Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Raingun by John Blackport

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Rick Rivoire is flush with money, women, and prospects. He protects his country as one of the Rainguns, an elite regiment of spellcasting cavalry.

But national policy drifts ominously into slavery and religious persecution, sparking rebellion. Joining the rebels could land Rick on a prison ship, in slave-irons --- or atop the same gallows where he watched his father hang.

The alternative looks no brighter. The status quo imperils Rick’s hard-won self-respect. Supporting tyranny would doom his dream to emulate the valiant swordswoman who braved a den of monsters to rescue the lonely, terrified nine-year-old boy he once was.

Rick can’t stay above the fray forever. He must either defend a government whose actions disgust him --- or risk everything he has.

This story unfolds in a world of bloodthirsty pirates, brave musketeers, and vile monsters. Its target audience is anyone who has ever wrestled with questions of whether, and how, to risk opposing the actions of their country.

This book contains graphic violence and some explicit sex. It is intended for adults only.

Bio: I’m a New England attorney who needs to keep this separate professional identities separate.


“Those two are cute together, old and in love,” said Danya. “You mustn’t tell them that, though. Shall we sit?”

“I’m sure you want to sit again after singing so powerfully. So how did Joaquim lose his eyes?”

“In Fedyrshchenkoff. He was tortured, for stealing. When he was in the army.”

Rick’s blood slowed. “That’s awful.”

“The awful part was losing his eyes. But you knew that.”

“When did this happen?”

“Many years ago. He sold the army’s korba on the black market. He’s lucky they didn’t execute him.”

“Execution might have been kinder.”

“He had only one Gift left, even then. Or at least he said he did. No doubt that helped convince them to spare his life.”

“How long did they have him?”

“Oh, many months. Over a year, maybe two. You can see from the way he shuffles, his hip was broken too. Twice, with a hammer.”

“Why do all that to a helpless old man?”

“He wasn’t so old and helpless then. They hoped he’d give up names of the buyers. But he didn’t know their names, so that was that. Eventually they believed him and sent him home.” Danya finished rolling something between papers, lit it on the table’s candle, and brought it to her mouth to inhale. “But they beat him very often. He had a bad time.”

“How did he get through it?”

“Why don’t you ask him.”

“I can’t do that. It might upset him.”

“And so what? He’s blind. He can’t hurt you.” She grinned archly. “If he tries to hit you, you can run away.”

Rick tried to sound firm, but not too serious. “I will not make an amiable old blind fellow who reminds me of my grandfather to re-live torture.”

“Oh why the hell not! He makes everyone else re-live it. Some days he won’t shut up about it.”

“So he talks of it often? How did he get through it?”

“Well, Joaquim says. . .” she tapped her hand holding the gasper, trying to shake off ash it didn’t have. “He imagined Samantha’s face. When someone tortures you? They control your thought, so there’s no escape. But some people escape, back to comforting memories, and stay there.”

“What do you mean, stay there?” Rick didn’t like having his brow knit in front of Danya, because it didn’t show him at his best. But he couldn’t help it now. “Do you mean, they stay there forever, lost forever? Don’t the torturers try to drag them out?”

Danya exhaled, her face resigned. “I’m sure they do.”

“Like a wolf, trying to get at a rabbit hidden in a hollow log. Only the rabbit can’t bolt out the other side, because it’s stuck now.”

Danya surveyed him. “You’ve thought about this a lot, haven’t you?”

Interview with John Blackport

What will readers like about your book? 

I expect they’ll like the action scenes. I also hope they’ll like that half the royalties are going to the Scleroderma Research Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to finding a cure. I’ve dedicated this book to my brother-in-law, and I want the book to help fight the disease that killed him.

Why did you self publish? 

I was tired of having agents and editors tell me I should switch to paranormal romance because military fantasy won’t sell.

What is your writing process? 

I start with a Grand Chronology of events stretching over months and years of time in the story. Then I decide what order the chapters go in, and write them. Then I do individual checks of the whole manuscript --- overusage of certain words, sentence structures, and so forth. By this point it has become clear exactly where the major surgery is required.

How long does it take you to write your first draft? 


What inspired you to write this particular story? 

Short answer --- Bernard Cornwell and George Macdonald Fraser. Long answer --- I think Americans were polarized by the wars of the last ten years, and I wanted to make sense of how events like that can drive wedges through a person or a nation. The fantasy genre allows me to do that with a completely distinct fact pattern that won’t be confused with the real world.

1 comment:

  1. Great excerpt! I also sympathize with the centuries long first draft. :-)