Douglas Smith's blog

THE LOST EXPEDITION is an Editor's Pick

BookLife has made The Lost Expedition: The Dream Rider Saga, Book 3 an Editor's Pick in a recent review. This means that every book in The Dream Rider Saga has received an Editor's Pick review, a sweep for the trilogy.

Here's the review:

"Editor's Pick: Smith powers to an explosive conclusion in the finale of his Dream Rider series, a lavishly concocted ride brimming with magic, mystery, and mayhem. Seventeen-year-old Will Dreycott is still struggling with feeling imprisoned in his Dream Rider Tower high above the streets of Toronto, and his girlfriend Case, though more connected to Will than ever, feels out of place in his wealthy world. While the two struggle to make sense of their superhuman powers—Will can astral project while he’s asleep, and Case’s inner Voice serves as a harbinger—they feel a desperate urge to uncover the truth behind their missing parents and decipher the secrets of the Chakana, a hard-won, strange relic somehow connected to their powers—and to Will’s life.

From there, their saga grows exponentially more dangerous—and hefty, as this concluding chapter is long, a novel for lovers of inventive fantasy-adventures to wallow in. With Case’s brother, Fader, who possesses superpowers in his own right, and Adi, the CEO for Will’s empire, the heroes must contend with Will’s growing powers but weakening health, in the midst of epic battles with rune-casting witches, supernatural beings that inhabit others’ bodies, and much more—Smith continually conjures surprises. At the heart of it all are Will and Case’s nagging suspicions that they’re “being moved like pieces on a board.”

The payoff for the group is worth it in the end, as they finally get the answers they’ve been searching for—about Case and Fader’s mother, the Chakana’s riddles, and surprising truths from Will’s own background. The road to those answers is decidedly rocky, bursting with dark magic, beastly protectors, and a slew of extraordinary fantasy characters—including a sinister presence whose roots can be traced back to Incan rule. Smith skillfully probes deeper messages behind all the fun, as the main players face the consequences of humankind’s disregard for the Earth—and each other. The series is best enjoyed when read in order.

Takeaway: Explosive conclusion to this spectacular fantasy joyride." BookLife (Editor's Pick)

The Lost Expedition is available now in print (both paperback and hardcover) and will be released in ebook format on all major retailers on January 15. You can preorder the ebook edition until then.

Three Things I Learned from Writing The Lost Expedition

Fellow writer, Matty Dalrymple, interviews me on three things I learned from writing my most recent novel, The Lost Expedition: The Dream Rider Saga, Book 3.

The Lost Expedition, by the way, is available for pre-order here and will be released on January 15.

Looking Back on 2023

2023 Aurora Award trophy and bookAt the end of another year, I'm going to be uncharacteristically non-Canadian for a moment and brag about a few things that happened in what was a very successful and enjoyable writing year.

  • March: The Crystal Key: The Dream Rider Saga, Book 2 is released. A repeated theme in reviews: "Even better than the first book!"
  • April: Like The Hollow Boys before it, The Crystal Key receives an "Editor's Pick" from BookLife and a "Starred" review from BlueInk.
  • May: My short story "Gypsy Biker's Coming Home" is a finalist in the juried Alberta Magazine Awards for fiction.
  • July: My SF / private eye mashup tale "Oregon Shooters" appears in On Spec, my 5th time in that excellent Canadian speculative fiction magazine.
  • August: The Hollow Boys: The Dream Rider Saga, Book 1 wins Canada's 2023 Aurora Award for Best Young Adult novel.
  • September: My short story "If I Should Fall Behind" appears in The Magazine of Fantasy Science Fiction, my dream market and one of the most prestigious in speculative fiction.
  • October: My fourth novel, The Lost Expedition, the final book in the Dream Rider trilogy is finished, edited, and sent to my ARC team.
  • November: The Hollow Boys wins the 2023 juried IAP Award for Best Young Adult novel

So, yeah, it's been a great year for me as a writer. Many of you have been with me on this ride for many years. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your support and for being a fan.

You can find all of my books at your favourite retailer or buy directly from me.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy, and rewarding 2024!

THE LOST EXPEDITION Releases in January!

Question mark symbolThe wait is over!

Print editions, both trade paperback and hardcover, of The Lost Expedition: The Dream Rider Saga, Book 3, the conclusion of the multi-award-winning trilogy, will be released, initially on Amazon only, on January 8, 2024.

A week later, on January 15, the ebook editions will drop on all major retailer platforms, including Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Google Play.

Also on January 15, the print editions will be available through Ingram around the world. So if you prefer reading a physical book but don't use Amazon, just ask your local bookstore or library to order The Lost Expedition from Ingram. Better yet, tell them to order the entire series: The Hollow Boys and The Crystal Key, too.

A final reminder to pre-order The Lost Expedition before its release on January 15, as the price will be going up shortly after that date.

Horror, SF, Fantasy Author Jonathan Pongratz Interviews Me

Horror, SF, Fantasy author Jonathan Pongratz interviewed me back in October about my books and stories, my writing process, and a bunch of other topics in a wide-ranging interview that he has now posted on his website here. Check it out!

The Hollow Boys Wins the Juried IAP Award for Best YA Novel

The Hollow BoysMy YA urban fantasy novel, The Hollow Boys (The Dream Rider Saga, Book 1), has won the juried Indie Author Project (IAP) award for Best YA Novel in the Ontario region. The award comes with a $1,000 prize. 

The Indie Author Project is a publishing community that works with librarians across North America and top curation partners, including Library Journal and Publishers Weekly, to highlight "the best indie-published ebooks each region has to offer in adult and young adult fiction." The juried competition runs in 15 US states and two Canadian provinces and considers hundreds of titles from indie authors each year.

The IAP award has been running since 2018, is free to enter, and is aimed at bringing indie titles of note to the attention of librarians, especially those in charge of acquiring titles. Winning titles appear in a full page spread in Library Journal, one of the IAP's partners. 

The format will change in 2024, moving from a regional competition to a genre-based award. Indies will be able to submit in a specific genre (romance, mystery & thriller, SF & fantasy, historical fiction, general fiction, memoir, and young adult), plus the cash prize is increasing from $1,000 per regional winner to $2,500 per genre winner and $500 for each genre finalist.

So, The Hollow Boys has now won the both the 2023 Aurora Award and the 2023 IAP award for Best Young Adult novel. Just sayin'...

You can purchase The Hollow Boys and the rest of The Dream Rider Saga from your favourite retailer here.

Pre-order The Lost Expedition

Question mark symbolSince The Hollow Boys just won the Aurora Award and The Crystal Key has been out for a few months, this seems like perfect time to remind you that the third and final book in The Dream Rider Saga trilogy: The Lost Expedition, is available for pre-order ahead of its release on all retailers on January 15, 2024.

You can see that gorgeous cover in all its full-sized glory by clicking on the image to the right. Jeff Brown is the cover artist for all of The Dream Rider titles, and I've loved each one he's done. But if I had to pick a favorite, it would be The Lost Expedition.

I provided a code earlier to get the first two books in the trilogy at a discount in my online store. That code will expire soon, so don't delay.

If you want to get a deal on The Lost Expedition, then you're best to pre-order it below from your favorite retailer. Its price will go up shortly after it comes out.

Pre-order The Lost Expedition

A Dream Sale and a Career Goal

Magazine of F&SF coverI am totally chuffed that I finally cracked The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, one of the very top pro markets for speculative fiction in the world and my dream market since I started writing.

The September / October 2023 issue is out now, featuring my new tale, "If I Should Fall Behind," as the closing story. Even cooler, though, is seeing my name on the cover. And, yes, this continues my recent string of stories with Springsteen songs for titles.

The seed for this story came from my multiverse musings in my current trilogy, The Dream Rider Saga, along with the opening line for the story:

After he died for the third time that night, Tumble began to worry.

F&SF's editor, Sheree Renée Thomas, was great to deal with throughout the process and very responsive. The turnaround time on this story sale was one of the shortest I've ever experienced: submitted in May, acceptance in June, edits in July, payment (ahead of publication, which is rare) in July, contract in early August, publication in September, along with the rapid delivery of my contributor copies this week.

F&SF is one of the few pro magazines that still produces a print, as well an ebook, edition. Magazines like F&SF rely heavily on subscriber revenue (and ad revenue, which is driven by healthy subscriber numbers). These mags took a major hit recently when Amazon suddenly announced they were cancelling all Kindle magazine subscriptions.

If you love excellent F&SF short fiction, please consider taking out a subscription to The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. They've been publishing for 74 years(!), and it would be a huge loss for speculative fiction readers and writers if they folded.

Another New Story in On Spec

On Spec issue #124 coverI had another new short story published over the summer. My tale "Oregon Shooters" appeared in the wonderful Canadian speculative fiction magazine, On Spec, in their July issue.

This is my fifth appearance in On Spec. Prior appearances included an Aurora Award winner, an Aurora finalist, and a recent finalist for the Alberta Magazine Awards for Fiction.

This story is a mash-up of a private eye yarn and an SF tale à la X-Files or MiB. It was written as a workshop exercise at a Master Class course put on by Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith. The goal of the exercise was to focus on setting. The place they took us to (for a wonderful lunch) for use as a setting in our stories was a seafood restaurant, popular with both locals and tourists on the Oregon coast.

Here the highlights of a review of the story in Amazing Stories:

“An unlicensed private eye is upset two people died while eating his favourite snack. He decides to help the restaurant owner out, since the authorities seem in no hurry. Odd, seemingly unconnected details begin to pile up. Then things get weird, really weird. ... I found this story quite entertaining. … Can this be the real reason H.P. Lovecraft was so terrified of sea food? I like to think so. Have the feeling he would wholeheartedly approve.”

—R. Graeme Cameron, Amazing Stories

You can order copies of the issue from On Spec.

Cover reveal for The Lost Expedition

Question mark symbolOooh! So exciting! (and if you can name the Wesley Snipes' movie that line came from, email me, and I'll enter your name in a draw for a free ebook of your choice).

Since The Hollow Boys just won the Aurora Award and The Crystal Key has been out for a few months, this seems like perfect time for a cover reveal of the third and final book in The Dream Rider Saga trilogy: The Lost Expedition.

Okay, technically, I've already revealed the cover, assuming any of you have checked out my online store or clicked through on the link in the back of The Crystal Key. I mean, The Lost Expedition has been available for pre-order for a while, with a release date of January 15, 2024.

But I've never done a formal cover reveal here, and this cover is so gorgeous, it deserves it. Deserves it so much that I'm not going to insult the cover by showing it in some little image scrunched up at the side of this post.

Nope, you get to see it in all its full-sized glory by clicking on the question mark image above or by going here. So, click way. I'll wait.

You back? Gorgeous, right? Jeff Brown is the cover artist for all of The Dream Rider titles, and I've loved each one he's done. But if I had to pick a favorite, it would be The Lost Expedition.

I provided a code earlier to get the first two books in the trilogy at a discount in my online store. If you also want to get a deal on The Lost Expedition, then you're best to pre-order it below from your favorite retailer. Its price will go up shortly after it comes out.

Pre-order The Lost Expedition


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