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2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - Age of Iron by Angus Watson


2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - Age of Iron by Angus Watson


The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2014 Debut Author Challenge.



Angus Watson

Age of Iron
Iron Age Trilogy 1
Orbit, September 2, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 576 pages

2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - Age of Iron by Angus Watson
LEGENDS AREN'T BORN. THEY'RE MADE.

Dug Sealskinner is a down-on-his-luck mercenary traveling south to join up with King Zadar's army. But he keeps rescuing the wrong people.

First Spring, a child he finds scavenging on the battlefield, and then Lowa, one of Zadar's most fearsome warriors, who has vowed revenge on the king for her sister's execution.

Now Dug's on the wrong side of the thousands-strong army he hoped to join ­-- and worse, Zadar has bloodthirsty druid magic on his side. All Dug has is his war hammer, one small child, and one unpredictable, highly-trained warrior with a lust for revenge that might get them all killed . . .



Review: The Lascar's Dagger by Glenda Larke


The Lascar's Dagger
Author:  Glenda Larke
Series:  The Forsaken Lands
Publisher:  Orbit, March 18th, 2014
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook,  512 pages
Price:  $15.00 (print)
ISBN:  9780316399661 (print)
Review Copy  Provided by the Publisher

Review: The Lascar's Dagger by Glenda Larke
Faith will not save him.

Saker appears to be a simple priest, but in truth he's a spy for the head of his faith. Wounded in the line of duty by a Lascar sailor's blade, the weapon seems to follow him home. Unable to discard it, nor the sense of responsibility it brings, Saker can only follow its lead.

The dagger puts Saker on a journey to distant shores, on a path that will reveal terrible secrets about the empire, about the people he serves, and destroy the life he knows. The Lascar's dagger demands a price, and that price will be paid in blood.


Brannigan's Review

The Lascar's Dagger converted me. I'm now a follower of Glenda Larke. The Lascar's Dagger is the first book in Larke's new series, The Forsaken Lands. This is her second series of books. It's my first introduction to Larke's writing, but like I said I'm a fan and will be seeking out her other books as soon as I finish this review.

In this book, we follow a young priest, Saker Rampion, who also works as a spy in the Pontifect's spy network. While spying on the neighboring country's trading company he runs into Ardhi, and during an escape inherits Ardhi's magical dagger. From that point on, it appears the dagger is leading Saker on its own mission, which at times parallels Saker's newest mission to be the spiritual adviser to the prince and princess while keeping an eye on the court chaplain. Saker's a young and charming priest/spy and even though his youthful inexperience gets him in trouble throughout the book you still find him engaging as a hero. A secondary plot also involves Saker seeking information about his parents.

The two other characters we follow throughout the book are Sorrel Redwing and Ardhi. Ardhi is about a year or two younger than Saker and comes from the southern Spice Islands. It's his dagger that finds its way into Saker's hands. Ardhi is on a special mission to retrieve a stolen object of great power from his homeland that in the wrong hands could topple kingdoms. He recruits Saker in this mission and even helps Saker develop his own god-given talents. Sorrel Redwing is a woman with a secret who had to give herself over to Va, a god, in return she is given the power of glamour, the ability to change or hide her appearance. Sorrel also finds herself under the protection of the princess and soon is put to work as her highness’s own personal spy at court. While at court, Sorrel comes into contact with Saker and acts as a voice of reason and at times savior to the spy/priest. Ardhi is a mysterious character for the majority of the story, but is likeable nonetheless. Sorrel is a mystery to the other characters of the story but readers will quickly understand her and sympathize with her, her struggles and the predicaments she finds herself in. She ended up being my favorite character of the book.

The pacing of the book is quick without skimping on the details of Larke's fleshed-out world. It takes place in a time comparable to the 15th - 16th Century. The wider world is opening up. There are two kingdoms in the north, with an uneasy peace, both similar to the European countries of the time. They also share the same religion and god, Va. The islands to the south are more exotic and mysterious than the north. Larke leaves out a lot of detail about the south, which helps make it more mysterious to the reader, but it has a South American/Asian feel to it. The southern islands have a variety of spices to offer, and the two northern kingdoms are racing to see who can control the spice trade first. There's plenty of political and economical intrigue for those who love that in a book. I like a moderate amount myself and never found myself bored or lost. This is a strictly human-only fantasy world so far.

The highlight in Larke's world-building for me was the religion. There are two gods. The one we learn about the most is called Va and the religion is called the The Way of the Oak and Flow. One kingdom focuses on the Oak or trees and the other on the Flow or waves. This is the first major nature-based religion I've encountered in a fantasy book and I just couldn't get enough of it. It's still very familiar with other fantasy religions in setup and governance, but the heart and soul of it is unique and refreshing. Another subplot involves the religion and the opinion of some of the priests that the religion needs to change to a more city-friendly religion and move away from nature as civilization makes more advancements in science, while another faction wants the opposite. The lesser known god is A'Va and we don't learn a lot of it other than it's the opposite in every way to Va. It's very fascinating for those of us who enjoy a very rich religious system instead of your basic cardboard cut out.

The magical system is also interesting. It's based off of religion more than being a separate academic magical system. I don't want to give it away, as the discovery of how the system works is a lot of fun. Let's just say it's not widespread or open to just anyone.

My only complaint of the book is it takes awhile before the real story appears to start. We meet each of the characters at the beginning of the story and they each start to progress in their individual stories, but Saker in particular doesn't have an overarching story until the end of the book. Before that, he seems to be interacting with all the other characters in their individual side stories. As Saker is the hero of the story, I felt he should have had a major plot throughout the entire story instead of acting as a connector to the other character's side stories.

The Lascar's Dagger is a fast-paced engaging read. Glenda Larke has created a world worth exploring, with characters you can connect to. The violence is minimal as well as the use of adult language. There are sexual situations. I would recommend it to older young adults and adults. I'd also recommend it to anyone who likes rich world-building, unique religious/magic systems and well-developed characters, especially strong female characters.

Orbit to Publish Three More Novels in Hugo Award-Nominated "Expanse" Series


PRESS RELEASE
Orbit to Publish Three More Novels in Hugo Award-Nominated








Orbit announced today the acquisition of three new novels by James S.A. Corey, to be books 7-9 in their New York Times bestselling and Hugo Award-nominated "Expanse" series. Orbit publishes the series in the US and UK, and editions are sold worldwide.

James S.A. Corey is the pseudonym for co-authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. Daniel Abraham is also the solo author of other novels, including the critically acclaimed "Dagger and the Coin" series.


LEVIATHAN WAKES, the first "Expanse" novel, was first published by Orbit in 2011 and was nominated for a Hugo Award the following year. It was followed by CALIBAN'S WAR and ABADDON'S GATE, a New York Times bestseller. Book four in the series, CIBOLA BURN, is on sale today.

Authors Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham said of the deal, "We always knew this was an ambitious project, and we're very pleased that we're going to have enough room to tell the whole story. Orbit has been incredibly supportive of the series, and we're happy that we get to keep working with such talented, dedicated people."

Acquiring editor Will Hinton said, "It's thrilling to have more books in one of the great series in science fiction and an enormous pleasure to continue working with a writing duo as talented as Ty and Daniel."

Syfy recently announced an order for ten episodes of a TV show to be based on LEVIATHAN WAKES, the pilot of which will be scripted by Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, known for their scripts for Iron Man and Children of Men.

Books five and six in the "Expanse" series will be published in June of 2015 and 2016. The newly-acquired novels are slated for June of 2017, 2018, and 2019.


About Orbit
Orbit is the science fiction and fantasy imprint at Hachette Book Group.


About Hachette Book Group
Hachette Book Group is a leading trade publisher based in New York and a division of Hachette Livre, the third-largest trade and educational publisher in the world. HBG publishes under the divisions of Little, Brown and Company, Little Brown Books for Young Readers, Grand Central Publishing, Orbit, Hachette Books, Hachette Nashville, and Hachette Audio.


Orbit to Publish Three More Novels in Hugo Award-Nominated
(Click to Enlarge)


Press Release - Mira Grant to Complete "Parasitology" Series and Return to "Newsflesh" Series in New Novels and Novellas from Orbit

Press Release - Mira Grant to Complete
 PRESS RELEASE - May 27, 2014






Mira Grant to Complete "Parasitology" Series and Return to "Newsflesh" Series in New Novels and Novellas from Orbit


Orbit announced today the acquisition of two new novels and four original novellas from multiple Hugo Award-nominated author Mira Grant. One of the novels will be a third book in the "Parasitology" series, following the Hugo Award-nominated Parasite and Symbiont, and will conclude the trilogy, while the second novel and all four novellas will be set in the world of the "Newsflesh" series.

Mira Grant is a pseudonym of Seanan McGuire, winner of the 2010 John W. Campbell Award for best new writer. Orbit published the first book under the Grant pseudonym, Feed, in 2010, and the following year it became her first Hugo Award-nominated novel. The sequels, Deadline and Blackout, were also nominated for the award. McGuire has also received a shared Hugo Award for Best Fancast for her work on the SF Squeecast.

Parasite is a finalist for the 2014 Hugo Award, the fourth Best Novel nomination for the Mira Grant name. Grant's science fiction writing has been praised as "Horrifying, riveting, and a bit too plausible" (Library Journal, starred review of Parasite) and "exceptionally creepy" (Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Parasite).

Editor Will Hinton said, "It's a dream to work with an author like Seanan and it's thrilling to have more Mira Grant books to look forward to. I know her readers will be as excited as I am to return to the "Parasitology" trilogy and the beloved "Newsflesh" series, and explore entirely new territory in a standalone novel."

Symbiont, book two in the "Parasitology" series, will be published in Fall 2014. The "Parasitology" series is set in a near-future world where parasites have nearly eliminated human disease, but dependence on them may prove to be disastrous.

Seanan McGuire said of the deal, "I am overjoyed to be able to continue to write in the Parasite universe, and more, I am so, so excited to return to the world of Kellis-Amberlee, the Rising, and my unique approach to future journalism. I hope that everyone else will be as excited as I am to go back there, and I promise I have some thrilling surprises in store for you. As for that stand-alone third novel, well... You'll have to wait and see what that's going to be about. I can tell you one thing for sure: it's going to be an adventure."

The newly-acquired book three in the "Parasitology" series is currently scheduled for Fall 2015, while the first two "Newsflesh" novellas are slated for release in Summer 2014 and Summer 2015.


About Orbit
Orbit is the science fiction and fantasy imprint at Hachette Book Group.


About Hachette Book Group
Hachette Book Group is a leading trade publisher based in New York and a division of Hachette Livre, the third-largest trade and educational publisher in the world. HBG publishes under the divisions of Little, Brown and Company, Little Brown Books for Young Readers, Grand Central Publishing, Orbit, Hachette Books, Hachette Nashville, and Hachette Audio.

Interview with author Trent Jamieson - February 12, 2014


Please welcome Trent Jamieson to The Qwillery. Trent is the author of the fabulous Death Works series featuring the unforgettable Steven de Selby.  The Memory of Death, a Death Works eNovella, was published yesterday.



Interview with author Trent Jamieson - February 12, 2014




TQ:  Welcome back to The Qwillery. Since your first visit you have had 3 additional novels published as well as the eNovella, The Memory of Death (Death Works 4), which was published yesterday. How has becoming an author changed your life? Is there any advice that you'd give debut authors?

Trent:  Thank you! I don't know if it's changed my life, other than the pleasure of achieving some very important goals.

The level of discipline you need to produce work before you are published continues once you are. So the biggest changes, I guess, are a little more confidence, perhaps a desire to leap at challenges a little more. I still work two other jobs, and money is always a little tight, but I love this work, I love writing, and writing to an audience. It's always a buzz.

As for debut authors: probably these two things.

No author's debut experience is the same as any others. Go into this new stage of writing prepared for, and open to, anything. And try and enjoy it! You're only a debut author once!



TQ:  How has your writing process changed (or not) since the publication of your first novel, Death Most Definite (Death Works 1)?

Trent:  Writing to deadlines teaches you how to write to deadlines, but my process is still a lot of throwing words at the page and seeing how they work. I do plot things out a bit more, but still only loosely, and I rarely draft in any linear way - that only comes into play in the editing process.

I think I have more faith that I know how to finish a story now when I start it, though every story has its unexpected challenges.



TQ:  Your most recently published work is The Memory of Death. Tell us something about The Memory of Death that is not in the book description.

Trent:  It's a direct follow on from the last book, but there are multiple point of view characters in this story. You finally get to see things from Lissa's perspective too, I'm hoping to bring more of that into play in the following stories.



TQ:  Why did you return to the Death Works series after a brief hiatus?

Trent:  I adore this world, and I needed a break from the novel I was working on. And I always knew I wanted to see what happened after, in fact I had the first chapter written a long time ago. It sat there, looking at me, making me feel guilty that I wasn't telling the rest of the story.



TQ:  Why do you think the Grim Reaper makes such a compelling character?

Trent:  Death is at once a dark, and tender character.

Once you remove the idea of Death doing the actual killing, what you have left is someone that helps, that guides, hopefully with compassion, souls to the Underworld. Death as a character is the ending of one story, and the beginning of another.

And the job, itself, the practicalities of it; thinking about that has always entertained me. Yes, I admit, I'm a little bit maudlin.



TQ:  Which character in the Death Works series has surprised you the most? Why?

Trent:  Steven de Selby has. He is endlessly unpredictable, I never quite know what he is going to do, and quite often it is the wrong thing, but he does it thinking it's right. I've seen him grow up in these stories, but there's still a long way to go for him. Do we ever really stop growing?



TQ:  What's next?

Trent:  I have a new book coming out next year called (at this stage at least) Day Boy. It's a departure for me. A coming of age story set in a small country town run by vampires (ok, so maybe not that much of a departure), and told from the perspective of one of the boys that works for them. They're called Day Boys, because their job is to keep the household running in the day. It's a dark and tender story, set in a very dark sort of world. I think it's the best thing I've ever written. I'm currently redrafting it for my publisher, hopefully, when people get a chance to read it, they'll like it as much as I do.




The Memory of Death

The Memory of Death
Death Works 4
Momentum, February 11, 2014
eNovella, 97 pages

Interview with author Trent Jamieson - February 12, 2014
He thought he’d return from Hell a hero. But things are never easy when your business is Death.

Steven de Selby gave up his love, his life, and his lucrative position as Head of Mortmax, the corporation in charge of Death. Then he found himself banished to the briny depths of hell. But hell has never held him before …

Now Steven’s back from hell, after escaping from the cruel Death of the Water, but he’s not sure how or why, or even if. No one at Mortmax trusts him, and he’s running out of time to prove he is who he says he is.

Steven is about to discover that hell really is other people, and the worst of them may well be himself.




Previously in Death Works

Death Most Definite
Death Works 1
Orbit, August 1, 2010
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

Interview with author Trent Jamieson - February 12, 2014
Steven de Selby has a hangover. Bright lights, loud noise, and lots of exercise are the last thing he wants. But that's exactly what he gets when someone starts shooting at him.

Steven is no stranger to death-Mr. D's his boss after all-but when a dead girl saves him from sharing her fate, he finds himself on the wrong end of the barrel. His job is to guide the restless dead to the underworld but now his clients are his own colleagues, friends, and family.

Mr. D's gone missing and with no one in charge, the dead start to rise, the living are hunted, and the whole city teeters on the brink of a regional apocalypse-unless Steven can shake his hangover, not fall for the dead girl, and find out what happened to his boss- that is, Death himself.



Managing Death
Death Works 2
Orbit, January 1, 2011
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

Interview with author Trent Jamieson - February 12, 2014
It's not easy being Death. For starters, people keep dying. And then, they keep getting up again.

Steven de Selby got promoted. This makes the increasing number of stirrers (and the disturbing rumors of a zombie god rising sometime soon) his problem. That time management seminar he keeps meaning to take would also remind him that he's got a Death Moot to plan, a Christmas party to organize, and an end-of-the-world thing to avert.

Steven must start managing Death, before Death starts managing him, or this time the Apocalypse will be more than Regional.



The Business of Death
Death Works 1, 2 and 3
Orbit, September 19, 2011
Trade Paperback and eBook, 864 pages
Interview with author Trent Jamieson - February 12, 2014
Steven de Selby has a hangover. Bright lights, loud noise, and lots of exercise are the last thing he wants. But that's exactly what he gets when someone starts shooting at him.

Steven is no stranger to death - Mr. D's his boss after all - but when a dead girl saves him from sharing her fate, he finds himself on the wrong end of the barrel. His job is to guide the restless dead to the underworld but now his clients are his own colleagues, friends, and family.

Mr. D's gone missing and with no one in charge, the dead start to rise, the living are hunted, and the whole city teeters on the brink of a regional apocalypse - unless Steven can shake his hangover, not fall for the dead girl, and find out what happened to his boss - that is, Death himself.

THE BUSINESS OF DEATH includes the first two volumes of the Death Works trilogy, Death Most Definite and Managing Death, as well as the third volume.




About Trent

Interview with author Trent Jamieson - February 12, 2014
Trent Jamieson is a multiple Aurealis Award winner for short fiction, he has taught short story writing at the QUT, and Clarion South. His Death Works Trilogy of novels is available from Orbit books. Roil, and Night's Engines the two books of the Nightbound Land Duology, are available from Angry Robot. And he's just sold a novel called Day Boy to Text due out in 2015.

His webpage is at www.trentjamieson.com

Twitter @trentonomicon





Cover Revealed - House of the Rising Sun by Kristen Painter


Kristen Painter recently shared (via her newsletter and Facebook) the cover for the first novel in her Crescent City urban fantasy series, House of the Rising Sun. The series is set in the same world as the House of Comarré series and picks up a few months after the events in Last Blood (House of Comarré 5). The cover art is by Mélanie Delon with the cover design by Lauren Panepinto of Orbit Books.

The cover is very different from the House of Comarré covers. What do you think?


House of the Rising Sun
Crescent City 1
Orbit, May 13, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 448 pages

Cover Revealed - House of the Rising Sun by Kristen Painter
Augustine lives the perfect life in the Haven city of New Orleans. He rarely works a real job, spends most of his nights with a different human woman, and resides in a spectacular Garden District mansion paid for by retired movie star Olivia Goodwin, who has come to think of him as an adopted son, providing him room and board and whatever else he needs.

But when Augustine returns home to find Olivia's been attacked by vampires, he knows his idyllic life has comes to an end. It's time for revenge -- and to take up the mantle of the city's Guardian. 
Pre-Order


Interview with Marlene Perez, author of the Nyx Fortuna sereis - December 10, 2013


Please welcome Marlene Perez to The Qwillery. Marlene is the author of the Nyx Fortuna series for adults from Orbit and the Dead Is series for teens from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.  Her most recent novel is Dark Descent (Nyx Fortuna 2).



Interview with Marlene Perez, author of the Nyx Fortuna sereis - December 10, 2013





TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Marlene:  I've always been a writer, but I couldn't finish a novel I became inspired after hearing Norma Fox Mazer talk about her "fedora method" to block out the internal editor. I went home and wrote a first draft of what became my first novel, which came out in 2004. Before that, I wrote for educational publishers.



TQ:  Give us the elevator pitch for Dark Descent (Nyx Fortuna 2).

Marlene:  Nyx Fortuna is still reeling from Elizabeth's betrayal, but Nyx's cousin Claire has run away and he has to find her and bring her back or Elizabeth will suffer at the hands of his aunts, the three Fates. Claire has gone into the underworld of Minneapolis, where no one, not even the Fates, can follow. But Nyx must journey to a place where Hecate's dark magic has Claire in her thrall. Saving his cousin means releasing Hecate from her underworld prison and perhaps fulfilling the prophecy foretelling the Fates' downfall.



TQ:  Tell us something about Dark Descent that is not in the book description.

Marlene:  Things don't necessarily go well for Nyx in Dark Descent. The title is apt and not just because Nyx journeys to the underworld.



TQ:  What sort of research have you done for the Nyx Fortuna series?

Marlene:  The Nyx Fortuna books are inspired by Greek mythology, which I love. There are four Fates in the Nyx Fortuna series, his three aunts, and his mother, Lady Fortuna. The genesis of the idea of four original Fates instead of three was inspired by research I found linking the three Fates to the goddess Fortuna. There's also a lot of juicy relationship stuff in Greek and Roman myths. The gods had a pretty dysfunctional family. I also researched Minneapolis, because the Nyx Fortuna books take place there. I love research, but sometimes, I stop writing to look up one thing and find that three hours have passed and I'm reading about something else entirely.



TQ:  In the Nyx Fortuna series so far, who is the character that surprised you the most? Who was most difficult to write? And do you have a favorite good guy or bad guy?

Marlene:  I was surprised by Nyx the most in the beginning. I think the Fates were the most difficult to write because they are full of shades of grey. They're not entirely bad or entirely good, which makes things complicated. I love the quote (don't know who said it) about the bad guy doesn't know he's bad. I adore Nyx and he's definitely my favorite character, but I really like writing the naiad Willow.



TQ:  What's next?

Marlene:  I'm finishing Fortune's Favors, the third book in the Nyx Fortuna trilogy. After that, I have several ideas I want to work on, including a contemporary romance, a teen science fiction trilogy and a stand-alone fantasy novel. I think I've been on deadline since 2006 so I'm looking forward to a little time to catch up on my reading, too.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.






Nyx Fortuna

Dark Descent
Nyx Fortuna 2
Orbit, December 2, 2013
Trade Paperback and eBook

Interview with Marlene Perez, author of the Nyx Fortuna sereis - December 10, 2013

The second in a line of three exciting new urban fantasy novels where the son of the Fates must travel to the underworld...

Nyx Fortuna, still reeling from Elizabeth's betrayal, has no time to rest. His cousin Claire has gone missing and his aunts, the three Fates, are threatening that if he doesn't find her, Elizabeth will suffer.

Now, despite how he may feel, Nyx must venture into the underworld of Minneapolis to find his wayward cousin, lost to the thrall of Hecate's dark magic. But releasing Claire is not without its consequences. While it might fulfill the prophecy foretelling the fall of the Fates that have plagued him for so long, it would also mean releasing Hecate from her dark prison... and into our world. Nyx now must decide. How far would he go to save the woman he loves... the woman who betrayed him?



Strange Fates
Nyx Fortuna 1
Orbit, March 5, 2013 (eBook)
March 19, 2013 (Trade Paperback)

Interview with Marlene Perez, author of the Nyx Fortuna sereis - December 10, 2013

Greek myth and forbidden romance meet in this exciting new urban fantasy.

Brooding, leather jacket-wearing Nyx Fortuna looks like a 20-something, and has for centuries now. As the son of the forgotten fourth Fate, Lady Fortuna, he has been hunted his entire life by the three Sisters of Fate that murdered his mother.

Fed up and out for revenge, Nyx comes to Minneapolis following a tip that his aunts have set up a business there. His goal - to bring down his mother's killers and retrieve the thread of fate that has trapped him in the body of a twenty year old unable to age or die.

But when a chance meeting with the mysterious, dangerous and very mortal Elizabeth Abernathy throws off his plans, he must reconcile his humanity and his immortality.



Coming in 2014:

Fortune's Favors
Nyx Fortuna 3
Orbit, August 2014

Interview with Marlene Perez, author of the Nyx Fortuna sereis - December 10, 2013
To save his cousin Chloe, Nyx Fortuna has set free the goddess Hecate, who is now threatening to destroy the world, starting with anyone in the Wyrd family. Nyx and company must join forces with the Fates to defeat Hecate and return her to the underworld. During the battle, magical and mortals take sides and Nyx finally discovers the identity of his father.





About Marlene

Interview with Marlene Perez, author of the Nyx Fortuna sereis - December 10, 2013
Marlene Perez is the author of paranormal and urban fantasy books, including the best-selling DEAD IS series for teens. The first book in the series, DEAD IS THE NEW BLACK, was named an ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers as well as an ALA Popular Paperback. DEAD IS JUST A RUMOR was on VOYA’s 2011 Best Science Fiction, Horror, & Fantasy List. Her novels have been featured in Girl’s Life, Seventeen, and Cosmopolitan.

She grew up in Story City, Iowa and is the youngest of twelve children. She lives in Orange County, California with her husband and children. Visit Marlene at www.marleneperez.com or follow her on Twitter @MarPerez, Tumbler at http://www.marlenedperez.tumblr.com/.

Guest Blog by Ann Leckie, author of Ancillary Justice - September 6, 2013


Please welcome Ann Leckie to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. Ancillary Justice, Ann's debut novel, will be published on October 1, 2013 by Orbit.



Guest Blog by Ann Leckie, author of Ancillary Justice - September 6, 2013




Who are you? And how do you know who you are?

Some questions look simple, almost pointless. On the surface, it's obvious who you are. "I'm Jane Doe," you say, and your friends and neighbors and family all say, "Yes, I recognize her, she's Jane Doe." You know, without thinking, what's you and what's not you--your body is you, and all the things inside, and the mind that's doing the thinking (What a stupid question!) and the recognizing (Yes, that's me in the mirror all right.)

But little questions chip away at it. What's your body and what's not? Proprioception--your ability to know where various body parts are and what they're doing at any given moment--has as much to do with what your brain is doing as what the rest of your body is. Losing a limb, famously, doesn't always erase your brain's assumption that it's there and doing something. And super cool (and kind of creepy)--recent research suggests that when you use a tool a lot, your brain actually updates its map of your body to include the tool.

Much more creepily, a head injury, or, say, a stroke can result in Somatoparaphrenia, where the patient insists that some part of their body isn't actually theirs. When asked they might say the arm really belongs to their doctor, or to their dead parent.

Similar in some ways, but not exactly the same, is Alien Hand Syndrome:

In this paper, Goldstein described a right-handed woman who had suffered a stroke affecting her left side from which she had partially recovered by the time she was seen. However, her left arm seemed as though it belonged to another person and performed actions that appeared to occur independent of her will.

The patient complained of a feeling of "strangeness" in relationship to the goal-directed movements of the left hand and insisted that "someone else" was moving the left hand, and that she was not moving it herself.

Except, of course, she was moving it herself. Who else would be?

And that's not the only way messing with the brain can mess with the sense of identity. Strokes or brain damage can sometimes cause Cotard's Delusion, where the patient is convinced that they're actually dead. Or there's the case of Suzanne Segal, who describes her experience herself in her book Collision with the Infinite: A Life Beyond the Personal Self:

"I lifted my right foot to step up into the bus and collided head-on with an invisible force that entered my awareness like a silently exploding stick of dynamite, blowing the door of my usual consciousness open and off its hinges, splitting me in two. In the gaping space that appeared, what I had previously called 'me' was forcefully pushed out of its usual location inside me into a new location that was approximately a foot behind and to the left of my head. 'I' was now behind my body looking out at the world without using the body's eyes.

Things didn't stay that way. Eventually her entire sense of herself disappeared. There was a body, that did things and said things, and even thought things, and people recognized that body as Suzanne, but there was no self there, no identity. She did not exist. She died in her forties of a brain tumor, which is a bit suggestive.

Incidentally, one of the things I find very valuable about Ms Segal's account is that it's just that--a first person account of her own experiences. Very often we're reading case studies or essays by doctors or researchers whose assumptions can filter or distort the view they're giving us. Ms Segal had her own assumptions, and her own filters, yes, but she's left us her own story in her own voice. It's important to have that, a woman telling her own story and not just a summary, a case study. An oddity.

The thing is, while the experiences of split-brain patients, stroke victims, or people like Suzanne Segal are extreme, they demonstrate something about typical brain function. Identity is fragile. Your sense of who you are is rooted in your brain, and if the way those parts of your brain works changes, so will your sense of you.

The narrator of my novel Ancillary Justice is an artificially intelligent ship, the troop carrier Justice of Toren. The vast majority of those troops are ancillaries--human bodies slaved to the ship's AI, arms and legs--and eyes and voices--for the ship. They have no identity of their own, they are the ship.

The narrator of my novel Ancillary Justice is a twenty-body unit of ancillaries.

The narrator of my novel is a single ancillary, separated from the rest of the ship, from the other bodies that used to be part of it.

Who is my narrator? How would it be possible to lose your own identity that way, and what would it be like to have an identity that stretched over tens, hundreds, even thousands of bodies? To lose all of them and be left with only one? I realized pretty quickly that this would be a difficult character to write, and in my quest for information that would help me, I discovered just how tenuous our identity is. We often behave as if the question of who anyone is has an obvious answer. But when you look close, you realize it doesn't.

But Ancillary Justice isn't meant to be deep or philosophical. It's meant to be a space opera, with all the shiny space opera things I could fit into it. It's just, once you start asking questions like, "So who is this person, anyway?" it's kind of hard to stop.






About Ancillary Justice

Ancillary Justice
Imperial Radch 1
Orbit, October 1, 2013
Trade Paperback and eBook, 416 pages

Guest Blog by Ann Leckie, author of Ancillary Justice - September 6, 2013
On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest.

Breq is both more than she seems and less than she was. Years ago, she was the Justice of Toren--a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of corpse soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy.

An act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with only one fragile human body. And only one purpose--to revenge herself on Anaander Mianaai, many-bodied, near-immortal Lord of the Radch.


Cover art by John Harris.





About Ann

Guest Blog by Ann Leckie, author of Ancillary Justice - September 6, 2013
Photo by MissionPhoto.ORG
Ann Leckie has published short stories in Subterranean MagazineStrange Horizons, and Realms of Fantasy. Her story “Hesperia and Glory” was reprinted in Science Fiction: The Best of the Year, 2007 Edition edited by Rich Horton.

Ann has worked as a waitress, a receptionist, a rodman on a land-surveying crew, and a recording engineer. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri, with her husband, children, and cats.




Website  ~   Twitter @ann_leckie  ~  Pinterest  ~  Google+

Review: The Riyria Chronicles by Michael J. Sullivan - August 17, 2013


The Crown Tower
Author: Michael J. Sullivan
Series:  The Riyria Chronicles 1
Publisher:  Orbit, August 6, 2013
Format: Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages
Price:  $16.00 (print)
ISBN: 9780316243711 (print)
Review copy:  Provided by the Publisher via NetGalley

Review: The Riyria Chronicles by Michael J. Sullivan - August 17, 2013
Two men who hate each other. One impossible mission. A legend in the making.

Hadrian Blackwater, a warrior with nothing to fight for, is paired with Royce Melborn, a thieving assassin with nothing to lose. Hired by an old wizard, they must steal a treasure that no one can reach. The Crown Tower is the impregnable remains of the grandest fortress ever built and home to the realm's most prized possessions. But it isn't gold or jewels that the wizard is after, and if he can just keep them from killing each other, they just might succeed.



The Rose and The Thorn
Author: Michael J. Sullivan
Series:  The Riyria Chronicles 2
Publisher:  Orbit, September 17, 2013
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages
Price:  $16.00  (print)
ISBN:  9780316243728 (print)
Review copy:  Provided by the Publisher via NetGalley

Review: The Riyria Chronicles by Michael J. Sullivan - August 17, 2013
Two thieves want answers. Riyria is born.

For more than a year Royce Melborn has tried to forget Gwen DeLancy, the woman who saved him and his partner Hadrian Blackwater from certain death. Unable to get her out of his mind, the two thieves return to Medford but receive a very different reception --- Gwen refuses to see them. The victim of abuse by a powerful noble, she suspects that Royce will ignore any danger in his desire for revenge. By turning the thieves away, Gwen hopes to once more protect them. What she doesn't realize is what the two are capable of --- but she's about to find out.





Melanie's Thoughts

I loved the Riyria Revelations and so I really excited when I saw that Michael J. Sullivan had written a prequel series The Riyria Chronicles including two books -  The Crown Tower and The Rose and the Thorn. What could be better than spending more time with two of my favourite characters Royce and Hadrian?

The Crown Tower is the story of how Royce and Hadrian got thrown together and their very first mission together to break into the Crown Tower. This mission is referred to in the Rise of the Empire from the Riyria Revelations series. Sullivan gives us the full back story of how the two met and carried out their first mission. Sullivan also uses this book as a way to tell Gwen's story. While Gwen plays a very important part in the Revelations series we don't really get to learn how and where she came from until The Crown Tower.  I don't want to give too much away but The Crown Tower rounds out Royce as a character and shows a side of his character that I was rather surprised about.

The Rose and The Thorn follows on from The Crown Tower a year later. Royce and Hadrian have made a name for themselves as thieves and have returned to Medford where they ended up, in Gwen's care at the end of The Crown Tower. Royce has become intrigued by Gwen and comes back to town to see her. The pair are a bit more than surprised that Gwen refuses to see them. Royce is on a mission to find out why and if anyone has hurt Gwen they are going to pay....probably with their life. Sullivan also introduces us to Reuben Hilfred who is the son of one of the guards at the castle. In meeting Reuben we also get to meet Alric and Arista, the prince and princess of Melengar who are key characters in the Revelations series. Fans will remember Reuben as Arista's bodyguard during the Riyria Revelations and he is given the chance to tell the story of how he ended up in this auspicious position.

I cannot say enough good things about Riyria Chronicles or get enough of Royce and Hadrian. I don't think Sullivan's wife can either. According to the author's note Sullivan was convinced to write more about these two characters because his wife fancied Hadrian.  Sorry fellas but Michael J. Sullivan wins the 'nicest husband 2013 award' for writing two whole books just because his wife likes one of his characters.  Now that is motivation to tell an engaging story. There is enough new information to make these an interesting read for someone who has already read the Revelations series and a fantastic introduction for newcomers to the series. I enjoyed reading these two books so much that I have decided to go back and read the Revelations series.

Sullivan has a great capacity for story telling. He has created a richly detailed world as the stage for his story. He has written two characters who almost seem to come alive and leap off the page. These two stories not only give diehard fans another chance to spend time with the pair but also gives us an insight on why they made the choices they do in the next series.  I like to compare both the Riyria Chronicles and the Revelations to going to dinner at a great restaurant where Sullivan is the master chef (hang in there..it will make sense in a minute). The Riyria Chronicles are the starter. The Crown Tower and The Rose and The Thorn set the stage for the main course by teasing our literary taste buds, preparing us for the sumptuous main course that is sure to follow. Following the starter is the rich, detailed and well balanced main course in the form of Theft of Swords and  Rise of Empire. The characters we have grown to love are fleshed out further in a world of intrigue and subterfuge encased in religion and folklore. Finally, for dessert is Heir of Novron to finish off our literary meal. The literary dessert is bitter sweet like a rich, dark, chocolate cake which leaves the reader fulfilled, satisfied and maybe a tiny bit sad it is all over.

The Crown Tower and The Rose and The Thorn are a great way to start this series. We get to see how our favourite heroes come together and how the plot from Revelations starts to unfold. As much as I love these books and both series I hope this where Sullivan decides to leave the rest to our imaginations. Like a rich and delicious meal there can be too much of a good thing and I wouldn't want Sullivan to dilute the power of both of these series by writing anything else on this pair. If you haven't had a chance to enjoy this series I urge you to start at the beginning with The Crown Tower. Its only a few more weeks until The Rose and The Thorn is released and after reading that you can jump right into the books of the Riyria Revelations.
2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - Age of Iron by Angus WatsonReview: The Lascar's Dagger by Glenda LarkeOrbit to Publish Three More Novels in Hugo Award-Nominated "Expanse" SeriesPress Release - Mira Grant to Complete "Parasitology" Series and Return to "Newsflesh" Series in New Novels and Novellas from OrbitInterview with Brian McClellan, author of The Powder Mage Trilogy, and Giveaway - May 28, 2014Interview with author Trent Jamieson - February 12, 2014Cover Revealed - House of the Rising Sun by Kristen PainterInterview with Marlene Perez, author of the Nyx Fortuna sereis - December 10, 2013Guest Blog by Ann Leckie, author of Ancillary Justice - September 6, 2013Review: The Riyria Chronicles by Michael J. Sullivan - August 17, 2013

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