Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Interview with Peyton Marshall, author of Goodhouse - September 30, 2014

Please welcome Peyton Marshall to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Goodhouse is published today by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Peyton a Happy Publication Day!

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

Peyton:  For me, writing came out of reading. I loved to read as a child and often I felt a bigger connection with the stories than I did with reality.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Peyton:  I’d love to be a plotter. But I can’t stick to an outline. I get caught up in a scene and then write something that destroys all of my best-laid plans. I long for predictability and surety in writing but perhaps that’s only because I experience it so rarely.

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

Peyton:  Finding the time. Or allowing myself to have the time to make mistakes—to explore.

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

Peyton:  I’m an omnivore. My dad got me hooked on historical military fiction, on adventure stories, on history books. But I like to read classic novels—and pulpy ones, as well. Recently, I read The Goldfinch, and I’m not sure which category that fits into.

TQ:  Describe Goodhouse in 140 characters or less.

PeytonGoodhouse is a book about how society treats its most vulnerable constituents. It's a book about how hope can endure—and survive—trauma.

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

Peyton:  Despite the fact that Goodhouse is set in a speculative future and despite the fact that the novel’s protagonist, James Goodhouse, is subject to the pressures of a very different world—the book is really about James struggle to reach outside the confines of his childhood, to define his own truth. It’s about the difficulties of doing this—within the confines of a system.

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

Peyton:  Bethany was the easiest to write. I wanted to her to stand in contrast to James’ world, to be somebody for whom he would have no context.

Often, I just got out of the way and let her talk—let her be her devious, determined, and unpredictable self.

In some ways, Bethany’s father was the hardest character to write. I couldn’t decide how to build him. I kept changing my mind about his motivations. It was almost as if the character was withholding information from me, the writer; it wasn’t until the end when the plot really came together that I fully understood him, understood where things had been going all along.

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

Peyton:  The boys are preparing to go out on their first day in the community:

        “Just keep your mouth shut,” Owen said. “And look really grateful, no matter what they say. And don’t touch anything,” he said. “They hate that and it’s hard to do when they have candy dishes and little glass elephants and once this kid had a plastic box full of ants that he said he was farming.”
        I stared at him. “Farming?” I asked. “For food?”
        “Who knows,” he shrugged. “It’s always a freak show and they write detailed reports about you afterwards and staff pays a lot of attention to them.”

TQ:  What's next?

Peyton:  A trip to Morocco.

I’m moving overseas for six months with the family. Should be interesting. I’ve already started another book and I look forward to sitting in a café in Marrakech—drinking that strong coffee.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Peyton:  Thank you!

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, September 30, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

A bighearted dystopian novel about the corrosive effects of fear and the redemptive power of love.

With soaring literary prose and the tense pacing of a thriller, the first-time novelist Peyton Marshall imagines a grim and startling future. At the end of the twenty-first century—in a transformed America—the sons of convicted felons are tested for a set of genetic markers. Boys who test positive become compulsory wards of the state—removed from their homes and raised on "Goodhouse" campuses, where they learn to reform their darkest thoughts and impulses. Goodhouse is a savage place—part prison, part boarding school—and now a radical religious group, the Holy Redeemer’s Church of Purity, is intent on destroying each campus and purifying every child with fire.

We see all this through the eyes of James, a transfer student who watched as the radicals set fire to his old Goodhouse and killed nearly everyone he’d ever known. In addition to adjusting to a new campus with new rules, James now has to contend with Bethany, a brilliant, medically fragile girl who wants to save him, and with her father, the school’s sinister director of medical studies. Soon, however, James realizes that the biggest threat might already be there, inside the fortified walls of Goodhouse itself.

Partly based on the true story of the nineteenth-century Preston School of Industry, Goodhouse explores questions of identity and free will—and what it means to test the limits of human endurance.

About Peyton

Photo by Mike Palmeri
Born in 1972 in Pennsylvania, Peyton grew up near Washington DC -- in a wooded, leafy town that is now part of the sprawling DC metroplex. She attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Before enrolling in the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Peyton spent many years remodeling Craftsman-style homes.

​Her work is rooted in ideas about love and the potential brutalities of human life -- in the ways people misunderstand each other. Goodhouse is her first novel.

Website ~ Twitter @PeytonMMarshall

Monday, September 29, 2014

2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - Falling Sky by Rajan Khanna

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

Rajan Khanna

Falling Sky
Pyr, October 7, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 260 pages
Cover Artist: Chris McGrath

Ben Gold lives in dangerous times. Two generations ago, a virulent disease turned the population of most of North America into little more than beasts called Ferals. Some of those who survived took to the air, scratching out a living on airships and dirigibles soaring over the dangerous ground.

Ben has his own airship, a family heirloom, and has signed up to help a group of scientists looking for a cure. But that's not as easy as it sounds, especially with a power-hungry air city looking to raid any nearby settlements. To make matters worse, his airship, the only home he's ever known, is stolen. Ben must try to survive on the ground while trying to get his ship back.

This brings him to Gastown, a city in the air recently conquered by belligerent and expansionist pirates. When events turn deadly, Ben must decide what really matters-whether to risk it all on a desperate chance for a better future or to truly remain on his own.

Feature: Incarnate by Anton Strout

Incarnate, the third novel in The Spellmason Chrnocles by Anton Stout, is out on September 30th! Check out the covers of the 3 novels in the series and enter to win a gargoyle among other goodies. Don't forget to check out The Once and Future Podcast too.

The Spellmason Chronicles 3
Ace, September 30, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 320 pages


When Alexandra Belarus discovered her family’s secret ability to breathe life into stone, she uncovered an entire world of magic hidden within New York City—a world she has accidentally thrown into chaos. A spell gone awry has set thousands of gargoyles loose upon Manhattan, and it’s up to Lexi and her faithful protector, Stanis, to put things right.

But the stress of saving the city is casting a pall over Lexi and Stanis’s relationship, driving them to work separately to solve the problem. As Stanis struggles to unite the gargoyle population, Lexi forges unlikely alliances with witches, alchemists and New York’s Finest to quell an unsettling uprising led by an ancient and deadly foe long thought vanquished.

To save her city, Lexi must wield more power than ever before with the added hope of recovering a mysterious artifact that could change her world—and bring her closer to Stanis than she ever thought possible…

The Spellmason Chronicles 2
Ace, September 24, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages


Alexandra Belarus was an artist stuck working in her New York family’s business…until she discovered her true legacy—a deep and ancient magic. Lexi became the last practicing Spellmason, with the power to breathe life into stone. And as her powers awoke, so did her family’s most faithful protector: a gargoyle named Stanis. But when a centuries-old evil threatened her family and her city, Stanis sacrificed himself to save everything Lexi held dear.

With Stanis gone, Lexi’s efforts to master Spellmasonry—even with the help of her dedicated friends—are faltering. Hidden forces both watch her and threaten her, and she finds herself suddenly under the mysterious wing of a secret religious society determined to keep magic hidden from the world.

But the question of Stanis’s fate haunts her—and as the storm around her grows, so does the fear that she won’t be able to save him in her turn.

The Spellmason Chronicles 1
Ace, September 25, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages


Alexandra Belarus is a struggling artist living in New York City, even though her family is rich in real estate, including a towering Gothic Gramercy Park building built by her great-great-grandfather. But the truth of her bloodline is revealed when she is attacked on the street and saved by an inhumanly powerful winged figure. A figure who knows the Belarus name…

Lexi’s great-great-grandfather was a Spellmason—an artisan who could work magic on stone. But in his day, dark forces conspired against him and his, so he left a spell of protection on his family. Now that Lexi is in danger, the spell has awoken her ancestor’s most trusted and fearsome creation: a gargoyle named Stanis.

Lexi and Stanis are equally surprised to find themselves bound to each other. But as they learn to work together, they realize that only united can they save the city they both love…

About Anton

Anton Strout was born in the Berkshire Hills mere miles from writing heavyweights Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville. He currently lives in the haunted corn maze that is New Jersey (where nothing paranormal ever really happens, he assures you).

He is the author of the Simon Canderous urban fantasy series and the Spellmason Chronicles for Ace Books, a division of Penguin Random House. Anton is also the author of many short tales published in anthologies by DAW Books. His latest book, Incarnate,the third Spellmason Chronicles book, is coming out September 30, 2014.

In his scant spare time, his is a writer, a sometimes actor, sometimes musician, occasional RPGer, and the worlds most casual and controller smashing video gamer. He currently works in the exciting world of publishing and yes, it is as glamorous as it sounds.

He is currently hard at work on his next book and be found lurking the darkened hallways of antonstrout.com or talking with your favorite SF&F authors on The Once and Future Podcast (www.theonceandfuturepodcast.com), where he is host and content curator.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @antonstrout  ~  LiveJournal  ~  The Once & Future Podcast

Author Giveaway

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Big news about The Once and Future Podcast:

Geeks, Grab Your Towels! A Legendary Podcast Returns!

The Once and Future Podcast Announces Blockbuster Fall Guests

Wednesday, September 24, 2014—New York, NY—Host and curator of content Anton Strout is pleased to announce that The Once and Future Podcast, his science fiction and fantasy show, is back for its third season and promises to be more powerful than ever before.

2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September 2014 Winner

The winner of the August 2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars is Mr. Wicker by Maria Alexander with 69 votes equaling 39% of all votes. Mr. Wicker is published by Raw Dog Screaming Press.

The Final Results

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

The View From Monday - September 29, 2014

Happy last Monday in September!  I'm getting ready for New York Comic Con, Paranormal Mystery Month and Halloween in October. I'm also finishing up the full October release week so you will see that sometime this week. For those keeping track my kitchen now has walls and a ceiling again. Cabinets go in this week. Hopefully appliances too. What I have learned: having a kitchen renovated is VERY disruptive.

There is one debut this week:

Goodhouse by Peyton Marshall.

From formerly featured Debut Author Challenge Authors:

Summer Moon (Celtic Wolves 2) by Jan DeLima

September 30, 2014
To Dance With the Devil Cat Adams UF - Blood Singer 6
Generation 18 Keri Arthur UF - Spook Squad 2
The Engineer ReConditioned (h2tp) Neal Asher SF - Collection
Star Trek: Voyager: Acts of Contrition Kirsten Beyer SF - Star Trek: Voyager
When Gods and Vampires Roamed Miami: A Tor.Com Original Kendare Blake UF/YA - Goddess Wars
Literally Murder Ali Brandon PCM - Black Cat Bookshop Mystery 4
The Lost Stars: Perilous Shield (h2mm) Jack Campbell SF - Lost Stars 2
The Ascendant (h2mm) Drew Chapman Th - Garrett Reilly 1
Heart of a Hero Janet Chapman PNR - Spellbound Falls Romance 4
The Rome Prophecy (h2tp) Sam Christer Th
Break Out Nina Croft SF/R - Dark Desires 1
Children of the Revolution Keith R.A. DeCandido F/TT - Sleepy Hollow
Summer Moon Jan DeLima UF - Celtic Wolves 2
Magician's End (h2mm) Raymond E. Feist F - Chaoswar Saga 3
1636: The Devil's Opera (h2mm) Eric Flint
David Carrico
SF - Ring of Fire 13
Priestess Dreaming Yasmine Galenorn UF - Otherworld 16
Bloodline Alan Gold
Mike Jones
Su - Heritage Trilogy 1
The Betrayed Heather Graham Su/PNR - Krewe of Hunters
Burning Desire Donna Grant PNR - Dark Kings 3
Transcendental (h2mm) James Gunn SF
The End of the Sentence Maria Dahvana Headley
Kat Howard
Horns Movie Tie-In Edition: A Novel Joe Hill Th/Su
The Brothers Cabal Jonathan L. Howard H - Johannes Cabal 4
Chained by Night Larissa Ione PNR - Moonbound Clan Vampires 2
Die and Stay Dead Nicholas Kaufmann UF - Trent 2
Night Play (ri) Sherrilyn Kenyon PNR - Dark-Hunter 6
The Walking Dead: The Fall of the Governor: Part One (h2mm) Robert Kirkman Z - The Walking Dead 3
Dream Eyes (ri) Jayne Ann Krentz PNR - Dark Legacy 2
Burdens of the Dead (h2mm) Mercedes Lackey
Eric Flint
David Freer
SF - Heirs of Alexandria 4
Energized (h2mm) Edward M. Lerner SF
The Bloodbound Erin Lindsey F - Bloodbound 1
The Revelation (ri) Bentley Little H
Goodhouse (D) Peyton Marshall Su
Dangerous Women 1 George R. R. Martin (ed)
Gardner Dozois (ed)
F - Anthology
False Gods (tp2mm) Graham McNeill SF - The Horus Heresy 2
Twilight Forever Rising (tp2mm) Lena Meydan UF
The Haunting Ballad: A Mystery Michael Nethercott M - O'Nelligan and Plunkett 2
Expatriates: A Novel of the Coming Global Collapse (h2tp) James Wesley Rawles AA
Rise of the King: Companions Codex, II R. A. Salvatore F - Companions Codex
A Sudden Light Garth Stein F
Incarnate Anton Strout UF - Spellmason Chronicle 3
The Curse Defiers Denise Grover Swank UF - Curse Keepers 3
Grimm: The Killing Time Tim Waggoner F - Grimm/Media Tie-In
Demon (e) Erik Williams Military/F
Tour of Duty: Stories and Provocations (tp2mm) Michael Z. Williamson SF - Collection

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
F - Fantasy
H - Horror
M - Mystery
MR - Magical Realism
PCM - Paranormal Cozy Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
R - Romance
SF - Science Fiction
Su - Supernatural
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
UF - Urban Fantasy
YA - Young Adult
Z - Zombies

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Melanie's Week in Review - September 28, 2014

The time has come again where my book reading high has crash landed. I am very sad to say I only read 1 book this week *sob*. I tried to squeeze another book in but it just wasn't meant to be. Sorry folks. So what did I read?

The hubinator was asking me about Hugh Howey's new book Sand and it got me thinking that I hadn't yet finished the Wool trilogy. I have been trying over the last few months to clear out some books from my TBR that I have had for a while. I kind of felt bad that I had left this final book sit there for soo long as I really enjoyed the first two. In this instalment we learn the fate of silos 1, 17 and 18 after Jules' return from the outside. She is struggling with her new role as the mayor and trying to live up to the promises she made to Solo and the children of silo 17. Having found a digger they tunnel their way through to rescue her new friends but the reunion did not lead to the outcome she was expecting. Back over in silo 1 Donny and his sister learn more about what has been happening to the other silos and Thurman's nefarious plans. There are more twists and turns to this story than most roller coasters.

I thought Dust was a fitting and well planned ending to the Silo series. It also felt a lot shorter and didn't take me as long to read as the other two in the series. I did think the reason for humanity being almost wiped out a tiny bit hard to follow. I interpreted it that Thurman and his cronies just decided to kill everyone and let a computer decide the fate of anyone who remained in the silos on a whim.....or because the middle East would have gotten there first. Did I miss something?  That seemed like a lot of effort in order to only have so few survive. I also enjoyed how Jules was written. She was flawed and she knew it but was trying to do the right thing even when it lead to some disastrous results.  Overall, this is a great series and I urge you to read it. I would suggest that you leave a gap in between books as I do believe you need some time to digest in between books.

I also re-started Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley. I got the e-ARC from NetGalley some time ago and tried to read it but couldn't engage with it. I really enjoyed her Bel Dame Apocrypha series which drew me in from the first few pages but I haven't found this series as accessible. I decided to give it another chance and while I have started to gather pace I am finding it isn't a quick read. Hopefully by next week I will be able to say that I finished it and let you know what I think.

That it is for me this week. Wish me luck that next week is more fruitful in the book completion department but until then Happy Reading.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Excerpt from Clockwork Secrets: Heavy Fire by Dru Pagliassotti - September 27, 2014

Please welcome Dru Pagliassotti to The Qwillery with an excerpt from Clockwork Secrets: Heavy Fire, the final novel in the Clockwork Heart Trilogy.

Excerpt from Clockwork Secrets: Heavy Fire

         The Firebrand’s starboard cannon boomed and the entire ship gave a slight roll, swiftly compensated for by the alert helms.
         We’re too light, Taya thought. The heavy weapons’ recoil was affecting the ship’s aerodynamics.
         The dirigible to port fired again. This time bullets stitched metal and wood. Taya flinched. Why wasn’t Amcathra taking them out of there?
         The Firebrand’s port cannon gave a thunderous roar. She risked another glance through the rails.
         At least some of their shot had struck the Alzanan ship— the Firebrand’s spotlight revealed damage to the enemy’s gondola and envelope. The Alzanans returned fire. A lictor screamed, thrown overboard by the bullets’ impact. Taya instinctively started to stand, then clenched her fists and crouched back down. There was nothing she could do to help him.
         I want my wings, she thought fiercely, listening to the ships exchange fire. She was useless without her wings.
         More bullets hammered into the ornithopter, this time from starboard. The Firebrand’s cannon answered. Taya looked over her unprotected shoulder and saw the second dirigible looming beside them, its gondola splintering under the impact of the Firebrand’s larger missiles. Gun barrels swung back and forth from the gondola’s windows, and an Alzanan soldier fired down on them from the gunnery platform on top of the dirigible’s envelope.
         This is ridiculous, she thought. If I get killed, Cris will never forgive me.
         But gunfire separated her from the nearest hatch and nobody else was fleeing the barrage. The secondary helmswoman was being protected by one of the diplomatic-staff lictors, Bright, who stood beside her firing his rifle back at the Alzanans. Taya didn’t think he could hit anything at that range, but she admired his fearlessness.
         Faint cheers arose, barely audible over the din of battle. Taya craned her neck and saw the ship to port fall away. The Firebrand’s spotlight played over its smoking engines. Its crew was, no doubt, scrambling to put out the fire before any stray sparks ignited the inflammable gas within its envelope.
         The second vessel continued hammering them. Its small gondola must have been rattling with thrown brass casings, but the nonstop onslaught was having an effect. Lictors fell, bleeding, their replacements standing over their fallen bodies. Taya felt the Firebrand shudder as though something had gone awry with its wings. It banked and she grabbed the rail, her heart in her throat, as they began a descending spiral. Lictors plunged down the hatches, shouting. Taya breathed a prayer to the Lady, wishing she had stayed below. If they were about to die, she wanted to be with her husband when it happened.

Clockwork Secrets: Heavy Fire
Clockwork Heart Trilogy 3
EDGE, September 15, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages
Cover Illustration by Timothy Lantz

The final book in the Clockwork Heart trilogy. Framed for regicide and trapped on a ship crippled by enemy fire, Taya and Ondinium’s diplomatic contingent seem helpless to prevent the well-engineered war their enemies have put into motion. While Alzanan and Demican armies march across Ondinium’s borders, Taya and her husband fight airborne battles from the tropical islands of the Cabisi Thassalocracy to the war-ravaged mountains of Alzana. When Taya falls into her enemy’s hands, she fears that nobody will be able to save Ondinium from the devastating weapon about to be plunged into its mechanically ticking heart.

Clockwork Lies: Iron Wind
Clockwork Heart Trilogy 2
EDGE, March 15, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 336 pages
Cover Illustration by Timothy Lantz

Ondinium stands on the brink of war...

Love and duty collide when Taya is appointed attaché to Ondinium's first exalted ambassador and is soon plunged into a sinister world of secrets and lies. After the diplomatic contingent’s hasty withdrawal from Mareaux to avoid an international incident, Taya's faith is shaken by a disastrous crash and a tragic murder, which reveals just how much she has to lose. Now, if she's going to fulfill her duty to her nation, she must risk everything she cares about. As the winds of war whip around Ondinium’s borders, Taya’s metal wings must bear her through storms, gunfire, and explosions as she fights to save them not only from their enemies, but also from their own government — a government that regards them as nothing more than clockwork cogs in a ruthless political machine.

Clockwork Heart
Clockwork Heart Trilogy 1
EDGE, September 15, 2013
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages
Cover Illustration by Timothy Lantz

Flight is freedom, but death hangs in the skies..

Taya soars over Ondinium on metal wings. She is an icarus, a courier privileged to travel freely across the city’s sectors and mingle indiscriminately amongst its castes. But even she cannot outfly the web of terrorism, loyalty, murder, and intrigue that snares her after a daring mid-air rescue. Taya finds herself entangled with the Forlore brothers, scions of an upperclass family: handsome, brilliant Alister, who sits on Ondinium’s governing council and writes programs for the Great Engine; and awkward, sharptongued Cristof, who has exiled himself from his caste and repairs clocks in the lowest sector of the city. Both hide dangerous secrets, in the city that beats to the ticking of a clockwork heart.

About Dru

As a child I discovered that I was happier alone than with others. Words were my best friends, and the secluded laboratory-fortress in which I exercised my crazed imagination was constructed of typewriter keys, paper, and ink. Within its protective walls I created and destroyed individuals, civilizations, and entire worlds for my personal pleasure — a practice I’ve learned to share with others as a tabletop game master and a published writer. But on the whole, I’m afraid that I’m still more comfortable alone with the written word … and maybe a reptile or two.

I can be found on all those online places you'd expect (Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads) and can be emailed at my name at gmail dot com.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @DruPagliassotti  ~  Goodreads

Friday, September 26, 2014

Dragons in Polite Society by Margaret Weis and Robert Krammes - September 26, 2014

Please welcome Margaret Weis and Robert Krammes to The Qwillery. The Seventh Sigil, the final book in the Dragon Brigade Trilogy, was published on September 23rd by Tor Books.


By Margaret Weis and Robert Krammes

Margaret:  I've written about dragons in almost every world I've ever visited and it's always interesting and challenging to visit a new world where I can meet a new and different type of dragon.

Robert:  The name of the series is the Dragon Brigade and that embodies our vision of dragon and human interaction: dragons and humans fighting together, not as master and steed, but as partners.

Margaret:  Thus we developed the Dragon Duchies, a state within the kingdom of Rosia inhabited by noble and common dragons. The dragons have their own laws, but are loyal to the king of Rosia and share a common interest in the welfare of the kingdom, for they are members of the royal court with titles and rank granted by the king.

Robert:  Dragons manage vast estates, worry about their vassals, run large business enterprises and pay taxes. Dragons have also become patrons of the arts, for they are extremely fond of music and painting and sculpture. Deeply regretting their own inability to create fine works of art, noble dragons invite musicians and artists to live with them in their vast and luxurious palaces.
        Most important, the dragons serve in the Dragon Brigade, fighting alongside humans to defend Rosia against her enemies. A dragon's fiery breath can not only sink a ship, the dragon can destroy the magical constructs used in this world for everything from strengthening the walls of a fortress to firing off cannons.

Margaret:  Dragons undergo the same basic training as their human riders, for dragons have to learn their own set of combat skills. For example, a dragon attacking an enemy warship has to take care not to get her wings tangled in the rigging, while a dragon who is fond of doing barrel rolls in midair might not want to perform that maneuver with a human rider on his back.

Robert:  Common dragons also serve in the Brigade, but they are not permitted to have a human partner. They are sergeants in the brigade, assigned such "ground-based" duties as keeping the noble dragons supplied with food and doing the heavy lifting and hauling.

Margaret:  Sadly, as our story begins, such peaceful interaction has ended. Dragons and humans are no longer on speaking terms. The king of Rosia insulted the noble dragons by disbanding the Dragon Brigade, saying dragons were no longer needed due to the development of immense, magically powered naval vessels. The angry dragons have withdrawn from the Rosian royal court, causing the human inhabitants of the Dragon Duchies to flee, fearing the dragons might attack them.

Robert:  The long-time bond between humans and dragons--a bond that once kept a seventy-foot dragon lieutenant standing stiffly at attention while his six-foot human captain issued a stern reprimand--has been broken. Former human members of the Dragon Brigade, such as our hero, Lord Captain Stephano de Guichen, deeply deplore the rift, while Rosia's enemies plan to take full advantage of it.

Margaret:  All this just at a time when the dragons will be most needed, for a strange, new, demonic foe is about to threaten Rosia and the magic that is all pervasive in our world.

Robert:  What's fun to me about this world is picturing two grizzled old veterans of the Dragon Brigade, one human and one dragon, sitting around the campfire recalling their glorious deeds during the Blackfire campaign. That is the type of bond between humans and dragons we set out to portray.

Seventh Sigil
Dragon Brigade 3
Tor Books, September 23, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 528 pages

Margaret Weis and co-author Robert Krammes bring the enthralling Dragon Brigade trilogy to a thrilling conclusion in The Seven Sigil, a sweeping novel of worldwide war and personal redemption.

Five hundred years ago, a clan of rebels was banished to the bottom of the enchanted world of Aeronne; ever since, these Bottom Dwellers have sought revenge, and now they are waging all-out war on the rest of humanity. Their deadly “contramagic” beams destroy buildings and attack naval airships, and their demonic drumming brings terrible storms and disrupts the magic of the people and dragons Above. The attack of their full contramagic power will create a magical armageddon.

In an effort to prevent further death, Captain Stephano de Guichen leads the Dragon Brigade, taking the fight to the Bottom. But strength of arms alone will not be enough to conquer their foe.

As the Bottom Dwellers’ blood magic eats away at the world, those Above realize their only possible defense lies in the heretical secrets of contramagic. Loyal priests must decide whether to protect the Church, or risk its destruction in pursuit of the truth.

Only the Dragon Brigade can prevent an endless dark age. Their epic battle will test the mettle of those thrown into the breach, and determine the fate of this magical world.

About the Authors

MARGARET WEIS is the internationally bestselling author and coauthor of The Dragonlance® Chronicles and other great fantasy series. She also is the roleplaying games publisher of such franchises as Smallville and Firefly. She lives in Wisconsin.

ROBERT KRAMMES lives in Southwest Ohio. He is a longtime member of the Society for Creative Anachronism.

The Giveaway

What:  Two entrants each will win a copy of The Seventh Sigil by Margaret Weis and Robert Krammes from Tor Books. 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 October 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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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Interview with Adrian Cole - September 25, 2014

Please welcome Adrian Cole to The Qwillery. The Shadow Academy was published earlier in September by EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing.

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

Adrian:  Started hand writing my first “book” at 12, inspired by Black Beauty. I just loved writing and exercising what teachers referred to as an “overactive imagination.” Started my first novel (i.e. with serious intent to try and sell it) when I was 18. After a couple of re-writes (over 5 years) I had it published as The Dream Lords trilogy from US publisher, Zebra Books. I never felt passionate about anything – i.e. work-wise – other than writing. My working life was a necessity, never a career, or a prime drive.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Adrian:  Well, I definitely plot my stuff carefully, including short stories. Word processing makes it a lot easier than the old hand-written days and I go over my stuff many times before I actually send it off to my agent or a publisher. The Shadow Academy went through 3 versions before it went to EDGE.

As for being a “pantser”, well, heck, here in the UK a “pantser” probably means something rude, so I’d rather not divulge any of my more dubious habits.

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

Adrian:  Making my characters as strong as they need to be, that is, credible and vivid enough for my readers to empathize with them, even if they don’t sympathize with them. I like to think that now, at the ripe old age of 65 I’ve got a better handle on things than I did when I started out – in those early works I tended to swamp everything in plot and action – all good fun, but character did suffer, on reflection.

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

Adrian:  Obvious influences from the early days were Edgar Rice Burroughs, Henry Rider Haggard and Tolkien, to name just a few (and I still love them) but I am very fond of Shakespeare and I don’t know if there is anyone else I can read and re-read as much (as well as get to see live performances). Also love Dickens, and on the lighter front I go for John le Carré. Favorite modern fantasy writers would be Dan Simmons and Jonathan Carroll.

TQ:  Describe The Shadow Academy in 140 characters or less.

Adrian:  A novel about power and its abuse set in a world not far removed from our own. (You did mean characters, not words? I could do a better job in 140 words!)

TQ:  Tell us something about The Shadow Academy that is not in the book description.

Adrian:  I worked as a Business Manager in a secondary sixth-form college for over 20 years and there were inevitably parallels between central government (in Westminster), local government (County level) and college government – the effects of authority on adults and children alike undoubtedly sparked off in me a reaction that powered the book.

TQ:  What inspired you to write The Shadow Academy and how would you describe the genre or range of genres into which it fits?

Adrian:  I hadn’t written a novel for several years, but as I neared retirement, I felt a strong urge to start something new and as I mentioned in the last paragraph above, I could see how easily authority, although possibly well-meaning, could be corrupted and directed in ways that would not be beneficial. Also, of course, I wanted to tell a good story – my old urge to try and thrill readers and surprise them still burned strongly, so The Shadow Academy is primarily an SF thriller, but with food for thought thrown in for good measure.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for The Shadow Academy?

Adrian:  A lot of the book was based on my own experiences, both geographically and from working for an Authority and in a large school. But I needed to do a certain amount of research into paganism, given that the Green Man plays an important part in the book. A lot of my books have a strong Celtic influence and at least one reviewer of The Shadow Academy was quick to pick up on that.

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

Adrian:  Easiest was probably the devious and always plotting Deadspike, probably because, in my worst moments I’m a bit like that! No, that’s not quite true – I’m much more lovable and less self-centred. Quite a few of the other characters were harder to write because I did not want to use anyone that I had known as part of the cast – of course, any good writer would use characteristics and traits based on what he/she has experienced in meeting people – so my characters are not based on real people. They are, though, realistic, at least that is the intention.

TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery parts from The Shadow Academy.

Adrian:  When the tension is cranking up in the earlier part of the novel, there is a scene where the main protagonist, Chad Mundy, is apparently being hunted by a number of ruthless men, and it’s clear that they mean him harm. At this point in the narrative, the reader does not know if the hint of a supernatural element to the book is going to make itself manifest, so the atmosphere grows ever tauter.

And there’s a scene near the climax of the book, at the Green Man Festival, where the forces of the Authority are about to unleash a terrible fate on the pagans…

TQ:  What's next?

Adrian:  I’ve just had a collection of stories published in the UK (by Alchemy Press) about a no-holds barred, tough guy private eye, Nick Nightmare Investigates. These stories are in a very different style to The Shadow Academy, written in the first person by a droll Mickey Spillane type hero, whose main antagonists are the type of horrors usually found in the Cthulhu Mythos of H. P. Lovecraft. Very tongue in cheek and a tribute to the old pulp heroes of yore.

Also very hard at work on a detailed fantasy trilogy of novels – an “alternative” history of Romano-Celtic Europe at the time of the Augustans. Centred around the Germanic warlord, Arminius and his on-going struggle with Germanicus, neither of whom are assassinated in my alternative world. The consequences of their surviving will re-shape European history…

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Adrian:  Thank you for having me.

The Shadow Academy
EDGE, September 1, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 224 pages

After the Plague Wars they waited for the invasion. And as the new Dark Age dawns... there is one who can bring light.
In a world little more than a whisper away from ours, the islands of Grand Brittannia lie just off the shores of the deeply forested content of Evropa, the dark and forbidding realm of legends scarcely remembered.

Grand Brittannia, itself almost completely a place of deep forest and mystery, has at its heart the crumbling, anachronistic administrative city of Londonborough. From here the Central Authority wields power over the Islands and exercises its control rigidly and clinically. Since the rigours of the Plague Wars, some hundred years in the past, when almost the entire population of the world was wiped out and the gradual decline of civilization began, industry and technology have atrophied, their development now strictly vetted by the Authority.

Out on the far-flung coasts, a network of ancient fortress ports wait in readiness for an invasion that some say will never come, their ancient, declining Academies committed to the rigours of training the defenders of the Islands. These Academies are subjected to regular inspections by Enforcers from Londonborough, and their native inhabitants are constantly being swelled by the young military graduates from the Authority's own Military Academies in the center. Into a cauldron of intrigue and subterfuge that is the town and Academy of Petra comes Chad Mundy, the Authority's replacement for Drew Vasillius, a veteran teacher who has committed suicide. At least, that is what he's been told...

About Adrian

Adrian Cole was born in Plymouth, Devonshire in 1949. He is currently the Director of College Resources in a large secondary school in Bideford, where he now lives with his wife, Judy, son Sam, and daughter Katia. He remains best known for his Dream Lords trilogy as well as his young adult novels, Moorstones and The Sleep of Giants.

Website  ~  Goodreads

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Review and Giveaway: The Bloodbound by Erin Lindsey

The Bloodbound
Author:  Erin Lindsey
Series:  Bloodbound 1
Publisher:  Ace, September 30, 2014
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 368 pages
List Price:  $7.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780425272688 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher

Of all those in the King of Alden’s retinue, the bloodbinders are the most prized. The magic they wield can forge invaluable weapons, ones that make soldiers like Lady Alix Black unerringly lethal. However, the bloodbinders’ powers can do so much more—and so much worse…

A cunning and impetuous scout, Alix only wishes to serve quietly on the edges of the action. But when the king is betrayed by his own brother and left to die at the hands of attacking Oridian forces, she winds up single-handedly saving her sovereign.

Suddenly, she is head of the king’s personal guard, an honor made all the more dubious by the king’s exile from his own court. Surrounded by enemies, Alix must help him reclaim his crown, all the while attempting to repel the relentless tide of invaders led by the Priest, most feared of Oridia’s lords.

But while Alix’s king commands her duty, both he and a fellow scout lay claim to her heart. And when the time comes, she may need to choose between the two men who need her most…

Stacey's Thoughts

The Bloodbound is great! While I was in high school, I read R.A. Salvatore’s Demon Wars Series and loved it. This book had many of the same qualities that I really crave in a heroic fantasy novel…a strong female character, action, magic, a dash of romance, and is set in another world.

Lady Alix Black serves as a scout in the King’s Army (awesome!) and is very good at her job - the best. Because of her noble birth, she is given a sword that was made with an enchantment and her blood. This means that the sword will only obey her and also enhances her fighting skills. The novel opens up during the Battle of Boswyck, where Erik White, the King is betrayed. Alix defies her orders and joins the fight and ends up saving the King. The King is so pleased that he makes Alix his personal bodyguard. Alix excels at this assignment saving the King many more times in the course of the book. What the King doesn’t realize is that he separates Alix from her friends (the other scouts, a very close group) and her best friend and new love, Liam. Alix loves Liam, but they can never be together because he is a bastard and she is of a noble birth. With King Erik’s brother now trying to steal the throne and an army of Thralls (blood bound soldiers and peasants) are swarming through the country burning and killing, there is constant action and intrigue in this novel and I wasn’t bored. The cast of characters is relatively small, and the tables possibly turn in Erik’s favor when a spy named Saxon enters the story, but can the exiled King trust anything a spy would say? Finally, a plan is hatched to defeat the enemy. It is dangerous and may require more than Alix, Erik, and Liam can sacrifice.

The Bloodbound has romance in it, but it is not overwhelmed with drivel or dramatic trysts. I find this so refreshing. This story isn’t about finding love and hiding away with it, it is about duty and family… doing the right thing for the entire kingdom, not just for the couple in love. I’m excited that this book is the first in a new series, because I would like to go back and visit the country of Alden again soon!

The only improvements I would suggest for The Bloodbound would be the addition of a map (which I hope will be in the final edition of the book) and a guide for the nine gods earlier in the story, since they are important to the characters and are referred to throughout the book.

About Erin

Erin Lindsey likes her stories the way she likes her chocolate: dark, exotic, and with a hint of bitterness. She has visited fifty countries on four continents, and brought a little something back from each of them to press inside the pages of her books. Erin Lindsey is also the pseudonym for E.L. Tettensor, whose Nicolas Lenoir series is published by Roc.


The Giveaway

What:  One entrant will win a copy of The Bloodbound by Erin Lindsey from Ace. 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 October 4, 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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Review and Giveaway: Darkwalker by E.L. Tettensor

Author:  E. L. Tettensor
Series:  Nicolas Lenoir 1
Publisher:  Roc, December 3, 2013
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 360 pages
List Price:  $7.99 U.S.
ISBN:  978-0-451-41998-9
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher

He used to be the best detective on the job. Until he became the hunted...

Once a legendary police inspector, Nicolas Lenoir is now a disillusioned and broken man who spends his days going through the motions and his evenings drinking away the nightmares of his past. Ten years ago, Lenoir barely escaped the grasp of the Darkwalker, a vengeful spirit who demands a terrible toll on those who have offended the dead. But the Darkwalker does not give up on his prey so easily, and Lenoir has always known his debt would come due one day.

When Lenoir is assigned to a disturbing new case, he treats the job with his usual apathy—until his best informant, a street savvy orphan, is kidnapped. Desperate to find his young friend before the worst befalls him, Lenoir will do anything catch the monster responsible for the crimes, even if it means walking willingly into the arms of his own doom…

Doreen’s Thoughts

Darkwalker is a difficult book to categorize – it is not pure fantasy, but rather has the touch of a supernatural Victorian mystery. It is set in a fantastical world similar to that of historical England, with an aristocracy, a middle class, the poor, and an unusual nomadic people known as the Adali. Nicolas Lenoir is a legendary inspector for Kennian, the bustling capital city that provides police support to the surrounding Braeland villages. His subordinate, Sergeant Bran Kody, had requested assignment under Lenoir because of his prior abilities; however, he has become extremely disillusioned with the investigator who now only goes through the motions on cases. Children are being kidnapped from their homes and then found dead, their bodies defiled. Kody attempts to thoroughly investigate the case, but Lenoir is almost cavalier about the whole matter – until his protégé Zach, a poor orphan boy, is abducted.

For the past ten years, Lenoir has been hiding from a spirit, the Darkwalker, who exacts vengeance against those who disturb the dead. While Lenoir hoped he had escaped the spirit by moving to Kennian, it appears that the Darkwalker also is pursuing the same criminals who are abducting and mutilating children. Working separately, Kody and Lenoir are led by a series of clues to contact members of the Adali, who have a type of magic and may be affiliated with the criminals. The question is whether Lenoir can save Zach before the Darkwalker finally finds and destroys him.

E. L. Tettensor has created an intriguing world, with class barriers that separate the “haves” from the “have nots” and the Braelanders from the Adali. The time period is similar to that of Victorian England, with some technology in the cities but a mostly rural countryside. Lenoir’s relationship with Lady Zara, an Adali who has disassociated herself from her race by pretending to be a high society lady, is interesting. There is some question of whether Lady Zara is a high-class prostitute as well as simply a cultured and refined friend to Lenoir. Their relationship does not appear to be sexual, but it still seems to be a rather intimate one. Lenoir associates with her and her friends in an effort to remind himself of how he used to be, before he was first attacked by the Darkwalker.

I like how Tettensor keeps the mystery about Lenoir’s past and why he appears so uncaring until relatively deep into the novel. The reader is able to tell that Lenoir used to be a great investigator, similar to Sherlock Holmes, in his ability to find clues in the mundane; however, there appears to be no real reason for his apathy until the Darkwalker appears. There is complexity in the interactions among the various classes and races, and Tettensor writes descriptively. Without the book summary, I would have had no idea that this was a paranormal mystery until I was nearly halfway through the story. That kept the storytelling fresh.

Darkwalker is the first in a series of books about Nicolas Lenoir, with the second novel, Master of Plagues, due in February 2015. I look forward to returning to Braeland and its intriguing inspector soon.


Master of Plagues
Nicolas Lenior 2
Roc, February 3, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

Unraveling a deadly mystery takes time—and his is running out…

Having barely escaped the clutches of the Darkwalker, Inspector Nicolas Lenoir throws himself into his work with a determination he hasn’t known in years. But his legendary skills are about to be put to the test. A horrific disease is ravaging the city—and all signs point to it having been deliberately unleashed.

With a mass murderer on the loose, a rising body count, and every hound in the city on quarantine duty, the streets of Kennian are descending into mayhem, while Lenoir and his partner, Sergeant Bran Kody, are running out of time to catch a killer and find a cure.

Only one ray of hope exists: the nomadic Adali, famed for their arcane healing skills, claim to have a cure. But dark magic comes at a price, one even the dying may be unwilling to pay. All that’s left to Lenoir is a desperate gamble. And when the ashes settle, the city of Kennian will be changed forever…

The Giveaway

What:  One entrant will win a Mass Market Paperback copy of Darkwalker by E.L. Tettensor 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 October 4, 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