Monday, October 31, 2016

Review and Giveaway: Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Authors:  Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Series:  The Illuminae Files 02
Publisher:  Knopf Books for Young Readers, October 18, 2016
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 672 pages
List Price:  US$19.99 (print); US$10.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9780553499155 (print); 9780553499179 (eBook)

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.

Qwill's Thoughts

Sometimes you pass on a book because you don't read for that age group or that genre or sub-genre. Last year I could have picked up a copy of Illuminae, the first novel in the The Illuminae Files, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I passed because I generally do not read YA since I'm busy with other novels, collections, etc. Well, I'm going to rethink that. Both Illuminae and Gemina are absolutely fabulous. I read Illuminae so that I could review Gemina. I had so much fun with these novels. In a nutshell Kaufman and Kristoff tell the story of the attack on Kerenza IV and its aftermath for those on the planet and those who came to their rescue in Illuminae. The 2nd novel in The Illuminae Files - Gemina - picks up the story from events on the Heimdall space station where the survivors of the attack on Kerenza IV are headed.

Gemina is framed by a tribunal case against one of the BeiTech people allegedly responsible for the attack on Kerenza IV and Heimdall. This allows the reader to read memos, reports of video surveillance, transcripts of conversations, etc. that are introduced into evidence in the trial. The novel moves quickly away from the Tribunal and deep into the action and the events on Heimdall. Being given a window onto the events and the psyche of the characters through the unfolding narrative is fabulous. There are wonderful visual treats throughout Gemina as well as surprises. You really get to know the main characters, Hanna and Nik, well through their recorded actions, conversations, and for at least one, drawings.

There is a lot of  action (and violence) as lives are on the line. The science in Gemina is very well done and often mind-blowing - it all sounds so incredibly plausible. Kaufman and Kristoff have created an immensely satisfying SF world in which to set the stories. Gemina, as well as Illuminae, are deeply immersive novels. I felt as if I was there experiencing everything that was happening. There are moments of levity and heartbreak and I really came to adore both Hanna and Nik and root for their survival. The story is top-notch; the main characters are fantastic; the supporting characters are very well done. I can not say enough good things about Gemina (and Illuminae). This is riveting SF presented in an uncommon format. Gemina is visually stunning, extremely exciting, fun, and very highly recommended.

Note: I purchased eBooks of the novels just to see if they worked as well in digital format - they do.


The Illuminae Files 01
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.

The Giveaway

What:  One entrant will win a copy of Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff from the publisher. US ONLY

How:  Log into and follow the directions in the Rafflecopter below.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a US mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59 PM US Eastern Time on November 11, 2016. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 14 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules and duration are subject to change without any notice.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The View From Monday - October 31, 2016

Happy Monday and Happy Halloween!!

There are 3 debuts this week:

The Facefaker's Game by Chandler Birch;

Death at First Sight (A Bay Island Psychic Mystery 1) by Lena Gregory;


The Burning Isle by Will Panzo.

And from formerly featured DAC Authors:

The Burning Light by Bradley P. Beaulieu and Rob Ziegler;

The Operative (San Angeles 2) by Gerald Brandt;

Reports on the Internet Apocalypse (Internet Apocalypse Trilogy 3) by Wayne Gladstone

The Weaver by Emmi Itäranta;

Invisible Planets edited by Ken Liu;

An Import of Intrigue (Maradaine Constabulary 2) by Marshall Ryan Maresca;


Dominion (Burned Man 2) by Peter McLean.

Of the Abyss by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes is out in Mass Market Paperback;

The Courier (San Angeles 1) by Gerald Brandt is out in Trade Paperback;

How to Save the World (Superheroes Anonymous 3) by Lexie Dunne is out in Mass Market Paperback;

Staked (Iron Druid Chronicles 8) by Kevin Hearne is out in Mass Market Paperback;

Empire Ascendant (Worldbreaker Saga 2) by Kameron Hurley is out in Mass Market Paperback;


Arena (Arena 1) by Holly Jennings is out in Trade Paperback.

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

October 31, 2016
A Long December Richard Chizmar H - Collection
Six Scary Stories Stephen King (Selected by) H - Anthology
The Madness of Dr. Caligari Joseph S. Pulver (Ed) H - Anthology

November 1, 2016
What the #@&% Is That?: The Saga Anthology of the Monstrous and the Macabre John Joseph Adams (Ed) F - Anthology
Of the Abyss (mm) Amelia Atwater-Rhodes F - Mancer Trilogy Series 1
The Burning Light Bradley P. Beaulieu
Rob Ziegler
The Facefaker's Game (D) Chandler J. Birch F
Twice Told Tail Ali Brandon CM - A Black Cat Bookshop Mystery 6
The Courier (h2mm) Gerald Brandt SF/CyberP/AP/PA - San Angeles 1
The Operative Gerald Brandt SF/CyberP/AP/PA - San Angeles 2
Decoherence Liana Brooks TechTh - Time & Shadows Mystery 3
Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen (h2tp) Lois McMaster Bujold SF/SO - Vorkosigan Saga 17
The Vor Game (ri) Lois McMaster Bujold SF/SO - Vorkosigan Saga 6
Congress of Secrets Stephanie Burgis HistF/AH
Shadowed Souls Jim Butcher (Ed)
Kerrie L. Hughes (Ed)
UF/CF - Anthology
Octavia E. Butler Gerry Canavan HC/SF -Modern Masters of Science Fiction Series
The Shattered Vigil Patrick W. Carr F - Darkwater Saga Series 2
Illicit Cathy Clamp P - Luna Lake 2
The Severed Streets (h2mm) Paul Cornell CF - Shadow Police 2
The Lost Child of Lychford Paul Cornell CF - Witches of Lychford 2
Beholder's Eye (ri) Julie E. Czerneda SF/SO - Web Shifters 1
Hidden in Sight (ri) Julie E. Czerneda SF/SO - Web Shifters 3
Changing Vision (ri) Julie E. Czerneda SF/SO - Web Shifters 2
Nightmares Ellen Datlow (Ed) H - Anthology
Empires: The First Battle Gavin Deas SF - Empires
The Right to Arm Bears (ri) Gordon R Dickson SF
How to Save the World (mm) Lexie Dunne UF - Superheroes Anonymous 3
Willful Child: Wrath of Betty Steven Erikson SF/SO - Willful Child 2
Pillar to the Sky (tp2mm) William R. Forstchen Th/SF
A Hunter Under the Mistletoe: All Is Bright \ Heat of a Helios (e) Addison Fox
Karen Whiddon
Neil Gaiman's Midnight Days Neil Gaiman F/GN
Survival Game Gary Gibson SF/AP/PA - Apocalypse Duology 2
Reports on the Internet Apocalypse Wayne Gladstone LF/TechTh/Dys/HU/AP/PA/SF - Internet Apocalypse Trilogy 3
Immortal Billionaire (e) Jane Godman PNR
Warheart (h2mm) Terry Goodkind F - Richard and Kahlan 4
Death at First Sight (D) Lena Gregory CM - A Bay Island Psychic Mystery 1
Ghal Maraz Guy Haley
Josh Reynolds
F - The Realmgate Wars 2
Christmas Magic David G. Hartwell (Ed) F - Anthology
Staked (h2mm) Kevin Hearne UF - Iron Druid Chronicles 8
The Dark Lord Jack Heckel FairyT/FolkT/LM/HU
Binary Storm Christopher Hinz SF/SO - Liege-Killer
Faithful Alice Hoffman CW
Curse on the Land Faith Hunter UF/CF/P - A Soulwood Novel 2
Empire Ascendant (h2mm) Kameron Hurley F - Worldbreaker Saga 2
The Weaver Emmi Itäranta Dys
Arena (h2tp) Holly Jennings SF - Arena 1
Saga of Recluce: Year 1-415 (e) L. E. Modesitt Jr. F - Recluce Omnibus
Konundrum: Selected Prose of Franz Kafka Franz Kafka LFSF - Collection
Illidan: World of Warcraft William King F - World of Warcraft
Death's Master (ri) Tanith Lee F/DF - Flat Earth 2
The Hidden People Alison Littlewood HistM
Invisible Planets Ken Liu (Ed) SF - Anthology
Old Man's Ghosts Tom Lloyd F - Empire of a Hundred Houses 2
Cosmonaut Keep: The Opening Novel in An Astonishing New Future History Ken MacLeod SF/AC - Engines of Light 1
An Import of Intrigue Marshall Ryan Maresca F/UF/DF - Maradaine Constabulary 2
Den of Wolves Juliet Marillier HistF - Blackthorn & Grim 3
Venom and Vanilla Shannon Mayer UF - Venom Trilogy 1
Dominion Peter McLean UF - Burned Man 2
The Burning Isle (D) Will Panzo F
Invisible Planets Hannu Rajaniemi F - Collection
The Memory of Whiteness: A Scientific Romance (ri) Kim Stanley Robinson SF
DemonWars: The First King: The Dame and The Bear (e)(ri) R. A. Salvatore F - Saga of the First King
Children of the Country (D) Abigail R. Shaffer LF/CoA/Occ/Sup
The Child to Come: Life after the Human Catastrophe Rebekah Sheldon LC/SF/F
Unquiet Land Sharon Shinn FR/F - Elemental Blessings 4
Archangel's Heart Nalini Singh PNR/F/UF - Guild Hunter 9
The Death of Dulgath Michael J. Sullivan F - Riyria Chronicles 3
The Beast (h2mm) J. R. Ward PNR - Black Dagger Brotherhood 14
Shadow of Victory David Weber SF - Honor Harrington 19
Angeleyes Michael Z. Williamson SF - Freehold Series 7
Once a Gypsy Danica Winters PNR - The Irish Traveller 1
The Path of Heaven Chris Wraight SF - The Horus Heresy
Burn Suzanne Wright FR - Dark in You 1
Living Spectres Chelsea Quinn Yarbro CM - A Chesterton Holte, Gentleman Haunt Mystery  2

November 2, 2016
The Loud Table: A Original (e) Jonathan Carroll SF
Dune: Red Plague (e) Brian Herbert
Kevin J. Anderson

November 3, 2016
The Jo Fletcher Books Anthology (e) Various SF/F - Anthology

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

AC - Alien Contact
AH - Alternate History
AP - Apocalyptic
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CM - Cozy Mystery
CoA - Coming of Age
CW - Contemporary Women
CyberP - CyberPunk
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F _ Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tales
FolkT - Folk Tales
FR - Fantasy Romance
GN - Graphic Novel
H - Horror
HC - History and Criticism
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HU - Humor
LC - Literary Criticism
LF - Literary Fiction
LM - Legends and Mythology
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PNR - Paranormal Romance
SF - Science Fiction
SFR - Science Fiction Romance
SO - Space Opera
Sup - Supernatural
TechTh - Technological Thriller
Th - Thriller
UF - Urban Fantasy

Sunday, October 30, 2016

2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington

The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2016 Debut Author Challenge.

James Islington

The Shadow of What Was Lost
The Licanius Trilogy 1
Orbit, November 8, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 704 pages

"Love The Wheel of Time? This is about to become your new favorite series." - B&N SF & Fantasy Blog

"Islington has built a world with all the right genre elements: complex magic, terrifying threats out of legend, political intrigue, and a large cast of characters whose motivations are seldom clear. Fans of doorstop epic fantasy will not be disappointed." - Publishers Weekly

"Ingeniously plotted...Islington's natural storytelling ability provides incessant plot twists and maintains a relentless pace...A promising page-turner from a poised newcomer." - Kirkus

It has been twenty years since the god-like Augurs were overthrown and killed. Now, those who once served them - the Gifted - are spared only because they have accepted the rebellion's Four Tenets, vastly limiting their powers.

As a Gifted, Davian suffers the consequences of a war lost before he was even born. He and others like him are despised. But when Davian discovers he wields the forbidden power of the Augurs, he sets into motion a chain of events that will change everything.

To the west, a young man whose fate is intertwined with Davian's wakes up in the forest, covered in blood and with no memory of who he is...

And in the far north, an ancient enemy long thought defeated begins to stir.

Review: The Waking Fire by Anthony Ryan

The Waking Fire
Author:  Anthony Ryan
Series:  The Draconis Memoria 1
Publisher:  Ace, July 5, 2016
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 592 pages
List Price:  US$28.00 (print); US$11.99 (eBook)
ISBN9781101987858 (print); 9781101987865 (eBook)

The New York Times bestselling Raven’s Shadow Trilogy was a perfect read for “fans of broadscale epic fantasy along the lines of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series and George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire novels.”* Now, Anthony Ryan begins a new saga, The Draconis Memoria…

Throughout the vast lands controlled by the Ironship Syndicate, nothing is more prized than the blood of drakes. Harvested from the veins of captive or hunted Reds, Green, Blues and Blacks, it can be distilled into elixirs that give fearsome powers to the rare men and women who have the ability harness them—known as the blood-blessed.

But not many know the truth: that the lines of drakes are weakening. If they fail, war with the neighboring Corvantine Empire will follow swiftly. The Syndicate’s last hope resides in whispers of the existence of another breed of drake, far more powerful than the rest, and the few who have been chosen by fate to seek it.

Claydon Torcreek is a petty thief and an unregistered blood-blessed, who finds himself pressed into service by the protectorate and sent to wild, uncharted territories in search of a creature he believes is little more than legend. Lizanne Lethridge is a formidable spy and assassin, facing gravest danger on an espionage mission deep into the heart of enemy territory. And Corrick Hilemore is the second lieutenant of an ironship, whose pursuit of ruthless brigands leads him to a far greater threat at the edge of the world.

As lives and empires clash and intertwine, as the unknown and the known collide, all three must fight to turn the tide of a coming war, or drown in its wake.

*Library Journal

Tracey's Review

At the dawn of the Corporate Age, the Mandinorian nobility replaced their properties and privileges for shares in the Iron Trading Syndicate. Their pursuit of profit reigns supreme and the most sought after commodity comes from the "Interior" of the untamed continent of Arradsia. Indigenous to the Interior are several species of drakes, (dragons) whose blood can be distilled into a miraculous mixture called "product". However the blood of drakes is dangerous to all but the small percentage of humans, called Blood-blessed, who can safely consume it. Product is extremely valuable because once used by a Blood-blessed, it temporarily provides enhancements comparable to superpowers.

Overhunting and exploitation of the drakes has seen a drop in the amount of product available and a shortage in product would mean a sharp reduction in profit. Lodima Bondersil, a prominent member of the Iron Trading Syndicate, believes there may be a solution. An artifact has recently been recovered that can be linked to the ill-fated Wittler Expedition. Over thirty years ago, Wittler and his team had been searching a particularly dangerous section of the Interior for the nesting place of the elusive White Drake. Legend has it, that the White Drake is the most powerful of all its brethren. The explorers, along with Ethelynne Drystone, one of Lodima's prized pupils disappeared without a trace, but not before sending a communication to Lodima of a vital discovery.

Setting her secret plans into motion, Lodima plans to succeed where Wittler failed. She hopes that even the remains of a White will boost the projected decline in the economy. But complications arise as the aggressive Corvantine Empire's desire for conquest blossoms and war between the two hegemonic regimes becomes imminent.

The Waking Fire is the first book in author Anthony Ryan's second series; The Draconis Memoria. And by the way; it's awesome. A complete departure from the world he created in his previous Raven's Shadow series, The Waking Fire is set in a complex and beautifully detailed steampunk-esque era. Ryan is a skilled world-builder and his expertise is demonstrated throughout this nearly six hundred page book. I was immediately impressed with the particulars of this world's settings and the fact that his descriptions are as rich in texture as they are to the senses of sight and sound. Ryan effortlessly transports his readers from a hideout concealed in a decaying church in the slums, to life aboard an Ironship war vessel, and easily transitions to the deserts, mountains, and jungles of the danger-fraught Interior.

The Waking Fire is a detailed account, written in the perspective of three characters, each important players in the unfolding events. Efficient and ruthless, Lizanne Lethridge, is this world's version of Agent 007. Being Blood-blessed allows Lizanne the opportunity to perform fantastic feats that are utterly kickass and believable. Clay Torcreek is an orphan and a thief who uses the fact that he is an unregistered Blood-blessed to his every advantage. Clay is one step away from leaving the slums forever when the consequences of his life of crime catch up with him. Motivated by guilt and the promise of freedom, he is coerced into joining his uncle's expedition into the Interior. I really like that Lizanne and Clay start off somewhat unlikeable, but gradually grew in my affections. The third main POV, 2nd Lt. Corrick Hilemore, is an honorable naval officer who is compassionate as well as brave. Although he is involved in some amazing battles at sea, his thread doesn't shine as bright as Lizanne's or Clay's, and his story arc stagnates during the last portion of the book. I am assuming that he is intended for bigger and better things in book two.

This gorgeous new world, fraught with peril at every turn, delivers a breathtaking ride through battles, across oceans, and deep into the heart of the jungle. Its characters are well-written and three-dimensional; dealing with topics such as political intrigue, greed, and impending war. I absolutely love this book and have high hopes for the series. Anthony Ryan weaves an intricate tale that is part Raiders of the Lost Ark, part James Bond, and part Master and Commander, but with dragons. Calling all lovers of epic fantasy; you don't want to miss The Waking Fire.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Interview with Nik Abnett

Please welcome Nik Abnett to The Qwillery. Savant was published on October 4th by Solaris.

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

Nik Abnett:  I started writing as a child. When I was nine or ten, I wrote a play, which was performed at my school for the students and parents. I thought nothing of it at the time. Now, I’m very grateful to a teacher who did a wonderful thing.

I’m not sure there is a ‘why’ for me, so much as there is simply a compulsion to tell stories.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

NA:  By nature, I’m definitely a pantser. I regularly begin a piece of work with only an idea for a theme. I don’t plot or writer character sheets. I like that what comes before in the writing informs what comes later. I love the evolution of ideas over time. If I plotted a novel at the outset, I’d have to have all my ideas in one go.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

NA:  The biggest challenge is getting through the first third of a novel. I read everything I’ve written every day and make a lot of changes as the ideas evolve, so it’s time-consuming and even a little laborious at times. It can also be the most exciting part of the process.

TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

NA:  I think anything and everything can influence the work. I’m influenced by little things like snippets of conversation. I’m influenced by experiences, and I’m influenced by big things like politics. I might respond to something I’ve read, a picture I’ve looked at, music… Everything is stimulus.

TQDescribe Savant in 140 characters or less.

NA:  Savant: But for one man, the World could end… But for one woman, the man could crumble. Will the authorities allow her to do her job?

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

NA:  The reader will probably never know or understand everything.

TQWhat inspired you to write Savant? What appeals to you about writing Science Fiction?

NA:  Inspiration’s a funny thing. I’d wanted to write a book about unconditional love for a long time (OK this novel didn’t turn out to be about that, but that’s why I like the evolution process). I knew that if I wrote this novel straight it could sound terribly righteous, and I hate a proselytising tone in fiction. Writing this as an SF novel simply gave me more freedom to explore the themes. SF is a great medium for all kinds of ideas; it allows vast scope.

The immediate inspiration was reading someone else’s work. A friend of mine wrote a novel, which was published. I bought a copy, got it signed and began to read. The novel and its sequels have done well, but this just wasn’t my cup of tea. I decided that it was time I wrote the kind of SF that I wanted to read. It was as simple as that. I began writing there and then.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for Savant?

NA:  I’m somewhat familiar with Autism and I took an A’level in Maths at school. I needed to re-familiarise myself in both areas, but I didn’t have to begin with first principles, which made research easier than it might otherwise have been. A friend of mine with a seriously autistic child also beta-read for me, for which I am incredibly grateful.

I try to follow the precept that if you can’t answer a research question on a post-it note, you’re probably asking the wrong question. I like to weight my time in favour of writing.

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

NA:  I think the easiest characters to write are often the ones we like the most, and I liked all of my central characters. I anticipated finding Tobe difficult to write, because he is Other, but I actually found his voice very quickly. I really loved writing Bob Goodman, who, in some ways is the most human character; he’s warm and funny, and his reactions feel real to me. Pitu 3 was quite difficult to write, because his value in the society is so slight. Balancing his personality with the pathos of his existence wasn’t easy, and I hope I got it right.

TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in Savant?

NA:  I think any time I write about characters and their relationships there is almost bound to be some connection to society as a whole. I don’t mind admitting that I’m quite a political person. I tend to the left, and I’m a feminist. We all live in an imperfect society, and I think it’s natural to comment on that.

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

NA:  I imagine every writer will answer this question the same way.

The question I’d most like to be asked is, ‘Will there be a sequel?’

The answer is, ‘I’ve already begun a companion novel, working title ‘Seekers’, set in the same universe, but on the other side of the shield… On the outside.

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

NA:  I think my favourite quote is probably, “It is the same.” It’s something Tobe says often, and it’s central to the novel; it’s like a mantra. I agonised long and hard over the formality of the phrase, but simply couldn’t use the contraction in the end.

On the whole, this probably isn’t a terribly quotable book; it’s very much, I hope, an entire experience.

TQWhat's next?

NA:  Next for me is my first… no… second play. I wrote ‘Ward’ for my daughter to direct, and you can see it in Canterbury on the 28th and 29th of November. It’s a marriage of my writing with my daughter’s flair for physical theatre, and I’m very excited about it.

Of course, I’m working on ‘Seekers’, and I’m cowriting narrative for a computer game with my husband, Dan Abnett, which is yet to be announced.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

NA:  Thank you very much for having me.

Solaris, October 4, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 356 pages

His mind can save the world, if she can save him from the human race...

The Shield is Earth's only defence. Rendering the planet invisible from space, it keeps humanity safe from alien invasion. The Actives maintain the shield - no one is sure how - but without them, the Shield cannot function.

When an Active called Tobe finds himself caught in a probability loop, the Shield is compromised. Soon, Tobe's malady spreads among the Active. Earth becomes vulnerable.

Tobe’s assistant, Metoo, is only interested in his wellbeing. Earth security’s paramount concern is the preservation of the Shield. As Metoo strives to prevent Tobe’s masters from undermining his fragile equilibrium, the global danger escalates.

The Shield must be maintained at all costs...

About Nik

Nik Abnett has published work in a number of mediums, including advertising, training manuals, comics and short stories. She has worked as a ghost writer, is a frequent contributor to Black Library Publishing, and regularly collaborates with her partner, novelist and comic author Dan Abnett. In 2012 she was runner-up for the inaugural Mslexia novel-writing competition. Savant is her first solo, independent full-length work of fiction and publishes summer 2016.

Follow Nik on Twitter, and for more information please visit the official Nik Abnett website.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Marvel’s MONSTERS UNLEASHED to Let Loose Six New Monsters in 2017!

Press Release

Marvel’s MONSTERS UNLEASHED to Let Loose Six New Monsters in 2017!
Top Artists to Create New Marvel Monsters for Monsters Unleashed

New York, NY—October 28th, 2016 – Run if you can! Hide if you must! Nothing can prepare you for MONSTERS UNLEASHED! As massive monsters rain from the skies, rise from the seas and pour from the center of the very Earth – the table is set epic battle fans have been waiting for! It’s all happening this January as Cullen Bunn and some of today’s biggest artists bring you the next thrilling Marvel Universe epic. Gargantuan beasts from across Marvel’s long and storied history have risen up, intent on destroying the planet. But they’re not the alone! Today, Marvel is pleased to announce six brand new creatures invading the Marvel Universe!

Interview with Alex White, author of Every Mountain Made Low

Please welcome Alex White to The Qwillery as part of the 2016 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Every Mountain Made Low was published on October 25th by Solaris.

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

Alex :  Glad to be here!

I started out writing movies. I've been a film geek since I was a teenager, and my friends used to tease me because I was such a little film snob. They started saying, "If you can't do better, we don't want to hear it." So one semester, I had a help desk job and too much time on my hands, so naturally I decided to start banging away at a screenplay. It was a romantic comedy, and needless to say, it was terrible. No one needs to take tips from a high schooler about love and sex. After that, I got a little more serious and wrote a feature-length blockbuster action in 2003, then finally finished my first novel in 2006. I've been writing novels ever since, and I'm about to finish my eighth.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Alex :  I'm meticulous about planning my characters' motivations. Every speaking character in my stories has a decent biography with all of the forces acting upon them. I use Aeon Timeline to map their life stories and determine specific ages for each event, questioning how certain events at certain times would alter their personalities. From there, I tend to naturally divide my books into three acts. I thoroughly plot the first two acts, but leave the third act blank, save for a basic idea. I think a spectacular ending needs to be discovered, and is a function of the character interactions over plot.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Alex :  I always want to write outside of my comfort zone. Each new book needs to be substantially different than anything I've ever produced. If it comes easy to me, I'm not interested. Emotional investment is also key--even my lighthearted comedy starred a character who was deeply flawed, anxious and suicidal. I don't appreciate characters who always maintain the moral high ground, because I'm not sure that's possible in life. I care about the screw-ups, not the sexy, wisecracking swashbucklers.

TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Alex :  I had a great high school education that focused on mid-century American lit, like CATCHER IN THE RYE, THE GREAT GATSBY and A FAREWELL TO ARMS. From there, I went on to read a lot of Flannery O'Connor, and fell in love with her clear, concise prose. In 2008, I read AND THE HIPPOS WERE BOILED IN THEIR TANKS, and learned that even total assholes can be compelling main characters. In addition to the literary influences, I love big, silly action flicks and stylish cinema. I'm always trying to capture both the literary and the cinematic: big visual ideas filtered through the clearest possible lens.

TQDescribe Every Mountain Made Low in 140 characters or less.

Alex :  An autistic woman living in a late-stage capitalist hellhole is confronted with the ghost of her best friend; seeks revenge for her murder.

TQTell us something about Every Mountain Made Low that is not found in the book description.

Alex :  There are two southern American myths in the story, one explicitly present and one referenced. Tailypo, an Appalachian folk horror classic, is one of the characters who aids Loxley on her path of revenge. He owns a bar, The Hound's Tail, in the darkest depths of the city. The other mythological character is Kate Baggs, otherwise known as the Bell Witch, operating out of Nashville. I like to think that tons of American mythological creatures exist in this setting, from the wendigo to Sasquatch, all hiding just out of sight of the cities.

TQWhat inspired you to write Every Mountain Made Low? What appeals to you about writing Fantasy?

Alex :  My son has autism, and like any father, I wanted to research his condition and make his life easier. The more I learned about him, the more I discovered about myself, my anxieties and habitual behaviors. Like so many parents, I came to believe in the social model of disability--that our civilization creates disabilities through its failure to empathize and provide for people. Meanwhile, I became angrier and angrier with portrayals of autism in the media. I hated the savantism and blank character reduction so commonplace in television and books. I was sick of seeing them reduced to calculators. Autistic characters should be people, not plot devices.

Meanwhile, I had this idea for a book set in the mythical American South. It wasn't really taking shape. I knew I wanted to have a character based around the brown recluse, a highly-poisonous spider native to my area, but I didn't want it to be the "seductress spider" cliche that everyone runs with. I wanted to write a timid character who could be dangerous in unpredictable ways when cornered, but otherwise just wanted to live life alone. When that character became autistic, everything clicked into place, from the overarching narrative to the cutthroat setting.

I included fantastical elements because I can't help it. I love a big, sprawling setting with supernatural elements. To date, every book I've written has had ghosts or magic or ancient curses. It's just the way I do business.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for Every Mountain Made Low?

Alex :  I wouldn't ever tackle a book like this without a significant amount of life experience. I focused on reading biographies by autistic people like THE REASON I JUMP, IDO IN AUTISMLAND, CARLY'S VOICE and Temple Grandin's THINKING IN PICTURES. I wanted to hear from people who were actually autistic and weave their experiences into my own. Anything less would be an incredible disservice to a thriving and diverse community of great individuals.

TQIn Every Mountain Made Low who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Alex :  The easiest character to write is Duke Wallace, the theocrat at the center of the conspiracy. Duke is a hyper-conservative evangelical Christian, and we have quite a few of those around here. I grew up in the church, and I was surrounded by some of the abusive beliefs Duke brings to bear on those around him. He thinks he's doing the right thing, but he gets there by not respecting peoples individuality and wishes. He's patronizing and self-aggrandizing, and I find writing him cathartic.

My main character, Loxley, is the hardest to write. I care about her so much, and I want to be respectful of the people with whom she shares her daily struggles. She's a constant balancing act. She has a difficult existence, being surrounded by such an uncaring society, but she isn't there to be pitied. She has trouble perceiving our fragile social nuances, but she's whip-smart and highly capable. People take advantage of her flaws, but she's not a fool. And I can't simply make her an angel. She grew up as part of a racist society, and some of her mother's prejudice has rubbed off on her.

TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in Every Mountain Made Low?

Alex :  This isn't exactly a light read. The town where Loxley lives, the Hole, is an unchecked capitalist paradise. There's no such thing as antitrust, and a single large corporation, the Consortium, owns most of the land in the southeast. They own the roads, utilities and farms. They make most of the food and pharmaceuticals. They supply life itself, and the residents of the Hole are socially-stratified and poverty-stricken. The world is a manifestation of the wealth gap.

I set it in a near-dystopian city because I worry every day about what would happen to my son without me. I hope that people would step in and help him have a happy life, but the conservative politicians where I live defund every social program they can find. Special education often gets cut first, leading to disheartened teachers and disenfranchised students. I believe that, with the moralization of wealth, we create a destructive, uncaring society that actively harms those at the fringes. People with autism face the pervasive bigotry of neurotypical society, and I worked hard to include those constant micro-aggressions.

My story also contains a stream of "well-meaning" men who abuse their influence over others: policemen, employers, executives, landowners. Sometimes these men are subtle, sometimes not. In my town, you can't throw a rock without hitting patriarchal crap, so part of this book is me throwing rocks.

TQWhich question about Every Mountain Made Low do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Alex :  "The word 'autism' never appears in the novel. Why not?"

Thanks. Great question. :-D

Loxley lives in a world that doesn't care about her. There is no such thing as an autism diagnosis for her, since people either learn to survive, or they starve to death in the streets. America has a terrible set of mental health policies, and so it's no surprise that a large percentage of our homeless folks are walking around with un-diagnosed mental health issues. The Hole is America on its worst day.

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Every Mountain Made Low.

Alex :

Jayla had her stand up, then helped her replace her smudged jacket. She slipped the mask over Loxley’s face, completing the stranger in the mirror. The violinist on the other side of the glass was beautiful and confident. Mysterious. Strong. A little wild. Her dull hair poked out around the mask at odd angles; she hadn’t tamed it after her bath.

Jayla seemed to notice the unkempt hair at the same time. She stroked it once. “We’ve still got a lot of work to do.”

“I like my hair like this.”

“I could make it even better.”

Loxley shook her head, along with the violinist across from her. She thrilled to see this side of herself, and her voice came out easily and clearly. “No. This is perfect. This is the real me.”


“Over time, Vern taught me that some things were right, and some things were wrong. ‘Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.’ I was a flexible man, soft of character and will. I became a hard man, forged by the hand of God, and he made me inflexible."

TQWhat's next?

Alex :  Nothing I can share yet, but good things are always on the horizon!

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Alex :  Thanks for having me!

Every Mountain Made Low
Solaris, October 25, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 416 pages

Loxley Fiddleback can see the dead, but the problem is... the dead can see her.

Ghosts have always been cruel to Loxley Fiddleback - but none more than the spirit of her only friend, alive only hours earlier. Loxley isn’t equipped to solve a murder: she lives near the bottom of a cutthroat, strip-mined metropolis known as “The Hole,” suffers from crippling anxiety and can't cope with strangers. Worse still, she’s haunted.

She inherited her ability to see spirits from the women of her family, but the dead see her, too. Ghosts are drawn to her, and their lightest touch leaves her with painful wounds.

Loxley swears to take blood for blood and find her friend’s killer. In doing so, she uncovers a conspiracy that rises all the way to the top of The Hole. As her enemies grow wise to her existence, she becomes the quarry, hunted by a brutal enforcer named Hiram McClintock. In sore need of confederates, Loxley must descend into the strangest depths of the city in order to have the revenge she seeks and, ultimately, her own salvation.

About Alex

Alex White was born and raised in the American south. He takes photos, writes music and spends hours on YouTube watching other people blacksmith. He values challenging and subversive writing, but he'll settle for a good time.

In the shadow of rockets in Huntsville, Alabama, Alex lives and works as an experience designer with his wife, son, two dogs and a cat named Grim. He takes his whiskey neat and his espresso black.

Every Mountain Made Low is his debut novel.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @alexrwhite

2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Burning Isle by Will Panzo

The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2016 Debut Author Challenge.

Will Panzo

The Burning Isle
Ace, November 1, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages

A powerful and gripping debut grimdark fantasy novel, set in a world of criminals, pirates, assassins, and magic…

“A man has only three reasons for being anywhere: to right a wrong, to earn a coin, or because he is lost.”

Cassius is not lost…

The mage Cassius has just arrived on the island of Scipio. Five miles of slum on the edge of fifty miles of jungle, Scipio is a lawless haven for criminals, pirates, and exiles. The city is split in two, each half ruled by a corrupt feudal lord. Both of them answer to a mysterious general who lives deep in the jungle with his army, but they still constantly battle for power. If a man knows how to turn their discord to his advantage, he might also turn a profit…

But trained on the Isle of Twelve, Cassius is no ordinary spellcaster, and his goal is not simply money. This is a treacherous island where the native gods are restless and anything can happen…

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 21

This is the twenty-first 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

Robert Levy (2015)

The Glittering World
Gallery Books, January 3, 2017
Trade Paperback, 352 pages
Hardcover and eBook, February 10, 2015

In the tradition of Neil Gaiman (The Ocean at the End of the Lane), Scott Smith (The Ruins), and Jason Mott (The Returned), award-winning playwright Robert Levy spins a dark tale of alienation and belonging, the familiar and the surreal, family secrets and the search for truth in his debut supernatural thriller.


It’s a long way from the grit of New York City to the stark beauty of Nova Scotia, and many years separate Blue Whitley’s only two journeys between them. One occurred at age five, when his mother stole him away from the hinterlands of Canada. Now, twenty-five years later, he’s returning to sell a house left to him by a grandmother he barely remembers. Envisioning the trip as a week of countryside leisure, Blue is accompanied by his best friend Elisa, her stalwart husband Jeremy, and Gabe, his young and admiring co-worker. Starling Cove, however, is not your typical vacation spot. Blue senses secrets withheld. Strange whispers on the wind welcome him home, and at first he finds himself staring transfixed into the woods. Then he feels them gazing back. After a shocking discovery—that Blue went missing in these forests for weeks as a child—life as he knows it begins to fall apart. And when another abduction strikes, the truth about Starling Cove begins to emerge.

Told from all four characters' points of view, through lush, evocative prose Robert Levy conjures a fascinating, sinister landscape. A unique blend of taut psychological thriller and supernatural suspense, The Glittering World is a stunning debut novel about belonging and betrayal, the mysteries of the natural world and the secrets buried deep within the human heart.

Ken Liu (2015)

The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories
Saga Press, October 4, 2016
Trade Paperback, 464 pages
Hardcover and eBook, March 8, 2016

Bestselling author Ken Liu selects his multiple award-winning stories for a groundbreaking collection—including a brand-new piece exclusive to this volume.

With his debut novel, The Grace of Kings, taking the literary world by storm, Ken Liu now shares his finest short fiction in The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories. This mesmerizing collection features many of Ken’s award-winning and award-finalist stories, including: “The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary” (Finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, and Theodore Sturgeon Awards), “Mono No Aware” (Hugo Award winner), “The Waves” (Nebula Award finalist), “The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species” (Nebula and Sturgeon Award finalists), “All the Flavors” (Nebula Award finalist), “The Litigation Master and the Monkey King” (Nebula Award finalist), and the most awarded story in the genre’s history, “The Paper Menagerie” (The only story to win the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards).

Insightful and stunning stories that plumb the struggle against history and betrayal of relationships in pivotal moments, this collection showcases one of our greatest and original voices.

The Wall of Storms
The Dandelion Dynasty 2
Saga Press, October 4, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 880 pages

In the much-anticipated sequel to the “magnificent fantasy epic” (NPR) Grace of Kings, Emperor Kuni Garu is faced with the invasion of an invincible army in his kingdom and must quickly find a way to defeat the intruders.

Kuni Garu, now known as Emperor Ragin, runs the archipelago kingdom of Dara, but struggles to maintain progress while serving the demands of the people and his vision. Then an unexpected invading force from the Lyucu empire in the far distant west comes to the shores of Dara—and chaos results.

But Emperor Kuni cannot go and lead his kingdom against the threat himself with his recently healed empire fraying at the seams, so he sends the only people he trusts to be Dara’s savvy and cunning hopes against the invincible invaders: his children, now grown and ready to make their mark on history.

Invisible Planets: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation
Ken Liu, Editor and Translator
Tor Books, November 1, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 384 pages

Award-winning translator and author Ken Liu presents a collection of short speculative fiction from China. Some stories have won awards (including Hao Jingfang’s Hugo-winning novella, Folding Beijing); some have been included in various 'Year's Best' anthologies; some have been well reviewed by critics and readers; and some are simply Ken's personal favorites. Many of the authors collected here (with the obvious exception of New York Times bestseller Liu Cixin’s two stories) belong to the younger generation of 'rising stars'. In addition, three essays at the end of the book explore Chinese science fiction. Liu Cixin's essay, The Worst of All Possible Universes and The Best of All Possible Earths, gives a historical overview of SF in China and situates his own rise to prominence as the premier Chinese author within that context. Chen Qiufan's The Torn Generation gives the view of a younger generation of authors trying to come to terms with the tumultuous transformations around them. Finally, Xia Jia, who holds the first Ph.D. issued for the study of Chinese SF, asks What Makes Chinese Science Fiction Chinese?

Michael Livingston (2015)

The Shards of Heaven
The Shards of Heaven 1
Tor Books, October 25, 2016
Trade Paperback, 416 pages
Hardcover and eBook, October 26, 2015

Julius Caesar is dead, assassinated on the senate floor, and the glory that is Rome has been torn in two. Octavian, Caesar's ambitious great-nephew and adopted son, vies with Marc Antony and Cleopatra for control of Caesar's legacy. As civil war rages from Rome to Alexandria, and vast armies and navies battle for supremacy, a secret conflict may shape the course of history.

Juba, Numidian prince and adopted brother of Octavian, has embarked on a ruthless quest for the Shards of Heaven, lost treasures said to possess the very power of the gods-or the one God. Driven by vengeance, Juba has already attained the fabled Trident of Poseidon, which may also be the staff once wielded by Moses. Now he will stop at nothing to obtain the other Shards, even if it means burning the entire world to the ground.

Caught up in these cataclysmic events, and the hunt for the Shards, are a pair of exiled Roman legionnaires, a Greek librarian of uncertain loyalties, assassins, spies, slaves . . . and the ten-year-old daughter of Cleopatra herself.

Michael Livingston's The Shards of Heaven reveals the hidden magic behind the history we know, and commences a war greater than any mere mortal battle.

The Gates of Hell
The Shards of Heaven 2
Tor Books, November 15, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 384 pages

Alexandria has fallen, and with it the great kingdom of Egypt. Cleopatra is dead. Her children are paraded through the streets in chains wrought of their mother's golden treasures, and within a year all but one of them will be dead. Only her young daughter, Cleopatra Selene, survives to continue her quest for vengeance against Rome and its emperor, Augustus Caesar.

To show his strength, Augustus Caesar will go to war against the Cantabrians in northern Spain, and it isn't long before he calls on Juba of Numidia, his adopted half-brother and the man whom Selene has been made to marry -- but whom she has grown to love. The young couple journey to the Cantabrian frontier, where they learn that Caesar wants Juba so he can use the Trident of Poseidon to destroy his enemies. Perfidy and treachery abound. Juba's love of Selene will cost him dearly in the epic fight, and the choices made may change the very fabric of the known world.

The Gates of Hell is the follow up to Michael Livingston’s amazing Shards of Heaven, a historical fantasy that reveals the hidden magic behind the history we know, and commences a war greater than any mere mortal battle.

Todd Lockwood (2016)

The Summer Dragon
Evertide 1
DAW, July 4, 2017
Trade Paperback, 512 pages
Hardcover and eBook, May 3, 2016

[cover not yet revealed]
The debut novel from the acclaimed illustrator–a high fantasy adventure featuring dragons and deadly politics.

Maia and her family raise dragons for the political war machine. As she comes of age, she hopes for a dragon of her own to add to the stable of breeding parents. But the war goes badly, and the needs of the Dragonry dash her hopes. Her peaceful life is shattered when the Summer Dragon—one of the rare and mythical High Dragons—makes an appearance in her quiet valley. The Summer Dragon is an omen of change, but no one knows for certain what kind of change he augurs. Political factions vie to control the implied message, each to further their own agendas.

And so Maia is swept into an adventure that pits her against the deathless Horrors—thralls of the enemy—and a faceless creature drawn from her fears. In her fight to preserve everything she knows and loves, she uncovers secrets that challenge her understanding of her world and of herself.

Shawntelle Madison (2012)

Surrender to You
An At Your Service Novel 2
Loveswept, July 12, 2016
eBook, 200 pages

In this seductive novel from the author of Bound to You, two career-oriented friends with benefits discover that good morning doesn’t have to mean goodbye.

Late-night booty calls are the most romantic gesture that Carlie Jason expects from business magnate Tomas Goodfellow. Ever since they were teenagers, they’ve provided each other the kind of no-strings pleasures that don’t involve regrets. Now Carlie finds it easier to kiss and run rather than face the fact that she wants so much more. But when she takes a job as a concierge at one of Tomas’s properties, a hotel where the rich and famous get their kink on, Carlie’s tempted to reconsider the rules of surrender.

As the head of an international empire, Tomas knows how to bring out the best in his employees. Putting Carlie in charge of managing the desires of his wealthiest clients was a stroke of genius—only now that she’s close enough to touch, he finds he doesn’t want to let her go. Their long, dark history has built up intimacy in ways he’s only just beginning to understand, but Tomas isn’t ready to trust her just yet. He knows his feelings are more than skin-deep. But first he needs to convince Carlie of one thing: the ties that bind go straight to the heart.