Monday, December 31, 2018

Interview with Adam Nemett, author of We Can Save Us All

I can't think of a better way to end 2018 than with a Debut Author Challenge Interview! Please welcome Adam Nemett to The Qwillery. We Can Save Us All was published in November by The Unnamed Press.

TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first piece you remember writing?

Adam:  My father used to bring me along to art museums (he’s a painter and professor at Maryland Institute College of Art) and I remember writing bad, earnest poems about different works of art when I was about seven or eight. Early ekphrastic experiments.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Adam:  Probably a hybrid. I have a sense of the structure, but especially since this book deals with the nature of time, I spent many years moving around chapters and scenes into nonlinear arrangements. I have a sense of where the narrative is going but I try not to plot everything out and allow the story to steer itself in unexpected directions.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Adam:  The most challenging this is finding the time—I have a fulltime career at History Factory ( writing books and other content for Fortune 500 companies, I help run a music education nonprofit, and above all I enjoy being a husband and a father of two kids. So figuring out how to carve out the time in odd hours isn’t easy.

TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Adam:  Everything, I guess? My life, the stories I hear and details I steal from others, the books I read and movies/TV I see, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, the news, history, the current state of our world.

TQDescribe We Can Save Us All using only 5 words.

Adam:  Student superheroes start a revolution

TQTell us something about We Can Save Us All that is not found in the book description.

Adam:  It took about 12 years to get it written, revised and published.

TQWhat inspired you to write We Can Save Us All?

Adam:  Again, too many things to list, but I went to college during a particularly transitional time—from 1999 to 2003—which spanned Columbine, the Bush/Gore election, September 11th, and the war that followed—so I think some of this book was inspired by an increasingly uncertain world and how one group of students might respond to it.

This is far from an exhaustive list, but here are a few books that were influential:

White Noise by Don DeLillo
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
A Paradise Built in Hell by Rebecca Solnit
Witness to the Revolution by Clara Bingham
Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman
The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
All the Sad Young Literary Men by Keith Gessen
The Gospel of Anarchy by Justin Taylor
The Girls by Emma Cline
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Walden by Henry David Thoreau
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

TQWhat sort of research did you do for We Can Save Us All?

Adam:  More than I can recount, but I read all kinds of fiction and nonfiction, studied cults and communes, and studied both the practical and overblown versions of doomsday prepping, along with plenty of research into superheroes—mythical, fictional and “real.”

TQPlease tell us about the cover for We Can Save Us All.

Adam:  The beautiful cover, designed by Jaya Nicely at The Unnamed Press, is more impressionistic, but I guess you could make an argument that the small white bits symbolize pills, a blizzard, or rice kernels…

TQIn We Can Save Us All who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Adam:  I’m not sure that any of the characters were particularly “easy” or “hard,” but David was the probably the closest character to my own personality (with some major exceptions). I think there was a period when I was especially conscious that with the characters that were farther away from my lived experience—the non-white, non-male characters—I had more of a responsibility to write them in realistic, complicated ways, and not fall into tropes or stereotypes, but these characters all took on lives of their own pretty swiftly and I tried to not police myself and let the characters do their thing.

TQDoes We Can Save Us All touch on any social issues?

Adam:  The book deals with, among other things, class privilege, climate change, spirituality/mutual aid societies vs. cults/authoritarianism, the value of liberal arts education vs. knowledge of trade skills, polyamorous relationships, hero worship, and sexual assault. On that last issue, I had no idea the book would be published during the #MeToo movement and while a trigger warning is warranted, I believe the assault that occurs in the book is confronted in a substantial and significant way.

TQWhich question about We Can Save Us All do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!


Q: How hard was it to write and publish this book as a working father? How do you balance your home/family life and work life?

A: It’s hard! Both my wife and I are committed parents, and we both have fulltime careers, and we both have personal/creative projects that we pursue. It’s tough to juggle—between those three major roles and between what each of us needs to prioritize at a given time—but we’re making it work. I do my best, write in odd hours and when the kids are asleep, and try to be present when they’re awake, realizing that a huge part of writing is about observing and considering life from unexpected angles, and the earnest innocence with which children approach the world is a great teaching tool for this.

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from We Can Save Us All.


On the protagonist’s lack of knowledge about comic books:
“My relationship to superheroes is mystical, not fundamentalist.”

On fireworks exploding:
“David found it fascinating to watch this refuse, these ashes, and wondered if this was the reality of the Big Bang: trillions of years ago, all that far-flung carbon was merely a worthless by-product of an infinitely pretty explosion; now, they were all merely star farts.”

TQWhat's next?

Adam:  I don’t feel like the We Can Save Us All work is over just yet. I maybe had the naïve misconception that once the book was published everything was out of my hands, but my publisher (The Unnamed Press) has been a terrific partner and helped me see that there’s a lot I can be doing to help my novel be successful and reach a wider audience—being available for press and participating in interviews, writing personal essays, being active on social media, keeping my website current, reading colleagues books, planning and attending book events, etc. Some of this is orchestrated by my publisher and some of it is really proactive stuff that I’m working on and almost all of it is a collaboration between myself, my publisher and my agent. That work will continue early next year when I do more touring on the West Coast (feel free to keep track at, but once this phase is in the rearview I have some ideas for the next book(s)—children’s books, and two ideas for novels—and would be interested in certain ancillary offshoots for We Can Save Us All, such as a graphic novel or film adaptation.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Adam:  Thank YOU! And thanks for supporting debut novels!

We Can Save Us All
The Unnamed Press, November 13, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 363 pages

"Nemett's wondrously fresh novel positively bursts with charm, heart, and invention." ―Booklist, Starred Review

Welcome to The Egg, an off-campus geodesic dome where David Fuffman and his crew of alienated Princeton students train for what might be the end of days: America is in a perpetual state of war, climate disasters create a global state of emergency, and scientists believe time itself may be collapsing.

Funded by the charismatic Mathias Blue and fueled by performance enhancers and psychedelic drugs, a student revolution incubates at The Egg, inspired by the superheroes that dominate American culture. The arrival of Haley Roth―an impassioned heroine with a dark secret―propels David and Mathias to expand their movement across college campuses nationwide, inspiring a cult-like following. As the final superstorm arrives, they toe the line between good and evil, deliverance and demagogues, the damned and the saved.

In this sprawling, ambitious debut, Adam Nemett delves into contemporary life in all of its chaos and unknowing. We Can Save Us All is a brave, ribald, and multi-layered examination of what may be the fundamental question of our time: just who is responsible for fixing all of this?

About Adam

Adam Nemett graduated from Princeton University and received his MFA in Fiction/Screenwriting from California College of the Arts. He serves as creative director and author for The History Factory, where he's written award-winning nonfiction books for Lockheed Martin, Brooks Brothers, City of Hope Medical Center, and Huntington Bank, and directed campaigns for 21st Century Fox, Adobe Systems, HarperCollins, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, New Balance, Pfizer and Whirlpool. An excerpt of his debut novel, WE CAN SAVE US ALL, was anthologized in The Apocalypse Reader.

He is the writer/director of the feature film, The Instrument (2005), which LA Weekly described as, "damn near unclassifiable." At Princeton Nemett co-founded MIMA Music Inc., a student organization that grew into an educational 501(c)3 nonprofit that has operated in 40 countries worldwide. Adam's work has been published, reviewed and featured in Variety, LA Weekly, The New Yorker, Washington Post,, The Brooklyn Rail, Cville Niche, C-Ville Weekly and Cornel West's memoir Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud.

He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with his wife and two kids.

Website  ~  Twitter @NemoAuthor  ~  Instagram

Saturday, December 29, 2018

SPFBO 4 - Our Finalist

Our five semi-finalists all looked good in the initial slush pile read. Full reads of the five novels pushed 2 to the very top of the list and the choice between them was extraordinarily difficult. What it came down to in the end was a couple of little things. For our Finalist nothing jarred me while reading the novel. I made no notes about something being out of place, etc.

Our finalist has wonderfully flawed characters, exceptional pacing, and a well-developed world history that is comprehensible. There is great action and adventure. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel from start to finish. It was and remained my front runner from when I read the first part of the novel to see which novels would become semi-finalists.

Congratulations to author Mike Shel, author of Aching God!

Aching God
Iconoclasts 1
Trade Paperback, eBook, Audible

“Closer, mortal. You are here, finally, to feed the Aching God…”

The days of adventure are passed for Auric Manteo. Retired to the countryside and isolated with his scars and riches, he no longer delves into forbidden ruins seeking dark wisdom and treasure. But just as old nightmares begin plaguing his sleep, he receives an urgent summons back to that old life.

To save his only daughter, he must return to the place of his greatest trauma: the haunted Barrowlands. Along with a group of inexperienced companions and an old soldier, he must confront the dangers of the ancient and wicked Djao civilization. He has survived fell beasts, insidious traps, and deadly hazards before. But how can he contend with the malice of a bloodthirsty living god?

First volume in the planned epic fantasy trilogy Iconoclasts, Aching God is the debut novel by RPG adventure designer Mike Shel.

Also included is an advanced preview of Iconoclasts - Book II: Sin Eater.

Some additional thoughts

The main character, Auric Mantea, a former agent of the Syraeic League, had retired after a particularly harrowing mission during which his co-agents were horribly killed. This mission haunts him. He is called back to the League to undertake a dangerous mission when a plague hits  Boudun, the Capital of the Kingdom of Hanifax. This mission will bring up everything that was wrong about the mission that made him retire, but is worse in many ways. Auric is emotionally damaged. He doubts his abilities. After all he feels that he failed his prior team. Shel deals with Auric's emotional issues extremely well - how they affect him, his abilities, and interactions with team members, and more.

Shel does not skimp of the characterization of the team that Auric leads. They are each well-developed - each with their own emotional baggage and needed special skills. Together with this new team Auric undertakes the mission into the Barrowlands that everyone is hopeful will end the plague. The journey the team takes to reach their eventual goal is fraught with perils, fascinating encounters, and adventure on sea and on land.

There are plenty of nerve-wracking fights in Aching God. Shel ratchets up the tension more than once. There is blood, gore, magic, and death. The world-building is extremely well done. The politics, religious belief systems, and history that are the underpinnings of the world and story are clear without overwhelming the story.

Aching God is a fabulous novel. It is a deeply immersive, exciting, and a dark delight. We give it a 9.5.

Note: The novel has several maps and 2 Appendices: Appendix A - Cast of Characters and Appendix B - Places, Creatures, Organizations, Gods, Saints, etc.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Interview with Clay Sanger, author of Endsville

Please welcome Clay Sanger to The Qwillery as part of the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Endsville was published on December 25, 2018 by Crossroad Press.

TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first piece you remember writing?

Clay:  I think I was about 12 or 13 when I started writing Forgotten Realms fan-fic short stories that had an actual beginning, middle, and end. I wrote a pretty fair number of those, actually. Long before I ever found out that wasn't how publishing in shared worlds or other people's IP's works. Which was kind of a bummer when I did figure that out.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Clay:  Hybrid. Early development is plotting – a haphazard constellation of Word document fragments, sticky notes, and text messages to myself. Then I sit down to write it and accept that no plot completely survives first contact with the enemy and let the story take me where it decides we need to go. Then I pants it and try to keep up. So, hybrid-cat-herder, I suppose.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Clay:  My attention deficit when it comes to what project I'm going to work on now/next. My brain is buried under an avalanche of stories I'd like to get written – more than I will ever live long enough to actually write. Don’t get me wrong, it's not a bad problem to have, but grabbing hold of one out of the all the swirling debris and sticking with it to the end requires constant conscious effort.

TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Clay:  The creative influences are huge, not even sure where I'd start drilling down into those. But it was when I read The Crystal Shard by R.A. Salvatore that I first asked myself, "I wonder if I could do this? I wonder if I could write stories?" I was a kid, but I remember that. Very vividly. Everything else sort of flows from that moment. Music influences my writing tremendously. Different music for different projects. And I suppose it was Stephen King that gave a teenage-me the idea I could write anything I damn well pleased.

TQDescribe Endsville using only 5 words.

Clay:  Ruthless occult gangsters for hire.

TQTell us something about Endsville that is not found in the book description.

Clay:  Fundamentally, it's a story about a family. A toxic, brutal, terminally dysfunctional one, but a family nonetheless.

TQWhat inspired you to write Endsville? Why did you set the novel in Los Angeles?

Clay:  I love crime stories, and I love occult horror and dark fantasy. I got fixated on the idea that they would blend together nicely, and the rest is history. I originally started delving into the mythos of this world by following the story of the "good guys" – but I quickly fell in love with the "bad guys" and realized I wanted to tell the story from their perspective instead. As to why I set the novel in Los Angeles: I lived in Southern California back in the mid-'90s, and L.A. and the Southern California desert is just a playground of the wonderful and the bizarre. Once I started putting the first snippets of the Outlaw Arcana mythos on paper, I couldn't see it any other way but as an L.A. crime story. With teeth. Literally.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for Endsville?

Clay:  My bookshelves started filling up with books on secret societies, occult practices, myths, legends, Paganism, and bizarre cults. Pretty sure my Amazon order history looks like the last desperate shopping list of a madman. I also spent a lot of time researching L.A. gangland and Southern California crime dynasties – the good guys, the bad guys, and everything in between.

TQPlease tell us about the cover for Endsville.

Clay:  The artist is the incredible Shawn T. King of STK•Kreations. I had the (rare and wonderful) experience of being able to work directly with him during production of the cover art. That's a special treat for an author. After some back and forth, we settled on a depiction of the protagonist Gabriel – and the sigil of the House of the Crow inked on his back – the sign of his rank and station in the family. In the opening chapters of the novel, Gabriel is asked about his Crow tattoo, what it means. His reply tells it all: "It means we're bad people... We lie. We cheat. We steal. We kill. So long as we take out the trash and keep the peace with the other liars, cheaters, thieves, and killers, nobody really cares."

TQIn Endsville who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Clay:  The easiest and hardest are the same characters: Gabriel and his sister Delilah. Their lives turn into a tornado of grief, guilt, regret, and trauma in this story while they fight tooth and nail to get a hand back on the reins. That's familiar territory for me, so it's not a hard head-space to get into. And for that reason, getting dressed up with those characters and telling their story takes a toll. It's an easy river to dive into. A damn hard one to climb back out of when I step away from the keyboard for the night. But I suppose it's kind of cathartic too.

TQDoes Endsville touch on any social issues?

ClayEndsville plants the seeds for some that I'll be delving into deeper as the series unfolds – drug abuse and addiction, toxic and abusive family relationships, and the dangerous spiral of living a life of crime – both by choice and by inescapable circumstances.

TQWhich question about Endsville do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Clay:  The question: "So is Endsville really about the bad guys being bad guys?" The answer: "Why, yes, it is." A lot of urban fantasy stories play with the idea – a protagonist who used to be bad but is trying to reform. Bad guys who really do good but no one gives them credit for it. But for this one, I decided I'd go at telling the story of the bad guys with both barrels and didn't look back. It seemed like a good idea. Looking forward to seeing if the readers agree.

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


#1: "No one loves a crow. Scavengers. Thieves. Liars. Harbingers of death. Loyal to and beholden to no one but their own kind. Drawn to the chaos and carnage so they can pick gold from the bones. Good, bad, indifferent. A crow does what a crow does. Nothing commands a crow. Not men. Not kings. Not gods. The House of the Crow lives up to its namesake."

#2: " Choices have consequences. The inescapable gravity of consequence is a real son of a bitch. As anybody who’d ever jumped off a cliff can tell you, gravity kills. When the stop comes, it’s sudden. Then everything breaks."

TQWhat's next?

Clay:  Book 2 of my Outlaw Arcana series is on the workbench, so that's somewhere on the not-too-distant horizon. I have a short story appearing in Knaves: A Blackguards Anthology coming soon from Outland Entertainment. Other novels currently on my workbench: a grimdark dieselpunk fantasy, an apocalyptic space opera, and a straight-up crime thriller. We'll have to see where they go, and whether or not my head explodes into a shower of confetti while juggling them all.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Clay:  Thank you for having me. It was certainly a lot of fun!

Outlaw Arcana 1
Crossroad Press, December 25, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 458 pages

Welcome to Los Angeles—where the secret worlds of the criminal and supernatural collide. Crime and black magic pay. In the City of Angels, no one does it better than Gabriel St. John and the House of the Crow…

ENDSVILLE introduces readers to the House of the Crow. Led by their enigmatic street captain Gabriel, the Crows are a secret coven of high-rolling occult gangsters operating out of Los Angeles. A gangland king by the name of Dante Washington enlists their aid to recover 34 million dollars in cash—stolen from him by what appears to be a hostile sorcerer.

The Crows battle through a vicious cycle of betrayal, violence, and black magic while on the hunt for Mr. Washington’s missing money. In the end, allies prove to be enemies, and there are much greater things at stake than covering up a multi-million dollar gangland heist.

About Clay

Clay Sanger is a professional technogeek by day and a writer fiction the rest of the time. A life-long lover of all things wild, Clay spent much of his early adulthood wandering the four corners of the country in search of the weird and wonderful, the dark and the light.  As chance would have it he found them. After meandering far and wide he returned to his native Ozarks where he lives with his dazzling wife, their sons, and a menagerie of mythical creatures both real and imagined.

Website  ~  Twitter @claysanger  ~  Facebook

Monday, December 24, 2018

The View From Monday - December 24, 2018

Happy Monday!

There is one debut this week:

Endsville by Clay Sanger.

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

From formerly featured DAC Authors:

Scourged (The Iron Druid Chronicles 9) by Kevin Hearne is out in Mass Market Paperback;


The Feed by Nick Clark Windo is out in Trade Paperback.

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

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

December 24, 2018
The Complete Aliens Omnibus: Volume Seven B. K. Evenson MTI/SF/AC - Aliens
Dark Fire (ri) Christine Feehan PNR - Dark Series 6
Scourged (h2mm) Kevin Hearne CF - The Iron Druid Chronicles 9
The Feed (h2tp) Nick Clark Windo SF/PA/AP

December 25, 2018
The Beast Arises: Volume 3 David Annandale
David Guymer
Rob Sanders
Guy Haley
SF - Warhammer 40,000
Tyrion & Teclis William King F - Warhammer Chronicles
LARP Boris Leist Photography/PopCul
The Crimson King Graham McNeill SF - The Horus Heresy
Robotics Through Science Fiction: Artificial Intelligence Explained Through Six Classic Robot Short Stories Robin R. Murphy (Ed) SF - Collection
Endsville (D) Clay Sanger H

December 27, 2018
SNAFU: Resurrection (Ke) Dirk Patton
James A. Moore et al.
Once and Future Antiquities in Science Fiction and Fantasy Brett M Rogers (Ed)
Benjamin Eldon Stevens (Ed)
Bloomsbury Studies in Classical Reception

December 28, 2018
Animal Automata and Living Machines in Literature and Philosophy: Robots, Replicants, and Companion Species Mark Paterson HC - Perspectives on the Non-Human in Literature and Culture

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

AC - Alien Contact
AP - Apocalyptic
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
Cr - Crime
CW - Contemporary Woman
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
GenEng - Genetic Engineering
GH - Ghost(s)
H - Horror
HC - History and Criticism
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HSF - Hard Science Fiction
LF - Literary Fiction
M - Mystery
MedTh - Medical Thriller
MTI - Media Tie-In
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PCM - Parnormal Cozy Mystery
PerfArts - Performing Arts
PNR - Paranormal Romance
PopCul - Popular Culture
PsyTh - Psychological Thriller
Sc - Science
SE - Space Exploration
SF - Science Fiction
SO - Space Opera
Sup - Supernatural
SupM - Supernatural Mystery
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Sus - Suspense
Th - Thriller
UF - Urban Fantasy

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

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Interview with Victor Godinez, author of The First Protectors

Please welcome Victor Godinez to The Qwillery as part of the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The First Protectors was published on November 13, 2018 by Talos Press.

TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first piece you remember writing?

Victor:  Hmm, I think it was a short story with pictures I drew when I was around 10, with a kid who gets kidnapped out of his bed by aliens and taken on adventures. He wakes up at the end back in his bed, thinking it was all a dream, but you can see the alien’s antennas outside his window. I hate the “It was all a dream” trope in fiction, incidentally. Lame!

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Victor:  Hybrid. I generally have an overall vision of how I want the story to go, but the day-to-day writing is generally a surprise to me. I do sometimes write myself into a plot corner as a result, but the easiest way out is usually just to imagine how my protagonist would react to the situation he or she is in. Or sometimes I just send in killer robots with laser guns and missile launchers. That tends to reboot a scene pretty quickly.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Victor:  Lol, all of it? It’s always a bit excruciating. Giving different characters distinctive voices and behaviors is a big challenge. We’re so used to thinking as ourselves that it’s very hard to think like someone else, or to feel or talk like someone else.

TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Victor:  Well, there are good and bad influences, right? On the positive side, you can round up the usual suspects: Tolkien, Stephen King, Douglas Adams, T.H. White, Asimov, and so on. On the negative side, well, I love twitter, but it does condition you to have the attention span of a hyperactive fruit fly. Spending 30 minutes or an hour writing long form does get easier with practice, but internet culture does not encourage patient diligence.

TQ Describe The First Protectors using only 5 words.

Victor:  Fighting aliens with alien science.

TQTell us something about The First Protectors that is not found in the book description.

Victor:  Political intrigue and upheaval among Earth’s governments as the invasion unfolds plays a big part in how the confrontation plays out.

TQWhat inspired you to write The First Protectors? What appeals to you about writing Science Fiction?

Victor:  I wanted to explore what an alien invasion might realistically look like and how we might realistically fight back against it. At the same time, the various real-world military conflicts over the last decade-plus have made it impossible to ignore war’s mental and spiritual toll on those who fight in them. So I wanted to explore that internal tension, as well, of someone who never wanted to fight again being essentially forced to fight for the entire world. Ultimately, science fiction is about what it means to be human as technological change accelerates. All the hardware and spaceships and whatnot are only interesting if you put confused, scared, determined, smart, overwhelmed people in front of them and behind them and inside them.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for The First Protectors?

Victor:  Fortunately, in the internet age, you never have to leave your chair to wander a Russian street or peruse artillery manuals. But that also means you have no excuse not to do those things. So I spent a lot of time in Google Earth, or reading U.S. military websites, or looking up the chemical compositions of various materials or researching theoretical space propulsion systems.

TQPlease tell us about the cover for The First Protectors.

Victor:  All credit to the great Amir Zand ( for the fantastic cover. That illustration represents a scene in the book where Ben Shepherd, the protagonist, first encounters the alien visitors out in the New Mexico desert.

TQIn The First Protectors who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Victor:  I think the “comic relief” characters often feel the easiest to write, at least on the first pass. But as I kept revising, I wanted to dig deeper into these characters. So you just keep peeling away, trying to find their humanity, without sacrificing the tone you want them to bring to the tale. That’s not easy!

TQDoes The First Protectors touch on any social issues?

Victor:  It does dig into the political impact that an alien invasion might have, how different governments and populations might react to that news and the chaos pouring down on them from above. I do wonder if any governments keep contingency plans for this sort of thing on a shelf somewhere, just in case.

TQWhich question about The First Protectors do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Victor:  Did you really think you would be able to get your book published when you first started writing? I had no idea how to get a book published when I started. But I knew that it was a story I wanted to tell, because it was a story I wanted to read. So I figured someone else might want to read it, too.

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The First Protectors.


“But tea did not come from Russia,” Gretchencko said, folding his hands on the table in front of him and ignoring the steam and the storm. “In 1638, an envoy from Tsar Michael I to Altyn Khan, a Mongolian ruler, came back with these dried leaves, a strange gift. But it was not long before Russians saw the value of this new material and adopted tea as our own, a national drink. And you, Lt. Shepherd, are tea, a strange new thing from a very distant place.”

Gretchenko finally lifted his cup and blew softly over the hot liquid, his eyes never leaving his visitors. He sipped, expressionless. “The only question is, are you a gift, or something else?”

TQWhat's next?

Victor:  Possibly a sequel, if readers like The First Protectors. And I’m working on a few unrelated sci-fi novels. So we’ll see!

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Victor:  Thanks for the invite!

The First Protectors
Talos Press, November 13, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

The last thing Ben Shepherd wanted was another war. But sometimes the universe won’t take no for an answer.

His body and spirit mangled by a lifetime of combat, Shepherd, a retired Navy SEAL, has retreated to the desolate desert of New Mexico to heal his wounds and dodge his demons. All he wants now is peace and quiet.

Both are shattered one starry night, when an alien ship crashes nearby. Out of the ship crawls the last, dying member of a conquered civilization. It’s been shot down by an extraterrestrial enemy, the vanguard of a ravenous force hunting for a new homeland. With its last gasp, the wounded alien injects Shepherd with a high-tech serum that gives him near superhuman powers.

Now, with a new body but a soul as fractured as ever, Shepherd becomes the reluctant leader of the human resistance against the coming invasion. With enemies on all sides, the man who couldn’t bear the guilt of seeing one more friend die in battle now finds himself charged with protecting the entire planet.

About Victor

Victor Godinez is a former newspaper reporter and current works in public relations. He lives in Dallas, Texas, with his wife, Sarah, three kids, two dogs and, according to the most recent household census, two guinea pigs. You can find him on twitter @VictorGodinez, where he rambles about self-driving cars, The Simpsons, and sci-fi.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Image Comics Reveals Full Line of Jason Howard's Cemetery Beach Impact Variants


Final variant in series hits this February

PORTLAND, OR 12/18/2018 — Image Comics is pleased to CEMETERY BEACH #2 Cover B Mignola tributereveal the complete set of covers in the line of “Impact variants” for Warren Ellis and Jason Howard’s Cemetery Beach. Each cover features artwork by Howard, but drawn in the style of an artist who made an impact on his work and influenced his creative career. The collectible Cemetery Beach variants pay tribute to the iconic Todd McFarlane (Spider-Man), Mike Mignola (Hellboy), Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira), Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series), Stephen Platt (Prophet), Frank Miller (Sin City), and Dave Johnson (Super Patriot).

Cemetery Beach reunites the creative team behind the critically acclaimed Trees comic series, which has a forthcoming television adaption signed up via NBCUniversal International Studios’ first-look deal to be produced by Hardy Son & Baker.

Cemetery Beach is perhaps best described as a high-speed action serial paired with a 2001: A Space Odyssey-level awe and wonder. It features the characteristically mind-bending Warren Ellis writing style that is echoed in his current hit Netflix series, Castlevania and which influenced a generation of comics creators through his online presence of free-wheeling creativity and discussion on the Warren Ellis Forum.

CEMETERY BEACH #6 Cover B Frank Millar tributeThe series follows a professional pathfinder, his only ally a disaffected young murderess, who breaks out of a torture cell in pursuit of his worst extraction scenario ever: escaping on foot across a sprawling and secret off-world colony established a hundred years ago and filled with generations of lunatics.

Cemetery Beach issues #1-4 are available now.

Cemetery Beach #5 Cover A (Diamond Code NOV180114) and Cover B (Diamond Code NOV180115) will be available on Wednesday, January 9th.

Cemetery Beach #6 Cover A (Diamond Code DEC180232) and Cover B (Diamond Code DEC180233) will be available on Wednesday, February 6th. The final order cutoff for comics retailers is Monday, January 14th.

Cemetery Beach #7 Cover A (Diamond Code JAN190286) and Cover B (Diamond Code JAN190287) will be available on Wednesday, March 6th. The final order cutoff for comics retailers is Monday, February 11th.

The series is also available for purchase across many digital platforms, including the official Image Comics iOS app, Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, comiXology, and Google Play.

Cemetery Beach trade paperback (ISBN: 978-1534312234)—collecting the complete series, #1-7—will hit comic book stores on Wednesday, June 5th and bookstores on Tuesday, June 11th. It can be pre-ordered on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, IndieBound, and Indigo.

Pagan Online RPG Launching in 2019

Wargaming and Mad Head Games Unveil the Brutal Combat of Pagan Online
Get a first look at the intense combat and characters in hack-n-slash action RPG’s first gameplay teaser trailer

December 17, 2018 - Wargaming and Mad Head Games today revealed the first official gameplay teaser trailer for Pagan Online, an intense action RPG launching on PC in 2019. Watch as powerful heroes take on vicious hordes of enemies and battle bosses based on pre-Christian mythology. Plus, get a glimpse of the powerful abilities of the game’s first three characters, in addition to some massive loot drops.

Catch the official gameplay reveal trailer for Pagan Online here:

Pagan Online will challenge PC players starting next year, and registration for pre-launch tests known as Trials is open at The game is developed with an ambition to bring new meaning to the "Action" part of Action RPG, introducing intense and exciting session-based combat that rewards players for being smart and skillful. Character progression incentivizes building and developing a "family" of many unique characters, rather than one character with multiple builds. Combinations of gear, skills and characters will offer synergies that deliver more than the sum of the stats, and can be put to the test in challenging boss fights and other modes. Pagan Online’s combination of storytelling, procedurally-generated arenas, and multiple choices that lead to different encounter types create the feeling of a living and changing world, where every day and fight is different from what came before.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Interview with W. L. Goodwater, author of Breach

Please welcome W. L. Goodwater to The Qwillery as part of the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Breach was published on November 6, 2018 by Ace.

TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first piece of fiction you remember writing?

W. L.:  I remember starting a noir detective story when I was in the 1st grade. I didn’t know that detective stories had to have a plot – I was mostly focused on the cool hat and trench coat – so I didn’t make it much past the first scene, but I was hooked and have been writing ever since.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

W. L.:  Originally I was a proud pantser, but I can’t do it anymore; outlines are just too helpful. My creative process benefits from separating the “coming up with an interesting story” bit from the “write good words” bit. Otherwise I spend too long staring at a blank page and a blinking cursor. That said, at least twice while writing Breach I made significant deviations from the outline because the story made it clear that it needed to go in a new direction.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

W. L.:  Being creative on demand. I like to sit and wait for inspiration to strike – actually I like to go for long walks, that’s when my imagination works best. But deadlines don’t go away, so I’ve had to learn to just start writing. Once I’ve built some momentum, the creativity usually catches up, and we’ll clean up the rest in editing.

TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

W. L.:  Like most writers, I read constantly and I know my writing benefits from all those wonderful stories and well-crafted sentences bouncing around in my head. There are brilliant writers who I wish would influence me more so I could have a fraction of their skill, some of my favorites being Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, and Cormac McCarthy. For Breach though, my inspiration came mostly from the books of John le Carré and Lev Grossman, and from the TV show Agent Carter.

TQDescribe Breach using only 5 words.

W. L.:  Cold War magicians uncovering secrets.

TQTell us something about Breach that is not found in the book description.

W. L.:  Here’s a Breach Easter egg for you: one of the villains is named after a dear friend of mine. When I started writing the book, he offered to help me with any untranslated Russian, so in turn I immortalized him as a bad guy. Seemed like a fair trade.

TQWhat inspired you to write Breach? What appeals to you about writing Alternate History?

W. L.:  The idea came to me in fairly vague terms: Cold War fantasy novel. There are a few examples out there of this sub-sub-sub-genre, but not many. The Cold War spans the whole globe and a huge timeline, but I immediately knew I wanted to write something set in divided Berlin in the years following WWII. It is such a unique and strange part of our recent history, and I knew throwing magic into the mix could only make it more so.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for Breach?

W. L.:  Once I had the idea for the story, I knew I needed to learn a lot more, so I did what any writer would do: I got a bunch of books. Some were very helpful; some were a bit dry (turns out that the CIA and KGB don’t always hire agents because of their engaging prose). The best were Frederick Taylor’s The Berlin Wall: A World Divided and Frederick Kempe’s Berlin 1961.

TQWhy did you set the novel in Berlin during the Cold War?

W. L.:  It is just such an evocative setting: the clothes people wore, the cars they drove, the condition of the city as it recovered from the war, all of it. And Cold War Berlin has an abundance of what every good novel requires: conflict.

TQPlease tell us about the cover for Breach.

W. L.:  I love the cover for Breach. I was honored to have a cover by Pete Garceau who has done stunning covers for Neil Gaiman, Lee Child, Mary Roach, and many others. The cover shows a historic map of Berlin overlaid with the colors of the German flag and a bright and jagged tear – the titular breach. I love that I’ve never seen a cover quite like it; it really stands out on a bookshelf.

TQIn Breach who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

W. L.:  My main character Karen was often the hardest, because I so desperately wanted to get her right. I did not want to join the ever-expanding Hall of Shame for men writers who write terrible female characters; my readers (and my characters) deserve better. Through the hard work of my wife, my agent, and my editor, I hope she feels authentic.

Villains are often the most fun to write, and I very much enjoyed writing for my deadly KGB colonel, the Nightingale. He believes himself a decent man, committed to his family and his country, despite the terrible things he does for the Soviet Union. That duality – and sometimes just hypocrisy – made writing him always interesting.

TQDoes Breach touch on any social issues?

W. L.:  Since the book is set in the 1950’s with a female main character who is driven to succeed in a male-dominated field, she’s forced to confront misogyny as well as Soviet spies. I wish struggles like this were – like the Berlin Wall – relegated to the past, but obviously our society still doesn’t know how to treat women equally. I think Karen does a good job excelling despite the confines her culture tries to force on her, but it means she’s hindered even by her allies.

TQWhich question about Breach do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

W. L.:  “What’s the deal with that one Yiddish phrase you use in the first chapter?”

I’m glad you asked! The phrase is: “A shod m’hot nisht geredt fun moshiach” and literally translates to “We should have been speaking of Messiah.” It is used the same as the English phrase “Speak of the devil and he shall appear.” I think the idea is “We were talking about this guy and he showed up; maybe if we were talking about Messiah, he’d appear too.” I found it on the internet some years back and thought it was such an interesting phrase so I’ve been looking for a way to use it. During copyediting for Breach, my publisher wanted me to confirm that it meant what I thought, but that proved harder than expected. A friend put me in touch with a dozen or so rabbis and professors, who all had different takes on it, ranging from “Never heard of it” to “Well, maybe…” In the end, I decided to keep it in the book and hope for the best.

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

W. L.:  I love Karen’s exchange with one of her sexist co-workers early on in the book, after she runs out of patience for being talked down to:

          “Listen here, Honey—”

          “Yes, Sweetheart?” Karen replied. This stopped the old Texan cold. Stopped the whole room, actually. “Oh, I’m sorry,” Karen said, “I thought we were being familiar. My mistake.”

And I think the curmudgeonly but poetic nature of Arthur, the CIA chief in West Berlin, is well summarized by this quote of his:

“Someone once told me that life is just the accumulation of memories and regrets. Worst part is, the older I get, I forget about the memories, but those regrets tend to stick around.”

TQWhat's next?

W. L.:  Currently I’m working on edits for the sequel to Breach, which should be out in November 2019. The Cold War has decades of conflict available for inspiration, so there are plenty more stories to tell.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery!

A Cold War Magic Novel 1
Ace, November 6, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

The first novel in a new Cold War fantasy series, where the Berlin Wall is made entirely of magic. When a breach unexpectedly appears in the wall, spies from both sides swarm to the city as World War III threatens to spark.


When Soviet magicians conjured an arcane wall to blockade occupied Berlin, the world was outraged but let it stand for the sake of peace. Now, after ten years of fighting with spies instead of spells, the CIA has discovered the unthinkable…


While refugees and soldiers mass along the border, operatives from East and West converge on the most dangerous city in the world to either stop the crisis, or take advantage of it.

Karen, a young magician with the American Office of Magical Research and Deployment, is sent to investigate the breach in the Wall and determine if it can be fixed. Instead, she discovers that the truth is elusive in this divided city–and that even magic itself has its own agenda.


About W. L. Goodwater

Walter was born in northern California, in a small (and often miserably hot) town called Red Bluff. He started writing at a young age, writing often about magic, history, detectives, and swords. He went to college to study Computer Science at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo and fell in love with the mild climate and decided to stay. While in college, he competed with the Cal Poly fencing team, who won league titles nearly every season. He currently coaches the high school fencing team for the Dunn School in Los Olivos, which has won multiple championship titles.

While he loves to read and write fantasy, he especially enjoys books that span genres. His debut novel, BREACH, takes the chocolate + peanut butter approach of merging fantasy with a Cold War spy thriller, to create a world that benefits from the power of both kinds of stories.

When he isn't writing, Walter is a software engineer specializing in user interface design. He has a passion for creating enjoyable user experiences even out of mundane tasks, and applies the principles of good UX even when writing novels.

Walter loves books, the beach, and Birkenstocks. Root beer floats are also pretty great.

For more insight into the mysteries of Walter, check out the Journal.

Website  ~  Twitter @wlgoodwater  ~  Instagram

Monday, December 17, 2018

Jurassic World Evolution: Cretaceous Dinosaur Pack

New Dinosaurs Arrive in the Jurassic World Evolution: Cretaceous Dinosaur Pack Today

New Premium Downloadable Content Pack From Frontier and Universal Bring the Iguanodon, Carcharodontosaurus and Dreadnoughtus to Players’ Parks Alongside New Challenge Modes and Features

Frontier Developments plc today(12/13/18) launched the Jurassic World Evolution: Cretaceous Dinosaur Pack premium downloadable content for PC and the Xbox One all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft. Based on Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment’s blockbuster film franchise, and created in collaboration with Universal Games and Digital Platforms, Jurassic World Evolution: Cretaceous Dinosaur Pack adds three new dinosaurs to Jurassic World Evolution and arrives alongside a free update for all players featuring new challenge modes and game content.

See the new cretaceous dinosaurs in action here.

Cretaceous Pack Trailer:

With the Jurassic World Evolution: Cretaceous Dinosaur Pack premium downloadable content, Jurassic World Evolution players can enrich the variety of their parks’ attractions with the Iguanodon, a herbivore unusually comfortable on four legs or two; Carcharodontosaurus, the largest known carnivorous dinosaur; and Dreadnoughtus, a truly colossal herbivore.

The View From Monday - December 17, 2018

Happy Monday!

A reminder - Books and bookstore gift cards make wonderful presents.

December is a relatively quiet month for releases so I've been catching up a few things. For example I already have 97 novels on my debuts list for 2019! More on the 2019 Debut Author Challenge soon.

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

December 17, 2018
Possessed (e)(ri) P.C. Cast FR
The Dead Room (e)(ri) Heather Graham SupTh/GH - Harrison Investigation 4

December 18, 2018
Watership Down (ri) Richard Adams F
The Bronze Skies (tp2mm) Catherine Asaro SF/SO - Major Bhaajan 2
Doctor Who: Combat Magicks Steve Cole SF- Doctor Who
A Thunder of War Steve McHugh UF - The Avalon Chronicles 3
Down and Out in Purgatory (h2mm) Tim Powers F - Collection
Space Opera (h2tp) Catherynne M. Valente SF/SO
A Call to Vengeance (h2mm) David Weber
Timothy Zahn
SF/SO - Manticore Ascendant 3

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

AC - Alien Contact
AP - Apocalyptic
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
Cr - Crime
CW - Contemporary Woman
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
GenEng - Genetic Engineering
GH - Ghost(s)
H - Horror
HC - History and Criticism
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HSF - Hard Science Fiction
LF - Literary Fiction
M - Mystery
MedTh - Medical Thriller
MTI - Media Tie-In
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PCM - Parnormal Cozy Mystery
PerfArts - Performing Arts
PNR - Paranormal Romance
PopCul - Popular Culture
PsyTh - Psychological Thriller
Sc - Science
SE - Space Exploration
SF - Science Fiction
SO - Space Opera
Sup - Supernatural
SupM - Supernatural Mystery
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Sus - Suspense
Th - Thriller
UF - Urban Fantasy

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

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Covers Revealed - Upcoming Novels by DAC Authors

Here are some of the upcoming works by formerly featured DAC Authors. The year in parentheses is the year the author was featured in the DAC.

Tina LeCount Myers (2018)

Dreams of the Dark Sky
The Legacy of the Heavens 2
Night Shade Books, February 5, 2019
Hardcover, Trade Paperback and eBook,

In the aftermath of a devastating clash between gods and men, two unlikely allies—one immortal and one human—must band together to survive in the sequel to the epic fantasy debut The Song of All.

The war between men and immortals that raged across the frozen Northland of Davvieana has ended. For men, the balance of power between Believer and Brethren, between honoring the gods and honoring the sword, has shifted to favor priests over Hunters.

But it is the legacy of one man’s love for his son that shapes the lives of all who survived.
While Irjan, the once-legendary immortal hunter, has saved his son’s life, he cannot save Marnej from the men who will make him a killer, nor can he save the immortal girl he’d promised to protect from the secret of her birth.

Raised by Irjan among the immortals, Dárja has been trained to fight by a man who once hunted her kind. Prisoner among the humans, her hatred for them is challenged by the chance to give Irjan what he has always wanted—his son Marnej returned to him.

Together, Marnej and Dárja, human and immortal, must find a way to trust one another if they are to live long enough to learn the truth behind the secrets and lies that have forged their lives.

Book 1

V. E. Schwab (2013)

The Near Witch
Titan Books, March 12, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

All-new deluxe edition of an out-of-print gem, containing in-universe short story “The Ash-Born Boy” and a never-before-seen introduction from V.E. Schwab.

The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.

There are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.

But when an actual stranger, a boy who seems to fade like smoke, appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion.

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab’s debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won’t soon forget.

Note:  There is a Barnes & Noble Exclusive Edition which you may find here.

Anna Stephens (2017)

The Godblind Trilogy 2
Talos Press, January 2, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

Evil gods walk the land as armies prepare for war in the thrilling grimdark sequel to the fantasy debut Godblind.

In the besieged city of Rilporin, Commander Durdil Koridam is crowned a reluctant king, and orders that the city’s people must fight to the last rather than surrender to the surrounding armies of the Mireces and their evil Red Gods.

Outside Rilporin, the uneasy truce between King Corvus’s Mireces and the traitorous Prince Rivil’s forces holds, but the two armies are growing desperate to force a breach of the walls before the city’s reinforcements arrive.

Meanwhile, prophet Dom Templeson reaches Rilporin: the Red Gods have tortured and broken his mind, and he ends up in Corvus’s hands, forced to tell all his secrets. And what he knows could win the war for the Mireces.

Elsewhere, in Yew Cove, only a few survivors remain from a Rank of thousands of Rilporian warriors. Dom foresees the important role one of those survivors, Crys Tailorson, will take on as the events to come unfold. As Crys grows into his position as a leader, that role becomes clearer—and far darker. Will he be willing to pay the price to fulfill his destiny?

Book 1