Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Interview & Giveaway: Anthony Francis

UFI welcomes Anthony Francis Author of The Skindancer Series. Thanks for Joining us!!

What can you tell my readers about yourself that they might not know from looking on your bio or reading in another interview?

Let’s see … I like cats and sushi and dance clubs, and I can make an odd noise with my throat that sounds like a spacecraft landing. And I have a metal plate in my arm from when I blocked instead of ducking while preparing for a karate tournament.

What do you enjoy doing on your down time?

What’s down time? Seriously, on my down time I love scouring bookstores for books that spark ideas for future stories, and then lugging my stash to coffeehouses to read them. Before I broke my arm, I also enjoyed karate and hope to get back into it.

What is your Favorite part of writing?

Creating new world worlds filled with the fantastic and wonderful – science, magic and everything in between. Then I like creating interesting characters, tossing them into the setting, and seeing how they deal with something outside their experience.

Do you have any certain routines you must follow as you write?

Attending the Write to the End group at Mission City Coffee is a must. We write for 20 minutes, everyone reads, and we do it again, usually three times for a total of an hour of writing every Tuesday night. FROST MOON was largely written at this group back when we met at Barnes and Noble at Steven’s Creek.

Beyond that, I try to take a couple of hours out almost every night to either research or write, usually by reading over dinner and writing at a nearby coffeehouse or bookstore. I usually get more researching done than writing so I have to be disciplined. As I write this I’m at the Coffee Society in Campbell right now, about to start writing.

And every November I participate in National Novel Writing Month – a challenge to write 50,000 words of a new novel in a month. FROST MOON and BLOOD ROCK both came out of Nanowrimo, which I’ve succeeded at five times. I now plan my year around starting a new novel every November and finishing the draft before it rolls around again.

What are some of your Favorite books or Authors in the Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Genres?

Patricia Briggs and the Mercedes Thompson series, Laurell Hamilton and the Anita Blake series, and Jim Butcher and the Dresden Files. I’ve read maybe a half dozen others but those three are ones that really stuck out in my mind.

How would you pitch The Skindancer series to someone who has not heard of your books before?

It’s about a woman who fell in love with the beauty and power of magical tattoos and then found her art has exposed her to the magical Edgeworld inhabited by vampires, werewolves, and other creatures of the night, all set in a very real Atlanta.

Can you tell us a little bit about the world that The Skindancer series is set in? The basic philosophy of Skindancer is that if magic was real, then magic would be REAL — and would have real effects on our world we could see. But magic in our world seems hidden, invisible — why did that happen, and how is the Skindancer world different?

In the Skindancer series, magic was the hidden treasure of secret societies and cultures, and was actively suppressed by wizards infiltrating the sciences. But the counterculture of the 1950s through 1970s, affected magical societies just like the rest of society.

When people began experimenting with sex, drugs and rock and roll, they began experimenting with magic too. Magic burst into the open. Wizards were exposed. Vampires became a force of law and order. And werekin were persecuted.

The series is set 30 years after this explosion of the “Edgeworld” between the magical and the normal, and Dakota Frost is a chemist-turned-tattoo-magician whose prominent place in the Edgeworld puts her right at the crosshairs of people on both sides.

Do you have a favorite scene in Blood Rock?

Without giving away spoilers for the book, my favorite scene is Dakota under the bridge. In that moment, she realizes she doesn’t need her home, money or car to survive, and that she can indeed do anything if she learns to rely upon herself.

Which character was your favorite to write about? What about the hardest to write about?

Cinnamon, and Cinnamon. She’s a treasure. She literally shoved her way into a scene I was writing in FROST MOON, pushing through a crowd to confront Dakota, and refused to leave the book. She was so alive I just had to let her take over in FROST MOON.

Cinnamon is really fun to write, but she’s such a complex character it’s hard to keep all of her threads in my head. I can easily have her come off too sullen, to smart, to scared, too tough—and she’s a mix of all of these. With her I have to take care to get her right.

Oh, and she speaks a broken dialect of English peculiar to the werehouse. My good friend Keiko O’Leary is trained as a linguist, and she reads each book in the Skindancer series to help keep Cinnamon’s dialect consistent. We have a five-page document called “The Rules” where Keiko mined FROST MOON for examples of Cinnamon’s speech and developed a consistent framework for her grammar. The very final stage of each Skindancer book is to review the werekin speech and make sure it is consistent.

What Other Projects can we look forward to reading from you?

I’ve written 2/3rds or so of the third Dakota Frost book, LIQUID FIRE, and I plan many, many more in that series. I’m a bit scared to say how many as the prospect is daunting, but I will tell you I have a spreadsheet called “The Grid” which charts the plot of the series from October 26, 2006 to March 31, 2013, and I have written the last line of the last book, so I know where I’m going. Here’s hoping I continue to enjoy writing Dakota!

I’m planning a YA spinoff featuring Cinnamon called HEX CODE which will be my project for this November’s National Novel Writing Month. I have rough plans for three novels in this series; the next two have the working titles BOT NET and ROOT USER. I’m strongly starting to suspect that the trilogy is my preferred form of writing.

I’ve also written a draft of a steampunk novel called JEREMIAH WILLSTONE AND THE CLOCKWORK TIME MACHINE which I hope to be sending out to beta readers this October. The first short story in this universe, “Steampunk Fairy Chick”, will be released as part of the UnCONventional anthology early next year, and I’m working on an interactive fiction in the same universe called “Watch on a Tangled Chain”.

I’m working on a young adult science fiction novel called STRANDED, set in a far future universe where Earth has been assimilated by a massive alien civilization and humanity is split between pure human refugees who have fled it and fantastic genetic constructs who have embraced it completely. I’ve been writing in this universe since I was a teen, and have several (non-YA) novels in progress — probably the closest to completion is my 2002 National Novel Writing Month entry with working title DELIVERANCE, but I’m also doing active research on my planned 2012 Nano entry, THE COMPASS COLONY.

I also enjoy writing and drawing comics. My webcomic, fanu fiku, is on hiatus while I finish the first Dakota Frost trilogy and complete the first Jeremiah Willstone book, but every year I participate in 24 Hour Comics Day, a challenge to complete 24 pages of a comic from scratch in 24 hours. I haven’t had quite the success at this that I have had at National Novel Writing Month, but I and my good friend Nathan Vargas are determined to help us (and others!) succeed by putting together a 24 Hour Comics Survival Kit which we’re hosting at

Whew. That’s a lot. I guess I better get back to writing! Thanks for the interview!


Dr. Anthony G. Francis, Jr. is a science fiction writer and computer scientist who started writing urban fantasy because he likes it. The Dakota Frost series combines Anthony's love of hard science, fantastic magic, alternative culture, and strong, feisty women.

Even though the siren call of computing eventually pulled him out to the San Francisco Bay Area, he still chose to set the Dakota Frost series in Atlanta, Georgia, where he spent nearly half his life and which he has learned to love like no other place on Earth.

When not making computers smarter or writing science fiction and fantasy, Anthony blogs about his life, his writing and his research at The Library of Dresan. He also writes an occasionally updated webcomic, f@nu fiku. He currently lives in San Jose with his wife and cats.

Find Anthony and his books

Blood Rock
Skindancer #2
August 16, 2011
Dakota Frost is back, and the ink is about to hit the fan-again.

Graffiti comes to life in the dark heart of Atlanta’s oldest cemetery, slaying one of the city’s best loved vampires before the eyes of his friend Dakota Frost. Deadly magick is at work on the city’s walls, challenging even the amazing power of Dakota’s tattoos to contain it. The hungry, graffiti magick loves to kill, and the Edgeworld is no longer safe from its own kind.

Dakota begins a harrowing journey to save those she loves and to discover the truth behind the spreading graffiti-even if that truth offends the vampires, alienates the werekin and creates police suspicion of her every action.

Saving Atlanta may cost her everything, including custody of her “adopted” weretiger daughter, Cinnamon. But failure is not an option. If the graffiti isn’t stopped, Cinnamon could be the next victim.

Frost Moon
Skindancer #1
March 1, 2010
In an alternate Atlanta where magic is practiced openly, where witches sip coffee at local cafes, shapeshifters party at urban clubs, vampires rule the southern night like gangsters, and mysterious creatures command dark caverns beneath the city, Dakota Frost's talents are coveted by all. She's the best magical tattooist in the southeast, a Skindancer, able to bring her amazing tats to life. When a serial killer begins stalking Atlanta's tattooed elite, the police and the Feds seek Dakota's help. Can she find the killer on the dark fringe of the city's Edgeworld? Among its powerful outcasts and tortured loners, what kind of enemies and allies will she attract? Will they see her as an invader, as a seducer, as an unexpected champion ... or as delicious prey?


5 Winner's will receive
- One Print Copy each of Blood Rock
*Print copies only available for US and Canadian Residence
20 additional winners will Receive
-One PDF Copy each of Blood Rock 
*Open Internationally

1)  Leave a question or comment for Anthony =)
2) Please leave where you live in the comment so I know what copy you are eligible for.
3) Must leave an email address so I can contact you.

Giveaway Ends 8/31/2011 at 10pm EST
Winner will have 48 Hours to reply to my email or I will pick another
Winner chosen randomly with the help of


  1. This is a surprise treat for me today. I have been hooting about Frost Moon all over the place lately. I originally bought it when it first came out and absolutely loved it and recently saw it on Amazon and told all my friends to hop over and get it. Of course I had to reread it after being reminded about it and in anticipation of book two in the series and immediately added it to my wishlist. I am so excited about Blood Rock, I want to know what is going on in Dakota's world. Thank you for the awesome giveaway opportunity, such a surprise and joy :)


  2. Nice.



  3. Anthony is a new to me author, the series sounds intriguing to this UF fan. Why did Anthony decide to have tattoos play a large role in this series (they do seem to be popular in the genre)?

  4. Anthony I love the sound of your series. I can't wait to read it. It sounds very good. I live in the USA. Please enter me in contest.

  5. I read your first Skin Dancer book, and I really enjoyed it. I have to admit, I love the tats! Anthony, do you have tats of your own? I'm looking forward to book 2, great interview! (I live in the US)
    booksavvybabe at gmail dot com
    Book Savvy Babe

  6. this serie sounds great, i'm curious to read it ! Thanks for the interview and the giveaway !
    i'm international.


  7. I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline and characters in Frost Moon, and thanks for the fun facts about Cinnamon's character.

    Would love a pdf copy of Blood Rock.

    cathy m
    caity_mack at yahoo dot com

  8. What is the hardest part of writing for you?

    I live in the USA. Id like to be entered into both giveaways.

    chelle2006 @ aol .com


  9. I saw the cover and was immediately curious about the book, but hadn't had the chance to read it yet.
    Thanks for a very interesting interview!
    Wish you all the best, Melanie

    international entry ;)
    booksforalleternity at gmail dot com

  10. Thanks for the shoutout, Denise! I hope you enjoy BLOOD ROCK.

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. Thanks, Valerie! Enjoy the series...

  13. Acm05, I picked tattoos after thinking about all the urban fantasy heroines who bare a lot of skin on bookcovers but wear a jeans jacket and turtleneck within the book. That made me think ... what if the heroine HAD to look that way? What if she HAD to expose some skin to make the magic work? And the answer to that was either dancing or tattoos. I put the two together and got the Skindancer series and Dakota Frost.

  14. Victoria, thanks for the comment! I hope you do like it. Best of luck in the contest!

  15. Hey, Book Savvy ... I don't actually have tattoos myself, though I've thought of getting one ... and if I did it would have to be a dragon. I hope you enjoy Book 2!

  16. Melliane, I'm glad we made you curious. I hope your curiosity is positively rewarded when you read the series!

  17. Michelle, the hardest part of writing is finding the time. There just aren't enough hours in the day to write down all the ideas I have. And becoming a hermit isn't the solution as my imagination is sparked by contact with others.

  18. Melanie, I'm glad you enjoyed the interview. I find them fun and challenging - they make me think through my ideas and take stock. Enjoy the series!

  19. Urban fantasy, YA and Steampunk- of the three which was the hardest, easiest to write? What genre have you not yet conquered that you would like to tackle?

    I live in the US.


    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

  20. I enjoyed the interview and the chance to learn more about Anthony Francis' books. I'm looking forward to checking this series out.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

  21. Hi Anthony, I bought Frost Moon when it came out, loved it, and have been awaiting the second in the series.
    Hoping for many more and I'll have to watch out for your steampunk.

    a dot charol at yahoo dot ca

  22. I haven't heard about Anthony....But would like to read his book....It sounded different and very very interesting.....

  23. Thanks for the heads up about a new to me author. Sounds fantastic and the cover's rock.
    I live in the usa.
    scrtsbpal at yahoo dot com

  24. Anthony, I love the outfit. My son would be jealous of the light saber. I live in the USA and I'm a Star Wars fan (Books 4,5,6).

    You are a new writer to me as well, but the Frost series sounds intriguing. I'm always interested in new books. I will put it on my TBR list.

  25. I have had my eye on Frost Moon for some time now :-) Anthony, I would like to ask, how did you end up with such wonderful covers?

    I live in Hungary (Europe)

    stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com

  26. Why do you consider Frost Moon to be urban fantasy instead of paranormal?

  27. I see it as both really. Because it is set in a City in a modern/contemporary time with supernatural elements makes it Urban Fantasy and because of the different character's (weres, vampires, magic ect) if qualifies as a paranormal as well. =) did you like the book?

  28. I really love this series. I was glad I ran across Frost Moon and have been awaiting the sequel. Can't wait to read it. I might have to put down my paper I have to write and read a little. I like a good urban fantasy and love the characters in your book. Please keep feeding my brain, it loves the stimulation. LOL.


Thanks for stopping by =)