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A blog about books and other things speculative

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The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams - Cover - April 26, 2011

Sandy Williams' debut The Shadow Reader (The Shadow Reader 1) will be published in October 2011 by Ace. Sandy revealed the cover today. I really like the expression on McKenzie Lewis's face.

The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams - Cover - April 26, 2011
Some humans can see the fae. McKenzie Lewis can track them, reading the shadows they leave behind. But some shadows lead to danger. Others lead to lies.

A Houston college student trying to finish her degree, McKenzie has been working for the fae king for years, tracking vicious rebels who would claim the Realm. Her job isn’t her only secret. For just as long, she’s been in love with Kyol, the king’s sword-master—and relationships between humans and fae are forbidden.

But any hope for a normal life is shattered when she’s captured by Aren, the fierce and uncompromising rebel leader. He teaches her the forbidden fae language and tells her dark truths about the Court, all to persuade her to turn against the king. Time is running out, and as the fight starts to claim human lives, McKenzie has no choice but to decide once and for all whom to trust and where she ultimately stands in the face of a cataclysmic civil war.
From Sandy's website


Sandy will be stopping by The Qwillery later this year for a 2011 Debut Author Challenge interview. What do you think of the cover?

Interview with Sable Grace and Giveaway - April 26, 2011

Please welcome Sable Grace to The Qwillery as part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge interviews. Sable Grace is Heather Waters & Laura Barone.

TQ:  What would you say are your most interesting writing quirks?

Heather:  Making up words and using real words incorrectly. I was picked on by my old critique group for years for that quirk, and I think our editor recently discovered it as well with my creative use of the word “stealthed,” which I’d used as a verb.

Laura:  Writing myself into a corner and leaving Heather to figure out how to get me us out of it. Okay, I call it a quirk, that goes right along with my inability to think about logic when in the midst of a scene, but I’m sure Heather would classify it as a major pain in her rear-end.


TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Heather:  My love for J.K. Rowling’s world building is unrivaled – for Julie Garwood’s characterization… for Susan Elizabeth Phillips’s way with humor and heart. They’re all three at the top of my list.

Laura:  Stephen King for his ability to take the simplest things and make them scary. J.K. Rowling’s for her storytelling skills. Jude Deveraux for her characterization and gifting one of my children with a love for reading.


TQ:  Are you plotters or pansters or a combination?

Heather & Laura:  We’re both pantsers at heart, but when you work on deadline, you have to pick up the disciplined traits of a plotter (unless you’re Nora Roberts or Stephen King) because you have to submit a synopsis of the book before it’s even written. Whether or not we stick to that synopsis…


TQ:  Describe Ascension in 140 characters or less.

Heather & Laura:  Vampyre doesn’t like humans. Must save them anyway.


TQ:  How did you collaborate to write Ascension?

Heather:  I usually will set up the plot and break down the scenes and provide a schedule. From there, we stick to the breakdown unless something feels wrong or needs tweaking.

Laura:  Once the hard work’s out of the way and we’ve agreed to everything that needs to happen as we see it at the moment, we work off each other’s scenes, letting the story build—and give us little surprises when things happen that we weren’t expecting or didn’t see coming. Since we pass the pages back and forth, each writing session starts with a round of editing, then it’s off to work on fresh pages to reach our daily quota.


TQ:  What inspired you to write Ascension?

Heather:  I was watching something completely unrelated on T.V. and got an image in my head of a woman hiding in a dumpster with police helicopters flying over head. She was rescued by a Vampyre who turned out to be Kyana. That scene was trashed and Kyana took the dumpster girl’s place as heroine, and Ascension was born.

Laura:  When she asked me to read that scene, I called her, all excited and told her she had to write the story because I was really interested in learning why the woman was hiding in the dumpster and what happened to her. She asked if it was something I’d like to work on too, and after making sure she wasn’t kidding, I let the idea of a creature with glowy red eyes take shape in my head. (That scene was cut, too, but Ryker’s claim as hero remained.)


TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Ascension?

Heather & Laura:  Fun stuff! We walked around St Augustine and took pictures, mapped out the fort that we used for our headquarters, ate lunch….. Then there’s the mythology research which wasn’t a chore either. The rest was pretty much made up!


TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in the book?

Heather: I have to say, there’s a scene where Ryker takes a little swim in the River Styx that I enjoy quite a bit.

Laura:  I’m particular to a little fight scene where Kyana learns that there are some she can’t intimidate. Doesn’t stop her from trying, but he definitely leaves his mark on her.


TQ:  How many books are planned for the Dark Breed series?

Heather & Laura:  As many as the readers and our editor want!


TQ:  What's next?

Heather  & Laura:  Book 2 is still untitled, but is due for release in January 2012. Book 3 is turned in, no title or release date, but you’ll see many of the characters from Ascension in both of those.


TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Heather & Laura:  Thank you so much for having us! This was fun!!


About Ascension

Ascension
Dark Breed 1
(April 26, 2011)
Interview with Sable Grace and Giveaway - April 26, 2011
The gates of hell have opened, and one woman will stand in the crossfire as the Dark Breed—vampyre, demons, shape shifters—and mankind fight their last battle for survival.

Kyana is half Vampyre, half Lychen . . . and the last of her kind. Determined, dangerous, and damned, she has no love for the mortals who have imprisoned and misused her. But when the Order of Ancients entrusts her with a mission—to find the key that will send the Dark Breed back into Hell for eternity—Kyana has no choice but to accept.

She is furious to learn her assignment comes with an escort . . . Ryker, a demigod and fierce warrior who long ago found a way under her skin and stayed there. In a shaky alliance, they discover an ancient cult with dangerous motive and a god who seeks to destroy all others. And as Kyana begins to feel the heat that threatens to bind her to Ryker, she knows she has to resist. For it could only mean the undoing of them both . . .

Amazon  | B&N | Book Depository | Borders


About Sable Grace

Interview with Sable Grace and Giveaway - April 26, 2011
Sable Grace is the writing team of Heather Waters & Laura Barone, long time critique partners and friends who came together by fluke to discover their voices fit together quite nicely during an experiment of "I'll write the first sentence, you write the next." It was meant to be nothing more than a warm up exercise for each of them to get started on their own projects, but soon, the story became far more interesting than what they were supposed to be working on and Sable Grace was born.

Both Heather and Laura reside in Florida, are happily married, and are, well, complete opposites. (Think the Odd Couple on crack here.) Still, there's enough common ground for them to weave their words together in the voice of Sable Grace.

Heather also writes medieval romances under her real name, which you can find at www.heatherwaters.net, and Laura is a Golden Heart finalist for her highly sensual manuscript, Mr. Right Now.
Sable's Links:

Website
Facebook
Twitter

The Giveaway

THE RULES

What:  One commenter will win a mass market paperback copy of Ascension(Dark Breed 1).

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

Which Greek god, goddess, or demigod is your favorite?

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. Void where prohibited by law.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

2011 Debut Author Challenge Update - April 25, 2011

Here is the latest addition to the 2011 Debut Author Challenge. K.M. Ruiz will be at The Qwillery for an interview during 2011.

K.M. Ruiz

Mind Storm
Thomas Dunne Books
May 2011

2011 Debut Author Challenge Update - April 25, 2011
The first in an exciting new sci-fi seriesthat’s being described as Blade Runner meets X-Men

Two hundred and fifty years after the world was nearly wiped out by nuclear war, what’s left of society fights over the scraps of the Earth as the rich and powerful plan to ascend in secret to another planet. But the deadly new breed of humanity that the rulers have enslaved to protect their interests are about to change everything.

K.M. Ruiz’s Mind Storm is the rip-roaring tale of Threnody Corwin, a “psion” with the ability to channel electricity like lightning through anything she touches. As a solider-slave for the human government, Threnody is recruited by an unknown enemy: the scion of Earth’s most powerful (and supposedly human) family, the Serca Syndicate. But Lucas Serca is far from human and he intends to make Threnody and her fellow psions meet their destiny, no matter how many people he has to kill to do it.

Mind Storm is the first of two books chronicling the fight for survival by the psions and other “gene-trash” humans, before they’re killed by the racist world government, or left to die on a crumbling Earth.

You can keep up to date on the 2011 Debut Author Challenge happenings on the 2011 DAC page.

2011 Debut Author Challenge Update - April 23, 2011

Here are the latest additions to the 2011 Debut Author Challenge. These authors will be stopping by The Qwillery for interviews and/or guest posts during 2011. (Authors listed in alphabetical order.)

Teresa Frohock

Miserere: An Autumn Tale
Night Shade Book
July 2011

2011 Debut Author Challenge Update - April 23, 2011
Exiled exorcist Lucian Negru deserted his lover in Hell in exchange for saving his sister Catarina's soul, but Catarina doesn't want salvation. She wants Lucian to help her fulfill her dark covenant with the Fallen Angels by using his power to open the Hell Gates. Catarina intends to lead the Fallen's hordes out of Hell and into the parallel dimension of Woerld, Heaven's frontline of defense between Earth and Hell.

When Lucian refuses to help his sister, she imprisons and cripples him, but Lucian learns that Rachael, the lover he betrayed and abandoned in Hell, is dying from a demonic possession. Determined to rescue Rachael from the demon he unleashed on her soul, Lucian flees his sister, but Catarina's wrath isn't so easy to escape.

In the end, she will force him once more to choose between losing Rachael or opening the Hell Gates so the Fallen's hordes may overrun Earth, their last obstacle before reaching Heaven's Gates.

John Hornor Jacobs

Southern Gods
Night Shade Books
August 2011

2011 Debut Author Challenge Update - April 23, 2011

Recent World War II veteran Bull Ingram is working as muscle when a Memphis DJ hires him to find Ramblin' John Hastur. The mysterious blues man's dark, driving music--broadcast at ever-shifting frequencies by a phantom radio station--is said to make living men insane and dead men rise.

Disturbed and enraged by the bootleg recording the DJ plays for him, Ingram follows Hastur's trail into the strange, uncivilized backwoods of Arkansas, where he hears rumors the musician has sold his soul to the Devil.

But as Ingram closes in on Hastur and those who have crossed his path, he'll learn there are forces much more malevolent than the Devil and reckonings more painful than Hell . . .

In a masterful debut of Lovecraftian horror and Southern gothic menace, John Hornor Jacobs reveals the fragility of free will, the dangerous power of sacrifice, and the insidious strength of blood.

You can keep up to date on the 2011 Debut Author Challenge happenings on the 2011 DAC page.

Interview with Douglas Hulick and Giveaway - April 19, 2011

Please welcome Douglas Hulick to The Qwillery as part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge Interviews.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Douglas:  I don't know if it's a quirk, but I can worry a sentence or paragraph to within an inch of its life if I'm not careful. Write once sentence, fiddle with it for five minutes, move on to the second sentence, then go back to the first again. It doesn't make for a high word rate some days, let me tell you.

I suppose the one thing that might qualify as a "quirk" is the music I listen to when I write. I don't always listen, mind you -- usually, I prefer silence -- but if I'm in a coffee shop or waiting room or the like and there's noise? Then I put on either surf music or a playlist of songs from the "Cowboy BeBop" soundtracks (a great anime SF show from the '90s). The music is only instrumentals, though; I can't write to music with lyrics.

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Douglas:  Favorite? Well, in the genre, it has to be Roger Zelazny, Barry Hughart, Sean Stewart, Joe Abercrombie and Gene Wolfe. Outside the genre, you're looking at Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, David Liss and Arturo Perez-Reverte.

As for influences...in written form, you definitely have Zelazny and Chandler and Hammett from above, as well as George Alec Effinger. I'm looking at Liss more and more to see how he fits his historical research so seamlessly into his novels, and I have to say I think Bernard Cornwell is a master when it comes to pacing an adventure story. They've all taught me something, and I've consciously studied how they structure their stories, tell their narratives, or fill their characters with life.

Outside the writer's circle it gets harder. There's so much media I've seen over the years--from old black & white gangster movies to Quentin Tarantino's work to Richard Lester & George MacDonald Fraser's 1970's Three and Four Musketeer films (which are the best ones ever made) to TV shows like "La Femme Nikita" and "Burn Notice"--where does it all stop? How can you say where one influence ends and the other begins when you get to these more transitory, or at least immediate, forms of story? I can't say one of those held a stronger sway over me than another, especially when you consider how long it took me to develop Drothe and his world; a lot of it was osmosis, picking up an idea here, and inspiration there, and turning or twisting it to fit (or not fit, in some cases) the piece I was working on. But I can't pretend these things didn't impact me as well, even if I can't point to a specific film or show or scene and say, "That one"; the acknowledgement needs to be made.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a panster?

Douglas:  A little of both, but more of a panster. I always try to know where the book is going, but that of course doesn't mean the story won't change between page one and "The End." If nothing else, I make sure I know what is coming for at least the next three chapters, so that I can set up the flow from one chapter to another and make sure I don't get too much of the same thing piling up one after the other.

I'm much more of a character writer, and so I tend to let them have their heads when things get rolling. Sometimes this works exceptionally well; other times? Eh, let's just say I have a lot of "scrap" files on my computer with wonderful bits of dialog or action or what have you that will never see the light of day. However, this also makes for a lot longer writing practice, and I'm hoping to work with at least a bit more on structure as time goes on.

I tend to refer to revisions as "pulling out the machete." While I'm pretty free-wheeling on the first draft, I'm ruthless when it comes to shaping and fixing things in the second. That's where the story really comes together and the layering begins.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Among Thieves?

Douglas:  I've wanted to be a writer since I was twelve. And I knew I wanted to write fantasy. But after that? Hmmm....

I don't think there was any one thing, really. Oh, there were bits and pieces: I distinctly remember having a very cinematic picture of two people standing over a third in the rain in a stable yard. This is where I met Drothe and Degan and Jelem (Jelem was the dead one), but quickly realized that wasn't the story they wanted to be in; but that's how I found the characters. Likewise, I can point to the first time I found a copy of a "Dictionary of the Underworld" by Eric Partridge. It's a dictionary of historical thieves' cant (criminal jargon) I bought on remainder in a bookstore in college. I didn't know it at the time, but it helped me better cement the culture and practices of the underworld of Ildrecca over the years, not to mention some of the characters. Then there's the P.I.-style character I used to write on a computer bulletin board in college, which helped give me Drothe's voice....

No, I can't really point to one thing: it was a process, driven by me simply wanting to write. Everything else was just added on over the years.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Among Thieves?

Douglas:  As I mentioned above, I stumbled across the concept of actual historical thieves' cant early on. That led to both learning more about historical criminal cultures, as well as some of their practices. There are pamphlets from the Elizabethan age that tell not only about the people who performed various crimes, but also how some of the crimes were carried out. This was invaluable for me not only in being able to see how criminals of the time operated, but also into getting an idea of how they were organized as well. And that was just the beginning. It's surprising how much is out there on this kind of thing now--it seems to be a growing field of academic study, which is just great for me.

I also have a B.A. and M.A. in medieval history, which helped quite a bit, if for no other reason than it gave me a lot to draw on. History is so chock-full of fascinating (and surprising) bits and pieces, it's hard not find inspiration there. A bit of a twist, a bit of a tweak, and voila!, you have a clever bit of something for your world.

Thirdly, I've been practicing and teaching historical rapier combat for over seven years now. This came in rather handy when writing the combat scenes (although it also got in the way at times: it's easy for me to get too detailed in describing a fight, which is why it's handy to have readers who don't handle swords to tell me when I've gone over the top in terms of detail or terminology).

TQ:  Describe Among Thieves in 140 characters or less.

Douglas:  Drothe, informant for a medieval mob, finds something he's not supposed to and gets in over his head. Danger, intrigue, and betrayal ensue!

(Hah, with one character to spare, even!)

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in the book?

Douglas:  There's one scene where, after I wrote it, I simply sat back and smiled. It's not the most important or definitive or character-altering scene in the book, but the way it read just made me happy. I never changed it. And when I got my first copies of the book, I opened one and random and came to that scene again--and it still made me smile.

It's a scene where Drothe, the narrator, isn't quite all there (he's been wounded, and is sitting in the rain, bleeding), but is the one to notice an impending danger approaching and tries to do something about it. The way the images and sensation combined with his narrative voice just seemed to click. Like I said, I still smile at how it turned out.

TQ:  How many books are planned for the Tales of the Kin series?

Douglas:  That's hard to say. I didn't conceive of this series as being a "trilogy" or "quartet" or anything like that. Each book is meant to stand on its own in terms of its main plot, with there being a sense of completion at the conclusion of each novel. I want the reader to be able to finish the story and not feel like they are balancing on the edge of a cliff, waiting for the next book to come out.

That said, there's also an over-arching storyline I'm trying to address in each book as well. That's more of a big-picture kind of thing, though, and something that can be dealt with in a number of ways in each novel: as a sub-plot, or part of the background, and so on. So while each book will have a definite "End", there will be aspects of the world and the occasional thread that won't always be resolved as neatly, since it is meant to be picked up again later.

But, getting back to your original question: I'm currently contracted for three books. If sales do well and my publisher wants more, I'll do some more; if not, then I'll be working overtime to finish up that bigger story arc by the end of book three. Either way, I don't want to leave readers hanging when everything is said and done.

TQ:  What's next?

Douglas:  Hard to say. Like I said, the Tales of the Kin is meant to be able to go for more books than contracted, but that doesn't mean it will. If it does, then that's what I'm going to be doing for at least a few more years; if not, well, I have a stand-alone urban fantasy that's 85% done. It's a lot of fun, and I'd love to get back to it and sell it. After that, I'm toying around with a fantasy in a French Revolution-era style setting. That's a period not as many people seem to play with in fantasy, and I think it has a lot of potential. However, I don't have anything more than one character and a very loose motivational arc for him, so that would need a lot more research and fleshing out before I was even ready to propose it to my editor. I've kicked around with a couple of steampunk ideas, too, and have a couple of protagonists in mind, but it's all tentative. Then there's the library at war with itself...

Yeah, no shortage of ideas.

Other than that? I'd like to get my life back into a regular rhythm. I've never been a fast writer, and doing a book a year is a new challenge for me ("Among Thieves" took over ten years). I'm getting a better handle on it, though, so I'm hoping that by the time I'm into Book 3, I'll have enough of a routine going that I can start fitting a few things back into my life that I've had to set aside for the last year or so while I learned how to be a professional writer.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Douglas:  Thanks so much for having me, and for featuring "Among Thieves" this April. I really appreciate it, and I hope the readers who took up the challenge to read the book enjoyed it.


About Douglas' Book

Among Thieves has 2 covers - US and UK.

Among Thieves
A Tale of the Kin 1
(April 5. 2011 - US)
Interview with Douglas Hulick and Giveaway - April 19, 2011Drothe has been a member of the Kin for years, rubbing elbows with thieves and murderers in the employ of a crime lord while smuggling relics on the side. But when an ancient book falls into his hands, Drothe finds himself in possession of a relic capable of bringing down emperors-a relic everyone in the underworld would kill to obtain.








 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Among Thieves
A Tale of the Kin 1
(April 1, 2011 - UK)
Interview with Douglas Hulick and Giveaway - April 19, 2011
An exciting new fantasy debut in the underground world of thieves...
 
Drothe is a Nose, an informant who finds and takes care of trouble inside the criminal organization he’s a part of. He also smuggles imperial relics on the side.
 
When his boss sends him to Ten Ways to track down who’s been leaning on his organization’s people, Drothe discovers hints of a much bigger mystery. Someone is trying to stir up trouble between lower-level criminal organizations, including the one Drothe belongs to. And there’s a book rumored to contain imperial glimmer (or magic) that a lot of very dangerous people seem to be looking for - including two crime bosses known as the Gray Princes.
 
When Drothe discovers the book, he finds himself holding a bit of swag that can bring down emperors, shatter the criminal underworld, and unlock forbidden magic…that's if he can survive long enough to use it.


About Douglas

Interview with Douglas Hulick and Giveaway - April 19, 2011
Photograph by Ben Zvan Photography
Douglas Hulick was born in Fargo, ND, but spent much of his life moving about the Midwest. Somehow, he kept ending up in the vicinity of Chicago, IL, which helps explain his abiding love of deep-dish pizza, Ferris Bueller, and Goose Island beer.

Growing up, there were always books in the house, and Douglas was encouraged to read both through example, as well as by the general policy of the house, which was that the answer was never “No” when it came to getting more books. Toys, games, and so on could be “no”, but not books. You see where this is going, yes?

Given this background, it was only logical that Douglas entered the University of Illinois with a dual major in computer science and mathematical theory–logical, that is, when you consider he changed majors within a year. After a few early academic hiccups (he got kicked out of school), as well as four different majors (psychology, business, liberal arts, and pre-law), Douglas settled into the study of history, with a minor in english. A Bachelor of Arts degree was eventually achieved, followed by a Master’s in medieval history at New Mexico State University. A PhD at an Ivy League university was considered, then happily discarded, after as year of study.

Needless to say, with his broad and varied academic background, it was only a matter of time before Douglas followed the storied path of so many Liberal Arts majors and took whatever the hell job he could find. Stints as a waiter, bartender, bookstore manager, pizza delivery driver, brewery worker, freelance RPG writer, and technical/business writer followed, until Douglas finally settled into the one career he seemed destined for: stay-at-home dad.

Somewhere along the way, a copy of “A Dictionary of the Underworld” by Eric Partridge fell into Douglas’s hands. Having sold a few fantasy short stories, Douglas thought a book that defined historical thieves cant (criminal jargon) and described some of the practices of that world might come in handy at some point. Little did he know.

Among Thieves, his first novel, grew out of this unlikely seed over the course of a decade. It was acquired by Roc/Penguin U.S.A. on Douglas’s 45th birthday in 2009.

Douglas lives with his wife and two sons in Minnesota. When not writing or chasing after his kids, he likes to practice and teach 17th century Italian rapier combat (in the tradition of Ridolfo Capoferro), cook, read, and hang out in coffee shops.

Douglas' Links

Website:  http://www.douglashulick.com/
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/douglas.hulick
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/DougHulick

The Giveaway

THE RULES

What:  One commenter will win a copy of the US Mass Market Paperback of Among Thieves.

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

Which cover do you like better - US or UK?

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Tuesday, April 26, 2011. Void where prohibited by law.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

2011 Debut Author Challenge Update - April 10, 2011

Here are the latest additions to the 2011 Debut Author Challenge. These authors will be stopping by The Qwillery for interviews and/or guest posts during 2011. (Authors listed in alphabetical order.)

Jo Anderton

Debris (cover art by Dominic Harman)
2011 Debut Author Challenge Update - April 10, 2011

Debris will be published by Angry Robot Books in October 2011.


Amanda Bonilla

Shaedes of Gray (Shaedes) is slated for publication in December 2011 from NAL.

For a century Darian has existed in a realm of darkness. Made and abandoned, she is a Shaede, virtually immortal with the ability to blend with the shadows once the sun sets. An assassin by trade, she spends her nights as a hired hand, meting out death for the highest bidder. She’s alone in the world, the last of her kind, merely existing—or so she thinks.


When her infatuated employer, Tyler, sends her out on a routine hit, Darian discovers that her new mark is not only another Shaede, but Alexander Peck, King of the Shaede Nation. Her not-so-chance meeting with Alexander takes her deep into the realm of who—and what—she really is. Only when she puts her life in his hands does the supernatural world unfold around her, revealing that she is not as alone as she once thought. Under the tutelage of Alexander’s fiercest warrior, she prepares to find and kill the man who set her adrift in the world of humans.


But with that quest comes danger. Not even Tyler, revealed as her unearthly protector, can save her once she crosses into their dark realm to face the truth. As her role in awakening an ancient evil is revealed, she must face who she was, who she is, and what she could become. From the author's website.

Douglas Hulick

Among Thieves (Tales of the Kin 1)
(April 5, 2011 US, ROC)
2011 Debut Author Challenge Update - April 10, 2011
Drothe has been a member of the Kin for years, rubbing elbows with thieves and murderers in the employ of a crime lord while smuggling relics on the side. But when an ancient book falls into his hands, Drothe finds himself in possession of a relic capable of bringing down emperors-a relic everyone in the underworld would kill to obtain.

Lisa Kessler

Night Walker (Night Walker Trilogy 1) is presently slated for release later this year and will be followed by Night Demon and Night Child. There will also be a novella titled Night Thief. The books will be published by Entangled Publishing.


Sandy Williams

The Shadow Reader will be published by ACE and is slated for November 2011.




As soon as there are covers and more information it will be posted in a 2011 Debut Author Challenge Update. You can also keep up to date on 2011 Debut Author Challenge happenings on the 2011 DAC page.

Interview with Jim N. Duncan and Giveaway - April 6, 2011

Please welcome J.N. Duncan to The Qwillery as part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge Interviews.

TQ:  Describe Deadworld in 140 characters or less.

J.N.:  Struggling FBI agent gets caught up in centuries-old conflict between two vampires.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

J.N.:  I'm a big plotter. I'll work out my story for several weeks before I actually start writing, and if things go according to plan, I'll have a chapter by chapter breakdown of the whole thing before word one gets on the page. Conversely, I do little, other than broad stroke characterization before I start, working that out as the story goes on the page. The drawback to that is I end up editing a lot of dialogue in my stories.

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

J.N.:  The bulk of my reading has come from fantasy and thrillers. A couple of my favorite authors/books is G.R.R.M.'s Ice and Fire Saga and King's Dark Tower series. The best writer I've read in the past year or so though, is Tana French. Wonderful, wonderful mystery writer.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a panster?

J.N.:  Given my above quirk, I'm totally a plotter. That said, often my plotting for a chapter will be something like, "investigates crime scene and sees ghost." This obviously leaves a fair bit to the imagination, so in some ways, I pants my way through, but I always know the general direction things are heading. I'll also "plot" my characterization out to some degree, designating points in the story where significant emotional develop points or conflicts arise. This is far more up in the air compared to the physical action of the story, but I still have clear goals in mind for the development of my characters. I am not the sort who can sit down at a starting point and then "see what happens." My brain doesn't function well that way.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Deadworld?

J.N.Deadworld was my "break" from writing a fantasy novel, which I had just finished after three years (and which I still plan on doing something with in the future). I went from third person epic, to first person thriller. Basically I wanted to do something different, and being a fan of the paranormal and big thriller reader, I wanted to write a paranormal thriller (which honestly, is what a lot of urban fantasy is, in my opinion). To that end, I am fond of vampire stories. I think they make cool villains, and so I went at it with the thought, "How can I take the vampire story in a little different direction?" What I ended up with, based on other favorite characters I've loved to read, is something along the lines of (and please don't take this as a literal blend because it's not) Eve Dallas meets Roland the Gunslinger. But it all started with the vampire character and his backstory, and where it might end up in present day.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Deadworld?

J.N.:  Honestly, not a whole lot. I looked up and got some general info about the FBI and how it's structured and operates, kinds of crimes they investigate, how they interact with local authorities and such. But I didn't want to get too detailed, because for one, it's so easy to get that stuff wrong, but also the story isn't about the FBI. I just wanted enough to make the elements feel legit. The nice thing about the paranormal end is that there really are no set rules. I'm free to create however I want as long as the rules are consistent. It was, and still is, a lot of fun developing how the living and dead aspects interact in my stories.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in the book?

J.N.:  Hmmm, tough one. I love the turning point in the middle of the book, very intense scene, at least it was to write it. Piano scene between Nick and Jackie was fun to write. And I loved the sequence in the funeral home. Hopefully readers find that one as dramatic as I did.

TQ:  How many books are planned for the Deadworld series?

J.N.:  I am contracted for three books right now. Beyond that all depends on the readers. I'd love to keep writing it though. The series is heading in a very intriguing direction, I think.

TQ:  What's next?

J.N.:  Next up is The Vengeful Dead. It'll be out in October, and I'm just starting into book three, which I'm tentatively titling The Lingering Dead.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery

J.N.:  It was great being here, and really glad to answer questions and talk about the book and being a writer. This is fun stuff.


About J.N.'s Books

Deadworld
(Deadworld 1)
Interview with Jim N. Duncan and Giveaway - April 6, 2011
She’s as tough as anything haunting Chicago’s streets. But to deal with an inhuman power that won’t stay buried, this FBI agent needs help that comes at an immortal price…

Jackie Rutledge has seen her share of supernatural killers. But her latest murder case is what recurring nightmares are made of. Brutally exsanguinated human victims, vanishing-into-the-ether evidence, and a city on the edge of panic mean that she and her psychic partner, Laurel, are going to need more than just backup …

So Jackie is fine with any help rugged P.I. Nick Anderson can give—even if that includes the impish ghost and sexy vampire who make up his team. But Nick is hiding secrets of his own. And Jackie’s investigation has plunged them both into a vengeful game reaching back centuries—and up against a malevolent force hungry for more than just victory…

Look for The Vengeful Dead in October 2011.
 
 
About J.N.
 
J.N. Duncan is a father of four and an aspiring teacher, living in Ohio. He's got as many pets as kids, and a partner who is published as well (romance author Tracy Madison). He's a big fantasy gamer, sf/f geek, lover of astronomy, and generally scores pretty high on the nerd scale, if one were to measure such things.

J.N.'s Links

Blog
Facebook
Twitter
Website (under construction)

The Giveaway

THE RULES

What:  One commenter will win a Mass Market Paperback copy of Deadworld.

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

What kind of supernatural help would you like on your investigative team?

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1)  Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2)  Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3)  Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Wednesday, April 13, 2011. Void where prohibited by law.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

2011 Debut Author Challenge - April Debut Authors

2011 Debut Author Challenge - April Debut Authors


Here are the debut authors and their novels for April 2011. Pick one or more and let us know in the comments which one(s) you'll be reading.

Deadworld
Author: J. N. Duncan
Series: Deadworld 1
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages
Publisher: Kensington (April 5, 2011)
Price: $6.99
Language: English
Genre: Urban Fantasy
ISBN: 978-0-7582-5566-2
2011 Debut Author Challenge - April Debut AuthorsShe’s as tough as anything haunting Chicago’s streets. But to deal with an inhuman power that won’t stay buried, this FBI agent needs help that comes at an immortal price…

Jackie Rutledge has seen her share of supernatural killers. But her latest murder case is what recurring nightmares are made of. Brutally exsanguinated human victims, vanishing-into-the-ether evidence, and a city on the edge of panic mean that she and her psychic partner, Laurel, are going to need more than just backup …

So Jackie is fine with any help rugged P.I. Nick Anderson can give—even if that includes the impish ghost and sexy vampire who make up his team. But Nick is hiding secrets of his own. And Jackie’s investigation has plunged them both into a vengeful game reaching back centuries—and up against a malevolent force hungry for more than just victory…


Among Thieves
Author: Douglas Hulick
Series: A Tale of the Kin 1
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 432 pages
Publisher: ROC (April 5, 2011) (US Cover)
Price: $7.99
Language: English
Genre: Fantasy
ISBN: 9780451463906
2011 Debut Author Challenge - April Debut Authors
Drothe has been a member of the Kin for years, rubbing elbows with thieves and murderers in the employ of a crime lord while smuggling relics on the side. But when an ancient book falls into his hands, Drothe finds himself in possession of a relic capable of bringing down emperors-a relic everyone in the underworld would kill to obtain.















Demon Hunting in Dixie
Author: Lexi George
Format: Trade Paperback, 384 pages
Publisher: Brava (April 26, 2011)
Price: $14.00
Language: English
Genre: Paranormal Romance
ISBN: 978-0-7582-6309-4
2011 Debut Author Challenge - April Debut Authors
A warrior, a demon, and the girl next door…

Looking For Trouble

Addy Corwin is a florist with an attitude. A bad attitude, or so her mama says, ‘cause she’s not looking for a man. Mama’s wrong. Addy has looked. There’s just not much to choose from in Hannah, her small Alabama hometown. Until Brand Dalvahni shows up, a supernaturally sexy, breathtakingly well-built hunk of a warrior from—well, not from around here, that’s for sure. Mama thinks he might be European or maybe even a Yankee. Brand says he’s from another dimension.

Addy couldn’t care less where he’s from. He’s gorgeous. Serious muscles. Disturbing green eyes. Brand really gets her going. Too bad he’s a whack job. Says he’s come to rescue her from a demon. Puh-lease. But right after Brand shows up, strange things start to happen. Dogs talk and reanimated corpses stalk the quite streets of Hannah. Her mortal enemy Meredith, otherwise known as the Death Starr, breaks out in a severe and inexplicable case of butt boils. Addy might not know what’s going on, but she definitely wants a certain sexy demon hunter by her side when it all goes down…


Ascension
Author: Sable Grace
Series: Dark Breed 1
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins (April 26, 2011)
Price: $7.99
Language: English
Genre: Urban Fantasy
ISBN: 9780061964404
2011 Debut Author Challenge - April Debut Authors
The gates of hell have opened, and one woman will stand in the crossfire as the Dark Breed—vampyre, demons, shape shifters—and mankind fight their last battle for survival.

Kyana is half Vampyre, half Lychen . . . and the last of her kind. Determined, dangerous, and damned, she has no love for the mortals who have imprisoned and misused her. But when the Order of Ancients entrusts her with a mission—to find the key that will send the Dark Breed back into Hell for eternity—Kyana has no choice but to accept.

She is furious to learn her assignment comes with an escort . . . Ryker, a demigod and fierce warrior who long ago found a way under her skin and stayed there. In a shaky alliance, they discover an ancient cult with dangerous motive and a god who seeks to destroy all others. And as Kyana begins to feel the heat that threatens to bind her to Ryker, she knows she has to resist. For it could only mean the undoing of them both . . .

 
The following book has a March 29, 2011 release date at online booksellers, but an April 2011 release date at the publisher. I'm including it in April based on the publisher's release date.
 
Soft Apocalypse
Author: Will McIntosh
Format: Trade Paperback, 256 pages
Publisher: Night Shade Books (April 2011)
Price: $14.99
Language: English
Genre: Science Fiction
ISBN: 978-1-59780-276-5
2011 Debut Author Challenge - April Debut Authors
What happens when resources become scarce and society starts to crumble? As the competition for resources pulls America's previously stable society apart, the "New Normal" is a Soft Apocalypse. This is how our world ends; with a whimper instead of a bang.

New social structures and tribal connections spring up across America, as the previous social structures begin to dissolve. Soft Apocalypse follows the journey across the Southeast of a tribe of formerly middle class Americans as they struggle to find a place for themselves and their children in a new, dangerous world that still carries the ghostly echoes of their previous lives.




Look for an interview with J.N. Duncan on April 6, 2011, Lexi George on May 4, 2011, and Sable Grace on April 26, 2011.

Embraced by Blood by Laurie London - Cover - March 5, 2011

I just noticed that the cover for Embraced by Blood is up at Laurie London's site. Embraced by Blood (July 2011) is the 2nd book in the the Sweetblood series.

Embraced by Blood by Laurie London - Cover - March 5, 2011
Is she a deadly temptation...or the one woman who can quench his eternal thirst?

Alfonso Serrano is a hunted man. For months he’s managed to elude the Darkbloods, vengeful foes who won’t rest until he’s dead. But he still craves one dangerous temptation: Lily DeGraff, the sexy Guardian agent he’ll risk anything to protect.

Lily is a wanted woman. Her talent for tracking Sweet-a rare blood type that’s addictive to vampires-makes her a prime target for enemy capture. Her only hope is the stealthy vampire operative who stole into her bed...then left her in despair. Danger aside-Lily won’t let Alfonso near her heart again-until an irresistible hunger draws them back together...and into an assassin’s snare.

From Laurie London's Website

Here's the cover for the 1st novel in the Sweetblood series, Bonded by Blood (February 2011):

Embraced by Blood by Laurie London - Cover - March 5, 2011
Movie location scout Mackenzie Foster-Shaw has always known that she's cursed to die young. No one can protect her from the evil that has stalked her family for generations—vampires who crave her rare blood type. Until one afternoon in a wooded cemetery, she encounters an impossibly sexy stranger, a man she must trust with her life.

For Dominic, a man haunted by loss, Mackenzie satisfies a primal hunger that torments him—and the bond they share goes beyond heat, beyond love. She alone can supply the strength he needs to claim his revenge. But in doing so, he could destroy her….

HQN

Look for an interview with Laurie on the 16th (of this month).

Interview with Hannah Jayne and Giveaway - March 3, 2011

Please welcome Hannah Jayne to The Qwillery as part as part of our 2011 Debut Author Challenge interviews.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Hannah:  I don’t think I have any real writing quirks – I pretty much hold tight to “butt in chair, hands on keys.” I will, however, not stop on any number 13. Not on page 13 or chapter 13 or – god forbid – word count 1313.

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Hannah:  I love female Southern authors – Jill McCorkle, Lee Smith, Kaye Gibbons. I really think that they laid the foundation for the whole “Chick Lit” genre with stories filled with strong, hilarious women dealing with terrible situations – cheating husbands, bad boyfriends, big thighs… Jill McCorkle’s Crash Diet was probably the most influential collection I’ve read in terms of finding a writing voice. In the fantasy genre, Juliette Blackwell is a huge influence. Her characters are fun, use of magic is excellent, and she has some of the best-written prose I’ve ever read.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a panster?

Hannah:  Under Wraps was a panster, but books 2 and 3 in the series are plotters. I’m not crazy about plotting/outlining in general, but for a writing career (complete with deadlines, synopses and expectations!), I’m finding plotting is a must!

TQ:  What inspired you to write Under Wraps?

Hannah:  I would love to say something awesome like “it came to me in a dream” or something equally dramatic but that’s so not the case. My agent was pitching my first novel, an as-yet unpublished romance called Rebound Guy, and though it was ultimately rejected, the editorial team came back with “we’re into paranormal. Can she do that?” To which I answered a resounding “no.” Then I called my agent back a day later and said, “Okay, this is what I’ve got.” Then UDA took on a life – and personality – all it’s own!

TQ: What sort of research did you do for Under Wraps?

Hannah:  Whether you believe in demons and spooks or not, it was really important to me to get the legendry right. This is serious business! I researched demons, demonology and “creatures” in fiction, mythology, film and legend, not to mention the myriad of cultural mentions of vampires, werewolves, etc. I’ve always been fascinated by the way something like the vampire myth spreads from culture to culture, how it is so remarkably similar throughout different countries. UDA gave me a great excuse to read every book and article on the subject!

TQ: Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in the book?

Hannah:  I think my favorite scene has to be when Sophie decides to prove how very “normal” she is and decides to make a pot roast, and drink a bottle of wine while doing so. Nothing tickles me more than airborne meat. I'm also partial to scenes that include Steve, the love-struck troll.

TQ: How many books are planned for The Underworld Detection Agency Chronicles? Will there be any short stories or novellas set in the UDA world?

Hannah:  So far there are three novels – book 1, Under Wraps, which is out now, book 2 will be released 11-11-11, and book 3 will follow early in 2012. As for more books, short stories and novellas? Stay tuned!! Something tells me both Steve and Nina might like to have their moments in the literary sun…

TQ: What's next?

Hannah:  I’m just putting the finishing touches on UDA book 3 (yet untitled), and finishing up a cozy mystery set on the Monterey Peninsula called Deadly Ever After.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Hannah:  Thank you so much for having me! I hope everyone enjoys Under Wraps!


Hannah's Books

Under Wraps
Underworld Detection Agency Chronicles 1
(March 1, 2011)
Interview with Hannah Jayne and Giveaway - March 3, 2011
Sick of wrongful-death lawsuits every time a full moon comes around? 
Call the Underworld Detection Agency.
As a human immune to magic, Sophie Lawson can help everyone from banshee to zombie transition into normal, everyday San Francisco life. With a handsome werewolf as her UDA boss and a fashionista vampire for a roommate, Sophie knows everything there is to know about the undead, the unseen, and the uncanny… 

Until a rash of gruesome murders has demons and mortals running for cover, and Sophie finds herself playing sidekick to detective Parker Hayes. Dodging raging bloodsuckers, bad-tempered fairies, and love-struck trolls is one thing. But when Sophie discovers Parker isn’t what he seems, she’s got only one chance to figure out whom to trust. Because an evil hiding in plain sight is closing in…and about to make one wisecracking human its means to ultimate power… 

Underworld Detection Agency Chronicles 2 will be released on 11-11-11, with a third book in early 2012.


About Hannah

Interview with Hannah Jayne and Giveaway - March 3, 2011Hannah Schwartz is a freelance writer and editor in the San Francisco bay area. In addition to short fiction, Schwartz is the author of the romantic novel Rebound Guy and co-authored the self-help book Crisis Queens: Guide to Your Quarterlife. She shares an apartment with two neurotic, feet-attacking cats, and has created a little dance to go along with the thundering tick of her biological clock.

As an avid reader and writer of chick-lit, finding chicklit.org was a natural (and a godsend!), discovered by wiling one too many hours away on the company clock.

Hannah's Links
Website
Facebook


The Giveaway

THE RULES

What:  One commenter will win a signed copy of Under Wraps directly from Hannah.

How:  Leave a comment telling The Qwillery the name of your paranormal organization? Make something up. You can even tell The Qwillery what your paranormal organization does! Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Thursday, March 10, 2011. Void where prohibited by law.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*
The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams - Cover - April 26, 2011Interview with Sable Grace and Giveaway - April 26, 20112011 Debut Author Challenge Update - April 25, 20112011 Debut Author Challenge Update - April 23, 2011Interview with Douglas Hulick and Giveaway - April 19, 20112011 Debut Author Challenge Update - April 10, 2011Interview with Jim N. Duncan and Giveaway - April 6, 20112011 Debut Author Challenge - April Debut AuthorsEmbraced by Blood by Laurie London - Cover - March 5, 2011Interview with Hannah Jayne and Giveaway - March 3, 2011

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