Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Interview with Lou Morgan and Giveaway - July 31, 2012

Please welcome Lou Morgan to The Qwillery. Lou's debut, Blood and Feathers, is out today in the United States/Canada.  It's out in the United Kingdom on August 2, 2012. London may have the Olympics but we've got Blood and Feathers. Go and get it. Now. I'll wait. And Happy Publication Day to Lou!

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

Lou:  I've got my fair share of quirks… I'm not sure how many of them are particularly interesting, though! I like to know character backstories, so I usually write a few of those before I do anything else: a couple of pages of a notebook, usually - nothing too big, but enough to give me a feel for who they are. I do keep a notebook where I try to put everything: plot points, notes, snippets of dialogue, an entire section for working through plot holes or things that need to be thrashed out in more detail… The notebook for Blood and Feathers is bright pink, which makes it pretty easy to find, at least!

I've also developed the terrible habit of coming up with dialogue (or solving problems) in the bath… and since the Great Soggy Notebook Episode of last November, now keep one of those slightly ludicrous "waterproof" notebooks by the bath. No doubt I'll be testing just how waterproof it really is before too long…

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

Lou:  In terms of favourites, I've got a lot! I love Michael Marshall Smith's work in any of his assorted guises (including Michael Marshall and MM Smith), and he's certainly been a long-standing influence. Neil Gaiman is also influential for me - particularly with Sandman and American Gods. Those are probably two of the easiest to single out, although like all writers, I'm influenced to some degree by just about everything I've ever read. In terms of more general favourites, I love what Sarah Pinborough has been doing with her most recent books, and I'm a sucker for a short story by Ray Bradbury or Robert Bloch. I'm also a huge fan of Audrey Niffenegger - especially The Time Traveler's Wife - and Joanne Harris. I read quite a bit of YA, too, and I've got a lot of love for Will Hill's Department 19 series.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Lou:  A bit of both, I suppose. I like to have a fairly good idea of where I'm going, and to have rough guide to what goes where, but beyond that I'm a fairly free-range writer. It's a bit like taking a road trip: as long as I've got the route sketched out, and a couple of hotel rooms booked along the way where I know I can take a bath and get a good night's sleep, I'm pretty relaxed about how I get from one to the next.

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

Lou:  I'm not the most disciplined creature: it's incredibly easy to distrac…. Sorry. But you see my point. I get sidetracked very quickly. It takes me a while to feel my way back into writing at the start of a session: once I've got going, especially on a faster-paced bit, I'm usually alright, but until I've managed that, there's a terrible temptation to wander round the house and stare out of windows.

TQ:  Describe Blood and Feathers in 140 characters or less.

Lou:  Alice doesn't know it yet, but she's about to go through hell. The balance is tipping, and the angels are coming. Be afraid.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Blood and Feathers?

Lou:  It started off as a couple of ideas rattling round my head: there was a young woman who was in therapy, a disgraced angel, and the image which eventually became the prologue to the whole thing: teeth. Eventually, they all came together into one big idea, and that turned into Blood and Feathers. I've always been interested in angels and in the idea of portraying them as warriors, and somehow, all those things just fitted together to make a story.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Blood and Feathers?

Lou:  I did quite a lot of research on angels, although I knew I wanted to come up with my own mythology rather than build on too much of the existing angel lore. Even if you're going to completely throw what's gone before out of the window, you still need to know about it. So I read a lot of general background on angels and Enochian and things like that, as well as re-reading Paradise Lost and Dante's Inferno. There was a fair amount of research involved in Mallory's gun, too - even down to picking the one that felt right for him. (In the end, he wound up with a Colt .45 M1911 - which, interestingly enough, the Marines have just re-selected as their sidearm.)

There were also a few weird and wonderful things I looked into on a more minor level: the ones that stand out were how to clip birds' wings, cold-branding and electrical burns. Basically, my browser history is a mess.

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

Lou:  They all had their own challenges! Vin was great to write, partly because I knew exactly how he should sound, and I always enjoyed it when Mallory was around - he probably became my favourite, along with Abbadona, one of the Fallen. The latter has absolutely no filter - he says pretty much whatever he wants - so he was a blast.

The hardest was almost certainly Lucifer, because… well, Lucifer. Talk about pressure.

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

Lou:  I'm quite fond of the scene where Alice comes face to face with her first Archangel, because the angel in question has always been a favourite of mine, and being able to write my own version of him was both intimidating and a lot of fun.

There's also one set during and in the aftermath of a bar-fight, which I like because it tells you a lot about Mallory: it sort of sums up the contradiction at the heart of him.

TQ:  What's next?

Lou:  At the moment, I'm working on the follow-up to Blood and Feathers, which will be called Blood and Feathers: Rebellion and published next summer. I've also got a couple of short stories coming out over the next few months - one in the Solaris Magic anthology, which I'm particularly excited about because the line-up also includes two of those favourite authors of mine: Audrey Niffenegger and Will Hill - so I can't quite believe my luck at being involved! The other story is a slightly creepy circus story being published in a PS Publishing anthology called A Carnivale of Horror: Dark Tales from the Fairground, and that's another one with an amazing line-up of contributors. There's some other things going on in the background as well, which I can't talk about yet (because I'm annoying) so it looks like the rest of the year's going to be pretty busy… in a good way!

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Lou:  Thanks for having me!

Blood and Feathers

Blood and Feathers
Blood and Feathers 1
Solaris, July 31, 2012 (US and Canada)
August 2, 2012 (UK)
Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

"What's the first thing you think of when I say 'angel'?" asked Mallory. Alice shrugged. "I don't know... guns?"

Alice isn't having the best of days. She was late for work, she missed her bus, and now she's getting rained on. What she doesn't know is that her day's about to get worse: the epic, grand-scale kind of worse that comes from the arrival of two angels who claim everything about her life is a lie.

The war between the angels and the Fallen is escalating; the age-old balance is tipping, and innocent civilians are getting caught in the cross-fire. If the balance is to be restored, the angels must act - or risk the Fallen taking control. Forever.

That’s where Alice comes in. Hunted by the Fallen and guided by Mallory - a disgraced angel with a drinking problem and a whole load of secrets - Alice will learn the truth about her own history… and why the angels want to send her to hell.

What do the Fallen want from her? How does Mallory know so much about her past? What is it the angels are hiding - and can she trust either side?

Caught between the power plays of the angels and Lucifer himself, it isn't just hell's demons that Alice will have to defeat...

Blood and Feathers: Rebellion (Blood and Feathers 2) will be published in 2013!

About Lou

Lou Morgan grew up in Wales, before moving to London to study medieval literature at UCL. She now lives in Brighton with her husband and son.

Her first novel, BLOOD AND FEATHERS will be published by Solaris Books in August 2012 with the sequel, BLOOD AND FEATHERS: REBELLION to follow in 2013.

She wastes a lot of time on Twitter as @LouMorgan, and occasionally commits short fiction.

The Giveaway


What:  One commenter will win a signed (and personalized) copy of Blood and Feathers and a bookmark from Lou!!

How:  Leave a comment answering ONE of the following question:

What is the most recent book you've read that you would recommend?
Favorite novel that features angels?

Please remember - if you don't answer one of the questions your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1)   Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2)   Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3)   Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. You MUST leave a way to contact you.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Tuesday, August 7, 2012. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

Monday, July 30, 2012

Guest Blog by G.T. Almasi - The Fast American Novel

Please welcome G.T. Almasi to The Qwillery as part of the 2012 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. Blades of Winter (Shadowstorm 1) will be published on August 28, 2012.

The Fast American Novel.
Today’s high-speed digitalia leaves books in the dust.

Look at that kitten swallowing a lawnmower! American Idol marathon! Boom! More explosions! Faster! Too slow; I’m already on Facebook! What? Can’t hear you; I’m in Call of Duty! Aw, man, that noob tea-bagged me! Watch this video of my dog snoring Mozart! My ex-girlfriend’s mom’s new husband’s stepson just went to jail! I didn’t know Romney was a Martian! The Crown Prince of Nigeria has a real estate deal for me! Look at that kitten barfing up a lawnmower!

       The daily flood of viral memes, videos, eye candy, social posts, highlights and sound bites comes at us from so many places, in such volume, and at such high speeds, that fewer and fewer people are making time for traditional mediums such as books and magazines. The sad truth is that for many would-be readers, printed material takes too long to get to the point.

      I regularly read books, and I love them dearly, but I can still relate to this desire for fast-paced story-telling. I often found myself longing for a book as exciting as a Hollywood action movie, as colorful as a graphic novel, and as engrossing as a climactic boss fight.

       I feel the read for speed.

       Since none of my favorite authors stepped up to the plate, I eventually decided to take a shot at writing it myself. Jumping off from precedents such as Eye of the Needle, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Snowcrash, La Femme Nikita, The Terminator, Pulp Fiction, Gears of War, Call of Duty, and the Elder Scrolls games, I launched my bid to write the world’s fastest novel.

       Leave the poems, take the cannolli.

       Inspired by magazines and web sites, I arranged the book into two intertwined sections. The main chapters tell the story without getting bogged down in long descriptions of people, places, and things. Between the chapters are short articles, government memos, and data files that provide additional depth and context. Readers can choose how much of the back story they take in.

       Faster pussycat! Read! Read!

       I did everything I could to crank the action up to the frantic pace of blockbuster movies, comic books, and video games. Nothing was too big, too loud, or too wild. Then I worked to make the entire book as fast-paced as the action scenes. To this end I tried to make every line do three things; advance the story, develop the characters and relationships, and hopefully captivate the reader with inventive phrasing and language.

       The leaves nourish the roots.

       The result has gotten a good reception so far, which supports my trust in literature’s ability to change with the times. In the 18th century that meant a novelist was suddenly free to write about a world where single men in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. Perhaps now it means novelists can borrow from the many mediums descended from books to meet the accelerated pace of a digital generation.


Blades of Winter
Shadowstorm 1
Del Rey, August 28, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

In one of the most exciting debuts in years, G. T. Almasi has fused the intricate cat-and-mouse games of a John le Carré novel with the brash style of comic book superheroes to create a kick-ass alternate history that reimagines the Cold War as a clash of spies with biological, chemical, and technological enhancements.

Nineteen-year-old Alix Nico, a self-described “million-dollar murder machine,” is a rising star in ExOps, a covert-action agency that aggressively shields the United States from its three great enemies: the Soviet Union, Greater Germany, and the Nationalist Republic of China. Rather than risk another all-out war, the four superpowers have poured their resources into creating superspies known as Levels.

Alix is one of the hottest young American Levels. That’s no surprise: Her dad was America’s top Level before he was captured and killed eight years ago. But when an impulsive decision explodes—literally—in her face, Alix uncovers a conspiracy that pushes her to her limits and could upset the global balance of power forever.

Hammer of Angels (Shadowstorm 2) will be published in March 2013.

About G.T.

G. T. Almasi graduated from RISD and moved to Boston to pursue a career as a graphic designer. While he built his design portfolio, he joined a band as the bass player, and wrote and designed the band's newsletter. Once his career as an art director took off, he continued to supplement his design talents by writing copy for his clients. As a novelist, his literary influences include Robert Ludlum, Neal Stephenson, and Hunter S. Thompson. He also draws inspiration from John Woo's movies and Todd Howard's videogames. Almasi lives in Plymouth, Massachusetts, with his wife, Natalie, and their lovably stubborn dog, Ella.

Facebook : Shadowstorm FB Page : Twitter

The View From Monday - July 30, 2012

Happy Last Monday in July. It's been an exciting month featuring so many wonderful authors of Paranormal Cozy Mysteries. You can enter to win until the 4th of August. I hoping to make ParaCozyMysMo an annual event!

There are many. many books out this week!  You can find a printable PDF of this week's releases by clicking here. Take it shopping with you. :-)

July 31, 2012
Whispers Under Ground
Ben Aaronovitch UF - Rivers of London 3
Gunmetal Magic
Ilona Andrews UF - World of Kate Daniels 1
Beneath a Rising Moon (ri)
Keri Arthur PNR - Ripple Creek Werewolf 1
vN (d)
Madeline Ashby SF - Machine Dynasty 1
Devil's Wake
Steven Barnes
Tananarive Due
SF/Ap - Devil's Wake 1
When Temptation Burns
J.K. Beck PNR - Shadow Keepers 6
The Girls with Games of Blood (tp2mm)
Alex Bledsoe H - Memphis Vampires 2
The Wanderers
Paula Brandon F - Veiled Isles Trilogy 3
The Measure of the Magic (h2mm)
Terry Brooks F - Legends of Shannara 2
Stands a Shadow (h2mm)
Col Buchanan F - Heart of the World 2
Shadow Rising

Kendra Leigh Castle PNR - Dark Dynasties 3
Wings of Creation (h2mm)
Brenda Cooper SF - Silver Ship 3
The Passage (tp2mm)
Justin Cronin H - Passage Trilogy 1
Rowena Cory Daniells F - The Outcast Chronicles 2
Loose Cannon: The Tom Kelly Novels
David Drake SF - Tom Kelly Omnibus
Dark Desire (ri)
Christine Feehan PNR - Dark 2
Dark Hunger (e)
Christine Feehan PNR - A Carpathian Novella
V.K. Forrest PNR - Clare Point 5
Shadows Before the Sun
Kelly Gay UF - Charlie Madigan 4
Demon Hunting In The Deep South
Lexi George PNR - Demon Hunter 2
The Omen Machine (h2emm)
Terry Goodkind F - Sword of Truth 12
The Unspoken
Heather Graham PNR - Krewe of Hunters 7
Dark Craving (e)
Donna Grant PNR - Dark King 1
Extreme Zombies
Paula Guran (ed) H/Z - Anthology
The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires
Molly Harper PNR
Blood of the Emperor
Tracy Hickman F - Annals of Drakis 3
Nancy HolznerUF - Deadtown 4
Carry the Flame
James Jaros F/PA - Burn Down the Sky 2
An Officer's Duty
Jean Johnson SF - Theirs Not to Reason Why 2
Aloha from Hell (h2tp)
Richard Kadrey UF - Sandman Slim 3
Devil in the Dollhouse (e)
Richard Kadrey UF - Sandman Slim Story
Sandman Slim (mm2tp)
Richard Kadrey UF - Sandman Slim 1
Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart
Caitlin R. Kiernan H - Collection
Odd Apocalypse
Dean Koontz H - Odd Thomas 5
Winter Moon (ri)
Dean Koontz H
Fear Nothing (ri)
[no cover available]
Dean Koontz H
Icebound (ri)
[no cover available]
Dean Koontz H
Seize the Night (ri)
Dean Koontz H
Sole Survivor (ri)
Dean Koontz H
TickTock (ri)
Dean Koontz H
Prospero in Hell (h2mm)
L. Jagi Lamplighter F - Prospero's Daughter 2
Keith Laumer SF - Imperium Omnibus
Prince of Thorns (h2mm)
Mark Lawrence F - Broken Empire 1
Ghost Ship (h2mm)

Sharon Lee
Steve Miller
SF - New Adventures in the Liaden Universe 4
The Great God Pan & Xelucha
Arthur Machen
M.P. Shiel
The Witch Is Back
H. P. Mallory PNR - Jolie Wilkins 4
Angel (h2mm)
Nicole "Coco" Marrow
Laura Hayden
Star Trek: Titan: Fallen Gods
Michael A. Martin SF - Star Trek Titan Series
T.C. McCarthy SF - Subterrene War 3
Priests of Mars
Graham McNeill SF - Warhammer 40,000
Future Lovecraft
Silvia Moreno-Garcia (ed)
Paula R. Stiles (ed)

Blood and Feathers (d)
Lou Morgan UF - Blood and Feather 1
Sin's Dark Caress
Tracey O'Hara UF - Dark Brethren 3
The Devil's Bride: Mysteries of Jules de Gandin
Seabury Quinn H/M
Dredd: Collecting: Dredd Vs Death, Kingdom of the Blind and The Final Cut
Gordon Rennie SF - Omnibus
The Incarceration of Captain Nebula and Other Lost Futures
Mike Resnick SF - Collection
The Lady Is a Vamp
Lynsay Sands PNR - Argeneau Vampire 17
The Crown of the Usurper
Gav Thorpe F - Crown of the Blood Trilogy 3
All Seeing Eye
Rob Thurman STh
Coup d'Etat
Harry Turtledove AH - War That Came Early 4
Kitty Steals the Show
Carrie Vaughn UF - Kitty Vauhan 10
Night Forbidden
Joss Ware PNR - Envy Chronicles 5
The Mammoth Book of SF Wars
Ian Watson (ed)
Ian Whates (ed)
SF - Anthology
How Firm a Foundation (h2mm)
David Weber SF - Safehold 5

August 1, 2012
The First Last Unicorn and Other Beginnings
Peter S. Beagle F - Collection
Paradox Resolution
K. A. Bedford SF - Spider Webb 2
Dave Duncan SF
Mortal Fire
C. F. Dunn GM - The Secret of the Journal 1
Leanna Ellis PNR- Plain Fear 2
Magic Gone Wild
Judi Fennell PNR - Bottled Magic 3
The Frazetta Sketchbook
Frank Frazetta
J. David Spurlock
Enchanting the Lady (ri)
Kathryne Kennedy PHR - Relics of Merlin
Promises Broken (ri)
[cover unavailable]
David Mack SF - 4400 4
Bedina's War
Evelyn Rainey SF
Steampunk: A Complete Guide to Victorian Techno-Fetishism
Vienna Von Schwarz SP - Guide
A Lady Can Never Be Too Curious
Mary Wine SPR

August 2, 2012
Dave Zeltserman H

d - Debut
e - eBook
h2mm - Hardcover to Mass Market Paperback
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
h2emm - Hardcover to Enhanced Mass Market Paperback
mm2tp - Mass Market to Trade Paperback
ri - reissue
tp2mm - Trade Paperback to Mass Market Paperback

Ap - Apocalyptic
AH - Alternate History
F - Fantasy
H - Horror
GM - Gothic Mystery
M - Mystery
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PHR - Paranormal Historical Romance
PNR - Paranormal Romance
SF - Science Fiction
SP - Steampunk
SPR - Steampunk Romance
Th - Thiller
UF - Urban Fantasy
Z - Zombies