Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Interview with Vivian Shaw, author of Strange Practice

Please welcome Vivian Shaw to The Qwillery as part of the of the 2017 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Strange Practice was published on July 25th by Orbit.

TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Vivian:  Thank you! I've been writing since I was very small; I think I started my first trilogy around age 11 or 12. Those weren't novel-length, probably around 20,000 words, but for a kid that's not too shabby. Mostly I wrote books because I loved reading them, and I had my own stories I wanted to tell.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Vivian:  Not gonna lie, I had to look this one up. I think I prefer George R.R. Martin's are you an architect or a gardener taxonomy of writers, but of the three options you present I'm definitely a hybrid. I have the plot of any given arc or scene outlined -- i.e. this character has to do this thing or get to this place -- and the specific means by which I get that done often just comes to me as I go along. I find it helpful to talk over a scene with someone else, because complaining out loud about how it's not working or I can't come up with an idea almost always kickstarts my brain into figuring out the answer.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

VivianDoing it when I don't want to, or I'm tired, or I can't come up with good words but I'm on deadline and I have to produce.

TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Vivian:  The authors who have been most influential on me are Mervyn Peake, Robin McKinley, Stephen King, Terry Pratchett, and Neil Gaiman; but I find inspiration everywhere, from architecture to urban exploration blogs to medical case studies. I'm interested in so many things.

TQDescribe Strange Practice in 140 characters or less.

Vivian:  Greta Helsing, doctor to London’s monstrous and undead, fights to defend her community alongside characters out of classic vampire lit.

TQTell us something about Strange Practice that is not found in the book description.

Vivian:  There's not only ghouls, but demons, a witch, lots of detail about the geography of the London sewer system, and frank discussion of the nature of Heaven and Hell. Also, I'd like to state for the record that I wrote the first version of this novel as a National Novel Writing Month entry back in 2004, so my concept of vampires in Volvos just barely predates Stephenie Meyer's in Twilight.

TQWhat inspired you to write Strange Practice?

Vivian:  Two main threads gave rise to the original concept: the wonderfully spooky world of London's subterranean network of tunnels and shelters and conduits (and the amazing 1940s-vintage electrical technology that was at least up until recently still being used down there) and a challenge I gave myself to see how many characters from classic gothic/horror literature I could put together into a story. The original version included Dracula and Carmilla as well, but they ended up being reserved for future books in the series.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for Strange Practice?

Vivian:  Lots of it. I mean lots. Nothing infuriates me more than an author who has either not bothered to do the research or has done the bare minimum to get themselves some useful-sounding buzzwords and concepts but failed to investigate what they actually mean. I spent a lot of time on Google Street View working out what my characters would have seen while moving through particular spaces, and I tracked down some actual plans for one of the deep-level shelters connected to a Tube station. Incidentally, while there is no deep-level shelter at the St. Paul's station, one was planned for that location -- but excavations were halted when concerns for the stability of the cathedral's foundation arose. Also the details of the science of mirabilics, my universe's version of magic, took a long time to work out and I wish I could have included more of that in the book.

TQWhat do you think are the reasons for the ongoing popularity of the Van Helsing / Helsing family?

Vivian:  Vampire hunters have always been exciting. The original Van Helsing wasn't even slightly sexy, but he was an expert and he could advise Stoker's characters through their extraordinary experience; it's not surprising that later readers of the novel should have wondered about the possibilities of expanding the character and examining his backstory, wondering what kind of exciting adventures he could have had prior to the events of Dracula. Also, the name is cool.

TQPlease tell us about the cover for Strange Practice.

Vivian:  The cover artist is Will Staehle, the designer behind Unusual Co. ( For Strange Practice Staehle has taken elements of immediately-recognizable modern London -- the landmark London Eye, the Shard, the Tower, Westminster Palace, even the Thames Flood Barrier -- and combined them with an old-fashioned Victorian engraving design that to me brings to mind the work of Edward Gorey, one of my favorite artists. The combination of modern and elegantly old-fashioned elements echoes the book's juxtaposition of characters from classic horror lit with the modern day.

TQIn Strange Practice who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Vivian:  Greta is dead easy, because she is an ordinary human: she has no powers at all other than skill and training and intelligence. I used to want to be a doctor myself, I read medical textbooks for fun, I'm fascinated with the history of medicine and therefore it's a lot of fun writing characters who work in the medical field. August Cranswell is also a human, but he's a bit more difficult because I don't have the knowledge background in museum studies that I do in medicine. Probably the Gladius Sancti monks were the most difficult, because I have the least in common with them, and it was challenging to get inside their heads.

TQWhich question about Strange Practice do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Vivian:  There are so many! One of the questions I'd love to answer is are arc rectifiers real? They absolutely are, and they're fantastically weird and gorgeous. The actual electromagnetic principles on which they work are elegantly simple, even for someone like me who has no official science background at all, and it is oddly satisfying to be able to see the principles in action rather than simply knowing they exist. Up until fairly recently a few of them were still on display, and even still in use, but I don't know if any of them are currently active. Google "mercury arc rectifier" and look at the videos to see what I mean.

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Strange Practice.


Ruthven wasn't much of a traditionalist. He didn't even own a coffin, let alone sleep in one; there simply wasn't room to roll over, even in the newer, wider models, and anyway the mattresses were a complete joke and played merry hell with one's back.

and maybe

"You are not human," she said at last, "but you are people. All of you. The ghouls, the mummies, the sanguivores, the weres, the banshees, the wights, the bogeys, everyone who comes to me for help, everyone who trusts me to provide it. You are all people, and you all deserve medical care, no matter what you do or have done, and you deserve to be able to seek and receive that care without putting yourselves in jeopardy. What I do is necessary, and while it isn't in the slightest bit easy, it is also the thing I want to do more than anything else in the world."


Sir Francis Varney was also damned, with the Devil and his angels and all the reprobate, and it was keeping him up at nights.

TQWhat's next?

Vivian:  The next book in the Greta Helsing series, Dreadful Company, will be coming out next year. It's set in Paris, and follows Greta's somewhat complicated adventures in and under the city. Also featured: M. R. James monsters; remedial psychopomps; vampires in leather pants; a werewolf, and potential disruptions in the fabric of reality. The third book, Grave Importance, is set in a mummy spa and resort outside of Marseille where Greta is spending a year as acting medical director. There's also a lot of other projects I'm planning for the future, including a popular-history book on the space program and a science fantasy epic co-written with my wife, the author Arkady Martine.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Vivian:  Thank you for having me!

Strange Practice
A Dr. Greta Helsing Novel 1
Orbit, July 25, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

Meet Greta Helsing, doctor to the undead.

Dr. Greta Helsing has inherited the family's highly specialized, and highly peculiar, medical practice. She treats the undead for a host of ills - vocal strain in banshees, arthritis in barrow-wights, and entropy in mummies.

It's a quiet, supernatural-adjacent life, until a sect of murderous monks emerges, killing human and undead Londoners alike. As terror takes hold of the city, Greta must use her unusual skills to stop the cult if she hopes to save her practice, and her life.

About Vivian

Photo by Emilia Blaser
Vivian Shaw was born in Kenya and spent her early childhood at home in England before relocating to the US at the age of seven. She has a BA in art history and an MFA in creative writing, and has worked in academic publishing and development while researching everything from the history of spaceflight to supernatural physiology. In her spare time, she writes fan fiction under the name of Coldhope.

Website  ~  Twitter @ceruleancynic  ~  Blog

Port of Earth Arrives in November


All-new sci-fi series from ECLIPSE creator Zack Kaplan

PORTLAND, OR, 07/24/2017 — Fan-favorite writer Zack Kaplan (ECLIPSE) teams up with all-star artist Andrea Mutti (Rebels, Prometheus) for a gritty new science fiction series, PORT OF EARTH, coming this November from Image Comics and Top Cow Productions.

Aliens have come to Earth, not in war or peace, but with a business deal: open up a spaceport here on Earth in exchange for advanced technology. But when our alien visitors break Port restrictions and wreak havoc in our cities, it falls to the newly formed Earth Security Agency to hunt down and safely deport the dangerous rogue aliens back to the Port of Earth.

Lost Sphear Coming on January 23, 2018


LOS ANGELES (July 25, 2017) –   SQUARE ENIX® today announced that, LOST SPHEAR™, the latest title from Tokyo RPG Factory™ will be available on the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, Nintendo Switch™ console, and STEAM® on January 23, 2018.

The game is available to pre-order now from the PlayStation®Store and STEAM. Those who pre-order on the PlayStation®Store will receive a “Memoirs of the Moon” dynamic PlayStation®4 theme and two music tracks. Those who pre-order on STEAM will receive a custom LOST SPHEAR wallpaper and two music tracks.

LOST SPHEAR will be available digitally from the PlayStation®Store, Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch, and STEAM. The game will also be available as a physical package exclusively from the SQUARE ENIX Online Store for the PlayStation®4 system ( and Nintendo Switch ( Fans who pre-order the game from the SQUARE ENIX Online Store will receive two music tracks as a gift at launch.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Interview with Leena Likitalo, author of The Five Daughters of the Moon

Please welcome Leena Likitalo to The Qwillery as part of the of the 2017 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Five Daughters of the Moon is published on July 25th by

Please join The Qwillery in wishing Leena a Happy Publication Day!

TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Leena:  Thank you so much for inviting me! It's a pleasure to be here!

I have always loved telling stories. In fact, so much that I started writing before I learned to read. No one else could make sense out of my scribbling which somewhat dented my credibility. Yet as far as I was concerned, the adventures of the butterfly-fairies had been duly recorded and that sufficed to me for the time being.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Leena:  I'm definitely a plotter.

I like to understand the big picture and what needs to happen in each chapter before I unleash creativity from the gilded cage where I keep it until a story is ready to be fully written. Creating an outline also enables me to know pretty accurately how much time I need to complete a bigger piece of work – I could never imagine committing to a timeline without being absolutely certain that I can pull it off!

If we do look into my dark past, I used to be a pantser. Let's just say I've learned my lesson. There was this story where it took me over 200 pages to get the main character and his horse to the right continent… After that, it was borderline impossible to get the pacing of that story back on tracks!

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Leena:  To me, it's not knowing if what I wrote, especially when it comes grammar and idioms, is at all correct English.

When I was in my teens, I really struggled to learn foreign languages. My father grew quite concerned about this and came up with a cunning plan. He dared me to read a novel from his fantasy and science fiction collection without the help of a dictionary.

Did I mention that his plan was cunning? The first book I read was none other than The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan, and very soon indeed I found myself utterly and totally addicted to Wheel of Time and not so accidentally learned English.

TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Leena:  Endless curiosity in such scale that the world's kitten population is truly in danger here.

I've always been immensely interested in a wide variety of things: ancient Egypt, dinosaurs, fairy tales, royalty and aristocracy, French revolution, mechanical machines, early computers… I still go "ooh, shiny" every time I see an article about the history of a scientific discovery or an autobiography about a kick-ass woman. Usually after these "ooh, shiny" moments my brain starts ticking: where can I use this piece of information!

In terms of writers who've influenced me, Russian literature works fantastically in Finnish – though, I was probably the only kid in school who was ecstatic to read Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. I have a long lasting love-love relationship with Patrick Rothfuss' novels and I really enjoy the works of Mary Robinette Kowal, Gail Carriger, and Maria Turtschaninoff.

TQDescribe The Five Daughters of the Moon in 140 characters or less.

Leena:  Court Intrigue. Revolution. A Great Thinking Machine that devours human souls. No one is safe, not even the Five Daughters of the Moon.

TQTell us something about The Five Daughters of the Moon that is not found in the book description.

Leena:  Some of my favorite scenes were brainstormed over lunch breaks with my friend at the Helsinki museum of modern arts. And the two dogs, Rafa and Mufu? Completely based on her Italian greyhounds – I studied their mannerism and habits for weeks to get the details right!

TQWhat inspired you to write The Five Daughters of the Moon? What appealed to you about writing historical fantasy based on the Romanovs?

Leena:  It all began with the Great Thinking Machine. For years and years now, I have wanted to tell the story of a girl genius who hacks the machine. I knew all along that the story would take place in an industrialized empire, some time after a revolution. But I really needed to know more about the world to be able to flesh out the storylines – and that's where intensive research kicked in.

One day, I happened upon an article about the Russian revolution and the last months of the Romanov family. Midway through the article, inspiration struck me with such force that whole scenes unfolded before my eyes and I started hearing voice - the Five Daughters of the Moon came to life and demanded I tell their story.

Though The Five Daughters of the Moon is inspired by real historical events, it's to be noted that I would never presume to write about real persons. Rather, I explore how a fictitious character placed in similar circumstances might feel and react.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Five Daughters of the Moon?

Leena:  Sensory details are very important to me. I need to understand what everything feels, smells, and sounds like. And when applicable, I also want to know how everything tastes.

Whenever I visit an old house, a ship, or a forest that strikes me a as a place that I might want to use in a story later on, I stroll around brushing surfaces and… much to the imminent embarrassment of my friends and family, sniff things until I can provide a sufficient description of the object in question.

I'm also obsessed with getting even minute details right. My friends can testify on this – I've turned to their areas of expertise when it comes to the direction of shadows during specific timeframe, diseases that cause the desired symptoms, plants that grow only in certain latitudes, and fabrics that give just the right touch of authenticity.

TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Five Daughters of the Moon.

Leena:  I'm the luckiest author in the world when it comes to covers! I absolute adore the artwork by the super talented Balbusso sisters and the cover design by Christine Foltzer.

To me, the cover oozes the very essence of the novel. I love the girl's expression – it's haunted and haunting but defiant, all at the same time. Her posture is that of someone standing before a tide of change that can't be avoided, only accepted. And the composition of the cover, with the Summer Palace at the back and the mechanical peacock in the front – yes, I'm a lucky author indeed!

TQIn The Five Daughters of the Moon who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Leena:  I love all the daughters, and it's borderline impossible for me to pick a favorite from amongst frail Alina, opinionated Merile, angsty Sibilia, passionate Elise, and rational Celestia.

But if I do have to pick one, I'm going to have to say that Sibilia was the easiest--and funniest--character to write. Fifteen years old, over-the-top emotional, sarcastic, and just a teeny-weeny bit self-centered, there was never a boring moment with her! She took control of her scenes as soon as I started writing, and then steered off the tangent, revealing the juiciest plot twists.

The hardest character to write… As the point of view character changes in every chapter, each of the daughters was the most difficult one to write on their own turn. Keeping track of who knew what and when was beyond challenging at times!

TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in The Five Daughters of the Moon?

Leena:  Fantasy, especially steampunk, as a genre provides the option to explore social issues relating to industrial revolution and its aftermath.

The Five Daughters of the Moon is written from the perspective of aristocracy. In the beginning, the main characters are very young and hence somewhat naïve. But as the novel progresses, they gradually become aware of the reasons behind the revolution and start questioning the things they earlier took for granted – and this also opens the window for them to consider social issues.

TQWhich question about The Five Daughters of the Moon do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Leena:  Is it true that some of the scenes came to you in the form of an opera?

Yes, this is indeed true. Almost all the main characters have their own theme, which plays on the background of every scene in which they make an appearance. I could see and hear these themes weaving together to form a grander structure – this novel was a very sensory experience to write.

There's one scene in particular (looking at you, Chapter 9) where my writing prompt to myself was "Elise and Captain Janlav sing their famous duet about [removed due to spoilers]"

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Five Daughters of the Moon.

Leena:  I've gushed earlier about how much I loved writing Sibilia - and reading her early chapters always cracks me up. Here's a sample:

“Dear Father Moon.” Elise curtsied between giggles. I curtsied too, heart beating with guilt and excitement. Nurse Nookes would chide me if she learnt of this. To sneak from my room, to fool around outside without a coat or gloves!

But Elise spread her arms wide, bent her head back, and addressed our father. “Please send us lovers, handsome and tall.”

“Elise! You can’t just . . .”

Elise glanced at me, grinning. She fluttered her painted lashes. “I can’t just what? We are the Daughters of the Moon. We have the right to call out for his help when in desperate need.”

At that moment, I did consider if I really was that desperate to meet K again. His lineage is impeccable; not that I care about that sort of thing. He adores me. I’m sure of that, though we shared only one waltz, in secret, during Alina’s name day celebrations. But the look he cast me afterwards, from across the dance floor. Smoldering.

TQWhat's next?

Leena:  The second part of the Waning Moon duology, The Sisters of the Crescent Empress, is coming out in early November. You'd never guess, but I'm super excited about that!

I've also got two more stories set in the Waning Moon world in works. The first one takes place directly after The Sisters of the Crescent Empress. The second one will be the story about the Great Thinking Machine – at last!

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Leena:  Thank you so much for having me!

The Five Daughters of the Moon
The Waning Moon Duology 1, July 25, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 224 pages

Inspired by the 1917 Russian revolution and the last months of the Romanov sisters, The Five Daughters of the Moon by Leena Likitalo is a beautifully crafted historical fantasy with elements of technology fueled by evil magic.

The Crescent Empire teeters on the edge of a revolution, and the Five Daughters of the Moon are the ones to determine its future.

Alina, six, fears Gagargi Prataslav and his Great Thinking Machine. The gagargi claims that the machine can predict the future, but at a cost that no one seems to want to know.

Merile, eleven, cares only for her dogs, but she smells that something is afoul with the gagargi. By chance, she learns that the machine devours human souls for fuel, and yet no one believes her claim.

Sibilia, fifteen, has fallen in love for the first time in her life. She couldn't care less about the unrests spreading through the countryside. Or the rumors about the gagargi and his machine.

Elise, sixteen, follows the captain of her heart to orphanages and workhouses. But soon she realizes that the unhappiness amongst her people runs much deeper that anyone could have ever predicted.

And Celestia, twenty-two, who will be the empress one day. Lately, she's been drawn to the gagargi. But which one of them was the first to mention the idea of a coup?

Inspired by the 1917 Russian revolution and the last months of the Romanov sisters, The Five Daughters of the Moon is a beautifully crafted historical fantasy with elements of technology fuelled by evil magic.

About Leena

Writers of the Future
LEENA LIKITALO hails from Finland, the land of endless summer days and long, dark winter nights. She breaks computer games for a living and lives with her husband on an island at the outskirts of Helsinki, the capital. But regardless of her remote location, stories find their way to her and demand to be told. Leena is the author of The Waning Moon Duology, including The Five Daughters of the Moon and The Sisters of the Crescent Empress.

Website   ~  Twitter @LeenaLikitalo  ~  Facebook

Justice League - Comic-Con Sneak Peek

In theaters November 17, 2017

Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes—Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash—it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Doctor Who - Christmas Special 2017 Trailer

I am counting the days (154 days left) even though I will miss the 12th Doctor very much.

The View From Monday - July 24, 2017

Happy Monday!

There are 5 debuts this week:

The Punch Escrow by Tal M. Klein

The Five Daughters of the Moon (The Waning Moon Duology 1) by Leena Likitalo;

Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed;

Strange Practice (A Dr. Greta Helsing Novel 1) by Vivian Shaw;


Talon of God by Wesley Snipes and Ray Norman.

Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.

From formerly featured DAC Authors:

Nod by Adrian Barnes is out in Mass Market Paperback;

Red Right Hand (The Mythos War 1) by Levi Black is out in Trade Paperback;

The Wilding Sisters by Eve Chase;

Killing Is My Business (Ray Electromatic Mysteries 2) by Adam Christopher;

Time Siege (Time Salvager 2) by Wesley Chu is out in Trade Paperback;

Sovereign (Nemesis 2) by April Daniels;

Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts 1) by Vic James is out in Trade Paperback;

Raid (Wastelanders 2) by K.S. Merbeth;


Blood Gamble (Disrupted Magic 2) by Melissa F. Olson.

Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.

Debut novels are highlighted in blue. Novels, etc. by formerly featured DAC Authors are highlighted in green.

July 24, 2017
Betrayed by Blood (e) Beth Dranoff PNR - Mark of the Moon 2
Accidental Sire (e) Molly Harper PNR - Half-Moon Hollow 14

July 25, 2017
Wildfire Ilona Andrews PNR - Hidden Legacy 3
The Unholy Consult R. Scott Bakker F - Aspect-Emperor 4
Nod (tp2mm) Adrian Barnes Dys/LF/SF/AP/PA
Red Right Hand (h2tp) Levi Black DF/H - The Mythos War 1
Tomorrow War: Serpent Road J. L. Bourne TechTh - The Chronicles of Max 2
The Wilding Sisters Eve Chase CW/CoA/FL
Killing Is My Business Adam Christopher SF/Noir/PI - Ray Electromatic Mysteries 2
Time Siege (h2tp) Wesley Chu SF/TT - Time Salvager 2
Glory Imperialis: An Astra Militarum Omnibus Mark Clapham
Andy Hoare
Richard Williams
SF - Astra Militarum
The Dream Keeper's Daughter Emily Colin R/TT/F/HistF
Sovereign April Daniels SH - Nemesis 2
Death's Bright Day (h2mm) David Drake SF - RCN 11
Dark Carousel (h2mm) Christine Feehan PNR - Carpathian 30
Dark Screams: Volume Seven (e) Brian James Freeman (Ed)
Richard Chizmar (Ed)
H - Dark Screams Anthology
Resurrection John French SF - The Horusian Wars 1
Battlefront II: Inferno Squad Christie Golden SF/MTI - Star Wars
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets: The Official Movie Novelization Christie Golden SF/MTI
Dark Rites Heather Graham PNR/SupTh - Krewe of Hunters 22
The Fifth Doll Charlie N. Holmberg HistF
Gilded Cage (h2tp) Vic James F/Dys/SF - Dark Gifts 1
Assassin's Price L. E. Modesitt Jr. F - The Imager Portfolio 11
The Punch Escrow (D) Tal M. Klein SF/TechTh
The Five Daughters of the Moon (D) Leena Likitalo HistF/DF - The Waning Moon Duology 1
Red Tithe Robbie MacNiven SF - Carcharodons 1
Bone White Ronald Malfi H/GH/Th
Gather the Daughters (D) Jennie Melamed LF
Raid K.S. Merbeth SF/AP/PA - Wastelanders 2
Blood Gamble Melissa F. Olson UF - Disrupted Magic 2
Copper Veins Jennifer Allis Provost Dys/FR - Copper Legacy 3
Strange Practice (D) Vivian Shaw CF - A Dr. Greta Helsing Novel 1
Extinction Age Nicholas Sansbury Smith SF/AP/PA - The Extinction Cycle 3
Talon of God (D) Wesley Snipes
Ray Norman
Age of Swords Michael J. Sullivan F - The Legends of the First Empire 2
After the Downfall Harry Turtledove AH

July 26, 2017
These Deathless Bones: A Original (e) Cassandra Khaw H
Hounds of the Underworld Dan Rabarts
Lee Murray
M/Noir/H - Path of Ra 1

July 27, 2017
She-wolf: A Cultural History of Female Werewolves (ri) Hannah Priest LC/SF/F
The Leper House (e) Andrew Taylor GO
Broken Voices (e) Andrew Taylor GO
The Scratch (e) Andrew Taylor GO

D - Debut
e - eBook
Ed - Editor
h2mm - Hardcover to Mass Market Paperback
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
ri - reissue or reprint
tp2mm - Trade to Mass Market Paperback
Tr - Translator

AC - Alien Contact
AH - Alternate History
AP - Apocalyptic
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CoA - Coming of Age
CW - Contemporary Women
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tales
FL - Family Life
FolkT - Folk Tales
FR - Fantasy Romance
GH - Ghost(s)
GenEng - Genetic Engineering
GO - Gothic
H - Horror
HC - History and Criticism
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HU - Humor
LF - Literary Fiction
LM - Legends and Mythology
M - Mystery
MR - Magical Realism
MTI - Media Tie-In
Noir - Noir
Occ - Occult
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PI - Private Investigator
PM - Paranormal Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
PRS - Paranormal Romantic Suspense
Psy - Psychological
R - Romance
RPGs - Role Playing Games
Satire - Satire
SF - Science Fiction
SFR - Science Fiction Romance
SH - Superhero(es)
SP - Steampunk
Sup - Supernatural
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Sus - Suspense
TechTh - Technological Thriller
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
UF - Urban Fantasy
VisMeta - Visionary and Metaphysical
W - Western
Z - Zombies

Note: Not all genres and formats are found in the books, etc. listed above.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Thor: Ragnarok - Official Trailer

In theaters November 3, 2017.

The brand-new Thor: Ragnarok trailer that debuted at San Diego Comic-Co.

Star Trek: Discovery - Official Trailer

Are you going to get a subscription to CBS All Access to Watch?

Star Trek: Discovery premieres September 24th on CBS All Access.

Review: Hellknight by Liane Merciel

Author:   Liane Merciel
Series:  Pathfinder Tales 32
Publisher:  Tor Books, April 5, 2016
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages
List Price:  US$14.99 (print); US$9.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9780765375483 (print); 9781466847354 (eBook)

Paizo Publishing is the award-winning publisher of fantasy role playing games, accessories, and board games. Liane Merciel's Pathfinder Tales: Hellknight is a thrilling addition to their popular novel series.

The Hellknights are a brutal organization of warriors dedicated to maintaining law and order at any cost. For devil-blooded Jheraal, even the harshest methods are justified if it means building a better world for her daughter. Yet when a serial killer starts targeting hellspawn like Jheraal and her child, Jheraal has no choice but to use all her cunning and ruthlessness in order to defeat an ancient enemy to whom even death is no deterrent.

Brannigan's Review

Liane Merciel’s Hellknight from the Pathfinder Tales universe is an engrossing mystery. The story takes place in Cheliax region and the city of Westcrown. The city and its history blends into the story. What was once a beautiful proud city has fallen under the rule of a noble family that openly works with demons and dark magic as well as the Hellknights, a brutal organization that demands justice and order at any cost. Most of the races in the Hellknights are devil-blooded humanoids that wear their ancestry in the forms or horns, scales, fangs and other frightening visages that cause them to be outcasts from normal society, but as Hellknights they find a purpose. In Westcrown, it is to keep order. Parts of the city have fallen to ruins that are overrun by monsters.

The story starts in the ruins when devil-bloods or hellspawn are killed by Sechel, an assassin who kills in an unusual way. She rips hearts from her victims’ chests, but instead of dying the victims remain in an comatose state with a hole in their chest. Jheraal, a Hellknight investigator, is assigned to investigate the crime and stop the murder. Ederras, a Paladin fighting at the Worldwound, finds out his brother, a noble in Westcrown, is murdered, leaving him the sole heir to his family name and wealth. Ending his self exile, he returns home to find his brother’s killer. It’s not long before Jheraal and Ederras, two opposites, are working together to find and stop the murderer. As they investigate, they only discover this mystery is deeply rooted in their families’ and city’s history.

Merciel’s two main protagonists, Jheraal and Ederras, are the primary POV characters. They each take turns showing you the world and story through their perspective, giving the reader several unique ways of looking at the story.

The characters are all well developed. Merciel does a wonderful job of giving them a life outside of the main story and allows them to grow and develop. I actually fell in love with Sechel and would relish reading more about her in her own book. This shows how well Merciel did in humanizing her characters, even those that don't have as much time on the page.

I highly recommend Hellknight for anyone that enjoys a fast paced fantasy mystery. For those that have no knowledge about the Pathfinder universe, don’t worry, I didn’t either until I started reading the books and I’ve never felt left behind. Don’t let a good mystery slip away. I would recommend this book for young adults as well as adults. There is some descriptive violence and minor adult situations, but nothing I would be worried about my teenager reading.