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2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - Cover of the Year


2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - Cover of the Year


It's time to vote for the 2017 Debut Author Challenge COVER OF THE YEAR! Below you will find the 12 monthly winners in alphabetical order by book title (excluding "the" or "a" or "an", etc.).

Vote for your favorite from the monthly 2017 Winners!

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 January 24, 2018.

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




Amberlough
(February)

2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - Cover of the Year
Cover Art by Victo Ngai




The Astonishing Thing
(October)

2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - Cover of the Year




The Caledonian Gambit
(May)

2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - Cover of the Year
Cover art by Sebastien Hue




Crossroads of Canopy
(January)

2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - Cover of the Year
Cover Art by Marc Simonetti




An Excess Male
(September)

2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - Cover of the Year
Cover design by Kapo Ng




Glass Town
(December)

2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - Cover of the Year




Godblind
(July)

2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - Cover of the Year
Cover design and title lettering by Dominic Forbes




Muddy Waters
(April)

2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - Cover of the Year
Cover art by Eugene Teplitsky




Noumenon
(August)

2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - Cover of the Year
Cover art by Steven Messing
Overall design by Owen Corrigan




Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl
(November)

2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - Cover of the Year




Space Tripping
(March)

2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - Cover of the Year
Cover design by Edward Bettison




Wellside
(June)

2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - Cover of the Year
Cover by Jenny Zemanek

2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Winner


The winner of the April 2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars is Muddy Waters by Sara O. Thompson from Curiosity Quills Press with 43% of the votes. The cover art is by Eugene Teplitsky.


Muddy Waters
Otherwhere 1
Curiosity Quills Press, April 4, 2017
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook

2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Winner
Twenty years ago, the boundary between worlds dropped. It will be a while before the political, social, and religious upheaval settles down but the good news is: now you can book a vacation to Valhalla as easily as you can go to Las Vegas. Your real estate agent might be a Wood Sprite. Your mechanic might be a Minotaur. For better or for worse, Supernormals are part of Earth life.

Five years ago, Tessa Reddick was convicted of killing her entire family: 37 Witches from one of the most powerful covens in history. She’s been locked up at Lakeland Psychiatric hospital, still grieving but mad as hell at whoever-or whatever-put her there.

Half an hour ago, a handsome FBI agent showed up to spring Tessa from the joint
-but there’s a price. A series of murders is picking off Supernormals and the feds need the help of the last known Reddick Witch.

Determined to learn who set her up for the fall, help solve the FBI crimes, and maybe get closer to her mysterious (and seriously hot) Dark Elf partner, Tessa is more than willing to play Witchy Nancy Drew.

But Tessa has few friends left and something is coming for her, too - maybe it’s the one who framed her and killed her coven, or perhaps a new foe with a taste for Witch’s blood.

Solving crimes, doing magic, drinking bourbon. It’s dirty work, but somebody has to do it.




The Results
2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Winner




The April 2017 Debuts
2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Winner

2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts


2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 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 April 30, 2017.

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





2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts
Cover design by Erin Seaward-Hiatt






2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts
Cover design by Peter Mendelsund






2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts
Cover and book design by KG Design International






2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts
Illustrated and designed by Julia Lloyd






2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts
Designed by Alison Forner






2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts






2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts
Cover design by Adrijus Guscia






2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts
Cover art by Eugene Teplitsky






2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts
Jacket design by Oliver Munday






2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts






2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts






2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts






2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts
Cover design by David Gee






2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts
Cover art by Craig White






2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts
Cover illustrated by John Jude Palencar


Interview with Sara O. Thompson, author of Muddy Waters


Please welcome Sara O. Thompson to The Qwillery as part of the 2017 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Muddy Waters (Otherwhere 1) was published on April 4th by Curiosity Quills Press.



Interview with Sara O. Thompson, author of Muddy Waters




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

Sara:  I think the very first thing I sat down to write was a play. I was about 10 and I wrote it on a yellow legal pad. It was about a pair of sister princesses. I got my first diary when I was 11 and I journaled until my late twenties. And I started my first novel around 12. It was a shameless rip off of Lord of the Flies. It’s posted on my website somewhere. It’s like…there’s a plane crash, then four pages of description of every single character and focuses heavily on their social classes.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Sara:  Hybrid. I used to scoff at plotters, thinking they were taking the fun out of discovery and creativity. But last year, I wrote a synopsis of Muddy Waters for my publisher and I ended up churning out an outline of the whole dang series, which is supposed to be 10 books. The thing was over 70 pages long. I got a little carried away, I think. But I give myself a lot of room to work within the confines of an outline. I’ve been doing improv for almost seven years and it’s taught me the value of using a scaffold (like an outline) as a springboard to creation.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Sara:  I find different things challenging at different times. For a while it was, ‘how can I find time to write?’ Then I got that worked out at it was, ‘how do I resist editing as I write?’ The process is ever-evolving as and I grow and learn, the challenges change with me. Which is, I suppose, both encouraging and disheartening. Right now, I’m trying to write the second book while dealing with the release of the first one.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Sara:  I have a master’s degree in literature and I really thought I would be writing literary fiction or essays. Boy, was I wrong! But I think some of what I read, thought about, and talked about during my graduate studies has shaped my work. Academia left its mark on my voice, I think. But the real answer is: I steal like a crow with a basket of shiny things. My eyes and ears are always open for bits and pieces I can use, whether it be a line of dialogue, a folk tale, or a mysterious location.



TQDescribe Muddy Waters in 140 characters or less.

Sara:  She’s the FBI’s newest supernormal investigator. Solving crimes. Doing magic. Drinking bourbon. Welcome to Otherwhere.



TQWhat inspired you to write Muddy Waters? What appealed to you about writing Urban Fantasy?

Sara:  In my late 20’s, I found myself getting away from reading so much literary fiction. Part of that is my husband’s fault. He kept handing me fantasy and science fiction to read, so I ended up writing the urban fantasy novel I wanted to read. I like the ability to ask what might happen if, in the case of my book, we found out that supernatural beings are real, heaven is real, and so on. Not only that, but what would that do to the religions and politics of the world?



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Muddy Waters?

Sara:  I have no problem throwing myself down the rabbit hole of research while I’m writing. I’ll stop mid-paragraph to look up the religious practices of pre-Christian Egyptians, or find obscure Chinese folk tales, and then two hours later, I’ll have three pages of scribbled notes to incorporate into the book. Wikipedia and the History channel were both a great help.



TQPlease tell us about Muddy Waters' cover.

Sara:  One of the reasons I wanted to work with my publisher, Curiosity Quills, was Eugene Teplitsky’s amazing artwork. I was so impressed with the library of covers they’d already done and I was excited to see what they’d come up with for me. I was not disappointed. Here’s a story about the cover: Eugene sent it to me and I was totally in love and I was showing it to a few close friends. Over the course of about a month, I’d shown maybe a dozen people this jpeg on my phone. I went to lunch with my friend Tricia who looks at it and says, “That’s so cool that there’s a map of Louisville on the cover.” It didn’t register to me until later that she was right. And it was another two weeks before I confessed to her that, until she had said something, I had not noticed that yes, the cover of the book features a map of the city.



TQIn Muddy Waters who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Sara:  Maybe the leader of the religious movement in the series was the hardest. I had a hard time trying to get inside the head of someone who might be seen as a zealot, or a cult leader. I find those people fascinating and complicated. Incidentally, I just started watching the series The Path, which is about a cult and it's great research for future characters.



TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in Muddy Waters?

Sara:  I absolutely wanted to include social issues in the book. What would happen to religion and politics if we discovered that the gods of myth and creatures of folklore are real? It’s not the explicit focus of the book, because that’s not what my main character is really focused on (yet…there are nine more books in the series so that could change….), but as a writer I was very interested in those questions. In this world, the revelation of the existence of Otherwhere ends up condensing religion into just a few major groups, chief among them is the Church of the Earth, whose philosophy is sort of, “Humans only, and we worship the one true God. Everybody else should go back to wherever they came from and your religions are blasphemy.” The world’s governments are fast approaching a New World Order: a whole-planet Earth-based government. In general, I’m very interested in how religion functions in a fantasy novel so I wanted to explore that in the book.



TQWhich question about Muddy Waters do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Sara:  Besides, “Can I purchase 10,000 copies of your book?” (The answer is yes.) I don’t really know…



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Muddy Waters.

Sara:  I’m a fan of, “Athena’s tits, Tessa, you could talk the paper off the walls.”



TQWhat's next?

Sara:  I’ve developed a workshop that show people how to use the rules of improv to write. I’ve been doing improv comedy for about 7 years and it’s had a tremendous effect on my writing.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Sara:  Thank you so much for having me. It’s been my pleasure.





Muddy Waters
Otherwhere 1
Curiosity Quills Press, April 4, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook

Interview with Sara O. Thompson, author of Muddy Waters
Twenty years ago, the boundary between worlds dropped. It will be a while before the political, social, and religious upheaval settles down but the good news is: now you can book a vacation to Valhalla as easily as you can go to Las Vegas. Your real estate agent might be a Wood Sprite. Your mechanic might be a Minotaur. For better or for worse, Supernormals are part of Earth life.

Five years ago, Tessa Reddick was convicted of killing her entire family: 37 Witches from one of the most powerful covens in history. She’s been locked up at Lakeland Psychiatric hospital, still grieving but mad as hell at whoever-or whatever-put her there.

Half an hour ago, a handsome FBI agent showed up to spring Tessa from the joint
-but there’s a price. A series of murders is picking off Supernormals and the feds need the help of the last known Reddick Witch.

Determined to learn who set her up for the fall, help solve the FBI crimes, and maybe get closer to her mysterious (and seriously hot) Dark Elf partner, Tessa is more than willing to play Witchy Nancy Drew.

But Tessa has few friends left and something is coming for her, too - maybe it’s the one who framed her and killed her coven, or perhaps a new foe with a taste for Witch’s blood.

Solving crimes, doing magic, drinking bourbon. It’s dirty work, but somebody has to do it.





About Sara

Interview with Sara O. Thompson, author of Muddy Waters
Sara O. Thompson’s first attempt at a book was prepared on a Remington typewriter and bore a suspicious resemblance to a famous novel whose title rhymes with ‘Gourd of the Spies.’ Since then, she’s written diaries, advertising copy, and a lot of poetry, besides short and long fiction. Her accolades are so minor they bear no mention here, except to say that she once received five sessions with a life coach as a prize for winning an essay contest. In her spare time, she performs improv comedy, occasionally tells stories on stage, and loves ballroom dancing. Sara lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with her husband (who is an ICU nurse) and their twin sons. Muddy Waters is her debut novel.

Website  ~  Facebook
Twitter @ThWritingSpider

2017 Debut Author Challenge - April Debuts




There are 15 debut novels for April.

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

The April 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 April cover for the 2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on April 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 April 2017 The list is correct as of the day posted.



Omar El Akkad

American War
Knopf, April 4, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages
Literary Fiction

An audacious and powerful debut novel: a second American Civil War, a devastating plague, and one family caught deep in the middle—a story that asks what might happen if America were to turn its most devastating policies and deadly weapons upon itself.

Sarat Chestnut, born in Louisiana, is only six when the Second American Civil War breaks out in 2074. But even she knows that oil is outlawed, that Louisiana is half underwater, and that unmanned drones fill the sky. When her father is killed and her family is forced into Camp Patience for displaced persons, she begins to grow up shaped by her particular time and place. But not everyone at Camp Patience is who they claim to be. Eventually Sarat is befriended by a mysterious functionary, under whose influence she is turned into a deadly instrument of war. The decisions that she makes will have tremendous consequences not just for Sarat but for her family and her country, rippling through generations of strangers and kin alike.




Casey Doran

Jericho's Razor
Jericho Sands 1
Polis Books, April 25, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 272 pages
Horror, Thriller

Horror writer Jericho Sands has had a hell of a month. He's endured a bitter break up with his punk rocker girlfriend, learned that his lungs are blacker than a coal mine, and served time in county jail for throwing a United States Congressman in a dumpster. He's heartbroken, sleep deprived and suffering from a debilitating case of writer's block

Life is about to get much worse.

Somebody from Jericho's past has left a decapitated body on his doorstep. The similarity to methods used in his books, his lack of an alibi and his proximity to the victim all lead the detectives handling the case to quickly identify Jericho as the primary suspect.

But being framed for murder is the least of Jericho's problems, because this killer is only getting started. The mysterious executioner known as 'The River City Slasher' has made it clear that more innocent people will be killed before Jericho himself is the final victim. Unable to trust the cops, Jericho is forced to examine the darkest parts of his own psyche to catch a killer, save innocent lives, and free himself from his own guilt. When Jericho finally learns the identity of the killer terrorizing the city, it shocks him in ways he was unprepared for, causing him to doubt all he holds to be true, including his own judgment and motivations.

The first book in the Jericho Sands series, Jericho's Razor heralds the debut of a phenomenal new thriller writer in Casey Doran.




Ruthanna Emrys

Winter Tide
The Innsmouth Legacy 1
Tor.com, April 4, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 368 pages
Historical Fantasy, Dark Fantasy

"Winter Tide is a weird, lyrical mystery — truly strange and compellingly grim. It's an innovative gem that turns Lovecraft on his head with cleverness and heart" —Cherie Priest

After attacking Devil’s Reef in 1928, the U.S. government rounded up the people of Innsmouth and took them to the desert, far from their ocean, their Deep One ancestors, and their sleeping god Cthulhu. Only Aphra and Caleb Marsh survived the camps, and they emerged without a past or a future.

The government that stole Aphra's life now needs her help. FBI agent Ron Spector believes that Communist spies have stolen dangerous magical secrets from Miskatonic University, secrets that could turn the Cold War hot in an instant, and hasten the end of the human race.

Aphra must return to the ruins of her home, gather scraps of her stolen history, and assemble a new family to face the darkness of human nature.

Winter Tide is the debut novel from Ruthanna Emrys, author of the Aphra Marsh story, "The Litany of Earth"--included here as a bonus.




Terri Favro

Sputnik's Children
ECW Press, April 11, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 360 pages
Literary Fiction

A literary, genre-bending novel full of heart

Cult comic book creator Debbie Reynolds Biondi has been riding the success of her Cold War era–inspired superhero series, Sputnik Chick: Girl with No Past, for more than 25 years. But with the comic book losing fans and Debbie struggling to come up with new plotlines for her badass, mutant-killing heroine, she decides to finally tell Sputnik Chick’s origin story.

Debbie’s never had to make anything up before and she isn’t starting now. Sputnik Chick is based on Debbie’s own life in an alternate timeline called Atomic Mean Time. As a teenager growing up in Shipman’s Corners — a Rust Belt town voted by Popular Science magazine as “most likely to be nuked” — she was recruited by a self-proclaimed time traveller to collapse Atomic Mean Time before an all-out nuclear war grotesquely altered humanity. In trying to save the world, Debbie risked obliterating everyone she’d ever loved — as well as her own past — in the process.

Or so she believes . . . Present-day Debbie is addicted to lorazepam and dirty, wet martinis, making her an unreliable narrator, at best. A time-bending novel that delves into the origin story of the Girl with No Past, Sputnik’s Children explores what it was like to come of age in the Atomic Age.




Lauren A. Forry

Abigale Hall
Skyhorse Publishing, April 11, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 376 pages
Psychological Thriller

Amid the terror of the Second World War, seventeen-year-old Eliza and her troubled little sister Rebecca have had their share of tragedy, having lost their mother to the Blitz and their father to suicide. Forced to leave London to work for the mysterious Mr. Brownwell at Abigale Hall, they soon learn that the worst is yet to come. The vicious housekeeper, Mrs. Pollard, seems hell-bent on keeping the ghostly secrets of the house away from the sisters and forbids them from entering the surrounding town—and from the rumors that circulate about Abigale Hall. When Eliza uncovers some blood-splattered books, ominous photographs, and portraits of a mysterious woman, she begins to unravel the mysteries of the house, but with Rebecca falling under Mrs. Pollard’s spell, she must act quickly to save her sister, and herself, from certain doom.

Perfect for readers who hunger for the strange, Abigale Hall is an atmospheric debut novel where the threat of death looms just beyond the edge of every page. Lauren A. Forry has created a historical ghost story where the setting is as alive as the characters who inhabit it and a resonant family drama of trust, loyalty, and salvation.




William Least Heat-Moon

Celestial Mechanics: A Tale for a Mid-Winter Night
Three Rooms Press, April 11, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages

In this emotional tale of haunted love, CELESTIAL MECHANICS’s Silas Fortunato finds himself locked in a marriage descending toward darkness until the arrival of his sister-in-law and soon thereafter the appearance of a witching neighbor who may or may not be alive. In ways enigmatic, ghostly, and funny, the three women draw him into the equivocal nature of dreams and reality, their influences leading Silas on a journey toward what may be light and a new belonging to something vastly beyond him.

The debut novel of famed Blue Highways author William Least Heat-Moon, CELESTIAL MECHANICS embarks on a journey through the mind and wrestles with life’s major questions, like the nature of the Cosmos, the value of knowledge, and the essence of truly being alive. Heat-Moon has already proven he is a master at taking readers on powerful journeys as shown in his initial release Blue Highways, which spent 42 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list. CELESTIAL MECHANICS is a Blue Highways of the mind, in which the author leads readers on a path unlike any other, offering new insight into finding one’s place in this universe we struggle to understand.

Just as Heat-Moon’s nonfiction employs many fictional narrative techniques, CELESTIAL MECHANICS draws upon nonfictional devices to build a story that crosses traditional boundaries between the two. It is the clarion call of a generation that believes rationality and spirituality can—and should—coexist, a generation defined by globalization, where the only things left unknown are what is within and beyond us, those cosmic realms revealed by the telescope and the quantum world suggested by the microscope. This book is for readers steeped in a hustle-and-bustle world that seems impossible to escape; for those who believe that practices like mindfulness and rational deduction and childlike wonder are the keys to the kind of fulfillment commercial aspects of life can never hope to address.




Antonia Honeywell

The Ship
Orbit, April 25, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages
Coming Of Age, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic

"Powerful, haunting, and beautiful," (M. R. Carey, author of The Girl With All the Gifts) The Ship is a luminous and genre-defying debut novel that follows a young woman's coming of age in a world where she has no future.

London burned for three weeks. And then it got worse...

Young, naive Lalla has grown up isolated in her parents' apartment, sheltered from the chaos amid the ruins of civilization. But things are getting more dangerous outside. People are killing each other for husks of bread, and the police are detaining anyone without an identification card. On her sixteenth birthday, Lalla's father decides it's time to use their escape route--a ship he's built that is only big enough to save five hundred people.

But the utopia her father has created isn't everything it appears. There's more food than anyone can eat, but nothing grows; more clothes than anyone can wear, but no way to mend them; and no-one can tell her where they are going.




Vivien Jackson

Wanted and Wired
Tether 1
Sourcebooks Casablanca, April 4, 2017
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages
SF Romance

“Raw. Smart. Quick-witted. Mouthwatering. Just a few adjectives that describe this exquisite tale. Do not let this unforgettable story, or its incredible cast of characters, slip by you.” —DARYNDA JONES, New York Times bestselling author

A rip-roarin’ new snarky, sexy sci-fi paranormal romance series with the perfect balance of humor, heat, and heart. Now that Texas has seceded and the world is spiraling into chaos, good guys come in unlikely packages and love sprouts in the most inconvenient places…

Rogue scientist • technologically enhanced • deliciously attractive
Heron Farad should be dead. But technology has made him the man he is today. Now he heads a crew of uniquely skilled outsiders who fight to salvage what’s left of humanity: art, artifacts, books, ideas—sometimes even people. People like Mari Vallejo.

Gun for hire • Texan rebel • always hits her mark
Mari has been lusting after her mysterious handler for months. But when a by-the-book hit goes horribly sideways, she and Heron land on the universal most wanted list. Someone set them up. Desperate and on the run, they must trust each other to survive, while hiding devastating secrets. As their explosive chemistry heats up, it’s the perfect storm…




T. M. Lakomy

The Shadow Crucible: The Blind God
SelectBooks, April 25, 2017
Trade Paperback, 400 pages

In a world where angels, demons, and gods fight over the possession of mortal souls, two conflicted pawns are ensnared in a cruel game. The enigmatic seer Estella finds herself thrown together with Count Mikhail, a dogmatic Templar dedicated to subjugating her kind. But when a corrupted cardinal and puppet king begin a systematic genocide of her people, the two become unlikely allies.

Taking humanity back to their primordial beliefs and fears, Estella confronts Mikhail’s faith by revealing the true horror of the lucrative trade in human souls. All organized religions are shops orchestrated to consume mankind. Every deity, religion, and spiritual guide has been corrupted, and each claims to have the monopoly on truth and salvation.

In a perilous game where the truth is distorted and meddling ancient deities converge to partake of the unseen battle, Estella unwittingly finds herself hunted by Lucifer. Traversing the edge of hell’s precipice, Estella and Mikhail are reduced to mere instruments. Their only means to overcome is through courting the Threefold Death, the ancient ritual of apotheosis—of man becoming God.

The Shadow Crucible is a gripping epic set in medieval England where the struggle for redemption is crushed by the powers of evil. Tamara Lakomy is a new and compelling voice in the world of dark fantasy.




Kent Lester

The Seventh Sun
Forge Books, April 18, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 416 pages
Technological Thriller, Political Thriller

In a breathtaking debut, Kent Lester has married fast-paced narrative and cutting-edge, reality-based science to produce an edge-of-the-seat thriller in The Seventh Sun.

A seemingly random murder alerts scientist Dan Clifford to a global conspiracy that stretches from the halls of Washington to the Honduran coast. Illegal, undersea activities have unwittingly uncovered a primordial secret that is wreaking havoc on aquatic life and the local human population.

When the CDC and the full resources of a U.S. “threat interdiction” team fails to uncover the source of the devastation, Dan and a brilliant marine biologist, Rachel Sullivan, must race to unravel an unimaginable, ancient mystery in the murky depths. It's up to them to stop this terror before a determined multi-national corporation triggers a worldwide extinction event, the Seventh Sun of ancient myth.




Mariam Petrosyan

The Gray House
Yuri Machkasov (Translator)
AmazonCrossing, April 25, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 734 pages
Coming of Age, Fantasy

The Gray House is an astounding tale of how what others understand as liabilities can be leveraged into strengths.

Bound to wheelchairs and dependent on prosthetic limbs, the physically disabled students living in the House are overlooked by the Outsides. Not that it matters to anyone living in the House, a hulking old structure that its residents know is alive. From the corridors and crawl spaces to the classrooms and dorms, the House is full of tribes, tinctures, scared teachers, and laws—all seen and understood through a prismatic array of teenagers’ eyes.

But student deaths and mounting pressure from the Outsides put the time-defying order of the House in danger. As the tribe leaders struggle to maintain power, they defer to the awesome power of the House, attempting to make it through days and nights that pass in ways that clocks and watches cannot record.




Pajtim Statovci

My Cat Yugoslavia
David Hackston (Translator)
Pantheon, April 18, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 272 pages
Literary Fiction

A love story set in two countries and in two radically different moments in time, bringing together a young man, his mother, a boa constrictor, and one capricious cat

In 1980s Yugoslavia, a young Muslim girl is married off to a man she hardly knows, and what was meant to be a happy match quickly goes wrong. Shortly thereafter, the country is torn apart by war and she and her family flee to Finland, where her son Bekim grows up to become a social outcast—not just an immigrant in a country suspicious of foreigners but also a gay man in an unaccepting society. Aside from casual hookups, his only companion is a boa constrictor that, improbably (he is terrified of snakes), he lets roam around his apartment.

Then one night, at a gay bar, Bekim meets a talking cat, who also moves in with him. It is this witty, charming, manipulative creature who starts Bekim on a journey back to Kosovo to confront his demons and make sense of the magical, cruel, incredible history of his family. And this, in turn, enables Bekim finally to open himself to true love—which he will find in the most unexpected place.




Sara O. Thompson

Muddy Waters
Otherwhere 1
Curiosity Quills Press, April 4, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook
Occult & Supernatural, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

Twenty years ago, the boundary between worlds dropped. It will be a while before the political, social, and religious upheaval settles down but the good news is: now you can book a vacation to Valhalla as easily as you can go to Las Vegas. Your real estate agent might be a Wood Sprite. Your mechanic might be a Minotaur. For better or for worse, Supernormals are part of Earth life.

Five years ago, Tessa Reddick was convicted of killing her entire family: 37 Witches from one of the most powerful covens in history. She’s been locked up at Lakeland Psychiatric hospital, still grieving but mad as hell at whoever-or whatever-put her there.

Half an hour ago, a handsome FBI agent showed up to spring Tessa from the joint
-but there’s a price. A series of murders is picking off Supernormals and the feds need the help of the last known Reddick Witch.

Determined to learn who set her up for the fall, help solve the FBI crimes, and maybe get closer to her mysterious (and seriously hot) Dark Elf partner, Tessa is more than willing to play Witchy Nancy Drew.

But Tessa has few friends left and something is coming for her, too - maybe it’s the one who framed her and killed her coven, or perhaps a new foe with a taste for Witch’s blood.

Solving crimes, doing magic, drinking bourbon. It’s dirty work, but somebody has to do it.




Eleanor Wasserberg

Foxlowe
Penguin Books, April 4, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages
Literary Fiction

An astonishing literary debut about a young girl’s coming of age in the haunting, enchanting world of an English commune—a modern gothic novel with echoes of Room and Never Let Me Go

Foxlowe is a crumbling old house in the moors—a wild, secluded, and magical place. For Green, it is not just home, but everything she knows.

Outside, people live in little square houses, with unhappy families and tedious jobs. At Foxlowe, Green runs free through the hallways and orchards, in the fields and among the Standing Stones. Outside, people are corrupted by money. At Foxlowe, the Family shares everything. Outside, the Bad is everywhere. At Foxlowe, everyone in the Family is safe—as long as they follow Freya’s rules and perform her rituals. But as Green’s little sister, Blue, grows up, she shows more and more interest in the Outside. Before long she starts to talk about becoming a Leaver. . . .

Building inexorably to its terrifying climax, Foxlowe tells a chilling, irresistible story of superstition and survival, betrayal and redemption, and a utopia gone badly wrong.




Deborah A. Wolf

The Dragon's Legacy
The Dragon's Legacy Book 1
Titan Books, April 18, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages
Epic Fantasy

In the heart of the singing desert, the people are fading from the world. Mothers bear few live children, the warriors and wardens are hard-pressed to protect those who remain, and the vash’ai—the great cats who have called the people kithren for as long as there have been stories— bond with fewer humans each year.

High above, the Sun Dragon sings a song of life and love, while far below, the Earth Dragon slumbers as she has since the beginning of time. Her sleep is fitful, and from the darkness of her dreams come whispers of war… and death.

Sulema is a newly minted warrior of the people and a true Ja’Akari—a daughter of the unforgiving desert. When a mysterious young man appears in her home of Aish Kalumm, she learns that the Dragon King is dying in distant Atualon. As the king fades, so does the magic that sings the Earth Dragon to sleep.

There are those who wish to keep the dragon trapped in endless slumber. Others would tap her power to claim it for their own. And there are those who would have her wake, so they might laugh as the world burns.

2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - Cover of the Year2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Winner2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April DebutsInterview with Sara O. Thompson, author of Muddy Waters2017 Debut Author Challenge - April Debuts

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