My Bookish Ways

Interview: Adam Connell, author of Total Secession

Adam Connell is the author of Lay Saints, Counterfeit Kings, and his newest novel, Total Secession, a futuristic thriller, just came out (all to rave reviews!). Adam took some time out to answer a few of my questions, so please welcome him to the blog!

Adam, your newest book, Total Secession, came out in September, to critical raves. Will you tell us a bit about it?
I’d be happy to. Total Secession follows two rough ex-cons released early from a federal prison because a fiery political movement is dissolving America as a country. All the states will soon become sovereign nations.

The ex-cons have a short window to get from Florida to their homes in the Northeast. If they don’t make it by Secession Day, they may become citizens in a new country they don’t like, stuck there, and may never see their families again. The protagonist, Grant, hasn’t seen or heard from his wife for the ten years he was incarcerated. He is consumed with guilt because he promised her he wouldn’t get caught, and he desperately needs to see her and beg her forgiveness.

What inspired you to write Total Secession?
I had always wanted to write a book about a man coming home to his family after an extraordinarily long absence. I didn’t want to do an SF retelling of The Odyssey, that never appealed to me because it has been done by other SF authors, and most of these novels are very predictable. Predictable because they often hew so closely to The Odyssey. Some are clever but most are predictable.

But still I wanted to write this tale of a homecoming, but have it an extremely unpredictable one, where you know the husband just needs to get home, he has to, but you are completely unsure, as the reader, if he will make it. And as a reader, you’re quite in the dark about whether his wife, his family, actually want him back or not.

That appealed to me greatly, this uneasiness, this darkness about his reception. It’s what drove me from the very first sentence, it drives the book completely.

There’s a section on your website where you talk about how the “definition” of SF (a story where, if the science or technology is removed, the story cannot stand on its own) has expired and needs to be rethought. Will you elaborate on that a bit?
People all the time tell me “Star Wars isn’t SF.” I really hate that, not because I’m a huge Star Wars fan—I like it but I’m not fanatical about it—but I can’t think of a single project in the last seventy-five years that has had more of an impact on SF than Star Wars. It’s had more of an impact on the world of SF than Star Trek, even.
By this I mean that it has inspired writers and graphic artists and filmmakers and more to pursue SF, that it has filled them with wonder to such a degree that they chose SF as their field to the exclusion of others .
For me, anything that takes place in the future, and examines that future in a meaningful way, is SF. It doesn’t need to revolve around a controversial invention or the advent of cyborgs or giant armadas fighting a generations-long war over a mineral-rich planet.

To me, any work that takes the future and examines it and examines the human condition in it, that is SF. Some folks call Star Wars “skiffy,” in a derogatory way taking the term “sci-fi” but pronouncing the C as a hard K. That’s bull. Some say that speculative fiction is SF without the tech and science so it’s not really SF, and I just scratch my head. It’s all SF, and the constant haggling and debating seems to me a waste of time, and mostly I keep out of it because I’d rather be writing than arguing. But on my website, I felt like putting a period to the whole thing and making my feelings known once and for all.

What are some of the biggest influences on your writing (authors, books, etc.)?
The Dune saga by Frank Herbert was the biggest influence on me as a young reader/budding writer. To see, in prose and sparking my imagination, such an impressive tapestry and vision, it blew me away. So Frank Herbert showed me the promise of SF revealed and fulfilled.

Then I read Alfred Bester’s short stories and novels, and they showed me that language can be playful, can be imbued with unique styling that changes your perception of the limits of language. Namely, that it is limitless. This isn’t always true about regular fiction in the way that it’s absolutely true for SF.

If someone was dipping their toe in the sci-fi pool for the first time, what titles, or authors (besides your own, of course) would you recommend as starters?
I’ve found that people who don’t generally read SF have the misconception that SF books read like textbooks, or they’re all about alien civilizations, or that they’re just plain boring and slow with cardboard characters. This is not so.

I’m asked this question a lot, from curious readers wondering where to start, so I have my answer ready, and I think it’s pretty infallible. First read Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash. It’s a lot of fun, very engaging. Then go on to When Gravity Fails by George Alec Effinger. After that, Rendezvous With Rama by Arthur C. Clarke. Lastly, The Man In the High Castle by Philip K. Dick. This list of books will give you a good idea of the scope of SF.

If you find none of them appealing, then maybe SF isn’t for you. But I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
There are, certainly, a variety of ways to answer this question, but I’ve made many converts with the answer I’ve just given.

I haven’t suggested some of the older classics because some are dated and, to anyone just cracking open the field, it might put these potential converts off. Down the line these classics should be read, but not necessarily right away.

When you manage to find some downtime, how do you like to spend it?
There’s not a whole lot of downtime for me. I’m always researching or writing or editing. And as a self-published writer, when I’m not doing those three things, I’m actively marketing and promoting. But that stops on the weekend, all of that stops or I’d burn out.

I’m a film buff. I also like foreign films and J-Horror and anime. I love music—predominantly shoegazers, classic rock, a little heavy metal.

I’m still in love with reading and I don’t expect that to ever change. As a youngster I started with comic books and went on to reading novels, but I never totally abandoned comics, so I read the occasional Graphic Novel or Trade Collection and I find them immensely entertaining. Comics are wonderful but, as with SF, there are a whole lot of adult readers with misconceptions. They think comics aren’t for them, they’re for children. That’s wrong, this misconception, another misconception that makes me angry. But that’s a topic for a different interview.

A little traveling is always nice. I hate to cook. I never exercise. I suppose what I like to do most when I have some downtime is nap. Seriously. I’m a very big napper and I come from a long line of nappers, just ask my parents.

What’s next for you?
Periodically I’m working on formatting my first novel, Counterfeit Kings, to be released as an ebook. It was published traditionally eight years ago, it’s still in print but it can be hard to find, and it’s a book I’m proud of, so I’d like a cheaper and more accessible version available to my fans. That’ll be sometime in 2013.

Also I’m deep into my fourth book. It currently has a few titles, I haven’t been able to choose the perfect one yet, but I’ll be publishing that by June or July of 2013. Self-publish, I mean. I’ve lost faith in traditional publishing for a lot of reasons, so this will be an ebook as well. The beauty of ebooks is that on the day I think the book is done and ready for the world and for my readership, it will be available that same day. Compared to how publishing has worked in the past, I’m almost tempted to call ebooks SF.
Keep up with Adam: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Interview (& Giveaway): Dave Swavely, author of Silhouette

Silhouette, Dave Swavely’s first novel in his Peacer series, just came out in November, and Dave was kind enough to answer a few of my questions! Also, we’ve got one copy of the book up for grabs, so be sure to check out the giveaway details at the end of the post!

Dave, your brand new book, Silhouette, just came out! Will you tell us a bit about it?
Silhouette is the first novel in the “Peacer” series, and it’s a futuristic action/thriller/mystery set in a post-quake San Francisco. “Peacers” are law enforcement officers with a license to kill, doing the bidding of a controversial dictator named Saul Rabin, who some see as a fascist tyrant but others as the savior of the city. Michael Ares is a protégé and assistant of Rabin, who finds out that his daughter and best friend have been brutally murdered, and begins to investigate the crime. The story takes an unusual turn when Michael discovers that all the evidence leads back to himself, and it’s full of twists and turns from there.

What inspired you to write the novel?
I’ve always loved good stories set in a different world, and especially those made more interesting by futuristic technology. And I’ve always wanted to write the kind of fiction I like to read—the kind that is not only entertaining but also thought-provoking.

When and why did you begin writing?
The first version of this novel was actually written over ten years ago (long story), and I started writing it because I had an idea for a plot twist that hadn’t been done yet, and that I thought would accommodate a lot of other interesting ideas and developments.

What are a few of your biggest literary influences?
In the same genre, my influences are early Philip K. Dick and early William Gibson, plus movies like Blade Runner and Ghost in the Shell. From other genres they would include the Bible, Dickens, Alfred Bester’s work in the 1950s, graphic novels and the TV series Firefly. I know you asked about “literary” influences, but I’m including those examples from visual media because I try to write in a “visual style” (my term) that “reads like a movie” (others have said that about my stuff).

What do you find particularly challenging while writing?
Finding the time! I have a big family and a very busy life.

If you could read one book again for the very first time, which one would it be?
The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester. Hands down.

What are you reading now?
Hegemon by Stephen Mosher, Death’s Apprentice by K.W. Jeter, The Deadhouse by Linda Fairstein, The Ultimates graphic novel by Millar and Hitch, and together with my wife I’m reading a book called Great Parents, Lousy Lovers!

When you’re not writing, how do you like to spend your free time?
Hanging with my family (especially my wife), learning and talking about Christianity and other worldviews/philosophies, watching movies and reading books like those above, playing basketball, and… taking naps!

What’s next for you?
I’m finishing Kaleidocide, the sequel to Silhouette and second book in the Peacer Series, and then I hope to write a third book if there are enough people who want to read it. I have some other series plotted, like Murder World and The Quixote Club, but we’ll see if they ever make their way to print. And in the immediate future, I plan to… take a nap! (I heard a missionary to South America say once, “There are two kinds of missionaries who have been to our country: those who take an afternoon siesta every day, and those who leave the field.”)
Keep up with Dave: Website

1. You MUST fill out the form below
2. Giveaway is for 1 copy of Silhouette by Dave Swavely to to 1 winner.
3. Giveaway is open to US addresses only
4. Must include a valid email address with your entry (no need to leave it in the comments, just include it when you fill out the rafflecopter form)
5. You must enter on or before 12/10/12
6. Giveaway book courtesy of St. Martins Press
7. Please see my Giveaway Policy.

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Super Giveaway: Full Blooded by Amanda Carlson + Swag

Myself and my fellow Jessica McClain Street Teamers have come together to offer you one massive giveaway from Amanda Carlson herself!

Here’s what’s up for grabs: 10 Lucky Winners will receive a Signed Copy of FULL BLOODED, as well as Limited Edition Pack Swag, including a Coffee Mug, bookmark & stickers. The best thing about this giveaway (other than it’s INTERNATIONAL)? Amanda will be sending them out in time for the holidays! Already have a copy of FULL BLOODED? She’ll throw in a signed bookplate and you can gift your book to someone you love. (Amanda will even address it to their name.)

So let’s sum that up: 10 Winners! International! Signed!! Oh, and you can enter to win at each of the Street Team sites (so TONS of chances, here!) Also, if you didn’t catch my review of FULL BLOODED and need a reminder of its awesome, here it is!

Fill out the Rafflecopter form below and head on over to Amanda’s Website for a list of Street Team sites (and a huge pic of the swag) so you can enter some more!

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December 2012 New Releases!

Here are the new releases for December! However, this is by no means a comprehensive list (just ones that I especially have my eye on.) If you have any new releases that I didn’t include, and that you’d like to direct me to, please list them in the comments. Thanks!

December 4th, 2012:
Fantasy/Urban Fantasy/Paranormal/Sci-Fi:
The Damnation Affair by Lilith Saintcrow (Dec. 1st)
Resurrection Engines (steampunk anthology)ed. by Scott Harrison (Dec. 1st)
A Leaf On the Wind of All Hallows (Outlander Novella) by Diana Gabaldon
The Farm by Emily McKay
The Siren Depths by Martha Wells
Katya’s World by Jonathan L. Howard
Edge of Sanity by Shannon K. Butcher
Guardians of Stone by Anita Clenney
Touch of Steel (A Novel of the Clockwork Agents) by Kate Cross
The Red Sun Also Rises by Mark Hodder
The Doctor and the Rough Rider by Mike Resnick
Blood of Dawn by Tami Dane
The Accidental Genie by Dakota Cassidy
Alien vs. Alien by Gini Koch
The Weird Girls (novella) by Cecy Robson | REVIEW
The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress (Dec. 6th)
Terminal Island by Walter Greatshell
Morgue Drawer For Rent by Juta Profijt and Eric J. Macki
Me and the Devil by Nick Tosches
Shiver by Karen Robards
Dying On the Vine by Aaron Elkins
The Man Who Turned Both Cheeks by Gillian Royes
City of Exiles by Alec Nevala-Lee
The Bubble Gum Thief by Jeff Miller

December 11th, 2012:
Fantasy/Urban Fantasy/Paranormal/Sci-Fi:
Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhoades
Supernatural: Fresh Meat by Alice Henderson
Foretold by Jana Oliver (YA)
Enders by Lissa Price (Publishing date scheduled to change/will update)
Seal Team 666 by Weston Ochse

Two Graves by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
Ash by James Herbert
Good Junk by Ed Kovacs
Safe House by Chris Ewan
Life! Death! Prizes! by Stephen May
The Cleaner by Paul Cleave
Invisible by Carla Buckley
Z 2134 by Sean Platt and David W. Wright
Orders From Berlin by Simon TolkienDecember 18th, 2012:
Fantasy/Urban Fantasy/Paranormal/Sci-Fi:
Nexus by Ramez Naam
The Steam Mole by Dave Freer
Black Sun Reich: The Spear of Destiny by Trey Garrison
Deadly Little Voices by Laurie Faria Stolarz (YA)
Scent of Magic by Maria V. Snyder
Enchanted Ever After by Robin D. Owens

Whispering Death by Gary Disher
Parishioner by Walter Mosley
Murder by Moonlight by Vincent Zandri
The Devil’s Necktie by John Lansing
Bone Tree by Greg Isles

December 25th, 2012:
Fantasy/Urban Fantasy/Paranormal/Sci-Fi:
Unnatural Acts by Kevin J. Anderson (Dec. 24th)
The Shadow’s Heir by KJ Taylor (Dec. 24th)
The Trouble With Fate by Leigh Evans (Dec. 24th)
A Low Down Dirty Shane by Sierra Dean
Circle of Deception by Carla Swafford
Blood Winter by Diana Pharoah Francis (Dec. 26th)
Gilded by Karina Cooper (Dec. 26th)
Demon’s Curse by Alexa Egan (Dec. 26th)
Ack Ack Macaque by Gareth L. Powell  (Dec. 26th)
Last Kiss Goodnight by Gena Showalter  (Dec. 26th)
Sealed With a Curse by Cecy Robson (Dec. 31st) | REVIEW
Doktor Glass by Thomas Brennan (Dec. 31st)
The Hunter From the Woods by Robert McCammon (Dec. 31st)
Touch of the Demon by Diana Rowland (Dec. 31st)
Black Fallen by Elle Jasper (Dec. 31st)
I’m Not Sam by Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee (Dec. 31st)

Great North Road by Peter F. Hamilton (Dec. 24th)
Frozen by Kate Watterson (Dec. 24th)
The Intercept: A Jeremy Fisk Novel by Dick Wolf (Dec. 26th)
Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay
The Accidental Pallbearer by Frank Lentricchia
A Very Profitable War by Didier Daeninckx and Sarah Martin  (Dec. 26th)
Grave Sight: A Harper Connelly Graphic Novel by Charlaine Harris(Dec. 31st)

What new books are you jonesin’ for this month?

Book News (and other fun stuff): November 30th, 2012

Here’s my roundup of book news (and other fun stuff) around the web for the week! Sometimes I add stuff throughout the day on Friday, so be sure you check back over the weekend too!

Also, don’t miss my list of gift ideas for book lovers at the bottom of the post. I’ll try to offer up new ideas every week until the end of December.

Interviews, news, and more:

Excerpts and such:

Fun stuff (some book-related, some not):

Gift Ideas for Book Lovers!!

Interview: Cecy Robson, author of Sealed With a Curse

I reviewed Cecy Robson’s debut urban fantasy Sealed With a Curse, and her Weird Girls novella, recently and absolutely loved them! You can get your hands on a copy on Dec. 31st, but in the meantime, Cecy was kind enough to chat with me about the book and her writing!

Please welcome Cecy to the blog!

Your first book, the awesome Sealed With a Curse, comes out in December. What made you finally take the plunge and write a novel?
On September 26, 2008, I was flying back East to attend my 15th college reunion. I picked up a book to read on the plane. That book was CRY WOLF by Patricia Briggs. I’d never heard of Urban Fantasy, but I immediately fell in love with the genre—and couldn’t get enough of it! Over the next few months, I read about thirty-six Urban Fantasies and Paranormal Romances. On May 1, 2009, I decided to try write my own series. That first novel I wrote eventually evolved into SEALED WITH A CURSE.

Your day job as a nurse must keep you very busy! How did you find the time to write?
Writing actually serves as a stress reliever and type of therapy. I make time to write because it feels great and helps me work out my frustrations. Nursing is a very honorable profession and I’m proud to be one. Unfortunately we face potential life and death issues every time we punch in to work.

What are some of the biggest influences in your writing (authors, books, etc.)?
Hmmm . . . where do I begin? I love JK Rowling’s world building—Harry Potter is one of greatest works of literary fiction ever created. When it comes to memorable characters, no one can torture a hero like Jim Butcher and have us laughing in the very next line. Patricia Briggs writes with a mixture of beauty and darkness, that leaves her readers begging for more.

What are you reading right now?
Lea Nolan’s CONJURE. It’s a MG / YA novel that I’m thoroughly enjoying and one of those few books I can share with my daughter.

If you could read one book again for the very first time, which one would it be?
Kate SeRine’s RED. Such a brilliant and creative story!

If you had to cast Sealed With a Curse for the movies, who would you pick to play the sisters, Misha, and Aric?
Heh, heh, heh. I actually created my dream cast months ago:
Celia—Emmy Rossum
Taran—Emmanuelle Chriqui
Shayna—Alexis Bledel
Emme—Meaghen Jette Martin
Aric—Alex Pettyfer
Misha—Taylor Kitsch

When you manage to find some free time, how do you like to spend it?
Those few moments I have I like to spend reading or with my family.

What’s next for you?
I’m working on a proposal for my OLD ERTH series, a high fantasy category romance which I’m really excited about. Here’s to hoping readers will embrace it along with my WEIRD GIRLS series!
Keep up with Cecy: Website | Twitter
Pre-Order Sealed With a Curse: Amazon | B&N | Indiebound

About Sealed With a Curse:
Celia Wird and her three sisters are just like other 20-something girls—with one tiny exception: they’re products of a backfired curse that has given each of them unique powers that make them, well, weird…

The Wird sisters are content to avoid the local vampires, werebeasts, and witches of the Lake Tahoe region—until one of them blows up a vampire in self-defense. Everyone knows vampires aren’t aggressive, and killing one is punishable by death. But soon more bloodlust-fueled attacks occur, and the community wonders: are the vampires of Tahoe cursed with a plague?

Celia reluctantly agrees to help Misha, the handsome leader of an infected vampire family. But Aric, the head of the werewolf pack determined to destroy Misha’s family to keep the region safe, warns Celia to stay out of the fight. Caught between two hot alphas, Celia must find a way to please everyone, save everyone, and oh yeah, not lose her heart to the wrong guy—or die a miserable death. Because now that the evil behind the plague knows who Celia is, it’s coming for her and her sisters. This Wird girl has never had it so tough.

Catching up with Cassie Alexander, author of Moonshifted

I adored Cassie Alexander’s first book Nightshifted, featuring nurse to supernatural oddities, Edie Spence, and am anxious to dive into Moonshifted, but first, I caught up a little bit with Cassie, so please welcome her back to the blog!

Welcome back to the blog, Cassie!
I’m very pleased to be back! :D

I can’t believe Moonshifted is already out!
Haha, me either. I’m a little panicked about it, in fact. This year has gone by so fast!

Can you give us a teaser as to what Edie is up to in this book?
Ostensibly Moonshifted is about Edie’s interactions with the local werewolf pack as they deal with a violent change in leadership – but on the larger scale, it’s about how she’s going to manage being the only human around tempestuous supernatural creatures and still get out alive, while somehow managing to protect the people (and vampires and weres and shapeshifters) she holds dear.

And if she thought last book was rough, well, the events of Nightshifted look like a cakewalk compared to this one.

I imagine it’s been a bit of a whirlwind since Nightshifted came out! What’s been one of your favorite parts of this whole “published author awesomeness” thing?
This’ll sound lame, but it’s still the fact that people are reading my books…because I pretty much convince myself that readers don’t exist while I’m working. I know it sounds silly, but to give my brain the space it needs to write terrible, awful, rough drafty things with no pressure, I have to pretend that no one is ever going to see them but me (and Daniel, my alpha reader, but he’s very used to making sense of my nonsense.) And since I’ve been working this whole year, I’ve been pretending that readers don’t exist really hard. It’s a Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal thing — any Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy/ Infocom people in the house? – if I can’t see you, then you all can’t see me, and my 1st draft full of “tk put something cooler in here” notes.

So when I get fanmail, it’s sort of a new experience each time. It’s awesome for a millisecond – the favorite part — but then it almost feels dirty, like I’ve been caught trying to make a living at this writing thing, and who do I think I am? Especially when I know I’m totally screwing over myself in the future with all of my “tk fix this sentiment” and “tk why did they do this again?” notes.

The easiest solution is to write a nice note back, and then to quickly stick my head back in the sand until I can convince myself it didn’t happen…only to be resurprised anew when it does again.
(I didn’t say this was a great plan or anything. It’s just how I’m managing, barely, to cope, ha.)

2012 has been quite a year for you! Do you have any New Year’s Resolutions? Are you planning anything special to usher in 2013?
I don’t really make resolutions – I’m already living a pretty lean life, working two jobs doesn’t leave me with any time for vices, alas, and my back injuries won’t let me not go to the gym :P. I will be going to an excellent New Years Eve party with all of my friends though, which’ll be great – I’m working Thanksgiving and Christmas at work, so I can have it off, it’s an important social holiday for me :D.

Read any good books lately?
I’ve been finishing up Seanan Mcguire’s October Daye series – I’m halfway through One Salt Sea now. I read An Artificial Night and Late Eclipses while I was deployed with the Red Cross for two weeks doing nursing at a shelter for Hurricane Sandy victims. I’m so sad that I’m caught up with the books so far!

What’s next for you and Edie?
After Moonshifted, Shapeshifted comes out next summer, and St. Martin’s bought the next two books in my series – Deadshifted, and Bloodshifted. Deadshifted’s due 1/15, so I’ll probably spend from now through the end of the year hustling pretty hard.

I think people will continue to be surprised by the turns and twists in store for Edie. I don’t want to give anything away, but I don’t coddle or protect characters, I don’t hold back, it’s all no holds barred. And I love love love escalation. If you liked Nightshifted or Moonshifted, and like being surprised by things that are gritty,realistic, and occasionally insane…then the upcoming books will be completely up your alley.
Thanks so much Kristin! :D

Keep up with Cassie: Website | Twitter | Goodreads

After surviving a brutal vampire attack, Nurse Edie Spence is ready to get back to work—attending to supernatural creatures in need of medical help. But her nursing skills are put to the test when she witnesses a hit-and-run on her lunch break. The injured pedestrian is not only a werewolf, he’s the pack leader. And now Edie’s stuck in the middle of an all-out were-war…
With two rival packs fighting tooth and nail, Edie has no intention of crossing enemy lines. But when she meets her patient’s nephew—a tattooed werewolf named Lucas with a predatory gleam in his eye that’s hard to resist—Edie can’t help but choose sides. The question is: can she trust this dangerous new ally? And can she trust her own instincts when she’s near him? Either way, Edie can’t seem to pull away—even if getting involved makes her easy prey…

Release Day Giveaway: Cold City (Repairman Jack Prequel #1) by F. Paul Wilson

Cold City, the first of a series of Repairman Jack prequel novels from F. Paul Wilson is out today, and the lovely folks at Tor were kind enough to offer a copy for giveaway, so please check out the book and the details (US/Canada), and good luck!

About Cold City:
The first of three Repairman Jack prequels, revealing the past of one of the most popular characters in contemporary dark fantasy: a self-styled “fix-it” man who is no stranger to the macabre or the supernatural, hired by victimized people who have no one else to turn to.

We join Jack a few months after his arrival in New York City. He doesn’t own a gun yet, though he’s already connected with Abe. Soon he’ll meet Julio and the Mikulski brothers. He runs afoul of some Dominicans, winds up at the East Side Marriott the night Meir Kahane is shot, gets on the bad side of some Arabs, starts a hot affair, and disrupts the smuggling of preteen sex slaves. And that’s just Book One.

1. You MUST fill out the form below
2. Giveaway is for 1 copy of Cold City by F. Paul Wilson to to 1 winner.
3. Giveaway is open to US and Canadian addresses only
4. Must include a valid email address with your entry (no need to leave it in the comments, just include it when you fill out the rafflecopter form)
5. You must enter on or before 12/5/12
6. Giveaway book courtesy of Tor
7. Please see my Giveaway Policy.

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Interview: DD Barant, author of Undead to the World

DD Barant is the author of the The Bloodhound Files, which wraps up with Undead to the World (out today!) and also writes sci-fi and thrillers under other names. He was kind enough to answer a few questions about Undead to the World and other projects.

Your final Bloodhound Files novel, Undead to the World, is out this month! Was it bittersweet wrapping up the series?
It was. I love those characters. Jace’s voice is one that comes naturally to me, and Charlie—everyone’s favorite—is one of mine, too.

Will we see more of Jace or the world of the Bloodhound Files?
I hope so. I’d like to return to that fictional world someday; I have a bunch of ideas that I never got around to exploring. Like golem drugs, for instance, or what happened when Jace finally tracked down the Midnight Sword and sent it back in time to herself.

When you were growing up, did you always see yourself as a writer? Will you tell us a bit about your journey?
Strangely enough, I did. I had this image in my head from a very early age that writing a book was like putting a spool of film on a projector in your head and playing a movie, and all you had to do was watch the screen and write down what you saw. It’s proven pretty accurate, actually.

Though I knew from very early on I was going to be a writer, it wasn’t until I was around twenty-four that I decided, “Okay, time to get serious.” That was when I established a writing routine, and really put some dedication into it. I got lucky in that an established novelist read one of my very first short stories and told me, “This isn’t a short story. This is a novel. And if you write it, I’ll help you sell it.” He did, and it did, and I never looked back. I’ve had some lean years over the course of my career, but I never gave up.

What are some of your favorite authors or novels?
When I was younger, I read a lot of science fiction and mysteries: Heinlein, Asimov, Bradbury, Agatha Christie, anything I could get my hands on, really. These days I like Spider Robinson, John Varley, Lee Child, John D. McDonald, Charlie Stross, Joe Hill, Stephen King, Peter Straub, Dan Simmons, Neil Gaiman, John Connolly, and a bunch of comic book writers: Alan Moore, Gail Simone, Warren Ellis, Kurt Busiek, Matt Fraction, Fred Van Lente, many others. I also follow certain writers in TV and film, like Aaron Sorkin or Stephan Moffat.

If you could read one book again for the very first time, which one would it be?
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Because the jokes would all be fresh and new, and the conceptual stuff just as brilliant.

What are you reading now?
In the middle of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel.

When you manage to find some free time, how do you like to spend it?
I’m not averse to the occasional alcoholic beverage. Imbibed in the company of people who appreciate my sense of humor and are not repelled by my incessant babbling and abrupt changes of subject. Also, I like fighting crime. No, wait, that’s only in my head. There’s a lot of crime in my head.

What’s next for you (teasers for your next series are always welcome)?
Next is my paranormal animal detectives series (yes, you read that right) The Whiskey, Tango and Foxtrot Mysteries. It’s about a reincarnated cat and a ghost dog that team up with the Gal Friday of an eccentric billionaire who lives next to an animal graveyard and has her own private zoo. It will be ridiculous, suspenseful, touching, and bizarre. You will discover that weasels have their own afterlife. You will find out that cats are exactly as sarcastic as you always suspected. You will HAVE FUN. Or I’ll send the weasels to haunt you.

The first book is called THE CASE OF THE DRUNKEN MONKEY. In it, a monkey gets drunk. Oh, and there’s some sort of murder mystery that needs to be solved, but really, the important fact is that it features an inebriated simian. I’m really hoping the cover art plays that fact up, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. That book’s done and I’m about to start the second, THE CASE OF THE THOUSAND POUND CAT. I’m pretty sure it features a really large cat. Other than that, I have no idea.
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Jace’s return to Kansas is an instant reminder that there really is no place like home. The tavern is still brimming with losers, practical jokers, and motorcycle chicks. Even the town’s only Goth is still wearing eyeliner. But just as Jace is about to click her heels and hightail out of there, she’s roped into a brand-new case. Somebody is possessed. And the bodies are piling up…

They call him the Gallowsman. According to legend, he was sentenced to hang—though his crimes still have not been specified. When he was strung up to die, his spirit stuck around waiting for people to hang themselves…so he could steal their bodies. Now, with the undead rising up and going on a rampage, Jace must put her own neck on the line. Can she get the Gallowsman to give up the ghost?

Trapped (Iron Druid Chronicles #5) by Kevin Hearne

It’s been 12 years since Atticus faked his own death and during that time, he’s been teaching Granuaile to become a full-fledged Druid. Now he just has to bind her to the earth, and she’ll be good to go. Easier said than done, right? When Perun, a thunder god, makes a rather spectacular entrance with Loki hot on his trail (literally), the gang is pretty sure something isn’t right. Loki being free is bad enough, but when Atticus and crew are summoned to Faery for an audience with Brighid, things get all kinds of worse, all kinds of quick. The beings that were supposed to think Atticus was dead now know he’s not, and Atticus fears they’ll try to make him dead for real with a quickness. Atticus thinks he can buy himself and Granuale some time, so they head to Olympus to start her binding, which takes 3 months and involves some pretty elaborate tattooing and conferring with Gaia. If you’ll recall from Tricked, Greece isn’t exactly the safest place for the gang right now, but unfortunately, it’s the only place available to them to complete the binding.

When they arrive in Olympus, it seems that they may actually be able to complete Granuaile’s binding, but during a trip to a hunting and camping supply store, they’re attacked by a murderous, and explosive, vampire and pretty much informed that a big ‘ol scary boss vamp is after Atticus. Then there’s another attack by more baddies, and finally our little group gets some relief in the form of Manannan Mac Lir and his lovely wife Fand on the diplomatic Iris plane of Mag Mell, where Oberon discovers the most wonderful bacon he’s ever eaten. Baaaaacon. But I digress. Their reprieve doesn’t last long, and there’s plenty more to come in the form of challenges! There are indeed some doozies on the horizon for our heroes, including a horde of killer clowns (seriously, like, at least enough to fill 2 VW Bugs-at least), gods of the Roman and Greek persuasion (Bacchanalia!!), and more conniving fae than you can shake a staff at. Of course, for us readers, this is awesome, because this means lots of killer fight scenes (clowns!!), and chase scenes (Clowns!! On unicycles and scooters!!), which the author always pulls off with relish, a heaping helping of awesome, and plenty of magic.

There’s certainly plenty of drama, but there’s also drama of the happy type too, like Granuaile becoming a full Druid, and finding out what her shape-shifting forms will be. I’ll also let you mull this over: Atticus has to tattoo Granuaile from her feet on up. And it takes a while. A Deliciously. Long. While. Needless to say,ahem, there will be lots of thinking about baseball (for Atticus), and you know you want to see some sparks between these two, don’ t you? Of course you do!! Just when you think this wonderful series can’t get better, it does, with each book, and you’ll definitely be panting for the next one, Hunted, out next year!

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