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Guest Blog by Sharona Muir: My Invisible Beasts and the Changing Climate of Ideas - August 15, 2014


Please welcome Sharona Muir to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Invisible Beasts was published on July 15, 2014 by Bellevue Literary Press.



Guest Blog by Sharona Muir: My Invisible Beasts and the Changing Climate of Ideas - August 15, 2014




Sharona Muir: My Invisible Beasts and the Changing Climate of Ideas

In 2009, in The Economist’s science section, a reviewer of Frans de Waal’s latest book wrote, “Every day the world seems more like Aesop’s ‘Fables.’” The book was The Age of Empathy and, as in Our Inner Ape, de Waal argued that traits long considered exclusively human were part of the evolutionary makeup of many animals—his point being, as usual, that human nature must be studied in the context of primate evolution. That same year, in the PMLA, a column titled “Why Animals Now?” led a cluster of articles. Literary scholars were studying beasts: the puppy in The Great Gatsby, Jack London’s wolves. A colleague sent me the issue and I began playing catch-up. I’d been waiting, as they say, all my life for these new ideas now carried on the wind. I read the 2002 reissue of Janine Benyus’ Biomimcry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. My father, an inventor, had studied snake fangs to make hypodermic needles; now this method had a name, and a professional stance of regard for nonhuman ways. In 2006, Martha Nussbaum, the Chicago polymath, redefined justice for animals in Frontiers of Justice. In 2007, Paul Churchland, a neuroscientist, stated in Neurophilosophy At Work that the brain’s structure did not suggest that consciousness was tied to language—blowing away an old tenet of human exceptionalism. 2007 also saw the publication of the English translation of Jacques Derrida’s book, The Animal That Therefore I Am, which starts with the great deconstructionist exiting the bathroom shower while his pet cat stares at him.

As I read, my narrator, Sophie, took shape; her voice distilled the main ideas I’d learned. In the epigraph of Invisible Beasts: Animal life is mindful, and the mind’s life is animal. In the introduction: Human beings are the most invisible beasts, because we do not see ourselves as beasts. But it took the mojo of E.O. Wilson’s Anthill to crystallize my stack of fables into a meaningful literary form. Sure, it’s a novel, it reads like fiction. But if “novel” is its genus, “bestiary” is its species. And what’s that?

Long before science existed, the bestiary did. Catalogues of beasts with curious lore, bestiaries gave us the unicorn and the phoenix. Their compilers were ancient naturalists, or monks in wildest, darkest Europe. Treasure troves of enchanting imagery, moral lessons, and religious wisdom, traditional bestiaries described how snakes stun prey with their dazzling beauty, wolves eat the wind and whelp during thunderstorms, and the halcyon calms the stormy sea. What these books did not do was concern themselves with scientific accuracy. So, to a modern reader, their beasts are too heavily symbolic, too human-centered, as if carved into the rich frame of a mirror. But in Invisible Beasts, the biological facts in each fable show the faces of other realities, other species, their different ways, and the necessity of knowing them—and ourselves—as animals among animals.

The happiest moment of this novel’s writing was when, with biology on my mind and a good dog by my side, Plato’s antique symposium suddenly revealed something quite unexpected about love. My novel tells any reader who enjoys its flights of fancy or wisdom: Go learn a little from your fellow beasts. For the climate of ideas is changing.





Invisible Beasts
Bellevue Literary Press, July 15, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 256 pages

Guest Blog by Sharona Muir: My Invisible Beasts and the Changing Climate of Ideas - August 15, 2014
Sophie is an amateur naturalist with a rare genetic gift: the ability to see a marvelous kingdom of invisible, sentient creatures that share a vital relationship with humankind. To record her observations, Sophie creates a personal bestiary and, as she relates the strange abilities of these endangered beings, her tales become extraordinary meditations on love, sex, evolution, extinction, truth, and self-knowledge.

In the tradition of E.O. Wilson’s Anthill, Invisible Beasts is inspiring, philosophical, and richly detailed fiction grounded by scientific fact and a profound insight into nature. The fantastic creations within its pages—an ancient animal that uses natural cold fusion for energy, a species of vampire bat that can hear when their human host is lying, a continent-sized sponge living under the ice of Antarctica—illuminate the role that all living creatures play in the environment and remind us of what we stand to lose if we fail to recognize our entwined destinies.





About Sharona

Guest Blog by Sharona Muir: My Invisible Beasts and the Changing Climate of Ideas - August 15, 2014
Photograph by Tom Muir
Sharona Muir’s writing has appeared in Granta, Orion magazine, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Paris Review, and elsewhere. She is a Professor of Creative Writing and English at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Invisible Beasts is her first novel.
















Interview with Sharona Muir, author of Invisible Beasts - July 16, 2014


Please welcome Sharona Muir to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Invisible Beasts was published on July 15, 2014 by Bellevue Literary Press.



Interview with Sharona Muir, author of Invisible Beasts - July 16, 2014




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

Sharona:  Thanks, it’s great to chat with The Qwillery. I started writing shortly after I stopped crawling, because it was a good excuse to hide under a table or piano, escaping the ruthless scrutiny that bipedalism had brought upon me. My first published poem, in high school, entitled “Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation,” was printed in a medical textbook of that name. Since then, science and the wonders it reveals have been my inspiration.



TQ: Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Sharona:  Italo Calvino draws the distinction between two schools of creativity: the flame and the crystal. I tend to the crystalline, hoping to reach a point where structure and meaning are indissolubly wedded. But if there’s no flame—no transforming obsession that throws off casual smoke and hot light—there’s no point in writing.



TQ: What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Sharona:  Working at a state school run on the “corporate model.” My writing gets left for when normal Americans take vacation, which I haven’t taken since the nineties. Otherwise I get up in the wee hours, recite a few psalms, and work till seven. But I fall asleep later, so I can only do this on the few days when prayer and art may present their claims without discomposing Mammon (the god of lucre.)



TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Sharona:  When I was fifteen, I wrote a long fan letter to Isaac Asimov, in which, inter alia, I complained about boys who called feminists like me “castrating women.” The great SF author replied that if guys said that, I should ask them what they had to castrate. I also love H.G. Wells for The Island of Dr. Moreau (“Are we not men?”), Mary Shelley, and ancient authors—Ariosto, who spent years on a lush fantasy epic in honor of his mistress; Erasmus of Rotterdam, for his book in which the Goddess of Folly tells all; Pliny the Elder, who died in an eruption of Vesuvius; and medieval bestiaries. But my guiding light is Italo Calvino, who perceived the common inspiration of scientists and poets, and gave it enduring contemporary form. Also, a lifelong love of Moby-Dick helps me to associate animals with learning, wisdom, mystery, and beauty.



TQ: Describe Invisible Beasts in 140 characters or less.

Sharona:  Sophie, a naturalist who sees invisible beasts, tells playful tales mixing science with visions of love, truth, and a changing biosphere.



TQ: Tell us something about Invisible Beasts that is not in the book description.

Sharona:  If you read carefully, you’ll realize that Evie, Sophie’s sister, is married to a big, mute, vegetarian, powerful, peaceful silverback gorilla, though he’s not named as such. I wanted Evie to be married to a gorilla—not a real one, but one capable of holding down a job at a psychology lab, and reading Nature magazine, turning the pages with his toes. He also reads something called “Off de Waal Comix,” which doesn’t exist but should; it’s my tribute to Frans de Waal, the primatologist whose ideas inspired the chapter in which Erik appears. I was worried that having a man-ape would put me into the ugly territory of racist imagery, so I made sure that Erik, Evie’s husband, is a Nordic gorilla, covered in white fur, who comes from an obscure whaling station in Greenland. Sophie describes him as “as apparition in the smokiest corner of a Viking hall, fists filled with icicles and thunderbolts.” No one seems to have noticed Erik’s species—who are people dating these days?



TQ: What inspired you to write Invisible Beasts? Are the 'beasts' that you have created for the novel based on real animals, etc.? Why did you have your main character create a bestiary?

SharonaInvisible Beasts began as a game I played with biologist friends. I’d research some scientific facts about real animals, cells, or even molecules, then invent an imaginary animal based on them. My friends would say, “Oh yes, there’s a creature that does that.” Then I’d go try something weirder. As I live in a small forest, surrounded by wildlife (as I write, a phoebe is screaming from my porch, and earlier I found a chicken foot at the entrance to a fox den under my barn) inspiration was never far, and a bestiary was inevitable.



TQ: What sort of research did you do for Invisible Beasts?

Sharona:  Well, I’ve been thinking about animals, science, and imagination since childhood. My father, a freelance inventor, was also what is now known as a “biomimic”—he imitated nature’s solutions to technical engineering problems, for instance, the design of a snake’s fang to make a non-clotting hypodermic needle. This approach encouraged a view of nature and animals as teachers and equals.

Later, I wrote my Ph.D. thesis, at Stanford, on science fiction and American attitudes toward nature. This book showed how the myth of the Earthly Paradise lies at the root of science fiction as a genre—an historical connection between science, nature, and cultural imagination.

Recently, in many fields, researchers and scholars are replacing our old human-centered perspective with a view of life more like the biomimic’s. Reading new work in ethnography, neuroscience, philosophy, and literary theory has helped me focus the ideas behind Invisible Beasts. Especially helpful are the works of Frans de Waal, Marc Hauser, E.O. Wilson, Martha Nussbaum, Paul Churchland, Christof Koch, Janine Benyus, and Cary Wolfe. My experiences with the Humane Society were also useful.



TQ: Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Sharona:  The two sisters: Sophie, the narrator who sees invisible beasts, and her sister, Evie, the biologist who tolerantly helps her to understand them, were easy. They just naturally went together, like right-and-left brain. Granduncle Erasmus was the most fun, playing off my favorite Victorian gentlemen oddballs. The hardest character was Nature herself, who is the protagonist of “The Golden Egg,” the chapter covering four hundred million years of evolution. It was hard because the technique I use, namely writing, was invented an hour ago by Sumerian accountants, and is barely up to the job.



TQ: Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from Invisible Beasts.

Sharona:  There’s the epigraph: Animal life is mindful, and the mind’s life is animal. In early drafts this was attributed to one “Heraclitus of Eucyon.” But since the name means, roughly, “Heraclitus of Nice Doggie,” friends who objected to fake Greeks convinced me to dump the attribution. Also there’s the motto of my narrator, Sophie the naturalist: Human beings are the most invisible beasts, because we do not see ourselves as beasts. Think about it. Then there’s… “A night of passion is a hard thing to remember (no pun intended).”



TQ: What's next?

Sharona:  I’m writing a novel based on the story of Oedipus, set in a genetics lab at Stanford University. Beyond that, I plan to write another bestiary. . . . Sssshh. Fates are listening!



TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery!

Sharona:  Thank you so much for the pleasure of sharing this work with you and your imagination-minded readers.





Invisible Beasts
Bellevue Literary Press, July 15, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 256 pages

Interview with Sharona Muir, author of Invisible Beasts - July 16, 2014
Sophie is an amateur naturalist with a rare genetic gift: the ability to see a marvelous kingdom of invisible, sentient creatures that share a vital relationship with humankind. To record her observations, Sophie creates a personal bestiary and, as she relates the strange abilities of these endangered beings, her tales become extraordinary meditations on love, sex, evolution, extinction, truth, and self-knowledge.

In the tradition of E.O. Wilson’s Anthill, Invisible Beasts is inspiring, philosophical, and richly detailed fiction grounded by scientific fact and a profound insight into nature. The fantastic creations within its pages—an ancient animal that uses natural cold fusion for energy, a species of vampire bat that can hear when their human host is lying, a continent-sized sponge living under the ice of Antarctica—illuminate the role that all living creatures play in the environment and remind us of what we stand to lose if we fail to recognize our entwined destinies.





About Sharona

Interview with Sharona Muir, author of Invisible Beasts - July 16, 2014
Photograph by Tom Muir
Sharona Muir’s writing has appeared in Granta, Orion magazine, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Paris Review, and elsewhere. She is a Professor of Creative Writing and English at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Invisible Beasts is her first novel.
















2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July 2014 Debuts


It's time for the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars for July 2014


2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July 2014 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 2014 Debut Novel Cover of the Year. Please note that a debut novel cover is eligible in the month in which the novel is released in the US. Cover artist/illustrator information is provided when we have it.

I'm using PollCode for this vote. After you the check the circle next to your favorite, click "Vote" to record your vote. If you'd like to seethe 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 July 24, 2014.



Vote for your favorite July 2014 Debut Cover
  
pollcode.com free polls 




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July 2014 Debuts




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July 2014 Debuts
Jacket Illustration by Diana Sudyka




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July 2014 Debuts




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July 2014 Debuts




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July 2014 Debuts




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July 2014 Debuts
Designed by Alban Fischer




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July 2014 Debuts




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July 2014 Debuts




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July 2014 Debuts




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July 2014 Debuts
Cover Art by John Coulthart




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July 2014 Debuts




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July 2014 Debuts




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July 2014 Debuts




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July 2014 Debuts
Designed by Alban Fischer




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July 2014 Debuts




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July 2014 Debuts


The View From Monday - July 14, 2014


Happy Monday! Hope everyone is getting a lot of reading done. I'm getting my house ready for some renovations which has cut into my reading time a bit!


The View From Monday - July 14, 2014


There are 4 debuts this week:

Traitor's Blade (Greatcoats 1) by Sebastien de Castell;

Invisible Beasts by Sharona Muir;

Echo Lake by Letitia Trent;

and

Tentyrian Legacy (Tentyrian Legacy 1) by Elise Walters.


From formerly featured Debut Author Challenge authors:

Red Rising by Pierce Brown will be published in Trade Paperback;

Seeders by A.J. Colucci;

and

Full Fathom Five (Craft Sequence 3) by Max Gladstone.



July 15, 2014
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Half a King Joe Abercrombie F - Shattered Sea 1
Awaken (e) Lori Adams PNR - The Soulkeepers 2
Shifter's Claim Part II (e) A.C. Arthur PNR - Shadow Shifters
Little Dead Man Jake Bible H/Z/PA
Red Rising (h2tp) Pierce Brown SF - The Red Rising Trilogy 1
Knight Avenged Coreene Callahan PNR - Circle of Seven 2
Traitor's Blade (D) Sebastien de Castell F - Greatcoats 1
Seeders: A Novel A. J. Colucci SF
Winds of Salem (h2tp) Melissa de la Cruz UF - Witches of East End 3
The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirty-first Annual Collection Gardner R. Dozois (ed) SF - Anthology
Elderwood Manor (Kindle e) Christopher Fulbright
Angeline Hawkes
H
Full Fathom Five Max Gladstone F - Craft Sequence 3
Overlord David L. Golemon SF/Th - Event Group Thrillers 3
The Book of Life Deborah Harkness UF - All Souls Trilogy 3
Elegy on Kinderklavier Arna Bontemps Hemenway F/SF - Collection (Linda Bruckheimer Series in Kentucky Literature)
The Outsorcerer's Apprentice Tom Holt F/Hu
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - The Official Movie Novelization Alex Irvine SF
Fortune's Rising Sara King SF - Outer Bounds 1
Fist of Demetrius (h2tp) William King SF - Warhammer 40,000: The Macharian Crusade 2
Red As Blood: Tales from the Sisters Grimmer (Expanded Edition) Tanith Lee FT
Black Rook (e) Kelly Meade PNR - Cornerstone Run Trilogy 1
Invisible Beasts (D) Sharona Muir F/S
The House of Small Shadows Adam Nevill H
The Causal Angel Hannu Rajaniemi SF - Jean Le Flambeur 3
The Heavens Rise (h2tp) Christopher Rice F/P/H
Doctor Who: The Shakespeare Notebooks Justin Richards SF - Doctor Who
Help for the Haunted (h2tp) John Searles Sus
Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows Tim Siedell SF - Star Wars
Red Winter Dan Smith Sus
The Crusader Road Michael A. Stackpole F - Pathfinder Tales
Echo Lake (D) Letitia Trent H
Last Orders Harry Turtledove AH - War That Came Early 6
The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Volume 2 Gordon Van Gelder (ed) F/SF - Anthology
Tentyrian Legacy (D) Elise Walters F - Tentyrian Legacy 1
World of Trouble Ben Winters SF - The Last Policeman 3



July 16, 2014
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Detective Fiction and the Ghost Story: The Haunted Text Michael Cook M/Gh - Crime Files



D - Debut
e - eBook
ed - Editor
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback


AH - Alternate History
F - Fantasy
FT - Fairy Tale
Gh - Ghosts
H - Horror
Hu - Humor
M - Mystery
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PNR - Paranormal Romance
SF - Science Fiction
Sus - Suspense
Th - Thriller
UF - Urban Fantasy
Z - Zombies


2014 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts


2014 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts


There are 16 debuts for July. Please note that we use the publisher's publication date in the United States, not copyright dates or non-US publication dates.

The July 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 July cover for the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on July 15th.

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). Please note that we list all debuts for the month (of which we are aware), but not all of these authors will be 2014 Debut Author Challenge featured authors. However, any of these novels may be read by Challenge readers to meet the goal for July.




Sebastien de Castell

Traitor's Blade
Greatcoats 1
Jo Fletcher Books, July 15, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 384 pages
(US Debut)

2014 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
With swashbuckling action that recall Dumas' Three Musketeers Sebastien de Castell has created a dynamic new fantasy series. In Traitor’s Blade a disgraced swordsman struggles to redeem himself by protecting a young girl caught in the web of a royal conspiracy.

The King is dead, the Greatcoats have been disbanded, and Falcio Val Mond and his fellow magistrates Kest and Brasti have been reduced to working as bodyguards for a nobleman who refuses to pay them. Things could be worse, of course. Their employer could be lying dead on the floor while they are forced to watch the killer plant evidence framing them for the murder. Oh wait, that’s exactly what’s happening.

Now a royal conspiracy is about to unfold in the most corrupt city in the world. A carefully orchestrated series of murders that began with the overthrow of an idealistic young king will end with the death of an orphaned girl and the ruin of everything that Falcio, Kest, and Brasti have fought for. But if the trio want to foil the conspiracy, save the girl, and reunite the Greatcoats, they’ll have to do it with nothing but the tattered coats on their backs and the swords in their hands, because these days every noble is a tyrant, every knight is a thug, and the only thing you can really trust is a traitor’s blade.



Stephanie Feldman

The Angel of Losses
Ecco, July 29, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages

2014 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
The Tiger's Wife meets The History of Love in this inventive, lushly imagined debut novel that explores the intersections of family secrets, Jewish myths, the legacy of war and history, and the bonds between sisters

When Eli Burke dies, he leaves behind a mysterious notebook full of stories about a miracle worker named the White Rebbe and the enigmatic Angel of Losses, both protectors of things gone astray and guardians of the lost letter of the alphabet, which completes the secret name of God.

Years later, when Eli's granddaughter Marjorie stumbles upon his notebook, everything she thought she knew about her grandfather—and her family—comes undone. To learn the truth about Eli's origins and unlock the secrets he kept, Marjorie embarks on an odyssey that takes her deep into the past, from the medieval Holy Land to eighteenth-century Venice and Nazi-occupied Lithuania. What she finds leads her back to present-day New York City and her estranged sister, Holly, whom she must save from the consequences of Eli's past.

Interweaving history, theology, and both real and imagined Jewish folktales, The Angel of Losses is a family story of what lasts, and of what we can—and cannot—escape.



Erika Johansen

The Queen of the Tearling
The Queen of the Tearling 1
Harper, July 8, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 448 pages

2014 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
Magic, adventure, mystery, and romance combine in this epic debut in which a young princess must reclaim her dead mother’s throne, learn to be a ruler—and defeat the Red Queen, a powerful and malevolent sorceress determined to destroy her.

On her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, raised in exile, sets out on a perilous journey back to the castle of her birth to ascend her rightful throne. Plain and serious, a girl who loves books and learning, Kelsea bears little resemblance to her mother, the vain and frivolous Queen Elyssa. But though she may be inexperienced and sheltered, Kelsea is not defenseless: Around her neck hangs the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power; and accompanying her is the Queen’s Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus. Kelsea will need them all to survive a cabal of enemies who will use every weapon—from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic—to prevent her from wearing the crown.

Despite her royal blood, Kelsea feels like nothing so much as an insecure girl, a child called upon to lead a people and a kingdom about which she knows almost nothing. But what she discovers in the capital will change everything, confronting her with horrors she never imagined. An act of singular daring will throw Kelsea’s kingdom into tumult, unleashing the vengeance of the tyrannical ruler of neighboring Mortmesne: the Red Queen, a sorceress possessed of the darkest magic. Now Kelsea will begin to discover whom among the servants, aristocracy, and her own guard she can trust.

But the quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun—a wondrous journey of self-discovery and a trial by fire that will make her a legend . . . if she can survive.

This book will be a beautifully designed package with illustrated endpapers, a map of the Tearling, and a ribbon marker.



Stephen Lloyd Jones

The String Diaries
Mulholland Books, July 1, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 432 pages
US Debut

2014 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
A family is hunted by a centuries-old monster: a man with a relentless obsession who can take on any identity.

The String Diaries opens with Hannah frantically driving through the night--her daughter asleep in the back, her husband bleeding out in the seat beside her. In the trunk of the car rests a cache of diaries dating back 200 years, tied and retied with strings through generations. The diaries carry the rules for survival that have been handed down from mother to daughter since the 19th century. But how can Hannah escape an enemy with the ability to look and sound like the people she loves?

Stephen Lloyd Jones's debut novel is a sweeping thriller that extends from the present day, to Oxford in the 1970s, to Hungary at the turn of the 19th century, all tracing back to a man from an ancient royal family with a consuming passion--a boy who can change his shape, insert himself into the intimate lives of his victims, and destroy them.

If Hannah fails to end the chase now, her daughter is next in line. Only Hannah can decide how much she is willing to sacrifice to finally put a centuries-old curse to rest.



Edan Lepucki

California
Little, Brown and Company, July 8, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages

2014 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
"In her arresting debut novel, Edan Lepucki conjures a lush, intricate, deeply disturbing vision of the future, then masterfully exploits its dramatic possibilities." ---Jennifer Egan, author of A Visit from the Goon Squad

The world Cal and Frida have always known is gone, and they've left the crumbling city of Los Angeles far behind them. They now live in a shack in the wilderness, working side-by-side to make their days tolerable in the face of hardship and isolation. Mourning a past they can't reclaim, they seek solace in each other. But the tentative existence they've built for themselves is thrown into doubt when Frida finds out she's pregnant.

Terrified of the unknown and unsure of their ability to raise a child alone, Cal and Frida set out for the nearest settlement, a guarded and paranoid community with dark secrets. These people can offer them security, but Cal and Frida soon realize this community poses dangers of its own. In this unfamiliar world, where everything and everyone can be perceived as a threat, the couple must quickly decide whom to trust.

A gripping and provocative debut novel by a stunning new talent, California imagines a frighteningly realistic near future, in which clashes between mankind's dark nature and deep-seated resilience force us to question how far we will go to protect the ones we love.



Sharona Muir

Invisible Beasts
Bellevue Literary Press, July 15, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 256 pages

2014 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
Sophie is an amateur naturalist with a rare genetic gift: the ability to see a marvelous kingdom of invisible, sentient creatures that share a vital relationship with humankind. To record her observations, Sophie creates a personal bestiary and, as she relates the strange abilities of these endangered beings, her tales become extraordinary meditations on love, sex, evolution, extinction, truth, and self-knowledge.

In the tradition of E.O. Wilson’s Anthill, Invisible Beasts is inspiring, philosophical, and richly detailed fiction grounded by scientific fact and a profound insight into nature. The fantastic creations within its pages—an ancient animal that uses natural cold fusion for energy, a species of vampire bat that can hear when their human host is lying, a continent-sized sponge living under the ice of Antarctica—illuminate the role that all living creatures play in the environment and remind us of what we stand to lose if we fail to recognize our entwined destinies.



J. C. Nelson

Free Agent
A Grimm Agency Novel 1
Ace, July 29, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 Pages

2014 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
When it comes to crafting happily-ever-afters, the Agency is the best in the land of Kingdom. The Fairy Godfather Grimm can solve any problem—from eliminating imps to finding prince charming—as long as you can pay the price…

Working for Grimm isn’t Marissa Locks’s dream job. But when your parents trade you to a Fairy Godfather for a miracle, you don’t have many career options. To pay off her parents’ debt and earn her freedom, Marissa must do whatever Grimm asks, no matter what fairy-tale fiasco she’s called on to deal with.

Setting up a second-rate princess with a first-class prince is just another day at the office. But when the matchmaking goes wrong, Marissa and Grimm find themselves in a bigger magical muddle than ever before. Not only has the prince gone missing, but the Fae are gearing up to attack Kingdom, and a new Fairy Godmother is sniffing around Grimm’s turf, threatening Marissa with the one thing she can’t resist: her heart’s wishes.

Now Marissa will have to take on Fairies, Fae, dragons, and princesses to save the realm—or give up any hope of ever getting her happy ending…



Errick A. Nunnally

Blood for the Sun
Spencer Hill Press, July 1, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 232 pages

2014 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
After more than one hundred and forty years, Alexander Smith is suffering from memory loss that plagues him like a supernatural Alzheimer's. He has lasted longer than most by clinging to the love he has for his adopted daughter, the vampire Ana, and puzzling out cases of missing or murdered children. Without them, he wouldn't be able to ignore the ghost of a child from his guilty past or fight the whispers goading him to kill. On his latest job, he's stumbled upon a vampire conspiracy that has left a trail of child murders up and down the East Coast-a conspiracy that promises inoculation against the sun. If true, the conspirators' success would mean a bloody conflict, altering the balance between humans and the supernatural forever. Losing more of his mind every day, Alexander has two impossible tasks ahead of him if the world is to survive: stop the vampire coven and reconnect with his humanity.



Bishop O'Connell

The Stolen
An American Faerie Tale 1
Harper Voyager Impulse, July 22, 2014
     eBook, 336 pages
Harper Voyager Impulse, August 5, 2014
     Mass Market Paperback, 464 pages

2014 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
Tonight, for the first time in over a century, a mortal child will be kidnapped by faeries.

When her daughter Fiona is snatched from her bed, Caitlin's entire world crumbles. Once certain that faeries were only a fantasy, Caitlin must now accept that these supernatural creatures do exist—and that they have traded in their ancient swords and horses for modern guns and sports cars. Hopelessly outmatched, she accepts help from a trio of unlikely heroes: Eddy, a psychiatrist and novice wizard; Brendan, an outcast Fian warrior; and Dante, a Magister of the fae's Rogue Court. Moving from the busy streets of Boston's suburbs to the shadowy land of Tír na nÓg, Caitlin and her allies will risk everything to save Fiona. But can this disparate quartet conquer their own inner demons and outwit the dark faeries before it's too late?



Carrie Patel

The Buried Life
Angry Robot Books, July 29, 2014 (North America Print / eBook)
       August 7, 2014 (UK Print)
Mass Market Paperback and eBook
Cover by John Coulthart

2014 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
The gaslight and shadows of the underground city of Recoletta hide secrets and lies. When Inspector Liesl Malone investigates the murder of a renowned historian, she finds herself stonewalled by the all-powerful Directorate of Preservation – Recoletta’s top-secret historical research facility.

When a second high-profile murder threatens the very fabric of city society, Malone and her rookie partner Rafe Sundar must tread carefully, lest they fall victim to not only the criminals they seek, but the government which purports to protect them. Knowledge is power, and power must be preserved at all costs…

File Under: Science Fantasy [ Thriller | Society in Ruins | Fully Booked | New and Weird ]



Jamie Schultz

Premonitions
Roc, July 1, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

2014 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
TWO MILLION DOLLARS...

It’s the kind of score Karyn Ames has always dreamed of—enough to set her crew up pretty well and, more important, enough to keep her safely stocked on a very rare, very expensive black market drug. Without it, Karyn hallucinates slices of the future until they totally overwhelm her, leaving her unable to distinguish the present from the mess of certainties and possibilities yet to come.

The client behind the heist is Enoch Sobell, a notorious crime lord with a reputation for being ruthless and exacting—and a purported practitioner of dark magic. Sobell is almost certainly condemned to Hell for a magically extended lifetime full of shady dealings. Once you’re in business with him, there’s no backing out.

Karyn and her associates are used to the supernatural and the occult, but their target is more than just the usual family heirloom or cursed necklace. It’s a piece of something larger. Something sinister.

Karyn’s crew and even Sobell himself are about to find out just how powerful it is… and how powerful it may yet become.



Thomas Sweterlitsch

Tomorrow and Tomorrow
Putnam Adult, July 10, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

2014 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
"Simultaneously trippy and hardboiled, Tomorrow and Tomorrow is a rich, absorbing, relentlessly inventive mindfuck, a smart, dark noir… Sweterlisch's debut is a wild mashup of Raymond Chandler, Philip K. Dick and William S. Burroughs, and, like their work, utterly visionary."—Stewart O’Nan author of The Odds

Leading the next wave of cyberpunk in the tradition of William Gibson and Jonathan Lethem, Thomas Sweterlitsch is a bold new voice in literary science fiction.

A decade has passed since the city of Pittsburgh was reduced to ash.

While the rest of the world has moved on, losing itself in the noise of a media-glutted future, survivor John Dominic Blaxton remains obsessed with the past. Grieving for his wife and unborn child who perished in the blast, Dominic relives his lost life by immersing in the Archive—a fully interactive digital reconstruction of Pittsburgh, accessible to anyone who wants to visit the places they remember and the people they loved.

Dominic investigates deaths recorded in the Archive to help close cases long since grown cold, but when he discovers glitches in the code surrounding a crime scene—the body of a beautiful woman abandoned in a muddy park that he’s convinced someone tried to delete from the Archive—his cycle of grief is shattered.

With nothing left to lose, Dominic tracks the murder through a web of deceit that takes him from the darkest corners of the Archive to the ruins of the city itself, leading him into the heart of a nightmare more horrific than anything he could have imagined.



Arianne 'Tex' Thompson

One Night in Sixes
Children of the Drought One
Solaris, July 22, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 464 pages

2014 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
The border town called Sixes is quiet in the heat of the day. Still, Appaloosa Elim has heard the stories about what wakes at sunset: gunslingers and shapeshifters and ancient animal gods whose human faces never outlast the daylight.

And the daylight is running out. Elim's so-called 'partner' - that lily-white lordling Sil Halfwick – has disappeared inside the old adobe walls, hell-bent on making a name for himself among Sixes' notorious black-market traders. Elim, whose worldly station is written in the bastard browns and whites of his cow-spotted face, doesn't dare show up home without him.

If he ever wants to go home again, he'd better find his missing partner fast. But if he's caught out after dark, Elim risks succumbing to the old and sinister truth in his own flesh - and discovering just how far he'll go to survive the night.



Letitia Trent

Echo Lake: A Novel
Dark House Press, July 22, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 280 pages

2014 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
30-something Emily Collins inherits her recently murdered Aunt's house, deciding to move to Heartshorne, Oklahoma, to claim it and confront her family's dark past after her dead mother begins speaking to her in dreams, propelling this gothic, neo-noir thriller toward terrifying revelations of murderous small-town justice when a horrible community secret is revealed through the supernatural pull of Echo Lake.



Tiphanie Yanique

Land of Love and Drowning
Riverhead, July 10, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 368 pages

2014 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
A major debut from an award-winning writer—an epic family saga set against the magic and the rhythms of the Virgin Islands.

In the early 1900s, the Virgin Islands are transferred from Danish to American rule, and an important ship sinks into the Caribbean Sea. Orphaned by the shipwreck are two sisters and their half brother, now faced with an uncertain identity and future. Each of them is unusually beautiful, and each is in possession of a particular magic that will either sink or save them.

Chronicling three generations of an island family from 1916 to the 1970s, Land of Love and Drowning is a novel of love and magic, set against the emergence of Saint Thomas into the modern world. Uniquely imagined, with echoes of Toni Morrison, Gabriel García Márquez, and the author’s own Caribbean family history, the story is told in a language and rhythm that evoke an entire world and way of life and love. Following the Bradshaw family through sixty years of fathers and daughters, mothers and sons, love affairs, curses, magical gifts, loyalties, births, deaths, and triumphs, Land of Love and Drowning is a gorgeous, vibrant debut by an exciting, prizewinning young writer.



Elise Walters

Tentyrian Legacy
Permuted Platinum, July 15, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 450 pages

2014 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
The legacy begins in the sands of Egypt in a time when an ancient city called Tentyris flourished. Its secretive people, ruled by the Council of the Zodiac, lived peacefully alongside humanity. That time was 53 B.C. More than two millennia later, the power of the Tentyrian people has been all but forgotten. The remnants of memory that live on have been turned into twisted folklore about vampires and astrology.

One girl on the cusp of womanhood is about to discover just how real that folklore is.
With telepathic powers that made her parents send her to a mental institution, Arianna Parker always knew she was different—but she never thought a job interview would lead to the discovery of her being a prophesied descendent of an ancient Egyptian vampire race. Nor for that matter did she think she would fall in love with Maximos Vasilliadis, a 2,225 year old vampire. Maximos is the creator of the Tentyrian Brotherhood—a secret order of warriors, pledged to prevent a catastrophic event predicted to wipe out Earth.

Maximos believes Arianna is a descendent of his kind—the Tentyrian vampires—and she has been destined to lead their cause in saving the world. With her 25th birthday approaching, an event that will change her forever, Arianna finds herself caught in the middle of warring vampires—some of whom intend to use her and her power of telepathy for evil.

From the manicured lawns of Connecticut, to the streets of New York City and an exotic island in the Ionian Sea, Arianna must learn to trust Maximos and her heart if she is to save the world, herself, and the Tentyrian legacy.



2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - Invisible Beasts by Sharona Muir


2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - Invisible Beasts by Sharona Muir


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


Sharona Muir

Invisible Beasts
Bellevue Literary Press, July 15, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 256 pages

2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - Invisible Beasts by Sharona Muir
Sophie is an amateur naturalist with a rare genetic gift: the ability to see a marvelous kingdom of invisible, sentient creatures that share a vital relationship with humankind. To record her observations, Sophie creates a personal bestiary and, as she relates the strange abilities of these endangered beings, her tales become extraordinary meditations on love, sex, evolution, extinction, truth, and self-knowledge.

In the tradition of E.O. Wilson’s Anthill, Invisible Beasts is inspiring, philosophical, and richly detailed fiction grounded by scientific fact and a profound insight into nature. The fantastic creations within its pages—an ancient animal that uses natural cold fusion for energy, a species of vampire bat that can hear when their human host is lying, a continent-sized sponge living under the ice of Antarctica—illuminate the role that all living creatures play in the environment and remind us of what we stand to lose if we fail to recognize our entwined destinies.



Guest Blog by Sharona Muir: My Invisible Beasts and the Changing Climate of Ideas - August 15, 2014Interview with Sharona Muir, author of Invisible Beasts - July 16, 20142014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July 2014 DebutsThe View From Monday - July 14, 20142014 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - Invisible Beasts by Sharona Muir

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