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Marla Mason

Bone Shop: A Reader-Supported Novella

As I mentioned yesterday, my wife was laid off this week, and while we both hope she finds a new job soon (and that I sell some more novels, as far as that goes), we're in sudden need of money now. I could have just straight-out asked for financial help -- and for those who've offered that, thanks, it's appreciated -- but I'm a writer, and if there's one thing I have in ample quantity, it's stories to tell.

Specifically a story I've been wanting to write for a while, but couldn't find the right market for: a longish piece about the early adventures of my series character Marla Mason.

Bone Shop is a serialized, donation-funded urban fantasy novella, available for anyone to read for free. New chapters will go up every Monday. The Bone Shop website is here, though there's not a lot there at the moment. I'll post the first chapter on June 29.

Marla Mason is the chief sorcerer of Felport, a woman who's tangled with gods and monsters and come out on top (if a bit damaged in the process). But she wasn't always a formidable engine of brute force and pragmatism; she started out alone, in a strange city, without allies or any more power than the average teenage runaway on the street. Marla was always willing to do anything necessary to survive, and it didn't take long for her to stumble into a world of magic, danger... and even the occasional moment of grace.

Bone Shop tells the story of Marla's evolution from runaway to sorcerer's apprentice to mercenary magician and beyond. Fans of the urban fantasy series that began with Blood Engines will find surprising secrets revealed about Marla's past, and new readers can meet the character from the very beginning.

Your donations will help keep a roof over our heads, and pay our son's medical bills (he has congenital glaucoma, and requires regular visits with specialists to keep his eyesight from deteriorating). We appreciate whatever you can give. And I hope you enjoy the story!


Whoah boy. I feel guilty that I'm so happy that you're writing this. And that you sent me an e-mail about it, which means you didn't think my fan letter sounded crazy and my e-mail address worthy of your block list. Take it the right way?

And... good luck.



I think this is a great idea (although possibly I am not completely objective since I am eager for more Marla). Donation completed!
I love the Marla stories, and I love the model you're using for selling your work to the people that want it (and BOY do we want it), while cutting out the middle man. I'm a little curious about how you got the contract stuff works out (ie, nobody at your publishers gets their nose out of joint about this?) but I'm too happy to get access to more Marla to worry too much.

I hope your wife finds a new job soon.
Oh, there's no contractual issue here. Bantam gets first look at my next Marla novels -- and they're still considering my proposals -- but I've written and sold other short stories about Marla to anthologies, etc. The characters and world are mine. Bantam wouldn't publish a standalone novella anyway. The whole of "Bone Shop" will probably be about half the length of one of the novels.

Now, if I went and self-published the fifth Marla novel on my own, before my publisher made a decision about it, noses would understandably get out of joint!


Spread the Word

Hiya- this is a great idea and as a fan I will participate. However, do you know how so many sites have a facebook or twitter symbol to add to the number of readers? This would be a great idea for you too. Also, I don't know if you have a site on Facebook but highly recommend. Don't advertise--get a site. Good example is HBO True Blood. Now onto something to look forward to on Monday....xxooCherylanne Farley Bakersfield, CA (ONL 108 degrees!!)
Glad to hear it. And hey, I can see why novellas aren't a money spinner for traditional publishing houses, but their loss is (I hope) your gain.
Hey Tim, it's Rachel Aaron! I gotta say, this is a veeery interesting idea! I would be in to read the origins of Marla. Good luck in your endeavor, and I hope that things turn up!



I've made a Cause for this on Facebook, it's called Support T.A. Pratt. It won't actually generate money like some Facebook causes do, but it points you to this site where you can donate.
Marla Mason

February 2011

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