Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Interview with Erika Lewis, author of Game of Shadows

Please welcome Erika Lewis to The Qwillery as part of the 2017 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Game of Shadows is published on February 28th by Tor Books.

Please join The Qwillery in wishing Erika a Happy Publication Day!

TQWhen did you start writing and why?

Erika:  When I was about 8 years old my best friend and I would pass journals back and forth. We didn’t go to the same school, so during the week we’d write in composition notebooks, journaling notes to each other. Sometimes stories, sometimes diary entries, it changed depending on the week. Then we’d trade on the weekend. I was going through a tough time. So was she. Lots of changes on the home front. Writing stories was an escape.

Over the years, during and after college, through my first job as an intern at CNN during the first Gulf War, then after moving to Los Angeles and started working for studios and networks in production, I just kept writing. Now, after getting my shot to do what I love, I still just keep writing. It’s addictive!

TQAre you a plotter, pantser or hybrid?

Erika:  I would call myself a disenfranchised plotter. LOL! I write an outline, sometimes extremely detailed then about half way through writing the story, the characters throw me for a loop and want to go in a totally different direction. That means having to do more research many times if I’m working with a particular mythology, like in Game of Shadows, but the characters always know best! So, I tend to listen.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Erika:  I tend to prefer to write in first person or close third. A recent challenged for me has been the protagonist’s point of view, meaning which character would be the most interesting to tell the story. In a new project I’m working on, I originally wrote it from one character’s perspective only to realize I was missing out on a much more interesting point of view. A character who at first seems like she should be the antagonist, someone I wanted to hate. But as I kept writing, I realized that she wasn’t the person I thought she was, and as it turns out, she is the voice that I personally think will make everyone else listen. Okay, all that was rather cryptic, I know. Sorry. But the point is that I then had to start over. Through the painful process comes something that is vastly more satisfying for me, and hopefully will be for the reader as well.

TQWhat has influenced/influences your writing? How does your prior work in TV influence (or not) your novel writing?

Erika:  Life experiences tend to influence my writing the most. I would think that’s a common thing. I lived in the U.K and spent a great deal of time in Ireland. I fell in love with the landscape, the warmth of the people, and the rich history. But by the time I started to play around with the idea of writing a story about where those mythical Celtic races and magical druids disappeared to, I was living in Los Angeles. So I wanted to find a way to bring the two things together, so Ethan Makkai is living in Los Angeles when we first meet him in Game of Shadows.

Television has, for good or bad, influenced the pacing of my novels. I love a plot to move. It needs to stand still just long enough to suck me in emotionally, connect me to each and every character, but then keep the train moving. Not that quiet moments can’t keep up a solid pace too! They lull you into a false sense of security, as if nothing bad could happen at least for a few more pages, then bam!

TQDescribe Game of Shadows in 140 characters or less.

Erika:  Haunted and desperate for independence, Ethan Makkai has no idea his gift makes him the most wanted guy on the planet. #RadharcRules

TQTell us something about Game of Shadows that’s not is not found in the book description.

Erika:  The story is told from multiple POVs, not just Ethan’s. Tor Books has been an amazing partner, understanding that, to me, in order for this book to truly show off the distress in Tara, other voices needed to be heard. Ethan races through the different realms in Tara, trying to get to his mother before they kill her. But his story happens simultaneously with Tara itself going on red alert that this villain is back and preparing for onslaught. Not to mention a few chapters from the pathological villain himself.

When I think of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, I found it so satisfying that the story wasn’t just following Frodo, and finding out what happened after he throws the ring into the running lava in Mount Doom. It was truly epic for all of middle-earth!

TQWhat inspired you to write Game of Shadows? What appeals to you about writing fantasy and specifically Celtic Mythology?

Erika:  My time in Ireland inspired Game of Shadows, and a love for young adult stories lead me to Ethan being the entry point into the hidden lands of Tara. Many years after returning home from living abroad, I started researching the different cycles of history in Ireland, and focused in on the Mythological Cycle. I wondered what happened to the ancient races and magical Druids after the gods and goddesses lost the war to humans and vacated? Known as the Tuatha Dé Danann, followers of the mother goddess Danu, they left through the fairy mounds, but there was no mention of what happened to the on the Ravens, Faoladhs, Fomorians, and the others in Game of Shadows. I had a thought…maybe they’re still here…

TQWhat sort of research did you do for Game of Shadows?

Erika:  Oh boy…so much research. Books, online, but also I worked with an incredible Celtic Lecturer at Berkeley. She would read my chapters, and generally laugh at what I’d done with the different legendary races, and help me linguistically with ancient Irish. But I altered the language a bit with the idea that through time all languages change.

TQPlease tells us about the Game of Shadows’ cover art.

Erika:  My editor Elayne Becker at Tor had this idea for the cover, and I just love it. It’s more than meets the eye. Ghosts plague Ethan, yes. He hates it. They make him look insane all the time because he’s not allowed to talk about his gift, or them.

His power called radharc, gives him the ability to see ghosts, but it’s so much more than that. Not to spoil anything but the ghost chasing after Ethan represents more than just a ghost. It’s his nemesis…and his destiny.

TQIn Game of Shadows, who was the easiest character to write, and who was the hardest?

Erika:  Easiest was Lily Niles. I love her. I knew her from the moment she attacked Ethan. She’s a strong female character with a take-no-prisoners attitude. My husband calls me five-feet of fury, a nickname I’ve earned, mainly when I think someone is being wronged. I can’t help myself. If a bully is on the attack, no one should stand by and watch, and typically, I don’t. Lily’s fierce with a sword (wish I was,) but also knows what she wants and goes after it. That includes Ethan.

The hardest character was King Fearghus in Gransmore. He rules the Fomorians. His daughter was murdered, and he blames himself for what happened. Ethan realizes how much his powers are a gift when he’s able to give Fearghus a little relief. I don’t want to spoil too much, but Fearghus is a character that you just want to hug every time he appears, though you won’t feel that way at first!

TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in Game of Shadows?

Erika:  In my humble opinion, social issues are in everything writers’ write, whether we realize it or not. We take inspiration from our lives, cultures, and the times we live in. When I started Game of Shadows, violence in America was and still is a huge issue. Ethan, in seeing ghosts and communicating with the dead, feels the permanent great divide between those who have passed on, and those left behind in the living world. For that reason, he is not someone who easily wields a weapon.

Having grown up in Los Angeles, in what he thought was a fairly safe environment, Ethan never experienced true life or death situations until the day his mother is kidnapped. He’s had jerks at school giving him grief, but never felt like his life was in danger. Much later in the book, in the last act, Ethan trains with someone he looks up to above all others (no spoilers.) A great warrior, a person who has battled for most of his life, he tells Ethan, “No one can beat down an enemy with compassion.” But compassion is a part of who Ethan is at his core. Circumstances do change of course, but it’s up to Ethan in the end how he will react when things turn deadly. As Bran says in the opening prophecy, “For in darkness there is always light, and in the face of death a reason to fight.”

TQWhat question about Game of Shadows do you wish someone would ask?

Erika:  About the incredible artwork inside: I was so lucky to have two very talented comic artists make the Celtic marks of Tara, and the map. Megan Hutchison (http://www.blackem-art.com) created the shield that incorporates the realms individual marks. These are an integral part of the story. When a Tarisian leaves Tara, they must take the shadowwalker’s oath, a promise of secrecy. The pledge’s remnant is a permanent tattoo of the Tarisian’s realm’s mark on the underside of the wrist. Ethan’s family is from Landover, and their mark is the triple spiral. His mother has it as if branded into her flesh on the underside of her wrist. But Ethan wasn’t born in Tara, so does Ethan have it? Well, no spoilers here, right? Here’s a look at the shield of Tara.

Megan took inspiration from ancient Ireland in creating the marks. Fun fact: The triple spiral, Landover’s symbol, is found chiseled into the stones at Newgrange (http://www.knowth.com/newgrange.htm), a more than 5,200 year-old mound in the Boyne Valley in Ireland.

The map of Tara was as important for me as a writer as it is for the reader. I drew a fairly pathetic sketch that Eric Gravel (https://erigrav.carbonmade.com) then turned into what you see in the book. Here’s the colored version!

In writing the long journey for Ethan, Lily and Christian through Tara, I used this map frequently. Being a visual person, I needed to literally see where they were going, and now everyone who reads the book can too!

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Game of Shadows.

Erika:  Non-spoilery, huh? There’s a fair bit about Ethan in the summary of the book, so how about a little introduction to Lily. This quote comes from chapter 5 when they meet for the first time.

“Ethan’s knees strained, gripping the saddle, trying to stay on. Devlin pivoted right, trying to avoid a white horse that suddenly appeared in front of him. Ethan slipped down in the saddle. He didn’t know how much longer he could hold on. Panicked, he looked for help from the rider on the white horse a second before she catapulted onto him, sending him crashing to the ground.”

And one more from Lily’s own mouth.

“You know, your father said he’d confine you to your house for two weeks if he caught you out again.”
Lily glanced sideways at him. “No. He said if he found me on the castle grounds. These are not the castle grounds.”
“You like to live dangerously, don’t you?”
“Always.” She kicked her horse.

And perhaps a little from Ethan’s and Tara’s enemy, Sawney Bean. In this chapter he’s talking to a ghost inside his prison cave. Twisted, she continuously prattles on, pining for her lover, Torin, who betrayed her. Is Bean evil? Oh yes, but with a touch of sarcasm that leaves me wondering what it would be like to hang out with him for a night:

“Have you ever noticed that both ‘love’ and ‘hate are four letter words? On opposite ends of the emotional spectrum, and yet connected at their very core. In order to fully understand hate, one must have felt love. And if love is a noble cause, isn’t hate then just as noble? Harnessing hatred for those who tossed you out and considered you worthless? Is there any more noble cause? And thus by default, isn’t revenge the proper course of action, rather than reconciliation?” He paused his scribbling and turned to face her. “Revenge on Torin should be what you seek, Kiara, and yet, you, even in death, continue to seek love.”

TQWhat’s next?

Erika:  The sequel to Game of Shadows. I’m so excited to dive in. I spent time this summer in Ireland doing a ton of research, and writing the outline. The story grows so much, and Ethan and Lily’s lives move in directions neither they nor I ever saw coming.

On the what’s coming out, this summer my graphic novel, The 49th Key will be released! Also, Jessica Chobot’s (https://twitter.com/JessicaChobot) and my comic series Firebrand will continue to publish chapters on LINE Webtoon (http://www.webtoons.com/en/fantasy/firebrand/list?title_no=877.)

There’s a few other things too in the comic world, but can’t talk about them yet ☺.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery!

Game of Shadows
Tor Books, February 28, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages

A young man plagued by the ability to see ghosts races to save the mythological land of Tara from a terrible fate in Erika Lewis's stunning debut, Game of Shadows.

Thousands of years ago in Ireland, an ancient race fought a world-changing battle—and lost. Their land overrun, the Celtic gods and goddesses fled, while the mythical races and magical druids sailed to an uncharted continent, cloaked so mankind could never find it. This new homeland was named Tara.

In modern day Los Angeles, Ethan Makkai struggles with an overprotective mother who never lets him out of her sight, and a terrifying secret: he can see ghosts. Desperate for a taste of freedom, he leaves his apartment by himself for the first time—only to find his life changed forever. After being attacked by dive-bombing birds, he races home to find the place trashed and his mother gone.

With the help of a captain from Tara who has been secretly watching the Makkais for a long time, Ethan sets out to save his mother; a journey that leads him to the hidden lands, and straight into the arms of a vicious sorcerer who will stop at nothing until he controls Tara.With new-found allies including Christian, the cousin he never knew he had, and Lily, the sword-slinging healer who’d rather fight than mend bones, Ethan travels an arduous road—dodging imprisonment, battling beasts he thought only existed in nightmares, and accepting help from the beings he’s always sought to avoid: ghosts. This L.A. teen must garner strength from his gift and embrace his destiny if he’s going to save his mother, the fearless girl he’s fallen for, and all the people of Tara.

About Erika

Photo by Peter Konerko
ERIKA LEWIS graduated from Vanderbilt University, and went on to earn an Advanced Certificate in Creative Writing from Stony Brook University. She has had a successful career in television production for the past fifteen years, working with Sony (V.I.P, Strong Medicine), with Fireworks Television (La Femme Nikita, Andromeda, Mutant X, Strange Days at Blake Holsey High), with Fox (On Air with Ryan Seacrest, Ambush Makeover) and with G4 (Attack of the Show, X-Play). Erika is the author of The 49th Key, currently running in Heavy Metal Magazine, with the trade out soon, and the recently released Firebrand with Legendary Comics. Game of Shadows is Erika’s debut novel. Find out more at: http://www.erikalewis.com/

Twitter @ErikaElyLewis  ~  Facebook

2017 Debut Author Challenge Update - Lotus Blue by Cat Sparks

The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2017 Debut Author Challenge.

Cat Sparks

Lotus Blue
Talos, March 7, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 388 pages
     Science Fiction, Apocalyptic, Post-Apocalyptic, Genetic Engineering

Powerful war machines of the far-future collide across a barren desert world in this post-apocalyptic debut novel from award-winning Australian author Cat Sparks.

Seventeen-year-old Star and her sister Nene are orphans, part of a thirteen-wagon caravan of nomadic traders living hard lives travelling the Sand Road. Their route cuts through a particularly dangerous and unforgiving section of the Dead Red Heart, a war-ravaged desert landscape plagued by rogue semi-sentient machinery and other monsters from a bygone age.

But when the caravan witnesses a relic-Angel satellite unexpectedly crash to Earth, a chain of events begins that sends Star on a journey far away from the life she once knew. Shanghaied upon the sandship Dogwatch, she is forced to cross the Obsidian Sea by Quarrel, an ancient Templar supersoldier. Eventually shipwrecked, Star will have no choice but to place her trust in both thieves and priestesses while coming to terms with the grim reality of her past—and the horror of her unfolding destiny—as the terrible secret her sister had been desperate to protect her from begins to unravel.

Meanwhile, something old and powerful has woken in the desert. A Lotus Blue, deadliest of all the ancient war machines. A warrior with plans of its own, far more significant than a fallen Angel. Plans that do not include the survival of humanity.

Monday, February 27, 2017

2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - February Winner

The winner of the February 2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars is Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly from Tor Books. The cover art is by Victo Ngai.

Tor Books, February 7, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages

From author Lara Elena Donnelly, a debut spy thriller as a gay double-agent schemes to protect his smuggler lover during the rise of a fascist government coup

Trust no one with anything – especially in Amberlough City.

Covert agent Cyril DePaul thinks he’s good at keeping secrets, especially from Aristide Makricosta. They suit each other: Aristide turns a blind eye to Cyril’s clandestine affairs, and Cyril keeps his lover’s moonlighting job as a smuggler under wraps.

Cyril participates on a mission that leads to disastrous results, leaving smoke from various political fires smoldering throughout the city. Shielding Aristide from the expected fallout isn’t easy, though, for he refuses to let anything – not the crooked city police or the mounting rage from radical conservatives – dictate his life.

Enter streetwise Cordelia Lehane, a top dancer at the Bumble Bee Cabaret and Aristide’s runner, who could be the key to Cyril’s plans—if she can be trusted. As the twinkling lights of nightclub marquees yield to the rising flames of a fascist revolution, these three will struggle to survive using whatever means — and people — necessary. Including each other.

Combining the espionage thrills of le Carré with the allure of an alternate vintage era, Amberlough will thoroughly seduce and enthrall you.

"James Bond by way of Oscar Wilde." —Holly Black

"Sparkling with slang, full of riotous characters, and dripping with intrigue, Amberlough is a dazzling romp through a tumultuous, ravishing world." —Robert Jackson Bennett, winner of the Shirley Jackson Award and the Edgar Award

"An astonishing first novel!" —World Fantasy Award-winning author Ellen Kushner

The Results

The February 2017 Debuts

The View From Monday - February 27, 2017

Happy last Monday in February!

There is one debut this week:

Game of Shadows by Erika Lewis.

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

From formerly featured DAC Authors.

Fields of Fire (Frontlines 5) by Marko Kloos;

The Wheel of Osheim (The Red Queen's War 3) by Mark Lawrence is out in Mass Market Paperback;

Bane and Shadow (The Empire of Storms 2) by Jon Skovron;


Thunderbird (Miriam Black 4) by Chuck Wendig.

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

Debut novels are highlighted in green. Novels, etc. by formerly featured DAC Authors are highlighted in blue.

February 28, 2017
Broken Glass V.C. Andrews PsyTh - The Mirror Sisters Series 2
Planet of the Apes Omnibus 1 Michael Avallone
Jerry Pournelle
SF - Planet of the Apes
Infernal Parade Clive Barker
Bob Eggleton
The Voices of Martyrs Maurice Broaddus SF - Collection
Penric and the Shaman Lois McMaster Bujold F - Penric & Desdemona 2
An Almond for a Parrot Wray Delaney Hist/MR
Avenging Angel Cynthia Eden PNR - Fallen 4
Ring of Fire IV (h2mm) Eric Flint (Ed) AH - The Ring of Fire
Into the Fire Jeaniene Frost PNR - Night Prince 4
Beloved Beast Karyn Gerrard PNR - Ravenswood Chronicles 2
War Without End (tp2mm) Laurie Goulding SF - The Horus Heresy 33
Firestorm: Volume 3: A Dragon Romance (e) Donna Grant PNR - Dark Kings
There Is No Darkness (e) Joe Haldeman
Jack C. Haldeman
The Long Mirage David R. George III SF - Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
The Wrong Dead Guy Richard Kadrey F - Another Coop Heist 2
A Ghostly Mortality Tonya Kappes PM - Ghostly Southern Mysteries 6
Agents of Dreamland Caitlín R. Kiernan DF/H/SF
Dreamcatcher (ri) Stephen King SF
Fields of Fire Marko Kloos SF - Frontlines 5
The Wheel of Osheim (h2mm) Mark Lawrence F - The Red Queen's War 3
Game of Shadows (D) Erika Lewis F/FairyT/FolkT/LM
Worldshaker J.F. Lewis F - The Grudgebearer Trilogy 3
The Queen Is Dead (h2mm) Kate Locke SP - The Immortal Empire 2
The Road Dance John MacKay AH
Wild Cards VI: Ace in the Hole George R. R. Martin (Ed)
Wild Cards Trust
SF - Wild Cards 6
Grim Death and Bill the Electrocuted Criminal Mike Mignola
Thomas E. Sniegoski
Live Echoes (e) Henry V. O'Neil SF - The Sim War 5
Revenger Alastair Reynolds SF/SO
Quantum Night (h2mm) Robert J. Sawyer SF/GenEng/TechTh
Bane and Shadow Jon Skovron F - The Empire of Storms 2
Hunter of Sherwood: Hood Toby Venables HistF - Hunter of Sherwood 3
Thunderbird Chuck Wendig SupTh - Miriam Black 4

March 1, 2017
Free Fall (e) Laura Anne Gilman UF - Retrievers 5
The Unforgettable Wolf (e) Jane Godman PNR
Very Important Corpses Simon R. Green UF/M - An Ishmael Jones Mystery 3
Extracted RR Haywood SF/TT - Extracted Trilogy 1
Rescued by the Wolf (e) Kristal Hollis PNR
We Are Always Watching (Ke) Hunter Shea H
Makeup Man: From Rocky to Star Trek The Amazing Creations of Hollywood's Michael Westmore Michael Westmore
Jake Page

D - Debut
e - eBook
Ed - Editor
h2mm - Hardcover to Mass Market Paperback
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
ri - reissue or reprint
tp2mm - Trade to Mass Market Paperback
Tr - Translator

AH - Alternate History
AP - Apocalyptic
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
Cr - Crime
CW - Contemporary Women
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tales
FL - Family Life
FolkT - Folk Tales
FR - Fantasy Romance
GB - Genre Bender
GenEng - Genetic Engineering
GH - Ghosts
GN - Graphic Novel
Gothic - Gothic
H - Horror
HC - History and Criticism
Hist - Historical
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HU - Humor
LC - Literary Criticism
LF - Literary Fiction
LM - Legends and Mythology
M - Mystery
MR - Magical Realism
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PM - Paranormal Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
Psy - Psychological
PsyTh - Psychological Thriller
R - Romance
SF - Science Fiction
SFR - Science Fiction Romance
SH - Superheroes
SO - Space Opera
SP - Steampunk
Sup - Supernatural
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
TechTh - Technological Thriller
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
UF - Urban Fantasy
VisMeta - Visionary and Metaphysical
Z - Zombies

Note: Not all genres and formats are found in the books, etc. listed above.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Melanie's Week in Review - February 26, 2017

Hello! I hope you have had a good week. I was in a funk in the earlier part of the week. Unlike a number of my friends I am still reading the news and boy, it is depressing. Between Brexit and other things the news is as gloomy as the weather. I tried to get interested in my TBR but I just couldn't do it so I had a little spree on NetGalley and Amazon. By the time my spree was over it was already Wednesday before I started to read a book I hadn't read several times already (anything by Ilona Andrews is my 'go to' when I am feeling blue). Lucky for you and for me my choice of book was a cracker. So what did I read?

While I feel like I should apologise for only reading 1 book I find that I can't. Why you may ask? It's simple. Clovenhoof was fantastic. Fantastic and hilarious.

You may remember when I discovered Heide Goody and Iain Grant's Oddjobs and thought it was super funny? Well it doesn't hold a funny candle to Clovenhoof. Fired from his job as the Prince of Hell, Satan is cast down to earth to live as a human in the sleepy suburbs of Birmingham. Forced to integrate into society Jeremy Clovenhoof tries his best to act normal while hating every minute of it. Along for the ride are his neighours Nerys and Ben who try but fail miserably to keep Jeremy on the straight and narrow. Jeremy misses his old life and wishes the saying 'hell on earth' was actually true.

Clovenhoof is one of the funniest books I have ever read. Even the 'hubinator' who will barely smirk at the funniest books admitted to openly guffawing on public transportation (is that gol'ing?) I however, was lol'ing all the way through. Goody and Grant have obviously worked in the public sector as the scenes where Jeremy fails to meet his targets and participates in brain storming sessions to come up with a vision and mission statement were not only funny but true to life.

There are soo many funny lines and even funnier circumstances that Jeremy finds himself in I could end up quoting half the book. Clovenhoof is not just laughs as there is a story behind all the japes which you don't discover until the final chapters. If you want to be entertained then this is the book for you. I am already excited about book 2. Clovenhoof is already on my list for my fave book read in 2017.

Clovenhoof 1
Pigeon Park Press, July 2015
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 396 pages

Charged with gross incompetence, Satan is fired from his job as Prince of Hell and exiled to that most terrible of places: English suburbia. Forced to live as a human under the name of Jeremy Clovenhoof, the dark lord not only has to contend with the fact that no one recognises him or gives him the credit he deserves but also has to put up with the bookish wargamer next door and the voracious man-eater upstairs. Heaven, Hell and the city of Birmingham collide in a story that features murder, heavy metal, cannibalism, armed robbers, devious old ladies, Satanists who live with their mums, gentlemen of limited stature, dead vicars, petty archangels, flamethrowers, sex dolls, a blood-soaked school assembly and way too much alcohol. Clovenhoof is outrageous and irreverent (and laugh out loud funny!) but it is also filled with huge warmth and humanity. Written by first-time collaborators Heide Goody and Iain Grant, Clovenhoof will have you rooting for the bad guy like never before.

Curse Words' Paolo Rivera Cover Revealed

Press Release


Image Comics is pleased to reveal CURSE WORDS #3’s Paolo Rivera cover in time to tease the legions of fans hooked on Charles Soule and Ryan Browne’s hot new series. CURSE WORDS #1 and #2 will also be rushed back to print in order to keep up with the rapidly growing audience.

From Charles Soule (Daredevil, Death of Wolverine, Star Wars) and Ryan Browne (GOD HATES ASTRONAUTS), CURSE WORDS is COMING FOR YOU! A wizard has appeared in New York City, and he's casting wonderful spells, getting famous, getting rich—it's great! But it's not. This wizard has everyone fooled. He is actually an EVIL WIZARD, and EVIL THINGS are on the way. CURSE WORDS is a gonzo modern fantasy, full of darkness, light...and MAGIC.

CURSE WORDS #1 and #2 remain available for purchase across all digital platforms, including the Image Comics website (imagecomics.com), the official Image Comics iOS app, Comixology’s website (comixology.com), iOS, Android, and Google Play.

CURSE WORDS #1, 3rd printing (Diamond code: JAN178370), CURSE WORDS #2, 2nd printing (Diamond code: JAN178371), CURSE WORDS #3 Cover A by Browne (Diamond code: JAN170724) and CURSE WORDS #3 Cover B by Rivera (Diamond code: JAN170725) will be available on Wednesday, March 22nd. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, February 27th.

Image Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 1992 by a collective of best-selling artists. Image has since gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. Image currently has five partners: Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri and Jim Valentino. It consists of five major houses: Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline, Skybound and Image Central. Image publishes comics and graphic novels in nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable. It offers science fiction, fantasy, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. For more information, visit www.imagecomics.com.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Guest Blog by James Walley

Please welcome James Walley to The Qwillery. The Fathom Flies Again, Wink 2, is out now from Ragnarok Publications.

At the weekend, I threw caution to the wind and booked a vacation for later on in the year. The world is a sombre and fragile place at the moment, so I figured that could be tempered by the prospect of incoming shenanigans in the not-too-distant. My destination? Well, that much was set in stone from the moment I stepped off the plane back in Blighty last September, after a week in Orlando. Some more of that, please.

Spending a magical seven days with my other half, scampering around Universal Studios like excited children is something that left an indelible stamp on me. Some people love sun holidays, sand holidays, sangria holidays. Truth be told, I am fairly partial to all of the above, but what I got under the baking Florida sun this September past eclipsed all of that. Fun, and ultimate escapism. As a writer, I spend most of my time creating places to escape to, unlikely, larger than life vistas in which to lose myself even as I build them. This, however, was an opportunity to play in someone else’s sandbox, and they had left all of their toys out for me.

For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, the two theme parks hold everything from superheroes to wizards, giant robots to dinosaurs, and all so immersive that you catch yourself grinning every other minute, as something else that until now only resided in your mind, in a book, or a silver screen walks up and gives you a high five (No mean feat for a T-Rex). This was what I strive to achieve with the words I put into sentences, something so immersive and joyous, that people would want to explore these realms too, if only in their minds. Obviously this wouldn’t work in some genres, or so I thought until the sun went down.

You see, we chose to visit Universal in September, because that is when the nasties come out to play, after the kiddies have been ushered off home, and the attractions are much more likely to eat you. Halloween Horror Nights, they call it, and it put me in my place with regard to exactly how far escapism can take you.

Sure, I’ve harboured secret fantasies about loading up my boomstick and striding out into the zombie apocalypse to have some good old fashioned hijinks with the undead, who hasn’t? What lay in wait for us as we crept back around a transformed amusement park however, was so much more. Exorcists, serial killers, boogeymen, ghosts, banshees and demonic gingerbread men (Yes, that’s a thing) were around every corner, waiting to scare the snot out of anyone who had been brave enough to stick around.

And it was flipping incredible.

Again, meticulously created and flawlessly executed - We were actually there, being chased, lunged at, generally ooga-booga’d to ‘shriek like a pre-schooler’ levels. I don’t think anyone heard me though.

I don’t know why I was so surprised, having grown up on a diet of horror fiction and being utterly exhilarated by it. People love to be scared, as much as they love to be wonder struck or delighted, even if it is in an environment where you know you’re not really going to be possessed, gutted or otherwise horribly dispatched.

I put a little more of a creepy element into The Fathom Flies Again for that very reason. Even if it does stand beside silliness and folly, it serves as a reminder that we love to be given a poke in the feels, whether they’re comfortable or not so comfortable.

Last September, I’d never felt so connected to the things that I had until then only imagined, and it gave me motivation to go deeper down the rabbit hole, paint on a bigger canvas, and yes, use some darker colours where needed. Perhaps that will have a knock on effect in the, as yet untitled third instalment of the Wink trilogy, which I am working on at the moment. Maybe a second trip this coming September will serve to further stoke the creative fires.

At least then I can pass off charging around like a squealing kid on a sugar high as “Research”.

The Fathom Flies Again
Wink 2
Ragnarok Publications, February 1, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 286 pages

It's time to wake up and smell the carnage. Just as every night gives way to dawn, all dreams yield to the break of day. For Marty, that's kind of a problem. When you've fought killer clowns, sailed the seven skies, and generally laid waste to your own dreamspace, real life can be kind of a drag. At least, until your nightmares crawl through the cracks and shadows, and take a liking to your town.

When the jesters come a knocking, it's time to man up. When the unmentionables under your bed come a biting, it's time to grab your trusty, pint-sized pirate compadre and lead a charge against the night terrors.

What does this mean for Marty? It means the crew of The Flying Fathom are back, surfing on rainbows, swashing their buckles, and saving the world, one sleepy little town at a time.

Book one of this series, The Forty First Wink brought you a glimpse of utter, rum-swilling madness. Now& The Fathom Flies Again, pushing you over the edge and chuckling at your plummeting screams, before scuttling off to find something shiny to steal.

Remember, if you hear something under your bed, don't move. Don't make a sound. Draw your cutlass and think of something devilishly witty to shout, because things, my friend, are about to get all too real.


The Forty First Wink
Wink 1
Ragnarok Publications, June 16, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 214 pages

Marty is having a bad morning. Roused from slumber by a gang of polo mallet-wielding monkeys and a mysterious voice in his wardrobe, he must quickly come to terms with the fact that the world outside his door is now the world inside his head. Lying in wait amidst bleak, gloomy streets, deserted theme parks, and circus-themed nightclubs, lurks the oppressive shadow of a myriad of giggling, cackling pursuers, hell bent on throwing a custard pie or two into the works.

Assisted by a string of half-cocked schemes, a troupe of tiny unlikely allies, and (literally) the girl of his dreams, Marty sets out on a heroic quest to wake up and get out of bed.

Early reviews have compared it to Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams. Equal parts epic, funny and dark, The Forty First Wink plummets headlong into the realms of askew reality, adding elements of the macabre, and squeezing in an unlikely love story for good measure. It will take you on a journey where not even the sky is the limit, and literally anything could be around the next corner. The question is, do you have the guts (and the sanity) to find out?

About James

Hailing from the mystical isle of Great Britain, James Walley is an author who prefers his reality banana shaped.

His debut novel, The Forty First Wink, released through Ragnarok Publications in 2014 scuttles gleefully into this bracket, with a blend of humour, fantasy and the unusual.

A clutch of follow up work, both short and long (including books two and three in the Wink trilogy) are in the offing, and have a similar demented flavour.

When not writing, James is partial to a spot of singing, the odd horror movie or ten, and is a circus trained juggler.

Facebook  ~  Twitter @JamesWalley74  ~ Goodreads

Image Comics' The Few Rushed Back to Print

Press Release

Issues #1 and #2 get a third and second printing

Image Comics is pleased to announce that the first and second issues of the dystopian hit series THE FEW, written by Sean Lewis and drawn by Hayden Sherman, are being rushed back to print in order to keep up with customer demand.

Nothing is as it seems in this dystopian future, and everything is at risk. Two survivalist brothers, caught up in the fight for what’s left of America, stumble upon an injured woman in the woods, holding nothing but a gun and a baby wearing a gas mask. As their pasts—and their secrets—begin to come to light, it’s clear that their futures are muddier than ever.

THE FEW remains available for purchase across all digital platforms, including the Image Comics website (imagecomics.com), the official Image Comics iOS app, Comixology’s website (comixology.com), iOS, Android, and Google Play.

THE FEW #1, 3rd printing (Diamond code: JAN178372), THE FEW #2, 2nd printing (Diamond code: JAN178373), and THE FEW #3 (Diamond code: JAN170730) will be available on Wednesday, March 22nd. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, February 27th.

Select praise for THE FEW:

“THE FEW is a gripping post-apocalyptic tale with dynamite artwork to match.”

“THE FEW brings together Cuaron and Carpenter—Children of Men meets Escape
from New York with amazing grit and visual sensibility. The best type of dystopian
brainchild only comics can offer, in the tradition of Tank Girl and Ezquerra's Dredd.”
—Steve Orlando (VIRGIL, Supergirl, Midnighter)

“A wonderfully written story, accompanied by brutally beautiful imagery and shocking
twists.” —Comics Verse

“Loved it! It was really cool, great pacing, interesting storytelling, tight dialogue. A great
blend of Mad Max, Lone Wolf and Cub, and Popbot."
—Riley Rossmo (RASPUTIN)

Image Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 1992 by a collective of best-selling artists. Image has since gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. Image currently has five partners: Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri and Jim Valentino. It consists of five major houses: Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline, Skybound and Image Central. Image publishes comics and graphic novels in nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable. It offers science fiction, fantasy, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. For more information, visit www.imagecomics.com.

Kodansha Comics's Newest Digital Mangas

Press Release

Kodansha Comics’s newest simulpub APOSIMZ, science-fiction manga
master Tsutomu Nihei’s follow-up to Knights of Sidonia, debuts
February 24th on Kindle and comiXology

More: new digital shojo manga series House of the Sun, Peach Heaven, and
The Full-Time Wife Escapist will hit February 28th

San Francisco, Calif. (February 23, 2017)—Kodansha Comics’s newest digital simulpub manga to debut on Kindle and comiXology is APOSIMZ, science-fiction manga master Tsutomu Nihei’s follow-up to his cult hit Knights of Sidonia (which was adapted into a Netflix Original series). Nihei is also the creator of the manga classic (and recently reissued) BLAME!

The first chapter of APOSIMZ will be available on February 24th as a digital edition only on comiXology and Kindle. New chapters will follow on the 24th of every month thereafter (the same day they appear in Japan). Chapters will be priced at $1.99 each.

With APOSIMZ, Nihei takes us into at-once familiar and disorienting territory: a towering “City” built upon the ruins of a mysterious device from the distant past, a “Country of Dolls” of people afflicted with a disease that slowly turns them into machines. A prologue chapter from APOSIMZ was previously available only through Tsutomu Nihei’s limited-time Humble Bundle offering, but can now be read at kodanshacomics.com.

Also, adding to Kodansha Comics’s digital manga ramp-up for 2017, a trio of highly anticipated shojo manga will make their debuts on February 28th.

House of the Sun (Taiyo no ie, in Japanese) is Taamo’s moving account of a young woman who reconnects with a childhood friend as she puts together the pieces of her life following her parents’ broken marriage.

Peach Heaven is a racy tale from Mari Hoshino, detailing the life of an ordinary high-school teenager with a secret identity as … an erotic novelist! What happens when the new transfer student/male supermodel discovers her secret?

Finally, The Full-Time Wife Escapist (aka Nigeru wa haji da ga yaku ni tatsu) brings us Tsunami Umino’s romantic comedy that was recently adapted into a hit Japanese television drama. Mikuri is a recent grad without a whole lot of job prospects, so out of desperation when her housekeeping gig is about to come to an end, she comes up with the idea of becoming the wife of her single salaryman boss—as a job!

Kodansha Comics has been steadily bringing out new manga series in digital format since the start of 2017. More announcements of upcoming titles for the spring will be made at the Kodansha Comics panel at Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle on March 4. The announcements will be made the same day on kodanshacomics.com.

Volume 1s of House of the Sun, Peach Heaven, and The Full-Time Wife Escapist are available for preorder across all Kodansha Comics digital book channels: BookWalker, comiXology, Google Play, iBooks, Kindle, Kobo, and nook.

More information and Chapter 1 previews of the aforementioned series can be found at kodanshacomics.com.

About Tsutomu Nihei

Born in 1971 in Japan's Fukushima Prefecture, Tsutomu Nihei has been drawing comics professionally since the mid 1990s. In 1995 he was awarded the Jiro Taniguchi Special Prize in that year's Afternoon Magazine Four Seasons Awards for his submission, Blame. After working as an assistant to veteran comic artist Tsutomu Takahashi, Nihei went on to launch his debut series BLAME! in Afternoon Magazine in 1998. Following the success of BLAME! he next penned BioMega (published in English by Viz Media) and Wolverine SNIKT (Marvel). In 2009 Nihei returned to Afternoon to launch his most recent series, Knights of Sidonia. In 2015 he won the Kodansha Manga Award in the General Comics category for his work on Knights of Sidonia.

About Kodansha

Founded in 1909, Kodansha Ltd. is Japan’s leading publishing house, based in Tokyo, Japan. Under the leadership of Yoshinobu Noma, company president since 2011, Kodansha continues to play a dominant role in the media world, producing books and magazines in a wide variety of genres including literature, fiction, nonfiction, children’s, business, lifestyle, art, manga, fashion, and journalism. Recently, the company has focused on creating and developing a wide range of digital businesses. Company profile can be viewed here.

Kodansha Comics is the manga-publishing imprint of Kodansha USA Publishing (KUP), established in New York in 2008. Kodansha Comics’s first works were Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira and Shirow Masamune’s The Ghost in the Shell. Kodansha Advanced Media is a digital-content distributor and producer established in San Francisco in 2015. More at http://www.kodanshacomics.com

Friday, February 24, 2017

Interview with Jake Bible

Please welcome Jake Bible to The Qwillery! Stone Cold Bastards is published on February 24th by Bell Bridge Books. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Jake a Happy Publication Day!

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

Jake:  I started writing when I was young, way back in elementary school. I was lucky enough to go to a school where we were required to not only write a short book, but to illustrate and bind it. I pretty much ripped off other ideas like the old Dungeons & Dragons cartoon, Bunnicula, Mercer Mayer stories. I've always had a seriously overactive imagination. I continued writing up through and after high school, but let it fall away as life got busy and I got tired of the old way of mailing in stories to markets and publishers. The internet changed all of that and when I could start submitting via email. So I decided to give it a go again. That was back in 2007 and I've been writing my butt off since.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Jake:  I'm whatever it takes to get the novel written the way it needs to be written. The last novel I wrote I didn't even jot down a note until the final chapter. Then I outlined that chapter so I could tie up the story. I've outlined entire books and followed the outline, I've outlined entire books and never once looked at the outline, I've done it every way possible. It really all depends on how well-formed the story is in my head when I start writing.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing? Has your writing process changed over the years?

Jake:  After 40 plus novels, the most challenging part of writing is to not be derivative. I have certain themes and archetypes that I steer towards when I write a novel, but I try to make each story's characters new and fresh. It isn't easy. As for my writing process, I haven't changed much over the years. My mind is hyperactive, so when the story is flowing, I let it flow. When it isn't flowing, I back off and do something– clean the house, run errands, watch Netflix, read, cook. But I pretty much have always had the same process of slow start, super fast finish. So far it works for me.

TQDescribe Stone Cold Bastards in 140 characters or less.

Jake:  A rag-tag team of gargoyles come to life must save the last of humanity from extinction before the demon-possessed hordes destroy the world.

TQTell us something about Stone Cold Bastards that is not found in the book description.

Jake:  One of the themes of the book is being the reluctant hero. Most of the gargoyles actually have a lot of contempt for the humans they are protecting. They understand that humanity needs to be saved, but if it wasn't for the magic that compels them, they may not exactly put their all into it. Overcoming that contempt is part of the hero's journey for many of the gargoyles. It was great playing with that dynamic.

TQWhat inspired you to write Stone Cold Bastards? Why gargoyles?

Jake:  I came up with the name first. Stone Cold Bastards just popped into my head and I went, "Huh? What kind of story is this?" Then I realized that there are billion vampire, werewolf, zombie, and ghost stories out there, but other than a couple paranormal romances here and there, gargoyles have been pretty much neglected. Plus, gargoyles are made of stone and I knew they could just whomp the crap out of their enemies. I wanted to write a novel with some crap-whomping heroes that just kicked ass.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for Stone Cold Bastards?

Jake:  Oh, man, I learned something huge! Did you know that what we generically call gargoyles are actually grotesques? That's where we get the word "grotesque" from! Gargoyles are waterspouts that usually are set at the corners of buildings whereas grotesques are any carved faces or carved statues that adorn a building. The stereotypical winged and fanged creature we all think of as a gargoyle is technically a grotesque. I thought that was way cool.

TQIn Stone Cold Bastards who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Jake:  The easiest character to write was by far Mordecai (Morty). He's the cigar-chomping, lead grotesque that acts all tough and gruff, but has a sweet spot for a few of the wards (humans) he and the other grotesques have to protect. Writing him came easy. I had a few hard characters to write, mainly the humans. Switching my brain from grotesque/gargoyle think and back to human think was not easy. I enjoyed being in Morty's head so much that when I went to write a human character I almost had a disdain for them. They were weak and soft and could get crushed so easily. They sucked. I had to work at making the humans likable and worth saving! It's kind of funny.

TQWhich question about Stone Cold Bastards do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Jake:  What type of novel is it? The genre is technically Contemporary Fantasy, but I think that classification (as many classifications do) misses the spirit of the novel. This is a dark, magical, post-apocalyptic, action adventure that I have tried to make as fun and entertaining as possible. It's a contradiction. I was inspired by those old war movies like The Dirty Dozen and Kelly's Heroes. The ones where the misfits are the heroes and you know most of them are probably not going to make it. Lots of jokes and sarcasm from the characters that helps mask the gravity of their situation. They know the odds are against them, but damn if they aren't gonna have a great time kicking ass and taking names along the way!

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Stone Cold Bastards.

Jake:  One of my favorites is from Morty. “Guys, I have a big day ahead of me, so if we could avoid the one-on-one attacks, that would be great." Morty is facing several hundred demon-possessed "vessels" as they are called and he could care less about the numbers. He just wants to get the fight going and be done with it. One big, huge, violent brawl is what he prefers. I love it.

TQ:   What's next?

Jake:  Oh, wow, I have a lot coming up. I'm currently writing an urban fantasy for Bell Bridge Books called Black Box, Inc. It's like The Transporter meets Dresden Files. It's turning out to be a lot of fun to write. I also publish with Severed Press and have been releasing a lot of military scifi and space opera with them. What I'm looking forward to is tackling a new genre for Severed Press: LitRPG. Basically its when the protagonist is somehow transported/sucked into/merged with a role playing game/video game/online game and they literally have to play by the rules of the game in order to survive. Ready Player One is a good example, but true LitRPG goes even deeper than that. It's going to be cool to explore something new.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Jake:  Thanks for having me!

Stone Cold Bastards
Bell Bridge Books, February 24, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 218 pages

Only a rag-tag team of gargoyles stands between humanity and extinction.

Hell has released its ravening horde of demons, leaving most of humanity a puke-spewing, head-spinning mess of possession.

Humanity’s last hope? A team of misfit gargoyles—including a cigar chomping, hard-ass grotesque—come alive and ready for battle during the End of Days. They guard the last cathedral-turned-sanctuary atop a bald knoll in the North Carolina mountains.

Gargoyle protection grudgingly extends to any human who can make it inside the sanctuary, but the power of the stonecutter blood magic, which protects the sanctuary, may not be enough when a rogue grotesque and his badly-wounded ward arrive.

All the hounds of hell are on their heels. The last sanctuary is about to fall.

About Jake

Jake Bible, Bram Stoker Award nominated-novelist and author of the bestselling Z-Burbia series, short story writer, independent screenwriter, podcaster, and inventor of the Drabble Novel, has entertained thousands with his horror and sci/fi tales. He reaches audiences of all ages with his uncanny ability to write a wide range of characters and genres. Other series by Jake Bible: the bestselling Salvage Merc One, the Apex Trilogy, the Mega series, and the Reign of Four series. Jake lives in the wonderfully weird Ashville, North Carolina. Connect with Jake on Facebook, Twitter, and his website: jakebible.com