The Qwillery | category: F. Wesley Schneider


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 31

This is the thirty-first 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

Katie Schickel (2015)

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

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 31
From Katie Schickel, one of Booklist's Top 10 Women's fiction of 2015, comes The Mermaid's Secret, an original, fresh, and absolutely captivating beach read.

Life on land is suffocating for Jess Creary, who wastes her summers flipping burgers for tourists on a fishing boat off her quaint resort island home off the coast of Maine. After all, her older sister Kay died in a boating accident two years ago, her mother has disappeared, and her father isn't exactly dealing with things so well. Surfing and the handsome Captain Matthew are about the only bright spots in her life.

Then, on her twenty-third birthday, Jess catches the perfect wave--a wave that transforms her into a mermaid. Under the sea, a startlingly beautiful, dark place, Jess is reborn into a confident, powerful predator with superhuman strength --finally she is someone to be reckoned with. Meanwhile, back on land, Jess's relationship with Captain Matthew heats up, and so does her search for justice for Kay.

Jess has thirty days to choose between land and sea; legs and fins; her humanity and her freedom. Who could ignore the freedom of the sea? Yet, the ocean is a dark, wild, lonely place. Is this a gift or a curse? Will Jess choose family and love, forgiveness and truth, or will she be seduced by the wild call of the sparkling sea forever?

F. Wesley Schneider (2015)

Pathfinder Adventure Path: Strange Aeons 1 of 6 - In Search of Sanity
     by F. Wesley Schneider
Paizo Publishng Inc., September 20, 2016
Paperback, 96 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 31
The adventurers awaken within the walls of the eerie Briarstone Asylum, their minds wracked and memories missing. As they work together to recover their missing time, they soon learn that the cause of their eerie amnesia is but a symptom of a much greater cosmic menace. As they struggle to retain their sanity, the heroes must ally with other asylum residents and fight against the monstrosities that have taken over the asylum and plunged it into nightmare. Can the adventurers defeat the terror that stalks the halls and free themselves from their prison of madness?

“In Search of Sanity” is a Pathfinder Roleplaying Game adventure for 1st-level characters. The adventure kicks off the Strange Aeons Adventure Path, a twisted delve into madness that pits the heroes against the cosmic horrors of the Cthulhu Mythos. Several new monsters, details on the Mythos, and the first installment of a new Pathfinder’s Journal round out this volume of the Pathfinder Adventure Path!

Each monthly full-color softcover Pathfinder Adventure Path volume contains an in-depth adventure scenario, stats for several new monsters, and support articles meant to give Game Masters additional material to expand their campaign. Pathfinder Adventure Path volumes use the Open Game License and work with both the Pathfinder RPG and the world’s oldest fantasy RPG.

Pathfinder Volume 5: Hollow Mountain
     by Erik Mona, F. Wesley Schneider, and James L. Sutter
Dynamite Entertainment, September 20, 2016
Hardcover, 192 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 31
The iconic heroes of Pathfinder delve deep into an ancient fortress built by the Runelords. Carved in the immense visage of Alaznist, Runelord of Wrath, the Hollow Mountain is home to a honeycomb labyrinth of trap-laden chambers and corridors. The Pathfinder agents must explore the ruins in search of a long-lost mystical artifact... but they're not alone. Competing explorers seek out the mountain's secrets, and it won't be long before open combat erupts! But unbeknownst to the warring factions, Alaznist has not left her former stronghold unprotected. Can the Pathfinder heroes and their bitter rivals put aside their animosity to survive the mountain's fearsome guardians?

written by the collaborative team of Erik Mona (Paizo Publisher and Chief Creative Officer), F. Wesley Schneider (Paizo Editor-in-Chief), and James Sutter (Paizo Senior Editor), and featuring sensational artwork by Tom Garcia (Mercy Thompson: Hopcross Jilly), the Hollow Mountain saga expands upon the mythos of Paizo's award-winning fantasy world, fiction line, and tabletop RPG. Bonus materials include over thirty-pages of encounters and world detail for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, including a poster map.

Pathfinder Adventure Path: Curse of the Crimson Throne
by James Jacobs, Nicolas Logue, F. Wesley Schneider, Richard Pett, Greg A. Vaughan, and Michael  Kortes
Paizo Publishng Inc., November 8, 2016
Hardcover, 480 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 31
Return to a classic Pathfinder Adventure Path with Curse of the Crimson Throne, one of Paizo’s most popular campaigns! The city of Korvosa is in chaos, and her new queen may well be the source―can a ragtag group of heroes stand before the might of one of Golarion’s most notorious villains? This immense book collects the six classic Curse of the Crimson Throne adventures, and has everything you need to run an entire, full-length campaign covering months and months of play!
The Curse of the Crimson Throne hardcover includes:
• Updates the classic Adventure Path to the Pathfinder RPG rules for the first time!
• Explore expanded adventures, including a brand new mission written by Paizo’s Creative Director, James Jacobs, that sends the heroes into a perilous dungeon run by the queen’s infamous Gray Maidens!
• Features dozens of evocative new illustrations of classic characters!
• New and updated rules for monsters, magic items, and character options

V. E. Schwab (2013)

A Gathering of Shadow
Shades of Magic 2
Tor Books, January 17, 2017
Trade Paperback, 512 pages
Hardcover and eBook, February 23, 2016

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 31
From #1 New York Times bestselling author V.E. Schwab

Four months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell's possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland's dying body through the rift, and into Black London.

In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games-an extravagant international competition of magic, meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries-a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again-and so to keep magic's balance, another London must V.E. Schwab's A Gathering of Shadows.

"A Darker Shade of Magic has all the hallmarks of a classic work of fantasy. Schwab has given us a gem of a tale...This is a book to treasure."—Deborah Harkeness, New York Times bestselling author of the All Souls trilogy

A Conjuring of Light
Shades of Magic 3
Tor Books, February 21, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 624 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 31
Londons fall and kingdoms rise while darkness sweeps the Maresh Empire, and the fraught balance of magic blossoms into dangerous territory while heroes struggle. The direct sequel to A Gathering of Shadows, and the final book in the Shades of Magic epic fantasy series, A Conjuring of Light sees the newly minted New York Times bestselling author V. E. Schwab reach a thrilling conclusion concerning the fate of beloved protagonists--and old foes.

Luke Scull (2013)

Dead Man's Steel
The Grim Company 3
Ace, January 3, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 31
As the “gripping”* epic from the author of Sword of the North continues, the Grim Company must battle a dangerous new enemy that is determined to destroy all of humanity…

In the City of Towers, former rebel Sasha and her comrade Davarus Cole struggle to keep the peace between the warring mages who vie for dominion. But when the White Lady sends Davarus south to the Shattered Realms to seek allies among the fallen kingdoms, he finds that his hardest battle may be one fought within. The godly essence now residing within him offers power that could be used against the Fade—but with every death that feeds It, Cole risks losing a part of himself.

An association with a Fade officer grants the Halfmage Eremul a position of privilege among Dorminia’s new masters. He witnesses firsthand the fate that awaits humanity. But with his magic pitiful in the face of the Fade’s advanced technology, the Halfmage must rely on his wits alone to save whom he can…

And in the frozen north, the legendary warrior Brodar Kayne fights a desperate battle for his people. He is running out of time: an ancient evil sealed beneath the mountains is about to break free, an evil that is older than humanity, older than the Fade, older even than the gods—and it will not stop until the entire world is drowned in blood…

*The Guardian (UK)

Martin Seay (2016)

The Mirror Thief
Melville House, April 11, 2017
Trade Paperback, 592 pages
Hardcover and eBook, May 10, 2016

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 31
A globetrotting, time-bending, wildly entertaining literary tour de force in the tradition of Cloud Atlas.

The Mirror Thief is a dazzling combination of a genre-hopping adventure, a fast-paced mystery, and literary verve. Set in three cities in three eras, The Mirror Thief calls to mind David Mitchell and Umberto Eco in its serendipitous mix of entertainment and literary mastery.

The core story is set in Venice in the sixteenth century, when the famed makers of Venetian glass were perfecting one of the old world’s most wondrous inventions: the mirror. An object of glittering yet fearful fascination — was it reflecting simple reality, or something more spiritually revealing? — the Venetian mirrors were state of the art technology, and subject to industrial espionage by desirous sultans and royals world-wide. But for any of the development team to leave the island was a crime punishable by death. One man, however — a world-weary war hero with nothing to lose — has a scheme he thinks will allow him to outwit the city’s terrifying enforcers of the edict, the ominous Council of Ten …

Meanwhile, in two other iterations of Venice — Venice Beach, California, circa 1958, and the Venice casino in Las Vegas, circa today — two other schemers launch similarly dangerous plans to get away with a secret ….

All three stories will weave together into a spell-binding tour-de-force that is impossible to put down — an old-fashioned, stay-up-all-night novel that, in the end, returns the reader to a stunning conclusion in the original Venice … and the bedazzled sense of having read a truly original and thrilling work of literary art.

2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - December Debuts

2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - December Debuts

Each month you will be able to vote for your favorite cover from that month's debut novels. At the end of the year the 12 monthly winners will be pitted against each other to choose the 2015 Debut Novel Cover of the Year. Please note that a debut novel cover is eligible in the month in which the novel is released in the US. Cover artist/illustrator information is provided when we have it.

I'm using PollCode for this vote. After you the check the circle next to your favorite, click "Vote" to record your vote. If you'd like to see the real-time results click "View". This will take you to the PollCode site where you may see the results. If you want to come back to The Qwillery click "Back" and you will return to this page. Voting will end sometime on December 16, 2015.

Voting for the 2015 Debut Novel COVER OF THE YEAR will start on December 21st.

Vote for your favorite December 2015 Debut Cover! free polls

2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - December Debuts
Cover Design: Leonard Philbrick

2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - December Debuts

2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - December Debuts

2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - December Debuts
Cover Art by Lucas Graziano

2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - December Debuts

2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - December Debuts
Cover Design © Patrick Knowles Design

Interview with F. Wesley Schneider, author of Bloodbound

Please welcome F. Wesley Schneider to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Bloodbound was published on December 1st by Tor Books.

Interview with F. Wesley Schneider, author of Bloodbound

TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Wes:  I’ve been writing for a long time. My Mom says, as a kid, I used to tell her stories and insist that she write them down. So, I guess I’ve always enjoyed telling stories.

Professionally, though, I started writing in 2000, about the time the third edition of Dungeons & Dragons released. I’d been a D&D fan for years and had already targeted working on Dragon magazine (the monthly, D&D rules and news magazine) as my dream job. But the new edition of D&D debuted with a license that allowed other publishers to release their own game content, leading to a boom in small presses looking for D&D compatible content. Already used to creating detailed scripts for my personal games, I tried my hand at a few open calls. There were some projects for charity or exposure and a lot of rejections—all proving educational in their own ways—but eventually I started getting my work accepted and getting paid for it. When the first paycheck hit my mailbox, I realized I might actually be able to make my hobby into a career. I kept submitting, kept working, got better assignments with more established publishers—including Dragon magazine—and in 2003 landed an assistant editor position at Paizo Inc., then publishers of Dragon and Dungeon magazines.

TQAre you a plotter or a pantser?

Wes:  Absolutely a plotter. The outlines for anything I write typically end up being pretty meaty and I certainly don’t leave them alone once I start writing. No battle plan survives engagement with the enemy, and as I get into the nuances of a story I often go back to the outline and add notes for things to pick up later or that I can kick back to past chapters.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Wes:  Overwriting. That sounds like the “I’m too honest” answer to an interview question, but it’s actually something I need to get better at. You sure can go on for a thousand words about the variety of statuary covering a cathedral’s facade, but if it doesn’t matter to the story, who cares? Sometimes I get what I think is a cool idea, indulge it a bit too far, and then in editing think: Why’d I waste my time with this? What does this actually do to further the plot? Does the lily need this much gilding? Bloodbound might have released a year earlier if I was a bit more economical in my writing. (This probably applies to interview question answering too!)

Fortunately, I take a pretty sharp hacksaw to my writing. Even better, I have amazing editors in James Sutter and Chris Carey—both fantastically talented authors themselves. They’re certainly not shy about trimming the fat. So in the final equation it works out.

TQWho are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Wes:  Nobody writes a fight scene like Robert E. Howard. At the same time, “Pigeons from Hell” remains one of the creepiest stories I’ve ever read. I love how he shifts from slow-build tension to fast-paced action, the stark contrast making both more effective. You also only need to look at Bloodbound’s cover to see the influence of Howard’s monster hunter, Solomon Kane.

I’m also a big fan of gothic horror in general, not just Howard’s southern gothic tales, but classics like Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black, and Le Fanu’s “Carmilla”—all three of which influenced bits of Bloodbound. Growing up in Baltimore, Poe’s also an inescapable force and I think he manipulates that whole city’s perception of what a writer is—he certainly did mine. And no one writes a vampire story without constantly comparing their fanged characters to Dracula, so Stoker’s work was certainly at hand during most of Bloodbound’s writing.

TQDescribe Bloodbound in 140 characters or less.

Wes:  If Van Helsing stopped pursing Dracula, how would a snubbed Dracula respond? And who would step in to stop him?

TQTell us something about Bloodbound that is not found in the book description.

Wes:  The majority of Bloodbound’s characters—and certainly all the true ass-kickers—are women and the only romantic relationship involves a queer vampire.

TQWhat appeals to you about writing Fantasy?

Wes:  Fantasy writing’s a genie with infinite wishes—you want it, you got it. In Bloodbound, I wanted to play with a slew of gothic tropes, be they familiar menaces—vampires, ghosts, horrors from below, mind-controlled minions—or classic creepy settings—like insane asylums, ominous cathedrals, dilapidated manors, and opera houses. I got to use every single one of those, as well as many more. In other genres, you might be restricted to just a few for believability’s sake—and certainly, even here, you need to keep things plausible—but in fantasy, no one’s going to tell you no. If you can come up with a reason, anything goes.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for Bloodbound?

Wes:  Bloodbound is set in a nation called Ustalav, which is part of the larger Pathfinder world. That world wasn’t created to tell just one story, but to host pretty much any fantasy tale you might want to tell in fiction, roleplaying games, whatever. As editor-in-chief at Paizo, I was one of the creators of that world, but Ustalav, our land of gothic terror, is easily my favorite part. I even wrote a game accessory called Rule of Fear entirely about the country. But all of this work on Ustalav and the Pathfinder world has happened over nearly a decade. So I still had to go back and read a ton of world lore to make sure Bloodbound meshed with existing work. It can be daunting working in such a thoroughly detailed setting, but that’s also how you find stray gems just waiting to be picked up and turned into stories of their own.

Beyond that, my sister-in-law, Aimie Schneider, is a nurse who was good enough to talk me through some of how a vampire’s body might respond to drug injections. I wanted to know if having, essentially, an undead heroin addict could be a thing. Her advice was fantastically helpful in leading me away from ideas that it just didn’t seem like the real biology or medicine supported.

So I’d add that as a caveat to what I said before. In fantasy, anything goes—but real things still have to work like real things. Even in fantasy, you still have to check your science.

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

Wes:  Considine, a vampire cast out from undead society, was by far the easiest. He’s a character who hates his situation, but he distracts himself with a parade of fine things and attractive company—not to mention, spying on his “sister” Larsa. Considine’s spoiled and likes it that way. He’s effete and self-interested, cynical and easily bored. He’s a vampire playboy, but knows he’s stranded on a cultural desert island, and that no matter how many dodos he dresses up as butlers, he’s not really lord of the house. I love writing Considine, not just because he’s got the best sarcastic banter, but because he’s got the most potential to turn from a spoiled brat into an antihero. There’s also more than a measure of self-indulgence in writing a self-indulgent character, because you can write the first thing that comes to mind—filters are for people who care about who’s listening. And if you can come back later and make a comment even snarkier, so much the better!

For hardest, that’s two main characters, Larsa and Jadain, have that honor. That might seem strange since they’re so prominent. Larsa’s a hard-bitten, straight to the point, half-vampire vampire hunter. Jadain’s a priestess sworn to the goddess of birth and death, who tries to see the good in people. They’re very different characters, but they’re both determined and willing to do anything for certain causes. The chapters switch back and forth between their perspectives, giving us Larsa’s point of view in one then Jadain’s in the next. So I’m particular about making sure that they both have distinct voices, especially when they’re both in more action-oriented chapters where they have to be direct. Jadain’s usually the one that gets trickiest. While Larsa’s usually sharp, even in tense situations I need to make sure that Jadain’s humanity and optimism comes through, or else she starts to sound like Larsa. It wasn’t a balancing act I expected going in, but it made an interesting challenge.

TQWhich question about Bloodbound do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Wes:  Pathfinder fiction and game material has a reputation for featuring characters of diverse genders, ethnicities, sexualities, etcetera. Does Bloodbound continue this trend?

Certainly! Bloodbound’s two main protagonists are both women, as are two of the story’s deadliest antagonists. A swordsman from the Egypt-inspired land of Osirian joins them, regularly offering a critical perspective on the Transylvania-esque lands of Ustalav. Aside from the immortal characters, there’s also a hero in her seventies who proves she’s not too old to head into a fray. Considine too is openly queer, though I’m not ready to pin him down as gay, bi, or otherwise quite yet. But writing Bloodbound was a long process and already I’m looking back at things with an eye toward what I might have done differently. I’m going to be keenly interested in hearing readers’ criticism about what I got right, what I got wrong, and how I can make the next story even better.

Also, being a guy who’s married to a guy, I know I started writing concerned about making the story somehow “too queer.” I’m not entirely sure why—probably something between personal insecurity and not wanting to scare off fantasy readers coming to my stuff for the first time. That’s not to say the queer elements are subtle in Bloodbound—there’s one particular relationship between two guys that is plainly there, but it’s a tertiary plot. I feel like I’m over my beginner’s anxiety now, though. If I get to play with these characters again, I’ve laid the seeds to make their relationship much more of a central feature.

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from Bloodbound.


I pressed his arm against the wall and drank fast, draining him like I was throwing down a shot. I didn’t like sharing from the same flask as my quarry, but if the evening was taking the turn I feared, I wouldn’t have another chance.

Anyway, he deserved it.

TQWhat's next?

Wes:  Well, next week I’m a guest of honor at GaymerX, where I’ll be talking a lot about the intersections between queerness and gaming of all types. It’s an amazing show and I couldn’t be more honored to be speaking. If you love gaming and you’re going to be in the San Jose area next week, we’d love to have you stop by. Everyone’s welcome!

Writing-wise, I swing between gaming and fiction pretty readily. I’ve got a massive adventure called “The Hellfire Compact” kicking off Pathfinder’s new Hell’s Vengeance Adventure Path in February. A few months later, I’ve got a story, “Stray Thoughts,” in the Eclipse Phase: After the Fall anthology. It’s a detective story involving a private eye mom, her sex worker son, and high-tech possession on an aerostat over Venus. It sounds bizarre—and I guess it is—but it turned out to be one of the more emotion rich stories I’ve ever written, so I’m interested in hearing what folks think.

Beyond that, I’m already starting to feel the fiction bug again, so who knows where that might lead!

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Pathfinder Tales 30
Tor Books, December 1, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 480 pages

Interview with F. Wesley Schneider, author of Bloodbound
Larsa is a dhampir-half vampire, half human. In the gritty streets and haunted moors of gothic Ustalav, she's an agent for the royal spymaster, keeping peace between the capital's secret vampire population and its huddled human masses. Yet when a noblewoman's entire house is massacred by vampiric invaders, Larsa is drawn into a deadly game of cat-and-mouse that will reveal far more about her own heritage than she ever wanted to know.

From Pathfinder co-creator and noted game designer F. Wesley Schneider comes Bloodbound, a dark fantasy adventure of murder, intrigue, and secrets best left buried, set in the award-winning world of the Pathfinder Role Playing Game.

About Wes

Interview with F. Wesley Schneider, author of Bloodbound
Editor-in-chief at Paizo Inc. and co-creator of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, F. Wesley Schneider is the author of dozens of Pathfinder and Dungeons & Dragons adventures and accessories. Aside from having passionate opinions about horror, world-building, and storytelling, he’s spoken at length on inclusively and LGBTQ topics in gaming. His novel, Bloodbound, releases in December, while his next major roleplaying offerings, The Hellfire Compact and In Search of Sanity, debut in 2016.

Wes lives outside Seattle with his husband and a particularly unlucky black cat.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~ Twitter @FWesSchneider  ~ YouTube  ~  Instagram

2015 Debut Author Challenge - December Debuts

2015 Debut Author Challenge - December Debuts

There are 6 debuts for December. Please note that we use the publisher's publication date in the United States, not copyright dates or non-US publication dates.

The December 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 December cover for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on December 5, 2015 and ending on December 14th.  

Voting for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge COVER OF THE YEAR will start on December 21st and end on December 31st.

If you are participating as a reader in the Challenge, please let us know in the comments what you are thinking of reading or email us at "DAC . TheQwillery @ gmail . com" (remove the spaces and quotation marks). Please note that we list all debuts for the month (of which we are aware), but not all of these authors will be 2015 Debut Author Challenge featured authors. However, any of these novels may be read by Challenge readers to meet the goal for December. The list is correct as of the day posted.

Adam L. Korenman

When the Stars Fade
The Gray Wars 1
California Coldblood Books/Rare Bird Books, December 8, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - December Debuts
In distant future, humanity is recovering from a bloody civil war. Pilots CAMERON DAVIS and GEORGE LOCKLEAR, reservists with Sector Patrol, prepare for a long weekend off. That vacation is permanently cancelled when two alien armadas—the BOXTI and NANGOLANI—arrive near Earth. Though humanity wins the battle, the war quickly turns one-sided. One of Earth’s colonies is rendered uninhabitable. George dies saving his friend, and Cameron is sucked through a wormhole and disappears.

Far away on the moon Kronos, JOSH RANTZ competes in a huge Army competition. Despite most of his unit falling to the enemy, Josh and his squad continue to win larger and larger victories. They are oblivious to the goings on of the universe, isolated on purpose by the war-game’s designer, Doctor MARKOV.

When the exercise ends, Josh notices a meteor striking down nearby. He finds an injured Cameron, somehow transported across the stars to the military base. Moments later, the BOXTI arrive and invade. Outnumbered and outgunned, Josh and the soldiers on Kronos rally and push back the BOXTI horde. Summoned by their masters, the BOXTI leave the stunned humans behind.

With painful lessons learned, humanity prepares for the next battle, knowing full well that it may be their last.

Holly Messinger

The Curse of Jacob Tracy
Thomas Dunne Books, December 1, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - December Debuts
St. Louis in 1880 is full of ghosts, and Jacob Tracy can see them all. Ever since he nearly died on the battlefield at Antietam, Trace has been haunted by the country's restless dead. The curse cost him his family, his calling to the church, and damn near his sanity. He stays out of ghost-populated areas as much as possible these days, guiding wagon trains West from St. Louis, with his pragmatic and skeptical partner, Boz.

During the spring work lull, Trace gets an unusual job offer. Miss Fairweather, a wealthy English bluestocking, needs someone to retrieve a dead friend's legacy from a nearby town, and she specifically wants Trace to do it. However, the errand proves to be far more sinister than advertised. When confronted, Miss Fairweather admits to knowing about Trace's curse, and suggests she might help him learn to control it—in exchange for a few more odd jobs. Trace has no interest in being her pet psychic, but he's been looking twenty years for a way to control his power, and Miss Fairweather's knowledge of the spirit world is too valuable to ignore. As she steers him into one macabre situation after another, his powers flourish, and Trace begins to realize some good might be done with this curse of his. But Miss Fairweather is harboring some dark secrets of her own, and her meddling has brought Trace to the attention of something much older and more dangerous than any ghost in this electrifying and inventive debut.

Thomasine Rappold

The Lady Who Lived Again
Sole Survivor 1
Lyrical Press, December 8, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 256 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - December Debuts
Madeleine Sutter was once the belle of the ball at the popular resort town of Misty Lake, New York. But as the sole survivor of the community’s worst tragedy, she’s come under suspicion. Longing for the life she once enjoyed, she accepts a rare social invitation to the event of the season. Now she will be able to show everyone she’s the same woman they’d always admired—with just one hidden exception: she awoke from the accident with the ability to heal.

Doctor Jace Merrick has fled the failures and futility of city life to start anew in rural Misty Lake. A man of science, he rejects the superstitious chatter surrounding Maddie and finds himself drawn to her confidence and beauty. And when she seduces him into a sham engagement, he agrees to be her ticket back into society, if she supports his new practice—and reveals the details of her remarkable recovery. But when his patients begin to heal miraculously, Jace may have to abandon logic, accept the inexplicable—and surrender to a love beyond reason…

F. Wesley Schneider

Pathfinder Tales 30
Tor Books, December 1, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 480 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - December Debuts
Larsa is a dhampir-half vampire, half human. In the gritty streets and haunted moors of gothic Ustalav, she's an agent for the royal spymaster, keeping peace between the capital's secret vampire population and its huddled human masses. Yet when a noblewoman's entire house is massacred by vampiric invaders, Larsa is drawn into a deadly game of cat-and-mouse that will reveal far more about her own heritage than she ever wanted to know.

From Pathfinder co-creator and noted game designer F. Wesley Schneider comes Bloodbound, a dark fantasy adventure of murder, intrigue, and secrets best left buried, set in the award-winning world of the Pathfinder Role Playing Game.

Simon Sylvester

The Visitors
Melville House, December 29, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 368 pages
(Debut - US)

2015 Debut Author Challenge - December Debuts
Nobody comes to the remote Scottish island of Bancree, and seventeen-year-old Flora can’t wait to move to the mainland when she finishes school. So when a mysterious man and his daughter move into isolated Dog Cottage, Flora is curious. What could have brought these strangers to the island? The man is seductive but radiates menace, while Flo finds a kindred spirit in his daughter, Ailsa.

Meanwhile, several of the men on Bancree have disappeared, unnerving the community. When a body washes ashore, suspicion turns to the newcomers on Dog Rock. But Flo suspects something else, even though it seems impossible: She asks local residents for anything they know about “selkies,” the mythical women who can turn from seal to human and back again.

Convinced of her new neighbors’ innocence, Flo is fiercely determined to protect her friend Ailsa. Can the answer to the disappearances, and to the pull of her own heart, lie out there, beyond the waves?

David Towsey

Your Brother's Blood
Jo Fletcher Books, December 1, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages
(Debut - US)

2015 Debut Author Challenge - December Debuts
This imaginative and unconventional debut novel is set centuries in the future. An unnamed event has wiped out most of humanity, scattering its remnants across vast and now barren lands reminiscent of the 19th century western frontier of America. Small clusters of humans still cling to existence in a post-apocalyptic world that is increasingly overrun by those who have risen from the dead--or, as the living call them, the Walkin'.

Thomas, a thirty-two year old conscripted soldier, homeward bound to the small frontier town of Barkley after fighting in a devastating civil war, is filled with hope at the thought of being reunited with his wife, Sarah, and daughter, Mary, both named after characters in the Good Book. As it turns out, he also happens to be among the Walkin'.

Devoid of a pulse or sense of pain, but with his memories and hopes intact, Thomas soon realizes that the living, who are increasingly drawn to the followers of the Good Book, are not kindly disposed to the likes of him. And when he learns what the good people of Barkley intend to do to him, and to his family, he realizes he may just have to kidnap his daughter to save her from a fate worse than becoming a member of the undead.

When the people of Barkley send out a posse in pursuit of father and daughter, the race for survival truly begins...

The View From Monday - November 30, 2015

Happy last Monday in November. It's also Cyber Monday so if you are hunting for something today I hope you find it. If not you can always buy a book or two.

This week's debuts:

The Curse of Jacob Tracey by Holly Messinger

Bloodbound (Pathfinder Tales 30) by F. Wesley Schneider


Your Brother's Blood by David Towsey

And from formerly featured Debut Author Challenge Authors:

Impulse (Lightship Chronicles 1) by Dave Bara (in Mass Market Paperback);

Blood Will Follow (Valhalla Saga 2) by Snorri Kristjansson (in Trade Paperback);


The Labyrinth of Flame (The Shattered Sigil 3) by Courtney Schafer.

The View From Monday - November 30, 2015

November 28, 2015
Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea Caitlin R. Kiernan SF/F/H - Best of Caitlin R. Kiernan 2

November 30, 2015
Fender Lizards Joe R. Lansdale LF

December 1, 2015
Enemy in the Dark Jay Allan SF - Far Stars Trilogy 2
Magic Gifts: A Kate Daniels Novella (e) Ilona Andrews UF - Kate Daniels
Tales of the Time Scouts Robert Asprin
Linda Evans
SF - Time Scouts Ominibus
Impulse (h2mm) Dave Bara SF - Lightship Chronicles
The Warrior Vampire Kate Baxter PNR - Last True Vampire 2
Ash and Silver Carol Berg F - Sanctuary 2
Nocturnall: A River of Souls Story (Ke) Beth Bernobich F - River of Souls
Give Up the Ghost Juliet Blackwell PM - A Haunted Home Renovation Mystery 6
Assassin's Creed: Underworld Oliver Bowden HistF - Assassin's Creed
The Elfstones of Shannara (ri/TV Tie-in) Terry Brooks F - The Shannara Chronicles 1
The Wishsong of Shannara (ri/TV Tie-in) Terry Brooks F - The Shannara Chronicles 2
Wild Wolf Claiming (e) Rhyannon Byrd PNR - Bloodrunners 8
Come the Revolution Frank Chadwick SF - How Dark the World Becomes 2
Sleeping Embers of an Ordinary Mind Anne Charnock SF
The Sound of Culture: Diaspora and Black Technopoetics Louis Chude-Sokei LC
Sweet Ruin Kresley Cole PNR - Immortals After Dark 16
Ghost in the Wind E.J. Copperman PM - A Haunted Guesthouse Mystery 7
Ark Storm (h2mm) Linda Davies Th
A Daughter of No Nation A. M. Dellamonica F - Stormwrack 2
Not Dark Yet Berit Ellingsen LF
Experimental Film Gemma Files H
A Palazzo in the Stars: Science Fiction Stories Paul Di Filippo SF - Collection
A Painted Goddess (Kindle Serial) Victor Gischler F - A Fire Beneath the Skin 3
Otherworld Protector (e) Jane Godman PNR - Otherworld 1
Pax Britannia: The Ulysses Quicksilver Omnibus Vol. 2 Jonathan Green SF - Pax Britannia
Blood Storm Steven Harper F - The Books of Blood and Iron 2
Shadow's End Thea Harrison PNR - Elder Races 9
The Ghost of Mistletoe Mary (e) Sue Ann Jaffarian PM - Ghost of Granny Apples Novella
Seize the Night (ri) Sherrilyn Kenyon PNR - Dark-Hunter 7
Alien in Chief Gini Koch SF - Alien 12
Blood Will Follow (h2tp) Snorri Kristjansson F - Valhalla Saga 2
Crucible: All-New Tales of Valdemar Mercedes Lackey F - Valdemar
Clockwork Samurai Jeannie Lin SP - Gunpowder Chronicles 2
For Love or Magic Lucy March FR - Nodaway Falls 3
Thunderbird Jack McDevitt SF/AC
Dorothy Parker Drank Here (h2tp) Ellen Meister SF - Dorothy Parker 2
The Curse of Jacob Tracy (D) Holly Messinger HistF/H
The Bone Hunters Robert J. Mrazek Th
The Zero Stone (e)(ri) Andre Norton SF - Murdoc Jern 1
Catseye (e)(ri) Andre Norton SF - Dipple 1
Uncharted Stars (e)(ri) Andre Norton SF - Murdoc Jern 2
Wraiths of Time (e)(ri) Andre Norton SF - Gods and Androids 2
Android at Arms (e)(ri) Andre Norton SF - Gods and Androids 1
Night of Masks (e)(ri) Andre Norton SF - Dipple 2
Rhythm of the Imperium Jody Lynn Nye SF - Imperium 3
The Prison in Antares Mike Resnick SF - Dead Enders 2
Sword of Destiny Andrzej Sapkowski F - The Witcher 1.5
The Labyrinth of Flame (e) Courtney Schafer F - The Shattered Sigil 3
Bloodbound (D) F. Wesley Schneider F - Pathfinder Tales 30
The Goblin Reservation (e)(ri) Clifford D. Simak SF
The Fellowship of the Talisman (e)(ri) Clifford D. Simak SF
Special Deliverance (e)(ri) Clifford D. Simak SF
Mastodonia (e)(ri) Clifford D. Simak SF
Project Pope (e)(ri) Clifford D. Simak SF
Time and Again (e)(ri) Clifford D. Simak SF
Highway of Eternity (e)(ri) Clifford D. Simak SF
A Choice of Gods (e)(ri) Clifford D. Simak SF
Our Children's Children (e)(ri) Clifford D. Simak SF
Unbound (e) Shawn Speakman (ed) F - Anthology
Nevermore Rob Thurman UF - Cal and Niko Leandros 10
Your Brother's Blood (D - US) David Towsey H/PA - Walkin' Trilogy 1
The Rising Ian Tregillis AH - The Alchemy Wars 2
The Secret of the Nagas Amish Tripathi F - Shiva Trilogy 2
Joe Steele (h2mm) Harry Turtledove AH
Slavemakers Joseph Wallace SF/AP/PA/Th - Invasive Species 2
Blood Kiss J.R. Ward PNR - Black Dagger Legacy 1
The Seventh Sigil (h2mm) Margaret Weis
Robert Krammes
F - Dragon Brigade 3

December 3, 2015
The Golden Key Legacy: HarperImpulse Fantasy Romance (e) AJ Nuest FR

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

AC - Alien Contact
AH - Alternate History
AP - Apocalyptic
F - Fantasy
FR - Fantasy Romance
H - Horror
HistF - Historical Fantasy
LC - Literary Criticism
LF - Literary Fiction
P - Paranormal
PA - Post-Apocalyptic
PM - Paranormal Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
SF - Science Fiction
SP - Steampunk
Th - Thriller
UF - Urban Fantasy

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 312015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - December DebutsInterview with F. Wesley Schneider, author of Bloodbound2015 Debut Author Challenge - December DebutsThe View From Monday - November 30, 2015

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