Thursday, October 17, 2019

SPFBO 5 Interview: Marc Vun Kannon, author of Ghostkiller


Please welcome Marc Vun Kannon to The Qwillery as part of the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off 5 Interviews. Marc has submitted Ghostkiller to SPFBO 5.

Follow the fate of all the entrants at http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.com/2019/06/spfbo-5-phase-1.html







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

Marc:  The first thing I ever wrote was also the first I ever published, a novel called Unbinding the Stone. I had a couple of dreams one night, and when I described them to my wife, she said, "That sounds like it would make a good book." I had never taken a writing class, so I invented my own style of writing based on my experiences reading other books. I ended up writing it twice. The computer it was on crashed and I had no backups. I have no idea what the first version was like but I'm pretty sure it was awful.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Marc:  Very much a pantser. While I do occasionally have some ideas for where I want the story to go, the plot will develop in such a way that the meaning of the scene will be turned around or flipped over by the time I get there. I have something of a reflex, to never do what's been done before, so if I tried to outline, that would be something I'd seen before so I'd have to deviate from it anyway. None of my books look or sound alike.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Marc:  About writing itself, pacing and maneuvering large groups of people when they all contribute something to the story. For publishing in general, it's marketing the book. It may be strange to hear about a former philosophy major (not that one ever stops being a philosophy major) and a fantasy novelist but I don't handle abstractions very well. I need someone in front of me and a book in my hand to do it.



TQDescribe Ghostkiller using only 5 words.

Marc:  Urban supernatural apocalyptic horror mystery



TQWhat inspired you to write Ghostkiller?

Marc:  Lots of small things. A TV show called Phineas and Ferb had a running gag, where some adult would ask "Aren't you boys a bit young to..." I combined this with a book I was reading at the time, and got "Aren't you a bit young to be raising the dead?" I combined this with an idea I had about a sorcerer who dies while raising a demon, trapping the demon on this side. (This idea did not survive in this form so it's in no way a spoiler.) I thought I was writing a book about a man who kills ghosts for a living, until I got to chapter 2, and I realized that that was the normal part.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for Ghostkiller.

Marc:  I created the cover. It's a sword sticking through a coffin, which is how Ghostkillers do their work. That scene is in chapter one.



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

Marc:  Some of the smaller roles in the story are created with certain actors playing the role (what they call dreamcasting). Detective Kidd was created with Samuel L. Jackson in mind, while Oliver Cromwell was cast with Brian Cox, two excellent actors with distinctive voices. The hardest is the demon itself. It's a composite formed from three separate entities, none of whom are self-aware, and the demon itself isn't self-aware for most of the book. I was forced to write the intentionality of a creature with no intentions.



TQDoes Ghostkiller touch on any social issues?

Marc:  I wasn't trying to.



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

Marc:

"Please don't say 'better luck next time.'"

"You use 'Que Sera Sera' as the ringtone for a medium?"

"Not the dinosaurs, Mr. Kidd, the sorcerers."



TQWhat's next?

Marc:  Currently I'm working on the fourth book in the series that began with Unbinding the Stone. I'm making it up as it goes along and there always seems to be more. The next thing I have coming out will be a story called 'Sleeping Dragon' in an anthology called Dangerous Damsels and Fatal Femmes. There's a magazine called Black Infinity which I have a series of short stories in, and I will have some of those coming out before the novel is done, but I haven't written them yet, so I don't know what they are.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Marc:  Thank you for having me.





Ghostkiller
March 4, 2017
Kindle eBook, 259 pages
   Also available in Trade Paperback

John Smith rescues the dead, saving them from an eternity as powerless shades. He kills ghosts, adding their life force to his own meager supply, and sends the naked souls on to where they should have gone in the first place. He is the first of his kind, the oldest, the best, but that comes with a price. He has no other family, no other friends. He’s done a lot but forgotten more, and life has a way of reminding him he hasn’t seen it all.

Like today. A friend murdered, his ghost is haunting John and weakening rapidly. To save the ghost John needs the body, which is prowling around the city somewhere, mindlessly killing every living thing it touches, and even more toxic to Ghostkillers. A virus waiting to spread.

Fortunately John has human allies to capture the body, risking their lives so he doesn’t have to risk his soul. He has enough to deal with, when a medium discovers the presence of an evil spirit at the crime scene, and he follows that lead into disaster, as the spirit and the body are in the same place. But his allies have tracked the body, and they corner the body, just in time to…

…Watch it become possessed by the evil spirit, with powers of pain to go with the body’s deadly touch?

…Hear it grind out the word ‘kill’ while staring at John Smith?

…Know to the bottom of their souls that John will be only the first to be damned?

Definitely not one of his better days.





About Marc

Marc Vun Kannon was born in Bethpage, Long Island. After surviving his teen age years, he entered Hofstra University. Five years later, he exited with a BA in philosophy and a wife. He still has both, but the wife is more useful. Since then he almost accumulated a PhD in philosophy and has acquired a second BA in Computer Science. After dabbling in fulfilling pursuits such as stock boy and gas station attendant, he found his spiritual home as a software support engineer, for CAMP Systems International. He feels that his real job is being a father to his three children, husband to his wife, and author to his books. He, and they, now reside in Wading River, Long Island, New York.

Facebook  ~  Twitter

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October 2019




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

Vote for your favorite October 2019 Debut Cover!
 
pollcode.com free polls













Cover design by James T. Egan










Cover art: Woman's profile by Lorado/Gettyimages; 
Solar system by Dalmingo/Shutterstock
Cover design by Faceout Studio / Jeff Miller










Cover design by Kathryn Galloway English





Cover design by Micaela Alcaino

Monday, October 14, 2019

The View From Monday - October 14, 2019


Happy Monday!

There are two debuts this week:

Pivot by (Jack Harper Trilogy 1) L. C. Barlow

Salvaged by Madeleine Roux (Adult Debut).

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



From formerly featured DAC Authors:

Escaping Exodus by Nicky Drayden:

and

The Absinthe Earl (Faery Rehistory 1) by Sharon Lynn Fisher.

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.

October 15, 2019
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Pivot L. C. Barlow F/CoA/DF - Jack Harper Trilogy 1
Homesick: Stories Nino Cipri SF - Collection
Escaping Exodus Nicky Drayden SF/SE
The Throne of the Five Winds S. C. Emmett F/HistF - Hostage of Empire 1
Requiem Infernal Peter Fehervari SF/SE - Warhammer 40,000
The Absinthe Earl Sharon Lynn Fisher HistF - Faery Rehistory 1
The Lost and the Damned Guy Haley SF/SO - Horus Heresy: The Siege of Terra 2
Born in Syn Beth Kander SF/AP/PA - Original Syn 2
StarCraft: Ghost - Spectres Nate Kenyon SF - Blizzard Legends
Diablo: The Sin War, Book Two: Scales of the Serpent Richard A. Knaak SF - Blizzard Legends
The Quantum Garden Derek Kunsken SF
Forever and a Doomsday Laurence MacNaughton F/HU - A Dru Jasper Novel 4
Scourge of Fate Robbie MacNiven F - Warhammer: Age of Sigmar
Soon Lois Murphy H/LF/GH
Deathwatch: Shadowbreaker Steve Parker SF - Warhammer 40,000 2
Suicide Woods Benjamin Percy SS
By the Pricking of Her Thumb (h2tp) Adam Roberts SF/HSF/Sus
Salvaged (D - Adult) Madeleine Roux SF/AC/H
Ormeshadow Priya Sharma DF/CoA
The Rosewater Redemption Tade Thompson SF/AC/AP/PA - Wormwood Trilogy 3
A Secret Vice: Tolkien on Invented Languages J. R. R. Tolkien
Dimitra Fimi (Ed)
Andrew Higgins (Ed)
LC/SF/F
Lords and Tyrants Chris Wraight
Ian St. Martin
et al.
SF - Warhammer 40,000



October 16, 2019
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Flanders (ri) Patricia Anthony Hist/MR



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



AB - Absurdist
AC - Alien Contact
AH - Alternative History
AP - Apocalyptic
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CoA - Coming of Age
Cr - Crime
CW - Contemporary Women
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tales
FL - Family Life
FolkT - Folk Tales
GenEng - Genetic Engineering
GH - Ghost(s)
H - Horror
Hist - Historical
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HSF - Hard Science Fiction
HU - Humorous
LC - Literary Criticism
LF - Literary Fiction
LM - Legend and Mythology
M&D - Mystery & Detective
MR - Magical Realism
MTI - Media Tie-In
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PNR - Paranormal Romance
PolTh - Political Thriller
PsyTh - Psychological Thriller
RF - Romantic Fantasy
SE - Space Exploration
SF - Science Fiction
SH - Superheroes
SO - Space Opera
SP - Steampunk
SS - Short Stories
Sup - Supernatural
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Sus - Suspense
TT - Time Travel
UF - Urban Fantasy

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

Friday, October 11, 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.


Clarissa Goenawan (2018)

The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida
Soho Press, March 10, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages

From the critically acclaimed author of Rainbirds comes a novel of tragedy and dark histories set in Japan.

University sophomore Miwako Sumida has hanged herself, leaving those closest to her reeling. In the months before her suicide, she was hiding away in a remote mountainside village, but what, or whom, was she running from?

To Ryusei, a fellow student at Waseda; Chie, Miwako’s best friend; and Fumi, Ryusei’s older sister, Miwako was more than the blunt, no-nonsense person she projected to the world. Heartbroken, Ryusei begs Chie to take him to the village where Miwako spent her final days. While he is away, Fumi receives an unexpected guest at their shared apartment in Tokyo, distracting her from her fear that Miwako’s death may ruin what is left of her brother’s life.

Expanding on the beautifully crafted world of Rainbirds, Clarissa Goenawan gradually pierces through a young woman’s careful façade, unmasking her most painful secrets.





Ken Liu (2015)

The Hidden Girl and Other Stories
Gallery / Saga Press, February 25, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 432 pages

From award-winning author Ken Liu comes his much anticipated second volume of short stories.

Ken Liu is one of the most lauded short story writers of our time. This collection includes a selection of his science fiction and fantasy stories from the last five years—sixteen of his best—plus a new novelette.

In addition to these seventeen selections, The Hidden Girl and Other Stories also features an excerpt from book three in the Dandelion Dynasty series, The Veiled Throne.





Adrian J. Walker (2017)

The Human Son
Solaris, April 28, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 380 pages

Solaris Spring 2020 Lead Title from critically acclaimed author, Adrian J. Walker

A startling, emotional, beautiful (and at times funny) book – one that feels like the best sort of science fiction, a book that should be enjoyed widely, a book that speaks of what it is to be human, a parent, and a child.

It is 500 years in the future and Earth is no longer populated by humans.

The new guardians of Earth, the genetically engineered Erta, have reversed climate change. They are now faced with a dilemma; if they reintroduce the rebellious and violent Homo Sapiens, all of their work will be undone.

They decide to raise one final child; a sole human to help decide if humanity should again inherit the Earth.

But the quiet and clinical Ima finds that there is more to raising a human than she had expected; and there is more to humanity’s history than she has been told.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

THE KILLING HORIZON Coming in Summer 2020


HOT OFF THE WICKED + THE DIVINE FINALE, JAMIE McKELVIE SET TO LAUNCH THE KILLING HORIZON FROM IMAGE COMICS THIS SUMMER

PORTLAND, Ore. 10/10/2019 — THE KILLING HORIZON is the explosive new sci-fi vision from Jamie McKelvie, co-creator of the bestselling, award-winning THE WICKED + THE DIVINE, and Eisner Award winning colorist Matthew Wilson (THE WICKED + THE DIVINE, PAPER GIRLS), launching from Image Comics in Summer 2020.

The project sees McKelvie return to writing for the first time in a decade, after establishing himself as both a popular artist of comics such as YOUNG AVENGERS and designer of iconic superheroes including Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel and Loki.

THE KILLING HORIZON takes place in the post-post-apocalyptic future. Far from Earth, a specialist in studying dead alien societies is embedded with a military unit to excavate a new find. She’s done it before. It’s good work and it’s safe. She thinks it’s just another job.

She’s wrong.

Lost and alone, deep beneath the warped, skeletal spires of the millennia-dead city, she finds something powerful. Something unlike anything any human has ever known. Something that needs her to take it on a journey no living being has ever taken. Something that will make her a target for every side fighting a deadly war. It calls to her.

She answers.

In an exclusive interview with io9 at New York Comic Con, McKelvie, already known for pushing the limits of comic book storytelling, talked about what makes this project so exciting: “The canvas becomes vast and that’s more than a little bit scary for me. Humans are humans, cars are cars, you can generally recognize that a tree is a tree. Those boundaries vanish when you’re doing a story like this. With such a drastic change of setting, storytelling possibilities expand out in all sorts of different directions. There’s a sequence I’m really excited about drawing that arose from a quandary: how do I approach this moment/image on the page? The story possibilities spill out into the “storytelling” possibilities and that’s got me buzzing.”

Joining the established partnership of McKelvie and Wilson are letterer Aditya Bidikar (THE WHITE TREES, LITTLE BIRD, designer Cecile Richard and editor Katie West.

THE KILLING HORIZON is a space opera comic inspired by the works of Iain Banks, Ann Leckie, Michael Moorcock, and Yoon Ha Lee and is perfect for fans of Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen’s  Descender, Jason Aaron, Dennis Hallum, and Stephen Green’s  Sea of Stars, and Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ Saga.


ABOUT IMAGE COMICS
Image Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 1992 by a collective of bestselling artists. Image has since gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. Image currently has six individuals on the Board of Directors: Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, Jim Valentino, and Eric Stephenson. 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
www.imagecomics.com.

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

GIDEON FALLS Being Adapted for TV


James Wan’s Atomic Monster Boards Hivemind's
GIDEON FALLS
To Executive Produce Adaptation of Hit Image Comics Series by 
Eisner Award Winners Jeff Lemire & Andrea Sorrentino

PORTLAND, Ore. 10/03/2019 — Hivemind today announced that it is joining forces with James Wan (the upcoming MALIGNANT, AQUAMAN, THE CONJURING Universe) and his Atomic Monster production company for GIDEON FALLS – Hivemind's upcoming television adaptation of the best-selling Image Comics series from acclaimed creators Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino.

Fresh off of GIDEON FALLS' high-profile win for "Best New Series" at the 2019 Eisner Awards, Wan will executive produce the hour-long horror drama alongside Atomic Monster's Michael Clear, Hivemind's Jason Brown, Sean Daniel, Kathy Lingg and Dinesh Shamdasani, and original series creators Lemire and Sorrentino. Rob Hackett will oversee for Atomic Monster.

“We are very excited about James Wan and Atomic Monster joining the GIDEON FALLS team,” said series co-creators Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino. “James’ creative vision will be a wonderful fit for the world of GIDEON FALLS and to help adapt the series to television in a truly unique and exciting way.”

An atmospheric thriller colliding rural mystery and urban horror, the series follows an ensemble cast of seemingly random strangers — a washed-up Catholic priest, an uncompromising female sheriff, and a young recluse obsessed with unraveling a conspiracy buried in his city’s trash — as they become drawn into a mystery connected to a long-forgotten local legend.

"To have a filmmaker of James Wan's caliber, talent, and vision contributing to the atmospheric and terrifying world that Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino have created with GIDEON FALLS is nothing short of incredible," said Hivemind co-founders Kathy Lingg, Dinesh Shamdasani, and Jason Brown. "This is a high-powered and formidable combination for one of the most acclaimed comic series of the decade, and James and his colleagues at Atomic Monster – Michael Clear and Rob Hackett – are the perfect partners to help bring our adaptation to life. Fans of GIDEON FALLS, rest assured: We have some incredible surprises yet in store."

Monday, October 07, 2019

The View From Monday - October 7, 2019


Happy 1st Monday in October!

There are 3 debuts this week:

salt slow by Julia Armfield;

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo;

and

The Furies by Katie Lowe.

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



From formerly featured DAC Authors:

How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse (The Thorne Chronicles 1) by K. Eason;

The Oyster Thief by Sonia Faruqi out in Trade Paperback;

The True Bastards (The Lost Lands 2) by Jonathan French;

The Princess Beard (Tales of Pell 3) by Kevin Hearne and Delilah S. Dawson;

A Cathedral of Myth and Bone: Stories by Kat Howard is out in Trade Paperback;

A Lush and Seething Hell: Two Tales of Cosmic Horror by John Hornor Jacobs;

and

A Conjuring of Light Collector's Edition (Shade of Magic 3) by V. E. Schwab.

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.

October 7, 2019
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Wasteland (ri) Terry Goodkind F - Children of D'Hara 3
Iron & Velvet Alexis Hall UF - Kate Kane, Paranormal Investigator 1



October 8, 2019
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
salt slow (D) Julia Armfield SS/LF/SF/AP/PA
The Penguin Book of Mermaids Cristina Bacchilega (Ed)
Marie Alohalani Brown (Ed)
FairyT/FolkT/LM/Sup
Ninth House (D-Adult) Leigh Bardugo SupTh/Occ/Sup
The Remaking Clay McLeod Chapman H/SupTh/Occ/Sup
Metropolitan Stories Christine Coulson LF/SS
The Princess Beard Delilah S. Dawson
Kevin Hearne
F/HU/FairyT/FolkT/LM - Tales of Pell 3
Merlin Redux Dave Duncan HistF - Enchanter General 3
How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse K. Eason SF/SO/HU - The Thorne Chronicles 1
The Oyster Thief (h2tp) Sonia Faruqi F
The True Bastards Jonathan French F/DF - The Lot Lands 2
Sudden Traveler: Stories Sarah Hall SS
Duchamp Versus Einstein Christopher Hinz
Etan Ilfeld
SF/AC/AP/PA
A Cathedral of Myth and Bone: Stories (h2tp) Kat Howard SS
A Lush and Seething Hell: Two Tales of Cosmic Horror John Hornor Jacobs H
Warrior of the Altaii Robert Jordan F
Dark Ink Gary Kemble H/AH/SupTh
The Furies (D) Katie Lowe Th/CoA
Collateral Damage David Mack SF - Star Trek: The Next Generation
Hazards of Time Travel (h2tp) Joyce Carol Oates Dys
Before the Devil Fell Neil Olson LF/M&D/Cr
The Forbidden Stars Tim Pratt SF/HSF - The Axiom Series 3
Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts Kate Racculia LF
Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control Stuart Russell Tech & Eng/Robotics/Biotechnology
A Conjuring of Light Collector's Edition V. E. Schwab HistF/Gaslamp - Shades of Magic 3
Skin (ri) Ilka Tampke HistF
A Punk Rock Future Steve Zisson (Ed) SF/F - Anthology



October 9, 2019
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Afrofuturism Rising: The Literary Prehistory of a Movement Isiah Lavender III LC - New Suns: Race, Gender, and Sexuality



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



AB - Absurdist
AC - Alien Contact
AH - Alternative History
AP - Apocalyptic
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CoA - Coming of Age
Cr - Crime
CW - Contemporary Women
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tales
FL - Family Life
FolkT - Folk Tales
GenEng - Genetic Engineering
GH - Ghost(s)
H - Horror
Hist - Historical
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HSF - Hard Science Fiction
HU - Humorous
LC - Literary Criticism
LF - Literary Fiction
LM - Legend and Mythology
M&D - Mystery & Detective
MR - Magical Realism
MTI - Media Tie-In
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PNR - Paranormal Romance
PolTh - Political Thriller
PsyTh - Psychological Thriller
RF - Romantic Fantasy
SE - Space Exploration
SF - Science Fiction
SH - Superheroes
SO - Space Opera
SP - Steampunk
SS - Short Stories
Sup - Supernatural
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Sus - Suspense
TT - Time Travel
UF - Urban Fantasy

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

Sunday, October 06, 2019

Melanie's Month in Review - September 2019




Bye bye September the month of sunshine and rain.....lots and lots of rain. It has been one of those months that you get to spend the last days of summer sun reading outside and then others tucked up in bed reading while it chucks it down outside. All in all a good month to read some books.  So without further adieu what did I read?


Sorry folks...its confession time. I have been very very tardy in posting my review of Sapphire Flames. I am ashamed to say that I got the eArc in May (sssshhhh don't tell Qwill) and I have yet to review it. I meant to do it in July right before it was published and forgot, I meant to post it August and again forgot. I am working on better late than never.

Book 4 of the Hidden Legacy series - Sapphire Flames stars Catalina Baylor - the younger sister of the heroine for the first three books. Catalina has a lot on her plate - she is a relatively new head of her house, the 3 year embargo on any other House messing with House Baylor is almost up and now her friend's mother and sister are murdered. Things get more complicated when the hunky Alessandro Sagredo turns up expectantly and turns Catalina's world upside down. A murder to solve, a nefarious organisation to bring down and a hot Italian to smooch. It's a hard day at the office at Baylor Investigations.

I liked Sapphire Flames but perhaps didn't love it like the others books of the series. I have read the book a few times between the e-Arc and the published version but I have never been able to put my finger on exactly what it is that didn't quite work for me. There is a lot of action and Catalina can definitely hold her own. The romance between Catalina and Alessandro is sweet but lacks some of the bite as the romance between Nevada and Connor. I am waiting for Caesar to come back.


My audio book of choice for September was Philip Pullman's La Belle Sauvage which is book 1 in the Book of Dust series. The story is set approximately 20 years before the events of the Golden Compass. The hero of this story is the 11 year old Malcolm Polstead. Malcolm has a fairly normal life - helping out in his mom and dad's pub, helping the sisters in the local convent and hanging out with his daemon Asta in his beloved canoe 'La Belle Sauvage'.  When the little baby Lyra comes under the care of the sisters Malcolm can't comprehend how much his life is about to change. Danger is on ever corner and Malcolm will sacrifice everything to keep baby Lyra safe.

I LOVED La Belle Sauvage. I bought the audio version almost 2 years ago and didn't feel like listening to it until now. After the first sentence I was amazed that I hadn't listened to it earlier. I was gripped from start to finish. I can't imagine a better narrator than Michael Sheen. He really brings the young Malcolm and his daemon Asta to life. His west country accent is sublime! The story was very good but I am not sure if I would have been as gripped had I read the story rather than listen to it. If you were a fan of the first series and haven't had a chance to read La Belle Sauvage then get the audio version asap.


My next two books are courtesy of NetGalley. I will start with The Return of the Incredible Exploding Man David Hutchinson. Alex Doolan is just a normal guy - his writing career has flatlined, he can't make his rent and things are looking bleak until the multi-billionaire Stanislaw Clayton turns up and offers him a deal he can't refuse - writing a book about Clayton's big research project - Sioux Creek Supercollidor. Clayton owns not just the research station but the whole town and everyone in it. Alex thought that was weird until weirder things things start to happen. Unfortunately for Alex he is right in the epi-center. Will he come out unscathed? Read it and find out.

This is a slow burn action story and Alex is the perfect anti-hero. Hutchinson teases the reader until the very end. Luckily this is a quick and easy read so you aren't kept trying to figure out what is going on for too long. Hutchinson takes a fairly mundane character in the form of failed writer Alex Doolan and after a series of bizarre events he turns into the reluctant hero of the story. As much as I liked the story the pace is almost too slow. Nearly 80% of the book is setting up the last 20% and there really isn't a lot of character development. I still enjoyed it but think the pacing needs some work.


The final book I have to tell you about is by Charlaine Harris - An Easy Death which is the first in the Gunnie Rose series. The story is set in a post apocalyptic United States where magic is used but magic users are not trusted. Lizbeth Rose is a gun for hire with a fearsome reputation. When Lizbeth is  hired by two Russian wizards to find a minor magic user who just so happens to be a relative of Grigori Rasputin she doesn't realise this might just be her last job. A perilous journey across the lawless southwestern States for Lizbeth and her two clients. Her guns have never let her down and she is determined to get everyone through this alive.

An Easy Death is an apt title for this story as there is a lot of death and the killing starts from the first few pages and continues all the way through. There isn't a lot of character development as the story focuses on the action rather than providing Lizbeth's backstory or a history of what happened to result in the States being a fractured collection of mixed colonies. Harris likes to put her heroine's through a lot and that is definitely the case for Lizbeth.  She barely survives to the end of each chapter let alone to the end of the story. Did I like part 1 of Gunnie Rose?  hmmmmm I am not sure. I didn't dislike it but I didn't really warm to Lizbeth as a character.  This is one of the downsides of focusing on action rather than on the characters as it makes them rather one dimensional. I will continue to book 2 if I am able to source it from NetGalley but I don't think I would pay to read further in this series.


Well that is it for me and September and my September reads. Stay tuned for what I read in October. Book 2 of The Book of Dust series is out!  Hurrah!!!  One benefit of taking 2 years to read book 1...it means I don't have to wait that long. Until next time Happy Reading.





Sapphire Flames
A Hidden Legacy Novel 4
Avon, August 27, 2019
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews comes an enthralling new trilogy set in the Hidden Legacy world, where magic means power, and family bloodlines are the new currency of society…

In a world where magic is the key to power and wealth, Catalina Baylor is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, and the Head of her House. Catalina has always been afraid to use her unique powers, but when her friend’s mother and sister are murdered, Catalina risks her reputation and safety to unravel the mystery.

But behind the scenes powerful forces are at work, and one of them is Alessandro Sagredo, the Italian Prime who was once Catalina’s teenage crush. Dangerous and unpredictable, Alessandro’s true motives are unclear, but he’s drawn to Catalina like a moth to a flame.

To help her friend, Catalina must test the limits of her extraordinary powers, but doing so may cost her both her House–and her heart.





La Belle Sauvage
The Book of Dust 1
June 4, 2019
Trade Paperback, 480 pages
 eBook, October 19, 2017

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Philip Pullman returns to the parallel world of His Dark Materials–soon to be an HBO original series starring Dafne Keen, Ruth Wilson, James McAvoy, and Lin-Manuel Miranda–to expand on the story of Lyra, “one of fantasy’s most indelible heroines” (The New York Times Magazine).

Don’t miss Volume II of The Book of Dust: The Secret Commonwealth

Malcolm Polstead and his daemon, Asta, are used to overhearing news and the occasional scandal at the inn run by his family. But during a winter of unceasing rain, Malcolm finds a mysterious object—and finds himself in grave danger.

Inside the object is a cryptic message about something called Dust; and it’s not long before Malcolm is approached by the spy for whom this message was actually intended. When she asks Malcolm to keep his eyes open, he begins to notice suspicious characters everywhere: the explorer Lord Asriel, clearly on the run; enforcement agents from the Magisterium; a gyptian named Coram with warnings just for Malcolm; and a beautiful woman with an evil monkey for a daemon. All are asking about the same thing: a girl—just a baby—named Lyra.

Lyra is at the center of a storm, and Malcolm will brave any peril, and make shocking sacrifices, to bring her safely through it.

“Too few things in our world are worth a seventeen-year wait: The Book of Dust is one of them.” —The Washington Post
 
“The book is full of wonder. . . . Truly thrilling.” —The New York Times
 
“People will love the first volume of Philip Pullman’s new trilogy with the same helpless vehemence that stole over them when The Golden Compass came out.” —Slate





The Return of the Incredible Exploding Man
Solaris, September 3, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

A thrilling science fiction masterwork of experimental disaster from the bestselling author of the Fractured Europe series The Guardian labelled ‘Magnificent’.

When Alex Dolan is hired by multibillionaire Stanislaw Clayton to write a book about the Sioux Crossing Supercollider, it seems like a dream job.

Then something goes wrong at the site. Very wrong.

After the incident, Dolan finds himself changed, and the only one who can stop the disaster from destroying us all.





An Easy Death
Gunnie Rose 1
Gallery / Saga Press, July 30, 2019
Mass Market Paperback, 336 pages
   Hardcover and eBook,October 2, 2018

“Immersive, involving, suspenseful, and intriguing, with a main character you’ll love.” —Lee Child, #1 internationally bestselling author of the Jack Reacher novels

“When a master of her craft offers to tell you a story, let her. The results are dazzling.” —Seanan McGuire, New York Times bestselling author of the Alex, Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Award-winning Wayward Children series.

The beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse series, the inspiration for HBO’s True Blood, and the Midnight Crossroad trilogy adapted for NBC’s Midnight, Texas, has written a taut new thriller—the first in the Gunnie Rose series—centered on a young gunslinging mercenary, Lizbeth Rose.

Set in a fractured United States, in the southwestern country now known as Texoma. A world where magic is acknowledged but mistrusted, especially by a young gunslinger named Lizbeth Rose. Battered by a run across the border to Mexico Lizbeth Rose takes a job offer from a pair of Russian wizards to be their local guide and gunnie. For the wizards, Gunnie Rose has already acquired a fearsome reputation and they’re at a desperate crossroad, even if they won’t admit it. They’re searching through the small border towns near Mexico, trying to locate a low-level magic practitioner, Oleg Karkarov. The wizards believe Oleg is a direct descendant of Grigori Rasputin, and that Oleg’s blood can save the young tsar’s life.

As the trio journey through an altered America, shattered into several countries by the assassination of Franklin Roosevelt and the Great Depression, they’re set on by enemies. It’s clear that a powerful force does not want them to succeed in their mission. Lizbeth Rose is a gunnie who has never failed a client, but her oath will test all of her skills and resolve to get them all out alive.

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Covers Revealed - Upcoming Novels by DAC Authors


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


K. A. Doore (2019)

The Impossible Contract
Chronicles of Ghadid 2
Tor Books, November 12, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 368 pages

The Impossible Contract is the second book in K. A. Doore's high fantasy adventure series the Chronicles of Ghadid, where a determined assassin travels to the heart of the Empire in pursuit of a powerful mark, for fans of Robin Hobb, Sarah J. Maas, and S. A. Chakraborty

An assassin’s reputation can mean life or death.

This holds especially true for Thana Basbowen, daughter of the legendary Serpent, who rules over Ghadid’s secret clan of assassins. When a top-tier contract drops in her lap — death orders against foreign ambassador Heru Sametket — Thana seizes the opportunity.

Yet she may be in over her head. Heru wields blasphemous powers against his enemies, and Thana isn’t the only person after his life: even the undead pursue him, leaving behind a trail of horror. Her mission leads her on a journey to the heart of a power-hungry empire, where dangers lurk around every corner. Her only ally is Mo, a determined healer set to protect Ghadid any way she can.

As further occult secrets are unleashed, however, the aftermath of this impossible contract may be more than anyone can handle.

The Chronicles of Ghadid
#1: The Perfect Assassin
#2: The Impossible Contract
#3: The Unconquered City


Book 1





Mark Lawrence (2011)

Dispel Illusion
Impossible Times 3
47North, December 31, 2019
Hardcover, Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 238 pages

Sometimes being wrong is the right answer.

Nick Hayes’s genius is in wringing out the universe’s secrets. It’s a talent that’s allowed him to carve paths through time. But the worst part is that he knows how his story will end. He’s seen it with his own eyes. And every year that passes, every breakthrough he makes, brings him a step closer. Mia’s accident is waiting for them both in 2011. If it happens then he’s out of choices.

Then a chance 1992 discovery reveals that this seeker of truth has been lying to himself. But why? It’s a question that haunts him for years. A straw he clings to as his long-awaited fate draws near.
Time travel turns out not to be the biggest problem Nick has to work on. He needs to find out how he can stay on his path but change the destination. Failure has never been an option, and neither has survival. But Nick’s hoping to roll the dice one more time. And this new truth begins with a lie.


Book 1
Book 2





Kristyn Merbeth (2016)

Fortuna
The Nova Vita Protocol 1
Orbit, November 5th 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook 560 pages

Fortuna launches a new space opera trilogy that will hook you from the first crash landing.

Scorpia Kaiser has always stood in Corvus’s shadow until the day her older brother abandons their family to participate in a profitless war. However, becoming the heir to her mother’s smuggling operation is not an easy transition for the always rebellious, usually reckless, and occasionally drunk pilot of the Fortuna, an aging cargo ship and the only home Scorpia has ever known.

But when a deal turns deadly and Corvus returns from the war, Scorpia’s plans to take over the family business are interrupted, and the Kaiser siblings are forced to make a choice: take responsibility for their family’s involvement in a devastating massacre or lay low and hope it blows over.

Too bad Scorpia was never any good at staying out of a fight.

Perfect for fans of Becky Chambers and Catherynne M. Valente, Fortuna introduces a dazzling new voice in science fiction.