The Qwillery | category: Joseph Brassey


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts

2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September 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 2017 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 September 30, 2017.

Vote for your favorite September 2017 Debut Cover! free polls

2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts
Cover design by Kapo Ng

2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts
Cover design by Will Staehle

2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts

2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts
Cover design by Adam Laszczuk

2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts

2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts

2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts

2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts

2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts
Cover by Ignacio Lazcano

2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts
Cover design by Adam Hall

2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts

Interview with Joseph Brassey, author of Skyfarer

Please welcome Joseph Brassey to The Qwillery as part of the of the 2017 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Skyfarer was published on September 5th by Angry Robot.

Interview with Joseph Brassey, author of Skyfarer

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

Joseph:  Hi! Thanks for having me. I’ve been telling stories since I was 2 years old (My mother apparently has a hostage copy of my first one). I wrote a little in high school and more in college, which is where I figured out that this was something I wanted to do professionally. I had no idea how to do it, though, so I just experimented and pounded out stuff. I think a lot of authors go through that period where you’re literally just making things over and over until something emerges that works.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Joseph:  Definitely a hybrid. I used to be a full on panster, but eventually outlines started emerging organically as a way to keep track of the lynchpin moments I had in my mind ahead of time. Nowadays I usually sketch out a series of key moments that I’m working towards and do a number of chapter files up in advance with titles suggesting the relevant plot points. Then I start working through them. I often write stuff out of chronological order, so that outline helps. The flip side is that as often as I stick to my outline, I also find myself throwing chunks of it out. When a story reaches a certain point it takes on a life of its own and then I have to start listening. I think a way people often kill their own ideas is by refusing to listen to the direction they’re pulling.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing? Have the challenges been different for your solo debut - Skyfarer?

Joseph:  The hardest part about writing for me is always starting. There are times when the muse is flowing and times when you’re working by habit and discipline, but in both cases the hardest part is actually sitting your ass in the chair and getting the work done. With my last project, Mongoliad, I was one of seven authors operating in a fashion not unlike a TV writer’s room. When I started writing on my own again, the hardest part was finding my way out from that sort of box of expectations, accountability, and limits that you step into whenever you do a collaborative project. I was excited to be on my own again, but then I had to get used to being — well, on my own.

TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Joseph:  Early on I read a bunch of Brian Jaques Redwall books and the usual Tolkien et all. In College I discovered George RR Martin and Robert E Howard. Those influences were all definitely formative, but when I really started to get into doing my own stuff, the authors that started to jump to the fore were people like Emma Bull, JK Rowling, Lois McMaster Bujold, and Rick Riordan. I’d spent so much time in a very serious, somber sort of fantasy territory that the bright colors were dizzying and intoxicating.

As an adult I’ve been hugely influenced by anime and the recent glut of solid western animation starting to come out of the works. In particular shows like Young Justice, the Netflix Voltron reboot, Avatar, The Last Airbender, The Legend of Korra (I’m a big fan of Lauren Montgomery’s work), Fullmetal Alchemist (and Brotherhood), Star Wars Rebels, Samurai Champloo, Last Exile, Princess Tutu, and a bunch of others all moved me. Sixteen years of tabletop gaming (both as a GM and a player) have definitely pushed me in the direction of being someone who likes ensemble casts, and stories about The Team of characters who accomplish things together and function as a family-of-choice. Also lots of comic books and manga. Probably more than I can list.

TQDescribe Skyfarer in 140 characters or less.


“STEM-Field Sorceress battles Hate-Cult Mercenaries for Truth and Justice.”


“Ragtag band of Academic misfits disrupt private military operation. Cause immense Property Damage.”

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

Joseph:  As much as it’s about explosions, quests for truth, and skyships, Skyfarer is about toxic masculinity and war-profiteering. It’s about putting in the work and paying the price for knowledge and empowerment. It’s about identity and memory and perception of self. It’s also about how compassion and strength aren’t opposite virtues, or at least don’t need to be. It’s also about myth, the assumptions people make based on it, and what happens when that meets reality. It’s also about the family you choose.

TQWhat inspired you to write Skyfarer? What appeals to you about writing space fantasy?

Joseph:  The Drifting Lands are basically an endless sky with a darkness called the abyss below and a sun, moon and stars in the sky above, and there in this sort of empyrean middle, skyships traverse the vast distances between land masses suspended in the air. You can breathe on deck, and there are prevailing trade winds, storms, and the usual weather effects of the open sky. The main difference between this setting and a standard SF space-opera is the fact that instead of space and planets and hyperdrives you have an endless sky, a bunch of floating land masses, and portals that jump ships between them.

It was the weirdness of that idea that really got its hooks into me. I’d just come off of writing alternate history and was jazzed for something that was in a completely alternate reality. I grabbed a bunch of Space-Opera tropes and started throwing them at the wall in a Fantasy setting, and the Drifting Lands—and Skyfarer—emerged from that. But really, beyond all that, it’s the human element that pulls me towards whatever I’m doing. In particular I like stories that examine vulnerability, and that take people to those places. Untouchable strength—except as a veneer for inner doubt—doesn’t interest me much. I also care a lot about what brings out people’s better natures. I think there’s an excess of the perceptions that hard times summon our worst selves, when really it’s as likely to do the opposite.

A thing that I like about venturing into an extremely fantastical sort of milieu is that the human element becomes even more important. When you’re dealing with things that work so fundamentally differently from our world, that people act like people, that they still behave as we do, want, chase, dream, fight, learn, stumble and rise, is the thing that grounds a story and makes it relatable and truthful.

TQWhat is 'space fantasy'?

Joseph:  For me, anyway, it’s the mashup of SF tropes with the fantastical elements of a Fantasy setting. Skyfarer takes place in a world that is rooted—fundamentally—in the mystical rather than the strictly scientific, but where that gets fun is in the fact that science is a method more than anything else. So the people of the Drifting Lands treat Sorcery as a sort of science. The magic Aimee and Harkon practice works off of a sort of scientific set of rules called the three primes, but one of the distinctions is that rather than magic being a scientifically understandable force, it’s a purely mystical one that scientific methods have been devised to channel and make use of, and to be honest, it doesn’t always work as they think it should. Really in a lot of ways Skyfarer is a straight up fantasy story that’s taken a number of SF concepts and absorbed them. I think the result is pretty interesting.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for Skyfarer?

Joseph:  I did some digging about governmental systems, and a bit of research about what the interiors of long range ocean-going vessels are like, and compared them with modern aircraft to sort of get a better sense for the spatial awareness of the interiors of Skyships and what they might be like. They’re more fantasy-spaceship than flying sailing vessel, so that feel had to be there. The other thing I read a lot about was childhood trauma, and how things that have happened to us when we’re very young can be suppressed, forgotten, and emerge again in adulthood. That was probably the most important thing that I felt like I had to get right. In no small part because I don’t want to do dishonor to people who have gone through it.

There are a lot of sword-fights in Skyfarer, but that’s something I do all year round in both a teaching and competitive capacity, so mostly that was a matter of just double-checking a few things and being aware of when I was diverging from reality and why.

TQPlease tell us about the cover for Skyfarer?

Joseph:  The cover was done by Ignacio Lazcano, and it’s straight up amazing. It’s been my phone background continuously since I first saw it. On the front left is Aimee de Laurent, the principle protagonist, and on the right is her mentor and teacher, the legendary Portalmage Harkon Bright. Behind them is the book’s antagonist and secondary PoV character, Lord Azrael, as well as the Skyship Elysium. I really couldn’t ask for a better capture of the story’s tone. It was the sort of thing I just had to stare at for a long time when I first saw it. There are a lot of horror stories about covers out there, and Angry Robot and Ignacio really knocked this thing out of the park. I feel very fortunate.

TQIn Skyfarer who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Joseph:  The book rapidly jumps back and forth between it’s two PoV characters, Aimee and Azrael. It wasn’t so much which of them was harder to write as when each of them was harder to write. They’re both very young, and this burning mixture of contrasting hunger to prove themselves that is at the same time riddled with powerful self-doubt pushes each of them forward. It was tricky to balance how those same issues rattled two similarly aged but very different people in different and sometimes similar ways.

Aimee is essentially a woman in her setting’s equivalent of a STEM field, which requires a sort of problem-solving intelligence that doesn’t come readily to me. Azrael is a highly trained killer and strategist with a number of dark points that are well beyond my experience. I grew up around academia, and I’ve been a dedicated martial artist for a good chunk of my life. Those things—and their shared youth—gave me some easy in-roads to the way they think, but generally the smarter and more damaged parts that each of them were showing, the more challenging each was to present in a way that felt correct.

TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in Skyfarer?

Joseph:  The oldest function of storytelling is to make ideas accessible. Fiction isn’t doing its job when it isn’t turning over something difficult in it’s hands and looking at its angles. I couldn’t tell an honest story, much less one that was worth reading, if it didn’t take people to places their minds might not have been to. Serious travel means getting out there and engaging. Any book I read, I want to do the same. The world is big, and it’s wrestling with things. Fiction that’s not interested in those conversations doesn’t interest me much.

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

Joseph:  “What is your dream adaptation for Skyfarer and who would be in it?”

WELL SINCE YOU ASKED: I would love to see this book done animated in the style of some of the recent magnificent work of the last ten years, namely Legend of Korra and Netflix’s Voltron. I’d love to see someone like Lauren Montgomery adapt it, and if I got to choose a voice actress for Aimee, hands down, my first choice would be Laura Bailey. I’m a huge animation geek and I’m more likely to fanboy voice actors than traditional Hollywood types. Also Khary Payton would make a kickass Harkon, and I’d kill to see Josh Keaton or Travis Willingham do Azrael. Okay, I’ll stop now.

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Skyfarer.


#1: “Skyfarers Remember.”

#2: “I once flew the Argathian gauntlet—a labyrinth of jutting rocks and jets of exploding gas—utterly shitfaced.”

TQWhat's next?

Joseph:  Currently I’m neck deep in edits on Skyfarer’s sequel, Dragon Road, which takes the cast and puts them through a mashup of House of Cards meets Murder on The Orient Express on a Manhattan sized trade-ship. I have outlines for more Drifting Lands books after that, so we’ll see. I also have a contemporary fantasy on the back burner that takes place in my native Tacoma that I’m working on, called Glassblade.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Joseph:  You’re very welcome! Thank you for having me here!

Drifting Lands 1
Angry Robot, September 5, 2017
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

Interview with Joseph Brassey, author of Skyfarer
An apprentice sorceress is dragged into a vicious quest across an endless sky in this Star Wars-inspired space fantasy

The Axiom Diamond is a mythical relic, with the power to show its bearer any truth they desire. Men have sought for it across many continents for centuries, but in vain. When trainee sorceress Aimee de Laurent’s first ever portal-casting goes awry, she and her mentor are thrown into the race to find the gem, on the skyship Elysium. Opposing them are the infamous magic-wielding knights of the Eternal Order and their ruthless commander, Lord Azrael, who will destroy everything in their path…

File UnderFantasy [ Diamond in the Sky | Quest for Truth | Knights Magical | Eternity & Beyond ]

About Joseph

Interview with Joseph Brassey, author of Skyfarer
Joseph has lived on both sides of the continental US, and has worked as a craft-store employee, paper-boy, factory worker, hospital kitchen gopher, martial arts instructor, singer, and stay-at-home Dad (the last is his favorite job, by far).

Joseph was enlisted as a robotic word-machine in 47North's Mongoliad series, and still trains in – and teaches – Liechtenauer's Kunst des Fechtens in his native Tacoma.

Website  ~  Twitter @JosephBrassey

The View From Monday - September 4, 2017

Happy 1st Monday in September!

I'm including books from September 1st in this Monday's post since they were not included in last Monday's post.

There are 6 debuts:

Clade by James Bradley;

Skyfarer by Joseph Brassey;

Song of Edmon ( The Fracture Worlds 1) by Adam Burch;

Beforelife: A Likely Story by Randal Graham;

The Salt Line by Holly Goddard Jones;


The End of the World Running Club by Adrian J. Walker.

The View From Monday - September 4, 2017 The View From Monday - September 4, 2017
The View From Monday - September 4, 2017 The View From Monday - September 4, 2017
The View From Monday - September 4, 2017 The View From Monday - September 4, 2017

Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.

And from formerly featured DAC Authors:

Highland Dragon Warrior (Dawn of the Highland Dragon 1) by Isabel Cooper;

Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson;

Ruin of Angels (A Craft Sequence Novel) by Max Gladstone;

Godsgrave (Nevernight Chronicles 2)  by Jay Kristoff;

Making Amends (Bookburners Season 3 #8) by Mur Lafferty;

MJ-12: Shadows (Majestic-12 #2) by Michael J. Martinez;

The Uploaded by Ferrett Steinmetz;


Cloudbound by Fran Wilde is out in Trade Paperback.

The View From Monday - September 4, 2017 The View From Monday - September 4, 2017
The View From Monday - September 4, 2017 The View From Monday - September 4, 2017
The View From Monday - September 4, 2017 The View From Monday - September 4, 2017
The View From Monday - September 4, 2017 The View From Monday - September 4, 2017
Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.

The View From Monday - September 4, 2017

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

September 1, 2017
Daughter of Eden Chris Beckett SF - The Eden Trilogy 3
Black Jesus and Other Superheroes: Stories Venita Blackburn SS - Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction
Song of Edmon (D) Adam Burch SF - The Fracture Worlds 1
Phasma Delilah S. Dawson SF/SO - Star Wars
The Death of All Things (e) Laura Anne Gilman  (Ed)
Kat Richardson (Ed)
SF/F - Anthology
One Night with the Valkyrie (e) Jane Godman PNR
Charmed by the Wolf (e) Kristal Hollis PNR
Servant of the Forest (e) Shona Husk PNR/FairyT
The Master of Time David Wingrove SF/TT - Roads to Moscow 3

September 5, 2017
Ravenor Rogue Dan Abnett SF - Ravenor 3
Ashes Reborn Keri Arthur UF - Souls of Fire 4
The Bronze Skies Catherine Asaro SF - Skolian Empire 8
Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead: Search and Destroy (h2tp) Jay Bonansinga H - The Walking Dead 7
Clade (D) James Bradley SF/AP/PA
Skyfarer (D - Solo) Joseph Brassey F/SF/SO
Sea of Rust C. Robert Cargill SF/AP/PA
Highland Dragon Warrior Isabel Cooper Hist/PNR - Dawn of the Highland Dragon 1
The Gates to Futures Past (h2mm) Julie E. Czerneda SF - Reunification Series 2
The Last to See Me M Dressler Hist/LF/GH
Eye of Ezekiel C Z Dunn SF - Space Marine Battles Series
The Devil You Know (h2mm) Erin M. Evans F
Dark Legacy Christine Feehan PNR - Carpathian 31
Iron Angels Eric Flint
Alistair Kimble
Ruin of Angels Max Gladstone F/UF/CF - A Craft Sequence Novel
Time Travel: A History (h2tp) James Gleick Hist/PopCul/Sc
One Night with the Valkyrie Jane Godman PNR
Beforelife: A Likely Story (D) Randal Graham F/SF/HU
Doctor Who: Paper Dolls Simon Guerrier
Christel Dee
SF - Doctor Who
Ursula K. Le Guin: The Hainish Novels and Stories Ursula K. Le Guin SF - Library of America 
Ursula K. Le Guin: Hainish Novels and Stories, Vol. 1 Ursula K. Le Guin SF - Library of America
Ursula K. Le Guin: Hainish Novels and Stories, Vol. 2 Ursula K. Le Guin SF - Library of America
Five Ways to Forgiveness (e) Ursula K. Le Guin SF - Library of America E-Book Classics 
The Boats of the "Glen Carrig" and Other Nautical Adventures William Hodgson F  - Collected Fiction of William Hope Hodgson Vol. 1
Charmed by the Wolf Kristal Hollis PNR
Battlefield Earth (ri) L. Ron Hubbard SF
Acadie Dave Hutchinson SF/GenEng
The Salt Line (D - SpecFic) Holly Goddard Jones LF/SF/AP/AP
Godsgrave Jay Kristoff F/SP/HistF - The Nevernight Chronicle 2
Who's Afraid? Maria Lewis FR - Tommi Grayson 1
Death's End (h2tp) Cixin Liu
Ken Liu (Tr)
SF - Remembrance of Earth's Past 3
Sherlock Holmes and the Shadwell Shadows (h2tp) James Lovegrove M/PI - Cthulhu Casebooks 1
MJ-12: Shadows Michael J. Martinez SF/Th - Majestic-12 #2
The Brightest Fell Seanan McGuire UF - October Daye 11
The Legend of Sigmar Graham McNeill F - Warhammer Chronicles
Fever Deon Meyer Dys/LF/Th
Gloriana: Or, The Unfulfill'd Queen (h2tp) Michael Moorcock HistF
A Secret History of Witches Louisa Morgan MR
Circle's End Lisanne Norman SF/SO/AC - Sholan Alliance 9
Norma Sofi Oksanen CW/F/Sleuths
Star Trek The Next Generation: The Art of Juan Ortiz Juan Oritz PopCul/Art - Star Trek
Immortal Architects Paige Orwin SF/AP/PA/SH/F/UF - Interminables 2
The Two of Swords: Part Sixteen (e) K. J. Parker F - Two of Swords
The Family Plot (h2tp) Cherie Priest UF/Occ/Sup/Gothic/GH
The Devil's Rosary Seabury Quinn F/H/DF/P - The Complete Tales of Jules de Grandin 2
Star Wars: The Blueprints J.W. Rinzler Film
Secrets in Death J.D. Robb In Death 45
White Trash Zombie Unchained Diana Rowland P/UF/CF - White Trash Zombie  6
The Golden House Salman Rushdie LF/Satire
Clockwork Futures: The Science of Steampunk and the Reinvention of the Modern World Brandy Schillace History
Frankenstein Dreams Michael Sims (Ed) SF - Anthology
Sourdough Robin Sloan LF/UF/F
The Uploaded Ferrett Steinmetz SF/CyP
Her Dark Half Paige Tyler PRS - X-Ops 7
The End of the World Running Club (D) Adrian J. Walker Dys
Cloudbound (h2tp) Fran Wilde F - Bone Universe 2
Forged in Blood Michael Z. Williamson SF - Freehold Anthology

September 6, 2017
Angel of the Blockade: A Original Alex Acks SF
Making Amends (e) Mur Lafferty UF/M - Bookburners Season 3 #8

September 7, 2017
In the Dark: Tales of Terror by E. Nesbit (e) Hugh Lamb (Ed) GH - HarperCollins Chillers

September 8, 2017
The Sum of Us: Tales of the Bonded and Bound (e) Susan Forest (Ed)
Lucas K. Law (Ed)
SF - Laksa Anthology Series: Speculative Fiction 2

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

AC - Alien Contact
AH - Alternate History
AP - Apocalyptic
CB - Coloring Book
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CoA - Coming of Age
CW - Contemporary Women
CulH - Cultural Heritage
CyP - CyberPunk
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tales
FolkT - Folk Tales
FR - Fantasy Romance
GenEng - Genetic Engineering
GH - Ghost(s)
Gothic - Gothic
H - Horror
Hist - Historical
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HU - Humor
LC - Literary Criticism
LF - Literary Fiction
LM - Legends and Mythology
M - Mystery
MR - Magical Realism
MTI - Media Tie-In
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PI - Private Investigator
PM - Paranormal Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
Pol - Political
PopCul - Popular Culture
PRS - Paranormal Romantic Suspense
PsyTh - Psychological Thriller
R - Romance
RSus - Romantic Suspense
Satire - Satire
Sc - Science
SH -Superheroes
SF - Science Fiction
SO - Space Opera
SP - Steampunk
SS - Short Stories
Sup - Supernatural
SupM - Supernatural Mystery
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Sus - Suspense
TechTh - Technological Thriller
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
UF - Urban Fantasy
UFR - Urban Fantasy Romance
VM - Visionary and Metaphysical

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

2017 Debut Author Challenge - September Debuts

2017 Debut Author Challenge - September Debuts

There are 11 debut novels for September.

Please note that we use the publisher's publication date in the United States, not copyright dates or non-US publication dates.

The September 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 September cover for the 2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on September 15, 2017.

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 2017 Debut Author Challenge featured authors. However, any of these novels may be read by Challenge readers to meet the goal for September 2017 The list is correct as of the day posted.

Brad Abraham

Magicians Impossible
Thomas Dunne Books, September 12, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages
     Contemporary Fantasy

2017 Debut Author Challenge - September Debuts
Magicians Impossible is a mind-bending page-turner! A brilliant and unique mash-up of spells, myth and mayhem, once it got its claws in me I couldn't put it down. Like a veteran stage magician, Brad Abraham has created a hip thriller that turns convention on its ear with misdirection and mayhem. A must read for enthusiasts of edgy and extreme fiction.” —Don Coscarelli, director of John Dies At The End

Twenty-something bartender Jason Bishop’s world is shattered when his estranged father commits suicide, but the greater shock comes when he learns his father was a secret agent in the employ of the Invisible Hand; an ancient society of spies wielding magic in a centuries-spanning war. Now the Golden Dawn—the shadowy cabal of witches and warlocks responsible for Daniel Bishop’s murder, and the death of Jason’s mother years beforehave Jason in their sights. His survival will depend on mastering his own dormant magic abilities; provided he makes it through the training.

From New York, to Paris, to worlds between worlds, Jason's journey through the realm of magic will be fraught with peril. But with enemies and allies on both sides of this war, whom can he trust? The Invisible Hand, who’ve been more of a family than his own family ever was? The Golden Dawn, who may know the secrets behind his mysterious lineage? For Jason Bishop, only one thing is for certain; the magic he has slowly been mastering is telling him not to trust anybody.

James Bradley

Titan Books, September 5, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages
     Science Fiction \ Apocalyptic and Post-Apocalyptic

2017 Debut Author Challenge - September Debuts
On a beach in Antarctica, scientist Adam Leith marks the passage of the summer solstice. Back in Sydney his partner Ellie waits for the results of her latest round of IVF treatment.

That result, when it comes, will change both their lives and propel them into a future neither could have predicted. In a collapsing England, Adam will battle to survive an apocalyptic storm. Against a backdrop of growing civil unrest at home, Ellie will discover a strange affinity with beekeeping. In the aftermath of a pandemic, a young man finds solace in building virtual recreations of the dead. And new connections will be formed from the most unlikely beginnings.

Joseph Brassey

Angry Robot, September 5, 2017
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages
     Epic Fantasy/ Science Fiction
     (Solo Debut)

2017 Debut Author Challenge - September Debuts
An apprentice sorceress is dragged into a vicious quest across an endless sky in this Star Wars-inspired space fantasy

The Axiom Diamond is a mythical relic, with the power to show its bearer any truth they desire. Men have sought for it across many continents for centuries, but in vain. When trainee sorceress Aimee de Laurent’s first ever portal-casting goes awry, she and her mentor are thrown into the race to find the gem, on the skyship Elysium. Opposing them are the infamous magic-wielding knights of the Eternal Order and their ruthless commander, Lord Azrael, who will destroy everything in their path…

File UnderFantasy [ Diamond in the Sky | Quest for Truth | Knights Magical | Eternity & Beyond ]

Adam Burch

Song of Edmon
The Fracture Worlds 1
47North, September 1, 2017
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 444 pages
     Science Fiction

2017 Debut Author Challenge - September Debuts
In Adam Burch’s thrilling series debut, a young man must choose between violence and peace in a distant world divided between those who thrive in endless sunlight and those who survive in eternal darkness.

The isolated planet of Tao is a house divided: the peaceful Daysiders live in harmony while the pale Nightsiders pursue power and racial purity through the violent ritual of the Combat.

Edmon Leontes, the gentle son of a ruthless warrior noble and a proud Daysider, embodies Tao’s split nature. The product of diametrically opposed races, Edmon hopes to live a quiet life pursuing the music of his mother’s people, but his Nightsider father cruelly forces him to continue in his bloody footsteps to ensure his legacy.

Edmon’s defiance will cost him everything…and spark a revolution that will shake the foundations of Tao. His choice—to embrace the light or surrender to the darkness—will shape his own fate and that of his divided world.

Catherine Burns

The Visitors
Gallery/Scout Press, September 26, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages
     Psychological Thriller

2017 Debut Author Challenge - September Debuts
“Once you start Catherine Burns's dark, disturbing, and enthralling debut novel, it's hard to stop. The Visitors is bizarrely unsettling, yet compulsively readable.” —Iain Reid, internationally bestselling author of I’m Thinking of Ending Things

With the smart suspense of Emma Donoghue’s Room and the atmospheric claustrophobia of Grey Gardens, Catherine Burns’s debut novel explores the complex truths we are able to keep hidden from ourselves and the twisted realities that can lurk beneath even the most serene of surfaces.

Marion Zetland lives with her domineering older brother John in a crumbling mansion on the edge of a northern seaside resort. A timid spinster in her fifties who still sleeps with teddy bears, Marion does her best to live by John’s rules, even if it means turning a blind eye to the noises she hears coming from behind the cellar door...and turning a blind eye to the women’s laundry in the hamper that isn’t hers. For years, she’s buried the signs of John’s devastating secret into the deep recesses of her mind—until the day John is crippled by a heart attack, and Marion becomes the only one whose shoulders are fit to bear his secret. Forced to go down to the cellar and face what her brother has kept hidden, Marion discovers more about herself than she ever thought possible. As the truth is slowly unraveled, we finally begin to understand: maybe John isn’t the only one with a dark side....

Rick Claypool

Leech Girl Lives
Spaceboy Books LLC, September 26, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 322 pages
     Post-Apocalyptic / Humorous

2017 Debut Author Challenge - September Debuts
“I used to live in the future. Giant leeches ate my arms and then replaced them. Under the circumstances, this was actually a good thing. Anyway now I’m here and I’m looking for someone else from the future.” 

Inspector Margo Chicago is the smartest, surliest art safety inspector in the Bublinaplex, and things aren’t going her way. The guy she thinks she’s in love with has been banished. Her boss has been poisoned. Her cyborg has a limp.

Oh, and her arms have been devoured and replaced by a pair of enormous leeches. As if that isn’t enough, it’s now up to Margo to save the Bublinaplex from art terrorists whose newest installation could drive humanity to extinction.

But things in the Bublinaplex are not as they seem. And when Margo uncovers the city’s murderous secrets, she must face a choice: Should she save the Bublinaplex? Or should she join the revolution dedicated to destroying it?

Randal Graham

Beforelife: A Likely Story
ECW Press, September 5, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 536 pages
     Fantasy / Science Fiction / Humorous

2017 Debut Author Challenge - September Debuts
It’s okay if you don’t believe in the afterlife. The people who live there don’t believe in you, either.

What if you went to heaven and no one there believed in Earth? This is the question at the heart of Beforelife, a satirical novel that follows the post-mortem adventures of widower Ian Brown, a man who dies on the book’s first page and finds himself in an afterlife where no one else believes in “pre-incarnation.” The other residents of the afterlife have mysteriously forgotten their pre-mortem lives and think that anyone who remembers a mortal life is suffering from a mental disorder called the “Beforelife Delusion.”

None of that really matters to Ian. All he wants to do is reunite with Penelope, his wife. Scouring the afterlife for any sign of her, Ian accidentally winds up on a quest to prove that the beforelife is real. This puts him squarely into the crosshairs of some of history’s greatest heroes and villains, all of whom seem unhealthily obsessed with erasing Ian’s memories and preventing him from reminding anyone of their pre-mortem lives. Only by staying a step ahead of his enemies can Ian hope to keep his much-needed marbles, find Penelope, and restore the public’s memories of the beforelife.

Holly Goddard Jones

The Salt Life
G.P. Putnam's Sons, September 5, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages
     Literary / Science Fiction / Apocalyptic and Post-Apocalyptic
     (SpecFic Debut)

2017 Debut Author Challenge - September Debuts
In the spirit of Station Eleven and California, award-winning novelist Holly Goddard Jones offers a literary spin on the dystopian genre with this gripping story of survival and humanity about a group of adrenaline junkies who jump “the Salt Line.”

How far will they go for their freedom—once they decide what freedom really means?

In an unspecified future, the United States’ borders have receded behind a salt line—a ring of scorched earth that protects its citizens from deadly disease-carrying ticks. Those within the zone live safe, if limited, lives in a society controlled by a common fear. Few have any reason to venture out of zone, except for the adrenaline junkies who pay a fortune to tour what’s left of nature. Those among the latest expedition include a popstar and his girlfriend, Edie; the tech giant Wes; and Marta; a seemingly simple housewife.

Once out of zone, the group find themselves at the mercy of deadly ticks—and at the center of a murderous plot. They become captives in Ruby City, a community made up of outer-zone survivors determined to protect their hardscrabble existence. As alliances and friendships shift amongst the hostages, Edie, Wes, and Marta must decide how far they are willing to go to get to the right side of the salt line.

Maggie Shen King

An Excess Male
Harper Voyager, September 12, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 416 pages
     Science Fiction / Hard Science Fiction

2017 Debut Author Challenge - September Debuts
From debut author Maggie Shen King, An Excess Male is the chilling dystopian tale of politics, inequality, marriage, love, and rebellion, set in a near-future China, that further explores the themes of the classics The Handmaid's Tale and When She Woke.

Under the One Child Policy, everyone plotted to have a son.

Now 40 million of them can't find wives.

China’s One Child Policy and its cultural preference for male heirs have created a society overrun by 40 million unmarriageable men. By the year 2030, more than twenty-five percent of men in their late thirties will not have a family of their own. An Excess Male is one such leftover man’s quest for love and family under a State that seeks to glorify its past mistakes and impose order through authoritarian measures, reinvigorated Communist ideals, and social engineering.

Wei-guo holds fast to the belief that as long as he continues to improve himself, his small business, and in turn, his country, his chance at love will come. He finally saves up the dowry required to enter matchmaking talks at the lowest rung as a third husband—the maximum allowed by law. Only a single family—one harboring an illegal spouse—shows interest, yet with May-ling and her two husbands, Wei-guo feels seen, heard, and connected to like never before. But everyone and everything—walls, streetlights, garbage cans—are listening, and men, excess or not, are dispensable to the State. Wei-guo must reach a new understanding of patriotism and test the limits of his love and his resolve in order to save himself and this family he has come to hold dear.

In Maggie Shen King’s startling and beautiful debut, An Excess Male looks to explore the intersection of marriage, family, gender, and state in an all-too-plausible future.

Annalee Newitz

Tor Books, September 19, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages
     Science Fiction / Hard Science Fiction

2017 Debut Author Challenge - September Debuts
When anything can be owned, how can we be free

Earth, 2144. Jack is an anti-patent scientist turned drug pirate, traversing the world in a submarine as a pharmaceutical Robin Hood, fabricating cheap scrips for poor people who can’t otherwise afford them. But her latest drug hack has left a trail of lethal overdoses as people become addicted to their work, doing repetitive tasks until they become unsafe or insane.

Hot on her trail, an unlikely pair: Eliasz, a brooding military agent, and his robotic partner, Paladin. As they race to stop information about the sinister origins of Jack’s drug from getting out, they begin to form an uncommonly close bond that neither of them fully understand.

And underlying it all is one fundamental question: Is freedom possible in a culture where everything, even people, can be owned?

Adrian J. Walker

The End of the World Running Club
Sourcebooks Landmark, September 5, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 464 pages

2017 Debut Author Challenge - September Debuts
#1 International Bestseller

"A fresh and frighteningly real take on what "the end" might be…quite an exciting and nerve-wracking 'run', with characters you believe in and feel for."—New York Times bestselling author Robert McCammon

Perfect for fans of The Martian, this powerful post-apocalyptic thriller pits reluctant father Edgar Hill in a race against time to get back to his wife and children. When the sky begins to fall and he finds himself alone, his best hope is to run – or risk losing what he loves forever.

When the world ends and you find yourself forsaken, every second counts.

No one knows this more than Edgar Hill. Stranded on the other side of the country from his wife and children, Ed must push himself across a devastated wasteland to get back to them. With the clock ticking and hundreds of miles between them, his best hope is to run — or risk losing what he loves forever.

2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September DebutsInterview with Joseph Brassey, author of SkyfarerThe View From Monday - September 4, 20172017 Debut Author Challenge - September Debuts

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