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ArmadilloCon 2021 Featured

Artist Guest Gary Villarreal

We are very excited to be featuring Gary Villarreal as our 2021 Artist Guest!

Gary Villarreal graduated from the Department of Visualization at Texas A&M University, and has worked for more than 5 years in the film and game industry.

Unique Worlds and Characters

Images That Immerse Us

He’s currently a Senior Concept Artist and Visual Development Artist at Super Bit Machine, designing environments, VFX, vehicles, weapons, and characters.

Images That Create Stories

His personal illustrations have been published in multiple magazines, books, and over the years has grown an audience based on his render style.

In addition, his pieces combined are often accompanied with imaginative stories, adding depths to his characters and further immersing his viewers into the fantasy worlds that his characters exist in.

More About Gary Villareal

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ArmadilloCon 2021 Featured

Special Guest Marshall Ryan Maresca

We are delighted to feature Marshall Ryan Maresca as a Special Guest at ArmadilloCon 2021! All of us could use more fun in our lives, and Maresca delivers that, book after book after book! He is one of the hardest-working writers out there, and as far as we can tell, he is always working on at least two books and two series, all of them fun.

New! The Velocity of Revolution

Maresca delighted us this year with the release of The Velocity of Revolution! It’s  a new magic-and-motorcycles story set in a city on the verge of a revolution. It got a starred review from PW that raved about the “clever plot, well-defined characters, and high-stakes atmosphere,” and concluded that “The Velocity of Revolution… will keep readers spellbound from page one.” As with many of Maersca’s novels, you’ll start it and find it hard to put down!

How Many Ways Can We Say Fun?

Maresca is the author of four interconnected series (yes, four series), all set in the world of Maradaine. His first novel, The Thorn of Dentonhill, is a charming read. It was nominated for the Compton Crook Award for best debut novel. Publishers’ Weekly described The Thorn of Dentonhill as “vigilante justice meets magical mayhem.” One of our favorite reviews described it as combining “the caped avenger of Batman, the teenage-superhero angst of Spiderman, the street-gang bravado of West Side Story, and … the magic of Harry Potter.” It stars Veranix Calbert, a full-time magic student at the University of Maradaine and part-time costumed vigilante battling an evil crime boss. This book is a super fun ride, and you should go find it if you have not already read it! After you pick it up, you can follow Veranix through more adventures in The Imposters of Aventil and The Alchemy of Chaos.

Murder Mysteries & Magic

We were equally delighted by A Murder of Mages, which kicked off a new series focusing on two brilliant but unusual members of Maradaine’s crime-fighting Constabulary. Satrine Rainey is a former street rat and ex-spy. Inspector Minox Welling is a brilliant detective and untrained mage, unfortunately known as “the jinx” because misfortunes seem to befall anyone around him. Nobody in the Constabulary wants to work with them, so they end working together. Their crime-fighting adventures continue in An Import of Intrigue and A Parliament of Bodies.

Ocean’s 11 with Magic!

Who doesn’t love a well-done caper story? Maresca kicked off the Streets of Maradaine series with The Holver Alley Crew. The B&N SciFi & Fantasy Blog called it “an irresistible low-fantasy caper” and “a glorious riot of high adventure and low cunning, fast, furious, and most of all, fun.” Their one complaint was that “it’s nearly impossible to find a good place to stop reading it.” This series stars the Rynax brothers, a group of accomplished thieves who were planning to give up crime and then go back for one last job. Maresca is great at the witty, fast-paced banter that make a good caper story so much fun. The crew is back at it in The Fenmere Job and finally Lady Henterman’s Wardrobe.

Ready for Political Intrigue?

Maresca’s Maradaine Elite series delivers fast-paced high fantasy with plenty of turmoil and political intrigue. In The Way of the Shield, young hero Dayne Heldin, a member of a glorious but perhaps fading order of noble warriors, is forced to choose between his ideals and his political future. The story of Dayne and fellow warrior Jerinne Fendall continues in The Shield of the People and People of the City.

New! Preorder Time!

Maresca has a new book coming this fall — A Constabulary of One! This one will start a new series. It will feature Corrie Welling, a young law enforcement officer we met in the Constabulary series. It’s great to see she’ll be getting to star in her own story. After being abducted and shipped out of Maradaine, she escapes but has to find her way in a new city on the other side of the world. She doesn’t speak the language, doesn’t know the culture, and is forbidden from leaving the city until she pays off a colossal debt. It may take her years to settle her accounts and get home.

Short Fiction

We are also proud to note that Marshall Ryan Maresca’s first pro-level genre sale , the story “Jump the Black,” appeared in Rayguns Over Texas, an anthology sponsored by the same organization that brings you ArmadilloCon! While Maresca really shines as a fantasy writer and a novelist, this story is a fun one. See his comments from back in 2013 about how the story was written.

Hugo-Finalist Podcast!

Marshall Ryan Maresca is one of the people behind the excellent podcast World Building for Masochists! WFM was a finalist for the 2021 Best Fancast Hugo Award. Tune in and find out why! It’s described as “a podcast by three fantasy authors who love to overcomplicate their writing lives and want to help you do the same.” Truthfully, you do not need to be either a writer or a masochist to enjoy the podcast a great deal. It’s a warm, entertaining ongoing conversation that gets a spectacular array of guests. Don’t miss it.

Learn more about Marshall Ryan Maresca and his writings and doings at his website.