The following scene from Snowflake by Heide Goody and Iain Grant is where Lori first meets Ashbert. She doesn’t yet realise that he’s the man she has accidentally brought to life from a collage that she made as a teenager. We join Lori as she has been baking with her friend Cookie...
Cookie took the bread out of the oven while I wafted smoke away from the smoke detector in the ceiling. The bread had overcooked a bit while we were putting out the fire, but my stomach still rumbled. The burning smell was unpleasantly sharp and acrid, but it was hard to tell if it was from the bread or the fire in the lounge.
Cookie tapped the base of the loaf. “You can tell when bread is cooked because it will sound hollow when you do this,” she said.
It didn’t sound hollow, it sounded dead and solid. I took it off her wordlessly and banged it on the counter to see if it made a better sound, but I was a bit worried that we might shatter the granite.
“The road of trials is littered with obstacles,” she said with a frown.
“And rock-hard loaves,” I said.
“I need to think on this.”
Cookie took herself into the lounge. I placed the loaf on a plate, found a long, serrated knife and attempted to cut a slice. Five minutes sawing produced a lot of shard-like crumbs but made virtually no impact on the bread. I tried to break the loaf with my hands, but I just wasn’t strong enough.
Suddenly, I wasn’t hungry anymore.
I went through to the lounge. It turned out that having a think meant passing out on the settee. A joint burned in Cookie’s right hand and a glass of raki lolled toward the cushions in her left. I tutted slightly and took them off her, keeping them well apart to avoid igniting the powerful spirits.
I was wondering whether it was worth trying the bread again when I heard a sound. It was a light creak, coming from outside. I crept over to the window and looked out into the rear yard of the building.
It was a naked man.
Definitely a man and definitely naked, his body pale and golden in the streetlights from the next road over. And he was coming up the fire escape.
I went into the kitchen to look out of the window, turning out the lights as I entered to improve my view of what was outside. Was the naked guy returning to one of the other flats? Why was he naked? In the moments that it took me to get to the kitchen window he’d disappeared. He’d either climbed up to the next floor, gone down to the ground, or entered the building. I swallowed hard as I realised that the most likely explanation for him vanishing so quickly was that he’d entered the building somewhere.
The lounge window was open. I had left it open. I had stupidly left the lounge window open. Was he inside the flat? This flat? My flat? I crept back to the door to the lounge and put my ear to it. I could definitely hear some sort of movement. I willed myself not to panic, took out my phone, dialled 999 but didn’t yet press the call button. Cookie was asleep in the lounge. If a crazed naked man was in there, she was in danger. It didn’t really cross my mind that it might be a sane naked man. I’m not sure there are such things.
I risked opening the door a crack.
Oh, God! He was there! A white and – oh, yeah – definitely naked torso moving slowly across the room.
I hit the call button and backed away.
“I think there’s an intruder in my flat,” I said, when I got through. “I mean, I know there’s an intruder in the flat.”
In a voice that suggested they received naked intruder calls all day long, the operator asked me for the address.
“Can you get out?” he asked.
“No, not without going past where they are,” I said.
“Try to secure yourself or hide,” said the operator.
“But my friend is in the lounge.”
“Secure yourself and hide. We’ll be there very shortly.”
Secure myself and hide? Even if there was somewhere to hide in the kitchen, could I leave Cookie in the clutches of a nude lunatic? Of course not. I crept back to the door and peeked through the gap. The lounge was empty and there was Cookie’s foot poking over the edge of the sofa. I had to go and wake her. But I needed protection.
I momentarily considered the bread knife but then the headline ‘LOCAL WOMAN SENTENCED TO LIFE FOR UNPROVOKED NUDE STABBING’ flashed through my mind and I thought better of it. A non-lethal bludgeoning weapon would be much better.
Ten seconds later, armed with a rock-hard loaf of bread, I crept into the lounge. No. No naked men lurking in corners. He must have moved on. My limbs shivering with fear, I took hold of Cookie’s knee and tried to shake her awake.
She gave a small grunt and shifted position.
“Wake up, damn you,” I hissed.
There was the sound of something being dropped. The door to the largest bedroom, which opened directly onto the lounge, was open! There! This was an old building with many of the original features, including interior doors with locks and bolts. All I needed to do was to pull the door closed and lock it and the man would be trapped until the police arrived.
“You can do this,” I told myself.
I stole quickly across the room and tugged the door shut. The handle rattled from the other side as I turned the key in the lock.
“You’re trapped now, mofo!” I shouted and turned away from the door.
And, as I did, I realised I had trapped my onesie in the door. A section of leg material caught in the gap.
The man started to pound on the door from the other side. I’m not normally one for whimpering but I let out a trembling cry.
The pounding continued, shaking me with each blow. It was a solid door, but I could hear a splintering sound coming from somewhere. I had to get away. There was only one solution and I had no choice. Down came the zip and I wriggled free. I headed across the room. I hadn’t gone two steps when the door gave way and the man burst through like that man with the axe in that film. You know the one. I turned to him with my only weapon: the remains of the indestructible loaf I let out a primal roar of pure, bear-flattening rage and swung the loaf with all my might at the attacker’s head.
The bread connected with his head with deadly, bone-shattering force and he dropped like a stone. My arm even ached from the impact.
Two thoughts collided in my mind: the first was that I’d surely killed him. The second was that he looked familiar. Bizarrely familiar.
The doorbell rang.
His face was one I’d seen in the very recent past.
There was a thump at the door.
“Police! Open up!”
In fact, his face was my own creation. Robert Pattinson’s eyes. Ashton Kutcher’s smile. Channing Tatum’s jawline. He was the man from the picture I had made as a teenager. He was teen Lori’s dream man, so very recently cast into the fire.
Snowflake Authors: Heide Goody and Iain Grant Publisher: Pigeon Park Press, July 20, 2018 Format: Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 320 pages List Price: US$12.99 (print); US$4.59 (Kindle eBook) ISBN: 9780995749764 (print); ASIN: B07F3X4XF2 (Kindle eBook)
Lori Belkin has been dumped. By her parents.
They moved out while she was away on holiday, and now, at the tender age of twenty-five, she's been cruelly forced to stand on her own two feet.
While she's getting to grips with basic adulting, Lori magically brings to life the super-sexy man she created from celebrity photos as a teenager.
Lori learns very quickly that having your ideal man is not as satisfying as it ought to be and that being an adult is far harder than it looks.
Snowflake is a story about prehistoric pets, delinquent donkeys and becoming the person you want to be, not the person everyone else expects you to be.
Lori arrives back from her holiday in Crete to discover her parents have moved away without telling her. Now she has to go it alone with only her wits and her brother's luxury flat to keep her safe. Little did she realise that a straw goat, mouldering sausage and a bottle of raki weren't the only things she brought back with her. Lori thought it was just a pretty necklace that she bought in a random store in Crete but it turned out it had the power to bring to inanimate objects to life - like the magazine cut out of her ideal man, a long extinct bug, foxes, and so much more. At the tender age of 25 Lori has some serious 'adulting' to do and there is a lot of trouble she can get into the meantime.
Snowflake by the writing duo of Heide Goody and Iain Grant is another lighthearted romp through the trials and tribulations of being a millennial with a magical necklace. Lori's name should be officially changed to Trouble Belkin because, boy, she gets into enough of it. From almost burning down her brother's flat to chasing a donkey through Ikea Lori has more exploits than the normal 20 something. In fact Lori can barely cross the street without triggering a major disaster. Goody and Grant are experts at getting their characters into ridiculous situations and giving them hilarious lines. One specific scene where Lori and her magically created perfect man Ashbert go to the theatre was very amusing, especially the Iron Man reference. There are a number of English 'in jokes' and I am not sure whether you will get all them if you aren't from the UK but it's worth a go.
This is a very good book if you want a lighthearted read or need to be cheered up. My one tiny criticism is that Lori was a bit too ignorant of almost everything and the number of outrageous situations she got herself into was relentless. I felt a bit exhausted when I got to the end of the book. I feel this situational 'naivety' worked well with Goody and Grant's former prince of darkness Clovenhoof (funniest books ever!) but with Lori she came across too self-involved and borderline inconsiderate. Some of the jokes make up for Lori's personality quirks so if you are looking for something funny, quite kooky and with a happy ending give Snowflake a go.
This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content:
Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch
Mega Man X Legacy Collection – The celebrated Mega Man X series returns. Play as Mega Man X – the powerful successor of classic fighting robot Mega Man – as he battles a variety of deadly bosses known as Mavericks in four hit titles. Mega Man X Legacy Collection includes the legendary 16-bit titles and the series’ exciting foray into the 32-bit era: Mega Man X, Mega Man X2, Mega Man X3 and Mega Man X4. Test your skills in the new X Challenge mode, which pits players against two deadly bosses in two-on-one battles. The Mega Man X Legacy Collection game launches for the Nintendo Switch system on July 24.
Mega Man X Legacy Collection 2 – Complete the Mega Man X saga with this collection of four action-packed titles. Spanning two gaming eras, this collection showcases the evolution of the series with Mega Man X5, Mega Man X6, Mega Man X7 and Mega Man X8. Both Mega Man X and his ally Zero return as playable characters, allowing players to jump and shoot through challenging stages with X’s arm cannon, or slash through enemies with Zero’s energy saber. The Mega Man X Legacy Collection 2 game launches for the Nintendo Switch system on July 24.
Bomb Chicken – Who doesn't love chicken… especially when it's smothered in delicious blue hot sauce? After a freak accident a seemingly ordinary chicken becomes a bomb-laying, free-range hero. Explore the versatile mechanic of laying bombs in this explosive exploration platformer, and answer the ultimate question: Which came first the chicken or the bomb?
Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS
WarioWare Gold Demo – Wario has a special treat for you! Better think fast if you want to succeed in this demo of his upcoming WarioWare Gold game. You’ll use the touchscreen, tilt the system and push buttons as you laugh your way through the fully voiced story introduction, featuring new and classic characters!
EYE-POPPING JAMES HARREN COVER FOR THE WEATHERMAN REVEALED
PORTLAND, OR, 07/19/2018 — Image Comics is pleased to reveal a jaw-dropping, limited THE WEATHERMAN #3 cover featuring eye-popping artwork by James Harren (RUMBLE), with colors by Nathan Fox.
In THE WEATHERMAN #3, Nathan and Cross are cut off, on the run, and hunted by The Marshal, as they try to stay alive long enough to find Nathan’s lost memory and the key to stopping another world-ending attack. But they’ll have to survive each other first…
THE WEATHERMAN #3 hits stores on Wednesday, August 15th. The final order cutoff for comics retailers is Monday, July 23rd.
WEATHERMAN #3 Cover A by Fox - JUN180272
WEATHERMAN #3 Cover B by Martin - JUN180273
WEATHERMAN #3 Cover C by Harren, colors by Fox (Limited) - JUN188042
ABOUT IMAGE COMICS
Image Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 1992 by a collective of bestselling artists. Image has since gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. Image currently has five partners: Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, and Jim Valentino. It consists of five major houses: Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline Comics, Skybound Entertainment, and Image Central. Image publishes comics and graphic novels in nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable. It offers science fiction, fantasy, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. For more information, visitwww.imagecomics.com.
Rivers of London 7
DAW, November 13, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages
The seventh book of the bestselling Rivers of London urban fantasy series returns to the adventures of Peter Grant, detective and apprentice wizard, as he solves magical crimes in the city of London.
The Faceless Man, wanted for multiple counts of murder, fraud, and crimes against humanity, has been unmasked and is on the run. Peter Grant, Detective Constable and apprentice wizard, now plays a key role in an unprecedented joint operation to bring him to justice.
But even as the unwieldy might of the Metropolitan Police bears down on its foe, Peter uncovers clues that the Faceless Man, far from being finished, is executing the final stages of a long term plan. A plan that has its roots in London’s two thousand bloody years of history, and could literally bring the city to its knees.
To save his beloved city Peter’s going to need help from his former best friend and colleague–Lesley May–who brutally betrayed him and everything he thought she believed in. And, far worse, he might even have to come to terms with the malevolent supernatural killer and agent of chaos known as Mr Punch….
Daughters of Forgotten Light
Angry Robot, September 4, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages
A floating prison is home to Earth’s unwanted people, where they are forgotten… but not yet dead, in this wild science fiction adventure.
Deep space penal colony Oubliette, population: scum. Lena “Horror” Horowitz leads the Daughters of Forgotten Light, one of three vicious gangs fighting for survival on Oubliette. Their fragile truce is shaken when a new shipment arrives from Earth carrying a fresh batch of prisoners and supplies to squabble over. But the delivery includes two new surprises: a drone, and a baby. Earth Senator Linda Dolfuse wants evidence of the bloodthirsty gangs to justify the government finally eradicating the wasters dumped on Oubliette. There’s only one problem: the baby in the drone’s video may be hers.
File Under: Science Fiction [ Banged Up | Out of Mind | Girls Gone Bad | Moppet in Space ]
A Cathedral of Myth and Bone
Saga Press, October 23, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 368 pages
From the acclaimed author of Roses and Rot— a “Brothers Grimm tale for the contemporary reader” (School Library Journal, starred review)—Kat Howard’s exquisite shorter works, nominated for the World Fantasy Award, and performed on WNYC's Selected Shorts.
Kat Howard has already been called a “remarkable young writer” by Neil Gaiman and her “dark and enticing” (Publishers Weekly) debut novel, Roses and Rot, was beloved by critics and fans alike.
Now, you can experience her collected shorter works, including two new stories, in A Cathedral of Myth and Bone. In these stories, equally as beguiling and spellbinding as her novels, Howard expands into the enchanted territory of myths and saints, as well as an Arthurian novella set upon a college campus, “Once, Future,” which retells the story of King Arthur—through the women’s eyes.
Captivating and engrossing, and adorned in gorgeous prose, Kat Howard’s stories are a fresh and stylish take on fantasy. “Kat Howard seems to possess a magic of her own, of making characters come alive and scenery so vivid, you forget it exists only on the page” (Anton Bogomazov).
Brief Cases Author: Jim Butcher Series: Dresden Files Publisher: Ace, June 5, 2018 Format: Hardcover and eBook, 448 pages List Price: USD$28.00 (print); USD$14.99 (print) ISBN: 9780451492104 (print); 9780451492128 (eBook)
An all-new Dresden Files story headlines this urban fantasy short story collection starring the Windy City’s favorite wizard.
The world of Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard, is rife with intrigue—and creatures of all supernatural stripes. And you’ll make their intimate acquaintance as Harry delves into the dark side of truth, justice, and the American way in this must-have short story collection.
From the Wild West to the bleachers at Wrigley Field, humans, zombies, incubi, and even fey royalty appear, ready to blur the line between friend and foe. In the never-before-published “Zoo Day,” Harry treads new ground as a dad, while fan-favorite characters Molly Carpenter, his onetime apprentice, White Council Warden Anastasia Luccio, and even Bigfoot stalk through the pages of more classic tales.
With twelve stories in all, Brief Cases offers both longtime fans and first-time readers tantalizing glimpses into Harry’s funny, gritty, and unforgettable realm, whetting their appetites for more to come from the wizard with a heart of gold.
The collection includes:
• “Curses,” from Naked City, edited by Ellen Datlow • “AAAA Wizardry,” from the Dresden Files RPG • “Even Hand,” from Dark and Stormy Knights, edited by P. N. Elrod • “B is for Bigfoot,” from Under My Hat: Tales from the Cauldron, edited by Jonathan Strahan. Republished in Working for Bigfoot. • “I was a Teenage Bigfoot,” from Blood Lite III: Aftertaste, edited by Kevin J. Anderson. Republished in Working for Bigfoot. • “Bigfoot on Campus,” from Hex Appeal, edited by P. N. Elrod. Republished in Working for Bigfoot. • “Bombshells,” from Dangerous Women, edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois • “Jury Duty,” from Unbound, edited by Shawn Speakman • “Cold Case,” from Shadowed Souls, edited by Jim Butcher and Kerrie Hughes • “Day One,” from Unfettered II, edited by Shawn Speakman • “A Fistful of Warlocks,” from Straight Outta Tombstone, edited by David Boop • “Zoo Day,” a brand-new novella, original to this collection
It has been a while since a Harry Dresden novel has been published and the next one scheduled, Peace Talks, is still is a long time off. Thankfully, Butcher writes short stories with his main character and others. Better yet, he collects them into a complete anthology like Brief Cases. As a completist, I appreciate that I do not have to purchase multiple other anthologies to ensure that I have every Harry Dresden story, including a new one that has never appeared before.
In his introduction to “B is for Bigfoot,” Butcher explains that he researched monsters from all around the world when he started writing his series, but it was not until after several books, that he thought about America’s Bigfoot. The three related stories actually focus on a Bigfoot’s son, Irwin, and some of the problems he faces as a Bigfoot/human hybrid.
Butcher does not just write about Dresden in his short stories; he also writes about some of his other characters, which not just fleshes them out more fully for character development, but also gives us some different perspectives on Harry himself. Three of the stories are about his apprentice, Molly, both before and after she becomes the fairy queen, Winter.
The last story here, “Zoo Days,” is my favorite in the bunch, not just because it is new, but because it is about Harry and his daughter. Here the story itself is split into thirds, with each main character (Harry, Maggie, and Mouse) taking lead as narrator for a section. As a reader, this is my first introduction into Maggie’s narration, and it is eye-opening. It makes me wonder what Butcher may have in store for the future of his characters.
EISNER AWARD-WINNING WRITER IAN BOOTHBY AND ARTIST GISELE LAGACE SUMMON EXORSISTERS
JUST IN TIME FOR HALLOWEEN
PORTLAND, OR, 07/17/2018 — Eisner Award-winning writer Ian Boothby (The Simpsons, MAD Magazine) teams up with artist Gisele Lagace (Ménage à 3, Archie Meets Ramones, Jem & the Holograms, Betty Boop) for an all-new ongoing series—EXORSISTERS—launching from Image Comics this October.
“As a kid, I loved Scooby-Doo. That love for mysteries mixed with the supernatural then got me into shows like Buffy and Supernatural as an adult. If you liked those shows, you'll love ExorSisters,” said Lagace. “It's a universe full of fun and intriguing characters with many stories to tell.”
Did you sign a deal with the Devil? Has your fiancé been dragged to Hell? Then Kate and Cate Harrow should be the first ones you call for timely soul retrieval at a reasonable rate! But why are these identical twins so different? Is there a darker secret? Readers will find out when they pick up EXORSISTERS this fall.
Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.
From formerly featured DAC Authors:
Spellsinger (Spellslinger 1) by Sebastien de Castell;
Kill the Farm Boy (The Tales of Pell 1) by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne;
Apocalypse Nyx by Kameron Hurley;
Skullsworn: A Novel in the World of The Emperor's Blades by Brian Staveley is out in Trade Paperback.
Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.
Debut novels are highlighted in blue. Novels, etc. by formerly featured DAC Authors are highlighted in green.
July 16, 2018
Playing with Fire (e)(ri)
CFR - Tales of an Extraordinary Girl 1
July 17, 2018
Son of the Night
The Wrong Heaven
F/Gaslamp/HistF/RF/P - Custard Protocol 3
Sebastien de Castell
F/Hu/CoA - Spellslinger 1
F/HistF/LF - Vorrh 3
Kill the Farm Boy
Delilah S. Dawson
F/HU/FairyT - The Tales of Pell 1
F - The Mystic Trilogy 2
One of Us
Mad Amos Malone: The Complete Stories (e)
Alan Dean Foster
F/W - Collection
Kathleen O'Neal Gear
The Mere Wife
Maria Dahvana Headley
F - The Legends of the Alfar 3
The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2018 Edition
Rich Horton (Ed)
SF - Anthology
The Promise of Space and Other Stories
James Patrick Kelly
SF - Collection
Rose Madder (ri)
Eric Van Lustbader
SupTh - The Testament Series 3
Constance Verity Saves the World
A. Lee Martinez
CF - Constance Verity 2
The Girl in the Green Silk Gown
UF/CF - Ghost Roads 2
Slaying It (e)
PNR/UF - Chicagoland Vampires Novella
The War in the Dark (D)
The Hidden World
SF/SO - Imperials 3
Baby Teeth (D)
Skullsworn: A Novel in the World of The Emperor's Blades (h2tp)
F - Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne
The Expert System's Brother
The Wild Dead
SF/AP/PA - The Bannerless Saga 2
The Sea of Sorrows (ri)
F - The Sun Sword 4
The Riven Shield (ri)
F - The Sun Sword 5
The Sun Sword (ri)
F - The Sun Sword 6
The Uncrowned King (ri)
F - The Sun Sword 2
The Broken Crown (ri)
F - The Sun Sword 1
The Shining Court (ri)
F - The Sun Sword 3
2001: An Odyssey in Words: Honouring the Centenary of Sir Arthur C. Clarke's Birth
Ian Whates (Ed)
Tom Hunter (Ed)
SF - Anthology
David Frye (Tr)
July 19, 2018
From the Depths: and Other Strange Tales of the Sea
Mike Ashley (Ed)
H - Tales of the Weird
D - Debut
e - eBook
Ed - Editor
h2mm - Hardcover to Mass Market Paperback
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
ri - reissue or reprint
tp2mm - Trade Paperback to Mass Market Paperback
Tr - Translator
AC - Alien Contact
AH - Alternate History
AP - Apocalyptic
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CoA - Coming of Age
Cr - Crime
CW - Contemporary Woman
CyP - Cyberpunk
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tales
Fict - Fiction
FL - Family Life
FolkT - Folk Tales
FR - Fantasy Romance
GenEng - Genetic Engineering
GH - Ghost(s)
Gothic - Gothic
H - Horror
HC - History and Criticism
Hist - Historical
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HSF - Hard Science Fiction
HU - Humor
HuF - Humorous Fantasy
LF - Literary Fiction
LM - Legend and Mythology
M - Mystery
MR - Magical Realism
MTI - Media Tie-In
MU - Mash Up
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PI - Private Investigator
PNR - Paranormal Romance
Pol - Political
Psy - Psychological
PsyTh - Psychological Thriller
R - Romance
RF - Romantic Fantasy
RS - Romantic Suspense
SF - Science Fiction
SH - Superheroes
SO - Space Opera
SS - Short Stories
SP - Steampunk
Sup - Supernatural
SupM - Supernatural Mystery
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Sus - Suspense
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
UF - Urban Fantasy
Note: Not all genres and formats are found in the books, etc. listed above.
Each month you will be able to vote for your favorite cover from that month's debut novels. At the end of the year the 12 monthly winners will be pitted against each other to choose the 2018 Debut Novel Cover of the Year. Please note that a debut novel cover is eligible in the month in which the novel is published in the US. Cover artist/illustrator/designer information is provided when we have it.
I'm using PollCode for this vote. After you the check the circle next to your favorite, click "Vote" to record your vote. If you'd like to see the real-time results click "View". This will take you to the PollCode site where you may see the results. If you want to come back to The Qwillery click "Back" and you will return to this page. Voting will end sometime on July 31, 2018, unless the vote is extended. If the vote is extended the ending date will be posted.
PRISM STALKER, VOL. 1 LANDS IN STORES THIS SEPTEMBER Collects issues #1-5
PORTLAND, OR, 07/12/2018 — Sloane Leong (FROM UNDER MOUNTAINS, A Map to the Sun) will release a trade paperback collection of the first five issues of her vivid, psychedelic sci-fi series PRISM STALKER this September.
Far from the border of colonized space, a newly discovered planet teems violently with strange psychic life and puzzling telekinetic ecology. Indentured refugee Vep is taken by a private military firm to assist in settling this new world. What awaits her there will test the limits of her will as she grapples with the strange power the planet exerts over her…