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What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 36


This is the thirty-sixth in a series of updates about formerly featured Debut Author Challenge authors and their 2015 works published since the last update and any upcoming works for 2016. The year in parentheses after the author's name is the year she/he was featured in the Debut Author Challenge.



Part 1 herePart 11 herePart 21 herePart 31 here
Part 2 herePart 12 herePart 22 herePart 32 here
Part 3 herePart 13 herePart 23 herePart 33 here
Part 4 herePart 14 herePart 24 herePart 34 here
Part 5 herePart 15 herePart 25 herePart 35 here
Part 6 herePart 16 herePart 26 here
Part 7 herePart 17 herePart 27 here
Part 8 herePart 18 herePart 28 here
Part 9 herePart 19 herePart 29 here
Part 10 herePart 20 herePart 30 here



Peter Newman (2015)

The Vagrant
The Vagrant 1
Harper Voyager, May 10, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 36
The Vagrant is his name. He has no other.

Years have passed since humanity’s destruction emerged from the Breach.

Friendless and alone he walks across a desolate, war-torn landscape.

As each day passes the world tumbles further into depravity, bent and twisted by the new order, corrupted by the Usurper, the enemy, and his infernal horde.

His purpose is to reach the Shining City, last bastion of the human race, and deliver the only weapon that may make a difference in the ongoing war.

What little hope remains is dying. Abandoned by its leader, The Seven, and its heroes, The Seraph Knights, the last defences of a once great civilisation are crumbling into dust.

But the Shining City is far away and the world is a very dangerous place.




Robert Repino (2015

Morte
Soho Press, February 9, 2016
Trade Paperback, 384 pages
Hardcover and eBook, January 20, 2015

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 36
The “war with no name” has begun, with human extinction as its goal. The instigator of this war is the Colony, a race of intelligent ants who, for thousands of years, have been silently building an army that will forever eradicate the destructive, oppressive humans. Under the Colony’s watchful eye, this utopia will be free of the humans’ penchant for violence, exploitation and religious superstition. As a final step in the war effort, the Colony uses its strange technology to transform the surface animals into high-functioning two-legged beings who rise up to kill their masters.

Former housecat turned war hero, Mort(e) is famous for taking on the most dangerous missions and fighting the dreaded human bio-weapon EMSAH. But the true motivation behind his recklessness is his ongoing search for a pre-transformation friend—a dog named Sheba. When he receives a mysterious message from the dwindling human resistance claiming Sheba is alive, he begins a journey that will take him from the remaining human strongholds to the heart of the Colony, where he will discover the source of EMSAH and the ultimate fate of all of earth’s creatures.
[description from Hardcover edition]




Katie Schickel (2015)

The Mermaid's Secret
Forge, June 14, 2016
Hardcover, Trade Paperback, and eBook, 288pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 36

[description not yet available]





Alan Smale (2015)

Clash of Eagles
The Clash of Eagles Trilogy Book I
Del Rey, September 1, 2015
Mass Market Paperback, 464 pages
Hardcover and eBook, March 17, 2015

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 36
Perfect for fans of action-adventure and historical fiction—including novels by such authors as Bernard Cornwell, Steve Berry, Naomi Novik, and Harry Turtledove—this stunning work of alternate history imagines a world in which the Roman Empire has not fallen and the North American continent has just been discovered. In the year 1218 AD, transported by Norse longboats, a Roman legion crosses the great ocean, enters an endless wilderness, and faces a cataclysmic clash of worlds, cultures, and warriors.

Ever hungry for land and gold, the Emperor has sent Praetor Gaius Marcellinus and the 33rd Roman Legion into the newly discovered lands of North America. Marcellinus and his men expect easy victory over the native inhabitants, but on the shores of a vast river the Legion clashes with a unique civilization armed with weapons and strategies no Roman has ever imagined.

Forced to watch his vaunted force massacred by a surprisingly tenacious enemy, Marcellinus is spared by his captors and kept alive for his military knowledge. As he recovers and learns more about these proud people, he can’t help but be drawn into their society, forming an uneasy friendship with the denizens of the city-state of Cahokia. But threats—both Roman and Native—promise to assail his newfound kin, and Marcellinus will struggle to keep the peace while the rest of the continent surges toward certain conflict.


Eagle in Exile
The Clash of Eagles Trilogy Book II
Del Rey, March 15, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 576 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 36
Perfect for fans of Bernard Cornwell, Steve Berry, Naomi Novik, and Harry Turtledove, Alan Smale’s gripping alternate history series imagines a world in which the Roman Empire has survived long enough to invade North America in 1218. Now the stunning story carries hero Gaius Marcellinus deeper into the culture of an extraordinary people—whose humanity, bravery, love, and ingenuity forever change his life and destiny.

In A.D. 1218, Praetor Gaius Marcellinus is ordered to conquer North America and turning it into a Roman province. But outside the walls of the great city of Cahokia, his legion is destroyed outright; Marcellinus is the only one spared. In the months and years that follow, Marcellinus comes to see North America as his home and the Cahokians as his kin. He vows to defend these proud people from any threat, Roman or native.

After successfully repelling an invasion by the fearsome Iroqua tribes, Marcellinus realizes that a weak and fractured North America won’t stand a chance against the returning Roman army. Worse, rival factions from within threaten to tear Cahokia apart just when it needs to be most united and strong. Marcellinus is determined to save the civilization that has come to mean more to him than the empire he once served. But to survive the swords of Roma, he first must avert another Iroqua attack and bring the Cahokia together. Only with the hearts and souls of a nation at his back can Marcellinus hope to know triumph.




A.F.E. Smith (2015)

Goldenfire
The Darkhaven Novels 2
Harper Voyager UK, January 14, 2016
eBook, 400 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 36
In Darkhaven, peace doesn’t last long.

Ayla Nightshade has ruled Darkhaven for three years since the tragedy that tore her family apart. She has left her father’s cruel legacy behind and become a leader her people can believe in – or so she hopes.

Tomas Caraway is no longer a disgraced drunk; he’s Captain of the Helm and the partner of the most powerful woman in Darkhaven. He will do everything to protect Ayla and their adopted son against all possible threats.

But a discovery has been made that could have profound consequences for the Nightshade family. There is a weapon so deadly, it can kill even the powerful creatures they turn into. And now, that weapon has fallen into the wrong hands.

An assassin is coming for Ayla, and will stop at nothing to see her dead.


2015 Debut Author Challenge COVER OF THE YEAR Winner!


2015 Debut Author Challenge COVER OF THE YEAR Winner!


The votes are in and the winner of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge COVER OF THE YEAR is Darkhaven by A.F.E. Smith from Harper Voyager UK with 1,088 votes (44%). The cover artist is Alexandra Allden.

There was a quite a battle between Darkhaven and The Thorn of Dentonhill by Marshall Ryan Maresca but Darkhaven won by 107 votes in the end! In total there were an amazing 2,494 votes cast. Thank you to everyone who voted!


Darkhaven
Harper Voyager UK, July 2, 2015
eBook, 400 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge COVER OF THE YEAR Winner!
Ayla Nightshade never wanted to rule Darkhaven. But her half-brother Myrren – true heir to the throne – hasn’t inherited their family gift, forcing her to take his place.

When this gift leads to Ayla being accused of killing her father, Myrren is the only one to believe her innocent. Does something more sinister than the power to shapeshift lie at the heart of the Nightshade family line?

Now on the run, Ayla must fight to clear her name if she is ever to wear the crown she never wanted and be allowed to return to the home she has always loved.



The Results

2015 Debut Author Challenge COVER OF THE YEAR Winner!




Cover Wars started as a way to recognize and celebrate the talented individuals who bring books to life with their eye-catching covers. While we may not judge a book by its cover, a terrific cover will certainly make us want to know what is on the inside.

The View From Monday - January 11, 2016


Happy Monday!

There is one debut this week - And Again by Jessica Chiarella.


From formerly featured Debut Author Challenge Authors:

The Dirt on the Ninth Grave (Charley Davidson 9) by Darynda Jones;

Of Flame and Promise (Weird Girls 6) by Cecy Robson;

and

Goldenfire (Darkhaven 2) by A.F.E. Smith.



The View From Monday - January 11, 2016


January 12, 2016
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
I Am Slaughter Dan Abnett SF - Warhammer 40,000: The Beast Arises 1
The Sighting Patricia Anthony SF
Destroyer Brett Battles SF - Rewinder 2
Karen Memory (h2tp) Elizabeth Bear SP
Carbide Tipped Pens: Seventeen Tales of Hard Science Fiction (h2tp) Ben Bova (ed)
Eric Choi (ed)
SF - Anthology
And Again (D) Jessica Chiarella LF
Ancestral Machines Michael Cobley SF - Humanity's Fire 4
War Chest Lynne Connolly PHR - Even Gods Fall in Love 5
The Covenant: A Mystery Jeff Crook M/GH - Jackie Lyons Mystery 2
Better Off Undead (Ke) Cynthia Eden PNR - Blood and Monlight 2
The Drowning Eyes Emily Foster F
Eleanor Jason Gurley LF/Meta/F
Blue Darker Than Black: A Thriller Mike Jenne Th/Tech - Blue Gemini 3
The Dirt on Ninth Grave Darynda Jones PM - Charley Davidson 9
The Guardian (e)(ri) Jeffrey Konvitz H - Sentinel 2
The Sentinel (e)(ri) Jeffrey Konvitz H - Sentinel 1
Hunting the Shadows: The Selected Stories of Tanith Lee Volume 2 (h2tp) Tanith Lee F - Collection
The Three-Body Problem (h2tp) Cixin Liu SF - Three-Body Trilogy 1
V-Wars: Night Terrors Jonathan Maberry (ed) H - V-Wars
Indexing: Reflections Seanan McGuire CF - Indexing 2
Courage and Honour Graham McNeill SF - Warhammer 40,000: Ultramarines 5
This Census-Taker China Miéville LF/CF
Inside a Silver Box (h2tp) Walter Mosley SF/AC
The Two of Swords: Part 12 (e) K. J. Parker F
Of Flame and Promise (e) Cecy Robson PNR - Weird Girls 6
The Wildings Nilanjana Roy LF/F
Knocking on Heaven's Door Sharman Apt Russell Dys
Written in Fire Marcus Sakey Th/Dys - The Brilliance Trilogy
3
Best of Apex Magazine (e) Jason Sizemore (ed)
Lesley Conner (ed)
SF/F - Anthology
Wolf on the Hunt N.J. Walters PNR - Salvation Pack 5
Skinner Luce Patricia Ward SF



January 13, 2016
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Finnegan's Field: A Tor.Com Original (e) Angela Slatter F



January 14, 2016
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Scarred (e) Erica Hayes UF - Sapphire City 2
Crossing Hudson (e) Mandy M. Roth UF - Guardians 2
Goldenfire (e) A. F. E. Smith F - Darkhaven 2



January 15, 2016
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Xenowealth: A Collection (Ke) Tobias S. Buckell SF - Collection
City of the Saints (e) D.J. Butler AH
Marshals Brandon Rospond HistF - Wild West Exodus



D - Debut
e - eBook
ed - editor
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
ri - reissue or reprint


AC - Alien Contact
AH - Alternate History
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
GH - Ghost
H - Horror
HistF - Historical Fantasy
LF - Literary Fiction
M - Mystery
Meta - Metaphysical
PHR - Paranormal Historical Romance
PM - Paranormal Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
SF - Science Fiction
SP - Steampunk
Tech - Technological
Th - Thriller
UF - Urban Fantasy

2015 Debut Author Challenge Wars - COVER OF THE YEAR


It's time to vote for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge COVER OF THE YEAR! Below you will find the 12 monthly winners in alphabetical order by book title (excluding "the").

Voter for your favorite from the monthly 2015 Winners!

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 January 9, 2016 - extended voting due to the end of year holidays.



Vote for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge COVER OF THE YEAR!
 
pollcode.com free polls



~ March ~
2015 Debut Author Challenge Wars - COVER OF THE YEAR



~ October ~
2015 Debut Author Challenge Wars - COVER OF THE YEAR




~ December ~
2015 Debut Author Challenge Wars - COVER OF THE YEAR
Jacket design by Young Jin Lim




~ July ~
2015 Debut Author Challenge Wars - COVER OF THE YEAR
Cover by Alexandra Allden




~ April ~
2015 Debut Author Challenge Wars - COVER OF THE YEAR




~ August ~
2015 Debut Author Challenge Wars - COVER OF THE YEAR
Cover design by Cherie Chapman, part of the design team at Harper Collins




~ September ~
2015 Debut Author Challenge Wars - COVER OF THE YEAR
Cover artist - Ben Gardiner




~ January ~
2015 Debut Author Challenge Wars - COVER OF THE YEAR




~ June ~
2015 Debut Author Challenge Wars - COVER OF THE YEAR




~ February ~
2015 Debut Author Challenge Wars - COVER OF THE YEAR
Cover art - Paul Young




~ May ~
2015 Debut Author Challenge Wars - COVER OF THE YEAR




~ November ~
2015 Debut Author Challenge Wars - COVER OF THE YEAR
Cover design by Eileen Carey


2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July 2015 Winner



We had a hotly contested Cover Wars for July! The winner of the July 2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars is Darkhaven by A.F.E. Smith with 306 votes equaling 39% of all votes. The cover is by Alexandra Allden.



2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July 2015 Winner




The Final Results

2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July 2015 Winner





The July 2015 Debut Covers

2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July 2015 Winner



Thank you to everyone who voted, Tweeted, and participated. The 2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will continue with voting on the August Debut covers starting on August 15, 2015.

2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts


2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July 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 2015 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 July 25, 2015.



Vote for your favorite July 2015 Debut Cover!
 
pollcode.com free polls




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts
Cover Artist - David Palumbo




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts
Cover Design by Jason Gurley

2015 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts


2015 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts


There are 10 debuts for July. Please note that we use the publisher's publication date in the United States, not copyright dates or non-US publication dates.

The July 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 June cover for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on July 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 2015 Debut Author Challenge featured authors. However, any of these novels may be read by Challenge readers to meet the goal for July. The list is correct as of the day posted.



Rob Boffard

Tracer
Redhook (Orbit), July 16, 2015
eBook, 368 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
IN SPACE, EVERY. SECOND. COUNTS.

Our planet is in ruins. Three hundred miles above its scarred surface orbits Outer Earth: a space station with a million souls on board. They are all that remain of the human race.

Darnell is the head of the station's biotech lab. He's also a man with dark secrets. And he has ambitions for Outer Earth that no one will see coming.

Prakesh is a scientist, and he has no idea what his boss Darnell is capable of. He'll have to move fast if he doesn't want to end up dead.

And then there's Riley. She's a tracer - a courier. For her, speed is everything. But with her latest cargo, she's taken on more than she bargained for.

A chilling conspiracy connects them all.

The countdown has begun for Outer Earth - and for mankind.




Camille Griep

Letters to Zell
47North, July 1, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
Everything is going according to story for CeCi (Cinderella), Bianca (Snow White), and Rory (Sleeping Beauty)—until the day that Zell (Rapunzel) decides to leave Grimmland and pursue her life. Now, Zell’s best friends are left to wonder whether their own passions are worth risking their predetermined “happily ever afters,” regardless of the consequences. CeCi wonders whether she should become a professional chef, sharp-tongued and quick-witted Bianca wants to escape an engagement to her platonic friend, and Rory will do anything to make her boorish husband love her. But as Bianca’s wedding approaches, can they escape their fates—and is there enough wine in all of the Realm to help them?

In this hilarious modern interpretation of the fairy-tale stories we all know and love, Letters to Zell explores what happens when women abandon the stories they didn’t write for themselves and go completely off script to follow their dreams.




Logan J. Hunder

Witches Be Crazy
A Tale That Happened Once Upon a Time in the Middle of Nowhere
Night Shade Books, July 14, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
Real heroes never die. But they do get grouchy in middle age.

The beloved King Ik is dead, and there was barely time to check his pulse before the royal throne was supporting the suspiciously shapely backside of an impostor pretending to be Ik’s beautiful long-lost daughter. With the land’s heroic hunks busy drooling all over themselves, there’s only one man left who can save the kingdom of Jenair. His name is Dungar Loloth, a rural blacksmith turned innkeeper, a surly hermit and an all-around nobody oozing toward middle age, compensating for a lack of height, looks, charm, and tact with guts and an attitude.

Normally politics are the least of his concerns, but after everyone in the neighboring kingdom of Farrawee comes down with a severe case of being dead, Dungar learns that the masquerading princess not only is behind the carnage but also has similar plans for his own hometown. Together with an eccentric and arguably insane hobo named Jimminy, he journeys out into the world he’s so pointedly tried to avoid as the only hope of defeating the most powerful person in it. That is, if he can survive the pirates, cultists, radical Amazonians, and assorted other dangers lying in wait along the way.

Logan J. Hunder’s hilarious debut blows up the fantasy genre with its wry juxtaposition of the fantastic and the mundane, proving that the best and brightest heroes aren’t always the best for the job.




J. Dalton Jennings

Solomon's Arrow
Talos Press, July 14, 2014
Trade Papeback and eBook, 400 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
It’s the mid-twenty-first century. The oceans are rising, the world’s population is growing, terrorist organizations are running rampant, and it has become readily apparent that humanity’s destructive nature is at the heart of the matter.

When all faith in humanity seems lost, a startling proposal is announced: Solomon Chavez, the mysterious son of the world’s first trillionaire, announces that he, backed by a consortium of governments and wealthy donors, will build an interstellar starshipone that will convey a select group of six thousand individuals, all under the age of fifty, with no living relatives, to a recently discovered planet in the Epsilon Eridani star system. His goal is lofty: to build a colony that will ensure the survival of the human race. However, Solomon Chavez has a secret that he doesn’t dare share with the rest of the world.

With the launch date rapidly approaching, great odds must be overcome so that the starship Solomon’s Arrow can fulfill what the human race has dreamed of for millennia: reaching for the stars. The goal is noble, but looming on the horizon are threats nobody could have imaginedones that may spell the end of all human life and end the universe as we know it.

Filled with action, suspense, and characters that will live on in the imagination, Solomon’s Arrow will leave readers breathless, while at the same time questioning what humanity’s true goals should be: reaching for the stars, or exploring the limits of the human mind?




James Kendley

The Drowning God
Harper Voyager Impulse, July 28, 2015
eBook, 240 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
To uncover modern Japan's darkest, deadliest secret, one man must face a living nightmare from his childhood

Few villagers are happy when Detective Tohru Takuda returns to his hometown to investigate a string of suspicious disappearances. Even the local police chief tries to shut him out from the case. For behind the conspiracy lurks a monstrous living relic of Japan's pagan history: the Kappa. Protected long ago by a horrible pact with local farmers—and now by coldly calculating corporate interests—the Kappa drains the valley's lifeblood, one villager at a time.

As the body count rises, Takuda must try to end the Drowning God's centuries-long reign of terror, and failure means death…or worse.




Brian Kirk

We Are Monsters
Samhain Publishing, July 7, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 312 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
The Apocalypse has come to the Sugar Hill mental asylum. 

He’s the hospital’s newest, and most notorious, patient—a paranoid schizophrenic who sees humanity’s dark side.

Luckily he’s in good hands. Dr. Eli Alpert has a talent for healing tortured souls. And his protégé is working on a cure for schizophrenia, a drug that returns patients to their former selves. But unforeseen side effects are starting to emerge. Forcing prior traumas to the surface. Setting inner demons free.

Monsters have been unleashed inside the Sugar Hill mental asylum. They don’t have fangs or claws. They look just like you or me.




Rhonda Mason

The Empress Game
The Empress Game Trilogy 1
Titan Books, July 14, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
One seat on the intergalactic Sakien Empire’s supreme ruling body, the Council of Seven, remains unfilled, that of the Empress Apparent. The seat isn’t won by votes or marriage. It’s won in a tournament of ritualized combat in the ancient tradition. Now that tournament, the Empress Game, has been called and the women of the empire will stop at nothing to secure political domination for their homeworlds. Kayla Reunimon, a supreme fighter, is called to battle it out in the arena.

The battle for political power isn’t contained by the tournament’s ring, however. The empire’s elite gather to forge, strengthen or betray alliances in a dance that will determine the fate of the empire for a generation. With the empire wracked by a rising nanovirus plague and stretched thin by an ill-advised planet-wide occupation of Ordoch in enemy territory, everything rests on the woman who rises to the top.




Natasha Pulley

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street
Bloomsbury USA, July 14, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
1883. Thaniel Steepleton returns home to his tiny London apartment to find a gold pocket watch on his pillow. Six months later, the mysterious timepiece saves his life, drawing him away from a blast that destroys Scotland Yard. At last, he goes in search of its maker, Keita Mori, a kind, lonely immigrant from Japan. Although Mori seems harmless, a chain of unexplainable events soon suggests he must be hiding something. When Grace Carrow, an Oxford physicist, unwittingly interferes, Thaniel is torn between opposing loyalties.

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street is a sweeping, atmospheric narrative that takes the reader on an unexpected journey through Victorian London, Japan as its civil war crumbles long-standing traditions, and beyond. Blending historical events with dazzling flights of fancy, it opens doors to a strange and magical past.
Google Play : iTunes : Kobo




A.F.E. Smith

Darkhaven
Harper Voyager (UK), July 2, 2015
eBook, 400 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
Ayla Nightshade never wanted to rule Darkhaven. But her half-brother Myrren – true heir to the throne – hasn’t inherited their family gift, forcing her to take his place.

When this gift leads to Ayla being accused of killing her father, Myrren is the only one to believe her innocent. Does something more sinister than the power to shapeshift lie at the heart of the Nightshade family line?

Now on the run, Ayla must fight to clear her name if she is ever to wear the crown she never wanted and be allowed to return to the home she has always loved.




Gary Whitta

Abomination
Inkshares, July 29, 2015
Hardcover, Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
He is England's greatest knight, the man who saved the life of Alfred the Great and an entire kingdom from a Viking invasion. But when he is called back into service to combat a plague of monstrous beasts known as abominations, he meets a fate worse than death and is condemned to a life of anguish, solitude, and remorse.

She is a fierce young warrior, raised among an elite order of knights. Driven by a dark secret from her past, she defies her controlling father and sets out on a dangerous quest to do what none before her ever have―hunt down and kill an abomination, alone.

When a chance encounter sets these two against one another, an incredible twist of fate will lead them toward a salvation they never thought possible―and prove that the power of love, mercy, and forgiveness can shine a hopeful light even in history’s darkest age.

Guest Blog by A.F.E. Smith - City as character: building Darkhaven - June 12, 2015


Please welcome A.F.E. Smith to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. Darkhaven will be published on July 2nd by Harper Voyager (UK).



Guest Blog by A.F.E. Smith - City as character: building Darkhaven - June 12, 2015




City as character: building Arkannen

The ways in which people and places interact with each other have long been a fascination to me. It’s self-evident that we act upon our environment, shaping it to suit our own purposes. That’s what humans do. But perhaps we tend less often to realise just how much the environment influences us, too. Our surroundings affect us at all levels, from the individual rooms in which we find ourselves to the wider landscapes we navigate every day. Think of the peace we find in a beautiful vista, the irritation that can be evoked by just a single flickering overhead light, the unease or contentment we experience – without even knowing why! – when entering certain buildings. Every tiny detail of the places we inhabit contributes to our mood and the way we perceive the world. So as a writer, I’ve found it important to remember that setting isn’t just backdrop. It’s not like the scenery on a stage, a flat background in front of which the characters move. It acts on, and is acted upon by, the characters.

To me, this often seems to be particularly true of cities – because cities, more than any other kind of man-made environment, have a character of their own. If you live in a city, you can probably list a handful of things that make it unique without having to think too hard. Even to a stranger walking the streets, it’s clear that no two cities have quite the same feel to them. Yet a city’s character runs deeper than that. A city is animated by its inhabitants. They are the blood that runs through its veins. And sometimes, the city gets into their blood, too. There’s a symbiotic relationship between a city and its long-term citizens that’s very hard to break.

When I created Arkannen, the city in which all the action of Darkhaven is set, I wanted it to be the kind of city that a person could spend their whole life in without ever wanting to leave. The kind of city that people outside it long to visit one day. Not because it’s perfect, but because it’s alive. And creating a living city means being aware of how it shapes, and is shaped by, its inhabitants. To build a city with character, you have to know the city just as well as you know the people who populate your story. You have to know where its inhabitants live, where they work, what they eat, how they spend their time. As the great Terry Pratchett once said, know how the water comes in and how the sewage gets out. Most of the details don’t go into the book, of course, but being able to refer to them if necessary brings the setting to life.

In addition, a city is not a static thing; it’s a growing, changing beast. So as well as knowing what it’s like now, you have to know how it reached that point. Most cities start as small settlements and then grow because they’re well placed in terms of resources or trade routes, so you can cut down through the layers of the city and find its history like fossils embedded in the rock. Arkannen is a little different in that it was designed and built to order, so rather than having grown organically it has a very precise structure: seven concentric rings, each accessed by a single gate. All the same, its relatively recent history is there to read, if you know where to look. It was built as a military stronghold in a less mechanical age, so it still has many of the features that come with that: narrow streets and crooked buildings and cobblestones, arrow slits and lookout posts and gates that are easy to barricade. But since then, it has gone through something of an industrial revolution. The lower rings, in particular, have become a place of steam trams and factories, airships and machines. Yet the impact on the higher rings has been less; apart from the new gas lamps, the training grounds of the fifth ring and the temples of the sixth are much the same as they ever were. And Darkhaven itself – right at the centre – doesn’t appear to have changed since it was built. It looks like what it is: a show of power and a warning to the world. Here be dragons.

So what effects does my city have on my characters, and vice versa? Some of them are obvious: for instance, the city’s structure – with its rings and gates – puts a very specific set of physical constraints on both the characters and the plot. A person trying to get up or down through the city has to take certain routes and pass through certain points. Yet there are also more subtle variations in attitude and mindset between different areas of the city. The lower rings are a place of innovation, of movement and industry, of the old and obsolete being swept away. Up in Darkhaven, things continue much the same as they have for hundreds of years; the emphasis is on preservation and tradition in order to maintain the family bloodline and its supremacy over the rest of the population. So the contrast and conflict between old and new in the city is directly representative of the contrast and conflict between old and new in the book: the shapeshifter family that rules from Darkhaven, and the new technology that could destroy them.





Darkhaven
Harper Voyager (UK), July 2, 2015
eBook, 400 pages

Guest Blog by A.F.E. Smith - City as character: building Darkhaven - June 12, 2015
Ayla Nightshade never wanted to rule Darkhaven. But her half-brother Myrren – true heir to the throne – hasn’t inherited their family gift, forcing her to take his place.

When this gift leads to Ayla being accused of killing her father, Myrren is the only one to believe her innocent. Does something more sinister than the power to shapeshift lie at the heart of the Nightshade family line?

Now on the run, Ayla must fight to clear her name if she is ever to wear the crown she never wanted and be allowed to return to the home she has always loved.





About A.F E. Smith

Guest Blog by A.F.E. Smith - City as character: building Darkhaven - June 12, 2015
A.F.E. Smith is an editor of academic texts by day and a fantasy writer by night. So far, she hasn’t mixed up the two. She lives with her husband and their two young children in a house that someone built to be as creaky as possible – getting to bed without waking the baby is like crossing a nightingale floor. Though she doesn’t have much spare time, she makes space for reading, mainly by not getting enough sleep (she’s powered by chocolate). Her physical bookshelves were stacked two deep long ago, so now she’s busy filling up her e-reader.

What A.F.E. stands for is a closely guarded secret, but you might get it out of her if you offer her enough snacks.

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter @afesmith

DARKHAVEN on Goodreads

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: Darkhaven by A. F. E. Smith


2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: Darkhaven by A. F. E. Smith


The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge.


A.F.E. Smith

Darkhaven
Harper Voyager (UK), July 2, 2015
eBook, 400 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: Darkhaven by A. F. E. Smith
Ayla Nightshade never wanted to rule Darkhaven. But her half-brother Myrren – true heir to the throne – hasn’t inherited their family gift, forcing her to take his place.

When this gift leads to Ayla being accused of killing her father, Myrren is the only one to believe her innocent. Does something more sinister than the power to shapeshift lie at the heart of the Nightshade family line?

Now on the run, Ayla must fight to clear her name if she is ever to wear the crown she never wanted and be allowed to return to the home she has always loved.

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 362015 Debut Author Challenge COVER OF THE YEAR Winner!The View From Monday - January 11, 20162015 Debut Author Challenge Wars - COVER OF THE YEAR2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July 2015 Winner2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July DebutsInterview with A.F.E. Smith, author of Darkhaven - July 2, 20152015 Debut Author Challenge - July DebutsGuest Blog by A.F.E. Smith - City as character: building Darkhaven - June 12, 20152015 Debut Author Challenge Update: Darkhaven by A. F. E. Smith

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