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The View From Monday - August 3, 2020


It is the first Monday in August. Time flies even when you are not having fun!

There are 4 debuts this week:

Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica with Sarah Moses (Translator);

Every Bone a Prayer by Ashley Blooms;

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson;

and

The First Sister (The First Sister Trilogy 1) by Linden A. Lewis.

The View From Monday - August 3, 2020The View From Monday - August 3, 2020
The View From Monday - August 3, 2020The View From Monday - August 3, 2020
Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.



From formerly featured DAC Authors:

Warlock Holmes - The Finality Problem (Warlock Holmes 5) by G.S. Denning;

A Cosmology of Monsters by Shaun Hamill is out in Trade Paperback;

The Blood of Whisperers (Vengeance Trilogy 1) by Devin Madson;

The Gods of Vice (Vengeance Trilogy 2) by Devin Madson;

The Grave at Storm's End (Vengeance Trilogy 2) by Devin Madson;

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern is out in Trade Papeback;

and

The Black Song (Raven's Blade 2) by Anthony Ryan.

The View From Monday - August 3, 2020The View From Monday - August 3, 2020
The View From Monday - August 3, 2020The View From Monday - August 3, 2020
The View From Monday - August 3, 2020The View From Monday - August 3, 2020
The View From Monday - August 3, 2020
Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.



The View From Monday - August 3, 2020



Debut novels are highlighted in blue. Novels, etc. by formerly featured DAC Authors are highlighted in green.

August 3, 2020
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The Immortal City (e) May Peterson FR - The Sacred Dark 2



August 4, 2020
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Stake Kevin J. Anderson H
Spine of the Dragon (h2tp) Kevin J. Anderson EF - Wake the Dragon 1
The Redemption of Time: A Three-Body Problem Novel Baoshu
Ken Liu (Tr)
SF/AC/HSF - Remembrance of Earth's Past 4
Tender Is the Flesh (D - English) Agustina Bazterrica
Sarah Moses (Tr)
LF
Every Bone a Prayer (D) Ashley Blooms Southern/CW/MR/STR
Space Station Down Ben Bova
Doug Beason
SF/Th/Terrorism
Mind of My Mind (ri) Octavia E. Butler SF/GenEng/EF/CF/LF - Patternist  2
What Happens at Night Peter Cameron LF/BH/Gothic/FL
Parasite Darcy Coates H/SF/AC/SupTh
The Haunting of Gillespie House Darcy Coates H/GH/Occ/Sup/Gothic/SupTh
Cosmic Corsairs Hank Davis (Ed) SF - Anthology
The Hollow Ones Guillermo del Toro
Chuck Hogan
SupTh/PP/Sus/GH/Gothic - Blackwood Tapes
Warlock Holmes - The Finality Problem G.S. Denning Cr/F/HU - Warlock Holmes 5
The Death of Vivek Oji Akwaeke Emezi FL/LF/CoA
Dark Illusion (h2mm) Christine Feehan PNR/DF - Carpathian 33
1636: The Atlantic Encounter Eric Flint
Walter H. Hunt
SF/TT - Ring of Fire 28
Uncanny Bodies Pippa Goldschmidt (Ed)
Gill Haddow (Ed)
Fadhila Mazanderani (Ed)
SpecFic - Anthology
A Cosmology of Monsters (h2tp) Shaun Hamill H/DF/FL
Sucker Punch Laurell K. Hamilton P/UF/H - Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter 27
Ghost Ups Her Game Carolyn Hart PCM/GH - Bailey Ruth Raeburn 9
Smoke in the Glass Chris Humphreys SF/HistF/DF - Immortal's Blood 1
The Space Between Worlds (D) Micaiah Johnson SF/LF/CrM
Weird Women: Classic Supernatural Fiction by Groundbreaking Female Writers: 1852-1923 Leslie S. Klinger (Ed)
Lisa Morton (Ed)
Sup - Anthology
Days of Burning, Days of Wrath Tom Kratman SF/Military - Carerra 8
Seven Devils Laura Lam
Elizabeth May
SF/SO/GenEng
The First Sister (D) Linden A. Lewis SF/SO - The First Sister Trilogy 1
Vanessa Yu's Magical Paris Tea Shop Roselle Lim Asian American/CW/MR
Trials of the Mortal Realm Graeme Lyon
Jamie Crisalli
Nick Horth
F - Warhammer: Age of Sigmar
The Blood of Whisperers Devin Madson F/DF/EF - Vengeance Trilogy 1
The Grave at Storm's End Devin Madson F/DF/EF - Vengeance Trilogy 3
The Gods of Vice Devin Madson F/DF/EF - Vengeance Trilogy 2
Fire & Blood: 300 Years Before A Game of Thrones (h2tp) George R. R. Martin EF - A Song of Ice and Fire
The Wellstone Wil McCarthy SF/HSF
The Starless Sea (h2tp) Erin Morgenstern CW/FR/HistF
Harrow the Ninth Tamsyn Muir SF/SO/EF - The Locked Tomb Trilogy 2
Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism (e) David Nickle HistTh/HistF/H - The Book of the Juke 1
Volk: A Novel of Radiant Abomination (e) David Nickle HistTh/HistF/H - The Book of the Juke 2
Bayou's Lament (e) Cheryl Owen-Wilson DF/H - Labyrinth of Souls
Rules for Being Dead Kim Powers Gay/CoA/GH/FL
The Witch House Ann Rawson Occ/H/Psy
Chasm City (ri) Alastair Reynolds SF/HSF/SE/SO - Inhibitor 2
Century Rain (ri) Alastair Reynolds SF/HSF/SE/SO
Mr Campion's Seance Mike Ripley PM/GH - An Albert Campion Mystery 7
The Living Dead George A. Romero
Daniel Kraus
H/SupTh
The Day Lincoln Lost Charles Rosenberg AH/HistTh/LegalTh
The Trial and Execution of the Traitor George Washington (h2tp) Charles Rosenberg AH/HistTh/LegalTh
The Black Song Anthony Ryan EF/DF - Raven's Blade 2
Hobbit Virtues: Rediscovering Virtue Ethics Through J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Christopher A. Snyder Philosophy
The Deep Rivers Solomon
Daveed Diggs
William Hutson
Jonathan Snipes
SF
Ten Arrows of Iron Sam Sykes EF/HU - Grave of Empires 2
Indomitus Gav Thorpe SF/SE - Warhammer 40,000
Heirs of Locksley Carrie Vaughn F/HistF
Imperium at War Danie Ware SF - Warhammer 40,000
The Dragon Corsairs: Spymaster, Privateer, Kingmaker (e) Margaret Weis
Robert Krammes
F/SP - The Dragon Corsairs
Profit's Ruin C L Werner F - Warhammer: Age of Sigmar
Otherland: City of Golden Shadow (ri) Tad Williams SF/CyP/HSF - Otherland 1



August 6, 2020
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Shadow in the Empire of Light (e) Jane Routley F



D - Debut
e - eBook
Ed - Editor
h2mm - Hardcover to Mass Market Paperback
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
Ke - Kindle eBook
ri - reissue or reprint
tp2mm - Trade Paperback to Mass Market Paperback
Tr - Translator



AB - Absurdist
AC - Alien Contact
AH - Alternative History
AP - Apocalyptic
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CoA - Coming of Age
Cr - Crime
CW - Contemporary Women
CyP - CyberPunk
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tales
FL - Family Life
FolkT - Folk Tales
FR - Fantasy Romance
GenEng - Genetic Engineering
GH - Ghost(s)
H - Horror
HC - History and Criticism
Hist - Historical
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HistTh - Historical Thriller
HSF - Hard Science Fiction
HU - Humorous
LC - Literary Criticism
LF - Literary Fiction
LM - Legend and Mythology
LMF - Legends, Myths, Fables
M - Mystery
MR - Magical Realism
MTI - Media Tie-In
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PCM - Paranormal Cozy Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
PolTh - Political Thriller
PopCul - Popular Culture
Psy - Psychological
RF - Romantic Fantasy
ScF - Science Fantasy
SE - Space Exploration
SF - Science Fiction
SFR - Science Fiction Romance
SH - Superheroes
SO - Space Opera
SP - Steampunk
SpecFic - Speculative Fiction
STR - Small Town and Rural
Sup - Supernatural
SupM - Supernatural Mystery
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Sus - Suspense
TechTh - Technological Thriller
Th - Thriller
UF - Urban Fantasy
VM - Visionary and Metaphysical

Note: Not all genres and formats are found in the books, etc. listed above.

Interview with Devin Madson, author of We Ride the Storm


Please welcome Devin Madson to The Qwillery as part of the 2020 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. We Ride the Storm is published on June 23, 2020 by Orbit.

Please join all of us at The Qwillery in wishing Devin a Happy Publication Day!



Interview with Devin Madson, author of We Ride the Storm




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first fiction piece you remember writing?

Devin:  I wrote a story called The Little Sad Christmas Tree. I was six so I don’t recall writing it very clearly but my parents kept it and I still have it somewhere. It’s about a little pine tree that cries when its mother gets cut down and taken away and all the other trees laugh at him. He gets cut down too and taken to a shop to be sold but no one wants him, so he cries some more. He gets magically reunited with his mother at the end though. I don’t think I was trying to say anything particular with that, more I had only one page left.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Devin:  A bit of both. I almost completely pants most first books in a series because I’m too impatient to sit down and plan. And the only time I did, I ended up with a completely different book. With different themes, plot and a bunch of extra point of view characters. But when I get to later books in a series, I plan more and more to make sure I’m pulling all the threads together and will be able to finish the story in the right number of books. Really, I just go with whatever works best for a particular book, but the most I’ve ever planned is a couple of guiding paragraphs per chapter and some thoughts on arcs. That’s HARDCORE planning in Devinland.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Devin:  Action scenes! And for some reason I keep writing a lot of them. Because they have to be tense, they require very tight pacing and timing, balance and cadence, and can’t just be hammered out in a couple of minutes. At least not by me. The only thing more challenging, that you absolutely can’t lose your readers in by a misstep of word choice or pacing, is a sex scene, but I don’t write anywhere near as many of those. Structural edits also suck, because they are weeks of painstakingly ripping apart and rebuilding a manuscript and it is the most draining part of the job for me, mentally and emotionally.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Devin:  The things I have noticed as being influences (rather than the bazillion tiny things we passively observe and absorb in life) are generally not fantasy based, which I find interesting. Despite not writing romances, I have been heavily influenced by Georgette Heyer over the years. She was a master at character creation and evolution as well as subtle character-based and situational humour. I’ve also been influenced by all too many video games and history programs/podcasts. And Terry Pratchett.



TQDescribe We Ride the Storm using only 5 words.

Devin:  Shit keeps hitting the fan.



TQTell us something about We Ride the Storm that is not found in the book description.

Devin:  There is no black and white morality in this book. It’s all messy, right and wrong impossible to discern half the time, as people are forced to make decisions without knowing for sure what the outcome will be. Often they are making the best of two bad choices, which will have flow on effects into the decisions forced upon others. One thing I really wanted to achieve with this book is the idea that people and situations often aren’t neat and simple and clear cut. People are complicated. They are changeable. Contradictory. Emotional. I wanted to represent this in my fiction. Rather than creating ideals of people, I wanted to show them in all their messy glory as they struggle with their own paths and feelings and motivations (as well as one can in fiction, which is never allowed to be quite as messy and random as real life).



TQWhat inspired you to write We Ride the Storm? What appeals to you about writing Fantasy?

Devin:  The biggest thing that appeals to me about writing fantasy (except for having to do less research because you can make things up) is that you can put people into situations that are impossible in our world and shake it up to see what would happen. The human psyche is an amazing thing, as are the connections and relationships we make with others. And they’re all so much more interesting and boundless in fantasy. As for We Ride the Storm, it’s the continuation of a generational story I started in my novella, In Shadows We Fall, and then on through The Vengeance Trilogy (also being re-released by Orbit, but you don’t have to read them first, they can be read in any order) so there wasn’t as much unique inspiration for this story. When I first started writing in this world, the story I wanted to tell informed much of the world building, but now the world and its history informs the stories I want to tell.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for We Ride the Storm?

Devin:  Because I don’t plan ahead most of the time, I tend to research on the fly when I need something (or I’m lazy and write and leave it for Future Devin like a jerk). These can be little things like how long it takes blood to congeal or sometimes bigger things about horses and castles.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for We Ride the Storm.

Devin:  Because We Ride the Storm was previously self-published, Orbit wanted to differentiate the new cover, so although it depicts horsemen riding into battle like the original, they commissioned black and white scratchboard art from Nico Delort. I loved the original too (by John Anthony Di Giovanni), as both are very striking in their different ways. The colour of the new one really gets across the mood and feel of the book though, I think they really nailed it.



TQIn We Ride the Storm who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Devin:  Cassandra is always the easiest character to write because I’m putting my dialled up to 11 snarky thought process and sense of humour on the page, filtered through her life experience and goals. Miko is the hardest, because she has a very complicated mix of ambition yet a desire to do what is right and good, of wanting to prove herself yet learn from those around her. She walks a fine balance in everything, even with having to be an accommodating leader and yet be fiercely determined, while at the same time she’s young and inexperienced in a lot of things.



TQDoes We Ride the Storm touch on any social issues?

Devin:  While it doesn’t specifically focus on any particular social issues, due to the journeys of certain characters the book touches on the struggles of women in a patriarchal society and some of the damage it does to the society as a whole, as well as the difficulties of a whole culture struggling to maintain itself while the world becomes more urbanized and technologically advanced around them. They are left having to ask ‘What makes us who we are?’ and trying to find an answer.



TQWhich question about We Ride the Storm do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Devin:  Let’s go with my favourite thing about it. I don’t do favourite characters in books (not in other peoples nor my own), I have favourite relationships. It can be a friendship, a parent/child relationship, a found family or a romantic relationship, it doesn’t matter, my favourite stuff is always the between people stuff. In this book it’s the relationship between Rah, one of the POV characters, and Gideon, leader of the Levanti exiles. They’re from the same herd so they have known each other all their lives, and while you only see some of it and get a little of their history in this first book, everything about the intensity and complications of it speaks to my soul on a deep level.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from We Ride the Storm.

Devin:  While I’m very proud of both my original opening line and the new one, the bits I like the most are the humorous character moments like this:

“What’s this?” She eyed the food like it was a dead animal.
“What does it look like?” I said, fingers hunting an elusive coin. “It’s flatbread. But that bit didn’t cook right through so it’s all yours.”


And that they let me get away with this:

“Now let’s keep moving before the sight of this damn place makes me piss myself.”
“As you wish, Your Whoreness.” He had taken a few steps but turned to look back over his shoulder. “Or should it be Your Assassinness? Whoresassin!”



TQWhat's next?

Devin:  I’m just putting the finishing touches on book 3 of The Reborn Empire series, after which I’ll be moving on to putting a cap on the series that has been quite the journey for me. I’m also hoping to find time to write a novella that’s been pecking away at my thoughts, the first thing I’ve written in more than a decade that isn’t set in this world of mine. And I’m very slowly working toward getting my audio drama, The 59 Bodies of Saki Laroth, produced and released.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Devin:  Thank you for having me!





We Ride the Storm
The Reborn Empire 1
Orbit, June 23, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 528 pages

Interview with Devin Madson, author of We Ride the Storm
In the midst of a burgeoning war, a warrior, an assassin, and a princess chase their own ambitions no matter the cost in Devin Madson’s propulsive epic fantasy.

War built the Kisian Empire. War will tear it down.

Seventeen years after rebels stormed the streets, factions divide Kisia. Only the firm hand of the god-emperor holds the empire together. But when a shocking betrayal destroys a tense alliance with neighboring Chiltae, all that has been won comes crashing down.

In Kisia, Princess Miko Ts’ai is a prisoner in her own castle. She dreams of claiming her empire, but the path to power could rip it, and her family, asunder.

In Chiltae, assassin Cassandra Marius is plagued by the voices of the dead. Desperate, she accepts a contract that promises to reward her with a cure if she helps an empire fall.

And on the border between nations, Captain Rah e’Torin and his warriors are exiles forced to fight in a foreign war or die.

As an empire dies, three warriors will rise. They will have to ride the storm or drown in its blood.


The Reborn Empire
We Ride the Storm

For more from Devin Madson, check out:
The Vengeance Trilogy
The Blood of Whisperers
The Gods of Vice
The Grave at Storm's End





About Devin

Interview with Devin Madson, author of We Ride the Storm
Devin Madson is an Aurealis Award-winning fantasy author from Australia. After some sucky teenage years, she gave up reality and is now a dual-wielding rogue who works through every tiny side-quest and always ends up too over-powered for the final boss. Anything but zen, Devin subsists on tea and chocolate and so much fried zucchini she ought to have turned into one by now. Her fantasy novels come in all shades of grey and are populated with characters of questionable morals and a liking for witty banter.




Website  ~  Twitter @DevinMadson

The View From Monday - June 22, 2020


It is the penultimate Monday in June.

There are 3 debuts this week:

Block Seventeen by Kimiko Guthrie;

We Ride the Storm (Reborn Empire 1) by Devin Madson;

and

The Kingdom of Liars (The Legacy of the Mercenary King 1) by Nick Martell.

The View From Monday - June 22, 2020The View From Monday - June 22, 2020
The View From Monday - June 22, 2020
Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.



From formerly featured DAC Authors:

The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water by Zen Cho;

Blood of Empire (Gods of Blood and Powder 3) by Brian McClellan is out in Trade Paperback;

and

A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians (Shadow Histories 1) by H.G. Parry.

The View From Monday - June 22, 2020The View From Monday - June 22, 2020
The View From Monday - June 22, 2020
Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.



The View From Monday - June 22, 2020



Debut novels are highlighted in blue. Novels, etc. by formerly featured DAC Authors are highlighted in green.

June 23, 2020
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The Angel of the Crows Katherine Addison HistF/AH
Pure Invention: How Japan's Pop Culture Conquered the World Matt Alt Japanese History/PopCul
Bennytown Matt Carter SupTh
The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water Zen Cho F
Shadow Fall Alexander Freed SF/SO/MTI - Star Wars: Alphabet Squadron 2
Block Seventeen (D) Kimiko Guthrie LF/SpecFic
All Together Stranger Lara Hayes PF - Redamancy 2
We Ride the Storm (D) Devin Madson F/DF - Reborn Empire 1
The Kingdom of Liars (D) Nick Martell F - The Legacy of the Mercenary King 1
Blood of Empire (h2tp) Brian McClellan F/HistF - Gods of Blood and Powder 3
Tokyo Ueno Station Yu Miri FL/GH/CL
Death in Her Hands Ottessa Moshfegh LF/Psy/Occ/Sup
Obliteration James S. Murray
Darren Wearmouth
SupTh - Awakened 3
A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians H. G. Parry HistF/Occ/Sup/ FairyT/FolkT/LM - Shadow Histories 1
The Wounded Ones G.D. Penman UF/F - Witch of Empire 2
Barnabas Collins Marilyn Ross Occ/Gothic - Dark Shadows the Complete Paperback Library Reprint Volume 6
Strangers at Collins House Marilyn Ross Occ/Gothic - Dark Shadows the Complete Paperback Library Reprint Volume 3
The Curse of Collinwood Marilyn Ross Occ/Gothic - Dark Shadows the Complete Paperback Library Reprint Volume 5
The Mystery of Collinwood Marilyn Ross Occ/Gothic - Dark Shadows the Complete Paperback Library Reprint Volume 4
Boundless: A Drizzt Novel (h2tp) R. A. Salvatore F - Generations 2
The Fall of Deadworld Omnibus Matt Smith SH
Becoming Superman: My Journey From Poverty to Hollywood (h2tp) J. Michael Straczynski Biography
The Buried World Jeff Wheeler F - Grave Kingdom 2



June 24, 2020
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The Night Soil Salvagers: A Tor.com Original (e) Gregory Norman Bossert F



June 25, 2020
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The Sunken Land Begins to Rise Again (e) M. John Harrison SF



D - Debut
e - eBook
Ed - Editor
h2mm - Hardcover to Mass Market Paperback
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
Ke - Kindle eBook
ri - reissue or reprint
tp2mm - Trade Paperback to Mass Market Paperback
Tr - Translator



AC - Alien Contact
AF - Afrofuturism
AH - Alternative History
AP - Apocalyptic
BlHu - Black Humor
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CoA - Coming of Age
CW - Contemporary Women
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tales
FL - Family Life
FolkT - Folk Tales
FR - Fantasy Romance
GenEng - Genetic Engineering
GH - Ghost(s)
H - Horror
HC - History and Criticism
Hist - Historical
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HSF - Hard Science Fiction
HU - Humorous
LF - Literary Fiction
LM - Legend and Mythology
LMF - Legends, Myths, Fables
M - Mystery
MR - Magical Realism
MTI - Media Tie-In
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PCM - Paranormal Cozy Mystery
PF - Paranormal Fantasy
PNR - Paranormal Romance
Pol - Political
PopCul - Popular Culture
Psy - Psychological
PsyTh - Psychological Thriller
RF - Romantic Fantasy
SE - Space Exploration
SF - Science Fiction
SFR - Science Fiction Romance
SH - Superheroes
SO - Space Opera
SpecFic - Speculative Fiction
SS - Short Stories
Sup - Supernatural
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Sus - Suspense
TechTh - Technological Thriller
TT - Time Travel

Note: Not all genres and formats are found in the books, etc. listed above.

2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June 2020 Debuts


2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June 2020 Debuts


Each month you will be able to vote for your favorite cover from that month's debut novels. At the end of the year the 12 monthly winners will be pitted against each other to choose the 2020 Debut Novel Cover of the Year. Please note that a debut novel cover is eligible in the month in which the novel is published in the US. Cover artist/illustrator/designer 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 30, 2020, unless the vote is extended. If the vote is extended the ending date will be updated.

Vote for your favorite June 2020 Debut Cover!
 
pollcode.com free polls





2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June 2020 Debuts
Cover Illustration © Richard Anderson





2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June 2020 Debuts





2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June 2020 Debuts
Cover design by Yeon Kim
Cover images © Amesto/Shutterstock;
© D.V.A./Shutterstock





2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June 2020 Debuts
Illustration by Bastien Lecouffe-Deharme
Design by Jae Song





2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June 2020 Debuts
Jacket design by Ploy Siripant
Jacket illustration by Beth Hoeckel
Jacket photograph © The Bert Stern Trust





2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June 2020 Debuts
Cover illustration by Nico Delort
Cover design by Lisa Marie Pompilio

2020 Debut Author Challenge - June 2020 Debuts


2020 Debut Author Challenge - June 2020 Debuts


There are 6 debut novels for June 2020.

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 2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on June 15, 2020.



Doug Engstrom

Corporate Gunslinger
Harper Voyager, June 16, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

2020 Debut Author Challenge - June 2020 Debuts
Doug Engstrom imagines a future all too terrifying—and all too possible—in this eerie, dystopic speculative fiction debut about corporate greed, debt slavery, and gun violence that is as intense and dark as Stephen King’s The Long Walk.

Like many Americans in the middle of the 21st century, aspiring actress Kira Clark is in debt. She financed her drama education with loans secured by a “lifetime services contract.” If she defaults, her creditors will control every aspect of her life. Behind on her payments and facing foreclosure, Kira reluctantly accepts a large signing bonus to become a corporate gunfighter for TKC Insurance. After a year of training, she will take her place on the dueling fields that have become the final, lethal stop in the American legal system.

Putting her MFA in acting to work, Kira takes on the persona of a cold, intimidating gunslinger known as “Death’s Angel.” But just as she becomes the most feared gunfighter in TKC’s stable, she’s severely wounded during a duel on live video, shattering her aura of invincibility. A series of devastating setbacks follow, forcing Kira to face the truth about her life and what she’s become.

When the opportunity to fight another professional for a huge purse arises, Kira sees it as a chance to buy a new life . . . or die trying.

Structured around a chilling duel, Corporate Gunslinger is a modern satire that forces us to confront the growing inequalities in our society and our penchant for guns and bloodshed, as well as offering a visceral look at where we may be heading—far sooner than we know.





Kimiko Guthrie

Block Seventeen
Blackstone Publishing, June 23, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

2020 Debut Author Challenge - June 2020 Debuts
When Akiko “Jane” Thompson first met Shiro Yamamoto, she knew they were meant to be. Five years later, their happiness is threatened. An intruder burgles their apartment but takes nothing, leaving behind only cryptic traces of his or her presence. Shiro risks their security in a plot to expose the misdeeds of his employer, the TSA. Jane’s mother has seemingly disappeared, her existence only apparent online. Jane wants to ignore these worrisome disturbances until a cry from the past robs her of all peace, forcing her to uncover a long-buried family secret.

As Jane searches for her mother, she confronts her family’s fraught history in America. She learns how they survived the internment of Japanese Americans, and how fear and humiliation can drive a person to commit desperate acts.

In melodic and suspenseful prose, Guthrie leads the reader to and from the past, through an unreliable present, and, inescapably, toward a shocking revelation. Block Seventeen, at times charming and light, at others disturbing and disorienting, explores how fear of the “other” continues to shape our supposedly more enlightened times.




Devin Madson

We Ride the Storm
The Reborn Empire 1
Orbit, June 23, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 528 pages

2020 Debut Author Challenge - June 2020 Debuts
In the midst of a burgeoning war, a warrior, an assassin, and a princess chase their own ambitions no matter the cost in Devin Madson’s propulsive epic fantasy.

War built the Kisian Empire. War will tear it down.

Seventeen years after rebels stormed the streets, factions divide Kisia. Only the firm hand of the god-emperor holds the empire together. But when a shocking betrayal destroys a tense alliance with neighboring Chiltae, all that has been won comes crashing down.

In Kisia, Princess Miko Ts’ai is a prisoner in her own castle. She dreams of claiming her empire, but the path to power could rip it, and her family, asunder.

In Chiltae, assassin Cassandra Marius is plagued by the voices of the dead. Desperate, she accepts a contract that promises to reward her with a cure if she helps an empire fall.

And on the border between nations, Captain Rah e’Torin and his warriors are exiles forced to fight in a foreign war or die.
As an empire dies, three warriors will rise. They will have to ride the storm or drown in its blood.

The Reborn Empire
We Ride the Storm

For more from Devin Madson, check out:
The Vengeance Trilogy
The Blood of Whisperers
The Gods of Vice
The Grave at Storm’s End





Nick Martell

The Kingdom of Liars
The Legacy of the Mercenary King 1
Gallery / Sage Press, June 23, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 608 pages

2020 Debut Author Challenge - June 2020 Debuts
In this brilliant debut fantasy, a story of secrets, rebellion, and murder are shattering the Hollows, where magic costs memory to use, and only the son of the kingdom’s despised traitor holds the truth.

Michael is branded a traitor as a child because of the murder of the king’s nine-year-old son, by his father David Kingman. Ten years later on Michael lives a hardscrabble life, with his sister Gwen, performing crimes with his friends against minor royals in a weak attempt at striking back at the world that rejects him and his family.

In a world where memory is the coin that pays for magic, Michael knows something is there in the hot white emptiness of his mind. So when the opportunity arrives to get folded back into court, via the most politically dangerous member of the kingdom’s royal council, Michael takes it, desperate to find a way back to his past. He discovers a royal family that is spiraling into a self-serving dictatorship as gun-wielding rebels clash against magically trained militia.

What the truth holds is a set of shocking revelations that will completely change the Hollows, if Michael and his friends and family can survive long enough to see it.





Emily Temple

The Lightness
William Morrow, June 16, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages

2020 Debut Author Challenge - June 2020 Debuts
"The Lightness could be the love child of Donna Tartt and Tana French, but its savage, glittering magic is all Emily Temple’s own." —Chloe Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Immortalists 

A Most Anticipated Novel by Elle • WSJ. Magazine • Glamour • Bustle • Buzzfeed • The Millions The Philadelphia Inquirer • Publishers Weekly • Literary Hub • Electric Literature and more!

A stylish, stunningly precise, and suspenseful meditation on adolescent desire, female friendship, and the female body that shimmers with rage, wit, and fierce longing—an audacious, darkly observant, and mordantly funny literary debut for fans of Emma Cline, Ottessa Moshfegh, and Jenny Offill.

One year ago, the person Olivia adores most in the world, her father, left home for a meditation retreat in the mountains and never returned. Yearning to make sense of his shocking departure and to escape her overbearing mother—a woman as grounded as her father is mercurial—Olivia runs away from home and retraces his path to a place known as the Levitation Center.

Once there, she enrolls in their summer program for troubled teens, which Olivia refers to as “Buddhist Boot Camp for Bad Girls”. Soon, she finds herself drawn into the company of a close-knit trio of girls determined to transcend their circumstances, by any means necessary. Led by the elusive and beautiful Serena, and her aloof, secretive acolytes, Janet and Laurel, the girls decide this is the summer they will finally achieve enlightenment—and learn to levitate, to defy the weight of their bodies, to experience ultimate lightness.

But as desire and danger intertwine, and Olivia comes ever closer to discovering what a body—and a girl—is capable of, it becomes increasingly clear that this is an advanced and perilous practice, and there’s a chance not all of them will survive. Set over the course of one fateful summer that unfolds like a fever dream, The Lightness juxtaposes fairy tales with quantum physics, cognitive science with religious fervor, and the passions and obsessions of youth with all of these, to explore concepts as complex as faith and as simple as loving people—even though you don’t, and can’t, know them at all.





David Wragg

The Black Hawks
Articles of Faith 1
Harper Voyager, June 2, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages

2020 Debut Author Challenge - June 2020 Debuts
Dark, thrilling, and hilarious, The Black Hawks is an epic adventure perfect for fans of Joe Abercrombie and Scott Lynch.

Life as a knight is not what Vedren Chel imagined. Bound by oath to a dead-end job in the service of a lazy step-uncle, Chel no longer dreams of glory – he dreams of going home.

When invaders throw the kingdom into turmoil, Chel finds opportunity in the chaos: if he escorts a stranded prince to safety, Chel will be released from his oath.

All he has to do is drag the brat from one side of the country to the other, through war and wilderness, chased all the way by ruthless assassins.

With killers on your trail, you need killers watching your back. You need the Black Hawk Company – mercenaries, fighters without equal, a squabbling, scrapping pack of rogues.

Prepare to join the Black Hawks.

SPFBO Finalist Review: We Ride the Storm by Devin Madson


We Ride the Storm
The Reborn Empire
June 7, 2018
Kindle eBook and Trade Paperback, 444 pages

SPFBO Finalist Review: We Ride the Storm by Devin Madson
War built the Kisian Empire and war will tear it down. And as an empire falls, three warriors rise.

Caught in a foreign war, Captain Rah e’Torin and his exiled warriors will have to fight or die. Their honour code is all they have left until orders from within stress them to breaking point, and the very bonds that hold them together will be ripped apart.

Cassandra wants the voice in her head to go away. Willing to do anything for peace, the ageing whore takes an assassination contract that promises answers, only the true price may be everyone and everything she knows.

A prisoner in her own castle, Princess Miko doesn’t dream of freedom but of the power to fight for her empire. As the daughter of a traitor the path to redemption could as easily tear it, and her family, asunder.

As an empire dies they will have to ride the storm or drown in its blood.



Doreen’s Thoughts

Devin Madson’s We Ride the Storm is a complicated novel, with each chapter focusing on one of three major characters. There is Captain Rah e'Torin, a Levanti warrior and captain of the Second Swords of Torin, who have been enslaved by the Chiltaen. Cassandra Marius is a Chiltaen assassin whore who has a separate person in her head. Finally, Princess Miko is the bastard daughter of a traitor but has been accepted as heir to the Kisian Emperor despite her parentage.

For years there has been peace between the Kisian and Chiltaen empires, and Miko has been offered to the Chiltaen duke in marriage to maintain that peace. But Miko’s twin brother Tanaka decides to take over the Kisian Empire and begins conspiring with the Chiltaens to force a war that will help his coup. Cassandra is hired to kill the Duke before he reaches the Kisian capital, but when they are attacked other Chiltaen, she ends up protecting the Duke. In Kisia, Tanaka’s coup fails, the Empress takes over herself, and Miko and the emperor are forced to flee.

The complexities of the plot are what make the novel so interesting. Each empire is very different from the next, with the Levanti being more free and seemingly primitive, while the Kisians reminded me of Japanese culture. The characters are well-rounded, with Cassandra and her “passenger” being the most complex. I found the conflicts to be genuine and was intrigued to see how it all would end.

I give We Ride the Storm a 9 out of 10 rating.
The View From Monday - August 3, 2020Interview with Devin Madson, author of We Ride the StormThe View From Monday - June 22, 20202020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June 2020 Debuts2020 Debut Author Challenge - June 2020 DebutsSPFBO Finalist Review: We Ride the Storm by Devin Madson

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