Praise for The Hollow Boys

The Hollow Boys coverPraise is starting to flow in for The Hollow Boys, my latest novel and book 1 in my YA urban fantasy trilogy, The Dream Rider Saga. Here's a selection of reviews:

"Smith has created a dramatic, vivid fantasy world … The Hollow Boys is an assured, confident novel with strong world-building, sharp dialogue and the perfect balance between action and emotional growth for its main characters. … In short, this is a must-read story for YA fantasy fans." Blueink Review (★ Starred review)

"The Hollow Boys is inventive, engaging, and boundless fun. Teen zombies, Buddhist monks, SWAT teams, Raiders-of-the-Lost-Arc-style warehouses, corporate raiders, a (nonflying) magic carpet, and astral travel ...  Smith manages to throw all these disparate elements at the story to form a truly cohesive universe ... There are some nice character arcs and a charming YA romance subplot ... I enjoyed The Hollow Boys a great deal, turning pages long after I should have been abed. Smith has produced the best Canadian superhero adventure since James Alan Gardner’s Dark vs. Spark novels." Robert Runté, The Ottawa Review of Books

"A fast-paced and entertaining introduction to a new series. I've always enjoyed Smith's books and the characters in The Hollow Boys are further proof of why. They're rendered in more than three-dimensions, with the 'good guys' having their faults and even the villains having the odd tender spot … I enjoyed The Hollow Boys immensely… [and] was so pleased to have my opinion of Douglas Smith's work confirmed. He's a talented writer, equipped with two of my favourite traits: imagination and pathos. I look forward to continuing The Dream Rider Saga with The Crystal Key." —Kelly Jensen, SFCrowsnest

"An exciting alternative to your superhero entertainment fare … [Smith] is one of those rare authors … who have something new to offer in a world where everything is saturated by commercialism, including our beloved superheroes. … Superhero fans in search of an alternative should check out The Hollow Boys." —Reader's Favorite Reviews (5-star review)

"A multilayered fantasy that pays homage to familiar superhero tropes … while adding a nice dose of magic and mystery to the mix. The story is character-driven and richly developed … A fun supernatural tale with well-developed characters and a touch of romance." —Kirkus Reviews

The book is available at all major retailers in ebook and trade paperback editions, as well as hardcover at Amazon. I hope you'll check it out.

Please share! The Hollow Boys is now available

The Hollow Boys coverToday is the day!

The Hollow Boys, book 1 in my new urban fantasy trilogy, The Dream Rider Saga, is now live on all major retailers around the world and available for purchase. If you pre-ordered the ebook, it will appear on your reader today.

If you've been waiting until today to purchase, you can buy The Hollow Boys on Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Play, and many more retailers. Click on the link below, then select your preferred site. You'll be taken to that retailer's store in your home geography.
 
 
 
 
The book is available in three formats: ebook (all retailers), trade paperback (B&N and Amazon), and hardcover (Amazon). If you want to support your local bookstore, ask them to order the trade paperback from Ingram (the major book distributor to bookstores).

Barnes & Noble has selected The Hollow Boys for their "Top Indie Favorites" list for October-November, under the Teen-YA category, a pick supported by early reviews:

Amazon: 4.8
BookBub: 4.9
Goodreads: 4.7 
 
The release price of $2.99 USD will be increasing soon, so buy now before the price goes up!

I'd appreciate any support you can give to spreading the word about The Hollow Boys. Feel free to share this post with your friends and fellow readers.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give with making people aware of the book.

"Enlightenment" in Black Infinity: First Contact anthology

Black Infinity: First Contact coverMy novelette, "Enlightenment," which is a sequel of sorts to my Aurora winner, "Scream Angel," is in this latest Black Infinity anthology, which has a "First Contact" theme.

This is my (I think) seventh appearance in a Black Infinity volume, of which there are nine, all edited by Tom English and published by Dead Letter Press.

For this one, it's great to be sharing the Table of Contents with so many talented writers and to be on a cover alongside legendary speculative fiction writers like Ray Bradbury, Leigh Brackett, Robert Silverberg, Murray Leinster, and Damon Knight.

Black Infinity: First Contact is available now on Amazon. I hope you'll check it out.

Read a free sample of my latest novel

The Hollow Boys coverHow would you like to read the first four chapters in THE HOLLOW BOYS, book 1 in my new urban fantasy trilogy, for free? Of course, you would. So read on!

The trilogy is called THE DREAM RIDER SAGA, and the books are THE HOLLOW BOYS, THE CRYSTAL KEY, and THE LOST EXPEDITION. The series is targeted as Young Adult / Adult crossover, meaning it will appeal to all fans of urban fantasy from mid-teens up.

The first book, THE HOLLOW BOYS, will be released on all major book retailers on October 15, 2022 and can be pre-ordered now on Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, Indigo, and Google Play.

The book will also be on Amazon, in both ebook and print editions, but not until the October 15 release date. The print edition will also be available through all bricks and mortar bookstores, starting on October 15.

To pre-order, just click here and select your preferred retailer. You'll be taken to the retailer's store for your home country. Its pre-order price of $2.99 USD will be increasing shortly after the release date. So pre-order and save money.

Wait (you say), what about that free sample?

Certainly. I'm making the first three chapters of THE HOLLOW BOYS available for your reading pleasure for free, so you can decide whether these books are for you.

Just go here and click on "Read the first four chapters!" link under the pre-order price, and you'll be able to read the start of the book in an online reader. Once you're done, click on the link at the end of the sample to return to the sales page, where you can click your favourite retailer to pre-order the book.

Enjoy!

New short story in On Spec Magazine!

On Spec issue coverNot quite as big news as my upcoming trilogy, but this is still special for me. I have a brand new short story (okay, novelette, or long short story) published in the current issue (#120, vol 32, no. 2) of On Spec, the fantastic "Canadian Magazine of the Fantastic."

The story is called "Gypsy Biker's Coming Home" and is drawn from the Bruce Springsteen song of the same name, off his "Magic" album.

I'm a huge Springsteen fan and have written other stories inspired by his songs, like "Going Down to Lucky Town" (in my collection, Impossibilia) and "Radio Nowhere" (Campus Chills, anthology, 2009).

His "Gypsy Biker's Comin' Home" tells the moving story of a family mourning the death of a son and brother, friend and husband, who has returned from a war, but in a coffin. If you don't know the song (and you should), you can listen to it here and read the lyrics here. It's Springsteen at his political and human and musical best.

Springsteen's ballads are tiny perfect jewels of stories, and this one has so many evocative lines and scenes, it was always calling to me to write something inspired by its characters and their pain and the images he paints.

"Gypsy Biker" also ties into my Merged Corporate Entity universe stories, such as "Scream Angel," "Enlightenment," and "Memories of the Dead Man" (On Spec, Winter 2005, #63 vol.17 No.4).

This is my fourth story to appear in On Spec over the years. My first was way back in 2001 with "The Red Bird," which was a finalist for the Aurora Award. My last appearance in On Spec was in 2014 with "The Walker of the Shifting Borderland," which won the Aurora Award.

This issue also features an interview with yours truly. I hope you'll check out the issue, available to purchase in print or ebook here.

"The Red Bird" reprinted in We Who Are About To Die

We Who Are About to Die coverMy Japanese martial arts fantasy, "The Red Bird," has been reprinted in the anthology, We Who Are About to Die, from Rogue Blades Entertainment.

The antho "examines the theme of ultimate sacrifice as key to heroism. Not only the willingness to sacrifice all, but the act of sacrificing for the greater 'cause' — whatever that may be. Death can be a cost of heroism, but it might not be the greater loss come story’s end. Heroes die. And they lose things greater than life: Family. Freedom. Innocence. Faith. Ideals."

"The Red Bird" was an Aurora Award finalist when it was first published in the fine Canadian speculative fiction magazine, On Spec. It remains one of my favourite stories.

In it, like in the stories in this antho, death does not have to mean defeat and loss does not always equal failure. ... Heroes die and legends are born. A battle is lost to win a war.

I hope you'll check out a fine anthology available here.

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