Today marks the official kickoff of the The Archive Book Tour presented by Storytellers On Tour, and throughout the week we’ve got a great lineup helping us feature Dan Fitzgerald’s fantasy sequel! Our previous tour featuring Fitzgerald’s debut, Hollow Road, was a huge success, and we have an excellent group of returning Roadies participating this week to show his book baby some love. I’m very much looking forward to hearing what our hosts have to say in the coming days, so be sure to keep an eye out for some incredible content.
While I don’t have an interview for you today, I DO have an introductory guest post highlighting some beautiful art inspired by the book written by the author himself! So keep scrolling for the tour schedule, more info about the book, the introduction, and a giveaway where you can snag yourself a signed paperback bundle of both Hollow Road and The Archive, as well as an art print.
We’ve enlisted a group of wonderful and talented bloggers and Bookstagrammers to help us feature The Archive. This is what we have going on, so make sure to check out each and every one throughout the week for some brilliant content, including reviews and more.
DECEMBER 2ND–THE WELCOMING
Whispers & Wonder
CK Sorens (IG)
Out of This World SFF Reviews
Bookends & Bagends
The Bookwyrm’s Guide to the Galaxy
Camryn Daytona (IG)
Marian L Thorpe
DECEMBER 8TH–THE ENCORE
For more about this tour visit Storytellers On Tour.
In Hollow Road (book 1), three companions discovered the monsters of legend were all too real…
Rumors among the Maer tell of an underground library called the Archive, which houses a wealth of knowledge and terrible magics that could be used to start the biggest war seen since the Great Betrayal. A mixed group of humans and Maer set off on an historic quest to find the Archive and protect it from those who would use it to destroy everything they hold dear. As the cold of winter bears down upon them, they trek through forbidding mountains beset by dangers they could have never imagined. They follow a set of ancient clues deep into the Silver Hills, forging surprising alliances and making new enemies.
The humans and Maer are linked by more than their quest to find the Archive and stop an insidious war. A mystical surrogacy may bridge the gap between two peoples, and many hearts entwine as their adventure hurtles toward its bloody conclusion.
Art for The Archive
by Dan Fitzgerald
Like a lot of writers, I’ve taken to commissioning a few pieces of artwork to give would-be readers a taste of what my books would be like. It’s a fascinating process, with a steep learning curve to be sure, but it’s terribly exciting to see an artist build something from your vision and words. I commissioned three pieces of art for The Archive, and I’m here to show them off and talk a bit about each one.
I should also mention that winners of the signed book contest will also receive their choice of an 8” x 10” print of one of the three pieces below!
The first piece I had done was the feathered dragons from the book. There are a lot of dragons out there in fantasyland, and I wanted mine to feel plausible, in an alternate-world evolutionary way. I’ve read a lot and seen some recreations of feathered dinosaurs, and I love the idea of a creature that shares traits of both birds and reptiles. They had to be big enough to be fearsome, but not so big as to be unbelievable. And flying is out of the question; any creature that size that could fly would have to be powered by some kind of magic, which is rare in my world, and unique to humans, Maer, and their ilk.
The feathered dragons grow to about twenty feet long, including the tail, and have gray feathers they can flip to flame orange in a heartbeat. They sometimes flip just their crown, like the one pictured here, as a greeting, or a warning. But when they’re very excited or very pissed off, they go full-on flame job. They can be trained, more or less, and there’s a group in my book with bird mages, who can also control the feathered dragons. And one lucky character gets to ride one of them, with the help of the mages, on a Very Important Mission in the latter part of the book.
Without further ado, I present the feathered dragon, drawn by the talented Cheyanne Murray, a writer and artist whose commissions, when last I checked, were open. I love how she draws the skeleton first, so she can be sure to represent the living creature effectively.
I had some character art of the Maer done for Hollow Road, old-school D&D style pen-and-ink drawings, which were fun. Some of them were even pretty awesome. You can see them on my website’s secret page here. I even had some Magic the Gathering inspired character cards made, which one lucky reader will win in March as part of the Maer Cycle Megapack featuring signed copies of all three books, plus prints of all the art I commissioned for the trilogy. But I am getting ahead of myself. For this piece, I wanted to try a different style, give the Maer a new look, so I searched until I found an artist I am crazy about, Elena Tarsius. I loved her light touch with colors, and Tcheen is an unusual figure who needed some subtlety.
Tcheen is a character we meet in the second half of The Archive, a powerful warrior with a penetrating gaze and a strong interest in color and aesthetics. As the leader of the Bird Maer, Tcheen wears white feathers, while their second in command wears black, the warriors brown, with the mages and scholars clad in more colorful feathers. Two items of note in the artwork: Tcheen has a dragonskin vest and a dragonbone spear, which have been passed down from leaders before them. They are relics of an age when scale dragons could still be found in the Silver Hills, but they have not been seen in over a generation.
Tcheen is non-binary, and though they trend masculine, their gender presentation confuses some of the less enlightened Maer. I think Elena did an excellent job of drawing a character whose look transcends traditional gender roles, especially impressive since all Maer have beards, which complicates our perception of their gender.
I’m not going to tell you too much about the scene, but it should come as no surprise that in a book called The Archive there would be some sort of Opening, right? Let’s just say that, while the Maer and humans have some knowledge of magic, the ancient civilization that built the Archive puts them all to shame. Though there was plenty of peril getting to the Archive, getting inside is no simple matter, and not a particularly safe one either, as several characters discover. You might have noticed the bronze golem standing guard next to the door? Well, its purpose is not entirely decorative.
The figures shown here, left to right, are Ayal, the Bird Maer scholar, Tcheen, leader of the Bird Maer, and Fabaris, the scholar from Castle Maer. It’s a scholar-heavy book, though it also has its share of action and romance, and I regret nothing. So much so, in fact, that the third and final book in the Maer Cycle trilogy, The Place Below, has two POV characters, both scholars, though one of them is an undead thing awakened after a 1,700-year hibernation, so it hits a little different.
But enough about me. I present to you The Opening, drawn by bplcricket.
Dan Fitzgerald is a fantasy writer living in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, DC with his wife, twin boys, and two cats. When he is not writing, he might be gardening, doing yoga, cooking, or listening to French music.
His debut fantasy novel Hollow Road, the first book in the Maer Cycle trilogy, was published in September by Shadow Spark Publishing. The Archive comes out on December 4, and the trilogy concludes with The Place Below in March 2021.
Books and merchandise are available at https://shadowsparkpub.com/dan-fitzgerald.
Find out more about Dan and his books at www.danfitzwrites.com, or find him on Twitter or Instagram, with the handle danfitzwrites in both places.
Enter to win one of three The Maer Cycle signed paperback bundles featuring Hollow Road and The Archive, as well as an art print!
US/CA Only. Ends 12/9 @11:59pm EST
That’s all I got for ya! Be sure to keep an eye on the official The Archive tour page over at Storytellers On Tour (https://www.storytellersontour.online/2020/11/05/tour-schedule-the-archive-by-dan-fitzgerald/) to see what the other bloggers have to say!