Showing posts with label Silver. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Silver. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Interview with Rhiannon Held, author of the Silver series - February 18, 2014


Please welcome Rhiannon Held to The Qwillery. Rhiannon is the author of the Silver Urban Fantasy series: Silver, Tarnished and Reflected, which is out today. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Rhiannon a Happy Publication Day!







TQ:  Welcome back to The Qwillery. Reflected, the 3rd novel is your Silver series, is out today. How has becoming an author changed your life? Is there any advice that you'd give debut authors?

Rhiannon:  My life hasn’t changed in any way that would be obvious externally. I’m still at my same old day job, still write in the evenings when I come home from work, and still meet once a week with friends to critique our writing. I’ve had to learn a lot of new skills, though, related to publicity. As an introvert, it takes confidence to approach a bookstore about doing a signing or schmooze with industry folks at a convention party. I can’t say I like any of those kind of things now, but I’m pretty comfortable with my competency with them. That’s the life-changing part, because those skills can be applied anywhere, not just to book publicity.

There’s plenty of advice I’ve given at various times, but I think the most over-arching piece is to be smart about picking your advice sources. There’s a lot out there for authors on the internet, and a lot of it’s good, but it’s easy to sink into the flood and not differentiate among sources. The most useful thing I’ve discovered is to look for an advice source who used to be in your situation with the problem in question. It seems obvious, but I’ve seen introverts looking like they’re about to cry at conventions when they ask an extrovert how to network and the extrovert tells them to “just switch on.” In my writing dialogue comes naturally to me, scene-setting I had to sweat blood to learn. If your dialogue sucks, disregard anything I say about how I write mine. That’s not to say that writers can’t empathize and offer advice on problems not their own, but someone who sweated through the process of learning something has a higher probability of being able to articulate it well than someone who understands the struggle only intellectually from watching others. Look for writing tips “for” whatever you are, like networking for introverts.



TQ:  Has your writing process changed from Silver (Book 1) to Reflected (Book 3)?

Rhiannon:  My process is actually fairly similar, if a bit more refined now. I draft steadily, with small wordcounts day after day, rather than impressive large-wordcount bursts. I draft too short (to my eternal frustration) and add material in revision on balance, rather than subtracting it. I’ve learned to consciously “buffer” the scenes I plan to write in a day, by running them in my head while driving or walking. Before, I did that unconsciously, and sometimes had unproductive writing sessions because I hadn’t buffered anything.

Before I finished writing Book 4, I would have said that my revision process has become streamlined, but Book 4 has proved that a dirty lie. What has happened, in fact, is the heavy-lifting of my revisions has moved. A lot from my first drafts makes it into the final book, but I often add scenes and character moments to better highlight the emotional arcs. As I’ve gone along, I’ve bitten off more and more complex character arcs, so I find that I have the same number of revisions but they’re revising different things. In Book 1, I had multiple revisions in which I substantially changed where the book started, and where the action in the book occurred. In Book 3, I had multiple revisions in which I clarified the characters’ motives, and added scenes to drive them later, but the first scene and major plot events remained essentially identical. In Book 4, I apparently had a temporary bout of insanity, because rather picking a major character change I wanted and crafting a climax event to create it, I picked a climax event and tried to figure out how the characters would change following it. As far as my process goes, it was a very “jump and build your wings on the way down” sort of experience that made for extremely hair-tearing critique sessions when I found out—again—it wasn’t working yet.

But I got there eventually! And I think the more complex emotional arcs are totally worth it.



TQ:  What do you wish that you knew about book publishing when Silver came out that you know now.

Rhiannon:  I wish I knew about The Question before people started asking it of me. As an archaeologist, I’m fairly used to questions from friends and family and well-meaning strangers that are awkward to answer because they have nothing to do with my actual experience. Have I ever been to Egypt? Do I wear a fedora? You get a lot of those kinds of questions as an author. Did you get to pick your cover? Do you know the model in the picture on the cover? Did you get to write the cover blurb? Do you know the demographics of your readers? (For the curious: the answer to all of those in my case is “no.”)

But then there’s The Question: “How’s your latest book doing?” In some cases, it’s asked in the same spirit as “How are you?” from one coworker to another. They want to express polite interest, but they don’t actually want messy or uncomfortable details. “Pretty good, I think,” is an acceptable answer in that case. But some people actually want to know. How is my book doing? How many have I sold?

Let me tell you about sales numbers. My publisher sends me a statement twice a year. It takes about five months to arrive. That means at this moment, February 2014, I received my most recent statement in November 2013, and it included all my sales up to June 30, 2013. So I could tell you how my book was selling eight months ago—except that I can’t. Because bookstore orders are included in my sales numbers, so if they fail to sell them and return them, my total sales can actually tick down. Amazon offers authors Bookscan data, but Bookscan only includes certain sales (only US, no ebooks, not certain distributors). When compared to my statement numbers from a six-month period, Bookscan has been 30% of my real total—approximately. Say I multiply it out, using 30% to get a rough estimate. I have a number! Compared to…what? A few people do publish their sales numbers, but many of them are self-published, and others are more established than me or in other sub-genres. My number is lower than a science fiction author with a decade in the business and six novels behind them. Um, okay?

So the literal answer to “How’s your book doing?” is “I have no effing clue.” I don’t actually say that. I could have used a chance, before I was published, to figure out how answer The Question politely. Because it is, after all, asked by people who are actually friends with good intentions.



TQ:  Tell us something about Reflected that is not in the book description.

Rhiannon:  I’ve worked hard over the course of the whole series to create the werewolf culture and religion. It’s intended to mostly end up in the background, but I enjoy explaining the gears turning behind the scenes when people ask. Reflected has a neat little aspect of culture based on weddings of Travellers living in Britain. As it was explained in the documentary I saw, Travellers often marry quite young, but also are very controlling of their young girls, so there’s not much chance for young people to meet and find marriage partners. An exception to this can be other people’s weddings. Everyone is invited, not just close friends and family, and standards of behavior for the attending young people are relaxed somewhat.

In Reflected, one of the protagonists, Andrew, tells his daughter, Felicia, that she has to go to school, get a job, or go roaming. Roaming is my Were cultural answer to the problem of inbreeding. Were packs aren’t large, maybe twenty people or so, so people need to find mates outside of their birth pack. So culturally, North American teens are encouraged to ignore pack territory boundaries in a way adults aren’t allowed to, and wander around the continent visiting other packs until they find a place to settle down. In Europe, the packs are much more aggressive toward each other, so that would never work. That’s where the Travellers come in. It’s not mentioned in the book, but European packs throw huge parties to celebrate the first shifts of all their children. At those parties, European teens can fall into bed and get hustled off to a new pack when their parents find out, and inbreeding is avoided there too.



TQ:  Which character in the Silver series has surprised you the most?

Rhiannon:  Tom. For those not familiar with the series, Tom is an easy-going, puppyish Were in his early twenties by the time of Reflected. I wrote him into the beginning of Book 1 to perform a simple purpose, to humanize (heh) Andrew. Andrew had a pretty bad reputation with the majority of other characters because of past mistakes. I wanted to illustrate how someone who hadn’t heard about his past, in the person of Tom, would actually like him. And all my beta readers loved Tom! I purposely brought him back in Book 2 because he was so much fun to write, and that’s when I finally realized what people were reacting to. In a plot full of emotional tension and drama, it’s nice to have a mellow character who isn’t bothered. It’s a way of winking at the reader and saying “Yeah, they’ll get through this.”

He’d make a terrible protagonist, of course, because protagonists who don’t get upset encourage the readers not to react and get bored. But in Reflected, he’s graduated to an even more important role, being there for Felicia, who is a POV character, to bounce off of. When you have characters with a temper, a mellow character can be a perfect foil. So Tom, after being created for a single scene, is now one of the most important supporting characters in the series, and I had no idea it was going to happen.



TQ:  In the series so far who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why? Who is your favorite good 'guy', bad 'guy' or ethically ambiguous character?

Rhiannon:  The simplest answer is the easiest to write is any character who had a POV in a previous book. The hardest is any character that hasn’t had a POV yet. I write in close third, so getting deep into the thoughts of even a character that’s been upgraded from a bit part in a previous book is more of a quantum change than one might expect. It’s not that I have trouble getting characters’ voices into my head, or finding first draft words to put on the page, but I’ve discovered through experience that the voice I construct in my head needs translation before it comes through properly to first readers. I have trouble both directions—sometimes the nuances of the character in my mind don’t make it to the page, leaving them flat or boring to the readers. Sometimes I’m so concerned about making sure a particular personality trait comes through, I overplay it on the page. Either way, in the second draft the character in my head doesn’t change much, but the way I word that character on the page does. It’s tremendously frustrating when what you think you’re saying isn’t what people actually hear! But I’ve learned to trust it will get fixed in revision.

My favorite antagonist is a spoiler for Book 4, so I think I’ll go with my favorite bad guy instead. I’ve really enjoyed getting to write Raul, as someone who is manipulative by personality, rather than being violent or aggressive. Not that one kind of villain is necessarily more exciting than another for readers, but plotting out twisty manipulations is fun! I’ve also enjoyed showing him through Felicia’s eyes, because she grew up with him, so she saw his positive side: protective of his people, and trying to teach Felicia manipulation to protect herself.



TQ:  Why do you think makes werewolves so appealing? Which parts of werewolf mythology have you adopted and which have you changed?

Rhiannon:  It’s probably not the whole story, but I think part of what appeals about werewolves is how they mix qualities we culturally see as being in opposition. Nature vs. humans, control vs. wild urges. Their struggle is a metaphor for our struggle with those qualities. They appeal because it’s a struggle that can loom large in our lives. Personally, I decided to use werewolves as a different metaphor, since werewolves representing animal urges has been well covered by other authors. I’ve tried to make my werewolves represent the struggle between staying true to a minority culture or sub-culture and assimilating into the dominant culture.

To set that up, I did make a few changes to the common mythology. My Were are as science-based as I can make them. They are a separate species, so no human can be turned into one. They shift into full wolves, not a wolf-human hybrid monster. They don’t shift involuntarily, though shifting gets easier with the full moon. Their male-female ratio is roughly even, so as to have a breeding population. They also have their own culture and religion, and history going back thousands of years. They try to keep these secret while living among humans, allowing the metaphor I was talking about above.



TQ:  What's next?

Rhiannon:  The fourth book in the Silver series, as mentioned above, is all written, but my publisher is waiting to see how the third book sells before they decide whether to continue the series. So if you want to see more from these characters, recommend the first three to other folks! I have up to at least book six planned with the same set of characters, and probably more with a secondary character stepping up to carry the series. I have a few ideas for urban fantasy series in completely different universes percolating at the back of my mind, so we’ll see if people are interested in those when the time comes.

At this very moment I’m working on a project to please myself. It’s set in the same universe as the Silver series, with werewolves getting up to shenanigans in an 1870s mill town on the Puget Sound.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery!

Rhiannon:  It’s been so wonderful to get another chance to talk with you!





Silver

Reflected
Silver 3
Tor Books, February 18, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

Rhiannon Held continues the secret lives of the werewolf packs that live and hunt alongside human society in Reflected, the third book of the series that began with her debut novel, Silver. Silver and her mate Andrew Dare are pack leaders of the entire North American werewolf population, and that makes the more traditional packs in Europe very nervous indeed. It’s getting hard to hide from human surveillance.



Tarnished
Silver 2
Tor Books, May 21, 2013
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages
Tor Fantasy, December 31, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

Andrew Dare has found his mate in Silver, but they haven’t found the pack they can call home. Some of his old friends think he should return and challenge Roanoke for leadership of all the werewolf packs on the East Coast. But Andrew has baggage—his violent history with the packs of Spain and the rumors of his lack of control. And then there’s Silver—the werewolf who has lost her wild self to a monster’s assault, and who can no longer shift forms. But perhaps together they can overcome all the doubters.

The second book in Rhiannon Held's wonderful urban fantasy series, Tarnished plunges readers into the world of the shape-shifter packs who live hidden among us.



Silver
Silver 1
Tor Books, June 5, 2012
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages
Tor Fantasy, April 30, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

Urban fantasy takes a walk on the wild side with Rhiannon Held's remarkable debut.

Andrew Dare is a werewolf. He’s the enforcer for the Roanoke pack, and responsible for capturing or killing any Were intruders in Roanoke’s territory. But the lone Were he’s tracking doesn’t smell or act like anyone he’s ever encountered. And when he catches her, it doesn’t get any better. She’s beautiful, she’s crazy, and someone has tortured her by injecting silver into her veins. She says her name is Silver, and that she’s lost her wild self and can’t shift any more. The packs in North America have a live-and-let-live attitude and try not to overlap with each other. But Silver represents a terrible threat to every Were on the continent. Andrew and Silver will join forces to track down this menace while discovering their own power…and passion for each other.





About Rhiannon

Rhiannon Held is the author of the Silver series, an urban fantasy series from Tor. In her day job she works as a professional archaeologist. Unfortunately, given that it’s real rather than fictional archaeology, fedoras, bullwhips, aliens, and dinosaurs are in short supply. Most of her work is done on the computer, using databases to organize data, and graphics programs to illustrate it.


Website  ~   Facebook  ~  Twitter @RhiannonHeld








Sunday, June 17, 2012

2012 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June 2012

It's time for the 2012 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars for May 2012!




As part of this year's Debut Author Challenge I thought it would be fun to choose a favorite cover from each month's debut novels. At the end of the year the 12 monthly winners will be pitted against each other to choose the 2012 Debut Novel Cover of the Year. Please note that a debut novel cover is eligible in the month in which the novel is released in the US.

January 2012 Winner - Control Point (Shadow Ops 1) by Myke Cole. Cover Art by Mike Komarck.

February 2012 Winner - Dead Harvest (The Collector 1) by Chris F. Holm. Cover Art by Amazing 15.

March 2012 Winner - The Company of the Dead by David Kowalski, Cover Art by Amazing 15.

April 2012 Winner - Blackbirds (Miriam Black 1) by Chuck Wendig. Cover Art by Joey Hi-Fi.

May 2012 Winner - Nightshifted (Edie Spence 1) by Cassie Alexander. Cover art by Aleta Rafton.


For June you have 5 covers to choose from.













 



Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Interview with Rhiannon Held - June 5, 2012

Please welcome Rhiannon Held to The Qwillery. Rhiannon's debut novel, Silver, is published today. Happy Publication Day to Rhiannon!


TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Rhiannon:  Writers are quirky people, so it has a lot of competition for most interesting, but I like to listen to the same song on repeat for a whole writing session of two hours or more. That way, I only have to find one song with the right mood. I often queue it up manually, so every three or four minutes pressing replay gives me an excuse to glance away from the word processor window and shake some words loose because I’m not concentrating on them for a moment.

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Rhiannon:  When it comes to my writing influences, I often feel like the child who’s described as a collection of body parts (your uncle’s nose, your mother’s eyes…). My love of beautiful imagery is influenced by authors like Jacqueline Carey and Patricia McKillip. I love Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin series for its treatment of a very rigid, hierarchical society, and the depth and complexity of the character relationships. In urban fantasy, I love Patricia Briggs for how she grounds her stories in the setting and Jim Butcher for his humor. Finally, perhaps an especially eclectic choice, I love Dick Francis’ mysteries for how he creates male protagonists who are extremely honorable, and we feel deep in their heads even though they’re not overly emotional.

And while it’s a recent discovery rather than a formative influence, I want to mention Mary Robinette Kowal’s Regency series (starting with Shades of Milk and Honey) as one of my favorite of all time. Since I have a female protagonist, I had to think quite a lot about making her strong, and Mary Robinette Kowal does that wonderfully without making her heroine seem like some kind of weird time-traveling transplant to that society.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Rhiannon:  I’m a mixture of both, but I probably fall more on the plotter side of the spectrum. I never formally outline, but I always plan out in my head the broad sweep of the book’s structure. So when I start writing, I know the ending and the high points of the middle. As I go along, I fill in more detail in chunks of the story as I near them. I write best each day if I’ve imagined the scene(s) in my head beforehand. There’s a concept I’ve heard in director’s commentaries for TV shows called “breaking” the episode, where the writers sit down and plan out a episode’s story before writing it. I sit down and break a novel, and then break sections, and then break the scenes. Along the way, I keep what minimal notes I need to so I don’t forget anything.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Rhiannon:  My biggest challenge is always the thing I haven’t learned how to do yet. Some things throughout the process are always more difficult than others—for instance, I’m not a visual thinker, so I have to think harder about my setting description than I do about my dialogue—but the real challenges are the new things I’m not sure how to approach. At the moment, I’m still a little in the learning curve for promoting my book. I’d consider that part of the writing process, the same way submitting is, because if you don’t submit or promote what you’ve written, no one will read it. I got lots of help from my awesome publicist and great advice from writer friends, but once you have a big pile of advice, it can also be a challenge to sort through it all. It’s impossible for one person to do everything at once, and what plays to one writer’s talents might not play to yours. I’m sure by the time I feel like I have a handle on promotion, I’ll have discovered some new challenge I hadn’t expected, and be busy learning that.

TQ:   Describe Silver in 140 characters or less.

Rhiannon:  I originally wrote a plot summary, but you can read that yourself in full form, so here goes for the spirit of the novel:

Werewolf culture, politics, and religion clash when an atheist hiding from his past meets a woman who walks with Death.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Silver?

Rhiannon:  NaNoWriMo inspired me to start writing seriously for the first time, but after that novel, I worked on short stories exclusively during my formative years. When I attended the Odyssey Writing Workshop, I confessed to Jeanne Cavelos that I thought my style might work for novels, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to take on a project that big. She told me to wait to write a novel until I couldn’t imagine not writing one. Some years later, I had a period of turmoil in my life, so I decided that a novel was exactly the kind of project I wanted to throw myself into. That was Silver.

That’s what made me decide to write a novel, but that particular novel had further inspiration. The character of Silver had come to me a little before, and I’d played around with using her in short story that never quite worked. That short story turned out to be more of an exercise in finding her voice, and then when I decided to throw myself into a novel, the character was ready and waiting for me. The idea of a werewolf who had been injected with silver and had religious visions really grabbed my imagination, and it intrigued me to be able to make it absolutely ambiguous whether the religion was real or not.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Silver?

Rhiannon:  I’ve branched into different areas for the later books, but for Silver, I think I spent the most time on making sure I got the setting as correct as possible for the parts of the book set on the East Coast. Maps helped me with an outline of the action—things like Google’s travel time estimates are lovely for calculating what time the next day characters should arrive at their destination and such things. Then I did a lot of talking to people who’ve lived in Virginia and the other locations for a local’s sense of where the best parks are, where the worst traffic is, that sort of thing.

TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? Hardest and why?

Rhiannon:  This is a great question for me, because my novel has two POV characters. One came to me easily, and the other was much harder. Silver, as I mentioned above, had been in my head from the very beginning. She had such an unusual voice that writing her often flowed, and was a joy. Andrew, on the other hand, suffered at first from being just a foil for Silver. I realized early on that he needed his own story and goals, but I got quite a ways into the first draft before I figured out what they were. Once I figured out Andrew’s past and how that drove him, I still had some challenges in translating his voice onto the page. Initial readers found him too much of an asshole in one draft, and too weak in another. By that point, the character in my head wasn’t changing, but how I expressed that on the page had to be tweaked until people saw what I did in my head.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Silver?

Rhiannon:  I think one of my favorite scenes is actually when we enter Silver’s POV for the first time. Having been injected with silver nitrate makes her see the world differently. She sees the spirit realm, or she hallucinates, depending on your point of view. As time goes on, Silver becomes a little more grounded, so that first scene is her perspective at its most beautiful, and dangerous. It was wonderful to write.

TQ:  What's next?

Rhiannon:  At the moment, I’m working on book 3 of the series. Book 2 has already been turned in. I’m hoping that the first three books will do so well that Tor will want to buy book 4 and onward. I’m still having a ton of fun with this world, and I have lots of different stories left that I want to tell. I plan to use different POV characters, rather than sticking with the same one or two for the whole series, which gives me a lot of breadth for exploring different characters. There’s also a whole world of different werewolf subcultures and religious sects out there to explore and clash against each other.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.


About Silver

Silver
Tom Doherty Associates/Tor Books, June 5, 2012
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

Andrew Dare is a werewolf. He’s the enforcer for the Roanoke pack, and responsible for capturing or killing any Were intruders in Roanoke’s territory. But the lone Were he’s tracking doesn’t smell or act like anyone he’s ever encountered. And when he catches her, it doesn’t get any better. She’s beautiful, she’s crazy, and someone has tortured her by injecting silver into her veins. She says her name is Silver, and that she’s lost her wild self and can’t shift any more.

The packs in North America have a live-and-let-live attitude, and try not to overlap with each other. But Silver represents a terrible threat to every Were on the continent.

Andrew and Silver will join forces to track down this menace while discovering their own power and their passion for each other.

Silver  - Publisher Page

Read the first couple of chapters of Silver


About Rhiannon

Rhiannon Held lives in Seattle, where she works as a professional archaeologist. Unfortunately, given that it's real rather than fictional archaeology, fedoras, bullwhips, aliens, and dinosaurs are in short supply. Most of her work is done on the computer, using databases to organize data, and graphics programs to illustrate it. SILVER is her first novel.

Rhiannon's Links

Website
Facebook
Twitter

Friday, June 01, 2012

2012 Debut Author Challenge - June 2012 Debuts



There are 5 debuts for June.  Please note that I use the publisher's publication date in the United States.

Take a good look at the covers. Voting for the your favorite June cover for the 2012 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place later this month.

The June debut authors and their novels are listed in alphabetical order by author (not book title or publication date). Pick one or more and let us know in the comments which one(s) you'll be reading. If I've missed any, let me know in the comments.


Beneath the Shadows
Author:  Sara Foster
Format:  Hardcover, 320 pages
Publisher:  Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books, June 5, 2012
Price:  $24.99
Language:  English
Genre: Gothic Suspense
ISBN:  978-0312643362
US Debut

In this thrilling gothic suspense debut by Sara Foster in the tradition of Rosamund Lupton and Sophie Hannah, a young mother searches Yorkshire's windswept moors for the truth behind her husband's mysterious disappearance.

THE ANSWERS ARE HIDING BENEATH THE SHADOWS

When Grace’s husband, Adam, inherits an isolated North Yorkshire cottage, they leave the bustle of London behind to try a new life. A week later, Adam vanishes without a trace, leaving their baby daughter, Millie, in her stroller on the doorstep. The following year, Grace returns to the tiny village on the untamed heath. Everyone—the police, her parents, even her best friend and younger sister—is convinced that Adam left her. But Grace, unable to let go of her memories of their love and life together, cannot accept this explanation. She is desperate for answers, but the slumbering, deeply superstitious hamlet is unwilling to give up its secrets. As Grace hunts through forgotten corners of the cottage searching for clues, and digs deeper into the lives of the locals, strange dreams begin to haunt her. Are the villagers hiding something, or is she becoming increasingly paranoid? Only as snowfall threatens to cut her and Millie off from the rest of the world does Grace make a terrible discovery. She has been looking in the wrong place for answers all along, and she and her daughter will be in terrible danger if she cannot get them away in time.


Silver
Author:  Rhiannon Held
Format: Trade Paperback, 320 pages
Publisher:  Tor Books, June 5, 2012
Price: $14.99
Language: English
Genre: Urban Fantasy
ISBN:  978-0765330376

Andrew Dare is a werewolf. He’s the enforcer for the Roanoke pack, and responsible for capturing or killing any Were intruders in Roanoke’s territory. But the lone Were he’s tracking doesn’t smell or act like anyone he’s ever encountered. And when he catches her, it doesn’t get any better. She’s beautiful, she’s crazy, and someone has tortured her by injecting silver into her veins. She says her name is Silver, and that she’s lost her wild self and can’t shift any more.

The packs in North America have a live-and-let-live attitude, and try not to overlap with each other. But Silver represents a terrible threat to every Were on the continent.

Andrew and Silver will join forces to track down this menace while discovering their own power and their passion for each other.


Green Light Delivery
Author:  Anne E. Johnson
Format: Trade Paperback
Publisher:  Candlemark & Gleam, June 19, 2012
Price: $19.95
Language: English
Genre: SciFi - Space Opera/Noir
ISBN:  9781936460281


Webrid is a carter, like his mother and grandfather before him. It’s not glamorous work, but it mostly pays the bills, and it gives him time to ogle the sexy women on the streets of Bexilla’s capital. Mostly, he buys and sells small goods and does the occasional transport run for a client.

Then he gets mugged by a robot.

Now, with a strange green laser implanted in his skull and a small fortune deposited in his bank account, Webrid has to make the most difficult delivery of his life. He doesn’t know who his client is, or what he’s carrying, but he knows that a whole lot of very dangerous people are extremely interested in what’s in his head. Literally. And they’ll do whatever it takes to get it.

With the help of some truly alien friends, a simple carter will journey across worlds to deliver his cargo. And hopefully keep his head in the process.

Green Light Delivery is a fascinating, fresh take on sci-fi that pairs the nonstop action and intrigue of Raymond Chandler’s noir novels with a completely alien setting, spanning worlds and introducing us to creatures with a hundred ears, poisonous bones, or radial symmetry instead of bilateral. It’s full of adventure and humour, and will satisfy anyone looking for a space opera that’s a little out there.


Osiris
Author:  E.J. Swift
Series:   Osiris Project 1
Format:  Hardcover, 400 pages
Publisher:  Night Shade Books, June 5, 2012
Price:  $26.99
Language:  English
Genre:  SciFi
ISBN:  978-1-59780-417-2

Nobody leaves Osiris. Osiris is a lost city. She has lost the world and world has lost her . . .

Rising high above the frigid waters, the ocean city of Osiris has been cut off from the land since the Great Storm fifty years ago. Most believe that Osiris is the last city on Earth, while others cling to the idea that life still survives somewhere beyond the merciless seas. But for all its inhabitants, Citizens and refugees alike, Osiris is the entire world--and it is a world divided.

Adelaide is the black-sheep granddaughter of the city's Architect. A jaded socialite and family miscreant, she wants little to do with her powerful relatives--until her troubled twin brother disappears mysteriously. Convinced that he is still alive, she will stop at nothing to find him, even if it means uncovering long-buried secrets.

Vikram, a third-generation storm refugee quarantined with thousands of others in the city's impoverished western sector, sees his own people dying of cold and starvation while the elite of Osiris ignore their plight. Determined to change things, he hopes to use Adelaide to bring about much-needed reforms--but who is using who?

As another brutal winter brings Osiris closer to riot and revolution, two very different people, each with their own agendas, will attempt to bridge the gap dividing the city, only to find a future far more complicated than either of them ever imagined.

Osiris is the beginning of an ambitious new science fiction trilogy exploring a near-future world radically transformed by rising seas and melting poles.


The Age of Miracles 
Author:  Karen Thompson Walker
Format:  Hardcover, 288 pages
Publisher:  Random House, June 26, 2012
Price:  $26.00
Language:  English
Genre: SciFi - Dystopia
ISBN978-0-8129-9297-7

With a voice as distinctive and original as that of The Lovely Bones, and for the fans of the speculative fiction of Margaret Atwood, Karen Thompson Walker’s The Age of Miracles is a luminous, haunting, and unforgettable debut novel about coming of age set against the backdrop of an utterly altered world.

“It still amazes me how little we really knew. . . . Maybe everything that happened to me and my family had nothing at all to do with the slowing. It’s possible, I guess. But I doubt it. I doubt it very much.”

On a seemingly ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, Julia and her family awake to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow. The days and nights grow longer and longer, gravity is affected, the environment is thrown into disarray. Yet as she struggles to navigate an ever-shifting landscape, Julia is also coping with the normal disasters of everyday life—the fissures in her parents’ marriage, the loss of old friends, the hopeful anguish of first love, the bizarre behavior of her grandfather who, convinced of a government conspiracy, spends his days obsessively cataloging his possessions. As Julia adjusts to the new normal, the slowing inexorably continues.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Guest Blog by Rhiannon Held - Reverses

Please welcome Rhiannon Held to The Qwillery as part of the 2012 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. Silver, Rhiannon's debut, will be published in June.



Reverses

     As an urban fantasy author, I often deal with coworkers and the like who are unfamiliar with speculative fiction and who have trouble understanding the distinction between urban fantasy and paranormal romance. Do I write books like that one author with the vampires that are just soft core porn?? (I am always tempted to respond: which one?) I’m squarely on the urban fantasy side of the sub-genre divide, but that’s sometimes hard to explain since my novel also has romantic elements. I’m always working on a better way to convey the differences.

     My personal definition of the distinction between urban fantasy and paranormal romance was originally a little like the old joke “do you want a little burger with that ketchup?” where either plot or sex is the ketchup, depending on who’s reading it. Which do you want as the dominant part of the meal, and which serves to flavor and enhance (but not overwhelm) the other? And that’s definitely the main difference, but in some cases there’s more to it than that, I think.

     Over the years, I’ve read a paranormal romance here and there, though urban fantasy is generally my taste for reading as well as writing. I wouldn’t want to generalize those books to the entire sub-genre, but I did notice something interesting about those in particular: their romantic arcs were full of reverses.

     What I mean by reverses is this: when everything seems doomed to failure, and then destined for success, and then doomed to failure, and then destined for success…I differentiate it from the kind of romantic arc one usually sees in urban fantasy, which doesn’t have the back and forth. Everything seems pretty damn difficult or even hopeless until the final obstacle is cleared, and success is achieved.

     For example. A romantic arc full of reverses might go something like this: Jane the protagonist has the hots for the Werebadger king, but his council forbids boinking humans. But maybe he doesn’t have the hots for her! But she finds out he does! But she sees him kissing another woman! But she finds out that woman was fey and ensorcelled him! But maybe ensorcelling doesn’t work without some attraction to begin with! But--!

     And that’s when my neck feels a little sore from whiplash.

     To some degree, I would expect that a romantic arc that’s the flavoring rather than the meal would be a little simpler—who has time for reverses when you’re desperately hunting down goblins, tracking them to their master, and closing his doom gate? But what interests me instead is comparing a dominant romantic arc to a dominant plot arc.

     Plot arcs seem to me to more often have setbacks, rather than reverses. The doom gate isn’t where our mystical calculations said it would be! Perhaps our heroes feel demoralized, but seeing as they’re heroes, they start looking for the doom gate somewhere else. In contrast, after a romantic reverse, it’s all about self-doubt. Maybe it’s better for the Werebadger king if Jane leaves him alone. Maybe he is only playing with her. The heroine has to fight to decide what her goal should even be (fight to keep him or forget him), not how to accomplish it or whether to give up. That’s why I call it a reverse instead of a setback.

     In thinking over the plots of the urban fantasy novels I’ve read lately, I can’t think of a single one that had more than one reverse, and most had none. There are cases of single reverses: the hero is betrayed by an ally, perhaps, so suddenly he or she has to change sides, and spend some time reevaluating their goal (fight for or against?). But the multiple reverses just aren’t there.

     I think the cause of this is partially what kind of obstacles are available in the environment around the characters. It’s easy to keep your characters from locking lips during their coffee date if the goblins burst up from the drains, whereas sans goblins, you’re left with something like making Jane hold back because she’s worrying how sincere the Werebadger king is.

     In a way, that’s a false cause, though. Authors build their novels’ environments, so if they want sewer goblins, they can put in sewer goblins. A fantasy romance novel I read with no reverses at all that I can remember got a lot of the tension by the heroine being kidnapped by an evil djinn. She didn’t need to see her lover kissing another woman when they were locked apart by the harem doors.

     So I think there’s a difference in kind as well as degree between urban fantasy romantic elements and a particular kind of romantic plot arc. It’s a matter of taste whether a reader enjoys and expects setbacks or multiple reverses, and I think they’re different enough that getting one when you want the other can be frustrating. But recognizing that it’s not the same even though it all has sex in it somewhere (and really, who doesn’t like sex?) can definitely be helpful.


About Silver

Silver
Tom Doherty Associates/Tor Books, June 5, 2012
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

Andrew Dare is a werewolf. He’s the enforcer for the Roanoke pack, and responsible for capturing or killing any Were intruders in Roanoke’s territory. But the lone Were he’s tracking doesn’t smell or act like anyone he’s ever encountered. And when he catches her, it doesn’t get any better. She’s beautiful, she’s crazy, and someone has tortured her by injecting silver into her veins. She says her name is Silver, and that she’s lost her wild self and can’t shift any more.

The packs in North America have a live-and-let-live attitude, and try not to overlap with each other. But Silver represents a terrible threat to every Were on the continent.

Andrew and Silver will join forces to track down this menace while discovering their own power and their passion for each other.
Preorder

Silver  - Publisher Page

Read the first couple of chapters of Silver


About Rhiannon

Rhiannon Held lives in Seattle, where she works as a professional archaeologist. Unfortunately, given that it's real rather than fictional archaeology, fedoras, bullwhips, aliens, and dinosaurs are in short supply. Most of her work is done on the computer, using databases to organize data, and graphics programs to illustrate it. SILVER is her first novel.

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