Wednesday, August 28, 2019

SPFBO 5 Interview: John A. Pretorius, author of Living in Times of Dragons

Please welcome John A. Pretorius to The Qwillery as part of the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off 5 Interviews. John has submitted Living in Times of Dragons to SPFBO 5.

Follow the fate of all the entrants at

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

John:  When I was ten I wrote a book about people exploring a strange island. Because I was ten there were a lot of bad puns in it, and I thought I they were very clever.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

John:  I'm a hybrid. I plan, but I don't plan it out blow for blow usually. When I do, I don't always keep to it. Writing for me is ultimately intuitive.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

John:  Rewriting. It's easier to lay a foundation than to build on it.

TQDescribe Living in Times of Dragons using only 5 words.

John:  Bizarre, gut wrenching, and dark.

TQWhat inspired you to write Living in Times of Dragons?

John:  I created the character for a crime novel that I never finished... or really got anywhere with. One day I imagined this protagonist, Roger, looking out a window and him seeing a dragon. The dragon then begins to chase him.

TQPlease tell us about the cover for Living in Times of Dragons.

John:  The artist is known as PhanDuy, and is from Vietnam. It doesn't depict any deliberate event in the story, but has the feel of the first section.

TQIn Living in Times of Dragons who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

John:  The protagonist, Roger, was the easiest to write. I had started two novels with him that went nowhere, but in the second novel I managed to nail the feel of the character and create a backstory. By the time I wrote this novel he was fleshed out in my mind, and I could put him to paper with ease.

Hardest was his son, Ian. Ian was a character I struggled developing, and in the first draft he had the personality of a wooden plank. Considering he's important to the story this was a huge problem. It took several rewrites for me to nail down a personality for him.

TQDoes Living in Times of Dragons touch on any social issues?

John:  Not directly.

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Living in Times of Dragons.


My hands were free and I began to feel around inside the mouth of the beast. I reached and touched a huge canine, then my other hand went in under the tongue. Suddenly its sharp teeth pressed down gently upon my shoulder and calves while the tongue pressed my stomach onto the roof of the mouth. Then I heard a voice in my head. "Don’t try anything, Atuor."

The fear that it had somehow gotten into my head, that it was invading my thoughts and feelings and poking its own mind where I was not wanted, made me angry. But I called its bluff. “You wouldn’t kill me,” I said. “You want me alive.”

I felt its teeth momentarily press down very hard into my calves again, this time hard enough that I could feel it cut my skin. Its voice then came; its tone darkly humorous. "Indeed we do, Atuor. We need you alive, but we don’t really need your feet. Now stop squirming."

TQWhat's next?

John:  I'm working on the sequel, which is 90% done as a first draft. I'm also reworking a short story I wrote that got accepted for an anthology which was never published.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Living in Times of Dragons
The Remnant King Book 1
Februry 22, 2019
eBook and Trade Paperback, 437 pages

" with everything in my life all this began with dreams..."

American ex-pat, father and widower, Roger Rommel, did not believe in dragons. Unfortunately they did not return the sentiment.

After returning from a self-imposed exile to his adopted country of South Africa, Roger is confronted by these legendary fire-breathing reptiles who risked exposing their hidden world simply to hunt him. Gifted with the ability to create and enter dreams, as well as to see the future, he tries to survive and protect his son from enemies he does not understand.

But the past is alive, and he finds himself linked to a conflict thousands of years old. The world he knew is now stranger, more fantastic and terrifying than he truly knew, especially when everyone is out to get you.

About John

John A Pretorius was born in 1981 in South Africa, in the city of Pretoria, where he still lives. Currently he works as a salesperson, but has been writing in his spare time since highschool.

Living in Times of Dragons is his first novel, but Pretorius is working on more which he hopes to publish soon.

Twitter : Goodreads : Facebook

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Review: The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

Winter of the Witch
Author:  Katherine Arden
Series:  Winternight Trilogy 3
Publisher:  Del Rey, October 1, 2019
Format:  Trade Paperback, 400 pages
Format:  Hardcover, Audiobook, and eBook, January 8, 2019
List Price:  US$17.00 (print); US$13.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9781101886014 (print); 9781101886007 (eBook)

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Following their adventures in The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower, Vasya and Morozko return in this stunning conclusion to the bestselling Winternight Trilogy, battling enemies mortal and magical to save both Russias, the seen and the unseen.

“A tale both intimate and epic, featuring a heroine whose harrowing and wondrous journey culminates in an emotionally resonant finale.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Vasilisa Petrovna is an unforgettable heroine determined to forge her own path. Her gifts and her courage have drawn the attention of Morozko, the winter-king, but it is too soon to know if this connection will prove a blessing or a curse.

Now Moscow has been struck by disaster. Its people are searching for answers—and for someone to blame. Vasya finds herself alone, beset on all sides. The Grand Prince is in a rage, choosing allies that will lead him on a path to war and ruin. A wicked demon returns, determined to spread chaos. Caught at the center of the conflict is Vasya, who finds the fate of two worlds resting on her shoulders. Her destiny uncertain, Vasya will uncover surprising truths about herself as she desperately tries to save Russia, Morozko, and the magical world she treasures. But she may not be able to save them all.

Melanie's Review

The Winter of the Witch, Arden's final instalment of her Winternight Trilogy, starts immediately after the dramatic events of book 2 - The Girl in the Tower. The residents of Moscow have woken up to the devastation left by a massive fire. Parts of the city are in ruins and friends and family are dead or homeless. They are looking for answers but more importantly for someone to blame. Unfortunately, Vasya is in the cross hairs as she no longer has the protection of the Grand Prince who is angry and no longer trusts her or her brother, the monk Alexander. Without his support Vasya is left vulnerable and on her own. Even more dangerous than the mobs looking for revenge is Father Konstantin. He is determined to destroy Vasya and teams up with a demon who wants revenge and to create chaos wherever he goes. With all of Russia on the brink of war and desperate to protect those she loves Vasya embarks on a journey to find the one person who can help her, the Winter King. Time is running out for Vasya to save her family and the magical world she has grown to love.

Arden keeps the pressure on Vasya throughout this novel and the suspense is high from the very start through to the very end of the story. She doesn't do this by dragging her heroine through countless high action scenes like many authors like to do. Instead the story is a clever balance of action, character development and strategically placed reveals or uncovering of secrets. Arden has the unique ability to create the sense that you are reading folklore rather than new fantasy fiction. This adds another element to the enjoyment of this instalment and the series as a whole.

Vasya is a great character and throughout the series the reader has the opportunity to see her grow and evolve. It's hard to believe she is only in her late teens in the final book but give the time period that was probably middle age. She certainly acts like someone far older and more mature than a 17 year old. I love her relationship with the magical characters she was trying to save, especially the various domovoy who protect the home and hearth. Through Vasya, the readers learns how the spread of Christianity started to cause the magical creatures and pagan gods to weaken and disappear. This is one of the causes the rift between Vasya and her brother who is a monk as she has magical abilities that conflict with his Christian beliefs. This is also the reason why Father Konstantin hates her so.

Through her travels Vasya meets many of the magical creatures that make up Russian folklore. Arden uses real historic events and people as the basis of the main plot of this story which again, gives the impression you are reading something other than fantasy fiction.

I actually listened to the audio version The Winter of the Witch and if you have this opportunity available to you I highly recommend it. The story is narrated by Kathleen Gati and she does an excellent job of bringing Vasya to life. Unlike some narrators, Gati doesn't try to sound like a man when reading the dialogue of male characters which I much prefer. Keeping the narration in one tone of voice reinforces the impression that this is folklore, a story retold from one generation to the next.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this series and The Winter of the Witch is a fantastic ending to Vasya's story. There isn't anything I would change in this instalment. Great book, great series but start with book 1 - The Bear and the Nightingale.

Monday, August 26, 2019

The View From Monday - August 26, 2019

Happy last Monday in August!

There are 2 debuts this week:

Last Ones Left Alive by Sarah Davis-Goff;


Steel Frame by Andrew Skinner (Trade Paperback edition).

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

From formerly featured DAC Authors:

Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen is out in Trade Paperback;

The Queen of Crows (Sacred Throne 2) by Myke Cole is out in Trade Paperback;

Galaxy's Edge: Black Spire (Star Wars) by Delilah S. Dawson;

The Golden Wolf (Golden Wolf Saga 3) by Linnea Hartsuyker;

The Fifth Ward: Good Company (The Fifth Ward 3) by Dale Lucas;


Spaceside (Planetside 2) by Michael Mammay.

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.

August 27, 2019
The Blacksmith Queen G.A. Aiken F/ PNR -The Scarred Earth Saga 1
Kill Zone: A High-Tech Thriller Kevin J. Anderson
Doug Beason
Restless Lightning (h2mm) Richard Baker SF - Breaker of Empires 2
Divine by Mistake (ri) P. C. Cast RF - Partholon 1
Divine by Choice (ri) P. C. Cast RF - Partholon 2
Divine by Blood (ri) P. C. Cast RF - Partholon 3
Elphame's Choice (ri) P. C. Cast RF - Partholon 4
Brighid's Quest (ri) P. C. Cast RF - Partholon 5
Here and Now and Then (h2tp) Mike Chen LF/SF/TT
The Queen of Crows (h2tp) Myke Cole F - Sacred Throne 2
Pandemic (h2mm) Robin Cook MedTh/Sus
Target Rich Environment (h2mm) Larry Correia F - Collection
Last Ones Left Alive (D) Sarah Davis-Goff Dys/CoA/SF/AP/PA
Galaxy's Edge: Black Spire Delilah S. Dawson SF/SO/MTI - Star Wars
The Golden Wolf Linnea Hartsuyker Sagas - Golden Wolf Saga 3
Dune Boxed Set #1 Brian Herbert
Kevin J. Anderson
SF/SO - Dune
Hollywood Dead (h2tp) Richard Kadrey UF - Sandman Slim 10
The Fifth Ward: Good Company Dale Lucas F - The Fifth Ward 3
Spaceside Michael Mammay SF - Planetside 2
The Passengers John Marrs TechTh/Sus/SF
The Boughs Withered: When I Told Them My Dreams Maura McHugh F - Collection
Supercute Futures Martin Millar Dys/HU/DF
The Haunting of Drearcliff Grange School (tp2mm) Kim Newman SupTh/H/F
Alternate Routes (h2mm) Tim Powers CF
Oathbringer (h2mm) Brandon Sanderson CF - Stormlight Archive 3
Steel Frame (D) Andrew Skinner SF
The Witchstone Amulet Mason Thomas FR
The Secret Life of Sam Holloway Rhys Thomas LF/R/SH/FL
Through Darkest Europe (h2tp) Harry Turtledove SF/AH
Soot And Steel: Dark Tales of London Ian Whates (Ed) Anthology
Her Majesty's American (tp2mm) Steve White SF

August 30, 2019
Joanna Russ Gwyneth Jones LC/SF - Modern Masters of Science Fiction

August 31, 2019
The Girl on the Porch Richard T. Chizmar Th

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

AB - Absurdist
AC - Alien Contact
AH - Alternative History
AP - Apocalyptic
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CoA - Coming of Age
CW - Contemporary Women
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tales
FL - Family Life
FolkT - Folk Tales
FR - Fantasy Romane
GenEng - Genetic Engineering
GH - Ghost(s)
H - Horror
HC - History & Criticism
Hist - Historical
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HistM - Historical Mystery
HL - Hispanic and Latino
HSF - Hard Science Fiction
HU - Humorous
LC - Literary Criticism
LF - Literary Fiction
LM - Legend and Mythology
M - Mystery
MR - Magical Realism
MTI - Media Tie-In
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PM - Paranormal Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
PolTh - Political Thriller
RF - Romantic Fantasy
SE - Space Exploration
SF - Science Fiction
SO - Space Opera
SP - Steampunk
SS - Short Stories
SupM - Supernatural Mystery
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Sus - Suspense
TechTh - Technological Thriller
Th - Thriller
Tech - Technology
TT - Time Travel
UF - Urban Fantasy
W - Westerns

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

Friday, August 23, 2019

Interview with Jay Allan

Please welcome Jay Allan to The Qwillery. The Emperor's Fist was published on August 20, 2019 by Harper Voyager.

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

Jay:  I could probably come up with vague recollections of various things that never amounted to anything, but the first book I finished was Marines, which started my career.

TQYou've written well over 2 dozen novels. How has your writing process changed over the years?

Jay:  I’d say two things have changed. First, I’m a lot more comfortable, and the words flow more easily than they used to. Second, I’ve tried to pay attention to comments and reviews. You write something, but of course, you’re trying to make it resonate with the reader. If there is too much repetition, for example, or not enough, reader comments are the best way to see that.

TQIf you could not write Military SF what else would you write?

Jay:  I’d probably be writing cyber-thrillers and the like. I was a big Tom Clancy fan, and I also like books that are right on the line between thriller and SF. Think the Andromeda Strain and the like.

TQDescribe your latest Far Stars novel, The Emperor's Fist, using only 5 words.

Jay:  Emperor’s coming, and he’s pissed!

TQTell us something about The Emperor's Fist that is not found in the book description.

Jay:  For those who’ve read the earlier books in the series, Blackhawk is somewhat of a tortured character. In The Emperor’s Fist, we see more about his past, and we see him dealing with his greatest struggle resulting from that.

TQDo you need to read the Far Stars novels in order?

Jay:  I don’t think so. If you read The Emperor’s Fist and like it, the previous trilogy is sort of a prequel to you, but I think the new book works well as a standalone, too.

TQWhat's next?

Jay:  Well, I like to think I’m not done with Blackhawk and the other from the Far Stars, but I don’t know when I’ll get back to them. I’m continuing to work on my Blood on the Stars series, with book 14 coming out in September. Next year, I’ve got two new things coming, one that is really special that I still can’t share yet, and the other is a series about an alien invasion of Earth and the resistance to it. I’ve been planning that for a while, and I’m excited to finally get it started.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

The Emperor's Fist
A Blackhawk Novel
Far Stars 4
Harper Voyager, August 20, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

In this thrilling new installment in the Far Stars saga, a reluctant hero with a bloody past must reunite with an old love to battle an evil emperor willing to destroy all their worlds if he cannot control them.

When the Far Stars came under imperial attack, Astra Lucerne—the daughter and successor of the Far Stars’ greatest conqueror—Marshal Augustin Lucerne—rallied her father’s confederation forces to defend their worlds. They were joined in the fight by former imperial general Arkarin Blackhawk, a warrior whose skills and brutality made him infamous, and who has, for two decades, sought the redemption he knows is unreachable.

Now, with the imperial foothold in the sector eliminated, the Far Stars is free and almost united. While Astra’s forces continue to depose local tyrants and warlords, Ark and his crew have slipped back into the shadows. Though his heart belongs to Astra, Ark cannot get too close. His imperial conditioning remains under control, but it is still volatile, and the temptation of power threatens to unleash the dark compulsions that made him the most merciless of the emperor’s servants. He cannot risk allowing Astra to see the darkness inside him.

But while the battle has been won, the war may not be over. A petty smuggler makes a discovery that can enable the emperor to strike back and crush the resistance—unless Ark and Astra join forces again to stop him.

Far Stars 1
Far Stars 2
Far Stars 3

About Jay

Jay Allan is a former investor and the author of the Crimson Worlds series and the Far Stars Confederation series. When not writing, he enjoys traveling, running, hiking, and reading. He loves hearing from readers and always answers emails. He currently lives in New York City.

Website  ~  Twitter @jayallanwrites

Thursday, August 22, 2019

SPFBO 5 Interview: Joyce Reynolds-Ward, author of Klone's Stronghold

Please welcome Joyce Reynolds-Ward to The Qwillery as part of the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off 5 Interviews. Joyce has submitted Klone's Stronghold to SPFBO 5.

Follow the fate of all the entrants at

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

Joyce:  I was about eight years old and wrote a short story about Mighty Mouse. Several years later I wrote a novel about a girl and her palomino Thoroughbred filly that won the Triple Crown. After a few horse girl books, I moved on to writing science fiction and fantasy, and have been writing off and on since then.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Joyce:  Most of the time I am a plotter. But my current work-in-progress, CHOICES OF HONOR (third in the four-book Goddess's Honor series) decided that it didn't want to cooperate with plotting. As I wrote it, I realized that was because my original concept was too big for one it's a four-book series, not a trilogy.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Joyce:  Sometimes it's just finding the time in the spring and summer. I've become quite active in my small community and juggling everything, along with seasonal stuff we're doing, can be difficult. And then there's marketing.

TQDescribe Klone's Stronghold using only 5 words.

Joyce:  Family secrets can be dangerous.

TQWhat inspired you to write Klone's Stronghold?

Joyce:  While driving over one of the passes in Oregon's Blue Mountains, I noticed a road sign for Klone Lane. The isolated location with known Sasquatch sightings nearby intrigued me, and I started thinking about mad scientists hiding out in the Blue Mountains. But how to write about it? Then I thought of JANE EYRE, and FRANKENSTEIN'S MONSTER, and the concept grew. But Reeni is no Jane, and Reed/Zander Klone contains his own complexities. Throw in some experiences camping at several Oregon music festivals, and the story went. There's also a strong influence from Zenna Henderson's PEOPLE stories.

TQPlease tell us about the cover for Klone's Stronghold.

Joyce:  Roslyn McFarland is my amazing cover artist. She has done the cover for one of my Netwalk Sequence science fiction books as well as the covers for my Goddess's Honor books. The front cover is a representation of Reeni, the main character.

TQIn Klone's Stronghold who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Joyce:  Reeni, the main character, was the easiest to write. While she's been beaten down by an abusive ex-husband and controlling religious parents and family (with--ahem--deeper reasons that it appears on the surface), she's bouncing back and she's got more than a bit of sass about her. I like to think that her former job as a special education teacher gave her the boldness to break free.

The most difficult? Several characters, really. Alexander Reed Klone was very reclusive and didn't want to show me much about himself--and Soraya didn't want to reveal much initially, either.

TQDoes Klone's Stronghold touch on any social issues?

Joyce:  Various forms of discrimination, spousal abuse, religious fundamentalism as a mask for domination and control. Treatment of developmental disabilities.

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Klone's Stronghold.


"Don't get too comfortable," Trina cautioned as we drew closer. "There's more than the usual protestors--oh crud."

Right then I almost threw up. "What?"

"Anti-supernaturals." She peered closer. "And they're not all white--shit! Reeni, get down! Religious and I think I see your uncle!"

"Shit!" I lay flat on my side in the back seat, pulling the just-in-case blanket over be. "Anyone besides Jayanesh?" I asked, once I was certain I was covered. Dread cinched tight on me. This weekend was supposed to be fun. Not a family intervention.

"Sheriff's keeping them back," Trina said. "But yeah. Pastor Ananda's there."

"My parents?" I choked back the sick bitter taste in my mouth.

"No--wait. Your father."

Great. My fists clenched tight as the car inched ahead. I heard the shouts as we drove by--not specific words but the smooth, silky tones of Pastor Ananda's voice almost made me retch.

TQWhat's next?

Joyce:  I am working on the third book in the Goddess's Honor series (PLEDGES OF HONOR, CHALLENGES OF HONOR), CHOICES OF HONOR, and intend to have it out by September. The final Goddess's Honor book, JUDGEMENT OF HONOR, will be out in December/January.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Joyce:  You're welcome, and thank you!

Klone's Stronghold
June 2018
eBook and Trade Paperback

In a world of supernatural beings, not knowing what you are is dangerous.

After Reeni Dutta's ex-husband Karl attacks her at a music festival, she finds a refuge teaching cryptid construct children at Klone's Stronghold in northeastern Oregon's isolated Bucket Mountains. But things are not as they seem at the Stronghold, from the older proprietors of a nearby store and the Stronghold's leader Alexander Reed Klone, to Reeni herself. She discovers it's not just Karl who seeks to control who and what she is, but forces from her past that threaten her present. Can she learn the truth about herself and do what is needed in time to defend the Stronghold?

About Joyce

Joyce Reynolds-Ward is a speculative fiction writer who splits her time between Enterprise and Portland, Oregon. Her short stories have appeared in Well...It's Your Cow, Children of a Different Sky, Steam. And Dragons, Allegory, River, and Fantasy Scroll Magazine, among others. Her books include Shadow Harvest, Alien Savvy, Netwalking Space, Pledges of Honor (2018 Self Published Fantasy BlogOff Semifinalist), Challenges of Honor, and Klone's Stronghold. Projected 2019 book publications include Beating the Apocalypse and Choices of Honor. Joyce has edited two anthologies, Pulling Up Stakes (2018), and Whimsical Beasts (2019). Besides writing, Joyce enjoys reading, quilting, horses, skiing, and outdoor activities. She has been a member of Soroptimist International of Wallowa County since 2017.


Tuesday, August 20, 2019

SPFBO 5 Interview: Virginia McClain, author of Blade's Edge

Please welcome Virginia McClain to The Qwillery as part of the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off 5 Interviews. Virginia has submitted Blade's Edge to SPFBO 5.

Follow the fate of all the entrants at

TQ Welcome to The Qwillery. What is the first fiction piece you remember writing?

Virginia:  Well, I still have a collection of very short stories that I wrote in crayon about some hedgehog knights and their dragon adversaries. The spelling is very creative. I was about five or six. The stories are all illustrated. I'm sorry to say that my drawing skills have not improved over the years, but I like to think that both my writing and spelling are substantially better off.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Virginia:  These days I am a firm hybrid. I was a pure pantser for quite a while, but I've gotten a bit more methodical over the years. My first novel started with nothing more than a vague idea of a character and a single scene and then I was off and running. These days I do detailed character sheets, and vague outlines before I start any book. It tends to leave me with less work when it comes to revisions.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Virginia:  I have a 2.5 year old so these days the hardest thing about writing is finding time to write without distractions. My daughter is wonderful, but if she's in the room it's generally difficult for me to get anything done besides advertising and graphic design work.

TQDescribe Blade's Edge using only 5 words.

Virginia:  Estranged friends united against corruption.

TQWhat inspired you to write Blade's Edge?

Virginia:  I was living in Japan, spending a fair bit of my time visiting the local shinto shrines and buddhist temples, and began to wonder what things would be like if the shinto spirits came out to interact with people regularly and if something like zen meditation were the key to magical practices. That was the first spark of the idea that turned into the world of Gensokai and the characters within.

TQPlease tell us about the cover for Blade's Edge.

Virginia:  The artist is the fabulous Juan Carlos Barquet (I ran a Kickstarter just so I could hire him to do the cover) and the artwork is sort of a combination of a few different elements from scenes in the book, not an exact rendering of a particular scene.

TQIn Blade's Edge who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Well, [spoiler redacted] was the easiest because [spoiler redacted] but [spoiler redacted] was the hardest, because [spoiler redacted]. So, [spoiler redacted] [spoiler redacted] [spoiler redacted]. Yeah.

TQDoes Blade's Edge touch on any social issues?

Many. The most prominent are governmental corruption and systemic misogyny.

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Blade's Edge.


       "Sachi narrowed her eyes at Mishi and tilted her head to one side. She thought for a moment before she replied.
       “Kuma-sensei once told me that the family we choose is even stronger than the family we’re given.”"

TQWhat's next?

Virginia:  Well, Blade's Edge's sequel was released in 2017, and since then I've been working on a humorous urban fantasy series called Victoria Marmot. I'm currently working on the fifth and final book in the series and plan to release both books four and five in the fall of this year. After that, I plan to start work on a third Chronicles of Gensokai book (the same series that Blade's Edge starts).

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Virginia:  Thank you!

Blade's Edge
Chronicles of Gensokai 1
Artemis Dingo Productions, January 23, 2015
     eBook, 314 pages
Also available in Trade Paperback

The Kisōshi, elite warriors with elemental powers, have served as the rulers and protectors of the people of Gensokai for more than a thousand years. Though it is believed throughout Gensokai that there is no such thing as a female Kisōshi, the Rōjū ruling council goes to great lengths to ensure that no one dares ask why.

Even as young girls, Mishi and Taka know that they risk severe punishment - or worse - if anyone were to discover their powers. This shared secret forms a deep bond between them until, taken from their orphanage home and separated, the two girls must learn to survive in a world where their very existence is a crime. Yet when the girls learn the dark secret of the Rōjū council, they discover that much more than their own survival is at stake.

About Virginia

Virginia thinks dangling from the tops of hundred foot cliffs is a good time. She also enjoys hauling a fifty pound backpack all over the Grand Canyon and sleeping under the stars. Sometimes she likes running for miles through the desert, mountains, or wooded flatlands, and she always loves getting lost in new places where she may or may not speak the language.

From surviving earthquakes in Japan, to putting out a small forest fire in Montana, Virginia has been collecting stories from a very young age. She works hard to make her fiction as adventurous as her life and her life as adventurous as her fiction. Both take a lot of imagination.

She recently moved to Winnipeg with her husband (a Manitoba native) and their dog.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter

Monday, August 19, 2019

SPAWN #300 - Todd McFarlane Covers!


PORTLAND, Ore. 08/17/2019 — Image Comics is pleased to finally reveal the highly anticipated Todd McFarlane covers for the upcoming milestone SPAWN #300 issue by Todd McFarlane, President at Image Comics and creator of SPAWN.

The record-setting SPAWN #300 hits stores on Wednesday, September 4. The final order cutoff for retailers is Monday, August 12.

  • SPAWN #300 CVR A MCFARLANE - Diamond Code JUN190014
  • SPAWN #300 CVR B B&W MCFARLANE - Diamond Code JUN190015
  • SPAWN #300 CVR C CAPULLO - Diamond Code JUN190016
  • SPAWN #300 CVR D CAPULLO VIRGIN - Diamond Code JUN190017
  • SPAWN #300 CVR E CAPULLO & MCFARLANE - Diamond Code JUN190018
  • SPAWN #300 CVR F B&W CAPULLO & MCFARLANE - Diamond Code JUN190019
  • SPAWN #300 CVR G CAMPBELL - Diamond Code JUN190020
  • SPAWN #300 CVR H OPENA - Diamond Code JUN190021
  • SPAWN #300 CVR I ALEXANDER - Diamond Code JUN190022
  • SPAWN #300 CVR K 25 COPY (limited) CAPULLO & MCFARLANE VIRGIN - JUN190024
  • SPAWN #300 CVR L 50 COPY (limited) MCFARLANE  VIRGIN - JUN190025
  • SPAWN #300 CVR N CAMPBELL B&W - JUN199042
  • SPAWN #300 CVR P OPEÑA B&W - JUN199044

Momentum and frenzied buzz surrounding the classic antihero series continues to build leading into historic SPAWN #300 and record-breaking SPAWN #301 when SPAWN becomes the longest running creator-owned comic in the world.

SPAWN is currently being adapted for film—a gritty, R-rated reimagining—which will mark Image President, co-founder and SPAWN creator, Todd McFarlane’s film directorial debut. McFarlane, an Emmy/Grammy-winning producer/director is also on board as screenwriter and producer.

SPAWN sold an unprecedented 1.7 million copies at the time it was released and is one of the world’s best-selling and longest-running monthly comic books, with hundreds of millions sold worldwide in more than 120 countries, and 15 different languages.

The comic became an Emmy Award-winning animated series on HBO and a New Line Cinema feature film that grossed more than $100 million. McFarlane went on to direct and produce award-winning and critically acclaimed projects for top movie studios and record labels.

Follow Todd McFarlane on Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

Image Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 1992 by a collective of bestselling artists. Image has since gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. Image currently has six individuals on the Board of Directors: Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, Jim Valentino, and Eric Stephenson. It consists of five major houses: Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline Comics, Skybound Entertainment, 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

The View From Monday - August 19, 2019

Happy Monday After the Hugo Awards!

There are 3 Debuts this week:

Lies of Descent (Fallen Gods' War 1) by Troy Carrol Bucher;


American Magic by Zach Fehst.

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

From formerly featured DAC Authors:

Meet Me in the Future: Stories by Kameron Hurley

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.

August 20, 2019
The Emperor's Fist: A Blackhawk Novel Jay Allan SF - Far Stars 4
Black From the Future: A Collection of Black Speculative Writing Stephanie Andrea Allen (Ed)
Lauren Cherelle (Ed)
SF - Anthology
The Ninth Circle (ri) Alex Bell SF/Sus
And Cannot Come Again (h2tp) Simon Bestwick DF/GH/SS
The Cruel Stars John Birmingham SF/SO
Turning Darkness Into Light Marie Brennan F/HistF
Lies of Descent (D) Troy Carrol Bucher F - Fallen Gods' War 1
Parable of the Talents (ri) Octavia E. Butler Dys/CW/SF/AP/PA/CoA
Echoes: The Saga Anthology of Ghost Stories Ellen Datlow (Ed) GH - Anthology
Our War Craig DiLouie Dys/Pol/Th
American Magic: A Thriller (D) Zach Fehst SupTh/UF/Tech
Ahab's Return: or, The Last Voyage (h2tp) Jeffrey Ford HistM
American Saint Sean Gandert LF/SF/HL
Hamilcar: Champion of the Gods David Guymer F - Warhammer: Age of Sigmar
Konrad Curze: The Night Haunter Guy Haley SF/SO - Horus Heresy: Primarchs 12
The First Girl Child Amy Harmon HistF/RF
The Warehouse Rob Hart TechTh/HSF/Dys
Champions of the Mortal Realms Darius Hinks
Evan Dicken
Nick Horth
Robbie MacNiven
F - Warhammer: Age of Sigmar
Radio Dark Shane Hinton AB/PA
Meet Me in the Future: Stories Kameron Hurley SF - Collection
Automatic Eve Rokuro Inui
Matt Treyvaud (Tr)
SF/SP - Automatic Eve
Threadbare Elle E. Ire SF - Storm Fronts 1
The Falling Sword Ben Kane Hist - Clash of Empires
Servants of the Imperium Nick Kyme
Danie Ware
Ian St. Martin
SF - Warhammer 40,000
Inch by Inch Morgan Llywelyn SF/PA/AP/TechTh - Step by Step 2
The Uriel Ventris Chronicles: Volume 2 Graham McNeill SF/SE - Warhammer 40,000 2
Blood Communion (h2tp) Anne Rice Occ/Sup/PSupTh - Vampire Chronicles 13
Needle in a Timestack: And Other Stories (e)(ri) Robert Silverberg SF
Hawksbill Station (e)(ri) Robert Silverberg SF/TT
Up the Line (e)(ri) Robert Silverberg SF
Water and Wind John F.D. Taff SupTh/H - The Fearing 2
Empty Hearts Juli Zeh
John Cullen (Tr)

August 21, 2019
Best of British Science Fiction 2018 Donna Scott (Ed) SF- Anthology

August 22, 2019
Hellrider (ri) JG Faherty H - Fiction Without Frontiers
The Darkest Lullaby (ri) Jonathan Janz H - Fiction Without Frontiers
A Killing Fire (ri) Faye Snowden Th - Fiction Without Frontiers

August 23, 2019
River of Souls T L Bodine H

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

AB - Absurdist
AC - Alien Contact
AH - Alternative History
AP - Apocalyptic
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CoA - Coming of Age
CW - Contemporary Women
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tales
FL - Family Life
FolkT - Folk Tales
FR - Fantasy Romance
GenEng - Genetic Engineering
GH - Ghost(s)
H - Horror
HC - History & Criticism
Hist - Historical
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HistM - Historical Mystery
HL - Hispanic and Latino
HSF - Hard Science Fiction
HU - Humorous
LC - Literary Criticism
LF - Literary Fiction
LM - Legend and Mythology
M - Mystery
MR - Magical Realism
MTI - Media Tie-In
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PM - Paranormal Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
PolTh - Political Thriller
RF - Romantic Fantasy
SE - Space Exploration
SF - Science Fiction
SO - Space Opera
SP - Steampunk
SS - Short Stories
SupM - Supernatural Mystery
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Sus - Suspense
TechTh - Technological Thriller
Th - Thriller
Tech - Technology
TT - Time Travel
UF - Urban Fantasy
W - Westerns

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

Sunday, August 18, 2019

2019 Hugo Awards - Winners

The Winners for the 2019 Hugo Awards have been announced by Dublin 2019 Worldcon. The Hugo Awards were presented at Dublin 2019 An Irish Worldcon in Dublin, Ireland, August 19, 2019.

Congratulations to all of the Winners!

Winners in green.

2019 Hugo Awards Winners

Best Novel
  • The Calculating Stars, by Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)
  • Record of a Spaceborn Few, by Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton / Harper Voyager)
  • Revenant Gun, by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris)
  • Space Opera, by Catherynne M. Valente (Saga)
  • Spinning Silver, by Naomi Novik (Del Rey / Macmillan)
  • Trail of Lightning, by Rebecca Roanhorse (Saga)

Best Novella
  • Artificial Condition, by Martha Wells ( Publishing)
  • Beneath the Sugar Sky, by Seanan McGuire ( Publishing)
  • Binti: The Night Masquerade, by Nnedi Okorafor ( Publishing)
  • The Black God’s Drums, by P. Djèlí Clark ( Publishing)
  • Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach, by Kelly Robson ( Publishing)
  • The Tea Master and the Detective, by Aliette de Bodard (Subterranean Press / JABberwocky Literary Agency)

Best Novelette
  • “If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again,” by Zen Cho (B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog, 29 November 2018)
  • “The Last Banquet of Temporal Confections,” by Tina Connolly (, 11 July 2018)
  • “Nine Last Days on Planet Earth,” by Daryl Gregory (, 19 September 2018)
  • The Only Harmless Great Thing, by Brooke Bolander ( Publishing)
  • “The Thing About Ghost Stories,” by Naomi Kritzer (Uncanny Magazine 25, November-December 2018)
  • “When We Were Starless,” by Simone Heller (Clarkesworld 145, October 2018)

Best Short Story
  • “The Court Magician,” by Sarah Pinsker (Lightspeed, January 2018)
  • “The Rose MacGregor Drinking and Admiration Society,” by T. Kingfisher (Uncanny Magazine 25, November-December 2018)
  • “The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington,” by P. Djèlí Clark (Fireside Magazine, February 2018)
  • “STET,” by Sarah Gailey (Fireside Magazine, October 2018)
  • “The Tale of the Three Beautiful Raptor Sisters, and the Prince Who Was Made of Meat,” by Brooke Bolander (Uncanny Magazine 23, July-August 2018)
  • “A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies,” by Alix E. Harrow (Apex Magazine, February 2018)

Best Series
  • The Centenal Cycle, by Malka Older ( Publishing)
  • The Laundry Files, by Charles Stross (most recently Publishing and Tor/Orbit)
  • Machineries of Empire, by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris)
  • The October Daye Series, by Seanan McGuire (most recently DAW)
  • The Universe of Xuya, by Aliette de Bodard (most recently Subterranean Press)
  • Wayfarers, by Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton / Harper Voyager)

Best Related Work
  • Archive of Our Own, a project of the Organization for Transformative Works
  • Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction, by Alec Nevala-Lee (Dey Street Books)
  • The Hobbit Duology (documentary in three parts), written and edited by Lindsay Ellis and Angelina Meehan (YouTube)
  • An Informal History of the Hugos: A Personal Look Back at the Hugo Awards, 1953-2000, by Jo Walton (Tor)
  • The Mexicanx Initiative Experience at Worldcon 76 (Julia Rios, Libia Brenda, Pablo Defendini, John Picacio)
  • Ursula K. Le Guin: Conversations on Writing, by Ursula K. Le Guin with David Naimon (Tin House Books)

Best Graphic Story
  • Abbott, written by Saladin Ahmed, art by Sami Kivelä, colours by Jason Wordie, letters by Jim Campbell (BOOM! Studios)
  • Black Panther: Long Live the King, written by Nnedi Okorafor and Aaron Covington, art by André Lima Araújo, Mario Del Pennino and Tana Ford (Marvel)
  • Monstress, Volume 3: Haven, written by Marjorie Liu, art by Sana Takeda (Image Comics)
  • On a Sunbeam, by Tillie Walden (First Second)
  • Paper Girls, Volume 4, written by Brian K. Vaughan, art by Cliff Chiang, colours by Matt Wilson, letters by Jared K. Fletcher (Image Comics)
  • Saga, Volume 9, written by Brian K. Vaughan, art by Fiona Staples (Image Comics)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form
  • Annihilation, directed and written for the screen by Alex Garland, based on the novel by Jeff VanderMeer (Paramount Pictures / Skydance)
  • Avengers: Infinity War, screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo (Marvel Studios)
  • Black Panther, written by Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole, directed by Ryan Coogler (Marvel Studios)
  • A Quiet Place, screenplay by Scott Beck, John Krasinski and Bryan Woods, directed by John Krasinski (Platinum Dunes / Sunday Night)
  • Sorry to Bother You, written and directed by Boots Riley (Annapurna Pictures)
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, screenplay by Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman, directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman (Sony)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form
  • The Expanse: “Abaddon’s Gate,” written by Daniel Abraham, Ty Franck and Naren Shankar, directed by Simon Cellan Jones (Penguin in a Parka / Alcon Entertainment)
  • Doctor Who: “Demons of the Punjab,” written by Vinay Patel, directed by Jamie Childs (BBC)
  • Dirty Computer, written by Janelle Monáe, directed by Andrew Donoho and Chuck Lightning (Wondaland Arts Society / Bad Boy Records / Atlantic Records)
  • The Good Place: “Janet(s),” written by Josh Siegal & Dylan Morgan, directed by Morgan Sackett (NBC)
  • The Good Place: “Jeremy Bearimy,” written by Megan Amram, directed by Trent O’Donnell (NBC)
  • Doctor Who: “Rosa,” written by Malorie Blackman and Chris Chibnall, directed by Mark Tonderai (BBC) 

Best Professional Editor, Short Form
  • Neil Clarke
  • Gardner Dozois
  • Lee Harris
  • Julia Rios
  • Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas
  • E. Catherine Tobler

Best Professional Editor, Long Form
  • Sheila E. Gilbert
  • Anne Lesley Groell
  • Beth Meacham
  • Diana Pho
  • Gillian Redfearn
  • Navah Wolfe

Best Professional Artist
  • Galen Dara
  • Jaime Jones
  • Victo Ngai
  • John Picacio
  • Yuko Shimizu
  • Charles Vess 

Best Semiprozine
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies, editor-in-chief and publisher Scott H. Andrews
  • Fireside Magazine, edited by Julia Rios, managing editor Elsa Sjunneson-Henry, social coordinator Meg Frank, special features editor Tanya DePass, founding editor Brian White, publisher and art director Pablo Defendini
  • FIYAH Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction, executive editors Troy L. Wiggins and DaVaun Sanders, editors L.D. Lewis, Brandon O’Brien, Kaleb Russell, Danny Lore, and Brent Lambert
  • Shimmer, publisher Beth Wodzinski, senior editor E. Catherine Tobler
  • Strange Horizons, edited by Jane Crowley, Kate Dollarhyde, Vanessa Rose Phin, Vajra Chandrasekera, Romie Stott, Maureen Kincaid Speller, and the Strange Horizons Staff
  • Uncanny Magazine, publishers/editors-in-chief Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas, managing editor Michi Trota, podcast producers Erika Ensign and Steven Schapansky, Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction Special Issue editors-in-chief Elsa Sjunneson-Henry and Dominik Parisien

Best Fanzine
  • Galactic Journey, founder Gideon Marcus, editor Janice Marcus
  • Journey Planet, edited by Team Journey Planet
  • Lady Business, editors Ira, Jodie, KJ, Renay & Susan
  • nerds of a feather, flock together, editors Joe Sherry, Vance Kotrla and The G
  • Quick Sip Reviews, editor Charles Payseur
  • Rocket Stack Rank, editors Greg Hullender and Eric Wong 

Best Fancast
  • Be the Serpent, presented by Alexandra Rowland, Freya Marske and Jennifer Mace
  • The Coode Street Podcast, presented by Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe
  • Fangirl Happy Hour, hosted by Ana Grilo and Renay Williams
  • Galactic Suburbia, hosted by Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, and Tansy Rayner Roberts, produced by Andrew Finch
  • Our Opinions Are Correct, hosted by Annalee Newitz and Charlie Jane Anders
  • The Skiffy and Fanty Show, produced by Jen Zink and Shaun Duke, hosted by the Skiffy and Fanty Crew

Best Fan Writer
  • Foz Meadows
  • James Davis Nicoll
  • Charles Payseur
  • Elsa Sjunneson-Henry
  • Alasdair Stuart
  • Bogi Takács 

Best Fan Artist
  • Sara Felix
  • Grace P. Fong
  • Meg Frank
  • Ariela Housman
  • Likhain (Mia Sereno)
  • Spring Schoenhuth

Best Art Book
  • The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition, illustrated by Charles Vess, written by Ursula K. Le Guin (Saga Press /Gollancz)
  • Daydreamer’s Journey: The Art of Julie Dillon, by Julie Dillon (self-published)
  • Dungeons & Dragons Art & Arcana: A Visual History, by Michael Witwer, Kyle Newman, Jon Peterson, Sam Witwer (Ten Speed Press)
  • Spectrum 25: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art, ed. John Fleskes (Flesk Publications)
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – The Art of the Movie, by Ramin Zahed (Titan Books)
  • Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth, ed. Catherine McIlwaine (Bodleian Library)

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer
  • Katherine Arden (2nd year of eligibility)
  • S.A. Chakraborty (2nd year of eligibility)
  • R.F. Kuang (1st year of eligibility)
  • Jeannette Ng (2nd year of eligibility)
  • Vina Jie-Min Prasad (2nd year of eligibility)
  • Rivers Solomon (2nd year of eligibility) 

Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book
  • The Belles, by Dhonielle Clayton (Freeform / Gollancz)
  • Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi (Henry Holt / Macmillan Children’s Books)
  • The Cruel Prince, by Holly Black (Little, Brown / Hot Key Books)
  • Dread Nation, by Justina Ireland (Balzer + Bray)
  • The Invasion, by Peadar O’Guilin (David Fickling Books / Scholastic)
  • Tess of the Road, by Rachel Hartman (Random House / Penguin Teen)