Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net

Book Quote Wednesday

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

Nagata-hepen_the_watcher_BVC133x205I’ve participated in “Book Quote Wednesday” on Twitter for the past several weeks. Though the activity was created as a promotional tool, my experience shows it to be ineffective in that regard. I haven’t seen any effect on sales. Nevertheless, it’s kind of fun.

The idea is that a group of writers are given the same, simple word. They find an example of the use of that word somewhere in their work, and post the snippet on Twitter.

I’ve collected all my quotes from one novel — Hepen the Watcher — book 2 of my under-read and overlooked fantasy duology, Stories of the Puzzle Lands. The two books in this set are totally unlike anything else I’ve written. They’re straight up fantasies with magic — sardonic, violent, and darkly humorous. Sword-and-sorcery maybe. Of the first book in the duology, Fantasy Review Barn said:

“…It is the amount of heart this book has that really sells it for me. It is a book that falls into the gritty fantasy label for sure, but with a certain amount of sweetness. I will be reading the second of the duo in the near future, and have no problems recommending this one.”

So, back to Book Quote Wednesday. Each participating writer is asked to include the hashtag #bookqw in their tweet, so readers can check out other participating writers. Since I couldn’t fit a decent-sized quote within Twitter’s character limit, I started by posting simple screenshots of text.


The Dread Hammer–on sale

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Cover for The Dread HammerFor no particular reason, I’m putting The Dread Hammer ebook on sale for $2.99 until the end of the week — but only at my webstore.

The Dread Hammer is a fantasy novel, but it’s not “fat.” The print version comes in at a spare 214 pages, so no long-term commitments here! But if you like this one, there is a second book, Hepen The Watcher.

Here’s one reviewer’s conclusion about The Dread Hammer:
“It is the amount of heart this book has that really sells it for me. It is a book that falls into the gritty fantasy label for sure, but with a certain amount of sweetness.”Fantasy Review Barn

And from an enthusiastic reader:
“Richly developed characters drive the action of the novel and lend it the feel of an epic fantasy without the page count. The book’s hero, Smoke, is an almost mythic figure: complex, powerful, and conflicted. Smoke’s relationships are filled with turmoil, passion, and deeply human moments. Smoke’s vulnerability serves as an excellent contrast to his power.” –Jared Nelson

Find the book on sale here. Scroll down to read the opening.

Fantasy Review Barn takes a look at The Dread Hammer

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

The Dread Hammer by Linda NagataNathan, at Fantasy Review Barn, posts a detailed and positive review of my “scoundrel-lit” novel The Dread Hammer:

Smoke is the core of the story, a wonderful flawed character. His love for Ketty is pure but it may be the only thing about him that is. A perfect killer with atrocities tied to him, he is feared by all. Alone among the Bidden he is unloved by the people, and shows them no love in return. If not for Ketty he may not have any cares in the world, yet hears the prayers of many in trouble and often answers them. Intriguing and hard to pin down is our Smoke, but a whole lot of fun to read about.

Read the entire review here.

Scoundrel Lit

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

I just finished reading my first Joe Abercrombie novel, Best Served Cold, including an interview at the end of the book in which the author is asked about the genre of “scoundrel lit”:

“I tend to think of it as ‘unheroic fantasy,’ but certainly there seems to be a real current within epic fantasy lately toward darker, grittier, more morally ambiguous, more character-centered writing.”

Suddenly I have a subgenre in which to place the Puzzle Land books–The Dread Hammer and Hepen the Watcher–with their murderous protagonist, Smoke.

I do have to admit that Smoke is not entirely bereft of qualms and affections. Still, “scoundrel lit” is a pretty good description.

Snippet: The Dread Hammer

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

The Dread Hammer by Linda Nagata

The dried bunches of herbs that hung from the thatch were almost all gone by the time winter neared its end. Ketty used a forked stick to bring down the last one, though she wondered if it had any flavor left in it other than smoke. But as she lifted it from its hook, another item was revealed behind it. It looked to be a small pouch, hanging from its drawstring.

Putting the bundle of herbs aside on the table, she used her forked stick again, to fetch the pouch. It was heavier than she expected. Full of curiosity, she took it in her hand, and at once she heard the clink of coins. She put down the stick and hurried to the door.

It was a gloomy day, with frost still crunching on the ground, but it was light enough that she could see the sparkle of gold and silver when she peered into the pouch. She forgot to breathe as she poked her fingers at the coins. There were many different sizes and colors, most that she’d never seen before. But she’d seen a silver tarling once, one of the wedding gifts when her cousin was married. That alone had been enough to buy a new plough horse, and she saw at least two silver tarlings in the pouch, and they were not the grandest coins.

“Ah, Smoke,” she breathed in wonder. “You did not tell me we were rich.”


She ran across the meadow and through the woods, to the little clearing where Smoke was scraping a deer hide. “Oh, you found the purse,” he said when she showed the pouch to him. “I forgot I had that.”

“You forgot?” she asked, incredulous.

* * *
Available in print and ebook editions.

What? You Haven’t Read
The Dread Hammer Yet?

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

The Dread HammerWell, there’s no time like the present, because for a limited time you can get $2 off The Dread Hammer‘s ebook edition, by using the promo code PUZZLELANDS1. Only at Book View Café!

A coupon system is one of the cool new features of our revamped ebook store, and The Dread Hammer gets to be our first test specimen. You can buy either the epub (Nook) or mobi (Kindle) version. The ebook won’t load automatically onto your e-reader, but being DRM-free, you can either drag and drop it from your computer, email it to your e-reader if you’re set up for that or, if you have one of those flashy new tablets, you can probably just save it directly.

So if you haven’t read The Dread Hammer yet, now’s the time. And feel free to share the coupon code. We’d love more people to come check out the new store.

The Dread Hammer at Book View Café


Hepen the Watcher: the ebook is out!

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012


It’s been longer than I’d hoped, but the ebook edition of Hepen the Watcher: Stories of the Puzzle Lands – Book 2 is now out and available at (USA), Amazon UK, and Barnes & Noble. It’ll be out at Book View Café next Tuesday, March 20.

Stories of the Puzzle Lands began with The Dread Hammer and continues with Hepen the Watcher. Here’s the back cover description:

The demon Dismay’s murderous nature has earned him the ire of his beloved wife, who has sent him away in a fit of temper. In his exile he ventures south into the land of Lutawa, drawn there by the prayers of abused and desperate women who beg him to grant them vengeance against the men who cruelly rule their lives–and Dismay is pleased to do it.

Still, murder is hard and dirty work.

When an avid desire for a bath brings him to a fine Lutawan estate, he meets two beautiful young women. Ui and Eleanor are well-acquainted with the whispered tales of the demon Dismay, who slays men but never women, and they’re delighted to entertain their fearsome guest, but they warn him to beware.

Lutawa is ruled by an immortal king, who punishes treason with the terrible weapon of infernal fire. Believing this king to be the same cruel deity known in the north as Hepen the Watcher, Dismay resolves to kill him–and accidentally draws Ui and Eleanor into his schemes.

Those who help Dismay risk a fiery death, those who hinder him risk the demon’s bloody retribution, while Dismay, still yearning for his wife’s forgiveness, discovers that love can be as hazardous as the wrath of Hepen the Watcher.

Read Sample Chapters Here

Digital painting by Sarah Adams
Cover art ©2012 Mythic Island Press LLC