What's that you say? GIVE away?
Tordotcom Publishing has kindly sent me three (3) ARC (Advance Reader Copy)s of SERVANT MAGE (publication date January 18, 2022).
I’m giving away all three, two (2) domestic (USA) and one (1) international, exclusively to the subscribers of this newsletter.
To enter, read the directions below:
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject line: SERVANT MAGE
In the body of the email list your name and address, including country. If you feel inclined, feel free to add something about how great the cover is (the artist is Tommy Arnold) although that is not required.
I WILL NOT SHARE ADDRESSES OR KEEP THEM OR USE THEM FOR ANYTHING ELSE. This is so I have an address on hand so I can expedite sending out the ARCs as soon as winners are drawn. Out of bitter experience because sometimes I’ve emailed a winner and then they never write back, thus creating delays and concerns.
I will accept entries until Sunday 22 August at midnight Hawaii time so I can mail out ARCs to the winners on the following Monday or Tuesday.
Here’s a short essay I wrote about the genesis of the story for Tordotcom to send out to bookseller accounts:
It’s not always easy to pinpoint the genesis of a story idea, but in the case of Servant Mage I can identify the exact seed. Many years ago I watched a BBC historical series called By the Sword Divided. Set during the English Civil War (1642 - 1651), it followed three aristocratic siblings who end up on opposite sides of the war between the Royalists and the Parliamentarians. The costumes and hats were gorgeous, as expected, but in later years I remembered nothing of the plot except one subplot that had to do with a family servant.
As I recall, the young servant turns his coat on his master, who supports the Royalists, and joins the New Model Army of the Parliamentarians. While training and fighting he becomes increasingly radicalized and joins a movement within the army called the Levelers. Eventually he and other Levelers are shot by their own side because their political demands for equality are considered too extreme and dangerous even for people claiming to be reformers.
Over the years I have thought a great deal about the servants, laborers, and peasants who in so many political systems aren’t given a choice in what they are required or allowed to do with their lives. When I started making notes for a fantasy with an elaborate system of magic, I decided to set the story in a land torn by a civil war between two factions, the Monarchists and the Liberationists.
A tale of civil war is always powerful and strong, filled with passion and betrayal and people fighting for an old status quo or a new order or against the threat of the same.
But I didn’t want to tell the story of the people who are in power and their well-rewarded supporters. In Servant Mage, I wanted to tell the story of the laborers, peasants, and servants who go about their lives in the shadows, silent on the roads, trying not to be trampled by events, desperate not to be killed. Their lives wouldn’t be changed no matter who ruled.
That’s how I met an indentured servant mage named Fellian as she scrubs the privies at an inn. She’s keeping her head down, determined to survive in the wake of a violent revolution. Yet she’s no opportunist. She knows who she is, where she came from, and what she believes in, and she holds that precious knowledge close to her heart like a lamp to light her path forward. I hope you will enjoy meeting her and following her unexpected journey.
No newsletter complete without Finn.
As always, thank you. I couldn’t do this without you.