LoE Book VI, The Sands of the Solar Empire, is finally just around the corner in time for the summer convention season. I should have it in my hand in time for Gencon in August. We will also be doing a few free giveaways on Kindle Select, something I’ve not tried before.

Now that the Book is nearly ready, the hard part comes: Marketing. Writing a book is easy, marketing it is hard, and it never ends.We’re going to try a few new avenue this time to get the word out. Most of my past sales are direct POS–conventions, shows, flea markets and other such places where I can set my table up and place my fanny. Of course, we’re going to do the standard Facebook/twitter rounds, and I might even try diving into avenues such as Smashwords. One avenue, though a little expensive, is Publisher’s Weekly. We’re thinking about doing a mass ad from Loconeal advertising a number of upcoming titles.

Oh …. this is so complicated and tiring. I just wanna’ write the books, somebody else do this!!

Sands of the Solar Empire from be out August 2012 from Loconeal Publishing.

Bowl Naked

copyright 2012, Ren Garcia

July 10, 2012

This is a post from last year, though it’s one of my favorite postings. I still pursue the Gray Note with greater or lesser success.

The Temple of the Exploding Head

Perhaps you’ll understand what I’m about to share with you, and perhaps you won’t.

I often seek something I call The Gray Note. What is it?? It’s a sound that, when you hear, it takes you away, time forgotten, and your mind begins working at an incredible pace and in a rare harmony. My mentor at Ohio State told me about the existence of the Gray Note–that it was something he experienced once years before and had sought it out ever since. You never simply hear the Gray Note, it pulls you inside, like the embrace of an ancestor, and once you’re there conception is unbound and you’ve access to places in your own imagination never visited before–places you didn’t know existed. It’s like unlocking a hidden floor in a department store, full of treasures, where the public normally isn’t permitted to see.

I encountered it once on the Roebling…

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The Fiend of Calvert

July 9, 2012

The mass murderer and psychopath who came to be known as the Fiend of Calvert terrorized the southern portion of Kana for well over thirty years. The Calvertlands of Kana have always been considered the lowest and meanest on the planet and the specter of a mad killer loose amid the crooked streets and seedy wharves wasn’t surprising to both the Sisterhood of Light and the League Ex-Commons–why they assumed such things were common in Calvert.

Map of the Calvert region of Kana

Calvert, though not overly wealthy or picturesque by Vith standards, was a tight-knit place. The three main cities in Calvert: St. Edmunds, Bezzel and Calvert were all the same: full of hard-working people who all knew each other, often dined in each other’s homes and went out of their way to assist a neighbor or passerby. What was wrong with Calvert, they wondered, why was it thought to be such a poor place: warm breezes, calm seas. Nothing was wrong with Calvert.

Coming of the Fiend
The murders began quietly enough, with various stumblebums and drunken sailors falling victim to the killer, sometimes out in the alleys and docks, sometimes in their modest rented rooms. The usual method of death: strangulation. The occasional death of a bum or sailor wasn’t unheard of in Calvert and not much attention was paid. But then more and more sailors and bums turned up dead, turned up missing. The Night of Unheard Cries in the city of St. Edmunds officially began the hysteria when ten sailors were found strangled to death in various sections of the city. The posts proclaimed: A Fiend Walks The Streets Of Calvert. The faceless killer now had a name.

There were plenty of clues to follow and it was assumed a simple genetic scan would bring the killer’s reign to a swift end. But, while the Fiend left a tantalizing abundance of clues: bits of cloth, shoe prints, partial fingerprints, his genetics were never found, not once in over a hundred murders. Another aspect of the Fiend’s work: he never harmed a single woman in thirty years, only men.

Lord Plaid, one of the Fiend’s more well-known victims

Investigators pursuing the Fiend would have to discover him the hard way, by observation and old-fashioned detective work. They created a profile of the killer they thought reasonably accurate: A man of some means to keep his genetics hidden (possibly wearing a bio-suit), strong and possibly well-connected. The early image of the Fiend wearing a bio suit and tanks hit the posts, soon replaced by the more iconic cloak and hat image that would capture the public’s imagination.

The Spirit of Calvert Dies
When the investigators from Calvert found the case too daunting, they brought in Gifted investigators from the west and the North, from Remnath and Vithland. Even they, however, could not stem the growing tide of death and mayhem and one of them, Lord Plaid, fell victim to the Fiend himself, found strangled to death in his room.

A result of all this was a pronounced change in Calvert. The locals began locking their doors at night, they began walking the streets with eyes down-cast and refusing a strangers’ needs. The greatest victim of the Fiend of Calvert was the spirit of the region itself.

The Mad Lord of Walther eventually put an end to the Fiend’s reign of terror

After twenty-five years of murder, abduction and failed attempts to capture the killer, the people of Calvert had had enough. They rallied on Calvert Square and held vigil there for a week, demanding justice. A vigilant from the north known as the Mad Lord of Walther heard the Calverts pleas for help and came to subdue the fiend.

The City of the Dead
With the Mad Lord’s help, the rate of murders in Calvert plummeted. His presence appeared to hinder the Fiend and kept him in check in the final five years of his reign. The Mad Lord eventually made a key discovery. He located a vault near the Ruins of Woodward where a great many men from Calvert, assumed to be victims of the Fiend, were imprisoned. They seemed to be in a trance of some sort from which they could not be roused, and the posts called the vault the City of the Dead.

Harvesting a trove of clues from the Woodward vault, the Mad Lord successfully engaged the Fiend in St. Edmund’s and defeated him in battle. Wounded, the Fiend fled across the rooftops of St. Edmund’s with the Mad Lord in close pursuit, and he was not seen again.

And so passed the Fiend of Calvert.

Grand Dame Miranda of Rosel is a noted historian on the Fiend of Calvert

In time, the wounds left by the Fiend would heal and some of the spirit of Calvert would return. As with many things, the Fiend became an iconic, romantic face of the region and became synonymous with Calvert itself. Books would be written about him, plays enacted and a whole cottage industry with the Fiend at its core sprang up in Calvert; tours, inns, merchandise. Now that he was gone people couldn’t seem to get enough of this horrible killer. The fact that he was unidentified made his allure all the more potent.

The Mad Lord, the man who stopped the Fiend, often wrote about him in his memoirs. The Mad Lord was always known to spin a good tale and his claims regarding the Fiend were particularly spectacular. He claimed that he saw the Fiend not as a man, but as a powerful woman dressed in gray.

None took the Mad Lord too seriously.

See the Fiend of Calvert in LoE Book VI: the Sands of the Solar Empire, coming July 2012

copyright 2012, Ren Garcia and Carol Phillips