Thursday, January 31, 2013

2013 Debut Author Challenge Update - January 31, 2013

I'm pleased to announce the 2 newest featured authors for the 2013 Debut Author Challenge.

Joshua Alan Parry

Virus Thirteen
Publisher:  Tor Books, March 26, 2013
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 320 pages
Price:  $7.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780765369543 (print)

An irreverent and contagious thriller from debut author Joshua Alan Parry

Scientists James Logan and his wife, Linda, have their dream careers at the world’s leading biotech company, GeneFirm, Inc. But their happiness is interrupted by a devastating bioterrorist attack: a deadly superflu that quickly becomes a global pandemic. The GeneFirm complex goes into lockdown and Linda’s research team is sent to high-security underground labs to develop a vaccine.

Above ground, James learns that GeneFirm security has been breached and Linda is in danger. To save her he must confront a desperate terrorist, armed government agents, and an invisible killer: Virus Thirteen.

Peter Stenson

Publisher:  Crown, July 9, 2013
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages
Price:  $22.00 (print)
ISBN978-0-7704-3631-5 (print)

(description forthcoming)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Guest Blog by Francis Knight - Women in SFF and how they shaped my life - January 30, 2013

Please welcome Francis Knight to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. Fade to Black (Rojan Dizon 1) will be published on February 26, 2013 by Orbit.

Women in SFF and how they shaped my life

Oh my, women in SFF, that could be a can of worms – so I’m not going into that. No, I’m going to concentrate on the women in SFF who helped make me the person I am.

We’ll start right back at the beginning of my SFF love affair. Blake’s Seven (for those of you who aren’t British, this was a 70s space set drama, and very good it was too, despite the wobbly sets). Now, this was the 70’s but even so, we had Jenna – space smuggler and pilot extraordinaire. We had Dayna, weapons expert, and Callie, guerrilla fighter. All vital and important members of the Seven. Then we had…oh, the best part…we had Servelan, female ruler of the evil Federation, who gained that position by leading a military coup. Smart, sexy, and oh so evil.

Not only were these capable women being capable (and occasionally evil) the men seemed to like them that way too. *gasp!*

My first exposure to ‘You want it, you can do it, and you don’t have to turn into a man either.’

And then came the 80’s, with Ripley and Sarah Connor. Ripley lived in a world where men and women seemed fairly equal (at least aboard ship). She was one of the crew, capable, shrewd, and a survivor. Sarah Connor? Yes – okay, Kyle Reece was protecting her, helping her out with things she couldn’t know about. Yes, she was scared silly to start with (who wouldn’t be when told a machine that will not stop wants to murder you?) but she steps up to the plate and gets on with it – even more so in Terminator 2. Her grit and determination made John Connor the man he would be. At the same time I was reading about Eowyn who had the blood of kings in her veins and okay, she “settled” in the end but she showed a few people what a woman can do, that courage comes in many bodies.

My exposure to: ‘You may have to do things differently (you may not), but you can still beat the Bad Dude and Be Awesome.’

These are just a few of the characters that really helped shape the person I am – they showed me what was possible. Without them, I almost certainly wouldn’t be the person I am today, and that’s a good reason for strong female characters anywhere – not necessarily strong in arm, but strong in soul. Flawed or not, kick arse or not, emotional, or not. Strong, independent thinkers who are women.

Ladies, I salute you.

About Fade to Black

Fade to Black
Rojan Dizon 1
Orbit, February 26, 2013
Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

From the depths of a valley rises the city of Mahala

It's a city built upwards, not across - where streets are built upon streets, buildings upon buildings. A city that the Ministry rules from the sunlit summit, and where the forsaken lurk in the darkness of Under.

Rojan Dizon doesn't mind staying in the shadows, because he's got things to hide. Things like being a pain-mage, with the forbidden power to draw magic from pain. But he can't hide for ever.

Because when Rojan stumbles upon the secrets lurking in the depths of the Pit, the fate of Mahala will depend on him using his magic. And unlucky for Rojan - this is going to hurt.

The cover for Before the Fall (Rojan Dizon 2), which will be out in June:

Last to Rise (Rojan Dizon 3), the final novel in the trilogy, will be published in November 2013.

About Francis

Francis Knight was born and lives in Sussex, England. When not living in her own head, she enjoys SF&F geekery, WWE geekery, teaching her children Monty Python quotes, and boldly going and seeking out new civilizations.

Website : BlogTwitter @Knight_Francis

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Guest Blog by Evie Manieri - Female Characters in Fantasy: Sword Length Isn't Everything - January 29, 2013

Please welcome Evie Manieri to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. Blood's Pride will be published on February 19, 2013 in the US.

Female Characters in Fantasy: Sword Length Isn't Everything

“Strong female characters” is a term I see tossed around a lot in the world of genre fiction, and it’s a label I’ll happily slap on to BLOOD’S PRIDE - in fluorescent 80’s orange, preferably. But when I was actually writing the book, I just wanted to create a world that felt absolutely authentic, and for me that meant including women who were visible, relatable and – most of all - active participants in their own stories.

The gender split for the main characters in BLOOD’S PRIDE is nearly even, but female characters aren’t compelling when they’re stuck in tired, passive roles. It’s the “strong” part that’s the delicious gravy on my open-faced world-building sandwich.

I love warrior women, and BLOOD’S PRIDE certainly has its fair share of the sword-wielding variety. But “warrior” is not a character trait: it’s an occupation. Just because these women are fighters doesn’t mean they’re all cut from the same cloth, any more than the men they fight against or alongside. At the same time, a woman doesn’t need a sword to be a fighter. Sometimes the most effective weapons are a keen mind, a courageous heart and a good bit of stubborn determination.

You can put a sword in a character’s hand, give her skill and physical strength, make her passionate or intriguingly laconic… but a collection of traits doesn’t make a strong character. I like it best when characters are revealed through their relationships – and with such a varied cast at my disposal, I had the fun of delving into all kinds of relationships. Some are romantic, absolutely, but more than a few have nothing to do with men at all: sisters in constant conflict, damaged by the same tragedy but in very different ways; two married women, each critical of the other’s choices; a woman so twisted by the loss of her own mother that she can’t accept the love of someone eager to fill that role.

That brings me to two issues that females in fantasy seem to face all of the time, but which you won’t find in BLOOD’S PRIDE: constrictive gender roles, and sexual violence.

Every woman I know deals with gender bias in some form, but none of them frame their lives or goals in those terms. As a source of conflict, I find it dull and beside the point: I’m interested in exploring a person’s life, not whether or not she’s allowed to have it. This is the point where someone usually brings up the idea of “historical accuracy” and asserts that a pre-industrial society with gender equality is not realistic. Happily for me, I’m not writing historical fiction, but speculative fiction – and I'd like to speculate about a world where a woman can get up in the morning, get dressed, and get on with her day without having to “defy convention” every five seconds.

As for sexual violence, few things turn me off more than seeing victimization treated as a short-cut to character development. Sexual violence has its place in fiction alongside everything else, but it’s far too complex an issue to use as a device for moving a plot forward or motivating a character (particularly when the character being motivated is not the person victimized, but someone angry on her behalf.)

As a writer, I’m hoping to bring to my female characters the same degree of authenticity I would to any character. My attitudes are not shaped only by a mythologized version of medieval European societies, but by my experiences now, as a woman in the 21st century with a watchful eye on the trend of history. It’s a happy coincidence that on the day I sat down to write this post, the Pentagon lifted the ban on women in combat. As President Obama said, “valor knows no gender.” Well, amen to that.

About Blood's Pride

Blood's Pride
Shattered Kingdoms 1
Tor Books, February 19, 2013
Hardcover and eBook, 528 pages

Rising from their sea-torn ships like vengeful, pale phantoms, the Norlanders laid waste to the Shadar under cover of darkness. They forced the once-peaceful fisher folk into slavery and forged an alliance with their former trading partners, the desert-dwelling Nomas tribe, cutting off any hope of salvation.

Now, two decades after the invasion, a rebellion gathers strength in the dark corridors of the city. A small faction of Shadari have hired the Mongrel, an infamous mercenary, to aid their fledgling uprising—but with her own shadowy ties to the region, she is a frighteningly volatile ally. Has she really come to lead a revolution, or for a more sinister purpose all her own?

This thrilling new epic fantasy is set in a quasi-Medieval Mediterranean region, drawing together the warrior culture of Vikings, the wanderlust of desert nomads, and the oracles of ancient Greece. Evie Manieri's Blood's Pride is an intricate, lush fantasy novel full of taut action, gut-wrenching betrayal, and soaring romance.

About Evie

Evie Manieri has always been fascinated by intricacy. Her studies in medieval history and theater inform her writing, and when not weaving together the threads of her plots, she can be found creating airy lace shawls or singing Renaissance polyphony. The only thing she likes more than a thunderstorm is a really violent thunderstorm. Evie lives in New York City with her husband, her daughter, a drowsy dog and a badly spoiled parakeet.

Website : Facebook : Twitter

Monday, January 28, 2013

Cover Revealed - Veil of the Deserters by Jeff Salyards - January 28, 2013

Jeff Salyards, an alumnus of the 2012 Debut Author Challenge, has revealed (on his Facebook Page) the cover for the second novel in his Bloodsounder's Arc series, Veil of the Deserters. The cover art is by the very talented Michael C. Hayes. The novel will be published in the fall/winter of 2013.  Pretty spectacular, no?

And the first novel in the Bloodsounder's Arc series:

Scourge of the Betrayer
Bloodsounder's Arc 1
Night Shade Books, May 2012
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

A gritty new fantasy saga begins . . .

Many tales are told of the Syldoon Empire and its fearsome soldiers, who are known throughout the world for their treachery and atrocities. Some say that the Syldoon eat virgins and babies--or perhaps their own mothers. Arkamondos, a bookish young scribe, suspects that the Syldoon's dire reputation may have grown in the retelling, but he's about to find out for himself.

Hired to chronicle the exploits of a band of rugged Syldoon warriors, Arki finds himself both frightened and fascinated by the men's enigmatic leader, Captain Braylar Killcoin. A secretive, mercurial figure haunted by the memories of those he's killed with his deadly flail, Braylar has already disposed of at least one impertinent scribe . . . and Arki might be next.

Archiving the mundane doings of millers and merchants was tedious, but at least it was safe. As Arki heads off on a mysterious mission into parts unknown, in the company of the coarse, bloody-minded Syldoon, he is promised a chance to finally record an historic adventure well worth the telling, but first he must survive the experience!

A gripping military fantasy in the tradition of Glen Cook, Scourge of the Betrayer explores the brutal politics of Empire--and the searing impact of violence and dark magic on a man's soul.

Interview with Cassandra Rose Clarke, author of The Mad Scientist's Daughter - January 28, 2013

Please welcome Cassandra Rose Clarke to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Mad Scientist's Daughter, Cassandra's adult debut, will be published January 29, 2013 in the US and Canada.  You may read Cassandra's Guest Blog here.

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery.

Cassandra:  Glad to be here!

TQ:  When and why did you start writing?

Cassandra:  I’ve written since I was a little girl. I used to craft ten-page epics in response to my fifth grade teacher’s assignment to write a story using our spelling words (he only required one page), and I remember making illustrated pop-up books that told scary stories about monsters and ghosts and so forth.

I started writing with the goal of publication after I completed graduate school. Grad school helped me finish my first novel, which, although now permanently trunked, taught me enough that I was able to complete my second novel, The Mad Scientist’s Daughter. I also started submitting short stories around that time, too.

As for why I started writing — I’m not sure, honestly. I think I started because I liked it! I love to read and watch movies (two modes of storytelling), so it was probably inevitable that I’d start storytelling myself.

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

Cassandra:  Well, I’m not sure any of my writer quirks are all that interesting, per se. I love writing at Starbucks — not coffee shops in general, but Starbucks. It’s a habit left over from the days when Starbucks charged for Internet access. Also, before I begin any new writing project, I have to spend some time going through the Scrivener file and setting up everything just so — choosing which color coding scheme I want use, which icons I want to set for the research materials, and so on.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Cassandra:  Depends. A couple of years ago I would have said plotter, but that’s really true anymore, and, honestly, it wasn’t true back then, either — I did outline my stories beforehand, I just held the outlines in my head instead of jotting them down. I actually find writing long, detailed outlines incredibly dull, so I usually write up a one or two page plot treatment before I begin.

Of course, I’m currently in the middle of revising a novel, and I wrote out a true, detailed outline before I began the revisions so I could figure out the plot. So whether I’m more of a plotter or more of pantser depends on the book, I suppose.

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

Cassandra:  Plotting is not one of my natural strengths. The Mad Scientist’s Daughter was a relatively easy book for me to write largely because the plot is an internal one. Writing a story which focuses on a lot of complex action and external motivation is incredibly difficult for me — I have to make elaborate charts and outlines in Excel in order to figure out what’s going on.

TQ:  Describe The Mad Scientist's Daughter in 140 characters or less.

Cassandra:  A science fiction fairy tale in which a young woman falls in love with an android and must deal with the ramifications of that attraction.

TQ:  What inspired you to write The Mad Scientist's Daughter?

Cassandra:  I love robots and stories about robots. Robots are one of those tropes that I will devour uncritically whenever I come across them in books, movies, TV, what have you. I’m not sure there was one particular thing that inspired me to sit down and write The Mad Scientist’s Daughter, but it was definitely the result of a lifetime of imbibing robot stories. I do remember that I began with the idea of a little girl mistaking a robot for a ghost, and that became the first scene of the novel. From there, the book pretty much flowed out uninterrupted over the next two months.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for The Mad Scientist's Daughter?

Cassandra:  When it comes to robots — not much. The level of artificial intelligence I wrote about in the book doesn’t exist (yet), and I wasn’t especially interested in extrapolating from real-world science for this story. It’s not hard science fiction. However, the main character, Cat, partially makes her living by weaving tapestries, a career I chose for her based on the historical connections between weaving, engineering, and computer programming. So I did research weaving a bit, and even sat down at a loom and wove a scarf. I wanted to get a feel for the motion and rhythm of a loom.

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

Cassandra:  Finn was probably the easiest, although I’m not sure I’d say writing any of the characters was “easy.” He was built out of an amalgamation of tropes that I wanted to play around with, so in certain ways I didn’t have to start from scratch when writing his character.

The most difficult character was Richard, a major player in Cat’s life who shows up at the beginning of the second part of the book. The trick with him was ensuring that he was as well-rounded as the other characters, and that I didn’t lapse into portraying him as a mustache-twirling villain — which definitely happened at times. Fortunately, my agent was a tremendous help him straightening his characterization out.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in The Mad Scientist's Daughter?

Cassandra:  There are so many to chose from! I wrote about one for My Favorite Bit over at Mary Robinette Kowal’s blog (it should be around the same time this is, if you’d like to check it out), and I spent a couple of days agonizing over which scene I wanted to select before I could actually write the post. Aside from the My Favorite Bit scene, another favorite is a scene toward the end of the book. Unfortunately, I can’t say much without spoiling the story, but it involves Cat and Finn reconnecting briefly after time spent apart. It was heartbreaking to write; hopefully that translates into the reading experience.

TQ:  What's next?

Cassandra:  I’ll be releasing the next book in my YA adventure series, called The Pirate’s Wish, this summer, as well as a trio of short stories about characters from the series — those will be available as downloads from Strange Chemistry. And I’m hard at work on a handful of new adult projects as well!

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Cassandra:  Thanks for having me!

About The Mad Scientist's Daughter

The Mad Scientist's Daughter
A Tale of Love, Loss and Robots
Angry Robot, January 29, 2013 (US/Canada)
February 7, 2013 (UK)
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

“Cat, this is Finn. He’s going to be your tutor.”

He looks and acts human, though he has no desire to be. He was programmed to assist his owners, and performs his duties to perfection. A billion-dollar construct, his primary task now is to tutor Cat. As she grows into a beautiful young woman, Finn is her guardian, her constant companion… and more.

But when the government grants rights to the ever-increasing robot population, however, Finn struggles to find his place in the world.

Following her acclaimed Young Adult debut for our sister imprint Strange Chemistry, The Assassin’s Curse, the very talented Cassandra Rose Clarke moves on to more adult themes, in a heartbreaking story of love, loss … and robots.

File Under: Science Fiction [ Constant Companion | Finn X | Sentient Rights | Hot Tin Roof ]

Also by Cassandra

The Assassin's Curse
Strange Chemistry, October 2, 2012 (US/Canada)
October 4, 2012 (UK)
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to an allying pirate clan. But that only prompts the scorned clan to send an assassin after her. And when Ananna faces him down one night, armed with magic she doesn’t really know how to use, she accidentally activates a curse binding them together.

To break the curse, Ananna and the assassin must complete three impossible tasks — all while grappling with evil wizards, floating islands, haughty manticores, runaway nobility, strange magic, and the growing romantic tension between them.

About Cassandra

Cassandra Rose Clarke is a speculative fiction writer living amongst the beige stucco and overgrown pecan trees of Houston, Texas. She graduated in 2006 from The University of St. Thomas with a bachelor’s degree in English, and in 2008 she completed her master’s degree in creative writing at The University of Texas at Austin. Both of these degrees have served her surprisingly well.

During the summer of 2010, she attended the Clarion West Writers Workshop in Seattle. She was also a recipient of the 2010 Susan C. Petrey Clarion Scholarship Fund.

Website : Twitter

The View From Monday - January 28, 2013

Happy last Monday in January! This month ends with a lot of books after several light weeks of book releases. It's also a terrific week for present and former Debut Author Challenge featured authors.

There are two debuts out this week - The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke and Between by Kerry Schafer. Both authors are featured in the 2013 Debut Author Challenge.

Three of the featured authors from the 2012 Debut Author Challenge have their sophomore novels out this week: She Returns from War by Lee Collins, Fortress Frontier by Myke Cole and Dangerous Gifts by Gaie Sebold. In addition Elspeth Cooper's Songs of the Earth and Ted Kosmatka's The Games are out in Mass Market Paperback.

And finally, a featured author from the 2011 Debut Author Challenge has her third novel out this week: Demon Hunting in a Dive Bar by Lexi George.

January 28, 2013
Caught in Amber (e) Cathy Pegau SFR

January 29, 2013
The Eldritch Conspiracy Cat Adams UF - Blood Song 5
Range of Ghosts (h2tp) Elizabeth Bear F - Range of Ghosts 1
Scent of Darkness Margot Berwin H
The Winter Witch Paula Brackston PHR
Fair Game (ri) Patricia Briggs UF - Alpha & Omega 3
Shadows in Flight (h2mm) Orson Scott Card SF - Shadow 5
Immortal Craving Kendra Leigh Castle PNR - Dark Dynasties 3
The Mad Scientist's Daughter (D) Cassandra Rose Clarke SF
Fortress Frontier Myke Cole MF - Shadow Ops 2
She Returns From War Lee Collins F - Cora Oglesby 2
Songs of the Earth (h2mm) Elspeth Cooper F -The Wild Hunt 1
Star Trek: The Original Series: The Continuing Missions, Volume I (e) Greg Cox
Dayton Ward
Christopher L. Bennett
SF - Star Trek
Eve of Destruction (mm2tp) Sylvia Day UF - Marked 2
Apocalypse Troy Denning SF - Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi
Shattered Souls Delilah Devlin PRS - Caitlyn O'Connell 1
Fighting to Survive (tp2mm) Rhiannon Frater H/PA- As the World Dies 2
Allegiance in Exile David R. George III SF - Star Trek
Haunted Moon Yasmine Galenorn PNR - Otherworld 13
Demon Hunting in a Dive Bar Lexi George PNR - Demon Hunter 3
Out in Blue (ri) Sarah Gilman PNR - Return to Sanctuary
The Vision (ri) Heather Graham PTh
Sixth Column (ri) Robert A. Heinlein SF
Frankly, My Dear (ri) Sandra Hill PNR
City of Dragons (ri) Robin Hobb F - Rain Wilds Chronicles 3
Star Trek: The Original Series: Allegiance in Exile David R. George III SF - Star Trek
'Til The World Ends:
Dawn of Eden
Thistle & Thorne
Sun Storm
Julie Kagawa
Ann Aguirre
Karen Duvall
Born of Silence (h2mm) Sherrilyn Kenyon F - League 5
The Games (h2mm) Ted Kosmatka SF/H
Kalimpura Jay Lake F - Green 3
Tuf Voyaging (ri) George R.R. Martin SF
No Mercy Jenna McCormick SFR
The Last Ditch (h2mm)
Sandy Mitchell SF - Warhammer 40,000: Ciaphas Cain
Man-Kzin Wars XIII (tp2mm) Larry Niven SF - Stories
Revenge: Eleven Dark Tales Yoko Ogawa
H - Collection
The Color of Magic (ri) Terry Pratchett F - Discworld 1
Equal Rites (ri) Terry Pratchett F - Discworld 3
The Light Fantastic (ri) Terry Pratchett F - Discworld 2
Mort (ri) Terry Pratchett F - Discworld 4
Road of Skulls Josh Reynolds F - Warhammer: Gotrek & Felix
The Wolf Gift (h2tp) Anne Rice H
Shattered Circle Linda Robertson UF - Persephone Alcmedi 6
We Only Need the Heads (e) John Scalzi SF - The Human Division 3
Between (D) Kerry Schafer UF - Between 1
Dangerous Gifts Gaie Sebold F - Babylon Steel 2
The Shape of Desire (h2mm) Sharon Shinn F - Shifting Circle 1
Colder than Hell (Kindle eBook) Anthony Neil Smith
Lee Goldberg
William Rabkin
H - Dead Man 16

January 30, 2013
John Brunner Jad Smith SF - Modern Masters of Science Fiction

January 31, 2013
Crawling Chaos Volume 2: Selected Weird Fiction 1928-1935 H. P. Lovecraft H - Collection
Dead Brides: Vampiric Tales By Edgar Allan Poe Edgar Allan Poe H - Collection

February 1, 2013
Mandala Road Masako Bando F
Seduced by the Darkling (e) Lauren Hawkeye PNR
Tempting the Jaguar (e) Katie Reus PNR
The Apes of Wrath Rupert Wyatt Anthology

D - Debut
e - eBook
h2mm - Hardcover to Mass Market Paperback
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
ri - Reissue or Reprint
tp2mm - Trade to Mass Market Paperback

Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
H - Horror
MF - Military Fantasy
P - Paranormal
PHR - Paranormal Historical Romance
PNR - Paranormal Romance
PRS - Paranormal Romantic Suspense
R - Romance
SF - Science Fiction
SFR - Science Fiction Romance
SP - Steampunk
Th - Thriller
UF - Urban Fantasy

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Happy Birthday Pride and Prejudice - Giveaways - January 27, 2013

Did you know that Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen was published 200 years tomorrow! No? Well it is! How many of us had to read Pride and Prejudice for school? I did. I fell in love with Jane Austen's writing because of Pride and Prejudice.  To celebrate Quirk Books has 2 giveaways for you!

The Jane Austen Handbook
Margaret C. Sullivan
Quirk Books, March 8, 2011
Hardcover and eBook, 224 pages

Every young lady dreams of a life spent exchanging witty asides with a dashing Mr. Darcy, but how should you let him know your intentions? Seek counsel from this charming guide to Jane Austen’s world. Its step-by-step instructions reveal the practicalities of life in Regency England, including sensible advice on:
  • How to behave at your first ball
  • How to ride sidesaddle
  • How to decline an unwanted marriage proposal
  • How to improve your estate
  • How to throw a dinner party
—and much more. Offering readers a glimpse into day-to-day life in Jane Austen’s time, The Jane Austen Handbook is the perfect companion for fans of her novels and their film adaptations, complete with detailed information on love among the social classes, currency, dress, and nuances of graceful living.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
Quirk Books, March 1, 2009
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains." So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she's soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield as Elizabeth wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead. Can she vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you'd actually want to read.

The Giveaway


What:  One commenter will win a copy of The Jane Austen Handbook and one commenter will win Pride and Prejudice and Zombies from Quirkbooks. US/CANADA/UK ONLY

How:   Answer The Qwillery's Question:  

Which Jane Austen novel is your favorite?

Please remember - if you don't answer 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.

There are a total of 3 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry) and Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry).  This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook or Twitter 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 US or Canadian or UK mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Monday, February 4, 2013. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Interview with Charles Gilman, author of the Tales from Lovecraft Middle School - January 26, 2013

Please welcome Charles Gilman to The Qwillery. As many of you know I am a huge fan of H.P. Lovecraft and was thrilled to see this new MG series set at Lovecraft Middle School. If you have Middle Schooler (and up) who loves horror, get these novels!  You can read them too!

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery!

Charles:  Thank you! It’s a pleasure to be here.

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

Charles:  I know I share this quirk with a lot of other writers: All of my best ideas occur in the shower! I’m constantly running out of the bathroom and looking for a pencil and paper.

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers?

Charles:  Gosh, I like so many writers, but I guess I should use this opportunity to spotlight someone readers have never heard of. Back in the 1960s, a guy named Robert Arthur began writing a series of children’s novels called Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators. The premise of the series (I realize this is going to sound crazy) is that the famous film director had three teenage friends who investigated all kinds of supernatural happenings in their neighborhood. The books had wonderfully spooky covers and terrific titles (The Secret of Terror Castle, The Mystery of the Flaming Footprints). I loved all these books when I was a kid, and I wanted Tales of Lovecraft Middle School to “read” and look and feel similar. It only seemed appropriate to name the hero of my series after Robert Arthur, though to date I’m not sure any readers have actually connected the dots.

TQ:  Which is your favorite story by H.P. Lovecraft?

Charles:  I love “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” and I think so many contemporary horror stories (literature AND film AND TV) all owe a huge debt to it.

TQ:  What inspired you to write the Tales from Lovecraft Middle School series?

Charles:  This series has a very unusual origin story; all of the editorial content grew out of the design, out of the package and print production of the series. I was really trying to launch a series of middle grade books that would feature different transformations (using lenticular photography) on the covers. Originally, I wanted to show a boy turning into a werewolf. There have been some tremendous advancements in lenticulars in recent years — I knew we could have a cover with 12 or 16 separate frames of animation, enough to create a really cool morphing effect. But as I looked into the idea further, the project began to evolve. I knew we would want to show lots of different monsters across a series of several books — that led me away from werewolves to Lovecraft (or rather a world very loosely inspired by the Lovecraft mythos). I knew we would want to show physical transformations — that led me to adolescence and middle school as a subject matter and setting.

TQ:  What sort of research have you done for the series? What's the oddest bit of information you've found.

Charles:  I research the strangest things. I read a lot about snakes before writing “The Slither Sisters,” though I’m not sure how much of my research actually made its way into the book. Still, it’s a lot easier to write about something when you feel like you have at least a rudimentary grasp of it. Right now, I’m writing Book 4, which involves a giant snowstorm, and just this morning I was reading about back-up generators and what kinds of power supply systems might be in a real public school.

TQ:  What's next?

Charles:  Book 3 in the series, Teacher’s Pest, arrives in May 2013; I’m currently finishing Book 4, Substitute Creature, which will pub in September 2013. And if readers insist on more, there will certainly be more!

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Charles:  Thank you!

Tales from Lovecraft Middle School

The Slither Sisters
Tales from Lovecraft Middle School 2
Quirk Books, January 15, 2013
Hardcover and eBook, 160 pages

This second novel in the Tales from Lovecraft Middle School series begins right where Professor Gargoyle ended. Seventh-grader Robert Arthur has discovered that two of his classmates are actually sinister snake-women in disguise. Even worse, his new middle school is full of “gates” to a terrifying alternate dimension – a haunted mansion full of strange spirits and monstrous beasts. For Robert to protect his teachers and classmates, he'll need to return to this haunted dimension with his best friends Glenn and Karina. Can they uncover the secrets of Lovecraft Middle School before it's too late?

The Slither Sisters features more bizarre beasts, more strange mysteries, and more adventure. It's perfect for readers ages 10 and up. Best of all, the cover features a state-of-the-art “morphing” photo portrait – so you can personally witness the sisters transforming into their slithering alter egos. You won't believe your eyes!

Professor Gargoyle
Tales from Lovecraft Middle School 1
Quirk Books, September 25, 2012
Hardcover and eBook, 160 pages

Strange things are happening at Lovecraft Middle School. Rats are leaping from lockers. Students are disappearing. The school library is a labyrinth of secret corridors. And the science teacher is acting very peculiar – in fact, he just might be a monster-in-disguise. Twelve-year-old Robert Arthur knew that seventh grade was going to be weird, but this is ridiculous!

Professor Gargoyle (Volume I in the Tales from Lovecraft Middle School series) is full of bizarre beasts, strange mysteries, and nonstop adventure. It's perfect for readers ages 10 and up. Best of all, the cover features a state-of-the-art “morphing” photo portrait – so you can personally witness the professor transforming into a monster. You won't believe your eyes!

Coming in May:

Teacher's Pest
Tales from Lovecraft Middle School 3
Quirk Books, May 7, 2013
Hardcover and eBook, 176 pages

DON'T BE FOOLED by his friendly smile, his perfect manners, or his shiny red apple. Student council president Howard Mergler is actually a sinister bug-monster in disguise—and he's summoning swarms of roaches, wasps, fleas, and head lice into the corridors of Lovecraft Middle School! Twelve-year-old Robert Arthur is the only student who can stop him--but he'll need help from his best friends: the school bully, the school ghost, and an extremely courageous two-headed rat.

This third novel in the Lovecraft Middle School series begins right where Professor Gargoyle and The Slither Sisters ended—with more action, more adventure, and more outrageous monsters!

Head to the Lovecraft Middle School website for more information about the novels, games, and more.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Interview with Myke Cole, author of the Shadow Ops series, and Giveaway - January 25, 2013

Please welcome Myke Cole to The Qwillery. Myke is the author of the Shadow Ops military fantasy series. Control Point (Shadow Ops 1) was published in January 2012 and Myke was a featured author in the 2012 Debut Author Challenge (Guest Blog here and Interview here). Fortress Frontier (Shadow Ops 2), his second novel, will be published on January 29, 2012.

TQ:  Welcome back to The Qwillery!

Myke:  Thanks, great to be back.

TQ:  FORTRESS FRONTIER is the second novel in your SHADOW OPS series. Was writing FORTRESS FRONTIER harder, easier or just the same as writing CONTROL POINT (SHADOW OPS #1)?

Myke:  Much easier. I wrote a chunk of it while deployed to Cape May, NJ assisting with the evacuation and relief operations for Hurricane Irene. I spent my precious few hours of leave at a coffee shop near the shore. There was something about the drama of my work at the time and the atmosphere of that shop that just made things click. By contrast, writing BREACH ZONE (SHADOW OPS #3) was like sawing off my own leg.

TQ:  What do you wish you’d known when the first book came out that you know now?

Myke:  That it’s the marathon, not the sprint. Success is a thing built slowly, over long years of toil. I thought that when I landed the book deal, I had arrived. Now I understand that was just the starting line.

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

Myke:  Well, I’m talking about BREACH ZONE now, but it’s got to be Harlequin. When you meet him in CONTROL POINT, he’s a hidebound, by-the-book soldier. I had some ideas about his past, but it’s only when I sat down and really explored it that I came face to face with the real man. Jan Thorsson, like most soldiers, is a hell of a lot more complicated than his immaculate uniform would lead you to believe.

TQ:  Which character in the series is most like you?

Myke:  It kills me to say this, but it has to be Oscar Britton. Like him, I have made a lot of horrible decisions based on fear, and as with him, those decisions have had consequences. Like him, I have bumbled through my live, and eventually found success and a footing that I’m comfortable with. But I definitely took the long way there. Now, if you’d asked me which character I wish was most like me, it would have to be Alan Bookbinder. If you read FORTRESS FRONTIER, you’ll see why.

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

Myke:  The book gives you a fairly in-depth look at the magic-using military arm of the Republic of India. Mihir Wanchoo, the only Hindi speaking fantasy fan that I know, threw in and gave lengthy and in-depth consultations on mythology and language. I honestly don’t think I could have pulled it off without his help. Thank heavens for the Internet and the amazing, wonderful, generous people it connects us to.

TQ:  Which character in FORTRESS FRONTIER was the easiest to write and why? Hardest and why?

Myke:  I’d say Colonel Bookbinder was the easiest to write. I simply had to cycle through my memories of every great officer I’ve ever served under and build a composite. The guy practically sprang fully formed from my brain. The hardest was the naga prince Vasuki-Kai. Not only is a multi-limbed, multi-headed snake god monster thing, but he’s also royalty who has been raised on the belief that he is a divine being with a responsibility to look after the idiot, bumbling humans that he’s been saddled with having to interact with. Oh, and he only speaks a hissing variant of Hindi. That alienness, that fantasy background did NOT excuse me from my obligation to make him real and believable. His words, actions and most importantly, his interactions, had to be compelling and believable, but his makeup was so foreign to my experience that I hardly knew where to start. Once again, thank god for Mihir Wanchoo.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, which is favorite scene in FORTRESS FRONTIER.

Myke:  Well, it’s on the jacket copy, so it’s hardly a spoiler. I love the scene where Bookbinder first realizes he’s going to have to take command of the outpost, cut off and facing hopeless odds. It’s that ultimate moment when a man finally comes up against the greatest challenge of his life and gets to see if he’s up to it. Is he? Well, you’ll have to read it to find out.

TQ:  Are there any other genres in which you like to write in addition to military fantasy?

Myke:  Sure, but I think it’s going to be a while before I can get to them. After FORTRESS FRONTIER, I’m under contract for 4 more SHADOW OPS books and only one of those is actually written. I’ve got a plot outline for a straight up medieval fantasy (dark tone) which my agent thinks is solid. I also would like to try my hand at romance some day (, but I’ve got a lot of learning to do before I’m good enough to put my hat in the professional ring.

TQ:  What’s next?

Myke:  I’m going to save this file, back it up to my thumb drive and board the plane to Detroit and Immortal Confusion, one of my favorite cons. There, I will DM the Author D&D Game with the help of Saladin Ahmed. The players will include Peter V. Brett, Pat Rothfuss, Jim Hines, Sam Sykes, Diana Rowland and Mary Robinette Kowal. I swear, there are some times I feel so incredibly lucky that I don’t know what to do with myself.

About Shadow Ops

Fortress Frontier
Shadow Ops 2
Ace, January 29, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

The Great Reawakening did not come quietly. Across the country and in every nation, people began to develop terrifying powers—summoning storms, raising the dead, and setting everything they touch ablaze. Overnight the rules changed…but not for everyone.

Colonel Alan Bookbinder is an army bureaucrat whose worst war wound is a paper-cut. But after he develops magical powers, he is torn from everything he knows and thrown onto the front-lines.

Drafted into the Supernatural Operations Corps in a new and dangerous world, Bookbinder finds himself in command of Forward Operating Base Frontier—cut off, surrounded by monsters, and on the brink of being overrun.

Now, he must find the will to lead the people of FOB Frontier out of hell, even if the one hope of salvation lies in teaming up with the man whose own magical powers put the base in such grave danger in the first place—Oscar Britton, public enemy number one…

Control Point
Shadow Ops 1
Ace, January 31, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

Lieutenant Oscar Britton of the Supernatural Operations Corps has been trained to hunt down and take out people possessing magical powers. But when he starts manifesting powers of his own, the SOC revokes Oscar's government agent status to declare him public enemy number one.

About Myke

Photo by Tim Lundin
As a secu­rity con­tractor, gov­ern­ment civilian and mil­i­tary officer, Myke Cole’s career has run the gamut from Coun­tert­er­rorism to Cyber War­fare to Fed­eral Law Enforce­ment. He’s done three tours in Iraq and was recalled to serve during the Deep­water Horizon oil spill.

All that con­flict can wear a guy out. Thank good­ness for fan­tasy novels, comic books, late night games of Dun­geons and Dragons and lots of angst fueled writing.

Website : Blog : Facebook : Twitter : Goodreads

The Giveaway


What:  One commenter will win a copy of Fortress Frontier (Shadow Ops 2) from The Qwillery.

How:   Answer The Qwillery's Question:  

What is one of your favorite Fantasy novels
favorite Fantasy subgenres?

Please remember - if you don't answer 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.

There are a total of 3 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry) and Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry).  This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook or Twitter 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 Friday, February 1, 2013. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Review - Grave Intentions by Lori Sjoberg - January 24, 2013

Grave Intentions
Author:  Lori Sjoberg
Series:  Grave Intentions
Publisher: eKensington, January 3, 2013
Format: eBook, 260 pages
Price: $5.99
Genre:  Paranormal Romance
ISBN:  978-1-60183-006-7
Review Copy:  Provided by Publisher

He’s handsome, reliable, and punctual—the perfect gentleman when you want him to be. But this dream man is Death’s best agent—and now he’s got more than his soul to lose…

One act of mercy before dying was all it took to turn soldier David Anderson into a reaper—an immortal who guides souls-of-untimely-death into the afterlife. But the closer he gets to atoning for his mortal sin and finally escaping merciless Fate, the more he feels his own humanity slipping away for good. Until he encounters Sarah Griffith. This skeptical scientist can’t be influenced by his powers—even though she has an unsuspected talent for sensing the dead. And her honesty and irreverent sense of humor reignite his reason for living—and a passion he can’t afford to feel. Now Fate has summoned David to make a devastating last harvest. And he’ll break every hellishly-strict netherworld rule to save Sarah…and gamble on a choice even an immortal can’t win.

My thoughts:

Grave Intentions is Lori Sjoberg’s debut. It features, as main characters, a grim Reaper and a very skeptical Scientist – David and Sarah. Both are trying to do their jobs while facing difficulties. They are drawn together and face seemingly insurmountable odds of being together (as one expects in a Paranormal Romance). What makes Grave Intentions stand out is the Reapers' mythology and rules and the well done character building.

David and Sarah are both extremely likable. They don't experience instantaneous love at first sight. They actually spend time together and get to know each other. David and Sarah are just lovely as a couple. I had no idea how they would end up together. Ms. Sjoberg surprised me!

Throughout the story we learn about their jobs and meet some of the people that are in their lives.The other Reapers that work with David are interesting in their own right as well.

There are some heartbreaking and some downright creepy moments that, for me, enhanced the novel and helped bring the world of the Reapers to life. No hocus pocus here. The Reapers appear human and have to do their reaping without being caught, which is a change of pace from most stories that feature psychopomps of one sort or another.

On top of terrific character and myth building, the pacing of Grave Intentions is quite good. Grave Intentions is a really delightful and engaging read. I’m looking forward to more of Ms. Sjoberg’s novels.

You may read a 2013 Debut Author Challenge interview with Lori Sjoberg here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Guest Blog by Gillian Philip - That Sinking Feeling - January 23, 2013

Please welcome Gillian Philip to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. Firebrand, Gillian's US Adult debut, will be published on February 19, 2013 by Tor Books.

That Sinking Feeling

Everybody knows the bad ones stick. That’s not conventional wisdom, it’s inescapable. It doesn’t matter how many good reviews you get as a writer (or for all I know as an artist, a journalist or a PPI compensation salesman), it’s the lines of loathing you know off by heart.

I know writers who won’t read their Amazon reviews, not even the good ones (at least, they say they don’t), and I do wonder if I should join them. (I know I won’t. Reviews are like cigarettes; they can kick-start your morning; they can make you as content as a chilled-out cat; but you never know which one is going to kill you. It doesn’t stop you going back to them.)

Of course the twisty-gut feeling when you read a bad review isn’t nice, but it isn’t that part of it that’s got me thinking. Reviews are a Good Thing, even when they aren’t good, if you see what I mean. There are bad reviews that are well-deserved, and ones that are downright entertaining (I’m thinking of a recent film review of Les Mis which I thoroughly enjoyed for the sheer snarkiness, though I have no views on the film because I haven’t seen it yet). Of course books should be honestly reviewed, and potential readers should be warned off the bad ones as much as they’re encouraged to try the good ones. It isn’t that.

What’s got me thinking is the stickiness-factor - not because of the hurt to one’s delicate feelings about one’s precious book-baby, but because of the potential damage to its future siblings. The democratisation of reviewing is wonderful, giving exposure both to fresh opinions and to authors who might not get the newspaper space, but the flipside of it is that anything you write is going to offend somebody, somewhere. Subjective opinion, personal taste, all that.

And it isn’t nice making people unhappy, so you tend not to want to do it again. It’s a little like having an editor-after-the-event. Editing, too, is a Good Thing. Like a sharp review, it points out what you hadn’t noticed, highlights your weak spots, encourages you to do better and go further. You have to listen and learn, but here’s the thing: you also have to know when to stop and say no.

Somebody didn’t like my portrayal of women in Firebrand. That took me aback when I first read the review, because most people thought my women were strong and individual - except for one, who starts out weak and ineffectual. She’s a victim, and for a while my hero holds her in contempt, largely because he’s an arrogant son of a bitch who’s used to strong women. That contrast was too much for this particular reviewer.

Now, on an intellectual level, I disagree with the review although I respect the reviewer’s opinion (it wasn’t abusive or rude). On a visceral level, I’ve never stopped agonising about it. Should I have written my character that way? More importantly, would I ever write her that way again?

Before the self-flagellation gets out of hand, I want to defend the way I wrote my character. She’s a young sixteenth century girl who’s been raised in a strict religious environment. She’s not used to the concept of standing up for herself, but she does anyway, and as a result terrible things happen to her. And they happen because they would have, in real life. She wouldn’t have got away with her defiance, had she been a real girl in the real sixteenth century, and to write her otherwise would have felt like a betrayal. And had my hero been warm, understanding and mature about it, he wouldn’t have been himself. Any writer will tell you that describing their characters’ actions, dialogue and attitudes doesn’t mean you’re condoning them or suggesting them as a healthy way of life.

That’s the theory. But when a reader takes exception to the way your story and characters develop, it does bring you up short. It should. We should all take responsibility for what and who we write.

When I read the third book in the Hunger Games trilogy, I was shocked by the change in Katniss. She didn’t seem like the character I’d grown to know and love, and I didn’t like it. I’ve visited the Amazon reviews since, and I know I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. But she was for real. Suzanne Collins knows Katniss better than anyone, and she knew how she’d change after all that had happened to her. It wasn’t nice, I didn’t like it, but it felt true and I’m sure that even with a time machine and a second chance, Suzanne Collins would write her the same way.

And I just don’t know if I’d be that strong. I can’t write Firebrand again, but would I write another weak female character to go with the strong ones? I hope I would. There are women who are weak, and I don’t want to write a book full of role models. This girl changes, but I must have lost that reader before she did. I don’t like that. I hate that I lost my reader before any of my characters had a chance to change and grow, before the reader’s mind was made up. In my head I know the characters needed the time they took; in my heart I want to grab the reader and shout, ‘Stop! Wait! Give them a bit longer! Look at their world!’

And next time, I’m afraid I might hurry it. Next time, I might ensure that a female character is not-raped, when most likely she would be, because of a post I read recently bemoaning the use of rape as a plot device. Maybe there’s a writer out there now, tearing up their manuscript about a kid with cancer because there’s been a recent article regretting the preponderance of ‘sick-lit’.

And there should be those articles! There should be those opinions! Debate is good! Because this is where I should come to some kind of rousing and decisive conclusion, but as I don’t have one, I only have questions. It’s a problem with me, not reviewers (every time I say ‘you’ or ‘one’, I of course mean ‘I’). I would seriously love to know how much agonising other writers do. None? Lots? Would you change your story because of a review or a tweet or a searing blog post?

Can you, should you, crowd-source your characters? It’s a serious question. And now I’m off to torment myself on Amazon...

About Firebrand

Rebel Angels 1
Tor Books, February 19, 2013
Hardcover and eBook, 368 pages
US Adult Debut

It is the last decade of the sixteenth century: a time of religious wars in the mortal world. But the Sithe are at peace, hidden behind the Veil that protects their world until their queen, Kate NicNiven, determines to destroy it.

Seth MacGregor is the half-feral son of a Sithe nobleman. When his father is assassinated and Seth is exiled with his brother Conal to the full-mortal world, they vow not only to survive, but to return to reclaim their fortress and save the Veil.

But even the Veil's power cannot protect the brothers when the brutal witch-hunts begin….

Brimming with intrigue and rebellion, Firebrand is the first book in the Rebel Angels series by Gillian Philip, the Carnegie Medal–nominated author of Crossing the Line and multi-award-nominated Bad Faith.

About Gillian

Gillian Philip is a full time author and ghostwriter for young adults and children. She writes in whatever genre grabs her, including contemporary crime, historical and urban fantasy, horror, and dystopian science fiction. Her books include Crossing the Line, Bad Faith, The Opposite of Amber and the Rebel Angels series - Firebrand, Bloodstone, Wolfsbane and (published next year) Icefall. She has written Darke Academy as Gabriella Poole, the Survivors series as Erin Hunter, and two Beast Quest instalments as Adam Blade.

Gillian was born in Glasgow, lived in Barbados for twelve years and now lives in the north-east Highlands of Scotland with her husband, twins Jamie and Lucy, three dogs, two cats, a fluctuating population of chickens and many nervous fish.

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