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SPFBO 2016 - The Qwillery's Finalist


Melanie, Tracey and I read through the 30 novels assigned to The Qwillery as part of the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off though we each did not read all 30 novels completely. Some were not finished; some were not reviewed. Looking at all of the novels from the eyes of pseudo-literary agents this is the novel that all of us would pull from the slush pile for representation. There were of course other novels that we liked, but this was the only novel that we all liked - The Music Box Girl by K.A. Stewart is our finalist.


The Music Box Girl
by K.A. Stewart
Pirate Ninja Press, April 19, 2016
Trade Paperback, 262 pages
    eBook, April 26, 2016

SPFBO 2016 - The Qwillery's Finalist
FOR THE LOVE OF MUSIC Steam and steel are king, nowhere more so than Detroit, the gleaming gem of the world’s industrial crown. A beacon of innovation and culture, it is the birthplace of the mechanical automatons, and the home of the famed Detroit Opera House. It is where people come with their dreams, their plans, and their secrets. A young man with the voice of an angel and dreams of stardom. A globe-trotting heiress with a passion for adventure and memories of a lost childhood love. A mysterious woman with a soul made of pure music and a secret worth killing for. Beneath the glitter and sparkle, something sinister lurks at the opera, and three lives will collide with tragic consequences.



Tracey's Thoughts

The Music Box Girl opens as a young man seeks his fortune at the famous Detroit Opera House. Tony is grateful to be hired as a stagehand but he aspires to one day sing on stage. A mysterious cloaked woman promises to give him voice lessons with the stipulation that she remains anonymous. Tony agrees, believing her to be the mysterious ghost that the other stagehands have warned him about. Though odd, Melody's musical knowledge and talent is undeniable and he honors her request as he hones his skill. Tony gets his big break when the temperamental star tenor walks out on the production and he triumphantly steps in. Bess, a close friend from Tony's childhood, happens to be in the audience and the two quickly get reacquainted much to his tutor's displeasure. This complication begins a series of events leading to mayhem, murder and a mechanical monster.

The Music Box Girl is a delightful steampunk adventure that features a few of my favorite things: secret passages, automatons, a dirigible, and a very interesting love triangle. Tony, the would-be tenor, is a genuinely good guy with a heart of gold. He has strong feelings for both the dangerously single-minded Melody, and Bess, the bold explorer. Stewart's third person narrative showcases these characters' wildly diverse motivations and left me hard-pressed to pick a favorite.

There are plenty of action sequences that ramp up the excitement. My favorite is a game of cat and mouse in the many secret passages of the old opera house. Stewart's antagonist garners some sympathy which, coupled with the entertaining descriptions of the backstage antics and inner workings of the opera house, serve to enhance the complexity of the plot. I highly recommend The Music Box Girl; it's a thoroughly engaging and enjoyable adventure that I found difficult to put down.



Melanie's Thoughts

I read/tried to read almost a dozen books as part of SPFBO2016 and got quite disappointed in the quality of some of the submissions. It wasn't until I was asked to read The Music Box Girl that my faith in self-published fantasy returned. Stewart's tale of the mysterious Melody, the forthright adventurer Bess and the extremely talented Tony, is a real page turner. I thought that the staging of the main story in a late 18th/early 19th century steampunk version of Detroit worked well with both the setting of the opera house and with the overall plot arc. Stewart managed to create two strong female leads who were very different yet, mixed well with the serious and somewhat innocent Tony. The Music Box Girl is one of those rare books for me where I like every character and I really felt sorry for the antagonist by the end. Well done to Stewart for crafting such a different love story. This was one of those books I didn't want to put down.



Qwill's Thoughts

I really enjoyed every minute I spent reading The Music Box Girl. I love how the novel is framed and there were some surprises. The main characters, Tony, Bess, and Melody are very well done and I quickly became invested in each of them. The setting of the novel primarily at the Detroit Opera House and a steampunky Detroit was unique for me. Stewart does not dwell on how the steampunk inventions work but rather gives a bit of background about some of the inventions and does not get into any minutiae. There is depth to the supporting characters in the novel and the details about the Opera House and opera are fascinating.

Stewart's sympathetic writing of the antagonist, Melody, is exceptional. Over the course of the novel I came to understand her and even feel badly for her. Bess and Tony are both fully developed with Bess having an extremely entertaining back story. There is quite a bit of action and some death and gore as well. Much of the novel is a cat and mouse game with the cat having a huge advantage.

The Music Box Girl is fast paced, entertaining and raises some questions about the treatment of automatons and their place in society. Well done.

SPFBO 2016 - Some Reviews by Trinitytwo


Trinitytwo / Tracey reviews 5 of the novels that The Qwillery is assigned for the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off 2016.  With the exception of a few novels that we knocked out early upon a read of the first few chapters we are reading all of the novels though some end up not fully read even after initial interest. We will recap all of this in a post announcing the novel we are putting through .... soon.


SPFBO 2016 - Some Reviews by Trinitytwo
A Facet for the Gem
The Tale of Eaglefriend - Book One
by C. L. Murray

Orphaned and unwanted, sixteen year old Morlen has never fit in with the citizens of Korindelf. Morlen's one unlikely friend is the king's advisor, the wizard Nottleforf. As Morlen prepares to leave his birth city behind, the unthinkable occurs. The dying king learns of his son Felkoth's many treacheries against his kingdom and their loyal allies, the Eaglemasters. The king denies him the crown and the depth of Felkoth's malevolence is revealed. Felkoth seeks the mystical powers of the Goldshard to secure his bid for absolute power but is enraged to discover that Nottleforf has beat him to the prize. Before Felkoth can recover the shard, Nottleforf entrusts it into Morlen's care and helps him to escape to the magical Forbidden Isle. it is only when Morlen reaches the Forbidden Isle that his quest to discover his true self can begin. Meanwhile, Felkoth's tyranny has only begun.

C.L. Murray's tale of a young man fleeing for his life and running straight into the arms of destiny is a top notch epic fantasy adventure. Morlen is a likeable hero whose strengths and weaknesses hit all the right marks. The villain, Felkoth is the quintessential megalomaniac. Each heinous act he perpetrates adds to the desperateness of the hero's situation and greatly accelerates the plot. The budding friendship between Morlen and the eagle Roftome is a definite highlight . I also enjoyed learning the secrets of both Morlen's and Felkoth's heritage. My biggest complaint is that there is only one strong female character and although I admire Valeine's bravery, I didn't really connect to her.

I enjoyed the mythos of Murray's world and learning about some of its history. Packed with marvelous creatures, exciting action sequences and a journey of self-discovery, I wholeheartedly recommend A Facet for the Gem to any lover of fantasy.




SPFBO 2016 - Some Reviews by Trinitytwo
Dance of the Goblins
Goblin Series Book One
by Jaq D Hawkins

In a post apocalyptic world, humankind reacts violently when it is discovered that goblins live close by. Fear and blind hatred breed an angry mob that sets out to eradicate the presumed goblin threat. Only Count Anton and his community of magicians seeks to maintain peaceful relations with the goblin race. Count Anton works with goblins Hagruf and Talla to prevent a prophesy of potential death and destruction for all. Only by working together can they bring a balance and an understanding between the two races.

Dance of the Goblins piqued my interest with the promise of Goblin mythology. Hawkins sprinkled her story with information of their habits, ethics and way of life that captured my imagination. I was delighted to learn that there are more than one type of goblin and how each type fits into the goblin society. However, as the story progressed, Hawkins became preachy about humanity's endless list of faults. Hawkins' endless call outs of the human race for their arrogance, vanity, disrespect of women, and worshiping a sterile God, just to name a few, made for some tedious reading.

Count Anton was a bit too perfect for my tastes. A handsome, powerful shape shifter, he is one of the only reasonable humans in a world tainted by ignorance. I rooted for his endeavors but didn't feel much of a connection. The goblins, as I believe the author intended, were more to my liking and I enjoyed reading about Hagruf's and Talla's back stories immensely.

Dance of the Goblins has some interesting themes but because I felt bombarded with a constant negativity toward the human race, it raised my hackles. Although this is the only fault I find with this story, for me it is a major one. I enjoyed Hawkins' goblin history and really liked the fact that out of the three main POV's, only one was human. Unfortunately, I was not drawn into the dance but there were moments when I enjoyed it just the same.




SPFBO 2016 - Some Reviews by Trinitytwo
The Mighty
Book One of The Druid's Guise
by Michael J Sanford

Fifteen year old Wyatt is unique because he lives in two worlds. On Earth, Wyatt's grandmother and caretaker is hospitalized and he is sent to Shepherd's Crook, an institution for troubled children. He avoids dealing with the trauma of his situation by immersing himself in his imagination, naming himself Wyatt the Mighty and hurling fireballs, lightning, and ice spears at his enemies. Life is unbearable, until with the help of his pendant made of jade and driftwood, Wyatt is mysteriously transported to Hagion, a world where magic abounds. But Hagion is dangerous and Wyatt finds himself in peril almost immediately upon his arrival. Rescued by Rozen, a female warrior of the Draygan race, he is befriended by Mareck and Gareck, a duo from a benign race called the Children. As they teach Wyatt about his new environment and the ways of the Mother, Wyatt learns firsthand about the violent reign of the brutal Regency and boldly vows to free Hagion's inhabitants from their cruelty. For all Wyatt's blustering and assurances of his magical Druid's power, he is still a clumsy fifteen year old; can he really save them?

I feel somewhat ambivalent about The Mighty. The protagonist, Wyatt is not very likeable. I found it difficult to feel sympathy for him, and his habit of sloppy smiles and pushing up his glasses irritated me. However, I kept reading because I wanted to know what was really going on with this troubled teen. Sanford's technique of allowing the reader only brief glimpses into Wyatt's earthly situation will appeal to mystery lovers. Wyatt is clearly emotionally disturbed but although The Mighty contains numerous clues, Sanford leaves unanswered the very real question of Wyatt's sanity

I also really liked Wyatt's odd assortment of friends when he was transported to Hagion. Sanford's characters are really well written and practically burst from the pages. Although I didn't find Wyatt likeable, he was three dimensional. I also enjoyed the cast of supporting characters who were diverse and interesting. The gradual blossoming of Wyatt's relationship with his newfound friends as they encountered a multitude of obstacles on their quest is near perfect.

Problematic are the transitions from chapter to chapter. I was often confused and had to reread passages to figure out where Wyatt was or how he got into certain situations. I feel that some of this is intentional but at other times is not. The story is largely dark and rape, suicide, and mental illness are some of the stronger issues that make up this tale. I would only recommend this YA to older teens as I feel it's too disturbing for younger readers.

The Mighty reminds me of Michael Ende's The Neverending Story but without the emotional connection to Wyatt that I felt with Bastian. As this is only book one I am not sure where Sanford is taking Wyatt, but I fear that the story will get even darker and sadder. Frankly, I'm still on the fence about whether to continue reading future books in the series.




SPFBO 2016 - Some Reviews by Trinitytwo
The Music Box Girl
by K. A. Stewart

The Music Box Girl opens as a young man seeks his fortune at the famous Detroit Opera House. Tony is grateful to be hired as a stagehand but he aspires to one day sing on stage. A mysterious cloaked woman promises to give him voice lessons with the stipulation that she remains anonymous. Tony agrees, believing her to be the mysterious ghost that the other stagehands have warned him about. Though odd, Melody's musical knowledge and talent is undeniable and he honors her request as he hones his skill. Tony gets his big break when the temperamental star tenor walks out on the production and he triumphantly steps in. Bess, a close friend from Tony's childhood, happens to be in the audience and the two quickly get reacquainted much to his tutor's displeasure. This complication begins a series of events leading to mayhem, murder and a mechanical monster.

The Music Box Girl is a delightful steampunk adventure that features a few of my favorite things: secret passages, automatons, a dirigible, and a very interesting love triangle. Tony, the would-be tenor, is a genuinely good guy with a heart of gold. He has strong feelings for both the dangerously single-minded Melody, and Bess, the bold explorer. Stewart's third person narrative showcases these characters' wildly diverse motivations and left me hard-pressed to pick a favorite.

There are plenty of action sequences that ramp up the excitement. My favorite is a game of cat and mouse in the many secret passages of the old opera house. Stewart's antagonist garners some sympathy which, coupled with the entertaining descriptions of the backstage antics and inner workings of the opera house, serve to enhance the complexity of the plot. I highly recommend The Music Box Girl; it's a thoroughly engaging and enjoyable adventure that I found difficult to put down.




SPFBO 2016 - Some Reviews by Trinitytwo
Yesterday's Prince
By HD Lynn

Yesterday's Prince intrigued me with its opening. While on campaign against his uncle, the wizard Arniel Gains, prince Uther wakes disoriented and tied up in an unfamiliar marshland. As he struggles to escape his bonds, he is discovered by one of his loyal soldiers, yet Brinn looks upon him with hatred. Confused, he chances to glimpse his reflection in the water and realizes he has been somehow cursed to inhabit his uncle's body. Brinn attempts to take him back to camp for execution but the fae intercede on his behalf. He is brought to the home of Malmordra, a fae of exceptional powers, to recover. But how does one recover from a curse?

Yesterday's Prince is a solid fantasy. Lynn does a good job of conveying Uther's range of emotions. Trapped in his uncle's body, he alternates between being scared, frustrated, angry and full of despair. I like the idea of a curse that forces the young prince into his uncle's much older body and allows Arniel to inhabit his nephew's form and easily rule in Uther's stead. Uther's best friend Septimus is also a wizard and although young and nowhere near as powerful as Arniel, he is smart enough to realize that something is wrong. At the start of the story, Septimus is interesting and well-rounded but unfortunately as the story progresses he becomes rather flat and predictable.

There are some continuity problems as Septimus starts out as a wizard who is afraid to perform real magic but once in danger leaps full bore into some pretty grisly blood magic. His spells compel other humans to essentially become his puppets. Lynn mentions at one point near the end of the book what a powerful wizard Septimus is which confused me. When did that happen? Yesterday's Prince needs a bit more editing as typos also abound.

The parts that really drew me in and kept me reading are Uther's interactions with the fae. Malmordra and her daughters and their nonhuman way of thinking kept me entertained and turning pages. I hope Lynn plans on revealing Malmordra's past association with Arniel which is alluded to often in the course of the story. I am also quite attached to the goblin, whom Uther names Rosebud, and think that her relationship with the cursed prince is simply adorable.

Yesterday's Prince has some great fantasy elements and I think readers will root for Uther and his companions. Regrettably, the story lost steam near the end and didn't have much in the way of resolution. However, it shows promise and I'm definitely interested in reading about Uther's further adventures after some of the editing problems get worked out.

Review: A Wolf at the Door by K. A. Stewart


A Wolf at the Door
Author:  K. A. Stewart
Series:   Jesse James Dawson 3
Publisher:  Roc, August 7, 2012
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 320 pages
List Price:  $7.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780451464637 (print)
Review Copy:  Reviewer's Own

Review: A Wolf at the Door by K. A. Stewart
STAR STRUCK

Jesse James Dawson was once an ordinary man until he discovered that demons were real, and fighting them meant putting his own soul on the line. His new case is a beauty: Gretchen Keene, a Hollywood starlet who’s become an unwitting catalyst in an all-out demon war. It’s not her soul Jesse needs to protect, but the two-hundred-and-seventy-six others she’s carting around—all the souls sold to spend just one night with the blonde bombshell. That’s a lot of baggage, although it might explain her meteoric rise to fame. And it’s all up for grabs by the demon world.

All Jesse has to do is keep her safe until New Year's. Sounds easy. But darkness is casting a nasty shadow in the California sun—a new unseen enemy is closing in and leaving Jesse to wonder: how do you fight something you can’t see coming?



Doreen’s Thoughts

I do not usually read books that are somewhere further in a series – I prefer to read from the beginning of a series. A Wolf at the Door is actually the third book in the Jesse James Dawson series, and I wonder how I never discovered the first book, A Shot in the Dark. I have to give K. A. Stewart credit – while she starts off in the middle of the story, I would never have known this was not the start of a new series. She gives more than enough background information to fill me in on the events of the prior novels during the flow of this one. Kudos to her for that!

Jesse James Dawson is a champion – someone who fights demons for the souls of others. Somehow during the other novels, he would up owing a favor to a demon – without knowing what the favor was going to be, a rather dangerous notion. So when the demon appears to cash in his favor, Jesse has no choice. Even with a potential pregnancy for his wife on the horizon, he must leave immediately after Christmas to go to Hollywood and protect an actress – one who already has bargained her own soul away and has been collecting others for years.

Jesse expects not to like Gretchen, envisioning her as a spoiled, demanding star, and Gretchen initially lives up to that expectation. Two other bodyguards, Tai and Bobby, live and attend functions with Gretchen and are initially skeptical about the idea that demons exist and can harm humans. In particular, I liked Tai as a character. He is an aboriginal Maori, and as such, he apparently has magic running through his veins and is more closely connected to the supernatural than other races, yet he has spent his whole life discounting the old stories. His enlightenment and introduction to his powers is fun to watch.

I also enjoyed several other minor characters – the demon Axel, Gretchen’s best friend Dante, and the crazed homeless person, Felix. Stewart drops little details about each that positively draw the character before the readers’ eyes.

There is a whole level of “snarkiness” to Jesse – he reminds me tremendously of Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden. He has this whole attitude of “I’m here to save the world but I’m going to drop sarcastic comments every chance I can get.” I particularly like Stewart’s description about his choice of T-shirts – each one with a sarcastic quip on the front.

Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed A Wolf at the Door. After being in a reading slump for the past two months, it was a pleasure to rip through this as quickly as possible to reach the end. Now I have to go back and snatch up the first two to see what I missed!

Winners x 13 - August 25, 2012

And the winners are...


Darkness Devours (Dark Angels 3 by Keri Arthur - Ended August 3, 2012 - See the post here.

Winners x 13 - August 25, 2012

Question:  Which of the 4 Dark Angels' covers is your favorite?

Barb P who said...

Most definitely Darkness Hunts! I love the awesome colors. +1 Comment, +1 Follower



Winners x 13 - August 25, 2012



Choice of an eBook of The Fallen Queen or The Midnight Court by Jane Kindred. [Note if you chose The Midnight Court you will not receive your eBook until on or after the August 30, 2012 publication date.] - Ended August 11, 2012 - Read the Guest Blog  here.

Winners x 13 - August 25, 2012

Question:  What is one of your favorite traditions?

Caitlin Rahm who said...

I have a clam bake every year in October with my family which I love. Thanks for the giveaway!



Winners x 13 - August 25, 2012



Kitty Steals the Show (Kitty Norville 10) by Carrie Vaughn - Ended August 11, 2012 - Read the post here.

Winners x 13 - August 25, 2012

Question:  If paranormal and/or supernatural being exist, should they reveal themselves to the world?

rissatoo who said...

Great question, Q! :)
I'm selfish: I'd want to know if the paranormal/supernatural creatures existed in the world, but I wouldn't want them to be "out". Too many people hate &/or fear the different as it is. We don't need to introduce more into the world.



Winners x 13 - August 25, 2012



West of Want (Hearts of the Anemoi 2) eBook by Laura Kaye and West of Want T-Shirt (L or XL) - Ended August 12, 2012 - Read the Guest Blog here.

Winners x 13 - August 25, 2012

Question: Can you get a feel for how this song reflects this story?
What does it make you feel? And, if you’ve read the book, I’d be really curious to know if you think they fit together!


Alison Rush who said...

Looking forward to reading the book... I think they together from reading the song and excerpts. Going to have to download the song ... Would love a e copy and shirt click to sleep in. .... Alison  Thankyou



Winners x 13 - August 25, 2012



Blooded (Jessica McClain 1) by Amanda Carlson - Ended August 13, 2012 - Read the Interview here.   Please note that the winner will not receive the novel until after it is released in September.

Winners x 13 - August 25, 2012

Question:  What is one of your favorite novels, movies, comic, etc. that features a werewolf ?

Lona who said...

Bowen from Wicked Deed's on a Winter's Night by Kresley cole. Book sounds fantastic, Love the cover.



Winners x 13 - August 25, 2012



Hearts of Darkness (Deadglass Trilogy 1) by Kira Brady - Ended August 14, 2012 - Read the interview here.

Winners x 13 - August 25, 2012

Question:  Have you ever been or felt you have been someplace haunted?

Linda who said...

My grandmother's old house was in a really old part of the town - this was years ago when I was a young kid & before she moved in with us. That house was creepy! It was really dark & had very few windows & all the floor boards creaked. You'd never have caught me upstairs alone.



Winners x 13 - August 25, 2012



Clean (Mindspace Investigations 1) by Alex Hughes - Ended August 15, 2012 - Read the Guest Blog here.  Please note that the winner will not receive the novel until after it is released in September.

Winners x 13 - August 25, 2012

Question:  Cross Genre novels - love them or leave them?

sonsofcorax who said...

Cross-genre usually makes for fun reading, and I like reading what I come across. Adam Christopher's Empire State is a great example - noir, superheroes, time travel, pocket dimensions.



Winners x 13 - August 25, 2012



A Wolf at the Door (Jesse James Dawson 3) by K.A. Stewart - Ended August 15, 2012 - Read the interview here.

Winners x 13 - August 25, 2012

Leave a comment.

Bethany C. who said...

I think it's great you do a lot of research; I don't think a book, no matter if it's fantasy, benefits from being 100% made-up.



Winners x 13 - August 25, 2012



Three commenters will each win an eBook from Covet (Entangled Publishing)!  One commenter will win Deceiving the Witch Next Door by Melissa Bourbon Ramirez.  One commenter will win Tall Dark and Divine (Bagging a Greek God 1) by Jenna Bennett.  One commenter will win Take it Like a Vamp by Candace Havens. - Ended August 18, 2012 - Read the character interview here.

Winners x 13 - August 25, 2012

Question:  From novels, TV, movies - which fictional character would you go out on a date with?

Deceiving the Witch Next Door by Melissa Bourbon Ramirez.

June M. who said...

I do love the bad boys too. I would love to go out with one of the guys for Larissa Ione's Demonica & Lords of Deliverance series. Especially either Wraith, Ares, or Than.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tall Dark and Divine (Bagging a Greek God 1) by Jenna Bennett.

Maria pronounced Mariah who said...

As much as I love all the paranormal bad boys I think I would have to pick Roark for an actual "date" that man knows how to take care of a woman!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Take it Like a Vamp by Candace Havens.

books4me who said...

I would want to go out with a bad boy...something new for me so I would choose Eric from True Blood or Wraith from Demonica series (Larissa Ione) or Gregory from Dark series (Christine Feehan).



Winners x 13 - August 25, 2012



The Corpse-Rat King (The Corpse-Rat King 1) by Lee Battersby - Ended August 21, 2012 - Read the Guest Blog here. Please note that the winner will not receive the novel until after the publication date.

Winners x 13 - August 25, 2012

Leave a comment.

booklover0226 who said...

The Corpse-Rat King sounds like an exciting read. I have added it to my must have list. I'm heading to Lee Battersby's site to learn more about him.



Winners x 13 - August 25, 2012



Magic Gone Wild (Bottled Magic 3) by Judi Fennell - Ended August 22, 2012 - Read the interview here. US/CANADA ONLY


Winners x 13 - August 25, 2012

Question:  Which real town/city/village should be the basis for setting in a Paranormal Romance novel?

June M. who said...

I think that large cities would be best for paranormal series generally, especially for vampires, demons, witches, etc. Cities like NY, LA, NOLA. This way they can blend in, not have too many people too interested in them like in smaller towns.

But for shifters, I would think that areas with less people, more open space would be best (Alaska, desert areas, places with lots of woodlands, etc) so that they can shift and hunt but not have a lot of witnesses.




Winners x 13 - August 25, 2012


The winners have been notified and have until 11:59PM US Eastern Time on Saturday, September 1, 2012 to respond or The Qwillery will very randomly choose a new winner or winners.

Thank you!

Interview with K.A. Stewart and Giveaway - August 9, 2012

Please welcome K.A. Stewart to The Qwillery. K.A. writes the Jesse James Dawson series. A Wolf at the Door (Jesse James Dawson 3) was published on August 7, 2012.


Interview with K.A. Stewart and Giveaway - August 9, 2012


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

K.A.:  I have to do my hand writing or hard copy edits with pretty pens. Current preference is purple gel ink, but I’ve also been known to do deep red, or glitter, or… I have a pen problem.


TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

K.A.:  Mostly plotter. I like outlines, I try to map a book out chapter by chapter before I really start writing it. That’s not to say that my books don’t veer wildly away from my outlines. Especially when some of my outlines say “Stuff happens here.”


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

K.A.:  Probably always the worry that what I’ve put on paper is not nearly as cool as what I see in my head. I worry a lot that I’ve failed the reader, by not adequately conveying what I intended to. It results in a LOT of revising, sometimes down to nitpicky things, and that’s the point where I know I have to let it go. Otherwise, I’d still be poking around with every stray comma for years on end.


TQ:  What inspired you to write the Jesse James Dawson series?

K.A.:  My husband. He wasn’t finding the kind of hero he wanted to read about in the current UF market, so I finally sat him down and said “Okay, tell me about the kind of guy you want to read about.” A couple hours later, we had Jesse James Dawson and his world.


TQ:  What sort of research do you do for novels?

K.A.:  ALL kinds. Especially the kind where you start researching one thing, and then you click a link, and another link, and another, and then you realize you’re on a website about the mating habits of the wild Tasmanian rutabaga.

In all seriousness, I try very hard to get things right, even if I know only one person in the world is ever going to know if I got that particular fact wrong. This includes having highly trained senseis demonstrate fighting moves on me, Google-Street-Mapping an entire driving route in an unfamiliar location, all kinds of things.


TQ:  Which character from the Jesse James Dawson series has surprised you the most?

K.A.:  Axel, actually. His first incarnation was comic relief, and then he pointed out to me rather forcefully that he was Way More Important than that. And I love him to death.


TQ:  Describe A Wolf at The Door (Jesse James Dawson 3) in 140 characters or less.

K.A.:  When Jesse goes to Hollywood to protect a starlet with a cache of sold souls, he must fight an enemy who could literally be anyone.

(Ha! Had 9 characters to spare!)


TQ:  Tell us something about A Wolf at The Door that is not in the book description.

K.A.:  In addition to his usual demon-slaying hijinks, Jesse is also facing a major potential change to his personal life. Way to divide a man’s focus!


TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in A Wolf at The Door?

K.A.:  Hard to pick a favorite, but one of the ones I’m pleased with was the night club scene with the waitress. Mostly because it is based on something that actually happened, and I shamelessly lifted it for my own purposes.


TQ:  The Jesse James Dawson series is Urban Fantasy. Are there any other genres or sub-genres in which you'd like to write?

K.A.:  I think I’ll always write fantasy or urban fantasy. That’s where my heart is. That’s not to say that I won’t expand to include more, if the inspiration strikes me, but I imagine I’ll always return home.


TQ:  What's next?

K.A.:  I don’t have any concrete news for the JJD series yet, but while I’m waiting, I’m working on several new projects that I’m really excited about, including a fantasy western and another UF series involving a supernatural fire fighter.


TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery

K.A.:  Thanks for having me! I love hanging out here!



About Jesse James Dawson

A Wolf at the Door
Jess James Dawson 3
Roc, August 7, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

Interview with K.A. Stewart and Giveaway - August 9, 2012
STAR STRUCK

Jesse James Dawson was once an ordinary man until he discovered that demons were real, and fighting them meant putting his own soul on the line. His new case is a beauty: Gretchen Keene, a Hollywood starlet who’s become an unwitting catalyst in an all-out demon war. It’s not her soul Jesse needs to protect, but the two-hundred-and-seventy-six others she’s carting around—all the souls sold to spend just one night with the blonde bombshell. That’s a lot of baggage, although it might explain her meteoric rise to fame. And it’s all up for grabs by the demon world.

All Jesse has to do is keep her safe until New Year's. Sounds easy. But darkness is casting a nasty shadow in the California sun—a new unseen enemy is closing in and leaving Jesse to wonder: how do you fight something you can’t see coming?



A Shot in the Dark
Jesse James Dawson 2
Roc, July 5, 2011
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

Interview with K.A. Stewart and Giveaway - August 9, 2012
Jesse James Dawson's vacation is interrupted by a pack of hell-spawned creatures. To save friends, family and himself, Jesse will have to put his trust in his most dangerous enemy-his personal demon.



A Devil in the Details
Jesse James Dawson 1
Roc, July 6. 2010
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

Interview with K.A. Stewart and Giveaway - August 9, 2012
When it comes to demons, always read the find print.

Jesse James Dawson was an ordinary guy (well, an ordinary guy with a black belt in karate) until one day he learned his brother had made a bargain with a demon, Jesse discovered there was only one way to save his brother: put up his own soul as collateral, and fight the demon to the death

Jesse lived to free his brother-and became part of a loose organization of Champions who put their own souls on the line to help those who get in over their heads with demons. But now experienced Champions are losing battles at a much higher rate than usual. Someone has changed the game. And if Jesse can't figure out the new rules, his next battle may be his last...





About K.A. Stewart

Interview with K.A. Stewart and Giveaway - August 9, 2012
K.A. Stewart has a BA in English with an emphasis in Literature from William Jewell College. She lives in Missouri with her husband, daughter, one cat, and one small furry demon that thinks it's a cat.






Website : Facebook : Twitter













The Giveaway

THE RULES

What:  One commenter will win a copy of A Wolf at the Door (Jesse James Dawson 3) from The Qwillery.

How:  Leave a comment.

Please remember - if you don't leave a comment your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1)   Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2)   Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

There are a total of 3 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry) and Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry).  This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook or Twitter mentions. You MUST leave a way to contact you.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Wednesday, August 15, 2012. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

The View From Monday - August 6, 2012

Happy First Monday in August! This week at The Qwillery:

Monday - 2012 Debut Author Challenge Interview with Amanda Carlson. Amanda's debut, Full Blooded (Jessica McClain 1), will be published on September 11, 2012.

Tuesday - 2012 Debut Author Challenge Interview with Kira Brady. Kira's debut, Hearts of Darkness (Deadglass 1), will be published on August 7, 2012.

Wednesday - 2012 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blog - “Crossing Genres” - by Alex Hughes. Clean (Mindspace Investigations 1), Alex's debut, will be published on September 4. 2012.

Thursday - Interview with K.A. Stewart. A Wolf at the Door (Jesse James Dawson 3) will be published on August 7, 2012.

Friday - 2012 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blog by Adam McOmber. The White Forest will be published on September 11, 2012.

Saturday -  Interview with Storie Bell, Eros and Nick Christos, characters from the first 3 novels from Entangled Publishing's Covet imprint: Deceiving the Witch Next Door by Melissa Bourbon Ramirez, Tall Dark and Divine by Jenna Bennett and  Take it Like a Vamp by Candace Havens.

August 2012 Cover Wars will start this weekend. The winners from Paranormal Cozy Mystery Month will be announced this week. There are 17 giveaways to go through so please be patient!


There are a lot of books out this week. You can find a printable PDF of this week's releases by clicking here. You can print it out to take to the bookstore or just check off books as you order online or on your e-reader.

August 7, 2012
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Mercy Kill Aaron Allston SF - Star Wars X-Wing 10
Black Gold Vivian Arend PNR - Tahkini Wolves 1
I Ate the Sheriff K. Bennett UF - Mallory Caine, Zombie at Law 3
A Witch Before Dying Heather Blake PCM - Wishcraft Mystery 2
Hearts of Darkness Kira Brady PNR - Deadglass Trilogy 1
Ghost Story (h2emm) Jim Butcher UF - Dresden Files 13
Forget Me Not (e) Shannon K. Butcher PNR
Two Weeks' Notice Rachel Caine UF - Revivalist 2
Containment Christian Cantrell SF
Desire After Dark Jo Carlisle PER - Lords of Pleasure 2
Dying Echo Judy Clemens PM - Grim Reaper Mystery 4
Dying For You MaryJanice Davidson PNR - Short Stories
A Bloody Good Secret Sierra Dean UF - Secret McQueen 2
SS-GB (ri) Len Deighton AH
Wilder Christina Dodd PNR - Chosen Ones 5
Soul Weaver (e) Hailey Edwards PNR
The Clockwork Rocket (h2tp) Greg Egan SPF - Orthogonal 1
Wolf's Trap (ri) W. D. Gagliani H - Nick Lupo 1
My Favorite Fangs: The Story of the Von Trapp Family Vampires Alan Goldsher MU
Precinct 13 Tate Hallaway UF
The Fate of the Dwarves Markus Heitz F - Dwarves 4
Libriomancer Jim C. Hines F - Magic ex Libris 1
Kept by Seduction Jaymie Holland PER
The Broken Ones Stephen M. Irwin Su Crime
Time Untime Sherrilyn Kenyon PNR - Dark Hunter 22
Love on the Run Katharine Kerr SF - Nola O’Grady 4
Night Shift (ri) Stephen King H - Collection
Master of Darkness Angela Knight PNR - Mageverse
The Vision (ri) Dean Koontz H
King of Thorns Mark Lawrence F - Broken Empire 2
Stygian's Honor Lora Leigh PNR - Breeds 27
Shadowlands Violette Malan F - Mirror Prince 2
Girl Blue Alan Nayes H
Biting Cold Chloe Neill UF - Chicagoland Vampires 6
Ice and Shadow Andre Norton SF - Omnibus
Heart Secret Robin D. Owens PNR - Celta 11
Haunted Las Vegas: Famous Phantoms, Creepy Casinos, and Gambling Ghosts Paul W. Papa H
The Constantine Affliction (d) T. Aaron Payton SPF
Low Town (h2tp) Daniel Polansky F
The Diviner (h2mm) Melanie Rawn F - Golden Key Universe
Seawitch Kat Richardson UF - Greywalker 7
Queen of Wands John Ringo SF - Special Circumstances 2
Cipher Moira Rogers PNR - Southern Arcana 4
Blood Bath & Beyond Michelle Rowen PCM - An Immortality Bites Mystery 1
The Iron Wyrm Affair Lilith Saintcrow SPF - Bannon and Clare 1
Charon's Claw R.A. Salvatore F - Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms: Neverwinter Saga 3
Downward to the Earth (ri) Robert Silverberg SF
In the House of the Wicked Thomas E. Sniegoski UF - Remy Chandler
The Grass King's Concubine Kari Sperring F
Bruja Brouhaha Rochelle Staab PCM - A Mind for Murder Mystery 2
A Wolf at the Door K. A. Stewart UF - Jesse James Dawson 3
Haunted New Orleans: Southern Spirits, Garden District Ghosts, and Vampire Venues Bonnye E. Stuart H
The Black Isle (d) Sandi Tan F
The Mammoth Book of Ghost Romance Trisha Telep (ed) Anthology
Blood and Silver James R. Tuck UF - Deacon Chalk: Occult Bounty Hunter 2
When Diplomacy Fails... Michael Z. Williamson SF - Freehold: Ripple Creek 3
Eternal Beast Laura Wright PNR - Mark of the Vampire 4


August 10, 2012
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Today's Promise Danielle Ackley-McPhail F - Eternal Cycle 3


d - Debut
h2emm - Hardcover to Enhanced Mass Market Paperback
h2mm - Hardcover to Mass Market Paperback
h2tp -Hardcover to Trade Paperback
ri - Reissue or Reprint

AH - Alternate History
F - Fantasy
H - Horror
MU - Mash-up
PCM - Paranormal Cozy Mystery
PER - Paranormal Erotic Romance
PHR - Paranormal Historical Romance
PM - Paranormal Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
SF - Science Fiction
SPF - Steampunk Fantasy
Su - Supernatural

Winners! - July 30, 2011

Here are the winners of some recent giveaways.


Dead Iron: The Age of Steam by Devon Monk and 17 Jewels from Cemetery Cat Jewelry

Winners! - July 30, 2011

Winners! - July 30, 2011


pattepoilue who said

My favorite genre is Historical romance! I love UF and Steampunk too but I tend to read more historicals ;)



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Hunted by Others, Taken by Others, or Deceived by Others - winner's choice or 1 of these books

Winners! - July 30, 2011

marybelle who said

What does it say about me that my favorite video game right now is LEGO Harry Potter?



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A Shot in the Dark (Jesse James Dawson 2)

Winners! - July 30, 2011


Theresa @ Fade Into Fantasy who said

Oh my goodness, yes! I get sidetracked wayyyy too easily when searching the internet. LOL Thanks for the giveaway!



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A Taste of the Nightlife (Vampire Chef Mystery 1) by Sarah Zettel

Winners! - July 30, 2011

cyn209 who said...

my favorite snack or meal??? too many choices, by i would have to say favorite snack is CHIPS!! favorite meals???? spaghetti or pizza!!!!



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Vampire Babylon series by Chris Marie Green

Winners! - July 30, 2011

Gail who said

I love all westerns! Rio Bravo is one of my favs. John Wayne, Dean Martin & Ricky Nelson, it had it all :-) My current favorite postapocalytic book(s) are Faith Hunter's Rogue Mage series. I'm looking forward to reading Bloodlands!




The winners have been notified and have until Saturday, August 6, 2011 at 11:59PM US Eastern Time to claim their goodies or The Qwillery will very randomly choose a new winner or winners.

As usual... thank you to everyone who participated!

Guest Blog: The Dark Side of Research by K.A. Stewart and Giveaway - July 8, 2011

Please welcome K.A. Stewart to The Qwillery.


The Dark Side of Research

Everybody thinks that the great thing about writing fiction is that we can just make things up and it doesn’t matter if it’s real or not. So not true!

In order to make something fantastic truly believable, there must be a few grains of truth in there. The easiest way to suspend disbelief is to base it on something factual. And the easiest way to do that is to do research.

I don’t know a single author that doesn’t do a lot of research. Sometimes, the research is extensive. Historical authors are known for this. It takes a lot of work to make sure that everything in a historical novel is true to the time period. It can be something as small as figuring out just when the high heel was introduced into regular fashion, or something as large as knowing the exact geographical areas were covered by a key historical battle.

Sometimes, you do the research just for one sentence, one tiny factual thing that you want to have correct. Do Glocks have a safety? What is the melting temperature of silver? What plant is known to have magic-neutralizing properties? It may seem insignificant, but for a reader who knows the correct answer to any of those questions, getting it wrong can yank them right out of the story.

The internet makes research a breeze. Anything you can think of, you can type into a search engine and pull up a hundred different links to possible sources. However, there is a dark side of internet research, one that will suck a writer down into a black abyss from which they might never emerge.

And no, I’m not talking about typing that phrase into Google that you think sounds innocent, only to pull up sites that no amount of brain bleach can remedy. No, I’m talking about the hazard of too much research.

With a wealth of knowledge just a mouse click away, it is entirely too easy to become lost wandering the information highway. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to look up one tiny fact for one tiny sentence, only to find myself four hours later with more knowledge of the history of the yo-yo than is healthy and I haven’t written a single word!

Beware the black hole of internet research. You may set out aiming to look up how many bullets a certain magazine holds, but the next thing you know, you’re lost in the realm of low-sodium soup recipes, misspelled cat captions, and vintage clothing knock-offs. Time ceases to have meaning, and you may not realize you’ve forgotten to feed your pets until they start nibbling on your toes.

It is best, when researching, to use the buddy system. Let someone know that you’re going in, and arrange to have them check on you after a pre-determined time period. Often, even putting the research aside for a few moments to answer a Tweet or a text can free you from the hypnotic spell. Resist the urge to have your research buddy accompany you into the internet, as this usually only results in both of you becoming lost. Sadly, two people can become ensnared even easier than one.

If you don’t have a research buddy available, try setting an alarm for yourself, perhaps on your cell phone. Or, order a pizza shortly before you begin. When you have to leave the computer to pay the pizza guy, you stand a better chance of extracting yourself from the research fog.

Research is a fun and fascinating activity, but it should only practiced with all safety precautions taken. By following the few simple suggestions above, we will all live to write another day.


About K.A.'s Books

A Devil in the Details
Jesse James Dawson 1
(ROC, July 6. 2010)
Guest Blog:  The Dark Side of Research by K.A. Stewart and Giveaway - July 8, 2011
When it comes to demons, always read the find print.

Jesse James Dawson was an ordinary guy (well, an ordinary guy with a black belt in karate) until one day he learned his brother had made a bargain with a demon, Jesse discovered there was only one way to save his brother: put up his own soul as collateral, and fight the demon to the death

Jesse lived to free his brother-and became part of a loose organization of Champions who put their own souls on the line to help those who get in over their heads with demons. But now experienced Champions are losing battles at a much higher rate than usual. Someone has changed the game. And if Jesse can't figure out the new rules, his next battle may be his last...

Amazon : B&N : Book Depository : Borders


A Shot in the Dark
Jesse James Dawson 2
(ROC, July 5, 2011)
Guest Blog:  The Dark Side of Research by K.A. Stewart and Giveaway - July 8, 2011
Jesse James Dawson's vacation is interrupted by a pack of hell-spawned creatures. To save friends, family and himself, Jesse will have to put his trust in his most dangerous enemy-his personal demon.


Amazon : B&N : Book Depository : Borders
















About K.A. Stewart

Guest Blog:  The Dark Side of Research by K.A. Stewart and Giveaway - July 8, 2011
K.A. Stewart has a BA in English with an emphasis in Literature from William Jewell College. She lives in Missouri with her husband, daughter, one cat, and one small furry demon that thinks it's a cat.


K.A.'s Links:

Blogs:
On Literary Intent
The League of Reluctant Adults (group)

Twitter





The Giveaway

THE RULES

What:  One commenter will win a Mass Market Paperback copy of A Shot in the Dark (Jesse James Dawson 2) from The Qwillery.

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

Have you ever " become lost wandering the information highway?"

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Friday, July 15, 2011. Void where prohibited by law.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*
SPFBO 2016 - The Qwillery's FinalistSPFBO 2016 - Some Reviews by TrinitytwoReview: A Wolf at the Door by K. A. StewartWinners x 13 - August 25, 2012Interview with K.A. Stewart and Giveaway - August 9, 2012Winners! - July 30, 2011Guest Blog:  The Dark Side of Research by K.A. Stewart and Giveaway - July 8, 2011

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