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2012 Debut Author Challenge - December 2012 Debuts

2012 Debut Author Challenge - December 2012 Debuts

There are 5 debuts for December.  Please note that I use the publisher's publication date in the United States, not copyright dates or non-US publication dates.

The December debut authors and their novels are listed in alphabetical order by author (not book title or publication date). Pick one or more and let us know in the comments which one(s) you'll be reading. If I've missed any, let me know in the comments.

Take a good look at the covers. Voting for your favorite December cover for the 2012 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place later this month.





Demon's Curse
Author:  Alexa Egan
Series:  Imnada Brotherhood
Publisher:  Pocket Books, December 26, 2012
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages
Price:  $7.99
Genre:  Paranormal Historical Romance
ISBN:  9781451672909

2012 Debut Author Challenge - December 2012 Debuts
She holds the key . . .

One of the mythical race of shape-shifting Imnada and a member of an elite military unit, Captain Mac Flannery suffers under a ruthless curse. As the result of a savage massacre on the eve of Waterloo, he and the men he served with are forced to live the hours of darkness trapped as their animal aspects. Now one of them has been murdered, and Mac suspects the existence of the Imnada may finally have been discovered. His only link to unearthing the truth—Bianca Parrino, the beautiful actress whom every man desires.

. . . to his forbidden desires

Forging a new life for herself after escaping the clutches of her abusive husband, Bianca is again drawn into violence when a dear friend is brutally murdered and she becomes a suspect. Forced to place her trust and her life in Mac’s hands as they flee a determined killer, Bianca cannot deny she is falling for the mysterious soldier. But will his dark secrets tear them asunder? Or will love be the key to breaking even the cruelest of spells?





The Trouble with Fate
Author:  Leigh Evans
Series:  Mystwalker
Publisher:  St. Martin's Press, December 24, 2012
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 368 pages
Price:  $7.99
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
ISBN:  9781250006400

2012 Debut Author Challenge - December 2012 Debuts
My name is Hedi Peacock and I have a secret. I’m not human, and I have the pointy Fae ears and Were inner-bitch to prove it. As fairy tales go, my childhood was damn near perfect, all fur and magic until a werewolf killed my father and the Fae executed my mother. I’ve never forgiven either side. Especially Robson Trowbridge. He was a part-time werewolf, a full-time bastard, and the first and only boy I ever loved. That is, until he became the prime suspect in my father’s death…

Today I’m a half-breed barista working at a fancy coffee house, living with my loopy Aunt Lou and a temperamental amulet named Merry, and wondering where in the world I’m going in life. A pretty normal existence, considering. But when a pack of Weres decides to kidnap my aunt and force me to steal another amulet, the only one who can help me is the last person I ever thought I’d turn to: Robson Trowbridge. And he’s as annoyingly beautiful as I remember. That’s the trouble with fate: Sometimes it barks. Other times it bites. And the rest of the time it just breaks your heart. Again…





The Spear of Destiny
Black Sun Reich (Part 1 of 3)
Author:  Trey Garrison
Series:  Far Ranger Adventure
Publisher:  HarperVoyager, December 18, 2012
Format:  eBook, 100 pages
Price:  $0.99
Genre:  Alternate History/Horror/Adventure
ISBN:  9780062261250

2012 Debut Author Challenge - December 2012 Debuts
Black Sun Reich: Part One of three in The Spear of Destiny, the first novel in a new steampunk, horror, alternate history, action-adventure series set in a 1920s where the Nazis have begun their subjugation of the world using the occult, advanced science, and a holy relic with awesome powers.

And don't miss the other parts of this serialized novel—Part Two: Death's Head Legion and Part Three: Shadows Will Fall.

Trey Garrison recaptures the unapologetic adventure, wonder, and excitement of the classic pulp fiction of the 1930s and 1940s, blending elements of steampunk with deeply researched historical fiction and a good dose of humor. The novel also explores major philosophical and moral issues relevant to our contemporary world: the trade-off between security and liberty, the morality of preemptive war, and what fundamentally separates good from evil.

The North American continent is made up of several rival nations, and a Cold War is building among them. The Nazis rose to power a decade ago. People travel by airship, and powerful organizations calculate with Babbage's Difference Engine. The Nazis have hatched a plot to raise a legion of undead soldiers.

Enter Sean Fox Rucker and Jesus D'Anconia Lago, two Great War veterans and freelance pilots who are pulled into the quest. They are joined by a brash Greek merchant, a brilliant Jewish cowboy, and the woman who once broke Rucker's heart. This ragtag band of reluctant, bickering, swashbuckling heroes is soon locked in a globe-spanning race against Nazi occultists, clockwork assassins, and a darkly charismatic commando. In a world where science and the supernatural coexist, and the monsters of legend are as real as the necromancers who summon them from murky realms, our heroes alone stand before the rising shadows. But all their efforts may not be enough.





Nexus
Author:  Ramez Naam 
Publisher:  Angry Robot, December 18, 2012 (USA/Canada)
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook
Price:  $14.99
Genre:  Science Fiction
ISBN:  9780857662934

2012 Debut Author Challenge - December 2012 Debuts
Mankind gets an upgrade

In the near future, the experimental nano-drug Nexus can link human together, mind to mind. There are some who want to improve it. There are some who want to eradicate it. And there are others who just want to exploit it.

When a young scientist is caught improving Nexus, he’s thrust over his head into a world of danger and international espionage – for there is far more at stake than anyone realizes.

File Under: Science Fiction [ Humanity 2.0 | Mind Matters | Hive | This Will Happen ]





Sealed with a Curse
Author:  Cecy Robson
Series:  Weird Girls
Publisher:  Signet Eclipse, December 31, 2012 
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 368 pages
Price:  $7.99
Genre:  Urban Fantasy Romance
ISBN9780451416735

2012 Debut Author Challenge - December 2012 Debuts
Celia Wird and her three sisters are just like other 20-something girls—with one tiny exception: they're products of a backfired curse that has given each of them unique powers that make them, well, weird…

The Wird sisters are content to avoid the local vampires, werebeasts, and witches of the Lake Tahoe region—until one of them blows up a vampire in self-defense. Everyone knows vampires aren't aggressive, and killing one is punishable by death. But soon more bloodlust-fueled attacks occur, and the community wonders: are the vampires of Tahoe cursed with a plague?

Celia reluctantly agrees to help Misha, the handsome leader of an infected vampire family. But Aric, the head of the werewolf pack determined to destroy Misha's family to keep the region safe, warns Celia to stay out of the fight. Caught between two hot alphas, Celia must find a way to please everyone, save everyone, and oh yeah, not lose her heart to the wrong guy—or die a miserable death. Because now that the evil behind the plague knows who Celia is, it’s coming for her and her sisters. This Wird girl has never had it so tough.






Guest Blog by Melissa F. Olson - What do Vampires Want? - November 26, 2012

Please welcome Melissa F. Olson to The Qwillery as part of the 2012 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. Dead Spots (Scarlett Bernard 1) was published on October 30, 2012.



Guest Blog by Melissa F. Olson - What do Vampires Want? - November 26, 2012




What do Vampires Want?

It’s easy, when writing about vampires, werewolves, and witches, to find yourself committing literary teleportation. As a culture we’ve been consuming entertainment about these creatures for hundreds of years: we’ve seen the movies, we’ve read the books, we’ve bought the delicious marshmallowy cereal. The rules of supernatural mythology are always going to be a bit flexible – some werewolves transform only at the full moon, for example, while others can do it whenever they want – but there is definitely a well-established archetype, an impression, that we all carry for each creature, and it’s so easy to just insert that guy into your work. Bam! Dracula Cullen is teleported into my new book. Easy peasy.

When I began writing my urban fantasy novel, Dead Spots, I realized that the real challenge isn’t just building a world – it’s escaping the archetype. It’s hard enough to write an original, believable, three-dimensional human character. How do you turn such well-known monsters into realistic people who became monsters? This has all been done so many times, in so many ways: how can I, as a twenty-first century writer, possibly turn out something that hasn’t been done a thousand times by people who are better and more experienced? It’s really very daunting.

The plan that I came up with was this: go back to basics. As I began writing Dead Spots, I sat down and asked myself what felt like a very silly question: If I were a 200-year-old vampire, what would I want? I know, I know – it sounds so rudimentary it’s stupid. But it’s actually a pretty tough question, because entertainment has been so saturated with vampires, that we’ve gotten pretty far away from a basic literary element like motivation.

So let’s stop and think. We all dream of doing things in our lifetimes, but we always consider what we can do within a human lifetime. If you don’t die or even age anymore, what happens when you’ve crossed off everything on your bucket list? You’ve learned languages, traveled (sunlight permitting), acquired riches, read books, secured a blood supply, etc. Then what? What exactly do you want to do with your eternity? Wait around for the next season of Dexter?

I have to tell you, that one simple question made me consider vampires differently. In other books and movies, the vampires seem to want power and blood. World domination, maybe. But when you really think about it, doesn’t world domination seem kind of…exhausting? Not to mention overexposed. Vampires are a parasitic species, after all. They’re predators who have evolved to hide in the shadows and take what they need. And for all their power, they’re also very, very vulnerable. It doesn’t matter how old or how many you are – you have to die, or at least sleep, during the day. There will always be that weakness, and it just doesn’t fit with a dictator/puppetmaster kind of lifestyle.

So I made the decision that my main vampire, Dashiell, wasn’t interested in ruling the world, or starting a human blood farm, or finding a cure, or any of that other nonsense. Like most vampires in my book, he has a great emptiness inside him, because when you’ve lost everyone and everything from your human life, you can’t help but lose some of your humanity, too. But in my world, that’s not the same thing as not having a soul—or a calling. Dashiell is the most powerful vampire in Los Angeles, and he has some old-fashioned ideas about power and responsibility. He makes it his mission to protect all of the weaker vampires in the city. That’s what he wants. But I didn’t figure that out until I sat down, held very still, and started asking stupid questions.

Once I had the vampire, it got easier. In my world, all three factions of the supernatural have a leader, and all three leaders are committed, above anything else, to taking care of their people. And I’d like to think that helps to –for lack of a better word – humanize them a little. Whenever I find myself picturing a shadowy, good-looking guy sneaking around in the dark with his fangs out, or a slobbering, uncontrollable wolf-monster, or a Disney-style wicked witch, I stop what I’m doing and think about the character’s actual, reality-based motivation.

After all…supernatural creatures are people, too.






About Dead Spots

Dead Spots
Scarlett Bernard 1
47North, October 30, 2012
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 293 pages

Guest Blog by Melissa F. Olson - What do Vampires Want? - November 26, 2012
Scarlett Bernard knows about personal space: step within ten feet of her, and any supernatural spells or demonic forces are instantly defused—vampires and werewolves become human again, and witches can’t get out so much as a “hocus pocus.” This special skill makes her a null and very valuable to Los Angeles’s three most powerful magical communities, who utilize her ability to scrub crime scenes clean of all traces of the paranormal to keep humanity, and the LAPD, in the dark.

But one night Scarlett’s late arrival to a grisly murder scene reveals her agenda and ends with LAPD’s Jesse Cruz tracking her down to strike a deal: he’ll keep quiet about the undead underworld if she helps solve the case. Their pact doesn’t sit well with Dash, the city’s chief bloodsucker, who fears his whole vampire empire is at stake. And when clues start to point to Scarlett, it’ll take more than her unique powers to catch the real killer and clear her name.





About Melissa

Guest Blog by Melissa F. Olson - What do Vampires Want? - November 26, 2012
Melissa Olson was born and raised in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, and studied film and literature at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. So…culture shock. Never one for beer or cheese, anyway, Melissa came to love her new city, especially the climate, the movie-watching opportunities, and the food, pretty much in that order. After graduation, and a brief stint bouncing around the Hollywood Studio System, Melissa proved too broke for LA and moved to glorious Madison, WI, where she eventually acquired a master’s degree from UW-Milwaukee, a husband, a mortgage, two kids, and two comically oversized dogs, not at all in that order. She loves Madison and it’s proximity to her family, but still dreams of the food in LA. Literally. There are dreams.

Her work has been published in the Daily Trojan, the Chippewa Falls Herald Telegram, The International Journal of Comic Art, The La Crosse Tribune, U-Wire, Women on Writing.com, and the upcoming compilation The Universal Vampire. She has also presented or been on panels at the Midwest Popular Culture/American Culture Conference, the International Association of the Fantastic in the Arts Conference, and OdysseyCon 2012.

Website : Blog : Facebook : Twitter


Interview with Nancy Northcott, author of Renegade - November 23, 2012

Please welcome Nancy Northcott to The Qwillery as part of the 2012 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Renegade (The Protectors 1) was published on November 6th (eBook) and will be published on December 18th in Trade Paperback.



TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery.

Nancy:  Thanks, Sally. I’m delighted to be here!


TQ:  Writing quirks! What are some of yours?

Nancy:  I write in spurts. I do a lot of planning in my head and then can usually turn out a fair number of pages at a sitting. Then I plan some more, then write some more, and so on.

I’m a night owl. I like to write late at night when the house is quiet.

When I get stuck on a plot point, I sometimes play Tetris on our old Nintendo 64 console while my subconscious works out the problem.


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

Nancy:  There are so many authors on my keeper shelves that it’s tough to single out just a few.

Georgette Heyer made Regency England come alive for me. Even though her books would be G-rated, the people and their conflicts are clearly depicted. Kathleen Woodiwiss’s Shanna showed me hotter side to the genre and remains one of my favorite books. Ruark and Shanna ride an emotional roller coaster through the story.

J.R.R. Tolkien set the standard for sweeping plots, big stakes, and fantasy worldbuilding. So does Lois McMaster Bujold, whose Vorkosigan series takes up a lot of my shelf space. Bujold doesn’t incorporate a lot of romance, but the relationships she does build are wonderful.

I hope I’ve learned something from each of these authors.


TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Nancy:  I’m a plotter with a heavy dose of pantser improvisation. I like to have a road map, but I’m open to appealing detours.


TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Staying within the confines of a particular genre or subgenre has always been difficult for me, so I’m glad to see genre lines starting to blur a bit. Renegade is a primarily a romance, but it has a lot of action and detailed fantasy worldbuilding.


TQ:  Describe Renegade (The Protectors 1) in 140 characters or less.

Nancy:  Contemporary paranormal romantic suspense with a lot of action and wrenching emotion.


TQ:  What inspired you to write Renegade?

Nancy:  The idea probably came from a lot of different places. I’ve loved comic books and superheroes since grade school, and mages are much like superheroes. I’ve always enjoyed action and adventure, which drew me to epic fantasy, science fiction, mysteries, and thrillers. The loner hero battling to see justice done has always held a lot of appeal for me, and the hero of Renegade, Griffin Dare is in that tradition.

Such heroes need allies, so I gave him some in the best fantasy and comic book tradition. The secrecy of the mages was also inspired by comic book super-heroes and their secret identities.

A romance hero, of course, needs a heroine, but I like stories that put the hero and heroine at odds. I didn’t want them to be immediate, natural allies, so he’s a fugitive and she is the sheriff of the southeastern mages.


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

Nancy:  To build the world, I read Wicca, folklore, and New Age materials and talked to people who’re interested in those fields. I talked to artists about Griff’s painting skills and to a Latin professor about the mages’ use of Latin imperatives. I also had help with arming and transporting the mages. For medical questions, I turned to some friends who are doctors and to the two nurses who blog with me.

To find out about southern Georgia and the Okefenokee Swamp, I used the internet, which meant making some things vague. I’m willing to trust long-distance research only so much. When I finally saw the swamp, in May, I fell in love with the beauty of it. I brought a lot of ideas back with me.


TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? Hardest and why?

Nancy:  The easiest character was Val. Because she’s the shire reeve, the mage equivalent of a sheriff, she’s initially very rule-oriented, and I tend to be that way, too. The opening scene in the book, which is hers, is the first one that appeared in my head.

The hardest character was the villain. I won’t use the name because I don’t want to spoil the plot. It’s difficult for me to create a character who’s doing something I see as so very wrong and yet find a way for the character to consider it a good thing. I think it’s important that every character consider his or her actions not only justifiable but necessary.


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

Nancy:  Hmm. I have several favorites. One of them is the last scene in Chapter 3. It’s a fight scene, which is always a fun thing to write, with an important aftermath.

I like the character introductions in Chapter 4. That’s also our first look at the town of Wayfarer, and I enjoyed creating that community.


TQ:  What's next?

Nancy:  I’m doing revisions on Protector, a novella scheduled for March 2013. Its title plays off the series title, The Protectors, and I think of it as Protectors 1.5. It’s about a wildland firefighter and a helicopter pilot, both mages, who almost got together three years ago but think it’s maybe for the best they didn’t. They believe they’ve put their attraction behind them until they meet again while fighting a wildfire.

The second book in the series, Guardian, is scheduled for May 2013. I’m finishing those revisions now. It features Stefan Harper from Renegade and the FBI agent he once hoped to marry. They meet again when he’s called in to consult on a murder case she’s working. The attraction between them has persisted, to their mutual dismay, but the secrets and fears that drove them apart before still stand in their way.

I just returned from a research trip to the Okefenokee Swamp and am looking at ways to build the series from here. I have six, maybe seven, books planned, but there’s always the chance there will be more.

Thank you for having me as a guest at the Qwillery!

TQ:  My pleasure!




About Renegade

Renegade
The Protectors 1
Grand Central Publishing , November 6, 2012 (eBook)
December 18, 2012 (Trade Paperback)
Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

SHE FOLLOWS THE RULES

As the Collegium council's top sheriff of the southeastern United States, Valeria Banning doesn't just take her job seriously, she takes it personally. So when a notorious traitor wanted by the authorities suddenly risks his life to save hers, she has to wonder why.

HE BREAKS EVERY ONE OF THEM

As a mage, Griffin is sworn to protect innocents from dark magic, which is how he finds himself fighting side by side with the beautiful Valeria Banning. But when the council finds out the two have been working together, they're both left running for their lives-from the law, the threat of a ghoul takeover, and a possible Collegium mole.






About Nancy

Nancy Northcott’s childhood ambition was to grow up and become Wonder Woman. Around fourth grade, she realized it was too late to acquire Amazon genes, but she still loved comic books, science fiction, fantasy and YA romance. A sucker for fast action and wrenching emotion, Nancy combines the romance and high stakes she loves in her new contemporary mage series.

Married since 1987, she considers herself lucky to have found a man doesn’t mind carrying home a suitcase full of research books. Nancy and her husband have one son, a bossy dog, and a house full of books.


Website : Twitter : Facebook


Guest Blog by Alexa Egan - Writing Bass-Akwards - November 19, 2012

Please welcome Alexa Egan to The Qwillery as part of the 2012 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. Alexa's debut novel, Demon's Curse  (Imnada Brotherhood 1) will be published in December. Awaken the Curse, an e-novella prequel, will be published tomorrow.


Guest Blog by Alexa Egan - Writing Bass-Akwards - November 19, 2012



Writing Bass-Akwards

     DEMON’S CURSE, the first book in my new Imnada Brotherhood trilogy releases at the end of December. But for those who like an appetizer before their main course, I have AWAKEN THE CURSE, the prequel novella coming out tomorrow. Thank you…thank you…hold the applause…there’s more, for while Awaken precedes Demon by almost two years in chronological time, the novella was in fact written almost a year after the book was turned in.

     Now I’m not a builder but I know you can’t shingle a roof before you erect the rafters and it’s never a good idea to lay carpet before you put up the drywall. Likewise, writing the prequel to a story AFTER you write the story is not the brightest of notions.

     But in the case of Awaken, it seemed like the perfect idea.

     In fact, the novella seemed to grow backwards out of the first book almost naturally, offering readers the ultimate flashback as characters and backstories barely hinted at in the first book are allowed more scope than a few measly paragraphs could ever offer.

     AWAKEN THE CURSE is the story of James Duncallan and Katherine Lacey, estranged lovers reunited over an ancient stone dolmen and tales of strange creatures known as nightwalkers. As James and Katherine dig to discover the secret behind both mysteries, they uncover powerful Fey magic, deadly enemies, and a race of shapechangers thought extinct since the days of King Arthur.

     While writing backwards let me explore seeds I planted in Demon’s Curse, it also presented a host of challenges. For starters, I knew what had to happen. I couldn’t change the future or the first book (it was already in production), so plotting became trickier as I worked to tell the story I wanted to tell without contradicting myself, writing myself into a corner, or otherwise f@!#ing up.

     Did I enjoy the process, messy as it was? You bet! So much so I’ve decided to do it again with a second novella to bridge the first and second books in the series. Once again, the second book is complete as I sit down to write the novella that will precede it. Once again, I will be leaping back through time with characters who just begged to have their stories told. And once again, I will be challenged to erect the rafters after I’ve already laid the shingles. Difficult, but it seems I’m a skilled builder after all.




About The Imnada Brotherhood

Awaken the Curse
Imnada Brotherhood
Pocket Star, November 20, 2012
eBook, 100 pages

Guest Blog by Alexa Egan - Writing Bass-Akwards - November 19, 2012
One very passionate and very scandalous kiss separated university student James Farraday and professor’s daughter Katherine Lacey. Now five years later, James, the new Lord Duncallan, receives an unexpected summons from Kate’s father begging him to come to Wales. When James arrives, he finds Professor Lacey has vanished while studying a mysterious ancient obelisk and everyone blames the nightwalkers; sinister creatures said to haunt the surrounding remote Welsh mountains. Do these legends point to the existence of the Imnada; a race of shape-shifters said to have died off a thousand years ago? Or is the professor’s disappearance the result of a very human villain? James and Kate are determined to find out the truth, knowing it may be the only way to find her father.

Even as they work to unravel the mystery, they find that they’re not the only ones interested in the obelisk and the lost race of Imnada. Treasure hunter Gilles d’Espe believes the ancient dolmen is the focal point of the shape-shifters’ power and would do anything to lay his hands on the last of four silver disks he needs to unlock the dolmen. A disk that hangs around the neck of James Farraday. While Cade, a local villager, is determined to refute both the claims of nightwalker sightings and the power of the dolmen as superstitious nonsense.

James and Kate soon find themselves fighting for their lives. Yet every hour they spend together makes it harder to lay aside the bitterness of the past and a very new and very real temptation…


Excerpt:

Wales, January 1814
Katherine was exactly as James remembered. Same trim figure. Same thick foxy mane pulled into a sloppy chignon. Same scattering of freckles across a nose just a tad too snubbed and eyes the inviting shade of good cognac. And her lips . . . they were just as full, pink, and disastrously kissable as they had been five years earlier. Only her guarded gaze and defensive posture revealed the changes time had wrought. Once, there had been nothing hidden between them. They had been passionately in love—or so he’d believed.
     She leaned over him, her eyes flicking between his face and his bare shoulder, and for a moment they were back in her father’s garret in Oxford, enjoying a few stolen moments together.
     “Hold still,” she murmured, “this might hurt.”
     He frowned. He didn’t remember her ever issuing such a warning during those sweet interludes when—Bugger fucking all! A sharp pain lanced up his arm and straight to his brain. He jerked against the hands pinning him down as he stifled a scream behind clenched teeth. Closing his eyes, he counted backward from ten. Made it to seven before the world collapsed into darkness around him.
     Someone shook him awake. “Lord Duncallan? Can you hear me?” He blinked up into her face—again. “I’ve finished stitching,” she said. “You can sit up if you’re not too dizzy.”
     He reached across to feel at the swathe of bandages wound tight around his upper arm, and five years screamed past in a single bone-aching throb of his shoulder. He was in the godforsaken wild Welsh mountains. It was snowing like the bloody Arctic. He’d been ambushed on the road. And the topper to this perfectly horrible day bent over him, worry hovering in her eyes.



Demon's Curse
Imnada Brotherhood 1
Pocket Books, December 26, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

Guest Blog by Alexa Egan - Writing Bass-Akwards - November 19, 2012
She holds the key . . .

One of the mythical race of shape-shifting Imnada and a member of an elite military unit, Captain Mac Flannery suffers under a ruthless curse. As the result of a savage massacre on the eve of Waterloo, he and the men he served with are forced to live the hours of darkness trapped as their animal aspects. Now one of them has been murdered, and Mac suspects the existence of the Imnada may finally have been discovered. His only link to unearthing the truth—Bianca Parrino, the beautiful actress whom every man desires.

. . . to his forbidden desires

Forging a new life for herself after escaping the clutches of her abusive husband, Bianca is again drawn into violence when a dear friend is brutally murdered and she becomes a suspect. Forced to place her trust and her life in Mac’s hands as they flee a determined killer, Bianca cannot deny she is falling for the mysterious soldier. But will his dark secrets tear them asunder? Or will love be the key to breaking even the cruelest of spells?




About Alexa

Alexa Egan lives in Maryland with a husband who’s waiting impatiently for her fame and fortune to support them in a new and lavish lifestyle, three children for whom she serves as chauffeur, cook, nurse, social secretary, banker, and maid (not necessarily in that order), one cat … and twenty-seven fish. You can find her at www.AlexaEgan.com, friend her at www.Facebook.com/AlexaEganBooks or follow her at www.Twitter.com/AlexaEganBooks.




THE GIVEAWAY

What:  One commenter will win a digital copy of Awaken the Curse from Alexa.

How:   Answer The Qwillery's Question: 

I'm a huge fan of e-novella prequels and e-novellas in general.  What about you?

Please remember - if you don't answer the questions 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.

There are a total of 3 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry) and Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry).  This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook or Twitter mentions. You MUST 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 Monday, November 26, 2012. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

2012 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November 2012

It's time for the 2012 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars for November 2012!




As part of this year's Debut Author Challenge I thought it would be fun for you to choose a favorite cover from each month's debut novels. At the end of the year the 12 monthly winners will be pitted against each other to choose the 2012 Debut Novel Cover of the Year. Please note that a debut novel cover is eligible in the month in which the novel is released in the US.

You have 3 novels to choose from for November.



















Guest Blog by Trey Garrison - On zombies, Nazis, robots and cowboys: Writing the book was the easy part - November 16, 2012

Please welcome Trey Garrison to The Qwillery. Trey's debut novel, The Spear of Destiny, will be published in 3 e-parts starting in December 2012. A print version will follow.

The first part, Black Sun Reich, is out on December 18, 2012.



Guest Blog by Trey Garrison - On zombies, Nazis, robots and cowboys: Writing the book was the easy part - November 16, 2012



On zombies, Nazis, robots and cowboys:
Writing the book was the easy part

     Describing THE SPEAR OF DESTINY was about as hard as writing it. I’m still not 100 percent sure I’ve got it down pat. Along the way, I’ve made a few mistakes. Let me explain.

     The last thing I want to do is invoke the ire of steampunk purists. I love the purists in any fan base. I am one. As far as I’m concerned, there is no Star Trek outside the 23rd Century and The Empire Strikes Back was the last Star Wars movie they made. Barry Allen is still dead, zombies shamble slowly, Han shot first, and Superman wears red underwear over his blue tights.

     But early on when THE SPEAR OF DESTINY was being pitched it picked up the steampunk label. I’m not sure if it was my agent or my editor. It was hard enough distilling the description down to “genre-mashing alternate history Nazi zombie supernatural comedy adventure with robots, cowboys and monsters.” (Somehow, “Indiana Jones meets Shaun of the Dead” sounded too much like a bad pitch to Griffin Mill in The Player.) I don’t know how the label got thrown in there.

     Granted, I took a lot of the elements from steampunk, but steampunk is more than just brass goggles, steam cars and airships. For purists it has to be dystopian, 19th Century, set in London, and adhering to the other rules of the genre. My book is none of those. It’s more dieselpunk in terms of time setting. It’s not completely dieselpunk either, though a lot of the technology and aesthetics are. If anything, it’s sort of a literary incarnation of the Art Deco and Art Nouveau of the 1920s, in an adventure story. I love the boldness of the art and architecture of that era, and I think that seeped into the fabric of THE SPEAR OF DESTINY.

     I set the story in the 1920s for several specific reasons, and among those reasons is my love of the look, the feel, the fashion and the mindset of the time. It was a time when the “world of tomorrow” was looked to with optimism. There was a sense of style and utility in everything, a style that embraced the past but faced always forward. There was a strength and beauty in the architecture and a belief in the promise of progress and science. It was in everything from the swept shape of automobiles to the fonts in advertising. It was also a time in America of great contradiction – laissez-faire economics co-existing with Prohibition. American racial laws actually inspired the Germans a decade later, yet we claimed to be a beacon of freedom and a haven for immigrants.

     My story is set in a 1920s different on a lot of levels. North America is as balkanized as Europe at the turn of the 20th Century. Technology runs the gamut from horse-drawn carriages to high-speed airships. Magic and technology co-exist. I think given all these competing forces and effects, it was important to bring to the story the sense of “technological promise just over the horizon” that steampunk embodies in all its incarnations. Even if my story goes far afield from the usual rules of steampunk, I think it’s part of what tied everything together.

     Telling an alternative history story like this means you really have to help anchor the reader to reality. To do that, you have to really know the hows and the whys of the world you’ve created. I was already fascinated by the 1920s, but to write this book I immersed myself in the decade in every way I could. To bring a sense of reality, I couldn’t just wave a wand and make something so. I had to weave true reality – detailed, gritty reality – into the fantasy. For instance, I make a point of the attitude of equality that arose because of the cowboy culture. In the mid-19th Century, skilled hands were in such demand that ranchers didn’t care what color a cowboy was, so long as he could do the job. That’s really a thing you’ll find in cultural monographs about the cowboy subculture. That was critical to the story and I had to ground that in reality. Then sometimes the final result of hours of research would be some little throwaway detail about the cut of a man’s wool jacket or the kind of tin a biscuit would come in, but I think that’s the kind of reality nugget necessary to help the reader suspend disbelief about later when you bring out the undead and the clockwork assassins.

     Then there’s the issue of working through logically the repercussions of the historical changes you make. For instance, in the world of THE SPEAR OF DESTINY, New Orleans becomes the crossroads of world commerce, trade and culture – complete with the Statute of Liberty – that New York City occupies in our world. From there I had to consider how that would have changed both little and big things in the culture – from how relations might have evolved in a North America comprised of many nations to what the fashions and customs might been. Then I had to consider what New York City would have been like had a smaller, weakened, socialist United States arisen after the Civil War. I wanted to consider what the Nazis might have been like if they hadn’t learned the lessons from the failure of the Beer Hall Putsch, and what the Nazi ruling circle would have been like if the Thule Society and all that arcane Aryan mysticism had the sway it did in the 1920s after they had power. It takes a lot of sustained speculation if you want to make it believable.

     Of course, the more afield you take your alternate history, the more you have to have someone through whose eyes the reader relates. It seemed natural for that person to be Dr. Kurt von Deitel. Granted most of us can’t easily relate to a high-born Prussian doctor, but it’s the nature of his sheltered life that gives us a segue into learning more about this world. I think it worked and I was a little surprised how the doctor became my favorite character.

     THE SPEAR OF DESTINY has no pretensions to being great literature. It’s just a fun story the likes of which inspired me as a kid to want to set out on my own adventures. It’s a bold, swashbuckling tale for readers of all ages. I hope people love reading it as much as I loved writing it – even the steampunk purists.



The Spear of Destiny

Black Sun Reich
The Spear of Destiny: Part One
HarperVoyager, December 18, 2012
eBook, 100 pages

Guest Blog by Trey Garrison - On zombies, Nazis, robots and cowboys: Writing the book was the easy part - November 16, 2012
Black Sun Reich: Part One of three in The Spear of Destiny, the first novel in a new steampunk, horror, alternate history, action-adventure series set in a 1920s where the Nazis have begun their subjugation of the world using the occult, advanced science, and a holy relic with awesome powers.

And don't miss the other parts of this serialized novel—Part Two: Death's Head Legion and Part Three: Shadows Will Fall.

Trey Garrison recaptures the unapologetic adventure, wonder, and excitement of the classic pulp fiction of the 1930s and 1940s, blending elements of steampunk with deeply researched historical fiction and a good dose of humor. The novel also explores major philosophical and moral issues relevant to our contemporary world: the trade-off between security and liberty, the morality of preemptive war, and what fundamentally separates good from evil.

The North American continent is made up of several rival nations, and a Cold War is building among them. The Nazis rose to power a decade ago. People travel by airship, and powerful organizations calculate with Babbage's Difference Engine. The Nazis have hatched a plot to raise a legion of undead soldiers.

Enter Sean Fox Rucker and Jesus D'Anconia Lago, two Great War veterans and freelance pilots who are pulled into the quest. They are joined by a brash Greek merchant, a brilliant Jewish cowboy, and the woman who once broke Rucker's heart. This ragtag band of reluctant, bickering, swashbuckling heroes is soon locked in a globe-spanning race against Nazi occultists, clockwork assassins, and a darkly charismatic commando. In a world where science and the supernatural coexist, and the monsters of legend are as real as the necromancers who summon them from murky realms, our heroes alone stand before the rising shadows. But all their efforts may not be enough.



The Spear of Destiny, Parts Two and Three:

Guest Blog by Trey Garrison - On zombies, Nazis, robots and cowboys: Writing the book was the easy part - November 16, 2012
Available January 2, 2013



Guest Blog by Trey Garrison - On zombies, Nazis, robots and cowboys: Writing the book was the easy part - November 16, 2012
Available January 22, 2013




About Trey

Guest Blog by Trey Garrison - On zombies, Nazis, robots and cowboys: Writing the book was the easy part - November 16, 2012
     Trey Garrison has been a newspaperman, a magazine writer, and a soldier of misfortune. Trey’s secret identity is working as a mild-mannered journalist, editor, humorist, consultant, and part-time sybarite. Maybe the best word to describe him is racontrepreneur. Currently he is director of communications for a foundation based in Dallas that promotes free market solutions and free enterprise.
      Trey’s work has appeared in a number of publications, often with his consent and sometimes with his knowledge. He’s been a contributor and editor for D Magazine — considered among the best city magazines in the United States — and for Reason magazine, the national magazine that promotes free minds and free markets. Trey has been a special contributor for The Dallas Morning News and a field reporter for The Land Report.
     He’s a master in the kitchen, great at the gun range, and decent at Kung Fu. He lives in Texas. This is his first novel.
     His blog is www.treygarrison.com and you can pre-order THE SPEAR OF DESTINY here: http://www.harpercollins.com/books/Black-Sun-Reich-Trey-Garrison?isbn=9780062261250&HCHP=TB_Black+Sun+Reich

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Guest Blog by D.J. McIntosh - Libraries For a New Age

Please welcome D.J. McIntosh to The Qwillery as part of the 2012 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. The Witch of Babylon, D.J.'s US debut, was published on October 16, 2012. You may read an Interview with D.J. here.



Guest Blog by D.J. McIntosh - Libraries For a New Age



Libraries For a New Age

We’re all familiar with the fate of the famous Egyptian library at Alexandria but did you know one of the first libraries existed centuries earlier in Mesopotamia? That library plays an important role in my novel, The Witch of Babylon. In the 7th century BC, one of Mesopotamia’s great kings employed hundreds of scribes to copy and create clay tablets which can be considered early books. The king stored these at the royal library in his capital city of Nineveh. Less than fifty years later, Nineveh was completely destroyed, its treasures looted and the city burned. Oddly enough, the fires helped to preserve the tablets and thousands of years later, when British explorers excavated the remains of Nineveh, the library was discovered. Over ten thousand of these tablets are now kept in another remarkable library – the British Museum.

It is thanks to the foresight of the ancient king that we know so much today about the life, culture and history of Mesopotamia. In that library you can find medicinal treatments that are still effective today, wonderful poetry and blow by blow accounts of military campaigns.

Libraries today play quite a different role. They are a central gathering spot for the community – an opportunity for new moms to get some much needed social time, a valuable study aid for students at all levels, a great resource for authors and journalists, a refuge for people out of work who need to use a computer and the place where children are introduced to the magic of stories. From the vast archives of the Smithsonian to our local public libraries, their primary purpose as the repository for the wealth of knowledge of nations and cultures remains its most vital role.

This may be why, when cultures come into conflict as they do most glaringly in times of war, libraries are the first to come under attack. At the time of the crusades, Mongol invaders destroyed the House of Wisdom, a fabulous library in Baghdad, and threw so many manuscripts into the Tigris that the river was said to run black with ink. When the Germans retreated from Naples Italy in WWII, many of the books in lodged in the library at the Royal Palace were burned. And in the recent Iraq war, the archives at Babylon were badly damaged.

In many western countries today, libraries are coming under a different kind of pressure. Budget restraints and cutbacks are forcing many to close or severely curtail services. And with the digital age upon us, it is an open question as to whether libraries can survive. Will great search facilities like Google and Bing eventually make libraries redundant? They have always proved adaptable to new conditions in the past so I think libraries will master this new challenge too. I’m sure all of us who love books sincerely hope so.




The Witch of Babylon

The Witch of Babylon
Mesopotamian Trilogy 1
Forge Books, October 16,2012
Hardcover and eBook, 416 pages

Guest Blog by D.J. McIntosh - Libraries For a New Age
Out of the searing heat and sandstorms of the infamous summer of 2003 in Baghdad comes The Witch of Babylon, a gripping story rooted in ancient Assyrian lore and its little-known but profound significance for the world.

John Madison is a Turkish-American art dealer raised by his much older brother, Samuel, a mover and shaker in New York's art world. Caught between his brother's obsession with saving a priceless relic looted from Iraq's National Museum and a deadly game of revenge staged by his childhood friend, John must solve a puzzle to find the link between a modern-day witch and an ancient one.

Aided by Tomas, an archaeologist, and Ari, an Iraqi photojournalist—two men with their own secrets to hide—John races against time to decipher a biblical prophecy that leads to the dark history behind the science of alchemy. Kidnapped by villainous fortune hunters, John is returned to Iraq, where a fabulous treasure trove awaits discovery—if he can stay alive long enough to find it.

International thriller-writing sensation D. J. McIntosh makes her American debut with The Witch of Babylon.




About D.J. McIntosh

Guest Blog by D.J. McIntosh - Libraries For a New Age
D.J. (Dorothy) McINTOSH is the former co-editor of the Crime Writers of Canada's newsletter, Fingerprints, and is a Toronto-based writer of novels and short mystery fiction. Her short story "The Hounds of Winter", published in Blood on the Holly by Baskerville Books (Toronto, 2007), was nominated for the 2008 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Short Story. "A View to Die For" appeared in Bloody Words: The Anthology, also published by Baskerville Books (Toronto, 2003). McIntosh graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of Toronto.



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Interview with A.J. Colucci, author of The Colony - November 13, 2012

Please welcome A.J. Colucci to The Qwillery as part of the 2012 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Colony, A.J.'s debut, is published today. Happy Publication Day to A.J.! You may read A.J.'s Guest Blog - Truth is Stranger than Fiction - here.



Interview with A.J. Colucci, author of The Colony - November 13, 2012



TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery.

A.J.:  Thanks for inviting me, Sally.


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

A.J.:  Probably the way I take notes. I’ve got pads and pencils stashed all over my house and in my car. Ideas strike me at the oddest moments and I often get up late at night and start scribbling in the dark. About half of every book is written in longhand. I don’t know why but there’s something about putting pen to paper that makes the writing deeper, more visceral.


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

A.J.:  I started reading mysteries as a kid, Encyclopedia Brown, Nancy Drew, and books by Agatha Christie. I’d go nuts trying to solve the mystery before the end. Later, I was really drawn to science and horror and read a lot of King and Crichton. Those books, and novels like Jaws, gave me a sense of what is truly frightening; real-life monsters. A lot of my favorite thriller authors today are people I’ve gotten to know at conferences; James Rollins, Steve Berry, Paul McEuen, Mark Alpert. I’ve met some amazing writers.


TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

A.J.:  I just finished a 100-page outline of my new book, so I’m definitely going with plotter! I like to know what works in the story and what doesn’t before I start writing, so I can make all necessary changes and not waste time rewriting a novel. The Colony took five years and probably 80 rewrites, and I won’t do that again. Some authors don’t like to know what’s going to happen next, but I think the real excitement comes from bringing the story to life and developing the characters. With an outline, I rarely get writers block.


TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

A.J.:  Having to stop. I try to sit down at my computer early in the morning when the kids go off to school and work until they get home. But sometimes life gets in the way and I have to grab an hour of writing here and an hour there, which can be frustrating. It takes me at least twenty minutes to get in the zone, where the words come easily and I’m not aware of anything but the story.


TQ:  Describe The Colony in 140 characters or less.

I think Publishers Weekly summed it up well. “New York City comes under attack from a vicious new species of ant in Colucci's exciting thriller debut…Michael Crichton fans will hope that this is but the first of many such outings from the author's pen.” Okay, it’s a little longer, but what a nice review.


TQ:  What inspired you to write The Colony?

A.J.:  I was watching a Discovery Channel special on killer ants. In the opening scene, army ants swarm a campsite and you can hear a baby screaming from the tent. Of course, the baby was saved, but the program got creepier by the minute. Towards the end, an organized mob of African driver ants plowed over a field killing everything in sight, including the farmers chicken, and I was sold.


TQ:  What sorts of research did you do for The Colony? What is one of the oddest things that you found?

A.J.:  I write about scientific subjects I initially know nothing about, so it’s a challenge. Fortunately I’m a research junkie and don’t mind spending one thousand hours studying things like ant morphology, pheromones and swarm intelligence. One of the oddest discoveries I made was the social parasitism of the slave-maker ant. Once the queen mates, she will fake her own death to entice ants from other colonies to drag her to their nest. Once inside, she’ll kill their queen and roll around in her scent, fooling the other ants taking over the colony. She’ll start laying her own eggs and as her soldiers mature, they emerge to attack other nests, tearing ants apart limb-by-limb and scurrying off with thousands of eggs to be made into new slaves.


TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? Hardest and why?

A.J.:  Paul was the easiest. I like dual-natured characters at war with themselves. He’s super-intelligent, yet he’s not adept at basic life skills. He has a huge ego, but his confidence plummets when the ants take over the city. He goes through a lot of personal growth, and I think it’s this transcendence that makes him interesting. Kendra was more difficult. I had to fight the urge to make her an invincible super-hero. It was important to me that she was realistic, as a scientist and a human being.


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

A.J.:  Towards the end, Kendra becomes trapped in an air duct with a swarm of angry ants on her trail. She’s painfully claustrophobic like me, and I had to image how it felt to go through that experience. I remembered having an MRI scan years ago and I panicked. My heart was racing and I got dizzy. The doctor actually had to let me out without the scan. Just writing that scene gave me a small anxiety attack.


TQ:  What's next?

A.J.:  I’m going to continue giving nature a voice. I’m intrigued by the idea that other creatures might have intelligence we’ve ignore, simply because we measure intelligence on a human scale. My next book is another science thriller that also deals with nature gone awry. But it’s scarier, darker. It even gives me the creeps.


TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

A.J.:  Thank you too.




About The Colony

The Colony
Thomas Dunne Books, November 13, 2012
Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages

Interview with A.J. Colucci, author of The Colony - November 13, 2012
A series of gruesome attacks have been sweeping New York City. A teacher in Harlem and two sanitation workers on Wall Street are found dead, their swollen bodies nearly dissolved from the inside out. The predator is a deadly supercolony of ants--an army of one trillion soldiers with razor-sharp claws that pierce skin like paper and stinging venom that liquefies its prey.

The desperate mayor turns to the greatest ant expert in the world, Paul O’Keefe, a Pulitzer Prize–winning scientist in an Armani suit. But Paul is baffled by the ants. They are twice the size of any normal ant and have no recognizable DNA. They’re vicious in the field yet docile in the hand. Paul calls on the one person he knows can help destroy the colony, his ex-wife Kendra Hart, a spirited entomologist studying fire ants in the New Mexico desert. Kendra is taken to a secret underground bunker in New York City, where she finds herself working side by side with her brilliant but arrogant ex-husband and a high-ranking military officer hell-bent on stopping the insects with a nuclear bomb.

When the ants launch an all-out attack, Paul and Kendra hit the dangerous, panic-stricken streets of New York, searching for a coveted queen. It’s a race to unlock the secrets of an indestructible new species, before the president nukes Manhattan.

A.J. Colucci's debut novel is a terrifying mix of classic Michael Crichton and Stephen King. A thriller with the highest stakes and the most fascinating science, The Colony does for ants what Jaws did for sharks.




About A.J.

Interview with A.J. Colucci, author of The Colony - November 13, 2012
A. J. COLUCCI was born in the Bronx and raised in Larchmont, a suburb outside of New York City. She spent 15 years as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor and writer for corporate America. Today she is a full-time author and science geek who spends much of her free time reading stacks of novels, surfing the internet for the latest in technology, or clicking between the Science Channel, PBS Nova, Discovery and National Geographic. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, two daughters and a couple of zazzy cats. THE COLONY is her first published novel. Visit her online at ajcolucci.com.

Guest Blog by Sharon Lynn Fisher - You Got Sci-Fi in My Romance! - & Giveaway - November 12, 2012

Please welcome Sharon Lynn Fisher to The Qwillery as part of the 2012 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. Ghost Planet, Sharon's debut, was published on October 30, 2012. You may read The Qwillery's interview with Sharon here.


Guest Blog by Sharon Lynn Fisher - You Got Sci-Fi in My Romance! - & Giveaway - November 12, 2012



YOU GOT SCI-FI IN MY ROMANCE!

Is anyone else old enough to remember that old Reese’s commercial? Two great tastes that taste great together? (Click for nostalgia, if you dare.)

One of the questions I’m often asked in interviews is why I decided to blend romance and science fiction in my recently released debut, GHOST PLANET. To be honest, it wasn't something I put a huge amount of thought into when I wrote it, but I have certainly thought a lot about it since.

I was just writing what I love – stories that explore relationship dynamics against the backdrop of a speculative setting. Like DRAGONRIDERS OF PERN. THE MISTS OF AVALON. And even Diana Gabaldon’s OUTLANDER -- though the speculative element is small in that one, the impact on the plot and characters is huge.

I think that encapsulates what appeals to me most about blending romance with sci-fi/fantasy. When a character’s whole world is flipped upside-down in a way no one has ever experienced before, really interesting things happen. It sets the stage for mystery, plot twists, and great character development.

And when the story does move into familiar territory for readers – starting a new job, falling in/out of love, becoming pregnant – the sci-fi/fantasy lens can show these elements in a whole new light.

At the time I came up with the idea for GHOST PLANET, I was entering romantic fantasy stories in the Writers of the Future Contest. I kept getting honorable mentions, and was finding it hard to come up with fresh ideas. I thought maybe I’d fare better with sci-fi.

The title of the story came to me first. As I noodled on what a story called “Ghost Planet” might be about, I got the idea for a scene where a scientist travels to a newly discovered world, only to find herself tethered to a sexy alien. Then I thought, “She should be the sexy alien,” and it all took off from there.

The short story version of GHOST PLANET earned me another honorable mention, but more importantly, the premise inspired me so much I kept going. Six weeks later the first draft of the manuscript was finished. A year later it had been named a finalist for RWA’s Golden Heart Award in the paranormal category (umbrella category for romance with a speculative element).

What I didn’t realize at the time: Sci-fi romance has typically been considered a niche market, with a devoted but small audience. I think that’s beginning to change with the popularity of genre blending shows like Battlestar Galactica, and SFR certainly seems to be busting out all over the big screen.

Reader perceptions come into play as well – but I’m willing to bet lots of people are SFR fans without even knowing it. For folks who like sci-fi, novels with romantic plots offer strongly character-driven stories. For folks who like romance, sci-fi offers fresh ideas and healthy servings of adventure and mystery.

Like I said, two great tastes that taste great together. :-)  What’s your favorite genre blend?





About Ghost Planet

Ghost Planet
Tor Books, October 30, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

Guest Blog by Sharon Lynn Fisher - You Got Sci-Fi in My Romance! - & Giveaway - November 12, 2012
When psychologist Elizabeth Cole arrives on a recently colonized planet to start a new job, she doesn’t expect to find her supervisor, Murphy, so incredibly attractive. She doesn’t expect to see alien beings, native to the planet, materializing as ghosts and following the “colonist” humans around. Most of all, she doesn’t expect to learn that Elizabeth Cole in fact died in a crash en route to this planet, and that she herself a reincarnated ghost-alien, connected symbiotically to Murphy—who, bound by the “Ghost Protocol” that he himself created, is not allowed to interact with or acknowledge Elizabeth in any way.

Confused, alone, and discounted as less than human, Elizabeth works to unlock the secrets of her own existence and fight the blatant discrimination of the Ghost Protocol. But as she draws closer to the truth, she begins to realize that she is only a pawn in the struggle for control of the planet. Oppressed by her ghost status and tantalized by forbidden love, Elizabeth may just be the one to upset the planetary balance….


Excerpt:

We trotted up half a dozen steps and were passing through the glass doors when Murphy said, “We’ll be scanned by security just inside. I hate them being here, raising people’s anxiety level in a place where we want them to feel safe. But all new arrivals pass through here, and someone decided it was a good idea.”

Thinking about the illicit-substance and weapons scans in all the airports and public buildings back home, I raised my eyebrows. “What’s it for?”

“To get a sort of fingerprint on everyone,” he explained, walking through the doorframe-shaped scanner. “Just to make sure we know who’s who. They can’t do it at the transport terminal because no one has ghosts when they first arrive.”

I followed him through the scanner, and a long beep sounded somewhere off to my left as I joined him inside. Murphy’s head jerked toward the sound. His eyes moved to the glass doors we’d just come through, and slowly back to me. He glanced at the security desk on our right.

“Where is it?” Murphy called to the guard, whose fingers were flying over his keyboard. The guard’s ghost leaned against the wall behind him, little more than a shadow.

The man stopped typing and looked up. “I’m sorry, Dr. Murphy?”

“I heard the alert go off, but I don’t see her. My ghost, Simon,” Murphy added, growing impatient. “Do you see her?”

The guard blinked at him a couple times. Then he cleared his throat. “She’s standing right next to you, Dr. Murphy.”





About Sharon Lynn Fisher

Guest Blog by Sharon Lynn Fisher - You Got Sci-Fi in My Romance! - & Giveaway - November 12, 2012
SHARON LYNN FISHER is the author of GHOST PLANET, coming from Tor Books on Oct. 30. The book -- a two-time RWA Golden Heart finalist -- is a sci-fi/romance blend that offers a "fresh and fascinating take on the human-alien problem" (says author Linnea Sinclair). She lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she is hard at work on her next novel and battles writerly angst with baked goods, Irish tea, and champagne. You can visit her online at SharonLynnFisher.com.




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The Giveaway

THE RULES

What:  Three commenters will win a print copy of Ghost Planet from Tor! US/CANADA ONLY

How:   Answer Sharon's question:

What’s your favorite genre blend?

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.

There are a total of 3 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry) and Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry).  This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook or Twitter mentions. You MUST leave a way to contact you.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a US or Canadian mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Monday, November 19, 2012. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

Guest Blog by Tina Connolly, author of Ironskin - Thoughts On My Book Tour

Please welcome Tina Connolly to The Qwillery as part of the 2012 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. Ironskin, Tina's debut, was published on October 2, 2012. You may read an interview with Tina here.





Thoughts On My Book Tour

Thanks so much to The Qwillery for having me on the blog! When Sally asked me several months ago, I floated the idea of doing my blog post for the month *after* Ironskin came out. Why? Because October was dedicated to book tour, and I thought it would be fun to share thoughts on that.

So I got to go to a couple stops in my home state of Kansas (the Oak Park Barnes & Noble in KC, and The Raven in Lawrence), the Cedar Hills Powell's in Portland, the University Bookstore in Seattle, and Mysterious Galaxy in Redondo Beach (L.A. area.)

First? It was awesome. I know authors sometimes say that touring isn't all it's cracked up to be, and I'm sure that this can be totally true. I was lucky enough to not have any disasters befall me. So I had an incredibly wonderful time.

What did I learn?

1. Invite your friends!

I posted about the events everywhere I could think of, including Facebook, Goodreads, my blog, Twitter, etc, etc. I additionally invited many of my friends directly. So the majority of folks that
came were friends and acquaintances. In Lawrence I got to see my third grade teacher, in Seattle I saw several former Clarion West classmates, and in L.A. I saw a couple friends from high school! It
was like a traveling reunion! I was thrilled that everyone came out to support me. And then additionally, every stop had people I did not know, and I was so very happy to meet the potential-fans and already-fans that came out for my reading. The tour turned out to be really great, but it would have been smaller crowds if I hadn't done the legwork.

2. Think like an actor.

I'm different than many writers in that I happen to love getting up in front of a crowd and reading from my book and answering questions. My mom said that probably my (extensive) theatre (geek) background was helpful. And that is totally true! I've got a handle on basic speaking skills. So, here's a couple tips for those reading your work in public for the first time:

- Your main goal is to make the audience comfortable. (Your story selection can make them uncomfortable, but you and your delivery should not!) So avoid self-denigrating remarks ("this isn't very good, but..." "this is the first time I've read this, so...") and always choose a selection you feel comfortable reading. You don't have to read the section with the histrionic fight, or the hardcore intimacy. Play to your strengths. Let the audience know they're in good hands.

- Make sure your story is printed out and easy to read. If you read off of a laptop, we'll be more concerned that you're about to drop it (see: making the audience comfortable). Additionally you'll have to worry about power issues. Peter Honigstock at Powell's told me that they lost power during a YA event a few months ago, and had to finish it up in the dark.

I actually have a flash fiction podcast called Toasted Cake (toastedcake.com) and starting with episode 41, I've been sharing little story narration tips after every story. So if you want some more thoughts on pacing, funny voices, and not looking nervous, check out those recent episodes!

3. Think like a carnie.

I also work as a face painter. Which means that companies will hire me - say for a corporate picnic – to do free face painting for the kids. Which also means, subtextually – help us make our picnic a fun and comfortable place to be. So I found while at these book tour events I actually had an "event background" to draw on – that I had more experience than I expected making sure people were having fun. I would never have thought of myself as a party host type person (which can be a good model to follow) but then, I did have experience to draw from after all. YMMV here, but I like saying Hi to everyone before the event starts, and meeting as many of the folks I don't know as I can, and introducing people to each other, so we're starting to have a good time even before the reading begins. (Imagine here what your best friend would do—you know, the one that's so good at throwing parties. Pretend to be her.) Sometimes you might start to feel shy, but this is when the event planner mentality should kick in. If you feel overwhelmed because it's an event that's focused on you...stop
thinking of it that way. Think of it as a event all about the bookstore, and you're hired to help them have a fun time tonight. It's a funny mental trick, but it can be helpful!

Thanks so much to The Qwillery for having me today to talk about my book tour for Ironskin. Hopefully some of these tips will be helpful to you, whether you're going on book tour, reading at open mic night, or even gearing up to do a presentation at work!

Oh, and PS - this didn't occur to me till my very last stop, but here's the other bonus about being a face painter – you can ask me to draw something random in your book, and I will totally do it. (A girl
in LA asked for a kitten with tentacles.) So come see me next time I'm in your town, and I will draw in your book, too!




About Ironskin
Ironskin
Tor, October 2, 2012
Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages

Jane Eliot wears an iron mask.

It's the only way to contain the fey curse that scars her cheek. The Great War is five years gone, but its scattered victims remain -- the ironskin.

When a carefully worded listing appears for a governess to assist with a "delicate situation" -- a child born during the Great War -- Jane is certain the child is fey-cursed, and that she can help.

Teaching the unruly Dorie suppress her curse is hard enough; she certainly didn't expect to fall for the girl's father, the enigmatic artist Edward Rochart. But her blossoming crush is stifled by her own scars, and by his parade of women. Ugly women, who enter his closed studio...and come out as beautiful as the fey.

Jane knows Rochart cannot love her, just as she knows that she must wear iron for the rest of her life. But what if neither of these things is true? Step by step Jane unlocks the secrets of her new life -- and discovers just how far she will go to become whole again.






About Tina

Photo by Caroline M. Yoachim
Tina Connolly lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and young son, in a house that came with a dragon in the basement and blackberry vines in the attic. Her stories have appeared in Strange Horizons, Fantasy, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and the anthology Unplugged: Year’s Best Online SF 2008. Her debut fantasy novel IRONSKIN is forthcoming from Tor in October 2012, with a sequel in 2013. She is a frequent reader for Podcastle, and is narrating a 2012 flash podcasting venture called Toasted Cake. In the summer she works as a face painter, which means a glitter-filled house is an occupational hazard. Her website is tinaconnolly.com.


Ironskin : Twitter : FacebookGoogle+ : Goodreads
2012 Debut Author Challenge - December 2012 DebutsGuest Blog by Melissa F. Olson - What do Vampires Want? - November 26, 2012Interview with Nancy Northcott, author of Renegade - November 23, 2012Guest Blog by Alexa Egan - Writing Bass-Akwards - November 19, 20122012 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November 2012Guest Blog by Trey Garrison - On zombies, Nazis, robots and cowboys: Writing the book was the easy part - November 16, 2012Guest Blog by D.J. McIntosh - Libraries For a New AgeInterview with A.J. Colucci, author of The Colony - November 13, 2012 Guest Blog by Sharon Lynn Fisher - You Got Sci-Fi in My Romance! - & Giveaway - November 12, 2012Guest Blog by Tina Connolly, author of Ironskin - Thoughts On My Book Tour

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