Now THAT Was a Book Reading

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So my book reading at Books Inc in Mountain View happened, and I’m really happy with how it turned out. We had a lot of people show up – more than at first I thought – and there was a lot of positive energy from the people in the audience which made it easy to read.

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I actually was less nervous and stuttery speaking to this crowd than I was when I was sitting alone in my great room reading the passages I had planned. The thing I’m happiest about, however, is that I planned what I was going to read deliberately.

Normally I read, by reflex, the first section of whatever new thing I’ve got. But sometimes the setup is not that interesting, so I’ve tried reading really exciting bits. But that doesn’t seem to work either – people demand context.

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That led to a brainflash: I decided I should think not about what I wanted to read but what I wanted people to get out of the reading. I chose the first page and a half of FROST MOON to set the stage. At the last minute, I also decided to read a page and a half of BLOOD ROCK, filled with police, magic and vampires, to show progression in the world (and unabashedly to show off what I thought was a nice bit of writing). And then I chose to read the first half of a chapter out of LIQUID FIRE, tuning again at the last minute, to show off the action and adventure of “The Battle of Union Square.” People seemed to love it – I even got applause.

What’s more, the sequence of selections enabled me to talk about various aspects of the world I’d built – setting it in a time and place, making the action realistic, exploring consequences – and led into a really good Q&A session. Finally, I left a little time out to read the first chunk of THE CLOCKWORK TIME MACHINE, which also seemed to strike a chord. At the end, we had a line of people for signing, including one who bought a copy of the whole trilogy; many of those joined us for a victory dinner.

Wow. I am so happy that you all came, and that you all liked it. You really made my day. Thank you.

At first I thought just enough people showed up to fill half the seats, but I was wrong – there were actually many more people standing and watching who didn’t sit down because they were late. I didn’t see them because I was paying attention to the nearer audience, but I know this because some of them came up afterward to talk to me … and others took pictures and sent them to me.

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What a wonderful event. I want to send my sincere thanks to Alex, the whole staff of Books Inc, and the staff of the upstairs Cafe Romanza, who have not only made this a great experience for me, but also have made this environment one of the best places I know to sit down, to get some good coffee, and to find and read a good book – or to imagine and write one.

-the Centaur

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Reading LIQUID FIRE at Books Inc

So it’s crept up upon me: the first author event for Dakota Frost #3, LIQUID FIRE, this Wednesday the 26th at 7pm at Books Inc!

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Well, as I recall, we had a small reading at Clockwork Alchemy, but this is the official premiere of the book! What’s more wonderful is that this reading will be in the bookstore that hosts the cafe where a goodly chunk of LIQUID FIRE was written!

http://www.booksinc.net/event/anthony-francis-books-inc-mountain-view

Local author Anthony Francis shares his latest urban fantasy, Liquid Fire. Filled with spectacular magic, pyrotechnic action, and kinky romance, Liquid Fire is the action-packed third installment in the Dakota Frost, Skindancer series.

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I’ll likely read a bit of FROST MOON to set context, then some of LIQUID FIRE, take questions, and finish up with a preview of something special coming soon!

So please drop in and support your local independent bookstore … and your favorite magical tattoo artist!

-the Centaur

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The Trilogy is Out

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Fans of magical tattoos, rejoice – at long last, the first Skindancer trilogy is complete!

A few days ago, I received my first copy of LIQUID FIRE! While there are many, many more Dakota Frost stories to be told, these first three books show Dakota’s transformation from a magical tattoo artist content to ink in her own studio to a magician aware of what’s at stake on the global stage – in a world now suddenly aware of her!

Featuring magical tattooing, magic graffiti, magic firespinning, vampires, werewolves, fae, dragons, and precocious teenagers, the Skindancer series is my love letter to Atlanta, to the Bay Area, and to both America, its traditional culture, and its counterculture, and the delicious melting mix when all those things come together.

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FROST MOON, BLOOD ROCK and LIQUID FIRE are all available or up for preorder on Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Google Play, and Kobo. Why don’t you all visit with Dakota … I’m sure she’d love it if you’d drop in.

-the Centaur

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LIQUID FIRE is available for preorder

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At long last, Dakota Frost, Skindancer #3, LIQUID FIRE, is available on Amazon – for preorders at least. The actual release date is May 22, but you can request your Kindle version now.

In FROST MOON, we were introduced to Dakota Frost, best magical tattooist in the southeast. In BLOOD ROCK, Dakota had to step up to defend the city against a plague of magic graffiti. In LIQUID FIRE, a chance meeting on an airplane sucks Dakota into a battle between fire magicians over the mystic substance liquid fire – the key to incredibly powerful spells, distilled from the blood of dragons – and possibly the key to engineering a hatching of a new dragon, long thought extinct.

Featuring fantastic magic and cutting-edge science, secret societies and codebreaking wizards, spectacular action and motherly love, LIQUID FIRE is a book I’m immensely proud to bring to you, the third but not the last installment in Dakota Frost’s epic story.

-the Centaur

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Dakota Says Hello

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Things are getting closer and closer on various fronts. LIQUID FIRE has gone through page proofs and we’re close to picking a release date. I’m closing in on a rough draft of SPECTRAL IRON (#4) for Camp Nanowrimo, and am also making progress on PHANTOM SILVER (#5) as I write details in SPECTRAL that affects PHANTOM and vice versa.

And I’ve started character drawings again! Above you see Dakota. She says hello! Below is Jewel Grace, a fire magician and Dakota’s love interest in LIQUID FIRE. I’m working on drawings of Cinnamon as well, but don’t have one as ready to go as these two are.

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Hopefully soon I’ll have some announcements about LIQUID FIRE!

-Anthony

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I’ll be at the Clockwork Alchemy conference this weekend

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Clockwork Alchemy is steampunk, but I’ll have copies of FROST MOON and BLOOD ROCK for sale. Also, the editor and I have begun discussing LIQUID FIRE, which we will dive into in earnest after Memorial Day Weekend.

Hope to see all you Dakota fans there!

-the Centaur

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LIQUID FIRE is on its way to Bell Bridge books

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(NB: crossposted from The Library of Dresan, just to see if I can figure out how to make that work).

So, at long last … I have sent LIQUID FIRE to Bell Bridge books.

Phew.

This has been a long time in coming; the book that became LIQUID FIRE started with some florid philosophizing about the nature of fire and life by my protagonist Dakota Frost – 270 words written way back in 2008:

Liquid Fire

A Dakota Frost, Skindancer Novel

by
Dr. Anthony G. Francis, Jr.

Started: 2008-04-19
Rough Draft: 2012-09-26
First Draft: 2012-10-23
Completed Draft: 2013-10-19
Beta Draft: 2013-11-01
Gamma Draft: 2014-04-05

Along the way, the story became something very different, an exploration of Atlanta and San Francisco and Hawaii, of learning and science and magic and mysticism. My obsessive attention to realism led to endless explorations and quite a few set pieces.

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Now it’s in the hands of Debra Dixon, who’s already started to send me feedback. Feedback I’m going to do my best to shelve until May 1st, so I can focus the rest of April on SPECTRAL IRON, which is due early next year. Aaa!

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But for now, my labors, I rest. If only for a little while.

-the Centaur

P.S. This is is my fifth completed novel, and the third Dakota Frost. Only 18 more Dakota Frosts to go in the main arc!

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Dakota in the Bay

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I’m hard at work on LIQUID FIRE, the third Dakota Frost novel, which reintroduces Dakota to the San Francisco Bay Area. This is a location that will be increasingly important to the Dakota Frost novels – in part because I live here now and I’m always thinking about how my Atlanta native magical tattoo artist will deal with the crazy of the Bay – but mostly because this place, on this one random trip from Dakota’s perspective, will introduce her to many new friends, enemies and settings that will be with her for the rest of her life – or at least for the next several books.

-Anthony

Pictured: the courtyard of Nola, one of my favorite restaurants … and yet another real location I’ve managed to work into a Dakota Frost book.

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BLOOD ROCK on its way to Audible

I’ve heard back from Traci Odom, the audio reader and BLOOD ROCK is on its way! I have to send in a pronunciation key, but hopefully not too far in the future BLOOD ROCK will be on Audible!

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Burning that liquid fire…

Back at work on LIQUID FIRE and it’s progressing well. From a recent scene:

“Does … does every tattoo use a brand new needle? For health or something?”

“Every time,” I said. “For health reasons, of course, but for the art too, and most of all for the magic. You don’t want some scratcher muddling your hide with a worn-out needle filled with stray mana traces it picked up from half a dozen other pigments.”

“You don’t like scratchers, do you?” She leaned closer to the horn, still not touching it.

“I love my work,” I said, standing, oddly irritated. I sat down on the edge of the butcher’s block, the cabinet to my back. “No, that’s not it. I care about the people getting tattoos. They’re permanent marks. Every time you pick up the needle, you have to give it your A game.”

Onward!

-the Centaur

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