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What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 33


This is the thirty-third 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 here
Part 4 herePart 14 herePart 24 here
Part 5 herePart 15 herePart 25 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



Francesca Haig (2015)

The Fire Sermon
The Fire Sermon Trilogy 1
Gallery Books, February 2, 2016
Trade Paperback, 384 pages
Hardcover and eBook, March 10, 2015

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 33
Nuclear war, dystopian unrest, a genetic mutation that divides twins in life and unites them in death—the “refreshingly nuanced” (Booklist, starred review) first novel in award-winning poet Francesca Haig’s richly imagined and action-packed post-apocalyptic trilogy “is poised to become the next must-read hit” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review).

Four hundred years after a nuclear apocalypse, all humans are born in pairs: the deformed Omegas, who are exploited and oppressed, and their Alpha twins, who have inherited the earth—or what’s left of it. But despite their claims of superiority, the Alphas cannot escape one harsh fact: whenever one twin dies, so does the other.

Cass is a rare Omega whose mutation is psychic foresight—not that she needs it to know that as her powerful twin, Zach, ascends the ranks of the ruling Alpha Council, she’s in grave danger. Zach has a devastating plan for Omega annihilation. Cass has visions of an island where a bloody Omega resistance promises a life of freedom. But her real dream is to discover a middle way, one that would bring together the sundered halves of humanity. And that means both the Council and the resistance have her in their sights.


The Map of Bones
The Fire Sermon Trilogy 2
Gallery Books, May 3, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 416 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 33
Book Two in the critically acclaimed The Fire Sermon trilogy—The Hunger Games meets Cormac McCarthy’s The Road in this richly imagined post-apocalyptic series by award-winning poet Francesca Haig.

Four hundred years in the future, the Earth has turned primitive following a nuclear fire that has laid waste to civilization and nature. Though the radiation fallout has ended, for some unknowable reason every person is born with a twin. Of each pair, one is an Alpha—physically perfect in every way; and the other an Omega—burdened with deformity, small or large. With the Council ruling an apartheid-like society, Omegas are branded and ostracized while the Alphas have gathered the world’s sparse resources for themselves. Though proclaiming their superiority, for all their effort, Alphas cannot escape one harsh fact: whenever one twin dies, so does the other.

Cass is a rare Omega, one burdened with psychic foresight. While her twin, Zach, gains power on the Alpha Council, she dares to dream the most dangerous dream of all: equality. For daring to envision a world in which Alphas and Omegas live side-by-side as equals, both the Council and the Resistance have her in their sights.




Scott Hawkins (2015)

The Library at Mount Char
Broadway Books, March 15, 2016
Trade Paperback, 400 pages
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 33
A missing God.
A library with the secrets to the universe.
A woman too busy to notice her heart slipping away.

Carolyn’s not so different from the other people around her. She likes guacamole and cigarettes and steak. She knows how to use a phone. Clothes are a bit tricky, but everyone says nice things about her outfit with the Christmas sweater over the gold bicycle shorts. 

After all, she was a normal American herself once.  

That was a long time ago, of course. Before her parents died. Before she and the others were taken in by the man they called Father.

In the years since then, Carolyn hasn’t had a chance to get out much. Instead, she and her adopted siblings have been raised according to Father’s ancient customs. They’ve studied the books in his Library and learned some of the secrets of his power. And sometimes, they’ve wondered if their cruel tutor might secretly be God. 

Now, Father is missing—perhaps even dead—and the Library that holds his secrets stands unguarded. And with it, control over all of creation.

As Carolyn gathers the tools she needs for the battle to come, fierce competitors for this prize align against her, all of them with powers that far exceed her own.

But Carolyn has accounted for this.

And Carolyn has a plan.

The only trouble is that in the war to make a new God, she’s forgotten to protect the things that make her human.

Populated by an unforgettable cast of characters and propelled by a plot that will shock you again and again, The Library at Mount Char is at once horrifying and hilarious, mind-blowingly alien and heartbreakingly human, sweepingly visionary and nail-bitingly thrilling—and signals the arrival of a major new voice in fantasy.
[Description from the Hardcover edition]




Alyc Helms (2015)

The Conclave of Shadows
Dragons of Heaven / Missy Masters 2
Angry Robot Books, April 5, 2016 (NA Print / eBook )
Mass Market Paperback and eBook
April 7, 2016 (UK Print)
Cover Art by Amazing 15

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 33
Missy Masters — aka the legendary superhero Mr Mystic — owes a lot of people favours after the events in The Dragons of Heaven. And these aren’t easy favours to pay back. So when one of the Argent Aces, Abby Trent, asks for her help in retrieving a Shadow Realms artefact, she figures this will help her pay down at least one of her debts.

The problem: Abby is just as good at getting into trouble as Missy, and before they can recover the artefact, it’s stolen by Abby’s arch-nemesis (and half-sister), the djinni Asha.

They follow Asha to the Divan of the Djinn, a twilight court of Shadow Realms exiles and freedom fighters on the border between Pakistan and India… and Missy and Abby are not welcome there. Missy has to navigate the arcane network of enmities and raise her own status among the Shadow hierarchy to gain allies against Asha and her masters.

After all, friends don’t let friends fight their arch-nemesis alone.

File Under: Fantasy




Randy Henderson (2015)

Finn Fancy Necromancy
The Arcana Familia 1
Tor Books, January 5, 2016
Trade Paperback, 384 pages
Hardcover and eBook, February 10, 2015

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 33
Writers of the Future grand prize winner Randy Henderson presents a dark and quirky debut in Finn Fancy Necromancy.

Finn Gramaraye was framed for the crime of dark necromancy at the age of 15, and exiled to the Other Realm for twenty five years. But now that he's free, someone-probably the same someone-is trying to get him sent back. Finn has only a few days to discover who is so desperate to keep him out of the mortal world, and find evidence to prove it to the Arcane Enforcers. They are going to be very hard to convince, since he's already been convicted of trying to kill someone with dark magic.

But Finn has his family: His brother Mort who is running the family necrotorium business now, his brother Pete who believes he's a werewolf, though he is not, and his sister Samantha who is, unfortunately, allergic to magic. And he's got Zeke, a fellow exile and former enforcer, who doesn't really believe in Finn's innocence but is willing to follow along in hopes of getting his old job back.


Bigfootloose and Finn Fancy Free
The Arcana Familia
Tor Books, February 16, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 432 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 33
In this sequel to Randy Henderson's acclaimed debut novel, Finn Fancy Necromancy, Finn Gramaraye is settling back into the real world after his twenty-five-year-long imprisonment in the otherworld of the Fey. He's fallen in love with a woman from his past, though he worries she may love a version of him that no longer exists. He's proved his innocence of the original crime of Dark Necromancy, and he's finding a place in the family business--operating a mortuary for the Arcane, managing the magical energies left behind when an Arcane being dies to prevent it from harming the mundane world.

But Finn wants more. Or different. Or something. He's figured out how to use the Kinfinder device created by his half-mad father to find people's True Love, and he'd like to convert that into an Arcane Dating Service. It's a great idea. Everyone wants True Love! Unfortunately, trouble always seems to find Finn, and when he agrees to help his friend, the Bigfoot named Sal, they walk right into a Feyblood rebellion against the Arcane Ruling Council, a rebellion being fomented by unknown forces and fueled by the drug created by Finn's own grandfather.




C. A. Higgins (2015)

Supernova
Lightless 2
Del Rey, July 26, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 33
C. A. Higgins’s acclaimed novel Lightless fused suspenseful storytelling, high-caliber scientific speculation, and richly developed characters into a stunning science fiction epic. Now the dazzling Supernova heightens the thrills and deepens the haunting exploration of technology and humanity—and the consequences that await when the two intersect.

Interview with Alyc Helms, author of The Dragons of Heaven - June 30, 2015


Please welcome Alyc Helms to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Dragons of Heaven is published on June 30th (North American print) by Angry Robot Books and is already available in digital format.



Interview with Alyc Helms, author of The Dragons of Heaven - June 30, 2015




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing? How does having a background in Anthropology affect (or not) your writing?

Alyc:  Hello to all and sundry.

I could go with the old standard, which is that I've been writing for as long as I can remember. That's true after a fashion. My dad has a book I handmade when I was nine that has a few illustrated short stories, some very-dark-for-a-nine-year-old poetry, and some transcribed family folklore. I continued to noodle with writing throughout my teens and twenties, and I even sent a few short stories out. I just moved to a new home, and while I was unpacking I found a small stack of rejection letters from Shawna McCarthy at Realms of Fantasy from back in the *cough* 90s *cough*.

But the truth is that I didn't really get serious about writing – especially finishing things I'd started, which is my benchmark for 'serious' – until I was in graduate school. Writing fiction became my way of keeping sane when my coursework and dissertation research became too much to handle. With my fiction, I could have fun. Nobody cared if I was wrong. Nobody was judging me. I could be as ridiculous as I wanted to be.

I could also use all the things I'd learned about cultural structures, about representation and identity, about politics and economics and activism, to ground my writing. I sometimes joke that I really just write critical theory fanfic.



TQAre you a plotter or a pantser?

Alyc:  I started out a pure pantser, and for a long time I thought I was more of a pantser than I probably actually am because I like structures. I love structures. I'm a big fan of using ritual and structures to trick myself into doing work that I'd rather avoid. And because of my background in folklore (and anthropology), I've got a pretty good grasp of how we structure stories. I tend to determine my structure early on in my drafting process (in terms of acts and beats and rising/falling action), and then I refine my upcoming framework and leave the further-off stuff fuzzy until I get closer to it. So in that way, I'm definitely a plotter.

With The Dragons of Heaven, I had written several self-contained story chunks before I decided to turn it into something novel-shaped, but in doing that, I had to figure out a shape for the novel. That birthed the palimpsest-like Now-and-Then structure that goes a good deal beyond your typical flashbacks. I wanted the 'Then' sections to inform and give added meaning and depth to the 'Now' sections, so that when readers meet a major character in a 'Now' section, they know why the character is important to Missy and the story because they just saw the same character in a 'Then' section. It wasn't something I'd often seen done in popular fiction, and I knew it'd be a weird structure for some readers and potentially a hard sell to publishers, but I thought it offered some interesting storytelling opportunities. And now I can point to the television version of The Arrow (which I love like whoa) to show that it's not as weird a device as all that.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Alyc:  Butt-in-chair, because it pervades every aspect of the process. Need to write a first draft? You gotta get butt-in-chair. Research? Revisions? Butt-in-chair. Querying, marketing, all the business aspects also require you to show up and do the work. I know so many people who are super smart, who have fantastic ideas that I'd love to read, and who write beautiful or hilarious or profound snippets of prose. But none of that matters if you're not sitting down, finding the time, doing the work, getting it wrong, working toward making it right.

This is a challenge for me because (like many writers), I have what I call page-fear. Getting started is the hardest hurdle to get over because writers have excellent imaginations, and we're very good at turning them against ourselves. The game of 'what if?' becomes 'What if I get it wrong? What if it sucks? What if I'm not the right person to tell this story?' There's no right answer, so every word is a leap of faith. You have to be willing to be wrong. Writing is an alchemical process. A great idea transmutes into crap the moment it hits the page, and then you have to putrefy and purify it until it becomes gold. And that won't happen if you don't get butt-in-chair.



TQWho are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Alyc:  I grew up reading Katherine Kurtz, Mercedes Lackey, Melanie Rawn, and (of course) Anne McCaffery. I was dragon-obsessed as only a girl weaned on McCaffery could be, and there were never enough non-McCaffery dragon books to satisfy me.

More recently, I've gobbled up everything Robin Hobb is willing to give me. The Fool is one of my favorite fictional characters for the way he skewers gender assumptions. Naomi Novak and Temeraire are up there, too. Marie Brennan is a good friend, but she's also one of my favorite authors, and I love her naturalist take on dragons. It makes me feel like I'm back in field school.

For The Dragons of Heaven, however, I had to wander outside of fantasy fiction for my inspiration. I drew from Chinese folklore and legends (The Romance of the Three Kingdoms and The Water Margin/Outlaws of the Marsh were brilliant for this). I also drew inspiration from pulp and wuxia in other media: Indiana Jones, The Mummy movies, The Shadow (radio show), Big Trouble in Little China, K-20: The Fiend with Twenty Faces. Bunraku. I read literary pulp to get a good grounding in it, but it didn't quite have what I was looking for. Filmic pulp adventure/wuxia was the vibe I wanted.



TQDescribe The Dragons of Heaven in 140 characters or less.

Alyc:  Oh man. You guys are mean with these questions. Okay, I just yoinked my unsuccessful #PitMad entry from two years ago:

Pulp and wuxia collide when Missy Masters faces off against an ancient dragon to save China and get the guy.



TQTell us something about The Dragons of Heaven that is not found in the book description.

Alyc:  I'm a sucker for complicated, adult romances. Also, consent is sexy.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Dragons of Heaven? How would you describe into which genre(s) The Dragons of Heaven fit(s)? Having asked that, do you think that genre classifications are useful?

Dragons started as a side-adventure fic for a character I was playing in a tabletop game, and it lives in the intersection between pulp adventure and wuxia. About the time I hit 40k words, I realized I had the longest thing I’d ever written, the seed of a novel, and I still wasn’t bored. Of course, it was a character fic. It wasn’t novel-shaped at all. Missy was unfocused as a character, and the story was based in a world owned by a large corporate gaming company. I spent the next several years carving down, building up, reshaping, rewriting. The current iteration contains less than 10% of the original character fic.

Neither pulp adventure nor wuxia are what you would call well-known genre categories, especially in prose fiction. I keep expecting them to be better-known, but the consistently confused looks I get when I call Dragons a pulp adventure/wuxia mash-up indicate that I am mistaken in my expectations. I have three frivolous goals with Dragons: a) to bring back fedoras and tailored suits for men and women, b) to encourage demand for more cart-delivered dim sum restaurants, and c) to encourage more demand for pulp adventure wuxia, preferably including Eastern dragons.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Dragons of Heaven?

Alyc:  I have an outdated and incomplete bibliography on my website that covers some of my research materials, but it only covers the things I read specifically for Dragons. It doesn't cover the years I spent studying world folklores, anthropology, representation and identity politics, etc.

Some of the most valuable texts are a little hard to come by (especially now that I don't have access to a university library ::sobs::). I've already mentioned The Romance of the Three Kingdoms and The Water Margin, which is a little like mainlining Aurthurian mythology and all the works of Shakespeare before writing a Western fantasy. Wasserstrom was my main source for contemporary Chinese history. Sheridan Prasso's The Asian Mystique: Dragon Ladies, Geisha Girls, and Our Fantasies of the Exotic Orient was a great starting point for considering problematic tropes and issues in representation. Booth's The Dragon Syndicates and Huston's Tongs, Gangs, and Triads formed my hopefully-a-little-more-nuanced portrayal of the Triads' role in Chinese diaspora communities. And I can't shower enough love on Kang's The Cult of the Fox, which is an obscure monograph about household fox worship in southern China, and why I decided my fox spirits would be called huxian rather than the more derogatory huli-jing.



TQWho was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Alyc:  Easiest was Missy, definitely. If I've been away from her for a while then it can be a bit of work to get back into her voice, but once I'm in it, I'm in it. She says the things I wish I was quick enough to come up with on the fly.

Hardest was the dragons because I had to balance giving them the gravitas they deserved with making them personable to the reading audience. In addition, there are nine of them (though some get more screen time than others), each with their own concerns, personalities, and agendas, which meant that in addition to differentiating them from each other so readers didn't get confused, I had to do a lot of work figuring out their histories and relationships with each other, not just with Missy.



TQWhich question about The Dragons of Heaven do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Alyc:  Where can I go to get proper, cart-delivered dim-sum?

Sadly, my favorite cart-delivered dim-sum isn't in San Francisco at all. It's in Los Angeles. My go-to dim sum when I lived in L.A. was The Palace Seafood & Dim Sum on Wilshire on the Westside (I expect to get lots of hate-mail for this from San Gabriel Valley purists). For special occasions, though, we'd haul over to Chinatown to The Empress Pavilion. I understand The Empress Pavilion closed for a while and was recently re-opened under new ownership, so I can't say if it's as great as it used to be.

I've yet to find the right combination of carts, cost, and quality for dim sum in San Francisco, but this probably just means I need to go out for dim sum more often.

I'd love for readers to leave suggestions for good dim sum in the comments so I can try it if I ever visit wherever they are!



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from The Dragons of Heaven.

"Idealism is a series of compromises waiting to happen."



TQWhat's next?

Alyc:  I'm deep in the weeds on writing The Conclave of Shadow, the sequel to Dragons. In it, Mr. Mystic teams up with Professor Abigail Trent, aka The Antiquarian. My original pitch on this one was 'Thelma and Louise take on 1,001 Nights.' It's high on adventures and escapades, but I do get to jump around on my soapbox for a bit regarding archaeological ethics, looting, and repatriation. Sorry Indiana Jones. That artifact may 'belong in a museum,' but without decent provenance, it's not much use to anyone!

I just turned in some freelance game writing for the Dragon Age tabletop RPG, and I'm putting final touches on the manuscript for an Italianate secondary-world fantasy full of politics and poisoners, courtiers and courtesans, rapiers and repartee. My elevator pitch for that one is 'Game of Thrones meets Queer as Folk,' though in truth, it owes a bit more to Dumas than to Martin.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Alyc:  Thank you for having me!





The Dragons of Heaven
Dragons of Heaven 1
Angry Robot Books, June 30, 2015  (North America Print)
      June 2, 2015 (eBook)
      June 4, 2015 (UK Print)
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 512 pages

Interview with Alyc Helms, author of The Dragons of Heaven - June 30, 2015
Would you deal with the devil to save the world?

Street magician Missy Masters inherited more than the usual genetic cocktail from her estranged grandfather – she also got his preternatural control of shadow and his legacy as the vigilante hero, Mr Mystic. Problem is, being a pulp hero takes more than a good fedora and a knack for witty banter, and Missy lacks the one thing Mr. Mystic had: experience. Determined to live up to her birthright, Missy journeys to China to seek the aid of Lung Huang, the ancient master who once guided her grandfather.

Lung Huang isn’t quite as ancient as Missy expected, and she finds herself embroiled in the politics of Lung Huang and his siblings, the nine dragon-guardians of creation. When Lung Di, Lung Huang’s brother and mortal enemy, raises a magical barrier that cuts off China from the rest of the world, it falls to the new Mr Mystic to prove herself by taking down the barrier. But is it too great a task for a lone adventure hero?

File Under: Fantasy [ Sins of the Grandfather / Missy and Master / Geek Fu / Little Trouble in Big China ]





About Alyc

Interview with Alyc Helms, author of The Dragons of Heaven - June 30, 2015
Alyc Helms fled her doctoral program in anthropology and folklore when she realized she preferred fiction to academic writing. She dabbles in corsetry and costuming, dances at Renaissance and Dickens fairs, gets her dander up about social justice issues, and games in all forms of media. She sometimes refers to her work as “critical theory fanfic,” which is a fancy way to say that she is obsessed with liminality, gender identity, and foxes.

She’s a freelance game writer and a graduate of Clarion West, and her short fiction has appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Daily Science Fiction, Crossed Genres, to name a few. Her first novel, The Dragons of Heaven, will be published by Angry Robot Books in June 2015.

You can find Alyc online at http://www.alychelms.com and follow her @alychelms on Twitter.

The View From Monday - June 29, 2015


Happy last Monday in June. Sadly I've not been doing much reading lately. I've been spending most of my time dealing with a house issue that requires things being ripped out and insurance. The extent of damage keeps getting worse and worse as they remove more floor and walls. Hopefully things will calm down soon and I can refocus on reading and writing and not be so incredibly behind. Apologies to all!


There are 3 debuts this week:

The Singular & Extraordinary Tale of Mirror & Goliath (Notebooks of John Loveheart, Esq 1) by Ishbelle Bee;

The Linesman (Linesman 1) by S.K. Dunstall;

and

The Dragons of Heaven (Dragons of Heaven 1) by Alyc Helms.



And from formerly featured Debut Author Challenge Authors:

American Craftsmen (American Craftsmen 1) by Tom Doyle is out in Mass Market Paperback;

Supervillains Anonymous (Superheroes Anonymous 2) by Lexie Dunne;

Luck of the Irish (Leprechaun's Gold 1) by Sara Humphreys;

and

Provoked (Dark Protectors 5) by Rebecca Zanetti.



The View From Monday - June 29, 2015



June 29, 2015
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Indelible Ink (e) Matt Betts SP/H/Th
The Adventures of Cassius Flynn and Molly McGuire (e) Eleri Stone Dys/PNR - Reapers Novella



June 30, 2015
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The Singular & Extraordinary Tale of Mirror & Goliath (D) Ishbelle Bee HistF - Notebooks of John Loveheart, Esq 1
Ascendance: Dave vs. the Monsters John Birmingham UF - David Hooper Trilogy 3
Tomorrow War J. L. Bourne TechTh - The Chronicles of Max (Redacted)
New Frontiers: A Collection of Tales About the Past, the Present, and the Future (h2mm) Ben Bova SF - Short Stories
Working for Bigfoot Jim Butcher UF - Dresden Files Novellas
Terminator Genisys: Resetting the Future David S Cohen SF - Media Tie-In
Virtues of War Bennett R. Coles SF - Virtues of War 1
Prize of Night Bailey Cunningham CF - Parallel Parks 3
Undead and Unwary (h2mm) MaryJanice Davidson PNR - Undead/Queen Betsy 13
American Craftsmen (h2mm) Tom Doyle CF - American Craftsmen 1
Supervillains Anonymous (e) Lexie Dunne UF/SH - Superheroes Anonymous 2
Linesman (D) S. K. Dunstall SF - Linesman 1
Follow You Home Mark Edwards Th/H
Of Bone and Thunder (h2mm) Chris Evans F
The Sea of Trolls (ri) Nancy Farmer F - The Sea of Trolls Trilogy 1
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Sacraments of Fire David R. George III SF - Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Severed Souls (h2mm) Terry Goodkind F - Richard and Kahlan 14
The Silenced Heather Graham Sus/P - Krewe of Hunters 15
Soul Scorched Donna Grant PNR - Dark Kings 6
Soul Scorched: Part 4 (e) Donna Grant PNR - Dark Kings
The Undying Legion Clay and Susan Griffith HistF - Crown & Key 2
The Scientific Secrets of Doctor Who Simon Guerrier
Dr. Marek Kukula
SF - Doctor Who
Heat of the Moment Lori Handeland FR - Sisters of the Craft 2
The Hollow Queen Elizabeth Haydon F - The Symphony of Ages 8
The Dragons of Heaven (D) Alyc Helms UF - Dragons of Heaven 1
Brothers in Valor H. Paul Honsinger SF - Man of War 3
Luck of the Irish (e) Sara Humphreys PNR  - Leprechaun's Gold 1
The Rods & The Axe (h2mm) Tom Kratman SF - Carerra 6
The House of the Four Winds (h2mm) Mercedes Lackey F - One Dozen Daughters 1
Wolf with Benefits Shelly Laurenston PNR - Pride 8
Artemis Invaded Jane Lindskold SF - Artemis Awakening 2
Little Girls Ronald Malfi H
The Baba Yaga Eric Brown
Una McCormack
SF - Weird Space
The Red: First Light Linda Nagata Th/SF - Red Trilogy 1
The Map of Chaos Félix J. Palma SF - Map of Time 3
Zoo: The Graphic Novel James Patterson
Michael Ledwidge
SF
All Dressed Up and No Place to Haunt Rose Pressey PM - A Haunted Vintage Mystery 2
Islands of Rage and Hope (h2mm) John Ringo SF - Black Tide Rising 3
The Ripple Effect J.A. Saare UF - Rhiannon's Law 3
The End of All Things #4: To Stand or Fall: The End of All Things John Scalzi SF - Old Man's War
Alien Hunter: Underworld (h2mm) Whitley Strieber Th/SF - Alien Hunter 2
The Rhesus Chart (h2mm) Charles Stross SF - Laundry Files 5
The Girls at the Kingfisher Club (h2tp) Genevieve Valentine LF/FairyT
The Philosopher Kings Jo Walton F - Thessaly 2
The Isle of Blood (ri) Rick Yancey H/Go - The Monstrumologist 3
Provoked (ri) Rebecca Zanetti PNR - Dark Protectors 5



D - Debut
e - eBook
h2mm - Hardcover to Mass Market Paperback
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
ri - reissue or reprint


CF - Contemporary Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT -Fairy Tale
FR - Fantasy Romance
Go - Gothic
H - Horror
HistF - Historical Fantasy
LF - Literary Fiction
P - Paranormal
PM - Paranormal Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
SF - Science Fiction
SH - Superhero
SP - Steampunk
Sus - Suspense
TechTh - Technological Thriller
Th - Thriller
UF - Urban Fantasy

2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June 2015


2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June 2015

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 June 27, 2015.


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




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June 2015




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June 2015
Cover by John Coulthart




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June 2015




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June 2015




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June 2015




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June 2015




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June 2015




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June 2015
Cover by Amazing15




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June 2015




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June 2015




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June 2015


2015 Debut Author Challenge - June Debuts



2015 Debut Author Challenge - June Debuts


There are 11 debuts for June. Please note that we use the publisher's publication date in the United States, not copyright dates or non-US publication dates.

The June 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 June 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 June. The list is correct as of the day posted.

Updated to include Linesman by S.K. Dunstall.




John Ayliff

Belt Three
Harper Voyager (UK), June 18, 2015
eBook, 400 pages
Trade Paperback, December 2, 2015

2015 Debut Author Challenge - June Debuts
Worldbreakers do not think, do not feel and cannot be stopped.

Captain Gabriel Reinhardt’s latest mining mission has been brought to a halt by the arrival of a Worldbreaker, one of the vast alien machines that destroyed Earth and its solar system long ago. As he and his crew flee they are kidnapped by a pirate to be mind-wiped and sold into slavery, a fate worse than death in this shattered universe.

But Captain Reinhardt is hiding a secret. The real Gabriel Reinhardt died six years ago, and in his place is Jonas, one of the millions of clones produced for menial labour by the last descendants of Earth.

Forced to aid the pirate Keldra’s obsessive campaign against the Worldbreakers in exchange for his life, Jonas discovers that humanity’s last hope might just be found in the very machines that have destroyed it.




Ishbelle Bee

The Singular & Extraordinary Tale of Mirror & Goliath
From the Peculiar Adventures of John Loveheart, Esq., Volume 1
Angry Robot Books, June 30, 2015 (North America and eBook)
     June 4, 2015 (UK Print)
Trade Paperback and eBook

2015 Debut Author Challenge - June Debuts
1888. A little girl called Mirror and her extraordinary shape-shifting guardian Goliath Honeyflower are washed up on the shores of Victorian England. Something has been wrong with Mirror since the day her grandfather locked her inside a mysterious clock that was painted all over with ladybirds. Mirror does not know what she is, but she knows she is no longer human.

John Loveheart, meanwhile, was not born wicked. But after the sinister death of his parents, he was taken by Mr Fingers, the demon lord of the underworld. Some say he is mad. John would be inclined to agree.

Now Mr Fingers is determined to find the little girl called Mirror, whose flesh he intends to eat, and whose soul is the key to his eternal reign. And John Loveheart has been called by his otherworldly father to help him track Mirror down…

An extraordinary dark fairytale for adults, for fans of Catherine Valente and Neil Gaiman.

File Under: Fantasy




Tamara Dietrich

The Hummingbird's Cage
NAL, June 2, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - June Debuts
A dazzling debut novel about taking chances, finding hope, and learning to stand up for your dreams…

Everyone in Wheeler, New Mexico, thinks Joanna leads the perfect life: the quiet, contented housewife of a dashing deputy sheriff, raising a beautiful young daughter, Laurel. But Joanna’s reality is nothing like her facade. Behind closed doors, she lives in constant fear of her husband. She’s been trapped for so long, escape seems impossible—until a stranger offers her the help she needs to flee….

On the run, Joanna and Laurel stumble upon the small town of Morro, a charming and magical village that seems to exist out of time and place. There a farmer and his wife offer her sanctuary, and soon, between the comfort of her new home and blossoming friendships, Joanna’s soul begins to heal, easing the wounds of a decade of abuse.

But her past—and her husband—aren’t so easy to escape. Unwilling to live in fear any longer, Joanna must summon a strength she never knew she had to fight back and forge a new life for her daughter and herself….




S. K. Dunstall

Linesman
Linesman 1
Ace, June 30, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - June Debuts
First in a brand new thought-provoking science fiction series.

The lines. No ship can traverse the void without them. Only linesmen can work with them. But only Ean Lambert hears their song. And everyone thinks he’s crazy…

Most slum kids never go far, certainly not becoming a level-ten linesman like Ean. Even if he’s part of a small, and unethical, cartel, and the other linesmen disdain his self-taught methods, he’s certified and working.

Then a mysterious alien ship is discovered at the edges of the galaxy. Each of the major galactic powers is desperate to be the first to uncover the ship’s secrets, but all they’ve learned is that it has the familiar lines of energy—and a defense system that, once triggered, annihilates everything in a 200 kilometer radius.

The vessel threatens any linesman who dares to approach it, except Ean. His unique talents may be the key to understanding this alarming new force—and reconfiguring the relationship between humans and the ships that serve them, forever.




Judith Fertig

The Cake Therapist
Berkley, June 2, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 304 pages
(Fiction Debut)

2015 Debut Author Challenge - June Debuts
A fiction debut that will leave you wanting seconds, from an award-winning cookbook author.

Claire “Neely” O’Neil is a pastry chef of extraordinary talent. Every great chef can taste shimmering, elusive flavors that most of us miss, but Neely can “taste” feelings—cinnamon makes you remember; plum is pleased with itself; orange is a wake-up call. When flavor and feeling give Neely a glimpse of someone’s inner self, she can customize her creations to help that person celebrate love, overcome fear, even mourn a devastating loss.

Maybe that’s why she feels the need to go home to Millcreek Valley at a time when her life seems about to fall apart. The bakery she opens in her hometown is perfect, intimate, just what she’s always dreamed of—and yet, as she meets her new customers, Neely has a sense of secrets, some dark, some perhaps with tempting possibilities. A recurring flavor of alarming intensity signals to her perfect palate a long-ago story that must be told.

Neely has always been able to help everyone else. Getting to the end of this story may be just what she needs to help herself.




Margaret Fortune

Nova
DAW, June 2, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 320 Pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - June Debuts
*36:00:00*

The clock activates so suddenly in my mind, my head involuntarily jerks a bit to the side. The fog vanishes, dissipated in an instant as though it never was. Memories come slotting into place, their edges sharp enough to leave furrows, and suddenly I know. I know exactly who I am.

My name is Lia Johansen, and I was named for a prisoner of war. She lived in the Tiersten Internment Colony for two years, and when they negotiated the return of the prisoners, I was given her memories and sent back in her place.

And I am a genetically engineered human bomb.


Lia Johansen was created for only one purpose: to slip onto the strategically placed New Sol Space Station and explode. But her mission goes to hell when her clock malfunctions, freezing her countdown with just two minutes to go. With no Plan B, no memories of her past, and no identity besides a name stolen from a dead POW, Lia has no idea what to do next. Her life gets even more complicated when she meets Michael Sorenson, the real Lia’s childhood best friend.

Drawn to Michael and his family against her better judgment, Lia starts learning what it means to live and love, and to be human. It is only when her countdown clock begins sporadically losing time that she realizes even duds can still blow up. If she wants any chance at a future, she must find a way to unlock the secrets of her past and stop her clock. But as Lia digs into her origins, she begins to suspect there’s far more to her mission and to this war, than meets the eye. With the fate of not just a space station but an entire empire hanging in the balance, Lia races to find the truth before her time—literally—runs out.




Scott Hawkins

The Library at Mount Char
Crown, June 16, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - June Debuts
A missing God.
A library with the secrets to the universe.
A woman too busy to notice her heart slipping away.

Carolyn's not so different from the other people around her. She likes guacamole and cigarettes and steak. She knows how to use a phone. Clothes are a bit tricky, but everyone says nice things about her outfit with the Christmas sweater over the gold bicycle shorts.

After all, she was a normal American herself once.

That was a long time ago, of course. Before her parents died. Before she and the others were taken in by the man they called Father.

In the years since then, Carolyn hasn't had a chance to get out much. Instead, she and her adopted siblings have been raised according to Father's ancient customs. They've studied the books in his Library and learned some of the secrets of his power. And sometimes, they've wondered if their cruel tutor might secretly be God.

Now, Father is missing—perhaps even dead—and the Library that holds his secrets stands unguarded. And with it, control over all of creation.

As Carolyn gathers the tools she needs for the battle to come, fierce competitors for this prize align against her, all of them with powers that far exceed her own.

But Carolyn has accounted for this.

And Carolyn has a plan.

The only trouble is that in the war to make a new God, she's forgotten to protect the things that make her human.

Populated by an unforgettable cast of characters and propelled by a plot that will shock you again and again, The Library at Mount Char is at once horrifying and hilarious, mind-blowingly alien and heartbreakingly human, sweepingly visionary and nail-bitingly thrilling—and signals the arrival of a major new voice in fantasy.




Alyc Helms

The Dragons of Heaven
Dragons of Heaven 1
Angry Robot Books, June 30, 2015
     (North America Print and eBook)
   June 4, 2015 (UK Print)
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 512 pages
Cover by Amazing15

2015 Debut Author Challenge - June Debuts
Would you deal with the devil to save the world?

Street magician Missy Masters inherited more than the usual genetic cocktail from her estranged grandfather – she also got his preternatural control of shadow and his legacy as the vigilante hero, Mr Mystic. Problem is, being a pulp hero takes more than a good fedora and a knack for witty banter, and Missy lacks the one thing Mr. Mystic had: experience. Determined to live up to her birthright, Missy journeys to China to seek the aid of Lung Huang, the ancient master who once guided her grandfather.

Lung Huang isn’t quite as ancient as Missy expected, and she finds herself embroiled in the politics of Lung Huang and his siblings, the nine dragon-guardians of creation. When Lung Di, Lung Huang’s brother and mortal enemy, raises a magical barrier that cuts off China from the rest of the world, it falls to the new Mr Mystic to prove herself by taking down the barrier. But is it too great a task for a lone adventure hero?

File Under: Fantasy [ Sins of the Grandfather / Missy and Master / Geek Fu / Little Trouble in Big China ]




P J Manney

(R)EVOLUTION
Phoenix Horizon 1
47North, June 1, 2015
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 544 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - June Debuts
Scientist Peter Bernhardt has dedicated his life to nanotechnology, the science of manipulating matter on the atomic scale. As the founder of Biogineers, he is on the cusp of revolutionizing brain therapies with microscopic nanorobots that will make certain degenerative diseases become a thing of the past. But after his research is stolen by an unknown enemy, seventy thousand people die in Las Vegas in one abominable moment. No one is more horrified than Peter, as this catastrophe sets in motion events that will forever change not only his life but also the course of human evolution.

Peter’s company is torn from his grasp as the public clamors for his blood. Desperate, he turns to an old friend, who introduces him to the Phoenix Club, a cabal of the most powerful people in the world. To make himself more valuable to his new colleagues, Peter infuses his brain with experimental technology, exponentially upgrading his mental prowess and transforming him irrevocably.

As he’s exposed to unimaginable wealth and influence, Peter’s sense of reality begins to unravel. Do the club members want to help him, or do they just want to claim his technology? What will they do to him once they have their prize? And while he’s already evolved beyond mere humanity, is he advanced enough to take on such formidable enemies and win?




Sam Munson

The War Against the Assholes
Saga Press, June 16, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages
(Debut Fantasy)

2015 Debut Author Challenge - June Debuts
Contemporary fantasy meets true crime when schools of ancient sorcery go up against the art of the long con in this stunningly entertaining debut fantasy novel.

Mike Wood is satisfied just being a guy with broad shoulders at a decidedly unprestigious Catholic school in Manhattan. But on the dirty streets of New York City he’s an everyman with a moral code who is unafraid of violence. And when Mike is unwittingly recruited into a secret cell of magicians by a fellow student, Mike’s role as a steadfast soldier begins. These magicians don’t use ritualized rote to work their magic, they use willpower in their clandestine war with the establishment: The Assholes.




Erika Swyler

The Book of Speculation
St. Martin's Press, June 23, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages
(Includes 13 illustrations throughout)

2015 Debut Author Challenge - June Debuts
"Dazzling...[a] quirky, raucous, and bewitching family saga." --Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants

Simon Watson, a young librarian, lives alone in a house that is slowly crumbling toward the Long Island Sound. His parents are long dead. His mother, a circus mermaid who made her living by holding her breath, drowned in the very water his house overlooks. His younger sister, Enola, ran off six years ago and now reads tarot cards for a traveling carnival.

One June day, an old book arrives on Simon's doorstep, sent by an antiquarian bookseller who purchased it on speculation. Fragile and water damaged, the book is a log from the owner of a traveling carnival in the 1700s, who reports strange and magical things, including the drowning death of a circus mermaid. Since then, generations of "mermaids" in Simon's family have drowned--always on July 24, which is only weeks away.

As his friend Alice looks on with alarm, Simon becomes increasingly worried about his sister. Could there be a curse on Simon's family? What does it have to do with the book, and can he get to the heart of the mystery in time to save Enola?

In the tradition of Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants, Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus, and Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian, The Book of Speculation--with two-color illustrations by the author--is Erika Swyler's moving debut novel about the power of books, family, and magic.

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Dragons of Heaven by Alyc Helms


2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Dragons of Heaven by Alyc Helms


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



Alyc Helms

The Dragons of Heaven
Dragons of Heaven 1
Angry Robot Books, June 2, 2015
     (North America Print and eBook)
   June 4, 2015 (UK Print)
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 512 pages
Cover by Amazing15

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Dragons of Heaven by Alyc Helms
Would you deal with the devil to save the world?

Street magician Missy Masters inherited more than the usual genetic cocktail from her estranged grandfather – she also got his preternatural control of shadow and his legacy as the vigilante hero, Mr Mystic. Problem is, being a pulp hero takes more than a good fedora and a knack for witty banter, and Missy lacks the one thing Mr. Mystic had: experience. Determined to live up to her birthright, Missy journeys to China to seek the aid of Lung Huang, the ancient master who once guided her grandfather.

Lung Huang isn’t quite as ancient as Missy expected, and she finds herself embroiled in the politics of Lung Huang and his siblings, the nine dragon-guardians of creation. When Lung Di, Lung Huang’s brother and mortal enemy, raises a magical barrier that cuts off China from the rest of the world, it falls to the new Mr Mystic to prove herself by taking down the barrier. But is it too great a task for a lone adventure hero?

File Under: Fantasy [ Sins of the Grandfather / Missy and Master / Geek Fu / Little Trouble in Big China ]


What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 33Cover Reveal: The Conclave of Shadow by Alyc HelmsInterview with Alyc Helms, author of The Dragons of Heaven - June 30, 2015The View From Monday - June 29, 20152015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June 20152015 Debut Author Challenge - June Debuts2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Dragons of Heaven by Alyc Helms

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