Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Spotlight and Giveaway: High Stakes edited by George R.R. Martin and Melinda M. Snodgrass

The 23rd Wild Cards novel is out! High Stakes was published on August 30th by Tor Books!

High Stakes
A Wild Cards Novel 23
Tor Books, August 30, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 560 pages

Perfect for old fans and new readers alike, High Stakes (Wild Cards) delves deeper into the world of aces, jokers, and the hard-boiled men and women of the Fort Freak police precinct in a pulpy, page-turning novel of superheroics and Lovecraftian horror.

After the concluding events of Lowball, Officer Francis Black of Fort Freak, vigilante joker Marcus "The Infamous Black Tongue" Morgan, and ace thief Mollie "Tesseract" Steunenberg get stuck in Talas, Kazakhstan. There, the coldblooded Baba Yaga forces jokers into an illegal fighting ring, but her hidden agenda is much darker: her fighters' deaths serve to placate a vicious monster from another dimension. When the last line of defense against this world weakens, all hell breaks loose, literally....

The Committee in New York sends a team of aces to investigate. One by one, each falls victim to evil forces--including the dark impulses within themselves. Only the perseverance of the most unlikely of heroes has a chance of saving the world before utter chaos erupts on Earth.

Edited by #1 New York Times bestselling author George R. R. Martin, High Stakes features the writing talents of Melinda M. Snodgrass, John Jos. Miller, David Anthony Durham, Caroline Spector, Stephen Leigh, and Ian Tregillis.

GEORGE R. R. MARTIN is the author of the international bestselling A Song of Ice and Fire series. Martin has won the Hugo, Nebula, Bram Stoker, and World Fantasy Awards for his numerous novels and short stories.

Website  ~  Blog  ~  Twitter

MELINDA M. SNODGRASS has worked on staff on numerous shows in Hollywood, including Star Trek: The Next Generation, and has written pilots and feature films. In addition to being coeditor of the Wild Cards series, she also writes urban fantasy under the name Phillipa Bornikova.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter

The Giveaway

What:  One entrant will win a copy of High Stakes edited by George R.R. Martin and Melinda M. Snodgrass from the publisher. US ONLY

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

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a US mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59 PM US Eastern Time on September 13, 2016. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Review: Sixth Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko

Sixth Watch
AuthorSergei Lukyanenko
Series:  Night Watch Series 6
Publisher:  Harper Paperbacks, August 30, 2016
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook,
List Price:  US$15.99 (print); US$10.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9780062428448 (print); 9780062428455 (eBook)

The final chapter in Sergei Lukyanenko's internationally bestselling Night Watch series—a revelatory urban fantasy set in contemporary Moscow.

They live among us. They fight among us. They’re the Others, a supernatural race of magicians, shape-shifters, vampires, and healers. Divided into the Light and the Dark, these rival factions have spent a millennium under a reluctant truce. Now, however, both sides must unite against the ultimate enemy.

A Light magician and high-ranking member of the Night Watch, Anton Gorodetsky fears nothing. But lately the threats are mounting. A reincarnated vampire has been terrorizing Moscow. His daughter’s school is ambushed by a bizarre chimera. And the Prophets have all reached the same chilling conclusion: The world will end in five days’ time.

To ward off the apocalypse, an ancient council called the Sixth Watch must be assembled. After both Light and Darkness select their emissaries, Anton must enlist the unwilling aid of the four other Great Parties: the Vampires, the Witches, the Form-Takers, and the enigmatic Foundation. Journeying from Russia to Paris, the Alps, and New York City, Anton comes in peace—but he is prepared for war. For if he fails, none are safe.

Qwill's Thoughts

I have been wanting to read the Night Watch series by Sergei Lukyanenko for some time. Receiving a review copy of the sixth novel in the series motivated me to start reading. I'm so glad that I did. The Night Watch series is fabulous. Lukyanenko has created a unique and detailed mythology for his novels. The focus of the series is Anton Gorodetsky, an Other, a member of the Night Watch and Light magician. There are those on the Dark side, but that all become clear when you read any of the novels. However, you do not have to read any of the prior novels to understand the last novel, Sixth Watch. Lukyanenko does a wonderful job filling in any information you might need in a way that is organic to the story.

In Sixth Watch, Anton must solve the most difficult case of his life and save the Others and humans and animals from extinction. He has more personally at stake than ever before. Much of the novel is spent with Anton working to figure out what the Sixth Watch is and who should be its members. This is not easy and he does not have to do it alone as the resources of both the Light and Dark Watches are at his disposal. There are tremendous roadblocks. At the same time he is fighting to keep his wife, daughter and himself alive. They are subject to horrific attacks.

Sixth Watch is riveting, exciting and vibrant. There is so much action. Characters from prior stories appear, threads are woven together, and secrets are revealed. In the midst of all the research and the battles there are moments of philosophy - about good and evil in particular. This gives wonderful depth to Sixth Watch (and you will find this in all the novels in the series). Anton Gorodetsky, the Others and people you get to know well in Sixth Watch are all fully developed and pivotal to the story. The ending of Sixth Watch is unexpected. In retrospect it is exactly what had to happen. What a way to end the series and the story of the Day Watch, the Night Watch and Anton Gorodetsky! This is a series I will read again and again.

Kudos to the translator, Andrew Bromfield, who has beautifully translated all the Night Watch novels.

2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - Ninth City Burning by J. Patrick Black

The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2016 Debut Author Challenge.

J. Patrick Black

Ninth City Burning
Ace, September 6, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 496 pages

Centuries of war with aliens threaten the future of human civilization on earth in this gripping, epic science fiction debut...

We never saw them coming.

Entire cities disappeared in the blink of an eye, leaving nothing but dust and rubble. When an alien race came to make Earth theirs, they brought with them a weapon we had no way to fight, a universe-altering force known as thelemity. It seemed nothing could stop it—until we discovered we could wield the power too.

Five hundred years later, the Earth is locked in a grinding war of attrition. The talented few capable of bending thelemity to their will are trained in elite military academies, destined for the front lines. Those who refused to support the war have been exiled to the wilds of a ruined Earth.

But the enemy's tactics are changing, and Earth's defenders are about to discover this centuries-old war has only just begun. As a terrible new onslaught looms, heroes will rise from unlikely quarters, and fight back.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Interview with Christopher Steinsvold, author of The Book of Ralph

Please welcome Christopher Steinsvold to The Qwillery as part of the 2016 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Book of Ralph was published on August 9th by Medallion Press.

The Book of Ralph Launch Party will be held on August 31st at Tender Trap, 66 Greenpoint Ave, Brooklyn, New York 11222. You may find more information on Facebook here.

TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Christopher:  Sometime in Jr. High, my parents gave me an Apple IIc with a word processor. It was a release to get thoughts out of my head. In High School, I took a typing class and creative writing classes, and my writing output soared. Having others enjoy my thoughts is a deep thrill, and worth suffering through the times they don’t.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Christopher:  Definitely a pantser, though near the final draft I did do an outline, to get a better mental handle on the story. I recommend this to my fellow pantsers.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Christopher:  Slaughtering the wonderful darlings.

TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing? How does having a background in philosophy affect your writing?

Christopher:  Too many influences . . . the news . . . art . . . coffee . . . a conversation overheard on the subway . . . Reddit . . . the list goes on.

Philosophy helps me to think and write clearly, which, for me, is more difficult than it sounds.

TQDescribe The Book of Ralph in 140 characters or less.

Christopher:  An alien’s dangerous plan to save the world.

TQTell us something about The Book of Ralph that is not found in the book description.

Christopher:  Though the novel is comedic, it isn’t a farce. It isn’t Duck Soup. It is a story with many bizarre events, yet there are reasons why these events happen, and typically the reasons are revealed later on.

TQWhat inspired you to write The Book of Ralph? What appeals to you about writing Science Fiction and particularly SF that deals with alien contact?

Christopher:  I was excited by the initial ideas. A message suddenly shows up on the moon, seemingly an advertisement, and humans are not responsible. I love the freshness of it. When I realized I could explore a number of philosophical ideas I had, I was doubly excited. I tried hard to write something original, and as far as I can tell, I did.

I find Science Fiction attractive because the possibilities are so wide open. Exactly why first contact is attractive is answered in the novel (no spoilers!).

TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Book of Ralph?

Christopher:  The most exhaustive type of research I could without leaving my apartment.

TQIn the The Book of Ralph who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Christopher:  Ralph was extreme fun. Markus, the narrator, was the most challenging, due to the natural limitations of writing in first person.

TQWhich question about The Book of Ralph do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Christopher:  Q: Did you get a film option? A: Yes!

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Book of Ralph.

Christopher:  “We were the frills of the universe gazing upon something unspeakably more central than ourselves.”

TQWhat's next?

Christopher:  I recently finished a short story, and have two ideas for novels that I like. But, for now, I’m focusing on promoting The Book of Ralph.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Christopher:  Thank you!

The Book of Ralph
Medallion Press, August 9, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 416 pages

A message appears on the moon. It is legible from Earth, and almost no one knows how it was created. Markus West leads the government’s investigation to find the creator.

The message is simple and familiar. But those three words, written in blazing crimson letters on the lunar surface, will foster the strangest revolution humankind has ever endured and make Markus West wish he was never involved.

The message is ‘Drink Diet Coke.’

When Coca-Cola denies responsibility, global annoyance with the beverage-industrial complex becomes indignation. And when his investigation confirms Coca-Cola’s innocence, Markus West becomes one of the most hated men on Earth.

Later, five miles above the White House, a cylinder is discovered floating in the night. It is 400 feet tall, 250 feet in diameter, and exactly resembles a can of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup. Nearly everyone thinks the cylinder is a promotional stunt gone wrong, just like the lunar advertisement. And this is exactly what the alien in the cylinder wants people to think.

Ralph, an eccentric extraterrestrial who’s been hiding on the moon, needs Markus’s help to personally deliver a dark warning to the White House. Ralph has a big heart, a fetish for Andy Warhol, and a dangerous plan to save the world.

Looking upon the cylinder, Markus realizes we are not the ones in control. The unexpected guest becomes the host, and somehow humans never belonged: “We are the homeless orphans peeking through the banquet window. We are the frills of the universe gazing upon something unspeakably more central than ourselves.”

About Christopher

Photo by Ben Colen
Christopher Steinsvold received his PhD in philosophy from the City University of New York Graduate School and University Center. He is currently an adjunct professor at Brooklyn College, City University of New York. In his creative writing, he uses his background in philosophy to feed his imagination.

Facebook  ~  Twitter @steinsvold1

The View From Monday - August 29, 2016

Happy last Monday in August!

There are 2 debuts this week -

The Forgetting Moon (The Five Warrior Angels 1) by Brian Lee Durfee;


Curioddity by Paul Jenkins.

Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to that novel's Amazon page.

And from formerly featured DAC Authors:

Harsh Gods (Shadowside / Conspiracy of Angels 2) by Michelle Belanger;

Impact (Outer Earth 3) by Rob Boffard;

The Lazarus War: Origins (The Lazarus War 3) by Jamie Sawyer;

Eagle in Exile (The Clash of Eagles Trilogy 2) by Alan Smale is out in Mass Market Paperback;


Shadow Falling (The Scorpius Syndrome 2) by Rebecca Zanetti.

Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to that novel's Amazon page.

August 29, 2015
Poseidon & Cleito (Ke only 8/29 -11/20/16) Andrew J. Peters F - Poseidon & Cleito 1

August 30, 2015
The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years: From The Next Generation to J. J. Abrams: The Complete, Uncensored, and Unauthorized Oral History of Star Trek Mark A. Altman
Edward Gross
SF - Television
Twilight Dreams Amanda Ashley PNR - Twilight 2
Harsh Gods Michelle Belanger DF/UF - Shadowside 2
The Aylesford Skull (tp2mm) James P. Blaylock SP - Langdon St. James 3
Impact Rob Boffard SF - Outer Earth 3
The Empty Ones Robert Brockway H - The Unnoticeables 2
Gatefather (h2mm) Orson Scott Card CF - Mither Mages 3
Formic Wars Trilogy Boxed Set: Earth Unaware, Earth Afire, Earth Awakens Orson Scott Card
Aaron Johnston
SF - The First Formic Wars Trilogy
The Subsidiary Matias Celedon  Dys
Son of the Black Sword (h2mm) Larry Correia F - Saga of the Forgotten Warrior 1
The Forgetting Moon (D) Brian Lee Durfee F - The Five Warrior Angels 1
Willful Child (h2mm) Steven Erikson SF - Willful Child 1
Unraveled Jennifer Estep UF - Elemental Assassin 15
Doctor Who: The Official Cookbook: 40 Wibbly-Wobbly Timey-Wimey Recipes Joanna Farrow SF - Cookbook
So I Married A Demon Slayer (ri) Angie Fox
Kathy Love
Lexi George
PNR - Anthology
People of the Songtrail (h2mm) Kathleen O'Neal Gear
W. Michael Gear
Hist - North America's Forgotten Past 20
Sex and Death: Stories Sarah Hall (Ed)
Peter Hobbs (Ed)
SF/LF - Anthology
Frost Line (h2mm) Linda Howard
Linda Jones
Curioddity (D) Paul Jenkins SF
Made for Sin (e) Stacia Kane UF
The Tommyknockers (ri) Stephen King H
Sixth Watch Sergei Lukyanenko CF - Night Watch 6
Dead Man's Song (ri) Jonathan Maberry Th/H - A Pine Deep Novel 2
Of Beauty and Darkness Peggy Martinez UF/DF - A Reapers Grimm Novel 1
The Winter People Jennifer McMahon Th/Sus/GH
Succubus Shadows (ri) Richelle Mead CF - Georgina Kincaid 5
Wolves D. J. Molles SF/AP/PA
The Wolves of London Mark Morris DF/UF/CF - Obsidian Heart 1
Plunder of Gor John Norman F /DF - Gorean Saga 34
The Dark World S.C. Parris DF - The Dark World 1
Poseidon's Wake (h2mm) Alastair Reynolds SF/SO/AC - Poseidon's Children 3
The Lazarus War: Origins Jamie Sawyer SF - The Lazarus War 3
The Jersey Devil Hunter Shea Sus/SupTh/H
Eagle in Exile (h2mm) Alan Smale HistF - The Clash of Eagles Trilogy 2
Chasing the Phoenix (h2tp) Michael Swanwick SF/AP/PA
Legacies: Book 3: Purgatory's Key Dayton Ward
Kevin Dilmore
SF - Star Trek: The Original Series
Hell's Foundations Quiver (h2mm) David Weber SF - Safehold 8
Trucker Ghost Stories: And Other True Tales of Haunted Highways, Weird Encounters, and Legends of the Road Annie Wilder (Ed) Sup - Anthology
Shadow Falling Rebecca Zanetti R/SF/AP/PA - The Scorpius Syndrome 2

August 31, 2015
The Key to the Coward's Spell: A Tor.Com Original (e) Alex Bledsoe UF
Clockwork Secrets Boxed Set Dru Pagliassotti SP
Early Days: More Tales from the Pulp Era Robert Silverberg SF - Collection

D - Debut
e - eBook
e2mm - eBook to Mass Market Paperback
e2tp - eBook to Trade Paperback
Ed - Editor
Ke - Kindle only eBook
h2mm - Hardcover to Mass Market Paperback
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
ri - reissue or reprint
tp2mm - Trade to Mass Market Paperback

AC - Alien Contact
AH - Alternate History
AP - Apocalyptic
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CW - Contemporary Women
CyP - Cyberpunk
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tale
FolkT - Folk Tale
FR - Fantasy Romance
GH - Ghosts
H - Horror
HC - History and Criticism
Hist - Historical
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HU - Humor
LF - Literary Fiction
LM - Legends and Mythology
M - Mystery
MR - Magical Realism
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PNR - Paranormal Romance
R - Romance
RSus - Romantic Suspense
SF - Science Fiction
SH - Superheroes
SO - Space Opera
SP - Steampunk
SpecFic - Speculative Fiction
Sup - Supernatural
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Sus - Suspense
TechTh - Technological Thriller
Th - Thriller
UF - Urban Fantasy
YA - Young Adult
Z - Zombies

Note: Not all of these genres are represented in the book above.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Melanie's Week in Review - August 28, 2016

This is a unique WIR as I am writing it 10,000 metres in the air. I am writing this on my flight over to Canada going to my nephew's wedding. I didn't want you to miss out finding out what I read this week. So what did I read?

I was back to reading books from SPFBO 2016 and I am going to start with the book I enjoyed the most. I have found it interesting how many of the books that I have read during this contest are written for younger readers. I wonder why that is. Could it be that newer authors think that it is easier to market to tweens and teens or that they think it is easier to write for this audience. Anyway musing over.

The book I read that I enjoyed the most this week was The Jaguar and the Cacao Tree by Birgitte Rasine. The story is set in Guatemala where the eleven year old Max is on trip with his parents who are researching the local bee population. It's not long before Max befriends the local girl Ixtal and learns more about her community, the rainforest and more importantly about the cacao bean and chocolate production. After a few minor adventures Max and Ixtal end up angering one of the mystical beings of the rainforest when they inadvertently disrupt one of the ceremonies the elders perform to celebrate the cacao bean. Max, Ixtal and their new rainforest friends have placate the local gods before the cacao harvest is destroyed.

It is was obvious that the The Jaguar and the Cacao Tree was a labour of love for the author as it was so well researched and very well written. I did think it was a bit slow in parts and perhaps written is a more mature voice than what an 11 year old would have but I did enjoy it. I also enjoyed the free Spanish lessons that the author provided and the history lesson on the origins of chocolate.

Book 2 was Tayta's Return by Teagan Kearney. This was the story of the orphaned Tayta who was raised by her aunt. When the aunt takes ill with a mystery disease Tayta has to spend a lot of time in the hospital and in the company of the vampire Vance, who she hates. As the story progresses we learn that Tatya has special abilities that a part demon/vampire wants for himself. Tatya must team up with Vanse in order save herself from becoming the demons's slave.

I can't really say I enjoyed this book. It was a mix of boring and stereotypical. The protagonists were all very uninspiring and quite weak. Tatya flipped from hating vampires one minute to loving them the next. It felt like the author picked bits from different vampires novels and tried to mix them together. Everything seemed too familiar and quite frankly dull.

I am sorry to say that my third book Sebasten of Atlantis and the Forgotten Goddess by Olivier Delaye was a DNF. Again this was fantasy for a younger reader but this time neither the main character or setting captured my attention. I got 50% through but couldn't face finishing it. I think that SPFBO has impacted my ability to finish books that don't engage early on. I just can't rationalise spending time reading books I don't enjoy. Perhaps if I was a younger reader I may have enjoyed this story.

That is it for me this week. I will be missing next week definitely as I won't get much read next week and can't excuse myself from the wedding to write a post. I know crazy! Until next time Happy Reading!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - Everfair by Nisi Shawl

The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2016 Debut Author Challenge.

Nisi Shawl

Tor Books, September 6, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 384 pages

Everfair is a wonderful Neo-Victorian alternate history novel that explores the question of what might have come of Belgium's disastrous colonization of the Congo if the native populations had learned about steam technology a bit earlier. Fabian Socialists from Great Britian join forces with African-American missionaries to purchase land from the Belgian Congo's "owner," King Leopold II. This land, named Everfair, is set aside as a safe haven, an imaginary Utopia for native populations of the Congo as well as escaped slaves returning from America and other places where African natives were being mistreated.

Nisi Shawl's speculative masterpiece manages to turn one of the worst human rights disasters on record into a marvelous and exciting exploration of the possibilities inherent in a turn of history. Everfair is told from a multiplicity of voices: Africans, Europeans, East Asians, and African Americans in complex relationships with one another, in a compelling range of voices that have historically been silenced. Everfair is not only a beautiful book but an educational and inspiring one that will give the reader new insight into an often ignored period of history.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Review: Starspawn by Wendy N. Wagner

AuthorWendy N. Wagner
Series: Pathfinder Tales 34
Publisher:  Tor Books, August 9, 2016
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 336 pages
List Price:  US$14.99 (print); US$9.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9780765384331 (print); 9780765384324 (eBook)

Paizo Publishing is the award-winning publisher of fantasy roleplaying games, accessories, and board games. Pathfinder Tales: Starspawn is the latest in their popular novel series.

The sequel to Hugo Award Winner Wendy N. Wagner’s Skinwalkers! Once a notorious viking and pirate, Jendara has at last returned to the cold northern isles of her home, ready to settle down and raise her young son. Yet when a mysterious tsunami wracks her island’s shore, she and her fearless crew must sail out to explore the strange island that’s risen from the sea floor. No sooner have they arrived in the lost island’s alien structures, however, than they find themselves competing with a monstrous cult eager to complete a dark ritual in those dripping halls. For something beyond all mortal comprehension has been dreaming on the sea floor. And it’s begun to wake up...

Brannigan's Review

I'm back! I know I know all of my ones of fans have been crashing the site begging me to write a new book review, so thanks to Floyd in Briar Hook, Delaware for sending all of those emails and for your trailblazing social media campaign. Much love.

Starspawn by Wendy N. Wagner was the best book for me to read to get me back into reviewing. It has pirates, natural disasters, a mysterious island crawling with all kinds of half-man, half-fish creatures. A Lovecraftian monster, treasure hunting, battles, creepy crawlies and even a dolphin being sacrificed to a dark god by the deep ones. I mean really!? What more could I want in one book. Nothing that's what. Now, lets get into the juicy bits.

The protagonist is Jendara, an ex-pirate mother of a mute son named Kran who's married to Vorrin, the captain of the pirate ship Milday. Jendara was in a previous book entitled Skinwalkers, also by Wagner. There are several mentions of past adventures that took place last year, which I assume is from the first book, but thankfully I never felt lost in this book. I was able to enjoy the current adventure without needing to go grab a copy of Skinwalkers, but if you're like me, you will want to read more about this crew. All right, back to Jendara. She's a very nice character: a strong woman, mother, wife and adventurer. Wagner did a great job balancing all the sides of this character and in the end helped her feel completely real and relatable.

The story starts off simple enough with Jendara and her son Kran on an island in an archipelago, when a tsunami hits and destroys most of her village. Right after the event, her husband and his crew of pirates arrive to offer aid, and explains that an island has risen out of the sea nearby and is covered in ruins and riches. Jendara and her son join the crew on a quick treasure hunt/exploration of the new island in hopes of using it to help the islanders recover from the tsunami. The rest of the story takes off from there. Kran and Vorrin both get enough time on the page to get a sense of their characters, but there isn't a lot of detailed information given. I truly believe these bases were covered in the first book along with the rest of the crew, which didn't bother me a bit. I had enough information about each supporting character that the story warranted. The island itself is the antagonist of this story with plenty of different creatures and groups causing problems for the crew. We get hints to this island's past, but a lot of it was left hidden, which added to the mystery.

Wagner knows how to weave a story. Everything starts off nice and calm, and then wham!, the action starts and it doesn't let up. She threads in plenty of mystery about the island, the people found there and their intentions. We're left to wonder about several different character's fates as the party explores the island. Wagner colors the story with just the right amount of humor to keep things from getting too dark and stressful, but doesn't ruin the overall mood.

My only complaint would be by the ending of the book there were five different groups on the island, including the crew, and I didn't feel I got enough of an explanation about the motives and means of each of the groups. Now, that's not saying the ending is unsatisfying or rushed. I just wish I knew a little more. Wagner gives different levels of information about each group so this is a sliding scale. Not withstanding this one issue, I still thoroughly enjoyed the book. You don't always need to know everything to enjoy a book.

Starspawn is the type of book that brings out the kid in me. There's so much going on and written in such a way that each event builds on top of the other creating a crazy ride. It's books like this one that remind me why I love fantasy and renew my love for the genre. Just knowing there are authors out there writing books like this will keep me young at heart forever. For those of you who would like to know, there is violence and minor language. I would recommend it to teens and adults.

And for those who'd like to read Skinwalkers:

Pathfinder Tales 19
Tor Books, August 18, 2015
    eBook, 404 pages
Paizo Publishing, April 15, 2014
    Mass Market Paperback, 400 pages

As a young woman, Jendara left the cold northern isles of the Ironbound Archipelago to find her fortune. Now, many years later, she's forsaken her buccaneer ways and returned home in search of a simpler life, where she can raise her young son, Kran, in peace. When a strange clan of shapeshifting raiders pillages her home, however, there's no choice for Jendara but to take up her axes once again to help the islanders defend all that they hold dear.

From author Wendy N. Wagner comes a new adventure of vikings, lycanthropes, and the ties of motherhood, set in the world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Spotlight and Giveaway - The Gate to Futures Past by Julie E. Czerneda

The Qwillery is thrilled to spotlight The Gate to Futures Past (Reunification 2) by Julie E. Czerneda as part of the #futurespasttour! Check out the fabulous giveaways below.

The Gate to Futures Past
Reunification 2
DAW, September 6, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 416 pages

Second novel in the hard sci-fi Reunification series, The Gate to Futures Past continues the Clan Chronicles, perfect for space opera readers looking for unique aliens and interstellar civilizations.

Betrayed and attacked, the Clan fled the Trade Pact for Cersi, believing that world their long-lost home. With them went a lone alien, the Human named Jason Morgan, Chosen of their leader, Sira di Sarc. Tragically, their arrival upset the Balance between Cersi’s three sentient species. And so the Clan, with their newfound kin, must flee again.

Their starship, powered by the M’hir, follows a course set long ago, for Clan abilities came from an experiment their ancestors—the Hoveny—conducted on themselves. But it’s a perilous journey. The Clan must endure more than cramped conditions and inner turmoil.

Their dead are Calling.

Sira must keep her people from answering, for if they do, they die. Morgan searches the ship for answers, afraid the Hoveny’s tech is beyond his grasp. Their only hope? To reach their destination.

Little do Sira and Morgan realize their destination holds the gravest threat of all....


This Gulf of Time and Stars
Reunification 1
Mass Market Paperback, 480 pages
DAW, September 6, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, November 3, 2015

This Gulf of Time and Stars begins the hard sci-fi Reunification series, perfect for space opera readers looking for unique aliens and interstellar civilizations.

Sira di Sarc, the leader of an alien race hiding in plain sight among humans, must find a way to take her Clan home, in this trilogy within the award-winning Clan Chronicles series.

To save their world, the most powerful of the Om’ray left their homes. They left behind all memory of their past. Calling themselves the Clan, they settled among Humanity, hiding in plain sight, using their ability to slip past normal space to travel where they wished, using their ability to control minds to ensure their place and security.

They are no longer hidden.

For the Clan face a crisis. Their reproduction is tied to individual power, and their latest generation of females, Choosers, are too strong to safely mate. Their attempt to force others to help failed until Sira di Sarc, their leader and the most powerful of their kind, successfully Joined with a human, Jason Morgan, starship captain and telepath. With Morgan, Sira forged the first peace between her kind and the Trade Pact.

But it is a peace about to shatter. Those the Clan have controlled all these years will rise against them. Her people dying around her, war about to consume the Trade Pact, Sira will be left with only one choice. She must find the way back. And take the Clan home.

About Julie

Roger Czerneda Photography
Julie E. Czerneda is a biologist and writer whose science fiction has received international acclaim, awards, and best-selling status. She is the author of the popular Species Imperative trilogy, the Web Shifters series, the Trade Pact Universe trilogy and her new Stratification novels. She was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Her stand-alone novel, In the Company of Others, won Canada's Prix Aurora Award and was a finalist for the Philip K. Dick Award for Distinguished SF. Julie lives with her husband and two children in the lake country of central Ontario, under skies so clear they could take seeing the Milky Way for granted, but never do. For more about her work, visit or visit her on Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads.

The Qwillery Giveaway

What:  Two entrants will each win a set of THIS GULF OF TIME AND STARS (Mass Market Paperback) and of THE GATE TO FUTURES PAST (Hardcover). That's 2 winners and 2 books per winner! US / CANADA ONLY

How:  Log into and follow the directions in the Rafflecopter below. Note that comments are moderated.

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 September 12, 2016. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 13 years old or older to enter.

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

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Spotlight and Excerpt - Ninth City Burning by J. Patrick Black

The Qwillery is thrilled to share an excerpt and more from J. Patrick Black's debut novel - Ninth City Burning!

Ninth City Burning
Ace, September 6, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 496 pages

Centuries of war with aliens threaten the future of human civilization on earth in this gripping, epic science fiction debut...

We never saw them coming.

Entire cities disappeared in the blink of an eye, leaving nothing but dust and rubble. When an alien race came to make Earth theirs, they brought with them a weapon we had no way to fight, a universe-altering force known as thelemity. It seemed nothing could stop it—until we discovered we could wield the power too.

Five hundred years later, the Earth is locked in a grinding war of attrition. The talented few capable of bending thelemity to their will are trained in elite military academies, destined for the front lines. Those who refused to support the war have been exiled to the wilds of a ruined Earth.

But the enemy's tactics are changing, and Earth's defenders are about to discover this centuries-old war has only just begun. As a terrible new onslaught looms, heroes will rise from unlikely quarters, and fight back.


The Valentine War, Earth 500 Years Ago

It starts with the world how it used to be, with countries and billions of people living everywhere. Back then there was no such thing as thelemity, and people built houses and machines sort of like they have in settlements today, but all of that changed when the Valentines came.

The reason we call them the Valentines is that the day they first attacked, February 14 on the old Western Calendar, was called “Valentine’s Day”. We still don’t know what the Valentines call themselves, because we’ve never been able to talk to them. We don’t even know what they look like. People had all sorts of different names for them early in the war, but “Valentine” is the one that ended up being the most popular. It used to mean something totally different, but not many people remember that now.

We never saw them coming. All at once cities just started disappearing. A city would be there, everything totally normal, and then it would be gone, nothing but rubble and a cloud of dust. By the time we figured out we were under attack, half the cities in the world had already been destroyed. We tried to fight back, but the Valentines had thelemity, and our strongest weapons were next to useless. They probably would have killed every single person on the planet, except for one thing: It turned out we could use thelemity too.

Cast of Characters

JAX: A cadet at the Academy and the youngest fontanus in Ninth City. With the ability to harness thelemity, Jax must stand for all citizens during Valentine attacks and act as the only defense between the city and complete destruction.

NAOMI: The youngest sister in the Ochre family, and a member of the nomadic Walker tribe. Naomi longs to be a scout like her older sister, Rae, but her undiscovered gifts will take her down a different path, far away from the life she knows.

RAE: The beautiful, impulsive leader of the Ochre family and a scout for the Walker tribe. Rae’s penchant for bravery and lack of fear plunge her into a new world, where her strength will be tested in ways she never imagined.

TORRO: A factory worker in Settlement 225, which provides supplies and soldiers to the Legion’s war effort. Torro’s uncomplicated life is suddenly disrupted when he finds himself drafted as cannon fodder and shipped away to the horror of the front lines.

VINNEAS: Procurator of the Academy, responsible for every cadet at the school of Grammar and Rhetoric. Part of being Procurator is being prepared for command in combat, but an unwelcome promotion sends him to active duty sooner than he expects.

IMWAY: The top ranked warrior in the Equites Aspirant, the most elite fighting unit in the Academy. Highly skilled in combat, Imway’s power stems from a suit of armor called ‘equus’ and the ego that comes with it stands the chance of ruining any relationship he has.

KIZABEL: The most sought after Artifex—a creator of artifices—at the Academy. Her most recent project violates many rules, and Kizabel faces expulsion or incarceration if caught. But her project will revolutionize equus design, if she can only get it running.

Together, this unlikely group of allies will face a mysterious enemy and a war that has brought their world to the brink of destruction.

About the Author

Photo by Beowulf Sheehan
J. Patrick Black has worked as a bartender, a small-town lawyer, a homebuilder, and a costumed theme park character, all while living a secret double life as a fiction writer. While fiction is now his profession, he still finds occasion to ply his other trades as well. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts, where he likes to visit the ocean. NINTH CITY BURNING is his first novel. Find out more about J. Patrick Black online at

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Interview with Anise Eden

Please welcome Anise Eden to The Qwillery. All the Wounds in Shadow, the 2nd Healing Edge novel, is published on August 23rd by Diversion Books. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Anise a Happy Publication Day!

TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Anise:  According to my parents, I began telling stories when I was two years old, including “some real whoppers.” I started writing my stories down in elementary school, and kept that up until adulthood arrived and demanded all of my creative energy. Several years later, I had to take some time off to recover from an illness. It was a new experience for me, having nothing to do and nowhere to go. Into that void, the urge to write pressed itself with great urgency, as though it had been waiting patiently in the background and finally sensed its opportunity. That’s when I began to write The Healing Edge series.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid? What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Anise:  I’d say I’m a hybrid with strong pantser leanings. My characters come to me first. Then I develop the plot in broad brushstrokes. As I write, the characters and I work together to fill in the details. In the drafting stage, the plot can take some pretty dramatic twists and turns, but the overall arcs of the story and character development tend to remain unchanged.

The most challenging thing about writing for me is coming up for air. When I’m writing, I’m completely immersed in the story and the characters, and it’s difficult to completely disconnect from that world. Some part of my mind is always occupied with my work in progress; it’s like a musical soundtrack playing, or a computer program running in the background. Fortunately, my family and loved ones are very understanding, and they take my distractibility chronic preoccupation in stride.

TQDescribe All the Wounds in Shadow in 140 characters or less.

Anise:  A gifted empath and her boss, a Marine veteran, try to shelve their attraction while solving a murder & confronting their deepest wounds.

TQTell us something about All the Wounds in Shadow that is not found in the book description.

Anise:  One of the main themes is how true love can overcome all obstacles—even death.

TQWhat inspired you to write The Healing Edge series?

Anise:  I’ve always been interested in how people experience paranormal phenomena in their daily lives. As a big Patricia Arquette fan, I was binge watching old seasons of the TV show Medium when I began to wonder about the origins of abilities such as telepathy and communicating with the dead. What is the purpose of these gifts, and how and when did they first arise? I decided to invent my own science fiction-style theory, which became the Bronze Age spiritual origins theory introduced in All the Broken Places (The Healing Edge, #1). Then characters began to form in my mind and speak to me, and the story took off from there.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for the series?

Anise:  Some of my research was done before I even had the idea for the series. For example, I’ve had experience with acupuncture and Reiki. But I had a lot to learn about many other subjects, such as modern day archaeology, the National Institutes of Health, and the medical aspects of being in a coma. To research those topics, I sought out authoritative and reputable sources online. To get a better feel for life in the Marine Corps, I checked out military websites and read Rule Number Two: Lessons I Learned in a Combat Hospital by Heidi Squier Kraft. I’m also blessed with family and friends who are experts in a variety of fields, and who generously allow me to pick their brains.

TQIn All the Wounds in Shadow, who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Anise:  The easiest character to write was the Brazilian neuroscientist, Braz. He has a distinctive personality and a strong voice that spoke to me very clearly. The most difficult character to write was probably Captain Abbott. While he also has a strong voice, as a military leader, his way of thinking is quite different from mine, so I had to really focus and draw upon my research to get inside of his head.

TQWhich question about All the Wounds in Shadow or The Healing Edge series do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Anise:  Why did you choose to make your heroine, Cate, an empath?

I believe that the ability to be empathic is a key component to healing the wounds in ourselves, in one another, and in our larger communities. However, people with the capacity for great empathy often find that their gift is undervalued, and they are even criticized at times for being “oversensitive” or “bleeding hearts.” In The Healing Edge series, Cate not only shows how precious and useful empathy can be, but also demonstrates that individuals with this gift have unique self-care needs that must be respected in order for them to thrive and use their empathic traits most effectively.

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from All the Wounds in Shadow.


Without that information, we couldn’t deal with his killer—not to mention the mysterious dark armies Eve had seen in her vision.


“But we can’t do this!” I cried out. “It’s going to be like the geese all over again!”

TQWhat's next?

Anise:  Right now I’m putting the finishing touches on the third book in The Healing Edge Series. It’s called All the Light There Is, and it is coming out in early 2017. This third book ties together the loose threads from the first two books in exciting and unexpected ways, and the relationship between Cate and Ben finally reaches a tipping point. I can’t wait to share it with readers!

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Anise:  Thank you so much for having me. It’s been a pleasure!

All the Wounds in Shadow
The Healing Edge 2
Diversion Books, August 23, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 248 pages

For fans of Karen Robards and Shiloh Walker, Anise Eden brings us the mesmerizing sequel to her paranormal romantic suspense novel All the Broken Places.

"Peopled with engaging characters and filled with intrigue, this book will delight readers of paranormal romance. This series occupies a special place at the top of my favorites list and I can't wait to see what Ms. Eden brings us next."—Rosanna Leo, author of the Gemini Island Shifters series

Cate's enemies aren't just surrounding her—they're inside her head.

Therapist Cate Duncan has just accepted a job with the MacGregor Group, a unique collective of alternative healers. She’s excited by the prospect of honing her empathic healing techniques among others like herself—aura readers, telepaths, crystal healers, and more. The fact that Cate just started dating Ben, her magnetic new boss, is an added bonus.

Before Cate can settle into her new routine, the poisoning of a prominent neuroscientist draws the entire MacGregor Group into both a federal investigation and an even more insidious threat. Protected by Ben’s former Marine Corps unit, Cate and her colleagues must use their alternative healing methods to solve the crime as their patient clings to life. The responsibility of discovering crucial information falls to Cate and her parapsychological powers.

But for Cate, unraveling the mystery means reopening wounds that had just begun to heal—and in the environment of the Marine Corps unit, differences between Cate and Ben become clearer, straining their budding romance. When a new crisis looms, Cate must trust in her colleagues’ gifts and the strength of Ben’s love, finding the courage to confront her deepest and most terrifying demons—or her own life will be at risk. 


All the Broken Places
The Healing Edge 1
Diversion Books, February 16, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 262 pages

All of Cate’s problems are in her head. That may be her greatest strength.

Cate Duncan is a promising young therapist, dedicated to her work. But after her mother’s suicide, she is seized by a paralyzing depression. To save her job, Cate agrees to enter a program with Dr. Angeline MacGregor, run by her stern son, Ben, and housed in a repurposed church. Cate doesn’t quite understand what the program entails, but she soon learns that the skills she will develop there may not only help her learn how to cope with her own problems, but will also lead her to a much greater purpose.

The MacGregor Group is a collection of alternative healers whose unconventional approaches include crystals, aura reading, and psychics. They know that their life’s work invites skepticism, and welcome the chance to prove naysayers wrong. But they need the unique abilities that Cate can bring, and as she slides ever closer to her own abyss, they will do everything in their power to protect Cate from those who wish her harm—including herself.

A powerful novel of suspense and a wildly inventive start to this paranormal romance series, ALL THE BROKEN PLACES engages readers with its striking blend of the supernatural and the psychological.

About Anise

Author and plant love Anise Eden spends most of her time tucked away in her writing nook imagining things that aren't there. On those rare occasions when she emerges from seclusion, Anise may be spotted in coffee shops, staring at her laptop screen and silently moving her lips as she reviews bits of dialogue. Although Anise claims that she's the one in charge, the characters in her head do sometimes make her laugh out loud at inappropriate moments. Visit her online at