Joshua Unruh Y'all don't want to hear me, you just want to dance


The Next Big Thing

The lovely and bossy Laurie Laliberte asked if I'd like to talk about my next project as part of a chain blog thing. Even before she explained I'd get good luck and probably some kickback from a deposed Nigerian prince, I said yes. I mean, I'm an egotist, so I barely need an excuse to talk about my stuff.

And since it's Christmas Eve, we'll just call this you lucky readers' Christmas present.

I have just done the blog equivalent of giving everyone a picture of myself. I couldn't be happier. Now, on with the show!

What is the title of your next book?

I'm not actually working on a novel at the moment. Most of that is because I'm working on a series of novellas that bridge the gap between Aaron Pogue's second and third books in The Dragonprince Trilogy. The series of novellas are under the heading Tales of the Dragonriders and my particular offerings will be (in order of publication and internal chronology) The Abyss, The Dragonprince's Shadow, and A Dragonrider of the Tower?.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Aaron has a lot of fans. He also has a lot of Dragonswarm story ideas. He wanted to do these tales of Daven's elite Dragonriders, but he didn't want to do them all himself. I want some of his fans to look at my stuff, so I volunteered. Plus, and this is not (just) ego talking: I take Aaron's already exciting plots and make them freakin' sing.

The short version of that is "Aaron handed me a bunch of plots and told me to figure out how to make them into a story."

What genre does your book fall under?

I'm not sure what Aaron would call them, but I'd say they're Epic Fantasy concepts wrapped up in Adventure Fantasy storytelling.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

I think Caleb was in Aaron's head as Michale Clarke Duncan until his untimely demise this year. Lareth the insane wizard with a weird sense of humor makes me think of Johnny Depp. Channing Tatum would make a pretty great Jaicin. Garrett Dain should be Idris Elba and Kemmas Raug should be Wood Harris, but that might just be because I'm in love with The Wire.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Well, since we're actually talking some novellas that go between two books, this might be difficult. Let's go with "Between Daven's war with the Dragonswarm and his son Taryn's difficulties with the king, there were...Tales of the Dragonriders!"

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Split the difference! I will be published by indie publisher extraordinaire Consortium Books.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Months, but it seems like YEARS AND YEARS. It is an interesting problem turning plots into stories in a world to which you don't know all the rules, especially when the creator of that world has everything around your story thought out in annoying detail.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

This is another weird question for me. I'd like to say The Dragonprince Trilogy but these are going to read very differently than the main books, although I think they'll be just as satisfying to the fans. They don't really read like my own stuff though either.

Let's go with "They're like R.A. Salvatore and Robert Jordan had a love child who avoided the excesses of both her fathers."

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

A grand idea by Aaron combined with pure, unadulterated avarice on my part.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I've never really collaborated like this before and the output from it is absolutely fascinating to me. The ideas behind these stories are pure Aaron, but the executions could not be more different than what he'd do.

So if seeing two very different authors come together on a bunch of novellas isn't interesting to you, then I don't think we're even playing in the same ballpark of what sounds cool. Or the same league. Possible not the same sport.

Okay, them's the questions! I think I'll tag Aaron Pogue since he's already linked up there and I'd be interested to hear what he thinks about these things. I'll tag Courtney Cantrell since I just hit the Publish button on her latest piece and she'll want to chat about that. Also, fellow Consortium author and head editor, Jessie Sanders is doing a Dragonrider novella so let's throw her in this pile as well.

I'm a couple short. But I'll keep thinking and if I come up with another couple authors I know and who will want to take part, I'll update it with their links as well.


How high’s the water, Mama? Five Feet High and Risin’

Hey gang! I'm sure my six week hiatus followed by begging for money basically killed whatever readership I had, and I'm sorry about that, but I'm back with a VENGEANCE! Here are some things I've been up to and some things you can look forward to.

  • I won Nanowrimo for the third time this year. I nearly did it before Thanksgiving, too, which was a very new experience. Both the last two times I scraped by with the skin of my teeth. Another new experience was starting on the second draft of a nano novel before Nanowrimo was even over.
  • The reason I'm working frantically on the second draft of a novel I finished one day after Thanksgiving is because, without quite knowing how, it's going to be the first full length novel I've ever published.
  • Sad news: Hell Bent for Leather has been bumped from January 2012 until  later in the year. Happy news: This is to make room for The Secret Life of TEEN Agents (working title), my Young Adult espionage thriller with three female protagonists.
  • Despite the fact that the timeline on TEEN Agents is hella short and sorta freaking me out, I think it's going to turn out really well and with a beautiful cover that's a modern take on Spy Fi.
  • This has opened up a huge opportunity for me on Hell Bent for Leather that I don't think I'm at liberty to talk about yet. Needless to say, it's going to make the book a lot better and also aid in its promotion. Watch this space for more info.
  • I'm also neck-deep in reworking the short story for the Winter issue of A Consortium of Worlds. That's also coming in January, so check it out!
  • We have a cover for the Kindle All Stars book and it's BRILLIANT! I'm so proud and excited to be part of that project I can hardly stand it.
  • Lastly on the Consortium and writing front, please take a moment to visit the Kickstarter page for The Dragonswarm and pledge whatever you can manage. We have some lovely thank you gifts for your pledges and you'll be helping both an amazing cause AND a great book (I'm reading it now).

Now, a little news about the blog, if you please.

  • I will be returning to a regular schedule next week, but it's going to shift to Tuesday/Thursday. A lot of my fellow Consortium bloggers are Monday/Wednesday, so I'm switching it up for anybody that reads all of us.
  • I owe you guys a comic book review. I have a thing in mind and, if I get to do it, it'll rock your socks and be live next Tuesday.
  • I passed on an opportunity to join an anthology of essays and true stories from stay-at-home dads. But it reminded me I've got a few great stories on the front, or at least stories of wicked misfortune that others take joy in hearing. So those tales will be a semi-permanent feature for a while. They won't be the only thing on the blog, but they might be the only thing for a while since I've been thinking about them so much.
  • That said, I've got a couple writing exercises that might make interesting blog posts, so that'll hopefully break up the monotony for those of you that don't care about my (mis)adventures in parenting.
  • I'm also taking requests. If there's anything I've touched on or any questions you'd like followed up on, let me know. Comics, mythology, writing theory, future projects, none of the above, just let me know.

I think that's it...for now. There's a bunch of little stuff (like the holidays and my children) mixed in there as well, so I'm likely to be fairly insane for the next couple months. It's sink or swim, but I prefer the breast stroke!

(That's what she said...)


Don’t You Patronize Me! (Well, maybe just this once)

My friend, mentor, and publisher, Aaron Pogue, had a bestselling fantasy novel last year called Taming Fire. I've mentioned it before. It turned out really well, and I'm not just saying that because I got to help out with it. It's fun kid-with-a-destiny-makes-his-way-in-the-world-with-magic-and-sword fantasy reading. Go check it out if you haven't already.

I had to say all that so I could talk about its sequel, The Dragonswarm, and all the rad stuff we're doing with that right now. First, let me tantalize you with the cover image by the lovely, talented, and much-dirtier-when-on-Twitter-than-you-would-expect-Courtney Cantrell. (Click to embiggen its awesomness.)

So I bring this to your attention because we've started a Kickstarter to fund the production of The Dragonswarm. But we don't want you to think about this Kickstarter as us begging for money or looking for a handout. We don't even want you to think of it as "investing" in the book or in Consortium Books. I'm going to borrow from Aaron's own post because he said it better than I could.

The goal of the campaign is to pay the production costs of publishing an indie novel. I won’t beg and plead with you to share your hard-earned money, because I’ll be publishing this book even if the campaign isn’t funded. I’ve been covering the costs myself for more than a year now.

No, this campaign (and every one that will follow) is an opportunity for those of you who want to be a part of it.

For those of you who want to see me (or any of our other writers) getting to be a full-time writer instead of holding down a day job to pay the bills.

For those of you who want to support a community that creates art as a thing of worth (not a thing of commercial value).

In short, if you want to help me keep doing what I’m doing, KickStarter gives me an easy way to accept your support. And it lets me respond with some very cool rewards. If you want, you can just look it as a way to pre-order your signed copy of The Dragonswarm, sent straight to your door.

I've gone on and on about the Consortium and our plans before, and a Kickstarter is huge for our "New Patronage" model. But other than buying books (which we REALLY appreciate, by the way), this is the first concrete way I've been able to ask for your support. It's support not just for one novel or one author, but for a whole new way of looking at art and culture. And we get to give you really cool presents as a thank you! You can't beat that!

Think about it...won't you?