Countdown to Distinction: 7 Days


The Shield-Maiden

In just one short week, my first professional sale in over a decade will be in the hands of readers. But that’s not why I’m posting today, and you may have noticed this image has somebody else’s names above the title. That’s because I’ve spent a lot of time in the last few weeks talking about my own work, and the process of bringing it to the public.

This week, I want to write about other writers. Specifically, my fellow SideQuest authors, and why you should be buying their books. All this week, I’ll be spotlighting a new SideQuest every day, and talking about why I think it’s cool.

Continuing the discussion of the Awesome, I’d like to introduce you to three friends of mine. Together, they’ve created a fantastic coming-of-age tale presented against the backdrop of the Foreworld Saga.

WHO IS IT: Michael “Tinker” Pearce is a world-renowned swordmaker and author, whose book The Medieval Sword in the Modern World is now in its second edition and better than ever. He and his wife Linda are long-time period re-enactors, and have been involved as consultants and fight choreographers with the Subutai corporation for many years.

But I said three of my friends above, and here’s why. The Audiobook of this story is read by another good friend of mine, Mary Robinette Kowal. In addition to being an excellent judge of quality single malted beverages, Mary Robinette is a Hugo and Campbell-award winning author in her own right, Professional puppeteer (also award-winning), consultant, blogger, former Secretary and later Vice-President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). And if that weren’t enough, she’s also an excellent public speaker and professional voice actor. Specifically, the one whose words bring The Shield Maiden to life.

WHAT IS IT: The Shield Maiden is the story of Sigrid, a young warrior who wants what any other member of that class wants: the right to join an raiding expedition and win honor and fortune in her own name. Like her aunt before her, she faces more challenges to her ability than her peers, and surpasses them all ably. When some of the Shield-Brethren come to call on their own mission, together they must face enemies both their cultures share: raiding Danes and intolerance.

WHY SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT: The story itself is engaging and well-written, but Kowal’s narration lifts it to another level. Her years as an actor (both in front of, underneath, and behind the camera) bring the story inside your head in such a fashion that you’ll never read the words again without hearing her voice.

If you like coming of age stories, this book is for you. If you like strong characters who don’t take crap from anybody, this book is for you. And if you like amazing voice performances, this audiobook is definitely for you.

And most importantly, you should read it because I want you to.

WHERE CAN I GET IT: The Shield-Maiden is available as an e-book from 47North and, and (my preferred version) as an audiobook from But you don’t have to choose between the two, and in fact I recommend that you don’t. If you already own the e-book, the audiobook is available to you at a discounted price.

WHEN WILL IT BE OUT: That’s the best part. You can pick up both versions of this great story right now, by following the links above.

IS THAT EVERYTHING: I’m glad you asked that. I believe strongly in the Foreworld Saga, and in particular the SideQuests. If you’ve purchased, read, or listened to The Shield Maiden, I want to hear about it. Please comment on this post with a link to an online review of this story. I want you well and thoroughly hooked on this universe by the time my own story, Hearts of Iron, releases May 14, 2013.

Let the reading commence!


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