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Guest Blog by Tom Doyle - The Machine Stops: Avoiding the Singularity in My Science Fiction Novel

Please welcome Tom Doyle to The Qwillery. Tom is the author of the American Craft trilogy. Border Crosser, his most recent novel, will be published on October 1, 2020.






The Machine Stops: Avoiding the Singularity in My Science 
Fiction Novel 
         My new novel, Border Crosser, takes place centuries from now when humanity has spread out among the stars. But even in this distant future of miraculous technologies, the story’s secret agent heroine, Eris, has borderline personality disorder with a severe emotional amnesia component. This means that, though she remembers facts quite clearly, she has difficulty remembering how she felt previously about those facts, and thus can swing wildly from love to hate and back again.
         The persistence of untreated personality disorders isn’t the only incongruous feature of this far future. Humanity has banned human-like AI and has limited life-extension to two centuries. In other words, the progress of posthumanism and the technological singularity has in certain respects halted. 
         To explain why I’ve presented the future this way, I’m going to discuss the ways I and other science fiction authors deal with technological change in the far future. The bottom line is that, in one way or another, we all cheat, at least a little.
         In Border Crosser, the break in our use of posthuman technologies comes when we develop human-like artificial intelligences, setting off a hard singularity scenario. In typical science fiction fashion, the AIs attempt to take over. We prevail, but only by the skin of our teeth. 
         One of the ways the AIs exerted power was through very intimate and thorough psychological control of their human populations, so Eris’s nickname for this past conflict is “the Psych Wars.” When after these Wars humanity decides to ban a whole spectrum of posthuman technologies and psychological treatments, the so-called Psych Laws are born.
         My primary reason for this worldbuilding is that I wanted to tell a story in a space opera setting about borderline personality characters whose conditions remained untreated. But in doing that, I, like many authors before me, was dodging the singularity. 
         Some believe that there’s no choice for SF authors but to dodge it. The Wikipedia definition of the technological singularity is “a hypothetical point in time at which technological growth becomes uncontrollable and irreversible, resulting in unforeseeable changes to human civilization.” It’s the “unforeseeable” part that’s a particular problem. In many descriptions of the singularity, the period after that point of accelerating change is considered unimaginable to humans in the present day in the same way that an australopithecine couldn’t imagine our world. So, by definition, authors are inadequate to the task of writing about it, and many SF authors seem to focus on the near future for that reason. 
         This seems to me a cop out, but let’s say this version of the singularity is correct. Then perhaps the singularity isn’t going to happen? But that leads us to an implicit assumption in the definition above: a deterministic view of technological change. Even though the singularity supposedly marks a point no return, such a deterministic view means that our path toward that point is already inevitable. Any group that doesn’t adopt advanced technologies is put at an economic and military disadvantage to those that do, which eventually becomes a cultural survival disadvantage. Attempts at enforcement of any particular ban consistently break down in the face of these pressures. 
         One response to the apparent inevitability of posthumanism is to simply ignore it, as in the series bible for the original Star Trek:
         “But projecting the advanced capabilities of your starship, wouldn’t man at time have drastically altered such needs as food, physical love, sleep, etc.?
          Probably. But if we did it, it would be at the cost of so dehumanizing the STAR TREK characters that only a small fraction of the television audience would be interested, and the great percentage of viewers might even be repulsed.”
This strategy of ignoring the issue seems to work in a lot of popular entertainment in a way that wouldn’t, for example, in a hard SF short story. 
         But perhaps a deterministic view of technological change misses all the ways that culture both explicitly and unconsciously steers toward certain technologies and away from others. In Seveneves, Neal Stephenson refers to such cultural restraints as amishtics (after the Amish, who’ve decided not to use certain tech). Even minor differences in cultural preferences early could make large differences later.
         Finally, a frequent strategy for far-future writing is to have the singularity/posthuman point reached and go so seriously wrong that technological change is reversed (contrary to the definition of the singularity) and no one is going to let it happen again. The Dune books have this with the Butlerian Jihad. It’s part of the backstory to the alternative technologies in David Louis Edelman’s Jump 225 trilogy. And even Star Trek has a nod to this with its Eugenics Wars. By adopting this strategy as well, I’m in good company. 
         Have I copped out? I’ve grumbled against other authors who’ve refused to imagine the far future because of the extent of change, so perhaps I should explore that horizon in some future book. But, as I said, the story I wanted to tell now was a combination of borderline personality and space opera. And most importantly, like much of SF it also has a lot to say about our present. Eris battles klept-oligarchs, theocrats, experts in genocide, human traffickers, and large-scale psychological manipulators. As much as I would’ve liked to imagine a world without such villains, it’s more important than ever for science fiction to also engage with the world as it is.





Border Crosser
1632, Inc., October 1, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 383 pages

Guest Blog by Tom Doyle - The Machine Stops: Avoiding the Singularity in My Science Fiction Novel
In a galaxy gone insane only a madwoman would fight for freedom.

Eris is a charismatic spy with a violent borderline personality and emotional amnesia--she doesn't remember her loyalties. This allows her to pass from world to world without mental scanners detecting her long-term intentions, making her a "border crosser."

The Asylum cabal has artificially amplified Eris's condition so that she'll cause interstellar chaos for the limited time she survives. When Eris discovers the Asylum's manipulation of her, she sets out to find its hidden leaders and destroy them.

From decadent old Earth to the frontier estates of Mars, Eris hunts her first quarry, the Asylum's architect of genocides. But when her chase leads her out to the stars, she discovers still deadlier dangers from humanity's past and her own. As she fights these galaxy-spanning nightmares, Eris must also struggle to recover her own mind.

As Eris would say, "The only thing necessary for interstellar evil to triumph is for brilliant and sexy killer me ever to stop, darling."





About Tom

Guest Blog by Tom Doyle - The Machine Stops: Avoiding the Singularity in My Science Fiction Novel

Tom Doyle’s latest novel, Border Crosser, tells the far-future adventures of Eris, a psychologically extreme secret agent whose shifting loyalties cause chaos wherever she goes in the galaxy. 

Tom is also the author of the contemporary fantasy American Craft trilogy from Tor Books. In the first novel, American Craftsmen, two modern magician-soldiers fight their way through the legacies of Poe and Hawthorne as they attempt to destroy an undying evil--and not kill each other first. In the sequel, The Left-Hand Way, the craftsmen are hunters and hunted in a global race to save humanity from a new occult threat out of America's past. In the third book, War and Craft, it's Armageddon in Shangri-La, and the end of the world as we know it. 

Tom has survived Harvard, Stanford, and cancer, and he writes in a spooky turret in Washington, DC. He is an award-winning writer of short science fiction and fantasy, and you can find the text and audio of many of his stories on his website. 

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @tmdoyle2

Interview with Tom Doyle, author of the American Craft Trilogy


Please welcome Tom Doyle to The Qwillery. War and Craft, the 3rd American Craft Trilogy novel, was published on September 26th by Tor Books.



Interview with Tom Doyle, author of the American Craft Trilogy




The QwilleryWelcome back to The Qwillery. War and Craft, the 3rd and final novel in the American Craft Trilogy, was published on September 26th. What are your feelings about the Trilogy being finished?

Tom Doyle:  Thank you very much for having me back!

My go-to simile about finishing a trilogy is that it’s like sending the last kid to college: bittersweet mixed with a lot of “So now what?”

But it’s also a big victory for me, because back in 2014 when I was diagnosed with throat cancer, I thought this might not happen. But I and the book made it, and we’re both fine, thanks.



TQDescribe War and Craft in 140 characters or less.

TMD:  Lt. Scherie Rezvani faces Furies, vengeful spirit of Madeline Morton, Armageddon in Shangri-La, and the end of the world as we know it.



TQTell us something about War and Craft that is not found in the book description.

TMD:  The strange friendship between 21st century soldier Scherie Rezvani and oft-times evil 19th century ghost Madeline Morton (the smaller figure in white on the cover) is the central bond of this novel, and what these two characters are willing to do for each other is an important hinge of the plot. In a trilogy of odd couples, this may be the oddest.



TQWhat appealed to you about writing an alternate historical America?

TMD:  The original hook for me was writing a distinctly American mythos, like what L. Frank Baum did with Oz, only for adults. That mythos had to emerge from our history, literature, and folklore. I don’t think many SF/F writers have tried that--mostly, they import bits of old European folk & myth and Americanize them.

Once that was my course, I decided that I would follow the Tim Powers rule--I would strive to get all the factual historical details correct, yet I’d give an occult, cryptohistorical explanation to those facts.
The whole process was a lot of fun. I could pick out shining bits of history like a magpie and create connections with paranoid-schizophrenic abandon.



TQIn the American Craft series who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

TMD:  The easiest character was Roderick Morton, who is Madeline’s even eviler twin brother and the main villain of the trilogy. Perhaps I should have made him more difficult to write, more morally gray or nuanced, but I have a lot of those sorts of characters in my books, and I wanted one character who was self-consciously and unabashedly the bad guy. He was so easy to write because he’s usually having so much fun being evil. That’s not to say that he’s beyond reason or that we can’t relate to some of his desires. He wants an immortality that’s not also a cage, and he wants the power to defend it. He’s willing to risk the entire world for his goals, but it’s a calculated risk. Where he goes utterly beyond moral understanding is in his relations with women, and the model for those relations is his abuse of his sister, Madeline. The deep conflict between brother and sister is one of the major arcs of the trilogy.

The Puritan craftsman, Major Michael Endicott, has maintained his position as my most difficult character to write. In the earliest draft of American Craftsmen, he started as an extremely obnoxious two-dimensional foil for the main protagonist Dale Morton. But I found that the story kept on wanting a lot more from Endicott. So I rewrote him as a bit stiff and hapless, but also as a fundamentally decent person in a difficult position. Still, at the end of book 1, he had a lot of room to grow, so I made him the first-person point-of-view character for my second book, The Left-Hand Way. Lo and behold, he turned out to be a great leading character to write. I sometimes wonder if Anne Rice was as surprised by Lestat.



TQIn the American Craft series which character surprised you the most?

TMD:  Madeline Morton has replaced Endicott as the character who most surprised me. If the main character is the one who changes the most, then Madeline is the trilogy’s main character. She begins as joyfully chaotic evil, driven by a desperate yet ambivalent clinging to her centuries-long life. After Madeline’s physical death, she is unusually protective of Scherie, though she offers this protection in a manner peppered with rage, sarcasm, and mockery. As noted above, her friendship with Scherie is central to War and Craft. Madeline’s changes aren’t simple (she doesn’t become a good spirit), but they are nonetheless fundamental.



TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in the American Craft novels?

TMD:  When I started the series, I gave the books a very centrist and what I thought was a largely noncontroversial politics: that America and its institutions could unite people with disparate values in its service. That point seemed more important than my personal views on any given issue.

One of these characters united by American ideals was Scherie Rezvani, an Islamic-American daughter of Iranian immigrants. This wasn’t something I made a fuss over, because structurally this is a very old move: tales of the military heroism of American newcomers are as old as the country. But times have changed since I wrote War and Craft, and Scherie’s background is now a political statement--and one I stand by.

One other statement in War and Craft has become more political than I first intended: “no one in the West seemed to care that, in Russia, that thing from Lubyanka’s subbasement was in charge at the Kremlin.” (This thing is earlier identified as the “Tsar of Bone.”) I was making a small jab at the authoritarian regime in Russia, not realizing that soon the struggle with that regime would move much closer to home.



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

TMD:  I’m apparently notorious for putting Easter Eggs and other allusions into my writing, so here are a couple of particularly obscure ones that I’ve wished someone would ask about. The names of Dale’s father (Willard L. Morton) and grandfather (Benjamin Franklin Morton) are nods to two fictional characters associated with two different wars. “Willard L.” is from Captain Benjamin L. Willard, Martin Sheen’s character in Apocalypse Now, and “Benjamin Franklin” is from Captain Benjamin Franklin Pierce, a.k.a. “Hawkeye” from MASH.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from War and Craft.

TMD:  Instead of trying to come up with a quote from later in the story, here’s the opening hook from the prologue “Terrible Beauties Are Born”:
        “All was quiet on New Year’s Day before dawn. Near Galway, below a thatched cottage like they kept for the tourists, the quiet old man called Oz came suddenly awake in his cave, as if the lack of noise had startled his sleep. He got up from his warm cavern bed and rubbed his gray stubble, cross with the world. He hadn’t had a foreboding since the peace in the North, except for the gentle one that came to all the old and told him that he must pass on his gifts soon, lest they be lost.

No use complaining. In the dark, Oz put on his worn white Aran sweater and one of the fancy fiber macintoshes the young ones preferred. He slung his rifle over his shoulder and, every joint hurting, climbed up the ladder to his cottage home.

He stepped outside. Beyond his yard’s low wall of rounded stone, the ground was flat and exposed. There’d be no surprises today. He made a sign of the cross in the air, and walked toward the town. They’d be coming from there, rested and ready.”


TQWhat's next?

TMD:  I’m working on a novel-length extension of my edgy space opera, “Crossing Borders.” I’m also creating abridgments of my three American Craft books for possible use in Graphic Audio productions.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

TMD:  Thank you for your thoughtful questions and your support of my work.





War and Craft
American Craft 3
Tor Books, September 26, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

Interview with Tom Doyle, author of the American Craft Trilogy
America, land of the Free…and home of the warlocks.

The Founding Fathers were never ones to pass up a good weapon. America’s first line of defense has been shrouded in secrecy, magical families who have sworn to use their power to protect our republic.

But there are those who reject America’s dream and have chosen the Left Hand Path. In this triumphant conclusion to Tom Doyle’s imaginative alternate historical America, we start with a bloody wedding-night brawl with assassins in Tokyo. Our American magical shock troops go to India, where a descendant of legendary heroes has the occult mission they’ve been waiting for.

It all comes to a head in a valley hidden high in the mountains of Kashmir. Our craftspeople will battle against their fellow countrymen, some of the vilest monsters of the Left Hand Path. It’s Armageddon in Shangri-La, and the end of the world as we know it.





Previously

American Craftsmen
American Craft 1
Tor Books, June 30, 2015
Mass Market Paperback, 432 pages
Hardback and eBook, May 6, 2014

Interview with Tom Doyle, author of the American Craft Trilogy
Ancient magic meets SEAL Team Six-with the fate of the United States hanging in the balance-in Tom Doyle's American Craftsmen.

US Army Captain Dale Morton is a magician soldier-a "craftsman." After a black-ops mission gone wrong, Dale is cursed by a Persian sorcerer and haunted by his good and evil ancestors. Major Michael Endicott, a Puritan craftsman, finds gruesome evidence that the evil Mortons have returned, and that Dale might be one of them.

Dale uncovers treason in the Pentagon's highest covert ranks. He hunts for his enemies before they can murder him and Scherie, a new friend who knows nothing of his magic.

Endicott pursues Dale, divided between his duty to capture a rogue soldier and his desire to protect Dale from his would-be assassins. They will discover that the demonic horrors that have corrupted American magic are not bound by family or even death itself.



The Left-Hand Way
American Craft 2
Tor Books, August 11, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

Interview with Tom Doyle, author of the American Craft Trilogy
Poe's Red Death returns, more powerful than ever. Can anyone stop him before he summons an apocalyptic nightmare even worse than himself?

In The Left-Hand Way, the second book of Tom Doyle's contemporary fantasy series, the American craftsmen are scattered like bait overseas. What starts as an ordinary liaison mission to London for Major Michael Endicott becomes a desperate chase across Europe, where Endicott is both hunted and hunter. Reluctantly joining him is his minder from MI13, Commander Grace Marlow, one of Her Majesty's most lethal magician soldiers, whose family has centuries of justified hostility to the Endicotts.

Meanwhile, in Istanbul and Tokyo, Endicott's comrades, Scherie Rezvani and Dale Morton, are caught in their own battles for survival against hired assassins and a ghost-powered doomsday machine. And in Kiev, Roderick Morton, the spider at the center of a global web, plots their destruction and his ultimate apotheosis. After centuries of imprisonment, nothing less than godlike power will satisfy Roderick, whatever the dreadful cost.





About Tom

Interview with Tom Doyle, author of the American Craft Trilogy
Tom Doyle is the author of a contemporary fantasy trilogy from Tor Books. In the first book, American Craftsmen, two modern magician-soldiers fight their way through the legacies of Poe and Hawthorne as they attempt to destroy an undying evil--and not kill each other first. In the sequel, The Left-Hand Way, the craftsmen are hunters and hunted in a global race to save humanity from a new occult threat out of America's past. In the third book, War and Craft (Sept. 2017), it's Armageddon in Shangri-La, and the end of the world as we know it.

Some of Tom’s award-winning short fiction is collected in The Wizard of Macatawa and Other Stories. He writes in a spooky turret in Washington, DC. You can find the text and audio of many of his stories on his website, www.tomdoylewriter.com.


Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @tmdoyle2

The View From Monday - September 25, 2017

Happy Last Monday in September!

There are 2 debuts this week:

The Visitors by Catherine Burns;

and

Leech Girl Lives by Rick Claypool.

The View From Monday - September 25, 2017The View From Monday - September 25, 2017
Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.



From formerly featured DAC Authors:

War and Craft (America Craft 3) by Tom Doyle;

An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard;

Provenance by Ann Leckie;

Of Flame and Fate (A Weird Girls Novel 8) by Cecy Robson;

The Eternity War: Pariah (The Eternity War 1) by Jamie Sawyer;

Everfair by Nisi Shawl is out in Trade Paperback;

and

Horizon (Bone Universe 3) by Fran Wilde.

The View From Monday - September 25, 2017The View From Monday - September 25, 2017
The View From Monday - September 25, 2017The View From Monday - September 25, 2017
The View From Monday - September 25, 2017The View From Monday - September 25, 2017
The View From Monday - September 25, 2017
Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.



The View From Monday - September 25, 2017



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

September 25, 2017
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The Warlord Wants Forever (e)(ri) Kresley Cole PNR - Immortals after Dark
Forsaken by Night (e) Larissa Ione PNR - Moonbound Clan Vampires 3
Lazy Son Eve Langlais PNR - Hell's Son 1
Dark Swan (e) Gena Showalter PNR - Alien Huntress 3



September 26, 2017
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The Sound of Seas (h2tp) Gillian Anderson
Jeff Rovin
SF - The EarthEnd Saga 3
Lost Gods (h2tp) Brom DF
Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen (ri) Lois McMaster Bujold SF - Vorkosigan Saga 17
The Visitors (D) Catherine Burns PsyTh
Ender's Game Gift Edition Orson Scott Card SF - The Ender Quintet
Leech Girl Lives (D) Rick Claypool SF/HU
Paradox Bound Peter Clines SF/H/TT
Wolf Unbound (ri) Lauren Dane PNR - Cascadia Wolves 4
Blade Runner (ri) Philip K. Dick MTI/SF
War and Craft Tom Doyle CF/SF - American Craft 3
Planet of the Apes Omnibus 3 George Alec Effinger MTI/SF - Planet of the Apes
Castaway Odyssey (h2mm) Eric Flint
Ryk E. Spoor
SF/SO - Boundary 5
Alien: Covenant Origins - The Official Prequel to the Blockbuster Film Alan Dean Foster MTI/SF - Alien
Kane (e)(ri) Jacquelyn Frank PNR - Nightwalkers 1.5
Neverwhere Illustrated Edition Neil Gaiman SF
Doctor Who: Now We Are Six Hundred: A Collection of Time Lord Verse James Goss TV/SF
An Angel's Touch (h2mm) Heather Graham R/F/FR
Slayers & Vampires: The Complete Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Buffy & Angel Edward Gross
Mark A. Altman
TV/HC
The Cocktail Guide to the Galaxy: A Universe of Unique Cocktails from the Celebrated Doctor Who Bar Andy Heidel Beverages/SF
An Unkindness of Magicians Kat Howard DF
Original Sin David R. George III SF - Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Sleeping Beauties Stephen King
Owen King
Th/Sus
Provenance Ann Leckie SF
Star Trek: Discovery: Desperate Hours David Mack SF - Star Trek: Discovery 1
The Corporation Wars: Emergence Ken MacLeod SF/SO - Second Law Trilogy 3
When the Floods Came Clare Morrall LF
The Hunt Chloe Neill UF/PA - A Devil's Isle Novel 3
The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School (tp2mm) Kim Newman F/P/H/AH
The Two of Swords: Part Nineteen (e) K. J. Parker F - Two of Swords
Death (e) Madhuri Pavamani FR - Keeper Series 3
Of Flame and Fate (e) Cecy Robson PNR - A Weird Girls Novel 8
Immortally Yours Lynsay Sands PNR - An Argeneau Novel 23
Savage Woods Mary SanGiovanni H
The Eternity War: Pariah Jamie Sawyer SF - The Eternity War 1
Everfair (h2tp) Nisi Shawl SP/HistF/AH
Archangel's Viper Nalini Singh PNR - Guild Hunter 10
Oceans: The Anthology (e) David Smith (Ed) SpecFic - Anthology
Extinction End Nicholas Sansbury Smith SF/PA/AP - The Extinction Cycle 5
Ghost in the Shell: The Official Movie Novelization James Swallow MTI/SF
The Lilitu, Primordial, The Cain Prophecy Toby Tate SF - The Lilitu Trilogy
Your Brother's Blood (h2tp) David Towsey SF - The Walkin' Trilogy 1
The Chosen (h2mm) J.R. Ward PNR - Black Dagger Brotherhood 15
Horizon Fran Wilde F - Bone Universe 3
The Emperor's Legion Chris Wraight SF - Watchers of the Throne 1
The Black Tides of Heaven JY Yang F - The Tensorate Series Novella
The Red Threads of Fortune JY Yang F - The Tensorate Series Novella



September 27, 2017
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Crossing Over (e) Margaret Dunlap UF/M - Bookburners Season 3 #11



September 28, 2017
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Belador Cosaint (e) Dianna Love PNR - Belador 9
The Wind Jay Caselberg Sus/H - NewCon Press Novellas Set 2 4



September 29, 2017
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Visionary Tongue Storm Constatine (Ed) SpecFic - Anthology



September 30, 2017
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
River's Edge James P. Blaylock SupTh
University Bentley Little H
The Collection Bentley Little H
The Policy Bentley Little H
The Summoning Bentley Little H
The Emperor and the Maula Robert Silverberg SF/AC



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



AC - Alien Contact
AH - Alternate History
AP - Apocalyptic
CB - Coloring Book
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CoA - Coming of Age
CW - Contemporary Women
CulH - Cultural Heritage
CyP - CyberPunk
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tales
FolkT - Folk Tales
FR - Fantasy Romance
GenEng - Genetic Engineering
GH - Ghost(s)
Gothic - Gothic
H - Horror
Hist - Historical
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HU - Humor
LC - Literary Criticism
LF - Literary Fiction
LM - Legends and Mythology
M - Mystery
MR - Magical Realism
MTI - Media Tie-In
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PI - Private Investigator
PM - Paranormal Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
Pol - Political
PopCul - Popular Culture
PRS - Paranormal Romantic Suspense
PsyTh - Psychological Thriller
R - Romance
RSus - Romantic Suspense
Satire - Satire
Sc - Science
SH -Superheroes
SF - Science Fiction
SO - Space Opera
SP - Steampunk
SpecFic - Speculative Fiction
SS - Short Stories
Sup - Supernatural
SupM - Supernatural Mystery
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Sus - Suspense
TechTh - Technological Thriller
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
UF - Urban Fantasy
UFR - Urban Fantasy Romance
VM - Visionary and Metaphysical

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

Covers Revealed - Upcoming Novels by DAC Authors


Here are some of the upcoming novels by formerly featured DAC Authors! The year in parentheses is the year the author was featured in the DAC.


Tom Doyle (2014)

War and Craft
American Craft 3
Tor Books, September 26, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

Covers Revealed - Upcoming Novels by DAC Authors
America, land of the Free…and home of the warlocks.

The Founding Fathers were never ones to pass up a good weapon. America’s first line of defense has been shrouded in secrecy, magical families who have sworn to use their power to protect our republic.

But there are those who reject America’s dream and have chosen the Left Hand Path. In this triumphant conclusion to Tom Doyle’s imaginative alternate historical America, we start with a bloody wedding-night brawl with assassins in Tokyo. Our American magical shock troops go to India, where a descendant of legendary heroes has the occult mission they’ve been waiting for.

It all comes to a head in a valley hidden high in the mountains of Kashmir. Our craftspeople will battle against their fellow countrymen, some of the vilest monsters of the Left Hand Path. It’s Armageddon in Shangri-La, and the end of the world as we know it.

The American Craft Trilogy
#1 American Craftsmen
#2 The Left-Hand Way
#3 War and Craft

    Note: The cover has been revealed by the author on Twitter here.





Vic James (2017)

Gilded Cage
Dark Gifts 1
Del Rey, July 25, 2017
Trade Paperback, 384 pages
Hardcover and eBook, February 14, 2017

Covers Revealed - Upcoming Novels by DAC Authors
MAGIC RULES. WE SERVE.

In a darkly fantastical debut set in modern-day Britain, magic users control everything: wealth, politics, power—and you. If you’re not one of the ultimate one-percenters—the magical elite—you owe them ten years of service. Do those years when you’re old, and you’ll never get through them. Do them young, and you’ll never get over them.

This is the darkly decadent world of Gilded Cage. In its glittering milieu move the all-powerful Jardines and the everyday Hadleys. The families have only one thing in common: Each has three children. But their destinies entwine when one family enters the service of the other. They will all discover whether any magic is more powerful than the human spirit.

Have a quick ten years. . . .



Tarnished City
Dark Gifts 2
Del Rey, February 6, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 416 pages

Covers Revealed - Upcoming Novels by DAC Authors
MAGIC COMPELS. WE BLEED.

The captivating dystopian trilogy that began with Gilded Cage continues. In a modern Britain where magic users control wealth, politics—and you—an uprising has been crushed. In its aftermath, two families will determine the country’s fate. The ruthless Jardines make a play for ultimate power. And the Hadleys, once an ordinary family, must find the extraordinary strength to fight back.

Abi Hadley is a fugitive. Her brother, Luke, a prisoner. Both will discover that in the darkest places, the human spirit shines brightest. Meanwhile, amid his family’s intrigues, Silyen Jardine dreams of forgotten powers from an earlier age.

As blood runs in the streets of London, all three will discover whether love and courage can ever be stronger than tyranny.

How do you choose when you can’t save everyone?





Michael Livingston (2015)

The Gates of Hell
The Shards of Heaven 2
Tor Books, October 10, 2017
Trade Paperback, 400 pages
Hardcover and eBook, November 15, 2016

Covers Revealed - Upcoming Novels by DAC Authors
The Gates of Hell is the follow up to Michael Livingston’s amazing The Shards of Heaven, a historical fantasy that reveals the hidden magic behind the history we know, and commences a war greater than any mere mortal battle.

Alexandria has fallen, and with it the great kingdom of Egypt. Cleopatra is dead. Her children are paraded through the streets in chains wrought of their mother's golden treasures, and within a year all but one of them will be dead. Only her young daughter, Cleopatra Selene, survives to continue her quest for vengeance against Rome and its emperor, Augustus Caesar.

To show his strength, Augustus Caesar will go to war against the Cantabrians in northern Spain, and it isn't long before he calls on Juba of Numidia, his adopted half-brother and the man whom Selene has been made to marry—but whom she has grown to love. The young couple journey to the Cantabrian frontier, where they learn that Caesar wants Juba so he can use the Trident of Poseidon to destroy his enemies. Perfidy and treachery abound. Juba's love of Selene will cost him dearly in the epic fight, and the choices made may change the very fabric of the known world.

“Livingston has spiced real history with a compelling dose of fantasy! Wonderfully imaginative and beautifully told.” —Bernard Cornwell, bestselling author of The Pagan Lord, on The Shards of Heaven



The Realms of God 
The Shards of Heaven 3
Tor Books, November 7, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

Covers Revealed - Upcoming Novels by DAC Authors
The Realms of God is the thrilling conclusion to Michael Livingston's historical fantasy trilogy that continues the story begun in The Shards of Heaven and The Gates of Hell.

The Ark of the Covenant has been spirited out of Egypt to Petra, along with the last of its guardians. But dark forces are in pursuit. Three demons, inadvertently unleashed by Juba of Numidia and the daughter of Cleopatra, are in league with Tiberius, son and heir of Augustus Caesar. They’ve seized two of the fabled Shards of Heaven, lost treasures said to possess the very power of God, and are desperately hunting the rest.

Through war and assassination, from Rome to the fabled Temple Mount of Jerusalem and on to the very gates of Heaven itself, the forces of good and evil will collide in a climactic battle that threatens the very fabric of Creation.

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 23


This is the twenty-third 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 here
Part 4 herePart 14 here
Part 5 herePart 15 here
Part 6 herePart 16 here
Part 7 herePart 17 here
Part 8 herePart 18 here
Part 9 herePart 19 here
Part 10 herePart 20 here



Rachel Cantor (2014)

Good on Paper
Melville House, January 26, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 23
The highly anticipated second novel from a writer Emily St. John Mandel calls “sharp, witty, and immensely entertaining”

Is a new life possible? Because Shira Greene’s life hasn’t quite turned out at planned. Shira is a permanent temp with a few short stories published in minor literary magazines and a PhD on Dante’s Vita Nuova that she abandoned halfway.

Her life has some happy certainties, though: she lives with her friend Ahmad, and her daughter, Andi, on the Upper West Side. They’re an unconventional family, but a real one, with Friday night dinner rituals, private jokes, and the shared joys and strains of any other family.

So when she gets the call from Romei, the winner of last year’s Nobel Prize and the irascible idol of grad students everywhere, and he tells her he wants her to translate his new book, Shira is happy . . . but stunned. Suddenly, Shira sees a new life beckoning: academic glory, a career as a literary translator, and even love (with a part-time rabbi and owner of the neighborhood indie bookstore). That is, until Romei starts sending her pages of the manuscript and she realizes that something odd is going on: his book may in fact be untranslatable.

A deft, funny, and big-hearted novel about second chances, Good on Paper is a grand novel of family, friendship, and possibility.



Beth Cato (2014)

Wings of Sorrow and BoneA Clockwork Dagger Novella
Harper Voyager Impulse, November 10, 2015
eBook, 149 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 23
From the author of The Clockwork Dagger comes an exciting novella set in the same world…

After being rescued by Octavia Leander from the slums of Caskentia, Rivka Stout is adjusting to her new life in Tamarania. But it’s hard for a blossoming machinist like herself to fit in with proper society, and she’d much rather be tinkering with her tools than at a hoity-toity party any day.

When Rivka stumbles into a laboratory run by the powerful Balthazar Cody, she also discovers a sinister plot involving chimera gremlins and the violent Arena game Warriors. The innocent creatures will end up hurt, or worse, if Rivka doesn’t find a way to stop Mr. Cody. And to do that means she will have to rely on some unexpected new friends.


Final Flight (A Clockwork Dagger Story) will be published on April 26, 2016 by Harper Voyager Impulse (Amazon : Barnes and Noble : Books-A-Million : Google Play : iBooks : Kobo)


Breath of Earth
Harper Voyager, August 23, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 362 pages

[cover not yet available]
After the Earth’s power is suddenly left unprotected, a young geomancer must rely on her unique magical powers to survive in in this fresh fantasy standalone from the author of acclaimed The Clockwork Dagger.

In an alternate 1906, the United States and Japan have forged a powerful confederation—the Unified Pacific—in an attempt to dominate the world. Their first target is a vulnerable China. In San Francisco, headstrong Ingrid Carmichael is assisting a group of powerful geomancer Wardens who have no idea of the depth of her power—or that she is the only woman to possess such skills.

When assassins kill the Wardens, Ingrid and her mentor are protected by her incredible magic. But the pair is far from safe. Without its full force of guardian geomancers, the city is on the brink of a cataclysmic earthquake that will expose Earth’s powers to masterminds determined to control the energy for their own dark ends. The danger escalates when Chinese refugees, preparing to fight the encroaching American and Japanese, fracture the uneasy alliance between the Pacific allies, transforming the city into a veritable powder keg. And the slightest tremor will set it off. . . .

Forced on the run, Ingrid makes some shocking discoveries about herself. Her powerful magic has grown even more fearsome . . . and she may be the fulcrum on which the balance of world power rests.

[description from the author's website]




Sebastien de Castell (2014)

Traitor's Blade
Greatcoats 1
Jo Fletcher Books, June 2, 2015
Trade Paperback, 300 pages
Hardcover and eBook, July 15, 2014

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 23
With swashbuckling action that recall Dumas' Three Musketeers Sebastien de Castell has created a dynamic new fantasy series. In Traitor's Blade a disgraced swordsman struggles to redeem himself by protecting a young girl caught in the web of a royal conspiracy.

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

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


Knight's Shadow
Greatcoats 2
Jo Fletcher Books, June 2, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 23
Following his beloved debut, Traitor's Blade, Sebastien de Castell returns with volume two of his fast-paced fantasy adventure series, inspired by the swashbuckling action and witty banter of The Three Musketeers. Knight's Shadow continues the series with a thrilling and dark tale of heroism and betrayal in a country crushed under the weight of its rulers' corruption.

A few days after the horrifying murder of a duke and his family, Falcio val Mond, swordsman and First Cantor of the Greatcoats, begins a deadly pursuit to capture the killer. But Falcio soon discovers his own life is in mortal danger from a poison administered as a final act of revenge by one of his deadliest enemies. As chaos and civil war begin to overtake the country, Falcio has precious little time left to stop those determined to destroy his homeland.




Rjurik Davidson (2014)

The Stars Askew
Caeli-Amur 2
Tor Books, July 12, 2016
Hardcover and eBook,  416 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 23
The Stars Askew is the highly anticipated sequel to the New Weird adventure begun by talented young author Rjurik Davidson. With the seditionists in power, Caeli-Amur has begun a new age. Or has it? The escaped House officials no longer send food, and the city is starving.

When the moderate leader Aceline is murdered, the trail leads Kata to a mysterious book that explains how to control the fabled Prism of Alerion. But when the last person to possess the book is found dead, it becomes clear that a conspiracy is afoot. At its center is former House Officiate Armand, who has hidden the Prism. Armand is vying for control of the Directorate, the highest political position in the city, until Armand is betrayed and sent to a prison camp to mine deadly bloodstone.

Meanwhile, Maximilian is sharing his mind with another being: the joker-god Aya. Aya leads Max to the realm of the Elo-Talern to seek a power source to remove Aya from Max's brain. But when Max and Aya return, they find the vigilants destroying the last remnants of House power.

It seems the seditionists' hopes for a new age of peace and prosperity in Caeli-Amur have come to naught, and every attempt to improve the situation makes it worse. The question now is not just whether Kata, Max, and Armand can do anything to stop the bloody battle in the city, but if they can escape with their lives.




Tom Doyle (2014)

The Left-Hand Way
American Craft 2
Tor Books, August 11, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 23
Poe's Red Death returns, more powerful than ever. Can anyone stop him before he summons an apocalyptic nightmare even worse than himself?

In The Left-Hand Way, the second book of Tom Doyle's contemporary fantasy series, the American craftsmen are scattered like bait overseas. What starts as an ordinary liaison mission to London for Major Michael Endicott becomes a desperate chase across Europe, where Endicott is both hunted and hunter. Reluctantly joining him is his minder from MI13, Commander Grace Marlow, one of Her Majesty's most lethal magician soldiers, whose family has centuries of justified hostility to the Endicotts.

Meanwhile, in Istanbul and Tokyo, Endicott's comrades, Scherie Rezvani and Dale Morton, are caught in their own battles for survival against hired assassins and a ghost-powered doomsday machine. And in Kiev, Roderick Morton, the spider at the center of a global web, plots their destruction and his ultimate apotheosis. After centuries of imprisonment, nothing less than godlike power will satisfy Roderick, whatever the dreadful cost.

The View From Monday - August 10, 2015


Happy Monday!

It's a light release week with 2 debuts:

The Pilots of the Borealis by David Nabhan;

and

The Uninvited by Cat Winters.


From formerly featured Debut Author Challenge Authors:

The Left-Hand Way (American Craftsmen 2) by Tom Doyle;

and

Fearless (Pax Arcana 3) by Elliott James.



The View From Monday - August 10, 2015



August 11, 2015
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Malleus (ri) Dan Abnett SF - Warhammer 40,000: Eisenhorn2
Mayhem (e) Angela Addams PNR - The Order of the Wolf 5
Power Surge Ben Bova SF
The Lightning Stones Jack Du Brul AA/Th/SF
The Best Horror of the Year Volume Seven Ellen Datlow (ed) H - Anthology
The Left-Hand Way Tom Doyle CF - American Craftsmen 2
The Oldest Trick (e) Auston Habershaw F - Saga of the Redeemed 1
Fool's Quest Robin Hobb F - Fitz and the Fool Trilogy 2
The Rise of the Automated Aristocrats Mark Hodder SP - Burton & Swinburne 6
Falling in Love with Hominids Nalo Hopkinson SF - Collection
Fearless Elliott James CF - Pax Arcana 3
The Dark Forest Cixin Liu SF
Indexing: Reflections (Kindle Serials) (Ke) Seanan McGuire CF - Indexing 2
The Pilots of Borealis (D) David Nabhan SF/SO
Fall of Night (e) Joseph Nassise DF - Templar Chronicles 6
Was: a novel (20th Anniversary Edition) Geoff Ryman F
Slab Selah Saterstrom MR
The End of All Things John Scalzi SF - Old Man's War 6
Chasing the Phoenix: A Science Fiction Novel Michael Swanwick SF/AP/PA - Darger and Surplus 2
Imperial Handbook: A Commander's Guide Daniel Wallace SF - Star Wars
The Uninvited (D - Adult) Cat Winters Hist/PsyTh/GO/GH



August 12, 2015
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Milagroso: A Tor.Com Original (e) Isabel Yap F



August 13, 2015
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Graynelore (e) Stephen Moore F



August 15, 2015
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Red Winter (h2tp) Dan Smith H



D - Debut
e - eBook
ed - Editor
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
Ke - Kindle eBook only
ri - reissue or reprint


AA - Action Adventure
AP - Apocalyptic
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
DF - Dark Fantasy
F - Fantasy
GH - Ghost
GO - Gothic
H - Horror
MR - Magical Realism
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PNR - Paranormal Romance
Psy - Psychological
SF - Science Fiction
SO - Space Opera
SP - Steampunk
Th - Thriller

The View From Monday - June 29, 2015


Happy last Monday in June. Sadly I've not been doing much reading lately. I've been spending most of my time dealing with a house issue that requires things being ripped out and insurance. The extent of damage keeps getting worse and worse as they remove more floor and walls. Hopefully things will calm down soon and I can refocus on reading and writing and not be so incredibly behind. Apologies to all!


There are 3 debuts this week:

The Singular & Extraordinary Tale of Mirror & Goliath (Notebooks of John Loveheart, Esq 1) by Ishbelle Bee;

The Linesman (Linesman 1) by S.K. Dunstall;

and

The Dragons of Heaven (Dragons of Heaven 1) by Alyc Helms.



And from formerly featured Debut Author Challenge Authors:

American Craftsmen (American Craftsmen 1) by Tom Doyle is out in Mass Market Paperback;

Supervillains Anonymous (Superheroes Anonymous 2) by Lexie Dunne;

Luck of the Irish (Leprechaun's Gold 1) by Sara Humphreys;

and

Provoked (Dark Protectors 5) by Rebecca Zanetti.



The View From Monday - June 29, 2015



June 29, 2015
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Indelible Ink (e) Matt Betts SP/H/Th
The Adventures of Cassius Flynn and Molly McGuire (e) Eleri Stone Dys/PNR - Reapers Novella



June 30, 2015
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The Singular & Extraordinary Tale of Mirror & Goliath (D) Ishbelle Bee HistF - Notebooks of John Loveheart, Esq 1
Ascendance: Dave vs. the Monsters John Birmingham UF - David Hooper Trilogy 3
Tomorrow War J. L. Bourne TechTh - The Chronicles of Max (Redacted)
New Frontiers: A Collection of Tales About the Past, the Present, and the Future (h2mm) Ben Bova SF - Short Stories
Working for Bigfoot Jim Butcher UF - Dresden Files Novellas
Terminator Genisys: Resetting the Future David S Cohen SF - Media Tie-In
Virtues of War Bennett R. Coles SF - Virtues of War 1
Prize of Night Bailey Cunningham CF - Parallel Parks 3
Undead and Unwary (h2mm) MaryJanice Davidson PNR - Undead/Queen Betsy 13
American Craftsmen (h2mm) Tom Doyle CF - American Craftsmen 1
Supervillains Anonymous (e) Lexie Dunne UF/SH - Superheroes Anonymous 2
Linesman (D) S. K. Dunstall SF - Linesman 1
Follow You Home Mark Edwards Th/H
Of Bone and Thunder (h2mm) Chris Evans F
The Sea of Trolls (ri) Nancy Farmer F - The Sea of Trolls Trilogy 1
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Sacraments of Fire David R. George III SF - Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Severed Souls (h2mm) Terry Goodkind F - Richard and Kahlan 14
The Silenced Heather Graham Sus/P - Krewe of Hunters 15
Soul Scorched Donna Grant PNR - Dark Kings 6
Soul Scorched: Part 4 (e) Donna Grant PNR - Dark Kings
The Undying Legion Clay and Susan Griffith HistF - Crown & Key 2
The Scientific Secrets of Doctor Who Simon Guerrier
Dr. Marek Kukula
SF - Doctor Who
Heat of the Moment Lori Handeland FR - Sisters of the Craft 2
The Hollow Queen Elizabeth Haydon F - The Symphony of Ages 8
The Dragons of Heaven (D) Alyc Helms UF - Dragons of Heaven 1
Brothers in Valor H. Paul Honsinger SF - Man of War 3
Luck of the Irish (e) Sara Humphreys PNR  - Leprechaun's Gold 1
The Rods & The Axe (h2mm) Tom Kratman SF - Carerra 6
The House of the Four Winds (h2mm) Mercedes Lackey F - One Dozen Daughters 1
Wolf with Benefits Shelly Laurenston PNR - Pride 8
Artemis Invaded Jane Lindskold SF - Artemis Awakening 2
Little Girls Ronald Malfi H
The Baba Yaga Eric Brown
Una McCormack
SF - Weird Space
The Red: First Light Linda Nagata Th/SF - Red Trilogy 1
The Map of Chaos Félix J. Palma SF - Map of Time 3
Zoo: The Graphic Novel James Patterson
Michael Ledwidge
SF
All Dressed Up and No Place to Haunt Rose Pressey PM - A Haunted Vintage Mystery 2
Islands of Rage and Hope (h2mm) John Ringo SF - Black Tide Rising 3
The Ripple Effect J.A. Saare UF - Rhiannon's Law 3
The End of All Things #4: To Stand or Fall: The End of All Things John Scalzi SF - Old Man's War
Alien Hunter: Underworld (h2mm) Whitley Strieber Th/SF - Alien Hunter 2
The Rhesus Chart (h2mm) Charles Stross SF - Laundry Files 5
The Girls at the Kingfisher Club (h2tp) Genevieve Valentine LF/FairyT
The Philosopher Kings Jo Walton F - Thessaly 2
The Isle of Blood (ri) Rick Yancey H/Go - The Monstrumologist 3
Provoked (ri) Rebecca Zanetti PNR - Dark Protectors 5



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


CF - Contemporary Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT -Fairy Tale
FR - Fantasy Romance
Go - Gothic
H - Horror
HistF - Historical Fantasy
LF - Literary Fiction
P - Paranormal
PM - Paranormal Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
SF - Science Fiction
SH - Superhero
SP - Steampunk
Sus - Suspense
TechTh - Technological Thriller
Th - Thriller
UF - Urban Fantasy

2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May 2014 Debuts


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


2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May 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 May 24, 2014.


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




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May 2014 Debuts




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May 2014 Debuts




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May 2014 Debuts




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May 2014 Debuts




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May 2014 Debuts




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May 2014 Debuts




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May 2014 Debuts




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May 2014 Debuts



Interview with Tom Doyle, author of American Craftsmen - May 10, 2014


Please welcome Tom Doyle to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. American Craftsmen was published on May 6, 2014 by Tor Books.







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

Tom:  When I quit the law, I went on a personal pilgrimage to clear out my old self and start forming a new one. Among other things, I stayed in a Zen monastery, traveled to Rio for Carnival and Jerusalem for New Year’s Eve, interned at Boston University’s Center for Millennial Studies, and formed a rock band that played Guided by Voices covers. After this pilgrimage period, I thought about a new career. It had to be intellectually stimulating yet not involve others telling me what to do, so I decided on writing science fiction and fantasy. I first attended a Strange Horizons workshop, and then I went to Clarion. I started selling stories soon after that.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Tom:  I’d call myself a pantser with a strong sense of trajectory. I usually know where I want to start and roughly where I want to finish, but having these end points still allows for plenty of serendipitous surprises and course changes along the way.



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

Tom:  My biggest challenge is avoiding distractions. I’m not a fast writer, so I need to impose a lot of structure on my day. I mostly write at a big wooden desk on the third floor of my nineteenth-century brownstone home. I have a turret, which helps keep me in a fantasy mindset.



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

Tom:  Off the top of my head, China Mieville, Jacqueline Carey, my Clarion instructors, Dickens, Hemingway, and Roddy Doyle. The transparent styles of the last two are good antidotes to infectious bad prose. But I also really enjoy the vatic voice that I pick up from some poetry and song lyrics.



TQ:  Describe American Craftsmen in 140 characters or less.

Tom:  Two soldiers will fight through the magical legacies of Poe and Hawthorne to destroy an undying evil, if they don't kill each other first.



TQ:  Tell us something about American Craftsmen that is not in the book description.

Tom:  The craftsmen of the title are magician soldiers, but “American craftsmen” is also a nod to the early American authors of the fantastic such as Poe and Hawthorne. For my book, I’ve assumed all these authors were writing thinly veiled nonfiction.



TQ:  What inspired you to write American Craftsmen? What appealed to about writing a genre blending Contemporary Military Fantasy novel? Do you want to write in any other genres or sub-genres?

Tom:  Oddly enough, one of my initial inspirations was L. Frank Baum. When he began telling children’s stories, he had the idea of discarding the existing European folk tales and building a fantasy that was modern and distinctly American. That’s how we got The Wizard of Oz.

     I wasn’t going to write a children’s story, but the idea of confining myself to a U.S. mythos for an adult fantasy was very appealing. At first, my book was going to cover a whole secret world of American magic. But the reader of my earliest draft section, author Stephanie Dray, saw the military intrigue element and said, “This is great. Do this.” I really owe her a lot for getting me to focus on that plotline.

     I’ve written stories across the speculative spectrum (though no high fantasy epics yet), and I have a couple of novel manuscripts in different SF/F sub-genres that I’d like to see published. I don’t see myself doing non-speculative fiction anytime soon. For now, it’s the otherworldly stuff in odd combinations that keeps me intrigued.



TQ:  Please tell us about the magic system in American Craftsmen.

Tom:  Rather than use a traditional magic system, I drew up my list of supernatural powers from three main founts. First, any occult event in American literature was fair game. In The Scarlet Letter, for example, the hidden sin of the minister is visible as a red letter “A” in the flesh of his chest, which matches the red fabric letter worn by Hester Prynne. So my protagonist, Dale Morton, has the ability to see sins as glowing letters radiating from other people’s bodies.

     Second, American history is full of the uncanny, for example, instances where an abrupt change of weather saved an army, and the dreams that Lincoln had before significant events, including his own assassination. I imagine this uncanniness as being the result of magical powers still being exercised today.

     Finally, to be elite operatives, soldier and spy mages would need powers that enhance their combat skill and strength. They aren’t superheroes, but they can endure a bit more, heal a bit quicker, and shoot a bit better than normal soldiers.

     In my story, different practitioners see these powers in different terms. The atheistic Dale Morton sees magic as a sharp skewing of probabilities inherent in nature, and he wields his power with a meditative concentration. The religious Michael Endicott believes all such power comes ultimately from God and frames his spells as prayers. Both get the same results.



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for American Craftsmen?

Tom:  I read or reread the works of Poe and Hawthorne and other nineteenth-century authors of the American canon. As an example of how I used some of that reading, the parlor of the House of Morton has sickly yellow wallpaper in a nod to the early feminist story, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

     I had already read a lot of military history, so I read more about modern elite military units and special operations. I toured the Pentagon. I continued to tour Civil War battle sites, which came in handy for one section of the book.

     A crucial part of my research was discussing special operations with a friend who had fought in the first Gulf War.



TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why? Who is your favorite character in American Craftsmen?

Tom:  Dale, my main protagonist, was relatively easy; his personality and his outlook on life are familiar. Endicott was harder. In my earliest draft, he started out as an almost totally unsympathetic character, which didn’t work. He’s evolved into something quite different.

     Two of my favorite characters are Sphinx and the Appalachian. They’re both older women who’ve paid for their wisdom with some portion of their sanity, and that makes them interesting.



TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite lines from American Craftsmen.

Tom:  “Prague’s old world occult irritated him. Every assignment turned noir here. Like foreign movies, Prague missions tended to end badly and absurdly.”



TQ:  What's next?

TomAmerican Craftsmen is the first book in a three-book series. I’ve recently turned in book two, The Left-Hand Way, and I’m hard at work on book three, The Master Craftsmen. But I also have two other novels that I think would be great as stand-alones or first books in different series. One is the continuation of my award winning story, “The Wizard of Macatawa,” a fantasy about L. Frank Baum in 1899 and a kid growing up on Lake Michigan in the late ‘70s. The other is the continuation of my twisted space opera, “Crossing Borders.” I hope they’ll see the light of day at some point. If you’re interested in a preview of what those novels would be like, the short story precursors are available in my collection, The Wizard of Macatawa and Other Stories, or you could listen to the audio versions at www.tomdoylewriter.com.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





American Craftsmen
Tor Books, May 6, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

In modern America, two soldiers will fight their way through the magical legacies of Poe and Hawthorne to destroy an undying evil—if they don’t kill each other first.

US Army Captain Dale Morton is a magician soldier—a “craftsman.” After a black-ops mission gone wrong, Dale is cursed by a Persian sorcerer and haunted by his good and evil ancestors. Major Michael Endicott, a Puritan craftsman, finds gruesome evidence that the evil Mortons, formerly led by the twins Roderick and Madeline, have returned, and that Dale might be one of them.

Dale uncovers treason in the Pentagon’s highest covert ranks. He hunts for his enemies before they can murder him and Scherie, a new friend who knows nothing of his magic.

Endicott pursues Dale, divided between his duty to capture a rogue soldier and his desire to protect Dale from his would-be assassins. They will discover that the demonic horrors that have corrupted American magic are not bound by family or even death itself.

In Tom Doyle's thrilling debut, American Craftsmen, Seal Team Six meets ancient magic--with the fate of the United States hanging in the balance . . .







About Tom

The Internet Review of Science Fiction has hailed TOM DOYLE's writing as “beautiful & brilliant.” Locus Magazine has called his stories “fascinating,” “transgressive,” “witty,” “moving,” and “intelligent and creepy.” A graduate of the Clarion Writing Workshop, Doyle has won the WSFA Small Press Award and third prize in the Writers of the Future contest. He is the author of American Craftsmen.






Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @tmdoyle2




Guest Blog by Tom Doyle - The Machine Stops: Avoiding the Singularity in My Science Fiction NovelInterview with Tom Doyle, author of the American Craft TrilogyThe View From Monday - September 25, 2017Covers Revealed - Upcoming Novels by DAC AuthorsWhat's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 23Interview with Tom Doyle, author of The Left-Hand Way and American CraftsmenThe View From Monday - August 10, 2015The View From Monday - June 29, 20152014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May 2014 DebutsInterview with Tom Doyle, author of American Craftsmen - May 10, 2014

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