Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Interview with Craig Comer

Please welcome Craig Comer to The Qwillery. The Laird of Duncairn was published on May 2nd by City Owl Press.

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

Craig:  Hello! In retrospect, I’ve always been writing. As a kid, I used to create stories and try to plot out longer works. I drew maps and dreamed up other worlds. At one point, I had a binder full of characters and story ideas. But I never tried to do anything professional until after college. I wrote a story. It got published online, and it clicked that I wanted to write and publish more. It was kind of a headshaking epiphany because I’d been creating stories for so long, I just hadn’t realized it.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Craig:  More of a plotter, but I’m definitely trying out different techniques. I think that’s important at the start—to try different approaches to writing in order to hone in on your author’s voice. My first novel is pantsed, and it’s sitting on a shelf collecting dust. Its structure doesn’t work at all. For The Laird of Duncairn, I focused on plotting what the big power players would do so that I could see how Effie’s actions impacted them. She’s a small fish in a big sea, so I needed to know everyone’s end-game first, then set her loose among them.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Craig:  A common one, I think—finding the time to do it. I sit at a computer for my day job, so wanting to spend more hours of the day fixed at a keyboard isn’t always appealing. But the stories keep coming, and I have to write them down somewhere!

TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Craig:  I love to travel. We did a ton of road trips as a kid, and I was always reading or staring out the window taking in everything. I travel with my wife now, and we love to cook up stories for the places we’re visiting. The people around us probably think we’re a bit looney, hearing our discussions—types of poisons, why a non-existent mill burned down, why someone’s lover needs to be a bit older. You know, common conversation topics while sitting in a café or hiking a trail.

TQDescribe The Laird of Duncairn in 140 characters or less.

Craig:  An orphaned fey rallies those who revile her against an auld enemy as the battle over the FEY MATTER ravages the Highlands.

TQTell us something about The Laird of Duncairn that is not found in the book description.

Craig:  Though the book is only loosely historical—the setting is very much my imagining of Victorian Scotland rather than to-the-button accurate—I do have a few historical figures making appearances. And I left them as Easter eggs rather than letting them call attention to themselves. I thought it more fun that way, and it doesn’t alter the story in any way if you don’t catch them.

TQWhat inspired you to write The Laird of Duncairn? Why did you set the novel in Scotland?

Craig:  Like all my great ideas, it started with my wife. I’d written several fantasy short stories in imagined worlds, and she suggested I try writing in a place I knew well. I’d studied history in Scotland and lived there for a year, and fleshing out that setting came at a time when I’d thought of the Effie character. The two blended, and the tale started there. It was fun plopping her into the same pubs and castles I frequented while as a student, only set a hundred years earlier.

TQThe Laird of Duncairn is described as a gaslamp fantasy. What is a 'gaslamp fantasy'?

Craig:  To paraphrase Leanna Renee Hieber, author of the Eterna Files, gaslamp uses the same 19th century aesthetic as steampunk but uses fantasy elements in place of science fiction. It has ghosts, fairies, and magic systems rather than clockwork devices, gadgets, and mad scientists.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Laird of Duncairn?

Craig:  Beyond brushing up on Scottish history, I really focused on researching a mythology that wasn’t just a retelling of the Irish fairy courts. Scottish mythology is a hybrid of the Celtic and the Norse, and I found the tales from the Orkney and Shetland islands fascinating and fresh. So I used those where I could and plan to use more in the future.

TQIn The Laird of Duncairn who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Craig:  Edmond Glover, because he’s a buffoon. Everyone else has a lot more substance; Glover is blindly driven by his own obsessions. I hope that doesn’t say too much about me. :) The hardest was Effie because of the need to balance her personal growth with her need to serve the story.

TQWhich question about The Laird of Duncairn do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

CraigHow many dresses does Effie ruin during the book? The answer is just 4, I think, but it might feel like more. Her curiosity gets her into a lot mischief, and those dresses weren’t exactly designed for crawling through caves or crashing through trees!

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Laird of Duncairn.


“The fey will do anything to protect their substance. Unfortunately, the queen has more men and more bullets.”

Effie smiled, but her tone held sorrow in it. “I spent my childhood hunted by the queen’s minions, casting about for a home and a family. To be called a romantic is to admit I am part of a dying race.”

TQWhat's next?

Craig:  I’ve finished the rough draft of book II of the Fey Matter series and am about to start editing and revising it. I hope to have it out by the start of next year, and then a third book shortly after that. I’ve also started plotting out a contemporary mystery series set in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. I want it to have the feel of The Dresden Files meets Midsomer Murders.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Craig:  Thank you for hosting me! These were fun questions!

The Laird of Duncairn
A Fey Matter Novel 1
City Owl Press, May 2, 2017
    Trade Paperback, 344 pages
City Owl Press, May 16, 2017
    eBook,3 44 pages

The year is 1882 Scotland, and the auld alliance betwixt king and fey has long been forgotten. Men of science, backed by barons of industry, push the boundaries of technology. When Sir Walter Conrad discovers a new energy source, one that could topple nations and revolutionize society, the race to dominate its ownership begins. But the excavation and use of this energy source will have dire consequences for both humans and fey. For an ancient enemy stirs, awakened by Sir Walter’s discovery.

Outcast half-fey Effie of Glen Coe is the Empire’s only hope at averting the oncoming disaster. Effie finds herself embroiled in the conflict, investigating the eldritch evil spreading throughout the Highlands. As she struggles against the greed of mighty lords and to escape the clutches of the queen’s minions, her comfortable world is shattered. Racing to thwart the growing menace, she realizes the only thing that can save them all is a truce no one wants.

About Craig

Craig Comer is the author of the gaslamp fantasy novel THE LAIRD OF DUNCAIRN and co-author of the mosaic fantasy novel THE ROADS TO BALDAIRN MOTTE. His shorter works have appeared in several anthologies, including BARDIC TALES AND SAGE ADVICE and PULP EMPIRE VOLUME IV. Craig earned a Master’s Degree in Writing from the University of Southern California. He enjoys tramping across countries in his spare time, preferably those strewn with pubs and castles.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @CraigComer

ONIRIM Expansion Available on iOS and Android: The Glyphs

First Onirim Expansion Now Available on iOS and Android: The Glyphs

Asmodee Digital and Z-Man Games Release Update for Digital Adaptation of Award-Winning Solitaire Game

PARIS - May 26, 2017 - Asmodee Digital today announced the first major update for Onirim on iOS and Android - The Glyphs. The expansion is free to download for any player who connects to a new or existing Asmodee Digital account.

The Glyphs expansion adds four additional doors, one of each color, to the base game, but also new cards of each color with the Glyph symbol. These Glyphs not only count as another unique symbol to use in sequence (since players can’t play identical symbols in a row), they also add a unique ability: when discarding a Glyph, the player triggers an Incantation allowing them to reveal the next five cards of the deck. If at least one door is revealed, the player can put one (of any color) immediately into play.

This update also addresses minor bug fixes on the Prophecy and the Nightmares. Another update is coming soon with even new expansions and new features.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Star Trek: Bridge Crew Available Now from Ubisoft

Ready Your Crew and Prepare for Warp in Star Trek™: Bridge Crew, Available Now

Step Aboard a Federation Starship in a New Virtual Reality Game from Ubisoft® to Boldly Go Where No One Has Gone Before

SAN FRANCISCO--May 30, 2017 (BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, Ubisoft® announced that Star Trek™: Bridge Crew, the virtual reality game where players explore space as a member of Starfleet, is now available for Oculus Rift, PlayStation®VR and HTC Vive. Developed by Red Storm Entertainment, a Ubisoft studio, under license by CBS Consumer Products, Star Trek: Bridge Crew is playable cross-platform.

Star Trek: Bridge Crew immerses fans into the Star Trek universe as they assume the role of a Starfleet officer and complete missions that will determine the fate of their ship and crew. Playable cooperatively online with a crew, or solo as Captain, Star Trek: Bridge Crew puts players and their friends directly onto the bridge of a new starship, the U.S.S. Aegis, as they are dispatched to explore an uncharted sector of space.

Interview with Isabelle Steiger, author of The Empire's Ghost

Please welcome Isabelle Steiger to The Qwillery as part of the 2017 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Empire's Ghost was published on May 16th by Thomas Dunne Books.

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

Isabelle:  I’ve wanted to write stories since I was five, so the writing itself was something of a foregone conclusion after that. I started actually writing, as opposed to simply daydreaming, when I was about eight, largely because I’d been given a really awesome notebook as a present. It was very big, and had lots of intriguing zippers and pockets.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Isabelle:  Definitely a hybrid. I describe my method as a game of connect the dots. In the beginning, before I actually write anything, I sort out in my mind that I want to start at point A and end at point Z, and that in between those two points I need to have points B, C, D and so on (where each point is either an essential plot event or a crucial bit of character development/interaction). I prefer to err on the side of having fewer of these points—I just limit them to those story beats I absolutely must have, no compromises. Then, when I start writing, the pantsing begins: I jump right into it, but now I only have to bushwhack my way from A to B, and then from B to C, rather than trying to make it all the way from A to Z with no preparation.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Isabelle:  Outlining! In fact, I cannot do it, which is a large part of how I arrived at the method in the previous question. If I made myself complete a detailed outline before I started writing a book, I’d still be working on that outline at this very moment.

TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Isabelle:  No doubt every story I’ve read or seen has influenced me in some way. History. Philosophy, political or not. Feelings I’ve wanted to capture or communicate. Seeing tropes I dislike repeated over and over again and wanting to prove there’s a different way to go. Moral conundrums I struggle with.

TQDescribe The Empire's Ghost in 140 characters or less.

Isabelle:  What is the world going to be like, and who gets to decide?

TQTell us something about The Empire's Ghost that is not found in the book description.

Isabelle:  When he read the official description, my dad was very disappointed that it contained absolutely no mention of his favorite character, Seren Almasy. In an attempt to partially make up for that, I will tell you that Seren Almasy hates lying, objects to the term assassin, and is always carrying at least one more knife than you think she is.

TQWhat inspired you to write The Empire's Ghost? What appeals to you about writing Epic Fantasy?

Isabelle:  Since I was very young, I’ve enjoyed making up worlds for my stories, with their own rules and histories. Epic fantasy lets you zoom in and out by turns: you can create a whole world, dream up all the ways its culture and politics shape the people who live there, and then you can turn it around and write about how this one individual will change the shape of the world.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Empire's Ghost?

Isabelle:  Because I didn’t want the world of the novel to emulate any specific historical period exactly, my research was less was use of x thing widespread in y time period? and more is widespread use of x thing possible, given y environmental and technological constraints? This research ranged from essential details (I studied a wide variety of swords in order to decide which ones were in use in my world, how common/rare they were, etc.) to more trivial ones (a careful reader will note that my royals use drinking glasses made out of actual glass, a detail chosen after my research on the subject). For an early scene in the novel’s sequel, I had to delve into the history of towels.

TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Empire's Ghost.

Isabelle:  Gorgeous, isn’t it? It was designed by Young Jin Lim, and I’m afraid I contributed very little in the way of assistance—some suggestions about the coloring, and that’s about it. Since I’m wary of spoilers, I’ll just say that the character it depicts is a key to one of the central mysteries of the series.

TQIn The Empire's Ghost who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Isabelle:  Seth was the easiest, by a long shot. I understood his voice immediately, and slipping into it was like a hand into a glove, every time. The hardest was probably Seren, whose depth and intensity of feeling are at odds with her ability to express or even admit to those feelings. I got stuck in the middle of many a scene, wondering, “How do I convey this more clearly while staying true to what the inside of this character’s head is like?”

TQWhich question about The Empire's Ghost do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Isabelle:  “Since you have so many point of view characters, have you included any unreliable narrators?”

In any given scene, you can always trust that I’m presenting you with the POV character’s thoughts, feelings, and perceptions as they consciously understand them. So if you ever get an untruth in that area, it’ll be because the character is lying to themselves or refusing to accept something. Beyond that, a character’s deductions and opinions may be more or less reliable depending on the information available to them and their own particular biases. Gravis, for example, is a character with some very strong biases, and as a result his perspective is much less reliable on some subjects than on others. It’s been really fun for me to see which characters readers seem to trust most, especially in situations where two or more characters see the same person or issue very differently. I’d certainly never want you to assume that any character’s conclusions are always correct, no matter how perceptive they may seem to be.

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Empire's Ghost.

Isabelle:  Another fun thing about using multiple POV characters is the chance to play around with a variety of voices and tones. I wanted to remind readers whenever possible that no part of the novel is truly “neutral”—everything you read is filtered through a specific and deliberate perspective. To demonstrate, here are the first paragraphs of the first scenes of two very different POV characters:

The snow was falling thick throughout Araveil, and for just a moment Shinsei let himself imagine that it was snowing everywhere, that the world was fully blanketed in white, stifled into perfect stillness. It would be beautiful, he thought—quiet and peaceful, untouched by grossness and irregularity. He would walk through the streets, and the falling snowflakes would erase his footsteps behind him, like a slow, bittersweet forgetting. That was what memory should always be like.


Roger talked a good game about adventure, once he was tucked into a barstool, a tankard of ale in front of him. But Roger wasn’t here now, to see how the pristine wilds of his tales were choked with blood-colored nettles and infuriatingly vibrant weeds, how pathless forests were more of an annoyance than a wonder when you actually had somewhere to go. Deinol stumbled onto a rosebush—no flowers, all thorns, naturally—and swore, longing for nothing so much as a return to the grimy back alleys he knew so well.

TQWhat's next?

Isabelle:  Finishing the sequel!

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Isabelle:  Thank you for having me. These were good questions.

The Empire's Ghost
Thomas Dunne Books, May 16, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 432 pages

Isabelle Steiger has crafted a powerful and masterful debut with The Empire's Ghost, the first book in a haunting new epic fantasy series.

The empire of Elesthene once spanned a continent, but its rise heralded the death of magic. It tore itself apart from within, leaving behind a patchwork of kingdoms struggling to rebuild. But when a new dictator, the ambitious and enigmatic Imperator Elgar, seizes power in the old capital and seeks to recreate the lost empire anew, the other kingdoms have little hope of stopping him. Prince Kelken of Reglay finds himself at odds with his father at his country’s darkest hour; the marquise of Esthrades is unmatched in politics and strategy, but she sits at a staggering military disadvantage. And Issamira, the most powerful of the free countries, has shut itself off from the conflict, thrown into confusion by the disappearance of its crown prince and the ensuing struggle for succession.

Everything seems aligned in Elgar’s favor, but when he presses a band of insignificant but skilled alley-dwellers into his service for a mission of greatest secrecy, they find an unexpected opportunity to alter the balance of power in the war. Through their actions and those of the remaining royals, they may uncover not just a way to defeat Elgar, but also a deeper truth about their world’s lost history.

About Isabelle

Photo by Jonathan Grassi
ISABELLE STEIGER was born in the city and grew up in the woods. She received her first notebook when she was eight, and she’s been filling them up ever since. She lives in New York, though her erstwhile companion, a very moody gray cat, has since retired and moved to Florida. The Empire’s Ghost is her first novel.


Children of a Dead Earth - New Novel and New Covers

Children of the Divide, the 3rd novel in the Children of a Dead Earth series by Patrick S. Tomlinson, will be be published by Angry Robot in August 2017. Angry Robot has redone the covers for the series in celebration of the upcoming 3rd novel. I love the new covers by Lee Gibbons which means I'll have to buy the first 2 in the series again.

The Ark
Children of a Dead Earth 1
Angry Robot, November 3, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

A murder mystery set on a generation ship months from reaching Humanity’s new home.

Humankind has escaped a dying Earth and set out to find a new home among the stars aboard an immense generation spaceship, affectionately named the Ark. Bryan Benson is the Ark’s greatest living sports hero, enjoying retirement working as a detective in Avalon, his home module. The hours are good, the work is easy, and the perks can’t be beat.

But when a crew member goes missing, Benson is thrust into the centre of an ever-expanding web of deception, secrets, and violence that overturns everything he knows about living on the Ark and threatens everyone aboard. As the last remnants of humanity hurtle towards their salvation, Benson finds himself in a desperate race to unravel the conspiracy before a madman turns mankind’s home into its tomb.

File UnderScience Fiction [ Last Gun in the Universe / We’re Not Alone / Poison and Nukes / Race to the End ]

Trident's Forge
Children of a Dead Earth 2
Angry Robot, April 5, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 448 pages

New planet. New life. Same old S#*@.

Against all odds, the Ark and her thirty-thousand survivors have reached Tau Ceti G to begin the long, arduous task of rebuilding human civilization. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Tau Ceti G’s natives, the G’tel, are coming to grips with the sudden appearance of what many believe are their long-lost Gods.

But first contact between humans and g’tel goes catastrophically wrong, visiting death on both sides. Rumors swirl that the massacre was no accident. The Ark’s greatest hero, Bryan Benson, takes on the mystery.

Partnered with native ‘truth-digger’ Kexx, against both of their better judgment, Benson is thrust into the heart of an alien culture with no idea how to tell who wants to worship him from who wants him dead.

Together, Benson and Kexx will have to find enough common ground and trust to uncover a plot that threatens to plunge both of their peoples into an apocalyptic war that neither side can afford to fight.

File Under: Science Fiction [ First Contact | Last Massacre | Truth and Lies | Welcome to Our Planet ]

Children of the Divide
Children of a Dead Earth 3
Angry Robot, August 1, 2017
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 432 pages

No matter how far humanity comes, it can’t escape its own worst impulses, in this far-future science fiction thriller from the author of The Ark.

A new generation comes of age eighteen years after humanity arrived on the colony planet Gaia. Now threats from both within and outside their Trident threaten everything they’ve built.

The discovery of an alien installation inside Gaia’s moon, terrorist attacks and the kidnap of a man’s daughter stretch the community to breaking point, but only two men stand a chance of solving all three mysteries before the makeshift planetary government shuts everything down.

File Under: Science Fiction

Tokyo RPG Factory Announces LOST SPHEAR

Tokyo RPG Factory has announced Lost Sphear for Nintendo Switch, PC, and PlayStation®4 coming in 2018.


Restore the World’s Memories Early 2018

LOS ANGELES (May 30, 2017) – Tokyo RPG Factory, the SQUARE ENIX® studio dedicated to creating games that blend Japanese role-playing games with the latest technology for a new generation of gamers, has announced their all-new title, LOST SPHEAR (read as “Lost Sphere”). The title is set to arrive on the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, Nintendo Switch™ console, and STEAM® in early 2018 for $49.99.

The adventure of LOST SPHEAR begins in a remote town where a young boy, Kanata, awakens from a devastating dream to find his hometown disappearing. To stop the world from being lost forever, Kanata and his comrades set out to rebuild the world around them with the power of Memory by manifesting thoughts into matter.

Monday, May 29, 2017

2017 Longlist for the Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic

The Sunburst Award Committee has announced the 2017 longlist for the Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic.

Below are the works longlisted by the jury, with links to their publishers, books and stories (where possible).

The Sunburst Award official shortlist will be announced in late June. Sunburst Award winners will be announced in Fall 2017.

The jurors for the 2017 award are Nancy Baker, Michel Basilières, Rebecca Bradley, Dominick Grace, and Sean Moreland.

The Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic is an annual award celebrating the best in Canadian fantastika published during the previous calendar year. Winners receive a medallion that incorporates the Sunburst logo. Winners of both the Adult and Young Adult Sunburst Award also receive a cash prize of $1,000, while winners of the Short Story Sunburst Award receive a cash prize of $500.

The Sunburst Award takes its name from the debut novel of the late Phyllis Gotlieb, one of the first published authors of contemporary Canadian speculative fiction. Past winners of the Sunburst Award include Ruth Ozeki, Guy Gavriel Kay, Cory Doctorow, Nalo Hopkinson, Charles de Lint, Thomas King, and last year’s winner Gemma Files.

For additional information about the Sunburst Award, the nominees, juries, as well as previous awards, eligibility, and the selection process, please visit the official website at

Guest Blog by Victoria Thompson and Review and Giveaway of Murder in the Bowery

Please welcome Victoria Thompson to The Qwillery. Murder in the Bowery, the 19th Gaslight Mystery, was published on May 2nd by Berkley.

Newsboy Makes the News
          Newsboys were everywhere in turn of the century New York City. More than a dozen newspapers covered the City’s happenings, and ragged children—mostly boys but a few girls, too—stood on street corners morning and night in all weathers to sell them for a penny or two. Most of these children were homeless orphans or had simply been abandoned by families unable to care for them any longer, so their home was on the street.
          Eventually, charities stepped in to help these children by opening Newsboys’ Lodging Houses. In these houses, the “Newsies”, as they were called, could find a hot meal and a bed for the night for a nickel each, although the boys preferred to “carry the banner,” which was their slang for sleeping on the street. The Newsies didn’t care for charity, and they certainly didn’t appreciate being cheated, so when two of the biggest newspapers raised the price of the papers for the boys without raising the customer’s price, they went on strike. Could a bunch of rag-tag children beat Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst at their own game?
          That’s only one question Private Investigator Frank Malloy and his new bride, Sarah Brandt, must answer in Murder in the Bowery when the search for a missing newsboy leads them to the innocent debutant, a ruthless gangster, and a Bowery “guide” who takes rich men on “slumming” tours of the neighborhood. But none of these people is who or what they seem, and Frank and Sarah have to find the truth before a killer strikes again.

Murder in the Bowery
Series:  A Gaslight Mystery 19
Publisher:  Berkley, May 2, 2017
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages
List Price:  US$26.00 (print); US$12.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9781101987117 (print); 9781101987124 (eBook)

The latest Gaslight Mystery from the bestselling author of Murder in Morningside Heights finds Sarah Brandt and Frank Malloy searching for a connection between a murdered newsie and a high society woman with dangerous habits.

Frank Malloy’s latest client is the well-dressed Will Bert. He’s searching for his brother, a newsboy named Freddie, so he can share his new financial good fortune. Frank makes quick work of the case and locates Freddie, but a happy reunion between brothers is not in the cards.

When Will’s name is mentioned, Freddie runs off—only to be found dead a short time later. Suspicious, Frank tracks down Will who spins a tale of lust and deceit involving a young society woman, Estelle Longacre, also recently deceased.  Frank can’t be sure if Estelle’s risky behavior and the company she kept was to blame, or if her own ruthless family had a hand in her death.

Frank will need Sarah’s help to unearth the dark secrets of the wealthy Longacres and to discover if there is a connection between Estelle and Freddie’s death. Together they must navigate a perilous underground web of treachery to find the truth.

Jennifer's Review

The latest installment in the long running historical Gaslight Mystery series by Victoria Thompson is entitled Murder in the Bowery. This time we see former society debutante turned midwife, Sarah Brandt Malloy, and her private detective husband, Frank Malloy, return to the seedier side of turn-of-the-century New York in search of a clever killer.

Sarah and Frank are the perfect fictional couple. She is a strong willed yet loving woman and he is a tough former police detective who has a compassionate heart. Since Frank unexpectedly inherited a fortune, left the police force, and finally felt able to marry Sarah, he has opened a detective agency and now takes any client that intrigues him, regardless of they ability to pay him a fee. Sarah and Frank's live in newly renovated home with their children, Frank's deaf son Brian from his first marriage and Sarah's ward Catherine, Maeve, the children's cheeky nursemaid who grew up on the streets, and Malloy's stoic Irish mother. Gino Donatelli, also a former police officer, is a frequent visitor as he is now Frank's assistant and has strong feelings for the sweet but hardened Maeve.

The mystery unfolds as Frank is getting used to having a new private inquiry service and Sarah is busy searching for a property in the slums of New York to turn into a free maternity home. Frank is tasked to find a young newsboy named Freddie “Two-Toes” Bert during the strike that pits the newsies against the rich and powerful newspaper owners by his brother, Will Bert, a handsome and smartly dressed young man. Frank and Gino quickly locate Freddie, who instantly runs off at the mention of Will's name and is later found murdered in an alley. Frank vows to locate the murderer, feeling that he may have led the killer to the poor boy. He discovers that the recent murder of the young Estelle Longacre, a beautiful society girl also found dead in the Bowery, where she had no reason to be, is inextricably linked to Freddie's death.

During the course of the investigation we are introduced to various characters closely linked to the victims, both those in the slums and those in society. In the Bowery we meet Raven and Kid Blink. Raven is a young newsie who was close to Freddie, and Kid Blink is the clever and hard leader of the newsboy strike who looks after the newsies like an older brother, and Black Jack Robinson, a frightening and powerful Bowery gangster who knew both of the victims. On the society side we meet Estelle's extended and dysfunctional family. Estelle's father, Horace Longacre is a miserable tyrant who also happens to be on his death bed and exhibits little tender feelings for his family. Penelope Longacre is Estelle's surly spinster aunt who's only concern is for her ward, Norman Tufts, a hapless young man whom Penelope hoped Estelle would soon marry. The only servants in their household are Marie and Tom, a married couple who serve as maid and man-of-all-work, who prove to be integral to solving the mystery.

As with all of the Gaslight Mysteries, Murder in the Bowery moves seamlessly from the murder plot to the behind the scenes lives of both the main characters and those who are entangled in the murder. The author has such a knack for strong characterization that both the well-loved main characters and the new ones fueling the current mystery practically jump off the page with their realness. Thompson is able to keep the story fresh and interesting and fans of this long running series will not be disappointed with this new installment.

About Victoria

Photo by Monica Z
About the author Edgar® and Agatha Nominated author Victoria Thompson writes the Gaslight Mystery Series, set in turn-of-the-century New York City and featuring midwife Sarah Brandt. Her latest, Murder in the Bowery, is a May 2017 release from Berkley Prime Crime. She also contributed to the award winning writing textbook Many Genres/One Craft. Victoria teaches in the Seton Hill University master’s program in writing popular fiction. She lives in Illinois with her husband and a very spoiled little dog. Find out more at Follow her on Facebook at Victoria.Thompson.Author and on Twitter @gaslightvt.

The Giveaway

What:  One entrant will win a copy of Murder in the Bowery by Victoria Thompson from the publisher. US ONLY

  • Send an email to theqwillery . contests @ [remove the spaces]
  • In the subject line, enter “Bowery“ with or without the quote marks.
  • In the body of the email, please provide your name and full mailing address. The winning address is used only to mail the novel and is provided to the publisher and/or The Qwillery only for that purpose. All other address information will be deleted once the giveaway ends.
Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a US mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59PM US Eastern Time on June 7, 2017. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter

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

The 2017 Aurora Awards Ballot

The 2017 Aurora Awards Ballot has been announced by the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association.

From the CSFFA FAQ:
What are the awards? 
The Aurora Awards are kind of like the Peoples Choice awards for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror, except just for Canadians.  There are twelve categories, some of them for literary works, and some of them for amateur or what we call Fan works.  All Canadians may nominate or vote for the awards.  Each year’s awards are for original works or activites done by Canadians in the previous calendar year.

2017 Aurora Award Ballot 

This ballot is for works done in 2016 by Canadians. The Aurora Awards are nominated by members of the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association. The top five nominated works were selected. Additional works were included where there was a tie for fifth place.

Best Novel
  • Children of Earth and Sky by Guy Gavriel Kay, Viking Canada
  • Company Town by Madeline Ashby, Tor Books
  • The Courier by Gerald Brandt, DAW Books
  • The Nature of a Pirate by A.M. Dellamonica, Tor Books
  • Quantum Night by Robert J. Sawyer, Penguin Canada
  • Stars like Cold Fire by Brent Nichols, Bundoran Press

Best Young Adult Novel
  • Day of the Demon by Randy McCharles, CreateSpace
  • Door into Faerie by Edward Willett, Coteau Books
  • Heir to the Sky by Amanda Sun, Harlequin Teen
  • Icarus Down by James Bow, Scholastic Canada
  • Mik Murdoch: Crisis of Conscience by Michell Plested, Evil Alter Ego Press The Wizard Killer - Season One by Adam Dreece, ADZO Publishing

Best Short Fiction
  • Age of Miracles by Robert Runté, Strangers Among Us: Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts, Laksa Media
  • Frog Song by Erika Holt, Strangers Among Us: Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts, Laksa Media
  • Living in Oz by Bev Geddes, Strangers Among Us: Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts, Laksa Media
  • Marion's War by Hayden Trenholm, Strangers Among Us: Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts, Laksa Media
  • Seasons of Glass and Iron by Amal el-Mohtar, The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales, Saga Press When Phakack Came to Steal Papa, A Ti-Jean Story by Ace Jordyn, On Spec Magazine

Best Poem/Song
No award will be given out in this category in 2017 due to insufficient eligible nominees

Best Graphic Novel
  • Angel Catbird, Volume One by Margaret Atwood, Johnnie Christmas and Tamra Bonvillian, Dark Horse Books Crash and Burn by Kate Larking and Finn Lucullan, Astres Press
  • Earthsong by Crystal Yates, Webcomic
  • It Never Rains by Kari Maaren, Webcomic
  • Weregeek by Alina Pete, Webcomic

Best Related Work
  • Clockwork Canada: Steampunk Fiction edited by Dominik Parisien, Exile Editions
  • Enigma Front: Burnt, managing editor Celeste A. Peters, Analemma Books
  • Lazarus Risen edited by Hayden Trenholm and Mike Rimar, Bundoran Press
  • Strangers Among Us: Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts edited by Susan Forest and Lucas K. Law, Laksa Media
  • Superhero Universe (Tesseracts Nineteen) edited by Claude Lalumière and Mark Shainblum, EDGE

Best Visual Presentation
  • Arrival, director, Denis Villeneuve, Paramount Pictures
  • Orphan Black, Season 4, John Fawcett and Graeme Manson, Temple Street Productions
  • Killjoys, Season 2, Michelle Lovretta, Temple Street Productions
  • Dark Matter, Season 2, Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie, Prodigy Pictures
  • Murdoch Mysteries, Season 9, Peter Mitchell and Christina Jennings, Shaftesbury Films

Best Artist
  • Samantha M. Beiko, cover to Strangers Among Us: Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts
  • James Beveridge, covers and poster art
  • Melissa Mary Duncan, body of work
  • Erik Mohr, covers for ChiZine Publications and Company Town for Tor Books Dan O'Driscoll, covers for Bundoran Press

Best Fan Writing and Publications
  • Amazing Stories Magazine, weekly column, Steve Fahnestalk
  • BCSFAzine #512 to #519, edited by Felicity Walker
  • The Nerd is the Word, articles by Dylan McEvoy
  • OBIR Magazine #4, edited by R. Graeme Cameron
  • Silver Stag Entertainment, edited by S.M. Carrière
  • Speculating Canada edited by Derek Newman-Stille

Best Fan Organizational
  • Samantha Beiko and Chadwick Ginther, co-chairs, Chiaroscuro Reading Series: Winnipeg
  • R. Graeme Cameron, chair, VCON 41, Surrey, BC
  • Sandra Kasturi and Angela Keeley, co-chairs, 2016 Toronto SpecFic Colloquium
  • Derek Künsken and Marie Bilodeau, executive, Can*Con 2016, Ottawa
  • Randy McCharles, chair, When Words Collide, Calgary
  • Matt Moore, Marie Bilodeau, and Nicole Lavigne, co-chairs, Chiaroscuro Reading Series: Ottawa Sandra Wickham, chair, Creative Ink Festival, Burnaby, BC

Best Fan Related Work
  • Ron S. Friedman, Villains and Conflicts presentation, When Words Collide, Calgary Comic Expo, and File 770
  • Kari Maaren, Concert, SFContario
  • Derek Newman-Stille, Speculating, Canada on Trent Radio 92.7 FM

Best of the Decade
This is a special category for this year’s awards for works published between January 2001 and December 2010. Note: Items in italics are for multi-volume works. Multi-volume stories were considered if they began prior to 2001 but ended before or close to 2011. We defined a multi-volume story as one with a continuous narrative. Finalists were chosen by an eight-person jury from across Canada. The winner will be chosen by our membership’s votes.

  • Blind Lake by Robert Charles Wilson, Tor Books
  • The Blue Ant Trilogy by William Gibson, Berkley
  • Malazan Book of the Fallen, Steven Erikson, Tor Books
  • The Neanderthal Parallax, Robert J. Sawyer, Tor Books
  • The Onion Girl, Charles de Lint, Tor Books
  • Under Heaven, Guy Gavriel Kay, Viking Canada

The View From Monday - May 29, 2017

Happy last Monday in May!

There is one debut this week:

The Bones of the Past by Craig A. Munro.

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

From formerly featured DAC Authors:

Injection Burn (Dire Earth Cycle) by Jason M. Hough;

False Hearts by Laura Lam is out in Trade Paperback;

Arabella of Mars (The Adventures of Arabella Ashby 1) by David D. Levine in out in Mass Market Paperback (Arabella of Mars just won a Nebula Award - the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy.);

Escapology by Ren Warom is out in Mass Market Paperback;


Invasive by Chuck Wendig is out in Mass Market Paperback. (Like ants? You might not after reading Invasive. Scared of ants? Then this is the stuff of nightmares.).

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.

May 29, 2017
Gena Showalter Atlantis Series Complete Collection: Heart of the Dragon\Jewel of Atlantis\The Nymph King\The Vampire's Bride\The Amazon's Curse (e) Gena Showalter PNR - Atlantis

May 30, 2017
Lost Lake (tp2mm) Sarah Addison Allen CW/MR
White Hot Ilona Andrews PNR - Hidden Legacy 2
Cherished (e) Christina Bauer DF - Beholder 3
Lightning in the Blood Marie Brennan F - Varekai 2
Ghosts of War (tp2mm) Bennett R. Coles SF - Virtues of War 2
Protected Lauren Dane PNR - Diablo Lake 2
Burn For Me Cynthia Eden PNR - Phoenix Fire 1
Shadow Reaper Christine Feehan PNR - Shadow Riders 2
The Damned Trilogy: A Call to Arms, The False Mirror, and The Spoils of War (e) Alan Dean Foster SF/GenEng
The Traveler (h2mm) David L. Golemon SF - Event Group Thrillers 11
Dying Breath Heather Graham PNR - Krewe of Hunters 21
Blaze: A Dragon Romance Donna Grant PNR - Dark Kings 11
Blaze: Volume 4: A Dragon Romance (e) Donna Grant PNR - Dark Kings
Feedback (h2mm) Mira Grant SF/AP/PA - Newsflesh 4
Injection Burn Jason M. Hough SF - The Dire Earth Cycle 4
The Wheel of Time Companion: The People, Places, and History of the Bestselling Series (h2tp) Robert Jordan
Harriet McDougal
Alan Romanczuk
Maria Simons
LC/SF/F - Wheel of Time
Skeleton Crew: Stories (tp2mm) Stephen King Sus
The Hidden Icon Jillian Kuhlmann F - Book of Icons 1
The Dread Goddess Jillian Kuhlmann F - Book of Icons 2
False Hearts (h2tp) Laura Lam SF/Th/GenEng
Arabella of Mars (h2mm) David D. Levine AH/HistF/F - The Adventures of Arabella Ashby 1
The White Road Sarah Lotz Th
Nymphs Sari Luhtanen
Miikko Oikkonen
The Dinosaur Knights (h2mm) Victor Milán F - The Dinosaur Lords 2
The Bones of the Past (D) Craig A. Munro F/DF
Supernatural: The Usual Sacrifices (e) Yvonne Navarro DF/P - Supernatural
Desperate Fire Christopher G. Nuttall SF - Angel in the Whirlwind 4
1636: The Chronicles of Dr. Gribbleflotz (tp2mm) Kerryn Offord
Rick Boatright
AH - Ring of Fire 21
Mormama Kit Reed P/Sup/Gothic
Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis (h2tp) Anne Rice Occ/Sup/Th - Vampire Chronicles 12
Black Tide Rising (h2mm) John Ringo
Gary Poole
SF/AP/PA - Black Tide Rising 5
Lily and the Octopus (h2tp) Steven Rowley LF
Extinction Horizon Nicholas Sansbury Smith SF/AP/PA - The Extinction Cycle 1
The High Ground (tp2mm) Melinda Snodgrass SF - Imperials Saga 1
Dark Moon Rising (ri) James M. Thompson H
Fallout: The Hot War (h2mm) Harry Turtledove AH/SF - The Hot War 2
Spectacle Rachel Vincent LF/CF - The Menagerie Series 2
Only the Dead Know Brooklyn Chris Vola H/SupTh
Hearts and Minds Dayton Ward SF - Star Trek: The Next Generation
Escapology (tp2mm) Ren Warom SF/CyP
Invasive (h2mm) Chuck Wendig TechTh

May 31, 2017
Beyond the Gates of Antares: Open Signal Brandon Rospond (Ed) SF - Beyond Antares
The Dispatcher John Scalzi SF

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

AH - Alternate History
AP - Apocalyptic
CB - Coloring Book
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CM - Cozy Mystery
CulH - Cultural Heritage
CyP - Cyberpunk
CW - Contemporary Women
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tales
FolkT - Folk Tales
FR - Fantasy Romance
GenEng - Genetic Engineering
H - Horror
HC - History and Criticism
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HistM - Historical Mystery
HistTh - Historical Thriller
LC - Literary Criticism
LF - Literary Fiction
LM - Legends and Mythology
M - Mystery
MR - Magical Realism
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PCM - Paranormal Cozy Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
PopCul - Popular Culture
Psy - Psychological
SF - Science Fiction
SFR - Science Fiction Romance
SP - Steampunk
Sup - Supernatural
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Sus - Suspense
TechTh - Technological Thriller
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
UF - Urban Fantasy
VisMeta - Visionary and Metaphysical

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

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Melanie's Week in Review - May 28, 2017

Happy bank holiday to me! This is the second bank holiday of May here in the UK and despite rain this morning today was gloriously sunny and warm. I managed not to get too burned while I was watching the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on my iPad outside. Sorry! I wasn't reading and this is part of the reason why I only have 1 book to tell you about this week *gasp*. I am not sure why I only managed to read only 1 book but I have completed a thorough search of all my e-Reader apps and nothing else is popping out saying 'review me, review me!'. So here you go.

Around the time I was having my love affair with the Clovenhoof series I was offered an advance copy of Disenchanted by Heide Goody and Iain Grant. I loved each and every Clovenhoof book I read and I was thrilled to be offered the opportunity (directly from the author) to read a new book from the hilarious writing duo of Goody and Grant.

Ella Hannaford thought she was leading a fairly normal life, had a good job, lived with her Dad and about to suffer the indignity of going to her future mother in law's hen party. Life seemed pretty normal until 7 foul mouthed dwarfs kidnap her from the hen party and drag her to an alternative fairy tale reality. The big bad wolf is the least of Ella's worries when she discovers that her very own fairy godmother is willing to do anything to give her a happily ever after!

I loved every page of every book of the Clovenhoof series and there was lots of lolling and rolfing on public transport. I was expecting to do something similar with Disenchanted but unfortunately, I am one of the very few who didn't find it that funny. I really wanted to find it funny and while I found bits and pieces a bit of a laugh, overall I only found it mildly amusing. I did however, find the concept unique and the authors are very creative. The pace of the story is perfect and I never knew what was going to happen next. If you are looking forward to a light-hearted story, don't mind quite a bit of swearing and like a good fairy tale then give it a read but if you are a big fan and expecting another Clovenhoof then this is your warning that it isn't as funny as that series.

That is it for me this week. Sorry it is so short. You won't hear from me next week (and maybe the week after) as I am off on holiday so see you in a couple of weeks. Happy Reading!

Pigeon Park Press, February 12, 2017
     Trade Paperback, 288 pages
Pigeon Park Press, May 5, 2017
     Kindle eBook

Ella Hannaford has a small business to run, an overworked father to look after and a future stepmother who wants a perfect wedding.

Can she avoid a girly night out with her clueless stepsister? Can she side-step lovesick suitors at every turn? Not if it’s up to that team of foul-mouthed dwarfs who want to forcibly drag her into her happily ever after.

Gingerbread cottages, dodgy European gangsters, gun-toting grannies, wisecracking wolves, stubborn fairy godmothers, ogres, beanstalks and flying carpets abound in a tale about what happens when you refuse to accept your Happy Ending.