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A blog about books and other things speculative

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Covers Revealed - Upcoming Works by DAC Authors


Here are some of the upcoming works by formerly featured DAC Authors! The year in parentheses is the year the author was featured in the DAC.


Keith Rosson (2017)

Smoke City
Meerkat Press, January 23, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 325 pages

Marvin Deitz has some serious problems. His mob-connected landlord is strong-arming him out of his storefront. His therapist has concerns about his stability. He's compelled to volunteer at the local Children's Hospital even though it breaks his heart every week.

Oh, and he's also the guilt-ridden reincarnation of Geoffroy Thérage, the French executioner who lit Joan of Arc's pyre in 1431. He's just seen a woman on a Los Angeles talk show claiming to be Joan, and absolution seems closer than it's ever been . . . but how will he find her?

When Marvin heads to Los Angeles to locate the woman who may or may not be Joan, he's picked up hitchhiking by Mike Vale, a self-destructive alcoholic painter traveling to his ex-wife's funeral. As they move through a California landscape populated with "smokes" (ghostly apparitions that've inexplicably begun appearing throughout the southwestern US), each seeks absolution in his own way.





Matthew Sullivan (2017)

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore
Scribner, January 9, 2018
Trade Paperback, 352 pages
Hardcover and eBook, June 13, 2017

When a bookshop patron commits suicide, his favorite store clerk must unravel the puzzle he left behind in this “intriguingly dark, twisty” (Kirkus Reviews) debut novel from an award-winning short story writer.

Lydia Smith lives her life hiding in plain sight. A clerk at the Bright Ideas bookstore, she keeps a meticulously crafted existence among her beloved books, eccentric colleagues, and the BookFrogs—the lost and lonely regulars who spend every day marauding the store’s overwhelmed shelves.

But when Joey Molina, a young, beguiling BookFrog, kills himself in the bookstore’s upper room, Lydia’s life comes unglued. Always Joey’s favorite bookseller, Lydia has been bequeathed his meager worldly possessions. Trinkets and books; the detritus of a lonely, uncared for man. But when Lydia flips through his books she finds them defaced in ways both disturbing and inexplicable. They reveal the psyche of a young man on the verge of an emotional reckoning. And they seem to contain a hidden message. What did Joey know? And what does it have to do with Lydia?

As Lydia untangles the mystery of Joey’s suicide, she unearths a long buried memory from her own violent childhood. Details from that one bloody night begin to circle back. Her distant father returns to the fold, along with an obsessive local cop, and the Hammerman, a murderer who came into Lydia’s life long ago and, as she soon discovers, never completely left. “Both charming and challenging” (Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review), Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore is a “multi-generational tale of abandonment, desperation, and betrayal…inventive and intricately plotted” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).





Melodie Winawer (2017)

The Scribe of Siena
Touchstone, January 2, 2018
Trade Paperback, 480 pages
Hardcover and eBook, May 16, 2017

“Readers of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander and Tracy Chevalier’s Girl with a Pearl Earring…will be swept away by the spell of medieval Siena” (Library Journal, starred review) in this transporting love story and gripping historical mystery.

Accomplished neurosurgeon Beatrice Trovato knows that her deep empathy for her patients is starting to impede her work. So when her beloved brother passes away, she welcomes the unexpected trip to the Tuscan city of Siena to resolve his estate, even as she wrestles with grief. But as she delves deeper into her brother’s affairs, she discovers intrigue she never imagined—a 700-year-old conspiracy to decimate the city.

As Beatrice explores the evidence further, she uncovers the journal and paintings of the fourteenth-century artist Gabriele Accorsi. But when she finds a startling image of her own face, she is suddenly transported to the year 1347. She awakens in a Siena unfamiliar to her, one that will soon be hit by the Plague.

Yet when Beatrice meets Accorsi, something unexpected happens: she falls in love—not only with Gabriele, but also with the beauty and cadence of medieval life. As the Plague and the ruthless hands behind its trajectory threaten not only her survival but also Siena’s very existence, Beatrice must decide in which century she belongs.

The Scribe of Siena is the captivating story of a brilliant woman’s passionate affair with a time and a place that captures her in an impossibly romantic and dangerous trap—testing the strength of fate and the bonds of love.

Interview with Melodie Winawer and Review of The Scribe of Siena


Please welcome Melodie Winawer to The Qwillery as part of the 2017 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Scribe of Siena is published on May 16th by Touchstone.



Interview with Melodie Winawer and Review of The Scribe of Siena




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

Melodie:  I’ve written all my life—since I was a kid. I wrote then for the same reason I write now—because I love to.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Melodie:  Full disclosure: I had to look up the word pantser! I’d say… I fly blind much more than I structure everything out before writing. I have some structure, but it isn’t until I sit down and actually write that the story emerges.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Melodie:  I don’t have enough time. In addition to being a novelist, I have a beyond-full-time job (I’m a neurologist, neuroscientist, and run neuroscience courses at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons), have three kids, and I commute three hours a day. Actually, the commute helps, since I write (if I can get a seat!) when I’m on the subway…in fact, I wrote much of The Scribe of Siena on my endless commute between deep Brooklyn and northern Manhattan (Columbia University Medical Center) where I work.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Melodie:  Everything! What my mother’s first boss once said to her 50 years ago. The look of the sky when I’m walking home from the subway on a windy fall day. The way I tear up when I hear my youngest daughter singing in the morning--everything.



TQDescribe The Scribe of Siena in 140 characters or less.

Melodie:  Time-travelling surgeon Beatrice takes on her late brother’s discovery of an anti-Siena conspiracy, while falling for a 14th century painter and medieval life.



TQTell us something about The Scribe of Siena that is not found in the book description.

Melodie:  It’s a meditation on the choice between two parallel lives, two ways of being, two possible selves. We all have moments when we realize another life is right next to us, an alternative path that for a moment is close enough to step right onto, just a little jump sideways and there--you’re on a new road. That common experience--a tough, poignant, powerful common experience --is at the heart of this book.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Scribe of Siena? What appeals to you about writing historical fiction? Why did you primarily set your novel in Siena?

Melodie:  I’m a neuroscientist and neurologist as well as a novelist. When I find an unanswered question in science, I create a research project to answer it systematically, carefully adhering to facts. When I find an unanswered question in fiction—I get to make up the answer! I learned that Siena had fared particularly badly in the great Plague of the 1340s—worse than many Tuscan cities, including Florence, Siena’s medieval arch-enemy. And a single clear answer didn’t exist to explain Siena’s decline during and after the Plague, a decline that eventually led to Siena’s loss of independence and subservience to Florentine rule under the Medici regime decades later. That unanswered question became the historical focus of the story.

Since I’m a doctor, I was also inspired by my firsthand experience of a physician’s empathy— experiencing a patient’s fear of illness, anguish, and in the best situations, relief. I know empathy can be a power for healing, but my work tests the boundaries between myself and those whose suffering I experience. I need to keep enough distance to do my job well, without losing myself in the process. I wondered how far it could go--that ability to feel what someone else is feeling. Could it extend to the written word, or even to words written hundreds of years ago? Could it, for example, blur the boundaries not only between self and other, but between two times? My experience of a physician’s empathy, and its dangers, led me to create my protagonist Beatrice. For Beatrice, a neurosurgeon who enjoys the great privilege of working inside patients’ brains with her hands, empathy—and its consequences—come unbidden, and unravel her orderly life.

I set the book in Siena because it is simultaneously modern and medieval, a city where the past and present coexist. So it became the perfect place for me to set this story of a woman who, at first against her will, and then by desire, loses her place in time.

I write historical fiction because I like to recreate the past in such a vivid and intimate way that I (and my readers!) can not only imagine, but walk right into it, as if it existed right now, with the door always open, next to our modern world. The book itself becomes a vehicle for time travel.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Scribe of Siena?

Melodie:  I visited Siena twice: once before writing, and once after I’d written the whole manuscsript. I talked to two experts—Jane Tylus at NYU and Neslihan Senocak at Columbia University. Experts on medieval Italy are few and far between, and wildly enthusiastic when they find people with common interests; Jane and Nesli certainly were, and were generous with their advice. I read. I read more. I wrote down pages of questions. I asked my experts again, they answered, they recommended sources. I read those. I read articles, textbooks, museum guides, history monographs, guide books, maps. Anthropology, sociology, history. I read trial records, letters, books about 14th century merchants from Padova. I read historic cookbooks. I stared at paintings for details, and read descriptions of paintings to learn more. I tried to fill my head with the sounds and smells and sights of the time, then, when I’d read, I put my notes down to write. If I’d tried to learn everything I needed to know before starting to write, the book probably still wouldn’t be written now. As soon as I knew enough to put something on paper, I’d start writing again. If I found, as I did more research, that I’d made a mistake, I went back and fixed it. If I was missing a key piece of information—did a medieval child drink milk?—I’d look it up. Because my characters aren’t real people (or at least I think they aren’t—sometimes I’m not sure!), I had the liberty to invent their lives. But I used the structure of real historical events, and sources on medieval Italian life, to make a home for them.



TQPlease tell us about The Scribe of Siena's cover.

Melodie:  There’s a bit of a story here. The painting is by Giacomo Pacchiarotti, and is called A YOUNG LADY WRITING IN A HYMNAL. Pacchiarotti was from Siena, which is terrific, given where the book is set. But…Pacchiarotti lived from 1474 to 1539/40…he was born more than 100 years after the time period I was writing about. I was looking for an image of a woman writing (the title of the book alone will give you an idea why, without spoilers), and I can tell you this is nearly impossible in art from the medieval period. The other difficult problem I had looking for cover art was that medieval art is not generally appealing to the modern eye—it’s kind of flat, often stylized, and it doesn’t have the realism and warmth and emotional accessibility that comes with later periods, e.g. the Renaissance. I found this painting and got very excited, and forwarded it to my editor without thinking. She loved it right away and then… I panicked because it was from the WRONG CENTURY. For heaven’s sake I am a HISTORICAL NOVELIST trying to be ACCURATE. I’m writing a book that focuses on MEDIEVAL ART and the painting on the cover isn’t even going to be from the RIGHT PERIOD!??!?!? Eventually I talked myself off the ledge, and decided (with a lot of help from colleagues in publishing, friends, and family) that it was the right image anyway, because it captured something so essential to the book. I love the way the art department at Touchstone figured out how to superimpose the image of Siena’s Duomo (the dome of the cathedral) over the image of the woman in the painting—it was a beautiful idea beautifully executed. I love it now, and even more so having been through the agonizing process of thinking about it so much. I have a tendency to do that…



TQIn The Scribe of Siena who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Melodie:  Oh Beatrice was easiest, because, er…well…she was the most like me, in more ways than one. I’ll just leave it at that. Hardest…Iacopo. I had a lot of trouble figuring out the balance of good and bad in him. How sympathetic to make his story, how to fill out the complexity of his character. At first he was really one-sided, whiny, pitiful and annoying—even to me. He is supposed to be, to some extent, but that’s a balance too. Maybe he still annoys some readers, but I hope less so!



TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in The Scribe of Siena?

Melodie:  I did, but in an underhanded sort of way, not a hit-you-over-the-head sort of way. I think it is inevitable, and desirable, for a story where a modern protagonist finds herself in the past, to include some reflection on the nature of modern life, and the differences and similarities between modern and medieval existence. Any historical fiction does that, more or less explicitly, by virtue of the genre itself. Some of those “issues” included capital punishment, the fairness of legal proceedings, stereotypes about the past and other things we don’t know well, and whether those stereotypes are true, how we are inevitably biased by our assumptions. Historical fiction, at its best, can help shrink differences and foster connections not only across the centuries, but also across the modern walls that divide us.



TQWhich question about The Scribe of Siena do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

MelodieThe Scribe of Siena is full of fantastic medieval food descriptions. Where did you get the recipes? Have you cooked the dishes in your book?

The recipes come from The Medieval Kitchen: Recipes from France and Italy by Françoise Sabban, Odile Redon, and Silvano Serventi, and many of those historically accurate recipes found their way into my book. I’ve made almost all of them, plus plenty of others I didn’t write about. Poratta bianca, a leek soup dusted with cardamom and nutmeg, is the first dish that welcomes my protagonist to medieval life. I’ve made pumpkin and farmer cheese tart in a flaky pate brisée crust, and an incredibly unusual lasagne fermentatam, springy hand rolled strips or squares of fresh pasta made from a yeasted dough layered with parmesan, cinnamon, long pepper, cloves, and ginger. I learned the recipes well enough to make their flavors and execution convincing in the pages I was writing. But more than that, cooking and eating medieval Italian cuisine gave me a connection to the past--an emotional, visceral connection that transcended what I read and went straight to the heart, soul, and belly of the era I not only tried to portray in writing, but actually longed to inhabit. Just like Beatrice.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Scribe of Siena.

Melodie:

“I had often imagined that at some point in my life I would lose someone I loved, and I had. But I had never considered the possibility that I would lose my place in time.”

“On the distant riverbank, a small crowd of anxious travelers stood, and among them was a woman in a green dress with black hair braided in the shape of a crown. The painting was more than 650 years old. But the woman’s face was mine.”



TQWhat's next?

Melodie:  I’m working on a novel set in late Byzantine Greece. It centers in the now-abandoned city of Mystras, in the southern Peloponnese. The city is mostly in ruins, but many buildings are still standing. I have walked through its streets, into the churches and crumbling houses, and it’s even more magical than it sounds. It has a mysterious, tumultuous history as the center of the late Byzantine Empire after the fall of Constantinople, with moments of great triumph and also great despair. The new book, like the Scribe of Siena, connects the past and the present too, but I won’t give away how!



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery!





The Scribe of Siena
Touchstone, May 16, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 464 pages

Interview with Melodie Winawer and Review of The Scribe of Siena
“Will remind historical fiction readers of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander and Tracy Chevalier’s Girl with a Pearl Earring…Lovers of meticulously researched historical fiction and time-travel narratives will be swept away by the spell of medieval Siena” (Library Journal, starred review).

“Winawer’s debut is a detailed historical novel, a multifaceted mystery, and a moving tale of improbable love…Winawer has created a prodigious, vibrant tale of past and present that transports readers and fills in the historical gaps. This is a marvelous work of research and invention” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

Equal parts transporting love story and gripping historical conspiracy, debut author Melodie Winawer takes readers deep into medieval Italy, where the past and present blur and a twenty-first century woman will discover a plot to destroy Siena.

Accomplished neurosurgeon Beatrice Trovato knows that her deep empathy for her patients is starting to impede her work. So when her beloved brother passes away, she welcomes the unexpected trip to the Tuscan city of Siena to resolve his estate, even as she wrestles with grief. But as she delves deeper into her brother’s affairs, she discovers intrigue she never imagined—a 700-year-old conspiracy to decimate the city.

After uncovering the journal and paintings of Gabriele Accorsi, the fourteenth-century artist at the heart of the plot, Beatrice finds a startling image of her own face and is suddenly transported to the year 1347. She awakens in a Siena unfamiliar to her, one that will soon be hit by the Plague.

Yet when Beatrice meets Accorsi, something unexpected happens: she falls in love—not only with Gabriele, but also with the beauty and cadence of medieval life. As the Plague and the ruthless hands behind its trajectory threaten not only her survival but also Siena’s very existence, Beatrice must decide in which century she belongs.

The Scribe of Siena is the captivating story of a brilliant woman’s passionate affair with a time and a place that captures her in an impossibly romantic and dangerous trap—testing the strength of fate and the bonds of love.



Qwill's Thoughts

The Scribe of Siena is the story of Beatrice Trovato, an empathic and brilliant neurosurgeon living in New York City. Her brother Ben is a historian who has moved to Siena to research its medieval past. When Ben suddenly passes away a devastated Beatrice heads to Siena for a much needed break from her work and to settle his affairs. Ben had been doing research on why the plague in the 14th century hit Siena much worse than other cities in Tuscany. Beatrice decides to continue Ben's research while holding off other historians who want his work and are trying to make things difficult for her. Because of this research and in particular a journal she finds written by the artist Gabriele Accorsi, Beatrice travels in time to medieval Siena.

The Scribe of Siena is a gorgeous novel. Beatrice is a strong assured woman thrown into remarkable circumstances who manages not only to survive but start to make a life in the past. It does not hurt that she is highly educated. She has the skills to cope with what has happened to her. But it is not all smooth sailing for her in this unfamiliar time and she worries about how to get back to the present before the Plague comes to Siena. She knows the history, knows when it will hit and how it will come to the shores of Italy. She is absolutely helpless to do anything about it. On top of all of this there is a huge mystery to solve. Beatrice is trying to figure out why the Plague hit Siena much harder than elsewhere. She must uncover, if possible, the plotting by those who would control Siena.

Winawer surrounds Beatrice with caring friends both in the present and also in medieval Siena. In medieval Siena she begins to make a life and finds employment. She meets Gabriele Accorsi and his family and falls in love with him while she becomes part of the fabric of her new home. Winawer's historical research is exceptional. The Scribe of Siena brings you the sights, sounds, flavors, and colors of Siena (modern and medieval) and you feel as if you are there with Beatrice. The novel has a lovely cadence punctuated by quite a bit of action. The story of Beatrice and Gabriele is heartwarming and deeply moving.

Winawer has written a lush and spellbinding historical time-travel novel with an intriguing mystery, wonderful characters, and a stirring love story. The Scribe of Siena is a fabulous debut.




About Melodie

Interview with Melodie Winawer and Review of The Scribe of Siena
Photograph © Dana Maxon
Melodie Winawer is a physician-scientist and Associate Professor of Neurology at Columbia University. A graduate of Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Columbia University with degrees in biological psychology, medicine, and epidemiology, she has published over fifty nonfiction articles and book chapters. She is fluent in Spanish and French, literate in Latin, and has a passable knowledge of Italian. Dr. Winawer lives with her spouse and their three young children in Brooklyn, New York. The Scribe of Siena is her first novel.


Website  ~  Facebook

Twitter @melodiewinawer



2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May Debuts


2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May Debuts


Each month you will be able to vote for your favorite cover from that month's debut novels. At the end of the year the 12 monthly winners will be pitted against each other to choose the 2017 Debut Novel Cover of the Year. Please note that a debut novel cover is eligible in the month in which the novel is published in the US. Cover artist/illustrator/designer information is provided when we have it.

I'm using PollCode for this vote. After you the check the circle next to your favorite, click "Vote" to record your vote. If you'd like to see the real-time results click "View". This will take you to the PollCode site where you may see the results. If you want to come back to The Qwillery click "Back" and you will return to this page. Voting will end sometime on May 31, 2017.

Vote for your favorite May 2017 Debut Cover!
 
pollcode.com free polls




2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May Debuts




2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May Debuts
Cover artwork by Jeff Chapman
Cover design by Rain Saukas




2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May Debuts
Cover art bySebastien Hue




2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May Debuts
Cover design by Aleta Rafton



2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May Debuts
Jacket design by Young Jin Lim




2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May Debuts
Cover art by Tommy Arnold




2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May Debuts




2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May Debuts




2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May Debuts




2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May Debuts




2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May Debuts




2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May Debuts

The View From Monday - May 15, 2017


Happy Monday!

There are 3 debuts this week:

You Were Here by Gian Sardar;

The Empire's Ghost by Isabelle Steiger;

and

The Scribe of Siena by Melodie Winawer.

The View From Monday - May 15, 2017The View From Monday - May 15, 2017 The View From Monday - May 15, 2017
Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.



From formerly featured DAC Authors:

The Hell-Hound of the Baskervilles (Warlock Holmes 2) by G.S. Denning;

Low Elf Esteem (Pax Arcana) by Elliott James;

Breath of Passion (Muse Chronicles 3) by Lisa Kessler;

Eagle and Empire (The Clash of Eagles Trilogy 3) by Alan Smale;

and

The Raft by Fred Strydom is out in Trade Paperback.

The View From Monday - May 15, 2017The View From Monday - May 15, 2017The View From Monday - May 15, 2017
The View From Monday - May 15, 2017The View From Monday - May 15, 2017
Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.



The View From Monday - May 15, 2017



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


May 15, 2017
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Breath of Passion (e) Lisa Kessler PNR - Muse Chronicles 3



May 16, 2017
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The X-Files and Philosophy: The Truth Is in Here Robert Arp (Ed) Philosophy/ SF/F/P - Popular Culture and Philosophy 108
Behind the Moon Madison Smartt Bell LF/Psy/Occ/Sup/MetaVis
Seeing People Off Jana Benová LF/CW/R/Absurdist
The End of Magic Amber Benson F/CF/UF - An Echo Park Coven Novel 3
Vanguard Jack Campbell SF - Genesis Fleet 1
Full Wolf Moon Lincoln Child Sus/SupTh
Light Radiance Splendor Leah Chyten Hist/VisMeta
The City of Mirrors (h2tp) Justin Cronin Sus/Th/SF/AP/PA/LF - Passage Trilogy 3
Nebula Awards Showcase 2017 Julie E. Czerneda (Ed) SF/F - Anthology
Zero K (h2tp) Don DeLillo LF
The Hell-Hound of the Baskervilles G.S. Denning F/P/HistM - Warlock Holmes 2
Sleepers: Book One, Book Two, Book Three Jacqueline Druga SF/AP/PA - Sleepers
Dark Cities Christopher Golden (Ed) H - Anthology
Blaze: Volume 2: A Dragon Romance (e) Donna Grant PNR - Dark Kings
Firestorm (e)(ri) Nancy Holzner UF - Deadtown 6
Low Elf Esteem (e) Elliott James CF - Pax Arcana
The Queen's Dance Nicole Elizabeth Kelleher FR/HistF - The Aurelian Guard 2
Hunger Eve Langlais
Kate Douglas
A.C. Arthur
PNR - Anthology
Catch a Tiger by the Tail (e) Eve Langlais PNR
LARP Boris Leist (Photographer) Photography/ PopCul/Role Playing/F
A Guide for the Perplexed (ri) Jonathan Levi MR
Septimania (h2tp) Jonathan Levi MR
Dr. Edith Vane and the Hares of Crawley Hall Suzette Mayr Satire/LF/F
Martial Law Deborah D. Moore PA/Sus - Journal 6
Gravity Changes Zach Powers Absurdist/MR/F/CF - American Readers Series
Behind the Mask: A Superhero Anthology Tricia Reeks (Ed)
Kyle Richardson (Ed)
F/SF - Anthology
Substrate Phantoms Jessica Reisman SF/AC
You Were Here (D) Gian Sardar Psy/Gothic/CW
Eagle and Empire Alan Smale HistF/AH - The Clash of Eagles Trilogy 3
The Empire's Ghost (D) Isabelle Steiger F
The Raft (h2tp) Fred Strydom SF/AP/PA/Dys
The Curious Affair of the Somnambulist & the Psychic Thief (e) Lisa Tuttle Sup/GH/F - From the Casebooks of Jesperson & Lane 1
Greedy Pigs Matt Wallace UF - A Sin du Jour Affair 5
The Scribe of Siena (D) Melodie Winawer Hist/TT
Barren Cove (h2tp) Ariel S. Winter LF
Things to Do When You're Goth in the Country: and Other Stories Chavisa Woods LF/MR - Short Stories



May 17, 2017
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Alien Innkeeper Roxanne Barbour SFR - Out Of This World Series 1
The Ant Men (ri) Eric North SF
Sanctuary: A Tor.com Original (e) Allen Steele SF
We All Fall Down (e) Ian Tregillis HistF - Witch Who Came In From The Cold Season 2 #13



May 18, 2017
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The Never King James Abbott F
Strangers of the Night: Touched by Passion / Passion in Disguise / Unexpected Passion Megan Hart PNR - Collection
Exodus (e) Alex Lamb SF
The Erebus Sequence (e) Den Patrick DF - The Complete Trilogy



May 20, 2017
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Body of Sin (e)(ri) Eve Silver PNR - Sins 5



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



AC - Alien Contact
AH - Alternate History
AP - Apocalyptic
CB - Coloring Book
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CM - Cozy Mystery
CulH - Cultural Heritage
CyP - Cyberpunk
CW - Contemporary Women
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tales
FolkT - Folk Tales
FR - Fantasy Romance
GenEng - Genetic Engineering
H - Horror
HC - History and Criticism
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HistM - Historical Mystery
HistTh - Historical Thriller
LC - Literary Criticism
LF - Literary Fiction
LM - Legends and Mythology
M - Mystery
MR - Magical Realism
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PCM - Paranormal Cozy Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
PopCul - Popular Culture
Psy - Psychological
SF - Science Fiction
SFR - Science Fiction Romance
SP - Steampunk
Sup - Supernatural
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Sus - Suspense
TechTh - Technological Thriller
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
UF - Urban Fantasy
VisMeta - Visionary and Metaphysical

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

2017 Debut Author Challenge - May Debuts


2017 Debut Author Challenge - May Debuts

There are 12 debut novels for May.

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

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

If you are participating as a reader in the Challenge, please let us know in the comments what you are thinking of reading or email us at "DAC . TheQwillery @ gmail . com" (remove the spaces and quotation marks). Please note that we list all debuts for the month (of which we are aware), but not all of these authors will be 2017 Debut Author Challenge featured authors. However, any of these novels may be read by Challenge readers to meet the goal for May 2017 The list is correct as of the day posted.



Robyn Bennis

The Guns Above
A Signal Airship Novel 1
Tor Books, May 2, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages
Epic Fantasy, Steampunk, Humorous Fantasy, Military SF

2017 Debut Author Challenge - May Debuts
In the tradition of Honor Harrington and the high-flying Temeraire series, Bennis’s THE GUNS ABOVE is an adventurous military fantasy debut about a nation's first female airship captain.

They say it’s not the fall that kills you.

For Josette Dupre, the Corps’ first female airship captain, it might just be a bullet in the back.

On top of patrolling the front lines, she must also contend with a crew who doubts her expertise, a new airship that is an untested deathtrap, and the foppish aristocrat Lord Bernat, a gambler and shameless flirt with the military know-how of a thimble. Bernat’s own secret assignment is to catalog her every moment of weakness and indecision.

So when the enemy makes an unprecedented move that could turn the tide of the war, can Josette deal with Bernat, rally her crew, and survive long enough to prove herself?

“Full of sass and terrific characters. Great storytelling. Loved it.” —Patricia Briggs




Paula Cocozza

How to Be Human
Metropolitan Books, May 9, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages
Literary Fiction, Contemporary Women

2017 Debut Author Challenge - May Debuts
From Guardian writer Paula Cocozza, a debut novel of the breakdown of a marriage, suburbian claustrophobia, and a woman's unseemly passion for a fox

One summer’s night, Mary comes home from a midnight ramble to find a baby lying on her back door step. Has Mary stolen the baby from next door? Has the baby’s mother, Mary's neighbor, left her there in her acute state of post-natal depression? Or was the baby brought to Mary as a gift by the fox who is increasingly coming to dominate her life?

So opens How to Be Human, a novel set in a London suburb beset by urban foxes. On leave from work, unsettled by the proximity of her ex, and struggling with her hostile neighbors, Mary has become increasingly captivated by a magnificent fox who is always in her garden. First she sees him wink at her, then he brings her presents, and finally she invites him into her house. As the boundaries between the domestic and the wild blur, and the neighbors set out to exterminate the fox, it is unclear if Mary will save the fox, or the fox save Mary.

In this masterful debut, Paula Cocozza weaves together a penetrating portrait of marital breakdown, a social novel of wit and nuance, and an obsessive love story that crosses new boundaries.




Kathleen A. Flynn

The Jane Austen Project
Harper Perennial, May 2, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages
Historical Fiction, Time Travel

2017 Debut Author Challenge - May Debuts
Perfect for fans of Jane Austen, this engrossing debut novel offers an unusual twist on the legacy of one of the world's most celebrated and beloved authors: two researchers from the future are sent back in time to meet Jane and recover a suspected unpublished novel.

London, 1815: Two travelers—Rachel Katzman and Liam Finucane—arrive in a field in rural England, disheveled and weighed down with hidden money. Turned away at a nearby inn, they are forced to travel by coach all night to London. They are not what they seem, but rather colleagues who have come back in time from a technologically advanced future, posing as wealthy West Indies planters—a doctor and his spinster sister. While Rachel and Liam aren’t the first team from the future to “go back,” their mission is by far the most audacious: meet, befriend, and steal from Jane Austen herself.

Carefully selected and rigorously trained by The Royal Institute for Special Topics in Physics, disaster-relief doctor Rachel and actor-turned-scholar Liam have little in common besides the extraordinary circumstances they find themselves in. Circumstances that call for Rachel to stifle her independent nature and let Liam take the lead as they infiltrate Austen’s circle via her favorite brother, Henry.

But diagnosing Jane’s fatal illness and obtaining an unpublished novel hinted at in her letters pose enough of a challenge without the continuous convolutions of living a lie. While her friendship with Jane deepens and her relationship with Liam grows complicated, Rachel fights to reconcile the woman she is with the proper lady nineteenth-century society expects her to be. As their portal to the future prepares to close, Rachel and Liam struggle with their directive to leave history intact and exactly as they found it…however heartbreaking that may prove.




Katie Khan

Hold Back the Stars
Gallery Books, May 23, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages
Literary Fiction

2017 Debut Author Challenge - May Debuts
A startling and evocative novel, harkening to both One Day and Gravity, a man and a woman revisit memories of their love affair on a utopian Earth while they are trapped in the vast void of space with only ninety minutes of oxygen left.

After the catastrophic destruction of the Middle East and the United States, Europe has become a utopia and, every three years, the European population must rotate into different multicultural communities, living as individuals responsible for their own actions. While living in this paradise, Max meets Carys and immediately feels a spark of attraction. He quickly realizes, however, that Carys is someone he might want to stay with long-term, which is impossible in this new world.

As their relationship plays out, the connections between their time on Earth and their present dilemma in space become clear. When their air ticks dangerously low, one is offered the chance of salvation—but who will take it? An original and daring exploration of the impact of first love and how the choices we make can change the fate of everyone around us, this is an unforgettable read.




Andrew Lane
Nigel Foster

Netherspace
Netherspace 1
Titan Books, May 2, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages
Science Fiction

2017 Debut Author Challenge - May Debuts
Aliens came to Earth forty years ago. Their anatomy proved unfathomable and all attempts at communication failed. But through trade, humanity gained technology that allowed them to colonise the stars. The price: live humans for every alien faster-than-light drive.

Kara’s sister was one of hundreds exchanged for this technology, and Kara has little love for aliens. So when she is drafted by GalDiv – the organisation that oversees alien trades – it is under duress. A group of colonists have been kidnapped by aliens and taken to an uncharted planet, and an unusual team is to be sent to negotiate. As an ex-army sniper, Kara’s role is clear. But artist Marc has no combat experience, although the team’s pre-cog Tse is adamant that he has a part to play. All three know that success is unlikely. For how will they negotiate with aliens when communication between the species is impossible?




Juliet Lyons

Dating the Undead
A V-Date.com Novel 1
Sourcebooks Casablanca, May 2, 2017
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages
Paranormal Romance, Vampires

2017 Debut Author Challenge - May Debuts
For those mortals wanting to get up close and personal with the beautiful undead, there’s…

V-DATE, THE UNDEAD DATING SERVICE

Silver Harris is done with clingy men—maybe men altogether. But when she shares a toe-curling kiss with a sexy Irish vampire on New Year’s Eve, she decides maybe it’s human men she’s done with. Silver turns to the popular vampire dating site, V-Date. When the undead gentlemen come calling, soon she’s in over her head. And her mysterious hottie is nowhere to be found…

Logan Byrne can’t get that sassy redhead out of his head—or that kiss! When his boss assigns him to spy on V-Date members, he meets Silver again. Turns out, the police are recruiting humans to snitch on vampires through the dating site. As the snark and sparks fly, feelings between Silver and Logan grow deep. Logan isn’t sure he can go through with his mission to make Silver forget everything she knows about vampires…and betray her.

But in the tight-knit London community of centuries-old vampires, history and grudges run deep and dating the undead can be risky business.




Dan Moren

The Caledonian Gambit
Talos, May 23, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 312 pages
Space Opera, Military SF, SF Action & Adventure

2017 Debut Author Challenge - May Debuts
The galaxy is mired in a cold war between two superpowers, the Illyrican Empire and the Commonwealth. Thrust between this struggle are Simon Kovalic, the Commonwealth’s preeminent spy, and Kyle Rankin, a lowly soldier happily scrubbing toilets on Sabea, a remote and isolated planet. However, nothing is as it seems.

Kyle Rankin is a lie. His real name is Eli Brody, and he fled his home world of Caledonia years ago. Simon Kovalic knows Caledonia is a lit fuse hurtling towards detonation. The past Brody so desperately tried to abandon can grant him access to people and places that are off limits even to a professional spy like Kovalic.

Kovalic needs Eli Brody to come home and face his past. With Brody suddenly cast in a play he never auditioned for, he and Kovalic will quickly realize it’s everything they don’t know that will tip the scales of galactic peace. Sounds like a desperate plan, sure, but what gambit isn’t?

The Caledonian Gambit is a throwback to the classic sci-fi adventures of spies and off-world politics, but filled to the brim with modern sensibilities.




Chelsea Mueller

Borrowed Souls
A Soul Charmer Novel 1
Talos, May 2, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages
Urban Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Paranormal

2017 Debut Author Challenge - May Debuts
Callie Delgado always puts family first, and unfortunately her brother knows it. She’s emptied her savings, lost work, and spilled countless tears trying to keep him out of trouble, but now he’s in deeper than ever, and his debt is on Callie’s head. She’s given a choice: do some dirty work for the mob, or have her brother returned to her in tiny pieces.

Renting souls is big business for the religious population of Gem City. Those looking to take part in immoral—or even illegal—activity can borrow someone else’s soul, for a price, and sin without consequence.

To save her brother, Callie needs a borrowed soul, but she doesn’t have anywhere near the money to pay for it. The slimy Soul Charmer is willing to barter, but accepting his offer will force Callie into a dangerous world of magic she isn’t ready for.

With the help of the guarded but undeniably attractive Derek—whose allegiance to the Charmer wavers as his connection to Callie grows—she’ll have to walk a tight line, avoid pissing off the bad guys, all while struggling to determine what her loyalty to her family’s really worth.

Losing her brother isn’t an option. Losing her soul? Maybe.




Craig A. Munro

The Bones of the Past
The Books of Dust and Bone 1
Inkshares, May 30, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 450 pages
Epic Fantasy, Dark Fantasy

2017 Debut Author Challenge - May Debuts
The Night Guard walk the streets of the old kingdom of Bialta seeking out threats that are beyond the abilities of the common soldier. Nial is one such threat a girl changed into something other and on the hunt for human souls. Salt, a sailor recently rescued by the Night Guard, has been inducted into their ranks. He s a quick study, but as new threats multiply all around them, will he have what it takes to survive?

Bialta is not alone in its woes. Sacral, a city that vanished in the distant past, has reappeared where it once stood at the heart of the Wastes. Like many of Sacral s people, Maura is content living a quiet life, ignoring the outside world. But she finds herself desperately fighting to save her home as war comes to the city returned.

Meanwhile, across the Great Desert, creatures are stirring. Carver, the last living master of the magic known as fleshcarving, has won the support of the tyrant of Tolrahk Esal. Together they will unleash his twisted creations to sweep across the land and forever disrupt the balance of power.

In this epic tale, there is no good and evil. Armies march, demons feed, and deities unleash their powers on a world that will never be the same.




Gian Sardar

You Were Here
G.P. Putnam's Sons, May 16, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 384 pages
Psychological, Gothic, Contemporary Women

2017 Debut Author Challenge - May Debuts
Readers of Kate Atkinson will delight in this suspenseful debut novel about a woman haunted by nightmares and her grandmother’s role in a doomed love triangle almost seventy years before.

What if the past is never buried?

Death, accidental and early, has always been Abby Walters’s preoccupation. Now thirty-three and eager to settle down with her commitment-shy boyfriend, a recurring dream from her past returns: a paralyzing nightmare of being buried alive, the taste of dirt in her mouth cloying and real. But this time the dream reveals a name from her family’s past. Looking for answers, Abby returns home to small-town Minnesota for the first time in fourteen years, where she reconnects with her high school crush, now a police detective on the trail of a violent criminal. When Abby tries on her grandmother’s mesmerizing diamond ring, a ring she always dreamed would be hers, she discovers a cryptic note long hidden beneath the box’s velvet lining. What secret was her grandmother hiding? And could this be the key to what’s haunting Abby? As she begins to uncover the traces of a love triangle gone shockingly wrong nearly seventy years before, we, too, see that the layers of our lives may echo a past we’ve never known. With mesmerizing twists and a long-buried secret that may finally rise to light, You Were Here weaves together two worlds separated by decades, asking if the mistakes made in past lives can ever be corrected in the future, and if some souls are meant to find one another time and time again.




Isabelle Steiger

The Empire's Ghost
Thomas Dunne Books, May 16, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 432 pages
Epic Fantasy

2017 Debut Author Challenge - May Debuts
Isabelle Steiger has crafted a powerful and masterful debut with The Empire's Ghost, the first book in a haunting new epic fantasy series.

The empire of Elesthene once spanned a continent, but its rise heralded the death of magic. It tore itself apart from within, leaving behind a patchwork of kingdoms struggling to rebuild. But when a new dictator, the ambitious and enigmatic Imperator Elgar, seizes power in the old capital and seeks to recreate the lost empire anew, the other kingdoms have little hope of stopping him. Prince Kelken of Reglay finds himself at odds with his father at his country’s darkest hour; the marquise of Esthrades is unmatched in politics and strategy, but she sits at a staggering military disadvantage. And Issamira, the most powerful of the free countries, has shut itself off from the conflict, thrown into confusion by the disappearance of its crown prince and the ensuing struggle for succession.

Everything seems aligned in Elgar’s favor, but when he presses a band of insignificant but skilled alley-dwellers into his service for a mission of greatest secrecy, they find an unexpected opportunity to alter the balance of power in the war. Through their actions and those of the remaining royals, they may uncover not just a way to defeat Elgar, but also a deeper truth about their world’s lost history.




Melodie Winawer

The Scribe of Siena
Touchstone, May 16, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 464 pages
Sagas, Historical Fiction, Time Travel

2017 Debut Author Challenge - May Debuts
“Will remind historical fiction readers of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander and Tracy Chevalier’s Girl with a Pearl Earring…Lovers of meticulously researched historical fiction and time-travel narratives will be swept away by the spell of medieval Siena” (Library Journal, starred review).

“Winawer’s debut is a detailed historical novel, a multifaceted mystery, and a moving tale of improbable love…Winawer has created a prodigious, vibrant tale of past and present that transports readers and fills in the historical gaps. This is a marvelous work of research and invention” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

Equal parts transporting love story and gripping historical conspiracy, debut author Melodie Winawer takes readers deep into medieval Italy, where the past and present blur and a twenty-first century woman will discover a plot to destroy Siena.

Accomplished neurosurgeon Beatrice Trovato knows that her deep empathy for her patients is starting to impede her work. So when her beloved brother passes away, she welcomes the unexpected trip to the Tuscan city of Siena to resolve his estate, even as she wrestles with grief. But as she delves deeper into her brother’s affairs, she discovers intrigue she never imagined—a 700-year-old conspiracy to decimate the city.

After uncovering the journal and paintings of Gabriele Accorsi, the fourteenth-century artist at the heart of the plot, Beatrice finds a startling image of her own face and is suddenly transported to the year 1347. She awakens in a Siena unfamiliar to her, one that will soon be hit by the Plague.

Yet when Beatrice meets Accorsi, something unexpected happens: she falls in love—not only with Gabriele, but also with the beauty and cadence of medieval life. As the Plague and the ruthless hands behind its trajectory threaten not only her survival but also Siena’s very existence, Beatrice must decide in which century she belongs.

The Scribe of Siena is the captivating story of a brilliant woman’s passionate affair with a time and a place that captures her in an impossibly romantic and dangerous trap—testing the strength of fate and the bonds of love.

Covers Revealed - Upcoming Works by DAC AuthorsInterview with Melodie Winawer and Review of The Scribe of Siena2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May DebutsThe View From Monday - May 15, 20172017 Debut Author Challenge - May Debuts

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