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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.*

Review: Hungry Ghosts by Stephen Blackmoore - and Giveaway


Hungry Ghosts
Eric Carter 3
DAW, February 7, 2017
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

Review: Hungry Ghosts by Stephen Blackmoore - and Giveaway
Stephen Blackmoore’s dark urban fantasy series follows necromancer Eric Carter through a world of vengeful gods and goddesses, mysterious murders, and restless ghosts • “Gritty, emotional and phenomenally imaginative.” RT Reviews

Necromancer Eric Carter’s problems keep getting bigger. Bad enough he’s the unwilling husband to the patron saint of death, Santa Muerte, but now her ex, the Aztec King of the dead, Mictlantecuhtli, has come back — and it turns out that Carter and he are swapping places. As Mictlantecuhtli breaks loose of his prison of jade, Carter is slowly turning to stone.

To make matters worse, both gods are trying to get Carter to assassinate the other. But only one of them can be telling him the truth and he can’t trust either one. Carter’s solution? Kill them both.

If he wants to get out of this situation with his soul intact, he’ll have to go to Mictlan, the Aztec land of the dead, and take down a couple of death gods while facing down the worst trials the place has to offer him: his own sins.



Qwill's Thoughts

Hungry Ghosts is the third novel in the Eric Carter series by Stephen Blackmoore. Married to Santa Muerte, necromancer Carter is out to kill her and Mictlantecuhtli - the Aztec King of the Dead and Santa Muerte's ex-husband. Carter has a particular need to dispatch Mictlantecuhtli - they are swapping places with Carter becoming a more and more a jade statue when he uses the god's power and Mictlantecuhtli becoming flesh again. To achieve his ends, Carter goes on a hunt for Santa Muerte's avatar in the real world and then to Mictlan, the Aztec land of the dead. On top of all this at least one other Aztec god has issues with Carter which is part of an ancient feud between those gods. Carter is juggling a lot in Hungry Ghosts and the opportunities for him to die are more numerous than ever.

Carter's approach to trouble is generally to take down whatever is in his way. It's worked for him so far more or less so why change? Carter is snarky, a bit crazy, and spends most of his time in a very dark place mentally. He's also extremely resourceful. He's been responsible for a lot of death and destruction to those close to him and many others. In Hungry Ghosts he becomes less sure of his burn it all down approach and for the first time in the series is facing up to events in his life with a bit of introspection. Trying to stay alive, fighting monsters (human and otherwise) does not leave a lot of time for this, but Carter's journey through Mictlan is both real and metaphorical.

Blackmoore brings Mictlan vividly to life and provides fascinating information about Aztec mythology and history. This is all vital to the events unfolding in Hungry Ghosts and serves to deepen the story. In order to stay alive Carter needs to understand what is going on in Mictlan and with the gods.

Hungry Ghosts is a dark, action-packed thrill ride and is Blackmoore's best writing so far. It's full of rich detail and exceptional character development wrapped in a great story. I'm truly looking forward to the next three Eric Carter novels.





The Giveaway

Review: Hungry Ghosts by Stephen Blackmoore - and Giveaway

What:  Mass Market Paperback copies of Dead Things, Broken Souls and Hungry Ghosts by Stephen Blackmoore. US / Canada Only

How:
  • Send an email to theqwillery . contests @ gmail.com [remove the spaces]
  • In the subject line, enter “Eric Carter Novels“
  • 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 14, 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.*





Previously

Dead Things
Eric Carter 1
DAW, February 3, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 256 pages

Review: Hungry Ghosts by Stephen Blackmoore - and Giveaway
The first book in Stephen Blackmoore’s dark urban fantasy series follows necromancer Eric Carter through a world of vengeful goddesses, mysterious murders, and restless ghosts • “Gritty, emotional and phenomenally imaginative.” RT Reviews

Necromancer is such an ugly word, but it’s a title Eric Carter is stuck with.

He sees ghosts, talks to the dead. He’s turned it into a lucrative career putting troublesome spirits to rest, sometimes taking on even more dangerous things. For a fee, of course.

When he left LA fifteen years ago, he thought he’d never go back. Too many bad memories. Too many people trying to kill him.

But now his sister’s been brutally murdered and Carter wants to find out why.

Was it the gangster looking to settle a score? The ghost of a mage he killed the night he left town? Maybe it’s the patron saint of violent death herself, Santa Muerte, who’s taken an unusually keen interest in him.

Carter’s going to find out who did it, and he’s going to make them pay.

As long as they don’t kill him first.



Broken Souls
Eric Carter 2
DAW, August 5, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 272 pages

Review: Hungry Ghosts by Stephen Blackmoore - and Giveaway
The second book in Stephen Blackmoore’s dark urban fantasy series follows necromancer Eric Carter through a world of vengeful goddesses, mysterious murders, and restless ghosts • “Gritty, emotional and phenomenally imaginative.” RT Reviews

Sister murdered, best friend dead, married to the patron saint of death, Santa Muerte. Necromancer Eric Carter’s return to Los Angeles hasn’t gone well, and it’s about to get even worse.

His link to the Aztec death goddess is changing his powers, changing him, and he’s not sure how far it will go. He’s starting to question his own sanity, wonder if he’s losing his mind. No mean feat for a guy who talks to the dead on a regular basis.

While searching for a way to break Santa Muerte’s hold over him, Carter finds himself the target of a psychopath who can steal anyone’s form, powers, and memories. Identity theft is one thing, but this guy does it by killing his victims and wearing their skins like a suit. He can be anyone. He can be anywhere.

Now Carter has to change the game — go from hunted to hunter. All he has for help is a Skid Row bruja and a ghost who’s either his dead friend Alex or the manifestation of Carter’s own guilt-fueled psychotic break.

Everything is trying to kill him. Nothing is as it seems. If all his plans go perfectly, he might survive the week.

He’s hoping that’s a good thing.

Guest Blog by Baily Cattrell and Review of Nightshade for Warning plus GiveawayGuest Blog by Michael Johnston - My Inspiration for Soleri - and GiveawayInterview with Deborah BlakeSilent Hall and Among the Fallen (Godserfs 1 and 2) by N.S. DolkartInterview with AdriAnne Strickland and Michael Miller, authors of Shadow Run, Plus Review and GiveawayReview, Excerpt and Giveaway - The Holver Alley Crew by Marshall Ryan MarescaExcerpt: The People's Police by Norman Spinrad - and GiveawayReview: Hungry Ghosts by Stephen Blackmoore - and GiveawayReview and Giveaway - Pocket Full of Tinder by Jill ArcherMcNaught-E November - November 28, 2016

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