Monday, March 31, 2014

Interview with Alex Hughes, author of the Mindspace Investigations - March 31, 2014

Please welcome Alex Hughes to The Qwillery. Alex's most recent novel is Marked which will be published on April 1st. In addition Rabbit Trick, which includes a Mindspace Investigations story, was published on March 4, 2014.

TQ:  Welcome back to The Qwillery. The first two novels in the Mindspace Investigations Series, Clean and Sharp, were published in 2012 and 2013 respectively and Marked will be out tomorrow. How was your writing process changed since your first novel was published?

Alex:  Thank you so much for having me on the blog. It's good to be back :)

My writing process is still developing, and every novel feels different as I'm working out not only plots and character arcs but also the best ways to work with my muse in a way that makes us both happy. Marked had to be written in about four and a half months, about half the time it took to write Sharp, so the process and the stress was accelerated. As I'm writing Book #4 right now, it's a different experience still, much slower and incremental, with layers building as I go. I'm still adjusting my process with every book, and it may take awhile to get it right. By nature, I'm a pantser (I write by the seat of my pants) but this is a very inefficient and illogical process. I'm trying to add more structure and planning to this to make the process easier, but if I overshoot, I can hobble my muse. So I'm still learning and trying new things.

TQ:  The Mindspace Investigations series is set in an alternate future Atlanta. Why did you set the series in Atlanta?

Alex:  I live in Atlanta. Specifically, I lived in Decatur in college, where the Mindspace series was set. They were constantly telling me in creative writing class to write what you know, so when I came up with the core idea for the series, it was set there, mostly to prove I could do it.

TQ:  You've written two e-shorts set in the Mind Space Investigations universe: Payoff in 2013 and Rabbit Trick earlier in March, which includes some extra stories. Can you tell us about Rabbit Trick?

Alex:  Thanks for asking! "Rabbit Trick" was a story I wrote about eighteen months ago, right before I finished the draft of Sharp. Without going into spoilers, one of the characters in Sharp has a history with Adam and Cherabino that I wanted to explore. "Rabbit Trick" is the first time they come into contact with this character's handiwork. Since the story is set before the events of Clean, Adam deliberately doesn't have a name, and his and Cherabino's relationship is still pretty rocky. They're called in to consult on the murder of a fellow police officer, which Cherabino takes hard. When they show up, though, Adam discovers there was a kid at the crime scene... a kid no one can find.

I had a blast writing "Rabbit Trick" and the two other stories in other worlds, and I wanted to share that with the readers. Since you guys seemed to like Payoff so well, an e-short seemed the right format.

TQ:   After Sharp (book 2) was published I asked you which character surprised you the most in the series to that point. Is Paulson still the character who has surprised you the most?

Alex:  At this point, I think it's Kara. Her loyalties and motivations shift with the tides, so that I'm never quite sure at any given moment which side of the fence she'll land on. That makes her fun (and frustrating) to write.

TQ:  The novels have been described as "dark noir" and "SF mysteries and/or thrillers." Would you agree? What is noir?

Alex:  Noir, the way I understand it, comes from the look and feel of old forties films in the black-and-white Film Noir style. There's dramatic lighting, strong contrasts between shadows and lights, and also elevated dialogue and stakes. The heroes are always a little gritty, and the situations always a little more dramatic than normal, and there's usually some kind of hardboiled crime story. I love this genre, though I wasn't intending to write in it; it's apparently where my ideas naturally go. I was definitely trying for a cop-show feeling, and a speculative element pulling from real science concepts. What I ended up with works, but it's hard to categorize.

TQ:   What's next?

Alex:  I'll have more Mindspace stories as we go, but I'm also working on additional ideas for other worlds. One of which is actually set in the 1940s, speaking of noir. And I'm working on a collaborative project about a hotel ghost with critique partner Kerry Schafer this year as well. To make sure you stay up to date with all the latest news (and get periodic free short stories from me), sign up for my email newsletter at

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Alex:  Thank you so much for having me here! I had a great time.

Mindspace Investigations

Mindspace Investigations 3
Roc, April 1, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages


Freelancing for the Atlanta PD isn’t exactly a secure career; my job’s been on the line almost as much as my life. But it’s a paycheck, and it keeps me from falling back into the drug habit. Plus, things are looking up with my sometimes-partner, Cherabino, even if she is still simmering over the telepathic Link I created by accident.

When my ex, Kara, shows up begging for my help, I find myself heading to the last place I ever expected to set foot in again—Guild headquarters—to investigate the death of her uncle. Joining that group was a bad idea the first time. Going back when I’m unwanted is downright dangerous.

Luckily, the Guild needs me more than they’re willing to admit. Kara’s uncle was acting strange before he died—crazy strange. In fact, his madness seems to be slowly spreading through the Guild. And when an army of powerful telepaths loses their marbles, suddenly it’s a game of life or death.…

Mindspace Investigations 2
Roc, April 2, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages


As a Level Eight telepath, I am the best police interrogator in the department. But I’m not a cop—I never will be—and my only friend on the force, Homicide Detective Isabella Cherabino, is avoiding me because of a telepathic link I created by accident.

And I might not even be an interrogator for much longer. Our boss says unless I pull out a miracle, I’ll be gone before Christmas. I need this job, damn it. It’s the only thing keeping me sane.

Parts for illegal Tech—the same parts used to bring the world to its knees in the Tech Wars sixty years ago—are being hijacked all over the city. Plus Cherbino's longtime nemesis, a cop killer, has resurfaced with a vengeance. If I can stay alive long enough, I just might be able to prove my worth, once and for all...

A Mindspace Investigations Novella
Roc, March 5, 2014
eNovella, 112 pages

Being a telepath, I should have seen the hell I was getting myself into…

I used to be one of the most powerful telepaths in the guild. That was before my drug addiction and before they kicked me out. But I'm not a bad guy. Now I help the Atlanta PD solve murders. And even though there are only a few people I call friends, I'd do most anything to keep their trust.

So when a judge asks me to help investigate a missing college kid, I'm down for it. No questions asked. No problem. But in this dark world, things are never easy and a favor is never just a favor. Turns out, politicians don’t like being murder suspects. And it's bad to anger someone with more power than you. I thought I had nothing to lose... I was wrong.

Includes a preview of Alex Hughes’s Sharp

Mindspace Investigations 1
Roc, September 4, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages


I used to work for the Telepath’s Guild before they kicked me out for a drug habit that wasn’t entirely my fault. Now I work for the cops, helping Homicide Detective Isabella Cherabino put killers behind bars.

My ability to get inside the twisted minds of suspects makes me the best interrogator in the department. But the normals keep me on a short leash. When the Tech Wars ripped the world apart, the Guild stepped up to save it. But they had to get scary to do it—real scary.

Now the cops don’t trust the telepaths, the Guild doesn’t trust me, a serial killer is stalking the city— and I’m aching for a fix. But I need to solve this case. Fast. I’ve just had a vision of the future: I’m the next to die.

Rabbit Trick
Mindspace Investigations .5
Alex Hughes, March 4, 2014

New short story in the Mindspace Investigations universe (with two bonus short stories in other worlds from author Alex Hughes).

Open Mind

When the cops call me in the middle of the night, I know it’s bad. One of their own is dead, strangled in her car by a professional killer, and it’s up to me, telepath consultant extraordinaire, to pull the rabbit out of my hat and solve the case. Only this time I’m not so sure I can.

Homicide Detective Isabella Cherabino is breathing down my neck. The dead cop’s partner is too. And now, the worst—there was a five-year-old kid in the car, a kid no one can find.

Note from the author: “Rabbit Trick” takes place before the events of Clean, so the hero intentionally remains nameless.

About Alex

Alex Hughes, the author of the award-winning Mindspace Investigations series from Roc, has lived in the Atlanta area since the age of eight. She is a graduate of the prestigious Odyssey Writing Workshop, and a Semi-Finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novels 2011. Her short fiction has been published in several markets including EveryDay Fiction, Thunder on the Battlefield and White Cat Magazine. She is an avid cook and foodie, a trivia buff, and a science geek, and loves to talk about neuroscience, the Food Network, and writing craft—but not necessarily at the same time! You can visit her at Twitter at @ahugheswriter or on the web at Or, join her email newsletter for free short stories at

Facebook  ~  Twitter @ahugheswriter

The View From Monday - March 31, 2014

Happy last Monday in March! This is a very full release week including a tremendous number of books out on April 1st. No fooling!

There are 2 debuts:

Irenicon (The Wave Trilogy 1) by Aidan Harte;


Deadroads by Robin Riopelle.

And from formerly featured Debut Author Challenge Authors:

Cursed by Alexa Egan;

The Bird Eater by Ania Ahlborn;

Immortal Hunter (Execution Underground 2) by Kait Ballenger;

Covenant (Books of Raziel 2) by Sabrina Benulis;

Turned (Belladonna Agency 1) by Virna DePaul;

The Ophelia Prophecy by Sharon Lynn Fisher;

Marked (Mindspace Investigations 3) by Alex Hughes;

Drowning in Fire (Elementals 3) by Hanna Martine;

Tomorrow, the Killing (Low Town 2) Daniel Polansky;


Silence for the Dead by Simone St. James.

March 30, 2014
The Wanderer's Tale (ri) David Bilsborough F - Annals of Lindormyn 1

March 31, 2014
Small Doses of the Future: A Collection of Medical Science Fiction Stories Brad Aiken SF - Collection
Death's Daughter (e) Kathleen Collins PNR - Realm Walker 2
Minding the Stars: The Early Jack Vance Volume 4 Terry Dowling (ed)
Jonathan Strahan (ed)
SF/F - Collection
Cursed (e) Alexa Egan PNR - The Complete Imnada Brotherhood Novellas
Dangerous Angel (e) Stacy Gail PNR - Earth Angels 4
At Star's End (e) Anna Hackett SFR
The Compleat Crow Brian Lumley F - Titus Crow Stories

April 1, 2014
The Goblin Emperor Katherine Addison F
The Bird Eater Ania Ahlborn H
Circle of Desire Keri Arthur FR - Damask Circle 3
Wild Wolf Jennifer Ashley PNR - Shifters Unbound 6
Immortal Hunter (e) Kait Ballenger PNR - The Execution Underground 2
Lexicon (h2tp) Max Barry SF
Dark Eden Chris Beckett SF
Hecate's Own Dana Marie Bell PNR - Heart's Desire 2
Covenant Sabrina Benulis F/Go - Books of Raziel 2
What the Doctor Ordered Michael Blumlein H - Collection
The Days of the Deer Liliana Bodoc F - Saga of the Borderlands 1
A Killing Notion Melissa Bourbon PCM - Magical Dressmaking Mystery 3
Riveted (tp2mm) Meljean Brook SPR - Iron Seas 3
The Devil's Eye (e) Dawn Brown GoR - Shivers 10
Blameless (ri) Gail Carriger SP - Parasol Protectorate 3
Changeless (ri) Gail Carriger SP - Parasol Protectorate 2
Soulless (ri) Gail Carriger SP - Parasol Protectorate 1
Upon a Sea of Stars A. Bertam Chandler SF - John Grimes Saga 5
Peacemaker C. J. Cherryh SF - Foreigner 15
Savage Panet Stephen Coonts SF - Saucer 3
Quicksilver Soul Christine D'Abo PHR - Shadow Guild 2
The Ugly Woman of Castello di Putti: A Tor.Com Original A.M. Dellamonica F
Turned Virna DePaul PNR - Belladonna Agency 1
The Ophelia Prophecy Sharon Lynn Fisher SFR
Shards of Time Lynn Flewelling F - Nightrunner 7
Magical Misfire (e) Kimberly Frost PNR - A Southern Witch Novella
Severed Gary Fry H
Vampire's Hunger Cynthia Garner SFR - Awakening 1
The Revolutions Felix Gilman SF/R
Legacy of Darkness (e) Jane Godman GoR - Shivers 9
The Awakening (ri) Heather Graham
(Shannon Drake)
PNR - Alliance Vampires 5
Darkening Around Me (e) Barbara J. Hancock GoR - Shivers 1
Games Creatures Play Charlaine Harris (ed)
Toni L.P. Kelner (ed)
UF - Anthology
Empty Space: A Haunting (h2tp) M. John Harrison SF/H
Dream a Little Dream (e) Megan Hart PNR
Irenicon (D US) Aidan Harte F - Wave Trilogy 1
The Crimson Shield Nathan Hawke F - Gallow 1
Marked Alex Hughes SF - Mindspace Investigations 3
Ghost of a Gamble Sue Ann Jaffarian PCM - Ghost of Granny Apples 4
Tempting the Demon Elle James PNR
Enchanting the Beast Kathryne Kennedy PHR - Relics of Merlin 4
Wicked Games Angela Knight PNR - Collection
Appalachian Overthrow (h2mm) E.E. Knight SF - Vampire Earth 10
Baltic Gambit E.E. Knight SF - Vampire Earth 11
The Frangipani Hotel Violet Kupersmith Gh - Collection
When He Was Bad (ri) Shelly Laurenston
Cynthia Eden
PNR - Stories
The Fearful Gates Ross Lawhead F - An Ancient Earth 3
Into the Void: Star Wars Tim Lebbon SF - Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi
The Forever Knight (h2mm) John Marco F - Bronze Knight 1
Reign of Ash Gail Z. Martin F - Ascendant Kingdom 2
Drowning in Fire Hanna Martine PNR - Elementals 3
Step Back in Time Ali McNamara TTR
Like a Dead Man Walking William F. Nolan
Jason V. Brock (ed)
SF/H - Collection
Ghost Seer Robin D. Owens PNR - Ghost Seer 1
Tomorrow, the Killing Daniel Polansky DF - Low Town 2
Stoker's Manuscript (h2tp) Royce Prouty H
Prince's Fire Amy Raby FR - Hearts and Thrones 3
Fall Rod Rees SF/Dys -  Demi-Monde Saga 4
Evil Never Dies Mick Ridgewell H
Deadroads: A Novel of Supernatural Suspense (D) Robin Riopelle Su/Sus
Keith Roberts SF Gateway Omnibus Keith Roberts SF - SF Gateway Omnibus
Shattered Moon Moira Rogers PNR - Bloodhounds
Black Rose (e) Jenna Ryan GoR - Shivers 3
Silence for the Dead Simone St. James Go
Bob Shaw SF Gateway Omnibus Bob Shaw SF - SF Gateway Omnibus
Conversations with William Gibson Patrick A. Smith (ed) SF - Literary Conversations
Running Free Jorrie Spencer PNR - Northern Shifters 5
Angel City (h2mm) Jon Steele Su/P - Angelus Trilogy 2
The Homecoming (h2tp) Carsten Stroud Su/H - Niceville 2
From Civil War to World War Peter G. Tsouras AH - Britannia's Fist Trilogy1
The Seventh Child Erik Valeur Go
Circle of Blood Debbie Viguie F/P - Witch Hunt 3
The Way of All Flesh Tim Waggoner H
Mark of the Bear NJ Walters PNR - Hades' Carnival 2
The King J.R. Ward PNR - Black Dagger Brotherhood 12
Gothic Science Fiction: 1980-2010 Sara Wasson (ed)
Emily Alder (ed)

April 2, 2014
The Devil in America: A Tor.Com Original Kai Ashante Wilson F

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

AH - Alternate History
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopia
F - Fantasy
FR - Fantasy Romance
Gh - Ghosts
Go - Gothic
GoR - Gothic Romance
H - Horror
LC - Literary Criticism
P - Paranormal
PCM - Paranormal Cozy Mystery
PHR - Paranormal Historical Romance
PNR - Paranormal Romance
SF - Science Fiction
SFR - Science Fiction Romance
SP - Steampunk
SPR - Steampunk Romance
Su - Supernatural
Sus - Suspense
TTR - Time Travel Romance
UF - Urban Fantasy

Sunday, March 30, 2014

2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - March 2014 Winner

The winner of the March 2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars is Healer of Carthage by Lynne Gentry with 43% of the votes.

The Final Results

 The March 2014 Debut Covers

Thank you to everyone who voted, Tweeted, and participated. The 2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will continue with voting on the April Debut covers starting on April 15, 2014.  Look for the list of April's Debuts on April 1st.

Melanie's Week in Review - March 30, 2014

Happy Mother's Day to any Mom (or should say Mum) from the UK who is reading this. For any Mom in the US or Canada you have to wait until May! I had a productive reading week and I am quite chuffed with myself. So what did I read?

If you read my WIR last week you will know that I read River Road by Suzanne Johnson, which I quite enjoyed. I also had book 3  - Elysian Fields and DJ's face seemed to follow me around the room saying 'read me'. I couldn't resist so I started it Sunday morning and finished Sunday evening. What a result! In this instalment a serial killer called The Axeman is loose in New Orleans and killing a path towards DJ. A powerful necromancer is in control of this undead maniac and is determined to take out DJ. If this wasn't enough her friend and potential love interest Jake, the loup garou, is having problems controlling his wolf and Quince Randolph, her best friend's boyfriend, is getting a little too close for comfort. DJ is not short of hunky heroes however, as she has both the undead pirate Jean Lafitte and the former sentinel Alex Warin who are more than willing to save her bacon...and boy does she need their help. This series really improves and I enjoy each book more than the previous. There are only a few weeks between the events in books 2 and 3 but DJ continues to mature as she realises the consequences of her actions. This plot has a number of threads including The Axeman, her romantic entanglements and her elven heritage. There is a lot happening in this book with DJ travelling both to Jean Lafitte's home in The Beyond and to the elven home world. More is also explained about the 'undead' such as Jean Lafitte which I appreciated. I couldn't figure out from the previous books what they were as the term 'undead' makes me think of zombies rather than the corporeal dead. The only problem with reading so many books of one series close together is that when you have finally read the last book to be released it seems AGES for the next one to come out.  Now I have to wait another year to find out what trouble DJ gets into next.

Book two on my reading list was Dream London by Tony Ballantyne. I can say with certainty that Dream London is by far the most surreal book I have ever read. The only way I can describe it is if Alice took acid before she jumped down the rabbit hole.  It is strange with a capital 'S'. Dream London is changing and Captain James Wedderburn has been reluctantly recruited to find out why. During the night the geography of the city changes while at the same time the fortunes of its inhabitants change just as quickly. No one knows who is in control but Captain James is going to find out no matter what it takes. This book reminded me a little bit of the movie Dark City but it was much, much darker and much, much more odd. For starters, James owned a brothel and didn't feel too guilty about feeding his 'girls' candy flavoured drugs to make them feel what their clients felt. James' career wasn't an oddity though as sex and prostitution was the norm in Dream London. Its not until nearly the end of the book that we find out why and you almost wish you didn't know.  Hats off to Ballantyne as he has one prolific imagination. Not only can he convey the weird and wonderful, he can do it for over 600 pages. This book requires some significant investment in time, tolerance for the morally inept and lots and lots of swearing. This is an excellent book but you really have to be in the right frame of mind to read it. I am glad that I paced myself over a few weeks to read it rather than rushing through.

The final book I finished (just a few hours before I wrote this) was Silver Mirrors by A.A. Aguirre. This was a special one of surprise from The Qwill and I am super lucky to get this ARC. I hate to disappoint but I can't say too much about this book as I will be writing a full review. Keep your eye on the blog for this to be posted to find out what I thought of the second book of the Apparatus Infernum series.

As I write this I am watching the Ender's Game movie which you may know is also a book by Orson Scott Card. I can't say I am enjoying it that much despite liking kids' movies and YA fiction. I watched Catching Fire, the movie version of the book by Suzanne Collins, when I was writing my last WIR and enjoyed it a lot more. I guess some books makes better movies ....or are better cast. Thoughts?

Well that is it for me this week. I hope you have a great week ahead and Happy Reading.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Giveaway: Irenicon by Aidan Harte

Irenicon (The Wave Trilogy 1) by Aidan Harte is debuting on April 1st in the US. You can win a special galley of the novel now! You'll only have until March 31 to enter (see the Rafflecopter below). If you don't win this time you will have more chances coming up! You can read a guest post by Aidan here.

The Wave Trilogy 1
Jo Fletcher Books, April 1, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 496 pages
(US Debut)

The river Irenicon is a feat of ancient Concordian engineering. Blasted through the middle of Rasenna in 1347, using Wave technology, it divided the only city strong enough to defeat the Concordian Empire. But no one could have predicted the river would become sentient—and hostile. Sofia Scaligeri, the soon-to-be Contessa of Rasenna, has inherited a city tearing itself apart from the inside. And try as she might, she can see no way of stopping the culture of vendetta that has the city in its grasp. Until a Concordian engineer arrives to build a bridge over the Irenicon, clarifying everything: the feuding factions of Rasenna can either continue to fight each other or they can unite against their shared enemy. And they will surely need to stand together—for Concord is about to unleash the Wave again.

The Giveaway

What:  One entrant will a special galley of Irenicon (The Wave Trilogy 1) by Aidan Harte. US ONLY

How:   Log into and follow the directions in the Rafflecopter below.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a US mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59PM US Eastern Time on March 31, 2014. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules and duration are subject to change without any notice.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Celebration in Honor of the 3rd Anniversary of Shadowhawk's Shade!

One of my favorite bloggers and all around terrific person is celebrating the 3rd Anniversary of his wonderful blog - Shadowhawk's Shade.  I could not let this happy occasion pass without joining in the celebration. Abhinav Jain aka Shadowhawk has picked 4 books that he really likes and tells us why we should read them. To help celebrate, The Qwillery will give away one of those books to one entrant! Don't forget to follow Shadowhawk/Abhinav on Twitter @abhinavjain87.

A Soldier's Duty
by Jean Johnson
Theirs is Not to Reason Why 1
Ace, July 26, 2011
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 432 pages

Ia is a precog, tormented by visions of the future where her home galaxy has been devastated. To prevent this vision from coming true, Ia enlists in the Terran United Planets military with a plan to become a soldier who will inspire generations for the next three hundred years-a soldier history will call Bloody Mary.
Why you should read A Soldier's Duty: A military space opera with an extremely layered protagonist you can really connect to. Plus the entire world-building is excellent and there is a very strong element of hard SF to the novel. And the protagonist is a powerful psychic, so that complicates matters very nicely.

Ack-Ack Macaque
by Gareth L. Powell
Ack-Ack Macaque 1
Solaris Books, December 26, 2012 (US)
December 12, 2012 (UK)
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 416 pages
Cover Illustration by Jake Murray

In 1944, as waves of German ninjas parachute into Kent, Britain’s best hopes for victory lie with a Spitfire pilot codenamed ‘Ack-Ack Macaque.’ The trouble is, Ack-Ack Macaque is a cynical, one-eyed, cigar-chomping monkey, and he’s starting to doubt everything, including his own existence.

A century later, in a world where France and Great Britain merged in the late 1950s and nuclear-powered Zeppelins circle the globe, ex-journalist Victoria Valois finds herself drawn into a deadly game of cat and mouse with the man who butchered her husband and stole her electronic soul. In Paris, after taking part in an illegal break-in at a research laboratory, the heir to the British throne goes on the run. And all the while, the doomsday clock ticks towards Armageddon...
Why you should read Ack-Ack Macaque:  The reasons to read this novel start and end with one thing: a cigar-chomping talking monkey who is a pilot for the Allies during the Second World War. That is honestly all that you need to know, but if you want more, then just know that this was one of the best novels I read last year.

Gotrek & Felix: Road of Skulls
by Josh Reynolds
Games Workshop, January 29, 2013
Trade Paperback and eBook, 416 pages

The return of Black Library favourites Gotrek & Felix

Gotrek and Felix: unsung heroes of the Empire, or nothing more than common thieves and murderers? The truth perhaps lies somewhere in between, and depends entirely upon whom you ask... Gotrek and Felix race to the dwarf hold at Karak Kadrin, finding it besieged by one of the grand armies of Chaos warlord Garmr. When King Ungrim Ironfist speaks of the legendary ‘Road of Skulls’ and of the hated foe’s attempts to open a portal into the Realm of Chaos, Gotrek senses that a great doom awaits him – though it may not be the one he would choose for himself. As the king’s own son leads his army of Slayers to fulfil an ancient prophecy, it seems that Garmr’s hour of victory may be at hand.
Why you should read Gotrek & Felix: Road of Skulls: The first G&F novel in a long time, but not set in the main timeline set by authors William King and Nathan Long, this is still a pretty fun novel that has all the elements of the classic G&F stories and does more with all of that. A great side-adventure that can honestly fill in anywhere around the main timeline.

Dirty Magic by Jaye Wells
Prospero's War 1
Orbit, January 21, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 416 pages


The Magical Enforcement Agency keeps dirty magic off the streets, but there's a new blend out there that's as deadly as it is elusive. When patrol cop Kate Prospero shoots the lead snitch in this crucial case, she's brought in to explain herself. But the more she learns about the investigation, the more she realizes she must secure a spot on the MEA task force.

Especially when she discovers that their lead suspect is the man she walked away from ten years earlier - on the same day she swore she'd given up dirty magic for good. Kate Prospero's about to learn the hard way that crossing a wizard will always get you burned, and that when it comes to magic, you should never say never.
Why you should read Dirty Magic: An urban fantasy with a very kick-ass female protagonist who has to deal with some very realistic problems, a really rich world of magic and wizards, plus almost zero sex, which is more than can be said for most urban fantasy out there. Dirty Magic is a book that focuses on characters and plot and not on the genre's sex tropes.

The Giveaway

What:  One entrant will win her/his choice of one of the 4 books: A Soldier's Duty, Ack-Ack Macaque, Felix & Gotrex: Road of Skulls, or Dirty Magic.

How:   Log into and follow the directions in the Rafflecopter below.

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 April 7, 2014. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules and duration are subject to change without any notice.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Interview with Marjorie M. Liu - March 29, 2014

Please welcome Marjorie M. Liu to The Qwillery. Marjorie's most recent novel is Labyrinth of Stars, the 5th novel in the Hunter Kiss series.

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. You have published over 20 novels as well as numerous short stories. In addition you have written the stories for many comics. How has your writing process changed (or not) over the years? Are you a plotter, pantser, or hybrid plotser? Has writing comics influenced (or not) the way you write novels or vice versa?

Marjorie:  In some ways it has absolutely changed. I used to be non-stop panster. I'd just barrel through the work, playing everything by ear. Of course, sometimes that would take me in the wrong direction entirely, and I'd stall out. Writer's block, I called it. Overcome only when I fixed whatever went wrong. It's happened more often than I'd like to admit, so to make my life easier I've tried to plot more. Call me a hybrid plotser, if you like. I ask a lot of "what if" questions that tend to give me material.

Writing comics has contributed to this hybridity, as I have to write them quickly and can't just go back and fix a problem after the script has been turned in. Once the art is done, it's done. There's no revising. That means I need a clear picture of the whole story before I begin, so I don't go off the rails.

TQ:  You've written the Dirk & Steele series (PNR) and the Hunter Kiss series (UF). How do you keep things straight when you are writing a series?

Marjorie:  I'm always forgetting things! I mean, heck, while writing this last book I totally forgot that I'd already killed off a character. I didn't remember until I was several paragraphs into writing him, and then it hit me. Still, though, it could be a lot worse. I remember big events, more or less, and skimming previous titles usually jogs my memory. What also helps is that my characters have very distinct voices and histories, and so once I start writing them, the rest of their lives kick in. It's like hanging out with people you really like. You can remember almost everything about them, just not all at once.

TQ:  Your latest novel is Labyrinth of Stars (Hunter Kiss 5). Please tell us something about Labyrinth of Stars that is not in the book description?

Marjorie:  The enemy is very close to home. And it wears a familiar face.

TQ:  What sorts of research have you done for the Hunter Kiss series?

Marjorie:  It changes from book to book. I've done research on everything from crystal skulls and alien conspiracies -- to the Catholic church and the legacy of the "Black Madonna". In Labyrinth of Stars I needed to find a real life restaurant that specialized in pies -- and lo and behold, I found one in Texas. Exactly where Maxine needed to be.

TQ:  In the Hunter Kiss series so far which character has surprised you the most? Who is your favorite character?

Marjorie:  They've all surprised me, to some degree -- but I think Zee and the boys have given me the most pleasurable shocks. When I first began writing the series I didn't know exactly what they were or who they had been, but the truth was revealed to me as I wrote each book, and that slow process of picking apart the puzzle allowed me to glimpse an unusual, tragic, history. As for my favorite character? Easy, that's Maxine. She's strong, capable, but also very vulnerable.

TQ:  What's next?

Marjorie:  I'm working on a book about an elderly dominatrix and her granddaughter, who is a veteran of Desert Storm. Together they solve mysteries!

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Marjorie:  Thank you so much for having me!

Labyrinth of Stars
Hunter Kiss 5
Ace, February 25, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

Tattoos with hearts, minds, and dreams. Created to be the armor that protects my body, these obsidian shadows come alive at night—demons made flesh.

After the Aetar nearly kill Maxine’s unborn child, and a betrayal within her own ranks leaves Maxine’s husband, Grant, poisoned and dying, Maxine is forced to attack a race of beings that possesses almost unlimited power. Doing so will require she make a deal with the devil—the devil that lives inside her—risking both her sanity and her soul as she slowly transforms into something more than human.

But even that might not be enough to save Grant, because the very thing that Maxine is becoming is destined to destroy the world.

The Mortal Bone
Hunter Kiss 4
Ace, December 27, 2011
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

When the bond Maxine Kiss shares with the demons tattooed on her skin is deliberately severed, the demon hunter is left vulnerable and unprotected. For the first time in ten thousand years, the demons have a taste of freedom. And as the little demons grow more violent and unpredictable, Maxine starts to fear they will lose their minds without her. Reuniting won't be easy, since a greater temptation waits for these hellions: a chance to return to their lives as Reaper Kings, and unleash hell on Earth.

Armor of Roses and The Silver Voice
A Hunter Kiss Novella and an Original Hunter Kiss Short Story
Ace, December 6, 2011
eNovella and eShort Story

A compelling novella, “Armor of Roses,” and a bonus never-before-published original short story, “The Silver Voice,” both set in the world of New York Times bestselling author Marjorie M. Liu’s stunning Hunter Kiss urban fantasy series.

When New York Times bestselling author Marjorie M. Liu’s demon slayer Maxine Kiss investigates a grisly murder, she finds herself involved in a conspiracy dating back to World War II—and a secret mission that her grandmother may have carried out for the US government, one that involves the mysterious armor of roses.

On their honeymoon, Maxine helps Grant explore his heritage through memories locked inside a mysterious seed ring, leading him to the silver voice and secrets his mother kept hidden from him—until now.
Amazon : Barnes and Noble : Books-A-Million : iTunes : Kobo

A Wild Light
Hunter Kiss 3
Ace, July 27, 2010
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

For too long Maxine Kiss has felt an inexplicable darkness inside her-a force she channels into hunting the demons bent on destroying the human race. But when she finds herself covered in blood and crouched beside her grandfather's dead body with no memory of what happened, Maxine begins to fear that the darkness has finally consumed her.

Darkness Calls
Hunter Kiss 2
Ace, June 30, 2009
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

Demon hunter Maxine Kiss, inked with living tattoos, is on a mission to rescue the man she loves from a bloodthirsty army. To save him, Maxine has only one choice: to lose control—and release her own powers of darkness.

Hunter Kiss
A Companion Novella to The Iron Hunt and Darkness Calls
Ace, February 6, 2009
eNovella, 94 pages

In this eSpecial, New York Times bestselling author Marjorie M. Liu provides a companion novella to The Iron Hunt and Darkness Calls, the first two books in her gripping new urban fantasy series. Meet Maxine Kiss, the Earth’s last protector:I am a demon hunter. I am a demon. I am Hunter Kiss. By day, my tattoos are my armor. By night, they unwind from my body to take on forms of their own. Demons of the flesh, turned into flesh. My only allies. Until one moment—and one man—changes everything…

The Iron Hunt
Hunter Kiss 1
Ace, June 24, 2008
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

First in a stunning new urban fantasy series from an author who “NEVER CEASES TO AMAZE.” (BOOKLIST, STARRED REVIEW)

Demon hunter Maxine Kiss wears her armor as tattoos, which unwind from her body to take on forms of their own at night. They stand between her and her enemies, just as Maxine stands between humanity and the demons breaking out from behind the prison veils. It is a life lacking in love, reveling in death, until one moment—and one man— changes everything.

About Marjorie

Photo by Nina Subin
Marjorie M. Liu is an attorney and the bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance, as well as comic books for Marvel. She is, occasionally, commandeered by poodles – and highly opinionated cats – and divides her time between Boston, MA, New York City and Beijing/Shanghai, China. Visit her website at or find her on Twitter at

Review: Labyrinth of Stars by Marjorie M. Liu

Labyrinth of Stars
Author:  Marjorie M. Liu
Series:  Hunter Kiss 5
Publisher:  Ace, February 25, 2014
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages
List Price:  $7.99 (print)
ISBN:  9781937007850 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher

Tattoos with hearts, minds, and dreams. Created to be the armor that protects my body, these obsidian shadows come alive at night—demons made flesh.

After the Aetar nearly kill Maxine’s unborn child, and a betrayal within her own ranks leaves Maxine’s husband, Grant, poisoned and dying, Maxine is forced to attack a race of beings that possesses almost unlimited power. Doing so will require she make a deal with the devil—the devil that lives inside her—risking both her sanity and her soul as she slowly transforms into something more than human.

But even that might not be enough to save Grant, because the very thing that Maxine is becoming is destined to destroy the world.

Doreen’s Thoughts

Labyrinth of Stars is fifth in a series about Maxine Kiss, who hunts and destroys demons for a living. The last time I read about Maxine, she had not yet met her husband, Grant, so this was new territory for me. Liu does a good job of containing her stories within each novel, so it is not necessary to have read the prior books before reading this one. She provides just enough detail about Maxine’s history in the current story that it flows seamlessly.

Maxine is the last in a long line of Kiss women who are Hunters, those who hunt the demons that possess normal humans from time to time. In this novel, she and Grant have defeated several demon armies, and Maxine is now declared Queen of the Demons. She possesses the tattoos of the Kiss women, a prison for five of the worst demons who are her allies and family – inert by day but providing a protective armor, and alive and moving during the night. These five demons have become so much a part of the Kiss legacy that each woman must die before they are passed down to the next daughter.

Maxine is now pregnant, and her great alien enemy, the Aetar, have targeted her daughter for assassination because she potentially will be more powerful that the Aetar themselves. Her daughter would possess the power of both the Kiss legacy and the Lightbringer’s legacy from her father. The Aetar are determined that those powers never come to fruition, and they attack Maxine’s unborn child to prevent that. They also infect the demon armies, who Maxine has been protecting, and Grant with a deadly virus intended to wipe them out.

Lastly, Maxine also possesses a devil within her soul – a devil that has been subdued by Maxine’s power. However, when her child is threatened, Maxine offers herself up to the devil to save the baby – without knowing what the consequences might be to opening herself up to possession.

Liu’s world is a complex one, with tattoos that come to life every night and demons who possess ordinary humans. Her writing is lyrical and almost poetic, so I enjoy reading her work and letting it sink into me and work its magic. Even with the complexities of world and not knowing all of Maxine’s history, I was able to follow along and understand everything that was happening. I enjoyed the ride well enough that I may need to go back and revisit Maxine’s earlier adventures.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Review: Circle of Blood by Debbie Viguié

Circle of Blood
Author:  Debbie Viguié
Series:  Witch Hunt 3
Publisher:  Signet, April 1, 2014
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 336 pages
List Price:  $7.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780451240149 (print)
Review Copy:   Provided by the Publisher

Samantha Ryan—cop by choice, witch hunter by necessity—is about to confront the witch who has been secretly manipulating her life. But her search for the truth about her past may end in her death.…

All her life, Samantha Ryan has been haunted by a circle of blood, which she has tried to keep at bay—ever since she escaped a vicious Salem coven of witches as a child. But now her carefully constructed life has given way to the darkness she might have embraced, had she not run away.

Angry, focused, and more than willing to use her powers on anyone who gets in her way, Samantha travels to New Orleans to confront Lilith Black, the witch who has been mercilessly shaping events around her for months.

But little does Samantha know that her own nightmarish past and Lilith’s are inescapably intertwined—and that what Lilith wants most of all is for Samantha to suffer until her final breath.…

Trinitytwo’s Point of View

Desdemona Castor is a witch with an attitude. She has arrived in New Orleans with two pressing errands; recover the cross necklace stolen from her and annihilate the witch who took it. Desdemona is Samantha Ryan, former Boston homicide detective and witch hunter. More accurately, Desdemona is the powerful witch portion of Samantha, who at thirteen renounced her magic and locked that part of herself away. Samantha is forced to reawaken Desdemona to fight against the machinations of a cunning enemy. While the horrors of their past continue to haunt them, the two parts of Samantha fight for control. They must somehow find a way to work together if they have any hope of surviving their encounter with their most dangerous adversary yet.

This story is a real page turner; I finished it in one night. Circle of Blood is the third installment in the Witch Hunt novels and like the saying goes; the third time is the charm. It can be read as a standalone, but I would recommend reading the whole series in order to experience the full flavor of Samantha’s journey. If you read my review on the first two books, you’ll know I had minor difficulties with predictability and found some character behavior slightly irritating. To my delight, I had no such issues with this volume. The conflict and the coming to terms between Desdemona and Samantha made for a great story and intriguing interactions. Let me just say that Samantha as Desdemona is badass. Samantha is even better when she comes to terms and finally accepts who and what she really is. The New Orleans setting was the perfect place for a showdown of epic proportions. Viguié fills each page with action and manages to tie up all the loose ends from the previous installments in the process. If you enjoy supernatural suspense, you should devour Circle of Blood because it’s delicious.

You can enter to win a copy of Circle of Blood at this post (an interview with Debbie).

Interview with Debbie Viguié and Giveaway - March 28, 2014

Please welcome Debbie Viguié to The Qwillery. Debbie is the author of several series including the Witch Hunt series. Circle of Blood (Witch Hunt 3) will be published on April 1, 2014.

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. You have published over 25 novels in several series. How has your writing process changed (or not) over the years? Are you a plotter, pantser, or hybrid plotser?

Debbie:  Thanks for having me! I tend to write more linearly than I use to. I use to skip around and write the scenes almost completely out of order. There's still some of that, but not as much. I am a plotter if I'm co-writing with someone and a pantser if I'm writing by myself.

TQ:  You've written novels for multiple series. How do you keeps things straight in each series?

Debbie:  When I was a kid I read multiple books at the same time (a book for the bedroom, a book for the car, a book for school, etc.) and people use to ask me the same question! I think because of that experience it's pretty easy for me to keep things straight now when I'm writing multiple things at the same time. The only time I ever had a problem was when I was working on a series where the protagonist was named Candy at the same time I was working on another series where the protagonist was named Cindy. I certainly didn't think that one through! I kept typing the wrong names in the manuscript.

TQ:  Your most recent novel is Circle of Blood, the 3rd and final novel in the Witch Hunt series. Tell us something about Circle of Blood that is not in the book description.

Debbie:  Freaky, the black kitten who became a huge black panther at the end of the last book, begins to take on even more of a life of his own in this book. Freaky was created as an homage to my cat Schrodinger. One of my nicknames for him is Freaky Baby.

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

Debbie:  Actually, Samantha has. I had not originally intended to turn her as dark as I did at the end of the second book. It makes her journey through book three that much more powerful though.

TQ:  In the Witch Hunt series who is your favorite good 'guy', bad 'guy' or ethically ambiguous character?

Debbie:  Samantha's partner, Ed, is my favorite good guy. He and she have such great rapport and he is very funny with his sarcastic dialogue. My favorite bad guy is Abigail, the leader of Samantha's old coven because the woman just creeps me out.

TQ:  What sorts of research have you done for the Witch Hunt series? What is one of the oddest things you've found?

Debbie:  I've done a lot of research on places, to make sure they feel authentic. One of the oddest things I've found was a website where urban explorers had posted pictures documenting the current state of ruin and decay of the Jazzland theme park in New Orleans. It was destroyed by Katrina and has sat rotting ever since. I give detailed descriptions of Samantha's experiences there in this book and the location is just disturbing. There are things like giant smashed clown heads that have fallen off buildings and are on the ground.

TQ:  You've written is several genres: Thrillers, Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy. Are there any other genres (or sub-genres) in which you'd like to write?

Debbie:  I've also written mysteries! I'm dying to do a western. In fact, I am working on writing one as we speak.

TQ:  What's next?

Debbie:  Well, I'm hard at work on a supernatural retelling of Robin Hood that I'm writing with James R. Tuck.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Debbie:  Thank you for having me!

Witch Hunt

Circle of Blood
Witch Hunt 3
Signet, April 1, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

Samantha Ryan—cop by choice, witch hunter by necessity—is about to confront the witch who has been secretly manipulating her life. But her search for the truth about her past may end in her death.…

All her life, Samantha Ryan has been haunted by a circle of blood, which she has tried to keep at bay—ever since she escaped a vicious Salem coven of witches as a child. But now her carefully constructed life has given way to the darkness she might have embraced, had she not run away.

Angry, focused, and more than willing to use her powers on anyone who gets in her way, Samantha travels to New Orleans to confront Lilith Black, the witch who has been mercilessly shaping events around her for months.

But little does Samantha know that her own nightmarish past and Lilith’s are inescapably intertwined—and that what Lilith wants most of all is for Samantha to suffer until her final breath.…

The Last Grave
Witch Hunt 2
Signet, March 5, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

Samantha Ryan—homicide detective by choice, witch hunter by necessity—has left Salem for San Francisco, hoping a move will help her forget the horrors of her past. But she’s about to discover that witches tempted by the dark side are everywhere....

Samantha is doing whatever she can to forget her terrible childhood in a coven destroyed by its members’ greed and lust for power. Now she’s a San Francisco detective struggling to fight her own desire to turn to magic. But as she discovers, escaping who you are isn’t easy.

Her latest case seems straightforward enough—the murder of a local historian named Winona Lightfoot. But strange clues take Samantha to the Santa Cruz Mountains, a place teeming with witches and black magic. As she works to uncover the connection between Winona and this coven, an earthquake rocks the Bay Area. That’s when Samantha has a premonition: Something is coming. Something evil.

To survive—and save everyone around her—she will have to tackle her greatest fear, and hope she isn’t the next one put into a deep, dark grave.... 

The Thirteenth Sacrifice
Witch Hunt 1
Signet, April 3, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

When young women start dying, Boston cop Samantha Ryan is the perfect person to investigate, for only she knows what the archaic symbol carved into their flesh means. The last in a long line of ruthless witches, she grew up in a coven seduced by power and greed. And now she's sure that bad witches have returned to Salem. Reluctantly, Samantha goes undercover-into a town obsessed with black magic, into her terrifying past, and into the dark, newly awakened heart of evil.

About Debbie

Debbie Viguié is the New York Times Bestselling Author of the Wicked series and two dozen other novels. Debbie writes thrillers including the Witch Hunt trilogy, The Psalm 23 Mysteries, and the Kiss trilogy. When Debbie isn’t busy writing she enjoys spending time with her husband, Scott, visiting theme parks. They live in Florida with their cat, Schrödinger. Visit Debbie online at

Twitter @DebbieViguie


The Giveaway

What:  A Mass Market Paperback copy of Circle of Blood (Witch Hunt 3) by Debbie Viguié from Signet. US/CANADA ONLY

How:  Log into and follow the directions in the Rafflecopter below.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a US or Canadian mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59 PM US Eastern Time on April 6, 2014. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules and duration are subject to change without any notice.*

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