Brown River Queen cover art

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Return of the Thing, Or, I'm Back!

Well hello there, loyal fans.

Many of you have been wondering where I've been. Okay, it now appears most of the ones wondering were also the ones to whom I owe money, but I'm sure that's simply a statistical anomaly.

It has been several weeks since my last blog. Please be assured I would not abandon the blog under any but the most extraordinary situations.

Sadly, the past several weeks have been nothing but a parade of extraordinary situations. It's been akin to being repeatedly bitch-slapped by an inexplicable and wholly unscheduled parade of clowns.

Unnerving. Off-putting. Somewhat unpleasant.

But all that is over with now (it's not) so it's back to normal (was never normal) for life at casa Tuttle, including this world-renowned blog.

No ghost hunting exploits today, because I have something even better.

Oh yeah. Stand well back, gentle readers. Don your protective goggles, located in the bins on the back of the shield walls.

Goggles on? Minds set for BLOWN? Adult diapers at the ready?

Good. We're all set.

Because today is the cover reveal for the new Markhat novel, BROWN RIVER QUEEN, available in March 2013 at fine bookstores everywhere.

Not to brag, but I believe BROWN RIVER QUEEN is even better that THE BROKEN BELL, which up until now has been my favorite in the series.

I see a raised hand in the back. What? You're not familiar with the Markhat series?

Then pray continue until the end of the blog, at which time I will provide links to a brief description of each entry in the series. Oh, and a quick and easy BUY NOW button. Because you'll want to. Speaks in Jedi mind trick voice. These are the books you're looking for.

But for now, let's talk about the new cover.

I'm sure many of you are familiar with the previous covers, which have all been beautiful. In fact, let's take a quick look:

There's the cover for THE MISTER TROPHY, which started it all. It even depicts a scene from the story, in which Markhat, who is a sort of private detective called a 'finder' in a world where magic and mayhem mix with murder and, er, mushrooms, has a card reading done which shows his future to be filled with anything but bunnies and rainbows.

Then came THE CADAVER CLIENT. Markhat finds himself working for a dead man, who claims he cannot rest until he finds his former wife and sets things right once and for all with her. But as Markhat learns, one can fully trust neither the living nor the dead.

Ah, DEAD MAN'S RAIN. One of the best things I've ever written. This is my homage to every black-and-white film-noir hard-boiled private-eye movie I've ever seen, with a side order of haunted mansion and a generous slice of dark, stormy night thrown in. Markhat doesn't believe a word of his new client's story when she claims her dead husband has been returning to their home at night. But as a furious storm breaks, he realizes there are darker things than shadows luring in House Merlat's deserted halls...

Brought together in print for the first time, THE MARKHAT FILES is an anthology containing THE MISTER TROPHY, THE CADAVER CLIENT, and DEAD MAN'S RAIN.

HOLD THE DARK sets Markhat on a course for vengeance, when a murderous sect of rogue halfdead break the Truce and robs Markhat of someone he loves. But once you tell the darkness your name, can you ever be truly rid of it?

THE BANSHEE'S WALK finds Markhat on the job far from Rannit's battered city walls. Instead, he's working a case at a remote artist's colony, run by an eccentric noblewoman who believes someone is out to steal her property and eject her from her ancestral home. Markhat is dubious -- until the corpses start to collect. But the thing about corpses in Markhat's world is this -- they don't always stay still long enough to be buried...

Rumors of war bring Rannit to a panic, but hard-working finders can't afford to turn down work until the enemy is not just at the gates but is storming them. So for Markhat, it's business as usual -- until he uncovers a murderous blackmail plot with its roots in the last War, and influence in the next. Will Rannit's fragile peace be broken, and will Markhat live long enough to solve what he believes may be his final case?

There you have it -- the Markhat series thus far. As I said, I've loved each and every cover, and the unbroken image theme they shared.

Markhat's face obscured by the brim of his hat. Markhat in coat, sans shirt. Those rumors that I posed for each Markhat cover?

True. Every bloody word. That's ME, and those of you who know better, please keep the awful truth to yourselves, because what good has the truth done anyone lately anyway?

Yes. I've been privileged to work with some of the finest cover artists in the business, and I am forever grateful to each of them for making me look good.

The Markhat series has grown, though. New characters have appeared. Some have perished. His world has even changed, as it enters the first years of an industrial revolution. Yes, magic works there. Harsh magic, most of the time. Brutal magic.

But so does physics. Markhat carries a gun now. So do a lot of bad guys. Swords are rapidly becoming decorative props.

Guns and steam engines and cannon. The title of the new book, BROWN RIVER QUEEN, is the name of a lavish gambling steamboat which is the setting for Markhat's new adventure. The Queen is an opulent stern-wheeler, right out of a Mark Twain story.

There are even rumors -- unfounded, this time -- that Markhat may or may not be getting hitched, or has gotten hitched, or has at some point discussed the act of getting hitched with Darla. I'm not saying here. Buy the books.

My point is this -- the series is changing, and my publisher, Samhain Publishing, thought it would be a good idea to move the cover theme along, too.

Most of the time, I embrace change with the ease and quiet grace of a wasp-stung wildebeest. I don't like change, usually because I still haven't quite got the hang of the Old Thing (life, shoes, emotions) and the last thing I want to do is try to learn the New Thing.

But this time, I saw the wisdom of changing the cover style, and I said, and I quote, 'Go for it.'

You're about to see the result, and let me say I have never been happier or more thrilled with seeing a piece of art associated with my name.

Enough. The new cover was created by the brilliant and awesome artist and author Kanaxa. Look upon it, ye mortals, and cry out with voices of loud wonder.

When you stop shouting, I'll be right here waiting.

Superlatives fail me. Markhat is still coyly concealing his face in the shadows, but he's got a snazzy new suit and a vampire-built revolver and if there is any doubt at all that he kicks much ass (that's a writing term) in this book, let those doubts be forever laid to rest. 

And yeah, that's Darla. Big brown eyes, flapper haircut, tasteful pearls. Perfect.

The Queen is in the lower right corner, properly portrayed below the Brown River bluffs upon which Rannit sits. 

Kanaxa, you didn't just nail the cover. You framed it in polished cherry and you hung it in the Louvre. 

Next week, I'll be back to the blog with more tales of Things That Go Bump, and a new contest based on the very cover you see above. So take a good luck -- there will be a test, later.

Now, for the gentleman at the back who wanted links and more info on the Markhat series, please click below:

The Markhat Files (Print only)

All the above are Kindle e-books. You can also get each in Nook format from Barnes&Noble (click here for that link).

If you prefer print books, Markhat has you covered:

Finally, if Amazon or B&N don't provide you preferred format, head on over to the good folks at Samhain Publishing, where you can get any of my titles in print, pdf, Kindle, Nook, Sony, or any other format!


  1. Very, very nice. The pearls are absolutely PERFECT for Darla. Totally. I love it. Very much looking forward to the book. WOOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. A contest, you say?! I can't wait. Really.

    Mwa ha haaaaa!

    *eeveel hand rubbing*

  3. Gorgeous. Very well done to the artist. And Frank, may I say, you look pretty nice in that hat and holding that vampire-make gun? Spiffy even.

    Looking forward to reading it!

  4. I love the new cover for Brown River Queen, Frank. It's gorgous. I can't wait to preorder it for my Kindle on Amazon.

  5. I like it! Now if it would hurry and get ready for market I would be even happier. You need to write faster. ;)