Sunday, May 31, 2015

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - (R)EVOLUTION by P J Manney

The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge.

P J Manney

Phoenix Horizon 1
47North, June 1, 2015
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 544 pages

Scientist Peter Bernhardt has dedicated his life to nanotechnology, the science of manipulating matter on the atomic scale. As the founder of Biogineers, he is on the cusp of revolutionizing brain therapies with microscopic nanorobots that will make certain degenerative diseases become a thing of the past. But after his research is stolen by an unknown enemy, seventy thousand people die in Las Vegas in one abominable moment. No one is more horrified than Peter, as this catastrophe sets in motion events that will forever change not only his life but also the course of human evolution.

Peter’s company is torn from his grasp as the public clamors for his blood. Desperate, he turns to an old friend, who introduces him to the Phoenix Club, a cabal of the most powerful people in the world. To make himself more valuable to his new colleagues, Peter infuses his brain with experimental technology, exponentially upgrading his mental prowess and transforming him irrevocably.

As he’s exposed to unimaginable wealth and influence, Peter’s sense of reality begins to unravel. Do the club members want to help him, or do they just want to claim his technology? What will they do to him once they have their prize? And while he’s already evolved beyond mere humanity, is he advanced enough to take on such formidable enemies and win?

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Review: Ming Tea Murder by Laura Childs

Ming Tea Murder
Author:  Laura Childs
Series:  A Tea Shop Mystery 16
Publisher:  Berkley, May 5, 2015
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages
List Price:  $25.95 (print)
ISBN:  9780425281642 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher

It’s scones and scandal for Indigo Tea Shop owner Theodosia Browning in the latest from the New York Times bestselling author of Steeped in Evil

Normally Theodosia wouldn’t attend a black tie affair for all the tea in China. But she can hardly say no to her hunky, handsome boyfriend, Max, who directs public relations for the Gibbes Museum in Charleston. Max has organized an amazing gala opening for an exhibit of a genuine eighteenth century Chinese teahouse, and the crème de la crème of Charleston society is invited.

In the exotic garden staged in the museum’s rotunda, a Chinese dragon dances to the beat of drums as it weaves through the crowd. The guests are serenaded by a Chinese violin as they sample an assortment of tempting bites. And to give them a memento of the occasion, there’s even a photo booth. But Theodosia makes a grim discovery behind the booth’s curtains: the body of museum donor Edgar Webster.

While Theodosia prefers tea service over the service of justice, this case is difficult to ignore—especially after Max becomes a suspect. Now she must examine the life of the fallen philanthropist and find out who really wanted him to pay up…


Jennifer's Review

Ming Tea Murder is the 16th installment in the Tea Shop Mystery Series penned by Laura Childs. The series follows Theodosia Browning, proprietor of the Indigo Tea Shop located in historic Charleston, South Carolina. The book opens to find Theo attending a posh museum gala to celebrate the Gibbes Museum’s acquisition of an antique Chinese teahouse, with her boyfriend Max, who is the director of public relations for the museum. All is going well until Theo finds wealthy museum donor, Edgar Webster, brutally murdered in the photo booth. Now she must find a cunning killer before Max is arrested for the crime.

The main characters in this series are multidimensional, having evolved considerably over the course of 16 books. Theo is the ideal heroine for a cozy mystery. She is strong and intelligent, with a knack for sleuthing. She relies heavily on her support system of friends and employees, mainly Drayton and Hayley, to keep her beloved tea shop running and help her focus when she is on the trail of a criminal. Drayton is a seventy-something dapper southern gentleman who serves as Theo’s right hand man. He is rarely seen without his signature bowtie, is an expert in all things related to tea, its sourcing and consumption, and is utterly charming in every way. Hayley is the hip young dynamo who runs the tea shop’s kitchen. She’s a brilliant chef and baker, guarding her recipes like a mother hen does her chicks, and adds a touch of whimsy to not only her culinary creations, but to the atmosphere of the tearoom itself. Theo’s inner circle is rounded out by her outrageously over-the-top friend Delaine, owner of an exclusive clothier, and by Max, Theo’s refined and handsome boyfriend, who finds himself at a loss when confronted with being a suspect in Edgar’s murder and must rely heavily on Theo to search for answers.

There are a few characters introduced in this novel to support the mystery. The victim’s widow, Charlotte Webster, is capricious and outspoken when roused, and seems to be getting overly friendly with Harlan Duke, the Texan art dealer who helped bring the teahouse to Charleston, and Roger Greaves, the victim’s slick business partner. Cecily Conrad, a socially climbing shop owner, was overly friendly with the victim prior to his murder, but their affair had turned volatile before his death. Percy Capers and Elliot Kern, the museum’s Asian curator and director, respectively, both play roles in not only the mystery, but in the subplot that revolves around Max’s future with the Gibbes Museum. Other notable characters are Detective Tidwell, with whom Theo has an adversarial but respectful relationship that spans the Tea Shop series, and Delaine’s elderly relative, Aunt Astra, who has an irreverent wit that becomes so comical she is nicknamed Aunty Acid by Delaine and Theo.

This installment of the Tea Shop Mystery series has a complex and satisfying mystery that culminates with a climactic chase scene that gets the reader’s pulse moving right at the end. The Indigo Tea Shop and the town of Charleston are brought to life skillfully and the characters that the author has created blend so seamlessly with their environments and are so well drawn that the reader would not be surprised to walk into a small tea shop and see each of them there. The tea lore interspersed throughout the novels, and the special recipes and tea time tips included in each book, all help to set this series apart from others in the cozy mystery genre, and give the books charm and warmth that make them well loved.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Review - Stories of the Raksura : Volume Two: The Dead City & The Dark Earth Below by Martha Wells

Stories of the Raksura
   Volume Two: The Dead City & The Dark Earth Below
AuthorMartha Wells
Series:  Stories of the Raksura
Publisher:  Night Shade Books, June 2, 2015
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 232 pages
List Price:  $15.99 (print)
ISBN:  9781597805377 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher

Moon, Jade, and other favorites from the Indigo Cloud Court return with two new novellas from Martha Wells.

Martha Wells continues to enthusiastically breach genre conventions in her exploration of the fascinating world of the Raksura. Her novellas and short stories contain all the elements fans have come to love from the Raksura books: courtly intrigue and politics, unfolding mysteries that reveal an increasingly strange wider world, and threats both mundane and magical.

“The Dead City” is a tale of Moon before he came to the Indigo Court. As Moon is fleeing the ruins of Saraseil, a groundling city destroyed by the Fell, he flies right into another potential disaster when a friendly caravanserai finds itself under attack by a strange force. In “The Dark Earth Below,” Moon and Jade face their biggest adventure yet: their first clutch. But even as Moon tries to prepare for impending fatherhood, members of the Kek village in the colony tree’s roots go missing, and searching for them only leads to more mysteries as the court is stalked by an unknown enemy.

Stories of Moon and the shape changers of Raksura have delighted readers for years. This world is a dangerous place full of strange mysteries, where the future can never be taken for granted and must always be fought for with wits and ingenuity, and often tooth and claw. With these two new novellas, Martha Wells shows that the world of the Raksura has many more stories to tell . . .

Brannigan's Review

Stories of The Raksura: Volume Two: The Dead City & The Dark Earth Below by Martha Wells is strange, which in this case is a compliment. I've read some of Well's earlier books and enjoyed them a lot, so I jumped at the chance to review one of her newer works—little did I know what I was getting myself into.

Wells is a master writer and has been doing it long enough that even now as she delves into Strange Fantasy she can still keep me invested in the story. For those of you unfamiliar with Strange Fantasy, it's a sub-genre that focuses on exploring worlds and creatures that are completely unfamiliar to your average fantasy story. Now, almost every fantasy writer likes to create something unique to their world, but they still use familiar creatures and humanoid races that readers can identify with. Strange Fantasy doesn't. It gives you very little you recognize. On the positive side, there's plenty of wonder and exploration for the reader as you discover new things on every page. The negative side is there are so many new things that it's easy to get overwhelmed and feel disconnected to the actual story.

There are four short stories and one novella in this volume of short stories. The only common race throughout most of the stories are the Raksura, a cross between a dragon and humanoid creature that can phase between different shapes. Moon and Jade are two of the Raksura that appear in more than a few of the stories, and I would deem them the main characters. Moon, a male, spent most of his youth away from his own race, and Jade, a female, is a sister queen to her court. In a later story, Moon is Jade's consort.

I'm a character and world fan. I love getting connected to characters and lost in a world. With all the strangeness of the characters and world, Wells drew me in the different stories and I found myself enjoying my time in her world. However, I did feel very lost, as there was a lot I knew I was missing by not reading other books in the series. I also had a hard time relating to the characters even though I was engaged in the story. It's already a difficult read without jumping in on volume two of a short story collection.

Stories of The Raksura: Volume Two: The Dead City & The Dark Earth Below is a fascinatingly strange world to immerse yourself in. I would only recommend it to those already familiar with this world or up for a challenge and bored with the regular fantasy tropes. There are acts of violence, no bad language and only implied adult situations. I would recommend it to teens and adults. This series is for die-hard fans of Wells and those looking for something they won't find in every other fantasy book.

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Nova by Margaret Fortune

The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge.

Margaret Fortune

DAW, June 2, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 320 Pages


The clock activates so suddenly in my mind, my head involuntarily jerks a bit to the side. The fog vanishes, dissipated in an instant as though it never was. Memories come slotting into place, their edges sharp enough to leave furrows, and suddenly I know. I know exactly who I am.

My name is Lia Johansen, and I was named for a prisoner of war. She lived in the Tiersten Internment Colony for two years, and when they negotiated the return of the prisoners, I was given her memories and sent back in her place.

And I am a genetically engineered human bomb.

Lia Johansen was created for only one purpose: to slip onto the strategically placed New Sol Space Station and explode. But her mission goes to hell when her clock malfunctions, freezing her countdown with just two minutes to go. With no Plan B, no memories of her past, and no identity besides a name stolen from a dead POW, Lia has no idea what to do next. Her life gets even more complicated when she meets Michael Sorenson, the real Lia’s childhood best friend.

Drawn to Michael and his family against her better judgment, Lia starts learning what it means to live and love, and to be human. It is only when her countdown clock begins sporadically losing time that she realizes even duds can still blow up. If she wants any chance at a future, she must find a way to unlock the secrets of her past and stop her clock. But as Lia digs into her origins, she begins to suspect there’s far more to her mission and to this war, than meets the eye. With the fate of not just a space station but an entire empire hanging in the balance, Lia races to find the truth before her time—literally—runs out.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Guest Blog by Rob J. Hayes - Stories are Written on Paper, Not Stone - May 28, 2015

Please welcome Rob J. Hayes to The Qwillery.  The Price of Faith, the 3rd novel in The Ties That Bind trilogy, was published on May 5th by Ragnarok Publications.

Stories are Written on Paper, Not Stone

I hit a strange type of writer's block the other day. It wasn't that I couldn't get the words down on screen, but that I suddenly realised I had no idea where the story was going in the next chapter.

I consider myself a fairly organic writer, an architect rather than a gardener, a pantser rather than a planner. That being said I do tend to have a rough outline, in my head at least, when I begin a new story. I know who the main characters are, their strengths and flaws, their goals and their past, and I know where I want their arcs to begin and end. I know (most) of the main plot points, and have a good few big events that are going to happen along the way including who will turn up to the event, and who won't walk away from it. In every story I sit down to write I know my beginning, my middle, and my end. What I generally don't know is most of what happens in between. I like to leave that up to the characters.

So while writing Best Laid Plans (the new duology being published by Ragnarok Publications in 2016 – I had to get a plug in here somewhere), one of the characters who started out with a supporting role began taking up more and more of the spotlight. It's her own fault really, she turned out to be such a compelling and deeply flawed individual that I had no choice but to focus more and more of my (and the story's) attention on her.

While I was happy to focus more and more attention on this engaging character (with little regard to what it meant for the larger scope), the other day it presented a problem. I encountered one of my planned plot developments (quite a major one) and realised it no longer made any sense. The chapter just didn't flow well in the light of this character's development and her current identity within the story, and worse still was that it actually detracted from the character she had become.

I um'ed and I ah'ed, I procrastinated and deliberated. Eventually I came to the decision that the plot point just no longer made sense and needed to be removed in its entirety. This unfortunately meant a lot of careful editing of previous chapters (including the removal of at least 2 chapters), but it felt right. This character had come into her own, going from strength to strength, and I wanted to perpetuate that, even if it meant major changed to the story as a whole.

There is a moral to this little stream of consciousness I present to you and it is this. If you are writing a story, you should always be open to change. Maybe the story takes an organic twist you didn't see coming until you put it down. Maybe you realise something simply didn't make sense from the start. Maybe your beta readers/agent/editor sit you down and tell you something is crap and it just needs changing. I'm not saying you should pull a Lucas (changing things after the fact because... well it doesn't matter, Han still shot first), but you should always be open to making your work better. Sometimes better involves shifting the spotlight a little, sometimes it involves a chainsaw. Be bold, but be open minded.

The Price of Faith
The Ties That Bind 3
Ragnarok Publications, May 5, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 480 pages
Cover by Alex Raspad 

Separated and miserable, Thanquil Darkheart and Jezzet Vel’urn both have their reasons for wanting to leave the Dragon Empire. Jezzet flees from the wrathful fury of an Empress scorned while accompanied by the ever insidious Drake Morrass, and Thanquil sets out to find and judge his one heretical loose end.


The Heresy Within
The Ties That Bind 1
Ragnarok Publications, November 10, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook
Cover by Alex Raspad

Thanquil Darkheart is an Arbiter of the Inquisition, a witch hunter tasked with hunting down and purging heretics. Thanquil Darkheart is also something else, expendable.

When the God-Emperor of Sarth tells Thanquil there is a traitor operating among the highest echelon of the Inquisition he knows he has no choice but to sail to the city of Chade and follow the Emperor's single lead.

The Black Thorn is a murderer, a thug, a thief and worse but he's best known for the killing of six Arbiters. These days he travels with a crew of six of the most dangerous sell-swords in the wilds.

After a job well done they find themselves on the run from the law once again but the boss has good news; a new job, the biggest any of them have ever pulled. First, however, they need to evade capture long enough to secure travel to the free city of Chade.

Jezzet Vel'urn is a Blademaster; a swords-woman of prodigious skill but she knows that for a woman like her in the wilds there are two ways out of most situations; fight or fuck. Truth is, all too often for Jezzet's liking, it comes down to a combination of the two.

Jezzet is chased half-way across the wilds by a vengeful warlord until she makes it to the free city of Chade. Instead of sanctuary, however, all she finds are guards waiting to turn her over for some quick gold.

The Color of Vengeance
The Ties That Bind 2
Ragnarok Publication, January 19, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 388 pages
Cover by Alex Raspad 

Beaten, battered, and damned near broken with a bounty on his head so large he’s tempted to turn himself in, the Black Thorn finds himself on trial for the crime of being him. Despite the impending probability of death he has but one thought on his mind; taking revenge against the Arbiter who took his eye.

In order to carry out his vengeance Thorn must first escape Sarth and recruit a new crew, each one with their own designs on revenge.

About Rob

Having served in a hundred different offices as a keyboard monkey Rob J. Hayes finally decided to follow his life long passion of daydreaming. After writing a small horde's worth of short stories (many of which can be found on his website), he released his debut trilogy "The Ties that Bind" in 2013 as an indie publication and followed it up with the standalone release The Northern Sunrise in 2014.

Having now signed a deal with Ragnarok to bring "The Ties that Bind" to traditional paper publication Rob is furiously working away at a follow-up series set in the same world.

When not writing Rob is usually found either card gaming, computer gaming, board gaming, dice gaming, airsoft gaming, or pretending to be a Viking.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @RoboftheHayes

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Guest Blog by Duncan McGeary - Horror… Happily - May 27, 2015

Please welcome Duncan McGeary to The Qwillery. Tuskers II: Day of the Long Pig was published on May 25th by Angelic Knight Press, an imprint of Ragnarok Publications.

Horror… Happily.
Duncan McGeary

         I was surprised that when I came back to writing, I chose to write horror. Even more, that I continued to write horror. Happily.
         It seems to me that horror is an open genre. There are no required formulas to the horror, as least as far as I can tell. Anything can be turned into horror -- any subject, any setting, any format; any other genre or no genre at all. The only expectation is that it has something scary in it. The fright can be physical, psychological, or spiritual, or any combination thereof.
         To me, it's a very freeing genre to write in. I just need to dig down into my own malaise of concerns and sure enough, there is always a twinge to be explore, which can be turned into something frightening.
         So far, I've delved into historical events, trying my best to be authentic and accurate about what happened to the Donner Party, and using werewolves as both real and symbolic elements.
         I've written a vampire trilogy that asked whether redemption could be achieved by anyone. An exploration of the religious and the spiritual.
         I've written a story about hyper-intelligent wild pigs on the rampage called Tuskers, who represent nature's revenge against mankind's neglect and arrogance.
         I've just finished two stories, one that include elements of Noir, with a gangster Golem, and another that is a sexual thriller involving Succubae.
         I love fantasy and mysteries, but it seems to me that they are trapped by convention, if not formula. That to break from these conventions, the form has to be stretched so much that it bends and sometimes breaks -- or at the very least, calls attention to the effort. Whereas horror can be bent in any direction and it won't surprise the reader.
         There are, of course, sub-genres within horror where the reader has expectations of certain conventions, but I don't have to go there; and even if I break from expectations, it seems to me that the horror readers are more open to such twists.
         I have yet to have an idea for a story that I didn't think could be improved by exploring the horror elements of that story.
         Or maybe I'm just twisted. Happily.

Tuskers II: Day of the Long Pig
Wild Pig Apocalypse 2
Angelic Knight Press, May 25, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 258 pages

Barry and Jenny inherited a fortune, with a single stipulation: that they hunt down and eradicate the Tuskers. They can only hope the Tuskers are gone. They aren't sure they can follow through on the genocide of an entire new species.

Genghis, the smartest and most ruthless of the Tuskers, survives. Deep in the desert, he breeds with the wild pig population. These mutants learn from humans, and quickly surpass them.


Wild Pig Apocalypse 1
Angelic Knight Press, January 12, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 238 pages

Barry had created a little piece of paradise in his southern Arizona backyard—until the javelinas came.

His battle to rid his property of the wild pigs soon escalated into war. Too late, he realized these weren't ordinary animals. They were something new, something meaner and smarter. These pigs weren't just at war with him; they were at war with the human race.

And the humans were losing.

About Duncan

I've lived in Bend, OR, my whole life (which is becoming increasingly rare in this boom town.) After graduating from the U of O in the '80s, I wrote the fantasy novels Star Axe, Snowcastles and Icetowers. While trying to write full time, I started filling in at a local book/comic book store called Pegasus Books and eventually became manager—then 30 years ago, I bought the store from Mike Richardson, who is now the publisher of Dark Horse Comics.

In the last few years, Pegasus Books has become stable and I've returned to writing like crazy. I sold a four book deal to Books of the Dead Press, followed by another trilogy, "The Vampire Evolution," which consists of Death of An Immortal, Rule of Vampire, and Blood of Gold.

I've been very busy with several other books in the works, and I'm proud to have sold my Wild Pig Apocalypse, Tuskers, to Ragnarok via their Angelic Knight Press Imprint. I hope you guys will check out all my books, as I try to make them entertaining, fast reads.

WebsiteTwitter @PegasusBooks

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Interview with Nathan Garrison, author of Veiled Empire - May 26, 2015

Please welcome Nathan Garrison to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Veiled Empire is published on May 26th by Harper Voyager Impulse. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Nathan a Happy Publication Day!

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

Nathan:  I honestly can't remember a time when I wasn't writing something or other. I think I've always been destined to become a storyteller, it just took this long until I had the bare minimum skills required to enter the fray.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Nathan:  Well, I tried pansting for about fifteen years and could never finish a book. Switched to plotting and wrote two and a half novels in two years. So I guess you could say I'm ... still on the fence?

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

Nathan:  Focus. I'm easily distracted. By noises and shiny objects, food, the internet, other writing projects that I'm not currently working on but just can't stop thinking about. You know, the usual.

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

Nathan:  Classic authors such as Tolkien and C.S. Lewis started me down the road to loving books, especially those of the speculative variety. My two favorite modern authors would probably have to be Brandon Sanderson and Steven Erikson, two writers with vastly different styles but whose depth of imagination is astonishing. My own writing falls somewhere between them, I think.

TQ:  Describe Veiled Empire in 140 characters or less.

Nathan:  A diverse band of revolutionaries fight against a tyrannical regime to reclaim their land's soul - and their own.

TQ:  Tell us something about Veiled Empire that is not found in the book description.

Nathan:  I hadn't originally intended for there to be any romance in the book, but some of it snuck in anyway. It even plays a small but vital role in the plot and, of course, the character development of those involved.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Veiled Empire? What appealed to you about writing Epic Fantasy?

Nathan:  I've always been drawn to the imagination and scope only found in epic fantasy. The sense of wonder on every page. The scale of the danger. The magic. Veiled Empire itself was my first (successful) attempt to tell my own story in such a world.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Veiled Empire?

Nathan:  I did quite a bit of research on the development and use of weapons, armor, and tactics. I didn't end up using much of it, though. With the amount of combat sorcery being flung about in this book, real-world models couldn't quite work.

TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why? Which character surprised you the most?

Nathan:  The easiest would have to be Mevon Daere, whom I consider the "mainest" of the main characters. It was around him - his personality and unique abilities - that the original seed of an idea for this story came about. I didn't have to strain much when writing his scenes.

The hardest was most definitely Voren. I knew the path I wanted him to take, but keeping his scenes interesting while he essentially remained in place was a challenge. More difficult still, however, was attempting to make every step of his character arc believable and compelling. I'm grateful for the struggle, though. I grew more as a writer while doing his scenes than while writing anyone else's.

The most surprising was Vashodia. She was always unpredictable, even for me. I'm pretty sure she knows more about the world I created than I do!

TQ:  Which question about Veiled Empire do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!


Q: Does it pass the Bechdel Test?
A: Yes it does! But not until later in the book, so if you're looking for that kind of thing please have patience. I assure you, it will be rewarded.

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

Nathan:  From the first chapter, which is available to read on my website

"Their screams joined others, a dissonant chorus that filled the rocky enclave. The battle became like a song. No—a symphony! His blades sang the melody, ringing out in a low, buzzing roar that grew in intensity with each severed soul, while cries of panic and agony from his enemies created a bittersweet harmony, all backdropped by the pounding rhythm of his Fist’s relentless advance.


"Though the night was dark, it was not pure. Not even close. It was a passive thing, beset by two moons and a cacophony of stars. Vapid, hollow.

The darkness into which she now passed was everything night was not. It … filled, with intention and rapacity. The dark energy gathered here, thick as foam, made her giggle in delight."

TQ:  What's next? [this is where you share whatever literary you'd like to share]

Nathan:  I have a completed science fiction novel that I'm polishing up now, and several other books in various stages of planning. I hope to get better with every word that I write, and I'm looking forward to creating more worlds for readers to get lost in. For me, I know the best is yet to come.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Nathan:  Thank you for having me!

Veiled Empire
Harper Voyager Impulse, May 26, 2015
eBook, 412 pages

The Empire is Shrouded, not only by the barrier that covers the land, but by the lies and oppression of the mierothi regime. Magic is the privilege of the elite, and the people of this shadowed country have forgotten what it means to hope under their rule.

But there are some who would resist, with plans put into motion millennia before. For returned to the Empire is a valynkar, servant of the god of light, and with him come the strength and cunning that could tip the scales to end the Emperor's reign. He has gathered a group of heroes ready to ignite the flame of rebellion and fight against the dark power that has ruled for nearly two thousand years. A power that has champions of its own.

Nathan Garrison's Veiled Empire throws a mythical land into chaos, with races long thought forgotten, and magics only just discovered. Steel and sorcery clash as brave souls vie for freedom and control in this astonishing debut novel.

About Nathan

I have two great boys and an awesome wife who is way more supportive of my writing efforts than I deserve. I love playing guitar (the louder the better), cooking (the more bacon-y the better), playing board/video/card games with friends and family, and reveling in unadulterated geekery.

Born in 1983, I've been writing stories since my dad bought our first family computer. I grew up on tales of the fantastic. From Narnia and Middle-Earth to a galaxy far, far away, I've always harbored a love for things only imagination can conjure up. I count it among the greatest joys of my life to be able to share the stories within me.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Goodreads  ~  Twitter @NR_Garrison

Monday, May 25, 2015

Interview with Peter Orullian - May 25, 2015

Please welcome Peter Orullian to The Qwillery. Trial of Intentions will be published on May 26th by Tor Books. The Unremembered: Author's Definitive Edition was published by Tor Books on April 7th.

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. What is the most challenging thing for you about writing? Are you a plotter, panster or a hybrid?

Peter:  Thanks for having me. The biggest challenge is wanting more time to write, and making peace with the fact that (for now) I still have to work the day job. I get up at 3:30 a.m. to write before going to towk. I don’t mind it. I like the early morning hours. But man, if I had all day to write . . . I think about how much more productive I could be, and I have to take a breath and try not to get to anxious about it.

That said, I’m also always trying to improve. That’s a different connotation to “challenge” than you’re probably using. But I’m always trying a new technique, or incorporating things I learn. I’ll keep pushing myself as a writer until I drop dead.

And I’m a mix of plotter and panster. I don’t have vast reams of notes on every chapter I write. But I have a general sense of what will happen. What I find, though, is that having this outline actually encourages me to color outside the lines. I wind up doing all kinds of things that aren’t in my outline. Go figure.

TQ:  In addition to being an author, you are a vocalist among other things. How does music affect your fiction writing?

Peter:  I think the music side of my life affects everything else in my life. Everything. I hear the world as much as I see and taste and smell it. That probably accounts for the fact that I listen to practically every genre of music—still working on EDM, though.

With my writing, then, I suspect music enters in a couple of ways. Most obviously, I have a music magic system. I’m happy to report that my early readers say it’s unlike anything they’ve ever read. I began building it with a notion: Magic in my world would be built on what I call “governing dynamics.” In other words, there would be principles akin to mechanical law in our world, e.g. magnetism and gravity. This just made sense to me.

Then, I figured that different cultures would develop their use of magic in different ways, but all still based on governing dynamics. The central principle here is something I call: Resonance. You can see where I began with an acoustical principle from our own world. But then I imbued it with new properties. Notably, Resonance has a quality very akin to quantum entanglement. The upshot is that I have several magic systems that all appear to work rather differently, but the reader understands they’re all unified by Resonance.

Beyond all this, though, I’ve built entire cultures that pivot on music; it’s their ethos, their way of communicating, and even the way the conduct war.

I have conservatories, and traveling troupes, etc., too. And even more fundamentally, there are performance taverns where folks go to escape their troubles by hearing some great music. Some of my favorite scenes are in just such a place.

TQ:  In April, The Unremembered (The Vault of Heaven 1) was re-released in an Author's Definitive Edition. What makes this edition definitive?

Peter:  Well, without going into all the gritty details, let me just say that not all writer/editor marriages were made in heaven. So, when I wound up with a new editor, one thing led to another and we decided that it would be best all around for me to do the book the way I’d intended to the first time. So, the Author’s Edition of The Unremembered is different in many respects: it’s vastly shorter, layers in some things that help it tie to Trial of Intentions better, the list goes on. It’s also got a glossary, exclusive short story from the POV of a creature from the Bourne (an area of my world)—by the way, this character is a POV character in Trial of Intentions, as well as chapter epigraphs, and even the first few chapters of Trial of Intentions. But the text is the main thing. Much stronger.

TQTrial of Intentions (The Vault of Heaven 2) will be published tomorrow. Please tell something about Trial of Intentions that is not found in the book description.

Peter:  I can’t even remember what’s in the book description. Heh. So, I’d probably say that one key thing about the book is: There’s a whole society of science in the book—colleges of mathematics, astronomy, physics, etc.—that factor importantly in the story. This has a lot to do with turning expectations upside down regarding one of my main characters. And I love the chapters set in this society.

I’d also add some of the character motivations go rather deep in Trial of Intentions. Specifically, I deal with the topic of suicide. The book’s not about that. But a few of the characters have this in their lives, and they’re dealing with the fallout. Those scenes are rather intense. I had a friend make this choice not long ago. And though it was always the case that suicide was part of my world—I’ve created a world with some harsh conditions—I can say that with hindsight, my personal experience got underneath the words. It got into the DNA of these characters and what they go through.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Trial of Intentions?

Peter:  Lots of stuff on mathematics, physics, philosophy, and cosmology. Also astronomy. I’m an amateur astronomer, so that was the most fun.

TQ:  You've written a number of short stories set in The Vault of Heaven world ("Sacrifice of the First Sheason", "The Great Defense of Layosah", "The Battle of the Round" and more)? How do these stories fit in with the novels? Is there a recommended reading order?

Peter:  No particular reading order is necessary. What I found is that some of the historical events were too big to put in the books. But they were stories I wanted to tell. So, I wrote them separately, with an to making them work on their own. Then, some of the tales are akin to “origin stories” for some of the characters.

If a reader reads the short stories first, they have these great “aha” moments when reading the books, because they have the deeper context when certain things are referenced. On the other hand, for readers of the books, if they’re interested in going deeper on events and people and the world, the short stories allow them to dive in on certain areas. The stories and books can work independently. But I think they’re stronger taken together.

TQ:  In The Vault of Heaven series who was the most difficult character to write and why? The easiest and why? Which character has surprised her the most?

Peter:  I’m not sure any one character was harder or easier to write than the next. With each, there were scenes or sections in the book where I either revised more or less.

And I don’t think I’ve been overly surprised by any of the characters. They’re pretty much behaving as I tell them to. It has been interesting, though, to note how much readers like Jastail. He’s pretty dastardly and broken.

TQ:  What do you hope readers take away from the Trial of Intentions specifically and from your fiction in general?

Peter:  Well, first, I want folks to know that they can dive into my series and world with Trial of Intentions. I wrote it as an entry point to the series, so you don’t need to have read the first book. As to talkaways, with Trial of Intentions I’m working to turn the crank on taking the familiar in the genre and change into what’s unique about my world. It’s things like the music magic, the use of science by one character to try and avert war as opposed to escalate to war (though, he may not succeed), and character motivation that are rooted in different kinds of painful pasts. And riding on top of all this is the notion of: intentions. I think they matter. And I weave them into the magic, the politics, the language.

In general? I’m not a writer of what some call “cause fiction,” by any means. Like many writers, I hope readers are entertained. But I will say that when a reader closes the books, my desire would be that they feel the least bit more hopeful. I know that sounds a bit maudlin, but I’d like to think that my stories introduce a sense that, despite the pains of life, there’s reason to hope.

TQ:  What's next?

Peter:  Well, I’m working on book three. And I’ve got several short stories coming out in anthologies over the next several months. Also, just released are The Vault of Heaven, Story Volume One, and The Sound of Broken Absolutes. The short stories you mentioned above, as well as some new ones, are in the story volume. And Broken Absolutes is a novella that goes deep on the music magic. These all work on their own. But they’re also a good one to sample the universe where my books are set.

TQ:  Thank you fro joining us at The Qwillery!

Peter:  Thank you very much for having me. Fantastic questions!

Trial of Intentions
Vault of Heaven 2
Tor Books, May 26, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 672 pages

The gods who created this world have abandoned it. In their mercy, however, they chained the rogue god--and the monstrous creatures he created to plague mortalkind--in the vast and inhospitable wasteland of the Bourne. The magical Veil that contains them has protected humankind for millennia and the monsters are little more than tales told to frighten children. But the Veil has become weak and creatures of Nightmare have come through. To fight them, the races of men must form a great alliance to try and stop the creatures.

But there is dissent. One king won't answer the call, his pride blinding him even to the poison in his own court. Another would see Convocation fail for his own political advantage. And still others believe Convocation is not enough. Some turn to the talents of the Sheason, who can shape the very essence of the world to their will. But their order is divided, on the brink of collapse.

Tahn Junell remembers friends who despaired in a place left barren by war. One of the few who have actually faced the unspeakable horde in battle, Tahn sees something else at work and wonders about the nature of the creatures on the other side of the Veil. He chooses to go to a place of his youth, a place of science, daring to think he can find a way to prevent slaughter, prevent war.
And his choices may reshape a world . . . .

The second title in the Vault of Heaven series, Peter Orullian's Trial of Intentions is a mesmerizing fantasy epic that turns the conventions of the genre on its head

The Unremembered: Author's Definitive Edition
Vault of Heaven 1
Tor Books, April 7, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 480 pages

Peter Orullian's epic fantasy debut The Unremembered has been critically acclaimed, earning starred reviews and glowing praise. But now it gets even better. In anticipation of the second volume in Orullian's epic series, and for one of the few times in our publishing history, we at Tor are choosing to relaunch a title with an author's definitive edition.

In addition to stunning updates to the original text, we're also including an exclusive short story set in the world of Vault of Heaven as well as a sneak preview of the sequel, Trial of Intentions, and a glossary to the universe.

The gods who created this world have abandoned it. In their mercy however, they sealed the rogue god-and the monstrous creatures he created to plague mortal kind-in the vast and inhospitable wasteland of the Bourne. The magical Veil that protected humankind for millennia has become weak and creatures of nightmare have now come through. Those who stand against evil know that only drastic measures will prevent a devastating invasion.

Tahn Junell is a hunter who's unaware of the dark forces that imperil his world, in much the same way his youth is lost to memory. But an imperious man who wears the sigil of the feared Order of Sheason and a beautiful woman of the legendary Far have shared with Tahn the danger. They've asked him, his sister, and his friends to embark with them on a journey that will change their lives . . . and the world . . . forever. And in the process, he'll remember . . .

The Sound of Broken Absolutes
Vault of Heaven Novella
Descant Publishing, May 16, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 192 pages

Two men. One old. One young. Both possess a gift. A gift of music with the power to change things. Even destroy. The younger is called back to his homeland. To war. The other embarks on an inward journey into his past as he sets to repair a broken viola. An instrument with meaning to him. A resonant kind. The music each man will make will have an absolute quality. And it will change them both.

The Vault of Heaven, Story Volume One
Descant Publishing,  February 3, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 252 pages

A mother considers the unthinkable to stop a war. A husband may lose everything to watch over a world. A scrivener learns the terrible risk in the words she’s translating. The power of many sacrificing as one. These and more are the stories collected in this volume. Stories of people. Stories of war and sacrifice and friendship. They help weave the rich fabric of Orullian’s epic fantasy series, The Vault of Heaven, deepening the resonance of the world he’s created.

About Peter

Peter Orullian works in marketing at Xbox, including leading the Music and Entertainment marketing strategy for Xbox LIVE, and has toured as a featured vocalist internationally at major music festivals. He has published several short stories. He is the author of The Unremembered and Trial of Intentions. He lives in Seattle.

Website  ~  Google +  ~  Facebook  ~ Twitter @PeterOrullian

Individual Short Stories

Sacrifice of the First Sheason
Tor Books, February 1, 2011
eBook, 32 pages

Palamon was part of the collective that formed the world, made its mountains, its people, its rules. When the fledgling world is threatened, only he will do whatever it takes to save it.

The Great Defense of Layosah
Tor Books, February 2, 2011
eBook, 32 pages

Layosah has lost five sons and her husband to her kingdom's endless wars; all she has left is an infant daughter and a dangerous idea.

The Battle of the Round
Tor Books, April 12, 2011
eBook, 31 pages

In wartime, what price honor, when the odds are against you, the enemy is remorseless, and it is the eleventh hour? A Sheason who lives to help his people faces a terrible choice on the battlefield when all defenses have failed and the only choice seems to be to do the one thing that separates him from his most hated adversary.

A Beautiful Accident
Tor Books, January 13, 2015
eBook, 32 pages

“In a culture where ritualized torture is used to teach its people strength through long-suffering, a foreign sufferer unintentionally teaches them something stronger . . . something gentler.”

The Hell of It
Tor Books, February 25, 2015
eBook, 32 pages

Some heroes don't carry blades or go to war. Some heroes are fathers desperately trying not to fail their sons.