Sunday, March 21, 2010

Celebrate the release of Werewolf Smackdown by Mario Acevedo - Contests

We're having a caption contest to celebrate the release of the 5th book in the Felix Gomez series by Mario Acevedo, Werewolf Smackdown.  Here's what you do: Caption the photo. Post your caption in the comments. We'll pick what we in all our subjectivity think is the best caption.   If you don't want to caption there are also some goodies that you can win by commenting.

For captioners only:  The author of the caption that is picked will receive all 5 (that's right all 5) Felix Gomez novels. The first 4 will be MMPB and Werewolf Smackdown will be a Trade paperback. In addition the winner will receive a large Red Devil Duckie and Silver Bullet Mints.

But wait, there's more! If you don't want to participate in the caption contest, you can comment and have the chance to win a MMPB of The Nymphos of Rocky Flats, a little Red Devil Duckie, and Silver Bullet Mints. And for just those folks commenting without captioning, you can get extra entries for Tweeting, Facebooking and mentioning it on your blog for a possible total of 4 entries to win the The Nymphos of Rocky Flats, little duckie, and the mints.

Caption this photo, which is from the 1941 movie The Wolf Man:

The particulars:

The caption contest is open to all humans on the planet earth who have a mailing address. You may post more than one caption.

The comments only contest is open to all humans on the planet earth who have a mailing address. For those just commenting you will have your name placed in the receptacle for your comment. If you retweet or mention the contest on your blog or Facebook, you get addtional entries for a possible total of 4 entries (comment, Tweet, FB, and blog). Please leave a link in your comments so that we can see that you Tweeted, FBed or blogged.

These giveaways end on March 29, 2010 at 11:59 PM Eastern Time so get your captions and comments in by then.

The Goodies:

The Nymphos of Rocky Flats (Felix Gomez 1)

Back home in the States, the reluctantly undead former infantryman pays penance for his war-time sins—making a living as a private detective able to unravel mysteries that baffle his mortal counterparts. Now an old friend has asked him to investigate a bizarre outbreak of nymphomania at the secret government facilities in Rocky Flats, Colorado. Normally, Felix's unorthodox—and downright supernatural—methods of extracting information are foolproof. But this time his efforts inadvertently stoke the lustful fires smoldering within the bodacious babes he's interrogating . . . while eliciting cryptic mentions of Roswell and a top-secret Project Redlight.

P.I. Felix Gomez has finally landed a case he can really sink his teeth into. But when shadowy government agents and determined Eastern European vampire hunters get stirred in, this deadly goulash of tight lips and rampant libidos boils over . . .

X-Rated Bloodsuckers (Felix Gomez 2)

When Felix Gomez returned from the War in Iraq with a disdain for daylight and a raging thirst for blood, he knew he couldn't settle for an ordinary 9-to-5 job. So after his discharge, the newly undead ex-infantryman chose the career that he felt best suited his vampiric tendencies: private detective.

Now he's been approached by sexy porn star Katz Meow, who wants Felix to investigate the murder of her once-equally agile friend and fellow toiler in the video sex-biz, Roxy Bronze. But his investigation into L.A.'s hardcore jungle is turning into a triple x-rated nightmare populated by hot babes, sleazy producers, sleazier politicians, sham evangelicals, and fanatical secret societies. And here on the seamy underside of Tinseltown, “immortal” doesn't necessarily mean “unkillable.”

The Undead Kama-Sutra (Felix Gomez 3)

Ex-infantryman Felix Gomez came back from Iraq decidedly undead. Back home in Denver, he embarked upon a new career where nighttime work is the norm: private investigator. Since then, he's managed to survive lustful extraterrestrials, manic nymphomaniacs, and x-rated bloodsuckers, while satisfying his own unorthodox hungers with blood-laced Mexican food.

But some thirsts aren't as easily assuaged, and that's where "The Undead Kama Sutra" comes in—a hands-on manual that illustrates how sex can help a lonely vampire increase his psychic energies. Felix's search for missing parts of the coveted manuscript is, of course, purely professional. And now the dying words of an alien interloper ("Find Goodman and save Earth's women!") are thrusting the immortal (if he's lucky) P.I. and a bodacious undead sexpert, Carmen Arellano, into a seamy mess of otherworldly abductions, shady military irregularities, and unexplained murder.

Jailbait Zombie (Felix Gomez 4)

Vampires versus Zombies, round one . . .
Vampire detective Felix Gomez has seen a lot of weird things since becoming one of the undead—nymphomaniacs, aliens, and X-rated bloodsuckers, just to name a few—but now he comes face-to-face with the worst sort of undead.

To stop a ravenous army of zombies, Gomez must team up with a precocious teen with clairvoyant powers whose cooperation comes at a price: she won't help unless Felix makes her a vampire . . . if the zombies don't get her first.

Werewolf Smackdown (Felix Gomez 5)

Felix Gomez, Latino vampire detective extraordinaire, tackles a dangerous werewolf cabal in the fifth installment in Mario Acevedo's satirical supernatural series

A sure-to-be-bloody civil war is brewing between rival werewolf factions, and P.I . Felix Gomez will do anything he can to make sure it doesn't explode into a vicious battle that engulfs all creatures, living and dead.

Between that, the sudden reappearance of an ex-girlfriend, and a gang of other vampires trying to take off his head, this is one rumble even a fanged detective extraordinaire may not be able to handle.

 The large Red Devil Duckie and Silver Bullet Mints (cause you never know when you need protection from werewolves):

Please note that the little Red Devil Duckie looks like the large Red Devil Duckie, it's just littler.

Other Mario Contests and Sightings

Mario is also featured in Authors Who Game at The interview is here.

Werewolf! Free stuff!!!! What more could you want??? Check it out, peeps! It's a special edition of The Hollow Fang: 

A tiny bit of Spring

As many of you know, astronomical Spring started at 1:32 PM EDT on the 20th of March. My gardens agree.

Happy Spring!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Winners! Diana Rowland's Kara Gillian Series

We've picked two winners! Why? Because the wonderful Diana Rowland threw in a prize. The first name picked will recieve Mark of the Demon and Blood of the Demon SIGNED by Diana Rowland.  The second name picked will receive both books as well, but alas they will not be signed.

Without further ado -

1) The signed books go to Jackie (Literary Escapism).

2) The books go to Rayna Scherer.

Please contact me at TheQwillery over at with your addresses so that we may get your books out to you!

Thank you to everyone who participated. Your comments about what you look for in a book review were great!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Book Reviews - What Do You Look For in a Review?

I've been thinking about book reviews lately. I'm trying to figure out what makes a really good review. First and foremost, I believe that a reviewer should express an honest opinion about a book. Second, I want to know a bit about the book, but not too much. I don't like spoilers.

I also think that certain basics should be included: 1) story POV; 2) main characters, and 3) genre or genres.

Is it necessary to have a rating system - 1 to 5 stars, for example? Should the covers be mentioned?

What do you think? What do you look for in a review?

And because I'm in a good mood, I'll give away to one commenter the first 2 books of Diana Rowland's Kara Gillian series:

When Homicide Detective Kara Gillian finds traces of arcane power on a body, she quickly realizes that this is no ordinary murder. The serial killer known as the Symbol Man is a nightmare that Beaulac, Louisiana thought had ended three years ago, but now he's back for an encore and leaving every indication on the flesh of his victims that he is well-versed in demonic lore.

However, Kara is a Summoner of Demons, and may be the only cop on the city's small force who can stop the killer. Able to see and interact with a world most people can't, Kara must draw on her skills as a police officer and master of the arcane to stop the Symbol Man from killing again and possibly summoning something even she can't control.

But with a demonic lord of unearthly beauty and power haunting her dreams, and a handsome yet disapproving FBI agent dogging her waking footsteps, she may be in way over her head....

The serial killer known as the Symbol Man has been dealt with, the demonic lord Rhyzkahl is no longer invading her dreams, and Detective Kara Gillian is doing her best to get her life back to normal after being kind of dead for a while.

Unfortunately, there's little about Kara's life that is ever normal or simple. As a skilled summoner of demons, she's hoping to use her arcane abilities to retrieve her aunt's essence and restore it to her body. But when Kara discovers that FBI Agent Ryan Kristoff is somehow known to the demonkind--and not in a good way--old doubts surface and new problems emerge. Moreover, her investigations into the deaths of several seemingly unrelated victims reveal disturbing links to the arcane, with unsettling similarities to her own situation.

But matters get more complicated when she discovers other links between the victims, leading her into a morass of political corruption. And it doesn't help that Rhyzkahl has asked her to be his own summoner, a commitment that could have quite a few advantages and plenty of pitfalls. Politics--whether among humans or demons--is a dangerous game with very high stakes, and Kara is learning that lesson the hard way.

The particulars - The giveaway is open to all humans on the planet earth. Get your comments in by March 16, 2010 at 11:59 PM Eastern Time. If you tweet the giveaway, we’ll put your name in for the tweet as well. You can tweet as much as you like, but it only counts once. If you also mention the giveaway on Facebook, we’ll add your name again. You can mention it on Facebook a zillion times, but you only get one extra entry. Mention it on your blog and you get another entry. So you can get your name placed in the receptacle a maximum of 4 times (comment, tweet, FB mention, blog mention). Provide us links in the comments so we know that you tweeted or Facebooked or blogged about it.

And for the curious, here is a picture of the receptacle that we use:

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Anton Strout Giveaway & Rob Thurman Giveaway - Results

The winner of the Simon Canderous series by Anton Strout plus the Department of Extraordinary Affairs mug and pin plus lifesavers is Amanda Leigh.

The winner of the first 4 Cal Leandros books by Rob Thurman is lightk.

Please contact TheQwillery at gmail with your snail mail address.

A big thank you to everyone who participated!  Look for another giveaway in a couple of days or perhaps even tomorrow!

Monday, March 01, 2010

Interview with Anton Strout and Goodies

Welcome to The Qwillery! Today's guest is Anton Strout, the author of the Simon Canderous series.

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

Anton: Probably my lack of pants. No, wait… scratch that. Hmmm… I’d probably say the various ways in which I can work. Like, I know some people who can only work in silence at home on their machine in their office with no distractions. I can do that, too, but only at a certain point in the process when I’m deep in a continuity pass on the manuscript. I rough draft by hand on my commute into the city, an hour in and an hour out. I then tend to watch tv while entering those words into the computer, where I make a first editorial pass. A lot of time I find the distractions help me pull details out of the ether to fill in scenes, characters and descriptions. Hopefully I’m not watching a Seinfeld marathon when that happens…

TQw: Who are some of your favorite writers? and who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Anton: I think I wanted to write because of Douglas Adams. It was such a lovely mix of humor and the fantastical that I wished I could do that too. And although I see him knocked a lot, Stephen King has been an inspiration, especially when it comes to writing the darker scenes. I admire his ability to slap down a character and totally have you get them in seconds. If I could take his blood, bottle it drink of his powers I would, but I think I’d only end up pissing his wife off…

TQw: What inspired you to write your first novel?

Anton: Well, my first novel is something I wrote when I was 17. It was hands down a rip off of the Frank Miller era of Daredevil and I just thought it would be fun to try. And it was. Years later when I looked at it, I think I bled from my eyes at how bad it was. Like straight up fan fiction. It was set in New York even, when the only time I had been there was on a class trip to see A Chorus Line. My New York back then was laughable to read, and not in the good laughable way either.

TQw: Will you or have you written any books/stories about other characters in the Simonverse?

Anton: I have written several short stories that are out in various anthologies that tie in to the Simonverse. In The Dimension Next Door, I have a story concerning the necromantic activities of one Benjamin Franklin, which is referenced several times throughout my books as a historical fact recorded in their archives. There’s also the tale of head archivist Godfrey Candella and the loss of a special pet in Zombie Raccoons & Killer Bunnies. I consider these to be like DVD extras that give a little more insight into the rich history of both the Department of Extraordinary Affairs and the Fraternal Order of Goodness. There are some other stories I’d like to tell from other perspectives, but right now I’m focused on writing the books that are selling.

TQw: What types of music do you listen to? What music does Simon like?

Anton: I’m all over the place. If I’m writing I like a nice background loop of music. It frees up another part of my brain to get writing. For that, I usually use some Philip Glass or some techno or electronic. The Matrix soundtrack works quite well. My favorite band to listen to personally are The Mighty, Mighty Bosstones… I like some good punk guitar with a horn section behind it. I even have a book about an old ska band that I’d like to get sold, but I haven’t had time to get back to it with all the success of the Simon series… boo hoo. Poor me, right?

As to what Simon likes, I think he likes a lot of music that comes from the downtown New York scene. You can’t live in SoHo and not be caught up in the local music.

TQw: Who would you pick to play Simon in the Simon Canderous TV series should there ever be a series?

Anton: After seeing him on SNL, I actually think Zach Efron would make a good Simon. Also an old college friend of mine, Kevin Shinick, would be fun to see in the role. He’s a writer for Robot Chicken now, but some people may remember him as Commander Kevin on the PBS game show Where In Time Is Carmen SanDiego? At this point, I’d just love to see it come to television. Given the popularity of Law & Order: Special Everything Unit and CSI, I think a paranormal cop show would be a hit out of the part.

TQw: Why did you set the series in New York City?

Anton: The honest answer is that I am inherently lazy. I live and work there, so to me researching my books is as simple as stepping out of the door. Also, it’s an amazing place. There’s so much life to it, so much personality. It’s hard to imagine that there’s not a ghost, zombie or vampire lurking in every dark shadow… and believe me, there are a LOT of dark shadows there.

TQw: Do you and Simon have anything in common?

Anton: In many ways, I think I’d try to laugh my way through the daily horrors he has to contend with, but I am also a far bigger coward than he is.

The one thing we have in common is probably the hypoglycemia he experiences after using his powers. His blood sugar drops rapidly from his psychometric visions, and as a diabetic, I am prone to dealing with that same sensation from time to time.

TQw: What's next?

Anton: Just as book three in the series, Dead Matter, drops, I have to turn in book four. I also owe a few short stories to some anthologists out there. I also have some other ideas I’d like to develop—some adult, some YA—but I need to sit down and actually find the time to flesh them out. As far as future books set in the Simonverse, only sales on books three and four will tell if there will be more.

TQw: Thank you for being with us at The Qwillery today!

Now for the goodies! One commenter will win

1) All three Simon Canderous books, which have been signed by Anton:
Welcome to the Department of Extraordinary Affairs Other Division- New York's answer to the underfunded world of paranormal investigation. It’s a job caught up in red tape, memos, and office politics, but its becoming par for the course for recent recruit Simon Canderous. After a life of petty crime and twenty four years of watching his power of psychometry—the ability to divine information solely by touching an object—destroy any chance of a real relationship, he’s joined the forces of Good hoping to gain some control. But when the mysterious ghost of a recently dead woman shows up at the Lovecraft Café, he and his mentor must figure out how she fits into a nefarious plot involving the cultists rights movement, a large wooden fish, and the forces of Darkness crushing on him.

It's hard to catch a break when you're the woefully underfunded Department of Extraordinary Affairs's lone psychometrist. In the aftermath of a nefarious plot by some lowdown, dirty cultists, Simon's hoping New York City's paranormal scene will stay quiet for awhile...but the uncanny has an uncanny knack for ruining Simon's day. When a Hudson River booze cruise sails into port full of bodies--drained of blood, no less--Simon thinks he may soon be hearing a lot of the dreaded V word (vampires), as well as the dreaded P word (paperwork). And if things weren't hectic enough at the DEA, his girlfriend is studying technomancy a little too closely with her boss, his mentor seems to be hiding something from him, and a dangerous flame from his criminal past has blown into town and threatens to make his life a living hell unless he helps her out with one last art heist. Oubliettes, living statues, Illinois gypsies, more zombies that you can shake a retractable steel bat at... it's all just another day at the office for Simon Canderous. 

When the paranormal raises its otherworldy head in New York City, the Department of Extraordinary Affairs executes a flawless, stick-the-landing smackdown. That’s the idea anyway, and Agent Simon Canderous can usually count on help from his mentor, Connor Christos. But Connor’s left Simon to handle a double case load as he cashes in on five years worth of saved vacation time. Simon suspects that Connor isn’t Club Medding so much as Club Deading it up—investigating the disappearance of his long lost brother.

Simon especially needs Connor when the spirit populace of Manhattan is shaken and stirred by someone intruding on their well-deserved R.I.P. But Connor’s relentless ghost whispering has sent him off the deep end; he’s haunted every night by visions of his brother’s ghost at his window. Simon’s partner may be going crazy—or worse, maybe he’s not...

Dead Matter has received 4 1/2 Stars and was a TOP PICK! from RT Book Reviews (March 2010).

2) An official Department of Extraordinary Affairs Mug:

3) An Official Department of Extraordinary Affairs Pin:

and 4) Lifesavers!

So here is what you have to do to have the chance to win all those goodies: leave a comment. Names will be placed in a receptable of our choice and one pulled out to win the goodies. But wait! You can get more entries! If you tweet the contest, we’ll put your name in for the tweet as well. You can tweet as much as you like, but it only counts once. If you also mention the contest on Facebook, we’ll add your name again. You can mention it on Facebook a zillion times, but you only get one extra entry. You can also get an entry for mentioning it on your blog. So you can get your name placed in the receptacle a maximum of 4 times (comment, tweet, FB mention, blog mention). Provide us a link in the comments so we know that you tweeted or Facebooked or blog mentioned.

Please note this giveaway is only open to those of you with a US mailing address.

Contest ends on March 7th at 11:59 PM Eastern Time.

You can find Anton as his internet home Undead Approved, on Facebook and Twitter and at The League of Reluctant Adults.