I came across your blog via Vivalamanosphere and was stunned to discover that you're an author. The fact that you have this on your blog for all of your fans to see is mind-blowing to me:I don't get away with anything. Of course I alienate potential publishers. I've been told by numerous people, including Tor authors, that Tor Books will never publish me because Theresa Nielson-Hayden has openly declared that I am a very bad, evil, dangerous, and mentally deranged individual. I've had signed book contracts cancelled because a woman in the marketing department took offense to something I wrote on my blog. I have lost jobs and job opportunities alike as a result of failing to toe the equalitarian line. I just lost the SFWA election by what must be near-historic margins, with more than 90 percent of the voters supporting my opponent.
"Of course, if we're going to start bringing reality into swords and sorcery, we should probably also take into consideration the fact that even a large, well-trained woman couldn't last thirty seconds against the average warrior. The correct and realistic portrayal of an armor-era woman is either one who is dead and buried after her brief foray into warrior womanhood or at home, caring for the children that she started bearing in her teens.
"Awkward and combat-inefficient breast plates are the least of the problem. What it is time to retire is the absurd and ahistorical "warrior woman".
"The amusing thing is that throughout the comments, no one even stops to realize that the entire premise of women attempting to fight with swords is physically ridiculous. If you doubt me, just hand a sword to the closest woman the next time you're in a medieval museum."
This kind of talk sounds like Red Pill wisdom (reality). I would never expect this from someone who writes successfully enough to have multiple books out (and fantasy books!), especially when their pen name and blogging name appear to be one in the same.
You have my utmost respect; how do you do it? Don't you have potential publishers you alienate when you call something out for what it is like this (assuming they even matter anymore).
I'm slaving away at writing terrible trash so that I can one day refine my craft to a point where people might actually want to buy my work, but even if I am able to work hard enough to reach such a point, I can't imagine being bold enough to blog in a way which might alienate potential readers. And yet, here you're doing just that with not just a radical opinion (truth), but one that might get you thrown in jail in some parts of Europe.
It's inspiring; again, how do you get away with it? I feel like a coward now for believing I must not allow a pen name to be married with opinion, and yet I can't bring myself to stray from that when I'm still working out not writing mountains of trash.
I'm definitely going to start reading your work; in fact, I just bought A Throne of Bones. Is there a better book to start for a new reader like myself?
So what? I have nothing about which to cry or even to complain. There are always ways around the gatekeepers, and truth combined with talent and perseverance will eventually triumph in the end. I have it easy in comparison with a great mind like Ludvig von Mises, who was blackballed from nearly every university in Europe and the United States while writing the books that upended both Marxian and Keynesian dogma.
I just keep writing and my audience keeps growing. Today, it is one million monthly readers. Soon it will be ten million. Every attempt to marginalize the writer who sticks to writing truthfully about reality is bound to fail in time, because truth is always more compelling than lies. Write what you believe, write what you want, not what you think others might want to hear. And never write out of fear.
In answer to the question, unless you are already a fan of epic fantasy, I would recommend starting with either The Wardog's Coin or A Magic Broken before diving into A Throne of Bones. At 850 pages, it is perhaps a bit of a beast for the casual fantasy reader.