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Category Archives: Characters

The Norothian Cycle Book 6… and 7. October update.

sisyphus

I’ve got some short news and some long news, not sure if either rises to the level of good or bad.

The short news is, while I initially thought I could conclude the sixth and last book of the Norothian Cycle by the end of this year, that is not going to happen now. Nothing is wrong, per se, other than while actually writing this book, I’ve come to realize exactly how much remains to be resolved. I honestly don’t think I can wrap up the story to anybody’s satisfaction (least of all my own) in only one more book. Not without making it some quarter-million-plus-word monstrosity that won’t be available for half a year or more later than I hoped.

Ergo, my loose (and I stress “loose”) intention now is still to have Book 6 ready to go around the time I hoped (late this year, or more likely early next). But it is not going to be the last book of the series. There will be a Book 7. I throw myself on the mercy of the court, and hope to thank you for your patience.

Read the rest of this entry »

 

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The Norothian Cycle Book 6 – July Update

racing turtle
Hi, I’m Eddie McNally, and it has been two months since my last blog post.

Nothing much has happened in the intervening weeks mind you. Writing Book 6 continues to take up most of my time, and while I think I am on pace for a release this year, I have to admit it is really slow going. Readers of The Norothian Cycle may have noticed a preponderance of plotlines unspooling throughout the first five books, and as John the Red is the last installment, all those loose ends have to come together. Also, I feel it would be nice if they came together in a readable fashion – so that takes a bit of doing.

Just as a for instance, here are five ongoing issues from the first five books I’ve already found myself wrestling with, while still on the first part of Book 6. And yes, they all involve characters who might be termed as either “secondary” or even “tertiary.”

Ongoing issues from:

The Sable City – Will Amatesu ever really be able to forgive herself for what she did to Uriako Shikashe’s family?
Death of a Kingdom – Is Karza ever going to get some comeuppance, or is that evil jerk going to keep skating?
The Wind from Miilark – Will Rhianne ever find someone else to love?
Devil TownPagette can’t keep popping up working for different governments without somebody finally putting him in front of a firing squad, can he?
The Channel War – Is there really any cap on Claudja Perforce’s ambition? Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Heroes and Villains Blog Hop, May 3rd-6th

5-3 hv bannerHello, and welcome to the sablecity blog – the home page for The Norothian Cycle epic fantasy series, and the 20th stop on this weekend’s Heroes & Villains Blog Hop.

My article on the topic of Villains, and specfically John the Red, ran a couple days ago to save space here for the giveaway/contest – which is remarkably simple as befits my level of technological incompetence.

First off, Book I of the Norothian Cycle – The Sable City – is presently FREE from all major e-book retailers, including of course Amazon US & UK – other linkes may be found here. Feel free to download a copy if interested, and get to know the aforementioned John, a feisty Island Guilder by the name of Tilda Lanai, a man-eating Lamia, a broken-hearted samurai…the whole mandatory “cast of thousands” to round out any good Epic Fantasy of the Musket & Magic persuasion. 😉

The next four volumes of the Cycle are Death of a Kingdom, The Wind from Miilark, Devil Town, and The Channel War, and for the H&V Blog Hop, I will be giving away an e- copy of each to the person who can come closest to answering the following “How many jellybeans are in this jar?” style question:

The final word count of The Channel War is 146,789. What was the word count of the first draft?

That’s it, feel free to leave a guesstimated word count as a comment on this post, and please do leave an address (twitter, e-mail, facebook, wordpress, whatever) where I can contact whoever comes closest to the pin after the weekend, and arrange to get you copies of the full Norothian Cycle in your preferred format. The winner will also be posted here Monday, and I will list all guesses in order for the sake of verification. That’s it, easy-peasy. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by, and please do have fun continuing the Heroes & Villains Blog Hop, checking out what everyone has to offer, and hopefully finding some new authors you may enjoy. And as always, thanks for reading.

– Ed McNally

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Participating authors in the Heroes & Villains Blog Hop, May 3-6 2013.

 

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One man’s Hero is another man’s Villain – John the Red

5-3 hv bannerLater this week (beginning Friday, May 3rd), I will be taking part in a blog hop with multiple fantasy, sci fi, and historical fiction authors relating to the topic of Heroes & Villains. There will be contests and/or prizes for readers at every stop, as well as articles relating to the topic of Heroes and Villains, from different perspectives.

For myself, I’m going to go ahead and post said article today – just to keep the actual “hop” post for the weekend a bit more “tidy.” Ergo, without further ado, here are some of my thoughts on “villainy,” and a bit about how they play out in my own work. Particularly in terms of a guy named John.

The Norothian Cycle is my foray into Epic Fantasy of the kind that made me fall in love with the genre as a young reader, but at the same time I did not want to make it “YA.” Not that it is “Adult” in the sense that term is typically used. To be totally honest, the “Dark” movement so prevalent in a lot of Epic Fantasy today is not quite my cup of tea. I do agree that the simplistic, “Black & White, Good vs. Evil” motif that rules a lot of the foundational works of the genre is a bit tired. However, it seems to me that the reaction in a lot of instances has been to make *everybody* in a fantasy book into a “bad guy,” only of varying degrees.

Not that moral relativism and characters being forced to compromise whatever values they hold can’t make for fascinating reading – some of the best writing in any genre is about precisely that. But just in my own opinion, I find a lot of contemporary “Dark Fantasy” tends to lose my interest at the point where everyone on every side of any given struggle is so morally compromised that it hardly seems to matter who “wins” in the end. In the hands of a great author, that can still be an engaging circumstance to read about, but I mean a really great author. Most of the time, if there is little to separate the heroes from the villains, I check out of the story. A world full of people acting purely out of self-interest reads more like the national or local news to me than it does fiction.

I began writing my own epic series with the intention of fiddling with some of the traditional fantasy tropes, mostly in a fond and friendly way as I do still love the genre. When it comes to Villains (mustache twirl), I intentionally went a little farther afield. Yes, there are still some baddies of the traditional Epic type – there are dragons bent on accruing wealth and power, devils intent on harvesting souls, and plenty of people looking out for number one, no matter the cost to anyone else. But there is also a guy named John.gladius

I won’t try to summarize the character as he has developed throughout the course of what are presently five books, from John Deskata to John the Red (title of the forthcoming Book VI). But I will say that while I always had him in mind as a sort of foil for the MC’s, to me his “villainy” results from him operating at cross-purposes to most of the characters. There is a large-scale struggle going on throughout the books, and John finds himself on the opposite side of it as are most of the cast. But apart from that, most of his traits would probably lead him to be seen as a “good guy.” He is a soldier and an officer – concerned for the welfare of his men and unwilling to commit them to any service he will not do himself. John leads from the front. He’s brave, determined, and loyal to the cause he serves, though that cause does tend to shift under his feet. All in all, he would be a good guy to have on your side, and not the sort of person you’d want to see set against you.

Of course, John does have some…foibles, let’s say. Some issues he is working through. And at one point at the end of Book III (The Wind from Miilark), he does one particular thing that might be classified as unforgivable. But to be honest, I’ve been a bit surprised that one action has not received more reader backlash than it has. For a lot of readers, it seems to have made John the “Villain” a bit more interesting. And really, maybe that is the point. Being or doing bad can be forgiven. Being uninteresting, not so much. 😉


Thanks for reading, be sure to come back for the Heroes and Villains blog hop over the weekend. As always, if you’d like to read The Norothian Cycle and get to know John, Tilda Lanai, and the rest at first hand, volume one (The Sable City) remains FREE on all major venues. (The Amazon US link is under the button over there –>, all other links can be found hither.)

 

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The Channel War, and…Carthage?

hamilcarThanks much to Hamilcar (you know – Hannibal’s Dad) for his review of The Channel War, Book V of the Norothian Cycle. 🙂

“So what separates this epic fantasy series from the hundreds of other ones available for your Kindle?  For me, it is the complexity of the conflict and the “grayness” of the characters.”

And do check out all Gen’l Barca’s book reviews over a wide-range of genres and styles, which I find always makes things more interesting. 🙂

 

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The Channel War, in 38 lines.

halberdSo barring disaster or Acts of Dragons, Book V of Norothian Cycle – The Channel War – should be available right after the weekend, on April Fool’s Day (funny how that works out).

A friend suggested this idea by way of a “preview,” posting one line of dialogue from each of the 38 chapters. I admit, it’s a weird idea, but I sort of found it amusing, and so here you go. Hope to see you next week when I’ll be posting (gasp!) active links to where the book can actually be had, but until then, here is the entirety of The Channel War, via the mouths of those characters living it.

“There are days of sun and days of rain.”

“Fire shells, Lord Mayor. Your city yields, or it burns.”

“Sometimes there is a trumpet or something, but I did not think to bring a minstrel.”

“Reveal thyself.”

“I am willing to be searched if you would like, Miss.”

“There is betrayal behind us, and trouble all around. Staying in this place is standing still with our neck in a noose.”

“What in the hell is wrong with you, woman?”

“The rest are novice priests, though experienced villains.”

“Even should nothing happen, I suppose the damage to my reputation is done.”

“Your human blood makes you so stupid.”

“There is always a pretext that will move men toward war, it is just a matter of finding the right one.”

“We do not truck with demons nor devils.”

“I know what you did to me.”

“Do not laugh. She will cut you.”

“Be a dear and shoot the archers first, will you?”

“Give their masters something to think about before they try this again.”

“I assume you have something important to say, or else I am guessing you would not have risked having someone throw a net over your head.”

“I’m not getting on a horse for a while, but I’ll be fine.”

“Seems too heavy for any sort of cooking fire.”

“Lambs have no sense but to walk themselves to the slaughter.”

“I am sure he would have liked to see you again. He would be happy you are here.”

“You cannot hope to avoid a long and agonizing war by attempting to stay out of it. You must win it, and swiftly.”

“Take a breath and relax yourself, Captain. I am here to talk, if you will stop blustering and posing for a minute’s time.”

“Handsome or not, you have to teach a boy to work for it. The fisherman does not respect the easy fish.”

“Though it is worth remembering that the anchor which is cut away, may not be used again.”

“What was that? Are you shot?”

“I stand around a lot with no real idea of what I’m doing.”

“Congratulations. It only took you a week to summon the courage to ask that.”

“And who is this little charmer?”

“What do words mean to the dead?”

“Fantastic. I suppose the whole of the Empire now knows I am the puppet of that horned bastard in Devil Town.”

“Have I told you that you talk too damn much?”

“I hate and love you so much right now I could break both your legs.”

“That sounds rather dangerous.”

“I am backing my faith with my life and my steel.”

“Time for me to bleed a little?”

“That was not the deal, Kitty.”

“A woman has to talk. Or why did you think men pick up swords in the first place?”

 

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New Book V – The Channel War – Map

Western Noroth & NW Kandala 1396 NC

Western Noroth & NW Kandala 1396 NC

Book V of the Norothian Cycle, The Channel War is officially in the editorial/formatting homestretch, so as always big thanks to my Betas, and of course The Cyber Witch. 🙂

The plotline of this one roves around a number of different events in a number of different places, so I am figuring on including multiple maps for each “part” and possibly a few specific chapters. The main map at the beginning of the book will thus be this one, which sacrifices a lot of detail but offers a wider view of about a continent-and-a-half worth of places with funny names, for the sake of the “big picture.”

Thanks for stopping by, and I’m looking forward to getting the next installment of Tilda & Co.’s tale out to you. 🙂

Ed

 

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