Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Interview with Ash Fitzsimmons, author of Stranger Magics


Please welcome Ash Fitzsimmons to The Qwillery as part of the of the 2017 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Stranger Magics is published on November 21st by Harper Voyager Impulse.

Please join The Qwillery in wishing Ash a very Happy Publication Day!






TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Ash:  Thank you for having me! I’ve always loved reading, and writing gradually became an extension of that. I wrote my first novel at nineteen, and I was hooked.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Ash:  When I first tried my hand at long-form fiction, I was a pure pantser—I had ideas and general thoughts about scenes, but I felt my way along. With time, I’ve become a plotter. I may not map out every moment in the story before I begin, but I like to have more than a notion of where I’m headed and how I’m getting there. If nothing else, plotting helps me memorialize ideas for scenes I may not write for months, and it’s always nice to go back to your notes and have one of those, “Oh yeah, right,” moments when you think you’re stuck.

Of course, there’s always room for improvisation in writing, and characters tend to surprise you. Once you get to know your cast, some of those carefully plotted chapters begin to unravel. I’ve found that while you can try to force a plot upon characters, it seldom ends well.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Ash:  Finding enough time! I’m the sort of person who needs to stay at it daily—I get antsy when I’m away for too long, and the story starts to become stagnant in my mind. But responsibilities don’t disappear just because I’d like to spend some quality time with my computer, which can lead to a lot of odd-hours work and a touch of guilt every time I turn on the television.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Ash:  I’ve always had a fondness for the fantastic. Fairy tales, mythology, folklore, urban legends, science fiction, horror, and fantasy have long been staples of my bookshelves.



TQDescribe Stranger Magics in 140 characters or less.

Ash:  A lovelorn half-fae bookseller, his amoral brother, a smartass wizard, and an ersatz knight race to save magic and the world. We may be doomed.



TQTell us something about Stranger Magics that is not found in the book description.

AshWizard is an ungendered term in the story, and my wizard protagonist is a talented young woman who’s peeved that she’s been unjustly prevented from using much of her power. But that may be about to change…



TQWhat inspired you to write Stranger Magics? What appeals to you about writing Urban Fantasy? What do you think is the continuing appeal of stories about the fae?

Ash:  There are so many current interpretations of the fae, ranging from benevolent (or at least benign) to malicious, making them fairly malleable for story purposes. But even when they look like us, they remain something other, which I think is a large part of their appeal.

As for Stranger Magics, it began as a bit of rumination: take an ancient being with extraordinary power, mostly human sensibilities, and a strong aversion to iron, plop him down in the modern world, and what would he do with himself? The rest of the story and its setting gradually came forth.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Stranger Magics?

Ash:  I revisited the folk and fairy tales I knew, looked into the mythology surrounding the older interpretations of fae creatures, dusted off my Shakespeare, and used all of that as a jumping-off point. On a more nuts-and-bolts note, once into the story, I spent considerable time on Google Maps, trying to plot routes (sometimes from nonexistent places!) and keep a plausible timeline. Juggling multiple time zones can be tricky.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for Stranger Magics?

Ash:  The cover design is by Alicia Tatone, and I love how it turned out. An old book is featured heavily in the story, and…nope, no spoilers!



TQIn Stranger Magics who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Ash:  Toula, the wizard, was probably the easiest character for me to write. She seemed to appear fully formed—blue-tipped hair, attitude, and all. Robin, a faerie, was less forthcoming, but since he’s at best an annoyance to every other character in the story, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that he was sometimes difficult to pin down.



TQWhich question about Stranger Magics do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Ash:  “This is your first novel, right?”

Published novel? Absolutely. But as I mentioned, I wrote my first novel back in college. It was a 270,000-word doozy, a great learning experience for me but unpublishable at the time. That realization came as a disappointment back then, but in retrospect, I’m glad that novel wasn’t “The One.” After all, writing is like any other skill: it takes work and plenty of practice, and your first attempt will probably not be your best product. By my count, and depending on whether I choose to remember an unfortunate cycle of short stories, Stranger Magics is my thirteenth novel-length work.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Stranger Magics.

Ash:  Sure thing. Robin to Colin, in a moment of brotherly…well, tolerance:

He stood, took a long last draw, then stubbed the cigarillo out and threw it toward the street. “You’re a high lord of Faerie,” he said, clasping my shoulder. “Try to act like it. Right now—and I’m quite serious about this—you’re embarrassing me.”


TQWhat's next?

Ash:  While nothing is set in stone yet, I’d love to continue the story begun in Stranger Magics. We’ll see!



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Ash:  Thank you!





Stranger Magics
Harper Voyager Impulse, November 21, 2017
eBook, 400 pages

No one holds a grudge quite like a faerie . . .

All Colin Leffee wants is to be left alone: to run his used bookstore in peace, and to quietly drink himself to sleep every night in an attempt to drown out the memories of eight-hundred-plus years of existence.

Unfortunately, when a sullen teenage changeling is flung out of Faerie and onto his doorstep, the long-suffering, wayward son of Titania knows his dreams of solitude are dust. Colin—or Lord Coileán, as he is known to the Faerie court—must track down Meggy, the love of his life, and figure out how her child ended up in Titania’s clutches to begin with.

But with family, it’s never simple. He finds Meggy, only to see her yanked into Faerie—and the doors between the realms slammed and locked behind her. Now, it’s not just her life& at stake . . . but the fate of magic itself.

Always the loner, Colin reluctantly joins forces with an intensely stubborn wizard, a young priest-in-training who fancies himself a knight, and his half brother Robin (the last most definitely not by choice) on a quest to reopen the doors and restore the balance between the realms. And with exiled queen Mab plotting in the shadows to take Titania’s throne, and the wizards of the governing Arcanum hiding their own agenda, Colin can’t be sure whom to trust—or whether he’ll live long enough to see the mission through.





About Ash

Photograph courtesy of Art Meripol
When not writing fiction, ASH FITZSIMMONS is an appellate attorney and an unrepentant car singer. Visit her at www.ashfitzsimmons.com.














Facebook



Twisted Romance Coming in February 2018


WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW IS TWISTED ROMANCE
An all-new month-long anthology miniseries event, coming this February

PORTLAND, OR, 11/20/2017 — Critically acclaimed writer Alex de Campi (MAYDAY, NO MERCY) teams up with some of comics’ hottest artists for TWISTED ROMANCE, a four-issue weekly anthology miniseries with tales of love—love gone right, wrong, and everything in between.

“This project is a dream for me,” said de Campi. “I'm getting to collaborate with some of comics' coolest creators and some amazing prose fiction voices. Everything everyone is doing looks so amazing. I'm just giddy that Image basically handed us the reins and said, ‘do whatever you want. This looks cool.’ So, yeah: come February, we're going to break your heart, fill you with joy, and give you awkward pants feels. Sometimes in same story. Occasionally, even on the same page.”

Each issue of this month-long romance event will feature 48 pages of content: a main comic story, a backup comic story, and a backup prose story. Within the pages of TWISTED ROMANCE, you can expect to find a wide variety of themes, including the commoditization of breakups, the love of a shy girl and a wildly famous guy, forbidden love on an intergalactic dreadnought, and the deceptive lure of childhood as seen by a princess who’s afraid to grow up. Exclusive sneak-peeks can be found throughout December and January at participating sites; see below for details.

Noctis Returns to FINAL FANTASY BRAVE EXVIUS



NOCTIS RETURNS TO FINAL FANTASY BRAVE EXVIUS IN NEW COLLABORATION EVENT

FINAL FANTASY XV Hero Receives Upgrades Alongside Release of New Characters

LOS ANGELES (Nov. 20, 2017) – In a crowded hall filled with South Korean fans, Square Enix® continued its celebration of the one year anniversary of the release of FINAL FANTASY® BRAVE EXVIUS®. Players of the hit free-to-play RPG also had a first-look at numerous game updates, special promotions, and other exciting news, including:
  • Permanent Rare Character Drop Rate Increase: Beginning on November 24, drop rates for rainbow crystals that contain top-tier characters will be tripled from the current rate, giving players a greater chance to acquire highly sought after units.
  • New FINAL FANTASY XV Characters: Gladiolus, Cor and Iris join Noctis and the Kingsglaive cast as playable characters. A new FINAL FANTASY XV-themed event will accompany the debut of these characters in the coming weeks.

Monday, November 20, 2017

The View From Monday - November 20, 2017


Happy Monday before Thanksgiving in the US!

There are two debuts this week:

Stranger Magics by Ash Fitzsimmons;

and

Until the Last Dog Dies by Robert Guffey.

Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.



From formerly featured DAC Authors:

Enemy (Seven Eyes 3) by Betsy Dornbusch is out in Trade Paperback;

and

The Naked World (Jubilee Cycle 2) by Eli K. P. William

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.

November 20, 2017
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Beneath the Skin (e) Lauren Dane PNR - de La Vega Cats 3
Eversong Donna Grant PNR - The Kindred 1
Marrying an Alien Pop Star (e) Kendra L. Saunders SFR - Alien Pop Star 3



November 21, 2017
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The Berlin Project (h2tp) Gregory Benford AH
Justice League: The Art of the Film Abbie Bernstein MTI
Enemy (h2tp) Betsy Dornbusch F/DF - Seven Eyes 3
Stranger Magics (D)(e) Ash Fitzsimmons UF/CF
Clara at the Edge Maryl Jo Fox MR/F/Psy
Until the Last Dog Dies (D) Robert Guffey SF/PA/AP/Satire/HU
Futures and Fictions Simon O'Sullivan (Ed)
Henriette Gunkell (Ed)
Ayesha Hameed (Ed)
LC/SF/F/HC
New York Fantastic: Fantasy Stories from the City that Never Sleeps Paula Guran (Ed) F - Anthology
The Complete Sookie Stackhouse Stories Charlaine Harris UF/F/PNR - Collection
Maid of Ice Shona Husk PNR - Blood and Silver 3
The Whispering Room Dean Koontz H - Jane Hawk 2
Who's Afraid Too? Maria Lewis FR - Tommi Grayson 2
Winter of Ice and Iron Rachel Neumeier F/DF
Charm Sarah Pinborough DF/FR/CF - Fairy Tales 2
Ramses the Damned: The Passion of Cleopatra Anne Rice
Christopher Rice
F/P/Occ/Sup/H
Deep Black Sea and Dark Tide Rising David M. Salkin SF
Sweet Dreams Tricia Sullivan SF
The Naked World Eli K. P. William SF/AP/PA/CyP - Jubilee Cycle 2
Lure of Oblivion Suzanne Wright PNR - Mercury Pack 3



November 22, 2017
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Into the Woods (e) Liz Duffy Adams
Delia Sherman
HistF - Tremontaine Season 3 #7



D - Debut
e - eBook
Ed - Editor
h2mm - Hardcover to Mass Market Paperback
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
ri - reissue or reprint
tp2mm - Trade to Mass Market Paperback
Tr - Translator



AC - Alien Contact
AH - Alternate History
AP - Apocalyptic
Bio - Biography
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CoA - Coming of Age
CyP - CyberPunk
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tales
Fict - Fiction
FM - Folklore and Mythology
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
HU - Humor
LC - Literary Criticism
LF - Literary Fiction
LM - Legends and Mythology
M - Mystery
MR - Magical Realism
MTI - Media Tie-In
MU - MashUp
Noir - Noir
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PCM - Paranormal Cozy Mystery
PHR- Paramormal Historical Romance
PM - Paranormal Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
Psy - Psychological
PsySus - Psychological Suspense
PsyTh - Psychological Thriller
R - Romance
Ref - Reference
RP - Role Playing
Sc - Science
SH -Superheroes
SF - Science Fiction
SFR - Science Fiction Romance
SO - Space Opera
SP - SteamPunk
SpecFic - Speculative Fiction
Sup - Supernatural
SupM - Supernatural Mystery
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
UF - Urban Fantasy

Note: Not all genres and formats are found in the books, etc. listed above.

Valkyria Chronicles 4 Coming to the West in 2018


Onward to Victory! -- Valkyria Chronicles 4 is Mobilizing for
Deployment in the West for the PlayStation®4, Nintendo
Switch™, and Xbox One™ in 2018


Learn About the Inspirations Behind the Game and the 
Journey of Squad E in the New Trailer!

IRVINE, Calif. -- Nov. 19, 2017 -- Soldiers, strategists, and commanders--the call has come in from the front lines. It's time to rejoin the fight! The beloved Valkyria Chronicles series makes its grand return westward in 2018 with Valkyria Chronicles 4, a new mainline chapter in the saga for PlayStation®4, Nintendo Switch™, and Xbox One™. Return to a continent ravaged by conflict with a familiar-yet-refined tactical RPG battle system, a vibrant and evocative art style that portrays a living canvas of watercolors, and a gripping World War II-inspired story full of momentous triumphs, heartbreaking loss, and unexpected hope for the human spirit.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Twice Upon A Time Sneak Peek | Doctor Who Christmas | This Christmas on BBC America



Here is a sneak peek of Twice Upon A Time, this year’s Doctor Who Christmas Special starring Peter Capaldi as the Doctor, David Bradley as the First Doctor, Pearl Mackie as Bill Potts and Mark Gatiss as the Captain.

Friday, November 17, 2017

SPFBO 2017 -- Semi-Finalists



The Qwillery is pleased to announce our 6 semi-finalists for the 2017 Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off. Each of these novels received at least 3 positive votes from the 4 reviewers going through the slush pile. These novels will receive full reviews. One of these novels will be The Qwillery's Finalist!



M. R. Anthony

Soldier's Redemption
First Cohort 1
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook

The land is torn – the savage Duke Warmont sends his armies to murder his rebellious people. The soldiers of the First Cohort have lived through it all – two hundred years of fighting for a man they despise. Their captain, Tyrus Charing, knows that something has to change. His men grow tired of eternal bloodshed.

There is hope for them – a saviour has come and she needs good soldiers in order to overthrow the Duke.

As the First Cohort try to pay for the sins of their past, they discover they’ve taken on far more than they could have imagined. The Duke does not care how many die, so long as he stays in power. Amongst his generals are sorcerers of great power, and an inhuman brute of callous evil, all of whom are eager to face Charing on the battlefield.

Soldiers’ Redemption is a dark fantasy epic, about strength, loyalty and an unwavering determination to beat the odds.





D.K. Holmberg

Soldier Son
Teralin Sword 1
Trade Paperback and eBook

Endric wants only to serve, but he's destined to lead.

As the second son of the general of the Denraen, Endric wants only to fight, not the commission his father demands of him. When a strange attack in the south leads to the loss of someone close to him, only Endric seems concerned about what happened.

All signs point to an attack on the city, and betrayal by someone deep within the Denraen, but his father no longer trusts his judgment. This forces Endric to make another impulsive decision, one that leads him far from the city on a journey where he discovers how little he knew, and how much more he has to understand. If he can prove himself in time, and with the help of his new allies, he can stop a greater disaster.





James Jakins

Son of Thunder
Thunder's War 1
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook

In the country of Sohlgain, all young men are expected to chain a dragon and claim its charge. For Berun Toirnach, the eldest son of the nation’s ruler, this means venturing onto a dragon reserve and hunting a wild dragon. A tradition his family has upheld for generations.

The aftermath of this hunt will shape Berun’s life. He is given a position as a Thunder Priest and gifted the power to control lightning, Berun must decide what to do with this new power. Will he use it selfishly, or will he use it for the benefit of his country?

Years later, in an attempt to escape responsibility for a short time, Berun and his friends take a trip to the idyllic beachside city of Hurthow, where an ancient festival is celebrated by locals and foreigners alike.

But the safety and warmth of the sun and sand is an illusion. Dangerous enemies wait, hiding behind smiles and cold eyes.

Soon the lives of Berun’s friends and family are put in danger, and the young prince must rely on his power and his allies, old and new, to save them. His father's most trusted bodyguard, a disgraced assassin known for his skill and ruthless precision. A young God Mage and her companions. And a coward with a power he's afraid to use. All of them will be needed to save those threatened.
But time is against them and their enemies have secrets of their own.





K. Bird Lincoln

Tiger Lily
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook

"A beautifully-written genderbending tale of rebellious girls, shifting disguises, and forbidden magic, set against the vivid backdrop of ancient Japan."
--Tina Connolly, author of Ironskin

Lily isn't supposed to hunt game in the Daimyo's woods. She's just the cook's daughter. It isn't her place to talk to nobility. And she definitely isn't supposed to sing the forbidden old, Jindo religion songs.

But Lily was born in the year of the Tiger, and can't ever be like other village girls. In the woods snaring rabbits one day, she finds instead the Daimyo's son, Ashikaga, wounded, in the gooseberry brush. When the Pretender Emperor's men arrive to kill Ashikaga, Lily, desperate, sings a forbidden Jindo song.

The song wakes a powerful spirit – as well as Ashikaga's interest. The prickly lord has hidden secrets of his own and a burning desire to prove himself to his father. He will stop at nothing to defeat his father's greatest enemy.

All Lily wants to do is take care of her sisters. But the Pretender-Emperor's forces are drawing near, and now the Daimyo's son knows she communes with Jindo gods. She wants to trust Ashikaga when he swears he will not tell her secret, but he is a noble – and Lily only a peasant. Lily's heart is leading her down a dangerous path. She may have to defy her father, Ashikaga, and even the spirits themselves in order to defeat the Pretender-Emperor's magic and keep safe all that she loves.





Matt Moss

The Path of Man
Soul Stone Trilogy 1
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook

The war has just begun.

The Dark Society has finally emerged from the shadows after years of silence. Their mission is clear and they won't stop until the Order is destroyed.

The Order has been waiting for this day. The Prophet has already assured their victory.

Buried within the riddles of an ancient text lies a place of legend that contains an unspeakable power. Many believe it to be a myth. But if the rumors are true, the Dark Society may already know of its location.

Arkin's world is changed forever when a stranger rides into town. Suddenly, he's thrown into the age-old war between the Order and the Dark Society. Choices made in the past ripple through time as Arkin puts the pieces together. His choices will determine the future of all as he follows the Path of Man.

The Soul Stone Trilogy:
Book 1 - The Path of Man
Book 2 - The Shepherd of Fire
Book 3 - Coming 2018





Pauline M Ross

The Dragon's Egg
Brightmoon 6
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook

A stand-alone epic fantasy set in the Brightmoon world…

Garrett has been many things in his time… street hustler, warrior, professional gambler, spy. He’ll do whatever is asked of him, legal or not. Now he’s paid to search for those with a touch of magic in them. But magic is unpredictable and hard to find, and he doesn’t have much luck until he meets Dru, whose family claim she hatched from a dragon’s egg. She looks different, doesn’t say a lot, and likes to talk to the chickens, though they don’t listen much. There might be real power behind her strangeness, if she could only learn how to reach it.

When Garrett is asked to escort Dru on a journey, accompanied by a scholar, a princess, a guard and a priest, it seems like a simple enough mission, until they fall into the hands of raiders. Garrett has lived on his wits all his life, but he’ll need all his talents, and a little magic too, to get them out of this mess and reach safety.

If he can manage that, maybe he’ll find out the secret of the dragon’s egg, and the girl who hatched from it.

VS, SF Series, Arrives in February


BRUTAL SCI-FI SERIES VS
ARRIVES THIS FEBRUARY


PORTLAND, OR, 11/16/2017 — Superstar artist Esad Ribić (Secret Wars, Uncanny X-Force) will make his creator-owned debut, teaming up with acclaimed writer Ivan Brandon (BLACK CLOUD, DRIFTER) for the darkly satirical sci-fi series VS this February from Image Comics. Painted colors from Nic Klein (DRIFTER) and design by Tom Muller round out the powerhouse creative team.

War has become a spectator sport.

Privately funded armies of superstar soldiers march into battle for fame, profit, and the glory of their sponsor nations. When a new generation of soldiers arrive, top gladiator Satta Flynn is about to discover how fleeting the limelight can be—and how punishing.

DEATH OF LOVE Coming For Valentine's Day


DEATH OF LOVE ARRIVES JUST IN TIME FOR VALENTINE’S DAY

PORTLAND, OR, 11/16/2017 — Writer Justin Jordan (THE FAMILY TRADE, SPREAD) teams up with artist Donal DeLay (You are Not Alone, My Geek Family), colorist Omar Estévez (Heavy Metal Magazine, Batman ‘66), and letterer Rachel Deering (In the Dark, Vertigo Quarterly) for the least romantic Valentine’s comic ever: DEATH OF LOVE.

Love sucks. And Philo Harris is going to do something about it.

After a particularly bad, drunken decision, Philo gains the ability to see the Cupidae, the creatures responsible for all the love in the world, and declares war on love itself. With a chainsaw.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Nintendo Download, November 16, 2017: Battle the Dragons of Skyrim Wherever You Go


This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content:
  • Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch
    • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Winner of more than 200 Game of the Year awards, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is an open-world masterpiece where you can be anyone and do anything. And now, with the power of the Nintendo Switch system, you can play it anywhere – at home or on the go. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim brings to life a complete virtual world for you to explore any way you choose, including features new to this version of the game like using motion controls and outfits and gear from compatible Legend of Zelda series amiibo figures (sold separately).
    • Battle Chef Brigade – In the fantasy realm of Victusia, the members of the elite Battle Chef Brigade are revered for their ability to skillfully take down monsters and transform their kills into delicious cuisine. But being a part of the Brigade isn’t easy: Chefs from across Victusia must vie for their spot in a high-stakes competition. Follow two contestants, Mina and Thrash, as their journeys through the tournament unfold. In order to become a Brigadier you’ll need to hunt monsters with combo-based attacks and prepare your freshly caught ingredients in puzzle-based cooking challenges to serve up winning dishes to the judges – all while the round clock ticks down. The Battle Chef Brigade game will be available on Nov. 20.
  • Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS
    • Pokémon Ultra Sun / Pokémon Ultra Moon – A new light shines on the Alola region! Take on the role of a Pokémon Trainer and unravel the mystery of the Legendary Pokémon Necrozma’s two new forms: Dusk Mane Necrozma in the Pokémon Ultra Sun game and Dawn Wings Necrozma in the Pokémon Ultra Moon game. You can encounter and battle 400+ Pokémon, including new forms. A brand-new showdown awaits!