The Rogue Mage Has Returned!

The Rogue Mage world began long ago, when the epic battle between the High Host and the Darkness was won and lost. TRIALS takes fans of Thorn St. Croix into the past, before the opening pages of BLOODRING. These stories, set in Faith Hunter’s Rogue Mage world, are adventures with new characters and old, facing dangers unimaginable. And they must save the world all over again. If you ever wondered what happened between seraphs, kylen, second-unforeseen, mages, seraph-touched, spawn, humans, dragons, and their creatures before the series, now is your chance to delve deeper and wider. TRIALS features new short stories from nine authors—including Faith Hunter—and vignettes from the Rogue Mage role playing game.

I am honored to have been a part of this fantastic project bringing the Rogue Mage world back to its fans. The order links for the first volume, TRIALS, are live now at Amazon and Barnes&Noble.

And now a few questions…
1. What was it like to play in the Rogue Mage world?
Oh golly, it was thrilling and terrifying at the same time. After all, this is an established world that was created by someone I love and admire very much, so I couldn’t screw this up.
2. Was it hard to develop your character within the confines of the Rogue Mage world?
Not really. The character of Grog was someone I’d come up with long ago, for another project that failed. I only had a few pages written when that other project folded, but I kept the fragment because I loved Grog so. I knew that someday I’d complete his story. When Faith approached me about TRIALS, I knew that was the world Grog belonged to, so I pulled out the fragment and got to work fine-tuning him into someone that fit into the Rogue Mage reality.
3. Tell us about your character. 
Grog is a young human, who begins his story mired in the confusion of insanity. He lost his mother during the Plague of Insanity, and was then abused badly by a demented preacher who wanted to use Grog to make people follow him. During his time with the preacher, a Seraph witnessed the preacher’s abuse and decided to bless Grog with a gift of power, although Grog had no idea how to use it, and the stress of it all drove him into madness.
4. When your story was finished, how did you feel about your character and story?
I loved him even more than when I began to write him. I’ve spent my life suffering from depression, which can sometimes feel like utter madness. Many of the behaviors I ascribed to Grog were based on feelings I’ve experienced (although I’ve never succumbed completely, thank goodness.) My story was a trip into the worst of my own terrors, and a way out again.
5. Tell us about your other projects.
My second novel, Kestrel’s Dance, will be released in 2017 from LoreSeekers Press, and I’m very excited about that. I’m editing Lawless Lands: Tales From The Weird Frontier, an anthology of weird western stories (featuring one from Faith Hunter herself!) for which we’ll be running a Kickstarter in a few weeks.
There are other projects in the works, but alas, I can’t talk about them yet. Sorry!
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The Rogue Mage is back!!

Lore Seekers Press is pleased to announce the release for preorder of the first of two e-book anthologies, to be followed by a trade paperback omnibus set in the world of Faith Hunter’s Rogue Mage series.

The Rogue Mage world began long ago, when the epic battle between the High Host and the Darkness was won and lost. Now, nine writers—including Faith Hunter herself—take fans of Thorn St. Croix into the past, before the opening pages of BLOODRING. These stories, set in Faith Hunter’s Rogue Mage world, are adventures with new characters and old, facing dangers unimaginable. And they must save the world all over again.

If you ever wondered what happened between seraphs, kylen, second-unforeseen, mages, seraph-touched, spawn, dragons and their creatures, and humans before the series, now is your chance to delve deeper and wider. The ebook TRIALS presents twenty-one vignettes and short stories. TRIALS will be followed soon by TRIBULATIONS, and then by the trade paperback omnibus TRIUMPHANT. Enjoy!

TRIALS Authors: Faith Hunter, Misty Massey, Lou J Berger, Ken Schrader, Spike Y Jones, Diana Pharaoh Frances, Christina Stiles, Tamsin Silver, Melissa McArthur.
TRIBULATIONS Authors are Lucienne Diver, Jean Rabe, Spike Y Jones, Christina Stiles, Faith Hunter.

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A Thought About Privilege

I’m going on a family trip in November. That in itself displays the privilege I own as a middle class American – there are plenty of people in this country who’ve never taken a pleasure trip with their families, because they’re having to work three jobs just to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. They have neither the time nor the spare cash to waste on vacations, and that breaks my heart. This morning I was glancing over my email, and noticed an advertisement from one of the local grocery stores. It was a savings alert, letting me know that certain products were on sale at a special price to people who had the store savings card. At the top of the list were some individual-sized cereal packs, and a thought flitted through my head that these would be handy for my nieces to nibble on in the car on our trip. My very next thought was “No, we don’t need to buy food for the car. There’ll be plenty of places to stop on the way if anyone gets hungry.”

How fortunate is that? On a seven-hour trip, if we get hungry, we can stop in literally any little town on the way and buy something to eat. In many places on this planet, that isn’t true. And I don’t just mean third-world countries suffering from famine or warfare. There are portions of America that don’t fit that description. There are homes in cities right this very minute where mothers are skipping breakfast because there’s not enough for them to eat and still feed their children, and buying groceries is an all-day, bus-and-train process.

Today is Friday, and I need to go grocery shopping because there’s “no food” in my house. You know what no food looks like for me? Two loaves of bread, a pound of hamburger, a pound of chicken, a package of lima beans and two packages of sliced turkey breast in the freezer. A half-gallon of milk, a gallon of sweet tea, three dozen eggs, two blocks of cheddar cheese and condiments in the fridge. And don’t even ask about the pantry with its cans of vegetables and boxes of pasta. For some families, my kitchen would look like a treasure house.

I think I’d like to make a habit of buying an extra bag of groceries every time I shop, and dropping it off at the local food bank.  There may be a time or two that it’s impossible, writer’s pay being what it is. But I’d like to be a part of the solution. And I don’t like to think that there’s a child in my community who has to worry about eating when I could help.

 

#HoldOntoTheLight: The Dog

Last spring, I attended the mental health panel at ConCarolinas. I hadn’t intended to go, because it was late on Friday night, I was tired, I needed to be up early the next morning and it seemed like it might be a downer. But I went anyway, to support my friends who were speaking.

I spent nearly the entire hour in tears.

The black dog of depression has been a companion my whole life. In high school, it was beside me every day when I walked alone to school and back. It sat next to my desk when my classmates chattered about the parties I wasn’t invited to. It paced the floor of my room when I lay awake, tortured by the crush I had on a boy but could not voice for fear of the ridicule I’d be subjected to. It curled up under my feet while I sat in the library, reading books that other girls would have thought too weird for them. It’s the creature that bounds in whenever I worry that I’ve hurt a friend’s feelings or let someone down. It’s familiar, even while I hate it. When it’s not around, there’s a small voice in my head whispering, “Don’t get comfortable, it’ll be back soon.”

Some of you are frowning at the screen right now, because you’ve met me at a con or a faire. Long ago, I learned how to put on a face that others could accept. It’s a mask. A shield. It lets me laugh at jokes that don’t really sound funny to me, and enjoy music that other people tell me is good, whatever I need to do to feel accepted.  Nobody wants to have their good time harshed by a friend who seems like she’ll burst into sobs at any second. So I put on the mask. But it’s not me. Or it is, but only a surface version of who I am. It’s the me you might see if I didn’t have a big black dog twining itself around my legs almost all the time.

I’ve never really been able to ask for help. I always worry that I don’t have the right to share my darkness with anyone else, and that it’s wrong of me to burden my friends with my nonsense. I don’t know whether it’s due to years of being told I wasn’t one of the group, or a hideous betrayal that left me without any friends to turn to for a very long time. Or neither of these things…might just be the way I’m wired. For whatever reason, I will suffer in silence until someone (usually my husband) notices and forces me to accept help, or until it passes on its own. This isn’t particularly healthy.

That night, though, at ConCarolinas, I sat near the back of the room, holding my husband’s hand and letting the tears roll down my face as my friends bravely told the attendees about the struggles they’d experienced.  I let my mask fall away, let my pain show. For a while, the dog moved off, because it recognized that there were just too many of us.

There’s no ending to this story yet. The dog will be back. It always comes back. But maybe next time I can be brave enough to ask someone for help chasing it off.

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What happens when more than 90 sci-fi and fantasy authors start a conversation about mental wellness, mental illness, depression, suicide prevention, domestic violence intervention, PTSD treatment and related issues?

We don’t know, but we’re going to find out.

#HoldOnToTheLight is a blog campaign encompassing blog posts by fantasy and science fiction authors around the world in an effort to raise awareness around treatment for depression, suicide prevention, domestic violence intervention, PTSD initiatives, bullying prevention and other mental health-related issues. We believe fandom should be supportive, welcoming and inclusive, in the long tradition of fandom taking care of its own. We encourage readers and fans to seek the help they or their loved ones need without shame or embarrassment.

To find out more about #HoldOnToTheLight, find a list of participating authors and blog posts, or reach a media contact, go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/276745236033627/.

Hugo Nominations

If you’re still wondering about who to nominate for this year’s Hugo awards, I can share a few ideas. The Weird Wild West came out in 2015, and therefore is eligible for certain categories. I know there’s not a lot of time left, but I also know most people wait until last minute. If you haven’t already sent in your nominations, give the following stories a thought, would you?

Eligible for Best Novelette:
R S Belcher- Rattler
Scott Hungerford – Fifteen Seconds
Gail Martin and Larry N. Martin – Ruin Creek
Jonathan Maberry – Son of the Devil
Ken Schrader – Haven
James Ray Tuck Jr – From Parts Unknown
Robert Waters – Mungo Snead’s Last Stand

Eligible for Best Short Story:
Tonia Brown – Frank and Earnest
Liz Colter – Sundown
Diana Pharaoh Francis – Grasping Rainbows
John Hartness – Redemption Song
Faith Hunter – Eighteen Sixty
Misty Massey – The Faery Wrangler
Francis Rowat – Abishag Mary
David Sherman – Rocky Rolls Gold
Bryan Steele – Via Con Diablo
Wendy Wagner – Blood Tellings

Nominations are due March 31st. If you’re not sure about whether you can nominate, here’s all the information you’ll need
http://www.thehugoawards.org/i-want-to-vote/

And you’re welcome to share this link on Twitter with the hashtag ‪#‎hugoeligible‬.

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