The Qwillery | category: Amanda Brooke


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 5

This is the fifth in this new series of updates about formerly featured Debut Author Challenge authors and their works published since their last update. The year in parentheses after the author's name is the year that author was featured in the Debut Author Challenge.

Part 1 here Part 11 here Part 21 here Part 31 here Part 41 here
Part 2 here Part 12 here Part 22 here Part 32 here Part 42 here
Part 3 here Part 13 here Part 23 here Part 33 here Part 43 here
Part 4 here Part 14 here Part 24 here Part 34 here Part 44 here
Part 5 here Part 15 here Part 25 here Part 35 here Part 45 here
Part 6 here Part 16 here Part 26 here Part 36 here Part 46 here
Part 7 here Part 17 here Part 27 here Part 37 here Part 47 here
Part 8 here Part 18 here Part 28 here Part 38 here Part 48 here
Part 9 here Part 19 here Part 29 here Part 39 here Part 49 here
Part 10 here Part 20 here Part 30 here Part 40 here Part 50 here

Amanda Bouchet (2016)

Breath of Fire
Kingmaker Chronicles 2
Sourcebooks Casablanca, August 2, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 448 pages

“Cat” Catalia Fisa has been running from her destiny since she could crawl. But now, her newfound loved ones are caught between the shadow of Cat’s tortured past and the threat of her world-shattering future. So what’s a girl to do when she knows it’s her fate to be the harbinger of doom? Everything in her power.

Griffin knows Cat is destined to change the world—for the better. As the realms are descending into all-out war, Cat and Griffin must embrace their fate together. Gods willing, they will emerge side-by-side in the heart of their future kingdom…or not at all.

[description from Author's website]

Lila Bowen (Delilah S. Dawson) (2012)

Wake of Vultures
The Shadow 1
Orbit, September 20, 2016
Trade Paperback, 384 pages
Hardcover and eBook, October 27, 2015

"Wake of Vultures will kick your a** up one page and down the other." -- io9

Nettie Lonesome dreams of a greater life than toiling as a slave in the sandy desert. But when a stranger attacks her, Nettie wins more than the fight.

Now she's got friends, a good horse, and a better gun. But if she can't kill the thing haunting her nightmares and stealing children across the prairie, she'll lose it all -- and never find out what happened to her real family.

Wake of Vultures is the first novel of the Shadow series featuring the fearless Nettie Lonesome.

Conspiracy of Ravens
The Shadow 2
Orbit, October 11, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 368 pages

The sequel to Wake of Vultures, where a rich, secret world is hiding beneath the surface.

Nettie Lonesome made a leap -- not knowing what she'd become. But now her destiny as the Shadow is calling.

A powerful alchemist is leaving a trail of dead across the prairie. And Nettie must face the ultimate challenge: side with her friends and the badge on her chest or take off alone on a dangerous mission that is pulling her inexorably toward the fight of her life.

When it comes to monsters and men, the world isn't black and white. What good are two wings and a gun when your enemy can command a conspiracy of ravens?

Gerald Brandt (2016)

The Courier
A San Angeles Novel 1
DAW, November 1, 2016
Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Hardcover and eBook, March 1, 2016

Kris Ballard is a motorcycle courier.  A nobody. Level 2 trash in a multi-level city that stretches from San Francisco to the Mexican border—a land where corporations make all the rules. A runaway since the age of fourteen, Kris struggled to set up her life, barely scraping by, working hard to make it without anyone’s help.

But a late day delivery changes everything when she walks in on the murder of one of her clients. Now she’s stuck with a mysterious package that everyone wants. It looks like the corporations want Kris gone, and are willing to go to almost any length to make it happen.

Hunted, scared, and alone, she retreats to the only place she knows she can hide: the Level 1 streets. Fleeing from people that seem to know her every move, she is rescued by Miller—a member of an underground resistance group—only to be pulled deeper into a world she doesn’t understand.

Together Kris and Miller barely manage to stay one step ahead of the corporate killers, but it’s only a matter of time until Miller’s resources and their luck run out….

The Operative
A San Angeles Novel 2
DAW, November 1, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

Kris Merrill was a survivor. She’d lost her parents as a young girl, and she’d been forced to flee the dubious shelter of her aunt’s home at thirteen to escape the unwanted attentions of her uncle. She’d lived on the streets of San Angeles, finding refuge in the lowest level of the city. When she got the chance, Kris found a room to rent on Level 2, earning a precarious living as a motorcycle messenger, a courier delivering sensitive materials the megacorporations would not trust to any method that could be hacked.

A year ago, Kris’s life changed irrevocably when a delivery went terribly wrong, and she was targeted for termination by the Meridian corporation, one of the most powerful of the megaconglomerates that controlled the government. Salvation came in the form of Ian Miller, who rescued Kris from certain death, recruiting her for the underground resistance group of which he was a part.

Since then, Kris has been hidden with the resistance, training to become an operative. Just as her training with the anti-corporate movement is nearing its end, their compound is destroyed by surprise attack. Ready or not, Kris and the other trainees are recalled to the dangerous metropolis of San Angeles. But their transport is shot down and Ian Miller, the man she loves, is captured. Someone, it seems, is using him to get to Kris.

With the help of a retired operative with PTSD, and the mysterious man who fled the scene when Kris’s parents were killed, Kris searches for any sign of Ian. As the corporations battle civil unrest—and each other—the city slowly shuts down. Kris and San Angeles are running out of time….

Jordanna Max Brodsky (2016)

The Immortals
Olympus Bound 1
Orbit, December 13, 2016
Trade Paperback, 496 pages
Hardcover and eBook, March 30, 2016

Manhattan has many secrets. Some are older than the city itself.

The city sleeps. Selene DiSilva walks her dog along the banks of the Hudson. She is alone -- just the way she likes it. She doesn't believe in friends, and she doesn't speak to her family. Most of them are simply too dangerous.

In the predawn calm, Selene finds the body of a young woman washed ashore, gruesomely mutilated and wreathed in laurel. Her ancient rage returns. And so does the memory of a promise she made long ago -- when her name was Artemis.

"The Immortals is a lively re-imagining of classical mythology with an engaging premise, a page-turning plot, and an eye for the arresting and uncanny in contemporary urban life."
--Deborah Harkness, New York Times bestselling author of A Discovery of Witches

The Immortals is the first book in the exciting new Olympus Bound trilogy. Look out for the sequel, Winter of the Gods, out in February 2017!

Winter of the Gods
Olympus Bound 2
Orbit, February 14, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 480 pages

"The Immortals is a lively re-imagining of classical mythology with an engaging premise, a page-turning plot, and an eye for the arresting and uncanny in contemporary urban life."
--Deborah Harkness, New York Times bestselling author of A Discovery of Witches

Manhattan has many secrets. Some are older than the city itself.

Winter in New York: snow falls, lights twinkle, and a very disgruntled Selene DiSilva prowls the streets looking for prey.

But when a dead body is discovered sprawled atop Wall Street's iconic Charging Bull statue, it's clear the NYPD can't solve the murder without help. The murder isn't just the work of another homicidal cult -- this time, someone's sacrificing the gods themselves.

While raising fundamental questions about the very existence of the gods, Selene must hunt down the perpetrators, tracking a conspiracy that will test the bonds of loyalty and love.

Winter of the Gods, the much anticipated sequel to The Immortals, is the second book in the exciting Olympus Bound trilogy.

Amanda Brooke (2013)

The Goodbye Gift
Harper, August 11, 2016
eBook, 432 pages

Three best friends. One tragic accident.
A heartbreaking novel about friendship, love and sacrifice from R&J bestseller, Amanda Brooke

Lucy has been desperate for a new heart for as long as she can remember. But getting the call to say a donor has been found will be a bittersweet relief: because for her to live, someone else must die.

Julia, Helen and Phoebe have been fast friends for all their lives, through Helen’s unplanned pregnancy, the sudden death of Phoebe’s mother, and Julia’s desperation to conceive with her much younger husband. Yet a deep friendship can hide many secrets, and as their relationship reaches crisis point, what has long been buried is going to come bubbling to the surface.

With one tragic accident, these four lives will converge and Lucy will get her new heart. But who has made the ultimate sacrifice?

The Affair
Harper, January 12, 2017
eBook, 432 pages

A shocking story about a fifteen-year-old girl and the man who took advantage of her

“You might as well know from the start, I’m not going to tell on him and I don’t care how much trouble I get in. It’s not like it could get any worse than it already is.

I can’t. Don’t ask me why, I just can’t.”

When Nina finds out that her fifteen-year-old daughter, Scarlett, is pregnant, her world falls apart.

Because Scarlet won’t tell anyone who the father is. And Nina is scared that the answer will destroy everything.

As the suspects mount – from Scarlett’s teacher to Nina’s new husband of less than a year – Nina searches for the truth: no matter what the cost.

Interview with Amanda Brooke, author of Yesterday's Sun - February 11, 2013

Please welcome Amanda Brooke to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Yesterday's Sun makes its US Debut on February 12, 2012 (tomorrow).

Interview with Amanda Brooke, author of Yesterday's Sun - February 11, 2013

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery.

Amanda:  Thank you Sally, it’s a pleasure to be invited. Writing is a new adventure for me and I feel immensely priviliged to have Yesterday’s Sun published in America. My book is travelling further than I ever have and I hope the US readers enjoy reading it as much as I’m enjoying sharing it with them.

TQ:  When and why did you start writing?

Amanda:  I wasn’t one of those people who always knew they wanted to be a writer. Even when I began writing, it was with no greater ambition than to write the words on the page because I had turned to writing when I was living through nightmares rather than searching for dreams. In 2004, my twenty one month old son was diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia. The odds for survival were bleak and while his disease was indolent, we were asked to watch and wait for the cancer to rear its ugly head. That’s such a hard ask, especially when I realised that the best thing I could do for my kids was to find the strength to carry on and give Nathan a secure, loving and as much as possible, normal life. I managed to do that with some amazing support from my family but I still needed an outlet to tell it how it really was. I couldn’t speak my fears out loud but I could write them down. And when the worst happened and Nathan died eighteen months later, my ability to write transferred the rages in my head onto the page and got me through the darkest hours of my life. And at some point between then and now, I got into the habit of writing. My son taught me to make the most of my life and he gave me the courage to have dreams and to see them through. Yesterday’s Sun and all the books that will hopefully follow are his legacy.

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

Amanda:  I’m very disciplined and like to write every day if I can and I usually give myself word count targets. The problem I have, as with most writers, is that I can so easily become bogged down by a single paragraph or even a sentence. I go back and edit the same line time and time again and suddenly half an hour’s gone by and I’m no further on than when I started. My quick fix, particularly with a first draft is to stop myself becoming too entrenched and plough on. Common sense tells me I’m probably going to either rewrite or cut that section completely in the next draft so it’s ok to leave it at less than perfect first time around. It means that often with the second or even third drafts, I come across lines that don’t make sense or even the odd ‘xx’ where I couldn’t quite grasp the exact word I wanted.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Amanda:  I’m pretty much a plotter. Before I start a book, I like to map out the story into twelve sections which in theory will be the chapters. If nothing else, it gives me a bit of reassurance that I’ve got enough story for a full length manuscript. I always have a clear idea of the beginning and the end but the rest is fairly fluid and I certainly don’t plan the detail. Names of characters are usually plucked out of thin air as I write, sometimes I’ll convince myself they’re only temporary names but when it comes to the final cut, I don’t like changing them, I’ve already gotten under the skin of the character by then and it seems wrong to rechristen them.

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

Amanda:  Finding the time! I still have a fledgling career as a writer so it’s my day job that pays the bills. Being disciplined helps but writing a book isn’t just about finding the time to sit down and write your novel. As a writer, you have to transplant yourself into somebody else’s life and describe it with some authority, even if it’s something you may not necessarily have that much of, if any. That’s where research plays such an important part but research takes time too. I’ve been fortunate so far in that where I’ve needed help, I’ve managed to track down some kind soul to help me fill in the gaps of my knowledge. If I had any sense, I’d keep to storylines that are within my own experiences but as a writer, I still want to get that same kind of thrill you get as a reader by delving into the unknown and pushing your imagination to the limits.

TQ:  Describe Yesterday's Sun in 140 characters or less. 

Amanda:  If you could see your future, would you change it to save your life? You would? Even if it meant sacrificing the life of your child?

TQ:  What inspired you to write Yesterday's Sun?

AmandaYesterday’s Sun was borne of my own personal desire to change fate. There was nothing more desperate for me as a parent than sitting at the side of my son’s hospital bed and not being able to take the cancer from him or fight his fight. I would have gladly taken Nathan’s place and while that was impossible in the real world, I did get to create a story where my character was given a choice. Her life for that of her child. I carefully constructed the story in such a way that Holly’s decision was completely unfettered. Through the mystical powers of the moondial, she knows she is going to die giving birth to a baby who hasn’t even been conceived yet. Without giving too much away, she learns what it is to be a mother.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Yesterday's Sun?

Amanda:  Because Yesterday’s Sun was based around an imaginary moondial, I had free reign to create the mechanism as I saw fit so there was no need for research...or so I thought. It was only as I started to develop the history of the dial that I realised I had to put some hours into mapping out a plausible history. I researched Aztec Mythology in particular and discovered the Moon Goddess Coyolxauhqui (pronounced Coyal-Shore-Key) and then all I had to do was create a fictional explorer who retrieved a mystical moon stone from the ruins of a temple.

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

Amanda:  The easiest character to write was Billy even though he went through quite a major transformation from the first draft. He was easiest because he wasn’t central to the plot, he was only ever meant to be a bit of light relief. It was only in later drafts than he took on a more important role and I have to say, I like the way he turned out. He’s still fairly understated but I think of him with quiet admiration.

The hardest character to write in some ways was Holly. When Holly begins her journey, she has no desire to be a mother and the idea of having a baby horrifies her. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a mother and so summoning up that fear and trepidation was alien to me.

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

The scene I imagined right from the start was the moment that Holly realises she can chose between her life and her child’s, in fact it was the germ of the idea from which the entire novel was formed. I could put myself in Holly’s shoes and knew with absolute clarity how she would feel and I couldn’t wait to write it. There’s another scene which I can’t really describe without giving too much away but there’s a spine tingling moment which I only added in the final draft of the book. All I’ll say is it involves a pane of glass and a finger tracing the raindrops.

TQ:  What's next?

Amanda:  My next novel promises to be another emotional journey. It’s about a young woman called Emma who has a brain tumour and the story begins with her receiving the news that her cancer has returned. To escape from what is happening, Emma begins to write about the life she would want to have if she had been given the all clear. Through her writing she is able to acheive many of her ambitions whilst in the real world, she discovers others ways to find to fulfillment.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Amanda:  Thank you, it was a pleasure!

Yesterday's Sun

Yesterday's Sun 
Harper Paperbacks, February 12, 2013
Trade Paperback and eBook, 336 pages
US Debut

Interview with Amanda Brooke, author of Yesterday's Sun - February 11, 2013
A suspenseful tale of free will versus fate—an extraordinary story of love and family, and the risks we take to break free from the past

Newlyweds Holly and Tom have just moved into their dream home, a charming English carriage house in the London suburbs. A rising television journalist, Tom can't wait to fill the house with children. Holly, a budding artist, isn't so sure. She fears that as a mother, she will repeat the terrible mistakes of her own neglectful parents. But Holly and Tom are young and deeply in love, and they have time to decide.

While renovating the house, Holly finds an unusual crystal orb—the missing top to the moondial in their garden. She soon discovers this is no ordinary timepiece. Under the full moon's brilliant light, it reveals the future—a future in which Tom cares for their baby daughter . . . alone.

Holly's new friend in the village, an elderly woman named Jocelyn, reveals the cursed secret of the moondial's power. Now Holly must choose between herself and her future child—a painful decision that will ultimately teach her about motherhood and sacrifice . . . and reveal how far she will go in the name of love.

About Amanda

Interview with Amanda Brooke, author of Yesterday's Sun - February 11, 2013
Amanda Brooke is a single mum in her forties who lives in Liverpool with her teenage daughter Jessica. It was only when her young son was diagnosed with cancer that Amanda began to develop her writing, recording her family’s journey in a journal and through poetry. When Nathan died in 2006 at just three years old, Amanda was determined that his legacy would be one of inspiration not devastation. Her novel Yesterday’s Sun is inspired by her experiences of motherhood and her understanding of how much a mother would be willing to sacrifice for the life of her child.

Website : Twitter

The View from Monday - February 11, 2013

Happy Monday after Snowzilla! I hope that everyone who was affected by the blizzard has both dug out and has power.

This week we have one debut, Yesterday's Sun by Amanda Brooke. Amanda is interviewed today.  Don't forget to vote in the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars for February!

Happy Reading!

The View from Monday - February 11, 2013

February 11, 2013
Golden Triangle (e) David Bridger UF - Wild Times 2
How Beauty Saved the Beast (e) Jax Garren PNR - Tales of the Underlight 2
Time Dancer (e) Inez Kelley FR - Eldwyn Chronicles 3
Journey of Awakening (e) Shawna Thomas F - Triune Stones 1

February 12, 2013
American Elsewhere Robert Jackson Bennett F
Homunculus (ri) James P. Blaylock SP - Langdon St. Ives 1
The Daylight War Peter V. Brett F - Demon Cycle 3
Yesterday's Sun (US D) Amanda Brooke F
The Water Witch Juliet Dark Go/P - Fairwick Chronicles 2
Gotrek & Felix : The Second Omnibus (ri) William King F - Warhammer
The Best of All Possible Worlds Karen Lord SF
The Book of Lost Fragrances: A Novel of Suspense (h2tp) M. J. Rose S/Su
The Mirage Matt Ruff AH
The Afrika Reich Guy Saville Th/AH
Vampires Gone Wild (e) Kerrelyn Sparks
Pamela Palmer
Amanda Arista
Kim Falconer
PNR - Short Stories
Paprika Yasutaka Tsutsui F
God of War II Robert E. Vardeman F - God of War
Amped (h2tp) Daniel H. Wilson SF/Th

February 13, 2013
Mrs God (h2tp) Peter Straub H

e- eBook
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
ri - reissue or reprint

AH - Alternate History
F - Fantasy
FR - Fantasy Romance
FT - Fairy Tale
Go - Gothic
H - Horror
P - Paranormal
PNR - Parnormal Romance
S - Suspense
SF - Science Fiction
SFR - Science Fiction Romance
SP - Steampunk
Su - Supernatiral
Th - Thriller
UF - Urban Fantasy

2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - February 2013

It's time for the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars for February 2013!

Since Cover Wars was so much fun as part of the 2012 Debut Author Challenge, we're doing it again for the 2013 Debut Author Challenge. Each month you will be able to vote for your favorite cover from each month's debut novels. At the end of the year the 12 monthly winners will be pitted against each other to choose the 2013 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 I have it.

Please note that the poll has been reset due to my leaving out a novel. I did not catch a publication date change.

Book Design by Paula Russell Szafranski
Images courtesy of Shutterstock © 2012

Cover Artist: David Seeley

Cover Art by John Stanko

Cover Illustration by Tim Byrne

Cover Art by Kekai Kotaki

Cover Artist: Steve Stone

2013 Debut Author Challenge - February 2013 Debuts

2013 Debut Author Challenge - February 2013 Debuts

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

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

Take a good look at the covers. Voting for your favorite February cover for the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place later this month.

NB: Updated to include The Office of Mercy by Ariel Djanikian, whose debut I found while working on the February release list.  Also updated to include Gideon's Angel by Clifford Beal.

Gideon's Angel
Author:  Clifford Beal
Publisher:  Solaris, February 26, 2013
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages
Price:   $7.99 (print)
ISBN:  9781781080849 (print)

2013 Debut Author Challenge - February 2013 Debuts
He came back to kill a tyrant. He found the Devil instead. An amazing historical novel with a supernatural twist set after the English Civil War. This is the stunning debut from Clifford Beal.

He came back to kill a tyrant. He found the Devil instead.

1653: The long and bloody English Civil War is at an end. King Charles is dead and Oliver Cromwell rules the land as king in all but name. Richard Treadwell, an exiled royalist officer and soldier-for-hire to the King of France and his all-powerful advisor, the wily Cardinal Mazarin, burns with revenge for those who deprived him of his family and fortune. He decides upon a self-appointed mission to return to England in secret and assassinate the new Lord Protector. Once back on English soil however, he learns that his is not the only plot in motion.

A secret army run by a deluded Puritan is bent on the same quest, guided by the Devil’s hand. When demonic entities are summoned, Treadwell finds himself in a desperate turnaround: he must save Cromwell to save England from a literal descent into Hell. But first he has to contend with a wife he left in Devon who believes she’s a widow, and a furious Paris mistress who has trailed him to England, jeopardising everything. Treadwell needs allies fast. Can he convince the man sent to forcibly drag him back to Cardinal Mazarin? A young king’s musketeer named d’Artagnan.

Black dogs and demons; religion and magic; Freemasons and Ranters. It’s a dangerous new Republic for an old cavalier coming home again.

Yesterday's Sun 
AuthorAmanda Brooke
Publisher:  Harper Paperbacks, February 12, 2013
Format: Trade Paperback and eBook
Price:  $14.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780062131836 (print)
US Debut

2013 Debut Author Challenge - February 2013 Debuts
A suspenseful tale of free will versus fate—an extraordinary story of love and family, and the risks we take to break free from the past

Newlyweds Holly and Tom have just moved into their dream home, a charming English carriage house in the London suburbs. A rising television journalist, Tom can't wait to fill the house with children. Holly, a budding artist, isn't so sure. She fears that as a mother, she will repeat the terrible mistakes of her own neglectful parents. But Holly and Tom are young and deeply in love, and they have time to decide.

While renovating the house, Holly finds an unusual crystal orb—the missing top to the moondial in their garden. She soon discovers this is no ordinary timepiece. Under the full moon's brilliant light, it reveals the future—a future in which Tom cares for their baby daughter . . . alone.

Holly's new friend in the village, an elderly woman named Jocelyn, reveals the cursed secret of the moondial's power. Now Holly must choose between herself and her future child—a painful decision that will ultimately teach her about motherhood and sacrifice . . . and reveal how far she will go in the name of love.

Dreams and Shadows
AuthorC. Robert Cargill
Publisher:  Harper Voyager, February 26, 2013
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 448 pages
Price:  $24.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780062190420 (print)
Fiction Debut

2013 Debut Author Challenge - February 2013 Debuts
A brilliantly crafted modern tale from acclaimed film critic and screenwriter C. Robert Cargill—part Neil Gaiman, part Guillermo Del Toro, part William S. Burroughs—that charts the lives of two boys from their star-crossed childhood in the realm of magic and mystery to their anguished adulthoods

There is another world than our own—one no closer than a kiss and one no further than our nightmares—where all the stuff of which dreams are made is real and magic is just a step away. But once you see that world, you will never be the same.

Dreams and Shadows takes us beyond this veil. Once bold explorers and youthful denizens of this magical realm, Ewan is now an Austin musician who just met his dream girl, and Colby, meanwhile, cannot escape the consequences of an innocent wish. But while Ewan and Colby left the Limestone Kingdom as children, it has never forgotten them. And in a world where angels relax on rooftops, whiskey-swilling genies argue metaphysics with foul-mouthed wizards, and monsters in the shadows feed on fear, you can never outrun your fate.

Dreams and Shadows is a stunning and evocative debut about the magic and monsters in our world and in our self.

How Dark the World Becomes
AuthorFrank Chadwick 
Publisher:  Baen. February 5, 2013
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 368 pages
Price: $14.00 (print)
ISBN:  978-1-4516-3870-7 (print)

2013 Debut Author Challenge - February 2013 Debuts
Sasha Naradnyo is a gangster. He's a gangster with heart, sure, but Sasha sticks his neck out for no man. That's how you stay alive in Crack City, a colony stuffed deep into the crust of the otherwise unlivable planet Peezgtaan. Alive only—because if you're human, you don't prosper, at least not for long. Sasha is a second generation City native. His parents came to this rock figuring to make it big, only to find that they'd been recruited as an indentured labor force for alien overlords known as the Varoki.

Now a pair of rich young Varoki under the care of a beautiful human nanny are fleeing Peezgtaan, and Sasha is recruited to help. He'd prefer to rather leave the little alien lordlings to their fate, but certain considerations—such as Sasha's own imminent demise if he remains—make it beneficial for him to take on the job.

Sasha discovers his simple choice has thrust him in the midst of a political battle that could remake the galactic balance of power and save humanity from slow death by servitude. Now all he has to do is survive and keep his charges alive on a hostile planet undergoing its own revolution.

But it's the galaxy that had better watch out. For now the toughest thug in Crack City has gotten his first taste of real freedom. He likes it, and he wants more. 

The Office of Mercy
Author: Ariel Djanikian
Publisher:  Viking Adult, February 21, 2013
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages
Price:  $26.95 (print)
ISBN:  9780670025862 (print)

2013 Debut Author Challenge - February 2013 Debuts
A thrilling debut of a postapocalyptic world for fans of The Hunger Games

Weaving philosophy and science together into a riveting, dystopian story of love and adventure, The Office of Mercy illuminates an all-too-real future imagined by a phenomenal new voice in fiction.

Twenty-four-year-old Natasha Wiley lives in America-Five—a high-tech, underground, utopian settlement where hunger and money do not exist, everyone has a job, and all basic needs are met. But when her mentor and colleague, Jeffrey, selects her to join a special team to venture Outside for the first time, Natasha’s allegiances to home, society, and above all to Jeffrey are tested. She is forced to make a choice that may put the people she loves most in grave danger and change the world as she knows it.

The Office of Mercy is speculative fiction at its best with a deeply imagined, lush world, high-stakes adventure, and romance that will thrill fans of Suzanne Collins, Margaret Atwood, Justin Cronin, and Kazuo Ishiguro.

Author: Betsy Dornbusch
Series:  Seven Eyes
Publisher:  Night Shade Books, February 5, 2013
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages
Price:  $26.99 (print)
ISBN:  978-1-59780-452-3 (print)

2013 Debut Author Challenge - February 2013 Debuts
Draken vae Khellian, bastard cousin of the Monoean King, had risen far from his ignominious origins, becoming both a Bowrank Commander and a member of the Crown’s Black Guard. But when he is falsely condemned for the grisly murder of his beloved wife, he is banished from the kingdom and cast upon the distant shore of Akrasia, at the arse-end of the world.

Compared to civilized Monoea, Akrasia is a forbidding land of Moonlings, magic, and restless spirits. It is also a realm on the brink of a bloody revolution, as a sinister conspiracy plots against Akrasia’s embattled young queen–and malevolent banes possess the bodies of the living.

Consumed by grief, and branded a murderer, Draken lives only to clear his name and avenge his wife’s murder. But the fates may have bigger plans for him. Alone in a strange land, he soon finds himself sharing the bed of an enigmatic necromancer and a half-breed servant girl, while pressed into the service of a foreign queen whose life and land may well depend on the divided loyalties of an exiled warrior . . .

Exile is the beginning of an ambitious fantasy saga by an acclaimed new author.

Fade to Black
AuthorFrancis Knight
Series:  Rojan Dizon
Publisher:  Orbit, February 26, 2013
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages
Price:  $14.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780316217682  (print)

2013 Debut Author Challenge - February 2013 Debuts
From the depths of a valley rises the city of Mahala

It's a city built upwards, not across - where streets are built upon streets, buildings upon buildings. A city that the Ministry rules from the sunlit summit, and where the forsaken lurk in the darkness of Under.

Rojan Dizon doesn't mind staying in the shadows, because he's got things to hide. Things like being a pain-mage, with the forbidden power to draw magic from pain. But he can't hide for ever.

Because when Rojan stumbles upon the secrets lurking in the depths of the Pit, the fate of Mahala will depend on him using his magic. And unlucky for Rojan - this is going to hurt.

The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow
AuthorRita Leganski
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks, February 26, 2013
Format: Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages
Price:  $14.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780062113764 (print)

2013 Debut Author Challenge - February 2013 Debuts
Conceived in love and possibility, Bonaventure Arrow didn't make a peep when he was born, and the doctor nearly took him for dead. No one knows that Bonaventure's silence is filled with resonance—a miraculous gift of rarified hearing that encompasses the Universe of Every Single Sound. Growing up in the big house on Christopher Street in Bayou Cymbaline, Bonaventure can hear flowers grow, a thousand shades of blue, and the miniature tempests that rage inside raindrops. He can also hear the gentle voice of his father, William Arrow, shot dead before Bonaventure was born by a mysterious stranger known only as the Wanderer.

Bonaventure's remarkable gift of listening promises salvation to the souls who love him: his beautiful young mother, Dancy, haunted by the death of her husband; his Grand-mère Letice, plagued by grief and a long-buried guilt she locks away in a chapel; and his father, William, whose roaming spirit must fix the wreckage of the past. With the help of Trinidad Prefontaine, a Creole housekeeper endowed with her own special gifts, Bonaventure will find the key to long-buried mysteries and soothe a chorus of family secrets clamoring to be healed.

Blood's Pride
AuthorEvie Manieri
Series:  Shattered Kingdoms
Publisher:  Tor Books, February 19, 2013
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 528 pages
Price:  $24.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780765332349 (print)
US Debut

2013 Debut Author Challenge - February 2013 Debuts
Rising from their sea-torn ships like vengeful, pale phantoms, the Norlanders laid waste to the Shadar under cover of darkness. They forced the once-peaceful fisher folk into slavery and forged an alliance with their former trading partners, the desert-dwelling Nomas tribe, cutting off any hope of salvation.

Now, two decades after the invasion, a rebellion gathers strength in the dark corridors of the city. A small faction of Shadari have hired the Mongrel, an infamous mercenary, to aid their fledgling uprising—but with her own shadowy ties to the region, she is a frighteningly volatile ally. Has she really come to lead a revolution, or for a more sinister purpose all her own?

This thrilling new epic fantasy is set in a quasi-Medieval Mediterranean region, drawing together the warrior culture of Vikings, the wanderlust of desert nomads, and the oracles of ancient Greece. Evie Manieri's Blood's Pride is an intricate, lush fantasy novel full of taut action, gut-wrenching betrayal, and soaring romance.

AuthorGillian Philip
Series:  Rebel Angels
Publisher:  Tor Books, February 19, 2013
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 368 pages
Price:  $24.99 (print)
ISBN:   9780765333223 (print)
US Adult Debut

2013 Debut Author Challenge - February 2013 Debuts
It is the last decade of the sixteenth century: a time of religious wars in the mortal world. But the Sithe are at peace, hidden behind the Veil that protects their world until their queen, Kate NicNiven, determines to destroy it.

Seth MacGregor is the half-feral son of a Sithe nobleman. When his father is assassinated and Seth is exiled with his brother Conal to the full-mortal world, they vow not only to survive, but to return to reclaim their fortress and save the Veil.

But even the Veil's power cannot protect the brothers when the brutal witch-hunts begin….

Brimming with intrigue and rebellion, Firebrand is the first book in the Rebel Angels series by Gillian Philip, the Carnegie Medal–nominated author of Crossing the Line and multi-award-nominated Bad Faith.

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 5Interview with Amanda Brooke, author of Yesterday's Sun - February 11, 2013The View from Monday - February 11, 20132013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - February 20132013 Debut Author Challenge - February 2013 Debuts

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