The Days of Dust and Ash Sells to DAW Books in a Three-Book Deal!

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So, I just got off the phone with my agent, Russell Galen. In a move that will keep me busy for the next 4-5 years, we’ve sold three books in a new sci-fi thriller series to DAW Books!

Those who’ve been keeping up with my shenanigans these past few months will recall that I’d been poking away at this. It’s called THE DAYS OF DUST AND ASH. It’s something that’s been percolating for years, actually. I had to set it aside when I sold The Lays of Anuskaya series to Night Shade Books back in 2010. But I’ve been working at it ever since, taking notes, jotting down ideas, and I thought it was time to tackle the project again. It was a really nice palate cleanser, and the writing moved really quickly, partly because so much of it had already been worked out over the past 5-6 years.

After writing about 30k on the new project and reaching a good stopping point, I pulled together a synopsis and sent it off to Russ. I’ll be honest. I thought this was going to take a lot longer to get a sale, but I’m really pleased, not only that it came together so quickly, but that it keeps me with DAW for the foreseeable future. They’re a wonderful publishing house, and I’m proud to be with them and have Betsy Wollheim as my editor. I’ve always thought they publish the sort of thing that I write, and I’m ecstatic to have more coming out from them.

So what are the books going to be like? Well, I’ll give you a taste of it in two ways. First, through the Pinterest board I’ve been keeping for it. Like all my projects lately, I use Pinterest to gather ideas, to note images that I’ll use for inspiration or reference. It’s helped me immensely to articulate the mood I’m shooting for. Here are a few of the more influential pieces from the board:

A great piece from Mario Sanchez-Nevado that for me encapsulates the feeling of the series and world quite well.

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One of the pivotal characters, a girl named Xioka.

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The main character, a warlock named Jannick Bauer, or Blue for short.

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Another primary character, an angel named Seraph.

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Paladin, one of the knights on Jannick’s team.

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The series is going to be a bit dark, though not wholly so. There will be light in the darkness. It’s set in a science-fictional world, an offshoot of our own, but there are a lot of fantastic, ritualistic elements brought to the way that people interact with it.

Here’s a brief synopsis:

THE DAYS OF DUST AND ASH is the story of a broken world, a world where once-great cities have been reduced to isolated pockets, enclaves that fight to survive against a semi-sentient plague known as the ash. Ash devours the landscape, remaking it in its own horrific image. What’s worse, it creates demons, twisted creatures born from the fears of the humans who have survived.

The enclaves may be preyed upon, but they are not defenseless.Their greatest weapon is the dust, a force born of the greater human collective and amplified by the potential within every person’s soul. Those who can wield it do so in order to drive the ash back from the edges of the cities that remain.

There is a third construct, born of both dust and ash, a thing known as the fold. If the dust and ash embody war, the fold embodies hope. It saved humanity when the world fell, though perhaps not in the way its creators had intended. It dissolved men, women, and children, storing their souls so that one day they might be freed. And now there are those who do just that—draw souls back from the fold using rituals that are so intricate that very few can perform them. Some of the dustborn regret their rebirth, but return to the world they must, for they are needed. They have within them a well of pure, unblemished dust.

Jannick Bauer heads a team who recover souls from the fold. Since its formation, his team has saved hundreds by flying missions to the ashlands. Everything changes, however, when they come across Xioka, a girl who has an unparalleled ability to control dust. Xioka is viewed by Jannick and his team as a potential savior for Tarontha, and perhaps the entire world. But when their jump ship is destroyed—an attempt on all their lives—signs point to those they least expected, the men and women in power in the enclave they hail from.

They mystery of the assassination attempt only heightens their need to know how Xioka could be so powerful, a thing that strikes to the very nature of this strange new world. As they begin to find clues, it falls to Jannick and his team to figure out who wants Xioka dead, and why, before they’re all killed themselves.

Readers of Jason Hough’s The Darwin Elevator, C.S. Friedman’s Coldfire Trilogy, and William Gibson’s Neuromancer will enjoy diving into the world of The Days of Dust and Ash.

So far only the proposal is written, and I have Books 2 and 3 in the Shattered Sands series to write before diving back into this world. No schedule has been determined as yet, but I’m hoping we can bring this out some time in 2018.

More news as I have it, of course. But in the meantime, even though it’s overcast in Wisconsin, I’m walking on sunshine!

3 Comments

  1. Ryan

    March 25, 2016 at 11:41 am

    Congrats! I like the synopsis, it sounds intriguing. I look forward to reading the series.

    • Brad

      March 25, 2016 at 1:33 pm

      Thanks, Ryan! I’m excited to get it out there.

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