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...comes from none other than Scott Lynch (The Lies of Locke Lamora)! Characters from THRONE playing D&D in a session that may or may not bear some resemblance to the Author AD&D session from ConFusion 2012.

Upon viewing this cartoon, my kids instantly declared Mouw Awa the Manjackal - an evil spirit that's made from shadows and jackal-skin and gets off on torture - to be a 'kitty!'

Also, the wonderful MK Hutchins has come up with a recipe for the cardamom tea served at Yehyeh's teahouse!

Moments like these are what it's all about. Lucky author is lucky!

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[reposted from www.saladinahmed.com]

Hello!

Well, THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON has been on store shelves for three weeks now. My Twitter and Facebook feeds have been full of exciting  pictures from bookstores all over the country. And it's been even more exciting reading the (mostly quite enthusiastic) reactions of professional reviewers, book bloggers, and, most importantly, just-plain-readers.  Thanks to everyone who's read the book and spread the word!

I'll be rounding up the reviews in a future post, but for starters: Starred reviews at Publishers WeeklyKirkus, and Library Journal (where THRONE was also Debut of the Month in Science Fiction and Fantasy)! Better than a kick in the head, ne?

Also, Scott Lynch says THRONE "buoyantly fails to suck!"

So: I've been incredibly lucky in that word of mouth and enthusiastic reviews have brought a lot of attention to my novel. But these be dark and dire days for the poor widdle author struggling to sell his or her wares. More signal boosting is always needed. And so... I propose...

A CONTEST!

Here's how it shall work:

-Between now and Midnight EST on March 6th, post a review of three sentences or more on THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON's page @ AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads, or any other major bookseller/book community site.

-Send a link to the review(s), along with your name and mailing address, to saladin.a.ahmed@gmail.com, WITH THE SUBJECT LINE "THRONE REVIEW CONTEST". I will make note of your review and you will be entered into the drawing. The same review may be submitted to up to 3 sites and thus earn three entries.

-My apologies to those who've already posted reviews, but I'm unable to count these toward entry into the drawing. But THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

-The review needn't be positive.

-The drawing will be done via an online true random number generator. The results will be announced here and on twitter, etc.

-A year and change from now, I will sign and send to the drawing winner one of my fresh-out-of-the-box, not-yet-in-stores author copies of THE CRESCENT MOON KINGDOMS BOOK II.

-The winner will taunt everyone else with online pictures of his or her prize.

-We will all eat cake

That there's the plan. The final step may have to be moved up a bit, of course... Otherwise, I think we're good. So have at it!

saladinahmed
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O Beautiful, Smart, Attention-Span-Having Folk of LJ:

Been a while! Lots of stuff going on, most notably MY BOOK CAME OUT THREE WEEKS AGO!

Sad to say, I've been scarce around these parts for ages, and I fear it will continue that way. Between twin toddlers, writing, various day jobs, guest bloggery, and so on and so on, I've barely got the brain cells for even biweekly full-length blog posts on my own blog. I'll be keeping this journal up (though I can't promise to keep the comments spam-free), but only as a mirror for posts from my blog at www.saladinahmed.com. I'll still be checking comments on those posts (and this one!), and replying as best I can.

That means this journal will mostly be professional big announcement- and roundup- type posts and (rarely) maybe the occasional long post on some other random topic.

But mostly these days I'm spending my time on twitter. Come play!
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Well, hello there, folks!

Been a while. Here's what's happening with me:

- THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON is coming out in audiobook! Brilliance Audio's production will be released on Feb 7, the same day as the hardcover edition of THRONE!

- The first review of THRONE has hit the stands - a starred review in PUBLISHERS WEEKLY! 'Wow.' about covers my reaction to that one...

- Spread the word! From now until January 1st, I’m offering my professional novel critiques at a discounted rate of $500. Follow up on NaNoWriMo! Give a gift to the aspiring writer in your life! 

- Looking forward to ConFusion, which is c. 18 minutes from my house,  in January! Who else will be there?

- Still stupidly broke, but am tentatively planning - if we can swing the finances - a twins-and-wife-and-all excursion to WisCon! Who will be *there*?

- As is probably clear from my bullet-point-ese, I've been spending a lot more time on Twitter than here. SOON I SHALL BE ALL MONOSYLLABLES! I kid. It's just not some people's thing, though, and that's cool. But If you're out there in the twitterverse, you can find me at https://twitter.com/#!/saladinahmed

That's most of what's up with me.  There's way more depressing personal stuff I could get into, but I'll spare y'all. What's happening in your world?
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I've been almost completely absent from LJ recently. And that's not likely to change. But there are some folks on here whom I'm not in touch with elsewhere, and I miss y'all and wonder what's up with you.

So let's play a game: I've been trapped in a cave for 3 months. I emerge in remarkably good physical and psychological shape and regale you with tales of eating cave-grubs. Then I ask you "So, what''s been up with *you*?" And you answer...
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Wow, you people are amazing.

My tools failed me for the bazillionth time.
My bank account was empty.
I reached out to you all.
And, in c.30 hours, you guys hooked me up with the schmanciest writing tool I've ever owned.



And it has a super-duper warranty!

Thank you and you and you and you and you!

Full disclosure stuff:
I raised exactly $1K and returned two donations after that. 29 people donated. I bought a bottom-of-the-line MacBook Air with AppleCare. 

But what of the raffle itself?
Without further ado, here are the winners!

- CRESCENT MOON KINGDOMS tuckerization I: Fred Kiesche
A character whose name, gender, and appearance are roughly modeled upon you will appear in Book II and/or III as a doomed soldier in The Hundred Thousand Roses (the 'pseudo-Crusaders').

- CRESCENT MOON KINGDOMS tuckerization II: William Gilson
A character whose name, gender, and appearance are roughly modeled upon you will appear in Book II and/or III as a doomed soldier in The Heavenly Army (the 'pseudo-Saracens').

- A line edit and global critique of a 1K-6K-word short story or novel synopsis: [Anonymous winner]

- A signed, personalized ARC of THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON: John Murphy

- A signed, personalized hardcover 1st edition of THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON: Kate MacLeod

If you are a winner, please watch for a follow-up email! Also, all the folks who bought raffle 'tickets' will have their names appear in the acknowledgements of THE CRESCENT MOON KINGDOMS Book II, unless they asked to remain anonymous.

This has been a genuinely moving experience for me. Again, thank you all so much for your help. Be well!
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THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

Wow. A little more than thirty hours after proclaiming my need to y'all, I have enough for a new laptop. I even had to return a donation! So this fund drive is OVER!

I'm genuinely overwhelmed by the generosity people have shown. Between signal boosts and donations... People I've never met, people whose books I've read for years, sending kind words and hard-earned funds has been, honestly, humbling to witness. I feel very blessed.

It is going to feel *so good* to write Books II and III on a reliable machine that's under warranty! I'll also be writing some solicited short stories for anthologies - a medieval Arabian sailing-and-sea monsters adventure, a pulp pastiche story of Orcish fatherhood, maybe some other stuff.

There will be pics of the new machine, raffle results, and other stuff soon, but for now, again, -

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

::gives his internet/writer friends a standing ovation::
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ETA SATURDAY EVE:
GOAL MET!!!

[therefore please ignore the following plea, which is preserved here for archival purposes only]







So, People of the Internet, the situation is this:


For the past several years I've done my writing on (imperfectly) resurrected computers. You can read some of the results of this keyboard-mashing here.  Recently, I've had yet another used computer die on me. If I want to finish book two of THE CRESCENT MOON KINGDOMS - not to mention several in-the-works short stories - I'm going to need a replacement. I haven't had a new computer in years. But like almost everyone else these days ("99%" of us, as it were), things are pretty rough for me financially at the moment.


So I'm going to try and crowdfund a laptop. I'm trying to raise $1,000.

And there are prizes!

*Everyone* who contributes will be thanked in the Acknowledgments for Book II. You will also be entered into a raffle along the following lines:

$10-50 One raffle entry
$51-99 Two raffle entries
$100-200 Three raffle entries
$200+ Four raffle entries

Raffle winners will be chosen via random number generation. The first winner will have first prize pick. The second will have second pick. Etc.


Prizes!:

- CRESCENT MOON KINGDOMS tuckerization I: A character whose name, gender, and appearance are roughly modeled upon you will appear in Book II and/or III as a doomed soldier in The Hundred Thousand Roses (the 'pseudo-Crusaders').

- CRESCENT MOON KINGDOMS tuckerization II: A character whose name, gender, and appearance are roughly modeled upon you will appear in Book II and/or III as a doomed soldier in The Heavenly Army (the 'pseudo-Saracens').

- A line edit and global critique of a 1K-6K-word short story or novel synopsis.

- A signed, personalized ARC of THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON.

- A signed, personalized hardcover 1st edition of THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON

(Any of these prizes may be given as a gift as well)


- Whether you would like your contribution to remain anonymous (ie, whether I should keep your name out of the acknowledgements), or how you would like your name to appear in the printed acknowledgements.

- Your first and second choices for raffle prizes, or whether you choose to be excluded from the raffle.
            -For the book copies, please include the address you'd like the books sent to. (Keep in mind that the hardcover won't be sent until late January.)
            - I'll send you further details on the critique process if you win that prize.
            - For tuckerizations, please indicate the name and gender of the person being tuckerized, along with a few lines of           
              description.  Useful details might include hair and eye color, build, 'distinguishing features,' etc.

- Whether you'd prefer to be contacted at a different email address than the one you sent the contribution through.

Thanks a ton! As soon as I hit my goal I will make an announcement and return any further contributions/entries.

Finally, sorry to LJ diehards for posting this here after being away fooling around with twitter so long. But I'm having some issues with my main site.
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Howdy, y'all. Lots to report!

I:
For the first time in ages I have committed poem publication!
  "The Djinn Prince in America: A Microepic in 9 Tracks" is up at Apex Magazine.


II:
I have also committed pop lit analysis! My article
"The Messengers, Monsters, and Moral Instructors of Islamic Literature" is now live at Fantasy Magazine.

III:
I'm going to my first WorldCon!  My schedule in Reno is as follows:

Fri 12:00 - 12:30, Reading: Saladin Ahmed (Reading), A14 (RSCC)

Fri 16:00 - 17:00, F*** Your Knight and the Horse He Rode in on: Fantasy Series not Based on Medieval European Culture (Panel), A10 (RSCC) An irreverent panel where young writers challenge the predominance of medieval-inspired settings in fantasy.  Christopher Kastensmidt (M),
Saladin Ahmed, Aliette de Bodard, Ken Scholes

Sat 12:00 - 13:00, Meet the Campbell Award Nominees (Panel), A03 (RSCC) All of this year's Campbell Award nominees are at Worldcon.  Here's your chance to see some of the field's best new writers.
Seanan McGuire (M), Saladin Ahmed, Dan Wells, Larry Correia, Lev Grossman, Lauren Beukes

I'll also be at the Hugo/Campbell ceremony, likely brandishing my fake, Oscars-esque "The Other Guy/Gal Won" smile...


IV: 
The Best of Beneath Ceaseless Skies Online Magazine, Year Two  contains *loads* of good "literary adventure fantasy," including my story "Mister Hadj's Sunset Ride."  It's only $3.99 and it helps keep one of our most interesting and entertaining short fiction venues alive.


V:
I did a fun, brief bit
for Lawrence M. Schoen's Eating Authors series.


VI:
Thanks to the wonderfully talented Priscilla Spencer, the Crescent Moon Kingdoms has been mapped!!!:



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1) I've blabbed about them elsewhere, but if you haven't seen these weird sword-and-planet pre-cartoon He-Man minibooks, you're missing out.

2) For the three-and-a-half of you who are keeping track, bless your hearts: Storied SF newsmagazine Locus has posted an excerpt of their interview with me!  Very exciting. I did the interview and photo shoot while sleep-deprived at WFC, but both came out mostly reasonably ok despite...

http://www.locusmag.com/2011/covers/Issue06_499x648.gif

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Totally random bit of nostalgia: does anyone else remember the D&D/Choose Your Own Adventure/Romance hybrid "Heart Quest" books? They were spinoffs of the Endless Quest series in the early 80s. I must have been a 9 year old boy when I bought this one - hardly the target demographic...
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Packaging process stuff:

Here's the next-to-final cover with titles. We'll likely tweak the fonts a bit and stick a quote on the bottom there, but this is pretty close...




The back cover copy
will resemble the following, but some of it's likely to change:

One of the year's most anticipated fantasy debuts, from a finalist for the Nebula and Campbell Awards.

The Crescent Moon Kingdoms, land of djenn and ghuls, holy warriors and heretics, Khalifs and killers, is at the boiling point of a power struggle between the iron-fisted Khalif and the mysterious master thief known as the Falcon Prince.  In the midst of this brewing rebellion a series of brutal supernatural murders strikes at the heart of the Kingdoms.

Doctor Adoulla Makhslood, the last real ghul hunter in the great city of Dhamsawaat, just wants a quiet cup of tea.  A fat old man who has grown weary of hunting monsters and saving lives, he's more than ready to retire from his dangerous vocation.  But when an old flame's family is murdered, Adoulla is drawn back to the hunter's path.

Adoulla's young assistant Raseed, a hidebound holy warrior whose prowess is matched only by his piety, is eager to deliver God's justice. But even as Raseed's sword is tested by ghuls and manjackals, his soul is tested when he and Adoulla cross paths with the tribeswoman Zamia.

Zamia Badawi, Protector of the Band, has been gifted with the power of the Lion-Shape, but shunned by her people for daring to take up a man's title. She lives only to avenge her father's death. Until she learns that Adoulla and his allies also hunt her father's killer. Until she meets Raseed.

When they learn that the murders and the Falcon Prince's brewing revolution are connected, the companions must race against time - and struggle against their own misgivings - to save the life of a vicious despot.  In so doing they discover a plot for the Throne of the Crescent Moon that threatens to turn Dhamsawaat, and the world itself, into a blood-soaked ruin.


Aaaand the very first round of blurbish quotes,
likely to appear on front or back cover:

"THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON is colorful, magical, exciting, and moving.  Saladin Ahmed delivers a beautiful story of a demon hunter in an Arabian Nights setting. An excellent first novel!"
--Kevin J. Anderson


"This promising debut offers a glimpse of a dusty and wonderful fantasy city through the eyes of three engaging, unconventional protagonists."
--Elizabeth Bear

"Readers yearning for the adventures of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser will delight in the arrival of Adoulla and Raseed."
--Walter Jon Williams

"Introduces a promising series in telling of a ghul hunter and a young dervish who becomes his apprentice...the main characters' interaction is enjoyable and bodes well for further pieces."
--Locus (for a short story set in this world)

ETA: Preorder buttons for  Amazon US and Amazon UK
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Lots going on over here:

- Had a very fun if kind of tiring first WisCon - and apparently pontificated like a jackass, as is my wont.

- Blabbed a bit about whether to discard "Golden Age" SF.for an SFSignal post.

- Sold Polish rights to THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON to Proszynski! This is the first foreign sale for the novel! WIll I be geeked to see my book listed here? Yessirzie Bob, I will! [Also, Random Saladin Fact: I am 1/8th Polish.]

-I'm living in a little box on the cover of Locus!:




Also day five of quit smoking try #2,345. And the twins are really digging their new toy house.

You?
-
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[PLEASE NOTE ABOVE IS *NOT* FINAL COVER]

Wowie wowie wowie wowie wowie!

::jumps up and down and claps like a buffoon in motley::

Well, uh... It's a bit...Ur-, but...

!!!A (34% off!) preorder button for THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON now lives on Amazon!!!

::faints::
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A wonderful recording of my story “Judgment of Swords and Souls” is now live at PodCastle. This story is set in the same world (“The Crescent Moon Kingdoms”) as my forthcoming novel THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON. Thanks to Stephanie Morris for a lovely reading!
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Not technically the final version until we have type and design, but here's Jason Chan's cover painting for my forthcoming novel Throne of the Crescent Moon.  I can't even begin to explain how happy I am with it. February suddenly feels a lot closer!

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I am pleased to announce that I am currently offering a limited number of one-on-one creative writing mentorships. These mentorships will be individually tailored to the needs of the client, involving a combination of detailed manuscript critique and advice on publication and professionalization.  My areas of teaching expertise include poetry and fantasy fiction.

I hold an MFA in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College and an MA in English from Rutgers University. I’ve taught creative writing courses (including Basic Creative Writing, Poetry, and Fantasy Fiction) at the University level for over ten years. I also have extensive experience as a private online writing tutor.

I have been a finalist for the Nebula Award for Best Short Story, the Campbell Award for Best New Science Fiction or Fantasy Writer, and the Harper’s Pen Award for best Sword and Sorcery/Heroic Fantasy Short Story. My short fiction has appeared in magazines and podcasts including Strange Horizons, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Apex Magazine, StarShipSofa and PodCastle, and has been translated into Portuguese, Czech, Dutch, and Romanian. My fantasy novel THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON is forthcoming from DAW Books in March 2012, and I’ve already sold two sequels as well.

My poetry has earned fellowships from the University of Michigan, Brooklyn College, and the Bronx Council on the Arts, and has appeared in over a dozen journals and anthologies including Callaloo, The Brooklyn Review, Big City Lit, Inclined To Speak: An Anthology of Contemporary Arab American Poetry, and Abandon Automobile: Detroit City Poetry.

Mentorships are competitively priced and designed to be flexible.  Possible projects include detailed critique and publication/representation strategy for poetry manuscripts, short stories, or novels.  Before I begin working with a client I consult with them regarding their instruction/critique/advising needs and provide them with a clear, itemized plan of action and rate quote.

To inquire further, please email me at saladin.a.ahmed@gmail.com. I look forward to working with you!


ETA: LJ friends, I'd very much appreciate your help in spreading the word on this - thanks muchly!
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I had a great time at Penguicon last weekend, hanging with a slew of cool Michigan/Ohio-based writers (and with geographical outlier Cat Rambo, who trekked over from Seattle!).  Spent most of my time in the bar meeting and catching up with people, including SFWA’s Dear Leader John Scalzi and his wonderful wife Kristine, David and Tarri Klecha, Catherine Shaffer, Merrie Haskell, Anne Gray, Yanni Kuznia, and others.*  That suited me fine, though I did manage to catch a couple of readings as well, including a fine story by Ferrett Steinmetz.  I also did a reading of my own, the first chapter of THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON serving as a sort of spicy appetizer to a meaty main course of Jim C. Hines and his coveted box (don’t ask).

Finally, I took part in a podcast discussion (in front of an audience!) for the Hugo-nominated Writing Excuses, hosted by fantasy superstar Brandon Sanderson and awesome cartoonist Howard Tayler.** We discussed non-traditional settings setting in epic fantasy, and I enjoyed it quite a bit.  Give ‘er a listen!

* I’m learning that “Who I hung with at the con” lists are anxiety-inducing. Inevitably I’ll forget someone and feel like a heel. Any omissions are due to my sleep-deprived, beer-soaked brain, not anyone else’s lack of memorable-ness.

** It’s also possible that I spent the weekend wearing a badge customized by Howard that said “I covet the career of Brandon Sanderson.”

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Guys, I need a hug. Preferably one filled with done to-do lists, lucrative freelance work, and novel wordcount.

The past year and a half has been filled with wonderful things. Becoming a father to two amazing little human beings. Getting an awesome agent. Selling a trilogy to my #1 most-hoped-for publisher. Award nominations. Short story sales. Translations and podcasts of my work. Fun conventions. You've heard me blabber about these things here, and, form a distance,  it might seem to be all roses and rainbow-farting unicorns.

But it's also been a brutal year and a half on several fronts. The pregnancy was a complicated one. The kids had various non-major but still tough health problems. Even on the best days, caring for them is viciously exhausting. Dayjob-ish work has been scarce. We made a massively stressful move halfway across the country to a place where teaching work is even scarcer. There have been tax and student debt  headaches that I won't even get into. I've had to turn down awesome anthology invites, and even had to flake on one I'd accepted.

We put the twins in daycare part-time when we got to Michigan, and just last week moved them to full-time, at least theoretically. But daycare has brought with it gobs of other-kid germs, and Malcolm and Naima have spent a good part of the last two months sick. My wife is the chief breadwinner, which makes me the first line of childcare. I've thus been in a state of perpetually dropping everything else in order to take care of the kids.

So now Book II is massively behind (though I'm still hoping to keep it on schedule enough that we'll hit the planned pub dates of a new book each February). I can't even find the time to get my finances in order, or to properly *look* for part-time teaching or freelance work, much less *do* said work. One of my freelance jobs is still waaaaaay behind on paying me, and I desperately need the loot for con travel season.  And our new home is a bit of a shambles because neither my wife nor I  have any time or energy to get the place in order. And of course, all of this kid & money & house stress isn't exactly doing wonders for our marriage...

Ok. End whinewhinewhine transmission. There are lots of folks in way worse straits than I am, of course. Mostly, I just needed to let it all out. I guess it's been officially letted...
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SPOILERS!

Just kidding. This is the image that Wordle generated form the text of THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON. Pretty trippy. Slightly disturbing how much bigger 'man' is than 'woman,' but I think that's b/c the characters use the male gender to mean 'human' (e.g., 'the world of men'). Thanks to Martha Wells for introducing me to this word-toy.