers expanded look at the world; excellent cover art.
CONS: Plotline taking place back in Davillion does not feel as well integrated as it might be.
BOTTOM LINE: Another solid entry in the continuing story of Widdershins from Marmell
Ari Marmell’s Lost Covenant, the book that follows Thief’s Covenant and False Covenant, picks up with Widdershins on the road. Not content to lie completely low, her information gathering and fortune lead her to the distant city of Lourveaux, where she discovers that the last branch of the Delacroix family is under threat from a rival House. Widdershins’ sense of obligation to her old mentor and adoptive parent leads her on to seek to help of the last of that House, to deal with the threat against them. Since the aristocratic Delacroix knows nothing of who or what Widdershins is besides an obviously common-born girl of no merit whatsoever, this is not going to be easy at all for Widdershins to manage.
(Note: From this point on, spoilers for Thief’s Covenant and False Covenant are inevitable.)
What defines military fantasy as a subgenre? Is it, as the post title suggests, a wizard wielding a fireball in one hand and a shotgun in the other, drawling “Do you feel lucky, punk?” Well…maybe in some versions of the world. In others, it may be more an army marching in rank, overseen by magician-generals, with dragons as air corps and elves in the cavalry (and most likely archery ranks).
Many fantasies–especially epic fantasies–have enormous battles as part of the over-arching story, often as a backdrop to the hero or band of heroes and the main quest. However, for some, the battle takes center stage and the military tactics are just as important, if not more so, than the clever ways in which the plucky band will outwit the Dark Lord. Let’s form ranks, then, and march through several novels where the military maneuvers are on the front lines of the plot and your ability to lead a trained squad may be just as crucial as your ability to understand esoteric prophecies and wield magical talismans.
In episode 149 of the SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester sits down to chat with Ari Marmell, author of the Corvis Rebaine Novels from Spectra, the Widdershins Novels from PYR and several role playing game tie-in novels including Darksiders: The Abomination Vault and Agents of Artifice.
Edit: All frontlist PYR eBooks are available in the Kindke store the same day as the OFFICIAL release date. This has been the case for some time. They are working their way through a huge backlist but there are now 105+ PYR eBooks in the Kindle and Nook store.
Widdershins next adventure has the rags to riches to rags thief face off against a strange supernatural foe that threatens an already stressed and threatened city of Davillon
PROS: Widdershins remains an interesting and engaging heroine. Good use of consequences of first novel in developing events in this one.
CONS: The writing isn’t quite as crisp and bright as the first novel.
VERDICT: A solid followup to Thief’s Covenant and second YA novel from Marmell.
In Thief’s Covenant (My SF Signal Review here) we were introduced to Adrienne Satti, aka Widdershins. Thief. Last worshiper of the small God Olgun. Rags to Riches to Rags story. The first novel was very much an origin story, as the jumping timelines gave us a sense of who she was, and how she obtained her unusual background and abilities.
Now, in False Covenant, Ari Marmell moves forward with Widdershins. Six months have passed since the events of the first novel. Davillon has not been doing well, and neither has our heroine. In a case of kick-them-when-they’re-down, a new threat looms over Davillon, and given her abilities and connection to Olgun, Widdershins may be the only person able to combat it. But even as this occurs, Widdershins has her own personal struggles to deal with as well. Widdershins is finding out that growing up is NOT easy.
SYNOPSIS: She’s a thief/former aristocrat. He’s a Small God. Together,they fight crime!(sort of).Thief Adrienne Satti, aka Widdershins, navigates intrigue and adventure from aristocratic balls to the underside of a city as the enemies who ruined her rags to riches story return, and with even bigger game in mind than the last worshiper of a little god.
PROS: Strong notes of humor, appealing empowered female protagonist, and a good relationship between Widdershins and her unlikely sidekick.
CONS: Novel takes a bit too long to really get rolling, especially for YA readers. Rags to Riches portion of the story feels a bit unlikely.
VERDICT: Marmell convincingly brings his talents for secondary world fantasy to a YA audience.
In episode 112 of the SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester and Jaym Gates (continuing the discussion from Part 1 and Part 2) sit down with a mega panel of authors to discuss modern Sword and Sorcery with the authors who are currently writing it.
Ari Marmell is the author of several works of horror and fantasy tie-in fiction – including Agents of Artifice, a Magic: the Gathering novel-as well as roughly ten-billion-and-one role-playing game supplements for Dungeons & Dragons, Vampire: the Masquerade, and others. The Conqueror’s Shadow, available from Random House’s Spectra imprint, is his first published non-tie-in novel. You can find Ari online at www.mouseferatu.com.
Why Anti Matters
With the possible exceptions of horror and superhero comic books (which, though predating the field of “contemporary fantasy,” are arguably as much a subset thereof as they are a subset of sci-fi), the fantasy genre seems to contain a greater proportion of antiheroes than any other. From Elric of Melniboné to Vlad Taltos, Thomas Covenant to Xena, Locke Lamora to the Black Company, Jack Sparrow to-if I dare hope to place him in such infamous company-my own Corvis Rebaine, fantasy is absolutely replete with protagonists who are either former villains trying to make good, or who still would be villains if their tales were told from only a slightly altered perspective.
It almost goes without saying that for such a character to work, they must be given redeeming traits to make up for, or at least explain, their more villainous aspects. Vlad Taltos limits his “evil” to (more or less) those who have earned it. Jack Sparrow occasionally tries to do the right thing, and he’s just a whole lot of fun. I gave Corvis Rebaine strong motivations for his attempted conquest, and a family he loves and wants to protect once he’s “retired” from his martial life. I could write an entire (very lengthy) essay on all the various ways to make an antihero sympathetic, but A) that’s a little broader than I wanted to get, and B) I think most of you would lynch me if I tried to make you read that much on a computer screen.
So, let’s put that aside for just a moment and talk about something that’s going to seem unrelated, but bear with me. My mind’s tricksy that way, Precious.
Ari Marmell, author of the upcoming fantasy novel The Conqueror’s Shadow, is offering his gothic horror/fantasy Black Crusade available as a free PDF download. Ari says:
Black Crusade was originally written to be one of the first of the Ravenloft: Dominion line of novels from Wizards of the Coast. “Ravenloft” is the name of a gothic horror/fantasy setting. Although Ravenloft was created for the Dungeons and Dragons game, the Dominion line was meant to give it a new flavor-specifically, rather than drawing characters and domains from various D&D worlds, it would draw them from various periods of real-world history. In the case of , that period was the First Crusade.
The line of books was canceled before Black Crusade could be published, though it was released serially online. Now you can download the complete novel as a PDF file.
[via Grasping for the Wind]
Note: Tune in later today for a guest-post by Ari Marmell about The Conqueror’s Shadow!