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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Want to win a copy?

I'm giving away three copies of the new Song of the Beast and an advance reader copy (ARC) of The Daemon Prism in the next couple of months through Goodreads. Here are the links. They're free, of course, but you do have to sign up on the site.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Song of the Beast by Carol Berg

Song of the Beast
by Carol Berg

Giveaway ends November 30, 2011.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

And for The Daemon Prism ARC (Note this one doesn't start until November):

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Daemon Prism by Carol Berg

The Daemon Prism

by Carol Berg

Giveaway ends November 30, 2011.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Goodreads is an interesting site. I haven't spent as much time there as I would like, but I intend to. What I've seen, I like. Lots of book reviews, reading groups, and some good discussions (especially in the fantasy realm where I've peeked). It is a site that is devoted to readers, and you can get recommendations on books from serious readers. There are lots of ways to trace through particular reviewers, or authors and so forth. Read more of this post!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Fantasy and Science Fiction Sampler

Are you into ebooks? Always looking for new authors?

Twenty-five First Chapters from Twenty-five Writers

I'm on a number of professional fantasy/science fiction author discussion forums, but one of the coolest is sfnovelists - something like 200 writers. We decided to put out a free sampler of our work, in hopes of reaching new audiences. I'm a bit late to the show, but here it is...

SF Novelists proudly offers you OPENING ACTS, a free ebook presenting twenty-five first chapters across the spectrum of science fiction and fantasy. Twenty-five tastes, to tempt your appetite for adventure...to lure you into unknown worlds...and give you something new to read.

Download a copy in epub format (Nook, Sony, iPad)

Download a copy in mobi format (Kindle)

Download a copy in pdf format

A list of the authors represented...

  • 7th Sigma by Steven Gould
  • Bone Shop by T.A. Pratt
  • Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner
  • The Brahms Deception by Louise Marley
  • Carousel Tides by Sharon Lee
  • The Cloud Road by Martha Wells
  • Dangerous Water by Juliet E. McKenna
  • The Dread Hammer by Trey Shiels
  • Flesh and Fire by Laura Anne Gilman
  • Fright Court by Mindy Klasky
  • The Heretic by Joseph Nassise
  • House of the Star by Caitlin Brennan
  • Indigo Springs by A.M. Dellamonica
  • Jade Tiger by Jenn Reese
  • Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis
  • Medium Dead by Chris Dolley
  • Midnight at Spanish Gardens by Alma Alexander
  • Play Dead by John Levitt
  • Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready
  • The Snow Queen’s Shadow by Jim C. Hines
  • Spellcast by Barbara Ashford
  • The Spirit Lens by Carol Berg
  • TruthSeeker by C.E. Murphy
  • Up Against It by M.J. Locke
  • With Fate Conspire by Marie Brennan

Learn more about sfnovelists at our website
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Thursday, September 15, 2011

In the Mail!

What should show up at my front door today, but this box of lovely books! Yes, these are the new trade paperback editions of Song of the Beast, winner of the 2004 Colorado Book Award.

I wasn't too sure of the new cover when I got a jpg of it a couple of months ago. Thought it was too dark. But, wow, I think it came out really nice! I've gotta say, thought, Aidan probably wasn't looking quite this...robust...after seventeen years in prison. But I'm ok with it!

So what's new? And where does this story fit in my brood of thirteen?

Cover, format, print size, and the Introduction by the Author are new. The actual text is the same as its initial release.

Song of the Beast is actually the earliest written of all my published books - though it was released after the three Books of the Rai-kirah, Transformation, Revelation, and Restoration. I tell a bit about how the story came to be in the new introduction. It was my break-through book in many ways. I think it suffered a bit from being released after the Rai-kirah books, as it is a much simpler story. It is a story that poured out of me when I was making a big step forward in my writing, and so is not quite as polished or nuanced as my later work. But I think in some ways it is a microcosm of what I have been trying to do. Good stories with complicated characters and a plot that isn't always as expected, told in vivid language.

So why did my publisher choose to do this? It was time for another print run. All of my books have stayed in print so far, but every time the supply dwindles, the publisher has to choose whether to reprint or not. I like to think it is a measure of faith in both story and author that Roc chose to reinvest in the artwork and larger size. (And maybe if it does well, they'll do the same for other books and get rid of those green wings!)

If you've not read it, I hope you enjoy it. And if you have, I hope this reissue reintroduces some good friends and some pleasurable hours.
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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

WorldCon in Reno - Day 3

The late night and the blackout curtains in the hotel room did their work. I didn't wake up until almost 9:30 - and I had an event at 10! The hike through the sprawling hotel and the half mile of skywalk into the convention center seemed extra long. Made it in time and mostly put together.

My first event was the the BroadUniverse Rapidfire Reading. We had about twelve readers and a gracious hostess in Anne Wilkes. Each of us read for 4 minutes. As on Wednesday at the library I chose a bit of Song of the Beast to read - in honor of its re-release coming up in October. The first page of Song is one of my favorite of my openings. Ahh...poor Aidan.

I love BU RFRs - you get to hear bits of all sorts of speculative fiction, as you are introduced to published and unpublished women writers. Fantasy writer Elaine Isaak, as I've seen before, topped the day with an hilarious short piece exactly designed for four minutes. Don't miss Elaine at an RFR - and don't volunteer to be one of her heroes.

Fortunately, I had half an hour before my long reading to get a drink and catch my breath. There are lots of things in the writing life I don't do at all or don't do well - blog tours, tweeting, cold calling, keeping up with giveaways and such. But I adore reading aloud. I don't so much "act out" the story as shift my voice slightly between speakers. But I know all the emotion and subtle meanings that are lurking in my characters and I think I do a pretty good job bringing all that to the fore when I read.

Unless one is the guest of honor, con readings are most usually given a strict 30 minute time slot. Thus it is extremely rude for a reader to linger past time. I always sweat this, as I try to cram a sizable piece into my reading! And this was to be my inaugural reading from The Daemon Prism. So it was truly distressing when the reader who had the slot before mine lapsed 10 minutes into my slot. Even after I stepped into the back of the room, she continued, even at one time holding her pages in front of her face. I discovered later that she was the widow of one of my favorite writers, but she should ask for more time if she needs it. Some of the first things you learn as a neo-pro is to time your readings, respect other professionals, and respect the attendees, both those attending your session and others. OK, enough of my rant...

I did have a good-sized and appreciative audience - thank you all for that! (I'll be doing this same Daemon Prism reading at MileHiCon, World Fantasy, and Tuscon.) Used most of the following hour visiting with people I hadn't seen in a couple of years! Found out my friend and reader Corky had sold his first story to Fantasy Magazine - that is FINE!

There is nothing so good for one's humility than sharing an autographing with Robin Hobb, Kim Stanley Robinson, and Patty Briggs. I really, really appreciated my steady trickle of readers! I had been looking forward to a chance to meet Robin/Megan and talk with her a bit, but it was not to be. She was still signing when I hurried off to meet my good friend Diana Pharaoh Francis, paranormal romance writer turned Tor fantasy author Susan Krinard, and my agent Lucienne Diver for a drink and a discussion of the new world of e-publishing. Many literary agents are looking for ways to support their clients in the e-publishing as well as the print publishing sphere. It's always important to research agents carefully - and now that this new wrinkle is popping up, it's even more important. I feel very fortunate to have Lucienne as my agent.

After dinner, we sat over at the other con hotel shooting the breeze and watching the people wandering in and out of the masquerade. A short bus ride back and it was time to crash.

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

WorldCon in Reno - Day 2

Thursday was my busiest day at the con - non-stop from 9am to 2am. I was scheduled for two panels, a kaffeeklatsch, my publisher's presentation, plus I wanted to attend two of my friends' debut readings, their book launch party, and a couple more parties where I might run into people I knew.

Well I ran into people I knew all day, as it happened. Writer friends, readers, convention acquaintances from Montana, Seattle, and other WorldCons. That's the part I love about conventions, running into all these people, when I used to know no one. Then I can introduce them to each other. Still a lot of folks I don't know. In the cafe at breakfast time were George RR Martin, Joe Haldeman, and Robert Silverberg. Well, I've been introduced, but...

The panels were interesting...
The first one was on how to make it as a full time writer. Interesting perspectives from a delightful Bud Sparhawk, Dean Wesley Smith, Christina York, and Tom Negrino, who writes mostly non-fiction. We concluded that there was a great deal of difference between those who have to support a family as a full time writer and those, like me, who graduate to being a full time writer after a decently paying day job. Also talked about how many writers find it either more stimulating or less stressful to intentionally pursue their day jobs, even when they could probably make it on writing alone. Full time writing is not always the glamor job aspiring writers imagine. But we all agreed writing was the best job in the world.

After a fine hour kaffeeklatsching with five questioning readers, I moderated a panel on creating non-human characters. We had a big audience, and it became clear that this was a huge topic, when one considered everything from enhanced humans (Kathleen Anne Goonan) to lizard or cyber intelligences (Robert Sawyer) to fantastic creatures (Martha Wells and me). Another panelist, Amy Thomson, stirred things up a bit speculating on why it is so hard to get stories with entirely non-human characters published. And we talked about the problems of getting readers to identify and sympathize with characters so entirely alien.

My friends Courtney Schafer and Brad Beaulieu did beautifully on their first WorldCon readings. Both have debut novels just out from Nightshade Books. Saw far too many books I want to read at the Ace/Roc "What's coming up?" presentation. Party-hopped with my agent, Lucienne Diver, best-bud/fine author Diana Pharaoh Francis, and friend Kendra from MisCon who was soaking in her first WorldCon. Mostly very hot and noisy, so after an hour or two, Di, Kendra, and I grabbed Sue Bolich and retreated to a quiet, smoke-free lounge area and talked and people-watched until about 1:30am. Now THAT is the best of convention life!
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Thursday, August 18, 2011

WorldCon in Reno - Day 1

Mostly travel today. A smooth trip - nice to travel west and get an extra hour. Got into the Atlantis "Casino Resort Hotel" about 2. Walked in the door and struck by the smoke. I am just not used to smoky venues anymore. As in all these places, the main floor is a smoky labyrinth of neon-lit money sinks. This is one vice that just does not tempt me, thank goodness. Really, I just don't get it. Dropped my stuff in the room and found my way over to teh convention center.

This venue is HUGE. Besides two of these casino hotels (we don't fill both of them up) the convention center is the size of an airport. It is "across the street" which means a 10-15 minute trek through casino, skywalk, and vasty hallways the length of runways. Got credentials and schedule and decided to explore a little. Immediately ran into two friends - TI Morganfield and Barb-Galler-Smith - which was nice considering the number of friends who canceled on me - you know who you are Brenda and Justin. Found program ops in case of any snags and the Green Room - a nice place for program participants to meet each other and get a snack or cuppa during the day. Hiked back to the hotel and got ready for my first event, which was...

...a reading at the public library across the street. Not too hot ffor the walk - yea! Heard Sharon Lee and Steve Miller reading, which was fun, and was gratified that everyone didn't leave. Several new people came in even though it was 5pm. I read from Song of the Beast in honor of its re-release coming in October.

Caught good friend and fine writer Sue Bolich before she caught the shuttle back to the other hotel and we had a great con dinner - just the two of us talking writing for three hours. How nice is that! At 9 we made our way upstairs to the party floor. I generally avoid the "sweaty cheese" events as they are always crowded and hot, but this was the "bid party" for the 2015 WorldCon for the city of Spokane. Just like the Democratic National Convention, the Olympics, and other large moveable gatherings, prospective WorldCon host cities must raise money, promote their venues, and get a vote from the relevant people (in this case the members of the convention) to get the bid. This has to happen several years out as it takes reams of planning and multitudinous volunteers to put on one of these. As it happens the party hostess for Spokane's bid was Patty Briggs - the NYT bestseller, fabulous writer, and altogether delightful person and I wanted to make sure to see her.

Yes, the room was hot and crowded, but it was fun to catch up with Patty and some MisCon friends. The SpoCon people and MisCon people are sort of joined at the hip (though Justin and Bob, my MisCon hosts weren't there, darn it). Stopped by the San Antonio in 2013 bid party on my way out. They had so much good-smelling food, it made me wish I hadn't eaten dinner. Much more than sweaty cheese and baby carrots. But I settled for a root beer (yeah, not even the hard stuff) and a nice conversation with one of the first people I ever met at a WorldCon - Deidre Saoirse Moen. (Another fine writer.) WorldCons really are like family reunions.

But by this time I was fried and tomorrow (actually today) I have to moderate two panels, so I hauled back to the room and spent a little thinking time before cashing in my chips for the night. More tomorrow...today...
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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Coming to Reno?

WorldCon 2011! Renovation - Reno, Nevada. Have you got your boots strapped on, your wallet tucked away, and your backpack loaded with books to get autographed? WorldCon is less than a month away.

I'll be there this year, after missing Australia (2010) and LA (2009). Looks like I have a good, solid program, too.


Thu 1pm: Making It as a Full-time writer with Bud Sparhawk, Christina York, and Dean Wesley Smith

Thu 4pm: Writing Non-human Characters with Robert Sawyer and Martha Wells

Sat 1pm: Religion in Fantasy with Tim Powers and L.E. Modesitt


Wed Aug 17 5pm at the Sierra View Library across the street.

Fri Aug 19 11:30am (The Daemon Prism, yes...)

Kaffeeklatches: sign up for a small-group session to ask whatever you want

Thu 3pm (don't leave me lonely!)

Sat 10am (don't know how I got two, but it should be fun!)


Fri 1pm (or any time you catch me, espcially if we can have a cuppa or a drink!)

My first SF convention was WorldCon in Chicago in the year 2000. I had never imagined so many people getting together to talk about books, movies, games, writing, science, costumes...anything and everything science fiction and fantasy related. There can be as many as 30 events going on at one hour. But as my agent told me at the time, science fiction conventions - especially WorldCon and the World Fantasy Convention are family reunions for the professional fantasy and science fiction worlds. Writers, agents, editors, critics, anthologists, and LOTS of readers attend. It is a great place to network and hang out with your favorite writers.

WorldCon is huge - well, I thought so until ComicCon soared into 100K+ territory. But I haven't ventured that one yet.

Come and join me in Reno!

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Where is Transformation?

Got a question today about why Transformation is not currently available new on Amazon.com. I asked my publisher the same thing just a few days ago. No, it is not out of print! It is just running low. Roc is watching how the release of the new trade paper version of Song of the Beast goes in October, before deciding whether to reprint Transformation in trade or mass market. Transformation is now in its 14th printing, which is pretty cool indeed.

Happily there are other places you can find new print copies!

It is still available new through barnesandnoble.com and at various stores through indiebound. Or you could call my dear friends Ron and Nina Else at Who Else Books at 303-744-BOOK (2665)and order one. They keep a good supply of my books and might even have one that's signed.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Daemon Prism - DONE!

This has been an intense year. I got a late start on The Daemon Prism, thanks to the previous intense year writing The Soul Mirror. Every time I got moving on TDP, I would get sidetracked by Soul Mirror revisions or copyedits or proof pages or postcards or whatever. And then holidays. By New Year's 2011 I felt I was barely started (well, ok, 40-50K words) but I certainly didn't have a good handle on the underlying themes of the books. Which meant I had exactly four months to finish the book, not to mention figuring out what it was about. So what did I do?

I completely immersed myself in the book. Every day I wrote until I made some kind of progress. My Exceptional Spouse took on all the other necessities. The dust piled up. The weeds grew taller. The house looked like sleeping beauty's wall of thorns. But late in March, I got up one morning and wrote a creation myth for Sabria's world. I realized that this piece of the Collegia Magica mystery stemmed from the fundamental truths of the world. By April 48th (deadline was end of April!) I turned in a raw, rowdy, oversized manuscript to my editor. After a week to catch my breath, I started revising. And on July 15 I sent in a finished, trimmed, coherent, and mostly polished manuscript. It was like...magic!
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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Song of the Beast - Resung!

It's almost here! The new trade paperback edition of Song of the Beast will be released in October 2011 with a broody new cover and a new Introduction by the author.

Song was not my first book published, as my editor wanted to release the Rai-kirah series before releasing the standalone. So, although it was my fourth book out, its writing predated Transformation.

After several years of writing, this was the book that told me "maybe someone out there might want to read this." For the first time in my (then) brief writing journey, I felt like I got it.

Some people say they see similarities between the two books. Possible, as the ideas for Transformation were germinating as I wrote Song. But they are two very different stories and two very different heroes.

As for the follow-on Song of the Beast novella? More will be forthcoming over the next few months, once I get The Daemon Prism wrapped up.
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Monday, June 20, 2011

Writing Evil

Blogging on my agent's livejournal today. The topic is Writing Evil.

I talk about how I try to avoid the Snidely Whiplash or anonymous Dark Lord kind of villains and aim to introduce ambiguity, choice, and realism into my work. Read more of this post!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Peeking out from under

Spring of 2011 has vanished. No magic in my books could have done it so effectively. I have been immersed in The Daemon Prism, the third and last novel of the Collegia Magica, emerging every once in a while to attend a conference or convention. When at the computer, I've been working on the book. Two weeks ago now, I sent a first, very rough version to my editor. Whee! The freedom of having the story on the page is huge. Now I can start revising and make it a real story. But for a few days I've had to play catch-up: family, house,yard, plus one of teh most fun conventions I've ever done - MisCon, a regional sf/fantasy convention in beautiful Missoula, Montana. This is no podunk con - I blazed a trail for one George R.R. Something-other who will be the Writer Guest of Honor next year. (More about MisCon in another post.)

Now I've had a little vacation, it's time to get back to revising The Daemon Prism, as well as catching up on the blog, updating the website, and other tasks that feel by the wayside. Here is a teaser for what I've been working on. (Warning: possible spoiler if you've not read The Soul Mirror.)

Thou’rt Fallen, Dante. Born in frost-cold blood; suckled on pain. Thy repentance was ever a lie…

Dante the necromancer is the most reviled man in Sabria, indicted by the King, the Temple, and the Camarilla Magica for crimes against the living and the dead. Yet no judgment could be worse than his enemies’ cruel vengeance that left him crippled in body and mind. Dante seeks to salve pain and bitterness with a magical puzzle - a desperate soldier’s dream of an imprisoned enchantress and a faceted glass that can fill one’s uttermost desires.

But the dream is a seductive trap that can drive a man to murder. Its tendrils have ensnared Dante's own past and his one-time partners, threatening to unleash the very cataclysm he fears. Aided by the unlikeliest of allies, the mage embarks on a journey into madness, slavery, ancient magic, and sacred legends, only to discover the appalling truth of his own role in divine mystery…

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Cover Redemption

I have been very fortunate with cover art. As I've explained before, I--as with most authors--have no say in it. My editor now solicits my input as to who might be featured on it, that person's description, and what kinds of artifacts one might find lying about that person. I really appreciate that, as it might have avoided a few problems along the way.

Only two of my covers fall into the "ooh, I wish they hadn't done that" category. I'll leave it to the reader to speculate as to which two. A few years ago one those was featured on a "mock the cover" website with funny captions, along with a bunch of really sweaty romance covers. Oh, the humiliation!!

But today, that humiliation was redeemed...

...on a website reviewing covers for January 2011 releases. Here is the link. I fully agree with the reviewer's assessment. I'm sorry The Soul Mirror cover didn't make it in the female category. Maybe these were only for mass market pubs, and Anne's image will top the list in 2012.

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Upcoming events

I am emerging from deadline pressure cooker to remind all Colorado folks that the last stop on my Colorado Soul Mirror launch is coming up.

Saturday, Feb 12th, 2pm
Barnes and Noble
2999 Pearl Street
[Chocolate will be served!]

Then I go into writers' conference mode with

Fri-Sat March 11-12
Northern Colorado Writers Conference
Fort Collins Hilton
Fort Collins
[I'll be doing a workshop on Voice and one on Character Development.]

Later in the spring, I'll return to the Pikes Peak Writers Conference, consistently one of the best conferences around. More about that later.

And over Memorial Day weekend, I'll be Writer Guest of Honor at MisCon in Missoula Montana - check it out if you're in the territory!

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Soul Mirror Release Day!

Hard to believe, but The Soul Mirror is here at last. Picture Carol wrestling with a 300-pound book for more than a year...well, no maybe don't picture that. But that's what it felt like. It is a big story and it took me some time to get it right. (And the third one is proving to be just as obstreperous.)

Anne de Vernase was a tough narrator. Portier was not entirely an extrovert, but he was accustomed to living in an academic environment, at least, dealing with students and teachers and visitors to Collegia Seravain. But Anne is a true introvert and was not at all prepared for what was awaiting her.

She has lived most of her life in the country with her family, reading, studying, learning under the tutelage of loving parents. When a young girl, her family traveled widely, but she was always sheltered under the protective arm of her father and viewing politics, natural science, and magic through his eyes. Her lively intellect and skeptical view of the supernatural reflected both his love of learning and his pragmatic approach to the wider world.

But when her father vanished, and later when he was convicted of treason, Anne was left on her own. Her mother went into a mental decline, and the king kept her brother hostage against her father's return. Though burdened with responsibilities for a grand estate and its tenants, she was still cocooned by the walls of her home and a few people who cared for her. And then?

Matters got worse. The Soul Mirror begins when Anne is coping with the sudden death of her younger sister, Lianelle, a talented, vivacious student of magic. And then Anne is wrench from the only home she has ever known and thrust into the intrigues of a queen's household...and a murderous plot in which she can't tell friend from enemy. Bad news...

I hope you all enjoy it, while I am hard at work on The Daemon Prism, the third and final chapter of the Collegia Magica tales, written from yet another viewpoint in addition to Anne's.
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