Thursday, August 31, 2017

{Nerd Blast} Deadlands: Boneyard by Seanan McGuire



Series: Deadlands (Book 3)
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Tor Books (October 17, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0765375303
ISBN-13: 978-0765375308

Praise for DEADLANDS Series

A gripping tale of the Weird West, set on the haunted frontier of DEADLANDS, the award-winning game from Pinnacle Entertainment Group.

Official Nerd Blast for Deadlands: Boneyard by Seanan McGuire

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The newest book based on the hit Weird West RPG franchise Deadlands!

Step right up to see the oddities and marvels of The Blackstone Family Circus and Travelling Wonder Show! Gasp at pit wasps the size of a man’s forearm. Beware the pumpkin-headed corn stalker, lest it plant its roots in you!

Annie Pearl is the keeper of oddities, the mistress of monsters. Her unique collection of creatures is one of the circus’s star attractions, drawing wide-eyed crowds at every small frontier town they visit. But Annie is also a woman running from her past . . . and the mother of a mute young daughter, Adeline, whom she will do anything to protect.

Hoping to fill its coffers before winter sets in, the circus steers its wagons to The Clearing, a remote community deep in the Oregon wilderness, surrounded by an ominous dark wood. Word is that a traveling show can turn a tidy profit at The Clearing, but there are whispers, too, of unexplained disappearances that afflict one out of every four shows that pass through the town.

The Clearing has it secrets, and so does Annie. And it may take everything she has to save her daughter―and the circus―from both.
EXCERPT

At the head of the wagon train was Nathanial Blackstone himself, owner of the show, reins in his hands as he guided his horses down the trail. Some people believed he never slept at all; that like his circus, he was a shark, and that if he stopped moving, he would die. Others knew that he was flesh and blood like any other man. A born showman, yes, who had no trouble encouraging his own mystique even among the people who worked for him, but still a man. He slept when the show was stopped. He slept in the early afternoons, when the crowds had yet to come in but the work of setting up had been finished. He slept in the space between sentences, where no one needed him to make their decisions for them, where, for good or ill, he could rest.

Rumor was he had a wife somewhere on the coast, in one of the green places where neither man nor beast came a-preying; that he had a child, or two, or as many as four, and that one day, when gray strands started to appear in that great black mustache of his, he’d be sending his trusted right hand to ride for Oregon and bring his eldest back to the show, ready to begin training his heir in the ways of the road.

Rumor also was that he was a clockwork man built by the master of another, fancier show, and that he’d run away from his creator the same way those occasional foundling children ran away from their creators, choosing freedom and uncertainty over captivity and a life where all their choices would come from someone else.

Nathanial Blackstone encouraged the rumors, all of them, no matter how ludicrous. If his people believed him to be a monster or a madman or a maestro, that could only enhance his reputation—and hence the reputation of the show as a whole—in the small towns they rolled through. Their route was a cartographer’s masterwork of trails, roads, and semisafe paths, all connecting the settlements they served. A circus’s map was one of its greatest treasures. Some of these routes, no other show in this part of the country knew. Without maps, the wagons couldn’t get place to place fast enough to make a profit.

Keep moving. Stay alive.

Behind his wagon came the hulking shapes of the equipment wagons, largest in the train, which hauled the upright posts of the various tents, the collapsed game booths, the vast, billowing canopy of the big top. When Nathanial thought of the tent, he always saw it in silken stripes, high enough to beat its banners against the moon. The truth was tamer, fifteen feet at its highest point, patched canvas painted in irregular zigzags, but oh, it was still beautiful when the lights were strung around the edges, when the aerialists put on their spangles and their sequins and learned how to fly. How could something like that be anything but beautiful? And that, in a word, was the power of the circus, and the reason it had been able to pass unscathed through territory he’d been told, time and again, was too dangerous for any man to navigate. No matter how ugly the world outside the tent got, the world inside would always be beautiful, and people would always want beauty. No matter how bad things got, people would always want beauty.

Behind the equipment wagons came a scattering of smaller wagons, most privately owned, some barely worthy of the name. The Visali twins slept in an open cart, on a bed of hay and old carpet, their arms tangled around each other until they seemed like a single body split in two, the long white shapes of their borzoi hounds surrounding them in a hairy curtain. They refused to sleep in a closed wagon unless it was snowing, claiming the heat from their dogs made any enclosure unbearable. Half the show called them “the Russian werewolves,” and untrue as the name was, it played well on the broadsheets they put up to advertise their performances.

Half the wagons were dark, their teams roped to the backs of the wagons ahead of them, trusting the show as a whole to set the path. The wagons where lanterns burned in the windows were still silent, raising the question of whether the light signaled wakefulness or merely superstition. The power of superstition in the circus could not be overlooked by any measure. It was a powerful thing, and some said it was what kept the axles turning without breaking, even when they rode over hard prairie. Say your prayers proper, make your offerings when you can, and the world will pass you by.

Copyright © 2017 by Pinnacle Entertainment Group, LLC

You can purchase Deadlands: Boneyard at the following Retailers:
 


Book Nerd Spotlight
Photo Credit: Beckett Gladney

Seanan McGuire was born in Martinez, California, and raised in a wide variety of locations, most of which boasted some sort of dangerous native wildlife. Despite her almost magnetic attraction to anything venomous, she somehow managed to survive long enough to acquire a typewriter, a reasonable grasp of the English language, and the desire to combine the two. The fact that she wasn't killed for using her typewriter at three o'clock in the morning is probably more impressive than her lack of death by spider-bite.

Often described as a vortex of the surreal, many of Seanan's anecdotes end with things like "and then we got the anti-venom" or "but it's okay, because it turned out the water wasn't that deep." She has yet to be defeated in a game of "Who here was bitten by the strangest thing?," and can be amused for hours by almost anything. "Almost anything" includes swamps, long walks, long walks in swamps, things that live in swamps, horror movies, strange noises, musical theater, reality TV, comic books, finding pennies on the street, and venomous reptiles. Seanan may be the only person on the planet who admits to using Kenneth Muir's Horror Films of the 1980s as a checklist.

Seanan is the author of the October Daye urban fantasies, the InCryptid urban fantasies, and several other works both stand-alone and in trilogies or duologies. In case that wasn't enough, she also writes under the pseudonym "Mira Grant." For details on her work as Mira, check out MiraGrant.com.

In her spare time, Seanan records CDs of her original filk music (see the Albums page for details). She is also a cartoonist, and draws an irregularly posted autobiographical web comic, "With Friends Like These...", as well as generating a truly ridiculous number of art cards. Surprisingly enough, she finds time to take multi-hour walks, blog regularly, watch a sickening amount of television, maintain her website, and go to pretty much any movie with the words "blood," "night," "terror," or "attack" in the title. Most people believe she doesn't sleep.

Seanan lives in an idiosyncratically designed labyrinth in the Pacific Northwest, which she shares with her cats, Alice and Thomas, a vast collection of creepy dolls and horror movies, and sufficient books to qualify her as a fire hazard. She has strongly-held and oft-expressed beliefs about the origins of the Black Death, the X-Men, and the need for chainsaws in daily life.

Years of writing blurbs for convention program books have fixed Seanan in the habit of writing all her bios in the third person, so as to sound marginally less dorky. Stress is on the "marginally." It probably doesn't help that she has so many hobbies.

Seanan was the winner of the 2010 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and her novel Feed (as Mira Grant) was named as one of Publishers Weekly's Best Books of 2010. In 2013 she became the first person ever to appear five times on the same Hugo Ballot.
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