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Cover Reveal: HEXOMANCY by Michael R. Underwood


The Qwillery is absolutely thrilled to reveal the cover for HEXOMANCY, the 4th Ree Reyes novel by Michael R. Underwood. This is a fabulous and fun series that you should be reading and you have plenty of time to read the prior novels before HEXOMANCY is published on September 14th.







Previously

Geekomancy
Ree Reyes 1
Pocket Star, July 10, 2012
eBook, 400 pages

Cover Reveal: HEXOMANCY by Michael R. Underwood
Clerks meets Buffy the Vampire the Slayer in this original urban fantasy eBook about Geekomancers—humans that derive supernatural powers from pop culture.

Ree Reyes’s life was easier when all she had to worry about was scraping together tips from her gig as a barista and comicshop slave to pursue her ambitions as a screenwriter.

When a scruffy-looking guy storms into the shop looking for a comic like his life depends on it, Ree writes it off as just another day in the land of the geeks. Until a gigantic “BOOM!” echoes from the alley a minute later, and Ree follows the rabbit hole down into her town’s magical flip-side. Here, astral cowboy hackers fight trolls, rubber-suited werewolves, and elegant Gothic Lolita witches while wielding nostalgia-powered props.

Ree joins Eastwood (aka Scruffy Guy), investigating a mysterious string of teen suicides as she tries to recover from her own drag-your-heart-through-jagged-glass breakup. But as she digs deeper, Ree discovers Eastwood may not be the knight-in-cardboard armor she thought. Will Ree be able to stop the suicides, save Eastwood from himself, and somehow keep her job?




Celebromancy
Ree Reyes 2
Pocket Star, July 15, 2013
eBook, 400 pages

Cover Reveal: HEXOMANCY by Michael R. Underwood
Fame has a magic all its own in the no-gossip-barred follow-up to Geekomancy. Ree Reyes gets her big screenwriting break, only to discover just how broken Hollywood actually is.

Things are looking up for urban fantasista Ree Reyes. She’s using her love of pop culture to fight monsters and protect her hometown as a Geekomancer, and now a real-live production company is shooting her television pilot script.

But nothing is easy in show business. When an invisible figure attacks the leading lady of the show, former child-star-turned-current-hot-mess Jane Konrad, Ree begins a school-of-hard-knocks education in the power of Celebromancy.

Attempting to help Jane Geekomancy-style with Jedi mind tricks and X-Men infiltration techniques, Ree learns more about movie magic than she ever intended. She also learns that real life has the craziest plots: not only must she lift a Hollywood-strength curse, but she needs to save her pilot, negotiate a bizarre love rhombus, and fight monsters straight out of the silver screen. All this without anyone getting killed or, worse, banished to the D-List.




Attack the Geek
Ree Reyes 3
Pocket Star, April 7, 2014
eNovella, 160 pages

Cover Reveal: HEXOMANCY by Michael R. Underwood
A side-quest novella in the bestselling Geekomancy urban fantasy series—when D&D-style adventures go from the tabletop to real life, look out!

Ree Reyes, urban fantasista and Geekomancer extraordinaire, is working her regular drink-slinger shift at Grognard’s bar-and-gaming salon when everything goes wrong. The assorted magic wielders of the city’s underground have come to test their battle skills via RPGs like D&D, V:TES, White Wolf, and the like. All the usuals are there: her ex-mentor Eastwood, Drake (the man-out-of-time adventurer), and, of course, Grognard himself (her boss and a brewer of beer that act as magic potions). However, it’s the presence of these and other “usuals” that makes all the trouble. For, a nemesis from Eastwood and Ree’s past decides to finally take her revenge not just on those two, but on every self-styled “hero” in the city who happens to have crossed her at one point or another. When wave after wave of monsters besiege Grogrnard’s store, if Ree & Co. are going to survive, they’re going to have to work together. And avoid the minotaur. That’s always a good rule of thumb.

Interview with Michael R. Underwood - June 13, 2014


Please welcome Michael R. Underwood to The Qwillery to discuss Shield and Crocus which was published on June 10, 2014 by 47North. Michael is also the author of the Ree Reyes series: Geekomancy, Celebromancy, and Attack the Geek.



Interview with Michael R. Underwood - June 13, 2014




TQ:  Welcome back to The Qwillery. Your most recent novel is Shield and Crocus, which you described in our last interview as a "fantasy adventure." What is a "fantasy adventure?"

Michael:  The thing I wanted to make clear from early on was that Shield and Crocus is an action story. It’s been described elsewhere as a summer blockbuster kind of book, and that description is fairly apt – it’s a story about escalating stakes, desperate heroism, and do-or-die missions.



TQ:  Please tell us something about Shield and Crocus that is not in the description.

Michael:  This novel has been a long time coming. It started as a short story at the Clarion West Writers Workshop in 2007, and has gone through countless revisions and re-interpretations since I adapted that original story into a novel. More than any novel I’ve written before, Shield and Crocus’ publication is a testament to the power of revision and perseverance.



TQ:  First Sentinel and the Shields of Audec-Hal each have unique magical abilities (and in a different genre setting we'd call them superheroes). Please tell us about the magic system in Shield and Crocus.

Michael:  I drew upon the New Weird in the setting of Audec-Hal, and so there are numerous sources of what would be magic or supernatural power in our world. There is alchemy, sorcery, steam technology, ancient trains that have run for millennia, and a city goddess overlooking the people of Audec-Hal, controlling them as she is controlled by the tyrants.

The most common magical/supernatural elements we see are the birthrights of the Shields. I took superhero archetypes (the Bruiser, The Mentalist, The Speedster), and turned them into different fantasy races. This let me have extraordinary people who were super because they were heroes, not heroes because they were super.



TQ:  Which character in Shield and Crocus has surprised you the most?

Michael:  Sabreslate was probably the most surprising character. She started as the cynical doubter, the spoiler who poked holes in the Shields’ plans, and developed into a contrasting voice to that of First Sentinel, the main lead of the book. I’m very excited for her future in this world if/when I get to move on to later stories in Audec-Hal.


TQ:  Will there be any additional works set in the Shield and Crocus world?

Michael:  Jet City Comics, the sister imprint to 47North, is developing an original graphic novel set in Audec-Hal. I’ve made up the outline, but we’re waiting to finalize plans to make more announcements.

Other than that, I currently see this series as a trilogy of central novels, with lots of room for ancillary and interstitial material, as there’s tons of backstory for the city and the characters.



TQ:  What's next?

Michael:  I’m revising The Younger Gods, the start of a separate urban fantasy series, which I’ll be turning in later this month. We’re looking at a Q4 2014 release for that one, and it’s as much a departure from the Ree Reyes books as Shield and Crocus was, though it is also an urban fantasy.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Michael:  Thanks for having me! It seems simultaneously like it’s been ages since I debuted in mid-2012, and that no time has passed at all.





Shield and Crocus
47North, June 10, 2014
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 416 pages

Interview with Michael R. Underwood - June 13, 2014
In a city built among the bones of a fallen giant, a small group of heroes looks to reclaim their home from the five criminal tyrants who control it.

The city of Audec-Hal sits among the bones of a Titan. For decades it has suffered under the dominance of five tyrants, all with their own agendas. Their infighting is nothing, though, compared to the mysterious “Spark-storms” that alternate between razing the land and bestowing the citizens with wild, unpredictable abilities. It was one of these storms that gave First Sentinel, leader of the revolutionaries known as the Shields of Audec-Hal, power to control the emotional connections between people—a power that cost him the love of his life.

Now, with nothing left to lose, First Sentinel and the Shields are the only resistance against the city’s overlords as they strive to free themselves from the clutches of evil. The only thing they have going for them is that the crime lords are fighting each other as well—that is, until the tyrants agree to a summit that will permanently divide the city and cement their rule of Audec-Hal.

It’s one thing to take a stand against oppression, but with the odds stacked against the Shields, it’s another thing to actually triumph.

In this stunning, original tale of magic and revolution, Michael R. Underwood creates a cityscape that rivals Ambergris and New Crobuzon in its depth and populates it with heroes and villains that will stay with you forever.





About Michael

Interview with Michael R. Underwood - June 13, 2014
Michael R. Underwood is the author of the Ree Reyes series (GEEKOMANCY, CELEBROMANCY, ATTACK THE GEEK), Fantasy superhero novel SHIELD AND CROCUS, and the forthcoming urban fantasy THE YOUNGER GODS. By day, he’s the North American Sales & Marketing Manager for Angry Robot Books. Mike grew up devouring stories in all forms, from comics to video games, tabletop RPGs, movies, and books. Always books.

Mike lives in Baltimore with his fiance, an ever-growing library, and a super-team of dinosaur figurines & stuffed animals. In his rapidly-vanishing free time, he studies historical martial arts and makes pizzas from scratch. He is a co-host on the Hugo-nominated Skiffy and Fanty Show.


Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @MikeRUnderwood


Guest Blog by Michael R. Underwood - Geekomancy 101 - August 9, 2013


Please welcome Michael R. Underwood to The Qwillery. Michael is the author of the Ree Reyes series - Geekomancy and the recently published Celebromancy. Want to learn about Geekomancy? Michael explains the rules!



Guest Blog by Michael R. Underwood - Geekomancy 101 - August 9, 2013





Geekomancy 101

Fantasy means magic. Sometimes. A lot of the time, honestly. And from Jack Vance and Ursula K. LeGuin, J.K. Rowling to Brandon Sanderson, nearly all fantasy worlds have magic systems. Some are vague, arcane (Lord of the Rings, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, Pretty Much All Mythology Ever), and some are well-stratified, almost a science in and of themselves.

On the ‘More Explanation!’ side of the equation is Brandon Sanderson, who is famous for many reasons, one of which being his excellently-drawn magic systems. Brandon has rules about magic. No, not rules, Laws. Sanderson’s first law of magic states:

“An author’s ability to solve conflict with magic is DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL to how well the reader understands said magic.” (http://www.brandonsanderson.com/article/40/Sandersons-First-Law).

So when we talk magic, we’re getting into the Big Stuff. The stuff that, well, separates the fantasy from the everything else. I’m a gamer, and so like many gamers who were once twelve, I’ve had my phase of obsessively memorizing statistics, characteristics, and every other little tiny bit of information there was to be had about games I was playing as a pre-teen and young teen. I had to know how everything worked, had to know the text of every card so I could run my brain through every possibility.

I’m not twelve anymore. I don’t obsess about details as much as I used to, don’t exhaustively read RPG setting books anymore to memorize an entire fictional world’s atlas.

I do the work I need to do in order to tell the story I want to tell.

And when it came to making up the magic system in Geekomancy, a magic of fandom and gaming, I had to find the balance between twelve-year-old me who wanted to define everything and the me who was more focused on telling a fun story than on obsessively detailing an entire magic system down to durations in rounds and effect radii in meters.

The magic of Geekomancy is, like many magic systems (a la Mage: the Ascension, Unknown Armies, Harry Potter, the Dresden Files, etc.), about passion, belief, and investment of will into action.

But stratifying rules was not my objective with the style of Geekomancy. My objective was to ask the question “If geeks had magic, what would it be?” and then answer it in as entertaining and thoughtful way as I possibly could.

To answer that question, I took what I saw as the cores of geekdom – enthusiasm for and identification with the properties you love, and a strong thread of collector-itis.

With that, I ended up with three main types of Geekomancy:

  1. Genre emulation – Some Geekomancers can immerse themselves in a text/narrative/cultural  property they geek out over – and when they do, that passion creates a magical charge. The Geekomancer can then draw on that charge to do cool magical stuff that is associated with the text/narrative/cultural property in question.

Example: My protagonist, Ree Reyes, is a big Star Wars fan. In Celebromancy, she watches Star Wars (aka Episode IV: A New Hope), and then uses that charge to use a Jedi mind trick, Force stealth, telekinesis, and force speed.

  1. Props – a Geekomancer can take a prop or artifact from a beloved property and use that prop to do what it did in the property – use a Star Trek phaser to blast, Wonder Woman’s bracelets to deflect bullets, and so on. Each prop has a nostalgia battery, and being magic runs that battery down. When the battery is empty, it has to re-charge by absorbing a portion of the collective nostalgia of every person who’s ever thought ‘how cool are phasers’ or cheered a Star Trek officer on as they fire away.

Example: Ree has a cheap Deep Space Nine phaser prop – because it’s cheap, and a widely-available model, it has a smaller nostalgia battery, and is less powerful overall. If she got her hands on an actual phaser prop used on the show, it’d be substantially more powerful – it’d do more damage and it’d be able to be used for much longer.

  1. Expendables – The last type of Geekomancy is the down-and-dirtiest. A Geekomancer can take an object associated with a geek culture property, and destroy it for a one-shot specific effect. This method is used for artifacts that don’t count as props – cards from CCGs or comics issues instead of phasers and lightsabers and jet boots.

Example: Uncle Joe is a regular at Grognard’s. He’s a CCG specialist, with an extensive collection. Uncle Joe can pull out a fireball card, tear it, and direct the fireball anywhere. Or he can tear up a creature card and summon the creature to fight for him. But every time he does it, the card is ruined, diminishing his meticulously organized collection.

Each type of Geekomancy can be used in a number of ways, that Ree learns are really mostly dependent on the magician. There’s an infinite number of ways to be a Geek, and each Geekomancer has their own relationship to fandom, and therefore, to their magic. The other magic systems in the world are similar, reflecting the worldview of each magician. Doing this allows for variation and consistency to work in harmony for flexible storytelling that’s easy enough to follow that, hopefully, readers won’t feel like the magic is all-hand-waving and no coherence.

Each book, Ree’s understanding of Geekomancy will grow, and she’ll share that with readers. My objective with the Ree Reyes series is to show ways that geeks might try to shape the world around them, to reflect how our fandoms inspire us, educate us, and shape our view of the world. That and to show readers as good a time as I can along the way.






Ree Reyes

Celebromancy
Ree Reyes 2
Pocket Star, July 15, 2013
eBook, 400 pages

Guest Blog by Michael R. Underwood - Geekomancy 101 - August 9, 2013
Fame has a magic all its own in the no-gossip-barred follow-up to Geekomancy. Ree Reyes gets her big screenwriting break, only to discover just how broken Hollywood actually is.

Things are looking up for urban fantasista Ree Reyes. She’s using her love of pop culture to fight monsters and protect her hometown as a Geekomancer, and now a real-live production company is shooting her television pilot script.

But nothing is easy in show business. When an invisible figure attacks the leading lady of the show, former child-star-turned-current-hot-mess Jane Konrad, Ree begins a school-of-hard-knocks education in the power of Celebromancy.

Attempting to help Jane Geekomancy-style with Jedi mind tricks and X-Men infiltration techniques, Ree learns more about movie magic than she ever intended. She also learns that real life has the craziest plots: not only must she lift a Hollywood-strength curse, but she needs to save her pilot, negotiate a bizarre love rhombus, and fight monsters straight out of the silver screen. All this without anyone getting killed or, worse, banished to the D-List.



Geekomancy
Geekomancy 1
Pocket Star, July 10, 2012
eBook, 400 pages

Guest Blog by Michael R. Underwood - Geekomancy 101 - August 9, 2013
Clerks meets Buffy the Vampire the Slayer in this original urban fantasy eBook about Geekomancers—humans that derive supernatural powers from pop culture.

Ree Reyes’s life was easier when all she had to worry about was scraping together tips from her gig as a barista and comicshop slave to pursue her ambitions as a screenwriter.

When a scruffy-looking guy storms into the shop looking for a comic like his life depends on it, Ree writes it off as just another day in the land of the geeks. Until a gigantic “BOOM!” echoes from the alley a minute later, and Ree follows the rabbit hole down into her town’s magical flip-side. Here, astral cowboy hackers fight trolls, rubber-suited werewolves, and elegant Gothic Lolita witches while wielding nostalgia-powered props.

Ree joins Eastwood (aka Scruffy Guy), investigating a mysterious string of teen suicides as she tries to recover from her own drag-your-heart-through-jagged-glass breakup. But as she digs deeper, Ree discovers Eastwood may not be the knight-in-cardboard armor she thought. Will Ree be able to stop the suicides, save Eastwood from himself, and somehow keep her job?





About Michael

Guest Blog by Michael R. Underwood - Geekomancy 101 - August 9, 2013
Michael R. Underwood is the author of GEEKOMANCY, CELEBROMANCY, and the forthcoming YOUNGER GODS (2014). By day, he's the North American Sales & Marketing Manager for Angry Robot Books. Mike grew up devouring stories in all forms, from comics to video games, tabletop RPGs, movies, and books. Always books.

Mike lives in Baltimore with his girlfriend, an ever-growing library, and a super-team of dinosaur figurines & stuffed animals. In his rapidly-vanishing free time, he studies historical martial arts and makes homemade pizza.



Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @MikeRUnderwood


Cover Reveal: HEXOMANCY by Michael R. UnderwoodGuest Blog by Michael R. Underwood and Giveaway - October 12, 2014Interview with Michael R. Underwood - June 13, 2014Interview with Michael R. Underwood, author of the Ree Reyes series - April 7, 2014Guest Blog by Michael R. Underwood - Geekomancy 101 - August 9, 2013

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