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Guest Blog by Max Gladstone - The Agony and Ecstasy of Send

Please welcome Max Gladstone to The Qwillery as part of the 2012 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. Three Parts Dead will be published on October 2, 2012.


Guest Blog by Max Gladstone - The Agony and Ecstasy of Send


The Agony and Ecstasy of Send

Stop me if you've heard this one before: Our Hero wakes up in a white room—maybe a room in only the loosest sense, a featureless white expanse without floor, ceiling, or walls, or else an According-to-Hoyle room, complete with white bed, white tables, white chairs, white curtains. Perhaps Our Hero is confined to a hospital against her will. Maybe she's stuck in an insane asylum, or an extra-dimensional prison. Specifics come later. The room is the point, and the room is white.

The joke, of course, is that Our Hero is in exactly the same position as her author: staring at a featureless white space, defined at best by faint suggestions of detail. The empty page that confronts the author becomes the space the character must navigate.

I first read this joke years ago, in the Turkey City Lexicon; Bruce Sterling summed it up by wondering what would become of the venerable white room now that a writer starting a story is more likely to stare at a monitor than a sheet of blank paper.

The white room is alive and well, and will remain so until Skynet wakes up and word processor programs open with a pre-written page. But the white room has a new friend, a comrade in arms: the Terrifying Button.

You know the Terrifying Button. It's the button at the end of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, the one Tom Cruise pounds to stop the world from ending. It's the button the hero presses to stop the bomb, or blow the bridge. Jeff Goldblum's magic PowerBook in Independence Day is one of the great Terrifying Buttons of cinema. The entire last act of Joss Whedon's Serenity is one big quest for the Terrifying Button. Bonus points if, after pushing the Button (with their last ounce of strength), our heroes, and even sometimes the villains, stand back, hold their breath, and wait, and hope.

To qualify, the Button must be the pivotal moment of the plot: if the Button works, the heroes win, and if it fails, they lose. There's a Button in Alien—the self-destruct sequence—but it's not Terrifying. Pressing that Button doesn't save the world; it's one more failed attempt by the Nostromo's crew to stop their adversary. For a Button to be truly Terrifying, its activation must contain the possibility of success or failure.

I'm no social scientist or computational literary scholar; I've conducted no extensive surveys or interviews. But it seems to me that the Terrifying Button springs from the same font as the Mysterious White Room. The writer escorts her characters through adventure, heartbreak, mystery, pain, redemption, despair, and all the other million ills flesh and fiction are heir to, and at the end, everything—lives, futures, destinies, love—depends on the press of a button. And that button has the word 'send' in the middle. Off goes the manuscript, leaving the writer to pour herself a couple fingers of scotch and pace her room and watch her inbox and wonder: was the subject line eye-catching enough? Did I remember to fix that typo my friend caught on page 274? (Yes, I did.) Did the attachment attach? Does the (choose one or more: agent/editor/assistant/publicist/reviewer/gatekeeper)'s email strip attachments? What if they decided, in the 12 hours since I last checked submission guidelines, that Courier is an affront to typefaces everywhere and they now only accept manuscripts in Zapf Dingbats or ten-foot-high Braille? And, of course, the big one: what if everyone I know has been lying to me this entire time, and my book, my screenplay, my story, my memoir, isn't any good? Or, every bit as insidious: what if it is? What then?

That's the Terrifying Button: 'send' itself, and the heady mix of anticipation and fear it entails. If you live on the internet, you've encountered the Terrifying Button, when sending a love letter or sales email, a job or college application, a final paper or an OK Cupid message. Pressing the button is a mystical moment. By pressing it, you will discover something about yourself, and your work.

Which is why, I think, Terrifying Button moments can be so effective, even though they're patently ridiculous as story devices. Think about it: pressing the Button takes success or failure completely out of the hands of our main characters, and puts it in the hands of some anonymous IT department. The question of whether the Button works is outside the bounds of the story, unless the story has been about corporate IT at some nameless internet service provider and Tom Cruise was a last-minute arrival on the scenes.

But that's the point. The story is told, the writer presses the Button, off the story goes, and soon the writer learns whether the story works the way she hoped. The Button is the fundamental truth of storytelling: in the end, you let your story go, and see what the audience does with it.

Some Buttons make you wait longer than others. I pushed the Button for my debut novel Three Parts Dead about six months back—the biggest Button of my career so far, a Button that's the sum of either a few years or a lifetime of effort depending on how you look at it. On October 2, the book hits shelves, and over the next few weeks I learn the results of the fateful press. Forces are working behind the scenes, beneath the surface, and while I have the tiniest shred of influence over what happens next, for the most part it's out of my hands. The book belongs to the audience now. The button is pressed, and time will tell what happens next. All I can do is wait, and hope.

And take heart in the fact that I'm not alone. These days, we all live in the world of the Button.



Three Parts Dead

Three Parts Dead
Tom Doherty Associates / Tor Books, October 2, 2012
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

Guest Blog by Max Gladstone - The Agony and Ecstasy of Send
A god has died, and it’s up to Tara, first-year associate in the international necromantic firm of Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao, to bring Him back to life before His city falls apart.

Her client is Kos, recently deceased fire god of the city of Alt Coulumb. Without Him, the metropolis’s steam generators will shut down, its trains will cease running, and its four million citizens will riot.

Tara’s job: resurrect Kos before chaos sets in. Her only help: Abelard, a chain-smoking priest of the dead god, who’s having an understandable crisis of faith.

When Tara and Abelard discover that Kos was murdered, they have to make a case in Alt Coulumb’s courts—and their quest for the truth endangers their partnership, their lives, and Alt Coulumb’s slim hope of survival.

Set in a phenomenally built world in which justice is a collective force bestowed on a few, craftsmen fly on lightning bolts, and gargoyles can rule cities, Three Parts Dead introduces readers to an ethical landscape in which the line between right and wrong blurs.




About Max

Max’s novel Three Parts Dead will be published by Tor Books in October.

Max has taught in southern Anhui, wrecked a bicycle in Angkor Wat, and been thrown from a horse in Mongolia. Max graduated from Yale University, where he studied Chinese.

Website : Twitter : Goodreads

The View From Monday - September 3, 2012

The View From Monday - September 3, 2012

Happy first Monday in September! This week at The Qwillery mostly will be devoted to the 2012 Debut Author Challenge with Guest Blogs or Interviews with Steve Bein, Linda Grimes, Alex Hughes, Tom Pollock, and Max Gladstone. There will also be visits by J.R. Turner and Taylor Keating.

There are many books both print and digital out this week. I've also included September 1st releases. You may print a shopping list if you'd like by clicking HERE and then printing the PDF. The list can be made into paper airplanes when you are done shopping!


September 1, 2012
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Wicked Embers Candace Bowen Early PER
Tatsania's Gift (e) Kim Falconer F
A Lady and Her Magic Tammy Falkner PHR
Charming Blue Kristine Grayson PNR - Fates 8
Retribution (e) Cameron Haley UF - Underworld Cycle Novella
Reawakened Passions (e) Megan Hart PNR
Domain (ri) James Herbert H - Rats 3
Where There's a Will Karen Kelley PNR - Good Girl 2
Kiss of Steel (D) Bec McMaster SPR - London Steampunk 1
Hill of Bones The Medieval Murderers HistSuM
Legacy of the Witch (e) Maggie Shayne PNR - The Portal prequel
Incubus Wolf (e) Bonnie Vanak PNR - Ancients


September 3, 2012
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
How to Date a Henchman (e) Mari Fee FR
The Reluctant Amazon (e) Sandy James PNR - Alliance of the Amazons
Zoo James Patterson
Michael Ledwidge
Th/SF


September 4, 2012
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
How to Drive a Dragon Crazy G. A. Aiken PNR - Dragon Kin 6
Only A Shadow (e) Steve Bein F - A Story of the Fated Blades
Must Love Vampires (tp2mm) Heidi Betts PNR
Shadowbane: Eye of Justice Erik Scott De Bie F - Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms
Riveted Meljean Brook SPR - Iron Seas 3
Those Across the River (h2tp) Christopher Buehlman H
Accidentally Dead (tp2mm) Dakota Cassidy PNR - Accidentally 2
Accidental Magic P. C. Cast PNR - Omnibus
The Lost Night Jayne Castle PNR - Rainshadow 1
Monster Hunter Legion Larry Correia UF - Monster Hunter 4
Head Rush Carolyn Crane UF - Disillusionists Trilogy 3
Supernatural Born Killers Casey Daniels PCM - Pepper Martin Mystery 9
The Rapture of the Nerds Cory Doctorow
Charlie Stross
SF/Humor
The Asylum Interviews: Trixie (e) Jocelynn Drake UF - An Asylum Tales Short Story
Ravenous V.K. Forrest PNR - Clare Point Vampire 4
Beneath A Blood Red Moon Heather Graham PNR
The Kingmakers Clay Griffith
Susan Griffith
H - Vampire Empire 3
In a Fix (D) Linda Grimes UF - Ciel Halligan 1
An Apple for the Creature Charlaine Harris
Toni P. Kellner
F - Anthology
Pet Shop Boys (e) Kim Harrison UF - Short Story
Two Ravens and One Crow (e) Kevin Hearne UF - An Iron Druid Chronicles Novella
Falling Angel (ri) William Hjortsberg SuM
Ye Gods! (e) Tom Holt F/ Humor
Wish You Were Here (e) Tom Holt F/ Humor
Who's Afraid of Beowulf? (e) Tom Holt F/ Humor
Paint Your Dragon (e) Tom Holt F/ Humor
Overtime (e) Tom Holt F/ Humor
Open Sesame (e) Tom Holt F/ Humor
Odds and Gods (e) Tom Holt F/ Humor
My Hero (e) Tom Holt F/ Humor
Here Comes the Sun (e) Tom Holt F/ Humor
Grailblazers (e) Tom Holt F/ Humor
Faust Among Equals (e) Tom Holt F/ Humor
Expecting Someone Taller (e) Tom Holt F/ Humor
Flying Dutch (e) Tom Holt F/ Humor
Djinn Rummy (e) Tom Holt F/ Humor
Highland Hunger (tp2mm) Hannah Howell
Michele Sinclair
Jackie Ivie
PNR
Clean (D) Alex Hughes SF/M - Mindspace Investigations 1
Have Stakes Will Travel: Stories From the World of Jane Yellowrock (e) Faith Hunter UF - Jane Yellowrock
The Beautiful Being (tp2mm) Jessica Inclan PNR - Being 3
Dance with the Devil (ri) Sherrilyn Kenyon PNR - Dark-Hunter 3
The House of Thunder (ri) Dean Koontz H/Th
Death in Breslau Marek Krajewski M/O - Eberhard Mock Investigation 1
The Spirit Well Stephen R. Lawhead F - Bright Empires 3
Dragon Ship Sharon Lee
Steve Miller
SF - Liaden Universe 15
Lifestyles of the Rich and Undead (e) Katie MacAlister PNR
A Tale of Two Vampires Katie MacAlister PNR - Dark Ones 10
The Narrows Ronald Malfi H
Blood Forever Mari Mancusi PNR - Blood Coven Vampire 8
Dragon's Moon Lucy Monroe PNR - Children of the Moon 4
Shadows in the Mist Brian Moreland H
Breed Chase Novak H
Line of Fire Rachel Ann Nunes M/PNR - Autumn Rain Mystery 4
The Map of the Sky Félix J. Palma F - Map of Time 2
At the Edge of Waking Holly Phillips F- short stories
Primal Possession Katie Reus PNR - Moon Shifter 2
The Nightcrawler Mick Ridgewell H
Evil Eternal Hunter Shea H
Entice Jessica Shirvington UF - Embrace 2
Majipoor Chronicles Robert Silverberg SF -  Maipoor Cycle 2
Archangel's Storm Nalini Singh PNR - Guild Hunter 5
Blood Spirits (h2mm) Sherwood Smith F - Dobrenica2
Lord of Mountains S. M. Stirling SF - Change 6
The Skybound Sea Sam Sykes F - The Aeons' Gate 3
Candle Bay (ri) Tamara Thorne H
Haunted (ri) Tamara Thorne H
Moonfall (ri) Tamara Thorne H
Slow Apocalypse John Varley SF
Inhuman (e) Eileen Wilks PNR - World of the Lupi Novella
Every Breath She Takes Norah Wilson PNR


September 5, 2012
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Ghosts: Recent Hauntings Paula Guran (ed) F/H - Anthology
Circus: Fantasy Under the Big Top Ekaterina Sedia (e) F - Anthology


September 6, 2012
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The Necromancer's Grimoire Annmarie Banks HistF - Elysium Texts 2


September 8, 2012
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The City's Son (D) Tom Pollock UF/YA - The Skyscraper Throne 1


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


F - Fantasy
FR - Fantasy Romance
H - Horror
Hist - Historical
M - Mystery
PCM - Paranormal Cozy Mystery
PER - Paranormal Erotic Romance
PHR - Paranormal Historical Romance
PNR - Paranormal Romance
SF - Science Fiction
SPR - Steampunk Romance
Su - Supernatural
Th - Thriller
UF - Urban Fantasy

2012 Debut Author Challenge Update - June 5, 2012

2012 Debut Author Challenge Update - June 5, 2012



I have not posted a 2012 Debut Author Challenge Update in a while. I'd like to share some of the newest authors who will be featured in the Challenge as well as share some covers. You can keep up to date with all the 2012 Debut Author Challenge information here.



G. T. Almasi

Blades of Winter
Shadowstorm 1
Del Rey, August 26, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

2012 Debut Author Challenge Update - June 5, 2012
In one of the most exciting debuts in years, G. T. Almasi has fused the intricate cat-and-mouse games of a John le Carré novel with the brash style of comic book superheroes to create a kick-ass alternate history that reimagines the Cold War as a clash of spies with biological, chemical, and technological enhancements.

Nineteen-year-old Alix Nico, a self-described “million-dollar murder machine,” is a rising star in ExOps, a covert-action agency that aggressively shields the United States from its three great enemies: the Soviet Union, Greater Germany, and the Nationalist Republic of China. Rather than risk another all-out war, the four superpowers have poured their resources into creating superspies known as Levels.

Alix is one of the hottest young American Levels. That’s no surprise: Her dad was America’s top Level before he was captured and killed eight years ago. But when an impulsive decision explodes—literally—in her face, Alix uncovers a conspiracy that pushes her to her limits and could upset the global balance of power forever.



Steve Bein

Daughter of the Sword
Fated Blades 1
Roc, October 2, 2012
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

2012 Debut Author Challenge Update - June 5, 2012
May not be final cover
ANCIENT POWER

Mariko Oshiro is not your average Tokyo cop. As the only female detective in the city’s most elite police unit, she has to fight for every ounce of respect, especially from her new boss. While she wants to track down a rumored cocaine shipment, he gives her the least promising case possible. But the case—the attempted theft of an old samurai sword—proves more dangerous than anyone on the force could have imagined.

The owner of the sword, Professor Yasuo Yamada, says it was crafted by the legendary Master Inazuma, a sword smith whose blades are rumored to have magical qualities. The man trying to steal it already owns another Inazuma—one whose deadly power eventually comes to control all who wield it. Or so says Yamada, and though he has studied swords and swordsmanship all his life, Mariko isn’t convinced.

But Mariko’s skepticism hardly matters. Her investigation has put her on a collision course with a curse centuries old and as bloodthirsty as ever. She is only the latest in a long line of warriors and soldiers to confront this power, and even the sword she learns to wield herself could turn against her.



Leigh Evans

The Trouble With Fate
Mystwalker 1
St. Martin's Paperbacks, December 26, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

2012 Debut Author Challenge Update - June 5, 2012
The Back Cover copy from Leigh Evans website.
I HAVE TWO WORDS FOR WEREWOLVES:

My name is Hedi Peacock and I have a secret. I’m not human, and I have the pointy Fae ears and Were inner-bitch to prove it. As fairy tales go, my childhood was damn near perfect, all fur and magic until a werewolf killed my father and the Fae executed my mother. I’ve never forgiven either side. Especially Robson Trowbridge. He was a part-time werewolf, a full-time bastard, and the first and only boy I ever loved. That is, until he became the prime suspect in my father’s death…

BITE ME.

Today I’m a half-breed barista working at a fancy coffee house, living with my loopy Aunt Lou and a temperamental amulet named Merry, and wondering where in the world I’m going in life. A pretty normal existence, considering. But when a pack of Weres decides to kidnap my aunt and force me to steal another amulet, the only one who can help me is the last person I ever thought I’d turn to: Robson Trowbridge. And he’s as annoyingly beautiful as I remember. That’s the trouble with fate: Sometimes it barks. Other times it bites. And the rest of the time it just breaks your heart. Again…

First in the incredible new Mystwalker series!



Max Gladstone

Three Parts Dead
Tor, October 2, 2012
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

2012 Debut Author Challenge Update - June 5, 2012
A god has died, and it’s up to Tara, first-year associate in the international necromantic firm of Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao, to bring Him back to life before His city falls apart.

Her client is Kos, recently deceased fire god of the city of Alt Coulumb. Without Him, the metropolis’s steam generators will shut down, its trains will cease running, and its four million citizens will riot.

Tara’s job: resurrect Kos before chaos sets in. Her only help: Abelard, a chain-smoking priest of the dead god, who’s having an understandable crisis of faith.

When Tara and Abelard discover that Kos was murdered, they have to make a case in Alt Coulumb’s courts—and their quest for the truth endangers their partnership, their lives, and Alt Coulumb’s slim hope of survival.

Set in a phenomenally built world in which justice is a collective force bestowed on a few, craftsmen fly on lightning bolts, and gargoyles can rule cities, Three Parts Dead introduces readers to an ethical landscape in which the line between right and wrong blurs.



Alex Hughes

Clean
Mindspace Investigations 1
Roc, September 4, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

2012 Debut Author Challenge Update - June 5, 2012
Adam used to work for the Telepath’s Guild before they kicked him out for a drug habit that wasn’t entirely his fault. Now he works for the cops, helping put killers behind bars. His ability to get inside the twisted minds of suspects makes him the best interrogator in the department. But the cops don’t trust the telepaths, the Guild doesn’t trust Adam, a serial killer is stalking the city—and Adam is aching for a fix. But he needs to solve this case. Adam’s just had a vision of the future: he’s the next to die. [may not be final blurb]



Hanna Martine

Liquid Lies
The Elementals 1
Berkley, July 3, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

2012 Debut Author Challenge Update - June 5, 2012
Magic is corporate America's best-kept secret, and Gwen Carroway is the best at selling it...

With her ability to pick up any language in an instant, Gwen Carroway is taking her family business global. As dutiful future leader of water elementals, she'll do anything to protect her people's secrets and bloodlines--including enter an arranged marriage. Inside, however, she yearns for the forbidden.

Reed is a mercenary addicted to the money and adrenaline rush of his work. After he inadvertently saves Gwen's life, he ignites her taboo desire for men without magic--and with bodies of gods. Just as things heat up, Reed discovers that Gwen is exactly who he's been hired to kidnap. He resolves to put work before lust, yet her luscious beauty and fiery spirit unravel him...

But there is a terrible truth behind Gwen's family business--and now, caught between the kinsmen she no longer trusts and an enemy bent on vengeance, the only ally she has is her abductor...



Tom Pollock

The City's Son
The Skyscraper Throne 1
Flux, September 9, 2012
Hardcover and eBook, 480 pages

2012 Debut Author Challenge Update - June 5, 2012
Running from her traitorous best friend and her estranged father, graffiti artist Beth Bradley is looking for sanctuary. What she finds is Filius, the ragged and cocky crown prince of London’s mystical underworld. Filius opens Beth’s eyes to the city she’s never truly seen—where vast spiders crawl telephone wires seeking voices to steal, railwraiths escape their tethers, and statues conceal an ancient priesthood robed in bronze.

But it all teeters on the brink of destruction. Amid rumors that Filius’s goddess mother will soon return from her 15-year exile, Reach, a malign god of urban decay, wants the young prince dead. Helping Filius raise an alleyway army to reclaim his skyscraper throne, Beth soon forgets her old life. But when her best friend is captured, Beth must choose between this wondrous existence and the life she left behind.



Michael Poore

Up Jumps the Devil
Ecco, July 3, 2012
Trade Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

2012 Debut Author Challenge Update - June 5, 2012
John Scratch, the Devil himself, is the protagonist in this stunningly imaginative, sharp, funny, and tender novel, as he tricks, teases, and prods America to greatness in the hope of luring his lost love back down to Earth from Heaven. Up Pops the Devil is fiction with humor and heart, the kind of hilarious, off-beat, and original reading experience that fans of Chris Moore, Joe Hill, Chuck Palahniuk, and Jim Shepard would sell their souls for—a brilliant blending of the occult and the outrageous starring the anti-hero of anti-heroes, the one and only Prince of Darkness.



Megan Powell

No Peace for the Damned
Damned 1
47th North, July 10, 2012
Trade Paperback and eBook

2012 Debut Author Challenge Update - June 5, 2012
“In that last moment of consciousness I had to chastise myself. I was not supposed to live in this world without violence and pain. And I was an idiot to have ever let myself think otherwise.”

After a lifetime of painful imprisonment, Magnolia Kelch has finally escaped her family’s estate. Unfortunately, the outside world holds its own dangers and freedom can be a precarious thing. When a collision inadvertently pulls Magnolia into The Network – an underground organization fighting against supernatural terrorists the world over – she has to decide just how many new experiences she can handle and just how far she’s willing to go to protect her freedom.



Roberta Trahan

The Well of Tears
The Dream Stewards 1
47North, September 18, 2012
Trade Paperback and eBook

2012 Debut Author Challenge Update - June 5, 2012
More than five centuries after Camelot, a new king heralded by prophecy has appeared. As one of the last sorceresses of a dying order sworn to protect the new ruler at all costs, Alwen must answer a summons she thought she might never receive.

Bound by oath, Alwen returns to Fane Gramarye, the ancient bastion of magic standing against the rise of evil. For alongside the prophecy of the benevolent king, a darker foretelling envisions the land overrun by a demonic army and cast into ruin.

Alwen has barely set foot in her homeland when she realizes traitors lurk within the Stewardry, threatening to destroy it. To thwart the corruption and preserve her order, Alwen must draw upon power she never knew she possessed and prepare to sacrifice everything she holds dear—even herself. If she fails, the prophecy of peace will be banished, and darkness will rule.



Michael R. Underwood

Geekomancy
Pocket Star, July 10, 2012
eBook, 400 pages

2012 Debut Author Challenge Update - June 5, 2012
Clerks meets Buffy the Vampire the Slayer in this original urban fantasy eBook about Geekomancers—humans that derive supernatural powers from pop culture.

Ree Reyes’s life was easier when all she had to worry about was scraping together tips from her gig as a barista and comicshop slave to pursue her ambitions as a screenwriter.

When a scruffy-looking guy storms into the shop looking for a comic like his life depends on it, Ree writes it off as just another day in the land of the geeks. Until a gigantic “BOOM!” echoes from the alley a minute later, and Ree follows the rabbit hole down into her town’s magical flip-side. Here, astral cowboy hackers fight trolls, rubber-suited werewolves, and elegant Gothic Lolita witches while wielding nostalgia-powered props.

Ree joins Eastwood (aka Scruffy Guy), investigating a mysterious string of teen suicides as she tries to recover from her own drag-your-heart-through-jagged-glass breakup. But as she digs deeper, Ree discovers Eastwood may not be the knight-in-cardboard armor she thought. Will Ree be able to stop the suicides, save Eastwood from himself, and somehow keep her job?
Guest Blog by Max Gladstone - The Agony and Ecstasy of SendThe View From Monday - September 3, 20122012 Debut Author Challenge Update - June 5, 2012

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