Thursday, October 27, 2016

Guest blog by Gregory A. Wilson - Arcs Within Arcs

Please welcome Gregory A. Wilson to The Qwillery. Grayshade, the 1st novel in The Gray Assassin Trilogy, was published in September by The Ed Greenwood Group.

Arcs Within Arcs
          Authors like to talk about development arcs in their fiction: character arcs, plot arcs, thematic arcs. Everyone and everything seems to be perpetually arc-ing over the course of a given text, and to a certain extent this is a reasonable approximation of what we do in our fiction. On its most basic level, a plot arc in a novel represents a slow build, introducing the major characters and conflicts which will be at the center of the book, building to a crescendo in tension and action towards the late middle (or early end?) of the curve, and coming down on the other side as the plot finishes with the denouement of the tale. Where the curve reaches its apex, and how much the other end smoothly descends, varies widely, and of course in some cases the “curve” looks more like a “cliff”...with an ending that punches you in the gut rather than letting you down easily.
          But even the non-standard versions of this model assume a novel structure and length, and trying to overlay it onto shorter or longer works is problematic, to say the least. My first real professional short story was pulled from my novel (then manuscript) Grayshade, and I approached it much the way I did a novel—long and, if not exactly languid, not really punchy either. A short story was, I assumed, basically just a mini-novel...very, very mini.
          As you might expect, this approach was utterly wrong, for several reasons. First of all, trying to condense a set of large concepts and narrative beats into a miniature frame had about the same effect as squeezing an elephant into a Smart car—an overcompressed set of ideas inside a structure not designed to hold them. It wasn’t long enough to accommodate the ideas I was presenting (even when it ballooned to mid-novelette length), and so felt frustratingly truncated; but because it wasn’t really a novel either, it felt sort of incomplete at the same time. I couldn’t just shrink down a large arc to small size; I needed to write an entirely new arc designed for the strengths for the form. Short stories are powerful precisely because of their relative brevity; they are highly distilled and focused works generally exploring only one or two major ideas with a relatively limited number of characters, and the “arc” is reduced, sometimes with a faster build and shorter denouement, and sometimes with no denouement at all. How powerful would Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” be without the climactic attack as the final act of the story? Over time I’ve found writing these limited arcs to be extremely enjoyable—I can explore an idea without committing to months of research and development on it, and can do so while packing an intense punch.
          On the other end of the spectrum is the arc of the series, which presents an entirely different problem. Here you have multiple books (often part of that speculative fiction Holy Grail, the trilogy) making up a much larger story. It’s true that over time the increasing length of fantasy novels have stretched the limits of what a reader will accept in a single book; most hardly blink at two hundred thousand word epics now, and between eighty and a hundred thousand words has become (more or less, and always with notable exceptions) the speculative fiction genre minimum. But still, when a tale deals with numerous city-states, nations, continents, planets, and universes, and is headed towards 250K with no sign of slowing down, multiple books are called for.
          In sitting down to write The Gray Assassin Trilogy, I assumed I could use the novel form broadened out, and again I was wrong. For one thing, the individual book was going to suffer; I couldn’t just cut off the tale one third of the way through when I reached the end of Book One, Grayshade, especially when the sequel wasn’t going to be out for another year (well, I could, but I would hear about it from editors and readers). The book itself would be incomplete and unsatisfying, and the series would be hanging in limbo. And a year later, where would my readers be—waiting around for the second act, or wandering off to other tales that were already finished? I knew what I would do as a reader. Second, what would happen to the sequels? We already complain about the “middle book / movie / game syndrome”; what about a second book which starts in the middle of the action and doesn’t conclude anything in the end? Not a pretty picture.
          The answer, then, was to build for the new form: an arc within an arc. Each book has its own build, climax, and (whether more or less gradual) denouement, but is also building the broader story. Thus the events of Grayshade are somewhat self-contained, but also propel its characters into Book Two, Renegade; that book’s arc, in turn, will both resolve some of the questions and conflicts it raises on its own while also setting up and advancing the tale into the third and final act of the series, due out in 2018. The overall effect, I hope, is to both satisfy readers in the short term and keep them excited about the long term story, doing so within a structure which is large enough to accommodate exactly these sorts of rises and falls.
          For the five, eight, and ten (or more!) book series writers: you have my admiration, respect, and assurance that I don’t expect to join you in that writing any time soon...I’ve got enough on my plate with three-into-one arc structures! But if I ever do try my hand at a longer series, the first step is going to be to study the characteristics and strengths of the form. Until then, I’m going to keep my elephants and my Smart cars separate. Everyone ends up a lot happier that way.

The Gray Assassin Trilogy 1
Stormtalons 2
The Ed Greenwood Group, September 30, 2016

For ten years the assassin Grayshade has eliminated threats to the Order of Argoth, the Just God. The Acolytes of Argoth are silent and lethal enforcers of the Order’s will within the sprawling city of Cohrelle, whose own officials must quietly bow to the Order’s authority while publicly distancing themselves from its actions.

Grayshade is the supreme executor of the Order’s edicts, its best trained and most highly respected agent. But when a mission doesn’t go as planned, Grayshade starts to question the authority and motives of his superiors; and as he investigates, he soon finds himself the target of the very Order he once served without question. Now it will take all of Grayshade’s skill, intuition, and cunning to find the answers he seeks…if he can stay alive.

Read Qwill's Review here.

About Gregory

Gregory A. Wilson is Professor of English at St. John’s University in New York City, where he teaches creative writing and fantasy fiction along with various other courses in literature. His first academic book was published by Clemson University Press in 2007; on the creative side, he has won an award for a national playwriting contest, and his first novel, a work of fantasy entitled The Third Sign, was published by Gale Cengage in the summer of 2009. His second novel, Icarus, will be published as a graphic novel by Silence in the Library Publishing in 2016, and he has just signed a three book deal with The Ed Greenwood Group, which will be publishing his Gray Assassin Trilogy beginning with his third novel, Grayshade, in 2016. He has short stories out in various anthologies, including Time Traveled Tales from Silence in the Library, When The Villain Comes Home, edited by Ed Greenwood and Gabrielle Harbowy, and Triumph Over Tragedy, alongside authors like Robert Silverberg and Marion Zimmer Bradley, and he has had three articles published in the SFWA Bulletin.

He is a regular panelist at conferences across the country and is a member of the Gen Con Writers’ Symposium, the Origins Library, Codex, Backspace, and several other author groups on and offline. On other related fronts, he did character work and flavor text for the hit fantasy card game Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer, and along with fellow speculative fiction author Brad Beaulieu is the co-host of the critically-acclaimed podcast Speculate! The Podcast for Writers, Readers and Fans, a show which discusses (and interviews the creators and illustrators of) speculative fiction of all sorts and types. He lives with his wife Clea and daughter Senavene–named at his wife’s urging for a character in The Third Sign, for which his daughter seems to have forgiven him–in Riverdale, NY.

Website  ~  Twitter @gregoryawilson  ~ Speculate!

2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - Of the Abyss by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2016 Debut Author Challenge for her adult fantasy debut!

Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Of the Abyss
Mancer Trilogy 1
Harper Voyager Impulse, September 27, 2016
      eBook, 400 pages
Harper Voyage Impulse, November 1, 2016
     Mass Market Paperback, 469 pages

After decades of strife, peace has finally been achieved in Kavet—but at a dark cost.  Sorcery is outlawed, and anyone convicted of consorting with the beings of the other realms—the Abyssi and the Numini—is put to death. The only people who can even discuss such topics legally are the scholars of the Order of the Napthol, who give counsel when questions regarding the supernatural planes arise.

Hansa Viridian, a captain in the elite guard unit tasked with protecting Kavet from sorcery, has always led a respectable life. But when he is implicated in a sorcerer’s crimes, the only way to avoid execution is to turn to the Abyss for help—specifically, to a half-Abyssi man he’s sworn he hates, but whose physical attraction he cannot deny. 

Hansa is only the first victim in a plot that eventually drags him, a sorcerer named Xaz, and a Sister of the Napthol named Cadmia into the depths of the Abyss, where their only hope of escape is to complete an infernal task that might cost them their lives.

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 20

This is the twentieth in this new series of updates about formerly featured Debut Author Challenge authors and their works published since their last update. The year in parentheses after the author's name is the year that author was featured in the Debut Author Challenge.

Part 1 here Part 11 here Part 21 here Part 31 here Part 41 here
Part 2 here Part 12 here Part 22 here Part 32 here Part 42 here
Part 3 here Part 13 here Part 23 here Part 33 here Part 43 here
Part 4 here Part 14 here Part 24 here Part 34 here Part 44 here
Part 5 here Part 15 here Part 25 here Part 35 here Part 45 here
Part 6 here Part 16 here Part 26 here Part 36 here Part 46 here
Part 7 here Part 17 here Part 27 here Part 37 here Part 47 here
Part 8 here Part 18 here Part 28 here Part 38 here Part 48 here
Part 9 here Part 19 here Part 29 here Part 39 here Part 49 here
Part 10 here Part 20 here Part 30 here Part 40 here Part 50 here

Sophie Jaff (2015)

Love Is Red
The Nightsong Trilogy 1
Harper Paperbacks, May 10, 2016
Trade Paperback, 384 pages
Hardcover and eBook, May 12, 2015

“Ridiculously entertaining…. Jaff’s woozy supernatural saga is effectively scary and great fun to read.”— New York Times Book Review

This electrifying debut—Book I of the Night Song Trilogy—spins dark suspense and literary fantasy into a mesmerizing story of seduction and survival.

Katherine Emerson was born to fulfill a dark prophecy centuries in the making, but she doesn't know it yet. However, one man does: a killer stalking the women of New York City. People think he's the next Son of Sam, but we know how he thinks and how he feels . . . and discover that he is driven by darker, much more dangerous desires than we can bear to imagine. He takes more than just his victims' lives, and each death brings him closer to the one woman he must possess at any cost.

Amid the escalating hysteria, Katherine is trying to unknot her tangled heart. Two different men have entered her previously uneventful world and turned it upside down. She finds herself involved in a complicated triangle . . . but how well does she really know either of them?

As the body count rises, Katherine is haunted by harrowing visions that force her to question her sanity. With this unforgettable novel—one that combines the literary and the supernatural, fantasy and horror, the past and the present—Katherine's moment of awakening is here. And her story is only just beginning.2011

Mark Lawrence (2011)

The Wheel of Osheim
The Red Queen's War 3
Ace, February 28, 2017
Mass Market Paperback, 480 pages
Hardcover and eBook, June 7, 2017

From the international bestselling author of the Broken Empire Trilogy, the thrilling conclusion to the Red Queen’s War…

All the horrors of Hell stand between Snorri ver Snagason and the rescue of his family, if indeed the dead can be rescued. For Jalan Kendeth, getting out alive and with Loki’s key is all that matters. Loki’s creation can open any lock, any door, and it may also be the key to Jalan’s fortune back in the living world.

Jalan plans to return to the three w’s that have been the core of his idle and debauched life: wine, women, and wagering. Fate, however, has other plans, larger plans. The Wheel of Osheim is turning ever faster, and it will crack the world unless it’s stopped. When the end of all things looms, and there’s nowhere to run, even the worst coward must find new answers. Jalan and Snorri face many dangers, from the corpse hordes of the Dead King to the many mirrors of the Lady Blue, but in the end, fast or slow, the Wheel of Osheim always pulls you back. In the end, it’s win or die.

Red Sister
Book of the Ancestor 1
Ace, April 4, 2017
Hardcover and eBook,  432 pages

[cover not yet revealed]
The international bestselling author of the Broken Empire and the Red Queen’s War trilogies begins a stunning epic fantasy series about a secretive order of holy warriors…

At the Convent of Sweet Mercy, young girls are raised to be killers. In some few children the old bloods show, gifting rare talents that can be honed to deadly or mystic effect. But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls.

A bloodstained child of eight falsely accused of murder, guilty of worse, Nona is stolen from the shadow of the noose. It takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist, but under Abbess Glass’s care there is much more to learn than the arts of death. Among her class Nona finds a new family—and new enemies.

Despite the security and isolation of the convent, Nona’s secret and violent past finds her out, drawing with it the tangled politics of a crumbling empire. Her arrival sparks old feuds to life, igniting vicious struggles within the church and even drawing the eye of the emperor himself.

Beneath a dying sun, Nona Grey must master her inner demons, then loose them on those who stand in her way.

Jessica Leake (2014)

The Order of the Eternal Sun
A Novel of the Sylvani
Talos, August 23, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 308 pages

Lucy Sinclair’s debut will be a parade of everything opulent Edwardian London society has to offer. Most importantly, it will be nothing like her older sister’s dangerous experience—especially if her overprotective brother-in-law, Lord Thornewood, has his way. As if screening her dance partners isn’t enough, Thornewood insists that his brother, James, train Lucy in self-defense. She wouldn’t mind so much if her treacherous mind didn’t continue to replay the kiss they once shared.

But awkward defense lessons are the least of her problems. Her arcana, a magical talent that allows her to mentally enter any scene that she draws, grows stronger by the day. Again and again Lucy is compelled to draw a portal to her mother’s realm of Sylvania—and with each stroke of her pen, she risks attracting the attention of the Order of the Eternal Sun, the sinister brotherhood that steals the power of Sylvani blood for their own dark ends.

When a bold new suitor arrives from India, Lucy can’t help but be intrigued—though her family questions his mysterious past. But as Lucy’s own suspicions grow, and the threat of the Order looms larger, Lucy will have to learn to harness her unpredictable power or risk falling under the Order’s shadow forever.

Stina Leicht (2011)

Cold Iron
The Malorum Gates 1
Saga Press, March 28, 2017
Mass Market Paperback, 688 pages
Hardcover, Trade Paperback and eBook, July 14, 2016

In this epic fantasy debut, which NPR Books said, “it reminded me, pleasurably, of Robin Hobb’s Assassin Apprentice series,” fraternal twins Nels and Suvi move beyond their royal heritage into military and magical dominion.

Prince Nels is the scholarly runt of the ancient Kainen royal family of Eledore, disregarded as flawed by the king and many others. Only his twin sister, Suvi, supports him. But when Nels is ambushed by an Acrasian scouting party, he does something a member of the ruling family should never do: he picks up a fallen sword and defends himself.

Disowned and dismissed to the military, Nels establishes himself as a leader as Eledore begins to shatter under the attack of the Acrasians, who the Kainen had previously dismissed as barbarians. But Nels knows differently, and with the aid of his sister, who has allied with pirates, he mounts a military offensive with sword, canon, and what little magic is left in the world.

Blackthorne (The Malorum Gates Book 2) will be published in June 2017 (Amazon : Barnes and Noble : Books-A-Million : Google Play : iBooks : Kobo)

David D. Levine (2016)

Arabella of Mars
The Adventures of Arabella Ashby 1
Tor Science Fiction, May 30, 2017
Mass Market Paperback, 400 pages
Hardcover and eBook, July 12, 2016

Since Newton witnessed a bubble rising from his bathtub, mankind has sought the stars. When William III of England commissioned Capt. William Kidd to command the first expedition to Mars in the late 1600s, he proved that space travel was both possible and profitable.

Now, one century later, a plantation in a flourishing British colony on Mars is home to Arabella Ashby, a young woman who is perfectly content growing up in the untamed frontier. But days spent working on complex automata with her father or stalking her brother Michael with her Martian nanny is not the proper behavior of an English lady. That is something her mother plans to remedy with a move to an exotic world Arabella has never seen: London, England.

However, when events transpire that threaten her home on Mars, Arabella decides that sometimes doing the right thing is far more important than behaving as expected. She disguises herself as a boy and joins the crew of the Diana, a ship serving the Mars Trading Company, where she meets a mysterious captain who is intrigued by her knack with clockwork creations. Now Arabella just has to weather the naval war currently raging between Britain and France, learn how to sail, and deal with a mutinous crew…if she hopes to save her family remaining on Mars.

Arabella of Mars, the debut novel by Hugo-winning author David D. Levine offers adventure, romance, political intrigue, and Napoleon in space!

Arabella and the Battle of Venus
The Adventures of Arabella Ashby 2
Tor Book, July 18, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 432 pages

[description not yet available]

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Days of the Dead Blog Tour - Guest Blog by Gail Z. Martin

Please welcome Gail Z. Martin to The Qwillery as part of the Days of the Dead Blog Tour!

Mining History

by Gail Z. Martin

How can you ever get writers' block when there's history? History is the ultimate reality show. It's the best gossip in the world.

Once you get past the pallid caricatures of historical figures presented in high school textbooks, you realize that the famed forebears who forged history were flawed, broken, selfish, pig-headed, inspired, visionary, brilliant, horny, bigoted, exceptional, obsessive hot messes, and that makes them fascinating.

Need a role model for your character? Ideas for political schemes? Plans to take over the world? History's got them all. Anything you can dream up has been done, and history is ready to dish the scoop and tell you all about the winners and the losers. Take something that happened in history, twist it a little, add magic or monsters, move it to a different geographic area, shift a pivotal outcome--and you've got the basis for a whole new series.

A caveat--history is often re-written by the winners, or they make certain their version of accounts survive and dominate. So it's key to also look for the holes in the narrative, because that's where people without power have been consciously erased by those who want to own and control the story. Ever wonder why the narratives we grew up with had few if any women, people of color, LGBT people? It's because their contributions were intentionally excised from the main narrative. Yet they definitely existed and did amazing things--and you can find this 'hidden history' through journals, letters and personal accounts.

Mining history has never been easier, thanks to the wealth of digitized records museums, archivists and individuals are bringing online on a daily basis--much of which is free to access. Photographs, letters, official documents, the census, maps, out of print books, newspaper articles--it's all there, and it's a wonder to behold. So many ideas in those yellowed pages!

When I get stymied by a plot point, I research. It might be Googling random ideas and seeing where it leads me, or following links in Wikipedia, or watching something on the History Channel. Inevitably, I find the perfect elements that I didn't even know I was looking for. It's magic--and so addictive. Sometimes I think writers write as an excuse to research. Time can get away from you so easily!

Then again, I was a history geek even before I became a writer. I'd still love history if I didn't write, but since I do, I find it to be my killer app, the Swiss Army knife of writing tools. You'll never run dry of ideas so long as you've got history!

My Days of the Dead blog tour runs through October 31 with brand new excerpts from upcoming books and recent short stories, interviews, guest blog posts, giveaways and more! Plus, I’ll be including extra excerpt links for my stories and for books by author friends of mine. You’ve got to visit the participating sites to get the goodies, just like Trick or Treat! Get all the details about my Days of the Dead blog tour here:

Let me give a shout-out for #HoldOnToTheLight--100+ Sci-Fi/Fantasy authors blogging about their personal struggles with depression, PTSD, anxiety, suicide and self-harm, candid posts by some of your favorite authors on how mental health issues have impacted their lives and books. Read the stories, share the stories, change a life. Find out more at

Book swag is the new Trick-or-Treat! All of my guest blog posts have links to free excerpts—grab them all!

Trick Or Treat with excerpt from Bad Memories, one of my Deadly Curiosities story

Read free excerpt from Among the Shoals Forever, A Deadly Curiosities short story

Enjoy this excerpt from my novel The Summoner

Perfect for Halloween! Free excerpt from Michael Ventrella’s BLOODSUCKERS: A VAMPIRE RUNS FOR PRESIDENT:

Use your free Audible trial to get my books! Ice Forged Audible

About Gail

Gail Z. Martin is the author of Vendetta: A Deadly Curiosities Novel in her urban fantasy series set in Charleston, SC (Solaris Books); Shadow and Flame the fourth and final book in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga (Orbit Books); The Shadowed Path (Solaris Books) and Iron and Blood a new Steampunk series (Solaris Books) co-authored with Larry N. Martin. A brand new epic fantasy series debuts from Solaris Books in 2017.

She is also author of Ice Forged, Reign of Ash and War of Shadows in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven, Dark Lady’s Chosen); The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn, The Dread) and the urban fantasy novel Deadly Curiosities. Gail writes three ebook series: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures, The Deadly Curiosities Adventures and The Blaine McFadden Adventures. The Storm and Fury Adventures, steampunk stories set in the Iron & Blood world, are co-authored with Larry N. Martin.

Find her at, on Twitter @GailZMartin, on, at blog and, on Goodreads and free excerpts on Wattpad

Deadly Curiosities 2
Solaris, December 29, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 416 pages

The thrilling follow up to the urban fantasy series set in Charleston, South Carolina.

Someone very powerful is trying to destroy Sorren and everyone he cares about. That puts Cassidy, Teag and Trifles and Folly in the cross-hairs, against an unknown enemy with strong magic and significant resources. Sorren has spent centuries shutting down the plans of powerful immortals, dark warlocks and supernatural creatures, and now he’s got to figure out which of those many enemies is out to get him before they pick off his friends one by one and come after him to finish an immortal vendetta.

Shadow and Flame
The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga 4
Orbit, March 22, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 672 pages

From Gail Z. Martin, one of the most exciting writers of fantasy adventure, comes the fourth and final novel in the epic Ascendant Kingdoms Saga.

Blaine McFadden and his allies have brought magic back under mortal command and begun to restore order to the beleaguered kingdom of Donderath. Now, new perils and old enemies gather for a final reckoning. Foreign invaders, a legendary dark mage and vengeful immortals fight Blaine's battered forces for control of the continent, and Blaine's weary army is the only thing standing between a kingdom struggling to rise from the ashes and a descent into fury and darkness.

The Shadowed Path
A Jonmarc Vahanian Collection
Solaris, June 14, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

These are the untold tales of Jonmarc Vahanian, hero of Gail Z. Martin’s best-selling Chronicles of the Necromancer series.

Jonmarc Vahanian was just a blacksmith’s son in a small fishing village before raiders killed his family. Wounded and left for dead in the attack, Jonmarc tries to rebuild his life. But when a dangerous bargain with a shadowy stranger goes wrong, Jonmarc finds himself on the run, with nothing ahead but vengeance, and nothing behind him but blood.

Soldier. Fight slave. Smuggler. Warrior. Brigand lord. If you’ve met Jonmarc Vahanian in the Chronicles of the Necromancer and Fallen Kings Cycle books, you don’t really know him until you walk in his footsteps. This is the first segment of his journey.

Iron & Blood
A Jake Desmet Adventure 1
Solaris, July 7, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages

Adventure in New Pittsburgh...

New Pittsburgh, 1898 – a crucible of invention and intrigue. Born from the ashes of devastating fire, flood and earthquake, the city is ruled by the shadow government of The Oligarchy. In the swarming streets, people of a hundred nations drudge to feed the engines of progress, while in the abandoned tunnels beneath the city, supernatural creatures hide from the light, emerging only to feed.

Jake Desmet and Rick Brand travel the world to secure treasures and unusual items for the collections of wealthy patrons, accompanied by Jake’s cousin, Veronique LeClerque. But when their latest commission leads to Jake’s father’s murder, the three friends are drawn into a conspiracy where dark magic, industrial sabotage and the monsters that prey on the night will ultimately threaten not just New Pittsburgh, but the whole world.

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 19

This is the nineteenth in this new series of updates about formerly featured Debut Author Challenge authors and their works published since their last update. The year in parentheses after the author's name is the year that author was featured in the Debut Author Challenge.

Part 1 here Part 11 here Part 21 here Part 31 here Part 41 here
Part 2 here Part 12 here Part 22 here Part 32 here Part 42 here
Part 3 here Part 13 here Part 23 here Part 33 here Part 43 here
Part 4 here Part 14 here Part 24 here Part 34 here Part 44 here
Part 5 here Part 15 here Part 25 here Part 35 here Part 45 here
Part 6 here Part 16 here Part 26 here Part 36 here Part 46 here
Part 7 here Part 17 here Part 27 here Part 37 here Part 47 here
Part 8 here Part 18 here Part 28 here Part 38 here Part 48 here
Part 9 here Part 19 here Part 29 here Part 39 here Part 49 here
Part 10 here Part 20 here Part 30 here Part 40 here Part 50 here

Stephen P. Kiernan (2013)

The Hummingbird
William Morrow, June 8, 2016
Trade Paperback, 336 pages
Hardcover and eBook, September 8, 2015

From the author of the acclaimed The Curiosity comes a compelling and moving story of compassion, courage, and redemption.

Deborah Birch is a seasoned hospice nurse whose daily work requires courage and compassion. But her skills and experience are tested in new and dramatic ways when her easygoing husband, Michael, returns from his third deployment to Iraq haunted by nightmares, anxiety, and rage. She is determined to help him heal, and to restore the tender, loving marriage they once had.

At the same time, Deborah’s primary patient is Barclay Reed, a retired history professor and expert in the Pacific Theater of World War II whose career ended in academic scandal. Alone in the world, the embittered professor is dying. As Barclay begrudgingly comes to trust Deborah, he tells her stories from that long-ago war, which help her find a way to help her husband battle his demons.

Told with piercing empathy and heartbreaking realism, The Hummingbird is a masterful story of loving commitment, service to country, and absolution through wisdom and forgiveness.

Marko Kloos (2014)

Frontlines: Requiem: The Graphic Novel
      Marko Kloos (Author)
      Ivan Brandon (Author)
      Gary Erskine (Illustrator)
      Yel Zamor (Illustrator)
Jet City Comics, August 10, 2016 (digital)
Jet City Comics, September 7, 2016 (print)
Trade Paperback and eBook

Collecting comic book issues #1-4, this GRAPHIC NOVEL tells a brand-new story in Marko Kloos’s FRONTLINES universe.

From acclaimed writer Ivan Brandon (Drifter, Viking), this four-issue comic book series features a new stand-alone story set within the action-packed military sci-fi world of Marko Kloos’s bestselling Frontlines novels. Includes stunning artwork from Gary Erskine (Star Wars, Dan Dare, Doctor Who, Judge Dredd).

Colonel Soraya Yamin, commander of the battle-ravaged space control cruiser Phalanx, engages the Lankies, a merciless alien species, in an apocalyptic assault over Mars. The Lankies, who have outgunned, outmaneuvered, and outfought humanity at every turn, have been menacing Earth’s colonies. But now they’re suddenly in our solar system, decimating the NACS fleet and swarming toward Earth itself. Facing insurmountable odds, Soraya must make a fateful choice between her sworn duty and the loved ones she desperately wants to protect.

Fields of Fire
Frontlines 5
47North, February 28, 2017
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook

[cover image not yet available]
The time has come to take the fight to the Lankies.

Mars has been under Lanky control for more than a year. Since then, the depleted forces of Earth’s alliances have rebuilt their fleets, staffing old warships with freshly trained troops. Torn between the need to beat the Lankies to the punch and taking enough time to put together an effective fighting force, command has decided to strike now.

Once again, seasoned veterans Andrew and Halley find themselves in charge of green troops and at the sharp tip of the spear as the combined military might of Earth goes up against the Lankies. But if there’s one constant in war, it’s that no battle plan survives first contact with the enemy…and the Lankies want to hold on to Mars as badly as humanity wants to reclaim it.

Mur Lafferty (2013)

Six Wakes
Orbit, January 31, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

A space adventure set on a lone ship where the clones of a murdered crew must find their murderer -- before they kill again.

It was not common to awaken in a cloning vat streaked with drying blood.

At least, Maria Arena had never experienced it. She had no memory of how she died. That was also new; before, when she had awakened as a new clone, her first memory was of how she died.

Maria's vat was in the front of six vats, each one holding the clone of a crew member of the starship Dormire, each clone waiting for its previous incarnation to die so it could awaken. And Maria wasn't the only one to die recently...

     Max Gladstone, Margaret Dunlap, Mur Lafferty, and Brian Francis Slattery
Saga Press, January 10, 2017
Hardcover and Trade Paperback, 800 pages

The critically acclaimed urban fantasy about a secret team of agents that hunts down dangerous books containing deadly magic—previously released serially online by Serial Box, now available in print for the first time!

Magic is real, and hungry. It’s trapped in ancient texts and artifacts, and only a few who discover it survive to fight back. Detective Sal Brooks is a survivor. She joins a Vatican-backed black-ops anti-magic squad—Team Three of the Societas Librorum Occultorum—and together they stand between humanity and the magical apocalypse. Some call them the Bookburners. They don’t like the label.

Supernatural meets The Da Vinci Code in a fast-paced, kickass character driven novel chock-full of magic, mystery, and mayhem, written collaboratively by a team of some of the best writers working in fantasy.

Jay Kristoff (2012)

Thomas Dunne Books, August 9, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 384 pages

In a world where the suns almost never set, a woman gains entry to a school of infamous assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers that destroyed her family. Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father's failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she wanders a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and its thugs. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the hearth of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic-the Red Church. Deadly trials await her within the Church's halls: blades and poisons, treachery and death. If she survives to initiation, she'll be inducted among the chosen of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and be one step closer to the only thing she desires.


     by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
The Illuminae Files 1
Knopf Books for Young Readers, October 20, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 608 pages

For fans of Marie Lu comes the first book in an epic series that bends the sci-fi genre into a new dimension.

“A truly beautiful novel that redefines the form.”Victoria Aveyard, bestselling author of Red Queen

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than a speck at the edge of the universe. Now with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to evacuate with a hostile warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A plague has broken out and is mutating with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a web of data to find the truth, it’s clear the only person who can help her is the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, maps, files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

     by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
The Illuminae Files 2
Knopf Books for Young Readers, October 18, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 672 pages

Brace yourself for GEMINA—the highly anticipated sequel to the book critics called “out-of-this-world awesome,”featuring journal illustrations by bestselling author Marie Lu!

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, Gemina raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.

Laura Lam (2016)

Micah Grey Trilogy 1
Pan Macmillan, February 1, 2017
Trade Paperback, 400 pages

Gene's life resembles a debutante's dream. Yet she hides a secret that would see her shunned by the nobility. Gene is both male and female. She also displays unwanted magical abilities, last seen in mysterious beings from a long-ago age. Matters escalate when her parents plan a devastating betrayal, so she flees, dressed as a boy. The city beyond contains glowing glass relics from a lost civilization. They call to her, but she wants freedom, not mysteries. Reinvented as Micah Grey, Gene joins the circus as an aerialist. She discovers the joy of flight, but is plagued by visions of danger.

Micah Grey Trilogy 2
Pan Macmillan, March 1, 2017
Trade Paperback, 400 pages

Micah Grey almost died when he fled the circus with Drystan—now he and the ex-clown seek to outrun disaster. Drystan persuades his old friend Jasper Maske, a once-renowned magician, to take them in. But when he agrees to teach them his trade, Maske is challenged to the ultimate high-stakes duel by his embittered arch-nemesis. Micah must perfect his skills of illusion, while navigating a tender new love. An investigator is also hunting the person he once seemed to be—a noble family's runaway daughter. As the duel draws near, Micah increasingly suffers from visions showing him real magic and future terrors. Events that broke the ancient world are being replayed. But can Micah's latent powers influence this deadly pattern?

False Hearts
Tor Books, May 16, 2017
Trade Paperback, 400 pages
Hardcover and eBook, June 14, 2016

Laura Lam's adult sci-fi debut False Hearts: Two formerly conjoined sisters are ensnared in a murderous plot involving psychoactive drugs, shared dreaming, organized crime, and a sinister cult.

Raised in the closed cult of Mana's Hearth and denied access to modern technology, conjoined sisters Taema and Tila dream of a life beyond the walls of the compound. When the heart they share begins to fail, the twins escape to San Francisco, where they are surgically separated and given new artificial hearts. From then on they pursue lives beyond anything they could have previously imagined.

Ten years later, Tila returns one night to the twins' home in the city, terrified and covered in blood, just before the police arrive and arrest her for murder--the first homicide by a civilian in decades. Tila is suspected of involvement with the Ratel, a powerful crime syndicate that deals in the flow of Verve, a drug that allows violent minds to enact their darkest desires in a terrifying dreamscape. Taema is given a proposition: go undercover as her sister and perhaps save her twin's life. But during her investigation Taema discovers disturbing links between the twins' past and their present. Once unable to keep anything from each other, the sisters now discover the true cost of secrets.
[description from Hardcover]