Monday, April 29, 2019

May Day Give Away!

Enter early, enter often!

Summer is almost here, and it’s a great time to stock up on new books.

Starting May 1st, Aubrey Hartmann and The Clockwork Detective are participating in the May Giveaway newsletter signup (100% NO SPAM GUARENTEE). You can win an ebook versions of this and three other books, and a $20 Amazon gift card!

Books participating include:

The Clockwork Detective—R.A. McCandless
The Lucky Collection—Jenn Nixon
Bad Religion—Jim Winter
Starblood—Carmilla Voiez

You get extra points for following us online, and more for referring other readers to the giveaway!

Entries will start Wednesday, May 1st, so watch this site for more details!

Friday, April 26, 2019

Ten Days Left - Pre-Order Sales

Steampunk Cats Agree!

Ten more days, folks!

THE CLOCKWORK DETECTIVE has already generated some interesting buzz. A couple of good reviews, one or two odd ones. Plus, the Godfather of Steampunk gave his blessing:

“This is my kind of book: a wonderful, fully realized, utterly plausible steampunk world with a dynamite plot, great characters, and the best dirigibles this side of anywhere. I hope there’s more to come.”

—James P. Blaylock
World Fantasy Award-Winning Author

Pre-order sales—from my perspective—have been strong. Encouragingly strong. We’ll have to wait to see what the actual numbers end up being, but as of now, I’ve “sold” more copies of this book than what I did in the first two quarters for Tears of Heaven.

It will be interesting to see how well it does against Hell Becomes Her. Which outpaced Tears in its first quarter alone.

Either I’m getting better as a writer, or I’m getting better at marketing.

Either way, I’m one step closer to being a starving writer, suffering for my art!


Feel free to get in on the fun, while the pre-order savings is still in effect!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The Monarch Mission Files: Conspiracy by @JennNixon

#SciFi #Mystery #RomanticElements

On Sale April 23rd 2019

Mari Yosoto has been keeping a dark and dangerous secret from everyone for the past three years. No one would believe her anyway, her ex-fiancĂ© had seen to that. Instead of wallowing in misery, she stays busy, shuttling cargo to the Moon and back, enjoying the easy work and time alone. An old EarthCorps acquaintance asks for her help, and Mari can’t say no, even if it means working with the ex’s former best friend.

Although Trevor Nash took the missing person’s job to help his former commanding officer, deep down he needed to see Mari again. After trying and failing to find out what happened to her, Trevor makes the best of an odd situation, hoping he can remind Mari of their budding friendship and finally get some answers. When the mission goes sideways and they find the not-so-missing girl, a centuries-old conspiracy theory comes to light and the only thing more unfathomable is learning Mari’s secret.

Together with their newly formed ragtag team, Mari and Trevor team up and undertake a mission unlike anything either of them has faced before with life-altering and possibly deadly consequences.

Buy Links:

Nash was already saying ‘we’, a team building exercise everyone had taken in EarthCorps training. He lifted off the hover car's bumper, moving to the driver’s side and jutting his chin toward the passenger’s door. He was always a good, fair guy, much more so than his best frecking friend. “Happy to give you a lift home, get clothes and whatnot?”
“Nope, everything new. I have ten thousand K plus to spend. Take me to Walzon, they have what I need.” Mari shrugged, slipping into the other side of the very rounded off hover car, hating the trippy translucent paint. The aluminum they used made the vehicles less sturdy. She liked hard steel, which is why she enjoyed flying. Even the Personal Flying Vehicles were still made of metal, it was hard to trust anything less.
“Buckle’s auto, just lift—” Nash smirked, lifting his arm.
Mari gasped when the belt secured her against the seat, strapping down both her arms.
She shut her eyes.
Beep, beep, beep.
The seatbelt moved into place, freeing her right arm, which reached out and clamped onto the door handle.
“Mari?” Nash’s voice was soft, concerned. She knew why. She had three years to replay those moments in her head, listening to the voices in the surgical suite when she woke. He was there too, in the background with the ex, she remembered what they both had said.
After a deep breath, her grip went lax and she tucked her left arm over the belt before glancing over. “Ready when you are.”
Nash’s head tilted. “Mari. We’re gonna be in tight quarters for a week, regardless how fast this ship is. Can you do this?”
“It’s not claustrophobia.” Deep inside, Mari didn’t actually know if she still had the guts to do something like this again and when his gaze softened, she remembered something else Nash had said after she woke in the surgery suite. I hope she leaves your ass. It was the last thing she heard him say to the ex before she passed out from the pain. Her chuckle came out more tersely than she meant, so she shrugged. “We should probably find a Do-All-Stop and get a drink after we shop…if we’re working together, you need to know what you getting into. Well, most of it.”

Find Jenn Online

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

NetGalley and The Clockwork Detective

Now with 73% more airships!

Do you have a NetGalley account? Would you like one?

The Clockwork Detective is available for review on NetGalley!

I love it. I’ve loved it for years. I’ve been a member since I first heard about it in 2015, and while I’m not a power user by any stretch, I’ve enjoyed a number of titles from the site, and been exposed to some excellent authors I wouldn’t have otherwise known about.

The idea is simple.

Reviews are hard to get. Friends and family can give reviews, but sometimes Amazon (the 3,000 pound gorilla in publishing) puts the kybosh on that, removing those deemed “biased”. Asking fans for reviews can get the same result. Even seeking out reviews from reasonably distant “strangers” can still have the same affect.

Then, there’s the issue of non-response. Some reviewers, with the best of intentions, won’t review a book. There are any number of reasons for this, but the end result is the same—the effort the author put into getting someone to read and review the book is wasted.

Still not enough airships!
Enter NetGalley. It’s not a perfect solution, by any means, but there is a larger degree of accountability. Readers sign up for books that interest you, and publishers/authors/marketing assistants vet potential reviewers based on self-reported interests, previous reviews, and the number of reviews you’ve written, etc.

This means that a steampunk book isn’t given to a fan of romance genre who has a 28% completion rating. Instead, if you’re into the genre and you’re good about actually reviewing the books you say you will, you get the book. There are some really big names that show up on the site, and that’s a “free” book for your honest and timely review.

So, if you’re interested in reviewing The Clockwork Detective (or any other of their hundreds of titles) please sign up and give it a whirl.  It takes about five to ten minutes to complete your profile and then you’re off and running, reading books and giving your opinions on them!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

First Review for Aubrey

If you look long enough, they start to dance.

Woohoo! The Clockwork Detective received a five star review:

The Clockwork Detective is a steampunk fantasy mystery involving flying airships, an ornery but dedicated constable with a Clockwork leg, palace intrigue, centaurs, and magic.  The constable is a strong female character who a whole series might be built around.  The centaurs are a  most intriguing group, unyielding, terrifying, battle-hardened.  As a reader, you feel that you barely got a glimpse into this fascinating world of far off kingdoms and fae creatures.  The cover doesn’t really hint at the fantasy side of this terrific novel, well-written, and absorbing.

Thanks Dave W.!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Free Short Story?

I'm king of the mountain!

One of Constable Aubrey Hartmann’s first adventures (chronologically speaking) took place on the battlefields of the Cimarron before she lost her leg—Grenadiers and Dragon’s Fire. It was featured in Gears,Gadgets & Steam (Tinkered Tales Book 1) anthology. It was a fun story to write, and to get to some of the realism, I read William Howard Russell’s The British Expedition to Crimea which was a first-hand account of many of the battles as told by one of the world’s earliest “war correspondents”.

I wondered if anyone would want to read the entire story, just a free download from my website.

The story is solid, Victorian-era steampunk, but it’s the characters that really make this one shine. I’d already written two stories about Aubrey—another short story called And Into A Watery Grave and the novel The Clockwork Detective. Both allude to her military career, but there were no details. Grenadiers and Dragon’s Fire provided some of that background information:

Screams crossed the sky, spitting sparks and fire until they slammed into the lower slope of Bourgogne Hill.  Explosions erupted a moment later with a shower of dirt, bloody limbs and two unfortunate Imperial soldiers.

“Lieutenant!” a voice yelled down the line.  Panic broke the soldier’s voice.

“Don’t you move,” Lieutenant Aubrey Hartmann called back.  She didn’t use his name.  There was no need to shame him when everyone was equally scared.  “Don’t you dare.  Keep your heads pressed into the dirt until you’re kissing rock.”

Another volley screamed over her head.  The Hamill cannons had a poor angle from the top of the fortified redoubt.  Their mortar crews, on the other hand, had nearly perfected the range.  Aubrey took her own orders to heart and pressed her body against hill’s hard-packed dirt and scrub.  She turned her face left to breathe.  Sergeant Simmons looked back at her and gave a grin.

“I hate you,” Aubrey said.

Simmons grinned wider.  The mortars began to scream and fall again with explosive roars.  The Sergeant said something to her, but it was completely lost in the noise.

Overhead, two Imperial air platforms thundered into position, their bulky Simm-Daimlers driving them into position and holding them in place.  Some of the soldiers called them airships, but that was incorrect.  They were nothing more than a flat platform slung under a dirigible frame, crowded with two mounted guns, five crew members, and the stinking, smoking, thunderous engines.  They couldn’t travel any real distance without support for refueling and riding on the platform was uncomfortable for any length of time.  Even with all their faults, the looming presence of the air platforms made the heavy mortars stop. 

What do you think? Would you want to read the rest? Let me know in the comments below!

Friday, April 12, 2019

Signed Edition Available

Don't mind if I do!

Wow.  Thank you!

The Clockwork Detective has received a lot of support. Tons. I’m both overwhelmed and under-prepared. Some folk have reached out to me to ask about a signed edition, and I’m thrilled to provide those. I don’t have a price on the paperback version of the book yet, but I’ve started a list of those interested!

For anyone who would like a signed version of the books, please go to this form, fill it out, and hit send.

When I do have a price, and the paperback version becomes available, I’ll reach out to you with payment information and your signed copy will be on its way!

Thanks again for all your support!

Thursday, April 11, 2019

The Clockwork Detective Proofs

The proofs are in the pages!

When I came home last night, there was a medium-sized box from Amazon. I hadn’t recalled ordering anything, so I figured it was probably my wife’s.  When I picked up the box, it was WAY heavier than it should be . . . that’s when I realized what was inside:


Not just any books, but the PROOFS for my next release! There are so many little thrills along the way to publishing, some of which are not seen by everyone else. Finishing a draft, signing a contract, finishing edits, setting a release date, seeing cover art, etc.

Holding the proofs is the next best thing to holding the final product. In some cases, it IS the final product.

Not this time, though.

There will be one more update to the cover art to include the quote from James Blaylock. I’ve already seen the draft updates, and they’re beautiful. There have been so many highs with The Clockwork Detective it’s hard to believe I’d ever be in this position.

A quick thank you to everyone who reads my blog, puts up with me on Facebook and/or Twitter, or generally has to listen to me going on and on about plot, character, pacing, dialogue, or anything else associated with my writing.

Thank you!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

James Blaylock Knows My Name!

The story of James P. Blaylock and his quote for my book is crazy. Not literally crazy, but close enough that you don’t need to correct me with “figuratively”.

In July of 2017, I had finished a book. It was a steampunk book. I was not about to give this book to my current publisher—Maya—so I went hunting for a new publisher.  I reached out to fellow writer, and former WildChild Publishing Alum, Jenn Nixon.

Jenn was gracious enough to reach out to some publishers she knew and see if they’d be interested in my book. She gave me a warm introduction to a publisher, and I thanked her and sent off my query package.

The response was strange. The publisher wasn’t taking any new projects for the rest of the year.

Yep, I have this one!
I looped back around with Jenn who agreed it was odd, but she had another publisher that I might click with—Maer Wilson who ran Ellysian Press. Again, Jenn gave me a warm introduction, and in September of 2017, I sent out a query letter. A little over a week later, I received a response for the full manuscript. A month later, in October, I received a contract off from Ellysian.

Because of my previous publisher, I was still gunshy. I asked Maer if she’d be willing to take a quick phone, just a meet-and-greet, to see if we actually clicked and could work together. Maya had resisted any attempts at an actual phone conversation, so I was braced for impact.

Maybe this was just how publishers did things?

Maer readily agreed. What was supposed to be a ten-minute conversation went on for an hour. It would have gone on longer, but I had to end it to go pick up my boys. Maer was amazing. She had known Philip K. Dick, and wrote a book about him! She rattled off a bunch of other author names, names I was familiar with, as if they came over to barbeques and whatnot! She had been in the industry for a long time, and was very upbeat about my writing.

What confused me for a little while was when she talked about getting “Jim to give us a quote.” She said Jim like I should know who he was. I finally broke down and asked.

“Oh,” Maer said. “Jim Blaylock.”

“Not James Blaylock?”

Yep, I have this one too!
“Yep.  I call him Jim.”

She calls him Jim.

Maer warned me, out of the gate, and repeatedly thereafter, that “Jim” is always very busy and usually doesn’t give quotes. She believed in my book enough that she wanted to give it a shot, but I had to stay quiet about it. I couldn’t tell anyone we were even approaching James Blaylock. I honestly figured he would reject the request out of hand, being too busy.

This was fine with me. Getting a quote for a book from a well-known author is no easy trick unless your name is King or Rowling. Getting a quote from essentially the father of modern steampunk seemed like an impossible task.

Months went by. Maer and I worked very hard on the manuscript. Cover art came along. More revisions.  More revisions.

Finally, Maer gave me a note: “Jim has agreed to read the book.”

Well, I was floored. Even if he didn’t provide a quote, the fact that my words were in James Blaylock’s hands, that he was reading my story, was quite heady stuff. I thought there might be hope that a quote would come, but even if it didn’t, Maer had taken me a long way.

Yesterday, Maer pinged me. Just a simple, “We heard from Jim.” That’s it. I stared at the words for a minute or two, trying to wrap my head around how disappointed I was going to be.
James Blaylock has THIS ONE!

Worse, what if he HATED the book!?

“Umm . . .” was all I managed back.

“You want the good news or the better news?” Maer asked.

I could have killed her.

James P. THE FATHER OF FREAMING STEAMPUNK Blaylock liked my book and wanted to put his name and words on it!

I didn’t drive home yesterday, I flew. Magical things must have happened, because there was no traffic that I can remember. I kept giggling from time to time.

I’m still grinning and every now and then shaking my head in disbelief.

Thank you Jenn! Maer! Thank you James P. Blaylock!

Have you had a brush with someone you admired that left you all flabbergasted and whatnots? Please share in the comments below!

Monday, April 8, 2019

Biff Bam Pop! Interview

Clockwork crossbow? Sure, why not?!
Biff Bam Pop! Ran an interview with me for my latest novel THE CLOCKWORK DETECTIVEI found the question about my boys an interesting one.  Here’s a small sample:

Gilbert: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

R.A. McCandless: I’ve been a writer both professionally and creatively for over two decades. I was born under a wandering star that led to a degree in Communication and English with a focus on creative writing taught by none other than the Dean of Science Fiction, Jack Williamson. I’m the author of the urban fantasy, Tears of Heaven, winner of the 2014 Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Preditors & Editors Reader’s Poll and a 2015 EPIC eBook finalist, Hell Becomes Her, and the final installment, Company of the Damned, (available 2019).  My shorts have appeared in In Shambles (with Kevin J. Anderson), Nine Heroes, and Gears, Gadgets and Steam.

I continue to research and write steampunk and genre fiction, battle sprinklers, and play with my three boys.

Gilbert: What got you interested in writing?

R.A. McCandless: Basically, boredom. I would sit in elementary school classes and want nothing more than to read my latest Terry Brooks or Joel Rosenberg fantasy novel. Instead, while pretending to take notes, I would write stories. At first, I would try to make the books I’d read “better”. It’s a dumb thought to have, but it is a place to start. Riffing on the masters is a good way to get your feet wet and see what does and doesn’t work.

Friends and teachers started noticing that I had the stamina for writing short stories and longer forms, and I started working on some really big ideas that I couldn’t quite pull off. I’m infinitely glad that most of that work has never seen the light of day. If there’s any justice, those pages have been pulped and recycled to make more Patrick Rothfuss novels.

But any world that could include a dragon, even if a dragon never showed up, that was the world for me. I wanted to live and explore in those worlds of possibility. The fantastic has always excited me, and while I’ve grown more and more “realistic” in my writing, I still reach out for what’s just beyond possible to try to create a world of potential. That’s where the real magic lives.

Do any of your family members or children share a hobby? Let me know in the comments below!

Friday, April 5, 2019

Aubrey Hartmann Short Stories?

“The day we die heroically?”

Constable Aubrey Hartmann’s first novel doesn’t release until May 7th, but she had a couple of adventures before she flew into Aqualinne. Here’s a brief sample from “Grenadiers and Dragon’s Fire”:

Screams crossed the sky, spitting sparks and fire until they slammed into the lower slope of Bourgogne Hill.  Explosions erupted a moment later with a shower of dirt, bloody limbs and two unfortunate Imperial soldiers.

“Lieutenant!” a voice yelled down the line.  Panic broke the soldier’s voice.

“Don’t you move,” Lieutenant Aubrey Hartmann called back.  She didn’t use his name.  There was no need to shame him when everyone was equally scared.  “Don’t you dare.  Keep your heads pressed into the dirt until you’re kissing rock.”

The Imperial advance had been stymied.  Their right flank along the wide River Raglan was covered by a combination of air platforms and naval ships of the line.  The heavy and light guns had made it impossible for the enemy, the Glorious Republic of Hamill, to mount a counterattack and encircle them on that side.  But on the left, they’d needed at least a division to hold the wing.  The support came from the Light Division under Sir Heinz de Lutz.  The Light Division had angled as they came up Bourgogne Hill, straight into Aubrey’s company and half of the 4th Division.  De Lutz either hadn’t realized it, or hadn’t seen it in time.  The mix of the two divisions was now such a thorough jumble that they’d lost any cohesion.  The officers had halted the Imperial advance and were trying to divide the two divisions.  The Hamills had taken advantage of the confusion and started the mortar bombardment.

Would anyone be interested in reading the entire story? Let me know in the comment below.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

The Clockwork Detective - Release Date May 7th, 2019

Bigger than life and reporting for your library!

Here’s all the news that’s fit to print (and a day late, because I was recovering from the flu).

Audrey Hartmann’s debut novel THE CLOCKWORK DETECTIVE the first in THE CONSTABLE OF AQUALINNE series will release Tuesday, May 7th, 2019.

Oh, but there’s more! You don’t have to wait AND you can save some of that hard green stuff you work for. Here are the details from my publisher:

***PRE-ORDER SALE $4.99***
Regular price $7.99 as of release on 5/7/19

I have a soft spot for steampunk - for many reasons. R.A. McCandless has hit a home-run with this intriguing, fresh and fascinating look into a fantasy steampunk world. His MC, Aubrey Hartmann, is one of my favorite characters.

You can now pre-order this fun adventure at Amazon and soon at other retailers. I'll update this with the new links as I get them.

I’ve got mine! Did you get yours? Let me know in the comments below!