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2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts


2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 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 2018 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 April 30, 2018.

Vote for your favorite April 2018 Debut Cover!
 
pollcode.com free polls




2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts
Jacket design by Will Staehle




2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts
Jacket design by Will Staehle / Unusual Co.
Jacket image © Mallory Fandal / Shutterstock (sky)




2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts




2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts




2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts
Cover by Tran Nguyen




2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts




2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts




2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts




2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts




2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts
Cover design by Patrick Insole
Wolf cover image by Lee Gibbons
Other images © Shutterstock




2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts

Interview with Julia Whicker, author of Wonderblood


Please welcome Julia Whicker to The Qwillery as part of the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Wonderblood is published on April 3rd by St. Martin's Press.

Please join The Qwillery in wishing Julia a Happy Publication Day!



Interview with Julia Whicker, author of Wonderblood




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

Julia:  I wrote my first short story when I was eleven. My father gave me his old laptop that weighed 10 pounds (it must have been one of the first laptops ever), and I wrote a story about a crystal dome and a beautiful girl. I don't really remember the plot except that it had to do with Atlantis, singing fountains and magical stones. So, pretty much something I'd still write.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Julia:  Definitely a plotter. One of my editors for Wonderblood said he'd never seen such detailed chapter summaries.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Julia:  Sitting down to actually write. I love reading, researching, thinking about writing, and plotting my stories, and I even love writing when I'm actually doing it, but settling into that moment when the words are flowing is difficult for me. I always think I need to read something else or let my story gestate just a bit longer before putting it on the page, but taking the plunge is usually worth it.



TQHow does writing poetry affect (or not) your prose writing?

Julia:  I've always been drawn to challenging prose in my reading life, and have felt that my natural talents (if I have any) run toward the crafting of specific sentences (over, say, characterization or plot, even though I try so hard).



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Julia:  I'm not actually a regular reader of fantasy fiction -- I read a lot of nonfiction books about strange occurrences and anomalous happenings (such as the collected works of Charles Fort), and I feel these greatly influence my interest in the surreal. I've also been influenced by great writers of historical fiction, like Barry Unsworth, John Banville, and especially Jane Smiley's The Greenlanders, which in my opinion is an overlooked masterpiece. Her ability to capture the daily concerns and lives of people who lived six hundred years ago, rendering their worldview as understandably foreign yet simultaneously relatable to the modern reader, is a true wonder, and inspired a lot of my thinking about how the characters in Wonderblood might exist in their future world.



TQDescribe Wonderblood in 140 characters or less.

Julia:  When a girl is captured by a self-styled prophet & warlord, she is thrust into his violent plan. A post-apocalyptic fantasy about religious war & perverse faith.



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

Julia:  In my mind, Wonderblood was always a book about faith more than anything else. What it means to lack faith, to have it, to have it and lose it or to lose it and regain it. All those iterations are endlessly fascinating to me, so much that what the characters actually believe in (or don't believe in) is less interesting to me than what it feels like to explore the nooks and crannies of faith itself. That's why I have some characters who believe in science, some in magic, some who don't know what to believe and some who discover they should have believed in themselves from the very beginning.



TQWhat inspired you to write Wonderblood? What appeals to you about writing Science Fiction and in particular a dystopian novel?

Julia:  I think I write fantasy/sci-fi because it's the best vehicle for synthesizing my interests. I love the weird, the strange, the wondrous, and creating a world that doesn't exist is the best way (for me) to explore those ideas. I chose to write a dystopian novel because I've always loved a good apocalyptic disaster, and I had the thought that I should write a book with a double apocalypse. That's why Wonderblood takes place after the world has been destroyed (by the Disease), and before it might be destroyed again (by the lights in the sky). If I write more in the series, which I hope to, readers will get to see the second apocalypse!



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Wonderblood?

Julia:  Quite a lot. I began by researching prion diseases which contaminate the earth for many many years, I read a lot about Kepler the Renaissance astronomer (and astrologer!) as an inspiration for John the Astronomer, I read about Thelema, a system of magic developed by Aleister Crowley in the early 20th century, about the L.A. magician and rocket scientist Jack Parsons, who supposedly summoned an elemental to become his wife, I read about Tycho Brahe's (another Renaissance astronomer) star-gazing castle, John Dee and his assistant Edward Kelley (more Elizabethan scientist/magicians) and much more. Wonderblood represents a period of time I spent researching the conjunction of science and magic in late 1500s/early 1600s Europe.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for Wonderblood.

Julia:  I love the cover! It depicts Aurora, the girl, with her head full of the cosmos, which is beautiful to me because I wanted the cover to convey a sense of utter wonder about the heavens. The religion of the characters is centered on the possibility of salvation descending from space, and I think the cover demonstrates this, as well as asking us to consider the magnitude of our potential aloneness.



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

Julia:  The easiest character to write was John, because he is the most like me. He struggles constantly with his own self-worth, and feels a burning desire to feel faith of some kind but cannot muster it. The hardest character was certainly Mr. Capulatio -- I needed him to be seductive, compelling, obviously monstrous without being a monster, per se, because I did not want to make him a villain in the sense that he is only bad. I wanted readers to eventually come to feel that he has been deluded and misled by his religion, but also that this should not "let him off the hook," so to speak, for his terrible deeds. He is a complicated character!



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

Julia:  I chose to include the very difficult subjects of implied rape and the abduction of a minor because, as a feminist, I feel that these issues have certainly not been adequately tackled in our current circumstances. Historically (and -- realistically -- in a future dystopian society, as well as in many societies in our world today) young girls are the most marginalized of people, often completely powerless to control their destinies. This is inextricably bound up with others' designs on their sexuality. In Wonderblood, Aurora begins as a helpless captive of her insane brother, is abducted by another powerful man and comes to understand her own power beyond her sexuality: her power as a human being to potentially save other human beings from death. I deeply wanted to write her as a savior, and not because of any "purity" or "impurity" (arbitrarily assigned by those with sexual designs on her) but because of her implicit kindness, empathy, and wisdom.



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

Julia:  Why does the future in Wonderblood (it's set 1000 years in the future) look more like the Renaissance?

After thinking long and hard about what a depopulated, destabilized future U.S. might look like, I kept returning to several key themes: religion, violence, and environmental contamination. I am not a scientist, but I've always been interested in medicine and disease, so after killing off most of the country via disease and rendering much of the land unsuitable for habitation, I wondered what would be left. Fear, mostly! How do we tackle fear in this country? Often through religion, for better or worse. I've long been intrigued by the pre-modern melding of science and magic, a blend that actually makes a lot of sense in a predominantly religious society. If our world ended and the survivors developed a new religion around the world-ending (which they probably would, in my mind) I felt that there would be necessarily tension between religion and science -- this formed the central thesis of Wonderblood.



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

Julia:

"At last they made their camp outside the Cape compound's walls. Mr. Capulatio's carnival was already the mightiest in the land and functioned with a frightening efficiency. His men could raise it entirely in under nine hours. His own giant tent was so large it contained his wagon wholly; he and [Aurora] used the wagon as their bedchamber. Outside, men laid planks for walkways, the merchants and charm-makers pitched their booths, and just as soon as they finished tying down the last tent pegs Mr. Capulatio's new, great flag was hoisted over the encampment. This was a flag of conquering, he mused to her as he watched it unfurl. His chest rose and fell as they stood together in the tent's doorway. They looked out upon the carnival, and farther away they could see the metal spires of the castle beginning to whirl the morning light back to them and all around the land was low and flat, and the air heavy, and beyond that began the pink-blue crescent the sea." -Aurora's impression of Mr. Capulatio's camp at Cape Canaveral.

"There came over him the undeniable impression that all reason was leaking from the world, that he was a faucet, that through his miscalculations all things would slowly but surely upend themselves. What could these lights be, if not the shuttles? It seemed fitting that after decades of failure, John, who had his whole life long desired truth and order, should now be reliant upon a con-man who may well have real visions. Why shouldn't the truth, when it finally came to John Sousa, be revealed by a liar?" -John the Astronomer



TQWhat's next?

Julia:  I hope to write two more books set in the world of Wonderblood, ultimately taking readers to the Mystagogue in Kansas. In addition, I'm currently writing a fantasy novel set in colonial America, just after the Revolutionary War, which deals with evil rocks, Washington DC, virulent rabies and cities of blood.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Julia:  Thank you so much for having me! What fun it was to answer these questions!





Wonderblood
St. Martin's Press, April 3, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages

Interview with Julia Whicker, author of Wonderblood
Set 500 years in the future, a mad cow-like disease called “Bent Head” has killed off most of the U.S. population. Those remaining turn to magic and sacrifice to cleanse the Earth.

Wonderblood is Julia Whicker's fascinating literary debut, set in a barren United States, an apocalyptic wasteland where warring factions compete for control of the land in strange and dangerous carnivals. A mad cow-like disease called "Bent Head" has killed off millions. Those who remain worship the ruins of NASA's space shuttles, and Cape Canaveral is their Mecca. Medicine and science have been rejected in favor of magic, prophecy, and blood sacrifice.

When traveling marauders led by the bloodthirsty Mr. Capulatio invade her camp, a young girl named Aurora is taken captive as his bride and forced to join his band on their journey to Cape Canaveral. As war nears, she must decide if she is willing to become her captor's queen. But then other queens emerge, some grotesque and others aggrieved, and not all are pleased with the girl's ascent. Politics and survival are at the centre of this ravishing novel.





About Julia

Interview with Julia Whicker, author of Wonderblood
Photo by John Eicher
Julia Whicker received her MFA at the Iowa Writers Workshop in 2006, where she won both the prestigious Capote Fellowship and the Teaching-Writing Fellowship. She’s had her poetry published in the Iowa Review, Word Riot, and The Millions, among others, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. A version of the first chapter of Wonderblood was published in the literary journal, Unstuck.







Website  ~ Tumblr


The View From Monday - April 2, 2018


Happy Monday!

There are 5 debuts this week.

The Wolf (Under the Northern Sky 1) by Leo Carew;

The Waters & the Wild by DeSales Harrison;

The Oracle Year by Charles Soule;

Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic;

and

Wonderblood by Julia Whicker.

The View From Monday - April 2, 2018 The View From Monday - April 2, 2018
The View From Monday - April 2, 2018 The View From Monday - April 2, 2018
The View From Monday - April 2, 2018
Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.



From formerly featured DAC Authors:

The Night Dahlia (Nightwise 2) by R.S. Belcher;

Archangel (Spectre War 2) by Margaret Fortune is out in Trade Paperback;

Scourge (The Iron Druid Chronicles 9) by Kevin Hearne;

Radiate (The Lightless Trilogy 3) by C.A. Higgins is out in Trade Paperback;

The World Awakening (Gateways to Alissia 2) by Dan Koboldt is out in Mass Market Paperback;

and

Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor 2) by Mark Lawrence.

The View From Monday - April 2, 2018 The View From Monday - April 2, 2018
The View From Monday - April 2, 2018 The View From Monday - April 2, 2018
The View From Monday - April 2, 2018 The View From Monday - April 2, 2018
Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.



The View From Monday - April 2, 2018



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

April 3, 2018
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Ruinstorm David Annandale SF - The Horus Heresy 46
Warlord: Fury of the God-Machine David Annandale SF - Adeptus Titanicus 1
School for Psychics K.C. Archer Occ/Sup - School for Psychics 1
What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky: Stories Lesley Nneka Arimah CulH/MR/LF
Origamy Rachel Armstrong SF
The City Where We Once Lived Eric Barnes Dys/SF/AP/PA/LF
The Night Dahlia R. S. Belcher UF/H - Nightwise 2
A Magical Match Juliet Blackwell PCM - Witchcraft Mystery 9
Box Office Poison Phillipa Bornikova CF/DF/UF - A Linnet Ellery Novel 2
Witchy Winter D.J. Butler HistF
The Wolf (D) Leo Carew F - Under the Northern Sky 1
The Wounded Shadow Patrick W. Carr F - The Darkwater Saga 3
Star Trek: Light-and-Sound Borg Cube Chip Carter PopCul
The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume Three Neil Clarke (Ed) SF - Anthology
Sodom Road Exit Amber Dawn SupTh
Sleepwalker's World Gordon R. Dickson SF/SO
Though Hell Should Bar the Way David Drake SF - RCN 12
Archangel (h2tp) Margaret Fortune SF - Spectre War 2
Bottom of the Sky Rodrigo Fresán
Will Vanderhyden (Tr.)
LF/SF/Future Studies
Ursula K. Le Guin: Conversations on Writing Ursula K. Le Guin
David Naimon
LC
Ferrus Manus: The Gorgon of Medusa David Guymer SF - The Horus Heresy: Primarchs 7
Legendary Shifter Barbara J. Hancock PNR
The Waters & The Wild (D) DeSales Harrison LF/PsyTh/FL
Scourged Kevin Hearne CF/P - The Iron Druid Chronicles 9
Shattered Roads Alice Henderson SF/PA
Radiate (h2tp) C.A. Higgins SF/SO - The Lightless Trilogy 3
The Barrow Will Send What It May Margaret Killjoy CF/DF/H - Danielle Cain 2
Seducing the Dark Prince Jane Kindred PNR
Dutchman Richard A. Knaak UF
The World Awakening Dan Koboldt SF/TT - Gateways to Alissia 2
Grey Sister Mark Lawrence F - Book of the Ancestor 2
The Beloveds Maureen Lindley PsyTh
The Unforeseen Dorothy Macardle GH
The Body Library Jeff Noon SF/TT/VisM/MR
The Dark Angel Seabury Quinn P/Occ/Sup - The Complete Tales of Jules de Grandin 3
The Nightfall Duology Mickey Zucker Reichert F/DF - Nightfall
The Queen of Storm and Shadow Jenna Rhodes DF/FairyT/FolkT/LM/F - Elven Ways 4
Firewalkers Chris Roberson UF/P/SupTh/H - A Recondito Novel 2
The Sisters Mederos Patrice Sarath HistF
River's Child Mark Daniel Seiler SF/F
The Tale of Genji: The Authentic First Translation of the World's Earliest Novel Murasaki Shikibu
Kencho Suematsu (Tr)
F
Earthcore (ri) Scott Sigler TechTh
The Oracle Year (D) Charles Soule Fict/Sup
A Fistful of Elven Gold Alex Stewart F
Change Agent (h2tp) Daniel Suarez TechTh/GenEng/SF
Fair Rebel Steph Swainston F
Resurrection Bay (D-US) Emma Viskic PsyTh/Sus
Wonderblood (D) Julia Whicker SF/AP/PA/Dys



April 5, 2018
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Doctor Who: Twice Upon a Time: 12th Doctor Novelisation (e) Paul Cornell SF/MTI
Doctor Who: City of Death (e) James Goss SF/MTI



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



AC - Alien Contact
AP - Apocalyptic
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CoA - Coming of Age
CulH - Cultural Heritage
CW - Contemporary Woman
CyP - Cyberpunk
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tales
Fict - Fiction
FL - Family Life
FolkT - Folk Tales
GenEng - Genetic Engineering
GH - Ghost(s)
GN - Graphic Novel
H - Horror
HC - History and Criticism
Hist - Historical
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HU - Humor
LC - Literary Criticism
LF - Literary Fiction
LM - Legend and Mythology
MR - Magical Realism
MTI - Media Tie-In
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PCM - Paranormal Cozy Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
PopCul - Popular Culture
Psy - Psychological
Psy Th - Psychological Thriller
SF - Science Fiction
SO - Space Opera
SP - Steampunk
Sup - Supernatural
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Sus - Suspense
TechTh - Technological Thriller
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
UF - Urban Fantasy
VisM - Visionary and Metaphysical

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

2018 Debut Author Challenge - April Debuts




There are 12 debut novels for April.

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

The April 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 April cover for the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on April 15, 2018.

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 2018 Debut Author Challenge featured authors. However, any of these novels may be read by Challenge readers to meet the goal for April 2018. The list is correct as of the day posted.



Bryan Camp

The City of Lost Fortunes
A Crescent City Novel 1
John Joseph Adams / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, April 17, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 384 pages

The fate of New Orleans rests in the hands of a wayward grifter in this novel of gods, games, and monsters.

The post–Katrina New Orleans of The City of Lost Fortunes is a place haunted by its history and by the hurricane’s destruction, a place that is hoping to survive the rebuilding of its present long enough to ensure that it has a future. Street magician Jude Dubuisson is likewise burdened by his past and by the consequences of the storm, because he has a secret: the magical ability to find lost things, a gift passed down to him by the father he has never known—a father who just happens to be more than human.

Jude has been lying low since the storm, which caused so many things to be lost that it played havoc with his magic, and he is hiding from his own power, his divine former employer, and a debt owed to the Fortune god of New Orleans. But his six-year retirement ends abruptly when the Fortune god is murdered and Jude is drawn back into the world he tried so desperately to leave behind. A world full of magic, monsters, and miracles. A world where he must find out who is responsible for the Fortune god’s death, uncover the plot that threatens the city’s soul, and discover what his talent for lost things has always been trying to show him: what it means to be his father’s son.





Leo Carew

The Wolf
Under the Northern Sky 1
Orbit, April 3, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook,400 pages

Violence and death come to the land under the Northern Sky when two fierce races break their age-old fragile peace and start an all-out war in this thrilling and savagely visceral epic fantasy.

Ready or not, Roper has been thrust into a position of leadership that he's woefully ill prepared for. Now, a massive army approaches from the south, old allies turn against him, and new rivals seek to undermine his rule. Facing attack from within and without, Roper must forge reckless alliances, no matter the cost, to save his kingdom.

Bellamus is a brash but capable southern general, a commoner with the rare honor of having the discreet support of the Queen. Rising quickly from the minor ranks he was born into, Bellamus leads the march on the North. Victory means glory, power, and the favor of the king, but defeat promises much worse than disgrace.

A tale of war, rivalry, and honor, The Wolf creates a world that is both familiar and uncanny - one where the fiercest enemies are always closer than they seem.

Under the Northern Sky
The Wolf





DeSales Harrison

The Waters & The Wild
Random House, April 3, 2018
Hardcover and eBook 320 pages

Haunted by a past crime and a past lover, a psychoanalyst tries to protect his daughter from his mistakes—but at what cost?

“This dazzling gothic-tinged thriller takes us deep into a labyrinth of secrets, lies, and deceptions.”—Dan Chaon, New York Times bestselling author of Ill Will

Daniel Abend is a single parent in New York City, with a successful therapy practice and a comfortable life: an apartment on the Upper West Side, a teenage daughter, a peaceful daily routine. When one of his patients commits suicide, it is a tragedy, but one easily explained: The young woman suffered from depression and drug addiction.

But soon after, Daniel receives an ominous note that makes him question the circumstances surrounding his patient’s death. He is provided with a provocative series of clues—a mysterious key, a cryptic poem, a photograph with a chilling message. A few days later, his daughter abruptly disappears.

Daniel is swept into an increasingly desperate search for his daughter, and for the truth—a search that stretches back decades, to when he was a young man living in Paris, falling in love with a woman who would ultimately upend his life. As he is tormented by a steady flow of anonymous letters, Daniel recognizes that he must confront the secrets of his past: There is a debt to be paid, an account to be settled.





Sam J. Miller

Blackfish City
Ecco, April 17, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

“Miller gives us an incisive and beautifully written story of love, revenge, and the power (and failure) of family in a scarily plausible future. Blackfish City simmers with menace and heartache, suspense and wonder. Plus, it has lots of action and a great cast of characters. Not to mention an orca and a polar bear!” —Ann Leckie, New York Times bestselling author and winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Clarke Awards

After the climate wars, a floating city is constructed in the Arctic Circle, a remarkable feat of mechanical and social engineering, complete with geothermal heating and sustainable energy. The city’s denizens have become accustomed to a roughshod new way of living, however, the city is starting to fray along the edges—crime and corruption have set in, the contradictions of incredible wealth alongside direst poverty are spawning unrest, and a new disease called “the breaks” is ravaging the population.

When a strange new visitor arrives—a woman riding an orca, with a polar bear at her side—the city is entranced. The “orcamancer,” as she’s known, very subtly brings together four people—each living on the periphery—to stage unprecedented acts of resistance. By banding together to save their city before it crumbles under the weight of its own decay, they will learn shocking truths about themselves.

Blackfish City is a remarkably urgent—and ultimately very hopeful—novel about political corruption, organized crime, technology run amok, the consequences of climate change, gender identity, and the unifying power of human connection.





Cass Morris

From Unseen Fire
Aven Cycle 1
DAW, April 17, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages

From Unseen Fire is the first novel in the Aven Cycle, a historical fantasy set in an alternate Rome, by debut author Cass Morris

The Dictator is dead; long live the Republic.

But whose Republic will it be? Senators, generals, and elemental mages vie for the power to shape the future of the city of Aven. One such mage, Latona of the Vitelliae, must rediscover her incredible powers of Fire and Spirit—which she suppressed for years at the Dictator’s court—in order to protect her family and the city she loves.

Her siblings—a widow who conceals a canny political mind in the guise of a frivolous socialite, a young prophetess torn from the sanctuary of her temple, and a military tribune leading a dangerous expedition in the province of Iberia—will be her allies as she builds a place for herself in this new world, against the objections of their father, her husband, and the strictures of Aventan society.

Their paths intersect with that of Sempronius Tarren, a rising politician who dreams of a vast and harmonious empire growing from the nexus of their beloved city. He believes the gods have thrown down a personal challenge, and equipped him with the skills to steer Aven towards this glorious future—but in order to realize his goals, he will have to break the Republic’s most sacred law. Although centuries-old custom dictates that no mage may hold the highest political offices, Sempronius, a Shadow mage who has kept his abilities a life-long secret, intends to do just that.

As rebellion brews in Iberia, Sempronius must outwit the ruthless leader of the opposing Senate faction to claim the political and military power he needs to achieve his—and Aven’s—destiny. As Latona unleashes her magical potential, she discovers that Sempronius’s extraordinary vision for their nation aligns with her desires to protect its people—but their burgeoning relationship may jeopardize the very future they seek to build in Aven.





Sam Peters

From Darkest Skies
From Darkest Skies 1
Gollancz, April 10, 2018
Trade Paperback, 352 pages

After a five year sabbatical following the tragic death of his wife and fellow agent Alysha, Keon Rause returns to the distant colony world of Magenta to resume service with the Magentan Intelligence Service. With him he brings an artificial recreation of his wife's personality, a simulacrum built from every digital trace she left behind. She has been constructed with one purpose - to discover the truth behind her own death - but Keon's relationship with her has grown into something more, something frighteningly dependent, something that verges on love.

Cashing in old favours, Keon uses his return to the Service to take on a series of cases that allow him and the artificial Alysha to piece together his wife's last days. His investigations lead him inexorably along the same paths Alysha followed five years earlier, to a sinister and deadly group with an unhealthy fascination for the unknowable alien Masters; but as the wider world of Magenta is threatened with an imminent crisis, Keon finds himself in a dilemma: do his duty and stand with his team to expose a villainous crime, or sacrifice them all for the truth about his wife?





Charles Soule

The Oracle Year
Harper Perennial, April 3, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 416 pages

From bestselling comic-book franchise writer Charles Soule comes a clever and witty first novel of a twentysomething New Yorker who wakes up one morning with the power to predict the future—perfect for fans of Joe Hill and Brad Meltzer, or books like This Book Is Full of Spiders and Welcome to Night Vale.

Knowledge is power. So when an unassuming Manhattan bassist named Will Dando awakens from a dream one morning with 108 predictions about the future in his head, he rapidly finds himself the most powerful man in the world. Protecting his anonymity by calling himself the Oracle, he sets up a heavily guarded Web site with the help of his friend Hamza to selectively announce his revelations. In no time, global corporations are offering him millions for exclusive access, eager to profit from his prophecies.

He's also making a lot of high-powered enemies, from the President of the United States and a nationally prominent televangelist to a warlord with a nuclear missile and an assassin grandmother. Legions of cyber spies are unleashed to hack the Site—as it's come to be called—and the best manhunters money can buy are deployed not only to unmask the Oracle but to take him out of the game entirely. With only a handful of people he can trust—including a beautiful journalist—it's all Will can do just to survive, elude exposure, and protect those he loves long enough to use his knowledge to save the world.

Delivering fast-paced adventure on a global scale as well as sharp-witted satire on our concepts of power and faith, Marvel writer Charles Soule's audacious debut novel takes readers on a rollicking ride where it's impossible to predict what will happen next.





Elizabeth Tan

Rubik
The Unnamed Press, April 24, 2018
Trade Paperback, 256 pages

The dead aren’t really gone, they persist as phone numbers, social media accounts, newsletter recipients, and as members of fan-fiction forums. Digital ghosts move and connect us: we feel we know people we have only seen online just as corporations masquerade as familiar friends.

In Rubik, darkly comedic interconnected stories follow Elena Rubik, her best friend Jules Valentine, and wannabe investigative reporter April Kuan, as a viral marketing scheme’s motivations become cause for concern. There are the adventures of a model turned visual artist, a voice actor primarily used for tech support, enigmatic schoolchildren, clever anime characters, and more. Deftly blending the real and imagined with biting social satire, Elizabeth Tan explores the lives of her diverse group of characters with deep empathy and insight into our contemporary world.





Jon Michael Varese

The Spirit Photographer
The Overlook Press, April 17, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

For fans of Cold Mountain and The Alienist, the stunning debut novel of historical suspense about a charismatic conman haunted―perhaps literally―by a ghost from his past

Boston, 1870. Photographer Edward Moody runs a booming business capturing the images of the spirits of the departed in his portraits. He lures grieving widows and mourning mothers into his studio with promises of catching the ghosts of their deceased loved ones with his camera. Despite the whispers around town that Moody is a fraud of the basest kind, no one has been able to expose him, and word of his gift has spread, earning him money, fame, and a growing list of illustrious clients.

One day, while developing the negative from a sitting to capture the spirit of the young son of an abolitionist senator, Moody is shocked to see a different spectral figure develop before his eyes. Instead of the staged image of the boy he was expecting, the camera has seemingly captured the spirit of a beautiful young woman. Is it possible that the spirit photographer caught a real ghost? When Moody recognizes the woman in the photograph as the daughter of an escaped slave he knew long ago, he is compelled to travel from Boston to the Louisiana bayous to resolve their unfinished business―and perhaps save his soul. But more than one person is out to stop him . . .

With dramatic twists and redolent of the mood of the Southern Gothic, The Spirit Photographer conjures the Reconstruction era South, replete with fugitive hunters, voodoo healers, and other dangers lurking in the swamp. Jon Michael Varese’s deftly plotted first novel is an intense tale of death and betrayal that will thrill readers as they unravel the dreadful mystery behind the spirit in the photograph and what ultimately became of her.





Emma Viskic

Resurrection Bay
Pushkin Vertigo, April 3, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 288 pages

The acclaimed debut thriller from Australia’s most exciting new crimewriting talent.

The 2nd Caleb Zelic title, AND FIRE CAME DOWN, will be published October, 2018, and the author is already writing a 3rd installment.

Caleb Zelic can’t hear you but he sees everything, and he never forgets a face.

Caleb Zelic’s childhood friend has been brutally murdered – fingers broken, throat slit – at his home in Melbourne. Caleb vows to track down the killer, but he’s profoundly deaf; missed words and misread lips can lead to confusion, and trouble. Fortunately, Caleb knows how to read people; a sideways glance, an unconvincing smile, speak volumes. When his friend Frankie, a former cop, offers to help, they soon discover the killer is on their tail. Sensing that his ex-wife may also be in danger, Caleb insists they return to their hometown of Resurrection Bay. But here he learns that everyone – including his murdered friend – is hiding something. And the deeper he digs, the darker the secrets…





Julia Whicker

Wonderblood
St. Martin's Press, April 3, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages

Set 500 years in the future, a mad cow-like disease called “Bent Head” has killed off most of the U.S. population. Those remaining turn to magic and sacrifice to cleanse the Earth.

Wonderblood is Julia Whicker's fascinating literary debut, set in a barren United States, an apocalyptic wasteland where warring factions compete for control of the land in strange and dangerous carnivals. A mad cow-like disease called "Bent Head" has killed off millions. Those who remain worship the ruins of NASA's space shuttles, and Cape Canaveral is their Mecca. Medicine and science have been rejected in favor of magic, prophecy, and blood sacrifice.

When traveling marauders led by the bloodthirsty Mr. Capulatio invade her camp, a young girl named Aurora is taken captive as his bride and forced to join his band on their journey to Cape Canaveral. As war nears, she must decide if she is willing to become her captor's queen. But then other queens emerge, some grotesque and others aggrieved, and not all are pleased with the girl's ascent. Politics and survival are at the centre of this ravishing novel.





Adrian Todd Zuniga

Collision Theory
Rare Bird Books, April 17, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 160 pages

It would be easier for Thomas Mullen to move on from what he’d seen if Sarah stopped calling. It would be even better if she stopped appearing to him, and only him, to remind him of what he was powerless to stop.

But, months later, after Thomas loses his phone and the random woman who recovers it arranges to return it to him, his predicament intensifies. This woman tells him that while she’s had his phone, his mother has called. His mother really needs him to call her back. And who is Sarah, this woman asks Thomas. His mother asked her if she was Sarah. And how could she not have said yes? It seemed to make his mother so happy.

Collision Theory, Adrian Todd Zuniga’s memorably heartfelt and headlong debut novel, unfolds with its own particular velocity. After Thomas was an unexpected witness to a suicide he scrambles to reconcile whether there might have been any way to prevent it. And he wonders whether the only way to undo the impact of an unexpected thing is to do something unexpected in turn. But the phone won’t stop ringing.

Collision Theory’s suddenness, its unexpectedness, its humor, and its humanity make for an unforgettable, surprising, and emotional read.

The 2018 Debuts I Am Most Looking Forward To Reading - Part 2


The 8th year of the The Qwillery's Debut Author Challenge will start on January 1, 2018. Here are the 11 debuts being published in March and April that I am most looking forward to reading.


Michael David Ares

Dayfall
Tor Books, March 13, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages

The 2018 Debuts I Am Most Looking Forward To Reading - Part 2
FEAR THE DAY

In the near future, patches of the northern hemisphere have been shrouded in years of darkness from a nuclear winter, and the water level has risen in the North Atlantic. The island of Manhattan has lost its outer edges to flooding and is now ringed by a large seawall.

The darkness and isolation have allowed crime and sin to thrive in the never-ending shadows of the once great city, and when the sun finally begins to reappear, everything gets worse. A serial killer cuts a bloody swath across the city during the initial periods of daylight, and a violent panic sweeps through crowds on the streets. The Manhattan police, riddled with corruption and apathy, are at a loss.

That's when the Mayor recruits Jon Phillips, a small-town Pennsylvania cop who had just single-handedly stopped a high-profile serial killer in his own area, and flies him into the insanity of this new New York City. The young detective is partnered with a shady older cop and begins to investigate the crimes amidst the vagaries of a twenty-four hour nightlife he has never experienced before. Soon realizing that he was chosen for reasons other than what he was told, Jon is left with no one to trust and forced to go on the run in the dark streets, and below them in the maze of the underground. Against all odds he still hopes that he can save his own life, the woman of his dreams, and maybe even the whole city before the arrival of the mysterious and dreaded event that has come to be known as…. DAYFALL.




Yoav Blum

The Coincidence Makers
St. Martin's Press, March 6, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages

The 2018 Debuts I Am Most Looking Forward To Reading - Part 2
In this genre-bending novel, there is no such thing as chance and every action is carefully executed by highly trained agents. You’ll never look at coincidences the same way again.

What if the drink you just spilled, the train you just missed, or the lottery ticket you just found was not just a random occurrence? What if it’s all part of a bigger plan? What if there’s no such thing as a chance encounter? What if there are people we don’t know determining our destiny? And what if they are even planning the fate of the world?

Enter the Coincidence Makers—Guy, Emily, and Eric—three seemingly ordinary people who work for a secret organization devoted to creating and carrying out coincidences. What the rest of the world sees as random occurrences, are, in fact, carefully orchestrated events designed to spark significant changes in the lives of their targets—scientists on the brink of breakthroughs, struggling artists starved for inspiration, loves to be, or just plain people like you and me…

When an assignment of the highest level is slipped under Guy’s door one night, he knows it will be the most difficult and dangerous coincidence he’s ever had to fulfill. But not even a coincidence maker can see how this assignment is about to change all their lives and teach them the true nature of fate, free will, and the real meaning of love.

Part thriller, part mystery, part love story—Kirkus calls Yoav Blum's The Coincidence Makers “a smart, unpredictable, and heartfelt adventure story.”




Leo Carew

The Wolf
Under the Northern Sky 1
Orbit, April 3, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook,400 pages

The 2018 Debuts I Am Most Looking Forward To Reading - Part 2
Violence and death come to the land under the Northern Sky when two fierce races break their age-old fragile peace and start an all-out war in this thrilling and savagely visceral epic fantasy.

Ready or not, Roper has been thrust into a position of leadership that he's woefully ill prepared for. Now, a massive army approaches from the south, old allies turn against him, and new rivals seek to undermine his rule. Facing attack from within and without, Roper must forge reckless alliances, no matter the cost, to save his kingdom.

Bellamus is a brash but capable southern general, a commoner with the rare honor of having the discreet support of the Queen. Rising quickly from the minor ranks he was born into, Bellamus leads the march on the North. Victory means glory, power, and the favor of the king, but defeat promises much worse than disgrace.

A tale of war, rivalry, and honor, The Wolf creates a world that is both familiar and uncanny - one where the fiercest enemies are always closer than they seem.

Under the Northern Sky
The Wolf




Sean Grigsby

Smoke Eaters
Angry Robot, March 6, 2018
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

The 2018 Debuts I Am Most Looking Forward To Reading - Part 2
When dragons rise from the earth, firefighters are humanity’s last line of defence, in this wild near-future fantasy.

Firefighter Cole Brannigan is on the verge of retirement after 30 years on the job, and a decade fighting dragons. But during his final fire call, he discovers he’s immune to dragon smoke. It’s such a rare power that he’s immediately conscripted into the elite dragon-fighting force known as the Smoke Eaters. Retirement cancelled, Brannigan is re-assigned as a lowly rookie, chafing under his superiors. So when he discovers a plot to take over the city’s government, he takes matters into his own hands. With hundreds of innocent civilians in the crosshairs, it’s up to Brannigan and his fellow Smoke Eaters to repel the dragon menace.

File Under
: Fantasy




Rowenna Miller

Torn
The Unraveled Kingdom 1
Orbit, March 20, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 480 pages

[the cover has not yet been revealed!]
TORN is the first book in an enchanting debut fantasy series featuring a seamstress who stitches magic into clothing, and the mounting political uprising that forces her to choose between her family and her ambitions, for fans of The Queen of the Tearling.

Sophie is a dressmaker who has managed to open her own shop and lift herself and her brother, Kristos, out of poverty. Her reputation for beautiful ball gowns and discreetly-embroidered charms for luck, love, and protection secures her a commission from the royal family itself -- and the commission earns her the attentions of a dashing but entirely unattainable duke.

Meanwhile, Kristos rises to prominence in the growing anti-monarchist movement. Their worlds collide when the revolution's shadow leader takes him hostage and demands that Sophie place a curse on the queen's Midwinter costume -- or Kristos will die at their hand.

As the proletariat uprising comes to a violent climax, Sophie is torn: between her brother and the community of her birth, and her lover and the life she's striven to build.




Cass Morris

From Unseen Fire
Aven Cycle 1
DAW, April 17, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages

The 2018 Debuts I Am Most Looking Forward To Reading - Part 2
From Unseen Fire is the first novel in the Aven Cycle, a historical fantasy set in an alternate Rome, by debut author Cass Morris

The Dictator is dead; long live the Republic.

But whose Republic will it be? Senators, generals, and elemental mages vie for the power to shape the future of the city of Aven. One such mage, Latona of the Vitelliae, must rediscover her incredible powers of Fire and Spirit—which she suppressed for years at the Dictator’s court—in order to protect her family and the city she loves.

Her siblings—a widow who conceals a canny political mind in the guise of a frivolous socialite, a young prophetess torn from the sanctuary of her temple, and a military tribune leading a dangerous expedition in the province of Iberia—will be her allies as she builds a place for herself in this new world, against the objections of their father, her husband, and the strictures of Aventan society.

Their paths intersect with that of Sempronius Tarren, a rising politician who dreams of a vast and harmonious empire growing from the nexus of their beloved city. He believes the gods have thrown down a personal challenge, and equipped him with the skills to steer Aven towards this glorious future—but in order to realize his goals, he will have to break the Republic’s most sacred law. Although centuries-old custom dictates that no mage may hold the highest political offices, Sempronius, a Shadow mage who has kept his abilities a life-long secret, intends to do just that.

As rebellion brews in Iberia, Sempronius must outwit the ruthless leader of the opposing Senate faction to claim the political and military power he needs to achieve his—and Aven’s—destiny. As Latona unleashes her magical potential, she discovers that Sempronius’s extraordinary vision for their nation aligns with her desires to protect its people—but their burgeoning relationship may jeopardize the very future they seek to build in Aven.




Tristan Palmgren

Quietus
Angry Robot, March 6, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 512 pages

The 2018 Debuts I Am Most Looking Forward To Reading - Part 2
A transdimensional anthropologist can’t keep herself from interfering with Earth’s darkest period of history in this brilliant science fiction debut

Niccolucio, a young Florentine Carthusian monk, leads a devout life until the Black Death kills all of his brothers, leaving him alone and filled with doubt. Habidah, an anthropologist from another universe racked by plague, is overwhelmed by the suffering. Unable to maintain her observer neutrality, she saves Niccolucio from the brink of death.

Habidah discovers that neither her home’s plague nor her assignment on Niccolucio’s world are as she’s been led to believe. Suddenly the pair are drawn into a worlds-spanning conspiracy to topple an empire larger than the human imagination can contain.

File Under: Science Fiction




Charles Soule

The Oracle Year
Harper Perennial, April 3, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 416 pages

The 2018 Debuts I Am Most Looking Forward To Reading - Part 2
From bestselling comic-book franchise writer Charles Soule comes a clever and witty first novel of a twentysomething New Yorker who wakes up one morning with the power to predict the future—perfect for fans of Joe Hill and Brad Meltzer, or books like This Book Is Full of Spiders and Welcome to Night Vale.

Knowledge is power. So when an unassuming Manhattan bassist named Will Dando awakens from a dream one morning with 108 predictions about the future in his head, he rapidly finds himself the most powerful man in the world. Protecting his anonymity by calling himself the Oracle, he sets up a heavily guarded Web site with the help of his friend Hamza to selectively announce his revelations. In no time, global corporations are offering him millions for exclusive access, eager to profit from his prophecies.

He's also making a lot of high-powered enemies, from the President of the United States and a nationally prominent televangelist to a warlord with a nuclear missile and an assassin grandmother. Legions of cyber spies are unleashed to hack the Site—as it's come to be called—and the best manhunters money can buy are deployed not only to unmask the Oracle but to take him out of the game entirely. With only a handful of people he can trust—including a beautiful journalist—it's all Will can do just to survive, elude exposure, and protect those he loves long enough to use his knowledge to save the world.

Delivering fast-paced adventure on a global scale as well as sharp-witted satire on our concepts of power and faith, Marvel writer Charles Soule's audacious debut novel takes readers on a rollicking ride where it's impossible to predict what will happen next.




Ryan Wieser

The Glass Blade
Hunters of Infinity Trilogy 1
Rebal Base, March 6, 2018
eBook, 265 pages

The 2018 Debuts I Am Most Looking Forward To Reading - Part 2
The Hunters of Infinity have been protecting the Daharian galaxy for years, but there has never been a female Hunter—until now.

In a seedy bar in the shadowy corners of Daharia, Jessop comes to the rescue of young Hunter Kohl O’Hanlon. Impressed by her remarkable sword-wielding skills, the Hunters invite her to their training facility, the Glass Blade, though not all are pleased with the intrusion. But they soon discover that Jessop learned to fight from the rogue leader of the Shadow City of Aranthol—and escaped. Now they want to use her intimate knowledge of their enemy to destroy him. As Jessop grows closer to this elite brotherhood, their leader succumbs to a mysterious ailment, and Kohl learns that Jessop is hiding dark secrets, raising suspicions about the enigmatic woman who saved his life. Has the Hunters’ security been breached—or do they have a traitor in their ranks?

Allegiances will be questioned.

Loyalties will be betrayed.

Vengeance will be brutal.




Julia Whicker

Wonderblood
St. Martin's Press, April 3, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages

The 2018 Debuts I Am Most Looking Forward To Reading - Part 2
Set 500 years in the future, a mad cow-like disease called “Bent Head” has killed off most of the U.S. population. Those remaining turn to magic and sacrifice to cleanse the Earth.

Wonderblood is Julia Whicker's fascinating literary debut, set in a barren United States, an apocalyptic wasteland where warring factions compete for control of the land in strange and dangerous carnivals. A mad cow-like disease called "Bent Head" has killed off millions. Those who remain worship the ruins of NASA's space shuttles, and Cape Canaveral is their Mecca. Medicine and science have been rejected in favor of magic, prophecy, and blood sacrifice.

When traveling marauders led by the bloodthirsty Mr. Capulatio invade her camp, a young girl named Aurora is taken captive as his bride and forced to join his band on their journey to Cape Canaveral. As war nears, she must decide if she is willing to become her captor's queen. But then other queens emerge, some grotesque and others aggrieved, and not all are pleased with the girl's ascent. Politics and survival are at the centre of this ravishing novel.




Nick Clark Windo

The Feed
William Morrow, March 13, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

The 2018 Debuts I Am Most Looking Forward To Reading - Part 2
Set in a post-apocalyptic world as unique and vividly imagined as those of Station Eleven and The Girl with All the Gifts, a startling and timely debut that explores what it is to be human and what it truly means to be connected in the digital age.

IT MAKES US. IT DESTROYS US. NOW WE MUST LEARN TO LIVE WITHOUT IT.

The Feed is accessible everywhere, by everyone, at any time. It instantaneously links us to all information and global events as they break. Every interaction, every emotion, every image can be shared through it; it is the essential tool everyone relies on to know and understand the thoughts and feelings of partners, parents, friends, children, colleagues, bosses, employees . . . in fact, of anyone and everyone else in the world.

Tom and Kate use the Feed, but Tom has resisted its addiction, which makes him suspect to his family. After all, his father created it. But that opposition to constant connection serves Tom and Kate well when the Feed collapses after a horrific tragedy shatters the world as they know it.

The Feed’s collapse, taking modern society with it, leaves people scavenging to survive. Finding food is truly a matter of life and death. Minor ailments, previously treatable, now kill. And while the collapse has demolished the trappings of the modern world, it has also eroded trust. In a world where survival of the fittest is a way of life, there is no one to depend upon except yourself . . . and maybe even that is no longer true.

Tom and Kate have managed to protect themselves and their family. But then their six-year-old daughter, Bea, goes missing. Who has taken her? How do you begin to look for someone in a world without technology? And what happens when you can no longer even be certain that the people you love are really who they claim to be?

2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April DebutsInterview with Julia Whicker, author of WonderbloodThe View From Monday - April 2, 20182018 Debut Author Challenge - April DebutsThe 2018 Debuts I Am Most Looking Forward To Reading - Part 2

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