Thursday, April 11, 2013

Virtual Book Tour 24 Bones

24 Bones
Michael F. Stewart

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Supernatural Thriller

Publisher: Non Sequitur Press


Number of pages: 305
Word Count:  85,000

Cover Artist: Martin Stiff of Amazing15

Amazon     Smashwords  

Book Description:

Every five hundred years the phoenix dies.

Samiya, born-into-shadow, is soon to battle her born-into-light brother. Abandoned by their parents, neither wishes to play the preordained role of beast and hero. When their loved ones are taken hostage, they are forced to follow the path laid out in myth, culminating in a battle first fought six thousand years ago in ancient Cairo. A mythic clash where one defeats the other and both become gods.

To break free from their fates, Samiya and her brother must unravel a mystery twisted by cults, greed, and magic. But myth is a powerful force and failure to live up to it may not only destroy their lives but the lives of the ones they love most.

When the phoenix dies, the only certainty is flames.

“Terrific! A successful blend of genres, complex and fascinating characters, and loads of suspense make 24 Bones a must-read.” Nate Kenyon, bestselling author of The Reach, Prime, Bloodstone, and The Bone Factory.

“'24 Bones' is a winning debut. It's well-written and well-plotted, studded with drama, action, history and mythology. There's even a little romance. The conclusion is thrilling with the final outcome of the battle between good and evil held over until the very end...leaving you guessing until that very last page.” SF Crowsnest.

In Medias Res and Pain

The part most writers often have to cut from their novels is the beginning. Often we start in the wrong spot. The rule of thumb for a scene is to start it as late as possible and end it as early as possible. You don’t want to write your way into or out of a scene. Instead, start in medias res, in the middle. The same is true to some degree for a book, which is a collection of scenes.

I had this problem in 24 BONES. I cut 15,000 words from the beginning. That hurt. It pays to pay attention in craft classes!

So what happened? Readers need to relate to someone—hopefully your protagonist. They need an ‘Alice’ to go down the rabbit hole with, to learn along with, and to draw them into the story. Think of role of Keanu in The Matrix. The woman in the movie actually had a white rabbit tattooed on her. Keanu followed her right down the rabbit hole and us with him. To bring readers along for the journey in 24 BONES, I felt I needed a North American ‘Alice’. So the novel actually began in Toronto with David discovering the stele upon which is inscribed the prophecy and more (forgive some of the writing that follows, it is an earlyish draft!).

The JetFuel latte from the local coffee shop cooled on the railing that divided the living and sleeping areas of David’s bachelor apartment. Carpet at one time white now stained ivory ran the length of the twenty by ten foot space. Wine had spilled in a spray pattern beside a large cardboard box stamped airmail, postmarked Egypt. A slim twenty-something with chocolate hair and coffee complexion gasped as she tried to speak.
David, whose wine glass had toppled from his meaty hand when he pulled books from the box, was far from speechless.
“What the fuck?” he cried. “Holy you know what this is?”
“Gold,” she stuttered over the ‘g’, eyes dancing over the bright sheen.
“Yeah, gold,” he replied, running his fingers across the writing stamped in it. David knew what this was worth and not just for the obvious weight of precious metal. Miranda should too, being in her fourth year of her Archeology degree. Demotic script was late in the scheme of ancient Egyptian writing and it would take some time for him to decipher it, but he could and he would. He flipped it over, Miranda shoved her hands beneath to catch it as if gold could somehow shatter. More writing inscribed the back.
“Looks like a list,” he mumbled. Stele were often used as lists. “What could be so valuable that you’d make a list inscribed in gold?”

Later I realized that readers are smarter than that, my assumption was wrong, and decided I could get to the real story a lot faster if I began the novel in Egypt. Instead of having to slog through eight chapters of setup and throwaway action scenes, 24 BONES now opens in medias res. It’s four weeks until Akhet, the ancient Egyptian lunar New Year, and the ascendance of the gods!
So, writers, before you have to go and cut 15,000 words, be sure to consider whether you’re starting the novel in the right spot!

About the Author:
After crewing ships in the Antarctic and the Baltic Sea and some fun in venture capital, Michael anchored himself (happily) to a marriage and a boatload of kids. Now he injects his adventurous spirit into his writing with brief respites for research into the jungles of Sumatra and Guatemala, the ruins of Egypt and Tik’al, paddling the Zambezi and diving whatever cave or ocean reef will have him. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers and SF Canada, and the author of the Assured Destruction series, 24 Bones, The Sand Dragon, Hurakan, Ruination and several award winning graphic novels for young adults.

Want to win a copy of 24 Bones? Leave a comment and your email address for a chance to win an e-copy!


  1. Thanks for hosting, Dana! If anyone has a question, just ask!

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