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BEA 2017: TOR Books presents Leading Women in Science Fiction


Tracey writes about the TOR Books presents Leading Women in Science Fiction panel that was presented at BookExpo America (BEA) on June 1st:

BEA 2017: TOR Books presents Leading Women in Science Fiction
From left to right: Charlie Jane Anders, Malka Older and Annalee Newitz

Thursday afternoon, BEA offered the panel: TOR Books presents Leading Women in Science Fiction which was moderated by the author of All the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Anders. During this 30 minute panel, Anders asked Malka Older, author of Infomocracy and the upcoming Null States and Annalee Newitz, author of the upcoming Autonomous, some fascinating questions on the factors that influenced them as they wrote their novels.

Anders started by asking how the authors prepared for setting their books in the future.

Older, whose book is set about 60 years from now, replied that it really depends on how far forward you want to go.

Newitz had more to say. Since her novel is set approximately 150 years in the future, she felt she had some "wiggle room" in terms of how current events might have transformed things. She describes her thought process in this way: First, she figured there would be 4 to 5 generations between now and then. Next, she looked back at history and thought about how much different her great grandmother's life was from her own. For instance, one contrast between her great grandmother's day and the present is that women can now vote. In her novel, there are robots who possess artificial intelligence. These robots have gone through their own civil rights movement and have gained civil rights. She stated that in comparison "there are civil rights for people of color in this country, nominally."


Next, Anders spoke about how fascinating each unique world is and asked the authors how they went about making their characters memorable.

Older stated that when she was starting to write Infomocracy she really wanted to talk about how government and politics could look different in the future. She wanted to write an adventurous story because that's the kind of thing she likes reading. So, she said, "it was really important to have characters who could connect with the present". Although her characters were born in the future, they still have a lot of the same concerns that people currently do.

One of Newitz's characters is a young robot on his very first mission and he's struggling to understand his place in the world. She said that her "first image was of (this) robot feeling physical pain. I was imagining this robot going through training exercises, climbing a sand dune, and getting sand caught in his actuators in his legs. How that would feel to him and what the emotional impact would be." This first experience with physical pain leads to emotional pain because he feels betrayed by the humans that raised him. She says she actually built the world of Autonomous around this character. Another important factor for Newitz was to find a balance between her "nerdy excitement about world building" and her "sense of human sadness and horror."


Anders then asked about the underlying theme of idealism followed by burnout that occurs in both novels.

Older says her novel is "a thought experiment in a lot of ways". She took a close look at politics and how things could be different in the future. She wanted her characters to be engaged in these politics and she knew that by the end, there was going to be a feeling of exhaustion. Also, she wanted to convey the feeling that there are limits of what can be accomplished; even by people who are so engaged and hopeful.

Newitz's other central character is Jack, a pharmaceutical pirate who starts out as a very idealistic grad student. Jack soon realizes that the world of medicine has been completely corrupted by corporations. Medicine has become too expensive for the poor, so she becomes an outlaw. She's completely burned out as she copes with working in underground labs to reverse engineer drugs and from fleeing from the law. The big question Newitz says she asks of her characters is, "if we are trying to change things, how far do we want to go, and how radical do we want to get?"


Anders commented that both novels have a very strong sense of place and wondered how the authors accomplished that. Both authors agree, by trying to visit the places that they write about.
For Older it was extremely important for her book to be global. She added that "they say write what you know but I think you can write about what you miss." It helps makes things very vivid.
Newitz stated that although she has not sailed on the Arctic Sea (like Jack), she spent a lot of time studying maps and geography. She says she also thought about new trades routes and how they would need to be based on climate change but also her world's economic system which is based on indenture. She said indenture "is just a nice term for slavery, but people like to call it indenture in the future so that they don't feel quite so bad for enslaving robots."

She believes the little details are huge. Newitz said Older "has amazing images of food in her novel and she also has a great way of showing what it's like to pass over a border." She says those are the kinds of detail that help people "smell the place and kind of see the place in their imagination."


Anders then asked about climate change and how both writers approached this when writing their books.

Older thinks it is an extremely important issue to take into consideration. She says she may have downplayed climate change a bit and made some optimistic assumptions but that even so, in her book there are certain countries completely under water. She says she looked at population maps as well because population is a major issue in her book. Studying maps helped her to keep things as realistic as possible..

Newitz, says she thinks it's crucial to include climate change in any vision of the future. She stated "We are heading into a world where geography will be changed by the environment transforming." Newitz, who is also a science journalist, has interviewed geoscientists who have said that things are going to be really screwed up for the next 1000 years. She concluded by saying "If you are setting a book in the next 1000 years, then absolutely, you have to be thinking about how settlements of humans will change, settlements of animals will change and (how) the composition of the ocean will change. There's just no getting away from it."


Finally Anders commented that both book have amazingly diverse cultures and ethnic groups. Anders asked the authors if this occurred naturally or if it was a reflection on how they wanted to portray the future.

Older didn't think it was a big change from the present. She said that we live in a diverse place with many different groups of people, To Older, the interesting part of writing her book was to decide "what are the things that we worry about now that have disappeared in the future and what are the new things that might come up." She said that "as a species we tend to find new ways to dice and slice ourselves into different groups."

Newitz candidly announced that she is "just not that interested in white people." She went on to say that she was more interested in writing about nonhumans. She felt it would be really interesting to explore how a robot would look at humans. She said that she had always been drawn to stories about nonhuman animals and aliens and their experiences. For Newitz it was a natural way to get away from the standard sci-fi plot.


BEA 2017: TOR Books presents Leading Women in Science Fiction
Malka Older (left) and Annalee Newitz (right)



All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders is available now and has won the 2016 Nebula Award for Best Novel, the Crawford Award for a novel published in 2016, and is nominated for the 2017 Hugo Award for Best Novel.

Infomocracy by Malka Older is available now and Null States, the second novel in the Centenal Cycle, will be available on September 19, 2017. Malka Older a finalist for the The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer (presented at the Hugo Awards). Infomocracy is a Locus Award Finalist for Best First Novel.

Autonomous by Annalee Newitz publishes on September 19, 2017 and is Annalee's debut fiction book. Annalee Newitz's most recent non-fiction book is Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction which was a Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist in Science & Technology.


We have a fabulous giveaway for you: signed copies of All the Birds in the Sky (Trade Paperback), Null States (printed paperback ARC) and Autonomous (printed paperback ARC)! Follow the directions in The Giveaway section below to enter.

 All the Birds in the Sky
Tor Books, April 11, 2017
Trade Paperback, 336 pages
Hardcover and eBook, January 26, 2016

BEA 2017: TOR Books presents Leading Women in Science Fiction
From the former editor-in-chief of io9.com, a stunning novel about the end of the worldand the beginning of our future

Childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn't expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during middle school. After all, the development of magical powers and the invention of a two-second time machine could hardly fail to alarm one's peers and families.

But now they're both adults, living in the hipster mecca San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who's working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world's magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world's every-growing ailments. Little do they realize that something bigger than either of them, something begun years ago in their youth, is determined to bring them together—to either save the world, or plunge it into a new dark ages.

Charlie Jane Anders' All the Birds in the Sky is a deeply magical, darkly funny examination of life, love, and the apocalypse.

Null States
The Centenal Cycle 2
Tor.com, September 19, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 432 pages

BEA 2017: TOR Books presents Leading Women in Science Fiction
"Kinetic and gripping" —NPR on Infomocracy

Null States continues Campbell Award finalist Malka Older's Centenal Cycle, the trilogy beginning with Infomocracy

A Locus Award Finalist for Best First Novel
The book The Huffington Post called "one of the greatest literary debuts in recent history"
Named one of the best books of the year by The Washington Post, The Verge, Flavorwire, Kirkus, and Book Riot

The future of democracy is about to implode.
After the last controversial global election, the global infomocracy that has ensured thirty years of world peace is fraying at the edges. As the new Supermajority government struggles to establish its legitimacy, agents of Information across the globe strive to keep the peace and maintain the flows of data that feed the new world order.

In the newly-incorporated DarFur, a governor dies in a fiery explosion. In Geneva, a superpower hatches plans to bring microdemocracy to its knees. In Central Asia, a sprawling war among archaic states threatens to explode into a global crisis. And across the world, a shadowy plot is growing, threatening to strangle Information with the reins of power.

Autonomous
Tor Books, September 19, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages

BEA 2017: TOR Books presents Leading Women in Science Fiction
The highly anticipated science fiction debut from the founder of io9!

Earth, 2144. Jack is an anti-patent scientist turned drug pirate, traversing the world in a submarine as a pharmaceutical Robin Hood, fabricating cheap scrips for poor people who can’t otherwise afford them. But her latest drug hack has left a trail of lethal overdoses as people become addicted to their work, doing repetitive tasks until they become unsafe or insane.

Hot on her trail, an unlikely pair: Eliasz, a brooding military agent, and his robotic partner, Paladin. As they race to stop information about the sinister origins of Jack’s drug from getting out, they begin to form an uncommonly close bond that neither of them fully understand.

And underlying it all is one fundamental question: Is freedom possible in a culture where everything, even people, can be owned?





The Giveaway

What: All the Birds in the Sky (Trade Paperback) by Charlie Jane Anders, Null States (printed paperback ARC) by Malka Older and Autonomous (printed paperback ARC) by Annalee Newitz. Each book is signed by the author! INTERNATIONAL

How:
  • Send an email to theqwillery . contests @ gmail.com [remove the spaces]
  • In the subject line, enter “TOR SF“ with or without the quote marks.
  • In the body of the email, please provide your name and full mailing address. The winning address is used only to mail the novel(s) and is provided to the publisher and/or The Qwillery only for that purpose. All other address information will be deleted by The Qwillery once the giveaway ends.
Who:  The giveaway is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address.

When:  The giveaway ends at 11:59 PM US Eastern Time on June 23, 2017. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules and duration are subject to change without any notice.*

Guest Blog by Victoria Thompson and Review and Giveaway of Murder in the Bowery


Please welcome Victoria Thompson to The Qwillery. Murder in the Bowery, the 19th Gaslight Mystery, was published on May 2nd by Berkley.



Guest Blog by Victoria Thompson and Review and Giveaway of Murder in the Bowery




Newsboy Makes the News
          Newsboys were everywhere in turn of the century New York City. More than a dozen newspapers covered the City’s happenings, and ragged children—mostly boys but a few girls, too—stood on street corners morning and night in all weathers to sell them for a penny or two. Most of these children were homeless orphans or had simply been abandoned by families unable to care for them any longer, so their home was on the street.
          Eventually, charities stepped in to help these children by opening Newsboys’ Lodging Houses. In these houses, the “Newsies”, as they were called, could find a hot meal and a bed for the night for a nickel each, although the boys preferred to “carry the banner,” which was their slang for sleeping on the street. The Newsies didn’t care for charity, and they certainly didn’t appreciate being cheated, so when two of the biggest newspapers raised the price of the papers for the boys without raising the customer’s price, they went on strike. Could a bunch of rag-tag children beat Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst at their own game?
          That’s only one question Private Investigator Frank Malloy and his new bride, Sarah Brandt, must answer in Murder in the Bowery when the search for a missing newsboy leads them to the innocent debutant, a ruthless gangster, and a Bowery “guide” who takes rich men on “slumming” tours of the neighborhood. But none of these people is who or what they seem, and Frank and Sarah have to find the truth before a killer strikes again.





Murder in the Bowery
Series:  A Gaslight Mystery 19
Publisher:  Berkley, May 2, 2017
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages
List Price:  US$26.00 (print); US$12.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9781101987117 (print); 9781101987124 (eBook)

Guest Blog by Victoria Thompson and Review and Giveaway of Murder in the Bowery
The latest Gaslight Mystery from the bestselling author of Murder in Morningside Heights finds Sarah Brandt and Frank Malloy searching for a connection between a murdered newsie and a high society woman with dangerous habits.

Frank Malloy’s latest client is the well-dressed Will Bert. He’s searching for his brother, a newsboy named Freddie, so he can share his new financial good fortune. Frank makes quick work of the case and locates Freddie, but a happy reunion between brothers is not in the cards.

When Will’s name is mentioned, Freddie runs off—only to be found dead a short time later. Suspicious, Frank tracks down Will who spins a tale of lust and deceit involving a young society woman, Estelle Longacre, also recently deceased.  Frank can’t be sure if Estelle’s risky behavior and the company she kept was to blame, or if her own ruthless family had a hand in her death.

Frank will need Sarah’s help to unearth the dark secrets of the wealthy Longacres and to discover if there is a connection between Estelle and Freddie’s death. Together they must navigate a perilous underground web of treachery to find the truth.



Jennifer's Review

The latest installment in the long running historical Gaslight Mystery series by Victoria Thompson is entitled Murder in the Bowery. This time we see former society debutante turned midwife, Sarah Brandt Malloy, and her private detective husband, Frank Malloy, return to the seedier side of turn-of-the-century New York in search of a clever killer.

Sarah and Frank are the perfect fictional couple. She is a strong willed yet loving woman and he is a tough former police detective who has a compassionate heart. Since Frank unexpectedly inherited a fortune, left the police force, and finally felt able to marry Sarah, he has opened a detective agency and now takes any client that intrigues him, regardless of they ability to pay him a fee. Sarah and Frank's live in newly renovated home with their children, Frank's deaf son Brian from his first marriage and Sarah's ward Catherine, Maeve, the children's cheeky nursemaid who grew up on the streets, and Malloy's stoic Irish mother. Gino Donatelli, also a former police officer, is a frequent visitor as he is now Frank's assistant and has strong feelings for the sweet but hardened Maeve.

The mystery unfolds as Frank is getting used to having a new private inquiry service and Sarah is busy searching for a property in the slums of New York to turn into a free maternity home. Frank is tasked to find a young newsboy named Freddie “Two-Toes” Bert during the strike that pits the newsies against the rich and powerful newspaper owners by his brother, Will Bert, a handsome and smartly dressed young man. Frank and Gino quickly locate Freddie, who instantly runs off at the mention of Will's name and is later found murdered in an alley. Frank vows to locate the murderer, feeling that he may have led the killer to the poor boy. He discovers that the recent murder of the young Estelle Longacre, a beautiful society girl also found dead in the Bowery, where she had no reason to be, is inextricably linked to Freddie's death.

During the course of the investigation we are introduced to various characters closely linked to the victims, both those in the slums and those in society. In the Bowery we meet Raven and Kid Blink. Raven is a young newsie who was close to Freddie, and Kid Blink is the clever and hard leader of the newsboy strike who looks after the newsies like an older brother, and Black Jack Robinson, a frightening and powerful Bowery gangster who knew both of the victims. On the society side we meet Estelle's extended and dysfunctional family. Estelle's father, Horace Longacre is a miserable tyrant who also happens to be on his death bed and exhibits little tender feelings for his family. Penelope Longacre is Estelle's surly spinster aunt who's only concern is for her ward, Norman Tufts, a hapless young man whom Penelope hoped Estelle would soon marry. The only servants in their household are Marie and Tom, a married couple who serve as maid and man-of-all-work, who prove to be integral to solving the mystery.

As with all of the Gaslight Mysteries, Murder in the Bowery moves seamlessly from the murder plot to the behind the scenes lives of both the main characters and those who are entangled in the murder. The author has such a knack for strong characterization that both the well-loved main characters and the new ones fueling the current mystery practically jump off the page with their realness. Thompson is able to keep the story fresh and interesting and fans of this long running series will not be disappointed with this new installment.





About Victoria

Guest Blog by Victoria Thompson and Review and Giveaway of Murder in the Bowery
Photo by Monica Z
About the author Edgar® and Agatha Nominated author Victoria Thompson writes the Gaslight Mystery Series, set in turn-of-the-century New York City and featuring midwife Sarah Brandt. Her latest, Murder in the Bowery, is a May 2017 release from Berkley Prime Crime. She also contributed to the award winning writing textbook Many Genres/One Craft. Victoria teaches in the Seton Hill University master’s program in writing popular fiction. She lives in Illinois with her husband and a very spoiled little dog. Find out more at www.victoriathompson.com. Follow her on Facebook at Victoria.Thompson.Author and on Twitter @gaslightvt.









The Giveaway

What:  One entrant will win a copy of Murder in the Bowery by Victoria Thompson from the publisher. US ONLY

How:
  • Send an email to theqwillery . contests @ gmail.com [remove the spaces]
  • In the subject line, enter “Bowery“ with or without the quote marks.
  • In the body of the email, please provide your name and full mailing address. The winning address is used only to mail the novel and is provided to the publisher and/or The Qwillery only for that purpose. All other address information will be deleted once the giveaway ends.
Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a US mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59PM US Eastern Time on June 7, 2017. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter

*Giveaway rules and duration are subject to change without any notice.*

Guest Blog by Peter McLean, author of the Burned Man Novels, and Giveaway


Please welcome Peter McLean to The Qwillery. Damnation, the 3rd Burned Man Novel, was published on May 2nd by Angry Robot. You should read this series!



Guest Blog by Peter McLean, author of the Burned Man Novels, and Giveaway



Urban Fantasy: The YA Gateway Drug?

It has apparently been asserted on Twitter (I know, what hasn’t?) that urban fantasy makes for an easy crossover between Young Adult and Adult fantasy fiction, that it’s a “gateway drug” for teens to discover adult fantasy such as A Song Of Ice And Fire or The First Law.

Someone brought this to my attention, saying she thought it was hilarious that books like Ben Aaronovitch’s or mine should be read by young adults and citing the swearing and the violence contained in them as reasons why not. You don’t get violence and swearing in “kids’ books”, right? That’s an interesting point and I can see where she’s coming from, but consider this:

Category Young Adult fiction is marketed at 13-18 year olds, with Middle Grade being the younger market of 8-12 year olds. I’m sure there’s a degree of fudge factor in there depending which publisher’s marketing department you speak to, but that’s roughly how it works. Now, I certainly wouldn’t want an 8 year old reading my books, or even most 13 year olds, but 15+ is a different matter. When I was that age I was reading Stephen King and James Herbert and even Herbert Kastle when nobody was looking (yes, those are pure violence and filth, I admit it) and so was nearly every other lad in my year at school.

Teenagers do things we might like to pretend they don’t, but that doesn’t change the fact of it. Modern YA fiction doesn’t shy away from these things, either. The last YA novel I read was Sarah Pinborough’s brilliant 13 Minutes, and if you read that book you’ll see what I mean. Teenagers do swear and they do take drugs and have sex, and sometimes they kill people too, both in the book and in real life. You can debate whether or not they should until the cows come home, but that doesn’t change the fact that they do. Yes some 16 year-olds are still emotionally and developmentally “kids”, but some (in the UK at least) are already in the army at that age and they really aren’t.

So no, I don’t think swearing and violence makes a book unsuitable for (later) teens. The difference between YA and adult fiction isn’t the swearing and violence, it’s the underlying themes of the story and the life experiences of the characters. Protagonists in YA are usually the same age or a year or two older at most than the target market for the book, so are generally teenagers in the 15-19 year old range. There is a lot more to modern YA fiction than the tried and tested “coming of age story”, and to suggest otherwise does a great disservice to the genre, but not withstanding that YA stories are by definition about things that affect, or are relatable to their target audience. There’s some really great YA fiction about drug dependency, about teenage pregnancy, about self-harm and eating disorders, but as far as I know there is no YA fiction about going through a bitter divorce or trying to find a way to afford to put your kids through college.

Those are adult experiences, not teenage ones, and the themes they would explore (having wasted the best years of your life, social failure, financial stress, wanting your children to have a better life than you had) are broadly adult themes rather than teen ones. That, I think, is the underlying thread that makes my books and Ben’s firmly adult novels. My main character Don Drake is a seedy forty-something magician, not a hip young vampire slayer. His personal demons are long-term addiction, his deeply-buried memories of domestic abuse from a decade when it just wasn’t talked about, and a desperate need not to turn into the man that his father was at his age. Those are adult themes and while I’d be happy to let a 15 year-old read Drake or any of the rest of my books I’m not sure how much of it they would or even could relate to on a personal level.

So no, I don’t think adult urban fantasy is intrinsically unsuitable for teens but neither do I think it is necessarily their obvious first step into adult fantasy in general. These days, that gateway drug is television. Game of Thrones has been a phenomenal success worldwide, and I suspect that a good number of teens have been watching the show despite HBO putting an 18+ rating on it. For those who haven’t, there’s MTV’s Sword of Shannara, or “Beverly Hills 9021Elf” as I’ve heard some wag describe it, and of course the Lord of the Rings movies. Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time is coming to television soon too, apparently.

If I ever write a YA novel, and one day I just might, it’ll be the themes that are the most different from my existing writing. I’ll probably swear a bit less, too, but only a bit.

They’ve heard it all on the Internet already anyway.





Damnation
A Burned Man Novel 3
Angry Robot, May 2, 2017
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

Guest Blog by Peter McLean, author of the Burned Man Novels, and Giveaway
Don Drake is living rough in a sink estate on the outskirts of Edinburgh, doing cheap spells for even cheaper customers while fending off the local lowlifes. Six months ago, Don fled from London to Glasgow to track down his old girlfriend Debbie the alchemist.

With the Burned Man gradually driving him mad, Don meets with an ancient and mysterious tramp-slash-magician, with disastrous consequences. Now his old accomplices must step in to save Don from himself, before he damns himself for good this time.

File Under: Urban Fantasy [ Fallen So Far | Smacked Up | Devil Don’t Care | Hell or Heaven ]




Previously

Drake
A Burned Man Novel 1
Angry Robot Books, January 5, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

Guest Blog by Peter McLean, author of the Burned Man Novels, and Giveaway
Hitman Don Drake owes a gambling debt to a demon. Forced to carry out one more assassination to clear his debt, Don unwittingly kills an innocent child and brings the Furies of Greek myth down upon himself.

Rescued by an almost-fallen angel called Trixie, Don and his magical accomplice the Burned Man, an imprisoned archdemon, are forced to deal with Lucifer himself whilst battling a powerful evil magician.

Now Don must foil Lucifer’s plan to complete Trixie’s fall and save her soul whilst preventing the Burned Man from breaking free from captivity and wreaking havoc on the entire world.

File Under: Urban Fantasy [ One Last Hit / Both Ends Burning / Going Underground / London’s Finest ]


See Qwill's Review here.



Dominion
A Burned Man Novel 2
Angry Robot, November 1, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

Guest Blog by Peter McLean, author of the Burned Man Novels, and Giveaway
In the tunnels deep under London, the Earth Elementals are dying.

Hunted by something they know only as the Rotman, the Elementals have no one trustworthy they can turn to. Enter Don Drake, drunken diabolist and semi-reformed hitman, and an almost-fallen angel called Trixie.

When Don learns that Rotman is actually the archdemon Bianakith, he knows this is going to be a tough job. The fiend is the foretold spirit of disease and decay whose aura corrupts everything it comes near, and even the most ancient foundations of London will crumble eventually. Now Don, Trixie and his ever-annoying patron the Burned Man have to hatch a plan to keep Bianakith from wiping out the Elementals and bringing down the city. But the Burned Man has other plans and those may have dire consequences for everyone.

The past never stays buried, and old sins must be atoned for. Judgement is coming, and its name is Dominion.

File Under: Urban Fantasy [ The Devil You Knew / Deeped & Down / Great Irresponsibility / London’s Burning ]


See Qwill's Review here.





About Peter

Guest Blog by Peter McLean, author of the Burned Man Novels, and Giveaway
Peter McLean was born near London in 1972, the son of a bank manager and an English teacher. He went to school in the shadow of Norwich Cathedral where he spent most of his time making up stories.

By the time he left school this was probably the thing he was best at, alongside the Taoist kung fu he had begun studying since the age of 13. He grew up in the Norwich alternative scene, alternating dingy nightclubs with studying martial arts and practical magic.

He has since grown up a bit, if not a lot, and spent 25 years working in corporate IT. He is married to Diane and is still making up stories.

You can find Peter online at his website, on Twitter @petemc666 and on Facebook.





The Giveaway

What:  Three sets (three winners - 1 set each) of the Burned Man Novels Drake, Dominion and Damnation by Peter McLean from the publisher. INTERNATIONAL

How:
  • Send an email to theqwillery . contests @ gmail.com [remove the spaces]
  • In the subject line, enter “Burned Man“ with or without the quote marks.
  • In the body of the email, please provide your name and full mailing address. The winning address is used only to mail the novel(s) and is provided to the publisher and/or The Qwillery only for that purpose. All other address information will be deleted by The Qwillery once the giveaway ends.
Who:  The giveaway is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address.

When:  The giveaway ends at 11:59 PM US Eastern Time on June 4, 2017. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules and duration are subject to change without any notice.*

Guest Blog by Baily Cattrell and Review of Nightshade for Warning plus Giveaway


Please welcome Bailey Cattrell to The Qwillery. Nightshade for Warning was published on May 2nd by Berkley.
Bailey believes magic is all around us if we only look for it. After earning degrees in philosophy and English, she held a variety of positions ranging from driver’s license examiner to soap maker. She traveled the world as a localization program manager, but now sticks close to home, where she writes, cooks, and tends to a dozen garden beds. Bailey resides in Colorado with her guy and two felines: Cheesecat the Orange and Minerva the asthmatic wonder kitty. (from Penguin Random House)



Guest Blog by Baily Cattrell and Review of Nightshade for Warning plus Giveaway




Nightshade for Warning is the second in the Enchanted Garden Mystery series featuring aromatherapist and perfumer Elliana Allbright. After divorcing her philandering husband, she opened her dream business, Scents & Nonsense, in her hometown of Poppyville, California. Her almost supernatural sense of smell combined with her ability to intuitively know what fragrances will help her friends and customers overcome difficulty or simply bring them pleasure has made her business take off like a rocket.

The Enchanted Garden behind her shop is chock-full of rambling plants, bird houses and windchimes, winding paths, tumbling terrace beds, and myriad herbs and flowers from which she distills the concentrated scents that are the hallmark of her unique perfumes. For this, she uses the ancient copper alembic her gamma left her along with an illustrated garden journal Ellie has come to realize contains more than a little magic.

The garden is open to her customers and friends to sit, sip tea, and nibble on the cookies that her best friend, Astrid Moneypenny, bakes up every morning. Miniature garden tableaus, gnome doors and fairy gardens are tucked into crevices and nooks all over the space. Dash the corgi and Nabokov the Russian Blue shop cat provide Ellie company and keep an eye on things, while Ellie herself lives in a super-efficient tiny house at the back of the property.

In Nightshade for Warning, Ellie is missing Ritter Nelson, her new beau who is on a research project in the Alaskan tundra. He’s only been gone for a few weeks, but there are months to go. It’s a welcome distraction when journalist Blake Sontag wants to feature her tiny house in a national magazine. She’s proud of her small-scale home, and Ellie’s business group, the Greenstockings, see it as a terrific opportunity to spread the word about their adorable tourist town with its Old West flavor and access to outdoor activities.

Then her little brother, Colby, turns up with his Westfalia van and a new girlfriend, Larken. Ellie adores her brother, and takes to Larken – a wildcrafter and herbalist after her own heart – right away.
Things are looking up until Sontag is poisoned, and the police focus on the last person to see him alive – Colby’s girlfriend, Larken. It doesn’t help that she had extensive herbal knowledge and the poison that killed the journalist was plant-based.

Detective Max Lang has held even more of a grudge against Ellie ever since she proved herself innocent of the murder he tried to pin on her months before, so it’s not easy when Ellie agrees to help Larken. But she plunges in with the help of Astrid and the other members of the Greenstockings to uncover the murder victim’s past in Poppyville, a mysterious land grant, an old family secret – and plenty of motives for murder. In the process, she learns a bit more about her magical abilities, and a new admirer challenges her determination to stay true to Ritter despite his long absence and sometimes confusing communications.

The book includes recipes for Astrid’s Lavender Shortbread Cookies and the Peppermint Foot Polish that Maria Canto loves so much.

Next up? Potions and Pastries, the seventh in the Magical Bakery Mystery series that I write as Bailey Cates, will release in November, 2017, and I’m currently working on the third Enchanted Garden Mystery, tentatively titled Marigolds for Malice.

For more information about all my books (and pen names), please visit www.baileycates.com.





Nightshade for Warning
Author:  Bailey Cattrell
Series:  An Enchanted Garden Mystery 2
Publisher:  Berkley, May 2, 2017
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 336 pages
List Price:  US$7.99 (print and eBook)
ISBN:  9780451476890 (print); 9780698407190 (eBook)

Guest Blog by Baily Cattrell and Review of Nightshade for Warning plus Giveaway
The second Enchanted Garden Mystery from Bailey Cattrell—author of the New York Times bestselling Magical Bakery Mysteries as Bailey Cates.

Elliana Allbright’s custom-made perfume shop and the Enchanted Garden behind it are garnering all sorts of attention, but a dead body could bury her in bad publicity. . . .

Ellie’s business and personal life have been flourishing in her hometown of Poppyville, California, since she opened Scents & Nonsense. She uses her very special skills to craft perfumes that almost magically ease heartache, inspire change, and bring joy—and her customers love to relax in the beautiful garden behind her shop with her corgi, Dash, and her cat, Nabokov. She even lives right next to the garden, in a compact “tiny house”—and she’s excited to hear that a journalist is going to write a feature about her home and garden for a national magazine.

But then the journalist is found dead, and suspicion falls on the last person to see him—who just happens to be Ellie’s brother’s girlfriend. So before everything goes to seed, Ellie must rely on her powers—observational and otherwise—to pick out the real killer from an ever-expanding bouquet of culprits. . . .



Jennifer's Review

Nightshade for Warning is the second installment in Bailey Cattrell's whimsical Enchanted Garden Mystery series. Elliana Allbright, proprietor of Scents and Nonsense in picturesque Poppyville, California, has recently discovered that her affinity with plants and aromas is more magical than mundane. While trying to carry on a long distance relationship with old friend Ritter, Elliana is getting ready for her tiny home, once a garden shed, to be featured in an article for a national environmental magazine. Little does Ellie know that the interviewer is about to become Poppyville's newest murder victim, and that she will feel compelled to solve the mystery when her half-brother's new girlfriend stands accused of the crime.

Elliana is petite and sweet.. She possesses a curious nature and is exploring what it means to have magical tendencies. She lives quietly and happily in the garden of her beloved gift and aromatherapy shop with her darling Corgi, Dash, and the regal shop cat she acquired with the shopfront, Nabokov. Ellie's best friend, Astrid Moneypenny, a pet whisperer, also helps out in her shop, providing delicious baked treats for Ellie's customers. Maggie Clement is Ellie's part time shop assistant, dividing her time between Scents and Nonsense and the Roux Grill, the eatery now run by Ellie's smarmy ex-husband Harris. Harris turns up in this story like a bad penny, but is only on the sidelines for most of the book.

A character that was only touched on in the previous book in this series is Colby, Elliana's half brother. He has been wandering the country for some time, but has suddenly returned to Poppyville with a stunning new girlfriend in tow. Larken Meadows is as sweet as her name, but she's a staunch environmentalist who gets into a heated argument with the murder victim the evening of his death.

Blake Sontag has a very short cameo in the story before he is murdered. Blake is a Poppyville native who returns for the tiny house story and is a thoroughly unlikable character. His death is not much lamented, even by his former fiancée, local business powerhouse, founder of the women's business association, The Greenstockings, and confirmed man-eater, Cynthia Beck. There are also appearances from the other Greenstockings and various new and old townspeople, including detective Max Lang, Ellie's nemesis from the first novel. Newcomers of note include; Joyous Sontag, Blake's surly, reclusive sister, who hides a secret that proves to be integral to the story, Vaughn Newton, a mysterious giant of a man who also knows Ellie's ex-husband, Tanner Spence, a dreamy photographer who had reason to hate Blake, and Felicity Donovan, manager of the hotel where Blake was murdered, and another person who had a grudge against him.

The plot moves along well throughout the entirety of the novel, not too fast, but not too slow either. The author is able to use scent descriptions to breathe deeper life into scenes and characters that are unique and enhances the entire story line. There are a couple of twists and surprises in the novel that make it stand out from other magical cozy mysteries. This was a fun read and the Enchanted Garden Mysteries are destined to become one of my favorite book series and I am eagerly awaiting future installments.

~~~~
Note from Qwill: Our reviewer Jennifer is back after taking a break after her daughter's birth. While reading Daisies for Innocence (the first Enchanted Garden Mystery), Jennifer found the name for her daughter - Elliana! Welcome back Jennifer!





Previously

Daisies for Innocence
An Enchanted Garden Mystery 1
Berkley, January 5, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

Guest Blog by Baily Cattrell and Review of Nightshade for Warning plus Giveaway
From Bailey Cattrell—who writes the New York Times bestselling Magical Bakery Mysteries as Bailey Cates—comes the first Enchanted Garden Mystery featuring custom perfume maker Elliana Allbright…

The Enchanted Garden behind Elliana Allbright’s perfume shop draws people of all ages with its fragrant flowers and lush greenery. But when the magical serenity is interrupted, it’s up to Ellie to sniff out a killer.

Ellie’s life has blossomed in Poppyville, California, since she opened Scents & Nonsense, a custom-made-perfume store. Her skills with aromas and botanical essences—some from her very own garden—seem almost…supernatural. Her perfumes can evoke emotions, bring about change, or simply make people happy. Customers are flocking to the store to buy her wares or just to sit in her beautiful garden, sip tea and enjoy homemade cookies.

But she smells trouble when she learns that her part-time assistant Josie is dating her ex. And before she can tell the young woman to beware of his charms, she finds Josie dead in the Enchanted Garden. Now the prime suspect in Josie’s murder, Ellie must search for the real culprit in Josie’s past—because it’ll take a miracle to nip this problem in the bud….


See Jennifer's Review here.





The Giveaway

What:  One entrant will win a Mass Market Paperback copy of Nightshade for Warning by Bailey Cattrell from the publisher. US ONLY

How:
  • Send an email to theqwillery . contests @ gmail.com [remove the spaces]
  • In the subject line, enter “Nightshade“ with or without the quote marks.
  • In the body of the email, please provide your name and full mailing address. The winning address is used only to mail the novel and is provided to the publisher and/or The Qwillery only for that purpose. All other address information will be deleted once the giveaway ends.
Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a US mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59PM US Eastern Time on May 31, 2017. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter

*Giveaway rules and duration are subject to change without any notice.*

Guest Blog by Michael Johnston - My Inspiration for Soleri - and Giveaway


Please welcome Michael Johnston to The Qwillery as part of the of the 2017 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. Soleri, Michael's solo debut, will published on June 13th by Tor Books.



Guest Blog by Michael Johnston - My Inspiration for Soleri - and Giveaway




My Inspiration for Soleri
by Michael Johnston

“May you share the sun’s fate.”

I saw the words on a pyramidion, which is a little gold pyramid that sits atop an actual much, much larger pyramid. You know, like the big ones in the deserts of Egypt. I was at the British Museum in London when I saw the little pyramidion and the words weren’t written in English, but in hieroglyphs. I had to read the plaque below it to understand.

I was an architect at the time, so I was interested in these things; I always read the captions. As a writer I’m still interested in this stuff, but it’s the words that grab my attention more than the objects. I love the intersection of myth and architecture, so this particular phrase stuck in my head. Years later, when I began writing an epic fantasy novel that took place in a society that was a lot like ancient Egypt, the phrase came back to me. In my novel, Soleri, “May you share the sun’s fate” is a kind of farewell. It’s a means of saying goodbye, adios. But it’s also a theme in Soleri. It resonates on one or two levels, perhaps more.

Maybe it just says, hey, I hope you live through the day, that you wake up in the morning and rise from bed. In ancient times, living through the day meant a lot more than it does now. People didn’t live as long back then and their day-to-day lives were a lot tougher than ours. The characters in Soleri happened to lead particularly dangerous lives, so the phrase carries a bit more weight for the characters. Death follows them and it catches up to a few...which takes us to the phrase’s second meaning.

There’s a reason why the ancient Egyptians placed that passage atop some of their pyramids. It was a prayer. They were asking to rise again, but not in this world. They imagined a vast afterlife and spent a great deal of time and effort preparing for their place within it. I play with this second meaning in Soleri. Some of my characters spend their days just trying to survive. And they’re happy enough to see the sun rise each day. But a few of them might just welcome death, and they might not want to rise again from it.

When I set out to write the novel, I wanted to take my old career as an architect and fuse it with my new one as a writer. It didn’t always work out. The first draft had page after page of unnecessary and overly detailed descriptions of buildings. At times I had to separate the two professions. Not everyone cares how the Egyptians built in stone, or what tools they had available at what time. But there were places in the writing where my former career and my new one intersected beautifully. One informed the other. “May you share the sun’s fate” was just one of them, but it was probably my favorite. After all, who wouldn’t want to rise from their own grave?





Soleri
Tor Books, June 13, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 368 pages

Guest Blog by Michael Johnston - My Inspiration for Soleri - and Giveaway
Michael Johnston brings you the first in a new epic fantasy series inspired by ancient Egyptian history and King Lear.

The ruling family of the Soleri Empire has been in power longer than even the calendars that stretch back 2,826 years. Those records tell a history of conquest and domination by a people descended from gods, older than anything in the known world. No living person has seen them for centuries, yet their grip on their four subjugate kingdoms remains tighter than ever.

On the day of the annual eclipse, the Harkan king, Arko-Hark Wadi, sets off on a hunt and shirks his duty rather than bow to the emperor. Ren, his son and heir, is a prisoner in the capital, while his daughters struggle against their own chains. Merit, the eldest, has found a way to stand against imperial law and marry the man she desires, but needs her sister’s help, and Kepi has her own ideas.

Meanwhile, Sarra Amunet, Mother Priestess of the sun god’s cult, holds the keys to the end of an empire and a past betrayal that could shatter her family.

Detailed and historical, vast in scope and intricate in conception, Soleri bristles with primal magic and unexpected violence. It is a world of ancient and elaborate rites, of unseen power and kingdoms ravaged by war, where victory comes with a price, and every truth conceals a deeper secret.





About Michael

Guest Blog by Michael Johnston - My Inspiration for Soleri - and Giveaway
Photo by Cathryn Farnsworth
Michael Johnson was born in Cleveland, Ohio and is a life-long avid reader of science fiction and fantasy. He studied architecture and ancient history at Lehigh University and earned a master’s degree in architecture from Columbia University. After working as an architect in New York City, he switched to writing full-time. He lives in Los Angeles, with his wife Melissa de la Cruz and daughter. Visit http://michaeljohnstonauthor.com/ or follow him on Twitter: @mjohnstonauthor





The Giveaway

What:  3 Advance Readers Copies (ARCs) - 3 Winners - of Soleri by Michael Johnston. US Only

How:
  • Send an email to theqwillery . contests @ gmail.com [remove the spaces]
  • In the subject line, enter “Soleri“ with or without the quote marks.
  • In the body of the email, please provide your name and full mailing address. The winning address is used only to mail the novel and is provided to the publisher, the publicist and/or The Qwillery only for that purpose. All other address information will be deleted by The Qwillery once the giveaway ends.
Who:  The giveaway is open to all humans on the planet earth with a US mailing address.

When:  The giveaway ends at 11:59 PM US Eastern Time on May 20, 2017. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

Interview with Deborah Blake


Please welcome Deborah Blake to The Qwillery.  Veiled Menace, the 2nd novel in the Veiled Magic series, was published on April 18th by InterMix.



Interview with Deborah Blake




TQWelcome back to The Qwillery. Your newest novel, Veiled Menace, was published on April 18th and is the second novel in the Veiled Magic series. Please tell us about the series.

Deborah:  It’s an urban fantasy set in a world much like ours, except there the Paranormal races are still in hiding, except for the Witches, who came out of the broom closet a few years back. The protagonist is a Witch-cop named Donata Santori, who specializes in speaking to the dead—specifically, the victims of crimes. In the first book, Veiled Magic, Donata stumbled across a long-lost secret relic of the war between the Paranormal races and the Catholic Church, and got involved with two very different men, Peter (a half-dragon forger) and Magnus (an Ulfhednar shapechanger from her past). She was threatened and chased by two different factions and in the end, they all barely escaped with their lives, and the mysterious Pentacle Pentimento was thought to be destroyed. Peter and Magnus left to deal with their own issues, and Donata went back to a life that was changed forever. What happened after that is the story of Veiled Menace, where nothing is exactly as it seems and Donata gets in ever further over her head.



TQDescribe Veiled Menace in 140 characters or less.

Deborah:  Donata discovers the identity of the lost sixth race and is again torn between two men; none of it goes well and everyone is keeping deadly secrets.



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

Deborah:  Since the first book, Donata’s boss, the Human police chief, has moved her up out of the basement and asked her to look into “unusual” cases that might involve Paranormal influences. She is practicing magic with her eccentric great-aunt in an effort to be able to deal with these new duties better. It isn’t going all that well, alas.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Veiled Menace?

Deborah:  Does nearly twenty years as a practicing witch count? I did a ton of research for the first book, Veiled Magic, including studying up on the Inquisition, an obscure painter, and Norse berserker shapechanger legends (because I didn’t want to use the typical paranormal vampires and werewolves). Most of Veiled Menace build on that initial research. I did have to read up on golems, but I can’t tell you why!



TQPlease tell us about Veiled Menace's cover?

Deborah:  I love the covers for the two books in this series. They picked a model who looked exactly the way Donata did in my head, and even managed to include her familiar, Grimalkin. The cover doesn’t show anything about the story in particular, but I think it captures the mystical and slightly threatening feeling well.



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

Deborah:  Donata was the easiest, because I already knew her well from the first book. Peter might have been the most difficult, because he turned out to be a little different than I thought he was going to (characters do these things to their authors sometimes), even though we’d met him in Veiled Magic, and he was a complicated, conflicted man.



TQ:  Why have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in Veiled Menace?

Deborah:  I didn’t address specific social issues (I did more of that in my Baba Yaga series, also from Berkley), but I did touch on the difficulties that ensue when various sections of society believe that they are being oppressed or need to fight for what is theirs.



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

Deborah:  “Was it hard to write the second book in a continuing series?” “YES! The Baba Yaga series is a little different, because there are three main characters, each of whom gets her own book and her own happily ever after. It was tough to keep kicking poor Donata when she was down, and break her heart repeatedly, without making the reader feel cheated.”



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

Deborah:  Here’s one from the very beginning of the book!

Donata Santori looked down at the dead body lying at her feet and thought, Damn, that can’t be a good sign.

There was a choking sound from behind her and the Chief said, “No kidding, Santori. A dead body is never a good sign.” He crossed his arms over his bulky chest and looked impatient and a little bit cranky. Pretty much like usual.

Crap—had she said that out loud? No wonder he only let her work outside the precinct once in a blue moon.



TQYour Baba Yaga novels and the Broken Rider Novels are interconnected in that the Broken Riders protect the Baba Yaga witches. Is there any crossover to the Veiled Magic novels in any way?

Deborah:  Not at all. The books take place in different worlds, and even the witches are completely different. (The witches in the Veiled Magic series have more realistic limits to their magic, and are a separate race from humans. The witches in the Baba Yaga series have tremendous, although not unlimited, magical powers, and were born human and then became Baba Yagas.)



TQWhat's next?

Deborah:  I’m actually working on the third book in the series right now, tentatively titled Veiled Mysteries, although that could change. I’ve got another novella set in the Baba Yaga world coming out in September, and the second Broken Rider book, Dangerously Divine (Gregori’s story) comes out November 28th. Save the date!



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Deborah:  Thank you for having me!





Veiled Menace
Veiled Magic 2
InterMix, April 18, 2017
eBook, 285 pages

Interview with Deborah Blake
From the author of Veiled Magic and the Baba Yaga novels comes an exciting new paranormal romance…

Since Witches came out of the broom closet in the early twenty-first century, they have worked alongside humans as police officers, healers, stock traders, and more. But they aren’t the only paranormal entities in our world…

Witch and police officer Donata Santori is no stranger to magical mayhem, but lately her life has been unexpectedly charmed. Her job as a Ghost Yanker now includes the occasional paranormal investigation, and she’s advancing her magical abilities with the help of an ancestor’s treasured spell book. And while both of her former love interests—reclusive half-Dragon art forger Peter Casaventi and disgraced Shapechanger Magnus Torvald—are nowhere to be found, she’s not averse to being wined and dined by wealthy businessman Anton Eastman.

But Eastman isn’t what he seems, and what he wants from Donata is far more than she’s willing to give. When a mysterious relic, the Pentacle Pentimento, resurfaces, along with Peter’s Dragon father and a shocking Santori family secret, Donata must fight to save herself, her friends, and just maybe the fate of the world from a magic as old as it is dangerous…

Includes an exclusive preview of the next Broken Rider novel, Dangerously Divine




Previously

Veiled Magic
Veiled Magic 1
InterMix, November 17, 2015
eBook, 281 pages

Interview with Deborah Blake
A spellbinding new novel from the author of the Baba Yaga novels.

Since Witches came out of the broom-closet in the early 21st century, they have worked alongside humans as police officers, healers, stock traders, and more. But they aren’t the only paranormal entities in our world…

Police officer and Witch Donata Santori spends her days interrogating dead witnesses by summoning their spectral forms. Normally the job is little more than taking statements and filing reports. But when she’s called in on the case of a murdered art restorer, she finds herself suddenly in possession of a mystical portrait that both the human and paranormal communities would kill to get their hands on.

Unable to take on the forces hunting her alone, Donata seeks help from two unlikely and attractive allies: a reluctant shape-changer and a half-dragon art forger. But as the three of them hurry to uncover the truth about the powerful painting, Donata realizes that she’s caught in the middle of not one but two wars—one for possession of the painting’s secrets and one for possession of her heart…

Includes an exclusive preview of the next Baba Yaga novel, Wickedly Powerful.





About Deborah

Interview with Deborah Blake
Deborah Blake is the author of the Baba Yaga Series (Wickedly Dangerous, Wickedly Wonderful, Wickedly Powerful), the Broken Rider Series, and the Veiled Magic books from Berkley, and has published nine books on modern witchcraft with Llewellyn Worldwide as well as a tarot deck. When not writing, Deborah runs The Artisans’ Guild, a cooperative shop she founded with a friend in 1999, and also works as a jewelry maker, tarot reader, and energy healer. She lives in a 130-year-old farmhouse in rural upstate New York with various cats who supervise all her activities, both magical and mundane.

Newsletter  ~  Website  ~  Blog  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @deborahblake  ~  Goodreads





The Giveaway

What:  One entrant will a prize pack that includes a notebook, broom pen, a $10 Amazon gift card, a cute stuffed dragon, some chocolate and some other miscellaneous things from Deborah Blake (see picture). INTERNATIONAL

Interview with Deborah Blake

How:
  • Send an email to theqwillery . contests @ gmail.com [remove the spaces]
  • In the subject line, enter “Veiled Menace“ with or without the quote marks.
  • In the body of the email, please provide your name and full mailing address. The winning address is used only to mail the novel(s) and is provided to the publisher and/or The Qwillery only for that purpose. All other address information will be deleted by The Qwillery once the giveaway ends.

Who:  The giveaway is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address.

When:  The giveaway ends at 11:59 PM US Eastern Time on May 2, 2017. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.





Also by Deborah Blake

The Baba Yaga Series

Interview with Deborah Blake
Wickedly Magical
A Baba Yaga Novella
Berkley, August 5, 2014
eBook, 73 pages

Known as the wicked witch of Russian fairy tales, Baba Yaga is not one woman, but rather a title carried by a chosen few. They keep the balance of nature and guard the borders of our world, but don’t make the mistake of crossing one…

Barbara Yager loves being one of the most powerful witches in the world, but sometimes she’d rather kick back in her enchanted Airstream with a beer in her hand than work out how to grant the requests of the worthy few who seek her out.

But when a man appears with the token of a family debt of honor, Barbara must drop everything to satisfy the promise owed by her predecessor—and she isn’t above being a little wicked to make sure the debt is paid in full…



Interview with Deborah Blake
Wickedly Dangerous
A Baba Yaga Novel 1
Berkley, September 2, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

FIRST IN A NEW SERIES!

Known as the wicked witch of Russian fairy tales, Baba Yaga is not one woman, but rather a title carried by a chosen few. They keep the balance of nature and guard the borders of our world, but don’t make the mistake of crossing one of them…

Older than she looks and powerful beyond measure, Barbara Yager no longer has much in common with the mortal life she left behind long ago. Posing as an herbalist and researcher, she travels the country with her faithful (mostly) dragon-turned-dog in an enchanted Airstream, fulfilling her duties as a Baba Yaga and avoiding any possibility of human attachment.

But when she is summoned to find a missing child, Barbara suddenly finds herself caught up in a web of deceit and an unexpected attraction to the charming but frustrating Sheriff Liam McClellan.

Now, as Barbara fights both human enemies and Otherworld creatures to save the lives of three innocent children, she discovers that her most difficult battle may be with her own heart…



Interview with Deborah Blake
Wickedly Wonderful
A Baba Yaga Novel 2
Berkley, December 2, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

Known as the wicked witch of Russian fairy tales, Baba Yaga is not one woman, but rather a title carried by a chosen few. They keep the balance of nature and guard the borders of our world, but don’t make the mistake of crossing one of them…

Though she looks like a typical California surfer girl, Beka Yancy is in fact a powerful yet inexperienced witch who’s struggling with her duties as a Baba Yaga. Luckily she has her faithful dragon-turned-dog for moral support, especially when faced with her biggest job yet…

A mysterious toxin is driving the Selkie and Mer from their homes deep in the trenches of Monterey Bay. To investigate, Beka buys her way onto the boat of Marcus Dermott, a battle-scarred former U.S. Marine, and his ailing fisherman father.

While diving for clues, Beka drives Marcus crazy with her flaky New Age ideas and dazzling blue eyes. She thinks he’s rigid and cranky (and way too attractive). Meanwhile, a charming Selkie prince has plans that include Beka. Only by trusting her powers can Beka save the underwater races, pick the right man, and choose the path she’ll follow for the rest of her life…



Interview with Deborah Blake
Wickedly Ever After
A Baba Yaga Novella
InterMix, January 19, 2016
eBook, 66 pages

Known as the wicked witch of Russian fairy tales, Baba Yaga is not one woman, but rather a title carried by a chosen few. They keep the balance of nature and guard the borders of our world, but don’t make the mistake of crossing one…

Having triumphed over a powerful enemy and ended up with both a wonderful guy—Sheriff Liam McClellan—and an adorable adopted daughter to raise as a Baba Yaga, Barbara Yager is ready to welcome her happily ever after.

But first she must bring Liam to the Otherworld and get the Queen’s permission to marry him. The Queen, however, is not so easily persuaded. She gives them three impossible tasks to complete in two weeks’ time—and if they fail Barbara will have to watch Liam slowly age and die like all humans, and kiss her happily ever after good-bye forever.

Includes an exclusive preview of the next Baba Yaga Novel, Wickedly Powerful



Interview with Deborah Blake
Wickedly Powerful
A Baba Yaga Novel 3
Berkley, February 2, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

The author of Wickedly Wonderful returns to her “addicting”* world of Russian witches in the latest Baba Yaga novel.

Known as the wicked witch of Russian fairy tales, Baba Yaga is not one woman, but rather a title carried by a chosen few. They keep the balance of nature and guard the borders of our world, but don’t make the mistake of crossing one of them…

The only thing more fiery than Bella Young’s red hair is her temper. She knows that a Baba Yaga’s power without strict control can leave the people she cares about burned, so to protect her heart—and everyone around her—the only company she keeps is her dragon-turned-Norwegian-Forest-cat, Koshka.

But when Bella is tasked with discovering who’s setting magical fires throughout Wyoming’s Black Hills, she finds herself working closely with former hotshots firefighter Sam Corbett—and falling hard for his quiet strength and charm.

Sam may bear the scars of his past, but Bella can see beyond them and would do anything to help him heal. Only before she can rescue her Prince Charming, she’ll have to overcome the mysterious foe setting the forest fires—a truly wicked witch who wields as much power and even more anger than Bella…



Wickedly Spirited
A Baba Yaga Novella
InterMix, September 19, 2017
eBook

[cover not yet revealed]

An all-new Baba Yaga novella from Deborah Blake!

Jazz, the powerfully magical teen first introduced in Wickedly Powerful, is now being trained as a Baba Yaga--and she's determined to free the Broken Riders herself.





The Broken Rider Novels

Interview with Deborah Blake
Dangerously Charming
A Broken Rider Novel 1
Berkley, October 4, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

From the author of the Baba Yaga novels, a brand new series set in the same “addicting”* world, filled with wild magic, enchanting damsels, and the irresistibly daring men who serve the Baba Yagas…

The Riders are three immortal brothers who protect the mythical Baba Yagas. But their time serving the witches has ended—and their new destinies are just beginning…

Ever since a near-fatal mistake stripped Mikhail Day and his brothers of their calling to be Riders, Day has hidden from his shame and his new, mortal life in a remote cabin in the Adirondack mountains. But when a desperate young woman appears on his doorstep, he cannot resist helping her—and cannot deny how strongly he’s drawn to her…

For generations, women in Jenna Quinlan’s family have been cursed to give up their first born child to the vengeful fairy Zilya. When Jenna finds herself unexpectedly pregnant, she is determined to break her family’s curse and keep her baby, even if it means teaming up with a mysterious and charismatic man with demons of his own…

To unravel the curse, Jenna and Day will have to travel deep into the Otherworld. But the biggest challenge of the journey might not be solving an ancient puzzle but learning to heal their own broken hearts…


Interview with Deborah Blake
Dangerously Divine
A Broken Rider Novel 2
Berkley, November 28, 2017
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

The author of the “wonderful” (Tamora Pierce) Baba Yaga novels and Dangerously Charming is back with a magically mesmerizing new tale about the dashing and daring Broken Riders…

The Riders: Three immortal brothers who kept the Baba Yagas safe, now stripped of their summons to protect. But fate is not finished with them—and their new callings are even more powerful…

Though his physical wounds have healed, Gregori Sun, the eldest of the Riders, remains in spiritual turmoil. His search for his mother, the one person able to heal his soul and save his life, is failing—until he crosses paths with a beautiful and fascinating librarian who might be the key to his salvation…

Ciera Evans’s bookish ways are just a guise. The product of a difficult past, she has dedicated her life to saving lost teens—by any means necessary. She works alone, but when a dark, brooding stranger proposes they team up to solve both their problems, she is tempted—in more ways than one…


Silent Hall and Among the Fallen (Godserfs 1 and 2) by N.S. Dolkart


Among the Fallen, the second novel in the Godserfs series by N.S. Dolkart, was published on April 4th by Angry Robot. Our robot overseers are providing 3 sets of the Godserfs novels for giveaway and in their benevolence this is a worldwide giveaway! Enter by following the instructions below. Who wouldn't want a set of these gorgeous Fantasy novels with covers by Andreas Rocha?



Among the Fallen
Godserfs 2
Angry Robot, April 4, 2017
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 480 pages

Silent Hall and Among the Fallen (Godserfs 1 and 2) by N.S. Dolkart

In the wake of the battle of Silent Hall, the city of Ardis is reeling, its leaders frightened and disorganized. The remaining oracle of the god Ravennis has resurfaced there and is spreading a new gospel – one in which Ravennis is the new Lord of the Underworld. Narky is swept up in the promotion of his religion, even while the prevailing church of Magor tries to put down its upstart rivals.

In the meantime, Criton and Bandu discover a community of Dragon Touched that has survived in hiding, and with Criton’s leadership, they begin a campaign to retake their former territories with the power of God Most High at their backs.

Left to their own devices, Phaedra and Hunter go on a quest to rediscover the secrets of academic wizardry. But they soon discover that all five islanders are needed to prevent a true worldwide catastrophe. If only Criton and Narky weren’t already on opposing sides of a regional war…

File Under: Fantasy  [ Old Gods, New Faiths | Reunions | An Angel’s Touch | Both Sides Now ]



Silent Hall
Godserfs 1
Angry Robot Books, June 7, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 528 pages

Silent Hall and Among the Fallen (Godserfs 1 and 2) by N.S. Dolkart

After their homeland is struck with a deadly plague, five refugees cross the continent searching for answers. Instead they find Psander, a wizard whose fortress is invisible to the gods, and who is willing to sacrifice anything ‘ and anyone ‘ to keep the knowledge of the wizards safe.

With Psander as their patron, the refugees cross the mountains, brave the territory of their sworn enemies, confront a hostile ocean and even traverse the world of the fairies in search of magic powerful enough to save themselves ‘ and Psander’s library ‘ from the wrath of the gods. All they need to do is to rescue an imprisoned dragon and unleash a primordial monster upon the world. How hard could it be?

File Under: Fantasy [ Ravens of Revenge / The Great Flood / Dragon Boy / You’re the Prophecy ]





About N.S. Dolkart

Silent Hall and Among the Fallen (Godserfs 1 and 2) by N.S. Dolkart
N S Dolkart was home-schooled until high school by his Israeli father and American mother. He is a graduate of the notorious Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts where he studied creative writing and Jewish studies. Among the Fallen is his second novel, the sequel to 2016's Silent Hall.




Wesbite  ~  Twitter @N_S_Dolkart.






The Giveaway

What:  Three sets (three winners - 1 set each) of the Godserfs novels Silent Hall and Among the Fallen by N.S. Dolkart from the publisher. INTERNATIONAL

How:
  • Send an email to theqwillery . contests @ gmail.com [remove the spaces]
  • In the subject line, enter “Godserfs“ with or without the quote marks.
  • In the body of the email, please provide your name and full mailing address. The winning address is used only to mail the novel(s) and is provided to the publisher and/or The Qwillery only for that purpose. All other address information will be deleted by The Qwillery once the giveaway ends.
Who:  The giveaway is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address.

When:  The giveaway ends at 11:59 PM US Eastern Time on April 30, 2017. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

Interview with AdriAnne Strickland and Michael Miller, authors of Shadow Run, Plus Review and Giveaway


Please welcome AdriAnne Strickland and Michael Miller to The Qwillery. Shadow Run was published on March 21st by Delacorte Press.



Interview with AdriAnne Strickland and Michael Miller, authors of Shadow Run, Plus Review and Giveaway




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

Okay! Good! Ready to go! Great to be here! Thanks for having us!

A:  I started writing as a pretty young kid—before I really knew the alphabet, really; I just used squiggles—because I couldn’t not. I started writing in earnest after college, though, with the intention of getting published. It took 5 years.

M:  For a variety of reasons, it was later for me—I’d say about age 8, and at age 13, I started churning out comics, newspapers, and “novels” in earnest. I didn’t take writing as a career until I was 17, at which point I developed a reward system for myself to make sure I wrote a page a day. I thought that stuff was really good, until I read it twenty years later.



TQ Are you a plotters, pantsers or hybrids?

Together, we have to be plotters or else the story would be all over the place with two authors! We needed a pretty clear direction—or outline—to stay in-sync.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you both about writing? What is your co-writing process like?

A:  Writing is most challenging when it becomes a job, and you don’t have the luxury of waiting around for passion to strike. Sometimes you just need to sit down and force the words even if you’re not feeling them—and even if you have to scrap them all later. Writing together, though, was surprisingly easy. We fed off each other’s excitement, had amazing brainstorming sessions, and plotted our way out of corners by being a sounding board for one another.

M:  The hardest thing about writing is the “spin up” time. I have a long lag time between sitting down at the keyboard and actually hitting the “groove,” both of which are absolutely real phenomena. If you’ve given yourself three hours to write, and two of them are spent staring at the wall, it’s a problem! Fortunately, that’s where the GOOD part about coauthoring comes in—fear of your coauthor. I live in a perpetual state of panic, which is actually very good for productivity.



TQWho are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

A:  Ursula K. LeGuin, Neil Gaiman, Leigh Bardugo, Laini Taylor

M:  Influences? Robin McKinley, Suzanne Collins, Rosemary Sutcliff, PG Wodehouse. Favorites include Tolkien, Lewis, and Tove Jansson.



TQ:  Describe Shadow Run in 140 characters or less.

A prince in disguise tries to convince a starship captain that she can change the galaxy for the better before other royals can kill her.



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

Both main characters think the other doesn’t understand the world. The truth is, neither of them do, but together, they are going to do the best job learning.



TQWhat inspired you to write Shadow Run? What appeals to you about writing Science Fiction?

The usual classics like Star Wars, Dune, and Firefly inspired us, but also Alaska—and not because of the cold, breathtaking environment and commercial fishing, but also that “found family” feeling that a lot of us develop with our friends up here.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Shadow Run?

In retrospect, so much! We researched faster than light travel, of course, “paired” magnets, methods of manipulating stock markets, and sword fighting techniques that involve two blades. This latter, in case you were wondering, is pretty rare because it’s largely impractical but it does exist, in a sense.



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

A:  Basra was both the easiest and the hardest for me. S/he felt most natural to me (as we’re both genderfluid), but I also wanted to get the character right. There are so many nuances that couldn’t fit in this book, and so I hope we did Basra justice.

M:  Telu. I’ve spent most my life around people exactly like her, and she is a clever, angry, insightful, and loyal to a level of ferocity no one is likely to understand. She’s a hacker, and all the bottled up sarcasm that implies.



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

We wanted to write something ultimately entertaining, but to also discuss social issues that are important to us as Alaskans and also citizens of the world. One doesn’t exclude the other. You can still talk about issues like identity and cultural clashes and still have fun in a book. So we included those discussions that were important to us, and also swords and space princes.



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

Would you rather live on Alaxak, the planet that Qole hails from, or Luvos, the royal planet? Alaxak, by any metric, until the suns burn out.



TQWhat's next?

We just wrapped up copyedits on Book 2, and we’re starting Book 3!


TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





Shadow Run
Publisher:  Delacorte Press, March 21, 2017
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages
List Price: US$17.99 (print); US$10.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9780399552533 (print); 9780399552540 (eBook)

Interview with AdriAnne Strickland and Michael Miller, authors of Shadow Run, Plus Review and Giveaway
Firefly meets Dune in this action-packed sci-fi adventure about a close-knit, found family of a crew navigating a galaxy of political intrigue and resource-driven power games.

Nev has just joined the crew of the starship Kaitan Heritage as the cargo loader. His captain, Qole, is the youngest-ever person to command her own ship, but she brooks no argument from her crew of orphans, fugitives, and con men. Nev can’t resist her, even if her ship is an antique.

As for Nev, he’s a prince, in hiding on the ship. He believes Qole holds the key to changing galactic civilization, and when her cooperation proves difficult to obtain, Nev resolves to get her to his home planet by any means necessary.

But before they know it, a rival royal family is after Qole too, and they’re more interested in stealing her abilities than in keeping her alive.

Nev’s mission to manipulate Qole becomes one to save her, and to survive, she’ll have to trust her would-be kidnapper. He may be royalty, but Qole is discovering a deep reservoir of power—and stars have mercy on whoever tries to hurt her ship or her crew.



Qwill's Thoughts

Shadow Run is the first novel in a new YA SF series by AdriAnne Strickland and Michael Miller. Initially set on and around the planet, Alaxak, and then on the planet Luvos and in between, the events take place years after the Great Collapse which isolated planets when the quick way to travel between them, the Intergalactic Ports, were destroyed.

The novel centers around the young Captain Qole Uvgamut, the crew of her starship, Kaitan Heritage: Arjan, Qole's brother and fabulous pilot, Telu, hacker supreme, Eton, in charge of weapons and protecting Qole, and Basra, the ship's trader. Nev is the newest crew member and everyone is a bit or more than a bit suspicious about him. But Alaxak is a place people come to get lost, to shed their own lives, and not to answer questions about it. So while suspicious, they let their concerns about Nev slide for the most part, at least initially.

Life on Qole's home planet is not easy. It's mostly bitterly cold and one of the only businesses there is Shadow fishing (in space), containing it, and selling it before it can degrade its canisters and kill everyone on the ship. Shadow is a volatile energy source. It's also poisonous and kills most of the people who work with it including Qole's parents and older brother. It's just a matter of time, Qole believes, until Shadow poisoning kills her too.

Nev had come to Alaxak searching for people like Qole. People affected by Shadow but who also are enhanced by it with amazing reflexes and augmented senses. Both Qole to a greater degree and Arjan are those people. Nev is actually a Prince of the family Dracorte and is hiding his identity both to be safe from other royal families and to not give away anything to Qole and her crew. Nev's ulterior motives for finding Qole become clear as the story progresses and his backstory is often as heartbreaking as Qole's.

The novel alternates between the points of view of Qole and Nev. Both are written so well that it's easy to tell who is relating the story (even without the chapter headings indicating that). They both are struggling with each other for a variety of reasons. Both undergo incredible changes by the end of the novel coming to grips with very personal events and losses. They are incredibly sympathetic characters and you can't but help root for them and feel deeply what they are going through.

Strickland and Miller have created a detailed universe as the backdrop to the story. Qole and Nev are caught up in political battles between great families vying to be in control, personal battles between family members (especially Nev's) and a variety of intrigues over which they have no control. Neither of them gets off easy and damage is done in a variety of ways. Many people in Shadow Run are not who they seem at all and both Qole and Nev have some hard lessons to learn.

While the novel moves at a fast clip it dragged in a few places for me but this is a minor issue and your mileage may vary. On top of great interpersonal relationships and finely developed characters, there are plenty of beautifully written battles, fights, and action! The authors have created some fabulous weapons too.

Shadow Run is a terrific start to an exciting new series and I can't wait to see where Strickland and Miller take the crew of the Kaitan Heritage next. Buy it for your teen, but read it first!





About the Authors

ADRIANNE STRICKLAND and MICHAEL MILLER met in their hometown of Palmer, Alaska, where they agreed on 99% of book taste and thus decided to write together. Adri spends her summers as a commercial fisherwoman in Bristol Bay, Alaska, and the rest of the year writing. Michael grew up off the grid in a homestead in Alaska and now works in IT and tech. This is their first book together. Visit them on Twitter, AdriAnne at @AdriAnneMS and Michael at @begemotike.





The Giveaway

What:  One copy of Shadow Run by AdriAnne Strickland and Michael Miller from the publisher. US Only

How:
  • Send an email to theqwillery . contests @ gmail.com [remove the spaces]
  • In the subject line, enter “Shadow Run“ with or without the quote marks.
  • In the body of the email, please provide your name and full mailing address. The winning address is used only to mail the novel and is provided to the publisher and/or The Qwillery only for that purpose. All other address information will be deleted once the giveaway ends.
Who:  The giveaway is open to all humans on the planet earth with a US mailing address.

When:  The giveaway ends at 11:59 PM US Eastern Time on April 14, 2017. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

Review, Excerpt and Giveaway - The Holver Alley Crew by Marshall Ryan Maresca


The Holver Alley Crew
Author:  Marshall Ryan Maresca
Series:  A Streets of Maradaine Novel
Publisher:  DAW, March 7, 2017
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages
List Price:  US$7.99 (print and eBook)
ISBN9780756412609 (print); 9780756412616 (eBook)

Review, Excerpt and Giveaway - The Holver Alley Crew by Marshall Ryan Maresca
The exciting debut to Marshall Ryan Maresca’s Streets of Maradaine series, blending fast-paced heists with epic and urban fantasy across interconnected series of novels

The Rynax brothers had gone legit after Asti Rynax’s service in Druth Intelligence had shattered his nerves, and marriage and fatherhood convinced Verci Rynax to leave his life of thievery. They settled back in their old neighborhood in West Maradaine and bought themselves a shop, eager for a simple, honest life.

Then the Holver Alley Fire incinerated their plans. With no home, no shop, and no honest income—and saddled with a looming debt—they fall back on their old skills and old friends.

With a crew of other fire victims, Asti and Verci plan a simple carriage heist, but the job spirals out of control as they learn that the fire was no accident. Lives in Holver Alley were destroyed out of a sadistic scheme to buy the land.

Smoldering for revenge, burdened with Asti’s crumbling sanity, the brothers and their crew of amateurs and washouts swear to take down those responsible for the fire, no matter the cost.



Doreen's Thoughts

With his newest book, Marshal Ryan Maresca continues to develop his fantasy world, Maradaine. His first two novels focused on the criminal side of the world while his second two looked at the constabulary, those individuals catching the criminals. With The Holver Alley Crew, Maresca looks at the commoners who live on the streets and often are caught in the middle.

The story opens in the midst of a horrific fire, catching Verci Rynax, his brother Asti, his wife, and their daughter in their home by the flames. They rescue themselves and some of their neighbors, while waiting for the fire crews, but the firefighters appear too late. The fire eventually takes out not only their building, but a huge chunk of the neighborhood, including the shop the brothers had planned to open in their efforts to leave the criminal life.

Because of the debt they owed on the building, Verci and Asti are forced to seek criminal work once again. However, when it becomes apparent that the fire was set intentionally, the boys vow to find those responsible and hold them accountable using a ragtag team of their fellow victims.

Maresca excels at this type of rollicking adventure. His writing exemplifies showing, rather than telling. While he gives hints in the beginning about his characters’ backstories, the story itself reveals more about their personalities and problems. Maresca hints early on that Asti’s work as a spy had not ended well, but he leaves the nuts and bolts of the story and its aftermath for later. For example, the reader immediately sees that Asti is having problems controlling his violence by his reaction to seeing a shopkeeper attacked by thugs. It seems obvious that this is related to his past.

In addition to developing his characters, Maresca also outdoes himself with action. From the opening scene until the close, there always is some type of action taking place. Maresca does not use much introspection or dialogue when an old-fashioned brawl will do. His action scenes, such as the opening fire, go on for pages. He offers lots of fights, chases, and crashes, and he does so joyfully.

It is obvious that Maresca has a lot of fun writing his stories. He genuinely likes the characters that he is describing, even the so-called “bad” guys. While the Rynax brothers are technically thieves, they steal because circumstances force them to do so. Ultimately, they believe in a concept of justice, which is why they choose to go after those who set the fire. The same is true of Veranix, who is a vigilante fighting against a major crime lord. In Maradaine, very few people are ever solely good or wholly bad. Just as in real life, Maresca’s characters have a humanity that allows for shades of grey.




Excerpt

“Julien!” he called. The big man pushed his way through the crowd, Asti meeting him partway.

“You all right, Jules? Your house all right?”

“No,” Julien said, his wide, sad face covered in ash and soot.

“I’m sorry, Julien,” Asti said. “Win Greenfield and his family are still trapped.”

Julien nodded, and charged without further prodding. Verci scrambled out of the way as

Julien smashed his shoulder into the door. It splintered and cracked.

“Asti Rynax, what in the name of the blasted saints do you think you’re doing?” Helene Kesser, Julien’s cousin, had come up right behind him, grabbing his wrist tightly. Her face and nightclothes were covered in ashes, black hair a tangled mess, and bare arms scraped and bleeding. “I barely got Jules out of our house. Don’t you dare have him—”

“I just need the door open,” Asti said. He glanced over at Raych, still crying at Verci to come away from the burning building. “Keep everyone else out, Hel. Especially Verci.”

“How the blazes—”

“Just do it,” Asti said. He took off his pack and handed it to Helene. Without another word, he pulled a cloak out and took it to the well spigot nearest Greenfield’s shop. He pumped it hard, but only a trickle of water came out. While he was doing that, Julien broke the door off its hinges with a loud crunch. Smoke poured out through the open frame.

Asti took a deep breath, put on the damp cloak, and ran into the shop. He could hear Helene yelling from outside, telling Julien not to go in after him.

Asti couldn’t see anything; thick smoke filled the shop. Eyes shut, cloak over his face, he went by memory to the back counter. He didn’t need to see to find his way; it was five steps straight, and then three to the right to the door leading to Win’s workshop.
“Win!” he called out. He could barely hear his own voice over the roar of fire. Blindly he found the door to the back room, and gave a silent prayer that it would be unlocked. He pushed his way in and tripped over something on the ground.

The fire blazed throughout the workshop, but on the floor the smoke was thinner. He had tripped over Green- field’s body. Winthym lay flat on his face, breathing shallowly.
Asti shook him. “Win, come on.” Asti shook him again, but he didn’t wake.

Through the smoke, a hand touched Asti on the shoulder. Verci came crawling in, stopping right in front of Win’s body.

“What are you doing?” Asti shouted at his brother. “Same as you,” Verci said. The ceiling crackled and creaked above them.





The Giveaway

What:  One copy of The Holver Alley Crew by Marshall Ryan Maresca from the publisher. US / Canada Only

How:
  • Send an email to theqwillery . contests @ gmail.com [remove the spaces]
  • In the subject line, enter “Holver Alley“
  • In the body of the email, please provide your name and full mailing address. The winning address is used only to mail the prize and is provided to the publisher and/or The Qwillery only for that purpose. All other address information will be deleted once the giveaway ends.

Who:  The giveaway is open to all humans on the planet earth with a US or Canadian mailing address.

When:  The giveaway ends at 11:59 PM US Eastern Time on March 17, 2017. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules and duration are subject to change without any notice.*





About Marshall

Review, Excerpt and Giveaway - The Holver Alley Crew by Marshall Ryan Maresca
Photo: © Kimberley Mead
Marshall Ryan Maresca grew up in upstate New York and studied film and video production at Penn State. He now lives Austin with his wife and son. His work appeared in Norton Anthology of Hint Fiction and Rick Klaw’s anthology Rayguns Over Texas. He also has had several short plays produced and has worked as a stage actor, a theatrical director and an amateur chef. His novels The Thorn of Dentonhill and A Murder of Mages each begin their own fantasy series, both set in the port city of Maradaine. For more information, visit Marshall’s website at www.mrmaresca.com.




Twitter @marshallmaresca







Previously in Maradaine

Review, Excerpt and Giveaway - The Holver Alley Crew by Marshall Ryan Maresca
The Thorn of Dentonhill
A Novel of Maradaine 1
DAW, February 3, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

Veranix Calbert leads a double life. By day, he’s a struggling magic student at the University of Maradaine. At night, he spoils the drug trade of Willem Fenmere, crime boss of Dentonhill and murderer of Veranix’s father. He’s determined to shut Fenmere down.

With that goal in mind, Veranix disrupts the delivery of two magical artifacts meant for Fenmere’s clients, the mages of the Blue Hand Circle. Using these power-filled objects in his fight, he quickly becomes a real thorn in Fenmere’s side.

So much so that soon not only Fenmere, but powerful mages, assassins, and street gangs all want a piece of “The Thorn.” And with professors and prefects on the verge of discovering his secrets, Veranix’s double life might just fall apart. Unless, of course, Fenmere puts an end to it first.



See Doreen's review here.



Review, Excerpt and Giveaway - The Holver Alley Crew by Marshall Ryan Maresca
A Murder of Mages
A novel of the Maradaine Constabulary 1
DAW, July 7, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

A Murder of Mages marks the debut of Marshall Ryan Maresca’s novels of The Maradaine Constabulary, his second series set amid the bustling streets and crime-ridden districts of the exotic city called Maradaine. A Murder of Mages introduces us to this spellbinding port city as seen through the eyes of the people who strive to maintain law and order, the hardworking men and women of the Maradaine Constabulary.

Satrine Rainey—former street rat, ex-spy, mother of two, and wife to a Constabulary Inspector who lies on the edge of death, injured in the line of duty—has been forced to fake her way into the post of Constabulary Inspector to support her family.

Minox Welling is a brilliant, unorthodox Inspector and an Uncircled mage—almost a crime in itself. Nicknamed “the jinx” because of the misfortunes that seem to befall anyone around him, Minox has been partnered with Satrine because no one else will work with either of them.

Their first case together—the ritual murder of a Circled mage— sends Satrine back to the streets she grew up on and brings Minox face-to-face with mage politics he’s desperate to avoid. As the body count rises, Satrine and Minox must race to catch the killer before their own secrets are exposed and they, too, become targets.



See Doreen's review here.



Review, Excerpt and Giveaway - The Holver Alley Crew by Marshall Ryan Maresca
The Alchemy of Chaos
A Novel of Maradaine 2
DAW, February 2, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

Veranix Calbert is The Thorn—the street vigilante-turned-legend—and a danger to Willem Fenmere, the drug kingpin of Dentonhill. Veranix is determined to stop Fenmere and the effitte drug trade, especially when he discovers that Fenmere is planning on using the Red Rabbits gang in his neighborhood. But Veranix is also a magic student at the University of Maradaine, and it’s exam week. With his academic career riding on his performance, there’s no time to go after Fenmere or the Red Rabbits. But when a series of pranks on campus grow deadly, it’s clear that someone has a vendetta against the university, and Veranix may be the only one who can stop them…




See Doreen's review here.



Review, Excerpt and Giveaway - The Holver Alley Crew by Marshall Ryan Maresca
An Import of Intrigue
A novel of The Maradaine Constabulary 2
DAW, November 1, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

The neighborhood of the Little East is a collision of cultures, languages, and traditions, hidden away in the city of Maradaine. A set of streets to be avoided or ignored. When a foreign dignitary is murdered, solving the crime falls to the most unpopular inspectors in the Maradaine Constabulary: exposed fraud Satrine Rainey, and Uncircled mage Minox Welling.

With a murder scene deliberately constructed to point blame toward the rival groups resident in this exotic section of Maradaine, Rainey is forced to confront her former life, while Welling’s ignorance of his own power threatens to consume him. And the conflicts erupting in the Little East will spark a citywide war unless the Constabulary solves the case quickly.



See Melanie's review here.





Upcoming

The Imposters of Aventil
A Novel of Maradaine 3
DAW, October 3, 2017
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

[cover not yet revealed]
Blending vigilante justice with epic fantasy, this third Maradaine novel finds student Veranix Calbert returning to fight crime • “Veranix is Batman, if Batman were a teenager and magically talented.” —Library Journal

Summer and the Grand Tournament of High Colleges have come to the University of Maradaine. If the heat and the crowds weren’t enough to bring the campus and the neighborhood of Aventil to a boiling point, rumors that The Thorn is on the warpath—killing the last of the Red Rabbits—is enough to tip all of Maradaine into the fire.

Except Veranix Calbert, magic student at the University, is The Thorn, and he’s not the one viciously hunting the Red Rabbits. Veranix has his hands full with his share of responsibilities for the Tournament, and as The Thorn he’s been trying to find the source of the mind-destroying effitte being sold on campus. He’s as confused as anyone about the rumors.

When The Thorn imposter publicly attacks the local Aventil constables, the Constabulary bring in their own special investigators: Inspectors Minox Welling and Satrine Rainey from the Maradaine Grand Inspectors Unit. Can Veranix find out who the imposter is and stop him before Welling and Rainey arrest him for the imposter’s crimes?

Excerpt: The People's Police by Norman Spinrad - and Giveaway


The Qwillery is delighted to share with you an excerpt from The People's Police by Norman Spinrad.



Excerpt: The People's Police by Norman Spinrad - and Giveaway




Chapter 1


Some folks are still bitching that the Eternal Mardi Gras is a Disney version, what with the traditional Krewes’ parading limited to the traditional lead-up to Fat Tuesday while the big budget corporate floats from Hollywood, Bollywood, and Pornywood parade all year, all long, all over New Orleans, which is sort of true, given that it was Disney I brought in first.

But whining that the Mouse has gone and done to the French Quarter what it did to Times Square, and oozed out into the rest of New Orleans like the annual dose of mud during the Hurricane Season, and calling yours truly, Jean-Baptiste Lafitte, a swamp rat traitor to the true soul of the city is going a tad too far, seeing as how the Quarter had fallen far off its fabled glory days even before Katrina.

You expect me to apologize for saving the city from drowning to death?

Oh yes, I did!

Everyone knows New Orleans had been on its economic ass for decades, barely able to pay the cops to keep the Swamp Alligators down in their lowlands swamps and out of the New Orleans Proper high grounds.

And the Hurricane Season wasn’t going away, now was it, and what the Dutch were demanding in order to save what was left of the Big Easy from finally going under would’ve been about the total budget of the city government for the next decade or two. No high-priced, high-tech Hans Brinker seawalls and solar windmill pumping stations back then, need I remind you?

I guess I do.

Amazing what short memories ingrates have.

New Orleans featured itself as the Big Easy since before Mickey Mouse was even a gleam in Uncle Walt’s evil eye, but just because the truth wouldn’t look so good in the tourist guides doesn’t mean we don’t all know that it’s always really been the Big Sleazy, now does it?

This city was making its living as a haven for pirates and slavers and the riverboat gamblers, saloon keepers and whorehouse impresarios like yours more or less truly, rollers high, low, and medium, who serviced their trade since before the Louisiana Purchase.

The Big Easy was born as the Big Sleazy. Easy?

Yeah, sure.

Born between a bend in the mighty and mighty ornery Mississip and a briny marsh presumed to call itself Lake Pontchartrain serving as an overflowing catch-basin for tidal surges when the major hurricanes hit and a giant mud puddle in-between.

Easy?

First built precariously on the natural levees of the Mississippi, expanding greedily and stupidly into the back swamps. Tossed around like a beachball between the French and the Spanish. Finally sold to the Americans by Napoleon on the cheap because he knows he’s gonna lose it to the British anyway if he doesn’t. Flooded every few decades even before Katrina, before there even was an annual Hurricane Season, squeezing what remained onto what high ground was left to it after the sea level rose. The population cut almost in half, forced to live off the tourist and entertainment trade alone when the Gulf oil dried up, just about surrounded by the Alligator Swamp and what crawled up out of it if its back was turned.

You call that Easy?

Those who adapt survive, like the Cajuns from icy Quebec said when they found themselves in the steamin’ bayous of the Delta, like the Alligator Swamp nutria hunters turning a plague into protein. Those who don’t ain’t been heard from lately. So making legal what the Big Easy always was to pull our terminal condition from the mud is not “selling out the soul of the city” or “whoring ourselves to the mavens of show business.”

Because the Big Easy has always been a whore, a charming, sleazy, free-wheeling, good-natured hooker with a heart of gold and an eye for the main chance, which is what makes her easy, and bein’ easy is the name of the game in this business, which has always been the main game in town. And let an old bordello impresario tell you, who would ever hire a hooker who wasn’t all of the above, and good-lookin’ too?

In case you’re forgetting, the Big Easy wasn’t exactly looking as appetizing as a platter of Oysters Bienville back in the day before Mama Legba and Her Supernatural Krewe. She’s all spiffed up and lit up and giving herself the star treatment now, to the point where ingrates and ignoramuses and Creole romantics looking back over their shoulders can afford to complain about how New Orleans is peddling her previously jazzy derrière to less than the genteel bohemian trade of their absinthe fantasies.

Whoever wrote that song about there being no business like show business sure got it wrong. As things stand now, there’s no business but show business and we all are in it. Not that we haven’t always been. The only difference now is that it’s making the good times roll again after all those years in the deep dark shit, and that’s good enough for me, and if it’s not good enough for you, this ain’t your town, you’d best leave and go somewhere more to your tight-assholed liking.

But y’all come back on vacation from the salt mines, y’hear! Whatever your pleasure, we got it, and if we don’t, don’t worry, no matter how pervo it may seem to your sweaty vestigial morality, we’ll get it for you. Here in the Eternal Mardi Gras of the Big Easy, we make no such judgments, we’re impossible to scandalize, de gustibus non est disputandum.


What pays here, stays here, and never fear, we do still want your money.


Copyright © 2017 by Norman Spinrad





The People's Police
Tor Books, February 7, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages

Excerpt: The People's Police by Norman Spinrad - and Giveaway
Norman Spinrad, a National Book Award finalist for his short fiction collection The Star-Spangled Future, has now written The People's Police, a sharp commentary on politics with a contemporary, speculative twist. Martin Luther Martin is a hard-working New Orleans cop, who has come up from the gangland of Alligator Swamp through hard work. When he has to serve his own eviction notice, he decides he's had enough and agrees to spearhead a police strike.

Brothel owner and entrepreneur J. B. Lafitte also finds himself in a tight spot when his whorehouse in the Garden District goes into foreclosure. Those same Fat Cats responsible for the real estate collapse after Katrina didn't differentiate between social strata or vocation.

MaryLou Boudreau, aka Mama Legba, is a television star and voodoo queen—with a difference. The loa really do ride and speak through her.

These three, disparate people are pulled together by a single moment in the television studio when Martin, hoping for publicity and support from the people against the banks, corporate fat cats, and corrupt politicians. But no one expects Papa Legba himself to answer, and his question changes everything.

"What do you offer?"





About Norman

Norman Spinrad is a science fiction icon and the author of more than twenty novels which have been translated into over a dozen languages. His 1969 novel, Bug Jack Barron, was nominated for the Hugo and Nebula Awards and his short fiction collection, The Star-Spangled Future, was a National Book Award finalist. He has also written screenplays for American television series, including the original Star Trek. He lives in Paris. For more information, visit normanspinradatlarge.blogspot.com.

Twitter @normanspinrad





The Giveaway

What:  Two copies of The People's Police by Norman Spinrad from Tor Books. US / Canada Only

How:
  • Send an email to theqwillery . contests @ gmail.com [remove the spaces]
  • In the subject line, enter “The People's Police“
  • In the body of the email, please provide your name and full mailing address. The winning address is used only to mail the prize and is provided to the publisher and/or The Qwillery only for that purpose. All other address information will be deleted once the giveaway ends.

Who:  The giveaway is open to all humans on the planet earth with a US or Canadian mailing address.

When:  The giveaway ends at 11:59 PM US Eastern Time on February 17, 2017. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules and duration are subject to change without any notice.*

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