Friday, January 18, 2019

Covers Revealed - Upcoming Works by DAC Authors

Here are some of the upcoming works by formerly featured Debut Author Challenge (DAC) Authors. The year in parentheses is the year the author was featured in the DAC.

Callie Bates (2017)

The Soul of Power
The Waking Land 3
Del Rey June 4, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 480 pages

One young woman learns the true nature of power—both her own and others’—in the riveting conclusion to The Waking Land Trilogy.

Sophy Dunbarron—the illegitimate daughter of a king who never was—has always felt like an impostor. Separated from her birth mother, raised by parents mourning the loss of their true daughter, and unacknowledged by her father, Sophy desires only a place and a family to call her own. But fate has other ideas. Caught up in Elanna Valtai’s revolution, Sophy has become the reigning monarch of a once-divided country—a role she has been groomed her whole life to fill.

But as she quickly discovers, wearing a crown is quite a different thing from keeping a crown. With an influx of magic-bearing refugees pouring across the border, resources already thinned by war are stretched to the breaking point. Half the nobility in her court want her deposed, and the other half question her every decision. And every third person seems to be spontaneously manifesting magical powers.

When Elanna is captured and taken to Paladis, Sophy’s last ally seems to have vanished. Now it is up to her alone to navigate a political maze that becomes more complex and thorny by the day. And worse, Sophy is hiding a huge secret—one that could destroy her tenuous hold on the crown forever.

Don’t miss any of Callie Bates’s magical Waking Land trilogy:

Book 1
Book 2

Brian Kirk (2015)

Will Haunt You
Flame Tree Press, March 14, 2019
Hardcover, Trade Paperback and eBook, 240 pages

You don’t read the book. It reads you. 

Rumors of a deadly book have been floating around the dark corners of the deep web. A disturbing tale about a mysterious figure who preys on those who read the book and subjects them to a world of personalized terror. Jesse Wheeler—former guitarist of the heavy metal group The Rising Dead—was quick to discount the ominous folklore associated with the book. It takes more than some urban legend to frighten him. Hell, reality is scary enough. Seven years ago his greatest responsibility was the nightly guitar solo. Then one night when Jesse was blackout drunk, he accidentally injured his son, leaving him permanently disabled. Dreams of being a rock star died when he destroyed his son's future. Now he cuts radio jingles and fights to stay clean. But Jesse is wrong.

The legend is real—and tonight he will become the protagonist in an elaborate scheme specifically tailored to prey on his fears and resurrect the ghosts from his past. Jesse is not the only one in danger, however.

By reading the book, you have volunteered to participate in the author’s deadly game, with every page drawing you closer to your own personalized nightmare.

The real horror doesn’t begin until you reach the end. That’s when the evil comes for you.

Fran Wilde (2015)

The Fire Opal Mechanism, June 4, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 208 pages

Jewels and their lapidaries and have all but passed into myth.

Jorit, broke and branded a thief, just wants to escape the Far Reaches for something better. Ania, a rumpled librarian, is trying to protect her books from the Pressmen, who value knowledge but none of the humanity that generates it.

When they stumble upon a mysterious clock powered by an ancient jewel, they may discover secrets in the past that will change the future forever.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January Debuts

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 2019 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 January 31, 2019, unless the vote is extended. If the vote is extended the ending date will be updated.

Vote for your favorite January 2019 Debut Cover! free polls

Cover art by Richard Anderson

Cover art by Emmanuel Polanco

Cover design by Lex Maudlin
Cover photographs © VICTOR HABBICK VISIONS/Getty Images;
© Tithi Luadthong/Shutterstock (city)

Jacket design by Michael J. Windsor
Jacket photograph © Johanna Negowski

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

2018 Debut Author Challenge - COVER OF THE YEAR!

The Qwillery is thrilled to announce the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover of the Year: The All Father Paradox by Ian Stuart Sharpe with 45% of the votes totaling 787 votes.

The cover illustration is by Jeremy D. Mohler.

For more about The All Father Paradox read an interview with Ian here.

Congratulations to Jeremy, Ian, and Outland Entertainment.

The All Father Paradox
Vikingverse 1
Outland Entertainment, October 9, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 414 pages

What if an ancient god escaped his fate…and history was thrown to the wolves?

Churchwarden Michaels thought it was just a run-of-the-mill crazy old man who stood in the graveyard, hellbent on studying the thousand-year-old Viking memorial there. But when things start changing and outright disappearing, Michaels realizes there is more to this old man than meets the eye. Now, Michaels finds himself swept up in an ancient god’s quest to escape his destiny by reworking reality, putting history—and to Michaels’s dismay, Christianity itself—to the Viking sword. In this new Vikingverse, storied heroes of mankind emerge in new and brutal guises drawn from the sagas:

A young Norse prince plots to shatter empires and claim the heavens…
A scholar exiled to the frontier braves the dangers of the New World, only to find those “new worlds” are greater than he imagined…
A captured Jötunn plants the dreams of freedom during a worlds-spanning war…
A bold empress discovers there is a price for immortality, one her ancestors have come to collect…

With the timelines stretched to breaking point, it’s up to Churchwarden Michaels to save reality as we know it…

The Results

The 2018 DAC Cover Wars Monthly Winners

Qwill's Top 3 of 2018

There are 3 top novels for me from 2018. These are books that I have thought about long after I finished reading them. I'm listing them in order by author name not order of favorite because trying to put one first would be like trying to choose a favorite child. Each novel features a well crafted magic system. These novels stand out for their exceptional worldbuilding but, more important, for their wonderful characters and riveting stories.

I love Robert Jackson Bennett's writing. From The Company Man to Foundryside, his work is just fantastic. Vigilance (from is out later this month. I'll be letting you know what I think. Check out The Divine Cities Trilogy if you're looking for great fantasy read. Don't miss reading The Troupe either. Just read everything he's written. You can thank me later. My review of Foundryside is here.

The Founders Trilogy 1
Crown, August 21, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 512 pages
   Trade Paperback, May 21, 2019

“The exciting beginning of a promising new epic fantasy series. Prepare for ancient mysteries, innovative magic, and heart-pounding heists.”—Brandon Sanderson

“Complex characters, magic that is tech and vice versa, a world bound by warring trade dynasties: Bennett will leave you in awe once you remember to breathe!”–Tamora Pierce

In a city that runs on industrialized magic, a secret war will be fought to overwrite reality itself–the first in a dazzling new series from City of Stairs author Robert Jackson Bennett.

Sancia Grado is a thief, and a damn good one. And her latest target, a heavily guarded warehouse on Tevanne’s docks, is nothing her unique abilities can’t handle.

But unbeknownst to her, Sancia’s been sent to steal an artifact of unimaginable power, an object that could revolutionize the magical technology known as scriving. The Merchant Houses who control this magic–the art of using coded commands to imbue everyday objects with sentience–have already used it to transform Tevanne into a vast, remorseless capitalist machine. But if they can unlock the artifact’s secrets, they will rewrite the world itself to suit their aims.

Now someone in those Houses wants Sancia dead, and the artifact for themselves. And in the city of Tevanne, there’s nobody with the power to stop them.

To have a chance at surviving—and at stopping the deadly transformation that’s under way—Sancia will have to marshal unlikely allies, learn to harness the artifact’s power for herself, and undergo her own transformation, one that will turn her into something she could never have imagined.

David Mack's The Midnight Front, the 1st novel in his Dark Arts series, is set during World War II. The titular Midnight Front fights the war on the magical level. The Nazis have magic wielders and so do the Allies. Mack's magical system is finely developed and like all well-written magical systems there is a price to pay for the magic users. While some passages in The Midnight Front will be perhaps just a disturbing historical footnote for some, to others (including me) there is a visceral gut-wrenching reaction. Mack pulls no punches in The Midnight Front. He doesn't sugar coat what happened during WWII as part of the Final Solution. He brought tears to my eyes more than once.

With or without magic Mack writes about some difficult events to which his characters bear witness. Yet the novel is not all doom and gloom. This novel is in equipoise - the horrific and evil balanced expertly by humor and good. Not everything is black and white though. The Midnight Front is as close to a perfect novel that I've had the pleasure to read in a long time. Mack leaves no cliffhangers and beautifully sets up the next novel in the series. I can't recommend The Midnight Front enough.

And I've just finished book 2 - The Iron Codex - which was published yesterday, and is set several years after the end of the first novel. It features some of the wonderful characters and not so wonderful characters from The Midnight Front. I can unequivocally recommend both novels.

The Midnight Front
A Dark Arts Novel 1
Tor Book, January 30, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 480 pages
   Also available in Hardcover

From New York Times bestselling author David Mack comes a visionary World War II-era adventure. The Midnight Front is the epic first novel in the Dark Arts series.

On the eve of World War Two, Nazi sorcerers come gunning for Cade but kill his family instead. His one path of vengeance is to become an apprentice of The Midnight Front—the Allies’ top-secret magickal warfare program—and become a sorcerer himself.

Unsure who will kill him first—his allies, his enemies, or the demons he has to use to wield magick—Cade fights his way through occupied Europe and enemy lines. But he learns too late the true price of revenge will be more terrible than just the loss of his soul—and there’s no task harder than doing good with a power born of ultimate evil.

Aching God by Mike Shel is the first novel in his Iconoclasts series and The Qwillery's Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off (SPFBO) Finalist. It's going up against 10 other books to be the last book standing. Read more about SPFBO here at Mark Lawrence's site.

After going through a slush pile of 30 books, Shel's Aching God stood out. It's a terrifically fun read. I loved this novel from the moment I started reading it. The worldbuilding, history, and characters are outstanding. Read more of my thoughts here.

Aching God
Iconoclasts 1
Trade Paperback, eBook, Audible

“Closer, mortal. You are here, finally, to feed the Aching God…”

The days of adventure are passed for Auric Manteo. Retired to the countryside and isolated with his scars and riches, he no longer delves into forbidden ruins seeking dark wisdom and treasure. But just as old nightmares begin plaguing his sleep, he receives an urgent summons back to that old life.

To save his only daughter, he must return to the place of his greatest trauma: the haunted Barrowlands. Along with a group of inexperienced companions and an old soldier, he must confront the dangers of the ancient and wicked Djao civilization. He has survived fell beasts, insidious traps, and deadly hazards before. But how can he contend with the malice of a bloodthirsty living god?

First volume in the planned epic fantasy trilogy Iconoclasts, Aching God is the debut novel by RPG adventure designer Mike Shel.

Also included is an advanced preview of Iconoclasts - Book II: Sin Eater.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Section Zero Coming In April From Creators-Owners Karl Kessel and Tom Grummett


PORTLAND, OR 01/14/2019 — The award winning team of writer Karl Kesel (Superboy, Harley Quinn) and artist Tom Grummett (X-Men Forever, The Death of Superman, Superboy) return to their fan-favorite, critically acclaimed series, Section Zero. The science-fiction adventure is set to launch from Image/Shadowline Comics this April.

Section Zero kicks off with Part One: “Ground Zero,” where readers meet a team of fearless adventurers. Together the crew uncovers the secrets behind UFOs, monsters, and lost civilizations in a story that can best be described as, “Jack Kirby does The X-Files.”

Section Zero will feature alternate covers by super-star artists including Walter Simonson, George Perez, Adam Hughes, Dave Gibbons, Mike Wieringo, and many more!

Writer/inker Karl Kesel noted: “Ever since 2000, Tom and I have constantly tried to bring Section Zero back. Almost two decades later, we finally found a way to finish what we’d begun. The cherry on top is seeing the book return to where it all started—Image Comics."

Grummett added: "Section Zero has excited me since day one. It's exciting to see it return home to Image Comics, where it all began. Hang on to something! It's going to be a wild ride!"

Section Zero #1 by Cover A by Kesel & Grummett (Diamond Code FEB190024), Cover B by Walter Simonson (Diamond Code FEB190025), and Cover C by Jerry Ordway (Diamond Code FEB190026).

Section Zero will also be available for purchase across many digital platforms, including the official Image Comics iOS app, Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, comiXology, and Google Play.

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, visit

Monday, January 14, 2019

The View From Monday - January 14, 2019

Happy Monday!

There is one debut this week:

The Post by Kevin A. Muñoz.

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

And one novel from a formerly featured DAC Author:

Summoned to Thirteenth Grave (Charley Davidson 13) by Darynda Jones.

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.

January 14, 2019
Haunted (e) Gena Showalter FR

January 15, 2019
The Galactic Empire Trilogy: The Stars, Like Dust; The Currents of Space; Pebble in the Sky (e) Isaac Asimov SF/SO - The Galactic Empire Trilogy
Night School: A Reader for Grownups Zsofia Ban
Jim Tucker (Tr)
Absurdist - Collection
Rewrite: Loops in the Timescape Gregory Benford SF/TT - Timescape 2
A Vlad Taltos Collection: Dragon, Issola, Dzur, Jhegaala, Iorich, Tiassa, Hawk, Vallista (e) Steven Brust F - Vlad Taltos
The Heirs of Babylon Cook Glen SF
Westworld Psychology: Violent Delights (e) Wind Goodfriend (Ed)  Psychology - Popular Culture Psychology 10
Variable Star Robert A. Heinlein
Spider Robinson
The Dream of X and Other Fantastic Visions: The Collected Fiction of William Hope Hodgson, Volume 5 William Hope Hodgson F - The Collected Fiction of William Hope Hodgson 5
Tentacle Rita Indiana
Achy Obejas (Tr)
Summoned to Thirteenth Grave Darynda Jones PM - Charley Davidson 13
Saga of Recluce: Books 14-18: Natural Ordermage, Mage-Guard of Hamor, Arms-Commander, Cyador's Heirs, Heritage of Cyador (e) L. E. Modesitt Jr. F - Saga of Recluce
The Iron Codex David Mack HistF/Occ/Sup/DF - A Dark Arts Novel 2
Black Star Renegades (h2tp) Michael Moreci SF/SO - Black Star Renegades 1
The Post (D) Kevin A. Muñoz Sus/Dys
Shadow Captain Alastair Reynolds SF - Revenger 2
Marked S. Andrew Swann F
Fearless Sarah Tarkoff Dys - Eye of the Beholder 2
The Dreamers Karen Thompson Walker LF/FL/Dys

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
CulH - Cultural Heritage
CyP - Cyberpunk
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tales
FL - Family Life
FolkT - Folk Tales
FR - Fantasy Romance
GenEng - Genetic Engineering
GH - Ghost(s)
H - Horror
Hist - Historical
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HSF - Hard Science Fiction
Hu - Humor
LF - Literary Fiction
LM - Legend and Mythology
M - Mystery
MedTh - Medical Thriller
MR - Magical Realism
MTI - Media Tie-In
NF - Near Future
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PCM - Parnormal Cozy Mystery
PM - Paranormal Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
PolTh - Political Thriller
PopCul - Popular Culture
Psy - Psychological
PsyTh - Psychological Thriller
Sc - Science
SE - Space Exploration
SF - Science Fiction
SFR - Science Fiction Romance
SO - Space Opera
SP - Steampunk
Sup - Supernatural
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Sus - Suspense
TechTh - Technological Thriller
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
UF - Urban Fantasy

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

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Melanie’s Top 5 of 2018

It’s that time of year when I look back at all the books I read in previous year. At first I didn’t think that there were many stand-outs for me in 2018 but I had to whittle down a rather longer list down to these 5 faves. I will start in reverse order.

5.  Space Unicorn Blues by T.J Berry and The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson

Sorry, there is a tie for my 5th favourite book of 2018 as I couldn’t decide between these two fantastic debut novels.

April bought not only showers but Tyrell Johnson’s post apocalyptic The Wolves of Winter onto my Kindle. I was pleasantly surprised that this debut didn’t end up in the cliche it could have been when the tall, dark and handsome stranger stumbles into the young Lynn’s lonely life. Tyrell’s snowy landscape had a life of its own and almost became another character in the tale. If you enjoy character driven stories than this is definitely one you need to read. Check out my review.

I enjoyed Space Unicorn Blues in July, during the hottest summer we have had in the UK in years. As a little reminder here is my review. The plot line of this story is truly unique and Berry carefully balances action, characterisation and world building. She did an excellent job.

Gary, the half unicorn prince and hero of this tale is a great conflicted character and you can’t help but to cheer him on. This story is very action packed and has one of the best cliff hangers of the year. I am really looking forward to the next instalment

4.  Foundryside by Robert J. Bennett

Bennett very nearly had 2 books in my top 5 but Foundryside just pipped City of Mirrors to make it into my top 5. This is the first instalment of Bennett’s new series The Founders set in a world where magic has been industrialised and only the Founders have any power. It’s Sancia, a thief who inadvertently turns the world upside down when she ends up stealing an artefact of unbelievable power. Sancia is a great character and she is joined by an eclectic cast of characters. Bennett has such an amazing imagination and writes characters that are so interesting and complex. Foundryside is no different. This is an all round great book. See my review here.

3.  The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is the best ‘who dunnit’ I have read in a long time. I actually
listened to this as an audiobook and I am so glad that I did as the narrator is excellent and really sets the mood. This book had me on tenterhooks as I couldn’t guess who the committed the murder or why Aiden Bishop kept jumping from body to body. The story is like reading a game of Cluedo (or Clue in the US/Canada) but where you get to play every character. Murder mystery lovers this is a must read.

2.  Magic Triumpths by Ilona Andrews

I would be remiss if I didn’t include the final instalment of the Kate Daniels series in my top 5 so here it is - Magic Trimphs. I almost can’t believe the series is over. I have been reading this series for almost 10 years (I was a late comer to the series and read the first 3 books together) so it feels a bit weird that it is over although I am glad that it is as I feel that Andrews has written all she could about these characters. I am glad they decided to finish it rather than keep churning out the books like other authors have done. Rather than re-hash my review check it out& here.

1.  Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews

What can I say I loved Hugh! If you follow my reviews you won’t be surprised to learn that Iron and Magic is my fave book of 2018. I read the e-ARC, I bought the book and I listened to the Audible version.....more than once. I was soo surprised I liked Hugh as much as I did. I have to admit I thought Andrews were bonkers when I first read that they were planning a book about the 2nd biggest baddy in the Kate Daniels series. I was on the verge of being upset that they were ‘wasting’ their time writing about this character when I was waiting for Kate or an Innkeeper book. Good thing I am not in charge of their publishing schedule as I love, love, loved this book. It wasn’t the complicated plot or originality that made me like it so was all down to Hugh’s redemption and general ‘coolness’. If you want to find out more here is my review.

There you top 5. If you are looking for a good book hopefully you will find one here. I would love to know what is on your top 5. Leave me a comment.

Space Unicorn Blues
The Reason 1
Angry Robot, July 3, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

A misfit crew race across the galaxy to prevent the genocide of magical creatures, in this unique science fiction debut.

Humanity joining the intergalactic community has been a disaster for Bala, the magical creatures of the galaxy: they’ve been exploited, enslaved and ground down for parts. Now the Century Summit is approaching, when humans will be judged by godlike aliens.

When Jenny Perata, disabled Maori shuttle captain, is contracted to take a shipment to the summit, she must enlist half-unicorn Gary Cobalt, whose horn powers faster-than-light travel. But he’s just been released from prison, for murdering the wife of Jenny’s co-pilot, Cowboy Jim… When the Reason regime suddenly enact laws making Bala property, Jenny’s ship becomes the last hope for magic.

File Under: Science Fiction [ Rocks in Space | Stand Up to Reason | The Human Experiment | Last Unicorn ]

The Wolves of Winter
Scribner, January 2, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages
   Trade Paperback, December 4, 2018

A captivating tale of humanity pushed beyond its breaking point, of family and bonds of love forged when everything is lost, and of a heroic young woman who crosses a frozen landscape to find her destiny. This debut novel is written in a post-apocalyptic tradition that spans The Hunger Games and Station Eleven but blazes its own distinctive path.

Forget the old days. Forget summer. Forget warmth. Forget anything that doesn’t help you survive in the endless white wilderness beyond the edges of a fallen world.

Lynn McBride has learned much since society collapsed in the face of nuclear war and the relentless spread of disease. As the memories of her old life continue to haunt, she’s forced to forge ahead in the snow-drifted Canadian Yukon, learning how to hunt and trap and slaughter.

Shadows of the world before have found her tiny community—most prominently in the enigmatic figure of Jax, who brings with him dark secrets of the past and sets in motion a chain of events that will call Lynn to a role she never imagined.

Simultaneously a heartbreakingly sympathetic portrait of a young woman searching for the answer to who she is meant to be and a frightening vision of a merciless new world in which desperation rules, The Wolves of Winter is enveloping, propulsive, and poignant.

The Founders Trilogy 1
Crown, August 21, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 512 pages
   Trade Paperback, May 21, 2019

“The exciting beginning of a promising new epic fantasy series. Prepare for ancient mysteries, innovative magic, and heart-pounding heists.”—Brandon Sanderson

“Complex characters, magic that is tech and vice versa, a world bound by warring trade dynasties: Bennett will leave you in awe once you remember to breathe!”–Tamora Pierce

In a city that runs on industrialized magic, a secret war will be fought to overwrite reality itself–the first in a dazzling new series from City of Stairs author Robert Jackson Bennett.

Sancia Grado is a thief, and a damn good one. And her latest target, a heavily guarded warehouse on Tevanne’s docks, is nothing her unique abilities can’t handle.

But unbeknownst to her, Sancia’s been sent to steal an artifact of unimaginable power, an object that could revolutionize the magical technology known as scriving. The Merchant Houses who control this magic–the art of using coded commands to imbue everyday objects with sentience–have already used it to transform Tevanne into a vast, remorseless capitalist machine. But if they can unlock the artifact’s secrets, they will rewrite the world itself to suit their aims.

Now someone in those Houses wants Sancia dead, and the artifact for themselves. And in the city of Tevanne, there’s nobody with the power to stop them.

To have a chance at surviving—and at stopping the deadly transformation that’s under way—Sancia will have to marshal unlikely allies, learn to harness the artifact’s power for herself, and undergo her own transformation, one that will turn her into something she could never have imagined.

The 7 1½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
Sourcebooks Landmark, September 18, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 448 pages
    Trade Paperback, May 7, 2019

One of Stylist Magazine's 20 Must-Read Books of 2018
One of Harper's Bazaar's 10 Must-Read Books of 2018
One of Marie Claire, Australia's 10 Books You Absolutely Have to Read in 2018

The Rules of Blackheath
Evelyn Hardcastle will be murdered at 11:00 p.m.
 There are eight days, and eight witnesses for you to inhabit.
We will only let you escape once you tell us the name of the killer.
Understood? Then let’s begin...


Evelyn Hardcastle will die. Every day until Aiden Bishop can identify her killer and break the cycle. But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest. And some of his hosts are more helpful than others...

The most inventive debut of the year twists together a mystery of such unexpected creativity it will leave readers guessing until the very last page.

Magic Triumphs
Kate Daniels 10
Ace, August 28, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages
   Mass Market Paperback, May 7, 2019

Mercenary Kate Daniels must risk all to protect everything she holds dear in this epic, can’t-miss entry in the thrilling #1 New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series.

Kate has come a long way from her origins as a loner taking care of paranormal problems in post-Shift Atlanta. She’s made friends and enemies. She’s found love and started a family with Curran Lennart, the former Beast Lord. But her magic is too strong for the power players of the world to let her be.

Kate and her father, Roland, currently have an uneasy truce, but when he starts testing her defenses again, she knows that sooner or later, a confrontation is inevitable. The Witch Oracle has begun seeing visions of blood, fire, and human bones. And when a mysterious box is delivered to Kate’s doorstep, a threat of war from the ancient enemy who nearly destroyed her family, she knows their time is up.

Kate Daniels sees no other choice but to combine forces with the unlikeliest of allies. She knows betrayal is inevitable. She knows she may not survive the coming battle. But she has to try.

For her child.

For Atlanta.

For the world.

Iron and Magic
The Iron Covenant 1
NYLA, June 28, 2018
eBook, 322 pages

No day is ordinary in a world where Technology and Magic compete for supremacy…But no matter which force is winning, in the apocalypse, a sword will always work.

Hugh d’Ambray, Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, Warlord of the Builder of Towers, served only one man. Now his immortal, nearly omnipotent master has cast him aside. Hugh is a shadow of the warrior he was, but when he learns that the Iron Dogs, soldiers who would follow him anywhere, are being hunted down and murdered, he must make a choice: to fade away or to be the leader he was born to be. Hugh knows he must carve a new place for himself and his people, but they have no money, no shelter, and no food, and the necromancers are coming. Fast.

Elara Harper is a creature who should not exist. Her enemies call her Abomination; her people call her White Lady. Tasked with their protection, she's trapped between the magical heavyweights about to collide and plunge the state of Kentucky into a war that humans have no power to stop. Desperate to shield her people and their simple way of life, she would accept help from the devil himself—and Hugh d’Ambray might qualify.

Hugh needs a base, Elara needs soldiers. Both are infamous for betraying their allies, so how can they create a believable alliance to meet the challenge of their enemies?

As the prophet says: “It is better to marry than to burn.”

Hugh and Elara may do both.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Interview with Eyal Kless, author of The Lost Puzzler

Please welcome Eyal Kless to The Qwillery as part of the 2019 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Lost Puzzler was published on January 8, 2019 by Harper Voyager.

TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first piece of fiction you remember writing?

Eyal:  I was eight or nine years old. I read an Israeli children book called Hasamba. It was about a group of heroic young boys and girls who helped saving our young country from the machinations of its cruel enemies. It was barely diluted propaganda novels (and in its way, very naïve) but I became so excited reading about those kids, I immediately began writing more adventures for them. I believe it is called “fan literature” today.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Eyal:  I am definitely a plotter wannabe, but truth to be told, I am a classic pantser. I learned to trust my instinct and write scenes and introductory chapters before I even know what the plot would be. When things begin to get clear I let the plot take me places. I took almost four years out of writing The Lost Puzzler because I was lacking a satisfactory ending. It came to me one day, out of nowhere, as I was walking down the street and I began jumping up and down with excitement…

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Eyal:  Writing scenery and interior design. I pretty much hate it. maybe it is the vocabulary that I lack (I am not a native speaker), the fact I usually rush through those descriptions when I read books myself or a philosophical view that the readers should only have an outline of the picture and draw the picture themselves (probably options 1+2 are correct).

TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing? How does music influence your writing?

Eyal:  That’s a big one. Almost everything and anything could influence on my writing. Film noire, an argument on the bus, a joke I overheard, I always think if I could use this material, mold it to my needs and add it to the novel.

As to music. The long answer could take me a thousand words and more. in short: I see a novel like a piece of music. Each story line and each of the characters is a “voice” in this symphony or opera. A lone voice might be beautiful by itself but dull. When adding more voices together, they create a harmony, and just like in music, their relationship, even if distinctly apart, is the essence of what we hear and read. The moments of discord should have a resolution and the timing of both discord and resolution is crucial to the overall pacing. I also feel that rhythm is important to me when writing words which are spoken by the characters and many times I click my fingers as I read aloud the dialogues.

TQDescribe The Lost Puzzler using only 5 words.

Eyal:  Dystopia. Technology. SuperTracks, Mutants. Mystery

TQTell us something about The Lost Puzzler that is not found in the book description.

Eyal:  I only found out about this when I was writing the sequel, Puzzler’s War, so even I was not aware that this was a “thing” in the Tarakan Chronicles: There is an undercurrent theme in The Lost Puzzler which is about love. Not romantic love between characters but love of a parent to his/her child. Usually we think about parental love as a good and pure thing, but it also might have a darker side. Ask any parent (or yourselves) what would they do for the safety of their child and the answer would most likely be “everything and anything”. This is a natural reaction of a loving parent, but it can also have bad consequences, as in the case of The Lost Puzzler.

TQWhat inspired you to write The Lost Puzzler? What appeals to you about writing Science Fiction?

Eyal:  The inspiration came from my mobile phone. It was old and “stupid” flip phone but I looked at it and realized that if I was stuck on a lonely island with my family and a flip phone, I could teach my kids to use the phone, and they could teach theirs too, but we would not be able to produce or even fix the phone ourselves. This made me think about our society and how much of the technology which surrounds us is now too sophisticated to create and maintain alone.

Science fiction is a true challenge to the imagination but also to logic. What would life be 200 years from now? What would be the challenges we, as a society, will still face? What would seem like “magic” to a 21st century person (think Star Trek’s teleportation device)? The challenge is to create empathy with characters and story lines based on foundations which are alien to the reader. For example: He might be part human part cyborg pilot of a sentient spaceship but he still farts in public like a juvenile college boy. That description created a reaction, positive or negative, and made the alien character relatable in 21st century terms.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Lost Puzzler?

Eyal:  Not really research in the classic sense of the word. I read a little about cloning and theories regarding mind copying. The rest I just invented.

TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Lost Puzzler.

Eyal:  I am so lucky to have two covers for The Lost Puzzler which portrays different elements of the novel. The US cover shows the desolation which is left after what is called “the Catastrophe”. Only the small silhouette of the City of Towers hints something was left after the devastation. When you look at it you might feel alone and lost in a lifeless environment. The UK cover depicts the mystery and fantastic elements of the The Lost Puzzler: A hooded figure dressed in dark clothes returns from a long voyage and is facing the swampy entrance of the City of Towers. The dissonance between the unkept vegetation and the modern looking, alien towers creates sublime tension. Something had happened and something is about to happen.

Before you ask: I love both covers and can never make up my mind which one I would have chosen if I had to pick only one.

TQIn The Lost Puzzler who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Eyal:  I love all my characters but Galinak is just ‘the guy’ for me. He is tough and simple in his ways, funny and just the right side of the line differentiating between the ‘good guys’ and the bullies. In short, I guess is the kind of a super hero I would have liked to be under these circumstances.

The hardest to write was Rafik. I had to describe the world from the point of view of growing boy just reaching adolescent, whose entire life comes crushing down on him in one of the worst ways possible. I had to describe carefully how this character sees and reacts to technology which he is unfamiliar with, which would be different than an adult. Many of the editorial notes I received began with “Rafik would not…”

TQDoes The Lost Puzzler touch on any social issues?

Eyal:  Absolutely. You cannot ignore what had happened to the world and how the survivors had reacted to the new world around them. Why is it that the more we progress as a race the worst our planet is? And on a more personal dilemma: If you had the only one bottle of water, would you share it with others, give it to your family, drink from it yourself? What if you were the person who was standing next to the man with the bottle of water. Would you haggle, beg, steal, kill? These types of questions are the core of The Lost Puzzler.

TQWhich question about The Lost Puzzler do you wish someone would ask?

Eyal:  “When would they make a movie out of The Lost Puzzler 😊”

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Lost Puzzler.


Galinak: “we could dance for a bit but I’ll only stop if you ask nicely”

Vincha: “I can cut your throat, or I can take out an eye”

And my personal favorite: “Perhaps the Catastrophe was meant to clean the slate and start humanity over, but we managed to screw up even our own destruction.”

TQWhat's next?

Eyal:  I am working on Puzzler’s War right now. It took me more than 20 years to finish The Lost Puzzler but the people in Harper Voyager told me they needed the sequel a little faster than that…

Hiding somewhere in my files is a novel even older than The Lost Puzzler. It is a story in a fantasy setting which deals with music and magic. It has been long forgotten but now I can hear it calling me back…

I am also toying with a fantasy adventure novel about a goblin private eye called Grooch, who ends up adventuring with a ninja Weresheep, a substance abuser imp, a feminist succubus and a pacifist fallen Paladin…

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Eyal:  It has been an absolute pleasure!

The Lost Puzzler
The Tarakan Chronicles 1
Harper Voyager, January 8, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 528 pages

A brilliantly written, page-turning, post-dystopian debut from Eyal Kless, about a society hoping to salvage the technology of a lost generation, a mysterious missing boy who can open doors no one else can, and a scribe who must piece together the past to determine humanity’s future.

More than a hundred years have passed since the Catastrophe brought humanity to the brink of extinction. Those who survived are changed. The Wildeners have reverted to the old ways—but with new Gods—while others place their faith in the technology that once powered their lost civilization.

In the mysterious City of Towers, the center of the destroyed Tarakan empire, a lowly scribe of the Guild of Historians is charged with a dangerous assignment. He must venture into the wilds beyond the glass and steel towers to discover the fate of a child who mysteriously disappeared more than a decade before. Born of a rare breed of marked people, the child, Rafik—known as “The Key”—was one of a special few with the power to restore this lost civilization to glory once again.

In a world riven by fear and violence, where tattooed mutants, manic truckers, warring guilds and greedy mercenaries battle for survival, this one boy may have singlehandedly destroyed humanity’s only chance for salvation—unless the scribe can figure out what happened to him.

About Eyal

Eyal Kless is a classical violinist who enjoys an international career both as a performer and a teacher. Born in Israel, Eyal has travelled the world extensively, living several years in Dublin, London, Manchester, and Vienna, before returning to Tel Aviv. His first novel, Rocca's Violin, was published in Hebrew in 2008 by Korim Publishers. Eyal currently teaches violin in the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music at Tel Aviv University, and performs with the Israel Haydn String Quartet, which he founded.

Website  ~  Blog  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @eyalkless

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Review: Beyond the Pool of Stars and Through the Gate in the Sea by Howard Andrew Jones

Beyond the Pool of Stars
Author:  Howard Andrew Jones
Series:  Pathfinder Tales29
Publisher:  Tor Books, October 6, 2015
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 368 pages
List Price:  US$22.99 (print); US$7.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9780765374530 (print); 9781466842656 (eBook)

Mirian Raas comes from a long line of salvagers, adventurers who use magic to dive for sunken ships off the coast of tropical Sargava. When her father dies, Mirian has to take over his last job: a dangerous expedition into deep jungle pools, helping a tribe of lizardfolk reclaim the lost treasures of their people. Yet this isn't any ordinary job, as the same colonial government that looks down on Mirian for her half-native heritage has an interest in the treasure, and the survival of the entire nation may depend on the outcome...

From critically acclaimed author Howard Andrew Jones comes a fantastical adventure of deep-water danger and unlikely alliances in Pathfinder Tales: Beyond the Pool of Stars, set in the award-winning world of the Pathfinder Role playing Game.

Through the Gate in the Sea
Author:  Howard Andrew Jones
Series:  Pathfinder Tales 37
Publisher:  Tor Books, February 21, 2017
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages
List Price:  US$14.99 (print); US$9.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9780765384386 (print);  9780765384393 (eBook)

Deepwater salvager Mirian Raas and her bold crew may have bought their nation’s freedom with a hoard of lost lizardfolk treasure, but their troubles are only just beginning in this sequel to Beyond the Pool of Stars.
When Mirian’s new lizardfolk companions, long believed to be the last of their tribe, discover hints that their people may yet survive on a magical island, the crew of the Daughter of the Mist is only too happy to help them venture into uncharted waters. Yet the perilous sea isn’t the only danger, as the devil-worshiping empire of Cheliax hasn’t forgotten its defeat at Mirian’s hands, and far in the east, an ancient, undead child-king has set his sights on the magical artifact that’s kept the lost lizardfolk city safe all these centuries.

Pathfinder is the world's bestselling tabletop role-playing game—now adapted as a series of novels.

Branningan's Thoughts

Howard Andrew Jones is an inventive and talented author that has created sea and land-based fantasy adventures. Beyond the Pool of Stars and Through the Gate in the Sea are two stand-alone novels that share the same cast of characters. If you’d like to read them in order start with the Beyond the Pool of Stars, but truly you can read either book in any order.

Mirian Raas is the protagonist for both books. Mirian grew up in a family of underwater ship scavengers. With her inherited magical items that give her some awesome powers, she leads a life of adventure fighting off pirates and monsters with her crew on the ship Daughter of the Mist.

In Beyond the Pool of Stars, Mirian’s father dies, leaving her to finish his last job reclaiming a treasure that has the potential to leave two group of civilizations at war. This one kept me on my toes through the entire read. It’s full of adventure and exotic locations. I have to say that I’ve never read a book with underwater treasure hunting before and I really enjoyed experiencing something new. It’s rare these day to be surprised by stories.

Jones continues to expand on the adventures stories in Through the Gate in the Sea. This time, Mirian Raas picks up a new Lizardfolk crew member and helps him seek out the long lost homeland that has captured the attention of an undead ruler.

The best thing about Jones’s style is that it reminds me of a modern-day pulp writer, which for me is the highest of compliments. I love the quick pace of the story, the nonstop action, and imaginative cast of characters and storyline. I never got bored and I was left wanting just a few more chapters. I’d recommend either book to any fantasy reader. There is nothing in the content of either story that would keep me from recommending it to Teens to Adults.

On a Completely Separate Side Note: This will be my last review of new to current books. I’ve loved the last six years of reviewing books for The Qwillery, but now that my children are getting older, my free time is dwindling. I will, however, be submitting RetroReviews from time to time, so I hope you’ll keep your eyes out for those. Thank you for your support and keep reading.