Wednesday, March 20, 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.


G.S. Denning (2016)

The Sign of Nine
Warlock Holmes 4
Titan Books, May 21, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

"If you ever wondered how much better Sherlock would be if people could hurl hellfire at each other, well this one is for you." Starburst Magazine on A Study in Brimstone

Warlock Holmes may have demons in his head, but now Dr. John Watson has a mummy in his bloodstream. Specifically that of the sorcerer Xantharaxes, who when shredded and dissolved in an 8% solution, results in some extremely odd but useful prophetic dreams. There's also the small matter of Watson falling for yet another damsel-du-jour, and Warlock deciding that his companion needs some domestic bliss...

Book 1
Book 2
Book 3





Signe Pike (2018)

The Lost Queen
The Lost Queen 1
Atria Books, June 4, 2019
Trade Paperback, 560 pages
Hardcover and eBook, September 4, 2018

Outlander meets Camelot” (Kirsty Logan, author of The Gracekeepers) in the first book of an exciting historical trilogy that reveals the untold story of Languoreth—a powerful and, until now, tragically forgotten queen of sixth-century Scotland—twin sister of the man who inspired the legendary character of Merlin.

Intelligent, passionate, rebellious, and brave, Languoreth is the unforgettable heroine of The Lost Queen, a tale of conflicted loves and survival set against the cinematic backdrop of ancient Scotland, a magical land of myths and superstition inspired by the beauty of the natural world. One of the most powerful early medieval queens in British history, Languoreth ruled at a time of enormous disruption and bloodshed, when the burgeoning forces of Christianity threatened to obliterate the ancient pagan beliefs and change her way of life forever.

Together with her twin brother Lailoken, a warrior and druid known to history as Merlin, Languoreth is catapulted into a world of danger and violence. When a war brings the hero Emrys Pendragon, to their door, Languoreth collides with the handsome warrior Maelgwn. Their passionate connection is forged by enchantment, but Languoreth is promised in marriage to Rhydderch, son of the High King who is sympathetic to the followers of Christianity. As Rhydderch's wife, Languoreth must assume her duty to fight for the preservation of the Old Way, her kingdom, and all she holds dear.

“Moving, thrilling, and ultimately spellbinding” (BookPage), The Lost Queen brings this remarkable woman to life—rescuing her from obscurity, and reaffirming her place at the center of the most enduring legends of all time. “Moving, thrilling, and ultimately spellbinding, The Lost Queen is perfect for readers of historical fiction like The Clan of the Cave Bear and Wolf Hall, and for lovers of fantasy like Outlander and The Mists of Avalon” (BookPage).





Vivian Shaw (2017)

Grave Importance
A Dr. Greta Helsing Novel 3
Orbit, September 24, 209
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

A charmingly witty fantasy adventure in the world of Strange Practice, starring Dr. Greta Helsing, doctor to the undead, who must solve a dangerous medical mystery at a secret French spa for mummies.

Oasis Natrun: a private, exclusive, highly secret luxury health spa for mummies, high in the hills above Marseille, equipped with the very latest in therapeutic innovations both magical and medical. To Dr. Greta Helsing, London’s de facto mummy specialist, it sounds like paradise. But when Greta is invited to spend four months there as the interim clinical director, it isn’t long before she finds herself faced with a medical mystery that will take all her diagnostic skill to solve.

A peculiar complaint is spreading among her mummy patients, one she’s never seen before. With help from her friends and colleagues — including Dr. Faust (yes, that Dr. Faust), remedial psychopomps, a sleepy scribe-god, witches, demons, a British Museum curator, and the inimitable vampyre Sir Francis Varney — Greta must put a stop to this mysterious illness before anybody else crumbles to irreparable dust…

…and before the fabric of reality itself can undergo any more structural damage.

Grave Importance is the third Dr. Greta Helsing Novel – perfect for fans of Neverwhere and V. E. Schwab.


Dr. Greta Helsing novels
Strange Practice
Dreadful Company
Grave Importance

Book 1
Book 2

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Interview with Sarah Chorn, author of Seraphina's Lament


Please welcome Sarah Chorn to The Qwillery. Seraphina's Lament (The Bloodlands 1) was published in February 2019.







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

Sarah:  I wrote a book in Kindergarten. It was about a family of bears that got lost in the woods while it was raining. I remember stapling the pages together and tying them with yarn and then proudly giving it to my teacher, who thought it was so wonderful she read it to the class during story time. I still have it sitting in a box in my basement.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Sarah:  I’ve tried so hard to plot. I keep seeing people wax poetic about how wonderful plotting is and I try. I try so hard, and I hate every second of it. I feel too constrained, I think. I’ve never been good at coloring inside the lines. I guess I’m a pantser and always will be. It’s just how my mind works. I love the discovery I feel as I write.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Sarah:  Finding time to do it. I have a day job, I’m also an editor, I have two small kids, and a house and family to take care of, plus health problems due to my Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. I almost never get an hour to just sit down and write. Seraphina’s Lament was written in 5-10 minute chunks throughout the day. I rarely get more time than that to sit at my computer.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Sarah:  I’ve been reviewing books for about ten years now, and I’ve been an editor for going on three. I’ve read a lot of books. It would be impossible for me to say that those books didn’t influence me in some way. I love lyrical writing, and poetic prose, and I tend to glom onto authors who write that way and study their books intensely. Mark Lawrence, Margaret Atwood, Catherynne M. Valente and so many others.



TQDescribe Seraphina's Lament using only 5 words.

Sarah:  This question is killing me. Five words? I had to turn to my writing group to help me out here, because the tagline for the book is six words – “You must break before you become.” And one of my friends in my writing group piped up with, “A song from the Decembrists popped into my head when I was thinking of your book. The lyrics are, ‘Everything is awful.’”

So… there you go. I guess. This should be a question writers are asked in hell.



TQTell us something about Seraphina's Lament that is not found in the book description.

Sarah:  A lot of Seraphina’s personal story arc is almost autobiographical. There’s a whole lot of me in her. I gave her my spine and leg injury and chronic pain. She walks with a cane. Her days are dictated by the limits of her body. More than that, she’s coming to grips with herself, her situation and her body in ways that I very much felt during my own life when I was going through cancer treatments, and coming to grips with my Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome diagnosis, and the ways this chronic illness is altering my body. The book’s tagline, “You must break before you become” was a line I thought up when I was in the hospital.



TQWhat inspired you to write Seraphina's Lament? What appeals to you about writing Fantasy?

Sarah:  I’ve always enjoyed fantasy. I think there’s a certain freedom with exploring complex ideas, that can often be uncomfortable, that you get in a secondary world, that you just can’t really accomplish when you write fiction set in the real world, and I’ve always liked that. Plus, I just really dig being able to create my own world, and the people that fill it. I guess I have a bit of a god complex in that way (har har).

Seraphina’s Lament was inspired by a trip to the historical nonfiction section of my library. I happened upon a bunch of books on Russian history and basically thought, “This looks neat and I know nothing about Russia so let’s change that.” It happened that the first book I read was on the Holodomor, which was a tragic genocide that I knew nothing about until I happened across it. I was transfixed. Up to 10 million people died in 1932-1933 due to Stalin’s horrible policies. Almost no one in the west knows anything about it, which is, in my opinion, completely and absolutely wrong.

I was reading this book, and the story just came to life in my mind. I knew I had to tell it.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Seraphina's Lament?

Sarah:  I had to do an absolute ton of research. I had to not only understand what had happened, but it’s broader impact, and all the events that took place that led up to the Holodomor. I’ve spent over a year buried in Russian history. You can’t understand Stalin and his policies unless you understand Lenin. Lenin doesn’t make complete sense unless you really know more about the last three Tsars (at least), and Europe leading up to and through WWI, and the list goes on. One thing led to another, which led to another. A lot of my research gave me context for the events I was writing about. I didn’t realize how important that context would be until I was actually writing the book and detailing the events that take place in it.

However, it was equally important for me to understand the events of the Holodmor, and all the things that surrounded it. Yes, my book is set in a secondary world, and yes, I absolutely do take liberties with events and twist them enough to fit my book and the trilogy this is going to become, but the Holodomor was a tragic, horrible event, and I wanted to stay as true to it as I possibly could and doing that took a shocking amount of research.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for Seraphina's Lament.

Sarah:  Pen Astridge did the cover art, and I cannot praise her enough. She’s amazing. I’m pretty terrible with that sort of thing, so I sent her a rundown of the plot, some important points, and basically told her to go nuts with it. I was probably the least helpful person she’s ever worked with in her life. However, she sent me the cover for Seraphina’s Lament and I just about died. It doesn’t depict any one person or event, it’s more symbolic of people being marked by drought, and famine, and the death and tragedy that flows in its wake.

She’s an amazing cover artist. I can’t recommend her enough.



TQIn Seraphina's Lament who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Sarah:  The easiest character surprised me a bit. I expected him to be the hardest, but he’s the one where the story just took off and I wrote without thinking. That’s Taub. I expected to have a hard time writing about him because cannibalism is gross and just generally uncomfortable, but his part of the book came easiest. Maybe because he’s just so far outside of my comfort zone it was easier to write about him? I’m not sure why, but Taub just flowed out of me.

The hardest was Neryan, who is Seraphina’s twin brother. He is basically smothered by survivor’s guilt and he’s emotionally torn a few different directions. I had a hard time pinning him down, trying to keep his guilt relatable without overdoing it. I had to rewrite a lot of his chapters during edits, and nailing down his motivations was really a struggle for me. I think he was so difficult because he’s so incredibly close to the center of events, but not actually the center of events, and trying to keep him balanced just right was one hell of a task.



TQDoes Seraphina's Lament touch on any social issues?

Sarah:  There are a lot of social issues in the book. Slavery is a topic, as are governmental policies and how they affect people. Disabilities take a role through Seraphina, and so does race. There’s a lot here for people to chew on, if they want to, but I also tried very, very hard to not be preachy or in-your-face about any of it.



TQWhich question about Seraphina's Lament do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Sarah:  I think I’d like someone to ask why I thought it was important to make Seraphina disabled. The answer would be for a lot of reasons. One of which I mentioned above. Another is because I don’t see a lot of myself (my chronic pain, and disabilities) in fantasy books, and I really wanted to write a character that I could relate to. It’s important to see ourselves in the books we read, and I really wanted my chronic pain to be represented, not just for me, but for all the other people out there who deal with chronic pain. Maybe someone else with chronic pain will pick this book up, and see a character being strong, and central to the plot WHILE dealing with chronic pain. Too often we get swept into the margins or pushed onto the back burner. I want people to see a disabled person being badass because we belong in stories too.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Seraphina's Lament.

Sarah:  I’ll give you the start of Seraphina’s first chapter, where I’m trying to describe her (my) chronic pain – this is how she starts the book:

Seraphina felt like she had swallowed the sun.

Agony, to her, wasn’t something that happened; it was a force that burned inside, as much a part of her as her soul. It started in her right foot, and traveled like a forest fire up her twisted leg to settle in her hip, and then eventually made a home in her lower back. Skin too tight, too much sensation for one body to hold. This was how she imagined the universe felt before it birthed planets. All this pain and pressure, this stretching and then, inevitably, the explosion.



TQWhat's next?

Sarah:  I’m currently working on An Elegy for Hope, which is the book that follows Seraphina’s Lament. I’m also writing a social SciFi book about genetic modification called Glass Rhapsody.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Sarah:  Thanks for having me!





Seraphina's Lament
The Bloodlands 1
February 2019
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook

The world is dying.

The Sunset Lands are broken, torn apart by a war of ideology paid for with the lives of the peasants. Drought holds the east as famine ravages the farmlands. In the west, borders slam shut in the face of waves of refugees, dooming all of those trying to flee to slow starvation, or a future in forced labor camps. There is no salvation.

In the city of Lord’s Reach, Seraphina, a slave with unique talents, sets in motion a series of events that will change everything. In a fight for the soul of the nation, everyone is a player. But something ominous is calling people to Lord’s Reach and the very nature of magic itself is changing. Paths will converge, the battle for the Sunset Lands has shifted, and now humanity itself is at stake.

First, you must break before you can become.





About Sarah

Sarah has been a compulsive reader her whole life. At a young age, she found her reading niche in the fantastic genre of Speculative Fiction. She blames her active imagination for the hobbies that threaten to consume her life. She is a freelance writer and editor, a semi-pro nature photographer, three-time cancer survivor, and mom to two kids. In her ideal world, she’d do nothing but drink lots of tea and read from a never-ending pile of speculative fiction books.

Website  ~  Twitter @bookwormblues

Monday, March 18, 2019

The View From Monday - March 18, 2019


Happy Monday!

There are 2 debuts this week:

The Perfect Assassin (Chronicles of Ghadid 1) by K. A. Doore;

and

The Municipalists by Seth Fried.

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



From formerly featured DAC authors:

The Grey Bastards (The Lot Lands 1) by Jonathan French is out in Trade Paperback;

Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan out in Trade Paperback;

The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley;

MEM by Bethany C. Morrow is out in Trade Paperback;

and

Boundary Broken (Boundary Magic 4) by Melissa F. Olson.

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.

March 19, 2019
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Knights of the Empire Dan Abnett F - Warhammer Chronicles
Macragge's Honour Dan Abnett SF/SO - Horus Heresy
The Skinner (ri) Neal Asher SF - Spatterjay 1
Soulkeeper David Dalglish F/DF - Keepers 1
Tomorrow (h2tp) Damian Dibben Hist/HistF/MR
HALO: The Flood (ri) William C. Dietz SF - HALO
Radicalized Cory Doctorow SF/CyP - Collection
The Perfect Assassin (D) K. A. Doore F - Chronicles of Ghadid 1
The Deepest Blue Sarah Beth Durst F - Tales of Renthia
The Grey Bastards (h2tp) Jonathan French F/DF - The Lot Lands 1
The Municipalists (D) Seth Fried SF/TechTh
Rainbirds (h2tp) Clarissa Goenawan Psy/Cr/MR
Zero Bomb M.T Hill TechTh/SF
The Light Brigade Kameron Hurley SF/TT
The Man Who Walked Through Cracks: The Collected Short Fiction of R.A. Lafferty, volume 5 R. A. Lafferty H/SS
Firefly - The Magnificent Nine (e) James Lovegrove MTI/SF/SO
Inspection Josh Malerman PsyTh/H/CoA
Luna: Moon Rising Ian McDonald SF/SE/HSF/SO - Luna 3
The Witch's Kind Louisa Morgan MR/Occ/Sup/HistF
MEM (h2tp) Bethany C. Morrow F/HistF
HALO: The Fall of Reach Eric Nylund SF - HALO
HALO: First Strike (ri) Eric Nylund SF - HALO
Boundary Broken Melissa F. Olson UF - Boundary Magic 4
Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea: Stories Sarah Pinsker CF/SF - Collection
Black Moon: The Complete Tales of Jules de Grandin, Volume Five Seabury Quinn SF - Complete Tales of Jules de Grandin 5
Permafrost Alastair Reynolds SF/TT/HSF/AP/PA
Shadespire: The Mirrored City Josh Reynolds F - Warhammer: Age of Sigmar
The Chaos Function Jack Skillingstead SF/AP/PA
War Criminals Gavin G. Smith SF/HSF/CyP/AC - Bastard Legion 3
Unfettered III Shawn Speakman (Ed) F/SF - Anthology



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



AB - Absurdist
AC - Alien Contact
AH - Alternative History
AP - Apocalyptic
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CoA - Coming of Age
Cr - Crime
CyP - Cyberpunk
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tales
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
MR - Magical Realism
MTI - Media Tie-In
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PCM - Parnormal Cozy Mystery
PerfArts - Performing Arts
PNR - Paranormal Romance
Psy - Psychological
PsyTh - Psychological Thriller
RF - Romantic Fantasy
SE - Space Exploration
SF - Science Fiction
SFR - Science Fiction Romance
SH - Superheroes
SO - Space Opera
SP - Steampunk
Spec - Speculative
SpecFic - Speculative Fiction
SS - Short Stories
Sup - Supernatural
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Sus - Suspense
TechTh - Technological Thriller
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
UF - Urban Fantasy
VisM - Visionary and Metaphysical

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

Friday, March 15, 2019

2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - March 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 March 31, 2019, unless the vote is extended. If the vote is extended the ending date will be updated.

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




Cover by Stephen Mulcahey




















Cover Art by Jaime Jones





Book Design by Jennifer Lum
Cover Image © Lenore Humes /  Arcangel Images





Cover Art and Design by David Wardle





Cover Illustration by Matt Taylor





Jacket Illustration: © Kai and Sunny





Cover Photo by Larry Rostant










Jacket Art by Chris McGrath
Jacket Design by Katie Anderson





Cover Art by Adam Burn










Cover Design by Blanca Aulet. Cover photographs by Getty 
Image: © Jitalia17/E+; © Ray Massey/ Photographer's 
Choice. Photo illustration and photography by Scott Nobles.  
Cover copyright © 2019 by Hachette Book Group, Inc.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Guest Blog by Brian Kirk - The Long and Winding Road Between Books


Please welcome Brian Kirk to The Qwillery. Will Haunt You is published on March 14th by Flame Tree Press.

And please join The Qwillery in wishing Brian a Happy Publication Day!







The Long and Winding Road Between Books

by Brian Kirk

My debut novel, We Are Monsters, sold fast, and I’ll admit that experience warped my expectations. I pitched the book to my editor of choice, submitted the manuscript upon request, and received an offer about three weeks later. This publishing business is a breeze!

Ha. Haha. AHAAHHAHA (Chokes to death on hubris, gets resuscitated) ha.

Not so much.

I finished the manuscript for my second novel before We Are Monsters was released. This was back in July of 2015. My plan was to query agents and take a run at the Big Five publishing houses. And that’s exactly what I did. Signed with an agent in November of that year, and started putting together a submission plan for a novel titled The Sun Is a Tangerine.

But then something happened that I didn’t expect. My idea for that novel morphed and expanded into something bigger and more complex. Not just in content, but format as well. It became more of a multi-media experience incorporating virtual reality technology than a traditional book, and my agent wasn’t sure how to sell it. So I decided to pull the project, and part ways with my agent, until I could figure out what to do with it. That process took about a year, and brought me no closer to a second publishing contract.

During that time, I was contacted by an acquisitions editor for an emerging horror publisher known more for its films than fiction, asking if I had any manuscripts to submit. The Sun Is A Tangerine wasn’t right for them—it’s more sci-fi than horror—so I offered to pitch new ideas. I pitched several ideas, and wrote a 50-page sample for my favorite one, which is what would become Will Haunt You. They loved the pitch (woo-hoo!), and gave me notes on the manuscript they wanted me to write, requesting a first look when it was done. Yes, back in the fast lane! (Or so I thought).

Will Haunt You took me about eight months to write, edit, have beta-read, reworked, etc. But I finished and was eager to submit the final manuscript. Unfortunately, the email address I had on file no longer worked, and I soon learned that the principle involved in the project had moved on to another place, and that this place wasn’t the right market for my new book. That potential deal was dead in the water.

But the editor had been so enthusiastic about the book, this should be a slam dunk, right? Wrong. While the book was intriguing enough to land me several phone calls with new prospective literary agents, they were all interested in my next book, deeming this one “too unconventional” for their traditional publishing contacts. (Note: anyone who has read Will Haunt You will emphatically agree.)

At this point we’re nearing two years after the release of my debut novel and I’m not any closer to getting a second book sold. But, looking back, those two years might be the most valuable of my early career, because they helped me clarify my goals as a writer, and provide clear direction for how I want to move forward.

Our society defines success in financial terms. That’s hard conditioning to break. And it was this misguided desire to maximize my financial return that drove me to pursue the Big Five publishing houses in the first place. But the Big Five publishers, by and large, aren’t interested in the fringe, unconventional, horror-trippy-weird-shit that I feel compelled to write. They mostly want something that looks familiar—and has a proven track record—whereas I strive to write stuff that feels new, and hasn’t been tried before. Taking those risks might excite me creatively, but they tend to frighten executives responsible for the financial security of a company.

And that’s okay. Because, fortunately, there are editors out there who are willing to take on fringe, unconventional, horror-trippy-weird-shit. Know where you’ll find them? Working for indie publishers like the one I recently signed with, Flame Tree Press.

Nearly four years have passed since the release of my first book, and I’m cool with that, because that time helped me to better understand who I am. A fiercely independent author who will write whatever my strange heart desires whether I get paid for it or not.

If you’re a fan of unconventional fiction, I encourage you to seek out indie publishers. That’s where you’ll find some of the most inventive material between produced today. And it’s the square pegs like me (hopefully like you) that help keep them alive.

My second novel is titled Will Haunt You, and it’s a book created by a mysterious figure who preys upon the people who read it. I published its prequel as a creepypasta-style story that was serialized online. None of this would be possible without indie publishing, and for that I am sincerely grateful.

Read the creepy-pasta prequel to Will Haunt You here: The Story of OBSIDEO.


And if that doesn’t scare you away, here’s where you can buy the book.





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.





About Brian

Brian Kirk is an author of dark thrillers and psychological suspense. His debut novel, We Are Monsters, was released in July 2015 and was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award® for Superior Achievement in a First Novel.

His short fiction has been published in many notable magazines and anthologies. Most recently, Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories and Behold! Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders, where his work appears alongside multiple New York Times bestselling authors, and received an honorable mention in Ellen Datlow's Best Horror of the Year compilation.

During the day, Brian works as a freelance marketing and creative consultant. His experience working on large, integrated advertising campaigns for international companies has helped him build an effective author platform, and makes him a strong marketing ally for his publishing partners. In addition, Brian has an eye for emerging media trends and an ability to integrate storytelling into new technologies and platforms.

While he's worked to make this bio sound as impressive as possible, he's actually a rather humble guy who believes in hard work and big dreams. Feel free to connect with him through one of the following channels. Don't worry, he only kills his characters.

Website  ~  Twitter @Brian_Kirk

Wednesday, March 13, 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.


Megan E. O'Keefe (2016)

Velocity Weapon
The Protectorate 1
Orbit, June 11, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 544 pages

Dazzling space battles, intergalactic politics, and rogue AI collide in Velocity Weapon, the first book in this epic space opera by award-winning author Megan O’Keefe.

Sanda and Biran Greeve were siblings destined for greatness. A high-flying sergeant, Sanda has the skills to take down any enemy combatant. Biran is a savvy politician who aims to use his new political position to prevent conflict from escalating to total destruction.

However, on a routine maneuver, Sanda loses consciousness when her gunship is blown out of the sky. Instead of finding herself in friendly hands, she awakens 230 years later on a deserted enemy warship controlled by an AI who calls himself Bero. The war is lost. The star system is dead. Ada Prime and its rival Icarion have wiped each other from the universe.

Now, separated by time and space, Sanda and Biran must fight to put things right.





Laura Purcell (2018)

The Poison Thread
Penguin Books, June 18, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

A thrilling Victorian gothic horror tale about a young seamstress who claims her needle and thread have the power to kill

Dorothea Truelove is young, wealthy, and beautiful. Ruth Butterham is young, poor, and awaiting trial for murder.

When Dorothea’s charitable work brings her to Oakgate Prison, she is delighted by the chance to explore her fascination with phrenology and test her hypothesis that the shape of a person’s skull can cast a light on their darkest crimes. But when she meets one of the prisoners, the teenaged seamstress Ruth, she is faced with another strange idea: that it is possible to kill with a needle and thread–because Ruth attributes her crimes to a supernatural power inherent in her stitches.

The story Ruth has to tell of her deadly creations–of bitterness and betrayal, of death and dresses–will shake Dorothea’s belief in rationality, and the power of redemption. Can Ruth be trusted? Is she mad, or a murderer? The Poison Thread is a spine-tingling, sinister read about the evil that lurks behind the facade of innocence.





K Arsenault Rivera (2017)

The Warrior Moon
Ascendant 3
Tor Books, September 24, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 512 pages

The Warrior Moon, the sequel to The Phoenix Empress and striking conclusion to K Arsenault Rivera's wildly buzzed about epic fantasy, which began with The Tiger's Daughter

Barsalayaa Shefali, famed Qorin adventurer, and the spoiled divine warrior empress, O-Shizuka, have survived fights with demon armies, garnered infamy, and ruled an empire. Raised together since birth, then forced into exile after their wedding, and reunited amidst a poisonous invasionthese bold warrior women have faced monumental adventures and catastrophic battles.

As they come closest to fulfilling the prophecy of generationsShefali and Shizuka will face their greatest test yet.

"The Phoenix Empress expands and deepens the mysteries of this intricate and fully-realized fantasy world. I'm riveted by this story and can't wait for the next volume."—Martha Wells, author of the Murderbot Diaries series

"Rich, expansive, and grounded in human truth...simply exquisite.” —V. E. Schwab, New York Times bestselling author of the Shades of Magic series

Ascendant
#1 The Tiger’s Daughter
#2 The Phoenix Empress
#3 The Warrior Moon

Paul Pope's Heavy Liquid 20th Anniversary Trade Paperback This August


PAUL POPE’S HEAVY LIQUID FINDS NEW HOME AT IMAGE COMICS THIS AUGUST WITH 20TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION
“Both technically assured and wonderfully expressive.”
—Publishers Weekly

PORTLAND, OR 03/11/2019 — Image Comics is pleased to celebrate two decades of Paul Pope’s (Battling Boy, Batman: Year 100) Eisner Award-nominated, science-fiction/cyberpunk classic Heavy Liquid with an exuberant, all-new, 20th anniversary trade paperback. This gorgeous new edition will collect issues #1-5 of the Heavy Liquid series and feature newly remastered colors by Pope to restore them to his original vision, making them more vibrant and powerful.

TIME magazine listed Heavy Liquid among the 100 most important science fiction graphic novels of the decade when it originally debuted in the 2000s, and its relevance and influence continues to grow. This new edition is designed and edited by the artist himself, restores the artwork for the first time to its original “widescreen” format (wider that typical US comics), and features a newly refined two-color palette. The opening and closing 16 pages are in full color, including newly designed artwork for this edition and all of the original “virgin” cover designs, with logos and added type removed.

In a future where New York has evolved into a sci-fi metropolis, Heavy Liquid follows a fugitive called “S”—on the run from a murderous gang—who becomes entwined in a mystery that’s littered with love and drugs. At the heart of this mystery is an addictive substance called Heavy Liquid that’s both a drug and an art form. In his search for the one artist skilled enough to render Heavy Liquid into a perfect sculpture, S finds himself battling deadly psychopathic foes as well as the inner demons of addiction. If he can survive these physical and mental trials, S might just discover the shocking secret behind heavy liquid, and find a love he thought lost forever.

Heavy Liquid 20th anniversary trade paperback edition (ISBN: 978-1-5343-1404-7) will be available in comic shops on Wednesday, June 19 and available in bookstores on Tuesday, June 25. It can be pre-ordered at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, IndieBound, and Indigo.

Heavy Liquid 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.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

SPFBO Finalist Review: Ruthless Magic by Megan Crewe


Ruthless Magic
Author:  Megan Crewe
Series:  Conspiracy of Magic 1
Publisher:  Another World Press, May 2018
Format:  Hardcover, Trade Paperback and eBook
List Price:  US$19.99 (Hardcover); US$12.99 (Trade Paperback),
                  US$12.99 (eBook)             

In the contest to keep their magic, the only options may be die... or kill.

Each year, the North American Confederation of Mages assesses every sixteen-year-old novice. Some will be chosen. The rest must undergo a procedure to destroy their magical ability unless they prove themselves in the mysterious and brutal Mages' Exam.

Disadvantaged by her parents' low standing, Rocío Lopez has dedicated herself to expanding her considerable talent to earn a place in the Confederation. Their rejection leaves her reeling—and determined to fight to keep her magic.

Long ashamed of his mediocre abilities, Finn Lockwood knows the Confederation accepted him only because of his prominent family. Declaring for the Exam instead means a chance to confirm his true worth.

Thrown into the testing with little preparation, Rocío and Finn find themselves becoming unlikely allies—and possibly more. But the Exam holds secrets more horrifying than either could have imagined. What are the examiners really testing them for? And as the trials become increasingly vicious, how much are they willing to sacrifice to win?





Melanie's Review

I can't really describe the plot any more adequately as the book description itself so will leave you to read it for yourself. What I can say is that it is a pretty straightforward story of a talented girl from the wrong side of the tracks who falls for the less talented boy from a magically prominent family. The mage examinations are like no exam you ever want to have to take. It is literally a fight for survival and talent doesn't guarantee a pass.

Ruthless Magic is described as a combination of Harry Potter and The Hunger Games. While I am a big fan of both of those series I am not a big fan of Ruthless Magic. I found Finn really dull and Rocío was one big stereotype. The fact they were making googly eyes at each other when they were fighting for their lives made me more than a little bit annoyed. Katniss wasn't swooning over Peta when they were in a fight for their lives and Harry Potter didn't even have a love interest. I didn't really find either character that credible and I wasn't really invested in them as characters or whether they survived the mage exam or not.

I really struggled to finish this book and at one point I didn't think I was going to be able to. Authors of YA fiction, who want their work to appeal to adult readers, have an additional challenge. Young adult characters have to be believable for readers in both age groups (Adult and Young Adult) otherwise the story can end up sounding really trite and/or the characters are really bland.  Unfortunately, this was the case for me and Ruthless Magic. I found nothing in either of the main characters that I could grab hold of and say 'yeah, that makes sense, that's how I would expect a 16 year old to act'. It was this lack of character credibility that had me struggling to finish the book and why I only give it a 3/10.

Monday, March 11, 2019

The View From Monday - March 11, 2019


Happy Monday!

There are 4 debuts this week:

If, Then by Kate Hope Day;

The Widening Gyre by Michael R. Johnston;

The Woman in the Dark by Vanessa Savage;

and

Titanshade (The Carter Archives 1) by Dan Stout.

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



From formerly featured DAC Authors:

A Veil of Spears by Bradley P. Beaulieu is out in Trade Paperback;

The Golgotha Series: The Six-Gun Tarot, The Shotgun Arcana, The Queen of Swords by R. S. Belcher is out in eBook Bundle;

Semiosis (Semiosis Duology 1) by Sue Burke is out in Trade Paperback;

The True Queen (A Sorcerer to the Crown 2) by Zen Cho;

Mr. Flood's Last Resort by Jess Kidd is out in Trade Paperback;

Will Haunt You by Brian Kirk;

The Near Witch by V. E. Schwab;

A Gathering of Shadows Collector's Edition (Shade of Magic 2) by V. E. Schwab;

New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color edited by Nisi Shawl;

and

The Forbidden City (Dragon's Legacy 2) by Deborah A. Wolf.

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.

March 11, 2019
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Nightwalker (e)(ri) Heather Graham GH/Sus
Harrison Investigation Series Volume 3: An Anthology (e) Heather Graham H - Harrison Investigation



March 12, 2019
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Mars: Stories Asja Bakić
Jennifer Zoble (Tr)
SF/HU/SF/AP/PA/AB/SS - Collection
Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories (h2tp) Kelly Barnhill F/SS - Collection
A Veil of Spears (h2tp) Bradley P. Beaulieu F/DF - Song of Shattered Sands 3
The Golgotha Series: The Six-Gun Tarot, The Shotgun Arcana, The Queen of Swords (e) R. S. Belcher HistF/DF/SP - Golgotha
Semiosis (h2tp) Sue Burke SF/AC/HSF - Semiosis Duology 1
The True Queen Zen Cho HistF/F - A Sorcerer to the Crown Novel 2
Tor.com Publishing Editorial Spotlight #3: A Selection of Novellas (e) Ellen Datlow (Ed) SpecFic
If, Then (D) Kate Hope Day LF/VisM/SF/AP/PA
Ruin's Wake Patrick Edwards CF/SF
The Willful Child Series: Willful Child, Wrath of Betty, The Search for Spark (e) Steven Erikson SF - Willful Child
Winter's Web (e) Jennifer Estep UF - Elemental Assassin Novella
Toxic Game Christine Feehan PNR/GenEng - GhostWalker 15
The Dazzle of Day Molly Gloss SF/HSF
Blood of the Four (h2tp) Christopher Golden
Tim Lebbon
F
Dawn of the Exile Mitchell Hogan F - Infernal Guardian 2
If Cats Disappeared from the World Genki Kawamura
Eric Selland (Tr)
LF/MR
Mr. Flood's Last Resort (h2tp) Jess Kidd LF
AHistory: An Unauthorized History of the Doctor Who Universe (Fourth Edition Vol. 3) Lars Pearson
Lance Parkin
PerfArts/TV/HC
White Light (ri) Rudy Rucker SF
Saucer Wisdom (ri) Rudy Rucker SF/AC
The Woman in the Dark (D) Vanessa Savage PsyTh/H/Sus
The Near Witch (ri) V. E. Schwab RF/FairyT/FolkT/LM/HistF
A Gathering of Shadows Collector's Edition V. E. Schwab HistF/Gaslamp - Shades of Magic 2
New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color Nisi Shawl (Ed) SpecFic - Anthology
Titanshade (D) Dan Stout UF/DF - The Carter Archives 1
The Rosewater Insurrection Tade Thompson SF/AC/AP/PA - Wormwood Trilogy  2
The Spirit Photographer (h2tp) JonMichael Varese HistF/GH/Occ/Sup
A Pathfinder Tales Collection: Lord of Runes, Liar's Island, Beyond the Pool of Stars, Bloodbound, Pirate's Prophecy, Hellknight, Liar's Bargain, Starspawn, ... Through the Gate in the Sea, Gears of Faith (e) Various F - Pathfinder Tales
The Bird King G. Willow Wilson HistF
The Forbidden City (h2tp) Deborah A. Wolf F - Dragon's Legacy 2



March 13, 2019
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
To Catch a Witch (h2tp) Heather Blake PCM - A Wishcraft Mystery 8



March 14, 2019
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Wolf Land Jonathan Janz H - Fiction Without Frontiers
The Widening Gyre  (D) Michael R. Johnston SF/SO - Fiction Without Frontiers
Will Haunt You Brian Kirk H/DF - Fiction Without Frontiers
Child Of Thunder (e)(ri) Mickey Zucker Reichert F - Renshai Chronicles 3
Beyond Ragnarok (e)(ri) Mickey Zucker Reichert F - Renshai Chronicles 4



March 15, 2019
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Sins of the Lost (e) Lydia M. Hawke SupTh - The Grigori Legacy 3



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



AB - Absurdist
AC - Alien Contact
AH - Alternative History
AP - Apocalyptic
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CoA - Coming of Age
Cr - Crime
CyP - Cyberpunk
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tales
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
MR - Magical Realism
MTI - Media Tie-In
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PCM - Parnormal Cozy Mystery
PerfArts - Performing Arts
PNR - Paranormal Romance
Psy - Psychological
PsyTh - Psychological Thriller
RF - Romantic Fantasy
SE - Space Exploration
SF - Science Fiction
SFR - Science Fiction Romance
SH - Superheroes
SO - Space Opera
SP - Steampunk
Spec - Speculative
SpecFic - Speculative Fiction
SS - Short Stories
Sup - Supernatural
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Sus - Suspense
TechTh - Technological Thriller
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
UF - Urban Fantasy
VisM - Visionary and Metaphysical

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