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What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 34


This is the thirty-fourth 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




Anna Smaill (2016)

The Chimes
Quercus, April 4, 2017
Trade Paperback, 304 pages
Hardcover and eBook, May 3, 2016

[cover not yet revealed]
After the end of a brutal civil war, London is divided, with slums standing next to a walled city of elites. Monk-like masters are selected for special schooling and shut away for decades, learning to write beautiful compositions for the chimes, played citywide morning and night, to mute memory and keep the citizens trapped in ignorance.

A young orphan named Simon arrives in London with nothing but the vague sense of a half-forgotten promise, to locate someone. What he finds is a new family--a gang of scavengers that patrols the underbelly of the city looking for valuable metal to sell. Drawn in by an enigmatic and charismatic leader, a blind young man named Lucien with a gift for song, Simon forgets entirely what originally brought him to the place he has now made his home.

In this alternate London, the past is a mystery, each new day feels the same as the last, and before is considered "blasphony." But Simon has a unique gift--the gift of retaining memories--that will lead him to discover a great injustice and take him far beyond the meager life as a member of Lucien's gang. Before long he will be engaged in an epic struggle for justice, love, and freedom.

The Chimes is an impressive work of speculative fiction, an imaginative adventure elegantly told. The Chimes reveals the human capacity to create both beauty and terror, in art and in life.





Alan Smale (2015)

Eagle in Exile
The Clash of Eagles Trilogy Book II
Del Rey, August 30, 2016
Mass Market Paperback, 624 pages
Hardcover and eBook, March 22, 2016

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 34
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 Cahokia together. Only with the hearts and souls of a nation at his back can Marcellinus hope to know triumph.



Eagle and Empire
The Clash of Eagles Trilogy Book III
Del Rey, May 16, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 560 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 34
The award-winning author of Clash of Eagles and Eagle in Exile concludes his masterly alternate-history saga of the Roman invasion of North America in this stunning novel.

Roman Praetor Gaius Marcellinus came to North America as a conqueror, but after meeting with defeat at the hands of the city-state of Cahokia, he has had to forge a new destiny in this strange land. In the decade since his arrival, he has managed to broker an unstable peace between the invading Romans and a loose affiliation of Native American tribes known as the League.

But invaders from the west will shatter that peace and plunge the continent into war: The Mongol Horde has arrived and they are taking no prisoners.

As the Mongol cavalry advances across the Great Plains leaving destruction in its path, Marcellinus and his Cahokian friends must summon allies both great and small in preparation for a final showdown. Alliances will shift, foes will rise, and friends will fall as Alan Smale brings us ever closer to the dramatic final battle for the future of the North American continent.





Matt Solomon (2012)
Chris Pauls (2012)

The Giant Smugglers
Feiwel & Friends, May 17, 2016
Hardcover, 288 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 34
Charlie Lawson's only summer excitement in small-town Wisconsin came from kicking butt in video games, where he's the undisputed Total Turbo champ. Now it's time to go back to middle school, where nine long months of boredom await.

But then Charlie stumbles onto something big happening inside the abandoned warehouse across the street from his house. Specifically, someone big. He befriends Bruce, a twenty-foot-tall teenage giant, who Charlie must keep a secret.

Charlie isn't the only one in town who knows what's hiding in the warehouse. Powerful, ruthless forces are closing in, and they'll stop at nothing to acquire a giant. But Charlie will do whatever it takes to protect the biggest and best friend he's ever had.





Gabriel Squailia (2015)

Viscera
Talos, October 4, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 34
The Gone-Away gods were real, once, and taller than towers.

But they’re long dead now, buried in the catacombs beneath the city of Eth, where their calcified organs radiate an eldritch power that calls out to anyone hardy enough to live in this cutthroat, war-torn land. Some survivors are human, while others are close enough, but all are struggling to carve out their lives in a world both unforgiving and wondrous.

Darkly comic and viciously original, Viscera is an unforgettable journey through swords-and-sorcery fantasy where strangeness gleams from every nook and cranny.

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 27


This is the twenty-seventh 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



Bradley P. Beaulieu (2011)

With Blood Upon the Sand
The Song of Shattered Sands 2
DAW, February 7, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 592 pages
[cover revealed at the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog]

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 27
With Blood Upon the Sand is the second book in the Song of Shattered Sands epic fantasy trilogy.

Çeda, now a Blade Maiden in service to the kings of Sharakhai, trains as one of their elite warriors, gleaning secrets even as they send her on covert missions to further their rule. She knows the dark history of the asirim—that hundreds of years ago they were enslaved to the kings against their will—but when she bonds with them as a Maiden, chaining them to her, she feels their pain as if her own. They hunger for release, they demand it, but with the power of the gods compelling them, they find their chains unbreakable.

Çeda could become the champion they’ve been waiting for, but the need to tread carefully has never been greater. After their recent defeat at the hands of the rebel Moonless Host, the kings are hungry for blood, scouring the city in their ruthless quest for revenge. Çeda’s friend Emre and his new allies in the Moonless Host hope to take advantage of the unrest in Sharakhai, despite the danger of opposing the kings and their god-given powers, and the Maidens and their deadly ebon blades.

When Çeda and Emre are drawn into a plot of the blood mage Hamzakiir, they learn a devastating secret that may very well shatter the power of the hated kings. But it may all be undone if Çeda cannot learn to navigate the shifting tides of power in Sharakhai and control the growing anger of the asirim that threatens to overwhelm her…





Emily Carpenter (2016)

The Weight of Lies
Lake Union Publishing, June 6, 2017
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 27
In this gripping, atmospheric family drama, a young woman investigates the forty­-year­-old murder that inspired her mother’s bestselling novel, and uncovers devastating truths—and dangerous lies.

Reformed party girl Meg Ashley leads a life of privilege, thanks to a bestselling horror novel her mother wrote decades ago. But Meg knows that the glow of their very public life hides a darker reality of lies, manipulation, and the heartbreak of her own solitary childhood. Desperate to break free of her mother, Meg accepts a proposal to write a scandalous, tell-all memoir.

Digging into the past—and her mother’s cult classic—draws Meg to Bonny Island, Georgia, and an unusual woman said to be the inspiration for the book. At first island life seems idyllic, but as Meg starts to ask tough questions, disturbing revelations come to light…including some about her mother.

Soon Meg’s search leads her to question the facts of a decades-old murder. She’s warned to leave it alone, but as the lies pile up, Meg knows she’s getting close to finding a murderer. When her own life is threatened, Meg realizes the darkness found in her mother’s book is nothing compared to the chilling truth that lurks off the page.





Carrie Patel (2015)

The Song of the Dead
Recoletta 3
Angry Robot, May 2, 2017
Mass-Market Paperback and eBook

[cover not yet revealed]
Finally, the lost histories of the Catastrophe will be revealed and with them the ultimate fate of the buried city of Recoletta in the dramatic conclusion to Carrie Patel’s trilogy.

With Ruthers dead and the Library Accord signed by Recoletta, its neighbours, and its farming communes, Inspector Malone and her partner Laundress Jane Lin are in limbo as the city leaders around them vie for power.

A desperate attempt to save Arnault from execution leads to Malone’s arrest and Jane’s escape. They must pursue each other across the sea to discover a civilization that has held together over the centuries. There they will finally learn the truths about the Catastrophe that drove their own civilization underground.

File Under: Fantasy





Chris Pauls (2012)
Matt Solomon (2012)

The Giant Smugglers
Feiwel & Friends, May 17, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 27
Charlie Lawson's only summer excitement in small-town Wisconsin came from kicking butt in video games, where he's the undisputed Total Turbo champ. Now it's time to go back to middle school, where nine long months of boredom await.

But then Charlie stumbles onto something big happening inside the abandoned warehouse across the street from his house. Specifically, someone big. He befriends Bruce, a twenty-foot-tall teenage giant, who Charlie must keep a secret.

Charlie isn't the only one in town who knows what's hiding in the warehouse. Powerful, ruthless forces are closing in, and they'll stop at nothing to acquire a giant. But Charlie will do whatever it takes to protect the biggest and best friend he's ever had.





Carol J. Perry (2014)

Murder Go Round
A Witch City Mystery 4
Kensington, January 31, 2017
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 27

A killer takes a spin through Salem . . .

Lee Barrett has agreed to attend a storage auction with Aunt Ibby—even though she suspects the forgotten rooms will yield more junk than treasure. Her skepticism vanishes once the two win a bid on an overlooked locker and uncover a trove of beautiful curiosities, including a stunning wooden carousel horse with gentle eyes and fading paint. But just before Lee leaves the fairground relic at a local repair shop, the sight of a silver samovar awakens her psychic abilities and conjures visions of murder.

Lee prays the intrusive ESP episode was just a glimpse into the past—until her policeman boyfriend reports a dead man outside the repair shop. Apparently, the unknown victim had been hot on Lee’s trail since the auction. And with the horse found dismantled, it looks like he was up to no good. What’s the story behind the antique equine, and could a strange bubblegum-chewing woman with fiery hair have something to do with the crime? Guided by her gift and O’Ryan, her wise tabby cat, Lee’s set on catching the murderer . . . before she’s sent on the darkest ride of her life.

Interview with Chris Pauls and Matt Solomon, authors of Deck Z: The Titanic - October 27, 2012

Please welcome Chris Pauls and Matt Solomon to The Qwillery as part of the 2012 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Deck Z: The Titanic was published on October 3, 2012.




TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery!

Chris:  Thanks for having us, and the scones are delicious.


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

Matt:  For Chris, I’d say it’s his obsessive attention to detail. We spent hours poring over Titanic deck plans—3D models, mechanical blueprints, top- and side-view cutaways—all to make sure we were as close to spot-on accurate as possible regarding the path our protagonists took while fleeing undead passengers.

Chris:  For Matt, I’ll note his ability to channel characters that are far removed from his own personality. He can trot out a child or mother’s POV with equal ease, and still serve up stuff closer to home no problem. Also, he does not drink coffee.


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

Chris:  I especially enjoy John Steinbeck, Alan Moore, Raymond Chandler, and Hunter Thompson. They have all had an impact on the style I’m after.

Matt:  I’ll take Neil Gaiman, Michael Chabon, and Haruki Murakami – though I’m not sure you’d see any of their influences here.


TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Matt:  Definitely a plotter. In Deck Z, we followed the actual history of Titanic events as closely as possible—to the minute, in some cases. That made detailed timelines necessary to make sure our fictional plot points joined with actual events at just the right times. In writing, as in life, we do very little pantsing.


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

Chris:  Making sure to realize everything a particular sequence has to offer as it relates to place, plot and character within the whole story.


TQ:   Describe Deck Z in 140 characters or less.

When a scientist discovers a plague that turns victims into monsters, he steals the only sample and makes for America aboard Titanic.


TQ:  What inspired you to write Deck Z?

Chris:  Matt and I were both looking to work on something outside of humor, which we both had been doing a long time for places like The Onion. This was a high-concept idea that was a challenge not to make funny but instead try to realize as a legit piece of horror.


TQ:   What sort of research did you do for Deck Z?

Matt:  We did extensive research on the ship itself—its passengers and crew, the particulars of the ship’s layout and design, the class segregation, and the historical world in which our story is set. There are amazing online forums devoted to Titanic minutiae and they became a go-to resource when we needed answers to questions like “Where was the third-class linen closet located?” Because our story turns on a mutated version of the plague, we also had to dig deep to learn about disease transmission and treatment.


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

Chris:  I’d say J. Bruce Ismay was probably the easiest because his role in the Titanic disaster is so widely understood to be that of a near-villain. Our character of “The Agent” was the most difficult for me, because he’s cut from whole cloth and has a complicated, serious backstory that motivates his ruthlessness.


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

Matt:  One of my favorite scenes is when our lead character, trying to steal away on the Titanic, meets a know-it-all kid on the dock who helps him with his escape. With all the mayhem aboard the ship, the humorous human moments were the ones I enjoyed most.


TQ:  What's next?

Chris:  We’re at work on a big story set in Richland Center, a sleepy town in Southwest Wisconsin. We’re excited about it.


TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Chris:  It has been our pleasure. I’m still blown away that you churn your own butter.

Matt:  Chris never goes on about my butter this way.




About Deck Z: The Titanic

Deck Z: The Titanic
Chronicle Books, October 3, 2012
Trade Paperback and eBook, 222 pages

Imagine being trapped aboard the doomed Titanic on an icy Atlantic. . . with the walking dead. This fast-paced thriller reimagines the historical events of the fateful Titanic voyage through the lens of zombie mayhem. Captain Edward Smith and his inner circle desperately try to contain a weaponized zombie virus smuggled on board with the 2,200 passengers sailing to New York. Faced with an exploding population of lumbering, flesh-hungry undead, Smith’s team is forced into bloody hand-to-hand combat down the narrow halls of the huge steamer. In its few short days at sea, the majestic Titanic turns into a Victorian bloodbath, steaming at top speed toward a cold, blue iceberg. A creepy, tense pageturner, Deck Z will thrill zombie fans and Titanic buffs alike.







About Chris and Matt  

Chris Pauls and Matt Solomon are regular contributors to popular websites and national publications. They live in Wisconsin. 

Chris Pauls (l) and Matt Solomon (r)

Chris' Twitter
Matt's Twitter
Deck Z on Facebook

2012 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October 2012

PLEASE NOTE: The votes have been completely restored! The results stand.


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




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

You have 12 novels to choose from in October!
































































What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 34What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 27Interview with Chris Pauls and Matt Solomon, authors of Deck Z: The Titanic - October 27, 20122012 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October 2012

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