My Bookish Ways

Read This: The Damned by Andrew Pyper

The Damned by Andrew Pyper (Simon & Schuster, Feb. 10, 2015)-Andrew Pyper gives Stephen King a run for his money in his terrifying new novel. When twins Ashleigh and Danny Orchard were 16, they both died, but Ash is the only one that stayed dead. Danny survived, and twenty years later he’s found the love of his life, Willa, and hopes to settle into life with her and her young son, Eddie. There’s only one roadblock to their happiness, and that’s Ash. Ash has been dead for 20 years, but that doesn’t mean she’s been gone. She’s been a near constant presence in Danny’s life, and he’s never gotten attached to anyone else for fear they might get hurt, or worse, but Willa isn’t like everyone else. They met at an Afterlifers meeting, a group that cropped up after Danny wrote his bestselling novel, The After, about his personal experience in the afterlife. It made him somewhat of a celebrity, but he didn’t feel like he was really living until he met Willa. Now Ash is back with a vengeance, and she seems determined to destroy the life that Danny has made. She also seems to be gaining traction in the living world, able to manipulate reality like never before. But why? Is it just hate that drives her? Jealousy? Danny doesn’t think it’s as simple as that, so he sets out to find the truth behind her death, before she takes everything he has.

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Interview: Sebastian Rotella, author of The Convert’s Song

sebastianrotellaPlease give a warm welcome to Sebastian Rotella, whose new book, The Convert’s Song (the followup to Triple Crossing), just came out in December. He kindly answered a few of my questions about the new book, and more!


Congratulations on the new book! Will you tell us a bit about what we can expect from The Convert’s Song and its hero Valentine Pescatore?
Thanks much, and thanks for the invitation. You can expect a crime and espionage story that plays out on an international stage. The novel explores the geopolitical underworld in which gangsters, spies and terrorists converge, and the manipulation, treachery and intrigue that rule that underworld. It looks at the psychology and subcultures of terrorists and terrorist-hunters. It’s also about identity, friendship, loyalty and morality. The action moves from Buenos Aires to the Bolivian jungle to the housing projects of Paris to the battlegrounds of Baghdad. This is the second novel featuring Pescatore, who in Triple Crossing was a U.S. Border Patrol agent of Italo-Argentine-Mexican descent. He has resigned from the Patrol and moved to Argentina to work for a private investigation firm. He is pulled back into his problematic past by the sudden appearance of Raymond, a close boyhood friend he hasn’t seen in ten years. Raymond was a wildly charming and manipulative con man, a sometime jazz singer, a drug dealer who came close to getting Pescatore in trouble with the law when they were kids. Now Raymond says he has cleaned up his act and converted to Islam. Days after the strange encounter, a terrorist attack hits Buenos Aires; Raymond is implicated. Pescatore finds himself helping U.S. and French law enforcement pursue the enigmatic Raymond across the globe while they try to prevent new attacks and figure out if Raymond is a gangster, terrorist or a spy–or some combination of all three. The reader can also expect a lot of music. Because Raymond is a singer, songs are a recurring motif as the book moves from among locales and genres: jazz, blues, tango, French rap.

Why do you think readers will root for Valentine? What have you enjoyed most about writing his character?
I think readers will root for Valentine because he has, I hope, a kind of unpretentious, streetwise charm. He’s tough and sharp, but he’s not a strutting, all-knowing super-sleuth. I think he’s more realistic and human than the average action hero. He constantly struggles with ethical dilemmas; he’s a basically decent and dedicated cop with a deep, instinctive sense of justice. But he also has a fascination with outlaws—as embodied by his bond with Raymond—that gets him into trouble. Like Raymond, Pescatore is a born border-crosser. He’s multilingual, adept at adapting and blending in among different cultures and tribes. That makes him agile and good at what he does, but also solitary. I enjoy writing about Pescatore because he was 25 in the first book and is close to 30 now, so the character is developing and maturing as I grow as a writer. It’s fun to look at the world through his eyes, especially foreign locales, because he mixes a Chicago street sensibility with a certain worldliness. The two things I most like about him are his voice and his volatility. He’s multilingual and his dialogue blends all kinds of street and ethnic slang; cop talk; Latino, Italian-American and African-American influences; Spanglish; Latin American regionalisms ranging from Tijuana to Buenos Aires. And although he does his best to follow the rules, he tends to improvise and he has a impulsive, hot-tempered quality that erupts in interesting ways.

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Guest Post (and Giveaway): Eric Smith (INKED) On The Best Pieces of Advice He’s Ever Gotten From Other Writers

ericsmithEric Smith’s debut novel Inked, just came out, and he’s here today with a guest post as part of his blog tour. Please give him a warm welcome, and also enter to win a ecopy of Inked (International) while you’re at it!


The Best Pieces of Advice I’ve Ever Gotten From Other Writers
by Eric Smith

Writing isn’t a solitary experience. If you’re on social media and have gchat, guess what, you’re never alone. There are readers and authors out there for you to chat with whenever you want, you just have to be willing to reach out and make a connection.

That’s easily one of my favorite things about the literary community, the willingness to connect and communicate. The bookernet is a supportive place, and man, am I ever grateful for that. It’s there that I’ve connected with many of the writers who have given me valuable advice, many while I was writing and editing INKED.

Here are some of those tidbits that I’ve learned, that’ll hopefully help you with your future writings.

“Be generous.” – Robin Black: I talk about Robin a lot when discussing my writing and book life, whether I’m rambling about an essay or novel I’m fussing over, or talking about my career in publishing. She was a big driving force in my life back in graduate school as my professor, and I’m rather thrilled to call her a colleague and friend these days.

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An Interview and Giveaway with Judd Trichter, author of Love in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Love In the Age of Mechanical Reproduction is fantastic, so I’m thrilled to have its author, Judd Trichter on the blog today, where he kindly answered a few of my questions! Also, courtesy of the always awesome folks at St. Martin’s Press, we’ve got 5 galleys to give away to 5 lucky US winners, so be sure to fill out the widget below the post.


So, your new book, Love in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction…best title ever! Will you tell us a bit about it and what inspired you to write it?
I had recently reread the Orpheus myth in Ovid’s Metamorphosis and couldn’t shake it out of my head. At the same time, I had just written a short story, “Dea Ex Machina”, that featured a character who was half-Korean and half-android. It occurred to me that I could combine these two elements as a way of re-examining the story of Orpheus’ descent. Once I had the idea, it took me about a minute to come up with the logline. I think it was something like: after his android fiancée is kidnapped, chopped up, and sold for parts, a man goes on a journey to recover her parts to put her back together again. As for the title – thank you for the compliment – that came later in the process. It’s a riff on Walter Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. In the sense that art is affected by technology, my title is meant to question how love is affected by innovation and what might be the blowback of that influence.

Tell us more about Eliot, and why you think readers will root for him.
Eliot is someone who found purpose in life through love, albeit love with an android. So when Iris is taken away, he’s back to zero again, addicted to drugs, working a job for which he has no affinity, participating in a system of which he’s highly critical. If Iris weren’t a robot, maybe readers would feel, Oh, it’s best for Eliot to move on after a loss, don’t dwell in the past and so on. But what’s discomforting about Eliot’s predicament is that Iris is a robot, she can be recovered, and what kind of a man would he be if he didn’t make the attempt? I guess we root for him because Eliot’s a decent guy trying to do the right thing in an indecent world.

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Read This: Descent by Tim Johnston

Descent by Tim Johnston (Algonquin, Jan. 6th, 2015)-Tim Johnston’s engrossing novel is a testament to survival and the human spirit, and if you’re looking for a thriller that’s a cut above, you’ve found it. Grant and Angela Courtland and his children are vacationing in the Rocky Mountains when his 18 year old daughter Caitlin goes for a run up the mountain, with her younger brother Sean trailing behind her. Caitlin runs like the wind, and although her parents’ relationship may not be perfect, their love for her is, but today is the day that her feet will fail her, when she will disappear from that mountain, leaving her brother, and her parents, in a wake of pain and heartbreak. The novel covers the two years after her disappearance, and the very different ways that each person deals with her absence. Grant, a contractor, settles in with Sean to help out on a ranch close to where Caitlin disappeared, determined not to give up the search, even though Sean eventually works out his pain on the road, away from constant reminders of his sister and the day she disappeared. Angela is seemingly more fragile, but this fragility belies her hope that eventually her daughter will come home.

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Giveaway: Deadeye (Mutant Files) by William C. Dietz

Wanna win a copy of William C. Dietz’s new book (and first of a new series), Deadeye? Check out the book details and fill out the widget after the jump (US only), and you’re ready to go! I’ll pick a winner on 2/6!


About Deadeye:
In the year 2038, an act of bioengineered terrorism decimated humanity. Those who survived were either completely unaffected or developed horrible mutations. Across the globe, nations are now divided between areas populated by “norms” and lands run by “mutants”…

Detective Cassandra Lee of Los Angeles’s Special Investigative Section has built a fierce reputation taking down some of the city’s most notorious criminals. But the serial cop killer known as Bonebreaker—who murdered Lee’s father—is still at large. Officially, she’s too personally involved to work on the Bonebreaker case. Unofficially, she’s going to hunt him to the ends of the earth.

In the meantime, duty calls when the daughter of Bishop Screed, head of the Church of Human Purity, is kidnapped by mutants and taken into the red zone to be used for breeding. Assigned to rescue her, Lee must trust her new partner—mutant lawman Deputy Ras Omo—to guide her not only through the unfamiliar territory but through the prejudicial divisions between mutants and norms…


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A chat with Shannon Stoker, author of The Alliance (The Registry #3)

shannon-author-photoThe Alliance is the 3rd book in Shannon Stoker’s Registry series, and she stopped by to talk about the new book, and more!


The Alliance is the 3rd book in your Registry series. Will you tell us a little about the book, and the series?
I am really happy with the way The Alliance tied everything up. You get to see the plot and the characters come full circle. In The Registry, Mia and Andrew escape the US to freedom, then in The Collection they are fighting to get to freedom, and in The Alliance they are putting other’s needs above their own and really just going after what is right.

How would you say Mia has changed the most from the first book? Why do you think readers will connect with her?
Mia has really done a 180 over the course of the series. Her priorities have shifted so much by the time we arrive at The Alliance and she is really embracing being a person as opposed to being a robot. I think at the start of The Registry it is easy to see her as annoying and naïve, but if the reader sticks with her for a few chapters you can see she is just a product of the society she was raised in and watching her break free is very relatable.
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Lauren Beukes Double Feature: Broken Monsters and Moxyland are under $5 on Kindle!

I’ll read anything Lauren Beukes writes, and now YOU can read Broken Monsters and Moxyland on Kindle (both!) for a steal. Psst…I gave Broken Monsters a starred review at Library Journal, if that tells you how good this book is. Get ‘em while they’re hot!


Read This: Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Solaris, Feb. 10th)-It took me a few days after finishing Signal to Noise before sitting down to write this because I wanted to savor it just a little bit longer as my own before putting my thoughts in writing and sending it out into the ether. If that doesn’t make much sense, if you read it, you’ll understand. I promise.

The story begins in 2009 with the death of Mercedes “ Meche” Vega’s father, Vicente, and her return to Mexico City, after nearly 20 years, to bury him and endure the ministrations of her mother and over a week of forced family interaction and food. Meche is a long way from the stick thin, gangly kid she was in 1988 and has worked hard to forget that part of her life, and of one person in particular, Sebastian. In 1988, Meche was 15 and her entire world consisted of Sebastian, their friend Daniela, and her Walkman and her father’s extensive record collection. Life at home isn’t perfect: her mother is not the most attentive, and her father is an alcoholic that spends a large amount of time, when he’s not working as a DJ, at the local bar, or with his mistress. She loves her father intensely (and indeed, she’s very much like him), though, deep down, she knows that he’s putting a strain on the family. Her main source of comfort is in her friends, and of course, music. Lots of music. Sebastian’s home life is quite a bit worse, but he finds his solace in books, and soft spoken Daniela has her head firmly in the clouds, and spends quite a bit of time with her Easy Bake Oven. One day, though, things change, and in a big way. Meche discovers, quite by accident, that she can use music to wield magic, and convinces Sebastian and Daniela to explore this new talent. But things soon spiral out of control, as these things sometimes do when power gets too great, especially in the hands of 15 year olds, driving a wedge between Meche and her friends, possibly threatening their friendship forever.

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Catching up with Nancy Holder, author of Vendetta (Beauty & the Beast)

nancyholderPlease welcome Nancy Holder back to the blog! Her new book, Vendetta (Beauty & the Beast) came out in November, and she stopped by to answer a few questions about it, and more!


Nancy, will you tell us about your new book Beauty and the Beast: Vendetta?
Oh, I love writing my Beauty and the Beast novels. Vendetta is my first, and I’m currently contracted to write three. This means that I watch BATB over and over and over. It’s sheer heaven. In Vendetta, I attempted to capture the classic feel of the first few episodes, emphasizing the great, destined love that Vincent and Catherine share, as well as the intriguing cases Cat and Tess Vargas solve together, with assists from Vincent and J.T. Forbes. I also included Cat’s biological father and I gave Gabe a subplot because I knew Big Things were going to happen to him and I wanted to give him a great sendoff.
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