Thursday, July 31, 2014

Guest Blog by Carrie Patel, author of The Buried Life - July 31, 2014

Please welcome Carrie Patel to The Qwillery. The Buried Life will be published in Spring 2015. You may read an interview with Carrie here.

Fiction is about transformation. Blurred snapshots become cities and worlds, half-remembered dreams become characters, and the glances and whispers exchanged between them become a story. And nearly every story is about changes large and small.

Writing a story is often about fleshing out a metamorphosis. Part of the thrill for a reader is seeing a world under a bell jar and watching what happens when the pressure changes. As the heat rises, the setting melts and reforms. Characters slough off one skin after the next, and the landscape of the story is transformed by these gradual or violent changes. We the readers wait to see what’s on the inside.

A good transformation is carefully paced and painstakingly illustrated; you can see a seemingly incongruent beginning and end that nevertheless fit together perfectly once all of the stages are assembled. A shoddy transformation becomes melodramatic at best and unbelievable at worst. If a writer’s job is the suspension of disbelief, then the most important trick of all is the alchemy of characters and settings.

The Buried Life takes place in Recoletta, a city that is the product of one momentous change that has settled into an entirely new shape over hundreds of years. An underground city built from the ruins of one civilization has become a tiny empire of its own. By the time of events in the novel, Recoletta is due for another tectonic shift. The factions that have controlled the city find their power base eroding. As it crumbles, it exposes a sordid and long-hidden history that they fight desperately to cover up.

The characters who get caught in the middle of this shift find themselves transforming, too, dodging the warring factions and trying to anticipate the emerging shape of their new world. They must adapt to survive the changes around them, which means stripping away the trappings of their classes, backgrounds, and professions to find the hidden strengths and vulnerabilities that will drive them.

The most interesting mysteries aren’t just about what lies at the heart of a plot, but rather about what makes up the characters caught in the thick of it.

Anticipating a character’s reaction can be one of the hardest parts of writing for me. Sometimes, characters’ responses will be clear and unambiguous; I know exactly what they’re going to do. But at other times, they can feel as maddeningly unpredictable as real people. Ask them the same question at five different parts of the story, and you’re likely to get as many different answers.

Part of the fun and mystery of writing is plotting those trajectories, for characters and stories alike, with known reference points. You start with the data points you know and puzzle out how to get from one to the other. The blank spots on the map—the ones that come alive with monsters—can then be illustrated in full color. In that way, discovering the story and the characters can be as much of a mystery for the writer as it is for the readers.

The Buried Life
Angry Robot Books, Spring 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 336 pages
Cover by John Coulthart

The gaslight and shadows of the underground city of Recoletta hide secrets and lies. When Inspector Liesl Malone investigates the murder of a renowned historian, she finds herself stonewalled by the all-powerful Directorate of Preservation – Recoletta’s top-secret historical research facility.

When a second high-profile murder threatens the very fabric of city society, Malone and her rookie partner Rafe Sundar must tread carefully, lest they fall victim to not only the criminals they seek, but the government which purports to protect them. Knowledge is power, and power must be preserved at all costs…

File Under: Science Fantasy [ Thriller | Society in Ruins | Fully Booked | New and Weird ]

About Carrie

Carrie Patel was born and raised in Houston, Texas. An avid traveller, she studied abroad in Granada, Spain and Buenos Aires, Argentina.
She completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Texas A&M University and worked in transfer pricing at Ernst & Young for two years.

She now works as a narrative designer at Obsidian Entertainment in Irvine, California, where the only season is Always Perfect.

You can find Carrie online at and @Carrie_Patel on Twitter.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Interview with J.C. Nelson, author of Free Agent, and Giveaway - July 30, 2014

Please welcome J.C. Nelson to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Free Agent was published on July 29th by Ace.

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing fiction?

JC:  I started writing when I was 18, a series of epic fantasy novels. Those novels were burned, their ashes locked in a lead-lined box, and the box buried at midnight in an unmarked grave. I began writing for the same reason I still do – I wanted to tell a story that would make the reader laugh, cry, and cheer.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

JC:  Plo-ntser? I start out with the opening dialogue and scene. From there I develop and write the ending. I make a rough outline detailing where I think it will go, but when my gut says to derail, then off I head in whatever direction that is. It’s like a road trip – I know where I’m starting, where I’ll end up, and have a good idea of the route, but detours are some of the most fun.

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

JC:  I have a family and a job. For me it’s moderation – finding the balance between all the people and activities I love.

TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

JC:  Stephen King and Ray Bradbury for my earliest ones. Terry Pratchett much later.

TQ:  Describe Free Agent in 140 characters or less.

JC:  In modern day New York, where wishes are bought and sold, a young woman enslaved to the Fairy Godfather fights for her happily ever after.

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

JC:  I use humor to offset the darker story elements. Marissa’s been through so much, lived through so many disasters that her view of the world is…skewed. It’s great fun to switch hit between serious and funny in the same scene.

TQFree Agent is the first novel in the Grimm Agency series, which is fairy tale themed. What attracted you to fairy tales and do you have any favorites? If you worked at the Grimm Agency what would you do?

JC:  I’d be a contractor, no doubt. You can apply to work at and see what your position would be. I like being a contract because would work normal hours, for decent pay, and most of the awful things which happen at the Agency wouldn’t involve me.

The thing I love about fairy tales is how ridiculous some of them are. If a rational human being were to look at the problems in them, you’d say “You don’t need a frog to fetch that golden ball, you need a pool net. And kissing amphibians can lead to salmonella, or worse yet, marriage.

My favorite in the weird flavor are Hans-My-Hedgehog, which is about a half hedgehog, half man who rides a rooster around. Second up would be the goose girl, which I secretly believe is about a mentally disturbed princess and the poor handmaiden cursed to help her.

TQ:  What sorts of research did you do for Free Agent?

JC:  I bought an entire book of every fairy tale known and read through not only the popular ones, but the variants and weird ones you’d never see in a Disney movie. Then I made notes about recurring themes, and realized that while I’d thought the weird ones would be the most fun, it’s the most common ones that speak to everyday life.

Blended families are hard.
Mothers and daughters don’t always get along.
Don’t drink a lake with a duck in it.
You know, the truths that are still true to this day.

TQ:  In Free Agent, who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

JC:  Marissa is hands down the easiest, because I understand her motivations so well. She’s smart. She’s sarcastic as a defense. She’s out of her league and not backing down. I sit down and begin writing in her voice and it just comes naturally.

Hardest character, hands down, is Prince Mihail. He’s so oily it made it hard for me to see things from his point of view and write him as a real person with real desires.

TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from Free Agent.


“My wishes are weapons, child, and I can destroy you with your own desires. Indeed, it is the only way.” – Fairy GodMother

“She comes for you soon, our half-sister. The Black Queen.” – The Fae Mother.

TQ:  What's next?

JC:  Next up in the Grimm Agency series is Armageddon Rules. Marissa’s about ready for some happily ever after, but in this world choices have consequences. Marissa will face off against an enemy who isn’t afraid to fight dirty, and does her homework to make sure vengeance really is served up for Marissa and the Agency gang.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Free Agent
A Grimm Agency Novel 1
Ace, July 29, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 Pages

When it comes to crafting happily-ever-afters, the Agency is the best in the land of Kingdom. The Fairy Godfather Grimm can solve any problem—from eliminating imps to finding prince charming—as long as you can pay the price…

Working for Grimm isn’t Marissa Locks’s dream job. But when your parents trade you to a Fairy Godfather for a miracle, you don’t have many career options. To pay off her parents’ debt and earn her freedom, Marissa must do whatever Grimm asks, no matter what fairy-tale fiasco she’s called on to deal with.

Setting up a second-rate princess with a first-class prince is just another day at the office. But when the matchmaking goes wrong, Marissa and Grimm find themselves in a bigger magical muddle than ever before. Not only has the prince gone missing, but the Fae are gearing up to attack Kingdom, and a new Fairy Godmother is sniffing around Grimm’s turf, threatening Marissa with the one thing she can’t resist: her heart’s wishes.

Now Marissa will have to take on Fairies, Fae, dragons, and princesses to save the realm—or give up any hope of ever getting her happy ending…

About JC

JC Nelson is the author of the Grimm Agency series. The first book in that series, “Free Agent,” is available from Penguin/Ace. A Texas transplant to the Pacific Northwest, JC works for a large software company building things you’ll never know about if they are working. JC can be found by day drinking espresso and writing code, and by night writing books and playing online games badly. With his family and a flock of chickens, life is never dull.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @AuthorJCNelson  ~  Pinterest  ~  Goodreads

The Giveaway

What:  One entrant will win a Mass Market Paperback copy of Free Agent by J.C. Nelson from The Qwillery.

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 August 9, 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

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Press Release - Barnes & Noble’s Get Pop-Cultured Celebrations Continue at Stores Nationwide - Week of July 28 Events and Offers


Barnes & Noble’s Get Pop-Cultured Celebrations Continue at Stores Nationwide The Week of July 28 Events and Offers Include: August 1 Frozen Friday: Cool Off with Olaf!, August 2 Marvel® Day and August 3 James Patterson Day

Enter the Get Pop-Cultured Sweepstakes from NOOK® for a Chance to Win a $1,000 Barnes & Noble Gift Card, a Deluxe Warner Bros. Studio VIP Tour, Plus Other Great Prizes

Interview with Cheryl Brooks and Giveaway of Rebel (Cat Star Chronicles 10) - July 29, 2014

Please welcome Cheryl Brooks to The Qwillery. Rebel, the 10th novel in the Cat Star Chronicles, was published on July 1, 2014 by Sourcebooks Casablanca.

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Cheryl:  Thanks so much for having me here at The Qwillery!
Self promotion is the hardest thing for me. I can write books all day long, but trying to sell other people on them is tough, which is why I recently established a street team to help me get the word out. I just wish I’d done it before book ten!

TQ:  You've written 10 Cat Star Chronicles novels including the recently published Rebel. Are you a plotter or a pantser? How do you keep track of all the events in the series?

Cheryl:  I’m a little of both. I don’t often outline a book, but like most self-described pantsers, I do the plotting in my head rather than on paper. Some of my best ideas have come to me while behind the wheel of my car or when I’m just waking up or falling asleep. If I write a synopsis or outline prior to writing the book, I only include major plot points, leaving plenty of leeway for the story and the characters to take me wherever the book needs to go. I’ve written a couple of books from a detailed synopsis, and while this method helps keep me on track, it diminishes the number of “aha” moments during the writing process.

To keep track of events, I often have to go back to the previous books and read parts of them to refresh my memory on various details. I also use a timeline to keep everything in chronological order and establish the ages of the characters in any given book. For example, the first draft of Rebel had Onca being thirty-six years old while Kim was only twenty. The editorial staff wanted them to be closer in age, and they asked me to make Kim two years older and Onca two years younger. Since part of the conflict between them stems from the age difference, I didn’t want to change their ages at all. Also, because of the time this story was set in relation to other events, Onca’s age couldn’t change. I could only make Kim two years older.

TQ:  Describe Rebel in 140 characters or less.

Cheryl:  A retired male prostitute rescues a homeless woman and becomes enmeshed in her crusade to liberate her kidnapped friends from sex slavery.

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

Cheryl:  I have several favorites, but the one that stands out the most is the first kiss. Onca’s fate is sealed at that moment, and he spends several chapters fighting the attraction, while at the same time falling hopelessly in love with Kim.

TQ:  In Rebel, who was the most difficult character to write and why? The easiest and why?

Cheryl:  Because most of my heroines are older and have some experiences that are similar to my own, Kim was probably the hardest to write. I’m not as young as I used to be, nor have I ever had to fend for myself without familial support. I had to work at putting myself in Kim’s place and understanding her motivations.

Onca was the easiest to write. I already knew him from previous books, and his personality was such that he practically wrote his point of view all by himself. ;-)

TQ:  Who is your favorite character in the Cat Star Chronicles? I promise that I won't tell the other characters.

Cheryl:  My favorite heroine is Jack, the heroine of Slave. My favorite hero is Onca. He’s sexy, likeable, heroic even without trying to be, and I adore the way he makes me laugh!

TQ:  In your opinion, does a romance always have to have an HEA?

Cheryl:  I think it does, or it isn’t truly a romance—at least, not by the strict definition of the genre. A story can be filled with romance, but if it doesn’t have a HEA, it isn’t nearly as satisfying. A romance should make you cry happy tears, not sad ones. ☺

TQ:  What's next?

Cheryl:  I’m currently writing an erotic contemporary series for Sourcebooks called Cowboy Heaven. A related novella will be published in January 2015, followed by two full-length novels. The first book is slated to be released in Spring 2015, the second sometime in the fall 2015 season. After that, I’m planning a spinoff series to the Cat Star books about a group of Avian clones. I’m also working on a paranormal romantic suspense trilogy that I had to drop when I got the contract to write the cowboys!

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Cheryl:  Thanks again for having me here! I enjoyed writing the interview very much. Great questions!

Cat Star Chronicles 10
Sourcebooks Casablanca, July 1, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 416 pages

He's Had a Galaxy of Women
A refugee of the annihilated planet Zetith, Onca has no family and no surname—only the fortune accrued by selling his prime services in a high-class brothel. When he comes to the rescue of a homeless Zetithian woman, passion flares, but he dares not touch someone who seems so young and innocent...

But None Has Touched His Heart
Kimcasha has lived by her wits on the streets since the age of ten. When her friends start to go missing, Kim uses herself as bait to find them, but her plans goes awry when Onca intervenes. As they are led into a dangerous underworld, Onca offers to join her crusade to liberate her friends, and Kim cannot refuse...

Previously in the Cat Star Chronicles

About Cheryl

A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Cheryl Brooks is a former critical care nurse who resides in rural Indiana with her husband, two sons, two horses, four cats, and one dog. Her Cat Star Chronicles series was first published by Sourcebooks Casablanca in 2008, and includes Slave, Warrior, Rogue, Outcast, Fugitive, Hero, Virgin, Stud, Wildcat, and the current release, Rebel.

Self-published works include Sex, Love, and a Purple Bikini, Midnight in Reno, and the Unlikely Lovers series: Unbridled, Uninhibited, Undeniable, and Unrivaled. She has also published If You Could Read My Mind writing as Samantha R. Michaels. As a member of The Sextet, she has written eight erotic novellas published by Siren/Bookstrand.

Her other interests include cooking, gardening, singing, and guitar playing. Cheryl is a member of RWA and IRWA. You can visit her online at

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @CherylCatMaster  ~  Pinterest

The Giveaway

What:  One entrant will win a copy of Rebel (Cat Star Chronicles 10) by Cheryl Brooks from Sourcebooks Casablanca. 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 August 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

2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - Season of the Dragonflies by Sarah Creech

The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2014 Debut Author Challenge.

Sarah Creech

Season of the Dragonflies
William Morrow,  August 12, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

As beguiling as the novels of Alice Hoffman, Adriana Trigiani, Aimee Bender, and Sarah Addison Allen, Season of the Dragonflies is a story of flowers, sisters, practical magic, old secrets, and new love, set in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

For generations, the Lenore women have manufactured a perfume unlike any other, and guarded the unique and mysterious ingredients. Their perfumery, hidden in the quiet rolling hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, creates one special elixir that secretly sells for millions of dollars to the world’s most powerful—movie stars, politicians, artists, and CEOs. The Lenore’s signature perfume is actually the key to their success.

Willow, the coolly elegant Lenore family matriarch, is the brains behind the company. Her gorgeous, golden-haired daughter Mya is its heart. Like her foremothers, she can “read” scents and envision their power. Willow’s younger daughter, dark-haired, soulful Lucia, claims no magical touch, nor does she want any part of the family business. She left the mountains years ago to make her own way. But trouble is brewing. Willow is experiencing strange spells of forgetfulness. Mya is plotting a coup. A client is threatening blackmail. And most ominously, the unique flowers used in their perfume are dying.

Whoever can save the company will inherit it. Though Mya is the obvious choice, Lucia has begun showing signs of her own special abilities. And her return to the mountains—heralded by a swarm of blue dragonflies—may be the answer they all need.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Interview with Stephanie Feldman, author of The Angel of Losses - July 28, 2014

Please welcome Stephanie Feldman to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Angel of Losses will published on July 29th by Ecco.

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Stephanie:  Thank you for inviting me to talk about the book! I've been telling stories and playing around with poems and essays and short stories since I was a kid, but I became serious about fiction in college. That's when I wrote my first a novel (now in a drawer), and I've been hard at work ever since.

As for why: I was born with a big imagination. I had to do something constructive with it.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Stephanie:  A little bit of both. I always begin with a loose outline: an emotional arc for my main characters and a series of scenes and beats I want to hit. But when I start writing, I follow the story where it wants to go. I rely on the outline when I write myself into a corner, or find myself running out of steam. Most the time, though, my best ideas come while writing.

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

Stephanie:  There's a Sherman Alexie quote along the lines of: "There's no writer's block, only laziness and fear." He has me pegged. These days, I'd add chronic distraction, mostly in the form of the Internet. My biggest challenges are maintaining focus and silencing my inner critic.

TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Stephanie:  This the hardest question to answer! I've collected a lot of favorites over a lifetime of reading. If you read The Angel of Losses, you probably won't be surprised that I love Judy Budnitz, Angela Carter, Sarah Waters, and Jeanette Winterson. The Kiss of the Spiderwoman is a favorite of mine—another a story about stories, though very different in style. I also love Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell and Dan Simmons' Drood.

TQ:  Describe The Angel of Losses in 140 characters or less.

Stephanie:  A haunted woman searches for her grandfather’s lost fairy tales in order to save her sister from the consequences of his secret past.

TQ:  Tell us something about The Angel of Losses that is not in the book description.

Stephanie:  One of my characters, Simon, is building a digital map that attempts to place folklore and historical accounts of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel on a single plane and timeline.

TQ:  What inspired you to write The Angel of Losses? The novel is describes as "[i]nterweaving history, theology, and both real and imagined Jewish folktales... ." Do you have favorite Jewish folktales and how hard was it to create your own?

Stephanie:  I first got the idea in college while studying 18th-century gothic novels. I wanted to write something similar: a tale with mysterious figures, ghosts, and family secrets that also tackles the issues of identity and social obligation. I made it my own by setting it in the contemporary U.S., and rewriting the Wandering Jew, a common Gothic character, using Jewish tradition.

I didn't have any favorite folktales coming in, but the ones that struck me the most—and which you'll see in the book—describe holy men who attempted to force the coming of the Messiah and Paradise. These men love God so much they're willing to destroy His laws for the chance to be closer to Him.

Creating my own legends was the best part! The novel is also about a family whose members love each other but make a lot of mistakes. Untying those knotty relationships was intense, and I was grateful to escape into fairy tales sometime.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for The Angel of Losses?

Stephanie:  I read tons of legends, but also books about Jewish mysticism and the history of Jewish communities in Europe, and narratives from medieval travelers. I also studied theories of history and memory, how we record and make meaning of the past.

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

Stephanie:  The majority of the story is from Marjorie's point of view, and I became comfortable with her voice and point of view very quickly. The challenge became writing for the characters with whom she's feuding, particularly her sister Holly. Marjorie loves Holly fiercely but is also furious with her--though most of her anger, she comes to realize, is a mask for her own hurt and sadness. It took time for me to put Marjorie's feelings and judgments aside and see Holly as she sees herself.

TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from The Angel of Losses.


"He passed a room of cobalt and gold, where a podium stood tall as a tree on cracked tile, heaped with ledgers inscribed with lists of lost things: lost shoes, lost keys, lost pets, lost nations, lost hopes. There were whole pages of names: lost souls."

"I wanted to ask him why Grandpa was coming to me in my dreams, and why the old man was coming to me in their aftermath; why Holly was painting faceless men in a maddening paradise; why Nathan was afraid of our books."

TQ:  What's next?

Stephanie:  I'm working on a new novel now, but I'm a little superstitious about describing a story before it's done. I can tell you it's another mix of history and magic, as well as a character study of a man trying to make a place for himself in a spiritually and biologically evolving world.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Stephanie:  Thank YOU!

The Angel of Losses
Ecco, July 29, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages

The Tiger's Wife meets The History of Love in this inventive, lushly imagined debut novel that explores the intersections of family secrets, Jewish myths, the legacy of war and history, and the bonds between sisters

When Eli Burke dies, he leaves behind a mysterious notebook full of stories about a miracle worker named the White Rebbe and the enigmatic Angel of Losses, both protectors of things gone astray and guardians of the lost letter of the alphabet, which completes the secret name of God.

Years later, when Eli's granddaughter Marjorie stumbles upon his notebook, everything she thought she knew about her grandfather—and her family—comes undone. To learn the truth about Eli's origins and unlock the secrets he kept, Marjorie embarks on an odyssey that takes her deep into the past, from the medieval Holy Land to eighteenth-century Venice and Nazi-occupied Lithuania. What she finds leads her back to present-day New York City and her estranged sister, Holly, whom she must save from the consequences of Eli's past.

Interweaving history, theology, and both real and imagined Jewish folktales, The Angel of Losses is a family story of what lasts, and of what we can—and cannot—escape.

About Stephanie

Stephanie Feldman is a graduate of Barnard College. She lives outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with her husband and her daughter. For more on her writing and inspiration, visit her at:

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @sbfeldman  ~  Pinterest

The View From Monday - July 28, 2014

Happy last Monday in July. This summer is whizzing by too fast for me. I've only included the July books, etc. that are out this week. The full August release list will be up later this week.

There are 4 Debuts this week:

The Angel of Losses by Stephanie Feldman;

Free Agent (Grimm Agency 1) by J.C. Nelson;

The Buried Life (Buried Life 1) by Carrie Patel;


One Night in Sixes (Children of the Drought 1) by Arianne 'Tex' Thompson.

From formerly featured Debut Author Challenge Authors:

The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker is out in Trade Paperback.

July 28, 2014
Magical Cross Stitch Designs: Over 60 Fantasy Cross Stitch Designs Featuring Fairies, Wizards, Witches and Dragons Various Contributors Crafts
Bad Mojo Shane Berryhill DF - Zora Banks 1
Summoned Chaos (e) Joshua Roots UF - Shifter Chronicles 2
Blood Sworn (e) Steve Vera F - Last of the Shardyn 3

July 29, 2014
The Unremembered Empire (tp2mm) Dan Abnett SF -  Horus Heresy 27
Cursed (e) Angela Addams PNR - Order of the Wolf 1
Magic Breaks Ilona Andrews UF - Kate Daniels 7
Shifter's Claim A.C. Arthur PNR -  Shadow Shifters 4
Shifter's Claim Part IV (e) A.C. Arthur PNR - Shadow Shifters
The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic (h2tp) Emily Croy Barker F/R
Jani and the Greater Game Eric Brown SP - Jani and the Greater Game 1
The Fredric Brown Megapack: 33 Classic Tales of Science Fiction and Fantasy Fredric Brown SF - Collection
Path of Smoke Bailey Cunningham UF - Parallel Parks 2
The Angel of Losses (D) Stephanie Feldman Hist/FT/LF
Heaven's Fall (h2mm) David S. Goyer
Michael Cassutt
SF - Heaven's Shadow 3
The Hexed Heather Graham Sus/P - Krewe of Hunters
Tigerman Nick Harkaway UF
The Undead Pool (h2mm) Kim Harrison UF - Hollows 12
Lighthouse Island (h2tp) Paulette Jiles Dys
Hardship Jean Johnson SF - Theirs Not to Reason Why 4
Warrior's Dawn (e) Isabo Kelly PNR - Fire and Tears 3
Tantric Coconuts (h2tp) Greg Kincaid Meta
Mist (h2mm) Susan Krinard UF - Midgard 1
Wolf in Shadow (tp2mm) John Lambshead UF
Enchantress James Maxwell F - The Evermen Saga 1
The Hidden Relic James Maxwell F - The Evermen Saga 2
The Path of the Storm James Maxwell F - The Evermen Saga 3
Death of Sleep (ri) Anne McCaffrey
Jody Lynn Nye
Kenobi: Star Wars (h2mm) John Jackson Miller SF - Star Wars
The One-Eyed Man: A Fugue, With Winds and Accompaniment (h2mm) L. E. Modesitt SF
The Remaining: Refugees D.J. Molles PA - Remaining 3
Sea of Sorrows James A. Moore SF - Alien 2
Jack Strong: A Story of Life after Life (e) Walter Mosley SF
Free Agent (D) J. C. Nelson UF -  Grimm Agency 1
Blood of Tyrants (h2mm) Naomi Novik F - Temeraire 8
The Buried Life (D) Carrie Patel F - Buried Life 1
The Dawn of a Desperate War Aaron Pogue F - The Godlanders War 3
Monstrous Regiment (ri) Terry Pratchett F - Discworld 31
Night Watch (ri) Terry Pratchett F - Discworld 29
Thief of Time (ri) Terry Pratchett F - Discworld 26
The Truth (ri) Terry Pratchett F - Discworld 25
Cast in Flame Michelle Sagara F - Chronicles of Elantra 11
Hunt Among the Killers of Men David J. Schow AA - Gabriel Hunt 5
Eight Million Gods (h2mm) Wen Spencer
UF - Eight Million Gods 1
One Night in Sixes (D) Arianne 'Tex' Thompson RF - Children of the Drought 1
The Colonel : A Tor.Com Original (e) Peter Watts SF
Storm Riders (h2mm) Margaret Weis
Robert Krammes
F - Dragon Brigade 2
The Winter King C. L. Wilson PNR - Mystral 1

July 31, 2014
Skin of the Wolf Sam Cabot P/Th
Smiler's Fair (e) Rebecca Levene F - Hollow Gods 1
The Vampire in Science Fiction Film and Literature Paul Meehan HC
Academic Exercises K. J. Parker F - Collection
Beautiful Blood Lucius Shepard F
Vampires: The Myths, Legends, and Lore Aubrey Sherman HC
Equoid: a Laundry Novella Charles Stross SF - Laundry Files

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

AA - Action Adventure
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FT - Fairy Tale
HC - History and Criticism
Hist - Historical
LF - Literary Fiction
Meta - Metaphysical
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PNR - Paranormal Romance
R - Romance
RF - Rural Fantasy
SF - Science Fiction
SP - Steampunk
Sus - Suspense
Th - Thriller
UF - Urban Fantasy

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Melanie's Week in Review - July 27, 2014

I'm baaaacccckkkkk! Did you miss me? I had hoped that in the last 2 weeks that I would have read more books than I did but hey, I was sight seeing in the lovely Edinburgh for a few days. That's my excuse and I am sticking to it. So what did I manage to read?

I got Empress of the Sun which is the third book in the Everness series by Ian McDonald from NetGalley quite a few months ago. If you have a really good memory you might remember that I finished Be My Enemy and discussed it in my last WIR. I had convinced myself (although I am sure that I had read it somewhere) that Empress of the Sun was the final book of the series. I spent the whole book thinking 'oh McDonald is really wrapping things up well' until I got closer and closer to the end when I started to think the exact opposite. By the time I finished I was quite disappointed that this wasn't the final book and I need to read more about the plucky, teenager Everett Singh.

Empress of the Sun is split between telling the story of the original Everett Singh who finds himself ship wrecked on a disc shaped planet surrounded by murderous bird/robot-like aliens. Everything seems quite bleak as the airship Everness has taken quite a beating and Everett feels responsible for what has happened to her (the ship) and to her crew. The story then alternates to Everett M Singh, the genetically enhanced 'other' Everett introduced in book 2. Everett M is doing everything he can to blend into the original Everett's life while at the same time trying to control the Nahn who he encounters in book 2. I really looked forward to the Everett M chapters, much more so than the original Everett.  I didn't really engage with the original Everett story line and thought the Jiju. These were the dominant species on this new world who decide to help Everett. They reminded me of JaJa Binks from Star Wars for no other reason than I found them irritating. Everett M however, was quite amusing especially the parts where his ass is getting more hits on Facebook than he is. These chapters were convincingly written from the viewpoint of a troubled teen.

Overall, I was a bit disappointed mainly because I thought this was the end of the series. The final pages end with a good twist but getting there was a bit too much of a struggle and I didn't appreciate it as much as I should have.

My flight back to London was delayed by over an hour and on top of doing some impulse shopping I also purchased a book that I later regretted. I found Touched by Darkness, the first in the Sentinels series, which was recommended to me on Amazon. Boy, did Amazon get that recommendation completely wrong. I was just lucky that this book was free as I would have had to complain if I paid for it. I am not going to go into too much detail but this book verged into the ridiculous category for me and had I saw the cover before I downloaded it I wouldn't have have wasted my time. Is he wearing a wig?

I then started to read The Dark Defiles by Richard K. Morgan. I am writing a full review of this book so can't say too much plus it is very long and I am only about a quarter of the way through.

I started to get a bit desperate that I wouldn't have that much to tell you about as The Dark Defiles was taking me so long to read so I quickly went back to my Amazon recommendations. They didn't let me down this time as I found Nice Dragons Finish Last (Heartsrikers 1) by Rachel Aaron. You might remember I read this author's sci-fi series (under the pseudonym Rachel Bach) and I also started the first of her Eli Monpress series. NDFL (can't type the whole thing...sorry) was a great reprieve from the intensity of The Dark Defiles and was very amusing. This is the story of Julius who is the runt of a dragon clan who has spent most of his life avoiding the rest of his family until his mother seals him in a human body and leaves him to fend for himself. Julius is too nice to be a dragon...just as a the title suggests but delivers some PDF (public displays of funny) lines which I have highlighted for future reference. His task is to hunt down another dragoness and redeem himself in his mother's eyes. This isn't an easy task for Julius as he isn't your typical dragon. With the help of a human mage, Marci - Julius finds his way in the world and off his mother's hit list (for the time being anyway).

I quit enjoyed this book and there was some public chortling at some of the lines. Aaron needs to watch Julius as he can be a bit too virtuous at times which made the story a bit dull at points. Also, avoid too many fight scenes as this also gets a bit repetitive. Other than that this is a great start to what I hope is a light hearted, amusing series. Go Julius Go!

That is all for me for this week. I hope you are all enjoying whatever it is you are reading. I am hoping to keep the momentum going and have more to tell you about next week. Until then Happy Reading.

Interview with Shane Berryhill - July 27, 2014

Please welcome Shane Berryhill to The Qwillery. Bad Mojo, Shane's latest novel, will be published on July 28th by Ragnarok Publications. Shane will be hosting a release party on Facebook and says "It’s free and open to you and your friends, dear reader. Come one, come all. The more the merrier."

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Shane:  Happy to be here, Qwillery and Co. My first serious attempt at writing was after the turn of the millennium. I’d finished reading a novel by a best-selling author. One that turned out to be pure schlock. I tossed it aside and thought, I could do better than that. After further consideration, I decided to try. Ultimately my first novel from Macmillan/Starscape, Chance Fortune and the Outlaws, came about as a result.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Shane:  Plotting and seat-of-the-pantsing are railroad tracks for me. I usually have a vague chapter outline. Ergo, “this has to happen in this chapter and this in the next” and so on and so forth. But how I get from “Point A” in the chapter to the desired “Point B” is totally organic. I simply place my rumpus in the chair and start typing. Rinse. Repeat.

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

Shane:  I don’t necessarily have a “constant” in that regard, but, when working on BAD MOJO, I had a long break between writing the first half of the book and the second. There’s a turning point midway in the story where redneck-pretty boy-wereperson, Ash Owens, has to tuck his tail (pun intended) and go groveling back to his friend and partner, beautiful-conjure-woman-of-mixed race, Zora Banks, at her place of business. I knew in my gut that what I had planned for Zora’s base of operations wouldn’t work. It took me a long time to figure out what Zora’s home base needed to be. When I did, it was off-to-the-races at the keyboard, again. I’m not sure I believe in “writer’s block,” but it admittedly took my conscious mind a while to hear what my subconscious had been trying to tell it all along.

TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Shane:  Charlie Huston (and his (vampire) Joe Pitt series) was admittedly a huge influence on BAD MOJO, as was Jim Butcher, James Sallis (I’m thinking, Drive), and dozens of other pulp-noir authors, Joe R. Lansdale not least among them (If you pay attention, you’ll come across a tip-of-the-hat to Papa Lansdale in BAD MOJO). Even Cormac McCarthy. I love hardboiled, no-nonsense prose. The leaner and meaner, the better.

TQ:  Describe Bad Mojo in 140 characters or less.

Shane:  BAD MOJO is a story love and murder among the men, women, and monsters of a supernatural South.

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

Shane:  There’s a bar featured in the novel, The Stone Lion. It was my favorite haunt (pun, again, intended) during my twenties. I lived in an apartment building nearby and often walked over by myself, knowing without a doubt there be someone there—likely someone I’d never met before--with whom I could share a good drink and good conversation. It was just that kind of place. Alas, it is no more.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Bad Mojo?

Shane:  You ask the question as if I had a choice, haha. The short, honest answer is, because I had a story to tell. One that refused to be ignored.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Bad Mojo?

Shane:  BAD MOJO is set where I live, Chattanooga, TN. To write the novel, I delved into the Nooga’s past. But in all honesty, I threw out or changed as much as I kept. To quote Stephen King, “Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.”

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

Shane:  BAD MOJO is told through the eyes of redneck-pretty boy, Ash Owens. I’m admittedly not very pretty, but I am little red. One thing’s for sure: we’re both smartasses. As a consequence, Ash just bled out of me. By contrast, Ash’s partner, Zora Banks, is wise, kind, and capable. Everything Ash and myself are not. I wouldn’t have been up to the task of writing directly from her point-of-view. I needed the window of Ash to showcase her awesomeness.

TQ:  What's next?

Shane:  My first creator-owned comic, SHERWOOD, TEXAS (reimagining of Robin Hood as a biker gang epic), is currently in shops, so the second story arc is in the works, along with a couple of other graphic projects I’m pitching to publishers. I’ve got a scifi short story titled BURN (a “nonsequel” to Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451) that’s made it past assistant editors up to the E-n-C of a prominent scifi ‘zine. The third book in the Chance Fortune series, CHANCE FORTUNE OUT OF TIME, releases this fall from Crossroad Press. The good folks at Crossroad don’t know it, yet, but I’m about to throw a second unrelated young adult novel their way. Then, I hope to contribute Ragnarok Publication’s MECH: AGE OF STEEL anthology. And of course, I see BAD MOJO as the first novel in a series, so look for more tales of mystery, murder, and monsters from Zora and Ash.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Shane:  Much obliged. I hope your readers dig BAD MOJO.

Bad Mojo
Zora Banks 1
Ragnarok Publications, July 28, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook

"Berryhill's brand of southern-fried, supernatural noir is something to behold." –Cherie Priest, bestselling author of Boneshaker and Bloodshot

BAD MOJO is a tale of love and murder among the men, women, and monsters of a mystical, modern-day South.

Shane Berryhill’s first dark adult fantasy is the story of Zora Banks--a beautiful, Southern conjure woman of mixed race--as told through the eyes of her partner, Ash Owens, a pretty boy-redneck cursed with a monstrous alter ego.

When Tennessee State Representative Jack Walker hires Ash to find his missing, drug-addicted wife, Ash finds himself at odds with Chattanooga’s various underworld gangs--both the living and the unliving--as he and Zora become embroiled in a far-reaching occult organization’s grab for ultimate power.

Equal parts True Blood and Justified, BAD MOJO will prove a dark delight for fans of urban fantasy, Southern Gothics, paranormal romance, and hardboiled crime.

About Shane

Shane Berryhill is a novelist and comic book writer. His work has been praised by Publishers Weekly, NPR, NBC, Wired Magazine, Horror World, and others. He's been a guest and speaker at events ranging from the National Council of English Teachers conference to San Diego Comic Con. Find Shane online at, Facebook, and Twitter.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @ShaneBerryhill

Saturday, July 26, 2014

2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Midnight Queen by Sylvia Izzo Hunter

The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2014 Debut Author Challenge.

Sylvia Izzo Hunter

The Midnight Queen
A Noctis Magicae Novel 1
Ace, September 2, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages

In the hallowed halls of Oxford’s Merlin College, the most talented—and highest born—sons of the Kingdom of Britain are taught the intricacies of magickal theory. But what dazzles can also destroy, as Gray Marshall is about to discover…

Gray’s deep talent for magick has won him a place at Merlin College. But when he accompanies four fellow students on a mysterious midnight errand that ends in disaster and death, he is sent away in disgrace—and without a trace of his power. He must spend the summer under the watchful eye of his domineering professor, Appius Callender, working in the gardens of Callender’s country estate and hoping to recover his abilities. And it is there, toiling away on a summer afternoon, that he meets the professor’s daughter.

Even though she has no talent of her own, Sophie Callender longs to be educated in the lore of magick. Her father has kept her isolated at the estate and forbidden her interest; everyone knows that teaching arcane magickal theory to women is the height of impropriety. But against her father’s wishes, Sophie has studied his ancient volumes on the subject. And in the tall, stammering, yet oddly charming Gray, she finally finds someone who encourages her interest and awakens new ideas and feelings.

Sophie and Gray’s meeting touches off a series of events that begins to unravel secrets about each of them. And after the king’s closest advisor pays the professor a closed-door visit, they begin to wonder if what Gray witnessed in Oxford might be even more sinister than it seemed. They are determined to find out, no matter the cost…

Review: He Drank, and Saw the Spider by Alex Bledsoe

He Drank, and Saw the Spider
Author:  Alex Bledsoe
Series:  Eddie LaCrosse 5
Publisher:  Tor Books, January 14, 2014
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages
List Price:  $24.99 (print)
ISBN9780765334145 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher

For fans of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files and Glen Cook's Garrett PI novels, comes the newest installment in Alex Bledsoe's Eddie LaCrosse series, He Drank and Saw the Spider.

After he fails to save a stranger from being mauled to death by a bear, a young mercenary is saddled with the baby girl the man died to protect. He leaves her with a kindly shepherd family and goes on with his violent life.

Now, sixteen years later, that young mercenary has grown up to become cynical sword jockey Eddie LaCrosse. When his vacation travels bring him back to that same part of the world, he can’t resist trying to discover what has become of the mysterious infant.

He finds that the child, now a lovely young teenager named Isadora, is at the center of complicated web of intrigue involving two feuding kings, a smitten prince, a powerful sorceress, an inhuman monster, and long-buried secrets too shocking to imagine. And once again she needs his help.

They say a spider in your cup will poison you, but only if you see it. Eddie, helped by his smart, resourceful girlfriend Liz, must look through the dregs of the past to find the truth about the present—and risk what might happen if he, too, sees the spider.

Melanie's Thoughts

He Drank, and Saw the Spider is another adventure of the sword jockey Eddie LaCrosse. The story starts sixteen years in the past and we find Eddie starting out in his new profession and still raw from the death of his fiance and own near demise. He is travelling on his way to war where he comes across a man being attacked by a bear. He kills the bear but fails to save the man. In his dying breaths the nameless man hands over the precious cargo he was protecting - a baby. Really a softie at heart Eddie takes the baby and looks for a caring family to leave her with. He finds a large, loving family and leaves the baby not to think of her again until...... Yes, until a vacation with his girlfriend Liz takes him back to the very town where he left that same baby sixteen years before. Who was she? Who did she belong to? What happened to her? Is there magic involved? All questions that Eddie wants answers for. The longer he stays the bigger the mystery gets but Isadore, now a lovely young woman, needs his help and the former sword jockey is just too nice to say no. Queue the adventure!

I have always enjoyed this series and think Eddie is a great and conflicted character. I had thought that Bledsoe had decided to leave Eddie after the last book Wake of the Bloody Angel so was a bit surprised when Qwill said she had this book for me. The plots of the previous books have been fairly convoluted but always ended up with something I wasn't expecting to happen. This book is much more straight forward and the plot almost linear. There aren't any big surprises in this installment which I think was a bit disappointing.This was the first novel that featured Liz as a secondary character for a large part of the novel. As much as I like Eddie and Liz's relationship she didn't really add that much to the plot in this case. Eddie is the true hero and is such a great character. I think I prefer the start and the end of the book as the scenes with Eddie and the baby Isadore were very cute and the ending where Eddie comes to terms with his past is quite touching.

Overall, He Drank, and Saw the Spider didn't engage me in the same way as the other books in the series. It is a quite short and an easy read so I don't feel like I had made a big investment in time. It feels a bit like Bledsoe was forcing out one more book and I kind of wish he hadn't. Having said that the Eddie LaCrosse series is an excellent one and if you like sword and sorcery fantasy then it needs to be on your TBR.

Friday, July 25, 2014

STARZ Releases New Official Outlander Video Trailer at SDCC

STARZ Releases New Official Outlander Video Trailer
at San Diego Comic-con

Today at San Diego Comic-Con, STARZ unveiled the new official trailer for the highly anticipated original series Outlander,” which premieres Saturday, August 9th at 9pm ET/PT on STARZ.

The new trailer was presented exclusively to over 1,000 zealous “Outlanders” during the STARZ panel, which featured the series’ executive producer Ronald D. Moore, bestselling author Diana Gabaldon, and cast members Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Tobias Menzies, Graham McTavish, and Lotte Verbeek. Visit the official Outlander Facebook Page and follow @Outlander_Starz on Twitter and Instagram. Join the conversation with #Outlander and #STARZ.

2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July 2014 Winner

The winner of the July 2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars is The Stolen by Bishop O'Connell with 101 votes equaling 34% of all votes. The Stolen was published by Harper Voyager Impulse in digital format on July 22, 2014 and will be published in Mass Market Paperback on August 5th. You may read an interview with Bishop here.

The Final Results

The July 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 August Debut covers starting on August 15, 2014. Look for the list of August's Debuts on August 1st.