Rob’s Blog o’Stuff
THE TROUPE by Robert Jackson Bennet
THE KING’S BLOOD by Daniel Abraham
RED COUNTRY by Joe Abercrombie
EXISTENCE by David Brin
BLACKOUT by Mira Grant
CALIBAN’S WAR by James S.A. Corey
SEEDS OF EARTH by Michael Cobley The Eli Monpress series by Rachel Aaron
One of my greatest privileges since coming to work at Orbit has been working on the Eli Monpress series by Rachel Aaron. Following Eli on his fantastic journeys was always hilarious, entertaining, and unexpected. So it is with great pleasure (and a bit of sadness) that we release the final Eli Monpress novel, SPIRIT’S END (US | UK | AUS).
Eli Monpress is clever, he’s determined, and he’s in way over his head.
First rule of thievery: don’t be a hero. When Eli broke the rules and saved the Council Kingdoms, he thought he knew the price, but resuming his place as the Shepherdess’s favorite isn’t as simple as bowing his head. Now that she has her darling back, Benehime is setting in motion a plan that could destroy everything she was created to protect, and even Eli’s charm might not be enough to stop her. But Eli Monpress always has a plan, and with disaster rapidly approaching, he’s pulling in every favor he can think of to make it work, including the grudging help of the Spirit Court’s new Rector, Miranda Lyonette.
But with the world in panic, the demon stirring, and the Lord of Storms back on the hunt, it’s going to take more than luck and charm to pull Eli through this time. He’s going to have to break a few more rules and work with some old enemies if he’s going to survive.
Praise for the Eli Monpress series:
“Fans of Scott Lynch’s Lies of Locke Lamora(2006) will be thrilled with Eli Monpress.” –Booklist (Starred Review)
“A romp of a lighthearted fantasy starring an absolutely darling rogue.” — Publishers Weekly
SPIRIT’S END is available in the US in a stand-alone edition, and in the UK and Australia as the second book in THE REVENGE OF ELI MONPRESS omnibus edition.
With the fifth and final book of my Eli Monpress series, SPIRIT’S END (UK | US | AUS)*, coming out November 20, it was high time to crawl out of my coffee splattered writer cave and do some promotion. Seeing as this is the final shebang, though, I knew I wanted to do something different, something spectacular… But then I lost my voice and my lit themed parody video of Carly Rae Jepson’s Call Me Maybe had to be put on indefinite hold. (Sample: “Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, but I wrote this series, so read it maybe?”)
The disappointment is crushing, I know, but as a consolation (and an apology to everyone who just got Call Me Maybe stuck in their heads), I wrote a short piece about what would happen if the Eli gang had voice mail instead. So if you’re a fan, get ready, because this fansevice is all for you! And if you haven’t read the series yet and want in on the joke, you can read the first few chapters of The Legend of Eli Monpress here.
*SPIRIT’S END is being published in the UK and Australia as an omnibus called THE REVENGE OF ELI MONPRESS which includes THE SPIRIT WAR and SPIRIT’S END.
So, without further ado, please enjoy The Legend of Eli Monpress: Voice Mail Edition!
Here in the Art Department, we work over a year in advance on our book covers, so it’s a thrill to finally be able to go back and share these process posts with you. Today we have a special treat, because last year when the fabulous illustrator Sam Weber was working on the Eli Monpress series for us, he invited us into his studio in Brooklyn to take a peek at THE SPIRIT WAR in progress.
I have really enjoyed working with Sam on this series because not only does he paint such gorgeous covers for us, he’s also a gigantic geek and loves to read the books as well. It really makes a difference in a cover when your artist really gets into the story and characters…especially in the case of Eli, master thief and scoundrel extraordinaire.
In the video below, Sam walks us through his process from thumbnails to final art. Even seeing him work up close, I still can’t believe he gets the amazing textures and luminosity he creates out of the watercolors. Let me tell you, if you are not an artist or have never tried painting in any medium, never mind watercolors, you have no idea how unforgiving a medium it can be.
I know the sketches and stages he shows go by pretty quickly in the video, so I’ll post a bunch of the cover stages so you can see what he’s describing up close. Enjoy! And look forward to part two, when we move past the process of physically creating the cover, and reveal how big of a geek Mr. Weber really is.
Now that the fourth Eli Monpress book, The Spirit War, is officially out, I feel the time has come to make some commitments. Three books is a long time, but four? That’s an investment. You, gentle reader, have stuck with me through two years, multiple covers, and an omnibus makeover, and for that you deserve something concrete. So, without further ado, here are ten things I swear to you on my still living mother’s grave that I will never do in the Eli series.
1. I will not place all power in an easily losable object
This is a classic, and better writers than I have fallen for its simple charms. But the Eli Monpress books have always been about personal problems on a global scale, and ain’t no one getting out that easily. So, despite the absolutely insane amount of epic magic flying around in the final Eli books, there is no Tesseract, One Ring, Sword of Omens, or Holy Grail. I know I’m killing my merchandising options here, but art requires sacrifice.
2. It will not end in a wedding or an awards ceremony
I couldn’t book John Williams or Hans Zimmer to do the music, so the plot had to be rewritten. Also, Eli refused to wear anything that might make him look respectable. A man has to think of his reputation.
So things have been a little hectic wrapping up the Fall 2012/Winter 2013 season here in the Orbit Art Department, but expect to see a lot more action from us in the coming weeks. To start off with a bang is wallpapers for one of my favorite covers, and one of my favorite Orbit series, THE LEGEND OF ELI MONPRESS by Rachel Aaron. Actually this book is a trade paperback omnibus collecting the first three books in the series (Spirit Thief, Spirit Rebellion, and Spirit Eater) and to celebrate, we had the amazing artist Sam Weber take a crack at personifying Eli, the most famous thief in the world. If you want to see more behind the scenes on the cover, read this post.
And if you haven’t met Eli yet, then you’re missing out — the best comparison I an give is The Princess Bride by way of The Lies of Locke Lamora. And I don’t invoke Dread Pirate Roberts lightly, mind you. Honestly, when you have the artist calling wanting the next manuscript early for the next book, that’s a winner.
Stay tuned, because we’ll be launching more books in the series — with a video visit to Sam’s studio.
Here’s all the wallpaper download links…if anyone needs a specific dimension made, let us know!
Author’s Note: If you haven’t read my books yet, you should totally try the new omnibus. For one, the price is fantastic, but also, the omnibus contains the first three Eli books, ending with The Spirit Eater. You can try the first few chapters of The Spirit Thief for free on my site. And if you’ve already finished the first three, I’ve got a big chunk of the fourth book, The Spirit War, up on my site just for you, complete with more Nico! There are, of course, spoilers for the first three, so read at your own peril.
One of the things I love as a writer is when people send me messages talking about their favorite characters. Eli is, of course, very popular (Eli: of course. Rachel: Shut up). Josef and Miranda are also up there, as is Slorn. But what never ceases to amaze me is how many people write to say how much they love Nico.
For those of you who haven’t read my books, Nico is the only girl in the Eli thief trio. She’s also a demonseed who is excessively dangerous and who has had a very hard life. She came in with Josef, my serious swordsman, and sticks by him though everything, an aspect which has always delighted me. Eli might be the leader, but Josef is the glue that holds the Monpress thieves together. Ahhh, group dynamics. Anyway, I’m always a bit surprised how many people really seem to like Nico. Not because she’s not worth liking, but because in the whole series, she was the hardest character for me to write. Read the rest of this entry »
Rachel Aaron’sSpirit’s Oath is releasing today! It’s a novella set in the world of Eli Monpress. But instead of focusing on our loveable rogue — we are shifting to the Spirit Court and more specifically, the story of how Gin and Miranda met.
Four years before the events of The Spirit Thief, Miranda Lyonette was a young apprentice Spiritualist on the cusp of a promising career. But on the eve of her return from bonding a wind spirit, a night that should have been a celebration, she finds instead that her father has come to take her home. Now, Miranda must choose between her duty to her family and her future at the Spirit Court. But while she’s trying to make her parents see reason and avoid an arranged marriage to a man she can’t stand, she stumbled across the one one spirit who needs her more than any other, a caged ghosthound who doesn’t want her help. To save him, Miranda will have to earn the dog’s trust, but what she gets in return is a friendship deeper than anything she expected.
Check it out here! And if you’re curious about Eli, read the first chapter of The Legend of Eli Monpress( US | UK | ANZ) here.
One of the best parts of my job is getting to collaborate with fantastic artists on covers. And one of Orbit’s favorites is the stellar Sam Weber. When I heard we were going to collect the first three Spirit Thief books into an omnibus edition I knew I wanted to give Sam a crack at creating his version of the incorrigible rogue & sorcerer Eli Monpress. So here it is, The Legend of Eli Monpress by Rachel Aaron. It’s out in February in satisfying tome-size trade paperback. This edition collects The Spirit Thief, The Spirit Rebellion, and The Spirit Eater, and set’s the scene for the next story, The Spirit’s War, out in June 2012.
And speaking of The Spirit’s War, we know you guys are going to love this cover so much that we already have Sam working on the cover for the new book. And Art Director Kirk & I snuck out of the office for a few hours and went to visit Sam at his studio and see the cover-in-progress! We also took along our trusty cameraman Eric Westpheling to tape a studio tour and chat with Sam about his process. That video will debut with the cover launch of The Spirit’s War in a few months, but for now, here are some images of our visit and a SNEAK PEAK at the next cover!
I don’t remember the first time I saw Sam’s art but here at Orbit we love that he can capture such a strong feeling of fantasy and adventure, yet in a fresh way and in his unique style. Our first project together was The Gaslight Dogs, which was a stunning cover, but I have of course also been jealous of all the lovely work he’s been doing for other clients as well. Especially that drop-dead-gorgeous Ender’s Game ebook. And I have to say I was curious to see exactly what his process was…the transparency & textures he gets in his illustrations just blows my mind. I definitely learned a lot. I guess you’ll just have to wait for the cover launch of The Spirit’s War to hear him explain it himself…
Meanwhile, after the jump you can see a few more still shots of Sam in action, as well as this cover BIG, and a better shot of the art-in-progress…and if you haven’t had the chance to “meet” Eli Monpress yet, do yourself a favor and download the first two chapters as a free pdf here. I know I’m not supposed to have favorites and all, but this series is definitely on my list of manuscripts that I bug the editors about when I know it might be coming in…My early comparisons to The Princess Bride and Locke Lamora are completely on-target with everyone I’ve recommended this book to. Eli is a fantastic antihero, and, guy or girl, you can’t help fall in love with him a bit. Read the rest of this entry »