Thursday, May 30, 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.



Sebastien de Castell (2014)

Crownbreaker
Spellslinger 6
Orbit, December 10, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

A failed mage learns that just because he’s not the chosen one it doesn’t mean he can’t be a hero in the sixth and final book of the adventure fantasy series that started with Spellslinger.


Spellslinger Series
Spellslinger
Shadowblack
Charmcaster
Soulbinder
Queenslayer
Crownbreaker

For more from Sebastien de Castell, check out:

The Greatcoats Quartet
Traitor’s Blade
Saint’s Blood
Knight’s Shadow
Tyrant’s Throne


Spellslinger 1
Spellslinger 2
Spellslinger 3
Spellslinger 4
Spellslinger 5





Linnea Hartsuyker (2017)

The Sea Queen
The Golden Wolf Saga 2
Harper Paperbacks, June 25, 2019
Trade Paperback, 480 pages
Hardcover and eBook, August 14, 2018

An exhilarating Viking saga filled with the rich history, romantic adventure and political intrigue that have made Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones, as well as Phillippa Gregory’s historical fiction and Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology popular bestsellers. 

Six years after The Half-Drowned King, Ragnvald Eysteinsson is now king of Sogn, but fighting battles for King Harald keeps him away from home, as he confronts treachery and navigates a political landscape that grows more dangerous the higher he rises.

Ragnvald’s sister Svanhild has found the freedom and adventure she craves at the side of the rebel explorer Solvi Hunthiofsson, though not without a cost. She longs for a home where her quiet son can grow strong, and a place where she can put down roots, even as Solvi’s ambition draws him back to Norway’s battles again and keeps her divided from her brother.

As a growing rebellion unites King Harald’s enemies, Ragnvald suspects that some Norse nobles are not loyal to Harald’s dream of a unified Norway. He sets a plan in motion to defeat all of his enemies, and bring his sister back to his side, while Svanhild finds herself with no easy decisions, and no choices that will leave her truly free. Their actions will hold irrevocable repercussions for the fates of those they love and for Norway itself.

The Sea Queen returns to the fjords and halls of Viking-Age Scandinavia, a world of violence and prophecy, where honor is challenged by shifting alliances, and vengeance is always a threat to peace.



The Golden Wolf
The Golden Wolf Saga 3
Harper, August 13, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 448 pages

The fates of Ragnvald and his sister Svanhild unfold to their stunning conclusion in this riveting final volume in The Golden Wolf Saga, a trilogy that conjures the ancient world with the gripping detail, thrilling action, and vivid historical elements of Game of Thrones and Outlander.

Ragnvald has long held to his vision of King Harald as a golden wolf who will bring peace to Norway as its conqueror—even though he knows that Harald’s success will eventually mean his own doom. He is grateful to have his beloved sister, the fierce and independent Svanhild, once more at his side to help keep their kingdom secure. Free from the evil husband who used her, she is now one of Harald’s many wives.

While Svanhold is happy to be reunited with her beloved brother, and enjoys more freedom than ever before, she is restless and lonely. When an old enemy of Ragnvald’s kidnaps his niece, Freydis, his sister follows the daughter she has neglected to Iceland, where an old love awaits. This strange new land offers a life far different from what each has left behind, as well as unexpected challenges and choices.

Ragnvald, too, must contend with change. His sons—the gifted Einar, the princely Ivar, and the adventurous Rolli—are no longer children. Harald’s heirs have also grown up. Stepping back from his duties as king, he watches as his sons pursue their own ambitions. But Norway may no longer be large enough for so many would-be kings.

Now in their twilight years, these venerable men whose lives have been shaped by war must face another battle that awaits. A growing rebellion pits Ragnvald and his sons against enemies old and new, and a looming tragedy threatens to divide the hardened warrior from Harald and all who care for him. Across the sea, Svanhild, too, wrestles with a painful decision, risking the dissolution of her fragile new family as she desperately tries to save it.

Yet as old heroes fall, new heroes arise. For years, Ragnvald and Svanhild pursued the destinies bestowed by their ancient gods. Though the journey has cost them much, their sacrifices and dreams will be honored by the generations that follow, beginning with Freydis and Einar. Emerging from their parents’ long shadows, they have begun to carry on the family’s legacy while pursuing their own glorious fates.

This compelling conclusion to the Golden Wolf trilogy recreates Viking-age Scandinavia in all its danger, passion, power, and glory—a world of brutality and myth, loyalty and betrayal, where shifting alliances and vengeance can build kingdoms . . . and can tear them down.


The Golden Wolf Saga 1





Keith Thomas (2018)

Dahlia Black
Atria/Leopoldo & Co., August 13, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages

For fans of World War Z and the Southern Reach Trilogy, a suspenseful oral history commemorating the five-year anniversary of the Pulse—the alien code that hacked the DNA of Earth’s population—and the response team who faced the world-changing phenomenon.

Voyager 1 was a message in a bottle. Our way of letting the galaxy know we existed. That we were out here if anyone wanted to find us.

Over the next forty years, the probe flew past Jupiter and Saturn before it drifted into the void, swallowed up by a silent universe. Or so we thought…

Truth is, our message didn’t go unheard.

Discovered by Dr. Dahlia Black, the mysterious Pulse was sent by a highly intelligent intergalactic species that called themselves the Ascendants. It soon becomes clear this alien race isn’t just interested in communication—they are capable of rewriting human DNA, in an astonishing process they call the Elevation.

Five years after the Pulse, acclaimed journalist Keith Thomas sets out to make sense of the event that altered the world. Thomas travels across the country to interview members of the task force who grappled to decode the Pulse and later disseminated its exact nature to worried citizens. He interviews the astronomers who initially doubted Black’s discovery of the Pulse—an error that critics say led to the world’s quick demise. Thomas also hears from witnesses of the Elevation and people whose loved ones vanished in the Finality, an event that, to this day, continues to puzzle Pulse researchers, even though theories abound about the Ascendants’ motivation.

Including never-before-published transcripts from task force meetings, diary entries from Black, and candid interviews with Ballard, Thomas also shows in Dahlia Black how a select few led their country in its darkest hours, toward a new level of humanity.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Review: Blood Broken by Lindsay J. Pryor


Blood Broken
Author:  Lindsay J. Pryor
Series:  Blackthorn 8
Publisher:  Bookouture, May 20, 2019
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 500 pages
List Price:  US$14.99 (print); US$4.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9781786813992 (print); 9781786813985 (eBook)

‘Our love could save us both. Or it could destroy everything.’

Leila McKay is both blessed and cursed. Her potent serryn powers are growing stronger, but they come with a heavy price. And to prove her love for vampire leader Caleb, she needs to bring his murdered brother Jake back to life. The only way is to cast a spell no one has dared to attempt before, that could tear apart the fabric of time itself…

But Caleb fears that treachery runs deep in Leila’s veins. Although the heat between them grows hotter by the second, Caleb’s past has left him with a hard heart and a mistrustful nature, and it was at her sister’s hands that Jake was killed… but with his brother’s life in the balance, giving in to his primal instincts is more tempting than ever.

Time is running out for Caleb. In a matter of hours, Jake will be past the point of saving: and around them, all-out war rages in Blackthorn. With genetically modified lycans and vicious convicts roaming the streets, Sirius Throme at the Global Council has secret plans that threaten to devastate the whole district… and Leila is the only one powerful enough to save them all. But can Caleb really trust her?

With countless lives at stake, will Leila and Caleb’s fierce attraction be strong enough to see them through the ultimate test? Or in unleashing the darkness within, will they destroy everything they hold dear?

The explosive, action-packed conclusion to the utterly addictive Blackthorn series will leave fans of paranormal romance breathless. Blackthorn is an eight-book series with an overarching plot, so if you’re at the start of your Blackthorn journey, read BLOOD SHADOWS to discover how it all began…



Melanie's Thoughts

I can't believe the time has come when I have to say good-bye to Leila, Caleb, Kane, Caitlen and the rest of the Blackthorn crew in this final instalment of the Blackthorn series, Blood Broken. The prophecy that has threatened our heroes and heroines over the last 7 books is about to come to pass....or is it? The fourth dimension has broken through, super lycans have wreaked devastation, the cons have escaped out of their territory killing innocents all while the Global Council has a devastating plan to rid the world of the 3rd species. Blackthorn has become a battle ground and Leila has the solution to all their problems. Can she be trusted? Will she succeed and save Blackthorn? I will leave it to you to find out.

You could be led to believe that this is another story of Caleb the vampire king and the vampire killer Leila but it's much more. All of the main characters across the whole series have full chapters or part chapters dedicated to their own personal story. All our favourite goodies and baddies have something to say about the prophecy and whether the 3rd species should prevail. I especially enjoyed those chapters dedicated to the various baddies that have made our heroes and heroines lives hell over the series. I especially like Sirius Throme. Even his name sounds nasty and boy he is really really nasty. Since most of the characters are paired off with their love interests there isn't a lot of character development until near the very end of the story and be prepared for the big plot twist that comes with that.

Blood Broken is rather a challenging book to read due to the violence, specifically the violence against women. I have mentioned in previous reviews that I have found the sex scenes rather disturbing and this is even more so in this instalment. If you read one of the sex scenes out of the context of this series then you could very much believe that it was a scene of sexual assault and not of love making There was nothing that was loving, romantic or caring about the scene and I am not sure it added that much to the story as a whole.

Violence aside Pryor ensures that fans of this series are left satisfied as every thread of the plot over the entire series are tied up, every baddy gets their comeuppance and there is a bittersweet HEA for certain characters. Pryor delivers a very satisfying epilogue to end the series which I thought was a good touch.  Overall, I liked Pryor's innovative and complex plot and this would have been a 5 star series had I liked the characters a bit more and she toned down the kidnapping and abuse of the female leads. If you like your bad boys to be really bad then this is the series for you.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Interview with Stephen Blackmoore


Please welcome Stephen Blackmoore to The Qwillery. Fire Season, the 4th Eric Carter novel, was published on April 16, 2019 by DAW. 

I adore Eric Carter - he's snarky, reckless, a bit crazy, and my favorite anti-hero. I don't expect him to be the good guy though he often ends up that way by accident. He's really conflicted and flawed, which makes him more emotionally believable. Fire Season is the most intricate of the Eric Carter novels (so far). More is revealed about Eric's family and there are plenty of surprises. Blackmoore once again delivers a high-octane thrill ride of mayhem, magic and murder and I enjoyed every minute of it.

I highly recommend Fire Season and the Eric Carter series!







TQWelcome back to The Qwillery. Your new novel, Fire Season (Eric Carter 4), was published in April. Has your writing process changed (or not) from when you wrote City of the Lost (2012) to Fire Season?

Stephen:  I think so. It's gotten, I can't think of another word for it, sloppier. CITY OF THE LOST felt like I just threw it together. In fact I did just throw it together. I had no idea how it was going to go. Pantsed the whole thing.

But with DEAD THINGS I outlined. Not one or two pages, or notes in a whiteboard. No, I made a 30 page outline and whenever I shifted a direction, I would go back and shift the outline to see if the change was going to break the story.

Then I wrote a three pager for BROKEN SOULS and that was enough.

HUNGRY GHOSTS was a Notepad file with sentence fragments and a white board with half a dozen bullet points.

FIRE SEASON I didn't even have that much. I had a couple of ideas, a few bits of scenes and lines of dialog, kind of the direction I knew it was going to go, and that there was going to be a lot of fire in it.

The one I turned in a few months ago and the one I'm working on now are pretty much the same way, only less organized.



TQWhich character in the Eric Carter series (so far) surprised you the most? Who has been the hardest character to write and why?

Stephen:  For both of those questions, it's Santa Muerte. In HUNGRY GHOSTS Eric tries to kill the folk saint Santa Muerte, who's also the Aztec goddess of the dead, Mictecacihuatl, who he's had problems with since book one. He's doing this while trying to protect her avatar, a woman named Tabitha Cheung who he's come to have complicated feelings about.

Well, he fucks that up. And though Santa Muerte is destroyed, Tabitha goes along with her in a way that (SPOILER ALERT BUT MAYBE NOT REALLY) something new is created in her stead. It's an amalgam of Santa Muerte and Tabitha, which makes things even more complicated for Eric. The thing he despises and the person that maybe he has a thing for, and he really doesn't know what to do with it.

And honestly, neither does she.



TQDescribe Fire Season using only 5 words.

Stephen:  Angry gods necromancy big fire.



TQTell us something about Fire Season that is not in the book description.

Stephen:  I kill a lot more people in the book than I thought I was going to. Like a lot more. I really crank up the death count and the Holy Shit Did That Horrible Thing Just Happen up to eleven.



TQPlease tell us about Quetzalcoatl who appears to be after Eric Carter in Fire Season.

Stephen:  He's an asshole. He's betrayed the other Aztec gods (no one's quite sure why - but there's a bit of a resolution on that in FIRE SEASON) and helped the Spanish kill all but two of them, and in that final fight he was almost destroyed. He's weak, but he's still a god. He's driven, single-minded, and like everyone else has a hidden agenda.



TQWhich question about Fire Season do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Stephen:  "Can I give you a truckload of money to make this into a TV series?" The answer is, of course, "Yes."



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

Stephen

"I tried idealism once. Gave me a rash."

"That's the problem with coke. It makes everything sound like a great idea. If at all possible, never make plans on coke."



TQWhat's next?

Stephen:  The next book in the series, GHOST MONEY, comes out in January. After that is BOTTLE DEMON, which I'm working on now. Besides that I've got another couple of things I'm working toward that may or may not pan out, so we'll see.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Stephen:  Thanks for the opportunity to talk about the book!





Fire Season
Eric Carter 4
DAW, April 16, 2019
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

The fourth book of this dark urban fantasy series follows necromancer Eric Carter through a world of vengeful gods and goddesses, mysterious murders, and restless ghosts.

Los Angeles is burning.

During one of the hottest summers the city has ever seen, someone is murdering mages with fires that burn when they shouldn’t, that don’t stop when they should. Necromancer Eric Carter is being framed for the killings and hunted by his own people.

To Carter, everything points to the god Quetzalcoatl coming after him, after he defied the mad wind god in the Aztec land of the dead. But too many things aren’t adding up, and Carter knows there’s more going on.

If he doesn’t figure out what it is and put a stop to it fast, Quetzalcoatl won’t just kill him, he’ll burn the whole damn city down with him.





Previously

Dead Things
Eric Carter 1
DAW, February 3, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 256 pages

Stephen Blackmoore’s dark urban fantasy series follows necromancer Eric Carter through a world of vengeful gods and goddesses, mysterious murders, and restless ghosts.

Necromancer is such an ugly word, but it’s a title Eric Carter is stuck with.

He sees ghosts, talks to the dead. He’s turned it into a lucrative career putting troublesome spirits to rest, sometimes taking on even more dangerous things. For a fee, of course.

When he left LA fifteen years ago, he thought he’d never go back. Too many bad memories. Too many people trying to kill him.

But now his sister’s been brutally murdered and Carter wants to find out why.

Was it the gangster looking to settle a score? The ghost of a mage he killed the night he left town? Maybe it’s the patron saint of violent death herself, Santa Muerte, who’s taken an unusually keen interest in him.

Carter’s going to find out who did it, and he’s going to make them pay.

As long as they don’t kill him first.



Broken Souls
Eric Carter 2
DAW, August 5, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 272 pages

Stephen Blackmoore’s dark urban fantasy series follows necromancer Eric Carter through a world of vengeful gods and goddesses, mysterious murders, and restless ghosts.

Sister murdered, best friend dead, married to the patron saint of death, Santa Muerte. Necromancer Eric Carter’s return to Los Angeles hasn’t gone well, and it’s about to get even worse.

His link to the Aztec death goddess is changing his powers, changing him, and he’s not sure how far it will go. He’s starting to question his own sanity, wonder if he’s losing his mind. No mean feat for a guy who talks to the dead on a regular basis.

While searching for a way to break Santa Muerte’s hold over him, Carter finds himself the target of a psychopath who can steal anyone’s form, powers, and memories. Identity theft is one thing, but this guy does it by killing his victims and wearing their skins like a suit. He can be anyone. He can be anywhere.

Now Carter has to change the game — go from hunted to hunter. All he has for help is a Skid Row bruja and a ghost who’s either his dead friend Alex or the manifestation of Carter’s own guilt-fueled psychotic break.

Everything is trying to kill him. Nothing is as it seems. If all his plans go perfectly, he might survive the week.

He’s hoping that’s a good thing.



Hungry Ghosts
Eric Carter 3
DAW, February 7, 2017
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

Stephen Blackmoore’s dark urban fantasy series follows necromancer Eric Carter through a world of vengeful gods and goddesses, mysterious murders, and restless ghosts.

Necromancer Eric Carter’s problems keep getting bigger. Bad enough he’s the unwilling husband to the patron saint of death, Santa Muerte, but now her ex, the Aztec King of the dead, Mictlantecuhtli, has come back — and it turns out that Carter and he are swapping places. As Mictlantecuhtli breaks loose of his prison of jade, Carter is slowly turning to stone.

To make matters worse, both gods are trying to get Carter to assassinate the other. But only one of them can be telling him the truth and he can’t trust either one. Carter’s solution? Kill them both.

If he wants to get out of this situation with his soul intact, he’ll have to go to Mictlan, the Aztec land of the dead, and take down a couple of death gods while facing down the worst trials the place has to offer him: his own sins.





About Stephen

Stephen Blackmoore is a pulp writer of little to no renown who once thought lighting things on fire was one of the best things a kid could do with his time. Until he discovered that eyebrows don't grow back very quickly. He is the author of the urban fantasy novels CITY OF THE LOST, DEAD THINGS, BROKEN SOULS, HUNGRY GHOSTS, and FIRE SEASON. His short stories and poetry have appeared in Plots With Guns, Needle, Spinetingler, Thrilling Detective, Shots, Demolition, Clean Sheets , Flashing In The Gutters and a couple of anthologies with authors far better than he is. You can even stalk him on Twitter (@sblackmoore) or check out his website at http://stephenblackmoore.com.




Monday, May 27, 2019

The View From Monday - May 27, 2019


Happy Monday!

There is one debut this week:

Last Day by Domenica Ruta.

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



From formerly featured DAC Authors:

The Shotgun Arcana (Golgotha 2) by R.S. Belcher is out in Mass Market Paperback;

The Captain's Oath (Star Trek) by Christopher L. Bennett;

Five Unicorn Flush (The Reason 2) by T.J. Berry;

Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town (An Official Stranger Things Novel) by Adam Christopher;

The Darkest Time of Night by Jeremy Finley in out in Mass Market Paperback;

and

Limited Wish (Impossible Times 2) by Mark Lawrence.

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.

May 28, 2019
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The Red-Stained Wings Elizabeth Bear F - The Lotus Kingdoms 2
The Shotgun Arcana (mm) R. S. Belcher HistF/DF/SP - Golgotha 2
The Captain's Oath Christopher L. Bennett SF - Star Trek
Five Unicorn Flush T.J. Berry SF/AC/SO - The Reason 2
Longer Michael Blumlein SF/SE/GenEng
The Stiehl Assassin Terry Brooks F - Fall of Shannara 3
Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town Adam Christopher SupTh/SF/MTI - An Official Stranger Things Novel
The Darkest Time of Night (h2mm) Jeremy Finley Sus/SF/AC
1637: The Volga Rules (h2mm) Eric Flint
Paula Goodlett
Gorg Huff
SDRing of Fire 25
The Siege of Terra: Solar War John French SF - Horus Heresy 1
The Sandman Vol. 8: World's End 30th Anniversary Edition Neil Gaiman
Bryan Talbot (Illustrator)
GN/F
Dune: The Butlerian Jihad (ri) Brian Herbert
Kevin J. Anderson
SF/SO - Legends of Dune Trilogy 1
The Footprints of God (ri) Greg Iles Th
Time's Demon D. B. Jackson F/TT/DF - Islevale Cylce 2
Sweet Heart (ri) Peter James H/GH/Sus
Godzilla: King of the Monsters - The Official Movie Novelization Greg Keyes MTI/SF
Marvel Novels - Spider-Man: Kraven's Last Hunt (ri) Neil Kleid MTI/SH
Limited Wish Mark Lawrence SF/TT - Impossible Times 2
Genevieve Undead Kim Newman H
The Gameshouse Claire North SF/Sus/LF - Gameshouse
Expiration Date (tp2mm) Tim Powers UF
The Immortal Renshai (h2mm) Mickey Zucker Reichert FairyT/FolkT/LM/DF/F - Renshai Saga 3
The Rulers of the Dead Josh Reynolds
David Annandale
F - Warhammer: Age of Sigmar
Last Day (D) Domenica Ruta LF/CoA/SF/AP/PA
Timeless (h2mm) R. A. Salvatore F - Drizzt 1
Fuzzy Nation (ri) John Scalzi SF/AC/HSF
Agent to the Stars (ri) John Scalzi SF/AC/HU
The Android's Dream (ri) John Scalzi SF/AC/HU
The Gallows Black (e) Sam Sykes F - The Grave of Empires Novella
Walking to Aldebaran Adrian Tchaikovsky SF
Wild Rider Gav Thorpe SF - Rise of the Ynnari 2
Four Dominions (h2mm) Eric Van Lustbader SupTh/Sus - The Testament 3
Lent Jo Walton HistF/AH/FairyT/FolkT/LM
Conventions of War (ri) Walter Jon Williams SF - Dread Empire's Fall 3



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
BH - Black Humor
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CoA - Coming of Age
Cr - Crime
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)
H - Horror
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HistTh - Historical Thriller
HSF - Hard Science Fiction
HU - Humorous
LF - Literary Fiction
LM - Legend and Mythology
MR - Magical Realism
MTI - Media Tie-In
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PNR - Paranormal Romance
PopCul - Popular Culture
Psy - Psychological
PsyTh - Psychological Thriller
SE - Space Exploration
SF - Science Fiction
SFR - Science Fiction Romance
SFTh - Science Fiction Thriller
SH - Superheroes
SO - Space Opera
SocSci - Social Science
SP - Steampunk
SS - Short Stories
Sup - Supernatural
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Sus - Suspense
TechTh - Technological Thriller
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
UF - Urban Fantasy
VM - Visionary & Metaphysical

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

Friday, May 24, 2019

Interview with W.M. Akers, author of Westside


Please welcome W. M. Akers to The Qwillery as part of the 2019 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Westside was published on May 7, 2019 by Harper Voyager.







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

W. M.:  I wrote a twelve page “novel” when I was in sixth grade called, “The Story of Bowman,” which was a riff on the story of the boy who cried wolf. Basically, it was about the watchman for a village who keeps telling everyone that there are monsters in the forest. No one believes him, and then they all get eaten by monsters.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

W. M.:  Plot, plot, plot! I have two young children, which means that the time I have to write is very restricted. If I didn’t outline everything meticulously, I would never get anything done.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing? How does being a playwright affect (or not) your novel writing?

W. M.:  The hardest thing for me, aside from finding the time to get real work done, is maintaining interest in a project over the long period that it takes to finish something. No matter how much I wish I could get it done faster, writing a book takes months or years, and there are always going to be days when I’m just not feeling it. Those are the days that it really feels like work. Being a playwright helps with this problem, actually, because I find that shifting media makes it easier to keep interested in my various projects. Work on a play for a little while, and suddenly the novel seems fresh again.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

W. M.:  I take massive influence from the great prose stylists of the mid-Twentieth Century, with MFK Fisher being my particular favorite. Her sentences are as clear as spring water, and serve as a continual inspiration.



TQDescribe Westside using only 5 words.

W. M.:  Weird as hell 1921 mystery.



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

W. M.:  It has baseball in it! I’m a big baseball nerd—I even made a tabletop baseball game—and I couldn’t write a historical mystery without sneaking in as much baseball as my editor would allow.



TQWhat inspired you to write Westside? What appeals to you about writing Historical Fantasy?

W. M.:  I’ve lived in New York since 2006, and from the first day I lived in the city, I found myself wondering what it was like before I got there. New York history is an exquisitely deep vein, and the more I learned about it, the more I found myself yearning for a version of the city that had existed long before I was born. Westside is my way of interrogating that nostalgic impulse. Why do we think old New York is so fascinating, and what ugliness existed there that we prefer not to think about?



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Westside?

W. M.:  Old New Yorker essays were a great resource—I love you, Joseph Mitchell—and I leaned heavily on the frantic underworld histories of Herbert Asbury. But the New York Times archives were the most useful thing, as they provide a primary source window into how the period felt to the people who lived there. I had so much fun digging around the Times archives that I eventually turned that process into a newsletter all about weird stuff in the 1920s Times.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for Westside.

W. M.:  The jacket was designed by Owen Corrigan, and it is gorgeous. Westside’s hero, Gilda Carr, is a detective of tiny mysteries, and the image shows the missing white glove that kickstarts her adventure. Inside it is a map showing the fence that divides my imaginary Manhattan, and some of the most important locations in the novel: Washington Square, the docks, and all the darkest alleys of the West Village.



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

W. M.:  I had a hell of a lot of fun writing Gilda Carr. Her voice came naturally to me, and whenever I sat down to work on the book after a long time away, I heard her speaking to me, impatient to start telling her story again.



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

W. M.:  What fictional location from the book would you most like to visit? The bazaar—the massive discount food market housed inside the ruins of old Penn Station, which was inspired by my beloved Park Slope Food Coop.



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

W. M.:  “Across the river, New Jersey twinkled stupidly.”



TQWhat's next?

W. M.:  I’m working on a new play, a new Deadball game, a new RPG and, most importantly, the sequel to Westside! Details to come later this year…



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

W. M.:  Thank you for having me. It was an absolute pleasure.





Westside
Harper Voyager, May 7, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages

"Bracing, quite possibly hallucination-inducing, and unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before…The illegitimate love child of Algernon Blackwood and Raymond Chandler.” -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

The Alienist meets The City & The City in this brilliant debut that mixes fantasy and mystery. Gilda Carr’s ‘tiny mysteries’ pack a giant punch." --David Morrell, New York Times bestselling author of Murder As a Fine Art

New York is dying, and the one woman who can save it has smaller things on her mind.

A young detective who specializes in “tiny mysteries” finds herself at the center of a massive conspiracy in this beguiling historical fantasy set on Manhattan’s Westside—a peculiar and dangerous neighborhood home to strange magic and stranger residents—that blends the vivid atmosphere of Caleb Carr with the imaginative power of Neil Gaiman.

It’s 1921, and a thirteen-mile fence running the length of Broadway splits the island of Manhattan, separating the prosperous Eastside from the Westside—an overgrown wasteland whose hostility to modern technology gives it the flavor of old New York. Thousands have disappeared here, and the respectable have fled, leaving behind the killers, thieves, poets, painters, drunks, and those too poor or desperate to leave.

It is a hellish landscape, and Gilda Carr proudly calls it home.

Slightly built, but with a will of iron, Gilda follows in the footsteps of her late father, a police detective turned private eye. Unlike that larger-than-life man, Gilda solves tiny mysteries: the impossible puzzles that keep us awake at night; the small riddles that destroy us; the questions that spoil marriages, ruin friendships, and curdle joy. Those tiny cases distract her from her grief, and the one impossible question she knows she can’t answer: “How did my father die?”

Yet on Gilda’s Westside, tiny mysteries end in blood—even the case of a missing white leather glove. Mrs. Copeland, a well-to-do Eastside housewife, hires Gilda to find it before her irascible merchant husband learns it is gone. When Gilda witnesses Mr. Copeland’s murder at a Westside pier, she finds herself sinking into a mire of bootlegging, smuggling, corruption—and an evil too dark to face.

All she wants is to find one dainty ladies’ glove. She doesn’t want to know why this merchant was on the wrong side of town—or why he was murdered in cold blood. But as she begins to see the connection between his murder, her father’s death, and the darkness plaguing the Westside, she faces the hard truth: she must save her city or die with it.

Introducing a truly remarkable female detective, Westside is a mystery steeped in the supernatural and shot through with gunfights, rotgut whiskey, and sizzling Dixieland jazz. Full of dazzling color, delightful twists, and truly thrilling action, it announces the arrival of a wonderful new talent.






About W. M. Akers

W. M. Akers is an award-winning playwright, Narratively editor, and the creator of the bestselling game Deadball: Baseball With Dice. Westside is his debut novel. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. Learn more about his work at wmakers.net.




Twitter @ouijum  ~  Facebook

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Nintendo Download, May 23, 2019: Brotherly Love


This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content:
  • Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch
    • Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons – Play the award-winning adventure with a new two-player mode for the Nintendo Switch system. Guide two brothers on an epic fairytale journey from Swedish film director Josef Fares. Control both brothers at once as you experience co-op play in single-player – or team up with a friend in the new two-player mode. The Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons game is available May 28.
    • SWORD ART ONLINE: Hollow Realization Deluxe Edition – The SWORD ART ONLINE series finally arrives on Nintendo Switch. The year is 2026. A new VRMMORPG called “Sword Art: Origin” is suddenly unveiled to the world. During a closed beta test, Kirito meets a mysterious girl, an NPC without so much as a name, who is offering a strange quest. Will the meeting between this NPC girl and the Black Swordsman prove to be the world’s salvation, or its undoing? Watch as a new death game begins to play out. The SWORD ART ONLINE: Hollow Realization Deluxe Edition game features the main game, as well as the additional content “Abyss of the Shrine Maiden” and the large-scale update “Warriors of the Sky!” The game is available May 24.

Nintendo eShop sales:

SPAWN #300


TODD MCFARLANE & GREG CAPULLO TO DRAW HISTORIC SPAWN #300 COMIC BOOK ISSUE

McFarlane’s SPAWN makes history as the longest running, creator-owned comic book with superstar creative team

LAS VEGAS, Nev. 05/20/2019 — Todd McFarlane’s SPAWN character sets the stage for a historic celebration as it breaks the record for the longest-running, creator-owned comic in the world. To mark this momentous occasion, McFarlane has gathered a team of superstars from the comic industry to contribute to this giant sized 72-page book.

The big news for SPAWN #300 is that award-winning artist, Greg Capullo (Batman), returns to illustrate SPAWN. Capullo first brought his talents to Image Comics' longest running title, with issue #16, leading to a visually-stunning run as the book’s featured artist, culminating in the hallmark 100th issue.

Following his seminal work on DC Comics’ iconic Batman, Capullo will be the main featured interior artist on SPAWN #300, alongside another major revelation...

For the first time since 1995, Todd McFarlane, one of the top-selling artists in comic book history, will return to pencil and ink interior artwork of the character he created during his high school days!

“I created SPAWN back when I was a teenager hoping to someday break into the comic book industry,” said Todd McFarlane, SPAWN creator, and President at Image Comics. “Now, over 40 years later, not only was I able to have a career drawing and writing comics, but SPAWN has been by my side for most of that journey. Even more exciting, SPAWN is becoming the longest running creator-owned comic in the world!

“The group of creative folks helping out on this historic SPAWN 300th issue is something that I hope thrills the ‘inner 15-year-old' in all of us. Plus, to have Greg Capullo come back to this title after so many long years, is what has me most excited as I personally consider him to be the top talent drawing in our industry today.”

The superstar creative team doesn’t end with Capullo and McFarlane. Current SPAWN artist, Jason Shawn Alexander, fan-favorite J. Scott Campbell (Danger Girl, Spider-Man), rising star Jerome Opeña (Uncanny X-Force, Seven to Eternity) and best-selling writer Scott Snyder (Batman, Metal, Wytches), all bring their talents aboard to help usher in SPAWN’s next grand evolution.

The birth of Image Comics in 1992 was an exciting time, but there are few moments I remember more vividly than getting my hands on the first issue of SPAWN,” said Eric Stephenson, Publisher & Chief Creative Officer at Image Comics. “Todd was already a comics superstar at that point—but SPAWN vibrated with an energy all its own and I think everybody knew it was destined not only to be a hit but to stand the test of time. The fact that we’re approaching issue 300 nearly 30 years later is a testament to its impact not just on Image, but the industry as a whole. Go, Todd!”

SPAWN #300, a 72-page full-color comic book, celebrating 27 years, and counting, of the hit independent series with an all-star lineup of comics creators, will be in stores August 29, 2019. The title will feature 12 covers by McFarlane, Capullo, Campbell, Opeña, and Alexander, including gorgeous black and white “Artist Edition” variants showcasing the original, inked artwork of both Capullo and McFarlane. This historic, oversized issue will retail for $7.99.


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.
ABOUT SPAWN  
Todd McFarlane’s Spawn is one of the world’s best-selling and longest-running monthly comic books, with hundreds of millions sold worldwide in more than 120 countries, and 15 different languages. That title’s hugely popular 1992 debut sold an amazing 1.7 million copies—an unprecedented feat in independent comics. A whirlwind of growth and expansion followed: more comics, action figures, film, and award-winning animation.

SPFBO Finalist Review: Orconomics by J.Zachary Pike


Orconomics
The Dark Profit Saga 1
Gnomish Press, November 22, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 389 pages

A disgraced Dwarven hero. A band of deadbeat adventurers. His last shot at redemption could get him killed.

If Gorm Ingerson really wanted to drink himself to death, he never should have helped the Goblin. When his good deed lands him in a bad contract, Gorm finds himself entangled in a quest that will pit him against business magnates, the king of the Freedlands, and a mad goddess trying to fulfill a suicidal prophecy.

But Gorm’s tarnished circumstances may be hiding a golden opportunity. If he and his half-baked party can overcome deep conspiracies and dark magics, he just might redeem himself and his career enough to be a professional hero once more.

Orconomics: A Satire is the first book in The Dark Profit Saga, a trilogy so funny it’s epic. If you like down-and-out heroes, sidesplitting misadventures, and ingenious world-building, then you’ll love J. Zachary Pike’s dark and delightful ribbing of high fantasy.

Buy Orconomics to join the campaign for a high-energy, hilarious fantasy adventure today!



Melanie's Review

Are goblins ruining your crops? Wyrm nesting in your shrubbery? You found a map to buried treasure but don't have time to find it? Look no further than the Hero's Guild to solve all your problems and to turn a tidy profit in the process. In Arth, speculating on the success of a hero's quest is big business. The success of your business and your shareholders can all depend on the heroics of a single individual. Gorm, used to be the best of the best, a dwarven hero with no rival until a job went bad and he lost his reputation, his clan and his livelihood. When he is offered the opportunity to redeem his fortunes he can't really say no....well the gun held to his head helped make that decision. The next thing he knows Gorm is joined but a motley crew of misfits, all of who have something to prove and something to gain. Orconomics is well and truly an epic adventure with heroes and villains galore, a tale of self discovery and a cracking good mystery to boot.

Orconomics has restored my faith in self-published fantasy. I absolutely loved this book. It was funny, the plot was original and the characters were well developed. When I describe this book as an epic I am not kidding, it really is. It took me ages to get through so many pages. It can be really challenging for me to stay interested in a book that is as long as Orconomics but Pike kept a solid pace that mixed action, adventure and storytelling.

Gorm Ingerson, this story's hero, has a great group of characters to interact with. Gorm is supported by a cast of characters that could only be described as supporting cast in your favourite dungeons and dragons-esque video game. The story is largely told from Gorm's POV, however, there are a few chapters where the story is told from other perspectives which all help to enrich the plot. While I am sure that many readers loved Gorm's goblin companion, Gleebek, it was actually the ogre Thane and his unrequited love that made me giggle the most. I feel that I need to warn you not to get attached to any character as Pike doesn't play it safe with his characters.

Hats off to Pike as he has written a truly original story that is drenched in sarcasm and wit. I never quite knew what would happen next which made Orconomics a real page turner. I can hardly wait to find out what happens next to Gorm and his friends. I loved this booked so much that I could easily give it a 9 out of 10. If you like fantasy, have a sense of humour and need a nice meaty read then be sure to get Orconomics on your TBR.

9 out of 10

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

SPFBO Finalist Review: Sworn to the Night by Craig Schaefer


Sworn to the Night
The Wisdom's Grave Trilogy 1
Demimonde Books, January 2018
Kindle eBook and Trade Paperback, 429 pages

Marie Reinhart is an NYPD detective on the trail of a serial killer. When she sleeps, though, she dreams of other lives; she dreams of being a knight, in strange wars and strange worlds. On the other side of the city, Nessa Roth is a college professor trapped in a loveless marriage, an unwilling prop in a political dynasty. She's also a fledgling witch, weaving poppets and tiny spells behind closed doors.

When Marie's case draws her into Nessa's path, sparks fly. What comes next is more than a furtive whirlwind affair; it's the first pebbles of an avalanche. Nessa and Marie are the victims of a curse that has pursued them across countless lifetimes; a doom designed to trap them in a twisted living fairy tale, with their romance fated to end in misery and death.

They aren't going out without a fight. As they race to uncover the truth, forces are in motion across the country. In Las Vegas, a professional thief is sent on a deadly heist. In a Detroit back alley, witches gather under the guidance of a mysterious woman in red. Just outside New York, an abandoned zoo becomes the hunting-ground for servants of a savage and alien king. The occult underground is taking sides and forming lines of battle. Time is running out, and Nessa and Marie have one chance to save themselves, break the curse, and demand justice.

This time, they're writing their own ending.



Doreen’s Thoughts

Craig Schaefer’s Sworn to the Night is a story within a story, with a kidnapped narrator interrupting at various points to make comments that are intended to help explain some part of the narrative. This was not as effective as it could have been because it seemed to have nothing to do with the main story until late in the novel.

The main story, however, was engaging and fast-paced. Fascinated with knights and their lieges, Marie Reinhart is a NYC detective investigating the kidnappings and murders of call girls and how their deaths might relate to the new drug flooding the streets, Ink. Nessa Roth is a rich society wife and professor who dabbles with magic and wants to be a witch. When the two first meet it is as if they have known each other forever – which they have, since they keep being reincarnated and finding each before dying violently.

While Schaefer’s format of a story within a story was less than successful for me, his characterization of the main characters is well done. Marie and Nessa are well-drawn, and their actions make sense based on their descriptions. The pacing of the story is good. Gun fights and other fight scenes are nicely choreographed and easy to follow.

I rate Sworn to the Night a 7 out of 10.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Interview with Daniel Findlay, author of Year of the Orphan


Please welcome Daniel Findlay to The Qwillery as part of the 2019 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Year of the Orphan is published on May 21, 2019 by Arcade Publishing.







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

Daniel:  The first fiction I remember writing was at the age of about six. I would 'borrow' characters from authors like Enid Blyton and cast them in my own stories - it was my first foray into storytelling (and fanfic!)



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Daniel:  A little of both. I have an idea of where I might like the story to end up but I let the characters show me how to get there. It's usually a surprise when I sit down to write and I try my best not to stifle their impulses. I also think about key scenes that give me a particular feeling (that I want to share or evoke) and then try to create interesting build ups to those moments.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Daniel:  Finding time is the neat answer to this question, as I juggle a full time job with my writing. The real and more complex answer is finding the discipline to continue working when there may not be much joy in it sometimes. I can count on one hand the writing sessions that felt successful this year but I have written something almost every single day.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Daniel:  I'm greatly influenced by other writers and readers, as well as film and music. I wrote Year of the Orphan listening to a lot of hip hop, and edited it to a very particular playlist of Australian music. Books like Riddley Walker and The Road both played a big part in my writing, as well as Australian classics like Obernewtyn and On The Beach.



TQDescribe Year of the Orphan using only 5 words.

Daniel:  Australian, apocalyptic, grim, badass, hopeful.



TQTell us something about Year of the Orphan that is not found in the book description.

Daniel:  More than a little of it is based on documented historical fact!



TQWhat inspired you to write Year of the Orphan? What appeals to you about writing dystopian fiction?

Daniel:  I was inspired by both historical events that occurred in Australia and also by a deep love of dystopian, post apocalyptic and speculative fiction. For me, exploring Australia's real history of nuclear testing through the lens of an apocalyptic novel was a way of sharing that real past with people who may not have otherwise known about it.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Year of the Orphan?

Daniel:  Before writing the novel I spent nearly a year reading everything I could find in the genre, particularly American classics that came out throughout the great fear of nuclear war from around 1950 through to the fall of the Soviet Union. Books like Alas, Babylon, After the Fall and A Canticle for Leibowitz, as well as more contemporary work. I was particularly interested in a the flavour of that early post-apocalyptic fiction when nuclear war was the big fear because it tied in strongly with Year of the Orphan.

After I had completed the first draft I also visited the ground zero of several of Australia's nuclear test sites. These secret places saw the detonation of nuclear bombs that in some cases were far bigger than Hiroshima and their existence in Australia is even to this day, largely forgotten. They are incredibly eerie and haunted places.




TQPlease tell us about the cover for Year of the Orphan.

Daniel:  This cover was influenced by both the film Mad Max and the tones of an Australian artist named Sidney Nolan who is most famous for painting pictures of one of our most notorious criminals (and folk heroes) Ned Kelly.



TQ:   In Year of the Orphan who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Daniel:  The Orphan was by far the easiest character to write because her perspective and experience is so clearly defined by what has happened to her. She knows quite clearly how she feels and will react in most situations so her responses are fun to write, and hopefully consistent. The most difficult character is one I can't share too much about without spoiling the story but suffice to say, their complexity and not being quite what they seem made them incredibly rewarding and challenging to write.



TQDoes Year of the Orphan touch on any social issues?

Daniel:  Year of the Orphan is first and foremost intended to be a great piece of fiction. It's unavoidable though that when it takes real history as a jumping off point that there will be threads of real social issues woven into the story. When nuclear weapons were tested in Australia both Indigenous Australians and our Army/Navy/Air Force servicemen and women suffered greatly through both ignorance and being deliberately being placed in harms way. I often hope that reading Year of the Orphan sparks an interest in the real-life events that inspired it.



TQWhich question about Year of the Orphan do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Daniel:  Well, to continue a theme - I wish someone would ask, how much of it really happened? The answer is, quite a lot! I feel there are many parallels and points of comparison that can be drawn between nuclear testing in the United States and Australia and I'm hoping that some American readers kindle an interest in this fascinating, frightening and often forgotten chapter of our shared history.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Year of the Orphan.

Daniel:  I'll always have a soft spot for the opening line; "There were a heat." For a long time it has been drummed into me the importance of a strong opening line and that one actually has a double meaning for me as it describes the opening scene but it also is the way you might describe a nuclear blast in it's first stages. It also gives you a faint hint that the language used in this book might be a little interesting.

Another line is "The ground sumetimes wept the blud of those Block had sent down". It's referring to how feared and dangerous one of my favourite characters is and I like the idea of using red earth to show how just how bloody things might get.



TQWhat's next?

Daniel:  I'm about to visit the United States to hopefully see my book on shelves and I'm busily working on a follow up to Year of the Orphan. I''m very excited to think about such an Australian story reaching American readers and really hoping they enjoy the adventure!



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





Year of the Orphan
Arcade Publishing, May 21, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages

The Road meets Mad Max in this stunning debut with a gutsy, charismatic young female protagonist—for fans of Station 11, The Passage, and Riddley Walker.

In a post-apocalyptic future where survivors scavenge in the harsh Australian Outback for spoils from a buried civilization, a girl races across the desert, holding her treasures close, pursued by the Reckoner.

Riding her sand ship, living rough in the blasted landscape whose taint she carries in her blood, she scouts the broken infrastructure and trades her scraps at the only known settlement, a ramshackle fortress of greed, corruption, and disease known as the System. It is an outpost whose sole purpose is survival—refuge from the hulking, eyeless things they call Ghosts and other creatures that hunt beyond the fortress walls.

Sold as a child, then raised hard in the System, the Orphan has a mission. She carries secrets about the destruction that brought the world to its knees. And she's about to discover that the past still holds power over the present. Given an impossible choice, will the Orphan save the only home she knows or see it returned to dust? Both paths lead to blood, but whose will be spilled?

With propulsive pacing, a rich, broken language all its own, and a protagonist whose grit and charisma are matched by a relentless drive to know, The Year of the Orphan is a thriller of the future you won’t want to put down.





About Daniel

Photo © Michelle Tan
Dan Findlay is the author of Year of the Orphan. Dan is a historian by training and a writer for kids by trade. Dan has over ten years' experience editing Australia’s leading youth magazines. He also has over a decade of freelance experience as a writer and photographer for Rolling Stone as well as contributing the odd music story to the Sydney Morning Herald and writing for a wide variety of other pop culture titles.









Website