Category Archives: novel

The Demon in Business Class AUDIOBOOK

The Demon in Business Class AUDIOBOOK is out!!

Laura Petersen’s gorgeous narration takes you on a fantastic journey across Europe, America and Asia, with secret magic, international conspiracies, and star-crossed lovers. Put on those headphones and fly!

Honestly, it’s my favorite version. Laura Petersen put in an incredible performance, giving life to a hundred characters and mastering accents from a dozen countries.

Here are some of the many places you can find it –

Audible
https://www.audible.com/pd/The-Demon-in-Business-Class-Audiobook/B08FVC78XP

Walmart
https://www.walmart.com/ip/Demon-in-Business-Class-The-Audiobook-9781734741032/218327830

Kobo
https://www.kobo.com/audiobook/demon-in-business-class-the

Apple
https://books.apple.com/audiobook/the-demon-in-business-class/id1516610708

Google
https://play.google.com/store/audiobooks/details?id=AQAAAEDsLmtulM

Quarantine Inspiration on The Inner Loop Radio!

The Inner Loop is a Washington DC live-reading group that hosts fiction, non-fiction and poetry writers at monthly events. I’ve been pleased and proud to read work there twice.

They also run a terrific podcast on all aspects of writing. This week I’m part of their Qurantine Inspiration Series, with my own 12-minute creative stimulus – motivation, tips, a writing prompt, and a super-short story with my new take on a legendary being.

Here’s my podcast: https://soundcloud.com/theinnerlooplit/inversion-with-anthony-dobranski

For more inspiration, subscribe to their podcast at: https://www.theinnerlooplit.org/radio

BIG NEWS! A new edition of The Demon in Business Class!

Despite its reputation, Friday the 13th treats me well — maybe because 13 is a rare number, evenly divisible in a Tarot deck’s 78 cards.

Certainly this Friday the 13th is a great day to share some love — and, BIG NEWS!

The Demon in Business Class gets a gorgeous new edition this spring!

New cover, new layout, with illustrations! In hardback, paperback, ebook and – for the first time – an incredible audiobook edition, narrated by the amazing Laura Petersen.

New edition May 2020!

(If the novel is new to you, this is a great time to discover it — click here to learn more!)

A lot has gone into this, and there’s a lot more ahead…

… but I need your help to make it happen.

The link below – and on the ad above – is to sign up for the new edition’s Advance Review Copy. From now until the end of April, you can order an Advance Review Copy in paperback (US addresses only), ebook, or audiobook.

Advance Review Copies are FREE

If you pledge, scouts’ honor, to read it (or listen to it), and leave an honest review on your favorite site.

In modern literary life, reviews are incredibly important. If everyone reading the ARC leaves an honest review, it’s a huge boost to the Demon relaunch.

Want a free ARC copy? Sign up here!

I’ll be sending the ARCs out in early April – ebooks will arrive faster, of course 🙂

Official pre-orders begin on April 26 — exactly 6 months from the first edition’s October 26 release date. (Also, double-13, and another Tarot factor!)

That’s also when I reveal the full cover (unless you’re an email subscriber). The retail launch date will be May 26!*

Signing up for the ARC also signs you up for my mailing list – including: an early cover reveal on April 13, sample chapters, audiobook samples, and interviews with the amazing professionals behind the launch; plus, some very early passages from my second novel, The White Lake, a literary science-fiction tale unlike anything you’ve ever read. It’s very different from Demon, yet completely my style.

BIG CHANGES AHEAD! I am sweating the details and you’ll see them in the coming weeks. I know they will delight you!

*May 26 isn’t a significant day for me, but Tuesday is a traditional book release day. Also, it is one day after the original release of Star Wars – May 25, 1977. So, that’s cool.

The bad news is, I was right

I’m finishing my second novel, but in the last few months I’ve spent some time with my first, The Demon in Business Class, as it enters a new medium. The amazing voice actor Laura Petersen has recorded the audiobook — early spring release! don’t worry, I’ll be posting about it.

I’ve been pitching in doing proofs, catching small errors, but mostly just being regaled. Petersen is hugely talented, nailing Demon‘s scores of worldwide accents, and also finding subtle line readings in both narration and dialogue. It’s been a wonderfully self-congratulatory exercise. Gosh I’m a good writer. I should do it more.

I’ve also heard how good I am at forecasting. I wasn’t looking too far ahead, and I had the small advantage of being a few years ahead of the times in my book.

Even so, I got everything right.

Back-cover copy is about drama, and my novel had that in spades, with fantastic powers, violence, conspiracies, and troubled romance. The Demon in Business Class also has: elites failing to see the difference between what’s good, and what’s good for them; religious people ever more tempted, and corrupted, by temporal power; the dissatisfaction with globalization; the angry assault on patriarchy; Russia’s aggressive refusal to play by American rules; China’s ever-greater confidence; a greater role for mysticism in public life.

I don’t mean to brag, exactly. It’s hard to take comfort in being right about so many things that wouldn’t be my first choice if I had a say.

Still, I did way better with my calls than most pundits and politicians. I am attentive to subtle currents and a clear-eyed thinker. It helps to remember that things always change, and that nature abhors a vacuum. These are cliches because of our complacency; step back, and they contain terrors.

I have my own formula, once a line of dialogue from an early failed novel, now a personal mantra, my walking stick as I scramble ahead of changes.

It says: When there’s no place else to go, you go there.

There’s been a lot of going there the past few years. More to come. Trust me, I have a good track record.

And, gosh, I’m a good writer. I should do it more.

I grieve for my beloved Hong Kong

It has bad air. I was still a smoker when I worked there, and I joked it was protective. It’s impossibly expensive, though plenty of people live there cheaply. It’s a culture clash, crash, and fusion — Chinese and Anglo, old and new, rich and poor, metropolitan and tropical, high-pressure and laid-back. It’s fast, so fast. After you leave, for a long time, everyplace else feels slow.

Of course I set part of my first novel there, the most raw part, the true climax. That romantic imagined life was my consolation prize. Had my parents been younger when I left my corporate life, I would have moved back there.

I love Hong Kong.

Hong Kong’s Lion Rock lit up as protesters gathered at its peak. Photo: Tyrone Siu/Reuters

I swore a while back not to write about politics, but this is more. Unique places are an endangered species. Hong Kong is its own strange ecosystem, married to change but in love with constancy. I admire its people. They are courageous and vivacious and more honest than most, except when haggling. I fear for them.

I’ve feared for them since the handover from British rule to Chinese rule, 22 years ago. I was happy for my Hong Kong friends after the handover — there was a pride then, akin to what African Americans felt with Obama’s election. Still, my parents fled Soviet rule. I saw this conflict coming — honestly, I expected it sooner.

It’s not the same, of course — unique is like that. It’s not left-right, not occupier-colony, not exactly rich-poor. For a shorthand, maybe old-new. Hong Kong is decades older than Communist China, but far younger at heart.

Call it this, now: One country, two incompatible hungers.

I’ve never lifted a billion people out of poverty. I do know something about the rare and the special. They are easy to milk and maddening to sustain — but if you don’t sustain them, if you don’t help them thrive, they dry up. There is no more special, and others know you for a fool.

China made a big deal, the biggest deal, about adopting this shining child, and then refused to understand it. Maybe it was jealous. Maybe it felt threatened. Maybe it wanted a trophy. Maybe it was just indifferent. Hunger, like justice, is blind.

China risks being a fool now. Soon, I fear, it will risk worse.

I grieve for my beloved Hong Kong

It has bad air; I was still a smoker when I worked there, and I joked it was protective. It’s impossibly expensive, though plenty of people live there cheaply. It’s a culture clash, crash, and fusion — Chinese and Anglo, old and new, rich and poor, metropolitan and tropical, high-pressure and laid-back. It’s fast, so fast. When you leave, for a long time, everyplace else feels slow.

Of course I set part of my first novel there, the most raw part, the true climax. That romantic imagined life was my consolation prize. Had my parents been younger when I left my corporate life, I would have moved back there.

I love Hong Kong.

I swore a while back not to write about politics, but this is more. Unique places are an endangered species. Hong Kong is its own strange ecosystem, married to change but in love with constancy. I admire its people, I call them courageous. I fear for them.

I’ve feared for them since the handover from British rule to Chinese rule, 22 years ago. I was happy for my Hong Kong friends after the handover — there was a pride then, akin to what African Americans felt with Obama’s election. Still, my parents fled Soviet rule. I saw this conflict coming — honestly, I expected it sooner.

It’s not the same, of course — unique is like that. It’s not left-right, not occupier-colony, not exactly rich-poor. For a shorthand, maybe old-new. Hong Kong is decades older than Communist China, but far younger at heart.

Call it this, now: One country, two incompatible hungers.

I’ve never lifted a billion people out of poverty. I do know something about the rare and the special. They are easy to milk and maddening to sustain — but if you don’t sustain them, if you don’t help them thrive, they dry up. There is no more special, and others know you for a fool.

China made a big deal, the biggest deal, about adopting this shining child, and then refused to understand it. Maybe it was jealous. Maybe it felt threatened. Maybe it wanted a trophy. Maybe it was just indifferent. Hunger, like justice, is blind.

China risks being a fool now. Soon, I fear, it will risk worse.

Hong Kong’s Lion Rock lit up as protesters gathered at its peak. Photo: Tyrone Siu/Reuters

Destroying Budapest

My science-fiction work-in-progress is set in a single city, and I needed to see it to imagine living in it. Welcome to Pest! Only walk on gray parts….
Pest, the White Lake and the Soft Lands
Budapest was a proxy in the One-Day War between Greater Russia and Umoja East Africa. Buda is now the White Lake, a boiling toxic waste of microscopic robots that eat carbon dioxide, and anything else, to make diamonds that wash on its shores. Both embargoed no-person’s-land and boomtown, Pest houses thieves, smugglers, engineers, and skaters, daredevil gladiators who jump and spin over the Lake in maglev boots, just one fall from death.
I suppose I could have done any old thing to ruin a city, but I wanted a dusting of Science! in my fiction. I thought a fractal would make a believably consistent result small enough for microscopic robots to store. I used FractalWorks, a Mac app, to generate a tiny portion of the celebrated Mandelbrot function, and overlaid this on a large screenshot of central Budapest, so its finer arcs and whorls were the length of city blocks.

Budapest map and Mandelbrot sliver

Budapest map and Mandelbrot sliver


I didn’t think at the scale of blocks it could ever be so precise – if nothing else, land would collapse – so I cut out the Lake using an image editor’s predictive selection tool, to make the edges sloppy and eroded.
Both the pink and white areas are products of the fractal. The white is the Lake itself, while the pink represents Soft Lands, areas of shifting underground streams through which nanites recharge, around which smugglers tunnel.
It’s been a huge help to have the reference. Putting my characters on a literal map lets me figure out relative distances, and helps me imagine the land and the city that might grow from it.
I also thought further about my mechanical monster’s makeup. Where Lake meets land has always been seductively quiet, since earliest drafts. Instead, let the meeting of Lake and Soft Lands be a place of churn and upheaval, the turbulence of nanites going into and out of dormancy around the buzz of other nanites quantumly-uncertain just where their strange fractal stops. I have a heart murmur too.
It’s easier to name things in the context of the city’s weird sense of humor now, and I’m looking at it as more impressively built than previous drafts. Where before it was falling apart and hastily erected, now I see it as printed and reprinted, strange but regular, by the same artificially-intelligent drone “taxibots” that run the city services. This has new virtues and a very different look. And some rewriting.
If this map gets reproduced in the book, I don’t want the plain line drawing quality of most novel maps. Rather I’d commission a graphic artist to generate a cityscape, degrade that so it looked like a 12th-generation-photocopy of an old image, have all the landmarks written in sloppy marker. At top: “Welcome to Pest where you will likely die.” At bottom: “Wanna know more? Live and learn.”

A quick hello during a busy season

I am sorry to have been so silent. In between summer travels with family, all my projects have been in construction phases, and I don’t like vague-posting.
But, news. I have several author events scheduled for this fall. You can find me at:
The Fredericksburg Independent Book Festival, Fredericksburg, VA, Sat Sep 23
YABBAFest, Warrenton, VA, Sat Oct 14
Quest-Con, Mobile, AL, Fri Oct 20-Sun Oct 22
Philcon, Cherry Hill, NJ, Fri Nov 10-Sun Nov 12
I have also begun recording The Demon in Business Class audiobook. People who sign up for my mailing list at Fredericksburg or after will get a free copy of the early session recording of Demon chapter 1.
Want in on the goodies? Sign up too! 
The third project is of course my new novel, which I finally have come to admit is not going to be fleshed out from the previous manuscript, but completely rewritten. I have however set myself the semi-impossible goal of debuting it next year at Atlanta’s massive DragonCon, which means that next week I get to writing in a headlong Phildickian rush. Well, maybe not, but I have a lot to do.
I’ll be posting about the book in a couple of days, since I can actually discuss it now and show some concepts.
A fourth project … awaits much more solid scheduling. Suffice it to say I am working with great artists.

Demon ebook on special sale until Aug 17

Starting today for the next three weeks, The Demon in Business Class ebook is on sale as part of the “Bump in the Night” fantasy-thriller set at Storybundle.
Pay from $5 to $15, you get six ebooks, including mine; pay more than $15 and get nine more ebooks. Download versions for all readers – or, if you follow their slightly technical instructions, Storybundle can send it direct to your Kindle/Kindle app.
If you have friends who are fantasy or thriller readers, please share the sale with them! It’s good until August 17 2017.

Hello Florida Supercon – goodbye wonderful Raleigh!

Hope to see you this coming weekend, July 27-30, at Florida Supercon in Fort Lauderdale, FL. I’ll be at the Bard’s Tower booth all four days of the con with Kevin J. Anderson, Josh Vogt, Kevin Ikenberry, Keith DeCandido, and J Scott Savage. I have one scheduled panel, on using real world experiences in fiction, at 3:30pm on Thursday.
I’m pleased that Florida Supercon is under the same management as last week’s Raleigh Supercon. Raleigh was a tremendous event, well-run and with a welcoming energy. I met many enthusiastic people, and even got to join a panel on Religion and Magic.
I’m very lucky to have Bard’s Tower as a promotional outlet to the world of fan conventions. Bard’s Tower helps me connect to my audience while working in a collaborative way with fantastic and experienced writers. Speaking as a business, tens of thousands of people with hundreds of options and real-world budgets are a brutal lab for direct marketing. As an artist, it’s an incredible chance to find that certain reader my work really speaks to, live and in-person — an unrivaled source of joy.