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What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 40


This is the fortieth in this new series of updates about formerly featured Debut Author Challenge authors and their works published or to be published since their last update. The year in parentheses after the author's name is the year that author was featured in the Debut Author Challenge.



Part 1 here Part 11 here Part 21 here Part 31 here Part 41 here
Part 2 here Part 12 here Part 22 here Part 32 here Part 42 here
Part 3 here Part 13 here Part 23 here Part 33 here Part 43 here
Part 4 here Part 14 here Part 24 here Part 34 here Part 44 here
Part 5 here Part 15 here Part 25 here Part 35 here Part 45 here
Part 6 here Part 16 here Part 26 here Part 36 here Part 46 here
Part 7 here Part 17 here Part 27 here Part 37 here Part 47 here
Part 8 here Part 18 here Part 28 here Part 38 here Part 48 here
Part 9 here Part 19 here Part 29 here Part 39 here Part 49 here
Part 10 here Part 20 here Part 30 here Part 40 here Part 50 here




R.S. Belcher (2013)

The Queen of Swords
Golgotha 3
Tor Books, June 27, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 40
1870. Maude Stapleton, late of Golgotha, Nevada, is a respectable widow raising a daughter on her own. Few know that Maude belongs to an ancient order of assassins, the Daughters of Lilith, and is as well the great-great-great-great-granddaughter of Anne Bonney, the legendary female pirate.

Leaving Golgotha in search of her daughter Constance, who has been taken from her, Maude travels to Charleston, South Carolina, only to find herself caught in the middle of a secret war between the Daughters of Lilith and their ancestral enemies, the monstrous Sons of Typhon. To save Constance, whose prophetic gifts are sought by both cults, Maude must follow in the footsteps of Anne Bonney as she embarks on a perilous voyage that will ultimately lead her to a lost city of bones in the heart of Africa—and the Father of All Monsters.

One of the most popular characters from The Six-Gun Tarot and The Shotgun Arcana ventures beyond Golgotha on a boldly imaginative, globe-spanning adventure of her own!





Carol J. Perry (2014)

Grave Errors
A Witch City Mystery 5
Kensington, August 29, 2017
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 364 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 40
Whose funeral will be next?

For residents of Salem, Massachusetts, the day after Halloween brings empty candy wrappers, sagging pumpkins, and a community-wide identity crisis. That is, until Lee Barrett’s TV production class suggests extending the spooky season with the traditional Mexican celebration Dia de Los Muertos. But when the students discover not all of Salem’s dead are resting in peace, the post-October blues don’t seem so bad after all . . .

As if a series of haunting graveyard visits isn’t disturbing enough, Lee and her policeman boyfriend connect the crime to an unsolved missing person case. Driven by a series of chilling psychic visions, Lee calls on her cleverest allies—including her shrewd cat, O’Ryan—to go underground and dig up the evidence needed to put a lid on a cold case forever . . . before the latest headstone in town has her name on it!


NoteMurder Go Round (A Witch City Mystery 4) is coming out on January 31, 2017. Read about it here.





Rob Reid (2012)

Forever On
Del Rey, May 2, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 560 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 40
The definitive novel of today’s Silicon Valley, Forever On flash-captures our cultural and technological moment with up-to-the-instant savvy. Matters of privacy and government intrusion, post-Tinder romance, nihilistic terrorism, artificial consciousness, synthetic biology, and much more are tackled with authority and brash playfulness by New York Times bestselling author Rob Reid.

Meet Phluttr—a diabolically addictive new social network and a villainess, heroine, enemy, and/or bestie to millions. Phluttr has ingested every fact and message ever sent to, from, or about her innumerable users. Her capabilities astound her makers—and they don’t even know the tenth of it.

But what’s the purpose of this stunning creation? Is it a front for something even darker and more powerful than the NSA? A bid to create a trillion-dollar market by becoming “The UberX of Sex”? Or a reckless experiment that could spawn the digital equivalent of a middle-school mean girl with enough charisma, dirt, and cunning to bend the entire planet to her will?

Phluttr has it in her to become the greatest gossip, flirt, or matchmaker in history. Or she could cure cancer, bring back Seinfeld, then start a nuclear war. Whatever she does, it’s not up to us. But a motley band of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and engineers might be able to influence her.

Forever On achieves the literary singularity—fusing speculative satire and astonishing reality into a sharp-witted, ferociously believable, IMAX-wide view of our digital age.





Mark Tompkins (2016)

The Last Days of Magic
Penguin Books, March 7, 2017
Trade Paperback, 400 pages
Hardcover and eBook, March 1, 2016

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 40
“Fantastic . . . an honest, beautifully detailed book and an entertaining read.”
—DIANA GABALDON, THE WASHINGTON POST

“A fantastical treat.”
PEOPLE

“Simultaneously sweeping and intricate . . . Tompkins’s amazing debut novel conjures an epic battle for the soul of Ireland. Filled with papal machination and royal intrigue, magic and mayhem, faeries, Vikings, legates, kings and queens, angels and goddesses, this is one wild and breathless ride.” 
—KAREN JOY FOWLER

“Plundering the treasure chest of human myths, from mysterious biblical giants to ferocious Celtic faeries, Tompkins has created a fantasy adventure with the shifting perspectives of dreamscape. A novel rich and strange.”
—GERALDINE BROOKS

What became of magic in the world? Who needed to do away with it, and for what reasons? Drawing on myth, legend, fairy tales, and Biblical mysteries, The Last Days of Magic brilliantly imagines answers to these questions, sweeping us back to a world where humans and magical beings co-exist as they had for centuries.

Aisling, a goddess in human form, was born to rule both domains and—with her twin, Anya—unite the Celts with the powerful faeries of the Middle Kingdom. But within medieval Ireland interests are divided, and far from its shores greater forces are mustering. Both England and Rome have a stake in driving magic from the Emerald Isle. Jordan, the Vatican commander tasked with vanquishing the remnants of otherworldly creatures from a disenchanted Europe, has built a career on such plots. But increasingly he finds himself torn between duty and his desire to understand the magic that has been forbidden.

As kings prepare, exorcists gather, and divisions widen between the warring clans of Ireland, Aisling and Jordan must come to terms with powers given and withheld, while a world that can still foster magic hangs in the balance. Loyalties are tested, betrayals sown, and the coming war will have repercussions that ripple centuries later, in today’s world—and in particular for a young graduate student named Sara Hill.

The Last Days of Magic introduces us to unforgettable characters who grapple with quests for power, human frailty, and the longing for knowledge that has been made taboo. Mark Tompkins has crafted a remarkable tale—a feat of world-building that poses astonishing and resonant answers to epic questions.

Guest Blog by Mark Tompkins, author of The Last Days of Magic


Please welcome Mark Tompkins to The Qwillery as part of the 2016 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. The Last Days of Magic was published by Viking on March 1st.



Guest Blog by Mark Tompkins, author of The Last Days of Magic




Creating Rules of Enchantment
For The Last Days of Magic


Magical worlds are wonderful places for readers to inhabit; however, they can be devilishly tricky places for writers to create. A delicate touch is required to strike an effective balance among competing factors. The magic must be powerful enough to be instrumental to the characters and storyline, and yet not so potent that the characters who wield it become indomitable and their stories therefore boring. I believe that flawed, vulnerable, and unpredictable characters are essential elements of a good novel. As I wrote The Last Days of Magic, I also wanted each aspect of the magical system to refer back to historical president or established mythology.

Consistency is key. What magic can and cannot do in the first chapter must be the same in the last. The reader cannot be expected to suspend disbelief and go with the narrative if the rules are not coherent and do not follow each other logically. When I read the final page of a fantasy novel, I want to be able to look back and think that having taken a couple of things on faith, the rest could have happened.

In The Last Days of Magic, all enchantments require energy to function. Magical practitioners can use their own life energy to power minor or mid-level spells. However, doing so exhausts them much like vigorous exercise, and excessive use can cause physical disfiguration and wasting of the body. There are only a few sources for additional energy.

Guest Blog by Mark Tompkins, author of The Last Days of Magic
Dark magic workers use stolen life energy extracted while killing humans and/or magical beings. According to existing precedents, including records of witch trials, the victim must be burned, boiled, or their fat harvested.

The Roman Church’s sorcerers, aka exorcists, use relics that were created by God or angels (e.g. the Ring of Solomon) or in intimate contact with them (e.g. the True Cross of Jesus). They can also use words and symbols of power that were once uttered or written by God or angels and recorded in grimoires – magical books. These provide a thread of connection to divine energy; however, they are too powerful for humans to wield safely and frequently end up corrupting their users.

Guest Blog by Mark Tompkins, author of The Last Days of Magic
Magical beings and noble human witches and sorcerers use natural magic. These enchantments are powered by Ardor, the original energy of conception. God used it to create the universe, angels, and humans. God allowed Ardor to linger on earth so that angels could create and populate the earth with lower life forms and terrestrial features, an effect intended to last a short time. However, some angels exerted their free will, abandoned heaven for earth, and propagated magic-wielding, half-human offspring called Nephilim, which resulted in Ardor remaining on earth. Ardor lingers for as long as Nephilim remain in a land. When Nephilim leave or are driven out, Ardor fades and thins, and becomes like wisps of mist that come and go as if carried on a breeze.

Runes were developed in ancient times to assist with working magic. These symbols can bend, shape, and block enchantments, but bestow no power of their own. For example, a witch can make a divination spell more accurate by inscribing runes on sticks before she tosses them. A witch hunter can paint runes on the skin of a witch to block her from using spells.

By the 14th century, when The Last Days of Magic is set, the Nephilim have been driven out of much of Europe. Ardor remains dense only in Ireland, but powerful forces from within and outside of the country’s borders threaten it, and a world that can still foster natural magic hangs in the balance.



Detail from Agostino Veneziano's The Witches Rout - This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 70 years or less. This file is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication
 
Angel Embracing Human by Daniel Chester French - This file is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.





The Last Days of Magic
Viking, March 1, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages

Guest Blog by Mark Tompkins, author of The Last Days of Magic
What became of magic in the world? Who needed to do away with it, and for what reasons? Drawing on myth, legend, fairy tales, and Biblical mysteries, The Last Days of Magic brilliantly imagines answers to these questions, sweeping us back to a world where humans and magical beings co-exist as they had for centuries.

Aisling, a goddess in human form, was born to rule both domains and—with her twin, Anya—unite the Celts with the powerful faeries of the Middle Kingdom. But within medieval Ireland interests are divided, and far from its shores greater forces are mustering. Both England and Rome have a stake in driving magic from the Emerald Isle. Jordan, the Vatican commander tasked with vanquishing the remnants of otherworldly creatures from a disenchanted Europe, has built a career on such plots. But increasingly he finds himself torn between duty and his desire to understand the magic that has been forbidden.

As kings prepare, exorcists gather, and divisions widen between the warring clans of Ireland, Aisling and Jordan must come to terms with powers given and withheld, while a world that can still foster magic hangs in the balance. Loyalties are tested, betrayals sown, and the coming war will have repercussions that ripple centuries later, in today’s world—and in particular for a young graduate student named Sara Hill.

The Last Days of Magic introduces us to unforgettable characters who grapple with quests for power, human frailty, and the longing for knowledge that has been made taboo. Mark Tompkins has crafted a remarkable tale—a feat of world-building that poses astonishing and resonant answers to epic questions.





About Mark

Guest Blog by Mark Tompkins, author of The Last Days of Magic
The Last days of Magic, published by Viking, is Mark Tompkins’s debut novel. He founded the Aspen Writers' Network and serves on the board of Aspen Words, a program of the Aspen Institute. He is a published poet and international award-winning photographer whose work is held in the permanent collections of museums in the United States and abroad. Born in Texas of Irish ancestry, Tompkins divides his time between Aspen, Boston, and Houston.




Website  ~  Facebook


Twitter @MLTompkins

2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - March Debuts


2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - March 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 2016 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 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 March 24, 2016.


Vote for your favorite March 2016 Debut Cover!
 
pollcode.com free polls




2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - March Debuts
Jacket photograph of woman copyright © 2016 by Jill Wachter;
Jacket stock photography copyright © 2016 by Thinkstock




2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - March Debuts
Cover design by Richard L. Aquan
Cover illustration © Chris McGrath




2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - March Debuts
Jacket art by Cliff Nielsen.
Jacket design by G-Force Design.




2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - March Debuts




2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - March Debuts




2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - March Debuts




2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - March Debuts
Cover photo illustration: Sean Freeman




2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - March Debuts
Cover art by Sam Kenney




2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - March Debuts
Jacket design by Lauren Panepinto
Jacket illustration by David Palumbo


Interview with Mark Tompkins, author of The Last Days of Magic


Please welcome Mark Tompkins to The Qwillery as part of the 2016 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Last Days of Magic was published by Viking on March 1st.


Interview with Mark Tompkins, author of The Last Days of Magic




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

Mark:  Writing has always been a compulsion; however, in school, I was told that creative writing would be very difficult for me due to my dyslexia. Once unfettered from academic restraint, I ventured into poetry, which felt approachable because it struck me as bad grammar raised to an art form. Photography was another creative outlet, as was writing nonfiction. However, writing a novel was always out there as the ultimate goal, yet out of reach. I took some workshops and even slogged through a two-year course on grammar for adult dyslexics. Eventually, it came down to either abandoning my dream or sitting down and writing my novel.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Mark:  I am a hybrid. The first thing I did was create an outline, which made it feel safe for me to write; however, I was careful not to become attached to it. When my characters charged off in unexpected directions, I let them and updated the synopsis, which happened every few chapters. That first outline was diagramed on a giant piece of white paper, but the final story does not look much like it (much to the novel’s benefit).



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Mark:  Editing. It was always hard to know when a paragraph, or a chapter, was truly finished. I became a great believer in working with professional editors. Before the manuscript was sent out I had it edited, then my agent and publisher both worked it over again. I was very lucky to have a hands-on team as the manuscript was finalized.



TQWhat has influenced/influences your writing?

Mark:  I am a voracious reader and there are a number of great authors that I count as influences. On on the fantasy side are C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Neal Gaiman and Lev Grossman. As for historical novels, I would say Geraldine Brooks and Ken Follett.



TQYou are a poet and a photographer. How do these affect or not you prose writing?

Mark:  Poetry forced me to become an efferent and lyrical storyteller. The Last Days of Magic has been described as an epic, yet it is less than four hundred pages. Photography refined my vision, which was great help in vividly rendering the various locations used in the novel.



TQDescribe The Last Days of Magic in 140 characters or less. /like a tweet/

An epic novel of Celts, faeries, mad kings, druids, and a goddess struggling to reign over magic’s last outpost on Earth – medieval Ireland.



TQPlease tell us something about The Last Days of Magic that is not found in the book description.

Mark:  There are elements of the novel the reader may think that I made-up, but are actually existing lore or even considered history. The novel contains numerous Easter eggs, if the reader is interested in hunting for them.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Last Days of Magic?

Mark:  Faerie is in my blood, or Ireland is, which is the same thing. My ancestors are from the counties of Clare and Meath, so when I resolved to write a novel about magic it had to be set in the Emerald Isle. I discovered a character who insisted that I write about her, one who was inspired by the Celtic legend of Red Mary. This led me to base the book on the premise that all the old legends, myths, and faerie tales were true and the magical beings in them co-existed with humans during medieval times. In those fables, faeries were depicted as powerful, dangerous, and tall – they could not procreate with humans if they were the size of dragonflies!



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Last Days of Magic?

Mark:  One of the great things about setting the book in Ireland, England, Italy, and France is that it gave me the perfect excuse to spend a lot of time there. Being on location helped me capture the atmosphere and the nuances of those incredible places. Hanging out with pagan groups in Ireland was also a lot of fun. While there I visited museums, historic sites, and talked with with historians. I also sought out eclectic used bookshops to rummage through for books on mythology, faeries, exorcism, and the like. My bookshelves became so crammed with tomes on witchcraft and demonology that a friend once quipped that he expected to arrive one day and find a crater shrouded in green mist where my house used to be!



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

Mark:  The hardest was Aisling. In service to the story arc, she has to be emotionally and psychologically challenged. I had to rework those scenes numerous times to make them convincing without being heavy-handed or trite. The easiest was the deranged imp, a demon familiar. Perhaps I was mining some previously unrecognized vein of darkness in my spirit, but for whatever reason his character flowed naturally onto the page.



TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in The Last Days of Magic?

Mark:  When writing a novel that has any historical grounding, I believe it has to address the prevalent social issues of the day. Otherwise the novel loses authenticity and power. In the case of The Last Days of Magic, one of the main issues is the suppression of women’s rights. This was a time when women who dared to become educated, or powerful, or in any way change the church’s male oriented dogma were branded as witches. Other issues include slavery and the control and limiting of literacy.



TQWhich question about The Last Days of Magic do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Mark:

Ask: What was your favorite part of writing the novel?

Answer: Much to my surprise my favorite bit about The Last Days of Magic was writing the villains. Characters who at least tried to be honorable felt more constrained by the story arc, whereas the antiheroes freely wrought havoc across the page. I always looked forward to a new one making an appearance. They ran amuck, stayed longer than I had planned, and generally did as they pleased. Their voices were strong and vibrant. I never really knew what they were going to say until I put ink to page (I am old fashioned in my writing tools). And they lent themselves to being killed, or otherwise subdued, in such exotic ways.



TQPlease give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Last Days of Magic.

Mark:  Even though I have read them at least a thousand times, the opening sentences still give me chills:
“Aisling fell through the rain in a land bright and dark, where the edges of contrast were sharp, often bloody. She had thought, even at thirteen, that she understood the many dangers of this land where the boundaries of the human and the Sidhe realms merged, as only someone who had been trained since birth to rule both worlds could. Now it was knowing, not understanding, that was carried on the tip of the arrow that had slipped beneath her left shoulder blade on its way to her heart.”
Here is the section when Jordan discovers that his new job hunting magical creatures may not suit him:
“That troubled him. Whenever he killed a man he felt a bit more alive, as if once again he had challenged death and come out the victor. But when he killed the Trolls— who had been hiding away from people and were relatively harmless unless attacked— he felt less alive somehow, as if he lost a bit of vitality with each drop of Nephilim blood that was shed.”


TQWhat's next?

Mark:  As I prefer novels not to leave me hanging, I resolved all of the major plot lines of The Last Days of Magic. That said, I am busy expanding the magical/historical hybrid world into additional countries, each with their own mythos. When I learned that European witch hunters were paid per witch, it was a discipline I had to investigate. A witch hunter character has emerged and she is determined to go up against some of the survivors of the first book, so I will have to let her out to play.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Mark:  Thanks for inviting me. It has been fun!





The Last Days of Magic
Viking, March 1, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages

Interview with Mark Tompkins, author of The Last Days of Magic
What became of magic in the world? Who needed to do away with it, and for what reasons? Drawing on myth, legend, fairy tales, and Biblical mysteries, The Last Days of Magic brilliantly imagines answers to these questions, sweeping us back to a world where humans and magical beings co-exist as they had for centuries.

Aisling, a goddess in human form, was born to rule both domains and—with her twin, Anya—unite the Celts with the powerful faeries of the Middle Kingdom. But within medieval Ireland interests are divided, and far from its shores greater forces are mustering. Both England and Rome have a stake in driving magic from the Emerald Isle. Jordan, the Vatican commander tasked with vanquishing the remnants of otherworldly creatures from a disenchanted Europe, has built a career on such plots. But increasingly he finds himself torn between duty and his desire to understand the magic that has been forbidden.

As kings prepare, exorcists gather, and divisions widen between the warring clans of Ireland, Aisling and Jordan must come to terms with powers given and withheld, while a world that can still foster magic hangs in the balance. Loyalties are tested, betrayals sown, and the coming war will have repercussions that ripple centuries later, in today’s world—and in particular for a young graduate student named Sara Hill.

The Last Days of Magic introduces us to unforgettable characters who grapple with quests for power, human frailty, and the longing for knowledge that has been made taboo. Mark Tompkins has crafted a remarkable tale—a feat of world-building that poses astonishing and resonant answers to epic questions.





About Mark

Interview with Mark Tompkins, author of The Last Days of Magic
The Last days of Magic, published by Viking, is Mark Tompkins’s debut novel. He founded the Aspen Writers' Network and serves on the board of Aspen Words, a program of the Aspen Institute. He is a published poet and international award-winning photographer whose work is held in the permanent collections of museums in the United States and abroad. Born in Texas of Irish ancestry, Tompkins divides his time between Aspen, Boston, and Houston.




Website  ~  Facebook


Twitter @MLTompkins





Book Tour

Interview with Mark Tompkins, author of The Last Days of Magic

Complete Information here.

2016 Debut Author Challenge - March Debuts


2016 Debut Author Challenge - March Debuts


There are 9 debuts for March. Please note that we use the publisher's publication date in the United States, not copyright dates or non-US publication dates.

The March 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 March cover for the 2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on March 15, 2016.

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 2016 Debut Author Challenge featured authors. However, any of these novels may be read by Challenge readers to meet the goal for March 2016 The list is correct as of the day posted.



Mishell Baker

Borderline
Book 1 of The Arcadia Project
Saga Press, March 1, 2016
Hardcover, Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - March Debuts
A cynical, disabled film director with borderline personality disorder gets recruited to join a secret organization that oversees relations between Hollywood and Fairyland in the first book of a new urban fantasy series from debut author Mishell Baker.

A year ago, Millie lost her legs and her filmmaking career in a failed suicide attempt. Just when she’s sure the credits have rolled on her life story, she gets a second chance with the Arcadia Project: a secret organization that polices the traffic to and from a parallel reality filled with creatures straight out of myth and fairy tales.

For her first assignment, Millie is tasked with tracking down a missing movie star who also happens to be a nobleman of the Seelie Court. To find him, she’ll have to smooth-talk Hollywood power players and uncover the surreal and sometimes terrifying truth behind the glamour of Tinseltown. But stronger forces than just her inner demons are sabotaging her progress, and if she fails to unravel the conspiracy behind the noble’s disappearance, not only will she be out on the streets, but the shattering of a centuries-old peace could spark an all-out war between worlds.

No pressure.




Stacey Berg

Dissension
An Echo Hunter 367 Novel 1
Harper Voyager Impulse, March 15, 2016
    eBook, 384 pages
Harper Voyager Impulse, April 12, 2016
    Mass Market Paperback, 400 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - March Debuts
For four hundred years, the Church has led the remnants of humanity as they struggle for survival in the last inhabited city. Echo Hunter 367 is exactly what the Church created her to be: loyal, obedient, lethal. A clone who shouldn’t care about anything but her duty. Who shouldn’t be able to.

When rebellious citizens challenge the Church’s authority, it is Echo’s duty to hunt them down before civil war can tumble the city back into the dark. But Echo hides a deadly secret: doubt. And when Echo’s mission leads her to Lia, a rebel leader who has a secret of her own, Echo is forced to face that doubt. For Lia holds the key to the city’s survival, and Echo must choose between the woman she loves and the purpose she was born to fulfill.




Elizabeth Bonesteel

The Cold Between
Central Corps 1
Harper Voyager, March 8, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 528 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - March Debuts
Deep in the stars, a young officer and her lover are plunged into a murder mystery and a deadly conspiracy in this first entry in a stellar military science-fiction series in the tradition of Lois McMaster Bujold.

When her crewmate, Danny, is murdered on the colony of Volhynia, Central Corps chief engineer, Commander Elena Shaw, is shocked to learn the main suspect is her lover, Treiko Zajec. She knows Trey is innocent—he was with her when Danny was killed. So who is the real killer and why are the cops framing an innocent man?

Retracing Danny’s last hours, they discover that his death may be tied to a mystery from the past: the explosion of a Central Corps starship at a wormhole near Volhynia. For twenty-five years, the Central Gov has been lying about the tragedy, even willing to go to war with the outlaw PSI to protect their secrets.

With the authorities closing in, Elena and Trey head to the wormhole, certain they’ll find answers on the other side. But the truth that awaits them is far more terrifying than they ever imagined . . . a conspiracy deep within Central Gov that threatens all of human civilization throughout the inhabited reaches of the galaxy—and beyond.




Gerald Brandt

The Courier
A San Angeles Novel 1
DAW, March 1, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - March Debuts
Kris Ballard is a motorcycle courier.  A nobody.  Level 2 trash in a multi-level city that stretches from San Francisco to the Mexican border—a land where corporations make all the rules.  A runaway since the age of fourteen, Kris struggled to set up her life, barely scraping by, working hard to make it without anyone’s help. 

But a late day delivery changes everything when she walks in on the murder of one of her clients. Now she’s stuck with a mysterious package that everyone wants. It looks like the corporations want Kris gone, and are willing to go to almost any length to make it happen. 

Hunted, scared, and alone, she retreats to the only place she knows she can hide: the Level 1 streets.  Fleeing from people that seem to know her every move, she is rescued by Miller—a member of an underground resistance group—only to be pulled deeper into a world she doesn’t understand.

Together Kris and Miller barely manage to stay one step ahead of the corporate killers, but it’s only a matter of time until Miller’s resources and their luck run out….




Davila LeBlanc

Dark Transmissions
Jinxed Thirteenth 1
Harper Voyager Impulse, March 1, 2016
    eBook, 384 pages
Harper Voyager Impulse, March 29, 2016
    Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - March Debuts
It is the late 23rd century. For engineers Jessie Madison and her husband David, a routine maintenance contract on board the orbital mining station Moria 3 has become a nightmare. Upon awakening from cryo-stasis, they learn a horrifying truth: while they were asleep, machines rose up against humanity...and won.

Marooned and at the mercy of the station’s malicious artificial intelligence, OMEX, David and Jessie rig an emergency transmission to broadcast into the darkness, desperately hoping someone is still alive to hear it...

Navigating the fringes of explored space in the Covenant Patrol vessel the Jinxed Thirteenth, Captain Morwyn Soltaine picks up a distress signal from a space station. But it’s broadcasting in Ancient Humanity, a language that has been extinct for several millennia. Even more incredible: there are two survivors on board. Morwyn’s rag-tag crew of reformed criminals mount a rescue op, unaware of the dangerous foe awaiting them. As the past and future collide, a routine mission becomes a deadly game of wits.




Sonia Orin Lyris

The Seer
Baen Books, March 1, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 656 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - March Debuts
ORIGINAL TRADE PAPERBACK! The debut of a stunning new talent. A poor, young woman rises to the heights of a crumbling empire, where she must speak hard truth to power in order to save a world from chaos.

Everybody Wants Answers. No One Wants the Truth.

The Arunkel empire has stood a thousand years, forged by wealth and conquest, but now rebellion is stirring on the borders and treachery brews in the palace halls. Elsewhere, in a remote mountain village, a young mother sells the prophesies of her sister, Amarta, in order to keep them and her infant child from starving. It's a dangerous game when such revelations draw suspicion and mistrust as often as they earn coin.

Yet Amarta's visions are true. And often not at all what the seeker wishes to hear.

Now in a tapestry of loyalty, intrigue, magic, and gold, Amarta has become the key to a ruler's ambitions. But is she nothing beyond a tool? As Amarta comes into her own as a seer, she realizes she must do more than predict the future. She must create it.




Tarn Richardson

The Damned
The Darkest Hand Trilogy 1
The Overlook Press, March 1, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - March Debuts
A gripping work of dark fiction set in an alternative World War I where unspeakable creatures roam and a ruthless Inquisition still holds sway

In this "sublime work of dark fiction" (Intravenous Magazine), set in an alternative World War I, unspeakable creatures roam the grisly trenches, and a ruthless Catholic Inquisition holds sway ― still powerful, but working in the shadows.

When a Father is brutally murdered int he French city of Arras, Poldeck Tacit―a determined and unhinged Inquisitor―arrives on the scene to investigate the crime. His mission: to protect the Church from those who would seek to destroy it, no matter what the cost.

As the Inquisitor strives in vain to establish the truth behind the murder and to uncover the motives of other Vatican servants seeking to undermine him, a beautiful and spirited woman, Sandrine, warns British solider Henry Frost of a mutual foe even more terrible lurking beneath the killing fields―an enemy that answers to no human force and wreaks its havoc by the light of the moon.

Faced with impossible odds and struggling with his own demons, Tacit must battle the forces of evil―and a church determined at all costs to achieve its aims―to reach the heart of dark conspiracy that seeks to engulf the world, plunging it even deeper into conflict.





Adrian Selby

Snakewood
Orbit, March 15, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 432 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - March Debuts
A LIFETIME OF ENEMIES HAS ITS OWN PRICE

Mercenaries who gave no quarter, they shook the pillars of the world through cunning, chemical brews, and cold steel.

Whoever met their price won.

Now, their glory days are behind them. Scattered to the wind and their genius leader in hiding, they are being hunted down and eliminated.

One by one.

A groundbreaking debut fantasy of betrayal, mystery, and bloody revenge. 




Mark Tompkins

The Last Days of Magic
Viking, March 1, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - March Debuts
What became of magic in the world? Who needed to do away with it, and for what reasons? Drawing on myth, legend, fairy tales, and Biblical mysteries, The Last Days of Magic brilliantly imagines answers to these questions, sweeping us back to a world where humans and magical beings co-exist as they had for centuries.

Aisling, a goddess in human form, was born to rule both domains and—with her twin, Anya—unite the Celts with the powerful faeries of the Middle Kingdom. But within medieval Ireland interests are divided, and far from its shores greater forces are mustering. Both England and Rome have a stake in driving magic from the Emerald Isle. Jordan, the Vatican commander tasked with vanquishing the remnants of otherworldly creatures from a disenchanted Europe, has built a career on such plots. But increasingly he finds himself torn between duty and his desire to understand the magic that has been forbidden.

As kings prepare, exorcists gather, and divisions widen between the warring clans of Ireland, Aisling and Jordan must come to terms with powers given and withheld, while a world that can still foster magic hangs in the balance. Loyalties are tested, betrayals sown, and the coming war will have repercussions that ripple centuries later, in today’s world—and in particular for a young graduate student named Sara Hill.

The Last Days of Magic introduces us to unforgettable characters who grapple with quests for power, human frailty, and the longing for knowledge that has been made taboo. Mark Tompkins has crafted a remarkable tale—a feat of world-building that poses astonishing and resonant answers to epic questions.

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 40Guest Blog by Mark Tompkins, author of The Last Days of Magic2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - March DebutsInterview with Mark Tompkins, author of The Last Days of Magic2016 Debut Author Challenge - March Debuts

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