Tremontaine at the Midpoint

(Spoiler warning: The following review gives away a couple of events in the first quarter of the series in order to establish character conflicts. Beyond that, you won’t find any big plot revelations.) 

Tremontaine cover by Kathleen Jennings

Tremontaine cover by Kathleen Jennings

Tremontaine, Serial Box Publishing’s prequel to Ellen Kushner’s Riverside series of novels, will certainly feel familiar to Kushner fans, yet it also serves as a playful introduction for readers new to this world. Appearing in weekly installments, it features the gleefully varied sexualities and gender expressions of Kushner’s universe, along with its cross-dressing swordswomen, its arrogant scholars, its political intrigue, and its focus on manners, where much more is going on beneath the surface than the reader first expects.

The world of Riverside exists in an alternate Europe, sometime between the Renaissance and early modern periods, with a bit of 1980s New York thrown in. Firearms have yet to be invented, so conflicts are settled at the point of a sword, usually wielded by a hired duelist. Though the genre is fantasy, there are no wizards and no magic, because these have long since been purged from society, along with the corrupt kings. The city and the country go unnamed, leaving us with neighborhoods: the lumpenproletarian Riverside and the aristocratic Hill, with the University existing in a social space somewhere between the two.

And so the novels featured characters from a variety of social classes, creating a rich bed of conflict and social disdain. They also brought a welcome diversity of sexualities and gender to fantasy (beginning with Swordspoint, way back in 1987). Now Tremontaine adds racial diversity to that mix in the form of traders from far-off Kinwiinik, who supply the aristocrats on the Hill with that all-important commodity, chocolate.

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Tremontaine: Go Read It

What the title says! If you saw my preview of Tremontaine, you know how much I love Ellen Kushner's Riverside universe. Nearly halfway through, this prequel series is everything I wanted it to be. You can sample the first episode or subscribe to … [Continue reading]

Desert Trilogy Releases Today!

My chapbook of three short stories set in the California desert is now available for your ereading devices. It's officially $2.99, but if you hurry, you might still get it at the $0.99 pre-order price. (It takes a while for Amazon and other retailers … [Continue reading]

Relationships, Place, Art, Careers

Highway outside Ocotillo CA

Recently I was part of a panel discussion on "The Man Behind the Woman" for the local chapter of the National Association of Career Women. The basic idea was three guys with less stellar careers than their wives talking about how we navigate this … [Continue reading]

Win a Free Book

all-the-wild-and-lonely-places

To support the upcoming release of Desert Trilogy on Sunday, I'm giving away one lightly used, signed copy of my previous book, All the Wild and Lonely Places: Journeys in a Desert Landscape. All you need to do to enter: go to this post on my new … [Continue reading]

Only Six Days Left to Get Desert Trilogy for Under a Buck

Desert Trilogy cover small

Desert Trilogy goes live in just six days, and I'm hoping you'll pre-order it before then. You'll get it for just $0.99, and the book will get a bump in sales on the official on-sale date. Win-win! Here's a little teaser to get you to plunk down … [Continue reading]

It’s Queer Romance Month!

Subgenre-badge-2015

It's October 30th, and I just found out October is Queer Romance Month. Why queer romance, you ask? For one thing, maybe if novels like this had existed when I was a kid, my own struggles with sexuality and gender expression might have been a … [Continue reading]

Sleep On Your Manuscript

photo of a writer asleep on a typewriter

No, don't tuck your laptop under your pillow. Or print out your novel and sprinkle the pages between the sheets. And certainly don't sleep on a typewriter, like the young woman at right. (Ouch, my neck hurts just looking at that.) But if you're a … [Continue reading]

The Tremontaine Saga Goes Back in Time

Tremontaine Arrivals Cover

I'm excited for the release of Tremontaine, a serialized, 13-part prequel to Ellen Kushner's Riverside novels. Judging by an excerpt released Monday on RT Book Reviews, it should be every bit as excellent as Swordspoint, Privilege of the … [Continue reading]

Teaser Tuesday – Excerpt from Desert Trilogy

Desert Trilogy cover small

Derek gasped, resisting the impulse to roll away from a mammoth lumbering at him, its curving tusks waving dangerously. The thundering of its tree-trunk-sized feet hurt his ears, and he could swear he felt the ground shake—or was that the Glass … [Continue reading]

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