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A blog about books and other things speculative

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The View From Monday - May 5, 2014


Happy 1st Monday in May. I hope everyone had a great weekend between Free Comic Book Day and Star Wars Day.


The View From Monday - May 5, 2014
Over the weekend I finished reading The Forever Watch by David Ramirez. I have mixed feelings about this novel. Some of the writing and the basic story were very good, but the novel dragged and I spent too much time waiting for the other shoe and other shoe and other shoe, etc. to drop. I knew that there would be a big reveal at some point after the smaller reveals. It was almost what I suspected. The novel is set on an interstellar ship named the Noah, which is carrying the last of humanity to a new home centuries away. Cue music - all is not what is seems. The main character Hana Dempsey is a City Planner.  She is somewhat engaging in the beginning of the book and I did come to like her at the end, but she annoyed me almost as much as I liked her. Her friend and then boyfriend Barren is a terrific character who I wish had gotten a bit more to say in the novel. He's really the catalyst for a lot of what Hana does. I think I would have enjoyed the novel more if it got to where it was going a bit faster. There were so many ideas presented in the novel that, for me, it got itself tangled up a bit. Having said that I'm glad I read The Forever Watch and will definitely pick up Ramirez's next novel.


The View From Monday - May 5, 2014


Now on to this week's releases. It's a big release week and you may find a PDF of the releases by clicking here to open and print a PDF from Google Drive.

There are five debuts this week:

Path of the Dead (Hungry Ghosts 1) by Timothy Baker;

American Craftsmen by Tom Doyle;

The Bees by Laline Paull;

Gemsigns (Revolution 1) by Stephanie Saulter;

and

Magnificent Vibration by Rick Springfield.


From formerly featured Debut Author Challenge Authors:

Sworn in Steel (Tale of the Kin 2) Douglas Hulick;

The Enceladus Crisis (Daedalus 2) by Michael J. Martinez;

The Crimson Campaign (Powder Mage 2) by Brian McClellan;

A Tiger's Tale (Call of the Wilde Mystery 2) Laura Morrigan;

The Silk Map (Gaunt and Bone 2) by Chris Willrich;

and

Blind Faith (Sin Brothers 3) by Rebecca Zanetti.




May 5, 2014
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Path of the Dead (D) Timothy Baker DF - Hungry Ghosts 1



May 6, 2014
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Deadly Shores Taylor Anderson SF - Destroyermen 9
Storm Surge (h2mm) Taylor Anderson SF - Destroyermen 8
Grendel's Curse Alex Archer UF - Rogue Angel 48
Jupiter War (h2tp) Neal Asher SF - Owner Trilogy 3
Polity Agent (h2tp) Neal Asher SF - Agent Cormac 4
End Program James Axler (Rik Hoskin) SF - Deathlands 116
Necropolis James Axler (Douglas P. Wojtowicz) SF - Outlanders 69
Doctor Who: The Wheel of Ice (h2tp) Stephen Baxter SF - Doctor Who
The Goodbye Witch Heather Blake PCM - Wishcraft Mystery 4
Mirror Sight Kristen Britain F - Green Rider 5
Steadfast Jack Campbell SF - The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier 4
The Kraken King Part IV: The Kraken King and the Inevitable Abduction (e) Meljean Brook SPR - Iron Seas
Omega Days John L. Campbell PA/Dys/Z
Treasure Planet Hal Colebatch
Jessica Q. Fox
SF - Man-Kzin Wars
Sung in Blood (ri) Glen Cook F
The Unforgiven (e) Alyssa Day PNR - League of the Black Swan 2
Klingon Art of War Keith R. A. DeCandido SF - Star Trek
The Three Emperors William Dietrich HistTh/F - Ethan Gage 7
American Craftsmen (D) Tom Doyle UF
The Sea Without a Shore David Drake SF - RCN / Lt. Leary 10
The Adversary (h2mm) Erin M. Evans F - Forgotten Realms: Sundering 3
The Oversight Charlie Fletcher UF - Oversight Trilogy 1
Slightly Spellbound Kimberly Frost PNR - Southern Witch 4
Vampire's Thirst Cynthia Garner SFR - Awakening 2
People of the Morning Star W. Michael Gear
Kathleen O'Neal Gear
HistF - North America’s Forgotten Past 21
End of Days (h2tp) Robert Gleason Th/P
War Crimes Christie Golden F - World of Warcraft
Midnight Crossroad Charlene Harris UF - Midnight, Texas 1
Witches in Red Barb Hendee F - Mist-Torn Witches 2
Writers of the Future Volume 30
SF/F - Anthology
Mammals James Robert Herndon F
The Secret Woman (ri) Victoria Holt Go
SynBio Leslie Horvitz MedTh
Sworn in Steel Douglas Hulick F - Tale of the Kin 2
The Guild Jean Johnson FR - Guardians of Destiny 3
Children of Fire (h2tp) Drew Karpyshyn F - Chaos Born Trilogy 1
Zombie, Indiana: A Novel Scott Kenemore H/Z - Zombie 3
Alien Collective Gini Koch UF/SF - Katherine “Kitty” Katt 9
Starship Grifters Robert Kroese SF
Crucible of Fire, The Dark Need, The Rising Dead Mel Odom
Stant Litore
Stella Green
Lee Goldberg
William Rabkin
H - The Dead Man 7
The Wrath of the Just Manel Loureiro Dys - Apocalypse Z 3
The Enceladus Crisis Michael J. Martinez SF - Daedalus 2
The Crimson Campaign Brian McClellan F - Powder Mage Trilogy 2
Sparrow Hill Road Seanan McGuire UF - Ghost Stories 1
Close Reach (e) Jonathan Moore Th/H
A Tiger's Tale Laura Morrigan PCM -Call of the Wilde Mystery 2
The Time Traveler's Wife (ri) Audrey Niffenegger TT/R
Secret of the Stars Andre Norton SF - Omnibus
The Bees (D - US) Laline Paull F/Dys
The Mothers of Voorhisville: A Tor.Com Original (e) Mary Rickert F
Gemsigns (D - US) Stephanie Saulter SF - Revolution 1
Fire Kin M. J. Scott F - Half-Life City 4
The Bone Season (h2tp) Samantha Shannon F - Bone Season 1
Science Fiction: 101: Exploring the Craft of Science Fiction Robert K. Silverberg SF - History and Criticism
The Whispering Muse (h2tp) Sjón F
Magnificent Vibration (D -Fiction) Rick Springfield UF
Dragon Princess S. Andrew Swann F
Her Perfect Mate Paige Tyler PNR/Th - X-Ops 1
Indistinguishable from Magic Catherynne Valente F
Authority Jeff VanderMeer SF/Th - Southern Reach Trilogy 2
Possession (h2mm) J.R. Ward PNR - Fallen Angels 5
Freehold (Signed Limited Edition) Michael Z. Williamson SF - Freehold 1
The Silk Map Chris Willrich F - Gaunt and Bone 2
Scars (h2tp) Chris Wraight F - Horus Heresy
Blind Faith (e) Rebecca Zanetti SFR - Sins Brothers 3



May 7, 2014
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Magic City: Recent Spells Paula Guran (ed) F - Anthology
The Madonna of the Abattoir: A Tor.Com Original (e) Anne M. Pillsworth F
Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden's Syndrome: A Tor.Com Original (e) John Scalzi SF



May 8, 2014
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The Myth of Persephone in Girls' Fantasy Literature (h2tp) Holly Blackford History and Criticism
Science Fiction: A Guide for the Perplexed Sherryl Vint SF - History and Criticism


D - Debut
e - eBook
ed - Editor
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
h2mm - Hardcover to Mass Market Paperback
ri - reissue or reprint


DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FR - Fantasy Romance
Go - Gothic
H - Horror
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HistTh - Historical Thriller
MedTh - Medical Thriller
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PCM - Paranormal Cozy Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
R - Romance
SF - Science Fiction
SFR - Science Fiction Romance
SP - Steampunk
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
UF - Urban Fantasy
Z - Zombie


Interview with David Ramirez, author of The Forever Watch - April 29, 2014


Please welcome David Ramirez to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Forever Watch was published on April 22, 2014 by Thomas Dunne Books.



Interview with David Ramirez, author of The Forever Watch - April 29, 2014




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

David:  The when was third year in high school. I started writing for fun then, and not just for the occasional bit of homework with leeway for creativity. Though it took a while for me to move on from poor attempts at poetry….

The why is because a lot of my life was lived in daydreams even before I was writing. Imagining other lives, other times, other worlds.

It fed on itself when the right outlet came along. Writing was that outlet. It just took a long time for its importance to me to really sink in.

From childhood up through college, I was determined that I would either be a scientist or a doctor (or both—I was thinking about MD/PhD programs). But the writing thing would not leave me alone. Slowly, gradually, it took on more and more importance to me, until something I had started as a hobby became something I couldn’t not do anymore.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

David:  For short fiction, I’m a pantser.

For long work, I prefer to be a plotter. Everything is easier when there is a formal map, even if there are occasional unplanned side-trips. I didn’t finish my master’s in computer science, but had more than a taste. The formal process of programming, with specification, design, planning, implementation, documentation, and so on, actually helped me a lot in thinking about writing fiction.

However, sometimes my being a plotter does not work out. Sometimes I start writing, and the scenes tuned to the plan feel stale despite tweaks and re-planning. So when all else fails, I sit there and pound the keys and see what happens next, all preparations tossed to the wind.

It needs editing at the end anyway, whether plotted out or pantsed. I guess if I had to be classified as a writing type, it would be “re-writer.” That’s where all the real work happens for me. My initial stages of revising aren’t typo fixes or cutting out a scene here or there—I tend do major reworking. Characters may change significantly; entire story arcs might be rearranged. I’ll go into that more when replying to one of the later questions.



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

David:  Sustaining focus. The hardest part of writing is writing even when nothing is going right and my mind wants to be elsewhere. It’s about facing the fear of not knowing if what’s going out onto the monitor is good or lousy and going forward anyway.



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

David:  The question of influence is difficult to answer from the inside—others can probably see in my writing what has shaped it better than I. My guesses for who have influenced me most are William Gibson, Michael Moorcock, and Katsuhiro Otomo. I could be wrong. There are many books and comics I read when I was younger that made a deep impression on me and became part of that influence without my noticing or remembering. Every note comes from somewhere.

The list of my favorite authors is pretty fluid and changes depending on my mood. The authors I most admire who are always at or close to the top of that list are Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, and Haruki Murakami.



TQ:  Describe The Forever Watch in 140 characters or less.

David:  Risking all, Hana and Leon search for a killer whose existence is kept secret by the very authorities charged with the survival of humanity.



TQ:  Tell us something about The Forever Watch that is not in the book description.

David:  The world of Forever Watch came to me in nearly complete form in a dream. The testing, the rigid society, the ship, the major plot devices, etc. In the dream, I held and read documents describing one of the most important secrets of the ship.

So, at first, I tried too hard to write out my dream.

In the earliest version of the story, the main character was Detective Barrens. Dempsey was an almost passive noir “good” woman—nearly a side character to be admired and protected.

It was not working. The characters felt stilted and predictable. The biggest secrets in the story were very complicated, resulting in a messy multi-tiered caste system. It would have been a longer and slower story.

Many things were changed. The world-building was simplified, so the plot tightened up. Dempsey became the lead, which brought some of the most important parts of the ship’s society to life, like Breeding Duty, and the social norms that are tweaked to maintain crew efficiency. The character grew into that expanded role, and as Dempsey changed and became more complex, so did Barrens.



TQ:  What inspired you to write The Forever Watch?

David:  I was in the middle of writing another story when The Forever Watch hit me and I had to write it. But it did not come out of the nowhere of the subconscious—at the time, I was thinking a lot about issues of freedom vs information and censorship. I was displeased by the narratives forming in the news about wikileaks and whistleblowers. They seemed overly simple.

So, while a lot of it was the fortuitous firing of the subconscious, there was also my very conscious desire. I wanted a story in which something that is self-evident to most, differing only based on what side one is on, becomes very different from how it seems on the surface.



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for The Forever Watch?

David:  Not a lot. I tried to refresh myself somewhat on Machine Learning, but I did not want to bloat the exposition, and let the technical correctness slide based on feel. I hope my CS friends will read those parts and shrug off the looseness—I like to think that they have to put up with a lot less accurate portrayals of hacking in other stories, like certain police procedurals on TV….

Other than that, the power ratings for psychics involved several minutes of messing around with a calculator and looking up which wattage unit goes, approximately, with which size task (kilowatts vs megawatts).



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

David:  The easiest character to write was Barrens. It is not that he is simple, but that his motivations and desires are intense and always running high. He is a character who has problems with his behavioral brakes. And his complexities are sort of primal—a very physical type who is also an idealist, a thinker without the education to make the most of himself, and so on. I mostly had to think in extremes.

The hardest character to write was Dempsey. I was always worrying about the authenticity of her experience. And then there was her emotional state. I went back and forth on whether it was overdone or underdone. Balancing her negative emotions with the needs of the story and the goal of keeping things enjoyable for readers was tough. I may have wanted to write her as real as I could but she still had to work as a heroic figure.

I’m sure there are going to be some readers who find her too maudlin, while others may think I’ve trivialized terrible things because she does not seem traumatized enough. Readers are diverse and there’s no knowing whether I hit a good balance point until lots of people start reading and reacting to it.



TQ:  Give us one of your favorite lines from The Forever Watch.

David:  “This is how I deserve to die.” I think that line and that moment are the essence of that character.

There are others I like more, but there is no sharing them without spoiling the plot.



TQ:  Why did you choose to write Science Fiction, particularly Space Opera? Do you want to write in any other genres?

David:  I like science fiction and fantasy because while working within real world rules is about skill, working beyond those rules is about imagination. All those possibilities and impossibilities give the largest possible space to play around with for stories. They can be used to reflect aspects of humanity and the world in ways that aren’t straightforward. Societies and human interactions can be explored with very different limits, or with no limits at all.

I want to write many types of stories. Aside from SF, I’d like to be able to do horror, epic fantasy, pulpy sword and sorcery, superhero stories, magic realism…. I would love to be able to write all the kinds of stories I like to read, eventually. Even with just science fiction, there is still a lot to the craft I need to improve, so I’ll probably never develop the skills to write all these things, but who knows? I like to dream. That’s the only reason I’ve gotten this far.



TQ:  What's next?

David:  What’s next is another science fiction story, though it’s near future and there are no psychics or space ships. It’s about a young girl with a talent for manipulating social media, who comes across a hoax that’s gone viral about a mysterious stationary object in the sky.

I thought I wouldn’t be hit by the sophomore curse because The Forever Watch is not actually my first completed novel (it is the first one that broke through the slush pile). So wrong! For various reasons, my next project has been very difficult to write. In the end, I’m having to seat-of-my-pants it to proceed. I foresee much rewriting in my future.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

David:  Thank you.





The Forever Watch

The Forever Watch
Thomas Dunne Books, April 22, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

Interview with David Ramirez, author of The Forever Watch - April 29, 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.





About David

Interview with David Ramirez, author of The Forever Watch - April 29, 2014
Photo by Ging Lorenzo
DAVID RAMIREZ is an ex-scientist who divides his time between Oakland, CA, and Manila, Philippines. Once a molecular biologist who worked on the Human Genome Project, Ramirez returned to the Philippines to get married. He currently dabbles in computer science and programmed part of the information system for the chronobiologists of EUCLOCK, a cooperative project between European research groups on the study of circadian rhythms in model organisms and humans.







Website  ~  Facebook




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 2014 Winner


The winner of the April 2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars is The Forever Watch by David Ramirez with 63% of the votes! The Forever Watch was published on April 22, 2014 by Thomas Dunne Books.


2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 2014 Winner
Design by Steven Seighman




 The Final Results

2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 2014 Winner




The April 2014 Debut Covers

2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 2014 Winner




Thank you to everyone who voted, Tweeted, and participated. The 2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will continue with voting on the May Debut covers starting on May 15, 2014.  Look for the list of May's Debuts on May 1st.


The View From Monday - April 21, 2014


Happy Monday! Hope that everyone had a good weekend.  It's another light release week.


The View From Monday - April 21, 2014


There is one debut this week:

The Forever Watch by David Ramirez.


And from a formerly featured Debut Author Challenge Author:

The Keys to the Realms (Dream Stewards 2) by Roberta Trahan


April 21, 2014
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Call of the Siren (e) Rosalie Lario PNR - Demons of Infernum 4
Golem in My Glovebox (e) R.L. Naquin UF - Monster Haven Story 4
Survive to Dawn (e) PJ Schnyder PNR - London Undead 3



April 22, 2014
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The Furies: A Thriller Mark Alpert Th/Science
Heaven's Queen Rachel Bach SF - Paradox 3
Secrets in the Shadows (ri) Jenna Black PNR - Guardians of the Night 2
The Kraken King Part II: The Kraken King and the Abominable Worm (e) Meljean Brook SPR - Iron Seas
Deception's Princess Esther Friesner F - Princesses of Myth 7
Darkest Flame: Part 3 (e) Donna Grant PNR - Dark Kings
Afterparty Daryl Gregory SF
Cold Wind: A Tor.Com Original Nicola Griffith DF
East of Ecstasy Laura Kaye PNR - Hearts of the Anemoi 4
Ancient Enemy (e) Michael McBride H
Life's Lottery Kim Newman H
Otherwise Engaged Amanda Quick PNR - Ladies of Lantern Street 3
The Forever Watch (D) David Ramirez SF
The Keys to the Realms Roberta Trahan F - Dream Stewards 2
The Best of Connie Willis: Award-Winning Stories (h2tp) Connie Willis SF - Collection



April 23, 2014
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The End of the End of Everything: A Tor.Com Original Dale Bailey SF/H



April 25, 2014
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Joe Ledger: Special Ops Jonathan Maberry H - Collection



D - Debut
e - eBook
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
ri - Reissue or Reprint

DF - Dark Fantasy
F - Fantasy
H - Horror
PNR - Paranormal Romance
SF - Science Fiction
SPR - Steampunk Romance
Th - Thriller
UF - Urban Fantasy

2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 2014 Debuts


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


2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 2014 Debuts


Each month you will be able to vote for your favorite cover from that month's debut novels. At the end of the year the 12 monthly winners will be pitted against each other to choose the 2014 Debut Novel Cover of the Year. Please note that a debut novel cover is eligible in the month in which the novel is released in the US. Cover artist/illustrator information is provided when we have it.

I'm using PollCode for this vote. After you the check the circle next to your favorite, click "Vote" to record your vote. If you'd like to see the real-time results click "View". This will take you to the PollCode site where you may see the results. If you want to come back to The Qwillery click "Back" and you will return to this page. Voting will end sometime on April 24, 2014.



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




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 2014 Debuts




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 2014 Debuts




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 2014 Debuts
Design © Emily Mahon.




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 2014 Debuts




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 2014 Debuts
Design by Steven Seighman




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 2014 Debuts




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 2014 Debuts




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 2014 Debuts



2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Forever Watch by David Ramirez


2014 Debut Author Challenge Update -  The Forever Watch by David Ramirez


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


David Ramirez

The Forever Watch
Thomas Dunne Books, April 22, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

2014 Debut Author Challenge Update -  The Forever Watch by David Ramirez
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.


The View From Monday - May 5, 2014Interview with David Ramirez, author of The Forever Watch - April 29, 20142014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 2014 WinnerThe View From Monday - April 21, 20142014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 2014 Debuts2014 Debut Author Challenge Update -  The Forever Watch by David Ramirez

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