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Monday, November 7, 2011

Welcoming John Blackport Discussing His Military Fantasy Release: Raingun

This week John Blackport is here to tell us about his recent release Raingun, a mix of military fiction with fantasy The book has a haunting cover, and an even more haunting excerpt.

Rick Rivoire is flush with money, women, and prospects. He protects his country as one of the Rainguns, an elite regiment of spellcasting cavalry.

But national policy drifts ominously into slavery and religious persecution, sparking rebellion. Joining the rebels could land Rick on a prison ship, in slave-irons --- or atop the same gallows where he watched his father hang.

The alternative looks no brighter. The status quo imperils Rick’s hard-won self-respect. Supporting tyranny would doom his dream to emulate the valiant swordswoman who braved a den of monsters to rescue the lonely, terrified nine-year-old boy he once was.

Rick can’t stay above the fray forever. He must either defend a government whose actions disgust him --- or risk everything he has.

This story unfolds in a world of bloodthirsty pirates, brave musketeers, and vile monsters. Its target audience is anyone who has ever wrestled with questions of whether, and how, to risk opposing the actions of their country.

Can you tell us a little about why you wrote Raingun?

Raingun’s  protagonist is a dragoon in the light cavalry, sharing battlefield with lancers, pikemen, musketeers --- and wizards.  Most magic in this world is economical: after an initial investment, it’s cheap and renewable.  Wizards can give enemy units a bad time all by themselves, but they’re one in a million.  Most magic is cast by “mages”, who hold their own but are often overshadowed by sabers, muskets, cannon, and even arrows. 

Rick Rivoire  is born poor.  He is offered a commission --- and money to buy it --- by a combination of luck and courage when his hometown is attacked by pirates.  He takes pride in protecting his country.  But as his country’s policies become cruel, he risks his new-found rank and privilege, by considering rebellion. 

Raingun doesn’t focus on what it’s like to be a soldier. Instead, it focuses on the struggles ordinary people face when they doubt the honesty and sincerity of their government.  What freedoms do you trade for security?  When you disapprove of your government’s actions, when do you speak out?  When do you draw lines in the sand?  And when do you rebel?  What do you do if those close to you choose to stand apart?

Where did you develop your expertise on military fiction? 

I guess my expertise, if you can call it that, comes from reading a lot of history and historical fiction. My favorites are Bernard Cornwell and George Macdonald Fraser.
I've enjoyed O'Brian and Forester... I especially like the way they call attention to the challenges their heroes face outside of battle. They can't assume today will be easy just because they don't smell powder smoke.

And are these stories loosely based on any historical events, time, or place?

I've gone out of my way to avoid getting too allegorical. If I wanted to write about slavery in, say,New Orleans or the Barbary Coast at specific points in time, I'd have done that. That's a worthy pursuit, but it is not a necessary part of making entertaining stories with entertaining characters.

Yes, that is what it feels like to me. I recognize a lot of parallels to history and to certain places, but just can't place them. David Anthony Durham did that with Acacia.

John, can you tell us why you're donating half of this e-book's royalties will go to the Scleroderma Research Foundation? My cousin had scleroderma.

My brother-in-law Perry suffered from scleroderma, and died tragically at a young age. I want this book to help fight the disease that killed him.
The Scleroderma Research Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to finding a cure. 

Where can readers get a copy of Raingun?

It's available in most electronic formats and on 

They can read a sample here

The website, with contact information is

Stop back soon, John, and let us know when the rest of the series is published.

Yes, I will. Resolution will be next.

John Blackport is a New England attorney who prefers to keep his writing and professional identities separate.