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What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 31


This is the thirty-first in a series of updates about formerly featured Debut Author Challenge authors and their 2015 works published since the last update and any upcoming works for 2016. The year in parentheses after the author's name is the year she/he was featured in the Debut Author Challenge.


Part 1 herePart 11 herePart 21 here
Part 2 herePart 12 herePart 22 here
Part 3 herePart 13 herePart 23 here
Part 4 herePart 14 herePart 24 here
Part 5 herePart 15 herePart 25 here
Part 6 herePart 16 herePart 26 here
Part 7 herePart 17 herePart 27 here
Part 8 herePart 18 herePart 28 here
Part 9 herePart 19 herePart 29 here
Part 10 herePart 20 herePart 30 here



Catherine Chanter (2015)

The Well
Washington Square Press, March 1, 2016
Trade Paperback, 400 pages
Hardcover and eBook, May 19, 2015

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 31
Set in a modern-day Britain where water is running out everywhere except at the farm of one seemingly ordinary family whose mysterious good fortune leads to a shocking act of violence, The Well is “extraordinary...a mesmerizing read…combining a gripping mystery, nuanced psychological drama, and striking prose” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).

When Ruth Ardingly and her family make that first long drive up from the city in their grime-encrusted car and view The Well, they are enchanted by a jewel of a farm that appears to offer everything they need: an opportunity for Ruth, an escape for her husband, and a home for their grandson. But when the drought begins, everything changes. Surrounded by thirty acres of lush greenery, the farm mysteriously thrives while the world outside crumbles under the longest dry spell in recorded history. No one, including the owners, understands why.

But The Well’s unique glory comes at a terrible price. From the envy of their neighbors to the mandates of the government, from the fanaticism of a religious order called the Sisters of the Rose to the everyday difficulties of staying close as husband and wife, grandmother and child—all these forces lead to a shocking crime. Accusations of witchcraft, wrongdoing, and murder envelop the family until their paradise becomes a prison.

A beautifully written debut novel that “channels Margaret Atwood and Gillian Flynn, creating a story that’s speculative and suspenseful” (Minneapolis Star Tribune), The Well is an utterly haunting meditation on the fragile nature of our relationships with each other and the places we call home.




Kristi Charish (2015)

Owl and the City of Angels
Owl 2
Pocket Star, October 5, 2015
    eBook, 304 pages
Gallery Books, March 1, 2016
    Trade Paperback, 432 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 31
The wild second adventure for unforgettable antiquities thief Owl—a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world—from the pen of rising urban fantasy star Kristi Charish. For fans of Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, Jennifer Estep, Jenn Bennett, and the like. The series also includes Owl and the Japanese Circus and Owl and the Electric Samurai.

Alix Hiboux, better known as Owl, international antiquities thief for hire, is settling into her new contract job for Vegas mogul Mr. Kurosawa, a red dragon with a penchant for ancient, supernatural artifacts. And now he has his sights set on some treasures of the mysterious Syrian City of the Dead that are sitting in a recluse’s private collection.

There’s just one wrinkle. To stop the resurrection of an undead army that could wreak havoc on Los Angeles, Owl must break into a heavily guarded archaeological sight [sic] in one of the most volatile regions in the world. A detour through Libya and a run-in with Somali pirates sends the clock ticking hastily toward total paranormal disaster.

Meanwhile, Alexander and the Paris vampires have stopped stalking Owl’s apartment, but they have by no means forgotten their death grudge against her. To top everything off, Owl finds out the hard way that there is nothing heavenly about the City of Angels...


Owl and the Electric Samurai
Pocket Star, July 18, 2016
Owl 3
eBook, 416 pages

[cover not yet available]
The third exciting novel starring the unforgettable antiquities thief Owl—a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world. From the pen of rising urban fantasy star Kristi Charish (Owl and the Japanese Circus) and for fans of Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, Jennifer Estep, Jenn Bennett, and fantasy lovers everywhere.

The International Archaeology Association (IAA) is responsible for keeping all things supernatural under wraps. They’re also responsible for ruining the promising archaeology career of Alix Hiboux, better known as Owl.

Needless to say, Owl’s still a little sore about that.

Just to keep Owl’s life lively, the IAA has opened a bounty on the two designers of World Quest, the online RPG that is much, much more than it seems. Owl needs to locate the notorious gaming duo before the other mercenaries do. But finding the gamers won’t be easy since every clue points to them hiding out in the legendary lost city of Shangri-La. Not to mention that the last time Owl and the game designers spoke, their conversation didn’t exactly end on the best note…

Meanwhile, undercurrents of supernatural politics are running amok in Tokyo, dragging Owl and her friends into a deadly game of wits with an opponent who calls himself the Electric Samurai. The cost of losing? All-out civil war between two powerful supernatural factions.

All in all, just another great day on the job.




Zen Cho (2015)

Sorcerer to the Crown
A Sorcerer Royal Novel 1
Ace, July 12, 2016
Trade Paperback, 384 pages
Hardcover and eBook, September 1, 2015

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 31
Magic and mayhem clash with the British elite in this whimsical and sparkling debut.

The Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers maintains the magic within His Majesty’s lands. But lately, the once proper institute has fallen into disgrace, naming an altogether unsuitable gentleman as their Sorcerer Royal and allowing England’s stores of magic to bleed dry. At least they haven’t stooped so low as to allow women to practice what is obviously a man’s profession…

At his wit’s end, Zacharias Wythe, Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers, ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England’s magical stocks are drying up, an adventure that brings him in contact with Prunella Gentlewoman, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, and sets him on a path which will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain—and the world at large…




Gerrard Cowan (2015)

The Strategist
The Machinery Trilogy 2
Harper Voyager (UK), May 5, 2016
eBook, 400 pages

[cover not yet available]
Ruin is coming.

The Strategist rules from the depths of See House, searching for the omnipotent Machinery that once chose the Overland’s rulers, to ensure it is broken beyond repair. Only then will the Prophecy be fulfilled. Only then will Ruin come for everyone.

But only the Dust Queen knows where the Machinery resides. She is the oldest creature in creation, and she bows to no one, especially not the Strategist. She has built an army of the dead, and she is heading north.

It was the Dust Queen who made the Prophecy, and she knows its true meaning. Before the Machinery is finally broken, the immortals will play their favourite game one last time. A game from darker days. A game in which mortals are nothing more than pawns.

And this time, the Dust Queen wants to play.




Seth Dickinson (2015)

Please Undo This Hurt
A Tor.com Origianl
Tor Books, September 16, 2015
eBook, 32 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 31
Ever feel like you care too much? After a breakup, after the funeral...it feels like the way to win at life is to care the least.

That's not an option for Dominga, an EMT who cares too much, or her drinking buddy Nico, who just lost his poor cat. Life hurts. They drink. They talk:

Nico's tired of hurting people. He wants out. Not suicide, not that - he'd just hurt everyone who loves him. But what if he could erase his whole life? Undo the fact of his birth? Wouldn't Dominga be having a better night, right now, if she didn't have to take care of him?

And when Dominga finds a way to do just that, when she is gifted or armed with a terrible cosmic mercy, she still cares enough to say:

I am not letting him have this. I am not letting Nico go without a fight.


Note: The Traitor Baru Cormorant will be published in Trade Paperback in November 2016.

Review: Owl and the City of Angels by Kristi Charish


Owl and the City of Angels
Author:  Kristi Charish
Series:  Owl 2
Publisher:  Pocket Star, October 5, 2015
Format:  eBook, 304 pages
List Price:   $5.99
ISBN: 9781476779881
Review Copy: Provided by the Publisher
Trade Paperback available March 1, 2016

Review: Owl and the City of Angels by Kristi Charish
The wild second adventure for unforgettable antiquities thief Owl—a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world—from the pen of rising urban fantasy star Kristi Charish. For fans of Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, Jennifer Estep, Jenn Bennett, and the like. The series also includes Owl and the Japanese Circus and Owl and the Electric Samurai.

Alix Hiboux, better known as Owl, international antiquities thief for hire, is settling into her new contract job for Vegas mogul Mr. Kurosawa, a red dragon with a penchant for ancient, supernatural artifacts. And now he has his sights set on some treasures of the mysterious Syrian City of the Dead that are sitting in a recluse’s private collection.

There’s just one wrinkle. To stop the resurrection of an undead army that could wreak havoc on Los Angeles, Owl must break into a heavily guarded archaeological sight [sic] in one of the most volatile regions in the world. A detour through Libya and a run-in with Somali pirates sends the clock ticking hastily toward total paranormal disaster.

Meanwhile, Alexander and the Paris vampires have stopped stalking Owl’s apartment, but they have by no means forgotten their death grudge against her. To top everything off, Owl finds out the hard way that there is nothing heavenly about the City of Angels...



Doreen’s Thoughts

In her second novel, Owl and the City of Angels, Kristi Charish brings back her character, Owl, working full-time now for the dragon who hired her in the prior book. As an international antiquities thief, Owl reminds other readers of Indiana Jones, but I have always thought of her as Lara Croft. She is still on the run from the IAA, the group that monitors archaeological sites across the world, particularly those with a supernatural twist. In between avoiding the IAA and performing jobs for Mr. Kurosawa, Owl likes to keep her hand in with picking up treasures of her own.

The story starts in Egypt, with Owl attempting to steal a Medusa head, when the IAA appears to up its efforts to capture Owl. Apparently, someone else has been impersonating Owl and stealing antiquities from banned sites, those with supernatural elements that are too dangerous to be exposed to an unsuspecting world. The unknown thief chooses targets and uses techniques that are too similar to Owl’s to be coincidence, and the IAA is determined to shut her down for good. Her research brings Owl to a dig site in the Middle East, where Owl must face the professor who double-crossed her and set the IAA on her trail in the first place.

Owl and the City of Angels is a rollicking story, with adventure after adventure being thrown at Owl. She faces mummies, Somali pirates, and zombies. She still games heavily with the elf, Carpe, and we find that the World Quest maps are key to her finding where certain antiquities are hidden. Her friends, Nadya and Rynn, are more heavily involved in her life these days, which is a good thing, because Owl needs more people in her life. In addition, she still has her cat Captain, the Egyptian Mau that hunts vampires. She also meets Rynn’s cousin, another incubus but seemingly less benevolent than Rynn himself. These people all help the readers figure Owl out through her interactions with them.

Charish does a great job with descriptions, not only of the archaeological sites and treasures themselves, but more importantly, of the actual physical adventures. One can picture how Owl dangles above a sarcophagus, with rats running over her legs and water rising to cover the Medusa head she must rescue. Sometimes, Charish’s inventions run almost too comical, as with the Somali pirates kidnapping Owl and a zombie apocalypse in Los Angeles, but somehow Charish is able to pull it off.

As a strong female character competing in a male world, Owl is a great role model for young girls. This book can probably be read as a standalone, because Charish does a great job of reintroducing characters and stories from the earlier novel; however, I enjoyed seeing the character development of Owl from one novel to the next. She started out as a solo thief, alone but for her cat, and has grown into a key member of a team, including Nadya and Rynn. I look forward to seeing what other adventures Owl can have.

Review: Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish


Owl and the Japanese Circus
Author:  Kristi Charish
Series:  Owl 1
Publisher:  Gallery Books, January 13, 2015
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages
List Price: $18.00 (print); $5.99 (digital)
ISBN: 9781476794990 (print); 9781476778679 (digital)
Review Copy: Provided by The Publisher

Review: Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish
Fans of Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, and Linda Hamilton will flock to the kick-ass world of Owl, a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world.

Ex-archaeology grad student turned international antiquities thief, Alix—better known now as Owl—has one rule. No supernatural jobs. Ever. Until she crosses paths with Mr. Kurosawa, a red dragon who owns and runs the Japanese Circus Casino in Las Vegas. He insists Owl retrieve an artifact stolen three thousand years ago, and makes her an offer she can’t refuse: he’ll get rid of a pack of vampires that want her dead. A dragon is about the only entity on the planet that can deliver on Owl’s vampire problem – and let’s face it, dragons are known to eat the odd thief.

Owl retraces the steps of Mr. Kurosawa’s ancient thief from Japan to Bali with the help of her best friend, Nadya, and an attractive mercenary. As it turns out though, finding the scroll is the least of her worries. When she figures out one of Mr. Kurosawa’s trusted advisors is orchestrating a plan to use a weapon powerful enough to wipe out a city, things go to hell in a hand basket fast…and Owl has to pick sides.



Doreen’s Thoughts

While the description portrays Alix/Owl as an “Indiana Jane,” she reminds me more of a reluctant thief than an archaeologist. I love her rule about “no supernatural jobs ever” – it just seems guaranteed to bring her back to the supernatural world. The story starts out with Owl hiding out with her pet Egyptian Mau cat, Captain. I love the detail that Mau cats are bred to fight vampires and sing out whenever they scent one. What a great warning system for someone on the run from vampires!

I appreciated Owl’s best friend, Nadya, and her new friend, Rynn. They both are good foils for Owl, and the reader learns about Owl and what motivates her through interactions with the two of them. She is honest and loyal, and that resonates with her friends. In addition to being an archaeological thief, she also is a master gamer, and she becomes embroiled with an online hacker who feels she does not spend enough time playing computer games.

It is obvious from the opening chapter that Owl wants absolutely nothing to do with anyone or anything supernatural, and in some ways, this hampers her. However, Mr. Kurosawa really gives her no choice when he makes his offer – find the artifact and never have to deal with vampires again or else be eaten by a dragon. So Owl reluctantly begins to fulfill her job, returning to Japan and reaching out to sources there and around the world to try to find some hint about the location of the artifact. Ultimately, she travels to Bali, and here Kristi Charish’s descriptions really shine.

As an important man, Mr. Kurosawa has two primary servants with whom Owl is supposed to interact, the former samurai, Mr. Oricho, and the Lady Siyu, both of whom are probably supernatural creatures themselves. While the Lady Siyu gets on Owl’s nerves, Mr. Oricho almost becomes a friend to her and is especially helpful in finding the artifact.

There is a twist at the end of the story that I would never have suspected without some understanding of Japanese culture, and even with that knowledge, I was surprised and pleased with the development. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Owl and the Japanese Circus and look forward to more adventures with Owl. My one quibble is this – how Owl acquired her nickname is never explained, and that mystery still bothers me!

Interview with Kristi Charish, author of Owl and the Japanese Circus - January 31, 2015


Please welcome Kristi Charish to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Owl and the Japanese Circus was published on January 13th by Gallery Books.



Interview with Kristi Charish, author of Owl and the Japanese Circus - January 31, 2015




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

Kristi:  Oddly enough I only started writing about 5 years ago, February 2010 to be exact. As to why, I was in the process of writing up my PhD thesis and hated it. I’d always loved books and wanted to write fiction, but I’d never had the courage to actually try. I traded off an hour of thesis writing with an hour of fiction writing (turned into two hours fiction, one hour thesis). Once I started I couldn’t stop and so here I am five years later, almost to the day.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Kristi:  Total pantser all the way. ☺



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

Kristi:  Hmmm. Time is always a huge factor, especially at the moment with OWL being a new release, but in general for me it’s pushing through the parts I don’t think are going that great. There’s a real temptation to stop but the only way to make progress is finish the story. I can always go back and fix it later.



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

Kristi:  In the UF arena I’m a huge fan of Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs, Kelley Armstrong (she’s Canadian too!), Charlaine Harris, and Diana Rowland. They’ve all influenced my writing in some way and are all on my auto-buy lists.

Outside urban fantasy, some of my favorite authors and influences are Ian Hamilton (Ava Lee series- another Canadian!), James Clavell (King Rat, Tai Pan).

I also love 80’s style adventure movies like Indiana Jones, Big Trouble in Little China, and The Mummy. They are huge influences on my writing.



TQ:  Describe Owl and the Japanese Circus in 140 characters or less.

Kristi:  Owl: Fun adventure staring a modern ‘Indiana Jane’ who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world.



TQ:  Tell us something about Owl and the Japanese Circus that is not in the book description.

Kristi:  The biggest omission from the back cover (that isn’t a spoiler) is that Owl has a Mau cat named Captain who accompanies her everywhere. He also smells out vampires and takes hunting them down a little too seriously. He’s not mentioned in the book description but has fast become many reader’s favorite character.



TQ:  What inspired you to write Owl and the Japanese Circus? Why an ex-archaeology grad student?

Kristi:  I had been struggling for a bit with third person narrative and really wanted to try something in first person. I had just finished a writing prompt exercise for a writing course (where the prompt was ‘When death’s clowns came for me’) and had also just finished reading a mystery novel called ‘The Water Rat of Wanchai’ by Ian Hamilton (Ava Lee series). It was the first mystery I’d read in a while and I thought wouldn’t it be great to write something like that! Prompt and mystery novel idea in hand, I started writing about an antiquities thief...with absolutely no monsters. It was going to be a normal book, a break from fantasy...

That lasted all of twenty pages when I realized I’d accidentally written a dragon into the novel.

There are a few other influences that came into writing Owl past that first chapter – most notably Indiana Jones – but that’s how it got started ☺

As to the archaeology background, when I first started university I was actually enrolled in Anthropology/Archaeology. I lasted about a year before I realized it really wasn’t like Indiana Jones and switched to genetics. I guess this is my way of living out vicariously my undergrad Indiana Jones fantasy.



TQ:  Your biography states that you are a scientist whose specialties are genetics, cell biology, and molecular biology. How does this influence and add to your writing (or not)?

Kristi:  Being a biologist influences my writing hugely – but not in the way you might think. I certainly use my background to add in plausible scientific explanations and details for monsters (if you accept the idea there could be vampires how would they work, etc.), but the problem solving that goes into designing experiments in a lab is probably the aspect of my science training that I use the most when plotting out my novels and trouble shooting logic issues.



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Owl and the Japanese Circus?

Kristi:  As far as research goes, I went lighter on techniques and heavy on researching mythology and the archaeological sites Alix/Owl visits. It was a conscious choice to keep inline with the adventure genre. Plot always comes first when I write and after that comes the mythology and accuracy. I did spend a great deal of time referencing Balinese and Japanese mythology and archaeology sites and in most cases I tried to match the plot to mythology that made the most sense.

Google Maps was also my best friend. You can trip plan travel between Tokyo stations and street view is a glorious thing.



TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Kristi:  

Easiest: Owl. She’s a fun character with next to no filter and writing from her perspective is a blast. There is something very freeing about sticking yourself in the head of someone who just doesn’t give a F*&k what people think ;-)

Hardest: Owl’s cat, Captain, but he’s also one of my favorites. He’s tricky because there’s no dialogue to fall back on and...well...he’s a cat. I ended up basing a lot of Captain’s behaviors on my own 20 lb Ragdoll monster.



TQ:  Which question about your novel do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Kristi:  The one about Alix’s grad school experience and whether it’s based on mine – (in the book hers is a resounding disaster).

Answer: Man was I ever worried what would happen if/when my old lab read this! Though some of the details about how the academic machine works are coloured by my own experiences (lost thesis a week before a defense anyone?), on the whole my time as a grad student was pretty great. In fact, I’m still working on finishing a paper with my old lab and visit regularly so I can keep one foot in the research science door.

But... there are stories supervisors tell their students. About labs where experiments go awry for no reason and controls disappear overnight. Where grad students are pitted against grad student and sabotage is par for the course. Those stories, always whispered in confidence at conferences, are what I based Alix’s academic experience on.



TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from Owl and the Japanese Circus.

Kristi:

‘He feinted back and pulled on the leash in an attempt to break my hold and get back to Charles. Nope, not desensitized. Getting better at manipulation.’

‘People are real happy to make friends with you when a two-thousand-year-old mummy knocks off half their team, but returning the favor always pisses them off. No one likes to pay up out of the goodness of their heart; that’s why I usually get cash up front.’



TQ:  What's next?

Kristi:  Next January (2016) the sequel to OWL AND THE JAPANESE CIRCUS, OWL AND THE CITY OF ANGELS. It sees Owl settling into her new job as a contract thief for Vegas mogul Mr. Kurosawa (with mixed results) when he sets his sights on a trio of artifacts sitting in a Los Angeles recluse’s private collection. Owl is sent to fetch them and finds out that the City of Angels is anything but. For reviewers out there ARCs should be available sometime this summer.

I also had Random House Canada pick up my second UF series, KINCAID STRANGE, which is coming out May 2016.

It’s about a voodoo practitioner named Kincaid Strange who lives in Seattle with her roommate, the ghost of deceased 90’s grunge rocker, Nathan Cade. More about the plot later this year but it involves murder, ghost mayhem, and voodoo zombies!



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Kristi:  Thanks for having me!





Owl and the Japanese Circus
Owl 1
Gallery Books, January 13, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages

Interview with Kristi Charish, author of Owl and the Japanese Circus - January 31, 2015
Fans of Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, and Linda Hamilton will flock to the kick-ass world of Owl, a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world.

Ex-archaeology grad student turned international antiquities thief, Alix—better known now as Owl—has one rule. No supernatural jobs. Ever. Until she crosses paths with Mr. Kurosawa, a red dragon who owns and runs the Japanese Circus Casino in Las Vegas. He insists Owl retrieve an artifact stolen three thousand years ago, and makes her an offer she can’t refuse: he’ll get rid of a pack of vampires that want her dead. A dragon is about the only entity on the planet that can deliver on Owl’s vampire problem – and let’s face it, dragons are known to eat the odd thief.

Owl retraces the steps of Mr. Kurosawa’s ancient thief from Japan to Bali with the help of her best friend, Nadya, and an attractive mercenary. As it turns out though, finding the scroll is the least of her worries. When she figures out one of Mr. Kurosawa’s trusted advisors is orchestrating a plan to use a weapon powerful enough to wipe out a city, things go to hell in a hand basket fast…and Owl has to pick sides.





About Kristi

Interview with Kristi Charish, author of Owl and the Japanese Circus - January 31, 2015
Kristi is the author of OWL AND THE JAPANESE CIRCUS (Jan 13th, 2015, Simon and Schuster Canada/Pocket Books), an urban fantasy about a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world. She writes what she loves; adventure heavy stories featuring strong, savvy female protagonists, pop culture, and the occasional RPG fantasy game thrown in the mix. The second installment, OWL AND THE CITY OF ANGELS, is scheduled for release Jan 2016. Her second urban fantasy series, KINCAID STRANGE (Random House Canada), about a voodoo practioner living in Seattle, is scheduled for release mid 2016.

Kristi is also a scientist with a BSc and MSc from Simon Fraser University in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and a PhD in Zoology from the University of British Columbia. Her specialties are genetics, cell biology, and molecular biology, all of which she draws upon in her writing. She is represented by Carolyn Forde at Westwood Creative Artists.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @kristicharish  ~  Google+

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish


2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish


The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge.


Kristi Charish

Owl and the Japanese Circus
Gallery Books, January 13, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish
Fans of Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, and Linda Hamilton will flock to the kick-ass world of Owl, a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world.

Ex-archaeology grad student turned international antiquities thief, Alix—better known now as Owl—has one rule. No supernatural jobs. Ever. Until she crosses paths with Mr. Kurosawa, a red dragon who owns and runs the Japanese Circus Casino in Las Vegas. He insists Owl retrieve an artifact stolen three thousand years ago, and makes her an offer she can’t refuse: he’ll get rid of a pack of vampires that want her dead. A dragon is about the only entity on the planet that can deliver on Owl’s vampire problem – and let’s face it, dragons are known to eat the odd thief.

Owl retraces the steps of Mr. Kurosawa’s ancient thief from Japan to Bali with the help of her best friend, Nadya, and an attractive mercenary. As it turns out though, finding the scroll is the least of her worries. When she figures out one of Mr. Kurosawa’s trusted advisors is orchestrating a plan to use a weapon powerful enough to wipe out a city, things go to hell in a hand basket fast…and Owl has to pick sides.

2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January Debuts



2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January Debuts



Each month you will be able to vote for your favorite cover from that month's debut novels. At the end of the year the 12 monthly winners will be pitted against each other to choose the 2015 Debut Novel Cover of the Year. Please note that a debut novel cover is eligible in the month in which the novel is released in the US. Cover artist/illustrator information is provided when we have it.

I'm using PollCode for this vote. After you the check the circle next to your favorite, click "Vote" to record your vote. If you'd like to see the real-time results click "View". This will take you to the PollCode site where you may see the results. If you want to come back to The Qwillery click "Back" and you will return to this page. Voting will end sometime on January 24, 2015.


Vote for your favorite January 2015 Debut Cover
 
pollcode.com free polls




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January Debuts

2015 Debut Author Challenge - January 2015 Debuts



2015 Debut Author Challenge - January 2015 Debuts



There are 14 debuts for January. Please note that we use the publisher's publication date in the United States, not copyright dates or non-US publication dates.

The December debut authors and their novels are listed in alphabetical order by author (not book title or publication date). Take a good look at the covers. Voting for your favorite January cover for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on January 5th.

If you are participating as a reader in the Challenge, please let us know in the comments what you are thinking of reading or email us at "DAC . TheQwillery  @  gmail . com" (remove the spaces and quotation marks). Please note that we list all debuts for the month (of which we are aware), but not all of these authors will be 2015 Debut Author Challenge featured authors. However, any of these novels may be read by Challenge readers to meet the goal for January. The list is correct as of the day posted.

Updated 1/2/2015 to include Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish and Fatal Feast by Jay Ruud.



W.C. Bauers

Unbreakable
Tor Books, January 13, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 368 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - January 2015 Debuts
The colonists of the planet Montana are accustomed to being ignored. Situated in the buffer zone between two rival human empires, their world is a backwater: remote, provincial, independently minded. Even as a provisional member of the Republic of Aligned Worlds, Montana merits little consideration—until it becomes the flashpoint in an impending interstellar war.

When pirate raids threaten to destabilize the region, the RAW deploys its mechanized armored infantry to deal with the situation. Leading the assault is Marine Corps Lieutenant and Montanan expatriate Promise Paen of Victor Company. Years earlier, Promise was driven to join the Marines after her father was killed by such a raid. Payback is sweet, but it comes at a tremendous and devastating cost. And Promise is in no way happy to be back on her birthworld, not even when she is hailed as a hero by the planet's populace, including its colorful president. Making matters even worse: Promise is persistently haunted by the voice of her dead mother.

Meanwhile, the RAW's most bitter rival, the Lusitanian Empire, has been watching events unfold in the Montana system with interest. Their forces have been awaiting the right moment to gain a beachhead in Republic territory, and with Promise's Marines decimated, they believe the time to strike is now.

Unbreakable by W.C. Bauers is character driven, military science in the tradition of John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War.




Hannah Beckerman

The Dead Wife's Handbook
Arcade Publishing, January 6, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 496 pages
(Debut - US)

2015 Debut Author Challenge - January 2015 Debuts
Rachel, Max, and their daughter Ellie had the perfect life—until the night Rachel’s heart stopped beating. She was thirty-six.

Just as her family can’t forget her, Rachel can’t quite let go of them either. Caught in a place between worlds, Rachel watches helplessly as she begins to fade from their lives.

This fresh debut novel touches on the various stages of bereavement, from denial to acceptance. As Max and Ellie work through their grief, Rachel too struggles to come to terms with her death. And as her husband starts to date again, Rachel realizes that one day Max will find love, and that Ellie will have a new mother figure in her life.

The Dead Wife’s Handbook is a heartwarming and touching book, very commercial in its approach and a compelling read. It will touch a wide readership, and is a perfect read for fans of the bestseller The Lovely Bones.




Kristi Charish

Owl and the Japanese Circus
Gallery Books, January 13, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - January 2015 Debuts
Fans of Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, and Linda Hamilton will flock to the kick-ass world of Owl, a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world.

Ex-archaeology grad student turned international antiquities thief, Alix—better known now as Owl—has one rule. No supernatural jobs. Ever. Until she crosses paths with Mr. Kurosawa, a red dragon who owns and runs the Japanese Circus Casino in Las Vegas. He insists Owl retrieve an artifact stolen three thousand years ago, and makes her an offer she can’t refuse: he’ll get rid of a pack of vampires that want her dead. A dragon is about the only entity on the planet that can deliver on Owl’s vampire problem – and let’s face it, dragons are known to eat the odd thief.

Owl retraces the steps of Mr. Kurosawa’s ancient thief from Japan to Bali with the help of her best friend, Nadya, and an attractive mercenary. As it turns out though, finding the scroll is the least of her worries. When she figures out one of Mr. Kurosawa’s trusted advisors is orchestrating a plan to use a weapon powerful enough to wipe out a city, things go to hell in a hand basket fast…and Owl has to pick sides.




Cecilia Ekbäck

Wolf Winter
Weinstein Books, January 27, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 376 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - January 2015 Debuts
‘Wolf winter,' she said, her voice small. ‘I wanted to ask about it. You know, what it is.'
 He was silent for a long time. ‘It's the kind of winter that will remind us we are mortal,' he said. ‘Mortal and alone.'


Swedish Lapland, 1717. Maija, her husband Paavo and her daughters Frederika and Dorotea arrive from their native Finland, hoping to forget the traumas of their past and put down new roots in this harsh but beautiful land. Above them looms Blackåsen, a mountain whose foreboding presence looms over the valley and whose dark history seems to haunt the lives of those who live in its shadow.

While herding the family's goats on the mountain, Frederika happens upon the mutilated body of one of their neighbors, Eriksson. The death is dismissed as a wolf attack, but Maija feels certain that the wounds could only have been inflicted by another man. Compelled to investigate despite her neighbors' strange disinterest in the death and the fate of Eriksson's widow, Maija is drawn into the dark history of tragedies and betrayals that have taken place on Blackåsen. Young Frederika finds herself pulled towards the mountain as well, feeling something none of the adults around her seem to notice.

As the seasons change, and the "wolf winter," the harshest winter in memory, descends upon the settlers, Paavo travels to find work, and Maija finds herself struggling for her family's survival in this land of winter-long darkness. As the snow gathers, the settlers' secrets are increasingly laid bare. Scarce resources and the never-ending darkness force them to come together, but Maija, not knowing who to trust and who may betray her, is determined to find the answers for herself. Soon, Maija discovers the true cost of survival under the mountain, and what it will take to make it to spring.




Alex Gordon

Gideon
Harper Voyager, January 6, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - January 2015 Debuts
Preston & Child meets Kim Harrison in this edge-of-your-seat debut thriller—a superb blend of mystery, urban fantasy, horror, romance, and the supernatural.

When Lauren’s father dies, she makes a shocking discovery. The man she knew as John Reardon was once a completely different person, with a different name. Now, she’s determined to find out who he really was, even though her only clues are an old photograph, some letters, and the name of a town—Gideon.

But someone—or something—doesn’t want her to discover the truth. A strange man is stalking her, appearing everywhere she turns, and those who try to help her end up dead. Neither a shadowy enemy nor her own fear are going to prevent her from solving the mystery of her father—and unlocking the secrets of her own life.

Making her way to Gideon, Lauren finds herself more confused than ever. Nothing in this small Midwestern town is what it seems, including time itself. Residents start going missing, and Lauren is threatened by almost every townsperson she encounters. Two hundred years ago, a witch was burned at the stake, but in Gideon, the past feels all too chillingly present . . .




Darin Kennedy

The Mussorgsky Riddle
Curiosity Quills Press, January 12, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 350 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - January 2015 Debuts
Psychic Mira Tejedor possesses unique talents that enable her to find anything and anyone, but now she must find a comatose boy wandering lost inside the labyrinth of his own mind. Thirteen-year-old Anthony Faircloth hasn’t spoken a word in almost a month and with each passing day, his near catatonic state worsens. No doctor, test, or scan can tell Anthony’s distraught mother what has happened to her already troubled son. In desperation, she turns to Mira for answers, hoping her unique abilities might succeed where science has failed.

At their first encounter, Mira is pulled into Anthony’s mind and finds the child’s psyche shattered into the various movements of Modest Mussorgsky’s classical music suite, Pictures at an Exhibition. As she navigates this magical dreamscape drawn from Anthony’s twin loves of Russian composers and classical mythology, Mira must contend with gnomes, troubadours, and witches in her search for the truth behind Anthony’s mysterious malady.

The real world, however, holds its own dangers. The onset of Anthony’s condition coincides with the disappearance of his older brother’s girlfriend, a missing persons case that threatens to tear the city apart. Mira discovers that in order to save Anthony, she will have to catch a murderer who will stop at nothing to keep the secrets contained in Anthony’s unique mind from ever seeing the light.




Greer Macallister

The Magician's Lie
Sourcebooks Landmark, January 13, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - January 2015 Debuts
Water for Elephants meets The Night Circus in The Magician’s Lie, a debut novel in which the country’s most notorious female illusionist stands accused of her husband's murder —and she has only one night to convince a small-town policeman of her innocence.

The Amazing Arden is the most famous female illusionist of her day, renowned for her notorious trick of sawing a man in half on stage. One night in Waterloo, Iowa, with young policeman Virgil Holt watching from the audience, she swaps her trademark saw for a fire ax. Is it a new version of the illusion, or an all-too-real murder? When Arden’s husband is found lifeless beneath the stage later that night, the answer seems clear.

But when Virgil happens upon the fleeing magician and takes her into custody, she has a very different story to tell. Even handcuffed and alone, Arden is far from powerless—and what she reveals is as unbelievable as it is spellbinding. Over the course of one eerie night, Virgil must decide whether to turn Arden in or set her free… and it will take all he has to see through the smoke and mirrors.




Daniel José Older

Half-Resurrection Blues
Bone Street Rumba 1
Roc, January 6, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - January 2015 Debuts
FIRST IN A BRAND NEW URBAN FANTASY SERIES

“Because I’m an inbetweener—and the only one anyone knows of at that—the dead turn to me when something is askew between them and the living. Usually, it’s something mundane like a suicide gone wrong or someone revived that shouldn’ta been.”

Carlos Delacruz is one of the New York Council of the Dead’s most unusual agents—an inbetweener, partially resurrected from a death he barely recalls suffering, after a life that’s missing from his memory. He thinks he is one of a kind—until he encounters other entities walking the fine line between life and death.

One inbetweener is a sorcerer. He’s summoned a horde of implike ngks capable of eliminating spirits, and they’re spreading through the city like a plague. They’ve already taken out some of NYCOD’s finest, leaving Carlos desperate to stop their master before he opens up the entrada to the Underworld—which would destroy the balance between the living and the dead.

But in uncovering this man’s identity, Carlos confronts the truth of his own life—and death.…




Robert Repino

Morte
Soho Press, January 20, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 368 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - January 2015 Debuts
The “war with no name” has begun, with human extinction as its goal. The instigator of this war is the Colony, a race of intelligent ants who, for thousands of years, have been silently building an army that would forever eradicate the destructive, oppressive humans. Under the Colony's watchful eye, this utopia will be free of the humans' penchant for violence, exploitation and religious superstition. The final step in the Colony's war effort is transforming the surface animals into high-functioning two-legged beings who rise up to kill their masters.

Former housecat turned war hero, Mort(e) is famous for taking on the most dangerous missions and fighting the dreaded human bio-weapon EMSAH. But the true motivation behind his recklessness is his ongoing search for a pre-transformation friend—a dog named Sheba. When he receives a mysterious message from the dwindling human resistance claiming Sheba is alive, he begins a journey that will take him from the remaining human strongholds to the heart of the Colony, where he will discover the source of EMSAH and the ultimate fate of all of earth's creatures.




Adam Roberts

Twenty Trillion Leagues Under the Sea
St. Martin's Griffin, January 13, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages
(Debut - US)

2015 Debut Author Challenge - January 2015 Debuts
Adam Roberts revisits Jules Verne's classic novel in a collaboration with the illustrator behind a recent highly acclaimed edition of The Hunting of the Snark

It is 1958 and France's first nuclear submarine, Plongeur, leaves port for the first of its sea trials. On board, gathered together for the first time, are one of the Navy's most experienced captains and a tiny skeleton crew of sailors, engineers, and scientists. The Plongeur makes her first dive and goes down, and down and down. Out of control, the submarine plummets to a depth where the pressure will crush her hull, killing everyone on board, and beyond. The pressure builds, the hull protests, the crew prepare for death, the boat reaches the bottom of the sea and finds nothing. Her final dive continues, the pressure begins to relent, but the depth guage is useless. They have gone miles down. Hundreds of miles, thousands, and so it goes on. Onboard the crew succumb to madness, betrayal, religious mania, and murder. Has the Plongeur left the limits of our world and gone elsewhere?




Jay Ruud

Fatal Feast
Merlin Mystery 1
Five Star, January 21, 2015
Hardcover, 298 pages
(Debut - Fiction)

2015 Debut Author Challenge - January 2015 Debuts
When an Irish knight dies mysteriously at a banquet she is hosting' Queen Guenivere is charged with murder and faces death at the stake if found guilty. Her loyal page' Gildas' rushes to the woods to track down Merlin and convince him to take up the investigation and save the queen.

Fatal Feast is a fast-paced murder mystery set in the legendary court of Camelot' imagined as it might have existed in the high Middle Ages' with Sir Gawain' Sir Gareth' and Sir Lancelot in pivotal roles' and the young Gildas' enamored of the queen's young lady-in-waiting Rosemounde' an unlikely courtly lover focused on saving the queen and impressing his Rosemounde -- not necessarily in that order.




Hilary Scharper

Perdita
Sourcebooks Landmark, January 20, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 448 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - January 2015 Debuts
Marged Brice is 134 years old.
She’d be ready to go, if it wasn’t for Perdita . . .


The Georgian Bay lighthouse’s single eye keeps watch over storm and calm, and Marged grew up in its shadow, learning the language of the wind and the trees. There’s blustery beauty there, where sea and sky incite each other to mischief… or worse…

Garth Hellyer of the Longevity Project doesn’t believe Marged was a girl coming of age in the 1890s, but reading her diaries in the same wild and unpredictable location where she wrote them might be enough to cast doubt on his common sense.

Everyone knows about death.
It’s life that’s much more mysterious…




Sharma Shields

The Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac
Holt Paperbacks, January 27, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - January 2015 Debuts
A dark, fantastical, multi-generational tale about a family whose patriarch is consumed by the hunt for the mythical, elusive sasquatch he encountered in his youth

Eli Roebuck was nine years old when his mother walked off into the woods with "Mr. Krantz," a large, strange, hairy man who may or may not be a sasquatch. What Eli knows for certain is that his mother went willingly, leaving her only son behind. For the rest of his life, Eli is obsessed with the hunt for the bizarre creature his mother chose over him, and we watch it affect every relationship he has in his long life--with his father, with both of his wives, his children, grandchildren, and colleagues. We follow all of the Roebuck family members, witnessing through each of them the painful, isolating effects of Eli's maniacal hunt, and find that each Roebuck is battling a monster of his or her own, sometimes literally. The magical world Shields has created is one of unicorns and lake monsters, ghosts and reincarnations, tricksters and hexes. At times charming, as when young Eli meets the eccentric, extraordinary Mr. Krantz, and downright horrifying at others, The Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac is boldly imaginative throughout, and proves to be a devastatingly real portrait of the demons that we as human beings all face.




Krassi Zourkova

Wildalone
William Morrow, January 6, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 384 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - January 2015 Debuts
In this enchanting and darkly imaginative debut novel full of myth, magic, romance, and mystery, a Princeton freshman is drawn into a love triangle with two enigmatic brothers, and discovers terrifying secrets about her family and herself—a bewitching blend of Twilight, The Secret History, Jane Eyre, and A Discovery of Witches.

Arriving at Princeton for her freshman year, Thea Slavin finds herself alone, a stranger in a strange land. Away from her family and her Eastern European homeland for the first time, she struggles to adapt to unfamiliar American ways and the challenges of college life—including an enigmatic young man whose brooding good looks and murky past intrigue her. Falling into a romantic entanglement with Rhys and his equally handsome and mysterious brother, Jake, soon draws Thea into a sensual mythic underworld as irresistible as it is dangerous.

In this shadow world that seems to mimic Greek mythology and the Bulgarian legends of the Samodivi or “wildalones”—forest witches who beguile and entrap men—she will discover a shocking secret that threatens everything she holds dear. And when the terrifying truth about her own family is revealed, it will transform her forever . . . if she falls under its spell.

Mesmerizing and addictive, The Wildalone is a thrilling blend of the modern and the fantastic. Krassi Zourkova creates an atmospheric world filled with rich characters as fascinating and compelling as those of Diana Gabaldon, Deborah Harkness, and Stephenie Meyer.

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 31Review: Owl and the City of Angels by Kristi CharishReview: Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi CharishInterview with Kristi Charish, author of Owl and the Japanese Circus - January 31, 20152015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January Debuts2015 Debut Author Challenge - January 2015 Debuts

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