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Interview with Victor Godinez, author of The First Protectors


Please welcome Victor Godinez to The Qwillery as part of the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The First Protectors was published on November 13, 2018 by Talos Press.



Interview with Victor Godinez, author of The First Protectors




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first piece you remember writing?

Victor:  Hmm, I think it was a short story with pictures I drew when I was around 10, with a kid who gets kidnapped out of his bed by aliens and taken on adventures. He wakes up at the end back in his bed, thinking it was all a dream, but you can see the alien’s antennas outside his window. I hate the “It was all a dream” trope in fiction, incidentally. Lame!



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Victor:  Hybrid. I generally have an overall vision of how I want the story to go, but the day-to-day writing is generally a surprise to me. I do sometimes write myself into a plot corner as a result, but the easiest way out is usually just to imagine how my protagonist would react to the situation he or she is in. Or sometimes I just send in killer robots with laser guns and missile launchers. That tends to reboot a scene pretty quickly.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Victor:  Lol, all of it? It’s always a bit excruciating. Giving different characters distinctive voices and behaviors is a big challenge. We’re so used to thinking as ourselves that it’s very hard to think like someone else, or to feel or talk like someone else.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Victor:  Well, there are good and bad influences, right? On the positive side, you can round up the usual suspects: Tolkien, Stephen King, Douglas Adams, T.H. White, Asimov, and so on. On the negative side, well, I love twitter, but it does condition you to have the attention span of a hyperactive fruit fly. Spending 30 minutes or an hour writing long form does get easier with practice, but internet culture does not encourage patient diligence.



TQ Describe The First Protectors using only 5 words.

Victor:  Fighting aliens with alien science.



TQTell us something about The First Protectors that is not found in the book description.

Victor:  Political intrigue and upheaval among Earth’s governments as the invasion unfolds plays a big part in how the confrontation plays out.




TQWhat inspired you to write The First Protectors? What appeals to you about writing Science Fiction?

Victor:  I wanted to explore what an alien invasion might realistically look like and how we might realistically fight back against it. At the same time, the various real-world military conflicts over the last decade-plus have made it impossible to ignore war’s mental and spiritual toll on those who fight in them. So I wanted to explore that internal tension, as well, of someone who never wanted to fight again being essentially forced to fight for the entire world. Ultimately, science fiction is about what it means to be human as technological change accelerates. All the hardware and spaceships and whatnot are only interesting if you put confused, scared, determined, smart, overwhelmed people in front of them and behind them and inside them.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The First Protectors?

Victor:  Fortunately, in the internet age, you never have to leave your chair to wander a Russian street or peruse artillery manuals. But that also means you have no excuse not to do those things. So I spent a lot of time in Google Earth, or reading U.S. military websites, or looking up the chemical compositions of various materials or researching theoretical space propulsion systems.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for The First Protectors.

Victor:  All credit to the great Amir Zand (https://www.artstation.com/amirzand) for the fantastic cover. That illustration represents a scene in the book where Ben Shepherd, the protagonist, first encounters the alien visitors out in the New Mexico desert.



TQIn The First Protectors who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Victor:  I think the “comic relief” characters often feel the easiest to write, at least on the first pass. But as I kept revising, I wanted to dig deeper into these characters. So you just keep peeling away, trying to find their humanity, without sacrificing the tone you want them to bring to the tale. That’s not easy!



TQDoes The First Protectors touch on any social issues?

Victor:  It does dig into the political impact that an alien invasion might have, how different governments and populations might react to that news and the chaos pouring down on them from above. I do wonder if any governments keep contingency plans for this sort of thing on a shelf somewhere, just in case.



TQWhich question about The First Protectors do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Victor:  Did you really think you would be able to get your book published when you first started writing? I had no idea how to get a book published when I started. But I knew that it was a story I wanted to tell, because it was a story I wanted to read. So I figured someone else might want to read it, too.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The First Protectors.

Victor

“But tea did not come from Russia,” Gretchencko said, folding his hands on the table in front of him and ignoring the steam and the storm. “In 1638, an envoy from Tsar Michael I to Altyn Khan, a Mongolian ruler, came back with these dried leaves, a strange gift. But it was not long before Russians saw the value of this new material and adopted tea as our own, a national drink. And you, Lt. Shepherd, are tea, a strange new thing from a very distant place.”

Gretchenko finally lifted his cup and blew softly over the hot liquid, his eyes never leaving his visitors. He sipped, expressionless. “The only question is, are you a gift, or something else?”



TQWhat's next?

Victor:  Possibly a sequel, if readers like The First Protectors. And I’m working on a few unrelated sci-fi novels. So we’ll see!



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Victor:  Thanks for the invite!





The First Protectors
Talos Press, November 13, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

Interview with Victor Godinez, author of The First Protectors
The last thing Ben Shepherd wanted was another war. But sometimes the universe won’t take no for an answer.

His body and spirit mangled by a lifetime of combat, Shepherd, a retired Navy SEAL, has retreated to the desolate desert of New Mexico to heal his wounds and dodge his demons. All he wants now is peace and quiet.

Both are shattered one starry night, when an alien ship crashes nearby. Out of the ship crawls the last, dying member of a conquered civilization. It’s been shot down by an extraterrestrial enemy, the vanguard of a ravenous force hunting for a new homeland. With its last gasp, the wounded alien injects Shepherd with a high-tech serum that gives him near superhuman powers.

Now, with a new body but a soul as fractured as ever, Shepherd becomes the reluctant leader of the human resistance against the coming invasion. With enemies on all sides, the man who couldn’t bear the guilt of seeing one more friend die in battle now finds himself charged with protecting the entire planet.




About Victor

Interview with Victor Godinez, author of The First Protectors
Victor Godinez is a former newspaper reporter and current works in public relations. He lives in Dallas, Texas, with his wife, Sarah, three kids, two dogs and, according to the most recent household census, two guinea pigs. You can find him on twitter @VictorGodinez, where he rambles about self-driving cars, The Simpsons, and sci-fi.






2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November Winner


The winner of the November 2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars is The First Protectors by Victor Godinez from Talos Press with 47% of the votes. The Cover artwork is by Amir Zand, with cover design by Mona Lin.

The First Protectors just edged out Breach by W. L. Goodwater!


Victor Godinez

The First Protectors
Talos Press, November 13, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November Winner
The last thing Ben Shepherd wanted was another war. But sometimes the universe won’t take no for an answer.

His body and spirit mangled by a lifetime of combat, Shepherd, a retired Navy SEAL, has retreated to the desolate desert of New Mexico to heal his wounds and dodge his demons. All he wants now is peace and quiet.

Both are shattered one starry night, when an alien ship crashes nearby. Out of the ship crawls the last, dying member of a conquered civilization. It’s been shot down by an extraterrestrial enemy, the vanguard of a ravenous force hunting for a new homeland. With its last gasp, the wounded alien injects Shepherd with a high-tech serum that gives him near superhuman powers.

Now, with a new body but a soul as fractured as ever, Shepherd becomes the reluctant leader of the human resistance against the coming invasion. With enemies on all sides, the man who couldn’t bear the guilt of seeing one more friend die in battle now finds himself charged with protecting the entire planet.





The Results

2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November Winner





The November 2018 Debuts

2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November Winner

2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Winner


The winner of the September 2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars is Walking Through Fire by Sherri Cook Woosley with 57% of the votes. The Cover Design is by Mona Lin. The Cover Illustration is courtesy of Jeff Chapman.



Walking Through Fire
A Misbegotten Novel 1
Talos, September 4, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Winner
For fans of American Gods, a dark, humorous, and richly written, dystopian fantasy about the unbreakable bonds of family and the undying strength of a mother's love.

The end of the world begins as literal fire rains down from the heavens. Ancient gods are released from their prison, eager to reestablish their long-lost power. But Rachel Deneuve has bigger, more contemporary concerns than a divine war.

Her son Adam is in the middle of a fight against leukemia, and Rachel is determined to keep focused on that battle. But when humans begin picking sides and the fighting escalates, their home in Baltimore becomes a war zone, one she can’t ignore.

Desperate to stay away from the carnage—as well as the germ-ridden refugee center—Rachel and Adam flee to their remote mountain cottage, only to find their refuge marred by mutated, grotesque plants and animals. Eventually, the cancerous cells in Adam's body begin evolving as well, threatening his life and forcing Rachel to venture back into the eye of the storm. Left with no other choice but to sacrifice her own freedom for her son's safety, she must become an unwilling warrior in a battle unlike anything seen in millennia, or lose everything she holds dear.





The Results

2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Winner





The September 2018 Debuts

2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Winner

Interview with Sherri Cook Woosley, author of Walking Through Fire


Please welcome Sherri Cook Woosley to The Qwillery as part of the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Walking Through Fire was published on September 4th by Talos Press.



Interview with Sherri Cook Woosley, author of Walking Through Fire




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first fiction piece you remember writing?

Sherri:  Thank you very much for having me!

I didn’t write it, but my first imaginings were fan fiction of the Elfquest graphic novels by Wendy and Richard Pini. I loved the world of two moons and how each member of the tribe had their own storyline. I remember going to Balticon and waiting with a comic book (still in wrapper, of course) to get Wendy’s signature. Mumbling about how I liked her drawings or something equally banal when I was really about to faint from excitement.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Sherri:  While writing Walking Through Fire I was more of a pantser because I had static images in my head. I arranged those in order, but then, in revision, I had to figure out WHY the dots connected in that order. It wasn’t a particularly efficient method, but sometimes being intuitive isn’t efficient. The trade-off is that you explore places and ideas that you might have missed otherwise.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Sherri:  Short Answer: Time.

Long Answer: I get my four kids off to three schools, walk the dog, teach morning yoga classes, and then have two hours before the older kids get home from school and the afternoon driving begins. That’s how I know I’m a writer. I would quit if I could! But, I can’t. I’ve tried. Instead, I have to schedule writing time and not wait for some muse to show up. Slow and Steady.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Sherri:  Most recently I had the opportunity to attend a two-week writing seminar called Taos Toolbox in New Mexico led by Walter Jon Williams and Nancy Kress. It was an intense time of critiquing and writing and meeting guest lecturers like Carrie Vaughn and this guy you might have heard of: George R. R. Martin. The two weeks were incredible. I’d never been away from my family that long, but I was so happy immersed in reading and writing and meeting the other writers participating in the seminar.



TQDescribe Walking Through Fire using only 5 words.

Sherri:  Mother and son battle gods.



TQTell us something about Walking Through Fire that is not found in the book description.

Sherri:  The opening scene was originally a homestead near Harper’s Ferry, WV being attacked by a two-headed moose. My beta readers had so many questions that I had to keep backing up to explain how we’d gotten to that point.



TQWhat inspired you to write Walking Through Fire? What appeals to you about writing Dystopian fantasy?

Sherri:  I think post-apocalyptic and dystopian fantasy are both influenced by a combination of fear and hope. At least, that’s how it is for me. I see trends in current society and I need to chase them down to the worst-case scenario. But, I firmly believe there are always heroes who run TOWARD the fire while everyone else is running away. That feels true to me and is something I want to explore.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Walking Through Fire?

Sherri:  I taught Intro. to World Mythology at University of Maryland years ago. I got to revisit the stories of Mesopotamia as I decided how to actualize each deity. One of the fun things about Mesopotamian myth is that there are so many variations in the stories, changes over time conflating with which city-state was in power, thus bringing their deity to power.

Then, for my magic system, I took the Sumerian concept of etemmu or etemu (Akkadian), which is the animating spirit and changed it to be the primal spiritual energy that gods can easily manipulate and humans have the ability, with work, to manipulate in individual ways.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for Walking Through Fire.

Sherri:  Jeff Chapman is the amazing artist who designed the cover from an early scene in the novel. Rachel and Adam are standing in a very recognizable part of Baltimore – an intersection I’ve driven a thousand times – and he even put a little hint in the flames that lick the sky.



TQIn Walking Through Fire who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Sherri:  An, the Sumerian sky god, was so much fun to write. He’s a fan of the Fab Four and sprinkles quotes from The Beatles into his conversations. As one of the oldest gods, he historically lost his power to the younger gods. So, he came into my novel with a chip already on his shoulder and a need to prove he’s still relevant even while he claims that he wants to stay out the upcoming war.

Rachel was the hardest. She’s not a “chosen one.” Instead, she’s a suburban mom with a degree in art history who is faced with an unimaginable unnatural disaster. Rachel experiences anxiety and doesn’t always know what to do, but she leads with her heart and she’s loyal to her found family. She worries too much – but what mother doesn’t? I hope that readers appreciate her vulnerability and don’t see it as weakness. Ha ha, maybe that’s my anxiety speaking.



TQDoes Walking Through Fire touch on any social issues?

Sherri:  I wanted to read about a mother, not a superhero. I wanted to read about someone who doesn’t already have a network of friends and, instead, has to find her tribe. Before N. K. Jemison’s Broken Earth series I hadn’t seen moms that I could relate to in speculative fiction. They were killed off to give the husband or the children a revenge motivation to start a quest. They were the authority figure who had to be defied for the other characters to have agency. They were the ones left behind to guard hearth and home so the heroes could leave. And mothers who did have agency, like Evelyn in the Divergent series, is the antagonist so that the characters can have moral agency.

This is a social issue because of today’s demand for mothers to sacrifice themselves, their art, their own desires, and sometimes their own bodies for their children. #MothersArePeopleToo. That can be our hashtag. Talking to fellow moms during play groups, we want to have our own books. Where we can love our children and still get to go on adventures without being judged. It feels like today’s culture is incredibly demanding and judgmental. A mother is judged if she goes to work, she’s judged if she stays home. She’s called a helicopter parent or a free-range parent. She’s supposed to read about Tiger moms and French moms and EVERY kind of parenting, except, maybe, there are a lot of different ways to parent your kids, with kindness and human decency being top of the list.



TQWhich question about Walking Through Fire do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Sherri:  What is your favorite animal from the novel? Answer: My favorite animal is actually in the second novel, which might be a tease, but if you’d like to find YOUR Misbegotten pet, I wrote a fun quiz: https://tasteofsherri.wordpress.com/2018/08/14/critter-quiz-for-walking-through-fire/



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Walking Through Fire.

Sherri:

“Behind him she saw the sky rip open. A flaming meteor fell and an orange glow lit the horizon. The world was on fire.”



TQWhat's next?

Sherri:  I’ll be signing books and speaking on two panels at the Baltimore Book Festival September 29-30th and I’ll be reading an excerpt of Walking Through Fire at Charm City Spec’s meeting at Bird in Hand bookstore in Baltimore on Halloween (October 31st).



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Sherri:  Thank you for having me!





Walking Through Fire
A Misbegotten Novel 1
Talos, September 4, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

Interview with Sherri Cook Woosley, author of Walking Through Fire
For fans of American Gods, a dark, humorous, and richly written, dystopian fantasy about the unbreakable bonds of family and the undying strength of a mother's love.

The end of the world begins as literal fire rains down from the heavens. Ancient gods are released from their prison, eager to reestablish their long-lost power. But Rachel Deneuve has bigger, more contemporary concerns than a divine war.

Her son Adam is in the middle of a fight against leukemia, and Rachel is determined to keep focused on that battle. But when humans begin picking sides and the fighting escalates, their home in Baltimore becomes a war zone, one she can’t ignore.

Desperate to stay away from the carnage—as well as the germ-ridden refugee center—Rachel and Adam flee to their remote mountain cottage, only to find their refuge marred by mutated, grotesque plants and animals. Eventually, the cancerous cells in Adam's body begin evolving as well, threatening his life and forcing Rachel to venture back into the eye of the storm. Left with no other choice but to sacrifice her own freedom for her son's safety, she must become an unwilling warrior in a battle unlike anything seen in millennia, or lose everything she holds dear.





About Sherri

Interview with Sherri Cook Woosley, author of Walking Through Fire
Sherri Cook Woosley, a Baltimore native, is an active member of the Baltimore Science Fiction Circle, and was a winner of their amateur writing contest in 2014. Her short stories can be found in Abyss & Apex, Pantheon Magazine, and Flash Fiction Magazine. Walking Through Fire is her debut novel. In addition to writing, she teaches yoga so other people can balance their lives while she juggles four kids, a dog, rabbit, and various other animals. She lives in Maryland with her family.

Website  ~  Twitter @SherriWoosley

2017 Debut Author Challenge - COVER OF THE YEAR!


The Qwillery is thrilled to announce the 2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover of the Year - The Caledonian Gambit by Dan Moren with 38% of the votes.

The cover art is by Sebastien Hue.

For more about the cover for The Caledonian Gambit:


The Caledonian Gambit edged out Muddy Waters (Otherwhere 1) by Sara O. Thompson with cover art by Eugene Teplitsky by 31 votes!




The Caledonian Gambit
Talos, May 23, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 312 pages

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

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

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

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




The Results

2017 Debut Author Challenge - COVER OF THE YEAR!





The 2017 DAC Cover Wars Monthly Winners

2017 Debut Author Challenge - COVER OF THE YEAR!

2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Winner


The winner of the July 2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars is Godblind by Anna Stephens from Talos with 33% of the votes. The cover design and title lettering is by Dominic Forbes.


Godblind
Godblind Trilogy 1
Talos, July 11, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 384 pages

 2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Winner
For fans of Joe Abercrombie, Scott Lynch, and Mark Lawrence comes a brutal grimdark fantasy debut of dark gods and violent warriors.

The Mireces worship the bloodthirsty Red Gods. Exiled from Rilpor a thousand years ago, and left to suffer a harsh life in the cold mountains, a new Mireces king now plots an invasion of Rilpor’s thriving cities and fertile earth.

Dom Templeson is a Watcher, a civilian warrior guarding Rilpor’s border. He is also the most powerful seer in generations, plagued with visions and prophecies. His people are devoted followers of the god of light and life, but Dom harbors deep secrets, which threaten to be exposed when Rillirin, an escaped Mireces slave, stumbles broken and bleeding into his village.

Meanwhile, more and more of Rilpor’s most powerful figures are turning to the dark rituals and bloody sacrifices of the Red Gods, including the prince, who plots to wrest the throne from his dying father in the heart of the kingdom. Can Rillirin, with her inside knowledge of the Red Gods and her shocking ties to the Mireces King, help Rilpor win the coming war?





The Results

 2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Winner





The July 2017 Debuts

 2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Winner

Interview with Anna Stephens, author of Godblind


Please welcome Anna Stephens to The Qwillery as part of the of the 2017 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Godblind is published on July 11th by Talos.



Interview with Anna Stephens, author of Godblind




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

Anna:  Hello Qwillery, and thanks for having me!

I started writing … well, I’ve always written, ever since I was a child. Books and stories were hugely important to me from a very young age – from being told bedtime stories, to reading bedtime stories, to beginning to make up my own.

I was 14 when I told my best friend I was going to be a published author one day – and here I am!

As for the why, I write because I can’t not write. It’s very difficult to have any sort of life when characters are using your brain as a trampoline and the only way to get them out of your head is to put them on paper. And even when the deadlines are pressing, or the summer is in full swing and I want to be out in it, or I’ve been invited somewhere and can’t go, I love to write. I enjoy it far more than I don’t enjoy it, and that’s all anyone can ask for as a job, I think.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Anna:  I would say I’m a hybrid. Godblind has existed in one draft form or another for more than a decade, so it was definitely a pantser process to get it where it is today.

For the sequels, I have an in depth outline for them both, because of deadline constraints – apparently I can’t take a decade to write each sequel! – and while I’m sticking largely to that outline, there’s an element of organic growth in the plots as well. Nothing’s set in stone, no character is safe, so it’s interesting to see where my subconscious takes me.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Anna:  Reining in my inherent love of melodrama.

In first drafts, absolutely everything that can possibly go wrong for a character will go wrong! It’s amazing any of them survive with that I throw at them. Over subsequent rewrites I’ll thin out all of that and just keep the necessary points to further the plot or flesh out the character’s personality.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Anna:  I think influences can be found absolutely everywhere – TV, film, music, other books, real people, fictional people, the news, society.

Although I’m writing fantasy, I want the world and the society and culture and place I’ve created to feel as real and relatable as possible. Some people have said they don’t like an instance of sexual assault in the book, and one person said that they’d expected better, from me or the book I’m not sure – is it because I’m a woman writer? But the thing is, sexual assault is, sadly, all too prevalent in this world. If I’d written a happy utopia of complete gender parity and respect for all women, warriors or not, I’d probably be accused of writing Mary Sues and people would find it less believable, not more.

Maybe some women and men will find a couple of scenes uncomfortable. Maybe they don’t want to believe we live in a world where women can be accosted or have their arses slapped in public by total strangers, and that’s fine. There’s fiction out there that doesn’t address those issues and I wish them joy of reading those books. But although I’m writing fantasy, I’m also attempting to write reality.

By highlighting issues in fiction, I believe we can address them in our own culture. Perhaps a man reading one character’s creepy come-on will realise he did that once and it’s unpleasant for the female character, so maybe he shouldn’t do it in real life. For me that’s a win.



TQDescribe Godblind in 140 characters or less.

Anna:  A war between gods and cultures, unstoppable and yet which must be stopped, threatens Rilpor. Blood rises and the Red Gods rise with it.



TQTell us something about Godblind that is not found in the book description.

Anna:  It’s a novel, ultimately, of hope. When all seems lost, when people are dying, the characters have faith in the end goal, and hope to reach it. They’re not so hard and bleak that they’re just trying to survive as long as possible in a world gone to hell, they’re actively trying to prevent it from getting worse. They’re striving for a better world. Even the ones on the ‘wrong’ side believe that, that the world they want to create will be better.



TQWhat inspired you to write Godblind? What appeals to you about writing grimdark fantasy?

Anna:  I didn’t know I was writing grimdark until I was told I was! To me, I was just writing the world I saw and believed in. I have read – and still read – high fantasy, with noble paladins and wise old women, and I thoroughly enjoy it, and for a long time I tried to make Godblind like that. But things kept happening that didn’t fit into that world and so in the end I just wrote it the way it wanted to be written.

As I’ve already mentioned, I want to write the most honest and real world I can, full of people making mistakes, messing up at critical moments, making fools of themselves. Full of good characters, evil characters and everything in between – which is most of us. We all have the opportunity to be bad or good multiple times a day, or thoughtless, ignorant, casually cruel. I just wanted to write a book that reflects the gamut of human interaction and experience – but with swords!

Many years ago, when I wrote the first, highly terrible, version of Godblind, I wanted to write about a woman who became a warrior. And she was what people would call a Mary Sue – she went from simpering, pampered princess to steely-eyed warrior with barely a blink. And I never liked her. I wanted to write about women in war, but I couldn’t get on with her.

So I changed everything about her except for her name and her desire to fight, and she became Rillirin, and once I made her real, everything else became real as well. I think she was probably my version of Paks from Elizabeth Moon’s excellent The Deed of Paksenarrion. And while I love that book, I can’t write that book. I can’t write that sort of world or that sort of high nobility, because I don’t see it in the world around me – which is sad.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Godblind?

Anna:  I did a lot of battle research. I made extensive use of a book called Infantry Warfare in the Fourteenth Century by DeVries in order to learn about battle formation, ambush, numbers, positioning of archers and cavalry etc. I read a fair amount of historical fiction as well, so I combined the two.

I researched medicinal plants and the time it takes to travel by foot, by horse, in a forced march etc, to try and make movement through the country of Rilpor as honest as possible.

I did some internet research into decomposition, speed of death, wounds, healing and medical procedures, but not too much as I was worried the internet police might raid me!



TQPlease tell us about Godblind's cover?

Anna:  The amazing artwork for Godblind was designed by Dom Forbes, who works in-house at Harper Voyager, my UK publisher. Dom read the book and then produced what he got from it, that’s really all I can say.

He actually produced three versions, but we all agreed we liked this one the most. The crow/eagle is more representative of the novel than something that actually happens, a symbol of many things depending on your point of view – the Red Gods rising, crows stalking a battlefield, hope overcoming all. It’s very interpretive, which I like a lot. I think people will individually get something different from it, and maybe they’ll view it differently after reading it compared with how they saw it before.



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

Anna:  Crys was the easiest character to write, I think. His voice and outlook are probably the most closely aligned to mine – the mischief, the gentle mockery of authority, the sense of humour. Do I find it strange the character most like me is male instead of female? Not really, it just happened that way. Of course, he’s also heroic and noble and self-sacrificing, so he’s not completely like me. I like to think I’d be those things in a tough situation, but I’m not sure I would and I’m definitely not claiming to own those qualities.

Hands down, the hardest character to write is Galtas, because Galtas is a bastard, through and through. I wanted Galtas to be every creep in a nightclub, every wolf-whistler on the street, and every condescending, arrogant misogynist I could think of. His interactions with women, which thankfully are few, made me physically uncomfortable to write, and I hope that comes through to readers. If people like Galtas, I’ve really messed it up!



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

Anna:  Including allusions to LGBT and gender equality was extremely important for me, because I’m passionate about those things. The easy acceptance among the Watcher people of LGBT people, the absolute trust in women as warriors among the Wolves, was my little version of utopia, I suppose.

But then I wanted to highlight the opposite to act as a foil against it and to show how ridiculous those contrary beliefs are. Hence I included the laws against homosexuality, the treatment of Tara who is the only female soldier in the West Rank, and Galtas’s supposition she only made it to captain because she slept with the general.

All those teeth-grinding, maddening, misogynistic assumptions that continue to be vented in the real world are in Godblind, no doubt much to the surprise of some readers who see this as my opportunity to stamp out such themes. But believe me, I’m not writing them because I think they’re true, I’m writing them in order to highlight their pervasiveness and to tackle them within the novel, even if that’s just by showing how little sense they make.

Would any man, when he’s about to have his throat slit, be stupid enough to reject the help of a woman or a gay man? Well, yes, some probably would, but then they’d be dead and so would their particular brand of bigotry, so it’s not a total loss.



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

Anna:  Will you allow us to turn Godblind into a movie?

YES!



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

Anna:  This is one of my favourite quotes concerning Crys. I think it sums up a lot of things about him:
‘So, Captain Tailorson, it appears you have led a varied and interesting career in the last two years with the North Rank. Any particular reason for that?’ Commander Durdil Koridam eyed him from behind his desk.
        ‘No, sir.’
        ‘Demoted to lieutenant for brawling with common soldiers, a month in the cells for smuggling a family over the border into Rilpor, promotion back to captain for outstanding gallantry under fire . . . Outstanding?’
        ‘Major Bedras found himself surrounded by the Dead Legion. It seemed appropriate to save him.’
        ‘From the Dead Legion? Alone?’ Durdil’s grey eyebrows rose a fraction.
        ‘There were five of them, sir, youngsters on a blood hunt to prove their manhood.’
        ‘And how did they manage to surround the major?’
        ‘Couldn’t say, sir.’
        ‘No, though I note from General Tariq’s subsequent report that the major is no longer a major.’
        ‘As you say, sir.’
        ‘And the family you allowed into our country?’
        ‘A woman with three children, starving and filthy. Husband killed by the Dead, fleeing to save her children’s lives. It was . . . it was the right thing to do.’
        ‘You are a soldier, Tailorson. Right and wrong is for your superiors to decide.’
        Crys met his eyes. ‘Right and wrong is for every man to decide. Sir.’


TQWhat's next?

Anna:  Next is definitely the next two books in the series. I’m deep into drafting the sequel to Godblind at the moment, so that’s taking up most of my writing time. However, I’m also a member of Birmingham Writer’s Group in my home town, and I try and produce at least a few short stories every year to contribute to that. Hopefully, once I’ve delivered the manuscript for the sequel, I’ll be able to produce a few more.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Anna:  Thanks so much for letting me waffle on, it’s been an absolute pleasure.





Godblind
Godblind Trilogy 1
Talos, July 11, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 384 pages

Interview with Anna Stephens, author of Godblind
For fans of Joe Abercrombie, Scott Lynch, and Mark Lawrence comes a brutal grimdark fantasy debut of dark gods and violent warriors.

The Mireces worship the bloodthirsty Red Gods. Exiled from Rilpor a thousand years ago, and left to suffer a harsh life in the cold mountains, a new Mireces king now plots an invasion of Rilpor’s thriving cities and fertile earth.

Dom Templeson is a Watcher, a civilian warrior guarding Rilpor’s border. He is also the most powerful seer in generations, plagued with visions and prophecies. His people are devoted followers of the god of light and life, but Dom harbors deep secrets, which threaten to be exposed when Rillirin, an escaped Mireces slave, stumbles broken and bleeding into his village.

Meanwhile, more and more of Rilpor’s most powerful figures are turning to the dark rituals and bloody sacrifices of the Red Gods, including the prince, who plots to wrest the throne from his dying father in the heart of the kingdom. Can Rillirin, with her inside knowledge of the Red Gods and her shocking ties to the Mireces King, help Rilpor win the coming war?





About Anna

Anna Stephens is a member of the Birmingham Writers’ Group, a friendly bunch of geeks with a penchant for Doctor Who bordering on collective obsession. She has a second Dan black belt in Shotokan Karate and is no stranger to being punched in the face, which is more help than you would expect when writing fight scenes.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @AnnaSmithWrites  ~  Instagram

2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May Winner


The winner of the May 2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars is The Caledonian Gambit by Dan Moren from Talos with 55% of the votes. The cover art is by Sebastien Hue.


The Caledonian Gambit
Talos, May 23, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 312 pages

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

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

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

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




The Results
2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May Winner




The May 2017 Debuts

2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May Winner

Interview with Dan Moren, Author of The Caledonian Gambit


Please welcome Dan Moren to The Qwillery as part of the 2017 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Caledonian Gambit is published on May 23rd by Talos.

Please join The Qwillery in wishing Dan a Happy Publication Day!



Interview with Dan Moren, Author of The Caledonian Gambit




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

Dan:  Thanks! Delighted to be here. I've been writing stories pretty much since I learned how to put pencil to paper. Back in second grade, my friend and I used to concoct tales about magical anthropomorphic cats and the kids who befriended then. (Funny enough, she actually went on to be a talented non-fiction cartoonist, so who knows, maybe those pencil scrawls will be worth something some day.) As for why, I've always been enamored with stories and storytelling. I read incessantly as a kid—no surprise for the child of two librarians—and I loved getting wrapped up in a story, so it seemed only natural to tell my own.



TQ Are you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Dan:  Mostly a pantser, though I hate to admit it because it gets me into trouble at times. I've experimented with a few different outlining methods in more recent writing to try and forestall that late-in-the-game moment when you realize that you forgot to set up a particularly salient detail, or find that the characters have taken a sharp left turn from the road you set them upon. But I can't lie: I love the thrill of writing on the edge and being surprised at where the story takes me, even if that means I have to dig myself out of some holes when it comes time to rewrite.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Dan:  Speaking of rewriting, that has got to be my biggest bane. I always get anxious that my story is a carefully crafted spider web that will disintegrate if I remove or change the wrong element. That's a tendency I'm trying to combat by reminding myself that rewriting is more like forging steel—hammering on a story until it becomes even stronger than it was initially. But getting over that initial fear that your story is a precarious tower of Jenga blocks is definitely a challenge.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing? How does your background in the tech world inform your writing?

Dan:  Really, what doesn't influence writing in some way? It's all fodder, from those moments of high drama like break-ups and fights with friends and family, all the way down to riding the subway to work or going to the grocery store. What most inspires me to write and tell stories is still consuming other stories, whether they be movies, TV shows, books, comics, games, and so on. When I experience a really great story, it makes me want to create something that engenders that same feeling in other people.

As for my background in the tech world, I think that's given me two things in particular: first, a pretty good idea of what's plausible, as far as tech goes—that doesn't mean I always want to get down into the nitty gritty of how a technology works, since I think some people's eyes tend to glaze over, but I want the tech to at least seem feasible. Secondly, it's sparked a curiosity about how certain types of technology, especially ones we now take for granted, fundamentally change the way our entire society works.



TQDescribe The Caledonian Gambit in 140 characters or less.

Dan:  An elite covert operative and a washed-up pilot team up to locate a mysterious superweapon that could tip the balance of a galactic cold war

(I couldn't fit a period on the end of that sentence and it's killing the grammarian in me.)



TQTell us something about The Caledonian Gambit that is not found in the book description.

Dan:  While on its face this is a story about spies and space battles, it's really, at heart, about something more fundamental: family. About differences between family members, what it means to leave your family behind, what it means to stay with them and make sacrifices for them. I think that's something that's almost all of us can relate to in one way or another—certainly more so than flying a spaceship or being a secret agent.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Caledonian Gambit? What appeals to you about writing Science Fiction?

Dan:  Science fiction and fantasy have always been my preferred genres, for about as long as I can remember. This particular book was largely inspired by some of my favorite series, like Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga and Timothy Zahn's Thrawn trilogy. I love the feel of an expansive galaxy full of interesting characters, intrigue, and humor. Science fiction, in particular, is always a good way to view current events through a different lens—though I have to say I didn't really think a cold war spy novel in space would be particularly topical when I started working on it eight or nine years ago, and yet...



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Caledonian Gambit?

Dan:  A lot of the research I did—and some of this was quite a long time ago—was into the structure of certain organizations: the military, intelligence organizations, and so on. Obviously, this takes place in the future, and the organizations in it aren't entirely reflective of the ones from the here and now, but I wanted them to feel right.

And of course, since it's largely sent on space, I had to do some research on the science front. I'm lucky enough to have a cousin who's a high school physics teacher, and he gave me notes here and there, including ideas for jumping off points on some of the tech used in the book. (Of course I took many, many liberties for the sake of writing things I thought would be fun and exciting, so any errors are on me alone.)



TQPlease tell us about The Caledonian Gambit's cover.

Dan:  I've delved a bit into this story over on my blog, but when my editor asked about what I'd like to see on the cover, I immediately thought of a pivotal scene right at the beginning of the book: a space battle that takes place around a wormhole gate, which is how you travel between solar systems in this universe. I sent my editor an incredibly crude sketch—thanks, lack of artistic talent!—and our cover artist, Sebastien Hue, somehow managed to create a beautiful depiction of exactly what was going on in my head. I don't know how he pulled it off, but I've only been able to conclude that he's a wizard as well as a supremely talented artist.



TQIn The Caledonian Gambit who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Dan:  My favorite character to write is probably Tapper. He's the gruff sergeant, sort of the sidekick and mentor to our covert operative, Simon Kovalic. I enjoy writing him because I find his voice instantly recognizable in my head—I know what a Tapper line sounds like, how he'd say something, and what he'd do while saying it. He's kind of seen it all—or at least likes to think he has—and if he's not exactly jaded, he's at least a bit skeptical of anything outside of his area of knowledge.

The hardest character to write is probably Kovalic. He's extremely competent, and generally presents a stoic exterior, but he hasn't quite become a cynic yet; things still get to him. He's also got a dry sense of humor that shines through his professionalism. The challenge is that he needs to be a more fleshed-out character than someone like Tapper, who can pop in and deliver a wry line; Kovalic, by contrast, is the main act—he's a load-bearing character, if you will. That means a lot more complexity and nuance.



TQWhich question about The Caledonian Gambit do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Dan:  "Why aren't there aliens in this universe?"

Glad you asked, random person in no way related to me! While I dig aliens as much as the next person, I was especially interested in examining the relationships of these different factions of humans that have grown apart culturally. While I think aliens can often be used to provide an interesting lens of insight into humanity, too often they seem to me to be merely re-labeled humans (like on so many Star Trek episodes where they just have prosthetics stuck to their forehead so that their appearance can scream "alien!").

Of course, that's not to say there might not be (or have been) aliens in this universe. Absence of evidence, after all, is not evidence of absence...



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Caledonian Gambit.

Dan:  For the record, this is a brutal question—it's like asking me to pick a single favorite chocolate dessert. But I have a soft spot in my heart for many of the exchanges between Kovalic and Tapper, such as this one:

“What happens if we don’t?”
“Well, as the general would have it, the Illyrican Empire will roll over the Commonwealth, darkness will swallow the land, and we’ll all be forced to live under the rule of an aging autocratic dictator whose policies are increasingly informed by a coterie of counselors with their own selfish interests at heart.”
“Ah,” said Tapper. “Must be Thursday, then.”

And, just for kicks, a bonus quote from our other protagonist, the aforementioned washed-up pilot:

"If the ascent was bad, the docking maneuver was worse. Like two beached whales mating, his flight instructor had once described the process, and this pilot seemed determined to wring every ounce of truth from that quip."



TQWhat's next?

Dan:  I'm hopeful that I'll get an opportunity to continue the story of some of the characters you meet in The Caledonian Gambit. It's a big universe in there, and there's a lot left to explore. Plus, I might possibly have dangled a couple hooks in it that I'd like to investigate in a subsequent book. Or books. If I'm lucky.

I've also been working on an urban fantasy book that takes place around my hometown of Boston and involves a suspicious death tied to a big technology company. You know, just to try my hand at something completely different.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Dan:  Thanks for having me! It was a pleasure. And I'm glad I got through this interview without being horribly qwilled.

I'll see myself out.





The Caledonian Gambit
Talos, May 23, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 312 pages

Interview with Dan Moren, Author of The Caledonian Gambit
The galaxy is mired in a cold war between two superpowers, the Illyrican Empire and the Commonwealth. Thrust between this struggle are Simon Kovalic, the Commonwealth’s preeminent spy, and Kyle Rankin, a lowly soldier happily scrubbing toilets on Sabea, a remote and isolated planet. However, nothing is as it seems.

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

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

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





About Dan

Interview with Dan Moren, Author of The Caledonian Gambit
Photo credit: Mary Gordon
Dan Moren is a former senior editor for Macworld and is now a freelance journalist covering all avenues of the tech world. He's also a professional podcaster, hosting tech shows Clockwise and The Rebound, while contributing to The Incomparable and Total Party Kill. The Caledonian Gambit is his first novel.

Website  ~ Twitter @dmoren

Interview with Chelsea Mueller, author of Borrowed Souls


Please welcome the fabulous Chelsea Mueller to The Qwillery as part of the 2017 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Borrowed Souls was published on May 2nd by Talos.



Interview with Chelsea Mueller, author of Borrowed Souls




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

Chelsea:  Thanks, Sally. I've been a fan of this blog for so long. Very happy to be here.

I've always been a writer. (Every author says that, don't they?) I actually started as a journalist, though. I worked for magazines and newspapers for many years, before moving into another field. I found myself missing writing every day. I was already a voracious reader of genre fiction, and so I found myself beginning work on novels in every bit of spare time I could find. (Still do.)



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Chelsea:  Officially, I'm a pantser, but I leverage a kind of tentpole writing. I usually know the core threads of the book. So I know the beginning, middle, and end for each of those plot threads and the key turning points, but how they're all connected is discovered during the writing process.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Chelsea:  Picking the right story to tell. I have no shortage of ideas, but finding the one that needs to be told and that has the right kind of heart is the trick. This is especially challenging, as I'm a rather determined person (#Slytherin) and will finish something once I've started it.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing? You've been reviewing books for years at Vampire Book Club, which you founded. How does this influence your own writing?

Chelsea:  I think just about everything can influence us as people and as artists. My work at Vampire Book Club helped me see so much of what worked and what didn't. More importantly, though, it underscored that there is a niche for every book, and let me have confidence in writing the kind of book I would absolutely love—a gritty, dark urban fantasy with magic and big problems and a hot dude on a motorcycle.



TQDescribe Borrowed Souls in 140 characters or less. 

Chelsea:  If Mercy Thompson and Jessica Jones had a soul-renting baby, it'd be BORROWED SOULS. Magic. Mayhem. Motorcycles.



TQTell us something about Borrowed Souls that is not found in the book description.

Chelsea:  While the book is definitely gritty and sexy—which you get from the blurb—it's also a little funny. I promise there's a scene where the biker mentioned in the blurb and Callie go bellydancing. I don't promise it goes to plan, but expect some hips that don't lie.



TQWhat inspired you to write Borrowed Souls?

Chelsea:  BORROWED SOULS was spawned from the idea of the Soul Charmer, the man who people in Gem City rent souls from. I had this vivid image of him in my mind and of his creepy shop. From there furled the idea of why magic like that would be needed and what would make a person use it.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Borrowed Souls?

Chelsea:  BORROWED SOULS is set in a modified version of a southwestern city. Everything in Gem City—from concerns about light pollution and vagrancy to omnipresent religious references—is based on a real world setting.



TQPlease tell us about Borrowed Souls' cover.

Chelsea:  Isn't the cover fantastic? All credit to it goes to Jeff Chapman. The model looks almost exactly as I'd pictured heroine Callie, and that flask in her back pocket is a key feature in the book. Wait until you find out what she's carrying in it!



TQIn Borrowed Souls who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Chelsea:  The book is written from Callie's point of view, and I can snap into her mindset in a second. She has a very firm set of principles and some serious guilt on her head, but a huge heart. The character arcs are my favorite, but Callie's brother Josh may be the most "difficult." If only because he tries to take advantage of Callie and doesn't recognize how blatant it is.



TQWhich question about Borrowed Souls do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Chelsea:  I keep waiting for people to guess what city Gem City is based on, but all I'll say is look to the southwest!



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Borrowed Souls.

Chelsea:  This one is one of my favorites, especially as everyone who has read it has told me which liquor they had the quintessential "bad experience" with and can no longer drink!

"In the hierarchy of booze-as-medicine-for-emotional-woes, it clearly went beer, wine, rum, vodka, tequila, and then whiskey. However, depending on your defining experiences, one could, possibly, swap the top three into almost any order."



TQWhat's next?

Chelsea:  Next I'm hanging out with everyone! I'll be at the RT Booklovers Convention in Atlanta May 2-6 (including signing at the big, public book signing on May 6), and then I'm hitting the road for a small book tour. If you live in Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, or Austin, check my schedule and come say hi!

I'm finishing up a contemporary fantasy novel, but also working on STOLEN SOULS—yes, that's the sequel to BORROWED SOULS, and it's already so much fun to write.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Chelsea:  Thanks for having me!





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

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

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

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

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

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





About Chelsea

Interview with Chelsea Mueller, author of Borrowed Souls
Chelsea Mueller writes gritty fantasy and YA novels packed with lots of action and a steady undercurrent of sexual tension.

She spends too much time at the gym practicing MMA skills, but makes up for it by counseling other authors on writing dynamic and realistic fight scenes. Get those tips in her Write Like a Fighter series.

When not crafting tales full of ass-kicking and kissing, she runs the totally fun blog Vampire Book Club, dishes on the latest book and TV hotties for Heroes & Heartbreakers, and hangs out with her awesome husband and two giant dogs. She loves bad cover songs, dramatic movies and TV vampires.

She lives in Texas and has been known to say y’all.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @ChelseaVBC

And check Chelsea's Event schedule here.

Interview with Victor Godinez, author of The First Protectors2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November Winner2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September WinnerInterview with Sherri Cook Woosley, author of Walking Through Fire2017 Debut Author Challenge - COVER OF THE YEAR! 2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July WinnerInterview with Anna Stephens, author of Godblind2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May WinnerInterview with Dan Moren, Author of The Caledonian GambitInterview with Chelsea Mueller, author of Borrowed Souls

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