HAS BOOK (Shield of Sea and Space Release Day)

Happy Tuesday, everyone! And it is happy indeed, being May 7th and therefore Shield of Sea and Space‘s release day.
Shield-Cover-sm

I’ve just returned from Portland, where I met 250 (!) totally amazing young people who had built games at the Oregon Game Project Challenge. It was an extremely moving, exciting event, and I hope to be involved more in the future. Portland was feeling the love, and the same weekend a really fantastic 4.5 star review was published in the Portland Book Review:

Overall, this final installment ends the story exactly how it should: with bravery, passion and a few tears. This is a wonderful trilogy and sci-fi fans who havenโ€™t yet read it are definitely missing out.

 
sitting-griffin-chick-silver-wolf-903-SW
!!!!GIVEAWAY!!!!
To celebrate, I am giving away a little wolf-colored Windstone griffin chick along with a signed copy of the book. There will be more giveaways as the summer goes on. Just comment here or share this post on facebook to be entered to win!
/!!!!GIVEAWAY!!!!


 
 
 
 
 
 
This year, Mac the Super Dachshund is emcee of the unboxing: shield-unboxing

It’s been a phenomenal road that still manages to feel just a bit unreal even after all these years. I’ll have more thoughts on ending a trilogy another time, but for now, I am humbled, grateful, and once again knocked over by the tremendous production staff at Pyr and what they have made with my work.

Andovar has been with me a long time, in various shapes and sizes. The first incarnation of the world was born in 1995, and here we are eighteen years later with a completed trilogy that is itself just the beginning of a world of stories. In one of the many odd little coincidences that have popped up lately, Jeremy Soule, composer of Skyrim (as well as Oblivion, Neverwinter Nights and more), whose kickstarter I chipped into a couple of months ago, posted today about completing the first movement of a work that had been with him for eighteen years. The brevity of his description resonates; words are for once inadequate.

I am full of thankfulness for the world and for all of you.

Shield of Sea and Space cover art! On shelves May 7, 2013!

Happy Wednesday! My blog is behaving a bit oddly, so if you’re seeing this post, it has been coaxed into cooperation at least for the moment. And with that, I give you:

Click to enlarge.

Cover art for Shield of Sea and Space, the third and final volume in the Chaos Knight trilogy (being that rare bird, the epic fantasy adventure that begins as a trilogy and stays a trilogy). It is, of course, by the marvelous Dehong He, upon whom I can never seem to shower enough praise. If you can believe it, the Chaos Knight is the first book cover series he’s done, and each volume has been more stunning than the last. When this one trickled out via a Pyr catalog earlier this year (I’ve been holding it while the title treatments were worked out — Jackie, the trilogy’s designer, has always had her work cut out for her figuring out how to stick text on top of such living, dynamic illustration as this), it was amazing to see book bloggers pick it out to gawk over the art.

So this is it: for me the beginning of the end of a life era. I can’t imagine it having a bigger bang than this stunning cover. Look upon it, ye mighty, and — well, you know. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I am in debt as always to the wonderful production team at Pyr, and to Lou Anders for taking a chance on this series and maintaining Pyr’s commitment to fine fantasy artists. If you’ve followed the trajectory of fantasy art covers in today’s age of Photoshop fix-ups and dwindling cover budgets, you’ll understand how remarkable it truly is, and I will always feel humbled by how they’ve transformed this stuff that came out of my head into stunning artifacts that speak the language of another world through their every detail.

Signed copies now at Mysterious Galaxy, and 50% off Sword of Fire and Sea from Pyr!

Whew. Back in SF today, successfully having survived another book signing! Thank you very much to those of you who made it, and those who didn’t, we missed you!

I often receive emails or facebook messages asking where signed copies of Sword or Lance can be obtained. If you can’t make it to an event (say, SFinSF on May 19th?), the very fine folk at Mysterious Galaxy have several copies on-hand in San Diego, freshly signed from this weekend.

I’ve gushed about Mysterious Galaxy before and will add only that every visit reinforces their awesomeness. Great conversation with all who turned out on subjects ranging from paranormal romance to Philip K. Dick to game designing a fantasy world and more. I try to pick up works by authors I haven’t heard of before while I’m there, and left with three.

There were also gryphon cookies! As you can see. I made the cookie cutter using a “kit” — really a long strip of aluminum and some adhesive to bind the ends together — and a later post will document the creation of the exceedingly rare gryphon sugar cookie. You’d think someone would have cornered the gryphon cookie cutter market by now! Also featured was interactive frosting, meaning that we were letting the cookies cool and wanted to test the artistic ability of attendees — Bill is shown here frosting his, and the results were so spectacular they defied photography.

Lastly, Pyr is running a 50% off coupon along with a brief interview in the most recent edition of their newsletter! Head over here to sign up and get your coupon. ๐Ÿ™‚ You can also like the Pyr Page on Facebook, where there’s a direct link to the newsletter and coupon.

And now, a picture of Isis, my family’s cat — rescued from the humane society in San Diego waaaay back in 1994, and still going strong:

More soon!

Cover art for Lance of Earth and Sky! Plus, get Clockwork Phoenix on Kindle

We’re sliding into the holidays, and there is prettiness to share! Behold, Dehong’s latest lovely creation:


(Click the image to open a larger version.)

You can now preorder Lance of Earth and Sky on Amazon also. ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s truly an honor to have another cover from Dehong. I understand he’s been very busy with Time Voyager (and their MMO coincidentally titled Chaos Gate!), so it’s especially fortunate that he was able to make some time for Andovar. ๐Ÿ™‚

Also, you can now pick up Clockwork Phoenix on Kindle for $3.99! The anthology was critically acclaimed and has some great stories in it from Laird Barron, Leah Bobet, Michael J. DeLuca, and others — including my fableish thing “Root and Vein”, which got a nice call out from this recent review at Dark Cargo.

Reviews continue to come in for Sword of Fire and Sea and I have been inexcusably lax in getting them all compiled onto my website. But That Bookish Girl saysSword of Fire and Sea by Erin Hoffman was an incredibly exciting and compelling read.” — and SFFWorld.com weighs in on gryphons and more: “Through her characters, Hoffman imbues the Gryphons with a true sense of awe, and an initial feeling of them being the Other.”

I hope you are all winding toward a great holiday season, and an even better 2012.

Goodreads Giveaway of Sword of Fire and Sea

Poking my head in here since it looks like Goodreads has approved my giveaway — must have missed the email!

On Halloween entries will close, so get it while it’s hot! Three copies up for grabs.

More news… soon. ๐Ÿ™‚ The game is afoot! Also, in Andovar news, this past week I received the countersigned contract for Shield of Sea and Space, which means: IT’S A TRILOGY!!! Lance of Earth and Sky comes out April 2012, and I turn in Shield in June.

But I know you’re really here for giveaway details. Let’s see if this works!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Sword of Fire and Sea by Erin Hoffman

Sword of Fire and Sea

by Erin Hoffman

Giveaway ends October 31, 2011.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Creature of the Week #6: The Burrowing Owl

Welcome to Creature of the Week #6! First a public service announcement: Sword of Fire and Sea is live on Amazon Kindle! It’s been up for about a day and has popped onto a “top 100” list, so many of you have found it already, but this is a more persistent heads-up. ๐Ÿ™‚ Two nice reviews have also come in, one from Scott Barnes at NewMyths.com, who calls SWORD “a swashbuckling fantasy adventure reminiscent of the golden age of high fantasy dominated by the likes of Terry Brooks and Tad Williams.” He also offers up an observation on fantasy politics:

Hoffman has created a fun world populated by gryphons, elemental witches, pirates, and goddesses. I greatly enjoyed the maritime setting, the salty air and cry of gulls never far from my imagination. Many high fantasies ignore commerce all together, as if the economies of their worlds ran on warfare alone and food grew in peopleโ€™s bellies. But Hoffmanโ€™s world is based on politics and trade and the correct assumption (very relevant in todayโ€™s political climate) that people in power have the most to lose from change and often will accept a worse fate for their countries in exchange for the status quo.

Thanks, Scott!

This week’s creature was also chosen by voting on the the World of Andovar page! It is, in a way, a hybrid of the two top vote-getters, being both “something from the sky” and “something from down below the earth”: the fabulous little burrowing owl. These guys are so cute that it’s hard to pick just a couple of photos of them, but I did my best.

Burrowing owls have attracted recent attention from conservationists as habitat destruction has driven them into endangered species status in Canada. They’re threatened in Mexico, and under observation in the western US, which comprises the rest of their range. According to Defenders of Wildlife, their wild population is estimated at less than 10,000 breeding pairs.

The burrowing owl isn’t the smallest owl in the world (that’d be the elf owl, but it’s pretty close! With length averaging between 6-10″, males and females being the same size (unusual in raptors). Unlike most owls, burrowing owls are not completely nocturnal, and hunt (insects and small rodents mostly) during the day. They strike prey with their feet, and makes its nest in holes dug out of the ground. Baby burrowing owl chicks can fly at six weeks of age, and make a rattlesnake-like hissing noise when threatened.

Cute enough for the silver screen, the latest highly recognizable Hollywood burrowing owl is Digger, first appearing in Kathryn Lasky’s The Capture, and one of the main characters if the stunning Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole AnimalLogic film.

What do you think? Would you want to meet an owl gryphon?

Just saying… ๐Ÿ˜‰

(Okay, can’t help it. Some more photos, these guys are too cute.)

Meet Thalnarra! One hour left!

This is a very quick post to call your attention to Thalnarra, who waits for you in the magical land of ebay! Thalnarra is one of Melody Pena’s Windstone griffins, hand-painted to look like your favorite gryphon fire priestess. In many ways Thalnarra is the centerpoint of Andovar as a world; I hear frequently from readers that she was their favorite, so it’s amazing to see her “in the feathers” here.

Melody did such an incredible job. If you’ve ever seen a Windstone in person you know that photos don’t do them justice, even when the photos are amazing (there are more in that album, and on ebay). I want to gush about this for thousands of words, but I also want you to actually read this and then click right over to the ebay auction and try your luck.

Honestly. If you had told me five years ago that Melody would be painting one of her amazing griffins to look like a character I’d invented, I would ask you to share whatever you were smoking.

Stay tuned next week for a post about the making of Thalnarra, and to congratulate her new owner. ๐Ÿ™‚

Where to get signed copies!

For those of you kind and intrepid and incredible folk who have been interested in signed copies of Sword of Fire and Sea, here are some answers!

First, you can come to the next signing, which will be July 23, 2011 at Borderlands Books in San Francisco. If you can’t make it there, I’ll be at Westercon July 2-4, Dragon*Con September 2-5, and World Fantasy Con October 27-30. I may be adding a couple of more trips; when I have them finalized I’ll be updating this page with them.

Secondly, you can order signed copies anytime from Mysterious Galaxy! Mysterious Galaxy is a fantastic independent science fiction, fantasy, mystery, and horror bookstore in San Diego (my hometown!). They’ve been around since 1993 and have been keeping genre alive and building one of the best genre fiction communities in the country.

I have many memories of peeking into Mysterious Galaxy’s windows (there’s a Japanese restaurant in the same center that my family has been going to for years), so it was particularly awesome to “launch” Sword of Fire and Sea there officially. And despite it being my first signing, I don’t know how you could ask for better support: they advertised the heck out of the event, and Maryelizabeth provided terrific advice over facebook before I came down. Patrick and David were wonderful throughout, making sure everything ran smoothly and providing a convention’s worth of stimulating science fiction and fantasy conversation in just a couple of hours.

So there are your answers! Go forth and buy books from a terrific San Diego institution! There are more photos from the signing on the Andovar facebook page (but you’re already a member there, right?), and on Flickr.


Kiba, fresh in her summer coat, says: shop from sources who put good things into the world!

Poised on the threshold of a lifelong dream

I’ve been thinking about this blog post for a long time, and thinking about the subject for even longer. But as is often the case with such things, a picture gives you the important information faster. ๐Ÿ™‚

And in case that’s not clear enough:

I have author copies, they are beautiful, and the book is available on Amazon now, though at the moment there are only 11 5 2! left in stock.

Kiba, as you can see, is quite excited.

Nothing I could say would be even remotely adequate. I have memories of walking through the aisles at Crown Books at ten years old and thinking about how amazing authors were. I remember being midway through a fantasy book once and being suddenly existentially struck by what an amazing thing a book is. That we think of it as a finished object, a thing, but what we don’t consciously wrap our minds around while reading is how every word put down is a moment in another person’s life, that each page and collection of pages is a chronology of experiences, probably multiple experiences, days and weeks and months of hard work and pure invention.

And now I have one, and, perhaps in part because I work in games I am unusually aware of the number of people that go into this (and yet I’m not as aware as Lou Anders is, who actually works with them all). In Prometheus’s case, right around fifty hardworking people who all touch every book at some stage of its production. Which basically multiplies the complex work of the story, refines it, polishes it, makes sure that every moment of your reading experience is a crafted one, carefully considered. They did a hell of a good job.

It’s obvious, I think, from my shield-banging about sustainability and organic food and conservation activism that I am a pretty passionate environmentalist. My tax return so attests. And I love technology, and I love what it’s doing to the experience of reading. But crafted objects like this, touched by so many people, delivered to you, the reader, are what will keep paper books around, at least for the next while. And though I am biased (ridiculously biased!), this one is a treasure, and I am humbled to have it. If you seek it out (or if I throw it at you — cough), I hope you enjoy it too. And if you do, or even if you’re just interested and haven’t taken the plunge yet, I’d love if you’d consider joining the party on the Andovar World Facebook page, where there will be info, links, giveaways, and more. ๐Ÿ™‚

If you want to read more of my thoughts about game design, storytelling, and a bunch of other things, before I was flummoxed by this meteor of awesome, Jeremy Jones was kind enough to interview me for Clarkesworld Magazine. If you take a gander I’d love to know what you think.