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Really enjoyed doing a signing at Tucson Festival of Books. It’s one of the largest book festivals in the country. 150,000 people descend on Tucson.

And thankfully, the end of the pandemic appears to be here at last.

A Peak at My Latest Books

Dread Child

Book 1 in The Dreadmark Covenants

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Is the birthmark on a young boy’s arm
just a patch of discolored skin,
or the dawn of an ancient curse?

Epic fantasy at its best

Young Ket is the half-breed son of a Scairn bondservant and an unknown Duchies man. To him, the birthmark on his arm is just a smear of discolored skin. But the wizard Kainborne sees in it the Dreadmark, a portent of both evil and greatness. With his mother murdered, and him kidnapped by Kainborne’s assassin, Ket must survive the enemies about him. But can he survive the curse of the Dreadmark?

Now Available

Tranquility Lost

A Commonwealth Re-Contact Novella

The Devastation is a swath of star systems 400 light-years across in which something unknown exterminated all human life about four centuries ago. A Commonwealth survey ship on a routine mission finds a habitable planet in one of its systems, and for the first time in recorded history a planet in the Devastation is inhabited by living humans, not decayed corpses. But the crew of the ship goes berserk, and barely escapes the system with their lives. The Commonwealth now wants disgraced re-contact specialist Jack Strand to go in under cover, to blend into the medieval culture there and find out what is going on. Jack would prefer to pass on the job, but they don’t give him any choice in the matter.

The Thief of Chaos

. . . his lover the Harlot, plus the Witch, and her Apprentice

Book 1 in The Deck of Chaos

The paths of chaos lead only to damnation.

Jaxon is the son of an impoverished nobleman. When Jax was sixteen years old his father died, and his older stepsister and stepbrother threw him out on the streets of Val d’Ossa to fend for himself. The city was not kind to a young boy, especially one who is a little bit pretty, and to endure he learned some brutal lessons.

Nine years later he has survived by being a thief, for which he has a very unusual talent he calls his instinct. An agent of an anonymous noble house wants to hire him to steal a valuable figurine, but Jax wants nothing to do with the politics of the noble houses.

Can Jax and his lover, the beautiful prostitute Maelleen, survive the machinations of the High Noble Houses? And what of the Witch who rules the city of Val d’Ossa? She is reputed to maintain control over the High Noble Houses by sorcerous incantations and demon manifestations at the Witch Palace. If the High Nobles are involved then so is she, and Jax desperately wants to avoid any involvement with the evil, old woman.

A Hymn for the Dying

Book 1 in The Blacksword Regiment

For most, the dying part is hard.
For some, the living part is harder.

At sixteen years of age, Mathius’s life is focused on scrounging bits of food in the midst of a five-way civil war on the planet Novalis III. Two government factions and three rebel factions are all trying to kill one another, and the civilian population is caught in the middle. If Mathius doesn’t find food, he and his father, mother and sister will go hungry for the day, a not unusual occurrence. Mathius must also avoid the rebel factions, who frequently kidnap young boys and force them to become soldiers.

Will the Commonwealth of Allied Systems intervene? And what of the Blacksword Regiment, the elite soldiers of the Commonwealth Security Corps? Will they sweep in and make everything right? And then there is the Kelk Supremacy, a race of strange humans that evolved for a thousand years in isolation on a far planet. Why does Mathius keep seeing signs that the Kelk are somehow involved in the unrest?

A Dirge for the Damned

Book 2 in The Blacksword Regiment

Damned if I die today,
Cursed if I live tomorrow.

Nikaela Vreekande joins Kristdokar’s clandestine operation to identify those responsible for the tragedy on Novalis III, and the incident on Reisenar. Lieutenant Colonel Katrine Primatov meets with Thordahl and Brynjar on Norandyne to establish covert lines of communication between the Kelk Supremacy and the Commonwealth. John Mathius travels to Trafalgar to attend O-School, and all seems well. But there are those in the Commonwealth and the Supremacy who would prefer that John and Nikaela fail, or barring that, they would see them dead.

A Prayer for the Fallen

Book 3 in The Blacksword Regiment

Pray not for those who fell before,
and grieve not for those yet to fall.

After John and Nikaela are rescued from the rogue warship Sycorax, Katrine Primatov has only a lone hunter-killer to back her in the remote Sarkovie system, and she is faced with a Kelk force of overwhelming firepower superiority. The Kelk decide to take John and Nikaela back to Viktorkinde, whether Katrine likes it or not. With no choice in the matter, she accompanies them, and the three are reluctant guests aboard the Kelk heavy cruiser Konigsborge. But the Kelk are quietly at war among themselves, fighting their own battle against superstition and irrationality. John and Katrine begin to learn the roots of their hatred of the Blacksword, and Nikaela does what she can to help them.

A Requiem for the Forsaken

Book 4 in The Blacksword Regiment

Forsaken, damned and dying,
a bad day all around.

The diplomatic mission has arrived at Viktorkinde, but something big is up. Katrine and John need to figure out what’s up before the shit hits the fan.

Upcoming Events

So much has changed in the last three years it’s unbelievable. And even though there are still some lingering effects from the pandemic, for all intents and purposes it's now behind us. Now we have to deal with the raging political storm in this country.

This year, other than the Tucson Festival of Books, everything is happening in the last half of the year. I'm looking forward to WorldCon in Glasgow Scotland, and World Fantasy in Niagra Falls should be fun as well.

August, October, and November are going to be busy with WorldCon, BuboniCon, World Fantasy, TusCon, and LosCon.

I hope all of you out there, and your friends, colleagues and loved-ones, are healthy and well. The first half of this year is really busy with the release of Dread Child and Dread Spirit, the first two books in my new coming-of-age epic fantasy The Dreadmark Covenants. The third book is coming along nicely, and I should have it finished before June. Then I dive into the fourth book. There’s more information at the top of this page.

Do get out, but stay safe, stay well.

Tucson Festival of Books
March 9-10, Tucson, AZ

Or, as we locals call it: TFoB. This is the third largest book festival in the US. 150,000 people descend on little ol' Tucson. I'll be signing books all day in tent 125.

Here’s a link to the web site.

J. L. Doty at Tucson Festival of Books 2024