Monthly Archives: September 2015

Disney Infinity: Better Than Candles

So, in all the excitement surrounding the recent first anniversary of the Monkey Queen, I may have forgotten to mention that it was also…my birthday. And since it was, I may have decided to gift myself a few things.

DI 0915

Barbossa looks just as awesome as I expected; Jack Sparrow should be ticked that he came in second-best. Violet and Mrs. Incredible got there in one piece, and I’m grateful for that; those figures look quite fragile. I’ve never even seen Wreck-It Ralph (I know, I know), but Vanellope came with the others, so. And the Rapunzel is adorable, even if she may be getting on Merida’s nerves.

Yeah, I’ll probably need to expand to a second shelf soon. And the flash on my smartphone does make Sabine look rather orange. But I’m quite pleased with the way my collection is shaping up! I just need half a dozen figures to fill out my Disney Infinity 1.0 and 2.0 wants. And then just Minnie to finish…

[checks calendar]

Aw, crap. I would write this on new release day. And Chewie and Han look so good, and I need all the Rebels figures now, and I don’t have to go to Best Buy for Mulan…

Which is why I’ll mention again that I have a Disney Infinity wish list on Amazon. Belated birthday presents will not be looked down upon!

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Willow Wednesdays: Charmed, I’m Sure

Welcome to Willow Wednesdays! We’re featuring art by Willow, the cover artist for the Monkey Queen series, with her kind permission! Read on after the cut!

Willow is gearing up for the fall convention season, with appearances at Quai des Bulles in Saint Malo October 23-25, and Art to Play in Nantes November 21-22. She’ll have copies of The Journey Of Earth, and she’ll also have these adorable charms for sale!

She’s also accepting preorders for these charms, and she’s shipping them worldwide! Check here for information. And next time, she may, just may, be doing a flaming penguin-cosplaying hedgedog charm…

(Don’t ask. Just have fun!)

Art © 2015 by Willow. All rights reserved; used by permission. You can view Willow’s extensive gallery on DeviantArt, see her works in progress by liking her Facebook page, follow her on Twitter, and buy prints and much more at her Society6 webstore, including exclusive Monkey Queen items!

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all these things you blogged, you blogged sincerely

First, I realized that I forgot to include a link to KBoards in my last post, so consider that rectified. I usually hang out in the Writer’s Cafe forum, using the cunningly conceived forum name “Robert Dahlen”, but there are also forums there for discussing Kindles, other e-readers, books and other subjects. Come on by and say hi! More after the cut. Continue reading

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Thank you, Harvey.

I began writing the Monkey Queen books after I realized that you could self-publish e-books through Amazon. As I wrote, I started looking for information and advice – not on the actual writing, but the formatting, the cover design, the publishing process, all that. And I got lucky – thanks to a blog post by the amazing Kate Danley, I found a forum that had all that and more, KBoards.

I lurked for months before finally taking the plunge. Quickly, through KBoards, I found people who could handle the formatting for me, and who could design a cover over art I provided, when I realized I had no skill at doing either. I got tips on how and where to market the book, and advice on writing, and encouragement at times when I needed the support. Giveaways, interviews, reviewers, promo sites, KBoards helped me find them all, and some you may have discovered my books because of that.

More importantly…suggestions made by two other members led me to DeviantArt, where I found Willow. And when a blue-haired new member took a liking to me, I became awesome pals with Shei Darksbane. Two of my favorite people in the world…and I might never have met them if it weren’t for KBoards.

The founder of KBoards, Harvey Chute, passed away today after a lengthy battle with cancer. I joined too late to really interact with him, but by every indication, he was a gentleman and a loving husband and father. I’m sorry I didn’t get to know him better.

And I will always, always be grateful for what KBoards has brought me, and to Harvey for starting it.

Thank you, Harvey.

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Willow Wednesdays: Marking the Journey

Welcome to Willow Wednesdays! We’re featuring art by Willow, the cover artist for the Monkey Queen series, with her kind permission! Read on after the cut! Continue reading

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Everyone in town blogged Mr. Webster

We’re kicking off this Sunday catchup, and wrapping up our anniversary week, with big news: We’re pleased to announce that Willow, who has done such wonderful covers for the Monkey Queen series, will be returning to do the cover for the upcoming fifth book, Redblade! We still can’t set a publication date yet, but if you were to say “mid-November”, we wouldn’t argue with you. More after the cut!

Speaking of, congratulations to Willow for completing her BD, The Journey Of Earth, and getting it to the printer! She’ll have copies for sale next month! Look for a peek at the cover later this week, and if you want to preorder a copy, contact her through her Facebook or DeviantArt pages! (Remember that the book is only French…but things can change.)

If you missed this week’s posts, you really should go back and read them all. It was fun looking back at the Monkey Queen’s first year. We hope you’ll stick around; the best is yet to come for Michiko and Beth!

Oh, and the anniversary day happened to coincide with a certain day in the author’s life, so he may have been out last night eating a hamburger and ice cream to celebrate it. Please don’t spoil the Doctor Who season opener here. Thanks.

And speaking of thanks… The music starts at about 30 seconds in, and coincidentally, that’s when someone starts chopping onions nearby, because I’m reminded again of how fortunate I am to be able to do this, and how grateful I am to all of you for your support. Thank you again, thank you all.

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Anniversary sale extended through 9/21

We’ll have our regular Sunday catchup post shortly (with some exciting news!), but we do have an important announcement: Due to Amazon having site-wide issues, we’re extending the Monkey Queen anniversary sale, with all four books for 99 cents US each, through Monday night 9/21 at 9:00 PM Pacific time. (If the US price jumps to $2.99 at any point, try back in a bit.) Click here for the sale links, and thanks for stopping by.

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Redblade: An advance peek!

Happy Anniversary, Michiko and Beth! We’re wrapping up our Anniversary Week, our look back at the first year of the Monkey Queen, but we’re going to look forward today instead. After the cut, you’ll get to be among the first to read an excerpt of the upcoming fifth Monkey Queen book, Redblade! I still can’t give a firm publication date, but I think “Fall 2015” will work for now.

I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who has done anything to inspire or support the Monkey Queen series so far. It’s a list that would be longer than this excerpt if I typed it all out! I am grateful to all of you, I am overjoyed that I get to share Michiko and Beth’s adventures with you, and I thank you all.

After the cut: The first part of Chapter Three of Redblade! Enjoy! Continue reading

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The Anniversary Sale is on!

Anniversary day is here (well, almost here on the West Coast)! Celebrate one year of the Monkey Queen by picking up all four e-books for 99 cents each! This is a sale that will never be repeated, and it ends Sunday night at 9:00 PM Pacific time / midnight Eastern time / 600 Monday CET! Here are the links for all four books; remember they’re available exclusively at Amazon. And if you have them all already, don’t forget that e-books make great gifts!

Of Introductions And Abductions

The Brigadoon Boondoggle

Under The Stars Of Faerie

A Tiding Of Magpies

And don’t forget that if you’re in a country that has its own Amazon store – Canada, the UK, Australia, France, the Netherlands, Germany etc. – you have your own links! Read on after the cut to find the link to the first Monkey Queen book, Of Introductions And Abductions, and click on “Robert Dahlen” on that page to find the other books. Thanks! Continue reading

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Behind The Scenes: A Tiding Of Magpies

It’s Monkey Queen anniversary week! We’ll be celebrating all week with a look behind the scenes at all four Monkey Queen novels and much more, and we’ve reached the fourth and most recent book, A Tiding Of Magpies!

I had been toying with when to make the Big Reveal that happens during this book when the idea for the story came to me. At first, I thought it would wait until later in the series, but I felt it wouldn’t be fair, and it was limiting my plans for further books. Then one day, I happened to be poking around the TV Tropes web site, and I wound up on the Tanabata (Qixi) page and read about the cowherd and the weaver. Story ideas started bouncing around in my head, but I was reluctant to act on them at first, because Barry Hughart had already retold the story in Bridge Of Birds, my all-time favorite novel. I then realized that he’d published the book thirty years earlier, there was plenty of room for another re-telling, and it was a perfect place to put the Big Reveal.

I mentioned earlier that I try to get each Monkey Queen book up to 40,000 words or more. This one was falling short, until I decided that to help the plot make sense, I needed to tell the story of Qixi/Tanabata as it happened in the Far Lands. Thus, “The Author, The Archer And The King Of Magpies”, which you can read here. Both the author and the archer are based on real people, but I am sworn to secrecy about who they are.

Other notes: I was glad to bring back Glien and show he was more than a one-joke character after all. Beth’s wand was supposed to be more traditional looking, but I liked the design Willow came up with for the cover and ran with it. I still love the scene in Wonderland – I wanted to show that, in a way, the regulars and staff there are an extended family, and if you mess with one of them, you mess with them all. The kitsune was inspired by Willow’s many drawings of them, and I hope we get to see more of her and Toyotoki. And Auntie Ting was one of my favorite characters to write ever. I want to bring her back someday.

Favorite Line (taken out of context): “I don’t want to lose you.”

Favorite Reference: Beth geeking out over Bridge Of Birds. She has excellent taste in books.

Most Obscure Reference: Beth’s t-shirt in the first chapter. If there’s any justice, though, fame will soon come for…SPACE CATS!!!

The BAKA! Slap: Technically, I know it’s Japanese, and the Far Lands are more Chinese in spirit. But I knew that I needed a painful way for Auntie Ting to make a point, and this isn’t Earth anyway, so I went with it. And I’m still amused by the fact that the only character who gets the baka slap twice in the book is…Michiko.

And I do have something to say about the Big Reveal: It’s for real. It’s not a dream, not a hoax, not an illusion. And it will continue to affect Michiko and Beth down the road.

Did you know: When I came up with the idea for the 2015 April Fool’s joke – give three short story titles and make the readers guess which one was real – “A Game Of Scones” was one of the joke titles, and an obvious one at that. So naturally, my brain came up with the plot the next day. I’m quite fond of this one; it’s a bit different, it’s sweet (no pun intended), and I like how Beth is the one who comes up with the solution in the end. (And FYI: I may still write “Hound Of The D’Ubervilles” someday.) Read it here, or click the “short story” tag to read them all!

Saturday: A surprise!

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