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The View From Monday - March 19, 2018


Happy Monday!

There are 5 debuts this week:

The Wild Inside by Jamey Bradbury;

Tomorrow by Damian Dibben;

Torn (The Unraveled Kingdom 1) by Rowenna Miller;

Sisyphean by Dempow Torishima;

and

Anna Undreaming by Thomas Welsh.

The View From Monday - March 19, 2018 The View From Monday - March 19, 2018
The View From Monday - March 19, 2018 The View From Monday - March 19, 2018
The View From Monday - March 19, 2018
Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.



From formerly featured DAC Authors:

A Veil of Spears (Song of Shattered Sands 3) by Bradley P. Beaulieu;

Veiled Enchantments (Veiled Magic 3) by Deborah Blake;

Malice of Crows (The Shadow 3) by Lila Bowen is out in Trade Paperback;

Ally (On the Bones of Gods 3) by K. Eason;

and

Evolution Omnibus by Stephanie Saulter (eBook Bundle).

The View From Monday - March 19, 2018 The View From Monday - March 19, 2018
The View From Monday - March 19, 2018 The View From Monday - March 19, 2018
The View From Monday - March 19, 2018
Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.



The View From Monday - March 19, 2018



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

March 20, 2018
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Stone Mad Elizabeth Bear SF/SP/HistF - A Karen Memory Adventure
A Veil of Spears Bradley P. Beaulieu D/DF - Song of Shattered Sands 3
Veiled Enchantments (e) Deborah Blake PNR - Veiled Magic 3
Malice of Crows (h2tp) Lila Bowen F - The Shadow 3
The Wild Inside (D) Jamey Bradbury LF
The Devil and the Deep: Horror Stories of the Sea Ellen Datlow (Ed) H - Anthology
Tomorrow (D) Damian Dibben Animals/Hist/HistF/MR
Khârn: The Red Path Chris Dows SF - Khârn the Betrayer 2
Ally K. Eason DF - On the Bones of Gods 3
Lie Close To Me (e) Cynthia Eden PNR - Lazarus Rising 5
Fall of Light (h2tp) Steven Erikson F - The Kharkanas Trilogy 2
Covert Game Christine Feehan PNR/SupTh/GenEng - GhostWalker 14
Cult of the Spiral Dawn Peter Fehervari SF - Genestealer Cults 2
Violent Cases - 30th Anniversary Collector's Edition Neil Gaiman
Dave McKean
GN/F/M
Dante (h2tp) Guy Haley SF - Blood Angels
Blood Demons Richard Jeffries H
The Folded Land Tim Lebbon DF - Relics 2
The Golden Vial Thomas Locke F - Legends of the Realm 3
The Greatest Story Ever Told Una McCormack F - NewCon Press Novellas Set 3 #4
Torn (D) Rowenna Miller F - The Unraveled Kingdom 1
SINdicate J.T. Nicholas SF/CyP/GenEng - The New Lyons Sequence 2
Talon of God (h2tp) Wesley Snipes
Ray Norman
UF
A Guide for Murdered Children Sarah Sparrow LF/Sus/Occ/Sup
Sisyphean (D- English) Dempow Torishima
Daniel Huddleston (Tr)
SF - Sisyphean
The Past Is Never Tiffany Quay Tyson LF/SoGothic
Anna Undreaming (D) Thomas Welsh DF/UF - The Metiks Fade Trilogy 1



March 22, 2018
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Evolution Omnibus (Gemsigns, Binary, and Regeneration) (e) Stephanie Saulter SF/GenEng - Evolution



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



Ab - Absurdist
AC - Alien Contact
AP - Apocalyptic
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
Cr - Crime
CyP - Cyberpunk
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tales
FolkT - Folk Tales
FR - Fantasy Romance
GenEng - Genetic Engineering
GH - Ghost(s)
GN - Graphic Novel
H - Horror
HC - History and Criticism
Hist - Historical
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HSF - Hard Science Fiction
HU - Humor
LC Literary Criticism
LF - Literary Fiction
LM - Legend and Mythology
M - Mystery
MR - Magical Realism
MTI - Media Tie-In
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PM - Paranormal Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
PoliSci - Political Science
Psy - Psychological
Rel - Religious
RF - Romantic Fantasy
SF - Science Fiction
SFR - Science Fiction Romance
SO - Space Opera
SocSci - Social Science
SoGothic - Southern Gothic
SP - Steampunk
Sup - Supernatural
SupM - Supernatural Mystery
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
TechTh - Technological Thriller
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
UF - Urban Fantasy

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

The View From Monday - May 9, 2016


Happy Monday! The sun is out here after a week a rain and there are 4 debuts this week!

The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley;

Too Like the Lightning (Terra Ignota 1) by Ada Palmer;

and

The Mirror Thief by Martin Seay.

The View From Monday - May 9, 2016 The View From Monday - May 9, 2016 The View From Monday - May 9, 2016


And from formerly featured DAC Authors:

The Corsair by James L. Cambias is out in Trade Paperback;

The Voodoo Killings (Kincaide Strange 1) by Kristi Charish;

Love is Red (The Nightsong Trilogy 1) by Sophie Jaff is out in Trade Paperback;

The Enceladus Crisis (Daedalus 2) by Michael J. Martinez is out in Mass Market Paperback;

The Vagrant by Peter Newman is out in Hardcover;

and

Binary ((R)evolution 2) by Stephanie Saulter is out in Trade Paperback.

The View From Monday - May 9, 2016 The View From Monday - May 9, 2016 The View From Monday - May 9, 2016
The View From Monday - May 9, 2016 The View From Monday - May 9, 2016 The View From Monday - May 9, 2016




The View From Monday - May 9, 2016



Debut novels are highlighted in blue. Novels by formerly featured Debut Author Challenge Authors are highlighted in green.



May 10, 2016
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The Unburdened David Annandale SF - The Horus Heresy
Pyres of Armageddon (h2tp) David Annandale SF - Yarrick 2
Corsair: A Science Fiction Novel (h2tp) James L. Cambias SF
The Voodoo Killings Kristi Charish SF - Kincaide Strange 1
Nemesis Games (h2tp) James S.A. Corey SF - The Expanse 5
The World Engine Ben Counter SF - Space Marine Battles
Vengeance of the Demons Rebekah R. Ganiere PNR - The Society 3
Dark Orbit (h2tp) Carolyn Ives Gilman SF/AC
The Pier Falls: And Other Stories Mark Haddon LF/MR - Collection
The Stealers' War Stephen Hunt F -Far-Called Trilogy 3
The Loney (D) Andrew Michael Hurley LF/GO
Watchlist: 32 Stories by Persons of Interest Bryan Hurt (Ed) SF/LF - Anthology
Love Is Red (h2tp) Sophie Jaff H/F - The Nightsong Trilogy 1
Mongrels Stephen Graham Jones CoA/P/UF
Children of Earth and Sky Guy Gavriel Kay HistF
The Wolf in the Attic Paul Kearney F
A Whisper of Southern Lights Tim Lebbon HistF - The Assassins Series 2
The Corporation Wars: Dissidence Ken MacLeod SF - Corporation Wars 1
The Enceladus Crisis (tp2mm) Michael J. Martinez SF - Daedalus 2
The Alchemists' Council Cynthea Masson F
The Last Phoenix Graham McNeill SF - The Horus Heresy Omnibus 2
Secondhand Souls (h2tp) Christopher Moore Hu
The Vagrant Peter Newman DF
Too Like the Lightning (D) Ada Palmer SF - Terra Ignota 1
Binary (h2tp) Stephanie Saulter SF - (R)evolution 2
The Mirror Thief (D) Martin Seay Hist/M/Vis/Meta
The Potemkin Mosaic Mark Teppo SupTh
Central Station Lavie Tidhar AP/PA/CyberP
A Head Full of Ghosts (h2tp) Paul Tremblay H
Look Who's Back (h2tp) Timur Vermes Satire



May 11, 2016
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The Pigeon Summer: A Tor.Com Original (e) Brit Mandelo F




May 13, 2016
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Operation Sea Mink (e) Addison Gunn SF - Extinction Biome: Invasion 4


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


AC - Alien Contact
AH - Alternate History
AP - Apocalyptic
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CoA - Coming of Age
CyberP - Cyberpunk
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tale
FolkT - Folk Tale
FR - Fantasy Romance
GB - Genre Bender
GH - Ghost
GO - Gothic
GoR - Gothic Romance
H - Horror
Hist - Historical
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HistTh - Historical Thriller
Hu - Humor
LF - Literary Fiction
LM - Legends and Mythology
M - Mystery
Meta - Metaphysical
MR - Magical Realism
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
Phil - Philosophy
PM - Paranormal Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
Pol - Political
PsyTh - Psychological Thriller
PTh - Paranormal Thriller
R - Romance
SF - Science Fiction
SO - Space Opera
SocSci - Social Science
SP - Steampunk
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Sus - Suspense
TechnoTh - Technological Thriller
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
UF - Urban Fantasy
V - Visionary

Note: not all of these genres are represented in the above releases.

Melanie's Week in Review - April 3, 2016


Melanie's Week in Review - April 3, 2016


Welcome to April everyone! I hope you didn't get fooled on April Fools Day. For once I didn't get suckered because I usually fall for something on that day. I had a much more productive week reading than I did last week. So what did I read?


Melanie's Week in Review - April 3, 2016
UK Cover
I re-read one of the books that was featured earlier this week in a cover reveal. I have chosen to use the cover from the edition that I read last August when the book was first released in the UK. Check out the gorgeous cover that will be used when the book is released in May in the US. You can also read how Saulter was involved in the cover design. This is really interesting so check it out here.

Anyway, I read book the book last year so I had a quick re-read to refresh myself of the plot. It wasn't hard - either to re-read this great book or to remind myself what happened. Unlike in book 2 - Binary - all of my favourite characters from book 1 - Gemsigns - are back. Gaela and Bal have continued to raise Gabriel who is now 18 along with his young, but human sister Eve. This plot centres around the gillung (amphibian humanoids) who have built a thriving community along the the Thames and have developed a new energy source. This has changed the balance of power between the human population and the gems which has led to violence and the inevitable propaganda against the gems which Gabriel is trying to resolve. This plot is interwoven with the that of Zavcka Klist, who is released from prison. What is almost more chilling than her release are the followers that are more than happy to help her gain the life she used to have. Can Mikael, Sharon Varsi, Herron, and Aryel succeed in helping the gillung bring parity to their race while at the same time thwart whatever plot Klist has in the making? I will leave that with you to find out.

Regeneration is a fantastic final book of a fantastic series. I loved every minute of reading and re-reading this novel. As I mentioned my favourite characters from book 1 were back, some of my faves from book 2 and I discovered some new ones. Ayrel is still very much the star of this series but is back to sharing the limelight with the uber antagonist Klist. While I did guess quite a few of the story's big reveals I still enjoyed the build up to the ending and how Saulter developed the characters along the way. You could read this as a stand alone book but why miss out on two other excellent books. Enjoy readers!


Melanie's Week in Review - April 3, 2016
I have been a big fan of Lois McMaster Bujold for a long time. I have read and enjoyed a number of the Vorkosigan series but boy I was let down this time by Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen. This story starts three years after Aral Vorkosigan's death and Cordelia decides to take her life in a new direction by having the children they never had together. She decides to make the same offer to Aral's officer and companion Admiral Oliver Jole. Neither of their lives are ever going to be the same again.

My sister Lauranne and I had a big discussion about this book as she was an even bigger fan of the series than I was. We both felt let down by this book as it seemed incongruous with everything we were led to believe about Aral and Cordelia's loving marriage. Personally, I found the story too slow and didn't really think there was much of a plot. This was the only reason why I could read this book in a mere few hours whereas other books in the series took much longer. If you are a big fan of this series I would advise you to avoid it as you learn aspects of Aral and Cordelia's life that you would rather you didn't know and that didn't seem true to their characters.


Melanie's Week in Review - April 3, 2016
Book number 3 for me was The Demon's Librarian by Lilith Saintcrow. I apologise, dear reader, for exposing you to one of the worst book covers I have seen in some time. I know, I know...not the author's fault but this one is pretty poor. Qwill has found a different cover for the book. I digress.

Francesca Barnes is not your typical librarian. She kicks demon butt in her spare time. Orion is part demon but one of the good guys and when his partner goes missing he needs the help of a not so bookish librarian. With a dark force rising Francesca is key to stopping the evil but will she accept the help of a tall, hunky demon?

I thought this book was OK. Francesca wasn't a wimp which I appreciated although she seemed to swoon quite a bit. Orion or Ryan as he was called was your fairly standard, tall, dark and demon but otherwise, a good pairing for the not-so librarian. This is a quick, easy read for a slow day and overall, I didn't think it was a waste of time.


That is it for me for this week. I hope you have had a good week and until next Sunday, Happy Reading.




Regeneration
(R)evolution Book 3
Jo Fletcher Books, May 3, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - April 3, 2016
The gillungs are thriving. The water-breathing, genetically modified humans have colonized riverbanks and ports long abandoned to the rising seas and pioneered new high-efficiency quantum-battery technology.

But as demand grows, so do fears about their impact on both norm businesses and the natural environment. Then, a biohazard scare at Sinkat, their colony on the Thames, fuels the opposition and threatens to derail the gillungs’ progress. But is this an accident, or is it sabotage?

Detective Sharon Varsi has her suspicions, and Gabriel sees parallels in the propaganda war he’s fighting; politicians and corporations have stakes in this game too. And now there is a new threat: industry tycoon Zavcka Klist is about to be released from prison—and she’s out to regain everything they took from her.




Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen
Vorkosigan Saga 14
Baen, February 2, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - April 3, 2016
A NEW NOVEL IN THE AWARD WINNING SERIES FROM MULTIPLE NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLING AUTHOR LOIS MCMASTER BUJOLD!  Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan returns to the planet that changed her destiny.

FUTURE TENSE

Three years after her famous husband’s death, Cordelia Vorkosigan, widowed Vicereine of Sergyar, stands ready to spin her life in a new direction. Oliver Jole, Admiral, Sergyar Fleet, finds himself caught up in her web of plans in ways he’d never imagined, bringing him to an unexpected crossroads in his career.

Meanwhile, Miles Vorkosigan, one of Emperor Gregor’s key investigators, this time dispatches himself on a mission of inquiry, into a mystery he never anticipated – his own mother.

Plans, wills, and expectations collide in this sparkling science-fiction social comedy, as the impact of galactic technology on the range of the possible changes all the old rules, and Miles learns that not only is the future not what he expects, neither is the past.




The Demon's Librarian
ImaJinn Books, February 28, 2009
Trade Paperback and eBook, 206 pages
Review Copy: Reviewer's Own

Melanie's Week in Review - April 3, 2016
It's not just another day at the library...

When demons are preying on schoolchildren in her city, Francesca Barnes does what any red-blooded librarian would do she does some research and goes hunting. But the books she finds in a secret cache don't tell her the whole story. Chess has no idea what she's just stepped into or just how special she really is...

Orion (Ryan) is Drakul, part demon, and a loyal servant of the Order. He doesn't expect a motorcycle-riding librarian to be messing around with demonic forces, and he doesn't expect her to smell so damn good. But Ryan's got bigger problems. His partner has disappeared, and the forces of Darkness are rising. Now Chess is Ryan's only hope of finding his partner, and Ryan is Chess's only hope of survival, because the demons now know Chess exists and that she is the heir to a long-lost power that could push back their dark tide.

If Ryan can keep her alive long enough, she just might be the key to destroying the demons completely. But Ryan doesn't know he's been betrayed by the very Order he serves. And if Chess does, by some miracle, survive, he won't ever be able to touch her again...


Cover Reveal - Regeneration by Stephanie Saulter


No Whitewashing! Author Input! – A Good Cover Design Story

To celebrate Regeneration’s US cover reveal, I thought I’d tell you a story. A true story this time, and like many truths, one that confounds conventional wisdom – in this case, the oft-repeated tale of woe in which an unapproachable and unaccountable publishing behemoth slaps an unrepresentative (or just boringly generic) cover onto a book and sends it out into the world, insensitive either to the text or to the opinion of the person who wrote it.

Sadly, we’re not talking urban legend here: this does happen. Even famous, best-selling authors bemoan having no input, nor even seeing their covers before they’re published. Sometimes, when the wrongness of what they’ve done hits a particularly frayed public nerve, the resulting furore becomes fierce enough to force a change on the part of the publisher. But the conventional wisdom remains that authors, as a matter of course, have no say in how their books are packaged.

Here’s the thing: while this may be often (and appallingly) true, it’s by no means universal; and it does a disservice to the publishers who do work with and listen to their authors to tar them with the same brush. Despite being neither famous nor best-selling (yet, they insist, just not yet), my publishers have always shown me my covers as works-in-progress. They have always asked for my feedback, and I’ve never been ignored. It’s been my experience through six covers now: the UK and US editions of Gemsigns, Binary and Regeneration, published by Quercus Imprint, Jo Fletcher Books in both markets (although the two series wound up looking quite different to each other).

Never has this spirit of enthusiastic, respectful collaboration been more evident, or more important, than in developing the US cover for Regeneration. It was the first time that I found myself not just suggesting tweaks to an image that I was basically OK with, but having to explain what was wrong with it and asking for it to be significantly reworked. Now that the final happy result has been revealed to the world, I want to share the story of its evolution from that somewhat shaky beginning. I pitched the idea to Quercus, who have very kindly agreed. We both think it’s important to demonstrate how things are done when they’re done well. And to tell more than one kind of story.

The following is lifted largely from our email correspondence, with some additional context from Quercus on how they approached the cover and responded to my comments.

§

Designing the US cover for Regeneration, the final book of the ®Evolution trilogy

The US covers for Gemsigns and Binary
Cover Reveal - Regeneration by Stephanie Saulter Cover Reveal - Regeneration by Stephanie Saulter


Round 1

Quercus’ original idea:

We were lucky to have the same cover designer, Daniel Rembert work on Gemsigns, Binary and now Regeneration. We have been very conscious of wanting all three covers to be coordinated so that the sense of a trilogy would be recognizable. There are several dynamic plotlines to pick from, but we chose to focus on the gillungs’ story – as it directly reflects the progression of the gems from chattel fighting for their rights, to better integrated members of society, to community leaders and innovators. We wanted the image to be underwater but to convey the idea of the quantum battery technology and its use as a power source.

Quercus initially approached Stephanie with the below first cover ideas for Regeneration:

Cover Reveal - Regeneration by Stephanie Saulter Cover Reveal - Regeneration by Stephanie Saulter

Stephanie’s original thoughts:

“These are beautiful as a picture, but: why is the central image of a naked nubile female? And: who is she supposed to be? The only teenage gillung woman in the text is Agwé, and Agwé is black. So if it’s meant to be Agwé it needs to look like Agwé, which means properly dark skin and CLOTHING. But much as I love her — and believe me, my soul would soar at the sight of beautiful black Agwé with her glowing green hair and cherry-red bodysuit as the cover image — she’s very much a secondary character, so I’m not sure why she’d be the cover? That suggests a YA novel. And she certainly wouldn’t be in such a passive pose, none of them would. If we’re going to do a gillung underwater against a turbine they should look more engaged, more dynamic.

“I think part of what’s thrown me as well is that this composition is such a departure from the Gemsigns and Binary covers, which had been developing a motif that I really liked: the raised arms/ fist, the crowd of people, the sense of an engaged urban community. Regeneration continues that whole theme of the collective and the communal, and brings it to a climax with the intersections of family, friends, workmates etc.

“(I’ve lost a bet with myself; I thought it might be an underwater viewpoint, but looking up through the water at the quayside crowded with people and the huge egg-shaped Thames Tidal building rising up alongside. Something that, when the reader got to the penultimate chapter with Gabriel desperately trying to get people to leave, they’d look back at the cover and go ah-ha! …Not saying it should be that, mind, it just seemed like it would be an obvious continuation of the motif.)”

Quercus’ cover design team went back to the drawing board with Stephanie’s suggestions in mind.

Round 2

Quercus’ thoughts:

“Stephanie provides fantastic, detailed feedback and we went back to the designer with it. We have been back and forth with the designer about these covers from the very beginning, so it’s no surprise that the first interpretation wasn’t quite right.

Featuring a gillung is essential, we agree, and I think the color palette here is good—figuring out how to pull off the composition in a way that captures the same sense of dynamism and community focus as the previous cover designs is just part of the challenge. We were not feeling 100% about the main figure (if we were to use her, our designer would definitely need to finesse some of the detailing with the wet suit and the skin tone but we really loved the general composition/direction.”

Cover Reveal - Regeneration by Stephanie Saulter Cover Reveal - Regeneration by Stephanie Saulter Cover Reveal - Regeneration by Stephanie Saulter

Stephanie’s thoughts:

“I too much prefer the overall direction of this composition, and in general I like the first image, with the central figure rising vertically and purposefully, best of all. The background figures are better in this as well; in the others it’s not clear whether they’re swimming or drowning, but in the first one it’s pretty evident they are all in their element. However I also like the fact that more of the topside buildings are visible in the second image; it sort of contextualises the swimmers. So I don’t know if it’s possible to maintain that general upward thrust of the figures in the first image while having more of the buildings from the second image as well? (I realise part of this also has to do with where the title sits on the cover, and the designer will no doubt play around with that far more efficiently than I can visualise it!)”

“As for the central figure, yes she’d need to be a bit darker and more detailed. I’d love her to be a teeny bit curvier and her hair a bit more cloud-like. The main thing to remember about the gillungs’ physicality — apart from skin tone — is that they are powerful people. This is a very subtle thing; I don’t mean to suggest that they should be large or blocky, but if you think of any aquatic mammal from otters to whales, there is a sort of muscular solidity about them.”

“You said you’re not 100% certain about the main figure; are you thinking about alternatives? Who/ what would you use instead? Because it does need a strong central component, I think, and at the moment she’s it …”

Round Three:

Quercus’ thoughts:

“We are always grateful for Stephanie’s very helpful and comprehensive feedback. Our designer has incorporated some of these tweaks. The differences are subtle but effective.”

Cover Reveal - Regeneration by Stephanie Saulter

Stephanie’s thoughts:

“I really like this, and I think it does the job well — it’s both attractive and accurate, if you know what I mean. Holding the earlier two covers up to look at all three in a row, it’s clear that although the images are different from each other they are thematically related, having a sort of family resemblance — the altered human figure against a crowded urban backdrop, the sense of energy and urgency. I like the cover itself, but also the sense of a continuum.”



The final cover:

Cover Reveal - Regeneration by Stephanie Saulter

Available in bookstores and online, May 2016!



Daniel Rembert's design work can be found at danielrembert.com



Click each cover to see it full-sized.

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 28


This is the twenty-eighth in a series of updates about formerly featured Debut Author Challenge authors and their 2015 works published since the last update and any upcoming works for 2016. The year in parentheses after the author's name is the year she/he was featured in the Debut Author Challenge.




Part 1 herePart 11 herePart 21 here
Part 2 herePart 12 herePart 22 here
Part 3 herePart 13 herePart 23 here
Part 4 herePart 14 herePart 24 here
Part 5 herePart 15 herePart 25 here
Part 6 herePart 16 herePart 26 here
Part 7 herePart 17 herePart 27 here
Part 8 herePart 18 here
Part 9 herePart 19 here
Part 10 herePart 20 here



Stephanie Saulter (2014)

Regeneration
(R)evolution 3
Jo Fletcher Books, May 3, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 376 pages

[US cover not yet available]
The gillungs - waterbreathing, genetically modified humans - are thriving. They've colonised riverbanks and ports long since abandoned to the rising seas and the demand for their high-efficiency technologies is growing fast.

But as demand grows, so do fears about their impact on both norm businesses and the natural environment. Then, a biohazard scare at Sinkat, their colony on the Thames, fuels the opposition and threatens to derail the gillungs' progress. But was it an accident, or was it sabotage?

Detective Sharon Varsi has her suspicions, but her investigations are compromised by family ties. And now there is a new threat: Zavcka Klist is about to be released from prison - and she wants her company back.




Jamie Schultz (2014)

Sacrifices
An Arcane Underworld Novel 3
Roc, July 5, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 28
Things get a little demonic in the latest Arcane Underwold novel from the author of Splintered.

Thanks to their recent involvement with a magus crimelord and his demonic partner in mayhem, occult thieves Anna Ruiz and Karyn Ames are both stuck sharing head space with a demon. But while Karyn’s possession has had the unexpected benefit of focusing her visions of the future, Anna’s demon is spurring on her darkest urges, and it’s only a matter of time before she acts on them—and hurts someone in the process.

To save their skins, the two need to find a mysterious relic. But with their search taking them into some of the darkest places in the arcane underworld, Anna and Karyn will have to ally themselves with a group no self-respecting thief would be caught dead with—the Federal Bureau of Investigation...




Seth Skorkowsky (2014)

Mountain of Daggers
Tales of the Black Raven 1
Ragnarok Publications, March 9, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 286 pages
Cover by Alex Raspad 

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 28
Some call him hero. Others, a menace. But everyone agrees that Ahren is the best thief in the world. Whether he’s breaking into an impregnable fortress, fighting pirates, or striking the final blow in political war, Ahren is the man for the job.

After being framed for murder, his reward posters named him the Black Raven. To survive, Ahren finds himself drafted into the Tyenee, a secret criminal organization whose influence stretches across the world. Their missions are the most daring, the most dangerous, and the penalty for failure is death. When no one else can do it, they send the Black Raven.


Hounacier
Valducan 2
Ragnarok Publications, March 14, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 287 pages
Cover by Shawn T. King

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 28
Eleven years ago, atheist MALCOLM ROMERO met a god. Now he’s a demon-hunting voodoo priest armed with a holy machete named Hounacier.

After the murder of his mentor, he returns to New Orleans to catch the killer. But more is at stake when Malcolm finds himself betrayed, and his holy blade stolen. Now Malcolm’s only hope to save his soul and to recover HOUNACIER, is the Valducan knight sent to kill him, MATT HOLLIS, the wielder of the holy revolver DÄMOREN.


Sea of Quills
Tales of the Black Raven 2
Ragnarok Publications, September 28, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 296 pages
Cover by Alex Raspad

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 28
For Ahren, it’s no longer a question of someone trying to kill him but who will try next.

Still on the run for a murder he didn’t commit, Ahren adapts to life as an outlaw and the reputation of the Black Raven grows. But nothing comes easy. Dogged by bounty hunters he finds himself crossing steel with pirates on the high seas and battling monsters in subterranean cities. If that wasn’t enough, he’s paid to assassinate an immortal and must break out of a heavily-fortified prison.

Just another day in the life of the Black Raven.

Sea of Quills is the second book in this collection of tales by Seth Skorkowsky, the author of Damoren and the best-selling Valducan urban fantasy series.


Ibenus
Valducan 3
Ragnarok Publications, September 13, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook
Cover by Shawn T. King

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 28
After surviving a demon attack, disgraced police detective Victoria Martin tracks down the Valducans in search for answers. Recognizing her potential, and despite the warnings of the other knights, Allan Havlock, protector of Ibenus, takes her in as his apprentice.

As the Valducans travel to Paris to destroy a demon nest infesting the catacombs, the knights find themselves hunted by an Internet group intent on exposing them. Victoria, who belongs to this group, must desperately play both sides to not only protect herself, but Allan, whom she has begun to love. Ibenus, however, has other plans.




Brian Staveley (2014)

The Providence of Fire
Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne 2
Tor Books, December 8, 2015
Trade Paperback, 624 pages
Hardcover and eBook, January 13, 2015

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 28
The Providence of Fire is the second novel in Brian Staveley's Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, a gripping new epic fantasy series

The conspiracy to destroy the ruling family of the Annurian Empire is far from over.
Having learned the identity of her father's assassin, Adare flees the Dawn Palace in search of allies to challenge the coup against her family. Few trust her, but when she is believed to be touched by Intarra, patron goddess of the empire, the people rally to help her retake the capital city. As armies prepare to clash, the threat of invasion from barbarian hordes compels the rival forces to unite against their common enemy.

Unknown to Adare, her brother Valyn, a renegade member of the empire's most elite fighting force, has allied with the invading nomads. The terrible choices each of them has made may make war between them inevitable.

Between Valyn and Adare is their brother Kaden, rightful heir to the Unhewn Throne, who has infiltrated the Annurian capital with the help of two strange companions. The knowledge they possess of the secret history that shapes these events could save Annur or destroy it.


The Log Cabin
A Tor.com Original
Tor, December 8, 2015eBook, 32 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 28
On a cold winter's night, a goblin is caught stealing firewood. Then things start getting weird.


The Last Mortal Bond
Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne 3
Tor Books, March 15, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 656 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 28
The trilogy that began with The Emperor's Blades and continued in The Providence of Fire reaches its epic conclusion, as war engulfs the Annurian Empire in Brian Staveley's The Last Mortal Bond

The ancient csestriim are back to finish their purge of humanity; armies march against the capital; leaches, solitary beings who draw power from the natural world to fuel their extraordinary abilities, maneuver on all sides to affect the outcome of the war; and capricious gods walk the earth in human guise with agendas of their own.

But the three imperial siblings at the heart of it all--Valyn, Adare, and Kaden--come to understand that even if they survive the holocaust unleashed on their world, there may be no reconciling their conflicting visions of the future.


Note: Brian will be writing 4 standalone fantasy novels for Tor. For more visit Brian's website here.




Adam Sternbergh (2014)

Near Enemy
A Spademan Novel 2
Broadway Books, October 6, 2015
Trade Paperback, 320 pages
Hardcover and eBook, January 13, 2015

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 28
The Taut, Unflinching New Thriller from Adam Sternbergh, Author of the Critically-Acclaimed Shovel Ready
 
New York is toxic—decimated by a dirty bomb years ago.  The limnosphere is a virtual safe haven—if you’re rich enough to buy in.  Spademan is a hit man—box-cutter at the ready.

His latest job is to snuff out Lesser, a lowlife lurking around other people’s fantasies.  As Spademan is about to close the deal, Lesser comes back from the limn with a wild claim: terrorists are planning to attack New York. Again. This time from the inside out.

The warning sends Spademan down a dark path full of unsavory characters and startling revelations.  A shadowy political fixer tells him of a long-running power struggle that goes all the way to City Hall.  A brilliant Egyptian radical brings Spademan to the mysterious far-reaches of the limn.  And a beautiful nurse holds the secret to what, and who, is behind these attacks—and she seems to want to help Spademan stop them.  But he works best alone.  Or so he thinks.

Spademan has always had his share of enemies, but now they’re coming at him from all sides and it’s impossible to know whom to trust.  To stay sharp, his only option might be the one thing he swore he’d never do again.
[description from the Hardcover edition]

Melanie's Week in Review - August 16, 2015




This was my first week at my new job which meant I was able to return to my regular reading patterns as I was back to commuting...well most days. Over the course of the week I made a couple of book choices that weren't what I usually like to read. So what did I choose?


Melanie's Week in Review - August 16, 2015I was enjoying some late summer sunshine last weekend and was looking for a book that wouldn't tax my brain too much. I came across Kristen Painter's The Vampire's Mail Order Bride. If you follow my WIR you will have guessed that I am a self confessed book cover snob and normally 'judge that book by the cover'. Based purely on the cover this is usually the type of book I skip by. However, I have read Painter's House of Comarré series and I assumed that while this sounded like one of those books I normally avoid I would give it a go as I knew the author. I wish I had listened to my instincts with this one.

In this first book of the Nocturne Falls series Delaney James is on the run after witnessing her mob boss kill someone. After an unlikely turn of events she finds herself pretending to be the mail order bride to a vampire in a Halloween themed town full of supernaturals. The vampire in question, Hugh, has been coerced by his grandmother to give Delaney a 1 month trial to see if she could be his one true love. Well it didn't take Hugh or Delaney that long to go all gooey inside like an extra large marshmallow. The main excitement of the whole story was a chapter that could have been called  'What happens when my mob boss comes into town'. The murdering boss sub-plot is wrapped up at barely half way through and there is another 100 + pages dedicated to Delaney and Hugh's misunderstandings. Not my favourite book ever but filled in a sunny afternoon.


Melanie's Week in Review - August 16, 2015Book 2 of my week of unusual choices was a debut - The Girls Guide to the Apocalypse by Daphne Lamb. I got this book from NetGalley and based on the description I thought that this was going to be a light hearted, amusing read. Boy was I wrong. It started out quite amusing with the 30 something Verdell contemplating breaking up with her boyfriend in the staff canteen at her 'going nowhere' job. Everything changes when a series of events results in an apocalypse. Along with her boss, her possibly ex-boyfriend and a few others Verdell is forced into the brave new world (or not very brave in Verdell's case). Acid rain, cannibalism, no food or water does not keep Verdell from worrying where her lipstick went. After about the 3rd or 4th chapter I didn't think there could be anyone more unlikable than Verdell but, unfortunately, there was a whole book of them. I am pretty sure its not possible to have a more vacuous character and I found myself skim reading from about the 3/4 mark of the book. Lamb had written some truly funny lines but Verdell was neither convincing or likeable and I didn't feel like the book lived up to its name.


Melanie's Week in Review - August 16, 2015
Another book calling to me from Amazon that I succumbed to was Temeraire by Naomi Novik. If you will remember from my WIR last week I had thoroughly enjoyed Novik's Uprooted and decided to give one of her other novels a go. The story is set in the early 1800's which finds the naval captain Will Laurence in possession of a very valuable unhatched dragon egg. His life will never been the same when the newborn dragon immediately bonds with him and catapults him from a naval captain on the rise to the seemingly lonely life in the Aerial Corps. Reticent at first Will soon learns that his dragon - Temeraire is more than just an extraordinary creature and becomes his best friend and companion. Both Will and Temeraire have their work cut out for them as they are both heading to boot camp before pitting their unique skills against none other than Napoleon, his war ships and his fleet of dragons. Will they survive and save all of England?

I am a bit of a sucker for historical fantasy although the Napoleonic Wars isn't my favourite period of history. The story flows really well and the war between the two naval fleets is an excellent backdrop to the rest of the story. Novik is a very descriptive writer but you don't feel like you are being overloaded with too much description as this is carefully balanced with character development. I did however, feel that this book was aimed at a slightly younger reader - mid to late teens? This could have been more down to this period of history was very conservative and Will was very influenced by class structure and political correctness while Temeraire was young and virtually innocent. These elements combined made it bit more of a 'staid' read than my other books this week.


Melanie's Week in Review - August 16, 2015
UK Cover
Finally, I read Regneration which is the final of the (R)evolution series by Stephanie Saulter. This was a fantastic conclusion to the series but alas, it is not out in the US until next year and I don't want to ruin the surprise for you. I hope to write a full review closer to the US release date. Sorry!


That is it for me for this week. I hope you have had a better week than I choosing books. Fingers crossed that I have more interesting reads to tell you about next week but until then Happy Reading.








The Vampire's Mail Order Bride
Nocturne Falls 1
Kristen Painter, June 1, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 370 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - August 16, 2015
Welcome to Nocturne Falls, the town where Halloween is celebrated 365 days a year. The tourists think it’s all a show: the vampires, the werewolves, the witches, the occasional gargoyle flying through the sky. But the supernaturals populating the town know better.

Living in Nocturne Falls means being yourself. Fangs, fur, and all.

After seeing her maybe-mobster boss murder a guy, Delaney James assumes a new identity and pretends to be a mail order bride. She finds her groom-to-be living in a town that celebrates Halloween every day. Weird. But not as weird as what she doesn’t know. Her groom-to-be is a 400-year-old vampire.

Hugh Ellingham has only agreed to the arranged set up to make his overbearing grandmother happy. In thirty days, whatever bridezilla shows up at his door will be escorted right back out. His past means love is no longer an option. Not if the woman’s going to have a future. Except he never counted on Delaney and falling in love for real.

Too bad both of them are keeping some mighty big secrets…



The Girl's Guide to the Apocalypse
Booktrope Editions, August 11, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 218 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - August 16, 2015
Welcome to the Apocalypse. Your forecast includes acid rain, roving gangs and misplaced priorities, in this comedic take on the end of the world as we know it, from debut author Daphne Lamb. As a self-entitled, self-involved, and ill equipped millennial, Verdell probably wouldn’t have ranked very high on the list of those most likely to survive the end of the world, but here she is anyway. Add in traveling with her work addicted boss, her boyfriend who she has “meh” feelings for, and a handful of others who had no businesses surviving as long as they have, and things aren’t exactly going as planned. But despite threats of cannibalism, infected water supplies, and possibly even mutants, Verdell is willing to put in as little effort as she can get away with to survive.



Her Majesty's Dragon / Temeraire (UK)

Temeraire 1
Del Rey, March 28, 2006
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - August 16, 2015
Aerial combat brings a thrilling new dimension to the Napoleonic Wars as valiant warriors rise to Britain’s defense by taking to the skies . . . not aboard aircraft but atop the mighty backs of fighting dragons.

When HMS Reliant captures a French frigate and seizes its precious cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, fate sweeps Capt. Will Laurence from his seafaring life into an uncertain future–and an unexpected kinship with a most extraordinary creature. Thrust into the rarified world of the Aerial Corps as master of the dragon Temeraire, he will face a crash course in the daring tactics of airborne battle. For as France’s own dragon-borne forces rally to breach British soil in Bonaparte’s boldest gambit, Laurence and Temeraire must soar into their own baptism of fire.



And for those who can't wait...

Regeneration
(R)evolution 3
Jo Fletcher Books, August 6, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - August 16, 2015
The gillungs - waterbreathing, genetically modified humans - are thriving. They've colonised riverbanks and ports long since abandoned to the rising seas and the demand for their high-efficiency technologies is growing fast.

But as demand grows, so do fears about their impact on both norm businesses and the natural environment.

Then, a biohazard scare at Sinkat, their colony on the Thames, fuels the opposition and threatens to derail the gillungs' progress. But was it an accident, or was it sabotage?

DCI Sharon Varsi has her suspicions, but her investigations are compromised by family ties. And now there is a new threat: Zavcka Klist is about to be released from prison - and she wants her company back.


Review: Binary by Stephanie Saulter


Binary
Author:  Stephanie Saulter
Series:  ®EVOLUTION 2
Publisher:  Jo Fletcher Books, May 5, 2015
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 416 pages
List Price:  $22.99  (print)
ISBN:  9781623654658 (print)
Review Copy:  Reviewer's Own

Review: Binary by Stephanie Saulter
Zavcka Klist has reinvented herself: no longer the ruthless gemtech enforcer determined to keep the gems they created enslaved, she's now all about transparency and sharing the fruits of Bel'Natur's research to help gems and norms alike.

Neither Aryel Morningstar nor Dr. Eli Walker are convinced that Klist or Bel'Natur can have changed so dramatically, but the gems have problems that only a gemtech can solve. In exchange for their help, digital savant Herran agrees to work on Klist's latest project: reviving the science that drove mankind to the brink of extinction.

Then confiscated genestock disappears from a secure government facility, and the more DI Varsi investigates, the closer she comes to the dark heart of Bel'Natur and what Zavcka Klist is really after-not to mention the secrets of Aryel Morningstar's own past...


Melanie's Thoughts

Binary, the second book of the ®EVOLUTION series by Stephanie Saulter, starts several years after book 1 with the norms and the gems living together in more harmony and the gemtechs a mere shadow of their former selves. Everything seems too happy until some gemstock is stolen from a super secure government building and DI Sharon Varsi, a norm now married to gem, is sent to investigate. While the investigation unfolds the savant Herran is asked to work for the former baddy Zavcka Klist. What seems like two very separate plots combined with secrets from Ayrel Morningstar's past all culminate in one fantastic read.

I reviewed Gemsigns back in May 2014 and it later became one of my favourite books of the 2014. I was not disappointed with Binary (with the added bonus that in the UK it was released much earlier). Saulter introduced us to very few new characters but likewise did not bring back that many of the main characters from Binary. This really worked as all the sub-plots revolved around the beautiful and wise Gem leader Ayrel Morningstar.  We get to see a glimpse into her past through a series of flashbacks and see how her past has shaped his future self as she faces off with the former gemtech kingpin Zavcka Klist.

I was a bit dubious that I was going to enjoy this book as much as I liked Gemsigns but Saulter did it. She managed to weave a story that flitted from the past to present with ease and drew the reader in so deeply that it was almost impossible to put this book down. While I missed some of the characters I had grown to love in the previous book I was just as happy to spend time getting to know new ones. The book still focused on Aryl Morningstar who is a compelling protagonist and the flashbacks make her even more so. Kavcka was equally interesting and nothing is better than a baddy who isn't overtly sinister. Saulter writes truly believable science fiction and I almost feel smarter from having read it. I can hardly wait to find out what happens next.

Cover Revealed: Binary by Stephanie Saulter and Excerpt


The Qwillery is thrilled to present the US cover for Binary, ®Evolution 2, by Stephanie Saulter out May 5, 2015 from Jo Fletcher Books:



Cover Revealed: Binary by Stephanie Saulter and Excerpt




Zavcka Klist has reinvented herself: no longer the ruthless gemtech enforcer determined to keep the gems they created enslaved, she's now all about transparency and sharing the fruits of Bel'Natur's research to help gems and norms alike.

Neither Aryel Morningstar nor Dr. Eli Walker are convinced that Klist or Bel'Natur can have changed so dramatically, but the gems have problems that only a gemtech can solve. In exchange for their help, digital savant Herran agrees to work on Klist's latest project: reviving the science that drove mankind to the brink of extinction.

Then confiscated genestock disappears from a secure government facility, and the more DI Varsi investigates, the closer she comes to the dark heart of Bel'Natur and what Zavcka Klist is really after-not to mention the secrets of Aryel Morningstar's own past...




An excerpt

3

Eli waited until the room was almost full, with crowds still massed in the aisles, before slipping in as inconspicuously as possible. He was recognizable enough, especially in this crowd, for a few heads to turn, but no one spoke to him as he found a seat near the back, and he did not think he had been spotted by any of the organizing staff. He had no wish to be hailed from the stage by whatever functionary was conducting the Festival’s formal launch, as could very easily happen if they knew he was there.
       There was no risk of such notice from the evening’s keynote speaker, but he nevertheless felt an almost juvenile aversion to her discovering that he was in attendance. The terms on which they had last met had not been friendly. Mikal was down in front, among the other city officials, and it amused him to imagine the reaction that facing the giant gem would likely evoke; though doubtless she had been steeling herself since the election to keep her feelings well hidden. Still, this last- minute trailing of a major announcement was a curious development, one which had attracted a flurry of comment from the business newstreams. He could understand Aryel’s desire for a first- person report.
       He had glimpsed her as he made his way inside the massive building, fl uttering to earth near the stage that had been erected on the riverwalk’s great park. Greeting Lyriam no doubt, and satisfying herself that all was in readiness for those attending the festivities at his invitation. Disability, either physical or psychological, was virtually unknown among norms but still distressingly common among gems. The older ones in particular had been designed, reared, and trained at a time when such matters barely rated consideration. Even though they had all since been raised to legal equality with norms, ensuring that crippled, disfigured, or dysfunctional gems got the assistance they needed still took a fair amount of coordination and cajoling.
       The people here, he thought as he looked around him, were probably about equally divided between those who had fought early and with diligence for those freedoms and support, and others who had clambered aboard the bandwagon but in truth would have slept no less well had the bad old days of gemtech domination never ended. They would not wish for a return to it, not now that their
consciences had been pricked, but there was a malleability about them that the woman he had come to hear would understand well how to manipulate.
       Not unlike Aryel.
       The thought felt immediately both unworthy— vile, even— and intriguing. Eli picked at it as the program got under way. Aryel too knew how to play people, how to express a perspective and inspire a response. He wondered if the only real difference between the two women was that he happened to share the winged gem’s sense of values.
       He quickly decided— some deeply skeptical part of his mind whispered it might be too quickly— that it was more than that. Aryel’s approach was subtle. She used neither brutality nor blackmail; her weapon was an almost preternatural ability to persuade, a manner that was somehow both emotive and calmly rational. What she thought you should do became, after a few moments’ conversation, the only logical thing to do. That intellectual clarity and ability to communicate had put him in her corner. It was how she had hauled her people out of their postemancipation limbo and into the light.
       That and her beauty, and the magic of her wings.
       He emerged from his reverie in time to applaud the last of a parade of dignitaries. There were a few seconds of bustle before the lights tightened down again to illuminate only the stage. The Festival director reappeared on it, staring owl- like into the gloom of the audience, and gathered up his full pomp to announce that as they were no doubt aware, the chief executive of the Bel’Natur conglomerate would be the final speaker. What was less well- known, he told them, was that Bel’Natur had been early and generous supporters of the Festival, helping to fund much of the launch and the monthlong program of events. He was sure they would all give a very warm welcome to a woman many had heard of but few— unlike himself of course— had been privileged to meet: Zavcka Klist.
       As he took to the stage to make his introduction, in the instant after the lights went down, the door through which Eli had entered was pushed open once again. There was a rustle as some latecomer slipped quickly in.
       When they did not immediately walk past him on the way to one of the few empty seats, he glanced around. He was astonished to recognize the distinctive profile of Aryel Morningstar against the soft blue glow of exit lights, stepping back against the wall, wings tucked in tight. A murmur started as those on either side of the aisle realized who stood there and he saw her raise a finger sharply to her lips. The murmur died away and she folded her arms, standing still as a stone.

Zavcka Klist stood in the spotlight, gazing out into the darkened auditorium while perfunctory applause died away. She carried no tablet, and ignored the lectern onto which a prepared speech might have been projected. She seemed, Eli thought, to be letting them all take a good long look, the better to emphasize whatever point she had come here to make.
       She had changed little in the years since they had last met face to face. Slightly taller than the norm average, blond and dark- eyed, she was possessed of a harsh aristocratic beauty. She had the gift of elegance, of wearing expensive clothes well and looking glamorous with little embellishment. She had favored scarlet lipstick then, he remembered, but no longer; her mouth was now a softer shade, and the lines of her stylish summer suit less stridently autocratic.
       But she was still Zavcka Klist.
       She still wasted little time on pleasantries.
       “Our involvement with the Festival of the Future has struck many as anachronistic,” she began. “You may well wonder how a company that was on the brink of collapse not so very long ago, part of an industry whose day many consider done, can imagine itself to have much of a future. You all know I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that the last few years have been, to say the least, challenging.”
       There were a few titters of nervous laughter that degenerated hastily into scattered coughs.
       “The financial challenges have been obvious and serious, but I am happy to report that they have largely been overcome. Bel’Natur remains a leader in agricultural gemtech and as a result we are once again approaching the levels of turnover and profitability that we enjoyed before the abolition of commercialized human gemtech.”
       The silence rippled out. It was as though a stone had been dropped into the massed memories of a century’s shame; a deep, still pool of guilt and recrimination around which, by mutual and unspoken agreement, most norms preferred to tiptoe as silently as possible. Zavcka stared straight into the audience as she spoke, eyes traveling slowly along the seated ranks of gems and norms, a mingling made possible only by the abolition of which she spoke. Eli, who already knew what a bravura performance she was capable of, nevertheless found himself holding his breath.
       “That was, of course, a watershed for the company, as indeed it has been for all of society. You will not be surprised to learn, ladies and gentlemen, gems and norms, that the cultural challenges it presented to us at Bel’Natur were beyond anything we’d ever dealt with. I’m not going to insult your intelligence by pretending that we had no difficulty facing up to the facts of our history, learning the lessons from it, and instituting the changes, both in our business practices and in our attitudes, to ensure that such a cavalier and unthinking application of technology could never occur within our company again. I am certainly not going to insult your sense of justice by suggesting that no wrongs were done.”
       A loud murmur, with more than a hint, Eli thought, of the kind of self- righteousness beloved of those who preferred not to consider their own complicity. People shifted and muttered to each other. He kept his eyes on the back of Mikal’s head, shoulders and half a torso higher than anyone else’s, and noted that he had not moved a muscle.
       Zavcka stepped back a couple of paces, hands up in capitulation. “Let me say this, loud and clear, so no one can be in any doubt where Bel’Natur stands on this today: Wrongs were done, and we did them, along with the rest of the industry. And while we could justifiably add that a medical crisis and lax regulation and social apathy were contributing factors, that doesn’t actually let us off the hook. It has been a difficult thing to come to terms with, collectively and individually. I might not have been the chief executive during that time, but as you know I’ve been in this business for many years and I, like all of us, should have known better.”
       Eli felt an almost overwhelming disorientation. He remembered his first conversation with Zavcka Klist, just days before she took over the top job at what had once been the world’s most prestigious gemtech. There had been no humility then, and precious little contrition. He could not square that recollection with the apparent sincerity on display before him. He shook himself and glanced back at Aryel. Her arms were still folded across her chest, a counterpoint to the high bulge of her wings, and he could almost see the frown she bent toward Zavcka.
       He shifted his own attention back to the woman in the spotlight.
       “So we deal with the past,” Zavcka said, and she seemed to be looking directly at Mikal before turning away to pace the stage. “We admit our mistakes, we try to help the people we hurt, and we move on. And moving on is what I mainly want to talk about this evening, ladies and gentlemen. Moving on is why we’re all here. In our case that involved a lesson from the past, and what we think it means for the future.
       “As we examined the series of events that led us to where we are now, we noted the parallels between the way breakthroughs in genetic engineering were applied without due consideration for the
consequences and the way advances in information technology had been adopted with reckless speed a century and a half ago. Now we know where the latter led us— to the Syndrome, and a crisis
that demanded we develop modification techniques just to survive. But what became apparent is that although society used gemtech to solve the problems created by infotech, we nevertheless abandoned infotech. Progress came to a crashing halt once the Syndrome was identified. Our technical capacity is almost exactly the same as it was at year zero. That is neither necessary nor desirable.”
       She raised her hands again, this time a gesture of inclusion and uplift. The room murmured again, this time an expectant little ripple. They were hanging on her every word. Eli could not entirely conquer a reluctant sense of admiration.
       “We believe that the next great advances in science and technology, the next wave of improvement in the way we live our lives, will come from picking up where we left off with infotech. So what I came here to tell you today is that, far from being consigned to the garbage can of history, the Bel’Natur Corporation is changing course. We are launching a major, long- term research and development program into computing and information technologies. We now know how to do it safely, and as we travel down this new road we will be integrating what we’ve learned from human gemtech—both the scientific breakthroughs and the ethical imperatives. Over the next ten years we are going to be investing over a billion credits, creating thousands of new jobs, and bringing to market dozens of new products. We are going to be combining our unparalleled expertise in neural architecture with new concepts in software and hardware. We are going to launch the next phase of infotech.”

The midsummer sun was still high enough above the horizon to cast a golden glow over the gathering crowds on the riverwalk an hour later. Eli let himself be carried along in the fl ow of people heading toward the park, until he could step aside into a little nook where two ancient chestnut trees sheltered an empty bench. He sank down onto it and tried to think.
       Zavcka had wrapped her speech up quickly. The grandee who had introduced her bounced back onstage, grinning widely, and invited questions. Eli wondered if Aryel would stay and challenge or slip away as unobtrusively as she had arrived, but she did neither. Instead she had waited until the lights came up, waited until they touched the wall where she stood and Zavcka Klist’s eyes had focused on her and widened, before she sidestepped quickly to the door and out. By then people were on their feet all over the room and salvos were being fired at the stage.
       They ranged predictably from anxious inquiries about safety, to what sorts of products she thought might emerge, to quantifying the economic impact. She had gone straight to Mikal’s raised hand, though, despite knowing that he must be about to ask her to explain precisely what she meant by integrating human gemtech.
       Work had already begun, she said, in the pre-Syndrome era, on direct interfaces. But they did not understand enough then about how the brain was structured and how it worked; progress was slow, patchy, and ultimately abandoned.
       “We have the answers to those questions now,” she said. “And while we can regret the manner in which much of that knowledge was gained, I don’t think it honors anybody to simply not use it. On the contrary, it seems to me that we have an obligation to turn it into something worthwhile. Much of the original research focused on disability, for example, and working in difficult environments like space. Or underwater. If we can use what we already know to link this,” she pointed to her own head, “directly to this,” and she took a tablet out of the Festival director’s hand and held it up with the same restrained theatricality, “then there are so many problems we can solve.”
       She handed the tablet back, her attention still on Mikal. “We’re not talking about new gemtech. But I understand the concerns behind your question, Councillor, and I respect them. It’s a question that should be asked.”
       A few seconds of silence then, the audience bemusedly contemplating the unexpected courtesy she was showing to Mikal. Eli could imagine the split- lidded blink with which he filled it, something he thought his friend sometimes did on purpose when he wished to be disconcerting.
       “There are many questions that should be asked,” Mikal had replied evenly. “And answered. I look forward to it.”
       Eli knew her well enough to recognize the flash of anger in Zavcka Klist’s eyes as she registered the rebuke. A few people seemed to realize that they had missed something, but it sailed too far over the heads of most. Mikal sat back, giving up the floor and watching her weather the torrent.
       Now Eli kept an eye on the passing crowd until the giant loomed into view. He raised a hand. Mikal waved back and changed course, navigating to the edge of the fl ow of people so that Eli could fall into step beside him.
       “Well,” he said, channeling well- worn irony, “that was interesting.”
       Mikal laughed, a gusty tone with an edge of bitterness to it. “Which part? The rebirth of infotech, the recycling of gemtech, or Zavcka Klist being my new best friend?”
       “That last one is the killer. Did she speak to you again? I slipped out when it looked like there was going to be mingling. No love lost between us, as you know.”
       “I think she would have been nice even to you. She came straight up to me, handshake, congratulations, the whole thing. Said she didn’t think it would have been helpful to get into a technical discussion about neurochemistry from the stage but she didn’t want me to think she was being evasive, they intend to be completely open, blah, blah, blah.”
       “Subject to commercial constraints, of course.”
       “Of course. Though she did make a point of saying they want to set up a protocol with the regulators to ensure that the protection of intellectual property doesn’t undermine transparency. Quite how you manage that I don’t know, but she’d be very happy for me to help work it out.”
       “Blimey. Do you believe her?”
       “Do I believe that she wants me on her private stream, or popping by the office? That she mortifies herself nightly over what Bel’Natur did? Over what she allowed to happen to Gabriel, and Callan, and goodness knows how many others? No, no and no. She doesn’t look nearly shredded enough.”
       The big man sighed and ran a hand through his hair. It was medium length and a nondescript lightish brown. The modifications he bore were more than sufficient gemsign; his designers had correctly judged that topping them off with a jewel- colored, phosphorescent mane would have been redundant. His double thumbs left twin furrows on either side of his head.
       “But is she now genuinely trying to chart a new course? She might be, Eli. She knows they can’t go back to the old days. Innovate or die, as they used to say at Recombin. Infotech has been stagnant for a long time. We are all Syndrome- safe now, gems and norms, even the Remnants. Bel’Natur might be up to exactly what she says they’re up to.”
       “You sound like a politician, Mik.”
       “Go wash your mouth out. With soap.”



What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2015? - Part 17


This is the seventeenth in a series of updates about formerly featured Debut Author Challenge authors and their upcoming 2015 books. This update covers some of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge authors. What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2015? - Part 18 will cover additional 2014 DAC authors.

See Part 1 here
See Part 1.5 here
See Part 2 here
See Part 3 here
See Part 4 here
See Part 5 here
See Part 6 here
See Part 7 here
See Part 8 here
See Part 9 here
See Part 10 here
See Part 11 here
See Part 12 here
See Part 13 here
See Part 14 here
See Part 15 here
See Part 16 here


What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2015? - Part 17


Carol J. Perry

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2015? - Part 17
Tails, You Lose
A Witch City Mystery 2
Kensington, March 31, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

Her instincts may be killer--but can she catch one this wicked?

After losing her job as a TV psychic, Lee Barrett has decided to volunteer her talents as an instructor at the Tabitha Trumbull Academy of the Arts--known as "The Tabby"--in her hometown of Salem, Massachusetts. But when the school's handyman turns up dead under seemingly inexplicable circumstances on Christmas night, Lee's clairvoyant capabilities begin bubbling to the surface once again.

The Tabby is housed in the long-vacant Trumbull's Department Store. As Lee and her intrepid students begin work on a documentary charting the store's history, they unravel a century of family secrets, deathbed whispers--and a mysterious labyrinth of tunnels hidden right below the streets of Salem. Even the witches in town are spooked, and when Lee begins seeing visions in the large black patent leather pump in her classroom, she's certain something evil is afoot. But ghosts in the store's attic are the least of her worries with a killer on the loose. . .





David Ramirez

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2015? - Part 17
The Forever Watch
St. Martin's Griffin, March 24, 2015
Trade Paperback, 336 pages
Previously published in Hardcover and eBook, April 2014

An exciting new novel from a bold up-and-coming sci fi talent, The Forever Watch is so full of twists and surprises it's impossible to put down.

All that is left of humanity is on a thousand-year journey to a new planet aboard one ship, The Noah, which is also carrying a dangerous serial killer...

As a City Planner on the Noah, Hana Dempsey is a gifted psychic, economist, hacker and bureaucrat and is considered "mission critical." She is non-replaceable, important, essential, but after serving her mandatory Breeding Duty, the impregnation and birthing that all women are obligated to undergo, her life loses purpose as she privately mourns the child she will never be permitted to know.

When Policeman Leonard Barrens enlists her and her hacking skills in the unofficial investigation of his mentor's violent death, Dempsey finds herself increasingly captivated by both the case and Barrens himself. According to Information Security, the missing man has simply "Retired," nothing unusual. Together they follow the trail left by the mutilated remains. Their investigation takes them through lost dataspaces and deep into the uninhabited regions of the ship, where they discover that the answer may not be as simple as a serial killer after all.

What they do with that answer will determine the fate of all humanity in David Ramirez's thrilling page turner.





Ethan Reid

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2015? - Part 17
The Undying: Shades
An Apocalyptic Thriller
Simon451, May 12, 2015
eBook, 272 pages

The Undying “screams for a sequel” (Publishers Weekly)—and Ethan Reid delivers, in this riveting follow-up to “a thriller that brings a genuinely fresh take to a monstrous mythology” (Andrew Pyper, #1 bestselling author of The Demonologist).

THE FATE OF THE WORLD IS IN HIS HANDS.

The Undying: SHADES finds American student Jeanie and her young charge, Ren, fifteen years after the EMP that wiped out Paris and sent them on the run from the undying. Walking the highways and hiding out in abandoned buildings across France, they eventually find their way to Spain and the walled city of Ronda where a few dozen survivors have gathered—safe enough from the hunting undying, but facing a new threat on the scorched planet: starvation.

With their main resource—humans—bordering on extinction, the undying have weakened, retreating to their hives and slowly withering away. But not for long. A dark presence arrives, casting its shadow across Spain, reawakening the hives and creating a new breed of monster. Driven by some alien intelligence, these Shades not only reanimate the undying, but can possess the living, turning survivors against one another.

When Ronda comes under attack, Ren saves the day. As the youngest human left on earth, he has been blessed with a special gift that makes him a perfect killing machine—and the last hope of humanity. Forced to leave the safety of the barricades, he takes to the highways with a company of Spaniards who intend to eradicate the undying from Europe, hive by hive, using Ren as their secret weapon. But as they approach Sevilla to face the most powerful Shade yet, Ren learns some in his company aren’t all they appear to be…





Lauren M. Roy

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2015? - Part 17
Grave Matters
Night Owls 2
Ace, February 24, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

Night Owls bookstore always keeps a light on and evil creatures out. But, as Lauren M. Roy’s thrilling sequel continues, even its supernatural staff isn’t prepared for the dead to come back to life…

Elly grew up training to kill things that go bump in the night, so she’s still getting used to working alongside them. While she’s learned to trust the eclectic group of vampires, Renfields, and succubi at Night Owls bookstore, her new job guarding Boston’s most powerful vampire has her on edge—especially when she realizes something strange is going on with her employer, something even deadlier than usual…

Cavale isn’t thrilled that his sister works for vampires, but he’s determined to repair their relationship, and that means trusting her choices—until Elly’s job lands all of the Night Owls in deep trouble with a vengeful necromancer. And even their collective paranormal skills might not be enough to keep them from becoming part of the necromancer’s undead army…



What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2015? - Part 17
The Fire Children
Ravenstone, June 30, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

Two children escape the darkness of their underground dwellings, to find adventure, magic and terrible danger await anyone who ventures above ground.

Fifteen years have passed since Mother Sun last sent her children to walk the world. When the eclipse comes, the people retreat to the caverns beneath the Kaladim, passing the days in total darkness while the Fire Children explore their world. It's death to even look upon them, the stories say.

Despite the warnings, Yulla gives in to her curiosity and ventures to the surface. There she witnesses the Witch Women -- who rumors say worship dead Father Sea, rather than Mother Sun -- capturing one of the Children and hauling her away. Yulla isn't the only one who saw the kidnapping; Ember, the last of the Fire Children, reveals himself to Yulla and implores her to help.

Trapped up above and hunted by the witches and the desert wind, Yulla and Ember must find a way free his siblings and put a stop to the Witch Womens' plans, before they can use the Fire Children to bind Mother Sun herself.





Stephanie Saulter

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2015? - Part 17
Binary
(R)Evolution  2
Jo Fletcher Books, May 5, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 416 pages

Zavcka Klist has reinvented herself: no longer the ruthless gemtech enforcer determined to keep the gems they created enslaved, she's now all about transparency and sharing the fruits of Bel'Natur's research to help gems and norms alike.

Neither Aryel Morningstar nor Dr. Eli Walker are convinced that Klist or Bel'Natur can have changed so dramatically, but the gems have problems that only a gemtech can solve. In exchange for their help, digital savant Herran agrees to work on Klist's latest project: reviving the science that drove mankind to the brink of extinction.

Then confiscated genestock disappears from a secure government facility, and the more DI Varsi investigates, the closer she comes to the dark heart of Bel'Natur and what Zavcka Klist is really after-not to mention the secrets of Aryel Morningstar's own past...


The View From Monday - March 19, 2018The View From Monday - May 9, 2016Melanie's Week in Review - April 3, 2016Cover Reveal - Regeneration by Stephanie SaulterWhat's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 28Melanie's Week in Review - August 16, 2015Guest Blog by Stephanie Saulter - Finding Voices: Defining the Characters in BINARY - May 11, 2015Review: Binary by Stephanie SaulterCover Revealed: Binary by Stephanie Saulter and ExcerptWhat's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2015? - Part 17

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