The Qwillery | category: 2013 DAC Guest Blog | (page 3 of 5)


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

Guest Blog by Richard Ellis Preston, Jr., author of Romulus Buckle & the City of the Founders - June 6, 2013

Please welcome Richard Ellis Preston, Jr. to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. Romulus Buckle & the City of the Founders will be published on July 2, 2013.

Guest Blog by Richard Ellis Preston, Jr., author of Romulus Buckle & the City of the Founders - June 6, 2013


Hi everyone! My name is Richard Ellis Preston, Jr. and I am a newly published author. I’d like to thank Sally for giving me the opportunity to do a guest blog on the venerable Qwillery—I am thrilled! My steampunk adventure novel, “Romulus Buckle and the City of the Founders,” comes out from 47North on July 2nd, 2013. It is the first installment in my Chronicles of the Pneumatic Zeppelin series. Book two, “Romulus Buckle and the Engines of War,” hits both the wooden and digital bookshelves on November 19th, 2013. My agent pitched the series as a ‘steampunk Pirates of the Caribbean’ and I think that is accurate as far as tone, although later books will plunge into much darker territory—both story-wise and character-wise—than the current film series does. This series is an ode to the great adventure films, to the fun Saturday afternoon movie serials, to the legacy of Captain Blood, The Adventures of Robin Hood and Indiana Jones. The story takes place 300 years after an alien invasion and near-complete annihilation of earth (a few aliens, generically referred to as ‘Martians,’ live among the small populations of surviving earthlings: the Martians are zebra-striped but essentially humanoid). The world is locked in a new ice-age where electricity no longer functions, and the human race is rising once again, powered by steam engines, taking on a Victorian style and ethos (there are reasons for this, too complicated to get into here.) The series revolves around the adventures of a war zeppelin crew, led by Captain Romulus Buckle, Lieutenant Sabrina Serafim and Lieutenant Max (a female Martian). In the first book, the crew must brave alien beasties, miasmas of poisonous gas, forgewalkers and a minefield of other obstacles to rescue their clan leader, Balthazar, from the prison of the powerful Founders clan who kidnapped him.

What is steampunk? That is a common question. It is a recently recognized and labeled subgenre of science fiction, one which tends to focus on the Victorian/Edwardian era and fantastic worlds powered by steam engines. I would argue that this steampunk ‘time zone’ embraces a wider swath of history (it can be plugged in anywhere, really – mine is set in the far future) and tends to take place between the late 18th century and the end of the First World War. This time period provides ripe fuel for the storyteller: the industrial age vs. agriculture; exploration vs. colonialism; man vs. machine; Darwinism vs. religion; female repression vs. female suffrage; ideal love vs. hedonism, and on and on. Science, technology and medicine took huge strides forward during this time, accelerating towards the beginning of the 20th century, and the western world believed that mankind (and womankind) was finally on its way to achieving its utopian potential—until the Great War shattered this illusion, and cast our forefathers into a deep and bitter disillusionment which still clings to us today.

Now—on to Romulus, Sabrina and Max. Two of my three main characters are female and I experience great enjoyment writing for them. Sabrina and Max are professional zeppelineers, swashbucklers, young but highly experienced and capable. Both are brave, loyal and profoundly damaged. The girls are as deadly as the boys in a fight—pistols or swords—and they command the respect of their brawny, pied and independent crew. Max and Sabrina are orphans (their father, Balthazar, has adopted them along with six others, including Romulus) and their personal histories are tragic, complicated, and … secret. My world is one where the sexes operate on an equal footing, though the Victorian-veneered males are still very male and Victorian-veneered females still very female. When earth was destroyed and humanity was fighting to survive, the women stepped into place alongside the men in the firing lines and have never left. The elevation of women to combat roles during times of extreme peril is a common phenomenon throughout the histories of human societies (Soviet Russia during the Nazi invasion, for example). I wanted to write strong women, real people with their own talents and flaws. Love stories will emerge as the series progresses—and something of a love triangle between Romulus, Sabrina and Max—but my women (and Romulus) do not seek romantic love for personal fulfillment; it sneaks up and traps them unexpectedly, as it does to so many of us, and since they are youngsters (Max’s age is unknown, but they are all essentially new adults) they make the same heady, blind, love-twisted mistakes we all make as youths. But the trials and tribulations of romance do not appear until much later in the series. For now, my females are hosts to all manner of hopes, obsessions and fears, leaping from zeppelin to zeppelin, sword in teeth, fighting for the people and dreams they hold most dear.

About The Chronicles of the Pneumatic Zeppelin

Romulus Buckle & the City of the Founders
The Chronicles of the Pneumatic Zeppelin 1
47North, July 2, 2013
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 456 pages

Guest Blog by Richard Ellis Preston, Jr., author of Romulus Buckle & the City of the Founders - June 6, 2013
In a post-apocalyptic world of endless snow, Captain Romulus Buckle and the stalwart crew of the Pneumatic Zeppelin must embark on a perilous mission to rescue their kidnapped leader, Balthazar Crankshaft, from the impenetrable City of the Founders. Steaming over a territory once known as Southern California – before it was devastated in the alien war – Buckle navigates his massive airship through skies infested with enemy war zeppelins and ravenous alien beasties in this swashbuckling and high-octane steampunk adventure. Life is desperate in the Snow World – and death is quick – Buckle and his ship’s company must brave poisoned wastelands of noxious mustard and do battle with forgewalkers, steampipers and armored locomotives as they plunge from the skies into the underground prison warrens of the fortress-city.

Captain Romulus Buckle must lead the Pneumatic Zeppelin and its crew of never-do-wells on a desperate mission where he must risk everything to save Balthazar and attempt to prevent a catastrophic war which could wipe out all that is left of civilization and the entire human race.

Romulus Buckle & the Engines of War
The Chronicles of the Pneumatic Zeppelin 2
47North,  November 19, 2013
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook

Guest Blog by Richard Ellis Preston, Jr., author of Romulus Buckle & the City of the Founders - June 6, 2013
The frozen wasteland of Snow World—known as Southern California before an alien invasion decimated civilization—is home to warring steampunk clans. Crankshafts, Imperials, Tinskins, Brineboilers, and many more all battle one another for precious supplies, against ravenous mutant beasts for basic survival, and with the mysterious Founders for their very freedom.

Through this ruined world soars the Pneumatic Zeppelin, captained by the daring Romulus Buckle. In the wake of a nearly suicidal assault on the Founders’ prison city to rescue key military leaders, both the steam-powered airship and its crew are bruised and battered. Yet there’s little time for rest or repairs: Founders raids threaten to shatter the fragile alliance Buckle has risked everything to forge among the clans.

Even as he musters what seems a futile defense in the face of inevitable war, Buckle learns that the most mysterious clan of all is holding his long-lost sister in a secret base—and that she holds the ultimate key to victory over the Founders. But rescuing her means abandoning his allies and praying they survive long enough for there to be an alliance to return to.

The fabulous covers for the Romulus Buckle novels are by Eamon O’Donoghue.

About Richard 

Guest Blog by Richard Ellis Preston, Jr., author of Romulus Buckle & the City of the Founders - June 6, 2013

Richard Ellis Preston, Jr. is fascinated by the steampunk genre, which he sees as a unique storytelling landscape. Romulus Buckle and the City of the Founders is the first installment in his new steampunk series, The Chronicles of the Pneumatic Zeppelin. Richard has also written for film and television. He lives in California.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @RichardEPreston

Guest Blog by Danie Ware, author of Ecko Rising - May 14, 2013

Please welcome Danie Ware to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. Ecko Rising will be published on June 11, 2013 in the US by Titan Books.

Why I stopped writing, and how I started again: a blog post for anyone who's ever thrown in the towel.

You know how it goes: -

Put bum on seat; put fingers on keyboard (variations in choice of tools may apply).

But there comes a day when you don't. When your life catches you up and your day job becomes your career. When your family runs you ragged and you end each day worn out, nose in a wine glass. Maybe you get bored, or lack feedback, or just run out of steam... maybe you lose your confidence. Be it a sudden spasm of choice or a gradual slide into apathy, the day comes when you realise you've quit... and it bites at you like the Black Dog himself.

I wrote fantasy from a teenager, reams and years - wonder and pretentiousness that filled a forest of pages. Stories, songs, lexicons, characters, you-name-it - dear Gods, some of them even had apostrophes in their names. I'm a Literature graduate, for my sins, and somewhere in my head, I thought I was going to craft the Ultimate Masterpiece, going to write something that people would be studying in English fifty years hence...

Yeah, right.

A dream of that magnitude is ludicrous, unsustainable - I ran out of energy, and time. My life caught me up. I had a job, and a mortgage, and a baby. My imagination was a lost thing, buried under work and money and an inability to sleep.

And I quit. All of that massive creative ambition, and I stopped. I didn't even mean to. I lost my confidence, had no idea how to string sentences together. Don't get me wrong - I wanted to write, the urge never went away, but for eight years my imagination was a silent thing, forgotten and unvoiced. If you've ever been there, you know what a grey place that is.

But this is one story with a happy ending.

Today, Twitter is the homeplace of the author - published or self-published, #amwriting abounds. In 2008, there were only a few of us - twitter was not yet a celebrity playground, and the bonds between friends were strong. And somewhere between that, and attending the first SF Con I'd been to in more than a decade, there lurked an epiphany - that writing was not about some uber-worlds-shattering masterpiece, not about some lofty text that would be held up to scrutiny by teenagers in forthcoming years... was about a little bit of what I'd once loved, for my friends.

In a tangled fit of courage and terror, I put a couple of hesitant chapters of what is now 'Ecko Rising' live on googlepages, and asked what people thought. And I’ve no shame in admitting that the positive reaction reduced me to tears - as if that long-walled-away part of myself was slowly unfolding back to life. The rest, as they say, is history. A dream finally come true – long after I’d given up on it.

I guess it comes to this...

'Put bum on seat; put fingers on keyboard' means write for yourself, everything else will come. Don't write for other people. Don't write to reinvent the world in your image. Don't set goals too high to reach, or you'll fall every time. Instead, write because you love it, write because you have to, write because you can. Write whatever burns in your imagination. Write what comes naturally to you, however strange it may seem. Write in your own voice, your own imagery. Blow traditions, blow previous examples, genre boundaries if you want to - it's yours to do with whatever the heck you please.

And when you have written enough, and you've realised that you can, put it out there - and let people see it. Let them help you.

Ecko is all about doing what's impossible.

Go for it.

About Ecko Rising

Ecko Rising
Ecko 1
Titan, Books June 11, 2013
Trade Paperback and eBook, 480 pages
US Debut

In a futuristic London where technological body modification is the norm, Ecko stands alone as a testament to the extreme capabilities of his society. Driven half mad by the systems running his body, Ecko is a criminal for hire. No job is too dangerous or insane.

When a mission goes wrong and Ecko finds himself catapulted across dimensions into a peaceful and unadvanced society living in fear of 'magic', he must confront his own percepions of reality and his place within it.

A thrilling debut, Ecko Rising explores the massive range of the sci-fi and fantasy genres, and the possible implications of pitting them against one another. Author Danie Ware creates an immersive and richly imagined world that readers will be eager to explore in the first book in this exciting new trilogy.

About Danie

Ware is the publicist and event organiser for cult entertainment retailer Forbidden Planet. She has worked closely with a wide-range of genre authors and has been immersed in the science-fiction and fantasy community for the past decade. An early adopter of blogging, social media and a familiar face at conventions, she appears on panels as an expert on genre marketing and retailing. (Text from Bookish.)

Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

Guest Blog by Alan Averill, author of The Beautiful Land - May 10, 2013

Please welcome Alan Averill to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. The Beautiful Land will be published on June 4th by Ace.

Guest Blog by Alan Averill, author of The Beautiful Land - May 10, 2013

Guest blogs are scary. And yeah, I realize that I'm in a incredibly lucky position when writing a post on someone's website is the scariest thing I have to do today. I mean, there are dudes in this world who are being chased by tigers. Possibly as you read this. Hopefully the tiger is not chasing you. If that's the case, then I congratulate you on your multi-tasking skills, because it can't be easy to read a blog post and run for your life at the same time.

But guest blogs are scary because you're not only trying to write something that's hopefully amusing and enlightening, you're doing it on a website that someone else has spent years cultivating. You want to be on your best behavior in situations like that, you know? Or at least sit politely at the dinner table and not spill your drink all over the nice new linens. It's different than writing for yourself, which is the way I usually prefer to do things.

Yes, so, anyway. Hello. Now that I've laid my fears out for everyone to see, I suppose we should chat about The Beautiful Land. When people ask what kind of book it is, I tell them it's a science fiction-adventure-horror-love story. The usual reaction at this point is to back away slowly and find someone else to talk to, but really, that's the best description that I can think of, because it's not a book that fits neatly into a genre. It's got time machines and scary monsters and a star-crossed couple all smashed together into a kind of literary stew. It also deals with memory, guilt, regret, love, war, and other heavy topics that frankly I didn't realize I'd ever be writing about. But I suppose that's one of the great gifts of fiction -- it allows readers and writers both to explore subjects they might otherwise not.

Take Samira Moheb, for example, who is one of the main characters. She's an Army vet suffering from PTSD as a result of her time in the Iraq War. Now, I've never been to war. Never been in the military or had PTSD or anything even remotely close to that. Honestly, I can't imagine going to war in real life. Remember that guy in Saving Private Ryan who carried the ammo around and stood in the stairwell while a big German killed his friend? That would probably be me. I'd like to think I'd fight and be heroic and make the right decisions all the time, but I also worry that I'd curl into a little ball and sob uncontrollably as soon as we landed on the beach. And so I find people who do go to war -- people who run into danger instead of away from it -- to be a topic of endless fascination. How can you possibly convince yourself that racing toward your own demise is a good idea? And what does it do to a person's mind once they've made such a decision?

I like to write about stuff like that -- stuff that's out of my personal comfort zone. People often say "write what you know," but I've found that doesn't work so well, at least for me. Writing what I know would entail filling a book with lazy guys who drink too much beer, and while there's probably a fine novel in there somewhere, I'd rather spend my time with new ideas. Writers, especially fiction writers, are pretty much professional liars, after all. And while you want to make sure you have a basic understanding of your facts, it's also fun to dream up new worlds and breathe life into people who never existed outside of your head.

Anyway, I guess that's why I like to write, be it blog posts, videogame localization, or science fiction-adventure-horror-love stories. It's a way for me to experience the world in ways I will never be able to otherwise, either because of work, finances, or because I don't happen to own a time machine of my own. It's also a way for me to share all the stories that the little man in my head is busy thinking of while I'm off doing other things. Here's hoping you enjoy his work.

About The Beautiful Land

The Beautiful Land
Ace, June 4, 2013
Trade Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

Guest Blog by Alan Averill, author of The Beautiful Land - May 10, 2013
Takahiro O’Leary has a very special job…

…working for the Axon Corporation as an explorer of parallel timelines—as many and as varied as anyone could imagine. A great gig—until information he brought back gave Axon the means to maximize profits by changing the past, present, and future of this world.

If Axon succeeds, Tak will lose Samira Moheb, the woman he has loved since high school—because her future will cease to exist. A veteran of the Iraq War suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, Samira can barely function in her everyday life, much less deal with Tak’s ravings of multiple realities. The only way to save her is for Tak to use the time travel device he “borrowed” to transport them both to an alternate timeline.

But what neither Tak nor Axon knows is that the actual inventor of the device is searching for a timeline called the Beautiful Land—and he intends to destroy every other possible present and future to find it.

The switch is thrown, and reality begins to warp—horribly. And Tak realizes that to save Sam, he must save the entire world…

About Alan

Guest Blog by Alan Averill, author of The Beautiful Land - May 10, 2013
Alan has been writing for as long as he can remember. His first novel, The Beautiful Land, was the winner of the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. He's also done writing and localization work for dozens of video games, including Fire Emblem Awakening, Hotel Dusk, and Nier.

He currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife Sue, his dog Sam Perkins, and a whole lot of rain. You can find more of his random musings on Twitter at @frodomojo, or at

Guest Blog by John Mantooth, author of The Year of the Storm - May 7, 2013

Please welcome John Mantooth to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. The Year of the Storm, John's debut novel, will be published on June 4, 2013.  Broken Branch, an eNovella that includes a preview of The Year of the Storm, is out today

Guest Blog by John Mantooth, author of The Year of the Storm - May 7, 2013

When I was a kid, I used to think about writing books a lot. I never really tried until I turned thirty, and was quite shocked to discover writing books was much harder than my kid self ever imagined. As a twelve-year-old it was easy: a good idea was all you needed. Then you came up with some characters and told a story about that good idea. Ironically, that is how it works (at least for me), but the process (my process) is quite painful. Maybe it’s good I didn’t understand this as a kid. If I had, I’d almost certainly taken a different path, leaving this book writing stuff for some other fool.

I started writing The Year of the Storm in April of 2009. Then it was Slip, and to be perfectly honest, I had no idea where it was going. Which, I think, sounds like a bad thing, but most definitely wasn’t. Let me explain.

I wanted to write a story about someone who disappears. Literally. Missing people have long fascinated me. I find the idea of a person just walking away from their lives strangely enticing, and the idea of someone vanishing from the world appeals to me, so I often spend inordinate amounts of time considering it. Assuming they don’t die (which wouldn’t really be vanishing would it?), where would they go? There’d have to be another world, a wrinkle in the fabric of our own that they’d stumbled into. A slip. There would have to be a slip.

So, I had my idea for my first novel. That was easy enough. My twelve-year-old self would be pleased. In deciding on that idea, I’d also vanquished an age-old truism I’d grown up hearing—write what you know. Yeah, maybe. Or, you could write about what obsesses you, what you don’t know, but want to know so badly it keeps you awake at night.

So I did. Only, it was hard going. Let me say that again. It was hard going. See, I had to figure out where my missing people were, how they got there and why, and most importantly, how they were going to get back, if they were going to get back. And all that coming up with characters stuff? Hard.

I wanted to quit about a dozen times. I did quit six or seven. But something always brought me back. It became a challenge. I wouldn’t let this book beat me, which brings me to something else twelve-year-old me never considered: it takes a special kind of fool to work his fingers to the bone on something that might end up languishing for eternity on his hard drive.

Being that special kind of fool, I eventually figured it all out. The book comes out June 4th, and I’m quite proud of it. The people disappear, and I know where they go (finally). You’ll have to read the book to find out.

Now I know what writing a book is like. I know it’s a long, arduous process during which you have to face the distinct possibility no one will like what you’ve written. You have to face that and keep on writing it anyway. Will I write another? Put it this way. I didn’t want to write this blog post. I had to pull myself away from the new novel, just to make time for it. See, I’m trying to figure something else out. It’s no easier than deciding where people go when they disappear. Might be more difficult, actually. This time I’m trying to figure out what makes a person do something they know is wrong. What makes them do it and what makes them keep doing it. It won’t be easy, but I’ll write and think and rewrite until I get to the bottom and figure it out. And when I do, I’ll have a second book. Maybe somebody will buy it. But maybe that’s not even the point. Maybe the point is doing what I’ve always wanted to do. Maybe the point is making that twelve-year-old that still lives inside of me proud.

The Year of the Storm

The Year of the Storm
Berkley, June 4, 2013
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

Guest Blog by John Mantooth, author of The Year of the Storm - May 7, 2013
In this haunting, suspenseful debut novel, John Mantooth takes readers to a town in rural Alabama where secrets are buried deep, reality is relative, and salvation requires a desperate act of faith.

When Danny was fourteen, his mother and sister disappeared during a violent storm. The police were baffled. There were no clues, and most people figured they were dead. Only Danny still holds out hope that they’ll return.

Months later, a disheveled Vietnam vet named Walter Pike shows up at Danny’s front door, claiming to know their whereabouts. The story he tells is so incredible that Danny knows he shouldn’t believe him. Others warn him about Walter Pike’s dark past, his shameful flight from town years ago, and the suspicious timing of his return.

But he’s Danny’s last hope, and Danny needs to believe…

Broken Branch
Berkley, May 7, 2013

Guest Blog by John Mantooth, author of The Year of the Storm - May 7, 2013
Broken Branch, Alabama, serves as a refuge for the God-fearing, a shelter from the evils of the outside world. But who will protect them from the evil within?

Trudy first met Otto and James after World War I, two traveling ministers, preaching the good word to anyone who’d take the time to listen. Together, they founded Broken Branch, a hideaway in Alabama where the faithful would be able to isolate themselves from the impurity of the rest of the world and live blessed lives in the eyes of God.

But then the storms came, tearing apart their small compound, God’s punishment for hidden wickedness in their hearts. And when an old man wanders into Broken Branch, ranting about a secret hideaway and uncovers an old storm cellar that’s been hidden for years, Trudy begins to wonder what other secrets lie under the surface of their safe haven…

Includes a preview of The Year of the Storm

About John

Guest Blog by John Mantooth, author of The Year of the Storm - May 7, 2013
John Mantooth is an award-winning author whose short stories have been recognized in numerous year's best anthologies. His short fiction has been published in Fantasy Magazine, Crime Factory, Thuglit, and the Stoker winning anthology, Haunted Legends (Tor, 2010), among others. His first book, Shoebox Train Wreck, was released in March of 2012 from Chizine Publications. His debut novel, The Year of the Storm, is slated for a June 2013 release from Berkley. He lives in Alabama with his wife, Becky, and two children.

Website  ~  Twitter  @busfulloflosers

Guest Blog by Mur Lafferty, author of The Shambling Guides - Happy Accident - May 2, 2013

Please welcome Mur Lafferty to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. The Shambling Guide to New York City (The Shambling Guides 1) will be published on May 28, 2013.

Guest Blog by Mur Lafferty, author of The Shambling Guides - Happy Accident - May 2, 2013

Happy Accident

I think I tripped and fell into urban fantasy.

Before The Shambling Guide to New York City, I wrote everything from superhero satire to humorous zombie audio drama to an epic 5 novella series about people traipsing around the afterlife and watching the world end. I didn't write epic sword and sorcery fantasy, and I didn't write hard SF. I didn't write terrifying or gory horror. I just wrote, you know, weird stuff. And that's essentially what I called it: weird stuff. Although "Weird' is now its own genre, so I had to stop using that word.

I wasn't even sure what urban fantasy was. Was it just sex with vampires, or did you have to have a private investigator? I remember looking at magazine submission guidelines over a decade ago and seeing that they did not want any more stories about dwarf/elf PIs. I didn't even know that was a thing, and already magazines were saying please stop.

I didn't sit down to say, "urban fantasy, here I come!" But I had a thought, if monsters live in cities like people, then they probably travel like people. And when people travel, they usually buy a travel guidebook. Who would write those guides for monsters? What kind of information would monsters need when they travel? Where to sleep, definitely. Where they can eat without getting caught, that too. And what is fun for a monster to do? Would vampires visit MOMA? Would demons be interested in the Statue of Liberty?

Amused by this idea, I wrote what I ended up calling "A cross between The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere." Essentially, there are a whole lot of monstrous secrets in the city, and some monsters are writing a guide to help you find them.

I'm not good at dark and tragic. Overly sexy makes me blush too hard. And I'm not very good with mysteries. So I figured urban fantasy wasn't my thing. But every story is a mystery, in essence, considering you are reading in order to answer a question. Who dun it? Will they win the big game? Will she marry her true love? And urban fantasy, by definition, doesn't have to include dark and sexy. Truly, what it needs is an urban setting with fantasy elements. Urban. Fantasy. So when I was done, I realized I accidentally wrote an urban fantasy story. This classification made it much easier to pitch to editors, for the record.

Despite my accidental step into a genre I wasn't familiar with, I do believe in reading the genre in which you want to write, so after I figured out what I was doing, I spent some time in the worlds of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, Carrie Vaughn's Kitty series, Diana Rowland's White Trash Zombie series, and Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire Mysteries.

(Admittedly I like and am more familiar with True Blood more than the Sookie books, but I love Harris' worldbuilding and mythology.)

In studying this mysterious world I found myself in, I started collecting different ideas of what makes urban fantasy. The first thing I considered was the various levels of "monsters being out of the closet/coffin" that the stories offer. (Please note I haven't read the latest book in any of the longer series, so my comments are limited to the first several books in each series.)

  • Dresden Files: All paranormal stuff is hidden from humans. Only one human, Murphy, knows what is going on, and she's a Dana Scully level skeptic. "I don't know what those aliens are that keep biting me, but they're not aliens!"
  • Southern Vampire Mysteries: Vampires are "out" but the other paranormal entities -- shifters, fairies, werewolves -- are still hidden from the populace at large.
  • Kitty books: Werewolves and vampires are just coming "out" at the beginning of Kitty and the Midnight Hour, and Kitty the werewolf reveals the truth on her late night call-in radio show.
  • White Trash Zombie: Zombies are hidden from humans, but more humans know about zombies than you'd think, as the zombies must deal with morgues and the like to get brains.

In my series, I've chosen to have the monsters hidden, working hard to remain so even as they live and work among humans. Select humans know monsters exist, but not the world at large. But I did learn that politics inevitably come into play with the revelation of monsters. This is shown with The American Vampire League's efforts to get vampires rights in True Blood, and Kitty testifying in Washington D.C. about werewolves and vampires. I don't find straight political intrigue very interesting but I can't deny that if monsters did come out, they would affect everything from estate law to citizenship to social security. And in today's world, someone would have to be responsible for falsifying identification for monsters that work among humans - something that will have to come up in my books, I am aware.

Sexual politics are also different in urban fantasy.

  • Kitty is forced to rethink sexual politics when she joins a pack, where the alpha can mate with whomever he likes.
  • Harry Dresden has to issue a Boner Alert every time a fairy comes into his office.
  • The first Sookie Stackhouse book (and season 1 of True Blood) deals with the surprisingly serious topic of slut shaming, with the slaughter of women who not only sleep with more than one partner, but do so with vampires.
  • The White Trash Zombie books has Angel worried about what may happen during sex with her zombie lover, namely the horror of lost body parts.

In The Shambling Guide to New York City, my heroine, Zoe, realizes there is no such thing as sexual harassment laws in an office where succubi and incubi work, and struggles with her attraction to the very forward incubus in marketing.

I think what I love most about urban fantasy is it takes the world we understand and gives us elements that we don't understand. I don't have to worry about studying a map of Middle Earth or Westeros to figure out where characters are, and I don't have to wonder what the heroine's pet smeeerp looks like. I get New York. I understand cats. And when we put an overlay of vampires, or zombies, or wizards, on top of it, it's so much better.

So I call my stumble into urban fantasy a happy accident, not only because I eventually sold the book, but because it's exposed me to many other series I hadn't read yet, which is in turn making my writing better. The circle of life, yo. Or undeath. Something.

About The Shambling Guides

The Shambling Guide to New York City
Series:  The Shambling Guides
Publisher:  Orbit Books, May 28, 2013
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 368 pages
Price:  $15.00 (print)
ISBN: 9780316221177 (print)

Guest Blog by Mur Lafferty, author of The Shambling Guides - Happy Accident - May 2, 2013
A travel writer takes a job with a shady publishing company in New York, only to find that she must write a guide to the city - for the undead!

Because of the disaster that was her last job, Zoe is searching for a fresh start as a travel book editor in the tourist-centric New York City. After stumbling across a seemingly perfect position though, Zoe is blocked at every turn because of the one thing she can't take off her resume --- human.

Not to be put off by anything -- especially not her blood drinking boss or death goddess coworker -- Zoe delves deep into the monster world. But her job turns deadly when the careful balance between human and monsters starts to crumble -- with Zoe right in the middle.

The cover for The Shambling Guides 2 - The Ghost Train to New Orleans

Guest Blog by Mur Lafferty, author of The Shambling Guides - Happy Accident - May 2, 2013

About Mur

Guest Blog by Mur Lafferty, author of The Shambling Guides - Happy Accident - May 2, 2013
Photo by JR Blackwell
2012 Nominee for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

Mur Lafferty is an author, podcaster, and editor. She lives in Durham, NC, with her husband and 10 year old daughter.

  • Podcasts: She has been podcasting since 2004 when she started her essay-focused show, Geek Fu Action Grip. Then she started the award-winning I Should Be Writing in 2005, which is still going today. In 2010 she took over as the editor of Escape Pod, and she also runs the Angry Robot Books podcast.
  • Books: Starting with podcast-only titles, Mur has written several books and novellas. Her first professionally published book, The Shambling Guide to New York City, will be out in May, 2013. She writes urban fantasy, superhero satire, afterlife mythology, and Christmas stories.
  • Nonfiction: Mur has written for several magazines including Knights of the Dinner Table, Anime Insider, and The Escapist.

Mur is studying for her MFA in Popular Fiction at the Stonecoast program at the University of Southern Maine.

Website  ~  Twitter @mightymur  ~  Facebook 

Guest Blog by Michael Logan - On the Feasibility of Zombie Cows - April 26, 2013

Please welcome Michael Logan to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. Apocalypse Cow, Michael's Debut, will be published on May 21, 2013.

Guest Blog by Michael Logan - On the Feasibility of Zombie Cows - April 26, 2013

On the Feasibility of Zombie Cows

Apocalypse Cow, as the title suggests, contains zombie cows. It contains Zombie sheep. Hell, it even has a few zombie squirrels chucked in. Pretty ridiculous, right? Well, yes. But is this any more ridiculous than the concept of a zombie human, which people seem to have no problem swallowing?

Apocalypse Cow is not intended to be particularly serious, as the title and cover may have suggested. However, a few people have assumed that the whole comedy aspect of the book is based on the assumption that sex-crazed zombie animals are intrinsically funny. They aren’t, or at least not beyond a brief initial titter. It’s certainly not enough to sustain a whole book, so I played this aspect pretty straight. The humour in Apocalypse Cow comes from the human reactions to the crisis, both in terms of social interaction and government response.

I do find it noteworthy that some people think my maniacal cows are a dafter idea than zombie humans. I would actually argue that the zombies (more correctly just ‘infected’) in my book are less far-fetched than your typical human undead shuffler.

Let’s take a look at the traditional zombie, which has permeated modern culture to such an extent that people are holding serious debates over whether there could really be a zombie apocalypse in the works:

  • They come back from the dead, where they have often spent decades rotting, so their entire system of movement is compromised, if not entirely broken down. Yet they still manage to shuffle about in search of tasty brains (is there something about becoming a zombie that enhances one's taste for French gastronomy?);
  • They have no apparent fuel source to sustain them, as their digestive systems aren’t working, making it unclear where all that ingested meat actually goes;
  • Their wounds don’t heal, what with them being dead and all;
  • They still have rudimentary brain function, despite all the decomposition, and follow basic instincts or retain vague memories from their previous lives (see the mall scenes in Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, with zombies aping the shopping experience along to ditty Muzak);
  • They can only be killed by destroying the brain, which means that all the other organs that support human life and create movement are defunct. In fact, they can often comprise nothing more than a head, a chunk of torso and maybe an arm or two and continue to crawl around trying to bite people’s ankles like the Black Knight in Monty Python’s The Holy Grail;
  • They will continue to attack a victim until it he or she is ripped to shreds, which may make for some titillating scene of intestines being slurped down like spaghetti, but does not serve the purpose of passing on the virus that infects them.

So, they are driven by a mysterious, never explained, virus that somehow takes a system with the component parts vital to its function utterly decimated, and makes it move and act in systematic way without any apparent source of energy. Sound feasible to you?

Now, take the infected in my book:

  • The dead stay dead, although in all fairness most cow corpses tend to be slathered in ketchup rather than buried in a quiet little graveyard;
  • They continue to eat, shit, breathe as usual, and their bodies are not compromised beyond the sniffles and a few sores;
  • They can be killed in normal ways, although it may take a little longer for them to realize they are dead;
  • Their behavior is driven by a virus with the sole goal of propagating itself, therefore forcing the host to behave in a way that encourages this;
  • They only attack long enough to ensure the virus has been passed on, thus ensuring the survival of the victim as a new host.

In summary, they are normally functioning biological organisms – just with a new agenda driven by the virus. Now, I’m not saying my book is entirely scientifically accurate. However, the basic idea of an organism taking full or partial control of a living host in the interests of survival of the species is based in nature and science. The flu virus, for example, prompts sneezing and coughing as its host tries to expel it. If it didn’t do that, it wouldn’t spread. Animals get colds and flus too. Nature even gives us a perfect example of ‘zombie ants’, which are taken over by a fungus that directs them to die in a cool, moist place where the fungus can flourish. There is no biological reason why such a ‘zombie’ virus could not infect animals rather than humans. We've just never really considered it before.

An idea only seems far-fetched until we’ve had time to get used to it. Let me start my final point with a tangentially related example. Recently, I was editing a huge report written by a non-native English speaker, in which a made-up word featured at least 70 times. At first, I replaced every instance, shaking my head in irritation. Halfway through, I found the word slipping through the editing net, because it started to make sense through repetition. My brain was beginning to amalgamate this ridiculous word into my vocabulary after just a few short hours.

The same thing applies when we are exposed to a concept in popular culture. Give us films, TV shows and books about zombies or vampires or ghosts for long enough, and we begin to accept these ideas as a possibility, no matter how unfounded they are in reality. Human zombies have been around for long enough to become so accepted that their future existence is being taken for granted by some. Witness the articles last year talking about the feasibility of zombies and the CDC having to issue a statement saying the zombie apocalypse is not upon us after a spate of weird incidences of cannibalism.

So, there you have it. In twenty years’ time, after a hundred zombie animal books and films, I fully expect everybody to accept the premise without batting an eyelid. And, of course, I expect to receive the Nobel Prize for outstanding services to zombie animal science, a field that is currently sadly overlooked.

About Apocalypse Cow

Apocalypse Cow
St. Martin's Griffin, May 21, 2013
Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages
(US Debut)

Guest Blog by Michael Logan - On the Feasibility of Zombie Cows - April 26, 2013

If you think you've seen it all -- WORLD WAR Z, THE WALKING DEAD-- you haven't seen anything like this. From the twisted brain of Michael Logan comes Apocalypse Cow, a story about three unlikely heroes who must save Britain . . . from a rampaging horde of ZOMBIE COWS!

Forget the cud. They want blood.

It began with a cow that just wouldn't die. It would become an epidemic that transformed Britain's livestock into sneezing, slavering, flesh-craving four-legged zombies.

And if that wasn't bad enough, the fate of the nation seems to rest on the shoulders of three unlikely heroes: an abattoir worker whose love life is non-existent thanks to the stench of death that clings to him, a teenage vegan with eczema and a weird crush on his maths teacher, and an inept journalist who wouldn't recognize a scoop if she tripped over one.

As the nation descends into chaos, can they pool their resources, unlock a cure, and save the world?

Three losers.
Overwhelming odds.
One outcome . . .

Yup, we're screwed.

About Michael

Guest Blog by Michael Logan - On the Feasibility of Zombie Cows - April 26, 2013
Michael Logan is a Scottish journalist, whose career has taken him across the globe. He left Scotland in 2003 at the age of 32, has lived in Bosnia, Hungary, Switzerland and Kenya, and reported from many other countries. His experience of riots, refugee camps and other turbulent situations helps fuel his writing.

Apocalypse Cow is his first novel. His short fiction has appeared in literary journals and newspapers such as Chapman and The Telegraph, and his piece We Will Go On Ahead and Wait for You won Fish Publishing’s 2008 international One-Page Fiction Prize.

He currently lives in Nairobi, Kenya and is married with a young daughter and son.

Website  ~   Blog  ~  Twitter @MichaelLogan

Guest Blog by Chandler Klang Smith, author of Goldenland Past Dark - April 11, 2013

Please welcome Chandler Klang Smith to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. Goldenland Past Dark was published in March by ChiZine Publications. You may read in interview with Chandler here.

Guest Blog by Chandler Klang Smith, author of Goldenland Past Dark - April 11, 2013

Stolen Faces: A Guest Post by Chandler Klang Smith

“To be a clown, a person had to lose himself in the reality of the act—he had to be perfectly serious, focused completely on the smallest details of his task. He had to move with the disastrous conviction of a sleepwalker or the self-deluded. People always thought the clown and the straight man were two separate roles, but the opposite was true. The clown was the straight man, the only one onstage who couldn’t see the absurdity of what he did. The clown was a comedy to everyone else but a tragedy to himself.” – from Goldenland Past Dark

People love to say that they’re afraid of clowns. I’m sure some of them actually are, but for most people, it’s become one of those knee-jerk statements, delivered half in jest, the conversational equivalent of an Internet meme. Like ventriloquism, the accordion, and taxidermy, clowning is, to many, less a mode of legitimate creative expression than the punchline to a joke – an ironically appropriate fate for an art form designed with the primary purpose of making people laugh.

I knew this was a common perception in the culture even when I took on the possibly ill-advised challenge of writing my first novel as a Künstlerroman of sorts about a clown’s coming of age as a person and a performer. The popular idea of clowns’ “creepiness” even informed my own perspective on the subject. Aspects of the clown’s art do border on the uncanny: I remember being fascinated to learn that disputes frequently arose between clowns when one would accuse another of stealing his face – imitating the unique style of makeup that gives a particular clown character his distinct physiognomy. And the notion of such makeup as a mask to disguise a wanted, guilty, or even dangerous individual pre-dates John Wayne Gacy’s arrest by at least two decades – in possibly his spookiest role this side of Vertigo, Jimmy Stewart plays a secretive clown who never reveals his true face in Cecil B. DeMille’s The Greatest Show on Earth, and who is eventually hauled off by police for the mercy killing of his wife.

Still, it strikes me as obvious that dismissive coulrophobia overlooks a lot about a mode of performance that dates back to the earliest forms of human entertainment. Clowns, fools, and jesters have always been able to reveal facets of human nature and society that audiences wouldn’t accept in any other form. And pantomime, slapstick, and the absurd reach viewers on a gut level even deeper than words, with or without a red nose attached. Like it or not, contemporary comedy carries on the traditions of clowning in ways both subtle and obvious: Seinfeld’s Kramer may be afraid of clowns, but he is one too.

What I find eerie about clowning is the same thing I find eerie about any imaginative endeavor – the way the realm of fantasies can intersect with our reality, and become incarnate in it – the way an artist can enchant us, bring us under a spell that makes us accept the impossible, and feel something, whether it’s laughter or tears, about an illusion. But writers bring the same thing about when they write stories, and so far, I’ve yet to meet anyone who’s scared of me.

About Goldenland Past Dark

Goldenland Past Dark
ChiZine Publications, March 2013
Trade Paperback and eBook, 300 pages

Guest Blog by Chandler Klang Smith, author of Goldenland Past Dark - April 11, 2013
A hostile stranger is hunting Dr. Show’s ramshackle travelling circus across 1960s America. His target: the ringmaster himself. Struggling to elude the menace, Dr. Show scraps his ambitious itinerary; ticket sales plummet, and nothing but disaster looms. The troupe’s unravelling hopes fall on their latest and most promising recruit, Webern Bell, a sixteen-year- old hunchbacked midget devoted obsessively to perfecting the surreal clown performances that come to him in his dreams. But as they travel through a landscape of abandoned amusement parks and rural ghost towns, Webern’s bizarre past starts to pursue him, as well.

Along the way, we meet Nepenthe, the seductive Lizard Girl; Brunhilde, a shell-shocked bearded lady; Marzipan, a world-weary chimp; a cabal of drunken, backstabbing clowns; Webern’s uncanny sisters, witchy dogcatchers who speak only in rhymes; and his childhood friend, Wags, who may or may not be imaginary, and whose motives are far more sinister than they seem.

About Chandler

Guest Blog by Chandler Klang Smith, author of Goldenland Past Dark - April 11, 2013
Chandler Klang Smith is a graduate of Bennington College and the Creative Writing MFA Program at Columbia University, where she received a Writing Fellowship. She lives in New York City. Goldenland Past Dark (ChiZine Publications, March 2013) is her first novel.

Learn more about her at,
or find her on Goodreads at

Guest Blog by M. L. Brennan, author of Generation V - The Weaker Protagonist - April 9, 2013

Please welcome M. L. Brennan to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs.  Generation V will be published on May 7, 2013 by Roc.

Guest Blog by M. L. Brennan, author of Generation V  - The Weaker Protagonist - April 9, 2013

The Weaker Protagonist

There’s something I like about a weak protagonist. I don’t mean weak in a moral or character sense, but in terms of how they stack up against their antagonist. The weak protagonist doesn’t have a super magical power that can level her enemies with a thought, or an army to lead, or fighting skills so incredible that they’ve never lost and can never lose. The weak protagonist is outclassed in every encounter with the bad guys – so they end up having to use their brains, or make connections with other characters, or sometimes go into a fight that they know they will, in all likelihood, lose.

To me, that creates a character that is inherently interesting and also has a certain level of tension throughout the story. This can be missing in a story where the hero never loses, always comes out on top, or just has so much power that as soon as they enter the room they can just re-order reality to fix the situation. Something that really struck me the first time I heard it was when I was listening to the Firefly episode commentaries (because, yes, I’m that geek) and Joss Whedon was talking about how important it was that most of the pilot episode showed his characters getting pushed around and not being able to do much about it. He said that it was more interesting to see someone get up than see someone never fall down. He also said, and I can quote because this really hung with me, “It’s the Air Force One arc. ‘He’s a strong, tough president, and when the chips are down, he’s strong and tough!’ Well, that’s not much of a story, is it?”

That was the thought that was in my mind when I created my title character for Generation V, Fortitude Scott. Fort might be a vampire, but at the beginning of the book, everyone can beat him up. In one of the early scenes, he is mugged on the sidewalk by Bruins fans. But this is also the guy who is later going to risk his life to try to save a little girl – and unlike when a superman-style character goes and rescues a little girl, Fort is someone who can actually get seriously hurt or even killed. When I was constructing the character, Fort’s vulnerabilities were incredibly important to me, because in my mind that’s what makes his later actions heroic – he knows that his enemy can beat him into a pulp, and he goes in anyway. That made me respect him, and it also left me interested and invested in him, much more so than if he’d spent the rest of the book displaying awesome superpowers.

Tied in with that, I wanted the big issue of the book to not involve the end of the world. Because when the end of the world is involved, there isn’t exactly much of an option about whether or not to stop it. It’s like, ‘well, I don’t want to risk my life to stop the end of the world. But if I stay here on my sofa drinking Red Bull, the world will end, and I’ll die anyway. So I guess I might as well go and try to stop it.’ That’s not an actual choice, which is why end of the world stakes bug me when I read a story. So when Fort is facing the big stakes of the book, I didn’t have him face the end of the world. I had him face something that was, yes, evil. But it was evil that if he turned his back and sat on the couch, he’d get through it just fine, and so would his family and the rest of the world. The person who would die wouldn’t make an impact on his life. But he chooses to go risk his life anyway, and that was what made him someone that I could root for both as the reader and as the author.

About Generation V

Generation V
Roc, May 7, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

Guest Blog by M. L. Brennan, author of Generation V  - The Weaker Protagonist - April 9, 2013
Reality Bites

Fortitude Scott’s life is a mess. A degree in film theory has left him with zero marketable skills, his job revolves around pouring coffee, his roommate hasn’t paid rent in four months, and he’s also a vampire. Well, sort of. He’s still mostly human.

But when a new vampire comes into his family’s territory and young girls start going missing, Fort can’t ignore his heritage anymore. His mother and his older, stronger siblings think he’s crazy for wanting to get involved. So it’s up to Fort to take action, with the assistance of Suzume Hollis, a dangerous and sexy shape-shifter. Fort is determined to find a way to outsmart the deadly vamp, even if he isn’t quite sure how.

But without having matured into full vampirehood and with Suzume ready to split if things get too risky, Fort’s rescue mission might just kill him.…

About M. L. Brennan

M. L. Brennan lives in Connecticut with her husband and three cats. Holding a master’s degree in fiction, she teaches basic composition to college students. After spending years writing and publishing short work in other genres, Brennan decided to branch out and write the kind of book that she loved to read, resulting in Generation V, her first full-length work of urban fantasy.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @BrennanML

Guest Blog by Wesley Chu, author of The Lives of Tao - April 1, 2013

Please welcome Wesley Chu to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs.  The Lives of Tao will be published in the US/Canada on April 30, 2013, in eBook everywhere on April 30, 2013, and in the UK on May 2, 2013.

Guest Blog by Wesley Chu, author of The Lives of Tao - April 1, 2013


Sally was kind enough to give me the podium (hah!) so I really should talk about my upcoming book, The Lives of Tao (April 30th, 2013), right? Actually, I’m going to switch gears. Instead, I’m going to talk about the first time I bought a book.

A little background; I came over from Taiwan to the United States when I was five years old. English has a whopping twenty-six letters so it took me oh about a month before I became fluent, though I did piss off my kindergarten teacher for weeks because the only word I spoke was “No!” Very emphatically I might add.

English is a very tricky and inexact language though. The Bynars would hate it (geek points if you got that reference). My English professor father wanted to expand my vocabulary and become more fluent with English’s many nuances and inflections, so he took me to a bookstore and told me that he would buy whatever book I wanted. Of course, he steered me toward the literary section before he made the offer.

Instead, I made a direct beeline to the books with the pretty pictures and picked out two. One had a red funny-looking lion with a monkey face, wings, and a scorpion tail. Another had this old dude playing with a floating, glowing sword, and this guy in a short dress was staring at him. Super geek points if you can guess these books. For those who can’t guess, the two books were A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony and The Misenchanted Sword by Lawrence Watt-Evans.

English Professor Dad was not happy with my selections and tried to convince me to pick again. I think he wanted me to choose Tom Sawyer or Beowulf or something. I was adamant though. I wanted the lion and the shiny flying sword, damn it! Eventually, after much crying and pouting, he relented; a promise is a promise after all. Who knows? Maybe if I had picked up Machiavelli’s The Prince or Sun Tzu’s Art of War, I’d be a politician or an admiral today. I coulda been a contenda! Well, I would’ve had really bad grammar too. I mean, have you read The Prince?

But no, I chose the funny looking lion with the goofy tail, and thus began my decades long love affair with science fiction and fantasy, and Lauralanthalasa Kanan (double jeopardy geek points if you get this). Now thirty years later, I’m publishing my first Sci-Fi novel—if you don’t buy the book, at least come to my book release party May 4th!— so what’s the moral of the story?
  1. Parents, don’t let your kids pick the books if you have ulterior motives.
  2. Kids, what you read early on can really influence you.
  3. Red lions with funny looking tails are frigging cool.
  4. So are magic flying swords.
But really, being a month away from my debut, it got me thinking. It’s been a long journey toward publication and this whole process has been magical and life changing. And while I’m very thankful to my parents for encouraging me to read, I won’t gush because I already dedicated the book to them.

So instead I’ll thank Lawrence Watt-Evans, Piers Anthony and all those thousands of other authors who paved the way before me. You guys kick major ass. Sometimes, you think you’re just writing stories, but really, you’re building another kid’s dreams. So to all you sirs and madams, I raise a glass to you and say thank you and rock on.

About The Lives of Tao

The Lives of Tao
Angry Robot Books, April 30, 2013 (US/Can)
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 464 pages

Guest Blog by Wesley Chu, author of The Lives of Tao - April 1, 2013
When out-of-shape IT technician Roen woke up and started hearing voices in his head, he naturally assumed he was losing it.

He wasn’t.

He now has a passenger in his brain – an ancient alien life-form called Tao, whose race crash-landed on Earth before the first fish crawled out of the oceans. Now split into two opposing factions – the peace-loving, but under-represented Prophus, and the savage, powerful Genjix – the aliens have been in a state of civil war for centuries. Both sides are searching for a way off-planet, and the Genjix will sacrifice the entire human race, if that’s what it takes.

Meanwhile, Roen is having to train to be the ultimate secret agent. Like that’s going to end up well…

File Under: Science Fiction [ The Tug of War | I Was Genghis | Diary of a Slob | Spy vs Spy ]

About Wesley

Guest Blog by Wesley Chu, author of The Lives of Tao - April 1, 2013
Wesley Chu was born in Taiwan and immigrated to Chicago, Illinois when he was just a pup. It was there he became a Kung Fu master and gymnast.

Wesley is an avid gamer and a contributing writer for the magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland. A former stunt man and a member of the SAG, he can also be seen in film and television playing roles such as “Banzai Chef” in Fred Claus and putting out Oscar worthy performances as a bank teller in Chicago Blackhawks commercials.

Besides working as an Associate Vice President at a bank, he spends his time writing and hanging out with his wife Paula Kim and their Airedale Terrier, Eva.

You can catch up with Wesley online at his blog:, or on Twitter: @wes_chu.

Guest Blog by Richard Ellis Preston, Jr., author of Romulus Buckle & the City of the Founders - June 6, 2013Guest Blog by Danie Ware, author of Ecko Rising - May 14, 2013Guest Blog by Alan Averill, author of The Beautiful Land - May 10, 2013Guest Blog by John Mantooth, author of The Year of the Storm - May 7, 2013Guest Blog by Mur Lafferty, author of The Shambling Guides - Happy Accident - May 2, 2013Guest Blog by Michael Logan - On the Feasibility of Zombie Cows - April 26, 2013Guest Blog by Brooklyn Ann - Regency and Paranormal Romance: The Ultimate Genre Blend - April 17, 2013Guest Blog by Chandler Klang Smith, author of Goldenland Past Dark - April 11, 2013Guest Blog by M. L. Brennan, author of Generation V  - The Weaker Protagonist - April 9, 2013Guest Blog by Wesley Chu, author of The Lives of Tao - April 1, 2013

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