gratuitous cover post

Been a while since I did one of these. Here are the covers to my 2018 and 2019 releases (at least those that have covers — at least two projects I’ve got that are coming out this year haven’t released their final covers into the wild yet):

 

Alien: Isolation:

AlienIsolation-SalesCover-FINAL

 

Baker Street Irregulars: The Game is Afoot (with my story “Six Red Dragons”):

bakerstreet2cover

 

Batman: Quotes from Gotham City (compiled by me):

BatmanQuotesFromGotham

 

Brave New Girls: Adventures of Gals and Gizmos (with my story “The Silent Dust”):

56120173_10101511394170772_48911005962469376_n

 

Children of Time: The Companions of Doctor Who (with my essay on Tegan Jovanka):

ChildrenOfTime

 

Farscape Omnibus Volume 1 (collecting several comics I scripted and/or wrote):

omnibus1

 

Footprints in the Stars (with my story “Puzzle Box”):

FB-McP-Footsteps-Proof

 

A Furnace Sealed:

AFurnaceSealed

 

Mermaid Precinct:

HaftScale-Proof-Mermaid

 

Outside In Takes a Stab: 139 New Perspectives on 139 Buffy Stories by 139 Writers (with my essay on “Fool for Love”):

OutsideInTakesAStab

 

Poison Ivy Hardcover Ruled Journal:

PoisonIvyJournal

 

Release the Virgins! (with my story “The Midwinter of Our Discontent”):

ReleaseTheVirgins

 

They Keep Killing Glenn (with my story “House Hunting”):

TheyKeepKillingGlenn

 

Thrilling Adventure Yarns (with my story “Alien Invasion of Earth!”):

TAY front cover

 

Unearthed (with my story “Rán for Your Life”):

Unearthed

talkin’ Mermaid Precinct and A Furnace Sealed On The Write Stuff

I’m on Raymond Bolton’s “The Write Stuff” feature discussing my two new releases, A Furnace Sealed and Mermaid Precinct. Check it out!

An excerpt:

What is your writing routine?

BWAH-HAH-HAH-HAH-HAH-HAH-HAH! “Routine.” That’s funny…

Do you create an outline before you write?

Always. I started out doing tie-in work, and an outline is required for licensed fiction, as the plot has to be approved by the copyright-holder before you can write a single word. That habit has carried over into my other fiction, as I find it’s much easier and smoother to write the book if I already know the plot.

Why do you write?

I can’t possibly not write. I’ve been doing it since I was six, I can’t imagine any circumstance under which I would stop. (Actually, I can imagine a few, but they’re all really awful, so I don’t particularly want to dwell on them.)

Publishers Weekly likes Mermaid Precinct

HaftScale-Proof-Mermaid

Publishers Weekly has a very nice review of Mermaid Precinct up! Check it out…..

A smattering of Scooby Doo mixes with a liberal pinch of police procedural in DeCandido’s fun and carefree fifth novel (after Gryphon Precinct) set in a fantasy world where the beings of Cliff’s End Castle Guard keep the peace. The city of Cliff’s End in the kingdom of Flingaria is home to all manner of people, including a massive influx of refugees from Barlin, a sister city recovering from a massive fire. The devastation is undeniable, but many in Cliff’s End regard the refugees with suspicion. When the Pirate Queen’s ship arrives and she’s found dead on board, the crew insists that Lt. Danthres Tresyllione of the Castle Guard investigate her death. Danthres, who once lived in a community served by the Pirate Queen, and her partner, Lt. Torin ban Wyvald, are more than up to the challenge of tackling the mystery, but they’re stymied by the tight-knit loyalty of the Pirate Queen’s crew and the lack of outside suspects. Then their investigation uncovers something terrifying that could threaten the entire kingdom. This energetic romp is light on the surface, but it tackles the issue of xenophobia head-on with surprising grace.

I’m iffy on the Scooby Doo comparison, but overall, I’ll definitely take that. 🙂

(Detailed info on Mermaid Precinct can be found here.)

special advance copies of Mermaid Precinct at Farpoint!!!!!!

MermaidBox

I’m pleased to announce that the UPS gods have smiled on us, and eSpec Books will have a limited number of copies of Mermaid Precinct available at Farpoint 26 this weekend! I’ll have them at the Book Fair Friday night, and if there are any left after that, eSpec will have them at their booth in the dealer room Saturday and Sunday.

(If you supported the book on Kickstarter and are entitled to a trade paperback, those are en route to me, and will be shipped out in the next couple of weeks.)

on sale now: Mermaid Precinct

HaftScale-Proof-Mermaid

(In the interest of keeping everything together, this is a combination of three other posts into one so you can get it all in one place.)

You can order Mermaid Precinct in either eBook or trade paperback form from the usual online book dealers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Indie Bound.

Mermaid Precinct is the long-awaited fifth novel in my fantasy police procedural series, featuring the adventures of the Cliff’s End Castle Guard as they try to close several cases in Mermaid Precinct, including the mysterious murder of the legendary Pirate Queen. In addition to the full novel, there are four vignettes that I originally wrote for Patreon as a bonus.

Here’s the back cover copy:

Humans and elves, dwarves and gnomes, wizards and warriors all live and do business in the thriving, overcrowded port city of Cliff’s End, to say nothing of the tourists and travelers who arrive by land and sea, passing through the metropolis on matters of business or pleasure — or on quests. The hard-working, under-appreciated officers of the Cliff’s End Castle Guard work day and night to maintain law and order as best they can.

As Cliff’s End struggles to deal with a massive influx of refugees following a devastating fire in the neighboring city-state of Barlin, the docklands are rocked by a stunning tragedy: the legendary Pirate Queen has been murdered! Long the scourge of the Garamin Sea, the Pirate Queen’s death has ripple effects beyond Cliff’s End. Even as Lieutenants Danthres Tresyllione and Torin ban Wyvald investigate her murder, they find themselves in conspiracies, politics, and the arcane law of the sea — and of the land!

An all-new adventure of the Cliff’s End Castle Guard!

Here’s an excerpt from the novel:

mermaidbadge

Torin ban Wyvald looked on his partner with concern as they worked their way down Meerka Way toward the docks. By the time they crossed Axe Way into Goblin Precinct—and the street got far more crowded—Torin moved alongside her and asked, “Are you all right?”

“I’m honestly not. I can’t believe she’s dead.”

Torin blinked. Danthres always felt strongly about people being killed, but it was generally in the abstract. The tone in her voice now, though, was different, as if she’d lost a friend. “You know—or knew, rather—the Pirate Queen?”

Danthres nodded. “She used to come to Sorlin fairly regularly. Her flagship, the Rising Jewel, was one of the few boats that could get close to Sorlin’s coastline without being damaged. And she used to bring halfbreeds to us for sanctuary.” Danthres had spent her formative years in Sorlin, a haven for people who violated elven purity laws by interbreeding with other races. They later kicked her out for being a disruptive influence following the accidental death of her best friend. A year ago the community itself disbanded, since elven purity laws had been a thing of the past since the Elf Queen’s death at the end of the war a dozen years previous. The community had gone below subsistence levels. Danthres’s feelings on that particular subject had run the gamut over the past year, ranging from disinterest to anger to sadness.

“I’m surprised,” Torin said. “I didn’t realize that pirates engaged in altruism.”

“Of course they do—well, she did, anyhow. I have to admit, her crew are the only pirates I’m personally familiar with. And I’ve heard nothing from them since moving here to Cliff’s End.”

“Nor I,” Torin said, “beyond the stories one hears from bards and such. Hardly surprising. Pirates work best in solitude, and when they do dock somewhere, it out of necessity would be a place that receives considerably less boat traffic than we receive in Cliff’s End.” He smiled. “It would also be a place that doesn’t have a huge law-enforcement agency like the Castle Guard.”

“True.” Danthres sighed. “She went through the blockade several times to rescue children—not just halfbreeds, but also full-blooded children who were left orphaned by the war.”

That surprised Torin. “I didn’t realize you took in full-bloods.”

“We took in anybody. That was the point. Yes, most of our population were halfbreed elves, because they were hunted down everywhere else, but we took in plenty of others.”

By this time, they’d reached the River Walk, bringing them to Mermaid Precinct. It was midday, and several of the fishing ships had come in or were coming in with the day’s catch, which would be many people’s dinners tonight.

Snaking their way through the crowds—the increase in Cliff’s End’s population made the docks a nightmare to navigate, especially around midday—all conversation ceased, as the crowds and noise made it impossible to speak audibly. By the time they made it to the far end of the precinct, where the new dock extension was being built, Torin felt physically exhausted from pushing his way through the crowds. Whatever inkling the populace might have had to step aside for members of the Castle Guard was no match for their desire to purchase fish at midday, it seemed.

Jayson and Gonzal from Mermaid Precinct were standing near a black dinghy. Torin noticed that it had a flagpole but no flag.

Gonzal stepped forward to greet the detectives. “Lieutenants. That’s the Pirate Queen’s sailing master. S’all he’d say, though, ‘cept that the Pirate Queen’s dead, and he wants you two—well, you, Lieutenant Tresyllione—t’be the ones t’investigate.”

Danthres barely acknowledged Gonzal before continuing forward.

Indicating the dinghy with his head, Torin asked, “Is the boat not flying a flag?”

“Oh, it was, but we asked the gentleman t’take it down. Figured it’d attract attention, y’know?”

“Good idea,” Torin said.

He then jogged to catch up with Danthres, who was approaching the dinghy. “Lisson? Is that you?”

The gentleman on the boat broke into a huge grin. “It is you! The Cap’n said you were workin’ for the Castle Guard doin’ detective work—heard you solved Gan Brightblade’s murder.”

“We both did,” Torin said. “I’m her partner, Lieutenant Torin ban Wyvald.”

Lisson frowned. “Ban Wyvald? You’re the Chief Artisan of Myverin’s son?”

“No longer—now I’m the High Magistrate’s son, as my father was promoted.”

“You’ll be amused to know that there was a bounty for you during the war. Cap’n thought about trying to track you down—least that’s what I heard. I was just a deckhand back then.”

“Which is when I knew him,” Danthres said. “So the Captain is dead?”

Nodding, Lisson said, “Yes, and we believe she was murdered. I’d like you to come with us to Rising Jewel and investigate.”

“Why won’t you bring your ship here?” Torin asked.

“I doubt we could fit all three of her boats here,” Danthres said with a glance at her partner.

“Actually,” Lisson said with a sigh, “it’s just the one ship. The Cap’n got rid of Heart of Silver and Dwyte’s Revenge.”

“How come?” Danthres sounded surprised.

“It became too difficult to wrangle three ships. And our numbers have been down consistently over the past few years—too many crew retiring, not enough replacements. In any case, if you step onto the dinghy with me, I can take you to—”

Torin folded his arms over the gryphon medallion etched into the chest of his leather armor. “Absolutely not.”

Lisson frowned. “Whyever not?”

“You expect us to simply hand ourselves over as your prisoners?”

“You won’t be our prisoners. We wish you to investigate the Cap’n’s death, as I said.”

“And why should we believe that you’d do this?”

Lisson smirked. “Well, your Castle Guard does have a reputation for solving such murders. Even of famous figures in Flingaria—not just Gan Brightblade and Olthar lothSirhans, but also I believe you uncovered Lord Blayk’s conspiracy to murder his father Lord Albin.”

Torin waved an arm back and forth. “It’s nothing to do with that. You’re pirates. It’s difficult to trust you under the best of circumstances. You mentioned my father—a year ago, he attempted to bring me home. Obviously, he did not succeed. Just enough time has passed for him to have returned to Myverin in failure and for the council to then put out a bounty on my head to make another attempt. For that matter, Danthres and I have made many enemies outside Cliff’s End—two years ago, we exposed a wealthy gentleman in Treemark who was hoarding Hamnau gems. The Brotherhood of Wizards confiscated them. For that matter, I can’t imagine that the conspiracy Lord Blayk masterminded only involved him. And those are just the people I can think of off the top of my head who might wish to pay for us to be captured and brought to them. I’m afraid that sailing with you to your boat is out of the question.”

For a moment, Torin feared that Danthres would go against his feeling, letting her familiarity with the Pirate Queen cloud her judgment.

Luckily, his partner was smarter than that, which was one of the reasons why he liked being her partner.

“Torin’s right,” she said. “We’ll need more if we’re to go with you.”

“You knew the Cap’n, Danthres, don’t you wish to give her justice?”

“Yes, I knew her—two decades ago. All I know of her since is her reputation, which, as my partner has cogently pointed out, is as a pirate. By definition, her life—and yours—is one of criminality, and our function is to stop criminals, not help them. And we have nothing to prove what you say.”

Lisson stared at her for a second, looking disappointed. Torin would gladly live with that disappointment, and was prepared to turn around and wade through the crowds at the docks to go back to the castle.

However, Lisson then put his hand over his heart and said, “I swear by the soul of Dwyte that I speak the truth when I say that the Cap’n is dead, and we wish you to investigate her death as you would any murder in Cliff’s End. I also swear by the soul of Dwyte that you will come to no harm on Rising Jewel and will be returned to the dock when your work is done.”

Before Torin could scoff at that, Danthres said, “Very well. Let’s go.”

“Excuse me?” Torin couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “One oath and you trust this—this criminal?”

“Yes,” Danthres said, “because the oath is sworn on the soul of the greatest pirate who ever lived. Dwyte was the pirate who harried Baron Alomgord’s forces for years. Any pirate who goes back on that oath is put to death.”

Lisson regarded Torin intently. “I have never before sworn that oath, Lieutenant ban Wyvald—because nobody has ever doubted my word in the past. Yes, I am a pirate, but that simply means I live beyond the laws of mortal governments—as do we all. We do, however, live by our own code, and the most sacrosanct part of that code is to swear on Dwyte’s soul.”

Danthres put a hand on his shoulder. “Torin, trust me. Please.”

Torin sighed. “Very well. You, I trust, Danthres, always. If you believe this oath will protect us, then I will agree to sail to the pirate ship.”

“Thank you.” Lisson’s words were passionate, and heartfelt, and Torin almost believed in their sincerity.

“We should also send for Boneen,” Torin added.

“Who is that?” Lisson asked.

“Our magickal examiner,” Danthres said. “A mage on loan from the Brotherhood of Wizards. He casts a spell that enables him to see what happened in a particular place in the past.”

Lisson shook his head. “That would be a waste of time, I’m afraid. Rising Jewel is quite heavily warded against all spells.”

Torin’s eyes widened. “All spells?”

“It was a very expensive undertaking—and quite all encompassing. I think that’s also truly part of why she pared down to a single ship. Renewing the wards is even more costly.”

“Very well, though that will make the process more complicated,” Torin said with a sigh.

Danthres shrugged as she stepped onto the dinghy. “It’s not as if it’s the first time we’ve been unable to work with a peel-back.”

“True.” Torin turned to Gonzal and Jayson. “Send a message to Captain Dru, please, and let him know where we’re going and what we’re doing.” He hesitated, then added, “If we’re not back by the end of shift, assume that we’ve been kidnapped by the Pirate Queen.”

“Torin!” Danthres said.

“Forgive me, Danthres, but I prefer to have a contingency in case your old friend here whom you haven’t seen in two decades is an unscrupulous pirate who goes back on his word.”

Lisson gazed at Danthres. “Your friend is quite obdurate.”

“My partner is correct in his misgivings. He doesn’t know you and has no reason to trust you. For that matter, as he points out, I haven’t seen you in some time. Do you blame us for taking steps to ensure our safety?”

“I suppose not.” He lowered his head and sighed. “Forgive me, Danthres, but the Cap’n’s death—”

She put a hand on his shoulder. “I understand.” Then she looked up at Torin. “Shall we?”

Nodding, Torin also hopped onto the dinghy. “Let us go to our aquatic crime scene.”

 

 

excerpt from Mermaid Precinct

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 4 of Mermaid Precinct, which is now available for preorder on Amazon (Kindle or trade paperback), and will be available from other online dealers soon enough, as well as directly from eSpec Books.

mermaidbadge

Torin ban Wyvald looked on his partner with concern as they worked their way down Meerka Way toward the docks. By the time they crossed Axe Way into Goblin Precinct—and the street got far more crowded—Torin moved alongside her and asked, “Are you all right?”

“I’m honestly not. I can’t believe she’s dead.”

Torin blinked. Danthres always felt strongly about people being killed, but it was generally in the abstract. The tone in her voice now, though, was different, as if she’d lost a friend. “You know—or knew, rather—the Pirate Queen?”

Danthres nodded. “She used to come to Sorlin fairly regularly. Her flagship, the Rising Jewel, was one of the few boats that could get close to Sorlin’s coastline without being damaged. And she used to bring halfbreeds to us for sanctuary.” Danthres had spent her formative years in Sorlin, a haven for people who violated elven purity laws by interbreeding with other races. They later kicked her out for being a disruptive influence following the accidental death of her best friend. A year ago the community itself disbanded, since elven purity laws had been a thing of the past since the Elf Queen’s death at the end of the war a dozen years previous. The community had gone below subsistence levels. Danthres’s feelings on that particular subject had run the gamut over the past year, ranging from disinterest to anger to sadness.

“I’m surprised,” Torin said. “I didn’t realize that pirates engaged in altruism.”

“Of course they do—well, she did, anyhow. I have to admit, her crew are the only pirates I’m personally familiar with. And I’ve heard nothing from them since moving here to Cliff’s End.”

“Nor I,” Torin said, “beyond the stories one hears from bards and such. Hardly surprising. Pirates work best in solitude, and when they do dock somewhere, it out of necessity would be a place that receives considerably less boat traffic than we receive in Cliff’s End.” He smiled. “It would also be a place that doesn’t have a huge law-enforcement agency like the Castle Guard.”

“True.” Danthres sighed. “She went through the blockade several times to rescue children—not just halfbreeds, but also full-blooded children who were left orphaned by the war.”

That surprised Torin. “I didn’t realize you took in full-bloods.”

“We took in anybody. That was the point. Yes, most of our population were halfbreed elves, because they were hunted down everywhere else, but we took in plenty of others.”

By this time, they’d reached the River Walk, bringing them to Mermaid Precinct. It was midday, and several of the fishing ships had come in or were coming in with the day’s catch, which would be many people’s dinners tonight.

Snaking their way through the crowds—the increase in Cliff’s End’s population made the docks a nightmare to navigate, especially around midday—all conversation ceased, as the crowds and noise made it impossible to speak audibly. By the time they made it to the far end of the precinct, where the new dock extension was being built, Torin felt physically exhausted from pushing his way through the crowds. Whatever inkling the populace might have had to step aside for members of the Castle Guard was no match for their desire to purchase fish at midday, it seemed.

Jayson and Gonzal from Mermaid Precinct were standing near a black dinghy. Torin noticed that it had a flagpole but no flag.

Gonzal stepped forward to greet the detectives. “Lieutenants. That’s the Pirate Queen’s sailing master. S’all he’d say, though, ‘cept that the Pirate Queen’s dead, and he wants you two—well, you, Lieutenant Tresyllione—t’be the ones t’investigate.”

Danthres barely acknowledged Gonzal before continuing forward.

Indicating the dinghy with his head, Torin asked, “Is the boat not flying a flag?”

“Oh, it was, but we asked the gentleman t’take it down. Figured it’d attract attention, y’know?”

“Good idea,” Torin said.

He then jogged to catch up with Danthres, who was approaching the dinghy. “Lisson? Is that you?”

The gentleman on the boat broke into a huge grin. “It is you! The Cap’n said you were workin’ for the Castle Guard doin’ detective work—heard you solved Gan Brightblade’s murder.”

“We both did,” Torin said. “I’m her partner, Lieutenant Torin ban Wyvald.”

Lisson frowned. “Ban Wyvald? You’re the Chief Artisan of Myverin’s son?”

“No longer—now I’m the High Magistrate’s son, as my father was promoted.”

“You’ll be amused to know that there was a bounty for you during the war. Cap’n thought about trying to track you down—least that’s what I heard. I was just a deckhand back then.”

“Which is when I knew him,” Danthres said. “So the Captain is dead?”

Nodding, Lisson said, “Yes, and we believe she was murdered. I’d like you to come with us to Rising Jewel and investigate.”

“Why won’t you bring your ship here?” Torin asked.

“I doubt we could fit all three of her boats here,” Danthres said with a glance at her partner.

“Actually,” Lisson said with a sigh, “it’s just the one ship. The Cap’n got rid of Heart of Silver and Dwyte’s Revenge.”

“How come?” Danthres sounded surprised.

“It became too difficult to wrangle three ships. And our numbers have been down consistently over the past few years—too many crew retiring, not enough replacements. In any case, if you step onto the dinghy with me, I can take you to—”

Torin folded his arms over the gryphon medallion etched into the chest of his leather armor. “Absolutely not.”

Lisson frowned. “Whyever not?”

“You expect us to simply hand ourselves over as your prisoners?”

“You won’t be our prisoners. We wish you to investigate the Cap’n’s death, as I said.”

“And why should we believe that you’d do this?”

Lisson smirked. “Well, your Castle Guard does have a reputation for solving such murders. Even of famous figures in Flingaria—not just Gan Brightblade and Olthar lothSirhans, but also I believe you uncovered Lord Blayk’s conspiracy to murder his father Lord Albin.”

Torin waved an arm back and forth. “It’s nothing to do with that. You’re pirates. It’s difficult to trust you under the best of circumstances. You mentioned my father—a year ago, he attempted to bring me home. Obviously, he did not succeed. Just enough time has passed for him to have returned to Myverin in failure and for the council to then put out a bounty on my head to make another attempt. For that matter, Danthres and I have made many enemies outside Cliff’s End—two years ago, we exposed a wealthy gentleman in Treemark who was hoarding Hamnau gems. The Brotherhood of Wizards confiscated them. For that matter, I can’t imagine that the conspiracy Lord Blayk masterminded only involved him. And those are just the people I can think of off the top of my head who might wish to pay for us to be captured and brought to them. I’m afraid that sailing with you to your boat is out of the question.”

For a moment, Torin feared that Danthres would go against his feeling, letting her familiarity with the Pirate Queen cloud her judgment.

Luckily, his partner was smarter than that, which was one of the reasons why he liked being her partner.

“Torin’s right,” she said. “We’ll need more if we’re to go with you.”

“You knew the Cap’n, Danthres, don’t you wish to give her justice?”

“Yes, I knew her—two decades ago. All I know of her since is her reputation, which, as my partner has cogently pointed out, is as a pirate. By definition, her life—and yours—is one of criminality, and our function is to stop criminals, not help them. And we have nothing to prove what you say.”

Lisson stared at her for a second, looking disappointed. Torin would gladly live with that disappointment, and was prepared to turn around and wade through the crowds at the docks to go back to the castle.

However, Lisson then put his hand over his heart and said, “I swear by the soul of Dwyte that I speak the truth when I say that the Cap’n is dead, and we wish you to investigate her death as you would any murder in Cliff’s End. I also swear by the soul of Dwyte that you will come to no harm on Rising Jewel and will be returned to the dock when your work is done.”

Before Torin could scoff at that, Danthres said, “Very well. Let’s go.”

“Excuse me?” Torin couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “One oath and you trust this—this criminal?”

“Yes,” Danthres said, “because the oath is sworn on the soul of the greatest pirate who ever lived. Dwyte was the pirate who harried Baron Alomgord’s forces for years. Any pirate who goes back on that oath is put to death.”

Lisson regarded Torin intently. “I have never before sworn that oath, Lieutenant ban Wyvald—because nobody has ever doubted my word in the past. Yes, I am a pirate, but that simply means I live beyond the laws of mortal governments—as do we all. We do, however, live by our own code, and the most sacrosanct part of that code is to swear on Dwyte’s soul.”

Danthres put a hand on his shoulder. “Torin, trust me. Please.”

Torin sighed. “Very well. You, I trust, Danthres, always. If you believe this oath will protect us, then I will agree to sail to the pirate ship.”

“Thank you.” Lisson’s words were passionate, and heartfelt, and Torin almost believed in their sincerity.

“We should also send for Boneen,” Torin added.

“Who is that?” Lisson asked.

“Our magickal examiner,” Danthres said. “A mage on loan from the Brotherhood of Wizards. He casts a spell that enables him to see what happened in a particular place in the past.”

Lisson shook his head. “That would be a waste of time, I’m afraid. Rising Jewel is quite heavily warded against all spells.”

Torin’s eyes widened. “All spells?”

“It was a very expensive undertaking—and quite all encompassing. I think that’s also truly part of why she pared down to a single ship. Renewing the wards is even more costly.”

“Very well, though that will make the process more complicated,” Torin said with a sigh.

Danthres shrugged as she stepped onto the dinghy. “It’s not as if it’s the first time we’ve been unable to work with a peel-back.”

“True.” Torin turned to Gonzal and Jayson. “Send a message to Captain Dru, please, and let him know where we’re going and what we’re doing.” He hesitated, then added, “If we’re not back by the end of shift, assume that we’ve been kidnapped by the Pirate Queen.”

“Torin!” Danthres said.

“Forgive me, Danthres, but I prefer to have a contingency in case your old friend here whom you haven’t seen in two decades is an unscrupulous pirate who goes back on his word.”

Lisson gazed at Danthres. “Your friend is quite obdurate.”

“My partner is correct in his misgivings. He doesn’t know you and has no reason to trust you. For that matter, as he points out, I haven’t seen you in some time. Do you blame us for taking steps to ensure our safety?”

“I suppose not.” He lowered his head and sighed. “Forgive me, Danthres, but the Cap’n’s death—”

She put a hand on his shoulder. “I understand.” Then she looked up at Torin. “Shall we?”

Nodding, Torin also hopped onto the dinghy. “Let us go to our aquatic crime scene.”

HaftScale-Proof-Mermaid

full cover reveal: Mermaid Precinct

Here is the full front, spine, and back cover for Mermaid Precinct. The book is now done, and while the official on-sale date is 1 June 2019, Kickstarter supporters will get theirs very soon, and I’m hoping to have special preview copies at Farpoint.

Anyhow, here’s the pretty picture:

mermaid precinct front and back cover

Click on the picture to see the full image.

Nifty, huh?

 

SHE RIDES!

HaftScale-Proof-Mermaid

At 52,000 words, Mermaid Precinct is, at last, a completed book. It’s been five years since the last novel in the series (Gryphon Precinct), it’s been a year and a half since I ran the Kickstarter to support this book, as it was kinda between publishers, it’s been three months since I started it, but now it’s a completed book! Go me!

Next step is for me and my editors (my wife and my mother, and before you snort, both women are excellent professional editors of many years’ standing) to read it over and make sure it all hangs together. Then it goes into production. Hoping to have it be an actual book by the new year.

Here once again is the back cover copy for the book:

Humans and elves, dwarves and gnomes, wizards and warriors all live and do business in the thriving, overcrowded port city of Cliff’s End, to say nothing of the tourists and travelers who arrive by land and sea, passing through the metropolis on matters of business or pleasure—or on quests. The hard-working, under-appreciated officers of the Cliff’s End Castle Guard work day and night to maintain law and order as best they can.

As Cliff’s End struggles to deal with a massive influx of refugees following a devastating fire in the neighboring city-state of Barlin, the docklands are rocked by a stunning tragedy: the legendary Pirate Queen has been murdered! Long the scourge of the Garamin Sea, the Pirate Queen’s death has ripple effects beyond Cliff’s End. Even as Lieutenants Danthres Tresyllione and Torin ban Wyvald investigate her murder, they find themselves embroiled in conspiracies, politics, and the arcane law of the sea—and of the land!

An all-new adventure of the Cliff’s End Castle Guard!

 

As a bonus for y’all, here’s the opening two paragraphs of the novel:

The early-autumn breeze blew through Lieutenant Danthres Tresyllione’s blonde hair as she stood impatiently on Albin Way wishing Lord Doval would hurry up and finish his speech.

As he’d only just started talking, Danthres was less than optimistic that its end would come any time soon.

 

The plans going forward for the “Precinct” series are simple. I’ve got two more novels under contract, Phoenix Precinct and Manticore Precinct, the creation of which are established in Chapter 1 of Mermaid Precinct (which takes place a year after Gryphon Precinct). In addition, there’s a bunch of stories still to be told, both from the past — Danthres and Torin’s taking down of the crimelord Quanto, as mentioned at the end of “Baker’s Dozen” — and from the one-year gap between Gryphon and Mermaid — which are mentioned in the latter novel. Those stories will likely be supported via Kickstarter, as that model has worked well for “When the Magick Goes Away,” “Baker’s Dozen,” “Gan Brightblade vs. Mitos the Mighty,” and “The Fall of Iaron.” Those stories (along with “The Midwinter of Our Discontent” in the upcoming Release the Virgins!)will eventually be collected in More Tales from Dragon Precinct.

Meanwhile, I’ve got a bunch of other things to take care of……………………………………….