Hey kids. It’s March, and in remembrance of the day when Julius Caesar got perforated on the way to work, I’m joining 16 great authors to give you a chance to win copies of all our books.
It’s called The Ides of March Book Giveaway. It runs from March 1-15th, and we’ll give away one copy of each of the following to the lucky winner:
THE FIREBIRD (ARC) by Susanna Kearsley
A twin-stranded story that blends modern romance with 18th-century Jacobite intrigue, traveling from Scotland to Russia, from the NY Times bestselling author of The Winter Sea
THE TWELFTH ENCHANTMENT by David Liss
In Regency England, at the dawn of the industrial era, magic and technology clash and the fate of the nation rests in the hands of a penniless young woman
An epic adventure fantasy with a decidedly steampunk edge where magic – and the power of the Cold Mages – hold sway
THE MAPMAKER’S WAR by Ronlyn Domingue
A mesmerizing, utterly original adventure about love and loss and the redemptive power of the human spirit–releases March 5th!
DRACULA IN LOVE by Karen Essex
“If you read only one more vampire novel, let it be this one!” -C.W. Gortner, author of The Last Queen & The Confessions of Catherine de Medici
“A novel within a novel honoring what we love most about Austen: her engaging stories, rapier wit, and swoon worthy romance. Pitch perfect, brilliantly crafted.” —Austenprose. From the bestselling author of The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen
THIEFTAKER by DB Jackson
Combining elements of traditional fantasy, urban fantasy, mystery and historical fiction, Thieftaker will appeal to readers who enjoy intelligent fantasy and history with an attitude
Glamour in Glass follows the lives of the main characters from Shades of Milk and Honey, a loving tribute to the works of Jane Austen in a world where magic is an everyday occurrence
DEVIL’S GATE by FJ Lennon
Devil’s Gate is exhilarating urban fantasy, with first class writing and characters that are unforgettable beyond the last page
THE CROOKED BRANCH by Jeanine Cummins
“Wonderfully written, with strong, compelling characters, it is a deeply satisfying combination of sweeping historical saga and modern family drama, a gentle reminder of the ever-reaching influence of family”–Booklist
A NATURAL HISTORY OF DRAGONS by Marie Brennan
The story of Isabella, Lady Trent, the world’s preeminent dragon naturalist, and her thrilling expedition to Vystrana, where she made the first of many historic discoveries that would change the world forever
THE RECKONING by Alma Katsu
(Yes, I know. It’s a much classier crowd than you’d expect to have me.)
One set of books will be given away per 500 entries. Winners will be notified within 48 hours of the contest’s end. You can enter here. And this is all due to the hard work of Alma Katsu, who got us all together. Many thanks, Alma.
I’ve been asked by quite a few people when the next book in the Nathaniel Cade series will be done. Until now, I’ve mumbled some vague replies about a top-secret project, which probably made them think I was doing nothing but snacking on Cheetos and watching movies on Netflix.
Now the news is out: before I move on to Cade Book Four, I’m writing a book called BIMINI, about the Fountain of Youth. Here’s the announcement, which went out on Publishers Marketplace last week:
Christopher Farnsworth’s BIMINI, an action-packed thriller updating the legend of the fountain of youth and the conspiracy led by people whose vitality depends on it, to Rachel Kahan at William Morrow, in a pre-empt, by Alexandra Machinist at Janklow & Nesbit. (NA) Film rights to Tom Jacobson and Monnie Wills.
The book is inspired by an original idea from movie producers (and all-around good guys) Tom Jacobson and Monnie Wills. I’m having a lot of fun with it right now, and I think anyone who likes Cade is going to have a great time reading this, too. Once again, this is all due to my brilliant agent, Alexandra Machinist.
And that’s about all I can say before mumbling some vague stuff about how this is still top secret for now.
As for Cade, I am going to get back to him — he won’t let me rest until I do — by the end of the year. I’ll have more news on Book Four once it’s finished.
Anyway. Thanks to all of you who keep asking about Cade, and for all the kind words about the books.
Jean and I have been touring schools lately, looking for the right place for our older daughter. In between the smart-boards and the iPads and the progressive learning methods, it’s been one punch of nostalgia after another: the smell of modeling clay mixed with sack lunches; the same posters that were up on the walls of my own elementary school, the same cursive writing charts, and, in one library, the same books.
Specifically, the Crestwood House Monster Series of books.
I’d almost written these off to faulty memory until I saw this one in a Halloween display: The Wolf Man.
And then it all came flooding back. The Monster Series was a line of books that gathered up a bunch of (surprisingly accurate) monster lore and then included (surprisingly detailed) plot summaries of the great monster movies of the 30s, 40s, and 50s. The Collister Elementary library had the entire set, and since I wasn’t allowed to read comic books in class, I checked out every one of them. To this day, there are some horror films I haven’t seen — for instance, I’ve never seen Universal’s original Mummy series — but I know how they ended, because I read the Crestwood House books. This was the Internet before the Internet: a corner of the library filled with specialized knowledge, just waiting there for someone willing to seek it out. My path to writing The President’s Vampire started right there.
(You can read an excellent history of the books here.)
As soon as I knew the proper name for the series, I went to Amazon and got some copies of my own, in order to keep wallowing in the resurfaced memories. One old favorite holds up very well: Mad Scientists.
It includes Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Fu Manchu, The Invisible Man, and The Fly. It’s a treasure trove of very smart guys with really bad ideas. And it’s got some lovely still pictures from all of those horror flicks.
I’m still sort of amazed that no horrified parents’ groups ever rallied against these books, since they include murder, mayhem, occult practices, and all kinds of other crimes that kids are supposed to be sheltered from.
But then, as now, kids are tougher and smarter than we think — I don’t remember a single nightmare from one of these books, or, for that matter, from Channel 12’s month-long Halloween movie marathon. Instead, I think I began to realize that these were all stories — that there were common threads of legend and pure nonsense running through them, and if I worked at it, I might be able to unravel them and find the secrets for myself.
I’m thrilled to see that these books are still out there in the wild. The copies I picked up were discards from the Fergus Falls library, probably salvaged for less than a buck each, which seems like a shame.
Hopefully someone will buy up the rights to the Crestwood House series and bring them all back into print. I think there are a lot of kids who would appreciate this kind of field guide to the world of monsters; who might really be able to use books that explain away some of the mystery, and shed a little light in the dark.
If you’re taking a leisurely five-day weekend to celebrate the Fourth of July, you’re going to need something to read. And I’m assuming you’ve already read all the adventures of everyone’s favorite patriotic vampire. So it’s time for you folks to branch out a little.
If you’re looking for something scary, then I suggest the latest collection of short stories from my friend and teacher John Rember. Sudden Death Over Time is set almost entirely among the academics at a tiny liberal arts college as they struggle to find their own reasons to live. And while that might not sound like the stuff of horror, in places it is absolutely terrifying. John’s prose is as mercilessly lucid as ever, and he wrestles with the existential questions most of us prefer to avoid without strong chemicals. My personal favorite was the piece about the professor who’d personally taken charge of the college’s stash of deadly materials accumulated in the glory days of the Cold War, when you could get plutonium and biotoxins through the mail. You can order the book direct from the publisher here.
Coming To My Senses: A Story of Perfume, Pleasure, and an Unlikely Bride is by Alyssa Harad, another refugee, like me, from the great state of Idaho. I admit, I haven’t read this yet, but Alyssa was always a gifted and ridiculously smart writer, so it’s worth checking out. It hits July 5, and sounds fascinating. After thinking of herself as primarily a bookish intellectural, she discovers an unknown sensual obsession in perfume just before she’s about to get married. Think Eat, Pray, Love without the entitlement issues. Wouldn’t be surprised to see this hit Oprah-like levels of success, so get your copy now.
Yet another Boise native, Stephanie Reents just released The Kissing List, a collection of short stories about the early days of semi-adulthood: the escape from grad school; the first, crappy apartments; and the inevitable collisions with love and mortality. Filled with effortless, elegant prose and surprising moments of grace.
When I was at the University of Riverside’s Palm Desert MFA program, (#humblebrag) I got to meet a writer I’ve admired for a long time, Steve Almond. He was gracious about my fanboy piddling all over his sneakers, so I suggest you pick up his new collection of stories, God Bless America, or any of his seriously funny, smart and occasionally sex-drenched work.
Or you can do yourself a favor and read anything by Emily Rapp and be amazed by her ability, her strength, and her breathtaking honesty. (Seriously, I write about vampires to avoid thinking about the stuff she confronts in just a few paragraphs.)
After all that, you might be in the mood for some lighthearted mayhem. Fortunately, my friend Cody Goodfellow has got you covered. His book, All-Monster Action, destroys the entire planet in a war fought between weaponized Godzillas and bioengineered freaks, and it is ridiculously fun.
Finally, there’s Glen Duncan’s Tallula Rising, the sequel to The Last Werewolf. It’s brilliant. Read both books if you haven’t already. Then read everything else he’s done. Duncan is one of the greatest prose stylists I’ve ever read. Werewolves and vampires are just the bacon and hot fudge on top of the sundae.
As it turns out, there’s nothing like monsters fighting monsters to take your mind off — or maybe illuminate — the great struggle of humanity to simply live through all the joy and pain the world serves up to us, every day.
Okay. That should hold you until at least next week. Get reading.
I am a terrible salesman. I bombed out of telemarketing jobs in high school, could not move a single chocolate bar for band fundraisers, and always had a huge pile of unsold Scout-O-Rama tickets every year. Alec Baldwin’s character in Glengarry Glen Ross would probably have me taken out back and shot.
If you’re reading this site, you’re probably already a fan of the adventures of Cade and Barrows, and you’ve probably already bought RED, WHITE, AND BLOOD — now available in the UK as well. If not, I’m not going to try to convince you. (I think you’d enjoy it. Of course, I would say that.)
But if you’re here, and you are looking for something to read, I can offer you some other suggestions as well. Some of these people are friends of mine. Others I just admire. Either way, I get nothing but warm feelings from these recommendations, so you can be sure I’m not pushing them on you out of any kind of profit motive.
OVERSEAS by my friend Beatriz Chantrill Williams, on sale now. Time travel and romance and Wall Street, with plenty of war for the guys. You should pick this up before the inevitable movie with Brad and Angelina. Then you can say you were ahead of the curve.
THE GONE-AWAY WORLD by Nick Harkaway. It took me a long time to get to this one, and now I’m feeling like an idiot for stalling. It’s a remarkable book. I honestly considered reading it to people on my book tour instead of my own work.
WYNONNA EARP: THE YETI WARS by my pal Beau Smith. If you’ve already read my work, you’ll know why I love this graphic novel. It’s got Bigfoots vs. Yetis, the paranormal crimes division of the Marshals Service, and vampires, all mixed up in a blender of violence and humor.
LIMINAL STATES by Zack Parsons. Another wholly remarkable book, which spans decades and genres as it tells the story of two men in the Old West who discover a way to live forever, and the hate that binds them, and the terrible price they impose on the world for their existence.
THE APOCALYPSE CODEX by Charles Stross. Really, everything by Stross is worth reading. He’s an incredibly smart writer who has the gift of seeing his fictional worlds all the way to the end of the tunnel, no matter what’s coming from the other side. But this is another one of the Laundry Files novels, and as such, I’ve pre-ordered it without so much as a peek inside. Imagine saving the world from the Forces of Darkness were up to a bunch of overworked and underpaid bureaucrats, who are forced to deal with mind-eating terror but also get their expense reports done on time. It’s funny and dark and amazing.
CHEW by John Layman and Rob Guillory. My current favorite comic book out there, in convenient bite-sized package form. I’ve sung the praises of this before, but it just keeps getting better. Briefly, Tony Chu is a cibopath — someone who gets psychic impressions from whatever he eats. And he’s also a federal agent thrust into one disgusting, insane, and deadly situation after the next, where often the only answer is to be found by taking a bite of something really awful. Start at the beginning. You won’t regret it.