Tag Archives: anniversary week

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.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Sunday catchup

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

Leave a Comment

Filed under sneak preview

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

Leave a Comment

Filed under where to buy

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!

Leave a Comment

Filed under behind the scenes

Anniversary Week: Special one time only sale!

We (we?) here at Monkey Queen Books are pleased to announce the first of two surprises to mark our first anniversary! Starting at 9:00 Pacific time Friday / midnight Eastern time Saturday / 600 CET Saturday, we’re holding our first and last Anniversary Sale! All four Monkey Queen e-books will be just 99 cents each, for 48 hours only! We’ll get you the link when the sale goes live; remember that you can only find the Monkey Queen e-books on Amazon.

However…if you’re in a country that has its own Amazon store – Canada, the UK, Australia, France, the Netherlands, Germany and more – the sale has already gone live! Read on after the cut to find the link to the first Monkey Queen book, Of Introductions And Abductions, and click on my (my?) name on that page to find the other books. Happy reading! Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under announcements, where to buy

Behind The Scenes: Under The Stars Of Faerie

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’re up to book three, Under The Stars Of Faerie!

This came about when two different plot ideas merged together. One was the concept of a mad gremlin kidnapping Mandy, and Mec coming to the rescue along with Michiko and Beth. The other was inspired by my fondness for the Northern California Pirate Festival, and earlier ideas I’d had but never used for stories about airships. I was lucky enough to figure out how to blend the two, and I’m happy with the result.

I’ve become quite fond of The Blade Of The West Wind and her crew. They may not be quite piratey, but they were still a blast to write. If I can ever perfect the 48-hour day or get my hands on a TARDIS, I just might write more with them. And I was quite happy with how Mec developed as the story went along; he is definitely one of my favorite supporting characters.

Favorite Line: Beth’s comment, “Time may heal all wounds, but chocolate can make a great bandage.” It should be a t-shirt, shouldn’t it?

Favorite Reference: I wrote the bit with Beth running back to grab a towel on March 11, 2014…Douglas Adams’ birthday. Second is a tie between Rosie (look up “Rosie the Riveter” sometime) and Old Fred (who apparently changed jobs after helping to save Pepperland).

Most Obscure Reference: As I was working on this book, some friends of mine on Facebook were posting weird album covers. One of them (actually an EP) was by a 1960s Swedish instrumental band, who were depicted as astronauts. The EP title was… The Impertinent Spotnicks in Jazzland. I could not resist.

Did you know: “Best Christmas Ever!” probably deserves its own Behind The Scenes. Look for it on Black Friday. Read it here in the meantime, or click the “short story” tag to read them all!

Tomorrow: BAKA!!

Leave a Comment

Filed under behind the scenes

Behind The Scenes: The Brigadoon Boondoggle

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’re up to the second, The Brigadoon Boondoggle!

The basic plot for this was inspired by some long-ago ideas I had for a science fiction comic with political overtones. The two sides competing over the meadow were a more rat/mouse like species and an avian species, both of which figured in the sci-fi comic, but after a draft I changed one, then the other. The bawsons were originally more like badgers than raccoons, but I changed them for a reason I’ll explain when Redblade comes out.

Musgrove was originally intended to have a partner called Hess, as a tribute to two characters in an older unpublished work, but I realized it was excess baggage. I did find a use for the name, and HESS does actually stand for something. Someday, I’ll figure out what that is.

The dedication came about because I was feeling guilty about using refugee spokesman Neil Gaiman as a basis for a comic relief character in a book about two groups of refugees that were in conflict. I’m glad I did it, especially now that things have gotten so much worse…

And the fight scene with the Jakes was largely taken from another comic script I had written back in the day, as a one-shot introductory special. I still love Little Jake’s “Oh, I think I’ll just lie here until the pain subsides” line.

Favorite Reference: Beth’s reading material during her recovery includes the latest Maggie MacKay book. Maggie’s adventures are written by one of my favorite writers and inspirations, Kate Danley. Go read them!

Most Obscure Reference: Miraculous Ladybug. It won’t be when the show actually premieres in October (December in the US), but for now it counts. But I’m still glad I did it; if there was ever a TV show that would inspire Michiko to Beth-like levels of geekdom, this will be it.

Did you know: The short story “Three Women In A Stew (To Say Nothing Of The Guinea Pig)” takes place between the last two scenes of The Brigadoon Boondoggle? You can read it here, or click the “short story” tag to read all the Monkey Queen short stories to date!

Tomorrow: Willow Wednesdays!

Leave a Comment

Filed under behind the scenes

Behind the Scenes: Of Introductions And Abductions

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, starting with the first book, Of Introductions And Abductions!

I’ve told the story before, but I’ll summarize it here: I originally created Michiko, Beth, and many of their friends and foes for a proposed comic book series many years ago. I rediscovered the work I had done on it in March 2013, and the basic plot for the first story translated from comic to prose nicely.

I know the Monkey Queen books are shorter than many, but I’ve always tried to get them up to 40,000 words or more. To do that for this first book, I ended up adding an entire chapter, which wound up as Chapter Seven. I’m glad I did; as it turns out, it was the perfect time to show Michiko doing something heroic. And her line when the troll threatens to eat her and the baby – “Oh, I am so not buying your diet book” – is one of my favorites in the whole series so far.

One example of how things can evolve as you write a story: In the Wonderland scene, I decided that I needed a character to help explain the Puck-Wrexham relationship. So, I worked up this quiet faerie with her nose in a book. Then, I needed someone to put the Jakes in their place. Then, I realized how well she played with Windsor. And by the time I got to the climax, Scylla had gone from mousy bookworm to exiled rebel. Someday, I hope to expand on that more; there’s a lot of her story still to tell.

Favorite Reference: When I decided that Michiko’s ring tone HAD to be a Monkees song. I would never have forgiven myself if I didn’t.

Most Obscure Reference: There was a restaurant in San Francisco my pal Barry and I went to in the 1980s for breakfast a time or two. Instead of hash browns, their potato side was big pieces of spuds fried with onions and maybe peppers. They were called…”Hot Potato Chunkies”.

How to subtly tie things together: Robyn’s reference to Wrexham persecuting the spriggans was added at the last minute, after I’d finished the first draft of the second book. And when I redid a certain scene in Chapter Two, I was able to sneak in an early reference to Beth’s love of airships.

Did you know: Although “Curse of the Werecorgi” is set after Under The Stars Of Faerie, it was technically the first Monkey Queen story to be published. It was mostly written as a parody, but the last scene, where Beth gets to totally geek out, is one that still makes me grin. Oh, the author’s name “Rosie Darniels”? This story was written a month or so after John Travolta butchered Idina Menzel’s name at the Oscars. Some wiseacre created a “John Travolta Name Generator” soon after that. Guess what name came out when I typed “Robert Dahlen” in there? Anyway, if you’ve never read it for some reason, click here, or use the “short stories” tag to read them all!

Tuesday: The con is on!

Leave a Comment

Filed under behind the scenes