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Interview with Jessica Leake, author of Arcana - November 18, 2014


Please welcome Jessica Leake to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Arcana was published on November 11th by Talos.



Interview with Jessica Leake, author of Arcana - November 18, 2014




TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Jessica:  Thank you! I really enjoy this blog, so it's surreal for me to be here. I was first asked this question by my agent, and when I sat down and thought about it, I had a memory of this yellow legal pad filled with an epic fantasy about a unicorn. I think I must have been about 10 or 11 at the time, so we can say that's when I started my love-affair with writing, though not in a professional sense by any means! As for why, I think the main reason is really rather simple: I would crave a certain type of story, and when I couldn't find it, I'd just write it myself.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Jessica:  I will make a very loose outline of major plot points, but I predominantly fall into the pantser writing category.



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

Jessica:  Time! I know many have given that answer, but it's especially true for me with three little ones to take care of every day. But aside from making the time, there's also the challenge of using that time wisely. I usually write during my kids' nap time, but there are of course many other things I could be doing during that block of time (both productive and unproductive!), so I have to force myself to really be disciplined.



TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Jessica:  Oh, so many! As an early reader, I loved Roald Dahl, Walter Farley, Marguerite Henry, and as I got older, I read R.L. Stine, L.J. Smith, Christopher Pike. Throughout high school, I read any romance novel I could get my hands on, but I loved Julia Quinn, Judith McNaught, and Julie Garwood. I also loved Dean Koontz. Most recently, I'm into all things YA: Maggie Stiefvater, Cassandra Clare, Suzanne Collins, Kristin Cashore, Stephanie Perkins. My favorite authors change over time, but I have a few constants: JK Rowling, Jane Austin, Robin McKinley, and C.S. Lewis.



TQ:  Describe Arcana in 140 characters or less.

Jessica:  An Edwardian-era debutante must keep her powerful abilities hidden not only from society but a dangerous organization who seeks her kind.



Jessica:  TQ: Tell us something about Arcana that is not in the book description. The novel is described as "genre-bending." What genres does it bend?

One thing the book description fails to mention is just how family-centric the book is. A lot of Katherine's decisions are made because of, or for the good of, her siblings. It's been described as genre-bending because it is a mix of historical romance and fantasy, without truly falling into either category--those are my favorite genres, and I love books that blend them together!



TQ:  What inspired you to write Arcana? Why did you set the novel in Edwardian London?

Jessica:  I knew I wanted to write a historical--there's just something so romantic and beautiful about that setting, plus I knew throwing hidden abilities into such a rigid society would have some inherent conflict. I chose the Edwardian era because it's such an opulent and beautiful time--and I absolutely love Downton Abbey.



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

Jessica:  So much research! But it was all a lot of fun--everything from what people ate in the early 1900s (the aristocracy enjoyed decadent 10-course meals) to how they spent their time (London while Parliament was in session, and hunting and sporting in the country during the summer). It always surprised me to learn just how many technological advances they had: trains, cars, the subway in London, electricity.



TQ:  In Arcana who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Jessica:  Katherine and Lord Thornewood were both the easiest to write because they had such strong voices. Lord Blackburn probably gave me the most trouble just because he has some secrets to keep hidden.



TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoliery lines from Arcana.

Jessica:
A deep tug at the core of me, and my power unfurls, sliding over my skin like silk. The familiar smell of energy releasing washes over me, like the refreshing scent of the earth right after it rains.


TQ:  What's next?

Jessica:  This isn't official news yet, but there WILL be a second book set in the Arcana world--though Katherine and Lord Thornewood are present in the book, the focus will be on Lucy, Katherine's sister. It's tentatively slated to be released Spring of 2016.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Jessica:  Thank you so much for having me!





Arcana
Talos, November 11, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages

Interview with Jessica Leake, author of Arcana - November 18, 2014
A romantic, suspenseful, genre-bending debut set in Edwardian London.

Amid the sumptuous backdrop of the London season in 1905, headstrong Katherine Sinclair must join the ranks of debutantes vying for suitors. Unfortunately for Katherine, she cannot imagine anything more loathsome-or dangerous. To help ease her entrance into society, Katherine's family has elicited the assistance of the Earl of Thornewood, a friend and London's most eligible bachelor, to be her constant companion at the endless fetes and balls. But upon her arrival in London, Katherine realizes there will be more to this season than just white gowns and husband hunting.

Through her late mother's enchanted diary, Katherine receives warning to keep hidden her otherworldly ability to perform arcana, a magic fueled by the power of the sun. Any misstep could mean ruin-and not just for her family name. The Order of the Eternal Sun is everywhere-hunting for those like her, able to feed on arcana with only a touch of the hand.

But society intrigue can be just as perilous as the Order. The machinations of the fashionable elite are a constant threat, and those who covet Katherine's arcana, seeking the power of her birthright, could be hiding behind the façade of every suitor-even the darkly handsome Earl of Thornewood.

With so much danger and suspicion, can she give her heart to the one who captivates her, or is he just another after her power?





About Jessica

Interview with Jessica Leake, author of Arcana - November 18, 2014
Jessica Leake has been in love with historical England ever since her first literary crush: Mr. Darcy. After embarking on a quest to bring her own intriguing and headstrong characters to life, she decided to quit her day job as a clinical therapist and spend her time weaving arcana with words. She lives in Greenville, SC with her brilliant husband, three painfully cute children, and two mischievous dogs. She invites you to visit her at jessicaleake.com.


Website  ~  Twitter @JessLeake  ~  Facebook  ~  Google+  ~  Pinterest


2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November Debuts


It's time for the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars for November 2014!


2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November Debuts


Each month you will be able to vote for your favorite cover from that month's debut novels. At the end of the year the 12 monthly winners will be pitted against each other to choose the 2014 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. Cover artist/illustrator information is provided when we have it.

I'm using PollCode for this vote. After you the check the circle next to your favorite, click "Vote" to record your vote. If you'd like to see the real-time results click "View". This will take you to the PollCode site where you may see the results. If you want to come back to The Qwillery click "Back" and you will return to this page. Voting will end sometime on November 24, 2014.

You can see the previous months' winners on the 2014 DAC page - here.



Vote for your favorite November 2014 Debut Cover
 
pollcode.com free polls




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November Debuts




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November Debuts




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November Debuts




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November Debuts




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November Debuts




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November Debuts



2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - Superheroes Anonymous by Lexie Dunne


2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - Superheroes Anonymous by Lexie Dunne


The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2014 Debut Author Challenge.


Lexie Dunne

Superheroes Anonymous
Superheroes Anonymous 1
Harper Voyager Impulse, November 25, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 336 pages
(eBook available November 18, 2014)

2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - Superheroes Anonymous by Lexie Dunne
Everybody in Chicago has a "superhero sighting" story. So when a villain attacks editorial assistant Gail Godwin and she's rescued by superhero Blaze, it's a great story, and nothing more. Until it happens again. And again. Now the media has dubbed her Hostage Girl, nobody remembers her real name, and people are convinced that Blaze is just her boyfriend, Jeremy, in disguise.

Gail's not so sure. All she knows is that when both Jeremy and Blaze leave town in the same week, she's probably doomed. Who will save her now?

Yet, miraculously, the villains lose interest. Gail is able to return to her life … until she wakes up strapped to a metal table by a mad scientist who hasn't read the news. After escaping—now more than human herself—she's drawn into a secret underground world of superheroes. She'll have to come to terms with her powers (and weaknesses) to make it in the new society, and it's not easy. After all, there's a new villain on the rise, and she has her sights set on the one and only Hostage Girl.


Interview with Fred Venturini, author of The Heart Does Not Grow Back - November 6, 2014


Please welcome Fred Venturini to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Heart Does Not Grow Back was published on November 4th by Picador.



Interview with Fred Venturini, author of The Heart Does Not Grow Back - November 6, 2014




TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Fred:  I was exposed to reading at an extremely early age by my grandmother, so the natural extension of that was to start jotting down my own stories. I don’t know why I started writing, but I know why I loved it and why I continued it into my teens and adulthood—I liked getting a reaction out of an audience. So in that regard I’m always writing to entertain people first and foremost.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Fred:  Kind of a hybrid. I’m not a rigid plotter, but I like to break down the big beats of a story before I start. I fill out a “beat sheet” much like a screenwriter would, trying to figure out the catalyst of the story, and the big breaks and twists, and the best ending I can come up with at the time. Then I just start writing, approaching those signposts, and often obliterating/changing them in the process. So I have an idea of where I’m going like a plotter would, but I still have the complete freedom of a pantser.



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

Fred:  My writing routine is a challenge to maintain, because I don’t have one. I write in little bursts on the couch, in bed, in my office, in the recliner. Some weeks I’ll generate 30,000 words, and some weeks the output is way lower. My sessions are short because I burn out quickly and my quality only feels high for the first hour or two.



TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Fred:  I was raised on Stephen King, so he’s obviously a favorite and an influence and I’m not alone in having him on the list. I think I started to discover my voice when I was turned on to Chuck Palahniuk, and his work clicked with me immediately. I never wrote in first person before I read his stuff, and experimenting with his generous writing tips and exercises gave me a solid foundation that I brought into my MFA program. Joe Hill, Donald Ray Pollock, Stephen Graham Jones, are some other favorites that come to mind.



TQ:  Describe The Heart Does Not Grow Back in 140 characters or less.

Fred:  A high school nobody can regenerate organs and limbs, so he gives them away on a reality show to impress/save a girl.



TQ:  Tell us something about The Heart Does Not Grow Back that is not in the book description.

Fred:  The black market for organs and body parts is alive and well, both in real life and the world of the novel. It’s the first idea Dale has for profiting off of his abilities.



TQ:  What inspired you to write The Heart Does Not Grow Back? Dale Sampson does not sound like a stereotypical superhero. How is he different or not?

Fred:  The hook of the story was attractive to me, but only when I discovered the friendship between Dale and Mack did the story come to life. Superhero stories are often solitary journeys, and to have the friendship between Dale and Mack as one of the central parts of the story is something that sets it apart, and it’s also one of the most popular parts of the story, according to readers.



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for The Heart Does Not Grow Back?

Fred:  I researched the black market for organs pretty extensively, but only a small part of that made it into the book. At one point I was calling around wondering if the FBI was going to bust me, asking about how I could go about selling body parts and whatnot. There are also medical scenes in the book, and a lot of reading and a few decisive notes from a friend in the medical field helped bring them to life in a realistic way. Well, as realistic as possible, considering the “super” aspect of the story.



TQ:  In The Heart Does Not Grow Back who was the easiest character to write and why?The hardest and why?

Fred:  No one really stands out as hard to write. Probably the producer character, Tracy, since that was a profession that required a little research to get right. It wasn’t as organic as the central characters like Dale, Mack and the twins, who all came along pretty easily from draft to draft. It felt more like unearthing relics that already existed instead of creating something from scratch (I think this simile is a riff on a Stephen King quote, and if so, it’s a damn good one).



TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from The Heart Does Not Grow Back.

Fred:  It’s really not fair for me to open up the manuscript and handpick some lines, right? So I’ll just rattle off a couple off the top of my head.

     “Give everything.”

     “It’s a relationship, not a newborn.”

And it doesn’t get more non-spoilery than this line:

     “The heart does not grow back.”



TQ:  What's next?

Fred:  As delighted as I am to have this novel out in the world, I’m approaching this as a beginning, not a destination. You grind so hard to get a book done, and get an agent, and get a book deal, and then you want to see it in print, and then what? All you’ve done at that point is start something—you’ve started an audience, a catalog of stories. It’s story one, it’s just a brick. If you really want to build something, like a career, an audience, your dreams—you need more than one brick. You need story two, and story three, and a couple of breaks here and there. I’m working on my bricks. I have early drafts of three novels, and we’ll just have to see if one of them is strong enough to be that second brick. And if it’s not? Then I’ll just keep writing. It’s what I’ve always done, and it’s probably what I’ll always do, but I have to admit it’s a lot more fun when you start to attract readers. To me it’ll always be about having fun, and hoping that an audience cares enough to come along for the ride.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





The Heart Does Not Grow Back
Picador, November 4, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

Interview with Fred Venturini, author of The Heart Does Not Grow Back - November 6, 2014
EVERY SUPERHERO NEEDS TO START SOMEWHERE...

Dale Sampson is used to being a nonperson at his small-town Midwestern high school, picking up the scraps of his charismatic lothario of a best friend, Mack. He comforts himself with the certainty that his stellar academic record and brains will bring him the adulation that has evaded him in high school. But when an unthinkable catastrophe tears away the one girl he ever had a chance with, his life takes a bizarre turn as he discovers an inexplicable power: He can regenerate his organs and limbs.

When a chance encounter brings him face to face with a girl from his past, he decides that he must use his gift to save her from a violent husband and dismal future. His quest takes him to the glitz and greed of Hollywood, and into the crosshairs of shadowy forces bent on using and abusing his gift. Can Dale use his power to redeem himself and those he loves, or will the one thing that finally makes him special be his demise? The Heart Does Not Grow Back is a darkly comic, starkly original take on the superhero tale, introducing an exceptional new literary voice in Fred Venturini.





About Fred

Interview with Fred Venturini, author of The Heart Does Not Grow Back - November 6, 2014
Fred Venturini was born in Patoka, Illinois. His short fiction has been published in the Booked Anthology, Noir at the Bar 2, and Surreal South ’13. His story “Gasoline” is featured in Chuck Palahniuk’s Burnt Tongues collection. He lives in Southern Illinois with his wife and daughter.






Website  ~  Facebook  ~ Goodreads  ~  Twitter @fredventurini  ~  reddit


Guest Blog by Rajan Khanna, author of Falling Sky - November 5, 2014


Please welcome Rajan Khanna to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. Falling Sky was published on October 7th by Pyr. You may read an interview with Rajan here.



Guest Blog by Rajan Khanna, author of Falling Sky - November 5, 2014




Creating a Post-Apocalyptic World

Creating a post-apocalyptic world has its pros and cons. Setting a work in the future gives you the freedom of taking the world down a specific path without fear of contradiction. At the same time it has to work off of established rules. It's unlikely that you can have working electricity, for example, unless you can explain why. If society has collapsed and the infrastructure to support power plants has gone with it, you'll be hard pressed to explain how people can have working light bulbs and appliances. It becomes a careful balancing act between what is and what might be.

The first, most essential piece, is to define the apocalyptic event. When I was growing up the flavor du jour was a post-nuclear world with radiation and mutants as popularized in the Mad Max movies or the Fallout games. As the fear of nuclear war has faded, that flavor has changed. Today we're more likely to see worlds that result from pandemics, as current events shape our fears.

Part of the original concept that sparked the world of Falling Sky was that I wanted the ground to be dangerous. I wanted it to be avoided if at all possible. Radiation could have worked, I suppose, but a disease felt more fitting to me. Disease not only threatened the survivors, it created more threats. The pandemic I created regressed the infected into animal-like creatures – savage, bestial, and always hungry. Unlike zombies, these are living, breathing creatures – fast moving, with the ability to breed and spread all on their own. The disease is now doubly-threatening – it destroys its victims’ identities while turning them into violent and dangerous creatures with the ability to infect others.

The disease, of course, raised its own world-building issues – how would it be transmitted, what was its mechanism, how could it affect so much of the population? Airborne transmission would have been too much. I needed something that was dangerous but which could be avoided. As with some of the best fictional ideas, I pulled from the real world, from real diseases. Like HIV or Ebola, I decided that my virus would be transmitted through bodily fluids. Unlike those diseases, however, to make it truly earth-shattering, I decided it needed to be able to survive for long periods of time. HIV can’t really survive if exposed to air. My disease can, for minutes even. So if a drop of blood from an infected individual flew through the air and into your mouth, well, you’re done. If that blood hit your forehead and then dripped into your eye, same story. I’m not a microbiologist, so I don’t know the exact likelihood of such a virus, but it seemed within the realm of possibility.

So it became a world where survival takes a variety of forms. On a general level, people go about their lives covered as much as possible. Exposed skin means the risk of an open wound that can be infected. Eyes and mouths need to be covered. So people wear hats and scarves and masks and goggles. They minimize contact with other people. They fear physical intimacy. Because the disease can take days to fully express itself, it’s difficult to tell who’s infected and who isn’t. Humanity then faces extinction on two fronts – from the disease itself, and from the lack of reproduction that it inspires.

The other major method of survival is to stay off of the ground. That’s where the Ferals, the infected, live. So you have a group of survivors who live on airships or in floating cities. Places where the Ferals can’t get. Of course making that work involved some world-building as well.

It was easy to envision a world in the near future where fuel costs had become so prohibitive that other methods of transport had to be relied upon. We’re practically there now. Modern airships are being tested as we speak, for cargo, passenger transport, and even surveillance. In my world of the future, airships became the predominant means of transportation, taking up the role of planes and ships, if not outright replacing them. When the apocalypse happened, people flocked to these vehicles to take themselves to safety.

Airships still require fuel, of course, but here the speculative nature of the world came into play. These airships are designed for biofuels and rely partly on solar power. Helium would be a problem, but hydrogen, flammable thought it is, is much more easily produced. It wasn’t hard to imagine a world where these ships could continue to fly for generations.

Of course food doesn’t grow in the sky. Neither do any other supplies, so to make this kind of system work, you would need people to go down to the ground, to forage for supplies and food and whatever they could find from the old world. The economy would become one of barter, with people trading for what they need. Ben, my main character, became one of those foragers, someone who spent most of his time in the sky, but made a living by going down to the ground to pick among the remains of the past.

In the end, it all came together for me. The world came alive. A dangerous world full of scared, isolated people, forced to interact to continue to survive. Of course in a world like that, there would be those who would take advantage of those conditions to take more for themselves. But there would also be those, like Miranda, another of my characters, who would try to build something for the future. Who would organize to help heal the world in whatever way she could.

All of these considerations went into the creation of Falling Sky. I’m proud of what came out, and feel that it’s rich enough for me to base future stories in the world. I hope that readers find the world compelling enough to visit it along with me.





Falling Sky
Pyr, October 7, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 260 pages
Cover Artist: Chris McGrath

Guest Blog by Rajan Khanna, author of Falling Sky - November 5, 2014
Ben Gold lives in dangerous times. Two generations ago, a virulent disease turned the population of most of North America into little more than beasts called Ferals. Some of those who survived took to the air, scratching out a living on airships and dirigibles soaring over the dangerous ground.

Ben has his own airship, a family heirloom, and has signed up to help a group of scientists looking for a cure. But that's not as easy as it sounds, especially with a power-hungry air city looking to raid any nearby settlements. To make matters worse, his airship, the only home he's ever known, is stolen. Ben must try to survive on the ground while trying to get his ship back.

This brings him to Gastown, a city in the air recently conquered by belligerent and expansionist pirates. When events turn deadly, Ben must decide what really matters-whether to risk it all on a desperate chance for a better future or to truly remain on his own.





About Rajan

Guest Blog by Rajan Khanna, author of Falling Sky - November 5, 2014
Photo by Ellen B. Wright
Rajan Khanna is a graduate of the 2008 Clarion West Writers Workshop and a member of a New York-based writing group called Altered Fluid. His fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Shimmer magazine, GUD, and several anthologies, and has received Honorable Mention in the Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror and the Year’s Best Science Fiction. He writes for Tor.com and LitReactor.com and his podcast narrations have appeared on sites such as Wired.com, Lightspeed magazine, Escape Pod, Podcastle, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Rajan also writes about wine, beer, and spirits at FermentedAdventures.com. He currently lives in New York.



Website  ~  Twitter @rajanyk




Guest Blog by Alis Franklin - What would the Norse Gods think of all the modern stories about them? - November 4, 2014


Please welcome Alis Franklin to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. Liesmith was published on October 7th by Hydra.



Guest Blog by Alis Franklin - What would the Norse Gods think of all the modern stories about them? - November 4, 2014




What would the Norse Gods think of all the modern stories about them?

Here’s a weird thing to think about: in the age of the Vikings, between around 800 CE and 1000 CE, the population of the whole of Europe is estimated to’ve been in the vicinity of 30 to 50 million people. In comparison, a little over a thousand years later, in 2012 CE, an estimated 76 million people in the US took themselves off to a cinema to watch the old Viking gods Thor and Loki battle it out in Marvel’s The Avengers.

Or, to put it another way: today, something like twice the entire population of medieval Eu-rope knows who “Thor” and “Loki” are, in one country alone.

Another data point: in 1999, a Japanese woman by the name of Sakura Kinoshita wrote a manga about Loki. Known in English as Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok, it was later made into a TV show. Japan, for the record, is about five thousand miles (by plane), give or take, away from the ancestral home of the Vikings. There’s no evidence the Vikings ever got so far east during their era.

One more: in 1983, approximately one thousand years and ten thousand miles away from Viking lands, yours truly was born in an Australian hospital named after the Norse god of death and wisdom, Odin.

Thirty years later, and these are the things I think of whenever I hear anyone wax poetic on the notion that the old gods are dying. Sure, some of the details of their stories have… evolved over the centuries. But, changes or no, these stories are now told and retold in more ways and more places than ever before in history; in movies, TV shows, novels, video games, and song.

Sometimes, I wonder what Thor and Odin and Loki would think of what we’ve made of them.

Or maybe that’s the wrong question. Because the thing about the Old Norse religion is that it never actually died out. The Vikings officially converted to Christianity over a period of a few hundred years around 1000 CE, but the gods hung around. In modern days, their worship has been revived and has practitioners both in Scandinavia and elsewhere, including places like the United States and Australia. It’s probably a bit of stretch to say there are numerically more people now who believe in Thor and Odin than did a thousand years ago (Loki, on the other hand, who wasn’t actively worshipped in the Viking age now most certainly is), but they definitely do exist and that means that writing about the Norse deities is “borrowing” entities considered sacred in a living religious tradition.

This is something I thought of when I was doing my own modern adaptation as part of Liesmith. The Odin and (in particular) the Loki who appear in that story are very definitely fictionalized versions of their mythological selves. They’re both based on the Old Norse sa-gas, sure. Based on, but… different. And if maybe Odin is a little darker, and if maybe Loki is a little lighter… well. Maybe there are some spoilers there for the book I won’t get into. But, needless to say, I took some artistic license at points, if for no other reason than the sagas saying nothing about giant anthropomorphized archaeopteryxes.

But fictionalized mythology—that is, using sacred figures in secular entertainment—isn’t exactly new. Milton did it with Satan in Paradise Lost. On the other end of the scale, Morgan Freeman played God, literally, in Bruce Almighty, following on from Alanis Morissette who’d done the same in Dogma. Nor is this a trend constrained to Western literary traditions: about 75 years before Milton, in 16th century China, Wú Chéng'ēn wrote the novel Xī Yóu Jì—better known as Journey to the West in, er, the West—featuring versions of Buddhist re-ligious figures like the bodhisattva of compassion, Guanyin.

For the record, Xī Yóu Jì is one of my favorite tales, mostly care of my childhood exposure to it via a Japanese adaptation that used to run, dubbed (badly), on Australian TV under the name of Monkey. I’m hardly alone in my fangirling, and the story remains hugely popular in Asia; walk into just about any shop selling Chinese-language films and I’d bet money there’s at least one poster up depicting a recent adaptation.

There’s just something about retelling myths that humans seem incapable of letting go of.

So this is what we did with the old gods, Vikings and demons and buddhas alike; we turned them into pop culture sensations. And maybe the worship looks a little different—where once people sacrificed animals in Thor’s name, now they sacrifice time and the price of a movie ticket—but… maybe that doesn’t matter.

The old gods live on, bigger and brighter and more loved than ever.





Liesmith
Wyrd 1
Hydra, October 7, 2014
eBook, 308 pages

Guest Blog by Alis Franklin - What would the Norse Gods think of all the modern stories about them? - November 4, 2014
At the intersection of the magical and the mundane, Alis Franklin’s thrilling debut novel reimagines mythology for a modern world—where gods and mortals walk side by side.

Working in low-level IT support for a company that’s the toast of the tech world, Sigmund Sussman finds himself content, if not particularly inspired. As compensation for telling people to restart their computer a few times a day, Sigmund earns enough disposable income to gorge on comics and has plenty of free time to devote to his gaming group.

Then in walks the new guy with the unpronounceable last name who immediately becomes IT’s most popular team member. Lain Laufeyjarson is charming and good-looking, with a story for any occasion; shy, awkward Sigmund is none of those things, which is why he finds it odd when Lain flirts with him. But Lain seems cool, even if he’s a little different—though Sigmund never suspects just how different he could be. After all, who would expect a Norse god to be doing server reboots?

As Sigmund gets to know his mysterious new boyfriend, fate—in the form of an ancient force known as the Wyrd—begins to reveal the threads that weave their lives together. Sigmund doesn’t have the first clue where this adventure will take him, but as Lain says, only fools mess with the Wyrd. Why? Because the Wyrd messes back.





About Alis

Guest Blog by Alis Franklin - What would the Norse Gods think of all the modern stories about them? - November 4, 2014
Alis Franklin is a thirtysomething Australian author of queer urban fantasy. She likes cooking, video games, Norse mythology, and feathered dinosaurs. She’s never seen a live drop bear, but stays away from tall trees, just in case.











Website  ~ Twitter @lokabrenna  ~  Google+
Instagram  ~  Pinterest  ~  Tumblr


2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Heart Does Not Grow Back by Ken Venturini


2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Heart Does Not Grow Back by Ken Venturini


The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2014 Debut Author Challenge.


Fred Venturini

The Heart Does Not Grow Back
Picador, November 4, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Heart Does Not Grow Back by Ken Venturini
EVERY SUPERHERO NEEDS TO START SOMEWHERE...

Dale Sampson is used to being a nonperson at his small-town Midwestern high school, picking up the scraps of his charismatic lothario of a best friend, Mack. He comforts himself with the certainty that his stellar academic record and brains will bring him the adulation that has evaded him in high school. But when an unthinkable catastrophe tears away the one girl he ever had a chance with, his life takes a bizarre turn as he discovers an inexplicable power: He can regenerate his organs and limbs.

When a chance encounter brings him face to face with a girl from his past, he decides that he must use his gift to save her from a violent husband and dismal future. His quest takes him to the glitz and greed of Hollywood, and into the crosshairs of shadowy forces bent on using and abusing his gift. Can Dale use his power to redeem himself and those he loves, or will the one thing that finally makes him special be his demise? The Heart Does Not Grow Back is a darkly comic, starkly original take on the superhero tale, introducing an exceptional new literary voice in Fred Venturini.


2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October 2014 Winner


The winner of the October 2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars is Lemongrass Hope by Amy Impellizzeri with 78 votes equaling 62% of all votes. Lemongrass Hope is published by Wyatt-MacKenzie.



2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October 2014 Winner





The Final Results

2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October 2014 Winner





The October 2014 Debut Covers

2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October 2014 Winner




Thank you to everyone who voted, Tweeted, and participated. The 2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will continue with voting on the November Debut covers starting on November 15, 2014.


2014 Debut Author Challenge - November Debuts



2014 Debut Author Challenge - November Debuts


There are 6 debuts (so far) for November. Please note that we use the publisher's publication date in the United States, not copyright dates or non-US publication dates.

The November debut authors and their novels are listed in alphabetical order by author (not book title or publication date). Take a good look at the covers. Voting for your favorite November cover for the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on November 15th.

If you are participating as a reader in the Challenge, please let us know in the comments what you are thinking of reading or email us at "DAC . TheQwillery  @  gmail . com" (remove the spaces and quotation marks). Please note that we list all debuts for the month (of which we are aware), but not all of these authors will be 2014 Debut Author Challenge featured authors. However, any of these novels may be read by Challenge readers to meet the goal for November. The list is correct as of the day posted.

Updated to include Homefront by Scott James Magner.



Lexie Dunne

Superheroes Anonymous
Superheroes Anonymous 1
Harper Voyager Impulse, November 25, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 336 pages
(eBook available November 18, 2014)

2014 Debut Author Challenge - November Debuts
Everybody in Chicago has a "superhero sighting" story. So when a villain attacks editorial assistant Gail Godwin and she's rescued by superhero Blaze, it's a great story, and nothing more. Until it happens again. And again. Now the media has dubbed her Hostage Girl, nobody remembers her real name, and people are convinced that Blaze is just her boyfriend, Jeremy, in disguise.

Gail's not so sure. All she knows is that when both Jeremy and Blaze leave town in the same week, she's probably doomed. Who will save her now?

Yet, miraculously, the villains lose interest. Gail is able to return to her life … until she wakes up strapped to a metal table by a mad scientist who hasn't read the news. After escaping—now more than human herself—she's drawn into a secret underground world of superheroes. She'll have to come to terms with her powers (and weaknesses) to make it in the new society, and it's not easy. After all, there's a new villain on the rise, and she has her sights set on the one and only Hostage Girl.





Jessica Leake

Arcana
Talos, November 11, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages

2014 Debut Author Challenge - November Debuts
A romantic, suspenseful, genre-bending debut set in Edwardian London.

Amid the sumptuous backdrop of the London season in 1905, headstrong Katherine Sinclair must join the ranks of debutantes vying for suitors. Unfortunately for Katherine, she cannot imagine anything more loathsome-or dangerous. To help ease her entrance into society, Katherine's family has elicited the assistance of the Earl of Thornewood, a friend and London's most eligible bachelor, to be her constant companion at the endless fetes and balls. But upon her arrival in London, Katherine realizes there will be more to this season than just white gowns and husband hunting.

Through her late mother's enchanted diary, Katherine receives warning to keep hidden her otherworldly ability to perform arcana, a magic fueled by the power of the sun. Any misstep could mean ruin-and not just for her family name. The Order of the Eternal Sun is everywhere-hunting for those like her, able to feed on arcana with only a touch of the hand.

But society intrigue can be just as perilous as the Order. The machinations of the fashionable elite are a constant threat, and those who covet Katherine's arcana, seeking the power of her birthright, could be hiding behind the façade of every suitor-even the darkly handsome Earl of Thornewood.

With so much danger and suspicion, can she give her heart to the one who captivates her, or is he just another after her power?




Scott James Magner

Homefront
Arche Press, November 11, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 392 pages

2014 Debut Author Challenge - November Debuts
In the 27th century, the Transgenic virus has redefined what it means to be human. The exiles of Earth’s Outer Colonies have evolved distinct genetic advantages over their ancestors, and are coming home to claim their birthright.

Commander Jantine leads an infiltration force of soldiers, scientists, and engineers on a mission to establish a new colony—a beachhead—on the planet that cast them forth so many years before.

Lieutenant Mira Harlan of the System Defense Force is part of a clandestine fleet stationed just outside Earth’s orbit. She doesn’t know it yet, but on board her ship is a priceless secret—a young girl whose genetic code might unlock the mysteries of the Transgenic virus.

When Jantine and the crew of Streamship Seven emerge from hyperspace, they reignite a centuries-old conflict that could tear the home system apart. Harlan and her captain must both defend themselves and protect their charge, or humanity’s next war may well be its last.




Fredrik T. Olsson

Chain of Events
Little, Brown and Company, November November 4, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 432 pages
(US Debut)

2014 Debut Author Challenge - November Debuts
A stunning debut thriller about a code that threatens humanity - and the only man can crack it.

William Sandberg, once a well-respected military cryptologist pursuing cutting-edge research, is a ruined man. His career is in shambles, his marriage is over, and he's succumbed to a dark depression.

But William's talents haven't gone unnoticed. A nameless, top-secret organization abducts him and tasks him with a daunting mission: decode a message that will reveal the disastrous prophecies hidden in our DNA before it is too late.

Meanwhile, William's ex-wife Christina is haunted by his absence and suspects there is more to his disappearance than just the reclusive impulse of a depressed man. Driven by her hunch, she sets out to find him and joins an eclectic cast of characters all drawn to a mysterious chateau in the Alps where the secret organization is plotting something-but is it revenge? Or a rescue mission? What is the organization hiding? What does the code have to do with the potent virus suddenly spreading around the world? And can William uncover the truth before it's too late?

A thrilling novel about humanity on the verge of crisis, taking readers from the streets of Berlin and Stockholm to a chateau in the Alps, Chain of Events explodes and then reconfigures the ties that bind us to one another: marriage, politics, and our DNA.




Fred Venturini

The Heart Does Not Grow Back
Picador, November 4, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

2014 Debut Author Challenge - November Debuts
EVERY SUPERHERO NEEDS TO START SOMEWHERE...

Dale Sampson is used to being a nonperson at his small-town Midwestern high school, picking up the scraps of his charismatic lothario of a best friend, Mack. He comforts himself with the certainty that his stellar academic record and brains will bring him the adulation that has evaded him in high school. But when an unthinkable catastrophe tears away the one girl he ever had a chance with, his life takes a bizarre turn as he discovers an inexplicable power: He can regenerate his organs and limbs.

When a chance encounter brings him face to face with a girl from his past, he decides that he must use his gift to save her from a violent husband and dismal future. His quest takes him to the glitz and greed of Hollywood, and into the crosshairs of shadowy forces bent on using and abusing his gift. Can Dale use his power to redeem himself and those he loves, or will the one thing that finally makes him special be his demise? The Heart Does Not Grow Back is a darkly comic, starkly original take on the superhero tale, introducing an exceptional new literary voice in Fred Venturini.




Ernie Wood

One Red Thread
Tyrus Books, November 3, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages
(Fiction Debut)

2014 Debut Author Challenge - November Debuts
When architect Eddy McBride, a fortysomething self-absorbed noticer of details and self-appointed seeker of truths, stumbles upon a way to visit, watch and ultimately participate in events from his family history, he finds answers to long-ago tragedies and mysteries. But each time Eddy returns to the present, he unleashes the unhappy consequences of exploring history on his family and friends. And as Eddy’s knowledge of the past grows, he turns from curious seeker of truths to frantic fixer of mistakes—present, past and by those from the present who would change the past—as he follows a devastating trail of hurt, disappearance and death.


Interview with Martin Rose, author of Bring Me Flesh, I'll Bring Hell - October 28, 2014


Please welcome Martin Rose to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Bring Me Flesh, I'll Bring Hell is published today by Talos.  Please join The Qwillery in wishing Martin a Happy Publication Day!



Interview with Martin Rose, author of Bring Me Flesh, I'll Bring Hell - October 28, 2014




TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Martin:  Like a lot of writers, I was young. I had some obstacles, but I fell into it when I was twelve. And it's hard to say why, why writing was the thing. I just had stories inside me, and it was self-evident the only natural answer was to let them out. So I started sending out stories to print publications when I was 13. I was very secretive about it, I didn't tell anyone, or ask for help. I still have my first rejection letter from Dani D'Atillio at Death's Realm back in 1994.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Martin:  Ambidextrous. Nowadays I make a general outline, but I pantsed Bring Me Flesh something fierce.



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

Martin:  Time. Always time. On the surface, it's hard for any writer who starts early in their career to find time, especially if they're not in a financially comfortable place in life. But there's this whole other aspect of time involved in writing that is just not very sexy. It's learning how to deal with time when your heart isn't in it, and how, you know, you could be spending your time on all these other very pleasurable distractions that life provides you. It's not exciting to spend hour after hour in a chair, pecking at the keyboard. And there are all these days and months and years ahead of you, spent waiting for editors and publishers and agents to get back to you. You have to learn to mitigate and leverage time, because if you don't... you give up. Nothing breaks a writer with greater efficiency than Time. And I think that's true of any profession that requires discipline and mastery.



TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Martin:  I read it all. A lot of books have stuck with me, but it's hard to say what made an influence, because I really, really have a deep desire to innovate language, to create a voice and a style that is all its own, and not beholden to the past. When I was a teenager, I cut my teeth on Lloyd Alexander, Stephen King, Anne Rice, Robert R. McCammon, Edgar Allen Poe, Alexandre Dumas and Edith Wharton. When I got older I found Graham Greene, David Sedaris, Donna Tartt, Robin Hobb, Charlotte Bronte. I read a lot of non-fiction. Economics, political science, history. These days I'm going through Laird Barron's back catalog with a great deal of enjoyment, as well as John Langan, Stephen Graham Jones. Read my first John LeCarre book, and I'm looking forward to reading more of him. Anyone can track my readings on goodreads.com.



TQ:  Describe Bring Me Flesh, I'll Bring Hell in 140 characters or less.

Martin:  Love the dead without the guilt. Blood, bullets, conspiracy, and a very dysfunctional family.



TQ:  Tell us something about Bring Me Flesh, I'll Bring Hell that is not in the book description.

Martin:  Well, without giving too much away, there's a suit of armor and a troublesome infestation of flies. There's a particular part I'd love to tell people about, but it would spoil the surprise.



TQ:  What inspired you to write Bring Me Flesh, I'll Bring Hell? Your publisher describes the novel as "...an imaginative spin on the hard-boiled detective genre and a new twist on the zombie novel." Why zombies? Are your zombies the classic Romero zombie or something else?

Martin:  I'd written a short story with Vitus, a few years back, I think in 2009, and that became the springboard. It was just meant to be a one off short that ended up in a zombie anthology, but Vitus had a persistent voice.

Out of the entire monster catalog a writer can choose from, zombie was not really ever on my list; but I found that a zombie of Vitus's caliber gave me a lot of play I couldn't get out of other monsters that have really come back into public focus, like vampires and werewolves. And vampires and werewolves are often spun to be very sexual, mysterious and seductive creatures, in the popular sphere. But with Vitus, there was no expectation for that kind of glamor. He's not attractive, he's not happy, he's got a lot of trauma. And rather than go with classic Romero zombie – not to say you won't find an element of that in Bring Me Flesh as well – Vitus is self-aware of his monstrousness, and the only reason he has that self-awareness is because he takes medication to keep him sentient. Zombies' continuing popularity is really a sign of a zeitgeist. It's not going away anytime soon. The BBC is running a program called "In The Flesh", about a boy who happens to be a zombie, and is being integrated back into society through medication. I expect our culture will be taking this subject farther to reflect the various social, economic, and political issues that have become too controversial, or uncomfortable, to talk about openly.



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Bring Me Flesh, I'll Bring Hell?

Martin:  Some was accidental. I have a friend who's an officer in NYC, and I'd done some research with him about evidence rooms that inadvertantly ended up forming a particular character in the book. I ended up taking the research into some interesting spaces – for instance, I spent a lot of hours poring over materials dealing with the subject of leprosy in medieval times. When I was young, my step-mother told me about a leper colony in Hawaii, and that really began to form the basis for another character. Vitus's back story takes the reader to Kosovo, and the conflicts that erupted in Yugoslavia during the 90s, the NATO airstrikes, and I brushed up on that. Hopefully I didn't screw any of that up, but if there are mistakes, they're all mine. But Kosovo is where Vitus ends up. The recent wars involving the middle east are probably the most accessible to the reader, but I wanted to delve into an area that people would be less knowledgable about, (Kosovo, Bosnia, and Sarajevo) and unable to form instantaneous opinions on.



TQ:  In Bring Me Flesh, I'll Bring Hell who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Martin:  They're all hard. I'm not a large fan of turning my characters into avatars for myself. That doesn't mean I don't take little things from experience and just patch them in places to bolster the identity of a character and flesh them out. But because I don't necessarily want characters to reflect my attitudes or personality, it actually can be quite a grind, to build a person from scratch and make them breathe for the reader, when you may not even like the character yourself. That's what made Vitus the hardest. His brother, Jamie, was a bit of a surprise, but still hard. I did not expect him to flesh out as much as he did. There were intense psychological scenes in the last half of the book I had to take breaks through. I think having empathy makes it harder. That quality creates an obligation to care more about what happens to everyone, even the villains.



TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from Bring Me Flesh, I'll Bring Hell.

Martin

"Another man walked in my shoes. I never really got to know him, the boy that I was. At twenty years of age, he died ignobly as part of a military sanctioned, pharmaceutical experiment. In his place, I was born – as a darkling encased in rotting meat, a walking, talking corpse, still picking pieces of his wife and son from his teeth. A convenient tragedy packing heat. I was a pathetic human and I made for an even more pathetic monster."



TQ:  What's next?

Martin:  Hopefully, a follow up, if Skyhorse wants it. I'll be a tourist in the zombie universe for another book or two, if circumstance allows; and then I'll move onto other pastures. I'm always writing. Anyone interested can keep up with my commentary, observations, news, and unwanted opinions over at my wordpress, www.martinrose.org.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Martin:  Thanks for having me, and happy reading to everyone. There're amazing books coming out this month; I know I'll be reading quite a few of them myself!





Bring Me Flesh, I'll Bring Hell: A Horror Novel
Talos, October 28, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 232 pages

Interview with Martin Rose, author of Bring Me Flesh, I'll Bring Hell - October 28, 2014
Vitus Adamson is falling apart. As a pre-deceased private investigator, he takes the prescription Atroxipine hourly to keep his undead body upright and functioning. Whenever he is injured, he seeks Niko, a bombshell mortician with bedroom eyes and a way with corpses, to piece him back together. Decomposition, however, is the least of his worries when two clients posing his most dangerous job yet appear at his door looking for their lost son.

Vitus is horrified to discover the photo of the couple's missing son is a picture-perfect reproduction of his long dead son. This leads him to question the events of his tormented past; he must face the possibility that the wife and child he believed he murdered ten years ago in a zombie-fugue have somehow survived . . . or is it just wishful thinking designed to pull him into an elaborate trap?

Unfolding like a classic film noir mixed with elements of a B-movie, Bring Me Flesh, I'll Bring Hell is an imaginative spin on the hard-boiled detective genre and a new twist on the zombie novel. In Vitus Adamson, you will find a protagonist you can care about and invest in as he takes you through his emotional journey of betrayal and quest for redemption.





About Martin

Martin Rose lives in New Jersey, where he writes a range of fiction from the fantastic to the macabre. Visit martinrose.org for details.



Interview with Jessica Leake, author of Arcana - November 18, 20142014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November Debuts2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - Superheroes Anonymous by Lexie DunneInterview with Fred Venturini, author of The Heart Does Not Grow Back - November 6, 2014Guest Blog by Rajan Khanna, author of Falling Sky - November 5, 2014Guest Blog by Alis Franklin - What would the Norse Gods think of all the modern stories about them? - November 4, 20142014 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Heart Does Not Grow Back by Ken Venturini2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October 2014 Winner2014 Debut Author Challenge - November DebutsInterview with Martin Rose, author of Bring Me Flesh, I'll Bring Hell - October 28, 2014

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