Monday, June 30, 2014

Guest Blog by Kevin Lucia: The Inter-connectivity of Being and Clifton Heights, NY - June 30, 2014

Please welcome Kevin Lucia to The Qwillery. Devourer of Souls, two novellas set in the world of Clifton Heights, NY, is out today from Ragnarok Publications. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Kevin a Happy Publication Day!

The Inter-connectivity of Being and Clifton Heights, NY

Seven years ago, I struck upon what I believed at the time was a marvelously unique idea (in that naive way new writers have when unaware how scarce unique ideas really are). After a bloated novel (in which I'd foolishly tried to re-write Stephen King's IT) fell apart, I found nearly a dozen vignettes about supporting characters left over in the ruins. I thought to myself: How cool would it be to craft them into short stories about people living in the same, weird small town? They could interconnect and weave together, telling a larger story, with all these cool Easter Eggs that would build with each story!

Because no one's ever done that before.

Like H. P. Lovecraft. Or Sherwood Anderson. James Joyce. Ray Bradbury. Charles Grant. Stephen King, Gary Brubeck and many more...

However, even after I discovered these writers and their universes, the idea still resonated with me. That has a lot to do with the way I view the world. It may sound corny, but LIFE to me is one big story, made up of an infinite number of smaller stories that interconnect in often the smallest, most trivial of ways.

See, I'm a curious guy. I'm always wondering about people and their stories. When I visit the grocery store, the zoo, the playground or beach with my kids, church, or during the school day when teaching, I wonder: What stories are being told in these people's lives? What demons are they fighting, what dreams are they pursuing, what nightmares haunt them when they close their eyes at night? How have they failed and succeed, who have they won or lost? Likewise, whenever I finish a short story or novella, I always wonder: What about that gas station attendant, cashier, police officer, student, farmer...what's their story? And how does it relate to my other characters?

Also, because I believe there's A REASON for everything, that nothing in this life is meaningless, that everything happens because it's supposed to, I'm inclined to write interconnected stories because I believe there's a BIGGER, hidden story going on around us all the time.

November 2013, seven years after the concept first crossed my mind, Crystal Lake Publishing released my first short story collection and introduction to my little haunted town, Clifton Heights, NY, located in the Adirondacks. Things Slip Through features 11 short stories, all occurring within Clifton Heights (except one), connected by a framing narrative, ALA Dandelion Wine, The Martian Chronicles, Gary Braunbeck's Cedar Hill and Charles Grant's Oxrun Station stories.

Three short stories I've sold since then occur within that world, as well as my upcoming double-novella collection Devourer of Souls, due June 30th from Ragnarok Publications. Some time after that, Ragnarok will re-release in ebook a previously published Clifton Heights novella, Drowning, and I'm currently in the finishing stages of a Clifton Heights serial novella for The Midnight Diner, tentatively titled Suffer the Children Come Unto Me.

Will I always write only Clifton Heights stories? Who knows? Right now, to me, the possibilities seem endless. Think for a moment how many people live in your town. Think of their occupations, their backgrounds, character types, their varied hopes and dreams and fears. Now think of them living in the same town, bonded through not only their shared experience, but also a curious and melancholy self-isolation. How many stories hide there, waiting to be told?

And who else besides me is going to tell them?

Devourer of Souls
Ragnarok Publications, June 30, 2014
Trade Paperback, 232 pages
eBook forthcoming

Welcome to Clifton Heights, an average Adirondack town. It's nice enough, really. Except after dark. Or on cold winter days when you're all alone...

An ancient game of chance and Fate. One boy's smoldering hate, another boy's need to make things right, and a father's ghosts of Vietnam past. These are the key players in this latest tale of revenge and reparation performed on the stage of the strange Adirondack town of Clifton Heights, NY.

The Man in Yellow.
Tahawus is a small, isolated Adirondack town just north of Clifton Heights. A quiet place filled with simple people of an ardent faith, nothing much ever happens there...until the man in yellow comes calling. He knows your worst nightmares, and he can offer your fondest wish. All you need is faith...and a mouth from which to scream.

About Kevin

Kevin Lucia recently served as a Submissions Reader for Cemetery Dance Magazine, and his podcast "Horror 101" is featured monthly on Tales to Terrify. His short fiction has appeared in several anthologies.

He’s currently finishing his Creative Writing Masters Degree at Binghamton University, he teaches high school English and lives in Castle Creek, New York with his wife and children.

He is the author of Hiram Grange & The Chosen One, Book Four of The Hiram Grange Chronicles. His first short story collection, Things Slip Through was published November 2013. He’s currently working on his first novel.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @kevinlucia

The View From Monday - June 30, 2014

Happy Last Monday in June! Hope that everyone is enjoying summer and will have some time to read! I recently finished The Quick by Lauren Owen. This was a much hyped book that, in my opinion, did not live up to the hype. It's really good though. I also finished Deadly Curiosities by Gail Z. Martin. This is a really enjoyable Urban Fantasy and the first novel in the series after 10 shorts. More about both these in longer reviews.

For Andre Norton fans: many of her books are being published (or republished) in eBook format with 35 volumes out tomorrow. You can find them at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Kobo, etc.

There are 3 debuts this week:

The String Diaries by Stephen Lloyd Jones;

Blood for the Sun by Errick A. Nunnally;


Premonitions by Jamie Schultz.

And from formerly featured Debut Author Challenge Authors:

Awakened (Belladonna Agency 2) by Virna DePaul;

William Shakespeare's The Jedi Doth Return (Williams Shakespear's Star Wars Trilogy 3) by Ian Doescher;

Exile (Books of the Seven Eyes 1) by Betsy Dornbusch is out in Trade Paperback;

Vampire Trouble (Dead in the City 2) by Sara Humphreys;

No Return (Jeroun 1) by Zachary Jernigan is out in Trade Paperback;


Wolfsbane (Rebel Angels 3) by Gillian Philip.

June 30, 2014
Marked by Midnight Lara Adrian PNR - Midnight Breed 11.5
The Adventure of the Ring of Stones James P. Blaylock SP/M
Born to Fear: Interviews with Thomas Ligotti Matt Cardin (ed) Interviews
Witchlight (e) Sonya Clark PNR - Magic Born 2
The Spectral Link Thomas Ligotti H - Stories

July 1, 2014
Bloodshifted Cassie Alexander UF - Edie Spence 5
The Omega Project (h2mm) Steve Alten Th/SF
Elisha Magus E.C. Ambrose F - Dark Apostle 2
Fireborn Keri Arthur UF - Souls of Fire 1
Valkyrie's Conquest (e) Sharon Ashwood PNR
Desolation Angels James Axler SF - Deathlands 117
Gaudeamus (h2mm) John Barnes SF/TT
The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All: Stories (h2tp) Laird Barron H - Collection
A Vision in Velvet Juliet Blackwell PCM - Witchcraft Mystery 6
New Earth (h2mm) Ben Bova SF - Grand Tour of the Universe
Mending The Shroud (Kindle e) JM Bray FR - Shroud Trilogy 2
Rebel Cheryl Brooks PNR - The Cat Star Chronicles 10
Lamplighter Kerry Donovan Brown F
Hurricane Fever Tobias S. Buckell TechnoTh
The Reaver Richard Lee Byers F - Forgotten Realms: The Sundering 4
Blood of the Lamb (h2mm) Sam Cabot Th
Heartless (ri) (mm2tp) Gail Carriger SP - Parasol Protectorate 4
Timeless (ri) (mm2tp) Gail Carriger SP - Parasol Protectorate 5
Some Enchanted Éclair Bailey Cates PCM - Magical Bakery Mystery 4
Saving Grace Devine Catherine Cavendish H
The Seat of Magic J. Kathleen Cheney F - Golden City 2
Monster Hunter Nemesis Larry Correia SF - Monster Hunter International 5
Reborn Kate Danley
Lisa Klink
Phoef Sutton
Lee Goldberg
William Rabkin
UF - A Dead Man Adventure 22
Artful: A Novel Peter David F/MU
Cold Hard Secret (e) Sierra Dean UF - Secret McQueen 7
Crucible: Star Wars (h2mm) Troy Denning SF - Star Wars
Awakened Virna DePaul PNR - Belladonna Agency 2
William Shakespeare's The Jedi Doth Return Ian Doescher SF/MU - Williams Shakespear's Star Wars Trilogy 3
Exile (h2tp) Betsy Dornbusch F - Books of the Seven Eyes 1
Cat in an Alien X-Ray Carole Nelson Douglas PM - Midnight Louie Mystery 22
Gilded Lily Delphine Dryden SPR - Steam and Seduction 3
Be Careful What You Witch For Dawn Eastman PCM - A Family Fortune Mystery 2
Fatal Consequences (e) JG Faherty H
Outlander (ri) Diana Gabaldon TTR - Outlander (Starz Tie-in Edition)
Earthshine (e) J. J. Gadd SF - Lunation 2
Night's End Yasmine Galenorn UF - Indigo Court 5
Enslaved By the Others Jess Haines UF - H&W Investigations 6
Awaken to Pleasure (e) Lauren Hawkeye PNR
Unwept Tracy Hickman
Laura Hickman
F - The Nightbirds 1
Synbio Leslie Alan Horvitz SF/Med/Th
Vampire Trouble Sara Humphreys PNR - Dead in the City 2
Growth Jeff Jacobson H
Castle of Sorrows Jonathan Janz H
No Return (h2tp) Zachary Jernigan F - Jeroun 1
The String Diaries (D) Stephen Lloyd Jones Th/M/H
Born of Fury Sherrilyn Kenyon PNR - League 6
The Vampire's Wolf (e) Jenna Kernan PNR
The Curiosity (h2tp) Stephen P. Kiernan SF/Th
The City Dean Koontz Sus
Leaving Ashwood Cynthia Kraack Dys - Ashwood Trilogy 3
The Rods and the Axe Tom Kratman SF - Carerra 6
The Fire Rose (ri) Mercedes Lackey F - Elemental Masters 1
Fatal Fortune Victoria Laurie PM - Psychic Eye Mystery 12
Magic for Beginners: Stories (ri) Kelly Link F - Collection
Behind the Curtain (e) Heather Long PNR - Soulgirls 5
Garden of Evil (h2tp) Graham Masterton M/H - Jim Rook Horror Novel 8
The Spirit is Willing Max McCoy PM - Ophelia Wylde Paranomal Mysteries 2
Lords of Mars (h2tp) Graham McNeill SF - Warhammer 40,000: Adeptus Mechanicus 3
Harlequin E Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy Box Set Volume 2: Reap & Redeem\The Masked Songbird\Protective Ink\Mine Tomorrow (e) Lisa Medley
Emmi Mears
Misty Simon
Jackie Braun
The Exiled William Meikle SuM
Friday Night Bites (tp2mm) Chloe Neill UF - Chicagoland Vampires 2
Blood for the Sun (D) Errick Nunnally UF
The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future Naomi Oreskes
Erik M. Conway
Shattering the Ley Joshua Palmatier F - Shattering the Ley 1
All Those Vanished Engines Paul Park SF/AH
Wolfsbane Gillian Philip F - Rebel Angel 3
The Templar Prophecy Mario Reading Th
Doctor Who: Tales of Trenzalore: The Eleventh Doctor's Last Stand Justin Richards
Mark Morris
George Mann
Paul Finch
SF - Doctor Who
Possession Kat Richardson UF - Greywalker 8
Chains of Darkness Caris Roane PNR - Men in Chains 2
From Fear to Eternity Michelle Rowen PM - Immortality Bites Mystery 3
How the White Trash Zombie Got Her Groove Back Diana Rowland UF - White Trash Zombie 4
Tower Lord Anthony Ryan F- Raven's Shadow 2
Premonitions (D) Jamie Schultz UF
Hell Hole Hunter Shea H
Hope Renewed S.M. Sterling
David Drake
SF - General 2 (Omnibus)
Alien Hunter (h2mm) Whitley Strieber SF/Th - Alien Hunter 1
The Rhesus Chart Charles Stross SF - Laundry Files 5
Three Tales from the Laundry Files: A Tor.Com Original (e) Charles Stross SF - Laundry Files
Simon451 Fall 2014 Preview Sampler: A Selection of Science Fiction and Fantasy Titles (Kindle e) Various SF/F - Sampler
The Heart of Fire Michael J. Ward F - DestinyQuest 2
The Shadow Throne Django Wexler F - Shadow Campaigns 2
The Thousand Names (h2mm) Django Wexler F - Shadow Campaigns 1
Crystal Venom Steve Wheeler SF - Fury of Aces 2
Ghosts of Time Steve White SF/TT - Jason Thanou Time Travel 4
Happy Hour In Hell (h2mm) Tad Williams UF - Bobby Dollar 2
The Resurrectionist (e) Sierra Woods PNR

July 2, 2014
The Devil in the Details: A Tor.Com Original (e) Debra Doyle
James D. Macdonald
F - Peter Crossman
A Short History of the Twentieth Century, or, When You Wish Upon a Star: A Tor.Com Original (e) Kathleen Ann Goonan SF

July 3, 2014
Impact (e) Adam Baker PA/Th - Outpost 4

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

AH - Alternate History
CC - Climate Change
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FR - Fantasy Romance
GW   - Global Warming
H - Horror
M - Mystery
MU - Mash Up
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PCM - Paranormal Cozy Mystery
PM - Paranormal Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
S - Science
SF - Science Fiction
SP - Steampunk
SPR - Steampunk Romance
Sus - Suspense
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
TTR - Time Travel Romance
UF - Urban Fantasy

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Melanie's Week in Review - June 29, 2014

Since my last post I have had the COOLEST experience EVER!!  It wasn't book related but I thought you might be interested anyway.  What did I do and what did I read afterwards?

Check me out! I flew in a Tiger Moth plane which was piloted by one of the Hubinator's friends. It was a lot of fun and we did loop de loops and barrel rolls. I didn't fly it but could have if I wanted to...or was crazy enough too. Unfortunately, we encountered some major train delays on our way to the air field so it gave me a chance to finish Parasite by Mira Grant. I enjoyed this first instalment of the Parasitology series maybe not as much as I loved the Newflesh series but I did like it. I thought the concept of having a big fat tape worm living inside you keeping you healthy was a good one. This series also features drug companies and health authorities as the ultimate bad guys with the ability to commit murder under the facade of improving society. I did guess what was going to happen but the journey that Grant took the characters on was engaging nonetheless. This is shaping up to be a great series and just needs a little more development of the lead character Sally and it will be close to being excellent.

I needed a bit of light entertainment after Parasite so I turned to my TBR and found a book I bought months ago and had never read - The Case of the Pitcher's Pendant by Tee Morris. This is the second and I believe final book of the Billibub Baddings series. I donated to Morris's Kickstarter campaign for a third book but unfortunately, it didn't meet the right level of funding and was withdrawn. In case you don't know Billi is a dwarf detective and I don't mean just a small man....he is an actual dwarf who ended up in our world during a battle and uses his 'otherworldly' skills to start his own detective agency. I will admit I don't really remember what year The Case of the Singing Sword  (the first book) is set but book 2 starts after the stock market crash in 1929 and Billi's finances take a plummet along with stock market. He finds that his livelihood relies on his acting abilities rather than his detecting skills but he jumps at the chance when offered a case that involves one of his favourite past times - baseball. The new team in town look too good to be true and Billi sniffs out not just trouble but black magic. Billi needs to hit the detective's version of a home run before anyone else dies.

I didn't think book 2 was quite as amusing at book 1 but it was still a good murder mystery. Billi is a great character who has learn to make the most of his new life and uses his diminutive size to his advantage. Al Capone, baseball and a dwarf with lots of moxy....The Case of the Pitchers Pendant has it all.

I am determined to tidy up by TBR and to looked for another book I have had for awhile. I came across He Said, Sidhe Said by Tanya Huff. Normally, I don't like short stories but when it comes to Tanya Huff I was willing to risk it. I really enjoyed this book especially the stories about the Brownies entitled Tuesday Evenings, Six Thirty to Seven - hilarious. Each story is prefaced with a paragraph or two from Huff explaining why she wrote the story and each one is very different. Even if you aren't a fan of short stories this book has a lot to offer.

I am ending my weekend by starting Digital Wolf by Jon Rosenberg and will tell you all about it next week. Until then Happy Reading.

2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - Free Agent by J. C. Nelson

The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2014 Debut Author Challenge.

J. C. Nelson

Free Agent
A Grimm Agency Novel 1
Ace, July 29, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 Pages

When it comes to crafting happily-ever-afters, the Agency is the best in the land of Kingdom. The Fairy Godfather Grimm can solve any problem—from eliminating imps to finding prince charming—as long as you can pay the price…

Working for Grimm isn’t Marissa Locks’s dream job. But when your parents trade you to a Fairy Godfather for a miracle, you don’t have many career options. To pay off her parents’ debt and earn her freedom, Marissa must do whatever Grimm asks, no matter what fairy-tale fiasco she’s called on to deal with.

Setting up a second-rate princess with a first-class prince is just another day at the office. But when the matchmaking goes wrong, Marissa and Grimm find themselves in a bigger magical muddle than ever before. Not only has the prince gone missing, but the Fae are gearing up to attack Kingdom, and a new Fairy Godmother is sniffing around Grimm’s turf, threatening Marissa with the one thing she can’t resist: her heart’s wishes.

Now Marissa will have to take on Fairies, Fae, dragons, and princesses to save the realm—or give up any hope of ever getting her happy ending…

Night's End by Yasmine Galenorn Blog Tour - Excerpt and More! - June 29, 2014

Night's End, the final novel in the Indigo Court series by Yasmine Galenorn, will be published on July 1, 2014. Today The Qwillery has an excerpt  of Night's End for you and a giveaway of Night Myst (Indigo Court 1) and a Tour-wide Grand Prize contest!

Night's End Excerpt:

As I glanced down at the ground, the blood channeled across the snow in a delicate wash of rose that spread over the blanket of white. Whether the blood belonged to Check, Fearless, or the Shadow Hunters, I didn’t know, but if I didn’t act, my guards would be dead. Or worse. Myst could offer worse fates than merely being killed by her people.

“Gale Force.” I whispered the words, but the slipstream caught them up and sent them spinning into the air, and they took the form of a vortex.

A breeze wakened, starting lightly, but as I focused it through my body, the gusts increased. They were strong beyond the winds of my Winter realm. They bled directly from the heart of the plane of Air, a boreal wind sweeping down to buoy me up, to fill me full with a delicious sense of power. I rose to my tiptoes, balancing precariously on the branch.

As I raised my arms, no longer needing the support of the tree trunk, the winds lifted me into the air and spun me aloft, carrying me at the helm of a bank of mist and whirling snow. A second whisper of “Gale Force,” and the winds roared into a storm, hurricane strength, only instead of driving rain along the front, in its fury it picked up the snow and used it as a weapon.

Sleet and snow pelted against the Shadow Hunters, blinding the Vampiric Fae as they struggled against the biting wind.

Night's End
Indigo Court 5
Berkley, July 1, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

Eons ago, vampires tried to turn the dark Fae in order to harness their magic, only to create a demonic enemy more powerful than they could have imagined. Now, in a final push, Myst returns with a vengeance to bring the Golden Wood forever under the rule of the Indigo Court.

Newly crowned Fae Queens Cicely and Rhiannon have embraced their destinies and claimed their thrones. But Myst is rising once more, and now, at the helm of her armies, she begins her final assault on the Golden Wood. As Fae, vampires, and magic-born alike fall under the tide of blood, Cicely and her friends must discover a way to destroy the spidery queen before they—and their people—face total annihilation.

Previously in the Indigo Court Series:

Night Myst
Indigo Court 1
Berkley, June 29, 2010
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

Eons ago, vampires tried to turn the Dark Fae in order to harness their magic, only to create a demonic enemy more powerful than they imagined. Now Myst, the Vampiric Fae Queen of the Indigo Court, has enough power to begin a long prophesied supernatural war. And Cicely Waters, a witch who can control the wind, may be the only one who can stop her-and save her beloved Fae prince from the Queen's enslavement.

Night Veil
Indigo Court 2
Berkley, July 5, 2011
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

Cicely Waters had always through she was simply one of the magic-born-a witch who can control the wind-but recently she discovered she's also one of the shifting Fae. Now she must perfect her gift. Because Cicely and her friends may have escaped from Myst and her Shadow Hunters, but Myst has managed to capture the Fae Prince who holds Cicely's heart.

Night Seeker
Indigo Court 3
Berkley, July 3, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

Eons ago, vampires tried to turn the dark Fae to harness their magic, only to create a demonic enemy more powerful than they could have imagined. Now, the Vampiric Fae are on the move, hunting anyone in their path. As the war with the vampires ratchets up, Myst, Queen of the Indigo Court, enshrouds New Forest in her chilling grasp.

Cicely Waters, owl shifter and Wind Witch, has rescued the Fae Prince Grieve at a great cost. Their reunion has lost them the allegiance of the Summer Queen--and the tolerance of the vampires. In desperation they turn to the Consortium for help. Now, to regain the good will of Lainule, they must dare to enter the heart of Myst's realm. But as Cicely and Grieve embark on their search for the heartstone of Summer, Winter is already wreaking her terrifying revenge.

Night Vision
Indigo Court 4
Berkley, July 2, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

Eons ago, vampires tried to turn the dark Fae in order to harness their magic, only to create a demonic enemy more powerful than they could have imagined. Now, even with Myst, the Queen of the Indigo Court, temporarily out of action, the new Queens of the Golden Wood find themselves facing incredible danger…

Destined to become the Fae Queens of Winter and Summer, Wind Witch Cicely and her cousin, Rhiannon, are eager to assume their roles and marry the loves of their lives. But while Myst hides in the shadows, seeking to regroup her forces, another danger is lurking closer. Renegade vampires Geoffrey and Leo manage to free the Blood Oracle and set him upon New Forest, Washington. Not satisfied with wreaking havoc on the town, Leo ups the ante by kidnapping Rhiannon. Now, Cicely must lead her forces in a bloody battle to save her cousin before everything they’ve worked for crumbles to dust.

About Yasmine

Yasmine Galenorn is the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today bestselling author of the Otherworld (Sisters of the Moon), the Indigo Court and the upcoming Fly By Night urban fantasy series. In the past, she also wrote two mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime (one under the pen name of India Ink) and eight nonfiction metaphysical books.

Yasmine is a caffeine junkie (iced, quad shot, almond milk sugar free no whip lattes), and describes her life as a blend of teacups and tattoos--the former in her china closet, the latter on her skin.

She is a shamanic witch, has been married to Samwise Galenorn since 1993, is the mother of four cats, and they reside in Kirkland WA.

Website  ~  Blog  ~  Twitter @YasmineGalenorn

Facebook Fan Page  ~  Goodreads  ~  Tumblr

The Giveaways

The Qwillery Giveaway

What:  One entrant will win a print copy of Night Myst (Indigo Court 1) by Yasmine Galenorn 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 11:59PM US Eastern Time on July 8, 2014. 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.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour-wide Grand Prize Contest

The prize basket includes a Kindle Paperwhite and other goodies. The tour-wide contest will begin on June 29th, and will run through the end of the day on July 7th. Winner will be chosen and notified via email on July 8th.

Enter Here To Win A Prize Basket From Yasmine Galenorn: Featuring A Kindle Paperwhite!

NIGHT’S END (Indigo Court 5) by Yasmine Galenorn Blog Tour: June 29th – July 5th

Sunday, June 29th

Monday, June 30th

Tuesday, July 1st

Wednesday, July 2nd

Thursday, July 3rd

Friday, July 4th

Saturday, July 5th

Saturday, June 28, 2014

2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - One Night in Sixes by Arianne 'Tex' Thompson

The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2014 Debut Author Challenge.

Arianne 'Tex' Thompson

One Night in Sixes
Children of the Drought One
Solaris, July 22, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 464 pages

The border town called Sixes is quiet in the heat of the day. Still, Appaloosa Elim has heard the stories about what wakes at sunset: gunslingers and shapeshifters and ancient animal gods whose human faces never outlast the daylight.

And the daylight is running out. Elim's so-called 'partner' - that lily-white lordling Sil Halfwick – has disappeared inside the old adobe walls, hell-bent on making a name for himself among Sixes' notorious black-market traders. Elim, whose worldly station is written in the bastard browns and whites of his cow-spotted face, doesn't dare show up home without him.

If he ever wants to go home again, he'd better find his missing partner fast. But if he's caught out after dark, Elim risks succumbing to the old and sinister truth in his own flesh - and discovering just how far he'll go to survive the night.

Review: William Shakespeare's Star Wars®, William Shakespeare's The Empire Striketh Back and William Shakespeare's The Jedi Doth Return by Ian Doescher

Trinitytwo’s Point of View

I am forgoing my usual short synopsis of the stories I review because in this case I think I am justified with assuming that most people already know a little something about the original Star Wars trilogy.

I’ve loved Star Wars since I saw the first film in 1977. Naturally, I jumped at the chance to review these books. However, I will admit to being a bit nervous about the “Shakespearean” component. Honestly, I admire the Bard and absolutely love Shakespearean theater, but given the choice it is not the first (or even second) book I would pull from a shelf to read. If you have similar fears, let me put them to rest: Ian Doescher’s triple combination of the beloved bard, George Lucas’ classic Star Wars saga, and a few of the author’s own secret ingredients creates one of the most enchanting and delightful series imaginable. This well-loved story written in Shakespearean style made the material fresh and exciting.

Pay special attention to the asides and soliloquies: they can be funny, poignant or sad but each gives a unique insight into character personality or motivations. I really love Doescher’s books the best when he shares our cherished character’s innermost thoughts. For instance, how does C-3PO really feel about R2-D2, or vice-versa? Haven’t we all wondered what Obi Wan was really thinking when he told Luke his father was killed by Darth Vader? Speaking of Vader, what are the thoughts behind that monstrous mask? Are Stormtroopers people with ideas and hopes, or just faceless soldiers? How did Luke and Leia feel when they found out they were siblings after their infamous kiss? Is the Emperor all bad?  Doescher’s narrative resolves these mysteries and more.

I also want to take a moment to gush about the illustrations in all three volumes, drawn by the talented Nicholas Delort. They help readers to visualize their favorite characters in frilly ruffs and doublets and are absolutely brilliant.

Forget the nunnery and get thee to a bookstore to pick up all three of these delightful tomes. Each one is a “must read,” so whether you are spending your summer in the sands (Tatooine), stuck at work (Death Star) or are on some exotic jungle adventure (Endor), you need to trust your instincts because there are no Jedi mind tricks here, only great reading!

William Shakespeare's Star Wars®
Series:  William Shakespeare's Star Wars Trilogy 1
Publisher:  Quirk Books, July 2, 2013
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 176 pages
Price:  $14.95 (print)
ISBN:  9781594746376 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher

Return once more to a galaxy far, far away with this sublime retelling of George Lucas’s epic Star Wars in the style of the immortal Bard of Avon. The saga of a wise (Jedi) knight and an evil (Sith) lord, of a beautiful princess held captive and a young hero coming of age, Star Wars abounds with all the valor and villainy of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. ’Tis a tale told by fretful droids, full of faithful Wookiees and fearstome stormtroopers, signifying...pretty much everything.

Reimagined in glorious iambic pentameter—and complete with twenty gorgeous Elizabethan illustrations--William Shakespeare’s Star Wars will astound and edify Rebels and Imperials alike. Zounds! This is the book you’re looking for.

William Shakespeare's The Empire Striketh Back
Series:  William Shakespeare's Star Wars Trilogy 2
Publisher:  Quirk Books, March 18, 2014
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 176 pages
Price:  $14.95 (print)
ISBN: 9781594747151 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher

The saga that began with the interstellar best seller William Shakespeare’s Star Wars continues with this merry reimagining of George Lucas's enduring classic The Empire Strikes Back.

Many a fortnight have passed since the destruction of the Death Star. Young Luke Skywalker and his friends have taken refuge on the ice planet of Hoth, where the evil Darth Vader has hatched a cold-blooded plan to capture them. Only with the help of a little green Jedi Master—and a swaggering rascal named Lando Calrissian—can our heroes escape the Empire's wrath. And only then will Lord Vader learn how sharper than a tauntaun's tooth it is to have a Jedi child.

What light through Yoda's window breaks? Methinks you'll find out in the pages of The Empire Striketh Back!

William Shakespeare's The Jedi Doth Return
Series:  William Shakespeare's Star Wars Trilogy 3
Publisher:  Quirk Books, July 1, 2014
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 176 pages
Price:  $14.95 (print)
ISBN:  9781594747137 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher

Hot on the heels of the New York Times best seller William Shakespeare’s Star Wars comes the next two installments of the original trilogy: William Shakespeare’s The Empire Striketh Back and William Shakespeare’s The Jed Doth Return. Return to the star-crossed galaxy far, far away as the brooding young hero, a power-mad emperor, and their jesting droids match wits, struggle for power, and soliloquize in elegant and impeccable iambic pentameter.

 Illustrated with beautiful black-and-white Elizabethan-style artwork, these two plays offer essential reading for all ages. Something Wookiee this way comes!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Guest Blog by Gail Z. Martin: Going from Short to Long - and Giveaway - June 27, 2014

Please welcome the Gail Z. Martin to The Qwillery. Gail's most recent novel is Deadly Curiosities, the first novel in the Deadly Curiosities world after 10 Deadly Curiosity Adventures.

Going from Short to Long
By Gail Z. Martin

Deadly Curiosities began as a short story. Now it’s a novel, soon to be a series. And I’ve been asked…is it hard to go from short to long?

I’d have to say, “No—at least, not when there are so many stories begging to be told.”

The first Deadly Curiosities story, “Steer a Pale Course” was set in the 1700s and I wrote it for the Rum and Runestones anthology. The prompt was pirate and magic, and it’s the first story in which the shop Trifles and Folly shows up, along with a younger Sorren who is working with a mortal partner who is the many-times great-relative of Cassidy Kincaide in the novel. Two more stories, “Among the Shoals Forever” for the Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women, and “The Low Road” for the Spells and Swashbucklers anthology, followed in that time period (so far.)

I wrote “Vanities” for the British Fantasy Society’s The Bitten Word anthology, which goes back to Sorren’s first work with the Alliance, when he was a newly turned vampire, back in 1565 Antwerp. “Wild Hunt” and “Dark Legacy” were written as stand-alone short stories in that time period (with more to come).

“Buttons” was the first Deadly Curiosities story that I wrote in modern-day Charleston, for Solaris Books’ award-winning Magic: Esoteric and Arcane anthology. They liked the story well enough to ask me to do the novel, and then a series. Since then, I’ve written two more modern-day Cassidy stories for anthologies: “Retribution” for Athena’s Daughters from Silence in the Library Publishing, and “The Restless Dead” for Realms of Imagination from Dark Oak Press, both of which come out later this year. There’s a free novella, “The Final Death” on, and two stand-alone short stories, “Coffin Box” and “Wicked Dreams”. (All the short stories except the two upcoming anthologies are available individually on Kindle/Kobo/Nook in ebook.)

So by the time I wrote Deadly Curiosities, the novel, I had already written close to 300 pages in that world, albeit in a couple of different time periods. Sorren, who is nearly 600 years old in Deadly Curiosities, is the common thread that binds the stories and times together. One reviewer mentioned that Deadly Curiosities didn’t read like a first book. In a very real way, it isn’t, exactly, because I’ve been inhabiting that mental space for several years now.

Of course, there are differences in how an author handles plot, character, pacing and all that good stuff between a 30 page short story and a 400 page book. But for me, that’s mostly a matter of scale.

I have so much fun walking through a museum or an historic home or an antique show and finding new objects that could be haunted or cursed for a new short story or in the next book. (OK, my idea of a fun day out is a little warped, but I’m a writer. Everything goes into the mental black box, goes around and around, and comes out through the fingertips.) In that sense, there are an unlimited number of stories to be told, because there are so many really cool items that would be perfect for causing mayhem.

Some tales can be told in just 30 or 40 pages. Others are complex enough that they require 400. When I write a novel, I’m able to bring in more elements, more characters, and have a more complicated path to the resolution. In a short story, the problem has to be limited enough in scope, and the solution direct enough that we can get to an ending fairly quickly. It’s fun to juggle writing both forms—keeps me on my toes!

I’ll be celebrating the launch of my new books the whole week of June 22-29 with more than 30 different guest blog posts, a Facebook launch party featuring prizes, guest authors and surprises, podcasts, three different excerpts, a Reddit give-away/AskMeAnything and a Goodreads party/give-away. Get all the details at, follow me on or on Twitter @GailZMartin!

And I’ll be signing Reign of Ash and Deadly Curiosities in major cities across the U.S. and in England, Wales and Scotland this summer—the full book tour schedule is on my website, so please stop by and say hello!

Deadly Curiosities
Deadly Curiosities 1
Solaris, June 24, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 464 pages

Welcome to Trifles & Folly, and antique and curio shop with a dark secret. Proprietor Cassidy Kincaide continues a family tradition begun in 1670 - acquiring and neutralizing dangerous supernatural items. It's the perfect job for Cassidy, whose psychic gift lets her touch an object and know its history.

Together with her business partner Soren, a 500-year-old vampire and former jewel thief, Cassidy makes it her business to get infernal objects off the market. When mundane antiques suddenly become magically malicious, it's time for Cassidy and Soren to get rid of these Deadly Curiosities before the bodies start piling up.

About Gail

Gail Z. Martin writes epic and urban fantasy, steampunk and short stories. She is the author of the Chronicles of the Necromancer series, the Fallen Kings Cycle series and the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga series of epic fantasy books, as well as the Deadly Curiosities urban fantasy world and coming in 2015, Iron and Blood, a Steampunk novel, co-written with Larry N. Martin. Gail is a frequently contributor to US and UK anthologies. She also writes two series of ebook short stories: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures and the Deadly Curiosities Adventures.

Find her at, on Twitter @GailZMartin, on, at blog and She leads monthly conversations on Goodreads and posts free excerpts of her work on Wattpad An original novella set in the Deadly Curiosities universe, The Final Death, is available free on Wattpad here:

The Giveaway

What:  Three entrants will win a Mass Market Paperback copy of Deadly Curiosities by Gail Z. Martin from Solaris Books.

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 mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59PM US Eastern Time on July 6, 2014. 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.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Stolen by Bishop O'Connell

The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2014 Debut Author Challenge.

Bishop O'Connell

The Stolen
An American Faerie Tale 1
Harper Voyager Impulse, July 22, 2014
     eBook, 336 pages
Harper Voyager Impulse, August 5, 2014
     Mass Market Paperback, 464 pages

Tonight, for the first time in over a century, a mortal child will be kidnapped by faeries.

When her daughter Fiona is snatched from her bed, Caitlin's entire world crumbles. Once certain that faeries were only a fantasy, Caitlin must now accept that these supernatural creatures do exist—and that they have traded in their ancient swords and horses for modern guns and sports cars. Hopelessly outmatched, she accepts help from a trio of unlikely heroes: Eddy, a psychiatrist and novice wizard; Brendan, an outcast Fian warrior; and Dante, a Magister of the fae's Rogue Court. Moving from the busy streets of Boston's suburbs to the shadowy land of Tír na nÓg, Caitlin and her allies will risk everything to save Fiona. But can this disparate quartet conquer their own inner demons and outwit the dark faeries before it's too late?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Interview with Carrie Patel, author of The Buried Life - June 26, 2014

Please welcome Carrie Patel to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Buried Life will be published on July 29, 2014 in eBook and in print in North America and on August 7th in print in the UK. Look for a Guest Blog by Carrie on July 31st.

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

Carrie:  I'd scribbled poetry in high school and college, but I was always drawn to longer fiction, particularly since that's what I spent most of my time reading. I probably wrote about half a dozen first pages at various points, but none of the concepts really stuck with me. It wasn't until a study trip to Argentina just before my junior year of college that I started thinking about a story that had enough character and plot momentum to keep me writing.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Carrie:  I am a creature of conflict and indecision, so I end up being a bit of both. However, even when I end up writing a progression of scenes in a more-or-less organic fashion, it only works when I have a pretty clear mental sketch of where it's all headed. With a project like The Buried Life (and its upcoming sequel), in which numerous characters and interests are set in motion, it's useful for me to have notes on the major players and their trajectories. It keeps my writing time focused, and it forces me to articulate motives and subplots that might otherwise get vague.

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

Carrie:  Worming my way into a character's head can be a huge challenge, but it's a worthwhile one because it makes such a difference in the quality and focus of the writing. Once I find my way there the first time, I can usually find my way back, but forging that initial trail can be a chore.

I like to write in a variety of locations--it really depends on how much time I have and whether I'm itching to get out of the apartment. As cliche as it may sound, I love a good coffee shop. Especially one that serves Vietnamese iced coffee. Getting out helps me set writing time aside as a specific and purposeful occasion, and the right amount of ambient chatter and activity can make a pleasant backdrop. As often as not, however, I end up writing at home, particularly in the evening.

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

Carrie:  I love China Miéville, and I definitely see him as a major influence for The Buried Life. Perdido Street Station was a brilliant novel that bundled complex characters, a thrilling plot, and a unique setting. His world comes alive with sweat, soot, and steam, and even though it has a Victorian flavor, it's a totally unique creation. The characters shape and are shaped by their world, which is rife with corruption and political complexity, but the politics don't overtake the story.

I also thought of Mark Frost's The List of Seven and the Agent Pendergast series from Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. They're fast-paced thrillers featuring eccentric detectives and dark, unusual mysteries. The gaslight-and-shadows atmosphere of The List of Seven was something I particularly remember enjoying.

TQ:  Describe The Buried Life in 140 characters or less.

Carrie:  Two inspectors chase a murderer, dodge politicians, and unearth a conspiracy in an underground city.

TQ:  Tell us something about The Buried Life that is not in the book description.

Carrie:  It features old grudges, fancy manners, and salmon canapés.

TQ:  What inspired you to write The Buried Life? Angry Robot describes the novel as Science Fantasy? What is Science Fantasy and why did you choose to write in that genre? Would you like to write in any other genres or sub-genres?

Carrie:  Visiting Argentina and the Recoleta Cemetary jump-started the process. From there, it was just a matter of teasing characters and a story out of a specific setting and atmosphere.

Science fantasy encompasses elements of both traditional science fiction and fantasy. In some cases, I think it also describes a work that falls through the cracks of both genres and doesn't land solidly on horror, New Weird, steampunk, or anything else.

It wasn't something I specifically set out to write--in fact, I was curious to see how Angry Robot would categorize The Buried Life--but it turned out to be a great fit. I tend to be a fairly omnivorous reader, and I enjoy writing across the spectrum of speculative fiction. My short story, "Here Be Monsters," is an alternate history with sea monsters, and I have another novel-in-progress that's near-future science fiction.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for The Buried Life?

Carrie:  The research was a mix of studying actual underground environments and researching random minutiae to flesh out the details of a technologically regressed setting: fabrics, firearms, modes of transportation, etc. I particularly remember reading about laundry methods of the 1800s to fill out an early scene with one of the protagonists. When you're inventing many of the details in a fictional world, having a few realistic reference points can add a layer of believability.

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

Carrie:  Roman Arnault was probably the easiest. He's not a perspective character, so I never had to get inside his head to write him--I generally wrote him from the vantage point of the two perspective characters, both of whom have strong (and opposing) reactions to him. In fact, most characters have a pretty strong reaction to him one way or the other, so they always have something colorful to say about him.

Inspector Liesl Malone, on the other hand, was pretty hard. She's deadpan, which can come across as bland, and she's a by-the-book badass, which can become a cliché. With a character like her, nuance is key. You have to show the brittleness that accompanies her rigidity, the sense of humor beneath her solemnity, and the hollowness that belies her sense of purpose.

My favorite character is definitely Roman. He's a troublemaker and a snarker, and he guarantees hijinks of some sort whenever he shows up. I think he's also the biggest puzzle for readers, and all of these aspects made him a ton of fun to write.

TQ:  Give us one of your favorite lines from The Buried Life.


"For whatever reason, a fugitive on the last leg of flight almost always made for the surface the way a wounded rabbit crawls to the bushes to die."

TQ:  What's next?

Carrie:  Right now, I'm working on Cities and Thrones! It explores the consequences and aftershocks of events in The Buried Life, both for the characters and for neighboring cities.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Carrie:  Thanks so much for having me! It's been a pleasure, and I'm looking forward to the rest of your debut author features.

The Buried Life
Angry Robot Books, July 29, 2014 (North America Print / eBook)
       August 7, 2014 (UK Print)
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 336 pages
Cover by John Coulthart

The gaslight and shadows of the underground city of Recoletta hide secrets and lies. When Inspector Liesl Malone investigates the murder of a renowned historian, she finds herself stonewalled by the all-powerful Directorate of Preservation – Recoletta’s top-secret historical research facility.

When a second high-profile murder threatens the very fabric of city society, Malone and her rookie partner Rafe Sundar must tread carefully, lest they fall victim to not only the criminals they seek, but the government which purports to protect them. Knowledge is power, and power must be preserved at all costs…

File Under: Science Fantasy [ Thriller | Society in Ruins | Fully Booked | New and Weird ]

About Carrie

Carrie Patel was born and raised in Houston, Texas. An avid traveller, she studied abroad in Granada, Spain and Buenos Aires, Argentina.
She completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Texas A&M University and worked in transfer pricing at Ernst & Young for two years.

She now works as a narrative designer at Obsidian Entertainment in Irvine, California, where the only season is Always Perfect.

You can find Carrie online at and @Carrie_Patel on Twitter.

2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June 2014 Winner

The winner of the June 2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars is The Forty First Wink by James Walley with 80% of the votes! The Forty First Wink was published by Ragnarok Publications.

The Final Results

The June 2014 Debut Covers

Thank you to everyone who voted, Tweeted, and participated. The 2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will continue with voting on the July Debut covers starting on July 15, 2014. Look for the list of July's Debuts on July 1st.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Feature: Excerpt from A Better World by Marcus Sakey - June 25, 2014

The Qwillery is thrilled to share with you an excerpt from A Better World, the second novel in the Brilliance Saga, by Marcus Sakey.

       Air Force One was an hour shy of DC when the Secret Service agent told Cooper that he was wanted in the conference room.
       Across a military and agency career, Cooper had ridden on posh private jets and rattling Army transports, had soared in a glider over the Wyoming desert and jumped out of a perfectly good C-17 with a chute on his back. But Air Force One was unlike any aircraft he’d ever been on.
       A customized 747, the plane had three decks, two galleys, luxury sleeping quarters, a fully-equipped surgery, national broadcasting capabilities, first-class seating for the press corps and the secret service, and the capability to fly a third of the way around the world without refueling—which it could do mid-air.
       Cooper unbuckled his seatbelt and walked fore. The agents at the door of the conference room nodded at him.
       The room was a mobile version of the situation room, with a broad conference table and plush chairs. A holo-conferencing screen showed a sharp tri-d of Marla Keevers in her office at the White House. The president sat at the head of the table, with Owen Leahy at his right and Holden Archer at his left.
       Archer glanced at him, said, “Tulsa, Fresno, and Cleveland have lost power.”
       President Clay said, “Marla, how bad is it?”
       “Based off satellite imagery, we estimate that the entire metro area of all three cities has gone dark.”
       “Why based off satellite imagery?” Clay asked.
       “Because engineers in charge of the power grid for each region report no unusual activity. All substations report back green.”
       “A cyber attack,” Leahy said. “A virus tells the system to send massive amounts of power from the grid to individual transformers, blowing them out, while at the same time co-opting the safety systems so that there’s no warning indicator.”
       “Yes,” Keevers said. “That’s what’s got the engineers rattled. Work crews say there’s no damage to the substations. The transformers are working. They’re just not providing power to the cities.”
       “How is that possible?”
       “The Children of Darwin,” Cooper said.
       Keevers nodded. “It would appear our protocols have been rewritten. It would take abnorm programmers to pull that off.”
       “So what you’re telling me,” the president said, “is that a terrorist organization has turned off three cities like they flipped a switch?”
       “I’m afraid so, sir. With some anomalies. In each city, several regions still have power. Two in Fresno, three in Tulsa, and two in Cleveland.”
       The image of Keevers was replaced by live satellite footage. The view was haunting. Instead of the riotous glow of cities at night, the holograms showed deep black marked by faint ribbons of light that must have been highways. The only bright spots were in discreet blocks, roughly rectangular, where things looked normal.
       “So the virus wasn’t a hundred percent effective,” Archer said. “It’s a small comfort, but it’s something.”
       Cooper leaned forward, staring at the maps. There was a pattern, he was—
       Two areas in Fresno, three in Tulsa, two in Cleveland.
       What connects them? Some are on major highways, some nowhere near. Some downtown, some not.
       And yet this doesn’t look random. The virus was too successful everywhere else to have failed completely in these spots.
       These areas were left powered on purpose. Which means that they hold some value.
So what unites these seven areas?
       —certain. “Hospitals,” Cooper said.
       Archer looked at the screens, then back at him. “What?”
       “Those regions all contain major hospitals.”
       “Why would terrorists take out the power to three cities, but leave hospitals functioning?”
       “Because they need them,” Leahy said. He turned to the president. “Sir, I’ve spoken to the director of the FBI and the DAR, as well as the head of the national institute of health. They all believe, and I concur, that this may be the precursor to a biological attack.”
       “That doesn’t make sense,” Archer said. “Why leave the hospitals running if they’re trying to release a biological weapon?”
       “Because,” Leahy retorted, “hospitals are the best way to spread one. People get sick, and they go to the hospital. While there they infect others. Doctors and nurses and receptionists and janitors and patients and families. With a really infectious biological agent, the number of cases can expand massively even under normal circumstances. But because these three cities are lacking food, and now power, the situation is far worse. Instead of resting at home, people will flee. They’ll go to stay with relatives, or to second homes. And in the process, they’ll swiftly vector the disease across the entire country. Sir, we believe the COD created this chaotic situation to mask their real attack.”
       “That’s a huge stretch,” Cooper said. “Abnorms would be just as vulnerable to infection. What good would a biological attack do the COD?”
       “I don’t know,” Leahy said, with a hard look at Cooper. “But the COD are terrorists. We don’t know what their endgame is.”
       “Of course we do. They’re upset over the treatment of abnorms, and they want change.”
       “What are you basing that on, Mr. Cooper? Abnorm intuition?” Leahy smiled coldly. “I understand your sympathy for their situation, but that can’t be allowed to color our response.”
       Would you count my response colored if I called you a close-minded bigot mired in old- world thinking? Instead, Cooper said, “Response to what? You’re wasting time on a hypothetical situation when we have actual disasters in these cities. People are starving. With the power out, they’ll be freezing, getting desperate, violent. Instead of worrying about phantom attacks, why don’t we start getting them some goddamn food and blankets?”
       On the screen, Marla Keevers coughed. Press Secretary Archer made an elaborate show of looking at his watch. Leahy fixed Cooper with an icy stare. “Mr. Cooper, your passion is quite touching, but you’re a bit above your pay grade here. And you’re not qualified to speak to what is or is not hypothetical.”
       “Maybe not,” Cooper said. “But I can speak to what’s right.” He glanced around the room. You guys don’t get me, do you? I don’t even want this job, so I’ve got nothing to lose by telling the truth. “The people need food. They need medicine. They need electricity. That’s what we should focus on. That’s our job.”
       “It’s also our job to protect them from attack,” Leahy fired back. “Food and blankets in Cleveland don’t protect people dying in Los Angeles.”
       Before Cooper could respond, the president said, “Owen, what exactly do you suggest?”
       “Immediate quarantine of all three cities, sir. The National Guard has already been called up. Assume federal command, back them up with Army troops, and shut these cities down completely. No one in or out.”
       For a moment Cooper thought the plane was banking wildly, until he realize that was just his head. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
       “I don’t find anything about this funny.”
       Cooper turned to Clay, expecting to see the same thought, the belief that this was beyond preposterous. Instead, he saw that the president was nervous.
       “Sir, you can’t possibly consider this. You’d be ordering military action on domestic soil. Turning three cities into police states, revoking people’s basic rights. It will cause unimaginable chaos. These cities are already on the brink. Instead of helping, we’re locking them up.”
       “No,” Leahy said. “We’re temporarily suspending freedom of movement for fewer than a million people. In order to protect three hundred million more.”
       “Panic. Hate crimes. Riots. Plus, if soldiers are busy quarantining the city, they can’t distribute food. All based on nothing but a wild theory.”
       “Based,” Leahy said, “on the collective analysis of the best minds in the intelligence and health services. A group that includes plenty of abnorms. Mr. Cooper, I know you’re used to doing things your own way, but this isn’t your personal crusade. We’re trying to save the country, not play some moralistic game.”
       Cooper ignored the barb. “Mr. President, when you asked me to join you, you said that we were on the edge of a precipice.” You’re an intellectual, a historian. You know how these things start. World War One was kicked off when a radical killed an obscure archduke. And nine million people died. “If you do this, we step toward that precipice. Maybe over it.”
       “And if you’re wrong?” Leahy asked. “You say the COD is interested in abnorm rights, but they’ve made no effort at dialogue. What if what they really want is to kill as many Americans as possible? There are a hundred biological weapons against which we have no ready defense—except quarantine.”
       The president looked back and forth between them. His hands were on the table, the fingers knit. His knuckles were pale.
       Come on, Clay. I know you’re scared. We’re all scared. But be the leader we need you to be.
       The president cleared his throat.

Excerpted from A Better World by Marcus Sakey. Copyright 2014. Published By Thomas & Mercer. Used by permission of the publisher. Not for reprint without permission.

A Better World
The Brilliance Saga 2
Thomas & Mercer, June 17, 2014
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 390 pages

The brilliants changed everything.

Since 1980, 1% of the world has been born with gifts we’d only dreamed of. The ability to sense a person’s most intimate secrets, or predict the stock market, or move virtually unseen. For thirty years the world has struggled with a growing divide between the exceptional...and the rest of us.

Now a terrorist network led by brilliants has crippled three cities. Supermarket shelves stand empty. 911 calls go unanswered. Fanatics are burning people alive.

Nick Cooper has always fought to make the world better for his children. As both a brilliant and an advisor to the president of the United States, he’s against everything the terrorists represent. But as America slides toward a devastating civil war, Cooper is forced to play a game he dares not lose—because his opponents have their own vision of a better world.

And to reach it, they’re willing to burn this one down.

From Marcus Sakey, “the master of the mindful page turner” (Gillian Flynn) and “one of our best storytellers” (Michael Connelly), Book Two of the Brilliance Saga is a relentless thrill ride that will change the way you look at your world—and the people around you.

The Brilliance Saga 1
Thomas & Mercer, July 16, 2013
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook,  452 pages

A 2013 Edgar Award Nominee for Best Paperback Original

In Wyoming, a little girl reads people’s darkest secrets by the way they fold their arms. In New York, a man sensing patterns in the stock market racks up $300 billion. In Chicago, a woman can go invisible by being where no one is looking. They’re called “brilliants,” and since 1980, one percent of people have been born this way. Nick Cooper is among them; a federal agent, Cooper has gifts rendering him exceptional at hunting terrorists. His latest target may be the most dangerous man alive, a brilliant drenched in blood and intent on provoking civil war. But to catch him, Cooper will have to violate everything he believes in—and betray his own kind.

From Marcus Sakey, “a modern master of suspense” (Chicago Sun-Times) and “one of our best storytellers” (Michael Connelly), comes an adventure that’s at once breakneck thriller and shrewd social commentary; a gripping tale of a world fundamentally different and yet horrifyingly similar to our own, where being born gifted can be a terrible curse.

About Marcus

Photo by Jay Franco
Marcus Sakey's thrillers have been nominated for more than fifteen awards, named New York Times Editor's Picks, and selected among Esquire's Top 5 Books of The Year. His novels Good People and Brilliance are both in development as feature films. Marcus is also the host of the acclaimed television show "Hidden City" on Travel Channel, for which he is routinely pepper-sprayed and attacked by dogs. Prior to writing, he worked as a landscaper, a theatrical carpenter, a 3D animator, a woefully unprepared movie reviewer, a tutor, and a graphic designer who couldn't draw. Marcus lives in Chicago with his wife and daughter.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @MarcusSakey