Appaloosa Elim is a man who knows his place. On a good day, he’s content with it. Today is not a good day. Today, his so-called “partner” – that lily-white lordling Sil Halfwick – has ridden off west for the border, hell-bent on making a name for himself in native territory. And Elim, whose place is written in the bastard browns and whites of his cow-spotted face, doesn’t dare show up home again without him.
The border town called Sixes is quiet in the heat of the day, but Elim's heard the stories about what wakes at sunset: gunslingers and shapeshifters and ancient animal gods whose human faces never outlast the daylight. If he ever wants to go home again, he’d better find his missing partner fast. But if he’s caught out after dark, Elim risks succumbing to the old and sinister truth in his own flesh - and discovering just how far he’ll go to survive the night.
The first book in an epic fantasy Western series, One Night in Sixes tells the story of the fragile peace between the industrialized east and the indigenous west – and how it threatens to fall to pieces when two strangers cause a terrible accident. Recommended for fans of the Western mythos of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, the post-war frontier dynamics of Firefly and Deep Space Nine, and the multicultural fantasy realms of Ursula K. LeGuin.
PRAISE FOR ONE NIGHT IN SIXES
"Clearly written and engaging" - Publishers Weekly “This author can really write. If you loved Stephen King’s Dark Tower series – or even if you’re a hardened Cormac McCarthy fan – you will find this book right inside your wheelhouse. Living, witty dialogue, and a familiar-yet-strange world inhabited by vivid characters. I loved it.” - Paul Kearney, author of The Ten Thousand, Hawkwood and the Kings, and A Different Kingdom "Sixes is a tinderbox of a town with tensions just waiting to go off - and Sil and Elim provide the match to set the volatile town ablaze." - GCE
“One Night in Sixes tears the covers off the Western and Fantasy genres and turns them into something that will grip you from the first page to the last.” – Rebellion
Adapted from My Favorite Bit: Tex Thompson Talks About Medicine for the Dead hosted by Mary Robinette Kowal – posted 03/24/15
It’s one of those great unspoken rules of fantasy: you can’t have a quest without a journey, and you can’t have a journey without a map. Well, YOU can (of course you can!), but I couldn’t. Medicine for the Dead is basically Lord of the Rings, if Frodo and Sam were a couple of Native Americans, and the One Ring was a corpse getting riper by the day, and the quest involved getting said corpse through Mordor and home for burial without getting killed by demons, drought, or a vicious case of magical dysentery. You definitely don’t want to tackle a thing like that without an up-to-date Fantasy Fodor’s in your back pocket.
The thing is, we couldn’t do a traditional Tolkienesque fantasy map, because this really isn’t a traditional Tolkienesque fantasy world. It’s based on the American Southwest, for one thing, and for another, it’s not a stable place: within the space of a generation, borders have been drawn and redrawn, towns have changed names or been burnt to the ground, and even ‘static’ features like rivers have been poisoned, dammed, diverted, or just dried up – all of which have direct, occasionally dire plot-consequences. After much agonizing and some brilliant advice from my Facebook posse, I realized that this would need to be a map in two layers: a prettier, nicely-drawn “then” and a rough, improvised “now”.
Here’s the funny thing about maps, though: somebody has to make them. I don’t mean in the real world – I have my world-famous Swedish cartographer on tap for that – but there in fantasyland. Fictionally speaking, who drew that thing at the front of the book, and why?
In this case, the top layer was easy enough: we just gave a piece of charcoal to Our Heroes and let them modernize the map. But who would have drawn the original? What kind of old-world artist would have had access to all this disputed territory?
I mused. I meditated. I despaired. And then it hit me as suddenly as if I’d been slapped with a mackerel: fishmen.
Or mereaux, as they call themselves. They share water rights to everything that drains into the secondary-world Gulf of Mexico, so if we can imagine that the original version was sketched into something more waterproof than paper, they could have been doing land surveys even while those inscrutable earth-persons were busy killing each other.
And y’all, I can’t even tell you what a blast I had. Have you ever thought about what the world would look like from a freshwater perspective? Let me tell you: it is ridiculous, amphibious, toe-curling fun (and in this case, it also involved a fair bit of French.)
After all, if you spend most or all of your life in rivers, you probably think of them as something more nuanced than ‘rivers’. Maybe you have a natural navigation system somewhere in your vocabulary. Maybe river systems are kind of like families, which – in your matriarchal society – might mean that ‘grandmothers’ are rivers that drain directly to the sea, ‘mothers’ drain to grandmothers (‘aunties’ do too, but unlike mothers, they have no tributaries), ‘daughters’ drain to mothers, and so on, until you get to ‘babies’ too shallow to swim in. (Naturally, you will orient your map labels accordingly, because everyone who’s not an illiterate earthbound clown reads from upstream to downstream.)
And of course, hardly any of this navigational navelgazing made it into the printed map, because you can only fit so much fabulosity into an 8″ x 7″ square. But I’ve had tremendous fun imagining a web-fingered cartographer detailing every bend in those rivers, happily drawing in little decorative cacti to fill in those mysterious inland bits.
And what does one call this disputed desert, this vast dry stretch of no-man’s-land in between? ‘Il On Échappe’: a fanciful old phrase that might have once meant ‘it escapes us’ or ‘one doesn’t know’, but is now a calligraphic shrug – a timid river-dweller’s ‘Here There Be Dragons’. And as Our Heroes will discover in brutally short order, that’s not the half of it…!
Arianne "Tex" Thompson is a home-grown Texas success story. After earning a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s in literature, she channeled her passion for exciting, innovative, and inclusive fiction into the Children of the Drought – an internationally-published epic fantasy Western series from Solaris. Now a professional speaker and instructor for the Writers Path at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Tex is blazing a trail through writers’ conferences, workshops, and fan conventions around the country – as an endlessly energetic, relentlessly enthusiastic one-woman stampede.
November 5-November 14, 2017
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11/05 - Promo - Hall Ways Blog
11/06 - Excerpt - Chapter Break Book Blog
11/07 - Review - Reading by Moonlight
11/08 - Scrapbook - Texan Girl Reads
11/09 - Author Interview - Books and Broomsticks
11/10 - Guest Post - Tangled in Text
11/11 - Review - Syd Savvy
11/12 - Review - The Librarian Talks
11/13 - Sneak Peek - A Page Before Bedtime
11/14 - Review - Forgotten Winds