It’s Friday, and that’s always a happy making day, so what could be more happy making than a giveaway, and a hop? I love doing hops every now and then because they are a great way to connect with readers and bloggers alike! I’m offering 2 books for giveaway: Enclave by Ann Aguirre and Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari, so check out the book descriptions and the giveaway deets, and good luck!
About Ashes, Ashes
A thrilling tale of adventure, romance, and one girl’s unyielding courage through the darkest of nightmares.
Epidemics, floods, droughts–for sixteen-year-old Lucy, the end of the world came and went, taking 99% of the population with it. As the weather continues to rage out of control, and Sweepers clean the streets of plague victims, Lucy survives alone in the wilds of Central Park. But when she’s rescued from a pack of hunting dogs by a mysterious boy named Aidan, she reluctantly realizes she can’t continue on her own. She joins his band of survivors, yet, a new danger awaits her: the Sweepers are looking for her. There’s something special about Lucy, and they will stop at nothing to have her.
About Enclave (read my review):
New York City has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20′s. When Deuce turns 15, she takes on her role as a Huntress, and is paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter who lived Topside as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters—or Freaks—who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to warnings. And when Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave, the girl born in darkness must survive in daylight, in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs. As the two are guided by Fade’s long-ago memories, they face dangers, and feelings, unlike any they’ve ever known.
I’ve got 2 giveaway winners to announce today: To Walk the Night by E.S. Moore and Bloodring and Skinwalker by Faith Hunter! Thanks so much to everyone that entered!
To Walk the Night by E.S. Moore
Congrats to Christina Bodden!
Skinwalker and Bloodring by Faith Hunter
Congrats to Teressa Oliver!
*Winners were chosen by Rafflecopter, have been notified, and have 48 hours to reply.
That Thing At the Zoo (Deacon Chalk novella) by James R. Tuck
Review copy courtesy of the author
Shredding monsters is his stock and trade. He sniffs them out, tracks them down, and corners them. End of story. But when the tables are turned, expect the unexpected. . .
Knowing his enemy is a rule Deacon Chalk swears by. But he’s never seen anything like whatever is leaving the Atlanta Zoo’s most dangerous predators bloodless, skinned, and hanging high in treetops. And he’s only got till sunrise to keep it from turning the entire city into a slaughterhouse. Now Deacon is in zoo lockdown with a handful of staffers to save. His zookeeper backup has more guts than monster-hunting experience. And the only chance Deacon has to run this thing to unholy ground is to risk unleashing his darkest, most uncontrollable instincts. . .
James R. Tuck’s Blood and Bullets is coming out on Feb. 7th, but you can meet his hero, Deacon Chalke, before then in this down and dirty novella. Deacon is a supernatural bounty hunter with a grudge, and he’s been called to the Atlanta zoo to hunt down a rather nasty creature that’s been preying on zoo employees and animals alike. With the help of a zookeeper (who proudly sports a mullet), Deacon takes on a hungry and vicious evil, and it loves the taste of humans. You’ll zip through this one lightning fast, and Tuck doesn’t waste time on flowery prose. Deacon is a man’s man, but he’s got plenty of personal pain to contend with, and it more than fuels his prowess as a bounty hunter. That Thing at the Zoo is a great intro to Tuck’s new series, and will have you adding Blood and Bullets to your pre-order list pronto!
Who’s in the mood for a giveaway? I am! I’ve got a SIGNED copy of Grimspace (Sirantha Jax #1) by the awesome Ann Aguirre. This is one of my all time fave series, so check out the giveaway deets, then go forth and enter! Good luck!
As the carrier of a rare gene, Sirantha Jax has the ability to jump ships through grimspace-a talent which makes her a highly prized navigator for the Corp. Then a crash landing kills everyone on board, leaving Jax in a jail cell with no memory of the crash. But her fun’s not over. A group of rogue fighters frees her…for a price: her help in overthrowing the established order.
Black Heart Loa (Hoodoo Series #2) by Adrian Phoenix
Publisher: Pocket/June 2011
“An eye for an eye is never enough.”
Kallie Rivière, a Cajun hoodoo apprentice with a bent for trouble, learned the meaning of those ominous words when hoodoo bogeyman Doctor Heron targeted her family for revenge. Now, while searching for her still-missing bayou pirate cousin, Kallie finds out the hard way that someone is undoing powerful gris gris, which means that working magic has become as unpredictable as rolling a handful of dice. The wards woven to protect the Gulf coast are unraveling, leaving New Orleans and the surrounding bayous vulnerable just as an unnatural storm—the deadliest in a century—is born. As the hurricane powers toward the heart of all she loves, Kallie desperately searches for the cause of the disturbing randomness, only to learn a deeply unsettling truth: the culprit may be herself. To protect her family and friends, including the sexy nomad Layne Vallin, Kallie steps into the jaws of danger . . . and finds a loup garou designed to steal her heart—literally
Black Heart Loa picks up about 24 hours after the start of Black Dust Mambo with two gunmen bursting in on Kallie and the gang. Keep in mind, some super explosive secrets have JUST been revealed to Kallie about her past, and now her cousin Jackson has been abducted and buried alive, so time is of the essence. Kallie, Belladonna, and crew aren’t about to take this invasion lying down, but if they don’t get to Jackson in time, his number may be up. It doesn’t help that magic has gone haywire and the death loa Baron Samedi is on the loose, due to a summoning-gone-wrong. Also, the Hecatean Council is looking for Kallie, and it’s not because they want to shake her hand. Kallie is harboring a big, deadly secret, and there’s a storm coming…
Whew! Reading Black Heart Loa will get you more worked up than a Level 5 hurricane! Not in the dirty way, although there is some delicious sexy in this one. There’s just lots of stuff going on, and Adrian Phoenix expertly weaves her magic with multiple story lines, against the stormy backdrop of the Louisiana Bayou. Let’s see, you have Jackson getting kidnapped (and secrets of his past are lurking), a clan of loups-garous running around, magic going wonky (to sometimes humorous effect), a ginormous storm threatening to destroy the entire area… Oh, yes, then there’s that pesky loa inside of Kallie that some not nice folks are dying to get their hands on, not to mention the whereabouts of her soul is still a mystery. The bayou setting in this series is a character unto itself, so setting hoodoo magic and mayhem against it creates a thrilling atmosphere that you will certainly get lost in. In spite of the cornucopia of hotties running around (Layne, Jackson, Dallas, did I say Layne?), the theme of girl power is very much a defining part of Black Heart Loa, just as it was in Black Dust Mambo. Kallie and her best friend Belladonna will do anything for each other, and the women of their family, as well as the various loups-garous and Vessel clans are forces of nature. Seriously guys, this is a meaty book and you certainly won’t regret reading to the end, when Ms. Phoenix most certainly brings the sexy (grins fiendishly). She brings the awesome too, but that’s to be expected. I thought I enjoyed Black Dust Mambo, but Black Heart Loa was even better. Can’t wait for the next one!
Fate’s Edge (The Edge #3) by Ilona Andrews
Publisher: Ace/Nov. 2011
Review copy borrowed from the lovely Chelsea of Vampire Book Club
Audrey Callahan left behind her life in the Edge, and she’s determined to stay on the straight and narrow. But when her brother gets into hot water, the former thief takes on one last heist and finds herself matching wits with a jack of all trades…
Kaldar Mar-a gambler, lawyer, thief, and spy-expects his latest assignment tracking down a stolen item to be a piece of cake, until Audrey shows up. But when the item falls into the hands of a lethal criminal, Kaldar realizes that in order to finish the job, he’s going to need Audrey’s help…
The Edge series is so much fun! Each book features different characters, however, the settings and the characters do overlap and interact. In Fate’s Edge, we follow Kaldar Mar (cousin to Cerise, who you may remember from Bayou Moon) and Audrey Callahan, lock pick and thief looking to go straight and be done with her family forever. Audrey takes on one last heist, but when she finds out that she’s stolen a dangerous artifact that could fall into the wrong hands, she feels compelled to help Kaldar Mar get it back.
Ilona Andrews has created a fascinating fantasy world with the Broken (that would be our world), the Weird (full of magic and strick family structures), and the Edge, which falls between the two worlds. She somehow manages to combine Southern backwoods sensibilities and clan hierarchy with high fantasy, and it totally works. Audrey’s situation is heartbreaking. Her brother is an addict that refuses to get clean, and her parents would choose him over her, in spite of him being a no good loser. Her father convinces her to take on this last heist to get money for her brother’s rehab, even though they all know that it won’t do any good. She agrees to do it on the condition that she never has to see her family again. Kaldar Mar is hired by the Mirror (sort of the Weird’s version of the CIA), to reclaim the artifact and keep it out of the hands of The Hand (a bad news group of folks with an evil agenda). Kaldar is a rogue and a conman, and in spite of the intense sparks between them, Audrey vows she won’t fall for his charms. The problem with this is that a chair would fall for Kaldar’s charms. Seriously, he’s a hottie. You may want to slap him sometimes, but at the end of the day, you still want to fall into his arms. I have to admit, Audrey does a pretty good job of resisting him for most of the book, but she really can’t avoid the inevitable, can she? There’s plenty of action in this series to satisfy urban fantasy fans, and enough magic slinging to make fantasy fans happy as well! Add lots of sexual tension, steamy romance, intrigue, double crosses, necromancy, shape shifting and flying dragons to the mix, and you’ve got a fantasy cocktail that’s quite fun! Now, I must be honest, Fate’s Edge is probably my least favorite of the three, but I still enjoyed it. I wouldn’t say you have to start at book 1, but having some backstory does help when going into it, although the authors provide enough info that it wouldn’t confuse a newcomer too much. Ilona Andrews fans (of which I am one) and fantasy fans should love this series!
There’s some great new releases this week, so check ‘em out (most release Jan. 10th)
Nameless by Kyle Chais
It Came From Beneath the Sea… Again by Susan Griffith, Clay Griffith, and more
Lothaire by Kresley Cole
The Rook: A Novel by Daniel O’Malley
Start Shooting: A Novel by Charlie Newton
Gideon’s Corpse by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
The Spy Who Jumped Off the Screen: A Novel by Thomas Caplan
Red Means Run by Brad Smith
The Jaguar (Charlie Hood) by T. Jefferson Parker
If you read my review of Cinder, you know that I absolutely adored it, and I’m so thrilled to have Cinder’s author, Marissa Meyer, here today as part of her Cinder blog tour! Marissa was kind enough to answer a few of my questions, and Macmillan has kindly offered a copy of Cinder and a lovely mirror to one lucky winner, so be sure to check out the giveaway details at the bottom of the post!
Please welcome Marissa to the blog!
Marissa, your debut novel, Cinder is due out in early January! Have you always wanted to be a writer? Can you tell us a little about your journey?
And by the time this interview is up, it will be OUT! Ohmygosh, that’s too mind-boggling for me to imagine. Yes, I have always wanted to be a writer, since I can recall knowing what a writer was. I spent my childhood daydreaming and making up stories to entertain myself, and I started writing with intention when I was 14 and my best friend introduced me to Sailor Moon fanfiction. My stories were very well received in the fandom, and that gave me the confidence to try writing an original novel. Of course, I had my failed first attempts and my hard drive is filled with novels that have only an outline or a handful of chapters, and all the while I kept writing fanfic and learning the craft and developing my voice. I also went to college and got a BA in Creative Writing somewhere in there…
And then, a few years ago, I had the idea for Cinder and The Lunar Chronicles and I think I knew instantly that this was The Idea, the first novel that I had to finish and submit to agents if it killed me. And I did finish, and I did get an agent, and I’m not dead, and now the book exists! I still can’t hardly believe it.
Cinder was such a great read and I could hardly put it down! I love the blend of fairy-tale, fantasy, and sci-fi! What made you decide to write in this particular genre?
Oh, thank you! The fairy-tale and fantasy part of that equation is easy—I’ve been a fantasy nut since I first stumbled across The Chronicles of Narnia when I was a kid, and I’ve long been intrigued by fairy tales and their continuing popularity. The sci-fi element was a bit of a surprise, though, even to me! But when the idea for a series of sci-fi fairy tales came into my head, I couldn’t silence it. I knew from the start that I wanted these books to appeal to sci-fi and fantasy fans alike, and in many ways I modeled them after my favorite space operas (Star Wars, Firefly, and Cowboy Bebop) that focus more on unique settings and fun characters and epic storylines than they do on technology or gadgets.
What are some of your biggest literary influences?
All those writers whose books have such an aura of fun and imagination about them, and when you read it you can just feel the writer having fun, such as Gail Carson Levine, Diana Wynne-Jones, and Roald Dahl.
What’s one of your most unusual writing quirks?
I like to keep my nails trimmed pretty short—I can’t stand the way it feels to type with long nails. Of course, I have crazy strong fingernails that rarely break on their own, the luck of which is rather wasted on me.
What is on your nightstand right now?
Across the Universe by Beth Revis and All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin.
Do you have a favorite fairy-tale?
My favorite tale changes all the time, based on the time of day and which direction the wind is blowing. Of course, Cinderella ranks highly, but I’m also quite fond of Sleeping Beauty, The 12 Dancing Princess, Rumpelstiltskin, and many, many others.
When you’re not busy writing, how do you like to spend your free time?
Reading, of course! I also love to travel—my husband and I go on a lot of road trips, in which we stop at every antique store and winery we see.
Is there any other news of upcoming events or projects that you’d like to share with us?
My immediate news is that I’m going on tour in January, and I also have sporadic events scheduled throughout the year (fans can check the events page at facebook.com/LunarChronicles to see if there’s an event in your area). And beyond that, I’ll be completing revisions on Book 2: Scarlet and working diligently on Book 3: Cress! I hope readers will enjoy the rest of the series as much as they’ve been enjoying Cinder.
Keep up with Marissa: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Click here for the entire blog tour schedule!
Dreadnought (Clockwork Century #3) by Cherie Priest
Publisher: Tor/Sept. 2010
Nurse Mercy Lynch is elbows deep in bloody laundry at a war hospital in Richmond, Virginia, when Clara Barton comes bearing bad news: Mercy’s husband has died in a POW camp. On top of that, a telegram from the west coast declares that her estranged father is gravely injured, and he wishes to see her. Mercy sets out toward the Mississippi River. Once there, she’ll catch a train over the Rockies and—if the telegram can be believed—be greeted in Washington Territory by the sheriff, who will take her to see her father in Seattle.
Reaching the Mississippi is a harrowing adventure by dirigible and rail through war-torn border states. When Mercy finally arrives in St. Louis, the only Tacoma-bound train is pulled by a terrifying Union-operated steam engine called theDreadnought. Reluctantly, Mercy buys a ticket and climbs aboard.
What ought to be a quiet trip turns deadly when the train is beset by bushwhackers, then vigorously attacked by a band of Rebel soldiers. The train is moving away from battle lines into the vast, unincorporated west, so Mercy can’t imagine why they’re so interested. Perhaps the mysterious cargo secreted in the second and last train cars has something to do with it?
Mercy is just a frustrated nurse who wants to see her father before he dies. But she’ll have to survive both Union intrigue and Confederate opposition if she wants to make it off the Dreadnought alive.
Mercy Lynch is working as a war nurse in Virginia when she gets two instances of bad news in a couple of days. The first is that her husband (who she only knew a short time before he went off to war), has been killed, and the second is that her father (who left when she was very young) is gravely ill and is asking for her. She decides, against all of her better instincts, to make the journey to Washington to visit the father she never knew, and possibly get answers about why he left. Eventually she boards a train, attached to which is a war machine called the Dreadnought. Aboard the train with her are soldiers, a Texas Ranger, Mexican investigators, and plenty of intrigue. The train is carrying more than just passengers, and Mercy is determined to find out just what is causing bushwackers and other unsavory types’ increasingly alarming interest in the cargo. Then there are the zombies…
I have to admit, I adored Boneshaker (Clockwork Century #1), but had a little trouble getting into Clementine (Clockwork #2), so I decided to move on to Dreadnought (yeah, I know…mutter, mutter). First and foremost, I enjoyed Mercy Lynch. She’s tough. She’s resourceful. Plus, she doesn’t mind uttering a few curse words (*gasp*) every now and then! I mean, she’s a war nurse for goodness sakes! She’s pretty much seen it all and really doesn’t take nonsense from anyone. Dreadnought chronicles her cross country adventure, starting with a doomed airship ride to a train ride from hell (including some unthinkable cargo.) A group of Mexicans (a really, really large group) has gone missing, and this is just one of the mysteries that will be explored in this book. We get intrigue, war machines, battlefield excitement, gold!!, and one awesome heroine that you’ll love to root for. I did mention the zombies too, right? Ms. Priest’s alternate history is always a fun place to visit, and even though I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much as Boneshaker, it’s still well worth your time (and money-try to pick up a physical copy if you can, it’s gorjus.) If you enjoy Civil War intrigue, steampunk flare, and plenty of adventure, you’ll love Dreadnought!
If you’ve read my review of City of the Lost, you know how much I loved it (it’s the awesome)! If you haven’t and are curious, go right ahead, I’ll wait) Much to my delight, Stephen Blackmoore, the author of said awesome, agreed to answer a few of my questions, and he was kind enough to offer a signed copy of City of the Lost to one lucky, lucky winner, so be sure to check out the details at the bottom of the post, and please welcome Stephen to the blog!
Stephen, your short stories and poetry have been included in quite a few publications, and your dark urban fantasy, City of the Lost, just came out. Have you always wanted to write? What inspired you to take the plunge into writing a novel?
I’ve wanted to write since I was a kid. Wrote stick figure Zorro comics when I was in, like, third grade, or something. Did some really horrendous stuff in high school.
Seriously, I found some of it a little while ago and it made my eyeballs bleed it was so bad.
I decided I wanted to do a novel a long time ago but I never thought I’d have the chops to pull it off. But that kind of thinking is paralyzing. Believing that you can’t do something is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Eventually I just had to take the plunge and do it.
Technically, CITY OF THE LOST is the second novel I’ve written. The first will never see the light of day. I did that for NANOWRIMO in 2002 to prove to myself that I could belt out the wordcount. That I could create measurable results, which is different from actually writing a story.
That was an exercise in keeping my ass glued to a chair and doing the work. If I hadn’t done that, hadn’t proved to myself that I could do that, I don’t know that I’d have ever written CITY OF THE LOST.
Can you tell us a bit about City of the Lost?
CITY OF THE LOST is a dark urban fantasy novel about Joe Sunday, an enforcer for a small time crime boss in Los Angeles. He knows all the places to dump a body where nothing will find it but the coyotes, that brutality and a kind word will get you more than a kind word alone, and that the best way to get a person to open up is with a pair of boltcutters and a Zippo.
He’s not a nice man.
He gets murdered and brought back from the dead, finding himself caught up in the search for a stone that was used to bring him back. It might be able to grant immortality and a lot of people would love to get their hands on it.
Things go downhill from there.
Is City of the Lost the first in a planned series, or will you just see where Joe Sunday takes you?
CITY OF THE LOST is the first in a series, though I’m doing it a little differently than most. The focus is on the world, rather than just on Joe Sunday. I like the idea of telling different stories in this setting. I think it’s got a lot of potential.
The follow-up, DEAD THINGS, is about a mage whose particular knack is communicating with the dead. He left L.A. years before because Bad Things happened and comes back only when he finds out his sister has been murdered.
This isn’t to say I won’t revisit Sunday. I have plans for him. Just not immediate ones. I’m working on a pitch for a third novel in the series now called FIRE SEASON that focuses on a side character from CITY OF THE LOST and I expect Sunday will make an appearance.
I personally love my urban fantasy infused with a healthy dose of noir. What are some of your favorite authors or novels?
We could be here all day. But here’s a short list in no particular order.
GUN MONKEYS by Victor Gischler
CLEA’S MOON by Edward Wright
FEED by Mira Grant
L.A. REX by Will Beall
BLACKBIRDS by Chuck Wendig
THE CLEANER by Brett Battles
KISS ME JUDAS by Will Christopher Baer
SATURDAY’S CHILD by Ray Banks
SLAMMER by Allan Guthrie
NEVERWHERE by Neil Gaiman
SOUTHERN GODS by John Hornor Jacobs
THE WHEELMAN by Duane Swierczynski
BURN by Sean Doolittle
I could go on for days, but I’ll stop here.
If you could read a novel again for the first time, which one would it be?
God, that’s a tough one. I think I’m going to go with ALICE IN WONDERLAND. But only if I could grab that same sense of wonder I had when I read it as a kid.
As an adult, especially as a writer, it’s hard to just experience a book. Especially one that’s so rooted in childhood as ALICE IN WONDERLAND.
I actually had a class in college where we broke down ALICE (that sounds so rude) , and though it gave me a greater appreciation of it and its particular form of perfectly logical illogic, it definitely changed my experience of it.
What are you reading right now?
At the moment, a few different things. I tend to hop around from book to book. EMPIRE STATE by Adam Christopher, ALL THE YOUNG WARRIORS by Anthony Neil Smith, THE HEDGEWITCH QUEEN by Lilith Saintcrow, DOVE SEASON by Johnny Shaw and TRICKS OF THE TRADE by Laura Anne Gilman.
What’s one of your most unusual writing habits?
I never learned to touch type. So I only use six fingers. Four on my left hand and two on my right. And I’m still faster than a lot of people.
When you’re not writing, how do you like to spend your free time?
I read and play a disturbing amount of video games.
Is there any piece of advice that you would give to struggling writers?
The people who tell you that you can’t write are not your friends. They’re ass-anchors and you should ditch them as the discouraging dead weight that they are.
You can write. You learned how in Kindergarten. You might suck, sure, but then you need to find the people who can tell you what to do about it.
Don’t mistake discouragement for healthy criticism and vice versa.
Is there any news of upcoming events or projects that you’d like to share?
I’m doing a couple of signings at Mysterious Galaxy Redondo Beach (1/6) and Mysterious Galaxy San Diego (1/7) and a signing at Borderlands Books in San Francisco in early February. We’re still finalizing the date on that one.
On top of that I help organize an event every couple of months out here in L.A. called NOIR AT THE BAR. We stole the idea from Scott Phillips and Jed Ayres who are doing it in St. Louis. But since none of us can afford to go to St. Louis we figured we’d start our own.
Anyway, it’s pretty simple. We get some crime fiction writers together, some well known, some not so much, all amazing writers, and have them read their work out loud to a bunch of drunks in a bar.
We’ve done two so far with Duane Swierczynski (FUN AND GAMES, HELL AND GONE, POINT AND SHOOT), Christa Faust (MONEY SHOT, CHOKE HOLD) and others and we’ve got one on tap for January 22nd where I’ll be reading something from CITY OF THE LOST and we’ll be having one in March with Hilary Davidson when her novel THE NEXT ONE TO FALL comes out .
So if anyone is in LA and wants to hear some kick-ass crime fiction we’re going to be at The Mandrake Bar in Culver City, Sunday night 1/22 at 8pm. We’re trying to make it a regular thing, so if you miss this one, we’ve got ones lined up for March and May.
Keep up with Stephen: Website | Twitter