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A blog about books and other things speculative

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Interview with Stephanie Dray - November 18, 2010

Please welcome author Stephanie Dray to The Qwillery.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Stephanie:  I suppose it’s that endings are difficult to me. I hate writing them. Maybe it’s because I don’t ever want to say goodbye to the characters that I love so much or maybe it’s because I want to make certain that my ending has resonance with my beginning. But I’m always happiest at the beginning of a novel than at the end!

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Stephanie:  Some of my favorite writers from the fantasy world are George R. R. Martin and Robin Hobb. Some of my favorites from the historical fiction side are Margaret George, Philippa Gregory, and Susan Fraser King. Truthfully, I’ve been influenced by all these writers. With respect to writing Lily of the Nile, however, I was heavily influenced by Beatrice Chanler, whose book about Cleopatra Selene led me to re-imagine the religious side of her story in a more modern way.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a panster?

Stephanie:  I’ve increasingly become a plotter, both because I get paid for turning in outlines and proposals and because the planning of a story is quite a bit of fun! With Lily of the Nile, I spent a lot of time re-writing because the work evolved from an alternative history into something that hewed close to history and injected magic realism into the mix.

TQ: Lily of the Nile is the story of Princess Selene, the daughter of Cleopatra and Marc Antony. Why did you choose Princess Selene for your debut historical fantasy?

Stephanie:  I think she chose me. I’m not normally one of those writers who ramble about their muse or talk about how their characters speak to them. However, when it comes to Selene, I truly was inspired. I was trying to write a different book--an alternative history about how the world might have been different if Selene’s brother Caesarion had lived. But Selene kept interrupting my thoughts in first person narrative--something that’s never happened to me before or since.

The more I learned about her life as an orphan, a prisoner of Rome, and a queen in her own right, the more her story touched me, and the more I wanted to memorialize her. Selene isn’t one of the bad girls of history, but she deserves to be remembered.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Lily of the Nile?

Stephanie:  First, I read every fictional account of her life that I could find. Then I went back and studied all the ancient sources and scholarly books about Selene’s life, the most important of these being Duane W. Roller’s The World of Juba II and Kleopatra Selene. After that, it was clear that Selene’s story was indistinguishable from the story of Augustus and I set out to learn everything I could about Rome’s first emperor, his family, and his fate. I’m always looking for an opportunity to visit Rome, Algeria, Morocco and Egypt, so I guess I’ve never stopped researching this period.

TQ:  How important is historical accuracy when melding history and fantasy?

Stephanie:  History matters a great deal to me. For the sequel to Lily of the Nile, I considered fermented rotting shellfish in my backyard to reproduce the recipe for imperial purple dye. But as a novelist, I acknowledge that my first duty is always to the novel. Magic was real for the Egyptians and the Romans, so it is real in my book. If I must slip the timeline a bit so that my protagonist is at the center of documented events, I’ll do it and note it in my Author’s Note at the end of the book. I’m acutely aware that I am not a biographer and I would be happier if other authors were similarly honest about their work.

TQ:  If you could dine with three people from the past who would they be and why?

Stephanie:  Oh, what a delicious question. I’d certainly choose to dine with Cleopatra Selene and Juba II and learn all about their life together; all the things that were never recorded. I’m also fascinated by Thomas Jefferson. I’d be quite honored to just listen to him ramble on about anything he chose, though I might be frightened to tell him what’s happened to the country he helped build.

TQ:  What's next?

Stephanie:  This year will start out with the release of LILY OF THE NILE and the sequel, SONG OF THE NILE will follow in the autumn. I’m really excited about having these books come out one right after the other because I think they tell an inspiring tale about Selene’s journey from the helpless captive of Rome to the most powerful client queen in the empire.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Stephanie:  Thank you so much for having me!


About Stephanie's Book

Interview with Stephanie Dray - November 18, 2010
Lily of the Nile
A Novel of Cleopatra's Daughter

Publication Date: January 2011
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Format: Paperback , 368pp
ISBN-13: 9780425238554
ISBN: 0425238555

Heiress of one empire and prisoner of another, it is up to the daughter of Cleopatra to save her brothers and reclaim what is rightfully hers...
 
To Isis worshippers, Princess Selene and her twin brother Helios embody the divine celestial pair who will bring about a Golden Age. But when Selene's parents are vanquished by Rome, her auspicious birth becomes a curse. Trapped in an empire that reviles her heritage and suspects her faith, the young messianic princess struggles for survival in a Roman court of intrigue. She can't hide the hieroglyphics that carve themselves into her hands, nor can she stop the emperor from using her powers for his own ends. But faced with a new and ruthless Caesar who is obsessed with having a Cleopatra of his very own, Selene is determined to resurrect her mother's dreams. Can she succeed where her mother failed? And what will it cost her in a political game where the only rule is win-or die?
 
From Penguin Group (USA)


About Stephanie
 
Interview with Stephanie Dray - November 18, 2010
After graduating from law school, Stephanie Dray came to her senses and returned to her first love: storytelling. Using the transformative power of magic realism, she tells the stories of women in history so as to inspire the young women of today. Stephanie remains fascinated by all things ancient and has--to the consternation of her devoted husband--collected a house full of cats and Egyptian artifacts.



Stephanie's Links:

Website:  http://www.stephaniedray.com/

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/stephaniehdray

Interview with Zoë Archer and Giveaway - November 3, 2010

Please welcome Zoë Archer to The Qwillery.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Zoë:  According to my husband, with whom I share an office (he's also a writer), when I write I make faces--basically, I'm mirroring the expressions on my characters' faces. I think that's probably the strangest thing I do when it comes to writing. Otherwise, I'm just sitting there in the same damn pair of yoga pants. I also like to listen to '80s music when I'm writing. It helps get me back in my youthful fantasy days. (Duran Duran forever, woo!)

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Zoë:  For non-romance authors, I really enjoy Michael Ondaatje, Graham Greene, Leo Tolstoy, Deborah Eisenberg, Lorrie Moore and Alice Munro. For romance authors, I'm really digging on the new crop of historical authors: Courtney Milan, Julie Anne Long, Tessa Dare, Carrie Lofty, Meredith Duran, Sherry Thomas. For paranormal, Kresley Cole's books are the best kind of crack, Ava Gray, and Shana Abé's Drakon series.

One of the romance authors who really showed me that romance could be complex, literate and beautifully written was Judith Ivory/Judy Cuevas. Bliss remains one of my favorite romance novels. Just gorgeously written. I am also a Mary Jo Putney and Judith McNaught fan. They really got me interested in becoming a romance author.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a panster?

Zoë:  I'd say 95% plotter. Especially with the kinds of narrative structure in my books, I need to know where I'm going and how I'm getting there. Every book starts with an outline that gets elaborated upon and developed, often evolving or changing as I actually start writing the book. Sometimes I see that a character's motivations are changing, or I need to enrich a certain scene, so the outline changes. Those pantsers who just sit down and writing without any plan--they kind of scare me.

TQ:  How many books are planned for The Blades of the Rose series?

Zoë:  Right now, just the four books: WARRIOR, SCOUNDREL, REBEL and STRANGER. However, if sales are strong enough, and my publisher wants more, I'd love keep going. I already have some loose ideas for the next four. They would be set 20 years later (1895), much to the delight of my armorer (aka my husband). We'd see some familiar faces, but it would be a whole new generation of Blades, and an even more terrifying new enemy. (Buy the books--I really want to write these! *wink*)

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for the Blades of the Rose series?

Zoë:  A lot of research. I think I picked exotic locations just so I could research them. Blame it on years of graduate school, but I really like to do research. For the Blades, I spent a lot of time at the UCLA library. In fact, I maintain my UC alumni status so I can have library privileges. So, I read a ton of books, watched films of specific locations, and prowled the internet. Sadly, my budget didn't allow me to actually travel to the places I was writing about, but it did whet my appetite to go there. Mongolia is gorgeous!

TQ:  Are there any other genres in which you would like to write in addition to paranormal romance and historical romance?

Zoë:  In April 2011, my sci-fi romance COLLISION COURSE will be coming out from Carina Press. Space opera is just frakkin' awesome, and I'm glad that electronic presses are around so that more authors, like me, can write them. I also write straight historical fiction, but finding the time to work on it is very difficult. I'm under deadline for the romance, so that takes up my working hours. But don't get me wrong, I love love love writing romance. Love it.

TQ:  If you could dine with three people from the past who would they be and why?

Zoë:  I'm never good at this question! Hmm... Maybe Joseph Banks (the 18th century English naturalist), Leo Tolstoy and Aphra Behn (the 17th century English playwright and possible spy).

TQ: What's next?

Zoë:  There's my sci-fi romance in April, and then I'll have a new three-book paranormal historical series launching December 2011. The series is called THE HELLRAISERS, and its about a group of 18th century English rakes who inadvertently free the Devil from his prison and literally raise hell. It's dark and sexy and a lot of fun. It's very different from the Blades, especially because the heroes aren't very nice people. In fact, the heroes are the villains. But the heroines still kick ass. It's not a Zoë Archer book unless the heroines do some ass kicking.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.


About Zoë's Books

The Blades of the Rose Series:

Book One
Interview with Zoë Archer and Giveaway - November 3, 2010
To most people, the realm of magic is the stuff of nursery rhymes and dusty libraries. But for Capt. Gabriel Huntley, it's become quite real and quite dangerous... 

In Hot Pursuit... 
The vicious attack Capt. Gabriel Huntley witnesses in a dark alley sparks a chain of events that will take him to the ends of the Earth and beyond—where what is real and what is imagined become terribly confused. And frankly, Huntley couldn't be more pleased. Intrigue, danger, and a beautiful woman in distress—just what he needs. 

In Hotter Water... 
Raised thousands of miles from England, Thalia Burgess is no typical Victorian lady. A good thing, because a proper lady would have no hope of recovering the priceless magical artifact Thalia is after. Huntley's assistance might come in handy, though she has to keep him in the dark. But this distractingly handsome soldier isn't easy to deceive... 


Book Two
Interview with Zoë Archer and Giveaway - November 3, 2010
The Blades of the Rose are sworn to protect the sources of magic in the world. But the work is dangerous—and they can't always protect their own... 

Ready For Action... 
London Harcourt's father is bent on subjugating the world's magic to British rule. But since London is a mere female, he hasn't bothered to tell her so. He's said only that he's leading a voyage to the Greek isles. No matter, after a smothering marriage and three years of straitlaced widowhood, London jumps at the opportunity—unfortunately, right into the arms of Bennett Day.

Risking It All... 
Bennett is a ladies' man, when he's not dodging lethal attacks to protect the powers of the ancients from men like London's father. Sometimes, he's a ladies' man even when he is dodging them. But the minute he sees London he knows she will require his full attention. The woman is lovely, brilliant, and the only known speaker of a dialect of ancient Greek that holds the key to calling down the wrath of the gods. Bennett will be risking his life again—but around London, what really worries him is the danger to his heart... 


Book Three
Interview with Zoë Archer and Giveaway - November 3, 2010
On the Canadian frontier in 1875, nature is a harsh mistress. But the supernatural can really do you in...

A Lone Wolf
Nathan Lesperance is used to being different. He's the first Native attorney in Vancouver, and welcome neither with white society nor his sometime tribe. Not to mention the powerful wildness he's always felt inside him, too dangerous to set free. Then he met Astrid Bramfield and saw his like within her piercing eyes. Now, unless she helps him through the harsh terrain and the harsher unknowns of his true abilities, it could very well get him killed...

And The Woman Who Left The Pack
Astrid has traveled this path before. Once she was a Blade of the Rose, protecting the world's magic from unscrupulous men, with her husband by her side. But she's loved and lost, and as a world-class frontierswoman, she knows all about survival. Nathan's searing gaze and long, lean muscles mean nothing but trouble. Yet something has ignited a forgotten flame inside her: a burning need for adventure, for life—and perhaps even for love...


Book 4 (coming December 7, 2010)
Interview with Zoë Archer and Giveaway - November 3, 2010
He protects the world's magic—with his science. But even the best scientists can fall prey to the right chemistry...

Looking For Trouble
Gemma Murphy has a nose for a story—even if the boys in Chicago's newsrooms would rather focus on her chest. So when she runs into a handsome man of mystery discussing how to save the world from fancy-pants Brit conspirators, she's sensing a scoop. Especially when he mentions there's magic involved. Of course, getting him on the record would be easier if he hadn't caught her eavesdropping...

Lighting His Fuse
Catullus Graves knows what it's like to be shut out: his ancestors were slaves. And he's a genius inventor with appropriately eccentric habits, so even people who love him find him a little odd. But after meeting a certain redheaded scribbler, he's thinking of other types of science. Inconvenient, given that he needs to focus on preventing the end of the world as we know it. But with Gemma's insatiable curiosity sparking Catullus's inventive impulses, they might set off something explosive anyway...


"The Undying Heart"
Prequel to The Blades of the Rose seriesInterview with Zoë Archer and Giveaway - November 3, 2010


Samuel Reed had no idea magic existed, until it almost destroyed him. Thirsting for vengeance against the enemy who made him something less than human, Sam returns to England and crosses paths with Cassandra Fielding. His best friend's little sister has become a fearless woman on a dangerous mission of her own. And against all odds, she sees past what he's become, and stirs a desire he thought he'd lost forever. . .








Stand Alone Novels

Interview with Zoë Archer and Giveaway - November 3, 2010

The Lady Olivia Xavier, the cowboy who came to her rescue out ot the foggy London dusk could have stepped straight from one of her favorite dime novels. But when she was thrown into his arms, his solid chest and strong embrace assured her he was very real indeed. She needed a helping hand to save her late husband's brewery from an ambitions rival, and even though she couldn't understand half of the American's curious expressions, something in his gentle touch told Olivia she could trust this stranger from the untamed west.








Interview with Zoë Archer and Giveaway - November 3, 2010

It is the most beautiful fungus botanist Sophie Andrews has ever seen. And the man who comes with it is a pretty fine specimen, too. Sophie knows the bottle of love potion the roguish peddler tries to push on her is a hoax, but she has no time to argue. 

Ian Blackpool refuses to let the stubborn beauty who stumbled into his path track down the notorious Dark Dan McGannon alone. It is his duty to help. Surely it has nothing to do with the thrill he feels at her touch. After all, love is merely a specific chemical combination. But when Ian took Sophie in his arms, science went out the window...





About Zoë

Interview with Zoë Archer and Giveaway - November 3, 2010

Zoe Archer is an award-winning romance author who thinks there's nothing sexier than a man in tall boots and a waistcoat. As a child, she never dreamed about being the rescued princess, but wanted to kick butt right beside the hero. She now applies her master's degrees in Literature and Fiction to creating butt-kicking heroines and heroes in tall boots. Her BLADES OF THE ROSE series--featuring dashing men and fearless women--is now available. Zoe and her husband live in Los Angeles. Please visit her on the Web at http://www.zoearcherbooks.com/





Zoë's Links:

Twitter: @Zoe_Archer
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#%21/zoe.archer1
The Blades of the Rose: http://bladesoftherose.com/
Website: http://www.zoearcherbooks.com/


The Giveaway

THE RULES

What: One commenter will win the first 3 books in The Blades of the Rose series: Warrior, Scoundrel, and Rebel.

How: Leave a comment telling The Qwillery to which exotic location in the world (or universe) you would like to travel. If you don't tell The Qwillery about your exotic location of choice your entry will not be counted.

You can receive additional entries by:

1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who & When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Wednesday, November 10, 2010.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

Interview with Alethea Kontis & Giveaway

Please welcome Alethea Kontis to The Qwillery.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Alethea:  Ha! My writing group (The Codex Writers -- www.codexwriters.com) could probably answer this better than I could. What someone else sees as a quirk I no doubt find perfectly normal. I'm not that different from any other writer.

Oh, wait! Yes, I am. I don't have a cat, nor do I ever intend to own a cat. There are but a few of us out there in the genre -- Kate Elliot and Kat Richardson and I decided recently to create a club called "Les Belles Dames Speculatif Sans Chats." We will wear little black dresses and meet at the super-collider and own dogs if we want to. (It's amazing what sort of trouble Twitter can get you into.)

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Alethea:  I don't have a memory of a time when I couldn't read -- choosing a favorite writer is like choosing a favorite star in the sky. But my writing definitely has influences: Robin McKinley, Diana Wynne Jones, Grimm and Andersen, Lloyd Alexander, Meredith Ann Pierce, Jane Yolen, Roald Dahl, Wendy & Richard Pini, and Bill Watterson...to name a few.

TQ:  You've quite a few horror shorts published in 2010 some scifi and some fantasy. Do you have a favorite?

Alethea:  I made a list the other day -- I published ELEVEN short stories in 2010. That's half the number of stories I've published in my entire life. The mind boggles. And once again, there are too many favorites.

"Sweetheart Come" is up at the top of the list because it's the type of story I started writing when I was a teen -- told stories in the tradition of Grimm and Anderson, this one a legend that includes old magic and music and poetry and love conquering all. I wish all my stories came out as perfectly as this one did. The saga of its publication is amazing too: I was asked to be in an anthology called Up Jumped the Devil, with stories based on the songs of Nick Cave. My little sister chose the song. The third time I listened to it, the story just told itself to me. John Skipp loved "Sweetheart Come" so much he stole it away and got permission from the publisher to release it this year in his Werewolves and Shapeshifters anthology. I'm the coveted last spot in the book, right next to Neil Gaiman. In every way, this story is a dream come true.

"The God of Last Moments" is a favorite because it's such a painfully personal story, and those that strike closest to the writer's own heart often resonate the longest with the reader. "Life's a Beach" is a favorite because I got to work with my 13-year-old fairy goddaughter Ariell (who makes a great writing partner). She wrote all the gory scenes (I'm not good at gore). "Pocket Full of Posey" is my favorite because it reminds me of my 15-year high school reunion. "Blue and Gray & Black & Green" is my favorite because I had to do a lot of digging before finding any sort of information on Green Bottom plantation in West Virginia. Once I did, the ghost story just made sense...and I never thought I'd write anything involving the Civil War. "The Way of the Restless" is my favorite because it's about Elvis and Soap Operas in space...how fun is that? And "The Unicorn Tree" is my favorite because I am Katie, and I am one of the cadre determined to bring unicorns back.

TQ:  AlphaOops!: The Day Z Went First was published in 2006 with the sequel AlphaOops!: H is for Halloween published earlier this year. Why books for children? Is there a further sequel in the works?

Alethea:   Luc Reid, founder of the Codex Writers Group, always called me Backwards Girl for how I (intentionally or not) go about doing things. My dream in life has always been to publish young adult novels and win the Newbury (and now the Norton!) Award, because those were the books I always loved. Ellen Raskin, Lois Lenski, Astrid Lindgren -- these are the authors I checked out of my library. These authors helped me decide what kind of person I wanted to be. Imagine if *I* could be one of those authors!

So what did I do? I wrote a cute little story about the alphabet fighting, gave it to a friend, and accidentally got published in the toughest area of publishing to break into: picture books. Then I went and edited a critically acclaimed anthology--to benefit the children of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, to get my name known in the SF world, and to impress a boy. On the heels of that, one of my best friends asked me to write a encyclopedic companion to her well-known paranormal romance series. How could I say no? Meanwhile, a small press asked me to gather up a bunch of my blog essays, and in a fit of inspiration I sat down for a few hours and hammered out another story about the alphabet fighting...only this time on Halloween. At which point it occurred to me that I should probably get an agent.

Here it is now, six years after that first contract. I've been reviewed in the New York Times, and been a bestseller there, too. I'm no dummy -- I've stumbled into some amazing opportunities, and I've jumped at every one. But only now, FINALLY, I have sold my very first young adult novel to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. It's called SUNDAY, and will be released in 2012. I don't know if it will win all those fabulous awards or not (a girl can dream), but I'm finally where I've been trying to get all along. It's been a long, windy road here...but an amazing adventure. And, yes, more than just a little bit backwards.

As for another AlphaOops book...I can neither confirm or deny the existence of such an item. But if we all cross our fingers and clap for fairies, I might have some good news to share soon!

TQ:  Is there any genre or genres in which you would like to write?

Alethea:  I wish I could write mysteries, but the concept totally eludes me. I love watching Bones and Lie to Me and CSI; I love reading JT Ellison and Agatha Christie and Barbara Michaels and thinking, how do they DO that? How do they withhold all that information and dole it out in tiny little pieces until the big reveal at the end? What do their outlines look like? It must be like drawing mazes. I am amazed and awed every time.

TQ:  If you could dine with 3 people from history, who would they be?

Alethea:  Number One would be my grandfather -- my father's father -- Soterios Kontis. I never had the good fortune to meet him. He was a Greek pirate during the Nazi occupation in WWII, he was instrumental in the assassination of Che Guevara, and I imagine he told some great stories about his travels around the world. Plus, the dinner would be amazing. We Greeks love our food.

Number Two would be Roald Dahl. He's one of the authors I regret never writing a fan letter to while he was alive. (You should always write fan letters to your favorite authors!) He strikes me as an amazing sort of man who also stumbled into a lot of amazing opportunities...but all the while keeping that dark, childish sensibility. I imagine we'd get on famously.

Number Three would have to be a British Queen -- if I have all of history to choose from, perhaps Victoria. Or QE I. My Nana taught my sister and me when we were very young how to take our tea and how to eat eggs with the queen. She would be delighted if I had the chance to put her teachings to practical use.

TQ: What's next?

Alethea:  This month I'm sending off a YA horror novel to my agent, I'm writing a story for another anthology, and then it's NaNoWriMo! *happy dance* I know exactly what sort of trouble I want to get into this time. I call it YA Suburban Fantasy.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery today.


About Alethea's Books and Stories

Interview with Alethea Kontis & Giveaway
H gets top billing — but a stubborn B has something scary to say — as the inside-out alphabet gives a howl-arious Halloween performance.

Ack! It’s time for the show, and A isn’t ready. But then again, Halloween can only start with one letter, no matter how the A-B-Cs normally go! The misbehaving alphabet is back, and there’s no telling who will take the stage next. Z for zombie? P for pirate? Will X think of something good in time? Neon-bright, comically detailed illustrations show a cacophony of costumed letters, each with a mind and personality all its own. Along the bottom, tiny pumpkins arrange the players in proper order, making this alphabet story letter-perfect for Halloween.


Interview with Alethea Kontis & Giveaway
It's backwards! It's inside out! It's every letter for itself! This laugh-out-loud romp is not your average alphabet book!

Z is tired of always having to be last when the alphabet family lines up. He is demanding fair and equal treatment! The letters (more or less) agree to go backwards, but it's not long before P has some ideas of his own. And so does H, for that matter. In fact, it seems as if almost every letter has a different opinion about how the alphabet should be arranged. It's chaos! It's pandemonium! And it's definitely not as easy as A-B-C! Filled with visually humorous details, Bob Kolar's colorful illustrations are the perfect foil for Alethea Kontis's snappy story about the comic confusion that comes when the letters of the alphabet, like a class of unruly children, step out of order and show that each one has a mind of its own.


Interview with Alethea Kontis & Giveaway
Consider this handbook your education. Hunter 101. And don't go thinking you got off easy just because there's not a pop quiz at the end. This is the good stuff. The real deal. In here you'll find out all there is to know about being a Dark-Hunter.

Now for the disclaimer: This book is mutable. It goes with the wind. It changes more often than the mind of a sixteen-year-old Gemini with a closet full of clothes and a date in an hour. Don't be surprised if you open it up for the thirty-five thousandth time and find something old, something new, something borrowed or. . .well you get the point.

Curl up in a comfy chair with some millennium-old scotch and feast upon the informative banquet I have prepared for your enjoyment.

Welcome to your new life.

---From the Dark-Hunter Companion


2010 Short Stories by Alethea:

Interview with Alethea Kontis & Giveaway
Dark Futures: Takes Stories of Dystopian SF
(September 2010)


“Black Hole Sun” (w/Kelli Dunlap)








Interview with Alethea Kontis & Giveaway
Werewolves and Shape Shifters: Encounters with the Beasts Within

(September 2010)

"Sweetheart Come"






Interview with Alethea Kontis & Giveaway
(October 2010)

 “Blue & Gray and Black & Green”

Interview with Alethea Kontis & Giveaway
(August 2010)


“Life’s a Beach” (w/Ariell Branson)




 


Interview with Alethea Kontis & Giveaway
Zero Gravity
(July 2010)


"The Unicorn Tree"
Interview with Alethea Kontis & Giveaway
(Summer 2010)


“Diary of a Ghost’s Mistress”





Interview with Alethea Kontis & Giveaway
(May 2010)

“The God of Last Moments”







Upcoming:

2020 Visions
(November 2010)
“Pocket Full of Posey”

Shroud Magazine Issue #10
(Halloween 2010 Special Issue)
“Red Lantern"

For a full listing of Alethea's short stories, please visit her website here.

About Alethea

Interview with Alethea Kontis & Giveaway
Alethea Kontis is the New York Times bestselling author of the AlphaOops series of picture books and Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark-Hunter Companion. Her debut young adult novel, Sunday, will be released in 2012 by HMH. Her short fiction and poetry have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. She can be found online narrating short fiction for Apex Magazine, reviewing books for Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show, or blathering on at her own website: www.aletheakontis.com. Alethea currently lives in Northern Virginia with her Fairy Godfamily and a teddy bear named Charlie.


Alethea's Links:

Twitter: http://twitter.com/AletheaKontis
Facebook: Alethea Kontis
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/Thieftess
Websites: http://www.aletheakontis.com/
AlphaOops: http://www.alphaoops.com/


The Giveaway

THE RULES


What: AlphaOops!: H is for Halloween

How: Leave a comment telling The Qwillery your favorite candy to get for Halloween . If you don't tell The Qwillery about your favorite candy your entry will not be counted!

You can receive additional entries by:

1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who & When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Wednesday, November 03, 2010.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

Interview with Vera Nazarian, Author, Artist, Publisher

Please welcome Vera Nazarian to The Qwillery.

TQ: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Vera:  What an interesting question. It’s possibly my secret, slightly wicked love of pulling the rug from under the reader’s expectations. Or better to say, pulling the tablecloth away suddenly and leaving the true theme on the table, stripped of all the illusory twists that came before. A story might begin in a traditional manner, and then the reader opens a few plot and character trap doors and suddenly they are in a very different place, which at the same time feels just so right . . .

TQ: Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Vera:  Back in Moscow, I started out reading classics of world literature in my native language, Russian. The first things I remember, as a kid beginning to read, were grownup books of ancient Greek mythology, which my parents attempted to take away at first, but then gave up and just let me read everything. My favorites (in Russian translation) were George Sand, Victor Hugo, Alexander Dumas, Sir Walter Scott, and Russians such as Goncharov, Pushkin, Lermontov, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy. And of course, fairy tales, myths, world folk tales and ancient epics really stirred my imagination, especially the ancient Persian epic Shah-Nameh and the Georgian national epic Knight in Tiger Skin.

When we immigrated to the US, I started to read in English, including fantasy and science fiction, and immediately fell in love with the genre of soaring imagination without limits. I think Tanith Lee was my greatest English-language stylistic influence, together with Oscar Wilde as esthetic inspiration. And Victor Hugo, with his detailed slow-paced introspective descriptions (with stunning work such as The Man Who Laughs) was my “structural” inspiration—the fundamental underpinnings of human language itself translated over into English and made me an “old fashioned” writer. Different writerly ideals were passed on to me—depth, as opposed to pacing.

Here I must add: I am a native speaker of Russian and Armenian, and have studied Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, and German. I picked up a smattering of Arabic when we were refugees in Lebanon. As a singer, I recognize and understand operatic Italian. As a reader of Russian classics, I can get the gist of French passages so often included in Tolstoy and most of the 19th century classics. Tongues swirl and mix in my head and I naturally perceive semantic “roots” of words across languages, and their meaning. As a result, my writing mode is possibly strange and truly hard to describe because it is an ocean of verbal structures.

My genre favorites were Andre Norton, Gene Wolfe, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and C. J. Cherryh. But most of my personal style was already formed beforehand. The sum total of all the old hoary things I’ve read in old-fashioned, bookish, stodgy style, heavily imprinted on me. My own style is the result of convoluted long sentence structures and segments of clauses shaped in many ways by a Russian grammatical framework—which is often too flowery or “purple” by modern standards of English.

On the other hand, it makes me infinitely suitable as someone to rework the prose of Jane Austen.

TQ: You have written many works of speculative fiction, more than one of which has made the Nebula Award final ballot. Which of your works is your favorite and why?

Vera:  I think authors tend to answer that their favorite work is whatever they are working on right now. That may indeed be the case, but, looking back, I think the novel Lords of Rainbow (Wildside Press, 2003) -- the first novel I completed, but not the first published—has a soft spot in my heart for its fierce emotional intensity of the characters and the profound love story.

Lords of Rainbow is an epic fantasy about a world without color, with a grand cast of characters. It has become a sort of exultant cult favorite, for the few people who have read it. I hope one day it is reissued to a larger audience.

TQ: Mansfield Park and Mummies: Monster Mayhem, Matrimony, Ancient Curses, True Love, and Other Dire Delights was published in November 2009. What inspired you to write and Austen mash-up and are there more in the works?

Vera: I firmly believed I could do a far better and more respectful job than the popular zombies mash-up that started it all. After all, I was already in love with Jane Austen’s whole oeuvre. And then I absolutely fell in love with the mash-up process. In a nutshell, mash-ups are a fantastic, brilliant idea, but often poorly executed, because the inserted material and the original texts are not made to mesh properly.

An ideal mash-up should never be a Frankenstein patchwork job, but a truly expanded new work with the supernatural new elements seamlessly included to advance the story in a wider direction. I chose Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park because I personally find Fanny Price the most admirable Austen heroine in her quiet steadfast strength of character—a true heroine of her time, as opposed to a modern girl with modern sensibilities which may appeal more to our present day audience but would be a complete and annoying anachronism to implement.

Which brings me back to the notion of true seamlessness—a good mash-up is ideally seamless in more than one sense (not just style but also sensibilities, characters, theme, even choice of descriptive detail), and requires a perfect blending of disparate elements. Making Fanny a crude kick-ass kung-fu goddess might be funny for about a second. And then it becomes, in Jane Austen’s own style of words, “tedious.” It’s so much more subtle and profoundly amusing to make Fanny Price remain in character, still a girl of her time, and yet, fighting monsters in her own Regency way with her own mannerisms and quirks of personality . . . So that even her methods are not out of place in her original Jane Austen world. Think of it as a homogeneous smoothie as opposed to a chunky blend—that’s the kind of mash-up I write. Also, no gore, nothing jarring with the sensibilities of the original work and the Regency time period.

It needs to be noted that Mansfield Park is the longest and least popular Austen novel, for a variety of reasons, the greatest of which is a fundamental conflict with contemporary moral and feminist values. Which is unfortunate, because it is a great book, and should be read in proper context to be appreciated. Fanny Price is not a doormat, but a woman of strong principles of her time.

I really wanted to do the book and the character justice by bringing out the best in Fanny Price via the addition of relevant Egyptology and the versatile mummies, and a truly worthy romantic hero in the form of the resurrected ancient Pharaoh who becomes an elegant and attractive Regency gentleman to woo Fanny alongside her other rivals Henry Crawford (not as dashing as he seems) and Edmund Bertram (not as colorless as he seems). This was an exciting time historically, when the British and other Europeans were fascinated by the mystique of Ancient Egypt, and Egyptology was all the rage among the upper class. The juxtaposition of this barely repressed excitement with the stately and laid-back mode of Austen makes for some great hilarity.

I also added several unique elements to my mash-up, which none of the others have—“Scholarly” Footnotes and Appendices, and back cover fake blurbs from Regency Ladies and Gentlemen. The footnotes are truly crazy, and harangue the reader, at the same time poking fun at anachronistic word choices. The Appendices—well, they have to be seen to be understood. And the fake blurbs are hilarious social commentary.

In the process of writing, illustrating, and putting together this one book, I feel in love with this micro-genre, and found my niche that blends so well with my own stodgy and old-fashioned and alien natural style. So I am now going to be doing all of Jane Austen books as mash-up parodies with completely different fantastic elements to be added—and no zombies!

Currently I am finishing up Northanger Abbey and Angels and Dragons (forthcoming in a few weeks), which will be followed by a supremely Kafkaesque parody Pride and Platypus: Mr. Darcy’s Dreadful Secret, and then, next year, in the spring of 2011 there will be Pagan Persuasion: All Olympus Descends on Regency, and then by winter 2011, look for Emma Enchanted.

The emphasis in all of these mash-ups will not be horror but wit and humor—literary mayhem with style, and always, a subtle, numinous sense of wonder. These are books for the true Janeite, and a true lover of classical literature. (Readers looking for tacky gore and blood and guts, look elsewhere.)

It might sound audacious, but I plan to single-handedly redefine the mash-up as a classy genre with a great range of literary possibilities.

TQ: In addition to being an author, you are an artist. Have you been able to meld writing and art in any of your books?

Vera:  I’ve illustrated a number of short stories over the years, with my illustrations appearing in print next to them. I’ve also illustrated the work of others.

Most recent example—my novella The Duke in His Castle, and Mansfield Park and Mummies (see the hilarious Appendix). I will be doing more interior illustrations for all of the upcoming Jane Austen mash-ups. In addition, I am the cover designer for 99.9% of all Norilana Books titles.

TQ: Could you tell us about Norilana Books?

Vera: I started Norilana Books in 2006, because I was fed up with many things in my life, including the fact that I was already working, for years, in similar book packaging capacity for other small independent publishers (that’s in addition to a high tech full-time day job for most of the last decade and a half), so why not venture out on my own?

I am truly in a unique position of being a writer, an artist, and a computer tech-savvy professional, so I literally do everything—book production, promo, marketing, review copies, website programming, you name it. Except for my talented and fantastic part-time anthology editors who do the annual series Clockwork Phoenix (edited by Mike Allen), Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Sword and Sorceress (edited by Elisabeth Waters), Warrior Wisewoman (edited by Roby James), and Lace and Blade (edited by Deborah J. Ross), and other standalone anthologies, I have no other help in running this small independent press, which now has over 280 titles in print—the bulk of which are classics of world literature, followed by modern author reprints and a few select originals.

I am absolutely proud to be reissuing classic titles and new originals by my favorite author and inspiration Tanith Lee from the dedicated imprint TaLeKa, and the works of other significant contemporary authors such as Modean Moon, Sherwood Smith, William Sanders, John Grant, Eugie Foster, Catherynne M. Valente, Deborah J. Ross, David Dvorkin, and many others.

TQ: What’s next?

Vera:  Many exciting new Norilana Books releases are coming up next year, despite a difficult personal situation and the precarious economy. Expect much more Tanith Lee, Sherwood Smith, and new originals by JoSelle Vanderhooft, Roby James, and many surprises to be announced.

As far as my own writing, the Jane Austen mash-ups are first up on the plate right now. Following that, I expect to return to my own original work, including Lady of Monochrome (a sequel to Lords of Rainbow), and medieval gothic fantasy Cobweb Bride.

TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.


About Vera's Books:

Interview with Vera Nazarian, Author, Artist, Publisher

Interview with Vera Nazarian, Author, Artist, Publisher

Interview with Vera Nazarian, Author, Artist, Publisher

Interview with Vera Nazarian, Author, Artist, Publisher

Interview with Vera Nazarian, Author, Artist, Publisher

Interview with Vera Nazarian, Author, Artist, Publisher
MANSFIELD PARK AND MUMMIES: Monster Mayhem, Matrimony, Ancient Curses, True Love, and Other Dire Delights

Spinsterhood or Mummification!

Ancient Egypt infiltrates Regency England in this elegant, hilarious, witty, insane, and unexpectedly romantic monster parody of Jane Austen's classic novel.

Our gentle yet indomitable heroine Fanny Price must hold steadfast not only against the seductive charms of Henry Crawford but also an Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh!

Meanwhile, the indubitably handsome and kind hero Edmund attempts Exorcisms... Miss Crawford vamps out... Aunt Norris channels her inner werewolf... The Mummy-mesmerized Lady Bertram collects Egyptian artifacts...

There can be no doubt that Mansfield Park has become a battleground for the forces of Ancient Evil and Regency True Love!

Gentle Reader -- this Delightful Edition includes Scholarly Footnotes and Appendices

Interview with Vera Nazarian, Author, Artist, Publisher

Vera has given us a peak at the cover for Northanger Abbey and Angels and Dragons:

Interview with Vera Nazarian, Author, Artist, Publisher

About Vera:

Interview with Vera Nazarian, Author, Artist, Publisher
Vera Nazarian is a two-time Nebula Award® Finalist, and a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. She immigrated to the USA from the former USSR during the Cold War (via Lebanon, Greece, and Italy) as a kid, sold her first story at the age of seventeen, and has been published in numerous anthologies and magazines, honorably mentioned in Year’s Best volumes, and translated into eight languages.

Vera made her novelist debut with the critically acclaimed Dreams of the Compass Rose, followed by Lords of Rainbow. Her novella The Clock King and the Queen of the Hourglass made the 2005 Locus Recommended Reading List. Her debut collection Salt of the Air contains the 2007 Nebula Award-nominated “The Story of Love.” Recent work includes the 2008 Nebula Finalist novella The Duke in His Castle, science fiction collection After the Sundial (2010), and Jane Austen parodies, Mansfield Park and Mummies (2009), Northanger Abbey and Angels and Dragons (forthcoming, 2010), Pride and Platypus: Mr. Darcy’s Dreadful Secret (forthcoming, 2010), Pagan Persuasion: All Olympus Descends on Regency (forthcoming, 2011), and Emma Enchanted (forthcoming, 2011).

Vera lives in Los Angeles. She uses her Armenian sense of humor and her Russian sense of suffering to bake conflicted pirozhki and make art. In addition to being a writer and award-winning artist, she is also the publisher of Norilana Books. Visit her website at http://www.veranazarian.com/.


Vera's Links:

Vera's Website: http://www.veranazarian.com/

Norilana Books Website: http://www.norilana.com/

Norilana Books Blog: http://norilana.livejournal.com/

Norilana Books Twitter: http://twitter.com/Norilana

Vera on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/nazarian

Inspired.Us - Old Wisdom for a New World: http://www.inspiredus.com/

Mansfield Park and Mummies Website: http://www.norilana.com/mpam.htm

Interview with Kalayna Price & Giveaway

The Qwillery is delighted to have author Kalayna Price as our guest today. Grave Witch, the first Alex Craft novel, was released yesterday.

TQ: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Kalayna: Once upon a time, this would have been a really simple question because when I first graduated from college I was so accustomed to writing academic papers I didn’t use contractions. At all. So after I completed my first novel, I had to go back in and add contractions. I’ve grown out of that quirk, so now this is a much tougher question.

TQ: Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Kalayna: My list of favorite authors is ridiculously long. If you picked another author in my genre, he or she would probably be on the list because there is a lot of great talent writing urban fantasy right now. To name just a small handful I’d have to say: Ilona Andrews, Karen Chance, Patricia Briggs, Chloe Neill, and Kim Harrison. As far as who influenced my writing, I’d have to point to Laurell K. Hamilton as sparking my interest in the genre back when the genre didn’t even properly exist yet. Since then, the other authors in the genre (and many in outside genres) have inspired me to aim to entertain readers the same way their books have entertained me.

TQ: Are you a plotter or a panster?

Kalayna: I’m a plotter who pantzes a lot. I create extremely detailed outlines before I begin writing a book, but as I write my process becomes more organic and I have to update the outline as I go along. I keep the outline though, because the actual structure rarely changes. I just tend to add in a lot of extra scenes and characters as I see how ideas play out on the page.

TQ: How many books are planned for the Alex Craft series?

Kalayna: Well, right now three novels are under contract in the series, but I have ideas that span beyond those three so I hope I get the chance to continue. Currently I have no definite end planned for the books but I do know where the characters are headed.

TQ: What sort of research did you do for Grave Witch?

Kalayna: Since the world building in Grave Which is based on a magical awakening that occurred when Fae of folklore revealed their existence to the world, I had the opportunity to really indulge my love of folklore in the guise of research. I spent a lot of time reading collections of lore which had been only oral traditions until the late nineteenth century. Most stories were European, but not all were. I also did some forensic and police procedural research

TQ: Do you and Alex Craft have anything in common?

Kalayna: Of course—We both talk to the dead! Er, wait. No. That’s not true.

I think all characters share some aspects with their authors, but it is mostly little things. With Alex, the only big similarities we have are a shared penchant for boots and the fact I gave Alex a breed of dog that is one of my favorites. Her dog, PC, is a Chinese Crested, which if you’ve never seen one, is a small dog with hair only on their heads, paws, and tails. A lot of people think they are hideous and sickly looking, but I find them pathetically adorable.

TQ: Are there any other genres in which you would like to write in addition to urban fantasy?

Kalayna: Before I started writing seriously, I was afraid I’d run out of ideas one day. I no longer have that fear because I have more story ideas queued in the back of my mind than I could write in the next couple of decades. The big contenders outside urban fantasy are a Cyber Punk novel, a YA, and a steampunk idea.

TQ: What's next?

Kalayna: New adventures for Alex and for Kita, the heroine of my Haven series. The Next Novel of Haven will be out the first part of next year, and the next Alex Craft novel is scheduled for summer of next year.

Thanks so much for having me here today, Sally!

TQ: Thank you for joining me at The Qwillery!


About Kalayna's Books:

Alex Craft Novels:

Grave Witch (Alex Craft Novel 1)
Interview with Kalayna Price & Giveaway

Not even death can save her now.

As a grave witch, Alex Craft can speak to the dead-she's even on good terms with Death himself. As a consultant for the police, she's seen a lot of dark magic, but nothing has prepared her for her latest case. When she's raising a "shade" involved in a high profile murder, it attacks her, and then someone makes an attempt on her life. Someone really doesn't want her to know what the dead have to say, and she'll have to work with mysterious homicide detective Falin Andrews to figure out why...


 
 
 
 
 
The Novels of Haven:
 
Once Bitten (Novel of Haven 1)
Interview with Kalayna Price & Giveaway
Kita Nekai, on the run and the smallest of her shifter clan-a calico cat among lions and tigers-is being hunted. She was expected to accept her role as her father's successor whether or not her cat was up to the task of leading the clan. She disagreed. Now she's less than a step ahead of the hunters, bone-tired, cold, and living hand-to-mouth in the city of Haven. And that's the high point of her day. She's also drugged, "accidently" turned into a vampire, and sentenced to death for recklessly creating a rogue shifter who tortures its human prey. She's got seventy-two hours to find the rogue, evade a city full of hunters, prove she's not responsible for the rogue, and keep the vampire council from killing her. All while sorting out an apprentice mage, a married ex-boyfriend shifter-hunter, and the vampire who made her.


Twice Dead (Novel of Haven 2)Interview with Kalayna Price & Giveaway
Newly undead shifter-turned-vampire Kita Nekai is coming to grips with the reality that her cat has not awakened since her change.
 
What she needs is a little time to adjust to her new liquid diet and the increasingly complex attraction to her sire, Nathanial. What she gets is a headless harlequin. With the body count rising, Kita is dragged into a dangerous game of vampire politics. Her involvement draws the attention of an ancient vampire known as the Collector who has a penchant for acquiring the unusual - like a pureblood shifter-turned vampire.
 
Kita still has unfinished business of her own and finds herself deeper in magical debt.
 
It's a bad time to be a kitten who can't slip her skin.
 
Kalayna Price's debut novel, ONCE BITTEN, earned rave reviews and reached #1 on Amazon.com's "Fantasy Bestseller List." TWICE DEAD returns readers to a dark, seductive world where magic rules and ancient loyalties collide with modern challenges..


Third Blood (Novel of Haven 3) will be released in 2011:
Going home after five years is difficult. It's harder still if you've changed species in the interim.

Kita Nekai, once the smallest shifter in Firth but now the newest vampire in the city of Haven, has no intention of returning home or informing her father and clan what she's become. Not that she has a choice. When the mage who holds her death certificate in his hands demands Kita return to Firth as his errand runner, she has to comply. Of course, there is no leaving her sire, Nathanial, behind. Which means introducing daddy dearest to the man—well, vampire—she may be falling for and confessing that she's lost the ability to shift. Talk about awkward.
Her homecoming goes from bad to worse when an attempt is made on her life, and Kita finds herself facing an unknown threat in a hostile world she never fit into in the first place. Can she survive long enough to complete the judge's task, stand trial before the elders for the rogues she created while on the run, and help defend her father's territory from an encroaching band of misfit shifters? Or is this cat down to her last life?

About Kalayna:
 
Interview with Kalayna Price & Giveaway
Kalayna Price is the author of the Alex Craft Novels, a new dark urban fantasy series from Roc, and the author of the Novels of Haven from Bell Bridge Books. She draws her ideas from the world around her, her studies into ancient mythologies, and her obsession with classic folklore. Her stories contain not only the mystical elements of fantasy, but also a dash of romance, a bit of gritty horror, some humor, and a large serving of mystery. She is a member of SFWA and RWA, and an avid hula-hoop dancer who has been known light her hoop on fire. To find out more, please visit her at www.kalayna.com.



The Giveaway:

What: A copy of Grave Witch (Alex Craft Novel 1).

How: Leave a comment telling The Qwillery which author from the past you would talk to if you had the power to talk to the dead?

You can receive additional entries by:

1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who & When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Wednesday, October 13, 2010.

Interview With Rob Thurman & Giveaway

The Qwillery is delighted to have author Rob Thurman as our guest today. The Grimrose Path, the 2nd Trickster novel, was released yesterday.

TQ: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Rob: I hate to rewrite a scene. I would sooner write five more scenes to make that one scene work than rewrite it. It's bizarre.

TQ: Who are some of your favorite writers? and who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Rob: Kenneth Robeson, Rex Stout, Stephen King, Robert McCammon, Michael Moorcock, Robert Crais, Steven Brust, Roger Zelazny, Elizabeth Peters, Marjorie Liu. I think everyone I've ever read has influenced my writing--some in good ways and some in less than, but whatever you take in, for better or worse, affects you. Brust, Zelazny, and, oh, Fritz Lieber are definitely my fantasy favorites, even if two of them are old-school.

TQ: Are you a plotter or a panster?

Rob: I've said this before and it's still true. I'm so much a pantser that I don't even have pants. I'm a cheek of my ass writer. The only thing I know going in is the ending, and that I always know.

TQ: How many books are planned for the Trickster series?

Rob: I haven't decided yet.

TQ: Who would you pick to play Trixa Iktomi in a movie or TV series?

Rob: Nicole Lyn.

TQ: What's next?

Rob: Cal 6: Blackout (3/11), Chimera 2 (6/11), Cal 7...and then whatever I come up with in between. I have one idea but it's too young for adult and not in a necessarily popular gender/age group in YA. So I'm rather stuck there.

TQ: Thank you!

Three signed copies of The Grimrose Path will be given away. Details below.

And for all you Cal Leandros fans: the first chapter of Blackout (Cal Leandros 6) is an extra in the back of The Grimrose Path!

**Spoiler Alert**Spoiler Alert** It's strongly suggested that you read Trick of the Light before you read The Grimrose Path to avoid spoilage! **Spoiler Alert**Spoiler Alert**

About Rob's Books:

Trickster:

Book 1

When Trixa learns of a powerful artifact known as the Light of Life, she knows she's hit the jackpot. Both sides-angel and demon-would give anything for it. But first she has to find it. And as Heaven and Hell ready for an apocalyptic throwdown, Trixa must decide where her true loyalty lies, and what she's ready to fight for. Because in her world, if you line up on the wrong side, you pay with more than your life...









Book 2:


Bar owner Triva Iktomi knows that inhuman creatures of light and darkness roam Las Vegas-especially since she's a bit more than human herself. She's just been approached with an unusual proposition. Something has slaughtered almost one thousand demons in six months. And the killing isn't going to stop unless Trixa and her friends step into the fight...





Chimera:

Book 1
New from the national bestselling author of Roadkill

A sci-fi thriller that asks the questions...

What makes us human...
What makes us unique...
And what makes us kill?

Ten years ago, Stefan Korsak's younger brother was kidnapped. Not a day has passed that Stefan hasn't thought about him. As a rising figure in the Russian mafia, he has finally found him. But when he rescues Lukas, he must confront a terrible truth-his brother is no longer his brother. He is a trained, genetically-altered killer. Now, those who created him will do anything to reclaim him. And the closer Stefan grows to his brother, the more he realizes that saving Lukas may be easier than surviving him...




Cal Leandros:

Book 1

In New York, there's a troll under the Brooklyn Bridge, a boggle in Central Park, and a beautiful vampire in a penthouse on the Upper East Side. Of course, most humans are oblivious to this, but Cal Leandros is only half-human. His father's dark lineage is the stuff of nightmares-and he and his entire otherworldly race are after Cal.

He and his half-brother Niko have managed to stay a step ahead for three years, but now Cal's dad has found them again. And Cal is about to learn why they want him, why they've always wanted him...for he is





Book 2

After saving the world from his fiendish father's side of the family, Cal Leandros and his stalwart half-brother Niko have settled down with new digs and a new gig-bodyguard and detective work. And in New York City, where preternatural beings stalk the streets just like normal folk, business is good. Their latest case has them going undercover for the Kin-the werewolf Mafia. A low-level Kin boss thinks a rival is setting him up for a fall, and wants proof. The place to start is the back room of Moonshine-a gambling club for non-humans. Cal thinks it's a simple in-and-out job. But Cal is very, very wrong.





Book 3


Half-human Cal Leandros and his brother, Niko, aren't exactly prospering with their preternatural detective agency. Who could have guessed that business could dry up in New York City, where vampires, trolls, and other creepy crawlies are all over the place?

But now there-s a new arrival in the Big Apple. A malevolent evil with ancient powers is picking off humans like sheep, dead-set on making history with an orgy of blood and murder. And for Cal and Niko, this is one paycheck they-re going to have to earn.





Book 4


Half-human Cal Leandros and his brother Niko are hired by the vampire Seamus to find out who has been following him—until Seamus turns up dead (or un-undead). Worse still is the return of Cal's nightmarish family, the Auphe. The last time Cal and Niko faced them, they were almost wiped out. Now, the Auphe want revenge. But first, they'll destroy everything Cal holds dear...









Book 5
New from the national bestselling author of Deathwish

It's time to lock, load, and hit the road...

Once, while half-human Cal Leandros and his brother Niko were working on a case, an ancient gypsy queen gave them a good old-fashioned backstabbing. Now, just as their P.I. business hits a slow patch, the old crone shows up with a job.

She wants them to find a stolen coffin that contains a blight that makes the Black Death seem like a fond memory. But the thief has already left town, so the Leandros brothers are going on the road. And if they're very, very lucky, there might even be a return trip...



The cover for Book 6


About Rob:

Rob Thurman is a New York Times Bestselling author of currently three series by Penguin Putnam’s imprint Roc: The Cal Leandros Novels, The Trickster Novels, and the Chimera Novels. Her first book, Nightlife, was released in 2006. She has written eight books to date and has two more due out in 2011. She has also written for a Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner anthology, Wolfsbane and Mistletoe. She writes Urban Fantasy, science-fiction thrillers, and suspense-thrillers. Although she does not write Young Adult, her first book in the dark urban fantasy series, The Cal Leandros Novels, Nightlife, has been nominated for the Eliot Rosewater Award for 2011 for excellence in high school libraries—rather to her bemusement as she’d be the first to say her books are not for younger teens. However, apparently the librarians and teens disagree.

Her favorite review called her the lovechild of H.P. Lovecraft and Lenny Bruce. The fact that she read H.P. Lovecraft at the age of eight and is well-educated enough in pop-culture to know who Lenny Bruce was made this a review unmatched to this day. Her work is dark, non-stop action from beginning to end, and rife with purely evil sarcasm as sharp as a switchblade…and probably nearly as illegal as well. If one shoved Lord of the Rings, The Shining, and Pulp Fiction into a wood-chipper, the result would be what Rob aims for in her UF novels.

Rob curses in her novels. Frequently, if required. She feels if a monster rips off your arm and attempts to beat you to death with it, you will curse. You may be Amish, Mormon, or any saint returned to earth, but you will curse.

Rob is a member of the SFWA and nothing else as she barely has time to write her two to three books a year and continue to function as a human being. She lives in Indiana, land of endless fields, infinite cows, and rural pockets where dial-up is still the only soul-crushing option.

Rob's Website: http://robthurman.net/
Rob on Twitter:  http://twitter.com/Rob_Thurman


The Giveaway:

What: Three signed copies of The Grimrose Path (one per winner).

How:  Leave a comment!

You can receive additional entries by:

1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Wednesday, September 15, 2010.

Interview with Dakota Cassidy and Giveaway

Interview with Dakota Cassidy and Giveaway
The Qwillery is thrilled to have Dakota Cassidy as our guest today. My Way to Hell, the second book in the Hell series, was released on July 6, 2010.

TQ: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Dakota: Everything about my writing is a quirk--no wait, that's a joke. LOLLOL I'm not sure if it's a quirk, but I worry if I don't have smokes, I'll never make it through page one.

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? and who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Dakota: Nina Bangs, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Susan Elizabeth Philipps, Karen Rose. I'm all over the place as far as genre goes, but to me, these people are masters at what they do. So they've all influenced me in one way or another.

TQ: Are you a plotter or a panster?

Dakota: Damn. A Pantser. Which always gets me in trouble. Always. I get midway in a book and have no idea how to move the plot forward because I only had a vague concept and a title. That's how all books begin for me--title and crazy concept :)

TQ: How many books are planned for the Hell series?

Dakota: Not sure at this point where the Hell series is going or if it will go anywhere. I loved writing it, but I have two other series as well, keeping up has gotten hard. LOL

TQ: Who would you pick to play Marcella and Kellen in a movie or TV series?

Dakota:  You know, I don't know and that's only because I don't have a fully formed picture of them in my head at any time. What I do see very clearly is their emotions--they're each like this big ball of happy, sad, snarky, cranky or whatever. So the image I create is left open for interpretation by readers. However, I did meet someone the other night who looks exactly like I'd picture Marty from the Accidentals. I swear, she just clicked for me. I think I'd probably have to see a movie star in person for it to click. Much in the way that I can't describe what I'd like on a cover of a book, but when I see what I don't want, it clicks, ya know? That was confusing as shit, wasn't it? :)

TQ:  Do you and Marcella have anything in common?

Dakota: Yeah--I love Pier One as much as she does, and I have an incredibly fresh mouth. LOL

TQ: What's next?

Dakota: Just finished book five in the accidentals titled, Accidentally Catty.Next for release is my first in my contemporary series titled, You Dropped A Blonde On Me in Dec. 2010, and as far as writing goes, the third in this series is on my plate next!

TQ: Thank you!!

Kiss &Hell (Hell Series 1)

Interview with Dakota Cassidy and Giveaway
Delaney Markham doesn't just see dead people, she hears them too. And FYI-communicating with tortured souls all day can really wreak havoc on your love life. Sans boyfriend, Delaney makes the best of her gift by holding séances to make ends meet-that is until one incredibly annoying ghost just won't go away.

Besides being sinfully hot-in a college professor sort of way-all signs point to Clyde Atwell being much more than the ordinary spirit. In fact, he's a newbie demon whose first assignment is to take Delaney back down to hell with him. Yeah, like that's going to happen on the first date.





Dakota can be found at her website, on Twitter, on Facebook, and at her Yahoo Group.


The Goodies

One commenter will win a copy of My Way to Hell and a small Devil Duckie.

Interview with Dakota Cassidy and Giveaway
After defying Lucifer to save her best friend Delaney, ex-demon Marcella Acosta has been banished to exist in the plane between heaven and hell-and there isn't a shopping mall in sight. After numerous failed attempts to contact Delaney through a bunch of hack mediums, Marcella's at her wit's end. But there's one medium she's hasn't tried yet, and he just happens to be Delaney's scorching hot brother Kellen- the one guy who never gave Marcella the time of day.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Interview with Dakota Cassidy and Giveaway 

To have a chance to win My Way to Hell and the Devil Duckie leave a comment telling The Qwillery what you would miss the most if you were banished to the plane between heaven and hell.

If you tweet the contest, we’ll give you another entry for the tweet as well. You can tweet as much as you like, but it only counts once. If you also mention the contest on Facebook, we’ll give you another entry. You can mention it on Facebook a zillion times, but you only get one extra entry. You can also mention the contest on your blog (it must be your blog) to get another entry. If you are a follower of The Qwillery you get another entry. You can get a maximum of 5 entries (comment, tweet, FB mention, blog mention, Follower). Provide us a link in the comments so we know that you tweeted or Facebooked or blogged. Please leave The Qwillery a way to contact you.

The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Wednesday, July 21, 2010.

Interview with Erin Kellison and Giveaway

Interview with Erin Kellison and Giveaway
The Qwillery is delighted to have Erin Kellison as our guest today. Erin's debut novel, Shadow Bound, was published on June 29. 2010.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Erin:  Writing quirk… hmmm… Malt vinegar chips fuel my creativity. Peanut M&Ms also work.

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? and who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Erin:  I have a distinct gothic bent, so thematically, Jane Eyre really influenced me. I read it in 6th grade and have re-read it a bunch of times since then. A few of my more modern favorites have been Patricia Briggs, Lois McMaster Bujold, Juliet Marillier, Jacqueline Carey, Robin McKinley, Karen Marie Moning, Kresley Cole, J.R. Ward, Nalini Singh, Jayne Ann Krentz. There are so many, I could go on and on.

TQ:  What inspired you to write your first novel?

Erin:  Shadow Bound is my second complete manuscript. My first manuscript was written with my sister. She called me up one day and said “on a whim” let’s write a book. It took us five years. I learned a tremendous amount and had a great time with my sister.

TQ:  How many books are planned for the series?

Erin:  Four right now. :) Book three will be called Shadowman and focuses on Shadowman and Kathleen from Shadow Bound.

TQ:  Who would pick to play Adam Thorne and Talia O'Brien in a movie or TV series?

Erin:  Fun question. I have always pictured Christian Bale as Adam Thorne. He is great at playing a tortured hero. And for Talia, how about Kristin Bell? She’s got the look and she can also do the tortured thing, like she did on Heroes.

TQ:  Do you and Talia have anything in common?

Erin: Yes. I started Shadow Bound after I finished my masters in Anthropology. Talia is just finishing her PhD. We both have more introverted natures, but she comes out of her shell a bit more than me. I can scream pretty dang loud too, but Death never shows up when I do. :)

TQ: Why wraiths?

Erin: Shadow Bound’s world building has a lot to do with life and death. Wraiths were a kind of experiment. I wondered if the most selfless act is to give up your life, the most selfish act would be to give up your death, and in so doing, become immortal. My monsters, then, had to be so self-centered that they would do anything to achieve that end. And if they wanted to sustain a semblance of humanity, they had to feed on the souls of other people. The fact that they have a corporeal body put them, for me, in the category of wraiths.

TQ: What's next?

Erin: I am looking forward with great anticipation to the release of the second book in my Shadow series, Shadow Fall, which comes out July 27.

Interview with Erin Kellison and Giveaway
Sacrifice

Custo Santovari accepted pain, blood, even death, to save his best friend. But a man with all his sins just isn't cut out to be an angel.

Mystery

One moment he's fleeing Heaven; the next, he's waking up stark naked in Manhattan. In the middle of a war. Called there by a woman who's desperately afraid of the dark.

Shadow

It gathers around Annabella as she performs, filled with fantastic images of another world, bringing both a golden hero and a nightmare lover.

Wolf

He pursues her relentlessly, twisting her desires even as she gives herself to the man she loves. Because each of us has a wild side, and Annabella is about to unleash the beast.

TQ: Thank you!

You can find Erin at her website, on Twitter and on Facebook.



The Goodies:

One commenter will win a copy of Shadow Bound and the Flyaway necklace.

Shadow Bound

Interview with Erin Kellison and Giveaway
Death

Some people will do anything to avoid it. Even trade their immortal souls for endless existence.

Wraiths

Secretly, inexorably, they are infiltrating our world, sucking the essence out of unsuspecting victims with their hideous parody of a kiss.

Segue

Adam Thorne founded the Segue Institute to study and destroy his monster of a brother, but the key to its success is held in the pale, slender hand of a woman on the run. There is something hauntingly different about Talia O’Brien, her unknowing sensuality, her uncanny way of slipping into Shadow.

Twilight

This is the place between life and what comes after—a dark forest of fantasy, filled with beauty, peril, mystery. And Talia is about to open the door.


Flyaway

Interview with Erin Kellison and Giveaway
A monocle is suspended from sterling silver beads, kyanite, and an art nouveau pewter Dragonfly, all hanging from silver plate chain. Tourmalated quartz hides within the chain. a large art nouveau angel wing completes the look.  24"

[Photo and description courtesy of Cemetery Cat Jewelry]
 
 
To have a chance to win Shadow Bound and Flyaway leave a comment telling The Qwillery what you would like to avoid.

If you tweet the contest, we’ll give you another entry for the tweet as well. You can tweet as much as you like, but it only counts once. If you also mention the contest on Facebook, we’ll give you another entry. You can mention it on Facebook a zillion times, but you only get one extra entry. You can also mention the contest on your blog (it must be your blog) to get another entry. If you are a follower of The Qwillery you get another entry. You can get a maximum of 5 entries (comment, tweet, FB mention, blog mention, Follower). Provide us a link in the comments so we know that you tweeted or Facebooked or blogged. Please leave The Qwillery a way to contact you.

The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm Eastern Time on Wednesday, July 14, 2010.

Interview with Lisa Shearin and Contest

Welcome to The Qwillery! Today's guest is Lisa Shearin, the author of the Raine Benares series.

TQw: Who are some of your favorite writers? And who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Lisa: Those who have followed me over the years know that Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files is my favorite series. Rob Thurman’s Cal Leandros novels and Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniel books are two of my other favorites. Robyn (Rob) and Ilona are amazing authors, great girls, and two of my author friends. I haven’t had the thrill of meeting Jim Butcher yet, but I have hopes.

Many authors have inspired me over the years. Back in the 80s, I devoured any and all books by David Eddings, Raymond Feist, and Terry Brooks. I also read detective fiction and crime capers by Raymond Chandler, Dashell Hammett, Leonard Elmore, Ed McBain, and Donald Westlake. I mix genres in my books, and I do the same with the books I like to read.

TQw: What inspired you to write your first novel?

Lisa: That I couldn’t find anything I wanted to read at the bookstore. My college roommate got tired of hearing me complain and asked me why I didn’t just write my own. So I did. But it took years before my books got to the point that even I would want to read them. I have three practice books in my office closet, and they’re gonna stay there.

TQw: Who would you pick to play Raine Benares if your books were ever made into movies?

Lisa: That’s easy. Felicia Day. Not only is she a great actress, but she’s also a big fan of my series, and has to be simply one of the nicest people on the planet.

TQw: Do you and Raine have anything in common?

Lisa: My husband says we have everything in common, that I am Raine. Ehhh, I don’t think so. I do wish I had her ability to pop back snappy one-liners in a conversation. Heck, by the time I think of a snarky comeback, the conversation’s been over for three hours.

TQw: If you could have a magical power, what would it be?

Lisa: Oh, I definitely know that one. I want to be able to translate the thoughts/images/sounds in my head onto the page. I’ve heard so many writers say that one of the hardest things to do is to get what’s on the page to be as good as what they see/hear in their head.

TQw: What's next?

Lisa: I’m finishing Raine’s fifth adventure now – Con & Conjure, which will hit bookstores on March 29 of next year. Then I’ll write All Spell Breaks Loose, which will come out in 2012. This winter I’ll be writing proposals for two new series that’ll be challenging and fun to write. I’ll be trying to raise the writing bar for myself with these.

TQw: A big thank you to Lisa for being our guest.

The Raine Benares series

Book 1
Interview with Lisa Shearin and Contest
My name is Raine Benares. I’m a seeker. The people who hire me are usually happy when I find things. But some things are better left unfound…

Raine is a sorceress of moderate powers, from an extended family of smugglers and thieves. With a mix of street smarts and magic spells, she can usually take care of herself. But when her friend Quentin, a not-quite-reformed thief, steals an amulet from the home of a powerful necromancer, Raine finds herself wrapped up in more trouble than she cares for. She likes attention as much as the next girl, but having an army of militant goblins hunting her down is not her idea of a good time. The amulet they’re after holds limitless power, derived from an ancient, soul-stealing stone. And when Raine takes possession of the item, it takes possession of her.

Now her moderate powers are increasing beyond anything she could imagine—but is the resumé enhancement worth her soul?


Book 2
Interview with Lisa Shearin and Contest
My name is Raine Benares. Until last week I was a seeker—a finder of things lost and people missing. Now I’m psychic roommates with the Saghred, an ancient stone with cataclysmic powers. Just me, the stone, and all the souls it’s ingested over the centuries. Crowded doesn’t even begin to describe it…

All Raine wants is her life back—which means getting rid of the stone and the power it possesses. To sort things out, she heads for the Isle of Mid, home to the most prestigious sorcery school, as well as the Conclave, the governing body for all magic users. It’s also home to power-grubbing mages who want Raine dead and goblins who see her as a thief. As if that’s not enough, Mid’s best student spellsingers are disappearing left and right, and Raine’s expected to find them.

Lives are at stake, goblins are threatening to sue, mages are getting greedier, and the stone’s power is getting stronger by the hour. This could get ugly.

Book 3
Interview with Lisa Shearin and Contest
My name is Raine Benares. I’m a seeker. People hire me when they need something found. I’m not usually the one being sought. But that all changed when I found the Saghred, a soul-stealing stone of unlimited power — and the bane of my existence. Now mages and madmen have me in their sights, not to mention demons…

An opened Hellgate leads to a demon infestation on the Isle of Mid, and while there’s never an ideal time to face down demon hordes, it’s hard to imagine a worse one. Already fighting the influence of the Saghred, Raine discovers she is also magically bonded to a dark mage and a white knight, two dangerous and powerful men on opposing sides — and Raine’s stuck in the middle.

But with demons pouring through the Hellgate, Raine can’t afford to be distracted. Turns out, the demons want the key to unlock the Saghred. As a seeker, Raine should be able to find it first. As the axis of light and dark powers, she’s a magical cataclysm waiting to happen…


Book 4
Interview with Lisa Shearin and ContestMy name is Raine Benares. I’m a seeker. I find lost things and missing people — usually alive. Finding the specters of six evil mages who escaped the Saghred, a soul-eating stone of unlimited power, was easy. Stopping them before they unleash Hell on earth just may be the death of me.

Being bonded to the Saghred wasn’t my idea — neither is hunting down its escapees. Especially not when one of them is also hunting me. He’s regenerating his body by taking the lives of powerful victims, along with their memories, knowledge, and most important of all, their magic. The dark mage wants control of the Saghred, and if he gets it, he’ll become an evil demigod whom no one can stop. The only thing in his way is me.

One of us doesn’t stand a ghost of a chance.


Now for the goodies! The Qwillery is giving away 2 prizes - one commenter will win the first 4 Raine Benares books and 1 commenter will win a copy of the latest Raine Benares book, Bewitched & Betrayed.

Leave a comment telling us what magical power you would like to have. I wish I had the power to snap my fingers and perfectly tidy any room!

We’ll put all the names of all commenters in the DubbleBubble receptacle and pull out 2 names - one for each prize. If you tweet the contest, we’ll put your name in for the tweet as well. You can tweet as much as you like, but it only counts once. If you also mention the contest on Facebook, we’ll add your name again. You can mention it on Facebook a zillion times, but you only get one extra entry. You can also mention the contest on your blog to get another entry. So you can get your name placed in the receptacle a maximum of 4 times (comment, tweet, FB mention, blog mention). Provide us a link in the comments so we know that you tweeted or Facebooked or blogged.


The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm Eastern Time on Monday, May 10, 2010.
Interview with Stephanie Dray - November 18, 2010Interview with Zoë Archer and Giveaway - November 3, 2010Interview with Alethea Kontis & GiveawayInterview with Vera Nazarian, Author, Artist, PublisherInterview with Kalayna Price & GiveawayInterview With Rob Thurman & GiveawayInterview with Dakota Cassidy and GiveawayInterview with Erin Kellison and GiveawayInterview with Lisa Shearin and Contest

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