Wednesday, August 16, 2017

2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August 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 2017 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 August 31, 2017.


Vote for your favorite August 2017 Debut Cover!
 
pollcode.com free polls





Cover by Tom Sanderson





Cover art by Thom Tenery





Cover illustration by Gene Mollica and Shutterstock
Design by Lauren Panepinto





Cover design by Olga Grlic
Cover photograph: plainpicture / alt6 / Roger Proulx





Cover illustrated by Patrick Arrasmith















Cover design by Sandra Chui
Cover photo of the boy by Sean Gladwell/ Getty Images
Photo of the dog by Maya Karkalicheva/Getty Images










Cover art by Steven Messing
Overall design by Owen Corrigan





Cover art by Sparth
Cover design by Christine Foltzer










Cover art and design by Design by Committee











The Gravediggers Union Launches in November


WILD HORROR ABOUNDS IN
THE GRAVEDIGGERS UNION

PORTLAND, OR, 08/14/2017 — DEADLY CLASS co-creator Wes Craig launches an all-new series with artist Toby Cypress (Omega Men) in THE GRAVEDIGGERS UNION, a horror series—chock-full of steroid zombies, monster gods, swamp vampires, ghost storms, and space monkeys—set to launch this November.

“With The Gravediggers Union, I tried to create an environmental horror story that mixes E.C Comics, H.P. Lovecraft’s horror, and a lot of dark humour,” said Craig. “I’m so proud of what we’re creating, and what Toby, Niko, and Jared are doing together is some of the most original looking comics I’ve ever seen.”

The Ghost Fleet Collection in November

THE GHOST FLEET: THE WHOLE GODDAMNED THING MINISERIES TO BE COLLECTED

PORTLAND, OR, 08/14/2017 — All eight issues of the critically acclaimed miniseries THE GHOST FLEET—from writer Donny Cates (GOD COUNTRY, REDNECK) with artists Daniel Warren Johnson (EXTREMITY), Lauren Affe, and John J. Hill—will be collected for the first time into a deluxe, over-the-top volume and available this November from Image Comics.

“I am so incredibly proud to be able to finally bring this insane story to one deluxe volume. The Ghost Fleet is one of the coolest things I've ever been a part of, and it makes me so happy to expose it to an entirely new set of readers,” said Cates. “For fans of Daniel Warren Johnson's beautifully insane and frenetic art, it's a chance to see where it all began. Featuring never-before-seen extras and behind-the-scenes features including the alternate ending that never was! This is the collection I've been dreaming of for a very long time. Come and join us on this crazy, over-the-top adventure one final time.”

Luther Strode: The Complete Series in Hardcover This October

LUTHER STRODE: THE COMPLETE SERIES
TO BE COLLECTED INTO HARDCOVER EDITION

PORTLAND, OR, 08/14/2017 — Fan-favorite writer Justin Jordan (SPREAD, THE FAMILY TRADE) and artist Tradd Moore (Venom, All-New Ghost Rider) deliver the complete, critically-acclaimed LUTHER STRODE series collected into one hardcover volume for the first time this October in LUTHER STRODE: THE COMPLETE SERIES. It will collect THE STRANGE TALENT OF LUTHER STRODE #1-6, THE LEGEND OF LUTHER STRODE #1-6, and THE LEGACY OF LUTHER STRODE #1-6.

“Luther sent away for the Hercules Method and it changed his life. I sent Luther Strode away to Image, and it changed my life,” said Jordan. “Fortunately, that worked out a lot better for me than it did for Luther in the book. It's amazing to see the book that started my career as one hardcover edition, and even for people who've been with us the whole journey, there's tons in here never seen by anyone but me, Tradd and Felipe until now.”

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Interview with Anna Smith Spark, author of The Court of Broken Knives


Please welcome Anna Smith Spark to The Qwillery as part of the of the 2017 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Court of Broken Knives is published on August 15th by Orbit.

Please join The Qwillery in wishing Anna a Happy Publication Day!







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

Anna:  Hello, and thank you for inviting me here.

I’ve always written, I’ve got strange scribbled things from when I was a child, totally illegible. I used to play on my own as a child telling myself stories, creating whole worlds in my head. My father and many of his friends write, I grew up with poets, academics, novelists, playwrights. It just seemed entirely instinctive to write

I stopped writing for a long time as an adult for complex personal reasons (depression is a bad thing and blocks creativity. Medication is a good thing and helps creativity. The myth of the tormented artist is a myth. I’m just going to drop that in here because … ). I finally started writing properly again a few years ago. Broken Knives was the result.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Anna:  I’m something of a mix. I have a very clear idea of how the whole Empires of Dust trilogy will end, but unravelling how exactly I get there is something that slowly happens as the story progresses. Actually, it’s rather like writing history – I have a strong sense of the bones of the story arc, what has to happen, but the detail and the emphasis is evolving as I go along. Often it’s only when I written something that key themes emerge, and I have to go back and make changes as I understand what’s happening and why. Like the way you have to go back and reconsider things that happen in your own life. This sudden realisation: that’s what that means! That’s what that was about! That’s why it was! In some ways, I’m writing a very simple story, in the way myths and legends are often simple. I don’t write complex plots, I’m rather in awe of those writers who do, who can hold an intensely complex plot in their head. I’m trying to tell a simple story in a beautiful way.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Anna:  I get very up and down about my writing. I can write for days obsessively, pouring it out, so breathless with excitement. Then I despair and want to abandon everything as terrible and a waste of my life. Writing is a painful, emotional thing. Most writers probably shouldn’t be writers, if that makes any sense. One bad review and we’re emotionally broken.

And sometimes I want to scream at the computer, because the words are in there but I can’t get them out.

And I tend to snack while I write.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Anna:  Influences…. Where to start? The Court of Broken Knives is hugely influenced by Norse and Dark Age British mythology and folk lore, and by Classical Greek literature. I suppose in some ways it’s a mythical book as much as a fantasy novel. Or a historical novel in a world where the old gods are real, like Mary Stewart’s Merlin trilogy or Mary Renault’s Alexander trilogy. I love historical fiction and academic history books; I draw a lot from historical biography and social history. I don’t really see a difference between fantasy and historical literature – they’re both creating alien worlds, presenting characters so very like but also so utterly distanced from our own lives.

Also travel writing, the way travel writing builds a world for you in your mind through landscape, daily experience, the local history of a place. I grew up walking the British countryside listening to my father talking about folk lore, history, literature. Then I’d go home and read Tolkien, Norse mythology, the Mabinogion, see the stories set in the landscapes I’d been walking in. That sense of the world as numinous. That’s what I’m trying to evoke.

As a child, I remember telling myself stories based on the great myth cycles, the Eddas or the Tale of Troy – kind of like very pretentious fan fic, I suppose. And, lo, I’m still writing stories based on them. That’s what fantasy is, really, maybe. Illiad/Beowulf/Gilgamesh fan fic.

In terms of my literary style, the authors I’m probably most influenced by are Mary Renault, M. John Harrison and James Ellroy. Renault just gets absolutely inside these astonishing people, Alexander, Plato, Dionysus of Syracuse, and makes them both real people (they were real people, they were petty and weak and sometimes unlucky and did really nasty bowel movements, same as we all are) and astonishing, titanic figures of myth (which they also were, somehow. I mean, how could Alexander have been a real person? Really?). Harrison’s style is astonishing, his Viriconium is a sublimely beautiful book. The way Ellroy writes violence is astonishing. In White Jazz he’s writing beyond language, just words as pure utter physical experience of pain. I binge read his books in my teens and they had a vast influence on me and the way I write.



TQDescribe The Court of Broken Knives in 140 characters or less.

Anna:  I’m going to cheat and base this on a line in a review I got on goodreads, because I love that review:

Violent, grim but bright with glaring desert sun and wide clear northern skies. Bleak, cynical, filled with beauty and love. Contains poetry.

The joke description is: Joe Abercrombie meets Leonard Cohen in a particularly filthy public toilet.



TQTell us something about The Court of Broken Knives that is not found in the book description.

Anna:  Warning: contains poetry. And romance. And shopping. And there’s this 500 word description of some rain. Two 500 words descriptions of some rain. Repeated references to bird shit.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Court of Broken Knives? What appeals to you about writing Grimdark fantasy?

Anna:  I have no clear idea what inspired me to start writing again. I didn’t write for a long time, and then one day I just started writing. A scene of some men in the desert, soldiers, the sun reflecting on their swords. Then violence. That became the beginnings of the book. Tobias emerged very clearly, right back that first day, he was there with me completely real from the start. Orhan also. Marith and Thalia have been with me in one form or another my whole life, they’re essentially the heroes of the stories I used to tell myself as a child. So the characters were there, but it took a long time for me to really understand what I was writing about, what the key themes and ideas were.

Why grimdark fantasy? Because it’s the closest to myth, to the strange old tales of the Iliad, the Eddas, Anglo-Saxon poetry. Those stories are savage, bloody, very brutal, often immoral, ultimately tragic - but shot through with utter, astonishing beauty and joy in life.



TQIn your opinion, what are the essential ingredients for Grimdark?

Anna:  Cynicism. Not nihilism – indeed, I suspect many of us grimdark types are deeply romantic at heart. But an awareness that there’s no easy good or bad, just life in all its myriad forms. That’s not to say that there’s no evil in the world, because the more I see of life, especially now I have a child, the more terrible and cruel the world seems to be. But that cruelty and evil are not simple things. Some people think that grimdark is ‘goodies and baddies with hyped-up violence’. I don’t see it in those terms at all. That’s so pointless, just gore for the sake of it. Grimdark to me is the self-awareness that we all have the potential to be monsters. That our choices can destroy others’ lives. That we are not good people and the world is not a good place. Or that one can be a good person and still inflict great harm. And to go on living with that.

Grimdark does also need a huge dose of entirely gratuitous violence, though. I do like a spot of entirely gratuitous violence in my books.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Court of Broken Knives.

Anna:  The US cover shows the figure of a man, back to the viewer, looking off into the white distance, a sword in his hand. He looks somehow lonely. He is surrounded by clear white light, or white mist covering his vision to blind him, or snow, or smoke. His name is Marith. He’s the love of my life.

The tag line is ‘Blood never lies’. What this means I leave to the reader to find out.



TQIn The Court of Broken Knives who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Anna:  Weirdly, the easiest character to write is Tobias, who’s a grizzled, aging sellsword bloke (clichéd? Moi?). Beneath the ex-fetish model female exterior, I would seem to be a grizzled, aging sellsword bloke. His voice just pours out of me. A friend who was in the Special Forces says I capture that soldierly voice perfectly, which is kind of weird seeing as I’m a liberal arts graduate who worries about doing the washing up in case it chips her nails.

The hardest character to write is probably Thalia. She is me, essentially. She’s been with me my whole life in one form or another, she’s the heroine I told myself stories about as a child, the D&D character I played for years. So she gets emotionally complicated.



TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in The Court of Broken Knives?

Anna:  All books are profoundly political. All say things about society and human life. And fantasy is ultimately about structures of power. Thus fantasy is profoundly political. It cannot but be political.

Yes, I do have a Masters in Cultural Studies. How’d you possibly work that out?

Broken Knives is explicit in its social critique. I’m a cynic, and that cynicism does I think come across. That wonderful line from Leonard Cohen, ‘Everybody knows the war is over/Everybody knows the good guys lost’ but yet we go on as if it’s not lost, as if we can still win. I rather believe that and I’m certainly writing that. Fighting the good fight even though it’s hopeless. Showing how unjust the world is.

Ultimately, I’m exploring the nature of power and of violence. Why do we fight? Why do we kill? Why are we prepared to die for something?



TQWhich question about The Court of Broken Knives do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Anna:

Question: Did you really mean to change tense three times in the same sentence?
Answer: Yes.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Court of Broken Knives.

Anna:  
  -   So much life. So much life in this dead place. The air smelt of life. The stream sang of life. The sky was luminous with life, colourless, liquid.

  -   Killing and killing and such perfect joy.

  -   Who can tell what it’s about, or when it was written? Just men who died.


TQWhat's next?

AnnaThe Tower of Living and Dying, book two of Empires of Dust, is currently with my editors. To blow my own trumpet very loudly, I’m extremely proud of it.

I’m writing book three at the moment. It’s a painful thing to write: it’s the end of a story I’ve invested so much of my life in. I’m really struggling with it, because when it’s done … it’s done.

I’m also involved in a very exciting new Kickstarter project, Landfall. It’s a fantasy serial, a series of written episodes that will work rather like a television show. It’s dark fantasy with a 16th/17th century New England flavour to it. An epic fantasy version of Jamestown, maybe??? I’m one of the writers, alongside Michael R. Fletcher and Jesse Bullington/Alex Marshall. It’s launching this summer, I’m very excited about it. Mike and I are good friends, I love his books; I’m a big fan of Jesse’s/Alex’s writing as well. I think our writing styles will work beautifully together. BUT IT’S A KICKSTARTER, GUYS. YOU WANT ME TO EAT NEXT YEAR, YOU NEED TO FUND IT. Ahem, I mean: if anyone’s interested, the kickstarter info will be going out soon.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Anna:  Thank you for having me.





The Court of Broken Knives
Empires of Dust 1
Orbit, August 15, 2017
Trade Paperback, 512 pages
     eBook, June 27, 2017

In this dark and gripping debut fantasy that Miles Cameron called "gritty and glorious!" the exiled son of the king must fight to reclaim his throne no matter the cost.

It is the richest empire the world has ever known, and it is also doomed. Governed by an imposturous Emperor, decadence has blinded its inhabitants to their vulnerability. The Yellow Empire is on the verge of invasion--and only one man can see it.

Haunted by prophetic dreams, Orhan has hired a company of soldiers to cross the desert to reach the capital city. Once they enter the Palace, they have one mission: kill the Emperor, then all those who remain. Only from the ashes can a new empire be built.

The company is a group of good, ordinary soldiers, for whom this is a mission like any other. But the strange boy Marith who walks among them is no ordinary soldier. Young, ambitious, and impossibly charming, something dark hides in Marith's past--and in his blood.

Dark and brilliant, dive into this new fantasy series for readers looking for epic battle scenes, gritty heroes, and blood-soaked revenge.





About Anna

Anna Smith Spark lives in London, UK. She loves grimdark and epic fantasy and historical military fiction. Anna has a BA in Classics, an MA in history and a PhD in English Literature. She has previously been published in the Fortean Times and the poetry website www.greatworks.org.









Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @queenofgrimdark


BUZZKILL Trade Paperback This September - Sneak Peak


BUZZKILL TRADE PAPERBACK FINDS NEW HOME WITH IMAGE COMICS THIS SEPTEMBER
Sneak a peek at early preview pages

PORTLAND, OR, 08/14/2017 — The critically-acclaimed miniseries BUZZKILL, from writers Donny Cates (GOD COUNTRY, REDNECK) and Mark Reznicek and artists Geoff Shaw (GOD COUNTRY), and Lauren Affe, will return to print this September and be published by Image Comics.

BUZZKILL follows Ruben, an unconventional superhero who gets his powers through the consumption of alcohol and illicit drugs. On one fateful day, facing a world-ending threat, Reuben drank so much that he blacked out. He saved the world...but he has no idea how or why. Now, he's in recovery, trying to get sober and piece together not only the events of the night in question, but the broken parts of his life as an alcoholic and an addict.

I HATE FAIRYLAND SPECIAL EDITION


I HATE FAIRYLAND: I HATE IMAGE SPECIAL EDITION—2017 FREE COMIC BOOK DAY HIT IS BACK WITH MORE PAGES

Skottie Young is back with I HATE FAIRYLAND: I HATE IMAGE SPECIAL EDITION, an all-new edition of the Free Comic Book Day spin-off hit which will feature four additional pages of story as Gert slices and dices her way through even more of your Image favorites. It also boasts a behind-the-scenes look at Young’s script, layouts, and black and white artwork—all wrapped in a brand-new cover.

Gertrude has been stuck in Fairyland for decades when she finally hears of a secret passage that may be her way back home. But reaching it is easier said than done, as she crosses the border into Image where she'll have to chop her way through your favorite characters from SAGA, THE WALKING DEAD, SAVAGE DRAGON, SPAWN, DESCENDER, BLACK SCIENCE, SOUTHERN BASTARDS, and many more!

REDNECK, Vol. 1 Trade Paperback Out in October


REDNECK, VOL. 1 TRADE PAPERBACK WILL HIT STORES THIS OCTOBER

Critically acclaimed writer Donny Cates (GOD COUNTRY, BUZZKILL, ATOMAHAWK) and artist Lisandro Estherren team up for a southern vampire tale in REDNECK, VOL. 1: DEEP IN THE HEART. This trade paperback will collect issues #1-6 of the ongoing series from Image/Skybound Entertainment.

Set deep in the heart of Texas, REDNECK follows The Bowmans, a family of vampires who have quietly run the local barbecue joint in their small town for years, living off cow blood. Their peaceful coexistence ends as generations of hate, fear, and bad blood bubble to the surface—making it impossible to separate man from monster.

CUTTER Out in Trade Paperback in October


SINS OF THE PAST RETURN TO HAUNT IN TOP COW’S CUTTER TRADE PAPERBACK

Available this October just in time for Halloween

Television writer Seamus Kevin Fahey (Battlestar Galactica, The Following), comic writer Robert Napton (SON OF MERLIN), and acclaimed horror artists Christian Dibari and Maan House team up for Top Cow’s CUTTER trade paperback, which collects issues #1-4 and will be available this October.

What if that kid you and your friends picked on in your youth came back with a vengeance…to kill you and your friends? That dark guilt-ridden fear is at the core of CUTTER, a cautionary tale about the sins of your past coming back to haunt you.

Monday, August 14, 2017

The View From Monday - August 14, 2017

Happy Monday!

There is one debut this week:

The Court of Broken Knives (Empires of Dust 1) by Anna Smith Spark.

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


From formerly featured DAC Authors:

Of the Divine (Mancer Trilogy 2) by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes;

Call of Fire (Blood of Earth 2) by Beth Cato;

The Next by Stephanie Gangi is out in Trade Paperback;

The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin by Stephanie Knipper is out in Trade Paperback;

Time Capsule (Bookburners Season 3 #5) by Mur Lafferty;

The Shades of Magic Series by V.E. Schwab is out in an eBook Bundle;

and

The Weight of the World (Amaranthine Spectrum 2) by Tom Toner 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.


August 14, 2017
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Pack of Lies (e)(ri)Laura Anne Gilman CF - Paranormal Scene Investigations 2



August 15, 2017
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Rituals Kelley Armstrong F/SupTh - Cainsville 5
Of the Divine (e) Amelia Atwater-Rhodes F - Mancer Trilogy 2
The Nonexistent Knight Italo Calvino LF
Empire: The Series (e) Orson Scott Card SF - Empire
Call of Fire Beth Cato HistF - Blood of Earth 2
Orphan Black Classified Clone Reports Delphine Cormier
Keith R. A. DeCandido
TV/SF
The Rat Catchers' Olympics Colin Cotterill M/Hist/MR - A Dr. Siri Paiboun Mystery 12
Voyager (Starz Tie-in Edition) Diana Gabaldon Hist/F/MTI/TTR - Outlander 3
The Next (h2tp) Stephanie Gangi CW
The Stone Sky N. K. Jemisin F - The Broken Earth 3
The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion Margaret Killjoy CF/DF/H - Danielle Cain 1
The Gryphon Mage Richard A. Knaak F - Legends of the Dragonrealm: Turning War 2
The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin (h2tp) Stephanie Knipper CW/FL/MR/R
Moonbath Yanick Lahens
Emily Gogolak (Tr)
LF/CW/MR/Hist
The Dinosaur Princess Victor Milán F - The Dinosaur Lords 3
The Last One (h2tp) Alexandra Oliva Th/Sus/SF/PA/AP/LF
Humans, Bow Down (h2tp) James Patterson Th
The Pendergast Files (e)(ri) Douglas Preston
Lincoln Child
SupTh - Relic1 and 2
The Psalms of Isaak Series (e)(ri) Ken Scholes SF - Psalms of Isaak
The Shades of Magic Series (e) V. E. Schwab HistF - Shades of Magic 1, 2 and 3
Zombie-in-Chief: Eater of the Free World: A Novel Take on a Brain-Dead Election Kenemore Scott Satire
Hyperion (ri) Dan Simmons SF/SO -  Hyperion Cantos 1
The Court of Broken Knives (D) Anna Smith Spark F - Empires of Dust 1
The Weight of the World (h2tp) Tom Toner SF/SO - Amaranthine Spectrum 2
The House of Daniel: A Novel of Wild Magic, the Great Depression, and Semipro Ball (h2tp) Harry Turtledove HistF/AH/Sports



August 16, 2017
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Time Capsule (e) Mur Lafferty F/Th - Bookburners Season 3 #5



August 18, 2017
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Body in the Woods Sarah Lotz SupTh - Novellas



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



AC - Alien Contact
AH - Alternate History
AP - Apocalyptic
CB - Coloring Book
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CoA - Coming of Age
CW - Contemporary Women
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)
GN - Graphic Novel
H - Horror
Hist - Historical
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HistR - Historical Romance
HistTh - Historical Thriller
HU - Humor
LC - Literary Criticism
LF - Literary Fiction
LM - Legends and Mythology
M - Mystery
MR - Magical Realism
MTI - Media Tie-In
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PI - Private Investigator
PM - Paranormal Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
Pol - Political
PP - Police Procedural
PsyTh - Psychological Thriller
R - Romance
Satire - Satire
SF - Science Fiction
SO - Space Opera
SP - Steampunk
Sup - Supernatural
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Sus - Suspense
TechTh - Technological Thriller
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
TTR - Time Travel Romance
UF - Urban Fantasy
VM - Visionary and Metaphysical
W - Western

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

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Melanie's Week in Review - August 13, 2013



Greetings, I trust you have all had a good week. I was wondering, based on the weather, if we had fast forwarded to November. It was pelting down with rain, freezing cold and windy for the early part of this week. Normally, that makes me want to cuddle up with a good book. The books I have tell you about this week were a bit mixed. I mentioned last week I am part of the beta review group for Michael J. Sullivan's newest instalment in the First Empire series. Time flew when I was reading it, but alas I can't tell you what I thought about it. So what else did I read to take my mind off the weather?


Both books I am going to tell you about came via NetGalley. Lucky me! Bring the Heat is the 9th instalment of G.A. Aiken's Dragon Kin series. Each book of this series features the romantic entanglements of two of the characters set in the back drop of a variety of wars between dragon clans and over the final few books the war brought about by the zealots who support the god Chramnesind. Nearly all of the main and supporting characters have been paired up, whether human or dragon. In Bring the Heat the hot and steamy is between Branwen the Awful and Aidan the Divine. They have been sent on a secret mission with Keita the Viper that may well win the war....if they don't kill each other first.

Aidan and Branwen aren't the only stars of this story. Nearly every character in the series gets their time in the spotlight starting with Annwyl when she gets sucked into a well that leads directly into hell. While she fights through the many hell dimensions the story switches to other characters including the twins (Talan and Talwyn), Queen Rhiannon with quite a bit of time with Dagmar and family also. It seemed that a majority of the story focused on characters other than Branwen and Aidan which in my opinion was all for the better.  There just didn't seem to be a spark between these two characters and the romance was a bit forced. Aiken wraps up the overall plot arc and gives us a HEA for all the characters. I am assuming this is the final book of the series though I do not know if it is. Overall, I have enjoyed this series purely for the fact that it never takes itself too seriously. Earlier books were more amusing than the latter ones but there are enough scenes with the 'funny' characters to liven things up.


The Heir of Illaria is Dyan Chick's first instalment of the series of the same name. Young Wilona discovers that everything she thought she knew turned out to be a lie. Rather than being a poor orphan living with her grandmother it turns out that she is none other than the Princess of Illaria. She has been hidden from the Necromancer King who killed her family. With the help of the clandestine organisation the White Ravens, Wilona's mission now is to defeat the King and restore her family to the throne.

I haven't read youth fiction for awhile and thought I would give Heir of Illaria a go. I also loved the cover. I was quite disappointed with the story however. While I thought the premise of the necromancer king was a good one the story itself was very predictable. In fact, I guessed many of the things that happened in the story. I believe this would be a good book for young readers, especially those who are new to fantasy.


That is it for me this week. Sorry, there are no big winners for me...well none I could tell you about :) I hope you have had more luck than I have. Let me know what you have read and loved this week. Until next time...Happy Reading.





Bring the Heat
Dragon Kin 9
Zebra, August 29, 2017
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 416 pages

He Says…

I, Aidan the Divine, am, well divine. My name was given to me by the Dragon Queen herself! I’m a delight! Cheerful. Charming. And a mighty warrior who is extremely handsome with a very large and well-hidden hoard of gold. I am also royal born, despite the fact that most in my family are horrendous beings that don’t deserve to live. And yet, Branwen the Awful—a low-born, no less—either tells me to shut up or, worse, ignores me completely.

She Says…

I’ll admit, I ignore Aidan the Divine because it annoys him. A lot. But, we have so much to do right now, I can’t worry about why he keeps staring at me, or why he always sits so close, or why he keeps looking at me like he’s thinking about kissing me. We have our nations to save and no time for such bloody foolishness…no matter how good Aidan looks or how long his spiked tail is. Because if we’re going to win this war before it destroys everything we love, we’ll have to face our enemies together, side by side and without distractions. But if we make it out alive, who knows what the future will hold…





Heir of Illaria
Illaria 1
Illaria Publishing, January 21, 2017
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 270 pages

In Illaria, there is a fate worse than death.

As long as I can remember, I’ve been taught to fear the Necromancer King. He controls the kingdom of Illaria with dark sorcery and the constant threat of his undead army. I never thought I’d have reason to cross his path. Everything changed the day his guards tried to kill me. That’s when I found out my whole life has been a lie. By joining a resistance group called the White Ravens, I’ve claimed new roles. Princess of Illaria, sorceress in training, and threat to the Necromancer King.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

2017 Hugo Awards - Winners




The 2017 Hugo Award winners were announced on August 11, 2017 at Worldcon 75 in Helsinki, Finland. Winners are highlighted in green.


Best Novel
  • The Obelisk Gate, by N. K. Jemisin (Orbit Books)
  • All the Birds in the Sky, by Charlie Jane Anders (Tor Books / Titan Books)
  • A Closed and Common Orbit, by Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton / Harper Voyager US)
  • Death’s End, by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu (Tor Books / Head of Zeus)
  • Ninefox Gambit, by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris Books)
  • Too Like the Lightning, by Ada Palmer (Tor Books)

Best Novella
  • Every Heart a Doorway, by Seanan McGuire (Tor.com publishing)
  • The Ballad of Black Tom, by Victor LaValle (Tor.com publishing)
  • The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe, by Kij Johnson (Tor.com publishing)
  • Penric and the Shaman, by Lois McMaster Bujold (Spectrum Literary Agency)
  • A Taste of Honey, by Kai Ashante Wilson (Tor.com publishing)
  • This Census-Taker, by China Miéville (Del Rey / Picador)

Best Novelette
  • The Tomato Thief”, by Ursula Vernon (Apex Magazine, January 2016)
  • Alien Stripper Boned From Behind By The T-Rex, by Stix Hiscock (self-published)
  • The Art of Space Travel”, by Nina Allan (Tor.com , July 2016)
  • The Jewel and Her Lapidary”, by Fran Wilde (Tor.com publishing, May 2016)
  • Touring with the Alien”, by Carolyn Ives Gilman (Clarkesworld Magazine, April 2016)
  • You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay”, by Alyssa Wong (Uncanny Magazine, May 2016)

Best Short Story
  • Seasons of Glass and Iron”, by Amal El-Mohtar (The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales, Saga Press)
  • The City Born Great”, by N. K. Jemisin (Tor.com, September 2016)
  • A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers”, by Alyssa Wong (Tor.com, March 2016)
  • Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies”, by Brooke Bolander (Uncanny Magazine, November 2016)
  • That Game We Played During the War”, by Carrie Vaughn (Tor.com, March 2016)
  • An Unimaginable Light”, by John C. Wright (God, Robot, Castalia House)

Best Related Work
  • Words Are My Matter: Writings About Life and Books, 2000-2016, by Ursula K. Le Guin (Small Beer)
  • The Geek Feminist Revolution, by Kameron Hurley (Tor Books)
  • The Princess Diarist, by Carrie Fisher (Blue Rider Press)
  • Traveler of Worlds: Conversations with Robert Silverberg, by Robert Silverberg and Alvaro Zinos-Amaro (Fairwood)
  • The View From the Cheap Seats, by Neil Gaiman (William Morrow / Harper Collins)
  • The Women of Harry Potter posts, by Sarah Gailey (Tor.com)

Best Graphic Story
  • Monstress, Volume 1: Awakening, written by Marjorie Liu, illustrated by Sana Takeda (Image)
  • Black Panther, Volume 1: A Nation Under Our Feet, written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, illustrated by Brian Stelfreeze (Marvel)
  • Ms. Marvel, Volume 5: Super Famous, written by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Takeshi Miyazawa (Marvel)
  • Paper Girls, Volume 1, written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Cliff Chiang, colored by Matthew Wilson, lettered by Jared Fletcher (Image)
  • Saga, Volume 6, illustrated by Fiona Staples, written by Brian K. Vaughan, lettered by Fonografiks (Image)
  • The Vision, Volume 1: Little Worse Than A Man, written by Tom King, illustrated by Gabriel Hernandez Walta (Marvel)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form
  • Arrival, screenplay by Eric Heisserer based on a short story by Ted Chiang, directed by Denis Villeneuve (21 Laps Entertainment/FilmNation Entertainment/Lava Bear Films)
  • Deadpool, screenplay by Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick, directed by Tim Miller (Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation/Marvel Entertainment/Kinberg Genre/The Donners’ Company/TSG Entertainment)
  • Ghostbusters, screenplay by Katie Dippold & Paul Feig, directed by Paul Feig (Columbia Pictures/LStar Capital/Village Roadshow Pictures/Pascal Pictures/Feigco Entertainment/Ghostcorps/The Montecito Picture Company)
  • Hidden Figures, screenplay by Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi, directed by Theodore Melfi (Fox 2000 Pictures/Chernin Entertainment/Levantine Films/TSG Entertainment)
  • Rogue One, screenplay by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy, directed by Gareth Edwards (Lucasfilm/Allison Shearmur Productions/Black Hangar Studios/Stereo D/Walt Disney Pictures)
  • Stranger Things, Season One, created by the Duffer Brothers (21 Laps Entertainment/Monkey Massacre)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form
  • The Expanse: “Leviathan Wakes”, written by Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, directed by Terry McDonough (SyFy)
  • Black Mirror: “San Junipero”, written by Charlie Brooker, directed by Owen Harris (House of Tomorrow)
  • Doctor Who: “The Return of Doctor Mysterio”, written by Steven Moffat, directed by Ed Bazalgette (BBC Cymru Wales)
  • Game of Thrones: “Battle of the Bastards”, written by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, directed by Miguel Sapochnik (HBO)
  • Game of Thrones: “The Door”, written by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, directed by Jack Bender (HBO)
  • Splendor & Misery [album], by Clipping (Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, Jonathan Snipes)

Best Editor, Short Form
  • Ellen Datlow
  • John Joseph Adams
  • Neil Clarke
  • Jonathan Strahan
  • Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas
  • Sheila Williams

Best Editor, Long Form
  • Liz Gorinsky
  • Vox Day
  • Sheila E. Gilbert
  • Devi Pillai
  • Miriam Weinberg
  • Navah Wolfe

Best Professional Artist
  • Julie Dillon
  • Galen Dara
  • Chris McGrath
  • Victo Ngai
  • John Picacio
  • Sana Takeda

Best Semiprozine
  • Uncanny Magazine, edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas, Michi Trota, Julia Rios, and podcast produced by Erika Ensign & Steven Schapansky
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies, editor-in-chief and publisher Scott H. Andrews
  • Cirsova Heroic Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine, edited by P. Alexander
  • GigaNotoSaurus, edited by Rashida J. Smith
  • Strange Horizons, edited by Niall Harrison, Catherine Krahe, Vajra Chandrasekera, Vanessa Rose Phin, Li Chua, Aishwarya Subramanian, Tim Moore, Anaea Lay, and the Strange Horizons staff
  • The Book Smugglers, edited by Ana Grilo and Thea James

Best Fanzine
  • Lady Business, edited by Clare, Ira, Jodie, KJ, Renay, and Susan
  • Castalia House Blog, edited by Jeffro Johnson
  • Journey Planet, edited by James Bacon, Chris Garcia, Esther MacCallum-Stewart, Helena Nash, Errick Nunnally, Pádraig Ó Méalóid, Chuck Serface, and Erin Underwood
  • nerds of a feather, flock together, edited by The G, Vance Kotrla, and Joe Sherry
  • Rocket Stack Rank, edited by Greg Hullender and Eric Wong
  • SF Bluestocking, edited by Bridget McKinney


Best Fancast
  • Tea and Jeopardy, presented by Emma Newman with Peter Newman
  • The Coode Street Podcast, presented by Gary K. Wolfe and Jonathan Strahan
  • Ditch Diggers, presented by Mur Lafferty and Matt Wallace
  • Fangirl Happy Hour, presented by Ana Grilo and Renay Williams
  • Galactic Suburbia, presented by Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce and Tansy Rayner Roberts, produced by Andrew Finch
  • The Rageaholic, presented by RazörFist

Best Fan Writer
  • Abigail Nussbaum
  • Mike Glyer
  • Jeffro Johnson
  • Natalie Luhrs
  • Foz Meadows
  • Chuck Tingle

Best Fan Artist
  • Elizabeth Leggett
  • Ninni Aalto
  • Vesa Lehtimäki
  • Likhain (M. Sereno)
  • Spring Schoenhuth
  • Steve Stiles

Best Series
(Special Category added by option of Worldcon 75)
  • The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen)
  • The Craft Sequence, by Max Gladstone (Tor Books)
  • The Expanse, by James S.A. Corey (Orbit US / Orbit UK)
  • The October Daye Books, by Seanan McGuire (DAW / Corsair)
  • The Peter Grant / Rivers of London series, by Ben Aaronovitch (Gollancz / Del Rey / DAW / Subterranean)
  • The Temeraire series, by Naomi Novik (Del Rey / Harper Voyager UK)

The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer
(Not a Hugo Award, but administered along with the Hugo Awards.)
  • Ada Palmer
  • Sarah Gailey
  • J. Mulrooney
  • Malka Older
  • Laurie Penny
  • Kelly Robson


Friday, August 11, 2017

Review: The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter by Theodora Goss


The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter
Author:  Theodora Goss
Publisher:  Saga Press, June 20, 2017
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 416 pages
List Price:  US$24.99 (print); US$7.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9781481466509 (print); 9781481466523 (eBook)

Based on some of literature’s horror and science fiction classics, this is the story of a remarkable group of women who come together to solve the mystery of a series of gruesome murders—and the bigger mystery of their own origins.

Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents’ death, is curious about the secrets of her father’s mysterious past. One clue in particular hints that Edward Hyde, her father’s former friend and a murderer, may be nearby, and there is a reward for information leading to his capture…a reward that would solve all of her immediate financial woes.

But her hunt leads her to Hyde’s daughter, Diana, a feral child left to be raised by nuns. With the assistance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary continues her search for the elusive Hyde, and soon befriends more women, all of whom have been created through terrifying experimentation: Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherin Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.



Tracey's / Trinitytwo's Review

Mary Jekyll has led a sheltered life, even for a woman in the late 1800's. Her father, Dr. Henry Jekyll, died over a decade ago, leaving his wealth mysteriously inaccessible to his family. Although appearances were maintained, the truth behind the facade is that Mary was forced to sell almost everything of value over the years in order to retain a few key members of the household staff and hire a nurse to help care for her mentally-ill mother. After her mother's death, Mary realizes she is quickly running out of funds. She begins to investigate her mother's legal papers in the hope of discovering a way to provide for herself and her faithful housekeeper. Mary is astounded to learn her mother had a secret bank account with a monthly withdrawal earmarked "for the care and keeping of Hyde". Could this be a reference to the notorious Mr. Hyde who is still wanted for the brutal murder of an elderly gentleman? And if that is the case, would the authorities still offer a reward for his whereabouts even though the crime was committed so long ago? Mary visits the famous detective Sherlock Holmes for advice, hoping this information might lead to some financial security. Instead, Mary finds that nothing in her mundane life is quite what it seems.

The cast of characters spring from some of literature's most well-known horror stories. The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter features not only Dr. Jekyll's daughter, but also the daughters of doctors Frankenstein, Moreau, and Rappaccini. Each character is well-formed and has her own unique voice. Although introducing the offspring of iconic fictional figures is nothing new, author Theodora Goss offers an original plot and an engrossing mystery that keeps the story appealing and fresh.

Another unique feature of the book is an intriguing story within the story. The daughters are reading a written account of their exploits, much like Dr. Watson's documentation of Sherlock Holmes' adventures. Each chapter features conversations between the women, commenting on the authenticity of the writer's interpretations, giving more accurate and often amusing insights into their personalities. This commentary allows each of the daughters' fascinating backstories to blend seamlessly into the action. For instance, through this plot device it becomes obvious that the insults directed at the incorrigible Diana Hyde actually come from a place of love and indulgence.

Goss does an expert job of clearly exposing who the real monsters are, as well as exploring the idea that the bonds forged from friendship can be the strongest of all. Other strong themes included are those of sisterhood, loyalty and feminism. Goss left a few mysteries unsolved, and hopefully they will be addressed in her next book. Overall, her formula of monsters, mystery, and the macabre is highly entertaining and I definitely recommend The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter.